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ISSUE 149 TABLE OF CONTENTS

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The President Drops By For A Bowl Of Gumbo

by Alexandra Moe The president brought warmth to the barbecue, but he didn't bring hope. He strode around with his bowl of gumbo, waving, and moved from table to table shaking everyone's hand, including mine. I was surprised how likeable he was. I was struggling with warring emotions when he sought out the woman who was raised to not say unkind things about people. She had retreated behind the fanfare. He put his hand on her shoulder and she smiled an enormous smile, like a young girl


Katrina Swept Away Bush's Efforts To Woo Blacks to GOP

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson A crushing majority of blacks still blame Bush's bungled response to the destruction not on incompetence but racism. But many also continue to blame Republicans for the suffering. That's worrisome to the GOP, which counts heavily on boosting black support in key races in the 2006 fall national elections, and hopes to use that success as a springboard to gain even greater black support in the 2008 presidential election


One Year Later, Katrina Didn't Close the Racial Divide

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Katrina might have been race neutral, but race continues to shadow the Katrina debacle a year after the storm hit New Orleans, and the pain and suffering it unleashed should have brought people together in an ongoing spirit of compassion and giving, not racial rancor and finger pointing


Ethnic Media Rallied Together To Report On Katrina

by Donal Brown After fleeing to Atlanta, Terry Jones, publisher of the 40 year-old New Orleans Data News Weekly rounded up writers who lived in Atlanta, sent reporters down to New Orleans and found a printer in Atlanta to replace the one in New Orleans that was wiped out. With the help of associate Cheryl Mainor, he was able to go beyond CNN coverage to give information on the location of displaced people, salvaging property and dealing with FEMA


Spike Gets It Right in 'Levees"

by Randy Fertel Spike Lee's 4.5-hour documentary on New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina is mesmerizing. Just as important, it's an evenhanded take on what went wrong, and a loving tribute to the city and its residents


Katrina Victims Find Road Home Difficult

by Khalil Abdullah Dawn Peterson, Miss Wheelchair Louisiana 2005, was paralyzed from the waist down by gunfire in a carjacking gone bad. Yet, armed with an education and ferocious perseverance, she continued to sustain herself as a paralegal, fully employable, she said, until Hurricane Katrina ripped the wheels off her life


The Other 9/11 Anniversary

by William Marina If I were President Vladimir Putin of Russia, and I saw the failure of my "buddy" from Texas to pursue such an initiative, I might consider quoting from Stimson's memo myself, in offering Iran the technology it needs to enhance uranium. To do so is the best way to build a basis for friendship and trust. Should that nation move toward development of a bomb, as have those nations such as Israel and India, helped along by the U.S., then the Iranians still lack the delivery system to use it effectively. They simply would have joined what, at this point, is hardly an exclusive club, excepting only the U.S., which has, of course, used the bomb in warfare to kill thousands of civilians


A Modest Distance from Hell

by Michael Winship The smell would last until November; the pile would smoke and burn through the holidays. Every time the shovels, bulldozers and cranes exposed another layer, oxygen met fuel and heat and the fires began anew


Scientists Stunned by Arctic Ice Melt

Satellite images from last month revealed dramatic openings over large areas of the Arctic's perennial sea ice pack, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Tuesday. The ice had retreated to such an extent that a ship likely could have sailed from Siberia or the Norway to the North Pole without difficulty


Is The Anti-War Movement Dead?

by Alexander Cockburn The world is in tumult, but here in the heart of Empire, the level of creative political energy runs flat along the bottom of the graph. As Iraq disintegrates amid frightful slaughter, U.S. generals propose to bring to life the mad plan they once ascribed to Saddam Hussein, to dig a defensive ditch round Baghdad, one of the larger cities on the planet. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are once again on the rise. Amid these vivid implosions of the 'war on terror,' the U.S. antiwar movement is near dead


The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts: Are They Getting Crazier?

by Alexander Cockburn The 9-11 nuts proffer what they demurely call 'disturbing questions,' though they disdain all answers but their own. They seize on coincidences and force them into sequences they deem to be logical and significant. Like mad inquisitors, they pounce on imagined clues in documents and photos, torturing the data --- as the old joke goes about economists -- till the data confess. Their treatment of eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence is whimsical. Apparent anomalies that seem to nourish their theories are brandished excitedly; testimony that undermines their theories -- like witnesses of a large plane hitting the Pentagon -- is contemptuously brushed aside


The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts

by Alexander Cockburn They appear to have read no military history, which is too bad, because if they had they'd know that minutely planned operations -- let alone responses to an unprecedented emergency -- screw up with monotonous regularity, by reason of stupidity, cowardice, venality and other whims of Providence


What the Fortuneteller's Parrot Told Me

by Alexander Cockburn Within a week, obeying the promptings of the parrot, I had booked a flight to New York and a new life. Ahead of me lay a vast political landscape, seemingly of infinite richness and possibility. Never for a moment have I regretted my journey westward. That parrot in Balham had read the cards correctly. It is probably still alive, and I'm sure that were I to return for another consultation, it would cry out, 'I could have told you so,' and cackle heartily as it described the blasted expectations raised by Democrats stretching from Carter to Clinton


Nervous Asian Governments Seek Greater Power To Regulate Press

by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta India's federal information and broadcasting ministry has put out the draft of a proposed Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill, 2006 which ostensibly seeks to regulate 'objectionable' content on television news and prevent media monopolies. The bill would set up a regulatory authority that would classify news as 'proper' or 'improper.' In an extreme situation of 'war or a natural calamity of national magnitude,' the government could take over the "control and management of any of the broadcasting services'


Repub Child Molesters: A Punchline No More

by Steve Young Up till this past week, Denny Hastert, John Boenner and the rest of the Republican good old boys kept 52-year-old Mark Foley (R,-Florida), who was sending "are you horny" e-mails through the Internet to a 16-year-old boy, to stay on in office AND as chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus. This is same Foley who had introduced legislation in July to protect children from exploitation by adults over the Internet. Websters needs to strongly consider retiring the word 'hypocrite'


Hey Bill! What About Me?

by Steve Young Bill's attempt to save Traditionlists (and the Traditionlist's children...please don't let us forget the children) from the sins of the Secular Progressives doesn't exactly do the trick if he leaves me out. So it is that this week I have asked my attorney to immediately file a cease and desist (insist?) order against Mr. O'Reilly (my attorney informs me that it is time to sound legally apropos) and his publisher, Broadway, halting any further printing until I am listed as part of his Enemies List in the book


Talk Radio's Tortured Arguments

by Steve Young O'Reilly has used his personal interviews with three military interrogators to poo-poo what thorough investigations have detailed. He summarizes the prisoner treatment as a combination of cold rooms and listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. How cold, how loud, how long are never part of his argument


CBS's "Free Speech" a Rush to Judgement

by Steve Young Mr. and Mrs. News Consumer, meet Rush Limbaugh, Katie Couric's free-speech speaker on Sept. 7, a few days after she took the seat of Walt Cronkite. Under the qualification set by KC, that their free speecher be a newsmaker, opinion maker, or a plain folk, Rush Limbaugh fits none. Newsmakers? Not unless he was to speak to how hypocrites get away with breaking drug laws


Rewriting the Wrong Side of History

by Steve Young Whether it's a lie or an evasion, this administration has proven over and over that they will not trust the American people with the truth. It's a strategy they've been using for six years and over 2600 dead American soldiers. And there's no evidence they will stop


AT&T Secret Room Reveals White House Surveillance Game

by Jeffrey Klein and Paolo Pontoniere Congress is considering three bills that would delineate the White House's domestic spy powers. But rather than curtail those powers, each bill would effectively protect massive surveillance programs already eavesdropping on Americans


In Defense of 'Survivor' Racial Segregation

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Racial segregation will virtually guarantee the ratings rocket burst that the show's producers desire. In fact, they made no secret that they hope that the controversy will jump start its flagging ratings. But the show's producers realize that touting racial segregation to get a bump up ratings a point or two is much too brash and crass. The fall back defense is that the experiment, as they call it, will promote diversity. And they're probably right


The Plame Game: Rove and Scooter Undermined National Security, Not Armitage

by Joe Conason Whatever Armitage did, or says he did, in no way alters what Rove and Libby did in the days that followed, nor does it change their intentions. It's a simple concept -- two people or more can commit a similar act for entirely different reasons -- but evidently it has flummoxed the great minds of contemporary journalism


Election Court Decision Splits Mexico

by Diego Cevallos The electoral court acknowledged in its final ruling Tuesday that there was illegal campaign interference by President Vicente Fox and business in favor of the governing National Action Party (PAN) candidate Calderon and against his leftist rival Andres Lopez Obrador. But according to the seven-judge court, none of the irregularities were significant enough to have changed the outcome of the election, despite the extremely narrow margin


Haiti's Slums Again Awash In Violence

by Michael Deibert In this neighborhood overlooking the placid bay of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, a ghostly silence wraps itself around the burned tin shacks, concrete hovels gutted and scorched black by flames, and jagged rocks that form the paths of the hillside slum, spattered with blood


Time Runs Out on Bolton Nomination

by Jim Lobe What looked like a virtually sure thing just one month ago -- Senate confirmation of the Bush administration's controversial ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton -- is suddenly looking unexpectedly shaky


Vatican Fails To Defuse Muslim Anger Over Pope's Remarks

by Sabina Zaccaro Many Muslim leaders remain dissatisfied with the clarification offered by the pope. A government spokesman in Tehran said the pope's regrets expressed on Sunday were insufficient. Turkey's leading Islamic cleric Ali Bardakoglu said the pope had only produced an 'indirect' apology


Bush Admin Deceptions Help Fuel 9/11 Conspiracy Fantasies

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The instant the planes slammed into the World Trade Center (WTC), the conspiracy mill spun into high gear and hasn't slowed since. Conspiracy theorists allege that explosives were planted at the WTC; Jewish and Israeli workers in the towers were warned the day before to stay away; a missile slammed into the Pentagon; the government hid the wreckage of the United Airlines plane that terrorists crashed in Pennsylvania. The theories are groundless, and have been debunked by a legion of scientists, technicians and investigators


Poppy Polices Why Coalition Losing Control in Afghanistan

Analysis by Sanjay Suri The coalition forces, led by the United States and increasingly Britain, have been facing mounting attacks. In the most audacious of these, U.S. troops and others were killed last week in an attack near the U.S. embassy in Kabul, considered about the safest area in Afghanistan


Bush Squandered Greatness For Partisan Gain

by Joe Conason George W. Bush seems to believe that if only he speaks the same discredited phrases often enough, the rest of us will somehow come to believe them too. That must be why he misused the solemn occasion of the fifth anniversary of 9/11 to deliver a memorial address justifying the war in Iraq and seeking partisan advantage by stoking fear, while hypocritically urging national unity


U.S. Appears To Have Lost Control Of Anbar Province

by Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily The U.S. military has lost control over the volatile al-Anbar province, Iraqi police and residents say. The area to the west of Baghdad includes Falluja, Ramadi and other towns that have seen the worst of military occupation, and the strongest resistance. Despite massive military operations which destroyed most of Fallujah and much of cities like Haditha and al-Qa'im in Ramadi, real control of the city now seems to be in the hands of local resistance. In losing control of this province, the U.S. would have lost control over much of Iraq


Mexico Court Certifies Calderon as President-Elect

by Diego Cevallos Mexico's electoral court declared conservative candidate Felipe Calderon president-elect Tuesday, after validating the results of the July 2 presidential elections. Adopted unanimously by the seven-judge electoral court, the resolution cannot be appealed, and there is no other institution for the left to turn to in order to press forward with its charges of fraud


TV News Letting Pat Buchanan Rant Without Challenge

by Cecilia Munoz Pat Buchanan's latest screed asks white Americans to lock and load against the invasion of nonwhite immigrants. It's a call to arms, yet mainstream pundits treat it as legitimate debate


Innocent Man Freed After 18 Years on Death Row Tells Audiences of Ordeal

by Mark Weisenmiller Melendez was released from Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Fla., after being condemned to die in 1984 for a crime he did not commit. The state of Florida still has not apologized. His story is typical of other exonerated death row inmates, caught in a prison system because he is poor and Hispanic


Detainee Bill Beyond the Pale

by Molly Ivins The detainee bill now in the Senate also expands the definition of an unlawful enemy combatant to cover anyone who has 'has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States.' Quick, define 'purposefully and materially.' One person has already been charged with aiding terrorists because he sold a satellite TV package that includes the Hezbollah network. The bill simply removes a suspect's right to challenge his detention in court. This is a rule of law that goes back to the Magna Carta in 1215. That pretty much leaves the barn door open


New News is Bad News

by Molly Ivins I'm ready to settle for a bar of common decency. Lead us into an insane war, get the troops killed, lie about whatever you want, eat fancy meals on the government tab ($14 for a chocolate dessert?), but please, oh please, do not rig the bids for reading material for our adorable little children


A Tortured Debate

by Molly Ivins A debate on torture. I don't know -- what do you think? I guess we have to define it, first. The White House has already specified 'water boarding,' making some guy think he's drowning for long periods, as a perfectly good interrogation technique. Maybe, but it was also a great favorite of the Gestapo and has been described and condemned in thousands of memoirs and novels in highly unpleasant terms


The Testy Bush

by Molly Ivins Perhaps his banter with reporters works better on TV. But I left with the impression that this is a spoiled man whose frustration level when someone disagrees with him is that of a 3-year-old and that he's the last person you want to see operating under a lot of stress because he doesn't handle it well


Remembering Ann Richards

by Molly Ivins Ann got handed a stinking mess: Damn near every state function was under court order. The prisons were so crowded, dangerous convicts were being let loose. She had a long, grinding four years and wound up fixing all of it. She always said you could get a lot done in politics if you didn't need to take credit


Cow Whisperers Against the War

by Molly Ivins Women peace activists, as rule, have totally solved the gnarly old dilemma: What do you do about hating the haters? If you're a woman peace activist, this is Step 101 -- you spill love and calm and reassurance and, well, peace all over them


Army Near Breaking Point, Needs 50% Raise, Says Commander

by Jim Lobe The Army's top officer, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, has called for nearly a 50 percent increase in spending -- to nearly $140 billion -- in 2008 to cope with the situation in Iraq and maintain minimal readiness for possible emergencies. To convey his seriousness, Schoomaker reportedly withheld the Army's scheduled budget request last month


Right-Wing Media Hammers Away at "Fascism, Appeasment" Theme

Analysis by Jim Lobe The Fox News Network and The Weekly Standard, the neo-conservative New York Sun, as well as the Washington Times, which is controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, have consistently and with increasing frequency framed the challenges faced by Washington in the region in the context of the rise of fascism and Nazism in the 1930s


Lebanon Saddled With Enormous Debt For Its Own Reconstruction

by Emad Mekay Beirut will most certainly continue to turn to international lenders and donors for help with reconstruction for a long time. And this, debt watchers say, will in turn plunge the country into greater debt. World Bank figures show that Lebanon was already up to its neck in debt -- some $22.2 billion -- even before the war. For a country of only 3.5 million people, the smallest Arab nation, it is a colossal burden


Iraqis See Little Sign That Government Is Functioning

Analysis by Mohammed A. Salih There is little sign of government in Baghdad other than a heavy deployment of security forces. And that deployment has not brought security. Dilapidated and ruined buildings line the streets of the city. The streets themselves are clogged with messy traffic. Checkpoints have been set up by private bodyguards. The government is not in control even in the capital city


Mexico: a Country With Three Presidents

by Diego Cevallos Today, Mexico has an incumbent president, Vicente Fox, a president-elect, Calderon, who will take office in December, and a third proclaimed at a public meeting. The proclamation of Lopez Obrador as president was received in very different ways. Some observers considered it a farce, others greeted it with enthusiasm, and there were also those who saw it as something that could polarize Mexican society even further


Ties Between Elites and Child Sex Rings "Beyond Imagination"

by Diego Cevallos The complicity in Mexico between child sex rings and the political and business elites 'goes beyond what we can even imagine,' says activist Lydia Cacho, who faces death threats and was even thrown briefly into prison for revealing those ties in a book


Kissinger Is Bush's Iraq Strategy Advisor?

by Ivan Eland Kissinger, according to Woodward’s book, apparently has convinced the Bush White House that any troop withdrawals from Iraq will start a wave of public pressure to pull out all U.S. forces from Iraq. He is probably right in this analysis. But Kissinger missed the main lesson of Vietnam and is now missing it in Iraq


Suicide Bomber Cult Thriving In Pakistan

by Ashfaq Yusufzai It all began three years ago when a group of mujahideen (holy warriors) visited the local gymnasium that Ali and his friends frequented and preached about the need for jihad. Before long, Ali became one of the hundreds of potential suicide bombers that the commander of the Taliban, Mullah Dadullah, claimed to have at his command, ready to go out and take on the forces of the United States and its partners in Afghanistan


Handmade Gravel Is Zambia's Growth Industry

More than 600,000 children in Zambia are believed to be working on farms, in construction and other business sectors, and in the sex industry


Japan's New Leader An Admirer Of Pre-WWII Imperial Glory

by Christopher Reed The new Japanese prime minister has called for dialog with China, but his own past words and writings reflect sympathies for imperial Japan and forebode a dangerous future for a country increasingly flexing its nationalist muscle


Snubbed by U.S, Pakistan Making Nuclear Deals With China

by Antoaneta Bezlova While China itself is still in the process of seeking foreign help to expand its nuclear sector, government officials have made it clear that their ultimate goal is to build an internationally competitive nuclear power industry and venture overseas. Using its domestically built reactors, China has already completed a 300MW nuclear power plant in Chashma in Pakistan and is constructing another of the same size


Taliban Take Southern Afghanistan, Say Reports

by Sanjay Suri The Taliban have regained control over the southern half of Afghanistan and their frontline is advancing daily, a group closely monitoring the Afghan situation said in a report Sept. 5


Olmert Under Siege From Angry Israeli Press, Public

by Keya Acharya From the giddy heights of the early days of the war, in which his popularity ratings soared to unprecedented levels, Olmert now finds himself fighting for political survival. The new sport among political commentators -- and his political foes -- is predicting how long he has left in office. Only months, say some


Extreme Strain of TB Appears in S Africa

by Moyiga Nduru XDR-TB -- Extensive or Extreme Drug Resistant TB -- is a more severe form of Multidrug Resistant TB (MDR-TB). While strains of MDR-TB are resistant to at least two of the main drugs used to treat TB in the first instance, isoniazid and rifampicin (known as 'first-line drugs'), XDR-TB is also resistant to various second-line drugs -- the final weapons against the disease.


U.S.-Iraqi Forces Looking For Shiite Death Squads in Sunni Neighborhoods

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Joint U.S.-Iraqi security force raids across much of the Sunni region of Iraq in search of death squads don't make any sense to Iraqis who say U.S. forces know most of the death squads are in Shia areas


The Unfunny Side of "Borat"

by Behrouz Saba Borat assures Western viewers that 'those people' -- whose varied geographies, ethnicities, races, politics and religions are an incomprehensible mishmash to most Westerners -- are as contemptible as ever. That he also pokes crude fun at America -- while addressing the audience at a rodeo he says, 'We support your war of terror' -- makes it politically correct to celebrate him


BP's Alaska Problems Could Hamper Effort to Drill in Arctic Refuge

by J.R. Pegg British Petroleum's problems with pipeline corrosion at its oil field on Alaska's North Slope could jeopardize future efforts to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the chair of the Senate Energy Committee said


UN Condemns Israel's "Immoral" Use of Cluster Bombs

'What's shocking and I would say, to me, completely immoral, is that 90 percent of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict when we knew there would be a resolution, when we really knew there would be an end of this,' said Jan Egeland, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs


Clinton Ended Welfare, Not Poverty

by Robert Scheer The ex-president gloats over the large decrease in the number of welfare recipients as if he is unaware of the five-year limit and other new restrictions that made it inevitable. Nor does he seem bothered that nobody seems to have thought it important to assess how the families on Aid to Families With Dependent Children fared after they left welfare. The truth is we know very little about the fate of those moved off welfare, 70 percent of whom are children, because there is no systematic monitoring program


A War on Intelligence

by Robert Scheer If the Bush administration were serious about protecting us from terrorist attacks, it would end the ineffectual 'war on terror' model and instead treat terrorism as a pathology that needs to be clinically and relentlessly excised. If terror groups such as al-Qaida are a cancer in the world's body politic, as the intelligence estimate suggests, then the goal should be to surgically isolate and neutralize the malignant cells.


Rendering Unto Syria

by Robert Scheer For those, like Bush, who regard torture as a variant of college fraternity hazing, it would be instructive to consider the fate of Maher Arar as revealed in that devastating Canadian judicial report released on Monday. Arar, a Canadian citizen and engineer who had fled repressive Syria two decades earlier as a teenager, was seized by the FBI at JFK Airport and 'rendered' to the government of Syria for nearly a year of being whipped with a 'shredded electrical cable until he was disoriented' -- that is, when he was not confined to his coffin-size cage


Subverting Democracy With the Big Lie

by Robert Scheer If representative government were alive and well in America, President Bush would not have dared to give the speech he made Monday on the fifth anniversary of 9-11. In a blatantly partisan screed, the president ripped off a nation's mourning for the 9-11 victims in order to justify his totally unrelated and disastrous invasion of Iraq.


Afghanistan High on Opium, not Democracy

by Robert Scheer The good news, for drug fiends, is that Afghanistan has just harvested its biggest opium crop ever, up a whopping 59 percent from last year and big enough to cover 130 percent of the entire world market. The street price for illegal heroin, 92 percent of which now comes from Afghanistan, should be way down from Bangkok to London, and for those shooting up in the back alleys of Chicago. The bad news, for the rest of us, is that in Bush-liberated Afghanistan, billions in drug profits are financing the Taliban


Patient With Extreme Strain of TB Walks Out of Hospital

Health officials in South Africa are fighting to contain the spread of a deadly, drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis after an HIV-positive woman with the disease refused treatment and walked out of a Johannesburg hospital. Doctors have since located and quarantined the woman, but fear she might have infected several others with extremely drug resistant tuberculosis


Fox Can't Spin Clinton's Slapdown

by Joe Conason That incident wasn't the first time that the Republican Party's media servants, at Fox and elsewhere, have tried to falsify the history of American conflict with al Qaeda for partisan purposes. The smearing began within months after 9/11


Gingrich's "WWIII" Theme a Big Winner Among Right Wingers

by Jim Lobe Gingrich's latest speech, titled 'Lessons from the First Five Years of War: Where Do We Go From Here?' was very much in the same vein in that it included attacks on the State Department, the news media, and even Harvard University, whose recent 'host(ing) of tyrants like (former Iranian President Mohammed) Khatami (should be) openly compared to hosting (Nazi propaganda chief Josef) Goebbels or (SS commander Heinrich) Himmler in 1937'


Mahdi Army, Not U.S. Forces, Now The Real Power In Iraq

by Gareth Porter The underlying reality in Iraq, which the administration does not appear to grasp fully, is that the United States is now dependent on the sufferance of Iran and its Iraqi Shiite political-military allies to continue the occupation


Neo-Cons Argue With Intel Experts Over Iran "Threat"

by Gareth Porter In order to convince the public that the United States must strike before an Iranian nuclear weapons capability becomes inevitable, they must discredit the intelligence community's conclusions that Iran is still as many as 10 years away from being able to build a nuclear weapon and that such a weapon is not an inevitable consequence of its present uranium enrichment program


Israel Demanding Right To Choose Nationality Of Peacekeepers In Lebanon

by Thalif Deen Israel has decided to pick and choose which Muslim nations should provide troops for the UN force -- and which shouldn't. Israel says it is willing to accept troops from three other Muslim nations -- Egypt, Jordan and Turkey -- because it has either 'friendly' or 'diplomatic' relations with the three. Of the three, only Turkey has offered to provide troops. But it has made no firm commitments so far. If no Muslim country has substantial troops, the UN force is in danger of being an all-Western or a predominantly-Western


Democrats Have Lead As Mid-Term Election Season Begins

by Jim Lobe As the 2006 U.S. mid-term election campaign officially got underway over the three-day Labor Day weekend, Republican hopes of retaining control of both houses of Congress look increasingly fragile


U.S. Resorting to 'Collective Punishment' Of Entire Iraq Cities

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Destroying infrastructure and cutting water and electricity 'for days and even weeks is routine reaction to the resistance,' he said. 'Guys of the resistance do not need water and electricity, it's the families that are being harmed, and their lives which are at stake'


Bush Lost a Generation of Muslim Good Will, Says Top CIA Analyst

by Jim Lobe In an interview published this week by the online edition of Harper's Magazine, Emile Nakhleh, who retired at the end of June as director of the CIA's Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, said that the Bush administration's tactics had 'lost a generation of goodwill in the Muslim world' and its Middle East democratization program 'has all but disappeared, except for official rhetoric.'


Bush Agrees to Follow Geneva Conventions - or Some of Them

by Jim Lobe In a major victory for the State Department and career military lawyers, the Pentagon Wednesday released a new Army field manual that requires all detainees held by the U.S. military, including suspected terrorists, to be treated according to the Geneva Conventions


Questions Over Funding Of Iraqi Kurds "Thank You America" PR

by Aaron Glantz John Stauber, co-director of the Center for Media and Democracy, believes the Kurdish government is using U.S. government money to hire the Russo firm, which is then using the money to lobby for a continuation of the war. It's a case that is difficult to prove since neither Russo nor the Kurdish government will disclose where they got their money from or how much they are spending


AWOL Soldier Turns Self In As War Protest

by Aaron Glantz During his time in Iraq, 22-year-old Army Specialist Mark Wilkerson was stationed in Tikrit and Samarra, two strongholds of Saddam Hussein's former regime. One of his jobs was to guard truck convoys that ran up and down the highway and through city streets. Initially, he said, 'Iraqi kids on the road were waving flags for us, but after a year they were now throwing rocks at us and that equates to more IEDs on the road and now you have the suicide bombers. The death toll is 2,639 American soldiers. That's a lot'


New Book Shows U.S. Media Downplayed Iraq Bad News

by Bill Berkowitz Despite advanced technologies offering reporters the chance to transmit the reality of war in real time, reporters chose instead to present a largely bloodless conflict to viewers even when they did broadcast during firefights


Hispanic Media Says Firing Of Anti-Castro Reporters Shows Double Standard

by Elena Shore Hispanic journalists are debating the firing of three El Nuevo Herald journalists who received payments from the U.S. government. Many applaud the journalists' dismissal, while others see a vicious double standard at work


Russia Kicks Out Shell Oil From Mammoth Sakhalin II Project

by Emad Mekay Russia revoked the environmental permit for the oil-and-gas project, led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, a move that has prompted accusations by Europe and Japan that the decision was politically motivated and that Moscow is trying to give its national oil company Gazprom greater power in the oil sector


Israelis Balk At Bush Vision Of Endless War

by Jim Lobe A growing debate within Israel over whether Bush's Middle East policies really serve the interests of the Jewish state has spread to Washington, where influential voices within the U.S. Jewish community are questioning the administration's hard-line positions in the region. Coming in the wake of the month-long war between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah, during which Washington provided virtually unconditional support and encouragement to Tel Aviv, the debate has focused initially on the wisdom of Bush's efforts to isolate, rather than engage Syria


Thailand Coup Sends Chills to Fragile Democracies

by Baradan Kuppusamy Malaysians, led by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, reacted in shock at the sudden and unexpected crash of democracy in Thailand -- a country Malaysian activists looked to for pointers after two decades of autocratic rule


Thailand Hopes Military Will Keep Promises To Restore Democracy

by Pueng Vongs 'The fact that this change of government was effected through force shows that, whatever we say about having matured politically, we are basically still an extremely fragile society, wrote Suthichai Yoon, editor of the Nation, a daily newspaper in Bangkok


Thai Military Clamps Down On Media After Coup

by Marwaan Macan-Markar and Johanna Son Thus far, the coup leaders have banned political activities, made public gathering of more than five people for political discussion illegal, annulled the country's 1997 and taken over legislative powers after ending the authority of the 500-member parliament. Similar restrictions have been placed on the media. In addition to summoning newspaper and television station editors to request that they present information to promote 'national unity,' the military government has also threatened to come down hard on those who violate new restrictions that place curbs on radio call-in shows, websites and text messages


Thailand Uneasy About Economic Future After Coup

Analysis by Anil Netto Thailand's $188 billion economy was already forecast to grow at its slowest pace in five years as a result of uncertainties caused by questions surrounding the legitimacy of Thaksin's rule and his populist measures


Thailand Worries About Life Under Military Rule

by Johanna Son The prospect of an end to months of political tension around ousted Prime Minister Thaksin and for others, at the absence of bloodshed is giving way to questions about what the future holds for this Southeast Asian country that has spent decades in the past under military rule


Military Coup in Thailand

by Larry Jagan Thaksin has used his two major election victories -- in 2001 and again in 2005 -- as a rationale for ruling without regard for the opposition and sweeping aside any criticism. 'He has become a populist dictator using the 19 million votes he got as justification for his absolute rule,' said senior political scientist at Chulalongkorn University, Titinan Pongsudhirak. 'He is far more authoritarian than any previous military dictatorships before him.' Most of Thailand's academics and intellectuals have insisted in recent months that although undeniably popular with segments of the Thai electorate, Thaksin posed a major threat to country's democratic system


Brit Officer Stirs Furor With Remark That Afghan War "Barking Mad"

Analysis by Sanjay Suri There have been critics enough of the U.S.-led military actions under way in Afghanistan, but now military commanders too have begun to question just what they are doing in Afghanistan. Captain Leo Docherty, an officer who was aide to the British forces in Helmand, the southern district of Afghanistan that has witnessed the strongest fighting between the Taliban and international, forces has come out with strong criticism of the British army in Afghanistan -- and quit the army


CO2 Levels At 800,000 Year High, Ice Core Samples Reveal

Ice core records from Antarctica show the current levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the past 800,000 years and increasing at an unprecedented rate


Katherine Harris of La Mancha

by Mark Weisenmiller Katherine Harris' campaign for the Florida U.S. Senate seat should not automatically be presumed to be doomed. Since entering politics in 1994, she has never lost an election even though she has trailed opponents in polls by 30 points or more in the past.


Serbia Lung Cancer Skyrockets in Nation That Loves to Smoke

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic 'This has brought us to the top among European nations. We'll do everything in our power to define smoking as socially unacceptable and cut the number of smokers by half by 2015,' he added. Experts say this will be a daunting task in the nation of 7.5 million, where smoking is a long tradition. According to the Belgrade-based Institute for Protection of Health, 36.3 percent of secondary school pupils, and 48 percent of university students, are smokers


Iraqi Children Jailed With Adults

Whatever the reason for arrest, Iraqi children are sometimes kept in the same place as adults, human rights groups say. When they leave prison, there is no psychological or other support for them to help prevent their returning to the streets and crime. In Iraq, there is no organization specialized in helping children reintegrate into society after being held in prison. An official at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs says that the current lack in funds has paralyzed many projects, including those for children who have committed crimes.


Old Cell Phones Becoming Toxic Waste Problem In Latin America

by Daniela Estrada According to a study published Aug. 21 by the LatinPanel consulting firm, 70 percent of the Latin American population uses cellular phones. The region does not have the enormous dumps for electronic waste from industrialized countries -- as exist in nations like China and Pakistan -- but the explosive increase in the number of cell phones is beginning to worry some authorities



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Albion Monitor Issue 149 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)

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