ISSUE 160 TABLE OF CONTENTS
by Ahmed Ali Residents of this violence-plagued city told IPS that it is common for Iraqi police and army forces, most of whom are militiamen with the Badr Organization, to raid homes of Sunnis during the night, and take away men who are later found dead in the street. As a result, groups have begun to set up blocks to prevent police patrols from entering their districts at night. There have been several clashes in these districts between residents and people wearing police uniforms attempting to enter
by Ali al-Fadhily Iraq, with its famous Tigris and Euphrates rivers that run the length of the country, is now unable to provide drinking water to most of its people
by Alexander Cockburn The left designated Rove as the arch engineer of America's supposed lunge in the Bush years into the arms of the Christian right. Indeed the left has so demonized Rove it can't even accept he's gone and advances devious explanations: He's not really resigning at all; he fears impending indictment; he's preparing to 'work behind the scenes'
by Alexander Cockburn The left is currently distracted by the fantasy of successfully pressuring Congress to impeach Bush and Cheney. Why the clamor to launch a proceeding surely destined to fail, aimed at a duo who will be out of the White House in 16 months anyway? It would be more sensible to pursue them for war crimes after they've stepped down. Mount an international campaign of the sort that has Henry Kissinger worrying at airports that there might be a lawyer with a writ standing next to the man with the limo sign
by Alexander Cockburn Republicans, barely recovered from the Foley scandal a year ago, acknowledge glumly that it's hard to defend Craig's conduct and that he's a goner. Then they try to change the subject to Monica Lewinsky and say that it's all the fault of Democrats who have corrupted America's moral fiber for so long that even honorable men like Craig are unable to resist the beckoning finger of Temptation
by Alexander Cockburn The only reason why Murdoch might respect the Journal's independence, at least in the opinion pages, is that the views expressed there are even more rabid than Murdoch's, and perhaps he savors the possibility that one day he might call up Paul Gigot, the editorial page editor, and hint that he might moderate his tone
by Marwaan Macan-Markar This first law to govern Internet use in the country appears to have drawn inspiration from the 1941 Printing and Publishing Act, since the authorities have been given broad power to crack down on content considered a threat to Thailand. In the worst case, violators could face a possible prison sentence for using proxy servers to access websites blocked by the government
by Alexander Cockburn As he heads for the office these days, Nouri al-Maliki should bid his family especially tender farewells. If the patterns of U.S. foreign policy are any guide, the Iraqi prime minister is a very poor insurance risk
Analysis by Gareth Porter A little-noticed statement by U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker after last week's U.S.-Iran meeting revealed that the main demand of the Bush administration to Iran is not to stop supplying weapons to Shiite militias but to use its influence with Shiites in Iraq to reduce their attacks on occupation forces
by Chalmers Johnson Corrupt and undemocratic practices by the CIA have prevailed since it was created in 1947. However, as citizens we have now, for the first time, been given a striking range of critical information necessary to understand how this situation came about and why it has been so impossible to remedy. We have a long, richly documented history of the CIA from its post-World War II origins to its failure to supply even the most elementary information about Iraq before the 2003 invasion of that country
by Steve Young It's about time that veterans should call O'Reilly for what he is: a petty and gutless chickenhawk
by Steve Young Bill would be 100 percent right if it weren't for the fact that he is 100 percent wrong. How do I know? I could say I needed to build a research staff equal to Bill's crack Factor research team, but I decided to go one better: my twelve year old son Casey
by Steve Young By the second or third time it's uttered, catchphrase rhetoric becomes obvious. But there are times when they are more insidious, building momentum under the radar. Oh, you know it's an attack, but it comes in so many different shapes and sizes it's difficult to notice until they all meet at one place: the target. And one big target in the Republican cross-hairs is John Edwards
by Steve Young Bush compares the Iraq war to the Vietnam war, and everyone jumps on him because it isn't -- except it IS, in horrible ways that Bush didn't mean at all, which means that the president's metaphor is a disaster about a disaster. My head hurts
by Steve Young What will Bill do to hold the Administration's feet to the fire? Push for getting Bush thrown out? Give the Folks Bush's personal e-mail and phone number (but reminding them to be courteous when demanding Bush's ouster)? Or perhaps the Factor death penalty: Boycotting America?
by Ivan Eland Iraq already is divided into such autonomous areas, with Sunni insurgents and Kurdish and Shiite militias governing them. What is now a de facto division of territory and power needs to be formalized. The major obstacle to this is getting the Sunnis to agree. That's where the fine art of gerrymandering comes in
by Ines Benitez The main complaints against the factories are the long (12 to 14 hour) working days, without breaks; non-payment of wages; the illegal practice of requiring applicants to take a pregnancy test; and violations of social security laws. The companies deduct employees' contributions without actually making the mandatory payments into the system
by Hazel Trice Edney The publisher of the Oakland Post is calling on black newspapers across America to not only stay the course, but step up when uncovering injustices and speaking truth to power despite the assassination-style murder of his paper's editor, Chauncey Bailey, allegedly by a man that police said confessed he didn't like what Bailey was writing
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson A few days after veteran black reporter and editor Chauncey Bailey was gunned down on the streets of Oakland, California, City Councilmember Desley Brooks made a heartfelt and impassioned plea for anyone who knew anything about a killing in the city to come forth. She wasn't talking about the murder of Bailey. A 19-year-old reportedly confessed to that. She was talking about the more than half-dozen killings that occurred in the days immediately after the Bailey killing. The victims were black and the assailants almost certainly were also black
by Daniel Luban As Congress prepares for a critical September assessment of progress in Iraq, a draft of an upcoming report by Congress's nonpartisan investigative arm states that Iraq has met only three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for progress, in contrast to an earlier White House report which claimed 'satisfactory' progress on eight of the benchmarks
by J.R. Pegg House Democrats held a lengthy hearing July 31 to probe evidence that Bush administration officials improperly meddled with several decisions affecting endangered species, but they failed to find the smoking gun directly linking Vice President Dick Cheney to a controversial decision that contributed to the largest fish kill in U.S. history
Some of the laser printers used in offices and homes release tiny particles into the air that people can inhale deep into lungs where they may pose a health hazard. One of the 62 printers studied released particles at a rate comparable to the emissions from cigarette smoking, the researchers report
by Thalif Deen When the United States sells state-of-the-art weapons systems to Arab nations, it invariably provides even more lethal and sophisticated arms to its steadfast ally, Israel, in order to help counter the firepower of its neighbors. So, when Egypt gets the M60A3 and M1A1 Abrams battle tanks, Israel gets the TOW-2A and Hellfire anti-tank missiles to blow up the Egyptian vehicles -- in the event of a military confrontation between the two countries
by Antoaneta Bezlova China's safety woes have not been limited to Europe and the United States. Excessive antibiotic or pesticide residue has caused bans in Japan on Chinese poultry products, frozen spinach and tea. Hong Kong blocked imports of turbot fish last year after inspectors found traces of malachite green, a possibly cancer-causing chemical used to treat fungal infections
by Ali al-Fadhily Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's increasing ties with Iran have triggered a splintering of his government. Several groups, both Sunni and Shia, have followed the Sunni al-Tawafuq bloc (Iraqi Accord Front) in quitting the U.S.-backed government. But Maliki refuses to make the concessions necessary to bring his 'unity' government back together
by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani Ever since the takeover of Gaza two months ago by Palestinian resistance faction Hamas, Washington and its allies have steadfastly supported the rival Fatah movement headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas. But public support for Fatah, which has come to be seen by many as a stooge of Washington and Tel Aviv, has dropped off markedly
by Trita Parsi The Bush administration has seemingly taken advantage of the Congressional recess to escalate tensions with Iran. Earlier in August, the State Department revealed plans to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a global terrorist organization. On Tuesday, in a speech to U.S. war veterans in Nevada, President Bush raised the temperature further by declaring his intent to 'confront Tehran's murderous activities' in Iraq
by Peter Hirschberg Israeli government policy of 'quiet transfer' -- an accusation levelled by more than one Israeli civil rights group, who say successive governments have used the policy of revoking permanent residency status in a bid to tilt the demographic balance in Jerusalem in Israel's favor
by Ali al-Fadhily 'It is all about the media, politics, elections, and conflict inside the U.S. Congress and such business,' Waleed al-Ubaydi, a political analyst at Baghdad University told IPS. 'They know in advance that their offensives are not going to achieve much, but they have to show their people and the world that they are active on the ground. Al-Qaeda and other fighters have put their cells to sleep for the time being, concentrating on taking the U.S. army by surprise here and there. This is an endless story unless a miracle takes place in a time when miracles do not take place any more'
by Ahmed Ali Many residents in this city of 300,000 say that operation Arrowhead Ripper has made living conditions worse. 'People are the victims of this war because they are in the middle point between the American forces and the fighters of al-Qaeda,' Jabbar Ibrahim, a secondary school teacher in the city told IPS. 'The fighters of al-Qaeda came to control the city, but when the U.S. troops came to fight them, they ran away, leaving civilians to face the shells the bombs'
by Ellen Massey CARE International has forfeited its substantial slice of the food aid pie that is the U.S. Food for Peace program, claiming that the way the U.S. government distributes food hurts small poor farmers in the very communities and countries the program is supposed to help
by Stephen Leahy While the difference is only a few hundredths of a degree, the climate change deniers variously cite this as evidence of NASA incompetence and cover-up, and more proof that global warming is a hoax.
by Joe Conason The Economist's doomsaying is still more persuasive because its top staffers predicted only a few years ago that the Republican right would fulfill the dreams of Rove. Back in 2004, Economist editor John Micklethwait and Washington bureau chief Adrian Wooldridge published 'The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America,' a best-selling book that insisted the United States is an inherently conservative country that was only growing more so under the tutelage of a powerful coalition allied with the Republican Party -- and that the remnant of American liberals should simply acknowledge their status as a permanent minority relegated to irrelevance
by Khody Akhavi While the Journal isn't exactly a beacon of liberal opinion -- its editorial pages boast some of the most right-wing and conservative voices in the U.S. -- the paper remains an iconic publication known for its serious and credible reporting tradition. Negative sentiments were voiced by Journal reporters themselves, who, when speaking on the condition of anonymity to the Los Angeles Times, reacted bitterly to news of the sale
by Emad Mekay The United States has quietly funnelled millions of dollars of its annual aid to Egypt to groups among the country's increasingly restless Christian Coptic community and to areas with large Christian populations as part of an effort to 'empower' the religious minority in a little-noticed multi-year aid program
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson When Newark Mayor Cory Booker learned that the alleged shooters in the execution killing of three black college students were illegal immigrants, he did the responsible thing. But others have not exercised the same restraint. Some black talk show hosts and black writers have burned up Internet sites, and sent of floods of e-mails with outlandish and reckless charges that the killings were part of a concerted plot by Latino gangs to target African-Americans for murder and mayhem
by Rafia Zakaria The living conditions of construction workers who build towers such as Burj Dubai are further proof of their slave status. Tours of labor camps in Dubai and other Emirates have revealed that workers were often housed in abject conditions without proper plumbing or even sleeping facilities. In one camp, run by the East Coast and Hamriah Company in Sharjah, human rights workers found overflowing toilets and no electricity because the company had failed to pay its bills. Workers who were still living in the camp had not been paid for seven months despite their continuing work on the Company's projects. In addition to problems with working conditions, many workers who die while on the job are buried and forgotten with little notice or compensation to families abroad
by Gareth Porter Israeli officials warned the Bush administration that an invasion of Iraq would be destabilizing to the region and urged the United States to instead target Iran as the primary enemy, according to former administration official Lawrence Wilkerson
by Gareth Porter The new situation in Anbar cannot be attributed to U.S. military operations or presence in the province. After five years of unsuccessful U.S. military operations in Anbar, the U.S. military's agreements with Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar represents an acknowledgment that it was dependent on the very Sunni insurgents it once considered the enemy in Iraq to reduce al Qaeda influence in the province
by Jim Lobe Opening a new campaign to sustain his 'surge' strategy in Iraq, President Bush Aug 22 compared Washington's ongoing struggle there to both World War II and the Vietnam War where, he said, Washington's withdrawal led to disaster for 'millions of innocent citizens'
by Emilio Godoy The child pornography and commercial sexual exploitation industry enjoys total impunity in the Mexican capital, according to a report by the Mexico City Human Rights Commission
by Ali al-Fadhily The Yazidis, considered by some Muslims to be infidels, have never suffered so many casualties in suicide bombings to date. According to the local police, the death toll is now 250 but few bodies have been buried; many victims were blown to pieces. The final toll could be as high as 500.
by Michael Winship With a deadly mixture of arrogance and ignorance of legislative protocol and tradition, Rove alienated both Democratic and Republican members of Congress. Post 9/11 goodwill was squandered in divisiveness, so when the time came to seek congressional cooperation on Social Security and immigration reform, Rove's steamroller stalled bigtime
The Israeli ban on deliveries of paper to Gaza is not only threatening to create a shortage of textbooks in the Strip but also shining a spotlight on what constitutes legitimate humanitarian aid
by Joe Conason In the aftermath of 9/11, the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, Bush quickly abandoned the example of past wartime presidents who struggled to bring the entire nation together against the enemy. With astronomical approval ratings and extraordinary unity, the president could have accomplished almost anything. But following his political guru's direction, Bush used war as a partisan instrument -- which meant dividing, not uniting
by Joe Conason Listening to the Republican candidates for president warn against "socialized medicine," you might believe that national health insurance is really a plot to institute Soviet rule in the United States. The most feverish rhetoric comes from Mitt Romney and Rudolph Giuliani, both hoping that their shrillness will prove that they are truly and deeply right wing -- all while trying to avoid honest debate about the future of American health care
by Joe Conason Senate Republicans may or may not share Democratic suspicions over the strange firings of several United States attorneys; they may or may not worry that the attorney general has turned the Justice Department into an extension of the White House political machine. But they all listened to Gonzales last spring when he claimed that he could not remember any of the details of those firings. According to The Washington Post, his recollection failed more than 60 times at a single hearing in April
Most narcotics deaths are likely to happen in China, India and southeast Asia where Afghan opium exports have increasingly found new markets. Europe is another potential buyer of drugs produced in landlocked Afghanistan. Over 90 percent of the heroin sold on black markets in the UK originates from Afghanistan, according to the UN
by Robert Scheer Given her sorry record of cheerleading the irrational post-Cold War military buildup, do we not have a right, indeed an obligation, to question whether Clinton is committed to creating a more peaceful world? Don't say that we weren't warned if a President Hillary Clinton further imperils our world, as she has clearly positioned herself as the leading hawk in the Democratic field
by Robert Scheer The victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were available soft targets, much like the children playing in Iraq, suddenly caught in the crossfire of battles waged beyond their control
by Robert Scheer To complete the circle of madness, White House officials tell reporters that the hope of the latest arms sale program is that the Saudis will be so thrilled with their new weapons that they will stop funding the Sunni insurgents who are currently killing Americans. The absurdity of this position is that it makes the Saudis the big winners in the war on terror and yet expects them to cut out behavior that has played so handsomely to the kingdom's advantage
by Robert Scheer While the media are once again buying the White House backroom spin that the president's error in the Gonzales scandal is one of misplaced loyalty to a friend who didn't perform up to expectations, the truth is that Bush promoted Gonzales because of his assaults on the Constitution and not in ignorance of that sorry record
by Jim Lobe Civil liberties advocates and Democrats hailed Monday's resignation by U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as a major victory, while most Republicans, for whom Gonzales's performance had increasingly become a source of embarrassment, kept their comments to a minimum
by Bill Berkowitz Even though the first presidential primaries are still months away, some Republican Party officials, and their surrogates, have determined that Clinton will win the nomination and they have begun sprucing up old anti-Hillary websites and launching new campaigns
by Nora Barrows-Friedman Israeli forces are bulldozing hundreds of trees on land owned by a Catholic convent near near Bethlehem. This section of forest is being razed, according to Israeli plans, to complete a section of the separation wall, which continues to carve the West Bank into pieces
by Am Johal It is not surprising that Russia planted a flag on the Arctic sea bed some 4,261 metres deep last week as a gesture of conquest. In the realm of international relations, the move was a minor blip on the radar -- but it could be a portent of things to come as nations scramble to grab a piece of the melting north
by Kintto Lucas The innovative offer by the government of Ecuador to refrain from exploiting its largest oil reserve, in exchange for international compensation for nature conservation, is attracting increasing support
by Daniel Luban It provides a damning account of the anti-democratic violence that has been perpetrated by the United States under the rhetoric of 'spreading freedom', ranging from the CIA-backed coups in Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s to the funding of the Nicaraguan Contras 30 years later. These examples and others effectively make the point that the United States and other Western powers have always deployed human rights rhetoric in a selective and self-serving manner, ignoring their own abuses and those of allies while using the wrongdoing of unfriendly regimes as an excuse to justify intervention
by Abid Aslam At issue is a proposed Partner Vetting System that would require applicants for support or business from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to submit detailed information about key personnel and board members. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies would use the information -- including birthplaces and dates, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses -- to weed out potential terrorist connections. Organizations deemed unworthy of support would not be told why they were rejected
by Jim Lobe Obama said Tuesday he would make Afghanistan the focus of U.S. anti-terror efforts and unilaterally strike terrorist targets across the border in Pakistan if the government of President Pervez Musharraf failed to do so
Poverty and a lack of opportunities are forcing many youths in Tripoli's slums to choose between drugs, crime and militant Islam, according to local residents
by Diego Cevallos For years, a steady stream of Central American migrants has flooded into southern Mexico, where they would climb onto freight trains that they would ride to central Mexico on their way north to the United States. In Tenosique and other places near the Guatemalan border, the number of migrants from Central America has been growing since Jul. 27, when the freight train going northwards to central Mexico stopped operating because the U.S. company running it withdrew from its concession
by Marwaan Macan-Markar For over a week, Burmese civilians in and around Rangoon have been forced to make a tough choice -- stay at home and starve or go to work and labor on near-empty stomachs. This choice for people already burdened with other economic woes follows a decision by the country's military regime to raise the price of fuel by 500 percent without any warning. Suddenly, Burmese who earn 1,000 kyat (almost one U.S. dollar) or daily labor in Rangoon have to pay close to 800 kyat for a round trip from the suburbs to the downtown
by Han Mi-Young South Koreans are shocked, confused and furious over the uncertain fate of 21 compatriots held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan, as the government presses the United States and Pakistan to support its efforts to bring them back alive
by Stephen Leahy Soil erosion is the 'silent global crisis' that is undermining food production and water availability, as well as being responsible for 30 percent of the greenhouse gases driving climate change
by Jorge Luis Sierra, Translated by Peter Micek Attracted by payments that at times surpassed their salaries, hundreds of border residents like Garcia use their tourist visas to go to blood collection centers in cities such as McAllen, Brownsville, Laredo, Eagle Pass and El Paso. The centers arrange travel between Mexico and their labs. Biomat USA uses its own bus line to carry donors from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, across the international bridge
by Eli Clifton While Congressional Budget Office reports showed a gloomy outlook for U.S. costs in Iraq, last week several of Washington's biggest defense contractors released profit reports disclosing huge growth in divisions benefiting from military contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan
by Gareth Porter The obvious reason for the rise in Shiite-related U.S. casualties, -- ignored in U.S. media coverage of Lt. General Raymond Odierno's charge -- is that the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr was defending itself against a rising tempo of attacks by U.S. forces at the same time attacks by al-Qaeda forces had fallen
by Ali al-Fadhily Everybody in Iraq -- politicians, political analysts, poets, scientists, porters -- seems to agree that the U.S.-backed Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is a total failure. Withdrawals from the government by individual ministers and by political groups was the first sign of the end of al-Maliki's political life, but the U.S. government has remained insistent on keeping al-Maliki at the top of Iraq's leadership
by Roberto Lovato The former Attorney General loved to tell the story of his rise out of poverty to the highest levels of government, a Latino version of the American dream -- a dream that he and his backers helped destroy for many Americans
by Abid Aslam Energy producers waste about $40 billion every year by burning off gas released at oil fields, says a new study commissioned by the World Bank. The practice, known as flaring, also hastens climate change by spewing some 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, says the study, billed as the first global survey supported by photos taken from satellites in space
Back in Saddam Hussein's time, coffin maker Abdul-Wahab Khalil Mohammed used to sell one or two coffins a day at $5-10 each. Now he produces an average of 15 to 20 coffins a day and charges $50-75 for each one
'We have left the area because we were being forced to live under strict Islamic laws. Men have to wear long beards and women veils, and the latter are not allowed to leave their homes without their husbands. Girls have been told they are forbidden to go to school after the summer vacation,' said Haki Salam, 54, a resident of Dora who is now living as a displaced person on the outskirts of the capital
by Eli Clifton The Aug. 28 acquittal of Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan on charges related to the Abu Ghraib prison abuses means that no officers have been found criminally responsible for the mistreatment of prisoners at the Iraqi prison near Baghdad
by Hilmi Toros Despite concerns by the ever-watchful military and the secularists, Turkey's parliament elected foreign minister Abdullah Gul as the first Islamic-rooted president of the 83-year-old republic
by Am Johal The Canadian government released on Aug. 9 previously redacted information showing the RCMP and CSIS knowingly handed Maher Arar over to the CIA, knowing he would be sent to a country where he would be tortured
Albion Monitor Issue 160 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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