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Massive Unemployment a Key Factor in Iraq

by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail Violence has made unemployment even worse; it has led large numbers of people to quit the jobs they had. Most people in Baqouba are today either forced to stay at home, or to leave the city, and if they can, the country

Iraq Backs Down in Confrontation With Sunni Militia

by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail The Sahwa accused government security forces of carrying out further attacks against Sunni people in and around Baqouba. Sahwa forces then cut all ties with government and occupation forces, and left their security posts. But after March 1, the provincial government seems to have agreed to many of the demands made by the Sahwa. This development shows the increasing power the Sunni group has against the Shia-dominated government

China: Ignore the Rights Protests, Focus on Olympic Torch

Analysis by Antoaneta Bezlova China has invoked the authority of a legendary emperor, revered as the ancestor of all Chinese people, to bless the Beijing Summer Olympics and emphasize national unity. But lingering tensions in Tibet and a choppy passage for the Olympic torch detract from the lavish rites planned for the Yellow Emperor

Did Wall Street Nail Spitzer?

by Alexander Cockburn Was there a medium-size right-wing conspiracy to nail Gov. Eliot Spitzer, above and beyond Spitzer's own diligent efforts in the same cause? It certainly looks like it, with the right-wingers in question very possibly hailing from Wall Street, where the ruling powers loathed Spitzer for his crusades against them when he was New York's attorney general. If threatened, Wall Street plays very dirty

The Race Card

by Alexander Cockburn Already the Republicans are using the photo of Obama in Kenya as part of what will be a long summer and fall of two-stepping around the race card. Step 1: Get some roughhouser to fire off a slur, as did right-wing radio shock jock Bill Cunningham, sounding off ripely this week about 'Barack Hussein Obama' as a hack black politician, in a speech introducing McCain. Step 2: Piously denounce the slur, just as McCain did Cunningham's

A Great Week for John McCain

by Alexander Cockburn After eight disastrous years of George Bush, and with a Republican candidate like John McCain, who says he knows nothing about the economy and thinks the United States will be in Iraq for the next 100 years, almost the only way any Democratic nominee can lose the presidential face-off in the autumn is if there is a protracted internecine battle. Any Democrat with any memory of kindred bloodlettings in the past should shiver as history begins to repeat itself

China's Tibet Crackdown Recalls Tiananmen

by Antoaneta Bezlova A crackdown on Tibetans protesting against Chinese rule over their Himalayan homeland -- in the ancient capital of Lhasa and other Tibetan cities -- is beginning to parallel the brutal suppression of the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy demonstrations

No Candidate Ready to Cope With Economy

by Alexander Cockburn Her nomination of Rubin and Greenspan scarcely encourages confidence in Clinton's oft-proclaimed capacity to hit the ground running in times of crisis. Rubin was the arch deregulator in Bill Clinton's second term. It was Rubin who successfully pushed for repeal in 1999 of the Glass-Steagall Act, which, amidst the onrush of the Great Depression and financial collapse in early 1933 (when Roosevelt closed down the banking system altogether), placed regulatory barriers between commercial and investment banking

Despite Promises of Asylum Reform, Cases Still Hinge on Luck

by William Fisher Today, more than two years later, immigration law experts and human rights advocates charge that there has been little real change. They say that people forced to flee to the U.S. to escape torture and political or religious persecution continue to face a deeply flawed, ideologically-driven, and bureaucratically daunting process that is more likely than not to order them back to the countries from which they fled

Rule #1: Sound Knowledgable - Rule #2: Lie

by Steve Young The major problem is that their audiences buy it as the entire truth. Oh, they all sound sincere. But sounding sincerity doesnŐt make anything less a lie. Actual patriotism, integrity, democracy and the truth all take a seat at the back of the campaign bus when it comes to talk radio

The McCain-Cunningham Con

by Steve Young McCain and his staff knew exactly what Cunningham would do. They used him for all he was worth, and then when he was all done doing what they wanted him to do, they threw him under the Straight Talk bus. Right? Not exactly

I Am So Hot For Dr. Laura

by Steve Young Thank you, Doctor. Finally. Someone has had the guts to step up and defend why married guys like to have sex with hookers or anyone else who they're not married to

The Incredible Uncredible Bush

by Steve Young For those who, like Bill O'Reilly, who has asked for proof that the President had lied, now have it. From his own mouth. For the first four years, he was LYING. It follows that if the President is not lying now and my math is right, it means he lied for 80 percent of the war. What would you call a person who lies about something 80 percent of the time?

Most Iraqi Refugees Don't Intend to Return

by Maki al-Nazzal and Dahr Jamail More Iraqis continue to flee their country than the numbers returning, despite official claims to the contrary

Will Bush Provoke an "October Surprise" Attack on Iran?

by Charles Davis Of the major party candidates, only Senator Obama has suggested that he would meet with the leader of Iran -- a stance that was ridiculed by many in the Washington political establishment when he voiced it last summer. But even that position is now in question, as Obama told reporters recently that he supported Israel and the Bush administration's refusal to talk to the leaders of Hamas, saying, 'You can't negotiate with somebody who does not recognize the right of a country to exist.' Like Hamas, Iran also refuses to recognize Israel.

Fuel Shortages Leave Iraqis Cold, Unable to Work

by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail The demonstrations have drawn in people from all around Iraq's volatile Diyala province. The streets have filled with people hoisting protest banners. The Sahwa here want to show they are a power that Baghdad cannot ignore

Despite Worsening Conditions in Iraq, Cheney and McCain Tout Success

Analysis by Dahr Jamail Devastation on the ground and largely held Iraqi opinion contradicts claims by U.S. officials that the situation in Iraq has improved towards the fifth anniversary of the invasion Mar. 20. Cheney, during a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday declared the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq a 'successful endeavor'

Iran on Top -- Thanks to Bush

by Robert Scheer How interesting that Ahmadinejad, unlike a U.S. president who has to be airlifted unannounced into ultra-secure bases, was able to convoy in from the airport in broad daylight on a road that U.S. dignitaries fear to travel. His love-fest with Iraq President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who fought on Iran's side against Iraq and who speaks Farsi, even took place outside of the safety of the Green Zone, adding emphasis to Ahmadinejad's claim that while he is welcome in Iraq, the Americans are not

How Kosovo 'Success Story' Became Such a Mess

by Apostolis Fotiadis There is something more than raw anger that cultivates tensions in this case. A senior member of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and a customs official, both told IPS on condition of anonymity that UNMIK's serious incapacities in administering post-independence Kosovo, and the organized disobedience by the Serbs point to gloom prospects for Kosovo's future

Security Council Deadlocked Over Kosovo

by Thalif Deen Russia -- which is protective of Serbs who are a minority in Kosovo -- is conscious of the political implications of the Kosovo UDI for the separatist movement within its own borders, in Chechnya. The Russians have threatened to use their veto to prevent the UN from giving its political blessings to the new nation state

Serbians Protest, Riot Over Kosovo Independence

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic Frustration over the Sunday declaration of independence of Kosovo is spreading all over Serbia, with protest rallies being organized around the country. Kosovo is being taken away, protesting Serbs say, as demonstrations continued Monday after a night of violence

China, U.S. Clash Over Tibet at UN Council

by Gustavo Capdevila In his reply, Qian suggested that the United States reflect on its own massive human rights violations in Iraq and other countries. The Chinese diplomat said it should be asked which other country in the world had violated human rights to such an extent and so flagrantly as the United States

UN Won't Intercede in Tibet Crisis

Analysis by Thalif Deen When the Security Council is called upon to deal with a crisis that threatens the political, military or economic interests of any of its five permanent members, the UN's most powerful body acts predictably: it does nothing

Palestinians Held in Israeli Prisons Without Charges

by Mohammed Omer Many Palestinians are convicted on charges never disclosed, but many are in Israeli prisons without ever being charged. Ahmad Abu Haniyah, youth coordinator for the Alternative Information Center, a 20-year-old project set up jointly by Israeli and Palestinian journalists, was arrested by the Israelis in May 2005. He was released in May last year. The Israelis never told him why he was arrested in the first place. He was never charged or tried; the Israelis call this administrative detention. By now every Palestinian family knows a relative or friend who has been detained like this

Despite Claims of Iraq "Calm," Bodies Piling Up

by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail Unidentified bodies of Iraqis killed by militias continue to appear in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. The Iraqi government has issued instructions to all security and health offices not to give out the body count to the media. Dozens of bodies are found every day across Baghdad

Stop 'Demonizing' Dalai Lama, Europe Leader Tells China

by David Cronin Hans-Gert Poettering, the European Parliament president, has angrily dismissed allegations by the Beijing authorities that recent violence in Tibet had been fomented by the Buddhist spiritual leader

Pakistan's Child Suicide Bombers Created by Religious Schools

Many of the bombers who blew themselves up were children, while teenagers who have been arrested provide chilling accounts of how they had been imbued into carrying out similar attacks. 'These young boys are as much the victims of terrorism as those they kill. They are victims of the most brutal exploitation'

NGOs Wary of Doomsday Seed Vault

by Keya Acharya Agricultural non-governmental organizations working in India and elsewhere are criticizing the newly-opened Global Seed Vault (GSV) at Svalbard in Norway as fundamentally unjust in its objectives

Man Arrested as Bhutto's Assassin Raises Conspiracy Questions

by Amir Mir Qari, chief of the militant group Harkatul Jehadul Islami (HUJI), banned for its links with the al-Qaeda and Taliban, was arrested on Monday for alleged involvement in an earlier attempt on Bhutto's life on Oct. 18 when the cavalcade carrying her from Karachi airport, after years in exile, was attacked by a suicide bomber leaving 150 people dead. Qari's release from prison, three months before Bhutto's return home, has aroused suspicions that he was tasked with organizing the October bombing

Nutrition Programs Reach Children Too Late

by Abra Pollock Nutrition programs offered to children who are both sick and well are noticeably more effective in reducing the overall prevalence of malnutrition than programs offered only to children who are already malnourished, according to a study published this week in The Lancet

Presidential Candidates Ignoring Homeless Crisis

by Mark Weisenmiller It's not just the Republican presidential candidates who haven't addressed the issue. At a recent Cable News Network-moderated debate between Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Los Angeles, no one mentioned the fact that Los Angeles County has the largest number of people living on the streets, at least 73,000, out of any major metropolitan U.S. area

An Uneasy Calm Descends on Gaza

Analysis by Peter Hirschberg The question being asked, however, is whether Israel will launch a major, wide-scale military operation in Gaza aimed at toppling Hamas and ending the rocket fire. The operation in early March, in which hundreds of troops backed by armored vehicles and warplanes moved on populated areas in northern Gaza in a bid to target those firing the rockets and destroy rocket stockpiles, was a limited operation

The Shame of Eliot Spitzer

by Joe Conason The hard truth about Spitzer is that he began to squander his potential long before this final episode in his career. Rather than surprise his critics by tempering the volcanic temper and bullying style that seemed to be his worst traits, he amplified those flaws as governor. Instead of arguing for progressive reform against those who sought to frustrate him, he and his aides looked for devious ways to undermine his opponents, which backfired on them

McCain's Very Own Farrakhan

by Joe Conason McCain went out of his way last week to accept the endorsement of a Christian pastor with a deeply disturbing record of bigotry and extremism. That would be John Hagee, a Texas televangelist

U.S. President Vetoes Law to Outlaw Torture

by William Fisher The bill, passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, would have limited the CIA to using 19 less-aggressive interrogation tactics outlined in a U.S. Army Field Manual. The measure would have ended the use of simulated drowning, temperature extremes and other harsh tactics that the CIA used on al-Qaeda prisoners after the 9/11 attacks

FBI Abused "National Security Letter" Authority to Coverup Spying

by William Fisher The FBI sought to cover its acquisition of phone records on thousands of U.S. citizens from 2003 to 2005 by issuing 11 improper, retroactive 'blanket' administrative subpoenas in 2006 to three phone companies that are under contract to the FBI

Bush Hoping to Leave Faith-Based Initiatives as his Legacy

by Bill Berkowitz With the days of his administration numbered, Bush is working to shore up what was intended to be the centerpiece of his domestic policy agenda, his faith-based initiative. More recently, some conservatives have taken pot shots at the initiative, charging the administration with using the initiative as a political weapon and not fully keeping its funding promise

Mumia Abu Jamal to get New Penalty Trial

by Adrianne Appel The panel ruled that Abu Jamal's death row conviction is not valid because it appears that the 1982 jury, whose job it was to sentence Abu Jamal, may not have understood important aspects of the sentencing as it relates to death row. The judge in the 1982 trial gave the jury confusing information, the panel concluded

Mexico Draws Tourists With Controversial Dolphin Aquariums

by Gareth Porter Mexican law allows the capture of dolphins only for scientific purposes, but also accepts the animals' use in travelling or permanent shows. Until 2001, when dolphin aquariums came under regulation, such businesses had grown without any standards. Officially reported are some 270 dolphins in captivity in Mexico. From 1997 to 2005, 48 died. But the book's authors, who visited all operating dolphin aquariums, argue that the numbers fall short of reality, because the people in charge of the aquariums are hiding information

Bush May Replace CENTCOM Chief With "More Pliable" Commander

by Jim Lobe Former Pentagon official Thomas P.M. Barnett writes that CENTCOM commander Adm. William Fallon angered the White House by 'brazenly challenging' Bush on his aggressive threat of war against Tehran. Barnett also cites 'well-placed observers' as saying Bush may soon replace Fallon with a "more pliable" commander

Winter Soldier II: Rules of Engagement "Thrown Out the Window"

byDahr Jamail The event, which has drawn international media attention, was organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War. It aims to show that their stories of wrongdoing in both countries were not isolated incidents limited to a few 'bad apples,' as the Pentagon claims, but were everyday occurrences

Colombia, 3 Nation Crisis Ends With Hugs, Handshakes

by Humberto Marquez The conflict broke out when the Colombian military bombed a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp in northern Ecuador on Mar. 1, killing the group's international spokesman, Raul Reyes, and at least 20 other guerrillas. Ecuador broke off relations with Colombia, moved troops to its border, and demanded an apology and a promise that Bogota would never again make an incursion into its territory

Israel to Build 750 homes in E Jerusalem

Analysis by Peter Hirschberg Israel's plans to build hundreds of housing units around East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians claim as the capital of a future state, has drawn sharp international criticism and accusations it is undermining renewed peace efforts

McCain's Political Quagmire

by Joe Conason Certainly the troop escalation helped to revive McCain's fortunes in the Republican primary contest, quelling any dissent among his rivals (except for the indefatigable, unelectable Rep. Ron Paul). Yet the escalation appears to have had little political impact outside the GOP, despite all the promotional hype. If McCain is truly depending on the surge to elect him in November, he won't find the data reassuring

Bear Stearns and the 'Free Market' Pirates

by Joe Conason Obviously, we should hope that the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve find a way through this crisis without severe damage to the U.S. and world economy. The question is whether we will make the necessary changes to our political economy -- including a renewed regulatory regime and a new New Deal for the American people -- without suffering hard times such as we have not seen for decades

Serious Questions About McCain's Judgement

by Joe Conason With the Arizona senator fresh from a congressional trip to Baghdad -- where he preened for the photo ops along with two of his campaign co-chairs, Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Sen. Lindsey Graham -- this is certainly an appropriate moment to evaluate the judgment of the politicians who have promoted the whole enterprise and the consequences of their decision

Gaza Hospitals Struggle to Cope With Casualties From Israeli Strikes

Hospitals in the Gaza Strip were struggling to cope with the influx of wounded after five days of intense Israeli military activity, including a ground incursion and repeated air strikes, which has left at least 115 Palestinians dead and over 300 wounded, according to medical sources in the territory

No Candidate Will Battle the Military Budget

by Robert Scheer Curb your enthusiasm. Even if your favored candidate did well on Super Tuesday, ask yourself if he or she will seriously challenge the bloated military budget that President Bush has proposed for 2009

Media Can't Get Enough of Spitzer's Sex Scandal

by Robert Scheer Sure, the guy, by his own admission, is quite pathetic in all those small, squirrelly ways that have messed up the lives of other grand public figures before him, but why is an all-too-human sin, amply predicted in early Scripture, getting all this incredible media play as some sort of shocking event? The answer is that, while having precious little to do with serious corruption in public life, it does have a great deal to do with stoking flagging newspaper sales and television ratings

Pentagon Had Secret Vietnam Policy that Led to My Lai Massacre

by Dalia Acosta The directive in question makes it clear that the policy of humane treatment did not extend to civilians in areas which had been under long-term Communist rule, as was the case with My Lai

Top VA Official Who Put Bible Study Ahead of Vets Finally Resigns

by Aaron Glantz Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Benefits Daniel Cooper quit Feb 28 amid mounting criticism over a backlog of disability claims for injured veterans that runs six months long and an appearance he made in a fundraising video for an evangelical Christian organization where he said Bible study was more important than doing his job

Little Attention Paid to Global Water Crisis

by Thalif Deen The international community does not understand water and how it affects local communities and, therefore, the United Nations and the international community is looking for quick fix technological solutions to what is primarily a governance issue

Winter Soldier II: Iraq Vets Seek to Support Dissident GIs

by Aaron Glantz Hundreds of veterans who gathered outside Washington last weekend to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan are returning to their communities across the country with the goal of stoking resistance to the Iraq war from inside the U.S. military

Gaza's Strawberries Left to Rot Because of Israel's Blockade

by Mohammed Omer In an average year, Gaza's 6,000 strawberry farmers harvest nearly 2,000 tons of the fruit that sell altogether for about $10 million. Two-thirds is normally shipped out through Agrexco, the agriculture exchange half-owned by the Israeli government that Gaza's fruit and flower growers are required to use. In November two trucks carrying flowers and six carrying strawberries were allowed through by the Israelis. Then the blockade came down again

Kenya's Version of Hate Radio Stirred Ethnic Tensions

by Kwamboka Oyaro Even privately owned media owners who backed different political parties had a hand in the stories that were carried. If it was about the party they supported, they exaggerated the story and generally depicted the opponents in negative ways

European Arms Sales Fuel Violence in Kenya

by Ketaki Gokhale Located in the west of the country, Eldoret is also home to an ammunition factory opened in the mid-1990s by the Belgian company FN Herstal. The plant has been blamed earlier for providing supplies to armed factions in the genocide that swept through Rwanda in 1994. Now Amnesty International has documented human rights violations by Kenyan forces using weapons manufactured at the same site

250,000 Kenyans Flee Homes

The violence that erupted after the declaration on December 30 of the disputed presidential election results was initially confined to the Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces of western Kenya and the capital Nairobi. The victims were mainly members of the Kikuyu community. Revenge attacks by Kikuyu youths against communities they perceive to be rivals have, however, spread to areas not initially affected by the unrest

The Politics of Fear: 75 Years After FDR

by Ron Manuto and Sean Patrick O'Rourke The anniversary of FDR's first inaugural address reminds us how far we have waded as a nation into the politics of fear

McCain's Gaffes Reflect Bush's Iran-Qaeda Myth

Analysis by Gareth Porter Sen. John McCain's confusion in recent allegations of Iranian training of al Qaeda fighters in Iraq is the result of a drumbeat of official propaganda about close Iran-al Qaeda ties that the Bush administration and neo-conservatives have promoted ever since early 2002

Iraqi Refugees in Syria Sit Idle, Blocked From Working

by Maki al-Nazzal and Dahr Jamail The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there are at least 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria. If they seek work, they will lose their status as refugees. And so Iraqi refugees who were once doctors, engineers, athletes, artists and businessmen sit it out in Syria with nothing to do

"Blackwater Fever" Threatens 1000s of Iraqi Lives

by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail The deadly disease, never before seen in Iraq on at least this scale, seems to be spreading across the country. And Iraq lacks medicines, hospitals, and doctors to lead a campaign to fight the disease

Arab Media Question U.S. Motives in Darfur

by Jalal Ghazi Arab officials and journalists say the Bush administration's focus on the 'crisis in Darfur' has more to do with reclaiming Sudanese oil fields than carrying out a humanitarian mission

Madhi Army to Petraeus: Remember Us?

by Gareth Porter The escalation of fighting between Mahdi Army militiamen and their Shiite rivals, which could mark the end of Muqtada al-Sadr's self-imposed ceasefire, also exposes Gen. David Petraeus's strategy for controlling Sadr's forces as a failure

Hillary Can Thank Texas Latinos for Primary Win

by Peter Micek Clinton proved that she still commands an overwhelming lead over Barack Obama among Latino voters, who made up nearly one third of Texas voters in Tuesday's record-breaking turnout. According to CNN exit polling on March 4, Latino voters in the Texas primary supported Clinton over Obama by a two-to-one margin

5 Years Later, Reason For U.S. Invasion of Iraq Still Unclear

Analysis by Jim Lobe According to a 1996 paper drafted by prominent hard-line neo-conservatives -- including some, like Douglas Feith and David Wurmser, who would later serve in senior posts in Cheney's office and the Pentagon in the run-up to the invasion -- ousting Hussein and installing a pro-Western leader was the key to destabilizing Israel's Arab enemies and/or bending them to its will. This would permit the Jewish state not only to escape the Oslo peace process, but also to secure as much of the occupied Palestinian (and Syrian) territories as it wished

U.S. Housing Woes Squeeze Immigrant Construction Workers

by Jelena Kopanja The end of the housing boom has signaled a bust in construction jobs, a field in which about 28 percent of workers are foreign-born, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since some of these wages are sent back home to support families, already the effects are being felt abroad, especially in Latin America, whose nationals are heavily represented in construction

Iraq's Children Face the Worst of It

by Jahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail A report from the non-governmental relief organization Save the Children shows Iraq continues to have the highest mortality for children under five. Since the first Gulf War, this has increased 150 percent. It is estimated that one in eight children in Iraq dies before the fifth birthday: 122,000 children died in 2005 alone

Bush Admin Wants to Allow Loaded Guns Into National Parks

by J.R. Pegg Firearms were first banned in national parks in the 1930s in a bid to curb poaching. The rules were eased in 1983 by the Reagan administration to allow visitors to national parks and national wildlife refuges to possess firearms so long as they are unloaded or 'packed, cased or stored in a manner that will prevent their ready use'

Mexico's Billions of Gallons of Oil Out of Reach

by Diego Cevallos In the last five years, the state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) has drilled only six exploratory wells, at 500 and 1,000 meters below sea level, but it has neither the technical know-how nor the financial resources to start extraction, nor to develop activities at greater depths

Pastor Problems Afflict All Three Presidential Candidates

by Robert Scheer Would God ever damn America? Is there anything we have done or could do as a nation that might court such severe judgment from an almighty, or is there a peculiar American exemption from God's wrath? Clearly no less an authority on such matters than the Rev. Pat Robertson, who didn't think the latter when he blamed the ravaging effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Lord's retribution

Why Is George Still Smiling?

by Robert Scheer The arrogance of unwarranted assurance was there this week as the U.S. dollar fell into the toilet, which, along with the debacle of Iraq and his other failed Mideast policies, pushed oil prices to record highs. The Europeans, who didn't support the U.S. intervention, are doing much better, not having to pay to guard besieged oil pipelines while U.S. taxpayers are saddled with trillions of dollars in future debt, not to mention the loss of 4,000 U.S. servicemen and women and the 30,000 wounded

Right Painting Obama as Manchurian Candidate

by Khody Akhavi Members of the Republican Party and their allies have willingly employed brazen tactics, adding to the innuendo about the candidate's religious affiliations and casting Obama as a threat to Israel

John Lewis' Endorsing Obama Worth More Than One Vote

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Georgia Congressman John Lewis switched his superdelegate vote to Barack Obama and with that, signaled that an old guard leader was finally forced to pass the leadership torch to a new generation of less race-oriented, professional leaders

Mara Gangs Recruiting Children as Young as 9

by Eric Lemus The National Public Security Council (CNSP), the government agency in charge of violence prevention, says the typical age of entry has gone down from 14 to 12. And a U.S. State Department report presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says the maras recruit children as young as nine years of age

Who Thinks That Middle Name's Funny?

by Steve Young Yes, Barack Hussein Obama's middle name is Hussein. If you don't know it, just turn on your radio and listen to John McCain's little buddy, Cincinnati's Bill Cunningham. Or listen to most any right wing show on the dial

End Game For Musharraf?

Analysis by Amir Mir Throwing a serious challenge to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, the two main victorious parties in the Feb.18 general elections have jointly pledged to reinstate all 63 senior judges, sacked for refusing to recognize his Nov.3 emergency order

Did Clinton Win Ohio on a Lie?

by Paul Rogat Loeb As the Ohio primary approached, Obama was steadily closing what a month earlier had been a 20-point lead in the polls. He pointed out that the NAFTA trade agreement was a centerpiece of Bill Clinton's term and that it cost massive numbers of industrial jobs. Then, on Feb 27, the Canadian network CTV reported that even as Obama was publicly attacking Bill Clinton's role in NAFTA, and arguing for a drastic overhaul, he'd had a top staffer call the Canadian ambassador and arrange a meeting to reassure the Canadians that this was all just pandering for campaign trail. But as the CBC report and others makes clear, the core of the story turned out to be false

What a Long, Strange, Campaign Year It's Been

by Michael Winship The six weeks leading up to the April 22 Pennsylvania primary may now turn out to be the most entertaining thing to have happened in that state since 1723, when Benjamin Franklin first moved to Philadelphia. And the possibility of new primaries in Florida and Michigan -- probably conducted by mail -- and the continuing fight for the hearts and minds of superdelegates may keep this cliffhanger going right up to the end of August at the Democratic convention in Denver

The Novelty of Not Talking Down to America

by Michael Winship As Republican Peggy Noonan, a virtuoso of speechwriting for Ronald Reagan, observed in Friday's Wall Street Journal, 'He didn't have applause lines. He didn't give you eight seconds of a line followed by clapping. He spoke in full and longish paragraphs that didn't summon applause. This left TV producers having to use longer-than-usual soundbites in order to capture his meaning. And so the cuts of the speech you heard on the news were more substantial and interesting than usual, which made the coverage of the speech better. People who didn't hear it but only saw parts on the news got a real sense of what he'd said'

Hillary, Where's the Firewall?

by Michael Winship Clinton strategists see the superdelegates as a final firewall, believing many of the superdelegates -- even some committed to Obama -- are susceptible to persuasion. After all, many of them owe their positions to the largesse of the Bill Clinton presidency. Pressure would be brought to bear

Latinos The Most Desired Voters in Texas

by Manuel Martinez, Rodrigo Paris and Antonio Ruiz Camacho, Translated by Peter Micek The state primary on March 4, and another the same day in Ohio will be crucial in deciding the Democratic nominee. Texas has the second most democratic delegates of any state, and 25 percent of voters are Hispanics, so the candidates are putting all their meat on the Texas grill. Barack Obama, after his rash of ten consecutive primary victories, comes with momentum, but meets the challenge of making himself known in the state. Hillary Clinton, not considered the favorite after a recent campaign shakeup, has a long history with Texas voters, especially Latinos

Do We Need "Winter Soldier III" for Returning Vets?

by Bill Fletcher, Jr. In black America, while we are talking about the war at a general level -- and overwhelmingly oppose the war and occupation -- there is little discussion of the plight of the returning veterans. Much the same happened in and around the Vietnam War. In our community we are not only NOT discussing the details of the war, but we are not discussing the impact of the war on our communities, including but not limited to the impact on the veterans

Some in Congressional Black Caucus Fear Obama Victory

by Jasmyne A. Cannick Many members of the Congressional Black Caucus are supporting Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama because their days may be numbered if Obama wins and brings the change he promises to Washington

Anti-Immigrant Hypocrisy Sinks Conservative Candidate

by Henry Fernandez Hoping to take over the seat vacated by retired former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, Jim Oberweis focused on an anti-immigrant message. Demographic shifts in his district and a labor scandal sent his candidacy up in flames, a cautionary tale for other anti-immigrant conservatives

TV Debate Moderators Pitched Softball Questions

by William Fisher Most of the questions have trivialized the process. He cites examples such as whether the Constitution should be changed to allow Arnold Schwarzenegger to be president, what costumes the candidates would be wearing for Halloween, and whether former Democratic candidate Congressman Dennis Kucinich had seen a UFO

Poll Shows Israel Only Strengthening Hamas With Gaza Blockade

by Peter Hirschberg If Israeli leaders had hoped that their blockade of Gaza and the military's early March incursion into the coastal strip might undermine support for the leadership of the Islamic Hamas movement in power there, then they will have been disappointed with the findings of a recent opinion poll

Tibet Crisis Could be Endgame for the Dalai Lama

by Yoichi Shimatsu The recent uprising in Lhasa, despite its grim pathos, is a reminder of the tragic 1959 insurrection that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Tibetans. In both cases, the 14th Dalai Lama badly miscalculated the divisions among his own people, Beijing's strategic determination, and the moral hypocrisy of the international community

Persistent Cop Cracks Yusuf Bey Assault Case

by Mary Fricker For 30 years, authorities did nothing to stop Your Black Muslim Bakery patriarch Yusuf Bey's sexual assault of minors and physical abuse of women, though at least six complaints were made to police and social workers and the attacks were well known within the bakery community. Then, one of the raped women told her story to Oakland police investigator Jim Saleda. In less than three months, Yusuf Bey was arrested

Fear, Abuse Trapped Women in Your Black Muslim Bakery

by Mary Fricker While Yusuf Bey, owner of Your Black Muslim Bakery, was holding himself up to the community as a successful religious and business leader who gave downtrodden blacks a second chance, the view inside the bakery during its four decades as an East Bay institution was quite different. Some women and girls worked long hours while Bey regularly raped and beat them, according to five women's testimony. The names of four of the women have not been released because of the sensitive nature of their allegations

Mainstream Press Blackout of Winter Soldier II

by Aaron Glantz Winter soldier also received wide play in the military press, with favorable stories published in Stars and Stripes and the Military Times chain of newsweeklies. The IVAW has posted media coverage of the hearings on its site. Success in alternative and military outlets was tempered, however, by a nearly complete blackout by the mainstream media

China Under Pressure to Rethink Tibet Policy

by Antoaneta Bezlova As continuing Tibetan protests testify to the failure of China's policy of accelerated economic development with harsh political controls in the Himalayan region, pressure on Beijing to begin dialogue with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader, is growing

Sunni Insurgents Exploit U.S.-Backed Militias

Analysis by Gareth Porter The mainstream Sunni insurgents who have been fighting al Qaeda appear to have outmaneuvered U.S. strategists by using Awakening Councils to pursue their interests in weakening their most immediate enemy, reducing pressures from the U.S. military and establishing new political bases, while continuing to mount attacks on U.S. and Iraqi government forces

Exxon Valdez Dispute Hits the Supreme Court

by J.R. Pegg Nearly two decades after one of its tankers crashed into a reef and spilled some 11 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, ExxonMobil urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court's decision that would force the company to pay $2.5 billion in punitive damages to Alaskan fishermen, cannery workers and others impacted by the worst oil spill in U.S. history

Peanut Butter and Buckley

Early in his conservative career he embraced some deeply ugly notions, including McCarthyism and segregation hiding behind the guise of state's rights. But he changed

Winter Soldier II: "I Saw the Interrogator Waterboarding Him"

by Aaron Glantz 'I saw the interrogator pouring water on his face, waterboarding him. And another detainee was standing there with a bag over his head and was forced to carry a huge rock until he couldn't do it anymore and collapsed. That image seared itself into my mind's eye and I can't forget it. I won't forget it'

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