ISSUE 172 TABLE OF CONTENTS
by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail On Jun. 26, a suicide bomber attacked a city council meeting of local tribal sheikhs affiliated with Awakening Groups and military officials. Three Marines, two interpreters and 20 Iraqis died in the attack. Among the Iraqis killed were the mayor of nearby Karmah town and three leading sheikh
by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail A massive military operation in Diyala province has underscored the military and political gains by the Sahwa militia, despite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's earlier attempts to thwart them. Maliki has now apparently come around to involving the Sahwa rather than opposing them
by Omid Memarian A few hours after the 15 member UN Security Council discussed a draft resolution aimed to ask Russia to stop using massive force in Georgia Monday evening behind closed doors, Russia said it would stop military action. This came Tuesday, after five days of bombing and destruction of cities and military bases in Georgia and the deaths of more than 2000 people
by Alexander Cockburn It seems that the Georgian president is a man of impulse. He blows his top easily, just like his friend John McCain. The Americans had given his army nice shiny new toys, and his generals were eager to use them. One bright morning in early August, he started screaming orders to invade, and there was no one around to tell him to cool it. Only the nuts were in the office, and they cheered him on
by Alexander Cockburn ABC's stories about bentonite-laced anthrax spores were hugely effective in helping prep public sentiment for passage of the Patriot Act, giving the White House dictatorial and thus unconstitutional powers. Longer range, the stories helped justify the attack on Iraq
by Alexander Cockburn The first duty of any senator from Delaware is to do the bidding of the banks and large corporations that use the tiny state as a drop box and legal sanctuary. Biden has never failed his masters in this primary task. Find any bill that sticks it to the ordinary folk on behalf of the Money Power and you'll likely detect Biden's hand at work
by Alexander Cockburn Amid these very bad weeks for Republican John McCain's hopes for victory in November, the cruelest blow of all is surely that President George Bush has plainly decided to let McCain sink
Patients were routinely asked all sorts of questions about their political and social beliefs or activities, although at times the information asked was about relatives or regarding issues to which the people did not know the answer
by Alexander Cockburn Edwards was able to fight his way through the first primaries without having to battle charges from the national press that he was cheating on a dying wife and had a pregnant mistress stowed back in North Carolina
Since 1991, Bayer has been producing the insecticide imidacloprid, which is one of the best selling insecticides in the world, often used as seed-dressing for maize, sunflower, and canola (rape). Bayer exports imidacloprid to more than 120 countries and the substance is Bayer's best-selling pesticide. The coalition alleges that the start of sales of imidacloprid and clothianidin coincided with the occurrence of large scale bee deaths in many European and American countries
by Steve Young Is it truly that difficult to find out what Obama is all about? Even Fox contributor, Temple Professor Marc Lamont Hill, in between not being allowed to finish most of his sentences on this past week's Factor, was able to squeeze in that '(Obama has) been vetted more than any candidate in recent history.' Bill doesn't believe that
by Steve Young I can just see the deluge of anti-science, anti-woman's right to choose, anti-gay, anti-environmental Hillary supporters lining up for this one
by Steve Young First Bill, who made this his major radio and TV story of the day, said that 'a slight association between the candidate and the rapper,' owing to the fact that they had met ONCE. 'In 2006 the two met privately in Chicago, apparently to discuss AIDS awareness.' Within seconds Bill had kneaded that into 'the lesson for Barack Obama is be careful who your friends are.' Spin much, Bill?
by Steve Young Without Sonny Hill, many talented players would not have had the experience, education and discipline to make it out of childhood games and into college or pros. Without Sonny, those not as talented may not have made it out of childhood. He has built and continues to produce a safe environment for city kids to learn academically, socially and athletically
by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail Falluja residents say they are shocked that one of the bombs was planted on the rooftop of the best-guarded house in the city, and the other was on the body of a policeman who was supposed to guard against bombings
by Haider Rizvi According to the ACLU, currently a patchwork of state felony disenfranchisement laws -- albeit inconsistent from state to state -- prevent a whopping 5.3 million citizens with a past felony conviction from voting
In order to prevent the Soviet Union from taking advantage of these changes, amongst all existing opposition groups they chose the religious forces to stand against communism
by Robert Scheer Our government, which has never disowned the right to build and use nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, has long insisted that we alone are to be trusted with the creation of those devilish devices
by Robert Scheer Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?
by Mel Frykberg According to the Jerusalem-based Task Force on Human Trafficking (TFHT), approximately 1,000 of the estimated 10,000 prostitutes in Israel are minors. Immigrants from the ex-Soviet bloc countries, involved in the Russian mafia, manage about 20 percent of the trade, while the remainder are Israelis. Many of the trafficked women are smuggled in from Egypt's Sinai by Bedouins who have also been involved in arms smuggling. The industry has proved very lucrative for the human traffickers, with each woman sold in Israel bringing in anywhere between $50,000 to 100,000
by William Fisher Charitable organizations serving the American Muslim community are taking what some observers believe is a desperate last step to keep the U.S. government from shutting them down. None of the assets frozen by the Treasury Department -- which administers the scrutiny of charitable organizations -- has been returned, despite numerous requests. These assets include funds the charities require to pay for their legal defense
by William Fisher Despite a sentence that effectively means convicted war criminal Salim Hamdan could be a free man before the end of this year. But the Bush administration has said it has no intention of releasing Hamdan
by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani Whoever takes the reins of government in Israel, few local commentators expect any significant change in terms of long-standing Israeli policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians. These policies include frequent military assaults (often resulting in high civilian death tolls) and assassinations in Palestinian areas, the hermetic siege of the Gaza Strip and the continued construction of Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian land
by Marwaan Macan-Markar When British rock star, convicted on pedophilia charges, was turned away at two Asian airports, this week, it was seen by child rights activists as a sign that this region will no longer tolerate sex tourism that exploits minors
by Zoltan Dujisin Moscow has issued Russian passports to 80 percent of South Ossetia's citizens in recognition of the strong links the otherwise isolated and blocked population had with the Soviet Union and its successor state. Citizens in the separatist regions have been living off remittances, international and Russian aid, and smuggling to the extent that local leadership has come to profit from non-resolution of the conflict
by Joe Conason The prospect of significant new petroleum resources that could be available so soon would be excellent news -- aside from the obvious impact of burning still more oil -- if only what the senator said was true. But what he said actually made no sense whatsoever
by Joe Conason Still more confounding is the threat by some of her supporters to defect to John McCain. His campaign's latest commercial features a grinning Clinton supporter who praises his 'maverick, independent streak' as well as his 'experience and judgment,' and promises that 'it's OK, really' to vote for the Republican. Is this the politics of revenge? Is it the cult of personality? Is it just stubborn idiocy?
by Kester Kenn Klomegah Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvilli has become an uncertain sort of leader. At first, he won praise after successfully leading the popular 'Rose Revolution' in 2003 that catapulted him into power. Now he has received global condemnation for the military attack that he ordered in the breakaway republic of South Ossetia
by J.R. Pegg The Bush administration has proposed sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act, releasing a plan to give federal agencies the authority to decide without expert consultation whether their activities could harm endangered and threatened species
by Ramesh Jaura While the world's major industrialized nations expressed satisfaction over their three-day summit meetings that concluded Wednesday, non-governmental organizations, after some early and limited approval, were deeply disappointed with the outcome on the whole
by Anand Gopal While the security presence in Kabul is making suicide attacks more difficult, insurgents are quickly adapting. Data released by the Pentagon reveal that roadside bomb incidents involving coalition troops hit a four-year high during the April-June period
Analysis by Anand Gopal The ambush that killed 10 NATO soldiers outside of Kabul on Tuesday, the worst battlefield loss for western forces since the war began, was the capstone in a week of high-profile insurgent activities in Afghanistan
by Shane Bauer So what's creating the stir? The show isn't about a feminist insurgency. It's about romance, like every other soap opera, but its main attraction -- and what seems to be getting under the skin of some men -- seems to be Mohannad, the blond-haired, blue-eyed swooner who encourages his wife's independence and listens to her needs
Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani When it comes to the Middle East conflict, the Arabs no longer see any difference between Republicans and Democrats. Both parties vie with one another in expressing total support for Israel
by Mel Frykberg Israel has published tenders for the construction of 1,761 illegal housing units for Israeli settlers in occupied east Jerusalem alone, according to the Israeli rights group Peace Now. The expansion plans come despite promises by the Israeli government at last year's peace summit at Annapolis, Maryland to freeze all settlement growth
by Joe Conason The discovery that John McCain's remarks on Georgia were derived from Wikipedia, to put it politely, is disturbing and even depressing -- but not surprising. Under the tutelage of the neo-conservatives, who revealed their superficial understanding of Iraq both before and after the invasion, he favors bellicose grandstanding over strategic thinking. So why delve deeper than a quick Google search?
by Joe Conason The former straight talker, who once could not help but tell the truth, has found the voice of the demagogue within. As McCain seeks to exploit public anger over the price of gasoline, first with his dubious 'gas tax holiday' and now with his campaign for offshore oil drilling, the thoughtful legislator who defied his own party on global warming and Alaskan oil leasing has been replaced by that much more familiar Congressional figure -- a rented mouthpiece for the energy industry
by Thalif Deen 'It's the spectre of a food, fuel and water crisis,' says Lars Thunell, executive vice president of the Washington-based International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group. 'I believe we are at a tipping point,' he said, because the scarcity of water poses a threat to the food supply just when the agricultural sector is stepping up production in response to riots over food prices, growing hunger, and rising malnutrition
by Robert Scheer The McCain campaign for president is an irrational melange of patriotic swagger and blindness to reality that is proving disturbingly successful with uninformed voters. How else to explain the many millions of Americans who tell pollsters they prefer a continuation of Republican rule when so many of them are losing their homes to foreclosure and the nation is bankrupted by out-of-control military spending?
by Alison Raphael Serbians are still in shock after revelations that Radovan Karadzic was living in Belgrade as a psychiatrist and bio-energy healer, holding seminars and lectures, and writing for the magazine Healthy Life under a pseudonym
Analysis by Zoltan Dujisin As war breaks out in Georgia, the geopolitical struggle between the U.S. and Russia becomes more violent and closer to Russia's border than ever
by Earl Ofrai Hutchinson A major study measured hidden biases on everything from weight, age and religion too gender and race. They found deep and pervasive hidden bias on nearly every one of the tests among wide segments of the public. That included race and voting. The survey found that Obama's Republican rival John McCain could get more votes in the states with relatively small black populations no matter what the polls said.
by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship Guess who gave the most money to candidates in this 2007-08 federal election cycle? That's right, the financial services and real estate industries. They stuffed nearly $250 million dollars into the candidate coffers. The about-to-be-bailed-out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together are responsible for about half the country's $12 trillion mortgage debt
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The great danger is that the lies and maliciousness the Obama slander sites busily fan could have resonance with some voters, especially the much fought over independents. They make up about one quarter of the American electorate, and the overwhelming majority of them are white, and centrist-to-conservative in their views
by Gareth Porter U.S. officials privately admit being concerned that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki has become 'overconfident' about his government's ability to manage without U.S. combat troops, according to an Iraq analyst who just returned from a trip to Iraq arranged by U.S. commander General David Petraeus
by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail Residents of Baqouba deny police claims that kidnappings are now a matter of the past. 'There are fewer people disappearing, but it continues,' a trader who asked to be referred to as Abu Ali told IPS. A local sheikh, speaking to IPS on condition of anonymity, said that many from his tribe have been kidnapped in just the last three weeks. 'At least ten people from my tribe alone, all of them Sunnis, have been kidnapped, and we suspect it is by people with the government'
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The ludicrously long solitary confinement of the three former Black Panthers, known as the Angola 3, sparked international rage, prompted a congressional visit, and resulted in civil suits and endless court appeals. The three prisoners were convicted in the 1972 slaying of an Angola prison guard. There was no physical evidence linking them to the murder. They were convicted on the testimony of a serial sex offender serving a life sentence
by Julio Godoy For the bees, life in the cities has become attractive. 'Today, it is easier for bees to live in the cities, because the recreational green areas and courtyards have exuberant, varied vegetation, which blossoms over several months, from early in the spring to the end of the summer'
by Peter Hirschberg Israel is not a major supplier of arms to Georgia, with the U.S. and France supplying Tbilisi with most of its weaponry. But the arms transfers have attracted media attention partly because of the role played by some high-profile Israeli figures, including former Tel Aviv mayor Roni Milo, who conducted business in Georgia on behalf of Israel Military Industries
by Jim Lobe McCain stunned the political establishment by choosing as his running-mate the little-known Alaska governor with virtually no national, let alone international, experience. Political pundits said the choice of first-term Gov. Sarah Palin appeared calculated both to fire up the his party's right-wing base and reach out to Democratic and independent women who strongly supported Sen. Hillary Clinton and were embittered by her defeat
by Michael Winship There will be more than 400 parties and other events at the Democratic and Republican conventions. Corporations and other special interests will contribute more than $100 million. That can buy a lot of influence
Analysis by Aaron Glantz On the campaign trail, McCain has talked of a new mission for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and argued that veterans with non-combat medical problems should be given vouchers to receive care at private, for-profit hospitals -- in other words, an end to the kind of universal health care the government has guaranteed veterans for generations
by William O. Beeman For Iranians, just to sit down face to face with an American official without having to acquiesce to pre-conditions was a diplomatic watershed. The event brings Iran closer to the conditions they eventually want for these talks -- namely having the United Sates and Iran meet on equal terms
by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail The average house in Baqouba, capital of Diyala province north of Baghdad, has less than 12 hours of electricity a day. Bad as it is, the situation has been improving over the past four months -- with Iran's assistance. The Bush administration and western companies like Bechtel have failed to deliver on promises to improve infrastructure
Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani Recent weeks have seen the worst fighting between rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas since the latter's takeover of the Gaza Strip last summer. Hamas accuses the 'treasonous faction' within Fatah -- which worked with U.S. military intelligence in last year's failed bid to destroy the resistance group -- of instigating the violence
In collaboration with some donors and non-governmental organizations, Afghanistan has tried to introduce and promote saffron and other highly profitable crops in poppy cultivating provinces such as Helmand, Nangarhar and Kandahar. Afghanistan's western neighbor, Iran, is a leading saffron exporter
by Abid Aslam The complaint accuses all the defendants of trying to manipulate energy futures contracts 19 times over the course of 11 days in March 2007. On at least five occasions, it adds, they succeeded in 'causing artificial prices': They allegedly forced prices lower three times and pushed them up twice
by Robert Scheer This is a time to condemn the bankers, not to embrace them. They are the scoundrels who got us into the biggest economic mess since the Great Depression, lining their own pockets while destroying the life savings of those who trusted them. Yet both of our leading presidential candidates are scrambling to enlist not only the big-dollar contributions but, more frighteningly, the 'expertise' of the very folks who advocated the financial industry deregulations at the heart of this meltdown
by Robert Scheer If McCain had to run on his economic policy record in the Senate, he might be a loser even in his home state of Arizona, whose residents are suffering mightily from economic disarray presided over by the Republicans. Better to dwell on the dubious success of the surge in Iraq than on the surge in home mortgage foreclosures and the price of gasoline that has crippled Arizona's and the nation's economy
by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship Abramoff may be cooling his heels in minimum security but his pals Delay, Norquist and Reed appear on television and radio shows whose hosts treat them as political savants with nary a nod to their past nefarious association with Abramoff. Few in the audience seem to notice or care
by Gardenia Mendoza Aguilar and Eileen Truax, Translated by Suzanne Manneh The drop in remittances to Mexico has prompted Mexican Secretary of the Interior Juan Camilo Mourino to urge Mexican nationals in the United States to keep sending money and invest in their home country
by Steve Young For those of you not as politically savvy as your typical FoxNews viewer, here's the technical way talking points work: The Bush White House tells Fox News what to say and Fox News says it
Analysis by Praful Bidwai Indian policymakers appear to be divided between a strongly pro-Musharraf stand, and a more neutral position, which would prefer to wait and watch how Pakistan's divided civilian leadership performs in the difficult situation it faces
by Gareth Porter Musharraf played a complicated game. The CIA was allowed to operate in Pakistan's border provinces to pursue al Qaeda operatives, but only as long as they had ISI units accompanying them. That restricted their ability to gather intelligence in the northwest frontier. At the same time, ISI was allowing Taliban and al Qaeda leaders to operate freely in the tribal areas and even in Karachi
by Bill Berkowitz Right-wing groups are stepping up their campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, with two new books on the best-seller lists, another on the verge of publication, and a full-length documentary that will premiere during the party conventions
by Daniela Estrada and Milagros Salazar Policies to get small farmers involved in saving, preserving, producing, marketing and genetically improving potatoes should take precedence over the age-old dispute between Chile and Peru about where potatoes originated, experts from both countries say. 'While our countries waste time arguing about the origin of animal and plant species, developed countries are using our germplasms to create new materials and claim property rights,' said Contreras, of Chile's Universidad Austral
by William Fisher As a new report forecasts that the 190,000 private contractors in Iraq and neighboring countries will cost U.S. taxpayers more than $100 billion by the end of 2008, an under-the-radar Florida court case suggests that Bush -- a staunch contractor supporter -- is preparing to throw security contractors such as Blackwater under the political bus
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Reparations advocates insist that black billionaires, corporate presidents, superstar athletes and entertainers won't get a dime of reparations money, that it will go to programs to aid the black poor, that it won't guilt trip all whites, and that Japanese-Americans and Holocaust survivors have gotten reparations for the atrocities perpetrated against them. These arguments fall on deaf ears. The reparations movement just can't remove the public imprint that it is a movement exclusively of, by and for blacks
by Bill Berkowitz A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, a sister project of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, found that while McCain has a smaller lead among white evangelical Protestants than Bush had at a similar point in the 2004 campaign, Obama has not benefited from evangelicals' concerns over McCain's religious authenticity
Analysis by Jim Lobe The selection is sure to disappoint some Democrats who had hoped that Obama would see his way to choosing Clinton -- hopes that had been fueled by the apparent delay in announcing the choice which had originally been expected early last week. However, it also reassured some activists who were worried that Obama would opt for a right-wing Democrat associated with the hawkish Democratic Leadership Council, such as Sen. Evan Bayh, one of the names on the shortlist of candidates known to have been under consideration
Analysis by Daniel Luban Since Friday, when Russia sent troops into the restive Georgian region of South Ossetia, neo-conservatives in the U.S. have analogized Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, and the Russian incursion to Germany's 1938 annexation of the Sudetenland
by Andew Lam The war between Georgia and Russia is said to be a territory dispute but there is another equally important factor: a geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West over the export of Caspian Sea oil and natural gas
by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail Quraishi, a Shia, had his own militia called the 'Khirnabat men.'Quraishi's convoys consisted of 120 fighters as his protection group and 20 armored vehicles. Few could challenge his authority, not even the governor. Quraishi, who was a general in Saddam Hussein's military, was backed by the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), the most powerful Shia group in the Baghdad government
by Gareth Porter Instead of moving toward accommodating the demand of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for a timetable for U.S. military withdrawal, the Bush administration and the U.S. military leadership are continuing to pressure their erstwhile client regime to bow to the U.S. demand for a long-term military presence in the country
by J.R. Pegg The first comprehensive review in five years of primate conservation status presented at the conference shows that of the 634 kinds of primates in the world, almost half are in danger of going extinct
by Michael Winship Kim Carstensen, director of WWF's Global Climate Initiative reminded the G8 leaders that scientific evidence clearly outlines an urgent need to cut global emissions more than 50 percent by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Carstensen said global emissions have to peak and decline in 10 to 15 years and rich nations must reduce emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020
by Abid Aslam Banks and finance firms around the world likely have acknowledged most of their exposure to subprime mortgages and securities based on these risky loans, but U.S. delinquencies and foreclosures continue to pile up and banks are restricting credit in anticipation of further losses, the IMF says in its latest global financial stability update
by Ali Gharib An issue of particular importance to the U.S. is how the civilian leadership will deal with the militant extremism in the border regions. There are fears that the government will follow the Musharraf tack and cut deals with the extremists to protect a fragile hold on power
by Kester Kenn Klomegah The 12-year development plan popularly referred to as Plan Putina seeks to bring improvements in education, housing, agriculture and healthcare that analysts say could help Putin maintain his popularity until he decides to seek presidency again
by Daniel Luban In his new book, 'Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia' Rashid demonstrates that the failures and contradictions of U.S. policy in the region have been visible from the beginning of the war on terror. He contends that if the media and policymakers have only recently discovered these problems, they have nothing to blame but their own neglect
Albion Monitor Issue 172 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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