ISSUE 173 TABLE OF CONTENTS
by Zainab Mineeia and Ali Gharib Amid reports that the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has launched a campaign to disband the so-called Awakening Movement, or Sahwa, concerns among analysts and policy makers here is growing that such an effort could result in a resumption of sectarian violence, if not civil war
by Arkan Hamed and Dahr Jamail It is not even safe to drink tap water any more. Sometimes doctors cannot find water even to wash their hands. Equipment is often not sterilized. Patients in need or their family members are sent out to the shops to buy catheters, disposable syringes and essential medicines
by Alexander Cockburn We've had 30 years worth of deregulation -- the loosening of public controls on Wall Street and the banking industry. This has been the neo-liberal mantra preached by both major parties, the whole of the establishment press and almost every university economics department in the country. It is central to the current disasters. And if you want to identify symbolic figures in the legislated career of deregulation, there are no more resplendent culprits than the man at McCain's elbow, Phil Gramm, and the man standing at Obama's elbow at his press conference, Robert Rubin
by Alexander Cockburn Even Swift could not depict the brazen effrontery of McCain offering himself as the foe of the special interests when his prime, albeit technically unofficial economic adviser is former senator Phil Gramm
by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair Liberals who don't follow Alaska politics probably don't understand the extent of her achievement. Only Louisiana, another oil rich state, outstrips Alaska in luxuriant corruption, and for years, it was run by Ted Stevens, Frank Murkowski and Don Young. Palin outmaneuvered them all in four years, which took courage and cunning. She took down the great power in her own party, Gov. Murkowski
by Alexander Cockburn In the first crucial hours, the U.S. press tactfully passed over the fact that it was John McCain's pal Mikheil Saakashvili who -- with some sort of green light from Uncle Sam -- set the ball rolling with Georgia's initial lethal bombardment in South Ossetia. Russia responded forcefully, and as the Georgians licked their wounds, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice rushed to Warsaw for a photo-op with Polish leaders, signing a deal to install missile defense early-warning radar systems. Since then, the rhetoric has steadily got hotter
by Steve Young Acknowledging just how tough Bill is and his overt willingness to go Charles-Bronson on the Left is old news. The new news is that this past week he pasted the Right. Keep in mind that he didn't name names. He (very) rarely does, usually glossing over the Right's blame with a 'the far-Right does the same thing' in the middle of a Left 'naming ALL the names' lambast. But you knew who he meant: Everyone in conservative talk
by Steve Young As if to prove his disregard for any type of civility, this past week, on 9/11 yet, Limbaugh rained down a deluge of revulsion. The man is a creature of habit. A habit of diminishing humanity by endless means. Whether mocking Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's or lying about...well, anything to make his point, Limbaugh has never met a swamp bottom he couldn't crawl under
by Steve Young You would think the American voter might learn that his stinkin' thinkin' keeps getting him into this trouble. Far from a gender issue, wasn't it just eight years ago that the voter went home with that Bush fella? Handsome, plain-spoken, full of the bravado. The kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with. A lot of beers. Where'd that getcha?
by Pratap Chatterjee Clandestine gun suppliers, funded by the U.S. and Iraqi governments, have flooded Iraq with a million weapons since 2003, charges a new Amnesty International investigation
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson McCain is, if anything, a good listener. The instant he heard the loud squeals from Republican pro-life hawks that his campaign would be DOA if he dare try to shove former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge or maverick Senator Joe Lieberman on the ticket, he back pedaled fast
by Catherine Makino Russia's ambassador in Tokyo, Mikhail Bely, told IPS 'The screen reports were transmitting pictures of cluster bombs being used and indiscriminate shelling. The anchors described it as Russia's shelling of Georgia. It was a pile of lies, distortions and propaganda of the event that happened in Georgia. The foreign press believed what the Georgian officials told them and it looked like the world tended to believe it'
by Robert Scheer Ignorance is bliss, which perhaps explains Gov. Sarah Palin being so confidently wrong about the root cause of the federalization of most of the nation's mortgage market. But what is Sen. John McCain's excuse? Both act as if the financial meltdown of the U.S. economy has nothing to do with the policies of the political party they represent -- but she at least may not know any better
by Robert Scheer Barack Obama has been way ahead of McCain in grasping the severity of the problem and back in March offered a scorching criticism of the deregulation mania. But that was in the primaries, and now he has turned for advice to Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, who both served as treasury secretaries in the Clinton administration and talked the president into signing that wretched legislation.
by Franz Chavez The decision to expel Goldberg came after major confrontations, such as the Bolivian Foreign Ministry's report that the U.S. ambassador had held a private meeting on Aug. 25 with the rightwing governor of Santa Cruz, President Morales' main political opponent
by Mark Weisenmiller The book describes the use of alleged forms of torture by members of a little-known U.S. military program called SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape). It also explores the CIA's hiring of psychologists of questionable abilities and morals, who proceeded to encourage the use of interrogation methods that were created decades ago, ironically enough by the former Soviet Union's KGB
by Mel Frykberg Israeli -Palestinian peace talks appear to have hit a dead-end, while efforts to bridge the yawning chasm which divides Hamas and Fatah politically and ideologically appear to be going nowhere
by Stephen Leahy Koplow's 2007 report to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development puts the annual U.S. subsidy at an average of $39 billion a year, when the costs of guarding oil lanes in the Persian/Arab Gulf, and the Alaska Pipeline are included. This does not include any costs from the Iraq war
by Joe Conason With all due respect to this young woman, her future husband and the rest of the family -- and best wishes to all of them for a successful birth -- let us first stop pretending that this is good news. There are excellent reasons why we discourage teenage pregnancy and motherhood, and none of them have disappeared simply because the Republicans are about to put Sarah Palin on their ticket
by Joe Conason Which of the participants knew what was going on here? Which of them merely failed to perform any due diligence before passing along undue risk to the individual investors, pension funds and others to whom they owed fiscal prudence? Which companies and executives actively encouraged thievery, and which simply looked away while they booked big profits?
by Anand Gopal State Department and some Pentagon officials had managed to delay the proposed military escalation in Pakistan for a year by arguing that it would be based on nearly nonexistent intelligence and would only increase support for the Islamic extremists in that country. But officials of SOCOM and the CIA prevailed in the end, apparently because Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney believed they could not afford to be seen as doing nothing about bin Laden and al Qaeda in the administration's final months
by David Cronin 'What we are seeing at the moment is not just the bankruptcy of some financial institutions, it is the bankruptcy of an economic philosophy. For years, we were told that only capitalism could generate growth. That is the system that is going bankrupt now'
by William Fisher The federal government under the Bush administration has shown its commitment to secrecy by where it has put its money -- more no-bid contracts, fewer government employees processing FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests, less on training on classification issues, and almost $200 spent on keeping secrets to every dollar allocated to open them
by Marwaan Macan-Markar The anti-government movemen has been emboldened by its strikes on Friday, when supporters of this conservative movement shut three airports in Southern Thailand by blocking traffic, damaging a terminal building and walking on to the runway to stop planes from landing. Affected, as a result, was the country's second busiest airport on the resort island of Phuket, leaving thousands of tourists stranded for over 48 hours. Sections of this Southeast Asian nation's railways have also been empty as some railway workers threw their support behind
by Joe Conason Sen. McCain wants to privatize Social Security. It is a stance he has repeatedly taken over the past 10 years in recorded votes, interviews, speeches and documents. It is also a position that he will deny in this campaign. But the contrary evidence is overwhelming
by Joe Conason As Congressional Quarterly points out, in its impeccably nonpartisan style, Palin continued to campaign enthusiastically for the 'bridge to nowhere' long after McCain and others first exposed the project three years ago. Indeed, she literally campaigned for the Ketchikan project while running for governor in 2006, evidently because she believed that her support would draw votes in southeastern Alaska. By then Congress had already repealed any requirement that the state spend any money on the project, but she didn't care
by Gareth Porter On Nov. 12, 2001, as Northern Alliance troops were marching on Kabul with little resistance, the CIA had intelligence that bin Laden was headed for a cave complex in the Tora Bora Mountains close to the Pakistani border. The war had ended much more quickly than expected only days earlier. CENTCOM commander Tommy Franks, who was responsible for the war in Afghanistan, had no forces in position to block bin Laden's exit
by Robert Scheer Does it really matter which party is in charge when it comes to bailing out the Wall Street hustlers whose shenanigans have bankrupted so many ordinary folks? Not if the Democrats roll over and cede power to the former head of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank at the center of our economic meltdown
by Ashfaq Yusufzai The Taliban carry out blasts and suicide attacks and are quick to claim responsibility for the death of innocent people in the media, she says. The media should highlight the human rights violations committed by the Taliban, she stresses. 'What is deplorable is the government's silence over the genocide at the hands of Taliban,' she says. The Taliban have free access to the media, but the government seems to show no urgency to rein them in
by Bill Berkowitz Early on in the campaign, in the hope of finding that tipping point, Brown tested two themes -- Obama as Muslim and Obama as prevaricator. In his first foray into the presidential campaign, Brown's National Campaign Fund prepared a TV advertisement which criticized Obama for being too easy on gang murderers. The goal of the ad was to 'draw a parallel between Obama's weakness on gang violence and the war on terror,' Brown explained
by Aaron Glantz Few people have thought as much about the morality of the U.S. occupation of Iraq than Joshua Casteel, a former U.S. Army interrogator who served at Abu Ghraib prison in the wake of the detainee abuse scandal. The e-mails, compiled in a lean 118-page volume, are less concerned with the details of prison operations than their moral implications
by Earl Ofari Hutchinson VP candidate Palin boasted that she squeezed the oil and gas industry for billions that have enriched the state's businesses, residents, and boosted employment in some communities. That prosperity hasn't touched many Native Alaskans. Overall one fifth of Native Alaskans are below the poverty line. In some rural villages their jobless rate tops 80 percent. Despite sheaths of anti-discrimination laws, and even an affirmative action plan for special needs military veterans, on the books in Alaska, discrimination against Native Alaskans is rampant
by Haider Rizvi Bolivian President Evo Morales reiterated the charge Tuesday that the U.S. government was plotting to overthrow his government and that Washington had a hand in the recent episodes of violence in which a number of his supporters were killed and wounded by opposition gangs
by Roberto Lovato Palin's personal connections to the Alaska Independence Party (AIP), which has, since 1978 sought the Last Frontier states' separation from these United States, have brought state secessionist sentiments onto the national political stage since the lead up to the civil war
Analysis by Mohammed A. Salih Tensions between Kurds and the Iraqi government over disputed territory have heightened recently, raising fears that they might lead to ethnic clashes between Kurds and Arabs at a time when the war-torn country is slowly recovering from years of sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni Arabs
by Diego Cevallos The Bordo Poniente dump emits two million tons of carbon-based gases into the atmosphere each year, which represents 15 percent of the greenhouse gases produced by the Mexican capital, second only to automobiles. Closing down the dump would be the equivalent of taking some 500,000 cars off the roads. After at least four postponements in five years, the Bordo Poniente, which opened in 1985 on the east side of the capital, will be shut down in January 2009. But so far there is no alternative dump site
by Daniel Luban After months in which U.S. military officials have expressed concerns about the Pakistani government's willingness to crack down on Taliban militants operating in its tribal areas, news of the raid has caused speculation about whether the U.S. is planning to take on a more aggressive role in targeting militants in Pakistani territory, and worries about what such a step would mean for the volatile U.S.-Pakistan relationship
by Robert Scheer Welcome to the People's Republic of Alaska, where every resident this year will get a $3,200 payout, thanks in no small measure to the efforts of Sarah Palin, the state's Republican governor. No wonder she is popular with voters in a state whose residents pay no income or sales taxes but are blessed with state coffers rolling in cash at a time when all other states are suffering. Indeed, when the oil companies pay more taxes to the state of Alaska, they get to write that off against their federal tax obligation, leaving the rest of us to make up the shortfall
by Michael Winship What was different in St. Paul was that the police seemed especially intent on singling out independent journalists and activists covering the Republican convention for the Internet and other alternative forms of media. Over the weekend, police staged preemptive raids on several buildings where planning sessions for demonstrations were being held, one of them a meeting of various video bloggers
Analysis by Beena Sarwar The Marriott bombing killed some 60 people after a lone suicide attacker rammed a truck laden with over 600 kg of high grade explosives into the hotel's security barrier. The ensuing blast and fire demolished a major power symbol, prompting many to call it 'Pakistan's 9/11'
by Steve Young The Lords of Loud will be front and center to answer all the questions you have about Sarah Palin and they will explain in no uncertain detail (i.e. RNC talking points) how she has all the knowhow necessary to do a wiz-bang job of handling the vice-presidency. And for that, I thank them. Because if they didn't, who would? Certainly not Sarah
by Bankole Thompson If the presidential election is close enough on Nov. 4, racism could hand the Republican nominee Sen. John McCain a victory, according to recent polls showing that Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama is having a hard time winning over older white Democrats because of his race
by Mel Frykberg To make any future division of Jerusalem almost impossible, the Israeli authorities are applying a combination of strategies including limiting family reunification permits, redrawing Jerusalem's municipal boundaries, enlarging Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and establishing new illegal ones
by Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton A group of hard-line U.S. neo-conservatives and former Israeli diplomats, among others, are behind the mass distribution, ahead of the November U.S. presidential election, of a controversial DVD that critics have denounced as Islamophobic
by Russell Morse On Tuesday evening in Saint Paul, you could almost hear the Republican Party taking its last breaths. Hurricane Gustav reminded America of the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, prompting John McCain to shut down most of the festivities. In downtown Minneapolis, though, a livelier and more holistic gathering was taking place: Ron Paul's Rally for the Republic drew thousands of GOP defectors to the Target Center
by Ali Gharib Of 2,380 delegates to this week's convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, only 36 were black, a sharp decline from the 2004 convention, which boasted a record 167 black Republican delegates
by Shane Bauer Maliki's government has also been making oil deals with the major economic rivals of the United States -- China and Russia -- sending a clear message to Washington that it won't let the United States decide the fate of Iraq's oil. On Thursday, Sawt al-Iraq reported that Al-Maliki accepted an invitation to Moscow by the Russian ambassador and invited Russian companies to help develop Iraq's oil fields and engage in oil exploration. The day after Al-Maliki's invitation, the Iraqi Oil Ministry nixed plans to award no-bid contracts to an oil consortium led by Chevron, BP, Exxon Mobil, Total, and Royal Dutch Shell
by Stephen Zunes U.S. subversion has assumed several forms since the leftist Native leader became president in 2005. For example, the U.S. embassy -- in violation of American law -- repeatedly asked Peace Corps volunteers, as well as an American Fulbright scholar, to engage in espionage, according to news reports
Analysis by Jim Lobe Notable was not entirely sympathetic reaction of foreign leaders who, assembling in New York for the annual opening of the UN General Assembly, seemed agreed that the drastic measures taken by the U.S. Treasury marked the effective end of the 'Anglo-Saxon' model of free markets and unfettered capitalism that Washington has been avidly exporting for several decades, often through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
by Jim Lobe As if the outgoing Bush administration didn't already have enough on its plate, the question of whether and how to re-arm Georgia in the aftermath of its thrashing last month by Russia is moving steadily up its increasingly crowded foreign policy agenda
by Stephen Leahy The urgency stems from the reality that the ice in the Arctic is melting quickly, leaving the region without a solid-ice cover in summer starting just five years from now, according to some estimates. Without international environmental rules, unplanned and unregulated development is likely to damage the very resources most necessary for a sustainable future in the Arctic
Albion Monitor Issue 173 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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