UK: 100th soldier dies in Iraq
Three other troops were injured, one seriously. They are receiving treatment at the Shaibah medical facility.
In Iraq, the U.S has admitted that insurgents carried out over 34,000 attacks during 2005. This marks an increase of nearly 30 percent over the previous year. Despite the spike, U.S. officials have attempted to put a positive spin on the news. A military spokesperson said the numbers "tells me the coalition and the Iraqi forces have been very aggressive in taking the fight to the enemy."
A military jury has convicted an Army interrogator of negligent homicide for his role in the death of an Iraqi general. The interrogator -- Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. - killed the Iraqi man by putting a sleeping bag over the general's head, wrapping him in electrical cord, sitting on his chest and covering his mouth. He faces up to three years in prison. Had Welshofer been convicted of murder, he would been sentenced to life in prison. Attorneys for Welshofer said he had been given permission to use harsh techniques during interrogations. In one email, Captain William Ponce wrote "The gloves are coming off, gentlemen.... We want these individuals broken. Casualties are mounting." The interrogator's attorneys also questioned why no one else was charged in the general's death. The general was severely beaten two days before his death by a group of Iraqis reportedly being paid by the CIA.
Last year federal investigators told a Senate committee that environmental and animal groups like ELF and ALF represented the nation's leading domestic terror threat. The Southern Poverty Law Center however recently criticized the federal government for underestimating the threat posed by violent right-wing organizations. According to the Center, the radical right has plotted to carry out at least 60 terrorist plots inside the United States since the Oklahoma City Bombing. This includes plans to bomb or burn government buildings, mosques, synagogues and abortion clinics, plans to assassinate government officials and civil rights leaders and efforts to amass chemical and biological weapons arsenals.
These people came to confuse! These people came to confuse! They're leftists and they're acting as if they are conservatives, or people supporting peace and they're leftists! Or you can see it's in the literature! [Whatever the hell that last sentence means. - DJEB]Rock n Rev has a report of the event at his website as well.
Are things going just as well this time ? , surely we can reconstruct the country better than the 'butcher of Baghdad' could manage.
Well no 'Nearly three years after this war, the buildings are still piles of debris. Electricity is terrible. Water is cut off for days at a time. Telephone lines come and go. Oil production isn’t even at pre-war levels… and Iraqis hear about the billions upon billions that come and go. A billion here for security… Five hundred million there for the infrastructure… Millions for voting… Iraq falling into deeper debt… Engineers without jobs simply because they are not a part of this political party or that religious group… And the country still in shambles'
Please check out the full article on the link above and don't miss the photographic evidence that she provides to back up her view. There is no better place to go if you want to know what Iraqis are really feeling about what is happening each and every day in their country.
If you still want more after taking in her thoughts then I would advise this excellent review of the article at Daily Kos ( HT to Hype)
Scanning bookshelves in his tiny law office in Quito, Ecuador, Bolivar Beltran's disdain for Big Oil is as legible as the contracts that map their nefarious ways.
"These were all negotiated in secret," says the soft-spoken attorney and Ecuadorian congressional aide, explaining how he used a lawsuit last year to obtain pages of once-classified contracts between the Ecuadorian military and 16 multinational oil companies.
Too often, the tribes' introduction to modernity comes from oil company negotiators. By finessing them into signing away oil access in morally deplorable contracts, these deals channel the legendary purchase of Manhattan island for $24 worth of trinkets. But they are learning fast. Increasingly savvy to the oilman's ways, tribes here are putting on war paint, grabbing spears and shotguns, and saying no, sometimes violently, to the world's most powerful interests.
In 2001, Agip Oil Ecuador BV, a subsidiary of the multibillion dollar Italian petrochemical company Eni, convinced an association of Huarani Indians to sign over oil access to tribal lands and give up their future right to sue for environmental damage. In return Agip gave, among other things, modest allotments of medicine and food, a $3,500 school house, plates and cups, an Ecuadorian flag, two soccer balls and a referee's whistle.
Other contracts, some marked classified, are signed by multinational oil companies and the Ecuadorian military. Activists and attorneys interviewed for this story say the documents prove the Ecuadorian army has become a private security force for oil companies, one obligated to patrol vast swaths of jungle lands while engaging, and spying on, Ecuadorian citizens opposed to oil operations.
The contracts I reviewed typically required companies to provide money and nonlethal logistical support such as food and fuel in exchange for military protection of staff and facilities in remote jungle areas.
In July 2001, a "master agreement" was signed between the Ecuadorian Ministry of Defense and 16 oil companies, including Petroecuador, the state oil company, and U.S.-based companies Kerr-McGee, Burlington Resources and Occidental Oil. Covering a duration of five years, the document is stamped "Reservado" -- classified. Its purpose: "To establish, between the parties, the terms of collaboration and coordination of actions to guarantee the security of the oil installations and of the personnel that work in them." It obligates the military to undertake "the control of arms, explosives and undocumented persons" in areas of oil operations and to give periodic updates to oil executives in monthly meetings. For their part, oil companies are obligated, among other things, to provide food, fuel and medical attention while maintaining permanent communication links with military units in the sector.
Another contract between the ministry of defense and California-based Occidental Oil, dated April 2000 and also marked classified, required soldiers to "carry out armed patrol and checks of undocumented individuals in the area of Block 15; provide security guards for ground travel of personnel, materials, and equipment within the area of operations and its area of influence; [and] plan, execute and supervise counterintelligence operations to prevent acts of sabotage and vandalism that interfere with the normal development of hydrocarbon activities."
"This basically gives the company the ability to spy on citizens," Beltran told me, a sentiment echoed by Steve Donziger, a U.S. attorney involved in an Ecuadorian environmental lawsuit against Chevron Corp.