Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Price of Human Life in Baghdad: US $2.40

Oxfam International report says lack of control over the international ammunition trade is partly responsible for the escalating violence in Iraq. Research published on June 15 shows that the price of taking away a human life in Baghdad is currently US$2.40.



"Our research shows that new ammunition is widely available on Baghdad's black market," says Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam.

"There are two likely explanations for this: either it was smuggled in from neighbouring countries or it has leaked from coalition or Iraqi forces' supplies. In either case, weak controls mean lives lost on the streets of Baghdad."

Walking on the streets of Baghdad anyone can purchase an AK-47 bullet for US $0.30, says the report "Ammunition: the fuel of conflict," which states that this situation is fuelling conflict and human rights abuses throughout the Iraq.

Read the full article Here

Zarqawi sought US-Iran War

By Juan Cole







Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was hoping to provoke a US-Iran war as a way of bogging the Americans down further and defeating them in Iraq.

Remember all those times Bush, Rice and Rumsfeld came out and said they suspected that Shiite Iran was somehow aiding the Sunni Arab insurgency? You remember how baffled I was at this bizarre allegation? You wonder whether they were being fed disinformation by a Zarqawi agent, and falling for it.

After they fell for the biggest whoppers of the 21st century, as retailed by Ahmad Chalabi, have Bush administration officials been gullibly swallowing an al-Qaeda black psy-ops operation intended to mire US troops in the Dasht-i Kavir? For people who think of themselves as tough as nails hardheaded realists, the Bushies seem awfully easy to fool.

American hawks tied to the Israeli Likud Party, such as Michael Ledeen and Michael Rubin, who are also trying to get up an American war on Iran, turn out to have the same goal as Zarqawi!

It is the case that if you did want to see the US completely defeated and humiliated, you could not do better than have Washington open a second conventiional front in Iran. Iran is much bigger than Iraq, more rugged in terrain, and 3 times more populous, and its population is politically savvy, literate and highly mobilized.

So, it doesn't matter whether you listen to Ledeen and Rubin on attacking Iran or to Zarqawi on the same subject. Either way, such a move spells disaster for the United States and should be opposed by genuine patriots who care about this country--until and unless Iran actually does something to the US that calls for a military response.

Juan Cole is Professor of History at the University of Michigan

Source Here

Chalmers Johnson

See the video or read the transcript here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

More condems please


Internal military documents suggest Canadian soldiers really are getting a lot more action these days.

The troops are being supplied with condoms at what appears to be a staggering pace, with documents suggesting a 12-fold increase from just four years ago.

The military has dispensed just under 300,000 publicly purchased prophylactics in each of the last two years, say figures obtained under the Access to Information Act.

"We hand them out like Kleenex," said one military official. "(The soldiers) just walk into the dispensary and claim them. We don't ask questions."

Source here

I don't particularly know what to make of this. The military is generally dominated by men with relatively few women. One of three things must be happening: women in the military are being taken advantage of, people the soldiers are meant to be protecting are being taken advantage of, or a whole lot of balloon animal fun is being had. My money is on one of the first two.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Absence

Just a quick note to inform you all that this is my last post for a few days . I am away until Monday evening (UK time). So any emails or responses required from me will not be processed until that time. I will leave you all in the more than capable hands of DJeb and Toby.

See you all Monday.

US death toll in Iraq hits 2,500

The number of US troops killed in Iraq has reached 2,500 with the death of a marine, the Pentagon has announced.





It did not identify the 2,500th casualty, in line with US policy not to release details until 24 hours after the family has been informed. A Pentagon statement said 1,972 of those who died were killed in action.

The campaign group Iraq Body Count estimates that the number of civilians killed since the outset of the conflict ranges between 38,355 and 42,747. It makes its calculation on the basis of media reports, and believes it to be a conservative estimate. Other reports put the number of civilian casualties much higher.

Thousands of Iraqi security forces, military personnel from other countries, and Iraqi and foreign insurgents have also died.

Here

John Pilger : War by Media

"During the Cold War, a group of Russian journalists toured the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by their hosts for their impressions. “I have to tell you,” said their spokesman, “that we were astonished to find, after reading all the newspapers and watching TV, that all the opinions on all the vital issues were, by and large, the same. To get that result in our country, we imprison people, we tear out their fingernails. Here, you don't have that. What's the secret? How do you do it?”


Fascinating read here

US: JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF RACIAL PROFILING

US Federal Judge ruled in favor of racial profiling and unaccountable, prolonged detention of non-citizens in Turkmen v. Ashcroft, a lawsuit on behalf of people detained after the September 11th attacks brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and attorneys from Covington & Burlington. CCR intends to appeal the ruling.




"This ruling gives a green light to racial profiling and prolonged detention of non-citizens at the whim of the President. The decision is profoundly disturbing because it legitimizes the fact that the Bush Administration rounded up and imprisoned our clients because of their religion and race," said Rachel Meeropol, a CCR attorney in the case.

Yasser Ebrahim, a plaintiff in the case, described his reaction today: "I am very disappointed and shocked. I can't believe the court would allow this to happen. I am frightened for other Muslims in the United States, who could face the same discrimination and abuse that I suffered."

Source Here

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Marine apologises

From Democracy Now!:
[A] US marine has apologized for a widely-viewed video that shows him singing a song about killing Iraqi civilians. The marine, Corporal Joshua Belile, is seen performing the song to applauding troops. In a statement Wednesday, Belile said the song was intended as a joke and bore no connection to the killing of Iraqi civilians by US Marines in Haditha.
Corporal, if that song [lyrics including "As the bullets began to fly, the blood sprayed from between her eyes, and then I laughed maniacally."] constitutes comedy for you, you need a few decades in a padded cell.

None Of Us Are Free - If One Of Us Is Chained

4 Minute Video - Flash presentation.

Here

Religious Leaders Urge U.S. to Ban Torture

Twenty-seven religious leaders, including megachurch pastor Rick Warren, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, have signed a statement urging the United States to "abolish torture now -- without exceptions."





The statement, being published in newspaper advertisements starting today, is the opening salvo of a new organization called the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, which has formed in response to allegations of human rights abuse at U.S. detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Titled "Torture is a Moral Issue," the statement says that torture "violates the basic dignity of the human person" and "contradicts our nation's most cherished values." "Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed?" it asks.

The signers come from a broad range of denominations and include notable religious conservatives, such as the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America; and the Rev. William J. Byron, former president of Catholic University.

By suggesting that recent abuse of prisoners may not be just an aberration but a reflection of U.S. policy, the statement contains an implicit challenge to the Bush administration, according to some signers.

Here

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Case of the Missing $21 Billion

During the days of the Nixon Watergate scandal investigation, reporter Bob Woodword was famously advised by his mysterious source, Deep Throat, to "follow the money" as a way of cracking the story.





Well, there is a lot of money to follow in the current scandal that can be best described as the Bush/Cheney administration, and so far, nobody's doing it.

My bet for the place that needs the most following is the more than $9 billion that has gone missing without a trace in Iraq--as well as $12 billion in cash that the Pentagon flew into Iraq straight from Federal Reserve vaults via military transports, and for which there has been little or no accounting

As word of massive corruption began to surface in 2003, Congress passed legislation creating an office of Inspector General, assuming that this new agency would monitor the spending on the occupation and reconstruction, and figure why all so much taxpayer money was disappearing, and why only minimal reconstruction was going on in destroyed Iraq, instead of a massive rebuilding program as intended. Bush named an old friend and supporter, Stuart Bowen, to the post--a move that should have put Congress on alert, given this administration's long history of putting cronies in positions of authority.

When the Coalition Provisional Authority was terminated in late 2004, with corruption still rampant and growing, Congress redefined Bowen's position as Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Bowen, went to work. He uncovered some corruption in a report in early 2006 that sounded scathing enough. Bowen found cases of double billing by contractors, of payments for work that was never done, and other scandals. But he never came up with more than $1 billion or so worth of problems--a small fraction of the total amount of money that was vanishing.

Now we know why so little was done.

It turns out that Bowen was never really looking very hard.

Continue reading Here.

Gaza Beach investigation problems

From Democracy Now!:

AMY GOODMAN: Chris McGreal -- what is your understanding of what happened on the beach on Friday?

CHRIS MCGREAL: Well, that's becoming a highly politically contentious point. The -- as you said, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert initially apologized, said he regretted it. But he's in Europe at the moment, in Britain yesterday and today, going to France later today, and then on to the European Parliament. And those pictures that you were describing, the scene from the family being killed, have proved a severe embarrassment to him in Europe. He's been asked about it a lot. It seems that this panel has been quickly convened to absolve the army and to raise sufficient doubt for Ehud Olmert and his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, who's also in Europe at the moment, to be able to say, “well, we're still investigating, we're looking into this, we can't say for certain.”

This has happened with previous extremely high-profile killings, perhaps the most memorable of which was Mohammed al-Dura, where the military set about trying to raise doubts. But the report that they’ve come up with, it has to be said -- it's full of holes. It's based on the idea that, in fact, they were blown up by a Hamas landmine planted under the sand to try and deter Israeli commanders from landing. A part of the flaw in that is, it would probably be very difficult for Hamas to know where Israeli commanders might land, and the idea would be that they would have several of them, and yet there are no other mines. Perhaps more interesting is that at the time this family was hit by shells -- a shell, which it undoubtedly was -- the Israeli army admits to having fired six shells. Three of them, you can see, landed on the beach, very close by. Probably no more than the closest -- 100 yards away. And essentially the army is then asking people to believe that the -- a sixth shell didn’t land on the family. That by pure coincidence, even though the beach was being shelled at the time, a Hamas mine happened to go off as well in the same area and at the same time.

Compounding this is the fact that the army admits it cannot account for the last of those six shells -- where it landed. And there is a military expert, an ex-Pentagon official from Human Rights Watch, New York-based human rights group, here at the moment. He's been looking into this. And he's come to his own conclusion: that it's almost undoubtedly an Israeli shell, based on, firstly the shrapnel, which he – he found a piece of shrapnel that says 155 millimeter on it, which is precisely the size of shrapnel shell that the Israelis use in their Howitzers, and also if you look at the size and the nature of the crater, it’s identical to those on the beach that -- from the other shells, including being lined with a white powder. So I think all of -- on the whole, the evidence points much more to Israeli responsibility.

From Human Rights Watch:
Israel should immediately launch an independent, impartial investigation of a June 9 Israeli artillery strike on a beach north of Gaza City, Human Rights Watch said today. Seven Palestinian civilians picnicking on the beach were killed that day and dozens of others were wounded.

Human Rights Watch researchers have visited the site to examine the fatal crater and have interviewed victims, witnesses, security and medical staff.

“There has been much speculation about the cause of the beach killings, but the evidence we have gathered strongly suggests Israeli artillery fire was to blame,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “It is crucial that an independent investigative team, with the necessary expertise, verify the facts in a transparent manner.”

The independent investigation should involve the use of external, international experts. Human Rights Watch called on the Palestinian Authority to permit such an investigation, including allowing access to the site by the investigative team. Israel has carried out an internal army probe into the incident and released its findings this evening, saying the explosion was not caused by an Israeli artillery shell. However, such internal investigations by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have generally fallen short of international standards for thorough and impartial investigations and have rarely uncovered the truth or held to account the perpetrators of violations, as documented in a 2005 Human Rights Watch report, Promoting Impunity: The Israeli Military’s Failure to Investigate Wrongdoing.

The head of the IDF’s southern command, General Yoav Galant, has said that IDF forces fired six artillery shells at an area described as approximately 250 meters away from the fatal incident between 4:32 p.m. and 4:51 p.m. on Friday, June 9. Human Rights Watch investigations indicate that the evidence overwhelmingly supports the allegations that the civilians were killed by artillery shells fired by the IDF.

The attack at the beach comes amidst an intensified Israeli response to Qassam rocket attacks by Palestinian armed groups operating in the area. Human Rights Watch, which is also investigating the use of Qassams against Israeli civilians, has previously called on Palestinian armed groups to cease such unlawful attacks. The Qassam attacks violate international law because they fail to discriminate between military targets and civilians. Qassam rockets are highly imprecise, homemade weapons that are incapable of being targeted at specific objects.

Human Rights Watch researchers currently in Gaza interviewed victims, witnesses, Palestinian security officers and doctors who treated the wounded after the incident. They also visited the site of the explosion, where they found a large piece of unoxidized jagged shrapnel, saatamped “155mm,” which would be consistent with an artillery shell fired by the IDF’s M-109 Self-Propelled Artillery.

Human Rights Watch spoke to the Palestinian explosive ordnance disposal unit who investigated three craters on the beach, including the one where the civilians were killed. According to General Salah Abu `Azzo, head of the Palestinian unit, they also gathered and removed shrapnel fragments consistent with 155mm artillery shells.

Eyewitnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch described between five and six explosions on the beach between 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., the time frame when the IDF fired artillery onto the beach and when the seven civilians were killed. Two survivors said they heard the sound of an incoming projectile and saw a blur of motion in the sky before the explosion that killed the seven civilians. Residents of northern Gaza are familiar with the sounds of regular artillery fire.

Doctors also confirmed to Human Rights Watch researchers that the injuries from the attack, which were primarily to the head and torso, are consistent with the heavy shrapnel of artillery shells used by the IDF. Doctors said the shrapnel they removed from Palestinian patients in Gaza was of a type that comes from an artillery shell.

According to readings from a Global Positioning Satellite taken by Human Rights Watch, the crater where the victims were killed was within the vicinity of the other artillery craters created by the IDF’s June 9 artillery attack and was the same shape and size. One crater was 100 meters away from the fatal crater, and the rest were 250 to 300 meters away.

Some Israeli officials have suggested the explosion may have been caused by a mine placed by Palestinian militants, rather than one of their artillery shells, despite the fact that they cannot account for the final landing place of one of their six shells.

However, according to on-site investigations by Human Rights Watch, the size of the craters and the type of injuries to the victims are not consistent with the theory that a mine caused the explosion. The craters are too large to be made by bounding mines, the only type of landmines capable of producing head and torso injuries of the type suffered by the victims on June 9. Additionally, Palestinian armed groups are not known to have, or to have used, bounding mines; the Palestinian government bomb squad said it has never uncovered a bounding mine in any explosive incident.

Since its September 2005 pullout from Gaza, the IDF has regularly struck northern Gaza with artillery shelling, in response to Qassam rocket attacks from the area by Palestinian armed groups. In the last 10 months, Israel has admitted to firing more than 5,000 artillery shells into the area. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs puts the number at 5,700 IDF shells fired since the end of March 2005.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, IDF artillery fire has killed 47 Palestinians, including 11 children and five women, and injured 192 others since September 2005. It has also damaged dozens of homes in northern Gaza.

Human Rights Watch researchers visiting the area say almost every house on the periphery of areas of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia in northern Gaza has holes in it indicative of Israeli artillery shrapnel. In a June 10 interview with the New York Times, General Aviv Kochavi, the Israeli commander for the south, indicated that the purpose of the artillery shelling is to deter future attacks and punish area residents: “The message we are trying to convey, you can call it deterrence, but it’s ‘Ladies and gentlemen, there is an equivalence: so long as you shoot qassams at us, we’ll shoot at you.’”

International law requires attacking forces to distinguish between soldiers and civilians, targeting only the former. It prohibits indiscriminate attacks, which use a method or means of warfare that cannot distinguish between the two groups. It also prohibits disproportionate attacks in which the civilian harm outweighs military necessity.

“The IDF has a legal duty to do everything feasible to verify that targets are military objectives and to avoid civilian deaths,” Whitson said. “The investigation should determine how the beach picnickers died and whether international law was violated. If that’s the case, it must consider how best to compensate the victims and how to prevent future deaths.”

Human Rights Watch researchers have been in Sderot and Gaza on a fact-finding mission documenting the impact of Palestinian Qassam fire from Gaza into Israel and Israeli artillery shelling into northern Gaza. In Israel, the team was in Sderot when the town was hit by two Palestinian Qassams on Thursday, June 8, and also witnessed two more Qassams hitting Nativ Ha’asara the same day; there were no apparent injuries as a result of those attacks. Since Human Rights Watch’s visit to the Western Negev, the Israeli media has reported that 54 Qassam rockets have been fired at Sderot. According to news reports, on Sunday one rocket seriously wounded Yonatan Engel, a 60-year-old resident of Sderot.

World sees US in Iraq bigger danger than Iran-poll

The world increasingly fears Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear bomb but believes the U.S. military in Iraq remains a greater danger to Middle East stability, a survey showed on Tuesday.



As Washington campaigns to highlight the threat it sees from Tehran, the good news for the United States in a Pew Research Centre poll of 17,000 people in 15 countries is that publics, particularly in the West, are worrying more about Iran.

The bad news is people worldwide think the U.S. presence in Iraq is an even bigger threat and support in most countries for President George W. Bush's war on terrorism is either flat or falling.

And after some signs anti-Americanism had been abating, in part because of goodwill generated by U.S. aid for victims of a late-2004 tsunami in Asia, favourable opinions of the United States have since fallen back in most countries.

Widespread concern over U.S. detainee treatment in Iraq and places such as Guantanamo, is a key drag on America's overall image, according to the survey.

Bush himself received the lowest marks for international leadership compared with his counterparts in Britain, Germany, France and Russia, and confidence in him has slipped in most countries -- to as low as three percent in Turkey.

The survey of global attitudes by the respected research group was conducted from March 31 to May 14 in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Turkey, Nigeria, Japan, India, China and the United States.

With a margin of error ranging from two percent to six percent depending on the country, the poll made comparisons to similar surveys it had conducted in the last few years.

Source Here

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

US insists on right to develop arms for outer space

The United States on Tuesday reasserted its right to develop weapons for use in outer space to protect its military and commercial satellites and ruled out any global negotiations on a new treaty to limit them.


In a speech to the Conference on Disarmament, a senior State Department arms control official insisted that such weapons systems would be purely defensive.

Washington sees no need for negotiations to prevent an arms race in space as a 40-year-old international treaty banning weapons of mass destruction in space remains adequate, he said.

John Mohanco, deputy director of the office of multilateral, nuclear and security affairs, said the United States faced a threat of attacks from the earth or from other countries' spacecraft. He did not name any potential attackers.

Source Here

Raid brother tells of death fears (video)

The man who was shot during an anti-terrorist raid in east London has said he feared he would be killed. Abul Koyair, 20, and his injured brother Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, were released without charge a week after the raid on their Forest Gate home.



Mr Kahar said: "I thought one by one they're going to kill us. At that time I thought I was going to die." The police earlier said they were acting on "specific intelligence" that a chemical device was in the house.

According to the brothers' lawyer, the unsuccessful police search included digging up plants in the garden and drilling holes in the shower. Mr Kahar said he "had no idea" who spoke to the police, prompting the raid.

"From my point of view the person who did this they have terrorised me and my family," he said. Speaking at a press conference, Mr Kahar said he was in great pain when he was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound, saying: "It seemed like fire. I was burning."

At one point Mr Kahar broke down in tears as he described the raid, involving 250 police, which he initially thought was a robbery.

He described the moment when he was shot. "We both had eye contact, he shot me straight away," he said. "I just saw an orange spark and a big bang. I flew into the wall, slipped down. There was blood coming down my chest. I knew I was shot.

Source Here : Press conference video Here ( watch if you can )

'Killing themselves was unnecessary. But it certainly is a good PR move'

The Bush administration stared down a new wave of international condemnation of Guantánamo yesterday, dismissing the suicides by three inmates of the prison camp as a "good PR move" on their part and an "act of asymmetrical warfare".




The deaths of two Saudis and a Yemeni, who used knotted bedsheets to hang themselves in their solitary cells, brought renewed calls from European governments and human rights organisations to bring the 460 inmates to trial, or close down the camp. But Bush administration officials rejected suggestions that the three had killed themselves in despair over their indefinite confinement.

"It does sound like this is part of a strategy - in that they don't value their own lives, and they certainly don't value ours; and they use suicide bombings as a tactic," Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, told BBC's Newshour yesterday. "Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good PR move."

On Saturday, the camp's commander, Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris, said the suicides were an al-Qaida tactic. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us," he said.

The hard line from an administration official comes at a time of increasing international criticism at the handling of terror suspects at Guantánamo. The Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a staunch ally of the US in Iraq, said that Guantánamo was damaging America's image in the world, and undermining the global war on terror. "I think it would be to the benefit of our cause, and our fight for freedom and for democracy, if the facilities at Guantánamo were closed down," the Danish leader told CNN.

In Stockholm, Sweden's foreign minister, Jan Eliasson, voiced similar concerns about the lack of due process. "It shows the importance of letting the prisoners free or giving them a statutory trial."

In Saudi Arabia, officials at the semi-official human rights organisation accused the prison administration of torturing the men to death. "Even if the suicide story is true, I have no doubts that they were pushed to it by torture and the lack of attention paid to the health of the detainees," said Saleh al-Khathlan of the Saudi human rights group.

Lawyers for the detainees called the comments by administration officials deeply offensive. Gitanjali Gutierrez, a lawyer for the Centre for Constitutional Rights, which represents most of the detainees, said: "It's very clear that any human being who is kept in indefinite detention over four years, not given any kind of hearing, and whose life and fate is subject to such uncertainty, inevitably will contemplate suicide, and the fact that three of them finally succeeded comes as no surprise. This is not an act of warfare, it is a consequence of inhumane and immoral treatment of human beings by the United States."

In Britain, Massoud Shadjareh, of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said of the US officials' remarks: "This is the sort of statement that SS officers in Nazi Germany would have been envious of." Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, deplored the "incredibly insensitive and callous" comments. "The deaths of these three people was not an act of war, it was an act of desperation."

Continue reading Here

The suicides were in fact an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us . sheez now that's some spin and a half for you all .If it was not human lives we were talking about it would be a a scene from a comedy show.

Where the heck is Mr Orwell when you need him.

Video Death On A Gaza Beach:

A 7 year old Palestinian girl screams in horror as she watches her dead parents and other family members being removed from the beach: - Warning -This video should only be watched by a mature audience.

Here

Monday, June 12, 2006

Tim Hortons in Afghanistan


Canadian soldiers will soon be able to order that large double-double they've been longing for. An aircraft carrying a Tim Hortons trailer landed in Afghanistan Monday and will open its doors on Canada Day.

Troops had lobbied for the coffee chain's presence to Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier, who passed the message on to the company.

The Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency, the morale and welfare arm of the Canadian Forces, will help operate the trailer, which will contain most of the selections of a typical outlet.

The group organizes many events for soldiers and staff, including movie and Stanley Cup hockey nights.

Approximately 50 people — including some military wives — have been training at CFB Kingston to work at the new Tim Hortons. Training was a little more intense than usual, as staff had to learn safety precautions relating to the dangerous environment in addition to the coffee chain's requirements for food and beverage preparation and customer service.

Source here

For those who don't quite know what Tim Hortons is, think of it like this; imagine if a Krispy-Kreme doughnut shop was established at an American military base in Iraq. Too me, this seems a little excessive.

Yeah, I'll get a large coffee and a glazed doughnut to go; wonder what happens if you get jelly on your gun?

Maryland Man Arrested in Bomb Plot

From Democracy Now!:
And a 25-year-old Maryland man will be in court today on charges connected to a plot to bomb an abortion clinic in College Park Maryland. The man Robert Weiler was arrested last week after his own father contacted the FBI. Police said Weiler admitted he was planning the bombing and told investigators that he also intended to "shoot doctors who provided abortions." Last week police detonated a pipe bomb that Weiler had built at a friend’s house. According to the National Abortion Federation there have been 11 bombings, 25 attempted bombings and 35 arsons at the offices of abortion providers nationwide over the past decade.

Hamas ends 16-month truce

After the beach bombing that killed seven Palestinian civilians, Hamas has ended it's 16-month truce. Here's the latest from Ha'aretz:
Defense Minister Amir Peretz last night blocked a proposal by the Israel Defense Forces' top brass for a broad Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip in response to the Qassam rocket blitz against Sderot and its environs.

The IDF is increasingly concerned that the Hamas intends to further step up the use of rockets against Israeli towns and supplement these with possible suicide bombing attacks inside the Green Line.

During a meeting called by Peretz and senior IDF and Shin Bet officers, a proposal for a large-scale air campaign against Gaza was raised. Chief of Staff Dan Halutz recommended a serious escalation in response to the Qassam rocket attacks, which would include the targeting of those responsible for the launches, including senior Hamas operatives.

The defense minister rejected the proposal and decided that at this stage, pinpoint attacks against active Qassam rocket crews would suffice. He added that if the rocket attacks continued, he would reconsider.

Peretz also instructed the IDF and the Shin Bet to complete plans to strike at all those involved in the firing of rockets, "from decision-makers to those carrying out the launching of the rockets and other attacks."

The statement was a veiled threat against the Hamas leadership, which is in line with comments Peretz made during the cabinet meeting earlier yesterday. There he declared that "no one is immune, including members of Hamas."

World Cup of human rights

Secretive Chinese arms exports stoking conflict and repression

From Amnesty International:
China is fast emerging as one of the world’s biggest, most secretive and irresponsible arms exporters, according to a new report issued today by Amnesty International.

The report shows how Chinese weapons have helped sustain brutal conflicts, criminal violence and other grave human rights violations in countries such as Sudan, Nepal, Myanmar and South Africa. It also reveals the possible involvement of Western companies in the manufacture of some of these weapons.

“China describes its approach to arms export licensing as `cautious and responsible`, yet the reality couldn‘t be further from the truth. China is the only major arms exporting power that has not signed up to any multilateral agreements with criteria to prevent arms exports likely to be used for serious human rights violations,” said Helen Hughes, Amnesty International’s arms control researcher.

China’s arms exports, estimated to be in excess of US$1 billion a year, often involve the exchange of weapons for raw materials to fuel the country’s rapid economic growth. But it is a trade shrouded in secrecy; Beijing does not publish any information about arms transfers abroad and hasn’t submitted any data to the UN Register on Conventional Arms in the last eight years.
Amoung the equipment sold:
  • More than 200 Chinese military trucks -- normally fitted with US Cummins diesel engines -- shipped to Sudan in August 2005, despite a US arms embargo on both countries and the involvement of similar vehicles in the killing and abduction of civilians in Darfur;
  • Regular Chinese military shipments to Myanmar, including the supply in August 2005 of 400 military trucks to the Burmese army despite its involvement in the torture, killing and forced eviction of hundreds of thousands of civilians;
  • Chinese military exports to Nepal in 2005 and early 2006, including a deal to supply nearly 25 thousand Chinese-made rifles and 18,000 grenades to Nepalese security forces, at the time involved in the brutal repression of thousands of civilian demonstrators;
  • An increasingly illicit trade in Chinese-made Norinco pistols in Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and particularly South Africa, where they are commonly used for robbery, rape and other crimes.
“As a major arms exporter and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it is high time that the Chinese authorities live up to their obligations under international law. They must introduce effective laws and regulations banning all arms transfers that could be used for serious human rights violations or breaches in international humanitarian law,” said Helen Hughes.

U.S. National Nuclear Safety Administration hacked

From Reuters via Common Dreams:
A computer hacker got into the U.S. agency that guards the country's nuclear weapons stockpile and stole the personal records of at least 1,500 employees and contractors, a senior U.S. lawmaker said on Friday.

The target of the hacker, the National Nuclear Safety Administration, is the latest agency to reveal that sensitive private information about government workers was stolen.

The incident happened last September but top Energy Department officials were not told about it until this week, prompting the chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to demand the resignation of the head of the NNSA.

...

The NNSA is a semi-autonomous arm of the Energy Department and also guards some of the U.S. military's nuclear secrets and responds to global nuclear and radiological emergencies.

...

Earlier this week the Pentagon revealed that personal information on about 2.2 million active-duty, National Guard and Reserve troops was stolen last month from a government employee's house.

That comes on top of the theft of data on 26.5 million U.S. military veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs has said.

Let's hope they are being honest about the extent of the break in.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Israeli Human Rights Organizations: End Killing of Civilians

From B'Tselem:
Five Israeli human rights organizations demanded today in an urgent appeal to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense that they take immediate action to end the killing of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territories, and to eradicate the factors contributing to these killings.

The organizations (B’Tselem, ACRI, PCATI, HaMoked and PHR-Israel) state that the killing of a family at the Gaza seashore on Friday (a father, mother and five children), apparently by a shell fired by Israeli soldiers, is a terrible addition to an already horrifying statistic: according to B'Tselem data, since the onset of the second Intifada, 3,431 Palestinians in the Occupied Territories have been killed by Israeli security forces. Of those, 698 were minors under the age of 18 years. At lease 1,645 of those killed were in no way taking part in the fighting at the time they were killed (and an additional 244 people were the targets of targeted killings). These dismal figures result directly from a series of Israeli policies, including illegal expansion of Israel's open-fire regulations, deliberate vagueness and double messages regarding the use of force, violation of the principle of proportionality and the failure to conduct independent investigations into civilian deaths.

The organizations add that it is indeed Israel's obligation to take all legitimate steps at its disposal to defend the lives and security of its citizens from attacks by Palestinian organizations. These attacks by Palestinian groups, which deliberately target civilians, constitute a war crime for which there can be no justification. However, it is unconscionable that a sovereign state should use illegal means, some of which reach the level of war crimes. The organizations reiterate that one of Israel's central obligations under international humanitarian law is to minimize the impact of military action on the civilian population, and to ensure the life and security of Palestinian civilians, also during armed conflict.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Death on a Gaza beach

From the Guardian via Common Dreams:
A barrage of Israeli artillery shells rained down on a busy Gaza beach yesterday, killing seven Palestinians, three of them children. The attack put further strain on the 16-month truce between Israel and the governing Hamas movement.

Witnesses described several explosions that also injured dozens of other people who lay on the beach, screaming and pleading for help. Some ran into the sea for fear of more shells hitting the sands at Beit Lahia, in the north of the Gaza strip.

Among the dead were three children, aged one, three, and 10. Their sister was swimming and survived.

The beach was packed with picnicking families enjoying the Muslim day of rest, and the explosions landed among them, scattering body parts along the dunes. Television footage showed a woman and a child laying dead on the sand, and another child screaming in agony while a lifeless man was carried away by an ambulance crew.

Associated Press reported that a tearful man held the limp body of what appeared to be a girl or young woman. "Muslims, look at this," he shouted.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, called the killings a "bloody massacre" and demanded international intervention.

"No doubt what's going on in Gaza is a bloody massacre against our people, our civilians, without discrimination," he said. "I call upon the international community, the UN security council, the quartet [the EU, the US, Russia and the UN], to put an end to this Israeli killing policy."

The prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader and a political opponent of Mr Abbas, went further, calling the deaths a "war crime". He urged Jordan and Egypt, both mediators in past Israeli-Palestinian talks, to intervene.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said that the attack showed "the Zionist occupation insists on killing ... and does not distinguish between civilian children and freedom fighters".

But the most furious reaction of all came from Hamas's militant wing, which called off its 16-month ceasefire with Israel and threatened revenge attacks. "The earthquake in the Zionist towns will start again and the aggressors will have no choice but to prepare their coffins or their luggage," the military wing said in a statement. "The resistance groups ... will choose the proper place and time for the tough, strong and unique response." There was no immediate comment from the political wing of Hamas.

The Israeli army said it "regretted" the deaths and called a halt to the shelling. It offered help to get the survivors to Israeli hospitals. The shells that hit Beit Lahia beach were the latest of more than 6,000 fired into the Gaza Strip by Israel over the past two months. One possibility is that they had fallen short when being fired at areas on the outskirts of Beit Lahia used by armed Palestinian groups to launch rockets into Israel.

"The military definitely would not target a beach full of people," said an army spokesman. The military said that although many of the shells fired yesterday were from Israeli gunboats, it believed the explosives that hit the beach were from army artillery. Israel said it has fired thousands of artillery shells into the Gaza Strip in response to armed Palestinian groups such as Islamic Jihad firing hundreds of homemade rockets into Israel. Israeli shells have killed about 15 civilians this year, including five children. The Palestinian rockets have not claimed any lives but have wounded several Israelis.

Human rights groups have described the persistent Israeli shelling as a form of collective punishment, particularly after the military changed its rules to allow shells to explode within 100 metres of a built-up area.

On Thursday an Israeli air force attack killed one of the most prominent Palestinian leaders in the area - the head of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, Jamal Abu Samhadana.

al-Zarqawi was alive...


Abu Musab al-Zarqawi could barely speak, but he struggled and tried to get away from American soldiers as he lay dying on a stretcher in the ruins of his hideout.
The U.S. forces recognized his face, and knew they had the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Initially, the U.S. military had said al-Zarqawi was killed outright. But Friday new details emerged of his final moments.

For three years, al-Zarqawi orchestrated horrific acts of violence guided by his extremist vision of jihad, or holy war - first against the U.S. soldiers he considered occupiers of Arab lands, then against the Shiites he considered infidels.

On Wednesday, the U.S. military tracked him to a house northwest of Baghdad, and blew it up with two 225-kilogram bombs.

Al-Zarqawi somehow managed to survive the impact of the bombs, weapons so powerful they tore a huge crater in the date palm forest where the house was nestled just outside the town of Baqouba.

Iraqi police reached the scene first, and found the 39-year-old al-Zarqawi alive.

"He mumbled something, but it was indistinguishable and it was very short," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, spokesman for U.S.-led forces in Iraq, said Friday of the Jordanian-born terrorist's last words.

Iraqi police pulled him from the flattened home and placed him on a makeshift stretcher. U.S. troops arrived, saw that al-Zarqawi was conscious, and tried to provide medical treatment, the spokesman said.

Continue here

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hans Blix: Don't Forget Those Other 27,000 Nukes

During the Cold War, it proved possible to reach many significant agreements on disarmament. Why does it seem so impossible now, when the great powers no longer feel threatened by one another?






Almost all the talk these days is about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to states like Iran and North Korea, or to terrorists. Foreign ministers meet again and again, concerned that Iran has enriched a few milligrams of uranium to a 4 percent level.

Some want to start waving the stick immediately. They are convinced that Iran will eventually violate its commitment under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to forego nuclear weapons.

While it's desirable that the foreign ministers talk about Iran, they don't seem to devote any thought to the fact that there are still some 27,000 real nuclear weapons in the United States, Russia and other states, and that many of these are on hair-trigger alert.

Nor do the ministers seem to realize that the determination they express to reduce the nuclear threat is diminished by their failure to take seriously their commitment, made within the framework of the NPT, to move toward the reduction and elimination of their own nuclear arsenals.

The stagnation in global disarmament is only part of the picture. In the United States, military authorities want new types of nuclear weapons; in Britain, the government is considering the replacement, at tremendous cost, of one generation of nuclear weapons by another - as defense against whom?

Last year a UN summit of heads of states and governments failed to adopt a single recommendation on how to attain further disarmament or prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. For nearly a decade, work at the disarmament conference in Geneva has stood still. It is time for a revival.

Continue reading Here

Suspects seem strictly second-rate

If these guys are terrorists, they aren't very good ones. At least that seems to be the picture that is slowly emerging of the 17 men and boys charged this week under Canada's anti-terror laws.






Their so-called training camp turns out to have been a swath of bush near Washago, where their activities — shooting off firearms and playing paintball — were so obvious and so irritating that local residents immediately called police.

Serious terrorists, like Osama bin Laden, base their operations in remote areas where no one will bother them. These suspects, it is alleged, simply trespassed on someone's farm and, when the owner told them to leave, gave him lip. Serious terrorists, like the 19 who attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, try to avoid making waves. They try to blend in.

The young men charged this week apparently didn't bother with this kind of tradecraft. They apparently didn't realize, or perhaps didn't care, that large groups of brown-skinned urbanites dressed in camouflage are not a common sight in rural central Ontario.

So when local resident Mike Côté came upon a group of just such men near his Ramara Township farm last December, he immediately informed police.

As he told the Star this week, the group appeared cold, wet and bedraggled. Some had fallen though the thin ice into a marsh. The leader of these alleged terrorists was so disgusted with his young charges that he complained to Côté about their incompetence.

These, apparently, were the conspirators. One, a former army reservist, allegedly wanted to cut off Prime Minister Stephen Harper's head. How would he find it?

Article continues at the source : Here

South African union joins boycott of Israel

Workers union representing 1.2 million extols CUPE Ontario’s boycott of Israel, which it calls ‘an apartheid nation.







In additional to the boycott of Israel declared by British academics and public workers in Canada last month, now a large workers’ union in South Africa is shunning the Jewish state in protest of its policies towards the Palestinians.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, representing 1.2 million workers in the African country, published a letter expressing enthusiastic support for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) boycott of Israel. In CUPE’s boycott declaration, the organization calls Israel’s separation fence an “apartheid wall” and condemns its continued construction as in violation of international law. They further called for divestment from Israel and demanded the imposition of sanctions.

In his letter, COSAFU president Willie Madisha hailed the Canadian group’s initiative: “With great pride, I congratulate CUPE Ontario for their historic resolution on May 27th in support of the Palestinian people - those living under occupation and those millions of Palestinian refugees living in the Diaspora. We fully support your resolution.

“As someone who lived in apartheid South Africa and who has visited Palestine I say with confidence that Israel is an apartheid state. In fact, I believe that some of the atrocities committed against the Palestinians pale in comparison to those committed by the erstwhile apartheid regime in South Africa,” Madisha wrote.

According to the letter, “The latest outrage by the apartheid Israeli regime-the construction of the hideous Apartheid Wall-condemned by the International Court of Justice- extends the occupation of Palestinian lands, disrupts the already precarious economic, social, health and education well being of an entire people.”

Medisha further accuses world powers are turning a blind eye from such injustices because they “are seduced by apartheid Israel's justification of brutality through the pretext of 'security'.” He claims that the West silences any criticism of Israel citing anti-Semitism. “It is time for the global workers movement to stand firm and principled against hypocrisy and double standards. We cannot remain silent any longer. There will be no peace in this region and in the world, without justice,” the letter proclaims.

He recalls how workers around the world support the struggle against South African apartheid through boycotts, divestments and sanctions which “hastened our “In the face of an intransigent, arrogant, racist and brutal Israeli state, this strategy of isolation should be applied to Israel as well. It is a peaceful option,” the letter asserts.

In the letter, Madisha recalls Israel’s support for the South African apartheid regime, noting that his organization calls on Israel to respect international law, the right of return for refugees, and the elected Palestinian government.

Continue reading Here

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bilderberg in Ottawa

An elite private security firm has been hired to guard a top-secret meeting of some of the world's most powerful business and political leaders at a Kanata hotel starting today.


Members of the Bilderberg Group will descend on the upscale Brookstreet Hotel for the three-day meeting, several police sources confirmed yesterday.

At least four off-duty Ottawa police officers will be part of the security for the event.
The highly secretive session, expected to touch on global issues such as the direction of oil markets and potential military action against Iran, will run through Sunday.

...

The list of attendees at last year's conference in Germany is believed to have included the queens of Spain and the Netherlands, former U.S. secretary of defence Henry Kissinger, World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, as well as top executives and directors at such multinational corporations as BP PLC, Siemens AG, Deutsche Bank Group and DaimlerChrysler AG.

Source

It's amazing how much power some people have. Leaders and MNC's deciding the worlds fate. What joy!

Poll: U.S. 59 percent think Iraq war was a mistake

The death of al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq came as more Americans than ever thought the war in Iraq was a mistake, according to AP-Ipsos polling.






The poll, taken Monday through Wednesday before news broke that U.S. forces had killed Zarqawi, found that 59 percent of adults say the United States made a mistake in going to war in Iraq - the highest level yet in AP-Ipsos polling.

Approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq dipped to 33 percent, a new low. His overall job approval was 35 percent, statistically within range of his low of 33 percent last month. The poll of 1,003 adults has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Source : Here

First picture of the deceased Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Coalition forces have released this Image of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi lying dead at the scene of the Air strike. Iraqi Police forces were first on the scene and were quickly able to identify the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

al-Zarqawi dead?

Reports are coming out that terrorist al-Zarqawi has been killed in an air raid.

Check out the BBC story here.

Core values training (animation)

Mark Fiore is back with his latest animation

'Core values training'

US fighting with UN again

America's ambassador to the UN has criticised comments made by UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown about US policy towards the UN.






Mr Malloch Brown said Washington did not stand up for the UN against domestic critics and used the organisation as a diplomatic tool. But John Bolton called the remarks a "grave mistake" and demanded Kofi Annan repudiate his deputy's remarks..

The trigger on this occasion is not Iraq, but a looming financial crisis at the UN. The organisation could run out of money at the end of June. The US might withhold its dues unless there is enough progress on management reform.

UN officials say Mr Malloch Brown's speech was intended as a warning signal about the impending crisis. But his charge - that America uses the UN as a diplomatic tool while failing to stand up for it against its domestic critics - drew a stinging response from the American Ambassador, John Bolton, who called his comments a "very, very grave mistake".

After a difficult press briefing in which Kofi Annan's spokesman said the secretary-general supported the thrust of the speech and stood by his deputy, Mr Malloch Brown himself spoke to journalists.

He said the UN was slipping towards a budget crisis and he had been appealing for engagement from Americans.

"Engage here, engage consistently and go out and engage with the American public to say the UN matters, and for the life of me, I can't understand how that can be construed as an anti-American speech," he responded.

So what is this feeble overreaction all about . It is not hard to work out ... Elections to the US congress are due in November, UN officials fear Washington is calculating that bashing the United Nations could secure some Republican votes.

Sad short term stupidity. Anyone would think they dont want to pay off the debt. Oh for the return of semi sensible american politics ....

Source : BBC news

How Canada Reacted to Sikhs in 1985 Is Still Relevant

They arrested seventeen alleged Islamist terrorists in and around Toronto on Saturday, most of them young and Canadian-born. They had bought three tons of ammonium nitrate, and are accused of planning to bomb targets in southern Ontario. Shock! Horror! How could this happen here?


Thought Canada refused to take part in the US invasion of Iraq, it does have several thousand troops in Afghanistan, and Ottawa is actively seeking closer ties to the US. Enough, perhaps, to motivate a bunch of radicalized young Muslim-Canadians who couldn’t reach non-Canadian targets anyway.

Any terrorist attack on Canada is bound to be homegrown, because there is no shadowy but powerful network of international terrorists waging a war against the West. There are isolated small groups of extremists who blow things up once in a while, and there are websites and other media through which they can exchange ideas and techniques, but there is no headquarters, no chain of command, no organization that can be defeated, dismantled and destroyed.

There have been terrorist groups in the Arab world for decades, but there never was much of an international Islamist “terrorist network.” Even in Al-Qaeda’s heyday, before the US invasion of Afghanistan effectively beheaded it in 2001, there were only a few hundred core members.

According to US intelligence estimates, between 30,000 and 70,000 volunteers passed through Al-Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan in 1996-2001, but their long-term impact on the world has been very small. For most people who went to those camps, it was more a rite of passage than the start of a lifelong career as a terrorist. The average annual number of terrorist attacks in Arab and other Muslim countries has been no greater in the past five years than in the previous ten or twenty.

The West has been even less affected. The 9/11 attacks on the United States were a spectacularly successful fluke, killing almost three thousand people, but there have been no further attacks in the US. The two subsequent attacks that did occur in the West, in Madrid in 2004 and in London last year, cost the lives of 245 people. And those attacks were both carried out by local people with no links to any “international terrorist network.”

The contrast between the received wisdom — that the world, or at least the West, is engaged in a titanic, unending struggle against a terrorist organization of global reach — and the not very impressive reality is so great that most people in the West believe the official narrative rather than the evidence of their own eyes. There must be a major terrorist threat; otherwise, the government is wrong or lying, the intelligence agencies are wrong or self-serving, the media are fools or cowards, and the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

There isn’t a major terrorist threat; just a little one. The massive overreaction called “the war on terror” is due to the fact that 9/11 hit a very big and powerful country that had the military resources to strike anywhere in the world, and strategic interests that might be advanced by a war or two fought under the cover of a crusade against terrorism. If 9/11 had happened in Canada, it would all have been very different.

So where do the Sikhs fit in to all this ? Read the Full article to find out.

Lightening the mood

In an effort to lighten the mood, here is a rather comical take on the situation in Tikrit, Iraq.

Watch the video (click on the picture).

Britons begin to turn away from alliance with America

THE British public has become increasingly cool towards American policy and critical of its role in the world after the sustained violence in Iraq.






A Populus opinion poll in The Times indicates that fewer than half the public believe that America is a force for good in the world, and nearly two thirds believe that Britain’s future lies more with Europe than with the US.

There is also evidence of a longer-term shift in views about the US. However, while President Bush and his Administration remain unpopular in Britain, Americans as a people remain popular.

Source Here

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

US to give Iran some nuclear technology pending halt of uranium enrichment

"In a major concession, the United States is prepared to provide Iran with some nuclear technology if it stops enriching uranium, diplomats said Tuesday."




The idea was floated in a New York Times piece earlier this year by NYT Washington correspondent and arms proliferation expert David Sanger. Those closely following Iran have suggested the best tactic to deal with the program would be for the US to advise the program so as to ensure the technology does not fall into the hands of rogue third parties, and to ensure the program's safety.

"The offer was part of a package of incentives presented to Tehran Tuesday by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, said the diplomats, who were familiar with the proposals. The diplomats demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing details of the offer, which was agreed on last week by six world powers in a bid to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran."

According to AP, "The package was agreed on last week by the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — the five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany."

My Source Here.

Field commanders tell Pentagon Iraq war 'is lost'

Military commanders in the field in Iraq admit in private reports to the Pentagon the war "is lost" and that the U.S. military is unable to stem the mounting violence killing 1,000 Iraqi civilians a month.






Even worse, they report the massacre of Iraqi civilians at Haditha is "just the tip of the iceberg" with overstressed, out-of-control Americans soldiers pushed beyond the breaking point both physically and mentally.

"We are in trouble in Iraq," says retired army general Barry McCaffrey. "Our forces can't sustain this pace, and I'm afraid the American people are walking away from this war."

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has clamped a tight security lid on the increasingly pessimistic reports coming out of field commanders in Iraq, threatening swift action against any military personnel who leak details to the press or public.

The wife of a staff sergeant with Kilo Company, the Marine Unit charged with killing civilians at Haditha, tells Newsweek magazine that the unit was a hotbed of drug abuse, alcoholism and violence.

"There were problems in Kilo company with drugs, alcohol, hazing [violent initiation games], you name it," she said. "I think it's more than possible that these guys were totally tweaked out on speed or something when they shot those civilians in Haditha."

Journalists stationed with the unit described Kilo Company and the Third Batallion of Marines as a "unit out of control," where morale had plummeted and rules went out the window.

Similar reports emerge from military units throughout Iraq and even the Iraqi prime minister describes American soldiers as trigger happy goons with little regard for the lives of civilians.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki says the murder of Iraqi civilians has become a "daily phenomenon" by American troops who "do not respect the Iraqi people."

"They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion. This is completely unacceptable," Maliki said. The White House tried to play down Maliki's comments, saying the prime minister was "misquoted" although Maliki himself has yet to made such a public claim.

''Can anyone blame Iraqis for joining the resistance now?'' Mustafa al-Ani, an Iraqi analyst living in Dubai, told The Chicago Tribune. ''The resistance and the terrorists alike are feeding off the misbehavior of the American soldiers.''

Source Here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Baghdad Burning

Read about daily life in Baghdad through the eyes of a girl who is living through this nightmare daily.







snip....

According to people working and living in the area, around 15 police cars pulled up to the area and uniformed men began pulling civilians off the streets and from cars, throwing bags over their heads and herding them into the cars. Anyone who tried to object was either beaten or pulled into a car. The total number of people taken away is estimated to be around 50.

This has been happening all over Iraq- mysterious men from the Ministry of Interior rounding up civilians and taking them away. It just hasn’t happened with this many people at once. The disturbing thing is that the Iraqi Ministry of Interior has denied that it had anything to do with this latest mass detention (which is the new trend with them- why get tangled up with human rights organizations about mass detentions, torture and assassinations- just deny it happened!). That isn’t a good sign- it means these people will probably be discovered dead in a matter of days. We pray they’ll be returned alive…


Read the full article Here.

Terrorism Quiz.

By Lindy Greene







1) Which is the only country in the world to have dropped bombs on over twenty different countries since 1945?

2) Which is the only country to have used nuclear weapons?

3) Which country was responsible for a car bomb which killed 80 civilians in Beirut in 1985, in a botched assassination attempt,.

4) Which country's illegal bombing of Libya in 1986 was described by the UN Legal Committee as a "classic case" of terrorism?

5) Which country rejected the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to terminate its "unlawful use of force" against Nicaragua in 1986, and then vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling on all states to observe international law?

6) Which country was accused by a UN-sponsored truth commission of providing "direct and indirect support" for "acts of genocide" against the Mayan Indians in Guatemala during the 1980s?

7) Which country unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in December 2001?

8) Which country renounced the efforts to negotiate a verification process for the Biological Weapons Convention and brought an international conference on the matter to a halt in July 2001?

9) Which country prevented the United Nations from curbing the gun trade at a small arms conference in July 2001?

10) Aside from Somalia, which is the only other country in the world to have refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

11) Which is the only Western country which allows the death penalty to be applied to children?

12) Which is the only G7 country to have refused to sign the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, forbidding the use of landmines?

13) Which is the only G7 country to have voted against the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 1998?

14) Which was the only other country to join with Israel in opposing a 1987 General Assembly resolution condemning international terrorism?

15) Which country refuses to fully pay its debts to the United Nations yet reserves its right to veto United Nations resolutions?

The answer to each question is .... ? The United States Of America

my source : Here

Mom AND A terrorist hunter...

By day, Shannen Rossmiller is a mother of three and a part-time judge in a small town in Montana.




As night falls, she develops another persona — she poses as an al Qaeda operative online and searches for would-be terrorists.
"It's important because the war on terror affects everybody, every single person, every day," Rossmiller said. "I have the skills to do it, so I feel it's something I have to do."

Rossmiller, 36, began trolling the Internet for potential terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Stunned and angered, she read the Koran, studied radical Islamic culture, and learned enough Arabic to lurk in chat rooms.

Continue here

Need I say more?

Bill O'Reilly Proving he is scum of scum

I am left speechless at this. What can I say? Uh. Um. What a dick..

Monday, June 05, 2006

USA out-flanked in Eurasia Energy Politics ?

Curiously and quietly the United States is being out-flanked in its now-obvious strategy of controlling major oil and energy sources of the Persian Gulf, Central Asia Caspian Basin, Africa and beyond.




The US’s global energy control strategy, it’s now clear to most, was the actual reason for the highly costly regime change in Iraq, euphemistically dubbed ‘democracy’ by Washington. George W. Bush restated his democracy mantra as recently as May 28 at the West Point military graduating ceremony where he declared that America's safety depends on an aggressive push for democracy, especially in the Middle East. ‘This is only the beginning,’ Bush said. ‘The message has spread from Damascus to Tehran that the future belongs to freedom, and we will not rest until the promise of liberty reaches every people in every nation.’

If the trend of recent events continues, it won’t be Bush-style democracy that is spreading, but rather, Russian and Chinese influence over major oil and gas energy supplies.

The quest for energy control has informed Washington’s support for high-risk ‘color revolutions’ in Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Belarus and Kyrgystan in recent months. It lies behind US activity in the Western Africa Gulf of Guinea states, as well as in Sudan, source of 7% of China oil import. It lies behind US policy vis-à-vis Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela and Evo Morales’ Bolivia.

In recent months, however, this strategy of global energy dominance, a strategic US priority, has shown signs of producing just the opposite: a kind of ‘coalition of the unwilling,’ states who increasingly see no other prospect, despite traditional animosities, but to cooperate to oppose what they see as a US push to control it all, their energy future security.

Continue reading Here

The US killing of Iraqi civilians is a 'daily phenomenon'

A third set of allegations that U.S. troops have deliberately killed civilians is fueling a furor in Iraq and drawing strong condemnations from government and human rights officials.



"It looks like the killing of Iraqi civilians is becoming a daily phenomenon," the chairman of the Iraqi Human Rights Association, Muayed al-Anbaki, said Friday after video ran on television of children and adults slain in a raid in March on the Iraqi village of Ishaqi north of Baghdad.

Al-Anbaki's comments came a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki upbraided the U.S. military over allegations that Marines killed two dozen unarmed civilians in the western city of Haditha, calling it "a horrible crime." They were his strongest public comments on the subject since his government was sworn in last month.

U.S. commanders have ordered new ethics training for all troops in Iraq. But the flow of revelations and investigations threatens to undermine Iraq's new government and public support in America for President Bush's management of the war.

Iraq's government also began its own investigation of the deaths in Haditha.

In addition to the Haditha case, in which Marines are alleged to have gunned down 24 civilians in a rage of revenge for a bombing that killed a Marine in November, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman could face murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges as early as Friday in the April shooting death of an Iraqi man in yet another incident, a defense attorney said Thursday.

Military prosecutors plan to file the charges against the seven servicemen, who are being held in solitary confinement at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Marine Corps base, said Jeremiah Sullivan III, who represents one of the men.

The Iraqi man reportedly was dragged from his home west of Baghdad and shot. The Los Angeles Times and NBC News said troops may have planted an AK-47 and a shovel near the body to make it appear as if the man was an insurgent burying a roadside bomb. Neither suggested a possible motive.

Continue reading Here.

Wonderful timing


The timing of the recent terrorism related arrests has been questioned by Zafar Bangash, of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought. In about a week, the Supreme Court of Canada is set to hear arguments about the constitutionality of security certificates, which allow suspects to be detained indefinitely, without charge, if they are perceived as a threat to national security.

Source here

Seems as though Canada is moving a step closer towards the US in terms of its policies.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

From the archives : No Bravery (flash)

A very moving anti-war presentation set to the music of James Blunt. Warning some of the images in this 4 min movie are distressing and show the reality of war. If you are not used to seeing such Images or you are sensitive to Images of what war is really like then I would advice you NOT to watch this clip.

For those that are still with us you can watch the clip here


Of course many of you have seen this clip before, but I feel it is such a powerful piece, it is well worth digging out from the archives for any that did not see this the first time round.

What did happen in Haditha (3 videos)

What did happen at Haditha and Ishaqi. Three reports form the BBC paint a very clear picture of the events ...





Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has said the alleged killing of over 20 civilians in Haditha by US marines was "unjustifiable". Reports from Iraqi witnesses and in the US media allege marines went on a rampage. John Simpson reports from Baghdad Here.

A US military investigation has found there was no misconduct by US troops over Iraqi civilian deaths in the town of Ishaqi. The events in Ishaqi are among a number of alleged atrocities by US troops in Iraq. Matt Frei reports from Washington. Viewers may find some of these images disturbing Here.

Video footage of the alleged incident was obtained by the BBC. John Simpson reports from Baghdad. Viewers may find some of these images disturbing Here.

Windows media player is required to play these clips

Venezuela Backs Plan to Sell Oil in Euros

Venezuela supports the idea of selling oil in euros instead of U.S. dollars, a proposal also supported by fellow OPEC member Iran, the country's oil minister said.






"Iran has an initiative that we support. They are going to start to do oil transactions in euros," Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said Thursday in an interview with state television. Selling oil in euros would in theory boost world demand for the European currency at the expense of the dollar.

Analysts have said the proposal is highly unlikely to materialize but could in theory have serious consequences for the U.S. economy by undermining the value of the dollar and diminishing its status as the currency used in central-bank reserves.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is one of the U.S. government's most vocal critics on the world stage."If a market in euros is created, with the euro as a reference, we could send our supplies so they are sold under this (currency)," added Ramirez, who is also the president of the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA.

Source Here.

Blair has been blinded by an imperialist illusion

Britain has been asked to leave Iraq by the leader it helped to install. Only arrogance or myopia can explain its refusal





What is British policy in Iraq? This week, as four more Britons die, it is more obscure than ever. Iraq is becoming a 21st-century Dardanelles, a lethal project sustained only because exit is too painful for politicians to contemplate.

Tony Blair has long stated that British troops are in that country to establish democratic institutions and guarantee security and prosperity. Since security and prosperity are as distant as ever, democracy is vitiated. Rising violence has rendered the policy incoherent. Blair and his colleagues must rely for public support on an increasingly false narrative of their purpose, as false as the reasons for the original invasion. They are prisoners of denial.

Civilian deaths in Iraq are running at 1,000 a month. Kidnappings take place daily, and ethnic cleansing is rife. Some 10,000 professionals have fled the country. The police are nowhere trusted. This is beyond any tolerable definition of security. Chaos was previously described by Downing Street as "isolated" and "not to detract" from the success of the occupation. Progress was allegedly being made away from the cameras. This is denied by all available statistics of power, water and petrol supplies. The defence secretary, Des Browne, was reduced last week to claiming that "things are better in the country areas" - long the last cry from the bunker of defeat.

British briefings on Iraq are a remorseless diminuendo. First the troops would leave once elections were held. Then they would stay until violence abated. Blair recently said, "The violence is why the troops are there." This explanation, as he must know from the history of Northern Ireland, hands the initiative to the enemy, allowing the terrorists to dictate the course of the occupation. In Basra, the militias can now imprison British troops in their barracks for as long as they choose, or as long as it suits their sponsors in Tehran

Continue reading here.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

EU to stop supplying passenger flight data to US

The bloc's top court has annulled an EU-US agreement on EU handovers of air passenger data to US security agencies, and dismissed the European Commission's assurance that Washington could provide necessary privacy protection for such data.


The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Tuesday (30 May) announced its final verdict in a row that highlights Brussels limited legal powers in security matters.

"Neither the Commission decision finding that the data are adequately protected by the United States nor the Council decision approving the conclusion of an agreement on their transfer to that country are founded on an appropriate legal basis," the court ruling states.

But the court instead says EU countries are free to sign bilateral agreements with the US on the matter.

Continue reading Here

Canadian Terrorists


A group of 17 men, 12 adults and 5 minors, were arrested in Toronto after being suspected of plotting a terrorist act; all 17 were Canadian citizens. They possessed 3 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. By comparison, the Oklahoma city bombing used only 1 ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

Read more about it here.

Labeling this type of arrest as counterterrorism seems a bit odd. What makes an attack, which is locally planned, become terrorism, as against, perhaps, a more appropriate murder charge(s)? Names such as "Fahim Ahmad,...Zakaria Amara,...Asad Ansari" make all the difference.

This type of arrest gives the United States more ammo, pardon the pun, to continue its assault on the Mid-East in order to clear out the terrorists. But these were Canadian-grown terrorists. Bush will probably want to build a wall between Canada and the US even quicker now. Terrorists can just not be trusted.

Mission Accomplished (film)

Shocking, honest, brave and an amazing eye-opener. Watch this movie if you really want to know what's happening in Iraq. Shows both sides of the story about the insurgency war that you won't see on TV. Critical of US policy, but sympathetic to the American soldiers on the ground. Historical movie.

Watch the film Here.

Run Time - 89 Minutes

Saudis free former Guantanamo prisoners

The Saudi Arabian government has freed three Saudi citizens repatriated in July 2005 from the U.S. Camp Delta detention facility in Guantanamo, Cuba.





Following their repatriation the three served brief prison sentences in Saudi Arabia before being set free. The Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry released a statement saying the men were released on Monday under "legal guarantees."

The News International reported on May 31 that the ministry release stated that they had been convicted of "being present in trouble spots without their parents' consent or permission from the authorities," using forged documents and "endangering the lives of family members."

Assistant Interior Minister Prince Mohammad bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz stated his hope that the three would now lead a "normal" life, saying, "The kingdom is pursuing efforts to obtain the repatriation of all Saudis held in Guantanamo."

A total of 24 Saudi citizens have now been released from Guantanamo, but according to Riyadh at least 105 Saudi nationals remain in the facility.

Source Here

Hmmm , they were "present in trouble spots without their parents' consent or permission from the authorities." So loitering in another country is a crime for Saudi Arabians ? It hardly sounds like they just released enemy combatants so dangerous they needed to be locked up without trial by the US.