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Bush Prepares To Militarize Sahara

by Conn Hallinan The Bush administration claims the target of this program, called the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative, is the growing presence of al-Qaida-influenced organizations in the region. Critics, however, charge that the enterprise has more to do with oil than with Osama bin Laden, and that stepped up military aid to Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia will most likely end up being used against internal opposition groups in those countries

Poisoning Suspicion Raise Stakes Of Milosevic Autopsy

Milosevic's lawyer, Zdenko Tomanovic, said that his client had feared that he might be poisoned, comments that will fuel speculation in Serbia and Montenegro about the death of the country's former president. The deputy head of Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia, Milorad Vucelic, has already blamed the tribunal for Milosevic's death, saying its decision to reject his request for treatment in Russia had killed him

The Endgame For Iraq

by Andrew Arato None of the main groups in Iraq apparently wants an all-out civil war; each apparently hopes to achieve its objectives without launching an open conflict, or thinks that it would have even more to lose in case it did. But even if civil war is avoided now, it may not be as easy to avoid in the future if Al-Sadr and others lose control of their followers in future Shiite and Sunni conflicts. In the next weeks, there are three factors which Iraqis must confront together -- or risk losing their nation to anarchy

The Failed State Of Iraq: Sovereignty Lost

by Michael Schwartz Even if the Iraqi army, Special Forces, and local police were to become the formidable military machine that American officials envision, they would not add up to an effective instrument of Iraqi national policy for a simple reason: These units are being developed as part of the occupation military, not as a force loyal to or commanded by the elected government. It is well known that the Americans are recruiting and training both the military and the police in Iraq. What is less well known is that, once their training is complete, the Bush administration does not relinquish control over these forces

UN Staff Union Votes 'No Confidence' In Annan

by Thalif Deen For the first time in the 60-year history of the world body, the UN staff union has declared it has 'no confidence in the secretary-general and his senior management team'

Big Oil Won Its Obscene Deals Long Ago

by Alexander Cockburn In the summer of 1996, President Clinton played host to a coven of oil company executives during his pre-convention vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyo. It was a victory party. The executives were incandescent in the flush of a victory they had been scheming for the previous decade

"Cheney Cabal" Blocked 2003 Nuclear Talks With Iran

by Gareth Porter The Bush administration failed to enter into negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program in May 2003 because neo-conservative zealots who advocated destabilization and regime change were able to block any serious diplomatic engagement with Tehran, according to former administration officials

Another 16 Words

by Steve Young 'Tehran has been responsible for at least some of the increasing lethality of anti-coalition attacks.' Sixteen words. Okay, 'anti-coalition' is really one word, but give me some license to make a point. Certainly President Bush is trying to make one. And he does it so darn well. Let us harken back a few long, long years

You Can Count On Bill

by Steve Young There's always plenty of laughs, but this past week Billy O'Reilly set the hilarity bar way high. He actually said, "I am a reporter." For those diehard fans of O'Reilly, you know that he abhors reporters giving their opinions. He tore Christine Amapour a new one when she gave hers on Larry King. But every day is opposite day is on O'Reilly

Democracy, O'Reilly Style

by Steve Young Bill somehow equated condemnations of George Bush's ill-fated foreign policy with a wish that America lose the war. But my question to Bill does not have to do with whether these unpatriots were truly unpatriotic, or even why there should be any limit to country-sassing. I'm just a bit vague as to why Bill was only able to dig up Far-Left Moonbats® to expose the ramped unpatriotness immersing America in country-hating. Are there no Far-Righter Moonbats® who have stepped over the line?

Will O'Reilly Survive Real Debate?

by Steve Young O'Reilly says that he has far more liberals on his show that he has conservatives. I'm guessing that sipherin' came out of a Factor Poll. Wonder if the hundreds of times that he has on Dick Morris count as one. You get the idea Bill has decided that the rules of actuality no longer apply to his little factoids

Collapse Of Ports Deal A Major Bush Setback

Analysis by Jim Lobe Bush's swift surrender after the House vote -- apparently designed to cut his losses as quickly as possible -- and the fact that his chief political adviser, Karl Rove, was reportedly tasked with informing Dubai Ports World of the bad news underlined the frailty of his political authority. That he was so badly beaten on a policy on which he had taken an unequivocal position naturally raises major problems for foreign leaders who until now have generally ignored Congress

UN Sanctions on Iran May Trigger Executions, Amnesty Warns

by Alison Langley Tehran is likely to execute seven condemned prisoners if the UN Security Council votes to impose sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program, the rights watchdog Amnesty International says

Flurry Of Protectionist Bills Follow UAE Ports Flap

by Emad Mekay Congressional leaders are pressing ahead with legislation that would give the secretary of defense and U.S. intelligence agencies the right to oversee acquisitions of certain U.S. assets, and the Congress access to confidential business information surrounding such deals

UAE Deal Blown Out Of Proportions By Jingoism

by Stephen Zunes Congressional Democrats, who proved themselves to be so timid in challenging the Bush administration in its invasion and occupation of Iraq, the initial passage of the Patriot Act, the bombing of Afghanistan, the detention without due process and torture of thousands of detainees worldwide, and other horrendous policies finally found the courage to challenge the Bush administration on a post-9/11 security issue and won. Unfortunately, they chose an issue of little real importance and decided to appeal to popular racist and jingoistic sentiments by raising exaggerated fears over the implications of a routine transfer of ownership of a company which operates facilities at some terminals in six U.S. ports.

Bush's Africa Focus on Oil, Arms, Not Humanitarian Aid

by Jim Lobe When some 6,000 U.S.-led NATO forces land next June for two weeks of maneuvers in Cape Verde, will they be rehearsing more for rapid deployment in humanitarian emergencies, as in Darfur, Sudan, or for securing oil supplies and access to other key African resources?

Antonin Scalia's Contempt

by Joe Conason Antonin Scalia, the loudest mouth on the highest bench, has indulged himself again. The idol of the far right has provoked fresh doubts about his temperament -- and this time, unfortunately, the rest of the world is likely to notice

Israel Fears Influence Of Iran, Al Qaeda On Hamas

by Fawzia Sheikh Anxieties are growing in Israel that Iran is trying to control the new Palestinian government and that al Qaeda may have infiltrated Gaza and the West Bank

Fear Of U.S. Drove Iran To Pursue Nuclear Weapons

by Dahr Jamail The Bush administration's decision to threaten military force against Iran disregarded a series of official intelligence estimates going back many years that consistently judged Iran's fear of a U.S. attack to be a major motivating factor in its pursuit of nuclear weapons

Katrina Video Again Shows Bush In Leadership Crisis

by Earl Ofari Huthchinson The video of President Bush conferring with disaster officials from his Texas ranch the day before Katrina struck is disturbingly similar to the footage of the casual way Bush reacted to news of the Sept. 11 terror attack. This is the same Bush who time and again has primed his public image as a tough-talking, swaggering guy who moves quickly and decisively when a crisis hits. But Bush has been anything but a no-nonsense taskmaster in the face of disaster

Cindy Sheehan And Others Arrested Trying To Deliver Peace Petition To Bolton's UN Office

by Haider Rizvi New York police arrested four women activists outside John Bolton's offices at the United Nations March 6 as they tried to deliver a petition signed by 72,000 people calling for immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq

Bolton Loses UN Vote Over New Human Rights Council

by Thalif Deen Since the United States has no veto in the General Assembly, the resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority. The U.S. opposition couldn't block the establishment of the new Human Rights Council. The vote in the General Assembly was 170 in favor and four against (United States, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau), with three abstentions (Venezuela, Iran and Belarus)

Bush's Nuclear Deal With India Complicates UN Showdown Over Iran

by Antoaneta Bezlova With the dispute over Iran's controversial nuclear program moving this week to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the stage is set for a perilous confrontation between the Islamic republic and the international community -- a showdown that not only Tehran but also world powers like China and Russia have fought to avoid

Bush's Last-Minute Nuke Deal With India A Disaster For Weapon Treaties

by Jim Lobe The agreement, which must still be approved by Congress, marks a significant blow to the prevailing international non-proliferation regime, according to the critics, who have argued that it effectively rewards India for behavior that differs little from what Iran is trying to do today

Ports Deal Also Exposes Special Corporate Protections

by Molly Ivins Among the many curious aspects of the administration's approval of the Dubai Ports World takeover of operations at six major ports (and as many as 21) is this exemption from normally routine restrictions: The agreement does not require DP World to keep copies of its business records on U.S. soil, which would place them within the jurisdiction of American courts. Nor does it require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate requests by the government. So what's that about?

Bad And Getting Worse

by Molly Ivins The Army announced this week it has decided to reimburse Halliburton for nearly all of the disputed costs in the more than $250 million in charges the Pentagon's own auditors had identified as excessive or unjustified. According to the Pentagon's figures, it normally withholds an average of 66 percent of what the auditors recommend. In this case, the Pentagon wound up paying all but 3.8 percent of the disputed costs

Immigration 101 For Beginners And Non-Texans

by Molly Ivins The Fence will not work. No fence will work. The Great darn Wall of China will not work. Do not build a fence. It will not work. They will come anyway. Over, under or through. Some of you think a fence will work because Israel has one. Israel is a very small country. Anyone who says a fence can fix this problem is a demagogue and an ass

Pentagon Clears Itself Of Wrongdoing -- Again

by Molly Ivins The Pentagon has once again investigated itself! And -- have a seat, get the smelling salts, hold all hats -- the Pentagon has once again concluded the Pentagon did absolutely nothing wrong and will continue to do so

Panic in the Newspaper Biz

by Molly Ivins I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying -- it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off

Sign Me Up For the Pentagon Democracy Plan

by Molly Ivins A couple of dandy ideas are now circulating, and I think they're worth your support and excitement. For ages, all good reformers have wanted to get rid of the Electoral College and have direct popular election of presidents, instead. The disastrous election in 2000 finally culminated in Bush v. Gore, a Supreme Court decision so bad even the court disowned it at the time

Idaho Governor Nominated As Interior Secretary

'As governor, Kempthorne led the charge to strip protection from 60 million acres of America's last wild forests and he's consistently fought against protection for wildlife like grizzly bears and salmon in his home state of Idaho. He's openly hostile to America's natural areas and wildlife -- which puts him outside the mainstream of what people want to see for their children and their future'

The Politics of Burying Milosevic

by Robert Parsons, Patrick Moore The Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) wants Milosevic buried with full state honors in a prominent Belgrade cemetery and has threatened to leave the parliament if it does not get its wish. President Boris Tadic of the reformist Democratic Party has already ruled out such a burial for the war crimes indictee. That party, however, has political weight because its support is essential for the survival of Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's minority government

Repubs Attack Clinton As UAE Deal Reveals Bush Family Connections

by Joe Conason By pushing the Dubai deal -- with a veto threat against any congressional interference -- Mr. Bush has drawn fresh attention to his family's Middle East entanglements. The Carlyle Group boasts deep connections with the United Arab Emirates as well as the Bush family. The president's father and brother Neil have both benefited directly from Emirate largesse. As Dubya's public approval plunged toward Nixonian levels and shudders of fear wracked the Republican Party, a snarling counterattack was predictable. Just as inevitable was that the target would be the Clintons

Taliban Burns Afghan Schools, Threatens Teachers

by Aziz Zahid and Najib Khilwatgar Arson attacks on schools are on the rise and many are being closed for security reasons. The torching of schools is rampant in the southern and southeastern parts of the country, where some 20 incidents have taken place in recent weeks. A headmaster was killed in Zabul province, and at least 200 schools in Kandahar and 165 schools in Helmund provinces closed in January

Senate Opens Door To Landmark Immigration Reform

by Diego Cevallos United States legislators have opened a door to the most significant immigration reform in 20 years as on March 28 the Senate Judiciary Committee approved an immigration bill that includes avenues for eventually legalizing more than 10 million undocumented migrants, the non-criminalization of migrants, and temporary visas for some 400,000 guest workers a year

Legal Immigrants Alarmed Over Growing "Anti-Immigrant" Sentiment

by Jim Lobe Large majorities of legal immigrants in the United States strongly oppose Congressional legislation that would criminalize and deport undocumented immigrants and authorize the construction of walls and other barriers along the border with Mexico

Bad Blood on the Border

by Laura Carlsen Scores of migrants have been shot by U.S. immigration enforcement officers. Mexican human rights organizations count four cases just in the past six months and warn that the number is on the rise

Million+ Protesters Turn Out For Immigrant Rights Nationwide

by Ana Laura del Toro and Lisa Vives Church groups nationwide have been quietly mounting a religious response to the growing decibels of anti-immigrant rhetoric

Where Are The Latino Elected Leaders in Immigration Reform Fight?

by Mindy Farabee 'Hardly any [California politicians] have taken leadership in the organizing of this mass protest,' said Javier Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the march's organizers. 'We don't have one single congressperson helping us, and this should be their baby'

Old Civil Rights Groups Missing As Immigrants Hit the Streets

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The great irony in the gargantuan march of hundreds of thousands in Los Angeles and other cities for immigrant rights is that the old civil rights groups have been virtually mute on the explosively growing movement. There are no position papers, statements or press releases on the Web sites of the NAACP, Urban League or SCLC on immigration reform, and nothing on the marches

Hepatitis Vaccine Out Of Reach To People Used As Gunea Pigs

by Marty Logan The announcement that a U.S. company is close to marketing a hepatitis E vaccine tested a decade ago on Nepalis has revived a debate over whether locals were used as guinea pigs

Sunni Leaders Plead For End To Revenge Attacks

by Dahr Jamail and Arkan Hamed Scores of Iraqis, Sunni and Shia alike, are being killed daily. Recent incidents of violence included an assassination attempt on senior Sunni leader Adnan Al-Dulaimi who leads the Sunnis' largest parliamentary bloc. Al-Dulaimi survived the attack which killed one of his guards

Gulf Media Asks If "Israeli Element" Killed UAE Ports Deal

by Meena Janardhan Media reaction, elsewhere in the region, has been scathing too. In its editorial on Mar. 10, the Saudi Arabia-based Arab News asked: 'If the U.S. does not trust an Arab company to run something like a port, should we trust American companies to do similar things here? Can we? If the Americans mistrust us as they do, in whose interests will their companies be operating?' In fence-mending exercises, a group of U.S. businesspeople in the UAE said they planned to organize talk shows aimed at changing public opinion in the U.S.

The 'Long War?' Oh, Goodie

by Molly Ivins We are inarguably facing more terrorists now than there were when we started, so the Pentagon has decided to fight what it is now calling 'the Long War.' Has anyone asked you about this? Me, neither. Nor has anyone asked Congress. The administration -- mostly Donald Rumsfeld -- just decided we would have a long war and declared it, and is now committing us to fight against a fuzzy ideology no one seems to be able to define

Statesman Bush

by Molly Ivins Bush, who dropped the entire subject of Osama bin Laden like a hot rock in 2003, is now back to saying we want to capture him. Having offended Pakistan, our critical ally, Bush then returned triumphantly to -- ta-da! -- send exactly the wrong message to Iran. Just in time, showing the Iranians that if they persist in developing nuclear weapons, they, too, will eventually be rewarded like India. Naturally, this in turn strengthens the hard-liners in Tehran and undercuts the pro-Western reformers. What were they thinking? Does anybody here know how to play this game?

South Dakota Wants To Decide For Us All

by Molly Ivins South Dakota is so rarely found on the leading edge of the far out, the wiggy, the California-esque. But it has now staked its claim. First to Outlaw Abortion This Century

Count On Rummy For Rosy Reports

by Molly Ivins I'm sure glad to get the straight skinny from Ol' Rumsfeld, who has been in Iraq many times himself for the typical in-country experience. Like many foreign correspondents, Rumsfeld roams the streets alone, talking to any chance-met Iraqi in his fluent Arabic, so of course he knows best

U.S. Alone In Opposing New UN Human Rights Council

by Thalif Deen The United States is alone in its unyielding opposition to a proposal to create a new Human Rights Council (HRC) to replace the UN's existing much-maligned Human Rights Commission in Geneva. On the opposite side of the aisle are strong supporters of the proposal -- an overwhelming majority of the UN's 191 member states -- including the 25-member European Union, the 114-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of developing nations, plus virtually all of the key U.S. human rights organizations

UAE Doesn't Want Foreigners In Key Jobs

by Meena Janardhan A policy of replacing expatriate workers with nationals in key jobs is now well underway with the United Arab Emirates government compelling all major companies to hire only citizens as public relations officers (PROs) or cease business

Shiite Leaders Blame Media For Civil War Fears

by Brian Conley and Isam Rashid In the days after the bombing of the Shiite shrine at Samarra Feb. 22, the Association of Muslim Scholars and representatives of Shiite groups led by Muqtada al-Sadr and Sheikh al-Khalisi met at the Abu Hanifa mosque in Adhamiya to create a ten-point plan for responding to the violence and building a future for Iraq. A primary function of this plan is to 'condemn the press organizations who tried to make this problem between Sunni and Shiite become larger and larger, and we have all the rights to try them in future'

Christian Groups Keep Condoms Out Of AIDS Programs

by Bill Berkowitz Christian conservative groups have lobbied hard to convince the administration to give fewer dollars to groups that distribute condoms or work with prostitutes

The Founders Never Imagined A Bush Administration

by Joyce Appleby and Gary Hart George W. Bush and his most trusted advisers, Cheney and Rumsfeld, entered office determined to restore the authority of the presidency. Five years and many decisions later, they've pushed the expansion of presidential power so far that we now confront a constitutional crisis

Life Gets Harder For Palestinians Packed Into Gaza Strip

by Fawzia Sheikh Life for the 1.4 million Palestinians packed into refugee camps on this thin sliver of land, one of the world's most densely populated, has worsened since last August's evacuation of Jewish settlers, observers say

Secret Prison In Afghanistan Called 'Son Of Guantanamo'

by William Fisher The detainee population at Bagram rose from about 100 prisoners at the start of 2004 to as many as 600 at times last year, according to military figures. This was in part the result of a Bush administration decision to shut off the flow of detainees into Guantanamo after the Supreme Court ruled that those prisoners had some basic due-process rights under U.S. law

Withdrawl Rumors Spread Iraq Instabililty

by Brian Conley and Isam Rashid Some Iraqis suggest that the withdrawal rumors might indicate the resistance is winning. Although many seem to agree that civil war is not inevitable, Iraqis place the responsibility for security squarely on the occupation, the Multi National Forces Iraq.

Attackers Reportedly Held Mosque For Hours Before Bombing

by Brian Conley and Isam Rashid It was said initially that the bombing, which happened early in the morning Feb. 22, was sudden and unexpected. It now appears that preparations began earlier for the 6:55AM blast

Claude Allen Was A Disgrace From The Start

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The young black conservative political activists such as Allen spin, prime and defend administration policies on affirmative action, welfare, laissez-faire capitalism and anti-government regulations with the best of white conservatives. Republicans have done everything possible to ease the way up the political ladder for their bevy of black conservatives. Allen's career is a textbook example of that

U.S. Tries To Take Shoshone Sacred Land -- At 1872 Prices

by Haider Rizvi Shoshone leaders maintain that the U.S. government has used a series of illegal tactics to gain control of their ancestral lands, including seizing livestock and imposing heavy trespass fines. They charge the U.S. government with trying to sell or lease their land to big corporations involved in gold mining and other excavations in the area, which they say has disrupted not only their traditional way of life, but also caused enormous damage to the environment

Canadian Natives Present Tribal Legends To Prove Land Claim

by Am Johal The Xeni Gwet'in First Nations in British Columbia are taking ancient myths into the courtroom as part of a nearly two decades-long battle with the Canadian government over the title to their land

Academy Award Best Picture Is 'Crash' Course In Racism

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The majority of whites are probably genuinely convinced that America is a color-blind society, and that equal opportunity is a reality. They repeatedly told the Harvard pollsters that they believed blacks and whites had attained social and economic equality. If many whites think racial equality is a reality, that's more proof to many blacks that whites are in deliberate racial denial

Richest Nations Silent On New UN Disaster Fund

by Jim Lobe The proposed fund will replace the existing fund of $50 million that could only be drawn down by UN agencies if they could identify how the money would be replenished. Given its small size and rules of operation, the UN has been unable to respond to massive disasters, such as last October's earthquake in Kashmir, as effectively and in as timely a manner as it could with a larger fund. Instead, it has been forced to rely mainly on ad hoc commitments by major donors

Iraq Crisis Opens Door To Breakthrough Talks With Iran

by William O. Beeman On Mar. 16 Iran and the United States agreed to break the almost three decade-long silence between the two countries. The breakthrough, ironically, has come from the violence in Iraq. In fact, Iranians have been looking for a mediator in their dispute with the United States for years

State Dept. Annual Human Rights Report Applauds Iraq, Afghanistan

by Jim Lobe In a 16-page introduction, the report also singled out the human rights performances of Syria, Sudan, Nepal, Russia and Venezuela as particularly problematic through the year, even as it praised what it called 'major progress' in Iraq, as well as advances in Afghanistan, Colombia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Burundi and Liberia

U.S. Counts On Divided Europe To Back It On Iran

by Michael Flynn Europe's willingness to present a united front with the United States on Iran is driven by a number of factors, they say, including mounting concern for the U.S. predicament in Iraq, the disappointing outcomes of its negotiations with Iran, and the fear that further destabilization in the Middle East will have serious consequences for European security

Chechnya Wants Polygamy To Repopulate Country

by Kester Kenn Klomegah Proposals to permit polygamy in order to reverse a declining population have raised a heated debate in Russia between Muslims who support it and Christian groups that oppose it

What Price Iraq?

by Mark Engler So how much will the war cost? The question occasionally appears in the media, never a new issue, never a settled one either. Still, there are some certainties about the costs of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. One is that it keeps going up

Over 200,000 Displaced In Kirkuk Since Invasion

According to the Iraqi Property Claims Commission (IPCC), which began assessing claims in June 2004, nearly 52,000 claims have been registered to date, although fewer than 610 have been settled. 'About 95 percent of the 610 cases which have been settled were for Kurds who were granted the right to return and reclaim their properties and businesses,' said senior IPCC official Youssef Ahmed. 'But practically no Arabs have received compensation after leaving their homes'

Aid Agencies Blocked From Entering Samarra

Aid agencies say thay have been prevented from entering the city of Samarra, where a major U.S. and Iraqi military operation is underway

White House Concealed Scale Of Iraqi Killings After Mosque Bombing

Analysis by Gareth Porter The Bush administration deliberately played down the seriousness of the threat of sectarian civil war in Iraq following the mass killings of Sunnis in revenge for the destruction of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra

Round Pegs, Square Holes, And The CIA

by Michael Winship After reading James Risen's book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," it's clear that hammering of square pegs in round holes is standard operating procedure in intelligence gathering and American foreign policy, especially under the current administration. It's an agonizing litany of how mismanagement, political infighting -- with Cheney, Rumsfeld and their neo-con friends at the forefront, the president frequently and purposely left out of the loop -- and good, old-fashioned pig ignorance led to a series of monstrous intelligence gaffes

Iraq Chaos Hardest On Women

According to the study, released on March 9, the most worrying trend was the large number of kidnappings of women, many of whom reported being sexually abused or tortured. While such occurrences were largely unknown during the Saddam Hussein regime, more than 2,000 women have been kidnapped in Iraq since April 2003

Al Qaeda Fighters Leaving Iraq For Planned Spring Afghan Offensive, Arab Media Reports

by Jalal Ghazi In the past three years Iraqi guerrillas worked with Al Qaeda fighters, or Arab Afghans, in attacking U.S. occupation forces and undermining the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government. There are now reports in Arab media, however, that Al Qaeda fighters are leaving Iraq because the resistance has turned against them

Iraqi Doctors And Other Pros Become Death Squad Targets

by Brian Conley and Isam Rashid It is not just the U.S. forces that Iraqis blame for these crimes. They see also an influence from Iran. Dr. Isam Al-Rawi, member of the Association of Muslim Scholars and head of the Teachers Association of Iraqi Universities suggests that Iran is involved in assassinating educated and influential Iraqis

The Deep Roots Of Israel's Raid In Jericho

by Stephen Zunes The State Department issued only a mild statement reiterating its opposition to Israel's assassination policy. In subsequent months, the Bush administration -- with the encouragement of both Republican and Democratic congressional leaders -- dropped even this nominal opposition and began to openly defend assassinations by Israeli death squads of suspected Palestinian militants

Pat Tillman Family Skeptical New Pentagon Probe Will Reveal All

by Robert Scheer When they enlisted in the Army's elite Ranger unit, serving tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the Tillman brothers became convenient poster boys for a Bush administration eager to exploit the patriotic sensibilities of a wounded nation. What a tragedy that the family's deep sacrifice should come to be treated so shabbily

An Old Story -- Scapegoat Immigrants

by Robert Scheer The script is as old as the Mayflower: A false alarm is sounded that the values, wages and safety of the current roster of credentialed Americans are jeopardized by the 'flood' sneaking across our porous borders -- be they Irish, Chinese, Jewish, Russian, Mexican or even the freed slaves seeking to earn an honest living in Northern cities after the Civil War

Bush Takes Denial To A New Level

by Robert Scheer On the third anniversary of the beginning of his Iraq catastrophe, President Bush yet again dealt in denial, but this time the carefully screened audience at the Cleveland City Club wasn't buying it

Bush's Fantasy Of Progress In Iraq

by Robert Scheer What is he thinking? On a day when Shiite vigilantes conducted hangings in Sadr City in reprisal for the killing of scores of their co-religionists in a market bombing, President Bush continued to insist that progress in Iraq justified staying the course

Support Bush Or National Security: Your Choice

by Robert Scheer First, the president told us that in a war on terror you trust your own government to provide homeland security. You put your faith in the stern, electronic wand-waving Americans in white shirts and TSA epaulettes who check your shoes at the airport; those upstanding Americans who report to other upstanding Americans, such as Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and people he trusts. Now they tell us it's OK to have some Arab as the guy in charge of checking our shoes -- excuse me, ports?

Bush Hawks Dismayed At Prospect Of Joint Talks On Iraq, Iran

by Gareth Porter Hardliners in the Bush administration are resisting any linkage between the two crises, because they want to avoid pressure for a broader settlement with Iran. But they have already lost the battle against talks with Iran on the stabilization of Iraq. Those negotiations are likely to increase the pressure for bilateral negotiations on Iran's nuclear program and Iranian security concerns

Thousands Of Iraqi Families Displaced Since Shrine Bombing

The Iraqi Ministry of Immigration and Displacement said on Tuesday that 3,705 families had been displaced in the country, as a result of the ongoing sectarian violence that erupted following the February 22 bombing of the Al-Askariya in Samarra

White House Reaffirms "First Strike" Doctrine

by Bill Berkowitz Bush second-term National Security Strategy states that the U.S. is involved in a long-term war against terrorism -- a war it believes it is winning -- considers preemptive strikes against countries that might threaten the U.S., as outlined in 2002, a legitimate response, and singles out Iran as the country posing the 'greatest challenge'

Afghans Probably Won't See $10 Billion Pledged For Reconstruction

by Sanjay Suri The $10 billion pledged in aid for Afghanistan during a two-day international meeting here sounds like good news for the country, but the average Afghan is likely to see little of that. More than $5 billion in reconstruction aid was pledged over a five-year period at a meeting of donors in Tokyo in January of 2002, $1.7 billion of it pledged for that year. But Afghanistan got only about $150 million in reconstruction aid

Embattled Bush Seeks Out Friendly Neo-Con Audience For Policy Speech

Analysis by Jim Lobe Bush's speech, which broke little new ground, is the first of a series scheduled this week aimed at bolstering badly sagging public support for the U.S. occupation and reassuring voters that Iraq is not descending into civil war despite the widespread sectarian violence that followed the bombing of Samarra's Golden Mosque late last month. 'The Iraqi people made their choice,' he said. 'They looked into the abyss and did not like what they saw. By their response over the last two weeks, Iraqis have shown the world they want a future of freedom and peace and they will oppose a violent minority'

White House Setting The Tone For Hate Speech Against Muslims

by Mark Lloyd As President Bush and other federal officials brush aside the distinctions between Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and Iraq, it would be naive to expect the dittoheads to appreciate the distinctions between Muslim and Sikh, or for that matter between Arab and terrorist. The Bush administration has created an opening for a new American vocabulary

Opposing UAE Ports Deal Not Anti-Arab Bigotry

by Joe Conason How fortunate that the opinion pages of our mightiest newspapers are open to diverse viewpoints. We would otherwise miss the opportunity to learn from liberal, conservative and centrist pundits alike that opponents of the Dubai ports deal -- which now include about 70 percent of the American public -- must be crazed, racist and xenophobic

UN Anger Over Bolton's Drive To Steer Reform Plan

by Thalif Deen 'The reform agenda of the United Nations is clearly being set by the United States,' complains one longtime UN staffer. 'A lame-duck secretary-general is obviously bending over backwards to please Washington'

Serbia Back To The Crossroads After Milosevic's Burial

by Jim Lobe Three years after President Bush ordered U.S. troops into Iraq, public confidence in the operation is dwindling ever smaller, as is the belief that Bush's stated reasons for going to war were sincere, according to a new poll

Israel Directing U.S. Middle East Policies, Study Finds

by Emad Mekay The pro-Israel lobby in the United States has manipulated Washington's policies in the Middle East to the point where it is the U.S. that does most of the fighting, dying and rebuilding while Israel reaps most of the security benefits, argues a new study by two U.S. scholars

Bush Confirms Fears: No Plan To Exit Iraq

Analysis by Jim Lobe More recent statements by top U.S. officials, including Bush himself, have cast the latter intent into some doubt, heightening the belief among both Iraqis and U.S. citizens, according to recent polls, that Washington actually intends to establish permanent military bases in Iraq

Terminator Seeds Suffer Defeat At Global Conference

by Mario Osava Small farmers and activists celebrated a triumph against Terminator seeds in Brazil Friday, but Australia, Canada and New Zealand tried to leave a door open, pushing for 'case-by-case' evaluation of permits for field testing

Peruvian Potato Farmers Protest Terminator Spud

by Sanjay Suri Trouble is cooking over a move by international agribusiness giant Syngenta to introduce a genetically modified potato. The new strain has been dubbed the "terminator" because it cannot be grown from the sprouts of potatoes from the previous harvest. Critics say the potato's genetic modifications threaten more than 3,000 naturally grown varieties of potato

Antarctic Ice Sheet Disappearing At Record Pace

The Antarctic ice sheet, which contains 90 percent of the planet's ice, has lost significant mass in the past three years, according to satellite data analyzed in the first-ever gravity survey of the entire Antarctic ice sheet

Unmarked Grave Is Often End Of The Line On Trek To U.S.

by Diego Cevallos Thousands of people from Latin America and the Caribbean die in the attempt to reach the United States or other destinations by the most varied means imaginable and trying to outwit ever-stricter border controls. Some get lost or die of exposure in inhospitable deserts; others are shipwrecked on the high seas, murdered, or suffocate in shipping containers, boxcars or trucks. Nobody knows for sure the number of deaths, but the bodies continue to mount

Some Westerners Moving To India To Work At Call Centers

by Siddharth Srivastava Although there are no exact estimates of the number of foreigners answering phone calls in India, the National Association of Software & Services Companies, the industry trade association has estimated that there are over 30,000 expats working in Indian IT and offshoring companies, which is three times as many as in 2004

Repubs Distance Themselves From Bush As Election Year Starts

Analysis by Jim Lobe A Democratic takeover of either house of Congress, let alone both, is still considered a long shot. But the prospect is being taken increasingly seriously by political analysts here, particularly amid recent polls that show an unexpected erosion of support for Bush -- due in major part to the growing perception that he is incompetent -- among bedrock Republicans, as well as independents

National Insecurity

by Alexander Cockburn In the end, after all, 'national security' means the physical security and ability to pursue happiness of Americans. Since both Democrats and Republicans in government have claimed wrongly that this security will be enhanced by exporting jobs, they should be in the dock for increasing national insecurity. The fact that the fruits of these exported jobs come back in the form of commodities reimported to the United States in containers that might or might not be handled by foreign-owned stevedoring and port management companies is a miniscule issue by comparison

Judgement at Nuremberg II (Day 1)

by Steve Young Inasmuch as several Supreme Court justices will be doubling as co-conspirators, the courtroom makeup is in itself unconventional. The bench and the defendant's cages have been placed adjacent to each other making it easier for the respective justices to move effortlessly from judge's chair to defendants'

African Water May Dry Up Across Quarter Of The Continent

by Jim Lobe Declines in rainfall caused by global warming threaten rivers and other local sources of fresh water in densely populated areas of Africa, according to a new study published by Science magazine. While some of these areas, especially in East Africa, are likely to see increases in rainfall of up to 10 percent, other areas, notably in West Africa and southern Africa, are likely to experience declines. Southern Africa, in particular, will find itself 'in a very disturbing situation,' according to the study

Number of Women Suicide Bombers Expected To Grow

by Fawzia Sheikh According to Schweitzer's research, it is not necessary for women to have a personal problem from which they must purify themselves via suicide bombing. This is contrary to research on the subject undertaken by Israeli security forces that suggested the perpetrators almost always had emotional baggage, and killing themselves and Jews was the only way to boost their status

Note To Dems: Make Body Armor The "Willie Horton Issue"

by David Michael Green As 2006 brings with it the prospect of yet another losing election cycle -- and, worse yet, against a GOP which in any normal universe would be facing extinction for any one, let alone the sum total, of its blunders and crimes -- Democrats desperately need a silver bullet. The truth is, they're sitting on an entire ammo dump full of them, but they have shown themselves so far to be either too dumb, too frightened, or too uninterested in anything but their own corporate-sponsored careers to actually pick any of them up and use them

Poll: Most Americans Now Say Iraq War Wasn't Necessary

by Jim Lobe Three years after President Bush ordered U.S. troops into Iraq, public confidence in the operation is dwindling ever smaller, as is the belief that Bush's stated reasons for going to war were sincere, according to a new poll

U.S. Firms Fear Backlash From Ports Debacle

by Emad Mekay U.S. business groups fear that the now-derailed DP ports deal could harden resistance to ongoing attempts by the Bush administration and U.S. corporations to take a bigger bite of markets in the cash-rich Gulf nations, including the United Arab Emirates

Pentagon Denies Homicides Of Terror War Prisoners

by William Fisher A senior U.S. military commander has branded as 'propaganda' a new report from a major human rights group revealing that of the 98 detainees who have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since August 2002, 34 are suspected or confirmed homicides

What Tsunami Didn't Wash Away, Discrimination Did

by Thalif Deen A survey of more than 50,000 tsunami survivors in five Asian countries reveals that most have been doubly devastated: losing their loved ones in the December 2004 natural disaster, and subsequent rights abuses by their own governments

Iraq's Moderate Resistance That You've Never Heard Of

by Bill Weinberg Eclipsed from the headlines by the ongoing carnage in Iraq, there is an active civil resistance in the country that opposes the occupation, the regime it protects, and the jihadist and Baathist 'resistance' alike. This besieged opposition -- under threat of repression and assassination -- is fighting to keep alive elementary freedoms for women, leading labor struggles against Halliburton and other U.S. contractors, opposing privatization of the country's oil and resources, and demanding a secular future for Iraq

Milosevic's Death Raises Questions About Serbia's Future

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic The trial was due to be over by the end of the year. Analysts have often said the basic idea beyond merely sentencing Milosevic was to provide a basis for truth to be heard and reconciliation to be introduced among the Balkans nations after the bloodshed of the '90s

Neo-Con Cheerleaders Quiet As Iraq War Begins Year 4

by Joe Conason Today, Brooks and his fellow neo-cons quarrel over the quagmire their movement made, seeking to shift the blame to scapegoats in the Pentagon and the press, and to refurbish themselves as critics of the president they once idolized. Very few of these sages are willing to acknowledge their own mistakes even now. How could they have known what nobody else figured out?

Bush Invites Supporters To Attack Media

by Norman Solomon In effect, Bush is holding the coat of those who go after the news media on his behalf. Many pro-war voices constantly accuse the media of anti-war and anti-Bush biases -- with the accusations routinely amplified in mass-media echo chambers. Cranking up the volume are powerhouse outlets like Fox News, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the New York Post, the Washington Times, the Weekly Standard, legions of high-profile loyalist pundits, and literally hundreds of radio talk-show hosts across the country who have political outlooks similar to Rush Limbaugh's

The Show Trial That Went Wrong

by Alexander Cockburn Milosevic's death in his cell from a heart attack spared Del Ponte and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) -- itself a kangaroo tribunal set up by the United States with no proper foundation under international law or treaty -- the ongoing embarrassment of a proceeding where Milosevic had made a very strong showing against the phalanx of prosecutors, hearsay witnesses and prejudiced judges marshaled against him

Why There's No Strategy To End This War

by Alexander Cockburn So what are we looking at down the road in the next year or two? A bunch of national Democrats like Hillary Clinton screaming about illegal immigrants and voting for funding for a wall running from Corpus Christi to San Diego, staffed by Israeli death squads. If the war gets mentioned at all, it'll be back to the old winning Kerry formula: We'll fight it better. They'll be drawing up Patriot Act 3, plus new national ID cards and cameras on every street corner, just like they're installing in the United Kingdom

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