Albion Monitor Issue 151 NOVEMBER 2006
Albion Monitor
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The Ghosts of Robert Gates

FREE! Robert Gates, George W. Bush's choice to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary, is a trusted figure within the Bush Family's inner circle, but there are lingering questions about whether Gates is a trustworthy public official. The 63-year-old Gates has long faced accusations of collaborating with Islamic extremists in Iran, arming Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in Iraq, and politicizing U.S. intelligence to conform with the desires of policymakers -- three key areas that relate to his future job.

Gates skated past some of these controversies during his 1991 confirmation hearings to be CIA director when leading Democrats agreed to put "bipartisanship" ahead of careful oversight. The current Bush administration is seeking to slip Gates through the congressional approval process again, this time by pressing for a quick confirmation by the end of the year, before the new Democratic-controlled Senate is seated. If Bush's timetable is met, there will be no time for a serious investigation into Gates's past

Washington Press and Politicos Ignore Gates' Past FREE!

Now accustomed to looking the other way when unconstitutional acts are being committed

  Rumsfeld's backstabbing year in the Ford administration 404 reports

After Years of Mad Choices, Bush Left With Only Sane Options

The Bush quarantine of Iran and Syria has defeated his own purposes

Bush: Stay the Course, Don't Ask For Help

Appears to hope he can still prevail in Iraq without converation with "evil-doers"

U.S. Media Pushes 'Stay the Course'

Mainstream news outlets repeating Vietnam War mistake

U.S. at Risk of Losing All Mideast Influence

All the way back to 1956 Suez accords

Politics and Distrust Behind Muslim-West Rift, not Religion

Although religion is often cynically exploited to stir passions, the root of the matter is political, according to UN report

U.S. Unprepared For High Rates of Iraq Vets Seeking Help FREE!

Reserve and National Guard soldiers, who make up 40-50% of the frontline troops, will get only very limited help

Active-Duty Troops Call For Iraq Pullout

100 seek whistle-blower protection for demanding end of Iraq occupation

Saudi Arabia To Seal Off Iraq Border With Security Fence FREE!

$12 billion to keep Iraq violence from spilling into country

Bechtel Leaving Iraq Without Mission Accomplished

Despite failure, viewed as the beginning of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq

Litvinenko Murder Raises Question: Why Him, Why Now?

Role as a critic was too minor to warrant being killed by such a gruesome, high-profile method

Radiation Link in Death of Putin Critic FREE!

Heavy dose of radioactive element Polonium-210

Bush at Asia summit
Bush, Chinese President Jintao and Russian President Putin, Nov. 19, 2006, wearing the Vietnamese 'ao dai,' a tight-fitting dress popular with Vietnamese women and girls, but also worn by leaders on special occasions


This past week found the president sitting before a bust of the victorious Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, seemingly unaware that the United States lost its war with the Communist-led country. Bush seems not to have noticed that we succeeded in Vietnam precisely because we did quit the military occupation of that nation, permitting an ideology of freedom to overcome one of hate. Bush's rhetoric is frighteningly reminiscent of Richard Nixon's escalation and expansion of the Vietnam War in an attempt to buy an "honorable" exit with the blood of millions of Southeast Asians and thousands of American soldiers. In the end, a decade of bitter fighting did not prevent an ignominious U.S. departure from Saigon.

While op/eds in the American press drew attention to Vietnam ironies, less noticed was the complete failure of the purpose of Bush's trip. The 21-nation APEC bloc rejected the U.S.-backed proposal to make the region into one vast free-trade zone, and even slapped down Washington's attempt to have the Pacific rim group of nations go beyond its economic mission and take a tough stand on regional security issues. This was the more important story: Asia sent a clear message to the U.S. that it is no longer economically relevant


Clueless in the Shadow of Ho Chi Minh

The lesson of Vietnam is not to keep pouring lives and treasure down a dark and poisonous well, but to patiently use a pragmatic mix of diplomacy and trade with even our ideological competitors

Bush Seen as Irrelevant at Asian Summit

Hoped-for free trade deal dead

Journalists Miss the Real Vietnam at APEC Summit

Swept up by forces of globalization quickly after end of Cold War

Bush Brings Nothing to the Table in Pacific Rim Trade Summit

As rights group fears U.S. will force deals on poor countries

Remembering the Real Ed Bradley

 Ed Bradley
Ed Bradley, news icon with a heart

A moment off-camera revealed his consummate humanity

Quick Saddam Execution May Cheat Kurds of Genocide Trial

About 180,000 killed by regime in late 1980s

Timing of Saddam Verdict Raises Ire in Mideast

Arabs see announcement 2 days before U.S. election as more proof of courtroom farce

Iraq Suffers Worst Day of Killing Since U.S. Invasion

At least 202 killed, 257 wounded in triple suicide bomb attack on Sadr City

Bush Loses Major Evangelical Ally With Outing of Ted Haggard

Was heir apparent to such leaders as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and James Dobson

Why O.J. Doesn't Go Away

A one-man machine for generating rage

Green-Card Holders Find Change of Address Makes You a Suspect

Legal permanent residents can be labeled "flight risks"

Assassination Renews Lebanon Crisis FREE!

"People are blindly following sectarian leaders," says Beirut analyist

Gaza's Teetering Tower of Debt FREE!

Credit running out for 160,000 Palestinian Authority workers not paid since March

Israel, Palestine Wary as Ceasefire Begins

A truce born of mutual exhaustion, not of the belief in a new and bold diplomatic horizon

U.S. Denounced at UN for Defending Israel Attacks

Blocks vote to condemn killing of 80+ Palestinian civilians, including 22 children, in past week

"Accidental" Israeli Bombing Kills 18 in Gaza, Including 8 Children FREE!

Israel investigating "regrettable incident" of artillery fire on Palestinian neighborhood

Hundreds of Orangutans Die in Indonesian Wildfires FREE!

Fires intentionally set to clear forestland for agriculture before the rainy season

Iran Subsidizing Drivers With Ultra-Cheap Gas

Major oil producer is importing gasoline to offer it at 27 cents/gallon

Ethanol and Other Biofuel Subsidies a Waste, Study Finds

U.S. spending $8-11 billion annually that could be better spent elsewhere

Ocean Life on the Brink of No Return

"By the time my nine-year-old son is my age, there would be no wild seafood left"


Iraq Industry Another Casualty of War

85% factory unemployment, many of the remaining 15% work at state factories with guaranteed positions

Most Iraq Food Imported as Farmers Struggle to Produce Crops Against Odds

Even as Maliki praises his government's system to help growers

Iraqi Resistance Starting in Elementary School

The children took no notice of the blast which shook the doors and windows of the half-destroyed school

Life as a Baghdad Street Seller, Dodging Bombs FREE!

Street vendors increasingly fear becoming victims of someone else's bomb

Iraq Scholars Targeted by Death Squads

Thousands of professors and university researchers have long since fled

U.S. Accused of Massacre in Ramadi

Witnesses say U.S. troops even kept residents from helping dead and injured

Iraq Closes Universities Following Worst Mass Kidnapping Since U.S. Invasion FREE!

150 snatched from downtown Baghdad offices

Iraq's Healthcare System Rapidly Deteriorating FREE!

9 of 10 hospitals lack essential supplies, about half of doctors gone

Iraq's Shadowy "Protection Force" Linked to Death Squads

Main force that conducted assassinations in Baghdad

U.S. Mega-Embassy in Iraq Being Built By Virtual Slave Labor

Thousands of migrant workers from the Philippines, India, Pakistan and other poor South Asian countries earning as little as $10 a day

U.S, Iraqi Forces Becoming Major Force in Anbar Violence

"We are going to need another graveyard, this one is going to be full soon"


Murtha no Democratic Party Beacon

When Pelosi vowed to "drain the swamp," she could've been talking about Murtha

Method To GOP Madness in Trent Lott Rehab

Plan to win 2008 votes from Republican's Southern base

Repubs Deserved Defeat for Sleazy Campaign

Robo-call scam were only part of disgrace

Europe Hopes Election 06 Brought New Era of Reason FREE!

Our winter of discontent is made glorious summer by this hard-won victory

E-Voting Glitches a Minor Problem in Election 06

Worst case in Sarasota, Florida

Immigration Reform Surprise: Hard-Liners Lost, Pragmatists Won

Pragmatic reform a big message from voters

GOP Could Learn from Arnold

The modest breakthrough Schwarzenegger made with black voters gives the GOP a faint glimmer of hope for 2008

Repubs Spinning Election Day in Advance

The reactionary spin is once more set up to turn into the conventional wisdom

Black Republican Candidates Face Grim Odds

"New wave" of black politicians will likely be a dashed hope

Election '06 Rated XXX FREE!

I know porn when I see it

Prison Planet
Camp "Bondsteel" in Kosovo is one of the remote U.S. bases thought to be used as a transfer point for prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe

FREE! Today, the United States presides over a far-flung new network of maximum security penitentiaries, detention centers, jail cells, cages, and razor wire-topped pens. Guantanamo Bay has been the public face of the Bush administration's semi-secret foreign prison network -- a collection of camps, cells, and cages that today holds 437 prisoners. But "Gitmo" has always been the tiny showpiece, the jewel in a very dark crown, for a much larger, less visible foreign network of military detention facilities, CIA "black" sites, and outsourced foreign prisons. It is a prison camp that rightly attracts opprobrium, but it also serves to focus attention away from shadowy ghost jails, borrowed third-nation facilities, much larger prisons holding thousands in Iraq, and a full-scale network of detention centers and prisons in Afghanistan.

Who Is the Real Daniel Ortega? Asks Latin Press

Old rebel leader or new, more moderate politician?

The Sandinistas Are Back

Only White House observers question fairness of elections

Nicaragua Outlaws Abortion in Advance of Election

Right-wing hopes to appease strict Catholics

The Race For Pinochet's Gold

Trail leads to secret bank account in Hong Kong

Mexico's New President Takes Office Amid Rise in Social Violence, Drug Trafficking

As Obrador still claims to be legitimate leader

Mexico City Explosions are Dangerous Escalation in Oaxaca Crisis

"The stakes have been raised in an unprecedented way"

How Many Deaths Is the Oaxaca Governor Worth?

Conflict apparently will be left to next Mexico president

Big Oil Signs New Contracts With Bolivia Under Threat of Military Takeover

Nationalization hadn't included seizure of company assets

Honduras Hires Private Cops in Effort to Quell Murders

Security guards expected to battle killer gangs like MS (Mara Salvatrucha)

Latin America Drug War Trumps Fighting Human Trafficking

U.S. drug interception patrols also sinking boats loaded with migrants

Ally of Venezuela's Chavez Wins Ecuador Presidency

Will revise contracts signed with foreign oil companies

Mexico Shuts the Door on GM Maize

Ahead of free trade deals with U.S. scheduled to start in 2008

Russia Now Top Arms Seller to Developing World

Most sales to U.S. allies in the Mideast: Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt

India Slum Cleanup Threatens Millions of Jobs

Much of New Delhi's merchant, worker class being forced to move far from city

Truck Smog Means Asthma For Low-Income Residents Near Highways

Study shows children living near truck routes have high rates of asthma and low lung capacity

 Thomas Friedman
Friedman's great wealth is a frame for his window on the world

How I Underestimated Thomas Friedman

Is the guy rich? Beyond your dreams

Texas Prisoner Cheats Executioner With Suicide

At least 7 other suicides on Texas death row

Agent Orange Linked to Prostate Problems FREE!

Study shows dioxin exposure causes decreased testosterone levels



Molly Ivins Farewell, My Rummy

Yeah, NOW They're all for Bipartisanship

Time for Media to Drop Right-Wing Talking Points

Crazy Right to the End

Dirty Politics Down to the Finish Line

GOP Ineptitude and Some Advice for Dems


Robert Scheer Learning to Live With the Ayatollahs

Bush Clueless in the Shadow of Ho Chi Minh

Murtha's no Lefty, but he's Right

Bush's November Surprise

Turning the Corner Into Madness


Alexander Cockburn The Bloodlettings We Choose to Ignore

Head for the Exit, Now

Now What?

Dire Warnings About World Banking System

The Bombshell of Public Law 109-364


Steve Young Shame on You, Mr. Olbermann, For Making Fun of a Sick Man

Talk Show Host Vacations Hurting Progress In Iraq

Blood and Oil

It Wasn't Iraq, It Was the Jokes About Iraq

Your Election '06 Guide To Talk Radio Talkback

The Immolation of Malachi Ritscher


In early November, Malachi Ritscher set himself on fire in Chicago, drawing little media attention. A man in his early 50s, Ritscher wrote in his suicide note that his fellow Americans had become "more concerned with sports on television and ring-tones on cell phones than the future of the world." What to make of such an act of protest? The few newspapers that reported it called it suicide. But is there another way to look at self-immolation? Is it an act of heroism or madness?

Albion Monitor
Issue 151

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

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