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Jordan No Longer a Welcome Haven for Iraqi Refugees

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Hundreds of thousands have fled the violence in Iraq to seek refuge in Jordan, but refugees are now beginning to find its borders closing. Jordan and Syria are the only two countries where fleeing Iraqis can hope to find shelter. Western countries have shut their doors to Iraqi nationals -- even to refugees. And now much the same is happening with Jordan too

British Troops Storm Basra Police Station, Free Prisoners From Torture Cells

by Sumedha Senanayake On December 25, a thousand British troops accompanied by Iraqi forces raided the Al-Jama'at police station in Basra after being told that dozens of detainees were about to be put to death. At the police station, the troops found 127 prisoners being held in conditions that U.K. military spokesman Major Charlie Burbridge described as 'appalling'

New Films Ask: Who Killed Litvinenko?

by Claire Bigg Two months have passed since former Russian intelligence officer Aleksandr Litvinenko died of radioactive poisoning in a London hospital. But the mystery shrouding his death is thicker than ever. With investigators tight-lipped on their findings, speculation is intense on what has grown into the most dramatic espionage case since the Cold War

The Make or Break Speech for the Made and Broken War

by Alexander Cockburn President Bush stuck to his expected script and said he plans to boost America's forces in Iraq by 4,000 Marines to Anbar province and five combat brigades -- 17,500 troops -- to Baghdad, in a new scheme to regain control of the city. Past strategies to do this had failed, Bush explained, because of insufficient numbers. He added ominously, 'Also, there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have'

Ford Gets Lots of Praise, Little Respect

by Alexander Cockburn At the start of the first viewing day, so the wires services reported, only 20 people were mustered at Capitol Hill to view Ford's casket in the Rotunda. On that day, too, almost 500 of the 535 members of Congress had prior commitments. They had to scramble to find enough pallbearers after Donald Rumsfeld missed his plane. Even Justice John Paul Stevens, whom Ford installed on the Supreme Court and who has long been its most liberal member, did not initially feel impelled to show up

Bush: It's Over

by Alexander Cockburn The Bush presidency is finished, whether or not he takes us all down with him. A State of the Union address is always a pitiless register of where exactly the White House incumbent stands, in terms of political power. As Bush plodded through a list of doomed political initiatives, the news cameras kept swiveling away from him, like people seeking escape from a bore at a cocktail party

Attacking Jimmy Carter

by Alexander Cockburn For weeks now the Israel lobby has hurled its legions into battle against Carter. He has been stigmatized as an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier, a patron of former concentration camp killers, a Christian madman, a pawn of the Arabs who 'flatly condones mass murder' of Israeli Jews

U.S. Airstrikes in Somalia Open Africa Front in Terror War

by Moyiga Nduru As part of Washington's war on terror, the U.S. sent planes to drop bombs on suspected Islamists hiding in a village on the Somali-Kenya border. As a result, Washington's involvement has put Africa, which has proposed to deploy 8,000 peacekeepers in Somalia, in a difficult situation, analysts say

The Battle of Condi's Bachelorettehood

by Steve Young Rice said that the questioning might have gotten 'a little too personal.' Too personal? We're talking about the President's decision to send more American sons and daughters into a battle; a decision that 70 percent of America disagrees with. How can any question, no matter how you frame it, be too personal?

Shut Up and Sacrifice

by Steve Young Forget embedding reporters. Embed talk show hosts. Put them in uniforms. Not to play soldier in the Green Zone. But with rifle in hand, going house to house. Getting blown up by roadside bombs. Coming home in a box...that their fans wouldn't be allowed to see

Shocker of the Week -- O'Reilly Attacks Hollywood

by Steve Young Well, you'll never guess what side if the ideological aisle he decided to slam this week. No. No. No. Give up? Liberals. Liberals in Hollywood. Finally. With his constant railing at those on the far-right who have attempted to bring down the America Bill once knew, well, all I can say is, thank God he's finally found the time to balance the O'Reilly Smackdown

Bill O'Reilly: Child Abuser

by Steve Young Shawn Hornbeck had spent the last four years enduring who knows what torturous hell and what did the guy who's looking out for you and your kids and castigates judges who don't give child abusers stiff enough sentences? He exploited Shawn again. Bill O'Reilly: child abuser

Rep. Goode's Gripe Over Muslims in U.S.

by William Fisher Appearing on Fox, Goode insisted he does not want to forbid Keith Ellison to use the Koran outright. 'But,' he said, 'I am for restricting immigration so that we don't have a majority of Muslims elected to the United States House of Representatives.' Goode wants to curtail legal immigration for people from the Middle East and end diversity visa programs that were created to increase the immigrants from non-European countries.

Burma's AIDS Epidemic Threatening China, India

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Burma has one of the 'most serious epidemics' in Asia, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), revealed in its 2006 annual report. The record number of HIV cases in two of India's northeastern provinces that have Burma as a neighbor offers a troubling sign of what lies ahead. China is also facing a similar crisis along the stretches where it shares Burma's northeastern border

Official Accounts of Najaf Battle Unravel

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Iraq's national security advisor Muaffaq al-Rubaii said just 15 minutes after the MNS announcement that hundreds of Arab fighters had been killed, and that many had been arrested. Rubaii claimed there were Saudis, Yemenis, Egyptians and Afghans. But Governor Khalil's office backed away from its initial claims after the dead turned out to be local Shia Iraqis. Iraqi security officials continue to contradict their own statements. Most officials now say that the dead were Shia extremists supported by foreign powers.

Israel Planning Attack on Iran, London Times Reports

Analysis by Praful Bidwai The 'Sunday Times' alleged that Israel has plans to attack three sites, Natanz, Arak, and Isfahan, possibly with tactical nuclear weapons. These are the locations, respectively, of Iran's uranium enrichment plant, heavy water reactor, and a uranium gas-conversion facility. The paper also says that Israeli Air Force pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 2,000-mile round trip to the Iranian targets

Bush Admin Again Charging Iran With Making IEDs

by Gareth Porter The previous pattern had been that U.S. and British officials suggest that Iranian government involvement in the use by Sunni insurgents or Shiite militias of 'shaped charges' that can penetrate U.S. armored vehicles is the only logical conclusion that could be drawn from the facts. But when asked point blank, they admit that they have no evidence to support it. That charge serves not just one administration objective but two: it provides an additional justification for aggressive rhetoric and pressures against Tehran and also suggests that Iran bears much of the blame for the sectarian violence in Baghdad and high levels of U.S. casualties from IEDs

Bush's Change-The-Subject Speech

by Joe Coneason If America's need for substantial leadership were not so grave, we might find some dark amusement in George W. Bush's latest attempt to escape his own political quagmire. Sinking to Nixonian levels of public distrust and disdain in most polls, and facing a Democratic Congress, he tried to shift the focus to health care, climate change and educational reform in his annual address to Congress

Bush Expands Iraq Conflict Into Three-Front War

by Gareth Porter Bush's State of the Union address appears to confirm other indications in recent weeks that the president is not merely sending more troops to Iraq to do more of the same, but has adopted a new strategy of fighting all three major Iraqi Arab political-military forces simultaneously

States Using Lottery Money to Hide Parts of Budget

by Jonathan J. Bean, Donald W. Gribbin Politicians love to conceal the greedy hand of government. The lottery is an ideal example. Yet it pilfers the pockets of the poor, does little to stem organized crime, and puts the state in the dubious monopoly of legalized gambling

West Doesn't Understand Its Enemy, Says Former CIA Analyst

by Heather Maher American political leaders on both sides of the aisle have really not come to grips yet, five years later, with what this war is about. They continue to say that bin Laden and Al-Qaeda and its allies are focused on destroying America and its democracy, its freedom, [its] gender equality. And really this war has very, very little to do with any of that. It has to do with what the West and the United States do in the Islamic world

Illegal Sumatra Coffee Growers Threaten Endangered Tigers, Rhinos

Coffee illegally grown in an Indonesian national park inhabited by endangered tigers, elephants and rhinos fills the cups of unsuspecting coffee drinkers around the world, according to an investigative report released January 17 by the global conservation organization WWF

Bush Stands Alone in New Plan for Iraq

Analysis by Jim Lobe As many as a dozen Republican senators are expected to vote as early as next week for a resolution proposed by the Senate Democratic leadership expressing disapproval of the troop escalation

Bloodshed, Chaos Mark Start of 2007 in Iraq

by Mohammed A. Salih Many in Iraq doubt that the current strategies could resolve the security and political crisis that the country is sinking deeper into. They see the factors of instability in 2006 continuing into this year

Iraq War Passes Vietnam War as Deadly Place for Reporters

by Mohammed A. Salih A report released by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders on the last day of 2006 described Iraq as 'the world's most dangerous country for the media.' The RWB says 64 journalists and media assistants were killed in Iraq during 2006, "more than twice the number in the 20-year Vietnam war

Evangelicals to Team up With Scientists on Global Warming

by Jim Lobe Long dominated by leaders of the Christian Right, such as televangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson whose politics generally matched those of the far right of the Republican Party, important elements of the movement have increasingly taken a more independent stance, particularly with respect to social issues, such as poverty and AIDS, global warming and human rights. In that respect, Wednesday's statement, the result of private consultations last month at a retreat for scientific and evangelical leaders in the state of Georgia, marks a major new development in the evolution of the increasingly turbulent politics of the evangelical movement

Anti-War Marches Draw Hundreds of Thousands

by Aaron Glantz Saturday's demonstration in Washington was just one of more than 50 held around the country this weekend. In San Francisco, a protest against President Bush's plan to send additional troops to Iraq turned out 5,000 demonstrators. In Los Angeles, thousands took to the streets, with many carrying signs that said 'Impeach Bush'

Gitmo Detainees Mark Five Years in Limbo

by William Fisher While the U.S. military claimed Guantanamo inmates were captured 'on the battlefield' in Afghanistan, and designated by the Bush administration as enemy combatants, there is mounting evidence that a number were victims of what is known as 'extraordinary rendition' -- capturing a person and sending him or her to a site recognized for practicing torture

Iraq Health System Collapsed Under U.S. Occupation

by Pratap Chatterjee More than two months passed before the new Republican appointee arrived. Unlike his predecessor, Jim Haveman was not a doctor, had never lived outside the U.S. and had never taken part in post-war or post-disaster reconstruction. He had experience as director of community health in the state of Michigan, and was a former director for International Aid, a faith-based relief organization that promotes Christianity in the developing world. He also previously headed up Bethany Christian Services, a large adoption agency that urges pregnant women not to have abortions

Death of Neo-Cons Greatly Exaggerated

by Jim Lobe The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) may have effectively closed up shop two years ago and its key neo-conservative allies in the administration, such as Scooter Libby and Douglas Feith, may be long gone, but the group's five-year-old Middle East strategy remains very much alive

Israel Backs Off From W Bank Promises

by Peter Hirschberg As 2006 ended, Olmert found himself largely agenda-less, his West Bank withdrawal plan a distant, unfulfilled promise -- thanks to the military campaign he waged in the summer against Hezbollah in Lebanon. By the end of the war, with the Israeli military having been unable to vanquish Hezbollah, Olmert's West Bank plan was in tatters and his popularity blown to bits by the hundreds of rockets that rained down on northern Israel -- until the very last day of the month-long war

What's Really Behind Ethiopia's Invasion of Somalia?

by Donal Brown Those familiar with the situation in Somalia doubt it could ever provide a haven for Al Qaeda let alone jihadists coming from all over the Middle East. Most jihadists do not speak Somali and few speak Arabic. They would stand out too much with their different eating habits and clothing. It would be difficult for a bone-poor country like Somalia to support an influx of foreigners

Anti-War Movement Reawakens With Planned Surge on Washington

by Aaron Glantz In mid-November, United for Peace and Justice called a demonstration for the nation's capital for Jan. 27, with other large mobilizations planned for Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. In addition, smaller actions are planned for more than 50 cities

Pentagon Official Apologizes for Threatening Gitmo Defense Lawyers

by William Fisher A senior U.S. defense department official who suggested that major corporations should stop doing business with large law firms who represent Guantanamo Bay detainees has apologized for his remarks -- but his apology failed to satisfy some legal and human rights advocates

Goodbye, Molly I.

by Anthony Zurcher Molly's work was truly her passion. She would regularly turn down lucrative speaking engagements to give rally-the-troops speeches at liberalism's loneliest outposts. And when she did rub elbows with the highfalutin' well-to-do, the encounter would invariable end up as comedic grist in future columns

Russia: 60,000 Suicides a Year

by Kester Kenn Klomegah In his annual address to the nation in May this year, President Vladimir Putin said the population was falling by about 700,000 annually. He pledged financial incentives to women with larger families, and a bigger health budget. But health experts and religious leaders say that rising suicide rates and other problems like alcoholism, drug addiction, tuberculosis, tobacco-related diseases and a high number of abortions are all taking a heavy toll.

Even Bush Allies Oppose "Surge" of Troops in Iraq

by Jim Lobe Even ret. Lt. Col. Ollie North, a far-right talk-show host who gained fame as the White House coordinator of what became the Iran-Contra affair 20 years ago, reported that recent interviews with officers and soldiers in Iraq persuaded him that adding more troops to the 140,000 already deployed there would be a mistake

Iraqi Refugees Won't Find Welcome in U.S.

by Andrew Lam More than 3 million Iraqis have been displaced by the war in Iraq. Yet the U.S. has very few slots for those who fled their homeland to seek safe haven, even if it has a direct hand in their tragedy

Arabs "Bewildered" by New Bush Plan for Iraq

by Camille T. Taiara Bush's plan to place new brigades in some of Iraq's most hotly contested areas is equivalent to 'poking a tiger with a stick,' Jamal Dajani said. And the administration's refusal to negotiate with Iran -- as the Baker-Hamilton Report advised -- is putting our allies in the region in an increasingly tight spot. In the meantime, Iraqis are bracing themselves

Activists Seek to Expose Silicon Valley's Toxic Secrets

by Raj Jayadev The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), slapped Romic with 28 violations from 1999 to 2004 -- everything from mislabeling chemicals to storing them in unauthorized places -- resulting in a 2005 settlement of $849,500 in penalties. CalOSHA also discovered 57 violations at the plant from 1988 to 2004, totaling $163,360 in fines. Romic's DTSC permit expired in 1991; despite some extensions, it has been operating with a provisional permit for the last 11 years

Reserves Soldier Returns From Iraq to Find Job Gone

by Rene P. Ciria-Cruz A highly decorated Air Force nurse was fired after deployment to Balad, Iraq. With more troops being sent for more frequent and longer multiple deployments, her case could be the tip of the iceberg. The Department of Labor reported that it received 70 percent more complaints from reservists who have lost their jobs or employment benefits over the past six years

UN Fraud Cases Quietly Fizzling Out

by Thalif Deen The announcement of the suspension was turned into a media circus, with all eight staffers under the glare of undue publicity -- and heavily spotlighted in right-wing, neo-conservative U.S. newspapers and TV networks which used the probe to beat up on the United Nations as a corrupt and badly managed organization. But one year later, six of the eight staffers have been reinstated with no charges against them

Ongoing Reports of Falluja Terrorized by U.S. Soldiers

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Local Iraqi police estimate that at least five attacks are being carried out against U.S. troops in Falluja each day, and about as many against Iraqi government security forces. The city in al-Anabar province to the west of Baghdad has been under some form of siege since April 2004.

Allegations of U.S. Forces Desecrating Iraqi Holy Sites Fuel Anger

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Photographs are being circulated of black crosses painted on mosque walls and on copies of the Quran, and of soldiers dumping their waste inside mosques. New stories appear frequently of raids on mosques and brutal treatment of Islamic clerics, leading many Iraqis to ask if the invasion and occupation was a war against Islam

Deadly New Strain of TB May Require Wide Area Quarantines

by Stephen Leahy Millions of migrant workers from neighboring countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland and from within different regions of South Africa, as well as high rates of HIV infection, create ideal conditions for the spread of XDR-TB. Indeed, at least 30 new cases of XDR-TB are being detected in South Africa each month

Baghdad Suicide Rates Climbing

The number of suicides in war-ravaged Iraq is increasing due to psychological stress caused by relentless violence, medical experts said. 'We see more cases of suicide each month and all evidence shows that the main reason for the suicides has been the stress and pressure caused by the continuing violence,' said Dr. Muhammad Hamza, a specialist in suicide medical investigation at the Ministry of Health

Chuck Hagel for President!

by Robert Scheer Chuck Hagel for president! If it ever narrows down to a choice between him and some Democratic hack who hasn't the guts to fundamentally challenge the president on Iraq, then the conservative Republican from Nebraska will have my vote. Yes, the war is that important, and the fact that Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, the leading Democratic candidate, still can't or won't take a clear stand on the occupation is insulting to the vast majority of voters who have

Brooding Prince's Soliloquy

by Robert Scheer To win, perchance to dream. Few Americans, a mere 17 percent, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC poll, think that sacrificing more Americans in patrols on the streets of Baghdad will reverse the slings and arrows of our outrageous Iraqi fortune, but giving a speech about it might provide our hapless Hamlet with some temporary political cover.

A Monster of our Own Creation

by Robert Scheer In fact, the most heinous crimes allegedly committed by Saddam, including the use of poison gas against Shiite Iraqis he suspected of being sympathetic to his Shiite enemies in Iran, were carried out during the years that he was our ally. With the United States having now put Iraqi Shiites with long political, military and ideological ties to those same Iranian ayatollahs into power in Baghdad, the bizarre circle of this foreign policy disaster is now complete, with Saddam's broken neck a fitting coda

Stand Up Against the Surge

by Molly Ivins People have done dumber things. What were they thinking when they bought into the Bay of Pigs fiasco? How dumb was the Egypt-Suez war? How massively stupid was the entire war in Vietnam? Even at that, the challenge with this misbegotten adventure is that WE simply cannot let it continue

What's Happened to us?

by Molly Ivins What happened to the nation that never tortured? The nation that wasn't supposed to start wars of choice? The nation that respected human rights and life? A nation that from the beginning was against tyranny? Where have we gone? How did we let these people take us there? How did we let them fool us?

The World Agrees: Stop Him

by Robert Scheer President Bush has accomplished what Osama bin Laden only dreamed of by disgracing the model of American democracy in the eyes of the world. According to an exhaustive BBC poll, nearly three-quarters of those polled in 25 countries oppose the Bush policy on Iraq, and more than two-thirds believe the U.S. presence in the Middle East destabilizes the region

Christian Right Seeks Hard Line on Immigrants

by Bill Berkowitz Under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, anyone born in the United States is a citizen -- a right Families First is waging an extremely uphill battle to overturn. 'We weren't surprised that leaders of the religious right finally got into the game. The organization is trying to stake out a more moderate position than the Minutemen and other extremist anti-immigration organizations, and it is using a religious frame to try and woo supporters'

Safe Humor for a Reckless President

by Michael Winship The chief executive could use a safe bet or two these days, but in truth, reports of his presidency's demise are somewhat exaggerated. Despite his abysmal poll numbers, ship-abandoning Republicans, reports of desperation at 1600 Pennsylvania and the Democratic Congress' attempts to constrain Bush, there's Rasputin-like life in the good old boy yet. The man who put the bully in bully pulpit -- with the help of his vice president -- is down but not out

Bush Energy Proposals: Too Little, Too Late

Bush acknowledged that climate change is an important issue, but he disappointed environmentalists and others by failing to address the problem with a plan to curb the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for raising the global temperature

Zunes: The Problem is More Than a Lack of "Resolve"

by Stephen Zunes U.S. policy has contributed greatly to the sectarian violence and is not likely to reverse it. As a result, most Iraqis -- both Sunni and Shiite -- want U.S. forces out of their country. Indeed, the presence of American forces is fueling the insurgency and is helping to undermine the legitimacy of the government. As a result, it is not a matter of 'resolve,' but whether ongoing U.S. military operations in Iraq are doing more harm than good

ExxonMobil Funded Anti-Global Warming Propaganda

by Jim Lobe Like the tobacco industry that for decades denied a link between smoking and lung cancer, ExxonMobil has waged a 'sophisticated and successful disinformation campaign' to mislead the public about global warming, according to a major new report by the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists

Hardliner's Hardliner Led Bush's Iraq Review

by Jim Lobe When Bush unveils his long-awaited new strategy on Iraq, he will be relying heavily on the counsel of one J.D. Crouch II, perhaps the most hard line -- if most obscure -- of his hawkish advisers

Furor over Iraq Executions Continues Unabated

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Two others sentenced to death, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam's half brother and a former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court, were hanged early Monday. Barzan was decapitated, accidentally, authorities said. The executions, and the manner of the executions, has added to the disquiet over the execution of Saddam, and the trial that led to it

German Bribery Case Offers Peek at Secret Banking World

by Lucy Komisar There are now more than 70 offshore centers that sell bank and/or corporate secrecy, collectively holding deposits worth trillions of dollars. They allow criminals of all stripes, including big-time tax evaders, to set up companies and accounts under fake or borrowed names. Offshore 'tax havens' are banking profit centers

Polls Show Muslims in West Fearful

by William Fisher Five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, "Islamophobia" -- intensified by the war in Iraq and government actions -- has left millions of Muslims here and in other Western countries fearful and confused about their place in society

The Hillary and Barack Sideshow

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The talk of an Obama and Clinton showdown, or even more preposterous an Obama and Clinton ticket (not sure in which order) has captured the imagination of some who think, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently mused, that America is ready to elect a black president. Others, and that includes Clinton, think America is ready to elect a woman president. This is more delusion. Of course, when pollsters ask voters about the importance of gender and race when they vote for president, anybody that doesn't wear a white sheet or sport a Nazi swastika tattoo will swear that they don't vote color or sex. After all who wants to come off looking and sounding like a bigot these days? Yet even at the risk of the gender bigotry tag, far more voters in a 2005 CNN poll said they were "more likely" to cast a vote against Clinton than for her

Alliance Between Iraq, Iran Shiites Key to Bush Failures

by Joe Conason Nothing better illustrates the profound differences between the U.S. and Iraq over relations with Iran than the recent raid by American soldiers on an Iranian office in the northern city of Irbil, where they arrested five alleged Iranian subversives. During a tense confrontation, the Americans faced the cocked weapons of Kurdish troops, who surrounded the Iranian facility

Iraq's Southern Tribes Joining Armed Resistance

by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily While members of the Mehdi Army certainly carry out attacks against occupation forces in southern Iraq, other home-grown resistance seems to have taken root, fed also by earlier memories

The Soldier Who Disappeared

by Aaron Glantz In September 2004, Tileston listed her son as a missing person with the state of Kentucky, but all the police could find was a traffic citation from Florida. Tileston told IPS she doesn't know where her son is, but she has an idea about why he's gone. 'He was providing protection to a contractor's convoy,' Tileston said. 'An eight-year-old kid with an AK (machine gun) was shooting at his convoy and he shot back and had to kill an eight-year-old kid and that's when he lost it'

Pentagon Seeks to Pressure Reporter Into Testifying Against Soldier

by Norman Solomon People who run wars are notoriously hostile to a free press. They're quick to praise it -- unless the reporting goes beyond mere stenography for the war-makers and actually engages in journalism that makes the military command uncomfortable. Evidently, that's why the Pentagon subpoenaed Olson. They want her to testify to authenticate her quotes from Watada -- which is to say, they want to force her into the prosecution of him

Bush Wins No Converts With State of the Union Speech

by Jim Lobe Less than 24 hours after Bush's appearance before both houses of Congress and a glittering array of other top U.S. officials and the foreign diplomatic corps under the Capitol dome, most analysts agreed that he probably made very few, if any, converts

Hundreds Die in Najaf Battle, But Reports Unclear Why

by Jim Lobe The Iraqi government claimed that 200 Army members were killed, including the group's leader, and another 120 captured after some 15 hours of fighting, which reportedly came as a major surprise to U.S. officials despite the large number of Army fighters involved and the firepower -- a heavy machine gun downed the U.S. helicopter, according to the Pentagon -- at their disposal

Burma Public Stands up to Junta With Letter-Writing Campaign

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Directly addressing Burma's strongman, Than Shwe, comes with a high personal risk, including a jail term, if it provokes the ire of the junta. The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as the junta is officially known, currently holds over 1,100 people in jails for expressing their thoughts on a range of subjects. These political prisoners include opposition parliamentarians, Buddhist monks, journalists, writers, students and political activists

The Graying of the Zapatistas

by Diego Cevallos 13 years after the truce that ended two weeks of skirmishes between the lightly armed group and government forces, many of the intellectuals who once admired Subcommandante Marcos now criticize him, and the magazines ignore him altogether. While the group is no longer in the media spotlight, it has remained a reference point for the struggle for Native rights and the need to pull Native people out of the dire poverty in which they live

"Zebra Murders" Foreshadowed Aspects of Terror War, Book Shows

by Aaron Glantz 'It doesn't take a genius to see that ever since 9/11, we've been caught up in a cycle of terrorism, both abroad and at home,' Sanders says. 'Just like then, the whole world seems to be going crazy, with bombings and insurgencies and a feeling that every time you step outside there'll probably be one cataclysm or another'

Bush Pushing Failed Education Plans

by Donal Brown In his speech, Bush cited the progress minority children had made in closing the testing score gap between them and other students. Fact-checkers working after the speech and others say that Bush's claim that NCLB is closing the gap is exaggerated

Media Reform Meetup Seeks to Arm the Lambs

by Michael Winship Admittedly, there was a certain, liberal "Kumbaya" quotient at play in the crowd, and sprinkled here and there, a tiny Whitman's Sampler of cranks. What's more, as diverse a group as it was, truth be told, they were largely white, an irony on this weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday

Katrina Glaringly Missing in Bush's State of the Union

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Bush's failure to mention the status of Katrina reconstruction this past week points to a problem many GOP conservatives have. They simply don't feel comfortable talking about poverty and the government's responsibility to aid the poor

Thai Junta Tightens Media Censorship

by Marwaan Macan-Markar At a leading television station, the censor's scissors stands ready to snip out any reference to Thailand's ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra or members of his party. As junta has drops its mask of appearing benign, it is also losing friends. Sections of the local print media that welcomed the country's 18th coup as a chance to restore Thai democracy that Thaksin had undermined are not so sure now

Zunes: The Facts Behind Bush's New Direction Speech

by Stephen Zunes The most important reason for the U.S. failure to secure Baghdad is that the majority of Baghdad residents see the United States as a foreign occupation army and the Iraqi government as a puppet regime of the occupying power. The presence of additional foreign troops patrolling Baghdad neighborhoods is likely to intensify the resistance rather than mollify it

Iraqi Families Paying Brokers Thousand$ for Europe Asylum

So-called immigration brokers are charging huge amounts of money to secure asylum in Europe, especially Denmark, Sweden and Finland as well as Germany, Britain and Canada. Before 2006, Iraqis used to pay less than $5,000 to brokers for asylum in European countries. These days the fees have increased to $15,000-$25,000 per applicant

The Three U.S. Armies in Iraq

by Zia Mian America's three armies in Iraq exceed a quarter of a million. It is a commitment of people and money that is comparable to the Vietnam war. Aside from the U.S. military forces, another American army in Iraq is made of the 100,000 government contractors paid for by the U.S. government, and subject neither to local law nor U.S. military law. The third American army in Iraq is an invisible army of sub-contractors that are paid to do the menial work for the bigger U.S. and other military contractors. An international network of such companies has apparently brought thousands of laborers to Iraq

Thailand Worries Military Will Keep Hold on Power After New Year's Bombs

by Pueng Vongs Thais who only three months ago welcomed the military tanks and soldiers with beaded jasmine and lotus flowers now bristle with concerns that the new government will not give up its power. Media mogul Sonthi Limthongkul who led the public uprisings against Shinawatra, says at first he supported the new government, but now he admits, he's 'starting to have doubts.' He says the coup has restored former autocratic style rulers back in the Thai government

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