Albion Monitor Issue 167 MARCH 2008
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FREE! The Pentagon needs two things to survive: war and oil. And it can't make the first if it doesn't have the second. In fact, the Pentagon's methods of mass destruction -- fighters, bombers, tanks, Humvees, and other vehicles -- burn 75 percent of the fuel used by the DoD. While the Pentagon reportedly burns through an astounding 365,000 barrels of oil every day (the equivalent of the entire nation of Sweden's daily consumption), Sohbet Karbuz, an expert on global oil markets, estimates that the number is really closer to 500,000 barrels. With such unconstrained consumption, recent U.S. wars have been a boon for big oil and have seen the Pentagon rise from the rank of hopeless addict to superjunkie.

As a result, the DoD had some of the planet's biggest petroleum dealers, and masters of the corporate universe, on its payroll. In March 2007, the Pentagon went on a two-day bender of epic proportions. On March 22 and 23, the DoD announced that it had struck "fixed price with economic price adjustment" deals, to be fulfilled by April 30, 2008, with ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Valero, Refinery Associates of Texas, and ten other petrogiants to the tune of $4 billion. Another petro-binge occurred around the 2007 Labor Day holiday. Over the course of three days, the DoD acknowledged fuel contracts with BP, Chevron, Tesoro, and four others worth more than $1.4 billion.

Couple this with the fact that, on Rumsfeld's watch, the Environmental Protection Agency granted the DoD a "national security exemption" on trucks that failed to meet current emissions standards; that the army canceled plans to introduce "hybrid-diesel humvees" (the current military model gets just four miles per gallon in city driving and an equally dismal eight miles per gallon on the highway); and that it similarly dropped plans to retrofit the fuel-guzzling Abrams tank with a more efficient diesel engine (the current model, in service in Iraq, gets less than a mile per gallon), while the air force deep-sixed plans for the possible replacement of aging "surveillance, cargo and tanker aircraft engines" -- and you're looking at a Pentagon patently incapable of altering its addiction-addled ways in any near future

China: Ignore the Rights Protests, Focus on Olympic Torch

Torch relay dubbed by China as a "journey of harmony" hijacked by pro-Tibetan activists

Madhi Army to Petraeus: Remember Us?

Easy to declare a win if the other side is sitting it out

McCain's Gaffes Reflect Bush's Iran-Qaeda Myth

Repeated the same 4 lie times so far this month

5 Years Later, Reason For U.S. Invasion of Iraq Still Unclear

Pick your theory, conspiracy optional: oil, New World Order, Israel

Despite Worsening Conditions in Iraq, Cheney and McCain Tout Success

McCain, Cheney: U.S. in Iraq long-term - Cheney says Iraq invasion "successful endeavor"

FBI Abused "National Security Letter" Authority to Coverup Spying

Bypassed all court approval to sweep up data on thousands of Americans

Bush Hoping to Leave Faith-Based Initiatives as his Legacy

Once the centerpiece of his domestic policy agenda, now doubtful to survive

Will Bush Provoke an "October Surprise" Attack on Iran?

Firing of Iran attack critic CENTCOM chief Fallon not good sign

End Game For Musharraf?

Says he won't resign for 5 years, under any circumstances

Top VA Official Who Put Bible Study Ahead of Vets Finally Resigns

Disability claims ballooned to 400,000 on his watch

Exxon Valdez Dispute Hits the Supreme Court FREE!

Justices appeared sympathetic to the company's view that the $2.5 billion award is excessive

Little Attention Paid to Global Water Crisis

No technological fix, say experts

Pentagon Had Secret Vietnam Policy that Led to My Lai Massacre

Responsibility for the orders on the My Lai operation was squarely on Westmoreland's shoulders

Mumia Abu Jamal to get New Penalty Trial

But no entirely new trial to prove innocence or guilt

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Far from fading away as the world struggles to come to grips with the reality of climate change, deniers in the U.S. are making their last stand. The Washington Post reported last month that a new group, backed by the coal industry and its utility allies, are waging a $35 million campaign to fuel opposition to U.S. legislation to slow climate change.

"Manmade global warming is a total hoax. It has no basis in fact," shouted Rush Limbaugh on his Feb. 27 show, which draws as many as 13 million listeners. Limbaugh went on to claim that NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies latest data shows that "global temperatures have dropped precipitously" in the last year, when in fact NASA reported that 2007 was the second warmest year on record.

Refuting this seemingly endless flow of erroneous information, not to mention outright lies, has become a no-win proposition. Most scientists no longer waste their time, feeling that giving any attention to these self-titled "global warming skeptics" simply encourages them and their sponsors -- corporate interests in the fossil fuel industry, among others



Tibet protests Bodies of protesters killed by police placed in front of Sichuan province monastery following March 16, 2008 demonstrations (PHOTO: International Campaign for Tibet)


Stop 'Demonizing' Dalai Lama, Europe Leader Tells China

"We cannot allow a situation where the Dalai Lama is mentioned in the same breath as terrorists"

China, U.S. Clash Over Tibet at UN Council

But even Human Rights Council won't hold special session on Tibet

Tibet Crisis Could be Endgame for the Dalai Lama
 Tibet protesters
Protesters gathered before the Chinese Mission in New York City on Mar. 15, 2008. PHOTO: William Farrington/IPS

The facade of Tibetan unity has unraveled and along with it, the Dalai Lama's power base

China Under Pressure to Rethink Tibet Policy

West behind the Dalai Lama

UN Won't Intercede in Tibet Crisis

Security Council won't criticize permanent member China

China's Tibet Crackdown Recalls Tiananmen

Spotlights Beijing's continuous use of intimidation and force against any dissent


"Blackwater Fever" Threatens 1000s of Iraqi Lives

Iraq not equipped to face worst type of malaria

Iraqi Refugees in Syria Sit Idle, Blocked From Working

1.5 million "pillow drivers" risk losing refugee status if they work

Iraq's Children Face the Worst of It

Kidnapping of Iraqi children is common now, and many are believed to have been sold as child laborers or as sex workers

Iraq Backs Down in Confrontation With Sunni Militia

Shows U.S.-backed militias now dominant force in Iraq

Sunni Insurgents Exploit U.S.-Backed Militias

Iraqi government officials, including Maliki, raising the spectre of 'infiltration' of the Awakening groups

Most Iraqi Refugees Don't Intend to Return

"There is no Iraq to return to"


What a Long, Strange, Campaign Year It's Been FREE!

The six weeks leading up to the April 22 Pennsylvania primary may be the most entertaining thing to happen in that state since 1723

Anti-Immigrant Hypocrisy Sinks Conservative Candidate

Repub expected to succeed Hastert finds attacking immigrants is no magic electoral bullet

Did Clinton Win Ohio on a Lie? FREE!

It was Hillary's advisor, not Obama's, who told Canada not to worry about NAFTA

TV Debate Moderators Pitched Softball Questions

"It seems as if that there is almost an agreement among all the parties not to deal with these subjects"

Hillary Can Thank Texas Latinos for Primary Win

Mexican Americans mostly back Clinton, Obama appeals to Central Americans

Anti-Immigrant Hypocrisy Sinks Conservative Candidate

Repub expected to succeed Hastert finds attacking immigrants is no magic electoral bullet



Winter Soldier II

Garret Reppenhagen received integral training about the Geneva Conventions and the Rules of Engagement during his deployment in Kosovo. But in Iraq, "Much of this was thrown out the window," he says. "The men I served with are professionals," Reppenhagen told the audience at a panel of U.S. veterans speaking of their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, "They went to Iraq to defend the U.S. But we found rapidly we were killing Iraqis in horrible ways. But we had to in order to remain safe ourselves. The war is the atrocity."

The "Winter Soldier II" hearings were organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War. It aims to show that their stories of wrongdoing in both countries were not isolated incidents limited to a few "bad apples," as the Pentagon claims, but were everyday occurrences.

Jason Washburn was a corporal in the marines, and served three tours in Iraq, his last in Haditha from 2005-2006. "The higher the threat level, the more viciously we were told to respond. We had towns that were deemed 'free fire zones.' One time there was a mayor of a town near Haditha that got shot up. We were shown this as an example because there was a nice tight shot group on the windshield, and told that was a good job, that was what Marines were supposed to do. And that was the mayor of the town."


Mainstream Press Blackout of Winter Soldier II FREE!

Ignored on fifth anniversary of invasion in favor stories on "progress" in Iraq

Do We Need "Winter Soldier III" for Returning Vets?

We are not discussing the impact of the war on our communities

Iraq Vets Seek to Support Dissident GIs

Even as mainstream media coverage of war declining

"I Saw the Interrogator Waterboarding Him"

Also testimony about a diabetic Iraqi who was delirious and not allowed insulin for days

Rules of Engagement "Thrown Out the Window"

"We were encouraged to bring 'drop weapons' or shovels, in case we accidentally shot a civilian"

Bush Admin Wants to Allow Loaded Guns Into National Parks FREE!

Carrying loaded guns is already permitted in national parks and reserves where hunting is allowed, such as White Mountain National Forest

47 Senators sign letter claiming firearm ban violates 2nd amendment

Poll Shows Israel Only Strengthening Hamas With Gaza Blockade

If Palestinan election were held today, Abbas would lose - again

Palestinians Held in Israeli Prisons Without Charges

Most apparently guilty only of being members of political groups, or being related to someone

Israel to Build 750 homes in E Jerusalem

Undermines Palestinian peace talks, but appeases right-wing faction holding together Olmert's shaky coalition gov't

An Uneasy Calm Descends on Gaza

Undeclared truce in wake of killing of rabbinical students at seminary tied to illegal W Bank colonies

Gaza's Strawberries Left to Rot Because of Israel's Blockade

Israel's blockade of Gaza will not let even flowers and strawberries through

Palestinians blocked from selling $10 million crop

U.S. President Vetoes Law to Outlaw Torture

Even more surprising, torture victim McCain thinks it's swell

Bush May Replace CENTCOM Chief With "More Pliable" Commander

Fallon's "no Iran war" line angered White House

Colombia, 3 Nation Crisis Ends With Hugs, Handshakes

Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela were close to ugly showdown

Pentagon Dictating U.S. Foreign Policy

Reduced Congressional oversight of $1 billion permanent global fund

U.S. Housing Woes Squeeze Immigrant Construction Workers

Remittances sent home to Latin America down sharply

Gaza Hospitals Struggle to Cope With Casualties From Israeli Strikes FREE!

1 in 3 of the 115+ Palestinians killed in Israeli strike were civilians

 fear itself

In his inaugural, Roosevelt argued that a time of fear "is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly." Not so for our current leaders. This is why Roosevelt's inaugural is so important. It is an example of presidential leadership that asks us to face our fears, an alternative to the cynical exploitation of a vulnerable public

Mexico's Billions of Gallons of Oil Out of Reach

A decade or more from reaching bonanza in deep Gulf waters

Peanut Butter and Buckley FREE!

"Peanut butter for the toast, please. SKIPPY Peanut Butter. And not that damned Jif. I can tell the difference"

Above all, he was a man of discerning taste

Despite Promises of Asylum Reform, Cases Still Hinge on Luck

Gonzales appointed party hacks as judges in immigration courts

NGOs Wary of Doomsday Seed Vault

Could be one-stop-shopping for seed corporations seeking to exploit heritage plants

Presidential Candidates Ignoring Homeless Crisis

Protesters at debates also kept out of sight

Mara Gangs Recruiting Children as Young as 9

Looking for members who are too young to face legal charges


Joe Conason Bear Stearns and the 'Free Market' Pirates

Serious Questions About McCain's Judgement

The Shame of Eliot Spitzer

McCain's Very Own Farrakhan


Robert Scheer Pastor Problems Afflict All Three Presidential Candidates

Why Is George Still Smiling?

Media Can't Get Enough of Spitzer's Sex Scandal

Iran on Top -- Thanks to Bush


Alexander Cockburn No Candidate Ready to Cope With Economy

Did Wall Street Nail Spitzer?

A Great Week for John McCain


Steve Young Rule #1: Sound Knowledgable - Rule #2: Lie

The Incredible Uncredible Bush

I Am So Hot For Dr. Laura

Who Thinks That Middle Name's Funny?

The Novelty of Not Talking Down to America
Albion Monitor
Issue 167

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

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