President Barack Obama has told lawmakers he plans to pull troops out of Iraq by August 2010, congressional officials say. His plan would leave behind 35,000 to 40,000 troops, possibly as many as 50,000, to advise Iraqi troops and protect U.S. interests. Asked about the higher figure, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said, "That's a little higher than I would have anticipated." Said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.): "It has to be done responsibly, I agree. But 50,000 is more than I would have thought." Obama is expected to announce the new strategy today.
The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources.
The techniques devised in the system, called R2I - resistance to interrogation - match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad. One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, said: "There is a reservoir of knowledge about these interrogation techniques which is retained by former special forces soldiers who are being rehired as private contractors in Iraq. Contractors are bringing in their old friends". Using sexual jibes and degradation, along with stripping naked, is one of the methods taught on both sides of the Atlantic under the slogan "prolong the shock of capture", he said. The full battery of methods includes hooding, sleep deprivation, time disorientation and depriving prisoners not only of dignity, but of fundamental human needs, such as warmth, water and food. WSWS: Soldiers report British torture of Iraqi civilians. ICC: A short history of British torture. Daily News: British Torture Scandal Photos Surface. Kennedy's Rum: Britain’s role in torture.
One reason the Exxon Valdez story is still important 20 years later is that the disaster itself could easily happen again. However, another reason for the ongoing relevance of the lessons learned in Prince William Sound over the past two decades is that Exxon can convince the media and politicians that black is white. They did in Alaska, and they continue to do so all over the world.
A number of U.S. institutions with licenses to hold nuclear material reported to the Energy Department in 2004 that the amount of material they held was less than agency records indicated. But rather than investigating the discrepancies, Energy officials wrote off significant quantities of nuclear material from the department's inventory records.
“Time is running out fast and oozing between our fingers,” Barak said. “Robust and resolute sanctions against the Iranian regime are needed,” Barak said. “If these do not succeed in blocking the development, the necessary matters must be considered,” he added. PressTV: Poll: Israel threatens Mideast stability.
Today one of Britain's most senior police officers with responsibility for public order raises the spectre of a 'summer of rage', with victims of the increasingly bitter recession taking to the streets in possibly violent protest.
The UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw has vetoed a ruling made under the Freedom of Information Act instructing the government to release the minutes of two key cabinet meetings on March 13 and 17, 2003, when the decision to go to war against Iraq was discussed.
For 2 months, Walid Abu Arjela and his family haven’t dared to return to their land in Am Almad of Khoza’a village, east of Khan Younis, in the lethal Israeli-imposed "buffer zone". The land in question, 550 m from the Green Line border, used to be productive agricultural land, as with most of the land now confiscated by the Israeli military occupation of Gaza and the imposition of a "no-go zone" on the Palestinian side of the Green Line. And as with the fertile land of the "buffer zone" from south to north, the land was heavily worked and produced vegetables, grains and fruits for much of the Gaza Strip’s residents and even, before the siege, for export.
A majority of states have bills passed or have proposed bill which affirm 10th Amendment rights. Some affirm additional rights and/or give specific reasons. New Hampshire has written the most aggressive legislation.
The Russian Luna Glob mission to the Moon is set for 2012, informs ITAR-TASS news agency. The mission aims to collect lunar soil samples and will help to choose a landing site for future missions.
Mike Rivero has run What Really Happened.com since 1994. WRH began as a page on Mike Rivero's business website asking questions about the death of Vince Foster. Does Mike Rivero miss out a lot of what is really happening? Does he do his homework? Is he sometimes too ready to accept the views of the main stream media? Does he ever mention Dutroux or the CIA's attempt to topple various world leaders?
US President Barack Obama inspires the American nation to "rebuild" and change the policies that ushered in the ongoing economic crisis.
White phosphorus shells traced back to America. Activists call for arms embargoes on both sides. Detailed evidence has emerged of Israel's extensive use of US-made weaponry during its war in Gaza last month, including white phosphorus artillery shells, 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles. In a report released today, Amnesty International detailed the weapons used and called for an immediate arms embargo on Israel and all Palestinian armed groups. It called on the Obama administration to suspend military aid to Israel. The human rights group said that those arming both sides in the conflict "will have been well aware of a pattern of repeated misuse of weapons by both parties and must therefore take responsibility for the violations perpetrated". PFLP: PFLP calls upon Amnesty International to end false equation of occupier and occupied. The People's Voice: Amnesty’s scandalous obliquity.
Pilotless planes used to track the Taliban could soon be hovering over our streets, it has emerged. Remote-controlled drones are already used widely by the military. Now ministers believe they are likely to become ‘increasingly useful’ for police work. Armed with heat-seeking cameras, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles would hover hundreds of feet in the air, gathering intelligence and watching "suspects".
A new study by Arab Media Watch demonstrates a strong tendency in the British press to represent Israel as "retaliating" in coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The study, the first to investigate this aspect of British press coverage of the conflict, examined a period from January to June 2008. It found that when the British press represents a party as retaliating or responding in the conflict, that party is Israel 72 percent of the time. The tabloid press showed a particularly marked bias, representing Israel as retaliating in 100 percent of all representations of "retaliation."
Among broadsheets, The Independent portrays Israel as retaliating in the highest proportion at 80 percent, followed by the Times at 68 percent, the Daily Telegraph at 67 percent, and the Guardian at 59 percent. Not a single newspaper, and only 20 percent of reporters and columnists, portrays the retaliating party as the Palestinians more often than Israel.
Soon after leaving Downing Street, Tony Blair eagerly launched himself onto the American lecture circuit. Now the international exchange programme for former leaders is entering its second, potentially more controversial phase: George Bush is coming to Europe.
There is a logic to politics, and the American nationalism constantly invoked by Obama leads inexorably to imperialist war overseas and the repression of social discontent at home. This was expressed in perhaps the most chilling passage of the speech, when he declared, "dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It's not just quitting on yourself, it's quitting on your country." This was followed by a call for "a renewed spirit of national service" and the passage of legislation to expand programs that pay for college education for youth who join the military or enroll in other government service programs.
The real meaning of this extraordinary statement can be summarized as follows: Young people who drop out of school are not victims of a social crisis produced by the failure of the profit system. On the contrary, they are criminals who are undermining the viability of American capitalism by their refusal to be educated to the level required to become productive (i.e., to generate profits for the capitalist class). And they will pay for their "crime" by being drafted into the military to serve as cannon fodder in the imperialist which Obama, like Bush, will continue and escalate.
The Turkish Prime Minister says if Israel is looking for a lasting peace in the Middle East it should recognize Palestine and Hamas. Arguing that a two-state solution is the only way to resolve the conflict between Palestinians and Israel, Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Israeli prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to support the idea and recognize Palestine as a state. AGI News: PERES TO EUROPE: BREAK WITH HAMAS. VDare: America’s Shame: Why does Israel have a right to exist, but Palestine doesn’t?
A Guantanamo Bay ex-inmate, Binyam Mohamed, tells Press TV of his experience under 'medieval' torture amid US efforts to paint a rosy picture of the prison. A confidential Defense Department review recently claimed that "torture" has no place in the Cuba-based military prison as Guantanamo detainees are treated "humanely and in accordance with the Geneva Conventions ".
In advance of his address to Congress on Tuesday and the release of his federal budget on Thursday, President Barack Obama on Monday hosted a White House Federal Budget Summit to launch a campaign for "fiscal responsibility." While largely a public relations event, the gathering underscored the right-wing character of the new administration's policies. National Post: Obama to face down growing public anxiety in high-stakes speech. Global Research: Obama's economic agenda: a timely review.
It may seem blindingly obvious, but I'm going to say it anyway as we often seem to forget, that clear communication is essential to mutual understanding. Without a common understanding of what we say to each other we find ourselves adrift in Babel-land. The risks to us all from a lack of common understanding cannot be overstated.
In the midst of the deluge of bailouts, rescues and stimulus packages there is no clear communication as to just why these measures are being taken and how they are meant to improve the lives of ordinary people. It is abundantly clear that this is deliberate. If we, the normal people of the planet, were to gain a common understanding of what is really happening, we would decide that we don't approve, we would agree on exactly why we don't approve and we would likely agree on what we wish to see happen instead. Those that control our world know this so they ensure that no common understanding is reached; they need the confusion. In fact, they create the confusion.
Orwellian doublespeak at its finest. The media and government will repeat the words "the good war" until the majority actually believe it. The Afghan surge is a threat to escalate violence and move the 'never ending' wars into new areas.
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in two cases. In United States v. Navajo Nation, the Court heard arguments on whether the Court's earlier decision in the case foreclosed a decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that the US federal government breached its fiduciary duties in connection with coal leases and is liable to the Navajo Nation for as much as $600 million.
The US House of Representatives on Monday approved by voice vote a measure honoring legendary Apache warrior Geronimo's bravery 100 years after his death. The nonbinding resolution honors his life, "his extraordinary bravery, and his commitment to the defense of his homeland, his people, and Apache ways of life." HERE.
Hamas on Monday rejected an Amnesty International report that accused the Palestinian Islamic movement, as well as Israel, of using weapons illegally during the recent Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. "Amnesty's demands are unbalanced and unfair; they make equal between the real criminal and the victim," said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in Gaza. PFLP: PFLP calls upon Amnesty International to end false equation of occupier and occupied. The People's Voice: Amnesty’s scandalous obliquity.
The White House names controversial Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross as its special foreign policy adviser for Persian Gulf affairs. The US State Department announced the veteran US diplomat's appointment as special advisor on the Persian Gulf and southwest Asia to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday after weeks of speculation. "This is a region in which America is fighting two wars and facing challenges of ongoing conflict , terror, proliferation , access to energy, economic development  and strengthening democracy and the rule of law ," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in a statement.
Yesterday, I posted thoughts about Nigel Haskett, the young McDonald’s employee being penalized by McDonald’s for an act of courage. But worse than that—we expect such reprehensible behavior these days from American corporations—were some of the comments from readers of the news story about the incident. Ethics seems hardly to enter into a universe in which a corporation’s ludicrous instructions are exalted above an individual’s moral outrage supported by courage to act. And now we have Karl Rove, poster doughboy for everything bloated and insupportable about the previous administration.
Elliott Abrams just confirmed that he will be official mouthpiece of Bibi Netanyahu and his Likud Party at the Council on Foreign Relations and on the pages of The Weekly Standard (and probably in the Wall Street Journal, too).
Renowned US intellectual Noam Chomsky says Barack Obama did not comment on Israel's war on Gaza, as it was part of the "premeditated" plan. We have been informed by an Israeli source that the recent invasion of the Gaza Strip was completely premeditated, Chomsky said in an interview with the French Al-Ahram weekly. The plan was to deliver the maximum blow to Gaza before the new US president took office, so that he could put these matters behind him, added the famous intellectual, referring to Obama's pledge to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
"For myself, the very worst moment came when I realised in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence." Mr Mohamed went on: "I hope you will understand that after everything I have been through I am neither physically nor mentally capable of facing the media on the moment of my arrival back to Britain. "I have been through an experience that I never thought to encounter in my darkest nightmares. Empire Burlesque: Updates: Child Sacrifice and Gitmo Torture, Progressive Style.
In 2001, Washington used the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to put into action long-developed plans to conquer Afghanistan and use it as a base to establish US hegemony in Central Asia, home to some of the richest deposits of oil and natural gas in the world. The inevitable result was a military disaster and the destabilization of the entire region. Now, in pursuit of the same imperialist aims, the Obama administration is launching a major escalation that will only further destabilize the region, intensify tensions with rival power such as China and Russia, and cause untold death and destruction. There is a growing danger of a military conflagration throughout Central Asia and beyond. Online Journal: A new Afghanistan nightmare commences. Global Research / The People's Voice: Surging towards a US-NATO Military Disaster: Obama's Escalating War in Central and South Asia.
Obama, Osama and Medvedev. For those who harbored any doubts, the Barack Obama administration's adoption of the George W Bush framework of the "war on terror" - it does feel like a back-to-the-future "continuity" - here are two key facts on the ground. Basically, the Obama administration's strategy - for now - boils down to turbo-charging a war against Pashtun farmers and peasants. Poppy cultivation has been part of Afghan culture for centuries. A high-tech aerial war on destitute peasants will have only one certified result: more of them increasing their support for, or outright migration to, the multi-faceted fight against foreign occupation which the Pentagon insists on defining as an "insurgency". This is what it's all about in Eurasia - the inexorable march of Asian integration, via the Asian Energy Security Grid and, in security terms, via the SCO. Both China and Russia are deeply connected with Iran. China has signed mega-multibillion dollar deals to be supplied by Iranian oil and gas while selling weapons and myriad goods; and Russia is bound to sell more weapons and is already selling nuclear energy technology. All this while Washington is focused on bombing Pashtun peasants and chasing the ghost of Osama bin Laden. The price for the US and NATO to have their Afghan supplies arrive via Russia is clear: no more encirclement, no more NATO extension, no more anti-missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland for protection against non-existent Iranian missiles.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud party who was assigned by Israeli president Shimon Peres to form the new government, plans to offer his rival Kadima party two important portfolios in order to convince them join his coalition government. Hebrew daily 'Ha'aretz' on Sunday said that Netanyahu was prepared to offer Tzipi Livni, the Kadima leader, two of the three portfolios of war, finance and foreign affairs in addition to the post of deputy premier in the event she agreed to join his coalition.
The sovereignty of our state as described in the 10th amendment is important for ourselves, our children and all future generations. Protection against abuses by the federal government is a concern whose time has come. Please help to affirm our rights and sovereignty by contacting the representatives who can pass this resolution. We should demand that they do so.
Monday dawned with celebration in India as word spread that "Slumdog Millionaire" had snagged eight Academy Awards, including best picture and best director. "Slumdog is Top Dog!" read a television headline. Many woke up before dawn to watch the results live given the time difference. And for most, it was more than worth it. This was India's day, a time to revel, to emote and beam with pride as the world's largest democracy swept Oscar gold, and how. PULSE: Arundhati Roy on Slumdog Millionaire.
The prisoners were
allegedly shot in the head while bound and blindfolded before being dumped in a canal. Fellow unit members Spc. Belmor Ramon and Spc. Steven Ribordy pleaded guilty to conspiracy and accessory to murder, respectively, in connection with the incident.
In CNN's presidential rankings, lately released, Ford, Reagan, Clinton and Bush I all jumped up in rankings since the last time the panel of scholars reviewed presidential legacy, nine years ago, but Jimmy Carter plummeted.
One day after he was sworn in as president of the United States and in the same week signing executive orders ushering in a new era of government transparency, Barack Obama’s Justice Department quietly filed a motion in federal court to dismiss a long-running lawsuit that sought to force the Bush administration to recover as many as 15 million missing White House emails.
Human rights groups shocked by refusal to reverse Bush policy in Afghanistan. Less than a month after signing an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, President Barack Obama has quietly agreed to keep denying the right to trial to hundreds more terror suspects held at a makeshift camp in Afghanistan that human rights lawyers have dubbed “Obama’s Guantanamo”. “Guantanamo Bay was a diversionary tactic in the ‘War on Terror’,” said the lawyer. “Totting up the prisoners around the world – held by the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, the prison ships and Diego Garcia, or held by US proxies in Jordan, Egypt and Morocco – the numbers dwarf Guantanamo.
Detailed evidence has emerged of Israel's extensive use of US-made weaponry during its war in Gaza last month, including white phosphorus artillery shells, 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles. In a report released today, Amnesty International detailed the weapons used and called for an immediate arms embargo on Israel and all Palestinian armed groups. It called on the Obama administration to suspend military aid to Israel. URUKNET: More prisons, more war crimes, more ethnic cleansing (and more weapons Made in USA).
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