August 26th, 2008


Denver police clash with 300 protesters, arrest 100 near DNC

Police, protesters clash as Dems convene in Denver

By JUDITH KOHLER and COLLEEN SLEVIN Associated Press WritersTue Aug 26, 12:45 AM ET

DENVER—Denver authorities were busy early Tuesday processing about 100 people who were arrested when police officers and protesters clashed about a mile from the site of the Democratic National Convention.

The confrontation erupted Monday night as police in riot gear tried to disperse a crowd of about 300 people that was disrupting traffic near the Denver City and County Building.

Police said they were forced to use pepper spray when members of the crowd, some carrying rocks, rushed a police safety line. But one protester said officers charged the protesters with no warning.


Police investigate possible plot to kill Obama at Invesco

Judi Villa April M. Washington Mon Aug 25, 10:08 PM ET

Authorities are investigating a possible assassination plot against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. At least four people have been arrested in connection with a possible plot to kill Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High, according to CBS4 News. The suspects are being held on either drug or weapons charges. Aurora police arrested a longtime drug user Sunday afternoon during a routine traffic stop where the man was seen "weaving," sources said. Three possible other accomplices also were arrested, according to police.




No threat' to Obama as four arrested: report


25 minutes ago

Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama faces "no credible threat" from what had appeared to be a plot on his life, CNN reported Tuesday, citing authorities who nevertheless are pressing on with their investigation.

The network reported that office of the United States Attorney said law enforcement officials are "absolutely confident there is no credible threat to the candidate."

Four people were arrested Monday in Denver and charged with firearms and drug possession, amid fears of a plot to kill Obama.

Denver-based CBS34 said one of the men arrested had told authorities they were "going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using ... a rifle ... sighted at 750 yards (meters).


U.S. home prices tumble by sharpest rate ever, report finds

S&P: Home prices tumble by record amount

41 minutes ago

A widely watched housing index released Tuesday showed home prices dropping by the sharpest rate ever in the second quarter.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index tumbled a record 15.4 percent during the quarter from the same period a year ago.

The monthly indices also clocked in record declines. The 20-city index fell by 15.9 percent in June compared with a year ago, the largest drop since its inception in 2000. The 10-city index plunged 17 percent, its biggest decline in its 21-year history.



Top U.S. diplomat survives attack by Pakistani gunmen

US diplomat in Pakistan escapes gun attack

By RIAZ KHAN, Associated Press Writer 56 minutes ago

Gunmen opened fire on the top U.S. diplomat in northwestern Pakistan early Tuesday as she left for work in her armored vehicle, police and embassy officials said. No one was killed in the attack.

Lynne Tracy, principal officer for the consulate in the bustling city of Peshawar, was 100 yards from her house when two men with AK-47s jumped out of their dark blue Land Cruiser and sprayed her car with dozens of rounds of ammunition.

Her driver reversed the vehicle and peeled back to her home, said Arshad Khan, the local police chief and senior investigator in the case. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.


UN envoy quizzed over ties to Pakistan's Zardari: report

51 minutes ago

Senior officials in the administration of US President George W. Bush have questioned US ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad over "unauthorized" ties to Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

US officials, who have insisted on their neutrality in the Pakistan political process, are puzzled and angry over Khalilzad's frequent contact with Zardari, the widower of Benzir Bhutto and a presidential contender, the report said.

Khalilzad had spoken with Zardari by phone "several times a week for the past month until he was confronted about the unauthorized contacts," The Times quoted a senior US official as saying.


3 held in possible plot to kill Obama

3 held in possible plot to kill Obama: U.S. media reports

Tue Aug 26, 6:18 AM

At least three people have been arrested in connection with a possible plot to kill U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, according to U.S. media reports.

Local TV station CBS4 reported on its website that one of as many as four people in custody told authorities that the group was "going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point" with a rifle.

The New York Times reported early Tuesday that three people were arrested on firearms and drug charges in what Denver police called an "aggressive" inquiry resulting from a traffic stop on Sunday.



Plot to kill Barack Obama: Three 'white supremacists' arrested (w/video)

Plot to kill Barack Obama: Three 'white supremacists' arrested

Three men with suspected links to white supremacist groups are in custody in Denver after being arrested with rifles and a telescopic sight amid fears of a plot to assassinate Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate.


By Toby Harnden in Denver

Last Updated: 1:48PM BST 26 Aug 2008

Police have arrested four people in Denver believed to be plotting to kill US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama. ;

Mr Obama is due to become the first black candidate to accept the nomination of a major political party on Thursday, the final day of the Democratic Convention, at Invesco Field, an open air stadium that holds some 75,000 people.

CBS4, a Denver radio station, reported that one of the suspects told authorities they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a ... rifle ... sighted at 750 yards". When one of the suspects "was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama", a CBS4 source said, “he responded in the affirmative".

Fox News reported that the three men might have links to Sons of Silence, an outlaw motorcycle group, and white supremacists.



Israeli tour package offers views of Shin Bet torture and Mossad assassinations

Does it get any sicker than this? Do they also offer private, glass viewing booths, complete with tissues, so the die-hard Zionist can blow his load at the same time some MOSSAD goon is blowing the head off some Palestinian?


The Israeli extremist organisation, Shurat Hadin, a front organisation for Israeli extremist Zionists and neoconservatives, have now taken to advertising in the ‘Jerusalem Post’ their package deal which they call ‘The Ultimate Mission to Israel’. The deal includes the following:

Briefings by Mossad officials and commanders of the Shin Bet.




Friday, August 22, 2008

A little holiday in their hearts
The Lobby - you know, the one that doesn't exist, or has no power - hasn't changed much over the years. This amazing piece by Alfred M. Lilienthal - from 1953! - describes various Lobby machinations over the years, focusing in particular on the Jewish 'displaced persons' in Europe after the war. Much propaganda value has been obtained by World Jewry at the failure of the West to rescue various groups of Jewish refugees at various times, but heroic efforts by Gentile politicians to rescue the displaced persons by placing them in the U. S., Canada, Britain, etc., or moving fixed numbers of them to Palestine, was resisted by the Lobby, as:
  1. the move to Palestine would require agreement on a bi-national Jewish-Arab state, and not the wholly Jewish state it insisted upon; and
  2. salvation of the displaced persons would deny the Lobby of its chief fund-raising gimmick, the plight of the displaced persons!

The British, who ended up in charge of the mess and just wanted to be fair to both sides, ended up the target of a vicious Jewish terrorist campaign, and much slurring in the American media as 'anti-Semites'. I like the phrase 'Organized American Jewry':


Blackwater 2.0: 'Operator Disneyland'

Blackwater 2.0: 'Operator Disneyland'
August 26, 2008|by Christian Lowe
MOYOCK, N.C. -- It's a name that's become synonymous with the murky world of counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan - where the subtle tones of the enemy's colors blend in with innocents.

To Jackson, all this talk gets his blood boiling. In his view, Blackwater responds to the needs of its customers when all else has failed, and he sees no problem with filling in on training that the services can't do themselves without significant investment.

"The Navy can't build that [training] infrastructure in 20 years. The only way they're ever going to get there is to start the draft," an exasperated Jackson said. "The thing that really upsets me the most is that [training] is run by contractors."

"No matter who wins the election, it doesn't matter. It's not going to stop."


War With Russia on the Agenda

Warnings to Russia from Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham

August 26, 2008

Calamity in the Name of Hegemony


Thinking about the massive failure of the US media to report truthfully is sobering. The United States, bristling with nuclear weapons and pursuing a policy of world hegemony, has a population that is kept in the dark--indeed brainwashed--about the most important and most dangerous events of our time.

The power of the Israel Lobby is an important component of keeping Americans in the dark. Recently I watched a documentary that demonstrates the control that the Israel Lobby exercises over Americans’ view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The documentary is available here.

As a result of the US media’s one-sided coverage, few Americans are aware that for decades Israel has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their homes and lands under protection of America’s veto in the United Nations. Instead, the dispossessed Palestinians are portrayed as mindless terrorists who attack innocent Israel.


Taser bait in Denver - police intimidation and provocation

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
By Brenda Norrell

DENVER -- On Monday, Denver police spent the day intimidating and provoking peaceful protesters. By day's end there were entirely too many police with too much time on their hands. They were eager to arrest people in Denver. It didn't matter if the people were simply walking down the street. Medics were even detained.

Flashing a wide variety of weapons, Denver police positioned police gangs around the peaceful Food Not Bombs. Police even made a single file procession through the heart of Food Not Bombs' peaceful dinner. As people were eating, Denver police made one of the silliest processions ever through a dinner of rice and lentils.

After spending the late afternoon in bizarre staging and intimidation tactics, Denver police began spraying people with pepper spray and shoving people randomly by day's end Finally, apparently bored and itchy to arrest, they arrested people for their dog cages. It was a sad and embarrassing day for Denver police, proving that lawlessness reigns for US police.

Posted by
at 8:46 AM


WTF's up with Google's Technorati?

I'm quite miffed. During the first days of the Russia-Georgia conflict, Technorati quit indexing my stories. Okay, so what? A glitch maybe.

However, since the start of the DNC, the same thing's occurring. Suspicious. no? Regular readers will be aware I have zero respect for Google's total lack of ethics. It doesn't take uch to set me off where those utter bastards are concerned.

If this is happening to you or someone you know, please leave a comment.

N Korea 'stops nuclear disabling'

Page last updated at 10:47 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 11:47 UK

A file photo from February 2008 of a US inspector studying disabled nuclear equipment at Yongbyon plant in North Korea
A sticking point in talks has been how to verify North Korea's disarmament

North Korea says it has stopped disabling its nuclear facilities, accusing the US of reneging on a six-party disarmament deal.

Work was suspended on 14 August, a foreign ministry spokesman told the state news agency KCNA.


The Ledeen Move

I was really surprised by the news, first reported by Laura Rozen on her blog on Mother Jones, that Michael Ledeen, who had been under Richard Perle’s wing at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) for some 20 years, has moved to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) and taken his “Freedom” chair with him. I have no inside information on the reasons for the move (I was declared persona non grata at AEI five years ago and told I shouldn’t try to attend any of its events) , and don’t buy his own explanation, although his reference to a “rising” FDD suggests his association there might be more lucrative, particularly as FDD, which earlier this year suffered major Democratic defections, is competing strongly for Sheldon Adelson’s largess. (And I have no doubt at all that Ledeen’s obsession with Iran would definitely appeal to the multi-billionaire casino magnate who reportedly shares that obsession).

One possible explanation is that the AEI’s incoming president (as of Jan. 1), Syracuse University Prof. Arthur Brooks, is hoping that AEI’s public image on foreign policy — dominated as it has been for so long by hard-line neo-cons like Perle — might be softened somewhat. But, while Ledeen clearly belongs on the radical fringe (just read his latest article in the National Review Online (NRO) on how Russia has joined the “terror masters” in Tehran and Damascus and how China is about to invade Taiwan), he’s certainly not nearly as visible as someone like former UN Amb. John Bolton, a bona fide extremist (albeit more nationalist than neo-con). On the other hand, Bolton’s frequent op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and the Telegraph, if not his cachet as a Bush alumnus willing to denounce his former boss as an appeaser to the mainstream press, no doubt raises a lot more money for AEI. By contrast, Ledeen’s relative obscurity probably attracts only a few grateful donors.

Indeed, apart from National Review Online, on which he appears to be publishing less and less, Ledeen has become lincreasingly invisible over the last couple of years, rarely participating even in AEI forums, so his departure may be due to the fact that he’s simply not producing enough. (I understand that his colleague, Joshua Muravchik, has recently been complaining worryingly to friends that AEI management has been pressing him to publish more.) In fact, a quick review of Nexis over the past three years shows that his annual article output for NRO has fallen quite sharply from more than 40 in the Aug 2005-06 period to just 18 in the last Aug 2007-08 period, which is particularly remarkable given all the speculation over the past year about attacking Iran. His television appearances also declined over the past two years, while his latest book, ‘The Iranian Time Bomb (Sept 2007), was all but ignored by the major newspapers (with the exception of the New York Times which predictably panned it).



Safe in our cages

Proposals to monitor all our communications are an intolerable assault on liberty in the name of security

In the Queen's speech this autumn Gordon Brown's government will announce a scheme to institute a database of every telephone call, email, and act of online usage by every resident of the UK. It will propose that this information will be gathered, stored, and "made accessible" to the security and law enforcement agencies, local councils, and "other public bodies".

This fact should be in equal parts incredible and nauseating. It is certainly enraging and despicable. Not even George Orwell in his most febrile moments could have envisaged a world in which every citizen could be so thoroughly monitored every moment of the day, spied upon, eavesdropped, watched, tracked, followed by CCTV cameras, recorded and scrutinised. Our words and web searches, our messages and intimacies, are to be stored and made available to the police, the spooks, the local council – the local council! – and "other public bodies".

This Orwellian nightmare, additionally, is proposed for a world in which leading soi-disant liberal democracies run, and/or permit rendition flights to, Guantanamo Bay. How many steps separate an innocent British citizen from some misinterpretation or interference or error in the collected and 'made accessible' data of text messages and emails, and a forthcoming home-grown version of Guantanamo Bay for people whose pattern of phone calls does not fit the police definition of acceptable?



The Day Joe Biden Threatened to Kick My A**

AIPAC: We like Biden
15:13 08/25/2008
The Day Joe Biden Threatened to Kick My Ass
Biden wanted to give me 'a swift kick in the ass.'
By Rannie Amiri
Many, many years later, the memory of a campus speech delivered by Senator—now vice presidential candidate—Joseph Biden of Delaware remains especially vivid. Although the topic was predictably foreign policy, on which he is an alleged expert, the reason for attending was not to hear the verbose senator sanctimoniously expound on international relations. Rather, it was in anticipation of the question and answer session that would follow. At the time, Israel was in the throws of the first intifada.
After responding to a few softballs, a persistent hand was acknowledged.
I prefaced my question with the following two quotes, the first by Winston Churchill:
"The cause of unrest in Palestine, and the only cause, arises from the Zionist movement, and from our promises and pledges in regard to it" (House of Commons, 14 June 1921).
The second, a poignant comment by the late Israeli civil rights activist, Dr. Israel Shahak:
"You cannot have humane Zionism. It is a contradiction in terms" (Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. IV, 1975).
I then posed the following:



The Evil Empire Revisited

August 26, 2008

Philip Giraldi

In George Orwell's 1984 there is a memorable scene when the speaker from Oceania's Ministry of Truth is addressing a rally, the culmination of Hate Week against the enemy, Eurasia. He receives a message mid-sentence, then smoothly shifts gears to deliver the remainder of his speech excoriating Eastasia. The crowd responds enthusiastically, and the narrator, Winston, notes that, of course, Eastasia had always been the enemy.

The alliances in Orwell's nightmare world had shifted, but the concept of the enemy remained the same. There always has to be an enemy. So too the neoconservatives always need an enemy to justify the huge defense contracts that in turn spawn the think tanks and academic chairs in security studies that provide them with their sinecures. A world without "Islamofascism" or another enemy lurking is a world without employment for the likes of Bill Kristol and John Bolton.

Post-1992 Russia has given every indication that it desires to be a friend to the United States and that it has no desire to recreate the Cold War. It allowed itself to be looted by the oligarchs, who presented themselves as the bearers of Western-style modernization with hardly a complaint. It saw its place in the world shrink and its voice in international fora diminished. President George W. Bush even famously looked Russian Premier Vladimir Putin in the eye in Crawford, Texas, in June 2001 and announced positively that he had gotten a "sense of his soul." But the neoconservatives were never on board the Russian project. Their reading on Russia was that it was and always will be the enemy. They would argue that Bush misjudged his guest and Russia was even then preparing to rebuild its empire.


UN accuses US-led troops in deaths of 60 Afghan children

UN accuses US-led troops in deaths of Afghans

By FISNIK ABRASHI – 2 hours ago

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The United Nations said Tuesday it has found "convincing evidence" that U.S. coalition troops and Afghan forces killed some 90 civilians, including 60 children, in airstrikes in western Afghanistan.

The U.N. said it based its findings solely on the testimony of villagers and meetings with Afghan officials, and did not provide photos or evidence that its investigators saw any graves.

President Hamid Karzai's government, in a harshly worded statement, ordered its ministries of foreign affairs and defense to regulate the presence of foreign troops and try to negotiate an end to "airstrikes on civilian targets, uncoordinated house searches and illegal detention of Afghan civilians."


FBI Investigate Possible Obama Assassination Plot

Posted August 26, 2008

Three men were arrested in Colorado Sunday and Monday in connection with a possible assassination plot against presidential candidate Barack Obama.

One suspect, 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell, was stopped for a routine traffic stop Sunday when authorities found two rifles - including a sniper rifle - and methamphetamines in the car. Gartrell was also found to be wanted on numerous warrants. He was detained in Aurora, CO - a city approximately 25 minutes from the Denver site of the Democratic National Convention, where Senator Obama will accept the nomination for president later this week.

Local Denver news station KCNC reported that Gartrell led police to a hotel where another man, 32-year-old Nathan Johnson, was arrested. A third - Shawn Adolf, 33 - tried to jump from a six-story building to avoid capture. Adolf broke his ankle in the jump and was eventually taken into custody.


Israel's weapon of house demolitions

Israel 'almost doubles number of homes being built in settlements'

Jill Shaw writing from Beit Hanina
, occupied West Bank, Live from Palestine, 26 August 2008

Israeli Yamam police invade the home of Abu Majed Eisha in Beit Hanina. (Jill Shaw)

The four-story building in Beit Hanina, a Palestinian neighborhood a few miles north of East Jerusalem, was clearly home to wealth. As our carload of internationals pulled up the small street leading to Abu Majed Eisha's house at around midnight on 27 July, I noticed several BMWs parked along the way. Upon exiting the car, we were greeted by a number of middle-aged Palestinian men in suits, asking us if we were there about the house demolition. From what I had learned during my brief time in the West Bank, Palestine, I knew already that this was not going to be an ordinary house demolition.

And what exactly is an "ordinary" home demolition in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories? According to Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) founder, Jeff Halper, house demolitions are one of Israel's main weapons in its occupation of Palestine. Sadly, this extraordinary and devastating phenomenon is not at all uncommon to Palestinians. ICAHD, an Israeli group whose primary mission is to resist Israel's practice of home demolitions, states that 18,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967. Additionally, another 22,000 East Jerusalem homes have demolition orders on them. This does not include the thousands of homes with demolition orders throughout the rest of the West Bank.

The reason for the destruction? Quite simply, the houses don't have permits. And without a permit, your house is illegal, and therefore subject to demolition. It is this bureaucratic logic that gives Israel's practice of bulldozing Palestinian homes a veneer of legitimacy, for, after all, only "illegal" houses are demolished. Look a bit further, however, and it quickly becomes apparent that building permits are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain, so in fact, any new growth homes are usually illegal.


Obama calls for Sinclair media boycott, DoJ investigation

Obama calls for media boycott, for real. w/update

by GoogleBonhoeffer

Mon Aug 25, 2008 at 03:51:38 PM PDT

In case your were wondering, it appears as though Barack Obama is totally fed up with the mainstream media right along with us. In fact, he's asking us to do something unprecedented in Presidential elections--to target (read: boycott) media that runs the 'William Ayers' attack ad. We knew that the swiftboat attacks were inevitable but now we know damn well that we can help Barack defend himself as we should. All we have to do is turn off the TV. More details from Politico below.

Make no mistake about it-the primary objective of Republican strategists is to portray Senator Barack Obama as a threat to our national security. Ever since the convention started, the cable networks have been scouring the streets in search of hostile protesters that could be linked to Obama in a way that undermines his peaceful grassroots movement for change.

The recent William Ayers ad plays on the theme of Obama-is-the-enemy and highlights the Republican platform in 2008. Some Republican Billionaire and accomplice of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth paid for the Ayers ad.


Guantánamo Suicide Report: Truth or Travesty?

Guantanamo detainees desired martyrdom: US Navy investigators


A prisoner sits alone in GuantanamoTwo years and two months after three prisoners at Guantánamo died, apparently as the result of a coordinated suicide pact, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which has been investigating the deaths ever since the three long-term hunger strikers were found dead in their cells on June 10, 2006, issued a 934-word statement on Friday that purported to draw a line under the whole sordid affair.

The deaths of the three men — Ali al-Salami, Mani al-Utaybi and Yasser al-Zahrani — have been controversial from the moment that they were first announced, when Guantánamo’s then-Commander, Rear Adm. Harry Harris, attracted international opprobrium by declaring that they were an act of “asymmetric warfare,” and Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, had similar scorn heaped upon her when she described the men’s deaths as a “good PR move.”

As I have explained previously, the administration soon assumed a slightly more placatory role, when Cully Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, declared, “I wouldn’t characterize it as a good PR move. What I would say is that we are always concerned when someone takes his own life, because as Americans, we value life, even the lives of violent terrorists who are captured waging war against our country.”



Chant for Israel… “long live Demonclassy”

By Iqbal Tamimi • Aug 24th, 2008 at 20:44 • Category: Analysis, Israel, Newswire, Palestine, Somoud: Arab Voices of Resistance, Uprooted Palestinians' Testimonies, Zionism

Whenever there is a debate about what happens in Palestine, and what kind of hell the Palestinians endure under the Israeli occupation, there is always a Zionist volunteer ready and armoured with the same sentence “Isn’t it enough that Israel is THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST?”
I don’t know who offered Israel such a description and who granted Israel such an honour.
While Palestinians were counting their 240 sick people who died in Gaza as a result of the Israeli siege, Israel’s Prime Minister Shimon Perez celebrated his 85th birthday at Demona atomic power plant. Was he sending the world a certain message having in mind that Israel was and still is nagging the USA to do all it can to prevent Iran from developing its atomic programme?

Going back 39 years ago to this day, Israel burned Al-Aqsa Mosque. Palestinians are still, as they were then, struggling to stay alive, and keep what is left of their identity. Many of them resisted all the direct and indirect methods used to empty the land of what remains of its indigenous people and dissolve its identity. While Israel is still doing the impossible to bring every person it can who claims he is a Jew to come and settle in Palestine, regardless of his origins, or when he embraced Judaism. It is offering such total strangers a piece of Palestine’s liver on a gold platter. This policy has nothing to do with religion or human reasons; it is the war of demographic policies and numbers.

Today the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that he decided to bring 7,232 Indians who claim they descended from a long lost Jewish group called Bnei Menashe. He never acknowledged that I descended from Abraham, as many Palestinians are, since we are Semites and Abraham - peace be upon him - is our grandfather. Olmert chooses who he acknowledges his ancestors to be and they will have something to do with Palestine upon Zionist calculations.



Federal Housing Administration Bailout Could Cost $100 Billion

The Housing Mess
Lending Over Backward
Joshua Zumbrun and Maurna Desmond 08.26.08, 6:00 AM ET

The FHA has been turned into the mortgage industry's lender of last resort. Taxpayer price tag? Maybe $100 billion.

DENVER -- When the nation's politicians take the stage here and later in St. Paul, Minn., you'll hear a lot of talk about saving the decrepit housing market, and lately that means one thing: The Federal Housing Administration.

Watch your wallet.

Heralded as a savior in reversing the mortgage market’s woes, risks to the agency could cost taxpayers dearly, says one mortgage expert, as Washington morphs the FHA from a helping hand for low-income home buyers into a back door bailout for the imploding mortgage industry. Trouble is, there's little choice at this point.



Stevens Prosecutors Ignored Cheney Link

Why Didn't DOJ Name Cheney in Stevens Filing?

By Zachary Roth - August 25, 2008, 6:14PM

We learned over the weekend, via Newsweek, that there's a Dick Cheney connection to the Ted Stevens case. But are federal prosecutors looking the other way?

In a phone conversation recorded by the FBI and included in a court filing by prosecutors, Sen. Stevens (R-AK) told oil-services executive Bill Allen that he would try to get some "bigwigs" from Washington to weigh in on a bill pending in the Alaska legislature, that would have given the go-ahead to a pipeline Allen wanted. Two days later, Newsweek notes, Cheney sent a letter to Alaska lawmakers urging them to pass the bill. Stevens told Newsweek that Cheney's letter had been sent at his urging.

But we were curious about one thing. Why didn't prosecutors mention Cheney's letter in their filing? Although technically Stevens is being prosecuted for giving false statements on disclosure forms, demonstrating that Stevens took action on Allen's behalf is still at the heart of the case.


McCain on Leno : POW!, POW!, POW!

John McCain

McCain and Jay Leno Joke About His Age

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), makes an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Aug. 25, 2008, in Burbank, Calif. (AP/Mary Altaffer)

By Michael D. Shear
BURBANK, Calif. -- Bowing to the inevitability that Jay Leno would crack jokes about his age, Sen. John McCain came armed with one of his own.


"You've got enough of those," Leno cracked. "You need a white one, too." Later, he asked McCain: "For $1 million, how many houses do you have?"

At that, McCain got serious, saying he had been imprisoned for five-and-a-half years during the Vietnam war, and that "I didn't have a house. I didn't have a kitchen table. I didn't have a table."



Added: August 25, 200

Has John McCain overplayed the POW Card?


McCain’s Sweet Ride: Lobbyist’s Plane Flew Saudi Royals after 9/11

John McCain’s Sweet Ride
Lobbyist’s Plane Flew Saudi Royals after 9/11


February 27, 2008

by Daniel Hopsicker

The lavishly-furnished custom Boeing 727 airliner (727PX) which ferried Senator John McCain on four occasions during his Presidential run in 2000 also flew Saudi Royals out of the U.S. right after 9/11, carrying an entourage of Saudi Royals from Las Vegas to London six days after the 9/11 attack in a controversial operation later scrutinized by the 9/11 Commission.

The 727 figures in the current tempest over his relationship with female lobbyist Vicki Iseman, who provided and flew with McCain on the plane.  

With hundreds of air charter companies and airliners to choose from, the Saudis chose a company that owns “Worship Ministries” and Christian Network, Inc., turning to Paxson Communications, a “Christian broadcaster” which owned the plane, to make its corporate jet available to spirit the Saudi princes and their entourage out of the U.S. six days after 9/11.



Obama Plays Ball

d by: Anthony M. Freed | August 25, 2008

Obama: Fannie and Freddie “too central to the housing market” to fail, supports bailout

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares were on the rise in stubborn opposition to a down market on news of they have completed a multi-billion dollar debt-sale, and the news coincided with presidential hopeful and democratic nominee apparent Barack Obama’s statement today where he reiterated his support for the trouble GSE’s and the as-good-done GSE Bailout which will be funded on the backs of the nation‘s taxpayers:

“Here’s the problem: If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed, then probably the financial system would receive such a body blow that it could be disastrous.  You probably couldn’t get a mortgage,”  he said.

“I think long-term what we have to do is, we have to go ahead and make a decision, if these are public entities, then maybe they ought to get out of the profit-making business… and if they’re private entities, that we don’t bail them out,”  Obama said.



Google increasingly compliant with U.S. censors

Aug 25

Anxious Governments React to Google Earth

The easy availability of high-resolution imagery of much of the Earth’s surface through Google Earth has presented a significant challenge to longstanding secrecy and national security policies, and has produced several distinct types of reactions from concerned governments, according to a recent report (pdf) from the DNI Open Source Center (OSC).

“As the initial shock wore off, five main responses to the ‘Google threat’ emerged from nations around the world: negotiations with Google, banning Google products, developing a similar product, taking evasive measures, and nonchalance,” the OSC report said.

The report documents these responses with citations to published news sources. It also notes several incidents in which terrorists or irregular military forces reportedly used Google Earth to plan or conduct attacks.



Warning: Worldwide wipeout ahead

The Fed and the credit crunch
Libor Signals Credit Seizing as Banks Balk at Lending
Commodities have fallen, but don't expect a collapse
Beijing swells dollar reserves through stealth
Suez, America-style


Think US stocks are on a life raft? Look around the globe, where seas are much rougher. This is serious, folks. Brace for a brutal riptide of more economic upheaval.

By Jon Markman

It barely seems possible that anyone is more pessimistic about corporate earnings prospects than American shareholders right now, with the U.S. stock market down almost 15% for the year and the banking system coming unglued before our eyes.

Yet if you take a moment to look around the world, you may be surprised to learn that U.S. stocks are the picture of health compared with their counterparts worldwide. And measured against the gloom in bonds, U.S. stocks are like a sunny day in spring.

Time to gloat? Not on your life. For if there's one thing we know about global markets these days, it's that they seldom diverge for long. So while it might be tempting to look with pity at investors across the seas and in other asset classes, it's more likely that U.S. equities will plunge than that foreign equities will float higher toward our perch.


US tax breaks help Jewish settlers in West Bank


25 Aug 2008

By Adam Entous

JERUSALEM, Aug 25 (Reuters) - The United States says Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank threaten any peace between Israel and the Palestinians -- yet it also encourages Americans to help support settlers by offering tax breaks on donations.

As Condoleezza Rice flew in on Monday for another round of peace talks, Israeli and American supporters of settlements defended the tax incentives, which benefit West Bank enclaves deemed illegal by the World Court and which the U.S. secretary of state has said are an obstacle to Palestinian statehood.

Pro-settler groups say they are entitled to the tax breaks because their work is "humanitarian", not political, and reject any comparison to Palestinian charities, some of which face U.S. sanctions over suspected links to Islamist groups like Hamas.


Motormouth Joe Biden: Warmonger And Political Hit Man

Webster G. Tarpley

Tuesday, Aug 26, 2008

WASHINGTON DC -- The vice presidential candidate chosen to run with Obama is Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, a discredited, sleazy, and shopworn political hack -- and therefore an anti-climax for all the callow and feckless youth who got the word via text message at 3am in the morning. The ability of the Trilateral-Bilderberg machine which controls Obama to put up a person like Biden already reflects the further degradation of US political life over the past 9-12 months, largely as a result of Obama's own demagogic, no- issues, personality cult agitation.

A year ago, there was wide agreement in the US middle class that Bush and Cheney should be impeached, that the police state be rolled back, and that the Iraq war should be ended as soon as physically possible. Thanks largely to the advent of the vapid and messianic Obama, these issues have now been thoroughly deflated. Biden is himself an incurable warmonger who voted for the Iraq war and blathered ceaselessly in favor of Bush's aggressive adventure to all who would listen. Naming Biden is a brutal insult to the antiwar majority of the Democratic Party, and Obama is obviously hoping that the Iraq war issue is dead, so nobody will care. Last year, Obama promised that he would work against the mentality that produced Iraq; if anyone incarnates that mentality, it is Biden. Biden is an incurable imperialist and an eager advocate of the discredited Bush-Cheney "war on terror." He even tried to use one of the Democratic debates last year to whip up hysteria in favor of attacking Sudan over the Darfur issue, and with some success. "I went there. I sat in the borders. I went in those camps. They're going to have thousands and thousands and thousands of people die. We've got to stop talking and act," Biden postured in Manchester New Hampshire on June 3, 2007 in an apparent call for bombing Sudan, a coup in Khartoum, or an invasion. Incredibly, the crowd applauded wildly.

Biden remains convinced that it is up to the United States to dictate the form of government and economic system of virtually every country in the world. His specialty is blatant interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, with left-cover of soft power issues like human rights and humanitarian concerns furnishing his favorite pretexts. Biden has learned nothing from the Iraq debacle except that Iraq was not the right victim; more appropriate victims and more effective methods will have to be found, argues Biden. The real lesson of Iraq (and Lebanon 2006) is that US-British imperialism and world domination are finished historically, but this is lost on Biden.


McCain's Rothschild Connection


John McCain's
Rothschild Connection

By Michael Collins Piper

.SOME CYNICS SAY THAT Sen. John McCain’s recent visit to London to attend a fundraiser for his presidential candidacy hosted by Lord Jacob Rothschild of the international banking empire may have been quite simply a case of McCain going to Rothschild for his marching orders.

As if to underscore his allegiances, McCain preceded his trip to pay court to Lord Rothschild with a visit to Israel, the Middle East state that counts the Rothschild family as among its chief patrons, to the point that an earlier Rothschild, Edmond, of the Paris-based arm of the banking family, is honored on Israel’s currency today.

McCain was accompanied to the Rothschild gala (and to Israel) by his good friend and fellow devotee of Israel, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), who has endorsed McCain and who is often mentioned as either a vice presidential running mate for McCain or as a likely secretary of state in a McCain administration.


Lawmaker thinks surveillance cameras are awesome until one is installed near his house

Tuesday, 26th August 2008

A councillor is threatening to block Big-Brother-style CCTV cameras from spying on his house – by letting his trees grow.
Coun Albert Richardson claims the surveillance cameras near his home on Ribbleton Avenue can monitor visitors to his house and are invading neighbours' privacy.

Coun Richardson backed the cameras when they were set up almost 18 months ago – but is now fuming as one has been erected close to his front door.

He said: "I didn't expect one to go up where it has gone up. There are people watching me coming and going outside my house.


Organization Accusing Obama Of Being Linked To Terrorism Has Twice Violated The Law

Obama Calls For Criminal Charges Against Ayers Ad Organization

August 26, 2008 

For once my uncanny knowledge of non-profit law comes to use.

5 days ago, August 21st, lawyers representing Barack Obama filed a request with the Department of Justice to investigate the American Issues Project, a non-profit 501(c)4 organization running an attack ad against Obama claiming Obama” launched his political career from the living room of Bill Ayers,” a former terrorist with Weather Underground. If Obama did anything in Ayers living room, it was likely crawl around on the floor, as he was only 8 years old at the time. He was 6 years old at the time of the Weather Underground’s bombings.

That, however, is not the bone of contention between the American Issues Project and the Obama campaign; the American Issues Project is acting in blatant disregard for the rules which safeguard their non-profit status. A 501(c)4 is a social welfare organization, which can act in a political function if it advocates for a social welfare issue. This means it may partake in “education” or advertising which educates about a social welfare issue or they may spend a certain minority percentage of their funds towards lobbying for social welfare legislation. There is clear language, however, that forbids them from, “direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office,” according to the Internal Revenue Code. The Obama/Ayers ad is a clear violation against that rule and is part of the point the Obama camp is trying to make to the DOJ.



9 year old banned from little league because he pitches too good

Ya gotta be mediocre to make it in America these day, kid...

9-year-old boy told he's too good to pitch

Associated Press

Updated: August 25, 2008, 9:30 PM ET

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player -- too good, it turns out.

The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.

Officials with the Youth Baseball League of New Haven say they will disband Jericho Scott's team because his coach won't stop him from pitching.



Minn. RNC: Police confiscate laptops and video equipmennt

Meanwhile in Minneapolis…police confiscate laptops and video equipment

By: GRITtv Tuesday August 26, 2008 9:25 am

Some disturbing news we received from I-Witness Video early this morning:

"Our colleagues at the Glass Bead Collective, a group of video artists and documentarians, are in the Twin Cities to prepare for the Republican National Convention. They were swarmed by three police cars, detained and had all of their electronic gear, including laptop computers, videocameras and personal items were taken from them by Minneapolis police. No one was arrested. The stop and seizure was explained by police officers as related to Homeland Security and the Republican Convention. "

Recently we showed you video from the Glass Bead Collective, projecting a slide show on the Chinese Embassy with Students For A Free Tibet. These artist/activist/journalists also have a video with more than a million views on YouTube showing an NYPD officer assaulting a Critical Mass bicyclist.

Oy. More when we know . . .


McCain must explain his ties to felon Jim Hensley

posted by William K Wolfrum | Monday, August 25, 2008

Jim Hensley is a felon, Bill Ayers isn't

As conservative bloggers and mainstream media sources work overtime to try and force Barack Obama to explain, reexplain, and then again explain his relationship with former Weatherman Bill Ayers, John McCain still has questions to answer about his own relationship with a criminal.

The criminal in question is McCain's father-in-law, the late Jim Hensley. At the time of his death in 2000, Hensley was one of the richest men in Arizona and owner of one of the largest Anheuser-Bush Distributorships in the nation.

Hensley and daughter Cindy are well-established as the sponsors of McCain's political career and McCain has called Hensley a "role model." Ayers once contributed $200 to Obama, and the two have have worked together with a charity group and school reform group.

How else do Hensley and Ayers match up?

Jim Hensley vs. Bill Ayers

Felony Convictions: Hensley 1, Ayers 0.


Special Sneak Peak at Ron Paul’s Rally for the Republic Speech

We’re here today to send a message, not just to the Republican Party, not just to the politicians in power, but to the whole country and possibly the whole world.

The power brokers are convinced that they can maintain control with no serious challenge. They have it wrong!

We will challenge them on all fronts - in every state and at all levels of government. Individual liberty must be our goal. Peace and prosperity will follow.

Change for the sake of change but not doing the right thing is pure folly. Our Revolution must prevail. And it will!


GOPer Admits Republicans Running 'Ministry Of Truth'

The Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue, in Newspeak) is one of the four ministries that govern Oceania in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. As with the other Ministries in the novel, the Ministry of Truth is a misnomer and in reality serves an opposing purpose to that which its name would imply, being responsible for the falsification of historical events; and yet is aptly named in a deeper sense, in that it creates/manufactures "truth" in the newspeak sense of the word.

Republicans set up "war room" near downtown

Tim Hoover's picture
By: Tim Hoover

8/24/2008 - 6:54pm

Tim Hoover's blog

In an alley behind a non-descript row of brick buildings on North Speer Boulevard, and on the other side of a large metal gate with armed guards standing in front, Republicans have set up a "war room" in Denver. In this west side location that is not far from the Pepsi Center yet out of sight from Democratic delegates and protesters walking downtown, Republicans will be crafting anti-Barack Obama messages nearly round the clock this week. Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said the team of nearly two dozen staffers at the opposition headquarters will be "fact-checking" statements made by the Obama campaign and by speakers during the convention. "Just consider this the Ministry of Truth," quipped Dick Wadhams, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.



Cindy McCain Travels To Republic Of Georgia To Exploit Wounded Soldiers

John McCain

Cindy McCain Heading to Republic of Georgia

Updated 4:27 p.m.

By Michael D. Shear

SACRAMENTO -- Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain, is headed to the Republic of Georgia, where tensions between the government and Russia have sparked international concern and have become an issue on the presidential campaign trail.

McCain announced to a group of fundraisers in Sacramento that his wife was headed to the country, but the campaign did not provide any details about the trip.

McCain has been very aggressive in his condemnation of Russia's invasion of Georgia, and his campaign has been critical of Obama's more measured response when Russian tanks first pushed into the country.


Suspect confessed to Obama assassination plot

Report: Suspect confessed to Obama plot

By Kirk Mitchell

The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 08/26/2008 11:30:37 AM MDT

Tharin Gartrell, Nathan Johnson, and Shawn Robert Adolf. (Special to the Post)

Three men under investigation for a possible threat against Barack Obama have lengthy criminal records for illegal gun possession, drug dealing and theft. One of them told a news reporter they planned to kill the presidential candidate.

The three men, Tharin Gartrell, Nathan Johnson and Shawn Adolf, all were being sought on arrest warrants for numerous criminal crimes, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.

Authorities have yet to say why they are investigating a possible threat against Obama but said the men may be connected to a white-supremacist group.


Police Trap Peaceful Protesters in Denver

By Davin Hutchins on Aug 25, 2008

A calm political protest quickly turned chaotic as anxious Denver police surrounded protestors peacefully marching toward the Democratic National Convention Center. After trapping the crowd between two buildings, hundreds of officers used pepper spray, batons and unwarranted aggression. After being surrounded for 20 minutes, two ANP producers managed to escape after recording the whole affair.


German Coalition Sues Bayer Over Pesticide Honey Bee Deaths

Chemical Pollutants Likely Culprits in Rising Birth Defects

FREIBURG, Germany, August 25, 2008 (ENS) - The German organization Coalition against Bayer Dangers today brought legal action against Werner Wenning, chairman of the Bayer AG Board of Management, by filing a charge against him with the public prosecutor in Freiburg.

The group accuses Bayer CropScience of "marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby accepting the mass death of bees all over the world."
Werner Wenning has chaired the Bayer AG Board of Management since 2002. (Photo courtesy Bayer AG)

The coalition filed the charge in cooperation with German beekeepers who claim they lost thousands of hives after poisoning by the Bayer pesticide clothianidin in May.

Since 1991, Bayer has been producing the insecticide imidacloprid, which is one of the best selling insecticides in the world, often used as seed-dressing for maize, sunflower, and rape. Bayer exports imidacloprid to more than 120 countries and the substance is Bayer's best-selling pesticide.


AP’s Deadly Distortions

AP’s Self-contradicting Settler-Editors

A Short Study in Subtle Shape-shifting

Image © IfAmericansKnew.orgStaffed almost exclusively by Israeli nationals and Jewish immigrants living illegally as settlers in the Palestinian West Bank, The Associated Press' West Jerusalem bureau is the global central hub for Israeli apologetics.

Not a day goes by in which editors like Josef Federman and bureau chief Steven Gutkin do not perpetrate a fraud on their readers for the sake of minimizing Palestinian suffering and Israeli culpability therefor. (This is on top of Mr. Gutkin's blatant and unrepentant lies about the so-called threat of the Iranian nuclear program.)

Sometimes in their efforts to demonize the victim, they forget to act like editors, making the silliest mistakes. These can include basic spelling, punctuation, and sometimes grammatical errors; while on rarer occasions, they'll repeat entire paragraphs, back-to-back.

But these are honest mistakes.



Afghanistan demands end to Nato air strikes on villagers

UN backs Karzai concerns over loss of civilian life in allied raids

A doctor treats an Afghan girl injured in a Nato air raid. Photograph: A doctor treats an Afghan girl injured in a Nato air raid. Photograph: Reza Shirmohammadi/Getty

A doctor treats an Afghan girl injured in a Nato air raid. Photograph: A doctor treats an Afghan girl injured in a Nato air raid. Photograph: Reza Shirmohammadi/Getty

Tensions increased today between Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, and US and Nato troops, with the government ordering a review of foreign military activities amid claims that dozens of civilians have died in raids and air strikes over the past week.

The ministries of foreign affairs and defence said they would seek to regulate raids with a status of forces agreement and a negotiated end to "air strikes on civilian targets, uncoordinated house searches and illegal detention of Afghan civilians".

The UN mission in Afghanistan has backed the government. Afghan and foreign soldiers entered the village of Nawabad in Shindand district last Friday and called in air strikes, villagers told UN investigators.



Microsoft adds privacy tools to IE8

So-called porn mode tools to debut in IE8 Beta 2 this month

Gregg Keizer

August 25, 2008 (Computerworld) Microsoft Corp. today spelled out new privacy tools in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) that some have dubbed "porn mode" in a nod to the most obvious use of a browser privacy mode.

A privacy advocate applauded the move, calling it a "great step forward," while rival browser builder Mozilla Corp. said it is working to add similar features to a future Firefox.

Slated to appear in IE8 Beta 2, which Microsoft former chairman Bill Gates promised will release this month, the three new tools share the "InPrivate" name, which Microsoft filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office several weeks ago.


Why was Cheney's aide in Georgia just before the war?

Countdown to Crawford: Tracking the final days of the Bush administration

What was a top national security aide to Vice President Dick Cheney doing in Georgia shortly before Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's troops engaged in what became a disastrous fight with South Ossetian rebels -- and then Russian troops?

Not, according to the vice president's office, what you might think -- if your thinking takes you into the realm of Cheney giving his blessing to the Georgian's military operation.

To be sure, Cheney has been a leader of the hardliners in the administration when it comes to standing up to Russia -- to the point that the man who ran the Pentagon as the Cold War came to an end during the administration of the first President Bush has been seen as ready to renew that face-off with Moscow.



A soldier in Iraq decided to write about his experiences. He never suspected he'd start a war

Notes on a Scandal

This article is from the September issue of Radar Magazine. For a risk-free issue, click here.

A PRIVATE AFFAIR When Scott Beauchamp's shocking essay spurred a media frenzy, his journalist wife, Elspeth Reeve, had his back
Soldiers at war rarely write magazine stories. But on July 13, 2007, a 24-year-old army private named Scott Thomas Beauchamp who had been serving in Iraq for about 10 months published a short, pseudonymous essay in the New Republic magazine that created a media firestorm.

"Shock Troops" is a grim first-person account of the dehumanizing aspects of war. In a tone vacillating between shame and detachment, Beauchamp, under the byline "Scott Thomas," recounts with squirm-inducing detail how he and his buddies were becoming so callous they openly mocked a gruesomely disfigured woman—the apparent victim of a roadside bomb—when she sat down for a meal in a military mess hall.

Among neoconservative war apologists and self-anointed superpatriots, discrediting the story became a crusade: Beauchamp must be proven a liar, and TNR must be humiliated"I love chicks that have been intimate—with IEDs. It really turns me on—melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses...," Beauchamp quotes himself as saying, loud enough so the woman could hear. He continues: "My friend was practically falling out of his chair laughing. The disfigured woman slammed her cup down and ran out of the chow hall." Playfully referring to her as the Crypt Keeper, they made her a running gag.



Utah State senator is rude to a pizza delivery girl that had a little known blog until now

Pizza delivery woman blogs against rude state senator

Last Update: 8/22 10:46 pm

PROVO, Utah County (ABC 4 News) - A pizza delivery girl got her revenge on a Utah state senator who she says was rude.

Monday evening, Anna Eagar knocked on the door of Senator Curt Bramble in Provo’s Edgemont neighborhood. She had pizzas the family ordered over the phone.

Things get downright uncomfortable for Anna when Bramble wanted to pay with a check. Anna said, “I can’t accept a personal check.” It’s company policy. Bramble first told her to take her pizzas and go, but then Anna suggested he can call the restaurant and pay over the phone with any credit card. She said Bramble did call and then proceeded to berate her boss and insist that his checks should be the exception.


How We Learned to Stop Worrying About National Interest…

Russian Mediterranean Warships Placed Under Black Sea Fleet Command - US Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group Headed for the Med & Persian Gulf

Catastrophic Farce

Posted by Doug Bandow on August 24, 2008

Rather as God cares about every sparrow that falls to earth, no crisis anywhere escapes the attention of the U.S. government. So it has been with the Russo-Georgian war. Words continue to flood forth from Washington—Georgia stands for freedom and democracy, Russia must be punished, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are part of Georgia, the U.S. and Europe must stand by Tbilisi. “NATO intends to support the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Georgia, and to support its democratically elected government,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gravely intoned. “This NATO which has come so far in a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace is not going to permit a new line to be drawn in Europe,” she added, apparently referring to Georgia, even though it lies far outside Europe. Rice also called the statement on the conflict issued by the NATO members’ foreign ministers a “clear indication of NATO’s interest and NATO’s concern.”

Yes, it was—in ways she didn’t anticipate. Moscow’s response was a sneer and an insult. NATO then did precisely nothing.

In fact, there’s not much the alliance could do. Georgia is not actually a member, of course, and when the NATO ministers met in Brussels on August 19 few European states had the stomach for confronting Russia despite France’s threat of “serious consequences.” Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that the NATO-Russia Council would not meet for the foreseeable future and the alliance would create a similar forum for dialogue with Georgia. Otherwise it would essentially be business as usual with Moscow.



Give Iraqis what they want  

August 26, 2008

PRESIDENT BUSH has been embarrassed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Bush had set a goal of July 31 for a security agreement with Maliki's government. The key to negotiating such an accord, for Bush, was to avoid setting a firm date for withdrawal of US combat troops. Bush has insisted that the timing and pacing of a withdrawal had to be determined solely by conditions on the ground - a mantra that GOP presidential candidate John McCain has echoed faithfully.

But now Maliki is demanding a "specific deadline" for the withdrawal not only of American combat troops but of all US forces of any kind. Maliki's aides are saying that the latest date for the departure of the last American soldier from Iraq must be the end of 2011. Maliki himself told an audience of tribal sheikhs Monday, "There can be no treaty or agreement except on the basis of Iraq's full sovereignty." To make clear his utter rejection of the Bush formula, Maliki insisted that "no foreign soldier remains in Iraq after a specific deadline," saying he would not settle for "an open time frame."

Maliki does not want an American president to decide when conditions are ripe for even a partial withdrawal of US forces. Maliki's allusion to Iraqi sovereignty also means that he is still resisting American demands that US forces - though not private contractors - enjoy immunity from Iraqi laws. To grant the Americans "open immunity," he told the tribal sheikhs, would be to betray the "sanctity of Iraqi blood."



The Big Questions About Iraq

August 26, 2008

Did the Surge Work?


Will Iraq disintegrate if the United States withdraws its combat troops?

The US and Iraq are close to agreeing a security accord under which the  US would pull its combat troops out of Iraqi cities, towns and villages on June 30, 2009 and out of Iraq by December 31, 2011. This will only happen  if a joint Iraqi-American ministerial committee agrees that security in Iraq  has improved to the point where the half million strong Iraqi security  forces can take over. Other aspects of the draft agreement show that the  government of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is increasingly confident  of its own military and political strength. The accord now close to being  agreed is very different from the one the US proposed as recently as  March which would simply have continued the US occupation, much as it  has been under the UN mandate which runs out at the end of the year.  The main point about the agreement, if it is implemented as expected, is  that the US will cease to be the predominant military power in Iraq from  next summer for the first time since the US-led coalition overthrew Saddam  Hussein in 2003.

Will Iraq be able to hold together as US troops depart?

Yes it will, but not because the three main Iraqi communities love each  other. The Shia are coming out the winners and this was always inevitable  once the US had decided to overthrow the predominantly Sunni regime of  Saddam Hussein. The Shia are 60 per cent of the Iraqi population and the  Sunni |Arabs and the Kurds are each about 20 per cent. Mr Maliki leads a  Shia-Kurdish government in which the most powerful element is the Shia  religious parties. The insurgency in which 4,300 US soldiers were killed and  30,000 were wounded was a rebellion of the Sunni community. This was  the war to which the world paid most attention. But there was a second  savage civil war between the Sunni and Shia which the Shia won  decisively. They now control most of the government and the army. On the  ground they hold at least three quarters of Baghdad after fierce fighting in  the capital in 2005-7. The Sunni are now too weak to set up a separate  canton. The Kurds need to remain part of Iraq, however much they may  yearn for independence, because otherwise they face invasion by Turkey.  The central government is becoming increasingly assertive against the  Kurds, particularly over the issue of who holds Kirkuk and the right to  award contracts for oil exploration and exploitation.

Does this mean that the Surge worked and the US has won in Iraq?

This is mostly propaganda. The Surge was the increase in US troop levels  by 30,000 men from February 2007 and more aggressive tactics by the US  army under the command of General David Petraeus. But even prior to this  it was clear that the Sunni community was being driven out of large parts  of Iraq, above all greater Baghdad. There was also a backlash against al  Qaida in Iraq which had overplayed its hand by declaring the Islamic State  of Iraq in late 2006. It has sought to marginalise or kill hostile Sunni tribal  leaders. It killed or mutilated anybody who failed to obey its extreme  fundamentalist Islamic beliefs. Hairdressers were shot dead for giving un- Islamic haircuts. But, above, all the Sunni could see that al-Qaida’s brutal  and bloody use of enormous vehicle born bombs against the Shia had  provoked a devastating reaction. Sunni nationalist insurgents had no  choice but to end their guerrilla war against the US and seek US support  and aid. There are now 103,000 members of al-Sahwa or the Awakening  Movement who are paid for by the US. US military fatalities are down to  only 18 so far this month. But the fall in violence is only partly to do with  the actions of the US. It is a great mistake to imagine that the US makes  all the political weather in Iraq. The main reason for the end of the Sunni  insurgency against the US forces is the defeat of the Sunni by the Shia in  the battle for Baghdad.

Is al-Qaida in Iraq finished?



Joe Biden and the Myth of Foreign Policy Experience

The Nation.

Editor's Cut

posted by Katrina vanden Heuvel on 08/24/2008

The conventional wisdom is that with a new cold war looming and global conflicts upon us, Barack Obama needed a Vice-President with foreign policy experience. Most establishment pundits buy the view that Joe Biden provides it.

But on one of the key issues relating to US-Russian relations, Biden has been wrong. He has been a fervent champion of NATO expansion, a bipartisan policy whose disastrous consequences we witnessed in the recent and ongoing Russia-Georgia conflict. It is a policy that has done more to damage US-Russian relations than almost any other policy between the two countries.

When Biden traveled to Tbilisi during the conflict in August--presumably to flex and highlight his foreign policy credentials for the Obama campaign--he presumably told Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili of his support for that country's early admission to NATO. (The New York Times reports that the conflict did in fact boost Biden's veep prospects.) What does this say about Biden's foreign policy judgment that he would immediately reward Saakashvili's reckless behavior with a promise of early admission to NATO?



A Better Question Might Be, “How Isn’t it Fascism?”

Friday, August 22, 2008

Have you ever spoken to someone who lived through a fascist regime? If and when you do, you might be surprised at what you hear, especially when it comes to the relatively benign remembrances of daily life in places like Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal. Videla’s Argentina, Vargas’s Brazil or Bordaberry’s Uruguay.

Most Americans who’ve lived abroad have, at one time or another, had the experience of talking with a foreign friend who, though never having lived in the US, is pretty well convinced that they understand the cardinal elements of our culture. Why? Because for years, that person has consumed a non-stop diet of Hollywood movies and programs. When, after fully acknowledging cinema’s great value as a tool of cultural knowledge, you try and help them become aware of the many social realities this medium cannot or, as currently constituted, will not convey, they often become annoyed or indifferent. They have their story and they are going to stick with it.

It seems to me that our culture’s relationship to fascism has much in common with this. Over the last sixty years, Hollywood has given us constant stream of images about life under authoritarian regimes. As a result, most Americans are generally pretty confident of their ability to not only recognize the basic contours of this socio-political phenomenon, but also “do the right thing” should the authorities begin pursuing their neighbors for no good reason. Of course, this presumes that fascism almost always looks the way Hollywood, with its intense Germanic fixations and penchant for clean morally unambiguous story lines, tells us it does, you know, with armed checkpoints, draconian curfews, dimly-lit streets, grey skies and a complete absence of joy.


Guns Silent, Moscow and Tbilisi Open New Front in Denver

August 26, 2008


WASHINGTON — Just hours before the Democratic National Convention was gaveled open on Monday, several party leaders sat down with the delegation from Georgia. But for these Georgians, the term “battleground state” had an altogether grimmer meaning.

They came from the small former Soviet republic that fought a brief and disastrous war with Russia this month, and they were in Denver to plead their case to representatives, senators, delegates and any other political figures they could buttonhole.

A competing set of envoys from Moscow likewise made the rounds at the Democratic gathering, hoping to repair some of the damage to American-Russian ties. The Georgian and Russian governments plan to send representatives to the Republican convention in Minnesota next week as well.


America's Invisible Rich


The Democratic Party Platform's Missing Plank

In the states where America's wealthy congregate, politicians can't seem to see any wealthy people when the time comes to decide who to tax.

August 11, 2008

By Sam Pizzigati

Governors don’t usually deliver primetime TV addresses. That’s something Presidents do. But late last month New York Gov. David Patterson did take to primetime — to declare a state budget “crisis” and call lawmakers back to Albany for a special session.

New Yorkers, pollsters announced last week, share the governor’s unease. A whopping 86 percent agree that the state has a fiscal crisis. New Yorkers also agree on a solution: tax the rich. By a 78 to 18 percent margin, New Yorkers favor hiking taxes on households that make over $1 million a year.

State taxesThose households currently abound in the Empire State. New IRS statistics, released July 31, show that New York has the nation’s most top-heavy distribution of income in the entire United States.


Maliki the Nationalist? Don't buy it.


 by Robert Dreyfuss on 08/26/2008

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues to make headlines by posing as an Iraqi nationalist. Don't buy it.

Unfortunately, much of the media has swallowed Maliki's posturing without questioning it. The usually astute Leila Fadel, writing for McClatchy, has an article today headlined: "Maliki Demands 'Specific Deadline' for US Troop Pullout," which says:

Maliki said that the United States and Iraq had agreed that all foreign troops would be off Iraqi soil by the end of 2011. "There is an agreement actually reached, reached between the two parties on a fixed date, which is the end of 2011, to end any foreign presence on Iraqi soil," Maliki said.

Other newspapers and electronic media pick up Maliki's statement that Iraq wants all US forces out, not just combat troops. The Times headlines its story: "Maliki Pushes for Troop Withdrawal Date," and it barely questions Maliki's sincerity, though it does glancingly take note of the nationalist pressure on the Iraqi leader, reporting that "graffiti can be seen on the walls in Shiite districts of Baghdad saying, 'Iraq for sale: See Maliki.'" The Post headline ("Maliki Demands All U.S. Troops Pull Out by 2011") says as much, too, portraying Maliki as resolute and unyielding in talks with the United States over a security accord.


Police arrest Israeli Gaza 'siege-breaking' protester

Aug. 26, 2008

Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST

A spokeswoman for protesters who defied a blockade of Gaza by entering by sea said one was arrested after returning to Israel by land.

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein said that Jeff Halper, an Israeli citizen, was detained by police after he passed through the Erez crossing.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Halper was taken to a police station in southern Israel Tuesday. He had no details.


NY Times does it again: More 'Judy Miller' tapdancing


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A front page article "In Nuclear Net’s Undoing, a Web of Shadowy Deals" in Monday's New York Times by William Sanger and David Broad details the destruction of evidence by the US government in a case involving the nuclear black market.

The article highlights again that the New York Times continues to engage in 'Judy Miller reporting' by warmongering and acting as a mouthpiece for the government.

In the article, Sanger and Broad (who co-wrote a book, Germs, with Judy Miller):
1) Provide an incomplete and misleading story by coveniently withholding pertinent, established facts.
2) Spin the story towards Iran, and away from other governments, fulfilling the government's propaganda needs again.
3) Carry out no investigation, relying on government spokespeople without checking facts, relying on documents, or agenda-free sources.




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