Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Occupation Project: 115 Have Been Arrested to Stop War Funding

http://vcnv.org/occupation-project-nation-wide-arrests

GIVE EM' HELL--It's the least we can do since they have given hell to the people of Iraq.

New Figures Show Dramatic Rise in Terror Attacks Worldwide Since the Invasion of Iraq

"Innocent people across the world are now paying the price of the "Iraq effect", with the loss of hundreds of lives directly linked to the invasion and occupation by American and British forces.

"An authoritative US study of terrorist attacks after the invasion in 2003 contradicts the repeated denials of George Bush and Tony Blair that the war is not to blame for an upsurge in fundamentalist violence worldwide. The research is said to be the first to attempt to measure the "Iraq effect" on global terrorism. It found that the number killed in jihadist attacks around the world has risen dramatically since the Iraq war began in March 2003. The study compared the period between 11 September 2001 and the invasion of Iraq with the period since the invasion. The count - excluding the Arab-Israel conflict - shows the number of deaths due to terrorism rose from 729 to 5,420. As well as strikes in Europe, attacks have also increased in Chechnya and Kashmir since the invasion. The research was carried out by the Centre on Law and Security at the NYU Foundation for Mother Jones magazine.

"Iraq was the catalyst for a ferocious fundamentalist backlash, according to the study, which says that the number of those killed by Islamists within Iraq rose from seven to 3,122. Afghanistan, invaded by US and British forces in direct response to the September 11 attacks, saw a rise from very few before 2003 to 802 since then. In the Chechen conflict, the toll rose from 234 to 497. In the Kashmir region, as well as India and Pakistan, the total rose from 182 to 489, and in Europe from none to 297.

Found on Angry Arab Newservice

Dems Courting Repub Favor--Forget About Soldiers and Iraqis

"Senior Democrats defended their management of the war issue, insisting there has been no slowdown in their campaign.

"'We've been in the majority for six weeks," said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington. "We've had 38 hearings on the Iraq war…. We've already had two votes on the war…. That's a lot better than they've done in the last 3 1/2 or 4 years."

"But Democrats are under intense pressure to act. Several recent polls have shown that public support continues to build for congressional action to limit the war.

LATER IN ARTICLE:

"But as debate has shifted to what Congress will do next, substantial cracks appear to be emerging in the Democratic camp.

"In the House, several moderate Democrats have spoken out against a proposal by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) to attach conditions to a $93-billion supplemental defense spending bill that could limit the Pentagon's ability to send more troops to Iraq. Murtha, who chairs the appropriations subcommittee that is considering the spending request, is a close friend and ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). She has indicated some qualified support for his proposal.

"House Democrats are exploring setting equipment and training standards for troops before their deployment, shifting more money to fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and setting benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet for continued U.S. funding.

"'We're listening to our colleagues about what form they want that supplemental to take," Pelosi said. But, sensitive to the GOP attacks, the speaker said: "We will fund the troops as long as they are in harm's way."

"In an interview with CNN's Larry King on Tuesday, Pelosi said that Bush's judgment on the Iraq war was "a little impaired."

From Cursor.org

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Congress Critters Summoned to Israel, Receive Marching Orders

"No doubt Calcutta News has it right. “U.S. senators to arrive in Israel for indoctrination,” headlines the Indian website. “We formed the committee four years ago, when I was Chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. It is the only joint committee between the American Congress and another country,” declared Yuval Steinitz, a former “Peace Now” activist turned Jabotinsky fanatic. “We think that it is important that the members of the delegation feel the connection and understand Israel better. They are mostly non-Jewish and we want them to feel some obligation to the country.”

"Of course, these days, Congress critters are not obliged to the American people, mind you, but multinational corporations and Israel, so Mr. Steinitz was not harking out of the blue or off the wall.

“'The ability of the Senate and the Congress to promote issues is just as important as that of the American administration. They will be briefed by Mossad Officials about Iran, Hezbollah and global Jihad,” in other words, they will be harangued about the necessity for the United States to fight Israel’s enemies, as Iran and Hezbollah present about as much of a threat to the United States as the Basarwa of the Kalahari Desert. As for the “global Jihad,” this is little more than a modern version of the Blason populaire, that is to say stereotypical folklore. It is appropriate senator Jon Kyl and crew will be “briefed by Mossad Officials” on the ins-and-outs of “global Jihad,” as Israeli intelligence is responsible in large part for creating such, as in the case of nurturing Hamas and the would-be shoemaker Abu Nidal. “Scratch around inside Abu Nidal’s organization and you will find Mossad,” a senior Jordanian intelligence officer once remarked.

From Another Day in the Empire

U.S. Jews Religious Group Most Strongly Opposed to Iraq War

PRINCETON, NJ -- An analysis of Gallup Poll data collected since the beginning of 2005 finds that among the major religious groups in the United States, Jewish Americans are the most strongly opposed to the Iraq war. Catholics and Protestants are more or less divided in their views on the war, while Mormons are the most likely to favor it. Those with no religious affiliation also oppose the war, but not to the same extent that Jewish people do. The greater opposition to the war is not simply a result of high Democratic identification among U.S. Jews, as Jews of all political persuasions are more likely to oppose the war than non-Jews who share the same political leanings.

For this analysis, Gallup combined 13 surveys from the last two-plus years that measured both support for the Iraq war (using Gallup's "mistake for the U.S. to send troops to Iraq" question) and respondent religious affiliation, for a combined sample of more than 12,000 interviews. Across the time period these 13 surveys covered, an average of 52% of Americans opposed the war by saying the United States made a mistake to invade Iraq, and 46% favored the war by saying it did not make a mistake.

The table shows how Iraq war support breaks down among the religious groups for which there are sufficiently large sample sizes to provide stable estimates.

United States Made a Mistake in Sending Troops to Iraq, by Religious Affiliation,
2005-2007 Gallup Polls

Religious Preference

War
a mistake

War
not a mistake

Sample size


%

%


All Americans

52

46

12,061

U.S. Synagogue Selling Palestinian Land to American Jews in New Jersey

TEANECK, New Jersey (AP) - As protesters chanted and waved signs outside, roughly 250 American Jews were able to get information on buying homes in the West Bank during a Sunday event promoted as a way to help Jewish settlers.

The sales pitch, organized by the Amana Settlement Movement, took place in Teaneck, New Jersey at an Orthodox synagogue, Congregation B'nai Yeshurun.

The event drew rebukes from an Israeli group, as well as pro-Palestinian organizations, who say such efforts undermine international peace efforts.

Link to whole article here: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/830508.html

While Poor in U.S. Suffer, Israel Gets More Military & Civilian Aid

In US, record numbers are plunged into poverty: reportLink here (found on WhatReallyHappened.com): http://rawstory.com/news/afp/In_US_record_numbers_are_plunged_in_02242007.html

The gulf between rich and poor in the United States is yawning wider than ever, and the number of extremely impoverished is at a three-decade high, a report out Saturday found.

Based on the latest available US census data from 2005, the McClatchy Newspapers analysis found that almost 16 million Americans live in "deep or severe poverty" defined as a family of four with two children earning less than 9,903 dollars -- one half the federal poverty line figure.

For individuals the "deep poverty" threshold was an income under 5,080 dollars a year.

Meanwhile, Israel will get an increase in its aid from the U.S., even tho it's economy has strengthened:


Israel, U.S. to Discuss New Aid Program

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel and the United States will hold talks this week on formulating a new annual U.S. aid package, the Israeli Finance Ministry said on Sunday.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer and Finance Ministry Director-General Yarom Ariav will head the Israeli delegation to Washington. The Israeli team also will include senior officials from the Foreign Ministry and military.

Israel receives about $2.4 billion a year in mostly military aid from the United States. Most of that is spent on U.S. military equipment.

The two countries agreed a 10-year deal in 1998, under which U.S. military aid would rise by $60 million a year while economic assistance would be reduced by $120 million a year until 2008.

In 1998, Israel received aid of about $3 billion a year from the United States -- $1.8 billion in military assistance and $1.2 billion for civilian needs.

Israel's economy has strengthened, growing by about 5 percent for the past three years, with a fourth year of 5 percent growth forecast for 2007.

Link to whole article here: http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=politicsNews&storyid=2007-02-25T130819Z_01_L25492674_RTRUKOC_0_US-ISRAEL-US-AID.xml&src=rss

Back in Washington:

Record Number in U.S. Relying on Aid

WASHINGTON - The welfare state is bigger than ever despite a decade of policies designed to wean poor people from public aid.

The number of families receiving cash benefits from welfare has plummeted since the government imposed time limits on the payments a decade ago. But other programs for the poor, including Medicaid and food stamps, are bursting with new enrollees.

The result, according to an Associated Press analysis: Nearly one in six people relies on some form of public assistance, a larger share than at any time since the government started measuring two decades ago.

Link to article here:
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0226welfare0226.html


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Juan Cole: Informed Comment--US Commits Criminal Bombing in Iraq

"Late Saturday, the US Air Force launched a series of bombing raids on southeast Baghdad. This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can't possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.

Informed Comment

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Directly from Lenin's Tomb Website--100,000 at Anti-Nuke Rally in London

Ya hala Tomb-readers. I'm updating this report as fast as I can upload material. First indications is that was about 100,000-strong, which is probably one of the larger anti-nuclear demonstrations that we've had in recent years. I didn't hear any figures for the Glasgow demo, but I'm told it was enormous: unsurprisingly, since Scotland is where the British ruling class likes to keep its nukes. It goes without saaying that most of the media are blacking out the demo, and the BBC gives it only a few inches in a local section (misquoting the figures too). Bizarrely, they actually devote more space to the demonstration in Glasgow which they say was much smaller. It's quite interesting: clearly, the story of the boy who gave David Cameron the one-gun salute being arrested for possessing cannabis is much more important, as is the startling revelation that Hazel Blears wants to be the deputy Prime Minister. Here are some pictures of the demo as it began. My footage has been uploaded to Youtube, but they are taking their time approving some of it, so I will post as it becomes available.

found on Lenin's Tomb

5-Yr Old Palestinian Girl Frightened to Death by IDF

"Five year old girl, Ebtisam Al-Tardh, terrified to death after Israeli occupation forces abducted her father

"PNN, (Hebron) Palestine News Network Saturday, 24 February 2007

"Late last night a five year old girl died in the southern West Bank after a struggle in the hospital. The Palestinian Prisoner Society's Hebron branch issued the details on Saturday that cite the cause of her death as terror.

"As is a common occurrence during arrest campaigns, Israeli occupation forces raided the family home as they slept. The soldiers were loud and violent, tearing through personal belongings, throwing furniture, shoving family members, holding them all at gunpoint.

"PPS reports that during arrests Israeli occupation forces generally use jeeps or tanks, break down doors, fire tear gas and bullets, bring in dogs and beat people.

"The Director of PPS in Hebron, Amjad Al-Najjar, is following the case. “The conduct of occupation soldiers is that of pirates. They engage in persecution and violate international law, human rights and religious values. These hostile operations crush people, particularly children.”

"The invasions frighten the toughest of adults who know they may not live through them. And it is well documented how psychologically damaging the midnight raids are for children.

"At the beginning of the month Israeli occupation forces broke into the Al-Tardh family home. Five and a half year old Ebtisam was terrified as soldiers screamed at her and her siblings, forcing them all outside into the cold. In front of the children, Israeli forces arrested their father. The young girl went into an apparent shock and was taken to the hospital. She never recovered.

"And although his daughter is dead, Ibrahim Al-Tardh remains in Israeli occupation prison, suffering himself from heart disease and in urgent need of health care.

Story found on DesertPeace blog.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Video of Citizens' Arrest of Senator Patty Murray

Patty Murray nearly arrested for International war Crimes -Video

We'll be back.

Citizens Arrest of Patty Murray #2

So much for live blogging. Somehow the Firefox browser failed me.
I'm back home. This what I tried to post earlier.

A sparsely attended event with about 30 people
including us 8 protesters. A television camera from King 5 is here
along with KIRO radio. A print reporter is here along with a camera woman.

Here's Patty Murray's website: http://murray.senate.gov/news.cfm?id=268610
We have to give her credit for actually having a statement on the Iraq war
on her website now. She believes it is time to debate the war. She's says she's
against the war but is only calling for a vague "redeployment.

In descrbing her record she mentions her initial vote against the war and then
skips ahead four years forgetting her four votes for special apropriations for
the war.

Patty Murray just walked in and has taken her seat.
The Police Chiefs are introducing themselves.
One of our members has just added himself to the list of
people being introduced.

It's time for video. God knows how long it will take me to figure out
how to post the video.

Bulletin: King 5 just played their video. It was only 5 seconds. Stay tuned, mine will
be much much better.

Citizen's Arrest of Senator Patty Murray #1

We've just arrived at Bellevue City Hall for the purpose of urging an assembly of Eastside police chiefs to arrest Patty Murray for crimes against humanity.
As one of just a few people in this country responsible for the continued funding of this war we feel she is also one of the few who could take her responsibility seriously and pull the plug.
She voted against giving George Bush the authority to start this war. This would seem to indicate that she knew it was wrong from the start. Her previous votes for funding would seem to indicate a criminal intent to do it again.

Nothing happening yet. People are milling around waiting for the show to begin.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Study Shows 607% Rise in World Terrorism Post-Iraq War

"Study Shows 607% Rise in World Terrorism Post-Iraq War" (thanks Richard)

DIRECT FROM ANGRY ARAB NEWSERVICE

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hotel Aftermath--Wash. Post Exposes Deplorable Treatment of Vets

"Dell McLeod's injury was utterly banal. He was in his 10th month of deployment with the 178th Field Artillery Regiment of the South Carolina National Guard near the Iraqi border when he was smashed in the head by a steel cargo door of an 18-wheeler. The hinges of the door had been tied together with a plastic hamburger-bun bag. Dell was knocked out cold and cracked several vertebrae.

Later in article:

"Dell and Annette's weekdays are spent making the rounds of medical appointments, physical therapy sessions and evaluations for Dell's discharge from the Army. After 19 years, he is no longer fit for service. He uses a cane to walk. He is unable to count out change in the hospital cafeteria. He takes four Percocets a day for pain and has gained 40 pounds from medication and inactivity. Lumbering and blue-eyed, Dell is a big ox baby.

"Annette puts on makeup every morning and does her hair, some semblance of normalcy, but her new job in life is watching Dell.

"'I'm worried about how he's gonna fit into society," she says one night, as Dell wanders down the hall to the laundry room.

"The more immediate worry concerns his disability rating. Army doctors are disputing that Dell's head injury was the cause of his mental impairment. One report says that he was slow in high school and that his cognitive problems could be linked to his native intelligence rather than to his injury.

"'They said, 'Well, he was in Title I math,' like he was retarded," Annette says. "Well, y'all took him, didn't you?"

"The same fight is being waged by their friends, who aren't the young warriors in Army posters but middle-age men who left factory jobs to deploy to Iraq with their Guard units. They were fit enough for war, but now they are facing teams of Army doctors scrutinizing their injuries for signs of preexisting conditions, lessening their chance for disability benefits.

"Dell and Annette's closest friend at Mologne House is a 47-year-old Guard member who was driving an Army vehicle through the Iraqi night when a flash of light blinded him and he crashed into a ditch with an eight-foot drop. Among his many injuries was a broken foot that didn't heal properly. Army doctors decided that "late life atrophy" was responsible for the foot, not the truck wreck in Iraq.

IRAQ: Now It Is Lack of Food Security--Dahr Jamail

"Under the occupation, Iraqis are getting much of their food from companies in Australia and other countries who assisted the United States during the invasion and occupation. This food has often been of low quality.

"During July 2006 the Iraqi Ministry of Trade rejected or destroyed thousands of tonnes of contaminated food or food past its expiry date. The food had caused widespread poisoning.

"Dr. Rikabi holds both the U.S.-backed Iraqi government and U.S. occupation authorities responsible for the failing food supply. "By the end of 2005 most international NGOs had withdrawn from Iraq on the orders of their governments, who saw the writing on the wall of increasing sectarian violence."

"The security situation and lack of petrol mean that local farmers are often unable to get their food to the markets.

"Changes in Iraqi import laws introduced by former administrator L. Paul Bremer, dropped tariffs on import of foreign products, making it impossible for Iraqi farmers to compete. Countless Iraqi farms went bankrupt.

"But now prices of imported goods have increased dramatically. And so most of the food in Iraqi markets today is imported, and more expensive due to skyrocketing fuel costs and lack of government regulation. Imported foods like chicken, fruits and vegetables now cost more than locally grown foods.

"Local agricultural production is almost nil," Majid al-Dulaymi from the Ministry of Agriculture told IPS. "The limited loans given by the ministry to farmers and planters are misused simply because it is not possible to maintain the agriculture production for reasons well known to everybody here. Now the private sector is importing everything, and the prices are too high to afford."

"An official from the Ministry of Trade said his ministry is struggling to provide Iraqis with food rations as before, but the circumstances make it difficult.

Dahr Jamail via Uruknet.info

Monday, February 19, 2007

Heading back to re-occupy cantwell's neighborhood

One passersby joined our group at the Ferry dock and just
as we were leaving 4 young women welcomed us as liberators.


Back at the Cantwell Green Zone:
Looks like the neighborhood terrorist lady has taken the no
war sign from the front of Cantwell's House. We're considering
offering a contract to mercenaries to keep our occupation signage
up. Fortunately the terrorists haven't gotten our sign at the Pine Park.
One last scan of the horizon and it's off to the General Staff meeting.
Over and out.

Patrol moves out to secure downtown Edmonds

We've secured the main artery into Edmonds.
We've got a checkpoint here at Main street and Sunset ave.
where it runs into the ferry dock.
The wind is blowing my laptop around in my lap.
People are having to stand behind the banners and lean into them
The natives are sympathisizing with our wind difficulties.

There are about 3 flags flapping on every block of
sidewalks downtown so you know the USA is popular here.
Be sure to thank Rory's Pub and Broiler for the free wifi next
time you come by.

OK, we still have some work to do winning over the natives.
The un-named coffee shop I'm sitting in front of has a boss who drove by.
He didn't like our signs blocking his shop window. Luckily a few of our
members speak the native tongue and We moved over.

"1,2,3,4 we don't want your stinking war...

...5,6,7,8 Use the funds to educate".
People are marching and chanting in Maria Cantwell's neighborhood
We're headed to the ferry. It's getting really cold!!! and we need to
get moving

Occupation post #3

Erin wanted me to post the fact that she was standing next to me
with the wind pinning a sign against her so that she didn't need to use her hands to keep it. It's windy!

We're doing a lot of organizing out here. It would be nice if we had time for more meetings but ths kind of works too. It looks like we are getting readyto head down to the main thoroughfare. I'll send a really cool picture of all our reat signage and t-shirts later.

Still in Edmonds securing the perimeter

Ok, I can't seem to post any pictures so 'll post the captions now and the pictures later. O'Kelly, a WW II vet knocked on Maria's door but no one was home. He said i worked on your first campaign but found out you don't represent people like me and so I worked against you the next time.

There are more Dog walkers than cars going by here. One woman just walked by and said,
"We support you, glad your here and my dog does too, and even my husband".

OK I have to admit, I did have one bad experience I was parked by myself in my car in front of Cantwell's house for a few minutes (trying to figure out this computer) and a woman stopped to ask what I was doing. I opened my door to tell her and she wanted to know why there was a "No Iraq War" sign attached to a telephone pole with a bungie cord. I told her I didn't know. She kept asking me and getting aggressive so I told her I was busy and tried to close my car door. She jammed her self in my door and actually grabbed my arm to try to keep me from pulling the door closed. These suburbanites have a pretty strong grip. Then she said she was going to call the police. Something tells me that after assaulting me she will think twice about calling the the police. Oh well, such is life when you occupy civilian neighborhoods. You never know who your friends or enemies are and then before you know it you are under attack.

Live Blogging at Senator Maria Cantwell's

10 members of the Occupation Project have occupied the middle of Edmonds. Maria Cantwell's house is here and so we've dubbed our area the "Green Zone. The natives have welcomed us. I'm not kidding! we've been here an hour and so far all we've gotten is "thank you" "bless you", "end the war now" and peace hand signals extended from sun roofs. We're looking around for a statue to pull down.

Letter to Editor of Vancouver Columbian--Robert Tice

Nation is in a mess

Vancouver and America are in a mess. Locally, we tolerate commissioners seemingly purchased by the building trades for about $100,000; a Democrat Party, The Columbian has reported, is openly controlled by certain money men; and a city government that doesn't care what we want.

Unthinkingly, we accept letter writer David C. Smith's outrageous assertions that aircraft emissions aren't a significant hazard, while knowing these emissions are proven to contribute to premature deaths of children and elderly.

Millionaire U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., simply hired one opponent to reduce competition.

Congress exports our economy, refuses to face global warming, ignores vanished civil rights, while both parties pretend concern about brave citizens dying in wars that every analysis indicates is increasing terrorism.

We tolerate billions of dollars ­stolen by the "connected." We ­tolerate murderously incompetent people in high office, a secretary of state who I find is more responsible for 9/11 and Iraq than any single person on Earth, an attorney general who ignores our Constitution and a ­Congress that tolerates known corruption and perversion. (Recently, bribe-taking, soliciting sex.)

We continually support people ruining America and damaging Vancouver-Clark County. We must act with integrity if we are to restore integrity. Stop voting for incumbents. Only we can halt our own destruction.

Robert Tice

Vancouver

Hunger Is On the Rise--U.N. via LA Times

When I read articles like the one below, I'm always reminded of the alternative economic system to capitalism--socialism. At base, socialism is the idea that the human race is capable of sharing its resources more equally. Smart people like Albert Einstein and Helen Keller agreed with this idea. Why have we allowed the idea of socialism to be trashed by the elite, who have every reason in the world ($$$$ trillions of them) to make sure we never take up this idea seriously. Linda

"UNITED NATIONS — About 18,000 children die every day because of hunger and malnutrition, and 850 million people go to bed every night with empty stomachs, a "terrible indictment of the world in 2007," the head of the U.N. food agency said.

"James Morris called for students and young people, faith-based groups, the business community and governments to join forces in a global movement to alleviate and eliminate hunger — especially among children.

"Morris, former president of the Lilly Endowment, one of the largest charitable organizations in the United States, is stepping down as executive director of the Rome-based World Food Program in April after five years of leading the world's largest humanitarian organization.

"He said the percentage of people who are hungry has decreased from a fifth of the world's population to a sixth, but the number of hungry people is growing by about 5 million a year because of the rising population.

"'Today 850 million people are hungry and malnourished. Over half of them are children; 18,000 children die every single day because of hunger and malnutrition," Morris said. "This is a shameful fact, a terrible indictment of the world in 2007, and it's an issue that needs to be solved."

From Angry Arab Newservice

The Problem of Bi-Partisan Empire-Building--Liberal Icons and War

In the Counterpunch.org article below, professor Robert Jensen [not Mark Jensen as I had previously] reminds us that Empire has no humane face but liberal politicans are no better at acknowledging that than those on the right. He invokes Paul Wellstone's support of Clinton's 1998 bombing campaign in Iraq and among other things, Jimmy Carter's support for the brutal shah of Iran. The big lie is carried on by both parties and the antiwar movement ignores this at their peril. Linda

"In other words: Control over the flow of Middle East oil must remain in U.S. hands. Hmm, does that seem familiar? There was, of course, no outside force attempting to gain control of the region. But plenty of forces within the region -- then and now -- have wanted to break decades of U.S. domination, and those forces have been the real targets of the doctrine of Carter, and every other post-WWII president before and since. While the primary responsibility for the mess we have created in Iraq should be laid on the doorstep of Bush and the neocons, there's a lot of responsibility left to go around.

"Let me be clear one more time: I am not saying that there is no difference between Paul Wellstone, Lloyd Doggett, Jimmy Carter on one hand, and George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell on the other. There is, and sometimes those differences make a difference.

"But ask yourself: Are the victims of these bipartisan policies around the world likely to be so concerned about the differences? When Lloyd Doggett and many other Democrats in Congress were supporting Clinton's sanctions policy -- fully aware that children in Iraq were dying by the thousands due to a lack of clean water, medical supplies, and adequate nutrition -- should we have expected those children to be grateful that the Democrats had a better record on the minimum wage? When Jimmy Carter shipped weapons for death squads in El Salvador, should the campesinos murdered with those weapons have been grateful that Carter wasn't as reactionary as the Reagan gang that would come next?

"Yes, Paul Wellstone was in many ways an inspirational progressive figure at a time of right-wing backlash, and he often was politically courageous. But if we ignore the ways that politicians -- even the best of them -- can come to accept the illusions of the powerful that so often lead to pathological delusions and disastrous policies, how can a peace-and-justice movement hope to hold power accountable?

"I'm not arguing for a holier-than-thou purism on all doctrine at all times; we have to be strategic in offering support to politicians with whom we inevitably will have some disagreements. Instead, I'm arguing for an honest assessment of politicians, and of ourselves. If we are willing to excuse so quickly the pro-imperial policies of our so-called progressive leaders, might that be in part because we haven't broken with the imperial mindset ourselves?

"As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan crumble under the weight of this imperial madness, we owe it to the people there not only to critique the policies of the psychotically self-righteous madmen of the Bush administration, and not only to point out that the current Democratic leadership is too timid in its opposition to these wars. We owe it to Iraqis and Afghans -- and to all the people living in places that our empire targets -- to critique the allegedly more humane and liberal face of empire.

"If we look in the mirror, whose face is that?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Congress Must Defund the War--Sen. Russ Feingold

"There is plenty of precedent for Congress exercising its constitutional authority to stop U.S. involvement in armed conflict. Last month, I chaired a Judiciary Committee hearing entitled "Exercising Congress's Constitutional Power to End a War."

"Without exception, every witness--those called by the majority and the minority--did not challenge the constitutionality of Congress' authority to end a war. Lou Fisher of the Library of Congress is one of the foremost experts on presidential war power--in fact, he literally wrote the book on this topic. He testified that Congress does not simply have the power--it has a responsibility to exercise it when needed. He said, and I quote:

"is the continued use of military force and a military commitment in the Nation's interest? That is the core question. Once you decide that, if you decide it is not in the national interest, you certainly do not want to continue putting U.S. troops in harm's way."

"The argument that cutting of funding for a flawed policy would hurt the troops, and that continuing to put U.S. troops in harm's way supports the troops, makes no sense. By ending funding for the war, we can bring our troops safely out of Iraq. Walter Dellinger of Duke Law School made this point when he testified about my proposal:

"There would not be one penny less for salary of the troops. There would not be one penny less for benefits of the troops. There would not be one penny less for weapons or ammunition. There would not be one penny less for supplies or support. Those troops would simply be redeployed to other areas where the armed forces are utilized."

"Instead of allowing the president's failed policy to continue, Congress can and should use its power of the purse to end our involvement in the Iraq war, safely redeploying the troops while ensuring, as I do in my bill, that important counterterrorism and training missions are still carried out.

From Counterpunch.org

Friday, February 16, 2007

Kind of Says It All

Found on DesertPeace@blogspot.com

Catch Me If You Can: The "Antiwar" Democrats

You may have heard John Conyers on Democracy Now this morning equivocating (which Amy Goodman allowed him to do) about whether or not he would cut funding for the war--oh, yes, he said he would, but I guess you can take that with a grain of salt considering his promise to impeach GW--which he now says it is impossible to do and still get Dems elected next time. Amy didn't ask him about the contradiction between his defunding declaration and the announcement on Wednesday by Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha that they would not be using defunding as a tool to end the war.

The yardstick by which Dems are judging all maneuvers is will it get us elected? Promising to end the war worked this time. It got Dems elected. Now they are using the "slow bleed" strategy to end the war--telling Bush that all the troops must be trained and armored and rested, but then you can send them, thinking that this way the Dems cannot be charged with not "supporting the troops." A no risk strategy (just like their nonbinding disapproval resolution)--UNLESS you live in Iraq or are sent there to "police" the occupation.

Having attended a Jim McDermott townhall last fall at which he allowed no questions from the gathered townspeople of Seattle, but did take the time to endlessly repeat that working to get Dems elected was the most important thing people could do to stop the war. He promised impeachment IF they could get elected. Well, they are elected--but impeachment is "off the table." Has McDermott publicly criticized a leadership that has undercut antiwar members of the party? Not that I have heard.

The article below is about "antiwar" Barack Obama's relationship to Israel. The last paragraph mentions his "antiwar" posture and how he will have to be careful or this "position" could be questioned: if he comes down to hard on Iran's nuclear program and rattles sabers, the antiwar crowd might get suspicious. However, he does need the $$ from Jewish voters so backing Israel's anti-Iran stance is mandatory. Oh, the trials of a presidential candidate. Once again the mortal risks will be taken by the people of Iran. Obama's only risk is a stumble in his meteoric rise to power. Link to whole Obama article in Haaretz:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/rosnerBlog.jhtml

"But this is just the short version of the policy Obama
will be officially presenting soon. This week I was told
that while the venue has yet to be selected, the Jerusalem
Center for Public Affairs conference in Washington at the
end of February is one possibility. There's also a chance
that he will make his comments on Israel at a Washington
rally calling for the release of the abducted Israeli
soldiers or while speaking to a group of Chicago Jews. One
thing is quite clear: It will happen in the next two to
three weeks.

"I asked about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee
(AIPAC) convention in March and was told that he will
speak there too, but wants to have another speech sooner.
Obama doesn't want to wait such a long time - not when he
is running a campaign in which he will need the support of
many people who care deeply about Israel. (Oh, let's just
say it: Jewish voters are major donors to the Democratic
Party and its nominees.) He also wants to make sure that
people will hear him, and him alone. After all, Obama will
not be the only candidate speaking and getting attention
at the AIPAC conference.

"On Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Dan Shapiro, a senior
adviser to Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida), was saying
goodbye to the job he has held for six years. He is as
knowledgeable as anyone on Israel and the Middle East, and
apart from the "real" job he got himself now, he has
joined Obama's campaign as an adviser on issues related to
Mideast policy.

"I spoke to Shapiro about Obama and his views earlier this
week, and I asked him to highlight for me the differences
between Obama and the current Bush policy regarding
Israel. The first difference, he said, will be a greater
emphasis on the need for constant engagement by the U.S.
Obama will tell you that Bush wasted some long years
without investing in diplomacy. You can either agree with
him on that or not, but this has become the Democratic
party line. All candidates condemn Bush for the hands-off
approach.

"A second possible difference will involve the question of
whether to talk to Syria. Obama believes that America
should talk to the Assad regime, so it's hard envisioning
him objecting to an Israeli-Syrian dialogue. And then
there's the question of Iran - the most important of them
all.

"A Washingtonian familiar with the Obama campaign reminded
me that Obama is the anti-war candidate, and thus will
have some maneuvering to do on Iran. He will probably warn
of a possible deterioration in relations that could lead
to an unintentional war, but by the same token he can also
be expected to agree that Iran should not be allowed to
acquire nuclear weapons and that no U.S. president should
take any of the options off the table.

Article from the Electronic Intifada Newsletter of
Ali Abunimah

Deeply Rooted in Their Land

This Palestinian, deeply rooted in his land, is waiting while Israeli occupation forces are about to destroy his house near Jenin. It does not matter how many soldiers you use, and how many WMDs you accumulate. THEY will stay on the land. No matter what.

Angry Arab Newservice

Thursday, February 15, 2007

House Dems: No Quick End to War; Slow Bleed Instead

"Top House Democrats, working in concert with anti-war groups, have decided against using congressional power to force a quick end to U.S. involvement in Iraq, and instead will pursue a slow-bleed strategy designed to gradually limit the administration's options.

"Led by Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., and supported by several well-funded anti-war groups, the coalition's goal is to limit or sharply reduce the number of U.S. troops available for the Iraq conflict, rather than to openly cut off funding for the war itself.

"The legislative strategy will be supplemented by a multimillion-dollar TV ad campaign designed to pressure vulnerable GOP incumbents into breaking with President Bush and forcing the administration to admit that the war is politically unsustainable.

"As described by participants, the goal is crafted to circumvent the biggest political vulnerability of the anti-war movement -- the accusation that it is willing to abandon troops in the field. That fear is why many Democrats have remained timid in challenging Bush, even as public support for the president and his Iraq policies have plunged.

From Cursor.org

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Radio Station Says Enough: No More Unnamed Sources

NEW YORK After the latest widely-publicized stories in national newspapers about weapons from Iran allegedly killing Americans in Iraq -- based completely on unnamed sources -- at least one smaller news outlet has had enough of it.

The news director of the public radio station in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has directed his staff to "ignore national stories quoting unnamed sources." He also called on other news outlets to join this policy.

Bill Dupuy sent the following to his news staff.
*

Effectively immediately and until further notice, it is the policy of KSFR's news department to ignore and not repeat any wire service or nationally published story about Iran, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia or any other foreign power that quotes an "unnamed" U.S. official.

What we have suspected and talked about at length before is now becoming clear. "High administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity," "Usually reliable Washington sources," and others of the like were behind the publicity that added credibility to the need to go to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our news department covers local news. But, like local newspapers and others, we occassionally are taken in by national stories that we have no way to verify.

This is a small news department with a small reach. We cannot research these stories ourselves. But we can take steps not to compromise our integrity. We should not dutifully parrot whatever comes out of Washington, on the
wire or by whatever means, no matter how intriguing and urgent it sounds, when the source is unnamed.

I am also calling on our colleagues in other local news departments -- broadcast and print -- to take the same professional approach.

Six Lies You Shouldn't Believe About Iran, Especially Since, Hey, There's People Down Here.

"The way I see it, somebody has to stop the US president right now, and it's very upsetting that the Congress isn't doing it. My frustration is greater because I'm in a country where the Internet is not completely available. For example, I tried to send a donation to Dennis Kucinich, but PayPal wouldn't take it because of the embargo. I tried to write to my Congressperson, but the Islamic Republic blocked the communication, presumably because it was with the US government. (Sometimes news stories that I want to read are blocked, too, but there are ways around that.)

"If the US and/or Israel attack Iran, it will be a war based on lies, just like the Iraq war. Iraq didn't have WMD, but Iraqis died in the hundreds of thousands. The lies about Iran seem intended to, first, make Iran look like the new Nazi state that must be bombed so as to avoid a new Holocaust, and second, make Americans fear that Iran will hurt our soldiers in Iraq or give nuclear weapons to terrorists who will hurt us in "the homeland."

"History shows that Americans are very susceptible to demonization of particular leaders of countries that the US wants to attack. Remember Castro? Noriega? Saddam? Now it's Ahmadinejad. Whatever people think of views attributed to Ahmadinejad, it remains the case that it's not morally acceptable to kill people because of their president, whether that president be Saddam Hussein, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or George Bush.

"I want to discuss six big lies we are hearing to justify expanding the war to Iran.

"LIE NUMBER 1: President Ahmadinejad "has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map."

"Even Al Jazeera English version based in Qatar keeps saying that. Why hasn't this mistranslation been corrected after it's been thoroughly exposed? ( in the Guardianand prisonplanet.com )

"Juan Cole, in Informed Comment, explained how "wiped off the map" was a mistranslation; Ahmadinejad was restating the official Iranian policy that the government system based on Zionism must end. And why the heck can't newscasters learn to pronounce the man's name? Anyone who knows Farsi could teach them in a minute. Why should we think they know what he said, in Farsi, if they can't even say his name?

From the War in Iraq site

A Billion Here... Donald Rumsfeld Over There....

"Washington D.C. - Imagine. If you were to spend a dollar per second for every minute of every hour of every day, it would take almost 32 years to spend a billion dollars.

"Now imagine spending $1.7 billion and 10 years to develop a new fighting vehicle, only to scrape it all in the end when it is discovered that the new vehicle doesn't even work. Welcome to the wonderful world of the Pentagon.

"And for a kicker, how about we give the contractor responsible for developing this new dysfunctional fighting vehicle, in this case General Dynamics, an $80 million bonus. According to a recent report in the Washington Post, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle breaks down an average of once every 4-1/2 hours, leaks and sometimes veers off course.

"And now for the kicker in the ass, our very own favorite former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has his hand up to the elbow in the cookie jar as well, bringing in a cool $11 million when his company was sold to General Dynamics in 1999. Anybody here feel like screaming?

From What They Meant To Say

Violence and Bombings Have Only increased after the Proposed "Surge" of 21,500 U.S. Troops in Iraq

"The increase in U.S. troops only means an increase in the agonies of the Iraqi people," Dr. Salam al-Dulaimy, an academic who studied at Baghdad University told IPS.

"President Bush is just running forward while waiting for a miracle to take place regardless of the great number of war victims. I see this increase to be another factor of disturbance in Iraq and another way of buying time with Iraqi people's blood."

"Sunni areas are facing hard times with the launch of the new Iraqi and U.S. security plans. People all over Sunni areas believe that the troops increase and the security crackdown are both working against them.

"The increased military presence does not seem to have unnerved the resistance. "Let Bush bring more morons to Iraq," a young man from Fallujah who was visiting Baghdad told IPS. "We will send them all to hellfire. These people seem to have not learned enough from previous lessons, and our school is still open."

"But Iraqis are paying a heavy price for the unrest. One in seven has left home, according to UN officials. This is the largest movement of people in the Middle East since the war that followed the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

"Violence displaces an estimated 1,300 Iraqis every day. More than 1.7 million have been internally displaced so far. Over 1.5 million have fled the country altogether.

Japanese Leaders Criticize U.S. Invasion of Iraq

TOKYO — The United States has asked Japan not to schedule a meeting between U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Japanese Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma during Cheney's visit to Japan from Feb 20, conveying strong displeasure with Kyuma's recent controversial remarks, sources close to the matter said Sunday.

The request underlined that the two nations have yet to fully put behind Kyuma's critical remarks over the Iraq war and the realignment of U.S. forces although they appeared to have settled the case with Washington's recent protest lodged with Tokyo through diplomatic channels.

Cheney is scheduled to meet top officers of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and if the meeting with Kyuma is actually not set, it will turn out to be an unusual case of a foreign leader meeting with SDF officers but shunning talks with the chief of the Defense Ministry.

Kyuma angered Washington by saying Jan 24 that U.S. President George W Bush's decision to start the war on Iraq was "wrong." Three days later, Kyuma said the United States lacks understanding over talks with Okinawa Prefecture over relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Futemma Air Station within the prefecture.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso also made a controversial remark on Feb 3, calling the U.S. policy on Iraq "very naive." But the Cheney side is not raising his remarks particularly as a problem, the sources said. The sources also said Kyuma's remarks are not affecting other diplomatic schedules such as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the United States expected during the Golden Week holidays in early May as well as the ongoing arrangements to hold the so-called "two-plus-two" top security meeting of foreign and defense ministers of the two nations.

Cheney is scheduled to arrive in Japan on Feb 20 and visit the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Feb 21 for a briefing by top officers of the U.S. forces and the SDF about their progressing defense cooperation.

After the briefing, Cheney will head to Tokyo for talks with Abe and Aso and attend a welcoming dinner at the premier's official residence. Cheney will visit the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk at the Yokosuka base on Feb 22 before heading to Guam.

Healing the Brutal Face of War


AMMAN, 11 Feb 2007 (IRIN) - Though her name means ‘the sun’ in English, 18-month-old Shams may never be able to experience sunlight in her life again. Half her face was blown away in an explosion in Baghdad, leaving her eyes buried under badly burnt skin.

Shams was with her parents when three cars exploded in Al Sadr, the predominantly Shia area of Baghdad, last year. Her mother died instantly. Shams survived to become a living testimony of the brutality of war.

The baby Iraqi girl is one of hundreds of thousands of victims of violence that has escalated since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.

She lies in a bed at the Jordan Red Crescent Hospital in Amman, sucking on a feeding bottle before drifting off to sleep.

“She does not sleep at night,” said her father Hisham, 35, who arrived with Shams last week in the hope that plastic surgeons could reconstruct her face.

Her operation will be carried out by doctors from the international NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF, in association with the Jordanian government, has set up an aid programme in the capital, Amman, for Iraqi war victims.

Shams is one of 25 Iraqi patients who are receiving treatment in Amman as part of this programme.

Interview: The U.S. campaign to topple the Palestinian government

Below is a portion of an interview with Alistair Crooke, who has discovered information about U.S. plans to get rid of the democratically elected Palestinian government. Link to whole article: http://conflictsforum.org/2007/interview-the-us-campaign-to-topple-the-palestinian-government/print/


"Mr Crooke spent many years contributing to mediation efforts to resolve Ireland, South Africa, Namibia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Columbia and has a long-range of experience in coordinating negotiation to release hostages for the EU.

"The British Government has offered him the honor of the CMG in 2003.

"Alastair, hello.

"You and your colleague Mark Perry have uncovered a secret document that was put forward by Elliot Abrams, which includes a plan to force a coup on Hamas after it won elections. To start off with, who is Elliot Abrams?

Alastair Crooke: Elliot Abrams is the official responsible for policy in the Palestinian-Israeli context and in the Middle East. He is the desk officer on the National Security Council in the United States. He is a very influential man. He was formerly involved in other policy areas, in the Iran-Contra affair and then came back as the National Security Advisor responsible for the Middle East.

In brief, what are the details of this plan?

Well, you talk about uncovering a secret document. And I’m not sure it is that secret and I think the main gist of it has been fairly evident since the elections. The aim of it is effectively to remove Hamas who won the elections in January, from power, as soon as possible in order to replace them with another government that will comply with the preconditions set out by the International Quartet and by Israel.

Who are the parties that have participated in this plan?

I think it was originally designed by US officials but also it is a plan that has been discussed clearly with partners in the region, I imagine they would be Egypt, Jordan and others, as well as with Fatah directly.

Have some Palestinians participated in this plan, or provided some information to implement it?

I think, from the outset, it has been clear that the objective is not so much in this case to try and persuade Hamas to meet certain criteria or preconditions. As one American official put it to us directly, these were not objectives that they wanted Hamas to reach; in fact these objectives were set so that they would not be reached. I think the purpose of this is very clear — not to help Hamas recognise Israel or renounce violence, but to provide objectives that they knew Hamas would be unable to reach.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Child Beggers Rampant in Baghdad

BAGHDAD: Ahmed Saffar, 7, has been forced to beg on the streets of Baghdad in order to eat. An orphan with two brothers and one sister, Ahmed hangs around all day near a traffic light, asking for money from each driver who stops.

"Uncle, uncle, give me money to eat,” is his most common opening line. “Sometimes they give me some money; sometimes, when I insist, they hit me. Women never help and the windows of their cars are always closed but old people are the best ones,” Ahmed said.

”I have no option. I and my brothers work in the streets, begging in different places. I am the youngest but usually the one who makes more money. My sister is always with me and together we can make enough to eat by the end of the day,” he added.

Ahmed said he would rather beg than steal and that he had started begging before his parents died because they were a poor family. He said his mother died in Fallujah in August 2004. She was visiting her parents when their house was bombed by US-led coalition forces.

His father fell ill and could not work so he sent his children out to beg. If they did not come home with enough money, he would beat them, Ahmed said. His father died of kidney failure in April 2005.

"Now they are dead but my brothers treat us well. We are happy even though we sleep in the open, in a garden with only two blankets. I hope one day I will help all child beggars in Iraq,” Ahmed said, grinning from ear to ear before excusing himself and running after an expensive-looking car.

From WhatReallyHappened.com

Sunday, February 11, 2007

New Evidence is Emerging on the Ground of an Iranian Hand in Growing Violence Within Iraq

"It was after this that the Iraqi army called in the Americans, and the
planes began bombing civilians," Ali said. "It was a massacre. Now I
believe the internal Shia fighting has entered a very dangerous phase."

"Ali added that most people in the area believe the U.S. military was
told by Iraqi security forces loyal to the pro-Iranian government in
Baghdad that "terrorists" or the "messianic cult" was attacking Najaf.
They say the misinformation was intended to mislead occupation forces
into attacking the tribe.

"Many Shias in the southern parts of the country and in Baghdad now say
they had been fooled earlier by U.S. promises to help them, but that the
Najaf massacre has dramatically changed their views.

"Significantly, the Association of Muslim Scholars, a group of Sunni
Muslims headed by Dr. Harith al-Dhari, issued a statement condemning the
Iraqi-U.S. military attack in Najaf against the Hawatim tribe. The
statement, which seeks to bridge a Shia-Sunni divide, denounced the
killing of dozens of women and children and added, "It was an act of
vengeance and political termination."

"'They (the United States) were misled, and their last move in Najaf
shows how the smart Iranians are leading the Americans deeper into Iraqi
sands," Jaafar al-Jawadi, a political analyst from Baghdad told IPS.

"'I really admire the way Iranians are dealing with the situation in a
professional way while the Americans are walking with their eyes closed.
They are losing the last Iraqi fort they were hiding behind, and that
was the peaceful way Arab Shias were dealing with occupation."

"Jawadi who is also a former Shia politician says he once believed in
U.S. promises of liberation for Iraqis, particularly the Shia
population. Like many other Iraqis, he now believes that the United
States has been used by the pro-Iranian government in Baghdad to carry
out attacks against Shia tribes in southern Iraq who have recently
become more and more anti-occupation.

"'I do not really understand what those Americans are doing because now
they are just like an elephant in a china shop, and everything they do
is terribly wrong as if they are committing suicide," Talib Ahmad, a
lawyer and human rights activist in Najaf told IPS.

"'Iran is benefiting from that for sure. Americans are simply fighting
for Iran who appears to be the winner in Iraq after all."

From Dahr Jamails Mideast Dispatches

VA Comes Up Short for Iraq Vets

"McClatchy reviewed two dozen mental-health measures, based in part on an analysis of every inpatient and outpatient visit in the VA health system.

"Among the findings:

"• Some veterans get in for visits far more than others. The average number of visits per veteran with PTSD ranged from 22 in the Hudson Valley, N.Y., medical center and clinics to a low of 3.1 in Fargo, N.D. The national average was 8.1.

"• Some VA medical centers spend far more on mental-health care than others. In Connecticut, it was an average of $2,317 for each veteran's outpatient psychiatric care. In Saginaw, Mich., it was $468.

"• Some veterans get in quickly. Others wait. At the Loma Linda, Calif., VA network, only 39 percent of new mental-health patients were able to get appointments within 30 days, the VA's standard. In other networks, 90 percent or more did.

"• Once they're in the door, some veterans get visits of 75 to 80 minutes, while others get 20- to 30-minute appointments, the shortest psychotherapy appointments listed in the system.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

HOSPITAL VAN LEFT HOMELESS PARAPLEGIC MAN ON SIDEWALK

Shame on the richest country in the world--Linda

Homeless paraplegic victim of `dumping,' witnesses say

HOSPITAL VAN LEFT MAN ON SIDEWALK

Associated Press

Even on Skid Row, where life and dignity are cheap, it was a shocking scene: a paraplegic man ``sliding along his bottom using his hands,'' carrying his meager belongings in a plastic hospital bag he clutched in his teeth.

Police said the man, who was dragging a colostomy bag behind him, had been dumped out on the sidewalk by the driver of a hospital van.

The witnesses to the dumping, all homeless people, began shouting, ``Where is his wheelchair, where is his walker,'' police detective Russ Long told the Associated Press on Friday. They told officers the driver responded that the man defecated in the van and had to be removed.

``It looks like a shocking case of neglect at this point,'' Long said. ``If there is an explanation it just eludes me at this point.

``He was sliding along on his bottom using his hands,'' Long said. ``He had a hospital property bag in his mouth, in his teeth, and he was trailing a colostomy bag, which was malfunctioning.''

The witnesses told police a van from Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center pulled up to a tiny park in the grimy area near downtown at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, a side door opened, and a man, dressed in a green hospital gown and pants, began struggling to get out. The driver looked on.

``His pants fell around his ankles. He fell onto the curb with his legs dangling onto the street,'' Long said. ``He reached down and grabbed his pants, pulled his legs onto the sidewalk. Witnesses said the van would have run over his legs if he hadn't have done that.''

Other homeless people in the area helped the disoriented man into the park. A police bicycle patrol arrived by chance within a minute and called an ambulance.

From LeftIontheNews

Wedding and War in Galilee

Very interesting about the former relationship between India and Palestine and the new one between India and Israel. Linda


"The sight of former Israeli soldiers flocking to India is strange for someone who grew up during the time when India did not have official relations with Israel, like other nations who supported the Palestinian struggle for self-determination. India's solidarity with the Palestinian movement began even before 1948, for Indian leaders opposed the 1917 Balfour Declaration to establish a Jewish state on Palestinian land. In fact, in 1946, Gandhi wrote that Jewish settlers "have erred grievously in seeking to impose themselves on Palestine with the aid of America and Britain and now with the aid of naked terrorism ... Why should they resort to terrorism to make good their forcible landing in Palestine?" Gandhi was referring to Zionist terrorist organizations, such as the Irgun and Stern gangs. It is ironic that today, a romanticized notion of Gandhian non-violent resistance is used as a weapon to condemn Palestinian resistance.

"India was host to many PLO members and Palestinian students in exile who came to study in colleges all over India. India was in fact the first non-Arab nation to recognize the PLO in the United Nations, expressing solidarity with other anti-colonialist struggles during the Non-Aligned Movement era, as documented by Vijay Prashad in Namaste Sharon: Hindutva and Sharonism Under U.S. Hegemony. Even though India unofficially recognized Israel in this period by allowing an Israeli consulate in Bombay, Nehru's closeness to Arab nationalist leader Abdul Gamel Nasser led the Congress to distance itself from Israel. In fact, India voted to censure Zionism as Racism in the UN in 1975.

"The landscape has changed since the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in India in 1988 and established official relationships between India and Israel, deepening the military and economic ties that were already in place. India now buys half of its arms from Israel, making it Israel's biggest customer. It is thus funding the Israeli occupation, because the Israeli economy rests on its defense industry, its main export, as well as the inflow of US tax dollars. The military agreements, collaboration on nuclear and missile defense, and sharing of intelligence has continued even with the new United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. India and Israel have found a shared enemy to target in their respective "anti-terrorism" operations, conflating Kashmir and Pakistan with Palestine, and also common agreement on a framework that has gained global currency with Bush's "war on terrorism," resulting in the new "India-Israel-US axis."

"In fact, India's alliance with Israel is part of the burgeoning romance between the U.S. and India, enabling U.S. designs for remapping West and South Asia and India's aspirations for becoming a regional superpower. Pakistan, too, has made overtures to Israel as part of the increased normalization of relations with Israel by European countries as well as some Arab nations after the Oslo Accords. The door to Washington, many have realized, is through Tel Aviv. And in the U.S., according to some, the door to Capitol Hill is through AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group that shuts down all criticism of Israel as "anti-Semitic." Hindu right-wing groups, such as the Indian American Political Action Committee (USINAPAC) and the Hindu American Foundation (linked to the VHP) have forged alliances with AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee, learning strategies to advance their agendas and suppress criticism of their regime's policies in the U.S. Where are the progressive alliances between South Asians on the left and those trying to fight to end colonization in the Middle East?

From Angry Arab Newservice

Friday, February 09, 2007

Inuit Accuse US of Destroying Their Way of Life with Global Warming

"A delegation of Inuit is to travel to Washington DC to provide first-hand testimony of how global warming is destroying their way of life and to accuse the Bush administration of undermining their human rights.

"The delegation, representing Inuit peoples from the US, Canada, Russia and Greenland, will argue that the US's energy policies and its position as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases is having a devastating effect on their communities. Melting sea ice, rising seas and the impact on the animals they rely on for food threatens their existence.

"The Inuit's efforts to force the US to act are part of an unprecedented attempt to link climate change to international human rights laws. They will argue before the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (ICHR) that the US's behaviour puts it in breach of its obligations. "The impacts of climate change, caused by acts and omissions by the US, violate the Inuit's fundamental human rights protected by the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and other international instruments," the Inuit argued in a letter to the ICHR. "Because Inuit culture is inseparable from the condition of their physical surroundings, the widespread environmental upheaval resulting from climate change violates the Inuit's right to practice and enjoy the benefits of their culture."

"Indigenous peoples from the Arctic have long argued that global warming was having a dramatic effect on their environment. In 2002, villagers in the remote Alaskan island community of Shishmaref voted to relocate to the mainland because rising sea levels threatened to overwhelm their community. Data has been gathered to support their claims and scientists have recorded how polar regions are the most vulnerable to climate change. The most recent international Arctic Climate Impact Assessment suggested global warming would see temperatures in the Arctic rise by 4-7C over the next 100 years - about twice the previous average estimated increase.

"The delegation to Washington will be led by Sheila Watt-Cloutier, the former chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference who was last week nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Speaking yesterday from Iqaluit in Nunavut, Canada, she said: "For us in the Arctic our entire culture depends on the cold. The problem of climate change is what this is all about. At the same time we will be bringing in lawyers to talk about the link between climate change and human rights."


Enjoy That Rocking Chair--Your Kids May Be Fighting You For It Soon

UNITED NATIONS — Young people are increasingly unable to get a foothold in the global labor market, and the rapidly growing older workforce is enjoying less job security, according to an analysis of employment trends.

The U.N. analysis is being debated at a meeting of the Commission for Social Development that began Thursday and is focusing on "promoting decent work and employment for all."

According to the analysis, which was released Wednesday, unemployment has increased significantly since 1995 — despite robust economic growth averaging 3.8 percent annually in the last decade and a 16.5 percent increase in the number of people with jobs to 2.9 billion.

The number of unemployed reached a historic high of 195.2 million in 2006 and the global jobless rate rose to 6.3 percent from about 6 percent in 1995.

According to the analysis, stiff competition under increased globalization has led to reduced job security, a reduction in job-related benefits and a diminished role for organized labor.

According to the analysis, almost half of the world's unemployed are ages 15 to 24, although they make up only 25 percent of the working-age population.

Massive Demonstrations in Haiti Suprise U.N.

Pretty weird how the NYTimes and U.N. paint all the people in Cite Soleil as "gangs." They let their paid assassins from Haiti live in NY for years, w/o doing anything. Now they use helicopter gunships to attack the slums (just as the U.S. does in Iraq) killing indiscriminately. The Empire -- Killing Us All. L

HIPChallenging recent assertions made by the United Nations that the Lavalas movement is dead, crowds estimated at well over 100,000 took to the streets of seven major cities throughout Haiti on February 7 to demand an end to the UN occupation, freedom for political prisoners and the return of exiled president Aristide. Lavalas is the political movement of Haiti's desperately poor majority and the political party of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was ousted on February 29, 2004 in a coup reportedly backed by the United States, France and Canada.

Although the largest demonstrations took place in the capital of Port-au-Prince and Haiti's second largest city Cap Haitien, thousands were reported to have joined similar actions in Port de Paix, Hinche, La Kay, St. Marc and Miragoane. Smaller actions were also reported in the towns of Jacmel, Leogane and Gonaives.

From Haiti Action. net

U.S. Accidentally Kills Kurdish Fighters in Iraq

This article makes you wonder about the article below, where civilians including that little baby in the picture, and other children were wounded or killed. They always say it was an accident or that they children were really insurgents. If they can so blithely and stupidly kill their own comrades, you know what is happening in these other cases. Linda

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 9 — An American helicopter apparently fired on friendly Kurdish pesh merga fighters by mistake, killing as many as nine people.

The attack took place early today in the northern city of Mosul, when the helicopter attacked a guard post overlooking the offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the party of Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani.

The attack stunned officials of the party, who said that their base and the surrounding guard posts were well known to the American military.

“Everybody knows that it is a P.U.K. base, and is used for protecting the main road between Mosul and Erbil,” said Kabir Goran, a senior party official. He said the guard post that was attacked was about half a mile from the headquarters. “We have daily contacts with the Americans, and they have been to the base,” he said.

The American military command in Baghdad said the helicopter crew thought it was attacking the hideout of an Al Qaeda bomb-making cell. The command said the strike killed five Kurds, described as policemen; Kurdish officials said nine were killed.

The Kurds and their 200,000-strong pesh merga militia are crucial allies of the United States in Iraq. They live mainly in the mountainous northeastern part of the country, but their area of control extends west to the Tigris River and to Mosul, a city of close to 2 million. Kurds dominate the eastern half of the city, Sunni Arabs the western half.

Today In Iraq

PHOTO: A seven-month-old baby girl lies wounded in a hospital, after a U.S. air strike which targeted two suspected foreign fighter safe houses, in Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, February 8, 2007. U.S. forces said they killed 13 insurgents in the air strike on two suspected foreign fighter safe houses near the town of Ameriya, near the western city of Falluja. Ahmed al-Ami, a doctor in the Falluja hospital, said more than 30 bodies, including those of seven children, were brought in. Picture taken February, 8, 2007. (REUTERS/Mohanned Faisal (IRAQ) [How very evil that this baby will suffer for the rest of her life for what the republicans in DC have decided, and the American people allowed to happen. - dancewater]

UPDATE: I think this story refers to the same incident.

45 civilians, 13 Iraqi fighters killed in Baghdad airstrike



Is A War of Agression A Crime or Not?

"Yet, unfortunately the Pentagon has failed to reconcile this position [court martials of Dale Nord & Ehren Watada] with the U.S. government’s prosecution of German officials for committing the war crime of waging a war of aggression after World War II, including Germany’s unprovoked attack on Poland. When German officials responded that they were simply following orders, U.S. prosecutors and judges at Nuremburg announced that “following orders” to unlawfully attack another country would not be permitted to be used as a defense in a war-crimes prosecution.

"So, which is it: Should a soldier follow orders to commit the war crime of waging a war of aggression or should he refuse to follow such orders? Does the Pentagon now feel that the U.S. government’s prosecution of German officials for waging a war of aggression was wrong? Does it now feel that the German defense of “we were following orders” should have been allowed at Nuremburg? Or does the Pentagon draw a distinction between war crimes committed by Germans (and Japanese) and those committed by U.S. soldiers?

"Is a war of aggression a war crime or not? If so, are soldiers criminally liable for following orders to commit such a war crime? If so, then why shouldn’t soldiers be permitted to avoid criminal prosecution for such war crime by refusing to obey such orders? What is wrong with what Watada has done — refused to obey orders to attack Iraq, a country that never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so? Isn’t that what U.S. officials say that German officials should have done when ordered to attack Poland?

"Doesn’t the Pentagon owe its soldiers an explanation? Where is the justice in threatening soldiers with criminal prosecution for refusing to obey unlawful orders to attack another country, on the one hand, and threatening soldiers with criminal prosecution for obeying unlawful orders to attack another country, on the other hand?

By Jacob Hornberger

The Politics of Self-Congratulation--David Swanson

"Democrats on Capitol Hill see the world through bureaucratic shades and have been circulating this self-congratulatory email:

"Over the last four years,the Republican Congress failed to conduct oversight on the Iraq war and failed to hold the Administration accountable for the conduct of the war. In contrast to this dismal record, in the last five weeks, the new Democratic-led Congress is already exercising vigorous oversight and demanding accountability from the Administration on the Iraq war. Attached is a list of 52 House and Senate hearings that have already occurred on issues related to the Iraq war. There will be numerous other hearings by both House and Senate committees on issues related to the Iraq war over the next several months."

"Of course, the American public would very much like to see real investigations into the war, especially into the lies that launched it. But that's not what this list of 52 hearings is about. The vast majority of these hearings are simply ordinary day-to-day business. They're not investigations of any known or possible crimes or abuses. Most of them are about the future of the war, not its past or how it was begun. Six hearings on military "Readiness" hardly satisfy the public hunger for a hearing on "The Bush-Cheney Fraud." Four hearings on paying for more war hardly elimate the need to investigate Cheney's claim that Iraq had nukes and Bush's warning that we might wake up to a mushroom cloud. A hearing on the reappointment of a General hardly touches the question of why our president made claims about aluminum tubes and uranium purchases and chemical and biological weapons and ties to 9-11 that he had been told were baseless. A hearing on an annual threat assessment seems less valuable when our democracy is threatened with becoming a monarchy, and the war we were lied into four years ago is ongoing.

"Dear Congress, almost all of your hearings have been about how to continue the war, not how to investigate it or end it. The exceptions are few and far between. The Senate Intelligence Committee is listed as having held one (closed) hearing. We don't know what happened there, but we know that none of the abuses of "intelligence" prior to the war were exposed in a closed hearing. Do you consider that a good five-weeks' work? Do you sense any urgency in the air? DO YOU? Can you prove it?

From Counterpunch.org

Israel, US Sign Homeland Security Pact

I was trying to figure out why they were making this extremely well-developed (but unknown to most Americans) relationship more explicit. Then I read the third paragraph. Does not bode well. Linda

"In addition, Israel and the US will share information about steps taken to neutralize, respond to and reduce terror and criminal activities in specific fields and will also hold joint training and staff exchanges.

"Dichter had previously described the agreement as "a breakthrough signing of an understandings agreement [with the US] for the war on terror and establishing cooperation between the Internal Security Ministry and the Department of Homeland Security."

Later in the article:

"Iran is the largest terrorist state in the world" Dichter said late Tuesday night to members of the public security committee of the Canadian parliament. Moving from discussing geopolitics to talking shop with the Canadian lawmakers, Dichter laid out what he believes to be the guidelines for Canadian-Israeli security cooperation in the future, possibly similar to the agreement that the minister signed a day later in Washington DC.

Found on What Really Happened.com

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Iraq "Reconstruction"--When Will the American Gag Reflex Kick In?

"BAYSIDE, Texas

"Show me the money, or at least some receipts scribbled on the backs of old envelopes and grocery bags.

"This week, we were treated to the spectacle of the former U.S. civilian overlord of Iraq, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer, squirming in the hot seat as he attempted with little success to explain what he did with 363 TONS of newly printed, shrink-wrapped $100 bills he had flown to Baghdad.

"That's $12 billion in cold, hard American cash, and no one, especially Bremer, seems to know where it went.

"It may be an urban legend, but the late Sen. Everett Dirksen, the Illinois Republican, is widely quoted as saying: "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." If he didn't say it, he should have.

"Bremer, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role in totally screwing up the first two years of the Iraq Occupation, said that a lot of the cash was delivered to ministries of the Iraqi government to meet payrolls that were patently fraudulent.

"The Department of Defense's special inspector general for Iraq, Stuart Bowen, said that a 2005 audit he conducted found that in some ministries the payroll was padded with up to 90 percent "ghost employees" - people who didn't really work there or perhaps didn't really exist.

"Bremer said that he decided to provide the money to meet those payrolls, even though he knew they were bogus, for fear of starting riots and demonstrations among the Iraqis, real and imagined.After all, the former czar told the representatives, it wasn't really our money anyway. It was Iraqi money - oil earnings and bank accounts seized from Saddam Hussein's government - that we were holding in trust.

"I can think of no period in American history when we sat idly by while $12 billion just disappeared, poof, without a paper trail; without heads rolling; without someone going to prison.

Found on Cursor.org

Monday, February 05, 2007

Lt. Ehren Watada--A Hero for the World


http://picasaweb.google.com/sasha.crow/WatadaCourtMartialFeb5

Please go here and see the people supporting Lt. Ehren Watada today (and every day).

By my friend, Sasha, who went to Iraq to try to stop the Bombs in 2001.
OK I think this is it for my first live blogging voyage.
T-mobile is dropping dropping droppin

Live bloging from Fort Lewis Watada support rally

A few people made it down to the base at 6am this morning and were allowed into the trial which is schedulae to start at 9am. Some other people arrived at 6am and were told to go eat donuts and come back at 8am.
They along with about 50 other people who had been waiting were then told that only 42 people would be allowed into the trial.
To make the story short, base commander, 3 star General Dubick (sp?) decided at the last minute not to allow an overfow room as he had ad the pre-trial hearing.

I'm held up in the Starbucks next to exit #119 where the majority of people seem to be gathering. Some one just came in and said that people are still being turned away from the trial. Another person said she watched a Fox News camera man get in but
an AP reporter and a Post Intelligencer Reporter were turned away.

Celebrity alert: Sean Penn is having to wait a long time for his latte. Never criticize the latte left again!
King-5 has a truck out in the parking lot and I believe the satellite truck belongs to Fox-News.

The "Burma Shave Brigade" has begun to assemble on the various freeway on and off ramps around here.
There were two large banners on the exit #119 overpass and about 50 people at 8am. If the traffic in this
coffee shop is an indication there are a lot more now. The official rally doesn't begin until 11am.
No time to proofread. More later, Doug

Sunday, February 04, 2007

UFPJ Demo in DC to Highlight Israeli Occupation of Palestine

"The anti-war group behind the recent demonstration that brought tens of thousands to Washington to protest the Iraq War already has plans for another mass rally in the nation’s capital. This time, though, the target of the protesters’ ire will be Israel.

"United for Peace and Justice, the convener of the January 27 march, is joining with the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation to co-sponsor a two-day “mobilization” in June, titled “The World Says No to Israeli Occupation.” The event will include a mass rally, a “teach-in” and lobbying. It will mark the 40th year since Israel’s capture of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in June 1967.

“'The purpose of the event is to hopefully call greater attention both to the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, but also to call attention to the role that the U.S. plays in supporting that, and specifically the financial role, of course,” said UFPJ’s national coordinator, Leslie Cagan.

"The Jewish community has had an uneasy relationship with the anti-war movement. While polls show that solid majorities of American Jews now disapprove of the decision to go to war in Iraq, most major Jewish groups have been quiet on the issue. Many supporters of Israel have been concerned that the anti-war movement has become a vehicle for promoting the Palestinian cause to a larger audience.

"Josh Ruebner, grass-roots advocacy coordinator for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, called UFPJ’s co-sponsorship of the June 10-11 mobilization “very significant.”

Soldiers in Iraq View Troop Surge as a Lost Cause--Tom Lasseter

"'To be honest, it's going to be like this for a long time to come, no matter what we do," said Hardy, 25, of Atlanta. "I think some people in America don't want to know about all this violence, about all the killings. The people back home are shielded from it; they get it sugar-coated."

"While senior military officials and the Bush administration say the president's decision to send more American troops to pacify Baghdad will succeed, many of the soldiers who're already there say it's a lost cause.

"'What is victory supposed to look like? Every time we turn around and go in a new area there's somebody new waiting to kill us," said Sgt. 1st Class Herbert Gill, 29, of Pulaski, Tenn., as his Humvee rumbled down a dark Baghdad highway one evening last week. "Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting for thousands of years, and we're not going to change that overnight."

"'Once more raids start happening, they'll (insurgents) melt away," said Gill, who serves with the 1st Infantry Division in east Baghdad. "And then two or three months later, when we leave and say it was a success, they'll come back."

"Soldiers interviewed across east Baghdad, home to more than half the city's 8 million people, said the violence is so out of control that while a surge of 21,500 more American troops may momentarily suppress it, the notion that U.S. forces can bring lasting security to Iraq is misguided.

From What Really Happened.com

Our Tax Dollars At Work

Israeli occupation forces destroyed their house in Jerusalem.