By Jeremy Scahill, The Nation
Was President Bush's alleged plot to bomb al Jazeera's international headquarters an "outlandish" accusation as the White House now claims? Or was it a deadly serious option on the table? Until a news organization or British official defies the Official Secrets Act and publishes the 5-page memo, we have no way of knowing. But what we do know is that at the time of Bush's April 16, 2004 White House meeting with Tony Blair, the Bush administration was in the throws of a very public, high-level temper tantrum directed against al Jazeera. The Bush-Blair summit took place at the peak of the first US siege of Fallujah and al Jazeera was once again there to witness the slaughter and the fierce resistance.
By Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive
Remember Eason Jordan, the CNN news chief who was forced to resign back in February because he dared to say, at a private conference, that the United States had killed about a dozen journalists in Iraq?
Well, he's looking a lot better today, one day after the Daily Mirror reported that George W. Bush wanted to bomb Al-Jazeera headquarters in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. "He was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair," the Daily Mirror said.
The paper said it had a new "top secret" Downing Street Memo that contains a transcript of the Bush-Blair conversation of April 16, 2004.
The former Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, has called for immediate action against human rights abuses.
Such abuses are as bad today as they were under Saddam Hussein, Mr Allawi told Britain's Observer newspaper.
His comments come two weeks after 170 detainees were found at an interior ministry centre, some allegedly suffering from abuse and starvation.
Iraq's president dismissed Mr Allawi's allegations, saying his government did not accept the torture of prisoners.
The BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says Mr Allawi's remarks come as Iraq prepares for parliamentary elections next month, which he hopes could see him return as prime minister.
By CARL HIAASEN, Miami Herald
The loudest cheerleader for invading Iraq is on the stump once again, defending the bloody, bogged-down occupation and lambasting its critics.
Getting a war lecture from Dick Cheney is like getting dating advice from Michael Jackson.
The last time the United States went to battle, Cheney stayed far out of harm's way. His only wounds from Vietnam were the paper cuts he got from opening his five -- count 'em, five -- draft deferment notices.
''I had other priorities in the '60s other than military service,'' he explained to a reporter in 1989.
Thousands of other young men applied for student deferments in the Vietnam era, or received draft lottery numbers that were never called (mine was 44). However, none grew up to be vice president of the nation, peddling a contrived war that somebody else's kids would have to fight.
THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ
By Paul Richter and Tyler Marshall, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Even as debate over the Iraq war continues to rage, signs are emerging of a convergence of opinion on how the Bush administration might begin to exit the conflict.
In a departure from previous statements, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week that the training of Iraqi soldiers had advanced so far that the current number of U.S. troops in the country probably would not be needed much longer.
President Bush will give a major speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in which aides say he is expected to herald the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for pulling out U.S. forces.
Bush fights public’s weariness with war
By WILLIAM DOUGLAS and JAMES KUHNHENN, Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Should we stay or should we go?
The fundamental question about what the United States should do in Iraq is being asked with increasing fervor across America and in the nation’s capital.
The Bush administration is arguing that the nation must stay the course to prevent Iraq from becoming an oil-rich haven for terrorists and to keep the country from spiraling into a bloody civil war that could destabilize the Middle East.
“If they are not stopped, the terrorists will be able to advance their agenda to develop weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate Europe, to break our will and blackmail our government into isolation,
By Carsten Kofoed, Fritirak.dk, November 26, 2005
On November 22, Johan and Kirsten Kirkmand, parents of slain Danish soldier Bjarke Kirkmand, formally sued Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen for breaking the Danish constitution by deciding to bring Denmark into the US-led illegal aggression against Iraq.
In this way, the two parents have now joined the 24 plaintiffs, who on October 11 delivered a writ to the Danish High Court instituting legal proceedings against the Danish Prime Minister for breaches of § 19 of the Danish Constitution, according to which the use of military force may only be applied under a UN mandate, and within the boundaries of commonly accepted international law. Furthermore, the decision is considered to be in breach of § 20 of the Constitution, as it does not fulfil the requirement of a 5/6 parliamentary majority in relinquishing sovereignty, the Danish troops having been placed under foreign command.
Kandahar, Afghanistan - The U.S. military admitted on Saturday that its soldiers in Afghanistan had burned the bodies of two dead Taliban guerrillas and taunted insurgents about it, but had not meant it as a desecration.
The U.S. military said an investigation into the incident concluded the soldiers had burned the bodies for "hygienic reasons" and said it would reprimand two non-commissioned officers for calling out taunts about it over a loudspeaker.
"Our investigation found there was no intent to desecrate the remains, but only to dispose them for hygienic reasons," U.S.-led forces operational commander, Major General Jason Kamiya said.
PREFATORY NOTE: You'll understand this issue much better after you've read
the four essays that I've cited underneath this short article. -EAP III
IRAQ: ARMY SAID USE OF WHITE PHOSPHOROUS WEAPONS VIOLATED LAW OF WAR
BY: Judd Legum, Nico Pitney, Payson Schwin, Faiz Shakir and Amanda Terkel.
SOURCE: APAF's 11-21-05 column, "Progress Report."
Reversing numerous prior denials, Pentagon officials admitted last
Intro By Paul Loeb
Our hopes rise, and should, as Bush's poll numbers fall. But whatever the
polls, this is going to remain an exceptionally difficult political time for
a good while to come. In this context, Margaret Wheatley offers a powerful
reflection on working as hard as we can for immediate outcomes, and then
letting go. The outcomes matter, and matter tremendously. But so does the
process, where we can take heart from the value and appropriateness of our
work and from the communities we build. It's no accident that those who've
devoted their entire lives to creating a more humane world or have
By Susan Haley, The Hingham Journal
Residents from throughout the South Shore participated in the recent forum "Intelligence Information and the War in Iraq" which was sponsored by the Hingham Democratic Town Committee and the Young Democrats Club at Hingham High School.
An audience of approximately 85 listened as the forum's featured speaker, William Rivers Pitt, detailed the current situation in Iraq: oil production seriously compromised, electricity available only for a few short hours during the day, deplorable conditions in local hospitals, clean water a precious commodity and daily attacks directed against our forces and the civilian population. While the recent election ratified an Iraq Constitution, 97 percent of the Sunni population of Iraq voted against the proposal. Not only have we lost nearly 2,100 American soldiers in the fighting, but the number of seriously wounded American soldiers is the equivalent of the elimination of an entire Army division. Mr. Pitt concluded this portion of his remarks by reminding people that our nation was told that our soldiers would be greeted with flowers as liberators.
London - Arabic news channel Al Jazeera's general manager flew to London on Friday to demand the British government explain a leaked report that President George W. Bush wanted to bomb the TV station.
The Daily Mirror newspaper reported on Tuesday that a secret British government memo said British Prime Minister Tony Blair had talked Bush out of bombing Al Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar in April last year.
"I have come to London in order to reach out to British officials, to investigate about the memo that some claim exists during the past week," Al Jazeera managing director Waddah Khanfar told Reuters by telephone after his arrival in London.
By Michael Massing, The New York Review of Books
The past few months have witnessed a striking change in the fortunes of two well-known journalists: Anderson Cooper and Judith Miller. CNN's Cooper, the one-time host of the entertainment show The Mole, who was known mostly for his pin-up good looks, hip outfits, and showy sentimentality, suddenly emerged during Hurricane Katrina as a tribune for the dispossessed and a scourge of do-nothing officials. He sought out poor blacks who were stranded in New Orleans, expressed anger over bodies rotting in the street, and rudely interrupted Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu when she began thanking federal officials for their efforts. When people "listen to politicians thanking one another and complimenting each other," he told her, "you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated." After receiving much praise, Cooper in early November was named to replace Aaron Brown as the host of CNN's NewsNight.
Unpatriotic Congresswoman Jean Schmidt Calls Vietnam Hero a Coward
Here at www.VetsForJustice.con we are fed up with the Bush Neocons, like the Anti-American Congresswoman from Ohio, Jean Schmidt, calling America's War Heroes names.
Having served in combat in Vietnam myself, I was pissed during the Vietnam War when the cowardly rich, like President "W" Bush, Vice President Chaney, and most of the present Bush Administration, avoided the war by being rich and powerful.
Being a lifelong Republican I was pissed when yellow "W" Bush used Swift Boat Tactics to attack Vietnam War Hero, and former POW, Senator McCain for mere politics.
By John McConnell
The weapons and ways of war must be abolished --
Before they abolish us.
Is it now possible to achieve humanity's age-long dream of a world without war? In the evolution of history are there new factors that can facilitate peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage freedom and order, justice and mutual responsibility?
The suffering resulting from war always affects both sides. The original Memorial Day began during the civil war by women in Georgia who planted flowers on the graves of soldiers who had died, honoring friend and foe alike. Patriotic soldiers followed their leaders and died on both sides of the battle.
By Paul Rockwell, t r u t h o u t | Book Review
A review of Cindy Sheehan's uplifting and soulful book.
The agony of war can transform any human being.
In 1914, at the outset of World War I, Rudyard Kipling, the bellicose poet of the British empire who coined the infamous phrase "white man's burden," urged his own son to join the British military. One week after his son enlisted, he was dead. Overwhelmed with grief, Kipling wrote two "Epitaphs for War." In the first, dead soldiers speak:
If any question why we died,
Tell them because our fathers lied.
In the second, "The Dead Statesman," a statesman speaks:
[here's a fine article with a baseless nonsensical final paragraph]
By Andrew Miga, Associated Press Writer
The Sacramento Bee - November 25, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - Three years ago, Massachusetts
congressmen Martin Meehan, Stephen Lynch and Edward
Markey bucked their state Democratic colleagues and
cast votes to give President Bush a green light to go
to war in Iraq.
Since then, the three have renounced their votes and
emerged as critics of the way Bush has handled the war.
Unlike the dramatic public change of heart by Rep. John
Murtha, D-Pa., a decorated Marine veteran who served in
By Bob Fertik, Democrats.com
First Democratic Hawk John Murtha (D-PA) declared his opposition to the
Iraq War, now fellow Hawk Norm Dicks (D-WA) is echoing Murtha's
Which makes those few Democrats who still support the disastrous war - led
By Barbara Cummings, A Proud San Diegan
San Diego, Calif., is a well known, conservative military town. People who live here enjoy sun, surf, and year around good times.
On Friday afternoon people dressed all in black started to gather along the coast in Carlsbad, Ca, just north of San Diego. They came in two and threes. They came in wheelchairs. They came with dogs and baby joggers. They rode bikes. They walked. The coaster was full of people dressed in balck. They were singles and couples and families. One family had four generations. Many came with teen and pre-teen children. There were baby boomers and their parents.
Memorial to Gold Star Families dedicated at Crawford Peace House
Submitted by admin on Sat, 2005-11-26 01:11. Memorial Garden 11/25/05
Cindy Sheehan and other Gold Star families take a moment to take in the just-unveiled monument to their loved ones while their supporters stand in support and the media looks on.
The monument, carved by Ron Teska of Pennsylvania, was installed in the new garden on the west side of the Peace House, and faces the historical marker that notes George W. Bush's residence in the town.
Noon - 5 PM:
Rally to Stop the War
Camp Casey 2 (note change of location)
Cindy Sheehan - Gold Star Families for Peace
Daniel Ellsberg - Speaker, writer, activist
Ann Wright - Activist, organizer, speaker
Bill Mitchell - Gold Star Families for Peace
Juan Torres - Gold Star Families for Peace
Tammara Rosenleaf - Military Families Speak Out
Charlie Anderson - Iraq War Veteran
Dick Underhill - Veterans for Peace
Amy Branham - Gold Star Families for Peace
Reggae band One Love Uprising (Code Red)
Singer/songwriter Jesse Dyen, composer of Camp Casey theme song Our Sons and Daughters
Throw the Bitch in the Ditch
By Cindy Sheehan
Camp Casey Thanksgiving, Crawford, Texas
I was feeling very down when I was flying to Waco yesterday. I did a lot of crying and missing Casey on the way out from Sacramento. I am not at the place in my grieving yet where I can look at all of our good times and feel grateful for them. Remembering many, many happy Thanksgivings past only made me feel worse, not better.
So, I called my sister (one of the Crawford 12 jailbirds) when I was on a short layover in Dallas to ask her who was picking me up. She wouldn't give me a straight answer saying that "don't worry, someone will be there." So I told her not to worry about it, I would take a taxi to the Peace House or rent a car. I was DEFINITELY feeling sorry for my poor little self.
When Your Ostensible Ally Says That Blowing Up Your Troops Shouldn't Be Called Terrorism, It's Time to Head Home
By Dave Lindorff, http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/
If anything should have Americans of all political stripes calling for an immediate return of all US troops from Iraq, it would be the Iraqi summit conference in Egypt earlier this week, hosted by Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, at which it was decided that attacking and blowing up US, British and other occupation troops should not be called "terrorism," but rather "acts of resistance."
That's pretty shocking, wouldn't you say?
And yet, there has been nothing but silence from the right-wing yak shows, little in the mainstream media, and nothing from the White House.
By Jamie Wilson, The Guardian UK
Dirty bomb evidence came from al-Qaida leaders.
CIA worried case would expose prison network.
The Bush administration decided not to charge Jose Padilla with planning to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a US city because the evidence against him was extracted using torture on members of al-Qaida, it was claimed yesterday.
Mr. Padilla, a US citizen who had been held for more than three years as an "enemy combatant" in a military prison in North Carolina, was indicted on Tuesday on the lesser charges of supporting terrorism abroad. After his arrest in 2002 the Brooklyn-born Muslim convert was also accused by the administration of planning to blow up apartment blocks in New York using natural gas.
By Sara Daniel, Le Nouvel Observateur
Translation: t r u t h o u t French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher.
He's forgotten nothing of the pain, the humiliation, the solitude. American investigators took a year to clear him. And another year to free him. Beyond the revolting injustice to which he was victim, former journalist Bader Zaman denounces the arbitrariness of American detention centers.
He suffers from hypermnesia. It's twelve months since Bader Zaman was released from Guantánamo prison, but he remembers every detail of his detention. Not only the pain, the humiliation, the solitude, but also little things: dogs' breath, the scrape of the razor against his eyebrows, the accent of the creep who cried out over the megaphone to the other soldiers: "Don't show any sympathy for the terrorists!" He can't forget anything. Today he is free. The Americans have cleared him of all accusations against him. Yet, in Peshawar, this former journalist's liberty still remains under tight surveillance. A few weeks ago, ISI (Pakistani Secret Service) agents came back to see him again. He received them calmly: "What do I have to fear from you now? Have you found a worse hell on the earth than the one you've already thrown me into?"
By Dahr Jamail, Inter Press Service
San Francisco, California - A year after the US-led "Operation Phantom Fury" damaged or destroyed 36,000 homes, 60 schools and 65 mosques in Fallujah, Iraq, residents inside the city continue to suffer from lack of compensation, slow reconstruction and high rates of illness.
The Study Centre for Human Rights and Democracy based in Fallujah (SCHRD) estimates the number of people killed in the city during the US-led operation in October and November 2004 at 4,000 to 6,000, most of them civilians. Mass graves were dug on the outskirts of the city for thousands of the bodies.
By Sidney Blumenthal, Salon.com
For his entire career, he sought untrammeled power. The Bush presidency and 9/11 finally gave it to him - and he's not about to give it up.
The hallmark of the Dick Cheney administration is its illegitimacy. Its essential method is bypassing established lines of authority; its goal is the concentration of unaccountable presidential power. When it matters, the regular operations of the CIA, Defense Department and State Department have been sidelined.
Richard Nixon is the model, but with modifications. In the Nixon administration, the president was the prime mover, present at the creation of his own options, attentive to detail, and conscious of their consequences. In the Cheney administration, the president is volatile but passive, firm but malleable, presiding but absent. Once his complicity has been arranged, a closely held "cabal" - as Lawrence Wilkerson, once chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, calls it - wields control.
For a moment, I thought I was reading the obituary of an heroic figure who had stood fearlessly, risking life and limb for the truth, God, Motherhood and country. I was wrong! Instead, it was a local TV critic, one David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun, wildly spinning, in a Barbara Walters-like fashion, about Ted Koppel’s 25-year career, as the host of that mostly boring and very predictable ABC News’ “Nightline.
Ordinance Limits Parking, Camping
By Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post Staff Writer
November 24, 2005, The Washington Post
CRAWFORD, Tex., Nov. 23 -- About a dozen antiwar protesters,
including Daniel Ellsberg and the sister of Cindy Sheehan,
were arrested Wednesday morning while camping on a roadside
near President Bush's ranch in violation of a new county
The group returned this week as Bush arrived at his Texas
home to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family. They came in
hopes of reigniting the international attention they
attracted in August, when hundreds came to join Sheehan as