Editorial: ‘Outlandish’ Indeed

By Arab News, The Middle East's Leading English Language Daily
Sunday, 27, November, 2005 (25, Shawwal, 1426)

It is not just Wadah Khanfar, Al-Jazeera’s boss, who yesterday demanded to know from Prime Minister Tony Blair if President Bush really considered bombing the channel’s headquarters in Qatar in April 2004, who is keen to get an answer. Blair’s own MPs are demanding the contents of the memorandum be published. In fact, the entire world is interested in the answer. Did Blair talk Bush out of it? A British memorandum with a transcript of a conversation between the two men appears to answer both questions in the affirmative and is at the center of a growing political storm.

Gratitude

By Jeeni Criscenzo

The words most often spoken at our Thanksgiving memorial for our troops on Friday were, "Thank you".

I know that I said it hundreds of times as I walked nearly 1 1/2 miles to personally thank over 900 participants standing in silence along Carlsbad Blvd. I was grateful that each of you had chosen to give part of your precious day off to show gratitude to our fallen troops and to urge our government to bring their buddies home. I am moved by how many people responded by thanking me for putting this event together. As their words and what their eyes said as they spoke them, echo in my heart, I fully comprehend the responsibility that comes with my decision to run as your representative in Congress.

The Woodward Scandal Should Not Blow Over

By Norman Solomon

Bob Woodward probably hoped that the long holiday weekend would break
the momentum of an uproar that suddenly confronted him midway through
November. But three days after Thanksgiving, on NBC's "Meet the

Cindy Sheehan - the book review

Eli Stephens
Left I on the News
http://lefti.blogspot.com

I mentioned the other day buying Cindy Sheehan's new book, Not One More
Mother's Child, and last night (thanks to continuing lack of web access :-)

Tired of Being Lied to? Modern History You Can't Afford to Ignore

Part II -- 1990- 2000
By Maureen Farrell, BuzzFlash

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
~ Albert Einstein

'Trophy' video exposes private security contractors shooting up Iraqi drivers

By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent, News Telegraph (UK)

A "trophy" video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

Radioactive Tank No. 9 comes limping home

By Bob Nichols, San Francisco Bay View

PHOTO: "RADIOACTIVE" is stenciled on Abrams tanks in these pictures taken Oct. 13, 2005, in Topeka, Kansas. Photo by: Chris Bayruh

MAKE CONGRESS DEBATE AND VOTE ON THE ORIGINAL MURTHA RESOLUTION

By PEN

We put a call out to all candidates who want to win, and Steve Young, fighting for the people in normally conservative Orange County, CA, in a special house election coming up Dec. 6, took us up on our offer to create action pages for him on his own campaign site. Steve is demonstrating his leadership right NOW by working to rally support for serious consideration of the real Murtha resolution. Please submit the action form below to help bring this issue and his campaign the national attention and focus it deserves

Bush's Burgeoning Body Count, Fallen Legion II

From Tomdispatch today, the second in an important ongoing series at the site: Nick Turse's "Bush's Burgeoning Body Count, Fallen Legion II" http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=39653

Six weeks ago, I noted that informal "walls" and exhibits to honor those Americans (and sometimes Iraqis) who fell -- and continue to fall -- in the Bush administration's occupation and war of choice in Iraq, have been arising on and off-line for some time. I suggested then that "the particular dishonor this administration has brought down on our country calls out for other ‘walls' as well. Perhaps, for instance, we need some negative walls built, stone by miserable stone, to cronyism, corruption, and incompetence." At that moment, Tomdispatch author (and Associate Editor) Nick Turse began to build a verbal "wall" of honor (http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=28817) to those who have "fallen" in government service while fighting in some way to hold the line against this administration. This previously hardly noted "Legion of the Fallen," these other casualties -- men and women who were honorable or steadfast enough in their government duties that they found themselves with little alternative but to resign in protest, quit, retire, or simply be pushed off the cliff by cronies of this administration -- turned out to be far larger than we initially imagined. The first installment had 42 names, ranging from the prominent to the obscure. With this installment, the number soars over 200 -- and a third installment, meant for January, is already largely in place. The new piece includes one honorary "legionnaire," Pat Tillman, the former NFL football star, who died in Afghanistan, and a consideration of serveral prominent figures like Christine Todd Whitman and Colin Powell who left the administration under ambiguous circumstances.

The Un-Birthday

By Amy Branham, Mother of Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith, Nov. 27, 1981 - Feb. 13, 2004
Gold Star Families for Peace

24 years ago today my son, Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith, was born. Today, in honor of his birthday, I went to see my son and wish him a happy un-birthday. You see, Jeremy is dead, taken away from his family and friends nearly twenty months ago. He was in the Army Reserves and was called to active duty. Two years ago, two days after Thanksgiving (which was his birthday that year – and the last he was to ever celebrate), his stepfather, Maxx, and I took him to report for active duty in Huntsville, TX.

Bolton Loses British Backing for UN Tactics

By Philip Sherwell, The Telegraph UK

Britain has angered John Bolton, America's combative ambassador to the United Nations, by breaking ranks with him over the need for reform.

The rare public disagreement between the two close allies comes as the showdown over reforms at the UN's New York headquarters becomes increasingly acrimonious.

Britain has rebuffed a Bolton move to join him in refusing to pass the organisation's 2006 budget until member states approve wide-ranging management reforms.

To the irritation of Mr Bolton, many developing nations are bitterly opposed to changes that they claim are driven by American political pressure. He suggested last week that talks on the 2006 and 2007 budgets could be postponed as a means to overcome the trenchant resistance from the "G77" bloc of developing countries. He also threatened that the United States could seek an alternative to the UN for solving international problems in future.

In Terror Cases, Administration Sets Own Rules

By Adam Liptak, The New York Times

When Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced last week that Jose Padilla would be transferred to the federal justice system from military detention, he said almost nothing about the standards the administration used in deciding whether to charge terrorism suspects like Mr. Padilla with crimes or to hold them in military facilities as enemy combatants.

"We take each individual, each case, case by case," Mr. Gonzales said.

The upshot of that approach, underscored by the decision in Mr. Padilla's case, is that no one outside the administration knows just how the determination is made whether to handle a terror suspect as an enemy combatant or as a common criminal, to hold him indefinitely without charges in a military facility or to charge him in court.

Canadian Prosecution of George W. Bush

By MWC.News Network

Lawyers Against the War Charge George Bush of aiding, abetting and counselling the commission of torture.

A Vancouver Lawyer has won a procedural victory in her attempt to prosecute U.S. President George W. Bush under the Criminal Code.

Gail Davisson, cofounder of an international group of jurists called "Lawyers Against the War", expressed her delight on October 18 following the lifting of a publication ban on court proceedings against the U.S. president.

The lawyer got the ball rolling against Bush as soon as he set foot on Canadian soil for his November 30, 2004, visit. As a private citizen, she charged him with seven counts of counselling, aiding, and abetting torture as Abu Gharib prison in Iraq and at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay naval base. She had her charges accepted by a justice of the peace in Vancouver Provincial Court.

Talking About Iraq with the American Public

Talking About Iraq with the American Public
A Project of the U.S. in the World Initiative

Introduction
Most Americans are deeply concerned about the way things are going in Iraq, but the public remains divided on the question of troop withdrawals. The “persuadable middle‿ of the American public does not seem to be convinced that the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq will improve the situation there or contribute to making America safer, if it leaves behind a violent and fragile Iraqi state that destabilizes a vital region and serves as a breeding ground for anti-American extremism and terrorism. They are equally unpersuaded by advocacy that focuses on staying the course, without explaining how a failing military strategy could become a successful one or when we can expect the sacrificing to stop. Unfortunately, the American public doesn’t have much of an opportunity to see or consider alternatives to either “withdrawing the troops‿ or “continuing the fight.‿ Most of what Americans hear from advocates, policymakers, and the media concentrates on one or the other of these prescriptions, with little attention to the political economic, and humanitarian challenges of rebuilding Iraq and stabilizing the region.

2006, 2008 and Beyond

Future Hope column, Nov. 27, 2005
By Ted Glick

Within progressive circles there’s growing talk about the 2006 and the 2008 elections. The Bush/Cheney free fall to an average, between them, of 33-34% in the polls, combined with the indictments and investigations of Rove, Libby, Delay, Frist and other top Republicans, has generated hope among Democrats and others that they can take back at least one house of Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008.

For some Democrats, hopefully not many, who call themselves progressive, it doesn’t much matter who their standard bearers are. As long as they win against Republicans, that’s just fine.

See Dick Profit from War

By Al Feldstein

Have a close look at the chart of Halliburton's stock ... and its rise over the past four years...

...factor in that Dick Cheney had 400,000 Halliburton options when he left to run for Vice President in 2000...

...that Halliburton has enjoyed a 50-60 point rise since America invaded Iraq...

...and figure out that Dick Cheney's profit from the Iraq war is currently between $20,000,000...twenty million dollars...and $30,000,000...thirty million dollars!

Wow!

Talk about "War Profiteering"!

MAD-ly yours,
Al

P.S. Please pass this on! America...and Republicans struggling to remain loyal to the Bush Administration and its murdering NeoilCon members...need to know!

Second Reporter Asked to Testify on Leak

By AP

WASHINGTON - A second Time magazine reporter has been asked to testify in the CIA leak case, this time about her discussions with Karl Rove's attorney, a sign that prosecutors are still exploring charges against the White House aide.

Viveca Novak, a reporter in Time's Washington bureau, is cooperating with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is investigating the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity in 2003, the magazine reported in its Dec. 5 issue.

Novak specifically has been asked to testify under oath about conversations she had with Rove attorney Robert Luskin starting in May 2004, the magazine reported.

Rally Held at Camp Casey; Pro-Death Crowd Keeps Shrinking

By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press

CRAWFORD, Texas - Demonstrators on both sides of the war debate waved signs and argued their causes in President Bush's hometown again Saturday, though their efforts drew much smaller crowds than last summer's dueling rallies.

About 200 war protesters joined Cindy Sheehan on a private lot outside Bush's ranch, laughing at a Bush impersonator and crying while listening to relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq.

Sheehan, whose 26-day protest in August reinvigorated an anti-war movement, called on supporters to return to the campsite during the president's Thanksgiving holiday. Saturday, she held up a picture of 20 flag-draped coffins on a plane bound for the United States.

Protest Bush on Monday

Join the majority: protest Bush in Phoenix, Ariz., on Monday, Nov. 28th between 4:00 and 6:30 p.m. at the corner of 24th Street and Camelback. Begin gathering at 2:30.

Let's all give him the warm welcome he deserves! In peace we march!

See
http://www.azpeace.org

or
http://spidel.net/blog/?p=332

_________

Oh, and he'll be in Annapolis, Md., on Wednesday speaking to the only people he can get to stand still and listen: those in uniform.

Dishonest, Reprehensible, Corrupt ...

By Frank Rich, The New York Times

George W. Bush is so desperate for allies that his hapless Asian tour took him to Ulan Bator, a first for an American president, so he could mingle with the yaks and give personal thanks for Mongolia's contribution of some 160 soldiers to "the coalition of the willing." Dick Cheney, whose honest-and-ethical poll number hit 29 percent in Newsweek's latest survey, is so radioactive that he vanished into his bunker for weeks at a time during the storms Katrina and Scootergate.

The whole world can see that both men are on the run. Just how much so became clear in the brace of nasty broadsides each delivered this month about Iraq. Neither man engaged the national debate ignited by John Murtha about how our troops might be best redeployed in a recalibrated battle against Islamic radicalism. Neither offered a plan for "victory." Instead, both impugned their critics' patriotism and retreated into the past to defend the origins of the war. In a seasonally appropriate impersonation of the misanthropic Mr. Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life," the vice president went so far as to label critics of the administration's prewar smoke screen both "dishonest and reprehensible" and "corrupt and shameless." He sounded but one epithet away from a defibrillator.

Is Bush lying about his lies?

By Andrew Greeley, Chicago Sun Times

Not only did the Bush administration deceive the American people about the reasons for invading Iraq, it is now deceiving them about the deceptions. In a burst of political tantrums, the president and the vice president have shouted that it was "irresponsible" to assert that there had been deception and it was unfair to the troops fighting in Iraq.

Is the administration lying about its lies? That many of the arguments in favor of the war were false is beyond question. Nor can there be any serious doubt that the new argument that it is irresponsible to question the old arguments is also false. But if a lie is a conscious effort to deceive, then the charge that the president and the men around him deliberately lied and are now lying again, then that issue must be left to heaven. It is enough to say they spread falsehoods three years because they had made up their minds that there had to be a war and are now spreading falsehoods about the original falsehoods. The president is not a man who likes to admit he was wrong. Therefore, one must cover up the mistakes.

Bush Wanted al Jazeera Gone and He Wanted It Then

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.

Bush Targets al Jazeera? CNN Head Should Get Job Back

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.

Iraq abuse 'as bad as Saddam era'

By BBC

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.

Cheney led cheerleaders of Iraq invasion

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.

U.S. Starts Laying Groundwork for Significant Troop Pullout From Iraq

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.

Pressure to leave Iraq builds

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,

Parents of slain Danish soldier sue Prime Minister

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.

US Military Admits It Burned Bodies

Reuters

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.

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