Torture Claims 'Forced US to Cut Terror Charges'

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.

An Innocent Man in the Hell of Guantánamo

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?"

Life Goes On in Fallujah's Rubble

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.

The Long March of Dick Cheney

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.

Why Ted Koppel Shouldn’t be Compared to Murrow

By William Hughes

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.

Antiwar Protesters Arrested Near Bush Ranch

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
ordinance.

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

VIDEO - White House Pushed UK to Kill al-Jazeera Bombing Story

Bush wanted to bomb Arab news network to prevent reports on Falluja attack
Guest blogged by David Edwards

On Wednesday, Downing Street threatened The Daily Mirror with prosecution under the Britain's Official Secrets act for the disclosing a memo that indicated Blair had convinced Bush not to bomb the Arab language news network al-Jazeera.

News organizations in the U.K. can no longer report the contents of the memo but a report from London's Channel 4 News questions this first and historic use of the Official Secrets Act against the press. Their reporting concludes that White House pressure lead to the threat of legal action against The Daily Mirror.

NPR's Morning Edition on Pre-War Iraq Intelligence

Copyright 2005 National Public Radio (R)
All Rights Reserved
National Public Radio (NPR)

Morning Edition 10:00 AM EST NPR
November 23, 2005 Wednesday

Pre-Iraq War intelligence: a look at the facts

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

We're reporting this morning on what the White House knew as it argued for war in Iraq. Critics of President Bush say he misled the nation. In speeches, the president and Vice President Cheney now accuse their critics of rewriting history. Today we will check the facts with a pair of reporters who covered some of that history. NPR's Don Gonyea was at the White House as the case for war was made. NPR's Jackie Northam was in Baghdad in the days after it fell. This morning, together, these two reporters examine what's known now.

'Peace Mom,' Supporters Return To Bush Ranch

By Associated Press

CRAWFORD, Texas -- Cindy Sheehan has returned to Crawford, Texas, to resume her protest against the war in Iraq.

The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq last year invigorated the anti-war movement in August when she began a lonely vigil outside President Bush's Crawford ranch and was joined by hundreds of others.

Sheehan was greeted by about three-dozen cheering supporters last night when she arrived at the Waco airport. She vowed to "keep pressing" until U.S. troops are brought home.

A dozen protesters were arrested near the ranch Wednesday. More than 100 continued the protest yesterday with a symbolic Iraqi meal. Instead of the usual Thanksgiving feast, they ate salmon, lentils and rice.

On the Road to Rock Bottom

How Many More People Will Die?
A TvNewsLIES Query

There is no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending: Albert Einstein

THE ROAD TO HELL

George W. Bush is on a collision course with America. His presidency is rolling steadily downhill, as the people of this nation slowly begin to rub sleep away from their eyes. His approval ratings are in the low thirties, unheard of in history for a war president. He is in the worst trouble of his presidency, and it seems almost certain that rock bottom lies just ahead.

It really shouldn’t be so surprising. After all, so much that George W. Bush has touched during his tenure in the White House has deteriorated into disaster. From the environment to the economy, from health care to education – nothing has panned out as promised. In every area and on every issue, life for Americans today, and for their progeny of tomorrow, is filled with doubt and disillusion. And that will only gather momentum as Bushco continues on its inevitable road to rock bottom.

U.S. already planning Iraq pullout, lawmakers say

By KEVIN DIAZ, McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- Amid raucous debate in Congress about an exit strategy from Iraq, U.S. commanders on the ground have already launched plans to close bases and withdraw troops in the coming year, according to two congressmen who returned from Iraq this week.

"They wouldn't put a hard date on it, but clearly the planning is at a very mature level," Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., said. "We can shrink down the number of bases as we shrink down the number of Americans."

Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., who was with Kline in Iraq, said that in some places the turnover is already in progress. "They have a planned turnover process where American troops have already pulled back from some of the smaller bases."

Hospital explosion leaves dozens dead

By Sami al-Jumaili, Reuters

Mahmoudiya, Iraq - A suicide car bomber attacked a hospital south of Baghdad on Thursday, killing 31 people and wounding two dozen more as militants stepped up their campaign of violence ahead of elections next month.

The explosives-packed car detonated as Iraqi security forces were gathered outside Mahmoudiya General Hospital and as a group of US civil affairs soldiers was visiting to look at ways to improve the facility, the US army and witnesses said.

Four US troops were wounded in the blast, but most of those killed and injured were civilians, including Hoda Ali Mahmoud, a 30-year-old woman who had just visited the hospital with her young son, who needed treatment for a cold.

Sheehan Back in Texas for War Protest

By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press

CRAWFORD, Texas - The mother of a fallen soldier whose vigil against the war in Iraq outside President Bush's ranch returned to Texas, saying she is "heartbroken" that the troops are not home.

When Cindy Sheehan arrived at the Waco airport Thursday, three dozen supporters erupted into cheers and tears and grabbed her for lengthy embraces. Before they whisked her back to Crawford, the group chanted, "Stop the war! Bring them home now!"

"I feel happy to be back here with all my friends ... but I'm heartbroken that we have to be here again," said Sheehan, who hoped to arrive earlier in the week, but was delayed by a family emergency. "We will keep pressing and we won't give up until our troops are brought home."

Feingold, Pelosi Urge Bush to Set Timetable

By Sari Gelzer, t r u t h o u t | Report

Days after Iraqi leaders called for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Senator Russell Feingold and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi addressed the importance of declaring a timetable for the US exit from Iraq.

In a letter written yesterday, Feingold urged President Bush to declare a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and suggested the State of the Union address as an important chance to raise the issue.

After Congressman John P. Murtha's recent appeal to withdraw from Iraq in six months, Feingold appealed to Bush by saying that although the plan "need not be rigid," it must be declared for the sake of national security.

Ending the Iraq War

By Richard Falk, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

The American debate on the Iraq War has entered a dramatic new phase. For the first time, a prominent Democrat, Congressman John Murtha, has called for a withdrawal of American forces from the country. Murtha's words have had a major impact because he was a former supporter of the war, and has had a career distinguished by his consistently pro-military profile. His argument is based on the inability to complete the American military mission in Iraq, making inexcusable the continued killing and loss of life. He also refers to the adverse effects of the unpopular and flawed occupation of Iraq on the wider goals of opposing global terrorism and to the failure of American reconstruction efforts. Murtha's critique is widely shared by a majority of Americans at this point, and helps explain the declining popularity of the Bush presidency.

Senior Iraq Sunni Leader Slain in Home

By Paul Tait, Reuters

Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms shot dead an aging Sunni tribal leader and three of his sons in their beds on Wednesday, relatives said, in the latest attack to highlight Iraq's deep sectarian rifts ahead of a December poll.

A Defense Ministry official denied Iraqi troops carried out the pre-dawn slayings in the Hurriya district of Baghdad and said the killers instead must have been terrorists in disguise.

"Iraqi army uniforms litter the streets and any terrorist can kill and tarnish our image, killing two birds with one stone," the official said.

Legal Gag on Bush-Blair War Row

By Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian UK

The attorney general last night threatened newspapers with the Official Secrets Act if they revealed the contents of a document allegedly relating to a dispute between Tony Blair and George Bush over the conduct of military operations in Iraq.

It is believed to be the first time the Blair government has threatened newspapers in this way. Though it has obtained court injunctions against newspapers, the government has never prosecuted editors for publishing the contents of leaked documents, including highly sensitive ones about the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

It's Stealth Escalation

By Dave Lindorff, http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/

Troop Cuts After 12/15? What a Line of Bull! It's Stealth Escalation

The Pentagon can only get away with calling the idea of cutting back the level of troops in Iraq from the current 155,000 to "just" 138,000 because of the total lack of historical context that prevails in today's mainstream newsrooms.

138,000 was the level of troops the US had in Iraq until a few months ago, when the level of attacks on them rose to such an extent that the Pentagon decided it had to add troops, using the looming Dec. 15 elections as a pretext. At that time, they said the increase was temporary, and that the level would be brought back down after the elections were over.

Unknown Costs Hamper Effort to Aid 7-Year-Old Iraqi War Victim in Pittsburgh

www.truthout.org

Story Update: Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh has agreed to cover the full costs of the surgery.

By Sally Kalson, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One question stands between a 7-year-old Iraqi war victim and reconstructive surgery in Pittsburgh that could bring him a more normal life: How can his sponsors raise their half of the hospital bill when there's no way of knowing how high that bill will run?

The child, Abdul Hakim Ismael, was wounded last year in the city of Fallujah. His family said he was hit by fire from an American air strike, leaving the left side of his face severely disfigured - blinded in one eye with damaged eye lid, socket, jaw and cheek, making it difficult for him to eat.

US Intelligence Classified White Phosphorus as 'Chemical Weapon'

By Peter Popham and Anne Penketh
The Independent UK

The Italian journalist who launched the controversy over the American use of white phosphorus (WP) as a weapon of war in the Fallujah siege has accused the Americans of hypocrisy.

Sigfrido Ranucci, who made the documentary for the RAI television channel aired two weeks ago, said that a US intelligence assessment had characterised WP after the first Gulf War as a "chemical weapon."

The assessment was published in a declassified report on the American Department of Defense website. The file was headed: "Possible use of phosphorous chemical weapons by Iraq in Kurdish areas along the Iraqi-Turkish-Iranian borders."

UK Activism: Impeach Blair

www.ImpeachBlair.org

A cross-party motion has now been tabled in Parliament to set up a Select Committee to investigate the conduct of the Government's policy in going to war in Iraq.

The names appearing on the Early Day Motion include Alan Simpson (Labour), Kenneth Clarke and Douglas Hogg (Conservatives), Menzies Campbell (Liberal Democrats), Alex Salmond (SNP) and Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid Cymru).

Speaking at Westminster Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price, who drafted the motion, said:

"Too many questions remain unanswered about the way we were taken to war in Iraq, and we demand to have them answered. Neither the Hutton nor the Butler Inquiries addressed the central question - were the Parliament and country misled? Therefore it is essential that a committee is set up to investigate the matter thoroughly. If we do not restore proper accountability to the Government, it will corrupt our whole society by providing evidence that allows our enemies to call our democracy a sham."

Open Letter to George

By Cindy Sheehan

George,

My family is spending our 2nd Thanksgiving without Casey thanks to you and your lies. I am spending the day crying on a plane on my way to come to Crawford to again ask you for a meeting.

I had been to Crawford for three weeks in the summer and to DC several times asking for a meeting with you and now I am returning to our vacation home to once again try and meet with you. I don't know why you like Crawford so much, but I love it because of the Camp Casey Peace Community that arose during August this year when you wouldn't meet with me. When I arrived back here at the Peace House I felt a sense of coming home and belonging to something that is far greater than any of us: a community that is filled with love, acceptance and peace. Is this what you feel when you return frequently to Crawford? Also, the beautiful Texas sunset stirred memories of our days at Camp Casey when we would close our activities each day with ex-Marine, Jeff Key playing taps among the crosses that honored our fallen. August was a miraculous time.

The US knows it will have to talk to the Iraqi resistance

Even Lebanon was not as terrifying as the random menace of occupied Iraq. But the violence could be brought under control
By Zaki Chehab, Guardian

The rate of suicide bombings in Iraq continues its relentless rise: some days there are more than five attacks. Jihadist leaders are taking full advantage of the anger and despair of the many Iraqis who have lost family members at the hands of the occupation. The recruiters convince them that taking revenge is the way to please God and to defeat the infidels. Breaking the insurgency has became a mission impossible for the US throughout Iraq - but most of all in Anbar province (known in the west as the Sunni triangle), which accounts for about a third of the country.

The Awful Truth: No Good Move

By D. Lindley Young, The Modern Tribune

WASHINGTON, D.C. (11/25) - The Bush administration has put America in a no win situation in Iraq. America cannot just precipitously leave Iraq since we undertook to fix the nation and have created much chaos and turmoil. Nor, can we just keep feeding American lives and money to fight an insurgency or take sides in a civil war. This is especially true since, at best, the Iraq war is for a very questionable cause. Although conducted under the banner of freedom and democracy, few would disagree that we would not be in Iraq if Iraq did not have oil and Iraq did not serve as a strategical military base for greater Middle East influence. Aside from questions about the reasons for the war, many experts believe that the Iraq war is creating greater global hatred for America and is endangering America, not making America safer.

Freedom of Information logs shed light on media's military curiosity

Freedom of Information logs shed light on media's military curiosity
John Byrne, Raw Story

A listing of all requests made of the Pentagon under the Freedom of Information Act since 2000, acquired by RAW STORY, provides new insight into the aggressiveness of American news agencies.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the public can request records of government agencies. Records seen as jeopardizing national security or individual rights are typically exempted. All requests are public.

The request for a list of all who made inquiries of the Pentagon was filed by Michael Petrelis (http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/, a San Francisco-based activist and blogger. He provided a copy to RAW STORY, which will be released in full next week.

Allies warn US over CIA's secret jails

Allies warn US over CIA's secret jails
Thursday 24 November 2005, 19:41 Makka Time, 16:41 GMT
aljazeera.net

Poland said it was checking reports of the CIA jails

The Netherlands has warned Washington that if it continued to "hide" over reports of secret prisons in eastern Europe, Dutch contributions to US-led military missions could be affected, the ANP news agency has reported.

"The US should stop hiding. It will all come out sooner or later," Foreign Minister Ben Bot told the Dutch parliament, according to ANP.

Bot added that the Americans "are on the borderline" in their fight against terrorism. The minister would not say at what point the Netherlands might end their cooperation with the US.

Sheriff's Department Claims County Ordinance Supersedes US Constitution

Sheriff's Department Claims County Ordinance Supersedes US Constitution
Calls the First Amendment a "Word Game"
Defends Arrest of 12 Peaceful Protesters

By Sam Diener for Peacework Magazine, www.afsc.org/peacework

Paul Wash, spokesperson for the McLennan County Sheriff's Department, when discussing the arrest of a dozen Camp Casey anti-war protesters on Wednesday, November 23rd near Bush's compound in Crawford, Texas, claimed that a recently passed county ordinance was more important to the department than the Federal Constitution and the First Amendment.

He said, "Twelve people were arrested for criminal trespass under the new county ordinance which bans camping in the right of way."

Will the US Seize the Opening for Troop Withdrawal?

By Ray McGovern

The surprising degree of consensus reached by the main Iraqi factions at the Arab-League orchestrated Reconciliation Conference in Cairo last weekend sharply undercuts the unilateral, guns-and-puppets approach of the Bush administration to the deteriorating situation in Iraq. The common demand, by Shia and Kurds as well as Sunnis, for a timetable for withdrawal of occupation forces demolishes the administration’s argument that setting such a timetable would be a huge mistake. Who would know better—the Iraqis or the ideologues advising Bush?

Withdrawal of Occupation Forces

Blessings?

By Cindy Sheehan

It was hard to feel blessed today as I sat at Casey's grave here in Vacaville, Ca. Sure, a lot of good things have happened in my sphere of influence this year, but the blessings are always hampered by the reason for the blessings.

If Casey had not have been killed in Iraq in George's imperialistic war for power and wealth, I wouldn't be on this path. I wish to God, I weren't on this path. But I am, so here are the blessings I am thankful for this year.

The main blessings that I can thankfully still count are my 3 children: Carly, Andy, and Janey. They are incredibly wonderful children who didn't ask for the trail that George Bush has set them on by the murder of their oldest brother. They didn't ask to have a mom who is away most of the time trying to make the world a better place to leave for them. They didn't ask for it, but they are handling everything with the courage and integrity that are the hallmarks of Sheehan children.

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