The Associated Press
Baghdad, Iraq - Iraq's National Assembly voted on Wednesday to reverse last-minute changes it had made to rules for next week's referendum on a new constitution following criticism by the United Nations that the rules were unfair to the Sunni minority.
After a brief debate, the Assembly voted 119-28 to restore the original voting rules for the referendum, which will take place Oct. 15. Washington hopes a majority "yes" vote in the referendum will unite Iraq's disparate factions and erode support for the country's bloody insurgency.
U.S. and U.N. officials hope that restoring the original rules will avert a boycott of the referendum by the Sunni minority, action that would have deeply undermined the credibility of the vote and set back efforts to bring Sunnis into the political process.
By Joseph Galloway
Washington - Army Secretary Noel Harvey and vice chief of staff Gen. Richard Cody said Monday that the Army was using looser Defense Department rules that permitted it to sign up more high school dropouts and people who score lower on mental-qualification tests, but they denied that this meant it was lowering standards.
Until Army recruiters began having trouble signing up enough recruits earlier this year, the Army had set minimum standards that were higher than those of the Defense Department.
The Army has a recruiting shortfall of 6,000 to 8,000 soldiers over the past 12 months. It hasn't fallen so short of its annual goal since 1979, several years after the Vietnam war.
The cast of administration characters with known connections to the outing of an undercover CIA agent:
By John Cleese
To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories.
Except Utah, which she does not fancy.
Your new Prime Minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without the need for further elections.
Supremes: White House evacuating for Hurricane Patrick?
The emerging conventional wisdom about the Harriet Miers nomination--ratified today by the Big Three dailies (NYT, WP, LAT)--is that it's a safe compromise pick by a weakened Bush administration. Richard Stevenson of the NYT writes that in picking Miers, "President Bush revealed something about himself: that he has no appetite, at a time when he and his party are besieged by problems, for an all-out ideological fight." Dan Balz joins him in the echo chamber: "The nomination appeared designed primarily to avoid a major fight in the Senate and, said skeptics on the left and right, was made out of a position of political weakness, not strength."
Marines: Looking for a Few Good Aliens?
Recruiter on trial for selling IDs to enlist illegals
by Douglas Gillison
October 4th, 2005 5:11 PM
On Wednesday, a general court martial is to begin at Parris Island, South Carolina, for a U.S. Marine recruiter accused of selling and delivering counterfeit documents to illegal aliens in order for them to join the service.
Gunnery Sergeant Hubert A. Lucas, 35, is one of four suspects named in a report by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, part of which was obtained by the Voice.
The report says an investigation began on August 11, 2004, after an intelligence report by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency revealed that a Marine at Camp Pendleton in California, who had admitted to entering the United States illegally and enlisting with a counterfeit green card and stolen Social Security number, identified Lucas as the individual who charged her $250 for the documents for the purpose of effecting her fraudulent enlistment in the Marine Corps.
Poll: Bush approval rating hits all-time low in New York
Vote: Do you approve of Bush's performance?
LINK TO ORIGINAL
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 5, 2005
ALBANY -- President Bush's job approval rating has hit an all-time low in New York with just 29 percent of New York voters giving him favorable marks, a statewide poll reported Wednesday.
Sixty-seven percent of those polled by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute disapproved of how the Republican president was handling his job.
An Italian court has issued three more arrest warrants for suspected CIA agents accused of helping to kidnap a Muslim cleric in 2003.
The authorities have already ordered the arrest of 19 people suspected of being involved in the abduction of Egyptian Osama Mustafa Hassan.
The suspects are accused of abducting Mr Hassan, also known as Abu Omar, and flying him to Egypt for interrogation.
Correspondents say the case has soured relations between Washington and Rome.
Italy says the alleged operation hindered Italian terrorism investigations.
No arrests have been made. None of the suspects is currently believed to be in Italy.
Anti-war activist says she, supporters plan fall tour, return to Bush ranch
Jon Kamman and Lindsey Collom
The Arizona Republic
The nation's most visible anti-war activist may be heading back to President Bush's ranch for a second stakeout at Thanksgiving, she said Monday in Phoenix.
Cindy Sheehan, who staged a 28-day vigil at Crawford, Texas, in an effort to meet with Bush during his August vacation, said she and supporters are considering an anti-war bus tour this fall that would end at the ranch, where the president normally spends Thanksgiving.
A week after being arrested in Washington, D.C., with nearly 400 other protesters who refused to move from the sidewalk in front of the White House, Sheehan was in Phoenix to lead an evening march to Eastlake Park followed by a rally and prayer service at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Memorial.
Cindy Sheehan delivered a letter to Gov. Janet Napolitano's office Monday urging her to request the withdrawal of Arizona National Guard troops from Iraq, the first of several such letters Sheehan plans to deliver to western governors.
Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq, and her supporters also plan to contact the governors of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.
"Let's start bringing our troops home, let's start with the National Guard," Sheehan said at a news conference held at the Arizona Capitol to announce the letter campaign. "George Bush says bring it on, I say bring them home."
How do you expose corruption by protecting the corrupt?
Extra! September/October 2005
By Jim Naureckas
No reasonable person believes that a journalist’s right to protect their confidential sources is absolute. If a government official told a reporter—after obtaining a promise of strict confidentiality—that he was a serial killer planning to strike again, who would argue that the reporter should conceal that official’s identity—let alone defy a subpoena from a grand jury seeking evidence of the official’s crimes?
This is not to say that journalists aren’t often justified in keeping their sources secret. Government (and corporate) wrongdoing is frequently exposed by people without a legal right to reveal the incriminating information, who may face retribution if they are revealed as whistleblowers. Many times the public interest in learning about malfeasance outweighs the laws that protect official secrets.
It has been interesting to see how the pro-war crowd tries to demonize Cindy Sheehan.
She is no politician, like Sen. John McCain. She is a mother who has paid the greatest price for the war and she, along with the rest of America, deserves an explanation. The question is no longer whether or not the Bush administration lied; the question is, "Why did they lie?"
As someone who has studied U.S. policy in the Middle East for many years, I felt fairly certain that Saddam posed no threat to the United States. I got my information from newspapers, magazine articles and books.
Snohomish County opinion
By Norton R. Nowlin
Special to The Times
The death of 20-year-old Army Spec. Justin W. Herbert, on Aug. 1, 2003, marked the first Snohomish County son and brother killed in the Iraq war. He was killed when a rocket-propelled grenade struck and devastated his vehicle in Kirkuk, Iraq.
Since that time, three more soldiers and Marines from cities and towns in Snohomish County have fallen to an emboldened Iraqi insurgency as part of the total of more than 1,900 American GI's killed in the war. Thirty-nine of those were from different parts of Washington.
By Mel Goodman
U.S. Tour of Duty
Mel Goodman, co-author of "Bush League Diplomacy: How the Neoconservatives Are Putting the World at Risk," is senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. He worked at the CIA from 1966 to 1990.
In 1947 the new National Security Council directed the new Central Intelligence Agency to conduct clandestine operations against the Soviet Union, primarily covert action and propaganda. Covert action consists of secret operations to influence organizations or individuals in support of a policy in a manner that is not attributable to the United States. Covert propaganda is the distribution of information that has been created with a specific political outcome in mind. Both covert action and propaganda were designed to provide U.S. presidents with plausible denial or the ability to mask the role of the White House. We now know that the Bush administration has been resorting illegally to both covert action and propaganda at home in support of its policies.
As the noose tightens at the White House, the State Department memo may be the key piece of Plame evidence.
By Michael Tomasky
Think it’s fair to say that the combination Sunday of the Walter Pincus-Jim VandeHei piece in The Washington Post and George Stephanopoulos’ bombshell on television’s This Week felt like a tug on the noose around the White House’s neck?
The Post article noted that Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor looking into the Valerie Plame investigation, could bring conspiracy indictments against Karl Rove and Scooter Libby -- even if he fails to pin down evidence that they violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.
After pollsters say they won't raise impeachment, group to pay for poll
The group of activists who pushed for an inquiry into the Downing Street documents has raised $6,300 to pay pollsters to raise a question on impeaching President Bush, RAW STORY has learned.
Pollster John Zogby, who found that 42 percent of Americans would support impeaching the President were it proven he did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to go to war in Iraq, recently told RAW STORY he did not plan future polls.
Zogby said he felt pollsters should be a barometer of public opinion, and shouldn't poll on issues that aren't currently on the political agenda. He did, however, say he would consider doing the poll if he were paid.
San Francisco Chronicle
By Anna G. Eshoo
The recent grand jury testimony of New York Times reporter Judith Miller may tell us more about who within the White House leaked the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame. While officials in the highest levels of government have been implicated, Congress has yet to demonstrate a sincere interest in getting to the bottom of this national security breach. For the second time in the past two years, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in a rare public meeting Sept. 15, voted to block a Resolution of Inquiry into the disclosure of Plame's identity. The resolution would have forced the Bush administration to turn over documents and records related to this case.
When Colin Powell made his notorious final pitch for war at the UN Security Council, Robert Fisk was there. In the latest extract from his explosive new book, he recalls a tragi-comic occasion
By Robert Fisk
Information Clearing House
10/03/05 "The Independent" -- -- The 5th of February 2003 was a snow-blasted day in New York, the steam whirling out of the road covers, the US secret servicemen - helpfully wearing jackets with "Secret Service" printed on them - hugging themselves outside the fustian, asbestos-packed UN headquarters on the East River. Exhausted though I was after travelling thousands of miles around the United States, the idea of watching Secretary of State Colin Powell - or General Powell, as he was now being reverently redubbed in some American newspapers - make his last pitch for war before the Security Council was an experience not to be missed.
Associated Press says the table is rigged and the Iraqi Constitution virtually guaranteed to be "approved". To be voted down will require not a two-thirds vote, but two-thirds of registered voters, many of whom (likely half) will not vote at all, including some who talked to Riverbend Blog.
But Cindy Sheehan says the Democrats in Congress (the ones who claim to "oppose" the war) all tell her they'll be ready to do something after they see how the Constitution vote goes.
(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Few adults in the United States are satisfied with the way George W. Bush is dealing with the coalition effort, according to a poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates published in Newsweek. 62 per cent of respondents disapprove of the way their president is handling the situation in Iraq.
The coalition effort against Saddam Hussein’s regime was launched in March 2003. At least 1,939 American soldiers have died during the military operation, and more than 14,300 troops have been injured.
Iraqis are set to ratify their new constitution in a nationwide referendum scheduled for Oct. 15. A new legislative election will take place in December.
I went to sit in the garden to peruse two different versions of the draft constitution. It was 7 pm and the electricity had just gone out for the sixth time that day. There was no generator because people usually allow their generators to rest during the evenings- the sun is on its way to setting so while it’s still light outside, the heat is bearable.
In the yards of most Iraqi houses, there is often an old, rusting swing large enough for three adults (or five children). The swing is usually iron with white, peeling paint, and its seat is covered with dusty mats or cushions so that one doesn’t rise from it with a grid-like pattern on ones backside from the crisscross of the thin iron bars.
Activists, writers and organizations are supporting students in a wave of repression that has surfaced at Holyoke Community College, George Mason University and UW-Madison this past week. HCC Antiwar Coalition and UW-Madison Stop the War are chapters of the Campus Antiwar Network.
The Campus Antiwar Network website at http://www.campusantiwar.net
is covering these breaking stories and posting updates. CAN is organizing actions in response to repression and continuing its counter-recruitment work at campuses across the nation.
Read statements of support at http://www.traprockpeace.org/counter_recruitment/
By Cindy Sheehan
The past week in DC found me in many offices of our elected officials: Senators, Congresspersons, pro-war, "anti-war," Democrat, Republican. With a few notable exceptions, all our employees toed party lines.
Thanks to those who met with me, because, except for Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D-Ca), I was not their constituent. And I believe the Republicans who met with me, whether they knew it or not, were breaking with their leader on this, since he was too cowardly to meet with me.
The War Hawks I met with made my skin crawl. They so obviously are supporting a war that is not in our nation's ibest nterest, nor is it making us more secure. I heard from Sens. Dole (R-NC) and McCain (R-AZ), and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) about 9/11 and "fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them over there." That made me sick. George Bush and his lying band of imperialist greed mongers exploited 9/11 and our national terror of other terrorist attacks to invade a country that had nothing to do with the attacks on our country. Now, in the aftermath of those lies, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians are dead and almost 2000 of our brave young men and women. What makes the Iraqi babies and families less precious than ours? The crime that these people committed was being born at the wrong place at the wrong time. George took his war OF terror to their doorsteps. I even asked Sen. Dole when she thought the occupation would be able to end and she was incredulous that I would even think of Iraq as an occupation, she sees it as a liberation. I really wanted to know how many of them do we have to kill before she considered that they were liberated.
An Interview with Cindy Sheehan
By Joshua Frank
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, KIA 04/04/04. She is co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace. Sheehan was recently interviewed by Joshua Frank, author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, published by Common Courage Press.
Joshua Frank: Cindy, why did you decide to hook up with the "antiwar" movement? Do you think that it would have been more powerful to continue building a family-in-mourning movement of mothers, fathers, wives, and husbands of the maimed and the slain in Iraq?
By Eli Stephens
Left I on the News
I probably wouldn't have noticed this story if not for the eagle-eyed (and
British newspaper-reading) Whatever It Is, I'm Against It. It's not on the
front page of the New York Times online, the Washington Post online, or the
Los Angeles Times online, three sources I routinely check. It isn't in the
print version of the San Jose Mercury News, which I read. The Post, like the
Guardian cited by WIIIAI, carries only an AP story, in which the information
is alluded to in paragraph two but only actually discussed much lower in the
From Annie Nichols
Baxter Bulletin (Arkansas)
Peaceful demonstration has been a part of our nation from before its inception until W took office. Seems W doesn't like to hear what the people have to say when they aren't kow-towing him. In the 9/20 edition, a letter was printed that denigrated protesters of the illegal-immoral-unethical occupation of Iraq. The writer mentioned that the majority of the House and Senate voted for the invasion of Iraq. What the writer did not note was that the House and Senate were unaware that they were being lied to by W and his administration. That for more than a year prior to 9/11 W had his sights on the oil in Iraq, as we found out with the "Downing Street Memo."
Illinois Anti-Warriors and the Attractive Senator
By CARL G. ESTABROOK
"...Yes, this protest march was like many we've seen over the years. First came the traditional running of the liberals [shot of what is probably the lead marchers running down the street], followed by the ritual display of somewhat eccentric signage like this one: CENTRAL ILLINOIS SAYS NO TO WAR -- reflecting the political wisdom that as goes Effingham, so go Altamont and Beecher City..."
--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, September 27, 2005
Actually, Stewart's got it quite wrong: the sign was from Urbana, not Effingham, which is some eighty miles south of Urbana along Illinois' Interstate 57... LeMonde captured Urbana's presence in the September 24 Washington peace demonstration somewhat more accurately: in an editorial, LeMonde wrote,
The UFPJ Lobby Day on Sept. 26th was the largest lobby day for peace that many long-time organizers have ever seen! Almost 1000 grassroots activists met with over 300 Senators, Representatives and their staff to demand they take action to end the war. The pressure from the weekend's activities, including the Lobby Day, moved some congresspersons in the right direction. You can help us move more by making a phone call (and sending an email) to your Senators today.
The Senate is poised to vote yes on Wednesday to another $50 billion for the Iraq war. This money is being included as part of a $441 billion defense spending bill.
There certainly hasn’t been much written about it in the mainstream media, but an article posted on Military.Com’s web site suggests that the Bush Administration is charging full speed ahead with plans to dismantle the Veteran’s administration.
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 03 October 2005
There has been a fair amount of talk recently about the number of scandals surrounding the Bush administration and the Republican party, inspiring allusions to the historic Congressional reversal in 1994. Tom DeLay has been indicted, Bill Frist is being investigated for insider trading, and the recently indicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff watched his favorite White House procurement officer get arrested for obstruction. The administration was forced last week to scold conservative ubermensch Bill Bennett, who claimed the crime rate would go down if every African-American fetus were aborted.