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By Adam Ashton, McClatchy Newspapers
BAGHDAD - The families of three men who were killed last week during a search of a grain warehouse want to press charges against American soldiers under the terms of a new security agreement between the U.S. and Iraq.
The security document protects American soldiers so long as they're on U.S. bases or on missions, so it's unlikely that the families can base their claims on it, though they plan to press their case with the help of international lawyers.
Nonetheless, their charges are a preview of some of the nettlesome questions that are likely to arise as the U.S. yields more authority to Iraq under the terms of the pact, which takes effect Jan. 1.
Iraqis will lead operations, but U.S. forces will continue to have a high profile with their more advanced armor and weapons.
JANUARY 6th, 2009
OPENING OF THE 111th CONGRESS
THE MARCH OF THE DEAD WILL BE THERE
WE CARRY THE NAMES OF THOSE KILLED
DURING THE ILLEGAL U.S. INVASION AND OCCUPATION
OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
AND WE WILL CARRY THE NAMES FROM THE
MOUNTING DEATH TOLL IN PALESTINE
TO DEMAND THAT THIS CONGRESS
TERROR OF WAR
GET OUT OF IRAQ
GET OUT OF AFGHANISTAN
STAY OUT OF IRAN, PAKISTAN, SYRIA...
AND CONDEMN THE BRUTAL DESTRUCTION
WE NEED YOU TO TAKE PART IN
THE MARCH OF THE DEAD
MAKE IT A PRESENCE ON CAPITOL HILL THAT CAN'T BE IGNORED
Shoe Hurled at Bush Flies Off Turkish Maker’s Shelves
By Mark Bentley | Bloomberg.com | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
The shoe hurled at President George W. Bush has sent sales soaring at the Turkish maker as orders pour in from Iraq, the U.S. and Iran.
The brown, thick-soled “Model 271” may soon be renamed “The Bush Shoe” or “Bye-Bye Bush,” Ramazan Baydan, who owns the Istanbul-based producer Baydan Ayakkabicilik San. & Tic., said in a telephone interview today.
“We’ve been selling these shoes for years but, thanks to Bush, orders are flying in like crazy,” he said. “We’ve even hired an agency to look at television advertising.”
LONDON (AP) — Protesters shook their shoes at the U.S. Embassy in London on Friday in a show of support for a jailed Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during a news conference in Iraq.
Up to 50 demonstrators, some carrying shoes mounted on sticks, protested the arrest of journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi and called for his release.
"He has stood up against the silence and the lies that we have been forced to take all too often in the British and international media," said David Crouch, the chairman of Media Workers Against The War, a group representing anti-war journalists.
"Our role is to give a voice to people who don't have a voice and for that reason al-Zeidi might as well have thrown 27 million shoes at George Bush, because he was speaking for the vast overwhelming majority of the Iraqi population," Crouch said.
By Waleed Ibrahim and Ahmed Rasheed, Reuters
BAGHDAD, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament voted on Saturday to reject a draft law that allows troops from Britain, Australia and several other countries to remain beyond the end of this year, Iraqi parliamentarians said.
The draft law, under which those troops would withdraw by the end of July, was rejected because lawmakers objected to it being in the form of legislation, rather than an agreement as was the deal Iraq signed with the United States, said Hussein al-Falluji, a member of the Sunni Accordance Front.
"Legally relations between two countries cannot be organised by a law. They should be arranged, according to international law, through treaties or agreements," said Falluji.
"For this reason parliament rejected this law. It was a big mistake by the government."
Part 1: Colonel Ann Wright, NoWar-NoWarming arrests, IVAW arrests, David Swanson-Afterdowningstreet, IVAW Geoff Milliard, Nadia McCaffery-GSFP, Codepink, Medea Benjamin. March, 2008.
Part 2: Codepink, Desiree Fairooz&Condi Rice "Bloody Hands," Dennis Kuchinich, Cindy Sheehan, Ramsey Clark, IVAW Kelly Doughery, IVAW Toby Hartburger, IVAW Geoff Milliard. March, 2008.
Part 3: Tina Richards-MFSO, Cloy Richards-IVAW, March on the Pentagon, Dennis Kuchinich, Dr. Justin Frank, Davd Frum-Bush Speechwriter, Mara Hilliar-Lawyer, Ramsey Clark, Coffins at the Ellipse, Al Zappala-GSFP. March, 2008.
Part 4: Al Zappala & Joan Kosloff-Gold Star, Geoff Milliard-IVAW, Mara Hilliard-Lawyer, Medea Benjamin-Codepink, Geroge Bush, Nancy Pelois, Dennis Kuchinich, Joe Biden, John McCain, Karen Meredith-Gold Star, Nadia McCaffery-Gold Star, Dr. Justin Frank, David Frum. March, 2008.
By Dave Lindorff
A new congressional report is belatedly confirming what many have long known: that the White House and in particular then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, lied to Congress in 2004 when he told them the Bush administration was not repeatedly warned by the CIA not to make the claim that Saddam had tried to buy uranium ore from Niger.
What is astonishing about this report, which documents that the CIA at least four times tried to prevent Bush and other top officials from presenting that lie to Congress and the American public in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, is not that it documents what has long been known, but that Congress and the corporate media are still pretending that the claim itself was an acceptable justification for launching a war.
By Gareth Porter, IPS
WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (IPS) - U.S. military leaders and Pentagon officials have made it clear through public statements and deliberately leaked stories in recent weeks that they plan to violate a central provision of the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement requiring the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities by mid-2009 by reclassifying combat troops as support troops.
The scheme to engage in chicanery in labeling U.S. troops represents both open defiance of an agreement which the U.S. military has never accepted and a way of blocking President-elect Barack Obama's proposed plan for withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of his taking office.
Generals Propose a Timetable for Iraq
By ELISABETH BUMILLER and THOM SHANKER, NY Times
WASHINGTON — A new military plan for troop withdrawals from Iraq that was described in broad terms this week to President-elect Barack Obama falls short of the 16-month timetable Mr. Obama outlined during his election campaign, United States military officials said Wednesday.
The plan was proposed by the top American commanders responsible for Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Gen. Ray Odierno, and it represents their first recommendation on troop withdrawals under an Obama presidency. While Mr. Obama has said he will seek advice from his commanders, their resistance to a faster drawdown could present the new president with a tough political choice between overruling his generals or backing away from his goal.
Iraqis Say: You're a Dog
Iraq Bans Security Contractor: Blackwater Faulted In Baghdad Killings
By Joshua Partlow and Walter Pincus, Washington Post
BAGHDAD, Sept. 17 -- The Iraqi government on Monday said it had revoked the license of Blackwater USA, an American security company involved in a shootout in Baghdad that killed at least nine people, raising questions over which nation should regulate tens of thousands of civilian hired guns operating in Iraq.
The Iraqi government's announcement was its most public assertion to date of its right to take action against foreign security companies when a suspected crime has been committed.
Several violent episodes involving Blackwater have infuriated Iraqi officials. An Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, said the decision meant Blackwater "cannot work in Iraq any longer."
By Matthew Lee, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - A State Department advisory panel is recommending that Blackwater Worldwide be dropped as the main private security contractor for American diplomats in Iraq, The Associated Press has learned.
A senior official familiar with a report commissioned by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the AP on Wednesday that the panel has called for Blackwater's contract not to be renewed when it expires next year. A decision on the recommendation will be left to the Obama administration, which will be in place when the contract comes up for renewal in the spring.
Rice ordered a review of the department's use of private security firms last September after an incident in which Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqis in Baghdad. Five guards have been indicted on manslaughter and other charges stemming from that incident. The company was not implicated.
Our now legacy-conscious president made what should be his final surprise visit to Iraq this weekend, and lo and behold, left us with what I predict will be the defining moment of his presidency. As he was giving a talk side by side with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, an Iraqi journalist named Muntazer al-Zaidi threw first one shoe, and then the other at the “leader of the free world.” As he did so, he shouted,
“It is the farewell kiss, you dog.”
Though both shoes missed the U.S. president—he ducked the first, and Maliki deflected the second—the report of the double insult rocketed around the world. For the reporter had not only called Iraq’s self-proclaimed liberator a “dog,” itself an insult, but threw his shoes in a culture where such an act is considered the ultimate insult. Or rather, the soles of shoes are the ultimate insult; after Saddam Hussein’s statue was torn down in Baghdad, some Iraqis slapped its severed head with the soles of their shoes.
President Bush, of course, was quick to dismiss the incident as bizarre and limited, saying “I don’t think you can take one guy throwing shoes and say, this represents a broad movement in Iraq.” But the damage has been done. Bush has taken the reputation of the United States to such abysmal depths that even a common reporter, one from a country we are told should be grateful for the sacrifice of U.S. lives and U.S. treasure, dares to hurl public insults at its most exalted figure.
Official US Military Casualty Count Reaches 70,231 | Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
US military occupation forces in Iraq suffered eight combat casualties in the week ending Dec.16 as the official casualty total rose to at least 70,231. The total includes 34,276 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 35,955 dead and medically evacuated (as of Dec. 6, 2008) from "non-hostile" causes.*
The actual total is over 90,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 20,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions--were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq..**
BAGHDAD (AFP) — The Iraqi cabinet has approved a bill calling for all foreign soldiers except for American forces to pull out of the country by the end of July, a top MP said on Tuesday.
"The cabinet has approved draft legislation on the withdrawal of non-US forces in the coalition," said Hummam Hammudi, chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee.
"It sets a timetable for a withdrawal of between five and seven months from January 1."
The bill, which has to be passed by parliament, would mainly affect the roughly 4,100 British troops deployed at Basra air base in the south of the country.
London newspapers have reported that Britain intends to begin its withdrawal in March with most troops out by June, although defence officials insist the precise timetable will depend on conditions on the ground at the time.
By Bob Fertik and David Swanson
As George Bush prepares to leave office, he and his aides are trying desperately to rewrite history, especially on Iraq. Nearly six years after invading Iraq on the basis of lies that were manufactured inside the White House, the Bush Administration adamantly insists the lies were all innocent mistakes. Were they?
Originally, the invasion of Iraq was justified primarily on grounds that Iraq had substantial quantities of chemical and biological weapons and had "reconstituted" its nuclear weapons development program, and that it could give terrorists "weapons of mass destruction."
But there was no actual evidence Iraq had such weapons, and the White House knew it.
MANY THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS
The Stop War Coalition would like to thank all our
supporters for your anti-war efforts in 2008. Clearly our
work will be as necessary as ever in 2009 and we aim to
redouble our efforts in the cause of peace. Below is an
outline of some of our upcoming activities. Seasonal
greetings to all.
IN THIS NEWSLETTER:
1) SHOE PROTEST AT US EMBASSY
2) AFGHANISTAN -- LEARNING NOTHING FROM IRAQ
3) ANTI-WAR CAMPAIGNING IN 2009
4) CAGE PRISONERS TOUR
5) STOP THE WAR ANNUAL CONFERENCE MARCH 14-15
6) COUNTDOWN TO OBAMA APPEAL
By Dahr Jamail, Extra! Magazine
The New York Times failed spectacularly in its coverage of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, helping lead the country into war and only much later (5/26/04) publishing a half-hearted mea culpa. As the near-apology acknowledged, the paper's failure resulted in large part from its lack of skepticism regarding its sources, most notably exiled Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi.
Despite the mea culpa, though, the Times continues to mislead on Iraq, particularly on the issue of whether or not Iraqis want the U.S. military to exit their country. Once again, that journalistic failure seems to be rooted in the same fundamental problem of overconfidence in the paper's sources and ignoring the obvious contradictory evidence.
By Jodie Evans, CODEPINK
Today members of CODEPINK disrupted the Iraq ambassador to the United States holding signs in the audience reading "Free al-Zaidi," "al-Zaidi speaks for me," to show their support for the reporter who threw the shoes at George W and to express their concern about his physical state. He has been beaten badly and has no access to an attorney.
We will be delivering a petition for people who agree with the anti-war sentiment behind al-Zaidi's shoe-throwing action and call for his release (see and sign it here). We'll go to the Iraqi Embassy in D.C. daily to demand al-Zaidi's release and we will gather with shoes Wednesday outside the White House with several other groups, including Iraq Veterans Against War. Other CODEPINK groups around the country will be doing actions at Federal Buildings.
By Cindy Sheehan
"I'm not insulted. I don't hold it against the government. The guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don't know what his beef is, but whatever it is, I'm sure someone will hear it."
George Bush to ABC News after Iraqi Journalist, Muntazar al-Zaidi threw two shoes at him
I have vacillated over the past 8 years on whether George Bush is the stupidest man in the world, or the evilest. I think that the above statement may prove that he is both. He seriously does not know what al-Zaidi's "beef" is? Does George really believe that his cause was "Noble" and that the Iraqis should be grateful to that "dog" for destroying their country and killing over a million people?
Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday defended the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq in March 2003, claiming that then-President Saddam Hussein had “every intention” of resuming production of weapons of mass destruction once United Nations sanctions were lifted.
Former White House Adviser Karl Rove said last week that if pre-war intelligence on the Iraqi WMD programs had been accurate, the United States likely would not have entered the war. But asked about Rove’s comment during an interview with ABC News Monday, Cheney said “I disagree with that.”
The Legal Advice to Wage War on Iraq was not just "sexed-up", it was concocted
by C. Stephen Frost
Note: C. Stephen Frost, Mary Bedworth, Christopher Burns-Cox and David Halpin co-signed this article, in response to an article by Richard Norton Taylor in The Guardian and a Guardian editorial (see Annex below).
Background on the scandal of the twice-changed legal advice of the British Attorney General, which purported to allow the United Kingdom, and thereby the United States (together with Australia, Denmark and Poland), to wage an aggressive and illegal war on Iraq. This war is the "supreme international war crime" according to the the Nuremberg Protocol and the Geneva Conventions.