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RIGHTS-PAKISTAN: Live Burial of Women - Activists Demand Action

RIGHTS-PAKISTAN: Live Burial of Women - Activists Demand Action
By Zofeen Ebrahim |

Prominent civil rights activists are demanding that the government act against those responsible for the burial alive of five women in Balochistan, in July, that politicians from the province have defended as an age-old custom.

On Jul. 14, in the remote village of Babakot, 80 km from Usta Mohammad town in Jafferabad district, three teenage girls and two older women were buried alive, allegedly on the orders of Abdul Sattar Umrani, brother of Sadiq Umrani, a provincial minister belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Constitution in Crisis, Candidates in Denial

Constitution in Crisis, Candidates in Denial
by John Nichols |

Constitution Day has arrived without major statements from Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain on the need to restore this country's commitment to the rule of law.

In contrast, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's campaign produced a video statement detailing his commitment to constitutional renewal.

Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupation

Book Exposes Iraq Occupation Through US Soldiers' Eyes
"We Blew Her To Pieces"
by Dahr Jamail |

Aside from the Iraqi people, nobody knows what the U.S. military is doing in Iraq better than the soldiers themselves. A new book gives readers vivid and detailed accounts of the devastation the U.S. occupation has brought to Iraq, in the soldiers' own words.

"Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupation," published by Haymarket Books Tuesday, is a gut-wrenching, historic chronicle of what the U.S. military has done to Iraq, as well as its own soldiers.

Authored by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and journalist Aaron Glantz, the book is a reader for hearings that took place in Silver Spring, Maryland between Mar. 13-16, 2008 at the National Labour College.

"I remember one woman walking by," said Jason Washburn, a corporal in the U.S. Marines who served three tours in Iraq. "She was carrying a huge bag, and she looked like she was heading toward us, so we lit her up with the Mark 19, which is an automatic grenade launcher, and when the dust settled, we realised that the bag was full of groceries. She had been trying to bring us food and we blew her to pieces."

Washburn testified on a panel that discussed the rules of engagement in Iraq, and how lax they were, even to the point of being virtually non-existent.

"During the course of my three tours, the rules of engagement changed a lot," Washburn's testimony continues. "The higher the threat the more viciously we were permitted and expected to respond."

Bread and Circus

Bread and Circus
Bruce Gagnon | Organizing Notes

The November election debate has now fallen to the new low of arguing whether Obama's recent lipstick on a pig remark is sexist or not.

The corporate plan is now fully in motion. Trivialize the campaign, appeal to emotions, ignore the important issues like Iraq and the widening of war in Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Ignore the economic crash. Ignore the massive loss of jobs. Get the angry working class focused on issues of sex, race and the "social issues" instead of class and corporate power.

The oligarchy clearly understands that America's racism can be played like a fiddle as Sarah Palin's job is to drive home the point that she represents "American life in the 1950's" when whites were "happy" and people of color were under control.

Lawsuit Seeks to Hold High Level Administration Officials Accountable for Rendition & Torture

U.S. officials sent Canadian rendition survivor Maher Arar to Syria to be tortured. Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) lawyer Maria LaHood represents him in his struggle for justice. The Second Circuit Appellate Court has issued extremely rare order last month that approximately 12 judges will rehear Arar's case on December 9, 2008.

U.S. Militarism & Global Tensions Rise Together

U.S. Militarism & Global Tensions Rise Together
By Phyllis Bennis | Institute for Policy Studies

17 September 2008

Dear friends,

Just a note on where we are, before I get into the analysis here. As all of us recognize, as we wake shaking in the night, fearing tomorrow, this is an incredibly dangerous moment. It doesn't just seem to, it really does get worse each election - the stakes grow higher, the dangers spread further. People's lives - not only, not even mainly, our own - are at grave risk. This election is probably the most important most of us have ever faced. And its outcome is at least partly in our hands.

My friend Holly Near, the great songwriter and singer-agitator, recently sent me some of her ideas of how to think about this election:

George Bush Desperate for "Trophy Strike"

George Bush Desperate for "Trophy Strike" | StopTheWarCoalition

George Bush has signed a secret order allowing US troops to operate in Pakistan, without permission from the Pakistani government or agreement by the United Nations, contravening numerous international laws and conventions. Bush says the recent ground assault by US commandos and the big increase in the number of US missiles fired from unmanned aircraft are directed at al-Qaeda leaders, but the Pakistani government and local observers say that most of the dozens killed in these attacks have been civilians, the majority of them women and children.

When Army Strong Snaps

When Army Strong Snaps
Carissa Picard |

At 8:40 am on the morning of September 8, 2008, a young Fort Hood soldier shot and killed his young commanding officer and himself in front of dozens of witnesses and police officers. Both soldiers were assigned to 1st Cavalry Division, which had just returned from a fifteen-month tour in Iraq this past December and is already preparing to leave again in the winter.

Is George W. Bush the Worst President in U.S. History?

Is George W. Bush the Worst President in U.S. History?
Ivan Eland | The Independent Institute

In the twilight of his eight-year term, George W. Bush is the loneliest guy in town these days. Remember him? With the economy in the tank, the Iraq War dragging on with casualties at 2004 levels (which we were all horrified about back then), Bush’s popularity is in the cellar and holding. Republican presidential candidate John McCain is running away from him faster than an Alaskan snow machine.�The media has all but forgotten him, as it covers what the two aspirants to replace him have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.

But historians will not forget him and the few journalists who are still paying attention to him are asking if he is the worst president in history.�Although hard to believe, the answer is probably no.

America and China: Joined at the Hip

By Dave Lindorff

With the government now having spent over $800 billion in less than a year shoring up tottering financial companies that had become little more than casinos (and rigged ones at that), America is looking increasingly like China, a country where the state has been gradually getting out of the business of directly owning companies.

At this point, with the US government owning 80 percent of the world’s largest insurance company, AIG, and essentially owning mortgage firms Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as well as bankrupt Lehman Brothers, and with the nation’s two largest automakers in line asking for $25 billion in government loans, one would be hard-pressed to spot the difference between the two systems.

Cheney '94: Invading Baghdad Would Create Quagmire

They knew - it was blood for oil and empire.

Pakistani Tribal Chiefs Threaten to Join Taliban

Pakistani tribal chiefs threaten to join Taliban
by Saeed Shah | The Guardian UK

  • US warned of uprising if armed incursions continue
  • New counter-terror policy backfires on Washington

A controversial new US tactic to mount counter-terrorist operations inside Pakistan has met with fresh hostility, it emerged yesterday, as Pakistani tribesmen representing half a million people vowed to switch sides and join the Taliban if Washington does not stop cross-border attacks by its forces from Afghanistan.

Reacting to American missile attacks in north Waziristan last week, which followed an unprecedented cross-border ground assault earlier this month, tribal chiefs from the area called an emergency meeting on Saturday.

"If America doesn't stop attacks in tribal areas, we will prepare a lashkar [army] to attack US forces in Afghanistan," tribal chief Malik Nasrullah announced in Miran Shah, north Waziristan's largest city. "We will also seek support from the tribal elders in Afghanistan to fight jointly against America."

Iraq: Violence Is Down – But Not Because of America's 'Surge'

Iraq: Violence Is Down – But Not Because of America's 'Surge'
If fewer US troops and Iraqis are being killed, it is only because the Shia community and Iran now dominate
by Patrick Cockburn | The Independent

As he leaves Iraq this week, the outgoing US commander, General David Petraeus, is sounding far less optimistic than the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, about the American situation in Iraq. General Petraeus says that it remains "fragile", recent security gains are "not irreversible" and "this is not the sort of struggle where you take a hill, plant the flag and go home to a victory parade... it's not a war with a simple slogan."

What Illegal "Things" Was the Government Doing in 2001-2004?

What illegal "things" was the government doing in 2001-2004?
Glenn Greenwald |

For the second consecutive day, The Washington Post has published an excerpt from reporter Barton Gellman's new book on the Cheney Vice Presidency, and it provides still more details on the intense confrontation in March, 2004 between the Bush Justice Department and the Cheney-led White House over the DOJ's refusal to certify the legality of the NSA's domestic spying activities. As has been known ever since Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before the Senate in May, 2007, all of the top-level DOJ officials -- including Attorney General John Ashcroft, Comey and FBI Director Robert Mueller -- told President Bush they would resign immediately because Bush ordered the NSA surveillance program to continue even after his own Justice Department told him it was patently illegal. Comey drafted his resignation letter, calling Bush's spying activities "an apocalyptic situation" because he had "been asked to be a part of something that is fundamentally wrong."

38 Retired Military Leaders Call on Congress to End Secret Prisons

38 Retired Military Leaders Call on Congress to End Secret Prisons

WASHINGTON - September 15 - Thirty-eight retired generals and admirals today appealed to the United States Senate to enact legislation ending the practice of holding "ghost detainees" by requiring that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) be notified of and given access to all prisoners in the custody of the U.S. intelligence community, including those held in secret prisons.

From TomDispatch: Frida Berrigan, The Pentagon Legacy of the MBA President

This is a striking summary piece on how, in the Bush years, American war fighting was privatized and how the Pentagon was largely turned over to corporate contractors, hired guns, hired hands, private cubicle mercenaries, and private subcontracting warriors. This stand-alone, second part in Frida Berrigan's three-part TomDispatch series on the expansion of the Pentagon under George W. Bush reveals just how fully America's defenses have been contracted out to the private sector. It's also just the sort of post -- a major story of the Bush era -- that should be the subject of front-page pieces in newspapers across the country, as the dark legacy of the Bush presidency begins to be considered.

You Can't Feel Blue About the Economy If You Want To. There Are No Blue Chips Anymore

By Dave Lindorff

AIG, the quintessential blue-chip, one of the 30 companies that compose the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a company that in 2000 boasted a market capitalization of $217 billion, making it the largest financial institution in the world, is teetering on the brink of collapse. Worth just $7 billion today, the future of what was until recently the world’s largest insurance company is hanging by a thread—that thread being the willingness of Wall Street institutions like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, themselves facing credit issues, to come up with $75 billion in rescue loans.

It used to be that investors who were worried about financial markets, or who didn’t like to take big risks, would put their money in what were called “blue chips”—companies that were deemed conservative, safe investments that could weather any storm. They had names like AT&T, General Motors, Ford, Boeing…and AIG.

Does Anyone Want to Buy a Private Pension Plan? Going Once...

By Dave Lindorff

That deafening silence you hear coming from the McCain campaign is straight-talkin’ John touting his plan for privatizing Social Security...not.

With Wall Street banks falling like dominoes, a hundred billion dollars vanishing overnight, and the Treasury Department scampering about trying to prop up failing enterprises from Bear Stearns to Fannie Mae, and with domestic and global equity and bond markets swooning, Americans are afraid to open those envelopes that come every quarter telling them the value of their hard-earned 401(k) retirement plans.

No wonder John McCain isn’t touting privatizaton these days.

Rep. Kucinich, ImpeachBush Press Conference Renews Impeachment Call

Rep. Kucinich, ImpeachBush press conference renews impeachment call

Yesterday, representative Dennis Kucinich submitted 50,000 more names to the clerk of the House demanding impeachment. On Tuesday, Rep. Jim McDermott (D.-WA) spoke on the House floor in favor of impeachment. As Rep. Kucinich said yesterday, more than 2 million Americans have signed petitions demanding impeachment, making it one of the greatest exercises in grassroots democracy in recent times.

Impeachment has become an unavoidable issue on the floor of the House of Representatives, despite the efforts to take impeachment “off the table.” This amazing development is the result of the work of and others who are petitioning, and joining rallies in cities and towns across the country to demand impeachment. Please make a donation right now to keep up this momentum.

U.S. to Sell IAF Smart Bombs for Heavily Fortified Targets

U.S. to sell IAF smart bombs for heavily fortified targets
By Aluf Benn & Amos Harel |

Despite reservations in Washington regarding a possible Israeli strike on Iran, the American administration will supply Israel with sophisticated weapons for heavily fortified targets, the U.S. administration announced.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced it would sell the Israel Air Force 1,000 new smart bombs, rumored to significantly enhance the IAF's military capabilities. The deal was approved amid public and secret messages from Washington, with the Americans expressing their reservations about a possible Israeli strike against the Islamic Republic's suspected nuclear sites.

The Pentagon's announcement, which came on Friday, said the U.S. will provide Israel with 1,000 units of Guided Bomb Unit-39 (GBU-39) - a special weapon developed for penetrating fortified facilities located deep underground.

U.S.: Respect World-Wide Demands for Bush Impeachment

U.S.: Respect World-Wide Demands for Bush Impeachment
By Bob Kendall |

In the September 11 Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Levi Pulkkinen reveals that Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott is joining the call to oust Bush, stating:

"Impeachment group won't let even the election stop impeachment."

Cleveland Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich has long advocated the impeachment of George Bush.

"Chiefly at issue, McDermott said, is Bush's decision to mislead the country to war with Iraq.

"'It's increasingly clear to me that we were led into a war without any justification whatsoever,' McDermott said in an interview Wednesday. 'And the president deliberately did this, it wasn't an accident of any kind.'"

Medvedev Describes Georgia Attack as Russia's 9/11

Medvedev describes Georgia attack as Russia's 9/11
Jonathan Steele | The Guardian

Georgia's attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia was unnecessary and unprovoked and was encouraged by the United States, Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, said in an interview yesterday.

"For Russia, August 8 was like September 11 for the United States," he told a group of foreign journalists and academics. "I would like to see major lessons from it for the world."

He made clear that the lessons, as Russia sees them, are that the post-cold war "illusion" that a world with one super power is a safe and predictable place is now over.

Another US War Resister From Canada Court-Martialed

Another US War Resister From Canada Court-Martialed
by Ann Wright |

In June, 2008, by a vote of 137 to 110, Canadian parliamentarians in a non-binding resolution asked the Harper government not to deport US war resisters “who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations.” Yet, one month later, in a controversial move, Canadian police jailed and then deported on July 15, 2008, US war resister Robin Long for having not reported a change of address. Canadian Immigration put Long into the waiting hands of US law enforcement authorities who immediately turned Long over to the US Army.

Gore Vidal's Article of Impeachment

Gore Vidal's Article of Impeachment
by wali |

On June 9, 2008, a counterrevolution began on the floor of the House of Representatives against the gas and oil crooks who had seized control of the federal government. This counterrevolution began in the exact place which had slumbered during the all-out assault on our liberties and the Constitution itself.

Tomgram: Slaughter, Lies, and Video in Afghanistan

Tomgram: Slaughter, Lies, and Video in Afghanistan
The Value of One, the Value of None
An Anatomy of Collateral Damage in the Bush Era
By Tom Engelhardt |

In a little noted passage in her bestselling book, The Dark Side, Jane Mayer offers us a vision, just post-9/11, of the value of one. In October 2001, shaken by a nerve-gas false alarm at the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney, reports Mayer, went underground. He literally embunkered himself in "a secure, undisclosed location," which she describes as "one of several Cold War-era nuclear-hardened subterranean bunkers built during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, the nearest of which were located hundreds of feet below bedrock..." That bunker would be dubbed, perhaps only half-sardonically, "the Commander in Chief's Suite."

Oh, and in that period, if Cheney had to be in transit, "he was chauffeured in an armored motorcade that varied its route to foil possible attackers." In the backseat of his car (just in case), adds Mayer, "rested a duffel bag stocked with a gas mask and a biochemical survival suit." And lest danger rear its head, "rarely did he travel without a medical doctor in tow."

Iraq War Resister Robin Long Sentenced to 15 Months

Iraq War resister Robin Long sentenced to 15 months
By Sarah Lazare | Courage to Resist

Robin Long, an Iraq War resister deported from Canada into U.S. military custody last month, was sentenced today to 15 months of confinement and dishonorable discharge, receiving credit for 40 days of time served. He will spend 2-3 weeks in a county jail outside of Fort Carson, Colorado before being transferred to a Army stockade.

At All Costs, We Must Avoid a 'Surge' in Afghanistan

At All Costs, We Must Avoid a 'Surge' in Afghanistan
By Joseph Stiglitz |

The Iraq war has been replaced by the declining economy as the most important issue in America's presidential election campaign, in part because Americans have come to believe that the tide has turned in Iraq: the troop "surge" has supposedly cowed the insurgents, bringing a decline in violence. The implications are clear: a show of power wins the day.

It is precisely this kind of macho reasoning that led America to war in Iraq in the first place. The war was meant to demonstrate the strategic power of military might. Instead, the war showed its limitations. Moreover, the war undermined America's real source of power -- its moral authority.

Green Party Presidential and VicePresidential Candidates To Speak at Baltimore Forum Saturday, Sept. 20th

The Luv4Self Network is sponsoring a speakers forum featuring the Green Party Presidential Nominee Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party VP nominee Rosa Clemente.

We are selling tickets for only $10 dollars and the panel includes former Green Party Presidential Candidate Jared Ball and a host of other diverse speakers.

Please assist us with this forum and make sure that McKinney & Clemente, along with the other panelists, receive a warm reception in Baltimore, MD on Saturday, September 20th, 2008 from 1 PM – 6 PM at the Sojourner-Douglass College, 200 N. Central Ave., Baltimore MD 21202.

If you would like more information please email me. We are really trying to do pre-sales to help assure the forum is streamlined as possible and McKinney and the rest of the panel are accommodated properly.

Twenty Questions: Social Justice Quiz 2008

Twenty Questions: Social Justice Quiz 2008
by Bill Quigley |

1. How many deaths are there world-wide each year due to acts of terrorism?

2. How many deaths are there world-wide each day due to poverty and malnutrition?

3. 1n 1965, CEOs in major companies made 24 times more than the average worker. In 1980, CEOs made 40 times more than the average worker. In 2007, CEOs earned how many times more than the average worker?

4. In how many of the over 3000 cities and counties in the US can a full-time worker who earns minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment?

US Missile Attack in Pakistan Kills 14

US Missile Attack in Pakistan Kills 14
Zeeshan Haider | Reuters North American News Service

Fourteen people were killed in the northwestern Pakistani region of North Waziristan on Friday in a missile attack by a pilotless U.S. aircraft on suspected militants near the Afghan border, security officials said.

The strike, near the town of Miranshah, was the first since a recent surge in tension between Pakistan and the United States over how to tackle the Taliban and al Qaeda on the Pakistani side of the border.

"We confirm a missile attack at around 5.30 in the morning (2330 GMT on Thursday) ... We have informed the government," said military spokesman Major Murad Khan.

The military, apparently reluctant to highlight infringements of sovereignty, has rarely confirmed such attacks.

Khan gave no more details but security officials in the region said 14 people had been killed and about 12 wounded.

Residents said two missiles were fired at a former government school where militants and their families were living.

An intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan has raised fears about its prospects seven years after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban. That worry has compounded pressure on Pakistan to go after militants operating from enclaves on its side of the border, including in North Waziristan.


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