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IRAQ: U.S. Blamed for Increasing Iranian Influence
By Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail | Inter Press Service
Haider returned from Iran recently, with enough money to pay for his wedding and a new car. He was trained to join Badr, the armed wing of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim.
Many more come where he recently came from.
Badr is being trained ostensibly to defend Shia leaders, under increased attacks from militant groups. Dawa is a Shia dominated party, and inevitably looks to Shia Iran for support.
The Badr militia has itself been blamed for carrying out several attacks against Sahwa forces in some areas of Iraq. Many anti-occupation militants are now members of the primarily Sunni Sahwa forces – also backed by the U.S.
Pentagon Admits Underreporting US Casualties; "We Don't Do Webster's" But Aim for "Average Newspaper Reader"
Michael Munk reports:
US military occupation forces in Iraq suffered at least 23 combat casualties in the week ending August 12, 2008, as the official casualty total climbed to at least 67,804. It includes 33,875 dead and wounded by what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 33,929 dead and medically evacuated (as of July 5, 2008) because of "non-hostile" causes. The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesdays) by the Pentagon.
The actual total is over 87,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the approximately 20,000 casualties reported only after they returned from Iraq - mainly brain trauma from explosions, according to a USA Today, Nov. 23, 2007 article.
Frederick Douglass said it best. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Stated another way, Experience is the best teacher. To understand the political mechanics of this country, a person must have been involved in political struggle. Dr. Leonard Jeffries says it requires knowledge of systems analysis. A political system ensures the maintenance of the status quo. Similarly, this is also the objective of economic and legal systems.
AGENDA FOR THE “JUSTICE ROBERT H. JACKSON CONFERENCE”: PLANNING FOR THE PROSECUTION OF HIGH LEVEL AMERICAN WAR CRIMINALS
Join Us in Andover, Mass., to Plan Prosecution of Bush, Cheney, et alia
AGENDA FOR THE “JUSTICE ROBERT H. JACKSON CONFERENCE”: PLANNING FOR THE PROSECUTION OF HIGH LEVEL AMERICAN WAR CRIMINALS
September 13 – 14, 2008
Registration details available at: http://war-crimes.info
“The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched.”
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“The Charter of this Tribunal evidences a faith that the law is not only to govern the conduct of little men, but that even rulers are, as Lord Chief Justice Coke put it to King James, ‘under God and the law.’”
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Sears has entered into a first-ever deal with the United States Military to market a new line of officially sanctioned, military-styled clothing to men, women and boys. The military has officially licensed a "soldier chic" line of clothing to Sears called the "All American Army Brand First Infantry Division" collection. The garb, to be launched in 550 Sears stores in October -- just in time for the holiday season -- consists of "authentic lifestyle reinterpretations" of regulation uniforms and military-issued gear like T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, denim and other outerwear. The partnership is part of a marketing strategy to raise the public profile of the U.S. military. Sears already carries some military-themed merchandise on its Web site, like a Modern Military Figure Special Forces Soldier toy for ages 8 and up, a musical DVD titled "Death Chants, Breakdowns and Military Waltzes, Vol. 2," which lists song titles like "Cadaver Recovery Man" and "Mud & Guts," and a Self-esteem Zip Military Style Vest for Juniors.
JAY KVALE wrote:
The last two days I attended the Peace Island Conference at Concordia College in St. Paul. The purpose of the conference was to bring together peace activists, environmentalists, and citizens to discuss ways to turn away from the war, militarism, corporate greed, and environmental destruction that is damaging the world and find ways to build a peaceful, sustainable world for future generations. Experts from around the country including Jim Harkness, Terry Gips, Kathy Kelly, Mel Duncan, Anne Hastings, Ann Wright, Lisa Ledwige, Ami Voeltz, Coleen Rowley, and Starhawk gave presentations on their specialties.
Three of the top speakers were:
US Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden says Israel can take any action against Iran without Washington's permission.
"Israel has an absolute right to defend itself, Biden told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday adding that "It doesn't have to ask us".
His remarks come amid reports that the Bush administration was opposed to a military action by Israel against Iran's nuclear facilities.
The Washington Post quoted an unnamed official as saying earlier in August that, "Everyone from this White House, including the vice president's office, is in agreement that the military option is not the best option at this point."
Biden however said, "It's not a question for us to tell Israel what they can and cannot do."
Although Americans have access to the greatest selection of information sources in the world, including books, newspapers, magazines, radio, television, cable, and the Internet, the frequency of the news cycle has increased to the point where we have forgotten that our president and vice president have committed horrendous war crimes, or we may have missed the fact as it flashed by.
by Stephen Lendman
Renamed and back, but first a personal note. Post-Katrina, writing about "The New Orleans Aftermath and (its) Ugly Glimpse of the Future" turned this retiree into a writer and radio host.
Now three years later, Gustav threatened and, on August 30, got New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to hype the risk, scare the public, and order a dusk-to-dawn curfew and evacuation of the city's 239,000 residents ahead of what he called "the mother of all storms." Many hundreds of thousands more along the Gulf coast. "Nearly two million people from Texas to Alabama," according to an August 31 New York Times report. Thankfully without cause as "the storm of the century" made landfall as a Category 2, weakened to a tropical depression on September 2, and Louisianans were spared the worst of their fears.
Going on an Imperial Bender: How the U.S. Garrisons the Planet and Doesn't Even Notice
By Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch.com
Here it is, as simply as I can put it: In the course of any year, there must be relatively few countries on this planet on which U.S. soldiers do not set foot, whether with guns blazing, humanitarian aid in hand, or just for a friendly visit. In startling numbers of countries, our soldiers not only arrive, but stay interminably, if not indefinitely. Sometimes they live on military bases built to the tune of billions of dollars that amount to sizeable American towns (with accompanying amenities), sometimes on stripped down forward operating bases that may not even have showers. When those troops don't stay, often American equipment does -- carefully stored for further use at tiny "cooperative security locations," known informally as "lily pads" (from which U.S. troops, like so many frogs, could assumedly leap quickly into a region in crisis).
By Dave Lindorff
The introduction to John McCain at the Republican National Convention last night was all about family values. There was the paean to his mother and father, the touching story of his and Cindy’s adoption of a baby girl from India, and then there was Cindy herself, who was the focus of much of a gauzy introductory film on McCain, and who also did the introductory speech, and who brought all the kids up on stage with her at the end.
Activists at RNC: USMC Corp. Adam Kokesh Unfurls Protest Banners; CodePinks' Kick-Off John McCain's Speech; Protesters March
Video courtesy of VelvetRevolution.US
CodePink disrupts McCain speech; dragged out by security.
McCain tells cheering crowd "Don't be disturbed by the static!"
IVAW Banners: "You Can't Win An Occupation" and
Crowd chants "USA" to cover protesters' message. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gen. David Petraeus has recommended against any significant reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq before the end of the year, ABC News has learned.
The only drawdown Petraeus has called for, according to a senior military official familiar with his recommendation, is a modest reduction of two Marine battalions, or about 1,500 Marines, a tiny fraction of the 146,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq.
Under Petraeus's plan, the number of combat brigades -- which now stands at 15 -- would remain unchanged until next January at the earliest.
The recommendation is now being considered by top officials at the White House and the Pentagon. A final decision on future force levels is expected to be announced by President Bush early next week.
Biden: "No One Is Above the Law;" Promises to Pursue Criminal Charges "If Necessary"; Recants on Fox
As reported by Jonathan Karl of ABCNews.com:
"In an Obama-Biden administration, we will not have an attorney general who blatantly breaks the law," Biden said at a town-hall meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida, his voice at times drowned out by applause. "We will not have a president who doesn't understand the Constitution. And I will not be a vice-president who thinks he's not part of any of the three branches of government."
Biden ripped the Bush administration for wasting a chance to unite the nation in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"George Bush and his administration are going to be judged harshly by history," said the Delaware lawmaker. "Not for the mistakes they made, but for the opportunities to unite America and the world they squandered." ...noting that the next administration might appoint as many as three new justices.
"The single most important domestic decision that a president gets to make on his own or her own is the Supreme Court," he said.
Looking to the future but with one eye on the past, Biden also promised that an Obama-Biden government would go through Bush administration data with "a fine-toothed comb" and pursue criminal charges if necessary.
Amy Goodman and others were released, but the story is not over.
We need you to cosign our public letter demanding that press intimidation cease immediately, and that all charges be dropped. It will be delivered immediately to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, the RNC Host Committee and the local prosecuting attorneys. We need 10,000 signatures in the next 24 hours, so please take action now:
Sign the Letter: Drop All Charges Against Journalists
In addition to these arrests, police with firearms drawn raided a meeting of the video journalists' group I-Witness and arrested independent media, bloggers and videomakers. We’re also receiving late-breaking reports of other arrests.
Baltimore Denies Tracking Activists Despite Evidence; Anti-War Activists Seek Expanded Investigation
Antiwar activists who were targeted by an undercover state police operation from 2005 to 2006 will ask state investigators Tuesday to expand their probe to learn whether other law enforcement agencies took part in the spying.
Members of Pledge of Resistance Baltimore plan to rally in front of the Maryland State Police headquarters in Baltimore County Tuesday afternoon. The agency's surveillance of the group for 14 months in 2005 and 2006 is being investigated by the state. The group also was tracked by the Baltimore City Police Department in 2003, according to an e-mail obtained by The Washington Times.
By Dave Lindorff
Now that we’ve had a chance to see Sarah Palin and to hear her speak—or at least read the big rolling white block letters on the teleprompter in front of her—we can see that she’s prone to telling whoppers.
Now we know politicians as a group have a propensity to embellish the truth—particularly when describing their opponents or themselves—and even to lie outright, but Palin does it so well, she’s like a George Bush with reading and pronunciation skills.
In her acceptance speech last night, Palin told a whole string of lies. My favorite was talking about little Trig, her latest offspring, who was born with Down syndrome. Looking right out into the camera, she told the parents of America with special needs children that if she and John McCain win in November, “You’ll have an advocate in Washington.”
Revolving Door Woes Mount At Federal Minerals Agency as Federal Treasury Loses Royalties in Bush Corporate Giveaway
Revolving Door Woes Mount at Federal Minerals Agency
Following Guilty Plea MMS Director Warns Workers to Expect More Shoes to Drop
The criminal conviction of a top agency manager may be just the beginning of revolving door troubles at the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Workers at the agency are being told to expect more scandals to come.
On July 30, 2008, former special assistant to the Associate Director of Minerals Revenue Management, Mineral Management Service (MMS), Jimmy Mayberry, pled guilty before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a felony violation of the conflict of interest law governing post-employment work. Mayberry faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and a fine of $250,000.
During the Democratic National Convention in Denver, a baton-wielding sheriff twice struck 24 year old protestor Alicia Forrest, knocking the hundred pound woman to the ground. She was jailed and bonded out at more than $500.
To the credit of the Denver Sheriff's Department, this incident is currently under investigation by their Internal Affairs Division. Below is one of the responses to an ADS member who protested the brutality.
Friday, September 19, marks the beginning of Year Two for the Iraq Moratorium.
It has been a long year, as the war, the occupation and the killing in Iraq drags on, despite our efforts to bring it to an end.
"It's got to stop! We've got to stop it!" was the phrase we used in launching the Iraq Moratorium a year ago. It rings as true today as it did then. We must keep organizing. We must keep the pressure on, no matter what happens in the November elections, until this bloodshed has ended and all of the troops are home.
On August 24, 2008 the General Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (GFWCUI) called for a mass demonstration against the recent decree issued by the Minister of Finance in which he ordered a significant reduction in the wages and benefits for workers.
Workers Gather to Demonstrate Against the Wage and Benefit Cuts
Government officials asked the workers to send their representatives for negotiations with the minister's representatives. Subhi Albadri, President of the GFWCUI, was elected to head a delegation of labor leaders to represent workers who took to the street in the thousands.
After the meeting Subhi Albadri was stopped at the exit door of the ministry by a number of guards who belong to the Badr militia. The guards confiscated his personal belongings, beat him up and attempted to kidnap him. The kidnap attempt was thwarted by other workers. The guards, however, shot at brother Subhi, who miraculously escaped the bullets.
A coalition working to end the war in Iraq announced it is organizing the year’s largest anti-war mobilization. Million Doors for Peace, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 20, will ask one million Americans to sign petitions urging the next Congress to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq within one year.
The action combines the best of grassroots activism and support from the netroots. The campaign will allow tens of thousands of volunteers to download a neighborhood “walk list” for the coalition website. The volunteers will then use this public information talk to and identify neighbors who oppose the Iraq war and will join the efforts to end the war. Please join this effort, click here.
A federal judge has ruled in New York that the government must either produce memos on waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods used by the CIA or explain why they should be kept secret.
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein says the memos are "clearly responsive" to a lawsuit filed in 2003 by the ACLU and other civil rights groups seeking records on the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas.
The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment Wednesday.
The New York Times last year disclosed the existence some of the Justice Department memos. It said they authorized interrogators to use methods like waterboarding, head slapping and exposure to freezing temperatures.
Like a Mirage in the Desert: U.S. exit from Iraq may recede into the time horizon
by Charles Knight
Key advisors to Barack Obama have put forward an Iraq withdrawal policy which they have labeled "conditional engagement." In their words:
"Under this strategy, the...time horizon for redeployment would be negotiated with the Iraqi government and nested within a more assertive approach to regional diplomacy. The United States would make clear that Iraq and America share a common interest in achieving sustainable stability in Iraq, and that the United States is willing to help support the Iraqi government and build its security and governance capacity over the long-term, but only so long as Iraqis continue to make meaningful political progress." [from Colin Kahl, Michele A. Flournoy and Shawn Brimley, "Shaping the Iraq Inheritance", Center for a New American Security, June 2008.]
Given how the corporate media presents elections as one big personality contest, and corrupt politicians lie and cheat to get ahead, it’s not surprising that many working-class people have become fed up with elections.
UN Says Has Evidence Air Strikes Killed 90 Afghans, Including 60 Children
by Sayed Salahuddin | CommonDreams.org
The United Nations said on Tuesday it had found convincing evidence that 90 Afghan civilians, most of them children, were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces in western Afghanistan last week.
The issue of civilian casualties has driven a rift between the Afghan government and its NATO backers, with President Hamid Karzai saying earlier this month that air strikes had achieved nothing and had only succeeded in killing ordinary Afghans.
"Investigations by UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) found convincing evidence, based on the testimony of eyewitnesses, and others, that some 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15 women and 15 men," U.N. Special Envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide said in a statement.
The U.S. military has launched an investigation into the incident, after first saying it was unaware of any civilian casualties in what it said was an air strike on a known Taliban commander that killed 30 militants.
The suspense didn't quite compare to the identity of "Deep Throat," but we now know the name of Bob Woodward's fourth investigative work on the Bush administration, just three weeks before the book's release.
"The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008" will be published Sept. 8 by Simon & Schuster with an announced first printing of 900,000 copies. Simon & Schuster is keeping the book under strict embargo — although such embargoes are often broken — and had even held back the title.
"There has not been such an authoritative and intimate account of presidential decision making since the Nixon tapes and the Pentagon Papers," Woodward's longtime editor, Alice Mayhew, said Tuesday in a statement. "This is the declassification of what went on in secret, behind the scenes."
According to Simon & Schuster, Woodward's book "takes readers deep inside the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the intelligence agencies and the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq.