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Bush Keeps Failing His Troops in Iraq

Published on Thursday, September 14, 2006 by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
by Jerald Albrecht and Coleen Rowley

The administration put service members in harm's way despite a puny threat, then cut and run from its responsibilities to them.

Duty. Honor. Country. For some, the West Point creed has become a cliché. But for 130,000-plus American soldiers in Iraq, these words mean a great deal.

Dirty Dozen: The Pentagon's 12-Step Program to Create a Military of Misfits

By Nick Turse
Thursday 14 September 2006

Military recruiting in 2006 has been marked by upbeat pronouncements from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, claims of success by the White House, propaganda releases by the Pentagon, and a spate of recent press reports touting the way the military has made its wo/manpower goals.

But the armed forces have only met with success through a fundamental "transformation," and not the transformation of the military - that "co-evolution of concepts, processes, organizations and technology" - Rumsfeld is always talking about either.

Moth in the Flames of War: The Fall of Tony Blair

By Chris Floyd,
TO UK Correspondent
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday 14 September 2006

1. Staggering to the Exit

It may look and feel like a farce right now, but one day some future Shakespeare might write it as a tragedy: the fall of a powerful, popular leader broken on the wheel of war.

For make no mistake: if not for the criminal folly of the Iraq invasion, British Prime Minister Tony Blair would not have been unceremoniously shoved toward the exit last week by his own party, including some of his fiercest loyalists. The man who once commanded one of the largest majorities in the history of the ancient British Parliament, who won three successive national elections and appeared to have sealed his party's hold on power for decades to come, has seen his stature and authority eaten away by the hubris that led him to join George W. Bush's duplicitous, disastrous Babylonian Conquest.

White House Seeks a Way to Keep Bolton at the UN

By Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer
The Washington Post
Thursday 14 September 2006

President Bush's nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations appears increasingly endangered in the Senate, prompting the administration to explore other ways to keep him in the job after his temporary appointment expires in January, officials said yesterday.

The situation represents a sharp turnaround from two weeks ago, when the White House was confident it could finally push through Bolton's long-stalled nomination. But last week's surprise move by Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.) to delay a vote convinced Republicans on Capitol Hill that the nomination may be doomed, prompting a search for alternatives.

Five Former Soviet Republics Give Up Nukes

By Aaron Glantz
OneWorld US
Wednesday 13 September 2006

San Francisco - The Bush Administration is objecting to a groundbreaking treaty that set up a nuclear weapon-free zone in Central Asia.

Under the treaty signed Friday, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan committed themselves not to produce, buy, or allow the deployment of nuclear weapons on their soil.

NATO Faces Crisis as Call for Troops Goes Unanswered

By Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian UK
Thursday 14 September 2006

Britain and US press allies for help to fight Taliban. 1,000-strong reserve battalion may be offered.

NATO was last night trying to head off a full-blown crisis of credibility as allied defence chiefs failed to offer any extra troops to help hard-pressed soldiers fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

Senate Panel Defies Bush on Detainee Bill

By David Stout
The New York Times
Thursday 14 September 2006

Washington - President Bush went to Capitol Hill today to rally Republican support for his anti-terrorism policies, but a Senate committee dealt him a serious setback after a former member of his cabinet broke with him on a crucial issue.

Hours after Mr. Bush huddled with House Republicans, he suffered a defeat on the other side of the Capitol, as the Senate Armed Services Committee endorsed legislation that would give suspected terrorists more legal protections than the president desires.

Official Touts Nonlethal Weapons for Use

By Lolita C. Baldor
The Associated Press
Tuesday 12 September 2006

Air Force official says nonlethal weapons should be used on people in crowd-control situations.

Washington - Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before they are used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

Deficit Hits New Record

By Dean Baker
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Wednesday 13 September 2006

Most people didn't see this headline, because the deficit that just soared to a new record was the trade deficit, not the budget deficit. The newly released trade data for July showed the deficit running at annual rate of almost $820 billion, more than 6 percent of GDP. This is more than three times the size of the $260 billion dollar budget deficit now projected for 2006. Even adding in the money borrowed from Social Security, the budget deficit would only be $437 billion, just over half the size of the trade deficit.

Subverting Democracy With the Big Lie

By Robert Scheer
Tuesday 12 September 2006

Bush was correct in saying Monday night that "Our nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War." Unfortunately, it's Bush's administration that is testing us - with its relentless incompetence, attacks on our civil liberties and inability to acknowledge the bankruptcy of its policies.

Soldiers Reveal Horror of Afghan Campaign

By Kim Sengupta
The Independent UK
Wednesday 13 September 2006

Soldiers deployed in Helmand province five years on from the US-led invasion, and six months after the deployment of a large British force, have told The Independent that the sheer ferocity of the fighting in the Sangin valley, and privations faced by the troops, are far worse than generally known.

"We are flattening places we have already flattened, but the attacks have kept coming. We have killed them by the dozens, but more keep coming, either locally or from across the border," one said. "We have used B1 bombers, Harriers, F16s and Mirage 2000s. We have dropped 500lb, 1,000lb and even 2,000lb bombs. At one point our Apaches [helicopter gunships] ran out of missiles they have fired so many. Almost any movement on the ground gets ambushed. We need an entire battle group to move things. Yet they will not give us the helicopters we have been asking for.

27 Die in Mass Iraqi Execution

United Press International
Friday 08 September 2006

Baghdad - Twenty-six men and one woman were hanged in Iraq's first mass execution since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

All the condemned had been convicted of terror and criminal charges, officials said. The executions were carried out at the Abu Ghraib prison where several gallows are erected, The Telegraph, a British newspaper, reported.

Meanwhile in Baghdad ...

By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Tuesday 12 September 2006

I've recently received several emails from Iraq. Some, like the first, have been sent to me from people I know. Others were passed on by my friend Gerri Haynes, who receives emails regularly from friends she made during her several trips to Iraq. I include them here, as the brunt of this piece, because they show the living hell that Iraq has become under US occupation.

Can Americans Trust the Government to Protect Them?

Published on Monday, September 11, 2006 by

Lessons from the World Trade Center Ground Zero and the Aftermath of Katrina
by Robert Bullard

In Post-Katrina America, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became a four-letter word for ineptness —fueling mistrust of government. Millions of Americans asked, “Can we trust the government to protect us?” This question is now directed at the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by thousands of first responders and volunteers who in September 2001 worked at “ground zero” at the World Trade Center in New York City. Cate Jenkins, a scientist for the EPA, says her agency lied about the WTC site when it claimed air at ground zero was safe to breathe in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks. EPA is accused of a cover-up.

On the Fifth Anniversary of 9/11, thousands of workers are sick and several have already died from what doctors believe are the effects of breathing the air at ground zero. Just this past week, Mount Sinai Medical Center released findings from the World Trade Center Worker and Volunteer Medical Screening Program, the largest multi-center clinical program providing medical screening examinations for the workers and volunteers who worked at Ground Zero and other sites following the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11. Specific findings included:

The Day That Changed Everything Wasn't 9/11

By Ira Chernus
Sunday 10 September 2006

Yes, it changed everything - not September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers collapsed, but November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and left the U.S. at sea, drifting without an enemy in a strange new world.

Through four decades of the Cold War, Americans had been able to feel reasonably united in their determination to fight evil. And everyone, even children, knew the name of the evildoers: "the commies." Within two years after the Wall fell, the Soviet Union had simply disappeared. In the U.S., nobody really knew how to fight evil now, or even who the evildoers were. The world's sole remaining superpower was "running out of demons," as Colin Powell complained.

Iraq and 9/11: The Truth Is Out

By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report
Monday 11 September 2006

Two weeks before 9/11, national security wasn't even a top priority for the Bush administration. Job security and health security were the top two major issues Bush planned to deal with in the fall of 2001, according to a transcript of a speech Bush gave on August 31, 2001, to celebrate the launch of the White House's new web site.

General: Rumsfeld Killed Plans for Post War Iraq

"He Would Fire the Next Person That Said That"
By Kevin Drum
The Washington Monthly
Friday 08 September 2006

Today, via Orin Kerr, comes a remarkable interview with Brigadier General Mark Scheid, chief of the Logistics War Plans Division after 9/11, and one of the people with primary responsibility for war planning. Shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan, he says, Donald Rumsfeld told his team to start planning for war in Iraq, but not to bother planning for a long stay:

Torturing The Truth

By Dick Meyer
CBS News
Thursday 07 September 2006

"I've said to people we don't torture. And we don't."

That's what President Bush told Katie Couric yesterday.

That was a very odd thing to say on the very day his Pentagon repudiated interrogation "techniques" it had been using and embraced international standards for humane treatment of all detainees in military custody. These standards, by the way, will still not apply to detainees in CIA custody who can still be subjected to "techniques" - translation: torture.

Justice for G.I.s?

Published on Friday, September 9, 2006 by the New York Daily News

Say Iraq Uranium Caused Ills
by Juan Gonzalez

Three years after returning from Iraq with persistent ailments they believe were caused by inhaling uranium dust from exploded U.S. shells, a group of former New York National Guardsmen finally got their first day in court this week against the federal government.

In a two-hour hearing late Wednesday before Manhattan Federal Judge John Koeltl, lawyers for the eight veterans argued that the Army caused the soldiers' illnesses when it violated its own safety protocols and exposed them to radioactive depleted-uranium dust.

Army doctors also covered up information about any exposures and failed to provide the soldiers proper medical treatment, the lawyers claimed.

Questions Raised about Bush’s Primary Claims in Defense of Secret Detention System

Published on Friday, September 8, 2006
by the New York Times
by Mark Mazzetti

WASHINGTON - In defending the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret network of prisons on Wednesday, President Bush said the detention system had used lawful interrogation techniques, was fully described to select members of Congress and led directly to the capture of a string of terrorists over the past four years.

A review of public documents and interviews with American officials raises questions about Mr. Bush’s claims on all three fronts.

Mr. Bush described the interrogation techniques used on the C.I.A. prisoners as having been “safe, lawful and effective,” and he asserted that torture had not been used. But the Bush administration has yet to make public the legal papers prepared by government lawyers that served as the basis for its determination that those procedures did not violate American or international law.

The president said the Department of Justice approved a set of aggressive interrogation practices for C.I.A. detainees in 2002 after milder ones proved ineffective on Abu Zubaydah, the first of the Qaeda leaders taken into custody.

Current and former government officials said that specific interrogation methods were addressed in a series of documents, including an August 2002 memorandum by the Justice Department that authorized the C.I.A.’s use of 20 interrogation practices.

The August 2002 document, which was leaked to reporters in 2004, said interrogation methods just short of those that might cause pain comparable to “organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death” could be allowable without being considered torture.

European Watchdog Calls for Clampdown on CIA

By Nicholas Watt and Suzanne Goldenberg
The Guardian UK
Friday, 08 September 2006

UK is urged to take lead in monitoring agents. Scathing attack on Bush, "the King John of USA".

The head of Europe's human rights watchdog yesterday called for monitoring of CIA agents operating in Britain and other European countries, after President George Bush's admission that the US had detained terrorist suspects in secret prisons.

Local War Vets Take Fight Against Government Over DU Exposure To Court

Published on Friday, September 8, 2006 by NY1 News
They fought for their country in Iraq, and now they are fighting their government over an illness that they say can be directly linked to their service.
by Dean Meminger

A group of New York Iraq war veterans are in a battle against their own military and government, and they are hoping the Federal courts will come to their rescue.

On Wednesday a judge held a hearing to determine if the nine veterans have the right to sue because they were exposed to depleted uranium from U.S. military weapons and equipment while in Iraq.

Bush and the Law

Le Monde | Editorial
Thursday, 07 September 2006

Defenders of human rights in the United States and elsewhere may rejoice over the speech George Bush pronounced Wednesday, September 6. The American president acknowledged the existence of "secret prisons," in which the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) locked up proven or presumed terrorists outside the United States, in order to be able to interrogate them as it liked. It is the first time since this "special program" was revealed by the Washington Post in November 2005 that the White House has confessed the truth. The governments suspected of having accepted these prisons - in Eastern Europe, the Near East, and Asia - had multiplied their denials.

The Torturer's Apprentice

Published on Thursday, September 7, 2006 by
by Ray McGovern

Addressing the use of torture Wednesday, President George W. Bush played to the baser instincts of Americans as he strained to turn his violation of national and international law into Exhibit A on how “tough” he is on terrorists. His tour de force brought to mind the charge the Athenians leveled at Socrates—making the worse case appear the better. Bush’s remarks made it abundantly clear, though, that he is not about to take the hemlock.

As the fifth anniversary of 9/11 approaches and with the midterm elections just two months away, the president's speechwriters succeeded in making a silk purse out of the sow’s ear of torture. The artful offensive will succeed if—but only if—the mainstream media is as cowed, and the American people as dumb, as the president thinks they are.

Pentagon Spends Billions to Outsource Torture

By Joshua Holland
Thursday, 07 September 2006

Bush administration hawks are getting profit-hungry companies like CACI to do their dirty work in the war zones of the New American Empire. And we're footing the bill.

The thousands of mercenary security contractors employed in the Bush administration's "War on Terror" are billed to American taxpayers, but they've handed Osama Bin Laden his greatest victories - public relations coups that have transformed him from just another face in a crowd of radical clerics to a hero of millions in the global South (posters of Bin Laden have been spotted in largely Catholic Latin America during protests against George W. Bush).

The internet hums with viral videos of British contractors opening fire on civilian vehicles in Iraq as part of a bloody game, stories about CIA contractors killing prisoners in Afghanistan, veterans of Apartheid-era South African and Latin American death squads discovered among contractors' staffs and notoriously shady Russian arms dealers working for occupation authorities. One Special Forces operator told Amnesty International that some contractors are in it just because they "really want to kill somebody and they can do it easier there ... [not] everybody is like that, but a dangerously high element."

Bush Yields to Geneva Conventions on Detainees

Published on Thursday, September 7, 2006 by the Inter Press Service
by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - In a major victory for the State Department and career military lawyers, the Pentagon Wednesday released a new Army field manual that requires all detainees held by the U.S. military, including suspected terrorists, to be treated according to the Geneva Conventions.

At the same time, President George W. Bush announced that 14 so-called "high-value detainees" -- those who have been held by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in secret locations around the world where they been subject to interrogation techniques that human rights groups have denounced as "torture" -- are being transferred to the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for eventual trial.

A Sudden Sense of Urgency

The New York Times | Editorial
Thursday, 07 September 2006

Two months before a Congressional election in which voters are expressing serious doubts about the Republicans' handling of national security, President Bush finally has some real terrorists in Guantánamo Bay.

Mr. Bush admitted yesterday that the Central Intelligence Agency has been secretly holding prisoners and said he was transferring 14 to Guantánamo Bay, including some believed to have been behind the 9/11 attacks. He said he was informing the Red Cross about the prisoners, placing them under the Geneva Conventions, and asking that Congress - right now - create military tribunals to try them.

Those are just the right steps. If Guantánamo Bay has any purpose, it is for men like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, considered key players in 9/11. They should go on trial. If convicted, they should be locked up for life.

But Mr. Bush's urgency was phony, driven by the Supreme Court's ruling, not principle.

Europeans Seek More Info on Secret Jails

The Associated Press
Thursday, 07 September 2006

London - President Bush's disclosure that terrorism suspects had been held in CIA-run prisons drew approval Wednesday from activists and defense attorneys, but some called for details on the secret lockups.

Bush said in a White House speech that a small number of high-value detainees - including the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed - had been kept in CIA custody, in order to be "held secretly, questioned by experts and, when appropriate, prosecuted for terrorist acts."

International lawmakers and civil rights campaigners have long called on Bush to acknowledge the United States used a network of secret prisons and have transferred prisoners between them on covert flights.

Army Bans Some Interrogation Techniques

Wednesday, 06 September 2006

Washington - A new Army manual bans torture and degrading treatment of prisoners, for the first time specifically mentioning forced nakedness, hooding and other procedures that have become infamous during the five-year-old war on terror.

Read More:

Blair Faces Wave of Resignations

Wednesday, 06 September 2006

Tony Blair has faced a wave of resignations by junior members of his government over his refusal to name a date for resignation as Labour leader.
He branded ex-junior minister Tom Watson, the most senior person to quit, "disloyal, discourteous and wrong" for signing a letter urging him to go.
The resignations came as Mr Blair faces growing pressure to name a departure date or even quit now. Gordon Brown's backers say assurances he will resign in May are "not enough".

Read More:

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