Monday, March 31, 2008

Battle for Haditha

Source: Anthony | Suzie-Q blog

There are many ways to see the same story.

An investigation of the massacre of 24 men, women and children in Haditha, Iraq allegedly shot by 4 U.S. Marines in retaliation for the death of a U.S. Marine killed by a roadside bomb. The movie follows the story of the Marines of Kilo Company, an Iraqi family, and the insurgents who plant the roadside bomb.

Warning: Some viewers may find some of the scenes depicted in this film distressing.

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The Farce goes on

Uruknet, March 31, 2008

Comment by Khalid Amayreh

As prospects of true peace in Palestine look as bleak as ever, mainly because of Israeli intransigence and American complicity with the Zionist state, peace-loving people in the Middle East and around the world are once again affronted by yet another disingenuous visit to the region by US Secretary of State.

Rice has made numerous visits to Ramallah and occupied Jerusalem ever since she became Secretary of State more than three years ago.

However, the overall situation pertaining to the Palestinian plight has more or less remained unchanged. In fact, one can safely contend that the Israeli occupation and apartheid are now much worse than they were three years ago.

Hence, it is highly unlikely that Rice’s current visit is going to make any difference.

It is really not difficult to pinpoint the causes and reasons for the failure of American “peace efforts” in this part of the world.

The US knows very well that Israel will not move even one centimeter toward peace without serious American pressure. But the US government lacks both the inclination and the willingness to do so. The Jewish-control of Congress and the virtual complete subservience of Bush administration to the powerful Jewish lobby, known as AIPAC, as well as to pro-Israeli neocons, make any breakthrough, even any genuine progress in peacemaking , extremely unlikely.

Continued . . .

Classified Memo Reveals Iraqi Prisoners as “Starving”

A classified memo written by a top military official stationed in Western Iraq reveals that a prison in downtown Fallujah is so overcrowded and dirty that it does not even meet basic “minimal levels of hygiene for human beings.”

“The conditions in these jails are so bad that I think we need to do the right thing in terms of caring for the prisoners even with our own dollars, or release them,” says the memo, written late last month by Maj. Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S forces in western Iraq.

The classified document, leaked to the website Wikileaks, a website where whistleblowers can “reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations,” was authenticated by the organization.

The memo contains other shocking revelations about conditions at the jail, including a massive shortage of food and water. The prison is said to be run by Iraqi officials. US Marines oversee operation of the facility.

Continued . . .

It’s Time to Promote Peace in Afghanistan

Global Research, March 30, 2008

In Canada the debate on Afghanistan has had a very narrow focus. The primary concern has been the role of the Canadian Forces in the counter-insurgency war. How many more Canadians will be killed? How long will our forces be in Kandahar province? What will the U.S. government think if Canada withdraws from the southern zone of conflict? If Canada pulls its forces out of Afghanistan, will there be chaos?

It is time for Canadians to consider what the Afghan people want. At the top of the list would certainly be an end to the death, destruction and despair, the other 3-D policy. A variety of surveys show at least 70% of Afghans do not want to see a return of the dreaded Taliban. Yet an even larger percentage supports a negotiated settlement with the Taliban to end the war. The U.S.-NATO policy, supported by recent Canadian governments, perpetuates the war.

Outside of Canada there is widespread understanding that the counter insurgency war is not working. This past year was the most destructive since the U.S. invasion, with at least 6200 Afghans killed, a 24% increase in roadside bombs, and a dramatic increase in suicide bombs. The United Nations, as well as U.S. and U.K. military leaders, report that the zone of operation of the insurgents is spreading. Attacks are now up to 550 per month.

Continued . . .

Freed top Pakistani judge wants job back

USA TODAY, March 31, 2008

By Matthew Pennington, Associated Press Writer

QUETTA, Pakistan — A week after his release from house arrest, Pakistan's deposed chief justice is launching a drive to win back his old job, in what could be a further political blow to embattled President Pervez Musharraf.

Hundreds of black-suited lawyers planned a hero's welcome in Quetta on Monday for Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry as he makes the first in a series of trips across Pakistan to crank up support for the reinstatement of judges purged by the U.S.-backed president.

"By staging a marvelous welcome we want to send a message to the dictator, that the chief justice is the most popular person in Pakistan, wholeheartedly supported by the masses," said Ali Ahmed Kurd, a veteran lawyers' leader and Chaudhry supporter. "The judiciary must be restored."

Musharraf replaced senior judges with appointees loyal to him when he declared emergency rule in November. His actions stirred popular resentment of military rule and spurred a political sea change in Pakistan more than eight years after the president took power in a military coup.

Musharraf could lose his already weakening hold on the presidency if the old judiciary returns because the Supreme Court could reconsider the legality of his contested re-election as head of state last year. Opposition parties swept Feb. 18 parliamentary elections and now lead a civilian administration.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Islam is world's largest religion: Vatican

Globe and Mail

Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world's largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday.

“For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us,” Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.

Monsignor Formenti compiles the Vatican's yearbook.

He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 per cent of the world population — a stable percentage — while Muslims were at 19.2 per cent.

“It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer,” the monsignor said.

Monsignor Formenti said that the data refer to 2006.

The figures on Muslims had been put together by Muslim countries and then provided to the United Nations, he said, adding that the Vatican could only vouch for its own data.

When considering all Christians and not just Catholics, Christians make up 33 per cent of the world population, Monsignor Formenti said.

Spokesmen for the Vatican and the United Nations did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Sunday.

Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border

RIA Novosti, Russia, March 27, 2008

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran's borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

"The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran," the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran "that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost."

He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran's military infrastructure in the near future.

A new U.S. carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf.

The USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006.

The U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.

Caricaturing Danish Muslims

In These Times, March 28, 2008

By Jacob Wheeler

Asmaa Abdol-Hamid lost her bid for parliament last year after the right-wing Danish People’s Party targeted her for refusing to remove her hijab or shake hands with men.

In early 2006, violence across the Islamic world rocked the quaint Scandinavian country of Denmark after one of its major newspapers, Jyllands-Posten, published inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad months earlier. The images enraged many Muslims, some of whom burned Danish flags and embassies to protest the caricatures of their prophet, which Islam forbids from being depicted at all.

One of the 12 caricatures of Muhammad depicted a man with a bomb under his turban—a move presumably designed to provoke debate about Islam’s relationship with the West.

Few understand this clash of cultures as well as Asmaa Abdol-Hamid, a Danish immigrant born in the United Arab Emirates to Palestinian parents. The 26-year-old social worker from Odense (the city where writer Hans Christian Anderson was born) ran for parliament last year with the leftist Red-Green Alliance party, but came up short after the right-wing Danish People’s Party launched a smear campaign against her. The reason? Abdol-Hamid wears a hijab and she chooses not to shake hands with men—even in parliament.

Denmark is home to 5.4 million people, nearly 200,000 of whom are first- or second-generation Muslim immigrants. Though Denmark prides itself as a tolerant and open nation—with a welfare state, socialized medicine and once welcoming immigration policies—many of the country’s religious minorities see things differently.

In These Times spoke with Asmaa Abdol-Hamid just days after the infamous caricatures were reprinted in more than a dozen Danish newspapers, following reports of renewed death threats against the illustrator of the bomb-in-the-turban cartoon, Kurt Vestergaard.

What are the biggest challenges that minorities face in Denmark today?

The biggest challenge for Danish Muslims is to be viewed as equal citizens. What I experienced following the cartoon crisis and the worldwide reactions to them is that young Muslims in Denmark are afraid something awful will happen to them. They are just waiting for their turn, and that’s truly scary.

But Muslims in Denmark are Danish citizens. They will live here for the rest of their lives and raise their children here. We have to teach people that they are equal.

Too many people believe that you can’t be a Dane and a Muslim at the same time, especially the Danish People’s Party. But today, many Danes are connected to Islam. Their religion isn’t a barrier to them being good citizens in the Danish community. So we have to view Denmark today in a different light.

Continued . . .

'The Hidden Iraq' - A Jaw-Dropping Video

Break For News, March 26, 2008

Post subject: 'The Hidden Iraq' - A Jaw-Dropping Video
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It is impossible not to be moved by this no-holds-barred
film of the harsh actuality in Iraq, five years after invasion.

Kathy and I strongly recommend you view the film and circulate this url:

'The Hidden Iraq' - A Jaw-Dropping Video

This UK Channel 4 film was transmitted on 18th March, 2008.

Jon Snow's Hidden Iraq

BreakForNews Playlist automatically screens all 6 video sgements
*Contains distressing scenes not usually shown on mainstream TV*

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The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War

The Washinton Post, March 30, 2008

By Zbigniew Brzezinski

Both Democratic presidential candidates agree that the United States should end its combat mission in Iraq within 12 to 16 months of their possible inauguration. The Republican candidate has spoken of continuing the war, even for a hundred years, until "victory." The core issue of this campaign is thus a basic disagreement over the merits of the war and the benefits and costs of continuing it.

The case for U.S. disengagement from combat is compelling in its own right. But it must be matched by a comprehensive political and diplomatic effort to mitigate the destabilizing regional consequences of a war that the outgoing Bush administration started deliberately, justified demagogically and waged badly. (I write, of course, as a Democrat; while I prefer Sen. Barack Obama, I speak here for myself.)

The contrast between the Democratic argument for ending the war and the Republican argument for continuing is sharp and dramatic. The case for terminating the war is based on its prohibitive and tangible costs, while the case for "staying the course" draws heavily on shadowy fears of the unknown and relies on worst-case scenarios. President Bush's and Sen. John McCain's forecasts of regional catastrophe are quite reminiscent of the predictions of "falling dominoes" that were used to justify continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Neither has provided any real evidence that ending the war would mean disaster, but their fear-mongering makes prolonging it easier.

Continued . . .

U.S.-Led Coalition Forces Bomb Shiite Militia in Basra

BASRA, Iraq - US-led coalition warplanes dropped bombs on Shiite militia positions in Basra overnight, directly entering the fray for the first time since the Iraqi army launched a crackdown in the southern city, a British military spokesman said on Friday.0328 08

Two bombing missions were carried out against specific targets, Major Tom Holloway told AFP.

“It was on identified rocket teams in the city and there was a concentration of militia troops which was bombed,” he said, adding that the bombings were the first by the coalition forces since Iraqi military operations started in Basra on Tuesday.

Holloway said at Basra airport, where the British contingent of around 4,100 troops are based, that coalition forces have also been providing air support, surveillance and are refuelling Iraqi helicopters and transport planes.

“Coalition forces are providing capability in those niche areas that the Iraqi armed forces don’t have,” Holloway said.

“Particularly, we are providing them air power over the top of the city. The Iraqi air force does exist but doesn’t yet have fast jets. We are also providing surveillance and that is being fed back into the Iraqi’s operational command centre in Basra.

“And also they have been providing air support in terms of dropping munitions on identified militia targets in the city.”

Coalition forces rather than the Iraqi army are directing the air support, the British spokesman added. “The Iraqi air support is being directed by our call signs.”

© 2008 Agence France Presse

Useless conferences

Al-Ahram, 27 March - 2 April 2008

Salama A Salama
By Salama A Salama

Angela Merkel, German chancellor, was not yet born when the Nazis came to power and proceeded to commit crimes of war and genocide, of which the Jews were among the victims. She doesn't need, therefore, to recreate the guilt a previous generation must have felt. But for utterly pragmatic reasons, she did. Since World War II, German governments have made a point of placating the Israelis, mostly for reasons related to Israel's international influence.

The recent visit by Merkel to Israel was full of symbolism. The chancellor reiterated her country's lasting support for Israel and apologised for a crime in which she, and her entire generation, had no part. The move was criticised by German academics. A statement by 25 university professors said that Germany has paid its debts for the Holocaust in full and must stop favouring Israel and embrace a more even-handed policy in the Middle East.

Merkel wasn't willing to listen. Unlike some German politicians, including Gerhard Schroeder, who had the vision to take a relatively impartial stand on the Middle East conflict, Merkel, with her fragile coalition, chose to take sides. The German chancellor voiced her support to Israel despite the latter's sabotaging of peace efforts and its building of settlements on Palestinian land. Merkel, who denounced at length Iran's nuclear programme, had nothing to say about Israel's stockpiling of nuclear warheads and its opposition to the creation of a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East.

Continued . . .

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Merit the sacrifice’ for whom?

Online Journal, March 28, 2008

By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

As the number of US troops killed in Iraq passed the 4,000 mark, George W. Bush, after conferring Monday with US officials in Washington and Baghdad, told the American people that the outcome "will ‘merit the sacrifice," according to the Washington Post.

My question is, for what mother, father, husband, wife or child will this illegal pointless war that has sapped the blood of a million Iraqis as well, not to mention some $12 trillion from our Treasury -- better used for life-giving projects -- will this sacrifice be merited?

Of course, it will be merited by the defense contractors, the private armies of Blackwater, the contractors of Haliburton, its subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root, and dozens of other military suppliers and lobbying leeches. The lifeblood of these 4,000-plus will be the lifeblood of these creepy crawlers. And of source, this sanctimonious statement of merited sacrifice is coming from the Texas Air National Guard recruit who didn’t show up for his second year of service and nixed his opportunity to be a fighter pilot (for which he was expensively trained) in the Vietnam war, which yielded 58,000 American deaths and 2 million Vietnamese deaths. Was that sacrifice merited as well?

Continued . . .

Police: US airstrike kills 8 in Basra

RYAN LENZ, Associated Press Writer

A woman cries after an airstrike in Basra, Iraq, Saturday, March 29, 2008.

Sat Mar 29, 2008

A U.S. warplane strafed a house in the southern city of Basra, killing eight civilians, including two women and a child, Iraqi police said Saturday.

The U.S. military had no immediate comment on the report, which came a day after the first American airstrikes were launched in Basra during a week-old offensive against militant followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Seven other people were wounded when the plane fired on a house in Basra’s Hananiyah neighborhood overnight, a local policeman said on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

It was not immediately possible to independently verify whether those killed were civilians or combatants.

While the Iraqi police officer claimed it was a U.S. plane, British jets also have been providing air support in the area; it couldn’t be immediately confirmed whether the plane was British or American.

The British military had no immediate information but said it also was looking into the reports.

“We are aware of reports of incidents in the Basra area resulting in civilian casualties,” said Maj. Tom Holloway, a British military spokesman. “We are investigating those reports and do not have any further details at this time.”

AP Television News footage showed smoke rising from Hananiyah. Pools of blood and a destroyed pickup truck were seen outside the home hit by the plane.

American support in Basra came as Iraqi troops struggled against strong resistance in the city, the nation’s commercial center and headquarters of the vital oil industry. Clashes there have sparked retaliatory fights in Baghdad and other Shiite cities.

Continued . . .

Hillary Clinton's Iraq Lies

Antiwar, March 29, 2008

by Stephen Zunes

On March 17, New York Senator and Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton gave a speech at George Washington University outlining her plans to de-escalate U.S. military involvement in Iraq. Though she called for the gradual withdrawal of U.S. combat brigades over the next several years, she continued to refuse to apologize for her 2002 vote authorizing the invasion, to acknowledge the illegality of the war, or to fully explain her false claims made at that time regarding Iraq's military capabilities and alleged ties to al-Qaeda. Nor was she able to offer an explanation as to what led to her dramatic shift from a supporter of the ongoing war and occupation as recently as a year and a half ago to her current more critical perspective.

Continued . . .

UK admits mistreating Iraqi detainees

Britain Admits Breaching Human Rights of 9 Iraqi Detainees, Including Man Who Died in Custody

AP News

Mar 27, 2008 15:30 EST

The British military admitted Thursday that some of its troops breached the human rights of an Iraqi man who died in custody and of eight other detained Iraqis.

The Ministry of Defense said it expects to negotiate compensation for the survivors of the dead man, Baha Mousa, and with the eight former detainees.

The nine were taken into custody as suspected insurgents, then were held in stress positions and deprived of sleep for about two days in extreme heat at a British army barracks near the southern Iraqi city of Basra in September 2003, prosecutors told a British military court.

Mousa, a 26-year-old hotel receptionist, died from asphyxia after soldiers restrained him following an escape attempt.

One soldier, Cpl. Donald Payne, 35, was convicted of inhumane treatment in that case, making him the first British soldier to plead guilty to a war crime under international law.

In a statement that apologized for the abuses, Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth stressed that nearly all of the 120,000 British soldiers who have served in Iraq behaved properly.

"But this does not excuse that during 2003 and 2004 a very small minority committed acts of abuse and we condemn their actions," Ainsworth said.

Britain's highest court, the House of Lords, ruled in June that prisoners held by British troops are protected by European human rights law.

In Mousa's case, the Ministry of Defense admitted "a substantive breach" of a provision in the European Convention on Human Rights that recognizes the right to life and another that prohibits torture. It said the torture ban was violated for the eight other detainees.

"The Ministry of Defense further accepts that the admitted substantive breaches of the convention give rise to claims for compensation," it said.

Basra Assault Exposes Fraud of “National Reconciliation” in Iraq

by Robert Naiman

Critics of the Bush Administration’s policies in Iraq have charged that the Bush Administration’s “surge” policy has failed, since its stated intention was to improve security to create the political space for “national reconciliation” in Iraq. Since national reconciliation has not taken place in Iraq, the surge has failed.

But after this week’s US-assisted Iraqi government assault on neighborhoods in Basra controlled by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, I fear that this criticism praises with faint damnation. I fear that it could be construed to accept the premise that the Bush Administration is trying to produce national political reconciliation in Iraq, while arguing that it has failed to achieve its goal.

After this week, I regard this premise to be a clear fraud.

While President Bush says the Iraqi government offensive showed that the prime minister believed “in evenhanded justice” - presumably because the government was showing that it would attack Shiite as Sunni militias - supporters of the Mahdi Army claimed that it was a political attack on their movement to weaken it prior to regional elections scheduled for October. But this interpretation of events is by no means limited to Iraqis.

Continued . . .

Shut Guantanamo, ex-diplomats say

Los Angeles Times

Guantanamo Bay
Béatrice de Géa / Los Angeles Times
An inside look at Camp 6 at Guantanamo Bay. “It gives us a very, very bad name, not just internationally,” said James A. Baker III, who served under the first President Bush.
Powell, Kissinger, Albright, Baker and Christopher also urge the next president to open talks with Iran.
From the Associated Press
March 28, 2008

ATHENS, GA. — Five former U.S. secretaries of State on Thursday urged the next presidential administration to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and open a dialogue with Iran.

The former chiefs of American diplomacy, who served in Democratic and Republican administrations, reached a consensus on the two issues at a conference in Athens aimed at giving the next president some bipartisan foreign policy advice.

Each of them said closing the prison in Cuba would bolster America’s image abroad.

“It says to the world: ‘We are now going back to our traditional respective forms of dealing with people who potentially committed crimes,’ ” said Colin L. Powell, who served as President Bush’s first secretary of State.

Powell was joined by Henry A. Kissinger, James A. Baker III, Warren Christopher and Madeleine K. Albright, who sat in a round-table discussion sponsored by the University of Georgia at a sold-out conference center in downtown Athens.

Kissinger called Guantanamo a “blot on us” and agreed it should be closed, but wondered aloud about the consequences of a closure.

Baker, a lawyer who served in President George H.W. Bush’s Cabinet, said he had struggled with its legal implications.

Continued . . .

Friday, March 28, 2008

Modern US Presidents Acting Like "Thugs"

Historian Michael Parenti Charges

Global Research, March 27, 2008
President George W. Bush is “the biggest thug” ever to occupy the White House, writes historian Michael Parenti, adding that most post-World War II U.S. presidents have also acted like “thugs.”
His “thug” list includes Presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Conspicuously absent from his list are Republican Dwight Eisenhower and Democrat Jimmy Carter.
What the thugs have in common, Parenti says, is their dedication “to a U.S. global interventionist policy” and support for “gargantuan, bloated, criminally wasteful military budgets” to execute those interventions.
President Kennedy “undermined the democratic government in Guyana and supported a lot of the counter-insurgency dirty works that were going on in Central America,” Parenti writes in The Long Term View, a journal of informed opinion published by The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.
President Johnson followed him, perpetrating “the first major escalation of Vietnam” and also invading the Dominican Republic “when it threatened to have a reformist left government that would take over and move in a democratic revolutionary course.”
After LBJ, “Nixon committed terrible crimes in IndoChina: massive carpet bombings of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, killing literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people,” Parenti recalled. In Laos, “Nixon went and bombed the Plain of Jars and just bombed every square inch and killed ---only God knows how many---hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed that whole society.”
Parenti holds President Reagan responsible for the invasion of Grenada, “an unoffending, small country that was trying to develop a communitarian way, and overthrew its government” and had some of its leaders killed. Reagan, he said, “brought Grenada back to where it was before: a country of high unemployment. He abolished the communal farms which it was starting, and the land was converted back into golf courses for the tourists.” Reagan also waged war “against a wonderful democratic revolution in Nicaragua, the Sandanistas, and destroyed it and bled that country,” supporting “the worst murderers and thugs” of the Contra Armies and then lying about his role in support of the war.
As for President George H.W. Bush, he “waged a war against Iraq that was totally avoidable,” pointing out, “The Iraqis were ready to negotiate a withdrawal from Kuwait” but “just wanted the slant drilling of the Ramallah oil fields to stop.” However, he adds, ”Bush used it as an excuse to bomb, to kill huge numbers of Iraqis and destroy that country’s infrastructure, and it’s because that country was self-defining, was committing the ‘sin’ of economic nationalism, and was not acting like a good obedient client state.”
Parenti further charged the senior President Bush also invaded Panama to capture its leader Noriega, and after its victory abolished “all sorts of education programs.”
As for President Clinton, he “bombed Somalia and killed thousands of people there and waged a 78-day, around-the-clock, aerial war against Yugoslavia…and was also thuggish in his determination to expand and to increase the military budget.”
Parenti, author of some 20 books including “Democracy for the Few”(Wadsworth), reserves his harshest criticism for President George W. Bush: “He has been a total thug in overthrowing a democratic government in Haiti and supporting the death squads and murderers there, and in pursuing a war of aggression in Iraq,” Parenti writes.
“He (Bush) unilaterally has announced that the U.S. will be held to none of the international treaties that it has signed, that no strictures of international law will inhibit foreign policy, and that the U.S. reserves the right to act as it will on its own accord, according to its own interests, and the limitations of its own power,” Parenti points out.
“The U.S. will,” he goes on to say, “of itself, decide unilaterally what countries it will attack, when, and for what reasons,” a policy he adds that has “caused such an alarm throughout the world that people have demonstrated massively…”
Parenti said the Iraqi war has given President Bush “the opportunity to clamp down on dissent at home, to intimidate, and to accumulate more power.”
Parenti’s remarks are contained in Volume 6, Number 3, of Long Term View. His views are not necessarily those of the journal, published by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. Views of authors in LTV are not necessarily those of the law school.
Founded in 1988, MSL is a law school purposefully dedication to providing a quality, affordable education to minorities, immigrants, and students from working-class backgrounds that would not otherwise be able to obtain a legal education and practice law.

Sherwood Ross, media consultant to MSL, at

Occupations Are Not Won. They Are Ended

Dead Remembered, Living Ignored
By John Perry

Five years, four thousand dead troops, more than one million dead Iraqis.

And not only are we still waiting to hear what the "noble cause" is, but we have yet to hear a definition of victory, or how we'll know when we've achieved it.

What's happening in Iraq is NOT a war. It's an illegal occupation following the illegal invasion of a country that posed no threat to the United States.

Occupations are not won. They are ended. Which is why the Bush administration is calling it a war.

Please check out the links and pass it on. THIS INSANITY MUST END.

2006 Johns Hopkins Iraq mortality study, conducted in conjunction with Al Mustansiriya University in Baghadad

Just Foreign Policy site - Numbers updated, approximate running total of Iraqi deaths

ORB Study -- Updated January 2008

Iraq Veterans Against the War -- Winter Soldier page

The Real News -- Check out their Winter Soldier Coverage and get on their mailing list

Palestinian, Israeli kids are cannon fodder for Rapture

Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a news conference with Rev. John Hagee, a televangelist from Cornerstone Church, in San Antonio, Texas, in this Feb. 27 file photo.

File photo: Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a news conference with Rev. John Hagee, a televangelist from Cornerstone Church, in San Antonio, Texas, in this Feb. 27 file photo.

By Robert Weitzel | The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin), March 27, 2008

According to a United Nations report, 971 Palestinian and Israeli children were killed between September 2000 -- the beginning of the second intifada -- and July 2007. Of those destroyed children, 854 were Palestinian. The intifada and the dying continue.

It is these children's lives that the evangelical political action committee, Christians United for Israel, is willing to sacrifice on the altar of its fundamentalist eschatology in the hope of bringing about Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Pastor John Hagee, televangelist and pastor of the 19,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, established CUFI in 2005. Hagee envisions the group as the Christian version of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobby whose political clout has a significant influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

The late Molly Ivins, a Texas political commentator and author, described Hagee as a "pre-millennial dispensationalist, whose theology focuses on selected apocalyptic passages of the Book of Revelation." In 1998, Hagee teamed up with Christian filmmakers to produce "Vanished in the Twinkling of an Eye," a "docudrama" about the tribulations following the Rapture.

Despite Pastor Hagee's obvious interest in eschatology, he insists that CUFI's support for Israel has nothing to do with end time prophecy. But in an unguarded moment Hagee set the truth free: "The judgment of the nations is going to happen as soon as Christ returns to Earth. As soon as he sets up his throne on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, he's going to rule the world with a rod of iron."

Continued . . .

Dutch MP Geert Wilders posts explosive anti-Islam film on web

From The Times, March 28, 2008

Dutch politician Geert Wilders

A far-right Dutch MP released a provocative film about the Koran on a British website last night, a move that is likely to provoke violent repercussions from angry Muslims around the world.

The 15-minute “documentary” juxtaposing images of Islam’s holy book with the 9/11 terror attacks and other bombings was posted on the internet by Geert Wilders, leader of the small right-wing Freedom Party, after weeks of heated debate in the Netherlands about the project.

Mr Wilders, 44, who has built his political career campaigning against the alleged “Islamisation” of the West, argued that the film was a legitimate exercise in freedom of expression; however, many mainstream politicians and Muslims said that it was gratuitously insulting.

Speaking just before the release of Fitna, an Arabic word meaning strife, Mr Wilders said that he understood that Muslims could be upset about the film but added: “It remains widely within the framework of the law . . . My film was not made to provoke violence.”

Continued . . .

US steps up missile strikes in Pakistan

Telegraph, UK, March 28, 2008

By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad

The United States has stepped up missile strikes against al-Qa'eda militants in Pakistan's tribal areas amid fears of decreased co-operation from the new government.

  • UK's war 'failure sparked Pakistan violence'
  • Suspected US missile kills 20 in Pakistan
  • Washington wants to inflict as much damage as it can on al-Qa'eda's network before President Pervez Musharraf loses his grip on power, according to a report published today.

    US Predator missile drones are eing used in Pakistan
    The US is using Predator drones to launch missiles

    Unnamed US officials told The Washington Post that the strikes followed a "tacit understanding" with Mr Musharraf and the army chief, Gen Ashfaq Kayani, that permits US strikes on foreign rebels but not against Pakistani Taliban.

    In the past three months missiles fired by US Predator drones hit at least three sites used by suspected al-Qa'eda militants near the Afghan border.

    The report quoted an official as describing the strikes as a "shake the tree" strategy designed to force Osama bin Laden and key lieutenants to move in ways that US intelligence can detect.

    American concerns over Pakistani cooperation have risen since Mr Musharraf's allies lost elections last month.

    Continued . . .

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    Why Is Hillary Clinton Lying?

    By Robert Parry | Consortiumnews. com, March 26, 2008

    Two weeks ago, I wrote a story that observed a disturbing trend in Hillary Clinton’s campaign – her growing tendency to stretch the truth, twist what her chief rival was saying and then rely on her supporters to go on the offensive against you if you spoke up.

    These tendencies were troubling, in part, because they mirrored what had become so common during George W. Bush’s years: to declare that a fantasy is the truth and then to attack the patriotism or sanity of anyone who thinks otherwise. I wrote:

    “Throughout history, it’s been common for politicians to shade the truth when caught in a tight spot. But sometimes politicians push the limits, crossing the line into an Orwellian world where up is down, where bullies are victims, where people objecting to the lies are shouted down.”

    The article cited a number of examples of Clinton turning reality inside out and repeating false attack lines against Barack Obama, such as claiming that he wanted to "bomb Pakistan" when he really advocated attacking al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan if the government there refused to act. [See “Clinton’s Up-Is-Down World.”]

    Continued . . .

    Pentagon Holds Thousands of Americans 'Prisoners of War'

    By Penny Coleman, AlterNet. Posted March 26, 2008

    There are at least 60,000 of them, but they're not on the DoD's list of soldiers missing in action.

    Sgt. Kristofer Shawn Goldsmith was one of the many soldiers and Marines, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, who gave testimony at last weekend's Winter Soldier investigation. They spoke from personal experience about what the American military is doing in those countries. They gave examples of what they had done, what they had been ordered to do, what they had witnessed, how their experiences had wounded them, both physically and psychically, and what kind of care and support they have, or most often have not gotten since coming home. The panel Goldsmith was on was called "The Breakdown of the U.S. Military," so he surprised the audience when he said that he was going to talk about prisoners of war.

    He was not, however, going to talk about the three soldiers listed as missing in action on the Department of Defense website. He was referring to those who have been the victims of stop-loss, the device by which the president can, "in the event of war," choose to extend an enlistee's contract "until six months after the war ends." The "War on Terror" is this president's excuse for invoking that clause. Because that war will, by definition, continue as long as we insist that there is a difference between the terror inflicted on our innocents and the terror inflicted on theirs, American soldiers are effectively signing away their freedom indefinitely when they join the military. They are prisoners of an ill-defined and undeclared war on a tactic -- terrorism -- that dates back to Biblical times and will be with us indefinitely.

    Continued . . .

    Pakistan's new leaders tell US: We are no longer your killing field

    Declan Walsh in Islamabad

    The Guardian, Thursday March 27, 2008

    The Bush administration is scrambling to engage with Pakistan's new rulers as power flows from its strong ally, President Pervez Musharraf, to a powerful civilian government buoyed by anti-American sentiment.

    Top diplomats John Negroponte and Richard Boucher travelled to a mountain fortress near the Afghan border yesterday as part of a hastily announced visit that has received a tepid reception.

    On Tuesday, senior coalition partner Nawaz Sharif gave the visiting Americans a public scolding for using Pakistan as a "killing field" and relying too much on Musharraf.

    Yesterday the new prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, said he warned President George Bush in a phone conversation that he would prioritise talking as well as shooting in the battle against Islamist extremism. "He said that a comprehensive approach is required in this regard, specially combining a political approach with development," a statement said.

    But Gilani also reassured Bush that Pakistan would "continue to fight against terrorism", it said.

    Since 2001 American officials have treasured their close relationship with Musharraf because he offered a "one-stop shop" for cooperation in hunting al-Qaida fugitives hiding in Pakistan.

    Continued . . .

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Bush in Heaven (II)

    Reflections of Fidel Castro Ruz | Granma, March 25, 2008

    Part II

    TUESDAY, March 18 marked the fifth anniversary of the arrest of more than 70 quislings, the capos of imperialism's fifth column in Cuba who, paid by the U.S. government, violate the laws of the land and share the opinion that this dark corner of the world should be swept off the map. On that date, a Department of State spokesperson described the event as the “Black Spring”, a term with racist overtones. We could call it “White Spring.” Darkness does not exist in space, only in the mind. What a huge difference between the methods used by the government of the United States and those used by Cuba! Not one of the mercenaries was tortured or deprived of lawyers or trial, even if it was of a summary nature, provided by the law in cases of danger of aggression; they have the right to receive visits, access to family facilities as well as the other legal prerogatives of all prisoners; and if at any time their health seriously requires it, they are released, without the demands of imperialism and its allies having anything at all to do with it. We urge the United States to do with its prison population as we have done here in Cuba. The Revolution demands respect for sovereignty, not pardon.

    With Wednesday, March 19 being the fifth anniversary of the stupid war unleashed in Iraq, Bush is grabbing hold of any Bin Laden declaration, either fictitious or real, even though in the case of the latter no date is supplied as to when it was made, nor can they assure us that it is his voice. They will investigate it, so they promise. Nobody ever took so much advantage of such materials to shape the opinions of the citizens of the United States and of many other countries in the world with similar cultures and beliefs, in order to justify the brutal and genocidal wars that imperialism needs so much. Time and time again he formulates and repeats selected words and phrases. The people and institutions referred to, without exception, find themselves obliged to respond, whether the declarations are true or not. Just observe how, year after year, from day one, Bush keeps on milking the events of September 11.

    Continued . . .

    America’s Ruling Clique

    Information Clearing House, March 25, 2008

    By Charles Sullivan

    Neoconservatives derive much of their political strength from the portrayal of big government as the enemy of the people: a belief that plays only too well in America. Big government is indeed the enemy of the people when it does not serve the people’s interests, or when it betrays them.

    Where the neoconservatives and the chicken hawks have been spectacularly successful is in the field of perception management. The super rich—or the ruling clique—constitutes no more than 0.1 percent of the US population. Yet they control the mainstream media, every branch government, the electoral process and the country’s major financial institutions.

    Thus, 99.9 percent of the people are being manipulated and cannibalized by a tiny but powerful minority. It is the interests of this powerful minority that are served by government and it is their interests that are defined as the national interest or as national security; and it is hardly benign. Robbing the poor to pay the rich causes irreparable harm to the victim.

    Continued . . .

    The torture president

    The Sacramento Bee (California), March 25, 2008

    By Nat Hentoff

    Immediately after 9/11, Colin Powell said the terrorists were clearly engaged in a war on civilization itself. Soon after, as secretary of State, he prophetically warned the president -- and the lawyers drafting and justifying "torture memos" in the Justice Department -- that this country's rejecting the Geneva Conventions and our own laws on the treatment of terrorism-related prisoners would "undermine public support among critical allies, making military cooperation more difficult to sustain." Increasingly, as Powell predicted, while the president strongly insists that the CIA be allowed to continue practicing what Bush calls "its specialized interrogations" in its secret prisons, and "renditions" (kidnapping Europeans to be tortured elsewhere), we have lost the trust and respect of many our allies' citizens.

    Significant, moreover, is the refusal of FBI Director Robert Mueller to permit his agents to engage in such "coercive" CIA-style interrogations that often involve torture.

    Also opposing the tortured use of language by high officials of the administration to disguise this lawless treatment of prisoners, which would make any such "evidence" thrown out of our federal courts, are Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

    Nonetheless, on March 8, George W. Bush vetoed a bill that includes a mandate that there be a single standard of interrogation by all our forces -- very intentionally including the CIA.

    As a result of Bush's veto, the United States, by validating torture as a tool of interrogation, has become a less civilized nation. The bill the president disdained (thereby staining his legacy) would have made the Army Field Manual the standard of all interrogations. Among the practices it prohibits are: placing hoods or sacks over prisoners' heads (as in CIA "renditions"); exposing them to extreme heat or cold (as often reported); and waterboarding (as disclosed about CIA prisoners at "black sites"), a procedure that makes the prisoner believe he is about to drown -- and he will drown if it's not stopped.

    Continued . . .

    Friedrich Nietzsche's grave under threat from search for brown coal

    From The Times, March 26, 2008

    Friedrich W. Nietzsche

    Friedrich Nietzsche declared famously that “God is dead!” so it is probably safe to assume that he did not much care what happened to his skeleton.

    Which may be just as well as bulldozers prepare to turn over the philosopher’s grave and his birthplace in search of brown coal.

    The village of Röcken, south of Leipzig, is plastered with posters bearing quotes from Nietzsche’s masterpiece, Thus Spake Zarathustra, announcing “Be true to the soil!” in a desperate attempt to prevent an energy company from turning the region into a lunar landscape.

    Ralf Eichberg, head of the Nietzsche Society, said: “We have Nietzsche’s birthplace, the church where he was baptised and where his father preached, the orchard where he played, the school where he learnt to read and write, and the graves; his, that of his sister Elisabeth, his parents.”

    Digging the village up — as has happened to 25 east German communities targeted by mining companies since the Second World War — would destroy most of the physical traces of the 19th-century thinker. Röcken, with barely 600 inhabitants, used to be in East Germany and the Communist authorities considered Nietzsche dangerous; a supplier of ideas to the Nazis because his concept of a “Super-man” could be applied to Nordic German heroes.

    Continued . . .

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    Memoirs of Dada Amir Haider Khan

    Nasir Khan

    The publication of the memoirs of Indian revolutionary Dada Amir Haider Khan in India and Pakistan has been a momentous event.

    Professor Hasan N. Gardezi edited and supervised the work of publication of Dada's memoirs with great diligence and a sense of duty to preserve the historical role of a truly great and unique revolutionary who emerged from the part of the world now called Pakistan. I offer my thanks to Professor Gardezi for his tireless efforts to publicise the work of Dada, and also thank other friends who have in one way or the other contributed to the task. I believe all the progressive people who have known Dada or those who will come to know about him through the publication of his memoirs will highly appreciate the work of Professor Gardezi. He has preserved the legacy of the great revolutionary for the coming generations of radical and progressive people. I was lucky to have known Dada as a close friend since my student days in Rawalpindi.

    Volume 1 was first published in New Delhi in 1989, prefaced by our esteemed Comrade V.D. Chopra. Now the memoirs in two volumes are available from Karachi.

    Historians and scholars in Marxist tradition may also find the following references to Dada Amir Haider Khan helpful:

    • Harry Haywood, Black Bolshevik, Liberator Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1978, pp. 164-5, 509.
    • Santimoy Ray, Freedom Movement and Indian Muslims, People's Publishing House, New Delhi, 1978, p. 82.
    • S.S. Mirajkar, 'Reminiscences', Marxist Miscellany No. 15, March 1979, New Delhi, pp. 21-22.
    • (Marxist Miscellany No. 15 also contains a memorable article by Dada Amir Haider Khan.)

    I republish below an excellent book review by Sarwat Ali.
    Book review by Sarwat Ali

    Apart from being a political and historical document of personal nature, the text of the memoirs of Dada Amir Haider puts real meaning into the Marxist dictum that the world ought to be changed for the better

    Life and Struggles of A Revolutionary
    Memoirs of Dada Amir Haider Khan

    Edited by Hasan N. Gardezi,

    Published by Pakistan Study Centre, Karachi University 2007
    Pages: 767 (Two volumes), price: Rs 800 (Two volumes)

    Dada Amir Haider, for my generation, was a legendary figure. He was often mentioned in admiration by the elders that I looked up to and his name aroused much curiosity. But other than oral references and anecdotes no adequate account of the man and deeds were available in black and white.

    All this has changed with the publication of his autobiography which has been painstakingly put together by Hasan N. Gardezi. When Dada Amir Haider was arrested for the second time in 1939 he started to write about himself, his struggles and his vision which was simple. The role of the progressive writer was to expose everything bad in society, no matter how ugly it might be and those who did not like it let them change it.

    His writings were interrupted in 1942 by his release from Nasik Jail made possible by the Soviet Union joining the way to defeat Germany. After his release a jail inmate Senior Apte put together his prison writings and made six typed copies. Each typed copy comprised 952 pages. Of the six copies passed from hand to hand at least one was kept by Mrs. Indora Renu and Mr. Ladli Lal Renu who had gone over it with the author in Bombay and had inserted some corrections and subtitles. It was mailed to Dada in 1975 when he was in Pakistan, unable to leave the country due to official restriction on his travel abroad. It is from this weather-beaten Nasik Jail manuscript that the entire first volume has come except for the last portion of the manuscript which had been shifted to volume two as the first chapter.

    This first volume then was published in India [in 1989] but the second volume which was also sent to India got lost and was not published. This is the first time that both the volumes have been published together. The credit for compiling and editing goes to Dr. Gardezi for it was his commitment that preserved these memoirs. The first volume covers the phase from 1922 to 1926 and the second volume covers the time period till 1936.

    Broadly speaking there were four strands in the freedom struggle. Reformative organisations and societies like the one started by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan were established where even government support was accepted for it was perceived that the struggle they had started would last a long time and antagonising the government would be detrimental to the realisation of the objectives. Then certain organisations employed peaceful means to acquire gradual concessions for the Indians. Both the Muslim League and the Congress relied on these constitutional devices which were made available by the British rulers themselves. The third strand was represented by the ulemas who regarded British rule as objectionable from religious point of view and decreed the launch of jihad against foreign rule. The fourth strand comprised radical organisations operating in India which received their impetus from the socialist revolution in Russia. In subsequent years many Indians went to Soviet Russia to see for themselves the formative phase of the revolution the working classes were mobilised, organisations and unions were established and political work started. It operated through underground networks as the political rule of the game as delineated by the British Government seldom allowed dissent beyond a particular level.

    Dada Amir Haider was born in a village in Gujjar Khan in difficult circumstances, made more difficult by the loss of his parents. He was forced into a bigger wider world prematurely and looking for better opportunity he travelled to cities far away from his native village where he learnt fast on the class rooms that were laid out on the roads, the dockyards and the storehouses. He became street-smart and quickly learnt to face up to the many challenges that life had thrown at him. He got employment on the merchant and military navies that afforded him the opportunity to travel all over the world, imbibing the affairs at the international level, the condition of the colonies and the plight of the working classes.

    He returned to India in 1928 after his exposure to the world including the Soviet Union with some plans and priorities. He set to organise the workers of the textile industry in Bombay. The authorities sensing trouble clamped down on the incipient movement under trumped up changes commonly known as the 'Meerut Conspiracy Case' in 1929 and passed orders for his arrest. But Dada by now a shrewd and seasoned political worker, sensing trouble escaped on a forged passport by sea, a route that he knew too well and travelled the world mobilising international proletarian support against British rule in India. He was labelled as the most dangerous individual by the British authorities. He was finally arrested on his return in disguise in 1932. He was arrested again in 1939.

    After his release from jail in 1942 he immersed himself in organisational work. After partition Dada was imprisoned repeatedly. This entire period took a heavy toll of his health but his old colleagues and comrades Dr. Adijkari, P.C. Joshi, S.S Mirajkar and Sohan Singh Josh encouraged him to follow up on his memoirs. He resumed updating his earlier work from 1926 to 1936.

    Apart from being a political and historical document of personal nature the text of the memoirs puts real meaning into the Marxist dictum that the world ought to be changed for the better. The real emancipation of working class people lies through the socialist transformation of society, the primary value of the work as a guide to put that belief into practice.

    Dada Amir Haider was not formally educated but his observations are very clear and concise. It encompasses a whole lot more than just political analysis. His book is about cultural and social history of the time that it covers rather than a strict political analysis. According to the editor, being uneducated he used the English language as a native would, and probably was a precursor to the usage of English now with much great deference to the local idiom. The published version it seems has been straightened out considerably by the translator [editor].