THE MONTHLY SEARCH FOR TRUTH IN NEWS

February 2006




THIS MONTH’S TOPICS:


SOTT Editorials and Features

What Can You Do?
We get many emails from readers asking what they can do. They see the dire situation facing the United States and feel helpless. Many say that before finding our site, they wondered if they were crazy or if they were the only one that saw what was happening to their country. If you have benefited from our work, then there is likely to be someone else out there who could, too. But how do we reach them?

The Real Enemy and What YOU Can Do
Last week I wrote an editorial to kick off our Semi-annual Fundraiser. In that editorial I quoted a popular political action group's fund-raising report that informs us that, from 6,613 contributors, they were able to raise $389,900 in a single DAY. That averages out to $58.00 per person. Not a big expenditure for everyone, but the total is what is amazing. That total is a result of the large base of supporters they have which they have as a result of early advertising and very public and prominent activities where they make a big splash but actually accomplish zilch. They added that "This generosity gives us a great deal of hope." I, on the other hand, did not express much hope at all that pursuing change via political action within the existing system would accomplish a thing.

The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
If the world is the expression of those who inhabit it, the mirror of ourselves and our ways of interacting with each other, then surely the only way for the world to evolve is for its inhabitants to evolve.


In a perfect world
A good society is a means to a good life for those who compose it; not something having a kind of excellence on its own account. — Bertrand Russell .  In a perfect world, there would be no soldiers, no police, no crime, no hatred, no oil spills. A ritually stabilized world population, structured so each person connected with an actualized family unit, would have behaviorally internalized integrity and civility and this was reflected in friendly social behavior and totally amiable international relations.


Big Oil and Bigger Profits - Fleecing the Sheeple
Today, Oil company Royal Dutch Shell reported a record annual profit for a UK-listed company of $22.94bn. This comes on top of similarly outrageous profits previously posted by other major oil exploration companies. Exxon Mobil for example made a staggering $36.1 billion in 2005. Where do these vast sums of money come from? Check your bank balance, that might give you a clue.

Listen Up, America: It's Now or Never
Lately, I find myself in a bit of a funk. It all started with Patrick Fitzgerald riding in on his white horse and dishing out indictments left and right - at least, that's what everyone thought he would do. But that's not what happened.

Abortion, Psychopaths and Mother Love
The other day a most interesting post was made to our modest little guestbook/forum as follows:
First of all, congratulations on your site – your work is admirable. Lately I have found on it one more piece of a puzzle I have been trying to put together for years. The basic question goes like this: why does it seem necessary for the powers of the week to put down women to such an extent? An urgent sub-question is: why is George W. Bush so hellbent on taking away not only women's rights generally, especially reproductive rights?Now, we already know some of the rather self-evident answers: a state oriented towards war and domination NEEDS babies, most of all babies born from poor and uneducated families, in order to have a) people willing to enlist in the army and b) cheap wage workers – it will be very important to have a lot of them when comes the time to remove unions and worker's rights. And you cannot get a high birth rate in a society where women are free to choose not to have babies. But then, that explanation is not enough.
Preparing the World For Another 9/11
What are we to make of the "furore" surrounding the publishing of anti-Islam cartoons by Dutch and French daily papers? The intent seems clear enough - to portray Islam, and therefore all Muslims as fanatic terrorists, and to provoke Muslim groups to confirm for the world that this portrayal is accurate - which is exactly what has happened. Flag and effigy burning has already ensued in Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Palestine territories. In Iran, hundreds of thousands of worshippers staged a protest demonstration against the insulting cartoons, shouting "Death to America," "Death to Israel" and "this insult will not remain unanswered."


Burning Down Danish Embassies: More Straussian Psychological Warfare?
Amidst the corporate media feeding frenzy over the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September and subsequently reprinted in European media and New Zealand in the past week, one important element has apparently slipped under the wire—the complicity of Danish imams who “circulated the images to brethren in Muslim countries,” according to Charles Moore, writing for the UK Telegraph. “When they did so, they included in their package three other, much more offensive cartoons which had not appeared in Jyllands-Posten but were lumped together so that many thought they had.”

Reaping The Genetic Whirlwinds
For hundreds of years, the New World was the dumping ground for the misfits and criminals of Europe. The indigenous peoples of the Americas were their first victims. Will those who once cast off their rejects now stand up and face the consequences?


Hillary Clinton and the Neolib Gender Game
According to CBS, Americans don’t care what gender their neolib rulers are. “As has been the case for a number of years, nearly all Americans say they would vote for a woman for president from their own political party if she were qualified,” reports the corporate propaganda division of Westinghouse (a former death merchant industry). Not unexpectedly, CBS sports an image of the Grand Madame of Globalism—Hillary Clinton—on the page with the poll results, thus revealing who they imagine the next president should be, that is if the easily and repeatedly hoodwinked masses decide 2008 is high tide for a female ruler. No doubt millions of Americans will feel a tad better—at least in the short term—about taking their marching orders down the thorny road toward slavery from a woman.


Flemming Rose and the Straussian Art of Provocation
As suspected, and claimed on this blog over the weekend, the inflammatory anti-Muslim cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten were a deliberate provocation designed to outrage and incite Muslims and thus engender support in Europe and America for the manufactured “clash of civilizations” engineered by the Straussian neocons. As Christopher Bollyn writes for the American Free Press, the neocon operative behind the cartoon scheme is Flemming Rose, cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, who has “has clear ties to the Zionist Neo-Cons.” Rose “traveled to Philadelphia in October 2004 to visit Daniel Pipes, the Neo-Con ideologue who says the only path to Middle East peace will come through a total Israeli military victory. Rose then penned a positive article about Pipes, who compares ‘militant Islam’ with fascism and communism,” Bollyn reveals.

Iraqi voices are drowned out in a blizzard of occupiers' spin
The deception that launched the invasion of Iraq now increasingly shapes media coverage of the occupation Three years after invading Iraq, George Bush and Tony Blair are still dipping into the trough of deception and disinformation that launched the war: hailing non-existent progress, declaring sanctimonious satisfaction with sectarian elections and holding out the mirage of early withdrawal. In reality, the occupation and divide-and-rule tactics have spawned death squads, torture, kidnappings, chemical attacks, polluted water, depleted uranium, bombardment of civilians, probably more than 100,000 people dead and a relentless deterioration in Iraqis' daily lives.


Jeff Rense: Crypto-Jew or Holocaust Denier?
It’s a crazy, polarized world. On the one hand, we have former GCN radio show host Daryl Bradford Smith declaring fellow radio talk show host and website proprietor Jeff Rense a Zionist stooge, and on the other hand we have a reactionary Horowitzite and Israeli settler Steve Plaut, calling him a “Holocaust Denier, a Neo-Nazi, and a UFO nut.”

Wake Up And Smell The Cordite
al-Badawi. Do you recognise that name? Didn't think so. He's one of the people that the US government alleges carried out a suicide bomb attack on the USS Cole as it sat at a Yemeni harbor in 2000.


What Can You Do?
We get many emails from readers asking what they can do. They see the dire situation facing the United States and feel helpless. Many say that before finding our site, they wondered if they were crazy or if they were the only one that saw what was happening to their country. If you have benefited from our work, then there is likely to be someone else out there who could, too. But how do we reach them?

Boo!
When the going gets tough, the president talks terror, terror, terror. Does this man have any credibility? Only with those who think that Osama and Saddam are one and the same and, of course, the people who still believe that Iraq attacked us on September 11, 2001. Yes, that's the answer. Oh, and the scared. Actually, I don't buy this foiled plot Bush announced today--that al Qaeda planned to fly a plane into the Library Tower. And one of the many reasons is because he had to read it to us. If there were any truth to his success at preventing a disaster, he would have been capable of telling it.

Bush Recycles Terror Plot Disinfo in the Nick of Time
Naturally, this whole sketchy and uncorroborated affair is simply a transparent effort to deflect attention away from congressional intelligence committee hearings supposedly empanelled to uncover details about Straussian neocon criminal behavior vis-à-vis snooping on millions of Americans. It is also intended to offer up an excuse for continued snooping and the deliberate trashing for the Bill of Rights as the Straussian neocons behind the Bush administration make steady progress in reducing America to a nightmarish Panopticon.

Commentary on the Cointelpro War
Magus, a friend of Signs of the Times and former 60s activist in the United States, looks back finds some answers to questions that have been haunting him for three decades.

Secularist Stupidity & Religious Wars
"What hypocrisy. When it comes to what Germans are most sensitive about, Hitler and the Holocaust, they are ruthless censors. British historian David Irving has spent three months in a Viennese prison awaiting trial on Feb. 20 for speeches he made 15 years ago in Austria. Skeptics and deniers of the Holocaust are prosecuted, fined and imprisoned in Europe with the enthusiastic endorsement of the European press."

They Thought They Were Free - The Germans, 1933-45
"To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it — please try to believe me — unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

The President Who Cried Wolf
In the past, the lies that have come out of the White House have at least been potentially almost kind of a little bit true. Now we’ve reached a new low. Today our President told the country that his illegal wiretapping allowed the US government to foil a terrorist plot four years ago to hijack an airplane using shoe-bombs and fly it into the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles. Bullshit.


The Real Enemy and What YOU Can Do
Last week I wrote an editorial to kick off our Semi-annual Fundraiser. In that editorial I quoted a popular political action group's fund-raising report that informs us that, from 6,613 contributors, they were able to raise $389,900 in a single DAY. That averages out to $58.00 per person. Not a big expenditure for everyone, but the total is what is amazing. That total is a result of the large base of supporters they have which they have as a result of early advertising and very public and prominent activities where they make a big splash but actually accomplish zilch. They added that "This generosity gives us a great deal of hope." I, on the other hand, did not express much hope at all that pursuing change via political action within the existing system would accomplish a thing.

More Evidence Nuking Iran is on Schedule
As former CIA intelligence analyst Philip Giraldi told the American Conservative last July, the United States plans to nuke the be-jesus out of Iran. “The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons.”

Censorship in Modern 'Democratic' America
More than likely, you missed the display of public opinion on Bush's illegal wiretapping at Georgetown University, Washington, a few weeks ago. The reason you missed it is the same reason we missed it: the mainstream media more or less ignored it. Don't bother trying to find the story with a google news search either, it simply isn't there. Such is the state of censorship in modern-day America.

NSA Snoop Fiasco: Democrats Sell the Constitution Down the River
If we are to believe the corporate media, Bush’s “secret eavesdropping program” is useless and “out-dated” because a shrewd “al-Qaeda” has “undoubtedly has changed its means of communication to avoid Washington’s monitoring,” according to the Associated Press.


Blair's Anti-Terrorism Law - Throttling The Truth
The race between Tony Blair and George Bush (and their NeoCon backers) to become the first modern Western "Democracy" to transform itself into a de facto dictatorship is heating up.

Daniel Pipes and the Danish Cartoon "Conspiracy"
“There’s a conspiracy theory developing about myself and Flemming Rose, the Jyllands-Posten cultural editor who published the famous twelve cartoons of the Muslim prophet,” Straussian neocon and Islamophobe ne plus ultra Daniel Pipes informs us on his blog.


Land of the Puppet People
From Valenzuela's Veritas
American Heroin
It oftentimes boggles the mind to try and understand the ease with which the Establishment can manipulate the American citizenry into another warmongering escapade, this time an ominous foray into the Persian lands of Iran, a nation rich in history, culture, location and most importantly to the Evil Empire, oil and gas.

Gaza as the Warsaw Ghetto 
From Kurt Nimmo's blog 
Ehud Olmert, acting like Governor-General Hans Frank, has decided to turn the Gaza Strip into the Warsaw Ghetto. Frank was of course Governor-General of occupied Poland and Olmert is the acting PM of Israel, also known as occupied Palestine (ministerial powers were transferred to Olmert after the war criminal Ariel Sharon suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke).

The British Government: Long-Time Sponsor of Islamic Terror
You want the news behind the news? You want to know just how far from reality the official truth is? Consider the following story from today's UK Guardian:


The Protocols of the Pathocrats
In this week's podcast we discuss what we have identified as the very first problem that must be solved in order for positive changes to be undertaken in America and elsewhere in the world: the Media. Knowledge is power. Those who control information can control the masses; it's that simple. As we researched the subject of the media, we came across The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. As everyone knows, this is a vicious anti-Semitic hoax. We agree. We do not for a minute think that this represents Judaism or ordinary Jewish people. What was shocking for us was our realization that the Protocols is being implemented almost line by line by many of the members of the Bush Administration and the various government 'think-tanks' that formulate their policy. In other words, the Protocols is not a hoax because it is nonsense, but rather it is only a hoax because it was attributed to Jews. Here, we present the text of Protocol 12 from which several excerpts were read on the podcast and which we jokingly referred to as "The Gospel According to Karl Rove." Read it and understand that this is, indeed, the number one issue that America must deal with before they can do a single other thing.

7862 Iraqi Prisoners Murdered In U.S. Custody
Two days ago, online magazine Salon.com announced that they had obtained files and other electronic documents from an internal Army investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal.

Slow Murder of the Fourth Amendment
Another Day In The Empire
Earlier today, I called Jack Blood’s radio show on GCN and complained loudly and mightily about how the PATRIOT Act was rubber stamped by the Senate yesterday, paving the way for all manner of continued and increasing malfeasance against the people and the now jackboot trampled and seriously bruised (if not comatose) Bill of Rights.

How long do you have?
Will you wait to be killed, or ID the real perpetrators? How do you talk to your neighbor when he's right in the middle of killing someone? What if all your neighbors are doing it, what do you do then? Do you also start killing?

Redneckville
OpEdNews
I am no longer willing to be cheerful and friendly with these failures of democracy, these losers who have sold out our precious freedoms so they can, even if it's at a subconscious level, feel more manly, more tough, by buying into Bush's war, his pseudo tough, stupid, cowboy talk about evildooers, swamps and caves. These men ARE the swamp and cave dwellers, and they are actively helping to send the US into a third world era.

Crisis of the Republic
Many people in the United States see that their country is in the midst of the greatest crisis it has ever faced. However, as long as they remain blind to the fact that their government was complicit in the attacks of 9/11, they will remain impotent to confront their adversary, underestimating its deviousness and malicious character.

Trans-Generational Terrorism
There can be little doubt that the very same Western powers that created the modern-day Middle East are now in the process of destroying it. Yet it is a constant source of amazement to us how a Middle East plan that began with then British Secretary for War Winston Churchill employing chemical weapons to 'placate' the indigenous Arab tribal population of then Mesopotamia, can have continued on so seamlessly for almost 100 years of the history of the political elite, until today, when Churchill's heir finds himself slavishly devoted to the same destructive impulse. What mechanism exists that can ensure the success of such a nefarious generation-spanning agenda?

Correcting the Record on My Stint Writing for Counterpunch
Occasionally I will take note of the lunatic wanderings of the Israeli settler Steven Plaut, a so-called economics professor in Israel (no doubt teaching his Jabotinsky-inspired brood how to steal land from Palestinians), if only to correct his lies and counter his slanderous remarks about your humble blogger. For instance, since the demise of David Horowitz’s Moonbat Central blog (probably retired because the reactionaries posting there often engaged in slander and outrageous if not transparent lies instead of making actual logical arguments, thus opening Horowitz and his CIA-connected meal ticket Richard Mellon Scaife to lawsuits), Plaut has since wandered about, “guest” posting on the blog of another dispossessed Horowitzite, Rocco DiPippo. In one such recent post, Plaut claims I was “fired” from Counterpunch.

Saddam Tapes Tainted by Cherney Foundation
All of a sudden Saddam, or one of his groomed doubles, is talking on tape. Bush was right all along about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, or at least partially right, and there is a new shine of legitimacy on the invasion of Iraq and the murder of thousands of Iraqis who probably should have known better than to live in a country with such a perfidious dictator, a guy who messed around with weapons of mass destruction behind the back of the United Nations and the Greatest Darn Country on Earth.


Baghdad bomb kills 22 - But Who Is to Blame?
In what has tragically become a commonplace event, today yet another car bomb exploded in Baghdad. The UK Guardian reports:

Jack Straw Protests Too Much
Yesterday, during his whistlestop tour of Iraq, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw made a couple of very interesting admissions, although undoubtedly he would not see them as such.

The Chomsky/Blankfort Polemic
The anti-war movement has failed"

Tel-Aviv and Washington are linked in the Middle East. That's a fact. But the importance of this link in Washington's colonial politics is being debated in the anti-imperialist movment. For the US Jewish, anti-Zionist journalist Jeffrey Blankfort, Israeli influence is central to US policy and the anti-war movement has failed because of their inability to understand the importance of this lobby. Having developed a radical approach to this question, going so far as to deny the energy factor in the war in Iraq, Mr. Blankfort nonetheless opens interesting paths on Zionist influence in the United States. We reproduce an interview he gave to journalist Silvia Cattori.

Check Your Conscience at the Door: We're Building an Empire
Blaring its typical jarringly cacophonous morning radio jabber, the suddenly welcome sound of my alarm rescued me from the maelstrom of a nightmarish Neocon world spawned within my unconscious mind. As consciousness flooded my being, I had an epiphany. My breed of human being is a pariah in the American Empire.


Bush Neocons: Going After Fifth Columnists
David Horowitz, on the paycheck of the reactionary Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and CIA collaborator Richard Scaife's foundation, ranted and raved back at the outset of the Iraqi invasion in early 2003, issuing shrill warnings about a "Fifth Column … preparing to move into action to attempt to defeat America in its war against Saddam." According to Horowitz, the incipient "peace movement is not about peace" but is instead "a fifth column communist movement" determined "to destroy America and give victory to our totalitarian enemies."

More On The Shrine Bombing
At least 120 people have now been killed as a direct result of the bombing of the Shia shrine in Iraq. Fifty bullet-riddled bodies were found in Baghdad overnight and 47 factory workers were killed at a roadblock on the outskirts of the capital.

Israeli Defense Minister Declares Palestine "Axis of Evil"
Call it déjà vu but Israeli television reports are branding Mahmoud Abbas as irrelevant in a move identical to their position toward the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. And though Hamas has largely honored the truce established last year, not only has Israel broken that truce over 24,000 times resulting in nearly 200 Palestinians deaths, Shin Bet has rejected an extended truce with Hamas.

Testimonies of two eyewitnesses near the bombed Dome
As with so many other events of global significance in recent years, the official story about the bombing of the Shia shrine in Iraq two days ago has very quickly started to stink and reveal many inconsistencies...

Pentagon-Controlled Iraqi National Guard Implicated in Samarra Mosque Bombing
As the "non-partisan" Council on Foreign Relations assures us, Iraqi National Guard troops are trained and fully "vetted" by the Pentagon. "National guard troops receive three weeks of formal training and then on-the-job training by working with U.S. forces," a CFR backgrounder explains. "The National Guard has replaced the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps as the largest security force in Iraq," reports the World Tribune. "The 45,000-member force has been trained and equipped by the United States, with help from Britain and Jordan." In short, the Iraqi National Guard is a subsidiary of the Pentagon, organized and trained to do the bidding of the Anglo-American occupation forces and their installed minions. Thus it should come as no surprise the Iraqi National Guard may play an important role in the recent bombing of the Golden Dome mosque in Samarra, according to locals.

There used to be very little sectarianism in Iraq
A reader writes to the UK Herald:
Iraq is a land replete with many wonders, not least of which is/was the al-Askari shrine in Samarra. Twenty years ago I was on my way to al-Hatra, a fifth-century Greek settlement (near Mosul), when I first saw the Golden Mosque in Samarra. We also climbed the famous tower with its perilously open-spiral staircase. This venerated shrine has now been detroyed, its flanking minarets still forlornly standing, thus only underlining the loss of the famous dome itself.

Hezbollah and Condi's Double Standard
"Lebanon has refused to extradite to the United States four suspected Shia Hezbollah members believed to have carried out attacks against Americans in Beirut during the 1980s, judicial sources said on Saturday," reports the Khaleej Times. "Local media said that during her visit to Beirut earlier this week US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had made the demand to Prime Minister Foaud Seniora." It is interesting Condi would make such a demand, but then Straussian neocons know no bounds, ethically or legally, especially when it comes to pushing around small countries.

The Caricatures in Middle East Politics
The centerpiece of the current explosive confrontation between Islamic and Arab protestors, political leaders and governments and the US and Western European regimes and publishers is rooted in Israeli efforts to polarize the world in its favor and to promote isolation, economic sanctions and/or a military attack on Iran. There are several key questions, which almost all commentators and analysts have failed to address. These include: Why did the "cartoons" get published in Denmark?

Starving Palestinians to Death
Another Day In The Empire It should now be obvious Israel fully intends to starve as many Palestinians to death as possible.

When Americans No Longer Own America
www.thomhartmann.com The Dubai Ports World deal is waking Americans up to a painful reality: So-called "conservatives" and "flat world" globalists have bankrupted our nation for their own bag of silver, and in the process are selling off America.




Glimpses Of Truth


The corporate plunder of Iraq
The neo-liberal transformation of Iraq is portrayed as a humanitarian venture. Western corporations and occupying governments now talk of the liberation of Iraq from the “tyranny of Saddam’s planned economy”. On the day that major hostilities were declared over, Tony Blair told the Iraqi people, “Saddam Hussein and his regime plundered your nation’s wealth. While many of you live in poverty, they have the lives of luxury. The money from Iraqi oil will be yours – to be used to build prosperity for you and your families.” This has turned out to be another shameless lie. Saddam’s regime was undoubtedly corrupt, in the sense that he established a system of patronage and rewards for the elite that remained closest to him. But the scale and intensity of the corruption and fraud perpetrated by the occupation is unprecedented in modern history.

Congressman Hinchey says Bush didn’t want to capture Bin Laden

When the US didn’t capture Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, it wasn’t by mistake, Congressman Maurice Hinchey of Hurley theorized. Instead, Hinchey said the Administration had a motive for not capturing him. “Why did we do that? The only logical answer that comes to mind is they didn’t want to capture Bin Laden because if they captured Bin Laden and wiped out the Taliban, which they could have done at that moment, there would have been no justification for going to war in Iraq, and they wanted to use that as a justification for attacking Iraq,” he said. Hinchey is a critic of the war in Iraq and the Bush administration, who he says lied about the reasons for going into Iraq.

White House Can't Sweep Aside Abramoff

The scandal surrounding disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff has shaken up Capitol Hill. But it still poses significant problems for the Bush White House.
A court hearing scheduled later this month may bring fresh attention to the case of former White House aide David Safavian, who is charged with lying in connection with a golf trip Mr. Abramoff arranged. Justice Department officials haven't closed their review of actions by former Interior Department official J. Steven Griles, who disputes claims that he favored Abramoff clients, such as Native American tribes involved in casinos. Calls for the White House to release photos of Mr. Abramoff with the president -- and details of his contacts with presidential aides including Karl Rove -- haven't abated.

Ex-FEMA chief: I may tell all about Katrina

 Former disaster agency chief Michael Brown is indicating he is ready to reveal his correspondence with President Bush and other officials during Hurricane Katrina unless the White House forbids it and offers legal support.
Brown's stance, in a letter obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, follows senators' complaints that the White House is refusing to answer questions or release documents about advice given to Bush concerning the August 29 storm. Brown quit as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency days after Katrina struck. He left the federal payroll November 2.

Paul Bremer - New Canaan's Pontius Pilate

His work was precisely laid out in Washington and he performed it with quiet ferocity. His first task was to turn over Iraq’s traditional publicly owned enterprises to foreign investors. He started with electricity. (In California, this was analogous to deregulation.) Next to go was the public water supply, and soon the telephone system. New Canaan can identify with this sort of privatization. Then came the banks, followed shortly by the insurance companies, all quickly gobbled up by outside money. Now even farmers are not allowed to plant their own seeds, but must buy genetically modified models from Monsanto, Cargill, or the like.

Iraqi voices are drowned out in a blizzard of occupiers' spin

Three years after invading Iraq, George Bush and Tony Blair are still dipping into the trough of deception and disinformation that launched the war: hailing non-existent progress, declaring sanctimonious satisfaction with sectarian elections and holding out the mirage of early withdrawal. In reality, the occupation and divide-and-rule tactics have spawned death squads, torture, kidnappings, chemical attacks, polluted water, depleted uranium, bombardment of civilians, probably more than 100,000 people dead and a relentless deterioration in Iraqis' daily lives.

What Is Plan B?

Eradicate poverty, reforest the earth, restore fisheries, eliminate overgrazing, protect biological diversity, stabilize climate -- Lester Brown says it's all possible.

Following Orders Is No Excuse

If Powell had refused three years ago to deliver the Speech of Lies, we would not now be watching an identical duplicity being rolled out against Iran. The ultimate cost of the deception being practiced on the American people will dwarf the terrible price that has already been paid. Why didn’t Powell do the right thing? His own reputation would have been forever secure as a man of integrity. Why did he sacrifice his integrity to the crooked scheme of his commander in chief?

The Neocons' Grand Plan: Oil, Israel, Military Bases
There is hardly anyone now who believes that George W. Bush invaded the country of Iraq, in March 2003, to prevent the development of weapons of mass destruction, or to combat Islamist terrorism. Even that 'democracy' thing was an add-on after the fact and only served as a cover when the official reasons for war fell apart. In any case, international law does not permit a country to attack another one in order to change its political regime. Only fascist and totalitarian countries do that, i.e. Hitler's Germany and Brezhnev 's Soviet Union.

America's masterplan is to force GM food on the world

There is little the WTO, the EC or the US can do in face of this coalition of the unwilling. If the US again tries to impose its GM products on Europe - as it did in the 90s, sparking the whole debacle - the attempt will backfire. Europe's biotech industry may now try to force the EC to use the WTO judgment to get the six countries with import bans to repeal anti-GM laws, but it will meet an even broader, more determined movement.

Hidden history of US germ testing
In the 1950s, the Seventh-day Adventist Church struck an extraordinary deal with the US Army. It would provide test subjects for experiments on biological weapons at the Fort Detrick research centre near Washington DC. The volunteers were conscientious objectors who agreed to be infected with debilitating pathogens. In return, they were exempted from frontline warfare.

Conservatives Endorse the Fuhrer Principle - Our leader über alles
Last week's annual Conservative Political Action Conference signaled the transformation of American conservatism into brownshirtism. A former Justice Department official named Viet Dinh got a standing ovation when he told the CPAC audience that the rule of law mustn't get in the way of President Bush protecting Americans from Osama bin Laden. Former Republican congressman Bob Barr, who led the House impeachment of President Bill Clinton, reminded the CPAC audience that our first loyalty is to the U.S. Constitution, not to a leader. The question, Barr said, is not one of disloyalty to Bush, but whether America "will remain a nation subject to, and governed by, the rule of law or the whim of men." The CPAC audience answered that they preferred to be governed by Bush. According to Dana Milbank, a member of the CPAC audience named Richard Sorcinelli loudly booed Barr, declaring: "I can't believe I'm in a conservative hall listening to him say Bush is off course trying to defend the United States." A woman in the audience told Barr that the Constitution placed Bush above the law and above non-elected federal judges. These statements gallop beyond the merely partisan. They express the sentiments of brownshirtism. Our leader über alles.

14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism - Flash
BushFlash
Flash to share with family and friends.

Bush May Be Crossing the Rubicon From Republic To Dictatorship

Through the justifications it has put forth for warrentless wiretapping, the Bush administration is almost literally crossing the Rubicon, beginning the process of transforming the United States from a republic into to a presidential dictatorship. The warrantless wiretapping is dangerous, illegal and unconstitutional by itself. These are criminal acts by the President, and in and of themselves warrant impeachment and removal from office (whether or not impeachment is politically practical under a Republican Congress.) But the Administration's feeble rationales justifying this program are even more dangerous. Bush and his surrogates claim that the President has the constitutional right, as part of his inherent powers as Commander-In-Chief during a time of war (an endless war in this case) to do anything he chooses to do if he believes it protects national security. In short, Bush claims the power of a dictator.

Traitorous bitches and bastards
Yes, freedom died this week and just about every one of the bitches and bastards who "serve" in Congress should take a long, hard look at the blood on their hands. They stand guilty of high crimes and treason against the United States of America. They are traitors and should be treated as such.

Silence the War Drums
Congressman Ron Paul
02/20/06
Before the US House of Representatives, February 16, 2006
-- Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this very dangerous legislation. My colleagues would do well to understand that this legislation is leading us toward war against Iran.


U.S. Army stretched to breaking
The Marines may be the most celebrated of the American armed forces, but it's the Army that does most of the heavy lifting, as it is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the process, the Army is being battered and shattered in the same way that it was in Vietnam. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that isn't the case; everything's fine. But a recent authoritative study says he is wrong. Commissioned by the Pentagon, the study was done by Andrew Krepinevich of the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He's a West Point graduate who served in a variety of Army roles, including a stint on the strategic plans and policy division, before retiring. He holds a doctorate from Harvard University.

Neoconservatism has evolved into something I can no longer support
The US needs to reframe its foreign policy not as a military campaign but as a political contest for hearts and minds. As we approach the third anniversary of the onset of the Iraq war, it seems unlikely that history will judge the intervention or the ideas animating it kindly. More than any other group, it was the neoconservatives inside and outside the Bush administration who pushed for democratising Iraq and the Middle East. They are widely credited (or blamed) for being the decisive voices promoting regime change in Iraq, and yet it is their idealistic agenda that, in the coming months and years, will be the most directly threatened.

Slicing Away Liberty: 1933 Germany, 2006 America
I must confess that I'm utterly baffled by the lack of sustained, organized outrage and opposition from Democratic officials and ordinary citizens at the Bush Administration's never-ending scandals, corruptions, war-initiations, and the amassing of more and more police-state power into their hands.
And so, facing little effective opposition, the Bush juggernaut continues on its rampage. How to explain this? Certainly, one could point to a deficient mass-media, to the soporific drug of TV, to having to work so hard that for many there's no time for activism, to education aimed at taking tests and not how to think, to the residual fear-fallout from 9/11, to a penchant for fantasy over reality, to the timid and unimaginative Democratic leadership, to scandal-fatigue, etc. But I would suggest that even more disturbing answers can be found by examining recent history.


It's Munich In America. There Will Be No Normandy.
This is it, folks. This is the scenario our Founders lost sleep over. This is the day they prepared us for. Outside the Philadelphia convention Benjamin Franklin was asked what sort of government he and his colleagues were crafting. His reply? "A republic. If you can keep it." And that is just the question at issue today. Can we keep it? Sure, it can sound melodramatic to use the f-word (no, not the one Churlish Cheney hurled at Patrick Leahy), and I have mostly avoided doing so for just that reason. Especially where the politically less informed are concerned, arguing that America is slipping into fascism can be the first and last point they'll hear you make.

They Thought They Were Free - The Germans, 1933-45
By Milton Mayer Excerpt from pages 166-73 of "They Thought They Were Free" First published in 1955
"To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it — please try to believe me — unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

Victims of War Are Not To Be Seen Or Heard Or Mentioned

"The greatest dignity and respect you can give [victims of war] is to show the horror they suffered, the absolute gruesome horror."
-War Photographer David Lesson

Joseph Bonham was an American soldier. He lost both of his arms and legs and all of his face to an artillery shell. He could not see or hear or speak. Other than that he was healthy and lucid. That was Joe's nightmare. He could be kept alive a long time. Joe remained an anonymous torso until his head tapping was recognized as Morse code. When his message was finally understood, it was assumed he'd gone insane. Joe asked to be put on exhibit so that children and parents and teachers and politicians and preachers and patriots of every stripe could have a close-up look at war's leavings. It was the only way he could give his nightmare meaning. Joseph Bonham's request was denied. It was not in the best interest of the country to foist him on an unsuspecting public. He died an "unknown soldier."

After 40 Years, the First National Security Whistleblower Still Seeks Justice

Kennedy's "Plan for a Coup in Cuba" and the Secret Service agent who knew too much
After an outstanding career in law enforcement, Abraham Bolden was appointed by John F. Kennedy to be the first African American presidential Secret Service agent, where he served with distinction. But you haven't heard about Abraham Bolden during Black History month, because after helping to prevent JFK's assassination in the weeks before Dallas, Bolden was arrested on the very day he went to Washington to tell the Warren Commission about those attempts. Caught in a maze of National Security concerns that only became clear after four million pages of JFK files were released in the 1990s, Bolden was sentenced to six years in prison, becoming America's first National Security Whistleblower.


Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs'
Is the Pentagon building U.S.-based prison camps for Muslim immigrants? Evidence points to the possibility.
Not that George W. Bush needs much encouragement, but Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a new target for the administration's domestic operations -- Fifth Columnists, supposedly disloyal Americans who sympathize and collaborate with the enemy.
"The administration has not only the right, but the duty, in my opinion, to pursue Fifth Column movements," Graham, R-S.C., told Gonzales during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Feb. 6. "I stand by this president's ability, inherent to being commander in chief, to find out about Fifth Column movements, and I don't think you need a warrant to do that," Graham added, volunteering to work with the administration to draft guidelines for how best to neutralize this alleged threat. "Senator," a smiling Gonzales responded, "the president already said we'd be happy to listen to your ideas."

Taste of the Future

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." The acidulous wisdom of Mark Twain speaks to us across the ages, and never more than this week during the great congressional mobilization to save America's ports from the dreaded hand of Dubai. The furor over Dubai is misplaced on so many levels, but let's start with the supposed terrorist threat. Military and CIA officials will tell you privately that the United Arab Emirates is among the most effective intelligence partners the United States has today in the Arab world. Its operatives are risking their lives to help gather information about al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. They don't advertise it, and when an operation goes bad -- such as the U-2 spy plane that crashed last June returning from Afghanistan to al-Dhafra air base -- they keep their mouths shut.

Defeat is victory. Death is life
Everyone in the Middle East rewrites history, but never before have we had a US administration so wilfully, dishonestly and ruthlessly reinterpreting tragedy as success, defeat as victory, death as life - helped, I have to add, by the compliant American press. I'm reminded not so much of Vietnam as of the British and French commanders of the First World War who repeatedly lied about military victory over the Kaiser as they pushed hundreds of thousands of their men through the butchers' shops of the Somme, Verdun and Gallipoli. The only difference now is that we are pushing hundreds of thousands of Arabs though the butchers' shops - and don't even care.

War in Error

Sending a general to do a sheriff's job.
Small events sometimes reveal large truths. Last month's U.S. missile strike in the remote Bajaur district of Pakistan was such an event. Aimed at taking out Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's chief deputy, the strike missed its intended target and killed as many as 18 residents of the small village of Damadola. But the episode did not end there: outraged Pakistanis rose up in protest; days of highly publicized anti-American demonstrations followed. In effect, the United States had handed Muslims around the world another grievance to hold against Americans.


Wounded in Iraq: Survivors
They left under a wave of support - red, white and blue bunting and flags and cheers - and headed to a war half a world away in Iraq. It was their duty, their calling, their patriotic responsibility. They returned missing . . . one his arm, the other his ability to walk. Their lives shaken and futures uncertain, two soldiers from Utah are now at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. They have few regrets.
'We're soldiers; that's our job,' Utahn says. Cpl. Braxton McCoy's uniform had pockets on both sleeves. On the right, he carried a folded flag. On the left, he packed his checkbook. That's meaningful, he's sure, because the bullet from the AK-47 ripped through the checks, not through the Stars and Stripes. Sitting in his electric wheelchair, the bones in his legs cracked and shattered from a suicide bomber, McCoy isn't outwardly emotional as he recounts the tale of when ball bearings ripped through his hand, his legs and his face. He'll walk again, he vows. But the 20-year-old member of the Utah National Guard's 222nd who wears his cowboy hat like it's required, won't be riding bulls anymore or shoeing any horses for a while.
"I've always wanted to serve," McCoy says, as he struggles to attach footrests to his wheelchair with his one unbandaged hand. "Being in the Army wasn't enough; as a soldier you don't feel like you've done your duty unless you've gone to war. "It's sad we had to go over, but we're soldiers; that's our job." McCoy's future paid a price when he did his job. Now his new daily routine isn't feeding horses or cattle or moving the sprinklers on the alfalfa as a ranch hand near Scipio. He's waking to the sounds of a hospital in Washington, D.C., and struggling to get out of bed and into his wheelchair for physical therapy.


From Superpower to Tinhorn Dictatorship
America is headed for a soft dictatorship by the end of Bush's second term. Whether any American has civil rights will be decided by the discretionary power of federal officials. The public in general will tolerate the soft dictatorship as its discretionary powers will mainly be felt by those few who challenge it.

Signs Comment: Some might argue that it already is a tinhorn dictatorship. Given the control of the vote, do we really think there is any chance of a Democratic win in November? Didn't the exit polls in November 2004 give Kerry the vote? But even...what if the Democrats got control of Congress? What difference would that really make, other than to reassure wishful thinkers that "something was done"?

Graduates versus Oligarchs
What we're seeing isn't the rise of a fairly broad class of knowledge workers. Instead, we're seeing the rise of a narrow oligarchy: income and wealth are becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small, privileged elite.

Speak for Yourself
While we were camping out in hot and humid Crawford, Texas last August, trying to meet with George Bush and trying to end the war, a right-wing organization called Move America Forward (to oblivion?) started a bus tour called: Cindy, You Don't Speak for Me. Move America Forward does some nice things, like sending coffee to our troops. It is unfortunate for the families of the almost 2300 killed troops that the organization doesn't send non-defective body armor, GPS devices, or IED jammers to save the lives of the troops that have been put in harm's way for the politicians' lies and cowardice and corporate greed. I think these things would be a little more useful than coffee.




Bush And His Cronies


Bush: U.S. Must Get Free of Mideast Oil
WASHINGTON - A politically weakened President Bush declared Tuesday night that America must break its long dependence on Mideast oil and rebuked critics of his stay-the-course strategy for the unpopular war in Iraq.
"America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world," Bush said as he sought to drive the election-year agenda in his annual State of the Union address.

Signs Comment: This speech leaves us ... well, speechless. We seem to remember, not too long ago, the Neocon Congress was offering tax cuts to those who purchased big, gas guzzling SUVs. Now, all of a sudden, everybody who has one of these polluting plants is "addicted to oil." No doubt.


Bush: 'L'etat, c'est moi'
WASHINGTON -- We are now learning what President Bush considers to be the limits of his power -- nothing.
In public appearances this week, Bush defended his program of domestic spying without court approval, citing the inherent war powers of the presidency under the U.S. Constitution. [...] It all smacks of France's Louis XIV's famous dictum: "L'etat, c'est moi"-- "I am the state."


Bush says only US can secure world peace
President George Bush insisted last night that, despite its difficulties in Iraq, America would not retreat from the world, arguing that US leadership " is the only way to secure the peace". Isolationism and protectionism, he warned in his annual State of the Union address, led ultimately only " to danger and decline."

Signs Comment: Sorry Dubya, you're a day late and a dollar short. You've made the US so unpleasant that all the brains with any sense have left by now...


President aims to rally America after dismal year
After the worst year of his presidency and with a desperate need to regain the political initiative, George Bush will seek tonight to rally Republicans and persuade all Americans that progress is being made on the most crucial issues confronting the nation. [...] He will argue that progress is being made in Iraq as well as in the so-called war on terror. He is also likely to draw attention to the challenge presented by the stand-off with Iran while stressing his administration has no quarrel with the Iranian people.


Angry, skeptical Americans unimpressed with State of the Union speech
"The man is a crook," she said. "He belongs in jail, not the White House." Seems to be the general concensus.


State of the Union: When Bush Talks Straight
Speaking before Congress on September 20, 2001, President Bush directly addressed the people of Afghanistan:

"I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them. "Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated." [...]
State of the Union: Why Those Terrorists Got Away - Bush skips uncomfortable details on wiretap program
In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Bush defended his NSA domestic spy program, citing the failure to catch two of the 9-11 hijackers who had been placing international calls to al Qaeda leadership in the days before the attacks. But as James Ridgeway wrote in December, the problem wasn't that no U.S. intelligence agents knews of the hijackers, but rather that no one did anything with the information the U.S. had.


Empty Rhetoric from a Vacuous Presidency
It is not that the emperor has no clothes; just that he has no credibility left. It often gets so disheartening to cut through the plethora of misdirection and subterfuge in the speeches of George W. Bush. This State of the Union contained more of the same from Bush that we have heard over the past years. Unfortunately, most of his rhetoric does not match his record. You must understand as citizens that it is time to hold this president to his record, not his word. The Rule of Law – President Bush tonight looked America in the eye, and lied. There is no other way to state his ridiculous position on the NSA spying scandal.


State of the Union: Agitated
``Fellow citizens, we have been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We have entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite,'' Bush said. ``We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. And sometimes it can seem that history is turning a wide arc, toward an unknown shore.'' The problem for Bush is that few of these troubles are new. He's had four years to ease people's pain.

Signs Comment: The problem with these kinds of analyses is that they don't take into account the pathology of a man like Bush. If he wasn't born a psychopath, he was certainly made one by his psychopathic mother, "Sergeant Barbara."


Arianna on S.O.T.U.
Let's take some of these gems as they come...
17 mentions of "freedom" from the guy obsessed with assaulting it here at home. Did you notice the president had on a purple tie tonight? Very subtle. He could have come up with a purple finger or maybe covered head-to-toe in purple paint.
We also heard him mention "weapons of mass murder". WMM. That's apparently the new WMD. The president also brought back that old chestnut, the line item veto. This from a man who has yet to veto a single bill. In over five years in office. I guess the line item veto was this year's voyage to Mars. One of the most heart-warming moments came when Joe Lieberman kissed W. even longer than he did at last year's speech. A salute to "Brokeback Mountain," I guess.


Open Letter to the Neocons: We Can See You Squirming
The neocons and their 'mouthpiece,' George W, Bush are in quite a bind over what to do about Iran. In this open letter from a former Pakistan Air Force Officer, America's options in confronting Iran are examined, and with some relish, the author outlines why the neocons are 'squirming' over what to do next.

Dear Neocons,

It is showtime over Iran. You are in a bind of your own making and, boy, am I glad to see it!

Allow me to explain.

Doctoring the past - Wiki style
We are all Alastair Campbells now. Spin doctors' antennae whirred around this week when the volunteers who run Wikipedia discovered that staff of US senators and congressmen had been busy burnishing their bosses' entries in the internet encyclopedia.
Millions of people turn to the reference site to look up facts - and change them. The non-profit making project to build an internet encyclopedia is the 19th most-visited site in the world. Three per cent of all webpages visited are Wikipedia pages. Its guiding, and democratic, principle: anyone can anonymously edit it. Increasingly, it seems, politicians and their staff are among the most dedicated editors.


Cheney Spearheaded Effort to Discredit Wilson
Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley led a campaign beginning in March 2003 to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson for publicly criticizing the Bush administration's intelligence on Iraq, according to current and former administration officials. The officials work or had worked in the State Department, the CIA and the National Security Council in a senior capacity and had direct knowledge of the Vice President's campaign to discredit Wilson.

Libby claims Cheney approved classified media leaks

Indicted former top White House aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby will argue that Vice President Dick Cheney authorized him to leak classified information in 2003 to bolster the case for the US-led war against Iraq, US news media reports. Libby, who has been charged in a federal investigation into the outing of a CIA agent, will in part base his defense on the claim that Cheney had encouraged him to share classified information with reporters, NBC television news said, citing sources familiar with the case.

Spurious George On His Own
Bush's latest lie, however, is different. "I don't know Abramoff" marks a new phase for our disingenuous president. It's almost as if he is lying about sex, given the "who cares" factor, massive evidence to the contrary, and the sheer stupidity of the denial. This Bush lie cannot be explained away by the incompetence of the CIA, or fabrications of his war-hungry neoconservative advisors, or even the verbal screwups his defenders find so charming. ...in Year Six of Our President, George may be emerging from his shell, coming into his own as a liar.

Three More Lawmakers Linked to Abramoff

Two of the elected officials referred to in Friday's filings have been identified in published reports as Reps. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, and Don Young, R-Alaska. According to Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, the two representatives wrote to the GSA in September 2002, urging the agency to give preferential treatment to groups such as Indian tribes when evaluating development proposals for the Old Post Office.

Cheney Complains "National Security Leaks Are Endangering America. Unless, Of Course, He's Doing The Leaking"...
Vice President Dick Cheney bitterly complains that national security leaks are endangering America. Unless, of course, he's doing the leaking, tapping Scooter Libby to reveal national security information to punish a political critic. President Bush says he will not talk about specific security threats to America. Unless, of course, he needs to talk about a specific threat to Los Angeles to confuse the public and gain some cheap political advantage. [...]

Whistleblowers Are Not Protected, Mr. Goss

Sir, as you must very well know after your years in Congress as a representative and as a member of the intelligence committee, there are no meaningful legal protections for whistleblowers. What is troubling is that while you are well aware of the fact that there are no meaningful or enforceable laws that provide protection to national security whistleblowers, you nevertheless state that such workers are covered by existing laws. That is simply false.

The Shoe (Bomb) on the Other Foot

Poor Porter Goss. First, the longtime Florida congressman leaves his safe seat to become director of the CIA, only to find that he’s been neutered by a new bureaucratic setup where he reports to John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence. Then he writes an op-ed piece decrying intelligence leaks in The New York Times on Friday, the exact same day as a story appears identifying today’s biggest leaker of antiterrorism secrets in Washington—President George W. Bush.


Senators: Cheney Should Be Probed in Leak

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald should investigate Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the
CIA leak probe if they authorized an aide to give secret information to reporters, Democratic and Republican senators said Sunday.

U.S. newspaper publishes photo showing Bush and indicted lobbyist

The New York Times on Sunday published a photo showing U.S. President George W. Bush and the now indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff at a gathering in May 2001.
In the picture, the authenticity of which the newspaper said had been confirmed by the White House, Bush was shaking hands with Raul Garza, chief of the Kickapoo Indian tribe in Texas, and a small, partly obscured image of Abramoff was looking on from the background. The White House has declined to release pictures of Bush and Abramoff, a leading Republican fund-raiser who helped raise more than 100,000 U.S. dollars for the president's re-election campaign.

White House says Bush-Abramoff photo is authentic Previously Denied Meeting

The White House on Sunday acknowledged the authenticity of the first photograph made public that shows President Bush and embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff, while stressing it does not mean the two had a personal relationship.
Originally, the White House said it had no record of Abramoff's attendance at the meeting.

Cheney Shoots Fellow Hunter in Texas Accident Companion in Intensive Care With Upper-Body Wounds
Vice President Cheney accidentally sprayed a companion with birdshot while hunting quail on a private Texas ranch, injuring the man in the face, neck and chest, the vice president's office confirmed yesterday after a Texas newspaper reported the incident.

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VEEP WHO COULDN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT: WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN DICK CHENEY'S HUNTING "ACCIDENT"?

The entire Cheney hunting accident story stinks. The delay in announcing it is suspicious, obviously. I'll bet Cheney had a few beers in him, but I'm not sure that is illegal in Texas (drinking and hunting is illegal in most states, but I couldn't find out if that includes Texas). But a few other points that may be worth noting...

Trying to Sort Out the Discrepancies in Cheney Shooting Story

The scoop on the shooting accident involving Vice President Cheney belongs to the political reporter at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times who "had built up a strong source relationship" with the owner of the ranch where the shooting occured, according to Editor & Publisher. The reporter, Jaime Powell, then confirmed the report with Cheney's office in Washington. E&P notes: "The Cheney spokesman Powell spoke with, Lea Anne McBride, would not comment on whether the White House would have ever released the information had the Caller-Times not contacted them."

Hey There, You With the Sun In Your Eyes

Washington is abuzz with the speculation that the GOP will use this little caged birdie shoot-a-thon-gone-wrong as an excuse to get rid of Dick Cheney. It sounds entirely plausible, especially since George Allen was on Fox News Sunday morning calling for investigation into the declassification of the NIE. The GOP obviously knew the shooting had happened and after putting so much energy into spreading the meme that Cheney had the absolute right to have Scooter do what he did they wouldn't allow Allen off the reservation like that without some sort of larger purpose. Maybe it was only a trial balloon, but still.

Cheney steps up war on lawyers U.S. Vice-President accidentally shoots hunting buddy

Mr. Cheney's past escapades have raised the ire of both animal activists and political watchdog groups. In December, 2003, he visited a game farm in Pennsylvania. When gamekeepers released 500 pen-reared pheasants, he shot 70 and ordered them plucked and vacuum-packed. The Humane Society of the United States exposed Mr. Cheney's "canned hunt." Another trip a few week later raised allegations of conflict of interest. In early 2004, it was revealed Mr. Cheney had gone on a duck hunt in southern Louisiana with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, an old friend. The trip took place in January, 2004, three weeks after the high court agreed to hear a controversial case involving the Vice-President. "Vice-President Cheney continues to demonstrate terrible misjudgment with his hunting behaviour," Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said in an interview last night. Mr. Pacelle said Mr. Cheney's hunts represent the worst aspects of the sport -- the "good-ol'-boy network," the use of an "unethical" hunting facility, as well as harming a companion. "Now he's shot a hunting partner. We really don't understand what his obsession with shooting animals is. Certainly he has plenty of other things to keep him busy."

Cheney might have had better aim if he'd served in Vietnam
The White House didn't even report the shooting for 24 hours (and forbid Texas officials from talking about it) and then Scott McClellan told reporters, "These kind of...accidents happen from time to time." McClellan might as well have been talking about the administration's casual attitude about the death toll in Iraq. Yes, 16,600 Americans and upward of 200,000 Iraqis have been wounded, but hey, "accidents happen from time to time." We're still winning the war, right?

More Questions Raised About Delay in Reporting Cheney Misfire

The more than 18-hour delay in news emerging that the vice president of the United States had shot a man, sending him to an intensive care unit with his wounds, grew even more curious Monday with word from the White House that President Bush had been informed of the incident Saturday but not immediately about Dick Cheney's role.


Accidents will happen

I've lived in this town for thirty years, and to no one I'm a stranger And I put new bullets in my gun, chamber upon chamber - Nick Cave.  I hate the sense that TranceFormation of America makes. I've referenced the book several times here, notably with respect to Dick Cheney's endowment, Bill Bennett's sado-masochism and the ubiquity of Oz programming, and each time I've apologized for doing so. Cathy O'Brien's account of her decades of torture and mind control is a fittingly dissociative jumble of contaminated memory, fantasy and truth, and if the rationality of these times were any less attenuated I'd be inclined to not bother trying to separate the parts:

Man Cheney Shot Suffers "Heart Attack"

Despite the heart problem of the man wounded by Vice President Dick Cheney, doctors say removing the shotgun pellet from his chest probably won't be necessary — and digging it out could do more harm than good.
It's not unusual to live with shrapnel or other foreign objects in the body, even the heart, and specialists said it's likely the pellet will scar over rapidly without causing further problems for Texas lawyer Harry Whittington. Hospital officials in Corpus Christi announced Tuesday that Whittington had suffered a "minor heart attack" and was returned to the intensive care unit.

White House Livid About Handling Of Cheney Incident -CBS

A source described as close to the Bush administration said people inside the White House are "livid" about the way Vice President Dick Cheney's office has handled the hunting accident he was involved in over the weekend, CBS News reported Tuesday.
According to CBS News, the source said the issue was no longer Cheney's view of press management but rather about Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and a range of other issues that play into the public's view of the administration's arrogance.

Cheney and shooting victim were hunting illegally, officials say

Vice President Dick Cheney was hunting illegally - without the required $7 stamp on his license for quail - when he accidentally shot one of his hunting partners, Texas Parks and Wildlife officials said Monday.
And so was Harry Whittington, 78, who was recovering Monday from a shotgun blast to the face, neck and chest. In its report, the state agency that oversees hunting and fishing said it found that neither Cheney nor Whittington had purchased the game bird stamp required to hunt quail in Texas, although both had valid hunting licenses. Both will get warning citations, and there will be no fine or other penalty.

Fellow Hunter Shot by Cheney Suffers Setback - CHENEY FACES GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION IF MAN DIES...

The 78-year-old lawyer shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident over the weekend suffered a minor heart attack early Tuesday caused by birdshot lodged in his heart, hospital officials in Texas said. The lawyer, Harry M. Whittington, was moved back into the intensive care unit at Christus Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi, Tex., to be monitored for up to a week in case the birdshot shifted or additional pellets in his body moved into other organs, the officials said at a televised news conference. Dr. David Blanchard, the emergency room chief, estimated that Mr. Whittington had more than 5 but "probably less than 150 to 200" pellets lodged in his body.

Secret Service stalls and delays for Cheney Cover-up in progress and Shotgun ballistics don’t match-up!

It seems clear that this is a cover-up in progress. The hospital where Whittington was taken after the shooting is a heavily guarded facility where he is being operated upon and monitored by doctors and surgeons close to the President and Vice President. These highly skilled medical professionals would have known instantly by a simple X-Ray if he had suffered from a shot to the heart. These doctors, loyal to the the Bush-Cheney cabal are clearly colluding to conceal information about Whittington's actual condition for their masters.

Cheney's Chappaquiddick II: The Real Story Emerges
The real story is already emerging, if you're willing to do a little digging. Cheney and Whittington went hunting with two women (not their wives), there was some drinking, and Whittington wound up shot. Armstrong didn't see the incident but claimed she had, Cheney refused to be questioned by the Sheriff until the next morning, and a born-again evangelical physician has been downplaying Whittington's injuries since they occurrred. Neither the press nor law enforcement seems inclined to investigate.

Cheney's hunting host lobbied White House - Ranch owner who divulged accident earned $160,000 for work in 2004

Katharine Armstrong, who's family owns the ranch where Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a hunting partner, is a registered lobbyist who has been paid to lobby the White House, according to records.

Cheney's Got A Gun

Jon has some advice, "Don't let your kids go hunting with the Vice President. I don't care what kind of lucrative contracts they're trying to land or-energy regulations they're trying to get lifted. He'll shoot them in the face." Rob Corddry added, "Jon, tonight the Vice President is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Whittington. Now according to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time-there-were-quail in the brush. And while the quail turned out to be the 78 year old man. Even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists-he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face.

What Cheney's blast revealed: A new White House lobbying scandal

'I'm going to have lunch with Secretary of State Rice, talk a little business; Mrs. Bush, talk a little business; we've got a friend from South Texas here, named Katharine Armstrong; take a little nap. I'm reading an Elmore Leonard book right now, knock off a little Elmore Leonard this afternoon; go fishing with my man, Barney; a light dinner and head to the ballgame. I get to bed about 9:30 p.m., wake up about 5 a.m. So it's a perfect day.'' -- President George W. Bush, as quoted in the Aug. 22, 2005, New York Times.

Cheney Says He Has Power to Declassify Info
But in an interview on Fox News Channel, Cheney said there is an executive order that gives the vice president, along with the president, the authority to declassify information. "I have certainly advocated declassification. I have participated in declassification decisions," Cheney said. Asked for details, he said, "I don't want to get into that. There's an executive order that specifies who has classification authority, and obviously it focuses first and foremost on the president, but also includes the vice president." Cheney added a ringing endorsement of Libby. "Scooter is entitled to the presumption of innocence," said Cheney.

Signs Comment: What about all the alleged "enemy combatents" that have been rendered for torture, or locked up in Guantanamo? Aren't they entitled to the "presumption of innocence"? We need to focus on the issue here: even if, as Cheney claims, he has the "power to declassify" information, his choice of information to declassify did enormous damage to the intelligence gathering community of the USA. For that, he and Libby both ought to be charged with treason.

Cheney says he may be witness in CIA leak case
Court papers released last week show that Libby was authorized to disclose classified information to news reporters by "his superiors," in an effort to counteract diplomat Joe Wilson's charge that the Bush administration twisted intelligence on Iraq's nuclear weapons to justify the 2003 invasion.

Signs Comment: Now, get this, Cheney says he has the power to "declassify information." It just happens that the information he chose to "declassify" was designed to destroy the reputation of an individual who had exposed the lies of Cheney and pals. It also destroyed the career of his wife, not to mention putting many other career intelligence personnel at risk. If that isn't treason, I don't know what is.

Critics slam Cheney's interview choice

"Now that he feels forced to talk, he wants to restrict the discussion to a friendly news outlet, guaranteeing no hard questions from the press corps," Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., said in a statement. On CNN, commentator Jack Cafferty called the interview "a little bit like Bonnie interviewing Clyde. ... I mean, running over there to the Fox network -- talk about seeking a safe haven."

Text of Dick Cheney's Interview on Fox

Transcript of Vice President Dick Cheney's interview Wednesday with Brit Hume of Fox News Channel, as released by the White House. Cheney addresses his shooting Saturday of a hunting companion, 78-year-old Harry Whittington of Austin, Texas, at a ranch owned by Katharine Armstrong about 60 miles south of Corpus Christi, Texas:

Specter calls for probe of his office to clear doubt on $48 million directed to groups that employed an aide's husband.
Sen. Arlen Specter said yesterday that he would ask the Senate ethics committee to investigate whether any rules were violated when he directed almost $50 million to companies and institutions that employed the husband of one of his top aides as a lobbyist. Specter (R., Pa.) told reporters that he did not believe that he or anyone in his office had done anything wrong. He acknowledged that he had not sorted out all the actions of his aide in the approval of the spending. His office later issued a statement saying the senator was asking for the ethics investigation "to satisfy all conceivable concern."

Smoking banned in DC, but not in Congress
WHEN the citywide smoking ban takes effect here next month, at least one workplace in town will be spared: Congress, the beneficiary of a kind of diplomatic immunity for federal lawmakers. That is excellent news for John A. Boehner of Ohio, the new Republican majority leader, who regularly smokes cigarettes between votes in the House. And for Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat, who sits and smokes cigars while reading the newspaper in the speaker's lobby. And for Sherwood Boehlert, the New York Republican, who is struggling to quit but can be seen inhaling in weaker moments during the workday. Because while the rest of the country has turned against smoking with great zeal, Congress has stubbornly — some would say proudly — refused to bend.

Signs Comment: In what is perhaps yet another indication that certain senior political leaders know more than they are letting on regarding the fate awaiting the rest of the world, Congress has exempted itself from the citywide DC smoking ban recently enacted. Thanks to Signs Forum Member, John, for this one!

The Shootist - What is Dick Cheney Covering Up?
Talking to the media doesn't come naturally to a vice president who hasn't held a press conference for the last three and a half years, but what about the White House PR machine? Why did they wait so long to let the news out? Attorney Alan Dershowitz speculates that Cheney may have stalled to cover up drunkenness. "One possibility is that it takes approximately that period of time for alcohol to dissipate in the body and no longer be subject to accurate testing," Dershowitz writes. "It is fairly common for people involved in alcohol-related accidents to delay reporting them until the alcohol has left the body." Cheney has a history of public intoxication, having been twice convicted of DUI.

Shoot First, Avoid Questions Later

The White House's secretive response to Cheney's misfire cannot be understood apart from the society of Texas royalty. In the original account authorized by Vice President Dick Cheney of his shooting of Harry Whittington, given by Katharine Armstrong, heiress and hunting companion, to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and later elaborated on to other news outlets, the 11 members of the hunting party set off on the morning of Feb. 11 in two trucks for the wilds of the 50,000-acre Armstrong Ranch in search of quails. After lunch, whose menu was described as antelope, jicama salad, bread and Dr Pepper, the hunters divided into two groups. Cheney went off with Armstrong; Pamela Pitzer Willeford, the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein; and Whittington.

Why It's Still Cheney's Chappaquiddick

After trying to get me to say that Cheney and Pamela Willeford had an affair (which I wouldn't - I stick with what I know), Tucker Carlson confronted me on "The Situation" tonight* about the fact that Willeford's husband was apparently on the ranch at the time of the incident. It seems that he and others think that my comparison of the Whittington shooting and Chappaquiddick must be all about sex. That, and the fact that my opening paragraph reciting the facts (as we knew them yesterday morning) included the fact that Cheney and Whittington were with two women to whom they're not married.

Cheney's wayward aim: A guide to Quailgate

When the Vice-President of America shot a hunting companion in the face and chest, it was at first just seen as an unfortunate accident. However, because of poor news management and some questionable recounting of events, the story has become a political scandal, a chance to bash the Republicans, and a wealthy source of humour for many comedians. Here's why...

In the Woods With Dick Cheney and a Gun - The master of mass destruction for a hunting buddy

And then Dick Cheney shot someone. It was Saturday, February 11. He didn't do it on purpose. He thought he was shooting at quail. But there wasn't any quail, there was just a 78-year-old lawyer in a bright orange vest. Dick Cheney shot him in the face.

Hit Refresh? Why Bush may be thinking about replacing Cheney.

The Dick Cheney shooting incident will, in a way, go away. And, in a way, not--ever. Some things stick. Gerry Ford had physically stumbled only once or twice in public when he became, officially, The Stumbler. Mr. Ford's stumbles seemed to underscore a certain lack of sure-footedness in his early policies and other decisions. The same with Jimmy Carter and the Killer Rabbit. At the time Mr. Carter told the story of a wild rabbit attacking his boat he had already come to be seen by half the country as weak and unlucky. Even bunnies took him on. Same with Dick Cheney. He's been painted as the dark force of the administration, and now there's a mental picture to go with the reputation. Pull! Sorry, Harry! Pull!

Scooter Libby’s Home Page
Should we ever appear on Celebrity Jeopardy, we have our charity all picked out: The Scooter Libby Legal Defense Trust, sure to be topping everyone's year-end lists of Least Important Causes. Here, you can learn all about America's favorite former senior administration official - it's everything you need to know about Scooter, besides the unimportant matter of why he actually needs a legal defense trust. And check out the Advisory Committee - a veritable who's who of Washington's indicted, formerly-indicted, and soon-to-be-indicted set. The only person missing is that guy who's automatically your friend when you sign up on Myspace! While you're there, see what others are saying about our friend with the poor penmanship:
World Bank President and Former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz: "He is a kind of perfectionist…I find him extremely valuable. If everybody else is running off to a conclusion, he'll say, 'Wait a minute, have you thought of this?'"
"Of course! 'The British Government has learned…'! Scooter, you're a genius!"

GOP Achievers Want to Compile $5 Million for Libby Defense

A Who's Who of Republican heavy hitters and Bush administration supporters are lending their names to help raise $5 million for the defense of Vice President Cheney's former top aide in his criminal trial. Led by Florida real estate magnate and former ambassador Mel Sembler, the group seeking to help I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby avoid jail time includes 26 notable names, many of whom could also be described as "Friends of George and Dick."

MORE ON THE TREACHERY OF NOAM CHOMSKY
This article deals with an article by one of Noam Chomsky's cronies, Norman Finkelstein, but in every other way it is the continuation of the treachery of Noam Chomsky himself. Norman Finkelstein, like his mentor, is a zionist in disguise. This feature of Norman Finkelstein is more conspicuous, of course, because unlike his mentor's cover-up protection by dishonest pretences as "guru of the Left", he has never been considered such a guru.

US leader crashed by trying to 'pedal, wave and speak at same time'
HE MAY be the most powerful man in the world, but proof has emerged that President George Bush cannot ride a bike, wave and speak at the same time. Scotland on Sunday has obtained remarkable details of one of the most memorably bizarre episodes of the Bush presidency: the day he crashed into a Scottish police constable while cycling in the grounds of Gleneagles Hotel.

Police reveal how Bush can't wave and pedal at same time
The police report describes him as a "falling object" who lost control of his bicycle after trying to pedal and wave at the same time. So ends the mystery of how President George Bush collided with a police officer while cycling at Gleneagles on the first day of the G8 summit last year.

Signs Comment: Not a surprise, he can't think and talk at the same time either.

Poll: Bush Ratings At All-Time Low

The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high. Americans are also overwhelmingly opposed to the Bush-backed deal giving a Dubai-owned company operational control over six major U.S. ports. Seven in 10 Americans, including 58 percent of Republicans, say they're opposed to the agreement. CBS News senior White House correspondent Jim Axelrod reports that now it turns out the Coast Guard had concerns about the ports deal, a disclosure that is no doubt troubling to a president who assured Americans there was no security risk from the deal. The troubling results for the Bush administration come amid reminders about the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina and negative assessments of how the government and the president have handled it for six months.

Blair Approval Rating Falls to 28% in Britain

Few adults in Britain are content with Tony Blair, according to a poll by Ipsos-MORI published in The Sun. 28 per cent of respondents are satisfied with their prime minister's performance, down nine points since November. In May 2005, British voters renewed the House of Commons. The governing Labour party secured 356 seats, followed by the Conservatives with 197 and the Liberal Democrats with 62. Blair has served as prime minister since 1997. In October 2004, Blair announced that he would retire at the end of his third term. Current chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Blair. Yesterday, Dennis Healey-a former chancellor of the exchequer considered as one of the Labour party's elder statesmen-suggested that Blair should step down soon, saying, "I think Tony's showing he is losing his grip, and the sooner Gordon takes over the better." 31 per cent of respondents are satisfied with the current government, down two points in three months. The next election must be held on or before Jun. 3, 2010. Sitting prime ministers can dissolve Parliament and call an early ballot at their discretion.

Bush is hemorrhaging support of the big boys - The Con, the (former) neo-con, the Con-man and the 'end of neoconservatism.'
In the past week, the Bush administration and the neocons have been hemorrhaging bigtime supporters so badly you'd be forgiven for assuming there's another Cheney hunting party in the works. First, in an upcoming book, Project for a New American Century signatory Francis "the End of History" Fukuyama declares that neoconservatism "should be discarded on to history\'s pile of discredited ideologies." Wow. The Alex Massie article also notes that "Mr Fukuyama now thinks the war in Iraq is the wrong sort of war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time." Strike one.

Pit Boss: Blair's Dark Kingdom
Britain's New Statesman magazine has put together a powerful package of stories detailing how the government of George W. Bush's beloved disciple, Tony Blair, is "persecuting innocent people, tearing up our freedoms and undermining the judiciary." The basis of the stories is a new, blistering report from Amnesty International on the degraded state of civil liberties in the UK today.

When the ingrates met the hypocrites - Inept American self-interest and Conservative toadying in Washington make an unedifying mixture
TONY BLAIR only recently learnt something that his critics say should have been obvious to him for years: gratitude is not a virtue that George W. Bush has in abundance. The Prime Minister decided to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with America in Iraq because he believes it was in Britain's interests to do so: Saddam Hussein was a threat to Britain's security and to world order, and nurturing the special relationship with America is essential to the preservation of Britain 's influence in world affairs. He also believes that Western democracies bear a special burden. Long before Bush signed on to the aggressive foreign policy developed by America's neoconservatives, Blair had pushed for just such a forward thrusting approach to the spread of democracy.

From Cash to Yachts, Convicted Congressman Set Bribery Rates
Prosecutors call it a corruption case with no parallel in the long history of the U.S. Congress. And it keeps getting worse. Convicted Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham actually priced the illegal services he provided. Prices came in the form of a "bribe menu" that detailed how much it would cost contractors to essentially order multimillion-dollar government contracts, according to documents submitted by federal prosecutors for Cunningham's sentencing hearing this Friday. "The length, breadth and depth of Cunningham's crimes," the sentencing memorandum states, "are unprecedented for a sitting member of Congress."

Signs Comment: We don't think Cunningham's crimes are "unprecedented," he's just one that got caught...

The World That Dick Built

This is the guy who pulled the trigger of the gun that fired the round that hit his friend that ruined the hunt and shed some light on the world that Dick built...

It's Usually About Money

Conflicts are often about money. One factor that might account for the Bush administration's hostility toward Iran is Iran's plan to open a bourse – an oil exchange – in March in which Iranian oil will be sold for euros, not dollars.




U.S. Foreign Policy Including Iraq And Iran


Calls grow to 'impeach' Blair as 99th soldier dies in Iraq (100 now)
The soldier's death intensified pressure at Westminster for an inquiry by a committee of seven Privy Councillors into the Prime Minister's handling of the Iraq war and the use of intelligence reports to boost public support for the invasion. Leaders of a cross-party group calling for Mr Blair to be impeached will meet tonight at Westminster to discuss their tactics.

Margaret Hassan killed after '$US10m ransom' refused
THE kidnappers of Margaret Hassan, the British aid worker murdered in Iraq in 2004, demanded a ransom of $US10million to spare her life, according to a leaked Italian police report. The main suspect named in the report, Sheik Abdel Salam al-Qubaisi, is a senior official in the ulema, a Sunni hardline clerical group known in English as the Association of Muslim Scholars.

US soldiers shoot at Canadian ambassador's car in Baghdad
The US military shot at the Canadian ambassador's car in Baghdad but no-one was hurt in the "unfortunate incident," a US State department official said. "There was an incident involving the (US) military and the Canadian ambassador's car today," a State Department official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. "They shot on it."

Soldiers sue over out-of-pocket costs
Members of the Massachusetts National Guard file what is thought to be a first-of-its-kind lawsuit.

Japan to leave Iraq in May
Japan will withdraw its ground troops from southern Iraq by the end of May along with pullouts by the British and Australian forces from the area, Japanese media outlets have reported citing sources in the Japanese Government.

Iraq 'death squad caught in act'

Iraq has launched an investigation into claims by the US military that an Iraqi interior ministry "death squad" has been targeting Sunni Arab Iraqis. The probe comes after a US general revealed the arrest of 22 policemen allegedly on a mission to kill a Sunni. "We have found one of the death squads. They are part of the police force," US Maj Gen Joseph Peterson said. Sunnis have long accused Iraqi forces of operating death squads - but the claims have never been substantiated. Iraqi deputy interior minister Maj Gen Hussein Kamal said his ministry had set up an inquiry.

Iraq calls on US to hand over Iraqi detainees
Iraq’s human rights minister called on US-led forces on Thursday to hand over all Iraqi inmates at US-run prisons to the Iraqi government, following more footage of prisoners being abused.
“We are very worried about the Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib. The multinational forces and the British forces should hand them over to the (Iraqi) government,” Zuhair al-Chalabi told Reuters. “This is a very dangerous issue that the Iraqi government should review,” he said. “The Iraqi government should move immediately to have the prisons and the prisoners delivered to the ministry of justice.” In an interview, Chalabi condemned the previously unpublished images as “major human rights violations” and compared them to abuses committed under dictatorships. The footage was broadcast on Wednesday by an Australian television station. “These are major (human rights) violations that turned to crimes. When you torture and hit in this brutal way it doesn’t make any difference from the dictators’ systems.” US forces are holding about 14,000 detainees in Iraq.

The Basra video should lay to rest a scurrilous lie
Although I and numerous members of my family suffered personally, physically and otherwise at the hands of the Saddam Hussein regime, and dreamed for many years of the day he would be gone, I always opposed the invasion and occupation of our country. Subsequent events have made me even more convinced of the fallacy and immorality of the military campaign that Britain and the US have pursued in Iraq. The biggest indictment of the war and occupation is surely that more and more Iraqis are speaking publicly of how life was far better when Saddam was in power - an achievement most Iraqis never imagined possible.

The Forgotten Terrorist Attack
Those inside the bomb shelter died horrific deaths. First, a 2,000-pound bomb crashed through the shelter creating a massive tunnel in which the second 2,000-pound bomb then came. Both blew up leaving a huge hole and killing more than 400 people. Only seven humans survived the attack. Those who died actually saw the first bomb and had a few seconds of life left before the second burrowed its way into the shelter. Such an attack transcends the barbarity of a bombing in which the people die immediately.

Sunni Insurgents Seen as Increasingly Unified

"Today, the prospect of an outright victory and a swift withdrawal of foreign forces has crystallised, bolstered by the U.S.' perceived loss of legitimacy and apparent vacillation, its periodic announcement of troops redeployments, the precipitous decline in domestic support for the war and heightened calls by prominent politicians for a rapid withdrawal," the report states.

The Iraq war's defining weapon

The threat posed by Iraq's reported possession of weapons of mass destruction was the excuse US President George W Bush gave for his invasion of Iraq in 2003, but it is the simplest of technologies - the roadside bomb - that has emerged as the biggest nightmare for US occupation forces in Iraq.
The improvised explosive device (IED), which is the insurgents' weapon of choice in Iraq, has accounted for more than half of all US injuries and deaths in combat since March 2003 - by far the single greatest cause of death for US service members.

Radical cleric's influence grows in Iraq

BAGHDAD Late Saturday night, on the eve of a crucial vote to choose Iraq's next prime minister, a senior Iraqi politician's cellphone rang. A supporter of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr was on the line with a threat. "He said that there's going to be a civil war among the Shia" if Sadr's preferred candidate was not confirmed, the politician said. Less than 12 hours later, and after many similar calls to top Shiite leaders, Sadr got his wish. The widely favored candidate lost by one vote, and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the interim prime minister, was anointed as Iraq's next leader. "Everyone was stunned; it was a coup d'état," said the politician, a senior member of the main Shiite political coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance.

U.S. Risks Reporter's Life to Strike Tough Pose
The George W. Bush administration went well beyond refusing to negotiate with terrorists in its handling of the threat by freelance journalist Jill Carroll's abductors to kill her if all female detainees were not released from U.S.-run prisons in Iraq.
According to Iraqi officials, U.S. officials delayed the scheduled release of six female prisoners whom they knew had already been found innocent because of the kidnappers' demand for their release. Then they refused to speed up the review of the files of the five remaining female prisoners, in violation of a policy of giving priority to females in the review of detainee files for release.

Al Qaeda establish 'Islamic state' in Pak province

After taking "virtual control" of the entire North Waziristan province of Pakistan, Taliban and Al Qaeda have recently "declared" the establishment of an 'Islamic State' in the area and gained a major base for their operations against the US-led forces in Afghanistan, media reports said.
"The Taliban recently declared the establishment of an 'Islamic State' in North Waziristan, and they now, through the brutal elimination of criminal elements who previously held sway, in effect rule in the rugged territory," a latest report in 'Asia Times' magazine said.

Can You Say "Permanent Bases"? - The American Press Can't
We're in a new period in the war in Iraq -- one that brings to mind the Nixonian era of "Vietnamization": A President presiding over an increasingly unpopular war that won't end; an election bearing down; the need to placate a restive American public; and an army under so much strain that it seems to be running off the rails. So it's not surprising that the media is now reporting on administration plans for, or "speculation" about, or "signs of," or "hints" of "major draw-downs" or withdrawals of American troops. The figure regularly cited these days is less than 100,000 troops in Iraq by the end of 2006. With about 136,000 American troops there now, that figure would represent just over one-quarter of all in-country U.S. forces, which means, of course, that the term "major" certainly rests in the eye of the beholder.

Iraq Attacks Increase

The US military has warned that rebel attacks across Iraq have increased 30 percent over the past few weeks, the statement coming as attacks across the country Thursday wounded 30 people and killed at least eleven.

Japan plans Iraq troop withdrawal

Japan will start withdrawing its troops from Iraq in late March, around the same time Britain will begin its pullout, the Yomiuri Shimbun said Friday.


Bush Administration's War Spending Nears Half-Trillion Dollars - President Asks Taxpayers for Another $65 Billion for Iraq and Afghanistan
In a single year, it is difficult to measure overall progress in the war on terror. But ABC News has learned today that President Bush will ask Congress for an additional $65.3 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It brings the total funds requested this year to more than $110 billion for those operations. This is the fourth time in three years that the Bush administration has asked for additional funds for Iraq and Afghanistan, and the $65 billion request is $2 billion higher than expected.

Veteran reporter says 3,000-4,000 Iraqis killed every month
MADRID - Between 3,000 and 4,000 Iraqis are killed every month, rendering "ridiculous" US President George W. Bush's estimate of about 30,000 civilian casualties since the start of the war, veteran British journalist Robert Fisk said Wednesday.


Surface-to-Air Missile Downed U.S. Chopper in Iraq
[...] Pentagon officials tell ABC News they believe Iraqi insurgents used a Russian-made SA-7 surface-to-air missile to shoot down a U.S. military helicopter on Monday. The AH-64 Apache crashed north of Baghdad, killing the two crew members. It was the third American chopper to go down in 10 days. It's a troubling new development because there are hundreds — and by some estimates thousands — of SA-7 missiles that are unaccounted for in Iraq.
 
Signs Comment: Well, all we can say is this is a fine fix Dubya has gotten us all into. The whole damn planet is a powder keg just waiting for a spark.

Near simultaneous bombings on central Baghdad street kill at least 23
BAGHDAD (AP) - A suicide attacker detonated an explosive vest in a crowded downtown coffee shop Thursday and another bomb exploded seconds later under a nearby car, killing at least 23 people and wounding 26, police and hospital officials said.

Iraq detainees to be freed early
Iraq's ministry of justice has told the BBC that six of the eight women being held by coalition forces in Iraq are to be released early. The six will be freed because there is insufficient evidence to charge them, a justice ministry spokesman said.

Italy to withdraw troops from Iraq by end of year
Italy will withdraw its remaining military force from Iraq by the end of 2006, Defence Minister Antonio Martino announced, in the first such declaration by a major US ally in Iraq.

Rome prosecutors to charge U.S. soldier with murdering Italian agent in Iraq
ROME -- Italian prosecutors investigating the killing of an Italian secret service agent at a checkpoint in Iraq plan to charge a U.S. soldier with murder and attempted murder, Italian media reported Tuesday.


Iraq and the Democratic Empire
This talk was delivered to the Auburn University Libertarians on February 16, 2006. As all students today know, Iraq is the country that the US invaded with the attempt to convert the state and the people from enemy to friend. On the face of it, this sounds rather implausible, of course. Good fences make good neighbors. Friendship and peace are not usually the result of insults, sanctions, invasions, bombings, killings, puppet governments, censorship, economic controls, and occupations. If this generation learns anything from this period, that would be a good start.

George Bush’s War Without End
Now that the cakewalk that was to be our invasion of Iraq is nearing its third anniversary and the roses that were to be thrown at us have turned into improvised explosive devices, it has become official — we are engaged in a long war. Make that “The Long War.”

Iraq Bombings Kill 24 People
The U.S. ambassador to Iraq warned Iraqi politicians Monday they risk a loss of American support if they do not establish a genuine national unity government, saying the United States will not invest its resources in institutions run by sectarians.
Meanwhile, at least 24 people, including an American soldier, were killed by bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere. Two Macedonian contractors were freed by kidnappers four days after they were abducted in Basra, a British official said without giving further details.

British troops executed unarmed Iraqi
AN UNARMED Iraqi shot dead in one of the most controversial incidents of the Iraq war is suspected to have been the victim of an execution by British soldiers angry at the death of their sergeant.

Basra cuts co-operation with British over beating video
The municipal government of a southern Iraqi city has suspended co-operation with British forces because of a video that appears to show British soldiers abusing Iraqi civilians. The council in Basra announced its decision on Sunday, a week after a newspaper released the video and published photographs that seem to show British soldiers beating youths with batons in southern Iraq in 2004. Another council in the area has made a similar move, which means British troops can expect little official co-operation in most of the parts of southern Iraq that they are supposed to monitor.

Bombing of Baghdad 'linked to UK radiation rise'
THE "shock and awe" bombing campaign in Iraq caused radiation levels in Britain to rocket, according to a controversial report by a Liverpool University academic. Chris Busby claims "uranium aerosols" from the Middle East were blown across Europe, contaminating populations thousands of miles away.

Navy Counsel Issued Warning On Torture
The Navy's general counsel warned Pentagon officials two years before the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that circumventing international agreements on torture and detainees' treatment would invite abuse, according to a published report. Legal theories granting the president the right to authorize abuse despite the Geneva Conventions were unlawful, dangerous and erroneous, then-General Counsel Alberto J. Mora advised officials in a secret memo. The 22-page document was obtained by the New Yorker for an article in its Feb. 27 issue.

What if Cheney had Apologized for Iraq?

Satire alert for the humorless. What would it have looked like if Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney had apologized for Iraq the way he apologized for shooting a hunting buddy? [Imaginary] Transcript of Vice President Dick Cheney's interview Wednesday with Brit Hume of Fox News Channel, as released by the White House. Cheney addresses his illegal invasion of Iraq on false pretences, resulting in tens of thousands of dead. Question: Mr. Vice President, how are the Iraqis? Answer: Well, the good news is they are doing very well today. I talked to their leaders yesterday after they discovered how many we had killed and tortured . . . But we've stopped the very worst torture, so the reporting today is very good.

Former U.S. Official in Iraq to Plead Guilty to Corruption
A former American occupation official in Iraq is expected to plead guilty to bribery, conspiracy, money laundering and other charges in federal court on Thursday for his actions in a scheme to use sexual favors, jewelry and millions of dollars in cash to steer reconstruction work to a corrupt contractor, according to papers filed with the court.

White House eyes billions for Iraq maintenance
The Bush administration is considering asking Congress later this year for at least $2 billion in new reconstruction money, primarily for maintaining completed Iraqi facilities.

Signs Comment: Now, let us get this straight: they want the American people to pay to destroy the place, and then they want the American people to pay to build it again???

The Future of American Children: Iraq's Babies will soon be America's Babies
The photographs posted on this website were provided by Dr. Siegwart Horst-Gunther, author of "URANIUM PROJECTILES - SEVERELY MAIMED SOLDIERS, DEFORMED BABIES, DYING CHILDREN" (ISBN: 3-89484-805-7). The book is a documentary record of the depleted uranium ammunition effects on Iraqi babies that were taken between 1993 and 1995. It also includes images of the children born to soldiers that have returned from Iraq after being exposed to Depleted Uranium. The book has (not surprisingly) been censored in the USA. Dr. Gunther also has in his possesion additional photographs from his unpublished collection which feature mainly the birth deformities being experienced by USA Iraqi war veterans' children. Now, look at these images and KNOW that this is coming to America thanks to George W. Bush and the neocons. These babies will soon be America's babies. Will one of them be yours?

Rebels kill dozens as Bush seeks emergency funds for Iraq
Iraqi forces maintained a tight grip on security as Shiites continued to observe the 10-day holy festival of Ashura, a day after rebels left a trail of blood killing at least 30 people.
US President George W. Bush, meanwhile, sought 70 billion dollars in emergency funds for further military operations in Iraq.


Washington's Iraq Blindness
The Iraq that exists in President Bush’s imagination and the real Iraq, the one in which 160,000 U.S. troops occupy a nation sliding into civil war, have never seemed further apart. [...]
Iraqi minister blows whistle on bribes
THERE is honour among thieves, but what about between people stealing from the UN oil-for-food program? Can they trust each other? The answer, it seems, is no. The Australian has learned that Australia's wheat exporter, AWB, was dobbed in to UN investigators by the Iraqi minister who ordered the company to pay bribes.

US drone makes emergency landing in Baghdad
An unmanned U.S. drone made an emergency landing on Tuesday night in the Shiite's Sadr neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Wednesday.


IRAQ: Children's mental health affected by insecurity, say specialists
The Association of Psychologists of Iraq (API) has released a report stating that the US-led invasion and occupation of the country have greatly affected the psychological development of many Iraqi children. "Children in Iraq are seriously suffering psychologically with all the insecurity, especially with the fear of kidnapping and explosions," said API spokesman Maruan Abdullah. "In some cases, they're found to be suffering extreme stress." More than 1,000 children were interviewed countrywide over the past four months for the study, the findings of which were released on 5 February.

Signs Comment: Remember Madeleine Albright's remark about how the death of over 500,000 Iraqi's, mostly children, was "worth it"? Well, if you can't kill 'em, then drive them nuts. Turn them into the crazy people your media has already convinced the public they are. Then when they start going off, like the crazies in the US, you can say, "look, I told you, they are animals".

Report Says Number of Attacks by Insurgents in Iraq Increases
Sweeping statistics on insurgent violence in Iraq that were declassified for a Senate hearing on Wednesday appear to portray a rebellion whose ability to mount attacks has steadily grown in the nearly three years since the invasion.


Iraq Coalition Shrinking
The Ukrainians are long gone. So are the Norwegians. The Italians and South Koreans are getting ready to leave, and the Britons and Japanese could begin packing their bags later this year. Slowly but steadily, America's allies in Iraq are drawing down or pulling out as Iraqi forces take more responsibility for securing the country. By year's end, officials say, the coalition - now 25 nations supporting a dwindling U.S. contingent of 138,000 - may shrink noticeably.

Signs Comment: There is a strange disconnect between this report and the recently declassified report (published by the NY Times) that says "Sweeping statistics on insurgent violence in Iraq that were declassified for a Senate hearing on Wednesday appear to portray a rebellion whose ability to mount attacks has steadily grown in the nearly three years since the invasion."  Now, how can it be both that the "Coalition" is withdrawing as the "Iraqi" forces get better, AND that the insurgency is getting worse? Something doesn't compute here. Notice the last paragraph which very well may reveal the truth: "Reid, the British defense secretary, denied "we've got sneaky plans to cut and run," though he acknowledged meeting with Japan's defense minister last month and that Britain's military has "planned for all contingencies."

Iraq rebuilding costs 'much higher' than $56B
Iraq will need more money to rebuild than the $56 billion forecast by the World Bank and the United Nations in 2003, two government watchdogs said.
"That number in fact will be much higher," Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, told a congressional panel Wednesday. He didn't cite a new estimate.

Iraq's basic services are worse now than before war began
 Virtually every measure of the performance of Iraq's oil, electricity, water and sewerage sectors has fallen below pre-invasion values, even though $16 billion of U.S. taxpayer money has already been disbursed in the Iraq reconstruction program, several government witnesses have told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Gasoline Crisis in Iraq
Contract mismanagement and possible corruption in the Iraqi government are fueling a crisis over international gasoline delivery into Iraq. Citing a mountain of unpaid bills, the governments of Turkey and Saudi Arabia have shut off gasoline exports to Iraq. With its options dwindling and beleaguered Iraqis demanding fuel, Baghdad has begun to negotiate with former arch-rival, Iran. Meanwhile, hundreds of irate Iraqi security guards, who work for the gasoline delivery companies, are threatening to protest along the Kuwait border to demand payment. Government officials in Baghdad and Washington claim that the cause of the gasoline shortage is "insurgent" or "terrorist" activity but the trucking companies say that the problem is often corruption and common criminal activity.

Bush waged Iraq war by "cherry-picking" intelligence: former CIA official
A former CIA official who coordinated US intelligence on the Middle East has accused the Bush administration of "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war, The Washington Post reports. The newspaper said Paul Pillar, who was the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, also accused the administration of ignoring warnings that the country could easily fall into violence and chaos after an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein. "Official intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs was flawed, but even with its flaws, it was not what led to the war," Pillar wrote in the upcoming issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Instead, he asserted, the administration "went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."

Bush ignored CIA advice on Iraq, says former spy

The CIA official in charge of intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of ignoring assessments that sanctions and weapons inspections were the best way to deal with Saddam Hussein, and that an invasion would have a "messy aftermath". In an article in the next edition of the bimonthly journal, Foreign Affairs, Paul Pillar, has become the highest-ranking CIA official from the prewar period to accuse the White House of manipulating the intelligence on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. The allegations contradict the findings of two official inquiries into the intelligence debacle, which have largely blamed the CIA and absolved the administration. They also emerged on the day it was reported that Lewis Libby, a former aide to Vice-President Dick Cheney, had told a grand jury that he had been "ordered" by "his superiors" to leak classified WMD information to the press to bolster the case for going to war.

British troops videoed 'beating Iraqi Teens'
Details emerged last night of a shocking video which appears to show a group of British soldiers brutally beating and kicking defenceless Iraqi teenagers in an army compound. The footage is said to show eight soldiers pulling four teenagers off the street following a riot and dragging them into their army base, before beating them with batons, as well as punching and kicking them.
An urgent Military Police investigation was under way last night into the events shown in the video. The Ministry of Defence issued the following statement: 'We are aware of these very serious allegations and can confirm that they are the subject of an urgent Royal Military Police investigation. We condemn all acts of abuse and treat any allegation of wrongdoing extremely seriously.'

Army fears reprisals as Blair orders abuse video inquiry
Military commanders yesterday stepped up security for British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of a video apparently showing soldiers brutally attacking defenceless Iraqi teenagers. The video was shown on TV channels in the Arab world just as ministers and Muslim leaders are trying to dampen the row over the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, and when thousands of British troops are preparing to be deployed to the hostile environment of southern Afghanistan.

Still Cherry-Picking the Facts on Iraq
Recent revelations about the Bush administration's selective use of prewar intelligence may have finally awakened the U.S. media, but the public is too distracted to notice.

Iraqis Remain Starved of Electricity
Abbas Mutlaq and Thaer al-Mufti live at opposite ends of Iraq, but both have given up on the government to supply electricity, turning instead to private generators to keep the lights on. And both say the power supply situation has worsened since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein despite the billions of dollars set aside by the Bush administration for reconstruction.

Signs Comment:
Iraqis often ask why a superpower that can send thousands of soldiers, tanks and Humvees to fight a war half a world away cannot guarantee that the lights work.
Here's an idea: US leaders simply don't care. While ordinary Iraqis have struggled for years now without electricity, clean water, and a problematic sewage system, companies like Halliburton have raked in extraordinary profits. And don't forget about the profitable private security contractor companies that are tightly linked to the Bush family! No, the Bush administration never planned on making life better for Iraqis. The gang in Washington figured they'd make a buck or two million while feeding the public all sorts of lies about what was really happening in Iraq.

A Permanent Basis for Withdrawal? Can You Say "Permanent Bases"?

We're in a new period in the war in Iraq -- one that brings to mind the Nixonian era of "Vietnamization": A President presiding over an increasingly unpopular war that won't end; an election bearing down; the need to placate a restive American public; and an army under so much strain that it seems to be running off the rails. So it's not surprising that the media is now reporting on administration plans for, or "speculation" about, or "signs of," or "hints" of "major draw-downs" or withdrawals of American troops. The figure regularly cited these days is less than 100,000 troops in Iraq by the end of 2006. With about 136,000 American troops there now, that figure would represent just over one-quarter of all in-country U.S. forces, which means, of course, that the term "major" certainly rests in the eye of the beholder.

Army of Iraq war veterans 'suffering brain damage'

THE hardest part of Jason Poole’s day is his early morning confrontation with the face staring back at him from his bathroom mirror. In the past 18 months, plastic surgeons have rebuilt it five times. “I used to be handsome, you know,” says the 23-year-old US Marine, who was on foot patrol in western Iraq in June 2004 when he suffered terrible injuries in a roadside bomb blast. He adds: “But hey, c’est la vie.”

Jafari wins by one vote to become Iraqi PM

The narrow election of Ibrahim Jafari, a Shiite doctor, as Iraqi prime minister is worrying some Iraqis and U.S. officials because of his ties to Iran.

Baghdad Embassy Bonanza - Kuwait Company’s Secret Contract & Low-Wage Labor

A controversial Kuwait-based construction firm accused of exploiting employees and coercing low-paid laborers to work in war-town Iraq is now building the new $592-million U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Once completed, the compound will likely be the biggest, most fortified diplomatic compound in the world. Some 900 workers live and work for First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting (FKTC) on the construction site of the massive project. Undoubtedly, they have been largely pulled from ranks of low-paid laborers flooding into Iraq from Asia's poorest countries to work under U.S. military and reconstruction projects. 

White House to withdraw funding for rebuilding Iraq
The US government is not planning to continue funding reconstruction projects in Iraq, in what appears to be a major climbdown from the White House's one-time pledge to build the best infrastructure in the region. According to officials cited in yesterday's Washington Post, the Bush administration will not be adding construction funds to the $18.4bn (£10.7bn) it has allocated since the 2003 invasion. In future it will be up to other foreign donors and the Iraqi government to do what it can to complete even basic tasks such as supplying reliable electricity and water to the country's 26 million people.

The Basra video should lay to rest a scurrilous lie

Since April 2003, the people of Basra have consistently been bemused by reports that they and their city enjoy a state of calm and stability under the command of the British forces, in contrast to the north of Iraq and the so-called Sunni triangle. As someone born and bred in Basra, I hope that the recent images of British troops beating young Basra boys to within an inch of their lives will allow such claims to be laid to rest and show a fraction of the reality that has made life throughout Iraq a living hell.

Iraq “exit strategy?”

Fairness dictates admitting that one of the harshest criticisms leveled against the Bush/Cheney administration may be unwarranted and even unadvisable. I’m speaking of the charge that this Iraq war was waged without sufficient planning for what was going to take place after the “major hostilities” had ended. Without a viable “exit strategy”. How many times have you heard that? They didn’t have an exit strategy. Their worst error.

Who Will Possess Iraq’s Oilfields?

In Crude Designs, a report published by the UK-based non-governmental organisation Platform and the US’s Global Policy Institute, oil analyst Greg Muttitt says if current plans are approved, Iraqi’s will "lose control of more than 85 percent of their oil resources to foreign multinationals."

Telegraph concedes to Galloway

The Daily Telegraph has backed down in its libel battle with George Galloway and could face a huge legal bill. The newspaper has decided not to appeal to the House of Lords to overturn a £150,000 libel award to the Respect MP. Mr Galloway successfully sued the paper for suggesting he had received money from Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

Little Testimony Ties Saddam to Crackdown
Nearly Four Months Into His Trial, Little Links Saddam to Bloody 1982 Crackdown

British sergeant 'killed in bomb ambush by rogue Iraqi police'
A BRITISH army sergeant killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq four months ago may have been the victim of a rogue Iraqi police attack, an investigation into his death has discovered. New evidence on the killing of Sergeant Chris Hickey, of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, last October emerged yesterday, as it was revealed that two British soldiers were facing possible murder charges for allegedly shooting an Iraqi in the head.

Signs Comment: For more on the rise of death squads in Iraq and who is behind them, see our article Trans-Generational Tyranny.

U.S. Warns Iraq It Won't Support Sectarian Goals
The American ambassador to Iraq issued an unusually strong warning on Monday about the need for Iraq's political factions to come together, hinting for the first time that the United States would not be willing to support crucial public institutions plagued by sectarian agendas.

Signs Comment: So let's get this straight. US policy since the beginning of its occupation of Iraq has been to set Sunni against Shi'ite, and Sunni and Shi'ite against Kurd. This policy, drawn up in Israel, has led to the balkanisation of the country.  And this end of conflict between different groups of Iraqis was the conscious purpose of said policy. Now, the US ambassador has the gall to tell these same Iraqis that they are "sectarian". His words certainly aren't directed at the Iraqi audience. They are directed at the readers of the New York Times, those people in the US who need to be reassured that their country is in Iraq to fight sectarianism, regardless of the facts. But when the NYT is capable of offering with a straight face the words of members of the Bush regime telling us that the resistance is in its last throes, and that is why it is more and more violent in Iraq, we shouldn't expect anything different.

Iraqi Province Cuts Off U.S. Forces

The governing council of Karbala province said Monday it was suspending contact with U.S. forces over the behavior of soldiers during a visit to the governor's office two days ago.
The decision followed similar moves by leaders of Maysan and Basra provinces, which have frozen ties with British forces in southern Iraq.

Would Someone Please Interfere in Our Elections?

President Bush's Middle East policy is without rhyme or reason.
According to Bush and his neoconservatives, the only way to make America safe from terrorists is to force democracy upon the Middle East. Only ideologues completely ignorant of the Middle East could come to that conclusion.

Over 120 shot dead in Iraq sectarian bloodshed
Gunmen have killed at least 127 people in Iraq in sectarian violence that flared after the bombing of a revered Shiite shrine and reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques.
Amid warnings that sectarian violence could spiral further out of control, Iraqi political leaders went into an emergency meeting with President Jalal Talabani. The bloodshed is likely to complicate the task of Shiite and Sunni political leaders who have pledged to set up a government of national unity in the wake of the December elections which illustrated a deep sectarian split in Iraq.

Iraq fury sparks wave of killings

Police in Baghdad have recovered the bullet-ridden bodies of 50 people as tensions run high following the bombing of a Shia shrine in Samarra.
A curfew has been called in the Iraqi capital and dozens of Sunni mosques have been attacked across the county. Three Iraqi journalists working for al-Arabiya TV have been killed near Samarra where they had gone to report on the attack on the shrine. Iraq's leaders are warning publicly about the dangers of a civil war.

Shock over Iraqi reporter's death
The killing of Atwar Bahjat, who rose to fame reporting from Iraq for both main Arabic satellite news networks, has shocked Arab journalistic circles. Gunmen kidnapped and killed her and two members of her crew near Samarra where they had gone to cover reaction to Wednesday's shrine bombing.

Bomb attack on Iraq army patrol kills 11

A bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol killed 11 people and wounded 21 in the city of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, on Thursday, an army source said.
Civilians and troops were among the casualties in the blast in the city center. It was not clear what type of bomb was used.

US military denies Iraq on brink of civil war

The US military rejected the idea of a brewing civil war in Iraq, saying the number of confirmed major attacks on mosques across the country were only seven.

Iran: U.S., Israel Destroyed Iraqi Shrine

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the United States and Israel on Thursday for the destruction of a Shiite shrine's golden dome in Iraq, saying it was the work of "defeated Zionists and occupiers."


Bulgaria returns troops to Iraq
Bulgaria's parliament has approved a government decision to send troops back to Iraq for non-combat duties. The unit, made up of 120 soldiers and 34 support staff, will guard the Ashraf refugee camp north of Baghdad from the middle of next month.

Tensions...

Things are not good in Baghdad.
There was an explosion this morning in a mosque in Samarra, a largely Sunni town. While the mosque is sacred to both Sunnis and Shia, it is considered one of the most important Shia visiting places in Iraq. Samarra is considered a sacred city by many Muslims and historians because it was made the capital of the Abassid Empire, after Baghdad, by the Abassid Caliph Al-Mu'tasim.

Iraq Implements Curfew to Stem Violence

Gunmen killed dozens of civilians Thursday and dumped their bodies in a ditch, as the government ordered a tough daytime curfew of Baghdad and three provinces to stem the sectarian violence that has left at least 114 dead since the bombing of a Shiite shrine.


Shrine attack deals blow to anti-US unity
Spring is only a month away, and preparations for Nauroz (the Persian new year) are well under way. In Iran this year, however, Nauroz was due to come with a deadly dimension: the start of a new phase of a broad-based anti-US resistance movement stretching from Afghanistan to Jerusalem.
Wednesday's attack on a revered shrine in Iraq could change all this.

O'Reilly: U.S. should leave Iraq "as fast as humanly possible" because "there are so many nuts in the country"
Summary: Bill O'Reilly suggested that the United States "hand over everything to the Iraqis as fast as humanly possible" because "[t]here are so many nuts in the country -- so many crazies -- that we can't control them." O'Reilly has previously called those advocating immediate withdrawal from Iraq "pinheads" and compared them to Hitler appeasers.

Analysis: Whose Bombs Were They?
There's no telling who was behind the bombing of the al-Askariya Mosque. There were no security cameras at the site and it's doubtful that the police will be able to perform a thorough forensic investigation. That's too bad; the bomb-residue would probably provide clear evidence of who engineered the attack. So far, there's little more to go on than the early reports of four men (three who were dressed in black, one in a police uniform) who overtook security guards at the mosque and placed the bombs in broad daylight.

Pushcart bomb kills 16 Iraqis northeast of Baghdad
A pushcart bomb blew up near an Iraqi army foot patrol in a popular market in Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad, on Thursday, killing 16 people, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua.
"A pushcart packed with explosives detonated near an Iraqi army foot patrol while it was passing through a busy popular market in Baquba, killing 16 people, including eight soldiers," the source said on condition of anonymity. The blast wounded 20 others, he added. Insurgents frequently mount attacks on U.S. troops and Iraqi forces in an attempt to cripple the U.S.-backed political process in the violence-torn country.


Japan to Discuss Troop Deployments in Iraq
Japanese defense and foreign affairs officials were to meet with their U.S., British and Australian counterparts in London on Friday to discuss troop deployments in Iraq, a Japanese Defense Agency official said.
Mainichi newspaper reported on Friday that the group would discuss the logistics, but the agency spokeswoman refused to reveal further details of the talks, saying only that no announcement was expected to emerge.


Whose side are we on?

The AP has reported that the number of Iraqi army units that are able to stand alone, without our soldier's help, has dropped from one to zero.
But, the report states, the number of Iraqi battalions capable of leading the battle, with U.S. troops in a support role, has grown by nearly 50%, from 36 to 53, and the number engaged in combat has increased 11%, from 88 to 98.

On the Brink in Iraq

With Iraq perched at the very precipice of an ethnic and sectarian holocaust, the utter failure of the Bush administration's policy is revealed with starkest clarity. Iraq may or may not fall into the abyss in the next few days and weeks, but what is no longer in doubt is who is to blame: If Iraq is engulfed in civil war then Americans, Iraqis and the international community must hold President Bush and Vice President Cheney responsible for the destruction of Iraq.

Iraq's death squads: On the brink of civil war

Most of the corpses in Baghdad's mortuary show signs of torture and execution. And the Interior Ministry is being blamed. By Hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone by death squads working from the Ministry of the Interior, the United Nations' outgoing human rights chief in Iraq has revealed.

Wounded in Iraq: Survivors

They left under a wave of support - red, white and blue bunting and flags and cheers - and headed to a war half a world away in Iraq. It was their duty, their calling, their patriotic responsibility. They returned missing . . . one his arm, the other his ability to walk. Their lives shaken and futures uncertain, two soldiers from Utah are now at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C. They have few regrets.

'We're soldiers; that's our job,' Utahn says
Cpl. Braxton McCoy's uniform had pockets on both sleeves. On the right, he carried a folded flag. On the left, he packed his checkbook. That's meaningful, he's sure, because the bullet from the AK-47 ripped through the checks, not through the Stars and Stripes.
Sitting in his electric wheelchair, the bones in his legs cracked and shattered from a suicide bomber, McCoy isn't outwardly emotional as he recounts the tale of when ball bearings ripped through his hand, his legs and his face.
He'll walk again, he vows. But the 20-year-old member of the Utah National Guard's 222nd who wears his cowboy hat like it's required, won't be riding bulls anymore or shoeing any horses for a while.
"I've always wanted to serve," McCoy says, as he struggles to attach footrests to his wheelchair with his one unbandaged hand. "Being in the Army wasn't enough; as a soldier you don't feel like you've done your duty unless you've gone to war.
"It's sad we had to go over, but we're soldiers; that's our job." McCoy's future paid a price when he did his job. Now his new daily routine isn't feeding horses or cattle or moving the sprinklers on the alfalfa as a ranch hand near Scipio. He's waking to the sounds of a hospital in Washington, D.C., and struggling to get out of bed and into his wheelchair for physical therapy.


Many Americans Urge for Immediate Iraq Withdrawal

Many adults in the United States believe the coalition effort should end soon, according to a poll by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute. 47.8 per cent of respondents think the U.S. should pull out of Iraq now, while 44.1 per cent disagree.

Iraq makes terror 'more likely'

A global poll for the BBC suggests people believe the Iraq war has increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks.

Iraqi Official Says U.S. Reporter Is Alive

The Iraqi Interior Minister believes that kidnapped American journalist Jill Carroll remains alive, his office said on Monday, one day after the deadline set by her captors for killing her....


German Intelligence Gave U.S. Saddam's Defense Plan, Report Says

In providing the document, German officials offered more significant help to the U.S. than their government has publicly admitted. WASHINGTON - Two German intelligence agents in Baghdad obtained a copy of Saddam Hussein's plan to defend the Iraqi capital, which a German official passed on to American commanders a month before the invasion, according to a classified study by the United States military.

And Now Come the Death Squads

Hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone by death squads working from the Ministry of the Interior, the United Nations' outgoing human rights chief in Iraq has revealed. John Pace, who left Baghdad two weeks ago, told us on Sunday that up to three-quarters of the corpses stacked in the city's mortuary show evidence of gunshot wounds to the head or injuries caused by drill-bits or burning cigarettes. Much of the killing, he said, was carried out by Shia Muslim groups under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.

Prosecutors: Saddam OK'd Shiite Executions

Prosecutors at Saddam Hussein's trial presented a document Tuesday they said was signed by the former leader approving the executions of more than 140 Shiites in southern Iraq after an assassination attempt in the 1980s....


'Execution order' presented at Saddam trial

Iraqi prosecutors submitted to the court trying Saddam Hussein what they said was an execution order signed by the former Iraqi dictator, as his lawyers once again stormed out of the tribunal.


Why the U.S. Probably Won't Attack Iran
Jimmy Carter presented Iran with 52 hostages. George Bush has done a lot better, sending 130,000 Americans across the ocean as guarantees of his administration's good behavior toward the Islamic Republic. Last week, Tehran reminded us of its ability to make life unpleasant for US forces in Iraq by hosting Moqtada al Sadr for a high profile visit, in the course of which he obligingly pledged that his militia, the Mahdi army, would retaliate for any American attack on Iran. His spokesman quoted him as telling his hosts "If any Islamic state, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is attacked, the Mahdi Army would fight inside and outside Iraq."

Iran's Ahmadinejad says Bush should face 'people's tribunal'
Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad labelled George W. Bush a warmonger who should be dragged before a "people's tribunal", the day after the US president called for a "free and democratic Iran".

Iran warns of diplomacy end
IRAN warned today that the referral of a long-running dispute over its nuclear program to the UN Security Council will bring "an end to diplomacy," saying the move had no legal justification.

Is Iran Building Nukes? An Analysis

President Bush declared on June 25 that "we will not tolerate" a nuclear armed Iran. His words are empty. The physical evidence for a nuclear weapons program in Iran simply does not exist.

Signs Comment: More "WMDs"... more LIES, more American Boys dying. Will it be YOUR son? Your husband? Father? Someone you know? If that is possible, you need to act now to stop this madness.

Nuclear Iran is not a threat
Paris: Why is all this pressure being mounted against Iran when both Washington and Jerusalem unofficially concede that there is nothing to be done to prevent Iran’s government from continuing along its present course of nuclear development?

Big companies pulling out of Iran
WASHINGTON - Some major finance and energy companies are cutting commercial ties with Iran as US authorities step up enforcement of existing sanctions and international diplomatic pressure builds over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, a US newspaper reported on Tuesday.

U.S. Instigated Iran's Nuclear Program 30 Years Ago
White House staff members, who are trying to prevent Iran from developing its own nuclear energy capacity and who refuse to take military action against Iran "off the table," have conveniently forgotten that the United States was the midwife to the Iranian nuclear program 30 years ago.

Russia Warns U.S. Against Striking Iran

With tension mounting over Iran's nuclear programs, Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, the chief of Russia's general staff, warned the United States against attacking Iran. "This may stir the whole world, and it is crucial to prevent anything like that," Baluyevsky was quoted as saying.

France steps up rhetoric on Iran
France has for the first time explicitly accused Iran of using its nuclear programme as a cover for clandestine military nuclear activity. Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told French TV no civilian programme could explain Iran's activity. Iran says it resumed small-scale uranium enrichment work last week, after the UN nuclear watchdog reported it to the Security Council. But Tehran insists the programme is solely for peaceful purposes.
 
Signs Comment: It's really interesting to note that most of Europe was behind Iran until Iran's president suggested that Europe should take back all the Jews to expiate their guilt for the Holocaust. After he said that, nearly all of Europe joined with the U.S. in the War Chant.

Bush plans huge propaganda campaign in Iran

The Bush administration made an emergency request to Congress yesterday for a seven-fold increase in funding to mount the biggest ever propaganda campaign against the Tehran government, in a further sign of the worsening crisis between Iran and the west. Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said the $75m (£43m) in extra funds, on top of $10m already allocated for later this year, would be used to broadcast US radio and television programmes into Iran, help pay for Iranians to study in America and support pro-democracy groups inside the country.

Iran's Nuclear Development Approved By US In 1970s
Every aspect of Iran's current nuclear development was approved and encouraged by Washington in the 1970s. President Gerald Ford offered Iran a full nuclear cycle in 1976. Moreover, the only Iranian reactor currently about to become operative -- the reactor in Bushire (also known as Bushehr) -- was started before the Iranian revolution with U.S. approval, and cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium. The Bushire reactor, a "light-water" reactor, produces Pu240, Pu241, and Pu242. Although these isotopes could theoretically be weaponized, the process is extremely long and complicated, and untried. To date, no nuclear weapon has ever been produced with plutonium produced with the kind of reactor at Bushire. Moreover, the plant must be completely shut down in order for the fuel rods to be extracted -- making the process immediately open to inspection and detection. Other possible reactors in Iran are far in the future. . .

Iran has the U.S.’s number
I have been asked “why people are so reluctant to consider” the validity of “Holocaust” revisionism. I shall try to answer that, showing the relationship to Iranian President Ahmadinejad. The principal obstacle to the propagation of revisionism is, simply, fear. At present, the entrenched legend is protected by a system of legal and extra-legal prohibitions (“taboos”). Nobody could dispute the truth of that statement in Europe, where laws in most countries specifically proscribe the expression of revisionist ideas as criminal offenses. For me, the most painful instance of that intellectual terror is the incarceration of my chemist friend Germar Rudolf, presently being held in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison near Stuttgart.

Signs Comment: Yes, the hypocrisy of the Western countries is astonishing. Questioning the figures of the number of Jewish victims of the holocaust can put you in jail. It certainly appears as if certain people use the holocaust to raise Jewish victimhood to a unique status among those who have suffered genocide. However, to get bogged down in debates over figures is pointless. Whether it was 6 million or less than that, the numbers and the facts of the camps are horrifying. Unfortunately, they are typical of the way we have been set one against another throughout history, chained to ideologies and religions that demand obedience to bloodthirsty political leaders or bloodthirsty deities. The real crime of the holocaust is that it is used as the justification to wipe out the Palestinians. In other words, there was no true moral lesson learned from this horrific experience. For all the claims of Israel as a Jewish state, that is, s state that is supposedly based upon a religious teaching, we see no true lesson of conscience. How can a people who have been subject to such injustice turn around and inflict that same injustice on another?

China Rushes to Complete $100B Deal With Iran
China is hastening to complete a deal worth as much as $100 billion that would allow a Chinese state-owned energy firm to take a leading role in developing a vast oil field in Iran, complicating the Bush administration's efforts to isolate the Middle Eastern nation and roll back its nuclear development plans, according to published reports.
 
Signs Comment: Whoops! There goes the Neocon plan to take over the world. The reactions in Washington ought to entertaining!

War Whore Rice: Iran is global terror 'banker'

The Iranian government is a "central banker" for global terrorism and working with Syria to destablise the Middle East, the US Secretary of State has said. Speaking in testimony to the US Senate on Thursday, Condoleeza Rice signaled the US intention to step up the diplomatic offensive against Iran, saying the threat it posed went beyond its controversial nuclear programme. "It's not just Iran's nuclear programme but also their support for terrorism around the world. They are, in effect, the central banker for terrorism," she told the Senate Budget Committee.

Iran Seeks Allies In Latin America For Nuclear Program

Iran is reaching out to Latin American countries from Venezuela to Uruguay, seeking to line up diplomatic allies as it faces increasing scrutiny of its nuclear program.
Touring the region, Iranian lawmakers have turned to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban President Fidel Castro as key partners against what they call an imperialist U.S. government.

Why Iran Can Afford to Be Insane

Although Iran can’t stop the flow of oil, it can reduce the volume of oil flowing onto the global market if it chooses. And any such restriction in oil flow would yield dire results for the economies of America, Europe and Asia—directly affecting transportation, manufacturing, industry, agriculture and the military, with indirect ramifications for every other economic sector. Even a couple of million fewer barrels of oil per day on the market would likely create economic chaos, which would precipitate political crisis.

Iran calls on UK troops to pull out of Basra

Prime Minister Tony Blair swiftly rebuffed Tehran, saying British soldiers were in Iraq under a United Nations mandate and warned Iran not to try to divert attention from international concern over its nuclear programme.

Putin: Iran Hasn't Ruled Out Uranium Enrichment In Russia
MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Iran hasn't excluded the possibility of conducting its uranium enrichment in Russia - a proposal that could be a way out of escalating tensions over Iran's nuclear program.

Israel Sends Diplomatic Team to Persuade Moscow to Give Up Iran
Israel dispatched a diplomatic team to Russia on Tuesday in an effort to persuade Moscow that Iran should be referred to the United Nations Security Council, reports quoted by CNSNews website said.

Signs Comment: "Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Tuesday that Israel could not allow “anyone with these kinds of malicious designs against us, to have control of weapons of destruction that can threaten our existence." Never mind that Israel, with malicious designs against the Palestinians, Iraqis, and Iranians DOES have control of WMDs which DO threaten the existence of millions, if not billions, of people.

Iran Has an 'Inalienable Right' to Nuclear Energy - Is Iran's plan for an oil exchange trading in Euros the real issue? Or is it Israel?

Iran has an "inalienable right" to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes such as the production of electric energy, and the enrichment of uranium for its nuclear reactors. Could it be that Iran's plan for an oil exchange trading in Euros is the real issue? Or is it Israel?

Iran shows the limits of US power
It is, of course, utterly hypocritical for George Bush and Tony Blair, both commanding vast nuclear arsenals, to denounce Iran for deciding to restart its uranium enrichment programme. I heard one US neo-con, Frank Gaffney, ranting and raving on the radio the other day about how uniquely evil the Islamic regime in Iran is. Certainly Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, is a reactionary bigot who denies the reality of the Nazi Holocaust. But then the Austrian government, which has just taken over the presidency of the European Union, includes fascists with very similar views on this subject. [...]
 
Signs Comment: For further reading on all things apocalyptic and how Christianity, Islam and Judaism are being used to engineer the "end of the world", see Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article: The Most Dangerous Cult in the World

Iran crisis talks expose west's split with China

Differences between the west and Russia and China were exposed yesterday during a meeting in London to discuss strategy for tackling the crisis over Iran's suspected nuclear weapons programme.

Iran faces 'destruction' - Israel warns
HERZLIYA, Israel -- Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz warned the Iranian people Saturday that they faced "destruction" unless they managed to restrain their new President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

‘US will help Israel in case of war with Iran’

[...] Cheney was asked if Washington would come to the military assistance of Israel if Iran or any of the terrorist groups it allegedly sponsors attacked Israel. “I don’t think there’s any question but what we would support Israel under those circumstances. I think any administration would,” said Cheney.

By Greg Szymanski
A high-ranking military officer has come forward saying “a real danger exists” of a large-scale terrorist attack in the United States in the near future, adding Vice President Dick Cheney has become consumed with the thought of U.S. nuclear retaliation in the Middle East if an attack on American soil occurs.

Signs Comment: What they don't mention is the fact that if such a "terrorist attack" happens "on demand," as in "just in time to launch a war on Iran before the Oil Bourse in March, it will very likely be "manufactured" by the very people who want a reason to attack Iran. Now, who might that be???

Iran says Israeli threats are a 'childish game'

Iran on Sunday said Israel would be making a "fatal mistake" should it resort to military action against Tehran's nuclear program and dismissed veiled threats from the Jewish state as a "childish game."

What Kind of War Doesn't Allow for a Truce? Victory in the War on Terror
We're told that a new Osama Bin Laden audiotape has emerged, and America's Most Wanted said he would like to strike a deal with the US: Let's stop fighting. You leave us alone, we'll leave you alone. The Bush Administration rejected the offer out of hand. "We don't negotiate with terrorists," Vice President Cheney said. Instead, we have to "destroy them."

Signs Comment: Of course Bush is going to refuse. After all the work the CIA and NSA and whoever else did to produce a fake tape of a dead man talking, do you think he's going to get hooked by logic???

Annexing Khuzestan; battle-plans for Iran

In less than 24 hours the Bush administration has won impressive victories on both domestic and foreign policy fronts. At home, the far-right Federalist Society alum, Sam Alito, has overcome the feeble resistance from Democratic senators; ensuring his confirmation to the Supreme Court. Equally astonishing, the administration has coerced both Russia and China into bringing Iran before the United Nations Security Council although (as Mohamed ElBaradei says) “There’s no evidence of a nuclear weapons program.” The surprising capitulation of Russia and China has forced Iran to abandon its efforts for further negotiations; cutting off dialogue that might diffuse the volatile situation.

War Pimping by UPI: Iran building secret nuke tunnel: claim

Iran is building a secret tunnel in Tehran for nuclear weapons research and development, an Iranian dissident has claimed.
[...], Alireza Jafarzadeh, president of Strategic Policy Consulting, Inc. told a meeting at the National Press Club in Washington Tuesday. Jafarzadeh has made similar allegations before. It has not been possible to independently verify all of them.

War Pimps: British lawmakers rally behind Iran dissidents
London, – An array of British parliamentarians and distinguished jurists called on the British government to cease its “policy of appeasement” towards the government of hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and remove the proscription of Iran’s main opposition group as a terrorist organisation. Several dozen speakers addressed a conference organised by the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, entitled “Responding to Iran’s Nuclear and Terrorist Threat”, asking the government of Tony Blair to support “democratic regime change in Iran”.

Signs Comment: Haven't we seen this before? The "Iraqis against Saddam" supporting "regime change" because, as we later learned, they were being paid off by the Neocons? How stupid do they think we are?

Iran Incapable of Building Nuclear Bomb — Russian Expert

Iran is not capable of building its own nuclear weapons, the former head of a nuclear power plant and current regional leader in southern Russia said Wednesday. “In reality, the U.S. is provoking Iran, accusing it of aiming, along with the implementation of its peaceful nuclear programs, to create its own nuclear weapons,” Governor of the Saratov Region Pavel Ipatov was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.

Iran vows 'crushing response' if its nuclear facilities are attacked

[...]  ''Any attack against Iran's peaceful nuclear facilities will meet a swift and crushing response from the armed forces,'' the agency quoted Najjar as saying.

Iran's president lashes out at Bush
Iran's president lashed out Wednesday at the United States and vowed to resist the pressure of "bully countries" as European nations circulated a draft resolution urging that Tehran be brought before the U.N. Security Council for its nuclear activities.

Signs Comment: All of this is SO familiar. Weren't there "shouting matches" and "food fights" between Bush and Hussein leading up to the quagmire in Iraq? Looks the same to us. Do you suppose that it is all a set-up to keep the peasants distracted? A high drama to cover up the impending collapse of the global economy? An excuse to kill millions, or billions, of people before global warming set's in? A drama designed to justify locking the peasants down?

Russian Minister sez: Russia, China Have Same Views On Iran

[...] Speaking to Russian reporters in London after meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Lavrov said Moscow and Beijing shared the same approach in handling Tehran's ongoing nuclear activities.

Russia-China visit to Iran no form of pressure

The Wednesday visit of high-ranking Russia and Chinese diplomats to Tehran cannot be viewed as a form of pressure on Iran over its controversial nuclear programs, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said.


Uranium enrichment in Russia to cover Iran nuclear needs

A senior Russian diplomat said Thursday that uranium enrichment in Russia for Iran's nuclear power plants would cover the Islamic Republic's atomic energy needs, as the UN's nuclear watchdog convened in Vienna for an emergency session to discuss the brewing crisis.

Iran poised to retaliate as nuclear standoff worsens
Iran was poised to retaliate against the expected reporting of its nuclear programme to the UN Security Council, with the hardline regime vowing to quickly limit international inspections and kick-start sensitive fuel work.


Iran and the jaws of a trap
Judging from the rather frantic behind-the-scenes efforts of Russia and China in Iran, they seem to appreciate that the Iranian leadership is in for a big and probably deadly surprise. The Bush administration has not only handled its Iran dossier much more skillfully than Iraq, but also managed to set up Iran for a war it can neither win nor fight to a draw.

Signs Comment: This piece strikes us as blatant disinformation. It seems to us far more likely that France, Germany and Britain are hoping the U.S. will go to its own destruction... But then, maybe that's the point of this particular agenda?

U.S. Intel Chief Doubts Iran Has Nukes

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte told Congress on Thursday that Iran probably does not yet have nuclear weapons, nor has it obtained the material central to producing them.


Iran has no bomb but it will hit back, US told
IRAN'S clerical regime is supremely confident, has a firm grip on power and is ready to retaliate against attacks by the US or Israel with missiles or by activating terrorist allies, the latest American intelligence assessment says. The National Intelligence Director, John Negroponte, delivered an implied rebuke to those in Washington hoping the West can engineer regime change in Tehran. In Tuesday's State of the Union address, President George Bush issued a veiled call for the Iranian people to rise up against the mullahs.

Signs Comment: Quite a few people have been issuing not-so-veiled calls for the American people to rise up against the Neocons. That might be a better option.

Former weapons inspector warns of US-Iran war

Former United Nations weapons inspector and ex-marine intelligence officer Scott Ritter told a crowd of about 500 gathered at the West Hartford Town Hall that, "...the Bush administration is fixing intelligence around policy on Iran," and that it could lead to a new US war in the Middle East.

Russian MP: US-Israeli anti-Iranian moves, premeditated assassination of Iranian nation

Russian Duma representative Alexi Mitrafanov Friday called the harmonized plot hatched by some EU members, United States, and Israel against Iran's nuclear program "premeditated assassination" of the Iranian nation."

China's UN Envoy: Won't Support Sanctions Against Iran

China would never support sanctions against Iran as a "matter of principle," the Chinese ambassador to the U.N. said Friday, adding that his nation still prefers a low-key approach in confronting Tehran's nuclear ambitions.


FBI Probes AIPAC Leak of Iran Docs to NYT
The FBI is probing an effort by two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to disclose classified information to the New York Times. This appears to have been part of an effort to cultivate Times reporters in order to selectively leak classified Iran WMD documents.

Iran is world's top sponsor of terrorism: Rumsfeld
[...] "The Iranian regime is today the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," Rumsfeld told an annual security conference in Munich where talk of Iran's nuclear program was at the top of the agenda. "The world does not want, and must work together to prevent, a nuclear Iran," he said.

Signs
Comment: Rumsfeld is a liar. He said the same things about Iraq in full knowledge that they were not true. Believe him at your peril.

Iran ends co-operation with UN nuclear agency, open to Russian proposal
Iran did an about-face Sunday on its previous rejection of a Moscow proposal to shift its uranium enrichment to Russian territory and said it remains open to negotiations even as it ended voluntary cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog agency.


Iran Ends Voluntary Cooperation With IAEA
Iran said Sunday it has ended all voluntary cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog but would still hold talks with Moscow on a proposal to enrich Iranian uranium in Russia, reversing an earlier decision to abandon those talks.


Iran bans oil tankers'' Gulf passage if oil exports sanctioned -- MP

 Iran will ban passage of oil tankers in the Gulf if its oil experts are sanctioned, said a senior official Saturday.
"If a ban is imposed on our oil exports, we will not allow oil tankers to sail in the Gulf waters," Mehr news agency quoted Sulaiman Jaafar Zadeh, member of the national committee for security and foreign policy in the Shura council, as saying.

Will Iran's 'petroeuro' threat lead to war?

Beginning in 2003, Iran began demanding oil payment in euros, not dollars, although the oil itself was still priced in U.S. currency. Now, Iran is seriously considering establishing an Iranian Oil Bourse, with the goal of competing with the New York Mercantile Exchange, NYMEX, and London's International Petroleum Exchange, IPE.

War Pimp: Frist says military action a posssibility against Iran

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Saturday night that the United States must be prepared to take military action against Iran if nonviolent means don't deter the country from building nuclear weapons.


Iran nuclear file a non-NPT issue, says Veteran UK politician

The Iran issue has nothing to do with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and it is about US President George W Bush and towing away British Premier Tony Blair, said Tony Benn a former minister in the labour administration. "But I do not know why other countries have gone along with the US," said the active leftist in Britain's ruling party.

Israel predicts Iran will pay 'heavy price' for nuclear defiance
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert voiced confidence on Sunday that Iran would pay "a very heavy price" by resuming full-scale uranium enrichment after being reported to the UN Security Council over its nuclear program.

War Pimp McCain urges Iran sanctions, outside UN if needed

Senator John McCain, a top member of President George W. Bush's Republican Party, urged the world on Saturday to impose economic and other sanctions on Iran, bypassing the United Nations if needed.


The hidden stakes in the Iran crisis
At the end of this operation, Washington should have complete control over the world’s main hydrocarbon production and reserves. It will control the world economy without the need to share power. It will then be The Empire of The Beast, the New World Order.

War Pimp Perle: Iraq errors show West must act fast on Iran
Richard Perle, a key architect of the U.S.-led war against Iraq, said on Saturday the West should not make the mistake of waiting too long to use military force if Iran comes close to getting an atomic weapon.


The Trail of Illegal Weapons Sold To Iran And Iraq Starts In Washington And London
The devil's playground in the Arab sand over the last 25 years has provided crooked politicians on both sides of the Atlantic a handsome profit. While hundreds of thousands of innocents have died a bloody death, the "masters of evil" in the illegal arms trade continue to sell their "dirty toys" under the cover of darkness and through a system of secret companies hidden from public scrutiny.

Iran and the jaws of a trap

Judging from the rather frantic behind-the-scenes efforts of Russia and China in Iran, they seem to appreciate that the Iranian leadership is in for a big and probably deadly surprise. The Bush administration has not only handled its Iran dossier much more skillfully than Iraq, but also managed to set up Iran for a war it can neither win nor fight to a draw.

Iran to pay "heavy price" for nuclear weapon ambition: Israel
Israeli acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday that Iran would pay "a very heavy price" if the Islamic Republic defiantly resumes full-scale uranium enrichment to build nuclear weapons. "At the end of the day, it shows that Iran will pay a very heavy price if it continues with its plans to try and enrich its fuel in order to be able to use it as an option to make non-conventional weapons," said Olmert at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. He also said that Israel had played an important role in what he described as an intensive and stormy diplomatic effort leading to Iran's referral to the UN Security Council.

Signs Comment: As we have stated many times, the promise of 'mutually ensured destruction' from nuclear war between nuclear warhead-equipped nations has successfully prevented any nuclear conflagrations from occurring up until now. So why would we think that this same preventative mechanism would not apply to any future confrontation between a nuclear-equipped Iran Vs Israel. Israel's real problem with Iran is that if Iran were to join the big boys's club, Israel would be dethroned as the singular dominant force in the Middle East, a position that has permitted people like Sharon and Netanyahu to disregard the rights of Israel's Arab neighbors and essentially threaten them into submission and acceptance of Israel's expansionist policies. Of course, publicly, Israel cannot go to war on such an rationale, hence the lies and propaganda that are currently issuing from Israel and the US.

Strong Leads and Dead Ends in Nuclear Case Against Iran
Iranian engineers have completed sophisticated drawings of a deep subterranean shaft, according to officials who have examined classified documents in the hands of U.S. intelligence for more than 20 months. Complete with remote-controlled sensors to measure pressure and heat, the plans for the 400-meter tunnel appear designed for an underground atomic test that might one day announce Tehran's arrival as a nuclear power, the officials said.

Iran: the next war

Has Tony Blair, our minuscule Caesar, finally crossed his Rubicon? Having subverted the laws of the civilised world and brought carnage to a defenceless people and bloodshed to his own, having lied and lied and used the death of a hundredth British soldier in Iraq to indulge his profane self-pity, is he about to collude in one more crime before he goes?

U.S. shield blunts Israeli military option on Iran
Israel has long pursued a policy of preemptive attack as its preferred form of defence.
But when it comes to tackling arch-foe Iran, that option may have been put on hold under a protective "umbrella" on offer from the United States. After years of speculation on whether Israel could launch unilateral strikes on the Iranian nuclear programme, some experts now see a major shift in the Jewish state's strategy. At the core of the change was a vow by U.S. President George W. Bush, in a Reuters interview last week, to "rise to Israel's defence" in the face of increasingly tough talk from Tehran.

Iran poised to retaliate against UN referral

Iran said Wednesday it was poised to retaliate against the reporting of its disputed nuclear programme to the Security Council by kick-starting sensitive fuel work and blocking UN inspections. In a barrage of threats that raise the stakes in the long-running dispute, firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also vowed his country would "continue on the road to victory" and labelled US President George W. Bush a warmonger who should be put on trial.

Iran dismisses US threat over nukes
Iran dismissed as "tough words" the United States' refusal to rule out using military force against the Islamic republic over its controversial nuclear programme. "We are not afraid of attacks by the United States or by other countries on Iran's nuclear installations because we have nothing to hide, we have no installations to produce nuclear weapons," Iranian Vice President Esfandyar Rahim Mashaee said here after meeting with his Indonesian counterpart. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this week Washington would not rule out using military force against Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Russia confirms missile defence contract with Iran

Amid the escalating crisis around Iran's nuclear programme, Russia said on Thursday that it will still arm Tehran with missiles that can secure nuclear facilities from attacks.


Parallels Between Iran and Pre-War Iraq

Iran is not Iraq, and the year 2006 is not the same as year 2003 for George Bush; but one cannot stop wondering about the uncanny similarities between Iraq at the verge of war, and the present state of affairs in Iran.

China says welcomes Iran-Russia nuclear talks

China said on Thursday it welcomed talks between Iran and Russia next week on plans to defuse the crisis over Tehran's atomic programme, but refused to say whether it would join the meeting.
"We hope that this Russian invitation to Iran to hold talks on the 16th about participating in an international uranium enrichment centre will help break, or encourage a break, in the current stalemate over the Iranian nuclear issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a regular news conference. The deputy head of Iran's National Security Council would lead Tehran's delegation to the talks in Moscow next week, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency reported earlier.


War Pimp Gore: Iran 'danger for world'
Former US vice president and defeated presidential hopeful Al Gore lashed out at
Iran's clerical regime, denouncing it as a threat "for the future of the world." "Iran is ruled by corrupt politicians and clerics," the Democrat said in an address to the Jeddah Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia.

US prepares military blitz against Iran's nuclear sites

Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a "last resort" to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb.

'10,000 would die' in A-plant attack on Iran

A major American attack on Iran's nuclear sites would kill up to 10,000 people and lead to war in the Middle East, a report says today. Hundreds of scientists and technicians would be targets in the opening salvos as the attacks focused on eliminating further nuclear development, the Oxford Research Group says in Iran: Consequences of a War. The research coincides with reports that strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for "a last resort" strike if diplomacy fails. Plans for an assault have taken on "greater urgency" in recent months, The Sunday Telegraph said.

Iran is prepared to retaliate, experts warn

Iran is prepared to launch attacks using long-range missiles, secret commando units, and terrorist allies planted around the globe in retaliation for any strike on the country's nuclear facilities, according to new US intelligence assessments and military specialists.


IRAN: CONSEQUENCES OF A WAR

This briefing paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the likely nature of US or Israeli military action that would be intended to disable Iran’s nuclear capabilities. It outlines both the immediate consequences in terms of loss of human life, facilities and infrastructure, and also the likely Iranian responses, which would be extensive. An attack on Iranian nuclear infrastructure would signal the start of a protracted military confrontation that would probably grow to involve Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, as well as the USA and Iran. The report concludes that a military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be.

Iran resumes enrichment work

Tehran, Feb 13 Iran has started putting uranium feedstock gas into centrifuges, the first step in manufacturing what can be either nuclear reactor fuel or material for an atom bomb, diplomats told a news agency on Monday. Earlier Iran announced it would resume uranium enrichment even before the UN atomic watchdog meets next month.

Sanction the IAEA Board, not Iran

You probably heard that – as a result of extreme pressure brought by the Bush-Cheney administration – a "special" meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors was convened last week to discuss what to do about the "gravest" threat to develop to "our" national security since the end of the Cold War. The "threat"? The announced resumption of certain IAEA Safeguarded programs, voluntarily and temporarily suspended by Iran more than two years ago.

Outed CIA officer Plame was working on Iran, intelligence sources say
The unmasking of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson by White House officials in 2003 caused significant damage to U.S. national security and its ability to counter nuclear proliferation abroad, RAW STORY has learned. According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran. Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame's work. Their accounts suggest that Plame's outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran's burgeoning nuclear program.

US Sides With Iran on UN vote against gays
The Bush administration's support for Iran's proposal to bar two gay rights groups from a voice at the United Nations sparked a demand from U.S. legislators on Tuesday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice repudiate the action.


War Pimp Hurd: Iran may need force
Former Foreign Secretary Lord Hurd has said Britain cannot "realistically" rule out using military force against Iran over its nuclear programme. But any such action would involve "huge dangers" and governments must show "patient strength", he told peers.

The hidden stakes in the Iran crisis
The confrontation between the big powers over Iran continues with antagonisms hidden from view. Since December 2002, the USA has accused Iran of seeking nuclear arms in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

Americans think Iran may use nukes
A USA Today-CNN-Gallup Poll says Americans not only think Iran will develop nuclear weapons but also use them against the United States. The poll done over the last weekend also says Americans fear the Bush administration will be "too quick" to order military action against Iran, USA Today reported Tuesday.

Signs Comment: The poll shows that the manipûlation of he US public is proceeding apace, that their better instincts are being drowned out by disinfo and propaganda. Look at the figures reported about opinion on the famous cartoon manipulation. 6 out of 10 recognise the newpapers acted irresponsibly, but then they turn around and blame Muslim intolerance for the furor, which was the whole point of the operation: to portray the Muslims as fanatical crazies. How many Muslim rmies are occupying Western countries?

Who Will Blow the Whistle Before We Attack Iran?

The question looms large against the backdrop of the hearing on whistle blowing scheduled for the afternoon of Feb. 14 by Christopher Shays, chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. Among those testifying are Russell Tice, one of the sources who exposed illegal eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, and Army Sgt. Sam Provance, who told his superiors of the torture he witnessed at Abu Graib, got no satisfaction, and felt it his duty to go public. It will not be your usual hearing.

War Pimp! Iran crosses 'red line' in nuclear stand-off

Iran has started to inject uranium feedstock gas into centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear facility, crossing an internationally agreed "red line" on the path to producing the material for atomic weapons. A senior diplomat from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that researchers at the republic's pilot enrichment plant in central Iran had taken the crucial step, signalling a major escalation in the long-running face-off between Tehran and the West.

Iran says enrichment-related nuclear activity resumed

Iran Tuesday said it had resumed enrichment-related activity at a nuclear plant even as the foreign minister admitted that Tehran intended to produce nuclear fuel.
"We have started the preliminary phase and related activities of uranium enrichment in Natanz right after the order by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier this month," Javad Vaeidi, international deputy of the Iranian National Security Council, told reporters. Denying press reports that Iran had begun full-scale uranium enrichment, he clarified that only enrichment-related activities had begun at the Natanz plant in central Iran.

Iran sets new date for atomic talks with Russia

Iran announced on Tuesday it was deferring until next week talks with Russia on its nuclear plans, but gave no sign it was ready to stop enriching uranium on its own soil -- the key element in Moscow's plan.
However, a senior Iranian official said no actual uranium enrichment had yet taken place at the Natanz facility where Iran had halted work during negotiations with the European Union. "No work has been done on the centrifuges and no gas has been injected yet," said the official, asking not to be named.

Bush wants extra $75 mln to spur Iran democracy
U.S. President George W. Bush wants $75 million to try to spur democracy in its adversary Iran, expanding a program that skeptics say can have little effect in the Islamic republic. "The United States will actively confront the aggressive policies of the Iranian regime. At the same time, we will work to support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy in their country," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a congressional budget hearing.

Signs Comment: See comments in article text.

War Pimping: Rice asks for $75M to foster democracy in Iran
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked Congress on Wednesday for $75 million this year to build democracy in Iran, saying the U.S. must support Iranians who are seeking freedoms under what she called a radical regime.
The money, to be included in an emergency 2006 budget request the White House is expected to send to Congress as early as this week, will be used for radio and satellite television broadcasting and for programs to help Iranians study abroad.

Signs Comment: In other words, it has nothing to do with supporting democracy and everything to do with paying for propaganda. Can we say Goebbels?


Rice Says Iran Is Openly Defying The World
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today that Iran is openly defying the international community by resuming the enrichment of uranium for nuclear fuel and warned that the United States could impose fresh, unilateral sanctions.

Signs Comment:
No, Iran is just defying the U.S. and Israel and the U.S. and Israel are blackmailing the leaders of many European countries to back them up.

Iran has secret military nuclear program: France

 French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Thursday Iran was pursuing a clandestine military nuclear program.
"No civilian nuclear program can explain the Iranian nuclear program. So it is a clandestine Iranian military nuclear program," Douste-Blazy told France 2 television.


Iran rejects French nuclear charges

Iran has insisted that it was not seeking a nuclear weapon, rejecting accusations by France that its atomic drive was "clandestine" and "military" in nature. The allegations from French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy were the first time a top European official has made such explicit claims against Tehran and highlighted increasing EU exasperation over Tehran's nuclear programme. "Contrary to all the propaganda against us, we are not seeking a nuclear bomb, since we are a signatory to (the nuclear) Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said Thursday.

War Pimp Mofaz: Iran combining radical platform with nuclear weapons - danger for Israel

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, speaking in Tel Aviv, addressed the threat posed by Hamas. He emphasized however the "main threat to Israel, the Iranian threat." "The combination of a radical platform, calling for the destruction of Israel, and Holocaust denial, together with long-range missiles and nuclear weapons, represents a serious threat to Israel." (Avi Cohen)

War Pimp IDF Intelligence Chief: Iran Implementing Concrete Plan to Destroy Israel
Head of Army Intelligence Brig.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Knesset Defense Committee Tuesday that he shares the assessment that Iran presents an existential threat to Israel.
In what was his first appearance before the committee, Yadlin stressed that Israel must regard with complete seriousness the declarations of Iran's president regarding his intention to destroy Israel. According to the IDF's assessments, the matter is beyond mere statements, but consists of a decisive and serious plan being carried out by Iran.

Russian Political Expert Predicts US Missile Attack on Iran in Early Summer
U.S. will launch a missile attack against Iran this summer, says Russian political expert Mikhail Delyagin. “Lately the demand of U.S. military actions against Iran has become really obvious,” Delyagin was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying at a press conference in Moscow Tuesday. Delyagin said the current situation was in many ways similar to the situation in 1999 that preceded NATO attack on Yugoslavia, and that of 2003 before the Coalition forces invasion in Iraq. “I think that today’s statements, the propaganda and the actions allow us to say quite clearly that the missile attack on Iran is a question of time,” he said. “Judging by the pre-elections motivation, the attack must take place late spring or late summer,” Delyagin added the attacks will only target nuclear objects. “It will be a pinpoint, surgical operation. Iran has a limited capacity to response,” he said.

Russia voices strong opposition to sanctions against Iran

Russian Foreign Minister voiced here Wednesday his country's strong opposition to any possible sanctions against Iran. Sergei Lavrov who is in Austrian Capital for talks with the European Troika -France, Britain and Germany- said in a press conference that sanctions have never resolved any row. "On the contrary sanctions have always been an impetus for intensifying disagreements," He added.

US threatens Iran with new sanctions
Threatening new sanctions, the United States accused Iran on Wednesday of defying the world by resuming uranium enrichment for nuclear fuel without resolving suspicions it secretly wants to build atomic bombs.
Russia urged Iran to change course to allow a compromise. It said Iran had to regain international trust before Moscow would back Tehran's declared right to enrich uranium on its own soil.

Iran can progress despite enemies, president says

Iranian President Ahmadinejad, 49, had just given a long, fiery speech to a large crowd in Tehran to commemorate the 27th anniversary of Iran's Islamic revolution. He smiled at the beginning of the interview when the reporter greeted him in the Persian language, but otherwise made little eye contact. He seemed tired and spoke quietly. The interview was conducted in a receiving room in an ornate building that once belonged to the family of the deposed shah, whose overthrow in 1979 helped provoke the rupture between Iran and the United States that persists to this day. The son of a blacksmith, Ahmadinejad ran a populist campaign and scored an upset victory in a runoff election last July against Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of Iran's richest men.

Iran to pursue atomic research despite Russian plan

Iran vowed on Monday to pursue its nuclear research even if talks in Moscow produce agreement on a Russian compromise aimed at keeping bomb-grade enriched uranium out of the Islamic Republic's hands.


Iran to accept Russian proposal

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here on Sunday that Iran would accept a Russian compromise proposal aimed to defuse the current Iranian nuclear tension after it was amended into a comprehensive offer. "Russia's nuclear proposal will serve Iran's interests if it turns into a comprehensive offer by holding talks and including complimentary terms and conditions," Mottaki was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying.

Iran's nuclear power

When I've written in the recent past about Iran, I haven't had the slightest hesitation to say that Iran has the right to develop nuclear power or nuclear weapons. But I admit I didn't fully understand why they were so keen on nuclear power. This article is extremely enlightening on that point. Here's a sentence which describes what I probably thought of as their main motive: "Iranians view the development of nuclear energy as a hallmark of modernization and national pride." But the truth is, there are more concrete reasons as well:

Georgia denies bases option for U.S. operation against Iran

Georgia's top military officer denied a media report Monday that the United States was considering using military bases in Georgia for a possible attack on Iran. "This is utterly absurd," said Levan Nikoleishvili, the chief of the General Staff.

Iran calls for end to Mohammed cartoon protests
Iran's foreign minister called yesterday for an end to the violent protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that have left dozens dead in several Muslim countries.
"We should try to cool down the situation," Manouchehr Mottaki said in Brussels. "We do not support any violence."


Signs Comment: These comments by the Iranian foreign Minister stand in stark contrast to the scurrilous allegations by Rice that Iran was in fact inciting violence over the cartoons. More evidence that Rice is a bare-faced liar and manipulator? You bet.

U.S. Envoy in Iraq Accuses Iran Of Assisting Militias, Insurgents
The U.S. ambassador to Iraq accused Iran on Monday of providing weapons, training and support to Iraqi militia and insurgent groups responsible for the country's continuing violence and instability.

Signs Comment: Of course, it's all Iran's fault!

Iran-Russian nuclear talks close
Iranian and Russian officials have ended two days of talks on a Russian plan to enrich uranium on its territory for use in Iran's reactors. It is not clear what the talks may have achieved as the Iranian delegation prepared to leave Moscow on Tuesday. A senior Iranian official described the talks as "positive and constructive" and said they would continue. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it was too early to declare the talks a failure.

US Asks Georgia to Use Bases and Airfields for Attacks on Iran — Paper

American officials are probing whether Georgia, situated just northwest of Iran, will allow Washington to use its military bases and airfields in the event of a military conflict with Teheran, The Jerusalem Post reported Monday citing an unnamed Georgian official.

Russia's Putin is optimistic after talks with Iran
President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Russia was counting on being able to reach a positive result over the Iranian nuclear issue.
"The negotiations are not easy but we are counting on reaching a positive result," Putin said in the Azerbaijan capital Baku. "We are not losing optimism."

March madness

Gholamali Haddadadel, "speaker" of Iran's Parliament – in Cuba last week –dismissed the possibility of a U.S. pre-emptive attack against Iran, finding it "impossible" to 'believe" that the U.S. would want "to repeat the experience of Iraq." "We hope the United States is not so stupid," he said. Presumably, Haddadadel meant to say, "We hope that President Bush, his vice president, his secretary of state and his ambassador to the United Nations are not so stupid." Now, some or all of the above may be stupid. But their stupidity is not what Haddadadel and the rest of the world need to concern themselves with. It's their sanity.

Iran was not referred to the Security Council for Noncompliance
How powerful is the corporate information-system we call the mainstream media? Is it powerful enough, for example, to mislead the public into believing that Iran has been "referred" to the United Nations Security Council for violations to the NPT, thus paving the way for another war on the back of false information? The IAEA DID NOT report on Iran's "noncompliance" to the Security Council, because there is no evidence that Iran has done anything wrong. In fact, as nuclear physicist Gordon Prather points out in his recent article, "March Madness", "THE BOARD DIDN'T REPORT ANYTHING."

China supports talks between Russia, Iran on nuke issue
China supports the negotiations on the Iran nuclear issue between Russia and Iran and hopes for a positive outcome, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said here on Tuesday.


Iran Has No WMD - Russia's Intelligence Chief
Iran has no weapons of mass destruction or material for constructing them, a deputy head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service Vladimir Zavershinsky said in an interview with Krasnaya Zvezda daily. "We have no data that Iran has any nuclear warheads or sufficient amount of plutonium for constructing them," he said

Signs Comment: What!? You mean the Bushites and Israel are LYING! Please! Say it ain't so!

Iran nuclear crisis can be resolved, says China

China, strengthening relations with Iran through trade and energy deals, said there was still room to defuse the international standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions through negotiation.
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing appealed to the international community to be calm, restrained and patient and to show flexibility for a resumption of negotiations between Europe and Iran, Xinhua news agency said in an overnight report. "The days before the March 6 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are crucial," Li was quoted as saying after meeting visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Iran leader faces Holocaust case

An Israeli lawyer, Ervin Shahar, says he has asked Germany to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with denying the Holocaust.
Mr Ahmadinejad was widely criticised when he said last year that the Holocaust was a "myth" and that Israel should be "wiped off the map".
Germany passed a law in 1993 forbidding Holocaust denial. It is punishable by up to five years in prison.

US Plotting Coup in Iran?
The intelligence wing of the US marines has launched a probe into Iran's ethnic minorities at a time of heightened tensions along the border with Iraq and friction between capitals. Iranian activists involved in a classified research project for the marines told the FT the Pentagon was examining the depth and nature of grievances against the Islamic government, and appeared to be studying whether Iran would be prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kind of fault lines that are splitting Iraq.

Signs Comment: Note the comment at the beginning of the above article that:

"Iranian activists involved in a classified research project for the marines told the FT the Pentagon was examining the depth and nature of grievances against the Islamic government, and appeared to be studying whether Iran would be prone to a violent fragmentation along the same kind of fault lines that are splitting Iraq."

Which seems to be suggesting that the violent fragmentation of Iraq is not the result of long-standing or 'natural' ethnic rivalries among Iraqi religious factions, but rather part of a deliberately orchestrated campaign by Pentagon "thinktanks". Then again, we already knew that.

How Neo-Cons Sabotaged Iran's Help on al Qaeda

The United States and Iran were on a course to work closely together on the war against al Qaeda and its Taliban sponsors in Afghanistan in late 2001 and early 2002 -- until Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stepped in to scuttle that cooperation, according to officials who were involved at the time.


Russia and the 'war of civilizations'

Russia has demonstrated a renewed activism in the Middle East and larger Muslim world. Aside from ambitious economic projects and weapons sales to India, Iran, Syria and Palestine, the Kremlin has proposed two wide-ranging and much-debated initiatives. The first seeks to address growing suspicions of Iran's intent to obtain a nuclear bomb and to encourage Tehran to send its spent nuclear fuel to Russia. The second initiative is to open political dialogue with leaders of Hamas, who won the recent Palestinian elections but continue to refuse to renounce violence against Israel or recognize its right to exist as an independent state. Although Russia has had regular relations with Muslim nations and even sought to join the Organization of Islamic Conferences, the Kremlin's initiatives are bold new developments.

Iran nuclear chief says 'basic agreement' reached on Russian enrichment plan

Iran's nuclear chief said an agreement was reached with Moscow on Sunday to set up a joint uranium enrichment facility on Russian soil, a deal that could assuage global concerns that Tehran wants to build atomic bombs.
The plan proposed by Russia is backed by the United States and European Union. The agreement was announced after a meeting between Russian nuclear chief Sergei Kiriyenko and Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the country's vice president.

Iran And "The International Community "

Here we go again! Now it's Iran. Bush, again mumbling something about Iran's being a threat to the world, the same crap as about Iraq. But this time, the west European countries (the "traditional" allies) are at it, too.

Two bombs hit Iranian oil cities, 6 wounded
TEHRAN - Two bombs exploded in the southern Iranian cities of Dezful and Abadan on Monday wounding at least six people, officials said. The bombs were planted in the governor's office in both cities, which lie in the province of Khuzestan, the heartland of Iran's oil industry, that has seen tensions between Iranian authorities and the Arab minority over the last year.

Signs Comment:
"Foreign elements aim to exploit the situation by fanning ethnic differences and separatist tendencies."
Gee, to whom might the Iranians be referring??

Iran sticks to tough line for crunch nuclear talks in Moscow
Iran insisted on its right to nuclear technology, sticking to a tough line ahead of 11th-hour talks in Moscow aimed at heading off fears that the Islamic republic is seeking atomic weapons.


'The vilification of Iran'
. . . Preschoolers are taught not to exclude others (whom they don't like) from their play group. Uncle Sam could learn a lesson here. In the vilification of Iran that is now going on (recall the vilification of Iraq before we started bombing), I see no reference to the fact that the nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty consists of mutual promises: Non-nuclear nations agree to forego developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the nuclear powers' agreement to disarm their nukes. The U.S. has a long way to go before all of our nukes are destroyed. As a charter member of the nuclear weapons club, the U.S. can't say to Iran, "You can't play," particularly when Pakistan, India, North Korea and Israel all have nukes.

War Pimp U.S. senator: Iranian nuclear threat is biggest since Cold War

"The Iranian threat to the world is the biggest since the Cold War," Senator John Mccain told ABC television on Sunday. Mccain said the United States is preoccupied with the UAE ports deal while ignoring the most worrying issue of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Tehran fails to dispel IAEA 'concern'

Iran has failed to dispel suspicions that it is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons grade material, and its atomic programme remains "a matter of concern", according to a long-awaited report.

War Pimping: IAEA: Iran appears determined to expand uranium enrichment program

The U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Monday that Iran appears determined to expand its uranium enrichment program – a key international concern because of fears it could use the activity to make nuclear weapons.


Propaganda Alert! Iran enrichment underway

The UN says Iran has begun using nuclear enrichment machines and is failing to co-operate with inspectors.

23 killed in Afghan fighting, coalition planes called in
US-led coalition planes bombed an area of southern Afghanistan where a fierce battle had erupted between Taliban-linked militants and police, leaving about 23 dead.


Taleban say attacks will increase, US “helpless”

Afghanistan’s Taleban guerrillas are gaining strength and will step up attacks against government and foreign troops when spring comes next month, a Taleban commander said on Tuesday.
The Taleban claimed responsibility for a blast on Monday that the US military said killed four troops. The Taleban said nine Americans were killed and US forces were helpless in the face of such attacks.

Padilla Defense Challenges Evidence as Possible Fraud

The jihadist training form that accused terrorist operative Jose Padilla allegedly filled out before heading to an Afghanistan camp may be a fake and requires fingerprint analysis, his defense attorneys say. In an appeal of a pretrial detention order denying bond, the defense tries to debunk several pieces of prosecution evidence against Padilla and lay out some of its case for the so-called "dirty bomber."

Australia to send 200 more troops to Afghanistan
Australia will send an additional 200 troops to Afghanistan to work with Dutch-led reconstruction teams to help rebuild the war-torn nation, Prime Minister John Howard said.


Renewed Afghan Drug Trade
WMR can now report further on the mysterious aircraft sighted on remote runways in Afghanistan and engaged, according to U.S. intelligence sources, in flying around Afghan tribal leaders and warlords and questionable "cargo." Afghan and U.S. intelligence sources report that opium production is at an all time high in Afghanistan and that President Hamid Karzai, the U.S. viceroy for Afghanistan, who has nor real political power outside of Kabul, is handsomely profiting from the heroin trade. The plane in question is a Beech 200, Model 65-A90-1, Serial number LM-64. Although the tail number (ends in 8A) is new, its former tail number was N70766 and the owner was Pactec (still seen on the plane's tail in the photo below), a California-based non-governmental organization that claims to help humanitarian groups install satellite terminals and other high-tech communications systems in remote locations like Afghanistan and Pakistan. The history of the plane shows that it was exported from the United States to Mali and then re-exported to Afghanistan. At the present time, however, the Beech 200 shown below as well as another similar plane, are operated by Air Serv International. The planes are based in Kabul but the one pictured below reportedly belongs to Pactec.

VENEZUELA: World Social Forum - Chavez calls for 'socialism or death'
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proclaimed “socialism or death” in finishing his rousing speech to a rally of around 10,000 people at the Polihedro Stadium on January 27. The rally was a feature of the Latin American section of the Sixth World Social Forum held in Caracas on January 24-29.

Chavez says Venezuelan agents "infiltrate" US spy group
CARACAS, Jan. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Monday that Venezuela's intelligence agencies have "infiltrated" a group of military officials at the U.S. embassy who were allegedly involved in spying.

Chavez Threatens to Imprison U.S. Officials for Spying
U.S. officials have connections to Venezuelan military officers suspected of spying for the Pentagon, and those officials will be locked up if caught. According to this article from Venezuela's Union Radio, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also denounced plans by the "most vicious, murderous, genocidal, immoral, and brazen" government in the world [America] to put Venezuela on its list of State-sponsors of terror.

Venezuela expels US naval 'spy'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he is expelling a US official accused of spying with Venezuelan officers. The naval attache at the US embassy, John Correa, would be forced to "leave immediately", Mr Chavez said in a speech to mark seven years in power.

Chavez aims to repel US 'invasion'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez extended his verbal war with Washington, likening US President George Bush to Hitler while saying he was considering buying enough rifles to arm one million Venezuelans ready to repel a possible US invasion.

Venezuela coup linked to Bush team
The failed coup in Venezuela was closely tied to senior officials in the US government, The Observer has established. They have long histories in the 'dirty wars' of the 1980s, and links to death squads working in Central America at that time.

Let Rumsfeld bark, says Chavez
The president of Venezuela has hit back at the US defence secretary for comparing him to Adolf Hitler, calling him a "dog of the empire" who is right to be concerned by Latin America's tilt to the left which is threatening the "weakening" US "empire". Hugo Chavez made his remarks in Havana on Friday where he received a UN prize handed over by Fidel Castro, the president of Cuba.

Chávez tells Blair to go to hell
When Tony Blair left the Commons chamber after question time, he probably thought David Cameron's accusation that he was "flip-flopping" over school reform was the worst verbal jab he would face this week. Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, had other ideas. In a characteristically forthright tirade, he described the prime minister as "a pawn of imperialism" and told him to "go right to hell".

Venezuela hopes to increase oil exports to China
Venezuela hopes to nearly double its oil exports to China in the near future, Venezuelan Oil and Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said here on Wednesday.


U.S. threats to Venezuela’s revolution escalate
Aggressive maneuvers against Venezuela from the Bush government have reached new heights. Here are some indicators. That a coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was under way when opposition parties opted out of Venezuela’s December parliamentary elections was not obvious. But at the time Vice President José Vicente Rangel alleged that the U.S. Embassy was “extremely active” behind the scenes. During the elections, explosions went off, an oil pipeline was blown up and electric substations were burned. Almost 100,000 soldiers were deployed to protect polling places. Authorities unearthed caches of weapons and ammunition. Two U.S. warships were cruising off the Venezuelan coast. In fact Venezuelan authorities already knew of a coup planning meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, attended by a U.S. government official named “Thomas,” plus dissident Venezuelan military figures and Colombian intelligence officers. Some 500 Colombian paramilitary troops crossed the Colombian-Venezuelan border prior to the elections....

Chavez says Exxon Mobil did not meet requirements for project
Exxon Mobil has been resisting tax increases and contract changes that are part of a so-called "re-nationalization" of Venezuela's oil industry. In 2004 Exxon Mobil was the only firm to publicly speak against a royalty increase on extra-heavy oil production in the Orinoco river basin.

Signs Comment: God forbid that the oil companies should share some of their OBSCENE profits with the citizens countries from which they take the oil! Meanwhile, Bush is ranting for "permanent tax cuts" for the Rich in the U.S., and American citizens are going down the tubes with no services...

Chávez hits back in war of words with Washington

President Hugo Chávez extended his verbal war with Washington, likening George Bush to Adolf Hitler in an obvious rebuff to the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who last week compared Mr Chávez himself to Hitler. Speaking at a mass rally on Saturday commemorating a failed 1992 coup he led as a lieutenant colonel, Mr Chávez warned that Washington was considering invading Venezuela and the country needed more weapons to defend itself. The president said he was considering buying enough rifles to arm a million Venezuelans to repel a possible US invasion.

Chavez to Rice: 'Don't Mess With Me'
President Hugo Chavez warned Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday "not to mess" with him and said her diplomatic efforts to turn Latin American nations against Venezuela would fail. Chavez said Washington opposes his government because Venezuela — the world's fifth largest oil exporter — was broadening petroleum and natural gas development projects with fellow Latin American countries rather than the United States. "We are breaking the imperialist chains that bound us," Chavez said during his weekly television and radio program.

Signs Comment: Yeah, the country that elected its leader, survived a coup attempt financed by the US, and then a referendum, once again financed by the US, is a threat to democracy! This from the country that doesn't want to recognise the democratically elected government of Hamas! Aren't things a little...obvious? But the US media, the lapdogs of the Bush regime, don't say a word. For more on the glorious freedom of the press in the United Snakes of America, check out last weekend's podcast.

Hand back Falklands, Venezuela tells Blair
Downing Street today refused to be drawn into a fresh war of words with Venezuela's president after he called on Britain to hand over the Falklands to Argentina. Hugo Chavez said the islands belonged to Argentina and demanded Prime Minister Tony Blair give them back. Mr Blair infuriated Mr Chavez earlier this week when he said he should respect the rules of the international community. The Prime Minister also said he would prefer to see Venezuela's ally Cuba function as a true democracy. Mr Chavez responded to Mr Blair's comments by branding him "a pawn of imperialism" and "the main ally of Hitler" - a reference to US President George Bush.

Cuba’s war against terrorism
The UN General Assembly has condemned the United States embargo on Cuba 14 times. The US also supports various illicit acts committed against Cuba in contravention of international law. This has been made explicit by the trial of five Cubans in Florida.

Castro invites Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Cuba
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accepted an invitation to visit Cuba from President Fidel Castro, in gratitude for Cuba's support of Iran's nuclear program, the official Granma newspaper said on Tuesday. Ahmadinejad accepted the invitation in Tehran from Cuban Ambassador Felipe Perez Roque. During his visit, the Iranian leader will attend the September 11-16 Non-Aligned Summit in Havana, the daily said.

Posada’s presence epitomizes the double standard
The logic of the terrorism war game led me to conclude (Progreso Weekly September 22, 2005) that Osama bin Laden had engaged an attention-starved, geriatric Cuban exile named Luis Posada Carriles to help him undermine the credibility of George W. Bush. Recent events surrounding the possible release of Posada affirm my assessment.

Rumsfeld Likens Chavez's Rise to Hitler
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld likened Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Adolf Hitler, reflecting continuing tension in relations between the United States and the Latin American government.

Signs Comment: If anybody resembles that smarmy little puppet, Adolf Hitler, it is George Bush, with vicious monsters like Rumsfeld in the background pulling his strings.

Rumsfeld and Negroponte Amp Up Attacks on Chavez
During an appearance today at the National Press Club in Washington, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld compared Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to Hitler, declaring, "We've got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money. He's a person who was elected legally, just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally, and then consolidated power, and now is of course working closely with [Cuban leader] Fidel Castro and Mr. Morales [Bolivian President Evo Morales] and others. It concerns me."

Signs Comment: Typical psychopathic ploy, accuse others of what you do, or intend to do, yourself. Blame the victim...

US says has "inoculation" strategy to curb Chavez
Washington wants to curb Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's anti-American influence by lobbying allies to try to expose any anti-democratic policies, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday. The United States has tried different strategies to counter Chavez, ranging from confronting him to ducking a fight. In what she termed an "inoculation" strategy, Rice said she had sought support from Europe and other Latin American nations to highlight U.S. charges that the populist Chavez abuses his power to target political opponents and business leaders.

Signs Comment: Want to know what is really happening in Venezuela and WHY Condi is so annoyed?

Good Things Happening in Venezuela
Monday, Apr 04, 2005
Michael Parenti

Even before I arrived in Venezuela for a recent visit, I encountered the great class divide that besets that country. On my connecting flight from Miami to Caracas, I found myself seated next to an attractive, exquisitely dressed Venezuelan woman. Judging from her prosperous aspect, I anticipated that she would take the first opportunity to hold forth against President Hugo Chavez. Unfortunately, I was right.

Our conversation moved along famously until we got to the political struggle going on in Venezuela. "Chavez," she hissed, "is terrible, terrible." He is "a liar"; he "fools the people" and is "ruining the country." She herself owns an upscale women's fashion company with links to prominent firms in the United States.

When I asked how Chavez has hurt her business, she said, "Not at all." But many other businesses, she quickly added, have been irreparably damaged as has the whole economy. She went on denouncing Chavez in sweeping terms, warning me of the national disaster to come if this demon continued to have his way.

Other critics I encountered in Venezuela shared this same mode of attack: weak on specifics but strong in venom, voiced with all the ferocity of those who fear that their birthrights (that is, their class advantages) are under siege because others below them on the social ladder are getting a slightly larger slice of the pie.

In Venezuela over 80 percent live below the poverty level. Before Chavez, most of the poor had never seen a doctor or dentist. Their children never went to school, since they could not afford the annual fees. The neoliberal market "adjustments" of the 1980s and 1990s only made things worse, cutting social spending and eliminating subsidies in consumer goods.

Successive administrations did nothing about the rampant corruption and nothing about the growing gap between rich and poor, the growing malnutrition and desperation. Far from ruining the country, here are some of the good things the Chavez government has accomplished:

- A land reform program designed to assist small farmers and the landless poor has been instituted. Just this month (March 2005) a large landed estate owned by a British beef company was occupied by agrarian workers for farming purposes.

- Education is now free (right through to university level), causing a dramatic increase in grade school enrollment.

- The government has set up a marine conservation program, and is taking steps to protect the land and fishing rights of indigenous peoples.

- Special banks now assist small enterprises, worker cooperatives, and farmers.

- Attempts to further privatize the state-run oil industry - 80 percent of which is still publicly owned---have been halted, and limits have been placed on foreign capital penetration.

- Chavez kicked out the U.S. military advisors and prohibited overflights by U.S. military aircraft engaged in counterinsurgency in Colombia.

- "Bolivarian Circles" have been organized throughout the nation, neighborhood committees designed to activate citizens at the community level to assist in literacy, education, vaccination campaigns, and other public services.

- The government hires unemployed men, on a temporary basis, to repair streets and neglected drainage and water systems in poor neighborhoods.

Then there is the health program. I visited a dental clinic in Chavez's home state of Barinas. The staff consisted of four dentists, two of whom were young Venezuelan women. The other two were Cuban men who were there on a one-year program.

The Venezuelan dentists noted that in earlier times dentists did not have enough work. There were millions of people who needed treatment, but care was severely rationed by the private market, that is, by one's ability to pay. Dental care was distributed like any other commodity, not to everyone who needed it but only to those who could afford it.

When the free clinic in Barinas first opened it was flooded with people seeking dental care. No one was turned away. Even opponents of the Chavez government availed themselves of the free service, temporarily putting aside their political aversions.

Many of the doctors and dentists who work in the barrio clinics (along with some of the clinical supplies and pharmaceuticals) come from Cuba. Chavez has also put Venezuelan military doctors and dentists to work in the free clinics.

Meanwhile, much of the Venezuelan medical establishment is vehemently opposed to the free-clinic program, seeing it as a Cuban communist campaign to undermine medical standards and physicians' earnings. That low-income people are receiving medical and dental care for the first time in their lives does not seem to be a consideration that carries much weight among the more "professionally minded" practitioners.

I visited one of the government-supported community food stores that are located around the country, mostly in low income areas. These modest establishments sell canned goods, pasta, beans, rice, and some produce and fruits at well below the market price, a blessing in a society with widespread malnutrition.

Popular food markets have eliminated the layers of middlemen and made staples more affordable for residents. Most of these markets are run by women. The government also created a state-financed bank whose function is to provide low-income women with funds to start cooperatives in their communities.

There is a growing number of worker cooperatives. One in Caracas was started by turning a waste dump into a shoe factory and a T-shirt factory. Financed with money from the Petroleum Ministry, the coop has put about a thousand people to work. The workers seem enthusiastic and hopeful.

Surprisingly, many Venezuelans know relatively little about the worker cooperatives. Or perhaps it's not surprising, given the near monopoly that private capital has over the print and broadcast media. The wealthy media moguls, all vehemently anti-Chavez, own four of the five television stations and all the major newspapers.

The man most responsible for Venezuela's revolutionary developments, Hugo Chavez, has been accorded the usual ad hominem treatment in the U.S. news media. An article in the San Francisco Chronicle (12 September 2004) described him as "Venezuela's pugnacious president." An earlier Chronicle report (30 November 2001) quotes a political opponent who calls Chavez "a psychopath, a terribly aggressive guy."

The London Financial Times (12 January 2002) sees him as "increasingly autocratic" and presiding over something called a "rogue democracy."

In the Nation (6 May 2002), Marc Cooper---one of those Cold War liberals who nowadays regularly defends the U.S. empire - writes that the democratically-elected Chavez speaks "often as a thug," who "flirts with megalomania." Chavez's behavior, Cooper rattles on, "borders on the paranoiac," is "ham-fisted demagogy" acted out with an "increasingly autocratic style." Like so many critics, Cooper downplays Chavez's accomplishments, and uses name-calling in place of informed analysis.

Other media mouthpieces have labeled Chavez "mercurial," "besieged," "heavy-handed," "incompetent," and "dictatorial," a "barracks populist," a "strongman," a "firebrand," and, above all, a "leftist." It is never explained what "leftist" means.

A leftist is someone who advocates a more equitable distribution of social resources and human services, and who supports the kinds of programs that the Chavez government is putting in place. (Likewise a rightist is someone who opposes such programs and seeks to advance the insatiable privileges of private capital and the wealthy few.)

The term "leftist" is frequently bandied about in the U.S. media but seldom defined. The power of the label is in its remaining undefined, allowing it to have an abstracted built-in demonizing impact which precludes rational examination of its political content.

The leftist Hugo Chavez whose public talks I attended on three occasions proved to be an educated, articulate, remarkably well-informed and well-read individual. Of big heart, deep human feeling, and keen intellect, he manifests a sincere dedication to effecting some salutary changes for the great mass of his people, a man who in every aspect seems worthy of the decent and peaceful democratic revolution he is leading.

Millions of his compatriots widely and correctly perceive him as being the only president who has ever paid attention to the nation's poorest areas. No wonder he is the target of calumny and coup from the upper echelons in his own country and from ruling circles up north.

Chavez charges that the United States government is plotting to assassinate him. I can believe it.

Michael Parenti's recent books include Superpatriotism (City Lights) and The Assassination of Julius Caesar (New Press) which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His forthcoming book, The Culture Struggle will be published by Seven Stories Press in the fall of 2005. For more information on Parenti, visit his website: www.michaelparenti.org.

Chavez Warns U.S. on Oil Exports
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned on Friday he could cut off oil exports to the United States if Washington goes "over the line" in what he has said are attempts to destabilize his left-leaning government.
Chavez made his threat a day after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the Venezuelan government posed "one of the biggest problems" in the region and that its ties to Cuba were "particularly dangerous" to democracy in Latin America. "The government of the United States should know that if they go over the line, they are not going to have Venezuelan oil," Chavez said.

MEDIA: The Op-Ed Assassination Of Hugo Chávez
After televangelist Pat Robertson first publicly called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frias (700 Club, 8/22/05), the editors of several major U.S. newspapers were quick to denounce his outrageous incitement to violence. However, in criticizing the conservative televangelist, the U.S. prestige press overlooked its own highly antagonistic treatment of Venezuela's president, which has surely contributed to the heated political climate in which Robertson makes such threats.

Venezuela oil offer puts heat on a U.S. governor
Should Gov. M. Jodi Rell accept deeply discounted heating oil for Connecticut's poor if it comes – via a gubernatorial rival – from the government of Venezuela's socialist president, Hugo Chávez? It is a delicate question that Rell must soon answer thanks to a deal arranged by one of her Democratic opponents, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr.

Signs Comment: Of course, if Bush and the Neocons were doing anything to help the poor and middle classes, such opportunities would not exist for Chavez...

The Long War: Rumsfeld Releases 20-Year Plan
The United States is engaged in what could be a generational conflict akin to the Cold War, the kind of struggle that might last decades as allies work to root out terrorists across the globe and battle extremists who want to rule the world, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday.

Signs Comment: Sounds exactly what the Catholic Church said and did at the beginning of the crusades, including the crusades against the Cathars, their own "heretic" countrymen.

How Do They Know Who Is a Terrorist?

The Bush administration says it only intercepts calls from terrorists. OK, how does the Bush administration know that somebody in Europe or the Middle East is a terrorist? Terrorists don't walk around the street with little name tags identifying them and their organization. They don't call people and say: "Hi, al-Qaeda calling. Can I interest you in a bomb-making kit?"

War Pimp: Later than we think
The only reason an article from that Fascist Rag, The Washington Times, is even on SOTT is so that our readers can have real, live examples of propaganda to examine.

An Open Letter to Bubba
Iraq Veterans Against the War
You say that I am not supporting the troops when I say that they should come home. But I am, because I know that there was no threat to our nation from Saddam Hussein, I know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and I know that we were not welcomed in Iraq as liberators. I know that the Iraq war was not worth fighting. I know, because I fought there. You say I’m confused. But what do you know about Iraq? You’ve never been there.

We'd better learn to empathize with the enemy
This past Christmas, my son gave me a CD entitled The Fog Of War, a documentary about former U.S. Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara. In this must-see documentary, the 85-year-old gives us 11 lessons of war, none more important then the first: empathize with the enemy.

Judge rules CIA contractor can argue duty

A federal judge says David Passaro will be allowed to present evidence at trial that he was following orders when he interrogated an Afghan detainee who later died.


US Senator Calls for Boycott of G8 Summit in Russia
A U.S. Senator John McCain has called upon world leaders to boycott the G8 summit in Russia in July, questioning Moscow’s commitment to democracy, AFP reported.

Germany, France split on NATO's proper role

Germany urged NATO Saturday to take on a more wide-ranging role in battling new global threats but France and the United States disagreed over the future of the transatlantic alliance.


Hawks have warplanes ready if the nuclear diplomacy fails
It is the option of last resort with consequences too hideous to contemplate. And yet, with diplomacy nearly exhausted, the use of military force to destroy Iran's nuclear programme is being actively considered by those grappling with one of the world's most pressing security problems. For five years the West has used every diplomatic device at its disposal to entice Iran into complying with strict conditions that would prevent its nuclear programme being diverted to produce an atomic bomb. Those efforts, however, are now faltering. US leaders are openly discussing the looming conflict. A recent poll showed that 57 per cent of Americans favoured military intervention to stop Iran building a bomb. [...]

Signs Comment: Hmmm... and what exactly is the nature of these diplomatic efforts that have been made over the past 5 years?...

Russian MP Says US To Attack Iran Late March - Muslim riots a US psyop aimed at getting EU support for war
A top Russian parliamentary leader has told Ekho Moskvy radio station that an attack on Iran is inevitable and that it will occur on March 28th. The leader of the Liberal Democrats Vladimir Zhirinovsky also believes that the Muslim riots were orchestrated by the US to garner European backing for the military strike. Rhetoric has heated significantly in the past week with Donald Rumsfeld yesterday warning that a military option was on the table, echoing the comments of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist who said that the US was prepared to take military action. Also, Israeli acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that Iran would pay "a very heavy price" if the Islamic Republic defiantly resumes full-scale uranium enrichment to build nuclear weapons. Zhirinovsky told the Russian radio station that, "The war is inevitable because the Americans want this war. Any country claiming a leading position in the world will need to wage wars. Otherwise it will simply not be able to retain its leading position." "The date for the strike is already known — it is the election day in Israel (March 28). It is also known how much that war will cost,” said Zhirinovsky.

Beware the Ides of March - The Next Act
Wars, most wars at least, run not evenly but in fits and starts, settling down into sputtering Sitzkrieg for long intervals, then suddenly shooting out wildly in wholly unpredicted directions. The war in Iraq has fallen into a set pattern for long enough that we should be expecting something new. I can identify three factors ­ there may be more ­ which could lead to some dramatic changes, soon

US slammed for playing up "China military threat"
China has expressed firm opposition to a U.S. defence review to play up the "China military threat." [...]
The
Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR), issued by the U.S. Department of Defence on Feb. 3, irrationally criticized China's normal defence construction. The move "interfered in China's internal affairs" and could "mislead public opinion," Kong said.

Europeans Cover Up for the CIA
European leaders can no longer feign ignorance about covert CIA flights to and from Europe. According to this op-ed article from Canada's Le Devoir, the latest report by Swiss Senator and Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty makes clear that European countries have engaged in a cover-up of their own.

Bush head of 'pack of killers'say Indian leftists
The US envoy to India has become embroiled in a new row after he objected to a communist leader calling President George W. Bush the leader of a "pack of killers," a report says. Ambassador David Mulford, already under attack from India's powerful leftists over recent remarks, drew fresh fire after writing a protest letter to the head of Marxist-ruled West Bengal state about his comments on Bush, The Indian Express said. West Bengal's chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee riposted with a "strong letter" to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying the envoy breached protocol by writing directly to a state government, the newspaper said.

Thousands to protect Bush in India

About 5,000 personnel including snipers, commandos and U.S. marines using helicopters, bomb detectors and electronic jammers will protect President George W. Bush during his visit to India this week, officials said on Monday.


Bush Humiliated in India: Just Not Welcome

On his triumphalist tour of India and Pakistan, where he hopes to wave imperiously at people he considers potential subjects, President Bush has an itinerary that\'s getting curiouser and curiouser. For Bush\'s March 2 pit stop in New Delhi, the Indian government tried very hard to have him address our parliament. A not inconsequential number of MPs threatened to heckle him, so Plan One was hastily shelved. Plan Two was to have Bush address the masses from the ramparts of the magnificent Red Fort, where the Indian prime minister traditionally delivers his Independence Day address. But the Red Fort, surrounded as it is by the predominantly Muslim population of Old Delhi, was considered a security nightmare. So now we\'re into Plan Three: President George Bush speaks from Purana Qila, the Old Fort. Ironic, isn\'t it, that the only safe public space for a man who has recently been so enthusiastic about India\'s modernity should be a crumbling medieval fort?

Army Effort to Enlist Hispanics Draws Recruits, and Criticism
As Sgt. First Class Gavino Barron, dressed in a crisp Army uniform, trawls the Wal-Mart here for recruits, past stacks of pillows and towers of detergent, he is zeroing-in on one of the Army's "special missions": to increase the number of Hispanic enlisted soldiers.

He approaches a couple of sheepish looking teenage boys in the automotive aisle and seamlessly slides into Spanish, letting loose his pitch: "Have you ever thought about joining the Army?" "Did you know you can get up to $40,000 in bonuses?" "I'm from Mexico, too. Michoacán." In Denver and other cities where the Hispanic population is growing, recruiting Latinos has become one of the Army's top priorities. From 2001 to 2005, the number of Latino enlistments in the Army rose 26 percent, and in the military as a whole, the increase was 18 percent.

Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

Craig Murray, the British ambassador to Uzbekistan... testified that his government and the American government were OK with receiving intelligence reports that had been obtained by torture in Uzbekistan. His superiors in the British foreign service said to him that, "we don't mind as long as we didn't ask them to do that. We can still receive this information." Murray then added, "After I heard that, I understood how some clerk could sign off on these cattle cars that were going to Auschwitz." That's really what is at stake, Judge Jabara pointed out. "The use of this torture, the beginning of all these black sites — all of these things are the road to Auschwitz."

House Committee Squashes Torture Queries - US "On the Road to Auschwitz"
Republicans easily defeated three resolutions seeking information about the Bush administration's policies on torture after a heated committee hearing. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said Democrats who submitted the resolutions should "at least silently confess to themselves that their actions pose real dangers to our country."

Signs Comment: And so will everything else go... There is no possibility whatsoever of defeating The Beast the the United States has become by political means. Remember that the Neocons own the press, the military, the judiciary, and the voting machines. Yes, it really IS that bad.
See HERE for what YOU Can Do.


Revealed: the terror prison US is helping build in Morocco
THE United States is helping Morocco to build a new interrogation and detention facility for Al-Qaeda suspects near its capital, Rabat, according to western intelligence sources. The sources confirmed last week that building was under way at Ain Aouda, above a wooded gorge south of Rabat’s diplomatic district. Locals said they had often seen American vehicles with diplomatic plates in the area. The construction of the new compound, run by the Direction de la Securité du Territoire (DST), the Moroccan secret police, adds to a substantial body of evidence that Morocco is one of America’s principal partners in the secret “rendition” programme in which the CIA flies prisoners to third countries for interrogation.

Signs Comment: Time for humanistic Europeans, especially the French, to boycott Morocco as a tourist destination...

Rumsfeld's first strike vision

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is developing an ambitious and highly controversial new preemptive strategy to try and counter the increasingly formidable measures that nations around the world are taking to protect their missiles from the U.S. ballistic missile defense systems now coming on line.
The new strategy is multi-pronged and is being developed by two of Rumsfeld's most favored and heavily funded institutions: U.S. Air Force Space Command and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Curiously, while the concept has received major coverage in British defense publications this week, so far it has not attracted any significant attention in the U.S. media.

US Interests and Israel/Palestine

Although it is not often reported by the press, a large proportion of American diplomatic and military experts have long held that U.S. support of Israel is often contrary to and, in fact, extremely damaging to U.S. interests.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

If one watches corporate media or listens to Cheney Administration propaganda, one is either not getting information about Iraq at all, or hearing that things are looking up as the U.S. approaches another “phase” in the occupation. Just taking a brief look at the “security incidents” reported by Reuters for today, 12 February, gives a little clue as to how the occupation of Iraq, aside from being immoral and unjust, is a dismal failure.

Another Witness Testifies with Perjury into Assassination of Hariri
The witness Ibrahim Michel Jarjoura said he was forced to offer a false and fabricated testimony against Syria at the international investigation committee into the assassination of former Lebanese Premier Rafik al-Hariri because he was under threats and pressures to do so.

Kyrgyzstan gives US new conditions for keeping airbase
Kyrgyzstan said it has given the United States new conditions, including a sharp hike in fees, for maintaining an airbase supporting US troops in Afghanistan, officials said. ...

Bush to visit India, Pakistan in March
US President George W. Bush said he will travel to India and Pakistan in March, as visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz urged "closer communication and coordination" against terrorism.

US unhappy over bid to end Manila security treaty
MANILA - Washington is not pleased with a plan by some Philippine lawmakers to scrap a treaty that they believe gives undue protection to visiting U.S. troops who break the law, a Philippine official said on Wednesday.

Haiti: the forgotten occupation
‘We are going to intervene in the coming days. I think there will be collateral damage but we have to impose our force, there is no other way.” These words could very easily come from a US general in Iraq announcing an attack on an insurgent stronghold. They certainly carry the same tone of callous disregard for innocent lives. They were, however, spoken by Juan Gabriel Valdes, head of the United Nations (UN) mission to Haiti, referring to the slum of Cité Soleil on the northern outskirts of the capital Port-au-Prince.

We turned our back on Haiti - Canada is complicit in region's troubles
The truth is ugly, is it not? But I make no apologies for bringing it to you alongside whatever celebrity news we have on the other pages. In fact, the only thing I regret is not doing so sooner. Canadians, and the Canadian media in general and in particular, including those who have no trouble bashing the Bushies for their intervention in Iraq, have had this collective see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil, hands-over-eyes and ears la! la! la! I can't hear you attitude towards our role in the hellhole that is Haiti.


Haiti to review election results
Haiti’s interim government has ordered a review of election results amid accusations of electoral fraud, the country’s interior minister said Tuesday.
“The government wants to make sure that everything with the process is correct,” interim interior minister Paul Magloire said. “We’re going to review the results because we want to make sure what we have is right.” Earlier Tuesday, leading presidential candidate Rene Preval claimed that “gross errors” and likely fraud marred the vote that could see him fall just short of a first-round victory, and he said he would contest the results.


Preval declared Haiti poll winner
Rene Preval has been declared president of Haiti, following last week's vote marred by claims of irregularities. He gained 51% of the vote after the authorities reached a last-minute deal to remove thousands of blank ballot papers from the count. The 7 February vote triggered big rallies by Mr Preval's supporters, who had alleged widespread vote-rigging. Jubilant crowds have poured into the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, to celebrate Mr Preval's victory.

World divided over referring Iran to UNSC
Key European countries on Tuesday decided to move ahead with plans to refer Tehran to the UN Security Council despite an offer by Iran for resumption of talks, while Russia and China urged further negotiations to end the deadlock.


What noncompliance? How the US Creates Nuclear Powered Enemies

North Korea, Iran and Iraq were signatories to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and had their nuclear materials, facilities and activities subject to IAEA periodic inspection. As for North Korea, under the so-called Agreed Framework, all existing "nuclear" activities had been "frozen" – under IAEA lock and seal – in return for a promise by the United States of alternative energy supplies.

Revealed: ambassador tried to kill US hunt for AWB bribes
THE Australian ambassador to the United States lobbied Congress to drop an investigation into allegations that Australia's wheat exporter paid kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime. The Federal Government confirmed last night that the then ambassador, Michael Thawley, met the chairman of a US Senate investigations committee in late 2004 to head off the planned inquiry.

China's domestic oil, gas supplies grow steadily
BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- China has experienced a stable growth in its domestic oil and gas supplies over the last five years, according to the National Development and Reform Commission(NDRC).

Petrodollar Warfare
Interview With William R. Clark, Author "Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar"
The notion that Iraq was invaded to prevent the development of weapons of mass destruction, or to combat terrorism, has long been discredited. But a growing consensus believes that Iraq's oil was surely a prime reason for US actions. However, author William Clark argues convincingly in Petrodollar Warfare that the rationale for intervening was not just for control of the oil fields, but also for control of the means by which oil is traded in global markets.

Signs Comment: Click on the link in the title to listen to the interview on Information Clearing House.


U.S. Embassy Ready To Evacuate As Nepal's King Plan For Exile
NEPAL remains tense as the 7-Party agitation against the Monarchy gains strength and the Maoist continue to have success on the battle-field.Sources within the Palace report the King and his family are preparing for exile.


Washington hopes to improve ties with Venezuela: envoy

The United States has indicated itis willing to improve ties with Venezuela after the two countries expelled diplomats this month in a dispute over charges that a U.S. naval attache was spying, a U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday.


Analysis: Spain defies U.S. -- again

Last week, not for the first time since he left office, Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar had lunch with President George W. Bush at the White House. He's doing a lot better than his socialist successor Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at staying in touch with the Bush administration. After two years in office Zapatero has yet to meet formally with the American president.

US deal said to let India expand nuclear arms
A landmark new U.S.-India nuclear agreement would enable New Delhi to expand atomic weapons production and encourage Pakistan and China to do likewise, according to critics of the controversial deal.

Signs Comment: But oh, no! Not Iran!!

Commercial photos show Chinese nuke buildup
Commercial satellite photos made public recently provide a new look at China's nuclear forces and bases -- images that include the first view of a secret underwater submarine tunnel. A Pentagon official said the photograph of the tunnel entrance reveals for the first time a key element of China's hidden military buildup. Similar but more detailed intelligence photos of the entrance are highly classified within the U.S. government, the official said.

The New Geopolitics
The war in Iraq has reconfigured the global geopolitical landscape in many ways, some of which may not be apparent for years or even decades to come. It has certainly altered the U.S. relationship with Europe and the Middle East. But its impact goes well beyond this. More than anything else, the war reveals that the new central pivot of world competition is the south-central area of Eurasia.

The US has become a rogue nation

The state of the nation has never been worse. The Great Depression was an accident caused by the incompetence of the Federal Reserve, which was still new at its job. The new American job depression is the result of free trade ideology. The new job depression is creating a reserve army of the unemployed to serve as desperate recruits for neoconservative military adventures. Perhaps that explains the Bush administration's enthusiasm for globalization.

An Interview With William Blum, Author "Rogue State"
William Blum, "Rogue State," on the author’s 2000 book, which was recently cited by Osama bin Laden as one Americans should read. First broadcast - C-Span - 28/01/06 - 40 Minutes Below: This is a chapter from the book Rogue State: A Guide to
the World's Only Superpower
, by William Blum

Signs Comment: If you wake up in the morning and you have no power to your house and no gas to your stove and the bridge you take to work is down and will be lying in the river for the next 20 years, I think you begin to ask, "Hey, Dubya, what's this all about? How much more of this do we have to withstand?"

Resistance grows to US assumption of primacy

Stressing the indispensability of American global leadership is standard fare in State of the Union addresses, and George Bush's speech last night was no exception. But a string of foreign policy setbacks has highlighted growing flaws in Washington's long cherished assumption of international primacy.

State of the War? U.S. Support Fades
President Bush is under fire over his Iraq policies, as a majority of likely voters nationwide say they are not pleased with his handling of the war there, a new Zogby Interactive survey shows.

Bush's whitewashing address

The annual address of the U.S. President to the nation is entitled "State of the Union Address." But the fifth address delivered by President George W. Bush on Tuesday January 31 seemed like an attempt to whitewash his administration's actions.


Bush hits the road to take a green message to his nation of oil addicts
[...] The proposal, in an otherwise unremarkable speech, was welcomed as a positive step by American environmentalists. But some pointed to the fine print underlying the proposal and warned that it might not prove to be as far-reaching as it appeared. Particular scrutiny was applied to the relatively detailed pledge to make "cellulosic ethanol" - derived from agricultural waste such as woodchips, switch grass (a tall marsh plant) and stalks from grain crops - a competitive and practical car fuel within six years.

Signs Comment: Considering the fact that Bush has single-handedly done more to damage the environment than any other single president in American History, I don't think we can trust this about face for one minute.

U.S. fired on Canadian diplomats without warning, envoy says
Canadian officials dispute the U.S. version of an event in Iraq and insist that American soldiers fired without warning on a consular vehicle carrying four Canadian diplomats, CBC News has learned.

Signs Comment: Remember the story of Giuliana Sgrena and Nicola Calipari? Mr. Calipari wasn't so lucky. He was killed by US army fire on their vehicle. Sgrena was badly wounded. The US conducted an iquiry exhonerating its soldiers. Italy complained, but Berlusconi shut up. Will Harper do the same?

Whatever happened to what's-his-name?
'Scourge of Western civilisation', 'leader of the insurgency', 'al-Queda in Iraq', 'Usama's right-hand man', the Scarlet Pimpernel of 'Islamic fundamentalism', Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. For the past couple of years we were bombarded by the mythical man's dastardly deeds, then all of a sudden-he disappeared from the headlines.

German spy scandal heats up

[...] Joschka Fischer, traveled to Ankara, Turkey, and met with two agents of Germany's Foreign Intelligence Service, BND, to discuss ongoing operational cooperation with the CIA, though Berlin was publicly opposed to the U.S.-led conflict and considered the military option illegal.
Fischer acknowledged the meeting recently as part of an unfolding controversy surrounding the BND's role in aiding the U.S. war effort.

Turkey will construct own nuclear power plant with US support

On February 9, during a visit of Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler in the US, he will discuss participation of American companies in construction of a nuclear power plant in Turkey. [...] Turkey needs more and more energy. In 2005, annual amount of energy consumption in the country increased by 8%. In the next 10 years Ankara plans to provide industry and citizens with 40 thousand megawatt of energy.

Georgia denies US 'putting out feelers'

Following the Post's report that the US was considering using military bases in Georgia as a platform for a possible attack on Iran, the Georgian chief of General Staff denied the claims. "This is utterly absurd," Levan Nikoleishvili, the Georgian chief of the General Staff told Russian news agency Novosti following the Monday morning report.

U.S. Army stretched to breaking
The Marines may be the most celebrated of the American armed forces, but it's the Army that does most of the heavy lifting, as it is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the process, the Army is being battered and shattered in the same way that it was in Vietnam. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that isn't the case; everything's fine. But a recent authoritative study says he is wrong. Commissioned by the Pentagon, the study was done by Andrew Krepinevich of the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He's a West Point graduate who served in a variety of Army roles, including a stint on the strategic plans and policy division, before retiring. He holds a doctorate from Harvard University.

Bush calls for nuclear construction by 2010
US President George W. Bush warned that US dependency on oil left the country "hostage" to countries that may be hostile and urged new nuclear plant construction by 2010.

Signs Comment: Bush wants to replace 75% of oil imports by 2025?? Obviously, the prez is simply on a PR campaign.

Pakistan Tests Hatf Missile Again
The Pakistani Army announced on Sunday that it has successfully tested a new nuclear-capable short-range missile. In an official statement the Army said its new surface-to-surface Hatf 2/Abdali missile had a range of 120 miles and was capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It said the missile had been successfully tested but did not reveal the location of the test. The successful test was announced as Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf began a five-day state visit to China, the Anadolu News Agency reported from Islamabad. Pakistan previously tested the Hatf II in March 2005, when it announced the missile's range was a slightly shorter 108 miles.

Aristide, in Exile, Suggests a Speedy Return to Haiti

Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said in a television interview on Tuesday that he hoped to return to Haiti from exile in South Africa "as soon as possible," joining his onetime protégé, René Préval, who was officially declared the country's new president last week.
In an interview on SABC, South African television, his first since Mr. Préval's election, Mr. Aristide gave little indication of when he might return or what role he might play, except to say that he "will continue to invest in education." While in exile, Mr. Aristide has lectured at the University of South Africa in Pretoria and given frequent speeches.

When Uncle Sam comes marching in

SULU, Philippines - About 5,500 US soldiers are coming to the Philippines this month, the latest and reportedly the largest batch in the continuing and uninterrupted deployment of US troops to the country since the "global war on terror" was launched after September 11, 2001. About 250 of them will join an undetermined number of US troops already in Sulu, an island in the southern Philippines where the Abu Sayyaf group supposedly fled after being driven out of neighboring Basilan island, where US troops were also previously deployed. If official pronouncements are to be believed, US troops are coming only to train Filipino soldiers, give away medicine, build schools and even give veterinary services.





U.S. Domestic Policies And Creeping Totalitarianism


Perplexed and Angry: Polls Left Alito Filibuster Wide Open to Democrats
We have watched in dismay over the weekend as too many Democrats remained unwilling to heed Senator John Kerry’s call to filibuster the Samuel Alito Supreme Court nomination. And we know that such political cowardice certainly can’t be the fear of going up against George W. Bush and what the public-relations hit might be from doing that. A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll released Friday shows Bush’s national approval rating still in the cellar at 43 percent and no amount of the president saying “war on terror” and “September 11” over and over seems to be changing that. Bush doesn’t look to me like someone the opposition party should be afraid to mess with. So I decided to look at some polling numbers on the Alito nomination and the Supreme Court, hoping that the exercise might shed some light on why many Democrats won’t show any spine in blocking Bush’s ultraconservative nominee. What I found left me even more perplexed and angry.

Signs Comment: We think a lot of people are perplexed and angry, but is it really because standing up for what is right is too damn much trouble? We don't think so. We find it fascinating to note that even the venerable Robert Byrd, total enemy of the Neocons, sold out at the last minute.Why? What could make such a staunch Constitutionalist as Byrd flop over the fence?Well, either they know something VERY serious that the rest of us don't know, or somebody knows something about THEM that the rest of us don't know, and they are all willing to toe the line to keep those secrets.

Justice Alito casts his first vote
The Supreme Court's newest justice cast his first vote Wednesday, then was sworn in ceremonially at the White House.

US supreme court nears crucial abortion ruling
The US supreme court moved a step closer yesterday to taking up its first case on abortion since the appointment of two judges of President George Bush's choosing, after two federal appeals courts ruled that a ban on a termination procedure was unconstitutional.

Senate target: Bush's war powers
[...] The Senate, especially, is gearing up to make the case that power between the executive and legislative branches is unbalanced. Next week, the Senate begins the first hearings on the president's authorization of eavesdropping without a warrant.


Bush's 'Addicted' Nation Will Find Withdrawal Painful
President Bush's push to break America's oil habit 'has come years too late,' both for America's auto companies and especially consumers. According to this editorial from NRC Handelsblad of The Netherlands, kicking the habit now 'is going to be very painful.'

Bush Has No Intention of Tackling America's Oil Addiction

Rather than suggesting ways for Americans to 'kick the habit,' President Bush has plans to reduce his nation's dependence on Middle East oil, not oil in general. But given the reality of America's profligate energy use, this editorial from the Trouw newspaper of The Netherlands suggests that, 'the energy addict participates in the global detoxification program: The Kyoto Treaty.'

Wounded Soldiers Told They Owe Money to Army It was one of the thousands of roadside bombs in Iraq that paralyzed Staff Sgt. Eugene Simpson. "My first instinct was to jump farther back into the Humvee, you know, for protection," Simpson said. "But in doing that, I opened my back up to all the scrap metal and debris, which hit my spine and severed my spine, paralyzing me." He was soon on a plane home. Fast-working, skilled Army doctors saved his life, as they have so many. Slow, bumbling Army bureaucrats would make his life miserable, as they have so many. "And the military basically is, like, they turn their back on you, you kind of feel that you've just been used," Simpson said.

Signs Comment: So, they only decided to do something when they "saw it on television"? How long are the American people going to put up with this kind of crap? Bottom line, young man or woman, do NOT join the military! They'll use you up (if they don't kill you) and toss you aside like a tissue.

Out of jail, into the Army
Facing an enlistment crisis, the Army is granting "waivers" to an increasingly high percentage of recruits with criminal records -- and trying to hide it. "We're transforming our military. The things I look for are the following: morale, retention, and recruitment. And retention is high, recruitment is meeting goals, and people are feeling strong about the mission."
-- George W. Bush, in a Jan. 26 press conference

Custodians Of Chaos
In this exclusive extract from his forthcoming memoirs, Kurt Vonnegut is horrified by the hypocrisy in contemporary US politics. "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you." A lot of people think Jesus said that, because it is so much the sort of thing Jesus liked to say. But it was actually said by Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, five hundred years before there was that greatest and most humane of human beings, named Jesus Christ.

Signs Comment: Vonnegut is on the money here. He is one of the few public figures that has nailed the reality of the Pathocracy under which Americans, and many others around the world, live, and he has done it simply by observing the situation and calling it as he sees it. Vonnegut references Hervey Cleckley's Mask fo Sanity. You can download the book from our website here, permission has been obtained from the estate of Hervey Cleckley to do this. Our latest exposé on the world of the psychopath - Political Ponerology by Andrew Lobaczewski - takes the study of the psychopath to all new levels and provides evidence to suggest that the international political arena has been dominated by such types for many decades. See here for more on "Political Ponerology"m it is ESSENTIAL reading.

The Pestilent Presidency

The continued dismantling of America’s very essence, the decimation of its founding core and its evolving surface, has been a product of both purposeful malevolence as well as incompetent ignorance. While the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans continue to deteriorate, each day losing more knowledge, freedom, democracy and economic survivability – though with many remaining ignorant or blinded to their actual plight – the other America, that of the elite and the corporate world, has risen in exponential fashion to take the complete reigns of power away from the rest of us. As a result, the America of times past, where the People still ruled, has given way to the America of tomorrow, a corporatist ruled land where citizens are pawns and corporations kings.

Astounding Hypocrisy

Few in the Middle East will have heard George W. Bush’s State of the Union address without feeling exasperation and anger that this belligerent president appears to have no idea of how US policy in the region is riddled with double standards. It is now clear that this astonishingly ill-informed administration had not the slightest inkling that Hamas would win the Palestinian elections — let alone win so decisively. Coming as it did on the eve of his big set piece speech to the American people, the election was a problem for President Bush. Here was a free and fair democratic election, a model of the political process that he has supposedly committed himself to promoting throughout the region, and it produced winners who were not what Washington would have liked or chosen.

What Bush Did Not Say

The 'rise of authoritarianism,' the 'diminishment of liberties and fundamental rights,' the 'systematic use of torture' the 'widespread corruption' and the 'deterioration of influence in South America' are a few of the items Bush left out of his State of the Union speech. According to this op-ed article from Mexico's La Jornada, Bush has constructed a country that doesn't exist except in his speeches, where he can 'take refuge and forget his distressing political situation.'

Bush Warns of Frightening New Enemy

President Bush has now officially progressed beyond simple lies and deception and has graduated to much more complex psychobabble. During his State of the DisUnion address Tuesday, the commander-in-chief warned of a frightening new enemy that could infiltrate American society if left unchecked. The new terrorists. Yes, I'm talking about the dreaded Human-Animal-Hybrid. A beast so threatening it'll make BigFoot seem like Barney. Our president fears scientists almost as much as he fears Al Qaeda. ...

Bush Urges Confidence in His Leadership

President Bush said Wednesday he understands why the nation he has led for five years has become more anxious, and he urged people to have confidence in him [while totally missing the point that a LEADER inspires confidence, a leader does not have to URGE it].

7 US Reps Want Bush Impeachment Probe 20 Now Want Impeachment, Resignation, or Probe
The number of Members of US Congress supporting US Rep. John ConyersÂ’s (D-MI) H. Res 635 has now jumped to 17, including Mr. Conyers. The US House bill would create a Select Committee to investigate the grounds for impeaching President Bush.

The President is a dolt – so how can America be such a success story?
The more widely reported was President Bush’s State of the Union address, a weak and defensive speech even by his undemanding standards. At the other end of Washington, meanwhile, Alan Greenspan, the retiring chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, was bidding farewell to the institution whose skilful management of US monetary policy made him the dominant figure in the world economy for the past 18 years. What connects these two events is a paradox that has baffled many people, especially in Europe, ever since George W. Bush became President.

Customs 'camps' cause for concern
The story showed up in Tuesday's Press-Telegram, as I was reading "Night," Elie Wiesel's horrifying autobiography of a teenager in Buchenwald and Auschwitz. Appearing on page A5, the story said the federal government had awarded a $385 million contract for the construction of "temporary detention facilities." These would be used, the story said, in the event of an "immigration emergency."

The killing has got to stop

[...] How many more Americans and Iraqis must perish or be maimed until the "stay-the-course" approach is discredited?

Cindy Sheehan terrorizes Bush and his trained clapping seals at the State of Disunion speech

Diabolic… Cindy Sheehan armed with a concealed T-shirt boldly snuck into Bush’s State of Disunion Speech.

Revolutionary Movements and Leadership

"Too long have the workers of the world waited for some Moses to lead them out of bondage. I would not lead you out if I could; for if you could be lead out, you could be led back again. I would have you make up your minds there is nothing that you cannot do for yourselves." --Eugene Victor Debs - December 18, 1905

Judge Orders Padilla's Shackles Removed

U.S. officials who want terror suspect Jose Padilla to wear handcuffs and ankle chains during open court appearances must first show he poses a direct safety threat, a federal judge said Friday. 

USA Patriot Act extended through March 10
The U.S. Congress has given the USA Patriot Act, portions of which were set to expire Friday, an additional five weeks of legislative life. The Senate, in a 95-1 vote Thursday, extended the Patriot Act until March 10.

U.S. officials warn of greater threats from terrorists
"The enemy — while weakened and under pressure — is still capable of global reach and still possesses the determination to kill more Americans, and to do so with the world's most dangerous weapons," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the National Press Club. "There is a tendency to underestimate the threat they pose," he said.

Signs Comment: Of course they pose a threat... NOW. Now that the Neocon gang have really gone out there and made serious enemies for America after creating a fake terrorist attack on 9/11. We really DO need to be afraid, VERY afraid.

Homeland Security campaign schools kids in preparedness
"Preparedness is not just a government challenge," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said during a visit to Andrew Jackson Language Academy, an elementary school in Chicago. "We all have to learn how to plan for the unexpected."

Signs Comment: Oh lord, not again! In short, they are going to teach them how to get under the desk, bend over and think nice thoughts while the nukes fall. The nukes, we should add, that have been aimed at us thanks to Bush and the Neocons.

Pentagon Database Leaves No Child Alone

All over the country, organized citizens are fighting to restrict the military’s presence in schools. But having recruiters troll high schools cafeterias is just one way the Pentagon inundates our youngsters with messages to “Go Army!”

New Details Revealed on C.I.A. Leak Case: Cheney?

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff told prosecutors that Mr. Cheney had informed him "in an off sort of curiosity sort of fashion" in mid-June 2003 about the identity of the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak case, according to a formerly secret legal opinion, parts of which were made public on Friday.


Domestic Agencies Face Cuts in Bush Budget
Domestic priorities like federal aid to schools and health research are squeezed under President Bush's proposed budget for next year, but funding for the Pentagon, the war in Iraq and anti-terrorism efforts get impressive increases.

Bush slashing foster care aid

A bill awaiting President Bush's signature includes provisions to cut off federal foster care benefits for hundreds of California children living with low-income relatives after being removed from the homes of abusive or neglectful parents.

Bush's budget bashed
President Bush, constrained by wars, hurricanes and exploding budget deficits, has sent Congress a 2007 spending plan that is garnering howls of pain from farmers, teachers, doctors and a wide array of other groups with special interests. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., said Bush's budget was sending a clear message "that the most important thing to this administration are tax cuts being made permanent for the wealthiest of Americans."

How To Become a Dictator
SOTT Introduction: The current US Administration uses the term "liberal" to demonize their opponents. They also compare their enemies - generally "liberals" - to Adolf Hitler. We also notice that the word "nazi" gets a lot of play, such as when the new German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, recently referred to the "Iran threat" as being "as bad as the Nazis". This is truly bizarre when you consider the fact that the real Nazis were rabidly "anti-liberal." They, too, used the term "liberal" as if it were a bad word and generally, they applied it to communists, labor unions, or anybody who was in favor of the Power of the Citizens, the workers. [...]

"Just As 'Legal' As Hitler was in 1933"
Anonymous
Hitler was asked - In September 1931: "How do you imagine the setting up of a Third Reich?" His reply was, "We will enter the legal organizations and will make our Party a decisive factor in this way. But when we do possess constitutional rights then we will form the State in the manner which we consider to be the right one." Hitler was asked: "This too by constitutional means?" Hitler replied: "Yes." 

Echoes of Fascism: Rhetoric We've Heard Before
"My administration has focused the nation's resources on our highest priority - protecting our citizens and our homeland. Working with Congress, we have given our men and women on the front lines in the war on terror the funding they need to defeat the enemy and detect, disrupt and dismantle terrorist plots and operations." - George W. Bush

"An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our homeland." -Adolph Hitler 


The Voice of the White House
Democracy, as a relative once said, is government of the mentally misfit by the mentally mediocre, tempered by the saving grace of snobbery. The latter is now a dead issue and we have creatures like George Bush and Tony Blair as beau ideals for the great mass of moral deadbeats that cover the surface of the earth like gnats.

The Effectiveness Thing
We are ruled by bunglers. Every major venture by the Bush administration, from the occupation of Iraq to the Medicare drug program, has turned into an epic saga of incompetence. In retrospect, the Clinton years look like a golden era of good government.
Given the Bush administration's evident inability to govern, Democratic electoral victories should be a sure thing. But they aren't. Why?

Signs Comment: "Why?" Paul Krugman asks. Why does Dubya fill all the top government posts with incompetent cronies? Well, this is NOT a new thing, Paul. It's history. Andrew Lobaczewski even studied it and wrote about it:
Pathocracy at the summit of governmental organization also does not constitute the entire picture of the “mature phenomenon”. Such a system of government has nowhere to go but down. Any leadership position - down to village headman and community cooperative mangers, not to mention the directors of police units, and special-services police personnel, and activists in the pathocratic party - must be filled by individuals whose feeling of linkage to such a regime is conditioned by corresponding psychological deviations, which are inherited as a rule. However, such people become more valuable because they constitute a very small percentage of the population. Their intellectual level or professional skills cannot be taken into account, since people representing superior abilities with the requisite psychological deviations - are even harder to find. After such a system has lasted several years, one hundred percent of all the cases of essential psychopathy are involved in pathocratic activity; they are considered the most loyal, even though some of them were formerly involved on the other side in some way. Under such conditions, no area of social life can develop normally, whether in economics, culture, science, technology, administration, etc. Pathocracy progressively paralyzes everything. [...] The following question thus suggests itself: what happens if the network of understandings among psychopaths achieves power in leadership positions with international exposure? This can happen, especially during the later phases of the phenomenon. Goaded by their character, such people thirst for just that even though it would conflict with their own life interest… They do not understand that a catastrophe would ensue. Germs are not aware that they will be burned alive or buried deep in the ground along with the human body whose death they are causing. If the many managerial positions of a government are assumed by individuals deprived of sufficient abilities to feel and understand most other people and who also have deficiencies as regards technical imagination and practical skills - faculties indispensable for governing economic and political matters - this must result in an exceptionally serious crisis in all areas, both within the country in question and with regard to international relations. Within, the situation shall become unbearable even for those citizens who were able to feather their nest into a relatively comfortable “modus vivendi”. Outside, other societies start to feel the pathological quality of the phenomenon quite distinctly. Such a state of affairs cannot last long.
No, there is no possibility of winning a battle against a gang of fascists that control all the major organs of state AND the media, and who do not hesitate to fix elections. As Stalin said: "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes." What he actually said was "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything," but it's the same thing. That's what we are up against and anybody who can't see it doesn't have their eyes open.

The Secret World of Stephen Cambone
Rumsfeld's Enforcer  The grave fellow in the business suit sitting between two uniformed generals at the witness table during the senate hearings about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war at Abu Ghraib was Dr. Stephen Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, known throughout the Pentagon as Donald Rumsfeld's "chief henchman". In his testimony before the committee, Cambone was unapologetic and almost as dismissive as the ridiculous Sen. James Inhofe about the global disgust which erupted over the abuse and murder of Iraqi prisoners of war. Cambone, an apex neo-con and veteran of the Project for the New American Century, evinced disdain not only for the senatorial inquiry but also at a squeamish Lieutenant General Antonio Taguba, who sat next him, looking as if he suspected that he might well be the next one leashed to Cambone's bureaucratic pillory.

Tomgram: Bushwhacked in Bushworld - "Beam Me Up, Scottie!"
Just in case you hadn't noticed, we're in a Bushworld too absurd for words. But that hasn't stopped this administration from yakking its collective head off.  Over the last week: The President came out for an ethanol-powered globe -- that's corn on the cob to you, buddy -- while his Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld announced that our poor planet had somehow gotten more terroristically dangerous since George took the helm. (No fault of his, natch.)

Rothbard on the Fall and Rise and Fall of Liberty
George Orwell wrote in 1984 that those who control the present control the past. It would be difficult to prove Orwell wrong, for surely it is not a mere coincidence that the dim picture of history taught in the government schools and the even more vague history repeated incessantly by the public intellectuals, just happen to create a worldview in which governments through the centuries have made possible everything that is good and decent in the world today.

Signs Comment: "Yes, we did produce a near perfect Republic. But will they keep it, or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction."
- Thomas Jefferson

Deluded Believers in Government

On paper, people are a lot richer than they were 20 or 50 years ago, but it doesn't seem as though the money has done them much good. Maybe our memory is giving out, but we don't ever remember the area looking so shabby, so crowded, or so disagreeable.

US Capitol nerve agent scare a false alarm
Washington authorities said a nerve agent scare, which forced the evacuation of a Senate office building, was a "false alarm" after white powder found in the building was found benign. Scores of senators and Senate staffers were rushed from their offices after a sensor in the building's attic set off an alarm indicating the suspected presence of a dangerous nerve agent in the building, said Capitol Police sergeant Kimberly Schneider.

Signs Comment: US Congressmen fleeing for their lives... and they don't even stop to think that they have created the world where this humiliating behavior is accepted.

The terror of President Bush - How one word granted one man so much power and control

[...] Where would George Bush be today without the word "terror," by the way? That single word, it seems, is solely responsible for Bush's continued popularity among simple-minded Americans. Without the word "terror," Bush would have no war, no foreign policy, no justification for decimating the Constitution, and nothing to talk about in his speeches. His entire presidency since 9/11, a few observant people are realizing, is really based on just two things: terror and tyranny. And he's using the former to achieve the latter.

Do Bush supporters hate their country?
Sometimes the people who still fervently support George W. Bush seem just plain stupid, and other times it seems they must be dishonest and even malevolent, harboring a hatred for their country that allows them to support misguided ideas and private agendas over the public good. In more reasonable moods, I want to believe that the Bush supporters are just like me in simply wanting what is best for the country safety, security, fairness and a commitment to a government that observes the principles upon which our nation was founded. When I'm thinking that way, I assume we don't disagree on goals and objectives, just on the most effective way to achieve those goals and objectives.

The Otherguy Syndrome

Blame Saddam for not telling us he didn't have WMDs, thus forcing us to invade. Blame the Democrats for not stopping that invasion when they had the chance.

Blame the deficit on the lack of permanent tax cuts for the rich.

Blame those who articulated Coretta Scott King's philosophy at her own funeral for having the bad manners to do so.

Blame the wiretapped for having been swept up in data mining.

Blame Brownie for not telling the White House about the breach of the levees, even after it turns out, he did. Blame the press for playing "the blame game" when they ask about it.

Blame Joe Wilson's wife for sending her husband to Niger. Blame Joe Wilson for not having found anything there. Blame the CIA for letting Cheney know he didn't find anything there.

Blame John Kerry for not being enough of a war hero. Blame Jack Murtha for his "cut and run" cowardice.

Blame NASA scientists for speaking out on science without using the word "theory."

Blame anyone in the press who dares call Abramoff partisan.

Blame the Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats for making Alito's wife cry.

And oh, while you're at it -- Blame a 78-year-old man in a bright orange vest for getting in the way of Dick Cheney's shotgun.

Rumsfeld and Cheney Revive Their 70's Terror Playbook
Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are at it again. Last week, Rumsfeld told the press we should be preparing for "the Long War," saying of the war this administration has stirred up with its attack on Iraq that, "Just as the Cold War lasted a long time, this war is something that is not going to go away." The last time Rumsfeld talked like this was in the 1970s, in response to the danger of peace presented by Richard Nixon.

Rumsfeld's Hitler Analogy
The only real surprise is that it took this long. On Thursday, February 2, the U.S. government's senior hawk, Donald Rumsfeld, stooped to the Hitler 'analogy' in a show of his administration's increasing desperation at the consolidation of the Bolivarian Revolution and the rise of the Left in Latin America. The Secretary of Defense delivered the clumsy slur against the (repeatedly) democratically elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez: "We've got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money. He's a person who was elected legally, just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally, and then consolidated power, and now is, of course, working closely with Fidel Castro and Mr. [Evo] Morales and others. It concerns me (1)."

Signs Comment: Ah, yes... the psychopath will always accuse others of what he himself is guilty. If you were to ask people from around the world who they thought was the biggest threat to world peace, somehow we doubt that "Hugo Chavez" would be the popular answer...


Congress to unveil blistering report on 'national failure' after Katrina
The US Congress is due to release a blistering assessment of the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, which flattened a large swathe of the US Gulf Coast. The 600-page report by a select committee of Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives concludes that emergency planners failed to act on warnings before Katrina laid waste to New Orleans and the surrounding region last August, leaving some 1,300 people dead.
 
Signs Comment: Oh goodie! Another "independent commission" might be formed to bury the truth once and for all.

Senators hear 'shocking examples' of FEMA waste
FEMA has let nearly 11,000 unused manufactured homes deteriorate on old runways and open fields in Arkansas, and the agency spent $416,000 per person to house a few hundred Hurricane Katrina evacuees for a short time in Alabama last fall, government investigators told the Senate on Monday. The allegations that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on a host of bungled efforts to help evacuees were in a pair of reports to senators investigating the government's response to the disaster.

Hurricane Katrina; “National Failure” or Criminal Negligence

“I don’t think anyone anticipated the breach in the levees.” -- George Bush
The senate investigation of Hurricane Katrina is turning out to be another White House whitewash. The senate strategy has been to characterize the Bush administration’s response as “a national failure” or “bureaucratic bungling” when in fact the evidence proves that the top officials in the administration, including George Bush himself, are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of New Orleans residents.


Turf Wars in the Delta

It was a thing marvelous to behold: the future in full color, projected onto twin screens in a hotel convention room where an overflow crowd packed four deep against the walls. Flashing before them was three months of work by the best and brightest in urban design, led by the superstar national planning firm Wallace Roberts & Todd, which resurrected the dying Baltimore waterfront and laid out a master plan for the national Capitol grounds way back in 1983.
What the crowd saw put the "new"back in New Orleans. Canals covered and converted into leafy bicycle and pedestrian paths crisscrossing the city. A gleaming $4.8 billion transit and infrastructure system, including rail links to the airport, Baton Rouge, and the Gulf Coast. For every neighborhood: a school, a park, and a retail zone. But the dreamy PowerPoint presentation by the Urban Planning Committee of Mayor Ray Nagin's Bring New Orleans Back Commission ended in a cold splash of harsh reality.


White House Issues Its Own Katrina Report
A White House report concluded Thursday that inexperienced disaster response managers and a lack of planning, discipline and leadership contributed to vast federal failures during Hurricane Katrina. The 228-page report by White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend urges changes in 11 key areas - mainly in better disaster relief coordination among federal agencies - before the next hurricane season begins June 1. It also found "significant flaws" in the national response plan issued last year by the Homeland Security Department.

Signs Comment: Not surprisingly, Townsend's report doesn't seem to make any mention of how Bush screwed up. Bush can say he "accepts responsibility" for the Katrina fiasco, but if his administration simply points the finger elsewhere, has he really accepted any responsibility?

Women Hold Fewer State Govt Posts Than Men
Women hold fewer than a quarter of the top jobs in state governments and have made little progress increasing their representation in the last eight years, a new study found.
From 1998 to 2005, the percentage of women in state government leadership positions rose from 23.1 percent to 24.7 percent, the report by the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society at the University at Albany found.

GRAND JURY CHARGES NOE WITH 53 FELONY COUNTS

The former GOP fund-raiser was accompanied by his sister and brother-in-law and said nothing during the six-minute hearing.

Abramoff Said to Claim Close Ties to Rove

Three former associates of Jack Abramoff say the now-convicted lobbyist frequently told them he had strong ties to the White House through presidential confidant Karl Rove.
The White House said Monday night that Rove remembers meeting Abramoff at a 1990s political meeting and considered the lobbyist a "casual acquaintance" since President Bush took office in 2001. New questions have arisen about Abramoff's ties to the White House since a photo emerged over the weekend showing Abramoff with Bush. The White House would not release the photo or any others that Bush had taken with Abramoff. Also surfacing were the contents of an e-mail from Abramoff to Washingtonian magazine claiming he had met briefly with the president nearly a dozen times and that Bush knew him well enough to make joking references to Abramoff's family.

Popular Ohio Democrat Drops Out of Race, and Perhaps Politics

Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran and popular Democratic candidate in Ohio's closely watched Senate contest, said yesterday that he was dropping out of the race and leaving politics altogether as a result of pressure from party leaders. Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside so that Representative Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, could take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent.

Patriot Act Moves Ahead Despite Opposition
The USA Patriot Act is headed toward renewal with broad Senate support for a White House-brokered compromise that adds modest new civil liberties protections to the terror-fighting law. "The outcome here is absolutely predetermined," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said late Wednesday. "It's going to pass with overwhelming support."

The Backstabbers

Here's yet another story that is sadly characteristic of the Bush Imperium: the complete and utter breakdown in backbone of the so-called "opposition" party. We'll skip the polite headline use by the New York Times and title the story according to its truth: Democratic Leaders Force Democrat Who Actually Talks Like a Democrat to Quit Race Due to Lack of Deference and Decorum Toward the Dear Leader and Insufficient Sucking Up to Corporate Elites.

Mark Crispin Miller says Bush stole the White House, twice.
The GNN interview with the Fooled Again author.
Editor’s note: If you asked everyone in the U.S. whom they thought won Florida in 2000, half the country (or more) would most likely tell you Al Gore, including Al Gore. But pose the question, who won Ohio in November 2004? and it’s an entirely different story. For most Americans, George Bush earned a commanding mandate on November 2, 2004. The race in Ohio, officially decided by 118,000 votes, was close, but was no Florida. There were no hanging chads or Jews for Buchanan. Democracy worked and the guy with the most votes won. But for a small contingent of left-wing activists and progressive Democrats, Ohio was Florida Redux – a ruthless Republican coup orchestrated under the absent gaze of the lapdog media. In GNN’s new documentary American Blackout, we detail some of the more egregious examples of voter suppression. As the Conyers Report documents, there is substantial evidence that heavily Democratic (and African-American) precincts in Ohio didn’t have enough voting machines, voters were intimidated and valid votes were discarded. Yet for most on the left, it’s still an open question whether Republican shenanigans actually added up to a Kerry win. What does Kerry think? In his new book, American Vertigo, Bernard-Henri Lévy writes he met up with a “haggard, ghostly” Kerry a few weeks after his loss. According to Lévy, the defeated candidate faintly whispered in his ear, “If you hear anything about those 50,000 votes in Ohio, let me know.”

25 US Reps Want Bush Impeachment Inquiry
25 US Representatives–including two members of the Georgia delegation–have now signed on as co-sponsors of H. Res 635, demanding a probe which could recommend Bush’s impeachment, including the initial sponsor, US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Atlanta Progressive News has learned.
If the Democratic Party is able to retake the US House of Representatives, Rep. Conyers would become Chairman Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee, whereas he is currently minority leader on the Committee. If not acted on this session, the bill would have to be reintroduced next session. It is possible that a new bill could include new language regarding NSA domestic wiretapping.

Signs Comment: More smokescreen to give the masses the illusion of democracy. This won't go anywhere just like the probe into the illegal spying went nowhere, just like, in the face of massive popular opposition, Alito was confirmed to the supreme court.

Voter Fraud: Coulter votes in wrong precinct

She may be smart enough to earn millions from her acidic political barbs, but when it comes to something as simple as voting in her tiny hometown, hard-core conservative pundit Ann Coulter is a tad confused. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections records show Coulter voted last week in Palm Beach's council election. Problem is: She cast her ballot in a precinct 4 miles north of the precinct where she owns a home — and that could be a big no-no.

Iraq: the forgotten victims - Military under fire for 'abandoning' more than 1,000 veterans with mental problems
Dramatic figures have been released revealing that at least 1,333 servicemen and women - almost 1.5 per cent of those who served in the Iraq war - have returned from the Middle East with serious psychiatric problems. The official statistics, which have been passed to The Independent, identify those who were diagnosed with mental health problems while on duty. Many Iraq veterans are now receiving little or no treatment for a variety of mental health problems. Questions have also been raised about the level of care being given to regular soldiers, reservists and members of the TA, some of whose symptoms emerged after ending active service. Many are not included in the figure of 1,333. Many claim they have been abandoned by the military establishment.

Lawmakers Deride Assurances on Arab Port Firm
U.S. terms for approving an Arab company's takeover of operations at six major American ports are insufficient to guard against terrorist infiltration, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said yesterday. "I'm aware of the conditions, and they relate entirely to how the company carries out its procedures, but it doesn't go to who they hire, or how they hire people," said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.).

Signs Comment: So when are they going to get worried about Israeli companies handling security at US airports or tracking every phone call made in the US?  Oh, that's right. They won't. US lawmakers hostile to Israel are mostly likely being blackmailed into submission with the info gleaned from those monitored phone calls!

GOP Governors Threaten to Block Port Deal

Two Republican governors are threatening legal action to block an Arab company from taking over operations in major U.S. ports and some GOP lawmakers say the deal should be closely examined.
In the uneasy climate after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration decision to allow the transaction is threatening to develop a major political headache for the White House.


Bush faces split with key allies over UAE port deal
US President George W. Bush faced a split with key congressional allies after he backed a deal that will put an Arab company in charge of operations at six major US ports and threatened to veto congressional measure threatening it.


Bush Shrugs Off Objections to Port Deal

Brushing aside objections from Republicans and Democrats alike, President Bush endorsed the takeover of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports by a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates. He pledged to veto any bill Congress might approve to block the agreement.

The president on Tuesday defended his administration's earlier approval of the sale of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. to Dubai Ports World, despite concerns in Congress it could increase the possibility of terrorism at American ports.

Arab Americans see bigotry behind ports uproar

Arab-Americans contended on Tuesday that bias and bigotry, not security concerns, lay behind the uproar over a deal that would place commercial operations at six U.S. ports in the hands of an Arab company.

Arab Co., White House Had Secret Agreement

The Bush administration secretly required a company in the United Arab Emirates to cooperate with future U.S. investigations before approving its takeover of operations at six American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. It chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.
As part of the $6.8 billion purchase, state-owned Dubai Ports World agreed to reveal records on demand about "foreign operational direction" of its business at U.S. ports, the documents said. Those records broadly include details about the design, maintenance or operation of ports and equipment.


US Coast Guard warned about ports

The US Coast Guard aired security concerns over an Arab firm trying to take over six key ports, the Senate hears.

Gregoire: Port security, not ownership, is troubling

Gov. Chris Gregoire, Democratic governor of one of America's leading port states, said Monday she's more concerned about overall port security than the furor over foreign operators....


Talking to Bush Republicans: Don't Expect Any Smart Answers

While sitting in the waiting room of our doctor's clinic, an old friend arrived, accompanied by her daughter, and we began to chat since we had not seen each other for a while. The daughter inquired as to whether we had "signed up" for the new prescription drug progam. I answered in the negative, explaining that it is so complicated that I had not yet had time to figure it out. I had worked on it, figuring the amounts that will be "deductibles and co-payments", those amounts that would fall within the "donut hole", and adding in the projected price of the premiums which, we are given to understand, are neither stable nor predictable and may be raised by the insurance companies at any time. On the whole. with my preliminary figures, it would add to our medications expense and appears to be, in my opinion, "just another Bush boondoggle" The response was icey! "I take it that you do not like George Bush, then!" "I do not like his policies and I do not approve of the Iraq War," I stated. "I do not like his tax breaks for the rich and his attempted tampering with the Social Security system." "Well," she interjected, "I just love him! He is so cute!"

No Child Left Un-recruited

The U.S. Army isn't exactly recruiting me and I wouldn't say that I spend time thinking of ways to avoid their courtship (despite the fact that we all know they're in dire need of a female soldier who can't even reach plates off the top shelf in her kitchen). But as I searched through the small stack of papers that arrived in the mail a few weeks before the start of my senior year at Shaker Heights High School (outside of Cleveland, Ohio), I recognized that I was witnessing something fishier than the outcome of the 2000 election. It was a form addressed to students and their families that caught my eye, and being the investigative journalist that I am, I quickly realized the form gave me the option of prohibiting the government from obtaining my personal information through the school in accordance with a provision of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001.

Supreme Court Plunges Into Abortion Debate
The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will consider the constitutionality of banning a type of late-term abortion, teeing up a contentious issue for a newly-constituted court already in a state of flux over privacy rights.
The Bush administration has pressed the high court to reinstate the federal law, passed in 2003 but never put in effect because it was struck down by judges in California, Nebraska and New York. The outcome will likely rest with the two men that President Bush has recently installed on the court. Justices had been split 5-4 in 2000 in striking down a state law, barring what critics call partial birth abortion because it lacked an exception to protect the health of the mother.

Abortion Case to Test New Justices

The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to decide whether a 2003 federal ban on the procedure that critics call "partial birth" abortion is constitutional, setting the stage for its most significant ruling on abortion rights in almost 15 years. Without comment or recorded dissent, the court granted the Bush administration's request to review a lower court's ruling striking down the law, which passed Congress overwhelmingly but has yet to be enforced.

South Dakota passes abortion ban
South Dakota's state senate voted on Wednesday for an abortion ban aimed at giving the conservative-tilting Supreme Court an opening to overturn rulings granting women the right to the procedure. Only an unlikely veto by Republican Gov. Michael Rounds could prevent the legislation from becoming law, people on both sides of the issue said. "We hope (Rounds) recognizes this for what it is: a political tool and not about the health and safety of the women of South Dakota," said Kate Looby of Planned Parenthood, which operates the sole clinic providing abortions in South Dakota.

Signs Comment: Isn't it curious that South Dakota - which apparently has only ONE clinic in the entire state that provides abortions - has become the battleground for overturning Roe v. Wade? With Alito now on the Supreme Court, the abortion law's days may be numbered. The fundamental problem with a state ban on abortion is that it is a de facto statement by the state that citizens are incapable of making choices about their own bodies - which, of course, the state is only too happy to do. See today's story on mandatory child vaccination for more evidence of this pernicious idea.

Now running for office: an army of Iraq war vets
They call themselves the Band of Brothers, about 50 men - and a few women - all Democrats, all opposed to the Bush administration's handling of Iraq, and all military veterans. One more thing: They're all running for Congress this year. Not since 1946 have so many vets from one party come together in a political campaign, they claim. Their wildest dream is to give the Democratic Party the extra edge it needs - by boosting its weak image on defense and patriotism - to end Republican control of the House.

What The US Ambassador Taught Nepalis
Recently, the United States has been anxiously trying to pre-empt every possible uncomfortable situation in South Asia. Its ambassadors are actively intervening in internal political debates in South Asian countries. Of course, it is nothing new for the US, but in order to understand specific implications of this activism in specific contexts, the peeping tom has to be caught red-handed at the site of the crime and interrogated. The ambassador in India was recently in the dock for threatening Indians to behave well on the Iran issue. Now it is the turn of the ambassador in Nepal, James F. Moriarty. However, for our convenience, Moriarty has been too explicit in his conduct.

US military planes criss-cross Europe posing as civilian flights

The American military have been operating flights across Europe using a call sign assigned to a civilian airline that they have no legal right to use. Not only is the call sign bogus -- according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) -- so, it appears, are some of the aircraft details the Americans have filed with the air traffic control authorities. In at least one case, a plane identified with the CIA practice of "extraordinary rendition" -- transporting terrorist suspects -- left a US air base just after the arrival of an aircraft using the bogus call sign.

Struggling for Recruits, Army Relaxes Its Rules
Chicopee - Generation XL is having a hard time squeezing into its military fatigues. Just ask Kyle Kimball. The 18-year-old dreamed of following in his father's footsteps and serving with the Marines. But between his sophomore and senior years at Haverhill High School, Kimball packed on 80 pounds, ballooning up to 250. The cutoff for a 5-foot-10 Marine recruit: 215."There was just no way I was ever going to see that again," said Kimball, who works for his father's scrap-metal business. But Kimball has another option. Earlier this month, he drove to Westover Joint Air Reserve Base in Chicopee and became one of New England's first would-be soldiers to take a fitness test for overweight recruits. His goal is to gain entrance into his second choice, the US Army.

Anti-war activists visit schools to counter military recruiters' pitch
Since last spring, Elizabeth Frank has carried her anti-war crusade to the hallways of several northwest suburban high schools. Once a month she sets up a table in the commons stacked with pamphlets and decorated with a shocking pink sign that reads: "Do You Know Enough to Enlist?"
So far, Frank's effort to educate students on the perils of joining the military mostly has been met by a wall of teenage indifference -- few students seem interested in having a serious conversation about the consequences of war.


Signs Comment: Isn't it kind of nuts that anyone would be "wary" of being in the presence of a peace activist? Everyone - well, almost everyone - wants peace, right? Perhaps part of the problem is that so many "anti-war" movements have been infiltrated by COINTELPRO operations over the years to render them ineffective. That does not mean, however, that intelligent, rational, and truly peaceful anti-war activists don't exist.

World science body slams tougher U.S. visa rules
A leading world science body denounced tougher U.S. visa policies on Thursday after its Indian-born president said he failed to get permission to enter the country on charges he was hiding information that could be used for chemical weapons. Professor Goverdhan Mehta, 62, an internationally recognized organic chemist invited to a conference by the University of Florida, has denied the charges and said he was rejected because he could not recall details of research he did 40 years ago.

American Government: Heading Toward Disintegration and Collapse
In several of his writings and interviews, former U. S. President Jimmy Carter stated that he is very much concerned at the direction the United States is moving. He said emphatically that this is not the United States he always knew. Many are increasingly beginning to convince themselves that the present United States government could be viewed as the worst in the history of the American nation. Democracy has ceased to exist for all practical purposes and we have a situation today where the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.
Government Deterioration: Several scholars and organizations are becoming increasingly worried as they see their government deteriorating from day to day. They feel upset as they watch the American government openly spying on the public, especially on those with peaceful reputation. Besides, they are taken by surprise to see the great curtailing of free speech and the increasing of censorship of the news media covering the radio, press and television. Peaceful dissenters are being punished and at times put in jail, even if they were religious women and clergymen.





Spying On Americans


Gonzales Is Challenged on Wiretaps - Feingold Says Attorney General Misled Senators in Hearings
Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) charged yesterday that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales misled the Senate during his confirmation hearing a year ago when he appeared to try to avoid answering a question about whether the president could authorize warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens.

Signs Comment: What do you mean, "misled?" Can we say "LIED"?


Activist Cindy Sheehan Arrested at Capitol for wearing Anti-Bush Tee Shirt
Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said the charge was unlawful conduct. Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.

Signs Comment: If anybody doesn't think we are living in a police state, think again.


George Bush and Cheney have committed high crimes including treason...
THE INTERNATIONAL FORECASTER editor Bob Chapman writes: Mssrs. Bush and Cheney have committed the following high crimes including treason:

Feds' wiretapping rules challenged in court
Universities, libraries and technology companies are asking a federal court to block controversial wiretap rules designed to facilitate police surveillance of the Internet. In a 71-page brief sent to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, they ask the judges to overturn a wiretap ruling from the Federal Communications Commission that applies to "any type of broadband Internet access service" and many Internet phone services.


AT&T sued over NSA spy program
[...] The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in San Francisco's federal district court, charges that AT&T has opened its telecommunications facilities up to the NSA and continues to "to assist the government in its secret surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans."

Bush Broke the Law
[...]  The reason it is important for the American people to know is because the president appears to have violated both the law and the Constitution. A recent Zogby poll revealed that 52 percent of Americans think that if this is proven to be true, then the president should be impeached. This is a most serious issue.


Fox follows Bush's lead, renames domestic spying program as "terrorist surveillance program"
Fox News has adopted the Bush administration's terminology for its warrantless domestic spying program, calling it the "terrorist surveillance program."


ACLU Chief Calls on President to Shut Down Illegal Spying on Americans
If the president does not call an immediate end to this illegal spying, Congress must hold thorough hearings. The Justice Department must also appoint a special counsel to investigate the breadth and legality of the NSA spying program.

Official: Army Has Authority to Spy on Americans
"Contrary to popular belief, there is no absolute ban on [military] intelligence components collecting U.S. person information," the U.S.Army’s top intelligence officer said in a 2001 memo that surfaced Tuesday. Not only that, military intelligence agencies are permitted to "receive" domestic intelligence information, even though they cannot legally "collect" it," according to the Nov. 5, 2001, memo issued by Lt. Gen. Robert W. Noonan Jr., the deputy chief of staff for intelligence.
 
ProgressTV: No-Spy Video
If you have found little to laugh about over President Bush's domestic spying program, well, it's your lucky day. We here at ProgressTV decided to have some fun. So, we produced a little video for your enjoyment.

Senate Panel Denied Documents on U.S. Spying

The Bush administration is rebuffing requests from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for its classified legal opinions on President Bush's domestic spying program, setting up a confrontation in advance of a hearing scheduled for next week, administration and Congressional officials said Wednesday.


Court filings shed more light on CIA leak investigation

[...] A series of striking revelations have emerged after the release of dozens of pages of court files in the CIA leak investigation that have gone unnoticed by the mainstream media, RAW STORY has found.

Fitzgerald Hints White House Records Lost
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is raising the possibility that records sought in the CIA leak investigation could be missing because of an e-mail archiving problem at the White House.

Signs Comment: "Highly irregular" and "invites suspicion"??? How about criminal malfeasance as in erase, delete, reformat?

Sen. Roberts Backs Domestic Spying
WASHINGTON - Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts on Friday strongly endorsed the Bush administration's argument that the president has the authority to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance in the U.S. in pursuit of terrorists.

Signs Comment: In other words, Pat Roberts has dirty laundry that he doesn't want the Neocons to publish... that's what they have been doing for the past year, gathering blackmail info on every judge, congressman, journalist, or any other person who might oppose them.

Docs: Similar Wiretap Debate 30 Years Ago: Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld involved

An intense debate erupted during the Ford administration over the president's powers to eavesdrop without warrants to gather foreign intelligence, according to newly disclosed government documents. George H.W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are cited in the documents.

Can the President Order a Killing on U.S. Soil?
In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States.

Friends Raise $2 Million for Libby Defense

Friends and supporters of former White House aide I. Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby have raised $2 million to help him pay his legal bills.


Some confessions the government alleges it got from Jose Padilla

Some admissions made by accused terror operative Jose Padilla during his 3 1/2 years of military custody that are not included in the criminal indictment against him, according to Defense Department and Justice Department documents.


Specter Believes Spy Program Violates Law

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' explanations so far for the Bush administration's failure to obtain warrants for its domestic surveillance program are "strained" and "unrealistic," the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday.
Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), whose committee has scheduled hearings Monday on the National Security Agency program, said he believes the administration violated a 1978 law specifically calling for a secretive court to consider and approve such monitoring.

Spying Controversy Recalls Nixon

[...]
In 1975, a Senate committee led by Senator Frank Church of Idaho revealed that the N.S.A. had intercepted the phone calls and telegrams of Americans. Then, as now, intelligence officials insisted that only international communications of people linked to dangerous activities were the targets, and that the spying was authorized under the president's constitutional powers. Then, as now, some Republicans complained that the government's most sensitive secrets were being splashed on the front pages of newspapers, while Democrats emphasized the danger to civil liberties.

Wiretap Debate Déjà Vu

Documents show Ford White House embraced wiretap law instead of claiming "inherent" Presidential authority in 1976 despite objections from Rumsfeld, G.H.W. Bush, Kissinger

When Two Worlds Collide: Why Karl Rove will eventually fall before Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald

For Karl Rove, no news from the Plame case -- Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as a CIA agent -- is definitely not good news. Seismic activity is notoriously silent, so we may not be hearing any rumblings at the moment. But speaking as a former prosecutor, I believe it highly likely that, just below the surface, the worlds of Karl Rove and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, shifting like tectonic plates, are about to collide.

More Allegations of Libby Lies Revealed

The special prosecutor in the CIA leak case alleged that Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff was engaged in a broader web of deception than was previously known and repeatedly lied to conceal that he had been a key source for reporters about undercover operative Valerie Plame, according to court records released yesterday.

Gonzales Tells Senators Spying Program Needed to Fight Terror

[...] In prepared testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales defended the legality of the domestic spying without discussing its classified operational details. The committee's Republican chairman, Arlen Specter, and Democratic members have said the wiretapping may violate federal law.

Fascist Pimp Gonzales says domestic spying legal and necessary
US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales insisted to skeptical lawmakers that monitoring Americans' phone calls and email messages without a warrant was a necessary part of the US "war on terror". The secret government program has provoked a storm of opposition, but Gonzales refused to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee whether the eavesdropping had led to charges or other results.
 
Signs Comment: Of course it is necessary to the Neocon "war on terror." As Andrew Lobczewski writes:
The actions of [pathocracy] affect an entire society, starting with the leaders and infiltrating every town, business, and institution. The pathological social structure gradually covers the entire country creating a “new class” within that nation.

This privileged class [of pathocrats] feels permanently threatened by the “others”, i.e. by the majority of normal people. Neither do the pathocrats entertain any illusions about their personal fate should there be a return to the system of normal man. [Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Ph.D. (psychology); Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes]
In other words, WE the PEOPLE are the terrorists to Pathocrats.

Plamegate: A Credibility 'Gap'
Bush critics worry that the White House may have deleted Plame-related emails during a 12-hour head start in the CIA leak probe. The delay is worse than they think. On the evening of Monday, Sept. 29, 2003, then-White House Chief Counsel Alberto Gonzales had a choice. He had just received formal notice from the Department of Justice that the White House was the subject of a criminal investigation as a result of White House officials' leaking the identity of an undercover CIA agent, Valerie Plame, as part of an effort to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. Gonzales did not immediately alert the White House staff to the investigation, explaining the need to safeguard germane documents. Instead, he asked Justice Department lawyers if he could notify the staff in the morning. Because the call came in after 8:00 p.m. on a weekday, and most of the personnel had left the building, the attorneys agreed. Gonzales, before wrapping up his day, called White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card to notify him of the start of the probe. Twelve hours later, Gonzales informed his colleagues that they must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation.

Signs Comment: Sounds like the gap in the Nixon Tapes - only worse. Gonzales has clearly committed a criminal act and ought to be arrested immediately and taken away in handcuffs as the slimey criminal and traitor to the American People that he is.

Illegal Spying: In Limelight at Wiretap Hearing: 2 Laws, but Which Should Rule?

[...] Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales made the case to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday that two potentially contradictory Congressional actions — one a 1978 law forbidding domestic surveillance without a court's permission, the other a 2001 resolution giving the president authority to use force to combat Al Qaeda — together mean that the executive branch is free to decide on its own to spy on communications between people in the United States and those abroad.

The Bushies' Game of Hide-and-Conceal

Cartoon: click link to chuckle.

Is George Bush Opening Your Mail? - Asked directly by the U.S. Senate, Alberto Gonzales won't say

The subject of opening mail came up in this exchange between Gonzales and Democratic senator of Vermont this morning when the senator asked whether Bush believes his supposed authorization would be enough to allow the government to open people's mail. "There is all kinds of wild speculation out there about what the president has authorized and what we're actually doing," Gonzales said. "You're not answering my question," Leahy retorted.

Bush Eavesdropping - How's it Done
In December, The New York Times revealed that the Bush Administration, has been eavesdropping on our phone calls, without a court order. Although the exact nature of this surveillance is highly classified, it appears that the White House has gone on a massive “fishing trip;” one that invades the privacy of thousands of ordinary Americans and violates the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act. This is the first of three articles about Administration eavesdropping – here, I dust off my techie skills and suggest how it’s being done.

Signs Comment: These speculations are based on the idea that the Neocons are spying on ordinary Americans all day long. Give it a REST! Do you actually think that Bush and Gang actually would spend their time listening in on conversations between Junior and his granny in Pakistan? Get real! Do you think Karl Rove is stupid? Do you think he - or ANY of them - really think that there are "terrorists" in America? Of course not. They know that the whole "terrorist threat" is manufactured. They aren't going to waste their time looking for something that they created in their sick imaginations. So, WHO are they REALLY spying on? And why did they out themselves as they did? Obviously, they outed themselves because they had to. They had intell that Risen's book was going to spill the beans. How did they get that info? Why, by spying on him of course! Sure, we read: "President George W. Bush was so desperate to stop The New York Times' secret spy program story he summoned Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Executive Editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office to try to talk them out of running it, Newsweek reported on its Web site on Monday." That smacks of smokescreen. Do you really believe that if the President wanted the Times to keep quiet that there would be a problem? After Judy Miller? Get real. So, what other journalists, congressmen, judges, various other government officials are they REALLY spying on? After all, considering the nature of these creatures that have taken over the U.S., you have to know that they are only going to expend their energy on things that will bring them the biggest rewards of money and power. The hoopla about spying on innocent Americans to ferret out terrorists is just a smokescreen. Get a clue, folks!

x-President Carter: Eavesdropping Illegal

Former President Jimmy Carter criticized the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program Monday and said he believes the president has broken the law. "Under the Bush administration, there's been a disgraceful and illegal decision - we're not going to the let the judges or the Congress or anyone else know that we're spying on the American people," Carter told reporters. "And no one knows how many innocent Americans have had their privacy violated under this secret act."

Signs Comment: The object of the illegal spying wasn't really to target innocent Americans as the Neocons would like us all to think: it was, purely and simply, to spy on political opponents, journalists, and to obtain material for blackmail so as to completely control the political process. As Paul Craig Roberts has written:
We have reached a point where the Bush administration is determined to totally eclipse the people. Bewitched by neoconservatives and lustful for power, the Bush administration and the Republican Party are aligning themselves firmly against the American people. Their first victims, of course, were the true conservatives. Having eliminated internal opposition, the Bush administration is now using blackmail obtained through illegal spying on American citizens to silence the media and the opposition party.

Before flinching at my assertion of blackmail, ask yourself why President Bush refuses to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The purpose of the FISA court is to ensure that administrations do not spy for partisan political reasons. The warrant requirement is to ensure that a panel of independent federal judges hears a legitimate reason for the spying, thus protecting a president from the temptation to abuse the powers of government. The only reason for the Bush administration to evade the court is that the Bush administration had no legitimate reasons for its spying. This should be obvious even to a naif.[...]

The years of illegal spying have given the Bush administration power over the media and the opposition. Journalists and Democratic politicians don't want to have their adulterous affairs broadcast over television or to see their favorite online porn sites revealed in headlines in the local press with their names attached. Only people willing to risk such disclosures can stand up for the country.
Dissent isn't terrorism - Public should know whether Pentagon is spying on peaceful Brevard protesters
How does spying on a Brevard mom pushing a baby stroller, or an 85-year-old retiree or a woman in a wheelchair mesh with President Bush's claim he needs expanded surveillance powers to protect the nation from terrorists? It doesn't. But that didn't stop the Melbourne Police Department from videotaping those peaceful anti-Bush demonstrators on Inauguration Day last year, or the Brevard Sheriff's Office from creating dossiers on them.

Republican Who Oversees N.S.A. Calls for Wiretap Inquiry
A House Republican whose subcommittee oversees the National Security Agency broke ranks with the White House on Tuesday and called for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program. The lawmaker, Representative Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico, chairwoman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, said in an interview that she had "serious concerns" about the surveillance program. By withholding information about its operations from many lawmakers, she said, the administration has deepened her apprehension about whom the agency is monitoring and why.

Signs Comment: She oughta be worried. As we wrote yesterday, the object of the illegal spying wasn't really to target innocent Americans as the Neocons would like us all to think. Does anyone actually think that Bush and Gang would spend their time listening in on conversations between Junior and his granny in Pakistan? Does anyone seriously think that the arrogant Karl Rove is going to waste his time “average Americans?” Do you think he - or ANY of them - really think that there are "terrorists" in America? Of course not. They know that the whole "terrorist threat" is manufactured. They aren't going to waste their time looking for something that they created in their sick imaginations. So, WHO are they REALLY spying on? And why did they out themselves as Bush did just before Christmas? Sure, we read that it was done because the NY Times was going to publish a story that they had withheld for over a year. "President George W. Bush was so desperate to stop The New York Times' secret spy program story he summoned Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Executive Editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office to try to talk them out of running it, Newsweek reported on its Web site on Monday." That smacks of smokescreen. Does anyone really believe that if the President wanted the NY Times to keep quiet that there would be a problem? After Judy Miller? Not a chance. The whole thing stinks of a smokescreen. So, what are they trying to hide? What are they trying to distract attention away from? As Paul Craig Roberts has written:
We have reached a point where the Bush administration is determined to totally eclipse the people. Bewitched by neoconservatives and lustful for power, the Bush administration and the Republican Party are aligning themselves firmly against the American people. Their first victims, of course, were the true conservatives. Having eliminated internal opposition, the Bush administration is now using blackmail obtained through illegal spying on American citizens to silence the media and the opposition party.

Before flinching at my assertion of blackmail, ask yourself why President Bush refuses to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The purpose of the FISA court is to ensure that administrations do not spy for partisan political reasons. The warrant requirement is to ensure that a panel of independent federal judges hears a legitimate reason for the spying, thus protecting a president from the temptation to abuse the powers of government. The only reason for the Bush administration to evade the court is that the Bush administration had no legitimate reasons for its spying. This should be obvious even to a naif.[...]

The years of illegal spying have given the Bush administration power over the media and the opposition. Journalists and Democratic politicians don't want to have their adulterous affairs broadcast over television or to see their favorite online porn sites revealed in headlines in the local press with their names attached. Only people willing to risk such disclosures can stand up for the country.
So, what other journalists, congressmen, judges, various other government officials are they REALLY spying on? After all, considering the nature of these creatures that have taken over the U.S., you have to know that they are only going to expend their energy on things that will bring them the biggest rewards of money and power. The hoopla about spying on innocent Americans to ferret out terrorists is just a smokescreen; it was, purely and simply, to spy on political opponents, journalists, and to obtain material for blackmail so as to completely control the political process.
And that means that all those hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars even, that are flowing into the coffers of various “Political Action” groups are all going to waste. It’s all for nothing. Nothing will change. They will spend your money, make a big show, make a good living off of it, and nothing, NOTHING, will change.

Helen Thomas hits McClellan on taps: 'You know what happened to Nixon when he broke the law'

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan got in a heated row with a White House correspondent at Monday's press briefing over President Bush's warrantless domestic spying program, RAW STORY has learned. The questioner, outspoken liberal columnist Helen Thomas, has been covering the White House since President John F. Kennedy, asks McClellan if Bush should obey the law. The relevant part of transcript follows. RAW STORY has confirmed the questioner was Helen Thomas. Crooks and Liars has the video.

Congress Has Lost Its Way, If It Doesn't Hold Bush Accountable

Bush's Warrantless Wiretapping Program is Illegal and Unconstitutional
Last week the President of the United States gave his State of the Union address, where he spoke of America's leadership in the world, and called on all of us to "lead this world toward freedom." Again and again, he invoked the principle of freedom, and how it can transform nations, and empower people around the world. But, almost in the same breath, the President openly acknowledged that he has ordered the government to spy on Americans, on American soil, without the warrants required by law.

Some companies helped the NSA, but which?

Under federal law, any person or company who helps someone "intercept any wire, oral, or electronic communication"-- unless specifically authorized by law-- could face criminal charges. Even if cooperation is found to be legal, however, it could be embarrassing to acknowledge opening up customers' communications to a spy agency.

Bush to say terrorist attack thwarted

US President George W. Bush was to say in a speech that international cooperation helped thwart a terrorist attack on the US west coast, according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

Reversing course, White House provides details of surveillance to Congress
The White House has provided details of a controversial domestic eavesdropping program to members of the US Congress, reversing its earlier adamant refusal to do so, legislative officials said. The decision came as US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Director of National Intelligence General Michael Hayden held a closed-door briefing for members of the House Intelligence Committee about its secret program to intercept domestic communications without court approval.

Signs Comment: Notice that the decision came after a "closed door briefing." In other words, they mapped out a strategy so they would appear to be "investigating" and "cooperating," but nothing significant will ever be revealed.

Secret Court's Judges Were Warned About NSA Spy Data

Twice in the past four years, a top Justice Department lawyer warned the presiding judge of a secret surveillance court that information overheard in President Bush's eavesdropping program may have been improperly used to obtain wiretap warrants in the court, according to two sources with knowledge of those events. The revelations infuriated U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly -- who, like her predecessor, Royce C. Lamberth, had expressed serious doubts about whether the warrantless monitoring of phone calls and e-mails ordered by Bush was legal. Both judges had insisted that no information obtained this way be used to gain warrants from their court, according to government sources, and both had been assured by administration officials it would never happen.

Do You Know What They Know?
Signs Comment: Herbert sez, "The most logical reason for not getting a warrant is that the president's intelligence acolytes, who behave as though they graduated from the Laurel and Hardy school of data mining, have not been able to demonstrate that the people being spied upon are connected to Al Qaeda or any other terror organization."  Do not for a moment fall into the trap of thinking that the Neocons are Laurel and Hardy. Fact is, the most logical reason for not getting a warrant is that the individual being spied upon is a member of congress, the military, the judiciary, or the media, and that that the reason for spying is not to discover terrorists, but to blackmail political opponents, thus gaining total control over the political process.

The president, the stripper and the attorney general
The extraordinary legal defence of George Bush's domestic spying reads like a blend of Kafka, Le Carré and Mel Brooks .  In 1996, Governor George W Bush received a summons to serve on a jury, which would have required his admission that 20 years earlier he had been arrested for drunk driving. Already planning his presidential campaign, he did not want this information made public. His lawyer made the novel argument to the judge that Bush should not have to serve because "he would not, as governor, be able to pardon the defendant in the future". (The defendant was a stripper accused of drunk driving.) The judge agreed, and it was not until the closing days of the 2000 campaign that Bush's record surfaced. On Monday, the same lawyer, Alberto Gonzales - now attorney general - appeared before the senate judiciary committee to defend "the client", as he called the president.

A terrorist on every corner?

PRESIDENT BUSH and Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales insist that the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping of American citizens is a necessary "terrorist surveillance program." And polls show that most Americans support permitting the government to tap the phone calls and e-mails of those considered "suspicious." But what exactly does that mean? A close look suggests that the feds' definition of a "suspected terrorist" may not meet the laugh test.

US plans massive data sweep - Little-known data-collection system could troll news, blogs, even e-mails. Will it go too far?

The US government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity. The system - parts of which are operational, parts of which are still under development - is already credited with helping to foil some plots. It is the federal government's latest attempt to use broad data-collection and powerful analysis in the fight against terrorism. But by delving deeply into the digital minutiae of American life, the program is also raising concerns that the government is intruding too deeply into citizens' privacy.

Bush faces Republican revolt over spying
Congressional Republicans are threatening to force a legal showdown with President George W. Bush over his claim that he has the constitutional power to order domestic surveillance of Americans in the name of national security. Arlen Specter, Republican chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, said on Wednesday he was drafting legislation that would require the administration to seek a ruling from a special US intelligence court on whether the spying programme was legal.

Signs Comment: We aren't holding our breath. We see what happened to the motion to demand information on the Torture Scandal.

The War on Privacy - Rumsfeld warns that the enemy can succeed in changing our way of life. It already has.
"There was, of course, no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. . . . But at any rate they would plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and except in darkness, every movement scrutinized. "George Orwel

Every move you make ... they'll be watching you

Ever get the feeling that someone's eyeballing you? You're probably right. These days, between the news that the National Security Agency has been eavesdropping without warrants and that the Justice Department wants to know what searches have been conducted on Google and elsewhere, it's no wonder you feel under watch. The real surprise, though, may be how so much of what you do on an everyday basis already gets screened, monitored, tracked, scanned and observed - often without your ever knowing it.

Bush Pimp Democrats Say Spying Necessary

Two key Democrats yesterday called the NSA domestic surveillance program necessary for fighting terrorism but questioned whether President Bush had the legal authority to order it done without getting congressional approval. Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) said Republicans are trying to create a political issue over Democrats' concern on the constitutional questions raised by the spying program. At the same time, the Republican chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees -- Sen. Pat Roberts (Kan.) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), who attended secret National Security Agency briefings -- said they supported Bush's right to undertake the program without new congressional authorization. They added that Democrats briefed on the program, who included Harman and Daschle, could have taken steps if they believed the program was illegal. All four appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Cheney Authorized Libby to Disclose Classified Documents

Once upon a time, a former agent of Italian military intelligence named Rocco Martino, who had had some experience in the African country of Niger, came into possession of some forged, fraudulent documents. These alleged Iraqi purchases of yellowcake uranium in 1999. In fact, the signatures were of Nigerien officials who had been in power a decade earlier, in the late 1980s. So they were clumsy forgeries. Martino passed them on to the Italian magazine Panorama, which passed them to the US embassy. Tantalizingly, President George W. Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, has an indirect connection to Italian intelligence.

Fifth of Americans think calls have been monitored
About a fifth of Americans think federal agents have listened in on their phone calls, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll released Tuesday suggests.


Congressional Probe of NSA Spying Is in Doubt - White House Sways Some GOP Lawmakers
Congress appeared ready to launch an investigation into the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program last week, but an all-out White House lobbying campaign has dramatically slowed the effort and may kill it, key Republican and Democratic sources said yesterday. The Senate intelligence committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a Democratic-sponsored motion to start an inquiry into the recently revealed program in which the National Security Agency eavesdrops on an undisclosed number of phone calls and e-mails involving U.S. residents without obtaining warrants from a secret court. Two committee Democrats said the panel -- made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats -- was clearly leaning in favor of the motion last week but now is closely divided and possibly inclined against it.

Signs Comment: Did anyone seriously think there was going to be a probe? Of course not! Especially since the spying was for the purpose of gathering information on government officials so as to completely control the political process. You see it happening right here, in real time. And, since the government ALSO has control of google, ya'll better be bookmarking this page and sharing the link by word of mouth because we are going to disappear rather soon.

Whistleblower says NSA violations bigger

A former NSA employee said Tuesday there is another ongoing top-secret surveillance program that might have violated millions of Americans' Constitutional rights. Russell D. Tice told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations he has concerns about a "special access" electronic surveillance program that he characterized as far more wide-ranging than the warrentless wiretapping recently exposed by the New York Times but he is forbidden from discussing the program with Congress.

National security whistle-blowers allege retaliation

Military and intelligence officers told spellbound lawmakers Tuesday that their careers had been ruined by superiors because they refused to lie about Able Danger, Abu Ghraib and other national security controversies.
Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, wearing a crisp olive Army uniform with the Bronze Star and other awards, delivered his first public testimony about his central role in Able Danger, a Pentagon computer data-mining program set up long before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to infiltrate the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

US Justice Department launches probe into domestic wiretaps
In his letter made public Wednesday, Jarrett wrote that the investigation would focus on "the Department of Justice's role in authorizing, approving and auditing" the NSA's surveillance activities "and whether such activities are permissible under existing law."
 
Signs Comment: Read this one carefully and note that it does NOT say that Bush is being investigated. It says "The US Justice Department has launched an investigation into how its lawyers handled requests for warrantless wiretap authority." In other words, instead of dealing with the real issue, they are going to drown us with paperwork nit-picking. So, don't get your hopes up for any justice. Ain't gonna happen... until more people wake up. And they won't wake up until they are miserable enough to start asking questions. And things have to get a whole lot worse before that happens.

Another, More Secret, Wiretapping Program

Apparently soooo secret none of us should know about it.
Russell D. Tice told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations he has concerns about a “special access” electronic surveillance program that he characterized as far more wide-ranging than the warrentless wiretapping recently exposed by the New York Times but he is forbidden from discussing the program with Congress.
I’m done. I’m just gonna go buy two coffee cans and a unlimited supply of string. It’s way to low-tech for them to tap into a network of Maxwell House cans.

Whistleblower says NSA violations bigger
A former NSA employee said Tuesday there is another ongoing top-secret surveillance program that might have violated millions of Americans' Constitutional rights.
Russell D. Tice told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations he has concerns about a "special access" electronic surveillance program that he characterized as far more wide-ranging than the warrentless wiretapping recently exposed by the New York Times but he is forbidden from discussing the program with Congress. Tice said he believes it violates the Constitution's protection against unlawful search and seizures but has no way of sharing the information without breaking classification laws. He is not even allowed to tell the congressional intelligence committees - members or their staff - because they lack high enough clearance.

Feds Mistakenly Turned Over Secret Papers
Federal prosecutors and investigators in Dallas acknowledged in court documents that they mistakenly gave defense lawyers information about the inner-workings of secretive counterterrorism investigations. It took federal officials four months to discover that in April they had turned over secret court applications for wiretaps, which often have sensitive information from U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies, according to court papers that were unsealed this week. The materials were given to lawyers for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and seven of its senior officers, who have been indicted on charges they illegally funneled millions of dollars to support the Hamas militant group. The U.S. government designated Hamas as a terrorist organization in 1995.
 
Signs Comment: What about the groups that funnel support to Israeli terrorist organizations that are set up to promote the destruction of the Dome of the Rock in an effort to precipitate and Holy War? What about the groups that support the terrorist, genocidal policies of Israel against the Palestinians? No need to answer, it's just a rhetorical question.

Gonzales Withholding Plame Emails

Sources close to the investigation into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson have revealed this week that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has not turned over emails to the special prosecutor's office that may incriminate Vice President Dick Cheney, his aides, and other White House officials who allegedly played an active role in unmasking Plame Wilson's identity to reporters. Moreover, these sources said that, in early 2004, Cheney was interviewed by federal prosecutors investigating the Plame Wilson leak and testified that neither he nor any of his senior aides were involved in unmasking her undercover CIA status to reporters and that no one in the vice president's office had attempted to discredit her husband, a vocal critic of the administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence. Cheney did not testify under oath or under penalty of perjury when he was interviewed by federal prosecutors.

Secrecy over security: Libby revelation puts things in perspective
When it comes to keeping secrets, the Bush administration has what might be called a two-handed approach. On one hand, the administration will do and has done all kinds of gymnastics to avoid giving Congress information about intelligence programs. On the other, the administration is willing to reveal classified information selectively when doing so suits its political aims. Actions here speak louder than words.

Signs Comment: Do the ending paragraphs of this piece, those after the passage hilighted above, strike you as something of a non-sequitor? We have he admission that Libby was told to break the law by his superiors, and his superiors happen to be the president and vice-president of the US, and the focus is on how badly those superiors are treating congress, not their criminal actions. Coincidence? We think not.

Judge Orders Action on Spying Documents

A federal judge dealt a setback to the Bush administration on its warrantless surveillance program, ordering the Justice Department on Thursday to release documents about the highly classified effort within 20 days or compile a list of what it is withholding. U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy said a private group will suffer irreparable harm if the documents it has been seeking since December are not processed promptly under the Freedom of Information Act.

Senate Chairman Splits With Bush on Spy Program
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Friday that he wanted the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program brought under the authority of a special intelligence court, a move President Bush has argued is not necessary. The chairman, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, said he had some concerns that the court could not issue warrants quickly enough to keep up with the needs of the eavesdropping program. But he said he would like to see those details worked out.

Signs Comment: It's all show, people. They are just pretending to debate the issue to make you think America is still a democracy.

A game of chicken on Capitol Hill - Backing away from illegal spying

Under White House pressure, the Senate Intelligence Committee flinched and backed away from an investigation of the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping program. In return, the committee got not much from the White House other than a vague commitment to provide greater disclosure and to cooperate on legislation affecting the wiretapping, which the White House insists isn't needed in any case.

Espionage and the First Amendment Spycraft, free speech, and the AIPAC espionage case

Is there a First Amendment right to steal and transmit vital U.S. secrets to a foreign power? Viet Dinh, the intellectual author of the PATRIOT Act – and a rising star among the neoconservative legal theorists who have commandeeredpresidential omnipotence – thinks so. the Justice Department in the service of. In the latest development in the AIPAC spy case, in which two longtime employees of one of the most powerfulIsraeli officials, Dinh has submitted a legal brief [.pdf] that, in so many words, asserts exactly that. lobbies in the Washington are charged with passing classified information to

White House Working to Avoid Wiretap Probe
At two key moments in recent days, White House officials contacted congressional leaders just ahead of intelligence committee meetings that could have stirred demands for a deeper review of the administration's warrantless-surveillance program, according to House and Senate sources. In both cases, the administration was spared the outcome it most feared, and it won praise in some circles for showing more openness to congressional oversight.
 
Signs Comment: Brings to mind that great song by Roy Orbison, "Spying". "Spy-ay-ay-ay-ing, over you!"

The FBI and the Myth of Fingerprints: A "100 Per Cent Certainty"

Few law enforcement institutions have been so thoroughly discredited in recent years as the FBI's forensic lab. In 1997 the Bureau's inspector general of the time issued a devastating report, stigmatizing one instance after another of mishandled and contaminated evidence, inept technicians, and outright fabrication. The IG concluded that there were "serious and credible allegations of incompetence" and perjured courtroom testimony. CounterPunch's view is that taken as a whole, forensic evidence as used by prosecutors is inherently untrustworthy. For example, for years many people went to prison on the basis of the claims of a North Carolina anthropologist, Louise Robbins. She helped send people to prison or to Death Row with her self-proclaimed power to identify criminals through shoe prints. As an excellent recent Chicago Tribune series on forensic humbug recalled, on occasion she even said she could use the method to determine a person's height, sex and race. Robbins died in 1987, her memory compromised by the conclusion of many Appeals Courts that her methodology was bosh. There have been similarly hollow claims for lip prints and ear prints, all of (added "of") them invoked by their supporters as "100 per cent reliable" and believed by juries too easily impressed by passionate invocations to 100 per cent reliable scientific data. Of course the apex forensic hero of prosecutors, long promoted as the bottom line in reliability--at least until the arrival of DNA matching--has been the fingerprint.

House Democrat says White House nixed NSA briefing
A top intelligence official was prepared to brief the House of Representatives intelligence committee about President George W. Bush's domestic spying program last December but was stopped by White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, a leading House Democrat said on Tuesday.


Former Bush advisor defends White House spying powers
A controversial constitutional expert defended the White House's powers to authorize warrantless spying on Americans.
Korean-American legal expert John Yoo said that fighting Al-Qaeda type stateless terrorist networks justified an expansive view of presidential powers, including bypassing a special court which regulates domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency.


Taking Spying to Higher Level, Agencies Look for More Ways to Mine Data
A small group of National Security Agency officials slipped into Silicon Valley on one of the agency's periodic technology shopping expeditions this month. On the wish list, according to several venture capitalists who met with the officials, were an array of technologies that underlie the fierce debate over the Bush administration's anti-terrorist eavesdropping program: computerized systems that reveal connections between seemingly innocuous and unrelated pieces of information.

Signs Comment: Whenever you read an "expert" telling you that the US surveillence technology and attitudes are out-dated, or that they "are fighting the last intellignce war", you can bet it is disinfo. The fact that you read Signs of the Times is being noted. If you contribute to our forums, or other alternative news forums, you're being noted. The list is being checked. Big brother knows if you've been naughty or nice. Count on it.

White House Arrogantly Rejects Special Counsel to Investigate Bush's Illegal Spying
The White House on Monday rejected the call by more than a dozen House Democrats for a special counsel to investigate the Bush administration's eavesdropping program. President Bush's spokesman Scott McClellan said those Democrats should instead spend their time investigating the source of the unauthorized disclosure of the classified program, which "has given the enemy some of our playbook." "I really don't think there's any basis for a special counsel," McClellan also said.

Signs Comment: NO ONE may question any decision, any act, of the Bush-Neocon Adminsitration. Don\'t you people get it yet? You\'re going to have to do better than that!

Total Information Awareness Lives On Inside the National Security Agency

More than two years ago Congress halted plans for a controversial plan called Total Information Awareness to create the world's largest surveillance database to track your phone calls, purchases, Internet usage, reading material, banking transactions. The National Journal has now revealed the program has quietly continued inside the NSA.




Rising Chaos/Anarchy/Psychopathy


Gunmen kill mother, two infants

Slavery in Our Time
Historians will look back in puzzlement at the way our 21st century world tolerates the slavery of more than a million children in brothels around the world.

Man Jumps to Death From Empire State Bldg.
 A 21-year-old man jumped to his death from the Empire State Building in an apparent suicide, police said Thursday.


Armed Teen at Mass. Gay Bar Injures Three
A young man dressed all in black went on a rampage at a gay bar with a hatchet and a gun Thursday, wounding three patrons in what police said appeared to be a hate crime. One victim was in critical condition.
Police searched for 18-year-old Jacob D. Robida, who was wanted on charges of attempted murder, assault and civil-rights violations.

Dozens Dead After Egyptian Ship Disaster

An Egyptian ferry carrying about 1,300 people sank in the Red Sea overnight during bad weather, and rescue ships and helicopters pulled dozens of bodies from the water Friday, an official said. About 100 survivors in lifeboats were rescued.


Chicago Archdiocese to Remove More Priests

The leader of Chicago's Roman Catholic archdiocese vowed to revise a molestation investigation process that "wasn't adequate," saying he should have removed a priest charged with abusing three boys much sooner. Cardinal Francis George indicated Thursday the archdiocese will announce changes as early as next week to remove priests immediately after allegations are made. Under the current policy, allegations are investigated before priests can be removed.


Katrina’s Paper Trail
How early did the White House know about the levee damage in New Orleans? A look at the documents detailing the timeline—and why the government says it got ‘confusing’ information.


Mayor: New Orleans will seek aid from other nations
NEW ORLEANS - Shortcomings in aid from the U.S. government are making New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin look to other nations for help in rebuilding his hurricane-damaged city. Nagin, who has hosted a steady stream of foreign dignitaries since Hurricane Katrina hit in late August, says he may seek international assistance because U.S. aid has not been sufficient to get the city back on its feet.