March 2006


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?

Asleep at the wheel: Our leaders snooze while our government speeds out of control!
"I just had the worst nightmare!" said a friend. My friend looked wild-eyed and ghastly. "Take a deep breath, calm down and spill."
"I was in this taxi and we were driving up this really steep hill and then suddenly the car began rolling backwards and I looked over at the driver and he was ASLEEP!" So. What did you do? "I grabbed the wheel and jammed my foot on the brake petal but the brakes didn't work!"

Did You Just Hear Something?
Stephen Pizzo:

Is something happening? After nearly six years of hoping something would happen, I am resisting the temptation to accept that suddenly something really is happening. But the signs are coming in strong suddenly. It's getting harder for me to deny it. Something is afoot. Something long overdue.

America's Tarnished Image
The broadcast of new images of torture by the American army at the Iraqi Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 and the publication February 16 of a report by five independent U.N. experts on conditions at the Guantanamo camp have tarnished the West's image a bit more in the Arab world - which was already suffering from the cartoon affair. It has also discredited the United States in matters of democracy.

Let Freedom Ring!
Let us consider repossession of what is ours! This is a call to action. It is addressed to every American who can read, most especially Veterans of any sort. We can and must now consider the option of relieving the regime of George Walker Bush of his command. This includes ALL of his associates. We cannot, and MUST not let this situation degenerate any further.

Negroponte: Iraqi Balkanization on Schedule
Another Day In The Empire

John Negroponte, Henry Kissinger understudy and death squad ambassador to Honduras, has admitted the Straussian neocon and Jabotinsky Likudite plan to break “all Arab states into smaller units” is on schedule (a plan going back at least to Moshe Sharett, the second Israeli PM, according to Livia Rokach, daughter of Israel Rokach, Minister of the Interior in the Sharett government), thus implementing “balkanization and vassalization,” as Rokach described it in her book, Israel’s Sacred Terrorism and detailed in Oded Yinon’s A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties.

Some Days are Harder Than Others...
About a week ago I wrote on my Blog that after four and a half years of reading news stories that scare the hell out of me and everyone else I know, I would be quite content to just have things back the way they were before 911 - you know, some good news, some bad news, a little give, a little take, and plenty of activity moving us toward global peace and justice.That was our world then. Remember?Today we are in a world where "Endless War" is our lot, and like beasts of burden, we are expected to take this on our backs, and not complain. Our masters have made the mess we are in and we are supposed to be willing to just go in and kill other people whose masters have made the mess they are in and not ask questions.I'm sorry to be so unobliging, but my children and my children's children will have to live in whatever world we leave them and for that reason, I am highly motivated to speak out and continue to do so until there is no more breath left in me. But some days it is particularly hard. Today was one of them.

The Abuser's Ploy: A Means for Dominion and Downfall
Reprised from Information Clearing House 02/21/04
As citizens become aware of the dilemma the United States faces, they may find themselves wondering what happened to the "land of the free and the home of the brave." It seems incredible that a few rogue politicians could reek such havoc on the democratic traditions of a liberty loving nation such as ours.

The S.O.B. Has to Go--Yeah, But Which One?
Exclusive to Strike-the-Root
“Neighbor, how stands the Union ?” ~ Stephen Vincent Benet (The Devil and Daniel Webster)
The liveliest writers live on the Net. The best and brightest American essayists flourish not on the printed page, neither in polite college presses nor pulp newsprint but where free thought meets the free form use of the English language. Only on the Net. Yes, the liveliest literary minds now master their sword strokes on the Internet. They slice through the bland “newspeak,” severing a thousand pen strokes of turgid prose in the process, reducing the regurgitated “op-eds” of scores of dull, syndicated pundits with a few deft slashes.

America the Pitiful
Calling our form of government a democratic republic does not make it so. We are what we do. By now it should be abundantly clear that most Americans are incapable of recognizing real democracy—because they have never been subjected to one. Perhaps no culture on earth is more materialistic or delusional than ours.

Smokescreens, Snowjobs and Long Knives
There's been a buzz on the net for the past few days that maybe, finally, Bush is going to get his comeuppance. Cunningham has been sentenced to hard time, Katharine Harris, the "President Maker", is tainted by a related bribery scandal, Bush has been shown to be a liar (yet again) in public via the Katrina video conference expose, and most of all, the "uproar" over the Dubai Buy. Don't kid yourselves: they're blowing smoke and snowing you.

Pipes: Mass Murdering Muslims a Good Thing
Once again, the Islamophobe Daniel Pipes reveals the Straussian neocon mindset, disregarding the teaching of his guru, Leo Strauss, who advised Machiavellian deception when dealing with the dumbed-down masses. "Fixing Iraq is neither the coalition's responsibility nor its burden," Pipes told New York Sun on February 28. "Civil war in Iraq … would be a humanitarian tragedy but not a strategic one," Pipes continued, allowing us commoners a glimpse of the way the Straussian neocon mind works.

How we move ever closer to becoming a totalitarian state
Sunday Observer - The Prime Minister claims to be defending liberty but a barely noticed Bill will rip the heart out of parliamentary democracy

Twilight's Last Gleaming
Who are these people? These people who line their pockets with the lives of our loved ones? These gray men who lurk in shadows and kill the sunshine of democracy? These people who wear morality like a cheap suit pilfered from the collection plate of decency? Who are these people who have turned America into their own personal ATM machine? These are the people of the lie - Republicans.

Matewan Revisited
Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war. The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell.  The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose—especially their lives. Eugene Debs : 16 June 1918: The speech was given to about 1,200 people and was later used against Debs to make the case that he had violated the espionage Act. The judge sentenced Debs to ten years in pris

EcoEnquirer: A Waste of Cyberspace
Yesterday we received an email from a reader which was also sent to Mike Rivero of What Really Happened and Jeff Rense of

Newt Gingrich's Long Straussian War
Man, what a windfall for Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater, and other death merchants and war profiteers. Newt Gingrich believes the "Long War with the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam" (no kidding, this is what the Straussian neocons now call their mass murdering criminal behavior, formerly known as the war on terrorism) will "last as long as 70 years." Gingrich is the former Speaker of the House, neck deep in the Straussian and neolib mire-he is both a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where Bush gets his "minds," and also plays footsies over at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Avian Flu: A Deadly Hoax
A reading of the stories in today's section on the bird flu scare will put the entire media spectacle in a different light. It is, in many ways, a microcosm of the lies and manipulations that are part and parcel of life in this world, ranging from mundane drives such as greed to the deepest of plans by the powers that be to eliminate large portions of the world's people. Let's start with the mundane element of greed.

The setup to destroy America
Failure to recognize what's really happening and who is really behind current events is going to cost us our lives, our country and our planet.
Although the thought has been in my mind for decades, it took a trailer from the controversial new Turkish movie "Valley of the Wolves" to jar my consciousness into really recognizing what is happening. America is being set up to take the fall for everything that's wrong with the world.

Straussian Shock and Awe Plan Against Iran Heats Up
Once again, Israeli Defense (Offense) Minister Shaul Mofaz has rattled his saber at Iran. Mofaz and the Israelis are upset because the United States has yet to shock and awe Iran and really the Jabotinskyites, well accustomed to invading and provoking their Arab neighbors, have no patience for the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency, currently meeting in Vienna-they want Iran decimated now, no more excuses. "The Israeli approach is that the U.S. and the European countries should lead the issue of the Iranian nuclear programme to the table of the U.N. Security Council, asking for sanctions. And I hope the sanctions will be effective," Mofaz is quoted by Reuters. In other words, sanctions will not be good enough for Mofaz and the Israelis-nothing short of mass murder will suffice.

Satan is Resting Easy: The Power of Christ "Propels" Them
Remember, Big Brother is watching, listening and reading. In light of the illegal surveillance they are conducting at the behest of their incompetent, rogue, and murderous Commander-in-Chief, I am dedicating this essay to the NSA. To George Bush, Dick Cheney, Daniel Pipes, and their soulless war-mongering compadres, I proudly admit that I support the Palestinians (and their democratically elected Hamas leaders) in their struggle against their brutal Israeli oppressors. In fact, consider me a member of the so-called Fifth Column identified by Pipes. I abhor virtually all of the foreign and domestic policies the Machiavellian disciples of Strauss have implemented through wielding their ill-gotten power and influence. However, the United States is as much my country as it is theirs. I fully intend to remain here and work persistently against them by continuing to tenaciously pursue human rights and social justice for humanity, not simply for a select few in the United States and Israel.

False News More Damaging Than No News At All
BBC News' 'On This Day' report for today carries the following flashback story to this day in 1990:

Iraq Invasion: A Straussian Mistake?
In Stuart Rosenberg's classic film, Cool Hand Luke, Strother Martin, playing the Captain of Road Prison 36, tells Luke Jackson, played by Paul Newman: "What we have here is… failure to communicate." As I read the news this morning, I am reminded of the film and this memorable line. Rupert Cornwell, writing for the Independent, tells us "the neo-conservatives who sold the United States on this disastrous war are starting to utter three small words. We were wrong." Cornwell cites the examples of William Buckley, Andrew Sullivan (described as "an influential commentator and blogmeister"), the "patrician conservative columnist" George Will, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the disgusting William Kristol, all who apparently have second thoughts about the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Governments, Conspiracies and You
There are approximately 6 billion of us on this planet, the lives and fortunes of whom are directed in various ways by a relatively small group of elected, or unelected, individuals who together make up what is called 'government'.

Iran Shock & Awe Spin Moves into Hyperdrive
It is interesting to follow the corporate media’s take on Iran’s response to threats of military action, most recently amplified by John Bolton and Dick Cheney in speeches delivered to the primary constituency of the United States government, AIPAC. Iran’s “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s [comments about retaliating if his country is attacked] came as Tehran struck an increasingly threatening tone, with the top Iranian delegate to the U.N. atomic watchdog agency warning a day earlier that the United States will face ‘harm and pain’ if the Security Council becomes involved,” according to ABC News.

Cheney's Got a Gun: Part 2
One of the most amazing things about this case is that even if we accept without question the tale told by Cheney and Armstrong - if we accept that this 'accident' occurred exactly as we have been told it happened - it is perfectly obvious that the consensus media opinion that there was no misconduct or negligence is simply untrue. By his own account, Cheney was hunting by vehicle, a decidedly unsafe, and unethical, practice. By his own account, he was out in a three-man hunting party. By his own account, he made no effort to ascertain the whereabouts of anyone else in his party before firing away. By his own account, he was firing at a bird that would have had to have been flying ridiculously low. By his own account, he swung his gun far beyond "the mid-point" to take his shot. By his own account, he had been drinking that day (undoubtedly far more than he has admitted to). By his own account, he was hunting in flat terrain with a party that included a hostess, two other hunters, several guides and outriders (scouts on horseback), a medical team, and a Secret Service team -- and yet he swung his gun around blindly a full 180º to take a shot at an alleged bird that was supposedly flying just a few feet off the ground.

Cheney's Got a Gun: Part 3
It's hard not to notice, by the way, that two alleged members of the hunting party just happen to have the same last name as the police constable who determined in record time that "this in fact is an accident." Small world, isn't it? It's also hard not to notice that the name of another member of the party contains the names of two of the handful of towns that make up Kenedy County, Texas: Armstrong and Sarita. One wonders if Kenedy County is little more than the Armstrong family's private fiefdom. Perhaps this is a good time to take a quick look at some Armstrong family history.

The 'Why' Of The War On Terror
With American troops sinking ever further into the "Iraq quagmire", Bush's job approval ratings hitting new lows and a growing list of respectable officials using the word dictatorship in reference to the White House,

Rove Vows Forever War
Karl Rove, the Donald Segretti understudy of dirty tricks and political sabotage, told the gathered at a Republican fundraiser at Bowling Green State University the administration will not pull American troops out of Iraq until victory is won, the Associated Press reports. It should be obvious the United States will never achieve "victory" in Iraq and the situation grows more dismal with each passing day, but the neocons and their operatives create their own reality and we are here to follow along. Rove is not simply preaching to the faithful in Ohio, and his avowal of "victory" in Iraq is basically a rhetorical device. Karl Rove is telling us what the neocons have in mind-a generational conflict, a Thirty Years' War, perpetual war for perpetual death merchant profit. Bush's neocons, followers of the fascist Strauss and Schmitt ideology, fully intend to not only reshape the Middle East, but American society as well.

The weight of demons - 9/11 hoax, phony Iraq war, poison media propaganda wind up justifying torture
We need to take the blame — now.
How many more lies do we need to hear that cost thousands of lives and take away our Constitutional rights? How much more poison do we need to have shoved down our throats by official government agencies? How many more friends do we need to see killed by government functionaries doing business as rabid dogs?
How few of us have looked into that deep dark place in ourselves and seen the connection that travels from the sweetest part of our own souls — you know, that stuff we give our families — to the little girl lying dead in the street in Baghdad. And a thousand other dusty towns turned bloody by the shadow that lurks in the hollow of our own wallets.
And don't forget the big new wall that circles the heart of Jerusalem with its shadow of fear, and spreads its crippled cancer into the minds of every human on this planet through toxic electronic fantasies better known as mass media. Already firmly constructed in your own mind from a lifetime of American public schools, that same wall is being constructed in your own town — in New Orleans, for instance, in a thousand places on this planet, at this moment. The war for human freedom is definitely on.

Iran Blame Game: More Bush Lies
Another Day In The Empire In an effort to stem increasingly vociferous criticism, Bush’s neocon handlers have provided him with a new script, basically the old script with new fantastic accusations.

Oh What a Lovely War
I thought I'd share an email that is apparently doing the rounds among all right-thinking Patriotic Americans (i.e. not pinko Commie, Islamo-liberal-terrorists).

DynCorp May Replace Cops in St. Bernard Parish
It's a good thing I don't live in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.If I did, I’d refuse to accept the authority of DynCorp, the renta-cop and mercenary corporation that may soon replace the police in the storm-ravaged parish.

The Politics of Language, Escalation or "Retaliation" - Israeli Attacks on Palestinians
It is commonplace to read each day in the most prestigious newspapers (Financial Times, New York Times, London Times, Washington Post) of Israeli "retaliation". The reportage frequently mentions a Palestinian attack on an Israeli colonial settlement in the West Bank or urban population center in Israel. The action and reaction always is located in a limited time frame. Palestinian action is always the initial moment and the Israeli military attack is always described as a response or "retaliatory" and therefore, presumably a form of defensive action, "justifiable".

Kenya, John Kerry, Diamonds and Mossad
Now and again, a story pops up that reminds us that, even in the more liberal mainstream press, nothing is ever as it seems and real investigative jounalism simply doesn't exist (if it ever did)...

The Devil Rides Out
She-devil Condolezza Rice is currently on a PR trip to OZ. Speaking to students at the University of Sydney's Conservatorium of Music, Condi waxed duplicitous on how "Iraqis will triumph" and that "we will win in Iraq but we must be patient with these people".

US Military Murders Eleven Members of an Iraqi Family - Five Children Four Women and Two Men
Major Ali Ahmed of the Ishaqi police said U.S. forces had landed on the roof of the house in the early hours and shot the 11 occupants, including the five children. "After they left the house they blew it up," he said. Another policeman, Major Farouq Hussein, said all the bodies had gunshot wounds to the head.

Is Another 9/11 in the Works?
If you were being whipped in one fight, would you start a second fight with a bigger and stronger person? That’s what Bush is doing.

Who made this plan?
Ugly Americans, Dancing Israelis and the crown are endlessly making war on the whole world.
Americans aren't the good guys anymore. Hollow TV pitchmen still insist our boys are dying for their country, but more and more people know that those lives are being wasted on corporate profits, deliberately squandered for somebody's twisted big score scheme. And you know who's making the money. The very pervs who are orchestrating all these wars. Repeat after me: Carlyle Group.

Trust Us
Something fundamental about who we are as a nation is dribbling away, it seems, without alarm or even debate. We torture prisoners - it's out in the open, a done deal. We're fighting an unnecessary war that, well, yes, was launched on a lie, but too late now; we're in, we can't get out. And our neighbor's phone is being tapped. But the worry that trumps all others is the state of this proud, imperfect democracy. We may be surrendering our power to change the national direction or demand that government be responsive to us. My fellow Americans, our voting machines don't work, at least not all the time. The mechanism of our democracy is in chaos, and almost everyone is going along with it.

The Two Americas
Have you ever noticed that America is schizophrenic-of two minds, two ideals, two ideologies that contradict? How much American rhetoric doesn't match up with American actions? Notice how there are so many laws in what's sold to the world as the "land of the free?" Speaking of that slogan, it's ironic how many dictators we support as "allies", isn't it?

Robert Fisk Backs Up Signs of the Times
Regular readers of this site will be aware of the fact that, for about 4 years, we have been repeatedly trying to convince as many people as would listen that the "war on terror" is bogus...

Three Years...
It has been three years since the beginning of the war that marked the end of Iraq's independence. Three years of occupation and bloodshed.
Spring should be about renewal and rebirth. For Iraqis, spring has been about reliving painful memories and preparing for future disasters. In many ways, this year is like 2003 prior to the war when we were stocking up on fuel, water, food and first aid supplies and medications. We're doing it again this year but now we don't discuss what we're stocking up for. Bombs and B-52's are so much easier to face than other possibilities. I don't think anyone imagined three years ago that things could be quite this bad today. The last few weeks have been ridden with tension. I'm so tired of it all- we're all tired.

Where's the Resistance Here on the Home Front?
Three years into the war in Iraq and now about two out of three Americans are against it, as against about one out of fifty elected politicians. In Iraq 2,315 Americans have died, and 17,100 wounded, many of them with limbs lost, some facing a lifetime in a wheel chair. Of the tens of thousands who have returned from combat to army bases or civilian life here, around 2.5 per cent are suffering from severe post traumatic stress syndrome, powder kegs, a menace to themselves and their families. There will be psychic as well as physical wreckage across America for years to come.

Some Things Never Change
According to Reuters, British Prime Minister Tony Blair will call today (Tuesday) for a global, interventionist approach to confront terrorism head on...

More Evidence Neocons Are Destroying Bill of Rights
Another Day in the Empire
I don't know how much more evidence we need to demonstrate there is a plot underway to dismantle the Bill of Rights. Now we learn that soon after "the dark days" of nine eleven, "lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department began meeting to debate a number of novel legal strategies to help prevent another attack," according to US News & World Report. "Meeting in the FBI's state-of-the-art command center in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the lawyers talked with senior FBI officials about using the same legal authority to conduct physical searches of homes and businesses of terrorism suspects–also without court approval," that is to say in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Deranged, Disconnected, and Dangerous
"LewRockwell" -- -- On March 17 William Rivers Pitt wrote that Bush is "deranged, disconnected, and dangerous." In his March 20 Cleveland speech, Bush proved Pitt right.

Iraqi Police
At 230 of 15/3/2006, according to the telegram (report) of the Ishaqi police directorate, American forces used helicopters to drop troops on the house of Faiz Harat Khalaf situated in the Abu Sifa village of the Ishaqi district. The American forces gathered the family members in one room and executed 11 people, including 5 children, 4 women and 2 men, then they bombed the house, burned three vehicles and killed their animals (map coordinates 098702).

Armageddon Anyone? The Truth Behind The War On Terror
When will it stop? Of all the questions I would like answered, this one is the most pressing. How much longer are we meant to endure the incessant lies from government and media about the nature of what is happening in our world?...

Haditha and My Lai: Same Killer Dynamic
Kurt Nimmo In late November, 1969, Time, Life and Newsweek magazines reported extensively on the My Lai massacre, the premeditated murder of 500 civilians in the Quang Ngai Province of South Vietnam. In early 1970, as a young antiwar activist, I remember how this single event more than any other contributed significantly to turning millions of fence-sitting Americans against Nixon's illegal war and subsequently swelled the ranks of the antiwar movement.

War Making 101 - A User's Manual
I've lived through seven decades and can remember the late 1930s before WW II began. In fact, I began my formal education in kindergarten within days of when Hitler sent his Wehrmacht across the Polish border in an act of illegal aggression and began that near six year horror. I was too young to understand it then, and I can barely remember that fateful "first Pearl Harbor" on December 7, 1941. Franklin Roosevelt wanted in on that fight and did all he could to goad the Japanese to attack us. He knew with enough prodding they would, and when it came, we knew about when and where it would happen. We were ready to mobilize and join the battle, we did it, and nothing's been the same since.

Democratizing the World: One Torture Victim at a Time
Analysis of the Long, Repulsive History of the United States Inflicting Torture on Its "Suspected Enemies" (in Conjunction with a Review of A Question of Torture by Alfred W. McCoy)

God Forgive America
Instead of "God Bless America," we should put "God Forgive America" bumperstickers on our cars. Americans, as participants in horrendous war crimes, should ask for forgiveness. America is a killer nation-not only do we kill Iraqis and Afghans, but we are in the process of killing ourselves.

U.S. Military Murders 11 Iraqi Civilans (WARNING: Graphic Photos)
Uruknet - On the afternoon of March 14, Fayiz Harrat, 27 years, and his sister Fayiza, 35 years, were together in their home. Both were teachers in the only school in al-Siffa village near Samara...

Journalists blackmailed by Israeli embassy
Albawaba Recent reports claim that Israel's embassy in Mauritania is operating under directives from the Israeli secret security agency, the Mossad, in an attempt to recruit Mauritanian agents to work for Israel using blackmail and other threats.

Quote Of The Week
Speaking on CNN's 'Late Edition' Republican Senator and apologist for the phony war on terror, Pat Roberts discussed the NSA warrantless wiretapping

The US Gulag Prison System - The Shame Of The Nation and Crime Against Humanity
No, not the one you think, outrageous as it is. I'm referring to the US prison system that's with no exaggeration about as shockingly abusive as the gulag abroad. It qualifies for that label by its size alone - more than 2.1 million as of June, 2004 and growing larger by about 900 new inmates every week. Blacks (mostly poor and disadvantaged) especially are affected. While they make up just 12.3% of the population, they account for half the prison population, and their numbers there have grown fivefold in the last 25 years. Hispanics (also poor) account for another 15%.

Children of Abraham: Death in the Desert
What happened in the village of Abu Sif (Isahaqi), north of Baghdad, on Ides of March? The murk of war – the natural blur of unbuckled event, and its artificial augmentation by professional massagers – shrouds the details of the actual operation. But here is what we know.

Moussaoui - Mind Programmed Patsy
Zacarias Moussaoui has been in US custody for almost 5 years, yet only recently have US authorities seen fit to drag him out into the spotlight in the hope of manifesting their one and only 9/11 conviction and convincing the world of the truth of the official version of the 9/11 event.

Stunning Zacarias Moussaoui into Submission?
NBC news reporter Pete Williams speculates that the feds have rigged a defiant Zacarias Moussaoui with a stun belt, an "electro-shock" device, apparently part of a growing "shock technology" arsenal used by torturers in South Africa, China, and Lebanon. "Amnesty International is extremely concerned about the introduction by the prison authorities in the United States of America of a remote controlled electro-shock stun belt for use on prisoners in chain gangs, judicial hearings and transportation," the human rights organization declared in 1996. "Officers can use it to psychologically threaten a prisoner, and it appears designed to humiliate and degrade a prisoner… Data from other electro-shock weapons indicate that the high pulse 50,000 volt shocks lasting eight seconds at a time could result in longer term physical and mental injuries."

Anti-Semitism: Words have a meaning
Al Beck is a Swiss architect with a distant Syrian heritage. The reflection he sent to me on the use of the word "anti-Semitism" is very original and deserves to be shared. Silvia Cattori.

Denial; It's not just a river in Egypt
A lot of rubbish has been written lately about "religious faith". The fact is, there's a force that's more powerful than faith; the power of denial. America is drowning in denial. Most people would rather keep their heads stuck in the sand than face the disaster right before their eyes.  Congress just voted to spend another $92 billion for a war that nobody wants and, yet, we don't hear a whimper of protest from the people. They've raised the national debt to a whopping $9 trillion, every penny of which will be paid off by our children and their children's children. They'll be indentured servants until the end of time. Do the American people care? No way; a few soothing bromides from our doltish president and they're lulled back to sleep.

War as an Entertaining Sport
The U.S. is so often involved in armed conflicts, war is beginning to be seen as a sports event. For many Americans, starting with George W. Bush, the former owner of a baseball team, a war is a bit like a baseball or football game; the aim of this game is simply to be the strongest and to win. In doing so, the people are entertained and the media are occupied with subject matter to fill their pages and airtime. In the U.S., war is part of the entertainment industry.

Neocon Forever War Plan Creeps Forward
If you believe the line towed by the corporate media, a line manufactured in the deep recesses of the Pentagon, the United States stumbled into Iraq based on "intelligence failures." According to Vernon Loeb of the Washington Post, former CIA analyst and PNAC conspirator Reuel Marc Gerecht, writing under the pen name Edward G. Shirley, tells us the CIA has "grown intellectually dishonest" and the intelligence the agency produced is "often nearly worthless." Because of this, the neocons created the Office of Special Plans (OSP), managed by the Leo Strauss scholar Abram Shulsky, and offered up their own "intelligence," mostly gleaned from the overactive imagination of the convicted embezzler Ahmed Chalabi and the so-called "Iraqi chemical engineer" (and the brother of a top lieutenant of Chalabi) colorfully nicknamed Curveball. It is important to note that Chalabi's lies and fabrications were used by Shulsky's OSP-and subsequently fed to an eager shill, New York Times columnist Judith Miller, for wide dissemination-because a key tenet of the Straussian philosophy is the necessity of deception.

The War Prayer
By Mark Twain
It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts and which they interrupted at the briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pasters preached devotion to flag and country and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half-dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Podcast: A conversation with Jean-Pierre Petit
Astrophysicist Jean-Pierre Petit learned to fly at 12, was scuba diving in the waters off Marseille long before it became a tourist sport, and was invited to study for a year at Princeton -- where he managed to get sent back to France after his first day for spending his lunch hour exploring the restricted and top secret areas dedicated to secret US military research. Whether it was his breach of security or his declaration to the director that the project wouldn't work that got him thrown out is left to speculation.

Israel Plans More Palestinian Suicide Attacks
The Israeli government claims that it is "expecting more Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade suicide attacks in the coming weeks", and with the Israeli government's uncanny ability to predict 'Palestinian suicide attacks', trumped only by Palestinian militant's ability to provide them...

Could Strange Seattle Killing Spree Be Connected To "Manchurian Candidate" Psy Ops Government Program?
Kyle Huff, 28, gunned down six with a Bushmaster rifle and then killed himself at a home on Capitol Hill after spray painting "NOW" on the doorstep. As the old saying goes, death comes in "threes" but last week the number changed to nine, as a rash of strange killings with undertones of "government psy ops hits" hidden between the lines hit news stands across the country...

The War Drums Are Getting Louder And Sounding A Clear Message
The way things are today, why on earth would the "big fool lunatics in charge" in Washington ever want another war or maybe two of them. Already they're "waist deep in the Big Muddy" in two out-of-control debacles in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the country is leaching multi-billions we don't have to pay for them. Despite this hopeless chaos, it looks almost certain we're now headed for a new one against another Middle East 4-letter country beginning with the letter "I", and may try to "double our displeasure" by including a "fracas in Caracas." I just learned about an "Operation Bilbao" which appears to be blueprint to overthrow the Chavez government and likely includes in it targeted assassinations starting with the guy in charge.

Bush's Insane and Criminal War against Iraq
George W. Bush was planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure 'regime change' in that country, even before he took power in January 2001. It was Bush's plan for the U.S. to take military control of the Middle East Gulf region, whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq. In fact, presidential candidate Bush Jr. saw the political benefits of attacking Iraq as early as 1999, as has been confirmed by Bush's biographer, Mickey Herskowitz.

Utterly Laughable Comment Of The Week
You're gonna love this one. It really doesn't get any more tragi-comedic than this...

Signs Under Attack! EXPOSED!!!

Some of you may have noticed that Signs of the Times was down three times today. This was a result of threats by's attorney to our website host. It seems that finally could no longer stand the negative attention they were getting from our exposure of them as a probable CoIntelPro operation, initially in the form of Joe Quinn's article:

Evidence That a Frozen Fish Didn't Impact the Pentagon on 9/11 - and Neither Did a Boeing 757

which was an analysis of the "catherder" article on which essentially was support for Bush and the Neocon's conspiracy theory about the events of September 11.

After removing this "offending material", we published the letter from's attorney on our forum. Within FIVE minutes, the Signs page was taken down again by the website host. When we called our server to ask "what now," we were informed that's attorney had called again and was claiming that in the five minutes the forum posting was up, he had already received death threats because we had published his name and location! (which, incidentally, is freely available on the web.) We were forced to remove that information also, but you can read it here. It seems that's attorney is also well-versed in the tactics of CoIntelPro.

As anyone who is familiar with copyright law knows, our rebuttal of the 'Catherder' article is perfectly legal under standard copyright law. However,, like Bush and the Neocons, make up their own laws and enforce them with intimidation and bogus threats from their 'hired-gun' attorney. As Laura has chronicled on her blog,'s urgent demands that we remove this article because it was a violation of their "creative commons" copyright was absurd and simply evidence of their position as an active cointelpro/psy-ops propagator on the internet. It isn't copyrights that is concerned about, it is google bombing and running psy-ops. And now, they have proven it.

This action also is highly suggestive of the idea that the Pentagon issue is a LOT more sensitive than anyone has thus far suspected! Do take note of THAT!

We hope that everyone who reads this will spread this information far and wide because these people are covert Bush supporters, Cyber Nazi Brown Shirts.

Don't worry, there will be lots more information on this matter available soon and we will keep our readers updated. Check back regularly, and it will help a LOT if you can find some spare change to put in the legal defense kitty.

Thanks from the SOTT Team.

Signs of the Times Attacked by Psy-ops!
Signs of the Times is one of the very few news and information portals on the web that remains uncorrupted in any way and is staffed by a group of people who are dedicated to one thing - bringing the Truth to the general public. We are able to do this because we rely solely on support from our readers and our own hard work: book sales.
As many of our readers are probably aware, we had a little "to do" with a gang we consider to be agents of Pentagon psy-ops - and friends - last night. We were up until 3 a.m. dealing with the backlash from this situation..., Project Serpo Psy-ops, and the Pentagon's Flying Fish
For the last few years, this website, has sought, in all honesty, to present the daily news as truthfully as possible. Signs of the Times is one of the very few news and information portals on the web that remains uncorrupted in any way and is staffed by a small group of people who are dedicated to one thing - bringing the Truth to the general public. We are able to do this because we rely solely on support from our readers and our own hard work: book sales. You may not necessarily agree with our take on events but I would hope that you agree that alternative media is now essential to the preservation of our basic freedoms.

Glimpses Of Truth

U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006
Le Moyne College/Zogby Poll shows just one in five troops want to heed Bush call to stay "as long as they are needed"

The Troops Want to End Iraq Occupation in 2006

A recent Zogby poll of 944 US soldiers in Iraq reported that 72% thought all troops should withdraw this year. The views of the troops differ markedly from those of their commander-in-chief, and the administration; only 23% wanted to "stay-the-course". The troops views, however, concur with those of the foreign policy establishment, e.g., General William Odom, former national security advisors Brent Scowcroft, Zbignew Brezinski, and see HERE

The Soldiers Speak. Will President Bush Listen?

When President Bush held a public meeting with troops by satellite last fall, they were miraculously upbeat. And all along, unrepentant hawks (most of whom have never been to Iraq) have insisted that journalists are misreporting Iraq and that most soldiers are gung-ho about their mission. Hogwash! A new poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq... and soon.

TAKE THE WHITE HOUSE BY STORM - Stop Genocide, Torture and Occupation
Multi-Day Event, Beginning March 15, come when you can and stay as long as you can - we are taking over the White House until they leave.
Wednesday, March 15th 2006 12:00 AM
Washington, DC USA

U.N. SOS - We need your help to end the reign of international criminals. It is our duty and the duty of the United Nations to rescue the people of the world from the U.S. dictators. Murder for occupation and theft of land is illegal. Murder of journalists is criminal. Remove the traitors who have stolen the U.S. budget and used it to commit international crimes against humanity.

Signs Comment: The only way action like this would work would be if literally millions of people responded. And they would not only have to "storm the White House," they would first have to weaken its defenses by engaging in a long siege of boycotting the news media that do not report the facts, and the corporations that support the Neocons. It would take a couple of months of consistent, hard pressure to make it work. And so far, there are not enough citizens awakened yet. They need to suffer more before they wake up and you can be sure that the Neocons will see to THAT!

Ike Saw It Coming
Early in the documentary film "Why We Fight," Wilton Sekzer, a retired New York City police officer whose son was killed in the World Trade Center attack, describes his personal feelings in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11. "Somebody had to pay for this," he says. "Somebody had to pay for 9/11. ... I wanna see their bodies stacked up for what they did. For taking my son." Lost in the agony of his grief, Mr. Sekzer wanted revenge. He wanted the government to go after the bad guys, and when the government said the bad guys were in Iraq, he didn't argue.

Signs Comment: Indeed, the Pathocrats have no illusions about their fate should they be fully exposed to the public. That is why there is no crime they will not commit to prevent that.

The S.O.B. has to go

Bonnie Erbe, a columnist whose work I respect, writes elsewhere on this web site today that President George W. Bush should be impeached for his many high crimes against the Constitution of the United States.

Thousands of Indians Protest Bush Visit
Tens of thousands of Indians waving black and white flags and chanting "Death to Bush!" rallied Wednesday in New Delhi to protest a visit by President Bush.

Ann Coulter cancels appearance after Republican Complaints

Chris Meyer immediately bought 10 more tickets to the Kent County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner -- once he heard commentator Ann Coulter backed out of her March 16 commitment as keynote speaker.
Meyer, a Grand Rapids attorney and Republican candidate for state House, protested Coulter's scheduled appearance by telling supporters on his campaign Web site he planned to leave the event after dinner and before Coulter's speech. But now that GOP officials are hunting for a replacement, Meyer said he can feel comfortable going full tilt at the party's biggest fundraiser of the year.

Troops Widely Reject Bush's Iraq Strategy as Civilian War Support Hits New Low
Three out of four U.S. soldiers in Iraq reject their commander in chief's strategy to keep them there, according to a unique poll that on Tuesday became the latest survey to evoke an increasingly isolated White House.

Where Are the Good Americans?
Anyone who sees the photographs of the victims of the Nazi concentration camps must wonder how human beings could ever have allowed such things to happen. They must wonder how people of good will could have stood by while their government committed atrocities in their name. In the wake of that nightmarish era, people often asked, "Where were the good Germans?" After the publication of the long-suppressed pictures of Abu Ghraib victims and the United Nations finding that torture and abuse are still taking place at the US prison in Guantánamo Bay, America has fashioned its own nightmare. We now must ask ourselves, "Where are the good Americans?"

Level of Bush administration incompetence is truly chilling
The administration's competence problem is already at the yadda, yadda, yadda stage. They were supposed to protect us from terrorist attack, they said Iraq would be a cakewalk, that we only needed 50,000 troops. They failed to plan for the occupation or Hurricane Katrina or the prescription drug plan. Yadda.
But when you look at the details of what incompetence means, it becomes both chilling and really, really expensive. The Army announced this week it has decided to reimburse Halliburton for nearly all of the disputed costs in the more than $250 million in charges the Pentagon's own auditors had identified as excessive or unjustified.

Have Depleted Uranium, Will Travel
The Lone Star Iconoclast
(George W. Bush's Hometown Newspaper)
When The Iconoclast learned of a study conducted by Chris Busby and Saoirse Morgan that suggests that depleted uranium radiation had traveled from Iraq to Great Britain during "shock and awe," we knew it was time to more fully explore the implications. We decided to "lay it all on the table," as best we could by interviewing noted scientists and people in the know about radiation, those who have become medical casualties, those who have gone through the military system, and those who possess an upper tier knowledge of radiation in general. This is clear: the day that depleted uranium was introduced into the arsenal of doom was quite literally the day the earth stood still, with scientists worldwide uniting to voice concern that genocide had found a home on our planet. At the other extreme, militarists hailed the nuclear substance as their newest advantage in maximizing destruction. It became a trump card with the ability to destroy the masses, even those yet unborn.

The Human Right to a Nuclear Free World - A Plea from a Nobel Peace Prize Winner
By MAIREAD CORRIGAN MAGUIRE:  I believe one of the most hopeful trends in the world today is the interconnectedness of the Human Family. Technology has made us interconnected, and trade and the movement of people have made us interdependent. Even in the last 10 years, the world has changed, and the next 20 years will bring changes that none of us can imagine. But we human beings can shape the world to a great extent. I am very hopeful for the future because I believe we are often capable of good choices, we are resilient even in the face of great disasters, and we are creative. The massive people's movement around the world should give us all hope. But governments must start listening and acting on what their people are saying, and particularly on such burning issues as nuclear weapons and war.

The following caught my eye today as I was gathering articles for the Signs page:
McEwan on the afterlife
Seed sent me a copy of this book, What We Believe but Cannot Prove : Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty, and I've been browsing. It's a collection of short essays (sometimes very short) on assumptions held by individual thinkers without solid evidence. It's thought-provoking, even where I think the writer is a dingbat (Ray Kurzweil) or blithering banalities (Kevin Kelly). I rather liked Brian Goodwin's essay on the fallacy of the nature-nurture problem, but so far, my favorite is one by the author Ian McEwan:
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:

Bush, Chavez, and Hitler
U.S. officials become angry and indignant when someone compares the Bush administration's policies to those of the Hitler regime. Even government officials at the local level get upset over the comparison, as reflected by the public schoolteacher who is under investigation for comparing Bush's policies to those of Hitler in his classroom.

An Aurora social studies teacher accused of giving a biased lecture that sparked national debate over academic freedom was reinstated Friday after assuring administrators he would give balanced viewpoints in all classroom discussions. Jay Bennish will return Monday to his teaching duties at Overland High School, less than two weeks after Cherry Creek School District administrators placed the 28-year-old on paid administrative leave. Speaking after a meeting with administrators Friday, Bennish said that he was "excited to be back in the classroom" and that he would continue to use his job as a way to "encourage democratic values in our society" and to "promote social justice, just as I have always attempted to do."
Signs Comment: Notice that the psychopathic little coward that started the whole thing isn't going back to school... That suggests that a lot more people supported the teacher than the snitch...

The Value of George Orwell

 George Orwell remains a valuable writer, though he died in 1950. He was a man who was an active participant in his times, and since the new century appears to be going down the same road as the last one, we can still learn from him.
His essay "Politics and the English Language" ought to be read by every journalist and by everyone who reads journalists or listens to the babble on television.

"Politics and the English Language"
By George Orwell
Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language -- so the argument runs -- must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

Bush, Lies, and Videotape
If George W. Bush were a character in a novel or a play, last week might have been the turning point in the narrative. He was shown on film being explicitly warned, just hours before Hurricane Katrina hit, that the levees in New Orleans were vulnerable.

The conservative bubble
One of the reasons the conservative movement has morphed into a pathological political religion is that it has managed to largely cut itself off from the real world by insulating itself from any kind of criticism whatsoever.

A Veteran's Letter to the President: "I Return Enclosed the Symbols of My Years of Service"
Joseph DuRocher was for 20 years the elected Public Defender of Florida's Ninth Judicial Circuit, covering Orange and Osceola counties. Since retirement, he's been writing and teaching law at the University of Central Florida and the Barry University School of Law. He was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy in the 1960s, serving as a Naval Aviator in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. On Monday, Mr. DuRocher returned his Lieutenant's shoulder bars and Navy wings to President Bush, and enclosed the following letter.

Why is America so Hated By So Many?
An interview with John Perkins author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Mr. Perkins reveals the dark underside of American economic polices and how they impact the poorest nations and the indigenous peoples of the world. His book points out how these policies negatively impact us all in ways that will have far reaching influences in international relationships and world economic stability. He discusses what an economic hit man is – their ongoing work and how they perpetrate their crimes against humanity. Mr. Perkins was an economic hit man for 10 years operating all over the world on behalf of the corporatocracy (a coalition of government, banks and corporations). He tells his personnel story of being an economic hit man, how he was sent into third world countries to pressure leaders to except huge loans that resulted in the sacrifice of health, education and jobs for their people due to the overwhelming burden of the debt. The powers of persuasion used by the ECH included everything from political bribery to assassination. He shares his growing realization of the insidious harm these actions were causing and his reasons for leaving the field. Mr. Perkins is now head of Dream Change an organization dedicated to promoting sustainable living.

Who Is Responsible For This Terror - Al-Qaida?

1. 30 million people die of hunger each year

2. 800 million suffer from malnutrition

3. 500 million live in comfort

4. 5.5 billion live in conditions of want

5. 30 000 people die of hunger daily and it's 100 000 people if we include the deaths due to malnutrition (hunger)-related diseases
6. The three richest people in the world have a fortune superior to the total sum of the gross domestic products of the 49 poorest countries-a quarter of the countries in the world.

7. Of the 4.5 billion people in developing countries almost one-third of them have no access to drinking water, and one-fifth of the children don't take in enough calories or proteins

8. Three billion people - half of the planet live on less than $2 a day.

9. Since 1989, the end of the Cold war, there were 70 new wars.

10. The sum total of the wealth of the 15 richest people in the world is greater than the GNP of all the sub-Saharan African countries

11. In1960, the world's richest 20 percent earned more than 30 times as much as the poorest 20 percent.
At present, the earnings of the richest group are 82 times higher than those of the poor.

12. According to the United Nations, the wealth of the world's 225 richest individuals-less than 4 percent of the world's private wealth-would be enough to give everyone in the world access to basic needs (food, drinking water, education, health care).

13. There are more than 1 billion unemployed people around the world.

14. Three hundred million children are exploited in unprecedented conditions of brutality.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of horrors in our world in the 21 first century.

What are we, we who live in the "prosperous" and "democratic" countries, in the "civilized" (white) world doing about it? What have we done about it? What are we going to do about it? Start a war on misery?

To satisfy the basic sanitary and nutritional needs of all the people living in conditions of want, it would cost a sum equal to the amount of money spent in one year on perfumes in the United States and the European Union, and less than what they spend on ice cream.

New world relationships
THE prospect that Europe and Asia might move toward greater independence has troubled US planners since World War II. The concerns have only risen as the 'tripolar order' - Europe, North America and Asia - has continued to evolve. Every day, Latin America, too, is becoming more independent. Now Asia and the Americas are strengthening their ties while the reigning superpower, the odd man out, consumes itself in misadventures in the Middle East.

Sandra Day O'Connor: Dictatorship is the danger

Linking the words "America" and "dictatorship" is a daily staple of leftwing blogs, which thrive on the idea that Bush administration policies since 9/11 are taking the country ever closer to totalitarian rule. Liberal fears that democracy is endangered by Republicans in Congress are so widespread, so endemic to the jittery political climate in the US, that they hardly bear repeating. It'll surprise no one to learn that another voice was added to the chorus last Thursday, warning that recent attacks on the American judiciary were putting the democratic fabric in jeopardy and were the first steps down the treacherous path to dictatorship. What is surprising - more than that, electrifying - is that the voice belonged to Sandra Day O'Connor, who retired a few weeks ago from the supreme court. O'Connor is a Republican and a Reagan nominee. Regarded as the "swing vote" on the court, she swung the presidential election to George Bush in 2000.

Video: Hiroshima - Where Denial Meets Reality
Flash Presentation
The Lies - The Deaths - The Future? Click here to watch the video.

Democracy: What A Concept
Finally, there's a dandy way to abolish the Electoral College and elect the president by popular vote.

Strategery trumps principle
You can get a good look at just what's wrong with the Democratic Party by perusing Joan Vennochi's latest offering, which takes Russ Feingold to task for his proposed censure of President Bush:

Podhoretz said Democrats calling Bush "incompetent" would turn off voters, ignored polls that say many voters already think Bush is "incompetent"

New York Post columnist John Podhoretz described Democrats' use of the term "incompetent" to describe President Bush as "an act of political cowardice," adding, "voters can smell that kind of cowardice a mile off." But a poll by the Pew Research Center reported that "incompetent" was the most frequently cited one-word description for Bush, and that, overall, negative impressions of Bush -- measured by respondents' selection of words such as "incompetent," "idiot" or "liar" to describe Bush -- outweighed positive ones, 48 percent to 28 percent.

Bring the Sixties Out of the Closet
We need to resurrect the good '60s -- a time when acting, despite being messy and imperfect, made a lot of good things happen.

Time for a New Dictionary
Looks like it's time for a new dictionary. The hardcover copy of The American Heritage Dictionary, a copy which my mother gave me as I left for college in 1982, now has such disgusting dirt stains on the edge of the pages from my persistent flipping through it that two conclusions jump to mind. First, either my logophilia knows no bounds or, second, I should wash my hands more often. For the last 24 years my hardcover AHD has served me well. I have looked up the word "Manichaeism" so many times that I finally highlighted it in yellow magic marker. While I can recite its definition verbatim, my limited intellect prevents me from actually understanding its proper definition, let alone correct usage. I can turn to "steatopygia" with my eyes closed after it appeared on a dorm mate's "Word of the Day" calendar and became a secret word among us sophomoric sophomores. But although I trusted my hardcover AHD to get me through all of life's major vocabulary crises, little did I know that it had misinformed on the definition of the simple word "again."

Veteran: War based on greed
Delta Force founder finds Bush deaf to Iraq criticism
Harsh criticism of the Bush administration's policy in Iraq is nothing new, but this critic has the counter-terrorism credentials and military connections to bolster his assertions. Eric Haney, a retired command sergeant major and founding member of the elite Delta Force commando unit, charged Monday that the president's policy is based on cultural arrogance and corporate greed rather than sound military strategy. "I understand the people who are doing this and where they're coming from," the veteran said. "Delusional ideology is a big factor, and there's a huge amount of venal corporate activity. Halliburton and other companies are making so much money that they don't want to see it changed."

Why Do Some Dictators Escape Justice?
The spotlight of international justice has shone on Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic to hold them accountable for alleged war crimes.

But many are asking: What about Suharto in Indonesia, Gen. Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Charles Taylor of Liberia? Indonesia's ailing dictator for 32 years is widely believed responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people yet he lives freely in a wealthy residential district of Jakarta.

Signs Comment: Ask Bush.

George Bush is LAUGHING at you if you aren't speaking out for CENSURE
Why does George Bush feel he can just laugh off the laws passed by Congress and even the Constitution itself? He did it AGAIN by attaching a so-called signing statement to the renewal of the Patriot Act, reserving the right to DISREGARD even the minimal reporting requirements that Congress had the temerity to impose. Who is going to challenge him? He's not just laughing at the legislature. If you do not speak out now, he is laughing at YOU. He is laughing at you because you complain about the fact that nobody in Congress has any backbone, and yet when someone DOES stand up you do nothing to speak out and support them, and to encourage others to do the same. He is laughing at you because a million mostly NON-citizens got off their butts over the weekend and killed HR 4437 in the Judiciary Committee literally overnight, the same Judiciary Committee that will be considering his censure this very Friday. And yet most of you continue to do nothing. Yes, George Bush is laughing at you.

Ball In The Supreme's Court

The U.S. Supreme Court this week heard arguments in what will almost certainly be one of the landmark cases of the past fifty years. Their decision will determine whether the Supreme Court will continue to assert its authority to review and check the executive's power to detain and try individuals caught up in the "war on terror."

Bush And His Cronies

GOP Unease Spreads to Security Issues
The first heading on the issues page of Rep. Mark Foley's Web site brags that he is "one of President Bush's strongest supporters in Congress." The Florida Republican voted for the president's legislation 90 percent of the time, according to the Web site, "the 3rd highest ranking among the Florida delegation."

Senator Feinstein's War Profiteering
It happens all the time. If the antiwar movement takes on the Democrats for their bitter shortcomings, a few liberals are bound to criticize us for not hounding Bush instead. It doesn't even have to be an election year to get the progressives fired up. They just don't seem to get it. "How can you attack the Democrats when we have such a bulletproof administration ruling the roost in Washington?" somebody recently e-mailed me. "Don't you have something better to do than write this trash?!"

Let history judge

Stung by growing criticism of his Iraq policy which has manifested itself in all-time low public opinion ratings, President Bush last month embarked on a tour in which he delivered five speeches outlining his "Plan for Victory" in Iraq, as well as offering a defense of his decision to invade Iraq. "It is true that much of the intelligence [used to justify the invasion] turned out to be wrong", Mr. Bush said in the fourth of these speeches. "As President, I'm responsible for the decision to go into Iraq."

Can states limit what candidates spend?

The role of money in elections is one of the most volatile fault lines in American politics. Liberals generally favor limits on how much gets raised for campaigns. Many conservatives want few if any restrictions. Tuesday, the US Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about a Vermont law that goes a step further than limits on campaign contributions. It also restricts how much candidates can spend.

Secret Service agents say Cheney was drunk when he shot lawyer

Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Dick Cheney when he shot Texas lawyer Harry Whittington on a hunting outing two weeks ago say Cheney was "clearly inebriated" at the time of the shooting.

For the sake of the world's poor, we must keep the wealthy at home

At last the battlelines have been drawn, and the first major fight over climate change is about to begin. All over the country, a coalition of homeowners and anarchists, of Nimbys and internationalists, is mustering to fight the greatest future cause of global warming: the growth of aviation. Not all these people care about the biosphere. Some are concerned merely that their homes are due to be bulldozed, or that, living under the new flight paths, they will never get a good night's sleep again. But anyone who has joined a broad-based coalition understands the power of this compound of idealism and dogged self-interest.

Why Scooter Libby is Toast and Rove will provide the butter: And why no one connected with John Fund can get life insurance

Scooter Libby made a mistake. He thought he was a NeoCon Insider. It was a natural mistake for him to have made, his business cards, the perks, the deference, the salary, and the access to power, all spell out Insider using the usual formula for such. But he was wrong and will now find himself tossed off the back of the Sleigh of State into the gaping maws of righteous indignation, there to serve his ultimate purpose, scapegoat and distraction. The NeoCons waste nothing, not even their hapless tools, that is their environmental policy.

GOP thinks exposing their ethical violations is unethical

Speaking of GOP corruption which we seem to do an awful lot of these days....we've finally learned what the GOP thinks is unethical: reporting on the GOP ethics violations. From The Hill:
The House Republicans’ campaign operation is charging that a recently released Democratic report on Republican corruption violated ethics rules.

The 103-page report, “America for Sale: The Cost of Republican Corruption,” was compiled by the Democratic staff of the House Rules Committee and released by the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), last week.

The report reiterates repeats many of Democrats’ long-held concerns about Republicans’ actions on healthcare, energy, the environment, homeland security and Hurricane Katrina.
Congresswoman Slaughter did a post on the report over at DailyKos when she released the report last week. The full report is available in a pdf version here.

Lobbyist Turns Senator but Twists Same Arms
It might be said that Senator John Thune went through the revolving door - backward.
Signs Comment: From AmericaBlog:

South Dakota's Senator John Thune, who was elected with the aid of male prostitute Jeff Gannon, has provided yet another example of just how ethically bankrupt the GOPers on the hill can be. It sures seems like he has a lot in common with his infamous campaign operative

Conyers used staff as personal servants
Three former aides to U.S. Rep. John Conyers say the lawmaker used them as baby sitters and personal servants while they were supposed to be working in his Michigan offices.

Former Congressman Cunningham Gets Eight + years
Former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who collected $2.4 million in homes, yachts, antique furnishings and other bribes on a scale unparalleled in the history of Congress, was sentenced Friday to eight years and four months in prison, the longest term meted out to a congressman in decades.
Cunningham, who resigned from Congress in disgrace last year, was spared the 10-year maximum by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns but was immediately taken into custody. He also was ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution for back taxes and forfeit $1.85 million in valuables he received.

President Maker Katherine Harris Caught Up in Cunningham Bribery Scandal

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris said Thursday she did not knowingly do anything wrong in her associations with a defense contractor who prosecutors say illegally funneled thousands of dollars to her campaign in 2004.
Questions about the donations have arisen as Harris, the former Florida secretary of state who oversaw the 2000 presidential election recount, tries to unseat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. The donations were described in a plea agreement last Friday, when Mitchell Wade, the former president of MZM Inc., pleaded guilty to bribing U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in exchange for assistance in getting $150 million in Defense Department contracts for his company.

Trickle Down Republican Corruption; Poll Results show right wing corruption exists at all levels

It's clear that, at the top, the Republican Party, led by George Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Frist, Denny Hastert, and until recently, Tom DeLay, has been thoroughly corrupt. It's clear that the rank and file Republican members of congress have been rubberstamping the crooked, unconstitutional, anti-democratic moves of their leaders, deferring ethics rules, attempting to pass laws that make the Bush team's lawbreaking legal.

'Trial' of Bush prompts meeting - Parsippany school officials to discuss classroom project

Top school officials will huddle privately this morning to discuss a classroom war crimes "trial"of President Bush at Parsippany High School that suddenly is drawing national attention.
The school board's president, Robert Perlett, said the 8:30 a.m. meeting was called by mutual agreement on Thursday as the uproar surrounding the mock tribunal escalated on the Internet and talk radio.

'Frauds-R-Us' - The Bush Family Saga
By William Bowles
"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you have to focus on" – GW Bush
"You have to look at the entire Bush Family in this context -- as if the family ran a corporation called 'Frauds-R-Us,'
George Jr.'s specialty was insurance and security fraud.
Jeb's specialty was oil and gas fraud.
Neil's specialty was real estate fraud.
Prescott's specialty was banking fraud.
And George Sr.'s specialty? All of the above." -- Lt. Cmdr. Al Martin, US Navy,(Ret)
"While opportunism isn't new in U.S. politics, never did so many in one family extract so many dollars from taxpayers as when George Bush senior was president a decade ago" -- David E. Scheim, author of Contract on America.
"What you've got with Bush [George senior] is absolutely the largest number of siblings and children involved in what looks like a never-ending hustle." -- Republican pundit Kevin Philips
"Texas businessmen [are] not crooks, "they just have an over-developed sense of the extenuating circumstance."" -- Molly Ivins

A very enlightening read.

Party Hacks

Two weeks ago, an obscure, unelected, Republican-appointed official in California decided the future of the world. That future -- at least for the next several years -- will be an accelerating nightmare of war, corruption, repression, atrocity and terror. That's because the loyal apparatchik has, with the stroke of a pen, guaranteed the perpetuation of the Bush faction in power in 2008 and beyond.

Newsday: The bungling Bush presidency is falling apart
An old acquaintance in Washington - a former member of Republican administrations whose foreign policy views are decidedly hard-line - recently had this to say to a friend about the Bush administration: This might be the most inept administration in American history. Considering some of the bozos who have served in the White House - James Buchanan and Warren Harding are two names that come to mind - that is a breathtaking statement. Considering the stakes involved with the United States, the most powerful nation in the world, it is also frightening.


George Bush isn't the only world leader whose popularity is in the toilet. According to an Angus Reid Global Scan report, the American President's 34 percent rating is actually better than that of his British counterpart. They cite an Ipsos-MORI poll that shows only 28 percent of the respondents considered Prime Minister Tony Blair's performance satisfactory. This represents a drop of nine points since the last poll in November. The story notes that Blair has announced he will be retiring at the end of his third term, but it cites Labour Party leader Dennis Healey as advising him to step down sooner, and allow his expected successor Gordon Brown to assume the position. "I think Tony's showing he is losing his grip, and the sooner Gordon takes over the better," Healey reportedly said. The next election must be held on or before Jun. 3, 2010, and the prime minister may dissolve Parliament and call an early ballot at his discretion.

Corrupt Congress: Broken system facilitated Cunningham's graft

IT is tempting, and certainly convenient, for his former colleagues in Congress, to dismiss Randy Duke Cunningham as an aberration. He is, in a sense, as prosecutors told the judge who is to sentence Cunningham this week, the California Republican engaged in unparalleled corruption. The ordinary lawmaker can't be bought for the price of an antique armoire - or, in Cunningham's case, nine armoires, six Persian carpets, three antique oak doors, two candelabras and a china hutch.

Corruption in Real Time: Lawmakers Embrace Lobbyist Cash

Capitol Hill is abuzz these days with talk about keeping lobbyists at a distance. But when it comes to the political cash they can generate, interest in keeping them near remains strong.
This weekend, Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) is hosting a $5,000-per-person gathering - which invitations said would feature golf, fishing, snorkeling and "much, much more" - in the Florida Keys. McKeon anticipated that many of the guests would be lobbyists. Also this weekend, lobbyists are among those at "Winterfest '06," where supporters of Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) can ski and snowmobile at the exclusive Yellowstone Club in his home state.

Senator wants to ban 'fast lane' for Web

Network operators would be barred from blocking or degrading Internet connections and favoring those of companies that pay for peppier access, according to a Senate bill introduced Thursday. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said his measure will foster "equal treatment" for all Internet content and dispel worries that telecommunications providers will play favorites in the future. Because Wyden's proposal represents the most aggressive legislative attempt to dictate what kind of Internet services are permissible or not, it's likely to provoke a political spat between proponents of so-called "network neutrality" and the traditionally influential telecommunications industry. Executives at Verizon Communications, BellSouth and the newly merged AT&T and SBC Communications have recently talked about the desirability of a two-tiered Internet in which some services--especially video--would be favored over others.

Corruption in Neocon-land: Top CIA Official Under Investigation - No. 3 Official at CIA Is Subject of Investigation Related to Bribery Probe

A stunning investigation of bribery and corruption in Congress has spread to the CIA, ABC News has learned. The CIA inspector general has opened an investigation into the spy agency's executive director, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, and his connections to two defense contractors accused of bribing a member of Congress and Pentagon officials.

Corruption: Katharine Harris in Hiding - linked to finance scandal

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, linked to a campaign finance scandal, is turning away even routine requests to provide funding for special interests.

Harris has taken pride in going after these earmarks - so-called pork barrel spending - but on Thursday she stayed away from meetings with special interests, including executives from Florida's university system. Among the reasons for her absence was a meeting with top-gun campaign finance lawyer Ben Ginsberg, whom she hired as a "precaution," Harris spokeswoman Kara Borie said.

Empty Promises Dept: UK, US to withdraw Iraq forces by early '07: papers
The United States and Britain are planning to pull all their troops out of Iraq by the spring of 2007, two British newspapers reported in their Sunday editions, quoting unnamed senior defense ministry sources. The Sunday Telegraph said the planned pull-out followed an acceptance by the two governments that the presence of foreign troops in Iraq was now a large obstacle to securing peace. "The British government is understood to be the driving force behind the withdrawal plan but all 24 coalition members are likely to welcome the move, given the growing international unpopularity of the war," the Telegraph said.

Signs Comment: Don't be fooled! It's easy to make promises designed to allay the concerns of an agitated populace when all the while you are planning to further terrorize them so that they will support more war mongering further on.

Blair under fire for evoking God in Iraq war decision
Tony Blair triggered strong reactions from parents of soldiers killed in Iraq and the political opposition, after the British prime minister evoked God in his decision to go to war.
Details emerged Friday of Blair's interview on an ITV1 television talk show where he said God and history would judge his action in joining the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Tony, Don't wait for God. We will judge you
God will judge Tony Blair on the Iraq war. Or so the Prime Minister told Michael Parkinson. Think back to another television appearance, this time last year. On that occasion, Mr Blair faced a studio of women and a different ombudsman. History would deliver its verdict on him, he said. His audience denounced his war, but he was certain that no tribunal, divine or temporal, would ever find his judgment wanting. This time, as the third anniversary of the start of war approaches, Mr Blair sounded less sure. Wishful thinking, maybe, but he looked to me like a man haunted, at last, by what he had unleashed. If Mr Blair is finally realising his catastrophic error, that shift is partly down to the mothers, wives and partners who have never stopped pointing out the folly of this conflict.

God: I've lost faith in Blair
All the signs are that the Almighty is unhappy about efforts to implicate Him in the attack on Iraq A high-level leak has revealed that God is "furious" at Tony Blair's attempts to implicate him in the bombing of Iraq. Sources close to the archangel Gabriel report him as describing the Almighty as "hopping mad ... with sanctimonious yet unscrupulous politicians claiming He would condone their bestial activities when He has no way of going public Himself, owing to the MMW agreement" (a reference to the long-established Moving in Mysterious Ways concordat).

Enough of the D.C. Dems
Mah fellow progressives, now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the party. I don't know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Chertoff Has 'Few Days Left,' Sources Say - or maybe not?
In the aftermath of the public revelation of the presidential "teleconference" and mounting criticism of the performance of Michael Chertoff, Administration sources told HUMAN EVENTS today that the secretary of Homeland Security has "only a few days left" in the Bush Cabinet. As one source acquainted with the former federal prosecutor and U.S. appellate judge said under promise of anonymity, "They will give [Chertoff] a little time so it won't hurt his reputation too much, but he's probably got only a few days left."

Bush says his beliefs unshaken by poor poll numbers

Down in public opinion polls, President George W. Bush said on Friday he realizes he has made some unpopular decisions but that it "comes with the territory" and he will stand by his beliefs.
"I know some would like me to change, but you can't be a good decision-maker if you're trying to please people. You've got to stand on what you believe, that's what you've got to do, if you're going to make decisions that are solid and sound," he said.

Chickenhawk: Bush Goes on Offensive To Explain War Strategy - Speeches to Combat Public Pessimism

President Bush plans to begin a series of speeches next week again explaining the administration's strategy for winning the war in Iraq, as the White House returns to a familiar tactic to allay growing public pessimism about the war that has helped keep the president's approval rating near its historic low. After previewing the upcoming speech in his radio address today, the president is scheduled to make remarks on the war at George Washington University on Monday. The appearance, which will be followed weekly by as many as four other speeches, marks the start of the White House's latest effort to convince skeptical Americans that it has a coherent plan for victory as the war nears its third anniversary later this month.

Senior White House Staff May Be Wearing Down
Andrew H. Card Jr. wakes at 4:20 in the morning, shows up at the White House an hour or so later, convenes his senior staff at 7:30 and then proceeds to a blur of other meetings that do not let up until long after the sun sets. He gets home at 9 or 10 at night and sometimes fields phone calls until 11 p.m. Then he gets up and does it all over again. Of all the reasons that President Bush is in trouble these days, not to be overlooked are inadequate REM cycles. Like chief of staff Card, many of the president's top aides have been by his side nonstop for more than five years, not including the first campaign, recount and transition. This is a White House, according to insiders, that is physically and emotionally exhausted, battered by scandal and drained by political setbacks.
Signs Comment: We can think of a place where these crooks could get the rest they deserve for many years to come.

Donald Rumsfeld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug
Donald Rumsfeld has made a killing out of bird flu. The US Defence Secretary has made more than $5m (£2.9m) in capital gains from selling shares in the biotechnology firm that discovered and developed Tamiflu, the drug being bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease.

UAE turns back on dollar in foreign reserves shake-up
The United Arab Emirates is planning to switch 10pc of its foreign reserves from dollars to euros in the first sign of fall-out from Washington's snub to Dubai Ports World last week. Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, the governor of UAE's central bank, said the plan was designed to achieve a better balance in the $19.1bn reserves of the oil-rich Gulf federation, almost entirely held in dollars.

Bush Reaffirms Ties With Leading Neocons

If the medium is the message, then U.S. President George W. Bush's choice of forum to launch a new public campaign to defend his beleaguered Iraq policy should be troubling to those, particularly in Europe, who had hoped that his administration was moving toward a more evenhanded stance in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The staunchly neoconservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), one of the most hawkish groups on the "war on terror" since it was created two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and the Pentagon, has often taken strident positions against Arab and European allies whose cooperation has been sought by the administration itself.

The Right's Man - John McCain
It's time for some straight talk about John McCain. He isn't a moderate. He's much less of a maverick than you'd think. And he isn't the straight talker he claims to be. Mr. McCain's reputation as a moderate may be based on his former opposition to the Bush tax cuts. In 2001 he declared, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us."

With Friends Like These
Senator John Warner (R-Va.) has the unexpected problem of a foreign state-owned company taking over operations at U.S. ports all figured out. The dour, self-righteous chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee announced from the Senate floor on March 9 that Dubai Ports World (DPW), one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), "has decided to transfer fully U.S. operation of P&O Ports North America to a United States entity."

Newspaper's former boss drawn into Plame row
THE former executive editor of The Washington Post Ben Bradlee is quoted in Vanity Fair magazine as saying that Richard Armitage, then the deputy secretary of state, was probably the source who revealed CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to the paper's assistant managing editor, Bob Woodward. In an article to be published in the magazine this week Mr Bradlee is quoted as saying: "That Armitage is the likely source is a fair assumption."

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides.

OZ PM denies lying about kickbacks

PRIME Minister John Howard has denied lying to the Australian people about his Government's knowledge that kickbacks had been paid to Saddam Hussein. Mr Howard failed to explain why the nation's top spy agencies never passed on the explosive intelligence about Australian companies breaking United Nations sanctions in Iraq as long as eight years ago.

GOP gives only lip service to fiscal discipline - Senate approves billions in election-year deficit spending
For two days they marched past the huge marble fountain and upstairs to the terra cotta and creamy gold splendor of the grand ballroom at the historic Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn. There, flanked by the flags of more than two dozen states, four U.S. senators who hope to carry the Republican banner in the 2008 presidential election pledged allegiance to one of the GOP's most revered principles: fiscal responsibility -- never spend taxpayers' money you don't have.

Animal Farm: House GOP leader well traveled - Boehner has spent nearly six months on privately funded trips since 2000
House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio), who rose to power in the wake of a congressional lobbying scandal, spent the equivalent of nearly six months on privately funded trips over the past six years, according to a new study by a nonpartisan research group. The Center for Public Integrity said that Boehner accepted 42 privately sponsored trips from January 2000 to December 2005. That put him on the road to other countries and "golfing hotspots," often with his wife, Debbie, for about half a year, "only nine days of which he listed as being 'at personal expense,' " the center said.

Congressmen get in fight, spew racial epithets
Congressional debate about immigration has gotten ugly, according to Thursday's edition of Roll Call. Excerpts from the Roll Call story follow...

Report: McKinney Punches Cop
According to sources on Capitol Hill, U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) punched a Capitol police officer on Wednesday afternoon after he mistakenly pursued her for failing to pass through a metal detector. Members of Congress are not required to pass through metal detectors.
Sources say that the officer was at a position in the Longworth House Office Building, and neither recognized McKinney, nor saw her credentials as she went around the metal detector. The officer called out, "Ma'am, Ma'am," and walked after her in an attempt to stop her. When he caught McKinney, he grabbed her by the arm. Witnesses say McKinney pulled her arm away, and with her cell phone in hand, punched the officer in the chest. According to the Drudge Report, the entire incident is on tape. Drudge continues, "The cop is pressing charges, and the USCP (United States Capitol Police) are waiting until Congress adjourns to arrest her, a source claims." No charges have been filed. Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider says that senior officials have been made aware of the incident and are investigating. An unconfirmed statement attributed to McKinney has been released on the Internet, where she allegedly claims to have been harassed by Capitol Hill Police.
The statement's writer says that she has been harassed by white police officers she says do not recognize her due to her recently changed hairstyle. "Do I have to contact the police every time I change my hairstyle? How do we account for the fact that when I wore my braids every day for 11 years, I still faced this problem, primarily from certain white police officers," the statement says. The writer details the incident, saying, "I was rushing to my meeting when a white police officer yelled to me. He approached me, bodyblocked me, physically touching me. I used my arm to get him off of me. I told him not to touch me several times. He asked for my ID and I showed it to him. He then let me go and I proceeded to my meeting and I assume that the Police Officer resumed his duties. I have counseled with the Sergeant-at-Arms and Acting Assistant Chief Thompson several times before and counseled with them again on today's incident. I offered also to counsel with the offending police officer."

The star-spangled fantasyland of the fake and home of the bogus - US politicians aim for rugged, macho images because insecure voters want to feel that real men are in charge

In America, the excitement about Dick Cheney's shooting accident is over. There are no more talkshow debates about why he took so long to make a statement, and no more news reports about his 78-year-old victim. Even the delicious contrast between the vicepresident's bravery in the face of small birds and the deferments he took to keep from going to Vietnam no longer raises eyebrows. Yet the shrewdest comment I heard on the incident was rarely touched on. What did the vice-president think he was doing, inquired a serious hunter? Real men got up early and went into the countryside hunting wild quail alone with their dog. Going in groups to a farm to shoot specially bred birds was for sissies. It wasn't Cheney's involvement in masculine pursuits that was noteworthy; it was that the mode of masculinity on show was bogus.

Bush still sees no reason to apologise
If anyone was looking for even the slightest hint of second thoughts from those led the US into Iraq, they would have been sorely disappointed on the third anniversary of a war that is eating into America's soul and that may well reshape its political landscape. More sacrifice would be required, but "our goal is nothing less than complete victory", President George Bush declared in his weekly radio address yesterday. Ignore the doom-mongering, Dick Cheney urged his countrymen on CBS's Face the Nation programme. This was no civil war; rather the insurgents had reached "a stage of desperation". On both the security and political fronts, Iraq was showing "major progress".

Man Overboard - Manliness and the Bush Administration

I have a new theory about what's behind everything that's wrong with the Bush administration: manliness.
"Manliness" is the unapologetic title of a new book by Harvey C. Mansfield, a conservative professor of government at Harvard University, which makes him a species as rare as a dissenting voice in the Bush White House. Mansfield's thesis is that manliness, which he sums up as "confidence in the face of risk," is a misunderstood and unappreciated attribute.

This misadventure has alienated most of the world from Bush

Since going to war, the president has managed to make himself almost as unpopular with US voters as he is with Iraqis
Shortly before the first Gulf war the recently retired chairman of the United States joint chiefs of staff, Admiral William Crowe, went for lunch with his successor, Colin Powell. In words that resonate today, Crowe warned Powell that "a war in the Middle East - killing thousands of Arabs for whatever noble purpose - would set back the US in the region for a long time. And that was to say nothing of the Americans who might die".
But despite his own misgivings, Crowe clearly believed military intervention was likely in the interests of presidential prestige. "It takes two things to be a great president," he told Powell. "First you have to have a war. All the great presidents have had their wars. Two you have to find a war where you are attacked."

Secret loans: Blair was warned but gave the go ahead
TONY Blair's intimate involvement in sanctioning the loans which have rocked his government is exposed today, after one of his closest confidantes confirmed that he "knew exactly what was going on" and was aware of the risks from the start. A senior member of the Prime Minister's inner circle gave a remarkable insight into the angst and confusion within the party's fundraising operation as it prepared for the 2005 election. Blair last week accepted responsibility for the hugely controversial £14m in loans, which did not have to be declared in public. It emerged last week that at least three of the lenders had subsequently been nominated for peerages by the party.

Do-Nothing Congress - 97 days of work for $165,200 while the majority of Americans go down the tubes.

The House of Representatives is on track this year to be in session for fewer days than the Congress Harry Truman labeled as "do-nothing" during his 1948 re-election campaign.
Members of Congress are taking an entire week off for St. Patrick's Day. It's the latest scheduling innovation to give members more time to meet with constituents.

Blair wants battle of ideas with terrorists
British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday will call for a global, interventionist approach to confront terrorism head on and win a battle over values and ideas.
"This is not a clash between civilizations, it is a clash about civilization," Blair will say in a speech this afternoon, according to extracts released by his official spokesman.

Those Lies, Again
In a nationally televised press conference, George W. Bush repeated some of his favorite lies about the Iraq War, including the canard that he was forced to invade because Saddam Hussein blocked the work of United Nations weapons inspectors in 2003.

Bush Actually Takes a Question from Helen Thomas, Gives Nonsensical Response

Helen Thomas, who in January grumbled that President Bush was a "coward" for not calling on her at a press conference, today was granted a question for the first time in several years. The doyenne of the White House press corps, who once called Bush the worst president in U.S. history, seized her chance with gusto, essentially debating Bush instead of questioning him. Here's the transcript:

McCain Takes on DeLay Accomplice - cozying up to the Republican establishment,
There have been a number of signs lately that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), eyeing 2008, is cozying up to the Republican establishment, but this just might be the surest one yet.

Bush uncle benefits from war spending
As President Bush embarks on a new effort to shore up public support for the war in Iraq, an uncle of the chief executive is collecting $2.7 million in cash and stock from the recent sale of a company that profited from the war.

Whiny child will be an adult Tory, says study

Depending on your political predilections, you have double reason to be worried if you find your school-age child tends to be the whiny, sit-at-the-back-of-the-class kind. You had better get the child's confidence level up a notch or you may have a future conservative in your nest.

Slavish Republican lawmakers roll (bend) over for Bush
Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, thinks President Bush broke the law with his secret program to eavesdrop on Americans, and he wants Congress to censure Mr. Bush. He's right about the lawbreaking but wrong to think censure is the answer. That might give Americans the impression that Congress is something more than a supine slave of partisan interests. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Republicans on Capitol Hill, presented with the censure resolution, practically trampled each other to prove their slobbering devotion to the president. Sen. John W. Warner of Virginia assailed the proposal as "the worst type of political grandstanding." Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee accused Mr. Feingold of giving hope and encouragement to al-Qaida: "The signal that it sends, that there is in any way a lack of support for our commander in chief who is leading us with a bold vision in a way that is making our homeland safer, is wrong."

Rice faces anti-war protests on British visit
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will face protests against the Iraq war when British counterpart Jack Straw takes her on a tour of his northern English constituency on Saturday, organizers said.
Rice, repaying an October visit by Straw to her home state of Alabama, will speak in the former cotton town of Blackburn before viewing an industrial site and meeting religious leaders, including representatives of the 20 percent Muslim population. A spokeswoman for the Stop the War Coalition, which has helped organize large anti-war protests in London, said Rice would also be greeted by protests in Liverpool on Friday. "Everywhere she goes during her trip, we will be there to protest," said a coalition spokeswoman said. Britain, the United States' chief ally in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, has about 8,500 troops stationed largely in the south of the country. The war has become increasingly unpopular here and there is public pressure for withdrawal of British forces.

Blair: anti-Americanism is madness
Tony Blair today described anti-Americanism across Europe as "madness", although admitted the US could be a "difficult friend to have". In a speech in the Australian parliament overshadowed by his remarks about making a "mistake" in announcing his retirement early, the prime minister paid tribute to the Australians for joining in the "global struggle" against terror, likening it to their joining the war against the Nazis.
Mr Blair told the Australian House of Representatives: "I do not always agree with the US. Sometimes they can be difficult friends to have.
"But the strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European and world politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in. "The danger with America today is not that they are too much involved. The danger is they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved. We want them engaged."

Signs Comment: What can we say but... speak for yourself Tony, you obsequious little boot-licker.

Andrew Card Resigns as White House Chief of Staff
Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten Will Step in For Card on April 14
White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. announced his resignation this morning after nearly 5 1/2 years as President Bush's top aide. Bush said Card will be replaced by Joshua B. Bolten, the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Card will serve until April 14 to provide a transition period. The move could presage broader staff changes as Bolten takes over an operation hobbled by political problems heading into a crucial midterm election season.

Bolton Presses for New Method of Calculating Dues at the U.N.
John R. Bolton, the American ambassador, will outline a proposal for fundamental changes in calculating United Nations dues on Wednesday that he said would address Congressional concerns that "the United States doesn't get value for money."

Signs Comment: This proposal is another of Bolton's steps to destroy the UN. He and his partners in Washington don't want to be bound by international law. They are the Mafia don, and they don't have to answer to anyone. Power? They'll just invade someone else and let everyone know who's boss. They would love to get other countries to pay for the UN because they have no use for it. The propaganda against the UN in the US is so thick that many Americans think it is the UN, and not their own country, that is the greatest danger facing the world. When they think of One World Government, or the New World Order, they believe it will be the UN that will be the instrument of such a system, not realising that their own country has been imposing such a system for decades.

'Lighten up' and trust your Chancellor, Clinton tells UK
Gordon Brown's ambition to be the next Prime Minister has been boosted by Bill Clinton, who praised his handling of the British economy after both men crossed a union picket line to attend a conference at the Guildhall in London. The former US President told his British audience to "lighten up" because, whatever their criticisms of Labour, the UK is better governed than America. He even joked about the Blair-Brown rivalry, saying both men deserve equal respect.

White House Watch: Sacking Rumsfeld is among the options for fresh thinking

There's a shift in some of the behind-the-scenes griping over recent missteps in the administration, especially over the war in Iraq. Some senior Republicans are beginning to think that firing people on the White House staff won't make much difference in improving management and outreach and may actually make matters worse by creating turmoil in the West Wing at a very sensitive time. Another factor working against dismissals is that White House insiders don't want to deprive President Bush of valued confidants, whose loyalty and company he prizes. What makes more sense, they say, is to have Bush force Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld out of his job. That would encourage the Pentagon brass to reconsider the current policies in Iraq and elsewhere and might encourage fresh thinking. Republicans point out that Condoleezza Rice's taking over the State Department has led to new thinking and energy there. This has apparently encouraged Bush to heed the recommendations of his secretary of state more than he accepted the thinking of Colin Powell, Rice's predecessor, who tangled often with Vice President Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Democrats Pledge to 'Eliminate' Osama
Congressional Democrats promise to "eliminate" Osama bin Laden and ensure a "responsible redeployment of U.S. forces" from Iraq in 2006 in an election-year national security policy statement. In the position paper to be announced Wednesday, Democrats say they will double the number of special forces and add more spies, which they suggest will increase the chances of finding al-Qaida's elusive leader. They do not set a deadline for when all of the 132,000 American troops now in Iraq should be withdrawn.

Signs Comment:
The Democratic party's new slogan: "Vote Democrat - We're just as bad as the Republicans"

Congressman Denies He Got Deal on House
Rep. Jim Ryun on Wednesday denied allegations by Democrats that he received a "sweet real estate deal" when he purchased a town house from
a nonprofit group with connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The Kansas Republican bought the historic Capitol Hill town house for $410,000 on Dec. 15, 2000. That was $19,000 less than the U.S. Family Network paid for the home about two years earlier, in January 1999, despite a sharp rise in local real estate values during that time. He denies receiving any favorable treatment in the purchase. He declined to be interviewed but said in a written statement that he paid "fair market value" for the home.

Ex-lobbyist Abramoff gets 6 years
Fraud in Florida casino deal will send him to federal prison
MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist at the center of a Washington corruption scandal, was sentenced Wednesday to nearly six years in prison for fraud in the purchase of a Florida casino cruise line. U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck sentenced Abramoff and a former business partner to five years and 10 months in prison and ordered them to pay restitution of more than $21 million. The sentences were the minimum under their plea agreement in the case.

Signs Comment: Well, the Abramoff saga serves as a nice distraction from Bush's poor approval ratings, doesn't it?

Senate panel set to consider bid to censure Bush
Former White House counsel John Dean, who helped push President Richard Nixon from office during the Watergate scandal three decades ago, heads to Capitol Hill on Friday to back an uphill attempt to censure President George W. Bush. Dean, author of a book about Bush titled "Worse than Watergate," was to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of a resolution to rebuke Bush for a domestic spying program introduced secretly after the September 11 attacks. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, introduced the resolution earlier this month. He argues that the program, which allows eavesdropping on international telephone calls and e-mails involving Americans when one party is suspected of links with terrorism, violates the law because it is conducted without court warrants. Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, contends there are no grounds for censure, but has agreed to hold the hearing to debate the matter. "I think that there's absolutely no merit in it, and that the hearing will expose it because of the president's broad (constitutional) authority," Specter said.

Signs Comment: So there are no grounds for censure because of Bush's "broad (constitutional) authority". In that case, is there ANYTHING that Bush cannot do and get away with? It seems that "broad (constitutional) authority" is just another way of saying "absolute power", i.e. America is now a dictatorship.

Insulating Bush

Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews.

George Bush -- The Contemporary Benedict Arnold of the Proto-Fascist Republican Triad

Don't look for any scholarly footnotes here. This is my personal account of what I believe to be happening to our beloved America because of the cruel scams now being perpetrated against the nation. We are in a financial and freedom death struggle with a narcissistic triad of no more political, religious and financial manipulators than could be carried aboard one Boeing 747 on a single flight. These greedy schemers include the three hundred-fifty or so ruthless financial abusers who currently control ninety percent of American wealth. They are ruthless abusers who are constantly running scams to keep the last few crumbs from falling from their sumptuous tables into middle class hands. Because they wanted power to dominate us, the aristocracy used their propaganda machine to trick us into electing president an inept Texan who would have peaked selling used cars in Midland, had he not been a highly privileged and artfully born again Bush scion. The elite also created the near psychopathic reactionary Republican coalition in order to maintain their domination of society at our expense. Of course the aristocracy now ravaging the America Republic from within the White House and the Congress neither bloody their own hands nor do the heavy lifting in their assault on America.

If You Don't Mind, Why Don't You Mind?

A favorite line of song, penned by the Canadian band The Magnetic Fields, poses the question: If you don't mind, why don't you mind? Where is your sense of indignation? To anyone who isn't yet appalled by the extent of the disaster that is the Bush presidency, I could not think of how better to ask it: Why don't you mind? Not a day goes by without some new disclosure, some new bit of headline evidence that the Bush presidency is the most catastrophic presidency in the history of our great country. The consequences of this fact will effect not only yours and my personal future and fortunes, but those of our children and theirs. Where is your sense of indignation?

War Pimp Cheney: 'I'm a real party animal'

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney scored points as a stand-up comedian, telling a radio and television correspondents' gathering: "I'm a real party animal."

Google Goes K Street

The web giant has gone to great lengths to keep the internet open to all, but by teaming up with Republican lobbyists, it's politics as usual.

House Candidate Draws Fire for Web Photo
A congressional candidate is under fire for a Web site photo that purported to show a peaceful Baghdad neighborhood but was actually taken in a suburb of Istanbul, Turkey.
"We took this photo of Baghdad while we were in Iraq," the accompanying caption on Howard Kaloogian's Web site read. "Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be." Internet bloggers began questioning the photo earlier this week because none of the signs was in Arabic and billboards were advertising Western products.

The Economy

Signs Economic Commentary
Record low approval ratings for the U.S. president G. Bush, while continually downplayed by the mainstream U.S. media, who never refer to him as "the phenomenally unpopular president" or "the widely despised George Bush" even though that is true, cannot be hid from international investors. Nor can the U.S. media hide the disastrous news coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan from the savvy international banking and investment community. They are even having a hard time hiding it from the United States public.

Signs Economic Commentary
March 13, 2006
A good week for the U.S. imperial economy, if the numbers are any indication. Gold and oil fell sharply and the dollar rose. But the interests of the owners and managers of the imperial economy and those of the average person in the United States have diverged. Unemployment was up last month, though the media focused on the fact that the jobs numbers for February exceeded expectations. Notice how much space the following Bloomberg article devotes to positive spin and how little space is given to the negative numbers (bolded).

Signs Economic Commentary
March 20, 2006
Oil was up in dollar terms but still less than it was two weeks ago ($63.67/bl.). Gold is also lower than it was two weeks ago ($567.20/oz.). Why do market levels seem so normal when the underlying economic foundation seems so unstable? Could it be that military spending will take over the role of demand stimulant from consumer spending? Could it be that "the economy" will continue to look healthy while the average person sinks into servitude? While U.S. consumers are getting squeezed between lower wages and rising cost of debt and basic goods, deficit military spending is going through the roof...

Signs Economic Commentary
March 27, 2006
Oil prices rose last week, not surprising given the news out of the Middle East. According to Greg Palast, that is no accident: "Yes, Bush went in for the oil -- not to get MORE of Iraq's oil, but to prevent Iraq producing TOO MUCH of it."

Silver storms above $11/oz, gold price rebounds
March 29, 2006
The price of silver shot to a 22-year high above $11 per ounce on Wednesday, as funds continued a recent buying spree on excitement over a proposed U.S. silver-backed security, trading sources said. Gold raced to a seven-week peak on spillover interest from silver and other supportive factors, with the price holding just shy of last month's 25 year peak near $575 an ounce.

Bush's 'fine' economy sees millions go hungry
But the most alarming news was in the growing number of people in Bush's fine economy who are hungry. The Second Harvest report, using figures compiled before hurricanes Katrina and Rita, showed that 25 million Americans had been forced to get food from the organisation's network of food banks, soup kitchens and shelters in 2005, up 9 per cent from 2001. The hungry included 9 million children (aged under 18) and 3 million elderly people. The trend is reflected in data collected last year by the US Department of Agriculture, which found that more than 38 million Americans lived in hungry or "food insecure" households -- an increase of 5 million since 2000.

Bush: U.S. Citizens Should Welcome Competition (Outsourcing of American Jobs)
President Bush urged Americans worried about a U.S. job drift to India and other countries to welcome, not fear, competition with this rapidly growing nation of 1 billion.
"The classic opportunity for our American farmers and entrepreneurs and small businesses to understand is there is a 300 million-person market of middle class citizens here in India," Bush said Friday during a discussion with young entrepreneurs at a business school here, "and that if we can make a product they want, that it becomes viable."

Govt. Eyes Error That Cost U.S. Billions - Deliberate?
In 1995, Congress exempted deep-water oil from royalty payments to spur development. But a price threshold was included in leases issued in 1996 and 1997 and again in leases sold in each year since 2000 that reinstates the royalties if market prices reach a certain level. For some reason the language "was inadvertently dropped" from an addendum attached to more than 1,100 leases the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service issued for 1998 and 1999, Walter Cruickshank, the agency's deputy director, told a House Government Reform subcommittee Wednesday. He said officials have not been able to determine who made the change, although he said it had to have been a human act, not a computer glitch.

Midwest Oil fined for selling gas too cheaply - The state imposed a $140,000 penalty for what it called "willful, continuing, and egregious" violations of the price law.
The Minnesota Commerce Department on Thursday announced plans to fine a gas station chain $140,000 for repeatedly selling gas below the state's legal minimum price.

When $8.18 Trillion Isn't Enough - America is Bankrupt

Yesterday, Treasury officials told Senate aides that without an increase in the nation's $8.18 trillion debt limit, the government "would default on obligations for the first time in history sometime during the week of March 20." The Senate will have to take up the issue soon since "federal default is considered unimaginable because it would rattle bond markets, force interest rates higher and shake the economy." The debt limit increase to around $9 trillion would be the fourth increase in five years. "I don't think the leadership wants to have any debate on this, and I think the reason is pretty clear," Finance Committee ranking member Max Baucus (D-MT) told CongressDaily. "It's embarrassing." To avoid an extended debate, the leadership is set to vote on the issue as close to the March 17 recess as possible.

When You Can't Obscure the News, Buy It - How the Economic News is Spun

Readers ask me to reconcile the jobs and debt data that I report to them with the positive economic outlook and good news that comes to them from regular news sources. Some readers are being snide, but most are sincere. I am pleased to provide the explanation. First, let me give my reassurances that the numbers I report to you come straight from official US government statistics. I do not massage the numbers or rework them in any way. I cannot assure you that the numbers are perfectly reported to, and collected by, the government, but they are the only numbers we have.

Buffett loses faith in US
The Truth Will Set You Free
Warren Buffett, sometimes thought of as America's greatest capitalist, said he was buying stocks of companies that do business elsewhere . . .
I wonder how much Buffett knows that we don't.

Bush's Insane Plan Would Raise Deficit by $1.2 Trillion, Budget Office Says

President Bush's budget would increase the federal deficit by $35 billion this year and by more than $1.2 trillion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office reported on Friday.
The nonpartisan budget office said that Mr. Bush's tax-cutting proposals would cost about $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years and that his proposals to partly privatize Social Security would cost about $312 billion during that period.

Concerns mount over higher rates on student loans

The Republican-led Congress and President Bush are facing growing anger on college campuses as students and their parents prepare to pay higher borrowing costs because of new changes to federal student loan programs.
Congress narrowly passed a deficit-reduction bill last month that cut $12 billion from student loan programs, which was signed by the president. The new law will slash subsidies to lenders and raise interest rates on loans taken out by parents. Lawmakers already had approved a steep increase in interest rates for Stafford loans, used by nearly 10 million students each year. Both rate increases take effect July 1. Jessica Pierce, a senior at UC Santa Cruz who has Stafford loans, said she was outraged by the changes approved by Congress. "They're trying to balance the budget on the backs of students," said Pierce, who chairs the university's student union assembly.

Bush Proposes Significant Medicare Cuts - Republican Opposition

Rep. John M. McHugh (R-NY) is collecting the support of his Republican colleagues in an effort to oppose significant cuts to Medicare proposed last month by President Bush. The fiscal year 2007 budget plan proposes to reduce Medicare spending by a total of $36 billion over five years.

Bush budget plan rattling Congress - Nervous lawmakers are shrinking from the tough pruning amid an election year and a forced hike in the national debt ceiling.

President Bush's budget blueprint for next year is nearing its first tests on Capitol Hill, and it's clear the plan has many hurdles to overcome.

Nervous lawmakers are flinching from spending cuts proposed by Bush, and as his GOP allies draft plans to implement the budget, election-year politics are driving their decisions. The first item to be tossed overboard is likely to be Bush's proposal for $36 billion in savings from the politically sacrosanct Medicare program for the elderly.

Lott on Low-Income Heating Pleas: "I thought we were having global warming."

How cruel and indifferent is Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi? With a bipartisan alliance that included Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed and moderate Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine arguing passionately in favor of badly-needed emergency funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Lott took to the microphone to give his take on providing warm homes to the elderly and disabled.
"What is it we are not going to give people for free? Is there any limit? Is there any limit to the amount of money?" asked Lott, adding snidely "I thought we were having global warming."

Physicists Predict Stock Market Crashes
On Monday, October 19, 1987 – infamously known as "black Monday" – the Dow fell 508 points, or 22.9%, marking the largest crash in history. Using an analytical approach similar to the one applied to explore heart rate, physicists have discovered some unusual events preceding the crash. These findings may help economists in risk analysis and in predicting inevitable future crashes.

Housing Slowdown Ripples Through Economy
The five-year housing boom is indeed over, judging from growing statistical evidence and the performance of some of the nation's leading builders, and the slowdown is already rippling through the economy.
In the last week, the Commerce Department reported that January sales of new single-family homes fell 5 percent _ the fourth decline in seven months _ and the backlog of unsold new homes hit a record. And the National Association of Realtors said used home sales slipped 2.8 percent in January, the fourth straight drop and 5 percent below January 2005.

A Nation Polarized Between Rich and Poor - America's Bleak Jobs Future

On February 20 told its readers with a straight face that "the American job-generation machine rolls on. The economy will create 19 million new payroll jobs in the decade to 2014." Forbes took its information from the 10-year jobs projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, released last December. If the job growth of the past half-decade is a guide, the forecast of 19 million new jobs is optimistic, to say the least. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll jobs data, from January 2001 - January 2006 the US economy created 1,054,000 net new private sector jobs and 1,039,000 net new government jobs for a total five-year figure of 2,093,000. How does the US Department of Labor get from 2 million jobs in five years to 19 million in ten years? I cannot answer that question. However, the jobs record for the past five years tells a clear story.

Throwing Consumers to the Wolves

A federal bankruptcy judge says the new bankruptcy law is good for one thing: allowing creditors to make more money off the backs of debt-ridden consumers.

Housing Slowdown Ripples Through Economy

The five-year housing boom is indeed over, judging from growing statistical evidence and the performance of some of the nation's leading builders, and the slowdown is already rippling through the economy.

Treasury Dept. Moves to Avoid Debt Limit

Treasury Secretary John Snow notified Congress on Monday that the administration has now taken "all prudent and legal actions," including tapping certain government retirement funds, to keep from hitting the $8.2 trillion national debt limit.
In a letter to Congress, Snow urged lawmakers to pass a new debt ceiling immediately to avoid the nation's first-ever default on its obligations.

US gasoline, diesel fuel retail prices soar: gov't

U.S. drivers saw gasoline prices soar an average 7.7 cents a gallon over the last week, while truckers paid the most for diesel fuel since November, the government said on Monday. The national price for regular unleaded gasoline jumped to $2.33 a gallon, up 33 cents from a year ago and the highest level in a month based on the federal Energy Information Administration's survey of service stations. The price increases in many cities were much higher, skyrocketing more than 19 cents a gallon in just one week in Chicago and more than 16 cents in Cleveland.

Cunningham's Corruption Connections

On Friday, former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) was sentenced to 8 years and 4 months in federal prison for taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for lucrative defense contracts, among other crimes. It was the longest sentence ever meted out to a congressman. While it's the last we'll hear from Cunningham for some time, the larger scandal is just beginning to unfold. The same defense contractors who were playing Cunningham with cash and favors were working other members of Congress and top administration officials. Once all the facts are on the table, the Abramoff scandal may pale in comparison.

Bush asks Congress for 'line-item veto' power
President George W. Bush, who has never vetoed legislation, asked the U.S. Congress on Monday to give him a line-item veto that would allow him to propose canceling specific spending projects. But the proposal faces hurdles because an earlier version that Congress passed under former President Bill Clinton was rejected by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.
Signs Comment: And the similarities with Nazi Germany just keep mounting up.

Just work harder, Italian PM tells poor
As a comforter of the poor, Silvio Berlusconi has secured a place for himself somewhere between Marie Antoinette and Norman Tebbitt. Asked by a television interviewer what his government could do to help a worker on €1,500 (£1,000) a month, Italy's richest citizen blithely replied: "The answer of Berlusconi the businessman is: 'Try to earn more by getting on with things.'" His response yesterday drew horrified condemnation from his centre-left opponents, but succeeded once again in diverting attention towards Italy's media-savvy prime minister as he battles to retain power. Campaigning is underway for a general election on April 9 and 10.

Former Enron CFO Implicates Old Bosses

Andrew S. Fastow, the government's star witness in the Enron Corp. trial, took the stand Tuesday and testified that he concocted a massive fraud in face-to-face meetings with the company's chief executive, who both sanctioned the deals and asked him to "get me as much juice as you can."

Consumer confidence suffers further slide

Optimism of both consumers and the companies that serve them slumped last month, according to a pair of reports today that highlight the role business services are playing in propping up the UK economy. Consumer confidence fell in February, the ninth drop in the past year, Nationwide building society said. Households' assessment of their current situation fell to its lowest level since the survey began in May 2004.

Workers' optimism is on the rise

While economists are growing increasingly concerned about the state of the economy, American workers are about as optimistic as they've ever been. A survey released this morning by the human resources and staffing firm Hudson found that employee confidence is on the rise. The Hudson Employment Index, which gauges workforce sentiment by surveying U.S. workers by telephone, rose from a reading of 102.6 in January to 108.2 last month. According to Hudson, this was among the highest readings on record.

Palestinian link could cost Rogers $1.7bn New York deal

One of Britain's leading architects, Richard Rogers, is battling to save his $1.7bn (£971m) redesign of a New York convention centre, after his connections to a pro-Palestinian protest group outraged politicians and Jewish organisations. Lord Rogers, the architect behind the Welsh Assembly building and the Millennium Dome, was summoned to meet the chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation yesterday. The company wants him to explain his involvement in Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, revealed in The Independent last month. He hosted a meeting of the group at his London headquarters, at which architects considered calling for a boycott of Israel's construction industry in protest at the building of the separation barrier in the Occupied Territories.

37 million poor hidden in the land of plenty
Americans have always believed that hard work will bring rewards, but vast numbers now cannot meet their bills even with two or three jobs. More than one in 10 citizens live below the poverty line, and the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening. The flickering television in Candy Lumpkins's trailer blared out The Bold and the Beautiful. It was a fantasy daytime soap vision of American life with little relevance to the reality of this impoverished corner of Kentucky. The Lumpkins live at the definition of the back of beyond, in a hollow at the top of a valley at the end of a long and muddy dirt road. It is strewn with litter. Packs of stray dogs prowl around, barking at strangers. There is no telephone and since their pump broke two weeks ago Candy has collected water from nearby springs. Oblivious to it all, her five-year-old daughter Amy runs barefoot on a wooden porch frozen by a midwinter chill.

Reich: U.S. headed for 'day of reckoning'

The United States is headed for a "day of reckoning" as oil prices and the budget deficit remain high, consumers keep spending and not saving, wages remain stagnant, housing prices rise and the working population ages, warned Robert Reich, former Department of Labor secretary in the Clinton administration.
"The American economy is going to have to inevitably make a structural adjustment (with regard to lack of consumer savings and the budget deficit), or the entire world is going to suffer," Reich, an economist who is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, said during a keynote at the IDC Directions conference here.

Everyday Low Vices

Why should we hate Wal-Mart? One glance at the company's reliance on low wages, low-quality goods and anti-union policies gives plenty of reasons.

Study warns of affordable US apartment shortage

The United States is rapidly losing apartments to demolition, and rent on available units is rising, pinching consumers struggling with home affordability, according to a new study released on Wednesday.
The report from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies found evidence of growing disparities between low- and higher-income renters in getting apartments. "We are taking one step forward and two steps back as gentrification in some neighborhoods and continued deterioration in others leads to the removal of vitally needed lower-cost rental housing," Nicolas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center, said in a statement.

Passage Urged for $91B War Spending Bill

Top military and foreign affairs leaders are making a rare joint appearance on Capitol Hill to urge swift passage of an $91 billion emergency spending bill they say is critical to continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The bill's future has been threatened by a move in the House to block a Dubai-owned company from taking control of some U.S. port operations. President Bush has said he would veto the bill if such a proposal was included.

See Dick Loot

Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) have been making hay in the burning Iraqi sun for years now. It is, of course, no coincidence that the man sitting as vice president played a key role with his influence in obtaining the lion's share of contracts in Iraq for the company he was CEO of prior to his self-appointed position. Yet none of this is news. What is news, however, is that the ties that bind Cheney to Halliburton also link him to groups with even broader interests in the Middle East, which are causing civilians on the ground there, as well as in the US, to pay the price.

by David Phinney, Special to CorpWatch
February 12th, 2006
A controversial Kuwait-based construction firm accused of exploiting employees and coercing low-paid laborers to work in war-torn 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.

Challenging the mighty dollar

It's becoming increasingly obvious that there is a looming crisis brewing over Iran. The true 'whys' and 'what's' of the issue, however, are clouded to the American public due to our modern press and to the nature of the underlying stakes involved. What people read is that there is a growing threat of a nuclear Iran that will threaten the safety of the West. Yet, that's essentially all that is said or written on the issue. However, to critically thinking people who turn to the internet and to foreign press for their news, the brewing crisis most likely has to do with intricate issues involving our incessant dependencies, not just on oil for our transportation and industrial needs, but more importantly for the means by which our modern economic system operates in the US, UK and much of the rest of the industrialized western world (strong hint: It's not a truly "free market").

Oil Heart Attack - As goes Iraq, so may go the developed world.

The February 27th Wild West-style dawn shootout at an Al Qaeda redoubt in East Riyadh was an appropriately dramatic coda to what was arguably the most significant terrorist act since 9/11. While the amount of blood spilled at Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq refinery was small -- two guards killed, eight workers wounded -- and the amount of oil spilled even less, the strike was at least as significant as the 2003 and 2004 public transit attacks in Madrid and London. This is because the foiled attack poked large holes into two theories often floated out by the Saudis and optimistic oil analysts to assuage concerns over infrastructure security in the world's "Central Bank of Oil."

Syria switches to euro amid confrontation with US
Syria has switched all of the state's foreign currency transactions to euros from dollars amid a political confrontation with the United States, the head of state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria said on Monday. "This is a precaution. We are talking about billions of dollars," Duraid Durgham told Reuters.

Signs Comment: Portent of impending U.S. economic collapse?

Investment Needs To Double To Meet UN Goals On Water

Global investment in clean water and sanitation has to nearly double from present levels in order to meet the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals in these areas, a study issued here Wednesday said.

New EU Waste Rules May Turn Poor Countries Into Dumps

Czech Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek will protest in Brussels Thursday against proposed changes in EU rules which he fears will lead to poorer EU countries being used as waste dumping grounds by their richer neighbours, ministry spokeswoman Karolina Sulova said Wednesday.

US has 727,304 homeless people nationwide

"The United States dubs the world's richest country, however, it maintains the highest poverty rate among developed countries," the report says, given a study of eight advanced countries by London School of Economics in 2005, which found that the United States had the worst social inequality.

U.S. Consumer Confidence Drops, Poll Shows

Consumer confidence dropped in early March as people fretted about the economy's performance and their own financial fate in the months ahead.
The RBC CASH Index, based on results from the international polling firm Ipsos, showed confidence at 86.2 in early March. That was down considerably from February's reading of 96.1 - a 16-month high.

World box office dipped 7.9 pct to 23 billion dollars last year : study
Hollywood movie ticket sales around the world dropped by 7.9 percent last year to 23 billion dollars, with the US box office accounting for nearly 40 percent of the haul, a study showed. Movie ticket receipts in North America dipped by six percent in 2005 to nine billion dollars, according to a study by the ratings statistics firm Nielsen Entertainment/NRG that comes as movie-goers increasingly stay out of cinemas.

Gates fortune hits 50 billion dollars as megawealth spreads
Bill Gates gained ground at the top of the megarich rankings as the world's wealthiest people added 400 billion dollars to their net worth, according to Forbes magazine's annual list. The number of people whose wealth reached 10 figures stood at a record 793, an increase of 102 from the previous year, with Microsoft founder Gates in first place for the 12th straight year.

Signs Comment: Wow! More billionaires! The economy MUST be doing wonderfully then, right?

Illegal Workers: the Con's Secret Weapon - Why Bush & Co. like a cheap and illegal labor force
Conservatives are all atwitter about illegal immigrants. Some want to give them amnesty. Others want to reinstitute the old Bracero program. Others want to build a wall around America, like the communists did around East Berlin. Some advocate all of the above. But none will tell Americans the truth about why we have eleven million illegal aliens in this nation now (when it was fewer than 2 million when Reagan came into office), why they're staying, or why they keep coming. In a word, it's "jobs." In conservative lexicon, it's "cheap labor to increase corporate profits."

Pol Tax

Mayors across the country increasingly see smokers as God's gift to spendthrift governments. They steal from them accordingly. This is especially true of New York's Michael Bloomberg, whose ambitions along these lines match his outsized city. Let other places diddle around with ten-cent tobacco taxes, as does Hueytown, Alabama, or even a buck (Washington, DC); New York is bigger than that. Mike wants to boost its already-staggering tax on cigarettes by a whopping 50 cents. This will push the price of a pack past $8, with Leviathan grabbing $3.50 of that. New Yorkers will then suffer the dubious distinction of paying the highest tobacco tax nationwide: even Chicago steals only $3.05 per pack.


ONE OF THE BEST INTERNET NEWS SERVICES, the Agribusiness Examiner, is back online after several months of computer problems. Al Krebs, the editor, covers one of the most neglected news topics in America: how we get what we eat. Here are a few of his catch-up items:

Feds Order U.S. Banks to Sever Syria Ties
Acting to crack down on terrorist financing, the Treasury Department on Thursday ordered all commercial banks in the United States to end their relationships with two Syrian banks.
The order covers the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria and its subsidiary, the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank. The department said that all U.S. banks must close any accounts they have with the two banks.

Lawmakers: Wal-Mart threatens US payment system
A group of lawmakers on Friday said an industrial bank owned by Wal-Mart (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's largest retailer, could threaten the stability of the U.S. financial system and drive community banks out of business.
In a highly critical letter to the acting chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., obtained by Reuters, a group of more than 30 Congress members asked the bank regulator to reject Wal-Mart's application to open a bank in Utah. "Wal-Mart's plan, to have its bank process hundreds of billions in transactions for its own stores, could threaten the stability of the nation's payments system," the lawmakers wrote.

The Fed Officially Kicks Off the Next Recession

It is official. A recession is coming. How do I know? Because this week new Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave an official warning to bankers about commercial real estate loans. That is always the kickoff to a recession. It is the starter's gun, the national anthem before a ballgame, the opening hymn at a church service. Here is how it works. The Fed has three official tools to control the money supply: Setting reserve requirements (telling banks how much of their deposits they cannot lend. The higher the reserve requirements, the less loans, the less money creation by the economy). The second tool is open market operations. Here they set the amount of money in the system by buying or selling securities. Third is setting the discount rate, the rate of interest banks must pay to borrow money at the Fed. Theoretically, the higher the rate, the less money banks will borrow, the less they have to lend, and the less money that is created by the banking system.

Senate permits national debt to grow to $9 trillion
The Senate voted Thursday to allow the national debt to swell to nearly $9 trillion, preventing a first-ever default on U.S. Treasury notes. The bill passed by a 52-48 vote. The increase to $9 trillion represents about $30,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. The bill now goes to President Bush for his signature.

Signs Comment: $9 TRILLION dollars! The spending spree cannot go on forever. One of these days, it will end - and when it does, it will be the average American who will suffer the most. You can take that to the bank.

Retail figures cast doubt on consumer rebound
UK retail sales showed a modest rise in February, but this followed a much sharper drop than previously reported, official figures showed today.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said total sales volume increased by 0.5% last month, following a 1.6% fall in January instead of the 1.3% originally reported. Today's report - with the caveat that monthly figures can be volatile - will cast doubt on Bank of England hopes of a consumer rebound later in the year that will keep economic growth on track, analysts said.

Congressman writes White House: Did President knowingly sign law that didn't pass?

Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has alleged in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card that President Bush signed a version of the Budget Reconciliation Act that, in effect, did not pass the House of Representatives. Further, Waxman says there is reason to believe that the Speaker of the House called President Bush before he signed the law, and alerted him that the version he was about to sign differed from the one that actually passed the House. If true, this would put the President in willful violation of the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. Under Fire for Labor Rights Abuses
The United States, a self-styled promoter of human rights and global democracy, has come under heavy fire for "serious violations" of labor rights in its own backyard.
Many categories of workers in the United States -- including government employees, independent contractors, and agricultural and domestic workers -- are excluded from the Labor Relations Act that provides for freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). More than 25 million private civilian workers and 6.9 million federal, state and local government employees do not have the right to negotiate their wages, working hours and employment terms, according to the study. For those workers that do have the right to organize, the report points out, there is insufficient legal protection against anti-union discrimination.

Workers can't trade holidays for pay, EU rules

British workers will no longer be able to be paid for unused holiday entitlement, the EU ruled today. European judges said the so-called "rolled-up holiday pay" system breached the EU's working time directive, which guarantees employees a minimum four weeks' holiday a year. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg was ruling in a case brought by a group of British shift workers demanding the right to payment during their holidays instead of notional extra hourly pay instead.

Oprah Exposes America's Dirty Little Secret: 37 million Americans live in grinding poverty
When Hurricane Katrina blew across the Gulf Coast, it also blew the lid off America's dirty little secret. For years, the poor people in the United States have been virtually invisible. But now there is no denying the truth-37 million Americans live in poverty. Oprah drove 70 miles from her home in Chicago to the township of Pembroke, Illinois, to see the reality firsthand.

Externalizing the Cost of War
It must seem odd to the world that while our nation is coming apart at the seams, and every last shred of decency is being severed from the cloth of conscience, all we can do is watch American Idol and Survivor. According to author Mike Green (The Whole Truth about the U.S. War on Terror), there are one hundred and ninety-two recognized nations on earth, and the U.S. has troops stationed in one hundred and thirty-five of them. In total, we have in excess of four hundred thousand troops occupying a substantial majority of the world. The nation with the second largest number of troops deployed is Great Britain with thirty-five thousand, followed by France with twenty-three thousand. Apparently, bringing democracy to the world requires an extensive presence and lots of weapons. If only that were what this is about. It is really about hegemony, domination, global empire.

Former Top Bush Aide Accused of Md. Thefts - Refund Scam Netted Grifter $5,000, Police Say

Claude A. Allen, who resigned last month as President Bush's top domestic policy adviser, was arrested this week in Montgomery County for allegedly swindling Target and Hecht's stores out of more than $5,000 in a refund scheme, police said. Allen, 45, of Gaithersburg, has been released on his own recognizance and is awaiting trial on two charges, felony theft scheme and theft over $500, said Lt. Eric Burnett, a police spokesman. Each charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Despite Another $67 Billion, Our Army is Broke and Badly Depleted

This morning I spoke at a gathering of the National Newspaper Association regarding my strategy to redeploy our troops from Iraq on a scheduled timetable as soon as practicable. Iraq continues to be mischaracterized by the President as the center for the Global War on Terrorism. It is estimated that there are less than 1,000 Al Qaeda in Iraq. What is happening in Iraq is a civil war. It is Iraqis killing Iraqis and our troops are also targets.

Senate gives Bush his defense budget request
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday agreed to give President George W. Bush the money he wanted for the Pentagon next year and narrowly defeated a measure that could have scuttled permanent extensions of his tax cuts. The Senate was trying to wrap up work by Friday on a nearly $2.8-trillion budget blueprint for fiscal 2007, which starts on October 1. While the budget bill is nonbinding, it does influence lawmakers' decisions later in the year on federal spending.
Signs Comment: Ah yes, the pathetic, obsequious Senate, is there no limit to the extent they will prostitute themselves to the Bush government?
How interesting that this year's Pentagon budget blueprint is am unimaginable $2.8 TRILLION. That figure is very close to the $2.6 TRILLION that the Pentagon was unable to account for back in 2001, just before the 9/11 attacks. In this DOD Testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, Rumsfeld dropped that bombshell and then laughed about it. So where did that $2.6 Trillion go? And what will be done with this year's $2.8 trillion? Interesting questions that will probably never be answered.

Bill Gives Bush $92B for Wars, Hurricanes
President Bush gets much of what he requested in a $92 billion House measure for wars and hurricane cleanup,
despite a newfound willingness by GOP leaders to challenge the president. The bill the House is expected to approve Thursday would bring the overall price tag for Iraq and Afghanistan operations since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to nearly $400 billion and total Hurricane Katrina-related spending to more than $100 billion.

Oil shortage threatens military
A grim view of the nation's energy future, and its implications for the military, emerges in a just released report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "The days of inexpensive, convenient, abundant energy sources are quickly drawing to a close," says the report, titled "Energy Trends and Their Implications for U.S. Army Installations." It concludes that at the current rate of consumption and production decline, the lifetime of proven domestic oil reserves is only 3.4 years. It projects the lifetime of proven worldwide oil reserves at 41 years, but with declining availability, noting that Saudi Arabia – home to the bulk of those reserves – has not increased production in three years.

Speed voting: House flies through $91.9 billion spending bill
By unanimous consent, the House Thursday used two-minute vote times to get through an emergency spending bill, according to Roll Call.

Chalmers Johnson on Our Fading Republic
A Tomdispatch Interview with Chalmers Johnson(Part 2)
Tomdispatch: You were discussing the lunacy of the 2007 Pentagon budget…
Chalmers Johnson:What I don't understand is that the current defense budget and the recent Quadrennial Defense Review (which has no strategy in it at all) are just continuations of everything we did before. Make sure that the couple of hundred military golf courses around the world are well groomed, that the Lear jets are ready to fly the admirals and generals to the Armed Forces ski resort in Garmisch in the Bavarian Alps or the military's two luxury hotels in downtown Seoul and Tokyo.
What I can't explain is what has happened to Congress. Is it just that they're corrupt? That's certainly part of it. I'm sitting here in California's 50th district. This past December, our congressman Randy Cunningham confessed to the largest single bribery case in the history of the U.S. Congress: $2.4 million in trinkets -- a Rolls Royce, some French antiques -- went to him, thanks to his ability as a member of the military subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee to add things secretly to the budget. He was doing this for pals of his running small companies. He was adding things even the Department of Defense said it didn't want.

Snow warns Congress: US government's cash running out
Treasury Secretary John Snow urged Congress to set aside partisan bickering and raise the US national debt ceiling this week, or face a disastrous cash crunch for the federal government. In a speech here to a conference of regional bankers, Snow said it would be inconceivable for Congress not to pass legislation on the debt limit before it heads into a recess at the end of this week. "I am urging members of Congress in the strongest possible terms to resist coupling an increase in the debt ceiling with other issues," Snow said.

Hunger For Justice

Last Wednesday evening, the House Appropriations Committee voted to throw another $67,000,000,000 at the murderous work in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The killing will proceed as planned, with no congressional intervention, although chances are you heard absolutely zip about the 67 Billion Dollar Question, thanks to the Guardians of Reality who insured the news from that hearing was the Dubai Port deal, not the unimaginable sum of our money Congress voted for war, nor the voices raised against it.

Peak Oil Propaganda: Saudi Arabia: the sands run out

Last month's foiled attack on a Saudi Arabian oil installation demonstrated yet again the world's extreme vulnerability to any check on oil supplies. But what if the Saudi oilfields are running lower on untapped supplies than the kingdom, and the West, have estimated?

Nigeria Earns $2.9bn from Oil in Jan

Buoyed by high prices in the international crude market, Nigeria earned $2.92 billion (N376.7 billion) from oil in January this year, representing about 64 percent of the total foreign inflow of $4.58bn netted by the country during the month. The Federal Government has also begun a massive deployment of troops in the troubled oil-rich city of Warri, suggesting that negotiations between the government and the Niger Delta militants, holding three foreign oil workers hostage in the creeks, may have broken down.

Nigeria's militants highlight woes amid wealth

This is the Niger Delta, the heart of Africa's biggest oil producer. But despite the billions of dollars in oil wealth, this region - about 70,000 square kilometres - is home to some of the world's poorest people. Most of the fishermen in these creeks live in the same huts and use the same bark nets that their fathers did. More than 60 per cent of Nigeria's 128 million inhabitants scrape by, earning less than $1 a day, with no hope of employment or education. In many places, the frustration with a government ranked by Transparency International as the third most corrupt in the world has spilled over into violence.

Arab central banks move assets out of dollar

Middle Eastern anger over the decision by the US to block a Dubai company from buying five of its ports hit the dollar yesterday as a number of central banks said they were considering switching reserves into euros. The United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, said it was looking to move one-tenth of its dollar reserves into euros, while the governor of the Saudi Arabian central bank condemned the US move as "discrimination". Separately, Syria responded to US sanctions against two of its banks by confirming plans to use euros instead of dollars for its external transactions. The remarks combined to knock the dollar, which fell against the euro, pound and yen yesterday as analysts warned other central banks might follow suit.

EU Warns of Sanctions on U.S. Goods

The European Union advised the World Trade Organization on Tuesday that it would reintroduce trade sanctions against the United States in two months unless Washington complies with a WTO ruling condemning tax breaks for U.S. companies operating overseas.
The 25-nation EU said, however, that it is still offering the United States ways to end the long-standing dispute without having to incur sanctions on lists of targeted products, including everything from textiles and foodstuffs to automotive parts and steel.

UAE turns back on dollar in foreign reserves shake-up

The United Arab Emirates is planning to switch 10pc of its foreign reserves from dollars to euros in the first sign of fall-out from Washington's snub to Dubai Ports World last week. Sultan bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, the governor of UAE's central bank, said the plan was designed to achieve a better balance in the $19.1bn reserves of the oil-rich Gulf federation, almost entirely held in dollars.

Launch of Iranian oil trading hits wall - Oil exchange unlikely to begin till at least midyear
As the nuclear standoff pitting Iran against the West continues, some conspiracy theorists are more focused on another plan that the Middle Eastern nation is pursuing. But they are jumping the gun if they still figure Iran is within days of launching a new international oil exchange that would sell its own and other Middle Eastern oil producers' black gold in euros rather than U.S. dollars -- and which, the theory goes, could ultimately torpedo the greenback and the U.S. economy.

Investors flee Iceland banks as economy heads towards forecast 'hard landing'

Iceland's banks were pummelled yesterday as the Nordic economy lurched into its third week of crisis, flashing an ominous early-warning signal for markets worldwide.

Saudi prince pledges £1.6bn to halt plunge in stock market

The Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world's richest men, intervened yesterday to stem the plunge in the value of the country's stock exchange. Stock markets across the Gulf region have suffered sharp losses this week amid a deepening crisis of confidence after a three-year bull market.

Anger over British firms' Iraq profits

Tony Blair has been challenged over the "scandal" of vast profits being made by British firms with reconstruction contracts in Iraq. The Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn attacked the Prime Minister after The Independent revealed that British businesses have profited by at least £1.1bn since Saddam Hussein was ousted three years ago. Top earners include the construction firm Amec and the security company Aegis. Heasked: "Does he not think it is time to set a date for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, to end the occupation and end the growing scandal of the huge profits being made by British and American companies from reconstruction and that the continued presence represents more of a problem than a solution?"
Mr Blair said Britain should continue to support Iraq's efforts to achieve a stable democracy.

Global Economic Hegemony: A New Kind of Warfare?

An Interview with Dr Krassimir Petrov,Ph.D (Teaches Macroeconomics, International Finance & Econometrics at the American University in Bulgaria).

To bleed and to die
Social change of the kind that is needed in this country has always been precipitated by organized labor. Part of the problem we face as a nation is the decline of strong labor unions. Labor has often been the driving force behind social justice movements in America. Without a strong labor presence social justice will be a very difficult proposition.

UAE, Saudi considering to move reserves out of dollar
A number of Middle Eastern central banks said on Tuesday they would seek to switch reserves from the US greenback to euros.

U.S. War Spending to Rise 44% to $9.8 Bln a Month

U.S. military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan will average 44 percent more in the current fiscal year than in fiscal 2005, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service said. Spending will rise to $9.8 billion a month from the $6.8 billion a month the Pentagon said it spent last year, the research service said. The group's March 10 report cites ''substantial'' expenses to replace or repair damaged weapons, aircraft, vehicles, radios and spare parts.

US$: Forget Iran, the problem's at home

Of all the things that could wreck the US dollar - and there are many - the projected Tehran oil bourse, which is tentatively scheduled to open on March 20 to trade Iran's crude and other petroleum products in euros rather than US dollars, is probably not among them. The much greater threat to the US currency is the US current account deficit, which ballooned to 7% of gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2005. The announcement drove the euro up to 1.202 against the US dollar as skittish traders renewed their concerns about the world's fiat currency

Those Corporate Homewreckers - It's just not possible to be a responsible parent or spouse if your work leaves you with barely enough time to shower.

I was in the Atlanta airport recently, cruising a bookstore, when this catchy title leaped out at me: Women Who Make the World Worse: and How Their Radical Feminist Assault Is Ruining Our Schools, Families, Military, and Sports. Since the author is National Review Washington editor and Fox News pundit Kate O'Beirne, I indulged my vanity and looked up my own name in the index. There I was, right up front on page 4, credited with ruining our families. If O'Beirne had done a little more research, she might have found me responsible for wrecking our military and schools, as well. But I can't complain: Destroying the family is a hefty accomplishment all by itself.

Creating a Moral Economy- To revive progressive ideals, we first need to dispel the empty rhetoric of market fundamentalism.

Market fundamentalism has ruled the country for close to 25 years. It has produced weak economic performance, corporate crime waves, government corruption and a coarsening of the culture. But the amazing thing is that efforts to hold the market fundamentalists accountable have gained so little traction.

Does the Gulf of Mexico Hold as Much Oil as Saudi Arabia?

Mexico's giant Cantarell oil field, in the Gulf of Mexico off the Yucatan, was supposedly discovered in 1976 after a fisherman named Cantarell reported an oil seep in the Campeche Bay. Last week, Mexico announced finding another giant oil field off Veracruz, the Noxal, estimated to hold more than 10 billion barrels of oil.

The US Budget and the Damage Done
The 2006 budget clipped the wings of many organizations that provide basic services to the poor. Bush's 2007 budget could ground them permanently.

UAE, Saudi considering to move reserves out of dollar

A number of Middle Eastern central banks said on Tuesday they would seek to switch reserves from the US greenback to euros.
The United Arab Emirates said it was considering moving one-tenth of its dollar reserves to the euro, while the governor of the Saudi Arabian central bank condemned the decision by the United States to force Dubai Ports World to transfer its ownership to a 'US entity,' the UK Independent reported.
"Is it protectionism or discrimination? Is it okay for US companies to buy everywhere but it is not okay for other companies to buy the US?" said Hamad Saud Al Sayyari, the governor of the Saudi Arabian monetary authority. The head of the United Arab Emirates central bank, Sultan Nasser Al Suweidi, said the bank was considering converting 10 per cent of its reserves from dollars to euros. "They are contravening their own principles," said Al Suweidi. "Investors are going to take this into consideration (and) will look at investment opportunities through new binoculars." The Commercial Bank of Syria has already switched the state's foreign currency transactions from dollars to euros, Duraid Durgham head of the state-owned bank said. The decision by the bank of Syria follows the announcement by the White House calling on all US financial institutions to end correspondent accounts with Syria due to money-laundering concerns. Syria's Finance Minister Mohammad Al Hussein said: "Syria affirms that this decision and its timing are fundamentally political."-Khaleej Times Online

Investors flock to Indian stocks
India may lag behind China economically, but the reverse holds true for their stock markets. India's has soared to a record high this week, driven by foreign investors pouring billions into the market.
Figures show the stock market here is up 200 percent over the past five years, compared with 65 percent in China and 11 percent in the US.

Italian Co. Designs Jeans for Muslims

They're high around the waist, wide around the leg and have lots of pockets for holding watches, bracelets, glasses and other knickknacks.
A new line of jeans designed by a small company in northern Italy caters to Muslims seeking to stay comfortable while they pray. "As far as we know we're the first, at least in Italy," said Luca Corradi, who designed Al Quds jeans.

Conservatives have denounced the thriller "Syriana," a film that explores the Machiavellian politics of Mideast oil. Pundit Charles Krauthammer, for example, says the movie exports "the most vicious and pernicious mendacities about America to a receptive world."

Signs Comment: Oil is the "back-up" reason that has been prepared and promulgated by Mike Ruppert to excuse the Neocons for their bad behavior. The truth is more hideous: Iraq was invaded purely and simply to commit genocide on behalf of Israel.

Holding the energy card, Putin calls for broader trade with China

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on China to broaden bilateral trade, saying excessive focus by Beijing on securing Russia's abundant natural resources could trigger "instabilities".
"Despite significant advances in Russian-Chinese links, it must be recognized openly that we still have here more than a few serious problems," Putin said in a speech to a business forum with Chinese President Hu Jintao sitting alongside him on stage. "Chief among them are unfavourable structural changes in Russian-Chinese trade and the 'raw materials' character of Russian exports to China."

IRS plans to allow preparers to sell data
Critics said the proposed regulation could lead to a loss of privacy for clients.
The IRS is quietly moving to loosen the once-inviolable privacy of federal income-tax returns. If it succeeds, accountants and other tax-return preparers will be able to sell information from individual returns - or even entire returns - to marketers and data brokers. The change is raising alarm among consumer and privacy-rights advocates. It was included in a set of proposed rules that the Treasury Department and the IRS published in the Dec. 8 Federal Register, where the official notice labeled them "not a significant regulatory action."

Rabobank urges global central banks to prevent possible dollar plunge

Economists at Rabobank have called on the world's central banks to undertake action to prevent the US dollar from plunging against the euro and other currencies.

Historic Union Deal Will Pare Down GM
General Motors Corp.'s offer of buyouts to tens of thousands of older, high-wage factory workers yesterday is the latest effort to transform an outmoded U.S. auto giant besieged by more nimble global rivals.

Credit derivatives rocked by loss at GM finance arm
The discovery of huge hidden losses at General Motors's finance arm have raised fresh fears of bankruptcy at the world's biggest carmaker, sending tremors through the credit derivatives markets. The struggling group asked for a filing delay after admitting to an extra $2bn (£1.1bn) in accounting errors at its finance arm GMAC, raising total losses last year to $10.6bn. The news triggered a sharp spike in the cost of default insurance on GMAC's bonds, rising 75 basis points overnight.

GM to cut engineering staff in US, Europe: report
General Motors Corp. will announce job cuts at its engineering operations in the United States and Europe next week, the Detroit Free Press reported on Thursday.
The newspaper quoted unidentified engineers and a GM executive in reporting that the coming job cuts would be announced on Tuesday. It was not clear how many white-collar positions would be eliminated, the newspaper said. A GM representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

Trusting the Marketplace
Confronting critics of the Bush administration's economic record, Treasury Secretary John Snow said the widening gap between high-paid and low-paid Americans reflects a labor market efficiently rewarding more productive people . . . Mr. Snow said the same phenominon explains why compensation for corporate chief executives has climbed so sharply.

"In an aggregate sense, it reflects the marginal productivity of CEOs. Do I trust the market for CEOs to work efficiently? Yes. Until we can find a better way to compensate CEOs, I'm going to trust the marketplace."

Wall Street Journal
Snow Defends President's Handling of Economy
March 20, 2006

EU's 'big three' in crisis, says third way guru
France, Germany and Italy are facing an economic crisis with worrying levels of unemployment, Tony Blair's intellectual guru has declared on the eve of an EU summit which starts in Brussels this afternoon.

EU markets row overshadows summit
A dispute over economic barriers in Europe is set to dominate a summit of EU leaders starting on Thursday.

US-China trade war looms
Senators' protectionist anger over $200bn trade gap puts pressure on Beijing and risks damaging future strategic relations. American senators could vote this week to slap tariffs of 27.5 per cent on all Chinese goods, amid a rising clamour of protectionist anger on Capitol Hill. The sponsors of the so-called Schumer-Graham Bill were in Beijing last week - Chuck Schumer's first official trip overseas in 25 years - to press home the message that China's cheap currency gives it an unfair advantage over the Americans. Schumer, a Democrat who represents New York, and his Republican co-sponsor, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have been promised a vote on the measure by the end of March.

Workers On The Slag Heap Of History

Today, in America, the richest country on earth, the gates of many towns welcome visitors with abandoned factories. And the communities these factories flank tell you more about what's really destroying America than any Wall Street analyst or Washington policy wonk ever could. Since leaving the Philadelphia area, I've learned firsthand that these Anytown, USAs are everywhere - not just on the East Coast. One of them can be found by driving north through the shimmering cattle pastures on Montana Route 12, right near where I now live. There, you'll be welcomed to East Helena by two defunct gray smokestacks rising from giant black mounds of what looks like spent coffee grounds, but is in reality industrial slag.

Credit investors ponder GM-sized hole in universe
 Like the elephant in the living room, the decline of General Motors is a problem that investors don't want to think about but can't ignore.

The world's largest automaker, whose debt is close to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Belgium, lost more than $10 billion last year and is facing a bankruptcy that would reap devastation in the financial markets. GM's share price has halved in the past year, while its $100 billion of bonds have been cut to junk, confronting investors with the prospect of never getting their money back. Others in the highly-leveraged derivatives market face incalculable losses should a bankruptcy occur.

Fed raises interest rates for 15th time
In their first meeting under new chief Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve officials lifted a key U.S. interest rate on Tuesday a 15th straight time and said further moves may be needed to keep inflation at bay.

US living on borrowed time - and money

In 1987, Yale historian Paul Kennedy published The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, in which he argued that "military overstretch" - where conquering nations engaged in more foreign military adventures than their economic resources could support - led to the eventual decline and fall of empires. So far, the US attempt at dominion that commenced in 2001 has not been threatened in this manner because, in essence, the nation has been able to borrow the costs simultaneously to maintain both its new empire and its avaricious middle-class consumerist lifestyle. But the times, they are a-changing. Buried deep in the arcanum of some recently released economic statistics are indications that the world is tiring of its role as America's charge card.

Pillaging the Treasury and the Constitution: Bush is No Conservative

President Bush passes himself off as a conservative Republican and a born-again Christian. These are disguises behind which Bush hides. Would a Christian invade another country on false pretenses, kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and show no remorse or inclination to cease the aggression? Long-time Republican policy-wonk Bruce Bartlett recently published a book, Impostor, in which he proves that President Bush is no economic conservative, having broken all records in spending taxpayers' money and running up public debt.

Senators push for $3.8 bln in farm disaster aid

Farm-state senators made a new push on Wednesday for Congress to pass $3.8 billion in disaster aid to U.S. farmers and ranchers impacted by hurricane, drought and flood losses last year.

Arab Stock Market Tumbles; But Who Knows It?

Think people in the Emirates don't stage street demonstrations? Think again. On March 8, hundreds of protestors gathered in front of the Kuwait City stock exchange. They weren't anti-globalization protesters, but stockholders who had seen their net worth plummet over the preceding month, culminating the previous day when the market fell 400 points. It didn't get any better. On March 14, the Kuwaiti investor-demonstrators hit the streets again, this time marching on the parliament demanding the government take action to stop the slide. The market had just registered its largest one-day loss and closed at a six-month low. Still it didn't stop. Two weeks later, on March 26, after analysts had begun expressing a positive outlook, the Kuwaiti exchange cascaded again, shedding 239.8 points. According to press reports, the Kuwait protesters accused the big money traders on the exchange of manipulating the market for various financial and political motives. A member of parliament, Abdulwahid Al-Awadi said, "someone is playing with the stock market in an attempt to monopolize it." However it soon became clear that the crisis was not limited to the Emirate of Kuwait. That same day, in the United Arab Emirates, the market plunged to its lowest level in 11 months and observers began referring to the fall as "Black Tuesday." The stock markets fell 11.7 percent in Dubai and 4.74 percent in Saudi Arabia.

U.S. demands set back Russia's WTO bid - Putin

President Vladimir Putin vented his frustration on Wednesday at the slow progress of Russia's talks to join the World Trade Organization, saying new demands put by the United States had set the process back.

Economy Grows at 1.7 Percent Pace
The economy hit a soft patch in the final quarter of 2005, growing at an annual rate of just 1.7 percent, an ominous statistic but for fresher readings that suggest America's business health has improved and is mostly sound. While the latest figure for gross domestic product in the October-to-December period was indeed anemic and marked the worst performance in three years, the new reading actually turned out to be slightly better than the 1.6 percent growth rate estimated a month ago, according to the Commerce Department's report released Thursday.

Signs Comment: Well, golly! As long as the economy continues to beat analysts expectations, we have nothing to worry about - right?

Nasdaq hits 5-year high

U.S. stocks staged a broad rebound on Wednesday, with gains in Google Inc. and Apple Computer Inc. leading a rally in tech shares that drove the Nasdaq to a five-year high.
All major industry sectors rose on the day. Blue chips got a lift from Boeing Co., which received a $2 billion jet order, and from a brokerage upgrade of manufacturer 3M Co. Boeing's shares glided to a record during the day. Wednesday's gains helped the market recover from losses that came after the Fed voted to increase interest rates and hinted more may be needed to stem inflation.

U.S. bonds dive after decision on rates

Prices on U.S. Treasury notes plunged on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the 15th straight time and signaled that further increases lay ahead. Fed policy makers lifted their target rate, as economists had forecast, by a quarter-percentage point to 4.75 percent, the highest since March 2001.

GM Begins Firing Salaried Workers at About 30 U.S. Locations

General Motors Corp., struggling with $10.6 billion in losses last year, started firing hundreds of its U.S. salaried employees at about 30 U.S. locations, part of a North American restructuring plan. Today's firings are the first of cuts that will continue throughout the year and are part of GM's plan to reduce its U.S. salaried and contract workforce by about 7 percent this year, GM spokesman Robert Herta said. The firings will include employees in most areas of the company and the workers will get severance payments and outplacement assistance, he said.

Illegal Workers: the Cons' Secret Weapon

Conservatives are all atwitter about illegal immigrants. Some want to give them amnesty. Others want to reinstitute the old Bracero program. Others want to build a wall around America, like the communists did around East Berlin. Some advocate all of the above.

Americans at "tipping point" about energy: poll

Americans are nearly as worried about their country's dependence on foreign energy sources as they are about the war in Iraq, a poll released by the magazine Foreign Affairs showed on Thursday.
Almost half of the 1,000 Americans surveyed for the Public Agenda Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy Index gave U.S. policymakers a failing grade in weaning the country from foreign oil. Nearly 90 percent said the lack of energy independence jeopardizes national security.

Join the Reserve Bank of Australia and Property Masters' Dots

The big and successful private property investors are cottoning on [becoming divestors]...
It's the job of the RBA to talk common sense and warn of disasters in the hope the Martin Place [Sydney's equivalent to Wall Street] mandarins scare some of the populace into avoiding irrational exuberance. They were at it again yesterday in warning financial markets of their myopia in pricing risk during this long, golden summer of investment.

Inflation worries trouble investors

The government revised its estimate of U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2005. Uncle Sam now believes the economy grew at an annual rate of 1.7 percent, not 1.6 percent as was previously thought. Despite the seemingly good news, this morning's announcement was actually viewed as worrisome-not welcome-on Wall Street.

Delphi to Ask Court to Void Union Deals

Auto parts supplier Delphi Corp. said it will ask a federal bankruptcy court on Friday to void its labor contracts as part of a controversial restructuring that calls for layoffs of up to 8,500 salaried workers and the sale or closure of 21 of its 29 U.S. plants.
The moves carry huge risks: It may lead to a strike by unionized workers at Delphi that could cripple the U.S. auto industry and push General Motors Corp., its former parent and largest customer, closer to Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

US debt clock running out of time, space

Tick, 20,000 dollars, tock, another 20,000 dollars.
So rapid is the rise of the US national debt, that the last four digits of a giant digital signboard counting the moving total near New York's Times Square move in seemingly random increments as they struggle to keep pace. The national debt clock, as it is known, is a big clock. A spot-check last week showed a readout of 8.3 trillion -- or more precisely 8,310,200,545,702 -- dollars ... and counting. But it's not big enough. Sometime in the next two years, the total amount of US government borrowing is going to break through the 10-trillion-dollar mark and, lacking space for the extra digit such a figure would require, the clock is in danger of running itself into obsolescence. The clock's owner, real estate developer Douglas Durst, knew such a problem could arise but hadn't counted on it so soon. "We really expected it to be quite some time," Durst told AFP. "But now, with the pace of debt growth only increasing, we're looking at maybe two years and certainly before President (George W.) Bush leaves office in 2009."

Privatizing the Apocalypse

Every now and then, amid all the grim stories in our world, you run across one that rings a special bell for you. Frida Berrigan's today is that for me. In fact, consider this week at Tomdispatch as a discordant hymn to the privatization disasters of the Bush administration. Michael Schwartz began it with his account of how the draconian economic privatization program Bush administration officials enacted on prostrate Iraq in 2003 led directly to the catastrophe of the moment in that country. We know as well that, under this administration, the Pentagon has been on its own privatization binge, turning what were once essential military activities over to Halliburton, its subsidiary KBR, and other private firms in a wholesale fashion.

New Fuel Standards for U.S. Autos Not a Hit in the 'Green' Room
With energy independence and global warming on the minds of a lot of Americans right now, it should come as no surprise that President Bush has just ordered automakers to produce light trucks and SUVs that get better fuel mileage. After all, better mileage equals less dependence on oil and fewer carbon dioxide emissions, which are a major cause of global climate change. But, as with so many things, the devil is in the details. Environmentalists and consumer groups, for two, are generally not impressed with the new standards. Indeed, "weak" seems to neatly sum up their overall assessment.

French Government pulls happy financial news out of hat

French unemployment is falling, growth is rising and overspending is finally under control, the finance minister said Friday hours before President Jacques Chirac was to address the nation on a crisis over jobs for young people.
On the hot issue of unemployment, which has led to weeks of sometimes violent protests, Thierry Breton predicted that 200,000 jobs would be created and that the jobless rate would drop below 9 percent by the end of the year.

U.S. Foreign Policy Including Iraq And Iran

Mottaki: Iranians not to give up right to uranium enrichment

Visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here Tuesday that Iranian officials will never compromise Iran's rights for uranium enrichment.

MEK Terrorist Blames Iran for Askariyah Bombing

In an effort to steer blame for the Samarra mosque bombing in the preferred direction, the Straussian neocon puppet masters have trotted out Maryam Rajavi, billed as president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the political front of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), who points an accusatory finger at Iran. "Mrs. Rajavi strongly condemned Iranian regime's meddling in Iraq and described the Samarra bombing, planned attacks on Sunni mosques, killing of religious leaders, political figures, journalists and others as part of a war that the ruling mullahs in Iran have initiated in Iraq against its people," a propaganda release posted on the NCRI "Foreign Affairs Committee" website states. "She said the Iranian regime's motives for inciting such violence is quite clear as the mullahs failed to achieve their ominous goals in Iraq following the elections in that country. She reminded that a front of Iraqi democratic forces is shaping up at the moment which is aware of the threats of fundamentalism posed by Tehran. She emphasized that a national unity government in Iraq does not serve the interest of religious fascism ruling neighboring Iran," the statement continued.

Iran, Russia gather for high-stakes nuclear talks

Iranian and Russian negotiators gathered for high-stakes talks on a compromise plan designed to ease global fears that Tehran is trying to build nuclear arms, with time fast running out for a deal.

Mubarak says warns US against hitting Iran

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said he had advised the United States against attacking Iran, predicting that Tehran would react through its influence over Shi'ite Muslim communities in Arab countries in the Gulf.

U.S. plan to divide Iran - Marines produce road map to ethnic strife Washington bankrolls separatist groups

The US and Britain have torn apart Iraq and now they want to do the same to Iran. The US military has been studying ethnic and religious tensions in Iran as part of its preparations for war. The study was commissioned by the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), which specialises in producing intelligence for low ranking soldiers. This suggests that plans for war are advanced.

Iran promises Hamas USD 250 million

The London-based Arabic-language newspaper el-Hayat reported Tuesday that Tehran promised Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal it would transfer USD 250 million to the Palestinian Authority as compensation for the freezing of American aid to the Palestinians.

Why India Should Choose Iran, Not the US

Dr Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and one of the leading technical nuclear experts in the United States, believes that even if India gets everything it wants under the US-India civilian nuclear agreement signed by President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 18, it would still be only a tiny fraction of the oil and gas it could obtain from Iran to meet India's growing energy needs. It is not, Dr Makhijani argues, therefore worth jeopardizing India's relationship with Iran by voting with the United States against Tehran at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Russia, Iran make new bid to break nuclear impasse

Iranian nuclear negotiators arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for a fresh attempt to reach a compromise that might defuse Tehran's stand-off with the West over its atomic program.

IAEA says NO evidence of Iranian n-weapons plan
As the countdown for a crucial meeting on Iran on March 6 gets under way, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has revealed that it has not found any evidence that Teheran had diverted material towards making atomic weapons.
In its report which has been circulated to its 35 board members, the IAEA said that its three years of investigations had not shown "any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices", the Associated Press reported.

Iran Says U.S. Sabotaging Nuke Deal

Iran's top nuclear negotiator on Thursday insisted that bilateral talks should continue on a Russian offer to enrich uranium for Iran and warned that handing over the nuclear issue to the U.N. Security Council - as the United States has demanded - would kill Moscow's initiative. "America is lying, trying to destroy the Russian proposal," Ali Larijani said at a news conference. "The Americans' insistence on handing over the Iranian nuclear dossier to the U.N. Security Council means the destruction of the Russian proposal."

The wrong way to fix Iran

THE BUSH administration quietly orchestrated a major shift in U.S. policy toward Iran this month, requesting $85 million from Congress to help bring about regime change in Tehran. Washington is now seeking not just to contain Tehran's nuclear ambitions but also to topple the Iranian government. The war in Iraq has made all too clear the high cost of using military force to attain regime change. Accordingly, the administration is taking a page from Eastern Europe, where the United States used radio broadcasts and direct assistance to opposition groups to help undermine authoritarian governments and promote democracy. Administration officials explicitly cited Poland's Solidarity movement as a model.

Iran claims Israel has over 200 nuclear warheads

Teheran has information suggesting that Israel's nuclear arsenal exceeds 200 warheads. "Israel's nuclear potential exceeds 200 warheads. The U.S., meanwhile, is pursuing a policy aimed at distracting attention from this problem," Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani told the press in Moscow on Thursday.

No deal at last-minute Iran-EU nuclear talks

European Union powers and Iran failed to strike a deal in last-ditch talks on Tehran's suspect nuclear program ahead of a crucial UN meeting that could open the way to punitive action.

Would Iranian Nukes Only Kill Jews?
Will Iran's nukes only kill Jews? That's the question Palestinians should be asking themselves. Because the answer is no. There is no way to make a nuclear bomb that just kills Jews. There is no way to "wipe Israel off the map," as Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sworn to do in a nuclear armageddon, without wiping out the Palestinians, as well.

IDF Boasts: Arrow can block 'any Iranian missile'

Israel's Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile system is capable of intercepting and destroying any Iranian missiles, even were they to carry nuclear warheads, a high-ranking IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. While Iran is Israel's most serious strategic and existential threat, the country, he said confidently, was sufficiently protected by the Arrow, which plays a major role in maintaining Israel's protective envelope. "We will shoot all of [Iran's missiles] down," he told the Post. "The Arrow knows how to intercept the Shihab missile." Just last year that wasn't the case.

Use Diplomacy on Iran Case, Say Americans

Many adults in the United States think military action against Iran is unwarranted at this point, according to a poll by the New York Times and CBS News. 55 per cent of respondents believe Iran is a threat that can be contained with diplomacy now, and 19 per cent say the country is not a menace to the U.S.

The Monolith Crumbles: Reality and Revisionism in Iran

It is a well-known fact – except among the American media, the American government, and about 98.7 percent of the American people – that Iran is not a monolithic state where sheep-like masses bray with a single voice in chorus with their demented leaders, but is, on the contrary, a complex society where many conflicting opinions on matters political, religious, social, historical, etc., contend with each other in open debate.
True, it does have a government dominated by repressive clerics, who exercise the kind of veto power over secular law that George W. Bush's vaunted "base" dreams of seeing established in the United States; but Iran is far more open than, say, Saudi Arabia or China, just to name two countries where the Bush Family and friends have long engorged their bellies through insider connections with the ruling cliques.

Bolton: World Must Confront Iran
The U.S. ambassador to the
United Nations on Sunday told an influential pro-Israel lobbying group there is an urgent need to confront
Iran's "clear and unrelenting drive" for a nuclear weapons program. John Bolton, speaking before a crowd of 4,500 gathered for an American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, said that a failure by the U.N. Security Council to address Iran would "do lasting damage to the credibility of the council."

War Pimp Bolton Rides AGain

New York. In case Iran doesn't give up its ambitions in sphere of nuclear energy the country should face painful consequences and the USA will be able to use all means in order to counteract the threat coming from the Islamic republic, the US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton announced today, cited by Reuters agency. Bolton has mentioned that he was considering as untimely the imposing of sanctions on Iran by the UN Security Council and that Washington was preparing defensive measures for counteraction of Iranian nuclear threat.

War Pimping: Nato may help US airstrikes on Iran
WHEN Major-General Axel Tüttelmann, the head of Nato's Airborne Early Warning and Control Force, showed off an Awacs early warning surveillance plane in Israel a fortnight ago, he caused a flurry of concern back at headquarters in Brussels. It was not his demonstration that raised eyebrows, but what he said about Nato's possible involvement in any future military strike against Iran. "We would be the first to be called up if the Nato council decided we should be," he said. Nato would prefer the emphasis to remain on the "if", but Tüttelmann's comments revealed that the military alliance could play a supporting role if America launches airstrikes against Iranian nuclear targets.

New US focus on Destroying - uh - "promoting democracy" in Iran
The US State Department has created an office dedicated to Iran to reflect the Bush administration's new focus on promoting democracy in the Islamic republic, officials said on Thursday. Establishment of the Office of Iran Affairs follows the request to Congress made by Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, last month for an additional $75m this year to spend on influencing democratic change in Iran. The proposed spending has already triggered an internal struggle over who will control the $50m designated for a new Farsi-language television station.

Cheney daughter leads 'cold war' on mullahs
THE war in Iraq is her father's business but Elizabeth Cheney, the American vice-president's daughter, has been given responsibility for bringing about a different type of regime change in Iran. Cheney, a 39-year-old mother of four, is a senior official in the State Department, which has often been regarded as hostile territory by Dick Cheney's White House team. Nonetheless father and daughter agree it would be better for the mullahs' regime to collapse from within than to be ousted by force.

Signs Comment: Iran has no WMD capability, the IAEA established this late last year. Everything that we are being told about the nuclear threat from Iran is a lie.

Surprise! Helmut Kohl agrees with Ahmadinejad on Holocaust
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl reportedly told Iranian businessmen in Germany that he agreed with statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust was a "myth", the semi-official Jomhouri Islami reported on Monday.

Iran and Qaeda benefit from US in Iraq: congressman
The U.S. presence in Iraq is hurting the worldwide war on terrorism and benefits only Iran and al Qaeda, U.S. Rep. John Murtha said on Sunday.

"The only people who want us in Iraq are Iran and al-Qaeda," Murtha said on CBS's "Face the Nation" political talk show. "And I talked to a top-level commander the other day and he said China wants us there also. Why? Because we're depleting our resources ... our troop resources and our fiscal resources.

Iran will stand by rights in case of UN referral or sanctions
Supreme National Security Council Secretary General Ali Larijani said here on Sunday that referral of Iran's nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council would not prevent the Islamic Republic from conducting nuclear research and achieving development.
"It would be very outrageous for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer Iran to the Security Council for its research work," he told reporters at a press conference. If the nuclear dossier is referred to the UN, Iran will reduce its cooperation with the IAEA and start uranium enrichment, Larijani stated.

Risen sez: CIA used A-bomb plan as bait - gave flawed design to Iran

Iran and EU officials failed yesterday to resolve a standoff over Iran's nuclear work before a United Nations atomic watchdog meeting Monday that may lead to Security Council action. In his book, State of War, James Risen includes the startling claim that the U.S. actually handed Tehran the blueprints for an atomic bomb in 2000. The CIA scheme was to introduce intentional flaws in the design plans that would delay or derail Iranian work. The following excerpt shows the poorly conceived plan and its easily identified flaws. Risen is the reporter who revealed a secret domestic U.S. wiretapping surveillance program exists in the United States.

Iran refuses to stop nuclear work
Iran will continue its controversial nuclear research programme no matter what action the UN takes against it, one of its top officials has said.

US, Russia reject Iran compromise

The United States and Russia have ruled out an Iranian proposal to allow Tehran to run its own small-scale uranium enrichment programme.

Iranian bombshell?

Bush Administration officials are readying a new intelligence briefing for council members on Tehran's weapons programs. It will rely mainly on circumstantial evidence, much of it from documents found on a laptop purportedly purloined from an Iranian nuclear engineer and obtained by the CIA in 2004. U.S. officials insist the material is strong but concede they have no smoking gun.

UN to start hearing Iran case next week
The Iran nuclear crisis will be brought to the UN Security Council next week, a top US official said. "Iran has not met the conditions at the IAEA," Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns told the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations. "We will therefore start a new phase of diplomacy -- action by the UN Security council starting next week."

Signs Comment: Well, after all, the Bush gang DOES have a schedule to keep!

Iran will be stopped, Cheney vows to Israeli lobbyists
Vice President Dick Cheney has vowed unshakeable solidarity with Israel, and condemned the new Palestinian government. Cheney made it clear Iran would not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, described the Iranian regime as "irresponsible," and warned the United States had "all options on the table."

Signs Comment: Notice that AIPAC members had lobbying appointments with 400 Senators and Representatives from both parties who happened to be in attendance. Of course, we suspect that the only lobbying being done was for the AIPAC delegates to remind the members of the Senate and Congress that they were still in possession of those photos, videotapes and confidential data that the Senators and Representatives would prefer the media never hears about.

U.S. endorsed Iranian plans to build massive nuclear energy industry

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford signed a directive that granted Iran the opportunity to purchase U.S. built reprocessing equipment and facilities designed to extract plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel.

Iran Threatens U.S. With 'Harm and Pain'
Iran threatened the United States with "harm and pain" Wednesday for its role in hauling Tehran before the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program. But the United States and its European allies said Iran's nuclear intransigence left the world no choice but to ask for Security Council action. The council could impose economic and political sanctions on Iran.

Signs Comment: So let's see if we have this straight: the US threatens Iran with "harm and pain" because Bush claims Iran is developing nuclear weapons. There is no evidence to support Bush's claim, just like there was no real evidence that Saddam had WMD's before or after the invasion of Iraq. When Iran declares that it will retaliate against a US attack, its comments are splashed all over the mainstream US media as "proof" that Iran is evil. Did we miss something?

Iran Boosts Gulf Presence With Locally Made Submarine

Iran's armed forces have deployed a new locally-built submarine in Gulf waters, state television reported Tuesday. The vessel is named the Nahang, meaning whale, and was "built by specialists in the Iranian defence ministry and has the capability to carry multipurpose weapons for different missions", Rear Admiral Sajjad Kouchaki said.

Drumbeat sounds familiar
US fears about Iranian nukes, discussed in Vienna yesterday, are hardly the whole story. Washington is compiling a dossier of grievances against Tehran similar in scope and seriousness to the pre-war charge-sheet against Iraq.

Signs Comment: And we all know how authentic the Iraq dossier was, don't we? Seriously, how much longer are we going to take this BS?

Report: Israelis in Iran Hunting Nukes
An Israeli special operations team is working undercover in Iran, according to a report Sunday in a British newspaper. The soldiers are on a mission to prevent the Iranians from succeeding in their bid to develop a nuclear weapon. They are involved in locating uranium enrichment facilities in Iran, according to the British Sunday Times, and are currently based in neighboring northern Iraq. The United States is supporting the move, says the paper.

Signs Comment: The Israelis are in Iran hunting for intelligence that they can twist and distort and use to justify ethnically cleansing the Middle East of its Arab population.

Israeli pilot recalls smashing a rival's nuclear ambitions
Lt. Col. Zeev Raz tightened his grip on the controls of his F-16 and nosed the fighter jet into a dive. He patiently locked his bombsights on the dome of Iraq's nuclear reactor. The setting sun, at Raz's back, illuminated the reactor as if by spotlight. Raz flipped a switch with his index finger and released two 2,000-pound bombs. Seven other Israeli fighter jets flying with him did the same. In one bold action on June 7, 1981, Israel's military had left the Osiraq nuclear reactor near Baghdad in smoldering ruins and dealt a blow to Saddam Hussein's nuclear ambitions.

Signs Comment: WOW! It's just like a movie! Are you excited now about the impending attack on Iran?!

US demands drastic action as Iran nuclear row escalates
The US called for extraordinary action to get to the bottom of Iran's nuclear programme yesterday as Tehran and Washington moved into confrontational mode in the long-running dispute. The American ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Greg Schulte, called for "special inspections" by the UN nuclear teams in Iran, in effect giving them carte blanche in their detective work, at the Vienna meeting of the IAEA board that is reporting Iran to the UN security council. The mechanism has been used only once before, unsuccessfully, in North Korea 13 years ago.

Israel will have to act on Iran if UN can't

If the U.N. Security Council is incapable of taking action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself, Israel's defense minister said on Wednesday.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was asked whether Israel was ready to use military action if the Security Council proved unable to act against what Israel and the West believe is a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program. "My answer to this question is that the state of Israel has the right give all the security that is needed to the people in Israel. We have to defend ourselves," Mofaz told Reuters after a meeting with his German counterpart Franz Josef Jung.

Russia and West Split on Iran Nuclear Issue
A serious rift emerged Monday when Russia split with the United States and Europe over Iran's nuclear program after the Russians floated a last-minute proposal to allow Iran to make small quantities of nuclear fuel, according to European officials.
The reports of the proposal prompted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to call Mohamed ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and according to an administration official who was briefed on the conversation, "she said the United States cannot support this."

Bush's bumpy road to Iran

The Bush administration was hoping for a "green light" from the UN's nuclear watchdog agency, but things fell apart at the last minute. Iran mobilized an "eleventh hour" diplomacy-coup and promised not to pursue "industrial-scale" enrichment for two years. The announcement took IAEA-chief Muhammad ElBaradei by surprise and left him looking for ways to revive negotiations rather than issuing a critical report to the UN Security Council.

Washington splits over best policy to halt Iran's nuclear plan

Visiting MPs were astonished by a lack of consensus on the eve of the crucial nuclear meeting

Iran call for nuclear-free region
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the Middle East to be free of nuclear weapons. Speaking after talks with Kuwaiti leaders, Mr Ahmadinejad said nuclear weapons were a threat to stability. He said Iran was a good neighbour, and reiterated that its nuclear programme was for peaceful, civilian purposes.

Israeli Says Arrow Missile Can Hit Iranian Shihab Missiles

Senior Israeli defense officials are publicly proclaiming the reliability of their Arrow anti-ballistic missile interceptor in what appears to be a clear deterrence warning to Iran not to try and launch any nuclear missile strike against the Jewish state. The Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile system is capable of intercepting and destroying any Iranian missiles, even were they to carry nuclear warheads, a high-ranking Israel Defense Forces officer told The Jerusalem Post.

Iran's military prepared to defend against attacks

Iran's Defence Minister vowed on Wednesday that the country's armed forces were prepared for any foreign military aggression.
"The armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are ready to defend the country from any threats by the enemies", Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said while in the western city of Khorramshahr, the official state news agency reported. Separately, Iran, hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic would make the West regret trying to prevent it from acquiring nuclear capabilities. "Everyone must accept and respect the Iranian nation's desire to obtain peaceful nuclear technology", Ahmadinejad said at a rally in Khorramabad. "If anyone shows aggression to the Iranian nation's rights, Iran will wipe the dark stain of regret on their foreheads".

US Cannot Use Gansi Base for Iran'
Kyrgyzstan Minister of Foreign Affairs Alikbek Ceksenkulov said the United States can not use Gansi Military Base for a possible attack on Iran. It would be a violation of the mutual covenant between the two countries if the US decides to use the Gansi Air Base, close to Manas Airport in Bishkek, against Iran. The base was built to suppress terror in Afghanistan, Ceksenkulov told BBC Monday, adding that the base should not pose a threat to any Asian countries, including Iran. Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev also told Russian "Komersant" last week that America could only use Gansi for Afghanistan, not for Iran. The President reminded the US access period would only be extended depending on the stability of Afghanistan.

Logic out the window at the White House
The biggest pitfall in predicting the behavior of radical groups like the inner circle of the Bush administration is that you keep telling yourself that they would never actually do whatever it is they're talking about. Surely they must realize that acting like that would cause a disaster. Then they go right ahead and do it.

War Whore Rice: Iran is major challenge to peace
The US may face "no greater" challenge from any country than Iran, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said today. Ms Rice made the comments at a congressional hearing in Washington shortly after Iran's president vowed that there would be no retreat over its nuclear ambitions. Ms Rice, who is pushing the UN security council to start taking action against Iran that could lead to sanctions, also accused Tehran of meddling in Iraq. 

White House Linked to Mitch Wade Iran Group?

Yesterday at TPM we noted the fact that in April 2004 Mitchell Wade -- the guy who paid off Duke Cunningham for help bagging contracts -- registered as the 'registered agent' for an outfit called the "Iranian Democratization Foundation."
That was on April 5th, 2004.
Now, during 2004, the Federal Procurement Data System lists 444 procurement contracts for the Executive Office of the President (that's the official name for what we colloquially refer to as 'the White House'). Most of those contracts are what you'd expect for a large office complex -- computer services, shipping, office supplies, etc.

US congressmen press for Iran sanctions bill

Key US congressmen on Wednesday said that they would push forward with legislation imposing mandatory sanctions on foreign firms working in Iran, despite administration concerns that the bill could split the international coalition against Iran's nuclear programme.
As the United States and its allies prepared to take Iran's case to the UN Security Council – which could eventually consider penalties on Tehran – some lawmakers complained that Washington needs to be more aggressive in confronting the "threat" posed by Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology.

Steamroller Bolton at the U.N.

Watching John Bolton bulldoze the United Nations is mesmerizing. In a matter of months, he's savaged the system that distributes power more equitably and transformed the institution into a fiefdom for western elites and American corporations. Under the banner of "reform", the blustery Bolton has coerced a number of changes that will forever alter the composition of the UN; removing the institution's last vestiges of international legitimacy.

de la déontologie
John Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nations granted a visit, albeit short 22 minutes exactly, to the foreign press corps in New York. John Bolton has never been really fond of journalists. Though today he had a few reasons to rejoice.

Signs Comment: Bolton suggesting that Iran should be held to honouring signed international agreements is about as hypocritical as it comes. The Bush administration has flouted and ignored international agreements with an in yer face attitude that is flagrant.

Goal on Iran is political, not punitive says France

France is looking for a political solution to the dispute over Iran's nuclear ambitions rather than seeking to punish Tehran, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on French radio on Friday.
"Our goal is political, not at all punitive," he told RTL radio when asked whether France backed U.S. demands that the U.N. Security Council consider sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Congress of Arab parties voices support for Iran's nuclear right

The fourth session of the General Conference of Arab Parties here Tuesday voiced support for Iran's right to acquire peaceful nuclear technology.
Secretary-General of the Congress of Arab Parties Abdul Aziz al-Seyyed told reporters at a press conference held at the end of the three-day session that Iran was being targeted by big powers because it was a regional power with policies that did not please these powers.

Ambassador says Iran ready for uranium enrichment in Turkey

Iran is prepared to agree to the enrichment of uranium for its civilian nuclear program and subsequent recycling of spent nuclear fuel in Turkish territory, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency reported Thursday.
"Both countries have commitments under international agreements they are determined to comply with. We plan to discuss some proposals for uranium enrichment and spent nuclear fuel processing in the future," the Iranian ambassador to Turkey, Firuz Devletabadi, was quoted as saying. Devletabadi explained that all issues were being discussed within the framework of efforts for enhancing security in the region and that "the Iranian nuclear program does not have a military dimension," the report said.

War Whore US Beefs Up Iran Dossier
George W Bush's explanation of his volte-face over a proposed Iran-India gas pipeline project appeared slightly disingenuous. "Our beef with Iran is not the pipeline," the United States president said recently after withdrawing previous objections and giving the go-ahead to Washington's new friends in Delhi. "Our beef with Iran is the fact that they want to develop a nuclear weapon." But US fears about Iranian nukes are hardly the whole story. Washington is compiling a dossier of grievances against Tehran similar in scope and seriousness to the pre-war charge-sheet against Iraq. Other complaints include Iranian meddling in Iraq, support for Hamas in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon, and human rights abuses.

War Pimping US congressmen press for Iran sanctions bill

Key US congressmen on Wednesday said that they would push forward with legislation imposing mandatory sanctions on foreign firms working in Iran, despite administration concerns that the bill could split the international coalition against Iran's nuclear programme.
As the United States and its allies prepared to take Iran's case to the UN Security Council – which could eventually consider penalties on Tehran – some lawmakers complained that Washington needs to be more aggressive in confronting the "threat" posed by Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology.

War Pimp Israel sez 'US not doing enough to stop Iran'

The United States has until now not done enough to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, a senior Defense Ministry official has told The Jerusalem Post while expressing hope that Wednesday's referral of the Iranian issue to the United Nations Security Council would prove to be effective. "America needs to get its act together," the official said. "Until now the US administration has just been talking tough but the time has come for the Americans to begin to take tough action."

War Whore Bush: Iran 'grave' security concern

U.S. President Bush called Iran an ''issue of grave national security concern'' during a press conference to a national newspapers group.

War Pimp Ex-Israel Military Chief:West Can Cripple Iran Nuclear Program

A retired Israeli military chief said Friday that Western nations and Israel have the ability to launch a military strike that will set back Iran's nuclear program for many years.
Israel TV reported Thursday that Moshe Yaalon, who retired in June after a 37- year military career, told an audience in Washington that Israel has the capacity to carry out a military strike against Iran by itself.

As Syria's Influence in Lebanon Wanes, Iran Moves In
Nearly a year ago, not long after the assassination of Rafik Hariri, who was twice prime minister of Lebanon, Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon, unleashing a wave of patriotism here that prompted many to say that the Lebanese might finally be able to take control of their destiny.
But the intensity of the moment and the rush of emotions eclipsed at least one important and largely unanswerable question: With Syria gone, or at least its troops gone, who would fill the power vacuum? At the time, Iran did not appear to be the answer. But that is what is happening, according to government officials, political leaders and political analysts here.

Signs Comment: Gosh darn! Wouldn't you know it! Those dreaded Iranians are moving into the vacuum in Lebanon! Is there anypone with a neuron left firing in the US who can see through the patent manipulation of this article? A year ago, it was Syria. Now, they're gunning for Iran. Sheesh.

Bush campaign against Iran's religious leaders - Wash Post
The Bush administration intends to mount a campaign against Tehran's religious leaders in its efforts to build international pressure against Iran's nuclear program, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
Board members of Stanford University's Hoover Institution, who met two weeks ago with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and national security adviser Stephen Hadley, told the Post they had the impression that the administration had shifted to a more robust policy against the Tehran government.

U.S. State Dept. Names Iran Among Worst Violators
Releasing the latest edition of its annual human rights "Country Reports", the U.S. State Department Wednesday named Iran and China as among the world's "most systematic human rights violators" in 2005, along with North Korea, Burma, Zimbabwe, Cuba and Belarus. In a 16-page introduction, the report also singled out the human rights performances of Syria, Sudan, Nepal, Russia and Venezuela as particularly problematic through the year, even as it praised what it called "major progress" in Iraq, as well as advances in Afghanistan, Colombia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Burundi and Liberia. "In Iraq 2005 was a year of major progress for democracy, democratic rights and freedom," according to the introduction, citing the "steady growth of NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and other civil society associations that promote human rights", as well as the holding of two elections and one constitutional plebiscite.

Signs Comment: Excuse us, but the extent of the "cojones" required for the U.S. government to release this report citing Iran and China as among the world's "most systematic human rights violators" in 2005, is shocking even to us.

War Pimp: Nuclear expert: Too late to stop Iran
A former top UN and US arms inspector on Iraq has said it may be too late to stop a nuclear-weapons determined Iran, noting that there is no consensus on taking military action against Tehran. "I'm afraid that we probably are past the point where there is any meaningful alternative other than military action to stop the Iranians if they are determined to go ahead. And I don't see that as a possibility," David Kay, who led the US search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq following the 2003 invasion, said on Sunday.

War Pimp McCain: If Iran Gets Nukes, U.S. 'In Trouble'

Where Iran is concerned, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, believes President Bush was right in keeping military leverage on the table and considering U.N. sanctions. "Iran may be the greatest single threat to America since the end of the Cold War,"McCain told an audience at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, Tenn. "If the Iranians acquire nuclear weapons, then my friends, we are in trouble." As far as Iraq, McCain called for more training, the formation of a government and economic development, and he stated that the United States needs to pursue positive relationships in the Arab world.

War Pimp: Iran builds a secret underground complex as nuclear tensions rise

Iran's leaders have built a secret underground emergency command centre in Teheran as they prepare for a confrontation with the West over their illicit nuclear programme, the Sunday Telegraph has been told. The complex of rooms and offices beneath the Abbas Abad district in the north of the capital is designed to serve as a bolthole and headquarters for the country's rulers as military tensions mount.

28 May 03
The Baghdad bunker which the United States said it bombed on the opening night of the Iraq war in a bid to kill Saddam Hussein never existed.

The network quoted a U.S. Army colonel in charge of inspecting key sites in Baghdad as saying no trace of a bunker or of bodies had been found at the site on the southern outskirts of the Iraqi capital, known as Dora Farms. "When we came out here, the primary thing they were looking for was an underground facility, or bodies, forensics, and basically, what they saw was giant holes created. No underground facilities, no bodies," Col. Tim Madere said.

CBS, saying it was the first news organization to visit the site, reported that the CIA had searched it once and Col. Madere had searched it twice as part of efforts to find traces of DNA that could indicate if Saddam or his sons had been killed or wounded. The network said the main palace in the compound remained standing despite the surrounding destruction. It quoted Madere as saying anyone who had been in the building could have survived the raid.

Shortly after the attack, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters: "There's no question but that the strike on that leadership headquarters was successful. We have photographs of what took place. The question is, what was in there?"

The United States effectively acknowledged that the March 20 raid failed to kill Saddam when it launched a second air attack aimed at the Iraqi president on April 7. The fate of Saddam and his sons Uday and Qusay is still unclear. Rumsfeld said earlier this month, "If you don't have evidence he's dead, you've probably got to assume he's alive."

Israeli plan to attack Iranian nuclear reactors

The Israeli media was dominated by one story on Friday - comments made by Israel's former military chief of staff concerning Iran's nuclear programme. Speaking at the Hudson Institute in Washington, Moshe Ya'alon suggested that Israel is well-equipped to attack Iran and has the means to defend itself against possible missile attack.
He went into some detail about Israeli options, but did stress that first the world must try economic and diplomatic channels to pressure Teheran into not producing nuclear weapons. Such comments are highly irregular from senior Israeli figures. The story was broken by Israel's Channel 1 television, whose reporter happened to attend the address. Apparently Ya'alon was fully aware a journalist was present when he made his address. Israel has a contingency and integrated plan for a crushing military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. The revelation by a retired Israeli general has set off a political storm. Moshe Ya'alon added that Israel has the ability to launch a pre-emptive strike that could set back Iran's nuclear programme for years. He said that a single attack would not be sufficient, and that Israel was not limited to air strikes, a possible reference to submarine-fired missiles.

Anti-Israel rabbis support Iran

Members of an orthodox Jewish sect have met top Iranian officials in Tehran to show support for the Iranian president's call for the destruction of Israel, reports say. Leading rabbis of Neturei Karta, an anti-Zionist group of ultra-Orthodox Jews who consider the existence of Israel an abomination, met with Gholamreza Aghazadeh, Iran's Vice President, the top-selling Yediot Aharonot reported. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the Jewish state "must be wiped off the map" or moved as far away as Alaska - comments that have provoked anger in the West and condemnation from the UN Security Council. Rabbi Dovid Weiss, the group's spokesman, was quoted as supporting Ahmadinejad's call during an interview on Iranian television last week.

Bush blames Iran for some bombs in Iraq
He told an audience in Washington that his administration has proof that Iran is producing lethal, improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, that have been found in Iraq. "Coalition forces have seized IEDs and components that were clearly produced in Iran," the president said.

Signs Comment:
A blatant lie? Seems like it...

US general says no proof Iran behind Iraq arms
The United States does not have proof that Iran's government is responsible for the presence of Iranian weapons and military personnel in Iraq, the top U.S. military officer said on Tuesday.

Signs Comment: So with no evidence of a Iran having Nuclear weapons and no evidence of Iranian interference in Iraq, what reason is there to attack Iran? Well, you see, that's there thing, there is no reason, other than Israel wants to be top dog in the Middle East, and Israel is willing to make the sacrifice of thousands of Iranian and US military lives to achieve that goal.

Activists in Iran say U.S. strategy hurts their work
Prominent activists inside Iran say President Bush's plan to spend tens of millions of dollars to promote democracy here is the kind of help they don't need.

Iran: Where do we go from here?
The Bush administration has run into a rock wall at the Security Council. Neither Russia nor China will agree to any resolution that condemns Iran for "noncompliance" with its treaty obligations. In fact, there is general agreement that Iran has not violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) so the point is moot. This eliminates any chance that punitive action will be taken against Iran or that sanctions will be applied. So why did the Bush administration take the case this far if they knew that there was no possibility for consensus on the main issue? The administration knew from the beginning that the world body would not support sanctions or military action. The intention was simply to increase suspicion about Iran's nuclear programs and mobilize public support for a war. In fact, the United States is not at all concerned with Iran's nuclear programs. It is merely a hoax that is being used to conceal Washington's war plans.

China, Russia Blocking U.S. Bid to Pressure Iran

China and Russia are blocking agreement on a U.S.-backed statement by the United Nations Security Council that Iran must suspend uranium enrichment activities, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said. Envoys from China, France, Russia, the U.K. and U.S., the council's five permanent members, ended a third round of talks today on a draft statement that also asks the UN's nuclear watchdog agency to report on Iran's response to the suspension demand. Another meeting is scheduled for tomorrow in New York. ``We've been trying to get this issue into the Security Council for close to four years and other countries, including other permanent members, haven't had that view, so it's no surprise that different views remain,'' Bolton told reporters at the UN.

US proposes global civilian nuclear partnership
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman proposed a new global "partnership" overseen by the UN nuclear watchdog to improve access to civilian nuclear power in developing countries.
"We have the choice of a game of catch up or to initiate a more secure approach to the world. The program is at a very early stage but the initial consultations with France, Russia, China are encouraging," Bodman said at a press conference ahead of a Group of Eight energy meeting he is attending in Moscow. The partnership would be overseen by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, he said.

US tags Iran as biggest threat

Making no apologies for the war in Iraq
, the United States reaffirmed a right to preemptive military action and vowed to confront threats like North Korea and especially Iran. "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," the White House said in a 49-page blueprint called the "National Security Stategy" of the United States, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

UN-Iran discussion mirrors Iraq debate
Some experts warn that the US may act independently if the UN Security Council takes too long on Iran. UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. – As the United Nations Security Council wrestles with how to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, discussion at UN headquarters is at times as much about the council's effectiveness and America's role in the international community as it is about Iran. Sound vaguely familiar?

An Iran option the US prefers to ignore
After a week of internal wrangling culminating in a mini-split, with China and Russia unwilling to forge a united front with the other three permanent members of the UN Security Council on a strongly worded statement on Iran, the latter are proceeding anyway. The US, France and the United Kingdom have submitted a draft text that, while it calls on Iran to comply with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolutions, reeks of legal nihilism.

Iran and Bird Flu: The Perfect Casus Belli?
The casus belli against Iran is about to be unveiled. You may call it the modern equivalent of Pearl Harbor, and it has already occurred without you even noticing. Iran is attacking us with air-delivered weapons of mass destruction, and we have no choice but to respond in kind. Unless we act immediately, the next wave of Iran's deadly chirping missiles will be launched in the next few weeks from the Iranian wetlands toward their targets in Scandinavia and Alaska, and from there will extend their deadly effect, killing millions throughout the Western world.

US Monitoring Israel's Iran Options

The Pentagon is looking into the possibility of Israel launching a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. In the past months there were several working-level discussions trying to map out the possible scenarios for such an attack, according to administration sources who were briefed on these meetings.

Bush ready to initiate 'regime change' for the mullahs
After five years of indecision and internal disputes the Bush administration has started a new, more vigorous phase in trying to undermine the ruling mullahs of Iran. The phrase "regime change" is seen as too loaded to use in public but in effect that is what the administration is hoping to do, according to officials in Washington. Buoyed up by achieving its initial goal of dragging Teheran before the United Nations Security Council, which is to debate Iran this week, officials are now promoting several measures reminiscent of the American approach towards Moscow in the Cold War.

War Pimping: US restates strike-first policy, warns Iran

Making no apologies for the war in Iraq, the United States reaffirmed its strike-first policy of preemption and warned that Iran may pose the biggest threat to US national security. "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," the White House said in a 49-page blueprint called "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America." The report drew up a balance sheet of what it called US President George W. Bush's foreign policy successes and remaining "challenges" like bloody violence in Iraq and tense standoffs over nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.

War Pimping: Bush blames Iran for some bombs in Iraq
Iran has been supplying explosives to those intent on wreaking violence in Iraq, U.S. President George W. Bush said Monday. He told an audience in Washington that his administration has proof that Iran is producing lethal, improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, that have been found in Iraq.
"Coalition forces have seized IEDs and components that were clearly produced in Iran," the president said.

Signs Comment: Yeah, right. And there are WMDs in Iraq. Hey, Georgie! Since you believe this stuff, did you know there is oceanfront property in Arizona?? Sure is. I own a big lot right on the beach... wanna buy it?

China, Russia Blocking U.S. Bid to Pressure Iran

China and Russia are blocking agreement on a U.S.-backed statement by the United Nations Security Council that Iran must suspend uranium enrichment activities, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said. Envoys from China, France, Russia, the U.K. and U.S., the council's five permanent members, ended a third round of talks today on a draft statement that also asks the UN's nuclear watchdog agency to report on Iran's response to the suspension demand. Another meeting is scheduled for tomorrow in New York.

Russia and China remain at odds with U.S., Britain and France over Iran statement
UNITED NATIONS - Russia and China remained at odds Tuesday with the United States, Britain and France over a U.N. Security Council statement on Iran's nuclear program, which the three Western nations contend is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. The five permanent veto-wielding council members met for more than 90 minutes but didn't resolve differences on a proposed British-French draft that would demand Iran halt all uranium enrichment and call for a report within weeks on Iran's progress in answering questions about its nuclear program.

Activists in Iran say U.S. strategy hurts their work
Prominent activists inside Iran say President Bush's plan to spend tens of millions of dollars to promote democracy here is the kind of help they don't need.
In a case that advocates fear is directly linked to Bush's announcement, the government has jailed two Iranians who traveled outside the country to attend what was billed as workshops on human rights. Two others who attended were interrogated for three days.

Iran: Where do we go from here?
The Bush administration has run into a rock wall at the Security Council. Neither Russia nor China will agree to any resolution that condemns Iran for "noncompliance" with its treaty obligations. In fact, there is general agreement that Iran has not violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) so the point is moot. This eliminates any chance that punitive action will be taken against Iran or that sanctions will be applied. So why did the Bush administration take the case this far if they knew that there was no possibility for consensus on the main issue?

Nuclear Bunker Buster Bombs against Iran: This Way Lies Madness
The latest information I have had from the followers of Bush is that he has demanded and received permission to use nuclear "bunker busters" in Iran in a preemptive strike. As a nuclear veteran (Operation Redwing, Bikini, 1956) I can affirm that this is absolute madness. The "bunker buster" is a cute sounding name for a nuclear horror. Air bursts are horrible enough, doing incredible destruction through heat, shock and high initial radiation. The fallout from an air burst is registered around the world. A surface or subsurface burst is even deadlier and more long lasting.

New War Dangers: Iran, the U.S. and Nukes in the Middle East
* Escalating rhetoric, continued losses in Iraq, Bush's political problems, and an ideologically-driven pursuit of power make the possibility of a U.S. military attack on Iran - however reckless and however dangerous its consequences - a frighteningly real possibility.
* Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has not violated the Treaty. While there appear to be unresolved issues regarding full transparency, its nuclear program, including enriching uranium, is perfectly legal under NPT requirements for non-nuclear weapons states.
* Iran does not have nuclear weapons; even if it is trying to build a nuclear weapons program, it could not produce weapons for five to ten years or more.
* There is a dangerous, unmonitored and provocative nuclear arsenal in the Middle East; it belongs to Israel, not Iran. U.S. hypocrisy and double standards in nuclear policy, accepting Israel's unacknowledged nuclear arsenal and rewarding India's nuclear weapons status while threatening war against Iran and denying its own obligations under the NPT, has undermined Washington's claimed commitment to non-proliferation.
* U.S. officials claim they are not considering an invasion of Iraq but "only" surgical air strikes against known nuclear facilities; they have not explained what their military response will be when Iran retaliates, whether against U.S. troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region, against U.S. oil tankers in near-by shipping lanes, or against Israel.
* Global suspicions remain regarding U.S. claims because of Washington's lies leading to the invasion of Iraq, but international conditions regarding Iran are significantly different; many governments appear more willing to consider Iran a "threat."
* The only solution to the crisis is to move towards a nuclear weapons-free, or even weapons of mass destruction-free zone across the entire Middle East.

America's nuclear hypocrisy undermines its stance on Iran
Even as he was telling Iran not to produce nuclear weapons, President Bush was urging Congress to pay for a new nuclear weapon designed to destroy underground military facilities. Although the nuclear "bunker-buster" is still on the drawing board, Iran can be expected to charge the United States with atomic hypocrisy during the current war of words.

War Pimp US accuses Iran of "unhelpful activities" in Iraq

U.S. officials in Iraq accused Iran again on Friday of meddling in its neighbor's internal affairs, saying the Islamic Republic was carrying out "unhelpful activities" there.
The charge came a day after Iran said it accepted a proposal by a leading Iraqi Shi'ite leader to open a dialogue with the United States on Iraq. A U.S. embassy statement said Washington was "concerned about unhelpful Iranian activities in Iraq. These concerns are well known and we have talked about them."

China requires IAEA report on Iran at Security Council

China on Friday offered a plan to ask the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency to report to the UN Security Council on Iran's compliance. China backed by Russia have argued that the IAEA chief should first report to his 35-nation board, which would diminish the role of the UN Security Council.

Do You Feel Safe With This Man's Finger on the Button? The Bush Doctrine of Nuclear Preemption

As our ears prick to the drumbeat of Bush v. Iran, a highly respected researcher from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) warns that Washington is edging toward a policy of nuclear preemption, and Teheran knows it. Although the post 9/11 doctrine of USA military strategy known as "Global Strike" is often promoted as a post nuclear plan, Hans M. Kristensen finds documentary evidence that a "nuclear option" is included.

Iran links Britain to shooting of 21 officials
Iran accused Britain of trying to stir religious and ethnic unrest in its eastern border region yesterday after armed rebels ambushed a party of government officials and killed 21. Police said the victims, who included security officials, were ordered out of their vehicles and shot in cold blood. The fleet of cars was then set ablaze. Seven others, including the governor of the provincial capital, Zahidan, were wounded in Thursday night's incident, which happened after gunmen, disguised in military uniforms, set up a roadblock to intercept the convoy as it travelled along a remote spot in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

Signs Comment: Everyone needs to understand that this has been the modus operandi of Britain, the U.S., Israel and most other western intelligence agencies for many years, yet the US, Britain, and most specifically Israel lead the field in such illegal and immoral acts. Behind the facade of the spreading of freedom and democracy, America, Israel and Britain are currently engaged in a criminal and covert war of aggression against Iran.

Iran to invest one billion dollars in Iraq's industrial sector
Iran appears prepared to give a helping hand to its erstwhile foe Iraq by investing about one billion dollars in Iraq's ravaged industrial sector.
A team of Iranian experts is expected to visit Baghdad in the coming weeks to identify business opportunities. Iran's Exports Promotion Bank has already earmarked some 400 million dollars for the first projects to materialise under the plan.

Britain breaks with the US over Iran
Britain has told the United States that it will not take part in any armed action against Iran's nuclear sites, according to diplomatic sources in London. Already facing huge public criticism for his participation in the Iraq war, Prime Minister Tony Blair is seeking to distance himself from America's belligerent rhetoric towards Iran.
Blair knows he would probably not survive the political storm if Britain joined in an attack on Iran. The concern in Whitehall, however, is that the Bush administration, egged on by Israel and its powerful friends in the United States, risks developing an unstoppable momentum towards war a war in which Britain clearly wants no part.

War Pimping: Iran set to step up enrichment
IRAN is about to run a 164-centrifuge cascade to enrich uranium, a step that would increase urgency for UN action on Teheran's nuclear program, diplomats said.

Iran: Time To Leak - Where are the whistleblowers about Iran?

It is exactly three years since the United States and Great Britain invaded Iraq, and a little over three years since Martin Bright and his colleagues at the London Observer quietly tested the veracity of an e-mail passed to them anonymously, whilst I nervously waited to see if the e-mail I leaked would appear in a newspaper. All this for the purpose of slowing down, if not derailing, a war that many felt was being rushed into by gung-ho politicians Bush and Blair.

FBI weaving web in Pak to launch attack on Iran

In order to accomplish its evil designs against Iran United States of America has established Federal Bureau of Intelligence office in Pakistan.

FBI is working in Islamabad for last one and half year. The FBI agents are working as Finger Print Staff at Inspector General of Police Islamabad Office under the guise of Immigration Wing, Weekly Pulse reports.

Who is the rogue state really?

A brief history of Iran since 16th century
Iran is one of the few countries in the world that has never become a colony of any of the imperialist powers. However, during the reign of Kajar dynasty from 1795 to 1925, Iran plunged into a deep cri-sis, and to some extent, colonial powers dominated Iran both economically and politically thanks to inept and corrupt monarchs.

Will Iran Help Bush Preserve His Republican Majority?
Could it be that 'Axis of Evil' Iran holds the electoral fortunes of the U.S. Republican Party and the fate of Iraq in the palm of its hands? According to this analysis from Lebanon's leading Arab-Language newspaper Annahar, Iran may be willing to help pull the White House's coals out of the Iraqi fire … for a price.

America's options for Iran

As the nuclear standoff between the US and Iran escalates, American leaders would do well to look at the range of options that exist for them. The options consist of sanctions, military strikes, and a change in policy. Sanctions and military strikes

Iran Leader OKs Talks With U.S. on Iraq

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that he approves of talks between U.S. and Iranian officials on Iraq, but warned that the United States must not try to "bully" Iran.
It was the first confirmation that Khamenei, who holds final say on all state matters in Iran, is in favor of the talks. His comments came hours after President Bush spoke in favor of such a meeting, saying American officials would show Iran "what's right or wrong in their activities inside of Iraq."

Between Iran and Israel, try a bomb for a bomb

There is widespread international agreement that Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons is an alarming prospect. But very little attention is paid to the most obvious reason why: There already is a Middle Eastern nuclear power, Israel, insistent on preserving its monopoly. So the crisis has been foreseeable for decades; it would be automatically triggered by the emergence of a second nuclear power, friendly or unfriendly to the West. Iran is the unfriendliest possible, encouraging a widespread assumption that it alone is responsible for creating the crisis - and settling it. But is it?

China Repeats Agreement with Russia on Iran
China said on Thursday, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin left Beijing, that Beijing and Moscow are in accord on Iran's nuclear standoff with the West.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday criticized a draft U.N. Security Council statement aimed at pressuring Iran to stop enriching uranium, despite a new offer of amendments by Western powers. [...] A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, Qin Gang, said President Hu Jintao and Putin discussed Iran during Putin's two-day visit. "China and Russia exchanged views and both sides agreed the Iran nuclear issue should be resolved through diplomatic means," Qin told reporters.

US: No final deal reached over Iran's nuclear issue
The United States said on Thursday that it has failed so far to reach an agreement on Iran'snuclear issue with other parties but insisted that it is moving "in the right direction."

Iran denounces US accusation as lie to undermine Islam

A top Iranian cleric on Friday denounced the US accusation over Iran's nuclear program as a lie to undermine the world of Islam, saying that the Iranians will never "keep silent," the official IRNA news agency reported.

Give Iran The Bomb:
The United States gives India, already a nuclear power, greater nuclear capability, but threatens war, death, the destruction of Iran's oil supply, and a world wide financial catastrophe if Iran dares to want the same thing.

No more stalling on Iran: Rice

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, displaying impatience with slow UN talks on Iran's nuclear activities, warned "there can't be any stalling" in dealing with the potential threat.
"There is no time for delay in taking on this issue," Rice said of the discussions on a draft UN Security Council statement on Iran that have been snagged by objections from Russia and China.

Iraq's Militia Problem: Go Blame Iran

If you listen to PNAC conspirator and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, more “Iraqis are dying from the militia violence than from the terrorists.” However, this time last year the CIA’s National Intelligence Council informed us Iraq was a training ground “for the next generation of ‘professionalized’ terrorists,” as the CIA’s favorite newspaper, the Washington Post, characterized the situation.

Most Iranians not anti-Semitic

The extremist Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for Israel to be wiped off the map and recently denied the Holocaust, thus propelling the militant mullahs of Iran to the pinnacle of anti-Semitism. In the midst of Ahmadinejad's unwarranted statements, however, it is the average Iranian who suffers yet another blow. While the ugly hatred of a self-elected group of Iranian leaders is exposed, where does this leave the Iranian people? For the majority of Iranians, whose opinions convey unswerving opposition to the militant regime, it may be an opportunity for them to set themselves apart. Early anti-Semitism in Europe resulted in the expulsion of Jews from Spain and other countries; the latest hatred led to the annihilation of 6 million innocent lives during World War II. In Iran, however, anti-Semitism came about as an essential import of early Arab invaders who pillaged Iranian cities. Their reliance on harsh enactments of Islamic law in order to discriminate against and degrade Iranian Jews, in addition to the majority Zoroastrian population, was an attempt to force religious conversion. To this day, remnants of those treatments, largely excised by the late shah of Iran, survive as insults. These insults are derogatory terms implying "unclean" in Farsi. They exist in the language of the ignorant and the vengeful, and take form in the anti-Semitic policies of Ahmadinejad's government. But to say that this ignorance spreads to the whole of the Iranian population both is false and an inadequate analysis of the Iranian psyche.

Straw: Iran Will Not Be Another Iraq
Military action against Iran is neither appropriate nor conceivable, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw insisted Tuesday. Speaking in London as he launched a Foreign Office white paper outlining Britain's international strategy for the coming decade, Straw moved to allay fears that the current stand-off would lead to "another Iraq."

Signs Comment: Yeah, yeah... And Saddam had WMD's and Gulf War II wouldn't become another Vietnam...

Security Council 'very close' to accord on Iran statement: diplomats
Key Security Council members said they were "very close" to agreeing a watered-down statement urging
Iran to come clean on its nuclear program and presented a new draft to other members. After a series of informal discussions involving the five permanent, veto-wielding members of the Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- participants reported considerable progress and voiced hope that a new draft could be adopted by the full 15-member body Wednesday.

New U.N. Draft on Iran Softens Condemnation

European and American diplomats circulated a new draft statement to the Security Council on Tuesday evening that weakens language condemning Iran's nuclear program but still calls on Tehran to abandon uranium enrichment activities, which the West believes are intended to make weapons.

U.N. Security Council passes nuclear demands for Iran
The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved a statement Wednesday demanding that Iran suspend uranium enrichment.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed earlier on a statement demanding that Iran suspend uranium enrichment, setting the stage for the first action by the powerful body over fears that Tehran wants a nuclear weapon. The text gives Iran 30 days to cooperate with the IAEA and suspend its uranium enrichment, according to U.S. Ambassador John Bolton.

Neo-con cabal blocked 2003 nuclear talks
The George W Bush administration failed to enter into negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program in May 2003 because neo-conservatives who advocated destabilization and regime change were able to block any serious diplomatic engagement with Tehran, according to former administration officials. The same neo-conservative veto power also prevented the administration from adopting any official policy statement on Iran, those same officials said. Lawrence Wilkerson, then chief of staff to secretary of state Colin Powell, said the failure to adopt a formal Iran policy in 2002-03 was the result of obstruction by a "secret cabal" of neo-conservatives in the administration, led by Vice President Dick Cheney.
"The secret cabal got what it wanted: no negotiations with Tehran," Wilkerson wrote in an e-mail to Inter Press Service (IPS).

Signs Comment: And some people still try to tell us that this "war on terror" has not been in the planning for a very long time. But of course, we will soon be treated to a shocking revelation about Iran that means that the US will be "forced" to go to war...again... The real question is, how stupid are you? As stupid as your leaders think you are?...

Iran In NeoCon CrossHairs

Air Strikes by Israel would draw U.S. into another war. What would happen if Israeli warhawks launched an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities? This week, American Free Press takes a look at a new study by an international terrorism expert, which warns that bombing the Persian country would likely drag the United States into a drawnout and bloody clash of civilizations. AFP predicted it almost a year ago, but are neo-cons that crazy? A new study by an international terrorism expert warns that a military attack launched by the Israelis on Iran's nuclear facilities would certainly escalate to involve the United States, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as Persian Gulf states. In its early stages, it would result in many thousands of civilian and military casualties.

Iran Defiantly Rejects New U.N. Demands

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran on Thursday the "international community is united" in the dispute over its nuclear program, but a Tehran envoy defiantly rejected a U.N. call to reimpose a freeze on uranium enrichment.

US presses for longer-term measures on Iran
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called a newly adopted UN statement on Iran a first step and urged world powers to consider longer-term measures to thwart Tehran's suspected nuclear arms ambitions.

Signs Comment: In other words, the US has plans for Iran.

Iran To Stage Massive Gulf Military Maneuver

Thousands of Iranian troops will on Friday start a week-long military maneuver in the Gulf to ready armed forces for warding off "threats", a senior commander announced on state television.
The commander of the navy of Revolutionary Guards Corps, Rear Admiral Mostafa Safari, did not specify the nature of the threat although the maneuver comes amid increasing tensions with the West over Tehran's nuclear programme.
"The Revolutionary Guards Corps navy and air force in collaboration with (Iran's regular) army, navy, (the volunteer militia) Basij, and the Iranian police will start a maneuver from 31 March until 6 April in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman," he said.

Tehran Announces Successful Test of Stealth Missile

Iran successfully tested a missile devised in Iran and capable of escaping detection by radar, announced the aviation head of the Revolutionary Guard on Friday.
"Today, a remarkable objective of the defense forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran was attained with the successful firing of a new missile with a higher technological and tactical capability than those produced to date", underlined General Hossein Salami on state television.

Russia has warned it will not support any attempts to use force to resolve the stand-off over Iran's controversial nuclear programme. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that "exclusively political methods should be used".

Iran rejects call to halt enrichment
Iran refused Thursday to comply with a UN Security Council demand to freeze uranium enrichment, defying a call by major world powers to curb its nuclear program or face isolation. Iran struck the defiant stance as foreign ministers of the Security Council's permanent members plus Germany met in Berlin to chart their next moves in the standoff.

Fool Me Twice
I used to think that the Bush administration wasn't seriously considering a military strike on Iran, because it would only accelerate Iran's nuclear program. But what we're seeing and hearing on Iran today seems awfully familiar. That may be because some U.S. officials have already decided they want to hit Iran hard.

Signs Comment: This guy is living in a dream-world if he thinks any of his proposals for openness and putting the information on the table will ever happen under this administration. It is the most secretive in history, keeping everything under lock and key.

Cirincione just doesn't get the depth of the problem. Does it occur to him that fomenting strife between Sunni and Shi'ite in Iraq and promoting the idea that Iran is behind the Shi'ites could have been the strategy to justify war on Iran? How much of what has passed for "civil war" in Iraq has been the work of false flag operations meant to create that impression?

Iraq has been a set-up from the beginning. Yes, part of the story is that the oil dons in the Bush administration wanted to get their hands on Iraq's oil fields. But the other part of the story is that Irasel has had as its strategic obective for over twenty years the dismemberment of the Arab world. Chaos in the Middle East is their goal.

Growing Threat Seen In Afghan Insurgency
The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress yesterday that the insurgency in Afghanistan is growing and will increase this spring, presenting a greater threat to the central government's expansion of authority "than at any point since late 2001."

Hypocrisy Dept: Bush hails Afghanistan's democracy, vows Bin Laden will be captured

US President George W. Bush hailed Afghanistan's young democracy and vowed to bring Osama bin Laden to justice as he made his surprise first visit to the country since the fall of the Taliban.

BS Dept: Bush Confident Bin Laden Will Be Captured

President Bush, on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, vowed Wednesday to stand by this emerging democracy despite a resurgence of violence, saying "the United States is not cut and run."

After Afghanistan trip, Bush unlikely to see US troops in Iraq

President George W. Bush regularly reminds Americans that he is the "commander in chief", but nobody expects to see him with US troops in Iraq any time soon.

Outlook worsens in Afghanistan
 Fighting between U.S. forces and suspected Taliban rebels on Tuesday killed one American service member and wounded two others in southern Afghanistan, as military officials in Washington and Afghanistan said insurgent attacks rose sharply last year and are likely to worsen in 2006.

More Torture in Occupied Afghanistan

"In one of the great deceptive maneuvers in U.S. history," Bob Herbert wrote recently, "the military-industrial complex (with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as chairman and C.E.O., respectively) took its eye off the real enemy in Afghanistan and launched the pointless but far more remunerative war in Iraq." Herbert, one of the New York Times' better pundits, ought to know better than to point to Afghanistan as the right fight at the right time. But he's not the only Pollyanna of America's other dirty war.

Growing Threat Seen In Afghan Insurgency - DIA Chief Cites Surging Violence in Homeland
The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress yesterday that the insurgency in Afghanistan is growing and will increase this spring, presenting a greater threat to the central government's expansion of authority "than at any point since late 2001." "Despite significant progress on the political front, the Taliban-dominated insurgency remains a capable and resilient threat," Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples said in a statement presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee at its annual hearing on national security threats.

US military expects violent Afghan spring: admiral

U.S. forces in Afghanistan expect violent clashes with al Qaeda-linked insurgents in coming months before security improves later in the year, a senior military officer said on Thursday.
Navy Rear Admiral Robert Moeller, U.S. Central Command director for plans and policy, told a congressional hearing an upsurge in violence could stem from U.S. and NATO forces extending their reach into parts of Afghanistan where the insurgent presence is greater.

Relatives of dead soldier question Canada's role in Afghanistan

The mother and aunt of a Newfoundland soldier who was killed in Afghanistan are calling on the federal government to reconsider Canada's role there. Cpl. Jamie Murphy died in a suicide bomb attack near Kabul in January 2004. Two years later, Murphy's mother says his death still haunts her. "I think about every second of every day," said Alice Murphy, who lives in Conception Harbour, N.L. She said memories of her son's death are revived whenever she hears of new casualties. "It is really hard to know that there's other guys and families in the same situation that we're in, and we are still in it, and it will never go away. Never."

Taliban chief vows "unimaginable" violence
Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar vowed a ferocious offensive against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, saying on Thursday they would soon face unimaginable violence.
An insurgency that has killed more than 1,500 people since the start of last year has intensified in recent months with a wave of suicide bombings, including at least 12 this year. Ten U.S. troops have been killed in combat this year and U.S. commanders have said they expect violence to increase in coming months as the weather warms, snow on mountain passes melts, and Afghanistan's traditional fighting season begins. "With the arrival of the warm weather, we will make the ground so hot for the invaders it will be unimaginable for them," Omar said in his message, read by Taliban spokesman Mohammad Hanif over the telephone from an undisclosed location.

Bush Troubled by Afghan Convert's Case
President Bush said Wednesday that he is "deeply troubled" that an Afghan man is being tried for converting to Christianity. Abdul Rahman, 41, faces a possible death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago. He has been charged with rejecting Islam, a crime under this country's Islamic laws. Bush said in a speech that a young democracy is growing in Afghanistan, but he's concerned about the case.

Afghan judiciary says won't bow to convert pressure
Afghanistan's judiciary will not bow to outside pressure over the fate of a man who faces the death penalty for converting to Christianity, a judge dealing with the case said on Thursday.

Battle at Afghan Military Base Kills 14
Militants attacked a coalition forces base in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, sparking a battle that killed two foreign soldiers and at least 12 rebels, the U.S. military said. At least one of the soldiers was American.
Four foreign troops and an Afghan soldier were wounded in the battle in Helmand province, the military said in a statement. The region is a hotbed of insurgency and center of the booming drugs trade in Afghanistan.

Taliban say Afghan offensive is on, 22 dead

Insurgents in Afghanistan attacked a military base on Wednesday and an American, a Canadian and at least 12 militants were killed as a Taliban spokesman said a spring offensive had begun.
The Taliban said their fighters attacked the foreign forces in the southern province of Helmand.

Suicide attacker dies, 7 Afghans hurt in blast
Afghanistan - A suicide car-bomber was killed in Afghanistan on Thursday when his explosives went off prematurely as he approached a Canadian military convoy, police said.
None of the Canadians was wounded but seven passers-by were hurt in the car-bomb blast in the center of the southern city of Kandahar, police said. The violence came a day after one of the biggest battles in the past year between U.S.-led forces and Taliban insurgents.

Saddam Asks: 'Where Is the Crime?'
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein speaks at his trial in Baghdad Wednesday March 1, 2006. Saddam and seven co-defendants are on trial for torture, illegal arrests and the killing of nearly 150 people from Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt on Saddam in the town. Saddam Hussein told his judges Wednesday that he ordered the trial of Shiites who were eventually executed in the 1980s and that he ordered the confiscation of their lands, but insisted that doing so was not a crime.

Iraqi PM insists Turkey visit 'legal'
Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari brushed aside President Jalal Talabani's criticism of his one-day visit to Turkey, arguing that the trip was in order with the law.

Spy Chief: Iraq May Spark Regional Fight

A civil war in
Iraq could lead to a broader conflict in the Middle East, pitting the region's rival Islamic sects against each other, National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said in an unusually frank assessment Tuesday.

Bush in Denial - Sez Iraq not heading toward civil war

President George W. Bush, hit by polls showing America's support for the Iraq war at an all-time low, denied on Tuesday Iraq was sliding into civil war, despite the worst sectarian strife since a U.S. invasion.

US seeks funds to build prisons in Iraq

The U.S. State Department is winding down its $20 billion reconstruction program in Iraq and the only new rebuilding money in its latest budget request is for prisons, officials said on Tuesday.

A Daily Look at Military Deaths in Iraq - 2,294 (official count) (AP)

As of Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006, at least 2,294 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 1,800 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

A Look at Deadliest Days in Iraq in 2006

The deadliest days in Iraq in 2006

Germany suspects US "smear" over Iraq
U.S. media reports that German intelligence agents helped the American-led invasion of Iraq were a smear tactic against Berlin as a European power firmly opposed to the war, leading German politicians said on Tuesday.

Hypocrite and Liar Bush: Iraq has choice between 'chaos or unity'

US President George W. Bush downplayed fears of civil war in Iraq, but said the war-torn country must choose between "chaos or unity" after one week of sectarian violence left hundreds dead.

Saddam trial reveals 'pardon' of two Dujail accused
The trial of Saddam Hussein took a new twist as prosecutors produced a letter purportedly showing the former Iraqi dictator spared the lives of two Shiites accused over an assassination bid.

NeoCon allies desert Bush over Iraq
These are the right-wing intellectuals who demanded George Bush invade Iraq. Now they admit they got it wrong. Are you listening, Mr President?

Syria opposition says US funding counterproductive

 Syria's liberal opposition has said it will not accept money from a U.S. offer to fund democratic groups in the country, saying that its credibility would be damaged if it took the cash.

Iraq: A solution to nothing

As the United States and Iraq approach the third anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, it might do all Americans well to take some time out and reflect on how we got where we are, as well as where we are going in Iraq and the Middle East as a whole. Gone forever is any talk of song and flowers, economic recoveries paid for by Iraqi oil, or a blooming democracy in the cradle of civilization. The state of affairs between the Bush administration and the newly elected government of Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari is strained, to say the least, with the United States threatening to cut off aid to Iraq, and Iraq telling the United States to "butt out."

Caught in the Crossfire

The events of the last week have created considerable uncertainty among Iraq-watchers about what is actually taking place on the ground. It is increasingly difficult to know who is generating the violence and why. Particularly puzzling, is trying to identify the motives behind the destruction of the Golden Dome Mosque and the massive reprisals which occurred with such astonishing speed that they seemed to be pre-arranged. Were they?

Is this war worth the price? - Look closely at the face of collateral damage in Iraq before you answer

Pittsburghers were captivated this week by the 7-year-old Iraqi boy who arrived here for reconstructive facial surgery at Children's Hospital, having been badly disfigured in an American bombing raid in 2004. On a shoestring budget, the American group No More Victims arranged for his medical care, got visas for the child and his father, paid their expenses in Jordan until the documents came through, and is still trying to raise the cash to cover the travel. A Massachusetts philanthropist kicked in $50,000 for the hospital bill. A single mom in Banksville has taken father and son into her home during their stay. It's a story that bores right through peoples' defenses without regard to politics, position on the war, religious beliefs or lack thereof (the family is Muslim; the U.S. Army veteran who spent six weeks in Jordan working on their visas is an atheist; the host family is Catholic; the philanthropist is Jewish).

The "Shock and Awe" Photo Gallery
If you want "God's View" of what George Bush and the Neocons are doing, look. But brace yourself for a broken heart - if you have one. The March For Justice is dedicating its "Shock and Awe Gallery" as an authentic historical documentation and evidence of the U.S./British Crime of the Century. As attacks on freedom and the free have become characteristic of contemporary America, we advise and encourage all those who support Truth and Justice, to save our material and to make the utmost use of it, as its intended objective is revealing facts and reality. Should our voice be silenced, we pray that our efforts will contribute to the awakening of the human conscience, yearning for a world of Justice and Peace. To all of the heroes who visited our site, who responded with disagreement or with agreement*, and who care for truth and a world without killing, tyranny or oppression, we remain eternally grateful, for they are the hope for all of us and a sign of good things to come.

Pentagon dismisses US troop poll

THE Pentagon has dismissed a poll's finding that 72 per cent of United States troops in Iraq believe the US should pull out within a year or less.
"It shouldn't surprise anybody that a deployed soldier would rather be at home than deployed, even when they believe what they are doing is important and vital work," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

More Iraq Vets Seek Mental Health Care

Thirty-five percent of Iraq veterans received mental health care during their first year home, according to a new Pentagon study. In addition, 12 percent of the more than 222,000 returning Army soldiers and Marines in the study were diagnosed with a mental problem.

Former US troops rail against war

"I joined up the day after September 11, 2001. I saw action in Falluja and Baghdad. My mortar platoon dropped numerous rounds on the town of Samawa during the start of the invasion. I don't know how many innocents I killed with my mortar rounds. "I was so disgusted by the war that, after we came home in January 2004, I filed for conscientious objector status and received that status in December 2004. I'm a Christian. What was I doing holding a gun to another human being?"

Troops' families call Blair a 'coward'

FAMILIES of service personnel killed in Iraq today called Tony Blair a "coward" for refusing to meet them to discuss their campaign for troops to be withdrawn.

A Daily Look at Military Deaths in Iraq - 2,295

As of Wednesday, March 1, 2006, at least 2,295 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 1,800 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

Iraq study warned of civil war - White House, Military Dismissed '03 Analysis

U.S. intelligence agencies repeatedly warned the White House beginning more than two years ago that the insurgency in Iraq had deep local roots, was likely to worsen and could lead to civil war, according to former senior intelligence officials who helped craft the reports.

Explosions kills more than 20 in Baghdad; Sunni group blasts government for ongoing violence

Violence raged unabated in Iraq on Wednesday as bomb attacks killed at least 26 people in Baghdad and mortar rounds fell on homes in a nearby town.

Eight killed as violence rages in Baghdad
Iraq braced for another day of violence on Thursday as attacks in Baghdad killed at least eight. A bus blast in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City killed five people and wounded eight, police said, while earlier that morning a bomb at a market killed three.

At least 21 killed in Iraq rebel attacks
A string of rebel attacks across Iraq left at least 21 dead and scores wounded in renewed violence after key political groups opposed incumbent Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari's selection as the next premier.

Turkey says US troops must stay in Iraq

Turkey's foreign minister said on Thursday U.S. troops should not quit neighboring Iraq prematurely, but denied media reports suggesting he feared such a withdrawal might help Iran stir up militancy in the region.

Military mulls whether Iraq troop cut possible in face of increasing violence in Iraq
A spike in violence in Iraq that has heightened worries about civil war has the Pentagon discussing the wisdom of further cutting American forces there, defense officials said on Wednesday.

Evictions May Foreshadow Iraq Civil War
The sectarian cleansing that drove 68-year-old Abbas al-Saiedi from his home may be as alarming a sign of a country on the brink of civil war as the killings that have swept Iraq in the past week.

In Western Iraq, News Travels Slowly

News travels slowly to American troops deployed in the desert plains of western Iraq. Days after the bombing of a Shiite shrine convulsed the country in religious violence, word hadn't reached U.S. Marines some 160 miles away.

Iraqi Factions Oppose New al-Jaafari Term

Leaders of Sunni, Kurdish and a secular political party decided Wednesday to ask the Shiite alliance to withdraw its nomination of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari for another term, political officials said.

Ex-Official: Iraq Abuses As Bad Now as Under Saddam
Human rights abuses in Iraq are as bad now as they were under Saddam Hussein, as lawlessness and sectarian violence sweep the country, the former U.N. human rights chief in Iraq said Thursday.

Iraqis want Saddam trial over after admission
For many in Iraq, Saddam Hussein has now acknowledged responsibility in his trial and the time has come to wind up a process only serving to feed tensions in the violence-wracked country.

Hussein admits responsibility, not guilt
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, after days of withering testimony about his involvement in the killings of 148 residents of a small farming town, decided he'd had enough.

Saddam Claims He Had Right to Order Trials (AP)
Saddam Hussein said in a defiant courtroom confession Wednesday that he ordered the trial of 148 Shiites who were later executed, and arranged for the flattening of their palm groves and farms. But he insisted he had the right to do so because they were suspected of trying to kill him.

At least 33 killed in Iraq rebel attacks

Insurgent attacks across Iraq killed at least 33 people and wounded scores more in renewed violence as the US military said it had captured 61 rebels linked to Al-Qaeda in Iraq's frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Ten Iraqi Factory Workers Gunned Down
Iraqi security forces in bulletproof vests took to the streets in the bloodied capital Friday to enforce a daytime ban on private vehicles in an effort to blunt a surge of sectarian violence that has pushed Iraq to the edge of civil war.

Inquiry urged into warning of Iraq shrine bomb
Iraqi politicians demanded an inquiry on Wednesday into why the government did not act on a warning about a plan to bomb a Shi'ite shrine, an attack that has brought the country to the brink of civil war. Government and political sources told Reuters the minister for national security sent a report to the government two weeks before last Wednesday's demolition of the Golden Mosque in Samarra saying security had been breached around the shrine. But the government ignored it, they said.

Saddam trial hits turning point after dramatic evidence

The trial of Saddam Hussein has reached a turning point after this week's dramatic hearings, with prosecutors seeking to build up documentary evidence in a bid to prove that the toppled Iraqi dictator took personal revenge on a village after escaping assassination there.

Iraq: Sunnis, Kurds unite to oppose Shiite premier

A political conflict threatened to further exacerbate Iraq's sectarian and ethnic divisions Thursday as Kurdish and Sunni Arab leaders issued a letter demanding that the leading Shiite Muslim coalition withdraw its nomination of interim Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to head the next government.

Kurds, Sunnis Attempting to Dump Jaafari
The Kurds and the Americans, who are spear-heading this effort to sideline Jaafari, don't appear to have considered another possible outcome, which is a hung parliament, leading to new elections and extending the period of political gridlock as security deteriorates further.

U.S. strategy in Iraq: No, it's not Vietnam. This one's a civil war

All sides in today's Iraq debate share a common but unspoken assumption: the way to succeed in Iraq is to refight the Vietnam War, but the right way this time. Official strategy mirrors the Nixon administration playbook: win hearts and minds while handing the fighting over to the locals.

The antiwar movement thinks we have already lost Iraqi hearts and minds and should thus get out. Prowar critics argue that we should use late-war Vietnam territorial defense tactics, not early-war Vietnam offensive methods. But while the debate is Vietnam redux, the war is not. Vietnam was a Maoist "people's war," Iraq is a communal civil war with very different dynamics, and civil wars demand very different strategies than Maoist wars.

What Bush Was Told About Iraq

Two highly classified intelligence reports delivered directly to President Bush before the Iraq war cast doubt on key public assertions made by the president, Vice President Cheney, and other administration officials as justifications for invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein, according to records and knowledgeable sources.

Terrorist growth overtakes U.S. efforts
Thirty new terrorist organizations have emerged since the September 11, 2001, attacks, outpacing U.S. efforts to crush the threat, said Brig. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, the Pentagon's deputy director for the war on terrorism. "We are not killing them faster than they are being created," Gen. Caslen told a gathering at the Woodrow Wilson Center yesterday, warning that the war could take decades to resolve.
Signs Comment: These people are ignorant of history. Anyone familiar with the facts knows that there will never be an end to "terrorists" under Pathocratic regimes until literally everyone is dead. Won't be any fun for them to have all that power, but no one to have power over...

Lethal 'flying gunships' returning to Iraq - Armed airplanes used in Vietnam War secretly moved to Iraqi base
The U.S. Air Force has begun moving heavily armed AC-130 airplanes - the lethal "flying gunships" of the Vietnam War - to a base in Iraq as commanders search for new tools to counter the Iraqi resistance, The Associated Press has learned. An AP reporter saw the first of the turboprop-driven aircraft after it landed at the airfield this week. Four are expected. The Iraq-based special forces command controlling the AC-130s, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, said it would have no comment on the deployment. But the plan's general outline was confirmed by other Air Force officers, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject.
Signs Comment: Obviously, the situation in Iraq is much worse than the administration is letting on. But then, again, one wonders if that was not intended? After all, these flying warships don't deploy precision weapons, they destroy everything and everybody. If there are no Iraqis left when they are done, then obviously the U.S. and Israel can just move in and take over. Of course, it is also possible that this is just a preparation for war against Iran also.

Insurgent sniper shoots dead US soldier north of Baghdad
Insurgent snipers gunned down a U.S. soldier in Dhuluiyah town of northern Iraq on Sunday, witnesses said. "A sniper shot dead a U.S. soldier in the Sorah intersection in central Dhuluiyah town while the U.S. troops were near an Iraqi army checkpoint at the site," a witness told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The attack prompted U.S. troops to open fire randomly, wounding three civilians and damaging four cars and several shops, the witness added. U.S. soldiers backed by helicopters immediately searched the surrounding buildings and orchards, detaining some suspected civilians before they pulled out of the town, the witnesses said. Dhuluiyah, some 100 km north of Baghdad, has been a hotbed of insurgency against the U.S. troops since the invasion in 2003.

Military denies withdrawal plan

The U.S. military in Iraq said on Sunday media reports that America and Britain planned to pull all troops out of Iraq by spring 2007 were "completely false," reiterating that there was no timetable for withdrawal. Two British newspapers reported on Sunday that the pull-out plan followed an acceptance by the two governments that the presence of foreign troops in Iraq was now an obstacle to securing peace. But a spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq reiterated previous statements by U.S. and Iraqi officials that foreign troops would be gradually withdrawn from the country once Iraqi security forces were capable of guaranteeing security.

Europe And America At Odds On Terrror Threat
Europeans and Americans are supposed to be fighting shoulder to shoulder in the so-called war on terror. But how can they beat their common enemy when they have such radically different interpretations of the scale of the threat posed by Jihadi terrorism and the nature of the response needed to defeat it? This question was left lingering at the end of two recent conferences in Brussels on international terrorism -- one organized by the Royal Institute for International Relations in Belgium and the other by the Italian International Affairs Institute, in association with the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The USS Ronald Reagan deployed in the Persian Gulf

The U.S. Navy has deployed its latest aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
The U.S. Fifth Fleet said the USS Ronald Reagan has been deployed for maritime security operations in the Gulf region. The nuclear-powered surface vessel headed a carrier group that contains a guided missile cruiser, two destroyers and support ships. The Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was assigned to patrol the Fifth Fleet area of operations, which includes the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean, Middle East Newsline reported. "Our past nine months of training have been in preparation to support our troops on the ground in Iraq and carry out maritime security operations," Carrier Strike Group Seven Commander Rear Adm. Michael Miller said.

Iraq's Crisis of Scarred Psyches
More than 25 years after Saddam Hussein's rise to power ushered in a period of virtually uninterrupted trauma -- three wars, crippling economic sanctions and now a violent insurgency -- the psychological damage to many Iraqis is only now being assessed, psychiatrists and government officials here say.
Even as a grim, though incomplete, picture of the population's mental health has emerged in recent studies, so too has the realization that the country's health care system is ill-equipped to deal with what are likely millions of potential psychiatric patients with conditions born of the hardship of recent years.

Iraqi forces probe general's "strange" killing
The Iraqi army is investigating how a gunman managed to kill a senior Iraqi general in an attack that has fueled concern about the new, U.S.-trained Iraq military's cohesion in the face of brewing sectarian conflict.
"It is a very strange incident and raises many questions," an official in the Defense Ministry press service said on Tuesday after the commander of all Iraqi troops in Baghdad died from a bullet to the head while in a patrol convoy on Monday.

Noam Chomsky Interview
If George Bush were to be judged by the standards of the Nuremberg Tribunals, he'd be hanged. So too, mind you, would every single American President since the end of the second world war, including Jimmy Carter. The suggestion comes from perhaps the most feted liberal intellectual in the world - the American linguist Noam Chomsky. His latest attack on the way his country behaves in the world is called Hegemony or Survival, America's Quest for Global Dominance. Jeremy Paxman met him at the British Museum, where they talked in the Assyrian Galleries. He asked him whether he was suggesting there was nothing new in the so-called Bush Doctrine.

Hundreds of Iraqi academics and professionals assassinated by death squads
Hundreds of Iraqi academics and professionals have been assassinated since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to a petition to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions from the European peace group BRussells [sic] Tribunal on Iraq. The petition has been signed by Nobel Prize winners Harold Pinter, J. M. Coetzee, José Saramago, and Dario Fo, as well as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Cornel West, and Tony Benn. A Green party member of the European Parliament from Britain, Caroline Lucas, has called for support for the investigation.

Iraqi leadership crisis grows
Pushing the legal deadline to the limit, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani Monday declared that Iraq's new parliament will convene for the first time on March 12.
But an event that was expected to bring a glimmer of hope - and the formation of a US-backed unity government - is instead being overshadowed by a perfect political storm. While Iraq's leaders are battling over the post of prime minister, sectarian bloodshed has left more than 500 dead over the past two weeks. Party militias are exerting more control over the streets, and Iraqis are fed up with a weak government and collapsing services.

Expert on Iraq: 'We're In a Civil War' - U.S. Officials Deny Violence Has Risen to That Level, but ABC News Analysts See a 'Serious Lack of Realism'
As Pentagon generals offered optimistic assessments that the sectarian violence in Iraq had dissipated this weekend, other military experts told ABC News that Sunni and Shiite groups in Iraq already are engaged in a civil war, and that the Iraqi government and U.S. military had better accept that fact and adapt accordingly.
"We're in a civil war now; it's just that not everybody's joined in," said retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, a former military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "The failure to understand that the civil war is already taking place, just not necessarily at the maximum level, means that our counter measures are inadequate and therefore dangerous to our long-term interest. "It's our failure to understand reality that has caused us to be late throughout this experience of the last three years in Iraq," added Nash, who is an ABC News consultant.

Sen. Tom Harkin calls for pullout, says Iraq is now 'quagmire'

Sen. Tom Harkin said in Iowa Friday that Iraq has deteriorated into "civil war," declaring it no longer manageable by U.S. forces. Harkin's comments make the Iowa Democrat among the first members of Congress to declare publicly that Iraq had slipped into war between Muslim factions. They come as polls show President Bush's approval at managing the situation at an all-time low. "I'm firmly convinced now, after all this time, that it really is a civil war," Harkin said.

Tracing the Trail of Torture
Torture is usually defined as "infliction of severe physical pain as a means of punishment or coercion," or as "excruciating physical or mental pain, agony." No civilized society can accept laws which justify the use of torture. So it's not surprising that Ali Abbas was astonished to discover Americans willing to inflict such humiliating and inhumane treatment on him while he was in their custody in Abu Ghraib. "They cannot be human beings and do these things," was the way he put it. He concluded: "This, what happened to me, could happen to anybody in Iraq." Unfortunately, what happened to him can now conceivably happen to anyone, anywhere in the world, according to George Bush. One of the last things Abbas said as our interview ended was: "Saddam Hussein was a cruel enemy to us. Once I made it to Abu Ghraib though, I wished I had been killed by him rather than being alive with the Americans. Even now, after this journey of torture and suffering, what else can I think?"

Under-reporting of British casualties in Iraq: Analysis published in the Lancet

The highly renowned medical research journal, The Lancet, has published an analysis of government under-reporting of British casualties in the Iraq war. The research, conducted by a Professor Sheila Bird of the MRC Biostatistics Unit at Cambridge, illustrates that casualty figures are almost certain to be much higher than stated by John Reid, the Minister of Defence, and argues that the failure to properly count UK military casualties in Iraq must end.

Most Americans see Iraq civil war as likely: poll
Eight in 10 Americans believe that recent sectarian violence in Iraq has made civil war likely, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Monday.
Signs Comment: We really enjoyed this one. The American public now has an 'opinion' that is being presented as in some way soverign or independent of the daily spoon-feeding that they receive from the mainstream media. Someone please tell us how "the american public" can know anything about the reality of what is happening in Iraq other than that which the media and their government tells them?

US envoy to Iraq: 'We have opened the Pandora's box'
The US ambassador to Baghdad conceded yesterday that the Iraq invasion had opened a Pandora's box of sectarian conflicts which could lead to a regional war and the rise of religious extremists who "would make Taliban Afghanistan look like child's play". Zalmay Khalilzad broke with the Bush administration's generally upbeat orthodoxy to present a stark profile of a volatile situation in danger of sliding into chaos.

Signs Comment: If things are bad in Iraq, it's Iran's fault! The psychopath always blames the victim.

US envoy delivers blunt view of Iraq's future
America's ambassador in Baghdad has grimly acknowledged that the US invasion of Iraq three years ago had opened a "Pandora's box" that could see the country descend into full-scale civil war. That point had not yet been reached, Zalmay Khalilzad, the envoy, told the Los Angeles Times yesterday. But "the potential is there." All it might take, he warned, was an incident similar to last month's bombing of the Shi'ite Muslim shrine in Samarra, that unleashed a wave of sectarian killings.

U.S. faces latest trouble with Iraqi forces: Loyalty
BAGHDAD For much of the war in Iraq, U.S. military commanders have said their most important mission here was to prepare Iraqi security forces to take over the fight against the Sunni- led insurgency. But with the threat of full-scale sectarian strife looming larger, they are suddenly grappling with the possibility that they have been arming one side in a prospective civil war.

Signs Comment: Well! That must come as a real shock to the American, Israeli and British governments. After all, civil war in Iraq was the LAST thing they wanted, wasn't it? I guess it just a matter of bad luck, eh?

8,000 desert during Iraq war
At least 8,000 members of the all-volunteer U.S. military have deserted since the Iraq war began, Pentagon records show, although the overall desertion rate has plunged since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
Since fall 2003, 4,387 Army soldiers, 3,454 Navy sailors and 82 Air Force personnel have deserted. The Marine Corps does not track the number of desertions each year but listed 1,455 Marines in desertion status last September, the end of fiscal 2005, says Capt. Jay Delarosa, a Marine Corps spokesman.

Another Iraq story gets debunked

In November 2001, just two months after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, two high-profile U.S. journalists Chris Hedges of the New York Times and Christopher Buchanan of PBS' "Frontline" were ushered to a meeting in a Beirut hotel with a man identified as Jamal al-Ghurairy, an Iraqi lieutenant general who had fled Saddam Hussein.
The high-ranking Iraqi military officer claimed he had witnessed terrorist training camps in Iraq where Islamic militants learned how to hijack airplanes. About 40 foreign nationals were based there at any given time, he said. "We were training these people to attack installations important to the United States," he told the journalists at the meeting arranged by the Iraqi National Congress.

Sowing the Seeds of Delusion
It's the same sappy, frolicsome folktale – over and over. Soldier gets sent off to fight the Empire's war. Soldier gets his limbs blown off. Soldier, however, feels he did the righteous thing – he fought for freedom! Soldier has a great attitude. Soldier is legless but happy. So it's all okay! The CNN interviewer is happy. We all should be happy. Or so we are all told by the dullard media heads.

Khalilzad meets al-Hakim
Informed Comment  Reuters reports several bombs and attacks in Baghdad, as well as in Baqubah, Khalis, Kirkuk and elsewhere, leaving over a dozen dead. Significant items include the assassination of 3 members of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Militia in Baqubah; the blowing up of a Sunni shrine in Tikrit; and a mortar attack on the offices in Baghdad of the National Dialogue Council (Sunni Arab neo-Baathists). [NDC leader Salih Mutlak said last summer that you couldn't find a better party for Iraq than the Baath).

Eighteen bodies found in Iraq bus
The bodies of 18 men who had been shot or strangled have been found in a minibus in western Baghdad, police and officials say.

Psychopathy in Action: US report blames weak Iraq rule for abuses

The US State Department on Wednesday released a damning report on the state of human rights and the security situation in Iraq, describing a weak and corrupt government with little control over its own murderous security forces in the face of a powerful insurgency. Contained within the department's annual global human rights report, the 50-page section on Iraq represented the Bush administration's most detailed public assessment of the gravity of the crisis.

Ex-Iraq ambassador predicts civil war
A former Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations has said his country was headed for civil war and blamed the occupation forces for the sectarian violence. In an interview with CNN, Mohamed Aldouri, Saddam Hussein's representative at the world body, said the occupation forces were acting as a magnet for extremists bent on preventing Iraq from developing into a full democracy. "I think the occupation plays on the sectarianism problems of Iraq right now," Aldouri said on Wednesday from the United Arab Emirates, where he has been living since the fall of Saddam.

ASSESSING IRAQ - "The Country Has Already Collapsed"
With sectarian violence on the rise and a stable government nowhere in sight, things are not going well for Iraq at the moment. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke with Iraq expert Marina Ottaway about chances for government legitimacy, how to establish stability in Iraq and why the police force in Iraq is a fiction.

Carter Urges Troop Withdrawal From Iraq
Former President Jimmy Carter criticized the war in Iraq on Wednesday, urging a troop drawdown as the United States enters its fourth year of conflict in Iraq. "It was a completely unnecessary war. It was an unjust war," said Carter, the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner. "It was initiated on the basis of false pretenses. All of those are true, but we can't just pre-emptively withdraw." He urged the Bush administration to bring home as many troops as possible within the next 12 months.

You Call This Progress?
Despite Rumsfeld's public rationalizing, Iraq is in a deep pile of poop.
Signs Comment: Hey, Molly. Just when has the media been right on this? Were they right when they allowed Colin Powell to get up and lie in front of the world community and they said nothing? Were they right when they promoted the idea tht Saddam had WMDs? Were they right when they ignored the real story of 9/11, that it was carried out by Israel with neocon complicity? Just where the hell have the media been right in the five years of the Bush Reich? When they ignored the story of election fraud in 2000 and 2004? Are they right every time they let Bush and his cronies tell the most blatant lies this side of Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia and say nothing? What do they put in the water US journalists drink? Wake up, woman, or you're gonna be toast.

"Stop or I'll Shoot! We're Here to Help You!"

Bitter or with no particular emotion, American soldiers returning from Iraq publish their first testimonial books. At the end of the invasion of Iraq, Captain Nathaniel Fick [1] and his Marines enter Muwaffiqiya, a village south of Baghdad, without encountering any resistance. They advance slowly. They are nervous. They've just been warned by radio that fedayin are operating in the area and preparing suicide attacks. They establish a road block to allow the rest of the convoy to advance when a car comes up at an intersection. "Vehicle ahead. Blue car. Three or four passengers," shouts a soldier. "Roger. Ascending force. Don't let it pass!" cries an officer. They proceed to a warning round, then open fire. The car leaves the road, then stops. The driver lies across the steering wheel, his tunic stained with blood.

'They tried to attach themselves to his virtue; then they wiped their feet with him.'--Mary Tillman

Mary Tillman has been a model of patience and fortitude as she doggedly pursues the facts concerning her son Pat's death in Afghanistan two years ago. In that spirit, she welcomed as positive the news that the Pentagon's inspector general has asked the Army to launch an investigation into whether criminal negligence was involved in the "friendly fire" incident that resulted in the death of her football-star son who turned soldier.

At last, the warmongers are prepared to face the facts and admit they were wrong

It has taken more than three years, tens of thousands of Iraqi and American lives, and $200bn (£115bn) of treasure - all to achieve a chaos verging on open civil war. But, finally, the neo-conservatives who sold the United States on this disastrous war are starting to utter three small words. We were wrong.

Academics become casualties of Iraq War
Gunmen have killed some 182 Iraqi university professors and academics since the U.S. invasion in early 2003 and a group representing Iraqi academia said on Thursday the killings constituted a war crime. Another 85 senior academics have been kidnapped or survived assassination attempts, according to the Association of University Lecturers in Iraq. The attacks have led to an exodus of Iraqi academics who are vital to educating and rebuilding the war-damaged country. "What is going on in Iraq against these professors is a real war crime," said Dr Isam Kadhem Al-Rawi, head of the association and Professor in Earth Sciences at the University of Baghdad.
Signs Comment: This is typical "Hitlerian" policy. It bespeaks the plan to create a civil war, to commit genocide, and then to move in and take over the country and its resources. Such was planned for Poland by Hitler:
The transformation of Poland into a German province was to be carried out over a short period of twenty-five or thirty years. Hence, no mercy was to be shown to this population. And, to guarantee the success of this fast despoliation, the intelligentsia was to be liquidated. "It sounds cruel, " Hitler reportedly told Hans Frank, "but such is the law of life."
I was tortured, says Australian held in Iraq
A SYDNEY man, Ahmed Jamal, imprisoned in northern Iraq for 18 months without charge has told Australian officials he was tortured. Mr Jamal was finally visited by Australia's consul-general in Iraq, Alan Elliott, on February 27 and found in a distressed state. He said he had been badly mistreated by his captors after his arrest. His condition was relayed to his father, Mahmoud, and his lawyer, Stephen Kenny, by a consular official based in Canberra, Alex Fraser.

Abu Ghraib, symbol of America's shame, to close within three months - 4,500 inmates to be moved to other jails

Abu Ghraib, the prison which will be forever linked with images of Iraqi detainees stripped naked and humiliated by their American jailors, is to be closed, US military officials said yesterday. The sprawling, low-slung prison in the western suburbs of Baghdad, a torture chamber under Saddam Hussein that gained even more notoriety with the photographs of abuse committed by US troops, is likely to close within three months.
Its 4,500 inmates will be transferred to other jails in Iraq - including Camp Cropper, the facility at the Baghdad airport where Saddam is being held. Lieutenant Colonel Keir-Kevin Curry, the spokesman for US detention operations in Iraq, told Reuters news agency: "No precise dates have been set, but the plan is to accomplish this within the next two to three months." He said the handover would take place in phases, beginning with the training of Iraqi prison guards.

Video: Turkey Shoot At Abu Ghraib - Tales of Murder and Torture
The latest chapter in reporter Olivia Rousset's Abu Ghraib revelations. Three weeks ago on Dateline, Olivia revealed new evidence of horrific abuse at Abu Ghraib. On a recent trip to the US, Olivia managed to track down two former Abu Ghraib guards - one who served time for committing abuses against Iraqi detainees and another who witnessed those shocking events. It's no small irony that both of these former US military policemen now see themselves as being among the victims of Abu Ghraib. Here's Olivia's story. And, as you would expect with this sort of report, be warned - some of what you're about to see is not exactly pretty and could even offend. Transcript below.

Dateline: Janis Karpinski Interview
All this build-up of gruesome detail about events at Abu Ghraib raises, of course, the ultimate question - who bears the responsibility for what went on there? How far up the chain of command do we need to go? The commander of the US military police at Abu Ghraib at the time of the torture and abuse was Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski. It was part of her overall responsibility for 16 prisons in Iraq, but following the photo scandal, and a subsequent army inquiry, Janis Karpinski was relieved of her command and demoted. She's since left the US military and written a book, in which she claims that far from stopping with her, the buck goes all the way to the top - to US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and maybe even the White House. Earlier today, George Negus spoke with now citizen Janis Karpinski, via satellite from Savannah, Georgia. Transcript below.

Human rights in Iraq

The U.S. State Department has just issued its Human Rights report for 2005 and its filled with the usual nonsense. We all know what they have to say about countries they don't like - Cuba, Venezuela, etc. But it's what they have to say about Iraq that is absolutely beyond hysterical.

Iraq executes 13 insurgents

Iraq hanged 13 insurgents Thursday, marking the first time militants have been executed in the country since the U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein nearly three years ago, the government said.
The Cabinet announcement listed the name of only one of those hanged, Shukair Farid, a former policeman in the northern city of Mosul, who allegedly confessed that he had worked with Syrian foreign fighters to enlist fellow Iraqis to carry out assassinations against police and civilians.

Iraqi Shi'ite cleric calls U.S., Britain and Israel a 'Triad of Evil'
In a television interview Friday night, radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr described the United States, Israel and Britain as a "Triad of Evil".
Speaking on state-run Iraqiya television, the anti-American al-Sadr also said last month's attack on a Shi'ite shrine in the central city of Samarra was carried "in collusion with the occupiers and the Zionist Entity of Israel," meaning for the U.S. and Israel. Hundreds of Iraqis died in the subsequent sectarian violence, much of which Sunni Muslims said was the work of al-Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army.

Why Did Bush Destroy Iraq?

Every Reason Put Forward Has Been Proven False
March 20 is the third anniversary of the Bush regime's invasion of Iraq. US military casualties to date are approximately 20,000 killed, wounded, maimed, and disabled. Iraqi civilian casualties number in the tens of thousands. Iraq's infrastructure is in ruins. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed. Fallujah, a city of 300,000 people had 36,000 of its 50,000 homes destroyed by the US military.

The War Dividend: The British companies making a fortune out of conflict-riven Iraq

British businesses have profited by at least £1.1bn since coalition forces toppled Saddam Hussein three years ago, the first comprehensive investigation into UK corporate investment in Iraq has found. The company roll-call of post-war profiteers includes some of the best known names in Britain's boardrooms as well many who would prefer to remain anonymous. They come from private security services, banks, PR consultancies, urban planning consortiums, oil companies, architects offices and energy advisory bodies.

Biden: Troops Should Come Home in Summer

The U.S. should pull troops from Iraq after this summer if the political conditions in the country do not improve, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday.
Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, who is aiming for the 2008 presidential race, said the Iraqis must have a constitution that unites fighting factions of the society or "it's game over."

Explosion rocks market in Shiite slum, killing at least 39
A suicide bomber and a car bomb ripped apart a market Sunday in a Shiite slum in Baghdad, killing at least 39 people and wounding more than 100. The carnage came shortly after Iraqi politicians decided to convene parliament three days earlier than planned, suggesting some progress in efforts to form a unity government. The death toll in Sadr City was sure to rise as residents, many firing Kalashnikov rifles into the air, raced to and fro to collect charred corpses from among burning vehicles and shops.

Signs Comment: Iraqis, Shia and Sunni alike, want to live in peace with each other as they have done for many generations, yet the American, British and Israeli governments will not allow them do so and are determined to force them to fight and kill each other.

Attacks on Shiite slum in Baghdad threatens to re-ignite sectarian strife
The guarded words of hope had barely been spoken on one side of the Tigris River on Sunday before being drowned out by the thunder and terror of new bombings on the other.
The late-afternoon bloodbath - at least 44 dead and 200 wounded - at marketplaces in Sadr City, Baghdad's teeming Shiite slum, threatened to re-ignite Sunni-Shiite violence that shook Iraq for days after a holy site was bombed last month.

SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq - Refuses to fight alongside Americans
An SAS soldier has refused to fight in Iraq and has left the Army over the "illegal" tactics of United States troops and the policies of coalition forces. After three months in Baghdad, Ben Griffin told his commander that he was no longer prepared to fight alongside American forces.

After four years, Iraq withdrawal elusive

Words like "victory" and "mission accomplished" aren't heard much anymore as the United States enters its fourth year of war in Iraq.
The slogans now are "political process" and handing over "battle space" to Iraq's new army so that the Iraqis themselves can carry the fight to the insurgents and build their promised democracy. All those plans are now under review in light of another ominous phrase - "civil war" - that has crept into the debate since the wave of sectarian violence set off by a Feb. 22 bombing at a Shiite Muslim mosque in Samarra.

Old War Whores: Haig says U.S. repeating Vietnam mistake - Former Nixon adviser thinks forces in Iraq hamstrung by politicians
Former Nixon adviser Alexander Haig said military leaders in Iraq are repeating a mistake made in Vietnam by not applying the full force of the military to win the war. "Every asset of the nation must be applied to the conflict to bring about a quick and successful outcome, or don't do it," Haig said. "We're in the midst of another struggle where it appears to me we haven't learned very much." The comments by Haig, also a Secretary of State under President Reagan, came Saturday at a conference at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum examining the Vietnam War and the American Presidency.

Iraq: The reckoning - What have we achieved three years on from Shock and Awe?

President George Bush is about to embark on one of the toughest campaigns of his second term. Tomorrow, with the third anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq looming, he will make the first of a series of speeches to convince the American public, a sceptical world - and perhaps even himself - that things are going the right way in Iraq. Signalling the start of this public relations offensive, Mr Bush said on Friday that Iraq had stepped back from "the abyss" of civil war. That is debatable - in the eyes of many Iraqis, civil war has already begun - but it shows how far expectations have sunk since the invasion was launched with such swaggering confidence 36 months ago. Far from creating a stable, democratic and prosperous Iraq, whose benign influence would spread to the rest of the Middle East, the United States and its faithful ally, Britain, have created what Foreign Office minister Kim Howells yesterday called "a mess".

Four men found hanged in Baghdad slum

POLICE found four hanged men dangling from electricity pylons in a Baghdad Shiite slum, hours after car bombs and mortars shells ripped through teeming market streets, killing at least 58 people and wounding more than 200. The grim scene underscored fears yesterday's bloody assault on a stronghold of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr would plunge Iraq into another frenzy of sectarian killing.

Shia cleric blames US forces for Sunday massacre

Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held the US forces responsible on Monday for the bombings in Sadr city, one of the poorest districts of Baghdad, that claimed over 40 lives.
"I hold the occupying forces responsible for orchestrating this event," Muqtada told a press conference in Najaf. He said terrorists carried out the bombing "under US air cover" arguing that the halt of telephone connections before the incident was proof of the cooperation between the terrorists and the occupier to "destabilise the security of this Shia region.

Death squads found inside Iraqi government

Senior Iraqi officials on Sunday confirmed for the first time that death squads composed of government employees had operated illegally from inside two government ministries.
"The death squads that we have captured are in the Defense and Interior ministries," Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said during a joint news conference with the minister of Defense. "There are people who have infiltrated the army and the interior."

Iraq's president warns of civil war after bombings

Iraq's president pressed political parties on Monday to accelerate efforts to form a broad government to arrest a slide into civil war after bomb blasts in a Baghdad Shi'ite slum killed 52 people.
A government of national unity encompassing Kurds, Shi'ites and Sunnis is widely seen as the best way to bring stability to the country, but three months after elections political leaders are deadlocked over who should lead it. "The terrorists, infidels and Saddam Hussein's followers are seeking to spread the spirit of separation and exploiting gaps left by any delay in the political process," President Jalal Talabani said in a statement.

Troops from Iraq suffer the 'Vietnam effect' - Returning Home to Face a Hostile Public

BRITISH veterans of the Iraq war are suffering a "Vietnam effect" after returning home to face a hostile public, according to one of Britain's foremost experts on post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr Chris Freeman says the increasingly unpopular decision of the government to ignore public opinion and go to war has placed an additional burden on servicemen. Freeman, who has treated nearly 20 Scottish veterans at his Edinburgh clinic, said: "Gulf War Two has changed society's attitude to soldiers. It has become our Vietnam. There have been no heroes in this war. Two-thirds of this country didn't want [Iraq] to happen and that has a massive effect on the men who come home."

Top commanders approved use of dogs at Abu Ghraib

When Army Sgt. Michael J. Smith faces a court-martial today on charges that he used his military working dog to harass and threaten detainees, one of the prime examples of that alleged misconduct will be a photograph of Smith holding the dog just inches from the face of a detainee. It is one of the notorious images to emerge from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Although officials characterized the other detainees who appeared in the photographs as common criminals and rioters, the detainee seen cowering before the dog was different.

Friendly Fire: Another Crack UK Soldier Quits the Illegal War

Here's an important story that for some strange reason is not on the network news or splashed across the front pages of America's leading newspapers:

SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq.
Excerpts, from the Daily Telegraph: An SAS soldier has refused to fight in Iraq and has left the Army over the "illegal" tactics of United States troops and the policies of coalition forces. After three months in Baghdad, Ben Griffin told his commander that he was no longer prepared to fight alongside American forces.

How Do We Fix the Mess In Iraq?

This is an interesting question, and many people in and out of the American government are asking it. In October of last year, Army General William Odom said "The invasion of Iraq was the "greatest strategic disaster in United States history." He said the invasion had alienated America's Middle East allies, making it harder to prosecute a war against terrorists." Vietnam veteran John Murtha said last month: "we're not only not winning, we're spreading hatred towards the United States. Eighty percent of the people in Iraq want us out of there. Forty-seven percent of the people in Iraq say it's justified to kill Americans. Eighty percent of the people in the periphery of Iraq say that we'll be better off. Once we get out of there, it will be more stable in Iraq. "

Electricity Hits Three-Year Low in Iraq
Electricity output has dipped to its lowest point in three years in Iraq, where the desert sun is rising toward another broiling summer and U.S. engineers are winding down their rebuilding of the crippled power grid. The Iraqis, in fact, may have to turn to neighboring Iran to help bail them out of their energy crisis - if not this summer, then in years to come. The overstressed network is producing less than half the electricity needed to meet Iraq's exploding demand. American experts are working hard to shore up the system's weaknesses as 100-degree-plus temperatures approach beginning as early as May, driving up usage of air conditioning, electric fans and refrigeration.

Signs Comment: Ah yes, "Freedom and Democracy", don't ya just love it?!

Of Lies and Men - Did Bush Lie Us into the Iraq War?
People who defend Bush's rush to war - first demanding inspections, then demanding the inspectors leave Iraq to make way for the massive terror bombing and invasion - deny Bush lied about Iraq. I watched Rep. Dana Dana Rohrbacher, R-CA claim that Bush didn't lie about anything at a House International Relations Committee session. Bush lied several times about Iraq with the intent of inflaming the public in support of his plans to attack Iraq.

US postwar Iraq strategy a mess, Blair was told
Senior British diplomatic and military staff gave Tony Blair explicit warnings three years ago that the US was disastrously mishandling the occupation of Iraq, according to leaked memos. John Sawers, Mr Blair's envoy in Baghdad in the aftermath of the invasion, sent a series of confidential memos to Downing Street in May and June 2003 cataloguing US failures. With unusual frankness, he described the US postwar administration, led by the retired general Jay Garner, as "an unbelievable mess" and said "Garner and his top team of 60-year-old retired generals" were "well-meaning but out of their depth". That assessment is reinforced by Major General Albert Whitley, the most senior British officer with the US land forces. Gen Whitley, in another memo later that summer, expressed alarm that the US-British coalition was in danger of losing the peace. "We may have been seduced into something we might be inclined to regret. Is strategic failure a possibility? The answer has to be 'yes'," he concluded.

Signs Comment: It would appear that all those involved in the Iraq invasion knew long ago that such an invasion would lead to a destruction of Iraqi society and infrastructure and the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, yet rather than letting this stop them it seems that their reaction was to simply subvert this truth and present it as completely the opposite - that an invasion of Iraq would bring "freedom and democracy" to the Iraqi people. Raving Psychopaths anyone?

Saddam never planned insurgency: US military study
Ousted president Saddam Hussein did not plan the insurgency in Iraq because he thought the United States would never invade the country, a US military history has concluded. Even with US armored columns 100 miles (161 kilometers) from Baghdad about to make their final push, Saddam apparently believed the war was going Iraq's way, according to the history, called "The Iraqi Perspectives Project." "As far as can be determined from the interviews and records reviewed so far, there were no national plans to embark on a guerrilla war in the event of military defeat," it said. "Nor did the regime appear to cobble together such plans as its world crumbled around it," it said. "Buoyed by his earlier conviction that the Americans would never dare enter Baghdad, Saddam hoped to the very last minute that he could stay in power," it said. Excerpts of the partially de-classified study for the US Joint Forces Command are being published in the May/June edition of Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations. The study was written by Kevin Woods, James Lacey and Williamson Murray. The history, an attempt to reconstruct the war from the Iraqi perspective, drew on interviews with dozens of captured senior Iraqi leaders and politicians and hundreds of thousands of official Iraqi documents. It concluded, as others have, that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, but that he maintained ambiguity on the issue for fear that otherwise Israel might be encouraged to attack Iraq.

Signs Comment: So it seems that even the "evil Saddam" could not fathom the depths of depravity that the minds of people like Sharon, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Blair, Wolfowitz and the rest of the Zionist Neocons are capable of. The claim made by the abovementioned US military study that Saddam was expecting to hang on to power until the very last minute is contradicted by press reports leading up to the illegal Iraq invasion:

Flashback: Iraqi Commander Swears he saw USAF fly Saddam out of Baghdad
Bill Dash
Alamo Christian Ministries Online
Film will soon be made public of an Iraqi Army officer describing how he saw a US Air Force transport fly Saddam Hussein out of Baghdad. The explosive eyewitness testimony was shot by independent filmmaker Patrick Dillon, who recently returned from a risky one-man odyssey in Iraq. In the film, the officer, who told Dillon that he commanded a special combat unit during the battle for Baghdad airport and whose identity is temporarily being withheld, explains in detail how he watched as the Iraqi dictator and members of his inner circle were evacuated from Iraq's capital by what he emphatically insists were United States Air Force cargo planes. [...] Dillon says his film lends major support to what many have believed for years: that Saddam was little more than an american tool, a stage-managed "evildoer", just one in a long line of useful villains bought and paid for by the United States in order to better manipulate international politics and commerce. [...]
See this link for more on the fantastical farce that was the capture and trial of "Saddam Hussein".

Saddam Only Ever Dreamt About WMDs
A major new report extracted in Foreign Affairs confirms that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 Iraq war began. The report also documents Saddam's remarkable incompetence and unreality as his almost quarter century-long tyranny collapsed around him. The report, entitled "Saddam's Delusions: The View from the Inside," was produced by the Pentagon's Iraq's Perspectives Project and written by Kevin Woods, James Lacey and Williamson Murray. It was commissioned by the U.S. Joint Forces Command, or USJFCOM, and it is based on previously inaccessible primary sources, Foreign Affairs magazine said. Extracts from the report are being published in an 8,500 word article in the May-June issue of Foreign Affairs.
Signs Comment: Given the current trial of "Saddam", the truly important information in this report is the admission by US officials that the real Saddam never had any WMD's - and therefore Bush's case for war was a lie - and that the administration's assertions that Saddam was behind the insurgency are completely false.

Blame rests on a bad idea, no matter how much spin lays it elsewhere

The US and its allies are trapped in Iraq with little hope of a dignified way out, writes Hugh White. WHEN he sent our forces to help invade Iraq, John Howard was sure they would not be there long: months, not years, he said. Last week his new Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, was visiting the troops still in Iraq three years after the invasion. And he made it clear he expected them to stay a lot longer. I'm sure Nelson is right. So how and why was Howard so wrong? The conventional view is that a brilliantly successful invasion was followed by a hopelessly ill-planned and mismanaged occupation. The US-led forces didn't stop the looting after Saddam Hussein fell, they didn't restore power and water, they didn't crack down early and hard on the insurgency, they didn't have enough troops in the country. If only these errors had been avoided, Iraq would now be well on the way to stability and democracy, and our troops would be safely on their way home, the argument goes. I don't buy it.
The failure in Iraq is not a failure of execution; it's a failure of conception. The occupation and political reconstruction of Iraq was not a good idea badly implemented. It was a bad idea that no amount of administrative skill, political savvy, cultural sensitivity or military firepower could have made work.

Lessons of Iraq War start with U.S. history

On the third anniversary of President Bush's Iraq debacle, it's important to consider why the administration so easily fooled so many people into supporting the war. I believe there are two reasons, which go deep into our national culture. One is an absence of historical perspective. The other is an inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism. If we don't know history, then we are ready meat for carnivorous politicians and the intellectuals and journalists who supply the carving knives. But if we know some history, if we know how many times presidents have lied to us, we will not be fooled again. President Polk lied to the nation about the reason for going to war with Mexico in 1846. It wasn't that Mexico "shed American blood upon the American soil" but that Polk, and the slave-owning aristocracy, coveted half of Mexico.

Iraq: Permanent US Colony
Why does the Bush Administration refuse to discuss withdrawing occupation forces from Iraq? Why is Halliburton, who landed the no-bid contracts to construct and maintain US military bases in Iraq, posting higher profits than ever before in its 86-year history? Why do these bases in Iraq resemble self-contained cities as much as military outposts? Why are we hearing such ludicrous and outrageous statements from the highest ranking military general in the United States, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace, who when asked how things were going in Iraq on March 9th in an interview on "Meet the Press" said, "I'd say they're going well. I wouldn't put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they're going very, very well from everything you look at." I wonder if there is a training school, or at least talking point memos for
these Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, because Pace's predecessor, Gen. Richard Myers, told Senator John McCain last September that "In a sense, things are going well [in Iraq]."
General Pace also praised the Iraqi military, saying, "Now there are over 100 [Iraqi] battalions in the field."
Wow! General Pace must have waved his magic wand and materialized all these 99 new Iraqi battalions that are diligently keeping things safe and secure in occupied Iraq. Because according to the top US general in Iraq, General George Casey, not long ago there was only one Iraqi battalion (about 500-600 soldiers) capable of fighting on its own in Iraq. During a late-September 2005 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Casey acknowledged that the Pentagon estimate of three Iraqi battalions last June had shrunk to one in September. That is less than six months ago.

US says launches biggest air assault in Iraq
The U.S. military said on Thursday it launched its biggest air offensive in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to root out insurgents near a town where recent violence raised fears of civil war. Announced with media fanfare just hours after Iraq's parliament held a brief first meeting that did nothing to end a political stalemate over forming a government, the U.S. military said 50 aircraft were taking part in the raids north of Baghdad.

Signs Comment: How exactly did we go from:
<>"Look, everything's fine in Iraq. There isn't going to be any civil war. The country is perfectly safe and stable!"
"Hit 'em with everything we've got!" ??
As with most other U.S. military "offensives", innocent civilians will pay the heaviest price for being an Iraqi in an Iraqi town when trigger-happy U.S. military grunts come knocking on doors.

Iraqis Say 11 People Killed in U.S. Raid
U.S. forces flattened a house during a raid north of Baghdad early Wednesday, killing 11 people - mostly women and children, while insurgent attacks elsewhere left five dead, police and relatives said.

American arrested with weapons in Iraq

An American described as a security contractor has been arrested by police in a northern Iraqi town with weapons in his car, said a provincial official.
Abdullah Jebara, the Deputy Governor of Salahaddin province, told Reuters the man was arrested in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit on Monday. The Joint Coordination Center between the U.S. and Iraqi military in Tikrit said the man it described as a security contractor working for a private company, possessed explosives which were found in his car. It said he was arrested on Tuesday.

Baghdad lockdown as new parliament sworn in

Three months after elections, Iraq's new parliament was sworn in Thursday with parties still deadlocked over the next government, vehicles banned from Baghdad's streets to prevent car bombings and the country under the shadow of a feared civil war.
But the long-awaited first session had hardly begun when it was indefinitely adjourned for lack of agreement on a permanent speaker for the legislature. The whole business lasted slightly more than 30 minutes, just long enough for the members to pledge to "preserve the independence and the sovereignty of Iraq and to take care of the interests of its people."

Lessons of Iraq War Start With US History

On the third anniversary of President Bush's Iraq debacle, it's important to consider why the administration so easily fooled so many people into supporting the war. I believe there are two reasons, which go deep into our national culture. One is an absence of historical perspective. The other is an inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism.

US Postwar Iraq Strategy a Mess, Blair Was Told

Senior British diplomatic and military staff gave Tony Blair explicit warnings three years ago that the US was disastrously mishandling the occupation of Iraq, according to leaked memos. John Sawers, Mr Blair's envoy in Baghdad in the aftermath of the invasion, sent a series of confidential memos to Downing Street in May and June 2003 cataloguing US failures. With unusual frankness, he described the US postwar administration, led by the retired general Jay Garner, as "an unbelievable mess" and said "Garner and his top team of 60-year-old retired generals" were "well-meaning but out of their depth".

Ordinary Iraqi families getting ready to fight - They're stockpiling weapons, food and fuel

In the past week, President Bush has tried to assure Americans that Iraq has stepped back from the brink of civil war. "Iraqis have shown the world they want a future of freedom and peace," he told the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Monday. Few Iraqis, however, share Bush's view that the crisis has been averted. They are readying themselves for the worst, fleeing likely flash points, stockpiling weapons and basic foodstuffs, barricading their neighborhoods, and drawing lines in the sand delineating Sunni and Shiite territory.

Iraqis escape ruined country

With the cold Mosul winter winds lashing against his reddened face, Kathim Raad* embraced his wife and promised they would meet again once he resettled in Jordan. He took one last look at the family home where he had been brought up, his two sons shyly clutching to their mother's robes. As the taxi drove southward to the border with Jordan, the civil engineer who wanted to pursue a musical career finally allowed himself to weep. The US military was weeks away from launching Operation Iraqi Freedom, but Raad was not convinced that a post-invasion Iraq would herald an era of civil liberties and economic prosperity. "I knew the whole country would descend into chaos," he said as we sipped traditional Iraqi tea in his Amman apartment last September. "I refused to raise my family, my two sons, in the despair most of us knew was coming."

Electricity Hits Three-Year Low in Iraq

Electricity output has dipped to its lowest point in three years in Iraq, where the desert sun is rising toward another broiling summer and U.S. engineers are winding down their rebuilding of the crippled power grid.
The Iraqis, in fact, may have to turn to neighboring Iran to help bail them out of their energy crisis - if not this summer, then in years to come.

Video Purports To Show Iraqi Children Playing With Body Of U.S. Soldier
The children climb down into the crater left by an explosion and start picking up scraps of twisted metal. "Allah is great!" they shout before the camera hones in to show what one boy is holding: torn fabric, the colour of the camouflage fatigues worn by US troops. The next scene shows the same children holding aloft a human leg, shreds of the same camouflage fabric hang from it and the foot is clad in a military-style boot. The children trample the leg and kick it around in the dust.

Terrorists or Resistance Fighters: America's Dilemma in Iraq

"Hitler's decisions had ceased to have anything in common with the principles of strategy and operations as they were recognized for generations past. They were the product of a violent nature following its impulses, which recognized no limits to possibility and which made its wish-dreams the father of its acts."--Gen. Franz Halder, Chief of the German General Staff, 1944. In his latest book, "Hegemony or Survival," Noam Chomsky raises provocative questions about America's role in the world, and not just in our current crisis in the reign of Bush II. Ever since World War II America has assumed the role of the world's super power, particularly so after the fall of the Soviet Union.

One critical question he raises is the difference between terrorism and resistance.

By Scott Ritter
According to press accounts, the Pentagon is considering the organisation, training and equipping of so-called death squads, teams of Iraqi assassins who would be used to infiltrate and eliminate the leadership of the Iraqi resistance. Called the Salvador Option, in reference to similar US-backed death squads that terrorised the population of El Salvador during the 1980s, the proposed plan actually has as its roots the Phoenix assassination programme undertaken during the Vietnam war, where American-led assassins killed thousands of known or suspected Vietcong collaborators.

Iraqi PM offers to step down

Iraq's Shia prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, said today he was willing to withdraw his nomination to stay in the job if this was what his people wanted. He made the comments at a news conference shortly after Iraq's parliament met for the first time since the landmark national elections three months ago. Mr Jaafari is under growing pressure from Sunnis, Kurds, some Shias and some secular politicians to step down and parliament opened today with political factions still deadlocked over the make-up of a new government.

U-S to send more troops into Iraq

Military officials say about 700 more American soldiers are heading into Iraq to provide extra security during a religious holiday.

Three officers confirm the move. The force augmentation comes amid a spike in religious violence. The armored unit may spend as little as 30 days in Iraq. The move contrasts with the Bush administration's stated goal of substantially cutting U-S forces in Iraq this year. One officer says the First Armored Division battalion is expected to move in within the next few days. Copyright 2006 Associated Press.

Accepting Reality: America Lost the War in Iraq

America has lost the war in Iraq. The chance for victory vanished long ago with the hearts, minds, arms, legs and lives of the Iraqi people. The insurgence hasn't won; rather the American government never obtained the formula to win. America, led by war-bent hawks (Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz) entered this war with many interests. Among them, the control of a major supply of Mideast oil, military bases, reconstruction contracts for cronies (i.e. Halliburton and Bechtel), a new ally/puppet in the region, securing Israeli dominance, showcasing new products for the arms community, and the greater concept of making Baghdad a haven for US corporate expansion (thereby planting a McDonalds and Starbucks on every street corner). In this excess of interests, the US neglected a major factor in the equation-the Iraqi people. Every time another suicide bomber enters the marketplace, Iraqis are reminded of the utter failure and incompetence of the US government. Nonetheless, those war-bent hawks couldn't pass up the idea of a cheap war coupled with a swift victory. What they didn't realize (or refused to listen to) was that after decades of heartbreak and struggle under Saddam Hussein, the last thing Iraqis needed was to get "liberated" for an era of struggle under US occupation.

US 'may want to keep Iraq bases'

The United States may want to keep a long-term military presence in Iraq to bolster moderates against extremists in the region and protect oil supplies, the army general overseeing US operations in Iraq has said. While the Bush administration has downplayed prospects for permanent US bases in Iraq, General John Abizaid told a House of Representatives subcommittee on Tuesday he could not rule that out.

Trapped in Iraq - The US and its allies are trapped in Iraq with little hope of a dignified way out

WHEN he sent our forces to help invade Iraq, John Howard was sure they would not be there long: months, not years, he said. Last week his new Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, was visiting the troops still in Iraq three years after the invasion. And he made it clear he expected them to stay a lot longer. I'm sure Nelson is right. So how and why was Howard so wrong?

RAF doctor refused a third tour of duty in 'illegal' war
AN RAF medical officer who refused to return to Iraq for a third tour "honestly" believed that the British military campaign was illegal, a court martial hearing was told yesterday. Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, 37, who is facing five charges of failing to comply with a lawful order, decided that it was his duty to disobey the order, his lawyer said during a pre-trial hearing at Aldershot, Hampshire.

Saddam Hussein: 'I am still the head of state'
Saddam Hussein insisted today that he was still Iraq's president and called on Iraqis to stop fighting each other and rise up against US and British troops as he gave evidence for the first time at his trial. Despite the judge repeatedly shouting at him to stop, the deposed leader insisted on reading from a prepared text. "Let the [Iraqi] people unite and resist the invaders and their backers. Don't fight among yourselves," Saddam said, praising the insurgency. "In my eyes, you are the resistance to the American invasion." With Saddam taking little notice of attempts to curtail his speech, the chief judge, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, told journalists to leave the chamber and the session continued in secret. The video and audio broadcast of the trial was also cut off.

Bush Marks Anniversary, Never Says 'War'
President Bush marked the anniversary of the
Iraq war Sunday by touting the efforts to build democracy there and avoiding any mention of the daily violence that rages three years after he ordered an invasion. The president didn't utter the word "war." "We are implementing a strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq," the president assured a public that is increasingly skeptical that he has a plan to end the fighting after the deaths of more than 2,300 U.S. troops.

US troops to stay in Iraq for a few more years: commander

On the third anniversary of the Iraq war, the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said Sunday that U.S. troops will likely remain there for a few more years though the number will be reduced.

How Operation Swarmer Fizzled: Not a shot was fired, or a leader nabbed, in a major offensive that failed to live up to its advance billing

Four Black Hawk helicopters landed in a wheat field and dropped off a television crew, three photographers, three print reporters and three Iraqi government officials right into the middle of Operation Swarmer. Iraqi soldiers in newly painted humvees, green and red Iraqi flags stenciled on the tailgates, had just finished searching the farm populated by a half-dozen skinny cows and a woman kneading freshly risen dough and slapping it to the walls of a mud oven.


A Kurdish source in Baghdad has told a Kurdish national daily that the Mahdi Army, the militia of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, " has set up a shadow government in Sadr City in the centre of Baghdad". The source told the Aso daily: "this group was tasked with carrying out the affairs of the city in the place of the Iraqi government and institutions." The source explained that the Mahdi Army, accused of kidnappings and sectarian killings, has transformed the rundown Sadr city into an independent district with its security forces and its own courts which do not only judge local residents but also Shiites from other areas of the capital.

Brzezinski calls for Iraq pull out

One of America's most respected elder national security statesmen called for a full pull-out from Iraq Thursday. Delivering the keynote address at the Center for American Progress' "Iraq; Next Steps for U.S. Policy," Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former National Security advisor for President Jimmy Carter, said that "within a year we should be able to complete a course of disengagement" and withdraw from Iraq. Brzezinski cited several reasons for withdrawal, among them the "prohibitively expensive" cost of the war and the fact that American leadership and legitimacy has been severely undermined by the insurgency and damaged credibility.

Saddam Hussein turns the tables at US-run show trial

The farcical trial of Saddam Hussein staged by the Bush administration and its Iraqi puppets was thrown into chaos when the deposed Iraqi president took the witness stand Wednesday. He used his intervention not to answer the charges laid against him in the court-whose legitimacy he has rejected from the beginning-but to speak directly to the Iraqi people, urging an end to sectarian bloodshed and a continuation of armed resistance to the US occupation of their country. "My conscience tells me that the great people of Iraq have nothing to do with these strange and horrid acts, the bombing of the shrine of Imam Ali al-Hadi and Hassan al-Askari ... which led to the burning of mosques in Baghdad, which are the houses of God, and the burning of other mosques in other cities of Iraq," Hussein said.

Cobra II - The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq

Almost three years to the day after the war started, a new book titled "Cobra II" details the inside story of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The book is written by Michael Gordon, chief military correspondent for The New York Times, and retired Marine general Bernard Trainor.
Transcript below.

Video: The 50 Billion Dollar Robbery - Three years after the start of the Iraq war, where has the 50 billion dollars of reconstruction money gone?"

Following the Iraq war, billions of dollars of Iraq's money was directed to American companies to rebuild the country. But much of it remains unaccounted for, and Peter Marshall has been investigating startling allegations of post war profiteering.

The time for accounting - The case against the Iraq war and occupation has been entirely vindicated. It must be brought to an end

Tony Blair's announcement that he will henceforward account only to God for the Iraq war makes perfect sense. Every secular reason he has concocted for the catastrophe has turned out to be the reverse of the truth: there were no weapons of mass destruction, we are less safe from terrorism, the Iraqi people themselves do not want us in their country. No more of his excuses for this epic man-made disaster stand an earthly chance of being believed.

Father who took up Iraq machine gun to avenge dead son is ready to go home

It's been six months since a grieving Georgia father headed to Iraq to avenge his soldier son's death. And Joe Johnson is ready to come home.

Johnson went to Iraq after his 22-year-old son was killed in a roadside bombing. He says there were a lot of reasons for getting back in the military -- a sense of duty among them. Johnson admits he does not "really have love for Muslim people." And he says he'd be lying if didn't admit wanting some revenge for his son, Justin. Now, after spending time manning a Humvee's gun, Johnson says he "shouldn't even have come." Johnson says he doesn't want to kill innocent people and won't be upset if he returns to Georgia without any blood on his hands.  Johnson's batallion is due to return home in mid-May. Copyright 2006 Associated Press.

Quiet disapproval in US marks war's anniversary

On the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, the US capital's historic protest venues were surprisingly serene on Sunday. Outside the White House tourists had their pictures taken next to a cardboard cut-out of the president, families enjoyed the sun on the Mall and several bored-looking policemen stood guard outside the vice-president's DC home. Not a placard in sight or a chant to be heard. Americans may have turned decisively against the war in Iraq in recent months, but their change of heart has been largely expressed quietly to pollsters rather than in loud public protests. The micro-protests that have taken place around the third anniversary – including a few hundred who gathered to hear anti-war speeches in the affluent DC neighbourhood of Dupont Circle – pale by comparison with the monster demonstrations against the Vietnam war. A clue to this curiously low-key response may be found in the bustling shopping centres. Despite the mounting cost of the war in Iraq, the economic consequences have remained relatively contained. There have been no signs of a decline in consumer confidence and no uptick in inflation.

Fewer Protest Iraq War's 3rd Anniversary
Protesters marking the third anniversary of the Iraq war made their voices heard around the world, with the largest marches in London, Portland and Chicago, though in numbers that were often lower than in previous years. About 10,000 anti-war protesters in Portland took nearly an hour to pass through downtown streets Sunday, some carrying signs that said "Impeach the Evildoer." "It is time now for you to take back your country," said Steven DeFord, whose son, Oregon National Guard Sgt. David Johnson, 37, was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb in 2004.

Iraq embroiled in 'civil war,' says former PM Allawi

Ayad Allawi, the former interim prime minister of Iraq, says the increasing sectarian attacks across his country can only be described as a "civil war." "We are losing each day an average of 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is," Allawi told BBC television on Sunday, on the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The farcical end of the American dream - The US press is supposed to be challenging the lies of this war

It is a bright winter morning and I am sipping my first coffee of the day in Los Angeles. My eye moves like a radar beam over the front page of the Los Angeles Times for the word that dominates the minds of all Middle East correspondents: Iraq. In post-invasion, post-Judith Miller mode, the American press is supposed to be challenging the lies of this war. So the story beneath the headline "In a Battle of Wits, Iraq's Insurgency Mastermind Stays a Step Ahead of US" deserves to be read. Or does it?

Saddam Was Trying to Capture Zarqawi?

The Bush administration repeatedly made the presence in Iraq of Abu Musab Zarqawi a pretext for invading the country and overthrowing Saddam Hussein. They implied that he was a client of Saddam and that Saddam had arranged for hospital care for him. Newly released documents from the captured Iraqi archives show that Saddam had put out an APB for Zarqawi and was trying to have him arrested as a danger to the Baath regime!

Bush Didn't Bungle Iraq, You Fools - The Mission Was Indeed Accomplished
Get off it. All the carping, belly-aching and complaining about George Bush's incompetence in Iraq, from both the Left and now the Right, is just dead wrong. On the third anniversary of the tanks rolling over Iraq's border, most of the 59 million Homer Simpsons who voted for Bush are beginning to doubt if his mission was accomplished. But don't kid yourself -- Bush and his co-conspirator, Dick Cheney, accomplished exactly what they set out to do. In case you've forgotten what their real mission was, let me remind you of White House spokesman Ari Fleisher's original announcement, three years ago, launching of what he called,

Operation Iraqi Liberation. -- O.I.L.

Iraqi diplomat gave U.S. prewar WMD details

In the period before the Iraq war, the CIA and the Bush administration erroneously believed that Saddam Hussein was hiding major programs for weapons of mass destruction. Now NBC News has learned that for a short time the CIA had contact with a secret source at the highest levels within Saddam Hussein's government, who gave them information far more accurate than what they believed. It is a spy story that has never been told before, and raises new questions about prewar intelligence.

Top Ten Catastrophes of the Third Year of American Iraq

The American war against Iraq began on March 20, 2003, so today is the third anniversary. The Himalyan mistakes of the American administration of the country in its first two years have by now been much analyzed -- the punitive steps against even low-level Baath Party members, the firing of tens of thousands of Sunni Arabs, the dissolution of the army, the permitting of looting on a vast scale, the failure to understand tribal honor, the failure to get a handle on the early guerrilla war, the failure to understand Shiite Islam, the torture at Abu Ghraib, the failure to get services on line, the destruction of Fallujah, the ill-timed and ill-advised attempt to "kill or capture" Muqtada al-Sadr, the adoption of an election system that allowed the almost complete exclusion of the Sunni Arabs, etc., etc.

U.S. Companies Profited As Iraqi Children Died - 'Iraq was awash in cash. We played football with bricks of $100 bills'

At the beginning of the Iraq war, the UN entrusted $23bn of Iraqi money to the US-led coalition to redevelop the country. With the infrastructure of the country still in ruins, where has all that money gone?

Killing Women and Children: The "My Lai Phase" Of The Iraq War

What goes through George Bush's mind when he sees the dead bodies of Iraqi women and children loaded on the back of a pickup truck like garbage? Is there ever a flicker of remorse; a split-second when he fully grasps the magnitude of the horror he has created?

Did Marines Commit Crime in Iraq Civilian Deaths? Prompted by Video and Magazine, Military Investigates Incident in Which 15 Iraqis Died, Including Children

A bloody videotape shot by a local Iraqi journalism student has prompted the Pentagon to launch a criminal investigation into an incident that left at least 15 Iraqi civilians dead in the city of Haditha. The details of what happened four months ago in Haditha are just now coming to light with the release of the videotape by an Iraqi organization called Hammurabi Human Rights.

One Morning in Haditha- U.S. Marines killed 15 Iraqi civilians in their homes last November. Was it self-defense, an accident or cold-blooded revenge?

The incident seemed like so many others from this war, the kind of tragedy that has become numbingly routine amid the daily reports of violence in Iraq. On the morning of Nov. 19, 2005, a roadside bomb struck a humvee carrying Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, on a road near Haditha, a restive town in western Iraq. The bomb killed Lance Corporal Miguel (T.J.) Terrazas, 20, from El Paso, Texas. The next day a Marine communiqué from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi reported that Terrazas and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed by the blast and that "gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire," prompting the Marines to return fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding one other. The Marines from Kilo Company held a memorial service for Terrazas at their camp in Haditha. They wrote messages like "T.J., you were a great friend. I'm going to miss seeing you around" on smooth stones and piled them in a funeral mound. And the war moved on.

Iraqi police say U.S. troops executed 11, including baby

Iraqi police have accused U.S. troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.
The villagers were killed after U.S. troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said.

Death squads on the prowl in a nation paralysed by fear
Iraq is a country paralysed by fear. It is at its worst in Baghdad. Sectarian killings are commonplace. In the three days after the bombing of the Shia shrine in Samarra on 22 February, some 1,300 people, mostly Sunni, were picked up on the street or dragged from their cars and murdered. The dead bodies of four suspected suicide bombers were left dangling from a pylon in the Sadr City slum. The scale of the violence is such that most of it is unreported. Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister, said yesterday that scores were dying every day. "It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day, as an average, 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more," he said. "If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is."

Signs Comment: Probability is that the "death squads" are American hired mercenaries or MOSSAD gangs just killing as many people as they can get away with while blaming it on "insurgents."

Gunmen storm Iraqi police station

Suspected insurgents killed at least 17 police officers and freed 33 prisoners during a daybreak attack on a police station in Iraq on Tuesday, police said.

10 bodies found in Baghdad, including 13-year-old girl

Iraqi authorities today reported finding 10 more bullet-riddled bodies dumped in the capital Baghdad, one of them that of a 13-year-old girl. The 10 bodies were the latest gruesome discoveries tied to the underground sectarian war being conducted by Shiite and Sunni Muslims as they settle scores in the chaos that grips the Iraqi capital. As many as 700 people have been killed in sectarian violence since the February 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra and the subsequent series of car bombings and mortar attacks in the Sadr City slum on March 12.  Baghdadis voiced anger today when asked about their lives as the war entered its fourth year. "Since US-led troops) came into Iraq, we get nothing," said Ali Zeidan. "Three years have passed by for the Iraqi people and they are still suffering psychologically ... and economically."

Kadhafi says Saddam still legitimate Iraqi leader, government illegal
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said Saddam Hussein should still be considered Iraq's legal president and the current government illegitimate as it was elected under an occupation regime.
In an interview with the Italian Sky TG24 television channel, he slammed the practice of sending in troops to get rid of heads of state, saying that by that theory he could be next. Kadhafi said that "Saddam Hussein cannot be tried because he is a prisoner of war and under the Geneva Convention should be released at the end of hostilities.

Bush still believes victory possible in Iraq
U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday denied claims that Iraq has slipped into civil war, but he warned that American soldiers in Iraq face "more tough fighting ahead."

Signs Comment: Bush sounds like an eight year old talking in the school yard to his chums. Unfortunately, real people are dying because this dry drunk and his cronies have been able to steal two presidential elections and kill 3,000 people to get their agenda moving.

Bush Defends Decisions on Iraq War
President Bush said Tuesday the decision about when to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq will fall to future presidents and Iraqi leaders, suggesting that U.S. involvement will continue at least through 2008.
Acknowledging the public's growing unease with the war - and election-year skittishness among fellow Republicans - the president nonetheless vowed to keep U.S. soldiers in the fight. "If I didn't believe we could succeed, I wouldn't be there. I wouldn't put those kids there," Bush declared. He also stood by embattled Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. "I don't believe he should resign. He's done a fine job. Every war plan looks good on paper until you meet the enemy," he said.

Elaborate U.S. bases raise long-term questions

EDITOR'S NOTE - This report is based on interviews with U.S. military engineers and others before and during the writer's two weeks as an embedded reporter at major U.S. bases in Iraq. BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq - The concrete goes on forever, vanishing into the noonday glare, 2 million cubic feet of it, a mile-long slab that's now the home of up to 120 U.S. helicopters, a "heli-park" as good as any back in the States. At another giant base, al-Asad in Iraq's western desert, the 17,000 troops and workers come and go in a kind of bustling American town, with a Burger King, Pizza Hut and a car dealership, stop signs, traffic regulations and young bikers clogging the roads. At a third hub down south, Tallil, they're planning a new mess hall, one that will seat 6,000 hungry airmen and soldiers for chow. Are the Americans here to stay? Air Force mechanic Josh Remy is sure of it as he looks around Balad.

Bush suggests US troops will still be in Iraq into 2009

President George W. Bush hinted at a years-long US deployment in Iraq, saying that future US presidents and Iraqi governments would decide when the last US soldiers leave that war-torn country.

Abu Ghraib Dog Handler Found Guilty

A jury found an Army dog handler guilty Tuesday of abusing detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison by terrifying them with a military dog, allegedly for his own amusement.
Sgt. Michael J. Smith, 24, was found guilty of six of 13 counts.

Northern Iraq Ruled by Force and Fear

The weekly news magazine, Time, wrote two parties ruling the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq restrict freedoms and the democratic process. The magazine focusing on the region reported corruption and repression prevail in the region ruled by the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The two parties' despotic tendencies repress their opponents, it was underlined, and that the KDP and PUK rule the region by "force and fear."

Files show Sadam's frustration over WMD hunt
Exasperated, besieged by global pressure, Saddam Hussein and top aides searched for ways in the 1990s to prove to the world they had given up banned weapons, according to newly-released documents. "We don't have anything hidden!" a frustrated Iraqi president interjected at one meeting, transcripts show. At another, in 1996, he wondered whether United Nations inspectors would "roam Iraq for 50 years" in a pointless hunt for weapons of mass destruction. "When is this going to end?" he asked.
Signs Comment: This is yet more evidence that the American government knew for a fact that Saddam had no WMDs, yet they deliberately and consciously LIED to the world in order to justify and invasion of Iraq. When are people going to wake up to the fact that the American government is the primary source of terrorism in the world today?

US book on Iraq war takes aim at Rumsfeld
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld comes under fire for his handling of the invasion of
Iraq and its bloody aftermath in a new book by a retired general and a New York Times reporter. The book, "COBRA II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq", accuses Rumsfeld and General Tommy Franks, who commanded US troops at the war's outset, of adopting an overly optimistic plan that ignored the threat of insurgency and the political landscape of Iraq.

Audio: Colonel Larry Wilkerson Condemns US 'Ineptitude'
Within 24 months, we're going to have to withdraw from Iraq, whether the situation there, politically, economically and so forth, is adequate or not because we've stretched our ground forces to the point of breaking. We have officers who are leaving the Army and the Marine Corps now because they don't want to do a third and possibly a fourth tour in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Change of heartland
On the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, many Indianians are no longer strongly behind the war

Iraqis Detail Deadly U.S. Marine Raid:
Shortly after a roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine in a western Iraqi town, American troops went into nearby houses and shot dead 15 members of two families, including a 3-year-old-girl, residents say.

The march of folly, that has led to a bloodbath - The Iraq War: Three Years On

It is the march of folly. In 1914, the British, French, and Germans though they would be home by Christmas. On the 9th of April 2003, corporal David Breeze of the 3rd Battalion, 4th US Marine Regiment - the very first American to enter Baghdad - borrowed my satellite phone to call his home in Michigan. "Hi you guys, I'm in Baghdad," he told his mother. "I'm ringing to say 'Hi, I love you. I'm doing fine. I love you guys.' The war will be over in a few days. I'll see you all soon."

'Iraq was awash in cash. We played football with bricks of $100 bills'

At the beginning of the Iraq war, the UN entrusted $23bn of Iraqi money to the US-led coalition to redevelop the country. With the infrastructure of the country still in ruins, where has all that money gone? Callum Macrae and Ali Fadhil on one of the greatest financial scandals of all time

US Blasted For Creating Terrorism Quagmire On Anniversary Of Iraq War

Asian newspapers Monday took the United States to task on the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, with one commentator saying it had created the ideal environment for terrorism to fester. "Three years into the Iraq war, and with no end in sight, it looks as if the United States, in creating a quagmire for itself in the Middle East, has also created the ideal environment in which the terrorism bacillus can fester, and then infect the whole world," said the Sydney Morning Herald.

Video The Aftermath Of A Massacre

This is the account of a nine year old survivor. " watched them shoot my grandfather First in the chest then in the head, then they killed my granny."

US targets Iraqi deaths "misinformation"
The U.S. military hit back on Wednesday at what it called a "pattern of misinformation" following Iraqi police accusations that its troops shot dead a family of 11 in their home last week.

Desire to 'Serve My Country' Cited by Volunteers for Duty in Iraq
Almost 1,000 members of the U.S. Foreign Service have volunteered for duty in Iraq since 2003. The Foreign Service Journal, the magazine of the American Foreign Service Association, recently surveyed active-duty Foreign Service officers (FSOs) about their tour there. Fifty-seven who replied served or currently serve in Iraq either at the embassy in Baghdad or elsewhere in the country. Here are some of their responses, as excerpted from an article in the March issue by Shawn Dorman, titled "Iraq Service and Beyond."

Civil War? What Civil War? Cole in Salon

Readers have repeatedly asked me for a criterion by which we might fairly objectively decide if Iraq is in a Civil War (contrary to Bush's and Rumsfeld's denials). I have attempted such an argument at Excerpt:

3 Western Aid Workers in Iraq Rescued in Military Operation
Three Western peace workers who were held hostage in Iraq for four months were freed in a military operation today, two weeks after their American colleague was killed in captivity. The three men - James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, both from Canada; and Norman Kember, 74, of Britain - had been kidnapped last November along with the American man, Tom Fox, in Baghdad.

Signs Comment: And it only took FOUR MONTHS to free them!

Iraq war veteran wins her first political battle

Tammy Duckworth will vie for a House seat in the fall. She prevailed Tuesday in Illinois's Democratic primary.

White House downplays Bush remark on Iraq troop pullout
The White House downplayed President George W. Bush's suggestion that US troops would still be in Iraq when his term ends in January 2009. [...] "The question was ... when will there be zero or no American troops in Iraq," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "So he was referring to that specific question." The president did not mean that a strong military presence would be remain nearly six years after the US-led invasion, but merely was addressing a theoretical question about when the troops will be withdrawn, McClellan told reporters. [...]

Signs Comment: Riiiight. So the question was when will there be no troops in Iraq, and Bush's "theoretical" answer of 2009 was supposed to mean that troops will be gone by next month - which means they will still be gone in 2009. Now do you understand? Ya know, these political leaders have such complex minds that it is often difficult for us, the little people, to understand what they are saying...

Pace Wants Review of Iraq Media Program
The top U.S. military commander called Thursday for a formal

Pentagon review of the policies that led to defense officials paying the Iraqi media to place favorable stories in their newspapers.

Bush uncle benefits from war spending
As President Bush embarks on a new effort to shore up public support for the war in Iraq, an uncle of the chief executive is collecting $2.7 million in cash and stock from the recent sale of a company that profited from the war.

Iraqi civilian deaths shrouded in secrecy
Recent figures from the campaign group Iraq Body Count put the minimum number of civilians killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion three years ago at between 33,710 and 37,832.

Benchmarks: US Iraq casualties stay high
As Iraq teeters on -- or over -- the brink of civil war the pressure is not easing on the hard-pressed U.S. ground forces there.
Over the past month, the average rate at which U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq has significantly fallen, the but the rates at which they are being wounded have dramatically increased.

Sunni mosque blast kills 5 in northern Iraq

A roadside bomb exploded outside a Sunni mosque in northern Iraq on Friday, killing five and wounding 18, a local police source told Xinhua.

Harsh reality: Bush administration's own grim Iraq assessment

Repeated suggestions by the White House and friendly commentators that the news media's selective displays of terrorist attacks in Iraq are warping American public opinion seem to belie several unclassified assessments of the situation produced by the U.S. government itself. In fact, just two weeks ago the Bush administration publicly released a detailed report stating that "even a highly selective" inventory of the terrorist attacks inside Iraq "could scarcely reflect the broad dimension of the violence" there.

Saddam's FM unveiled as double spy for French, CIA

Saddam Hussein's last foreign minister was a paid spy for French intelligence, which later turned him over to the CIA for information about Iraq's secret weapon programs, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Iraqi residents say bodies in video from US raid

A video of civilians who may have been killed by U.S. Marines in an Iraqi town in November showed residents describing a rampage by U.S. soldiers that left a trail of bullet-riddled bodies and destruction.
A copy of the video, given to Reuters by Iraq's Hammurabi Organization for Monitoring Human Rights and Democracy, showed corpses lined up at the Haditha morgue. The chief doctor at Haditha's hospital, Waleed al-Obaidi, said the victims had bullet wounds in the head and chest. Most residents interviewed by Reuters in Haditha on Tuesday echoed accusations by residents in the video that U.S. Marines attacked houses after their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb. They said the Marines opened fire on houses. "I saw a soldier standing outside a house and he opened fire on the house," said one resident, who did not want to be identified.

Children Continue To Be Main Victims Of U.S. Occupation
One of the most tragic consequenes of the Iraq war has been its effect on children. The war continues to claim them among its main victims, while the health of the majority of the population also continues to deteriorate. In the 1980s, Iraq had one of the best health care systems in the region. Following the 2003 invasion by the coalition forces, an ongoing cycle of insurgent violence and occupation forces' counter-attacks have significantly damaged the basic health infrastructure in the country. As a result, Iraq's health system cannot respond to the most basic health needs of the population.

US soldiers kill 22 in attack on Baghdad mosque
US forces killed 22 people and wounded eight at a mosque in east Baghdad in an incident likely to lead to increased tensions with the Shia community. Police said the US troops had retaliated after coming under fire. Videotape showed a heap of male bodies with gunshot wounds on the floor of the Imam's living quarters in what was said to be the Al Mustafa mosque. There were 5.56mm shell casings on the floor, which is the type of ammunition used by US soldiers. A weeping man in white Arab robes is shown stepping among the bodies. Police Lt Hassan said some of the casualties were at the office Dawa, the party of the Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Haidar al-Obaidi, a senior Dawa official, said: "The lives of Iraqis are not cheap. If the American blood is valuable to them, the Iraqi blood is valuable to us."

U.S. soldiers kill two civilians at check point at Al-Ratba:
Ahmed al-Kobaisy, a doctor at al-Ratba hospital said the three victims were shot at when their car approached the site of a US army base on the road. They were admitted to the hospital after which two of them died of their wounds.

Soldier who killed Iraqi girl in 2004 discharged; no criminal charges filed
The Army has discharged without criminal charges a Schofield Barracks soldier who was involved in the 2004 killing of a 13-year-old girl and wounding of her sister and mother in Iraq.

US Military faces Iraqi accusations on deadly night raid
The US military insisted Monday Iraqi special forces carried out a raid on an insurgent hide-out that killed over a dozen people, rejecting accusations American troops had launched a deadly attack on civilians in a mosque. Amid a swirl of conflicting versions of the events late Sunday, the US military said Iraqi special forces raided a meeting hall in northeast Baghdad being used by an insurgent cell and killed 16 people and detained 18 others. Iraqi television on Sunday night showed pictures of blood spattered corpses inside what they called the Mustafa mosque. Many of the dead were elderly and their identity proclaimed them to be members of prominent political parties. The Imam Ali hospital, in nearby Sadr City, reported 17 dead and five wounded in an incident that risks further inflaming sectarian tensions in Iraq.

Hired guns unaccountable
About 6,000 non-Iraqi security contractors are operating in Iraq. During nine months in 2004-05, contractors reported firing into 61 civilian vehicles; no one was ever prosecuted. Security analysts say it is likely that such incidents are vastly underreported. Security contractors supporting the U.S. effort in Iraq regularly shoot into civilian cars with little accountability, according to a News & Observer analysis of more than 400 reports contractors filed with the government. In the documents, which cover nine months of the three-year-old war, contractors reported shooting into 61 vehicles they believed were threatening them. In just seven cases were Iraqis clearly attacking -- showing guns, shooting at contractors or detonating explosives.

Bush: U.S. troops will still be in Iraq after my presidency ends in 2009

President George W. Bush said in a press conference on March 21, 2006 that U.S. troops will still be in Iraq after his presidency ends in 2009. Asked when all U.S. forces would finally pull out of Iraq, Bush told a White House news conference: "That will be decided by future Presidents and future governments of Iraq." Bush's term ends in January 2009. The silence from Congress in reaction to this pledge was deafening. While the President was pledging occupation until 2009, polls are showing that opposition to the war is growing. The latest CBS poll on Iraq showed that 70% think the occupation is not worth the costs. Even 42%, of Republican voters feel that way as do 90% of Democrats and 72% of Independent voters. This is consistent with a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll which found that only 37% of Americans believe the invasion of Iraq was worth it, 54% believe we should withdraw within a year, and only 22% believe the U.S. is sure to win (down from 79% in 2003). Another poll conducted by ICR Research for VotersForPeace may make incumbents who have supported the war even more nervous. This poll found that a near majority of voters are ready to pledge to vote against candidates who continue to support the war. If the Iraq occupation continues to go poorly there could be a strong reaction at the polls in November.

Iraq recruitment centre blast kills 40

At least 40 people are reported killed and 20 others wounded when a
suicide bomber blew himself up among candidates waiting at an army recruitment centre in northwest Iraq. An Iraqi Interior Ministry official said the explosion occurred on Monday at an Iraqi army centre called Tamarat, located near the town of Tal Afar, which is close to the restive city of Mosul.

Signs Comment: You want to know the truth of this and so many other alleged "suicide bombings" in Iraq and in other countries in the Middle East? On May 11 2005, an Iraqi man named Imad Khadduri posted a "warning to car drivers" on The report contained some alarming information:

"A few days ago, an American manned check point confiscated the driver license of a driver and told him to report to an American military camp near Baghdad airport for interrogation and in order to retrieve his license. The next day, the driver did visit the camp and he was allowed in the camp with his car. He was admitted to a room for an interrogation that lasted half an hour. At the end of the session, the American interrogator told him: 'OK, there is nothing against you, but you do know that Iraq is now sovereign and is in charge of its own affairs. Hence, we have forwarded your papers and license to al-Kadhimia police station for processing. Therefore, go there with this clearance to reclaim your license. At the police station, ask for Lt. Hussain Mohammed, who is waiting for you now. Go there now quickly, before he leaves his shift work'.

The driver did leave in a hurry, but was soon alarmed with a feeling that his car was driving as if carrying a heavy load, and he also became suspicious of a low flying helicopter that kept hovering overhead, as if trailing him. He stopped the car and inspected it carefully. He found nearly 100 kilograms of explosives hidden in the back seat and along the two back doors.

In an incident that appeared to corroborate the idea that US and British forces were involved in covert bomb attacks on Iraqi civilians, in September 2005 two British SAS agents were arrested driving a car full of explosives. The men had been shooting at Iraqi civilians and wore full Arab dress.

Bush's Requests for Iraqi Base Funding Mean US Troops Will Be There For Decades
Even as military planners look to withdraw significant numbers of American troops from Iraq in the coming year, the Bush administration continues to request hundreds of millions of dollars for large bases there, raising concerns over whether they are intended as permanent sites for U.S. forces.
Questions on Capitol Hill about the future of the bases have been prompted by the new emergency spending bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last week with $67.6 billion in funding for the war effort, including the base money. Although the House approved the measure, lawmakers are demanding that the Pentagon explain its plans for the bases, and they unanimously passed a provision blocking the use of funds for base agreements with the Iraqi government.

Elaborate American air bases worry Iraqis
The chief Air Force engineer here, Lt. Col. Scott Hoover, is also overseeing two crucial projects to add to Balad's longevity: equipping the two runways with new permanent lighting, and replacing a weak 3,500-foot section of one runway. Once that's fixed, "we're good for as long as we need to run it," Hoover said. Ten years? he was asked. "I'd say so."

Iraq on its own to rebuild, U.S. says
The head of the U.S.-led program to rebuild Iraq said Thursday that the Iraqi government can no longer count on U.S. funds and must rely on its own revenues and other foreign aid, particularly from Persian Gulf nations.
"The Iraqi government needs to build up its capability to do its own capital budget investment," Daniel Speckhard, director of the U.S. Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, said.

60 Minutes joins the propaganda war
Two weeks ago, CBS 60 Minutes ran a segment called "Tal Afar: Al Qaida's Town". The story focused on an Iraqi city on the Syrian border that was allegedly "taken over by Al Qaida" and turned into a terrorist "base to train insurgents and launch attacks around Iraq". (60 Minute's transcript) According to"America's most popular news magazine", the city of 200,000 was controlled by a few hundred "terrorists" who kept the townspeople imprisoned in their own homes until American forces invaded the city and set them free.

Bush Proposed Assassinating Hussein to Provoke War With Iraq: Memo
In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.
But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.

Mired in Diplo-Gobbledygook

President Bush, who's been touting his Iraq policy across the country this week, "is at his best when he's answering real and difficult questions from a cross section of Americans," White House communications director Nicolle Wallace said a few days ago.

Neurotic-in-Chief: Bush's "Change of Course"

George Bush's recent admission that our occupation of Iraq will extend beyond his presidency passed with hardly a ripple in American public opinion. Uh oh.

Bush told Blair determined to invade Iraq without UN resolution or WMD
US President George W. Bush made clear to British Prime Minister Tony Blair in January 2003 that he was determined to invade Iraq without a UN resolution and even if UN arms inspectors failed to find weapons of mass destruction in the country, The New York Times reported.

Signs Comment: Gee, do you think the Bush gang is also determined to take care of Iran no matter what?

Iraq minister says US, Iraqi troops killed 37 civilians in cold blood
Iraq's security minister, a Shi'ite political ally of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, accused U.S. and Iraqi troops on Monday of killing 37 unarmed people in an attack on a mosque complex a day earlier. "At evening prayers, American soldiers accompanied by Iraqi troops raided the Mustafa mosque and killed 37 people," Abd al-Karim al-Enzi, minister of state for national security, said. "They were all unarmed. Nobody fired a single shot at them (the troops). They went in, tied up the people and shot them all. They did not leave any wounded behind," he told Reuters. Shi'ite politicians had earlier said 20 people were killed at the mosque. The U.S. military's account of Sunday evening's incident said Iraqi special forces with U.S. advisers killed 16 "insurgents", arrested 15 people and freed an Iraqi hostage. The military denied entering any mosque.

Baghdad governor says suspends cooperation with US

Baghdad provincial governor Hussein al-Tahan said on Monday he would suspend all cooperation with U.S. forces until an independent investigation is launched into the killing of 20 Shi'ites in a mosque. "Today we decided to stop all political and service cooperation with the U.S. forces until a legal committee is formed to investigate this incident," he told reporters, adding that the inquiry panel should include the U.S. embassy and the Iraqi defence ministry but not the U.S. military.

Did American Marines murder 23 Iraqi civilians?

The US military deny accusations of massive over-reaction when attacked. But video evidence from one incident has led the official story to unravel. US military investigators are examining allegations that Marines shot unarmed Iraqis, then claimed they were "enemy fighters", The Independent on Sunday has learned. In the same incident, eyewitnesses say, one man bled to death over a period of hours as soldiers ignored his pleas for help. American military officials in Iraq have already admitted that 15 civilians who died in the incident in the western town of Haditha last November were killed by Marines, and not by a roadside bomb, as had previously been claimed. The only victim of the remotely triggered bomb, it is now conceded, was a 20-year-old Marine, Lance-Corporal Miguel Terrazas, from El Paso, Texas.

The Logic of Withdrawal

We find ourselves in a remarkable situation today. Despite a massive propaganda campaign in support of the occupation of Iraq, a clear majority of people in the United States now believes the invasion was not worth the consequences and should never have been undertaken.

The Final Say
U.S. President George Bush again reassured Americans last week they were winning the war in Iraq. Please, Mr. President, no more "mission accomplished," no more victories. Your debacle in Iraq recalls King Phyrrus' famous lament, "One more such victory and we are ruined." The Bush administration invaded Iraq for two key reasons: 1) To seize Iraq's vast oil reserves and turn Iraq into a base to dominate the Mideast; 2) To destroy one of Israel's two main enemies (Iran being the other). Three years later, the first goal remains elusive while the second was achieved. Large parts of Iraq – once the Arab world's most developed nation – are in ruins, anarchy, or approaching civil war.

Russia expects clear answer from Iran on enrichment proposal

Iran should give a clear answer to Russia's offer to set up a uranium enrichment joint venture on Russian territory, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Tuesday.

US troops defend raid, say Iraqis faked "massacre"
U.S. commanders in Iraq on Monday accused powerful Shi'ite groups of moving the corpses of gunmen killed in battle to encourage accusations that U.S.-led troops massacred unarmed worshippers in a mosque. "After the fact, someone went in and made the scene look different from what it was. There's been huge misinformation," Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, said.

Signs Comment: The timing of this story is most curious given the recent reports (and photos) of Iraqi children murdered in their home by US forces.

Soldiers flee to Canada to avoid Iraq duty

Hundreds of deserters from the US armed forces have crossed into Canada and are now seeking political refugee status there, arguing that violations of the rules of war in Iraq by the US entitle them to asylum. A decision on a test case involving two US servicemen is due shortly and is being watched with interest by fellow servicemen on both sides of the border. At least 20 others have already applied for asylum and there are an estimated 400 in Canada out of more than 9,000 who have deserted since the conflict started in 2003.

Tapdancing Over Iraq
Connecticut Congressman Chris Shays has been a strong backer of Bush on the war. Will that support spell doom for him, and other moderate Republicans, in November?
When House Republican Chris Shays showed up last week to a meeting of the Y's Men, a group of more than 400 senior men who meet weekly in Westport, Conn., he was warmly welcomed. The man introducing Shays, who has represented this Southern Connecticut district in Congress since 1987, presented the congressman with a jacket from the group and said "We love ya, Chris." But when he stepped to the podium, Shays didn't exude the confidence of a beloved incumbent. Instead, he sounded like a man who isn't sure the goodwill he's earned over the last nearly two decades can ensure his reelection to Congress this fall. In a passionate but defensive 20-minute speech, Shays delivered, all at once, an apology for and a justification of his strong support for the war in Iraq, which, as in so many other parts of the country, is now very unpopular in Connecticut.

Signs Comment: Of course, none of the politicians will say that Bush lied. If they do, they will have to admit that they lied, as well - and that's not a move that would be conducive to getting re-elected. Furthermore, with all the spying the Bush administration has done, you can bet they have all kinds of dirt on everyone.

War Of Ideas About Justice Not Democracy

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has declared the United States is losing the "war of ideas" against radical Islam, and the findings of a leading terrorism expert suggest why.
Marc Sageman, a French forensic psychiatrist, published the groundbreaking book "Understanding Terror Networks" in 2004 based on his biographical analysis of 172 known terrorists, including the men who carried out the September 11 attacks on the United States. Sageman has expanded that study to more than 400 known terrorists, analyzing information available in trial transcripts, press accounts and academic journals. What he continues to find turns the stereotypical notion about terrorists -- that they are young, lonely, naïve, idealists corrupted by al Qaida recruiters and religious schooling -- on its head. "It's very much a war of ideas," Sageman said. But the winning ideas are not necessarily the ones the Bush administration is pushing.

Americans' call for removal of Iraqi PM threatens rift with Shias

President George W Bush has made it clear that he does not want Ibrahim al-Jaafari to remain prime minister of Iraq in a move likely to increase hostility between the US and the Shia community. Mr Bush has written to the Shi'ite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Shi'ite Alliance asking him to nominate somebody else for the post. " The Americans are very firm about this," said a senior official. " They don't want Jaafari at any price."

In Iraq, frontline patience wears thin
 In a middle-class neighborhood on the bank of the Tigris River, Charlie Company's 4th Platoon dismounts from their armored vehicles and starts banging on doors. They're going house to house, talking to residents, looking for information on insurgents in this city of 1.8 million.
While the soldiers' reception varies, one Christian family welcomes them with smiles. But misunderstanding quickly ensues. "Please don't take our weapon," the mother of four pleads in Arabic when US Army Staff Sgt. Josh Clevenger comes across an AK-47. "We need it to defend ourselves. It is not safe, anything can happen."

A dangerous war makes a staggering shift
With signs of organized crime, attacks on businesses, war enters new phase
Fourteen shot at a trading company. At least 90 kidnapped at other businesses. Bodies dumped nightly, bound hand and foot, some tortured. A new brand of violence - a deadly mix of organized crime and sectarian murder - is tearing at Iraq. Its origins are murky. But the savagery has turned March into a pivotal month in the three-year war - a month of gruesome news, mixed with some good. A sharp decline in American deaths appears to be the payoff for handing more duties to the Iraqi army, leaving U.S. forces less exposed to attack. At the same time, there has been the rise in the slayings of civilian Iraqis, the reasons for which are hard to find.

Signs Comment: Despite the obvious signs of false flag terrorism (just ask: Who benefits?), the mainstream US media continues to present a filtered view of reality in Iraq to the American people.

Bush's call for removal of Iraqi PM threatens rift with Shias
President George W Bush has made it clear that he does not want Ibrahim al-Jaafari to remain prime minister of Iraq in a move likely to increase hostility between the US and the Shia community.

Signs Comment: Do we need any further evidence that the American interest in Iraq has nothing to do with "democracy"?

Political uncertainty grips Iraq as talks cancelled

Political uncertainty, sparked by a dispute over control of Iraq's security apparatus, has gripped the country again after another planned meeting on forming a national unity government was cancelled.
With no let-up in the violence, political leaders are under increasing pressure to create a new government after three months of squabbling since the elections but have only held one meeting in the past four days.

Fear Up Harsh: The Iraqi Civil War in Context

The causes underlying any civil war are always complex, confused, even contradictory -- as one would expect in an outbreak of madness. But those seeking to discover some of the key precipitating factors behind Iraq's furious plunge into chaos and disintegration might find one of them in the records of an obscure Congressional committee meeting on August 10, 2004.

Australia demands Iraq shooting probe
AUSTRALIA will insist on a prompt and appropriate investigation by Iraqi authorities into the shooting dead of an Australian resident in Baghdad.
University of Baghdad Professor Kays Juma, 72, was killed by security guards who opened fire when the professor's vehicle got too close to a convoy of 4WDs ferrying private contractors, The Herald Sun reported today.

Signs Comment: What seems to be the case is that these so-called "security contractors" are behind a lot of the indescriminate killing of civilians in Iraq over the past 3 years. There is video footage of these men shooting hundreds of bullets from the backs of their jeeps into any "suspicious" car that gets too close to their convey. The above story appears to be just the latest and one of the few reported such events.

Reporter Jill Carroll Freed in Baghdad

Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll has been freed in Iraq and is healthy, a Monitor editor said Thurday.
"She was released this morning, she's talked to her father and she's fine," said David Cook, a monitor editor in Washington. He said the paper had no further details immediately and just learned of her release aboug 6:15 a.m. EST.

Finding no fault
The Pentagon has once again investigated itself! And - have a seat, get the smelling salts, hold all hats - the Pentagon has once again concluded the Pentagon did absolutely nothing wrong and will continue to do so!

Signs Comment: The above-mentioned Lincoln Group and it's founder Christian Bailey were engaged in placing false information into the Iraqi media, in much the same way that the abovetopsecret forum spreads lies and disinformation around the web. In both cases, it is very clear that this is U.S. government intelligence agency work, aka CoIntelPro.

'If you start looking at them as humans, then how are you gonna kill them?'

They are a publicity nightmare for the US military: an ever-growing number of veterans of the Iraq conflict who are campaigning against the war. To mark the third anniversary of the invasion this month, a group of them marched on Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.

Iraq leader warns U.S. to stop interfering
In the face of growing pressure from the Bush administration for him to step down, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari of Iraq on Wednesday vigorously asserted his right to stay in office and warned the Americans against undue interference in Iraq's political process. Jaafari also defended his recent political alliance with the radical anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, now the prime minister's most powerful backer, saying in an interview that Sadr and his thousands-strong militia were a fact of life in Iraq and needed to be accepted into mainstream politics.

Iraq Shi'ite ayatollah wants US envoy sacked

A leading Iraqi Shi'ite cleric on Friday demanded the United States sack its envoy, heading a push for a unity government, accusing him of siding with fellow Sunni Muslims in the sectarian conflict gripping the country.Ayatollah Mohammed al-Yacoubi's call at Friday prayers came as political leaders held their latest round of negotiations to form a new government, months after parliamentary elections in December, as sectarian bloodshed rises.
In a sermon read out at mosques for Friday prayers, Yacoubi said Washington had underestimated the conflict between Shi'ites and the once dominant Sunni Arab minority, which many fear threatens to trigger a civil war. "By this, they are either misled by reports, which lack objectivity and credibility, submitted to the United States by their sectarian ambassador to Iraq ... or they are denying this fact," Yacoubi said in the message, later issued as a statement. "It (the United States) should not yield to terrorist blackmail and should not be deluded or misled by spiteful sectarians. It should replace its ambassador to Iraq if it wants to protect itself from further failures."
After the imam of Baghdad's Rahman mosque read that line, worshippers chanted "Allahu Akbar" -- God is Greatest.
Iraq's political leaders held their latest round of talks on forming a new government on Friday, under mounting pressure at home and from the United States to form a government of national unity to end the sectarian violence and avert civil war. Afghan-born ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the highest ranking Muslim in the U.S. administration has spearheaded urgent U.S. efforts to press politicians to agree on a government embracing Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds to avert a sectarian civil war. The Shi'ite-Sunni bloodshed has worsened dramatically since a major Shi'ite shrine in the city of Samarra was bombed on February 22, sparking a wave of violence and poisoning the political atmosphere during the crucial negotiations. Hundreds have died since and more than 30,000 people have fled their homes as Shi'ite and Sunni militias seek to cleanse their neighbourhoods. Yacoubi is the spiritual guide for the Fadhila party, one of the smaller but still influential components of the dominant Islamist Alliance bloc. He is not part of the senior clerical council around Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf. Nonetheless, Shi'ite politicians said his comments reflected widespread disenchantment among them with the ambassador. "It's a very good statement," one senior official in the Alliance, not from Fadhila, said of Yacoubi's sermon. Khalilzad, who has been in Iraq 10 months, has been criticised by Shi'ite leaders, who openly resent his championing of efforts to tempt Sunnis away from armed revolt into a coalition government. Yacoubi said: "The American ambassador and the tyrants of the Arab states are giving political support to those parties who provide political cover for the terrorists."
Alliance leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim accused Khalilzad last month of provoking the Samarra bombing by making remarks critical of "sectarian" tendencies among the Shi'ite leadership. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has also criticised U.S. "interference" this week in Iraq's political process. Jaafari's nomination to a second term by the Alliance is a major sticking point in talks with Sunnis and ethnic Kurds on a government.
Shi'ite politicians say Khalilzad has delivered messages from U.S. President George W. Bush to both Hakim and Sistani in the past week urging them to drop Jaafari, whose nomination was secured with the support of Iranian-backed cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr. U.S. diplomats deny taking sides in the issue. Khalilzad is now planning talks with Iran, Washington's old enemy in the region, to try to ease the crisis in Iraq. The United States accuses Shi'ite Iran of fomenting violence. Politicians have been debating how to form a new government since parliamentary elections in December, but appear to have made little real progress. There is also haggling over a Sunni demand for a security veto and the issue of who gets what job remains wide open.

Britain's casualties of Iraq war total 6,700, MoD says

Almost 6,700 Britons have needed hospital treatment in Iraq since the invasion three years ago - almost as many as the total number of British troops still stationed there. About 4,000 were sufficiently injured or ill to be sent home to Britain. The figures include soldiers and civilians injured in accidents or taken ill, or who have suffered psychological problems, as well as those injured in fighting. They were posted on the Ministry of Defence website yesterday, on the day that MPs dispersed for their Easter break, after months of criticism directed at the Government for refusing to give details about the "forgotten" British casualties.

Implications of India-US defence pact

The recent US-India defence pact may have serious implications for the arms race and raise strategic questions regarding relations with China. China-India-Pakistan triangular relationship is a vital factor for South Asian peace. Bangladesh's internal security situation has become worse. The Islamic extremists are conducting repeated bomb raids. The government response to deal with them is inadequate so far. If India-China relationship deteriorates due to increasing US interest in Indian affairs, Bangladesh will be in a difficult situation as to whom to support -- India or China.

Muslims protest as Bush tours southern India
US President George W. Bush met farmers and weavers in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, as Muslim protesters clashed with police and brought the business centre to a standstill.

Teen Killed in Anti-Bush Protest in India

Anger against U.S. President George W. Bush swept through parts of India on Friday as protesters burned his effigy and carried posters of Osama bin Laden, and rioting demonstrators clashed with Hindus in a northern city, leaving at least one dead.

India, Pakistan got atomic arms "legitimately" sez Bolton
The U.S. Ambassador to the
United Nations John Bolton said on Wednesday the way India and Pakistan had obtained nuclear arms was legitimate, in contrast to Iran which he accused of pursuing atomic weapons in violation of its international undertakings. While Iran is seeking to conceal development of nuclear weapons under the guise of a legitimate program to generate nuclear power, Bolton said, India and Pakistan "did it legitimately."

Spinning a web for India - Underneath fuzzy talk of shared values, President Bush's real concern is to hobble a potential rival

A world away from its self-declared international war on terror, Washington has spied greater and more potent threats on the horizon. India's nuclear programme - built in isolation, from scratch, after American-imposed sanctions in the 70s - is such a threat. Not only has a poverty-stricken country, without outside help, built a nuclear industry, but its scientific establishment has also mastered the technically difficult reprocessing cycle and achieved a series of unique breakthroughs in nuclear technology. India might one day be "free" to assemble as large an atomic arsenal as possible and, even more problematic for Washington, end up with a monopoly on an energy source of the future.

Thousands of Pakistanis Protest Bush Visit
Small groups of anti-U.S. demonstrators took to the streets in some Pakistani cities Friday, chanting "Death to America!" and burning U.S. flags to protest a visit by President Bush to meet with one of his key allies in the war on terror.