Iraqi child after her family was gunned down by US troops.
Over the past several months The Nation has interviewed fifty combat veterans of the Iraq War from around the United States in an effort to investigate the effects of the four-year-old occupation on average Iraqi civilians. These combat veterans, some of whom bear deep emotional and physical scars, and many of whom have come to oppose the occupation, gave vivid, on-the-record accounts. They described a brutal side of the war rarely seen on television screens or chronicled in newspaper accounts.
Their stories, recorded and typed into thousands of pages of transcripts, reveal disturbing patterns of behavior by American troops in Iraq. Dozens of those interviewed witnessed Iraqi civilians, including children, dying from American firepower. Some participated in such killings; others treated or investigated civilian casualties after the fact. Many also heard such stories, in detail, from members of their unit. The soldiers, sailors and marines emphasized that not all troops took part in indiscriminate killings. Many said that these acts were perpetrated by a minority. But they nevertheless described such acts as common and said they often go unreported--and almost always go unpunished.
What is the most outrageous piece of news that isn't being discussed? I would venture to say it is the strange tale of Dov Zakheim and the missing trillions. I hear all kinds of numbers. I hear 2.3 trillion from Rumsfield and I hear about one trillion that Zakheim can't explain. Still, you'll need to check the dates of Zakheim's days in the saddle as Pentagon Comptroller and then you can wonder to your hearts content. There's no doubt the money is gone and there's no doubt about who should know where it went but...what do I know? I know one trillion dollars is a lot of money. Isn't one trillion dollars a million million...Zounds!!!?
I was thinking about this God-thing this morning. I was thinking about the difference between what religion states about the unknowable and what the unknowable states about itself through the sheer force of its being (to those inclined to feel it) and the archetypes it presents itself through; white light refracting through a prism into the natural world of color and dimension, of sight and sound. Then I passed through a forum where a particular aspect of this enormous mental construct was under discussion. Remember that this subject behind the behind is a pinpoint of essence, no matter how pervasive or absent it may be or appear to be.
A small plane crashed Monday near the picturesque downtown of Sitka, killing four people and destroying an unoccupied house, authorities said.
The owner of the home, Tess Heyburn, followed others running toward the crash. She had been sitting in a restaurant when the plane went down. "At first there wasn't much smoke. Then it erupted into smoke and flames," she said.
Russian and Chinese troops are joining forces this week in the first military exercises by an international organisation that is regarded in some quarters as a potential rival to Nato.
Thousands of soldiers and 500 combat vehicles will take part in "Peace Mission 2007", organised by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia. Russian officials have also proposed an alliance between the SCO and a body representing most of the former Soviet republics.
The Russian Defense Ministry denied Tuesday claims by Georgia that two Russian military aircraft had violated Georgian airspace and dropped a bomb near a village.
Georgia's Interior Ministry earlier said two Russian fighters flew Monday over Georgian territory dropping a 700-kg bomb on the village of Tsitelubani, located 65 kilometers (about 40 miles) northwest of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. The bomb did not explode, the ministry said.
"Russian aircraft did not fly over Georgian territory either Monday evening or Tuesday morning," said Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky, a spokesman for the Russian Air Force. "They [the aircraft] did not violate Georgian airspace."
A vast telescope to be made by Russian and Belgian firms will be installed in India's Himalayas in 2012, the director of an Indian research institute said Monday.
Asia's largest telescope "will enable us to see four to five times deeper into space than before, and receive high-quality images," said Professor Ram Sagal of the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences.
An optical glass plant in Lytkarino, near Moscow, will make a mirror for the telescope 3.6 meters wide, and Belgian partners will assemble the unit and test it before sending it to India.
U.S. President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai vowed on Monday to finish off the Taliban, which Karzai said was a defeated force that attacks civilians but is not a threat to his government.
Comment: Wishful thinking will get you every time!
Kim Willsher Guardian Unlimited 2007-08-06 18:15:00
The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has lived up to his tough-talking reputation in an extraordinary outburst against two photographers while on holiday in America.
A furious Mr Sarkozy, sporting only his swimming trunks, leapt into a boat carrying the paparazzi and began shouting at them after he spotting them taking pictures of him.
Unfortunately, the president's tirade - delivered in French - was entirely lost on the photographers, neither of whom could understand a word he was saying. And Mr Sarkozy was unaware they had been given permission by a local marine patrol to be at that spot on the lake.
The Department of Defense is planning to implant microchips in soldiers' brains for monitoring their health information, and has already awarded a $1.6 million contract to the Center for Bioelectronics, Biosensors and Biochips (C3B) at Clemson University for the development of an implantable "biochip".
President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.
As Jonathan Schwarz recently noted, there is a deeply discouraging sameness about the outrages that dissenting writers must address -- and a new front-page story in the Washington Post is a perfect example. In fact, it's a piece that could have been written at any time in the last 100 years or more: "Feds Look the Other Way While United Fruit Company Peddles Death and Corruption in Latin America"
On February 7, 2002, I determined for the United States that members of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces are unlawful enemy combatants who are not entitled to the protections that the Third Geneva Convention provides to prisoners of war. I hereby reaffirm that determination.
A confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) suggests that Bush administration officials may have committed war crimes in the operation of CIA "secret prisons" overseas, according to a lengthy analysis published on the web site of the New Yorker magazine Sunday.
The day after President George W. Bush marshaled political forces in Congress to grant him greater authority to engage in counterterrorism-related spying, the president stated that he would seek greater changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when the legislative branch returns to work in September.
Konstantin Lantratov, Alexander Reutov, Gennady Sysoev Kommersant 2007-08-02 08:17:00
The U.S. military leadership has stated for the first time that it has to decline to renew the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Chief of the U.S. Strategic Command Gen. James Cartwright claimed that the decision makes a possible strike in the war against global terrorism easier. In Russia, they are worried that the United States will have potential to make a disarming nuclear strike and, with the missile defense system in Europe, avoid a counterstrike.
Scott Horton Harper's Magazine 2007-08-07 08:15:00
This weekend something of tremendous consequence happened. The attitude of the Bush Administration will likely be mirrored by that of the Democratic leadership: this is nothing, tend to your own work, just move along. The media will dish up some more Paris Hilton prolefeed (let's call it by its proper, Orwellian name). But what happened was very important - another massive sledgehammer blow was taken to the foundations of our democratic institutions. And it was a thoroughly bi-partisan effort.
While the debate on draft dodgers rages - at least one person seems willing to go many extra lengths to serve - even if the army isn't interested.
A 24-year-old young woman from Jerusalem was arrested on Tuesday on the suspicion that for the past five years she has been entering IDF bases and impersonating an officer holding the rank of captain. The suspect even apparently went so far as to join up with an artillery battery during the Second Lebanon War and aided the troops.
The investigation began after a soldier from northern Israel filed a complaint with the local police that he suspected the young woman of stealing special purchase slips issued by the army to allow soldiers to buy uniforms outside the military. In his complaint the soldier said he believed the woman was an imposter.
For the past 24 hours, Baghdad has had virtually no running water.
Major parts of the city of six million people have lacked running water for six days, while daily high temperatures have ranged from 115 to 120 degrees. The tiny amount of water dripping through the pipes is causing many of those who must drink it to suffer acute intestinal illness.
According to reports, not enough electricity is available to run Baghdad's water pumps. This in a country with vast energy resources.
The war in Iraq is about to get worse -- much worse. The Democrats' decision to let the war run its course, while they frantically wash their hands of responsibility, means that it will sputter and stagger forward until the mission collapses. This will be sudden. The security of the Green Zone, our imperial city, will be increasingly breached. Command and control will disintegrate. And we will back out of Iraq humiliated and defeated. But this will not be the end of the conflict. It will, in fact, signal a phase of the war far deadlier and more dangerous to American interests.
Michael J. Kosares Financial Sense Online 2007-08-07 15:27:00
"[U]nder the placid surface there are disturbing trends: huge imbalances, disequilibria, risks -- call them what you will. Altogether the circumstances seem to me as dangerous and intractable as any I can remember, and I can remember quite a lot. What really concerns me is that there seems to be so little willingness or capacity to do much about it. . . We are skating on thin ice."
- Paul Volcker, Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve
"[W]e live in a globalized environment and in a country which has enormous fiscal and external deficits. So you have to figure out some way -- which I have not done I might add -- to protect yourself if we should have a real currency problem here."
Frankfurt Trust, the mutual fund manager of Germany's BHF-Bank, stopped withdrawals from a fund after clients removed 20 percent of their money since the end of July amid concern about the U.S. subprime loan debacle.
The FT ABS-Plus fund, which includes residential mortgage- backed securities and collateralized debt obligations, halted redemptions on Aug. 3, the Frankfurt-based company said today. The 160 million-euro ($221 million) fund has a ''small exposure'' to subprime investments, spokesman Holger Ullrich said.
Mark Landler International Herald Tribune 2007-08-07 15:36:00
Germany, which last week became the first European country infected by the woes in the American mortgage market, suffered another blow Monday when a Frankfurt-based asset management firm closed one of its funds to halt withdrawals by rattled investors.
Frankfurt-Trust said the withdrawals from its fund, FT ABS-Plus, reflected jitters about the subprime lending market in the United States, even though the fund had only minor exposure to that market.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard The Telegraph 2007-08-07 15:31:00
The Chinese government has begun a concerted campaign of economic threats against the United States, hinting that it may liquidate its vast holding of US treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.
Wall Street surged higher in a volatile session Monday, offsetting the losses it incurred Friday but showing more fractiousness than conviction in an advance that lifted the Dow Jones industrials 286 points, its biggest gain in nearly five years.
A fungus that is devastating amphibian populations around the world is a relatively new disease that is spreading rapidly, rather than an old disease that has recently become more virulent, according to research on frogs in California's Sierra Nevada.
Worse, not only is the fungus being spread by infected water, it may also be transmitted in the form of spores carried on the wind or birds' feathers, for example, a genetic analysis of the Californian frogs suggests. This would help to explain outbreaks of the disease, called chytridiomycosis, in remote, inaccessible habitats like the Sierra Nevada lakes.
Seven people drowned and four were missing after heavy rains caused severe flooding in northern Bulgaria, while storms cut off electricity and washed away bridges in neighboring Romania, officials said on Tuesday.
Six elderly people died in accidents in the small Bulgarian town of Tsar Kaloyan, some 380 km (235 miles) northeast of Sofia, after torrential rain cut off electricity and raised water levels, the local civil defense service said.
Region: CENTRAL EAST PACIFIC RISE
Geographic coordinates: 4.483S, 105.178W
Magnitude: 6.0 Mw
Depth: 39 km
Universal Time (UTC): 4 Aug 2007 14:24:58
Time near the Epicenter: 4 Aug 2007 07:24:58
Local time in your area: 4 Aug 2007 08:24:58
Location with respect to nearby cities:
2441 km (1517 miles) SSW (194 degrees) of Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico
Greece's summer of natural disasters took a new twist yesterday as authorities in northern Greece switched from fighting wildfires to trying to cope with floods caused by rainfall that was much heavier than the seasonal average.
By MICHAEL HANLON telegraph.co.uk 2007-08-06 22:49:00
The fact that a biological research laboratory was probably the source of the foot and mouth outbreak is, paradoxically, both hugely reassuring and at first sight very worrying.
Reassuring because if the multinational firm Merial Animal Health Labs was responsible for the outbreak, then scientists will know exactly which strain of the virus is responsible and will have a vaccine readily available - indeed, the cause of the outbreak would have been the very foot and mouth vaccines that the scientists are producing in huge quantities.
An Indian court on Monday rejected a challenge to the country's patent laws by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, a decision lauded by medical aid groups as a victory for millions of poor patients in developing countries.
On Friday Wired News profiled a "lonely" former astronaut, Rusty Schweickart, who is leading a campaign to protect the earth from the possibility of an asteroid crashing into Earth and killing millions of people.
Turns out he wasn't so lonely. While we said in the Q&A that NASA was doing little to protect us from an asteroid crash, it turns out the agency's been working on an anti-asteroid nuclear missile.
It looks like a big flashlight - but it's really a nonlethal weapon designed to make you sick.
Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc., of Torrance, Calif., has been granted a contract by the Department of Homeland Security to develop what it calls the "LED Incapacitator," according to a DHS online newsletter.
Four galaxies are slamming into each other and kicking up billions of stars in one of the largest cosmic smash-ups ever observed.
The clashing galaxies, spotted by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, will eventually merge into a single, behemoth galaxy up to 10 times as massive as our own Milky Way. This rare sighting provides an unprecedented look at how the most massive galaxies in the universe form.
"Most of the galaxy mergers we already knew about are like compact cars crashing together," said Kenneth Rines of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass. "What we have here is like four sand trucks smashing together, flinging sand everywhere." Rines is lead author of a new paper accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Collisions, or mergers, between galaxies are common in the universe. Gravity causes some galaxies that are close together to tangle and ultimately unite over a period of millions of years. Though stars in merging galaxies are tossed around like sand, they have a lot of space between them and survive the ride. Our Milky Way galaxy will team up with the Andromeda galaxy in five billion years.
After 3.2 million years in East Africa, one of the world's most famous set of fossils was quietly flown out of Ethiopia overnight for a U.S. tour that some experts say is a dangerous gamble with an irreplaceable relic.
Although the fossil known as Lucy had been expected to leave the Ethiopian Natural History Museum this month, some in the nation's capital were surprised the departure took place under cover of darkness with no fanfare Sunday.
"This is a national treasure," said Kine Arega, a 29-year-old attorney in Addis Ababa. "How come the public has no inkling about this? It's amazing that we didn't even get to say goodbye."
Randolph E Schmid Associated Press 2007-08-06 22:18:00
Early human-like residents of Europe may have arrived out of Asia, rather than just Africa.
An international team of researchers reports in Monday's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that Asians appear to have played a larger part in the settlement of Europe than did Africans.
A British company says it has an eco-friendly alternative to cremation: boiling bodies into dust.
In the process, called resomation, the body is encased in a silk coffin and submerged in water mixed with potassium hydroxide. It is then heated to 302 degrees Fahrenheit, which rapidly turns it into a white dust, The Mail on Sunday reported.
The process is more eco-friendly than cremation, during which a body is heated to 2,192 degrees Fahrenheit, letting off harmful fumes such as mercury, according to Resomation, the firm selling the boiling process. Instead, the company says, it is essentially a much faster version of natural decomposition.