Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Iraqi police slay a U.S. soldier - and it's covered up?

An article in today's Washington Post reveals that an American soldier was ambushed and killed this month in Baghdad by our alleged allies, the local police. What it doesn't say is that the official reports on his death by the U.S. military were complete distortions.

In an Editor & Publisher article,
Greg Mitchell says that his"additional digging now shows that the military willfuly covered up this significant detail in releasing the news of his death to his family and to the press."

Here’s how the Press-Enterprise in Riverside described it : “Pfc. Kenny Francis Stanton Jr., 20, of Hemet, died Oct. 13 in Baghdad from injuries he suffered after a bomb detonated near his armored Humvee, U.S. Army spokesman Sheldon Smith said Monday.

Now here's Gen. Salah al-Ani, chief of Iraqi police for the western half of Baghdad, quoted in today's Washington Post: "None of the Iraqi police are working to make their country better. They're working for the militias or to put money in their pocket."

And Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown, s Navy public affairs officer, wonders why I don't believe him....

Bush says people join military because they are patriots. Right.

While campaigning this week, John Kerry made a statement regarding education: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," Kerry said.

Bush responded to Kerry in a statement released by the White House: "The men and women who serve in our all-volunteer armed forces are plenty smart and are serving because they are patriots."

Patriots? I think the reason people join the military might have something to do with money, right? I highly doubt the majority of the people who join the crusade of armed forces join out of pure patriotism or any patriotism for that matter.

And it's not "all-volunteer armed forces" - stop saying that, it's a lie. The people the military preys on are people who really don't have any other choice and need money to support their families. It's like I told Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown, "the jobs and postitions that we hold are rarely personal, with the exception of monetary gain. I am sure what you said to the reporters was not your personal ideas, but what you were told to report by your superiors."

In a never ending "quest for higher education" (hahaha), kids join the armed forces for the scholarship money, not because they really want or because they are patriots. It's called a catch 22. And they're stuck, and I almost got sucked in too. Some are not so lucky.

Bush also called Kerry's comments "insulting and shameful," and said that the Senator owed the troops an apology.

The only person who owes an apology is Bush, to the armed forces men and women who he conned into going to Iraq/Afghanistan, on his administration's twisted agenda.

Monday, October 30, 2006

U.S. led naval 'excercises' taunt, aim to intimidate Iran

A naval training exercise led by the U.S. and aimed at blocking smuggling of nuclear weapons began in the Persian Gulf Sunday.

"From Iranian news reports we know the exercise got the attention of Iran," said Robert Joseph, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said Friday. Why would you want Iran to notice, unless you were trying to intimidate and instigate a situation?

The maneuvers were taking place under the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which is designed to counter trafficking in weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials, the U.S. Navy said.

Iran called the two-day maneuvers "adventurist," but the Foreign Ministry said the Islamic Republic's response would be "rational and wise." Also, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said, "We are watching their movements very carefully."

South Korea watched but did not get involved, "because there is a high possibility of armed clashes if the PSI is carried out in waters around the Korean peninsula," Smart, but why can't the Bush Administration try to avoid these confrontations? Oh! They don't want to avoid them, they want to create them.

Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown said the exercise was not openly aimed at any country and would not affect Iranian vessels or ships heading to Iran. But we have no reason to believe this since the Administration has a consistent history of pathologically lying. Full article via IHT

Citing Improvements to Law, ACLU Withdraws Section 215 Case But Vows to Fight Individual Orders

The ACLU announced on Friday that they were dropping their case against the US Government over the highly contested section 215 of the Patriot Act. ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson stated: 'While the reauthorized Patriot Act is far from perfect, we succeeded in stemming the damage from some of the Bush administration's most reckless policies. The ACLU will continue to monitor how the government applies the broad Section 215 power and we will challenge unconstitutional demands on a case-by-case basis.

ACLU via Slashdot

American Muslims hold back on giving to charities for fear of being linked to terrorism

Zakat, or charity, is a part of the Muslim faith. The month of Ramadan is a time of giving for Muslims. However, stories of significantly lowered contributions to American Muslim charities are becoming more common. There is fear that sending money to a Muslim charity will spark an unwanted investigation for a link to terrorism.

Many people are admitting they don't want to be asked over the phone to give money because they worry the government is eavesdropping. Fear for potential raids onto their properties, into their homes, and investigations of their lives are keeping donations at bay.

"The Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Treasury Department has shuttered five major Muslim charities in the United States since 2001, seizing millions of dollars in assets, yet not a single officer or organization has been convicted of anything connected to terrorism. " (New York Times)

You have to think about the fact that many Muslims came the United States looking for freedom from government intelligence forces, and having the same worries over here only intensifies their fear more. According to The New York Times, the offices of Life for Relief and Development were raided in September on the basis of a sealed affidavit. The government has said that the raid was not terrorism-related, although agents of the Joint Terrorism Task Force were along on the raid. The hanging questions put a damper on fund-raising. How is there freedom of religion when Muslims are afraid to contribute to charities only because they are Muslim?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Airport security whistleblower being scrutinized, questioned?

Fake Northwest Airlines Boarding Pass

The FBI was at security researcher Christopher Soghoian's house today. Soghoian, a Ph.D of Indiana University, decided to create a Fake Boarding Pass Generator (apparently made to shutdown by the FBI today) to bring attention to a serious security risk to airports. Soghoian had no intention of using a fake pass, and no intention of breaching airport security. In fact, as Soghoian states, ". I haven't even printed one out."

Despite Soghoian's intentions, his arrest was called for by Rep. Edward Markey (D- Massachusetts), a member of the House Homeland Security committee. And as Ryan Singel of Wired writes, "Even if Soghoian's site is shut down, any boarding pass purchased over the web can still be easily edited in any browser." Got a computer? Got a printer? You've got a fake boarding pass!

This specific loophole is not new. Bruce Schneier wrote about it in 2003, and Slate covered it in 2005. Soghoian points out that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) made the same security hole public in April 2006. "Perhaps Sen. Schumer will end up being my cellmate," Soghoian said.

I believe that this sort of "testing" should actually be encouraged. It's how security firms create better products and systems, by having hacker's test them and try bypassing them. It's raw and it works. The only thing the FBI should be "investigating" is ways to make it more difficult to make fake boarding passes, and Christopher Soghoian should be praised.

Via Christopher Soghoian's Slight Paranoia and Wired

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bush's lies endanger us all

As Keith Olbermann puts it, "A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from." And I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yummy Links of the Day

Bush: Iraq War May Be Like Vietnam
Bush said in aninterview with ABC News that a newspaper column comparing the current fighting in Iraq to Vietnam might be accurate. (ABC News)

French to Israel: Buzz Lebanon, We Open Fire (Haaretz)
Decrease in Mid-East Students Since Bush, Iraq War (BuzzFlash)
UK courts start to accept that Iraq War is a crime (Guardian)

Chertoff: Internet turning people into terrorists

Disaffected people living in the United States may develop radical ideologies and potentially violent skills over the internet and that could present the next major U.S. security threat, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Monday.

"We now have a capability of someone to radicalize themselves over the internet," Chertoff said on the sidelines of a meeting of International Association of the Chiefs of Police. "They can train themselves over the internet. They never have to necessarily go to the training camp or speak with anybody else and that diffusion of a combination of hatred and technical skills in things like bomb-making is a dangerous combination," Chertoff said. "Those are the kind of terrorists that we may not be able to detect with spies and satellites."

Chertoff pointed to the July 7, 2005 attacks on London's transit system, which killed 56 people, as an example a home-grown threat. To help gather intelligence on possible home-grown attackers, Chertoff said Homeland Security would deploy 20 field agents this fiscal year into "intelligence fusion centers," where they would work with local police agencies.

Link to t-shirt thumbnailed above. Wired via BoingBoing

President Bush Seeks to Block Enemies From Space

The revision was signed on October 6 -- with details not being revealed until now

US President George Bush has signed a new National Space Policy that is designed to emphasize space security and encourage private enterprise in space. Most notably, the country’s right to deny access to space to anyone “hostile to U.S. interests” is what has drawn support from some and displeasure from others. One line of the policy states: “Freedom and action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.” Government officials have been quick to point out that the latest revisions are not leading up to militarization of Earth’s orbit.

Michael Krepon, a co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, believes that the policy change will further the idea that the United States wishes to develop, test and deploy space weapons. And since the United States has continually declined to enter talks with other nations about space militarization, Krepon believes this only amplifies the idea of U.S. weapons being deployed in space. Theresa Hitchens, the director of the Center for Defense Information in Washington, also believes the new policy may lead to possible space war strategies.

The revision is the first one in 10 years, and was needed to “reflect the fact that space has become an even more important component of U.S. economic, national and homeland security,” according to National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones. Via DailyTech

Electricity Levels In Baghdad at Lowest Levels Since U.S. Invasion

In Sept. 2003, President Bush promised that he would help Iraqis “restore basic services, such as electricity and water, and to build new schools, roads, and medical clinics. This effort is essential to the stability of those nations, and therefore, to our own security.”

But three years later, electricity levels in Baghdad are at an all-time low. Residents of Baghdad are receiving just 2.4 hours of electricity this month, compared to an average of 16-24 hours of electricity before the U.S. invasion. The lowest level prior to this month was 3.9 hours/day.

According to our chart — using data compiled by The Brookings Institution — electricity levels have been steadily going down in the past two years (data for parts of 2003-2004 were unavailable) and are now at their lowest point since the U.S. invasion:

Via ThinkProgress

FBI and EU want your internet freedoms

FBI Director Robert Mueller on Tuesday called on Internet service providers to record their customers' online activities, a move that anticipates a fierce debate over privacy and law enforcement in Washington next year.

This should come as no surprise to us as the government is already taking watch over internet bloggers themselves.

"Terrorists coordinate their plans cloaked in the anonymity of the Internet, as do violent sexual predators prowling chat rooms," Mueller said in a speech at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Boston.

The speech to the law enforcement group, which approved a resolution on the topic earlier in the day, echoes other calls from Bush administration officials to force private firms to record information about customers. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, for instance, told Congress last month that "this is a national problem that requires federal legislation."

Also, the EU has proposed a directive which could extend broadcasting regulations to the internet, hitting popular video-sharing websites such as YouTube., reports the London Times. This would mean that websites and mobile phone services that feature video images would have to conform to standards laid down in Brussels.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Yummy Links of the Day

Nerds with binoculars bust the CIA's torture taxis. (Village Voice)

Bush signs bill on terror prosecution (AP)
President Bush's Grave Misconduct (Huffington Post)
Iraqi Death Rate May Top the U.S. Civil War (E&P)
Poll: Democrats lead in Republican districts (Raw Story)

Sanctions always a dangerous deadend for U.S.

The U.N. sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear test are a declaration of war, and the country will "deal merciless blows" if the nation's sovereignty is violated, the North's central government said Tuesday in its first response to the U.N. measures. Thanks U.S./UN! This recent news brings me to the point that Sanctions against other countries have always turned out bad for the U.S and our reputation throughout history. Period.

The North wants "peace but is not afraid of war," says N. Korea's Foreign Ministry. And so have said many previous nations that have been dealt harsh sanctions by the U.S. and it's minions throughout history.

When the U.S. placed sanctions on countries like Cuba and Iraq, they did more damage than good. In Cuba, the people are forced to confide in Castro and to flee the country. The same was the result of harsh sanctions against Iraq, people forced to trust and obey Saddam, and deterioration of their economy.

All resulting in very angry and pissed of people around the world (some a.k.a. terrorists).
“The number of Iraqi people who have died in the last eight years as a result of the sanctions exceeds the death toll due to all the weapons of mass destruction used in human history,” said Noam Chomsky to MIT's 'The Tech' in April 1999. And Pat Buchanan states, "sanctions may have caused the deaths of 500,000 [Iraqi] children. When Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under President Clinton was asked if this horrific toll of Iraqi children was justified, she replied, 'We believe the price is worth it.' "

In the case of Iran, we are again warned by Mohamed ElBaradei (IAEA cheif) back in March, that Iran is not an imminent and sanctions against them is a "bad idea" and "we need to lower the pitch."

The sanctions imposed by the U.S. also deals hard blows to our domestic economy, as "...
firms and workers in the United States also pay an immediate price when [sanctions are brought against other nations]. Even though the aggregate cost in relation to our GDP is usually very small, the costs may be significant for individual firms or industries." This is one of the facts that Jeffrey Schott, of the Institute for International Economics, stated to the Committee on International Relations at the House of Representatives on June 3, 1998. We are also told this by Richard Haass of The Brookings Institute, "...often sanctions turn out to be little more than expressions of U.S. preferences that hurt American economic interests without changing the target's behavior for the better."

Monday, October 16, 2006

'DUMBASS' quotes Bush, makes you laugh

DUMBASS by Jules Carlysle is a complete collection of outrageous quotes from President George W Bush . "DUMBASS skewers Bush with his own words while delivering an opportunity for thoughtful analysis of how the issues shaping our future are mirroring the issues that shaped our past. More than just a funny quote book, Carlysle hopes DUMBASS drives home a much bigger message, that America and the very principles she holds dear are in imminent danger. Carlysle says, 'We are watching a poorly staged rendition of Wag the Dog, interpreted for the morbidly stupid and performed by the criminally insane.'""

Yummy Links of the Day

The Abu Ghraib files (Salon)
279 photographs and 19 videos from the Army's internal investigation record show three months of detainee abuse inside the prison -- and make clear that many responsible have yet to be held accountable.

Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil (AlterNet)
73% of Americans Say Iraqis Should Take Over (Angus Reid)
Marine Corps Issues Gag Order in Detainee Abuse Case (LA Times)
The End of Habeas Corpus (The Daily Dish)
How Bush Sr.'s aides really feel about Jr. (Impolitical)
Is U.S. Winning Iraq? Tony Snow Says, "I Don't Know" (E&P)

New bill lets teachers search students

On September 19th, Congress voted on whether to destroy the civil rights of students, enabling teachers to conduct invasive strip searches under the slightest suspicion. With less than 10% of the 435 member body present, they passed HR. 5295 - "Student and Teacher Safety Act of 2006." They claimed the act will remove weapons and drugs out of the school. Searching every student in violation of the Constitution only removes students' civil rights! The bill now goes on to be voted on in the Senate.

This bill was created by Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) who is running for re-election. He convinced House leadership to vote on the House floor September 19. The bill had less then 20 co-sponsors in the 435 member House (all of which are Republica of course).

The bill was never subjected to hearings or considered by the Committee to which it was referred, the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Even though it purports to interpret the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment regarding searches, it was not referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

This bill is nothing more than another attack on the constitutional rights of young people by the federal government. Students should never have to check their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door. Another step closer for Big Brother

Sunday, October 15, 2006

2 GOP Senators want new Iraq strategy

Thank you Senators Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and John Warner of Virginia, who are two new Republicans speaking out against Bush's current plan,or lack thereof, for Iraq. NOw we need more Republicans to speak ou against the U.S. foreign policy in general. How about speaking out against the extremely flawed and phoney 'War on Terror' and 'War on Drugs' too!

Anyway, here's what Senator Hagel had to say: "The American people are not going to continue to support, sustain a policy that puts American troops in the middle of a civil war."

Yes, Hagel is very correct. WE won't support you Bush. Never. People are beginning to see through the bullshit like never before and it's beautiful. Full article.

We can see the tables ARE turning, slowly but surely, as long as people continue to have revelations and realize the hegemonistic nature of the Bush Administration. We are sure to win against the Republic. Even people in other nations are taking notice of the masses of people turning their backs on Bush finally: See the article "America is Finally Revolting Against the Republicans."

Yummy Links of the Day

One man still locked up from 9/11 sweeps (AP)
3/4 Americans want Troops Home From Iraq (Think Progress)
1 million U.S. retirees invade Mexico (SF Gate)
Rape charges recommended for Israeli President (CNN)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Very nice clothes for your body

A while ago we found Progresswear, a hip site with lots of anti-Republic and political gear. Today I found Ban T-Shirts, which also provides high quality anti-Bush garments and political message gear.

So grab a shirt or two and show your feelings about this great Administration we are under! Yay!

O'Reilly gets by murder talk, but not 14 yr old teen?

It's a big story but I am sure not all of you have heard about the 14 year old girl in Sacremento who was questioned by the Secret Service for writing the phrase"Kill Bush" on her MySpace profile. But she later replaced her page on the social-networking site after learning in her eighth-grade history class that such threats are a federal offense.

Bill O'Reilly has talked of murdering George Soros. However, this is apparently not taken seriously by the Federal or Local Governments because George Soros is not that significant to them.

O'Reilly has declared, among other things, that "[t]hey ought to hang this Soros guy." Most recently, O'Reilly compared Soros to Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and alleged that Soros believes that "we're Nazis" because of U.S. policies on Iraq and torture.

The Secret Service (the SS, haha) or law enforcement does not interfere. Then O'Reilly straight up denies "go[ing] after" Soros.

I think this is completely ridiculous that the Bush Administration is trying to scare and intimidate people by going after a 14-year-old on MySpace, it's obviously an SS PR stunt. They got a great chance to show that they are "serious" and they took it. Well that's great SS, but shouldn't we take murderous threats against anyone seriously then?

Yummy Links of the Day

Hi everyone! I'm starting the 'Yummy Links of the Day' to share valuable informative articles and sites that I've found. There are so many great links and sites, it's hard to keep up with, so thats sort of why I am starting this.

A Timeline of Bush's Lies (Mother Jones)
American Fascism Is on the Rise (AlterNet)
Military Maintains Big Database on Antiwar Protests (NY Times)
Bush Keeps Revising War Justification (AP News)
Who's Running Afghan Policy? (The Nation)

Kerry speaking out

Way to go Kerry. OR NOT. Should have stood up to Bush during the election! Well, I do give Kerry credit for at least speaking out, UNLIKE some other still push-over democrats who voted for the Military Commissions Act.

"They tell us we're making progress in Iraq and that there is no civil war. That is a lie," he said. "It's immoral to lie about progress in that war in order to get through a news cycle or an election cycle.

"Kerry criticized the Bush administration for blaming the North Korean nuclear test on former Pres. Clinton. (Tell me what kind of leader doesn't take responsibilities for HIS actions and blames them on others, OH THE BUSH KIND!) "That is a lie. North Korea's nuclear program was frozen under BIl Clinton. Read the full article

Free America will end on Tuesday 10/17

On Tuesday, October 17, at 9:35 a.m., George W. Bush will sign the Military Commissions Act (more via Wikipedia) and abolish some important rights that our founding fathers had placed at the heart of our so-called democracy.

Thereafter, Bush and his minions will have the power to arbitrarily decide that you may be a threat to this nation. They can then lock you up and throw away the key. They don't need to tell you why you're being detained. They may torture you, as long as they don't call it that. They don't have to reveal whatever evidence they might have against you, so there is no way that you'll ever be able to dispute that secret evidence or prove your innocence. You're at their mercy.

This sounds like the kind of thing that goes on in brutal third-world dictatorships. But soon it will be the new American way. Every day we are dragged closer to the supressive, totalitarian society that George Orwell warned us about in his book '1984.' See the votes and how representatives from your state voted. via OpEdNews.com

For an even more in depth analysis of the problem read Nick Zsabo's "Liberty and habeas corpus" - Part I and Part II. (Thanks Nick!)

U.S. military Internet clean up campaign

This is almost as disturbing as cameras with loudspeakers. But not quite. "Big Brother is not watching you, but 10 members of a Virginia National Guard unit might be," according to the Army. The Manassas-based Guardsmen are on a one-year assignment to clamp down on both "official and unofficial Army Web sites for operational security violations."

The team, working "under the direction of the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell" hunts for "documents, pictures and other items that may compromise security" -- and then orders the parties to take the offensive content offline.

Since the relatively wide-open days following the Iraq invasion in 2003, the Pentagon has been slowly tightening the screws on military bloggers. Officers started busting frontline diarists for their websites. In Iraq, new rules required bloggers to check with their commanders before posting.


More at DefenseTech via The Raw Story

Friday, October 13, 2006

Bush's Approval Ratings Decline AGAIN

The Wall St. Journal is reporting that the latest Harris Interactive Poll shows that President Bush's approval rating dropped four points this month, from 38% to 34%.

Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults now have a negative view of Mr. Bush's job performance, compared with 61% who ranked him "only fair" or "poor" in a similar poll last month. The drop follows a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that showed the president's job approval rating fell to 39% from 42% earlier in October.

With less than a month to go before the midterm congressional elections, 47% of registered voters said they would vote for a Democratic candidate, compared with 35% who said they would pick a Republican candidate. When asked about recent Capitol Hill scandals involving charges of corruption and sexual improprieties, 64% said they believed those activities were the just the "tip of the iceberg," compared with 25% who believed they were "isolated incidents."

Rumsfeld Allies Campaign Against NATO General

Gen. James Jones, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, was quoted in Bob Woodward’s State of Denial as believing the Iraq war is a “debacle” and that “the Joint Chiefs have been systematically emasculated by Rumsfeld.” Jones is also quoted as cautioning Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace: “You should not be the parrot on the secretary’s shoulder.”

To the dismay of Rumsfeld and his supporters, Jones has stood by the criticisms reported in the book. He recently said, “I don’t challenge Bob’s characterization of it, except that had I seen [the book], I probably would have suggested that the tone was more critical than I intended it to be. … I did talk about Iraq with a concern that Iraq deserves.” Read the rest at Think Progress

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Serious Intelligence Failure on N. Korean Nukes

Bill Gertz reports that the intelligence community has seriously botched its forecasts on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Recent U.S. intelligence analyses of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs were flawed and the lack of clarity on the issue hampered U.S. diplomatic efforts to avert the underground blast detected Sunday, according to Bush administration officials.

Some recent secret reports stated that Pyongyang did not have nuclear arms and until recently was bluffing about plans for a test, according to officials who have read the classified assessments. The analyses in question included a National Intelligence Estimate a consensus report of all U.S. spy agencies produced several months ago and at least two other classified reports on North Korea produced by senior officials within the office of the Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte. The officials said there were as many as 10 failures related to intelligence reporting on North Korean missile tests and the suspected nuclear test that harmed administration efforts to deal with the issue.

According to officials familiar with the reports, the failures included judgments that cast doubt about whether North Korea’s nuclear program posed an immediate threat, whether North Korea could produce a militarily useful nuclear bomb, whether North Korea was capable of conducting an underground nuclear test and whether Pyongyang was bluffing by claiming it could carry one out.

The failures would be the latest in a string suffered by U.S. intelligence in recent years, as described in a series of government and nongovernment reports. Past stumbles have included missing chances to detect or stop the September 11 attacks, faulty assessments of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs, the failure to predict the 1998 round of nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, and overly optimistic predictions of the Iraqi reaction to a U.S. invasion.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

U.S. has killed more Iraqi civilians than Saddam

he Lancet, the respected British medical journal, will come out with this on Saturday. (it is not on their Web site yet).
The death toll is appalling!

This is account will be in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON -- A new study asserts that roughly 600,000 Iraqis have died from violence since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, a figure many times higher than any previous estimate.
A similar story is now on the The New York Times Web site. And The Washington Post.

Excerpts of this report will be in Wednesday's New York Times, Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

The study was conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health by sending teams of Iraqi doctors across Iraq from May through July.

The Defense Department until 2004 eschewed any effort to compute the number of Iraqi dead but this summer released a study putting the civilian casualty rate between May and August at 117 people a day.

Other tabulations using different methodologies put the range of total civilian fatalities so far from about 50,000 to more than 150,000. President Bush in December said "30,000, more or less" had died in Iraq during the invasion and in the violence since.
The Johns Hopkins team conducted its study using a methodology known as "cluster sampling." That involved randomly picking 47 clusters of households for a total 1,849 households, scattered across Iraq. Team members interviewed each household about any deaths in the family during the 40 months since the invasion, as well as in the year before the invasion. The team says it reviewed death certificates for 92 percent of all deaths reported. Based on those figures, it tabulated national mortality rates for various periods before and after the start of the war. The mortality rate last year was nearly four times the preinvasion rate, the study found.

"Since March 2003, an additional 2.5 percent of Iraq's population has died above what would have occurred without conflict," the report said. The country`s population is roughly 24 million people.

Human Rights Watch has estimated Saddam Hussein's regime killed 250,000 to 290,000 people over 20 years.

Via DailyKos

Rumsfeld gave North Korea nukes

Rumsfeld was the only American to sit on the board of a company which six years ago sold two light water reactors to North Korea. The Guardian reported in May 2003:

Rumsfeld was a non-executive director of ABB, a European engineering giant based in Zurich, when it won a $200m contract to provide the design and key components for the reactors. The current defense secretary sat on the board from 1990 to 2001, earning $190,000 a year.

Rumsfeld has never acknowledged that he knew the company was competing for the nuclear contract. In response to questions about his role in the reactor deal, former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke told Newsweek in February 2003 that “there was no vote on this” and that her boss “does not recall it being brought before the board at any time.” But an investigation by Fortune magazine revealed that Rumsfeld probably did know:

ABB spokesman Bjoern Edlund told Fortune magazine at the time that “board members were informed about this project.” … “This was a major thing for ABB,” the former director [who sat on the board with Rumsfeld] said, “and extensive political lobbying was done.” The director recalls being told that Rumsfeld was asked “to lobby in Washington” on ABB’s behalf. … Although he couldn’t provide details, Goran Lundberg, who ran ABB’s power-generation business until 1995, says he’s “pretty sure that at some point Don was involved,” since it was not unusual to seek help from board members “when we needed contacts with the U.S. government.”

Rumsfeld has since refused media requests to talk about his role in the light water reactor deal and has instead criticized it.

Via ThinkProgress Video via Impolitical Also read the Guardian's article

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

President Bush is “ticked off big-time”

Bush is very mad at former aides who helped Bob Woodward paint a lurid portrait of a dysfunctional, chaotic administration in his new book, “State of Denial.”

State of Denial examines how the Bush administration avoided telling the truth about Iraq to the public, to Congress, and often to themselves.

The NY Daily News reports, “In the obsessively private Bush clan, talking out of school is the ultimate act of disloyalty, and Bush feels betrayed from within.”

Well, wouldn't you feel betrayed if you we're trying to mislead Americans, then someone spoke out against you revealing your lies?

Below, Bob Woodward explains how Dick Cheney is also angry at him. Woodward says it's a metaphor when Cheneny hangs up the phone on him - Cheney "hangs up when someone has a different point of view or information he doesn't want to deal with."

Halliburton's prison camps in America

Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), a Halliburton subsidiary, has been awarded a $385 million contract to construct a huge facility at an undisclosed location to hold tens of thousands of Bush's "unlawful enemy combatants." Americans are certain to be among them.

Sort of reminds us of REX 84 (Rediness Exercise 1984). The Military Commissions Act of 2006, is yet another step toward our supression. Anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on Bush's list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies could be declared an "unlawful enemy combatant" and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.

We can expect the Bush Administration to continue to exploit 9/11 to strip us of more of our liberties. Our constitutional right to dissent is in serious jeopardy. Benjamin Franklin's prescient warning should give us pause: "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security." Via AlterNet

See how representatives from your state voted on the Military Commissions Act of 2006

Also research "FEMA camps" or "Concentration Camps in America"

Monday, October 09, 2006

$20M of your tax dollars at 'work'

The Pentagon is going to spend $20M of your money to celebrate victory in Iraq/Afghanistan. Even though top military generals "have warned Iraq is on the cusp of a civil war and that U.S. troops must remain in large numbers until at least next spring."

I came upon this quote from a fellow blogger about this issue:
"I don't know about you, but I can think of more effective ways to deploy that capital. (Of course, at the Pentagon $20M isn't capital, it's petty cash.)" says Ron, via Rondam Ramblings.

Must Read Articles

End of the Revolution, Time.com
Sex, lies and power games are just the latest symptoms of a Republican party adrift from its ideals.

NATO: Afghans may back Taliban, Associated Press
NATO's commander in Afghanistan warned that many Afghans may switch their allegiance to the Taliban if their lives show no improvements in the next 6 months.

Russians fear truth targeted in journalist's murder, Reuters
Russians say Anna Politkovskaya's murder was a political killing to stifle the free press.

U.S. soldiers question their purpose, who is the enemy?, NBC
Invisible enemy, untrustworthy allies have U.S. troops questioning their purpose and ask themselves if this is their fight anymore. And who is the enemy?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

12 ridiculous things Ann Coulter has said

Gawker.com brings up some of the most idiotic things the super conservative pundit Ann Coulter, author of "Godless: The Church of Liberalism," has said.

1. "Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers, they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam, post 9/11. Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do. They don't have the energy. If they had that much energy, they'd have indoor plumbing by now."

2. "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."

3. "It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950 -- except Goldwater in '64 -- the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted."

4. "Liberals attack their country and then go into diarrhea panic if anyone criticizes them ..."

5. "Then there are the 22 million Americans on food stamps. And of course there are the 39 million greedy geezers collecting Social Security. The greatest generation rewarded itself with a pretty big meal."

6. "Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity (as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of 'kill everyone who doesn't smell bad and doesn't answer to the name Mohammed')".

7. "[Canadians] better hope the United States doesn't roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."

8. "Kerry warned Americans not to 'overhype this election' -- and if there's one guy who's good at calming down excited voters, it's John Kerry. Apparently, word didn't get out to the Iraqis, who were dancing and singing in the streets. (Isn't it great to see Muslims celebrating something other than the slaughter of Americans?)"

9. "I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo."

10. "[North Korea] is a major threat. I just think it would be fun to nuke them and have it be a warning to the rest of the world."

11. "I think our motto should be, post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'"

12. "These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."

10 Liberal Values

Geoffrey R. Stone is the Harry Kalven, Jr. Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. He has written ten Liberal Values which he states as a "list is not exhaustive." Stone also says' his "goal is not to end discussion, but to invite debate." Read the following and see if there is anything you would modify or change.

1. Liberals believe individuals should doubt their own truths and consider fairly and open-mindedly the truths of others.

2. Liberals believe individuals should be tolerant and respectful of difference.

3. Liberals believe individuals have both a right and a responsibility to participate in public debate.

4. Liberals believe "we the people" are the governors and not the subjects of government, and that government must treat each person with that in mind.

5. Liberals believe government must respect and affirmatively safeguard the liberty, equality and dignity of each individual.

6. Liberals believe government has a fundamental responsibility to help those who are less fortunate.

7. Liberals believe government should never act on the basis of sectarian faith.

8. Liberals believe courts have a special responsibility to protect individual liberties.

9. Liberals believe government must protect the safety and security of the people, for without such protection liberalism is impossible.

10. Liberals believe government must protect the safety and security of the people, without unnecessarily sacrificing constitutional values.

Read about these in more detail at The Huffington Post

Pentagon in Myspace spreading propaganda

Social networking websites are just the latest place the military is trying to catch the attention of the next crop of potential recruits.

MySpace has become a magnet for those that want, for one reason or another, to draw the attention of young people. Colleges, products, movies, and fast-food are just some.
Early this August, the site hit over 100 million profiles. "Even including those corporate-sponsored sites and fictional pages, that's still a whole lot of would-be friends." So it's nt a mystery why, with 80% of MySpace users reporting they're over 18 years old, the military has expanded to Myspace in the search for fresh-faced recruits who might be thrown into the Afghan and Iraqi breaches.

In February 2006, the Marine Corps launched its MySpace profile. A thoroughly predictable page, it boasts a streaming video that might best be termed boot-camp-on-speed -- complete with clips of a stereotypical drill instructor barking out commands and a bullet-cam speeding toward a target on the rifle range. The site even offers downloadable desktop wallpapers, mainly Marine Corps "anchor and globe" emblems or photos of World War II vintage Marines. Conspicuously, there isn't a modern image in sight in any way evocative of the war in Iraq (deployment pressure from which recently caused the Corps to announce that it would force reservists to return involuntarily to duty due to a lack of volunteers).

In early November, the Army has scheduled to launch a profile, according to Louise W. Eaton, the service's advertising media and web chief. MySpace proved impossible to contact on their work with the military, refusing to respond to multiple messages.

The militarization of MySpace is just the latest Pentagon effort to occupy a new realm that will put the military product in front of ever more young eyes. The role of "friendly" MySpace.com, taking a desperate military's money to target their hordes of young friends searching for popularity online, is troubling. Full article via AlterNet

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Stop funding the war

Rep. Jim McGovern is currently serving his fifth term in the House from the 3rd Congressional District of Massachusetts. He has introduced H.R. 4232, which would end funding for the use of ground troops in Iraq and US occupation of Iraq. Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has been working and organizing support for HR 4232, including circulating an online petition that has garnered more than 25,000 signatures. PDA urges everyone to sign the petition, and to ask your Congressional member to co-sponsor the bill. Rep. McGovern was interviewed on Wednesday, Oct. 4, by PDA National Board Member William Rivers Pitt, read the interview here.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Static: Media Manipulation and Fabrication

I just picked up this new book, Static by Amy Goodman and David Goodman, and it looks pretty good from most of the reviews. Amy Goodman is the host of the popular Democracy Now! radio show, which I listen to daily and also recommend to anyone looking for premium and unparalleled journalism.

"In Static, the brother-sister team of Amy Goodman and investigative journalist David Goodman once again take on government liars, corporate profiteers, and the media that has acted as their megaphone. They expose how the Bush administration has manipulated and fabricated news and how the corporate media has worked hand in glove with the powerful to deceive the public. The Goodmans cut through the spin and static to offer the truth about war, torture, and government control of the media. Mixing investigative reporting and interviews, Static presents voices of dissidents, activists, and others who are too often frozen out of official debate, to shed new light on urgent issues of war and peace. Ultimately, Static is a hopeful, fighting rallying call for people to take back our government, our media,and our world." BuzzFlash

Latest News Stories

Here are some links to the latest news topics, situations and developments:

In the U.S.:
Universities give student info to banks
Congress to Blow $20 Mil in Taxpayer Money on War 'Victory' Party

Iran invites people to tour it's nuclear facilities

US Gives Iran Until the End of the Week to Suspend Enrichment

North Korea:
Nations confront North Korea about nuclear test
N.Korea calls for U.S. troop pullout in S. Korea