Last year, the unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas,
spoke about the State of Israel on camera. (Previously)
: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,"
and that the Jews "can go home"
to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else,"
sparked media outrage,
prompted her to issue an apology and retire
. After months of being out of the the public spotlight, she has now given her first long-form interview, which will appear in the April issue of Playboy Magazine
. In it, she explains what she meant, tells us how she would like to be remembered and expands upon her positions regarding Israel, Jewish political influence, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"You can not come back to Canada until you have been criminally rehabilitated."
Ann Wright, who had 29 years of military and govt service, resigned in protest on the eve of the Iraq War from her position as deputy ambassador to Mongolia. In this hour long talk, she discusses her story and the story of several others from various countries who resigned in protest. Her new book, Dissent: Voices of Conscience
, details the story of 24 people who resigned in protest. [more inside]
"A venal, dysfunctional government
." That is how the San Francisco Chronicle describes the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq. Now an investigation by the BBC's respected Panorama TV program
estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq. But they are not allowed to report fully because of US gagging order.
- Given Saddam Hussein's central place in the American Consciousness over the last couple decades and particularly in recent years, I found 60 minutes' interview with FBI interrogator
George Piro pretty fascinating.
Al Hurra television, the U.S. government's $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program.
That might explain why critics say the service has recently been caught broadcasting terrorist messages, ...
from their About US page: Alhurra is operated by non-profit corporation “The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.” (MBN). MBN is financed by the American people through the U.S Congress.
US Govt. Accountability Office abstract about other MBN problems here.
War vs. Democracy: Untold Stories from the Lynch / Tillman Hearing
-- ...U.S. soldiers whose injuries or deaths remain mired in secrecy. Pat Tillman's brother and fellow Army Ranger Kevin Tillman advocated strongly for other families still waiting for answers. ... "The family was told, it was -- quote -- 'an ambush by insurgents.' Two years later, they found out that those -- quote -- 'insurgents' happened to be the same Iraqi troops that he was training. Before his death, he told his chain of command that these same troops that he was training were trying to kill him and his team. He was told to keep his mouth shut." ...
Thorough and eye-opening examination of the many ways the military spun, lied, withheld information on soldier deaths and injuries for propaganda purposes (and even delayed action until cameras were present in the Jessica Lynch
Confessions of an Army Torturer
"...as an army interrogator, he tortured detainees for information he admits they rarely had. Since leaving Iraq he’s taken this story public, doing battle on national television against the war’s architects for giving him the orders he regrets he obeyed...
In Memoriam and in Protest
--why not use an online deathmatch as a pedestal for speaking out against a war?
Artist/Professor uses US Govt-developed America's Army
(...placing Soldiering front and center within popular culture and showcasing the roles training, teamwork and technology play in the Army. ...
) as protest and art space. DeLappe's homepage (and jpgs) here
"I think my beliefs had changed once we were on the ground. Within days we had seized all of the oil fields
in northern Iraq and our primary mission was to protect them. Bush had said this war wasn't about oil
, but there I was defending oil fields
at all costs in the middle of Iraq. A lot of the piping and workings of the fields had been destroyed by the fleeing army and before we even started
to help the people by fixing the power or water supplies, they had construction crews trying to get everything up and running on the oil fields."
⇒An interview with Zechariah, 25, of Lynnwood, Washington.
He enlisted in the Army when he was 21, and was deployed to Iraq from March 2003 to January 2004 with the 173rd Airborne Brigade as a medic.
IRAQ DRAFT BILL OF RIGHTS LEAKED IN ENGLISH
The al-Mada newspaper on June 30 published what is apparently a draft version of the equivalent to the Bill Of Rights that is being worked on by a subcommittee in the Iraqi legislature. Omar from Iraq The Model first reported this on that day and provided his commentary on the document, but ultimately it was too large to translate. Nathan J. Brown of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace provides a valuable public service by translating the entire document, so a big hat tip to him. Let’s take a quick look at some of the features of this bill, as it is very promising although there are some provisions that need much deeper looking into (and others not so much). Nathan also makes thorough observations. You can read it in full here.
While the proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, the internal government memos collected in this publication demonstrate that the path to the purgatory that is Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Ghraib, has been paved with decidedly bad intentions. The policies that resulted in rampant abuse of detainees first in Afghanistan, then at Guantanamo Bay, and later in Iraq, were product of three pernicious purposes designed to facilitate the unilateral and unfettered detention, interrogation, abuse, judgment, and punishment of prisoners: (1) the desire to place the detainees beyond the reach of any court or law; (2) the desire to abrogate the Geneva Convention with respect to the treatment of persons seized in the context of armed hostilities; and (3) the desire to absolve those implementing the policies of any liability for war crimes under U.S. and international law.
Regarding the Torture Papers
, which detail Torture's Paper Trail
, and, then there's Hungry for Air
: Learning The Language Of Torture, and, of course, there's ( more inside)
Denial Of Water
Water supplies to Tall Afar, Samarra and Fallujah have been cut off during US attacks in the past two months, affecting up to 750,000 civilians. This appears to form part of a deliberate US policy of denying water to the residents of cities under attack. If so, it has been adopted without a public debate, and without consulting Coalition partners. It is a serious breach of international humanitarian law, and is deepening Iraqi opposition to the United States, other Coalition members, and the Iraqi interim government.
IRC nominates one of their own
to be interim P.M. U.S. supports this even though only one-tenth of one percent of Iraqis believe they should be making this choice, according to CPA poll.
Thought June 30th was a real handover of power to the Iraqis? In a series of edicts issued earlier this spring, Mr. Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority created new commissions that effectively take away virtually all of the powers once held by several ministries. ... The new Iraqi government will have little control over its armed forces, lack the ability to make or change laws and be unable to make major decisions within specific ministries without tacit U.S. approval, say U.S. officials and others familiar with the plan.
Behind Diplomatic Moves, Military Plan Was Launched.
An excerpt from the new book "Plan of Attack"
by Bob Woodward
. Amongst its claims are that Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar
was informed of the plans for Iraq before Colin Powell, and that $700 million designated by Congress for the war in Afghanistan was used to prepare for the war in Iraq
Just how large is 87 billion dollars exactly? It's this large
, about the size of three costco warehouses by the looks of it.
Preparing for War, Stumbling to Peace The Bush administration planned well and won the war with minimal allied casualties. Now, according to interviews with dozens of administration officials, military leaders and independent analysts, missteps in the planning for the subsequent peace could threaten the lives of soldiers and drain U.S. resources indefinitely and cloud the victory itself. Lonely At The Top Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said last week that he hoped to enlist as many as 30,000 troops from 49 nations. The problem, however, is that many of the recruits the Pentagon has tried to line up so far appear to fall into two categories: the not so willing and the not that able. Report: U.S. May Call National Guard for Iraq Duty
- The Pentagon could start a call-up of as many as 10,000 U.S. National Guard soldiers by this winter to bolster forces in Iraq and offset a lack of troops from allies, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Postwar Window Closing in Iraq, Study Says A team of outside experts dispatched by the Pentagon to assess security and reconstruction operations in Iraq reported yesterday that the window of opportunity for achieving postwar success is closing and requires immediate and dramatic action by U.S. military and civilian personnel. Turning and turning in the widening gyre...
John Dean's analysis of the administrations case for War.
"What I found, in critically examining Bush's evidence, is not pretty. The African uranium matter is merely indicative of larger problems, and troubling questions of potential and widespread criminality when taking the nation to war. It appears that not only the Niger uranium hoax, but most everything else that Bush said about Saddam Hussein's weapons was false, fabricated, exaggerated, or phony."
"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I
struck them, and then he instructed me to
strike at Saddam, which I did..."
does this kind of talk coming from our president and the most powerful man in concern you? - or reassure you?
A case on Iraq - Rumsfeld's testimony to Senate Armed Services Committee
The National Security Strategy of the United States of America
GAO e-Government Proposal
Senator Byrd on the Department of Homeland Security
Today's bumper crop of limited audience
government info links.
"Maybe only 50,000 people want to know what's going on in Libya, but those 50,000 people are really important. You don't want to have more planes blow up. But maybe six million people want to watch Jerry Springer. Well, who owns the airwaves? Basically we do." Do you think that unprocessed, source texts are getting filtered effectively to the public?
Molly Ivins wraps it up nicely and ties a bow on top. When Dick Cheney was CEO of the oilfield supply firm Halliburton, the company did $23.8 million in business with Saddam Hussein, the evildoer "prepared to share his weapons of mass destruction with terrorists."
Administration Says It Can Attack Iraq without Congressional Approval
Not a new story, per se, but this Post article lays out pretty well the arguments behind the administration's case, one being simply Bush's role as commander-in-chief. It's strange how closely this issue reflects earlier attempts by the administration to avoid Congressional and/or public scrutiny (Cheney's Enron meetings, for example). Why this aversion, and why fight so hard? And I have a sneaking fear that Bush will seek Congressional approval only after invading, and he will bully votes by claiming that reps have a patriotic duty to support a president in a time of war.