Monday, March 31, 2008
TXTmob writer subpoenaed over 2004 RNC
Sunday Mar 30th, 2008 11:16 AM
By COLIN MOYNIHAN
Published: March 30, 2008
When delegates to the Republican National Convention assembled in New York in August 2004, the streets and sidewalks near Union Square and Madison Square Garden filled with demonstrators.
Police officers in helmets formed barriers by stretching orange netting across intersections. Hordes of bicyclists participated in rolling protests through nighttime streets, and helicopters hovered overhead.
These tableaus and others were described as they happened in text messages that spread from mobile phone to mobile phone in New York City and beyond. The people sending and receiving the messages were using technology, developed by an anonymous group of artists and activists called the Institute for Applied Autonomy, that allowed users to form networks and transmit messages to hundreds or thousands of telephones.
Although the service, called TXTmob, was widely used by demonstrators, reporters and possibly even police officers, little was known about its inventors. Last month, however, the New York City Law Department issued a subpoena to Tad Hirsch, a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who wrote the code that created TXTmob.
Lawyers representing the city in lawsuits filed by hundreds of people arrested during the convention asked Mr. Hirsch to hand over voluminous records revealing the content of messages exchanged on his service and identifying people who sent and received messages. Mr. Hirsch says that some of the subpoenaed material no longer exists and that he believes he has the right to keep other information secret.
“There’s a principle at stake here,” he said recently by telephone. “I think I have a moral responsibility to the people who use my service to protect their privacy.”
The subpoena, which was issued Feb. 4, instructed Mr. Hirsch, who is completing his dissertation at M.I.T., to produce a wide range of material, including all text messages sent via TXTmob during the convention, the date and time of the messages, information about people who sent and received messages, and lists of people who used the service...
Thanks For Stopping By
from Atlantic Free Press - Hard Truths for Hard Times
by Ramzy Baroud
March 31 2008
Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com.
Five years after the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, mainstream media is once more making the topic an object of intense scrutiny. The costs and implications of the war are endlessly covered from all possible angles, with one notable exception
— the cost to the Iraqi people themselves.
Through all the special coverage and exclusive reports, very little is said about Iraqi casualties, who are either completely overlooked or hastily mentioned and whose numbers can only be guesstimated. Also conveniently ignored are the millions injured, internally and externally displaced, the victims of rape and kidnappings who will carry physical and psychological scars for the rest of their lives.
We find ourselves stuck in a hopeless paradigm, where it feels necessary to empathise with the sensibilities of the aggressor so as not to sound unpatriotic , while remaining blind to the untold anguish of the victims.
Some actually feel the need to go so far as to blame the Iraqis for their own misfortune.
Both Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have expressed their wish for Iraqis to take responsibility for the situation in their country, with the former saying, we cannot win their civil war. There is no military solution.
It would have been helpful if Clinton had reached her astute conclusion before she voted for the Senate's 2002 resolution authorising President Bush to attack Iraq.
For the sake of argument, let's overlook both Clinton's and Obama's repeated assertions that all options, including military ones, are on the table regarding how to deal with Iran's alleged ambition to acquire nuclear weapons.
But to go so far as blaming the ongoing war on the Iraqis' lack of accountability is a new low for these antiwar candidates...
Thanks For Stopping By
"The United States has no official policy on what is required for recognition, according to its State Department. Instead, the decision to recognize a state is made by the president. Then the president decides whether to establish diplomatic relations with the state based on U.S. national interests. There’s no cookie-cutter approach, so when you ask for recognition, be sure to explain how your independence will be good for America. In the old days, proving your anti-communist cred was usually good enough. Today, U.S. strategic priorities are a bit more complex, though as Kosovo proves, ticking off the Russians still helps."
...and for something slightly different... but strangely related, also see:
"The rich are not like you & I redux - “The Universe”, an archipelago of reclaimed islands depicting the sun and the planets and moons of the solar system"
Dubai takes on ‘The Universe’Now... The MAIN Attraction
By Simeon Kerr in Dubai
Published: January 20 2008 22:03
Not content with finishing construction of the “The World”, a constellation of man-made islands forming the shape of the continents, Dubai’s developer, Nakheel, is to build “The Universe”: an archipelago of reclaimed islands depicting the sun and the planets and moons of the solar system. Only half of The World’s islands have been sold, but Sultan bin Sulayem, Nakheel’s chairman, says Dubai is pressing ahead with another offshore project
With Kosovo unilaterally declaring independence and a host of wannabe states looking to follow its lead, you might be thinking it’s about time to set up your own country.
You’ve picked out a flag, written a national anthem, even printed up money with your face on it. But what’s the next step?
Creating a new country isn’t as easy as you think.
Step 1: Make sure you are eligible
As tempting as it might be to declare your cubicle a sovereign state, customary international law actually does specify minimum standards for statehood.
- You must have a defined territory.
- You must have a permanent population.
- You must have a government.
- Your government must be capable of interacting with other states. (This one is somewhat controversial. It was included as a qualification in the 1933 Montevideo Convention, which established the United States’ “good neighbor” policy of nonintervention in Latin America, but is generally not recognized as international law.)
Step 2: Declare independenceCongratulations on joining the ranks of Transnistria, Somaliland, and a host of other countries that won’t be marching at the Olympics anytime soon. Just because you’ve met the qualifications and declared yourself independent doesn’t mean that you’re going to be taken seriously. Even the Principality of Sealand—located on a 10,000-square-foot platform in the North Sea—has tried with mixed success to claim sovereignty under these qualifications.
However, now that your state is established, there are certain benefits you can expect, even if you’re not recognized by anyone. “Once an entity has established itself as a de facto state, it will benefit from territorial integrity and certain guarantees of sovereignty,” says Stefan Talmon, professor of public international law at Oxford University and author of Recognition in International Law. “For instance, now that Kosovo is established as a state, Serbia can no longer freely attack it...
Sunday, March 30, 2008
That Old Time Religion
The Catonsville Nine (Daniel and Philip Berrigan, other activists, burn draft records in a parking lot with homemade napalm)
Not THIS kind of 'religion':
H/T to Stan Goff, Feral Scholar
Police arrest anti-war protester, 80, at mall
[Hat tip to Jeri Reed]
An 80-year-old church deacon was removed from the Smith Haven Mall yesterday in a wheelchair and arrested by police for refusing to remove a T-shirt protesting the Iraq War.
Police said that Don Zirkel, of Bethpage, was disturbing shoppers at the Lake Grove mall with his T-shirt, which had what they described as “graphic anti-war images.” Zirkel, a deacon at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Wyandanch, said his shirt had the death tolls of American military personnel and Iraqis - 4,000 and 1 million - and the words “Dead” and “Enough.” The shirt also has three blotches resembling blood splatters.
Police said in a release last night that…
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Selling Democracy – De Lux Model with Double-Standards Built In
By William Fisher
- WILLIAM FISHER
- Old Chatham, New York, United States
- William Fisher has managed economic development programs for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development in the Middle East, Latin America and elsewhere for the past 25 years. He served in the administration of President John F. Kennedy.
This case is unremarkable given the recent history of Egypt’s contempt for press freedom – in fact, for all the freedoms we Americans still regard as our inalienable rights. It is arguably more remarkable in that, if the test of “spreading false information” were applied to American journalists, building more jails would be a higher priority than building new homes for Katrina victims.
That said, however, the news of Mr. Eissa’s conviction gives us yet another example of the embarrassing double standards built into US foreign policy. Our State Department produces an annual report on human rights abuses around the world, but neglects to assess our own performance.
So Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, renditions and waterboarding, are absent. Instead, the Bush Administration continues to bury us in empty bromides about democracy promotion.
But the democracy-promotion mantra didn’t start with George W. Bush. It started as long ago as Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. It was significantly ratcheted up during the Cold War administration of President Ronald Reagan (1981-89), when the US policy of Soviet containment made friends of the enemies of our enemy.
In 1982, Reagan told the British Parliament of a "democratic revolution" gathering force around the globe. Reagan announced that the US would “foster the infrastructure of democracy" — a free press, independent unions, truly representative political parties, and the many other institutions essential to a functioning democracy.
Bush 41, considered a foreign policy “realist,” continued the theme, though somewhat less stridently. And the Clinton Administration embraced much the same themes during the 1990s, to make its case for our embrace of globalization.
But post-9/11, the Bush Administration raised the promotion of democracy and freedom – particularly in the Middle East -- to a historically higher rhetorical priority. In his second inaugural address, Bush said, “It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."
Bush said the "resentment and tyranny"...
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Upping the anti (depressant) - Everything you'd want to know about the non-functionality of anti-depressants - Log base 2
Nick Barrowman gave his weblog a somewhat deceptive name:
So he tries to recover:
Friday, March 28, 2008
Upping the anti (depressant)A paper on antidepressants by Kirsch and co-authors published last month in PLoS Medicine has received a lot of attention. The antidepressants studied are the six most widely prescribed approved between 1987 and 1999: Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Serzone, Zoloft, and Celexa.
The Editors' Summary explains:
The researchers obtained data on all the clinical trials submitted to the FDA ... They then used meta-analytic techniques to investigate whether the initial severity of depression affected the HRSD [Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression] improvement scores for the drug and placebo groups in these trials. They confirmed first that the overall effect of these new generation of antidepressants was below the recommended criteria for clinical significance. Then they showed that there was virtually no difference in the improvement scores for drug and placebo in patients with moderate depression and only a small and clinically insignificant difference among patients with very severe depression. The difference in improvement between the antidepressant and placebo reached clinical significance, however, in patients with initial HRSD scores of more than 28—that is, in the most severely depressed patients. Additional analyses indicated that the apparent clinical effectiveness of the antidepressants among these most severely depressed patients reflected a decreased responsiveness to placebo rather than an increased responsiveness to antidepressants.The press simplified it further. The MSNBC headline was "Antidepressants may not help many patients". The Guardian announced: "Prozac, used by 40m people, does not work say scientists".
The greatest illusionist spectacle in the world no longer enchants us. We are certain that communities of joy will emerge from our struggle, here and now.
And for the first time, life will triumph over death.
"What is eminently clear is the degree to which the black church is still largely misunderstood and routinely caricatured in U.S. popular culture. ... We now realize why the 11 o'clock hour on Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week,"McClatchy Washington Bureau
Sat, Mar. 29, 2008
Black church leaders back Obama's pastor at Texas event
Terry Lee Goodrich | Fort Worth Star-Telegram
DALLAS — In the wake of the controversy over statements by a former pastor of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, leaders of a black church summit took issue with characterizations of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as racist.
"What is eminently clear is the degree to which the black church is still largely misunderstood and routinely caricatured in U.S. popular culture. ... We now realize why the 11 o'clock hour on Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week," said Stacey Floyd-Thomas, director of black church studies at Fort Worth's Brite Divinity School, during a news conference Friday at Dallas' Friendship West Baptist Church.
About 20 scholars from the summit stood with Floyd-Thomas, an associate professor of ethics, among them Wright's cousin, the Rev. Dennis Wiley of Covenant Baptist Church in Washington D.C. Wright was to have appeared at the summit Saturday, but canceled.
The summit was moved to Dallas from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth out of security concerns....
Read the full story at Star-Telegram.com
Iraq - Basra Police Mutiny, Refuse to attack Sadrists, Clashes continue in Basra, Sadrists open New fronts throughout Shiite South - Informed Comment
Also see, Stan Goff, Feral Scholar, for a strategic/tactical perspective:
Good Morning, Vietnam!
"...he (al Sadr) commands the ferocious loyalty of two and a half million people and has an 80,000-strong militia concentrated a stone’s throw from the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad.-------------------------------------
Baghdad has about 6 million people; New York City has 8 million, just by way of comparison.
The population of Sadr City, the “neighborhood” under the leadership of Sadr, is approximately that of Brooklyn.” In Full
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Police Mutiny, Refuse to attack Sadrists;
Clashes continue in Basra;
Sadrists open New fronts throughout Shiite South
Mahdi Army Militiamen
Courtesy Al-Zaman of Baghdad.
Another US soldier was killed in Baghdad on Friday.
The Times of Baghdad reports in Arabic that clashes continued on Friday between Iraqi government forces and the Mahdi Army in Baghdad and the provinces of the middle Euphrates and the south, causing hundreds of casualties, including among women, children and the elderly. The fighting also did damage to Iraq's infrastructure, as well as to oil facilities and pipelines, damage that might run into the billions of dollars.
The US got drawn into the fighting on Friday. US planes bombed alleged Mahdi Army positions both in Basra and in Sadr City in Baghdad (as well as in Kadhimiya).
Kadhimiya is a major Shiite shrine neighborhood in northwest Baghdad, and the spectacle of the US bombing it is very unlikely to win Washington any friends among Iraqi Shiites.
Despite the US intervention, government troops were unable to pierce Mahdi Army defenses or over-run their positions.
Al-Zaman says that the police force in Basra suffered numerous mutinies and instances of insubordination, with policemen refusing to fire on the Mahdi Army. The government response was to undertake a widespread purge of disloyal elements.
[Hmm. I wonder where fired policemen with combat training and guns could find another job . . . Maybe with the Mahdi Army?]
The Mahdi Army opened a number of new fronts in the fighting, in Nasiriya, Karbala, Hilla, and Diwaniya, as a means of reducing the pressure on its fighters in the holy city of Karbala. Local medical officials reported 36 dead in the fighting in Nasiriya.
Friday, March 28, 2008
The writeup from Informed Comment Global Affairs by Augustus Norton:
On March 26, 2009, the Foreign Policy Association sponsored a town hall discussion in Manhattan on Iraq. The speakers were Frederick Kagan and Augustus R. Norton and the chair was Larry Korb. The Foreign Policy Association website a streaming video of the event as well as speakers' bios, and related materials.It's slightly over an hour long...
A popout player is the only sensible thing.
Click the image.
By JOANNE MARINER
Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2008
"Was George Washington a terrorist?" asked Bill Frelick, Human Rights Watch's refugee policy director, only semi-facetiously.
What sparked his question was the exceedingly broad definition of terrorist activity employed in U.S. immigration law. That definition, as expanded in the USA PATRIOT Act and REAL ID Act, applies to "any activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place where it is committed," when that activity involves the use of a weapon or "dangerous device" with the intent "to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals or to cause substantial damage to property." The actions of a present-day George Washington would most certainly be covered.
A concrete reason why this broad definition is worrying is that under current U.S. law, people who have engaged in terrorist activities, or who have provided support for terrorist activities--in many cases, even involuntary support--are presumptively barred from resettlement in the United States as refugees. Among the thousands of people negatively affected by this rule in recent years have been Colombians who paid small bribes under duress to paramilitary groups, Burmese who were forcibly conscripted into rebel armies, and Cubans who supported "counter-revolutionary" groups funded by the US government.
The patent unfairness of this broad ban has garnered congressional attention and, as of last year, the problem was supposed to have been remedied. In December, Congress passed legislation that broadened executive authority to grant waivers to deserving refugees who would otherwise be barred under the law's overly broad "terrorism"-related bans.
Yet the reform does not seem to have worked. In recent months it has become clear that, despite the changes in the terms of the law, the Department of Homeland Security is continuing to bar refugees who should benefit from the expanded waiver authority. These people have fled their countries to escape persecution, and they're being told that they're terrorists. What is going on?
Democrats and Mujahideen
Since the December amendments to the immigration laws, a number of refugees have received letters from the Department of Homeland Security informing them that they are being denied permanent residence in the United States because of facts that they stated on their applications for refugee status.
Among those who have received such letters are:
. Iraqi refugees who took part in failed efforts to overthrow Saddam Hussein in the 1990s;
. Afghans who supported the mujahideen groups that fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, including groups that the United States funded;
. Sudanese who belonged to the Democratic Unionist Party, a democratic party opposed to the current Sudanese government and a partner in U.S. negotiations in the region.
In rejecting these people's applications for permanent residence, DHS is relying on facts that, in many cases, were fully disclosed in their initial refugee applications. Circumstances that, in other words, were deemed acceptable under what were supposed to be tougher rules are now being relied upon to bar people from staying in the United States. In some instances, moreover, the department appears to be characterizing First-Amendment-protected speech as support of terrorism.
Politicians and Bureaucrats
Although the omnibus appropriations bill that was passed by Congress last December was lauded as an important immigration law reform, the officials at the Department of Homeland Security charged with implementing the new rules don't seem to have gotten the message. Before too many deserving refugees are barred from the United States as terrorists, there needs to be clear and authoritative guidance from on high.
Senior DHS officials need to review the rules being applied in these cases to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security is actually implementing the statutory waiver authority that it has been granted. Congress has spoken and the law has changed: "Terrorism"-related immigration bans should not be applied to refugees who do not pose any threat to the United States.
In the longer term, of course, the law's definition of terrorism should be narrowed to reflect a more meaningful, common-sense understanding of the term. While expanding DHS's waiver authority was a step forward, it is still absurd that a present-day George Washington would require a waiver to settle in the United States.
Joanne Mariner is a human rights attorney. Her previous columns on the detainee cases and the "war on terrorism" are available in FindLaw's archive.
Friday, March 28, 2008
A(n) (A)rousing testimonial about why
John Smid won't "Spank His Man-Monkey"
Love in Action
Homosexual Internment Center
Dear Mr. Smid,
I hear you are stepping down as Love in Action's director.
That's a shame. You will be dearly missed.
I trust you will be staying around long enough to assist in the selection of your successor. It's my hope that you'll pick someone who will continue promoting the values and concepts you championed during your tenure, someone who has adopted your philosophy and put it into practice in his own life. In short, someone like me. I wish to be considered for the position.
I'll never forget the day I first heard you speak about how your "wife's vagina was enough."
I remember silently praying as I heard it, "please God, give me what this man has. I too want to be satisfied by my wife's vagina."
He eventually answered that prayer, but I have to admit it was something with which I had to struggle for many months. It just didn't seem very manly to put my little soldier into such a warm and snuggly place. And it wasn't just a mental thing. Private Johnson would mutiny by refusing to come to attention every time I tried it.
Then one night, after a couple of failed attempts, I turned on the tee vee next to the bed. Ben Hur was on. It was the scene where Chuck Heston is reunited with his old friend, Stephen Boyd. And what do you know, suddenly my little soldier was raring to go. I immediately made another attempt on the vagina, craning my neck so I could see the television screen, and by gosh it worked. Finally, my wife's vagina was enough for me too--that and a copy of Ben Hur (I later learned that John Wayne's Sands of Iwo Jima and anything featuring Abe Vigoda work as well). I think it's because the addition of the movie made the vagina seem just a little less girlie.
Following your advice on masturbation was much easier. Like with you, the choice of underwear played a key role in defeating the temptation. The briefs I had worn up until then were a problem. They squeezed my manparts, and in doing so, aroused me. Boxers were no better.
They allowed my Private Johnson to swing freely, his helmet constantly brushing against the fabric in a seductive dance that fueled the flames of my lust like a burst of gasoline in the number three cylinder of a 427 Hemi.
It was only after I began wearing silky ladies underthings that my libido finally went into sleep mode. The deep red, french cut panties you find at Victoria's Secret seem to work the best, although I enjoy the nice black g-string trimmed with white lace and crimson hearts I picked up at Frederick's of Hollywood too.
So you see, I'm the perfect choice to replace you. I've not only heard your words, I've lived them.
Gen. JC Christian, patriot
Don’t Mess With The Democratic Party - Arresting Officer In Clinton Advisor DUI Case Shipped Off To Iraq… Light Sentencing Neccesary...
The plea deal was reached after the arresting officer was activated by the military and ordered to Iraq, Segal said, adding that without the officer’s testimony a trial would not have been possible.
No… I don’t know if the officer was already Iraq-bound.
From The Daily Muck @ TPM Muckraker:
Sidney Blumenthal, a journalist, former White House adviser to President Clinton, and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton will plead guilty to drunk driving. Blumenthal, who was arrested in N.H. the day before the primary when he was driving 70 mph in a 30 mph zone, might have faced more serious charges but the arresting officer has been shipped off to Iraq and is unavailable to testify at a trial. (AP)
William M. Arkin
March 28 2008
Fighting the War on Terror in the Caribbean and Central America
Here's an odd news story that puts meat on the bones of the phrase "global war on terror": The United States is fighting that war in the Caribbean and Central America.
My assumption was that "Operation Enduring Freedom -- Caribbean and Central America," a formal military operation I'd never heard of before yesterday, is oriented toward Cuba and Venezuela. But it is not. The U.S. military is indeed engaged in a global war, and the terrorist threat, at least in the eyes of the counter-terror warriors, extends to our backyard.
I don't know whether the actual threat necessitates such an "operation," but its bureaucratic existence says a lot about our overreliance on the military and the belief of many in government that the GWOT is a real war, equivalent to the Cold War, and is one that the United States should and will be fighting for decades.
[Note: The following links are now "This page moved to here" ... ...the bitbucket]
The Rhode Island media this week was filled with the news that a unit of the state's National Guard, an organization called Special Operations Detachment -- Global (SOD-G), is deploying this week in support of something called Operation Enduring Freedom -- Caribbean and Central America.
Working for U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), SOD-G is moving to an airbase in Homestead, Fla., where it will take up contingency counter-terrorism planning responsibilities for the region, seeking to characterize how al Qaeda and other terrorists might exploit drug trafficking routes and patterns or other gaps in American defense to infiltrate into the United States.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
March 28 2008
A US federal appeals court has overturned the death sentence imposed on former Black Panthers member Mumia Abu-Jamal.
The court said Abu-Jamal's conviction for murdering a Philadelphia police officer should stand, but that he should have a new sentencing hearing.
The former radio journalist and activist was sentenced to death for the murder in 1982.
While in jail he became a leading campaigner against the death penalty.
He appealed against the sentence, on the grounds that racism on the part of the judge and the prosecutors had corrupted his conviction, which was by a jury of 10 white and two black people.
Diplomats Told to Take Cover in Baghdad
By MATTHEW LEE
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department has instructed all personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad not to leave reinforced structures due to incoming insurgent rocket fire that has killed two American government workers this week.
In a memo sent Thursday to embassy staff and obtained by The Associated Press, the department says employees are required to wear helmets, body armor and other protective gear if they must venture outside and strongly advises them to sleep in blast-resistant locations instead of the less secure trailers that most occupy. In Full
Colombian military says it found uranium linked to FARC
Frances Robles Miami Herald
March 26, 2008 10:47:01 PM
Colombian authorities said they seized up to 66 pounds of uranium, linked to the FARC guerrillas, hidden off the side of a road in southern Bogota on Wednesday. The uranium could be used to make so-called 'dirty bombs.''
The Defense Ministry announcement, which hasn't been corroborated by a third party, adds weight to the evidence reportedly found in a laptop computer belonging to rebel leader Ra�l Reyes, killed March 1 when the Colombian military bombed his camp in neighboring Ecuador.
The Colombian government has used details of an alleged deal to buy up to 50 kilograms of uranium at $2.5 million a kilo found in e-mails on Reyes' computer to charge that the FARC was hatching deadly plans from a sanctuary set up in the jungle about one mile from the Colombia-Ecuador border." Source
The Comments are hilarious!
The same US press, which has parroted the absurd claims of “surge success” for months now, a success that was based on successful ethnic cleansing in Baghdad combined with the Mehdi Army’s ceasefire, will now have to tie itself in rhetorical knots to explain how this success is now adrift in the columns of black smoke rising from one of the two main oil pipelines passing through the port-transit city of Basra, and why rocket-propelled grenades and mortar rounds are splashing onto the Green Zone like a storm.Good Morning, Vietnam!
27th March 2008, 03:54 pm
Nouri al Maliki, at the behest of his American masters, has thrown the new Army of the Republic of Vietnam against the militias of the most powerful and cohesive popular movement in Iraq, that of Muqtada al Sadr. By all accounts, even with their American advisers, tactical air and intelligence support, this operation appears to be a stupendous failure; the Mehdi Army of Sadr is reported to be routing the Iraqi “government” forces at every turn.
Moreover, it has ignited an uprising that stretches from Baghdad to Basra and all points in between. This flagrant violation of the ceasefire that the Sadrists renewed only days ago for six additional months, by the American-controlled puppet government, has set the stage for the most dangerous moment in Iraq for the occupation forces since the dual rebellions in Fallujah and Najaf in April 2004.
It has also quite probably signed the death warrant for the Iranian-trained and supported militias of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the foundation of Maliki’s last thread of legitimacy as an “Iraqi government.” In Full
Condi Rice making a VP pitch?
by James Oliphant
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at a breakfast today of powerful economic conservatives in Washington, say The Huffington Post and The Washington Note. They speculate Rice is courting conservatives to position herself as a possible vice presidential pick of Sen. John McCain." In Full
OUR ‘WAR ON TERROR’ ALLIES
By William Fisher
One of the Arab world’s most widely respected non-governmental organizations is charging that at least fourteen Middle East and North African governments are systematically violating the civil liberties of their citizens – and most of them are close U.S. allies in the war on terror.
In a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) said that there have been “huge harassments of human rights organizations and defenders have been increasingly subject to abusive and suppressive actions by government actors in democratic rights and freedoms in the majority of Arab countries, particularly Egypt, Syria, Bahrain and Tunisia.” In Full