Thursday, July 31, 2008

More About The Iraqi Refugee Crisis...

Humanitarian crisis: Displaced in Diyala

DIYALA, Iraq (UWIRE) – “The militias are not allowing us to return to our homes,” said Karima Abas Kuydayer. She is one of an estimated 4.2 million Iraqis displaced around the world. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, this figure includes 2.4 million persons displaced inside Iraq. The center tracks conflict-induced internal displacement worldwide.

During the last 24 months, sectarian and generalized violence have replaced military operations as the primary causes of recent population displacement within postwar Iraq.

Read On

US troops killed three Iraqi civilians: military

Wed Jul 30, 2:15 PM ET

SAMARRA, Iraq (AFP) - US soldiers killed three unarmed Iraqi civilians, including a woman, near the central city of Samarra, the American military said Wednesday.

The incident which is under official investigation occurred early Wednesday as US troops carried out what the military described as operations targeting Al-Qaeda in the central zone of the war-ravaged country.

It said that US soldiers moving towards a building had observed four "suspicious" individuals and had perceived "hostile" intent after being fired upon.

"The force engaged them, killing two men and a woman, and wounding another woman. A third man who was detained on site admitted to working with explosives," the US statement said.

But Nusayf Jassim, a resident on Samarra, 125 kilometres (80 miles) north of Baghdad, told AFP that US soldiers had raided his home in search of insurgents and in the ensuing gunfire his mother and two brothers were killed.

"The US forces burst into our home at 2.00 am and opened fire in all directions, Jassim told AFP at his home on the edge of the city.

"They killed my 50-year-old-mother and two of my brothers, aged 21 and 26," he said.
US troops also wounded two of Jassim's sisters prior to detaining his 23-year-old brother, he said.

Jassim added that the raiding US soldiers had told him that "terrorists" were living at his home.
The US military said no weapons were found.


Two Iraqi Officials Assassinated In Separate Attacks In Mosul

IRBIL, July 30 (KUNA) -- An Iraqi Judge in Mosul and a member of the Islamic Party in Iraq were assassinated in two separate armed attacks in northern part of the country, Iraqi police said on Wednesday.

A police source told KUNA unknown armed men fired at a vehicle carrying Judge Mohammad Khalaf Al-Sabeel who was on his way to court from home in Al-Sadiq area in northern Mosul.
The source added unknown gunmen also killed a member of the Islamic Party headed by Iraqi Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi.

Meanwhile, a military force unit fired and killed two gunmen who were planting explosives in eastern Mosul, the source noted. (end) sbr.mb KUNA 302113 Jul 08NNNN


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Try To Give A Little Love

Free-Speeching and Impeaching in LA

from The FreewayBlogger

Free-Speeching and Impeaching in Austin, TX

Hold Bush Administration Accountable For Crimes Against The People

From Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH):

URGENT: need your help - Impeachment Petition Deadline Midnight Wednesday

Dear Friends,
Because of your vigilance and support for democracy, last Friday was a day of singular importance in Washington. The House Judiciary Committee met to discuss the Bush Administration's abuse of executive power and for the first time the case for Impeachment was discussed in front of a Congressional committee, in depth, at length and with authority.

Twenty members of the Judiciary Committee attended the six hour hearing, during which twelve witnesses, including myself and four members of Congress testified. In this hearing I called for the Impeachment of the President for misrepresenting a case for war.

This week I will present members of Congress with Impeachment petitions submitted by those of you who have signed the on-line impeachment form.

I need your help. In the next few days we must redouble our efforts to get more signatures on the online petition at I'm asking each of you to please contact at least ten of your friends to go to now and sign the Impeachment petition that will be delivered by me. Wednesday night is the deadline.

Please send out an email to all your friends and family, post this link, to your blogs and make this effort count as this is the only petition that I will deliver.

Thank you so very much.
[Dennis Kucinich]

What It's Like To Be An Iraqi Refugee From Iraqi Refugees' Perspectives


“I do my best to get through each day and keep what is left of my family together,” says “H” of his current situation as a refugee in Amman, Jordan, “my boys are my life, my love.” H and his two sons live in an apartment without refrigerator, or cooker. His wife died 4 years ago from blood poisoning. He now does everything for his two sons, including protecting them by not telling his story. He is too scared. Scared of his fellow Iraqi refugees, scared of the Kurds who he says now run the Iraqi Embassy in Jordan, scared of the UNHCR because they ask him questions he will not answer, scared of the Iraqi government, scared because he converted to Christianity, scared of the Americans, scared of his and his sons.

“H” wants to live in peace, no more killing, no more death, no more army.

What “H” did tell me is that Saddam Hussein is his father, the father of Iraq, the number 1 President for all Arabs. “He was the one who kept Iraq together, he was fair, everyone was equal, Shia, Sunni, Muslim, Christian, Kurd it didn’t matter as long as you swore fidelity to Saddam, he would protect you and your family. Now look at the government, they are run by Shia and Kurds and they don’t stop the killing, they want the killing,” was all H would tell me.

He also said he came to Jordan in 2003 before the Iraq War started.

read more here:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Throwing Stones

Picture a bright blue ball, just spinning, spinnin free,
Dizzy with eternity.
Paint it with a skin of sky,
Brush in some clouds and sea,
Call it home for you and me.
A peaceful place or so it looks from space,
A closer look reveals the human race.
Full of hope, full of grace
Is the human face,
But afraid we may lay our home to waste.

There's a fear down here we can't forget.
Hasn't got a name just yet.
Always awake, always around,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Now watch as the ball revolves
And the nighttime falls.
Again the hunt begins,
Again the bloodwind calls.
By and by, the morning sun will rise,
But the darkness never goes
From some men's eyes.

It strolls the sidewalks and it rolls the streets,
Staking turf, dividing up meat.
Nightmare spook, piece of heat,
It's you and me.
You and me.

Click flash blade in ghetto night,
Rudies looking for a fight.
Rat cat alley, roll them bones.
Need that cash to feed that jones.
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Commissars and pin-stripe bosses
Roll the dice.
Any way they fall,
Guess who gets to pay the price.
Money green or proletarian gray,
Selling guns 'stead of food today.

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Heartless powers try to tell us
What to think.
If the spirit's sleeping, Then the flesh is ink
History's page will thus be carved in stone.
And we are here, and we are on our own
On our own.
On our own.
On our own.

If the game is lost,
Then we're all the same.
No one left to place or take the blame.
We can leave this place and empty stone
Or that shinin' ball we used to call our home.

So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And the politicians throwin' stones,
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Shipping powders back and forth
Singing black goes south and white comes north.
In a whole world full of petty wars
Singing I got mine and you got yours.

And the current fashion sets the pace,
Lose your step, fall out of grace.
And the radical, he rant and rage,
Singing someone's got to turn the page.

And the rich man in his summer home,
Singing just leave well enough alone.
But his pants are down, his cover's blown...

And the politicians throwin' stones,
So the kids they dance
And shake their bones,
And it's all too clear we're on our own.
Singing ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

Picture a bright blue ball,
Just spinnin', spinnin, free.
Dizzy with the possibilities.

Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.

What It's Like In Occupied Iraq From An Iraqi Woman's Perspective

An Arab Woman Blues

There are subjects I find ways to avoid or not dwell on for too long...I don't think am a terribly courageous woman for doing so. But then, these subjects are so painful for me that if tackled, leave me totally depleted, enraged like some animal gone wild in a metal cage, or terribly hopeless...Hopelessness not to be understood as in "I want to kill myself now" kind of hopelessness, but a hopelessness that is best translated as loss of Faith.

Again loss of faith not in a strictly religious/metaphysical sense, but loss of Faith in the broadest of terms...Can be summed up as loss of Faith in humanity, in human kind.

Not to be underestimated at all. Dark stuff is made of a lost humanity. The darkest moments of an Occupation...These darkest moments can be found everywhere in Iraq.

In the smelly rotten prisons. In the torture wounds of the detainees. In the snatched childhoods. Under the rubbles of a bombed home. In the morgue underneath the putrid stench of Death. In the wails at the overfilled cemeteries. In the destroyed ancient statues and a weeping History. In a river that stood still. And in a lone Palm tree thirsty for some water...But above all, these darkest moments are found in the silence of Women. The women who have been silenced and the women who fear it. The women who witnessed it and the women who dare not break it...
Read On

Examining The True Cost Of War

"We're Going to Be Paying For This For a While": Soldiers Bring the War Home

By Jill Carroll, Christian Science Monitor. Posted July 16, 2008.

When veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan bring their troubles home, police and judges often are the first to deal with them.

During 21 years in the Marine Corps, Jeff Johnson saw young adults walk into his recruiting office and newly minted marines walk out of boot camp just a few months later. Now working at the other end of that pipeline at the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, he sees far different, troubling changes in those coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The changes were dramatic. I'd never seen these kinds of changes in people," says Mr. Johnson of those wrestling with the mental and physical trauma of war. Read On

U.S. forces attack and kill innocent Iraqis then lie about it

U.S. military says soldiers fired on civilians
By Richard A. Oppel Jr.
Published: July 28, 2008

BAGHDAD: The U.S. military has admitted that a platoon of soldiers raked a car of innocent Iraqi civilians with hundreds of rounds of gunfire and that the military then issued a news release larded with misstatements, asserting that the victims were criminals who had fired on the troops.

The attack on June 25 killed three people, a man and two women, as they drove to work at a bank at Baghdad International Airport. The attack infuriated Iraqi officials and even prompted the Iraqi armed forces general command to call the shooting a cold-blooded murder.

It also bolstered calls from Iraqi politicians to pressure the U.S. military to leave Iraq after this year, when a UN mandate expires, unless the United States agrees to permit its soldiers to be subject to criminal prosecution under Iraqi law for attacks on civilians. Read On

NATO Military Forces Feel Threatened By Un-Armed Afghan Children and Open Fire

2 Afghan kids dead after Canadian troops fire at vehicle
Kandahar incident came after vehicle driver refused commands to stay away
Canwest News ServicePublished: Monday, July 28, 2008

Canadian troops in Afghanistan opened fire on a civilian vehicle Monday, killing two children and injuring an adult, NATO said.

The children - a male and a female, which some media reports suggest were siblings - were killed after the car's driver failed to respond to numerous warnings to stay clear of a NATO convoy patrolling the area in the country's Kandahar province. One adult male was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

In a statement, NATO said the vehicle failed to comply to hand, arm and audio warnings to keep sufficient distance from the convoy. When the vehicle was about 10 metres away from the patrol, and still heading towards the convoy, the soldiers opened fire, fearing an attack.

"Our soldiers are trained to take the appropriate steps to minimize civilian casualties," said the NATO statement. "However, they must take action to protect themselves when threatened. Tragic incidents such as this are avoidable if the public comply with the instructions of those who are endeavouring to provide a safe environment."

Canada currently has about 2,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan in the NATO-led mission.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Plight Of Iraq's Refugees

Christopher Hayes
Thu Jul 24, 2:56 PM ET

The Nation -- Conservatives had a tendency to attribute the all of the reduction of violence in Iraq to the increase in US troops. But one of the most overlooked stories of Iraq is the massive outflow of refugees, 4 million by the latest estimates. Basically Iraq has gone through its own Big Sort, whereby Sunni and Shia simply don't live near each other, hence a diminishing amount of sectarian violence. Bobby Allyn attended a hearing on Iraq's refugees and sent this missive:

The Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs held a hearing on the Iraq Refugee Crisis yesterday. Jonathan Finer, Washington Post correspondent, testified with former Washington Post interpreter Nasser Nouri about the plight of over two million Iraqi refugees who are struggling for permanent resettlement.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, over 4.7 million Iraqis have been displaced since the 2003 US invasion, with more than two million living in Syria and Jordan. The US has committed to accept 12,000 refugees by September. So far the US has only accepted 6,463, allowing three months for another 5,537. "The question isn't will the US meet the 12,000 mark; it's why only 12,000?" said Finer. "We took in several hundred thousand Southeast Asians after the Vietnam war, more than a hundred thousand Bosnians in the mid '90s, 12,000 doesn't seem like a very ambitious target."

Nasser Nouri told the harrowing story of how Al Qeada tried to capture his youngest daughter after word got out that he worked for The Washington Post, highlighting the dangers faced by Iraqi journalists who work for US news outlets. "In Iraq you don't tell people you work for the United States because your life then could be in danger," Nouri said. Finer told of how Nouri acted more than just an interpreter, helping him avoid death in many circumstances. "No journalism would come out of Iraqi if it weren't for the Iraqi staff," he said. "Their importance is only gonna grow. We're gonna be more reliant on people like Nasser."

The numbers here, really are outrageous. We've taken a total of 5,537 refugees out of 4 million from a war that a war we started. Syria alone is now home to more than a million. With a population of 16 million, that's a 6% increase. The equivalent number in the US would be 18 million. Can you imagine the political turmoil that ensue here if 18 million foreign refugees were to flood into the country over a period of just a few years?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

U.S. Terrorizing Iraqis in Fallujah, Again

IRAQ: Fallujah Braces for Another Assault
By Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail*

FALLUJAH, Jul 21 (IPS) - U.S. and Iraqi forces are preparing another siege of Fallujah under the pretext of combating "terror", residents and officials say.

Located 69 km west of Baghdad, the city that suffered two devastating U.S. attacks in 2004 has watched security degrade over recent months.

"Ruling powers in the city fighting to gain full control seem willing to use the security collapse to accuse each other of either conspiracy (in lawlessness) or incapability of control," Sufian Ahmed, a lawyer and human rights activist in Fallujah told IPS.

"They suddenly changed their tone from saying that the city was the safest in Iraq to claiming that al-Qaeda is a serious threat. Fallujah residents know their so-called leaders are using security threats to terrify them for their own political interests."

In the face of U.S. military claims of improved security, violence has been rising by the day this month. The city has now been placed under tight curfew while U.S. and Iraqi military forces prepare for a new offensive, according to the local Azzaman daily.

Iraqi security forces have established new checkpoints around the city and are forbidding movement of people and traffic. Pick-up trucks are roaming the city warning residents that al-Qaeda has once again infiltrated Fallujah.

Iraqi police officers insist that the situation is under control despite the "occasional incidents that take place all over Iraq."

The indications on the ground belie these claims. "The Americans and their allies transferred our leader, Colonel Fayssal al-Zoba'i from his post because they have bad plans for the city," a major in the Fallujah police force told IPS. "He has all the right to keep his post because he was the one who led us to defeat the insurgency while the Americans failed. They (the U.S. military) seem to have a plan to destroy the city again." Read On

Monday, July 21, 2008

Strike Another Match Go Start Anew

U.S. Perpetuates Mass Killings In Iraq

by Peter Phillips / July 19th, 2008
Dissident Voice

The United States is directly responsible for over one million Iraqi deaths since the invasion five and half years ago. In a January 2008 report, a British polling group Opinion Research Business (ORB) reports that, “survey work confirms our earlier estimate that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the conflict which started in 2003…. We now estimate that the death toll between March 2003 and August 2007 is likely to have been of the order of 1,033,000. If one takes into account the margin of error associated with survey data of this nature then the estimated range is between 946,000 and 1,120,000”.

The ORB report comes on the heels of two earlier studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University published in the Lancet medical journal that confirmed the continuing numbers of mass deaths in Iraq. A study done by Dr. Les Roberts from January 1, 2002 to March 18 2003 put the civilian deaths at that time at over 100,000.

A second study published in the Lancet in October 2006 documented over 650,000 civilian deaths in Iraq since the start of the US invasion. The 2006 study confirms that US aerial bombing in civilian neighborhoods caused over a third of these deaths and that over half the deaths are directly attributable to US forces. Read On

U.S. and NATO Forces Kill 13 Afghans in Strikes Said to Be Mistakes

NY Times, Published: July 21, 2008

KABUL, Afghanistan — United States and NATO missile and mortar strikes continued to exact a heavy toll on Afghans over the weekend, killing at least 13 in two attacks that Afghan officials said were mistakes.

In addition, one NATO soldier was killed in the eastern province of Khost on Sunday. Although NATO did not give the nationality of the soldier, United States forces are deployed in Khost.

Nine Afghan police officers were killed Sunday and five others were wounded in western Afghanistan when a convoy of Afghan and United States forces called in airstrikes on the officers, thinking they were militants. A presidential spokesman, Homayun Hamidzada, said the strikes were a case of unintended fire on allies.

At least four people were killed in the other episode when two mortar shells fired by the NATO-led force in Afghanistan went astray. Read On

U.S. Troops Kill Son of Iraqi Governor

Sun Jul 20, 9:25 AM ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. forces shot dead the 17-year-old son and another relative of the governor of northern Iraq's Salahuddin province in a raid on Sunday, local officials said.

The U.S. military said it shot two armed, adding it was later found they were both related to the governor.

Governor Hamad al-Qaisi's brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Saad al-Qaisi, said American troops stormed a family house in the town of Beiji, where the governor's son Hussam and his cousin were staying.

"They shot dead Hussam and wounded three others. This is barbaric and inhuman," he said.
A statement from the U.S. military said its forces had wounded and captured an al Qaeda financer in the house.

"As they entered the target building, coalition forces encountered two armed men. Perceiving hostile intent ... they shot and killed the men. It was subsequently determined that the two ... were related to the governor," the statement said.

Local officials said Governor al-Qaisi had cut short a visit to Turkey because of the shooting.

"We demand an investigation into this incident," Deputy Governor Abdullah Jabara said.

(Reporting by Sabah al-Bazee in Tikrit and Tim Cocks in Baghdad; Writing by Tim Cocks)

Nine Reasons To Investigate War Crimes Now

By Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith, The Nation. Posted July 19, 2008.

Why we can't let the Bush Administration get away with its crimes.

Retired General Antonio Taguba, the officer who led the Army's investigation into Abu Ghraib, recently wrote in the preface to the new report, Broken laws, Broken Lives:

"There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

Should those who ordered war crimes be held to account? With the conclusion of the Bush regime approaching, many people are dubious, even those horrified by Administration actions. They fear a long, divisive ordeal that could tear the country apart. They note that such division could make it far harder for the country to address the many other crises it is facing. They see the upcoming elections as a better way to set the country on a new path.


Meanwhile, the evidence confirming not only a deliberate policy of torture, but of conspiring in an illegal war of aggression and conducting a criminal occupation, continues to pile ever higher. Bush's own press secretary Scott McClellan has revealed in his book, What Happened, how deliberately the public was misled to foment the attack on Iraq.

Philippe Sands' new book, Torture Team, has shown how the top legal and political leadership fought for a policy of torture -- circumventing and misleading top military officials to do so. Jane Mayer's The Dark Side, reveals that a secret report by the Red Cross -- given to the CIA and shared with President Bush and Condoleezza Rice -- found that U.S. interrogation methods are "categorically" torture and that the "abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted."

Despite the reluctance to open what many see as a can of worms, there are fresh moves on many fronts to hold top U.S. officials accountable for war crimes. Read On

Friday, July 18, 2008

U.S.-led forces confirm killing Afghan civilians

17 Jul 2008 13:13:44 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Updates with U.S. comment about raid in Herat)

KABUL, July 17 (Reuters) - U.S.-led coalition troops killed eight Afghan civilians in an air strike in the western province of Farah during a Tuesday raid against suspected militants, the U.S. military said.

The acknowledgement came as reports of more civilian deaths caused by a fresh air raid by foreign forces emerged on Thursday from the neighbouring province of Herat. Read On

i wish we'd stop killing each other.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Chomsky: Bush & Cheney Always Saw Iraq As A Sweetheart Oil Deal

Monday, July 14th, 2008
By Noam Chomsky

U.S. war planners want an obedient client state that will house major U.S. military bases, right at the heart of the world’s major energy reserves.

The deal just taking shape between Iraq’s Oil Ministry and four Western oil companies raises critical questions about the nature of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq — questions that should certainly be addressed by presidential candidates and seriously discussed in the United States, and of course in occupied Iraq, where it appears that the population has little if any role in determining the future of its country.

Negotiations are under way for Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners decades ago in the Iraq Petroleum Company, now joined by Chevron and other smaller oil companies — to renew the oil concession they lost to nationalization during the years when the oil producers took over their own resources. The no-bid contracts, apparently written by the oil corporations with the help of U.S. officials, prevailed over offers from more than 40 other companies, including companies in China, India and Russia.

“There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract,” Andrew E. Kramer wrote in the New York Times. Read On

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You Know Our Love Will Not Fade Away

Impeach President Bush For Lying

Kucinich to Introduce New Article of Impeachment Against Bush
by Jason Leopold / July 10th, 2008
Dissident Voice

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich said he will introduce a single article of impeachment against President George W. Bush Thursday for “taking our nation and our troops to war based on lies.”

“We owe it to our troops who even at this hour stand as sentinels of America because they love this country and will give their lives for it,” Kucinich said in a prepared statement.

“What are we willing to do to match their valor and the valor of their successors? Are we at least willing to defend the Constitution from the comfort and security of our Washington, D.C. offices?”

Last month, Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush in the form of a privileged resolution.

A privileged resolution has priority status for consideration on the House floor. Once it is introduced, the resolution has to be brought to the floor within two legislative days, although the House could act on it immediately. Read On

Ordinary Iraqis Face Dire Humanitarian Crisis After U.S. Troop Surge

Red Cross paints bleak picture of Iraq
Published: July 9, 2008 at 7:48 PM

BAGHDAD, July 9 (UPI) -- Internally displaced Iraqis, especially women and children, face a dire humanitarian situation, the head of the International Red Cross in Iraq said.

In an interview with the International Rescue Committee, Aidan Goldsmith, who heads the relief effort in Iraq, said the people of Iraq need more help than ever.

"It would not be a stretch to describe the situation for ordinary Iraqis as dire, and as time goes on, the circumstances are not improving," he said.

He categorized women and children as the most vulnerable of the Iraqi people, saying the educational and health facilities in Iraq are in decline, putting the social climate in a state of despair.

Many families in Iraq are afraid to send their children to schools. Children who do attend classes must attend in shifts, considering the lack of classroom capacity.

"We're really afraid that there's going to be a generation of children who missed out on primary and secondary education. That's going to have a major impact on Iraq's future recovery," he said.

Schools in northern Iraq are using fast-track programs to bring students up to speed, and Red Cross officials have assisted in the construction of new facilities in some of the Kurdish regions in northern Iraq to alleviate the sagging infrastructure, he said.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Democratic-led Congress Helps Cover Up Bush Administration Crimes

Glenn Greenwald,
Wednesday July 9, 2008 14:11 EDT

Congress votes to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, legalize warrantless eavesdropping

The Democratic-led Congress this afternoon voted to put an end to the NSA spying scandal, as the Senate approved a bill -- approved last week by the House -- to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, terminate all pending lawsuits against them, and vest whole new warrantless eavesdropping powers in the President. The vote in favor of the new FISA bill was 69-28.

Barack Obama joined every Senate Republican (and every House Republican other than one) by voting in favor of it,....Read On

Nancy Pelosi Perpetuates US Arrogance

Yesterday, more examples of disgusting U.S. arrogance and hypocrisy spewed from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Here's a blog entry she posted regarding Iraqi leadership's desire to remove foreign military forces from their country:

On Maliki’s Call for a Timetable on U.S. Troops Withdrawing from Iraq
July 8th, 2008 by Speaker Pelosi

President Bush refuses to heed the clear warnings of our military leaders about the harmful impact the war in Iraq is having on the readiness of our armed forces and our country’s ability to fight the real war on terrorism in Afghanistan and around the world.

A bipartisan majority in Congress—representing the wishes of the American people — supports a timetable for redeployment as an essential step in ending the Iraq war, refocusing on the real war on terrorism, rebuilding our military and reinvesting in job creation and other critical priorities here at home. The President has refused to even consider taking steps toward ending a war that has now cost more than 4,100 American lives, seriously wounded tens of thousands of our troops, and cost taxpayers trillions of dollars.

President Bush refuses to listen to Congress or the American people, but he cannot support Iraqi political reconciliation and security and ignore Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki’s call for a timetable for the withdrawal.

With a disturbing lack of concern for all of humanity, she says not a fucking word about the harmful impact the "war" (which, let's face it already, is really a hostile attempt to take control of a sovereign nation) has had on Iraq and Iraqis.

Shame on you, Nancy Pelosi! Shame on America!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Holy Funk!

caught this band LIQUID SOUL live on the streets of chicago last sunday...most excellently funkadelic...must see!!

In the End There's Just a Song (redux)

Iraqis Want Foreign Forces Out Of Their Country

Iraq insists on US withdrawal timetable-official

08 Jul 2008 20:32:07 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Ahmed Rasheed and Mohammed Abbas

BAGHDAD, July 8 (Reuters) - Iraq will not accept any security agreement with the United States unless it includes dates for the withdrawal of foreign forces, the government's national security adviser said on Tuesday.

But the government's spokesman said any timetable would depend on security conditions on the ground.

Their differences underscore the debate in Baghdad over a deal with Washington that will provide a legal basis for U.S. troops to remain when a U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year. Read On

One-sixth of Iraq's residents displaced – UN

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq
Tuesday , 08 /07 /2008 Time 9:55:01

BAGHDAD, July 8 (VOI) – One-sixth of Iraq's residents are displaced inside and outside of the country, UN secretary general's representative, David Shearer, said on Tuesday.

Shearer referred to the necessity of enacted a national policy to deal with this issue.The Iraqi Minister of Immigration and Emigration said that the national policy aims at finding a permanent solution for emigrants and displaced people's problems.

"Iraq has faced big problems and difficulties, represented by violence and forced displacement, which has resulted in the displacement of one-sixth of Iraq's residents both inside and outside the country," Shearer said in a speech he made during the first conference pertaining to the national policy to treat displacement that was held in Baghdad.

He praised the governmental activities to restore 10,000 displaced people to their residential areas, in addition to helping 5,000 physicians to return to Iraq, according to statistics released by the Iraqi Immigration Ministry.

"These numbers are simple, and cannot be heavily relied upon, but at the same time mirror evidence of tangible security improvements," he added.He stressed the necessity of learning the obstacles and difficulties that prevent displaced families from returning home, and to search for frequent sources of support to them in all fields.

"Only the Iraqi government can present a solution for displaced people's problems by allocating funds in the budget, in addition to allocating funds to solve Iraqi emigrants problem world-wide," he noted.

"Iraq needs combined efforts, and the UN is part of the solution," he asserted.

During the conference that was held in coordination with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and attended by Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI), Abdul-Samad Rahman Sultan, the Iraqi Immigration Minister, said "the conference aims at finding permanent solutions for displaced people's issue, and to provide an active, realistic, and comprehensive frame that responds to their demands."

"The displacement problem can be divided into two parts; before the toppling of the former regime, and after 2003 when the U.S. forces entered Iraq," he added."The former regime's wars with neighboring countries displaced around 1.2 million Iraqis over 40 years," he proceeded.

"The displacement's second stage took place after 2003, due to the invasion," he explained."The explosion at the al-Askariya shrine in Samara on February 22, 2006, displaced around 240,000 families of different Iraqi components inside Iraq," he noted.

Sultan stressed that his ministry, in coordination with other ministries, worked on obtaining a national policy to deal with displacement, which requires coordinated work of the ministries, governmental institutions, and non-governmental organizations.

He did not mention when this policy was obtained.

Lacking Basic Services, Iraqis' Lives Go From Bad To Worse

Years on, Iraq Rebuilding Still Failing

Sunday, July 6, 2008
By Afif Sarhan, IOL Correspondent

BAGHDAD — More than five years after the US-led invasion and despite billions of dollars dedicated to rebuild the country's war-torn infrastructure; Iraq reconstruction remains an unfinished job.

"Most of the infrastructure of Iraq today need urgent repair," Ali Azawi, a senior official at Iraq's Ministry of Reconstruction, told

Years after the US invaded oil-rich Iraq in 2003, promising to turn it into a prosperous country with an improved standard of living, rebuilding remains largely a mirage.

According to US audits and international groups, there is little to show for the tens of billions of dollars spent over reconstruction in the past five years.

The US office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said earlier this year that the Iraqi government was failing to take responsibility for rebuilding projects.

A recent report by Oxfam, a group of non-governmental organizations, and Iraqi NGOs concluded that at least eight million people in Iraq do not have access to basic essentials such as water, food, sanitation and shelter. Read On

Sunday, July 6, 2008

US-led Forces Bomb Afghani Wedding Party, Kill Women and Children

Claims of more Afghans killed in US-led strikes
06/07/2008 15h56

JALALABAD (AFP) - An Afghan district governor accused the US-led coalition of killing nearly two dozen civilians in an air strike on a wedding party on Sunday but the force insisted only militants died.

Witnesses who brought people they said were wounded in the attack to hospital in Jalalabad also told an AFP reporter that several people were killed and wounded in the strikes in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

But senior Afghan officials could not immediately confirm the claims of civilian casualties and the US-led coalition denied civilians were hit, saying "several" militants were killed.

The allegations could not be independently verified as the area, the Deh Bala district on the border with Pakistan, is remote and difficult to access.

It was the second time in days the force faced charges of high civilian casualties in strikes on militants with Afghan officials saying more than a dozen died in Nuristan province Friday, a claim also rejected by the coalition.

Deh Bala governor Hamisha Gul said 22 people were killed Sunday and several more wounded when the air strikes hit people gathered for a wedding.

"I confirm that 22 people, three of them men and 19 of them women and children, were killed," he told AFP. Gul said his information came from police and other officials he had dispatched to the area to investigate.

About 70 people, mostly women, were escorting a bride to meet her groom in traditional Afghan fashion, said a man from the area who gave his name only as Kerate.

"We were bombed. I couldn't figure out what had happened and I went unconscious. When I woke up, I saw lots of people killed and injured," he told AFP at the hospital in Jalalabad, the provincial capital. Read On

Surveillance State Rising, Civil Liberties Eroding

Taste of Chicago crowd being watched while they eat

Police testing high-tech observation platform

By Russell Working
Chicago Tribune reporter
9:44 PM CDT, July 5, 2008

A crowd gathered Saturday at Grant Park's Buckingham Fountain to watch a magician pull a coconut out of his derby.What might come as a surprise was that someone was probably watching the watchers via a nearby high-tech observation platform used by Chicago police.

The SkyWatch, which resembles a lifeguard tower on wheels, is being tested at the Taste of Chicago. The towers are used at the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, Guantanamo Bay and the U.S.-Mexico border, according to their manufacturer, ICX Technologies of Arlington, Va.

The tower provides a 360-degree view, allowing police to see and quickly respond to problems that might develop in the crowd."Radio communication from sky to ground is also a benefit because it allows the officer to communicate quickly with the troops on the ground, providing them with descriptions and locations" of incidents, said Chicago police spokeswoman Monique Bond.

SkyWatch is equipped with infrared capability, surveillance equipment, lighting and a PA system, Bond said."We are evaluating its effectiveness as a crime-fighting strategy," she said.

Chicago police said the equipment is on loan. The Army recently bought 22 towers for $14 million for bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the company said.

Though it's unlikely the tower would help in the investigation of Thursday night's shootings near the festival, it could offer more security for an event that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors a day. Officials said they were beefing up the number of uniformed and plainclothes officers at the festival because of the shootings.

Though much of Saturday's crowd seemed aware of the increased police presence, people appeared more focused on the food and drink.

"I've noticed more [police] horses here than last year. .. . . I didn't see many at all [last year]," said Adam Greenawalt, 26, of Goshen, Ind.

Evelyn Bonner, 41, of Florida and Fred Felton, 42, of the South Side were wandering around the festival in a happy daze Saturday after getting engaged the previous night. Felton said he wasn't impressed by "all the gadgets and bicycles and footmen and high towers.""I think what they need is more footmen walking around," he said.

Back by Buckingham Fountain, Robert Brown, 20, of Chicago glanced up at the darkened windows of the observation tower."We're being watched," he said. "That's good, I guess."
Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune,0,4450885,print.story

Thursday, July 3, 2008

U.S. Blues

UN envoy rips US violations in Iraq, Guantanamo, Afghanistan

Rapporteur condemns rights abuses at home, too

By Inter Press Service Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Thalif Deen
Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS: After a two-week fact-finding tour of US prison and detention facilities, a UN human rights investigator has blasted the administration of President George W. Bush for a rash of shortcomings in the country's flawed justice system and continued violations of the rule of law.

Unleashing a stinging barrage of attacks, Professor Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions, singles out the existence of racism in the application of the death penalty in the United States, and the lack of transparency in the deaths of prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility housing suspected terrorists.

Alston, a professor at the New York University School of Law and an outspoken critic of human rights abuses worldwide, also complains about the non-availability of information on civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the refusal of the US Justice Department to prosecute private security contractors who commit unlawful killings.

During his 14-day tour of the United States at the invitation of the administration, he met with federal and state officials, judges and civil society groups in New York, Washington DC, Alabama and Texas. Read On

ACLU Uncovers More Truth About The Human Cost of Iraq War

ACLU Releases Navy Files On Civilian Casualties In Iraq War (7/2/2008)

Public Has A Right To Unfiltered Information About The Human Cost Of War, ACLU Says

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union today released thousands of pages of documents related to Navy investigations of civilians killed by Coalition Forces in Iraq, including the cousin of the Iraqi ambassador to the United States. Released today in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the ACLU filed in June 2006, these records provide a vivid snapshot of the circumstances surrounding civilian deaths in Iraq.

"At every step of the way, the Bush administration and Defense Department have gone to unprecedented lengths to control and suppress information about the human cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Nasrina Bargzie, an attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. "Our democracy depends on an informed public and that is why it is so important that the American people see these documents. These documents will help to fill the information void around the issue of civilian casualties in Iraq and will lead to a more complete understanding of the prosecution of the war." Read On

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Takes All You Got Just To Stay On The Beat

Bulldozing People

All over the headlines this morning is horrific news about a Palestinian who went on a rampage and killed people with a bulldozer.

I'm wondering why horrific news about Israelis discriminately bulldozing thousands of peoples' homes doesn't make the headlines. Here's more on that subject from Amnesty International and from Human Rights Watch.

Since 1967, over 18,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed by Israelis compared to 0 (zero) Israeli homes destroyed by Palestinians. View the source for that statement and other important information about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict here:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Peaceable Assembly Restricted, 1st Amendment On Its Way Out

DNC protests will be behind fence

By Felisa Cardona The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 06/30/2008 11:46:49 AM MDT

The fence around the public demonstration zone outside the Democratic National Convention will be chicken wire or chain link, authorities revealed in U.S. District Court today.

That may allow protestors to be seen and heard by delegates going in and out of the Pepsi Center during the convention.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and several advocacy groups have filed an amended complaint to their lawsuit against the U.S. Secret Service and the city and county of Denver that says protestors and demonstrators may have their First Amendment rights violated by security restrictions.

The ACLU has said it wants to avoid the conditions that existed during the 2004 convention in Boston, where protesters were caged, infuriating First Amendment advocates.

The first phase of the lawsuit asked the court to compel the city and the Secret Service to disclose the information on protest restrictions.

During today's hearing before Judge Marcia S. Krieger, the attorney for the groups, Steve Zansberg, said the city and the Secret Service had provided the information sought in Phase One.

The second phase of the lawsuit will address whether the restrictions are unconstitutional. Zansberg also represents The Denver Post on First Amendment issues, though the paper is not a party in this dispute.

The groups agreed to go to trial on those issues on July 29 and the judge will visit the site the night before to assess the restrictions.

Felisa Cardona: 303-954-1219 or