29 October 2005

now they see us as we are ..... 

‘The question is: How could these concerns have become implanted in so many places around the world at one time - when our own image of ourselves is so different, so messianic?

Maybe it was the imam from Sudan who explained it best. He looked at me with a kind of holy sadness in his eyes. "It was such a sad moment," he said. "Such a wasted opportunity. After 9/11, the United States could have said, 'We will not destroy others as they have destroyed. We will seek to understand why this happened so that it can never happen to anyone again.'"

He paused. "Instead," he said, "you became what you said you were not. And now we see you as you are. It is so disappointing; so frightening. In you we had hoped."

From where I stand, I figure we can stop claiming that force is democracy and forget about pushing international drivers' licenses for women and do what the women said: we can come home and take care of our own flagging cities, our deprived and uninsured poor, our overtaxed middle class and our declining school systems.

Maybe then, if being American is such a good thing, people will want more than our cars. They might really want to be like America again.’

From Where I Stand

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28 October 2005

the evil ways of bush, blair & howard ..... 

‘A Royal Air Force officer is about to be tried before a military court for refusing to return to Iraq because the war is illegal. Malcolm Kendall-Smith is the first British officer to face criminal charges for challenging the legality of the invasion and occupation. He is not a conscientious objector; he has completed two tours in Iraq. When he came home the last time, he studied the reasons given for attacking Iraq and concluded he was breaking the law. His position is supported by international lawyers all over the world, not least by Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, who said in September last year: "The US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN Charter."

The question of legality deeply concerns the British military brass, who sought Tony Blair's assurance on the eve of the invasion, got it and, as they now know, were lied to. They are right to worry; Britain is a signatory to the treaty that set up the International Criminal Court, which draws its codes from the Geneva Conventions and the 1945 Nuremberg Charter. The latter is clear: "To initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."’

The Epic Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name

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a criminal racket ..... 

‘Exxon Mobil Corp. had a quarter for the record books. The world's largest publicly traded oil company said Thursday high oil and natural-gas prices helped its third-quarter profit surge almost 75 percent to $9.92 billion, the largest quarterly profit for a US company ever, and it was the first to ring up more than $100 billion in quarterly sales.

Net income ballooned to $9.92 billion, or $1.58 per share, from $5.68 billion, or 88 cents per share, a year ago.‘

Exxon Mobil Posts New Record for Profit

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27 October 2005

and they really wonder why ..... 

‘The US Congress should reject a Senate bill if it includes a White House-proposed amendment that would allow the CIA to abuse prisoners during interrogations, a human rights group said.

Human Rights Watch said that under President George W. Bush, the United States has become "the only government in the world to claim a legal justification for mistreating prisoners during interrogation."

"The administration is setting a dangerous example for the world when it claims that spy agencies are above the law," said Tom Malinowski, Washington director of Human Rights Watch.’

Only US Seeks to Justify Abuse

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cooking us with gas ..... 

‘ConocoPhillips, the No. 3 U.S. oil company, said third-quarter profit jumped 89 percent to a record $3.8 billion as supply disruptions and rising demand lifted prices to unprecedented highs.

Net income rose to $2.68 a share from $2.01 billion, or $1.43 a share, a year earlier, the Houston-based company said today in a statement. Per-share profit was 11 cents higher than the average estimate from 19 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. Revenue increased 43 percent to $49.7 billion.

Oil, natural-gas and gasoline prices, already near record levels because of rising demand in Asia and the Americas, set new highs after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita disrupted supplies from Gulf of Mexico wells and U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Oil futures in New York averaged $63.31 a barrel during the third quarter, up 44 percent from a year earlier.

“The economics of oil are great right now,'' said Phil McPherson, director of research at investment bank C.K. Cooper & Co. in Irvine, California. “When oil prices go up, it's supposed to stop demand, but that hasn't happened.''

ConocoPhillips is the first of the major U.S. oil companies to report third-quarter earnings. Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, is scheduled to release its results tomorrow. Chevron Corp., the No. 2 U.S. oil producer, plans to report earnings on Oct. 28.’

Supply & Demand

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26 October 2005

just plain murder ..... 

‘At least 21 detainees who died while being held in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan were killed, many during or after interrogations, according to an analysis of Defense Department data by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The analysis, released Monday, looked at 44 deaths described in records obtained by the ACLU. Of those, the group characterized 21 as homicides, and said at least eight resulted from abusive techniques by military or intelligence officers, such as strangulation or "blunt force injuries," as noted in the autopsy reports.

The 44 deaths represent a partial group of the total number of prisoners who have died in U.S. custody overseas; more than 100 have died of natural and violent causes.’

ACLU Reports 21 Homicides In US Custody

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strengthening our values ..... 

"This is the first time they've said explicitly that the intelligence community should be allowed to treat prisoners inhumanely." said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

"In the past, they've only said that the law does not forbid inhumane treatment." Now, he said, the administration is saying more concretely that it cannot be forbidden.

Cheney Plan Exempts CIA From Bill Barring Abuse of Detainees

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25 October 2005

a successful failure ..... 

‘The United States is now the third most unequal industrialized society after Russia & Mexico. This is not a club we want to be part of. Russia is a recovering kleptocracy, with a post-Soviet oligarchy enriched by looting. And Mexico, despite joining the rich-nations club of the Organization for Economic & Community Development, has some of the most glaring poverty in the hemisphere.

In 2004, after three years of economic recovery, the U.S. Census reports that poverty continues to grow, while the real median income for full-time workers has declined.

Since 2001, when the economy hit bottom, the ranks of our nation's poor have grown by 4 million & the number of people without health insurance has swelled by 4.6 million to over 45 million.

Income inequality is now near all-time highs, with over 50 percent of 2004 income going to the top fifth of households & the biggest gains going to the top 5 percent & 1 percent of households. The average CEO now takes home a paycheque 431 times that of their average worker.’

Billionaires R Us

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our friend the serial killer ..... 

‘With repeated use of violence more massive than any other entity on the planet can dream of mustering, Uncle Sam is the globe's dominant serial killer.

This reality, so obvious to most of the world, is hidden in plain sight across the US corporate media spectrum.

The United States is the United States. And that's the ultimate continuity between the Vietnam War and the US war effort in Iraq today.’

Iraq Is Not Vietnam. But ...

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24 October 2005

war criminals all ..... 

‘At Nuremberg, in early October 1945, the four prosecuting nations - the United States, Great Britain, France and Russia - issued an indictment against 24 men & six organizations of the Nazi Germany.

Of that 24 only 21 eventually sat down in the trial. The individual defendants were charged not only with the systematic murder of millions of people, but also with planning & carrying out the war in Europe. Twelve Nazi officials were sentenced to hang; three were sentenced to life in prison; four were given prison sentences of 10 -20 years & the rest were acquitted.

Presently, the ongoing American & British slaughter of thousands of Iraqi & Afghan civilians constitutes a blatant war crime. Average legal skills should be able to prove that a similar case for the prosecution against the current coalition leaders can easily be constructed on comparable lines.

In September 2004, the incumbent UN Chief Kofi Annan made a very clear statement. Talking to BBC Annan said: "the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter."

Being the UN Chief & custodian of International law, he should have known what he was talking about.’

Dust off the Nuremberg Files

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enduring values ..... 

"On their day off people would show up all the time. Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the PUC tent. In a way it was sport. The cooks were all US soldiers. One day a sergeant shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guy's leg with a mini Louisville Slugger that was a metal bat. He was the fucking cook. He shouldn't be in with no PUCs."

- 82nd Airborne sergeant describing events at FOB Mercury, Iraq

"If I as an officer think we're not even following the Geneva Conventions, there's something wrong. If officers witness all these things happening, and don't take action, there's something wrong. If another West Pointer tells me he thinks, 'Well, hitting somebody might be okay,' there's something wrong."

- 82nd Airborne officer, describing confusion in Iraq concerning allowable interrogation techniques

Torture in Iraq

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23 October 2005

duh ..... 

‘Montreal (CP) - The head of Canada's spy agency strongly suggested Thursday the U.S.-led war in Iraq is making the world a less secure place.

"Diplomacy is not my field, security and intelligence is," CSIS director Jim Judd said at a conference on intelligence studies. "And I think from a security and intelligence perspective, the conflict in Iraq may be creating longer-term problems, not just for Iraq but other jurisdictions as well."

The head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said Iraq is becoming a "kind of a test-bed for new techniques" for Islamic extremists, such as suicide attacks and the use of improvised explosives.’

War In Iraq May Be Fuelling Global Insecurity, Canadian Spy Chief Warns

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on scapegoats & hypocrites ..... 

‘The most serious charge against Saddam is the massacre of about 140 Shite villagers over an alleged assassination attempt in 1982. In the same year, the US, it should be recalled, removed Iraq from the list of states sponsoring terrorism! And within two years of the massacre the US restored diplomatic relations with Iraq.

Saddam used chemical weapons on both Iraqis and Iranians. The US and its allies could have nipped those attacks in the bud. Sadly, their hypocrisy wouldn’t allow them to do so. The US was the only country that voted against a UN Security Council statement in 1986 condemning the mustard gas attacks by Iraq on the Iranian forces!

The US also allowed its companies to export chemicals to Iraq, which used them on humans. All chemical attacks by Saddam on the Kurds under the Anfal campaign, which left over 150,000 Kurds dead, over 1,000 Kurdish villages destroyed and about 300,000 Kurds displaced had the blessings of the West.

The crop spraying helicopters used in these attacks came from the US! These massacres had no impact on the trade that Iraq had with the West. Instead, it increased! Today, we hear the West condemning those crimes against the Kurds!’

Why Only Saddam? Try Them All!

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