10 March 2006
‘Who are these people? These people who line their pockets with the lives of our loved ones? These gray men who lurk in shadows and kill the sunshine of democracy? These people who wear morality like a cheap suit pilfered from the collection plate of decency? Who are these people who have turned America into their own personal ATM machine? These are the people of the lie - Republicans.
Who are these people? These people who sit in spineless silence unable to speak in defense of America? These people who mime the words of our founders, afraid to act with independence? Who utter the words "We concede," instead of "We the People?" These are the people who lie down - Democrats.’
‘More and more people, particularly Republicans, disapprove's performance, question his character and no longer consider him a strong leader against terrorism, according to an AP-Ipsos poll documenting one of the bleakest points of his presidency.
Nearly four out of five Americans, including 70 percent of Republicans, believe civil war will break out in Iraq – the bloody hot spot upon which Bush has staked his presidency. Nearly 70 percent of people say the US is on the wrong track, a 6 point jump since February.
‘Vice President Dick Cheney has vowed unshakeable solidarity with Israel, and condemned the new Palestinian government.
Cheney made it clear Iran would not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, described the Iranian regime as "irresponsible," and warned the United States had "all options on the table."
"The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences," he said.
Cheney was addressing 5,000 pro-Israel activists from all 50 states Monday who gathered in Washington, D.C., to attend the two-day Annual Policy Conference of AIPAC, America's pro-Israel lobbyist organization, which began Sunday. The focus of the conference was "the urgency of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons and isolating the Palestinian government, which is now controlled by the terrorist group Hamas." Additionally, AIPAC delegates had 400 lobbying appointments with members of the House and Senate who were in attendance.’
Who’s the terrorist?
09 March 2006(0) comments
The remarks by Kim Howells yesterday coincided with one of the most direct appeals yet by a high-ranking American figure for British support over Guantanamo Bay's continued existence. The Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, on a visit to London, said the that camp was lawful and necessary.’
08 March 2006
‘Bush’s nuclear-summit with Prime Minister Singh was rehearsed long before he teetered off to India. That explains why the media was all-a-twitter over Bush’s severing the last frail strands of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT); the press loves to see our Crawford-strongman rummaging through international agreements like a bull in a China shop.
Bush manages nuclear issues like a schoolboy handing out party-favours; rewarding India with one deal, offering a different one to Pakistan, and then a third for Iran.
This is how Bush has expanded America’s traditional double standards into “triple standards”; a new nadir in foreign policy.
In just days, Bush toppled long-honoured safeguards for the allocation and control of fissile material, and created a “nuclear bizarre” to be exclusively regulated by the United States. His trip tells the world that global nuclear-policy will now be decided by the Pentagon big-wigs and hard-right fanatics who dominate the Bush White House.’
‘The US government's leading lawyer defended the Guantanamo Bay prison camp on Tuesday, saying detainees there were granted state-of-the-art health care, good food and "unprecedented legal protection."
Responding to complaints by the United Nations, human rights groups, religious leaders and some national governments, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the camp was entirely lawful and essential to the protection of the United States.’
‘In theory, in a society that enjoys the "rule of law," the government is supposed to be subject to the same laws that are applied to ordinary citizens. In reality, things are quite different. For as long as human beings have ruled other human beings by force, those who control governments have used their power to minimize responsibility for their own incompetence and malice, while maximizing penalties for everyone else.
In common law countries, this habit of governments not playing fair is cloaked in the important-sounding phrase "sovereign immunity" under which governments can only be prosecuted for crimes with their own consent. In other places, it has other names, but the outcome is always the same – a government can declare itself immune from legal penalty for offenses for which a mere private citizen or organization could face serious penalties indeed.’
‘Despite the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of public trials, nearly all records are being kept secret for more than 5,000 defendants who completed their journey through the federal courts over the last three years. Instances of such secrecy more than doubled from 2003 to 2005.
An Associated Press investigation found, and court observers agree, that most of these defendants are cooperating government witnesses, but the secrecy surrounding their records prevents the public from knowing details of their plea bargains with the government.
Most of these defendants are involved in drug gangs, though lately a very small number come from terrorism cases. Some of these cooperating witnesses are among the most unsavoury characters in America's courts — multiple murderers and drug dealers — but the public cannot learn whether their testimony against confederates won them drastically reduced prison sentences or even freedom.’
‘There are dire consequences to the current direction of the U.S. foreign policy, said Noam Chomsky in a speech Saturday at Binghamton University. Among those consequences, he said, is a nuclear Armageddon.
"Under the current U.S. policies, a nuclear exchange is inevitable," the 77-year-old MIT professor said in his presentation, "Imminent Crises: Paths Toward Solutions." He spoke to an over-capacity crowd in BU's Osterhout Concert Theater.
Chomsky cited nuclear proliferation and environmental collapse as the two greatest crises that "literally threaten survival."’
‘While the publication of the first Abu Ghraib photos in April 2004 opened the floodgates for former Iraqi detainees to speak out about their treatment at the hands of occupation forces, this wasn't the first I'd heard of torture in Iraq. A case I'd documented even before then was that of 57 year-old Sadiq Zoman.
He was held for one month by U.S. forces before being dropped off in a coma at the general hospital in Tikrit. The medical report that came with his comatose body, written by U.S. Army medic Lt. Col. Michael Hodges, listed the reasons for Zoman's state as heat stroke and heart attack.
That medical report, however, failed to mention anything about the physical trauma evident on Zomans' body - the electrical point burns on the soles of his feet and on his genitals, the fact that the back of his head had been bashed in with a blunt instrument, or the lash marks up and down his body.’
Meanwhile, from The Guardian …..
‘In a new report published yesterday, the human rights group criticised the US-led multinational force for interning some 14,000 people.
Around 3,800 people have been held for over a year, while another 200 have been detained for more than two years, the report - Beyond Abu Ghraib: detention and torture in Iraq - said.
"It is a dangerous precedent for the world that the US and UK think it completely defensible to hold thousands of people without charge or trial," Amnesty spokesman Neil Durkin said.
The detainee situation in Iraq was comparable to Guantánamo Bay, he added, but on a much larger scale, and the detentions appeared to be "arbitrary and indefinite.”'
07 March 2006(0) comments
06 March 2006
‘The Church of England's most senior clergyman has today joined criticism of the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, warning that it's set a dangerous precedent.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, says the United States' disregard of international law sends the wrong message to tyrants elsewhere in the world.’
05 March 2006(0) comments
‘Tony Blair believes he will be judged by God for his decision to send British troops into Iraq, the Prime Minister reveals today.
In a rare departure from his usual reticence about discussing his faith in public, Mr Blair talks openly about his Christianity in a television interview to be broadcast on ITV tonight.’