01 July 2006
‘A report by a Paris-based international security and policy advisory group, the Senlis Council, says that the US-led mission in Afghanistan is failing because US policies on eradicating the Afghan poppy crop aren't working.
The Independent reports that the group, which specializes in drug policies, predicts violence in the south of the country will escalate because the Taliban has been so effective at exploiting the anger "felt by farmers at the destruction of opium crops and by civilians who have suffered in US-led operations."
Lt-Gen David Richards, the British officer who is due to take over all NATO operations in Afghanistan with US troops under his command, warned the crop eradication program was driving farmers into the hands of the Taliban and the Western forces are creating new enemies.
Last week Hamid Karzai, the [Afghan] president, levelled unprecedented criticism at the US-led coalition's tactics, deploring the deaths of hundreds of his countrymen and women while the Taliban grows in strength. About 600 people have been killed this year.
The United Nations says more than 90 percent of the world's heroin supply comes from Afghanistan.’
29 June 2006
After watching George Bush and Dick Cheney weep and wail over the "damage" done by the New York Times for reporting that financial data is being dumped into the CIA as part of an effort to find terrorist networks, I kept waiting for Darryl Hannah to pop up and say: "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night." Does George have Alzheimer's Disease? Has he forgotten that he used to love the New York Times?
The only thing funnier is that most of the mainstream media is reporting the antics of these clowns as straight up news.
President Bush crying about "leaks" to the New York Times is like listening to former Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss complain about sexual promiscuity. Sorry George, we ain't buying your song and dance.’
‘As new reports detail further abuse by the U.S. military of its prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, a behind-the-scenes battle is being fought between the U.S. departments of state and defence about whether a key section of the Geneva Conventions should be included in new rules governing Army interrogation techniques.
The Pentagon is pushing to omit from new detainee policies a central principle of the Geneva Conventions that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment". Critics say such a step would mark a further shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.
The State Department is opposing the decision to exclude Geneva Conventions protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider.
Meanwhile, in the face of growing criticism over U.S. treatment of detainees, Pentagon officials have decided to make public all of the military's interrogation techniques. Military leaders had previously argued that making all of the interrogation tactics public would allow enemy combatants to train and prepare for specific techniques.’
26 June 2006
In Alabama, 15 year-old Ava Lowery asks …..What Would Jesus Do?
25 June 2006
‘Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. "I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied.
Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports.
They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep.
Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety - against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target."
And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."’
‘The Bush administration finally took action against alleged terrorists living in plain sight in Miami, but they weren't the right-wing Cuban terrorists implicated in actual acts of terror, such as blowing a civilian Cuban airliner out of the sky. They were seven young black men whose crime was more "aspirational than operational," the FBI said.
As media fanfare over the arrests made the seven young men, many sporting dreadlocks, the new face of the terrorist enemy in America, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales conceded that the men had no weapons or explosives and represented "no immediate threat."
But Gonzales warned that these kinds of homegrown terrorists "may prove to be as dangerous as groups like al-Qaeda." [NYT, June 24, 2006]
For longtime observers of political terrorism in South Florida, the aggressive reaction to what may have been the Miami group's loose talk about violence, possibly spurred by an FBI informant posing as an al-Qaeda operative, stands in marked contrast to the US government's see-no-evil approach to notorious Cuban terrorists who have lived openly in Miami for decades.
For instance, the Bush administration took no action in early April 2006, when a Spanish-language Miami television station interviewed Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch, who offered a detailed justification for the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 people, including the young members of the Cuban national fencing team.
Bosch refused to admit guilt, but his chilling defense of the bombing - and the strong evidence that has swirled around his role - left little doubt of his complicity, even as he lives in Miami as a free man, protected both in the past and present by the Bush family.’