Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Israel marks Holocaust Memorial Day

Israel has begun marking its annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, with President Shimon Peres vowing the Jewish state will never allow the Jewish genocide to be repeated.

Gates: Lull in Iraq over as U.S. deaths reach 7-month high

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Tuesday acknowledged that a seven-month lull in U.S. troops deaths in Iraq has come to an end and blamed the bloodshed on Shiite Muslim militiamen who have bombarded the Green Zone and key parts of Baghdad with rockets and mortar rounds.

April has been the bloodiest month for Americans in Iraq since September, with 44 troops killed, compared to 39 in March and 29 in February.

'Jihadist' booted from government lexicon

Don't call them jihadists any more.

And don't call al-Qaida a movement.

The Bush administration has launched a new front in the war on terrorism, this time targeting language.

Federal agencies, including the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counter Terrorism Center, are telling their people not to describe Islamic extremists as "jihadists" or "mujahedeen," according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. Lingo like "Islamo-fascism" is out, too.

Barbican's tribute to 1948 accused of demonising Israel

As far as the organisers of the exhibition are concerned, these photographs of Arab refugees, displaced from their homes in Israel in 1948, are merely an artistic slice of life from a dramatic point in Middle Eastern history.

But the Barbican Arts Centre's show Homeland Lost, consisting of 16 black and white images taken by the photojournalist Alan Gignoux soon after Israel gained independence, is the unlikely frontier of new hostilities between Britain's Israeli and Arab communities.

The shift toward an Israeli-Syrian agreement

What appears to be under consideration between the supposed archrivals, therefore, is the restoration of the 2005 status quo in Lebanon. The Syrians would reclaim their position in Lebanon, unopposed by Israel. In return, the Syrians would control Hezbollah. For the Syrians, this has the added benefit that by controlling Hezbollah and restraining it in the south, Syria would have both additional strength on the ground in Lebanon, as well as closer economic collaboration — on more favorable terms — with Hezbollah. For Syria, Hezbollah is worth more as a puppet than as a heroic anti-Israeli force.

Microsoft device helps police pluck evidence from cyberscene of crime

The COFEE, which stands for Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor, is a USB "thumb drive" that was quietly distributed to a handful of law-enforcement agencies last June. Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith described its use to the 350 law-enforcement experts attending a company conference Monday.

The device contains 150 commands that can dramatically cut the time it takes to gather digital evidence, which is becoming more important in real-world crime, as well as cybercrime. It can decrypt passwords and analyze a computer's Internet activity, as well as data stored in the computer.

Obama may win Hill superdelegate fight

Capitol Hill insiders say the battle for congressional superdelegates is over, and one Senate supporter of Barack Obama is hinting strongly that he has prevailed over Hillary Rodham Clinton.

While more than 80 Democrats in the House and Senate have yet to state their preferences in the race for the Democratic nomination, sources said Tuesday that most of them have already made up their minds and have told the campaigns where they stand.

Chechnya’s capital rises from the ashes, atop hidden horrors

Russia’s general policy toward mass graves in Chechnya is to leave them undisturbed. There are 57 known but unopened mass graves in the republic of Chechnya, which is about the size of Connecticut. Countless smaller grave sites lie beneath the capital’s parks, courtyards and basements.

In Grozny, bulldozers, cranes and men with jackhammers work around and sometimes over graves from two wars, the first from 1994 to 1996 and the second that began in 1999. (The fighting now is sporadic and small in scale.) The city, besieged, bombarded and depopulated by war, has now become the scene of a frantic, oil-financed rebuilding effort. And the authorities point proudly to gleaming new buildings as symbols of the peace.

Tariq Aziz, the public face of Saddam's tyranny, goes on trial

The trial of Tariq Aziz, the public face of Saddam Hussein's regime, began in Baghdad yesterday. The former Iraqi deputy prime minister is charged with executing dozens of merchants who were accused of breaking state price controls in 1992.

Iran stops conducting oil transactions in U.S. dollars

Iran, OPEC's second-largest producer, has completely stopped conducting oil transactions in U.S. dollars, a top Oil Ministry official said Wednesday, a concerted attempt to reduce reliance on Washington at a time of tension over Tehran's nuclear program and suspected involvement in Iraq.

WWW inventor says web only in infancy

The World Wide Web is still only in its infancy, its British inventor said Wednesday, on the 15th anniversary of the web's effective launch.

Tim Berners-Lee told the BBC that the web, which started life in the CERN physics laboratory on the Franco-Swiss border in the early 1990s, could develop in unimaginable directions but above all should be a force for good.

Taking back the debate over Israel

For years, liberal American Jews who have chafed under the taboo against criticizing Israel have dreamed of starting a political organization that would speak for them. Now, with the launch of J Street, that dream has become a reality.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the group's founder, says that the incident that drove him over the edge took place when he was working as policy director for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign. Dean said the U.S. should take an "evenhanded" approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, Ben-Ami recalled. He was immediately, and predictably, savaged as anti-Israeli and a coddler of terrorists. "All hell broke loose," Ben-Ami said. "And this from a man who's married to a Jewish woman, who's raising kids in the Jewish faith, and is extremely pro-Israel in everything he'd ever said and done. But to use that one word, and then to have that cascade into a torrent, was just amazing to me. And it's certainly been repeated and magnified with the attacks on Obama and some of his aides, some of them crossing any line that any of us should have about civil discourse."

Pakistan’s planned accord with militants alarms U.S.

ush administration officials are expressing increasing alarm that a deal being negotiated between the new Pakistani government and militant tribes in the country’s unruly border area will lead to further unraveling of security in the region.

'Hostile' Iran sparks U.S. attack plan

A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the planning is being driven by what one officer called the "increasingly hostile role" Iran is playing in Iraq - smuggling weapons into Iraq for use against American troops.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

'Toronto 18' case shows risks of post-9/11 prosecution

Canada's biggest terrorism case faltered this week because laws against murder, bombing and butchery do not stop committed, suicidal terrorists. . . .

The great damage in this case is the indelible stain on the reputations of the four men incarcerated for months on charges the Crown is now unwilling to pursue in court. The Muslim community is once again feeling unjustly accused, too.

Iraq jumps into U.S.-Iran tussle

Baghdad says it agrees that Iran has supplied militants with weapons, but the Iraqi government seems to want the U.S. to back off threats of military action and let it pursue diplomatic solutions.

US embroiled in de-basing deal

The White House has been extremely reticent and defensive about the discussions, perhaps remembering past subterfuge of its own. And while there are no signs of panic - yet - negotiators are quite aware that critical details, leaked to opponents before the final signatures are affixed, potentially could scuttle months of maneuvering by the Bush administration on sensitive topics. Of these, the most politically sensitive issue is whether US bases being built in Iraq should be, or clearly already are, permanent. . . .

As part of the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2008 fiscal year, signed into law by Bush on January 28, Congress authorized army and air force military construction funding totaling US$425.7 million for three bases in Afghanistan and nearly $1.9 billion for 16 bases in Iraq.

Iran holds key to India's energy insecurity

In the rapidly intensifying international energy game, Iran holds a master key to the most staggering roadblock to India's economic growth - energy insecurity. With the issue of energy cooperation expected to dominate talks on Tuesday between visiting Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and his hosts in New Delhi, a new chapter in India-Iran relations is on the horizon that will likely bring the two countries closer together on a long-term basis.

In France, prisons filled with Muslims

On a continent where immigrants and the children of immigrants are disproportionately represented in almost every prison system, the French figures are the most marked, according to researchers, criminologists and Muslim leaders. . . .

Sociologists and Muslim leaders say the French prison system reflects the deep social and ethnic divides roiling France and its European neighbors as immigrants and a new generation of their children alter the demographic and cultural landscape of the continent.

Drugs for guns: How the Afghan heroin trade is fuelling the Taliban insurgency

Smugglers told The Independent how Russian arms dealers meet Taliban drug lords at a bazaar near the old Afghan-Soviet border, deep in Tajikistan's desert. The bazaar exists solely to trade Afghan drugs for Russian guns – and sometimes a bit of sex on the side.

The drugs are destined for Britain's streets. The guns go straight to the Taliban front line.

Hamburger Hill: Frontline base in a sea of poppies British soldiers dare not clear

The British soldiers at Hamburger Hill, a tiny base in the badlands of southern Helmand, sit on two frontlines of the Afghan war. One is vigorously contested; the other entirely abandoned.

Gas pipeline tops Iran-India agenda

The proposed $7.6bn gas pipeline from Iran to India will be at the centre of discussions between the two countries’ leaders on Tuesday, as they meet to strengthen their economic relations at a time when New Delhi needs energy and Tehran needs allies.

Lebanese army: 12 IAF jets fly over Beirut, Lebanese areas

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bill Moyers interviews the Reverend Jeremiah Wright

Bill Moyers interviews the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in his first broadcast interview with a journalist since he became embroiled in a controversy for his remarks and his relationship with Barack Obama. Wright, who retired in early 2008 as pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Senator Obama is a member, has been at the center of controversy for comments he made during sermons, which surfaced in the press in March.

Transcript at

Unlocked iPhone: A winning formula for Apple, AT&T, consumers

Enver Masud, founder of The Wisdom Fund, wrote in an email to Apple's Steve Jobs:

Here's an option that would increase iPhone revenues, and give buyers an unlocked iPhone.

Continue selling locked iPhones with activation through AT&T — just like you now do, but offer an additional option.

On iTunes sell an iPhone unlock key which may be purchased with or without AT&T activation (offer some of the additional revenue to AT&T).

Upon buying the unlock key on iTunes, Apple would unlock the iPhone in the same way that Apple updates its software.

It's a winning formula for Apple, AT&T, consumers.

'One in three women who join the US military will be sexually assaulted or raped'

The Department of Defense statistics are alarming - one in three women who join the US military will be sexually assaulted or raped by men in the military.

. . . even more alarming, are deaths of women soldiers in Iraq and in the United States following rape. The military has characterized each death of women who were first sexually assaulted as deaths from "noncombat related injuries," and then added "suicide."

Iran takes goodwill tour to India

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is taking Iran's outreach strategy to South Asia this week, with high-profile visits to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India aimed at making energy deals and curbing Western influence.

Mr. Ahmadinejad and Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf said Monday – during the Iranian leader's first stop – that no barriers remained to signing a $7.6 billion pipeline deal that will provide both energy-starved Pakistan and India with natural gas.

India: Discontent, poverty fueling Naxalite rebels

Amid increasing violence sparked by India's Maoist insurgency, politicians and observers have called for leaders to tackle the causes of the rebel movement: poverty, landlessness, and unemployment.

India's Maoist revolt, or Naxalism, is thought to have killed thousands since it began in the 1960s. Some 13 of India's 29 states have been affected by the insurgency. India's prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has previously described the movement as the biggest domestic security threat facing the country. Since surprise Maoist wins in Nepal's general elections last month, there have been fears in India that the Naxalites would be emboldened by that victory.

A death fatwa issued by an ageing cleric against Saudi intellectuals has caused outrage in the Arab world

The cleric is the widely revered Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak. He does not represent the religious voice of the government but his aspirations are shared by many religious scholars in the kingdom. The sheikh was incensed by articles in al-Riyadh by Yousef Aba al-Khail and Abdullah bin Bejad al-Otaibi arguing for a more humane and balanced interpretation of the Quran.

Entitled "The other in the Islamic balance" and "The Islam of the sharia and the Islam of struggle", the articles pointed out that the Quran does not denounce non-Muslims as "infidels", but describes Jews and Christians as "people of the Book" and urges Muslims to show respect towards other faiths, their followers and places of worship. Far from hating the "Other", the Quran urges people of all creeds to live in peace.

Opec chief warns of $200 a barrel oil price

The ten most notorious jails in the world

Buffett says recession may be worse than feared

Warren Buffett, the world's richest person, said on Monday the U.S. economy is in a recession that will be more severe than most people expect. . . .

"This is not a field of specialty for me, but my general feeling is that the recession will be longer and deeper than most people think," Buffett said. "This will not be short and shallow.

The neoconning of a nation

Cheney and allies in Congress and the media are also using the Syrian reactor hubbub to undermine efforts by the U.S. state department, a primary hate object for neocons, to implement the nuclear weapons freeze with North Korea. State department boss Condoleezza Rice has run for cover, leaving her chief negotiator with North Korea to twist in the wind.

As the latest furor builds over the nefarious North Korean, we should remember that this scare story comes from the same Washington fib factory that manufactured all the alarms and "evidence" about Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaida.

Iraqi political leaders protest U.S. siege of Sadr City

About 50 leaders representing a variety of Iraqi political blocs took to Baghdad's Sadr City on Sunday, a stronghold of fiery religious leader Muqtada al Sadr, to protest the U.S.-led siege of that area.

The leaders promised to work together with Sadrists to remove insurgents and weapons in the area. But they also had six other demands of the government, including that it immediately suspend military activity in the city, supply basic services to residents and prioritize peaceful solutions over military conflicts.

Syria says US reactor charges as fake as Iraq WMD claims

Syria said on Monday that US accusations it had been building a nuclear reactor until its destruction in an Israeli air raid last September were as bogus as American claims that Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction in 2003.

Running a risk with Iran

Roughly a third of Iran’s population of 66 million lives in eight cities. We could put a serious dent in the Persian race by doing a Dresden number on Tehran, but Iran hasn’t done anything to warrant a measure that extreme, and regardless of what Dick Cheney’s Likudnik pals say, it isn’t likely to.

Whatever parts of Iran’s nuclear industry we can take out from the air the Russians can rebuild in a timely manner, and Iran can afford to pay them to do it because another thing we can’t bomb back to the Stone Age is Iran’s oil reserves.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pentagon halts feeding of information to retired officers while issue is reviewed

The Defense Department has temporarily stopped feeding information to retired military officers pending a review of the issue, said Robert Hastings, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs.

Back to the hard line on North Korea

Pakistan is at an impasse over reinstating judges

After weeks of deliberation, Pakistan's newly formed coalition government appears to have reached an impasse over its month-old promise to reinstate dozens of judges fired last year by President Pervez Musharraf.

Mugabe fails in bid to switch poll result

Robert Mugabe has been unable to win back control of Zimbabwe's parliament after a partial recount of the 29 March election results failed to overturn any of the original results that gave the opposition the majority of seats.

CIA given leeway on barred interrogation methods

The Justice Department has told Congress that U.S. intelligence operatives attempting to thwart terrorist attacks can legally use interrogation methods that might otherwise be prohibited under international law.

The legal interpretation, outlined in recent letters, sheds new light on the still-secret rules for interrogations by the CIA. It shows that the administration is arguing that the boundaries for interrogations should be subject to some latitude, even under an executive order issued last summer that President George W. Bush said meant that the CIA would comply with international strictures against harsh treatment of detainees.

Hamid Karzai escapes as Taleban target military parade

President Hamid Karzai escaped a dramatic attempt on his life today when Taleban fighters opened fire with automatic weapons and rockets during a military parade in Kabul.

The President, Afghan MPs and foreign dignitaries including the British Ambassador had to scramble for cover when they came under fire at the end of a 21-gun salute to mark the downfall of the communist government in 1992, Afghanistan’s most important state occasion.

Leave Taliban alone, Afghan president tells West

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has called on British and American troops to stop arresting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, saying that their operations undermined his government's authority and were counter-productive.

Cheney camp 'behind Syrian reactor claim'

Mike Chinoy, from the Pacific Council on International Policy, says the claim needs to be taken in its political context, as North Korea's denuclearisation reaches a critical stage.

"Everything I'm hearing from my own sources in Washington is that what you have now is a kind of push back by Vice-President [Dick] Cheney and his office and other hardliners who are opposed to diplomatic dealings with North Korea," he said.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Senator: VA lying about number of veteran suicides

The Veterans Administration has lied about the number of veterans who've attempted suicide, a senator charged Wednesday, citing internal e-mails that put the number at 12,000 a year when the department was publicly saying it was fewer than 800.

No majority for Mugabe party in Zimbabwe recount

President Robert Mugabe's party has failed to win control of Zimbabwe's parliament in a partial recount of the March 29 election, results showed on Saturday, confirming the ruling party's first defeat in 28 years.

Results of a parallel presidential poll have not been released, but the parliamentary defeat increases pressure on Mugabe ahead of an expected run-off against Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Memorandum on 9/11 submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions

Icelandic scholar and human rights activist, Elias Davidsson, on April 14, 2008, submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, a detailed memorandum describing the failure of the United States government to adequately investigate the mass murders of September 11, 2001, thereby, failing to fulfill its international obligations.

Afghan leader criticizes U.S. on conduct of war

Mr. Karzai said that he wanted American forces to stop arresting suspected Taliban and their sympathizers, and that the continued threat of arrest and past mistreatment were discouraging Taliban from coming forward to lay down their arms.

He criticized the American-led coalition as prosecuting the war on terrorism in Afghan villages, saying the real terrorist threat lay in sanctuaries of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

China says it is ready to meet Dalai Lama envoys

China appeared to bend to international pressure on Friday as the government announced it would meet with envoys of the Dalai Lama, an unexpected shift that comes as Tibetan unrest in western China has threatened to cast a pall over the Beijing Olympics in August.

Doubts raised over strength of US intelligence

When the Central Intelligence Agency on Thursday rolled out evidence to support allegations that North Korea had helped Syria build a nuclear reactor, officials said they had “low” confidence that Syria was developing the reactor to produce nuclear weapons.

US Syria claims raise wider doubts

Perhaps mindful of the mistakes of the past, the ten-minute video released by the Bush administration in an effort to prove the Syria-North Korea connection is less ambitious and more focussed. . . .

What was this reactor for? There are no signs of the ancillary facilities needed if it was for power-generation.

But then, equally, there are no signs of the other elements of a bomb-making programme either - a plant to separate out the plutonium and a factory to actually assemble a weapon.

Israel might have many more spies here, officials say

The elderly New Jersey man arrested last week on charges of spying for Israel years ago was probably still working for the Jewish state’s espionage service in tandem with another, as yet unidentified spy, former American intelligence officials say.

Hawks resurgent?

Are the latest accusations and tough language leveled against Iran, Syria, and North Korea evidence of a resurgence by the remaining hawks in the administration of President George W. Bush hoping for a final confrontation against one or more members of the revised "axis of evil" before his term next January?

U.S. weighing readiness for military action against Iran

The nation's top military officer said yesterday that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action" as one of several options against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a conflict with Iran would be "extremely stressing" but not impossible for U.S. forces, pointing to reserve capabilities in the Navy and Air Force.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Black leader in the House sharply criticizes Bill Clinton

Mr. Clyburn added that there appeared to be an almost unanimous view among African-Americans that Mr. and Mrs. Clinton were committed to doing everything they possibly could to damage Mr. Obama to a point that he could never win in the general election.

Meet John 'Dubya' McCain

McCain's foreign policy is far more consistent than it seems. Much like George W. Bush, McCain sees the world in oppositional terms—us versus them, and good versus evil. McCain speaks often of taking the lead "in fighting this transcendent issue of our time: the battle and struggle against radical Islamic extremism." To him, it is a "transcendent struggle between good and evil." This alone tells us much of what we need to know.

Iraqis see red as US opens world's biggest embassy

The sand-and-ochre-colored compound peering out across the city from a reedy stretch of riverfront within the fortified Green Zone is an unsettling symbol both of what they have become in the five years since the fall of Saddam Hussein, and of what they have yet to achieve.

"It is a symbol of occupation for the Iraqi people, that is all," says Anouar, a Baghdad graduate student who thought it was risk enough to give her first name. "We see the size of this embassy and we think we will be part of the American plan for our country and our region for many, many years."

The 104-acre, 21-building enclave—the largest US Embassy in the world, similar in size to Vatican City in Rome—is often described as a "castle" by Iraqis, but more in the sense of the forbidden and dominating than of the alluring and liberating.

Kiss on the cheek, knife in the back

It doesn't take a grandiose scheme in order to persuade American Jews to photocopy secret information on behalf of Israel. Nearly all of them volunteered, eager to help and to feel that they were contributing to the war effort, especially after 1967 and even more so after 1973.

Oil prices to double by 2012: Canadian study

The price of oil is likely to hit 150 dollars (Canadian, US) a barrel by 2010 and soar to 225 dollars a barrel by 2012 as supply becomes increasingly tight, a Canadian bank said Thursday.

The CIBC report says the International Energy Agency's current oil production estimates overstate supply by about nine percent, since it wrongly counts natural gas liquids—which are not viable for transportation fuel—in its numbers.

Taliban leader calls cease-fire within Pakistan

A top Taliban leader in Pakistan with links to al-Qaeda has ordered his followers to stop attacking Pakistani forces in the country's troubled northwest region as he negotiates a deal with the new government to end months of political violence, according to Taliban and Pakistani officials.

Baitullah Mehsud, who has been accused of masterminding the December assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, ordered the cease-fire as part of an agreement that calls for prisoner exchanges and a withdrawal of Pakistani military forces from areas near the Afghan border.

Gaza fuel crisis forces UN to stop food aid deliveries

The United Nations has suspended food aid to 650,000 Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip after it ran out of fuel for its delivery vehicles. At the request of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), distributors sent an emergency tanker to the Nahal Oz terminal through which Israel transfers petrol and diesel, but it was turned back by 1,500 farmers protesting that they needed fuel just as urgently. The driver was held for three hours, and then forced to return empty.

Israel rejects Gaza ceasefire

Israel today dismissed a proposal by Hamas for a six-month truce inside the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinian group would use the period to prepare for more fighting rather than peace.

The Hamas offer, issued yesterday following talks with Egyptian mediators, departed from previous demands by the group that any ceasefire apply simultaneously in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

UN censures US and Israel over Syria nuclear row

The UN's nuclear chief today criticised the US for the delay in publishing what Washington claims is proof that a Syrian nuclear reactor was built with help from North Korea. . . .

He was critical of Israel's bombing of the site of the alleged reactor. "The director-general views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the nonproliferation regime," the statement said.

CIA admits they will continue rendition program, which allows torture overseas

Sunnis agree to end boycott, rejoin Iraq government

Iraq’s largest Sunni bloc has agreed to return to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s cabinet after a boycott that lasted nearly a year, several Sunni leaders said on Thursday, citing a recently passed amnesty law and the Maliki government’s crackdown on Shiite militias as reasons for the move.

The Sunni leaders said they were still working out the details of their return, an indication that the deal could still fall through.

John McCain: Privileged 'war hero', liar, colloborator, traitor

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Net neutrality: Our experience with Yahoo email blocking

The Federal Communications Commission has been examining net neutrality. The Wisdom Fund's experience with Yahoo sheds light on the state of net neutrality today.

For more than a year we've been trying to get Yahoo to stop blocking our email to Yahoo addresses. We follow recommended email practices, and have about 600 Yahoo email addresses on our mailing list.

Yet Yahoo often blocks our email, and we get the following automated response:
"Warning: message still undelivered after 4 hours
"Will keep trying until message is 3 days old", followed by:
"Message could not be delivered for 2 days
"Message will be deleted from queue".

We asked our Yahoo list members to add our address to their Address Book or safe list thinking that would help. It didn't.

Following complaints to Yahoo (finding where to complain took awhile—the one form we finally found seemed designed for computer systems experts), our problems would clear up but reappear, and this continued for several months.

On April 21, 2007 Yahoo encouraged us to "apply for prioritized sending", and we were assigned Case No 43699725. We weren't asking for any favors—we just wanted Yahoo to stop blocking our email.

After a lot of back and forth, on January 16, 2008, Yahoo wrote that they had "made appropriate changes to this IP address" in their database. "This should help with delivering mail" they said.

But the problems continued.

On March 17, 2008 we were sent a technical form to complete which most casual users would not be able to handle. We complied.

On April 7, 2008 Yahoo wrote "for Question #1, we will need you to provide the specific IP address/es assigned to your active mail servers."

We asked our ISP to provide us this information. Their response: " is—that IP number is unlikely to change. Anything you send via will look like it's originating at but it then gets relayed through any of about a dozen other servers, and the IP #s of those servers change fairly frequently. They're in the, and subnets."

This information was forwarded to Yahoo on April 8, 2008. We're waiting for the results. We realize that spam is a problem on the Internet, but Yahoo's "solution" poses a major problem for small, volunteer run organizations like our's.

Founded in 1995, we are a tax-exempt corporation registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We're classified as a Section 501(c)(3) organization as described in the Internal Revenue Code—our employee identification number is 54-1755689.

Enver Masud
The Wisdom Fund

McCain's mask

McCain is close to that right-wing edge of his party that was sharpened by his former comrade-in-arms, Goldwater. . . .

Even the generally tolerant media could not cover up this scandal since McCain was one of the “Keating Five” (five U.S. Senators who had taken money from Keating and worked on Lincoln’s behalf).

Many of the leaders of his campaign are professional lobbyists who represent the most aggressive companies to work the halls of Washington, D.C.

The high crimes of John Yoo

He is the man who was, more often than nearly any other, behind the White House decisions to violate the international laws of war. He was the one who told the White House how to get away with committing war crimes. While he may have been a henchman for others who instructed him to make the arguments he did, he repeatedly refused to reverse himself, both while he worked in the Department of Justice and after he left that office and returned to academia.

U.S. hypocrisy and the Malaysian Guantánamo

Some of the men are suspected of belonging to Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant Islamist group responsible for terrorist bombings in Bali and elsewhere. Others are accused of common crimes like forgery. What they have in common—and what links them to detainees at Guantanamo—is that they are being held in long-term detention without charge or trial.

Lawyer fears 9/11 mastermind trial will be 'insanity'

Prescott Prince is a small-town lawyer who has never taken a death penalty case to trial. Yet he finds himself involved in one of the biggest capital punishment cases this century: He's defending the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. . . .

Prince doesn't believe Mohammed can get a fair trial and says the country risks trashing "our constitutional values when it becomes convenient to do so."

Iraqi kids dream of artificial limbs

While children elsewhere dream of a bright future and a good career, Mohammad Mukhaled, 10, has a far simpler dream.

"More than three years I have been without a leg. I'm forced to go to school by my parents. I don't like it. I'm ashamed."

Jewish leader: German firms ignoring Shoah

An angry vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, has sharply criticized the robust trade relationship between Germany and Iran.

Muslim chaplain probe demanded

Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., says the Pentagon has failed to vet properly the Muslim chaplains ministering to U.S forces since it first set up its Muslim chaplain corps 15 years ago.

New Egyptian law tightens noose around freedom

Egypt's parliament ratified legislation earlier this month outlawing public demonstrations in or near religious establishments. While government officials say the move is meant to preserve the inviolability of Egypt's mosques and churches, critics say the new law aims to further stifle freedom of expression.

Georgetown University terminates Douglas Feith

Word from campus is that both students and faculty had pretty much had it with the arch war criminal walking around campus although I also heard that he is such a goofy, pathetic guy that some students felt sorry for him.

Activists hang up on Motorola

US 'war on terror' backfiring, says thinktank

The US "war on terror" has backfired, strengthening extremists in Afghanistan and Somalia and turning them into legitimate political actors in the eyes of their local populations, a thinktank said today.

Amnesty: Ethiopia army slit throats in Somali mosque

Amnesty International accused Ethiopian soldiers on Wednesday of killing 21 people, including an imam and several Islamic scholars, at a Mogadishu mosque and said seven of the victims had their throats slit.

The Arab media gang up on Rice

Try as it might, the U.S. has apparently failed again to convince its Arab allies in the Persian Gulf to promise to step in with their cash and credibility in support of the fledgling, Shiite-led Iraqi government.

India bristles at US comments on Ahmadinejad visit

India on Tuesday told Washington to mind its own business after a US official said New Delhi should urge Iran to curtail its nuclear programme during a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Iranian president will arrive in New Delhi on April 29 for a one-day "working visit" topped by talks on two multi-billion-dollar energy deals, an Indian foreign ministry official said this week.

The US role in Haiti’s food riots

The problem really is, is that the United States and the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, all of which we, the United States, dominate, have for the last twenty-five, thirty years have insisted that in order to get the loans, which Haiti and these other countries, agricultural countries, need, in order to get those loans, Haiti had to change their economic system so that their country was open to competition from other countries on agriculture, trade, a number of other things. . . .

Well, it turns out that the competition doesn’t do the same thing. And the main competition is the United States. So at this point, the United States exports over 200 million metric tons of rice every year to Haiti. And they’re actually like our third biggest customer. And the reason is that our rice is cheaper than the rice that they could grow there themselves, because our rice is so heavily subsidized. A billion dollars a year of taxpayer money goes to rice farmers in the United States, plus we have a tariff. We have three different subsidies, three different programs that do that, plus we have a tariff that adds between three and 24 percent protection for our rice farmers. And as a result, the rich and powerful country of the United States, along with other rich and powerful countries in the world, have just really bullied these small countries into accepting our rice.

Petraeus' rise lets Cheney loose on Iran

The nomination of General David Petraeus to be the new head of the US Central Command ensures that he will be available to defend the George W Bush administration's policies on Iran and Iraq at least to the end of Bush's term and possibly even beyond.

It also gives Vice President Dick Cheney greater freedom of action to exploit the option of an air attack against Iran during the administration's final months.

US paradox of construction and destruction

Latin America: The attack on democracy

Beyond the sound and fury of its conquest of Iraq and campaign against Iran, the world's dominant power is waging a largely unreported war on another continent—Latin America. Using proxies, Washington aims to restore and reinforce the political control of a privileged group calling itself middle-class, to shift the responsibility for massacres and drug trafficking away from the psychotic regime in Colombia and its mafiosi, and to extinguish hopes raised among Latin America's impoverished majority by the reform governments of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.

In Colombia, the main battleground, the class nature of the war is distorted by the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the Farc, whose own resort to kidnapping and the drugs trade has provided an instrument with which to smear those who have distinguished Latin America's epic history of rebellion by opposing the proto-fascism of George W Bush's regime. "You don't fight terror with terror," said President Hugo Chávez as US warplanes bombed to death thousands of civilians in Afghanistan following the 11 September 2001 attacks. Thereafter, he was a marked man. Yet, as every poll has shown, he spoke for the great majority of human beings who have grasped that the "war on terror" is a crusade of domination.

Yes it's politically incorrect but race matters

The 2008 US election has all the makings of a Greek tragedy, in which noble heroes and heroines are forced to follow a course to catastrophe, . . .

Worse still, this result underlined the fear that senior Democrats have long been aware of, but have never dared to express in public: America may not yet be ready to elect a black President.

China ties US for most Web users at 221 million people

Brazil oil finds may end reliance on Middle East, Zeihan says

Brazil's discoveries of what may be two of the world's three biggest oil finds in the past 30 years could help end the Western Hemisphere's reliance on Middle East crude, Strategic Forecasting Inc. said.

Saudi Arabia's influence as the biggest oil exporter would wane if the fields are as big as advertised, and China and India would become dominant buyers of Persian Gulf oil, said Peter Zeihan, vice president of analysis at Strategic Forecasting in Austin, Texas. Zeihan's firm, which consults for companies and governments around the world, was described in a 2001 Barron's article as "the shadow CIA."

Israelis claim secret agreement with U.S.

A letter that President Bush personally delivered to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon four years ago has emerged as a significant obstacle to the president's efforts to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians during his last year in office.

Ehud Olmert, the current Israeli prime minister, said this week that Bush's letter gave the Jewish state permission to expand the West Bank settlements that it hopes to retain in a final peace deal, even though Bush's peace plan officially calls for a freeze of Israeli settlements across Palestinian territories on the West Bank.

Shops ration sales of rice as US buyers panic

Wal-Mart's cash and carry division, Sam's Club, announced it would sell a maximum of four bags of rice per person to prevent supplies from running short. Its decision followed sporadic caps placed on purchases of rice and flour by some store managers at a rival bulk chain, Costco, in parts of California.

Israel offers to ‘return’ the Golan Heights

Israel has reportedly offered to withdraw from the Golan Heights, the territory conquered by Israeli forces in the 1967 war, in return for full peace with Damascus.

The offer was revealed on Wednesday by Buthaina Shaaban, a Syrian cabinet minister, who said the deal was floated by Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister, in talks with the Turkish government.

Former Iraqi deputy PM Tariq Aziz to face trial

Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, the public face of Saddam Hussein's regime, will face trial next week over the execution of dozens of merchants in 1992, a prosecutor said on Thursday.

Jaffar al-Moussawi, a prosecutor with the Iraqi High Tribunal, said Aziz and several other former members of Saddam's regime would appear in court on Tuesday over the case.

'DPRK helped Syria build nuclear reactor’

Members of US Congress will be told this week about intelligence suggesting that North Korea was helping Syria build a nuclear reactor similar to one it has constructed north of Pyongyang, a government official familiar with the matter said.

U.S. angry as Pakistan seeks peace deal with Islamists

Pakistan's new government is negotiating a peace deal with militants in the Taliban-controlled Waziristan region, the rugged mountainous area that's thought to be Osama bin Laden's refuge.

The move reflects the changing approach of America's longtime ally in the war on terror, and news of the talks set off alarm bells in Washington Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Europe turns to coal again, raising alarms on climate

Iraqi women take on role of dead or missing husbands

Nearly 1 million women in Iraq are widows or divorcees, or their husbands are missing, . . . approximately 86,000 widows are receiving about $40 a month from the government.

Darfur dead 'could number 300,000'

The total number of deaths in the Sudanese region of Darfur could have risen to 300,000 in the five years since violence broke out, according to new figures from a top United Nations official.

What the Iraq war is about

The more likely explanation for the U.S. invasion of Iraq is the neoconservative Bush regime's commitment to the defense of Israeli territorial expansion. There is no such thing as a neoconservative who is not allied with Israel. Israel hopes to steal all of the West Bank and southern Lebanon for its territorial expansion. An American colonial regime in Iraq not only buttresses Israel from attack, but also can pressure Syria and Iran not to support the Palestinians and Lebanese. The Iraqi war is a war for Israeli territorial expansion. Americans are dying and bleeding to death financially for Israel. Bush's "war on terror" is a hoax that serves to cover U.S. intervention in the Middle East on behalf of "greater Israel."

New espionage affair may be old story, but will greatly damage Israel

Israel's claims that the Pollard affair was an exception has once again been disproved.

A new U.S. focus on nation-building

George W. Bush resisted calls to do nation-building during his 2000 campaign, but eight years later, his cabinet is making fundamental changes to reorganize the way the American government can prop up countries around the world.

As the US spends billions to build the military and governance capacity of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration finds it has no choice but to support such efforts in other emerging countries.

But analysts and members of Congress warn that a recent push by the administration for more money for train-and-equip programs relies too heavily on the Defense Department, and those initiatives will continue to erode the powers of non-military agencies.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spinning Saddam's linkages

After prolonged bureaucratic labor the latest report of the Iraqi Perspectives Project (IPP) finally made it out to the larger world. Its primary conclusion, which has been making headlines since news of it was first reported March 10 by Warren Strobel of McClatchey Newspapers, is that an exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents and several thousand hours of audio and video footage, archived in a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) database called Harmony, that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion, has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network.

TV Generals make for a dangerous picture

It's now clear that in the run-up to the war, during the war in 2003 and in its aftermath, we would have all benefited from hearing more from experts on Iraq and the Middle East, from historians, from anti-war advocates. Retired generals play a role, an important one. But for the networks, they played too big of a role—just as the "military" solutions in Iraq play too big of a role, just as the military solutions in the war against terrorism swamp every other approach.

American arrested as nuclear spy for Israel

U.S. authorities arrested an American engineer on Tuesday on suspicion of giving secrets on nuclear weapons, fighter jets and air defense missiles to Israel during the 1980s, the Justice Department said.

Ben-Ami Kadish, 84, acknowledged his spying in FBI interviews and said he acted out of a belief that he was helping Israel, court papers said.

Al-Qaida No. 2 says 9/11 theory propagated by Iran

"The purpose of this lie is clear — (to suggest) that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no else did in history. Iranian media snapped up this lie and repeated it," he said.

'Hero' John McCain as phony and collaborator

John McCain’s been getting kid-glove treatment from the press for years, ever since he wriggled free of the Keating scandal and his profitable association—another collaboration, you might say—with the nation’s top bank swindler in the 1980s. But nothing equals the astounding tact with which his claque on the press bus avoids the topic of McCain’s collaborating with his Vietnamese captors after he’d been shot down.

How McCain behaved when he was a prisoner is key. McCain is probably the most unstable man ever to have got this close to the White House. He’s one election away from it. Republican senator Thad Cochrane has openly said he trembles at the thought of an unstable McCain in the Oval Office with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

Libya seeks exemption for its debt to victims

One by one, top executives of American oil companies met privately over the last year with Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, often in his signature Bedouin tent, as they lined up contracts allowing them to tap into the country’s oil reserves.

But now, the new allies are working Capitol Hill, trying to weaken a law that threatens those deals. The Libyan government, once a pariah, and the American oil industry have hired high-profile lobbyists, buttonholed lawmakers and enlisted help from the Bush administration, all in an effort to win an exemption from a law that Congress passed in January that is intended to ensure that victims of terrorist attacks are compensated.

Amnesty unveils shock 'waterboarding' film

Hamas ready to accept Gaza truce

The apparent shift in Hamas's position came amid reports that Egypt has brokered a preliminary agreement on a truce between the group and Israel.

In the past, Hamas has demanded that the West Bank—which is under the control of its Fatah rivals—be part of any deal. In return, Hamas wants Israel and Egypt to open their border crossings with Gaza. I

Biofuels starving our people, leaders tell UN

The leaders of Bolivia and Peru have attacked the use of biofuels, saying they have made food too expensive for the poor.

Speaking at the United Nations, the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, said the increased use of farmland for fuel crops was causing a "tremendous increase" in food prices.

Trials of Muslim charities likened to a witch-hunt

The U.S. government's anti-terrorist financing programs are based on the "guilt by association" tactics of the McCarthy era and have had a widespread negative impact on U.S. charities, critics say. . . .

The McCarthy era refers to a 1950s Cold War campaign led by then Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. McCarthy charged that communist "subversives" had infiltrated the U.S. government and were undermining national security and disclosing secret information.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pakistan faces a lose-lose situation

Al-Qaeda-linked militants released a video of Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan, Tariq Azizuddin, who was captured in Khyber Agency on February 11.

Tariq was on his way to Kabul when he was abducted by tribal criminals for ransom. But after they realized they had kidnapped a very high profile person they knew they were out of their depth and handed him over to Baitullah Mehsud, a leader of the Pakistani Taliban with ties to al-Qaeda.

U.S. lacks plan to operate in Pakistani tribal areas, GAO says

The Bush administration has no comprehensive plan for dealing with the threat posed by Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding, according to a new report released yesterday from the research arm of Congress.

The Government Accountability Office also said "the United States has not met its national security goals to destroy terrorist threats and close the safe haven" provided by the tribal areas, despite having spent more than $10 billion for Pakistani military operations in the mountainous border region."

Pakistan says no to U.S. role in ties with India

Rejecting the suggestion that the United States had any role to play in addressing Indian concerns about Pakistan, Pakistani High Commissioner Shahid Malik said here on Sunday that Islamabad and New Delhi should be allowed to conduct their relations bilaterally.

U.S. General sees Afghans gains in 3 years

The Afghan Army and police forces should be able to secure most of Afghanistan by 2011, allowing international forces to start withdrawing, the American commander of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, Gen. Dan K. McNeill, said Sunday.

Human wave flees violence in Zimbabwe

South African and Zimbabwean human rights groups say that the flow of people into South Africa has been surging in the three weeks since Zimbabwe’s disputed election and during the violent crackdown that followed.

Carter: Hamas will accept Israel's right to live in peace

The former US president Jimmy Carter today said Hamas was prepared to accept Israel's right to "live as a neighbour next door in peace".

Carter was speaking after meeting Khaled Meshal, an influential leader within the militant organisation, in Damascus last week.

The former president insisted Hamas would not undermine efforts by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to reach a peace deal with Israel.

Terrorphobia: Our false sense of insecurity

A few days after the 9/11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there might never be an “end date” in the “struggle” against terrorism, a point when it would be possible to say, “There, it’s all over with.” More than six and a half years later, his wisdom seems to have been vindicated, though perhaps not quite in the way he intended. At least in its domestic homeland security aspects, the so-called War on Terror shows clear signs of having developed into a popularly supported governmental perpetual-motion machine that could very well spin “till who laid the rails”, as Mayor Shinn so eloquently, if opaquely, puts it in The Music Man. Since none of the leading Democrats or Republicans running for president this year has managed to express any misgivings about this development, it is fair to assume that the “war” will amble on during whatever administration happens to follow the present one.

More than 80 die in Mogadishu fighting-rights group

Somali Islamist insurgents and government troops exchanged mortar fire on Sunday and a prominent human rights group said 81 people had been killed in the past 24 hours in some of the heaviest clashes in months.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

This 'bombshell' took a year falling

Yet in its April issue, the U.S. leisure magazine Vanity Fair makes a startling claim: that Hamas's takeover of the territory was prompted by a secret U.S. plan aimed at extirpating the Islamist group's leadership in Gaza. In an article entitled 'The Gaza Bombshell', the magazine purports to "lay bare a covert initiative" approved by the White House and implemented by the U.S. State Department "to provoke a Palestinian civil war." Relying on confidential documents and former administration officials, author David Rose writes that after Hamas's unexpected victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, the U.S. administration drew up a plan to arm Fatah cadres with the aim of forcefully removing Hamas from power in Gaza. Under the terms of the arrangement, Rose writes, Fatah received arms and financing through a handful of Washington's Arab allies, including Egypt and Jordan. According to sources cited in the article, the plan was to be jointly coordinated by U.S. Lieutenant-General Keith Dayton and long-time Fatah strongman Mohamed Dahlan.

But the conspiracy was stillborn. After a Jordanian newspaper leaked details of the plot, Hamas pre-emptively seized control of Gaza on Jun. 14 and arrested much of Fatah's leadership throughout the territory. Instead of driving the Islamist group from power, Vanity Fair writes, "U.S.-backed Fatah fighters inadvertently provoked Hamas to seize total control of Gaza."

French Radio pulls plug on Faurisson interview

It was in greatest secrecy that Martin Peltier had invited Professor Faurisson to be on his monthly radio show’s April 9 broadcast on Radio Courtoisie. Both men had agreed to avoid any violation of the Fabius-Gayssot Law, not just to keep from being prosecuted themselves, but to keep from jeopardizing the radio station which, they knew, was under surveillance by the CSA (Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel) Superior Audiovisual Council.

The program began at 7:30 PM. The two participants, extremely careful not to violate the Gayssot Law, told of the persecutions which revisionists the world over have been subjected to. (Any interested readers can request a transcript of the broadcast.) But at about 27 minutes into the interview the broadcast was silenced … The immediate reason given was, “It is being terminated at the CSA’s request.”

Protesters target CNN after Jack Cafferty's remarks on China

Throngs of Chinese Americans protested outside CNN's offices in Hollywood on Saturday morning, calling for the dismissal of commentator Jack Cafferty, whose recent remarks about Chinese goods and China inflamed a community already angry about international condemnations directed at the host country of the upcoming Olympic Games.

Indonesians demand ban on sect

About 2,000 people have gathered in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, to protest against a minority Muslim sect, the Ahmadiyya community. . . .

But the Ahmadiyya argue that, like other minorities, they are protected under the Indonesian constitution.

The Ahmadis believe their own founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who died in 1908 in India, was a prophet.

That contradicts the belief of most Muslims, who think the Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet.

Now super-rich face a backlash as credit crunch hits home in America

Tibet, Olympics spark Chinese anti-Western protests

Fresh protests broke out across China Sunday with thousands of demonstrators targeting US broadcaster CNN and French chain store Carrefour in disputes over Tibetan unrest and the Beijing Olympics.

Moqtada al-Sadr issues 'all-out-war' ultimatum

The head of the most powerful Shia militia in Iraq has threatened all-out war in a final ultimatum unless Iraqi and US forces halt operations against his fighters.

British dealers supply arms to Iran

Investigators have identified a number of British arms dealers trading with Tehran, triggering alarm among government officials who fear Iran's nuclear programme may be receiving significant support from UK sources.

The probe by customs officers suggests that at least seven Britons have been defying sanctions by supplying the Iranian air force, its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, and even the country's controversial nuclear ambitions.

U.S. commanders seeking to widen Pakistan attacks

American commanders in Afghanistan have in recent months urged a widening of the war that could include American attacks on indigenous Pakistani militants in the tribal areas inside Pakistan, according to United States officials.

Behind TV analysts, Pentagon’s hidden hand

To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

Battle to retake Basra was 'complete disaster'

The British-trained Iraqi Army's attempt to retake Basra from militiamen was an "unmitigated disaster at every level", British commanders have disclosed.

Senior sources have said that the mission was undermined by incompetent officers and untrained troops who were sent into battle with inadequate supplies of food, water and ammunition.

They said the failure had delayed the British withdrawal by "many months".

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pope worries that big powers control decision-making

Pope Benedict XVI warned diplomats at the United Nations on Friday that international cooperation needed to solve urgent problems is "in crisis" because decisions rest in the hands of a few powerful nations.

In a major speech on his U.S. trip, Benedict also said that respect for human rights, not violence, was the key to solving many of the world's problems.

Authorities lose patience with collapsing dollar

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU's 'Mr Euro', has given the clearest warning to date that the world authorities may take action to halt the collapse of the dollar and undercut commodity speculation by hedge funds.

Carter meets with Hamas chief in exile, defying Israel and US

Former president Jimmy Carter followed through on a planned meeting with the exiled leader of Hamas on Friday, despite U.S. and Israeli protests that the session would give legitimacy to a group they consider a terrorist organization.

Khaled Meshal, who is accused of masterminding kidnappings and suicide bombings, met with Carter, a Nobel Peace laureate, in Damascus, Syria, where Meshal has lived for nearly a decade. The meeting was one of the most notable exchanges to date between Hamas, which won Palestinian elections in 2006, and a prominent Western political figure.

Redskins cheerleaders shake up cricket in modest India

Iran's UN mission denies US charge of supporting Iraqi insurgency

America's allies in Iraq under pressure as civil war breaks out among Sunni

A series of suicide bombings have shown over the past week that al-Qa'ida in Iraq, though battered by defections over the past year, is striking back remorselessly at Sunni Arab leaders who ally themselves to the US. . . .

A vicious civil war is now being fought within Iraq's Sunni Arab community between al-Qa'ida in Iraq and al-Sahwa while other groups continue to attack American forces.

Our reign of terror, by the Israeli army

In shocking testimonies that reveal abductions, beatings and torture, Israeli soldiers confess the horror they have visited on Hebron.

Top Bush aides pushed for Guantanamo torture

America's most senior general was "hoodwinked" by top Bush administration officials determined to push through aggressive interrogation techniques of terror suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, leading to the US military abandoning its age-old ban on the cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners, the Guardian reveals today.

General Richard Myers, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff from 2001 to 2005, . . . was duped by senior officials in Washington, who believed the Geneva conventions and other traditional safeguards were out of date, is disclosed in a devastating account of their role, extracts of which appear in today's Guardian.

Iran says oil price too low at 115 dollars a barrel

Even at 115 dollars a barrel, oil is priced too low, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in comments published on Saturday adding that the commodity "should find its real value". . . .

Ahmadinejad suggested that the sharp fall in the value of the US dollar was a driving force behind the rise in oil prices.

"The dollar is no longer money, they just print a bunch of paper which is circulated in the world without any commodity backing," he said.

Late last year, Iran announced that it had stopped carrying out its oil transactions in dollars.

Muslim scholar honoured by Austria

Friday, April 18, 2008

Whose privilege?

In the name of fighting terrorism — and with a clear goal of avoiding accountability — the Bush administration has imposed a level of secrecy on its operations that has no place in a democracy.

One of its most disturbing tactics has been seeking early dismissal of lawsuits alleging serious government misconduct, claiming they would reveal national security secrets.

Hillary joins the vast, rightwing financial conspiracy

Hillary Clinton proposed that Congress show its bipartisan spirit by appointing an "emergency working group on foreclosures," to be led by none other than Alan Greenspan and earlier Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, and Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Her idea was for them to come up with a plan to alleviate the subprime and financial crisis. This seems like calling in arsonists to help put out the fire that they and their own constituency had set in the first place.

'Just as the Wall is called a fence, so are the mercenaries called contractors'

Robert Fisk has a well-earned reputation as one of the most honest and hard hitting foreign correspondents in the British media. He has worked in Northern Ireland, where he exposed the presence of the SAS in the mid-1970s, as well as Bosnia, Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon. It was here, as a witness to the immediate aftermath of the Israeli-organised Sabra and Shatila massacre of 2000 Palestinian refugees, that his journalism took on its current form: angry, passionate, and as he puts it "partial on the side of the victims"—a style of journalism which, unfortunately, is not shared by many of his colleagues in the profession. In the midst of a torrent of lies and propaganda emanating from our media about British and US policy on the Middle East, Fisk's writings are a breath of fresh air—although the hellish reality he depicts does not always make for pleasant reading.

Afghanistan moves to center stage

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said during a visit to the holy city of Qom that the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq "under the pretext of the September 11 terror attack".

A day earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, who was on a visit to London, publicly expressed skepticism over the conduct of the Afghan war by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He warned that NATO is "courting disaster". On Monday, addressing a student gathering in Beijing's Tsinghua University, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf urged Chinese and Russian help in stabilizing Afghanistan.

How to rob an African nation

The residents of a tiny African island nation have been dreaming of great wealth since oil was discovered in their territorial waters. Companies, foreign powers and corrupt politicians are scrambling for drilling licenses in hopes of striking it rich.

New York Times Company posts loss

The New York Times Company, the parent of The New York Times, posted a $335,000 loss in the first quarter—one of the worst periods the company and the newspaper industry have seen—falling far short of both analysts’ expectations and its $23.9 million profit in the quarter a year earlier.

Across globe, empty bellies bring rising anger

Since 2001, a dramatic increase in suicide bombings

Suicide bombers conducted 658 attacks around the world last year, including 542 in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, according to data compiled by U.S. government experts.

The large number of attacks—more than double the number in any of the past 25 years—reflects a trend that has surprised and worried U.S. intelligence and military analysts.

India pulls off a peaceful Olympic torch relay, by banning the public

Mugabe: 'Britain is trying to steal Zimbabwe'

France warns climate change driving war, hunger

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday told the world's biggest carbon polluters that global warming was becoming a driver of hunger, unrest and conflict, with the war in Darfur a concrete example.

Democrat candidates on Israel's security

"An attack on Israel would trigger massive retaliation from the United States," said New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who proposed that the US create a security umbrella for Israel and other allies in the region to protect them from a nuclear Iran. "So would an attack on those countries that are willing to go under the security umbrella and forswear their own nuclear ambitions."

Pentagon institute calls Iraq war 'a major debacle' with outcome 'in doubt'

The war in Iraq has become "a major debacle" and the outcome "is in doubt" despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon's premier military educational institute.

300,000 US veterans have mental problem, 320,000 had brain injuries

Some 300,000 U.S. troops are suffering from major depression or post traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 320,000 received brain injuries, a new study estimates.

Only about half have sought treatment, said the study released Thursday by the RAND Corporation.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Boy named Islam barred from French show

Like father like son, the cover-up continues

When Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., Commander in Chief, United States Naval Forces, Europe, ordered the cover-up on the attack of the USS LIBERTY GTR-5 it was a sure act of treason perpetrated on the American people and the crew of the LIBERTY to hide the true facts surrounding the unprovoked attack by the Government of Israel on our ship, the USS LIBERTY.

Video: Final footage of Reuters journalist killed in Gaza

The editor-in-chief of Reuters demanded that Israel launches a "thorough and immediate investigation" into the killing of one of its cameramen in the Gaza Strip yesterday .

Footage of Fadel Shana, 23, being killed by a tank shell in the Gaza Strip has been released by the news agency, which said that the cameraman was hit despite clear markings that showed him to be a journalist.

After medical examinations of Shana's body, Reuters said that Israel had used a controversial type of tank shell which scatters metal darts, or flechettes, around the surrounding area after exploding, risking civilian casualties.

Why Shariah?

The outrage about according a degree of official status to Shariah in a Western country should come as no surprise. No legal system has ever had worse press. To many, the word “Shariah” conjures horrors of hands cut off, adulterers stoned and women oppressed. By contrast, who today remembers that the much-loved English common law called for execution as punishment for hundreds of crimes, including theft of any object worth five shillings or more? How many know that until the 18th century, the laws of most European countries authorized torture as an official component of the criminal-justice system? As for sexism, the common law long denied married women any property rights or indeed legal personality apart from their husbands. When the British applied their law to Muslims in place of Shariah, as they did in some colonies, the result was to strip married women of the property that Islamic law had always granted them — hardly progress toward equality of the sexes.

In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world.

Net neutrality: Our experience with Yahoo email blocking

The Federal Communications Commission has been examining net neutrality. The Wisdom Fund's experience with Yahoo sheds light on the state of net neutrality today.

For more than a year we've been trying to get Yahoo to stop blocking our email to Yahoo addresses. We follow recommended email practices, and have about 600 Yahoo email addresses on our mailing list.

Yet Yahoo often blocks our email, and we get the following automated response:
"Warning: message still undelivered after 4 hours
"Will keep trying until message is 3 days old", followed by:
"Message could not be delivered for 2 days
"Message will be deleted from queue".

We asked our Yahoo list members to add our address to their Address Book or safe list thinking that would help. It didn't.

Following complaints to Yahoo (finding where to complain took awhile—the one form we finally found seemed designed for computer systems experts), our problems would clear up but reappear, and this continued for several months.

On April 21, 2007 Yahoo encouraged us to "apply for prioritized sending", and we were assigned Case No 43699725. We weren't asking for any favors—we just wanted Yahoo to stop blocking our email.

After a lot of back and forth, on January 16, 2008, Yahoo wrote that they had "made appropriate changes to this IP address" in their database. "This should help with delivering mail" they said.

But the problems continued.

On March 17, 2008 we were sent a technical form to complete which most casual users would not be able to handle. We complied.

On April 7, 2008 Yahoo wrote "for Question #1, we will need you to provide the specific IP address/es assigned to your active mail servers."

We asked our ISP to provide us this information. Their response: " is—that IP number is unlikely to change. Anything you send via will look like it's originating at but it then gets relayed through any of about a dozen other servers, and the IP #s of those servers change fairly frequently. They're in the, and subnets."

This information was forwarded to Yahoo on April 8, 2008. We're waiting for the results. We realize that spam is a problem on the Internet, but Yahoo's "solution" poses a major problem for small, volunteer run organizations like our's.

Founded in 1995, we are a tax-exempt corporation registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We're classified as a Section 501(c)(3) organization as described in the Internal Revenue Code—our employee identification number is 54-1755689.

Enver Masud
The Wisdom Fund

Murtha says McCain too old to be president

Iraq to open oil-field bidding

Iraq will open at least six major oil and natural-gas fields for exploration and production in the first bidding for licenses since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Iraq, which pre-qualified international oil companies this week for the bidding, will open the southern fields of Rumaila North, Rumaila South, West Qurna and Zubair for exploration, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said in an interview in Brussels yesterday. In the north, international oil companies will be invited to develop the Kirkuk oil field and the Akkaz gas field.

Israel kills 17 in Gaza after troops die in clash

Israeli forces killed 17 Palestinians, most of them civilians, in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip otoday, medical officials and witnesses said.

The attacks came after three Israeli troops died in a Hamas ambush near a border fuel pipeline.

He bet on the credit crisis—and took home $3.7bn last year

He is John Paulson, a previously obscure hedge fund manager from New York, who took home $3.7bn (£1.9bn) last year, after betting on a calamity in the mortgage market.

It is certainly the biggest single pay-day in the history of Wall Street, more than twice anything previously achieved even in the bloated hedge fund industry. It is worth spelling the total out with all the zeros: $3,700,000,000, the equivalent of a lottery jackpot every day for a year.

US offers Pakistan government $7bn in non-military aid to fight terrorism

The US has promised to curb air strikes by drones against suspected militants in Pakistan, as part of a joint counter-terrorism strategy agreed with the new civilian government in Islamabad, the Guardian has learned. That strategy will be supported by an aid package potentially worth more than $7bn (£3.55bn), which is due to go before Congress for approval in the next few months.

What Islam did for Europe

Until very recently, suggestions that western civilisation owed much to Islam were rejected out of hand. "Europe", according to the orthodox model, was born out of a marriage of classical and Judaeo-Christian cultures. The missing element in this formula—the Islamic component—was ignored. During the first half of the 20th century a number of Arabists challenged this view, but their opinions made little popular headway. Today, however, thanks largely to the current friction between Islam and the west, new efforts are being made to understand and interpret the influence oriental culture has had, mostly via Spain, on its occidental cousin.

Basra: Echoes of Vietnam

Now that some of the dust has settled over the recent battle of Basra that pitted Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army against the armies of the United States and Iraq, it is time to examine what that clash meant, and what are some analogies that might help bring it into focus. There were certainly echoes of Vietnam in last month's fighting, and some of those parallels, particularly to the 1968 Tet offensive, are worth a closer look.

Pakistan opposes US nuke oversight

A PLAN by the US to seek direct "oversight" of Pakistan's powerful nuclear arsenal and the command structure that controls it was heading for rejection last night after it was denounced in Islamabad as "outright interference" in the country's affairs.

The secret plan, disclosed in the Pakistan media, would for the first time see US officials deployed in Islamabad with "direct access" to the National Command Authority that manages Pakistan's nuclear assets.

It is the first time since the country became a nuclear power in 1998 that Washington has sought direct access to the nuclear arsenal.

Last weekend, US President George W. Bush was quoted as saying that if the US suffered another 9/11-type attack, it would most likely have its antecedents in Pakistan rather than Afghanistan.

Afghan opposition says it's been talking to Taliban

An opposition group says its leaders, including a former president, have been meeting with the Taliban and other anti-government groups in hopes of negotiating an end to rising violence in Afghanistan.

. . . among those at the meetings were former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, now a member of parliament, and Mohammad Qasim Fahim, who is President Hamid Karzai's security adviser and a powerful northern strongman.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Second terror mistrial hurts bush administration, critics say

Critics accused the Bush administration of"see[ing] terrorism under every rock," and of essentially fabricating a major terror case against seven men using a paid informant.

Netanyahu says 9/11 terror attacks good for Israel

The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.

"We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," Ma'ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor."

Deadlocked jury forces 2nd mistrial in Miami terrorism case

A federal judge has declared another mistrial against six men accused of plotting to spark an anti-government war by toppling Chicago's Sears Tower and bombing FBI offices.

As world watches Tibet, China's Muslim Uighurs face growing repression

Almost unnoticed amid the wide-scale protests by Tibetans over the past month is the social unrest among the 8 million or so Muslim Uighurs in China's resource-rich far western territory.

Recently, hundreds of Muslim women in black veils gathered outside the market in this oasis city in an impromptu protest. Some carried signs demanding an independent state.

Ahmadinejad casts doubts on Sept. 11 attack

Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cast doubt Wednesday over the U.S. version of the Sept. 11 attacks, calling it a pretext used to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

Although Iran has condemned the 2001 al-Qaida attacks on New York and Washington in the past, this was the third time in a week that Ahmadinejad questioned the death toll, who was behind the attacks and how it happened.

Brigitte Bardot on trial for Muslim slur

French former film star Brigitte Bardot went on trial on Tuesday for insulting Muslims, the fifth time she has faced the charge of "inciting racial hatred" over her controversial remarks about Islam and its followers.

Iraqi unit flees post, despite American’s plea

A company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions on Tuesday night in Sadr City, defying American soldiers who implored them to hold the line against Shiite militias.

Opposition figures sentenced to prison in Egypt

An Egyptian military court on Tuesday convicted 25 key members of Egypt's largest opposition group and sentenced them to up to 10 years in prison, a security official said.

The charges against the Muslim Brotherhood members included money laundering and terrorism, and 15 defendants were acquitted, the official said. Some of those convicted were tried in absentia.

Fishing returns to Saddam's palaces—with a different cast

The Baghdad Angler's Club and School of Flyfishing hold their regular meetings on the various former homes of Saddam in the Iraqi capital every Sunday, although these are sometimes interrupted by mortar and rocket fire.

The members are US and British military and officials, and occasionally the few foreign journalists that are still left in Iraq.

New lobby seeks to redefine 'pro-Israel'

A new group of prominent U.S. Jews who believe that the so-called "Israel Lobby" has been dominated for too long by neoconservatives and other Likud-oriented hawks has launched a new organization to help fund political candidates who favor a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a stronger U.S. role in achieving it.

Palestinians versus Tibetans—a double standard

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Western coalition unravelling under pressure from resistance in Afghanistan

General James Jones, who served as NATO supreme commander until 2006, has admitted that the alliance is not winning in Afghanistan. "Make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan," a report by the Atlantic Council of the United States, chaired by the retired general, said last month. This was preceded in late February by a grim assessment by Mike McConnell, the US National Intelligence Director, to a Congressional hearing that President Hamid Karzai's government controls a mere 30 percent of the country.

New government confirmed in Pakistan, as US interests remain dominant

If the deposed judges are restored, as the parliamentarians have vowed to do within 30 days of convening of parliament, then Musharraf’s chances of remaining in power will diminish even further. He has a C-130 plane ready at the military airbase at Chaklala (Islamabad) to take him and his family into exile in Turkey, where he has built a huge mansion for himself.

Democrats blast Mukasey for 9/11 call remarks

The big African oil grab

Equatorial Guinea sits at the heart of a deepwater corner of the Atlantic Ocean that is of growing interest to governments from Washington to Beijing. For the US, the Gulf of Guinea is the linchpin of growing sub-Saharan African oil production. Not only is it a bulwark against the troubles in the Middle East, it is also forecast to provide a quarter of US crude oil imports by 2010. China and other emerging economic powers also see an opportunity to muscle in, attracted by promises of big infrastructure projects and a relationship that is free of the colonial baggage carried by westerners in Africa.

Rise in food prices cause backlash against biofuels

Biofuels are fast becoming a new flash point in global diplomacy, putting pressure on Western politicians to reconsider their policies, even as they argue that biofuels are only one factor in the seemingly inexorable rise in food prices.

In some countries, the higher prices are leading to riots, political instability and growing worries about feeding the poorest people.

The Iraq wars

Iraq is embroiled in three separate civil wars, only one of which has involved US troops in a significant way. These three conflicts have generated most of the country's violence.

US, Iraq far apart on security pacts

Iraqi officials familiar with the discussions said significant differences exist on the major issues of immunity for U.S. personnel and contractors, authority to order raids and attacks and detention of people believed a threat to security.

Putin agrees to head Russia's biggest party

Views on money for Iraq war, and what else could be done with it

With long-term estimates of the cost of the Iraq war ranging from $1 trillion to $3 trillion or more, the question naturally arises of what else the country could have done with the money.

Financial collapse will end the war

The US Military has won every battle it has fought in Iraq, but it has lost the war. Wars are won politically, not militarily. Bush doesn't understand this. He still clings to the belief that a political settlement can be imposed through force.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Rod Parsley on Islam

William Franklin Graham famously called Islam a wicked and evil religion, but I don't think he called for its extinction through violence, as in war. Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo, a wild politician, did call for the bombing of Mecca to shatter the Muslim center. Now, Parsley—as in Rod Parsley—is the flavor of the month among the controversial clergy being spotlighted in the camps of the three presidential campaigners. Parsley, pastor of Ohio's mega-est megachurch, twelve-thousand-member World Harvest Church in Columbus, calls for "destroying" Islam.

Arab world sees U.S. in poor light, poll shows

Eight out of 10 Arabs have an unfavorable view of the United States and only six percent believe the U.S. troop build-up in Iraq in the last year has worked, said a poll of six Arab countries released on Monday.

The poll by the University of Maryland and Zogby International, also found most Arabs did not see U.S. foe Iran as a threat and they sympathized more with Hamas in the Palestinian Territories than U.S.-backed Fatah.

India learns its oil lessons

India's quest for energy security received a boost last week with its oil diplomacy paying off to varying degrees on more than one continent. In South America, India signed a deal allowing it to participate in a joint venture to drill oil and gas in Venezuela, while in Central Asia, the door was pried open for Indian companies to invest in projects in Turkmenistan. In the same period, New Delhi's wooing of Africa's oil-rich nations moved into top gear as it played host to the first India-Africa summit.

Military personnel account for 20% of US suicides

US and Iran holding 'secret' talks on nuclear programme

Iran and the United States have been engaged in secret "back channel" discussions for the past five years on Iran's nuclear programme and the broader relationship between the two sworn enemies, The Independent can reveal.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hizbullah: Has Israel met its match?

Warlord: The rise of Muqtada al-Sadr

Historic China-Taiwan talks held

China's President Hu Jintao has held a historic meeting with Taiwan's Vice-President-elect, Vincent Siew.

It was the highest-level contact between the two governments since their post-civil war split in 1949.

Why China is the REAL master of the universe

Napoleon III compared China to a sleeping giant and warned: "When China awakes, she will shake the world."

After a long hibernation, China, and her 1.3 billion people—twice the population of the U.S. and EU combined—is awaking almost overnight.

And not just China. The world's second most populous country, India, is industrialising at a historically unprecedented pace.

Their economies are growing on a long-term basis about four times the speed of the UK's and that of the United States.

What is happening is so extraordinary that economists have had to invent a new word for it—this is not an economic cycle, but a supercycle, a shift in the world economy of historic proportions.

Kenya rival to lead power-sharing cabinet

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki named political rival Raila Odinga as head of a power-sharing cabinet on Sunday, ending weeks of impasse that threatened to undermine economic recovery after a deadly post-election crisis.

Audit finds 100,000 UN books destroyed

For more than two decades, 250 historians and specialists labored to produce the first six volumes of the General History of Latin America, an exhaustive work financed by UNESCO, the United Nations organization created to preserve global culture and heritage.

Then, over the course of two years, UNESCO paid to destroy many of those books and nearly 100,000 others by turning them to pulp, according to an external audit.

Deadly blast strikes Iran mosque

At least 12 people have been killed and 160 wounded in an explosion at a mosque in southern Iran, local media reported.

Zion raid: The ranch has not yet revealed all its secrets

It began with a panicked phone call from a 16-year-old girl, speaking from deep inside one of America's weirdest and most secretive religious compounds. She was, she said, a 16-year-old who had been forced into marriage a year ago with a 49-year-old man – a member of a fundamentalist Mormon sect practising an extreme form of plural marriage – who beat her, held her against her will and had now impregnated her with her second child.

Surprise lead for Maoists spells end of the line for Nepal's King

Darfur crisis draws Chad and Sudan toward deeper conflict

This borderline, drawn by Europeans in the 19th century, has so little relevance that the fighters camped out here, some of them just boys, cannot say for sure whether they are in Sudan or Chad. And yet they sit on a deadly tinderbox, foot soldiers in a proxy war involving two of Africa's most divided and unstable nations. Caught between them are more than two million of the world's most vulnerable people.

World Bank to meet as rising food prices spark unrest

Handbook promoting Jews on campus

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Iraqis pay? The arrogance of the U.S.

The war ended with the toppling of Saddam's statue, the Iraqis want them out, and now the occupiers, having destroyed much of Iraq, have the arrogance to ask Iraqis to pay for the occupation and reconstruction.

The Iraq war began with lies—weapons of mass destruction, mushroom cloud, Al Qaeda, and it ended with more lies.

The very annoying Washington Post

One of the many annoyances about living in George W. Bush’s Washington is to read the commentaries about the Iraq War on the editorial pages of the Washington Post. Possibly never in modern times has a major newspaper been more wrong, more consistently with more arrogance than has the Post on this vital issue.

Lessons for America from China

The Tibetan riots have been a golden opportunity for China's sclerotic Communist Party leadership, which has been feeling growing pressure to open up the political system, but which can now ride a wave of unthinking nationalism and push those democratic pressures aside, at least for a time (much as 9-11 allowed Bush and Cheney to do the same to democratic traditions and the rule of law in the US).

The 2008 Olympics set for Beijing, which many Chinese democrats had hoped would force China to open up space for them, thanks to the wave of western tourists and journalists and all the global media attention that they would bring to the country, will now be held under tight police guard on the largely trumped-up excuse of threats of Tibetan terrorism.

There is a lesson here for America, though I doubt that the policymakers in Washington are of a mind to take it. That lesson applies to Iran.

Report: Iran says Gulf encounter with US not confrontational

US edges closer to engaging Iran

Washington confirms that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is heading for the Middle East to attend an international conference regarding the Iraq situation, in Kuwait on April 22. This will be no ordinary run-of-the-mill international conference. It's about Iraq.

Dalai Lama does not support Olympics boycott

It's occupation, not war

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ended some years ago. In Iraq, the war ended with the fall of Saddam Hussein's government; in Afghanistan, with the fall of the Taliban government. What's been happening since is occupation and resistance to occupation.

. . . You can end an occupation without either winning or losing. You just withdraw your troops.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Muslim depicts 'violent' Christianity

A Saudi man has created a riposte to films criticising Islam in a video which portrays Christianity as a religion of violence.

The film, entitled Schism, was made by Raed al-Saeed. It splices together Bible verses and Iraq war images - including British soldiers beating civilians.

Other images show Christian extremists in America apparently encouraging children to fight a "war" for Jesus.

Olympics: 'Asia must rally behind China'

US lawmakers 'have financial interests' in America's wars

Members of Congress invested nearly $196 million of their own money in companies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars a day from Pentagon contracts to provide goods and services to US armed forces, say nonpartisan watchdog groups.

Khalil regrets toppling statue of Saddam

Ibrahim Khalil, who five years ago took part in the iconic toppling of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad, said on Wednesday he now regrets taking part in the hugely symbolic event.

"If history can take me back, I will kiss the statue of Saddam Hussein which I helped pull down," Khalil told reporters on the fifth anniversary of the statue's toppling.

Cash, contracts and crown princes

Evidence of an allegedly corrupt relationship between BAE and the Saudi royal family began to emerge four years ago. Using documents obtained from whistleblowers and files in the National Archives, the Guardian began to build a picture of an arms company willing to provide anything from fleets of Rolls-Royces to mountains of offshore cash in order to promote lucrative deals with the Saudi regime.

Former president Carter to meet with Hamas chief

Former president Jimmy Carter plans to meet next week in Damascus with Khaled Meshal, the head of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, in a direct rebuke of the Bush administration's campaign to isolate it.

Telecom whistleblower discovers circuit that allows access to all systems on wireless carrier—phone calls, text messages, emails

Babak Pasdar is a computer security expert who was hired in 2003 to help restructure the tech infrastructure at a major wireless telecommunications company. What he found shocked him. The company had set up a system that gave a third party, presumably a governmental entity, access to every communication coming through that company’s infrastructure. This means every email, internet use, document transmission, video, text message, as well as the ability to listen to and record any phone call.

Washington lobbying sets record in 2007

Corporations, unions and other interests spent a record-setting $2.79 billion in 2007 on lobbying Washington officials for favorable policies, said a study from a watchdog group released on Thursday.

The Center for Responsive Politics said spending in 2007 eclipsed the previous record in 2006 by $200 million, with health care interests, Wall Street, the real estate industry and insurers among the biggest spenders.

US edges closer to engaging Iran

Iran has condemned attacks on the Green Zone in Baghdad, distancing itself from provocative acts against the United States, while also downplaying Israel's massive military exercises. This comes as Tehran acknowledges the receipt of an official Washington suggestion for a next round of talks on Iraq. With the US position eroding fast in Iraq, there is a strong sense the George W Bush administration is taking the plunge for unconditional talks with Iran.

How German intelligence helped justify the US invasion of Iraq

Five years ago, the US government presented what it said was proof that Iraq harbored biological weapons. The information came from a source developed by German intelligence -- and it turned out to be disastrously wrong. But to this day, Germany denies any responsibility. . . .

The man's codename is "Curveball." And in an earlier life, he played a crucial role in the geo-politics at the beginning of this decade: He was the man who provided vital "evidence" that ultimately contributed to the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies. But that role has since turned into his greatest problem: Everything he claimed to know about Iraq's weapons program, all the proof he presented, was fabricated.

Petraeus points to war with Iran

Ever since President Nouri al-Maliki ordered the attacks in Basra on the Mahdi Army, Gen. David Petraeus has been laying the predicate for U.S. air strikes on Iran and a wider war in the Middle East.

Iran, Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee, has "fueled the recent violence in a particularly damaging way through its lethal support of the special groups."

Ugandan rebel leader fails to sign peace deal

Efforts to end one of Africa's longest and most brutal wars today appeared in danger of collapse after a Ugandan rebel leader failed to attend the signing of a peace agreement.

Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance army (LRA), did not appear at an agreed spot near Ri-Kwanga, on the remote and thickly-wooded Sudan-Congo border, yesterday.

Iraq's local elections could reshape power structure

Iraq's provincial elections will be the battleground for a fierce power struggle among sectarian and ethnic parties that could redraw the country's political map. . . .

The results will provide early clues on how parties will fare in parliamentary elections scheduled for 2009 -- polls that will determine if Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki retains power or another leader takes his place.

Concern about Iran is mounting

The regime in Tehran has a choice to make," Bush said. It can enjoy close ties with its neighbor or continue "to arm and train and fund illegal militant groups, which are terrorizing the Iraqi people and turning them against Iran."

"If Iran makes the wrong choice, America will act to protect our interests and our troops and our Iraqi partners," he said.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

UN official calls for study of neocons' role in 9/11

A new U.N. Human Rights Council official assigned to monitor Israel is calling for an official commission to study the role neoconservatives may have played in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

On March 26, Richard Falk, Milbank professor of international law emeritus at Princeton University, was named by unanimous vote to a newly created position to report on human rights in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. While Mr. Falk's specialty is human rights and international law, since the attacks in 2001, he has devoted some of his time to challenging what he calls the "9-11 official version."

Did McCain avoid voting on a key 9/11 bill because he's afraid of the neocons?

Did McCain avoid voting on a key 9/11 bill because he's afraid of the neocons?

McCain's secret weapon

McCain did not rule out Rice as a possible running mate. When asked about Rice, he said only that she hadn't approached him yet. At the same time, he did his utmost to praise her, as a "great American" and as a "role model to millions of people in this country and around the world."

We are in the worst financial crisis since Depression, says IMF

The US mortgage crisis has spiralled into "the largest financial shock since the Great Depression" and there is a one-in-four chance that it will cause a full-blown global recession, the International Monetary Fund warned yesterday.

Afghans hold secret trials for men that U.S. detained

Dozens of Afghan men who were previously held by the United States at Bagram Air Base and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are now being tried here in secretive Afghan criminal proceedings based mainly on allegations forwarded by the American military.

Sources: Top Bush advisors approved 'enhanced interrogation'

In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News. . . .

The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed—down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

The advisers were members of the National Security Council's . . . Principals Committee [that] included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ten things you should know about John McCain

BOOK REVIEW: 'Who Speaks for Islam?'

John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed have done an excellent job of providing a factual basis for understanding the views of Muslims around the world, and of explaining Islam to those who have been misled by its enemies.

A book like this was sorely needed. It comes at a time when right-wing ideologues seek a "long war” with "Islamo-fascism"—an oxymoron to those who have studied Islam.

Esposito is well known for his many books on Islam, and is the founding director of Georgetown's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding. Mogahed is the executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.

"Who Speaks for Islam?" draws upon Gallup's “unprecedented global research initiative,” the Gallup World Poll and the Gallup Poll of the Muslim World, during which Gallup "conducted tens of thousands of interviews with residents of more than 35 nations".

The results of the poll show that Muslims don’t hate us for who we are or for our democracy, but for our policies. And Muslim women’s priorities are very different from those of the non-Muslims (and even some Muslims such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali) who seek to liberate them.

Esposito and Mogahed's findings are consistent with what informed Muslims believe. Hopefully, they will give the news media the foundation for more reasoned reporting, and debunk the “clash of civilizations” hypothesis.

Much as we like the book, we must say a few words about Esposito and Mogahed’s acceptance of the U.S. government's 9/11 theory—a theory that has been widely discredited. Their brief statements about 9/11 on pages 5, 19, and 78 could have been omitted without detracting from their presentation.

Buy the book. Ignore Esposito's and Mogahed's comments on 9/11.

If you’re interested in what’s wrong with the government's 9/11 theory, watch the iTV interview, conducted during my 3-week lecture tour of South Africa, at The Wisdom Fund website, or on Google Video.

Enver Masud
Founder, The Wisdom Fund

The Petraeus / Crocker hearings

The hearing left nothing to disappoint. It had all the panoply of a modern congressional hearing and what we have come to expect from senators confronting important witnesses.

Al Jazeera's American face

David Marash announced he was leaving Al-Jazeera English, citing anti-American bias and too much control exerted from Al-Jazeera headquarters in Doha. He said the editorial climate began to change last year after the American vice-president visited the region.

War and peace, Israeli style

The Israelis insist they are not seeking war with the Syrians, even as Israel began its biggest military maneuver in its history since 1948. This was on the border with Syria, which has been calm since the June war of 1967.

Democrats want Iraqis to use oil surplus

Democrats plan to push legislation this spring that would force the Iraqi government to spend its own surplus in oil revenues to rebuild the country, sparing U.S. dollars. [What about reparations for Iraq—like Iraq was forced to pay to Kuwait?]

Denmark 'most networked economy'

Appeal court blocks deportation of terror suspects

The appeal court today blocked the deportation of Abu Qatada, accused of being al-Qaida's "spiritual ambassador to Europe", despite a "no torture" guarantee given to the British government by Jordan.

India follows China’s path in Africa

India will unveil on Wednesday a “blueprint” for its intensifying engagement with Africa, a symbolic step that reflects New Delhi’s anxiety over China’s growing influence on the continent and its desire to mimic the close economic and commercial ties forged by Beijing in recent years.

Deadly fighting in Baghdad as Iraq marks Saddam's fall

Iraq on Wednesday marked the fifth anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's iron-fisted regime with the nation still in turmoil, the capital under curfew and a surge of deadly violence in the Shiite bastion of Sadr City.

Petraeus, tell us something we don't already know

General David Petraeus' testimony Tuesday and Wednesday of this week will be another chapter in U.S. foreign policy's long-running "is the surge working?" debate. The General and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will offer up some good news counterpoints to the not-so-good news out of Basra from the last weekend of March. But in the ways that matter, there's no need to debate in the present tense -- the surge isn't working, it's already worked, and the question is what the Democrats plan to do about it.

Iran condemns Iraq Green Zone attacks

Iran's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday condemned for the first time rocket and mortar attacks against the U.S.-controlled Green Zone in Baghdad by supporters of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

However, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini also denounced raids by U.S. forces against Sadr City.

US ignores Iraqis' views

The Iraqi people are sick and tired of five years of death and destruction with no end in sight. They are also tired of the rampant corruption in their government and its security forces. Iraqis are suffering like no other nation in the Middle East. Four million refugees, hundreds of thousands dead, and many more wounded: this is the American legacy in Iraq.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cyber risk 'equals 9/11 impact'

Speaking to a packed auditorium at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, Mr Chertoff pointed out that securing the nation's internet highways and byways was a job the federal government could not do alone.

Vice chair of 9/11 panel: We have no record of Mukasey's 'warning'

The fearful lives in a land of the free

Dutch Jews louder than Muslims in condemning 'Fitna' film

'Body of War,' a turning point for Iraq documentaries

With Iraq documentaries having fared poorly at the box office, a new film, "Body of War," could mark a turning point because it brings to the big screen a subject that has yet to be broached by a major movie. "It's the voice of a soldier," said Ellen Spiro, co-director of the film. Spiro co-directs with long-time TV talk show host Phil Donahue, who said, "We are not saying we are better, but we are different," when asked about comparing "Body of War" with other Iraq documentaries.