In my links of the day I try to find the links under the wire, articles all the top blogs miss. I'm not afraid to go to Al Jazeera, Kurd Media or to the Pakistan student movement page to bring the real daily news to you.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Links of the Day 4/7/2008 Iraq explodes and Experts Predict oil will hit $160.00 a barrel soon


CNN is reporting the Olympic Flame has been extinguished at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in France while I write my blog today.

After the torch went up and down the tower police took the torch, extinguished it and loaded it on a bus to places unknown. The torch was re-lighted and continued on but just moments later it was extinguished again, put on the bus and whisked away.

Paris officials are now deciding what they should do.

This is the Chinese peoples chance to demand reforms and for Tibet to become FREE.

The OIC is a-political the IOC must have been out of their minds to give China the Olympics. Did they really think the world was going to tolerate China getting the Olympics?

WOW!

2008 Summer Olympics torch relay

Inception

Following the recent unrest in Tibet, three sympathisers of the Tibetan independence movement breached security and attempted to disrupt a speech by Liu Qi, the head of Beijing's Olympic organising committee during the torch lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece.[7][8][9] The People's Republic of China called this a "disgraceful" attempt to sabotage the Olympics.[10][11] On 30 March 2008 in Athens, during ceremonies marking the handing over of the torch from Greek officials to organizers of the Beijing games, demonstrators shouted 'Free Tibet' and unfurled banners; some 10 of the 15 protesters were taken into police detention.[12] After the hand-off, protests continued internationally, with particularly violent uprisings in Nepal.[13]

London

Of the 80 torch-bearers[14] in London, Sir Steve Redgrave, who started the relay, mentioned to the media that he had received e-mailed pleas to boycott the event and "can see why they would like to make an issue" of it.[14] Francesca Martinez and Richard Vaughan refused to carry the torch,[15] while Konnie Huq decided to both do so and speak out against China.[16] The pro-Tibetian MP Norman Baker asked all bearers to reconsider.[15] Amid pressure from both directions, Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed the torch outside 10 Downing Street. However the Prime Minister never held the torch, nor did he touch it.[17][18]

The London relay saw the torch surrounded by what the BBC described as "a mobile protective ring."[17] Protests began as soon as Redgrave started the event, leading to at least thirty arrests.[17] In Ladbroke Grove a demonstrator attempted to snatch the torch from Konnie Huq in a momentary struggle, and in a separate incident, a fire extinguisher was set off near the torch.[17] The Chinese ambassador carried the torch through Chinatown after an unpublicized change to the route amid security concerns.[17]

Paris

Paris city officials have announced plans to greet the Olympic flame with peaceful protest when the torch reaches the French capital. A banner reading Paris defends human rights throughout the world" was attached to City Hall, Paris, in an attempt to promote values "of all humanity and of human rights,".[19] Members from Reporters Without Borders are expected to turn out in large numbers to protest.[20]An estimated 3,000 French police are expected to protect the Olympic torch relay as it departs from the Eiffel Tower and crisscrosses Paris amid threat of protests.[21]

San Francisco

On April 1, 2008, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a resolution addressing human rights concerns when the Beijing Olympic torch arrives in San Francisco on 9 April. The resolution would welcome the torch with "alarm and protest at the failure of China to meet its past solemn promises to the international community, including the citizens of San Francisco, to cease the egregious and ongoing human rights abuses in China and occupied Tibet."[22][23] A third of the population of San Francisco is Chinese American and many overseas Chinese, including advocates for Tibet, Darfur and the religious sect Falun Gong, plan to protest the April 9 arrival of the torch in San Francisco.[24] China has already requested the torch route in San Francisco be shortened.[25]

Mumbai

Indian national football captain, Baichung Bhutia refused to take part in the Indian leg of the torch relay[26]. This came in wake of the storming of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi by Tibetan protesters. Wary of further protests, the Indian authorities have decided to shorten the route of the relay in New Delhi.[27]. Indian Bollywood film star Aamir Khan states on his personal blog that the "Olympic Games do not belong to China" and confirms taking part in the torch relay "with a prayer in [his] heart for the people of Tibet, and [...] for all people across the world who are victims of human rights violations".[28]

Canberra

Following the events in Olympia, there were reports that China requested permission to deploy People's Liberation Army personnel along the relay route to protect the flame. Australian authorities stated that such a request, if it were to be made, would be refused.[29][30] Chinese officials labeled it a "rumor".[31]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Olympic_Torch_Relay




I take the weekend off and John McCain’s peaceful city of Baghdad explodes. Mortars sent into the Green Zone kills 2 soldiers and another one is killed on a U.S. base in southeastern Baghdad after heaving fight over 100 people have been injured.

Yeah Bush the surge is a success! PEACE IS COMING TO IRAQ!

Give it up, for God‘s sake! Bring ALL the troops home now.

Al Sadr will have his theocratic government ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theocracy ) and country.

WHO is Al Sadr? And why was an arrest warrant for him sealed and never carried out? And why has al Sadr been allowed to go back and forth from Iran unchallenged?

The USA should have taken him out years ago. If they thought they were avoiding violence by letting al Sadr remain free they were wrong.

Assassinations and violence

Some of his followers are alleged to be responsible for the assassination on 10 April 2003 of Imam Abdul Majid al-Khoei. Judge Raed Juhi, who conducted the investigation after the incident, issued arrest warrants against Sadr and two dozen others, but Sadr's warrant was placed under seal by the Coalition Provisional Authority[5].

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muqtada_al-Sadr




3 US troops killed, 31 wounded in Iraq


By Kim Gamel / Associated Press

April 7th, 2008 1:19 am

BAGHDAD - Suspected Shiite militants lobbed rockets and mortar shells into the U.S.-protected Green Zone and a military base elsewhere in Baghdad on Sunday, killing three American troops and wounding 31, officials said.

The attacks occurred as U.S. and Iraqi forces battled Shiite militants in Sadr City in some of the fiercest fighting since radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered a cease-fire a week ago. At least 16 Iraqi civilians were killed and nearly 100 wounded in the fighting, according to hospital officials.

A military official said two U.S. troops died and 17 were wounded in the attack on the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and the Iraqi government headquarters in central Baghdad.

Another American service member was killed and 14 were wounded in the attack on a base in the southeastern Baghdad area of Rustamiyah, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information.

The U.S. military said separately that an American soldier was killed Sunday in a roadside bombing in the volatile Diyala province north of Baghdad. A U.S. soldier assigned to the division operating south of the capital also died Sunday from non-combat related injuries, according to a statement.

The deaths raised to at least 4,018 members of the U.S. military who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

A senior U.S. military official, also declining to be identified for the same reason, said the rockets were fired at the Green Zone from Sadr City, while the mortar shells came from another predominantly Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, New Baghdad.

U.S. commanders have blamed what they call Iranian-backed rogue militia groups for launching missiles against American forces.

The strikes occurred despite a strong push by the U.S. military to prevent militants from using suspected launching sites on the southern edge of Sadr City, the Baghdad stronghold of the Mahdi Army of anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Fierce fighting erupted in Sadr City earlier Sunday after Iraqi troops backed by U.S. soldiers and attack helicopters tried to advance deeper into the enclave of some 2.5 million people.

American helicopters also fired Hellfire missiles that destroyed a vehicle and killed nine militants who were attacking Iraqi security forces with rocket-propelled grenades in the area, the military said in a statement.

The surge in violence came as tensions rose in Shiite areas despite al-Sadr's cease-fire order issued March 30 that eased nearly a week of clashes in Baghdad, Basra and other cities in the Shiite south. The cleric stopped short of asking his fighters to surrender their weapons, and sporadic clashes have continued.

The inability of the Iraqi security forces to curb the militias has cast doubt on their ability to take over their own security two days before the top American officials in Iraq — Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker — are to brief Congress on the prospects for further reductions in the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.

Al-Sadr has called for a "million-strong" anti-U.S. demonstration on Wednesday in Baghdad to protest the fifth anniversary of the capture of the Iraqi capital by invading U.S. troops.

At the edge of Sadr City, Lt. Col. Dan Barnett, the commander of the 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, said Iraqi forces had come under sustained fire overnight after establishing checkpoints deeper into the Shiite district.

"They're working to establish control," he said, speaking to a small group of reporters as heavy gunfire resounded outside a joint U.S.-Iraqi base.

Mortar shells also fell on a popular commercial area in the Jamila neighborhood, setting a fire that burned some 100 shops, according to the Baghdad military command. It said fire fighters came under heavy gunfire that slowed their efforts to extinguish the flames.

A local fire official, who declined to be identified because he wasn't supposed to discuss the issue, said the mortars had been aimed at a U.S.-occupied police station but fell short. That report could not be independently verified.

Last week, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, himself a Shiite, ordered a nationwide freeze on Iraqi raids against Shiite militants, bowing to demands by al-Sadr who had hinted at retaliation if Iraqi security forces continue to arrest his followers.

U.S. commanders said they will fight back to maintain control of a swath of territory on the southern edge of Sadr City that has been used as a launching site for rockets aimed at the Green Zone, which has come under steady fire since the current tensions began.

"Where we have criminal elements that are threatening the security and peace of the people of Iraq, we take action," said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, the top commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad.

The Iraqi government has relaxed security measures Saturday around the Mahdi Army strongholds of Sadr City and the Shula neighborhood, allowing trucks carrying maintenance teams, food, oil products and ambulances into the areas that still face a vehicle ban despite the lifting of a citywide curfew.

But residents continued to complain of hardships.

"Our situation is miserable. We lack food, water and electricity. This morning I saw two men being shot by a sniper as they were trying to cross the street near my house. The government should do something to end our suffering," said Hussein Khazim, a taxi driver who has been out of work since the turmoil erupted in late March.

Separately, the U.S. military said the largest cache of armor-piercing roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, had been found by Iraqi troops acting on a tip south of Baghdad.

More than 1,000 bomb components and 3,000 pounds of explosives were found Wednesday in a 6-ton truck in a garage south of Hillah, according to a statement.

American commanders say Iran supplies Shiite militias with the EFPs and other weapons. Tehran denies the allegations.

Violence also continued in northern Iraq. Gunmen seized 42 students off a bus near the city of Mosul — the last major urban stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq — but later released them unharmed. The U.S. military said the college students were rescued by Iraqi soldiers, and three kidnappers had been detained.

Also Sunday, hundreds of mourners gathered in the capital's Karradah district for the funeral of Father Youssef Adel, an Assyrian Orthodox priest slain the day before at his home.

One of the mourners, Midhat Faez, said the assassination was aimed at provoking conflict between Muslims and the tiny Christian community.

"As Christians, we are terrified and our numbers are gradually diminishing," Faez said.

___

Associated Press writer Sameer N. Yacoub contributed to this report

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/latestnews/index.php?id=11250




Could this be why Baghdad is exploding?


Iraqis angered by Blackwater contract renewal

Sat Apr 5, 2008 1:28pm EDT

By Khalid Al-Ansary

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqis expressed anger on Saturday at news the United States had renewed the contract of Blackwater, a private security firm blamed for killing up to 17 people in a shooting incident last year.

"Renewing this contract means we will see this sort of thing again in the streets," Abbas Hasoun, a grocer, said. "I wish we could turn the page on this, but keeping this company here means bloodshed will continue."

A traffic policeman who said he was questioned in Turkey by the FBI about the shooting was patrolling on Saturday the same busy traffic circle where the incident took place.

"I went to Turkey and testified about what I saw, but all my efforts were in vain when I heard the news," said the policeman who asked that his name not be published for security reasons.

The FBI is investigating whether Blackwater employees broke the law during the shooting last September when Blackwater staff, apparently believing they were under attack, fired into cars in heavy traffic, killing civilians.

In spite of the criminal probe, the State Department announced on Friday the firm's contract to protect U.S. personnel in Baghdad would be renewed.

The State Department says Blackwater's tactics have been changed to prevent further incidents like last year's shooting.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the government believed its requests for tighter controls over Blackwater's activities had been met.

"The demands of the Iraqi government have been taken into consideration and Blackwater will follow the Iraqi government's laws. We were never against Blackwater's work in Iraq, but the company has committed a mistake," he said.

Ordinary Iraqis were less tolerant.

"These companies should be removed from the country. They don't deserve to stay here a moment. They committed massacres and killed innocent people," said Naseer Kahdim, a soldier checking cars a few hundred metres from the site of the shooting.

The government's political opponents accused it of failing to enact measures that would control foreign security firms.

"So far we haven't passed laws governing the work of foreign companies. The government should have shown its influence and authority by taking the initiative," said Saleem al-Jubouri, spokesman for the mainly Sunni Arab Accordance Front bloc.

"But the Americans want to show that Iraq is under their control. It's a violation of the Iraqi judicial system."

(Additional reporting by Wisam Mohammed; Editing by Robert Woodward)

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSL0559760920080405?sp=true



This is a MUST READ from Newsweek.


IRAQ

Sacrificed to the Surge


Tribal fighters have cut down Iraq's violence. But they're subjecting women to often-medieval mores.

The insurgents have been driven out of her southwest Baghdad neighborhood, but the 30-year-old shop assistant is still frightened. A year ago Al Qaeda in Iraq ruled the streets outside her home, and Mahdi Army militia units kept the area under relentless attack. Now the Iraqis who helped get rid of the killers are the ones who scare her. The Americans imposed order a few months ago by recruiting and paying local men to turn in the names of suspected jihadists. Similar armed groups have popped up all around the city. Each has its own bizarre rules; some threaten to kill women who don't wear veils in public. The shop assistant is in mourning for her brother, who was killed last May, but she's asking for trouble if she wears black more than three days running. According to the new enforcers in her neighborhood, anyone who dresses in mourning is committing blasphemy by questioning the will of God.

In the past year, militias like this one have transformed the war in Iraq. Americans call them Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs), or Sons of Iraq; Iraqis know them as Sahwa—Awakening—after the tribal council in Anbar province that launched a Sunni revolt against the tyranny of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The militias' vital role (and the uncomfortable fact that many members used to be insurgents themselves) will be a big part of the debate this week, as American lawmakers hear testimony on the war's progress from U.S. military commander Gen. David Petraeus and the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, Ryan Crocker. What's less likely to be discussed—and yet just as important in the long run—is the impact that tribal groups like the CLCs are having on Iraq's social fabric, and in particular on its women.

America's efforts to disengage from Iraq have led to some messy compromises. After years of trying without success to wrest Sunni areas from Qaeda control, U.S. ground commanders appear to have done it at last—but only by granting sweeping powers to sheiks and local leaders who can keep the peace. Now Iraq's Sunni areas have been chopped into fragments, each one run by a different tribal ruler with different views on law and society. In some parts of Baghdad the situation changes visibly from block to block. No one can say how many of these leaders abuse their powers, or if their little sectors can ever be put back under the purview of a centrally controlled government. "We are becoming like Afghanistan was in the '80s," says Zainab Salbi, the Iraq-born founder and CEO of the activist group Women for Women International.

Saddam's Iraq at least offered women the protection of enforced secularism; they were encouraged to study at universities and to pursue professional careers. That changed in the 1990s as the dictator began to rely on tribal sheiks to prop up his rule, while U.N. sanctions drove families into poverty and reduced opportunities for women. Americans arriving in 2003 hoped to make the new Iraq a showcase for gender equality. But women's advocates say that dream fell by the wayside as violence engulfed the country.

Some tribal leaders are more egalitarian than others. In Baghdad's Adhamiya district, the local women's college is bustling with students, even with the Sahwa in charge. Times are tougher in Anbar's provincial capital, Ramadi, where tribal troops allow women to work but not to go without headscarves, and polygamy is reportedly on the rise. Women rarely venture out of their homes now in rural Sahwa areas like Arab Jabour, south of Baghdad.

In Anbar, the Sahwa movement's birthplace, tribal leaders have taken full control. "They have their own personal fiefdoms, and they answer to no one," says Isobel Coleman, a women's rights specialist for the Council on Foreign Relations. "The tribal groups may not be directly affiliated with Al Qaeda, but they're no less conservative." That may be an exaggeration: the jihadists forced girls into marriages, closed schools and killed indiscriminately. But tribal values are more medieval than those enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution—and this time the gunmen have the backing of the U.S. military. Some fear that worse is coming. "I can see in the eyes of some of them that they have something to say to us unveiled women," says Samara Ali, 27, a library worker at Baghdad University. "I think that they are waiting for a proper time to speak out."

Some women saw warning signs last year when the movement was young. Suhair Shakir says Al Qaeda never got a foothold in her upscale east Baghdad neighborhood. But Sahwa took over anyway, and it has grown steadily more aggressive. One day last spring, Shakir was flagged down in her car at a Sahwa checkpoint. A young man sidled up to her window and asked why she wasn't wearing a headscarf. He twirled a pistol as he spoke—"like a cowboy, spinning his pistol on his finger," Shakir says. After that, she wore a scarf.

A few months later she had another encounter; this time the checkpoint's head man warned her that women shouldn't drive. At last she convinced him that she needed her car to get to work, only to be told that she could pass the checkpoint only during working hours, and never after 5 p.m. The harassment continued. Sahwa guards at the local gas station began criticizing her for being out unescorted. "These are teenagers with no knowledge and no education," she says. "They get their power and their weapons, and they try to control the life of the people."

At the national level, some women are still fighting to open up Iraqi society. Women's Affairs Minister Narmin Othman, for instance, is waging a campaign against "honor killings." If a man kills a straying wife or a daughter suspected of engaging in sex before marriage, he faces a maximum of three years in jail under Iraqi law. "Killing is killing," says Othman, a Kurdish woman partial to blue jeans and Ralph Lauren reading glasses. If an Iraqi woman kills a cheating husband, the charge is murder. Othman says men should get the same treatment.

But she faces stiff resistance from the religious parties leading the government. They claim Othman's proposal is contrary to Islam (a point disputed by some respected scholars). The Justice Ministry has refused even to provide Othman with official statistics on how many honor killings come to court. So far she and her allies have collected only 70 signatures, far short of the number necessary to get the bill considered by Parliament. She's in no hurry to bring it to a vote. "I think we would lose," she says. "We have to try to have more discussion and do more lobbying." She's not giving up. A similar measure has been adopted by leaders of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

Iraqi parliamentarian Samira Musawi worries that the Americans are sacrificing the possibility of a more liberal Iraq by putting too much trust in groups like the Sahwa. "There is a lot of respect for tribal sheiks, but a lot of them are not educated," she says. As she sees it, the less education they have, the more reactionary their views tend to be, especially on issues like women's rights. The Americans should be more cautious about building up the Sahwa, she says: "There have to be criteria."

But at present, U.S. forces are too pleased by the sharp drop in jihadist attacks to lose sleep over things like gender issues. "They're going to find their own level about what is acceptable," says Col. Martin Stanton, one of the Sahwa program's U.S. coordinators. "In terms of what they're doing within their own culture, I don't think we'd intervene in that." The Coalition has let Shiite groups impose their values across much of the south for years for the sake of stability; women there mostly go veiled now, and some have quit their jobs under pressure from Shiite militia members.

The fact is that Western views don't necessarily fit Iraqi situations. Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor, went to Iraq in 2003 as a senior constitutional adviser with the fledgling Coalition Provisional Authority. He recalls how tribal sheiks approached U.S. envoy Paul Bremer that spring, offering to help calm their angry followers. "We told them, 'No, we're not going to take Iraq back to the Middle Ages'," says Feldman. U.S. commanders spent the next four years trying to fight the insurgents without help from the sheiks. "We tried other ways, and it didn't work," says Coleman. "Tribal leaders are cleaning things up. The question is, where does it cross the line? And we don't know." No one does. But some Iraqi women worry that the Sahwa has already won too much power—and that now there's no turning back.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/130602/output/print




Wow this is a MUST READ article the information contained in the links here is a cornucopia of information.


US Nuclear B-1 Bomber On Iran ‘Attack Run’ Shot Down


By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers (Traducción al Español abajo)

April 5, 2008

In a disturbing continuation of our April 2nd report, “Russia ‘Alarmed’ As US Readies April Nuclear Attack On Iran”, and wherein we reported on the United States War Leaders plans to attack Iran, Russian Military Analysts are today reporting that the US Air Force has ‘shot down’ one of their own bombers reported to be on an ‘attack run’ towards Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant. [Pictured 3rd down on left]

According to these reports, an American B-1 Lancer supersonic strategic nuclear bomber based out of the United States Ellsworth Air Force Base, and which bills itself as, "The "backbone" of global engagement for the 21st century", attempted to ‘deviate’ from its assigned flight path over the Persian Gulf Nation of Qatar by rapidly descending for what these reports state is ‘typical’ for these types of aircraft when engaging in combat.

When contacted by US Air Force officials stationed at Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base, these reports continue, this B-1 nuclear bomber ‘squawked’ what is called a ‘CIA Identification Code’, and not, what Russian Military Analysts say, was the correct code for American fighter aircraft over flying Middle Eastern Nations, whereupon it was ordered to land or face an ‘immediate’ shoot down.

Russian Military intercepts of US Air Force communications, during this incident, portray a chaotic scene where after refusing to change its course, American Military Officials ordered a US F-16 Fighter Jet to ‘strafe’ the B-1 nuclear bomber, but then a US Naval Carrier, stationed in the Persian Gulf, ‘ordered’ its fighter jets to attack those of the US Air Force.

As US Air Force Commanders launched more of their fighter jets into the air against their own Naval Forces, the B-1 nuclear bomber was reported to have been hit by cannon fire from the F-16 fighter jet, after which it changed its course for an ‘emergency’ landing at the Al Udeid Air Base and which upon landing ‘exploded’. These reports state that no further hostilities between the US Air Force and its Navy counterparts during this incident occurred.

American propaganda media sources, though acknowledging the destruction of this B-1 nuclear bomber, have failed, so far, to complete their fabrication of this incident into the final coherent form they deem suitable for their citizens, and as we can read as reported by the Dakota Voice News Service, and as we can read:

"The Rapid City Journal is confirming that the B-1 bomber which was involved in the incident in Qatar earlier today was from Ellsworth Air Force Base here in Rapid City.

The crew made it to safety, and the article says that details are uncertain as to whether the crew was from Ellsworth or from another base. Sgt. Sandra Lucas of the Al-Udeid Air Base public affairs office confirmed Friday afternoon that the incident involved an Ellsworth plane. But she could not confirm whether any or all of the plane’s crew members were from Ellsworth.

The Air Force says the bomber was taxiing after landing at Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar and caught fire. Few details are available, although the Air Force says the aircraft was involved in a ground incident. All four crew members aboard the plane safely evacuated, according to the Air Force.

It was initially reported that the bomber crashed, but reports now say that wasn't the case. One report said that some of the munitions aboard exploded, but I've only seen that in one place, so don't know for sure if it's accurate."

Russian Military Commanders further speculate, in these reports, that the United States Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, and who last week ordered a full inventory of all American nuclear weapons, was ‘no doubt’ the US Military Commander who issued the ‘shoot down’ order for this B-1 nuclear bomber as he has been reported long at odds with the American Vice President, Richard Cheney, over the latter’s push for an immediate nuclear strike against Iran.

However, though this latest attempt by dissident American Military Commanders to stop their War Leaders from plunging the World into Total War has, apparently, been successful, this may not be the case for long, and as we can read as reported by the Rutland Herald News Service in their article detailing the concerns of the former head of the UN weapons inspection team, Scott Ritter, and which says:

"Scott Ritter, former head of weapons inspection in Iraq who protested there were no weapons of mass destruction to justify an invasion, believes the same is true for Iran.

But there is an 80 percent chance of war with Iran, he told about 200 people Wednesday at Middlebury College as part of a series of talks facilitated by the Vermont Peace and Justice Center. The pattern of preparations for such a conflict has been steadily developing and involves Congress as well as the Bush-Cheney administration, he said.

People ask him if he feels vindicated by the absence of WMDs in Iraq, he said, but "there isn't any vindication in being right about this one." A war with Iran would hasten the ongoing decline of American standing in the world, and afterward Russia and China would be ready to take advantage of the resulting power vacuum, he said.

Among the war clouds Ritter cited were:

Preemptive strikes against the two groups most likely to erupt if the United States invaded Iran, Hezbollah (unsuccessfully attacked by Israel) and Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army (unsuccessfully attacked in Basra by Iraq's central government).

Ritter predicted a similarly disappointing showing if the American forces attacked Iran, a country 2-1/2 times as large and populous as Iraq that is much more unified culturally and did not have its army destroyed in a previous war with the United States.

Recent visits to Middle Eastern allies by high officials, ostensibly for other purposes, but really to prepare them for the effects of such a war.

The appearance of the "miracle laptop," as Ritter called it, a thousand pages of technical documents supposedly from a stolen Iranian computer, which dubiously had just the sort of information the administration needed to support a hard-line stand on Iran.

Congressional supplementary funding for more "bunker-busting" bombs, with a contract completion deadline of April.

Congressional supplementary funding for the extra bombers to carry those bombs, with a contract completion date of April.

Cheney's order to send a third aircraft carrier battle group close to the Persian Gulf, a necessary bolstering of forces for a war with Iran.

Admiral William Fallon, the first admiral to be head of Central Command, said that level of naval forces was unnecessary and blocked the move. Ritter said that was "a heroic thing."

Most unfortunately for the American people, and also the World, is that the last chance for peace, and as Scott Ritter had also noted, is now gone as Admiral William Fallon has fallen, and as we can read as reported by Britain’s Times Online News Service in their article titled "Admiral William Fallon quits over Iran policy", and which says:

"The top US military commander for Iraq and Afghanistan resigned last night after weeks of behind-the-scenes disagreements with the White House over the direction of American foreign policy. Admiral William Fallon, the head of US Central Command, left his post a week after a profile in Esquire magazine portrayed him as a dove opposed to President’s Bush’s Iran policy. The article, entitled The Man Between War and Peace, described Admiral Fallon as a lone voice against taking military action to stop the Iranian nuclear programme."

With this ‘lone voice’ of reason of Admiral Fallon now gone from the scene, the American people are now left only with their ‘lone wolf’ War Leaders…may God have mercy on them.

http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1087.htm




I am 100% convinced John McCain is going senile. The guy seems to be confused about what’s happening in Iraq nearly everyday now.

The GOP are thinking about Romney and Condi Rice for VP both choices are bound to tick off their base. I don’t see the Evangelicals voting for a Mormon or their racist’s voting for a Black women.

If we democrats really get out and vote in November we could take back the White House and country in a landslide.


McCain blunders on Iraq, again: Confuses Iraqi cleric with Prime Minister on ceasefire deal


David Edwards and Chris Tackett

Published: Sunday April 6, 2008

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, John McCain again repeated the false claim that Muqtada al-Sadr declared the ceasefire in Basra last week and said he thought the Iraqi army was performing well.

"It was al-Sadr that declared the ceasefire, not Maliki," said McCain. "With respect, I don’t think Sadr would have declared the ceasefire if he thought he was winning. Most times in history, military engagements, the winning side doesn’t declare the ceasefire. The second point is, overall, the Iraqi military performed pretty well. … The military is functioning very effectively."

As the blog, Think Progress notes, "it was members of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government who brokered the ceasefire, to which Sadr agreed. Experts agree that Sadr’s influence was strengthened — rather than diminished — by the Basra battle."

It's not the first time McCain has erred when talking about Iraq. Last month, McCain wrongly said Iran trains Al-Qaeda members.

McCain made the gaffe right in the middle of an official visit in the Middle East that was supposed to highlight his knowledge in foreign affairs.

"It's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq. That's well known," the 71-year-old Vietnam war veteran said.

Pressed by reporters about his allegations, McCain said: "We continue to be concerned about the Iranians taking Al-Qaeda into Iran and training them and sending them back."

It was only after fellow Senator Joe Lieberman, who was traveling with him, whispered into his ear that McCain corrected himself, US media reported.

"I am sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not Al-Qaeda, not Al-Qaeda, I am sorry," McCain said.

Asked by Chris Wallace Sunday about the recent news from The New York Times that up to a thousand Iraqi soldiers had refused to serve, McCain implied the news was good because it showed improvement from past performance.

"Compare that to two years ago when the army was unable to function in any way effectively," McCain said. "Look, I didn't particularly like the outcome of this thing, but i am convinced that we now have a government that is governing with some effect and a military that is functioning very effectively. Up in Mosul where some of the best units are, they're functioning well. I've always said, Chris, it's long and hard and tough. We're paying a huge penalty for a failed strategy I voted hard against and I believe the strategy can and will succeed."

Digg link broken: Digg this here. Great Video!

http://rawstory.com/news/2008/McCain_blunders_on_Iraq_again_Confuses_0406.html You must link here and see the very scary picture of McCain and we thought Bush/Cheney were madmen.




Yoo's Memo Hints at Bush's Secrets


By Jason Leopold

April 6, 2008

The Pentagon’s declassification of a five-year-old memo authorizing military interrogators to use brutal methods to extract information from prisoners at Guantanamo Bay sheds new light into the dark corners of the Bush administration’s legal theories that put the President and his subordinates beyond domestic and international law.

In the March 14, 2003, memo – which was released this past week – administration lawyer John Yoo cited the principle of national “self-defense” in combating terrorism as grounds for justifying harsh treatment of detainees up to and including death.

Yet, as Yoo advanced his argument for virtually unfettered presidential war-time powers regarding the treatment of prisoners, the memo also pointed to other still-secret documents suggesting the administration was prepared to take its authority even further, into domestic military operations that would brush aside constitutional protections.

Yoo footnoted one of his earlier memos, dated Oct. 23, 2001, entitled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States.” According to the footnote, that memo “concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.”

The memo – with its provocative title – has remained a closely held administration secret, kept even from the House Judiciary Committee which renewed its request for the document on Thursday.

It’s now clear, however, that from inside the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, Yoo and his colleagues were churning out a series of memos that fit with President George W. Bush’s desire to be “forward-leaning” – or extremely aggressive – in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Though the Oct. 23, 2001, memo is still secret, some of Yoo’s thinking on domestic military operations was revealed in an even earlier memo, written 10 days after the 9/11 attacks, on Sept. 21, 2001.

In that memo, Yoo cited hypothetical cases in which U.S. military action against suspected terrorists on U.S. territory – such as a raid against a hideout or use of military checkpoints – might endanger Americans or intrude on their constitutional rights.

Yoo argued that President Bush would “be justified in taking measures which in less troubled conditions could be seen as infringements of individual liberties. … We think that the Fourth Amendment should be no more relevant than it would be in cases of invasion or insurrection."

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”

But Yoo’s Sept. 21, 2001, memo argued that the “war on terror” could justify domestic surveillance activities, such as monitoring telephone calls without a court warrant, that otherwise might violate the Fourth Amendment. [NYT, Oct. 24, 2004]

In his 2006 book, War by Other Means: An Insider's Account of the War on Terror, Yoo cites various arguments for local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as a sitting U.S. President, to ignore the Fourth Amendment, especially regarding domestic surveillance.

“If al-Qaeda organizes missions within the United States, our surveillance simply cannot be limited to law enforcement,” Yoo wrote. “The Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement should not apply, because it is concerned with regulating searches, not with military attacks.”

Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, said the Bush administration has never argued publicly that the Fourth Amendment did not apply to military operations within the United States.

Though Yoo’s hypothetical domestic military actions, as described in his Sept. 21, 2001, memo, have not come to pass, his position that the “war on terror” justifies setting aside the Fourth Amendment’s protection against warrantless searches did survive.

Starting in the months after the 9/11 attacks, Bush chose to override the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and authorize warrantless wiretaps of international communications to and from the United States.

Bush acknowledged the existence of these warrantless wiretaps in December 2005, after they were disclosed by the New York Times.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Thursday that the administration hasn’t relied on Yoo’s Oct. 23, 2001, memo for more than five years, but Congress still has spent a great deal of effort trying to pry it loose from the Justice Department.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, House Judiciary Committee chairman, renewed that effort on Thursday in a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, saying the committee was rebuffed on two previous occasions – Feb. 12 and Feb. 20 – when requesting a copy of the memo.

“Based on the title of the Oct. 23, 2001, memorandum, and based on what has been disclosed and the contents of similar memoranda issued at roughly the same time, it is clear that a substantial portion of this memorandum provides a legal analysis and conclusions as to the nature and scope of the Presidential Commander in Chief power to accomplish specific acts within the United States,” Conyers wrote.

“The people of the United States are entitled to know the Justice Department’s interpretation of the President’s constitutional powers to wage war in the United States,” Conyers added.

“There can be no actual basis in national security for keeping secret the remainder of a legal memorandum that addresses this issue of constitutional interpretation. The notion that the President can claim to operate under ‘secret’ powers known only to the President and a select few subordinates is antithetical to the core principles of this democracy.”

John Yoo left the Justice Department in 2003 and some of his memos were later rescinded. However, the administration continues to assert broad powers for Bush as Commander in Chief during the “war on terror.”

Yoo is now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Building a Legal Framework for Torture.”]

Investigative reporter Jason Leopold is the author of News Junkie, a memoir. Visit http://www.newsjunkiebook.com for a preview.

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/040608a.html



The levees are safe but we’re going to watch them more closely!


Corps of Engineers ups watch of La. Levees


Increased surveillance comes as swollen Mississippi River continues to rise


Mon., April. 7, 2008

BATON ROUGE, La. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has increased its surveillance of Louisiana's Mississippi River levees as the swollen river continues to rise.

The river is not expected to overrun or breach the levees, even though water levels are higher than they've been in a decade, Col. Alvin Lee, commander of the corps' New Orleans district office, said Sunday.

"We don't expect any problems in the (levee) system," he said.

Lee said engineers in Louisiana are monitoring the levees with seven-day work weeks and 12-hour shifts -- new manpower levels triggered by a forecast that the river will crest in New Orleans at 17 feet on April 16. That forecast is 1 1/2 feet higher than previous predictions, the result of heavy rains throughout the river valley.

The levees were designed to contain at least 20 feet of water.

The corps could decide by Tuesday whether to open the Bonnet Carre Spillway, a safety valve about 30 miles north of New Orleans, to reduce the river's water volume and ease stress on the levees. The spillway was last opened in 1997, the last time river level forecasts were this high.

Lee spoke at a news conference called by Gov. Bobby Jindal, who said the state is using everything from the National Guard to the state health department to prevent possible flooding and prepare for it. Tens of thousands of sandbags have been distributed up and down the river.

Jindal said that though he had confidence in the levee system, the precautions are necessary because river level forecasts can change swiftly.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23987038/




Our money is so worthless travelers in Europe can’t even exchange their money while on vacation.

If OPEC stops using the dollar we will be really screwed. A post it note will have more value than our dollar.

I hope all of you took my warning and stocked up on food, non food and pet food because prices are about to take a huge rise.


Iranian president wants OPEC off dollars


Calls for cartel to price deals with a common currency, use joint bank


Sun., April. 6, 2008

TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is urging OPEC members to form a joint bank and stop pricing oil trades in U.S. dollars.

According to the Iranian government's Web site, Ahmadinejad told OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri the cartel "should establish a joint bank as well as having joint currency."

Oil is priced in U.S. dollars on the world market, and the currency's depreciation has concerned producers because it has contributed to rising crude prices and eroded the value of their dollar reserves.

Iran has repeatedly urged OPEC members to shift sales away from dollar. But Iran's proposal to trade oil in a basket of currencies is not supported by enough OPEC members, which include staunch U.S. allies such as leading producer Saudi Arabia.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23983919/



I missed this one posted on April 3rd. Here it comes. We the American people have given China so much money by buy their crap at Wal Mart that they have cornered the market on oil.

This is why we are paying more at the pump.


Experts Predict Imminent Oil Squeeze


London, Apr 3 (Prensa Latina) The oil price could hit $160 a barrel as soon as next week, says ´Zapata’ George Blake, the Texan oil analyst quoted by the London-based online newsletter Money Morning.

‘Zapata’ George has a habit of making bold calls that often seem to be proved right. He thinks there’s an imminent supply squeeze ahead, which will cause the oil price to spike.

But, first, Money Morning dispels a couple of common myths about oil. Number one, there is a belief that demand for oil will go down in a recession.

In the last 58 years, according to Worldwatch estimates (based on sources such as BP and the International Energy Agency), year-on-year demand for oil has grown every year, except for two brief periods.

Between 1973 and 1975, amidst a global energy crisis, global demand decreased annually by a whopping 0.01 percent. And between 1979 and 1984 consumption growth levelled, the biggest annual decrease being in 79-80 - down a devastating 0.04 percent.

Thus, demand for oil will not fall by any significant amount, even if the US goes into recession.

Oil myth number two is that increased production will meet demand.

Money Morning reminds those who affirm that, where are the discoveries that will lead to new production?

The last major oil frontiers were discovered as long ago as the late 1960s – the North Sea, the North Slopes of Alaska and Western Siberia.

Since then, there has been some reduction in the number of discoveries, but, more significantly, a huge reduction in their size. In the 1960s over 500 fields were discovered; in the 1970s, over 700; in the 1980s, 856; the 1990s, 510.

But in this decade just 65 oil fields have been discovered.

Of the 65 largest oil producing countries in the world, up to 54 have passed their peak of production and are now in decline, including the USA in 1970/1, Indonesia in 1997, Australia in 2000, the North Sea in 2001, and Mexico in 2004.

‘Zapata’ George points out that the extreme cold spell in February in Alberta in Canada meant that the tar sands couldn’t be mined. One refinery in Edmonton had no oil to refine, while the larger Strathcona Refinery was running at significantly reduced rates due to ‘operational problems’.

He then mentions Australia, where there are currently gasoline shortages. BP and Shell have apologized, citing ‘constraints on imports’, leading to ‘unprecedented level of fuel shortages’. The four biggest oil refineries in Australia are not operational.

Meanwhile, Chinese oil demand went up by 6.5 percent in February, and their oil imports have risen by 18.1 percent. In brief, the Chinese are getting the oil, while Canada and Australia are going short.

http://www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID=%7b52F75A61-4FAB-4D67-9E6B-D1ECE6E456A0%7d&language=EN

On the right check out the other top news at this site, lots of other great links here.




VICTORY OVER MONSANTO and their Frankenseeds that I believe is whas has been killing the bees.



Small Farmer Wins Moral Victory Over Monsanto


by Barbara L. Minton (see all articles by this author)




(NaturalNews) Percy Schmeiser has a check for $660 and a Right Livelihood Award to prove that sometimes the little guy wins. In a modern version of the David vs. Goliath story, a 77 year-old Saskatchewan farmer and his wife are now considered folk heroes following settlement of their legal battle with agribusiness giant Monsanto Canada Inc., after the company sued them for patent violation of genetically engineered canola seeds in 1997.

The Schmeisers were sued after plants from the genetically modified canola seeds were found on their farm near Bruno, Saskatchewan.

The company claimed that the Schmeisers had violated its patent on the seeds, which had been genetically modified to resist Roundup herbicide. The couple was accused of knowingly planting the seeds without paying the royalty fees to Monsanto, which sought damages for $400,000.

The Schmeiser’s claimed they did not plant the seeds, and argued that the seeds blew onto their property from a nearby road or neighboring farm.

In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favor of Monsanto, saying that plant genes and modified cells can be patented. However, the court ruled the Schmeisers free of damages.

More of the genetically modified canola seeds appeared in the Schmeiser’s field the following year. They pulled the plants out themselves and sent Monsanto a bill for $660.

Monsanto agreed to pay the costs associated with removing the canola seeds in 2005, but the Schmeisers refused the offer because the company insisted the couple sign a release stating they would not talk about the terms of the agreement.

“That release was a gag order”, Mr. Schmeiser said. “We could never talk to anyone for the rest of our lives about what the terms of the settlement were. There was no way we were going to give up our freedom of speech to a corporation.”

The Schmeisers filed a claim against Monsanto in small claims court. On March 19, 2008, Monsanto agreed out of court to pay the Schmeisers the $660 in settlement of their case without them signing the release. According to Mr. Schmeiser, "By settling out of court, Monsanto now realizes the seriousness of the liability issue."

While the final agreement with the Schmeisers does not prohibit them from talking about the terms of their settlement, several other Western Canadian farmers have agreed to sign Monsanto’s standard release form.

“Although we are pleased Mr. Schmeiser finally approached us and agreed to settlement terms, it is frustrating that he essentially accepted the same offer we put before him in 2005,” said Monsanto public affairs director Trish Jordan. “This entire matter could have been resolved more than two and a half years ago and Mr. Schmeiser would have saved himself some legal costs.”

As a result of their fight with the giant corporation, the Schmeisers have achieved celebrity status and been invited to speak at universities and parliaments all over the world. Their appearance fees have helped them pay for much of their court costs. In December, 2007, they were presented with the Right Livelihood Award, which is considered to be an alternative Nobel Prize.

Mr. Schmeiser doesn’t grow canola on his farm anymore, and he rents out most of his land to other farmers. He hopes the fight to bring awareness of the issues surrounding genetically modified foods will continue.

“This is a great victory for farmers all over the world”, he said. “Now they have at least an opportunity to have some recourse on a corporation when they are contaminated.”

Source:

Matt Hartley, “Grain Farmer Claims Moral Victory in Seed Battle Against Monsanto”, The Globe and Mail (Canada), March 20, 2008.

About the author

Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.

http://www.naturalnews.com/z022918.html





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Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home

Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home
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