February 25, 2005

From the Guardian in England comes this article:

Why are we welcoming this torturer?
Europe is tacitly condoning the Bush regime's appalling practices

George Bush is this week having an extravagantly orchestrated series of meetings with Europe's leaders, designed to show a united front for the creation of democracy around the world. Tony Blair talks of our "shared values". No one mentions the word that makes this show a mockery: torture.

It is now undeniable that the US administration, at the highest levels, is responsible for the torture that has been routine not only, as seen round the world in iconic photographs, at Abu Ghraib, but at Guant‡namo Bay and Bagram. Meanwhile, in prisons in Egypt, Jordan and Syria (and no doubt others we do not know about), Muslim men have been tortured by electric shocks to the genitals, by being kept in water, by being threatened with death - after being flown to those countries by the CIA for that very purpose.

How can it be that not one mainstream public figure in Europe has denounced these appalling practices and declared that, in view of all we now know of cells, cages, underground bunkers, solitary confinement, sodomy and threatened sodomy, beatings, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, mock executions and kidnapping, President Bush and his officials are not welcome? Perhaps it's not surprising given the British army's own dismal record in southern Iraq. Why has no public figure had the honesty to admit that the democracy and freedom promised for the Middle East are fake and mask US plans to leave Washington dominant in the area? And why does no one say publicly that what is really happening in the "war on terror" is a war on Muslims that is creating a far more dangerous world for all? more....

February 24, 2005

From Der Spiegel online: Ę
Bush in Germany Ę
With a Hush and a Whisper, Bush Drops Town Hall Meeting with Germans

During his trip to Germany on Wednesday, the main highlight of George W. Bush's trip was meant to be a "town hall"-style meeting with average Germans. But with the German government unwilling to permit a scripted event with questions approved in advance, the White House has quietly put the event on ice. Was Bush afraid the event might focus on prickly questions about Iraq and Iran rather than the rosy future he's been touting in Europe this week? more....

February 23, 2005

The article below points out something that's very disturbing, but not too surprising. What happens when young people are sent overseas to kill? Who were they before they went and who are they when they come back? Does our government give a damn?

Killers on and off the battlefield?
Pierre Cole seemed high on killing. Cole, a soldier in Iraq, called his dad from overseas to boast about gunning down enemies in a firefight in 2003.

"He was on cloud nine," said his father, Willie Cole. "'Hey, I got a couple of them,' " he said. " 'I let loose.'"

Willie Cole -- a former military police officer who served in Panama when the United States deposed President Manuel Noriega in 1989 -- was shocked.

"It disturbed me, his reaction to the loss of life," said Willie Cole, a caterer in the south suburbs. "I said, 'Regardless of what you're over there for, the other guy is fighting for something, too. You have to respect that.'"

But Pierre Cole tuned out his dad.

"He commented to me, 'F--- it. I'm glad it's him, not me.'" more....

February 22, 2005

New Target for Advisers to Swift Vets Taking its cues from the success of last year's Swift boat veterans' campaign in the presidential race, a conservative lobbying organization has hired some of the same consultants to orchestrate attacks on one of President Bush's toughest opponents in the battle to overhaul Social Security.

The lobbying group, USA Next, which has poured millions of dollars into Republican policy battles, now says it plans to spend as much as $10 million on commercials and other tactics assailing AARP, the powerhouse lobby opposing the private investment accounts at the center of Mr. Bush's plan.


Already, AARP is holding dozens of forums on the issue, has sent mailings to its 35 million members and has spent roughly $5 million on print advertisements in major newspapers opposing private accounts. "If we feel like gambling," some advertisements said, "we'll play the slots."

AARP is spending another $5 million on a new print advertising campaign beginning this week. more....

February 21, 2005

Hail, Hail The Gang's All Here
The appointment of John Negroponte to be director of National Intelligence is the latest evidence that President Bush is strengthening his cabinet's capacity to mislead Congress and trample civil liberties. Ray McGovern, 27-year veteran of the CIA, examines the meaning of the Negroponte appointment and the dark trend it confirms. more....

February 20, 2005

PBS Chickens Out Again PBS, the public broadcaster caught in the middle of the nation's culture wars, is entangled in another programming controversy. The producers of a "Frontline" documentary about U.S. combat troops in Iraq on Thursday criticized a PBS decision to send member stations an edited satellite feed of the program that cut out profanity used by soldiers.

Boston station WGBH, which produced "A Company of Soldiers," a 90-minute "Frontline" documentary set to air Tuesday on many of PBS' 349 affiliates, argued in a statement that PBS overreacted out of concern about Federal Communications Commission indecency rules.

This is the second time this year that the Public Broadcasting Service has tangled over programming with WGBH, a major program supplier to public TV stations nationwide. more....

February 19, 2005

Groceries and Election results
From Riverbend at Baghdad Burning:
I feel like I have my finger on the throbbing pulse of the Iraqi political situation every time I visit Abu Ammar. You can often tell just how things are going in the country from the produce available at his stand. For example, when he doesnât have any good tomatoes we know that the roads to Basra are either closed or really bad and the tomatoes arenât getting through to Baghdad. When citrus fruit isnât available during the winter months, we know that the roads to Diyala are probably risky and oranges and lemons couldnât be delivered. He'll also give you the main news headlines he picks up from various radio stations and if you feel so inclined, you can read the headlines from any one of the assorted newspapers lying in a pile near his feet. Plus, he has all of the neighborhood gossip. more....

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No War in Iraq march.
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