Saturday, December 03, 2005

Wal-Mart Hired Security Guards to Spy on Employees

Wal-Mart had taken out full-page ads in several Quebec newspapers early in 2005 telling its employees they were the "cornerstone" of the company. (CP photo)

More dirty deeds of the big box giant Wal-Mart are coming to light, according to a CBC investigation. Employees at a Quebec Wal-Mart that closed after a successful union drive were spied upon by undercover security guards. No wonder I've never liked Wal-Mart, and after hearing this -- and having viewed Robert Greenwald's documentary movie, "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" -- I like them even less.

" Guards told journalists at CBC's French-language service that Wal-Mart had hired them to spy on employees at the store in Jonquière, 200 kilometres north of Quebec City, early in 2005. It corresponded to the time the world's largest retailer announced the store would close for financial reasons. "

Further on in the same article:
" A documentary on the subject was broadcast Dec. 2 on the program Zone Libre. In it, the guards say their surveillance targeted union leaders and workers sympathetic to the drive..."

It is apparent that Wal-Mart will not allow unionization of its employees. Period. Hence, the solution is simple: do not allow Wal-Mart in the area. Do not patronize Wal-Mart. There are many good stores offering a wide range of merchandise, so shop around. Go to several different establishments to make your purchases. The extra effort (and a little exercise) will not hurt you and if you shop wisely, you can still save money while at the same time giving your business to those that deserve it. By helping your neighbourhood shopkeepers stay in business, you will also keep alive the vibrant heart of your town or area, which otherwise would be turned into empty, crime-ridden, dilapitated 'ghost towns'. (You will also get to know your neighbours, which is a plus!)

Those of you who think I am exaggerating can find more information and watch the movie trailer of "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price", at the Brave New Films website: You can order the movie for a very reasonable cost, and view it with friends and family. You will be surprised; it is a real eye-opener!

Bush's War on the Press

This newsletter from Free Press further illustrates more instances of the Bush administration's blatant silencing of the media:


A host of recent developments have made it clear that the Bush White House is doing battle against the journalistic standards and practices that underpin of our democracy. With its unprecedented campaign to undermine and stifle independent journalism, Bush & Co. have demonstrated brazen contempt for the Constitution and considerable fear of an informed public.

Free Press has launched a campaign to chronicle and combat Bush’s war on the press. Today, we published a new report showing the scope and intensity of the administration’s assault on press freedoms. The growing list of attacks on the press is truly astonishing:

Infiltrating Public Broadcasting
White House loyalists inside the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have launched a crusade to remake PBS, NPR and other public media into official mouthpieces. Kenneth Tomlinson’s tenure at the CPB was characterized by targeting journalists like Bill Moyers who dared to air dissenting voices or prepare investigative reports on the administration.

Tomlinson's goal was clearly to fire a shot across the bow of all public stations so managers would shy away from the sort of investigative journalism that might expose Bush administration malfeasance. Tomlinson resigned in disgrace but left behind a cast of cronies to carry out his partisan crusade. And we still don’t know the extent to which Karl Rove and others at the White House orchestrated his efforts.

Manufacturing Fake News
Under Bush administration directives, at least 20 federal agencies have produced and distributed scores of "video news releases" out of a $254 million slush fund set up to manufacture taxpayer-funded propaganda. These bogus and deceptive stories have been broadcast on TV stations nationwide without any acknowledgment that they were prepared by the government rather than local journalists.

The segments — which trumpeted administration “successes,” promoted its controversial line on issues like overhauling Medicare, and featured Americans "thanking" Bush — have been repeatedly labeled "covert propaganda" by investigators at the Government Accountability Office.

Bribing Journalists
The administration has paid pundits to sing its praises. Earlier this year, TV commentator Armstrong Williams pocketed $240,000 in taxpayer money to laud Bush’s education policies. Three other journalists have since been discovered on the government dole; and Williams admits that he has "no doubt" that other paid Bush shills are still on the loose.

The administration has even exported these tactics. According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. military is now secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops.

Lying about the Iraq War
The White House saw the battle for domestic popular opinion as one of the main fronts in the war in Iraq. With the help of a compliant media, truth became the first casualty in their campaign to whip up support. But rather than admit to their lies and misinformation, the administration continues to attack those reporting the truth.

As Frank Rich recently wrote in the New York Times, the administration’s "web of half-truths and falsehoods used to sell the war did not happen by accident; it was woven by design and then foisted on the public by a P.R. operation built expressly for that purpose in the White House."

Eliminating Dissent in the Mainstream Media
Bush has all but avoided traditional press conferences, closing down a prime venue for holding the executive accountable. On those rare occasions when he deigned to meet reporters, presidential aides turned the press conferences into parodies by seating a friendly right-wing “journalist,” former male escort Jeff Gannon, amid the reporters and then steering questions to him when tough issues arose.

They have effectively silenced serious questioners, like veteran journalist Helen Thomas, by refusing to have the president or his aides call on reporters who challenge them. And they have established a hierarchy for journalists seeking interviews with administration officials, which favors networks that give the White House favorable coverage.

Gutting the Freedom of Information Act
The administration has scrapped enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act and has made it harder for reporters to do their jobs by refusing to cooperate with even the most basic requests for comment and data from government agencies. This is part of a broader clampdown on access to information that has made it virtually impossible for journalists to cover vast areas of government activity.

Consolidating Media Control
The administration continues to make common cause with the most powerful broadcast corporations in an effort to rewrite ownership laws in a manner that favors monopoly control of information. The Federal Communications Commission will announce plans to rewrite the ownership rules soon – it could happen as early as February – with aims of unleashing a new wave of media consolidation. The administration’s desired rules changes would strike a mortal blow to local reporting and further squeeze journalists.

In a famous 1945 opinion, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black said that "the First Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society." In other words, a free press is the sine qua non of the entire American Constitution and republican experiment.

We started Free Press because our democracy demands a diverse and independent media. The Bush administration’s attack on the foundations of self-government requires a response of similar caliber. I hope you’ll join me in the year ahead as Free Press works to hold the administration accountable for all its attacks on journalism and see that such abuses will not be repeated in the future.

Please take a moment to visit our online campaign to defend democracy from the White House assault on the media.


Robert W. McChesney
Free Press

P.S. Know more people who would like to keep updated on this and other media reform issues? Urge them to join our e-activist list. The more people you enlist in the movement for media reform, the better our chances of success.

Become a member of the Free Press Action Fund!

Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches: "Pacified Fallujah"

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website **
** Website by **

December 02, 2005

“Pacified” Fallujah

Lies cost lives in Iraq.

Remember the reasons given by the US military and puppet interim Iraqi government for Operation Phantom Fury against Fallujah? Just prior to the November, 2004 assault on that city, the primary reasons given for the massacre in Fallujah were: to provide “security and stability” for the upcoming January 30 “elections” and to rid Fallujah of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

Let us judge the success or failure of this massacre by their own yardstick.

The “security and stability” generated for the elections on January 30, 2005 by the siege of Fallujah looked like roughly 40 dead Iraqi bodies and 200 wounded, on that day alone.

As for Zarqawi, since not one resident of Fallujah has seen or reported evidence of this individual in their city before, during or after said siege, his existence at all in Iraq remains in question…aside from living large in US military propaganda which is happily trumpeted by corporate media outlets in the US.

Yesterday morning on NPR (National Pentagon Radio) their reporter in Baghdad was asked if he felt what Mr. Bush said in a recent speech was true--was the US military strategy in Iraq working? He replied that he felt what Mr. Bush said was true in some cases, like in Fallujah. The NPR reporter referred to Fallujah as “pacified.”

“Pacified” Fallujah looks like a dead six year-old child in that city, shot by a US sniper in the Al-Dubbat neighborhood on December 1st, according to Al-Sharqiyah.

“Pacified” Fallujah looks like “two US soldiers were killed by sniper fire on Wednesday [30 November] in the city of Al-Fallujah, [60 kilometers] west of Baghdad, according to eyewitnesses. A tense atmosphere prevailed in the city after the US forces besieged some of its quarters and blocked the main street, while National Guard forces closed shops and asked the residents to stay in their homes.” Again according to Al-Sharqiyah.

“Pacified” Fallujah looks like 10 Marines killed and 11 wounded by a roadside bomb while on a “foot patrol near Fallujah” on Thursday December 1st, which was the deadliest attack on American troops in nearly four months.

So if you want to keep thinking there is peace in Fallujah, you’d better ignore the facts on the ground and keep listening to NPR “presstitutes” talking on the radio from their hotel rooms in Baghdad.

Surprised to hear this about NPR? Don’t be.

According to Robert McChesney, president of Free Press, a national, non-profit, media reform group in the US which works to support a diverse and independent media, our public broadcasting outlets are already infiltrated by Bush Administration ideologues.

“White House loyalists inside the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have launched a crusade to remake PBS, NPR and other public media into official mouthpieces. Kenneth Tomlinson’s tenure at the CPB was characterized by targeting journalists like Bill Moyers who dared to air dissenting voices or prepare investigative reports on the administration,” writes McChesney, “Tomlinson’s goal was clearly to fire a shot across the bow of all public stations so managers would shy away from the sort of investigative journalism that might expose Bush administration malfeasance. Tomlinson resigned in disgrace but left behind a cast of cronies to carry out his partisan crusade. And we still don’t know the extent to which Karl Rove and others at the White House orchestrated his efforts.”

Free Press also accuses the Bush Administration of bribing journalists, lying about the Iraq War, eliminating dissent in the mainstream media, gutting the Freedom of Information Act, consolidating media control, and manufacturing fake news.

We’ve recently had a nice example of a bright and shining lie with regards to manufacturing fake news in Iraq. A secret military campaign to plant paid propoganda in the Iraqi news media has been uncovered. Exposed is Washington-based Lincoln
Group, which has contracts with the military to “provide media and public relations services.”

Meanwhile, failed US propaganda campaigns are not hiding the fact that military planners in Iraq estimate that there are as many as 100 resistance groups now fighting against the Anglo-American occupiers of their country.

Nor have the propagandists managed to hide the fact that two more members of the so-called Coalition of the Willing, Bulgaria and Ukraine, have announced they will begin withdrawing their combined 1,250 troops by the middle of this month.

Most likely, Bulgaria and Ukraine want to get their folks out of Iraq before more of the country becomes “pacified” like Fallujah.

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

Friday, December 02, 2005

Anna Mather - NDP Candidate in Brampton-Springdale / Jack Layton

Your Candidate in Brampton--Springdale
Anna Mather

Website Tel: 416-315-1399

These are a few excerpts from Anna Mather's website. To learn more about Anna, and to join her campaign, please click here

"I believe politics should be about people. So does Jack Layton.

That's why the NDP made Parliament work and got results for people. While the Liberals were mired in scandal and Stephen Harper played political games, the NDP put forward constructive proposals and gained budget improvements that invest in Ontario families.

With your support, we can do more". -- Anna Mather

About Anna Mather

Executive member of the student-initiated outreach program Students Against Hunger operating out of the University of Toronto

Initiated tsunami relief fund, raising money and awareness at various New Year's Eve events in Brampton and Toronto

Freelance writer with various University of Toronto publications and with the Toronto-based webzine New Rock Authority

Public Relations Coordinator for Astral Media

Engaged as a broadcast journalism intern at the CTV Washington News Bureau

Attended the University of Toronto, earning an honours degree with a double major in Political Science and Sociology

Attended Oxford University the summer of 2005

Studied the effects of NAFTA and an integrated North America at American University in Washington, D.C.

Awarded St. George's Society Award (2005) to assist with scholarship abroad

Awarded the Sarah Russell Memorial Award (2004) for academic achievement, sportsmanship, and participation from Victoria College, University of Toronto

Member of the Golden Key International Honour Society
Read more here...

** Those of you who live in Anna's riding, please visit her website and join Anna's Campaign! Volunteers and donations are needed!

If you share the NDP's vision for a more vibrant, equitable, just, environmentally friendly, peaceful, forward-thinking Canada where the 'real issues' of the people are addressed, government is held accountable, healthcare is of paramount importance, and your voices are heard, please support your riding's candidate. If you are unsure of who your NDP candidate is, go to:

Jack Layton and the Ontario Team, "Getting results for people". This time NDP!


Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton kicked off a wide-open national campaign this week with a blistering attack on the Liberal record, and with a ringing call for support for New Democrats in Ontario, and across Canada.

In the NDP, "Canadians have a real, positive option - the option to choose a progressive alternative to Liberal broken promises and Conservative wrong-headedness," Layton said at his campaign kickoff in Ottawa.

Ontario NDP Leader Howard Hampton joined Layton at events in Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie this week, praising the federal NDP leader for his strong record of getting things done for people.

"Jack Layton and his Ontario NDP Team have accomplished more for people in 12 months than Liberals accomplished over 12 years," Hampton said.

"Jack Layton and the NDP are fighting for families like yours - for health care, education, jobs and quality services. Electing more NDP MPs will get more done for people," Hampton said.

The NDP: Getting results for people

Ontario needs more NDP MPs!

U.S. to Pull Out Most of National Guard (ICH)

Many thanks to Tom Feeley of Information Clearing House for these excerpts from his daily newsletter:

" God grant, that not only the love of liberty, but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man, may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface, and say, This is my country.” : Benjamin Franklin to David Hartley, 4 December 1789

"Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of these corporations": Andrew Jackson, farewell address, 04 March 1837

"What is the great Amercican sin? Extravagance? Vice? Graft? No; it is a kind of half-humorous, good-natured indifference, a lack of "concentrated indignation" as my English friend calls it, which allows extravagance and vice to flourish. Trace most of our ills to their source, and it is found that they exist by virtue of an easy-going, fatalistic indifference which dislikes to have its comfort disturbed....The most shameless greed, the most sickening industrial atrocities, the most appalling public scandals are exposed, but a half-cynical and wholly indifferent public passes them by with hardly a shrug of the shoulders; and they are lost in the medley of events. This is the great American sin.": Joseph Fort Newman, Atlantic Monthly, October 1922




Number Of Iraqi civilians Slaughtered In America's War 100,000 +

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Slaughtered In Bush's War 2114

Freedom? What freedom?

By Monica Benderman

Americans don’t know freedom. Americans know fear –and so America goes to war. We will continue to imprison or destroy anyone who disagrees – as long as we fear facing the question of being wrong.

The Autumn of the Patriarchy


Things had been going so smoothly. The global torture franchise was up and running. Halliburton contracts were flowing. Tax cuts were sailing through. Oil companies were raking it in. Alaska drilling was thrillingly close. The courts were defending his executive privilege on energy policy, and people were still buying all that smoke about Saddam's being responsible for 9/11, and that drivel about how we're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here.

US to pull out most of National Guard:

THE US National Guard is planning to cut the number of its troops in Iraq by 75 per cent over the next year in a dramatic change of approach by the American military

Iraqi city of Ramadi attacked:

Armed groups have fired mortar rounds and rockets at a US base in Iraq, the day after Washington announced its strategy for victory in the country.

Democracy Now!: Is the U.S. Training Iraqi Death Squads to Fight the Insurgency? :

Investigative journalist Arun Gupta was one of the first to report on the presence of death squads in Iraq back in April of this year. We interviewed him at the time, he joins us again in our firehouse studios.

Chris Floyd: Death Mask: The Deliberate Disintegration of Iraq :

What if this murderous chaos is not the fruit of rank incompetence but instead the desired product of carefully crafted, efficiently managed White House policy?

For the rest of the informative, excellent articles in this newsletter, please read it online or

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tomgram: How (Not) to Withdraw from Iraq

[Seasonal Note: In a town where the menu of any new corner diner immediately touts "our traditional" corned beef or roast beef sandwich, three years of tradition is no small thing. This year, then, will be the third in which Nick Turse offers Tomdispatch readers a holiday opportunity to feast on gift ideas from the military-corporate complex. (Last year, hot gifts ranged from the "talking Bush in Baghdad doll" and standard-issue women's "assault shoes" to an assortment of missiles.) But while awaiting that priceless, mid-month dispatch, I thought I might suggest a few holiday gift possibilities that really were options for anyone in a bookish and generous mood.

For those of you who would like to offer a little extra support for Tom (of Tomdispatch), you might consider picking up for friends copies of my novel, The Last Days of Publishing, just out in paperback (check the review!), or my history of American triumphalism in the Cold War era, The End of Victory Culture, which -- given our President -- never seems out of date.

The stocking-stuffer of the season is an inexpensive little paperback by the readers of the Nation magazine and its editor Katrina vanden Heuvel (with a small contribution from Tomdispatch). The Dictionary of Republicanisms is guaranteed to give outsized pleasure. If you want to crack up your friends throughout the holiday season and spur everyone, a couple of eggnogs later, to create their own Republican "definitions," then hand this out left and… right. (Here's one of mine from the book: "Homeland Security Department: The new Defense Department known for declaring bridges yellow and the Statue of Liberty orange.") It's the perfect small gift for the holidays!

On the other hand, if you're looking for a big book to sink your readerly teeth into, don't miss Adam Hochschild's monumental and riveting history of the British anti-slavery movement, Bury the Chains. The anti-slavery movement, which pioneered everything from direct mail campaigns to iconic posters, actually succeeded after decades of effort and vast slave uprisings in the Caribbean. His is the rare book that offers hope -- as any holiday season should -- by showing us how something (in this case, slavery) considered part of "human nature," could actually be altered.

The deepest newspaper truths are not always found, by the way, in the news section of your daily rag. Last Tuesday, for instance, the detail that caught my attention in the New York Times appeared in the crossword puzzle. To the clue, "war correspondent in modern lingo," the 5-letter answer… I pause for a moment to give you a chance to guess… was "embed." Doesn't that tell you just where the Bush era has left us in media terms? So much more reason then, to cherish a photo book aptly titled Unembedded and just out from Chelsea Green, an adventurous small press in Vermont. It offers the striking (and deeply saddening) photos of four independent photojournalists -- two Americans, a Canadian, and the Iraqi Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (who also does remarkable pieces for the British Guardian from time to time). The four of them managed to make their way, on their own, into embattled, partially destroyed Najaf in August 2004, among other places. In this book, Iraqi casualties and sorrows are front and center. It's certainly not upbeat, but it is a powerful reminder of the world the Bush administration has created in Iraq and a project to support. Tom]

How (Not) to Withdraw from Iraq
By Tom Engelhardt

On the September 27th Charlie Rose Show, interviewing New Yorker editor David Remnick, Rose brought up the question of what the United States should do in Iraq. Should we "get out" -- or, as Remnick so delicately put it, should we "bolt"? Here was how Remnick ended their discussion, while talking about those who had written on Iraq for his magazine:

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Note: All of Tom Engelhardt's Tomdispatches and Tomgrams are partially republished on this site, with the kind, explicit permission of Tom. Be sure to check out the reviews about his new novel, The Last Days of Publishing, to which you will always find a link on my site. I am reading this book, and indeed it is a wonderfully tragi-comic, skilfully-written look at the world of publishing. It makes for a highly enjoyable, thought-provoking, entertaining read. I definitely recommend it! -- Annamarie

Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches: Where People Cannot Afford Their Own Country

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website **
** Website by **

Where People Cannot Afford Their Country

Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Harb Al-Mukhtar

*BAGHDAD, Dec 1 (IPS) - Despite the allocation of billions of dollars of U.S. government money for "reconstruction", Iraqis are struggling to
exist amidst soaring prices, unemployment, a devastated infrastructure, and cuts in services.*

Iraqis received a monthly food ration during the Oil for Food programme which was set to provide relief during the sanctions against Iraq up to the invasion in 2003. head of each family was allotted monthly food coupons for commodities like sugar, rice, tea, detergents, cooking oil, beans and baby milk.

But the U.S.-backed governments, starting with the Iraqi Governing Council, have failed to consistently deliver the monthly food basket on time, amidst an unemployment rate estimated at close to 70 percent.

Abu Ali, 66, worked until recently as a distributor of the monthly food ration.

"The Ministry of Trade used to give us sugar for the people," he said. "But not any more. This means we have to buy it from the market at twice the price just to achieve the same quantity. What will poor people do now to get their sugar?"

Abu Mushtaq, a 40 year-old father of five lacks the money to buy products in the market, even after receiving 120,000 Iraqi Dinars (roughly 85 dollars) monthly from the government to offset the shortfall in the food ration.

"Everything has gone up in price so many times," Abu Mushtaq told IPS. "Petrol, kerosene, even the price of bread has gone up so many times since the invasion. The invaders only came to Iraq to fill up their own pockets."

The recent influx of government money to offset the untimely delivery of food rations has raised the demand for particular items, along with prices. This trend is concerting because the government's record of keeping food supplied is getting worse.

"The Ministry of Trade did not give sugar for the last seven months, nor rice for two months," Abu Ali said. "Nor tea for four months, and no cooking oil for the last three months."

Meanwhile the market price of sugar has risen 25 percent, of rice 80 percent, tea 100 percent and cooking oil 50 percent.

Most homes in Baghdad get on average only three hours of electricity supply per day, and Iraqis who can afford them use small generators. But petrol shortages and rationing continue, with only 40-50 litres allowed per vehicle monthly.

The interim government is considering a five-fold increase in petrol prices early next year.

The situation is being further complicated by attempts by some Iraqis to compensate for the dramatic shifts in their economy. "Many landlords are raising rents two or three times the normal amount," said Abu Ali. "This creates a bad spiral for everyone."

Hope also appears to be in short supply. "Anybody who tells you there are plans for this is a liar," Abu Anas, who works in the Ministry of Trade told IPS. "The government is still interim, so they cannot make plans, and they don't think that is their task. God help the Iraqi people."

Many analysts have blamed the U.S. government squarely for this situation.

"The 'reconstruction' of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan (for reconstruction of Europe after the second world war)," analyst Ed Harriman wrote in the London Review of Books."But there is a difference: the U.S. government funded the Marshall Plan whereas (defence secretary) Donald Rumsfeld and (former administrator of Iraq) Paul Bremer have made sure that the
reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the 'liberated' country, by the Iraqis themselves."

According to Harriman's research, 6 billion dollars in assets were left over from the UN Oil for Food programme, and revenue from resumed Iraqi oil exports brought another 10 billion dollars in the year following the invasion.

Nevertheless, while the U.S. Congress voted to spend 18.4 billion dollars of U.S. taxpayers' money in Iraq on 'reconstruction', Harriman says that "by 28 June last year, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) had spent up to 20 billion dollars of Iraqi money, compared to 300 million dollars of U.S. funds."

Allegations of fraud and theft have plagued the occupiers of Iraq from the beginning. Auditors with the U.S. government are reported to have found serious problems.

"The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution," writes Harriman.

"They have also discovered that 8.8 billion dollars that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it went. A further 3.4 billion dollars earmarked by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance 'security'."

Iraq has oil and dollar wealth, but the people do not see it.

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media . Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush's Bloody Strategy for Victory

These are a few very interesting articles which I've received from Matthew Rothschild, Editor of The Progressive Magazine

Matthew Rothschild has been with The Progressive since 1983. His McCarthyism Watch web column has chronicled more than 150 incidents of repression since 9/11. His exclusive web commentaries, This Just In, run on the website several times a week. Monday through Friday, two-minute web radio commentaries that are also available as podcasts, as is his weekly half-hour interview show, Progressive Radio. He co-founded and directs the Progressive Media Project.

" We’re beginning to see the outlines of Bush’s military strategy in Iraq. It’s not withdrawal. Don’t kid yourself.

Bush intends to prevail.

While he may, under domestic pressure, bring 10,000 or 20,000 or even 50,000 troops home, he has no intention of ending this war. "Read rest of article here...

What's Good for General Motors Is Killing America
By Ruth Conniff
November 28, 2005

" Wall Street analysts are praising GM's decision to close a dozen North American plants, cut 30,000 jobs, and trim health care and other benefits. But if GM is a symbol of the American industrial golden age, its decline (from half of U.S. car sales thirty years ago to a only quarter recently) is a sign of the destruction of the American social contract. No more pensions, family-supporting wages, or hardworking, blue-collar membership in the middle class. Instead, we are living in the era of Wal-Mart wages, food stamps and Medicare for the children of the working class, and a disappearing American Dream. That shift may be good for General Motors shareholders, but it is killing America. " Read rest of article here...

" I also wanted to share with you something I came across in my reading. It's from David Krieger's "Today Is Not a Good Day for War". Krieger is founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He's also a poet, and I was especially taken by the following short poem, which I offer to you in its entirety:


August 6th:
Dropped atomic bomb
on civilians
at Hiroshima.

August 8th:
Agreed to hold
war crimes trials
for Nazis.

August 9th:
Dropped atomic bomb
on civilians
at Nagasaki.

The hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy does not begin an end with George W. Bush. It is a long and ignoble tradition.

It's a tradition we've got to break! "

** The Progressive has been a leading voice for peace and social justice since 1909. If you like the diligent work they've been doing in high-lighting injustice and promoting peace, please make a tax-deductible contribution to The Progressive. They are legally and literally non-profit. To donate, go to:

Europe and the CIA: How Close?

I came across this interesting article in the December 1, 2005 online edition of the International Herald Tribune:

" It is not only anger that is rising in Europe over possible secret American prisons on the Continent, kidnappings of terror suspects and transfers of prisoners on CIA airplanes.

There is also looming embarrassment, amid suspicion that Americans, in many cases, have operated with the knowledge or consent of local governments.

"Someone knew," said Daria Pesce, the lawyer for a former CIA station chief in Milan, one of 22 Americans formally charged in the kidnapping of an Islamic militant who was taken from there to Egypt in 2003.

"I don't think that it is possible that an American comes into Italy and kidnaps someone. It seems really unlikely."

In the past few weeks, a confusing and combustible array of allegations has been hardening into fact in the European mind, all pointing to a worry that Europe's people, largely skeptical about America's war on terror, may be more involved in that project than they thought, and in several ways.

The operations are by nature secret, so it has been hard to separate facts from the speculative murk around them. "

Read rest of this article here.

ACTION: January 7, 2006 National Day of Town Hall Forums on Ending the War

ORGANIZE NOW! and After Downing Street are joining with Backbone Campaign, Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy Cell Project, Cities for Peace, MilitaryFreeZone.Org, Operation Ceasefire, United for Peace and Justice, U.S. Tour of Duty, Hip Hop Caucus, Democracy Rising, World Can't Wait, and Gold Star Families for Peace in asking you to help organize public meetings or smaller gatherings on Saturday, January 7, on the topic of ending the war.

The war is costing us dearly in lives, in security, and in resources. We need this national day to make our demand heard and bring the war to an end. (Events can also be held on days other than the 7th, to fit the schedules of those involved.)

Because the holidays are coming, the time to organize these events is now. Here's how:

STEP 1: Identify an individual or organization or coalition to take the lead in organizing an event.

STEP 2: Post the event so that people can sign up for it and other organizers can contact you and work together. Whoever posts the event will have control of and be able to communicate with the list of people who sign up to attend it. It is also possible to post an event without many details and fill them in later.

STEP 3: See the resources posted on that website, which include tips on contacting your Congress Member. Invite him or her to host the event or to be your guest at an event you host, whichever they and you prefer. You can also hold an event without a Congress Member, such as a panel, a discussion circle, or a house party, and it's easy to do so with the resources provided here:

STEP 4: Join a conference call for grassroots activists around the country on December 7 at 11 a.m. ET at 1-218-936-6666, then hit 2 (as instructed). The access code is 295965.

More Information:


ImpeachPAC Endorses First Candidate

ImpeachPAC contributed the maximum $2,100 to Democratic congressional candidate Tony Trupiano in his bid to unseat Republican incumbent Thaddeus McCotter in Michigan's 11th District next year.

"We are thrilled to give our first endorsement to Tony Trupiano," said ImpeachPAC President Bob Fertik. "For ten years, Tony has spoken up for Mainstream America on the airwaves. Now he hopes to speak up for Mainstream America in Congress. Tony knows that Americans believe George Bush should be impeached if he lied about Iraq by a solid margin of 53%-42%. And Tony knows that Bush lied about Iraq before the war, and continues to lie now that the truth is finally coming out. Tony will win by demanding that George Bush and Dick Cheney be held accountable for the lies that cost so many precious lives."

In less than a month, ImpeachPAC has raised nearly $40,000 from 853 donors towards our initial goal of $100,000. Please help us reach our goal!


COMING SOON: Announcement of a National Call-In Day to End the War
Tuesday, December 6th (the day Congress resumes after the holidays) we're asking you to call, email and fax your Congress members to lobby for an end to the war in Iraq. This National Call-in Day, organized by, After Downing Street, and PDA, together with United for Peace and Justice and many other peace organizations, aims to flood Congress members' offices with our message for bringing this war to a close. More details coming soon at

You can contact Congress about important legislation to help end the war, at any time, here:

Sign PDA's Petition in Support of Ending War Funding here:





From the Blog

To Execute or Not to Execute
Bush Cost Governors Their Elections
Ask the Oil Companies Some Questions
Pentagon Expanding Its Domestic Surveillance Activity
The Chosen Judge
Rumsfeld's Al-Jazeera outburst
EU warned on 'secret CIA jails'
Kerry's 1971 Words: How Sadly They Apply to Iraq
A Congressman for Impeachment
The Biggest FLIP-FLOP in History



If you received this from a friend, you can subscribe at:

U.S. to Respond to Inquiries Over European Detentions / More from BuzzFlash

November 30 - Headlines and commentary from

Bush is supposed to "reveal" a plan for "victory in Iraq" today. Excuse us, but isn't that something you are supposed to do before you start a war, not two years after you have declared "mission accomplished"? Well, no one has accused "Baby Doc" Bush of being the sharpest tool in the shed.

And he and Cheney are Chickenhawks without any combat experience to boot.

When did the Republican Party become the party of such losers?

Deborah Davis is an average American with a son serving in Iraq who stood up to Big Brother Bushevism Government. For that reason, she merits this week's BuzzFlash "Wings of Justice Award."

Busheviks to Prepare Tortuous Lies About Torture to "Reassure" European Nations Shocked by Cheney and Bush's Creation of a Gulag of Torture Camps in Europe.

As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq. 11/30

Don't Shortchange Democracy. Think of the Difference BuzzFlash Makes, With Your Support. Buy Progressive for the Holidays! Think BuzzFlash, And Give the Gift of Democracy. Choose from the Latest Progressive Books, CDs and DVDs. Vote With Your Dollars. (Not Tax-Deductible.) Help Us Raise $5,000 This Week to Expand BuzzFlash Further in the Coming Months. Keep the Dream Alive.

The Nation: There is no other way to save America's security and honor. And to those Democratic "leaders" who continue to insist that the safer, more electable course is to remain openly or silently complicit in the war, we say, paraphrasing the moral philosopher Hillel: If not now, when? If not you, who? 11/30

Pelosi Stands by Murtha: Calls for Withdrawal of American Troops from Iraq. A Breakthrough Moment for Sanity. Who Will be the Last Soldier or Iraqi to Die for the Arrogant Folly of Clueless George?

How Can I Tell My Children the U.S. Doesn't Torture? -- A BuzzFlash Guest Contribution

About Bush's Speech: This is not a plan for making Americans secure.

It's Showtime! The Busheviks Meet the Horror of Their Folly!
If you can watch Showtime cable this Friday, December 2, at 10 PM EST (check your local directory), we encourage you to take a look at the hour-long feature, "Homecoming," by veteran Hollywood director Joe Dante.

BuzzFlash received an advance screening copy of Dante's work for the "Masters of Horror" series Written with Sam Hamm, Dante uses the most unlikely vehicle of a campy horror script to film one of the most devastating commentaries on the Bush/Cheney lies that led us into the Iraq War.

Vice President Cheney Rejects Public Accountability Yet Again

Rep. Waxman: "Military efforts to influence Iraqi news coverage covertly should not be tolerated."

Sen. Boxer: "The President fails to see and confront the truth about the war in Iraq."

Bush Lied, Soldiers Keep Dying.
2,110 U.S. Military Fatalities in Iraq (thru today)
15,568 U.S. Military Maimed in Iraq (Last DoD Update: 05-Nov-05)
30,559 Iraqis Reported Killed (thru today)

Molly Ivins Loved this Book, So Did We: "An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas," by Diane Wilson

Banana Republican: Adventures in Amnesia -- Editorial Cartoon by Kirk Anderson

How Do We Bathe a Whole Nation? -- Ms. Smith Goes to Washington

Barbara's Daily Buzz

The Latest BuzzFlash Mailbag can be found here

For More Than 180 Headlines and Stories visit

God And Caesar in America: An Essay on Religion & Politics by Gary Hart

God And Caesar in America: An Essay on Religion and Politics (Paperback)
by Former Senator Gary Hart Review (excerpt)

Former Colorado Senator Gary Hart has written the most compelling, cogent contemporary treatise for the separation of church and state in America that we have come across. Titled "God and Caesar in America: An Essay on Religion and Politics," Hart's work is in the tradition of Tom Paine....[and] combines Hart's personal experience as a child raised in a Church of the Nazarene household (he attended a Nazarene College), his years as a Yale Divinity student, and his career as a Yale Law School educated attorney and elected politician.

This is a must-read book for anyone concerned about the Mullah fundamentalists who have hijacked this nation.

Read the Complete Review >>>


"Fundamentalism is exclusionary, divisive, and destructive. It is ultimately incompatible with democratic principles of equality, justice, and fairness ... religious fundamentalism warms no heart"
-- Gary Hart, God and Caesar in America, p. 53

In his latest book, God and Caesar in America: An essay on Religion and Politics, Gary Hart, former U.S. senator, lawyer, teacher, and author takes on the religious right and their potentially dangerous revival. Hart was raised in the Church of the Nazarene and is a graduate of the Yale Divinity School. God and Caesar is a critical analysis of the dangers of one minority wing of one religion subverting the political system to its beliefs to ensure political power. In this acclaimed essay, Senator Hart outlines the growing danger of religious fundamentalism in America.

Order Your Copy Today and Support >>>

Support BuzzFlash Today!
Fight Ignorance: Read

Liberal 'Star Candidate Supports Iraq War / More News from Rabble

The SOA Vigil was organized by SOA Watch, an independent organization that seeks to close the School of the Americas through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest.

Michael Ignatieff, a prominent supporter of George W. Bush's illegal war on Iraq, will be “nominated” as the Liberal candidate in Ontario's Etobicoke-Lakeshore over the objections of the local riding executive. He plans to campaign in the riding sometime next year when he actually moves to Canada from the United States.
> by (Contributed)
> Read more....

The U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) trains Latin American security personnel in combat, counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics. SOA graduates are responsible for well documented human rights abuses in Latin America. Late in November, 19,000 citizens from across the Americas gathered at Fort Benning, Georgia, to pressure the U.S. government to shut it down.
> by Steve Anderson
>

The SOA Vigil was organized by SOA Watch, an independent organization that seeks to close the School of the Americas through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest.

As the campaign gets underway, the Environics poll released by CBC showed the Liberals at 35 per cent, the Conservatives at 30 per cent, and the NDP at 20 per cent. If the initial preferences hold, the Liberals and the NDP (with 55 per cent between them) would have enough seats to form a stable coalition.
> by Duncan Cameron
>

Canada's steady “deep integration” with the United States is being designed and driven by corporate groups on both sides of the border, while being supported by our federal government, says Maude Barlow, spokesperson for the Council of Canadians.
> by Tor Sandberg
>

** For Canadian news that matters, read!

Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches: Triumph of the Beast

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website **
** Website by **

The following is a new posting by a new author in the 'Covering Iraq' section of I encourage you to click on the link below to read the entire piece. Please feel free to post your comments on this story on the website.

November 29, 2005

Triumph of the Beast

"In the end, the forty-third President of the United States will have
impeached himself simply because of the absence of credible transparency
and administrative accountability from the beginning of his regime—for
the dismantling of habeas corpus, for the sake of torture."

Continue reading "Triumph of the Beast"

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the DahrJamailiraq website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

Make This A 'World Vision' Christmas

Backpacks - $25 Helps a child in need right here in Canada

Escape the excesses and commercialism of Christmas and focus on its true meaning, by giving gifts of hope to children and families worldwide who are in dire need of our help. Teach your children and grandchildren the meaning of giving and helping those less fortunate. You will be setting a good example and helping to make this a more humane, less selfish world.

Please visit the World Vision Canada website to learn more, then choose your gifts by clicking to order your wonderful, truly meaningful gift. Gifts are available to suit all budgets!

Here is a short excerpt from the World Vision Canada website:
" Many of us can relate to seasonal misery caused by too much of everything—presents, pageants, even family and fun. The effort to simplify can seem like just one more item on the list of things to do.

Further, if we are concerned with global poverty then the way we do—or overdo—Christmas can seem incongruous with our everyday values. Simplifying Christmas can help us realign our celebration of the season with what is truly important.

Examine Family Traditions
Sit down with your family and talk about the true meaning of Christmas. Examine your family traditions and determine whether they are enriching—or just expensive and stressful. Consider adopting new customs that build lasting memories and bring you closer together.

Give Gifts that Really Do Keep on Giving
Teaching your children the joys of giving to those less fortunate will enrich their lives far more than the latest toy or piece of clothing. Sponsor a child or make a donation to World Vision on behalf of a family member or friend. Click here for some neat gift ideas.

Most churches and local charities welcome volunteers during the Christmas season to assist with outreach programs in their own communities and overseas, such as Christmas toy drives or serving Christmas dinner to impoverished families. Click here to volunteer with World Vision.

Relax with Loved Ones
Focus on spending time with your family instead of attending every event or even entertaining at home with Martha Stewart-like perfection. What’s really going to matter years down the road is the time spent time with the people you love. "

ACTION: Eliminate Violence -- Campaign and Event

6th Annual Candle Light Vigil

On December 6 each year, Canadians remember the 14 women who were violently murdered at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. Each year, the CAW pledges to continue its work of eliminating violence against women whenever it occurs. Every year, CAW members demand government action to stop the violence at work, in homes and in society as a whole.

CAW Local 707 in Oakville will host its sixth annual candle light vigil:

Tuesday December 6, 2005
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

The Galaxy Club
Local 707 Union Hall
475 North Service Rd. East

Local 707 encourages you to come to this vigil with your family and friends.

For further information see:

The CAW national Campaign to End Violence Against Women also begins on December 6. Women’s committees and women’s networks are asked to organize community events and workplace actions by distributing thousands of postcards across the country at union events, meetings, conferences, schools and workplaces. Julie White, CAW director for women’s programs, said,
"The postcards will identify core funding for women’s services and organizations, as well as pay equity and child care issues that all play a major role in increasing women’s vulnerability."

For more information e-mail
or visit:

"Anyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something is a potential criminal under international law, unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent the commission of the crimes." - Declaration of War Crimes Tribunals following World War ll

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches: CPT

Iraq Dispatches: CPT

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website **
** Website by **

November 29, 2005


Four members of the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) in Baghdad have been abducted and taken hostage recently. This event is horribly dismaying for me, as I’ve known members of CPT since before I ever ventured to Iraq.

Back in November of 2003, while sitting in Amman, Jordan waiting to go into Iraq, I met a member of CPT who had been working in Palestine. He told me he was walking with Palestinian children as they went to school, in order to prevent them from being attacked by Israeli settlers.

Later I would learn that this same individual had returned to Palestine and was beaten so severely by Israeli settlers that he was hospitalized for several weeks.

Last Thanksgiving, November 24, 2004, I shared a meal with members of their team in Baghdad, along with several of our Iraqi friends. We gave thanks together for being in Baghdad in solidarity with our Iraqi brothers and sisters. All of us – the CPT members and myself -- were then and remain fully committed to getting out the truth about the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq.

On the website of CPT is a quote of scriptural reference which reads, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

This is what the members of CPT do in Baghdad. I’ve seen them do this first-hand. They graciously opened their files of documents to me when I was working on stories about Iraqis who have been in US military detention centers inside Iraq. They have worked extensively on fighting for the rights of Iraqi detainees and supporting their families. The team documents home raids conducted by the US military, and have worked to assist internally displaced people (refugees) inside of Iraq who are
left homeless by heavy-handed US military operations such as those in Fallujah and Al-Qa’im.

In addition, CPT has been instrumental in bringing media attention to villages and towns in Iraq which have suffered collective punishment by the US military.

Each of the members of CPT in Iraq I have met are committed to non-violence and being a truthful witness to the ravages of war and occupation. They have been accused by their captors of being spies or missionaries. This is simply not the case. If there is any group operating in Iraq today who works tirelessly to end the suffering of Iraqis, it is CPT.

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

Dahr Jamail: Hospitals Come Under Siege

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website **
** Website by **

Hospitals Come Under Siege

Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Harb Al-Mukhtar
RAMADI, Nov 29 (IPS)
- Hospital personnel are reporting regular raids
and interference by the U.S. military as fighting continues in the volatile Al-Anbar province of Iraq.*

The U.S. raids come as the hospitals face increasing lack of vital supplies and equipment.

Two hospitals in Ramadi, about 110 km west of capital Baghdad on the Euphrates river, are being raided regularly by the U.S. military, doctors say.

"The maternity hospital and the general hospital in our city are the two biggest hospitals," the official said. "These have both been raided twice a week by the American forces with the excuse that they are searching for militants. They (the U.S. soldiers) break every door which is closed, play with our records and sometimes even detain some of our staff. The Americans are not adhering to any laws."

Other doctors spoke of the lack of adequate equipment and infrastructure.

Dr. Abdul Qader who works at Ramadi General Hospital told IPS that the critical care unit there lacked monitors, the CT scan was broken, and many other instruments were not working. Such problems are now common around the province, both doctors said.

"In addition to lacking electricity, we often lack fuel deliveries for our generators," said Dr. Qader. "Our machines often break down, which puts our patients in very critical situations."

Similar problems have been evident in Baghdad since last year. "We had a power outage while someone was undergoing surgery in the operating room," Ahlan Bar, manager of nurses at the Yarmouk Teaching Hospital in Baghdad told IPS. "He died on the table because we had no power for our instruments."

The health official said ongoing attacks by militants could provoke U.S. forces to detain more doctors. "We have only 40 percent of staff we need to operate effectively," he said. "Even now, we don't have a specialist in anaesthesia, so this is being handled by the nursing staff. Most medical staff now are too afraid to work in our province."

The doctors expressed frustration at the U.S.-imposed curfew which begins at 7 pm daily. Health services at Ramadi General Hospital end at 5 pm so that medical staff can be home before the curfew begins.

The Fourth Geneva Convention lays down specific provisions on delivery of healthcare services.. "The occupying power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate," Article 55 states.

Article 56 says: "The occupying power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining, with the cooperation of national and local authorities, the
medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory, with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics. Medical personnel of all categories shall be allowed to carry out their duties."

But the U.S. forces continue to target hospitals regardless. Dr. Qasim, who had come from al-Qa'im hospital to the Ramadi General Hospital to obtain medical supplies told IPS that the main hospital in al-Qa'im was targeted by occupation forces Nov. 7.

"On that day 40 percent of our hospital was wrecked and the doctors' residency was completely smashed," he said. "Then on the next day they continued with the other 60 percent of the hospital, including the emergency room and staff residency."

The doctor said patients were transferred to nearby Obeidy Hospital in the two functioning ambulances, and in civilian cars. "Even our ambulances were targeted by the soldiers," said Dr. Qasim. "And in Obeidy City the hospital was under siege, and for three weeks we worked there without medical appliances or proper facilities."

The health official said he had only 10 ambulances at his disposal, and he needed approval from American forces to use them.

"Even when we obtained permission from the Americans, we have had four out of 10 ambulance missions attacked. Recently in Khaldiya (near Fallujah) an injured man inside one of them was detained along with two of our doctors." The health official said he had pleaded with American soldiers many times for assistance. "They accused me of aiding terrorists," he said.. "But I told them I have nothing to do with the
security situation, and that I deal with injured persons because I have sworn to deal with the injured. We are two million persons living in a disaster now."

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the DahrJamail website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at

** Note: All of Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches are published on this site with the kind, explicit permission of Dahr Jamail.

Tomgram: Dreyfuss on Bush's Deadly Dance with Islamic Theocrats

During his embattled summer vacation in Crawford, Texas, George Bush managed to launch a new promotional ditty for his war in Iraq: "As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." Since then there has been much commentary from the administration, from military officials, and from the media on the question of how successfully the Iraqi military is actually "standing up." (Not especially successfully is the usual answer.) There has, however, been scarcely any serious discussion about what that new Iraqi army, heavily infiltrated by Shiite and Kurdish militiamen from the ruling parties in the Iraqi government, is actually going to stand up for. And yet this is an important question.

Only recently, for instance, American forces uncovered some striking evidence of what our new Iraq has increasingly come to look like. In a bunker in Baghdad they discovered a detention and torture center run by the Interior Ministry, itself headed by Bayan Jabr, a senior member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. SCIRI is the main Shiite religious party in the government and has a 20,000-man strong militia, the Badr Organization. While the bunker's discovery caused an uproar here (and in Iraq), it is but the tip of the iceberg. In some sense, it is not even a new story.

For well over a year now, Human Rights Watch has been cataloguing Interior Ministry abuses and warning about a human rights catastrophe unraveling in "our" Iraq. Last July, Peter Beaumont of the British Observer revealed that the Shiite religious/political powers-that-be had set up not one detention-and-torture center but a whole "ghost network" of them -- in some cases, he gave locations – in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, partly financed by British and American funds originally intended for the rebuilding of the police force. In these centers, torture methods "resurrected from the time of Saddam" were being used; and the centers, in turn, were connected to paramilitary commando units (and police units) -- basically kidnapping and death squads -- being run by the Interior Ministry as well as by the Shiite religious parties. Such units are increasingly engaged in a war of revenge with Sunni insurgents and in an ever growing campaign of assassinations, summary executions, and disappearances in Sunni neighborhoods which months ago reached "epidemic levels." Human rights organizations in the country have hundreds of cases of disappearances on their lists -- as well as assassinations, torture of every sort, and an endless raft of human rights violations.

When asked about these practices by the Washington Post's Ellen Knickmeyer, Abdul Aziz Hakim, head of SCIRI, responded with complaints that the Bush administration wasn't letting his men act aggressively enough. The United States, he insisted, "is tying Iraq's hands in the fight against insurgents" -- oddly enough the very (tortured) image Vice President Dick Cheney recently used in opposing Senator John McCain's anti-torture amendment in the Senate. (The amendment, he said, "would bind the president's hands in wartime.")

This week, just as Saddam Hussein went back into court, a new voice was added to the discussion about the "collapse of human rights in Iraq" -- that of Iyad Allawi, the former Iraqi Prime Minister in the American-sponsored Interim Government. Running for office again in the upcoming elections, he accused the Iraqi government -- essentially the Shiite religious parties -- of sponsoring "human rights abuses in Iraq [that] are now as bad as they were under Saddam Hussein and are even in danger of eclipsing his record." He told the Observer's Beaumont that "the brutality of elements in the new security forces rivals that of Saddam's secret police," and added, "We are even witnessing Sharia courts based on Islamic law that are trying people and executing them." The former American favorite "now has so little faith in the rule of law that he had instructed his own bodyguards to fire on any police car that attempted to approach his headquarters without prior notice, following the implication of police units in many of the abuses."

All this, by the way, from a man, who was the head of an exile organization, the Iraqi National Accord, which, according to a little noted June 2004 front-page article in the New York Times, planted car bombs and other explosives in Baghdad in the 1990s in an attempt to destabilize Saddam's regime -- and did so under the "direction" of the CIA.

Robert Dreyfuss has a particularly vivid way of catching the strange dilemma George Bush's war has left us in today. American forces in Iraq, he writes below, are now "the Praetorian Guard" for a radical right-wing Iraqi theocratic government in Baghdad, one deeply indebted to that full member of the "axis of evil," Iran. Dreyfuss is the author of a remarkable new book, The Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. It's a striking history of how, for the last half century, successive American administrations have bedded down with right-wing Islamic movements. James Norton, former Middle East editor for the Christian Science Monitor, recently called the book "a chronicle of mistakes made, opportunities lost, and lessons most vividly not learned. It's also the story of the historical error that has come to define U.S. foreign policy in the Muslim world: the Machiavellian use of political Islam as a sword and shield against communism and Arab nationalism… Devil's Game records the long and sordid history of right-wing and hard-line elements in the U.S. government finding common cause with fundamentalist groups in the Middle East… By feeding the monster of militant Islamism to fulfill short-term goals, Dreyfuss argues, the United States helped unleash the most challenging foreign policy crisis of the new millennium" It is a must read. In the meantime, consider his latest take on the Bush administration and the Islamic right. Tom

Click here to read
more of this dispatch.

Monday, November 28, 2005

ICH: Fascism Then, Fascism Now?

(November 27, 2005)

Updated News/Articles from Information Clearing House:

I had finished posting for tonight when I received this updated email alert from Tom Feeley, saw the headline and read the introduction to the "Fascism Then, Fascism Now?" article, and felt compelled to post it here.

My grandparents had told me stories of how fascism was insidiously worked into the fabric of democracy in the country of my birth during their time. By the time I was born, that fascism had been supplanted by Stalinist communism. I was not around for the former, but was for the latter, and those memories are indelibly etched in my mind, causing me many sleepless nights and nightmares a lifetime later. The two ideologies are similar in their totalitarianism; they are just opposite sides of the same counterfeit coin.

"My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?" : Paul Robeson (1898-1976) - from testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee, June 12, 1956

"The history of mankind is a history of the subjugation and exploitation of a great majority of people by an elite few by what has been appropriately termed the 'ruling class'. The ruling class has many manifestations. It can take the form of a religious orthodoxy, a monarchy, a dictatorship of the proletariat, outright fascism, or, in the case of the United States, corporate statism. In each instance the ruling class relies on academics, scholars and 'experts' to legitimize and provide moral authority for its hegemony over the masses." : Ed Crane

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power: Benito Mussolini

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group," : Franklin D. Roosevelt quotes

Fascism is capitalism plus murder." : Upton Sinclair

To read this newsletter online or



Number Of Iraqi civilians Slaughtered In Bush's War 100,000 +

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Slaughtered In Bush's War 2108


Fascism then. Fascism now?

When people think of fascism, they imagine Rows of goose-stepping storm troopers and puffy-chested dictators. What they don't see is the economic and political process that leads to the nightmare.

By Paul Bigioni

Before the rise of fascism, Germany and Italy were, on paper, liberal democracies. Fascism did not swoop down on these nations as if from another planet. To the contrary, fascist dictatorship was the result of political and economic changes these nations underwent while they were still democratic. In both these countries, economic power became so utterly concentrated that the bulk of all economic activity fell under the control of a handful of men.

Caped Crusaders in a Comic Book War

Our valiant crusaders—oil executives by day, freedom fighters by night—return to the world stage once again

By Jerry Ghinelli

When we last left them, our heroes, Bush Wayne and his trusted companion, Dick Grayson-Cheney, were heading east to Iran to hunt for weapons of mass destruction, free the Iranian people from the axis of evil and bring American-style democracy to all the good people of the Middle East.

'Trophy' video exposes private security contractors shooting up Iraqi drivers:

The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.

What To Do About Iraq:

It's not just a matter of "getting out," although that's Number 1 on the Christmas Wish List. There are several other things the U.S. must also do for a humane and conscientious resolution to the horrors of our war against Iraq. My list of the necessary steps for reparation in Iraq and movement toward reconciliation with the Muslim world include the following.

** I've just read this article by Rod Rees (ICH), and totally, fully agree with him. Following his suggestions is the ONLY way to restore Iraq, stem terrorism, and regain U.S. credibility as a 'democratic' nation. Sadly, I cannot see the Bush administration even remotely considering such actions, or any future U.S. administration for that matter. The U.S. has embarked upon a very dangerous road from which their corporate greed will not allow them to return. -- Annamarie
Abuses as bad as under dictator, claims Allawi:

Abuse of human rights in Iraq is as bad now as it was under Saddam Hussein, if not worse, former prime minister Iyad Allawi said in an interview published yesterday.

'Black Friday' Mayhem at U.S. Wal-Mart

I have never liked Wal-Mart, and after watching Robert Greenwald's movie documentary, "Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price", my dislike was intensified. However, upon watching the 'Black Friday' shopping frenzy -- which turned into a mayhem in an Illinois suburb -- I am totally appalled!

'Black Friday' refers to the Friday after Thanksgiving in the U.S., when the Christmas shopping season officially begins. 'Black' meaning that this is when stores get in the black (as opposed to being in the red) with the high volume of sales.

This year, Friday November 25th, shoppers lined up for hours to have their chances at buying some greatly-reduced items such as electronics (computers, etc.) at Wal-Mart, which had been massively advertised. When the doors opened, shoppers pushed, shoved, trampled one another to get at the discounted 'sale' merchandise. People were pushed to the ground in the frenzy, fights broke out, computers were tossed in the air, injuries were sustained, and a person had to be taken by ambulance. Fights continued even in the parking lot, as some people wanted to take items purchased by an other.

Our CBC aired this story, but I do not think any of the American news channels did.

Wal-Mart's comment about this melee was something to the effect that they had record sales of US$ 8 Billion nationwide!

This reaffirms my thoughts about a society where mass consumerism is the 'end all and be all'. It is not a pretty picture... "Buy Nothing Day" would definitely not work for these people!

Talking about "Buy Nothing Day" -- which many of us observed here in Canada (for me it was especially easy, since I only buy what I need, and I don't need much) -- I've come across a novel website: They rightly claim that Christmas has become far too commercialized, and advocate exactly what the name says: "buy nothing at Christmas, but instead spend that time reflecting about the true meaning of Christmas (or however you wish to reflect spiritually, I presume); make your own meaningful, not mass produced gifts; spend time with family, friends, loved ones ..." For those who have no family, friends or loved ones, if you have pets, spend extra time with them. If you don't have pets either, then volunteer at one of the homeless shelters in your area and help dish out the food. (I've spent many a Christmas Eve doing this, somewhat to the chagrin of my Mom, who'd have preferred me at her table.) I'm sure the Food Banks could use help too.

My kid brother came up with a good idea, and he's never heard of the 'Buy Nothing for Christmas' website. For the price of several blank VHS tapes, he will make copies of a family X-Mas video he'd made many years ago, when the nieces and nephews were still little, and the rest of us were much younger too. Everyone has forgotten that lovely gathering (and the video), so I'm sure they'll be pleasantly surprised to receive these thoughtful mementos of that long ago time.

I have never been one for frenzied X-mas shopping, and usually purchase inexpensive but useful items I feel others need. Since I'm not good at knitting or sewing, and don't have time for elaborate hand-crafted items -- at which I'm not much good either -- I'll have to think of something else ... Whatever I do, you can bet it won't involve trekking through crowded shopping malls. ~

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Revolution / Assassinations / CBC VIDEO: "A Few Bad Apples" / More from ICH

My thanks to Tom Feeley of Information Clearing House for these words of wisdom and a few of the headlines you will find on his site, which is updated regularly with informative articles and news, diligently culled from knowledeable sources around the globe. Please help support this wonderful work by a dedicated, concerned man, with donations to his site.

" I recoil with horror at the ferociousness of man. Will nations never devise a more rational umpire of differences than force? Are there no means of coercing injustice more gratifying to our nature than a waste of the blood of thousands and of the labor of millions of our fellow creatures?
: Thomas Jefferson

"Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive." -- Henry Steele Commager - (1902-1998) Historian and author

"Who are a free people? Not those over whom government is exercised, but those who live under a government so constitutionally checked and controlled that proper provision is made against its being otherwise exercised." : John Dickenson - (1732-1808) - Source: Farmer’s Letters, 1767

"No man survives when freedom fails, The best men rot in filthy jails, And those who cry 'appease, appease' Are hanged by those they tried to please.": Hiram Mann

"The civility of no race can be perfect whilst another race is degraded. It is a doctrine alike of the oldest and of the newest philosophy, that man is one, and that you cannot injure any member, without a sympathetic injury to all the members": Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1844

To read this newsletter online or



Number Of Iraqi civilians Slaughtered In Bush's War 100,000 +

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Slaughtered In Bush's War 2107



By John S. Hatch

There is within the mythology America finds so indispensable something so sick and downright evil, but so pervasive that even after all the revelations of torture and rape and murder sanctioned at the highest levels of government, even now the numbness persists, and writers still insist on thinking that America is somehow a shining example of decency


By River Bend Blog

When you read it on the internet, it’s nothing like seeing scenes of it on television. They showed the corpses and the family members- an elderly woman wailing and clawing at her face and hair and screaming that soldiers from the Ministry of Interior had killed her sons. They shot them in front of their mother, wives and children… Even when they slaughter sheep, they take them away from the fold so that the other sheep aren’t terrorized by the scene.

The US Plans a Long, Long Stay in Iraq

by Eric Margolis

While President George Bush hints at eventual troop withdrawals, the Pentagon is busy building four major, permanent air bases in Iraq that will require heavy infantry protection.

The long march of Dick Cheney

For his entire career, he sought untrammeled power. The Bush presidency and 9/11 finally gave it to him -- and he's not about to give it up.

By Sidney Blumenthal

The hallmark of the Dick Cheney administration is its illegitimacy. Its essential method is bypassing established lines of authority; its goal is the concentration of unaccountable presidential power. When it matters, the regular operations of the CIA, Defense Department and State Department have been sidelined.

Lost Legs, Burned Faces and White House Lies: What Are They Dying For?:

Nothing has appeared in the mainstream media about Specialist Benson of the 101st Airborne who has lost his legs, or about Sergeant Akers of the Michigan National Guard who is horribly burned. They are not on the front pages.

Media Disinformation and Death Squads in Occupied Iraq:

This article considers who the intellectual authors of these crimes against humanity are and what purpose they serve in the context of the ongoing occupation of the country.

CIA Whitewashing Torture :

Statements by Goss Contradict U.S. Law and Practice

Britain gives approval to torture, claims Amnesty :

"We want to open people's eyes to what is being done in their name. Whilst we used to be sending diplomats around the world stopping torture we are flying them around the world to sign agreements with countries that use torture.



"A Few Bad Apples", unravels the events of one night—October 25, 2003—events captured in one of those famous photographs. Three Iraqis, detained by American soldiers at the prison, are dragged from their cells, made to crawl naked along the floor and chained together on the ground and forced to mimic sex. More soldiers gather. Some participate in the humiliation of the detainees, others stand by and watch.


Terror suspects should be prosecuted not tortured:

For the past year, beginning with the Senate testimony of Alberto Gonzales, US attorney general, in January, the Bush administration has claimed the power to subject detainees to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”, as long as the victim is a non-American held outside the US. To provide a locale for such mistreatment, it has established secret detention centres in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Jazeera seeks Blair meeting:

Arabic news channel Al Jazeera's general manager flew to London on Friday to demand the government explain a leaked report that U.S. President George W. Bush wanted to bomb the TV station.

We're Prepared To Pay The Price Of Freedom, Are You? :

After Blair's threat to jail any editor who reports the Bomb Al-Jazeera memo, we thought there would be an outcry. Who would stand up for press freedom, or at least the freedom not to be bombed to buggery?

Iranian president calls for war crimes charges on US :

Iran’s hard-line president called for the Bush administration to be tried on war crimes charges related to Iraq and denounced the West for its stance on Iran’s controversial nuclear programme, state-run television reported today.

Commuting By Bus In Denver? Papers, Please:

The cops shoved her out of the bus, handcuffed her, threw her into the back seat of a police cruiser, and drove her to a police station

** I have just read this article and it brought back childhood memories of living under a Stalinist regime's boot in Eastern Europe. This lady has a son fighting in Iraq for Bush's "noble cause"! Is this what the USA is coming to? Why is the corporate MSM silent about this? Have Americans become so complacent -- so sheeplike -- that they no longer care about the erosion of their civil liberties, their freedoms they hold so dear? People, wake up! Believe me, this is how the totalitarian state starts, by subverting freedom and insidiously taking control, one ID paper step at a time! I know, for I have lived under its cruel tyranny. Do you think it cannot happen in your 'democratic' country? Think again, for it's already happening, and this is just the beginning. It gets worse, much much worse, take it from one who's been there.... -- Annamarie
America is caught in a conflict between science and God :

A new exhibition on Darwin's life and work is a defiant gesture against US biblical literalism

Why the middle classes go scavenging in dustbins:

A 1997 study by the US Department of Agriculture estimated that the US wastes about 43 billion kilograms of food a year. That is about 27 per cent of US production, but the true figure is as much as 50 per cent, according to ten years of research by Timothy Jones at the University of Arizona.
Read more... "

Bloggers of Ontario Unite!

[ Prev 5 | Prev | Next | Next 5 | Random | List | Join ]