Saturday, March 04, 2006

WWIII or Bust: Implications of a US Attack on Iran

Featured on Global Research Feb. 19, 2006

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous... Having said that, all options are on the table." George W. Bush, February 2005

Witnessing the Bush administration's drive for an attack on Iran is like being a passenger in a car with a raving drunk at the wheel. Reports of impending doom surfaced a year ago, but now it's official: under orders from Vice President Cheney's office, the Pentagon has developed "last resort" aerial-assault plans using long-distance B2 bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles with both conventional and nuclear weapons.
......Read rest of this article on heather

Heather’s February 26 appearance on Barry Gordon’s From Left Field is also available in a podcast (about half an hour into the program)

UFPJ 'Stop the War' Action Update

Even the soldiers think the war should end now: A stunning new Zogby poll shows that 72% of U.S. troops serving in Iraq think the United States should exit the country within a year.

The third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq is fast approaching, and people all over the country are gearing up to say no to war and call for all the troops to come home now. Over 200 events are already listed on our calendar -- and we know this is just a fraction of what's being organized. If you haven't listed your event yet, please do so now –- no activity is too small or too large to include.

Some highlights:

Walkin' to New Orleans:
Veterans' and Survivors' March for Peace and Justice

Veterans and military families are uniting their call for peace with hurricane survivors' call for justice, with a five-day march and caravan from Mobile to New Orleans. This historical event highlights the connections between the economic and human cost of war in the Middle East and the failure of our government to respond to human needs at home, especially the needs of poor people and people of color. It is being organized by UFPJ member groups Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, and hurricane survivors' organizations (Save Ourselves, the People's Hurricane Relief Fund, Common Ground Collective, Bayou Liberty Relief, the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, C3, and others).

Peregrinación por la Paz
Latino Peace March from Tijuana to San Francisco

On March 12 four outspoken Latino opponents of the Iraq war will lead a 241-mile march for peace from Tijuana, Mexico, to San Francisco. Latinos make up nearly 15% of the U.S. population and 11% of the U.S. military, with many serving in combat or hazardous duty occupations. This march is aimed at making visible and strengthening the growing opposition to the Iraq War within the Latino community. The march is being led by Fernando Suarez del Solar, who lost his son in Iraq; Pablo Paredes, who resisted being sent to Iraq; Camilo Mejia, an Iraq war veteran jailed for nine months for his opposition to the war; and Aidan Delgado, a conscientious objector to the war after being stationed at the Abu Ghraib prison. The organizers seek people to plan local events in the cities they are passing through as well as organizational support for the march.

Wednesday, March 15:
National Day of Media Action

Kicking off the March 15-22 week of activities against the war, media activists and anti-war organizers are working together to challenge media outlets to tell the truth about the war and report on the anti-war movement. Working with MediaChannel, UFPJ is encouraging a full range of events: calls to journalists and talk show hosts; letters to the editors; delegations to meet with editorial boards and producers at newspapers, radio and stations TV; mid-day and/or early evening protests in front of local media outlets; vigils, forums and speak-outs to discuss the role of the media and to plan for actions. Activists from all over the country and the world have already written to support the day of media protest and ask how they can help. The answer is simple -- become an organizer and media activist!

Thursday, March 16:
Young People's Resistance to Three Years of War

As the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, the war's impact on youth and students is increasingly alarming. The vast majority of U.S. troops killed in Iraq have been youth of college-age. Military recruiters have escalated their aggressive and deceptive campaigns in our schools, preying upon young people as the Pentagon struggles to enlist enough youth to fight a war based on lies. The war's soaring cost (nearly $400 billion!) has forced massive budget cuts, leaving young people with under-funded schools, diminishing social services and fewer alternatives to the military. But young people all over the country are organizing and fighting back! On March 16, the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, a member group of UFPJ, is joining with our allies across the movement to call for a national day of youth- and student-led cultural resistance against three years of needless war.

Monday, March 20:
A Global Call for Nonviolent Resistance to End the U.S.-Led Occupation of Iraq

Nobel Laureates, Cindy Sheehan, Eduardo Galeano, Harold Pinter, Ernesto Cardenal and many others from around the world have called on people to engage in acts of nonviolent resistance to the war on Monday, March 20, and several dates later in the year. Events being planned for the third anniversary of the war include a march on the Pentagon and direct action at a Connecticut military recruitment center.

If you're not already part of a peace and justice group in your community, now's a great time to join one. Visit our online directory of UFPJ member groups to find an organization in your area. And visit our website for additional resources and event ideas for the third anniversary of the war.

Raising a loud outcry against the war requires resources -- and we need your financial support. Show your opposition to the war by making the most generous donation you can today to the work of United for Peace and Justice.

Thanks for all your support -- together we will bring this war to an end!


New York City

March for Peace, Justice, and Democracy
End the war in Iraq -- bring the troops home!
Unite for change -- let's turn our country around!


To subscribe, visit

Bush's Indian Nuclear Deal

"With one simple move, the president has blown a hole in the nuclear rules that the entire world has been playing by, and broken his own word to assure that we will not ship nuclear technology to India without the proper safeguards" ....Read more

Friday, March 03, 2006

W.H. Warned of Civil War in Iraq in 2003

Bush and Company were so busy pursuing their short-sighted agenda in Iraq, that they completely ignored their own intelligence agencies, which repeatedly warned the White House, starting in 2003(shortly after Bush's famous "Mission Accomplished")“that the insurgency in Iraq had deep local roots, was likely to worsen and could lead to civil war, according to former senior intelligence officials who helped craft the reports.”

But Bush is determined to "stay the course", regardless of how many Iraqi lives are lost and Iraq is totally demolished. And if all that remains standing are the fortified U.S. bases, so be it. Who needs Iraqis in Iraq anyway? After all, it's the oil that matters, or like Linda McQuaig says in the title of her book, "It's the Crude, Dude".

In their total disregard for the human cost of this illegal, immoral, criminal War on Iraq, the Bush Administration has lost all sense of morality and reality. As recently as May 2005, Cheney told a television interviewer: "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." Are these people sane?

Read this article from Editor & Publisher and judge for yourself.

More Media Bias: Brian Ross "Completely Aware" of WMD Context

The national media watch group FAIR(Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) has uncovered more biased news reporting, this time on ABC, about Saddam Hussein's 10-year-old tapes. What makes it worse is that ABC knew it was stilting its report and misleading its viewers. When a large, erstwhile reputable newtwork such as ABC is so obviously misrepresenting the news, it's small wonder that Americans who get their news from the mainstream media still equate Saddam Hussein with 9/11, thus going along with the rationale for the devastating War on Iraq.

(Talk about a dumbed-down nation.)

Brian Ross "Completely Aware" of WMD Context
So why weren't ABC viewers allowed to know?


Two recent reports on ABC raised the possibility that 10-year-old tapes of Saddam Hussein might show that he "did hide weapons of mass destruction"--giving the White House's rationale for the March 2003 invasion a boost.

But as a February 17 FAIR action alert pointed out, ABC's reporting omitted evidence that undermined this argument. The tapes seem to show Hussein Kamel, Iraq's weapons chief at the time, talking about information about weapons programs that Iraq had concealed from U.N. inspectors. But when Kamel defected--soon after these tapes were recorded--he not only told CIA and U.N. investigators about this concealment, he at the same time insisted that Iraq had destroyed all its unconventional weapons stockpiles. FAIR's alert questioned why ABC failed to inform its viewers about this key information.

Responding to a query from FAIR about whether ABC was aware of the Kamel story, ABC reporter Brian Ross wrote:

"Completely aware of it of course. We felt the tapes stand for themselves."

This admission is puzzling, to say the least. How could a news outlet raise the possibility that Kamel's comments on the tapes could bolster the argument that Iraq had hidden weapons of mass destruction, and not mention that he had repeatedly told the U.S. and U.N. that Iraq had destroyed all of those weapons?

And far from letting the tapes stand for themselves, ABC provided comments from sources to help viewers interpret Kamel's recorded remarks--even though, in light of Kamel's later statements, some of those comments seem to be inaccurate. For example, ABC viewers heard from Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who said, based on the tapes, "You would think that it's pretty likely that there were WMD that were hidden or that were moved out of the country." If ABC knew about Kamel's later insistence that Iraq destroyed its WMDs, that means the network had compelling information to suggest that Hoekstra's interpretation was wrong.

Instead of reporting that, ABC's Nightline segment concluded that the tapes might "help both sides bolster their arguments." It's difficult to have any kind of rational argument when crucial information is kept out of the discussion.

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. As an anti-censorship organization, we expose neglected news stories and defend working journalists when they are muzzled. As a progressive group, FAIR believes that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information.
Read more about FAIR

Journalists, Activists and Scholars Talk About FAIR

"I promote FAIR wherever I go. It is one of the most important pro-democracy projects in the United States."
-Barbara Ehrenreich

“What the FAIR collective—and the emphasis should be on the word collective—what it has accomplished in these years is quite remarkable. There are many people, and I’m definitely one of them, who are looking forward with eager anticipation to what’s sure to come next, to the insightful correctives, information, general enlightenment that doubtless lie ahead. I would just like to congratulate the collective on its wonderful achievements and hope that many others will be encouraged to join in this widely important work.”
-Noam Chomsky

"FAIR acts almost alone as an advocate of democratic journalism. I cannot even conceive of what we would do without it."
-Robert W. McChesney

“Viva FAIR! May you live forever, may the stones that you are dropping in the water make bigger and bigger ripples in our culture. May you lead us to a return to the vision of the framers about which so many in government are so often bragging—we want to get back to the Bill of Rights, we want to get back to insuring that America has a free, robust, cacophonous, sometimes nasty, sometimes difficult-to-love press that goes out there and gets the story that nobody else is getting.”
-Phil Donahue

"It is so important that we have an organization like FAIR: to challenge the crippling social myths that the right promulgates so successfully, to question the 'values' of an infotainment media, to expose the shoddy treatment that women and minorities receive in the press, and to appeal for a diverse and intelligent media that we all deserve and desperately need."
-Susan Faludi
*Read what more journalists, activists, scholars say about FAIR.

Alberta Takes First Step to Put Grizzly Bears on the Path to Recovery

Thanks to everyone who wrote a letter urging Alberta's Minister of Sustainable Resource Development to protect Alberta Grizzlies - Your action made a difference!

Please send a short letter or e-mail commending the Honorable David Coutts, Alberta Minister of Sustainable Resource Development for suspending the annual grizzly bear hunt, releasing the draft recovery plan and the current reports on the grizzly bear numbers.

Also, encourage him to take the next step and list grizzly bears as a threatened species under the Alberta Wildlife Act.

Lastly, indicate your hope that his department and the Alberta Government will soon implement an effective recovery plan.


The Honourable David Coutts
Minister of Sustainable Resource Development
420 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Ave.
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Fax: (780) 415-4818
Phone: 780 415-4815 (Toll free in Alberta by dialing 310-0000 first and then the area code and number.)


Just before noon today (MST), the Minister announced that he is suspending the annual grizzly bear hunt over the next few years while DNA based census data is collected throughout the grizzly bear range in Alberta. (Read the Government’s news release.) He has also released the December 2005 draft recovery plan developed by the multi-stakeholder Grizzly Bear Recovery Team, the external scientific reviews of that plan and the population estimate reports of 2004 and 2005, which were based on DNA census techniques. (All available on the government website)

However, habitat maps and information from models developed by the grizzly bear study program at the federally and provincially funded Foothills Model Forest still remain out of reach to the public. With the exception of published annual reports, a minimum membership of two years costing a total of $30,000 is required before access can be gained to that information.

There are only about 700 grizzly bears remaining in Alberta throughout a range of about 154,000 square kilometers (59,460 sq. mi.) compared to an historic population of about 10,000 to 16,000 grizzly bears, including the sub-population now extinct from the prairie and parkland regions of the province.

Sierra Club of/du Canada
412-1 Nicholas St., Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B7
phone: 613-241-4611, fax: 613-241-2292

Green Gazette - March 2006 - Success in the Great Bear Rainforest

BC Chapter - Success in the Great Bear Rainforest

By Lisa Matthaus, Coast Campaign Coordinator

Two million hectares is a pretty big chunk of land. Four Prince Edward Islands. One Switzerland. 5,200 Stanley Parks. Two Yellowstone National Parks. Some 2.5 million Canadian football fields (including end zones).

It’s also the area of temperate rainforest the B.C. government announced on February 7 would be protected from logging in the Great Bear Rainforest.

The Great Bear Rainforest agreement is the culmination of what may be British Columbia’s most significant environmental campaign—a decade-long effort that saw blockades, international markets campaigns, and an unprecedented agreement between as unlikely allies as logging companies and environmentalists. It has now produced a conservation achievement of international significance, a milestone of which we can all be proud.

To receive the entire article email, Communications Coordinator, Sierra Club of Canada BC Chapter.

Toronto Waterfront Earth Day Spring Festival

The Toronto Group of the Sierra Club of Canada is planning an Earth Day Event entitled the "Earth Day Spring Festival", as a chance for environmentally conscious groups and businesses from around the city to get their priorities heard and to gain support from fellow Torontonians. The Sierra Club has the opportunity here to have a large presence at one of Toronto's only public Earth Day events. This is a chance to get the word out about different campaigns we're working on and get more volunteers on board.

The event itself will take place on April 22, 2006 at Budapest Park on the waterfront, just east of Sunnyside Park and Pool. It will begin with a waterfront clean-up and continue with an eco-fair involving several Toronto environmental groups and businesses that may include tree planting and gardening workshops.

If you would like to volunteer to help with the planning of the event, to help on the day of the event or to table for the Sierra Club at the event promoting the different campaigns we now have going please contact:
Brooke Erickson at:


Check out some of the ongoing Campaigns and see how you can get involved!

Film Screen and Public Discussion on Transit - Ottawa, March 17th

Film: Bus Rider's Union Directed by Haskell Wexler and Johanna Demetrakas US 1999, video, color, 87 min.

Cost: FREE!

Award-winning cinematographer and director Haskell Wexler's (Bound for Glory, Matewan, Colors) documentary traces three years in the life of Los Angeles' Bus Rider's Union through its moments of joy, crisis, and victory. The film depicts the BRU's fight to improve bus service and halt fare hikes through lawsuits, demonstrations, and sit-ins.

Panel Discussion:
Sharmeen Khan - organizer with Vancouver's Bus Riders Union
Cam Johnstone - President of CUPE 5500
TBA - organizer with Under Pressure Collective

For More Information Visit:

Fri, Mar 17 2006 7 PM
Location: Main Branch, Ottawa Public Library (120 Metcalfe)

Recycling: Enviro Meeting in Toronto, March 6

Recycling: Is your Apartment or Condo Ready for Zero Waste? Toronto - Monday March 6th

The City of Toronto has set waste diversion goals of 60% by 2008 - 100% by 2012. Currently, residents in apartments and condos are diverting only 12% of their waste. With over half of Toronto's residents living in low-, medium- and high-rise buildings, strategies for recycling and composting are a top priority. Each building presents its own challenges, such as aging garbage chutes or lack of space for organic waste storage. Yet many buildings have succeeded in developing innovative programs and the city is pilot-testing organic recycling. With impending levies on excess waste, the threat of Michigan landfills closing their doors to our garbage and few mandatory requirements for new buildings, time is running out.

Do you live in a high-rise? What would you like to see happen in your building? What small steps can you take on our own? What are tenants, property managers, condo boards and the city doing to reach our waste diversion goals?

In attendance will be:

Councillor Shelley Carroll: Toronto City Councillor for Don Valley East and Chair of the Works Committee.

Doug Paton: condo resident and Chair of the Celebrity Place Green Committee.

Rod Muir: Waste Diversion Campaigner, Sierra Club of Canada.

Wayne Tuck: General Manager for Minto Management Ltd., a real estate management company participating in the city's source-separated organic pilot project and a recipient of the Green Toronto Award.

Geoff Rathbone: City of Toronto Solid Waste Management,Director of Policy and Planning.

Co-sponsored by the St. Lawrence Centre Forum and smartliving St. Lawrence

Mon, Mar 6 2006 7:30pm - 9:30pm

Location: St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front Street East,
(two blocks east of Union Stn.) Toronto

Contact: Jamie Kirkpatrick Ph 416-960-9606

Iraq Dispatches: Negroponte's 'Serious Setback'

By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 03 March 2006

John Negroponte, the US National Intelligence Director, provided testimony on Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on "global threats."

Negroponte, who was the US ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005, was immediately promoted to his current position after his presence in Iraq. Ironically, he warned the committee on Tuesday, "If chaos were to descend upon Iraq or the forces of democracy were to be defeated in that country ... this would have implications for the rest of the Middle East region and, indeed, the world."

Warning of the outcome of a possible civil war in Iraq, Negroponte said sectarian civil war in Iraq would be a "serious setback" to the global war on terror. Note - he did not say it would be a "serious setback" to the Iraqi people, over 1,400 of whom have been slaughtered in sectarian violence touched off by the bombing of the Golden Mosque last week in Samarra.

No, the violence and instability in Iraq would be a "serious setback" to the global "war on terror."

But it's interesting for him to continue, "The consequences for the people of Iraq would be catastrophic," whilst feigning his concern. Because generating catastrophic consequences for civilian populations just happens to be his specialty.

If we briefly review the political history of John Negroponte, we find a man who has had a career bent toward generating civilian death and widespread human rights abuses, and promoting sectarian and ethnic violence.

Remember when Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras, from 1981 to 1985? While there he earned the distinction of being accused of widespread human rights violations by the Honduras Commission on Human Rights while he worked as "a tough cold warrior who enthusiastically carried out President Ronald Reagan's strategy," according to cables sent between Negroponte and Washington during his tenure there.

The human rights violations carried out by Negroponte were described as "systematic."

These violations Negroponte oversaw in Honduras were carried out by operatives trained by the CIA. Records document his "special intelligence units," better known as "death squads," comprised of CIA-trained Honduran armed units which kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people. Victims also included US missionaries (similar to Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq) who happened to witness many of the

Negroponte had full knowledge of these activities, while he made sure US military aid to Honduras increased from $4 million to $77.4 million a year during his tenure, and the tiny country became so jammed with US soldiers it was dubbed the "USS Honduras."

It is also important to remember that Negroponte oversaw construction of the air base where Nicaraguan Contras were trained by the US. This air base, El Aguacate, was also used as a secret detention and torture center during his time in Honduras.

While Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras, civilian deaths sky-rocketed into the tens of thousands. During his first full year, the local newspapers carried no less than 318 stories of extra-judicial attacks by the military.

He has been described as an "old fashioned imperialist" and got his start during the Vietnam War in the CIA's Phoenix program, which assassinated some 40,000 Vietnamese "subversives."

Negroponte's death squads used electric shock and suffocation devices in interrogations, kept their prisoners naked, and when a prisoner was no longer useful he was brutally executed.

Outraged at the human rights abuses by the Reagan-Bush administration, in 1984 Nicaragua took its case to the World Court in The Hague. The decision of the court was for the Reagan-Bush administration to terminate its "unlawful use of force" in international terrorism and pay substantial reparations to the victims. The White House responded by brushing off the court's findings and vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions that affirmed the judgment that all states must observe
international law.

In the middle of Negroponte's tenure in Iraq, the Pentagon (read Donald Rumsfeld) openly considered using assassination and kidnapping teams there, led by the Special Forces.

Referred to not-so-subtly as "the Salvador option," the January 2005 rhetoric from the Pentagon publicized a proposal that would send Special Forces teams to "advise, support and possibly train" Iraqi "squads." Members of these squads would be hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga militia and Shia Badr militiamen used to target Sunni resistance fighters and their sympathizers.

What better man to make this happen than John Negroponte? His experience made him the perfect guy for the job. What a nice coincidence that he just happened to be in Baghdad when the Pentagon/Rumsfeld were discussing "the Salvador option."

Fast forward to present day Iraq, which is a situation described by the Washington Post in this way: "Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday - blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies were sprawled with their hands still bound."

The Independent newspaper from London recently reports that hundreds of Iraqis each month are tortured to death or executed by death squads working out of the Shia-run Ministry of Interior.

During the aforementioned committee hearing, Negroponte said that the US is concerned about the purchasing of arms by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Negroponte accused Chavez of using funds generated from the sale of oil to purchase weaponry, saying, "It's clear that he is spending hundreds of millions, if not more, for his very extravagant foreign policy at the expense of the impoverished Venezuelan population."

Coincidentally, on the exact same day he said this, the US State Department announced that the only new rebuilding money in its latest budget request for Iraq is for prisons.

With no other big building projects scheduled for Iraq in the next year, the State Department coordinator for Iraq is asking Congress for $100 million for prisons, while the Iraqi people languish with 3.2 hours of electricity daily in the average home, staggering unemployment and horrendous security, with most still dependent upon a monthly food ration.

Meanwhile John Pace, the Human Rights Chief for the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq until last month, recently stated that he believes the US has violated the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and is fueling the violence via raiding Iraqi homes and detaining thousands of innocent Iraqis. Pace estimates that between 80-90% of Iraqi detainees are innocent.

During an interview on Democracy Now!, when asked to described the role of the militias in Iraq, Pace said "they first started as a kind of militia, sort of organized armed groups, which were the military wing of various factions. And they have - they had a considerable role to play in the [security] vacuum that was created by the invasion."

He went on to describe their actions: "So you have these militias now with police gear and under police insignia basically carrying out an agenda which really is not in the interest of the country as a whole. They have roadblocks in Baghdad and other areas, they would kidnap other people. They have been very closely linked with numerous mass executions ...."

Pace, when asked if there were death squads in Iraq, replied, "I would say yes, there are death squads," and "my observations would confirm that at least at a certain point last year and in 2005, we saw numerous instances where the behavior of death squads was very similar, uncannily similar to that we had observed in other countries, including El Salvador."

What we're witnessing in Iraq now with these death squads and escalating sectarian violence is the product of policies implemented by Negroponte when he was the US Ambassador in Iraq.

But let us remove the covert operations factor for a moment.

For over a year now, Shia death squads have been killing Sunni en masse.

Thus, at first glance, the bombing of the Golden Mosque last week as Sunni retaliation makes sense.

However, what doesn't make sense is the immediate showing of solidarity between Shia and Sunni clerics following the bombing.

Let us now reinsert the covert operations factor into this equation.

Along with the showing of religious solidarity, there is widespread belief by Shiite religious clerics both in and outside Iraq, as well as belief in the Arab media, that US covert operations were behind the bombing:
* Shiite Cleric Muqtada Al Sadr blamed the United States occupation for the current violence. He recently stated, "My message to the Iraqi people is to stand united and bonded, and not to fall into the Western trap. The West is trying to divide the Iraqi people. As God is my witness, I hereby demand an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the occupation forces from Iraq."

* In another interview, Sadr stated, "We say that the occupiers are responsible for such crisis [Golden Mosque bombing] ... there is only one enemy. The occupier."

* Adel Abdul Mehdi, the Iraqi Vice President, held the American Ambassador [Zalmay Khalilzad] responsible for the bombing of the Golden Mosque, "especially since occupation forces did not comply with curfew orders imposed by the Iraqi government."

He added, "Evidence indicates that the occupation may be trying to undermine and weaken the Iraqi government."

* At a major demonstration in Beirut, prominent Lebanese Shiite cleric and Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, said America and Israel are to blame for the sectarian divisions in Iraq, claiming that the violence will offer further justifications for maintaining the occupation of Iraq.

* According to the Saudi-based Arab News editorial, a civil-war scenario may serve the interests of the Bush administration: "This may in the end be what Washington wants, because if Iraq plunges into chaos, it could be the Bush ticket out of the Iraq debacle, albeit paid for in rivers of Iraqi blood as well the utter humiliation of the president's administration and its neo-con agenda."

* Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, urged Iraqi Shia not to seek revenge against Sunni Muslims, saying there were definite plots "to force the Shia to attack the mosques and other properties respected by the Sunni," and blamed the intelligence services of the US and Israel for being responsible for the bombing of the Golden Mosque.

* Hoseyn Shari'atmadarit wrote in the Keyhan newspaper of Iran on February 25 of several instances of documented covert operations carried out by occupation forces in Iraq, including: "In Shahrivar two British intelligence officers were arrested [in September 2005] at an inspection post while carrying a considerable amount of explosives, detonators and other equipment necessary to build a bomb. This event certainly shows the direct involvement of the English intelligence service in the bombings in Iraq ... The commander of the English military deployed in
Basra [then] issued an order to attack the police centre and release two English saboteurs."

In the recent committee meeting, Negroponte told US senators he was seeing progress in Iraq. He said, "And if we continue to make that kind of progress, yes, we can win in Iraq."

Evidently the kind of progress John Negroponte sees in Iraq is not the kind that benefits the Iraqi people. Because the only progress in Iraq, apart from building prisons, is for the situation to continue growing progressively worse by deepening sectarian divides, despite the best efforts of religious leaders to create peace and unity.

Would civil war in Iraq be a "serious setback" for John Negroponte? Because the sectarian violence happening in Iraq right now is already a "serious setback" for the Iraqi people.

Thus, does Negroponte really care if there is civil war? Does he really concern himself with the wellbeing of the Iraqi people? Or is his main concern creating the catastrophe which keeps them divided?

(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

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

Thursday, March 02, 2006

"Winds of Change In The Americas" : Organisers pressure US to reinstate Zurita Vargas' visa

For Immediate Release: February, 24, 2006

Bush Administration Bars Bolivian Human Rights Leader and Senator From Entering the US

Leonida Zurita Vargas, a Bolivian coca farmer organizer and alternate Senator, was invited to talk at universities and communities across the US as part of a three week speaking tour. On Monday, February 20th, when she went to the airport to fly to the US, she was told her visa had been revoked. She has used this ten-year, multiple-entry visa she obtained in 1998 several times.

This tour would have taken her to Florida International University, the University of Florida, Stanford University, the University of Vermont, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, among others. She has published an op-ed in the New York Times, spoken at Harvard University and several other U.S. schools, and is one of the leading women in Bolivian politics.

On this speaking tour she was to discuss issues pertaining to the new government of Evo Morales in Bolivia, the country's social movements and the negative impact of US foreign policy in the "war on drugs".

On Thursday Zurita spoke to reporters in Bolivia: "When I deposited my tickets, my passport and the suitcase I was carrying, the secretary that worked for American Airlines told me "You cannot travel. It is an order of the ambassador (of the U.S.). What the letter that was presented to me said - I have read it - it talked about some articles - I don't know which ones - and said that I could be involved with terrorism or associated with terrorism. I said if I was a terrorist then I should be in jail."

Actions such as this are a sign of the irrational political climate of the Bush administration's "War on Terror." Zurita, as one of the leading voices for human rights and peace in her country, is anything but a terrorist. We invited her to speak at our conference to increase the dialogue between the two countries. Latin America is currently going through enormous social and political change. Exchanges with people involved in the grassroots struggles in this region of the world are key
to understanding what is going on on the ground, in spite of the US government's foreign policy.

As such, the organizers of the "Winds of Change In The Americas" conference are continuing to pressure the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia to reinstate Leonida Zurita's visa. We have also contacted the offices of VT Senator Patrick Leahy, Representative Bernie Sanders and Jim Jeffords to notify them of this situation and are awaiting responses from all three of them.

Our conference will take place on Sunday, March 5th from 3-9 PM at the Unitarian Church at the head of Church Street in Burlington, Vermont. We are working to make sure Leonida will be speaking at this event. In addition to her presentation, there will be discussions led by Vermonters who recently returned from Caracas, Venezuela for the World Social Forum, a gathering of social movements, NGOs and activists from around the globe. Representatives from the Vermont Worker's Center will be discussing social movements in Vermont.

For More Information Call:
Ben Dangl, 1-802-318-0466
or Robin Lloyd, 1-802-862-4929

After The Fog (of War)

Rob Williams interviews independent filmmaker Jay Craven about his documentary film, "After The Fog". The film features a wide array of American combat soldiers from different age groups and different wars: WWII, Vietnam, Iraq.

"I hope the film shows the human cost of war so that we are mindful of what we ask people to endure--on all sides," says Jay Craven, in answer to a question about his poignant film.

After The Fog (of War): An Interview with Independent Filmmaker Jay Craven
This month – March - marks the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. 2,500 U.S. soldiers have been killed in the line of duty, while countless Iraqis, many of them women and children, have lost their lives. It seems fitting to stop and reflect on the meaning of U.S. wars with those who have served in them, and a new film called "After The Fog," co-produced by Jay Craven, does just this. Stitching together the personal testimony of 11 U.S. war veterans, "After The Fog" is an intimate and human look at the consequences of war, told by those who fought.
Read more

Bolivian Human Rights Leader Barred from Entering the U.S.

In the Name of the War on Terror: Bolivian Human Rights Leader Barred from Entering the U.S.

Leonida Zurita Vargas, a Bolivian coca farmer organizer and alternate Senator, was planning to be in the US right now as part of a three week speaking tour on Bolivian social movements and human rights. This tour would take her to Vermont, Harvard, Stanford and Washington DC. However, upon checking in at the airport in Santa Cruz,
Bolivia on February 20th to fly to the US, she was informed her ten year visa had been revoked because of alleged links to terrorist activity.
Read more

Tomgram: The Precipice, the Brink, the Abyss -- Iraq

George's Inferno
And Other Images from a No-Name War

By Tom Engelhardt

Look at the polls. When Gallup's pollsters go out to ask Americans about the Bush administration and Iraq, they frame their questions this way: "Do you think the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, or not?"; "Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war with Iraq?"; "Who do you think is currently winning the war in Iraq?" Mind you, never the Iraq War -- like the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or the Gulf War -- but the war in Iraq. The CBS and NBC/Wall Street Journal pollsters sometimes use that formulation too, as does Zogby (which has also used, "the war against insurgents."). On the other hand, the pollsters at the Pew Research Center, like those at ABC/Washington Post, CBS, Newsweek, the Associated Press/Ipsos, Time, Fox News, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal all like to put the phrase "the situation in Iraq" into their questions. Pew also employs: "the U.S. military effort in Iraq." Sometimes in follow-up questions, pollsters simply speak of "the war" (always lower-cased) or, as with Harris pollsters back in November 2005, just "the situation."

As a further experiment, go to the Pentagon's website, click on "transcripts of news briefings," "transcripts of background briefings," and "speeches," and put into the search window "Iraq War." Curiously, what comes out of the archival depths of our five-sided, war-fighting headquarters is essentially nothing, or rather the words, "Iraq" and "war" in the same paragraph or even sentence but quite unconnected -- as in "Iraq" in one place and the Cold War, the War on Terror, or the Long War somewhere in the vicinity. At best, you can find our garrulous Secretary of Defense at a news briefing with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Peter Pace, telling reporters that our military is "able, at a moment's notice, to respond to the pleas of millions across the world, while at the same time fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe." And here's an odd thing: As far as the Pentagon search engine can tell, "Iraq War" doesn't come up normally even in the questions reporters ask Rumsfeld and other Pentagon figures, though "the situation" obviously plays a major role in Pentagon press briefings and announcements.

Or give a shot to the Iraq part of the U.S. Central Command's website (still headlined, by the way, Operation Iraqi Freedom) where two references pop up: one as part of a question from a Stars and Stripes reporter in a news briefing ("Throughout the Iraq war, we've been relying fairly heavily on the National Guard."); the other to the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Or, just for the heck of it, check out the White House website which archives presidential and vice-presidential speeches, announcements, press conferences, radio addresses, and statements. The top item that comes up there is this: "President Addresses Nation, discusses Iraq, War on Terror." Pretty typical, it turns out.

The President's most recent major address -- to the American Legion (given after the Golden Mosque's dome was blasted to smithereens in Samarra) -- not surprisingly uses "war" twenty times and yet never directly in conjunction with events in Iraq, even though "freedom's progress" there is up for discussion, as are "our efforts in Iraq," as is "our clear strategy of victory in Iraq" (though strangely not in the Iraq War or even the Iraq war, no less the war in Iraq). What we're doing there, it turns out, is "working to defeat… every terrorist working to stop freedom in Iraq." Our goal is to make Iraq in victory our "strong ally" in the only war in town -- not the one in Iraq, even though the President that evening was grimly assuring his audience that "this is a moment of choosing for the Iraqi people" -- but the "war on terror." Only in the context of that great "global war," that multigenerational conflict which, according to the Vice President's office, gives the President all those commander-in-chief powers as a "unitary executive," can he say in no uncertain terms, "[W]e remain a nation at war."

The Vietnam War was known as such from very early on. (Of course, it helped that John F. Kennedy was pushing it as his counterinsurgency war of choice against the Soviets.) Similarly, while the war the elder Bush fought against Saddam Hussein in 1991 was dubbed Operation Desert Storm, it quickly became known as the Gulf War. That this war has no name -- and that no one even thinks to comment on it -- has represented a quiet success for the Bush administration.

In not naming the "situation in Iraq," the media and the public seem to have followed in the administration's footsteps. You can search the press, for instance, almost in vain for "the Iraq War," and when, on occasion, you do find it, that "war" is always lower-cased. Nor do people speak, say, of ‘Raq, the way in the last years of Vietnam, Americans (following the lead of the soldiers there) spoke of ‘Nam. In fact, though we now know, according to a unique Zogby poll just taken, that 72% of American soldiers stationed in Iraq today want the United States to "exit" within a year (over half within six months, and over a quarter tomorrow), if they have their own name or nickname for the conflict, we are blissfully ignorant of it.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Deadly Blasts Hit Near Hotel, U.S. Consulate in Karachi

At least two people died Thursday and at least 18 people were wounded in two bomb blasts near the U.S. consulate in Karachi, Pakistan.
Full Story

'Torture Boy' Signals More Spying

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales retracted misleading testimony that he presented to the Senate Judiciary Committee three weeks ago, but his careful revision suggests that George W. Bush's domestic spying was broader than previously admitted.

Gonzales gained the nickname "Torture Boy" because of his support for legal opinions that opened the way to abuse of detainees in Guatanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan. But those legal theories also may have led to domestic spying on opponents of Bush's War on Terror.

For the full story of how these legal theories on Bush's unlimited powers may have prompted both torture and illegal spying, go to

12% of Iraq Vets have Mental Problems

A new Pentagon study says 12 percent of the more than 222,000 returning Army soldiers and Marines were diagnosed with a mental problem. Thirty-five percent of Iraq veterans got mental health care during their first year home.
But CBS News correspondent David Martin reports the actual number of soldiers who need treatment is higher, since other studies have shown that half the soldiers who need treatment are unwilling to admit it.

Read full CBS News report here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Patrick Elie tour this week in Mississauga, Oakville, Hamilton, Toronto

February 28, 2006
Haitian Activist Patrick Elie to Speak in Oakville

Patrick Elie, a Haiti-based political rights activist and former Minister of the first government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide will be stopping in Oakville on Friday March 3 as part of his cross-Canada speaking tour to address the illegal 2004 invasion, foreign occupation, and human rights violations in Haiti
The Halton Peace Network is hosting an informal talk where the press and the public can meet Mr. Elie and ask questions about socio-political conditions in Haiti.

Friday March 3, 2006
2:30 pm
Vinnie’s Café
2416 Lakeshore Rd. West, Oakville

East of Bronte Rd. on the south side, opposite Sobey’s and between Licks and Deningers. Free parking in the rear.

"Democracy and constitutional rule was overthrown in Haiti in February 2004 by a coup," explains Andrea Pinochet, an organizer with Haiti Solidarity BC, in Vancouver. "The elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was forced into exile at that time. Since then, thousands of his supporters have been killed, jailed, or forced into exile. Patrick Elie is a voice for the restoration of sovereignty and democracy in Haiti."

Since February 2004, the social and human rights situation in Haiti has been disastrous. Canada is a major player in the coup and its aftermath. The election of René Préval on February 7 offers new hope for the Haitian people, Patrick Elie said in a telephone interview from Port au Prince the day after the vote.
"The high participation of the Haitian people in this election shows that our desire for constitutional and democratic government cannot be denied. The United Nations forces in Haiti must respect the choice of the people and facilitate a rapid restoration of constitutional rule. It must end its support to the illegal interim government and the human rights violations associated with it, and provide whatever assistance a new government under President Préval deems necessary."

Elie recently helped to found a political rights organization in Haiti called Sant Obsèvasyon Sitwayen ("Citizens Monitoring Center"). It advocates measures to facilitate a return to democratic and constitutional rule in Haiti.

Contact: local tour co-ordinator Brian Hopkins
at 905-257-6756 or

For background information on Patrick Elie and the situation in Haiti, please check out the following links:

Interview with Patrick Elie. Seven Oaks - February 27, 2006 (Canada)

Interview with Patrick Elie by Vancouver Haiti activist Anthony Fenton

University of Miami Law School human rights report (author Thomas Griffin), November 2004 (pdf)

* Statement by Louis Joinet, Haiti expert of the UN Human Rights Commission, November 29, 2005

Extensive archive of articles on human rights in Haiti


March 1 - Kitchener
Wednesday, March 1 at 1 PM,
Wilfred Laurier University, Science Building, Room N1042.
Info: (519) 743-2093. Or e-mail:
March 1 – Guelph
Wednesday, March 1, at 7:00 p.m.
University of Guelph
Room 115, MacKinnon Bldg.

Contact :
March 2 – Mississauga
Thursday March 2, 7pm
University of Toronto
Mississauga Campus
3359 Mississauga Rd. N.
Council Chambers, Room 3130
South Building
Contact MCPJ at:

Free parking in parking lot #2
For directions to the campus (
see maps at:
March 3 - Oakville
Informal talk by Patrick Elie, questions and answers, meet the press
Friday March 3
2:30 pm
Vinnie’s Café
2416 Lakeshore Rd. West, Oakville
(east of Bronte Rd. on the south side, opposite Sobey’s and
between Licks and Deningers)
free parking in the rear
Contact: Brian Hopkins at or 905-257-6756

March 3 – Hamilton
Friday March 3
7:30 p.m.
McMaster University
McMaster Medical Centre Room 1A5

March 4 - Toronto
Patrick is scheduled to speak to a caucus meeting of delegates at the Ontario NDP provincial council during lunch time on Saturday, March 4.
Delta Chelsea Hotel, 33 Gerrard Street W. at Yonge, in the Carlyle Room on the third floor.

"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

Pet Worries Fuel Bird Flu Fears as Poultry Bans Spread

Alarm over the spread of bird flu grew after Germany reported a dead cat infected with the virus. Germany told pet owners to keep their cats indoors, but the World Health Organization (WHO) said there is no evidence that domestic cats play a role in the transmission cycle of H5N1 viruses.

Read article here.

The Fate of the Ocean

The oceans as we have known them are ceasing to exist, says the author of this lengthy investigative piece. Oceanic problems once encountered on a local scale have gone pandemic, and these pandemics now merge to birth new monsters.
"I'm alarmed by what I'm seeing. Although we carry the ocean within ourselves, in our blood and in our eyes, so that we essentially see through seawater, we appear blind to its fate. Many scientists speak only to each other and studiously avoid educating the press. The media seems unwilling to report environmental news, and caters to a public stalled by sloth, fear, or greed and generally confused by science. Overall, we seem unable to recognize that the proofs so many politicians demand already exist in the form of hindsight. Written into the long history of our planet, in one form or another, is the record of what is coming our way."

Read full article here.

Closing Gender Gaps: Why It Matters

When women are given opportunities for education, access to resources, and a place at the political table, not only is their quality of life improved, but economies are strengthened, health care is enhanced, and policies that benefit children, families, and marginalized groups are given more attention.

....Read more

Women and Governance: A Place at the Table

The recent election of female presidents in Africa, Latin America, and Europe is being hailed by many as a seminal moment for the advancement of women in politics. But a deeper look at the current political gender balance shows that women still have a long way to go to gain an equal footing in the global halls of power. ...Read more

Tens of Thousands Protest Bush India Visit

Surindra Singh Yadav, a senior police officer in charge of crowd control, said as many as 100,000 people, most of them Muslim, had gathered in a fairground in central New Delhi ordinarily used for political rallies. "Whether Hindu or Muslim, the people of India have gathered here to show our anger. We have only one message - killer Bush go home," one of the speakers, Hindu politician Raj Babbar, told the crowd....Read more

Iraq War Veteran Garett Reppenhagen: 'I Trusted My Country'

Iraq War Veteran Garett Reppenhagen writes that "in February of 2004, it was my turn to go to war. I was with 2-63 AR 1st Infantry Division stationed in Baquba, Iraq, as a Sniper in a six-man team. During my year there, I saw a lack of effort by our government to provide the US Soldier with the ability to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. As events unfolded, like Abu Ghraib and the battles in Fallujah, a growing resentment of the Iraqi people swelled the support for the insurgency. Our mission there became impossible." ....Read More

Cindy Sheehan and Sam Bostaph: A Common Cause

Cindy Sheehan and Sam Bostaph write that "we the people of America need to reach deep inside ourselves and pull out the essential goodness that connects all of humanity together. Then, we can honor our differences, while uniting in opposition to the exploitation and ruination of our American way of life by the Bush crime family and its cronies. However, our biggest enemy is the citizens of this country's general ennui and complacency in the face of BushCo's blatant and bloody affronts to humanity." ...Read More

Cindy and Sam end their collaborative article with this impassioned plea:
"Whatever your political identification, please join us at Easter for a protest at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas, from the 10th of April to the 16th. There, "we" will be joined by Katrina evacuees who are still unbelievably and unconscionably ensconced in the Astrodome and who will be invited to stay on our leased land next to the Secret Service checkpoint of the Bush faux-ranch on Prairie Chapel Road, until their homes are rebuilt in the Gulf States and they can return. The displaced Katrina victims care nothing about partisan politics or demented pork barrel peddling and cronyism; they just want to go home. "We" will be joined in Crawford by Progressive Democratic Congressional candidates from all over the country, who are running for office against pro-war Democrats and Republicans. "We" will again be joined by old hippies, grandmas and grandpas and young activists; and we will be joined by Iraqi war veterans, as well as fresh-faced students who look like they just walked off the pages of a Gap catalog onto the Texas prairie.

"We," the authors of this article, have formed an unlikely friendship and partnership for peace. Our last collaborative piece, "The Human Cost of War," appeared in diverse online journals from Marxist sites to Libertarian ones. Those journals may be in deep philosophical opposition on other questions, but on this one they are as anti-war as we are. "We" the people of America need to reach deep inside ourselves and pull out the essential goodness that connects all of humanity together. Then, we can honor our differences, while uniting in opposition to the exploitation and ruination of our American way of life by the Bush crime family and its cronies. However, our biggest enemy is the citizens of this country's general ennui and complacency in the face of BushCo's blatant and bloody affronts to humanity.

"We" the people of America need to form a true coalition of peace if we are to reclaim our humanity and our inalienable birthrights.

Everyone is welcome. Everyone is needed.

Incomes Fall, Hunger Worsens as Bush Says 'We're Doing Fine'

The average American family has taken a financial tumble and millions in the country go hungry despite President George W. Bush's sunny assessment of the US economy, says federal data and economists.
Read full story at

Guantanamo, Fortress of the Absurd

Philippe Gelie returns to the looking-glass world of Guantanamo after a little over two years and describes the changes - and the absence of changes - he observes.

Newly-Released Video: Bush, Chertoff Warned before Katrina

Newly released video footage shows how, in dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his Homeland Security Chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers. Bush did not ask a single question during this final briefing before Katrina struck. Four days later Bush declared "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" that gushed deadly floodwaters into New Orleans.

The Pentagon Archipelago

Tuesday, 28 February 2006

When I read the passage below from Moazzam Begg's account of his years in Bush's Terror War prisons, I had a strange feeling of dislocation: it was as if 30 years had suddenly fallen away and I was back in high school, reading Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago in stunned disbelief at the hideous cruelty inflicted on the prisoners -- deliberately, as a carefully calculated instrument of state policy. And all of it done in the name of national security, of course, to protect the nation against "terrorists" and "traitors."

Solzhenitsyn's books -- not just the factual Gulag but also the deep-delving fiction of his middle years, the powerful First Circle and Cancer Ward -- were enormous influences on my own understanding of politics, power and morality. Years later, I was in Moscow when he returned to Russia from his long exile, having outlasted the system of state terror that had consumed so many of his compatriots. However much I had come to disagree with some of his political positions on certain issues, it was a still a moment of triumph for the deeper truths and moral courage that he continued -- and continues -- to represent.

How sickening, then, to find myself last Saturday reading of precisely the same kind of state terror that Solzhenitsyn described (and survived) once again being inflicted on innocent people -- and this time in my name, under the flag of my country, at the express order of the leaders of my government. Bush is trying to turn us all into the kind of quiet collaborationists and cowed enablers of atrocity that we habitually decry when speaking of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany: "Oh, how could they have let such awful things go on? Why did they stand silently by? How could they swallow all those monstrous lies? I would never have stood for that kind of thing!"

Well, tens of millions of Americans are standing for it right now –- every bit as quiescent as the most head-down, eyes-averted Soviet citizen or German burgher: countenancing, condoning, even celebrating brutal acts of state terror, and swallowing the tyrant's eternal lie that his crimes are committed to protect the people. For a few crumbs of prosperity from the elite's banquet table, for a few flattering fairy tales about national greatness, national goodness and historical destiny, for a few comforting murmurs to chase away the craven fear of madman monsters across the sea, they have sold their priceless birthright of liberty. It's no longer a matter of what crimes Americans will swallow; now the great question of the day is: what won't they swallow? They've walked this far down the road of darkness – how much farther will they go? Will we one day need a Solzhenitsyn to catalogue our shame, our cruelty and our cowardice?

Read rest of this compelling article by Chris Floyd here

Note: This excerpt is republished here with the explicit permission of Chris Floyd.

For more great reading, visit Chris Floyd's website: Empire Burlesque.

The Smoking Gun / Ike Saw It Coming

By now, we should realize that the Bush administration has no plan to govern Iraq nor do they care a whit about the suffering of the Iraqi people. The only thing the matters is the extraction of petroleum from Iraqi oil-fields and its unobstructed transfer to the market. The rest is rubbish. “We don’t do body counts”, boasted General Tommy Franks.
Read this ICH article by Mikey Whitney for ICH here

Bob Herbert : Ike Saw It Coming

In one of the great deceptive maneuvers in U.S. history, the military-industrial complex (with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as chairman and C.E.O., respectively) took its eye off the real enemy in Afghanistan and launched the pointless but far more remunerative war in Iraq.
Read this ICH article here.

From Superpower to Tinhorn Dictatorship

"America is headed for a soft dictatorship by the end of Bush’s second term. Whether any American has civil rights will be decided by the discretionary power of federal officials. The public in general will tolerate the soft dictatorship as its discretionary powers will mainly be felt by those few who challenge it", writes Paul Craig Roberts in this ICH article.

Video : Exposed: The Carlyle Group

Shocking documentary uncovers the subversion of Americas democracy. "I defy you to watch this 48 minute documentary and not be outraged about the depth of corruption and deceit within the highest ranks of our government", says Tom Feeley of ICH.

When Americans No Longer Own America

They truly believe that a "New World Order" with multinational corporations in charge instead of sovereign governments will be the answer to the problem of world instability. And therefore they must do away with quaint things like unions, a healthy middle class, and, ultimately, democracy.

Read this article by Thom Hartmann on ICH here

U.S. Disconnect on Bush Abuses

The Washington Post and other leading U.S. news outlets are having trouble bridging the widening chasm between the American self-image as the world's beacon for human rights and the new reality under George W. Bush of the United States as a country that practices torture, assassination and "disappearances."

This disconnect arose on the Post's Feb. 28 editorial page as the newspaper took note of the mounting evidence that the Bush administration is letting its torturers off the hook, while simultaneously writing as if Bush has the moral standing to condemn the U.N.'s human rights body.

For the full story on this extraordinary case of cognitive dissonance, go to

Bush's War on History

Six years ago, the Clinton-Gore administration was pressing to declassify documents from the Cold War that were deemed essential for the American people to understand their recent history. More records from the Reagan-Bush era were slated for release on Jan. 20, 2001.

But the Inauguration of George W. Bush changed all that. He blocked the Reagan-Bush document releases; he granted power over records to ex-presidents and their heirs; and he even accelerated a program to reclassify thousands of documents already released. Secrecy again trumped the public's right to know its history.

For the full story of how George W. Bush kept the American people in a kind of permanent childhood -- and protected his family's secrets -- go to

Water Wars: Climate Change May Spark Conflicts

With the warming of our planet, water will become an evermore precious commodity, sparking conflicts between nations.
Israel, Jordan and Palestine

Five per cent of the world's population survives on 1 per cent of its water in the Middle East and this contributed to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It could fuel further military crises as global warming continues. Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan rely on the River Jordan but Israel controls it and has cut supplies during times of scarcity. Palestinian consumption is severely restricted by Israel.

Turkey and Syria
Click here to read rest of this article from the Independent UK

Afghan Diplomat is Yale Freshman

Rahmatullah Hashemi was the Taliban's chief spokesman abroad. So how did he end up at Yale?
Talib in Luce Hall
Sometimes walking up College Street, when the bells were ringing in Harkness Tower and the light on the gabled dorms and leafy quads made the whole campus seem part of some Platonic dream, he could almost forget that there were people back home who would be happy to kill him.

Read full IHT article here

U.S. Agrees to Settle 9/11 Detainee Lawsuit

The settlement is the first the government has made in a number of lawsuits charging that non-citizens were abused and their constitutional rights violated in detentions after the terror attacks.

NEW YORK - The U.S. government has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by an Egyptian who was among dozens of Muslim men swept up in the New York area after Sept. 11, held for months in a detention center in Brooklyn, and deported after being cleared of links to terrorism.
"This is a substantial settlement and shows for the first time that the government can be held accountable for the abuses that have occurred in Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay and in prisons right here in the United States," said one of the lawyers, Alexander Reinert.

Read full IHTarticle here

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Spread of Bird Flu Puzzles Experts

Current knowledge of how H5N1 spreads is so rudimentary that experts cannot predict where it will strike next.

OZZANO EMILIA, Italy - As new outbreaks of bird flu have peppered Europe and Africa in the last few weeks, experts are realizing that they do not fully understand how migrating birds disseminate the H5N1 virus, leaving the continents vulnerable to unexpected outbreaks.

Just after new scientific research clarified the role of wild birds in spreading H5N1 out of its original territory in southern China, the virus promptly moved into dozens of locations in Europe and Africa, following no apparent pattern and underlining how little scientists actually know.

Read full IHT article here

Taliban Continues to Sow Fear

Four years after they were ousted from power by the American military, the Taliban presence is bigger and more menacing than ever in southern Afghanistan.

Read IHT article here

Climb for Climate Change

Join the 16th Annual Canada Life CN Tower Climb for WWF-Canada to help fight climate change. Each stair brings us closer to a cleaner environment. Every pledge brings you closer to the grand prize of a trip to the Arctic! Sign up online before April 20 and get entered in the draw for a digital Canon camera. Don't forget – even if you don't climb, YOU can still make a difference by sponsoring a climber or WWF-Canada staff member.

For complete details, or to register online, go to

The Unsolved Mystery of the Oklahoma City Bombing

Thanks to the efforts of a handful of dogged investigators, the FBI's own paperwork is beginning to seriously contradict the official version of the attack. And more is being revealed all the time.

The full lessons from all this remain to be learned, in part because we are very far from getting to the bottom of the mystery. But it's clear that the intelligence failures and institutional coverups we have seen in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and the Iraq war are part of a historical pattern.

Read full article By Andrew Gumbel

Keeping the Light on Katrina: Masking New Orleans

On the first post-Katrina Mardi Gras, the festivities just disguise the fact that New Orleans is a hollower, whiter, and richer place than it was a year ago.

Read article by Fatima Shaik here
In These Times (via AlterNet)

The writer is a New Orleans resident. Here is an excerpt from her article:
At the last census, almost 40 percent of our households made under $20,000 a year, and in my neighborhood, 46 percent made under $15,000. When the police discovered that the seven square miles, which included the neighborhood where I grew up, led the city in homicides, we didn't mobilize ourselves to sweep every block. Nor did we take to the streets screaming for more cops, courts and federal assistance when we threatened once again to become murder capital of the nation in 2005.

We let the bon temps roulle.

Read more

MediaChannel Video: G.W. Bush Answers the Tough Questions

This just in from MediaChannel and Mediavision®

Watch this hilarious Q&A between George W. Bush and a KSU college student. If only the press could do the same!

Click the links below to access and view the video clip.


Station: WCBS
Market: New York
Affiliation: CBS

Play Clip

G.W. Bush Answers the Tough Questions

Broadcast Time: 11:45:07 PM
Broadcast Date: Monday, February 27, 2006
Length: 49 seconds

NY Times Sues Bush Administration

”The New York Times sued the US Defense Department on Monday demanding that it hand over documents about the National Security Agency's domestic spying programme. The Times wants a list of documents including all internal memos and e-mails about the program of monitoring phone calls without court approval. It also seeks the names of the people or groups identified by it.” - AP, Yahoo News

Iraqi Death Toll

For years now, the civilian death toll of the US war in Iraq has been downplayed, if reported at all. But now that Iraqis are killing each other, it is page one in the Washington Post this morning: Their reporters have finally found the morgue.
”Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week's bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad's main morgue.”

Bush's Passage to India

Unlike other world figures, George W. Bush will not be lunging into crowds of Rajasthani villagers or addressing the parliament of the world's largest democracy on his March 2 trip to India. Afraid of the reception Bush would receive from the Indian citizenry and its legislators, his speech will instead take place in a small, remote spot where the possibility of disruption is minimal.

The fears of disruption are correct, because, as Arundhati Roy writes, "Nothing the happy newspapers say can change the fact that all over India, from the biggest cities to the smallest villages, in public places and private homes, George W. Bush, the President of the United States of America, world nightmare incarnate, is just not welcome."
Read more from The Nation

Tomgram: Chernus and Hilfiker on the Other Christian Activists

History can be mind-boggling. Only by reading Andrew J. Bacevich's superb book, The New American Militarism (excerpted at Tomdispatch last year), would I ever have known that, into the Cold War era, Christian evangelicals still nurtured, as he puts it, a generations-old "robust anti-war tradition." Bacevich adds, "[T]hey had tended to take a rather dim view of soldiering, seeing the profanity, harsh conditions, loose women, and cheap whiskey associated with camp life in the Old Army as not especially conducive to Christian living. Nor had they sought to engage in collective political action or to attach themselves to a particular political party." All that changed decisively in the Vietnam years. But even today, while white evangelicals tend to be conservative, vote Republican, and be militarily (or is it imperially?) gung ho, there is nothing monolithic about them, politically-speaking.

Nor, of course, are all Christians evangelicals by any stretch of the imagination, or conservatives, for that matter -- though you might not know it, given the singular spotlight of media attention that, for obvious reasons, has been shone on Christian fundamentalist supporters of George Bush and the Republican Party. Christians who don't fall into that category -- who weren't say, beating the drums for war in Iraq or for Sam Alito to become a "unitary executive" of the Supreme Court -- must feel some frustration at often being, however implicitly, lumped into that category in what passes for our national discussion.

So I'm particularly happy that Ira Chernus, a Tomdispatch regular and historian of religions, who has often taught the history of Judaism and Christianity, but tells me he "specializes in studying how these religious traditions affect secular political issues in our country," spent a weekend among progressive Christian organizers and decided to write a report on the world he discovered (which you'll find below). Perhaps a tad inspired myself, I asked an old friend, David Hilfiker, a former poverty doctor whose books I've edited, to add his own thoughts to this Tomdispatch package on the view from the Christian left. Long involved in the nitty-gritty issues of urban poverty (and its alleviation), he also wrote for Tomdispatch from Iraq, which he visited with the Christian Peacemaker Teams both before and after the Bush invasion. I hope that these two pieces offer at least a peek into a world that really deserves far more space and attention. Tom

Praise the Lord and Pass the Petition
By Ira Chernus

If you are waiting for a religious left to emerge to offset the power of the religious right, it may already be in your own neighborhood at a local church or synagogue. I stumbled across a branch of the religious left quite by accident recently, in Texas of all places, though the folks I met would say I was guided to them by the Lord.

On a weekend in mid-February, nearly 200 Evangelical Lutherans from all over the country came to Fort Worth for the Congregation-Based Organizing Strategy Summit or CBOSS. They talked, planned, and prayed about community organizing. They shared stories about what they had already accomplished through faith and hard political work.

They had demanded action from public officials and corporate leaders in their communities, and they were proud of their victories. Among the local triumphs some of them claimed were: affordable housing for thousands of families; guaranteed access to health insurance for all children; treatment centers instead of prisons for criminals; a new community center where a meth house used to be; free day-care centers; water and sewer lines for 150,000 rural poor who had none before; laws requiring public contractors to pay a living wage; surveillance cameras in police cars -- to watch the police themselves.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

CIVIC's Executive Director heads to Iraq

Sarah, CIVIC's executive director, has landed safely in Amman, Jordan, and is headed into Iraq on Wednesday. For her safety, she will not be traveling to Baghdad, but will be meeting with representatives from USAID and the other non-governmental organizations working on the ground to help victims of war.

Sarah will be writing a daily blog during her travels, posting first hand information on what she hears and sees. Click here to see her first entry.

Check daily for updates.

Click here to tell a friend about CIVIC's work.

Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) Worldwide

Sudan's President Warns Against UN Force in War-Torn Darfur

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said Darfur will become a "graveyard" for any foreign military contingent entering the region against Khartoum's will, newspapers reported on Sunday. "We are strongly opposed to any foreign intervention in Sudan, and Darfur will be a graveyard for any foreign troops venturing to enter," he was quoted as saying.

His comments came amid stepped-up efforts by the international community to send UN peacekeeping forces to war-torn Darfur in place of African Union troops, which have failed to quell the three-year-old bloodshed.

Full Story

Total Information Awareness Lives On

More than two years ago Congress halted plans for a controversial plan called Total Information Awareness to create the world's largest surveillance database to track your phone calls, purchases, Internet usage, reading material, banking transactions. The National Journal has now revealed the program has quietly continued inside the National Security Agency.

Read more from Democracy Now! here

U.S. Expands Prison Inside Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan

So this is what our formerly 'peacekeeping' Canadian soldiers likely have to contend with, as we have more deeply integrated with the U.S. forces.

* "Worse" Than Guantanamo: U.S. Expands Secretive Prison Inside Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan *

The U.S. is holding 500 at the base in wire cages. Some have been detained for up to three years. They have never been charged with crimes. They have no access to lawyers. They are barred from hearing the allegations against them. Officials describe the jail's conditions as primitive. We speak with human rights attorneys

Read full story from Democracy Now!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Maher Arar Talks to Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman

"They've Ruined My Life": Torture Survivor Maher Arar Recalls how U.S. Sent Him to Syria Where He Was Jailed and Tortured For 10 Months *

Canadian citizen Maher Arar announces he will "most likely" be appealing a recent U.S. federal court ruling to dismiss his lawsuit challenging the U.S. government policy known as extraordinary rendition. The judge, David Trager, said he could not interfere in the case because it involves crucial national security and foreign relations issues.

Read this Democracy Now! transcript of Maher Arar's interview with Amy Goodman here. Michael Ratner from the Center for Constitutional Rights was still in the studio at the time.

U.S.-Style War Fighting Will Cost Canada Dearly

It is arguably the most important issue facing Canada, but it was not discussed at all during the election. It is consuming billions of taxpayers' dollars, it dramatically increases the risk of a terrorist attack in Canada, and it has already claimed several Canadian lives. The issue is the dramatic transformation of the Canadian military from a UN peacekeeping force into a U.S. war-fighting force.

by Steven Staples
Full story on

Go "Clean and Green" in Ontario

Order your "No Nuclear Junk Mail Please" door sign today!

No nuclear junk mail please!

Hundreds of people came out to public meetings last week and hundreds more have written often passionate letters to Premier Dalton McGuinty, all with the same message: Don't squander the best opportunity in a generation to move Ontario toward a renewable electricity future by pouring more public dollars into high-cost, high-risk nuclear plants.

Sadly, the government has chosen to respond by sending all Ontario residents a misleading pamphlet essentially repeating the Ontario Power Authority's call to build more nuclear generating stations.

Reaching out to every citizen and asking them for their thoughts on this critically important issue is certainly a good idea, but that, disappointingly, is not what the government is doing. Instead, it is spending more tax dollars to prop up the threadbare myth that nuclear power is safe, clean, reliable, and affordable -- the attributes that Premier McGuinty has said any new energy option for Ontario must possess.

Here are just a few of the facts that are missing from the pamphlet's portrayal of Ontario's electricity situation:

The pamphlet states that we need more electricity and reproduces the Ontario Power Authority's (OPA's) projection that electricity demand will grow by 20% by 2020. Nowhere does it disclose that there is little evidence to support the OPA's high demand projections, nor does it outline the multitude of policies and programs that could be implemented to actually decrease demand for electricity.

The pamphlet doesn't talk about the fact that Ontario is one of the biggest per-capita electricity consumers in the world or discuss the huge benefits that could come from increasing our efficiency and productivity rather than continuing to increase inefficient, subsidized consumption.

The pamphlet fails to mention that according to the International Energy Agency, Canadian nuclear reliability for the period 1990 to 2002 has been the worst in the OECD. The annual utilization rates of Ontario's nuclear reactors declined from 80% between 1980 and 1983 to 51% in 2003.

The pamphlet suggests that nuclear power does not produce greenhouse gas emissions, but fails to note that due to the poor performance of Ontario's nuclear reactors, Ontario Power Generation had to increase the output of its dirty coal plants by 120% between 1995 and 2003 to keep the lights on.

As a result of Ontario's heavy dependence on unreliable CANDU nuclear reactors, it took Ontario more than 8 days to fully recover from the August 2003 blackout versus less than 2 days for New York State.

But the biggest eye-popping statement in the piece is this: "The Ontario government's experience has been that nuclear energy can help to ensure price stability." We can only shake our heads and wonder what price stability the authors are referring to: the steady increase in electricity costs since our nuclear plants started coming online in the 1970s? (According to a 1997 Government of Ontario report, Ontario's electricity prices rose 54% faster than the Consumer Price Index between 1986 and 1996.) Or the continued increase in the price of electricity since 1997 due to the shutdown of seven of our nuclear reactors and the resulting need to import high-cost coal-fired electricity from the Ohio Valley on smog-alert days?

We don't think this pamphlet contains the kind of information that most Ontarians will find terribly useful. So we're asking you to take a simple action: Download from our No Nuclear Junk Mail Please! mailbox notice and put it up on your front door or mailbox today. You can also order bulk copies to distribute in your neighbourhood from our website.

You might also want to drop the Premier a line at or send a letter from our website and ask him to get back to the job of leading Ontario toward a brighter energy future. Tell the Premier you are looking for real solutions -- not advertising.

Please pass this message on to your friends.

Thank you.

Jessica Fracassi
Communications & Membership Manager
Ontario Clean Air Alliance
402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1
Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 245
Fax: 416-926-1601


The Ontario Clean Air Alliance is a coalition of health, environmental and consumer organizations, faith communities, unions, utilities, municipalities and individuals working for cleaner air through a coal phase-out and the shift to a renewable electricity future. Our partner organizations represent more than six million Ontarians.

To subscribe to this list please click here

For more on how you can contribute to clearing Ontario's air through your electricity purchases, please see our consumer-advice website:

GTA Residents interested in Environmental Issues, can meet in Toronto with Sierra Club

EcoCertification Cafe – Making Effective Environmental Choices
Wed, Mar 1 2006 7-9 p.m.
Location: Izakaya - 69 Front St. East Toronto
Contact: Sandi Trillo Ph 416-485-9173

Sierra Club’s EcoCertification Café meets monthly at a downtown café or pub to extend the conversations that naturally begin at Sierra Club events. Books, articles and current issues provide a focus for the conversations, but if you’re not a reader, just bring your thoughts! New Caférs welcome!

This month we’re taking our inspiration from the book: “The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists” by Michael Brower and Warren Leon. If you want to learn more about how to make good environmental choices – the book has some great suggestions. We’ll be sharing our own great ideas too.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We’re meeting in a new location this month. I’d like to make a reservation, so please RSVP by e-mail or phone. Thanks – Sandi

About the book:

Paper or plastic? Cloth or disposable? Regular or organic? Every day, environmentally conscious consumers are faced with the overwhelming catch-22 of a capitalist society--reconciling the harm we do by consuming, while still providing ourselves and our families with the goods and services we need. It's enough to make a city dweller crazy. Fret no more! The Union of Concerned Scientists has put together a well-researched and eminently practical guide to the decisions that matter. The authors hope that the book will help you set priorities, stop worrying about insignificant things, and understand the real environmental impacts of household decisions. For instance, you may be surprised to learn that buying and eating meat and poultry is much more harmful to the environment than the packaging the meat is wrapped in, even if it's Styrofoam. This guide takes on both sides of the consumer-impact argument, goring sacred cows of the environmentalist movement (like the strident emphasis on recycling) and the industrialist perspective (like the relentless message to buy more, more, more). If you're confused and overwhelmed by all the environmental decision-making in the modern world, you'll find new inspiration in this book. --Therese Littleton
(See for more reviews)

Ph: 416-960-9606
Fax: 416-960-0020
© Ontario Chapter of the Sierra Club of Canada

For more Information visit:


Check out some of the ongoing Campaigns and see how you can get involved!

The Stop Violence Against Women Campaign

The Power of Change Is in Our Hands

It is time to break the silence about the crisis of violence against women, and the silence that confronts so many women and girls when they seek safety, justice and rehabilitation. As a global human rights campaigning organization, there is much we can do to help end the silence and stop violence against women, and to create a world where women and girls are afforded their basic human rights. Across the world, Amnesty International members will unite to work towards making women’s human rights a reality.

How Our Campaign Will Contribute to Stopping Violence Against Women

Using a human rights framework to oppose violence against women changes the perception of it from a private matter to a public concern that requires action from recognized authorities. It also enables Amnesty International to use international human rights standards and laws to cut across national boundaries, cultures and religions to protest violence against women in all its forms. And perhaps most importantly, it makes it possible to use international remedies to hold governments accountable if they fail to meet their obligations to protect women from violence, regardless of who commits it or where it’s committed. By providing a global, human rights framework for the struggle to end violence against women, we will make clear once and for all that women and girls have the rights to be protected from violence for the simple fact that they are human.

Throughout the campaign:
* - We will call on governments and armed groups to end impunity for violence against women during times of conflict and post-conflict.
* - For some countries, we will demand that governments abolish discriminatory laws and practices that perpetrate violence against women.
* - In others, we will call for the adoption of new laws and policies to provide women protection from violence.
* - We will support women’s human rights defenders, and urge governments to ratify the Treaty for the Rights of Women (CEDAW) and its protocol without reservations.
* - In the US, we will work in support of anti-violence legislation and other national and local initiatives to stop VAW.
* - We will help increase public awareness of violence against women as a global human rights issue, and contribute to efforts to challenge attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate violence against women.

We are hoping for the broadest possible participation in the campaign from both men and women activists of Amnesty International USA. Men also suffer when the women they care about are targets of violence, and many male Amnesty members are already active in condemning and stopping violence against women. A key strength that Amnesty brings to any campaign is membership activism domestically and internationally, and the SVAW campaign is going to require time, energy, resources, and effort from all our members. If women are ever to see the day when the societies in which they live respect, protect and fulfill their rights, it’s going to take the kind of massive international push for equality and justice that only an organization with Amnesty’s global reach is capable of.

Amnesty International USA: Stop Violence Against Women Campaign (SVAW)

Bloggers of Ontario Unite!

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