Saturday, June 03, 2006

US soldier receives mild sentence for Iraq abuse

A US Army dog handler has been demoted and sentenced to 90 days of hard labour for using his dog to assault a prisoner at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Sergeant Santos Cardona, 32, of Fullerton, California, the 11th US soldier convicted for abusing Abu Ghraib detainees, also will have to forfeit $7,200 in pay, an Army spokeswoman said on Friday. He will not be confined during the term of hard labour but will be demoted to specialist.

Does the punishment fit the crime? Talk about a slap on the wrist. And we have yet to see some of the 'higher-ups' brought to trial and face punishment. It is too much to expect the US to act in a just manner. It will never happen. They consider themselves above any and ALL international laws.

Read full story here.

Defiant Iran rejects Western pressure

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Western powers cannot deprive Iran of its right to develop nuclear technology. "Pressure by certain Western countries aiming to make us abandon our (nuclear) rights will not show results," the Iranian president said on Friday, according to the official IRNA news agency. The declaration was Ahmadinejad's first since major world powers offered Iran a new deal on Thursday to halt its nuclear activities.
Full Story

US clears troops in Ishaqi killings

A US military probe has exonerated US troops in the deaths of Iraqi civilians in Ishaqi north of Baghdad in March. Defence officials said on Friday that American forces followed standard procedures and committed no misconduct. Police in the town 100km north of Baghdad, said six adults and five children were shot dead in a US military raid on a home on March 15. But the US military maintained that there were four dead in the incident, including a guerrilla, two women and a child, and they died after troops were fired upon from the house as they arrived to arrest an al-Qaeda suspect.

Why doesn't this surprise me? The US will never be held accountable for the crimes they have committed and continue to commit. Remember My Lai? Was everyone involved in that massacre rightfully punished? And Cambodia? How about all the countless thousands, untold numbers of deaths caused by their black-ops and subversive tactics? Remember Central America? The Iran/Contra affair? El Salvador? The atrocities are just too numerous to mention. Other nations who have committed war crimes were held accountable. The US never was and never will be.

Read the article about this 'latest exoneration' here.

PM wants to stay out of Caledonia but judge wants him in

PM Stephen Harper wants to stay out of the three-month aboriginal land dispute at Caledonia but the Ontario Superior Court judge who has issued injunctions ordering an end to the protest wants Ottawa in.
Mr. Justice T. David Marshall yesterday adjourned an unusual legal hearing to give Ottawa two weeks to decide whether it will appear in his court on June 16.

Ont. Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay said in an interview that he is pleased Judge Marshall has asked the federal government to send a rep to court when the hearing resumes on June 16th. "It's a recognition by the judge that the federal government needs to be there,” Ramsay said. “That voice was missing today.”

Judge Marshall was upset that the Six Nations protests are still goin on despite three injunctions from him, and at the outset of the hearing has said he was concerned that "in this community, the rule of law has been suspended in our country."

But by the end of a day of legal arguments, he accepted the advice of the majority of the lawyers who appeared before him that patience was needed, and that it would not be helpful to order the Ontario Provincial Police to remove the protesters from a disputed development site and nearby barricades.

Perhaps the government has learned some lessons from Oka and Ipperwash?

However, C.E. McCarthy who represented the Haldimand Law Society, has not. McCarthy said many locals “complain that we are negotiating with people who are breaking the law,” and suggested that the use of force to end the protest may have to be considered.

He said what is happening reminds him of the events in the 1930s when Neville Chamberlain tried appeasement with Germany, and that if the OPP had done its job and ejected the protesters when they first occupied the site, owners Henco Industries Ltd. would not have had to seek a court injunction.

Likening the Native protesters who have been peacefully occupying land that they feel belongs to them to Hitler? And this McCarthy guy is a lawyer??

Even OPP lawyer Denise Dwyer was aghast, saying that McCarthy's remarks were “unfortunate and inappropriate”.
“They were words that incite confrontation on the ground. They are fighting words,” she told the court. “The protest is a symptom of the underlying problem, and that is what the province is trying to deal with through negotiations.”

Read the complete Globe and Mail article here.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Neil Young's "Let's Impeach the President"

For those people who have missed it (or have just landed from another planet), here is Neil Young's song "Let's Impeach The President" from his new album "Living with War".

You can also watch CNN's interview with Neil, Red State Update's War on Neil Young, Bush parodies (and reality), Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young, and other cool, irreverent Neil Young-impeach-Bush related stuff here.

You can also read comments and add your own on YouTube.

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Urge Canada to Strengthen Regulations of Toxic Chemicals!

In an average day you'll breathe in 20,000 litres of air. Air filled with nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, and ozone. And we're exposed to an even greater amount of toxic chemicals through our water and food.

In a new study released by Environmental Defense showed a a cocktail of harmful toxic chemicals detectable in Canadians. The report found even greater concentrations of these poisons in children.

Canada's pollution problems stem from the weak and ineffective regulation of toxic chemicals under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). Safety testing is not required for most chemicals, and industry is not held accountable for their chemicals.

We must begin to phase-out toxics, and implement pollution prevention measures to keep these poisons out of the environment and our bodies.

Urge Minister of the Environment Rona Ambrose to strengthen the regulation of toxic chemicals in Canada by strengthening CEPA>>

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Toronto: U of T presents: A Dialogue on Women's Representation, June 4th

Just a reminder that with the Citizens’ Assembly coming, we are finally going to have a chance to change the way we vote in Ontario.

Will the voting system we choose help get more women elected?
Come and hear some opinions of the experts and add your thoughts and ideas to the conversation.
Please join us on June 4th for a day of stimulating and provocative discussion on an issue of importance to all of us

Equal Voice, Women for Fair Voting

and the University of Toronto Political Science Department



Sunday, June 4, 11-3pm
University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, Falconer Hall, please follow the signs.
84 Queen's Park Cresent West. Museum Subway stop, West side exit.
(South of Bloor Street, next to the Royal Ontario Museum (Queen's Park Crescent is a continuation of University Avenue, and becomes Avenue Road north of Bloor).

The Ontario government has established a Citizens' Assembly to review and make recommendations for altering Ontario's voting system. This half-day forum will feature experts on women's representation and electoral systems who will highlight the key issues that need to addressed on this complex topic. Those in attendance will also be encouraged to bring their knowledge and concerns on the issue into the discussion.

Themes to be addressed include the interaction of social factors and electoral system design on women's representation, the role of parties, questions of 'demographic' representation and 'critical mass', and evidence about women's representation from around the world.

ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Please register as soon as possible.

See below for program details and registration details.

10:30-11:00 Registration

11:00-11:15 Introduction

Diane Williamson, Equal Voice
June Macdonald, Women for Fair Voting

The voting system and barriers to the representation of women

Jill Vickers, Carleton
Barry Kay, Wilfrid Laurier
Brenda O'Neill, Calgary
Amanda Bittner, UBC

12:45-1:15 Snack Break

Demographic representation, critical mass and parties

Melissa Haussman, Carleton
Sheilagh Knight, Research consultant
Kiloran German, Equal Voice
Judith Mackenzie, Guelph
Michelle Dagnino, Osgoode Law School, student-at-law

2:45-3:00 Closing comments


Use this form, or register by calling 416-410-4034. Registration fee covers materials and morning snacks/coffee/tea. Optional lunch available for purchase at the event.

__$10 regular or __ $5 students or unwaged

__ cheque enclosed or __ credit card # (VISA or MC) _________________________

expiry date ________________

Name ___________________________________ Email ______________________

Address _________________________________________________________________

________________________________________ Phone (day)____________________

Mail completed form to: Fair Vote Canada, 26 Maryland Blvd., Toronto, ON M4C 5C9
Or fax to: 416-686-4929


Costa Rica has long stood out in Latin America as a peaceful and democratic society. Its President, Oscar Arias Sanchez, is a Nobel Peace Prize winner. It's not the kind of place you'd usually find LabourStart calling for a global campaign -- but that's exactly what they're doing today.

Costa Rica is now the kind of country where trade union leaders have their lives threatened, union offices get raided by armed men, and courts are mobilized in an effort to break unions. All this takes place in the context of the struggle by unions against CAFTA -- the free trade agreement between several Central American countries and the USA.

Costa Rican unions are appealing for a large number of email protest messages to be send to the country's president and other leaders.

Please lend your support to this campaign today

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AIUSA: Join the Struggle to Stop Torture

This is an email I've received from Amnesty International USA yesterday, the first day of Torture Awareness Month. Consequently, the topic is torture, and the US government's complicity in this horrendous practice. In order to raise awareness and have their voices heard, Amnesty USA is organising visits to congressional district offices, and asking US residents to join/lead these delegations.

Years ago I was asked to interview Sister Dianna Ortiz, a torture survivor. As I researched her experience, the facts were so depressing that at one point I was not sure I wanted to interview her. When I met her, it was clear the scars of torture had marked her life, but her resilience, passion and energy to end torture overshadowed everything else. This experience led me to realize that the most essential thing I could do to end this horrible crime that plagues the world is become active and work with others.

Strong evidence suggests that the U.S. government has been complicit in torture. Now more than ever we have the duty and the power to ensure that our voices are heard. Amnesty International USA is organizing visits to congressional district offices and we need you as leaders to be on the frontline against this grave abuse of human rights. I urge you today, the first day of Torture Awareness Month, to join the struggle against torture by leading a delegation to your elected official’s district office.

As Amnesty International USA’s volunteer Legislative Coordinator for Tennessee, I've seen the power of our voices when we stand up and let our concerns be known to our elected leaders. I'm confident that your efforts can help end these policies in our own country. Like me, I hope you will apply to be a delegation leader and visit the district offices of your elected officials during the week of June 26th to urge that they support legislation to stop the use of extraordinary rendition.

» Apply to be a delegation leader
» Join a delegation


Erick Veliz
AIUSA Volunteer Legislative Coordinator for Tennessee
Amnesty International USA

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Amnesty International: Zimbabwe

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

Zimbabwe: Satellite images provide shocking evidence of the obliteration of a community

Amnesty International today released the first-ever satellite images of the wholesale destruction of a large community in Zimbabwe -- providing the clearest possible evidence to date of the devastating impact of the Zimbabwean government's policy of house demolitions.

"These satellite images are irrefutable evidence -- if further evidence is even needed -- that the Zimbabwean government has obliterated entire communities -- completely erased them from the map, as if they never existed," said Kolawole Olaniyan, Director of Amnesty International's Africa programme.

The organization commissioned the satellite images to demonstrate the complete destruction of Porta Farm -- a large, informal settlement that was established 16 years ago and had schools, a children's centre and a mosque. The organization also released graphic video footage showing the forced evictions taking place prior to the demolitions.

"The images and footage are a graphic indictment of the Zimbabwean government's policies. They show the horrifying transition of an area from a vibrant community to rubble and shrubs -- in the space of just ten months," said Kolawole Olaniyan.

On 27 June 2005, approximately one month after the start of Operation Murambatsvina ("Restore Order"), police officers came to Porta Farm and distributed fliers telling residents to pack up their property and leave their homes. The police told the residents they would be back the following morning, giving them less than 24 hours to comply.

Early in the morning of 28 June, a convoy of vehicles and police descended on Porta Farm. The police were heavily armed.

Residents watched helplessly as bulldozers and police officers in riot gear reduced their homes to rubble. Police officers reportedly threatened the residents, saying anyone who resisted eviction would be beaten. The destruction of Porta Farm went on all day -- only ending when darkness fell. Thousands of people were forced to sleep outside in the rubble in mid-winter.

The next day, the police returned to continue with the demolitions. They also began to forcibly remove people on the back of trucks.

The Porta Farm evictions took place while the UN Special Envoy, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, was in Zimbabwe. On 29 June members of the Special Envoy’s team visited Porta Farm and witnessed demolitions and forced removal of people in police and government trucks. The subsequent report of the UN Special Envoy describes how the team was "shocked by the brutality" of what they witnessed. Local human rights monitors reported that during the chaos several deaths occurred, including those of two children.


In May 2005 the government of Zimbabwe embarked on Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order), a programme of mass forced evictions and the demolition of homes and informal businesses. The operation, which was carried out in winter and against a backdrop of severe food shortages, targeted poor urban and peri-urban areas countrywide.

In a critical report released on 22 July 2005 the United Nations (UN) estimated that in the space of approximately six weeks some 700,000 people lost their homes, their livelihoods, or both.

The communities affected by Operation Murambatsvina were amongst the poorest and most vulnerable in Zimbabwe. In several cases, such as Porta Farm, they had been the victims of previous forced evictions carried out by the authorities. They were given almost no notice before their homes were demolished and no alternative accommodation was provided. The government stated publicly that the evictees should go back to the rural areas.

The satellite images released by Amnesty International were analysed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, with funding from the MacArthur Foundation in the US.

Satellite images

All AI documents on Zimbabwe

You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact. Only the list subscription message may be removed.
Past and current Amnesty news services can be found at

Visit for information about Amnesty International and for other AI publications.

Contact if you need to get in touch with the International Secretariat of Amnesty International.

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UFPJ Action Alert!

'We Have a Haditha Every Day'

As horrible as the November 2005 massacre in Haditha was, it appears to be the tip of the iceberg. Today's news brings reports of another alleged mass killing of civilians by U.S. troops in Iraq, including a 6-month-old baby, last March.

While the details of that incident remain murky, the story of Haditha has now been told in chilling detail by numerous respected sources. In a several-hour-long rampage, a group of U.S. Marines shot 24 Iraqi civilians execution-style, at close range -- among them a 77-year-old amputee confined to a wheelchair and seven children ranging in age from 1 to 15. A 41-year-old woman was killed while trying to shield the youngest baby with her body.

U.S. soldiers shot these innocent people. But ultimately, it was U.S. policy that killed them. We need to be sure that all of those responsible for these deaths are held accountable -- not just the individual Marines who snapped and committed terrible atrocities, but every politician from Congress to the White House who has supported this indefensible war.

We need to keep the public dialogue going about Haditha, the war, and political accountability. We encourage you to call into the talk shows on your local radio stations and to write letters to the editors of your local newspapers. (Click here to find contact information for your local media outlets.) See our talking points for more detailed ideas about how to frame the issue.

We must also bring the truth of this tragedy home to our communities. The Iraqi victims of this war have too often been faceless, nameless, invisible. With the Haditha massacre, we know the names and ages of the 24 victims, and we know how they died: Presenting this publicly is a powerful way to dramatize the horrors of this war.

We have posted a list of the names, ages, and genders of the Haditha victims, as well as individual posters you can download representing each of the 24, on our website. We encourage you to hold public events in your community using this information.

Some ideas:

  • Have 24 people stand vigil in a high-profile location, each holding a sign with details about one of the Haditha victims. To make the event especially powerful, try to find people whose ages correspond with those who were killed.
  • You can highlight the number of deaths by holding a 24-minute or 24-hour vigil in your community.
  • If you already hold a weekly vigil, you can re-frame your next gathering along these lines. If you don't have a regular vigil in your community yet, this is an occasion to start one. To be most effective, events should be held sometime during this coming week.
  • Make sure to post your event on our website calendar, and let your local media know that it is happening. A sample press release will soon be available on our website.
  • Whatever you do, please send reports of your events to

Some will ask why we are focusing so specifically on these deaths, when so many thousands of others have needlessly died, including nearly 2,500 U.S. soldiers.

The reason is this: This war is wrong not just because U.S. soldiers are dying, or because the Bush Administration lied to us, or even because we so desperately need the close to $300 billion spent on the war to rebuild the Gulf Coast and to address the rest of our country's neglected needs.

We need to end the war now, because we are killing innocent human beings every single day. Every day that we keep our soldiers in Iraq, we are putting them in atrocity-producing situations. Though U.S. Congressmember John Murtha called it "the worst rampage by service members in the Iraq war," Haditha, just like the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, isn't remarkable because of what happened there on November 19, 2005, but because it happens to be one of the few horrific incidents we've forced ourselves to look at.

As Muhanned Jasim, an Iraqi merchant, quoted by Molly Ivins in her June 1 column, said, "We have a Haditha every day."

We must end the war in Iraq, and bring all the troops home -- NOW.

To subscribe, visit

Help us continue to do this critical work: Make a donation to UFPJ today.

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Mississauga Event: Candlelight Vigil, June 13th

Security Certificates: Detainees on Trial

Candlelight Vigil
Tuesday June 13

Hurontario & Dundas
Revolution Square

7:30 pm

Speakers to be confirmed

Presented by the Mississauga Coalition for Peace and Justice
for more into, contact:

Canada's Political Mess

I am totally disgusted with all the scandals and outright chicanery that is plaguing the Liberal Party. It makes me want to just throw up my hands and not even bother to vote in our corrupt system. Yes, the scandals are mostly coming to light in the Liberal Party. However, the others are not much better. Harper reneges on his accountability by vetting who in the media can ask him questions, a la Bush, axes Kyoto, axes deal to move the problem-plagued Kashechewan reserve, etc., etc. (ad nauseam).

Now it has come to light that Liberal leadership candidate Joe Volpe has received about $27,000 in campaign donations submitted under the names of children as young as 11 years old who are the children of drug company executives. In damage control mode, Volpe said yesterday that he was 'raising the standards' of campaign-financing rules by returning the money, though teen-agers 14 and older are still allowed to vote in leadership contests, but the Volpe campaign won't allow donations in the future from anyone under 18.

Our entire political system is in a mess. It is resembling the U.S. more and more in its corruption. I am seriously considering boycotting all elections from now on.

Our province is not much better, as evidenced by its mishandling of the Six Nations crisis (where Judge Marshall has an obvious conflict of interest since he owns property in the area); Ontario's Disability Support Programme's inadequecies and total lack of concern for the disabled; McGuinty's not phasing out dirty coal-fired plants - preferring instead nuclear energy - and the list goes on and on....

Read about Volpe's damage control here.

Yes, I am angry. Very, very angry. And find it difficult not to adopt a futilitarian attitude.

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500 Day for Democracy: Volunteers Needed for Ontario Referendum Campaign

Fair Vote Ontario -- 500 Days for Democracy

Volunteers Needed Now for Ontario Referendum Campaign

Dear Friends, Supporters and Members:

On October 4, 2007, you and other Ontarians will participate in a pivotal event for 21st century Canadian democracy.

On that day, we will vote in a referendum on a new provincial voting system – hopefully scrapping our hopelessly antiquated and dysfunctional first-past-the-post system and replacing it with a fair and proportional voting system.

The stakes are incredibly high. If we change the voting system, giving every Ontarian an equal and effective vote, we change the entire political arena. Also, if we change the voting system in Canada’s largest province, the political effect will be felt right across the country.

Last week, we passed day 500 in our countdown to the referendum. We now have just under 500 days to do everything possible to:

1) encourage the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform to recommend a proportional voting system, and

2) then mobilize public support to win the subsequent referendum.

Fair Vote Canada, a multi-partisan citizens’ organization, has organized the Fair Vote Ontario campaign to win this battle.

We already have several thousand members and supporters in Ontario. We already have active chapters in many areas, and more are being formed. But that’s just not enough. To make history on October 4, 2007, we need to mobilize an unprecedented multi-partisan network of citizen-volunteers who can help this campaign, in any number of ways, over the next 18 months.

If you can provide any volunteer support to the Fair Vote Ontario campaign between now and October 2007, please reply to this email (including your riding name and/or postal code).

How can you help?

June 2006 Priority: Contacting MPPs

Our priority in the next 30 days is for volunteers to contact their MPPs by email, letter, phone and/or in person, to press for a fair referendum process.

Both BC and PEI had similar referendums in the past year. In both cases, the premiers scrapped traditional democratic practice by setting super-majority thresholds for the referendum. They required the Yes vote to reach or exceed 60% to trigger implementation of their new proportional voting systems.

Premier McGuinty and the Leader of the Official Opposition have yet to announce if they will honour a majority decision by Ontarians. Our message to MPPs in the coming weeks is to apply the same democratic principle – simple majority rule – to this referendum decision by citizens that they apply to their own decision-making at Queen’s Park.

If we provide you with a fact sheet and support material, outlining why we need a fair referendum process, can you contact your MPP in the coming weeks? If so, please reply to this email today (including your riding name and/or postal code).

Other Volunteer Help Needed

Throughout the coming 18 months we will need an extensive network of volunteers throughout the province.

In the coming months, we’ll need contacts in every community to help with local speaking engagements for Fair Vote Ontario speakers, outreach to community groups, letters to the editor, recruiting new members, leaflet distribution, placement of articles in newsletters, and making local presentations to the Citizens’ Assembly next winter. If you can help, let us know what you can do, and we’ll add you to our action alert email list.

On behalf of the Fair Vote Ontario campaign council, we hope you will join with us, and with your fellow citizens from all backgrounds, viewpoints and parts of the province, to make fair voting a reality in Ontario. We look forward to working with you.

Yours for a strong democracy,

Joe Murray


Fair Vote Ontario

Fair Vote Canada
26 Maryland Blvd.
Toronto, ON M4C 5C9
Ph: 416-410-4034
Fax: 416-686-4929

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CSPAN Broadcasting 'Nation' Campus Conference

CSPAN-2 will be broadcasting live from TOMORROW's (Friday) Nation/Campus Progress Student Journalism Conference.

More than 125 student writers and editors from across the country will come together at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC for a day of journalism workshops, panel discussions, training sessions and informal conversations with numerous Nation writers and editors, including Katrina vanden Heuvel, Victor Navasky, John Nichols, David Corn, Eric Alterman, Laura Flanders, Liza Featherstone, William Greider, Ari Berman, Max Blumenthal, Roane Carey and Emily Biuso as well as Helen Thomas, E.J. Dionne, Juliet Eilperin, Salim Muwakkil and Annys Shin. The broadcast starts tomorrow, June 2, at 9:30 EST, so please tune in. You can also visit for a live video stream.

Please also visit The Nation online to listen to RadioNation with Laura Flanders, to read new Nation blogs, to view newsfeed links updated each day, to see when Nation writers are appearing on TV and radio, for info on nationwide activist campaigns, and to read exclusive online reports and special weekly selections from The Nation magazine!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Tomgram: Greg Grandin on the Mother of All Scandals

You never can be too early when it comes to an anniversary. It's barely June, but a quick look down the road reminds us that the twentieth anniversary of the Reagan administration's Iran-Contra Affair lies just ahead this November. As Greg Grandin reminds us, Irangate (as it came to be known in the wake of Nixon's Watergate fiasco) was a kind of coming attractions, right down to its cast of characters, for our own era of right-wing domination, carnage, and now -- finally -- full-blown corruption scandals. From Vice President Cheney to the new Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, so many of the Iran-Contra era scoundrels returned to the political stage these last years for a grim second bow and, perhaps not so strangely, similar results -- though this time not on the relatively parochial stage of Central America, but in the oil heartlands of our planet.

The question Grandin's piece raises is this: Is a look into the past also a look into the future? As the Iran-Contra moment seeded our own second age of Bush, what will this Bush moment bequeath us? What cast of characters, another decade or two down the line will emerge to take that grim second bow? For those who care for some deeper background on that 1980s moment and our own, don't miss Grandin's superb new book, Empire's Workshop, a history of the American imperial presence in Latin America; but even more compellingly, a history of how, in relation to that region, the New Right first was stirred into a combustible political brew. Tom

The Swift Boating of America

By Greg Grandin

An illegal war, torture rooms, warrantless wiretapping, manipulated intelligence, secret prisons, disinformation planted in the press, graft, and billions of reconstruction dollars gone missing: just when it seemed that the Bush administration had reached its corruption quota comes a new scandal. This one is a bribery case involving defense contractors, Republican congressmen, prostitutes, secret Hawaiian getaways, Scottish castles, and -- wait for it -- the Watergate Hotel. At its center is the just ex-Executive Director of the CIA, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, whose sole qualification for being appointed to that post by just ex-Director Porter Goss seems to have been his ability, while head of the Agency's Frankfurt post, to hand out bottled-water contracts to friends and show junketing politicians a good time.

Don't fret though if you are having trouble separating this particular crime from other Republican offenses. There's a good reason -- they're all one scandal, part of the same wave of militarism, fraud, and ideology that has swamped American politics of late. While this wave of scandal seems now to be heading for tsunami proportions, its first swells date back decades. Just take a look at Dusty's résumé.

After his zealotry got him booted from Sears' security and the San Diego police department, Foggo drew on his collegiate Young Republican connections to land a job in the early 1980s with the CIA. His first mission was in Honduras, then the staging ground for Ronald Reagan's secret paramilitary war against Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government. In addition to his official duties, Foggo helped his old college buddy Brent Wilkes -- the defense contractor now implicated in the ongoing bribery case involving former Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham -- bring conservative cadres down to Central America. There, he introduced them to anti-Sandinista rebels, better known as Contras. It seems that, even then, a lot more than anti-Communist solidarity was on the agenda. Three of Wilkes' former friends now claim that these trips included partying with prostitutes.

A New Right Mecca

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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MNN Message to armed forces at Six Nations

This comes from Kahentinetha Horn, Mohawk Nation News MNN:

June 1, 2006.


Have you consulted your legal counsel on the latest Supreme Court rulings? It is crucial that you do so. The Supreme Court of Canada has clearly stated that Aboriginal issues must be resolved by negotiation. You have no legal authority for making an armed attack on the Six Nations who are on our territory. We have selected a few of the recent decisions that support the Six Nations position and set out the format that is to be followed for the “consultation” and “accommodation” that is supposed to take place when Indigenous land title is at issue. Why don’t you send this to your legal department and they can confirm to you that your plan to attack Six Nations people is illegal.

Haida Nation of British Columbia (Minister of Forestry) [2004] 3 S.C.R. 511. “There is a legal duty to consult and accommodate when there is a dispute over title to land”. It is a government-to-government negotiation.

R. v. Badger [1996] 1 S.C.R. 771 at paragraph 41 at 2 S.C. Judgments. “It is always assumed that the Crown intends to fulfill its promises”. The OPP stance is violating this. There is a buildup of cops. It looks like someone acting on behalf of Canada is planning to violate the law that land issues are supposed to be conducted on a government-to-government basis.

Justice McLaughlin says, “Injunctions are not the best way to go in a land title dispute. There is a duty to negotiate and to accommodate”. The Six Nations has been “talking”. We have been accommodating. We opened a road. There is traffic flowing through our land. Now Ontario and Canada have decided not to keep their promises.

Canada and Ontario may have forgotten that the court is moving into a “decolonization” direction. Is only the top level of the court aware of this? The lessons have not sunk in yet at the lower levels. They should go back to law school.

The Haldimand Proclamation is part of Britain’s fulfillment of their obligation to their allies, the Six Nations. There was an oral treaty between Six Nations and our British allies which cemented our alliance based on oral agreements. Haldimand is part of this agreement.

P. 26, Haida Nation. “Honorable” negotiations implies a legal duty to consult with Aboriginal claimants and concluding an honorable agreement reflecting the claimants’ inherent rights”.

“The Crown, acting honorable, cannot cavalierly run rough shod over Aboriginal interests where claims affecting those interests are being seriously violated in the process of treaty negotiation and proof”. It must respect that there is potential but yet unproven interests.

Where is the right coming from to attack us? It is old fashioned, archaic, colonial, violates domestic and international law. The Crown wants to pretend that our interests are unproven. They are very well proven. They cannot pretend they don’t have the legal duty to respect our interests. They have a legal duty to consult and accommodate us. Do the cops know what they are doing? Are you aware that if you violate us by running and trampling onto our territory, you will be violating recent Supreme Court decisions?

Haida paragraph 35: “But, when precisely, does the duty to consult arise? The foundation of the duty on the Crown’s honor and the goal of reconciliation suggests that the duty arises when the Crown has knowledge, real or constructive, of the potential existence of the Aboriginal right or title and contemplates the title that might adversely affect it”. There’s no doubt that the Crown knows very well that we have rights and title and they have to respect it.

Perhaps some things were unclear in the past, but now there is no doubt. The proper way to solve Indigenous land claims is not to ignore us and not to use force. You are required to enter into meaningful negotiations. Our inherent rights are protected. If you try to invade us again like you did on April 20th 2006, you will eventually get yourself into a legal mess.

Kahentinetha Horn

MNN Mohawk Nation News

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Darfur rebels ignore peace deadline

A midnight African Union deadline for holdout Darfur rebels to agree to a peace deal for the troubled western Sudanese region has passed with no new signatories, AU officials say. Despite intense pressure and threats of sanctions on the two rebel groups that have thus far rejected the pact, AU officials said no such overtures had been made. At the same time, they said the pan-African body might be willing to accept signatures to the May 5 agreement on Thursday, considering logistical problems would-be signers may have had in meeting the May 31 deadline. "No one has called to say they will sign but they know how to reach us," a senior AU official said at the bloc's headquarters in Addis Ababa after the 2100 GMT deadline passed.
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Iran dismisses US offer of talks

Iran has described the American offer of talks if Tehran verifiably suspends its nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities, as "a propaganda move". "It's evident that the Islamic Republic of Iran only accepts proposals and conditions that meet the interests of the nation and the country.
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Afghan leaders seek crash prosecution

The Afghan parliament has demanded the prosecution of US soldiers involved in a deadly road crash and shooting that sparked riots in Kabul earlier in the week. Saleh Mohammed Saljuqi, an assistant to the parliamentary speaker, said: "Those responsible for the accident on Monday should be handed over to Afghan legal authorities."
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Stop the Execution of a Mentally-ill Man in Virginia

Stop the Execution of a Mentally-ill Man in Virginia
Percy Walton, who suffers from serious mental illness, is scheduled to be executed in Virginia on June 8. There is also evidence that Mr. Walton has at least borderline mental retardation and the mental age of a young child. If the crimes for which he was sentenced to death had been committed five weeks earlier, Percy Walton would have been 17 years old and his execution would be illegal under US and international law. By all accounts, Percy Walton is less developed intellectually than most 18-year-olds.
» Take action


The Program to Abolish the Death Penalty updates the information below on a regular basis. Follow the links below for the latest information on these topics:
Pending Executions | Case Updates | Select State and National Updates | Upcoming Events


30 Years After Gregg
July 2, 2006 will mark the 30th anniversary of the landmark Gregg v. Georgia ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld newly revised death penalty statutes after having called this punishment "arbitrary, capricious and discriminatory" just four years earlier. Executions resumed in 1977, and since then more than 1,000 condemned prisoners have been executed, while about 3,400 sit on death rows throughout the United States.

The 30th anniversary of the Gregg decision provides an excellent opportunity for grassroots activists to call for a thorough and frank assessment of whether the expectations of a fairer and less arbitrary death penalty have, in fact, been fulfilled.
» Learn more
» Get involved

More News!
For special case updates, the latest news stories, and more visit our blog and join the discussion.
» Read the blog

2006 National Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty!
Mark your calendars! Amnesty International USA's National Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty (NWFA) will take place October 20-22, 2006. The NWFA is an occasion for faith communities, interfaith groups, human rights activists, and individuals to examine the death penalty from the perspective of their own faith traditions and values. It’s also an opportunity to discuss personal views in a safe and comfortable space. Set aside some time that weekend for an activity or event that focuses on the death penalty, using the ideas and resources provided by AIUSA as your guide.

How to get started:

  • Read more about the NWFA and check out some of the activities that took place last year
  • Register as a participant, using a quick and easy form
  • Start planning your activity or event for October (a NWFA Organizing Packet will be sent to all registered participants this summer; it contains a wealth of ideas and resources)

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

OntarioClean Air Alliance: Film 'An Inconveniet Truth'

Help AMPCO see the big picture

The recent suggestion by the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario (AMPCO) that the province should essentially ignore the climate-change impacts of burning coal to produce electricity left us thinking about why AMPCO seems to be so completely in the dark about such a crucial issue.

It must be, we decided, that AMPCO members are so busy running some of Canada’s biggest companies that they have not had time to fully digest the implications of an increasingly erratic global climate – more frequent and severe storms and hurricanes, drought, flooding, soaring summer heat and smog, species extinctions, etc.

Fortunately, there is now a great chance for AMPCO members to catch up fast. The powerful new film, An Inconvenient Truth, details former U. S. Vice President Al Gore’s efforts to shed some light on the potential calamities facing the planet as a result of human-caused climate change.

This is where you come in. We want you to reach out to the members of AMPCO by taking their busy senior managers to a night at the movies. Invite your favourite AMPCO manager to see An Inconvenient Truth. Tell them it’s a “must see,” particularly for those who work for companies that are among the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in the country. Be generous: offer to pick up the tickets and pay for the popcorn and to even take them out for a coffee afterwards to further discuss Gore’s message that we must make changes now – not a decade from now. (For a list of AMPCO member companies, click here.) Remember, these are busy people, so you will have to be persistent to get them to make room for your movie night in their schedules.

Of course, if you are unable to have them attend with you, please go and see it yourself on opening weekend to show your support of the film.An Inconvenient Truth opens June 2nd in Toronto at the Cumberland Theatre; in Ottawa on June 9th at the Bytowne Cinema; in London on June 30th at the Rainbow Galleria; and in Waterloo on June 23rd at the Princess Theatre.

For more about the movie, visit

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.

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June OCAP Events

This June the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty will be holding a series of events which will highlight the history of our struggle and build support for our current campaigns and actions. Please come out and support OCAP at the following events:

All of June- Opening Thursday June 8th at 7:00pm
Tinto’s Coffee House- 89 Roncesvalles (just north of Queen Street)
By Donation.

Over the past 15 years OCAP has gone from Mulroneyville to the Days of Action to Squeegee Actions and the Safe Park to June 15th and the Fall Campaign and beyond to the Raise the Rates campaign. The photographs and posters from this history will be on display beginning on Thursday June 8th and continuing for the rest of the month. Our Opening Night will feature a presentation on the History of OCAP and a discussion of where we are heading.

Saturday June 10th
Allan Gardens- corner of Gerrard and Sherbourne
starting at Noon

OCAP brings together communities from across the city and around the province to stand and fight together. We organize with poor tenants, the homeless, taxi drivers, refugees, street vendors, hotel workers and anyone ready to take a stand day in and day out.

On Saturday June 10th we will gather for music, games and BBQ to celebrate our strength. All are Welcome- Join us.

If you are able to bring a salad, snack, desert or side dish please do so.

Saturday June 24th
Starting at 9:00am
At Dufferin Grove Park (off Dufferin, just south of Bloor- across from Dufferin Mall)

Every year one of our biggest fundraising events is our Rummage Sale. This year the event will be taking place at Dufferin Grove Park but we need your help. Please donate any household items, books, clothes or random things to OCAP- preferably bring them out on the day of the event or if you can’t call Mike D at 416 925 6939 to arrange a pick up.

Of Course- On June 24th come out and do your shopping with OCAP!

Sunday June 25th at 7pm
Innis Town Hall- 2 Sussex Avenue (corner of Sussex and St. George)
Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 at the door. Advance tickets are available at OPIRG-UofT (563 Spadina Ave) or at the OCAP Office.

The Raise the Rates campaign is central to the work of OCAP right now. Over the past year the Special Diet Clinics have put millions of extra dollars into poor communities. This evening will focus on examining the Raise the Rates campaign so far and will include a panel discussion and the debut screening of a new documentary on the campaign- “Raise the Rates”.

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6

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Take Action on ExxonMobil today!

This Action Alert is for American readers, as it requires contacting your members of Congress about Exxon Mobil's dirty practices:

Dressed in big oil barrels bearing bold white messages like, “Exxon Funds Global Warming Skeptics!” Exxpose Exxon activists are gathering in Dallas today to protest outside ExxonMobil’s annual shareholder meeting.

Even if you can’t be there in person to show ExxonMobil how fed up you are with its dirty practices, you can still participate in the protest by sending a letter to your members of Congress today. Ask them to reject any bill that lines ExxonMobil’s pockets with more tax breaks and more oil drilling of our pristine lands and shorelines. The message is simple: If it’s good for ExxonMobil, it’s bad for the country. Your letter will help Congress put every bill before it in the right perspective.

Click here to participate in today’s protest by sending your message to Congress now.

Right now Congress is buzzing with talk about price gouging at the gas pump and ExxonMobil’s excessive profits and CEO pay packages. This is a crucial moment and it’s very important that your members of Congress hear from you today regarding your feelings about bills that benefit ExxonMobil instead of the American public.

As you likely know, we cannot drill our way out of global warming or our current energy crisis. Unfortunately, ExxonMobil refuses to accept this simple fact and is actually stepping up its efforts to lobby for more drilling in protected places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In fact, just this month, after a private meeting with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, House Speaker Dennis Hastert called on Congress to concentrate on prying open the Arctic Refuge for drilling.

Whether your concern is about global warming, clean air and water, social and environmental justice, human rights, wildlife and pristine land protection, peak oil, or national security – the solution is the same.

Our country must end its dependence on oil and begin the transition to clean and affordable renewable energy sources. ExxonMobil is using its profits and influence to stop that from happening. But we have something greater, we have the powerful voice of the people.

Please join today’s protest by clicking here to send a letter about ExxonMobil to your members of Congress now.

Then forward this message to all of your friends, family, and co-workers and ask them to do the same.

Bush's Propaganda

In today's email to me, Matthew Rotschild, editor of the The Progressive has this to say about Bush's latest propaganda speeches during the Memorial Day long week-end:

"Thank God the Memorial Day weekend is over. I couldn't stand another minute of Bush's propaganda.

On Saturday at West Point, he promised a long war in the Middle East and he peddled the fallacy of the Cold War analogy to terrorism, which I debunk on our website.

And then on Monday at Arlington National Cemetery, he talked about how "America has always gone to war reluctantly because we know the costs of war.” Reluctantly? Hardly. Bush was in haste for war in Iraq, as I try to point out in "The Horrors of Haditha".

And this review about the rest of The Progressive's post-Memorial Day offerings:

"Ruth Conniff also writes about the meaning of Haditha, a posting I hope you appreciate.

Finally, we've got an interview up on our website this week with, Mustafa Barghouthi, a member of the Palestinian parliament. Dr. Barghouthi, an advocate of nonviolence, is the founder of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society and a co-founder of the Palestinian National Initiative, an alternative both to Fatah and Hamas. If you listen to the interview, you'll get a perspective you rarely find in the American media.

I hope you enjoy our post-Memorial Day offerings."

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Iraq Dispatches: Civilian Slaughter Update

May 31, 2006

Civilian Slaughter Update

On Tuesday, May 30 Truthout published my
article "Countles My Lai Massacres in Iraq".

Here are a couple of recent pieces of information to augment that story.

Today the AP has just released this story:

2 Iraqi women killed by coalition troops:

"BAGHDAD, Iraq -
Two Iraqi women were shot to death north of Baghdad after coalition forces fired on a vehicle that failed to stop at an observation post, the U.S. military said Wednesday. Iraqi police and relatives said one of the women was about to give birth."

And on May 29, Al-Shaqiyah TV reported from Iraq:

"US forces killed five civilians and wounded two others in the city [Ramadi] today. A source at Al-Ramadi State Hospital said that among the dead were a child and a woman. An Iraqi officer in Al-Ramadi said that the US forces were beefing up their presence on the periphery of Al-Ramadi, noting that the city will soon come under siege 'ahead of an all-out attack such as the one that targeted Al-Fallujah' in 2004."

(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

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

Iraq Dispatches: Countless My Lai Massacres in Iraq

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

Tuesday 30 May 2006

The media feeding frenzy around what has been referred to as "Iraq's My Lai" has become frenetic. Focus on US Marines slaughtering at least 20 civilians in Haditha last November is reminiscent of the media spasm around the "scandal" of Abu Ghraib during April and May 2004.

Yet just like Abu Ghraib, while the media spotlight shines squarely on the Haditha massacre, countless atrocities continue daily, conveniently out of the awareness of the general public. Torture did not stop simply because the media finally decided, albeit in horribly belated fashion, to cover the story, and the daily slaughter of Iraqi civilians by US forces and US-backed Iraqi "security" forces has not stopped either.

Earlier this month, I received a news release from Iraq, which read, "On Saturday, May 13th, 2006, at 10:00 p.m., US Forces accompanied by the Iraqi National Guard attacked the houses of Iraqi people in the Al-Latifya district south of Baghdad by an intensive helicopter shelling. This led the families to flee to the Al-Mazar and water canals to protect themselves from the fierce shelling. Then seven helicopters
landed to pursue the families who fled … and killed them. The number of victims amounted to more than 25 martyrs. US forces detained another six persons including two women named Israa Ahmed Hasan and Widad Ahmed Hasan, and a child named Huda Hitham Mohammed Hasan, whose father was killed during the shelling."

The report from the Iraqi NGO called The Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI) continued, "The forces didn't stop at this limit. They held an attack on May 15th, 2006, supported also by the Iraqi National Guards. They also attacked the families' houses, and arrested a number of them while others fled. US snipers then used the homes to target more Iraqis. The reason for this crime was due to the downing of a helicopter in an area close to where the forces held their attack."

The US military preferred to report the incident as an offensive where they killed 41 "insurgents," a line effectively parroted by much of the media.

On that same day, MHRI also reported that in the Yarmouk district of Baghdad, US forces raided the home of Essam Fitian al-Rawi. Al-Rawi was killed along with his son Ahmed; then the soldiers reportedly removed the two bodies along with Al-Rawi's nephew, who was detained.

Similarly, in the city of Samara on May 5, MHRI reported, "American soldiers entered the house of Mr. Zidan Khalif Al-Heed after an attack upon American soldiers was launched nearby the house. American soldiers entered this home and killed the family, including the father, mother and daughter who is in the 6th grade, along with their son, who was suffering from mental and physical disabilities."

This same group, MHRI, also estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during the November 2004 US assault on Fallujah. Numbers which make those from the Haditha massacre pale in comparison.

Instead of reporting incidents such as these, mainstream outlets are referring to the Haditha slaughter as one of a few cases that "present the most serious challenge to US handling of the Iraq war since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal."

Marc Garlasco, of Human Rights Watch, told reporters recently, "What happened at Haditha appears to be outright murder. The Haditha massacre will go down as Iraq's My Lai."

Then there is the daily reality of sectarian and ethnic cleansing in Iraq, which is being carried out by US-backed Iraqi "security" forces. A recent example of this was provided by a representative of the Voice of Freedom Association for Human Rights, another Iraqi NGO which logs ongoing atrocities resulting from the US occupation.

"The representative … visited Fursan Village (Bani Zaid) with the Iraqi Red Crescent Al-Madayin Branch. The village of 60 houses, inhabited by Sunni families, was attacked on February 27, 2006, by groups of men wearing black clothes and driving cars from the Ministry of Interior.

Most of the villagers escaped, but eight were caught and immediately executed. One of them was the Imam of the village mosque, Abu Aisha, and another was a 10-year-old boy, Adnan Madab. They were executed inside the room where they were hiding. Many animals (sheep, cows and dogs) were shot by the armed men also. The village mosque and most of the houses were destroyed and burnt."

The representative had obtained the information when four men who had fled the scene of the massacre returned to provide the details. The other survivors had all left to seek refuge in Baghdad. "The survivors who returned to give the details guided the representative and the Red Crescent personnel to where the bodies had been buried. They [the bodies] were of men, women and one of the village babies."

The director of MHRI, Muhamad T. Al-Deraji, said of this incident, "This situation is a simple part of a larger problem that is orchestrated by the government … the delay in protecting more villagers from this will only increase the number of tragedies."

Arun Gupta, an investigative journalist and editor with the New York Indypendent newspaper of the New York Independent Media Center, has written extensively about US-backed militias and death squads in Iraq. He is also the former editor at the Guardian weekly in New York and writes frequently for Z Magazine and Left Turn.

"The fact is, while I think the militias have, to a degree, spiraled out of US control, it's the US who trains, arms, funds, and supplies all the police and military forces, and gives them critical logistical support," he told me this week. "For instance, there were reports at the beginning of the year that a US army unit caught a "death squad" operating inside the Iraqi Highway Patrol. There were the usual claims that the US has nothing to do with them. It's all a big lie. The American reporters are lazy. If they did just a little digging, there is loads of material out there showing how the US set up the highway patrol, established a
special training academy just for them, equipped them, armed them, built all their bases, etc. It's all in government documents, so it's irrefutable. But then they tell the media we have nothing to do with them and they don't even fact check it. In any case, I think the story is significant only insofar as it shows how the US tries to cover up its involvement."

Once again, like Abu Ghraib, a few US soldiers are being investigated about what occurred in Haditha. The "few bad apples" scenario is being repeated in order to obscure the fact that Iraqis are being slaughtered every single day. The "shoot first ask questions later" policy, which has been in effect from nearly the beginning in Iraq, creates trigger-happy American soldiers and US-backed Iraqi death squads who
have no respect for the lives of the Iraqi people. Yet, rather than high-ranking members of the Bush administration who give the orders, including Bush himself, being tried for the war crimes they are most certainly guilty of, we have the ceremonial "public hanging" of a few lowly soldiers for their crimes committed on the ground.

In an interview with CNN on May 29th concerning the Haditha massacre, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace commented, "It's going to be a couple more weeks before those investigations are complete, and we should not prejudge the outcome. But we should, in fact, as leaders take on the responsibility to get out and talk to our troops and make sure that they understand that what 99.9 percent of them
are doing, which is fighting with honor and courage, is exactly what we expect of them."

This is the same Peter Pace who when asked how things were going in Iraq by Tim Russert on Meet the Press this past March 5th said, "I'd say they're going well. I wouldn't put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they're going very, very well from everything you look at …"

Things are not "going very, very well" in Iraq. There have been countless My Lai massacres, and we cannot blame 0.1% of the soldiers on the ground in Iraq for killing as many as a quarter of a million Iraqis, when it is the policies of the Bush administration that generated the failed occupation to begin with.


A must read article on this topic which addresses US and International Law concerning this atrocity is "The Haditha Massacre" by Marjorie Cohn posted here.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, President-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, and the US representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists. She writes a weekly column for
t r u t h o u t.

(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

Note: Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches are reprinted on my site with kind, explicit permission given by Dahr.

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