Saturday, November 20, 2004

AP Wire | Iraq May Be Relieved of 80 Percent of Debt

AP Wire | Iraq May Be Relieved of 80 Percent of Debt: "PARIS - The Paris Club of creditor nations on Saturday was debating a plan to write off as much as 80 percent of the debts Iraq owes them, a key step in the United States' push to ease the financial burden on the nation as it tries to rebuild.
U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow and German Finance Minister Hans Eichel sealed the agreement, Eichel said earlier Saturday, adding that he expected the Paris Club would approve the deal.
Iraq owes around $42 billion to the members of the Paris Club, a grouping of 19 countries including the United States, Japan, Russia and European nations.
An agreement by the Paris Club to forgive its Iraqi debt would be a significant step toward freeing the country from paying interest on the money owed just as it struggles to put its economy back on its feet.
Still, Iraq owes another $80 billion to various Arab governments."

Aljazeera.Net - Massive attacks halt Iraqi oil flow (November 2)

Aljazeera.Net - Massive attacks halt Iraqi oil flow: "Fighters have mounted the biggest attacks yet on Iraq's oil infrastructure, blowing up three pipelines in the north and hitting exports via Turkey, oil officials say.

The attacks on Tuesday, which were hours apart, sharply reduced crude oil supplies to Iraq's biggest refinery at Baiji.
The government is already struggling to build up stocks of refined oil products before winter.

Attacks against oil facilities in north and central Iraq have intensified in the past few weeks as US forces have attacked cities in central Iraq. Imports of refined products have also been disrupted.

The first pipeline attack on Monday night destroyed a section of the Iraq-Turkey export pipeline in the Riyadh area, 65km southwest of the oil producing centre of Kirkuk, officials at the state North Oil Company said."

MSNBC - Oil after Saddam: All bets are in

MSNBC - Oil after Saddam: All bets are in: "Largely missing from the debate is a simple fact: Iraq sits atop the world’s second-largest reserves of oil — a resource that translates into hundreds of billions of dollars and enormous economic power.

Within America, street protests accusing the administration of yearning to launch an “oil war” occur occasionally, but they pale in comparison to the vehemence of that charge in foreign capitals and newspapers. In European and Asian capitals, and in the restive Muslim world in particular, an “imperialistic quest for oil,” as Saddam himself frames it, is taken by many to be the ultimate goal of American policy toward Iraq. Even friendly Arab nations see it so. Al Ahram, the government-controlled newspaper of record in Egypt, led its editorial page recently with a piece by Palestinian-American Professor Edward Said, who wrote:

“Second to Saudi Arabia, Iraq has the largest oil reserves on earth, and the roughly 1.1 trillion dollars worth of oil — much of it already committed by Saddam to Russia, France and a few other countries ... is a crucial aim of U.S. strategy.” U.S. Fights Baghdad Militants; GI Killed "BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents battled American troops in the streets of Baghdad on Saturday, killing a U.S. soldier in an ambush and gunning down four government employees in signals that the guerrillas remain a potent force despite the fall of their stronghold of Fallujah. Nine Iraqis also died in fighting west of the capital.
In Fallujah, where U.S. Marines and soldiers are still battling pockets of resistance, insurgents waved a white flag of surrender before opening fire on U.S. troops and causing casualties, Marine spokesman 1st Lt. Lyle Gilbert said Saturday without elaborating. "

House panel questions role of French bank in Iraq oil-for-food program

Oil-For-Food-Probe, 1st Writethru: "WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. legislators are questioning whether a French bank failed to comply with money-laundering laws, possibly helping deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein manipulate the $60-billion UN oil-for-food program.
The bank denies any wrongdoing. In the latest in a series of congressional investigations of alleged corruption in the oil-for-food program, the House of Representatives international relations committee was homing in on the role of the U.S. branch of BNP-Paribas, which handled most of the oil-for-food money.
The humanitarian program, begun in 1996, allowed Iraq to trade oil for goods to help Iraqis obtain food, medicine and other necessities that became scarce under strict UN economic sanctions imposed after the Persian Gulf War. It was credited with preventing widespread starvation.
Committee chairman Henry Hyde said the panel found evidence that BNP in some cases improperly approved payments of oil-for-food funds to companies that weren't supposed to receive them. The bank may also have allowed payments to companies that were shipping to Iraq goods prohibited by international sanctions. "

AP Photographer Escapes Fallujah, Witnesses U.S. Attacks on Civilians

AP Photographer Escapes Fallujah, Witnesses U.S. Attacks on Civilians: "BAGHDAD (AP) In the weeks before the crushing military assault on his hometown, Bilal Hussein sent his parents and brother away from Fallujah to stay with relatives. The 33-year-old Associated Press photographer stayed behind to capture insider images during the siege of the former insurgent stronghold.

'Everyone in Fallujah knew it was coming. I had been taking pictures for days,' he said. 'I thought I could go on doing it.'

In the hours and days that followed, heavy bombing raids and thunderous artillery shelling turned Hussein's northern Jolan neighborhood into a zone of rubble and death. The walls of his house were pockmarked by coalition fire.

'Destruction was everywhere. I saw people lying dead in the streets, wounded were bleeding and there was no one to come and help them. Even the civilians who stayed in Fallujah were too afraid to go out,' he said. 'There was no medicine, water, no electricity nor food for days.'

By Tuesday afternoon, as U.S. forces and Iraqi rebels engaged in fierce clashes in the heart of his neighborhood, Hussein snapped. 'U.S. soldiers began to open fire on the houses, so I decided that it was very dangerous to stay in my house,' he said. "

Friday, November 19, 2004

Herald Sun: US 'to blame' for journalist deaths (video)

Herald Sun: US 'to blame' for journalist deaths [19nov04]: "THE global managing editor of British news agency Reuters said today the US military was entirely to blame for the deaths of three of its employees in Iraq since the start of the war there in March 2003, an allegation disputed by the Pentagon.

'All of them were killed by the American army,' Reuters chief David Schlesinger told reporters on the sidelines of a media conference in the southern Portuguese resort of Vilamoura, Portuguese national news agency Lusa reported.
'There is no understanding on the part of the US military regarding the exercise of journalism,' he said, according to the agency.
'We can't run the risk that journalists will become targets (in Iraq). We must learn the lessons from these tragic cases.'
Two Reuters photographers and a cameraman are among the more than 60 war-related deaths of media workers recorded in Iraq. "

Video of Iraqi man's account.

Apologies Accepted - the world's answer to

Apologies Accepted - the world's answer to "We, wanderers of the world outside the US, have been touched by the initiative of, and the huge amount of photos they received. The initiators of this website would like to show to the American people that they appreciated that message.
So, wanderers of the world, unite! Get your pencil, grab a piece of paper and write what you think. All it takes is a simple digital camera and this website to express yourself." Blog Bloga new seal for the Department of Justice in honor of Alberto "The Geneva Convention is obsolete" Gonzales

ups.Fallujah.US - Raw Video Footage From The US Military Offensive in Fallujah

Fallujah.US - Raw Video Footage From The US Military Offensive in Fallujah:

News :: Fallujah Blog :: Watch Video :: Download Video :: Photos

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Bush branded an 'idiot' by Robbie

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Bush branded an 'idiot' by Robbie: "'I can't believe he got back in again,' said the musician at a press conference on a promotional visit to Mexico.
'I'm scared as an individual, I'm scared for the world. The guy is obviously an idiot,' added the star.
The 30-year-old said that his public speaking skills were better than those of Mr Bush, and that he would do a better job as US president.
'Americans keep saying they're the leaders of the "

Charlotte Observer | Teacher shows 'Fahrenheit 9/11', gets rebuked

Charlotte Observer | 11/18/2004 | Teacher shows 'Fahrenheit 9/11', gets rebuked SALISBURY - The week before the Nov. 2 election, administrators pulled instructor Davis March out of his class at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College while he was showing the Michael Moore film "Fahrenheit 9/11."

College officials said showing the film contradicted two memos reminding staff members of the school's policy to remain nonpartisan during the heated election season.

But the instructor said the administration's actions are restricting freedom of thought. And a spokesman for a national professors' group called the move an affront to faculty and students and a threat to academic freedom.

March, who has taught at the college for more than 20 years, was suspended with pay for four days and was back in the classroom Nov. 2. He said he has a responsibility to present controversial material to get his students to think and take positions.

"I never campaigned for or pitched anyone's agenda in the classroom," said March, 54, who teaches English argument-based research, English composition, and introductory and advanced film classes.

Before he returned from the suspension, March agreed not to show the film again. But he said he now fears an overall "chilling effect" on freedom of thought in the classroom.

"It's not about Moore's movie anymore," he said this week.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Town&Planet: The Battle For Fallujah - Flash Animation

Town&Planet: "What about WAR? Isn't that a moral issue? Isn't that a sin? Doesn't Jesus say to turn the other cheek and love thy enemy and all that? Do people really think that by bombing Fallujah into the stone age that we are accomplishing anything more than creating a generation of martyrs that will live their whole lives hating America.

I am not a religious person by any means, but I know that WAR is wrong. Now I can all ready see the hate mail comparing Hitler to Saddam, but that just ain't the case people, and nothing you say is going to change how either of us feel about that.
Through out this grueling election season we all learned that this country is still dealing with the trauma of Viet Nam. After the election, in looking at that horrible bloody red map, we realize that we are still dealing with the Civil War. How many years do you think we are going to be going through this IRAQ war? " Falluja Breaks the Back of Iraq Rebels - U.S. General

Top News Article | "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The offensive in Falluja led by U.S. Marines has 'broken the back of the insurgency' in Iraq, disrupting rebel operations across the country, a senior U.S. commander said on Thursday.
Lt. Gen. John Sattler, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Falluja, said the all-out assault on the city, which had been a stronghold for Iraqi insurgents who rose up after last year's ouster of President Saddam Hussein, had flushed the rebels out of their lair and scattered them. "

Disney's Eisner: TV Interview with Ovitz Was Dumb "Michael Eisner, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Co., on Thursday said it was "stupid" to appear on a national television show in 1996 to show his support for Michael Ovitz and conceded he was less than candid with the public during the interview.

That's the best question you've asked all day,' Eisner said. 'Look, I think it was an extremely dumb thing to do and there was no way to get out of it without offending Larry King. It was unfortunate and stupid and I wish we hadn't done it, but we did. "

Hmmmm. Since Eisner is admitting making stupid decisions, I would what he would say today about not distributing F911. I also wonder what charities Disney has donated their F911 profits?

Eisner and Bush?
Twins separated at birth?
Birds of a feather?

t r u t h o u t - Greg Palast and Farhad Manjoo: Presidential Debate

t r u t h o u t - Greg Palast and Farhad Manjoo: Presidential Debate: " Greg Palast and Farhad Manjoo: Presidential Debate
Tuesday 16 November 2004
Reporter Greg Palast and Salon's Farhad Manjoo debate the election results in Ohio.
Greg Palast: Sean Hannity called me a putz. Oh, my! And soft-porn-site scribe Frank Salvato put me in with the 'black helicopter' conspiracy league. Golly!
I can live with that. But when Salon disses my report of vote suppression in Ohio ('Was the Election Stolen?' by Farhad Manjoo), I have to respond. Manjoo went after my article, 'Kerry Won,' the latest in my series of investigations of our manipulated election system first published in America by ... Salon: 'Florida's Flawed 'Voter-Cleansing' Program.'
Now, the facts. Most voters in Ohio cast their ballots for John Kerry, which should, in accordance with Mrs. Gordon's civics lessons from sixth grade, have given Kerry the Electoral College majority and the White House. Trouble is, those votes won't be counted.
So where are these uncounted, but winning, votes? When I went to sleep the night of Nov. 2, Kerry was down in Ohio by 136,000 votes. But over a quarter million ballots had yet to be counted. Those abandoned ballots, overwhelmingly Democratic, sit in two piles, one called 'spoiled' and the other 'provisional.'
The ugly, secret shame of American democracy is that 2 million votes are 'spoiled' in presidential elections - tossed away untallied as 'unreadable.' And the nasty part is that roughly half are cast by African-Americans. To learn of this astonishing Jim Crow thumb on the U.S. electoral scales, you have to hunt through the appendixes of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission report on the Florida 2000 race.

The ugly, secret shame of American democracy is that 2 million votes are "spoiled" in presidential elections - tossed away untallied as "unreadable." And the nasty part is that roughly half are cast by African-Americans. To learn of this astonishing Jim Crow thumb on the U.S. electoral scales, you have to hunt through the appendixes of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission report on the Florida 2000 race. The government's demographers concluded that of the 179,855 votes "spoiled" in Florida that year, 54 percent were cast by blacks. All other credible studies tell us that Florida is horribly typical of the nation.

Last Tuesday, in Ohio, Republicans played the spoilage game for all it was worth. Over 93,000 ballots were chucked on the spoilage pile, almost all of them generated by those infernal chad-making punch-card machines.

Fallujah in Pictures

Fallujah in PicturesThe blog is dedicated to the men and women who risked their lives so that the world may know the truth about Falluja: Patrick Baz, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Marco Di Lauro, Scott Peterson, Eliana Aponte, John Moore, Bilal Hussein, Anja Niedringhaus, Mohanned Faisal,Marwan Naamani,Ali Ahmed,Samir Mizban, Ali Jasim, John Moore, Ali al Saad, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

michael_moore_: The Mosh Continues

michael_moore_: The Mosh Continues: "The Mosh Continues

This is the new post-election version of Eminem's 'Mosh.' Basically it's the same video, only with a new and more powerful ending."

War Protest in Greece

Welcome to!A demonstrator with mock coffins, which represent Iraqi deaths, protest against the war in Iraq in Athens on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2004.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Arab News: US Probes Slaying of Injured Iraqi

US Probes Slaying of Injured Iraqi: "WASHINGTON, 17 November 2004 — The US Defense Department is investigating the shooting of an apparently wounded and unarmed Iraqi prisoner by a Marine in a mosque in Fallujah, Iraq.

The video sequence filmed by NBC reporter Kevin Sites, shows a squad of Marines finding a room of wounded insurgents inside a mosque, which was a former insurgent stronghold and was believed by Marines to be the source of heavy enemy fire.

The tape shows a Marine shouting out that one of the wounded is playing “possum.”

A second Marine says, “And he’s breathing!”

The first Marine is then shown raising his rifle toward a prisoner lying on the floor of the mosque. At that moment, the video is blacked out but the sound of the rifle can be heard.

A Marine then says, according to the videotape: “He’s dead now.”

Barbara Ferguson
Arab News / November already is second deadliest month for U.S. troops in Iraq

Boston.comWASHINGTON (AP) U.S. deaths in Iraq this month are approaching 100, making it the second-deadliest month since American forces invaded the country in March 2003, Pentagon records show.

The worst month was last April, with 135 deaths, when the insurgency intensified and U.S. Marines fought fierce battles in Fallujah, only to be withdrawn from the city. That was part of a failed attempt to put the now-defunct Fallujah Brigade of U.S. and allied Iraqi forces in charge.

Until now the second-deadliest month was November 2003 with 82 deaths, and 80 Americans died in May and September this year.

Monday, November 15, 2004 Secretary of State Powell Resigns

Top News Article | "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell, who enjoyed enormous respect around the world, has resigned but will stay on until his replacement is named as Washington makes a new push for Middle East peace, officials said on Monday.

Powell, who was consistently the most popular Cabinet member in President Bush's first term, handed in his resignation on Friday ahead of a planned trip this month to the Middle East to possibly meet Palestinian leaders.

It was not immediately clear who would replace the former four-star general who failed as the top U.S. diplomat to build a wide international coalition for Bush's invasion of Iraq. " Books: Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror Books: Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on TerrorThis book is not for folks who have bought the notion that we are fighting a War on Terrorism. Imperial Hubris explains how this description is false and cowardly. So, if you are among those who believe ernestly in this notion, don't even bother to read this book. Your beliefs will certainly be abused and challenged.

On the other hand, if you remain open minded, not swayed by a need for revenge for the 9/11 attacks, then Imperial Hubris will add a valuable perspective to our current state of affairs as it relates to Islamic militants.

Anonymous has the audacity to say that Osamma bin Laden is a great man, which he says is not be taken as an accolade. The book says that bin Laden is and has been so enfluencial that he has changed the course of history. Didn't Time magazine nearly name him Man of the Year before wimping out by giving it to Rudy Guiliani?

But, I agree with Anonymous as to the proper assessment of bin Laden and the jihadists. We must be practical and realistic. We should reject the the "War on Terrorism", which is like a war on the boogie man, or fighting dark shadows. Terrorism is a method of violence, a process, not a tangible military target or army.

On the other hand, jihadists are a definable and a reasonably quantifiable enemy. Knowing who our enemies are, we can be more precise in our war plans. I refer to the Iraq war for proof that we need clarity on this issue.

And, more importantly, having more precisely defined our enemies, we can know why they hate us, and be in a better position to know how to defeat them, or resolve our differences with them, if possible.

Reviewer: G. Brooks (Virginia, USA) - Senior CIA anti-terrorism officer resigns - Senior CIA anti-terrorism officer resigns: "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senior CIA anti-terrorism officer Michael Scheuer, who publicly criticized the agency's handling of the war on terrorism, resigned Thursday but said he wasn't forced out despite the fact the CIA was considering disciplinary action against him.

The 22-year CIA veteran who once headed the Osama bin Laden unit, resigned effective Friday, according to Christina Davidson, the editor of his book, 'Imperial Hubris.'

Earlier this year, the CIA gave Scheuer permission to publish the book under the name 'Anonymous' and to conduct interviews for it without revealing his identity. The book is critical of how the United States is fighting the war on terrorism.

Davidson said Scheuer's decision to resign followed a 'cordial' meeting with senior CIA officials on Tuesday.

'My decision is entirely my own,' Scheuer said in a statement. 'I have been in no way forced to this decision by the CIA. ... I have concluded that there has not been adequate national debate over the nature of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and the forces he leads and inspires, and the nature and dimensions of intelligence reform needed to address that threat. It is my intention to articulate a series of views in the hope of producing a more substantive debate than what has heretofore occurred.'

CNN was one of the news organizations that interviewed the author in shadow. Eventually his name became public."

Sunday, November 14, 2004

CBS News | CIA Agent Details Terror Threat (Video)

CBS News CIA Agent Details Terror Threat: "Former CIA agent Michael Scheuer spoke to 60 Minutes in his first television interview out of the shadows.

This summer, with the CIA’s blessing, he authored a highly critical book on the administration’s counterterrorism policy, published under the name Anonymous, which the White House viewed as a thinly veiled attempt by the CIA to undermine the president’s reelection. Through it all, Anonymous has officially been anonymous, until Friday, when he resigned from the CIA after 22 years. Correspondent Steve Kroft reports.

After a 22-year career as a spy charged with keeping secrets, Scheuer decided it was more important to join the public debate on how to best attack Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

“His genius lies in his ability to isolate a few American policies that are widely hated across the Muslim world. And that growing hatred is going to yield growing violence,” says Scheuer. “Our leaders continue to say that we’re making strong headway against this problem. And I think we are not.”

In 1996, at a time when little was known about the rich Saudi, other than he was suspected of financing terrorism, Scheuer was assigned to create a bin Laden desk at the CIA.

“The uniqueness of the unit was more or less that it was focused on a single individual. It was really the first time the agency had done that sort of effort,” says Scheuer.

Did he try to figure out where bin Laden was? “Where he was, where his cells were, where his logistical channels were,” says Scheuer. “How he communicated. Who his allies were. Who donated to them. … I think it’s fair to say the entire range of sources were brought to bear.” "

Michael Scheuer Resources

When the smoke has cleared around Fallujah, what horrors will be revealed?

As the Americans move street by bloody street towards control of the insurgents' stronghold, aid agencies warn of a humanitarian catastrophe. Kim Sengupta and Raymond Whitaker report

Victory was being declared yesterday in the battle of Fallujah, with 1,000 rebels reported dead, hundreds more in custody and spectacular footage from embedded television crews, showing Marines charging through deserted neighbourhoods.

"It's like those pictures from the advance into Baghdad," said one watcher as the TV showed the view over a tank gunner's shoulder, with fire pouring down an empty street. But that comment unconsciously identified the real problem: more than a year and a half after George Bush declared major combat operations in Iraq at an end, the US military, backed by British and Iraqi forces, is having to fight the war all over again.

Yesterday, as American forces embarked on what were described as "mopping-up" operations in Fallujah - though heavy shelling was still being reported - relief organisations warned that there could be a humanitarian disaster in the city. "Conditions in Fallujah are catastrophic," said Fardous al-Ubaidi of the Iraqi Red Crescent. The Iraqi Health Minister, Alaa Alwan, said ambulances had begun transferring "significant numbers" of civilian wounded to Baghdad hospitals, but did not say how many.

Washington and the Iraqi interim government could argue that civilians in Fallujah had ample warning of what was to come. More than 80 per cent of the population of 200,000 to 300,000 were said to have fled before the assault was launched on Monday. But enough reports trickled out of the besieged city to show that many inhabitants still remained, despite their invisibility in the television footage, and that their plight was severe.

Even President Bush admits that violence is likely to increase rather than decline as the election approaches. But as American forces contemplate what is left of Fallujah, some might remember the words of a US officer standing amid the ruins of Hue in Vietnam a generation ago. "In order to save the city," he declared without a hint of irony, "we had to destroy it."