Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Honour! what fucking honour?
Perhaps the Pentagon is able to pay these bonuses because of savings in other departments, supporting the troops! give me a break.
The Department of Defense has been drawn into a bidding war with its own contractors to keep special operations troops in uniform -- a competition that has cost taxpayers at least $100 million since it began in 2004.
The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command is paying reenlistment bonuses of up to $150,000 to Army Green Berets and Navy SEALs to keep them from fleeing the military to take high-paying jobs with private security contractors such as Blackwater USA.
“Ideologues in government have pushed outsourcing with fateful results,” author, columnist, and former Army officer Ralph Peters tells Newsmax. “We ended up outsourcing our honor.”
According to The Associated Press, about 1,200 Army and Navy commandos have accepted bonuses in exchange for agreeing to remain in uniform. Only those service members with at least 19 years of service are eligible for the bonuses, which start at $8,000 for those signing up for one extra year. Two additional years in uniform bring $18,000, three years $30,000, five years $75,000 and six years the top bonus of $150,000.more
Just as U.S. air operations over Iraq have reached their highest level since the destruction of Fallujah in November 2004, with as many as 70 close air support missions flown on many days since October 1, a new Human Rights Report published by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq has challenged the United States to stop killing civilians in illegal air strikes. The Human Rights Report for the second quarter of 2007 was long overdue, and was finally published on October 11. The report explains that it was modified following discussions with U.S. and Iraqi occupation authorities, and this appears to account for the long delay in its publication. The report makes it clear that U.S. air strikes in densely populated civilian areas are violations of international human rights law.more
And should you doubt it go here and read my previous posts featuring the land of darkness.
King Abdullah flies in to lecture us on terrorism
By Robert Fisk
In what world do these people live? True, there'll be no public executions outside Buckingham Palace when His Royal Highness rides in stately formation down The Mall. We gave up capital punishment about half a century ago. There won't even be a backhander – or will there? – which is the Saudi way of doing business. But for King Abdullah to tell the world, as he did in a BBC interview yesterday, that Britain is not doing enough to counter "terrorism", and that most countries are not taking it as seriously as his country is, is really pushing it. Weren't most of the 11 September 2001 hijackers from – er – Saudi Arabia? Is this the land that is really going to teach us lessons?
The sad, awful truth is that we fete these people, we fawn on them, we supply them with fighter jets, whisky and whores. No, of course, there will be no visas for this reporter because Saudi Arabia is no democracy.
Yet how many times have we been encouraged to think otherwise about a state that will not even allow its women to drive? Kim Howells, the Foreign Office minister, was telling us again yesterday that we should work more closely with the Saudis, because we "share values" with them. And what values precisely would they be, I might ask?more
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I like little stories like this, I think they appeal to the anarchist in me.
Britain's first Muslim minister has described his disappointment after he was detained at a US airport, where his hand luggage was analysed for traces of explosive materials.
Shahid Malik, MP for Dewsbury and International Development Minister, was returning to Heathrow after a series of meetings and talks on tackling terrorism, when he was stopped at Dulles Airport in Washington DC yesterday morning.
He was searched and detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - the same department whose representatives he had been meeting on his visit to the country.
Mr Malik said yesterday: "After a few minutes a couple of other people were also taken to one side. We were all Muslims - the other two were black Muslims, both with Muslim names." more
From the beginning of this case I have always said seven shots in the head smacked of armed cops being totally out of control, but having just read an eyewitness's report of the event I have to withdraw from that contention and say the cops were in total control, and that dear reader is a whole different ball game and a whole lot scarier.
The account from Sue Thomason, a freelance journalist from south London, gives new detail of the police “Common Purpose” murder of De Menezes:
In her statement she says: “The shots were evenly spaced with about three seconds between the shots, for the first few shots, then a gap of a little longer, then the shots were evenly spaced again.”
Mr de Menezes was murdered on July 22 on a tube train after being followed from his flat by undercover officers and soldiers who claim they were hunting terrorists......
She also says a key detail she gave of the number of shots and the interval between them was deliberately missed out from her final statement until she insisted it be included: “I’m not anti the IPCC, I just want them to get it right.” more
Oh those little warm and fuzzy moments.
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of “ordering and authorizing” torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military’s detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.
US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush’s “war on terror” for six years.
Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.more
Donald Rumsfeld should be more careful about where he travels.
In Paris last week, Rumsfeld left a prestigious speaking event in haste, slipping out a side door to avoid the human rights lawyers and journalists waiting to confront him with criminal charges of torture. He reportedly avoided the confrontation by sneaking out a door that attached the conference venue to, of all places, the United States Embassy. more
The US is secretly upgrading special stealth bomber hangars on the British island protectorate of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, according to military sources.
The improvement of the B1 Spirit jet infrastructure coincides with an "urgent operational need" request for £44m to fit racks to the long-range aircraft.
That would allow them to carry experimental 15-ton Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bombs designed to smash underground bunkers buried as much as 200ft beneath the surface through reinforced concrete.more
I have reported previously on Diego Garcia and the shameful treatment of the Chagoans by the British Government.
At the Summit, I witnessed all of the major Republican presidential candidates compete for the affection of so-called value voters. Rudy Giuliani, the current frontrunner, sought to assuage movement leaders' concerns about his multiple marriages, pro-choice politics, and penchant for cross-dressing. Mitt Romney pledged to fight for a Constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, hoping his newfound conservatism would somehow lessen evangelical resentment of his Mormon faith.......
If anything, the movement seemed more extreme and paranoid than it did four years ago. Rev. Lou Sheldon, dubbed "Lucky Louie" by his former paymaster Jack Abramoff, told me that homosexuality is a "pathological disorder" and "a groove" that is difficult to escape from. He proceeded to passionately defend his friend, Senator Larry Craig, from allegations of homosexuality.more
Monday, October 29, 2007
Taser death at Vancouver AirportAkezys says: "Recently police at the Vancouver airport were attempting to question a recent immigrant that could not speak English. They tasered him after 24 seconds of speaking with him. The man had spent 10 hours stuck in the airport with no-one helping him."
The 40-year-old construction worker, who had never left Poland before, was immigrating to Canada to join his mother, 61, who lives in Kamloops, about a five-hour drive from Vancouver.
They had arranged to meet at the baggage carousel in the international terminal at YVR....
Mr. Dziekanski arrived at about 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14.
"He made his way to primary customs in the ordinary fashion … he went through there in the normal time frame … he then proceeded through and was directed to secondary customs, which is normal for someone who doesn't speak English and is immigrating to the country," Mr. Kosteckyj said. His papers were in order and he proceeded without difficulty....more
WASHINGTON - When the United States military command accused the Iranian Quds Force in January of providing the armor-piercing EFPs (explosively formed penetrators) that were killing US troops, it knew that Iraqi machine shops had been producing their own EFPs for years, a review of the historical record of evidence on EFPs in Iraq shows.
The record also shows that the US command had considerable evidence that the Mahdi Army of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had received the technology and the training on how to use it from Hezbollah, rather than Iran. more
Abdallah Higazy, a 30-year-old Egyptian student, arrived in New York City to study engineering at the Polytechnic University in Brooklyn on August 27, 2001. A U.S. foreign-aid program reserved and paid for his room at the Millennium Hilton Hotel, next to the World Trade Center. After the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center, Higazy hot-footed it out of the hotel. After the terrorist attack, the hotel was sealed.
Three months later, guests were allowed to retrieve their belongings...... more
Recently released from prison, Genarlow Wilson wants to resume his life as a free man by furthering his education.
Wilson told reporters after his visit Sunday to historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta that he hopes to pursue a college degree in sociology or business, but hasn't yet determined where he will conduct his studies.more
Sunday, October 28, 2007
A 14-year-old girl and her outspoken atheist father filed a federal lawsuit Friday challenging a new Illinois law requiring a brief period of prayer or reflective silence at the start of every school day.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare the law unconstitutional, said attorney Gregory Kulis, who represents Dawn Sherman, a freshman at Buffalo Grove High School, and her father Robert Sherman, a radio talk show host........
"What we object to is Christians passing a law that requires the public school teacher to stop teaching during instructional time, paid for by the taxpayers, so that Christians can pray," Sherman told The Associated Press. more
Stroll on! I've heard it all now.
What she learned from her daughter is that the game took place in White's classroom after school, sometimes with her alone and sometimes with other girls present. It involved White putting toppings on a banana and having the girls taste the banana to identify the toppings.
When she asked her daughter if she ever saw the banana, her daughter replied: "No, silly, we always have blindfolds on."more
Tony Blair was too worried about falling out of favour with George Bush to warn him of the perilous consequences of war with Iraq.
That is the damning portrait of the former Prime Minister that emerges from the highest level of the British and American governments in the latest extracts of a new book by political biographer Dr Anthony Seldon.
The attacks are led by former US Secretary of State Colin Powell who, according to Blair Unbound, secretly plotted with ex-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to restrain Mr Bush and Mr Blair.
They will do little to help Mr Blair shrug off claims that he was Mr Bush's "poodle". more
Saturday, October 27, 2007
This isn't a story that I could get excited about, but I ran it previously so here's an update.
The Walkersville Town Commission has postponed a decision on an amendment to zoning laws that could have blocked a Muslim sect's proposal to build a retreat and prayer center on a farm in the Frederick County town.
Meanwhile, Walkersville officials are being accused of discriminating against the Silver Spring-based Islamic group, which is seeking to build the retreat and workshop facility on a 224-acre farm.
An attorney for the farm's owner has called on the Justice department to investigate whether town officials violated the federal law that prohibits discrimination against religious institutions in land use applications.more
I couldn't agree more.
A United Nations expert has condemned the growing use of crops to produce biofuels as a replacement for petrol as a crime against humanity.
The UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, said he feared biofuels would bring more hunger.
The growth in the production of biofuels has helped to push the price of some crops to record levels.
Mr Ziegler's remarks, made at the UN headquarters in New York, are clearly designed to grab attention.
He complained of an ill-conceived dash to convert foodstuffs such as maize and sugar into fuel, which created a recipe for disaster. more
It would appear that the diplomatic corps is a tad reluctant to to witness first hand the delights of a democratic Iraq, whodathunkit?
The US state department has said it may have to force some diplomats to work in Iraq to fill vacancies at the embassy in Baghdad.
About 250 foreign service staff are to be told they are "prime candidates" for nearly 50 jobs, state department human resources director Harry Thomas said.
If too few people volunteer, some will be ordered to go and risk dismissal if they refuse, Mr Thomas said.
Iraq postings have previously been filled on a voluntary basis. more
This is truly the most bizarre spectacle that I've witnessed in a long time, I don't know much about soldiering but they are a very disciplined bunch, they would have to be to pull off a stunt like this.
Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei Inspect Military Foot-Drills Showing Sword Ripping through a US Flag Decorated with a Swastika and a Star of David. Video 4 mins.
While you're there you may wish to listen to the Mufti of Egypt talk absolute bullshit.
Mufti of Egypt Ali Gum'a Confronted with Questions about the Treatment of Women in Islam and Blames "Secularists" for Terrorism Worldwide. Video 9 mins.
Friday, October 26, 2007
This is how socialist medicine works, it works well, and it works even better when the pious and the sanctimonious, who should be more concerned with their daughters health than with her maidenhead, don't enter into the equation.
Given the high cost of the three injection course, £300/$600 for every girl in the country this has to be one of the best examples of preventive socialist medicine in the entire history of the National Health Service.
It is government action like this that rekindles a little of my long lost national pride.
Schoolgirls in Britain will be vaccinated against the virus that causes cervical cancer from September 2008, ministers have announced.
This goes further than recommended by experts, with all aged 12-13 eligible, and a catch-up campaign up to 18.It is thought that vaccinating against human papilloma virus (HPV) could save hundreds of lives in the UK each year.
The vaccine is given in three injections over six months at a cost of around £300 a course.......
Other European countries including Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Norway, Luxembourg and Belgium have approved a vaccination programme.
Experts said the programme would be more expensive than all other childhood immunisations and the benefits would not be seen for decades, but eventually it would be worth the cost.More
Bill Maher on HPV and the fundies.
I know every generation that has ever been has uttered words of despair about the "younger generation" but there has never been a generation more deserving of being targeted than the ignorant uneducated little tossers that make up the now generation.
The country is awash with shit for brains "hoodies" and a host of other assorted wankers who from cradle to grave will never amount to fuck all.
And given that this turd is twenty seven years old and should by now have an inkling of what constitutes a human being only goes to endorse my statement.
A man who urinated on a woman as she lay dying and shouted "this is YouTube material" has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Anthony Anderson also covered Christine Lakinski with shaving foam after she collapsed in a Hartlepool street.
The 50-year-old, who suffered from a number of medical conditions, was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Anderson, 27, and from Raby Road in the Teesside town, had earlier admitted outraging public decency.more
The fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4), published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is compiled by 390 experts from observations, studies and data garnered over two decades.
The 570-page report -- which caps a year that saw climate change dominate the news -- says world leaders must propel the environment "to the core of decision-making" to tackle a daily worsening crisis.........."The systematic destruction of the Earth's natural and nature-based resources has reached a point where the economic viability of economies is being challenged -- and where the bill we hand on to our children may prove impossible to pay," he added.
Earth has experienced five mass extinctions in 450 million years, the latest of which occurred 65 million years ago, says GEO-4.
"A sixth major extinction is under way, this time caused by human behaviour," it says. moreState of the planet. graphics BBC
I have previously featured the writer Pepe Escobar in a very readable piece Roving in the red zone Escobar now takes a look at the relationship between Russia and Iran and the role played by Ahmadinejad in a poorly functioning Iran. Well worth reading to conclusion.
Attack Iran and you attack Russia
By Pepe Escobar
The barely reported highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Tehran for the Caspian Sea summit last week was a key face-to-face meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify the George W Bush administration's relentless drive towards launching a preemptive attack, perhaps a tactical nuclear strike, against Iran. An American attack on Iran will be viewed by Moscow as an attack on Russia. more
US imposes strict economic sanctions on Iran
Iran's foreign ministry has condemned the sanctions imposed by the US on its military and three banks, calling them contrary to international law.
Putin objected on Thursday to new sanctions against Iran
Aptly it's Tom Tomorrow that pens this piece.
Fifty three years after Dr. Fredric Wertham argued in "Seduction of the Innocent" that comic books were corrupting the morals of our youth, a public schoolteacher has been forced to resign -- and faced the threat of criminal prosecution -- for giving a student a graphic novel as a reading assignment.
And not in some Bible Belt backwater either, but rather in a prosperous Connecticut shoreline community whose residents include more than a few faculty members from nearby Yale University.
This is how the story was initially reported on September 20 in the local daily, the New Haven Register: more