NOVEMBER 18-13, 03 Archives

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Omertà Is In Firm Control Of White House November 18, 2003 by Kevin According to Merriam-Webster, Omertà is the code for a way of life employed chiefly among members of the criminal underworld that enjoins private vengeance and the refusal to give information to outsiders. It seems that the Sopranos are not even in the same league as this Administration. Whenever there is a problem such as the truth about this Administration's high crimes and misdemeanors about to break, Consigliore Rove whispers into the ear of "Don" (Little Dick) Cheney who growls "bring me their head" to his personal Hit Men: (Knife) Novak, (Baby Face) Brit Hume, or (Fats) Limbaugh. These accomplished character assassins are then unleashed upon the squealer as in the case of the true patriot Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Bush Is 'Greatest Threat To Life On The Planet' Says The Mayor Of London November 18, 2003 By Nigel Morris Home Affairs Correspondent The Independent - UK Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, launched a stinging attack on President George Bush last night, denouncing him as the "greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen".

Washington’s practice of torture by proxy November 18, 2003 By Keith Jones Maher Arar’s poignant account of his treatment by US, Jordanian and Syrian authorities constitutes a devastating exposure of the illegal, arbitrary and barbaric methods Washington is employing in the name of combating terrorism. It also raises vital questions as to the role that the Canadian government and its police and intelligence agencies played in delivering Arar into the hands of his torturers.

THE NEOCONS ARE LOSING Bush exit strategy enrages War Party – ha, ha, ha! November 18, 2003 Raimondo As George W. Bush gets ready to hightail it out of Iraq – or at least tries to convince the American people that's what he's doing with his "Iraqification" policy – the neocons are up in arms and poor little Billy Kristol is in a veritable tizzy. In a piece co-authored with Robert Kagan in the Weekly Standard, he wails that the front page of the November 7 Washington Post "says it all: "The first headline, in large type: 'Bush Urges Commitment to Transform Mideast.' Below, in slightly smaller type: 'Pentagon to Shrink Iraq Force.' And below that: 'Iraqi Security Crews Getting Less Training.' It's a jarring juxtaposition. The president eloquently makes the case for a necessarily and admirably ambitious foreign policy. Yet his own administration's deeds threaten the achievement of his goals. " Yes, it does seem that way, now doesn't it? And thank God for that. No more wars in '04 is how Karl Rove would prefer it, but the neocons never let an election get in the way of their favorite blood sport – especially if it's Arab blood being spilled.

BUSH PULLS OUT OF SPEECH TO PARLIAMENT November 18, 2003 By Bob Roberts, Political Correspondent GEORGE Bush was last night branded chicken for scrapping his speech to Parliament because he feared being heckled by anti-war MPs. The US president planned to give a joint address to the Commons and Lords during his state visit to Britain. But senior White House adviser Dr Harlan Ullman said: "They would have loved to do it because it would have been a great photo-opportunity. "But they were fearful it would to turn into a spectacle with Labour backbenchers walking out." The decision to abandon the speech came as extraordinary security measures costing £19million placed London under a state of virtual siege ahead of Mr Bush's arrival tomorrow.

Italian Member of Coalition in Iraq Quits November 18, 2003 By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD, Iraq - An Italian official in the U.S.-led coalition has resigned, accusing L. Paul Bremer's administration of inefficiency and failing to understand Iraq sharp criticisms that raise questions about the authority's ability to carry out the delicate task of transferring power to Iraqis. The allegations by Marco Calamai, a special counselor of the Coalition Provisional Authority in the southern province of Dhi Qar, came as Russia and France criticized the U.S. timetable for handing over power to the Iraqis by July 1.

Activist/Author Announces 10 Preliminary Actions to Defeat President Bush in 2004. November 18, 2003 (Worcester, MA, Michael Dobbins, author of the book ‘Stop Bush in 2004: How Every Citizen Can Help’, today announced a list of ’10 Preliminary Actions’ every American can take now to ensure Bush is defeated next fall. Available for free through Dobbins’ website, ‘10 Preliminary Actions’ provides a head start for Americans with the desire to defeat Bush in ‘04.

Huge rock-ice body circles Sun By Dr David Whitehouse November 18, 2003 BBC News Astronomers have found a large object orbiting the Sun near Neptune's orbit. It was discovered on Friday by an automated sky survey project designed to search for threatening asteroids that may be on an Earth impact course. The object is about 570 km across, making it one of the largest bodies of its kind found in modern times.

The world must stop this madman November 17, 2003 By Maureen Dowd No, not Saddam. That other gun-toting, tough-talking cowboy in the Oval Office. The trap is sprung. The name of the game is containment. Contain the wild man, the leader with the messianic and relentless glint who is scaring the world. Surround him, throw Lilliputian nets on him, tie him up with a lot of United Nations inspection demands, humour him long enough to stop him from using his weapons and blowing up the Middle East. But this time, the object of the containment strategy is not Saddam Hussein, but George Bush, the president with real bombs, not the predator with plans to make them.

My husband died in vain November 17, 2003 By Severin Carrell and Andrew Buncombe What one British widow will tell Mr Bush this week. President George Bush will be accused this week of lying about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction in a face-to-face meeting with the families of British soldiers killed in the war, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Washington’s unpopular war: Americans turn against Bush November 17, 2003 BY DOUG LORIMER For the first time since the US began its war to conquer Iraq and turn its oil resources over to US corporations, a majority of US voters disapprove of the way US President George Bush is handling the situation in Iraq according to the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll.

Why are retirement pensions under attack? November 17, 2003 By Jean Shaoul Under the guise of reform, pensions are under attack in virtually every industrialised country in the world. As a result, millions of workers face appalling poverty and isolation in their last years and pensions are fast becoming one of the most bitterly contested political issues around.

The Trojan Horse November 17, 2003 By PAUL KRUGMAN What are we going to do about Medicare? That should be the subject of an open national debate. But right now Congressional leaders are trying to settle the question by stealth, with legislation that purports to be doing something else. Meanwhile, another proposal — to force Medicare to compete with private insurers — seems intended to undermine the whole system.

Gold Nears $400 as Bombs Weaken Dollar November 17, 2003 SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Gold rose on Monday to just a fraction below the $400-an-ounce level last breached in March 1996, lifted by a weakening dollar and a spate of bombings. Spot gold rose as high as $399.50 an ounce in early Asian trade. "There are lot of bulls out there," said one bullion dealer in Sydney. "Japan is probably where the buying will come from. I imagine there will be a lot of profit-taking before we touch $400. Certainly, within the next we few days we are going to break $400."

Former soldier says sexual assault in the military changed her life November 17, 2003 by: Amy Herdy Denver Post Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG, FL - She studied at the Air Force Academy and served in the Colorado National Guard. Sharon Mixon is one of dozens of women who’ve spoken to the Denver Post about being sexually assaulted in the military. As part of the Guard, Mixon served as a combat medic during Operation Desert Storm. Dealing with blood and death was part of her job, she says, but nothing prepared her for the nightmare of being gang raped by fellow American soldiers. (VIDEO) “Apparently there was something in my drink because the next thing I know is that I'm face down on the cot and I cannot breathe,” says Mixon. The rape left her unable, at times, to speak clearly. She also says she is unable to have children.

US media sanctions campaign of atrocities in Iraq November 17, 2003 By Patrick Martin The visible disarray of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, in the wake of a series of military-political disasters—the shooting down of helicopters, suicide bombings, the mortar attacks on US occupation headquarters in the “Green Zone” in central Baghdad—is a turning point in the war in Iraq.

Bush, Britons' Unwanted Guest November 17, 2003 By Matthew McAllester STAFF CORRESPONDENT London - When American soldiers pulled down a statue of Saddam Hussein from a plinth in Baghdad on April 9, it was perhaps George W. Bush's sweetest moment as president. When British anti-war protesters pull down a statue of Bush from a plinth in London on Thursday during Bush's full state visit to this country, they hope it will be one of his bitterest moments. "This is the least-welcome guest these shores have seen since William the Conqueror," said George Galloway, a left-wing member of the British parliament who was recently expelled from the ruling Labor Party and is a leading anti-war and anti-Bush campaigner. "This is the most dangerous man in world politics today. This is a giant with the mind of a child."

Amnesty International calls on Israel's High Court to respect international law by rejecting torture November 17, 2003 As Israel's High Court of Justice embarks on a review of the use of certain interrogation methods by the General Security Service (GSS), Amnesty International calls on the court to reject continued use of these techniques, as they constitute torture and are in flagrant breach of Israel's commitments under international law. "Israel is the only country in the world known to have effectively legalized torture by officially allowing such methods," Amnesty International said. "We are hoping for a clear ruling by the High Court that the use of such interrogation techniques is unacceptable."

Blame Israel, says Red Cross as it ends food aid for West Bank November 17, 2003 By Justin Huggler in Jerusalem The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is ending its emergency food programme in the West Bank, saying the economic collapse there is the direct result of Israeli military closures and that Israel must live up to its responsibility as the occupying power for the economic needs of the Palestinians.

U.S. casualties from Iraq war top 9,000 November 16, 2003 By Mark Benjamin WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The number of U.S. casualties from Operation Iraqi Freedom -- troops killed, wounded or evacuated due to injury or illness -- has passed 9,000, according to new Pentagon data. In addition to the 397 service members who have died and the 1,967 wounded, 6,861 troops were medically evacuated for non-combat conditions between March 19 and Oct. 30, the Army Surgeon General's office said. That brings total casualties among all services to more than 9,200, and represents an increase of nearly 3,000 non-combat medical evacuations reported since the first week of October. The Army offered no immediate explanation for the increase.

US choppers downed in Iraq November 16, 2003 Seventeen soldiers have been killed and five others wounded when two US military helicopters crashed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The casualty toll makes this the deadliest single strike on US forces since the war began. One soldier remains unaccounted for, the US military said. An occupation force spokesman has confirmed that two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters had come down. There was no word on possible Iraqi casualties on the ground.

60% say Bush a threat to world peace November 16, 2003 The full extent of the low regard Britons have for George Bush has been revealed in a poll. The US President was branded a threat to world peace by a clear majority, 60%, of those questioned by YouGov. More than one in three, 37%, said Mr Bush was "stupid" while 33% called him "incoherent". Only a minority saw positive characteristics in Mr Bush, with just 7% regarding him as a good world leader, 6% as articulate and 10% as intelligent.

School of Assassins, USA November 16, 2003 Founded by the United States in 1946, the SOA was initially located in Panama, but in 1984 it was kicked out under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty and moved to the army base at Fort Benning, Georgia. Then-President of Panama Jorge Illueca called it "the biggest base for de-stabilization in Latin America," and a major Panamanian newspaper dubbed it " The School of Assassins."

You won't believe what happens next November 16, 2003 BY MICHAEL VENTURA (Austin Chronicle ) James Baldwin said that Nazism thrived not because most Germans were evil but because most were spineless. One cowardly compromise after another, succumbing to the bluster of bullies, quickly created a climate in which the rare act of courage, however splendid, became futile. Cowardice proved infectious, contagious. Taking a stand against the dark storm, individuals might have redeemed themselves, but their nobility disappeared with barely a trace; the Nazi anti-culture created a kind of collective immunity to anything redemptive. Only rampant destruction and total collapse would finally cleanse that corrosive atmosphere, so that new beginnings could be made and genuine values could again take root. Is that what is happening to us? Perhaps.

All of a sudden the Patriot Act isn't just about terrorists anymore November 16, 2003 By Clarence Page Chicago Tribune WASHINGTON -- In our latest episode of continuing adventures with the USA Patriot Act, FBI agents say they have used the new anti-terrorism law to prosecute a political bribery case centered on the owner of some Las Vegas strip clubs. What do topless dancers in Vegas have to do with terrorism, you may ask?

For Middle Class, Health Insurance Becomes a Luxury November 16, 2003 By STEPHANIE STROM DALLAS -- The last time Kevin Thornton had health insurance was three years ago, which was not much of a problem until he began having trouble swallowing. The majority of the uninsured are neither poor by official standards nor unemployed. They are accountants like Mr. Thornton, employees of small businesses, civil servants, single working mothers and those working part time or on contract. "Now it's hitting people who look like you and me, dress like you and me, drive nice cars and live in nice houses but can't afford $1,000 a month for health insurance for their families," said R. King Hillier, director of legislative relations for Harris County, which includes Houston.

RecommendedRussia Ready to Vaporize the Jewish State Part 2: Vladimir Putin hammers the final nail into Israel’s coffin November 16, 2003 Joe Vialls When Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested in Russia and his Yukos oil assets seized, the process represented far more than simple payback against the most powerful Zionist Jew in Moscow. At a single stroke, President Vladimir Putin ensured future Russian national security, consolidated several former republics of the old Soviet Union, and most important of all, eternally blocked Israel’s attempts to use “free” Yukos oil to drive its engines of war across the entire Middle East. Part 1 / Part 2

Sharon's Top Aide 'Sure World War III Is Coming' November 16, 2003 From MER - Mid-East Realities MiddleEast.Org "Where the CIA goes, the Mossad goes as well. Israeli and American interests have come together in the dominance of the Central Asian region and therefore, so have liberal ideology, the Beltway set, neo-conservatism, Ivy League eggheads, Christian Zionism, the Rothschilds and the American media. Afghanistan through the Caspian Sea through to Georgia, Azerbaijan and into the Balkans (not to mention pipelines leading to oil-hungry China), have become one single theater of war over trillions of dollars in oil and gas wealth, incorporating every single power center in global politics. The battle against the New World Order is being decided in Moscow."

CIA Finds No Evidence Hussein Sought to Arm Terrorists November 16, 2003 By Walter Pincus Washington Post The CIA's search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has found no evidence that former president Saddam Hussein tried to transfer chemical or biological technology or weapons to terrorists, according to a military and intelligence expert.

Looting the Treasury November 16, 2003 Again How's this for offensive and non-democratic? Republicans, working in private -- while Democrats, frustrated, tried to figure out what they were up to by reading the newspapers -- have unveiled their Frankenstein Monster, the so-called energy bill. Its 1,700 pages would give away $16 billion, or maybe $20 billion, or perhaps $80 billion -- incredibly, intelligent observers are still trying to determine that. "In fact, nobody but a few insiders even know all that is in the bill," observes Ralph Nader.

CLEAR LIES - The Dirty, Deadly Truth About Bush’s “Clear Skies Initiative” and Catastrophic Energy Bill November 15, 2003 by Cheryl Seal At this moment, Bush's Congressional goons are trying to ram through the White House's Energy Bill, refusing to allow Democrats - or the US public - to know what is going on! In short, a handful of self-interested creeps on the corporate take are deciding the long-term future for ALL of us. It appears that the big side show staged this week over the judicial nominations (with the aid of FOX and CNN) was just a smokescreen to hide the REAL and immediate objective : Ramming through billions of dollars in giveaways to the fossil fuel and nuke barons while pushing America's air, water, and natural lands to the brink of no return. SPEAK UP NOW – or let your children and grandchildren suffer the consequences. The Clean Air Act was one of—if not the most—important pieces of U.S. legislation of the 20th century. In 2002, Bush proposed replacing the Clean Air Act with the grotesquely named (as in very, very sick joke) Clear Skies Initiative. If enacted, it will be one of the most destructive steps taken in the 21st century. Not only will it reverse much of the environmental progress made in the past several decades in the U.S., it is likely to reverse progress in other nations, and thus become a global disaster.

9-11 Questions Still Circling Where Was the FAA? Where Was NORAD? November 15, 2003 by James Ridgeway Last week the 9-11 Commission subpoenaed some Pentagon papers and is still arguing with the White House about the release of other documents, complaining that panelists have "encountered some serious delays in obtaining needed documents from the Department of Defense. We are especially dismayed by problems in the production of the records of activities of NORAD and certain air force commands on September 11, 2001."

Wolfowitz on Reinstating Draft: "We need this and we are going to get it" November 15, 2003 TBR News The White House advisors have been making discreet inquiries on the Hill about the Bush plan to reinstitute a universal draft in America…this in spite of the potentially deadly reactions that could blast the President out of the White House. Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld are pushing this in spite of repeated warnings, even from inside the Pentagon, that this would be political suicide. “We need this and we are going to get it” Wolfowitz said to one of our senior editors on Monday.

Dollar Heads for Biggest Weekly Loss Against Euro in Six Months November 15, 2003 (Bloomberg) -- The dollar fell against the euro, headed for its biggest weekly loss in six months, after Europe's economy returned to growth and the Federal Reserve signaled it won't raise interest rates in coming months.

Mother of US soldier: “Bush killed my son” November 15, 2003 By Kate Randall The mother of one of the US soldiers who died when a Chinook helicopter was shot down in Iraq earlier this month has sharply condemned the Bush administration, and blames George W. Bush for her son’s death. First Lt. Brian Slavenas, 30, an Illinois National Guardsman, was the pilot of the helicopter that crashed November 2, resulting in 16 soldiers’ deaths and 20 injuries.

Bush's 'stunt' angers families November 15, 2003 George Bush's plans to meet families of British soldiers killed in Iraq were dismissed last night as a selfish stunt by two angry fathers. The US President wants to meet relatives during his visit to the UK next week to tell them their loved ones died in a ''noble cause''. During his three-day trip, he will be calling in on Tony Blair's County Durham constituency. But grieving fathers Robert Kelly and Reg Keys said the meeting would only benefit Mr Bush. Mr Kelly's 18-year-old son, Private Andrew Kelly, of 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, died in a shooting accident in Basra on May 6. The 53-year-old father said: ''For these people to meet families, it is only for their own gain.

The Real Jobs Numbers November 15, 2003 A number of factors must be considered in order to understand the severity of the current labor slump: The record length of time that jobs have failed to recover—Prior to the current slump, jobs had never fallen over a two and a half year period since monthly job numbers began in 1939. As of October 2003, payroll jobs had fallen by 2.4 million below the level of March 2001. The growth in the working age population since the recession began in March 2001—Even as jobs were shrinking by 1.8 percent, the working age population (i.e., the number of people of working age) was growing by 3.4 percent. Had job growth kept up with working age population growth over that period, 6.9 million more payroll jobs would have been filled in October 2003.

Virus synthesised in a fortnight November 15, 2003 news service Genome maverick Craig Venter has taken a significant step towards his ambitious goal of building a living organism from scratch. His team has developed a new technique to assemble large pieces of DNA with relative ease and unprecedented speed. The method equally makes it much simpler to manufacture a deadly virus for use as a bioweapon. The simple precursors needed would be impossible for governments to keep out of the hands of would-be biowarriors. The new results are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Dirty business November 15, 2003 By Phillip Babich How Bush and his coal industry cronies are covering up one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. INEZ, Ky. -- The EPA called the Inez spill the worst environmental catastrophe in the history of the Eastern United States. Far more extensive in damage than the widely known 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska, the Martin County Coal slurry spill dumped an estimated 306 million gallons of toxic sludge down 100 miles of waterways.

GCHQ whistleblower charged November 15, 2003 Richard Norton-Taylor A sacked GCHQ employee charged yesterday under the Official Secrets Act said last night that her alleged disclosures exposed serious wrongdoing by the US and could have helped to prevent the deaths of Iraqis and British forces in an "illegal war." In a statement last night, Ms Gun said: "Any disclosures that may have been made were justified because they exposed serious illegality and wrongdoing on the part of the US government which attempted to subvert our own security services. Secondly, they could have helped prevent widescale death and casualties amongst ordinary Iraqi people and UK forces in the course of an illegal war." She said no money was involved in any disclosure. "I have only ever followed my conscience."

US toll in Iraq starts to make mark on history November 15, 2003 The American death toll in Iraq has surpassed the number of US soldiers killed during the first three years of the Vietnam War. A Reuters analysis of US Defence Department statistics showed that the Vietnam War, which the army says officially began on December 11, 1961, produced 392 fatal casualties from 1962 to the end of 1964.

GEORGE BUSH - "The Worlds Biggest Fuck Up - Ever" The Destruction of America Continues November 15, 2003 by voxfux Undoubtedly George W. Bush is the worst fuck-up in the entire history of fuck-ups. Never in US history has there been a politician who has so completely, devastated the economy of the United States and imperiled so many future generations of American citizens as this war profiteering scum, George W. Bush.

US “turning point” in Iraq—deeper into the abyss November 15, 2003 By Bill Vann Seven months after Baghdad fell to US troops, Washington is unveiling a crisis strategy that combines the attempt to consolidate an Iraqi puppet regime with the unleashing of a redoubled military onslaught against the Iraqi people.

Iraq: The Crumbling Coalition November 15, 2003 by Rupert Cornwell As Italy mourns and Japan abandons plans to send troops, Bush desperately scrambles for new approach  in Washington and Phil Reeves in Baghdad The American-led coalition's failure to secure additional outside help in policing Iraq during a worsening security crisis was exposed yesterday when Japan backed away from sending troops. The death toll in Wednesday's suicide bombing at an Italian base in Nasiriyah rose to 31, adding impetus to the efforts of George Bush and his administration to extract the United States from the worsening conflict.

Israel steps up attack on U.N. envoy over report November 15, 2003 GENEVA (Reuters) - Israel on Thursday stepped up its attack on a U.N. special envoy who blamed it for causing hunger amongst Palestinians, warning that it might not cooperate with future U.N. human rights probes. The envoy's report, released last month, warned the Palestinian territories were on the verge of a "humanitarian catastrophe" as a result of "extremely harsh" military measures being adopted by Israeli forces.

"We Didn't Know" Will be No Excuse November 15, 2003 James Brooks - Israel's occupation of the Palestinian Territories passed through a profound transformation during the last several months. Through a series of policy changes and military orders, the West Bank "security fence" has gradually revealed itself to be the backbone of a comprehensive new system of land theft, imprisonment, collective punishment...and worse. The question is not whether it is a "political fence" or a "security fence", but whether it is an engine of ethnic cleansing.

30 Media Outlets Protest Treatment in Iraq Claim: Reporters Harassed, Tapes Confiscated November 15, 2003 By E&P Staff NEW YORK -- In two separate letters to the Pentagon, the press claims that U.S. troops are harassing journalists in Iraq and sometimes confiscating equipment, digital camera disks and videotapes. The Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) wrote a letter of protest to Larry Di Rita, acting assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. Some soldiers' actions "appear intended to discourage journalists from covering the continued military action in Iraq," wrote APME President Stuart Wilk, also vice president/managing editor at The Dallas Morning News. "These actions are unacceptable and contrary to the Pentagon's own guidelines distributed to troops in the field," Wilk wrote. The harassment has deprived "the American public of crucial images from Iraq in newspapers, broadcast stations and online news operations."

THE ROACH HOTEL November 14, 2003 By Dan Dvorak When Saddam said he will DESTROY the Americans if they invaded Iraq everyone laughed at him out loud thinking those were the ramblings of a mad man. Certainly we pictured a tiny group of his fabled Republican guard armed only with AK-47s and a few SAMs attempting to repel the greatest and finest fighting machine in the history of the world. The laugh was on us. What has actually occurred resembles an advertisement of a few years ago for the ROACH HOTEL. You remember it, plenty of arrivals, no departures! They let us in easy enough but they won’t let us out. Soldiers hid their conventional weapons (because they had no WMD) stripped off their uniforms and dressed like everyone else while they blended in to the crowds.

Al Qaida commander 'anticipates' 100,000 Americans dead in attack November 14, 2003 Al-Qal'a (The Fortress) In regard to rumors about a large-scale attack against the U.S. during the month of Ramadan, Al-Hijazi said that "a huge and very courageous strike" will take place and that the number of infidels expected to be killed in this attack, according to primary estimates, exceeds 100,000. He added that he "anticipates, but will not swear, that the attack will happen during Ramadan." He further stated that the attack will be carried out in a way that will "amaze the world and turn Al Qaida into [an organization that] horrifies the world until the law of Allah is implemented, actually implemented, and not just in words, on His land... You wait and see that the balance of power between Al Qaida and its rivals will change, all of a sudden, Allah willing."

Bush To Veterans: Drop Dead November 14, 2003 By Harvey Wasserman As another Veteran's Day passes by, George W. Bush has sent a clear and present message to the men and women of America's armed forces: Drop Dead. In an astonishing series of cynical attacks on veterans rights, benefits and sanctity, the administration has shortchanged our military personnel on their medical care, pensions, compensation for having been tortured, access to vital information about health dangers suffered in service, and even their body armor. After promising that the Iraqi people would be "dancing in the streets" upon their arrival, US troops are being attacked up to three dozen times a day. In response, Bush has imposed an unprecedented media blackout on coverage of their corpses coming home.

Trade Deficit Widens, Jobless Claims Rise November 14, 2003 By Tim Ahmann (Reuters) - The U.S. trade deficit widened 4.4 percent to $41.3 billion as imports from China and the rest of the world rose to record levels, the Commerce Department said. Separately, initial claims for jobless aid rose 13,000 to 366,000 in the week ended Nov. 8 from a revised 353,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said.

National Guard pay delayed, denied November 14, 2003 GAO report: 94 percent of those in six units had pay problems WHILE NATIONAL Guard soldiers fulfill their duty, risking their lives around the world, the Pentagon apparently is not living up to its obligation to pay them the right amount or on time. That’s according to a new congressional report obtained by NBC News, which finds the Pentagon’s pay process is such a mess it’s having “a profound financial impact on individual soldiers and their families.”

Bush's Middle Eastern Quagmire and Apocalypse Future November 14, 2003 Mark Dankof for Al Bawaba One trusts that an American electorate mesmerized by Reality TV and the NFL/NBA regular season schedules will stop long enough to contemplate the apocalyptic implications of Gordon Thomas's October 27th exclusive for the American Free Press: that George Bush's neo-conservative regime has secretly flown 100 Harpoon cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads to the joint American-UK military base stationed on the remote Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia. Thomas informs us that it is now known where 72 of these Harpoons have been subsequently assigned--to three Israeli Dolphin-class submarines (24 apiece) that have subsequently left Diego for the Gulf of Oman. The purpose? To target Iranian nuclear facilities well within the range of the Dolphins and their collective nuclear-tipped payload supplied by the United States. Most ominously, these instruments of mass death and destruction are under the command-and-launch decision making authority of one Ariel Sharon.

In a Police State Atmosphere, Fascists Will Rise to the Top November 14, 2003 By Jay Shaft Coalition For Free Thought In Media In a nation where a police state atmosphere is permitted, the fascists will rise to the top. This may sound like a crazy, radical statement, but it is going on in America right now with the current Ashcroft led Justice Department. With the top leader of the nations law enforcement structure permitting and enacting more and more assaults on civil rights and invasions of privacy it is only natural that many closet fascists will come out into the open.

The Sun Goes Haywire November 14, 2003 Solar maximum is years past, yet the sun has been remarkably active lately. Is the sunspot cycle broken?  Imagine you're in California. It's July, the middle of summer. The sun rises early; bright rays warm the ground. It's a great day to be outside. Then, suddenly, it begins to snow--not just a little flurry, but a swirling blizzard that doesn't stop for two weeks. That's what forecasters call unseasonal weather. It sounds incredible, but "something like that just happened on the sun," says David Hathaway, a solar physicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Listen to this story via streaming audio, a downloadable file, or get help.

To Hell and back By Bob Zimmerman November 14, 2003 —Thanks to millions of real American patriots (peace, freedom, and environmental activists from every walk of life) the truth about the ugly goals of the murderous Bush regime are being widely recognized. In the face of the raucous and near-constant barrage of Republican neocon lies and deceptions, as broadcast to us by the handful of fanatical right-wing billionaires that control our mass media, learning the truth about Bush is perhaps the greatest demonstration that our evolving democracy is still functioning.

'Our Democracy is in Danger of Being Paralyzed' November 14, 2003 By Bill Moyers "I saw Oliver North reporting on Fox from Iraq, pressing our embattled troops to respond to his repetitive and belittling question, “Does Fox Rock? Does Fox Rock?” Oliver North and I may be in the same “media” but we are not part of the same message.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for November 14, 2003 A speech by Bruce Mulkey Sometimes I’m certain that the Apocalypse is upon us. My chicken hawk president and our compliant Congress are shipping other folks’ kids (but certainly not their own) to Iraq to kill for peace. The airwaves are awash with politicians who claim they care about you and me, but most only seem interested in advancing their political careers. Elected officials dole out billions in corporate welfare while company officers make out like bandits and ship jobs overseas. The Patriot Act, passed after 9/11, is supposed to protect us from terrorists, yet many fear it leads us down the slippery slope toward fascism.

Criticizing the U.S. empire is not enough November 14, 2003 Amitai Etzioni WASHINGTON Now that the American empire is collapsing around our ears, it is the turn of those who favored a multipolar world - and one in which the United Nations plays a key role - to show that they can do better. Although no one in Washington has noticed it yet, the days of the American empire are numbered. The notion that one can govern the world by military might has found its limit.

RecommendedWhat's At Stake! November 14, 2003 Tell Congress: "Don't come home without protecting overtime pay." Even though both houses of Congress responded to your appeals by voting to block President George W. Bush's overtime pay cuts, the president is refusing to withdraw his pay cuts and says he will veto final legislation protecting overtime pay. Back-room maneuvering by the Bush administration and House Republican leaders has made it increasingly likely that the overtime pay protections we won will not make it out of Congress this year. Bush's Labor Department could put the overtime pay cuts into effect as soon as January. We still have a final chance to stop President Bush from taking away overtime pay from some 8 million workers if we make our voices heard. As many people as possible need to contact their senators and U.S. representative and tell them not to come home for the holidays without acting to protect overtime pay.

Bush's Royal Visit Will Be an Anglo-Nazi Family Reunion November 14, 2003 Bush's royal visit to England will be a disaster for Tony Blair. So if Blair didn't invite Bush, who did? "Getting the first ever state visit for a US president was a big request, but Team Bush had just the man to make it. William Farish III, the US ambassador to London, has been the invisible man of the diplomatic circuit since he arrived here. But he has one asset: he is a genuinely close friend of the Windsors." What is this "genuinely close" friendship based on? Farish is the grandson of William Farish, who was chairman of Standard Oil of New Jersey and sold tetra-ethyl lead to the Nazis, the essential ingredient for their bombers to reach London. Prescott Bush, GWB's grandfather, financed that sale to the Nazis. The Royal Windsors had more than a few Nazi sympathizers, not just King Edward VIII, whose Nazis ties (not his American divorcee) forced his abdication in 1936. It seems that blood, oil - and tetra-ethyl lead - are infinitely thicker than water.

The crisis of American democracy: its social and political roots November 14, 2003 By Barry Grey Last week’s decision by the CBS television network to withdraw its mini-series on the Reagans was another milestone in the dissolution of American democracy.

GOP will trumpet preemption doctrine November 14, 2003 By Anne E. Kornblut, Globe Staff WASHINGTON -- Faced with growing public uneasiness over Iraq, Republican Party officials intend to change the terms of the political debate heading into next year's election by focusing on the "doctrine of preemption," portraying President Bush as a visionary acting to prevent future terrorist attacks on US soil despite the costs and casualties involved overseas.

Pentagon Limits Funeral Coverage, Arlington to Keep Away Reporters November 14, 2003 By Steve Vogel The Army tightened rules yesterday on press coverage of funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, directing that reporters be kept far enough away from the graveside that they would likely be unable to hear a chaplain's eulogy. "It concerns me, because you can't understand the true cost of war if you can't see the amputees and the people who have been killed," said Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center, a veterans group. "The results of war have to be witnessed at graveside, whether you like it or not."

'We could lose this situation' · CIA says insurgents now 50,000 strong November 13, 2003 Julian Borger in Washington and Rory McCarthy in Baghdad - The White House yesterday drew up emergency plans to accelerate the transfer of power in Iraq after being shown a devastating CIA report warning that the guerrilla war was in danger of escalating out of US control. The report, an "appraisal of situation" commissioned by the CIA director, George Tenet, and written by the CIA station chief in Baghdad, said that the insurgency was gaining ground among the population, and already numbers in the tens of thousands. One military intelligence assessment now estimates the insurgents' strength at 50,000, it does indicate a deep-rooted revolt on a far greater scale than the Pentagon had led the administration to believe. An intelligence source in Washington familiar with the CIA report described it as a "bleak assessment that the resistance is broad, strong and getting stronger".

Congress strips profiteering penalties from $87.5 billion Iraqi occupation bill November 13, 2003 By Jamie Chapman The United States Senate’s “stealth vote” giving final approval to the $87.5 billion emergency appropriation bill for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan—with only six senators present, and by voice vote rather than roll call—provides an object lesson in the degenerate state of the US political system. The final measure enacted into law was approved only after being stripped of measures aimed at curtailing profiteering by politically connected corporations. Such firms, including Halliburton and Bechtel, have already reaped windfall profits off taxpayer money used to finance the Iraqi occupation.

Bush foreign policy 'creates risks for US companies' November 13, 2003 By Stephen Fidler and Mark Huband in London US multinational companies are "acutely worried" about the business consequences of Bush administration foreign policy, according to a new report from Control Risks, a UK-based international security consultancy. "The consequences of Bush's foreign policy have created new risks - and exacerbated existing risks - for US companies around the world," the report says. The company's RiskMap 2004 report describes US foreign policy as "the most important single factor driving the development of global risk". It says many in the private sector "believe that US unilateralism is creating a security paradox: by using US power unilaterally and aggressively in pursuit of global stability, the Bush administration is in fact creating precisely the opposite effect."

Economy now benefits corporate investors at the expense of workers November 13, 2003 Workers have the same status as machinery and are steadily losing whatever human rights they once had. It's a ruthlessly one-sided arrangement. No matter how much workers improve equipment or work procedures, they don't share in the benefits. It gets worse. As a work group becomes more effective, it increases the likelihood that some of their members will be fired, and those who remain will have to work harder than they did before, with incomes that don't keep pace with inflation. Workers are told that "competition demands it" -- despite record corporate profits and skyrocketing incomes for executives and investors. Of course, executives and stockholders exempt themselves from participating in the cost-cutting competition and get fabulously rich in the process.

Why US Rifles Jam So Often - With Fatal Results November 13, 2003 By George Belanus On a quick reading of the story, I noticed that Miller said that he had grabbed his rifle when they got stuck in a shoot-it-out type situation. This means to me that Miller grabbed the standard-issue M-16 that has been Army and other American military branch issue since the Vietnam War. And that answered the question in just a couple minutes' time, since the M-16 has always had this reputation of crapping out through jams just when you need it to work in the very worst way. The stories of our guys being found dead in Vietnam after firefights with a hopelessly jammed M-16 are legion, and apparently the so-called fixes the military put in place early on have not remedied the basic problem -- what we have in the M-16 is a basically inferior design as far as inherent ability to function under adverse conditions.

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