Monday, May 14, 2007
Iraqis Not Cooperating on Foreign Ownership of Oil Industry
The Iraqis are not just caving in to the Bush administration plans for privatizing the oil sector. The Iraqis don't want to cede the oil industry to foreign control. They are fighting the plan. This flies in the face of the Democratic plan in the US Congress.
Well, the US is saying that the Iraqis must have foreign investment and expertise to bring more oil on line and into the market. It isn't true. All they need is for the US to get out of their business. They can pay for the equipment they need with oil revenues. They know how to operate an oil industry. They are old hands at it. They also know how to hire the help they would want.
This all goes to show that the US went to war for the oil.
To Hell with the World Bank As It Is
The World Bank is losing power due to the further corruption by US conservatives. The rest of the world is seeing through the scam and dropping out of using the World Bank. That bank, since the time of Ronald Reagan, has place huge strings on the loans it has made to the poor countries of the world. Bush-43 though made things much worse by insisting that the bank make direct deals with US corporations or the Bush administration would pull US funding for the bank.
Therefore, on top of the high, mandated consulting fees attached to the ostensibly inexpensive loans, the World Bank lent US taxpayer dollars to the likes of Halliburton to rape the poor nations of the world of their natural resources to line the pockets of the multibillionaire stockholders.
120 Dead in Iraq Attacks
At least one hundred twenty-people were killed in Iraq Sunday in one of its deadliest days in weeks. Fifty people died and more than one hundred were wounded in a suicide attack in the northern Kurdish town of Makmur. It was the second attack to hit Iraq's Kurdish region in five days.
Under US Dictates, Iraqi Government Bans Journalists From Filming Bomb Carnage
As the violence escalates, Iraq's interior ministry has announced a ban on news photographers and camera crews from the scene of bombing attacks. Iraqi officials say the measure is meant to protect evidence, hide victims, and deny attackers information they achieved their goals. The Iraqi government has already come under wide criticism for a series of limits on news coverage inside Iraq.
The Iraqi police have been ordered to fire warning shots over the heads of journalists and others who would otherwise record the results of bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. This is an overt attempt to censor the news. The powers that be want to sanitize their on-going repression and war. They want the American people and those on the Internet not to be continually reminded of the insanity of the Empire's and false-Zionists' agenda.
It is a propaganda move. The Empire will now claim to be making more progress in Iraq while evidence to the contrary will be censored. This is sheer evil covering sheer evil.
But they cannot hide. We know them by their evil, selfish, hardhearted fruits. They bring forth greed. They do not bring forth "Thy Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven." They work for evil. They are evil.
We are not saying that we are perfect, but it is necessary to warn humanity away from heading further in the wrong direction. It is our duty regardless of our own imperfection.
We are not judging or condemning. We are sounding the alarm. We are warning out of love. We feel for the misguided. They are lost. We want the lost to be found, but it is up to them to hear the voice calling them. It cannot be forced.
Al Qaeda Group Claims Capture of 3 US Troops
In other Iraq news, US forces have launched a search for three soldiers missing following an attack that killed four other troops and an Iraqi interpreter. An al Qaeda-linked group has claimed responsibility and says it's holding the troops captive. It was one of the deadliest operations against US forces since the three-month old crackdown on Baghdad.
US military spokesperson major general William Caldwell said, "We have an ongoing effort and policy to find our three soldiers that have a duty status of whereabouts unknown. That is continuing. We've got about 4,000 US forces that have been directly associated now with this ongoing effort and in addition to the forces and probably more importantly additional assets in terms of aerial assets and intelligence assets have been redirected and focused again on finding our missing soldiers."
Iraqi Parliament Calls for End to Baghdad Walls
Iraq's parliament has approved a measure calling for an end to the building of massive security walls around Baghdad neighborhoods. The walls have drawn protests across sectarian lines as evidence of a US-backed strategy of divide and rule.
Cheney Warns Iran as US Opens Talks
Vice president Dick Cheney has issued a new warning to Iran. Speaking aboard a US aircraft carrier off the United Arab Emirates, Cheney said the US military presence in the Gulf region should send a strong message.
Cheney said, "We'll keep the sea lanes open. We'll stand with our friends in opposing extremism and strategic threats. We'll disrupt attacks on our own forces. We'll continue bringing relief to those who suffer and delivering justice to the enemies of freedom. And we'll stand with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region."
Cheney spoke just one day before the US and Iran announced plans to meet in Baghdad in the next few weeks. The talks would mark the highest-level publicly acknowledged contact between the two sides in years.
41 Die in Pakistan Clashes Following Judge Dismissal
In Pakistan, at least forty-one people have died in clashes in the city of Karachi. The fighting was set off following the suspension of a top judge by the government of president Pervez Musharaff.
Blair to Be Questioned on al Jazeera Bombing Memo
In Britain, prime minister Tony Blair is set to be questioned in parliament this week over his talks with president Bush about bombing the Arabic television network al Jazeera. Two men were convicted last week for leaking a record of a conversation in which president Bush reportedly said he wants to bomb the network's Doha headquarters.
Palestinian Interior Minister Resigns as Factions Clash
In the Occupied Territories, the Palestinian interior minister has resigned amid a new outbreak of factional violence. Two people have been killed and ten wounded in clashes between Fattah and Hamas members.
Palestinian Woman Loses Unborn Baby in Israeli Shooting
A pregnant Palestinian woman lost her unborn baby Thursday after coming under fire from Israeli troops in Nablus. Israel says it was responding to shooting from Palestinian militants. Maham Katoumi was in her eighth month of pregnancy. This is her husband, Jihad:
"When the shooting started, my wife went to bring the children from the other room. As she stood up, the bullets entered her body, she was thrown from the bed to the bathroom. This is what happened."
Israel says it was responding to shooting from Palestinian militants, but if Israelis weren't stealing Palestinian lands, there wouldn't be any shooting from Palestinian militants, if there was any such shooting. Besides, why are they such bad shots back? Why are they firing into people's homes hitting pregnant women, killing their unborn babies? What's the matter with them?
What's the matter with them is that they are selfish, covetous, greedy serpents. They are what they are doing, and only selfish, covetous, greedy serpents would be doing what they are doing.
"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (Luke 10:19).
Study: 1,000 Palestinian Homes Abandoned in Hebron
A new study from two Israeli human rights groups shows Palestinians have abandoned more than one thousand homes and nearly two thousand businesses in the West Bank town of Hebron. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and B'Tselem attribute most of the flights to pressure and violence from Israeli soldiers and settlers. Most residents have fled since the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada nearly seven years ago.
Administration Backs Down on Guantanamo Attorney Visits
The Bush administration has withdrawn one of its proposals to restrict attorney access for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The Justice Department says it will no longer seek to limit attorneys to just three visits with their clients. They want to keep rules that would allow just one visit for prospective lawyers, deny attorneys access to secret evidence, and allow military officials to read attorney-client mail.
It's still fascism. If Americans were being treated that way, the US government would be up in arms over it.
Trial Begins for Navy Attorney in Guantanamo Leak Case
A US navy attorney goes on trial today for allegedly leaking the names of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. Lieutenant commander Matthew Diaz is accused of passing on secret national defense information to a lawyer with the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights. He faces more than thirty-six years in prison.
He's a hero fighting fascism. The US Bush/Cheney administration is fascist and has to go. The Democrat president better immediately pardon all those the Bush/Cheney people have wronged.
Dallas Suburb Bans Rentals to Undocumented Immigrants
In Texas, voters in the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch have approved a measure barring renting homes to most undocumented immigrants. Landlords would be forced to check if renters are US citizens or visa-approved immigrants before giving them a lease. Opponents plan to challenge the measure in court.
This isn't mundanely illegal.
Residents of a Dallas suburb are organizing to challenge the anti-immigration law passed last week. Community activist Elizabeth Villafranca said the following:
This is going to be a black spot on the city of Farmers Branch. In my opinion, this is going to be right in the column with the sitting in the back of the bus and not using bathrooms that whites use, and not, you know, using the same water fountains that whites use and this is going to be a black mark.
Virginia Tech Victims Honored in Graduation Ceremony
Virginia Tech held graduation ceremonies Friday less than a month after the mass shooting that killed thirty-two people. Twenty-seven of the victims were honored with posthumous degrees.
Unidentified commencement official said, "Today we honor all graduate students who have earned graduate degrees. Some are here with us in person, some will attend the commencement ceremonies in the national capital region on Sunday, some due to personal and professional reasons will wait for the delivery of their diploma, and some are here in spirit. They are here in spirit only, but they are represented, well represented by family, friends, and colleagues."
Bush Administration Seeks to Weaken G8 Declaration on Global Warming
In environmental news, the Washington Post is reporting the Bush administration is trying to weaken a climate-change declaration planned for next month's gathering of world leaders at the G8 summit. US negotiators are trying to delete a pledge to limit the global temperature rise and cut emissions of greenhouse gas to half 1990 levels. The administration also wants to strike language that designates the UN as the appropriate forum for negotiating action on climate change.
Selfish devils. Destroy them who destroy the earth not in vengeance but for righteousness' sake, for the sake of salvation of the just.
Harvard Students End 9-Day Hunger Strike
Students at Harvard University have ended their nine-day hunger strike as part of a campaign to demand a pay raise and improve working conditions for campus security guards. The students want the university to intervene in salary negotiations between the guards and their employer Allied Barton. The fast ended after guards urged the students to eat. At a gathering in Harvard Yard Saturday, security guard Paul Kane thanked the students for their campaign.
Paul Kane said, "For most of my co-workers, no one has ever bothered to stand up for them. No one has ever showed the outpouring of support we have received. You're willingness to do that means so much to us. You have been an inspiration to us. You have taught us what can happen. We a community stands together. We have developed a bond I hope will only strengthen over time. For the first time in a long while my co-workers and I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you so very much for showing us the way.
Two students were hospitalized this week for low levels of sodium.
Student Kelly Lee said, "For me this has never been about the hunger strike. It's never been about the students who are doing the hunger strike. It's always been about the people who work here, who go home every day, who have families to take care of, who are living week to week, who need this in order to live, who deserve this."
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
An Interesting Overview Article on Shifting Power and Language
"Politics of language," by Shahid Siddiqui, touches upon some of the biblical themes about language without doing so intentionally. Isaiah discussed how the language was twisted. He said people were reversing the meaning of words, putting bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, etc. (Shahid Siddiqui. "Politics of language." The News. May 15, 2007. last accessed: Tuesday, May 15, 2007)
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20).
This highlights the movement of the Real Liberal Christian Church in its work to reestablish the true meaning of "liberal," which is beneficent and healthy as opposed to the current usage that is not discerning concerning the physically and spiritually unhealthy results of behaviors such as homosexuality.
We discuss how the language has been twisted by such expressions as "homophobic" and how the physiological and pathological dangers of homosexual activity are all but ignored in the false-liberal rush to condone iniquitous, dangerous, unhealthy behaviors. The anatomical incorrectness of homosexuality is rarely addressed. One has to deliberately search for such discussions and as of the time of this writing will be hard pressed to find anything in the mainstream about it.
Our article on homosexuality, among our other writings on the subject, may be found here: Homosexuals: What they ignore.
Many others have touched upon the pejoration of language. Orwell more than alluded to it and its use for power. He discussed how those who take power by violent and coercive means than shape the history lessons given to the people all in order to further control.
In his most recent book, The Culture Struggle, Michael Parenti discusses the arbitrary shifts in the language. He discusses how psychiatry simply unscientifically [as a result of political and cultural pressure] changed from considering homosexuality a disease [which it remains] to an acceptable alternative lifestyle [a very astray position and very damaging in the long run]. Those are our editorial comments and not Parenti's positions. He apparently incorrectly favors the new view that homosexuality was never a disease state.
Pejoration is a main theme in the Real Liberal Christian Church. You may do a search on the term in the PDF version of our work There Is No Such Thing as a Conservative-Republican Christian: Jesus is a small-c communist to learn about how the struggle over language and hearts and minds is all one struggle.
All of this is important to the unfolding of the prophecy. You see Isaiah pronouncing "woe" unto them who selfishly twist words. He is absolutely right. Having the language straight, true, and real is critical to having emotional reactions set for proper automatic, correct behaviors. It is critical to thinking correctly and speaking correctly to lead people to salvation rather than ruination of their souls. It is critical in doing what needs to be done to save the world, as Jesus came to do, despite all the destructive negative reactions of the selfish.
All of the twisting will be set straight and strait, thank God, literally.
Another Interesting Article on the Old Wine Skin
This article, "Against and Beyond the State," does not use the expression "old wine skin," but it does talk about how the capitalistic system attempts to co-opt and absorb and distort the movement. This applies very well to Christianity. It applies well to the movement of the false-Christian televangelists who have sucked ostensible Christians into the mainstream politics of the Beast (the worldly Empire) with hopes of transforming it into their twisted vision of Christianity that is really working for the satanic spirit without doubt (greedy, violent, and sexually depraved). (Marina Sitrin. "Against and Beyond the State: An Interview with John Holloway." ZNET. May 10, 2007. last accessed: Tuesday, May 15, 2007)
The Real Liberal Christian Church correctly believes that the system of the Beast is the old wine skin that cannot hold the new wine, which is the Holy Spirit of peace, love, and truth. That is why this discussion by Communists is important. They err in Marxism, but they come so close in understanding that the horizontal is critical and not being co-opted is critical and bringing forth outside the system of mammon worship is critical. The RLCC is all about diverting the stream of mammon to bring forth the Christian Commons. The Christian Commons is where all are priests (the priesthood of all believers). It is a level place without the hierarchy of power and control. The leaders are the servants of the many. The last is first and the first is last. The golden rule is the law. The new commandment is the law. The two great commandments are the law. Consistency with those laws is the law.
Stop the $2.4 Billion Dollar Foreign Aid to Israel
Israel's per capita income is $25,000. Twenty-four percent of the Forbes 400 richest people in the world are Jews. It is obscene that US taxpayers are giving Israel $2.4 billion per year while other nations where the vast majority of people are living on a dollar a day or less go nearly without US aid.
The American people must say "No" to the war-mongers among the Jews and Israelites. War is not the answer. It never has been and never will be.
Democrats Weak Against War-mongers
The Democrats are weak toward the war-mongers. They are as weak as the neocon Republicans. The Clintons sucked up to the war-mongering Jewish Lobby for dollars. Hillary Clinton is still doing it, and Obama is right on her heels in the race for Jewish campaign contributions. It's sick and totally unchristian.
The Clintons pushed hard to get Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard released from prison.
James Petras wrote, "Clinton [Bill] later broke precedent in granting a pardon to a fugitive criminal, the billionaire swindler Marc Rich, now a citizen of Israel and close friend of the Lobby and Israeli leaders." (http://petras.lahaine.org/articulo.php?p=1702&more=1&c=1).
This is the same Marc Rich who was just given an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University, located outside Tel Aviv, Israel.
These Democrats are insiders. They are working for the biblical Beast, not against it.
These Democrats have nothing to say about the despicable treatment of the Palestinians at the hands of land-thieving, murderous, torturing, anti-democratic, racist, fascist, false-Zionists running the current, illegitimate state of Israel. That is not to say that any state in the world other than real Christianity is legitimate. They aren't legitimate on the divine level. That's the message of the New Testament.
There is also the case of the two AIPAC spies who are being defended by the Jewish Lobby under a 1st Amendment defense. We believe in whistleblowers for righteousness. We know though that these spies are working for evil war-mongers and not righteousness. The Real Liberal Christian Church is not for punishment but for freely chosen repentance. Nevertheless, it is important to point out the hypocrisy of the AIPAC that is all in favor of locking up whistleblowers in Israel, such as Mordechai Vanunu, who bravely and correctly leaked that Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons.
Where is the outcry from the Jewish Lobby to release Mordechai Vanunu who is being held in Israel as a political prisoner?
Of course, now we also know that Condi Rice was also leaking classified information to the Israelis. The Jewish Lobby has made sure that this is public information. In doing so, they are saying that if you are going to prosecute the two Israeli spies, you'll have to go after Condi Rice too.
Well, she should never have been in the position she's in, in the first place. She has no business there. Neither do Bush or Cheney, nor any of their ilk, have any business ruling. They are all terrible stewards and shepherds.
This Jewish Lobby is so powerful that it turns the huge oil industry interests in the Middle East. These two interests often compete head-to-head with the oil industry not coming out on top very often. The calculations made in the Pentagon and think tanks of the military-industrial complex are always weighted by the central position of the Israeli factor (how Israel factors into the entire equation). The kleptomaniacs sitting at the top of the inverted mammon pyramid of power and control make the ultimate decisions based upon personal, individual selfishness first and their own bloodline second. This is how to see them. They aren't concerned about the inferiors who are those who don't, in their vision, have the brains to steal in ways too clever to be outed. Well, we are outing them: The false Zionist and superrich. They are working for the devil. There is no doubt about it.
They need to repent and atone for righteousness' sake.
You may want to read "The Pro-Israel Lobby and US Middle East Policy: The Score Card for 2007." It is a good overview article concerning the power of the wholly selfish, racist, Jewish Lobby and how it has twisted American foreign policy not for the better but for the worse (it was already very bad). (James Petras. "The Pro-Israel Lobby and US Middle East Policy: The Score Card for 2007." IndyMedia UK. May 15, 2007. Also available here. last accessed: Tuesday, May 15, 2007)
Bush-43 Meets with Other Dupes Calling Themselves Christians
James Dodson and about a dozen other false-Christians were invited to the White House to hear George W. Bush lie about the so-called War on Terror and rail against Iran and call Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a new Hitler, which is an absolutely ridiculous parallel. (Max Blumenthal. "Bush met with Dobson and conservative Christian leaders to rally support for Iran policy." The Raw Story. May 14, 2007. last accessed: Tuesday, May 15, 2007)
These so-called conservative Christians are so astray it cannot be overstated.
This James Dodson is leading his flock over the cliff and into the wide mouth of the devouring spirit of darkness. He is leading them in the direct opposite direction of Jesus Christ and Jesus's clear and plain pacifism. Dodson is a war-monger, and absolutely no one should be duped into following him. He is antichrist. He is a false shepherd. He is a mouthpiece for Satan, whether Dodson realizes it himself or not.
He needs to wake up. He needs to be confronted with Jesus's call to turn the other cheek. How does Dobson answer to Jesus's call? Does he say Jesus was wrong? Does he ignore the one he calls his lord and savior?
Put it to him. If he isn't made to think about it, he won't stand a chance at being saved.
Bush is being so utterly evil calling these people into his office to sell them on mass murdering Iranians for the sake of Empire and exploiting paranoid and misled false Zionists. The magnitude of the evil cannot be overstated here.
This is why we were moved by the Holy Spirit to write the book, There Is No Such Thing as a Conservative-Republican Christian: Jesus is a small-c communist and to develop our website, etc.
These people are the most dangerous people on the planet. We don't countenance Islam, but these militants masquerading as Christians are even worse, because they have the Pentagon as their toolbox. They will fire nuclear missiles at Iran and murder tens of millions in an abominable perversion of the name of God. They will gladly do this rather than setting the saving, Christian example laid down by Jesus and God through his son.
So, don't call these people Christians. Call them what they are. They are serpents. They are wolves in sheep's clothing.
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15).
They are devils pretending to be angels of light. Just look at what they have been bringing forth. It is sheer evil.
Can they be saved? Yes, if they are willing rather than willful. It is up to them, but it is up to us to speak out so they will know just how wrongheaded they are being.
The US is Working Stealthily to Overthrow All Egalitarian Minded Regimes
The US government under George W. Bush is spending lots of money around the world funding all sorts of groups in an effort to destabilize and bring down every regime that even hints at egalitarian tendencies. Bush and his greedy piggish ilk (yes pigs) want more for self and to hell they think with the rest. It is they, however, above all others who risk falling into hell.
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." (Matthew 7:6).
"So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters." (Matthew 8:31-32).
Rather than fight openly everywhere, the US is doing coups on the cheap and under the radar screens of the new media and even the anti-Imperialists around the planet.
Right now, the US is funding groups in every nation where the greedy want to move in to take over to privatize everything, even the very air the people breathe. It is all done in the name of democracy and freedom other such nonsense, since the Bush people are the antithesis of democratic and freedom. They are enslavers, just as their fathers before them going all the way back to the liar from the beginning.
They will be overthrown. It won't be from the inside and it won't be by violence. It will be by the change of heart of humanity after the great tribulation that will be brought on by the evil ones, the greedy, violent, depraved capitalists.
Red Cross Leak Accuses Israel
The Red Cross has accused Israel of a "general disregard" for "its obligations under international humanitarian law and the law of occupation in particular."
This report was supposed to remain confidential, but someone leaked it to The New York Times that published the news.
Israel has been accused by the UN and many other entities of being racist. Well, it is racist. Much of its religion is racist. The Talmud is racist. It's why the kingdom was taken away from that nation and given over to a new to bring forth, as Jesus said it would be.
The Jewish people need to be shown the error of their ways. What they have done and are doing in the region is totally wrong, and they are herewith warned that if they continue, they will be made to suffer for their iniquity.
52 Killed in Iraq; US May Toll Rises to 47
At least fifty-two people were killed in violence around Iraq Monday. Five US servicemembers died in separate attacks in Baghdad, bringing this month's military death toll to forty-seven. Speaking in Washington, Iraqi deputy prime minister Barham Salih likened the violence in Iraq to the Virginia Tech shootings.
Barham Salih said, "Think of it, Virginia Tech every day ten times over for the past three years. People can talk about civil war in Iraq. People can complain about sectarian violence in Iraq, but there is another way of looking at it. Any other society that has been subjected to this barbaric onslaught day in day out would have been in an all out civil war. If anything, it is remarkable Iraq is not in an all out civil war."
Salih is in Washington to urge Congress to approve more money for the Iraq war. The Senate is set to vote this week on whether to cut off funding by April of next year.
Peace Activists Launch Capitol Hill Campaign
More than two hundred peace activists rallied on Capitol Hill to kick off several weeks of anti-war protests. The peace mom Cindy Sheehan led demonstrators in what was billed as the "Mother of a March." Activists will converge on Congress until the end of June calling for a withdrawal from Iraq.
Son of Conservative War Critic Killed in Iraq
The Pentagon has identified the son of a conservative war critic as among the US servicemembers killed in Iraq on Sunday. Andrew Bacevich Junior is the son of Boston University Professor Andrew Bacevich. The elder Bacevich is the author of books including, "The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War." Last July, he wrote in Iraq, "For all the talk of Iraq being a sovereign nation, foreign occupiers are the ones deciding what an Iraqi life is worth… [O]ur actions in Iraq continue to convey the impression that civilian lives aren't worth all that much."
Pentagon Bars Soldiers from YouTube, MySpace
The Pentagon has announced new restrictions on a dozen popular websites used by US troops to share photos, video, and messages. Soldiers are now barred from accessing sites including YouTube and MySpace from military computers. The Pentagon says file-sharing is taking up too much bandwidth. Thousands of soldiers rely on the social-networking websites to communicate with friends and family members.
IAEA: Iran Advances Uranium Enrichment
The International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded the Iranian government appears to have overcome most of its technological difficulties and is now enriching larger quantities of uranium than before. Inspectors say Iran's main nuclear facility has thirteen-hundred centrifuges producing uranium that could be used for nuclear reactors. Iran remains far from being able to produce weapons-grade fuel. The news comes as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened severe retaliation in the event of a US attack, but he also confirmed reports Iranian officials will meet with US counterparts for talks on Iraq in Baghdad.
Ahmadinejad said, ''The Americans, in order to solve the security issues in Iraq, have requested to talk to Iran. We, in order to support the Iraqi people, declared that we are ready and prepared. Even until now, the date of this dialogue has not been confirmed. Both parties confirmed that the talks will take place in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, with the presence of the Iraqi government.''
Deputy Attorney General Steps Down
Deputy attorney general Paul McNulty has announced he will step down later this year. McNulty is the second in command to attorney general Alberto Gonzales. He becomes the highest-ranking Bush administration official to leave office over the firing of US attorneys. In his resignation letter, McNulty did not mention the scandal and said he's stepping down in part for financial reasons.
Padilla Trial Begins in Miami
Five years after his high-profile arrest, Jose Padilla appeared in court Monday for the start of his criminal trial. Padilla was initially accused of plotting a dirty-bomb attack and labeled an enemy combatant. He was later indicted on lesser offenses and now stands accused of aiding al Qaeda. The presiding judge has called the case "light on facts." Padilla was held in extreme isolation without almost any human contact for thirteen-hundred days and denied an attorney for nearly two years. His attorneys say he was tortured to the point where he is now incapable of assisting in his own defense.
Tenet to Testify on False Pre-War Intel
Former CIA director George Tenet has agreed to testify before Congress on the Bush administration's use of false intelligence to lead the country into war. The House Oversight Committee hearing will focus on the claim Iraq sought to purchase uranium from Niger.
Absentia Trial Resumes in Calipari Killing
In Italy, the absentia trial of a US soldier for the killing of the Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari has resumed in Rome. Calipari was killed in Iraq two years ago shortly after he helped free the kidnapped journalist Giuliana Sgrena. The United States has insisted National Guardsman Mario Lozano followed the rules of engagement and shot at the car carrying the Italians, because it was speeding towards a checkpoint. Italian ballistics experts concluded that the car was driving at a normal speed and that the US unit gave no warnings before opening fire. A video of the scene of the shooting was released last week.
Giuliana Sgrena said, "What clearly comes out of the video and what was denied by the American military commission, is that the car had the lights on. The car had the lights on and, most of all, it had them on even after the shooting, meaning that the shooter pointed at the people inside more than at the exterior of the car."
The trial has now been delayed until early July. Also Monday, Mario Lozano spoke from his home in New York.
Mario Lozano said, "It is scary, because now I can't leave my country. I feel like a prisoner in my own country, a prisoner of war practically. I joined the military for a reason to travel, and now I can't go anywhere."
24 People Killed in Pakistan Hotel Attack
In Pakistan, at least twenty-four people were killed in a bombing attack on a hotel in the city of Peshawar. Another thirty people were wounded.
Hamas Militants Kill 8 Fattah Members
In the Occupied Territories, the conflict between the two main Palestinian factions has intensified with the killing of eight Fattah forces by members of Hamas. The Fattah operatives were traveling in a jeep when they were struck by a missile ambush. Hamas members then fired on the men as they tried to flee. It was the deadliest attack since the recent outbreak of violence between the two sides.
These Palestinians are really stupid to be cooperating with the Israelis who are promoting and supporting with US financial backing this factional violence between Palestinians.
What is the matter with these people? Well, it's Islam. If they were Christians (real Christians), this couldn't happen to them.
Brazilian Rancher Appears in Court for Killing of US Nun
In Brazil, a Brazilian rancher appeared in court Monday to face charges for the killing of a US-born Catholic nun in the Amazon rainforest. Vitalmiro de Moura is accused of paying gunmen to murder seventy-three old sister Dorothy Stang in February 2005. Sister Stang dedicated her life to the people of the Amazon rainforest. She lived and worked in Brazil for more than 30 years. She had been trying to stop illegal logging by De Moura. In the weeks before Dorothy Stang was murdered, ranchers had been trying to expel the farmers by burning down their huts. Dorothy Stang was shot dead as she read from her Bible. This is her brother, David Stang.
Why were the people so afraid to even come up and touch her? What is that fear, that terrorizing, the enslavement in that area that no one would even come? None of her friends, no one came to hug her or support her. Is that not a sign that thieves and the thugs control the Amazon?
Iran Arrests Iranian-American Scholar
Iran has confirmed the arrest of a prominent Iranian-American scholar. Dr. Haleh Esfandiari is director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She was jailed last week on unspecified charges.
Thomson Corp. Buys Reuters for $17B
In media news, the Canadian company Thomson Corporation has finalized a seventeen billion dollar-purchase of the British news organization Reuters. The deal will create the world's largest news and financial data company.
Privacy Oversight Member Resigns Following Administration Censorship
A member of the civilian panel created to oversee government protection of personal privacy has resigned in protest of White House censorship of the board's first report. The Congressionally-mandated Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board had unanimously voted to send the report to lawmakers. The Bush administration made more than two hundred revisions, including the deletion of a passage on anti-terrorism programs, which intelligence officials had cited as a potential intrusion on civil liberties.
Colombia Has Been Illegally Spying for Years
The chief of police and the head of police intelligence were forced to retire. The police illegally tapped calls of opposition political figures, journalists, and members of the government. It had been going on at least for the last two years.
This is the nation that is so supported by the Bush/Cheney administration with Plan Columbia, which is really a recipe for fascism and oppression of the indigenous peoples and their aspirations for controlling their own natural resources.
Televangelist Jerry Falwell, 73, Dies
Jerry Falwell, the founder of the so-called Moral Majority died in his office of an apparent heart problem. Falwell started the movement to register lip-service, self-styled conservative Christians as Republicans to vote for Ronald Reagan. It was a huge error that damaged Christianity. It has given Jesus and God a bad name, a bad and wrong reputation, with many people.
In the end, Falwell was backpedaling in the wrong areas. He started doing things to openly allow homosexuality into his ministry. This only served to compound the earlier errors.
He died before he repented.
We want the word to spread so these televangelists can turn before it is too late for them in this life here and now.
Falwell was a pioneering figure in the religious right. He led campaigns against abortion, gay rights, pornography, and bans on school prayer.
That's not bad if put in proper context. It's just the way he did it (promoting coercion) and the other things he promoted (militarism) that was bad. You can't force Jesus on people. You can't use the military to bring Christianity to anyone, anywhere.
During the 1960's, Falwell condemned Martin Luther King and what he described as the "civil-wrongs movement." In the 1980's, Falwell praised South Africa's apartheid government as a "bulwark for Christian civilization" and campaigned against economic sanctions. Falwell once described Nobel Peace laureate archbishop Desmond Tutu as a phony.
These were racially motivated positions. The economic sanctions were wrong (coercive) on the part of the Beast (Empire). However, supporting the ultra-racist and violent, unjust apartheid regime was appalling and purely antichrist.
Shortly after September 11, 2001, Falwell appeared on Pat Robertson's "700 Club" and blamed so-called liberal groups in the United States for the attacks. Jerry Falwell said the following:
I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, and the ACLU and People For the American Way-all of them who have tried to secularize America-I point the finger in their face and say, "You helped this happen."
On Tuesday, several of the leading Republican presidential candidates praised Falwell. Senator John McCain described him as, "a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country."
Well, Falwell was half-right telling half-truths. 9/11 was an inside job carried off by neocons. All the other evils in society of course facilitated the attack plan. [Equal rights for women is not evil, per se.]
The US Spits on the Right to Face One's Accusers
An alleged CIA agent testified against Jose Padilla. The agent was wearing a disguise and didn't have to give his real name. What a farce of justice.
We are not saying Padilla is innocent. He isn't completely innocent. We are saying that the system under which he has been held and how he has been treated is even farther from innocence. It is corrupt. It is led by corrupt people, unrepentant people who cannot be trusted concerning Padilla.
Homosexuals Increasing Syphilis and HIV/AIDS
Homosexuals are contracting syphilis at an alarming rate. They are also not using condoms but rather spreading HIV/AIDS. What is wrong with these people, you might ask. Well, they are mentally and spiritually ill.
Homosexuality isn't though a disease that can't be overcome, contrary to popular opinion. It simply takes fasting from the sexual appetite. If they want to be purged enough, they need only ask God and have sufficient faith and perseverance. It is the same with everything. God has power over everything.
This does though go to show that homosexuality is not simply some acceptable, harmless, alternative lifestyle. It is dangerous and can most certainly be deadly in the fleshly sense and is deadly in the spiritual sense. It is a selfishness that must be overcome for salvation.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Bush Taps General to be "War Czar"
Bush tapped Pentagon general Douglas Lute to be the administration's first "War Czar." If confirmed by the Senate, Lute will be responsible for overseeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lute was selected after several retired generals refused to take the job. The selection of Lute has surprised some, because he has repeatedly questioned the size of the US force in Iraq and has criticized the so-called surge.
Bush has been listening to the Republicans in Congress and elsewhere who have informed him that he is ruining the Republican Party over the Iraq War. Bush is making a slight move here to appease the neocon-haters. His people want him to be able to point to his appointing a non-neocon as war czar. He's still going to follow the advice of the neocons though.
That's why he just met with the fascists who call themselves Christian ministers and pastors, etc., to rev them up about attacking Iran. That's what the neocons want to do. They want to start a fight with the Iranians, so they may further divide and conquer the region. It's all about destabilizing and getting factions to fight internally to weaken everyone.
He's made the move to this particular war czar for the sake of appearances. His people are waiting for the time when they have the pretense for attacking Iran. They've been setting up Iran for many months now. They have a major sinister trick up their sleeve. All they want is enough plausible deniability. All they want is to cause another panic (a la 9/11) in the American people so the people will clamor for war for security and safety at home regardless of the loss of liberty.
The neocons want to get the Iranians backed into a position where they can be made to look really bad in the mainstream US propaganda media and can be blamed even though they won't have started the problem. The neocons will have started it through secret operatives running all about the world bankrolled by literally trillions of dollars purloined by the neocons from the Pentagon budget and placed into the Black Budget.
They want people inside Iran to cause lots of trouble for the Iranian government. They want to do things to provoke the Iranians into appearing to make some overt first move or what the Bush people can claim is an overt first move.
It is sheer evil. They will do anything to get this done. They will torture the innocent and murder tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands. It won't matter whether the dead are Americans or not either. They have no loyalty to America. They only have loyalty to their own estates and bloodlines. They aren't about preserving and protecting the Constitution of the United States. They aren't about preserving and protecting the Bill of Rights. They don't care about that. Bush called the Constitution a "God damned piece of paper."
Well, it isn't a divine document, but Bush doesn't want to rise above it to the new commandment. He wants to go backwards. He wants power, control, and money. That's what he's all about.
Sure, he has some emotions. He feels for people some of the time. He isn't though about compassion and dropping everything to help those in need. He isn't about solving the problem that is selfishness. He's all for selfishness. He promotes it. He's always telling people to do what is in their own selfish interest. He's always promoting greed and violence, even when he talks about peace and freedom.
Well, you can't get to peace and freedom through greed and violence. It's impossible. Only dull people believe you can. Bush knows you can't get there that way. He isn't about getting to peace and freedom. He's about getting to where those he cares about get theirs and to hell with the rest regardless of how righteous those others are, or are trying to be. It's all about getting for self regardless of means. Getting is the name of the game.
Means are not moral or immoral to these Straussians. They are all Machiavellians. They are all possessed by demons. Don't follow them. They are leading their followers into hell. They are on the wide path. They don't know Jesus and Jesus won't recognize them as ones he ever knew.
Ex-Dept Justice Office: Ashcroft Opposed Wiretapping Program
A former top Justice Department official has revealed that former attorney general John Ashcroft had grave concerns over the Bush administration's warrantless domestic wiretapping program and once threatened to resign over it. Former deputy attorney general James Comey told Congress on Tuesday that Ashcroft refused to sign off on the spying campaign, because he believed it was unconstitutional. Comey's comments mark the first public acknowledgment that the Justice Department found the original surveillance program illegal. Comey also revealed new details about how then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andrew Card tried to coerce Ashcroft into re-authorizing the program as he lay in a hospital bed seriously ill with pancreatitis in March 2004. At the time Comey was acting attorney general because of Ashcroft's illness. Comey said that after he refused to sign off on the program, Gonzales and Card raced to the hospital in an attempt to get Ashcroft to sign off on it from his hospital bed. Once Comey learned of Gonzales' plan he too had to race to the hospital to support Ashcroft.
What is this? Everyone is jumping ship now that Bush is sinking. Ashcroft was worried about what? Was he concerned that they would all get caught later? Was he really taking a moral stand? Why didn't he go public and resign?
We knew that Comey wouldn't sign it, but we haven't been told what was really in Comey's or Ashcroft's heart.
They both need to repent regardless, for not having taken a real-liberal stand.
"But the liberal deviseth liberal things; and by liberal things shall he stand." (Isaiah 32:8).
41 Palestinians Killed in Internal Fighting
In the occupied territories, 41 Palestinians have died over the past four days in intense fighting between members of the rival factions Hamas and Fattah. The newspaper Haaretz is reporting the Israeli government appears to be aiding members of Fattah in the internal fighting. On Tuesday, Israel briefly opened the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza to allow 450 fighters from Fattah to enter Gaza. The border was immediately closed after the fighters entered.
Now that's evil. It is exactly what we have been writing about how the neocons in the US and Israel will do anything to get factions to fight to weaken them.
Well, this same thing is happening in the US and Israel, only fighting hasn't yet broken out. It will though if the neocons and fascists continue. We see it in the actions of the LAPD.
If they keep it up, regular citizens will revolt and do so violently. They will bring down the governments too if it gets nasty enough. The people aren't going to be endlessly shoved around and beaten, etc. History shows us their limits.
The neocons and fascists are extremely dull no matter how clever they imagine themselves to be. They're outsmarting themselves. They are painting themselves in a corner. Their desperate covetousness will be the death of them. They are already spiritually dead in need of a spiritual rebirth. They need to be reborn.
UN Official Blocked from Visiting NJ Immigration Jail
For the second time in a week, a United Nations human rights official has been barred from visiting a US immigration jail. The official, Jorge Bustamante, is conducting a three-week investigation into how immigrants are treated in the United States. Bustamante had planned on visiting detained immigrants jailed at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in New Jersey, but he was refused entry. Last week, he was blocked from visiting the Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas where the US is jailing up to 200 immigrant children and their families.
Giuliani and Tancredo for Torture
Romney for Doubling Guantanamo
The Republicans are even more insane than the Democrats.
The 10 Republican presidential candidates held their second debate last night in South Carolina. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney called for Guantanamo to be doubled in size.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and congressman Tom Tancredo suggested they support the use of torture including the technique known as waterboarding where prisoners are made to feel like they are about to drown.
These men are insane. Giuliani and Tancredo should not be allowed around small children or animals. This is serious. They are dangerous people who need to be watched. We are warning the world about them. Anyone who would vote for them is mentally and spiritually ill and needs to do some serious soul searching.
These men's souls are going to end up in hell on the receiving end of their own standards. They are compassionless. They're hearts are hard, cold, small, and dead. They are dead, per Jesus Christ.
Environmental Activists to Be Sentenced as Terrorists
Federal prosecutors in Oregon said yesterday that a group of 10 environmental and animal-rights activists should be considered terrorists for their involvement in a series of politically-motivated arsons. One attorney for the Bush administration likened the activists to the Ku Klux Klan. Attorneys for the activists condemned the government's move. Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center said the following:
The government in this case is seeking to apply the terrorist enhancement to individuals who are accused of environmentally motivated property crimes alone. This is the first time in the history of our country that the government is seeking this enhancement for crimes [that] did not involve the murder or the attempted murder of humans. The reason is obviously political.
Sentencing for the activists is scheduled to begin next week. If the judge determines the activists to be terrorists, it could add 20 years to their prison sentences.
Now, where is the consistency? Where are the prosecutions of torturers? Torturers are terrorists by definition. Everyone who has tortured anyone is a criminal under both the mundane and divine law.
The eco-terrorists are wrong, of course; but we need consistency. We can't live by hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is Pharisaism and death.
US Urges Ethiopia to Keep Troops in Somalia
The Bush administration is urging Ethiopia not to withdraw its forces from Somalia nearly six months after US-backed troops invaded Somalia and toppled the Union of Islamic Courts. Over 1,400 Somalis have died in the country's worst fighting since the early 1990's. The fighting has also displaced up to 400,000 Somalis. The UN estimates that more than 60 percent of the displaced peoples are not receiving any help. Meanwhile, the United Nations has announced it will investigate human-rights violations during the recent fighting in Mogadishu.
Cause the factions to fight. That's what's going on. Divide to conquer. Straussianism. Machiavellian.
Brazilian Rancher Sentenced in Death of American Nun
In Brazil, a rancher has been sentenced to 30 years in jail for ordering the assassination of the American nun Dorothy Stang. Stang had dedicated her life to defending the people of the Amazon rainforest. Her brother David praised the ruling. David Stang said the following:
We the Stang family came to Brazil, to Belem, to find justice for our sister who was brutally murdered. Today we found justice, and we are very happy.
The rancher has not repented. He continues to deny the charges. Was it a fair trial? Those who fingered him later recanted. It leaves questions.
Train Privatization Results in Riots in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The commuter trains in Buenos Aires were privatized in the 1990's. Since then, the commuters have found the service terrible. That's because rather than being interested in good service, the private company is interested in profits for its selfish owners. Well, the people got fed up and rioted over a train that broke down. This has resulted in the president of Argentina, Nestor Kirchner, threatening the private company if it doesn't drastically improve services.
Ethanol in Brazil and Worker Exploitation
The sugar cane plantation owners in Brazil are becoming fabulously wealthy off ethanol production while their workers in the fields live in abject poverty and work under bad and unsafe working conditions. This is shameful. It is what capitalism brings to the world. It is no good at all. It is so bad that president Lula has been forced to scold those owners even though Lula didn't want to.
Where is the care for one's neighbors? Where is the Good Samaritan in sugar cane growing in Brazil? Where is the Christlike mentality? When will they learn? Will they learn or will they remain headed deeper and deeper into hell?
Ethanol is a terrible idea, as we've said and as others have said. People are starving. The arable lands of the earth should be used for food for the starving and not for fuels of the vehicles of the rich.
Threat Against Christianity Spreading from Iraq to Pakistan
Just as in Iraq, people in Pakistan are now being threatened if they don't convert from Christianity to Islam.
This is really dull of the Muslims who are playing right into the hands of the militants who call themselves Christians. Of course, they can't help it, since what they are doing is completely consistent with the confused teachings and confused life-example of Mohammed.
Who is behind the letters being given to those calling themselves Christians? Is it al Qaeda? Is it the US dark ops trying to stir up more trouble? Is it a combination? Is it Taliban?
There is no doubt that the fundamentalist Muslims are the enemy of Christ. They hate Jesus. They hate everything Jesus stands for. They hate peace, love, truth, and giving and sharing all for righteousness' sake.
What will happen? The wrath will come. The tribulation will come. Things will get much, much worse before the kingdom of God rules on earth, displacing the rule of Satan (selfishness and harm).
Family Farms Disappearing in Canada
Canadians farms are becoming fewer and larger. This has been the trend since the 1970's especially. People are selling out to those who stay in and make a living off economy of scale. However, those who are remaining in the business are older and on the verge of retiring. They are going to want to sell out so they may retire. Only the largest agribusinesses will be able to afford to buy the huge tracts of land.
The Real Liberal Christian Church plan would work well with what is happening. It would put young people back on the land doing things in environmentally and organically sound ways. It would free them from the wage slavery of the capitalistic system. It would help free them from hyper materialism and consumerism and the rest.
Pesticide Spraying Drifting in the Air Making People Sick
In Strathmore, California, children collapsed in spasms, vomiting on the blacktop of their school when pesticides drifted over their school grounds. This incident has raised attention to the problem.
Pesticides are often extremely toxic and even carcinogenic (cancer causing). Most of them are environmentally harmful. They make everything toxic and harm animals and wildlife.
This is why organic practices are the way to go.
Most of the toxic-chemical producers though want to continue making profits rather than putting the health and safety of people first.
The Real Liberal Christian Church wants to farm organically. We need your help to bring forth that kingdom of God on earth: Good stewardship and good shepherding.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
At Least 25 Palestinians Die in Gaza Violence
In Gaza, at least 25 Palestinians died on Wednesday in a day that saw fierce internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah. Most Gaza residents were forced to hide inside as gun battles raged in the street. At one point a group of journalists were caught inside a burning building. Israel also carried out airstrikes in Gaza. Fighting decreased in Gaza this morning after Fatah leader Mahmood Abbas threatened to declare a state of emergency. Tension is also rising between Hamas and Israel. Hamas fired crude rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. Meanwhile Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed at least four Palestinians.
US Helps Arm and Train Fatah Fighters
Israel has claimed it will not get involved in the factional fighting between Hamas and Fatah, but many Middle East observers say the US and Israel have both directly helped Fatah in recent months as part of an effort to topple the elected Hamas leadership. The US is spending $86 million to help arm and train the Palestinian presidential guard which is loyal to Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas. This has helped pay for shipments of rifles and bullets. In January, president Bush's deputy national security advisor, Elliot Abrams, called for a "hard coup" in the Occupied Territories to overthrow Hamas. Last week, a Jordanian newspaper obtained a secret 16-page US document that outlined an action plan for undermining and replacing the Palestinian national-unity government.
19 Senate Democrats Join GOP to Reject Bill to Cut Off War Funding
On Capitol Hill, the Senate has rejected a bill to cut off money for combat operations in Iraq after March 31, 2008. 19 Democratic senators joined Republicans in opposing the bill. Democratic senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin drafted the bill.
Feingold said, "Iraq's problems will not be solved by an open-ended, massive US military engagement and Mr. president, I am convinced that our own national security will be weakened until we bring this war to a close."
The bill was rejected by a 67 to 29 vote. Republican senator John Warner of Virginia introduced an alternative bill that would have threatened billions of dollars in US aid to Iraq if Baghdad failed to implement certain political and security reforms.
Warner said, "Now the purpose of this amendment is to require the administration to keep the Congress well-informed. The situation in Iraq changes almost daily. Our losses continue and in my judgement it is the responsibility of every member of Congress to keep well versed on this situation."
Senate majority leader Harry Reid criticized Warner's bill as not going far enough in part because it contained a provision allowing the president to waive the restrictions.
Reid said, "But Mr. President the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. It requires actions, certainly not more reports specially those without consequences. I will vote against the Warner amendment, and I hope everyone votes against it. It is nothing."
The Warner bill also failed to win passage in the Senate.
88 Die in Iraq: Mortar attack hits Green Zone
Meanwhile in Iraq, at least 88 people died on Wednesday in a series of attacks. In Baghdad, 32 people died in a car bombing that officials said might have involved chlorine gas. A mortar attack on the US-controlled Green Zone killed at least two people and injured 10 more. One of the dead was said to be a driver for the staff of prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. The mortar attack raised new questions about whether the US can keep the Green Zone secure.
UK Military Says Iraq is Too Unsafe to Send Prince Harry
The British military has announced prince Harry will not be sent to Iraq, because the situation is too unsafe. General sir Richard Dannat made the announcement on Wednesday.
Dannat said, "There are a number of specific threats, of a varied nature, some reported some not reported specifically aimed at prince Harry. And it is for that reason and in light of recent events, that you have referred to one affecting US servicemen, that I have decided that the risk to prince Harry is too great. And I have also decided that the threat that he brings to his troops and squadron, by his presence, in light of the specific threats to him is now too great."
Members of the British group Military Families Against the War criticized the decision. Rose Gentle, whose son was killed in Iraq, said "If it's too dangerous for prince Harry, it's too dangerous for the rest of the boys. They should all come home." April was the deadliest month for British troops in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.
US Conducts House-to-House Searches Looking for Missing Troops
Thousands of US and Iraqi troops have been conducting house-to-house searches in an attempt to find three missing US soldiers. Iraqi residents complained about the actions of the US troops. A Iraqi woman said, "They damaged the fence of the house and entered. They damaged the house and belongings, seizing our money, gold, passports and identity cards. They threw the old man here and hit the young man too. They blind folded them and bound their hands."
Norwegian Oil Company Prepares to Pump Iraqi Oil
A Norwegian company has announced it will soon become the first foreign oil firm to pump crude oil from Iraq in over three decades. The company - DNO - said it will begin producing a small amount of oil from the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan. For the past 35 years, Iraq's oil industry has been under state control. The Iraqi Parliament is debating a bill that will open up the country's vast oil reserves to foreign oil companies. On Tuesday, protesters from the group Hands Off Iraqi Oil gathered in London to demonstrate outside the annual shareholders meeting of the oil giant, Shell.
UN: Refugee situation in Somalia "Worse" than Darfur
The United Nations top humanitarian chief is saying the refugee situation in Somalia is now worse than Darfur. John Holmes said, "In terms of the numbers of people displaced, and our access to them, Somalia is a worse crisis than Darfur or Chad or anywhere else this year." In December US-backed Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia to topple the Islamic Courts Union. Since then over 400,000 people have fled their homes. Unlike in Sudan, Holmes said no emergency camps have been set up to help the refugees. Most of those who have fled, including women, children and the elderly, are camping in fields without access to food, shelter, clean water, or medicines.
The US military is primarily responsible for this.
Wolfowitz Negotiating Terms of his Resignation From World Bank
At the World Bank, the New York Times is reporting Paul Wolfowitz has begun negotiating the terms under which he would resign in return for the dropping or softening of the charge that he had engaged in misconduct. The World Bank oversight committee has concluded Wolfowitz broke ethics rules when he oversaw a pay raise and promotion for his mistress, Shaha Ali Riza.
US Justice Department Considered Dismissing 26 Prosecutors
There is a new development in the US-attorneys scandal. The Washington Post is reporting the Justice Department considered dismissing at least 26 prosecutors between February 2005 and December 2006. They amounted to more than a quarter of the nation's 93 US attorneys. Thirteen of those known to have been targeted are still in their posts.
Ex-EPA Head Refuses to Testify about Ground Zero Cleanup
Christine Todd Whitman, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is refusing to testify before Congress about the government's handling of air quality in New York following the 9/11 attacks. A week after the attacks Whitman claimed that air monitoring tests at ground zero showed the air was safe to breathe. Later the EPA's own inspector general determined that Whitman's comments were misleading. Thousands of rescue workers, firefighters and downtown residents have since developed severe respiratory problems after being exposed to dust and toxic material.
Military Scientists Link Gulf War Illness to Exposure of Sarin Gas
Scientists working with the Pentagon have found evidence that exposure to sarin nerve gas could have caused lasting brain damage in US soldiers who fought during the Persian Gulf War. More than 100,000 American troops were exposed to sarin nerve gas after the US military exploded two large caches of ammunition and missiles in Iraq in March 1991, a few days after the end of the gulf war. It is unknown how many Iraqis might have been exposed to the nerve gas. Advocates for veterans have argued for more than a decade and a half that a link exists between veterans suffering from gulf war illnesses and the nerve gas exposure.
NYPD Forced to Release RNC Spy Files
A federal judge has ordered the New York City police to release about 600 pages of internal documents that detail the department's wide-ranging surveillance of activists ahead of the 2004 Republican National Convention. The judge ordered the first batch of documents to be made public following a lawsuit by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times. Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU said, "What's shocking is the breadth of the surveillance activity. They were in lots of different cities across the nation and internationally. We have in here of people doing grafitti in Germany in Croatia. We have reports from Berkeley, from Baltimore, from Syracuse, from Fresno. The police department was all over the country, all over the globe." The city is still fighting to keep secret other documents related to the convention including the raw intelligence collected by the police department. According to the New York Times these unfiltered reports include more detailed information about the groups and individuals that were watched and in some cases disclose how the undercover officers conducted the surveillance.
US Health Care System Ranks Last among Major Rich Nations
In health news, a new international study has ranked the United States health care system last among major rich countries even though the US spends double what the average industrialized country spends on health care. The study by the Commonwealth Fund found that the US ranked last in most areas, including access to health care, patient safety, timeliness of care, efficiency and equity. 45 million Americans, or 15 percent of the US population, have no health insurance.
The US is the most backward of those nations.
University of California Students Protest School's Ties to Nuclear Weapons Industry
A group of University of California students on a hunger strike are planning to protest today outside the University of California Board of Regents meeting. The students started their hunger strike over a week ago to protest the university's close ties to the nation's nuclear weapons industry. The University recently won a contract to manage the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore nuclear laboratories.
Yolanda King, 51, Dies
Yolanda King has died at the age of 51. She was the eldest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Senate Proposes Overhaul of Immigration Laws
A bipartisan group of senators has proposed sweeping changes to the nation's immigration laws. The Senate bill calls for increased security on the US-Mexican border, the hiring of 18,000 more border agents and new requirements for employers to check the immigration status of employees. The bill would also allow undocumented immigrants living in the United States to continue to work here if they fulfill a number of requirements including paying a $5,000 fine and getting a biometric identification card. The bill would also set up a point system to determine who merits a new type of work visa. Details about the point system are still being negotiated but the White House has suggested immigrants should be able to earn points by serving in the US military. The Senate proposal would also allow up to 600,000 temporary workers to come to the United States each year. Democratic senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts spoke at a press conference Thursday announcing the bill.
Kennedy said, "This plan isn't perfect, but it's a strong bill. And it is a worthy solution. Only a bipartisan bill will become law, and I believe we owe it to the American people to stop talking about immigration and start acting. We all owe it to them to solve this crisis in a way that upholds our humanity and our tradition of a nation of immigrants."
Several Republicans - including President Bush - voiced support for the deal.
Immigrant-Rights Advocates Reject Senate Bill
Many immigrant-rights advocates have expressed concern over the Senate bill. Democratic congressman Xavier Becerra of California said the proposal would create a permanent underclass of immigrant workers. He also criticized the bill, because it marks a major departure from the country's historic policy of giving preference to family members of immigrants already living in the US Democratic senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey criticized the plan for the "prohibitive" fees that immigrants must pay to gain legal status. Several Republicans condemned the bill saying it gives amnesty to undocumented immigrants.
Israeli Air Strikes Kill 10 Palestinians in Gaza
Israeli air strikes in Gaza have killed at least 10 Palestinians over the past 24 hours. In the biggest raid, an Israeli bomb destroyed a two-story building belonging to Hamas. The bomb killed two members of Hamas and wounded 45 people, including civilians who were buried in the rubble. Five more Palestinians died when Israeli war planes bombed a Hamas headquarters building east of Gaza City. A third Israeli air strike targeted a pickup truck near the southern town of Rafah. It killed three people, a father and his two teenage sons. Israeli troops and tanks have also moved across the Gaza border. Hamas accused Israel of colluding with Fatah in a battle for dominance over Gaza. A spokesperson for Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert said the Israeli attacks were justified because Hamas is firing rockets into southern Israel.
Miri Eisen said, "We won't allow them to use their violence, their terror, against Israel. Israel knows how to respond. We will do all defensive measures to be sure that our citizens are safe. We will not be dragged by the Hamas into the mire of Gaza."
Hamas has vowed to keep carrying out rocket attacks. Paramedics in Israel said at least three Israelis were injured this morning in a rocket attack on the town of Sderot. On Thursday, Hamas rockets hit a synagogue and a school.
Hamas spokesperson Ayman Taha said, "We will not be quiet for long with these continued crimes, and we will not stand with our hands tied. We're ready to launch any type of attack, by any means and equipment necessary, and in all the cities. We will choose the right time and place."
In Washington, the Bush administration has praised Israel for showing what it described as "great restraint." But the Arab League has denounced Israel for exploiting Palestinian infighting.
Paul Wolfowitz to Resign from World Bank
World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz has announced he will resign at the end of June. Calls for his resignation have been mounting since it was disclosed that he oversaw a pay raise and promotion for his mistress, Shaha Ali Riza. The White House said it will soon announce a candidate to replace Wolfowitz. Although over 180 countries are involved in the World Bank, the United States traditionally picks the bank's president. Critics of the World Bank have warned that Wolfowitz's personnel dispute should not overshadow more systemic problems at the bank.
Iraq Government on the Verge of Collapse
In Iraq, a British think tank is warning that the Iraqi government has lost control of vast areas of the country and is on the verge of collapse. The report by Chatham House warns that "It is now possible to argue that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation." The report also concludes that several civil wars are now being fought in Iraq. May 20th marks the one-year anniversary of the formation of the Maliki government.
Two ABC Journalists Killed in Iraq
Two broadcast journalists working for ABC News have been killed. ABC said cameraman Alaa Uldeen Aziz and soundman Saif Laith Yousuf were killed when unknown assailants attacked their car on Thursday.
10 Iraqis Die in Samarra Due to Citywide Curfew
The Iraqi city of Samarra remains under curfew for an 11th day. Residents are struggling to find food, fuel and medication, as vehicles have been restricted from entering or leaving the city. The Iraqi government imposed the curfew on May 6 after a suicide car bombing killed 12 police officers, including Samarra's police chief. Residents said the situation in the city is dire.
A local resident said, "The bridge has been closed. There is no electricity, there is no water. We are suffering. The sick people cannot leave. They died in their homes because ambulances cannot reach them. How long will this situation last?"
A doctor working in Samarra's main hospital said 10 people, including seven infants, had died because of a lack of fuel to power generators that operate life-saving equipment.
Blair Meets with Bush and Defends Invasion of Iraq
In Washington, Tony Blair met with President Bush on Thursday for what was likely his last visit to the White House as British prime minister. Blair defended his decision to back the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Tony Bair said, "This is not — it's not about us remaining true to the course that we've set out because of the alliance with America. It is about us remaining steadfast, because what we are fighting, the enemy we are fighting, is an enemy that is aiming its destruction at our way of life and anybody who wants that way of life."
Democrats to Hold No-Confidence Vote for Gonzales
In news from Capitol Hill, a group of Democrats are pushing for the Senate to hold a no-confidence vote next week for attorney general Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales has been widely criticized for his role in the politicization of the Justice Department as well as the administration's warrantless surveillance program. On Thursday, president Bush refused to answer questions about whether he personally ordered Gonzales in 2004 to try to coerce then attorney general John Ashcroft to sign off on the spy program.
Kelly O'Connell asked, "Sir, did you send your then chief of staff and White House counsel to the bedside of John Ashcroft while he was ill to get him to approve that program? And do you believe that kind of conduct from White House officials is appropriate?"
Bush said, "Kelly, there's a lot of speculation about what happened and what didn't happen; I'm not going to talk about it."
House Votes to Close Guantanamo
The House has voted to demand the Bush administration begin the task of closing the military prison at Guantanamo. Meanwhile, a Navy lawyer has been found guilty of illegally leaking information about prisoners there. In 2005, lieutenant commander Matthew Diaz mailed the names of 550 detainees at Guantanamo to an attorney at the Center For Constitutional Rights. Diaz faces up to 14 years in jail.
Attorneys for Mumia in Court to Seek New Trial
In Philadelphia, attorneys for Mumia Abu-Jamal argued before a federal appeals court on Thursday that the former Black Panther deserves a new trial. Abu-Jamal has been on death row for 25 years after being convicted of killing a police officer following a controversial trial. The Appeals Court will decide whether Mumia gets a new trial, life in prison without parole, or execution.
UMass Students Protest Honorary Degree for Andrew Card
Protests are continuing at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, over the school's decision to grant president Bush's former White House chief of staff, Andrew Card, an honorary degree.
Students Protest Dan Halutz at Harvard
At Harvard University, students have begun a campaign to condemn the presence of Israel's former military chief Dan Halutz on campus. Halutz is being sponsored by the Israeli army to attend a two-month executive training program at Harvard's Business School. Posters have been put up around campus that read, "Wanted for Crimes of War." Dan Halutz served as the head of Israel's military during last year's war against Lebanon.