So Much for Sovereignty

U.S. returns sovereignty to Iraq

Monday, June 28, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Iraq’s interim government was sworn in Monday after the United States returned sovereignty to the nation two days ahead of schedule.

That was then, this is now:

US resumes Blackwater convoys in Iraq

Fri Sep 21, 3:23 PM ET

BAGHDAD – American convoys under the protection of Blackwater USA resumed on Friday, four days after the U.S. Embassy suspended all land travel by its diplomats and other civilian officials in response to the alleged killing of civilians by the security firm. …

A top aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had earlier conceded it may prove difficult for the Iraqi government to follow through on threats to expel Blackwater and other Western security contractors.

So, a sovereign government cannot remove foreign mercenaries from its soil. I’m sure this will go over well with the rest of the Muslim world…NOT.

Remember, these mercenaries cannot be prosecuted under Iraqi law. Nor can they be prosecuted under US law, thanks to the Military Commissions Act of 2006. They are beyond the law, both criminal and civil, until and unless the International Community moves forward with War Crimes Tribunals. It will likely take a decade or more for the International Community to progress to that point, if past history is any measure.

In one of the greatest ironies of world history, it turns out that Bush v. Gore has become Bush = Gore.

Harold Pinter´s Nobel Lecture

Very few times I have the opportunity to read such beautiful, powerful statements about the quest for justice and dignity worldwide.

I have posted this a couple of times in TP. A commenter named stonehinge used to discuss this with me. I think he was from the UK.

The first part of the lecture is about his art and his relationship with it. Very interesting for writers out there.

The second part is an anthem against the daily lies, the unreported crimes and atrocities against civilians all over the world with specific examples. I am delighted to introduce you to this man, if you hadnt known him.

Here is the link.

Habeus according to Hartmann


(photo of the Magna Carta)

via: Commondreams.org

Repeal the Military Commissions Act and Restore the Most American Human Right

by Thom Hartmann
Published on Monday, February 12, 2007 by CommonDreams.org

“The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”
– Winston Churchill

The oldest human right defined in the history of English-speaking civilization is the right to challenge governmental power of arrest and detention through the use of habeas corpus laws. Habeas corpus is roughly Latin for “hold the body,” and is used in law to mean that a government must either charge a person with a crime and allow them due process, or let them go free.
Continue reading

Stubbed Toe Award — John Kerry!

This week’s Stubbed Toe Award goes to the Junior Senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry! Our winner found himself in the middle of a shitstorm at the University of Florida this week, when a UF student, Andrew Meyer, asked a long rambling question, and then got stunned with a Taser by the police. Kerry was apparently clueless.

Some of you might protest the Stubbed Toe Award being given to John Kerry this week, but the committee has met, and we came to the conclusion that we live in Bush World, and that means when somebody fucks up big-time, prizes will be given.

Brian, on the John Kerry for Senate website, who clearly has a passion for the good Senator, claims young Mr Meyer was arguing with the police before he got to the mic, and was then obnoxious and physically resisting, so naturally Meyer was putting himself at risk. Brian claims Kerry had no idea Meyer was Tasered until later. One wonders if screaming in agony is a common occurrence at Kerry functions.

Congratulations, Senator Kerry!

Who are we getting our news from Iraq from?

typewriter

via: Journalism.org

The Vanishing Embedded Reporter in Iraq
October 26, 2006

“There is some disagreement about the number of embedded reporters in the war’s earliest stages, but they counted in the hundreds. When the U.S. invasion of Iraq began in March 2003, there were anywhere between 570 and 750 embedded journalists, depending on the source. (The lower figure comes from Sig Christenson. a senior military writer for the San Antonio-Express News and president of Military Reporters & Editors. The higher estimate is from the Pentagon).

Those numbers began to fall precipitously once Saddam Hussein’s government was overcome by coalition forces in April 2003. By late fall of that year, the total number had dropped to roughly 100, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told PEJ.

And the downward trend has only accelerated since. In 2005, there were 48 embedded reporters in Iraq. The latest tally from the Pentagon is that just 26 embeds remain on the ground and Christenson told PEJ he believes the current number could be as low as nine.”

Continue reading

Chance For Peace Address (1953)

Here is another great speech from President Dwight D. Eisenhower. ‘If you don’t learn from history, you are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past’ (or something to that effect). I don’t know how many times I have heard that repeated lately. It seems Bush and his administration have learned nothing, as we continue to make mistake after mistake on this super-highway to disaster.

So, here is another fine speech from ‘Ike’ that could just as easily be given today to remind us as a nation who we are, what our goals and responsibilities as a free nation should be, and what we should strive for as part of the world community. He reminds us that we as a country should labor for peace. He very aptly describes what the cost of investing so heavily in armaments really means in human terms.
Continue reading

Bush’s Shadow Army

via: The Nation

Jeremy Scahill reports on the Bush Administration’s growing dependence on private security forces such as Blackwater USA and efforts in Congress to rein them in. This article is adapted from his new book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army (Nation Books).
(Read the article here.)

Also by Jeremy Scahill:

Blackwater: Hired Guns, Above the Law
(This is an edited transcript of the prepared testimony of Jeremy Scahill before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, September 21, 2007.)

Privatizing Murder

via: Truthdig
by Marie Cocco of the Washington Post

There is no set piece more emblematic of the tragic farce that is the American involvement in Iraq than the grotesque episode of Blackwater USA and the killing of civilians in Baghdad-at least nine and as many as 28-on Sunday.

Everyone has reacted on cue with the usual expressions of outrage or, at minimum, grave diplomatic concern over the fusillade of gunfire that was unleashed against Iraqis who apparently were bystanders to the passing of an American convoy that was being escorted by heavily armed Blackwater security guards.

The Iraqi government said it was pulling the private security firm’s license to operate in the country, and has asked that its contract be severed. But it seems there may not be a license, or if there was, it would have been granted by that wonderment of bureaucratic dysfunction and sectarian passion, the Iraqi Interior Ministry. The U.S. State Department, meanwhile, says it hasn’t been informed that Iraq has “lifted, suspended or terminated” any permit.

(To continue reading…)

Bush’s Fake Sheik Whacked:The Surge and the Al Qaeda Bunny

Bush and Abu Risha Photo by AFP

A special investigative report from inside Iraq
by Greg Palast

Monday, September 17, 2007- Did you see George all choked up? In his surreal TV talk on Thursday, he got all emotional over the killing by Al Qaeda of Sheik Abu Risha, the leader of the new Sunni alliance with the US against the insurgents in Anbar Province, Iraq.
Bush shook Abu Risha’s hand two weeks ago for the cameras. Bush can shake his hand again, but not the rest of him: Abu Risha was blown away just hours before Bush was to go on the air to praise his new friend.Here’s what you need to know that NPR won’t tell you.

1. Sheik Abu Risha wasn’t a sheik.
2. He wasn’t killed by Al Qaeda.
3. The new alliance with former insurgents in Anbar is as fake as the sheik – and a murderous deceit.

(Continue reading article…)

Friday Morning in Europe – The Daily Swamp Edition

Friends in High Places: A fine thing to have, when authorities are finally looking into your business ethics. Quoth Tony Blair: The investigation into Saudi – BEA arms deals is not in the national interest. In this case, let the case rest, not.

The Guardian has the whole BAE files, here:

Siemens, one of Germany’s finest: About € 1.5 billion are somehow not properly accounted for. And someone has turned over this special Apple cart.

Aside from this, European newspapers cover the following topics:

“The Independent” is revisiting the Blackwater topic and tries to shed some light on the security industry and on Baghdad’s Black Sunday.

In Spain a fire has disrupted the electricity supply of a large Barcelona hospital. In Italy the majority of the governing alliance is crumbling, again.

France is keeping the discussion on Iran’s nuclear ambitions very much alive. However, they are slightly turning down the heat, very slightly. The reforming of early retirement and immigration are the issues, that are shaping French interior politics.

Finally, “The Times” has a look on the influence of the American South on US politics in “The remarkable death of Dixie”