None of this should come as any surprise to anyone unless you’ve been asleep for the last seven years (or in a coma..)

via: Raw Story

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration’s position that the world community viewed Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat.

“The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world,” Stanzel said.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

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Hamas blows a gaping hole into Israel’s Gaza policy.

Israel considers the border between Gaza and Egypt as the main conduit to smuggle arms into the gaza strip. Arms, there’s no denying this, which will be used against Israeli interests. The Hamas has now destroyed the border fence and thousands of Palestinians are crossing the border into Egypt. Hamas is denying that blowing up the fence is their work, but news from the area strongly suggest that this is indeed the case and has been planned for a long time.

But a Hamas border guard interviewed by The Times at the border today admitted that the Islamist group was responsible and had been involved for months in slicing through the heavy metal wall using oxy-acetylene cutting torches.

That meant that when the explosive charges were set off in 17 different locations after midnight last night the 40ft wall came tumbling down, leaving it lying like a broken concertina down the middle of no-man’s land as an estimated 350,000 Gazans flooded into Egypt.

Israel has urgently requested from Egypt to restore the sealing off of Gaza, but Egypt rightly said the people in Gaza were in a dire humanitarian situation and it will not hinder Palestinians to cross the border as long as this humanitarian situation persists.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassam Zaki said his nation

“is opening up its arms to its brethren on the Palestinian side.”

He said, “As long as this is a humanitarian crisis, they’re going to be able to cross to get their needs. We are not opening the Rafah crossing just for everybody to cross — we’re opening it because it’s a very dire humanitarian situation.”

The humanitarian situation in Gaza has become unbearable since Israel has decided to seal off Gaza in an attempt to stop the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.  This has led to food and energy shortages, which mostly affected ordinary citizens. The only power factory in Gaza had to be shut down two days ago due to fuel shortages. Israel has lifted  some of the measures lately, because rocket attacks seem to have gone down. The UN relief works agency among others condemned Israels actions.

This situation comes only days before the final Winograd report is due, which is all about the bungling of the last Lebanon war. And shortly after the right wing Yisrael Beitenu party left Olmert’s coalition government. For Ehud Olmert the timeframe of his political survival looks increasingly like a manageable amount of time.

Buzzflash “Wings of Justice Award” ~ Sibel Edmonds

via: BuzzFlash

The first thing you need to know about Sibel Edmonds is that she has been under a gag order by the Department of Justice for five years. The second thing you should know is that she worked for a time as a FBI translator of Turkish intercepts. The third thing that you need to know is that she claims to have uncovered a covert network of senior American officials who transferred nuclear secrets to third parties.

Edmonds has had closed-door hearings before Congress, but her testimony has apparently been dropped like a hot potato. So it took of all newspapers — one owned by Rupert Murdoch in London — to reveal the extent of Edmonds’ allegations in an article, “For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets“, and to further uncover that the FBI appears to be lying about the existence of a key piece of evidence that might corroborate Edmonds, in an article subtitled, “The FBI has been accused of covering up a file detailing government dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets.”

It is hard to distill the importance of what Edmonds is alleging, except to say that, if true, the American government has been allowing the transfer of nuclear secrets that endanger our national security, particularly as it related to the information obtained by the father of the Pakistani bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan. There is also a tantalizing potential tie into another reason why Valerie Plame may have been outed by the Bush Administration.

The BuzzFlash reader who nominated Sibel Edmonds praised her, “Because she is risking her life, her safety, her entire reputation, and her future for the national security and integrity of this country trying to get her story out to the media so that Congress will finally have to act on the corruption and criminal actions taking place at the highest levels of our government that have and continue to put our country at risk. It was incredibly brave of her to speak out through the UK Sunday Times yesterday. Now we’ll see if anything is done to start investigations and clean house.”

In a recent commentary on Bradblog.com, the heroic Vietnam-era whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg noted: “For the last two weeks — one could say, for years — the major American media have been guilty of ignoring entirely the allegations of the courageous and highly credible source Sibel Edmonds, quoted in the London Times on January 6, 2008 in a front-page story that was front-page news in much of the rest of the world but was not reported in a single American newspaper or network. It is up to readers to demand that this culpable silent treatment end.”

Surely, Sibel Edmonds deserves to be heard. She accidentally ventured into an area of clandestine operations that literally may put her life at risk, and yet only overseas papers take her claims seriously.

For her courage and tenacity, BuzzFlash honors Sibel Edmonds with this week’s Wings of Justice Award.

I am posting this because it is one of our Critters who nominated Sibel Edmonds. I am glad Sibel is getting more exposure and recognition for her courage.