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Monthly Archives: April, 2004

Rebuilding Aid Unspent, Tapped to Pay Expenses

Seven months after Congress approved the largest foreign aid package in history to rebuild Iraq, less than 5 percent of the $18.4 billion has been spent and occupation officials have begun shifting more than $300 million earmarked for reconstruction projects to administrative and security expenses.

Recent reports from the Coalition Provisional Authority, the CPA’s inspector general and the U.S. Agency for International Development attest to the growing difficulties of the U.S.-led reconstruction effort. And they have raised concerns in Congress and among international aid experts that the Bush administration’s ambitious rebuilding campaign is adrift amid rising violence and unforeseen costs.

Annan criticises Arafat over ‘road map’

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has urged Yasir Arafat to give Israel’s Gaza pullout a chance and fulfil Palestinian obligations under the “road map” peace plan.

In unusually tough language, Annan – in a letter obtained by the media on Friday – also criticised the Palestinian president for failing to meet obligations under a US-backed peace “road map”, including security reforms and putting an end to human bombings.

He also said Israel had to carry out its road map requirements to dismantle Jewish settler outposts and freeze construction in larger, established settlements.

“You are aware…that the Palestinian side too has obligations it has not fulfilled,” Annan told Arafat.

“The Palestinian Authority should immediately start taking effective measures to curb terrorism and violence.”

“Decisive actions on your part would help the international community ensure that any withdrawal from Gaza is part of the implementation of the road map and not a substitute for it,” Annan wrote.

Kerry and Allies Believe the Vice President
 May Be Significant Liability in Close Race

It is all part of an increasingly pointed Democratic strategy of trying to define the president — and erode his personal credibility — by turning Mr. Cheney into a symbol of Republican excess. Though vice presidents rarely play decisive roles in presidential elections, Mr. Kerry and his allies believe this vice president could become a significant liability for Mr. Bush in a race that appears close.

Finally! Attack the real President, Dick Cheney. What a thought!

Yes, I’ve heard of all the speculation about Cheney being replaced, but why not give him a shove. Think of the upside. If Bush does win by replacing Cheney, at least we’ll be rid of Doctor Death.


... a perfect reflection of the dreamworld where half the nation now dwells ...Chris Floyd:

Fake horses. …

Mehlman’s minions believe exurbia offers rich pickings for the Bush cult — and they’re probably right. People who live in fake towns, with fake stores and fake horses, are likely to be happy with a fake president, who uses fake evidence and fake words about “freedom” and “peace” to launch all-too-real wars of conquest while turning the national treasury into a candy store for his cronies.

The exurbanites’ virtual reality is a perfect reflection of the dreamworld where half the nation now dwells, …

* * *

But fake horses are more tractable than powerful live beasts — and self-serving lies are easier to handle than a volatile, complex reality. Anyway, is it really so surprising that so many Americans prefer a Potemkin world? Otherwise, they would have to accept the incontrovertible facts: that mass murder is being committed in their name; that their leader is a terrorist — a fanatic who pursues political goals through wanton violence — just like the enemy who attacked them; that they have been deceived, betrayed, exploited, suckered and bought off — sometimes willingly — for years, for decades, by elites whose crimes and follies are now blowing back in firestorms of rage and hatred.

Is it any wonder that the cozy exurbians prefer cults and fakery to such fearsome truths?

[ As always, lots of good links.]

Photos show jail abuse by US troops

United States soldiers at a prison outside Baghdad have been accused of forcing Iraqi prisoners into acts of sexual humiliation and other abuses.

The charges, first announced by the military in March, were documented by photographs taken by guards in the prison.

In another, a prisoner stands on a box, his head covered, wires attached to his body. The news show said that, according to the army, he had been told that if he fell off the box he would be electrocuted. Other photographs show male prisoners positioned to simulate sex with each other.

“The pictures show Americans, men and women, in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners,” a transcript said.

“And in most of the pictures, the Americans are laughing, posing, pointing or giving the camera a thumbs-up.”

Torture, The American Way

When the US began shipping prisoners to Guantanamo Bay to be held indefinitely away from the prying eyes of the world, talk of torture circulated. A December 26, 2002 Washington Post report pointed out that not only prisoners being forced to stand or kneel in uncomfortable positions for hours at the CIA interrogation centre un Bagram, but were being subjected to such interrogation techniques as sleep deprivation and being kept under bright lights for twenty four hour periods. In the same report the Washington Post also said that prisoners who would not cooperate were sometimes “rendered” to other states for further interrogation.

In other words, if the milder forms of torture being used by the US aren’t getting results, they send the person to be interrogated by a country that will not hesitate to use much harsher forms of torture. It is kind of like outsourcing jobs, but more extreme. Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco are some of the places where the US has sent prisoners for further interrogation. These are all countries known to use torture during interrogation and as punishment.

The US uses other countries so it can maintain the appearance of abiding by international laws and agreements. In reality this no different than performing the torture themselves, but they hide behind the distinction. The US seems much less concerned about even bothering to maintain that illusion under the Bush regime.

Senator Frank Lautenberg’s

An Illustrated Guide to Chickenhawks
[ Permanent link.]

Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) stepped into the Kerry/Vietman smear fray with his appearance on the Senate floor as he delivered an 18-minute tutorial on what it means to be a Chickenhawk. And yes, that’s his hand in this photo as he points out the necessary qualities one must have to actually be a Chickenhawk.

The New York Times writes the article, but by all means, do the video of his full presentation. It’s fairly low quality and it streams (in four continuous segments), so it should present no problem even for dial-up.

US report: Terrorism at 35-year low

The number of terrorist attacks worldwide has dropped to its lowest level since 1969, according to a US State Department report.

But the threat remains of critical international concern said the US State Department in its annual Patterns of Global Terrorism report released on Thursday.

A total of 307 people, including 35 Americans, were killed and 1593 wounded in 190 terrorist attacks around the world in 2003.

While the number of attacks dropped by only eight from 2002, that represents a 45% decrease from the 346 strikes recorded in 2001, including the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington, the report said.

Alpha Politics

Alpha Politics

By Madeleine Begun Kane

“A” is for John Ashcroft and the liberties he’s mauled.

“B” is for Barb Bush and hub. Dub’s birth is all their fault.

“C” is for Ms. Condi Rice, who speaks so many lies.

“D” is for the Dixie Chicks, who dare to Bush despise.

“E” is for our soon to be Ex-Prez George Dubya Bush.

“F” is for Al Franken, and his mean and funny Rush.

“G” is for Gen. Boykin, who believes Bush speaks with God.

“H” is for Ms. Karen Hughes, who’s tall of tale and bod.

The rest is posted here and


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