Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Gitmo Detainees Say They Were Sold

AP: Gitmo Detainees Say They Were Sold - Yahoo! News: " Gitmo Detainees Say They Were Sold

By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press Writer
Tue May 31, 1:49 PM ET

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - They fed them well. The Pakistani tribesmen slaughtered a sheep in honor of their guests, Arabs and Chinese Muslims famished from fleeing U.S. bombing in the Afghan mountains. But their hosts had ulterior motives: to sell them to the Americans, said the men who are now prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Bounties ranged from $3,000 to $25,000, the detainees testified during military tribunals, according to transcripts the U.S. government gave The Associated Press to comply with a Freedom of Information lawsuit.

A former
CIAintelligence officer who helped lead the search for
Osama bin Laden told AP the accounts sounded legitimate because U.S. allies regularly got money to help catch Taliban and al-Qaida fighters. Gary Schroen said he took a suitcase of $3 million in cash into
Afghanistan himself to help supply and win over warlords to fight for U.S. Special Forces.

'It wouldn't surprise me if we paid rewards,' said Schroen, who retired after 32 years in the CIA soon after the fall of Kabul in late 2001. He recently published the book 'First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan.'

Schroen said Afghan warlords like Gen. Rashid Dostum were among those who received bundles of notes. 'It may be that we were giving rewards to people like Dostum because his guys were capturing a lot of Taliban and al-Qaida,' he said.

Pakistan has handed hundreds of suspects to the Americans, but Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told the AP, 'No one has taken any money.'

The U.S. departments of Defense, Justice and State and the"

Monday, May 30, 2005

Probe finds 5 Quran mishandling cases - May 26, 2005

CNN.com - Probe finds 5 Quran mishandling cases - May 26, 2005: "


Probe finds 5 Quran mishandling cases
Guantanamo Bay commander: 'No credible evidence' of flushing

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The commander of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said Thursday an investigation had identified five incidents in which the Quran appears to have been mishandled by his personnel.

But Brig. Gen. Jay Hood said he has found 'no credible evidence' that personnel at the military prison flushed a Quran in a toilet.

Hood spoke to reporters on the interim findings of his investigation after spending the afternoon briefing defense committees on Capitol Hill.

The five suspect incidents were among 13 involving alleged mishandling that were culled from a review of about 31,000 documents representing three years worth of records."

John Bolton

United Nations: Divulge Bolton dossier: "United Nations: Divulge Bolton dossier


With the Senate in recess, there's time for a quick resolution of the roadblock to a final vote on United Nations ambassador nominee John Bolton.

The White House ought to share with the Senate relevant information on Bolton's record as a State Department official. That would clear the way for an up-or-down vote on his nomination after the Senate reconvenes June 7, following a Memorial Day recess.

The Bush administration has been excessively secretive with Congress and the public. Documents detailing Bolton's State Department advice on congressional testimony about Syria are germane to understanding how he might conduct himself at the United Nations. And it's disrespectful for the administration to withhold from senators intelligence information Bolton received as an undersecretary of state."

Sunday, May 29, 2005

White House denies senators papers on Bolton nomination - The Boston Globe - Boston.com - Washington - News

White House denies senators papers on Bolton nomination - The Boston Globe - Boston.com - Washington - News: "White House denies senators papers on Bolton nomination

By Rick Klein, Globe Staff | May 28, 2005

WASHINGTON -- White House officials declined yesterday to give senators the extra documents they are seeking regarding John R. Bolton, President Bush's choice to become ambassador to the United Nations, setting up a major standoff with Senate Democrats over the long-troubled nomination.

Democratic senators sidetracked a final vote on Bolton's nomination late Thursday, saying they will keep it from the Senate floor until the Bush administration hands over the information they have been seeking for two months. But a White House spokeswoman said yesterday that senators have all the documents they need to make a decision on Bolton, and accused Democrats of playing politics with a key diplomatic post.

''John Bolton enjoys majority [Senate] support, and it's a shame that Democrats are stopping a vote,' said Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman. ''This is about partisan politics, not documents.'"

Review May Shift Terror Policies

Review May Shift Terror Policies: "Review May Shift Terror Policies
U.S. Is Expected to Look Beyond Al Qaeda

By Susan B. Glasser
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 29, 2005; A01

The Bush administration has launched a high-level internal review of its efforts to battle international terrorism, aimed at moving away from a policy that has stressed efforts to capture and kill al Qaeda leaders since Sept. 11, 2001, and toward what a senior official called a broader 'strategy against violent extremism.'

The shift is meant to recognize the transformation of al Qaeda over the past three years into a far more amorphous, diffuse and difficult-to-target organization than the group that struck the United States in 2001. But critics say the policy review comes only after months of delay and lost opportunities while the administration left key counterterrorism jobs unfilled and argued internally over how best to confront the rapid spread of the pro-al Qaeda global Islamic jihad.

President Bush's top adviser on terrorism, Frances Fragos Townsend, said in an interview that the review is needed to take into account the 'ripple effect' from years of operations targeting al Qaeda leaders such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, arrested for planning the Sept. 11 attacks, and his recently detained deputy. 'Naturally, the enemy has adapted,' she said. 'As you capture a Khalid Sheik Mohammed, an Abu Faraj al-Libbi raises up. Nature abhors a vacuum.'

The review marks the first ambitious effort since the immediate aftermath of the 2001 attacks to take stock of what the administration has called the 'global war on terrorism' -- or GWOT -- but is now considering changing to recognize the evolution of its fight. 'What we really want now is a strategic approach to defeat violent extremism,' said a senior administration official who described the review on the condition of anonymity because it is not finished. 'GWOT is catchy, but there may be a better way to describe it, and those are things that ought to be incumbent on us to look at.'"

Friday, May 27, 2005

Muslims protest U.S. from Asia to Mideast

CNN.com - Muslims protest U.S. from Asia to Mideast - May 27, 2005
SLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Thousands of Muslims marched Friday in Islamic countries from Asia to the Middle East, burning symbols of the United States to protest the alleged desecration of the Quran by military personnel at a American prison in Guantanamo, Bay, Cuba.

The rallies in Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia and elsewhere followed an admission Thursday by U.S. investigators that Islam's holy book was mishandled at Guantanamo.

But American officials said it was often inadvertent and denied that any Qurans were flushed down a toilet, as Newsweek magazine had reported in a now-retracted article.

No injuries were reported in Friday's demonstrations, with police simply watching in most places.

In India's Kashmir region, however, police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse hundreds of Muslims gathered outside a mosque in the capital of Srinagar.

Women in black veils marched through Kashmir, where schools and businesses were closed as part of the protest, and set American flags and copies of the U.S. Constitution ablaze.

"The defilement of our holy book is outrageous because we consider it to be the word of God," thundered Asiya Andrabi, head of the women's group Daughters of the Community, through her veil. "Guantanamo Bay is a cage. It is not a prison."

More than 15,000 people took to the streets of Pakistan's largest cities. A demonstration in the capital of Islamabad began in a tense atmosphere, hours after a bomb at a Muslim shrine killed more than 15 people at an annual celebration. The motive for the suspected suicide bombing was not immediately clear. (Full story)

"We condemn sacrilege of the Quran by U.S. extremists," read one banner draped across a bus while protest leaders chanted into loudspeakers during a rally of at least 2,000 in Islamabad.

In Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta, 5,000 demonstrators chanted slogans against the United States and Britain. Another 5,000 gathered in the southern city of Karachi, demanding the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador. Protests also were held in Lahore, near the Indian border.

The rallies were organized by a hard-line religious coalition, Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal, or United Action Forum -- a vocal opponent of Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

About 12,000 people, many of them supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, gathered in Alexandria, Egypt, filling a three-story building and spilling into surrounding streets, listening to preachers who demanded an apology from U.S. officials. The neighborhood was ringed by police, who arrested 12 of the demonstrator's organizers.

About 1,000 people -- mostly lawyers -- gathered in downtown Cairo and were surrounded by double that number of riot police.

A similar number gathered in the Lebanese capital of Beirut, carrying black banners and burning American and Israeli flags.

"We will cut off the feet that desecrated the Quran!" the crowd yelled.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Where Is the Uproar That Should Stop Torture

Where Is the Uproar That Should Stop Torture?� By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown : "Where Is the Uproar That Should Stop Torture?

By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

The Independent, Arab News, May 23, 2005

LONDON, 23 May 2005 — A brief news item appeared in Newsweek magazine claiming that a military investigation had confirmed that the Qur’an had been defiled in Guantanamo Bay. Prior to publication, the journalist, John Barry, showed his copy to senior Pentagon officials who got some parts of the report edited out (this is the free press in the US), but were untroubled by the bit about the Qur’anic desecration. Imran Khan, the Pakistani ex-cricket hero-turned-politician, denounced this abomination. Riots flared up in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries, leaving about 20 people dead.

Suddenly awake, the US authorities then forced Newsweek to retract the story because the source was shaky — an unforgivable transgression in American journalism, much worse, apparently, than partisan reporting or the acquiescence of much of the US media in neocon power. In fact there is documentation by independent sources of this use of Qur’anic despoliation during interrogations by Americans, but that was not the point. Americans are enraged that the magazine was “unpatriotic” and “irresponsible”; Muslims worldwide are furious that copies of their most precious book were thrown into toilets.

In this world, which I no longer comprehend, great emotions rise on one side because a reputable magazine did not pay due attention to ensure that its sources were impeccable, and on the other because the Qur’an was reported to have been debased. Of course, sacrilege of the Qur’an is hurtful to the many faithful, including myself. But is it not utterly depressing that so many died, that Muslims killed Muslims because they could not control their grief? And that both sides in this latest flare-up appear to care so little about what is being done to human beings across the world in the new wars of this century?"

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Horror Of Depleted Uranium Not Limited To Iraq

The Truth Seeker - Horror Of Depleted Uranium Not Limited To Iraq: "Horror Of Depleted Uranium Not Limited To Iraq

By James Denver – Axis of Logic April 28, 2005

'I'm horrified. The people out there - the Iraqis, the media and the troops - risk the most appalling ill health. And the radiation from depleted uranium can travel literally anywhere. It's going to destroy the lives of thousands of children, all over the world. We all know how far radiation can travel. Radiation from Chernobyl reached Wales and in Britain you sometimes get red dust from the Sahara on your car.'

The speaker is not some alarmist doom-sayer. He is Dr. Chris Busby, the British radiation expert, Fellow of the University of Liverpool in the Faculty of Medicine and UK representative on the European Committee on Radiation Risk, talking about the best-kept secret of this war: the fact that, by illegally using hundreds of tons of depleted uranium (DU) against Iraq, Britain and America have gravely endangered not only the Iraqis but the whole world. For these weapons have released deadly, carcinogenic and mutagenic, radioactive particles in such abundance that-whipped up by sandstorms and carried on trade winds - there is no corner of the globe they cannot penetrate-including Britain. For the wind has no boundaries and time is on their side: the radioactivity persists for over 4,500,000,000 years and can cause cancer, leukemia, brain damage, kidney failure, and extreme birth defects - killing millions of every age for centuries to come. A crime against humanity which may, in the eyes of historians, rank with the worst atrocities of all time."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Environmental Information

Environmental Information Education Current Issues RSS Latest Environment News Service ENS: "Eastern European Governments Agree to Tackle Mining Pollution

CLUJ-NAPOCA, Romania, May 16, 2005 - A strategy for cleaning up old mines, smelters and processing facilities in Eastern Europe was adopted Saturday by governments at an international conference in Romania. The plan to reduce the environmental risks of mining was agreed by ministers and officials from a dozen countries in the region.

The more than 150 mining operations of concern are found in Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Kosovo. Some abandoned, and some still in operation, they have been extracting and processing metals such as zinc, cadmium, copper, bauxite, silver, and gold.

Over a third of these site pose a serious risk to human health, environment and regional stability experts have concluded. Studies, carried out on behalf of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), have found numerous old and abandoned sites that now present environmental, social and political problems.

Operational mines in the region also can pose a threat to the environment. In January 2000, cyanide pollution from the Baia Mare Aurul gold mine in northwestern Romania killed all the aquatic life in Hungary's Tisza River and downstream in the River Danube after a retention dam broke, spilling 100,000 cubic meters of wastewater.

Mine tailings from the Baia Mare gold mine cover the Tisza River. Damages were estimated at US$190 million. (Photo courtesy Tailings Info)
In 1999, the Romanian environment authorities had alerted the management of the Baia Mare mine to the potential risks associated with the dam after former employees of the company revealed that mistakes were made during the construction of the tailing basin."

Diesel Pollution Poses Growing Health Threat

FOXNews.com - Health - Diesel Pollution Poses Growing Health Threat: "Pollution from diesel engines is expected to shorten the lives of 21,000 Americans by the year 2010, according to a new report.

In addition to 3,000 deaths from lung cancer alone, diesel soot also contributes to an estimated 15,000 hospital admissions, 27,000 nonfatal heart attacks, and more than 400,000 asthma attacks each year, concludes the report, published by the Clean Air Task Force.

“This makes it one of the most significant public health risks out there,” says Conrad Schneider, the group’s advocacy director and a co-author of the report."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Booman Tribune ~ Comments ~ Is there Hope for the US and World?

Booman Tribune ~ Comments ~ Is there Hope for the US and World?: "I just had this thought with regards to your position on this subject.
How would you square this with our non negotiation with terrorists policies, when they are holding one or more citizens or just in any case whatsoever. In that case the sacrifice of some money(or other concessions) may bring about the release of hostages, but we say no, can't negotiate with terrorists. So we can't negotiate with them but we can torture them if need be. Even if it means the death of one or more people, we cannot negotiate. There is some sort of irony there, methinks.
Seems to me we might be better off trying to negotiate period, than to try to extract info, via these means.
I know, I know, everyone says, that would be giving in to them, but heck, someone needs to explain to me how it is better to torture on the one hand but bad to negotiate on the other.
Sets up a system where they have no choice but to fight, rather like in the Senate at this time.

This is just a what if: but what if Bush administration were to actually try to negotiate with the insurgency, sit down and talk with the leaders and see what can be done to solve this problem, make some concessions and get it over with.
By refusing to talk what are we doing, dooming ourselves to generations of terrorism.
WE sure can't count on the admin. or Karen Hughes' team to propagandize them out of existence.
Seems like we have the same problem in Korea and Iran, 'oh no can't talk to them, but maybe bomb them someday, but definitely no talk.'
Maybe we don't want to talk and just to bomb, maybe we don't want to negotiate just torture, maybe we don't want peace on Earth, but just war. Says a lot about us as a people and a nation."

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Iran condemns 'abhorrent' desecration of Qur'an

Iran condemns 'abhorrent' desecration of Qur'an by US guards
May 15, 2005, 13:48

Iran added voice Sunday to an international outrage over the desecration of the Holy Qur'an by US guards at the Guantanamo prison, warning of 'consequences' which this egregious action could entail in.

'This is an abhorrent action which we are faced with, but we cannot do anything more that expressing our regret and protest,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters here.

'American authorities should have voiced their outrage more expressly and much sooner and punished the individual behind this act,' he said, adding 'the world must know that when someone insults a religion, it will not go without consequences'.

Asefi also regretted widespread animosity toward Muslims in the United States.

'Unfortunately, we are now witnessing that Islamophobia has become institutionalized across wide sectors of the United States,' he said.

According to a recent report by an Islamic advocacy group in Washington, reported hate crimes against Muslims in the United States increased more than 50 percent last year.

The report, released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, outlined more than 1,500 cases of harassment and anti-Muslim violence around the country in 2004, including 141 hate crimes, compared with 1,019 incidents and 93 hate crimes in in 2003."

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Important Info Links

This is Aljazeera International, there are a lot a comment pages on this site with people all over the world posting opinions on daily events. It appears to be translated in Arabic and then back into english so words are sometimes dropped or changed. This site is important for the obvious reason, it is important to know what you enemy is thinking and saying. Also you will find news regarding Iraq not covered in press here.

Bellacio is a blog site from france, often dealing with US subjects and posters though unknown seem to be from various countries, including America. Interesting worldwide view here.

Go to this site to sign a petition to fire Rumsfeld.

Baghdad Burning

Free Iraq

Another site of interest here:

Congress.org is site for important issues and link to all sorts of petitions. In addition contact info for congress.

Site for impeachment and meetup with other democrats

Hillary's Petition for Count Every Vote

Booman Tribune a good site for progressive discussions:

Intellectual Diva, a blog from my friend in Iraq