Wednesday, March 26, 2008


UN Torture Envoy Says US Deny Access to Iraq Jails
The U.N. investigator on torture said on Tuesday the United States had denied his request to visit U.S.-run jails in Iraq and insisted a visit could help clear its legacy of the prison abuse scandal in Abu Ghraib.

Manfred Nowak, United Nations special rapporteur on torture, said he had received credible information the situation had improved at U.S. detention facilities in recent years, but stressed only a visit would allow him to verify them.

An international outcry erupted in 2004 after images of prisoner abuse by U.S. military personnel at Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad, including naked detainees stacked in a pyramid and others cowering before snarling dogs, became public.

The NY Times didn't think the US denial of inspection was newsworthy. Americans never got this story.


New Report: Coerced Evidence Contaminating Judicial System, Undermining Terrorist Prosecutions

NEW YORK - The introduction of coerced evidence, obtained through the use of official cruelty, into military commission trials at Guantanamo Bay is rapidly contaminating the justice system and jeopardizing the prospects for the successful prosecution of terrorists, a new report charges.

The report--Tortured Justice: Using Coerced Evidence to Prosecute Terrorist Suspects—released today by Human Rights First, finds the Bush administration has undercut its own intended use of the military commission system to bring those responsible for 9/11 to justice, by allowing the admission of evidence tainted by torture.

The administration sanctioned the use of abusive interrogation methods, believing that the need to gather information by any means to prevent future terrorist attacks took precedence over the complications it would cause down the line in prosecuting crimes that had already taken place.

The NY Times, however, didn't thing Americans needed to know about torture and the contamination of the judicial system.


Dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fell sick at bases using “unmonitored and potentially unsafe” water supplied by the military and a contractor (KBR) once owned by Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company, the Pentagon’s internal watchdog says.

A report obtained by The Associated Press said soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq.

The Defense Department’s inspector general’s report found water quality problems between March 2004 and February 2006 at three sites run by contractor KBR Inc., and between January 2004 and December 2006 at two military-operated locations.

Contaminated water for the troops? Cheney doesn't care. But why would the NY Times not report this? Just not good PR for the war effort?


The decision by the NY Times to ignore last week's Winter Soldier Testimony in DC was indicative of the newspapers support of the Iraq War. Most foreign media was there, but the US elite have decided that the war must continue, and all coverage is at an end. The NY Times may acknowledge 4,000 US soldiers dead, but it will never cover what our forces have done to the Iraq people.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


GENEVA: A report commissioned by the United Nations suggests that Palestinian terrorism is the "inevitable consequence" of Israeli occupation and laws that resemble South African apartheid - a claim Israel rejected Tuesday as enflaming hatred between Jews and Palestinians.

The report by John Dugard, independent investigator on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the U.N. Human Rights Council, will be presented next month, but it has been posted on the body's Web site.

In it, Dugard, a South African lawyer who campaigned against apartheid in the 1980s, says "common sense ... dictates that a distinction must be drawn between acts of mindless terror, such as acts committed by al-Qaida, and acts committed in the course of a war of national liberation against colonialism, apartheid or military occupation."

While Palestinian terrorist acts are to be deplored, "they must be understood as being a painful but inevitable consequence of colonialism, apartheid or occupation," writes Dugard, whose 25-page report accuses the Jewish state of acts and policies consistent with all three.

NY Times didn't report this story, but it's International Herald Tribune did. News fit for the rest of the world, but not for US citizens?


In Congress yesterday, Representative John Tierney, Chair of the House National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee, convened the first in a series of hearings to examine a US missile defense program that is out of control, straining relations with allies, and renewing an arms race with Russia.

...The subcommittee focused on the extent of the missile threat - as compared to other security vulnerabilities - and whether spending more than $10 billion annually on ballistic missile defense (BMD) is justifiable from that perspective.

Rep. Tierney pointed out that we have spent over $120 billion on missile defense in the past 25 years; that the annual budget is expected to double by 2013 to $19 billion; and that the current $10 billion per year is equal to one-third of the Homeland Security budget, roughly equal to the State Department budget...

"I believe that the Ballistic Missile Defense program is the longest running scam in the history of the Department of Defense." This from the Nation Magazine. The NY Times didn't judge this story fit to print.


The Bush administration, caught out by the rise of Hamas, embarked on a secret project for the armed overthrow of the Islamist government in Gaza, it emerged yesterday.

Vanity Fair reports in its April edition that President George Bush and the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, signed off on a plan for the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to remove the Hamas authorities in Gaza. The plan called for Washington's allies in the region to funnel arms and salaries to Fatah fighters who would lead a rising against Hamas.

According to the magazine, Rice played a main role in trying to persuade Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to offer training and funding to the Fatah fighters. Israeli officials admitted in December 2006 that Egypt had sent weapons to the Fatah faction in Gaza. The NY Times skipped this story to cover a Vanity Fair Oscar party.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Israel air strikes pounded targets in Gaza for a second night Israel's deputy defense minister has said Israel will have "no choice" but to invade Gaza if Palestinian militants step up rocket attacks. Matan Vilnai said Palestinians risked a "shoah", the Hebrew word for the Nazi Holocaust.

Mr Vilnai made the comments after rockets hit the city of Ashkelon, 10km (six miles) from Gaza. His colleagues insisted he had not meant "genocide."

But the blockade and military attacks against of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza is looking more and more like a genocide to the rest of the world. Not to readers of the NY Times, however. This story never made it. The NY Times carried 10 holocaust stories in the last week, but they were all about the German extermination of the Jews in WW II.


The FBI now keeps a list of over 900,000 names belonging to known or suspected terrorists, the American Civil Liberties Union said today.

If that number is accurate, it would be an all-time high, exponentially more than the 100,000 names on the list several years ago. But the number needs to be taken with a grain of salt: after all, the ACLU doesn’t keep the list, the FBI does, and the bureau doesn’t generally like to talk about it. (Indeed, the FBI has not yet responded to a request for comment for this post.)

But if the ACLU’s figure isn’t accurate, it’s also unlikely to be off by that much. Last September, the ACLU notes, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General reported the FBI watch list was at 700,000 names, and growing at 20,000 names per month.

But the NY Times isn't worried about this massive increase. It didn't report the ACLU statement.


After six years of US-led military support and billions of pounds in aid, security in Afghanistan is "deteriorating" and President Hamid Karzai's government controls less than a third of the country, America's top intelligence official has admitted.

Mike McConnell testified in Washington that Karzai controls about 30% of Afghanistan and the Taliban 10%, and the remainder is under tribal control...

The gloomy comments echoed even more strongly worded recent reports by think tanks, including one headed by the former Nato commander General James Jones, which concluded that "urgent changes" were required now to "prevent Afghanistan becoming a failed state".

Failed state? Afghanistan? Who knew? Not readers of the NY Times who never got McConnell's testimony. In fact, the NY Times covered Mike McConnell a lot in the last week, mostly warnings about Iran's nuclear ambitions.