|Fri, 30 Nov 2007 05:26:23 |
by Amy Goodman
Every Saturday, the president of the United States gives a radio address to the nation. It is followed by the Democratic response, usually given by a senator or representative. This past Saturday the Democrats chose retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez to give their response, the same general accused in at least three lawsuits in the U.S. and Europe of authorizing torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners in Iraq. This, combined with the Democrats’ endorsement of Attorney General Michael Mukasey despite his unwillingness to label waterboarding as torture, indicates that the Democrats are increasingly aligned with President Bush’s torture policies.
Sanchez headed the Army’s operations in Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004. In September 2003, Sanchez issued a memo authorizing numerous techniques, including “stress positions” and the use of “military working dogs” to exploit “Arab fear of dogs” during interrogations. He was in charge when the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison occurred.
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who headed Abu Ghraib at the time, worked under Gen. Sanchez. She was demoted to colonel, the only military officer to be punished. She told me about another illegal practice, holding prisoners as so-called ghost detainees: “We were directed on several occasions through Gen. [Barbara] Fast or Gen. Sanchez. The instructions were originating at the Pentagon from Secretary Rumsfeld, and we were instructed to hold prisoners without assigning a prisoner number or putting them on the database, and that is contrary to the Geneva Conventions. We all knew it was contrary to the Geneva Conventions.” In addition to keeping prisoners off the database there were other abuses, she said, like prison temperatures reaching 120 to 140 degrees, dehydration and the order from Gen. Geoffrey Miller to treat prisoners “like dogs.”
And it’s not just about treatment of prisoners. In 2006, Karpinski testified at a mock trial, called the Bush Crimes Commission. She revealed that several female U.S. soldiers had died of dehydration by denying themselves water. They were afraid to go to the latrine at night to urinate, for fear of being raped by fellow soldiers: “Because the women, in fear of getting up in the hours of darkness to go out to the portolets or the latrines, were not drinking liquids after 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. And in 120-degree heat or warmer, because there was no air conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying from dehydration in their sleep. What [Sanchez’s deputy commanding general, Walter Wojdakowski] told the surgeon to do was, ‘Don’t brief those details anymore. And don’t say specifically that they’re women. You can provide that in a written report, but don’t brief it in the open anymore.’” Karpinski said Sanchez was at that briefing.
Former military interrogator Tony Lagouranis, author of “Fear Up Harsh,” described the use of dogs: “We were using dogs in the Mosul detention facility, which was at the Mosul airport. We would put the prisoner in a shipping container. We would keep him up all night with music and strobe lights, stress positions, and then we would bring in dogs. The prisoner was blindfolded, so he didn’t really understand what was going on, but we had the dog controlled. The dog would be barking and jumping on the prisoner, and the prisoner wouldn’t really understand what was going on.”
Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch elaborated on Sanchez: “For those three months of mayhem that were occurring right under his nose, he never stepped in. And, also, he misled Congress about it. He was asked twice at a congressional hearing whether he ever approved the use of guard dogs. This was before the memo came out. And both times he said he never approved it. [W]e finally got the actual memo, in which he approves ‘exploiting Arab fear of dogs.’ ” Brody dismissed the military report clearing Sanchez of any wrongdoing: “It’s just not credible for the Army to keep investigating itself and keep finding itself innocent.”
This is not about politics. This is about the moral compass of the nation. The Democrats may be celebrating a retired general who has turned on his commander in chief. But the public should take pause.
The Democrats had a chance to draw a line in the sand, to absolutely require Mukasey to denounce waterboarding before his elevation to attorney general. Now they have chosen as their spokesman a discredited general, linked to the most egregious abuses in Iraq. The Bush administration passed Sanchez over for a promotion, worried about reliving the Abu Ghraib scandal during the 2006 election year. Now it’s the Democrats who have resuscitated him. Have they no shame?
Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 500 stations in North America.
Courtesy of TruthDig.com
Friday, November 30, 2007
|Thousands Flock to Hamas Anti-US Meet Demo in Gaza|
27/11/2007 Thousands of Hamas supporters began flocking to central Gaza City on Tuesday for a rally called by the Hamas Movement to reject a key Middle East conference due to open in the United States. Waving the green flags of Hamas, demonstrators poured into a central square from all over the impoverished and overcrowded territory. Mosque loudspeakers urged people to join the demonstration. Hamas said on Monday that it would not be bound by any decisions taken there. "The decisions taken at Annapolis are not binding on the Palestinian people, who have not authorized anyone, either Arab or Palestinian, to erase their rights," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Leader: Annapolis 'doomed to failure'
Mon, 26 Nov 2007 16:52:43
Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
"All politicians in the world are aware that this conference is doomed to failure," Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Monday.
In an address which was broadcast to more than 8 million Basijis, the Leader said the Annapolis conference will deny the Palestinians their rights, who have been suppressed by Israel. "Arab countries must be aware of Zionists' plots and tricks," Ayatollah Khamenei said, warning the Arab states attending the conference.
"They [the US and Israel] hope that by holding the so-called peace conference, they can whitewash the Zionists' failure," the Leader added.
In the Annapolis conference, Washington seeks to restart peace talks on Palestine. However, Analysts believe the talks are aimed at protecting the Zionist regime.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei hailed the volunteer forces of Basij, who have always been present in the front line of combating the enemies.
"World powers were supporting Saddam's invasive regime [ in eight years of Iraq's war against Iran]," the Leader continued. "However, the Basij forces managed to design and carry out complex military tactics in an unjust war, which was imposed on Iran," Ayatollah Khamenei explained.
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution also pointed out that due to its popularity amongst the Iranian nation, the Basij forces are stronger than ever before.
"With their fierce determination, the Iranian people have shown the enemies that their plots against the Islamic Republic have failed," the Leader added.
Ayatollah Khamenei called on the enemies of the Iranian nation to own up to their defeat, as well as admitting the fact that they are no match against the great Iranian nation and its Basij forces.
Hezbollah slams Arabs over Annapolis
Wed, 28 Nov 2007 12:12:39
Palestinian in Lebanon protest against Annapolis.
"In the past, there have been conferences like the Annapolis which did not restore any rights of the Arabs, especially those of the Palestinians," Hezbollah MP Hussein Hajj Hassan said on Wednesday.
"This conference is worse than the previous ones because its aim is the normalization of ties with the Zionist enemy, in addition to eliminating one of the most important elements of the Palestinian cause which is the right of return," he added.
Many Palestinians fear a future deal might result in the wavering of their right to return to their lands.
"Unfortunately, the Arabs do not learn from their mistakes. They gave their cards to America, which is Israel's strategic ally and not their strategic ally, and therefore it will take everything and will give Arabs nothing," Hajj Hassan added.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Mon, 26 Nov 2007 14:01:03
The prominent US analyst, Noam Chomsky
In an interview with the political website of Information Clearing House, Chomsky said, “Just a couple of years ago, from 2004 through 2006, Iran did agree to suspend all uranium enrichment activities; thus halting what everyone agrees they're legally entitled to. That was an agreement with the European Union."
"In return to their agreement to suspension of their uranium enrichment program, the European Union was to provide what were called full guarantees on security issues, which means getting the United States to call off its threats to attack and destroy Iran."
Chomsky added that the EU failed to live up to its obligations so Iran pulled out of the agreement and returned to uranium enrichment. But Iranians were accused of breaking the agreement.
"ElBaradei had proposed a couple of years ago that no states should develop weapons-grade materials: all high enrichment should be done by an international agency, maybe the IAEA or some other entity, and then countries should apply to it. There's only one country that formally agreed to ElBaradei's proposal. That was Iran," Chomsky added.
"The real reason for the US intransigence on Iran is that Tehran has refused to play the role of a US-client state," he added.
Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at MIT. He is the author of over 30 political books dissecting and severely condemning US interventionism in the developing world.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Australian Victory Ends a Conservative Era
Filed at 5:11 p.m. ET
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Conservative Prime Minister John Howard, one of the Bush administration's staunchest allies, suffered a humiliating election defeat Saturday at the hands of an opposition leader who has vowed to pull troops out of Iraq.
Labor leader Kevin Rudd, a Chinese-speaking former diplomat, has also promised to sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, leaving the U.S. as the only industrialized country not to have joined it.
Howard, who reshaped his country's image abroad with unwavering support for the war in Iraq, dominated Australian politics for more than a decade but failed to read the signs that voters had grown tired of his rule.
Adding to the sting of his party's decisive defeat, official results showed Howard was likely to lose his parliamentary seat altogether. Only one other sitting prime minister has lost his district in the 106-year history of Australia's federal government.
Rudd, 50, has promised to pull Australia's 550 combat troops from Iraq in a phased withdrawal, and to quickly sign Kyoto. Howard had rejected withdrawal plans for Australia's troops in Iraq, and refused to ratify the pact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
''Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward,'' Rudd said in a victory speech before hundreds of cheering supporters in his home state of Queensland. ''To plan for the future, to prepare for the future, to embrace the future and together as Australians to unite and write a new page in our nation's history.''
Australia is the latest country to see elections turn out governments that contributed to the U.S. war in Iraq.
Poland's new prime minister, Donald Tusk, has vowed to take a firmer stand in relations with the United States. He said in his inaugural address Friday that by the end of next year Poland would withdraw its 900 troops from Iraq, where it leads an international contingent of about 2,000 soldiers from 10 nations in the south-central part of the country.
Howard, 68, had stayed on to fight for a fifth term in office despite months of negative opinion poll numbers and appeals from some colleagues to quit. He took the blame for his government's defeat.
''I accept full responsibility for the Liberal Party campaign, and I therefore accept full responsibility for the coalition's defeat in this election campaign,'' Howard said in his concession speech in Sydney.
He said it appeared ''very likely'' he would lose his seat in Parliament to former television journalist Maxine McKew.
Rudd's Labor Party had more than 53 percent of the vote with over 75 percent of ballots counted, compared to 46.8 percent for Howard's coalition, according to the Australian Electoral Commission.
An Australian Broadcasting Corp. analysis showed that Labor would get at least 81 places in the 150-seat lower house of Parliament -- a clear majority.
Rudd, who was expected to be sworn in as prime minister in the coming week, had accused Howard of being out of touch with modern Australia and ill-prepared to deal with issues such as climate change and high-speed Internet.
Howard campaigned on his economic management, arguing that his government was mostly responsible for 17 years of unbroken economic growth, fueled by Chinese and Indian demand for Australian coal and other minerals. He contended that Rudd could not be trusted to maintain prosperous times.
Few in Rudd's team have any federal government experience. They include a former rock star -- one-time Midnight Oil singer Peter Garrett -- and a number of former union officials.
Rudd has more experience in foreign policy than any other area of government, and was expected to adopt a nuanced, non-confrontational approach to diplomacy. He sent ''greetings ... to our great friend and ally the United States'' in his victory speech.
The Bush administration congratulated Rudd.
''The United States and Australia have long been strong partners and allies and the president looks forward to working with this new government to continue our historic relationship,'' said White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore.
The White House also applauded Howard's time in office.
''Mr. Howard served the people of Australia well by pursuing policies that led to strong economic growth and a commitment to keeping Australians safe by fighting extremists and their ideology around the world.''
Rudd's election as Labor leader 11 months ago marked the start of Howard's decline in opinion polls.
Howard held his district for 33 years, and his four straight national election victories made him one of Australia's most successful politicians.
Despite Rudd's stances on Iraq and climate change, little else was expected to change in Australia's trade and economic policies.
Rudd has pledged to govern as an ''economic conservative,'' while pouring money into schools and universities. He will curtail sweeping industrial reform laws that were perceived to hand bosses too much power.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Thu, 22 Nov 2007 20:04:11
By Mark Weisbrot, AlterNet
The average American believes that 10,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the US invasion in March 2003. The most commonly cited figure in the media is 70,000.
But the actual number of people who have been killed is most likely more than one million.
This is five times more than the estimates of killings in Darfur and even more than the genocide in Rwanda 13 years ago.
The estimate of more than one million violent deaths in Iraq was confirmed again two months ago in a poll by the British polling firm Opinion Research Business, which estimated 1,220,580 violent deaths since the US invasion. This is consistent with the study conducted by doctors and scientists from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health more than a year ago.
Their study was published in the Lancet, Britain's leading medical journal. It estimated 601,000 people killed due to violence as of July 2006; but if updated on the basis of deaths since the study, this estimate would also be more than a million. These estimates do not include those who have died because of public health problems created by the war, including breakdowns in sewerage systems and electricity, shortages of medicines, etc.
Amazingly, some journalists and editors - and of course some politicians - dismiss such measurements because they are based on random sampling of the population rather than a complete count of the dead. While it would be wrong to blame anyone for their lack of education, this disregard for scientific methods and results is inexcusable. As one observer succinctly put it: if you don't believe in random sampling, the next time your doctor orders a blood test, tell him that he needs to take all of it.
The methods used in the estimates of Iraqi deaths are the same as those used to estimate the deaths in Darfur, which are widely accepted in the media. They are also consistent with the large numbers of refugees from the violence (estimated at more than four million). There is no reason to disbelieve them, or to accept tallies such as that the Iraq Body Count (73,305 - 84,222), which include only a small proportion of those killed, as an estimate of the overall death toll.
Of course, acknowledging the holocaust in Iraq might change the debate over the war. While Iraqi lives do not count for much in US politics, recognizing that a mass slaughter of this magnitude is taking place could lead to more questions about how this horrible situation came to be. Right now a convenient myth dominates the discussion: the fall of Saddam Hussein simply unleashed a civil war that was waiting to happen, and the violence is all due to Iraqis' inherent hatred of each other.
In fact, there is considerable evidence that the occupation itself - including the strategy of the occupying forces - has played a large role in escalating the violence to holocaust proportions. It is in the nature of such an occupation, where the vast majority of the people are opposed to the occupation and according to polls believe it is right to try and kill the occupiers, to pit one ethnic group against another.
Is Washington responsible for a holocaust in Iraq? That is the question that almost everyone here wants to avoid. So the holocaust is denied
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
By: Chris Banks
Hundreds of thousands displaced by U.S.-backed invasion
Nine months of illegal occupation by the U.S.-backed Ethiopian military has left over 400,000 Somali people displaced with no access to food, clean water, shelter or medicine. The danger of a cholera epidemic threatens tens of thousands.
Last May, U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said, "In terms of the numbers of people displaced, and our access to them, Somalia is a worse crisis than Darfur or Chad or anywhere else this year."
The U.S.-financed and trained Ethiopian army opened up a ferocious attack against resistance forces in southern Somalia in January 2007. This was part of Washington’s regime-change operation aimed at overthrowing the widely popular Union of Islamic Courts. The U.S. also carried out bombing raids and participating in the post-invasion slaughter of civilians.
The U.S. and Ethiopian invaders have galvanized the nationalist feelings of the Somali people. In mid-September, exiled members of the UIC joined with other Somali politicians, religious leaders, business people, intellectuals and military officials to form the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia—the first national liberation occurred in 1960 from under British and Italian colonial rule.
The ARS has declared to wage a war of liberation against the occupying forces. Recent uprisings and mass demonstrations in Mogadishu against the occupation have already forced Washington and their stooges to send thousands of Ethiopian reinforcements.
Monday, November 12, 2007
M. Bakri Musa
“Saya pantang dicabar!” (lit: “I am allergic to challenges;” fig. “Don’t challenge me!”) declared Prime Minister Abdullah in an uncharacteristically bold assertion to the media on the eve of BERSIH’s massive street demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday, November 10, 2007.
You have now been challenged, Mr. Prime Minister, openly and publicly by your own citizens, and you have emerged impotent! That huge street rally may be illegal to you, but the King had consented to receiving its leaders and their petition. In effect, the King too has challenged you, Abdullah! In case you did not get the message, you had just been served a very public royal rebuff.
I too, challenge you, Abdullah! Instead of arresting those ordinary citizen demonstrators, I dare you to arrest their leaders, Anwar Ibrahim, Hadi Awang, Lim Kit Siang, and Raja Petra Kamarudin. Those ordinary folks were merely exercising their basic rights as citizens of a democracy: the right to free assembly and to petition the authorities.
As per the refrain of the Ghostbusters theme song, “Who are you gonna call now!” Mr. Prime Minister? Your fabulous Fourth Floor boys? Your son-in-law who is using you as his “protection?” Imagine being considered as such by your son-in-law!
Khairy Jamaluddin obviously had not heard of your “demonstrations are not part of our Malay culture” bit. Either that or Khairy had blissfully ignored it as when he led that pathetic street demonstration against your official guest, US State Secretary Rice.
In a speech earlier in the week, Khairy demanded that the authorities “come down hard” on the BERSIH demonstrators. While there were some water cannons and tear gas canisters unloaded, the demonstrations went ahead smoothly and successfully to the palace. The police even released most of those arrested. Your son-in-law challenged you to be tough on the demonstrators, and you came out lembik (limp).
Dim Wit Understanding of Democracy
In denying the BERSIH demonstrators their police permit, Abdullah demonstrated only a dim wit understanding of democracy, akin to that held by Saddam Hussein and Pervez Musharraf. Both were voted in with over 98 percent of the votes, and they took that to mean they could ride roughshod over their country and citizens. Never mind that their elections were anything but fair and free.
Democracy means rule of the people, but it does not mean mob rule legitimized through the ballot box. Electoral victory is not a license for tyranny of the majority. As Fareed Zakaria wrote so eloquently in his book, The Future of Freedom, democracy is more than just elections. Even if elections were fair and free (far from the reality in Malaysia, hence the demonstrations!), obsession with or sole reliance on them would threaten the other far more important aspects like the rule of law, private property rights, separation of powers, and the right to free speech and to assemble freely.
Elections regular or otherwise, honest or rigged, do not guarantee these; only independent and impartial judges could. An independent judiciary is thus the hallmark as well as the guarantor of democracy and freedom, certainly much more than universal adult suffrage.
As for the state of the Malaysian judiciary, the Lingam tapes painfully showed what a sorry mess it is in. Even if BERSIH were completely successful with its petition and the Elections Commission completely overhauled, there is still the monumental task of cleaning up the judiciary and restoring its long lost integrity.
These points are elementary and obvious to all, save the dim witted.
Time to Deliver The Next Lesson
There is another feature of the dim witted; they are slow learners. It is unlikely for them to have learned a lesson from Bersih’s successful rally, or if they did it may not have stuck.
Since the only lesson that would register on their thick skulls is election returns, my friend Din Merican had started a campaign to register voters. The next step would be to ensure that they will vote against the Barisan coalition.
It would encourage voters to do that if there were to be substantial and effective co-ordination among the opposition parties to ensure that there would only be a one-on-one battle with the Barisan in every constituency. The objective here is rather modest, to inflict enough damage to the Barisan coalition such that it would precipitate internal squabbling especially within UMNO to trigger its implosion.
Selecting the best candidate, meaning one who would most likely defeat the Barisan’s nominee, involves studying the demographics of the constituency as well as the Barisan’s candidate. Since race is never far from voters’ considerations, the best avenue to neutralize this crucial factor would be to field candidates of the same race as the Barisan’s nominees. This was the clear lesson from the recent Ijok by-elections. Thus the opposition must be ready to change candidates on nomination day depending on who would represent Barisan.
For example, if Barisan were to re-nominate the current MCA candidate but at the last minute the seat were to go to UMNO, then the opposition must be ready to substitute a Malay candidate. If that party (like DAP for instance) cannot come up with a Malay nominee, then it should be willing to give the slot to a Malay from one of the other parties.
BERSIH’s victory should embolden the citizens to impart to the Barisan government the other equally important lesson: cleaning out the rot in the judiciary. No less than a full Royal Commission with full powers to subpoena witnesses and grant them immunity should be the objective. As Fareed Zakaria noted, an impartial and independent judiciary is the best guarantor of our freedoms and democracy. We must keep drumming these lessons lest they forget easily.
We must keep mencabar (challenging) Abdullah until he comes to his senses and realizes the obvious: the job of being a Prime Minister of our great nation is way above his head. If he does not, others either within or outside his party should be emboldened enough to tell him so.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Poll: Jews have too much power in US
Thu, 08 Nov 2007 22:19:14
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have recently released the findings of a survey of 2,000 American adults conducted October 6-19, which shows that 31% of Americans believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than America.
It also indicates that 15% of the general population believes that Jews have 'too much power in the US', unchanged from 2005.
Analysts believe that the atrocities committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories and the influence of pro-Israeli pressure groups in the United States have tarnished the image of Judaism in the world.
(if not the Jews then the Rich)
|Poll: Americans do not trust parties |
Thu, 08 Nov 2007 16:11:18
After the Democrats won the 2006 Congressional election and took charge of Capitol Hill, many Americans hoped that Republicans, who authorized President George W. Bush's Iraq war, would not have the majority in the House any longer.
The survey conducted by the Pew Research Center indicates that Americans do not have faith in the performance of both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
The results are based on a survey of over 2,000 adults conducted on October 17-23, 2007.
"THE WORLD SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR AN ALTERNATIVE TO DEMOCRACY!"
Saudi King supports Iran's N-rights
Thu, 08 Nov 2007 18:40:04
Saudi King Abdullah
In an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published on Thursday, King Abdullah said that "the IAEA regulations should be applied to all countries without any exceptions," the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
"According to the IAEA regulations, Iran--like any other country--has the right to develop peaceful nuclear technology," he added.
The Saudi leader reaffirmed his call for the dismantling of the arsenals of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and repeated his country's proposal to establish an international consortium to enrich uranium.
King Abdullah reiterated that such a consortium should be set up in an impartial country.
"The proposal is part of Saudi Arabia's diplomatic efforts to solve Iran's nuclear standoff peacefully," he added.
|PGCC 'ready for Iran-US confrontation' |
Thu, 08 Nov 2007 21:58:06
"This subject is under constant study between defense ministers as the Persian Gulf states have to be always ready for any emergency,” Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz told reporters.
His remarks came after a meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) in Riyadh aimed at discussing the emerging threat of terrorism and the need to protect oil resources.
The Saudi official did not say what role the organization's member states would play in case of a military action against Iran.
The PGCC, comprising Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, was formed in 1981.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
BN Government Should Not Mislead The Public That The Consumer Price Index (CPI) From January To September 2007 Has Risen By Only 2% When In Reality It Has Risen By 20%!
The BN Government should not mislead the public that the CPI from January to September 2007 has risen by only 2% when in reality it has risen by 20%. In actual fact in the last four months alone, prices of basic food-stuffs have risen by around 10%:such as rice (5-8%), chilli sauce (5-10%), beehoon (5-10%), biscuits (10-15%), chocolate malt drinks (10-18%), UHT milk (10-15%) and milk powder (10-20%). Many Malaysians have been complaining that everything from toll rates to instant mee noodles have been going up except their salaries.
However the government has been in a state of denial at the adverse impact of food prices on working families. The government continues to pretend that rising fuel prices with the international oil price hitting a record US$ 96 per barrel and rising commodities prices world-wide has not affected prices in Malaysia. This dangerous pre-occupation with denial is irresponsible and unprofessional management of our economy that will only cause suffering to low and middle income working families.
Only a CPI that is accurate and gives a reliable “virtual reality” of the escalating prices of basic commodities throughout the country can give confidence that the government knows how to manage the economy responsibly for the benefit of the people. Clearly such false and misleading picture of a CPI of only 2% when the reality is ten times worse shows the extent of dirty tactics employed by BN in the run-up to the general elections to win at all costs, by hook or by crook.
Even the English daily “The Star” in today’s front-page report, cited 20% increase in CPI from January to September 2007 as a more accurate reflection of the true situation on the ground than the government’s official 2%. It said, “Bread now costs 20 to 30 sen more per loaf, and toll charges may be raised again next year. All over the country, Malaysians are paying more for popular local fare like char kuay teow and roti canai.”
DAP calls for a complete review of the CPI to reflect reality and not give a false picture that Malaysians are still maintaining their standard of living. The time has come for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to wake up and deal with escalating inflation and how to help Malaysians maintain standard of living. As most firms are also struggling with rising prices, forcing companies to raise salaries beyond their capabilities or labour market forces of demand and supply would not be fair. A fairer method would be to share Petronas oil profits with Malaysians.
RM 6,000 Annual Bonus For All Working Malaysians And Senior Citizens With Incomes Of Less Than RM6,000 Monthly.
There is grave concern that with the expected increase in fuel prices and toll rates in the North-South Highway next year, the situation will only get worse for working families. Further the government has indicated that it can no longer provide subsidies especially fuel subsidies alone that cost RM 27 billion. Whilst it may be economically unrealistic to expect any government to perpetually subsidise petroleum and gas without limit, it is socially unrealistic to expect the poor to survive without any assistance once the subsidies are removed. What is economically justifiable can not be socially justifiable if the poor are not given any financial assistance to counter inflationary impact from removal of gas subsidies.
DAP reiterates its proposal that the government gives an annual RM 6,000 Malaysian First Bonus to all working families and senior citizens who earn less than RM 6,000 a month which would enable all Malaysians to deal with rising food prices and inflation at the most efficient level. After all, if Singapore can give poor working families a yearly sum of S$ 2,500, why can’t Malaysia do the same with our oil resources and revenues that earned Petronas RM 76.3 billion last year?
Mon, 29 Oct 2007 13:27:35
Iran's envoy to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaei
Mohammad Khazaei made the comment at the session of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly on disarmament and international security in New York.
"As the sole victim of chemical weapons at the present juncture, Iran is determined and highly motivated to help create a world free from WMDs," Khazaei said.
Referring to former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons against Iranians during the 1980-88 imposed war, Khazaei said tens of thousands of Iranians were still suffering or dying from the effects of Saddam's chemical weapons.
The envoy also criticized the US double standard toward nuclear disarmament, saying that the US claims to be the pioneer in opposing WMDs even as it supports the role of nuclear weapons in restoring peace and threatens to use such weapons against members of the Non-proliferation Treaty as well.
Khazaei added that the Zionist regime was the only obstacle to a Middle East free of nuclear weapons because it refuses to join the NPT and pursues a secret nuclear program.
On the Iranian nuclear program, the envoy called talks the only solution to the standoff and the IAEA the only qualified authority to verify Iran's case.
Iran 'calls for a WMDs free world'
Sat, 03 Nov 2007 09:28:37
"The Islamic Republic of Iran signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) many years ago and has always demanded its full implementation," Salehi added at a three-day conference on nuclear disarmament held in Madrid on Friday.
He added that certain European countries that oppose Iran's peaceful nuclear program and are exerting pressure on Tehran, have so far failed to take effective steps towards nuclear disarmament.
During the event, the Algerian, Cuban and Moroccan ambassadors to Spain and the UN representative at the conference also slammed the US warmongering policies in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Hezbollah: United States Tries to Dictate
Hezbollah has described the United States move to block assets of a number of Lebanon's leading opposition figures as obvious dictatorship. Washington recently decided to block assets belonging to a number of Lebanese and Syrian figures whom US President George W. Bush has accused of carrying out attempts to harm the unconstitutional government of Fouad Saniora. Based on this new measure, American citizens are prohibited from commercial cooperation with the listed individuals.
"The United States' decision, which has been put into place because of the political and national stance taken up by Lebanon's opposition groups, is a source of pride for all those against US policy," read a statement issued by Hezbollah.
"This move unveils the true face of the United States, which claims to be democratic, and its shameful insult directed at freedom of speech, for nations worldwide," it added.
Hezbollah also called on active forces in the Arab and Muslim world to learn from this US act of dictatorship, which is neither the first nor the last count of U.S. interference in other countries' internal affairs.
The movement condemned Lebanon's ruling bloc for accepting US domination and said that the United States had offended the liberty and rights of nations by carrying out the move.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tue, 06 Nov 2007 17:37:55
Less than two weeks after President George W. Bush asked US lawmakers to renew his nation's 45-year economic embargo against the island, Cuban officials touted their 25th annual trade fair as proof that the policy has failed, The International Herald Tribune reported.
"For Cuba, this is a demonstration that the genocidal, economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States for nearly 50 years has failed to achieve its objective of isolating us from other countries," Foreign Trade Minister Raul de la Nuez said at the fair's opening ceremony.
Nearly 1,000 companies from 53 countries displayed products at the gathering, which runs in Havana until Saturday.
Cuba's top six trade partners are Venezuela, China, Spain, Canada, Italy and Brazil, which together account for 70 percent of commerce the island has with firms from 176 countries, de la Nuez said.
Foreign trade grew 12 percent in the first nine months of 2007 over the year-ago period, de la Nuez said. Cuba inked deals worth $432 million at last year's trade fair.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
|Published:||10.30.07, 13:51 / Israel News|
Tzipi Livni reiterated her calls for additional measures aimed at persuading Tehran to abandon its nuclear program, considered by Israel and the US a covert attempt to obtain atomic weapons. (AP)
US urges China to support sanctions
Mon, 05 Nov 2007 19:41:10
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates (L) stands with Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan
In his official visit on Monday, Gates held talks with Chinese Defense Minister General Cao Gangchuan.
Gates said Washington and Beijing agreed to pursue a resolution of the Iranian nuclear standoff through 'diplomatic means'.
"I stressed the importance of exerting continued economic pressure to persuade the Iranian government to make different choices," the Defense Secretary commented.
Since the ratification of new sanctions against Tehran last month, the White House has attempted to convince China and Russia to support the sanctions.
However, Moscow and Beijing insist on diplomacy, referring to UN nuclear watchdog's reports that there is 'no indication' that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
It can often to seem to rank-and-file Democrats as if the Republicans are still in charge of Congress: Nearly a year after their party picked up 31 House and six Senate seats, the war in Iraq still rages, with tens of thousands of more troops deployed now than then. This failure to force even a beginning to the end of the war accounts for the painfully poor poll standing of the Democratic-led Congress, with the party faithful even more restless and frustrated than independent voters.
But an appearance by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday hinted at one way Democratic leaders might find redemption with their base: By stopping the next war before it starts.
Asked by host George Stephanopoulos whether she agrees with a recent Senate decree that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a branch of the Iranian military, is a terrorist organization, Mrs. Pelosi replied that, “Whatever Iran’s impact is on our troops in Iraq should be dealt with in Iraq.”
Asked by Mr. Stephanopoulos to elaborate, she said: “It means deal with them militarily in the country that you’re engaged in. There’s never been a declaration by a Congress before in our history, before the Senate acted, that declared a piece of a country’s army to be a terrorist organization.”
Her answer was significant because many of the same forces that drummed up support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 have now turned their attention to Iran. They swear their endgame is not another war, but they speak of the Iranian “threat” in the same tone in which they once warned about Iraq.
If the U.S. doesn’t soon confront Iran, Joe Lieberman said recently, “they'll take that as a sign of weakness on our part and we will pay for it in Iraq and throughout the region and ultimately right here at home.”
Mr. Lieberman is one of the co-authors of the Senate amendment Mrs. Pelosi was asked about. The Kyl-Lieberman amendment, a non-binding statement of “the sense of the Senate,” urges President Bush to designate the IRG a terrorist organization. It passed on a 76-22 vote, with support from numerous Democrats including Hillary Clinton.
Even though it is non-binding, the measure’s opponents have voiced concern that it will be used by Iran hawks either to gin up fear of Iran among the general public or, worse, by the Bush administration to justify a unilateral attack on Iran without further Congressional approval. On “This Week,” Mrs. Pelosi vowed not to pursue in the House any legislation similar to similar to Kyl-Lieberman.
“It could be brought up (by someone else), but I’m not bringing it up,” she said. “It’s a Sense of the House. What is the point? This has never happened before, that a Congress should determine that one piece of somebody’s military is that. And if it is a threat to our troops in Iraq, and [Iran is] in Iraq, we should deal with them in Iraq.”
Asked about comments by Barack Obama—who was absent from the Senate when Kyl-Lieberman was voted on but who is now taking Mrs. Clinton to task for her vote—that the measure was “reckless” and opens the door to military action, Mrs. Pelosi stressed that Congress will be heard before any new wars are launched.
The amendment itself gives Mr. Bush no authority, she said, “because it’s a non-binding, in-one-house resolution. Creating an atmosphere of suspicion against Iran? Perhaps it could contribute to that. But of itself, it has no authority.”
“We don’t believe that any authorities that the President has would give him the ability to go in without an act of Congress,” she said. “Any President, if our country is attacked has very strong powers to go after that country. But short of that, he must go to the Congress.”
Mrs. Pelosi and her House Democrats have not been willing to try to cut off funds to end the war, and virtually all their attempts to affect the situation in Iraq by other methods has been thwarted by the White House and by its loyal Republican supporters in the House and Senate. But as maddening as this has been to anti-war Democratic voters, they’d be wise to consider how the Iran debate might now be playing out if the Republicans still led the House.
BACKGROUND : Joseph Lieberman, U.S. Senator
- Born: 24 February 1942
- Birthplace: Stamford, Connecticut
- Best Known As: U.S. Senator from Connecticut, 1988-
Name at birth: Joseph Isadore Lieberman
Joe Lieberman became the first-ever Jewish candidate on a major party ticket when Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore chose him as his running mate in 2000. Lieberman has been politically active for most of his adult life: he served in the Connecticut Senate from 1971-1980 and as the state's Attorney General from 1983-88. In 1988 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, narrowly defeating incumbent Republican Lowell Weicker. He was re-elected in 1994 and again in 2000 (when he ran for senator as well as for vice-president). Like Bill Clinton, Lieberman also served as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. Gore and Lieberman lost the disputed 2000 elections to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Lieberman then ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, but dropped out of the race after poor showings in early primaries. His support of George W. Bush's conduct of the occupation of Iraq cost him the anti-war vote, and in 2006 he lost to challenger Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for his Senate seat. Lieberman ran for re-election as an independent and defeated Lamont in the subsequent general election.
Lieberman graduated from Yale (1964) and Yale Law School (1967)... He married the former Hadassah Freilich Tucker in 1983; it was the second marriage for both. They have a daughter, Hana; Lieberman also has two children, Matthew and Rebecca, from his first marriage to Elizabeth Haas (1965-81), and Hadassah has a son, Ethan, from her first marriage... Lieberman did not serve in the military; he received an educational deferment while in school, then a family deferment (as a father) upon his law school graduation in 1967... Lieberman ran parallel campaigns for the U.S. Senate and the vice-presidency in 2000; though he and Gore lost, Lieberman was re-elected as Connecticut's senator.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Sat, 03 Nov 2007 18:05:54
President Pervez Musharraf
Pakistani military ruler President Pervez Musharraf, who awaited a Supreme Court decision that could have overturned his victory in an October 6 presidential election, declared a state of emergency on Saturday.
Dozens of police blocked the road in front of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad where judges were believed to be inside.
The state TV report gave no reason for the emergency but it follows weeks of speculation that he could take the step, amid rising political turmoil and militant violence.
The government blocked transmissions of private news channels in the capital and other cities.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the official result of the October presidential election, in which Musharraf won another five-year term, cannot be declared until it rules whether the vote was legal.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
The US cited Mr Alwan's bio-weapon claims in its war argument
The CBS show 60 Minutes identifies him as Iraqi defector Rafid Ahmed Alwan.
The programme says he arrived in a German refugee centre in 1999 where he lied to win asylum and was not the chemical expert he said he was.
His claims of mobile bio-weapons labs in Saddam Hussein's Iraq were backed until well after the 2003 invasion.
'Playing the system'
The CBS 60 Minutes programme airs on Sunday but material released on its web site says Curveball was "not only a liar, but also a thief and a poor student instead of the chemical engineering whiz he claimed to be".
It also says it assumes Mr Alwan is now living in Germany under a different name.
The programme says he claimed to be a star chemical engineer at a plant that made mobile biological weapons in Djerf al-Nadaf.
However, its investigation showed he received only low marks in chemical engineering at university and was the subject of an arrest warrant for alleged theft from a TV production company he worked for in Baghdad.
The programme also includes footage of his wedding in 1993 in the Iraqi capital.
It quotes former CIA senior official Tyler Drumheller as saying: "It was a guy trying to get his green card essentially, in Germany, and playing the system for what it was worth."
German intelligence agents warned the US in a letter that there was no way to verify Mr Alwan's claims.
However, his information was used in a speech by then Secretary of State Colin Powell at the UN to back military action in Iraq.
The 60 Minutes report says the information was passed on by then CIA director George Tenet, who denies ever seeing the German intelligence letter.
The programme says Mr Alwan's story unravelled once CIA agents finally confronted him with evidence contradicting his claims.
Back in November 2005, Col Lawrence Wilkerson, the chief of staff to Mr Powell, told the BBC's Carolyn Quinn he was aware the Germans had said that they had told the CIA of the unreliability.
"And then you begin to speculate, you begin to wonder was this intelligence spun; was it politicised; was it cherry-picked; did in fact the American people get fooled?," Col Wilkerson said.
A presidential intelligence commission into the matter found that Curveball was a liar and an alcoholic.
If you get reports from a fasik, double check it - Quaranic morality
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
The Metropolitan Police broke health and safety laws when they shot Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes on 22 July 2005, a jury decided.
The Met's commissioner Sir Ian Blair said he would not be standing down.
The Old Bailey jury said police chief Cressida Dick, who led the operation, bore "no personal culpability".
The force has been fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £385,000 in costs.
The unprecedented, highly controversial trial came after prosecutors said that no individual officer could be held responsible for the electrician's death.
Instead, they said the force, represented by the Met Commissioner's Office, should be tried for failing to protect the public from the risks posed by a suspected suicide bomber on the loose.
The Met vehemently denied the allegation during the trial, saying that there was no case for it to answer.
In a statement, Len Duvall, chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), said policing in London was "a tough business".
"We ask the police to do a difficult job on our behalf and sometimes they make mistakes," Mr Duvall said.
The MPA said it fully supported Sir Ian and would continue to work with him.
But the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have called for the commissioner to resign.
Nick Clegg, Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, said: "This guilty verdict makes it unavoidable that Ian Blair should take responsibility on behalf of his whole organisation and resign."
During the trial, Clare Montgomery QC, prosecuting, told the jury that Scotland Yard commanders had made a string of errors on 22 July that culminated in an unwarranted risk to the public and ultimately the death of Mr de Menezes.
Sir Ian had warned before the trial began that a guilty verdict would have profound effects on policing.
He said officers would be left in a difficult position of not being able to use their judgement in emergency situations, out of fear of breaking the law.
After the verdict was delivered, Mr Justice Henriques said: "This was very much an isolated breach brought about by quite extraordinary circumstances.
"One person died and many others were placed in potential danger."
In deciding on a penalty, the judge said he was aware that a heavy fine would result in a loss to the public purse and a reduction in essential policing.
The operation began when detectives investigating the failed suicide bombings of the previous day linked one of the suspects, Hussain Osman, to a block of flats in south London.
Mr de Menezes also lived in the block, and when he left home at 0930 BST, surveillance officers were unsure if he was their target.
Ms Montgomery told the court the situation had worsened because senior officers failed to keep to their own agreed plan, while firearms teams were both poorly briefed and in the wrong locations.
This meant that it became impossible to effectively stop the suspected suicide bomber before he boarded a bus and headed for the underground system.
The Met denied this, saying its commanders and officers on the ground did all they could to apprehend the bombers and minimise the risks to the public.
The trial and investigation is estimated to have cost around £3.5 million in public money.
Published: 2007/11/01 15:28:32 GMT
© BBC MMVII