Archive for February, 2005

Iraq Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 115

Monday, February 28th, 2005

HILLAH, Iraq (AP) – A suicide car bomber blasted a crowd of police and national guard recruits Monday as they gathered for physicals outside a medical clinic south of Baghdad, killing at least 115 people and wounding 132 – the single deadliest attack in the two-year insurgency.

Torn limbs and other body parts littered the street outside the clinic in Hillah, a predominantly Shiite area about 60 miles south of Baghdad.

Monday’s blast outside the clinic was so powerful it nearly vaporized the suicide bomber’s car, leaving only its engine partially intact. The injured were piled into pickup trucks and ambulances and taken to nearby hospitals.

The deadliest previous single attack occurred Aug. 29, 2003, when a car bomb exploded outside a mosque in Najaf, killing more than 85 people, including Shiite leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim. Although officials never gave a final death toll, there were suspicions it may have been higher.
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Censorship and the Empire: Dieudonne and the Uses of “Anti-Semitism”

Monday, February 28th, 2005

by Diana Johnstone
When power becomes blatantly criminal, it’s time to make people shut up. That time seems to have come throughout the Empire. Freedom of speech is increasingly threatened, both in the United States and in “old Europe”, although the attacks come from quite different angles.

In the United States, the assault is clearly led by far right fanatics such as David Horowitz, who is inciting students to denounce professors who dare try to teach them something they didn’t think they already knew. The purpose is clearly to ban criticism of United States war policy.

In old Europe, the assault is more subtle and probably less lucid in its aims. It is led n part by people who consider themselves on the left and who seem blissfully unaware of the danger of limiting freedom of speech.

In Germany, it has long been illegal to deny that the Holocaust took place: the offense called “the Auschwitz lie” can be punished by up to three years in prison. German television insists relentlessly on Hitler and his crimes, as if he were still lurking in the wings. This has done nothing to prevent the rise of neo-Nazi groups. It may even have helped them grow, in accordance with the phenomenon, demonstrated in the Soviet zone, that establishing “official truth”-even if true-can be the best way to make many people believe the contrary. But more than that, the far right in Germany seems to be gaining ground as a result of widespread disillusion, especially in Eastern Germany, with the neoliberal economic policies that were supposed to bring prosperity but instead have brought growing unemployment and poverty.

In any case, the center left government of Social Democrats and Greens has undertaken to react to rightist demonstrations by broadening the law against “Volksverhetzung”-a concept that can be translated as “incitement of the masses” or “poisoning of the minds of the people”. In the future, it should not be enough to prosecute persons who “approve, justify, deny or play down genocide of Jews and gypsies” in a way apt to “disturb public peace” (a vague notion). The new law would make it equally criminal to speak in any of those ways about any case of “genocide” condemned by any international court whose jurisdiction has been recognized by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Now, judicial history is marked by famously unjust verdicts reversed after long struggles to right the wrong. But the German law could make it a crime to challenge the International Tribunal on Former Yugoslavia, set up by NATO powers to control and manipulate political conflict in the Balkans, when it officially convicts Serbs for “genocide”. Anyone who points out that the Tribunal’s definition of “genocide” has been contrived for political purposes, and that its procedures are blatantly prejudiced, might risk being arrested.
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Cage for beast Saddam

Monday, February 28th, 2005

SADDAM Hussein will be forced to sit in a Hannibal Lecter-style cage during his trial.

Top-secret photos of the Baghdad courtroom being built in readiness for the deposed Iraqi dictator’s impending day of judgment are in The Sun today.

The centrepiece will be the reinforced metal cage, similar to the one used to house cannibal Lecter — played by Sir Anthony Hopkins in 1991 movie Silence of the Lambs.
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Officials: Bin Laden Urges Zarqawi to Hit U.S.

Monday, February 28th, 2005

WASHINGTON — Recent communications between Usama bin Laden (search) and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search) indicate that bin Laden has “encouraged Zarqawi and his group to focus on attacks inside the United States,” multiple U.S. officials told FOX News on Monday.

The sources would not get into detail about how the communication was made or how it was intercepted by the United States. They also said that there is nothing specific in the message, such as maps or references to particular cities or buildings. Rather, the communication simply encourages a “focus” on attacks inside U.S. borders, sources said.

The Homeland Security Department issued a classified bulletin to officials over the weekend about the intelligence, which spokesman Brian Roehrkasse described as “credible but not specific.” The intelligence was obtained over the past several weeks, officials said.

Yeah right and then they got Elvis and Hitler on the phone–from Mars

Lebanese ministers forced to quit

Monday, February 28th, 2005

Tens of thousands of people waved Lebanese flags and demanded that Syria remove its troops from the country.

Prime Minister Omar Karami announced the resignation two weeks after the murder of his predecessor Rafik Hariri.

The US hailed it as an “opportunity” for Lebanon, calling for fair elections free of Syrian influence.
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Syria hands over Saddam’s adviser
The Syrian government, under intense pressure from the US and others in the international community, made its first significant concession yesterday by handing over to the interim Iraqi government Saddam Hussein’s half-brother and former head of the Iraqi secret police, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan al-Tikriti.

Iraqi officials said the move was an apparent gesture of goodwill on the part of the Syrian president, Bashar Assad.
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Federal Judge Orders ‘Enemy Combatant’ Jose Padilla Charged Or Released

Monday, February 28th, 2005

A federal judge in Spartanburg has ordered that an American citizen held as an enemy combatant in a Navy brig in Charleston should be released.

U.S. District Judge Henry F. Floyd ruled Monday that the president of the United States does not have the authority to order Jose Padilla to be held.

“If the law in its current state is found by the president to be insufficient to protect this country from terrorist plots, such as the one alleged here, then the president should prevail upon Congress to remedy the problem,” he wrote.

In the ruling, Floyd said that three court cases that the government used to make its claim did not sufficiently apply to Padilla’s case.

Floyd wrote that, in essence, “the detention of a United States citizen by the military is disallowed without explicit Congressional authorization.”
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Kurds name their price for putting Shia party in power

Friday, February 25th, 2005

The Kurds are to stick to their demand for the oil city of Kirkuk and a degree of autonomy which is close to independence as negotiations begin to form the next Iraqi government. The coalition of Shia parties, the United Iraqi Alliance, has 140 seats in the 275-member National Assembly but despite its electoral triumph other parties are waiting to see if it will hold together. The coalition was cobbled together out of disparate groups under the influence of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

“The coalition is not as strong as we thought – with all of the weight of Sistani, it didn’t get an absolute majority,” said a Kurdish politician who asked not to be named. Nevertheless Iraqi Shias, 60 per cent of the population but never previously in power, feel that their moment has come.

The Kurds are in a strong position to press their demands because they have 75 seats. In the past they were always the core of the opposition to Saddam Hussein and their leaders have far more political and administrative experience than returning Shia exiles. The Kurds are the only people to support the US occupation.
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Arms deal raises fears of coup if Mugabe loses vote

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Zimbabwe has received a large consignment of arms from China and recalled all reservists ahead of a general election on 31 March, prompting fears that the army is planning to stage a coup in the event of a poll defeat for President Robert Mugabe.

The shipment, moved in secret via the port of Beira in Mozambique, includes heavy assault rifles, military vehicles called Dongfengs, riot equipment and teargas. Defence sources said the materiel would ensure the army is well equipped in case Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party loses the ballot and needs military help to hold on to power.
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Condoleezza Rice’s Commanding Clothes

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield on Wednesday dressed all in black. She was wearing a black skirt that hit just above the knee, and it was topped with a black coat that fell to mid-calf. The coat, with its seven gold buttons running down the front and its band collar, called to mind a Marine’s dress uniform or the “save humanity” ensemble worn by Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix.”

As Rice walked out to greet the troops, the coat blew open in a rather swashbuckling way to reveal the top of a pair of knee-high boots. The boots had a high, slender heel that is not particularly practical. But it is a popular silhouette because it tends to elongate and flatter the leg. In short, the boots are sexy.

Rice boldly eschewed the typical fare chosen by powerful American women on the world stage. She was not wearing a bland suit with a loose-fitting skirt and short boxy jacket with a pair of sensible pumps. She did not cloak her power in photogenic hues, a feminine brooch and a non-threatening aesthetic. Rice looked as though she was prepared to talk tough, knock heads and do a freeze-frame “Matrix” jump kick if necessary. Who wouldn’t give her ensemble a double take — all the while hoping not to rub her the wrong way?

Rice’s coat and boots speak of sex and power — such a volatile combination, and one that in political circles rarely leads to anything but scandal. When looking at the image of Rice in Wiesbaden, the mind searches for ways to put it all into context. It turns to fiction, to caricature. To shadowy daydreams. Dominatrix! It is as though sex and power can only co-exist in a fantasy. When a woman combines them in the real world, stubborn stereotypes have her power devolving into a form that is purely sexual.

White man’s fantasy for sure: a black female apologist for the culmination of centuries of white male domination. It’s hard to unravel the levels of racist sickness this article reflects. Not a word about her skin-color, but it screams from every line.

US terror suspect ‘was tortured by Saudis’

Friday, February 25th, 2005

An American citizen allegedly tortured in a Saudi jail was charged yesterday with conspiring to assassinate President George Bush and of being linked to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida terrorist organisation.

In a six-count indictment, made public as Ahmed Omar Abu Ali made his first appearance in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, the 23-year-old from Washington is said to have discussed the plans to kill Mr Bush with an unidentified co-conspirator in 2001, when he was living in Saudi Arabia. Federal prosecutors say he was a member of an al-Qa’ida cell.

He is accused of discussing two possible plots – one in which Mr Abu Ali would “get close enough to the President to shoot him on the street” and the other involved a car-bomb Mr Abu Ali would detonate.

The prisoner did not enter a plea yesterday. But his family claims US authorities put pressure on Saudi security services to arrest him there in June 2003, so he could be tortured for information. Through his lawyer, Mr Abu Ali offered to show the judge his scars. “My client was tortured,” Ashraf Nubani told the court. “He has the evidence on his back. He was whipped. He was handcuffed for days at a time.”