Wednesday, June 29, 2011

US cost of wars since 9/11 will exceed US cost of WWII

Insane: "The total cost to America of its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the related military operations in Pakistan, is set to exceed $4 trillion – more than three times the sum so far authorised by Congress in the decade since the 9/11 attacks.

...If the Brown study is correct, the wars that flowed from 9/11 will not only have been the longest in US history. At $4 trillion and counting, their combined cost is approaching that of the Second World War, put at some $4.1 trillion in today's prices by the Congressional Budget Office."

But will the Taliban stop killing 8 year old girls if the US leaves?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

40 killed in bombings targeting Baghdadi Shia

LAT: At least 40 Iraqis killed in blasts in Baghdad

"Bombs target two Shiite neighborhoods of the Iraqi capital, with three explosions at an outdoor market, near a Shiite mosque, and a car bombing at another market."

Also: "Stephen Everhart was brought to Iraq by the U.S. Agency for International Development to assist the University of Baghdad's business college in qualifying for international accreditation.

He was killed Thursday outside the gates of the university when a powerful bomb commonly used by Shiite Muslim militias detonated."

I find it strange and sad that while Sunni militant extremists target Shia civilians, Shia militant extremists target Americans who want to help Iraqis prosper.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Peace and Prosperity, NOT War and Austerity"

says Van Jones, on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Current TV. I like Van Jones! I'm glad to see Keith Olbermann back on TV, and I'm glad I found a new very cool channel! Now they just need to make their broadcasts available online.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Warning

One American woman warned the US government about the toxic assets that were poisoning the economy, but she was ignored. Thanks Kristi for posting on fb!

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

Saudi women drive

in Riyadh! Maha drove a Hummer with her face covered: "Reporting from Beirut— She got her driver's license in Indiana. She likes to drive fast.

And on Friday, Maha Qahtani, 39, in a face-covering niqab, raced through the streets of Riyadh in her family's blue Hummer H3, defying Saudi Arabia's religion-inspired bans on female motorists.

In all, nearly three dozen Saudi women got behind the wheels of various vehicles Friday, human rights activists said, in what was billed on social networking websites as a day of defiance against the ultra-conservative kingdom's longstanding driving decrees."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

U.S. Puts Ally Bahrain on List With Human Rights Violators Iran, Syria

Bloomberg: 'The United States has put Bahrain, a Persian Gulf ally, in the company of Iran, North Korea, Syria and Zimbabwe on its list of human rights violators to be scrutinized by the UN Human Rights Council.

“The Bahraini government has arbitrarily detained workers and others perceived as opponents,” U.S. Ambassador Eileen Donohoe said in a statement to the council yesterday in Geneva. “The United States is deeply concerned about violent repression of the fundamental freedoms of association, expression, religion and speech of their citizens.”

Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has tried to crush protests that have wracked the country since February, as the Shiite majority population has agitated for the Sunni Muslim monarchy to allow greater economic opportunities and freedoms.'

Pakistan arrests CIA informants who led to killing of Usama bin Laden

More proof that the Pakistani government is not on America's side in the fight against Al Qaeda. As if we needed more proof.

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Why would you get a gun?

"To prepare for tough times" says Glenn Beck, as he points to a photo of President Obama. That really is some serious psycho talk, as Ed Schultz noted on his show tonight:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I don't take this man seriously. He is like Sarah Palin: irrelevant, but still fun to laugh at.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Iran's abuses must stop

Alex Fattal, via "Free the Hikers" on fb: Last week, our families published information that has been gnawing away at us for many months: my brother Josh and his friend Shane Bauer have been beaten while in Evin Prison in Iran and feared that they would be executed shortly after their arrest nearly 23 months ago. Shane and Josh have endured long stretches of solitary confinement, no access to their lawyer, and almost no contact with their families during their 682 days in jail. As if all that were not punishment enough for crimes they never committed, they world now knows that Shane and Josh have suffered physical abuse and psychological torture as well."

Yusuf Islam urges release of American hikers

Meghan Daum wrote an excellent article in the LAT: 'The story of Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd, the American hikers who in July 2009 crossed the border — inadvertently, all evidence suggests — from Iraqi Kurdistan into Iran and were imprisoned for espionage, is back in the headlines. Shourd, who was released in September on humanitarian grounds and after paying $500,000 in bail, has been promoting a "rolling hunger strike" to remind us that Bauer and Fattal remain in Tehran's Evin Prison without a trial date or access to their lawyer.

A website set up to tell the hikers' story includes testimonies by President Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as a video from Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) urging Bauer's and Fattal's release. A Facebook community dedicated to their plight has 27,000 members advocating their freedom.

But to read just about anything else online about the case is also to encounter a strikingly different sentiment, in the form of indignant bloggers and commenters characterizing the hikers as "morons," "idiots" and "self-indulgent wackos" who have no one but themselves to blame for their imprisonment in Tehran. So vehement is this disapproval that it lends itself to its own coinage and category. Call it "hiker hate." It may represent a minority opinion (nutty comments usually do), but it sure doesn't seem like it.'

I found and liked the "Free the Hikers" facebook page after reading the article.

PS: I missed this last month: "Muhammad Ali Joins Families Urging Release of Jailed US Hikers in Iran"

American conservatives love socialism

because it pays so well! Check out Lawrence O'Donnell's "rewrite" for tonight:

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Syrian Muslim Brotherhood allied with Saudi?

Interesting post by the Angry Arab: "Saudi media clearly are taking the script from Israeli propaganda. Media of Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and of the Saudi state are now repeating a story that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guards and of Hizbullah are participating in shooting at protesters in Syria. Now why? Why would the Syrian Army need help from Hizbullah? I mean, is there a shortage of people in the Syrian security services who are willing to shoot at people? What would a handful of Iranians or Hizbullah fighters (trained to fight Israel) bring into the repression festival in Syria? This is very much a typical Mossad lie. Did you forget that the liars of the Mossad claimed in 2006 that they found the bodies of 3 Iranian revolutionary guards but then they failed to produce the bodies? We are used to Israeli lies. The Syrian Muslim Brothers is a tool of not only Saudi Arabia, but of Israel too. Make no mistake about it."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Woman sentenced to year in jail for reciting poem

"A 20-year-old woman who recited poems critical of Bahrain’s rulers — and later claimed she was beaten in jail — was sentenced Sunday to a year in prison as part of the kingdom’s crackdown on Shiite protesters calling for greater rights."

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Bahrainis are educated, refuse to accept despotism

Nicholas Kristof to King Hamad: Release My Friend! "Among those whom you’re imprisoning in Bahrain is a friend of mine. He is an artist, one of the most gentle souls alive, and my deepest fear is that your government may be brutalizing him because of his friendship with me.

Your Majesty, I’m speaking of Hassan al-Sahaf. Now 57, he studied in Britain and then in Los Angeles, Boston and in Oregon, where my mother taught art history — and Hassan became one of my mother’s all-time favorite students. That was 30 years ago, but we have remained in touch ever since.

King Hamad, you present the crackdown on the democracy movement as an effort to restore order. But Hassan is not some teenage firebrand hurling rocks; he’s a slight, graying scholar committed to peace. That’s the pattern: So many of the people in your jails are doctors and intellectuals whose only offense is to dream of democracy.

Hassan told me that his time in America changed him: Once you get used to living in freedom, he explained, it’s hard to give it up. One of your burdens, Your Majesty, is that you educated so many of your people abroad that they no longer accept your despotism."

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

4 protest organizers released from Baghdad jail

'Four protest organizers who were detained at Baghdad's Tahrir Square on May 27 have been released, activists and members of human rights organizations told CNN.

Activists said a court judge released Jihad Jalil, Ali al-Jaf, Mouyed Faisal and Ahmed Al-Baghdadi on bail Tuesday.

Iraq had previously denied it arrested protest organizers, saying in a statement posted on the Baghdad Operations Command website that the four men were detained for carrying fraudulent identity papers.

The Baghdad command accused the media of making up the story, calling on Iraqis "not to be enticed by the irresponsible media, which aims to create chaos and destabilize security and stability."

But Saturday the Baghdad Operations Command said in a later statement that the four would be released on bail by the judicial authorities.

"They have all the right to demonstrate in accordance with the law and without any conditions," the statement said.'

As F1 returns to Bahrain, footballers languish in jail

CNN: 'The 28-year-old striker had been instrumental in Bahrain's greatest footballing achievement, reaching the semi-finals of the 2004 Asian Cup, where he finished joint top scorer.

His goals also helped Bahrain reach two World Cup qualifying play-offs, failing to reach Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010 by just a single goal on both occasions. Remarkable achievements for a country with fewer than a million citizens.

But heroes are made or broken on slim margins.

In February Hubail ceased to be a national hero to some in Bahrain after he, his brother Mohamed and fellow national team regular Sayed Mohamed Adnan -- who was nominated for the 2009 Asian Player of The Year award -- were arrested following violent February protests that nearly brought down Bahrain's Al Khalifa royal family.

All three were sacked from their club sides and effectively banned form playing on the national team.

The authorities say they were part of illegal, violent protests; international and local human rights groups say that the players, along with more than 150 sportsmen, women and administrators, were being punished for protesting peacefully against the government.

"The violence and abuse is so huge. We have too much work. We can't cope here. A lot of doctors, a lot of people have been targeted, soccer players, basketball players, handball players, teachers, unionists," said Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahraini Center for Human Rights.'

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Ahmed Chalabi wants US troops to leave Iraq

"Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi politician who played a key role in persuading the administration of President George W. Bush to invade Iraq and overthrow dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, said Tuesday that it's time for U.S. forces to go home."

Read more:

Most Egyptians don't want theocracy

"Four months after the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a new Gallup survey says a majority of Egyptians want religious leaders to advise the nation's officials but they do not want a theocracy. About seven in 10 Egyptians said clerics should advise national leaders on legislation. In comparison, 14 percent said religious leaders should have full authority in creating laws and 9 percent said they should have no authority. The findings, announced Tuesday (June 7), come from the United Arab Emirates-based Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, which monitors attitudes of Muslims worldwide."

Friday, June 03, 2011

Bashar al Assad has no more legitimacy

NYT: 'Syria’s military forces continued pressing to crush a three-month-old popular uprising on Thursday, shelling a string of southern and central towns even as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned President Bashar al-Assad that his legitimacy had “nearly run out.'

4 Iraqi protest leaders remain in jail

"Iraqi security forces arrested more than a dozen activists here over the past week in a sweep that rights groups called a pre-emptive strike to prevent a flickering reform movement from springing back to life.

...By Thursday, security forces had released most of those detained, according to an Iraqi human rights activist, who said that four remained in jail.

The Baghdad Operations Command, the capital security force controlled by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, denied it had arrested anyone for demonstrating. In a statement on its Web site, the force said the four men still being detained had been arrested for carrying fake identification cards, an allegation their family members dismissed as ludicrous."