The Iraq Special Operations Forces (ISOF) is probably the largest special forces outfit ever built by the United States, and it is free of many of the controls that most governments employ to rein in such lethal forces. The project started in the deserts of Jordan just after the Americans took Baghdad in April 2003. There, the US Army's Special Forces, or Green Berets, trained mostly 18-year-old Iraqis with no prior military experience. The resulting brigade was a Green Beret's dream come true: a deadly, elite, covert unit, fully fitted with American equipment, that would operate for years under US command and be unaccountable to Iraqi ministries and the normal political process.
Contractor employees outnumber U.S. troops in the region. While contractors provide vital services, the Commission believes their use has also entailed billions of dollars lost to waste, fraud, and abuse due to inadequate planning, poor contract drafting, limited competition, understaffed oversight functions, and other problems.
A new report from the Department of the Interior says that Bush administration officials did not follow longstanding practices when they auctioned off 77 parcels of Utah land for oil and gas drilling while keeping the National Park Service in the dark about potential drilling near park land.
The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC) has released a report confirming that Israel is practicing both colonialism and apartheid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
The HSRC commissioned an international team of scholars and practitioners of international public law from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Israel and the West Bank to conduct this study. The resulting 300-page report, titled "Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?: A re-assessment of Israel's practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law," represents 15 months of research and constitutes an exhaustive review of Israel's practices in the OPT according to definitions of colonialism and apartheid provided by international law. The project was suggested originally by the January 2007 report by eminent South African jurist John Dugard, in his capacity as Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council, when he indicated that Israeli practices had assumed characteristics of colonialism and apartheid.
If anyone wanted to know my take on the Pentagon, they could find it in "Thinking about 'Conspiracy Theories': 9/11 and JFK", where the reasons why I believe no 757 hit the Pentagon but a smaller plane, such as an A-3 Skywarrior, apparently did. My purpose here is not to defend that hypothesis, however, but to explain how we know what didn't happen at the Pentagon and to refute the unfounded criticisms that Eastman has published here.
The most lucrative job in Washington these days just might be health care lobbyist -- as prominent interest groups announce plans to pour millions of dollars into fighting over President Obama's efforts to create a universal health care system.
The White House has sought to curtail the role of lobbyists, but the heated public debate over Obama's health plan has made them very much a part of the legislative process.
Study: Dioxin pollution may explain why as many as 6 million women can't breast-feed their babies. Learn how to avoid dioxins in your diet.
The health benefits of breast-feeding are many -- everything from lower obesity rates to lower rates of asthma have been attributed to breast-feeding and other good nutritional habits early in life. For mothers, breast-feeding can actually lower the risk of heart disease, according to one recent study.
Today is the third anniversary of the deaths in Guantánamo of three prisoners, Ali al-Salami, Mani al-Utaybi and Yasser al-Zahrani. The anniversary comes just two weeks after the second anniversary of the death of Abdul Rahman al-Amri, the fourth prisoner to die in mysterious circumstances, and just eight days after the death of a fifth prisoner, Muhammad Salih. The authorities maintain that the men died by committing suicide, although doubts about this explanation have repeatedly been voiced by former prisoners. However, it is also significant that all five men were long-term hunger strikers.
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