Samir, a 35-year-old Gazan journalist, maintains a calm tone in our daily phone calls. He usually even offers a joke at the expense of some Palestinian politician. But on Saturday he sounded agitated. "Have you all gone mad? What happened to you," he asked. "It's one thing if you only hit gunmen. But look at the pictures - they're all children, women. What is this madness? You have turned insanity into an art form."
The Bush administration is blocking an inquiry into the delay-plagued construction of the $736m US embassy in Baghdad, a senior Democrat in Congress said today.
Henry Waxman, who is chairman of the oversight committee in the House of Representatives, asked US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice today to explain why her department certified the embassy as "substantially completed" in December despite inspections that reveal continued deficiencies in the facility's water, fire alarm and kitchen systems.
But the project stalled amid ballooning cost estimates as well as charges of corruption and shoddy work by the private contracting company overseeing the project.
In addition, two US state department employees who worked on the embassy project are now under criminal investigation.
The more vulgar apologists for US and Israeli crimes solemnly explain that, while Arabs purposely kill people, the US and Israel, being democratic societies, do not intend to do so. Their killings are just accidental ones, hence not at the level of moral depravity of their adversaries. That was, for example, the stand of Israel's High Court when it recently authorized severe collective punishment of the people of Gaza by depriving them of electricity (hence water, sewage disposal and other such basics of civilized life).
The same line of defense is common with regard to some of Washington's past peccadilloes, like the destruction in 1998 of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The attack apparently led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, but without intent to kill them, hence not a crime on the order of intentional killing - so we are instructed by moralists who consistently suppress the response that had already been given to these vulgar efforts at self-justification.
To repeat once again, we can distinguish three categories of crimes: murder with intent, accidental killing, and murder with foreknowledge but without specific intent. Israeli and U.S. atrocities typically fall into the third category.
A former SAS soldier was served with a high court order yesterday preventing him from making fresh disclosures about how hundreds of Iraqis and Afghans captured by British and American special forces were rendered to prisons where they faced torture.
Ben Griffin could be jailed if he makes further disclosures about how people seized by special forces were allegedly mistreated and ended up in secret prisons in breach of the Geneva conventions and international law. Griffin, 29, left the British army in 2005 after three months in Baghdad, saying he disagreed with the "illegal" tactics of US troops.
TVNL Comment: Could be jailed for telling the truth. Could be jailed for exposing the crimes of a government. Is this justice?
Jewish settler groups are digging an extensive tunnel network under Muslim areas of Jerusalem's Old City while building a ring of settlements around it to bolster their claim to the disputed city in any future peace deal, anti-settlement campaigners have told The Times.
One group, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, said that settler tunnels could one day extend under the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest site, and claimed that extremists could use the access route to attack the structure in an attempt to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. Settler groups flatly deny such allegations.
TVNL Comment: If Muslims had done this tunnel how do you think the US media would cover it? How do you think FOX News would cover it? As it is the US broadcast media is not covering it at all!
The Bush administration on Friday formally rejected California's bid for a waiver from U.S. law to set its own tailpipe emissions standard to reduce global warming.
The Environmental Protection Agency released a regulatory notice signed by Administrator Stephen Johnson, canceling California's plans to impose a state law that would have forced automakers to reduce emissions by making cars that achieve sharply higher gas mileage beginning next year.
The decision also affects 18 other states that wanted to adopt the measure.
TVNL Comment: The Bush administration is clearly the enemy of the people and of the planet. They are simply the business agents and principles of the oil & military industries. They are our enemy and we, the people, should fight them with no holds barred!
We note now and then in these very pages mention that a journalist has dared ask about some such subject as the deportation of ‘the dancing Israelis’, or of Dov Zakheim’s implication in ‘the 2.3 trillion missing from the Pentagon defense funds’, only to have been told that such questions are ‘forbidden’, otherwise meeting a persistent hail of flak, which only indicates the same thing and amounts to the same answer.
But ‘forbidden’, are they now? ‘Forbidden’, eh? Ultimately by whom?
THE Iraq war has cost the US 50-60 times more than the Bush administration predicted and was a central cause of the sub-prime banking crisis threatening the world economy, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at about $US500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen.
The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit.
"The regulators were looking the other way and money was being lent to anybody this side of a life-support system," he said.
That led to a housing bubble and a consumption boom, and the fallout was plunging the US economy into recession and saddling the next US president with the biggest budget deficit in history, he said.
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