Recent Entries in Politics

(... at least Voice of America found this newsworthy)

Independent investigators said Wednesday they have found no evidence that Saddam Hussein cooperated with al-Qaida terrorists to target the United States. The conclusion came in a report released by the independent commission probing the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The bipartisan, independent commission investigating the 9/11 attacks said Osama bin Laden met with an Iraqi intelligence official in Sudan in 1994.

But the commission report released Wednesday cast fresh doubt on the alleged links between al-Qaida and Iraq prior to the 2001 terrorist attacks.

(... although CNN has listed this only as a sub topic of the original article. I suppose it wasn't very important to hear that Cheney is fibbing)

The panel said it found "no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

The report contradicts statements from the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda.

In response, a senior administration official traveling with President Bush in Tampa, Florida, said, "We stand by what Powell and Tenet have said," referring to previous statements by Secretary of State Colin Powell and CIA Director George Tenet that described such links.

Bush and Vice President Cheney have made comments in recent days alleging such ties.

Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that Saddam Hussein had "long-established ties" with al Qaeda, an assertion that has been repeatedly challenged by some policy experts and lawmakers.

The vice president offered no details backing up his claim of a link between Saddam and al Qaida.


The State Department said last week it was wrong in stating that terrorism declined worldwide last year in a report that the Bush administration initially cited as evidence it was succeeding against terrorism, Graham noted. Both the number of incidents and the toll in victims increased sharply, the department acknowledged.

A lawyer was sentenced Wednesday to more than three years in federal prison for smuggling thousands of fine Cuban cigars into this country and selling them for a fat profit.

Richard "Mick" Connors, 54, was also fined $60,000 and placed on three years' probation.

U.S. District Judge Ronald A. Guzman ordered Connors taken into custody immediately, despite a request that he be allowed to attend his daughter's wedding later this month. The judge said the former public defender is too familiar with ways to flee the country.

Iraq will need foreign troops to fight insurgents even after a U.S.-led occupation formally ends in the three weeks required by a U.N. resolution adopted unanimously overnight, Iraq's interim prime minister says.

"The sovereignty is going to be total, is going to be complete," Iyad Allawi told Fox News in an interview to be aired on Wednesday. "We ask in fact and we want the...multinational forces to help us to face the security threats until such a time that we are able to build our own security and move ahead."

The United States and Britain, whose invasion toppled Saddam Hussein 14 months ago, hailed the passage of the resolution that endorses a "sovereign interim government" in Iraq and mandates a U.S.-led multinational force to keep the peace.

Compromises offered by Washington and London, at French and German insistence, over how much control Iraqis will have over U.S.-led forces helped overcome council divisions, but few expect the resolution to calm daily violence in Iraq soon.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has told Cabinet colleagues that any open disagreement with the US over Iraq risked damaging troops' morale.

The point was also underlined by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, said Mr Blair's official spokesman.

He said their comments came during a brief Cabinet discussion about progress towards the handover of sovereignty in Iraq on June 30.

Mr Blair's remarks came after Tory leader Michael Howard urged him to be more open about any disagreements with America.

Mr Howard said that he and his party had supported war to topple dictator Saddam Hussein and still believed it was "the right thing to do". Mr Blair was right to say that Britain must "see it through".

But he complained of a "serious lack of candour" about Mr Blair's discussions with President George Bush.

"He seems to take the view that any advice he offers on US policy must be made in private and any disagreement kept secret," wrote the Tory leader in The Independent.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Another disc with 24 photographs depicting "apparent abusive acts by U.S. forces" has surfaced in the investigation of mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at a U.S.-run prison near Baghdad, the Pentagon says.

Thirteen of the photographs appeared to be images already seen in the international media, but 11 have not been identified in previous investigations, according to a Pentagon letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"They may not be original or true photographs," Powell Moore, assistant defence secretary for legislative affairs, wrote to the committee.

He said they were given to the Criminal Investigation Command in Baghdad "under circumstances that warranted investigation, including forensic computer evaluation."


The US soldier guilty of abusing Iraqi captives has been given the harshest possible punishment by a court martial.The first hearing into the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison saw specialist Jeremy Sivits receive a one year's jail, reduction in rank and bad conduct discharge.Choking with emotion, military policeman Jeremy Sivits had claimed he had been told intelligence officers told soldiers to carry out the abuse.

His testimony has lifted the lid on abuse at the facility, with Sivits, 24, naming colleagues who had carried out the acts.

He said: "They said they were told by military intelligence for them to keep doing what they were doing to the inmates because it was working - they were talking."

Sivits admitted knowing the torture was wrong but followed suit anyway.

Michael Moore is back in Cannes, this time with anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11, and he's even angrier than when previously here with 2002's Bowling for Columbine.

This latest film shows shocking footage of abuse similar to the photos that recently came to light. American soldiers put bags over the heads of Iraqis and ridicule them while posing for photos alongside them.

Moore claims that the American media have covered up such images. He's incredulous at how easy it was for his team to get footage of Iraqis being mistreated.

"With our limited resources you have to ask why the American media, there every day, many networks with millions of dollars invested in this, haven't shown that," he says.

Iraqi detainees were forced to crawl through broken glass and wear women's sanitary products, according to the female American soldier who has become the face of the prisoner abuse scandal.

Private Lynndie England also reportedly told investigators that inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison were beaten and had their wounds stitched by untrained guards using a needle and thread.

In a statement to investigators, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, she said "everyone in the company from the commander down" knew what was going on.

Private England's image has been seen around the world. In some photographs of the prisoner abuse she points to naked Iraqis; in another she is holding a naked inmate by a leash.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court's now famous Betamax decision. On January 17, 1984, the Court ruled that Sony's Betamax VCR was perfectly legal.

The majority opinion, written by Justice John Paul Stevens, said that although you could, in theory, use the device to record copyrighted television shows and movies and then sell them for profit, most consumers merely used their VCRs for "time-shifting," recording their favorite shows for viewing at a later time. Americans, the court decided, should be allowed this sort of "fair use."

Yet, as we celebrate this anniversary, we don't enjoy the same freedoms with television shows and movies purchased on DVD. It's illegal to make copies of any DVD.even if you're just making backup copies for your own personal use. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a law passed in 1998, prohibits anyone from circumventing "copyright protection systems" used by digital media, and today, all DVDs are equipped with such protection.,1759,1594064,00.asp

Two Britons released from Guantanamo Bay have written to US President George Bush detailing tortures which they allege were inflicted upon them.Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal detailed a string of abuses which they claim were inflicted upon them by US interrogators at the Cuban base.The pair, from Tipton in the West Midlands, detailed allegations bear strong similarities to the allegations now being levelled at US personnel in Iraq.

The men's lawyer, Barbara Olshansky, said: "Really what they are trying to do is to make sure that it is clear to the world that what happened to them didn't happen in a vacuum and this is very much part of the policy of the American military in handling all these various situations around the world.

"They were very clear that they were shackled for hours on end, and made to stand in stressed positions when being questioned by the military interrogators.

"They were subjected to threatening dogs, freezing cold temperatures, being made to stand naked, the same type of humiliation and stress techniques that were used in Iraq.

"I think that they are quite clear that this was the policy in place at Guantanamo Bay.

"They have made clear from the outset that, right from the moment of their arrival, they were subjected to these types of interrogation and intimidation methods."

ABU GHRAIB, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has visited Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, flying into the eye of the storm over Americans torturing prisoners that has shredded Washington's credibility in Iraq.

Hours after U.S. lawmakers viewed "sadistic" new photographs of abuse, Rumsfeld arrived at what was Saddam Hussein's most notorious prison on Thursday, where seven U.S. military police reservists are charged with sexually and physically tormenting detainees.

Four hours into the announced trip to Baghdad, he had already met Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the commander in Iraq, and Major General Geoffrey Miller, the new prisons head there.

His trip looked like a robust answer to critics who say Rumsfeld, one of the architects of the Iraq war, should resign, six months before President George W. Bush seeks re-election.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has taken responsibility for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops, offering his "deepest apology" to the victims, but says he will not resign just to satisfy his political enemies.

"These events occurred on my watch as secretary of defence. I am accountable for them. I take full responsibility," Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday.

Warning that he had seen new photographs and a videotape not yet made public that were hard to believe, Rumsfeld said: "I feel terrible about what happened to these detainees. They are human beings, they were in U.S. custody, our country had an obligation to treat them right. We didn't. That was wrong.

"To those Iraqis who were mistreated by members of the U.S. armed forces, I offer my deepest apology."

The tense hearing, broadcast live in the Arab world as well as the United States, carried major implications for Rumsfeld's future but also for U.S. support for President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.

Rumsfeld, lacking his trademark bravado, said he had created a special commission to investigate the actions. But Arizona Senator John McCain said Americans needed all the available information at once, adding he was concerned that images of abuse would erode domestic support for the war.

Iraqi worshippers have been told that anyone who captures a female British soldier can keep her as a slave.

A senior aide of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr also called on supporters to launch holy war against British troops in Basra.

Sheik Abdul-Sattar al-Bahadli held in his hand what he said were documents and photographs of three Iraqi women being raped at British-run prisons in Iraq.

Al-Bahadli said 250,000 dinars ($195) will be given to anyone who captures a British soldier and 100,000 dinars ($83) for the killing of one.

He also offered cash for anyone who captures or kills a member of the Governing Council, a widely unpopular interim administration appointed by the US led occupation 10 months ago.

He also called on government departments in Basra to display pictures of al-Sadr in their offices.

Al-Bahadli, al-Sadr's chief representative in southern Iraq, was speaking at al-Hawi mosque in central Basra.

The Ministry of Defence is investigating fresh charges of abuse of Iraqi prisoners after a newspaper paraded a soldier who said he had witnessed savage beatings.

The Daily Mirror said on Friday the soldier, attached to a regiment already under a cloud, had given military police full details of the attacks, including names and ranks of those involved.

He said the violence was led by three ringleaders.

The Mirror has already printed pictures apparently showing British soldiers urinating on a hooded prisoner and beating him with a rifle butt, but their authenticity has been questioned.

Politicians and human rights groups said there appeared to be less doubt about the new allegations which, if proven, would make life even more difficult in the tinderbox of Iraq as the British government considers deploying more soldiers there.

A group of naked men are bound together on the floor of the prison; a hooded, naked man is handcuffed to a cell door, and another man is bound naked and arched with his arms behind him over the top bunk in a cell. That individual is wearing women's panties over his head.

The new collection included more than 1,000 digital images ranging from scenes of mundane military life to pictures showing crude simulations of sex among soldiers.


Travelers who realize they're carrying a treasured pocketknife or grandma's scissors after arriving at the airport may now have a more convenient way to save the items.

Newsstands in several airports are now carrying special envelopes -- including postage -- designed to allow people to mail their scissors, pocket knife, multi-tool or other item to themselves.

Called MailBack, the envelopes are sold at several Hudson News stands and the manufacturer is planning to expand sales through several news chains in airports.

  Pro-Life "Terrorists"

We have dedicated ourselves to ending the campaign of murder and terror against abortion providers throughout the United States, and to end the war on our right to choose.

This war has taken the lives of doctors, nurses, administrators, and volunteers who go to work each day for one simple and heroic reason: to give each and every woman in the United States the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

  pro-choice = TERRORIST

Karen Hughes, Bush's advisor has just likened pro-choice supporters with terrorists... When asked about this week's pro-choice rally, Hughes revealed that the administration would prefer that voters not distinguish supporting terrorists from supporting a woman's right to exercise control over her own body

"I think that after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life," she said. "President Bush has worked to say, let's be reasonable, let's work to value life, let's reduce the number of abortions, let's increase adoptions. And I think those are the kinds of policies the American people can support, particularly at a time when we're facing an enemy and, really, the fundamental issue between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."

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