February 2007


The Bush administration won rare praise for its diplomacy on Iraq yesterday as plans for an international conference on stabilising the country gathered pace, with Syria and Iran indicating they would participate.

"Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, even the US and Britain have informed us they will participate," the Iraqi deputy foreign minister, Labi Abawi, told reporters in Baghdad.

Publicly, Iranian officials said only that Tehran was weighing up its participation in the meeting, which will take place on March 10 in Baghdad.We support solving problems of Iraq by all means and we will attend the conference if it is expedient," Ali Larijani, the head of Iran’s supreme national security council, told state television. "We believe Iraq’s security is related to all its neighbouring countries, and they have to help settle the situation.

Officials in Damascus confirmed Syria’s participation and said it would be represented by Ahmed Arnous, an aide to the foreign minister .

The administration’s abrupt decision to end its isolation of Iran and Syria and give its support to a conference hosted by Baghdad on stabilising Iraq was welcomed.

"It’s a very important and a very positive first step to take a diplomatic offensive," Lee Hamilton, one of the chairs of the Iraq Study Group, told National Public Radio. [more]

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki invited neighbouring countries and world powers on Wednesday to a March 10 meeting in Baghdad, saying he hoped it would help bring reconciliation and support for his government. 

The conference could open the way for the United States to talk to Syria and Iran, which Washington says are fuelling violence in Iraq. Both countries deny the accusations. [more]

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SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan – Steeling for a spring offensive, the Taleban said today they had sent 1,000 suicide bombers to relatively quiet northern Afghanistan, a day after a suicide blast targeted Vice President Dick Cheney.

The United States and some NATO nations, led by Britain, are pouring troops in to battle the offensive and to try to crush the insurgents in what analysts say is the crunch year for both sides after the bloodiest 12 months since the Taleban fell in 2001. [more]

Nicolas Sarkozy, a self-declared "friend of America", yesterday promised France he would not be the US president’s poodle and would oppose any repeat of the Iraq war.

The right-wing interior minister and presidential hopeful has been blasted by his critics as a kowtowing Atlantist and US-style neoconservative since his visit to George Bush last year when he declared his passion for the American way of life and criticised French "arrogance" in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003. [more]

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Seems the Revolution has hit a few speed bumps…again.

Via the terrorist SDS (yes, they’re still around):

OPEN LETTER TO UFPJ

[Editor’s Note: this open letter is being circulated on various listservs. I have decided to sign on in the hopes that unity in the anti-war movement is an achievable goal. Panama Vicente Alba, one of the signatories, is an MDS board nominee and a long time freedom fighter and friend of SDS]

Please sign on to the following letter by directly replying to this email, and circulate the letter widely to other progressive list serves and individuals. Below are only initial signers:

Dear sisters and brothers in the leadership of United for Peace and Justice,

It is with deep concern, sincerity and hope that we the undersigned appeal to you to cancel the protest that you have only recently announced for March 18 in New York City, well after plans had been announced for a D.C. mobilization, thus setting up misconceptions and promoting confusion.

We urge you to support and work for a united mobilization in Washington and use the power of your outreach to endorse and support the march on the Pentagon on March 17 to mark the fourth anniversary of the war.

Surely you must know that the activists in the antiwar movement view your late announcement of a March 18 event as little more than a deliberate attempt to undermine the long scheduled mobilization to Washington and the Pentagon on Saturday, March 17; the talk already going around is: “Why isn’t UFPJ supporting the March on the Pentagon?” People do not see it as uniting.

The hard working rank and file activists of the anti-war movement, as well as the millions of people who have come out to antiwar demonstrations don’t care which coalition calls the march, or what the political differences are between the various coalitions, or about the history of problems that the coalitions have had working together; what they want is for us to march together, especially now.

Indeed, hardworking anti-war activists have attended all rallies called by UFPJ as well as the other coalitions; therefore, demonstrating a consistent expression of unity. We should then expect nothing less from those who have taken leadership responsibility within the U.S. anti-war movement.

The broad array of forces that comprise the resistance to the Iraq war, and new looming wars i.e. Iran expect the people in decision making positions to take the high road, focus the peoples’ energy on common, united actions and pave the road together to strengthen our unity for peace with justice.

Would it not be an enormous step forward, indeed a step towards revitalizing the anti-war movement, if all concerned abandoned the cynical infighting and divisiveness that only serves to make the movement more fragmented, and weak? UFPJ can make that possible, by calling on its supporters to JOIN ONE LARGE AND STRONG ACTION IN WASHINGTON ON MARCH 17. Anything short of that spreads more negativity than positive unity.

Dear friends, please take this appeal to heart and help unite us all on March 17, 2007.

——

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De Oppresso Liber!

Heads-Up Tanker Brothers

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Banks before airbrushing and after in recent Sports Illustrated cover.

While there’s nothing wrong with Banks having some meat on her bones; there is something wrong with Banks allowing herself to be airbrushed into something she is not.  That goes for everyone…cept me.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — "America’s Next Top Model" can’t strut her stuff on local buses. Ads for the TV show were removed from the sides of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Buses after complaints.

The ads showed host Tyra Banks and the new season’s swimsuited contestants posing in front of a waterfall.

Most of the complaints were from people concerned that the city might be endorsing a show they believed was disrespectful to women, said Stephanie Negriff, director of transit services in the beach city.

"It’s a matter of public taste," she said. "We try to be sensitive to the community."

The ads were up for about two weeks. The bus line is refunding money the CW network paid for the promotion.

"It’s a jungle out there in bus marketing. Even America’s next top models aren’t safe anymore," CW spokesman Paul McGuire said.

"We are very proud of Tyra banks and this wonderful program," he added Tuesday. "And for any citizens of Santa Monica who may not have seen our message, new episodes premiere tomorrow night."

In recent years, the city has nixed bus ads for the TV show "Nip/Tuck" and the movie "Ten Things I Hate About You."

Source

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Via terrorist Alive in Baghdad:

Apaches, and other helicopters, have become somewhat of a ubiquitous nuisance to Baghdad’s residents. Their constant presence can be disconcerting, or even banale. Although helicopters have been called some of the world’s most fearsome weapons, and in particular are often mentioned in explanations of the awesome power of the American military, in Baghdad their constant presence has led to an attitude better described as resigned acceptance.

This week Omar Abdullah describes his impressions and feelings about the American helicopters, and in particular Apaches often seen in Baghdad’s skies. Video

To the Iraqi people "terrorized" by the noise of low flying US helicopters: Tough Shit! You’re terrorized by the noise from low flying helicopters but have no damn problem with the noise of continual market, car, and roadside bombs you detonate on each other daily; never mind the deaths caused by said bombs. Shut the hell up, you ingrate sand monkies.

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 VICTOR DAVIS HANSON

Why did a majority of Democratic senators vote to authorize a war with Iraq on Oct. 11, 2002? And why is this war now supposedly President Bush’s misfortune and not theirs?

The original fear of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, of course, played a role in their votes —but only a role. In the 23 writs that authorized force to remove Saddam Hussein, senators at the time also cited Iraq’s sanctuary and subsidies for terrorists. Then there were Saddam’s attempts to assassinate a former United States president; his repression of, and use of weapons of mass destruction against, his own people; and his serial violations of both United Nations and 1991 Persian Gulf War agreements. If paranoia over weapons of mass destruction later proved just that, these other reasons to remove Saddam remain unassailable.

Nevada’s Sen. Harry Reid summed up best the feeling of Democrats that there were plenty of reasons to remove Saddam in a post-9/11 climate. He reminded his colleagues that Saddam’s refusal to honor past agreements "constitutes a breach of the armistice which renders it void and justifies resumption of the armed conflict."

But it was not just fear of Saddam alone that prompted Democrats to authorize the use of force to remove him. There was the more-general, liberal notion of using American arms to stop violent dictators. While the Democratic Party has a strong pacifist wing, its mainstream has always advocated a global promotion of American liberal values — sometimes through the use of pre-emptory force. [more]

Pakistan on Wednesday rejected a claim by the U.S. intelligence chief that Osama bin Laden and his deputy were hiding in northwestern Pakistan, and that al-Qaida was setting up camps near the Afghan border.

Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao, told The Associated Press there were no al-Qaida training camps in his country and U.S. officials had not provided any intelligence suggesting there were.

"We will act on any such intelligence, but so far they have not" provided any, he said.

Sherpao’s comments came a day after Mike McConnell, the new U.S. intelligence chief, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that al-Qaida was trying to set up operations in largely ungoverned parts of Pakistan’s northwest, along Afghanistan’s eastern border. [more]

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