Saturday, November 29, 2008

31 December 2011: day the last US soldier leaves Iraq - Middle East, World - The Independent

31 December 2011: day the last US soldier leaves Iraq - Middle East, World - The Independent

Remember, this agreement is what Bush is leaving for Obama to deal with:

A landmark agreement: What it means

* The Status of Forces Agreement between Iraq and the US is a plan for the US withdrawal and the rules under which US forces would operate until final withdrawal in three years' time.

* The agreement is very specific about the dates for the US pullout. It says that all US combat forces are to pull out from cities, towns and villages "on a date no later than 30 June 2009". Most important of all it says that "all US forces are to withdraw from all Iraqi territory, water and airspace no later than 31 December 2011".

* The US side wanted to make the withdrawal timeline conditional on the development of Iraqi security forces, but the final agreement drops this.

* It will be impossible for US forces to arrest an Iraqi "unless it is in accordance with an Iraqi decision". US forces will not be able to search premises without "an Iraqi judicial order".

* Some senior Iraqi politicians say Iraqi forces may carry out searches and arrests with a sectarian agenda. Sunni in Baghdad are afraid of being arrested by chiefly Shia Interior Ministry troops and look to US forces to protect them.

* In a reversal of attitudes in the first four years after the occupation it is the Sunni Arabs who now frequently want US troops to stay and the Shia, formerly allied to the US, who want them to go. Fear of a return to Sunni-Shia sectarian warfare which led to mass slaughter in 2006-07 is slow to dissipate.

* US contractors lose their legal immunity. It is possible that Iraq might bring retroactive charges against contractors who killed Iraqis in past incidents. Despite wrangles about the immunity of US troops during the negotiations, it is unlikely they will be prosecuted. Other important concerns include the protection of Iraqi assets abroad, notably state funds in the Federal Bank of New York, from legal action.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanks that this is over (we hope!)

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

What do you receive form our government after four years or incarceration and toture in Guantanamo?

Here it is:

"“An Administrative Review Board has reviewed the information about you that was talked about at the meeting on 02 December 2005 and the deciding official in the United States has made a decision about what will happen to you. You will be sent to the country of Afghanistan. Your departure will occur as soon as possible.”

That’s it, the one and only record on paper of protracted U.S. incarceration: three sentences for four years of a young Afghan’s life, written in language Orwell would have recognized.

We have “the deciding official,” not an officer, general or judge. We have “the information about you,” not allegations, or accusations, let alone charges. We have “a decision about what will happen to you,” not a judgment, ruling or verdict. This is the lexicon of totalitarianism. It is acutely embarrassing to the United States.

That is why I am thankful above all that the next U.S. commander in chief is a constitutional lawyer. Nothing has been more damaging to the United States than the violation of the legal principals"

'Just World News' with Helena Cobban: Karzai wants the foreign troops out, too

'Just World News' with Helena Cobban: Karzai wants the foreign troops out, too

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Afghanistan footage scoops award

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Afghanistan footage scoops award: "A film capturing the daily physical and emotional struggle of American soldiers in Afghanistan has won the Rory Peck Award for features.

British journalist Tim Hetherington was on the frontline with soldiers when they came under attack by the Taleban. The attack resulted in the death of three soldiers."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A My Lai a Month

A My Lai a Month

Jeremy Scahill and Naomi Klein at the Miami Book Fair

Bush will NEVER be able to set foot outside the U.S.! Jeremy Scahill & Naomi Klein - Democratic Underground

Juan Cole review latest James Bond Flick

Informed Comment: "A Quantum of Anti-Imperialism"

The present film takes, to say the least, a different view of popular movements of the left. Morales is not mentioned in the film, but his movement was in the headlines while "Casino Royale" was being shot, as he challenged the old "white" elite and was denounced by the US ambassador as an "Andean Bin Laden" and his peasant followers (many of them of largely native stock) as "Taliban." Morales's nationalization of Bolivia's petroleum and natural gas and his redistribution of wealth from the wealthy elite to villagers were among the policies drawing the ire of George W. Bush and his cronies.

If Morales is not mentioned, Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti is. The villain, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) remarks that while Aristide was president 2001-2004, he raised the minimum wage from 25 cents an hour to a dollar an hour. It was, he said, little enough, but caused the corporations that benefited from cheap Haitian labor to mobilize to have Aristide removed. (Aristide himself maintained that US and Canadian intelligence connived with officers at the coup against him and kidnapped him, taking him to southern Africa.) The Left analysis of American imperialism in the Western hemisphere is put in the mouth, not of a worker or ideologue, but rather of the collaborator in capitalist exploitation of America's poor neighbors. Aristide's story is a clear parallelism for the fate the CIA and Quantum are depicted as plotting for Morales.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan (November 11, 2008) - Face Of The Day

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan (November 11, 2008) - Face Of The Day: "British World War One veteran Henry Allingham, 112, (L) reacts after placing a wreath, during an Armistice Day commemmoration ceremony in Whitehall in London on November 11, 2008. Europe on Tuesday marked the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I, with the handful of surviving veterans at the vanguard of commemmorations for the fallen of the 'War to End All Wars'. By Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty."

This Veterans Day, U.S. Soldiers Say 'Stop the War' | War on Iraq | AlterNet

This Veterans Day, U.S. Soldiers Say 'Stop the War' | War on Iraq | AlterNet

We had 10 veterans picketing against the war today in Gainesville. They included a mix of Iraq War vets, Vietnam Vets and their supporters. We had a marine on every corner!