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Archive for December 13th, 2007

By- Suzie-Q @ 4:30 PM MST

Earlier this week, former Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones revealed that in 2005 she had been “raped by multiple men at a KBR camp” in Baghdad. For the past two years, her congressman, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), has been pushing the federal government to investigate the matter, but he “says neither the department of State nor Justice will give him answers” on the status of the investigation.

On CNN’s Lou Dobbs’ Tonight last night, Poe said that he does “not think this is an isolated case” and encouraged “other victims to notify” his office:

DOBBS: Now I know you’ve written a letter to the U.S. attorney general, Michael Mukasey, seeking his intervention in this case. Is there anything the audience of this broadcast can do so assist you?

POE: Yes, exactly. There’s something you can do. We do not think this is an isolated case of sexual assault against American citizens in Baghdad by coworkers. We want the other victims to notify my office immediately.

Watch it

Frustrated by the government’s inaction, Jones is now taking her case to the civil court system, but KBR is pushing for it to be heard in “private arbitration,” without a “public record or transcript.” Halliburton has “won more than 80 percent of arbitration proceedings brought against it.”

Beyond Poe, Jones’ cause has been taken up by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who both wrote to Attorney General Michael Mukasey urging him to investigate her claims. Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee announced that it will hold a hearing on Jones’ allegations next Wednesday.

Poe’s congressional office can be contacted here.

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Evening Jukebox… Train

By- Suzie-Q @ 4:00 PM MST


Goldfrapp – Train

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By- Suzie-Q @ 1:45 PM MST

Earlier this week, ThinkProgress raised the issue of whether CIA Director Michael Hayden is lying when he claims that “videotaping stopped in 2002.” The New York Times reported that former prisoner Muhammad Bashmilah, who claims “he was held by the C.I.A.,” said he “saw cameras in interrogation rooms after 2002.”Since then, more evidence has emerged that videotaped interrogations were occurring after 2002. The Chicago Tribune reports that in Feb. 2003, the CIA abducted a man named Abu Omar and rendered him to Egypt. The prisoner, who is now living in Alexandria, Egypt, said he could hear interrogators recording “the sounds of my torture and my cries“:

A suspected terrorist abducted in Italy and flown to Egypt by the CIA said he believed his captors made audiotapes of his extensive interrogations in an Egyptian prison that recorded “the sounds of my torture and my cries.” The prisoner said he was blindfolded but could hear what sounded like a tape cassette being flipped over and reinserted.

“I remember once while being interrogated, the interrogator asked me to wait a second and then I could hear the click of the device and I could hear him changing the cassette,” said Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, who spent nearly four years in an Egyptian prison before an Egyptian court ordered his release earlier this year.

The former prisoner also said that, “the first seven months of my imprisonment, right after my kidnapping and arrival in Egypt, the place where I was held had cameras everywhere. There were cameras in the bathrooms, interrogation rooms as well as hallways. The cameras were all over the place.”

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False Choices, or Media Traps

Sudhan @21:15 CET

Immanuel Wallerstein | Commentary No. 222, December 1, 2007

The United States is going through two sets of debates among presidential candidates, one set each for Democrats and Republicans. These debates usually have journalists as conveners and questioners, and the journalists seek to force the candidates to commit themselves on supposedly difficult choices. These “difficult” choices are regularly formulated in ways that they are media traps, sometime maliciously so.

A typical example occurred on Nov. 14 at a Democratic debate presided over by Wolf Blitzer. He posed the question, “Are human rights more important than American national security?” Obviously, the answer Blitzer was forcing was the pseudo-patriotic one that national security took precedence over everything else. Bravely, Richardson voted for human rights. But Dodd, Biden, and Clinton all said it was obvious that national security was the primary consideration. And Obama said the two considerations are complementary. Kucinich was cut off from answering.

No one said the question was an absurd one, in two different ways. First of all, was it a question about foreign policy? Or was it a question about U.S. internal policy? Blitzer and the candidates assumed it was a question about foreign policy, at the moment a question about U.S. policy in Pakistan. One person tried to shift the ground to internal policy, but he was not allowed to do this.

Keep reading . . .

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By- Suzie-Q @ 9:30 AM MST

This just in:

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to hold two top aides to President Bush in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate in its probe of fired federal prosecutors.

On a largely party-line vote of 11-7, the Democratic-led panel sent contempt citations against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove to the full Senate for consideration.

As with many of Bush’s battles with the Democratic-led Senate, the president may ultimately prevail since his fellow Republicans may be able to block the citations with a procedural hurdle.

Bush has claimed executive privilege to protect aides from complying with congressional subpoenas demanding documents or testimony in an investigation into the firing last year of nine U.S. attorneys. The committee has rejected his privilege claim as unfounded.

Source

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GEF @ 6:38 AM MST

Merkel hails signing of EU Reform Treaty

BERLIN, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed here on Wednesday the signing of the long-awaited EU Reform Treaty in Lisbon, saying it is a milestone for the European Union (EU).


“This day marks a historic success, a success for Europe,” Merkel told the German parliament on Wednesday, a day before leaders of the EU’s 27 member states are to sign the treaty in Lisbon.

Merkel said the treaty, designed to make the bloc more effective and transparent, lays the basis for a European Union of the 21st century.

Germany planned to start the ratification process next year and complete it by May 2008, she said.

Merkel said she hoped other countries would follow suit so that the treaty, designed to replace the constitution that were rejected by French and Dutch voters, could come into effect in 2009.

On Thursday, Merkel will join other EU leaders for the signing of the Reform Treaty in Lisbon. Following that they will travel to Brussels for a summit dealing with globalization, security policy and foreign affairs.

The chancellor said the summit would issue a declaration on globalization, setting out the EU’s position in the race to gain the upper hand in international competitiveness.

UPDATE: EU Leaders Sign Treaty, Plan to Avoid Popular Votes

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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