Archive for June, 2009

The Raw Story, June 29, 2009

Iraq’s security forces were Monday on high alert in Baghdad as US troops finalised their withdrawal from the conflict-hit nation’s urban areas, an event to be marked by a massive party in the capital.

The US pullout, under a bilateral security accord signed last year, will be completed on Tuesday, which has been declared a national holiday.

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Madoff Sentenced To 150 Years In Prison

TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER | June 29, 2009 01:46 PM EST | AP

Via HuffPo

NEW YORK — Convicted Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison Monday for a fraud so extensive that the judge said he needed to send a message to potential imitators and to victims who demanded harsh punishment.

Scattered applause and whoops broke out in the crowded Manhattan courtroom after U.S. District Judge Denny Chin issued the maximum sentence to the 71-year-old defendant, who said he lives “in a tormented state now, knowing all the pain and suffering I’ve created.”

Chin rejected a request by Madoff’s lawyer for leniency and said he disagreed that victims of the Ponzi scheme were seeking mob vengeance.

“Here the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff’s crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of manipulation of the system is not just a bloodless crime that takes place on paper, but one instead that takes a staggering toll,” Chin said.


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Fabulous Thunderbirds- Wrap It Up

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Pelosi has been a major force for keeping the Dems in a pro-war stance, even though the Chronicle endlessly promotes her and her SF constituents remain in denial.

by Stephen Zunes | Tikkun Mazagine, June 26, 2009

Congressional approval to continue funding of the ongoing war in Iraq, a major segment of the $90 billion supplemental appropriate package, passed on Tuesday thanks to heavy-handed pressure by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., against anti-war Democrats.

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by William Pfaff, Antiwar.com, June 26, 2009

PARIS — The Obama administration’s confrontation with Israel over its colonies inside the Palestine territories began as a test of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s willingness to enter serious negotiations on a Middle Eastern settlement. It actually possesses potential dimensions that few today imagine.

Netanyahu first counted on the Likud and settlement lobbies in Washington to produce, as always in the past, a disingenuous formula that would allow the colonies to continue to expropriate Palestinian land and expand the settlements, while the American government oversaw essentially meaningless negotiations with the Palestinians.

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The pop star suffered cardiac arrest at his Holmby Hills mansion. He was in L.A. rehearsing for a series of upcoming shows in London.

The pop star suffered cardiac arrest at his Holmby Hills mansion. He was in L.A. rehearsing for a series of upcoming shows in London.

By Harriet Ryan, Chris Lee, Andrew Blankstein and Scott Gold | LA Times | June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson, an incomparable figure in music, dance and culture whose ever-changing face graced the covers of albums that sold more than half a billion copies, died Thursday, shortly after going into cardiac arrest at his rented Holmby Hills mansion. He was 50. He spent much of his life as one of the most famous people on the planet, and to many, his untimely death felt both unthinkable and, oddly, inevitable.

Paramedics found Jackson in cardiac arrest when they arrived at his home shortly before 12:30 p.m., three minutes and 17 seconds after receiving a 911 call. His personal physician was already in the house performing CPR. Jackson was not breathing, and it appears he never regained consciousness. Paramedics treated Jackson at the house for 42 minutes, and he was declared dead at 2:26 p.m. at UCLA Medical Center, about two miles from his home above Sunset Boulevard.

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Michael Jackson, 1958-2009

A life of fantasy and tragedy

By Geoff Boucher and Elaine Woo

Obituary: He owned a statue of Marilyn, studied Chaplin and married Elvis’ daughter. It seemed the perennial man-child would cease to exist if the applause ever stopped.

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Mark Reynolds | Daily Express | Wednesday June 24,2009

109563_1BRITAIN should stop women wearing the body-concealing burkha, both Muslims and non-Muslims said yesterday.

They were backing French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s call for Muslim women to be freed from being “prisoners behind a screen”.

Moderate Muslims in Britain supported the move here, pointing out that the burkha had no justification in Islamic teachings.

Ghaffar Hussain, of the anti-extremist think-tank Quilliam, said that while not in favour of an outright ban, there was nothing on religious grounds that justified women having to wear burkhas.

The think tank said that people should be allowed to wear what they wanted.

But the arguments for wearing burkhas were bogus.

Mr Hussain said: “There is nothing in the Koran that says you have to wear a burkha. It’s a cultural thing. To wear a burkha in modern Britain is not essential from any Islamic point of view.

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And a rejoinder from burqa fetishists, ENGAGE

The niqab and burqa debate sparked off by Nicolas Sarkozy’s comments on Monday continues apace in today’s papers.

The Daily Express informs us that both Muslims and non – Muslims want Britain to ban the burqa. Their sources of authoritative commentary? Among others, the rabid neo-con Douglas Murray and Ghaffar Hussain of the Quilliam Foundation. What a surprise.

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North Korea Threatens To Wipe Out The U.S. “Once And For All”

HYUNG-JIN KIM | June 24, 2009 11:45 AM EST | AP

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea accused Washington of seeking to “provoke a second Korean War” as the regime prepared to hold maritime military exercises off the eastern coast.

U.S. and regional authorities were watching closely for signs that North Korea might fire short- or mid-range missiles during the June 25 to July 10 timeframe cited in a no-sail ban for military drills sent to Japan’s Coast Guard.

North Korea had warned previously it would fire a long-range missile as a response to U.N. Security Council condemnation of an April rocket launch seen as a cover for its ballistic missile technology.

An underground nuclear test last month drew more Security Council action: a resolution seeking to clamp down on North Korea’s trading of banned arms and weapons-related material by requiring U.N. member states to request inspections of ships carrying suspected cargo.

In a first test of the new resolution, a North Korean ship suspected of transporting illicit weapons was sailing off China’s coast with a U.S. destroyer close behind.

The Kang Nam, which left the North Korean port of Nampo a week ago, is believed bound for Myanmar, South Korean and U.S. officials said.

A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was unable to discuss intelligence on the vessel, said Wednesday that the ship had already cleared the Taiwan Strait.

He said he didn’t know how much range the Kang Nam has _ that is, whether or when it may need to stop in some port to refuel _ but that the Kang Nam has in the past stopped in Hong Kong’s port.


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Velvet Revolver – She Builds Quick Machines

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Sam Jones | Guardian/UK, June 24, 2009

More than 20 former prisoners at a US detention centre in Afghanistan have alleged they were beaten, deprived of sleep and threatened with dogs, according to a BBC report.

The BBC interviewed 27 people who were held at the Bagram military base between 2002 and 2008. None of them was ever charged or tried.

The former inmates made repeated allegations of ill-treatment, saying they were subjected to physical abuse, excessive temperatures and loud noise, forced into stress positions and ordered to undress in front of female soldiers. Four detainees claim they were threatened with death at gunpoint.

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