29 December 2006

Justice Served...?

I think not!

This trial should have never taken place on Iraqi soil, in an Iraqi courtroom. The proper venue for a trial of this type and magnitude is the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Of course, the U.S. Government has issues when it comes to ICJ, along with getting smacked by the court in 1986, there's the fact that the death penalty wouldn't be on the table (we all know much Curious George loves to execute folks!). So Saddam gets to have the best sham kangaroo-court show-trail that American tax-dollars can buy. I wonder exactly how many times Curious George and $lick Dick will screen the DVD in the White House movie theatre...?


Questions Over Saddam Trial Justice
By David Loyn
BBC News, Baghdad

The advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has unveiled a damning indictment of the trial of Saddam Hussein, saying it was so flawed the verdict was unsound.

The HRW researchers have concluded that Saddam Hussein and his co-accused did not get a fair trial.

Their specific complaints go right through the court process: the administration of the trial was not done well; and witness protection was not good enough.

Some witnesses were frightened to come forward, while the judges constantly had the "sword at their necks" of being exposed as Baath party members.

This was a "trial by ambush", one interviewee said, in which incriminating documents were not disclosed to the defence until the day that the document was used in court by the prosecution, nor did the prosecution disclose material that might have pointed towards innocence.

And there was a violation of the defendants' right to challenge witnesses.

Stark conclusion

The report quotes asides from the judges that show contempt for the defence, and assume the guilt of the defendants.

It criticises government ministers too for pre-judging the outcome and failing to understand the need for the judiciary to be independent.

The report is critical of defence lawyers for using the court as a political platform and staging walkouts. But it recognises the problems they had.

Two were killed and others did not have adequate protection, and the material they were given was not well organised, often illegible and late.

The conclusion is stark: "The result is a trial that did not meet key fair trial standards. Under such circumstances, the soundness of the verdict is questionable.

"In addition, the imposition of the death penalty - an inherently cruel and inhumane punishment - in the wake of an unfair trial is indefensible."

'Victor's justice'

The head of Saddam's defence team, Khalil al-Dulaimi, says that his lawyers have been denied access to the court in the Green Zone, the heavily-fortified international area at the heart of Baghdad, since the verdict.

Speaking from Jordan, he told the BBC that "the court has not yet given us any decision about the appeal, despite our repeated demands and requests".

He claimed that the prosecution were using delaying tactics in order to make a proper appeal impossible.

In response to the HRW report, he said it confirmed his view that the trial was victor's justice.

"The report of HRW confirms all the statements we gave about the trial, that it is a political trial, and doesn't meet any condition of a just court," he said.

But the chief prosecutor, Jafaar al-Mousawi, said it was a fair trial. He acknowledged that HRW had observed the whole trial, but said that they had not approached him to see papers that might refute their findings.

Ambition thwarted

The disappointment of HRW is the greater because of what they perceive as the international importance of this trial and the one currently under way for alleged attacks on Kurds.

The report says: "The significance of the trials is difficult to overstate.

"For the first time since the post-Second World War Nuremberg trials, almost the entire senior leadership cadre of a long-lived repressive government faces trial for gross human rights violations committed during their tenure."

But the report concludes that the court did not take account of this international significance, and seemed unaware of international practice.

Supporters of war crimes trials say that they can improve healing after conflict and draw a line under the past - but like so much else in post-Saddam Iraq, his trial does not look as if it will achieve that lofty ambition.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/11/20 02:05:18 GMT


28 December 2006

Emma Olga Olsen (1919 - 2006)

We pray that our Sister has a swift and safe journey to the next world...


Pioneer of Native Education Programs Dies

Dec 28, 3:30 PM EST

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) -- Emma Olga Olsen, a pioneer of Native education programs and a longtime Alaska Native Sisterhood leader, died Tuesday. She was 87.

A funeral service was planned Friday at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

Olsen didn't have much chance to advance her education after eighth grade since the high schools were segregated.

"She wanted to go to a high school, but could not do that," said Marie Olson, Emma's niece. "That was one of her goals later in life, to support many of the children that wanted to go to high school."

Olsen was born July 22, 1919, in Dundas Bay to Sam and Sally Hopkins. She was a Yaashundoosteen, of the Tin.aa.Hit (Copper Shield House) of the Kiks.adi, Frog Tribe.

Her parents brought her up in the Alaska Native Brotherhood and instilled a deep appreciation for her culture, Olson said.

"(Her parents) were not only performers for special events, but also at potlatches," Ebona said. "Emma could speak the Tlingit language fluently. She always knew what was happening when people were speaking publicly or at potlatches."

Olsen married her husband of 61 years, Oscar P. Olsen, on April 12, 1945, in Juneau.

She served 15 terms as president of Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 2, where her focus remained on education. She began the Tlingit Tea for Teachers program and supported the Juneau's Indian Studies programs. She also talked about revitalizing the Tlingit language.

"She had an interest in education that included everyone, and particularly the Alaska Native child," said her nephew, Andy Ebona. "She was obviously interested in the high dropout rate and felt that those issues needed to be addressed more firmly. The alternative forms of education were also a priority, especially for those kids that were not succeeding in the regular school system."

As chairwoman of the Juneau Clinic Advisory Board, Olsen helped form the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.

She eventually earned her general equivalency diploma and entered the GED Hall of Fame, a program that the ANS supported.

"It wasn't just herself that she pushed," Olson said. "She pushed and encouraged a lot of younger people to do better. Doing good wasn't good enough."

Among survivors are her husband and four sons.


Information from: Juneau Empire, http://www.juneauem pire.com

26 December 2006

James Joe Brown (1933 - 2006)

Ladies and gentlemen, James Brown has left the building...


Obituary: James Brown

When James Brown styled himself Soul Brother Number One, for once, this was no idle showbusiness exaggeration. His influence on popular music was, quite simply, enormous.

He transformed gospel music into rhythm and blues, and soul music into his own creation - funk - with its driving rhythms and insistent beat.

His performances remain unsurpassed for their urgency of expression and raw physicality, influencing later white rockers like Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop.

Born James Joe Brown Junior in 1933 in a one-room shack in the backwoods of South Carolina, by the age of seven he was boarding at a brothel in Augusta, Georgia.

Delighted and outraged audiences

He helped to pay the rent by shining shoes and tap-dancing in the streets.

Nine years later he was harshly punished for trying to steal a car. Sent to prison for between eight and 16 years, he eventually served only three years and a day.

On his release, he joined a gospel group. While pursuing a promising but ultimately abortive career as a semi-professional boxer, he rose to become the leader of the James Brown Revue.

Audiences were delighted and outraged by the group's tight R&B sound, fronted by the charismatic Brown, whose stage antics caused him to shed up to seven pounds a night.

In 1956, Brown wrote the song Please, Please, Please. It sold one million copies and propelled the singer to stardom.

Other hits followed as Brown worked up to 350 nights a year, earning himself another reputation, as the hardest-working man in showbusiness.

Mould-breaking show

Though the financial returns were scant - Brown and his band members earned a derisory $150 each for Please Please Please - he refused to compromise on the quality of his performances.

His reason was simple: "When you're on stage, the people who paid money to get in are the boss, even if it cost them only a quarter. You're working for them."

He treated his band like an army, imposing fines for lateness, scruffy costumes and poor playing. By the early 1960s his growing reputation saw him play to packed crowds at the Mecca of black music, Harlem's Apollo Theatre.

In 1961, realising that the essence of his music could only be captured live, Brown personally financed the recording of an album at the theatre.

The result, the mould-breaking James Brown Show Live at the Apollo, was a sensation. Establishing his reputation throughout the United States, it remains one of the most critically-acclaimed live albums ever recorded.

His status was enhanced by a succession of worldwide hits like Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, I Got You (I Feel Good) and Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine).

Presidential thanks

Artistically, James Brown was breaking new ground with a whole new musical form, funk.

Songs like Cold Sweat, where the brass section and guitars drove the rhythm, exemplified the stylistic change which Brown wrought.

Success brought great wealth. James Brown owned radio stations, fast food restaurants and a private jet.

He embraced "black capitalism" even before the phrase was coined, urging his fellow countrypeople to live the American Dream.

He gave back, too, sponsoring food stamps for the poor and giving money and land to those in need, especially in Africa.

Some radicals, though, criticised him for his patriotism and he received death threats after playing to US troops in Vietnam.

Such was James Brown's influence that when Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, the order went out to broadcast Brown's show in Boston live across the United States.

Punctuated by his pleas for calm, the show helped to stem the tide of anger and Brown earned the personal thanks of President Lyndon Johnson.

Living in America

The 1970s were bad times for James Brown. His son Teddy died in a car accident, he himself was beset by tax problems and disco music threatened to eclipse his career.

Sheer hard work on the club circuit brought him back from the brink. A cameo role as a singing preacher in the cult 1980 film The Blues Brothers brought his music to another generation.

His song Living in America, a paean to the American Dream, was chosen as the theme music to Rocky IV and James Brown was among the first group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But James Brown's capacity for self-destruction was a constant danger. In 1988 an incident with a shotgun led to a high-speed police chase and he spent two-and-a-half years in jail.

His release coincided with a huge upswell in rap and hip-hop music, both of which borrowed freely from Brown's work. His role as a pivotal musical innovator was recognised as never before.

Even with his faults, James Brown was an important role model to a whole generation of African Americans.

Triumphing over poverty and racism, his outlook is best summed up by the title of one of his greatest hits - Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/12/25 08:19:55 GMT


Tributes paid to Soul star Brown
Tributes have been paid to singer James Brown, known as the "Godfather of Soul", who has died at the age of 73.

He was admitted to hospital in Atlanta with severe pneumonia, but died at 0145 local time (0645 GMT) on Monday.

The star was famous for hits including I Got You (I Feel Good), Papa's Got a Brand New Bag and Living in America.

He "changed the music industry", US civil rights leader Al Sharpton said. "He put everybody on a different beat, a different style of music."

"He pioneered it."

'Dramatic to the end'

Flowers have been laid at a statue of the soul superstar in his home city of Augusta, Georgia, where Mayor Deke Copenhaver described his friend as "just a wonderful giving man".

US singer Little Richard said he was an innovator, emancipator and originator.

"Rap music, all that stuff came from James Brown."

Connor McNicholas, editor of the NME music magazine, said Brown appealed to successive generations.

"This was a guy who came from a very deprived background, and knew that the route to success was young music buyers, so as every generation went through he was very keen to make sure that he updated his sound and made sure that he stayed relevant."

A friend who was with Brown when he died said he would like people to know "he was a man who preached love from the stage."

"He was a true humanitarian who loved his country," Charles Bobbit said.

Another friend, US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, said he "was dramatic to the end, dying on Christmas Day.

"He'll be all over the news all over the world today. He would have it no other way," he told the Associated Press.

String of hits

Brown was born in 1933 in South Carolina.

He joined a gospel group as a young man after his release from jail for trying to steal a car.

He had his first hit on the US rhythm and blues chart, Please Please Please, in 1956.

Brown had 94 hits on Billboard's mainstream Hot 100 in the US, according to his official website, and by the end of his career, he had a repertoire of 800 songs.

However, he achieved only one top 10 single in the UK - Living in America, from the soundtrack of Rocky IV, which reached number five in 1986.

The star was credited with spreading the popularity of funk around the world, influencing a new generation of black music which spawned rap and hip-hop.

Brown, who had surgery for prostate cancer in 2004, appeared in London in October as part of the BBC's Electric Proms line-up.

Last month Brown played at a ceremony at London's Alexandra Palace which saw his induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame, 20 years after entering the US equivalent.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/12/25 21:48:47 GMT


Bonfire of the Vanities...

The so-called dream (nightmare?) seems to have been put to death in the flames of a bonfire named 'Iraq'...


End of the Neo-Con Dream
By Paul Reynolds
World Affairs correspondent

The neo-conservative dream faded in 2006.

The ambitions proclaimed when the neo-cons' mission statement "The Project for the New American Century" was declared in 1997 have turned into disappointment and recriminations as the crisis in Iraq has grown.

"The Project for the New American Century" has been reduced to a voice-mail box and a ghostly website. A single employee has been left to wrap things up.

The idea of the "Project" was to project American power and influence around the world.

The 1997 statement (written during the administration of President Bill Clinton) said:

"We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities."

Among the signatories were many of the senior officials who would later determine policy under President George W Bush - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams and Lewis Libby - as well as thinkers including Francis Fukuyama, Norman Podheretz and Frank Gaffney.

The neo-conservatives were called that because they sought to re-establish what they felt were true conservative values in the Republican Party and the United States.

They wanted to stop what they felt were the isolationist tendencies that had developed under President Clinton, and even under the pragmatic President George Bush senior.

They saw the war in Iraq as their big chance of showing how the "New American Century" might work.

They predicted the development of democratic values in a region lacking in them and, in that way, the removal of any threat to the United States just as the democratisation of Germany and Japan after World War II had transformed Europe and the Pacific.


Since so much was pinned on Iraq, it is inevitable that the problems there should have undermined the whole idea.

"Neo-conservatism has gone for a generation, if in fact it ever returns," says one of the movement's critics, David Rothkopf, currently at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, and a former official in the Clinton administration.

"Their signal enterprise was the invasion of Iraq and their failure to produce results is clear. Precisely the opposite has happened," he says.

"The US use of force has been seen as doing wrong and as inflaming a region that has been less than susceptible to democracy.

"Their plan has fallen on hard times. There were flaws in the conception and horrendously bad execution. The neo-cons have been undone by their own ideas and the incompetence of the Bush administration.

"George Bush is about the last neo-conservative standing, Cheney as well maybe. Bush is not an analytical person so he just adopted the neo-cons' philosophy.

"It fitted into his Manichean, his black and white view of the world. After all, he gave up his dissolute youth and was born again as a new man, so it appealed to his character."


The fading of the dream has led to a falling-out among the neo-conservatives themselves.

In particular, two leading neo-conservatives, Richard Perle and Kenneth Adelman, attacked the Bush team in Vanity Fair magazine. Both had been on a Pentagon advisory board. Both had argued for war in Iraq.

In an article called "Neo Culpa", Richard Perle declared that had he known how it would turn out, he would have been against it: "I think now I probably would have said: 'No, let's consider other strategies'."

Kenneth Adelman said: "They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era.

"Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."

Donald Rumsfeld "fooled me", he said.

He declared of neo-conservatism after Iraq: "It's not going to sell."

Defence and counter-attack

Other neo-conservatives defend their record, arguing strongly that the original idea had an effect, and pressing the point raised by Perle and Adelman that it was the execution of the idea not the idea itself that was wrong.

Gary Schmitt used to be a senior figure at the "New American Century" project. Now he is director of strategic studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and he says the project has come to a natural end.

"When the project started, it was not intended to go forever. That is why we are shutting it down. We would have had to spend too much time raising money for it and it has already done its job.

"We felt at the time that there were flaws in American foreign policy, that it was neo-isolationist. We tried to resurrect a Reaganite policy.

"Our view has been adopted. Even during the Clinton administration we had an effect, with Madeleine Albright [then secretary of state] saying that the United States was 'the indispensable nation'.

"But our ideas have not necessarily dominated. We did not have anyone sitting on Bush's shoulder. So the work now is to see how they are implemented. Obviously it makes life difficult with the specific failure in Iraq, but I do not agree with Richard Perle that we should never have gone in.

"I do argue that the execution should have been better. In fact, I argued in late 2003 that we needed more troops and a proper counter-insurgency policy."

Indeed, not all neo-conservatives have given up all hope in Iraq.

The AEI, which has become the natural home for refugees from the American Project, is promoting an article entitled: "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq".

The article calls not for a withdrawal of US troops but for an increase. President Bush's decision is expected in early January.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/12/21 11:23:52 GMT


22 December 2006

Too Close For Comfort...

We had no idea of the drama that was playing out just about 700 metres from where we were sleeping until one of our friends rang up to check on us...


Fire Displaces Residents at Lexington Apartment Complex
By Beverly Fortune

A predawn fire in south Lexington on Friday destroyed two buildings in an apartment complex and displaced residents in eight apartments. Four other units were vacant.

The fire was reported at 4:25 a.m. at Kirklevington Hills apartments, 3050 Kirklevington Drive, near Tates Creek and New Circle roads, Battalion Chief Jim Wells said.

The fire gutted two buildings, each containing six apartments. One of the residents, Anthony Johnson, jumped from a balcony and was taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center.

His condition Friday afternoon was reported as stable, according to a spokeswoman.

Another resident, Chet Miller, said that when he opened his front door, he couldn’t see the parking lot for flames. The exterior stairway was burning; he heard screams.

Milled pulled on jeans and a pair of tennis shoes, and grabbed his cell phone. He didn’t bother with the fire escape that you have to lift a lid to access, he said.

“I swung from my balcony to the second-floor balcony” and from there to the first-floor balcony, Miller said.

Looking in the window of a first-floor apartment, Miller saw a man asleep on the couch. “I woke him up,” said Miller, 26, the girls’ basketball coach at Paris High School.

While firemen sprayed water on the blaze, the unidentified man repeatedly came up to Miller and thanked him, saying Miller probably saved his life.

“I’m sure he would have done the same for me,” said Miller, who moved into his apartment Nov. 11. All his belongings, except the clothes he was wearing, were destroyed.

Several of those displaced by the fire moved to apartments elsewhere in the complex, said Gene Staples of Illinois-based River Oaks Management, an owner of the complex. All told, there are 128 units housing 110 families.

Staples said there have been three fires at the complex in the past five years.

The apartment units had smoke alarms but no sprinkler system. Sprinklers were not required when the complex was built 30 years ago, said Rick Young, maintenance supervisor.

The most recent fire, in October, destroyed the complex’s rental office. The office had been moved to one of the buildings that burned Friday morning, Staples said.

“Unfortunately, it’s been a string of bad luck rather than neglect on our part,” Staples said of the fires.

The cause of Friday’s fire is not known.

Investigators were on the scene for several hours. It probably will be Tuesday before they determine a cause and where the fire started, Wells said.

5,300,000 Frequent Flier Miles...?

I just watched this live on CNN. Amazing! They landed at the exact time scheduled, why can't the airlines accomplish that?


Space Shuttle Returns To Florida
Space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew have landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Shuttle managers decided conditions in Florida were good enough to bring the shuttle home at 1732 (2232 GMT), after days of uncertainty about the weather.

Discovery needed to be on the ground on Saturday or it would have run low on fuel that powers electrical systems.

The shuttle has been on a 13-day mission to rewire the International Space Station (ISS).

In addition, its crew fitted a connecting segment that will allow the platform's backbone to be extended further in future.

They also delivered two tonnes of supplies and dropped off one new resident, American Sunita Williams, and picked up a returning astronaut, German Thomas Reiter.

Future flights

The shuttle would normally have had more time to make a landing but its astronauts made an unscheduled, extra spacewalk at the station to free a stuck solar array.

The next construction mission to the ISS will be undertaken by the Atlantis shuttle in March. This will see a third set of solar arrays and batteries fitted to the station.

May should see the maiden flight of a new re-supply vessel for the station.

Known as the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), it will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from the European spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana.

Europe also has keen interest in Discovery's next mission scheduled for October.

This mission will deliver the Columbus science module, Europe's biggest contribution to the ISS project.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/12/22 22:41:17 GMT


Quote of the Day...

"Yoko and I are quite willing to be the world's clowns, if by doing it we do some good..."

--John Lennon (1940 - 1980)

19 December 2006

Quote of the Day...

"When shit becomes valuable, the poor will be born without assholes..."

--Henry Miller (1891 - 1980), author

17 December 2006

Ivy League Racists...

I think it's time for the Dog Soldiers to pay the Dartmouth Review's offices a little visit. A little 'educational outreach service', enit? Funny too, how nobody in the so-called mainstream press is covering this story...


Dartmouth College Rocked By Racist Controversies.
© Indian Country Today December 16, 2006.

HANOVER, N.H. - Founded in 1769 as a school for American Indians, Dartmouth College has recently been rocked by a series of incidents that Native students say are biased, racist and insulting.

In early December, the National Congress of American Indians voiced its solidarity with the student organization Native Americans at Dartmouth in calling on college administrators to address the recent string of ''culturally insensitive, biased and racist'' events that have created a hostile campus environment at the Ivy League college.

''Colleges and universities are places where diversity and tolerance should foster productive, inclusive, and thriving intellectual communities,'' NCAI President Joe Garcia said.

''When cartoonization, mockery, and insensitivity of Native peoples, cultures, and traditions persist on college campuses, Native students are at a unique disadvantage in that intellectual community. NCAI joins NAD, [Dartmouth] President James Wright, and the broader Dartmouth community in condemning the recent series of biased incidents at the college, and stands with NAD in its efforts at combating bias in your community,'' Garcia said.

During the past semester, Dartmouth's Native students protested a number of events, including the distribution of homecoming shirts depicting a knight performing a sex act on an American Indian caricature and other T-shirts printed with a picture of the discontinued ''Dartmouth Indian'' mascot.

The students complained that fraternity pledges interrupted a American Indian drumming circle on Columbus Day. They also opposed the scheduling of a Dec. 29 hockey game against the University of North Dakota, whose mascot is the ''Fighting Sioux.'' UND is one of several schools whose use of American Indian imagery has been labeled ''hostile and abusive'' by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The anti-Indian incidents were so offensive that Dartmouth's Native American Council, composed mostly of faculty members, placed a two-page paid advertisement in The Dartmouth, the college daily newspaper, describing recent events and demanding a community response.

But the situation boiled over in late November after the Dartmouth Review published an issue with an inflammatory cover illustration depicting a Native as a crazed-looking ''savage'' holding up a scalp. The cover headline was ''The Natives Are Getting Restless.''

(The illustration is well-known and has been used by national anti-Indian coalitions opposing Indian sovereignty and casinos. It appears on the Web site of Frank Parlato Jr., a relentless opponent of the Seneca Nation of Indians in upstate New York, and showed up recently in messages spread by the Michigan anti-Indian group 23 Is Enough in its campaign to stop the Gun Lake Tribe from opening a casino.)

Inside the review was a long article called ''NADs on the Warpath'' that ridiculed Native students for protesting the events that they saw as racist.

The Review is an independent conservative student publication that is not affiliated with or funded by the college. It has a history of clashes with minority groups for its portrayal of them.

A day after the Review was published, more than 500 students, faculty and administrators protested the publication in a demonstration supporting the American Indian community at Dartmouth.

But in an editorial Dec. 2, the review's editor, Daniel Linsalata, stood behind ''the editorial content'' of the edition.

Linsalata said the cover was meant to be a ''hyperbolic tongue-in-cheek commentary'' on those protesting the semester's events. He offered his ''regret'' that the cover ''may have'' offended people, then went on to attack the NAD organization and its leadership, and ended up justifying the cover and stories.

''The accusation that this cover was maliciously designed as a wantonly racist attack on Native Americans is patently false,'' Linsalata said.

Wright was appalled by the publication, however, and apologized in a three-page letter to the college community.

''I take it as a matter of principle that when people say they have been offended, they have been offended. We may apologize and explain, we may seek to assure that offense was not intended, but it is condescending to insist that they shouldn't be offended, that it is somehow their fault, and that they are humorless since they can't appreciate that what was perceived as offense is merely a 'joke,''' Wright wrote.

He noted with pride that since recommitting itself in 1970 to its original charter mission, Dartmouth College has made a focused effort to recruit both American Indian students and faculty. The college now includes the largest Native population among Ivy League colleges - around 160 students, or 3 percent.

In his press release of support, Garcia noted that Dartmouth has appointed a committee to review how to preserve a set of murals depicting the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, the college founder, ''recruiting'' Indians to the college.

The set of eight murals were painted in 1937 - '38 by Walter Humphries, a magazine cover illustrator and Dartmouth alum. They illustrate a school song written by Richard Hovey in 1894 that was allegedly a comical rendition of the founding of the school. The panels include a picture of a Native man crawling out of the woods on hands and knees to lap up rum from the ground.

Garcia applauded Wright and Michael Hanitchak, director of Native American Programs at Dartmouth, for ''their efforts to create a more inclusive and broader-thinking institution.''

''We hope that all institutions of higher education realize the importance of their social role in fostering these ideals. We hope they will continue to be responsive to the concerns of Native students following this series of troubling incidents,'' Garcia said.

John Mohawk (1945 - 2006) Seneca Nation

We thank the Creator for allowing him to live and teach among us...


John Mohawk, beloved man of wisdom, passes on : ICT [2006/12/15]

University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

News Release

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- John C. Mohawk, Ph.D., of Buffalo and the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, Gowanda, died Sunday (Dec. 10, 2006) in his home in Buffalo. He was 61.

Mohawk was a beloved and highly respected associate professor of American studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Buffalo and a distinguished author, editor, conflict negotiator and champion of the rights of indigenous peoples.

A member of the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nation of Indians, Mohawk was widely recognized as a leading scholar of Seneca culture and history. He also was an expert in Native American economic development and cultural survival who emphasized the relationship between the treatment of indigenous groups and the state of the earth's environment.

A member of the UB faculty since 1987, he was co-director of the Native American Studies Program in the UB Center for the Americas from 1999 to 2002. The center evolved back into the Department of American Studies, which he chaired from 2002-03.

Colleagues praised Mohawk as "a truly remarkable man," and say he will be sorely missed, not only for his scholarship and teaching, but for his legendary optimistic demeanor and the consideration and kindness he demonstrated toward others.

Among Mohawk's 20 books are "Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations and the U.S. Constitution," co-authored with Oren Lyons; "The Red Buffalo," and most recently, "Utopian Legacies: A History of Conquest & Oppression in the Western World." He was contributing editor for "A Basic Call to Consciousness," which in 1978 was taken by the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy to a Conference in Geneva, Switzerland in an effort to establish international law standards for the rights of indigenous peoples.

He also introduced the use of computer technology, images and music into the telling of the history of indigenous peoples through a multimedia CD-ROM project on American Indian history, "Treacherous Conquests: Chronicles of Race Conflicts in Modernity."

A graduate of Hartwick College, Mohawk received a master's degree in American studies in 1989 and doctorate in 1994, both from UB. He received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Hartwick in 1992.

He was a founding board member of the Seventh Generation Fund and the Indian Law Resource Center, and in 1981 served as a negotiator from the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) in helping resolve the Mohawk Nation's explosive Oka crisis at Racquette Point in southern Quebec. He also represented the Haudenosaunee in negotiations to end conflicts in Colombia and Iran.

Mohawk also was an active member of the Seneca Nation's Salamanca Lease Committee and helped to negotiate the settlement that became the 1988 Salamanca Settlement Act. Mohawk served on the Seneca Nation Planning Commission and its investment committee, and was member of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy Grand Council.

From 1967-83, Mohawk served as editor of Akwesasne Notes: a Journal for Native and Natural Peoples, known for the past 26 years as "the voice of indigenous peoples." The work of Akwesasne Notes during his editorial tenure was of signal importance to the movement of Indian people seeking human and civil rights. Mohawk's intellectual leadership, grounded in a strong traditional Longhouse base, provided the native discussion with clear parameters on which to build.

From 1987-95 Mohawk served as founding editor of Daybreak, a national magazine that focuses on Native American and indigenous topics.

In more recent years, he turned his attention to the worldwide environmental crisis, as well as to the health issues of Native Americans.

He wrote and lectured widely on these subjects and contributed essays to many books and journals on Native American culture, including The Native Americas Journal. For decades -- long before the genesis of the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Association it spawned – he spoke out on the crisis of globalization and against the homogenization of indigenous cultures and maximum commodity accumulation.

Mohawk also became a proponent of the international "slow-foods" movement, which promotes the reintroduction of slowly digested, often ancient, foods as a means of fighting heart and circulatory disease, tooth decay, obesity and especially diabetes, which is rampant in many native communities.

To this end, he founded and directed the Iroquois White Corn Project (IWCP) and the Pinewoods Cafe, located on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation in Irving. IWCP and the Pinewoods Cafe are projects that promote and sell Iroquois white corn products and foods to revitalize indigenous agriculture and to reintroduce the traditional Iroquois diet and to support contemporary indigenous farmers.

Because of his involvement in this movement, he was invited in 2002 to present the keynote talk at the 34th annual commencement of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and School of Medicine

Mohawk was the husband of the late Yvonne Dion-Buffalo, Ph.D.., and is survived by his children, Taronwe Mohawk of Freen Bay, Wis.; Forrest; Charlene Brooks; and Lisa Marie Spivak.

Friends may call Thursday from 7-9 p.m. and Friday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the Wentland Funeral Home, 10634 Main St. (Route 62), North Collins. Funeral services will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home and at 10 a.m. at the Longhouse, Cattaraugus Indian Reservation.

14 December 2006

American Scientists 'Step Up'...

'Bout time, enit?


US Scientists Reject Interference
By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News, San Francisco

Some 10,000 US researchers have signed a statement protesting about political interference in the scientific process.

The statement, which includes the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demands a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy.

According to the American Union of Concerned Scientists, data is being misrepresented for political reasons.

It claims scientists working for federal agencies have been asked to change data to fit policy initiatives.

The Union has released an "A to Z" guide that it says documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science, covering issues ranging from global warming to sex education.

Campaigners say that in recent years the White House has been able to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration because a Republican congress has been loath to stand up for scientific integrity.

"It's very difficult to make good public policy without good science, and it's even harder to make good public policy with bad science," said Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security.

"In the last several years, we've seen an increase in both the misuse of science and I would say an increase of bad science in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources."

The statement was released at the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting. It is an annual gathering of Earth scientists.

Last year, it triggered a major row when a discussion here resulted in the renowned US space agency climate scientist Dr James Hansen later claiming he had come under pressure not to talk to the media on global warming issues.

Michael Halpern from the UCS said the statement of objection to political interference had been supported by researchers regardless of their political views.

"This science statement that has now been signed by the 10,000 scientists is signed by science advisers to both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to President Eisenhower, stating that this is not business as usual and calling for this practice to stop," he told BBC News.

The Union said is was hopeful that the new Congress taking office in January would show a greater commitment to protecting the integrity of the scientific process.


Victory for the San...

And all too rare land victory for an Indigenous People...


Botswana Bushmen Win Land Ruling
Bushmen from the Kalahari desert have won a court case in which they accused Botswana's government of illegally moving them from their land.

The court said the bushmen - or San people - were wrongly evicted from their ancestral homeland in 2002.

A panel of three judges ruled by two-to-one in their favour in the major issues in the case.

It is seen as a wider test of whether governments can legally move people from their tribal and ancestral lands.

The leader of the bushmen, Roy Sesana, emerged from court wearing traditional headdress and smiling broadly.

He told the BBC's Orla Guerin that he would return to the Kalahari to greet his ancestors within the next few weeks.

It is unclear how many of the San people will want to return. More than 1,000 were evicted four years ago.

'Unlawful and Unconstitutional'

The bushmen are the oldest people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Crowds of them had trekked overland to the court in the town of Lobatse to wait for the verdict, which was translated for them. There were scenes of jubilation as the result became clear.

"It's about the right of the applicants to live inside the reserve as long as they want - and that's a marvellous victory," said the bushmen's lawyer, Gordon Bennett.

He said he hoped this victory would encourage other indigenous peoples.

The case was the longest and most expensive in Botswana's history.

The bushmen had argued that the government of Botswana acted illegally when it cut off their water supplies and drove them from the central Kalahari game reserve.

In a series of judgements that took all day to read, the High Court found in their favour.

Presiding judge Maruping Dibotelo told the court: "Prior to January 31, 2002, the applicants were in possession of the land which they lawfully occupied in the CKGR (Central Kalahari Game Reserve).

"The applicants were deprived of such possessions forcibly or wrongly and without their consent."

The government's subsequent refusal to allow the bushmen a permit to return to their land was "unlawful and unconstitutional", he added.

A lawyer for the government said an appeal against the verdict was an option, but at this stage the authorities would abide by the judgement.

'Dispiriting' Camps

The San people brought their case forward after being moved to functional but bleak settlements outside the Kalahari game reserve, where a new way of life was imposed.

The government argued that the bushmen did not belong to the Kalahari any more because their lifestyle had changed, and their presence interfered with conservation.

The reserve was a poverty trap that denied them access to health and education, it said, arguing that the bushmen were better off in the settlements, where they had clinics and schools along with better access to food and water.

They also denied allegations that the bushmen were driven out to make way for diamond mining.

The bushmen's lawyer contends that although there are facilities in the camps, there is little for them to do.

"Almost everybody is dependent, to a greater or lesser extent, on handouts and that's a rather dispiriting experience," Mr Bennet said.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/12/13 17:19:40 GMT


Open Season on Palestineans..?

This smells well foul! Apparently, the Israelis have been reading the Bu$h Administration's playbooks...


Israel Court Backs Targeted Kills
Israel's Supreme Court has rejected an attempt to declare that the policy of targeted killings of Palestinian militants is illegal.

The court noted that not every killing complied with international law, but said the legality of operations should be assessed on a "case by case basis".

The ruling came in response to a petition from two human rights groups.

In recent years, Israeli operations have targeted many suspected militants and left dozens of civilians dead.

The practise of targeted killings dates back to the start of the Palestinian intifada in September 2000.

Controversial Tactic

The term is used by Israeli officials who argue that the tactic is a way of killing militants who are about to carry out an attack or are behind such attacks.

However, Israel has targeted political leaders, and civilians have often been killed in the attacks.

The tactic is seen by many human rights groups and by some members of the international community, including Britain and the European Union, as contrary to international law.

Key Palestinian figures, such as Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, have been killed in targeted killings.

The operations often involve air strikes, which use intelligence from agents on the ground to target houses or cars where suspects are believed to be.

Civilian Casualties

The court rejected a total ban saying: "We cannot determine in advance that all targeted killings are contrary to international law."

"At the same time, it is not possible that all such liquidations are in line with international law. The legality of all targeted killings must be examined on a case by case basis."

According to human rights group B'Tselem, 339 Palestinians have died in targeted killings since September 2000, of whom 210 were suspected militants and 129 were bystanders.

The court said that caution was needed to prevent civilian casualties.

"Innocent civilians should not be targeted," it said. "Intelligence on the (targeted) person's identity must be carefully verified."

The court also allowed for the possibility of compensation claims from civilians.

The two human rights groups, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, filed the suit in 2002 but a ruling has been repeatedly delayed.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/12/14 09:53:04 GMT


12 December 2006

Native Designers...

Everyone who's anyone will be wearing Clifton Begay next season...


Fashion From A Native Designer's Perspective

Written by Duane Clauschee
Monday, 04 December 2006

The energy backstage was nervous and excitable, more like combustible. The models were nervous and anxious about what they were going to wear or, more importantly, who they were going to wear. Every genre of Native American design was covered, everything from traditional ceremonial wear to modern evening wear. It was brought and served on a cloud of tulle and shimmering organza.

The staging was ethereal and mystical. Soft Christmas lights guided the models down the catwalk while drapes of soft opaque curtains kept the audience from seeing the chaos that dominated the backstage area. As in many shows the energy backstage is always on the edge but always in a good way.

Glacsy and Native Model Studio pooled their collective talents to form an impressive talent pool of models. The models range in ages 16 to 23 in different heights. As heavenly as the staging might have been the models gilding across the stage made it seem much more divine.

The event was sponsored by the Office of Miss Navajo, The Navajo Nation Museum, The Navajo AIDS Network, Inc., Speedy Sales and Service, Morning Spirit Jewelry, Native Model Studios, In the Image Hair Salon, and Roland’s Navajo Land Tours. Miss Navajo Nation 2006-Jocelyn Billy, and Miss Navajo Nation 1998-Radmilla Cody, entertained the crowd with traditional songs.

Designers served up an eye-catching array of garments that left the audience wanting more. The “newbie,” Clifton Begay, served up a modern look of the traditional Navajo outfit. Three-Tiered skirts with modern blouses and clean lines defined Clifton’s collection while Tionne Taliman’s line: “Glacsy (pronounced glass-see),” showed the evolution of her design skills. Tainted with subtle flavors of Baby Phat and Victoria’s secret, Tionne gave us a look at casual hip-hop/street wear.

Grand Falls Adahiilini Creations presented handbags and totes that paid homage to Navajo icons such as the Blue Bird Flour mascot. Morning Spirit Jewelry pleased with the crowd with their award winning accessories: Semi precious stones strung together in harmony on silver thread. Wanda Clarke with WC Fashions gave the working woman a voice with her casual office wear and casual evening wear harkened back to Donna Karan’s earlier days.

Penny Singer gave us her look at what the Native Cowboy’s will be wearing on the Rodeo circuit this year. With Navajo motifs from the Pinehill rug-weavers and hieroglyphs found on canyon walls, Penny presented a line of dress shirts that anyone could wear with pride.

Last but not least, was Nizhoni Way Apparel. Duane Clauschee, designer of Nizhoni Way Apparel, steered in a completely different direction. Mostly modern, Duane’s designs featured men’s suits in earth tones. The finality of Nizhoni Way Apparel’s line up concluded with a crushed velvet gown with a strap made of turquoise. The designs were more cocktail than casual.

The event brought a greater awareness to the problem that faces many today. AIDS is a serious disease and living in ignorance will not make you immune to the illness. It is no longer some else’s disease and it is not killing off the right people. It is killing children, fathers, mothers, and siblings and none of these people have committed any kind of sin to contract this illness. Fashion as a means of getting a greater audience to listen is always a good cause.

See photos of the fashion show

Human Rights Are NEVER Wrong...

Here's a good, reality oriented history lesson about America's stand on Human Rights...


Bringing Human Rights Home
By Alan Jenkins, TomPaine.com

Posted on December 9, 2006

What if the world's governments came together and agreed on the fundamental rights that every human being must have in order to enjoy basic dignity, opportunity, and a meaningful life?

What if their agreement was profoundly progressive, recognizing civil and political rights like free speech, due process, and non-discrimination, as well as economic and social rights like the right to health care and housing, to organize, and to receive a living wage for a hard day's work? And what if they memorialized those rights in a seminal document, from which more specific commitments and enforcement could and did flow?

Most Americans would be surprised to learn that such a document exists. It's called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it turns 58 years old on December 10 -- International Human Rights Day.

Although the United States played a leadership role in fashioning the Declaration and advocating its adoption, it also took steps to hamper its use here at home, bowing to Southern Democrats who feared it would overturn segregation. And in the years since, our government has failed to ratify, or outright opposed, key international agreements intended to fulfill the Declaration's promise, even as it pushed other nations to take human rights seriously.

It's time to change that. Events over the last six years -- Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, racial profiling and warrantless wiretaps, exclusion of immigrants from basic services and due process, Hurricane Katrina, and 47 million Americans without health insurance -- make clear that it's time to bring human rights home.

What do international human rights bring to Americans that our own Constitution and current domestic laws do not? Plenty.

For example, the federal courts have largely rejected the notion that the Constitution protects economic rights. But the Universal Declaration provides that "everyone has the right to work" under "just and favorable conditions," and that "everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection."

The Declaration affirms that "everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests." It guarantees that "everyone has the right to education." And it insists that "everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."

If that language sounds familiar, it's because Eleanor Roosevelt and other members of the U.S. delegation to the Declaration process borrowed heavily from FDR's vision of an "economic bill of rights" that led us out of the Great Depression and laid the foundation for unprecedented post-war prosperity.

Another area in which human rights add tremendous value is in ensuring equal opportunity and preventing discrimination. While a mountain of research shows that our criminal justice system is infected by racial bias and unfairness -- with race influencing outcomes in policing, arrest, jury selection, prosecution, conviction, and punishment -- our courts have declined to find a constitutional violation without proof that an identifiable person in the system intentionally sought to harm people of a particular race. Such a showing is almost impossible to make, and, in any event, misses the point.

By contrast, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, which the U.S. has signed and ratified, takes a more realistic and effective approach. It prohibits practices that have the effect of treating people differently based on their race -- whether or not that discriminatory treatment is intentional. Well-documented racial bias in drug sentencing and the death penalty, for example, clearly fail that test.

These and other human rights agreements, when applied through the lens of our own Constitution, laws, and national values, can move us closer to the ideals of justice and opportunity that Americans hold dear.

How can we bring human rights home? The new Congress can make a difference immediately by ratifying outstanding human rights treaties without significant reservations. A good place to start is the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which only the United States and the collapsed state of Somalia have failed to ratify. The U.S. has resisted ratifying the CRC because it outlaws the execution of children. Now that our own Supreme Court has held juvenile executions unconstitutional, our government should quickly ratify it.

Another important step would be to add to our existing civil rights laws a new generation of domestic human rights laws that apply our international commitments here at home. We don't have to wait for Washington to begin making that happen. State and municipal governments can take the lead, as San Francisco did when it adopted an ordinance implementing the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. That action, which immediately led to more equitable city spending and a new, pragmatic focus on preventing violence against women, established an exciting example for other local governments.

Finally, we should all educate our fellow Americans about human rights as a proud part of our nation's legacy and crucial to our nation's future. After all, it was the founders of our country who declared it to be self-evident that we're all created equal and endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. Human rights are profoundly American, even as they are global and universal. And bringing them home is crucial to making our country all that it was meant to be.

Opponents of human rights argue that reclaiming our role and responsibility within the international human rights framework would somehow threaten our national sovereignty. But in an era of globalization and interconnection, in which we routinely participate in international trade agreements, anti-terrorism compacts, and anti-nuclear efforts, it makes no sense to argue that participating in our half-century-old international human rights system is somehow a threat. To the contrary, reclaiming our leadership role on human rights will help to reestablish our credibility and influence around the world.

Once again December 10 is International Human Rights Day. It's a good time to remind your elected officials, your community leaders, your family and friends, that it's also American Human Rights Day, and that it's time to make that mean something again.

Alan Jenkins is executive director of The Opportunity Agenda, a communications, research, and advocacy organization with the mission of building the national will to expand opportunity in America. He previously served as director of Human Rights at the Ford Foundation, and as assistant to the solicitor general at the U.S. Department of Justice.

© 2006 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/45142/

Quote of the Day...

"...hate is never conquered by hate. Hate is conquered by love. This is an eternal law..." --Gautama Buddha (563 -483 BCE), from the Dhammapada

07 December 2006

Seminole Nation Goes GLOBAL!

Please support your neighborhood Hard Rock Cafe! Buy NDN, where and whenever possible...


Seminole Tribe in Hard Rock Deal
British entertainment company Rank Group has agreed to sell its Hard Rock Cafe chain to an American Indian tribe for $965m (£490m).

The business is being bought by the Seminole tribe of Florida, which already runs Hard Rock-branded hotels and casinos in Tampa and Hollywood.

The Hard Rock business made a pre-tax profit of £35m in 2005 and has 132 outlets worldwide.

Rank will now focus on online and phone betting, casinos and bingo clubs.

It has sold off a number of leisure businesses in recent years, including Butlin's, Warner Holidays, Odeon Cinemas, Pinewood Studios and pub chain Tom Cobleigh.

No surrender

Rank said it would pass £350m of the sale proceeds to shareholders via a special dividend.

"Today's announcement sets a clear strategic course for Rank as a focused gaming business," said chief executive Ian Burke.

"We have established clear plans to capitalise on the changes taking place in UK gaming."

The 12,000-strong Seminole tribe has lands in Oklahoma and Florida, and its main business interests are in tobacco, tourism and gambling.

The Florida Seminoles had relied on cattle, citrus fruits and federal loans for economic survival until the late 1970s, when they opened their first bingo hall and tax-free tobacco store.

The tribe now runs two massive Hard Rock hotels and casinos on two of its reservations in Florida and has gaming businesses on three other sites.

It is the only American Indian tribe never to have signed a peace treaty with the United States.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/12/07 10:49:52 GMT


03 December 2006

When Is Green REALLY Green?

Conscious Choice: Stealing Green

It starts with a light bulb. But not just any run of the mill watt-
sucker—this is the much-touted CFL, the energy-saver that lasts ten
times as long while using only one quarter of the electricity of the
average incandescent. Accompanied by a press kit from General
Electric's new "Ecomagination" division, the wonderbulb rests cozily
inside a bright green recycled cardboard sleeve covered with big,
overlapping words like "sustainability, " "commitment, " "environment"
and "conserve." A corn-fiber string affixed to the packaging attaches
a square of biodegradable fiber embossed with the GE logo and embedded
with wildflower seeds, along with a little slip of rough, seemingly
hand-made paper that bears a note encouraging you to plant the fiber and watch the seeds "burst into beautiful flowers."

A second slip of paper bears a less lyrical message. "Warning. Lamp contains mercury."

Read the rest HERE!

Bu$h Redefines American History...

A little humour for you...


Bush Orders "American Civil War" Renamed "American Sectarian Violence Conflict of 1861-1865" in Light of Iraq Concerns

Created 11/29/2006 - 6:17pm


President Bush issued an executive order today renaming the American Civil War as the "American Sectarian Violence Conflict of 1861-1865." In the name of accuracy, all references to the previous title on federal property were ordered changed by the end of December, although current history textbooks in public schools are allowed to remain in use through the end of the academic year.

"I just don't see what was so civil about the conflict," Bush noted in a press conference. "All you really had was a lot of sectarian violence between the two sides. The truth is that it wasn’t even that bad. People just got an exaggerated viewpoint because all of the terrible things the liberal media showed on TV at the time."

Bush stressed that the important thing to remember is that "the Yankees" won because President Lincoln refused to leave until the job was done and "all the Democrats kept their darn mouths shut."

"Freeing the Mexicans was pretty good, too," he added.

With Bush refusing to acknowledge civil war in Iraq despite such a declaration by a growing number of experts, news publications, and even his former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, the White House is struggling to insure the public has the correct definition of the term.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says war is "a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations," but civil war is "a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country." According to a White House source speaking on the condition of anonymity, the Administration's official position is that civil wars are thus semantically impossible by technicality since "war" is only between different states.

"I don't quite understand how it works myself," the source said, "but Karl was really insistent that we don't ever say the words 'civil war' under any circumstance. . . oops."

President Bush remarked during the press conference that the renaming of the "American Sectarian Violence Conflict of 1861-1865" represented a turning point for his strategy in Iraq. "The enemy wants us to change our terminology," Bush said. "The only way we lose in Iraq is if we call it a civil war. . . oops."

Rumsfeld "Opts Out"...?

Am I the only who finds it very f*cking interesting the old crank wasn't willing to admit publically that they just might have been wrong? He was still picking fights with anybody who showed up with real questions or common sense right up until the day he got shit-canned.

I believe "Rummy" owes every American family who loss a loved-one in Iraq, every wounded Veteran and the country in general an apology for his shameful actions in manipulating and obscuring the Truth...


Rumsfeld Urged Iraq Tactics Shift

Former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld proposed major changes to the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq just two days before he resigned.

He made the call in a classified memo to the White House, which has been obtained by the New York Times.

Mr Rumsfeld's memo says US strategy in Iraq "is not working well enough" and calls for "a major adjustment".

President Bush faces growing pressure to decide a new Iraq course with an advisory group due to report this week.

"In my view it is time for a major adjustment," Mr Rumsfeld wrote in the memo dated 6 November.

"Clearly, what US forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough."

Apart from President Bush, the combative Mr Rumsfeld was identified more than anyone else with the US administration's strategy of "staying the course" in Iraq.

So it seems extraordinary that behind the scenes he was calling for major changes, the BBC's James Westhead in Washington says.

However, in recent months he had begun to acknowledge publicly that US tactics were not working and needed to be more flexible, our correspondent notes.

Bad Behaviour

The document, first published by the New York Times and subsequently confirmed by the Pentagon, contains no reference to Mr Rumsfeld's imminent resignation.

Mr Rumsfeld was replaced following Republican losses to the Democrats in the US mid-term elections.

His proposals in the memo include troop redeployments and base closures, in apparent contradiction with his public assertions that it is commanders in the field who determine troop levels.

The memo also suggests "beginning with modest withdrawals of US and coalition forces... so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country".

The US should "stop rewarding bad behaviour", the memo says. Reconstruction efforts should be in those parts of Iraq that are behaving and no more reconstruction assistance should be given in areas where there is violence.

Mr Rumsfeld also urges President Bush to copy the tactics of Iraq's deposed leader: "Provide money to key political leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get them to help us get through this difficult period."

Among other options described as "Above the Line" are:

* Significantly increase the number of US trainers and transfer more equipment to Iraqi security forces
* Reduce quickly the number of US bases, currently 55, to five by July 2007
* Position substantial US forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders to reduce infiltration and Iran's influence
* Withdraw US forces from vulnerable positions, such as patrols, and use them as a quick reaction force to help Iraqi security forces when needed

Any new approach should be announced as being on a "trial basis", giving the administration the ability to change if necessary and therefore not "lose", the memo says.

Withdrawal Date

Mr Rumsfeld also outlined a number of "Below the Line" or less attractive options, including continuing on the current path, moving large numbers of US forces into Baghdad and increasing US forces substantially.

Other proposals include setting a firm withdrawal date and pushing an "aggressive" federalism plan to move towards three separate states - Sunni, Shia and Kurd.

News of Mr Rumsfeld's proposals comes as the Iraq Study Group, which brings together senior politicians and diplomats, is preparing to present its findings to Mr Bush.

Their recommendations are widely expected to include a gradual phased withdrawal of US troops over the next 18 months.

Mr Bush has indicated he will look closely at but not necessarily follow the group's suggestions.

"I want to hear all advice before I make any decision about adjustments to our strategy in Iraq," Mr Bush said in his radio address on Saturday.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/12/03 08:43:24 GMT


01 December 2006

The Village of Earth...

Just got this from a Friend at Tribal Fires...


If The Earth was A Village!

If we could shrink the earth's population to village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratio remaining the same, it would look something like the following:

There would be:


57 Asians

21 Europeans

14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south

8 Africans


52 would be female

48 would be male

70 would be non-white

30 would be white


70 would be non-Christian

30 would be Christian

89 would be heterosexual

11 would be homosexual


6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.

80 would live in substandard housing

70 would be unable to read

50 would suffer from malnutrition


1 would be near death

1 would be near birth

1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education

1 would own a computer

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

The following is also something to ponder...

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness...you are more blessed than many others. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation...you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death...you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep...you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still married ... you are very rare, even in the United States and Canada.

If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.