Docudharma Times Saturday February 9

This is an Open Thread: young people speakin there minds getting so much resistance far behind

Saturday’s Headlines:No Funds in Bush Budget For Troop-Benefits Plan: War strains U.S. military in tackling new crises: As Most of China Celebrates New Year, a Scramble Continues in Coal Country: Two children die as Iraqi poison plot recalls Saddam’s assassination method of choice: ‘A new phase in the arms race is unfolding’ says Putin: In Venezuela, Faith in Chávez Starts to Wane

6 Guantánamo Detainees Are Said to Face Trial Over 9/11

Military prosecutors are in the final phases of preparing the first sweeping case against suspected conspirators in the plot that led to the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, and drew the United States into war, people who have been briefed on the case said.

The charges, to be filed in the military commission system at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, would involve as many as six detainees held at the detention camp, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the former senior aide to Osama bin Laden, who has said he was the principal planner of the plot.

The case could begin to fulfill a longtime goal of the Bush administration: establishing culpability for the terrorist attacks of 2001.


No Funds in Bush Budget For Troop-Benefits Plan

He Made Proposal in January Speech

President Bush drew great applause during his State of the Union address last month when he called on Congress to allow U.S. troops to transfer their unused education benefits to family members. “Our military families serve our nation, they inspire our nation, and tonight our nation honors them,” he said.

A week later, however, when Bush submitted his $3.1 trillion federal budget to Congress, he included no funding for such an initiative, which government analysts calculate could cost $1 billion to $2 billion annually

War strains U.S. military in tackling new crises

Admiral: Risk to capabilities remains significant, 15-month tours too long

WASHINGTON – A classified Pentagon assessment concludes that long battlefield tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with persistent terrorist activity and other threats, have prevented the U.S. military from improving its ability to respond to any new crisis, The Associated Press has learned.

Despite security gains in Iraq, the military was not able to reduce the response risk level, which was raised from moderate to significant last year, according to the report.


As Most of China Celebrates New Year, a Scramble Continues in Coal Country

DATONG, China – At the mouth of the Tashan mine, one of the largest coal mines in China, men in hard hats waited to begin another shift a quarter mile underground. Lunch break was over. Their faces were smeared with black coal dust as a dingy white truck carried them down an underground road to the floor of the mine.

“We’re working pretty much all the time,” said a man with a small lamp hooked around his neck before he climbed onto the truck and disappeared into the dark tunnel.

In China, Thursday marked the Lunar New Year and ushered in the Year of the Rat. For Chinese families, especially those of migrant workers, the holiday offers an annual opportunity to reunite. Yet for miners here in coal country, Thursday was just another workday. Vacations have been canceled. China is too desperate for coal to allow them a day off.

US says Mullah Omar ‘in Pakistan’

Taleban leader Mullah Omar and al-Qaeda commanders, including Osama Bin Laden, are living in Pakistan, a senior US official has told reporters.

He said senior Taleban leaders were in hiding with Mullah Omar in Quetta, from where they co-ordinated the insurgency in Afghanistan.

He also reiterated Washington’s belief that Bin Laden was taking refuge in Pakistan’s western tribal areas.

Islamabad repeatedly denies that Mullah Omar or Bin Laden are in Pakistan.

Middle East

Two children die as Iraqi poison plot recalls Saddam’s assassination method of choice

· Cakes laced with thallium left at popular sports club

· Britain sends antidote to Basra base and hospitals

Michael Howard in Baghdad

Saturday February 9, 2008

The Guardian

Iraqi authorities are investigating a case of poisoning at a Baghdad sports club popular with the army in which two children have died and nine people have been taken to hospital. All were reported to have eaten cakes laced with thallium, the toxin that was often used by Saddam’s secret police to kill political opponents.

Security officials said it was the first known incident of deliberate thallium poisoning since the fall of the regime.

Police said they had traced the two cakes to a bakery in Baghdad’s Adhamiya district. This Sunni Arab stronghold was a bastion for supporters of the late dictator, and more recently a major locus of activity for Sunni extremists.

‘Tragic protest’ of Iraqi Kurdish women

Like their colleagues across Iraq, the doctors and nurses at the Emergency Management Centre in Irbil work relentlessly.

The medical specialisms at this hospital are war surgery and burns.

With the continuing violence in nearby Mosul and Diyala province, war surgery is in great demand. So too is the burns unit.

The chief nurse, Ahmed Mohammad, has done the tour of the women’s intensive care unit many times before.

“This is ICU burns,” he said. “We have four patients here.”

In the corner of the ward lies a girl swaddled in bandages.

“The upper part of her body is burnt. So are her head and her arms, as well as one of her thighs,” he said.

Eighteen-year-old Sana has been here for nine weeks. Only the tips of her fingers and a small part of her face are visible.


‘A new phase in the arms race is unfolding’ says Putin

Vladimir Putin has used one of the last major speeches of his presidency to deliver a defiant message to the West, accusing it of unleashing a new arms race that left Moscow no choice but to retaliate in kind. Less than a month before presidential elections that his hand-picked successor is almost certain to win, the speech removed any lingering doubts that Russian foreign policy might become less aggressive after Mr Putin steps down.

“It’s clear that a new arms race is unfolding in the world,” said Mr Putin, one that Russia did not start. And he vowed that Russia would respond to the threats by developing newer and more modern weapons that were as good as if not better than those possessed by Western countries. “We are being forced into retaliating … Russia has and always will have the answers to these challenges,” he said.

Soldier’s message in a bottle surfaces – 90 years later

By John Lichfield in Paris

Saturday, 9 February 2008

A message in a bottle, which has floated on the waves of time for 90 years, has been found by French archaeologists.

The beer bottle contained a letter sent to an American soldier fighting in the First World War from his “Aunt Pete” in Oklahoma City. It was discovered by accident by archaeologists exploring a 6th and 7th century Merovingian settlement, at Messein in Lorraine.

The letter gives a jaunty, unthinkingly racist account of life in the US Midwest in July 1918, four months before the end of the war. “Its [sic] all most [sic] impossible to get help of any kind and those you do get are likely to be called any time,” Aunt Pete writes. “There is a big bunch of darkeys going tomorrow night. They had a big parade today and are going to have a big dance tomorrow at the colored park: we lost our porter.”

Latin America

In Venezuela, Faith in Chávez Starts to Wane

CARACAS, Venezuela – These should be the best of times for Venezuela, blessed with the largest conventional oil reserves outside the Middle East and oil prices near record highs. But this country’s economic and social problems have become so acute lately that President Hugo Chávez is facing an unusual onslaught of criticism, even from his own supporters, about his management of the country.

In a rare turnabout, it is Mr. Chávez’s opponents who appear to have the political winds at their backs as they reverse policies of abstention and prepare dozens of candidates for pivotal regional elections. Mr. Chávez, for perhaps the first time since a recall vote in 2004, is increasingly on the defensive as his efforts to advance Venezuela toward socialism are seen as failing to address a growing list of worries like violent crime and shortages of basic foods.

Scholar: US sought help in Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia – An American scholar said Friday that an official at the U.S. Embassy asked him to keep tabs on Venezuelan and Cuban workers in Bolivia. Washington said that any such request would be an error and against U.S. policy.

“I was shocked,” Fulbright scholar Alex van Schaick told The Associated Press. “I mean, this man’s asking me to spy for the U.S. government.” Van Schaick is one of six Fulbright scholars doing research in the country.

The U.S. Embassy in La Paz issued a statement Friday saying that “some routine information sessions about security given to certain American citizens included incorrect information. As soon as this was brought to our attention, appropriate measures were taken to assure that these errors would not be repeated.”


UN: Peacekeepers plan to leave Eritrea

UNITED NATIONS – In an unusual move, the United Nations is being forced to prepare an imminent pullout from Eritrea and plans to relocate all its peacekeeping troops there across the border in Ethiopia, senior U.N. officials and diplomats told The Associated Press on Friday.

Because of restrictions imposed by the Eritrean government, U.N. personnel are down to their last remaining emergency reserves of diesel fuel to power generators, vehicles and other equipment for the 7 1/2-year-old peacekeeping operation.

At last count, that operation had about 1,500 troops and 200 military observers, along with several hundred civilians and dozens of volunteers based out of Asmara, Eritrea and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Mbeki: South Africa Challenged But ‘Still On Course’

South African President Thabo Mbeki on Friday outlined his plan of action for his final full year in office. He says his country is “still on course,” despite a decline in economic growth, widespread electricity blackouts and infighting inside his own ruling party. For VOA, Terry FitzPatrick reports from Cape Town.


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    • on February 9, 2008 at 13:46

    Supporting the troops in his own unique way. Which means he doesn’t.

  1. 6 Gitmo “detainees” to stand trial?

    I shall hang in great anticipation of the blow by blow 24 seven coverage of the event by Faux News.  What’s that you say?  No coverage?  Enquiring minds want to know.

    • Edger on February 9, 2008 at 15:26

    A show trial. A Star Chamber. Old Soso would be proud. And George will finally carve his legacy into stone for the history books.

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