Docudharma Times Sunday January 11

Commission To Investigate Torture?

Which Means That The Investigation Will Go No Where  




Sunday’s Headlines:

States ponder early release for some prisoners

Israel to step up assault on Hamas

Who killed Mr Lebanon?: The hunt for Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s assassins

Deal to resume Russian gas eludes EU as 11 people die in big freeze-up

Merkel makes £44bn U-turn to try to save sinking German economy

Zimbabwe’s sick forced to pay with US dollars

Governing Party, Facing Challenge, Moves Left in South Africa

Kim Jong-il’s stand-in outdoes master

Key election test for new Thai PM

Colombia Indians face down violence

U.S. Rejected Aid for Israeli Raid on Iranian Nuclear Site



By DAVID E. SANGER

Published: January 10, 2009


WASHINGTON – President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons, according to senior American and foreign officials.White House officials never conclusively determined whether Israel had decided to go ahead with the strike before the United States protested, or whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel was trying to goad the White House into more decisive action before Mr. Bush left office. But the Bush administration was particularly alarmed by an Israeli request to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz, where the country’s only known uranium enrichment plant is located.

Behind the lines with the Taliban

A Times writer joins Taliban fighters in an especially dangerous part of Afghanistan. The men appear to have no fear of troops, and prove to be gracious hosts.

By Paul Watson

January 11, 2009


Reporting from Ghazni, Afghanistan — The main highway is “enemy territory” for the Taliban, a busy two-lane road where U.S. troops race down the middle, trying to steer clear of suicide bombers. The guerrillas drive it like they own it.

Grinning with contempt at a convoy of Polish troops trying to plow its way through traffic the other day, three Taliban fighters with guns and long knives concealed under their heavy woolen cloaks calmly eased into the other lane and beat the jam.

 

USA

Obama Stresses Plan’s Job Potential

Advisers See Nearly 4 Million Positions Saved or Created

By Perry Bacon Jr.

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, January 11, 2009; Page A01


Facing increased skepticism from both parties about the details of his economic stimulus proposal, President-elect Barack Obama and his team yesterday laid out new claims regarding the $775 billion package, saying that 90 percent of the jobs produced would be in the private sector, including hundreds of thousands in construction and manufacturing.Obama used his weekly radio address to continue his pre-inaugural campaign to build momentum for passage of the stimulus package, saying: “The jobs we create will be in businesses large and small across a wide range of industries.

 

States ponder early release for some prisoners

Budget woes prompt officials to consider changes in corrections policies

Associated Press

NEW YORK – Their budgets in crisis, governors, legislators and prison officials across the nation are making or considering policy changes that will likely remove tens of thousands of offenders from prisons and parole supervision.

Collectively, the pending and proposed initiatives could add up to one of biggest shifts ever in corrections policy, putting into place cost-saving reforms that have struggled to win political support in the tough-on-crime climate of recent decades.

“Prior to this fiscal crisis, legislators could tinker around the edges – but we’re now well past the tinkering stage,” said Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, which advocates alternatives to incarceration.

Middle East

Israel to step up assault on Hamas

Leaflets warn Palestinians not to be ‘close to terrorists’ as hawks push to extend operations into city streets in phase three

Chris McGreal in Jerusalem

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 10 January 2009 21.15 GMT


The Israeli military appeared to be preparing for a major new ground assault against Gaza City and other towns tonight after dropping leaflets warning residents it was about to “escalate” its offensive against Hamas.

The tens of thousands of leaflets, dropped on parts of Gaza City, the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya and the south of the territory, warned residents: “The Israeli Defence Force will soon escalate its operations against tunnels, weapons warehouses, terrorist infrastructure and terrorists all over the Gaza Strip. To keep yourself and your families safe, you are ordered not to be close to terrorists, weapons warehouses and the places where the terrorists operate.”

Who killed Mr Lebanon?: The hunt for Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s assassins

In 2005, a 1,700kg bomb ripped through the heart of Beirut, taking with it Lebanon’s former premier, Rafiq Hariri. His alleged assassins are due in court in The Hague early this year. But will a trial with potentially explosive implications for the entire Middle East ever be allowed to go ahead?

By Robert Fisk

Sunday, 11 January 2009


Near the old civil-war front line in the centre of Beirut stands a large digital clock with blood-red numbers. It has almost reached the neat, round figure of 1,500 and represents the days since Rafiq Hariri was murdered. You still hear people in Lebanon asking for “haqiqa” – “the truth”; my driver Abed even has a slim, black sticker tied to the mirror of our car with the word in Arabic script. The trouble is that as that figure on the digital clock goes on climbing, a lot of Lebanese are beginning to doubt they will ever know who murdered the billionaire and former prime minister – along with 21 others – on the Beirut Corniche on 14 February 2005. This St Valentine’s Day massacre was caused by an estimated 1,700kg of explosives, but despite a massive United Nations inquiry involving Irish police officers, judges from Germany, Belgium and Canada, and the setting up of an entire tribunal headquarters in The Hague, no one has been charged.

Europe

Deal to resume Russian gas eludes EU as 11 people die in big freeze-up



Luke Harding in Moscow and Dan McLaughlin in Budapest

The Observer, Sunday 11 January 2009


Tens of thousands of homes across Europe continued to freeze last night after Russia and Ukraine again failed to agree on a deal to end their bitter dispute and resume gas deliveries to an increasingly desperate European Union.

The Czech prime minister and EU president, Mirek Topolanek, arrived in Moscow yesterday for talks with Vladimir Putin in an attempt to persuade the prime minister to restart supplies of gas to Europe, which have been cut off since last Wednesday.

But Russia was still refusing amid wrangling over the details of an EU monitoring mission. EU experts arrived in Ukraine on Friday and have taken up positions at gas monitoring stations in the east and west of Ukraine.

Merkel makes £44bn U-turn to try to save sinking German economy

Critic of UK’s ‘crass Keynesianism’ offers package of tax cuts and state spending

By Tony Paterson in Berlin

Sunday, 11 January 2009


Angela Merkel will make her sharpest political U-turn since becoming German Chancellor this week when her government unveils a €50bn (£44bn) package of tax cuts and incentives to protect Europe’s biggest economy from deepening recession.

The “Pact for Germany” programme contains a battery of tax cuts, health insurance reductions and special government funds designed to stimulate an economy forecast to contract by 3 per cent this year.

The measures, expected to be agreed at a crisis cabinet meeting tomorrow, will be announced only weeks after Mrs Merkel’s grand coalition government heaped scorn on Britain for “tossing around billions” in its efforts to tackle the credit crunch.

Africa

Zimbabwe’s sick forced to pay with US dollars



From The Sunday Times

January 11, 2009


Sophie Shaw, Harare

A ROMAN CATHOLIC priest called Father Seke sat in Harare last week with Blessing, a pregnant parishioner, praying for a normal birth. “Her family has struggled to find money for her birthing,” he said. “But if she needs surgery there is no more and she might pass [away].”

Like millions of other Zimbabweans, Blessing is facing punitive new charges for basic healthcare that have been imposed by the government of President Robert Mugabe as the state collapses around him.

David Parirenyatwa, his health minister, announced last week that public hospitals would be permitted to charge patients in US dollars for essential services.

Governing Party, Facing Challenge, Moves Left in South Africa>



By CELIA W. DUGGER

Published: January 10, 2009

JOHANNESBURG – Facing a determined challenge from a breakaway faction, the governing African National Congress presented a campaign manifesto on Saturday that advocates a greater government role in generating jobs and major new spending on education, health and antipoverty programs.

With the economy weakening and elections only a few months away, party officials depicted the new agenda as a pronounced shift to the left, but some political analysts said the change was far more modest and questioned the party’s ability to deliver.

The party’s president, Jacob Zuma, told tens of thousands of people gathered for a rally in East London that the party would “put in place a comprehensive, state-led industrial policy that will direct public and private investment to support employment creation and broader economic transformation.”

Asia

Kim Jong-il’s stand-in outdoes master

From The Sunday Times

January 11, 2009


Michael Sheridan, Far East Correspondent

THE brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il has taken over the running of North Korea, stamping on dissent while the dictator recovers from a stroke.

A stream of reports has reached exiles about the man wielding an iron fist to keep the country under tight control as its 23m people endure a hungry winter.

He is Jang Song-thaek, a 62-year-old lifetime party functionary with pomaded hair, gold-rimmed glasses and a taste for dark suits, who was nominated on December 6 as director of the Korean Workers’ party, a title that conceals his role as head of internal security. His chief qualification for the job is his the fact that he is married to Kim’s younger sister, Kyung-hee.

Key election test for new Thai PM

Votes are being held in Thailand for 29 parliamentary seats, seen as the first test of support for the new coalition government of PM Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The BBC  

His Democrat Party-led coalition came to power in December and only has a slim majority in parliament.

The previous leadership was forced out by a court ruling and months of anti-government protests.

The court ruling also banned 29 MPs from politics, triggering by-elections across 22 states.

The previous governing party, allied to former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, is hoping to pick up enough seats to weaken the new government’s hold on power.

Public anger

If most of the seats being contested in Sunday’s by-election were to go to what is now the opposition, says the BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok, it would erode the government’s majority in parliament to the point where it could barely function.

Latin America

Colombia Indians face down violence

Rebels, drug traffickers and soldiers may battle around them and encroach on their lands, but tribes hold on to their peaceful ways to resolve conflicts.

By Chris Kraul

January 11, 2009


Reporting from Jambalo, Colombia — After word spread across this Indian reservation that seven people had been kidnapped by leftist rebels, the community’s unarmed “indigenous guard” sprang into action.

Within minutes, hundreds of men, women and children were out on roads and pathways searching for the hostages, communicating by radio, cellphone and shouts. Many held lanterns that, as the search continued after nightfall, made the rescue party seem an eerily glowing centipede snaking up and down hillsides.

3 comments

    • dkmich on January 11, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Commission To Investigate Torture?

    Which Means That The Investigation Will Go No Where  

    The most we will get is a return to the Clinton WH – big whoop.  Given this, we would have been better off with Hillary.    

  1. Combatants for Peace

    Former Iraeli Pilots Share Peace Vision with Palestinian Counterparts

    With the recent rapid development of air strike and now full land based incursion of the Israeli military forces into the Gaza Strip, the need for the international community to intervene and impose a just peace for all parties concerned is more urgent than ever. A long haul stretching into months and perhaps years, the civilian casualty of thousands of innocent civilians including dozens from the Israeli side, along with a few billion dollars of financial burdens on both sides, is inevitable. Here it is yet another opportunity for the U.S. administration albeit the Obama administration to set a new bold “objective” leadership to effectuate the amicable resolution of this conflict, thereby regaining the respectful stature of the Americans they once enjoyed.

    On a recent Thursday evening, Pace University hosted two former ranking officers from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). They presented their perspectives, as shaped through on-going dialogues with their former Palestinian counterparts and adversaries.  After over sixty years of bloodshed inflicted on both sides, they emphasized the fact that the asymmetric war of “occupation” is lop-sided in favor of Israel, because it benefits so heavily from American aid. The aid is given annually in the form of substantial military hardware, intelligence, training and economic subsidies.   The speakers cited the lobbying activities of AIPAC, the American Israeli Political Action Committee, in the United States as counterproductive to peace and the genuine interests of Israel.  AIPAC ensures that the United States will continue to provide Israel all the military hardware and money it needs to pursue the path of occupation not the path of peace and thus does a disservice to Israel, they opined.

    Read Rest Here

    Combatants for Peace

    *********

    How Many Divisions?

    NEARLY SEVENTY YEARS ago, in the course of World War II, a heinous crime was committed in the city of Leningrad. For more than a thousand days, a gang of extremists called “the Red Army” held the millions of the town’s inhabitants hostage and provoked retaliation from the German Wehrmacht from inside the population centers. The Germans had no alternative but to bomb and shell the population and to impose a total blockade, which caused the death of hundreds of thousands.

    Some time before that, a similar crime was committed in England. The Churchill gang hid among the population of London, misusing the millions of citizens as a human shield. The Germans were compelled to send their Luftwaffe and reluctantly reduce the city to ruins. They called it the Blitz.

    This is the description that would now appear in the history books – if the Germans had won the war.

    Absurd? No more than the daily descriptions in our media, which are being repeated ad nauseam: the Hamas terrorists use the inhabitants of Gaza as “hostages” and exploit the women and children as “human shields”, they leave us no alternative but to carry out massive bombardments, in which, to our deep sorrow, thousands of women, children and unarmed men are killed and injured.

    Read Rest Here

    Gush-Shalom

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