Docudharma Times Tuesday February 24

Senator Richard Shellby Of Alabama

Decides That Wild Wing Nut Conspiracy Theories      

Are True That Tin Foil Hat

Must Be A Little Tight

Tuesday’s Headlines:

U.S. Clears Path to Bank Takeovers

Symbol of hope as Iraq’s looted and gutted national museum reopens

Shock as Olmert fires his key negotiator

Legionnaires on defensive: legendary force faces claims recruits were abused

Farming policy: an end to French hypocrisy?

Darfur rebel leader vows to topple President al-Bashir

For Rwandans, Fragile Acts of Faith

For Pakistan’s Swat residents, uneasy calm

Governor of Mexico’s Chihuahua state downplays attack

‘Those I hoped would rescue me were allied with my abusers’

Richard Norton-Taylor

The Guardian, Tuesday 24 February 2009

Britain’s role in the secret abduction of terror suspects came under intense new scrutiny with the return to the UK of Binyam Mohamed yesterday after more than four years in Guantánamo Bay.

Senior MPs said they intended to pursue ministers and officials over what they knew of his ill-treatment and why Britain helped the CIA interrogate him.

In a statement released shortly after he arrived in a US Gulfstream jet at RAF Northolt in west London, Mohamed said: “For myself, the very worst moment came when I realised in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence.”

Once inside the terminal building he met his sister for the fist time in more than seven years and in the most emotionally charged moment of the day they both cried and hugged.

North Korea ‘plans rocket launch’

North Korea has announced that it is preparing to launch a rocket carrying a communications satellite.


It did not give a date for the launch, but said it would mark a great step forward for the communist state.

Correspondents say the statement is Pyongyang’s clearest reference yet to what neighbours believe may be the imminent test of a long-range missile.

When it tested the Taepodong-1 missile in 1998, it claimed to have put a satellite in orbit.

In July 2006 it test-fired the three-stage long-range Taepodong-2, but the missile failed shortly after launch.

North Korea’s move comes amid heightened tensions with South Korea, and with Pyongyang pushing for a top spot on the agenda of the new US administration.

Alaska reach

The announcement came in a statement from the national space agency, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).



U.S. Pressed to Add Billions to Bailouts

This article is by Edmund L. Andrews, Andrew Ross Sorkin and Mary Williams Walsh

The government faced mounting pressure on Monday to put billions more in some of the nation’s biggest banks, two of the biggest automakers and the biggest insurance company, despite the billions it has already committed to rescuing them.

The government’s boldest rescue to date, its $150 billion commitment for the insurance giant American International Group, is foundering. A.I.G. indicated on Monday it was now negotiating for tens of billions of dollars in additional assistance as losses have mounted.

Separately, the Obama administration confirmed it was in discussions to aid Citigroup, the recipient of $45 billion so far, that could raise the government’s stake in the banking company to as much as 40 percent.

U.S. Clears Path to Bank Takeovers

Obama’s Revised Plan for Industry Aid Could Result in Nationalization

By Binyamin Appelbaum and David Cho

Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, February 24, 2009; Page A01

The Obama administration yesterday revamped the terms of its emergency aid to troubled financial firms, setting a course that could culminate with the government nationalizing some of the country’s largest banks by taking a controlling ownership stake.

Administration officials said the change, which allows banks to repay the government with common stock rather than cash, is intended to give banks more capital to withstand a continued deterioration of the economy, and not to nationalize the banking system.

But in seeking to bolster investor confidence in troubled companies such as Citigroup, the government said it is willing to acquire large chunks of their shares.

Middle East

Symbol of hope as Iraq’s looted and gutted national museum reopens

• New start marks another step back to normality

• Plundered artefacts return but many are still missing

Martin Chulov in Baghdad

The Guardian, Tuesday 24 February 2009

It had stood forlorn since 2003, looted, gutted and doors bolted shut, a testament to Iraq’s slide into the anarchy of the post-invasion years. But yesterday Iraq took another step towards shaking off the memories of its plundered past, when its leaders re-opened the National Museum in Baghdad and tentatively reclaimed the site as one of the Middle East’s most important cultural repositories.

The National Museum of Iraq is now again home to around 5,500 artefacts pilfered since the fall of Baghdad in April 2003 and recovered in the five years since through a mix of painstaking work and rising numbers of guilty consciences. Museum directors and the central government believe the number of returned relics is enough to risk throwing open the doors to the public, even amid a still-pulsing insurgency.

Shock as Olmert fires his key negotiator

Egyptian-brokered talks in doubt as defence official sacked over policy row

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, triggered a political and diplomatic shockwave yesterday by summarily removing Amos Gilad, the defence ministry’s top official, from his leading role in delicately balanced Egyptian-brokered negotiations with Hamas.

The move was in response to angry criticism by Mr Gilad in a newspaper last week after Mr Olmert insisted any ceasefire deal with Hamas would have to await the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli corporal seized in 2006 by Gaza militants.

Mr Olmert’s office issued a formal complaint to the Civil Service Commission seeking disciplinary action against Mr Gilad, for making public his “embarrassing and significantly harmful” criticisms of the government strategy.


Legionnaires on defensive: legendary force faces claims recruits were abused

 ‘Humiliation’ pictures and death in training harm elite unit’s reconstructed image

 Angelique Chrisafis in Nîmes

The Guardian, Tuesday 24 February 2009

Jozef Bohucky, a Slovakian carpenter, crouches under a pine-tree brandishing a submachine gun. Two comrades lie motionless nearby. Others inch forward on their bellies, preparing to storm the nearby airport and liberate it from balaclava-clad insurgents.

Under his camouflage face-paint, Bohucky looks rough. He has marched for eight hours under torrential rain, has not slept and is not sure when he next will. “It’s been a long night,” he mutters. “But that’s what we train for.” The 29-year-old son of a factory worker left his village four years ago for the “myth” of the French Foreign Legion he had read about in comics as a child. “I wanted to see if I could stand it,” he says during a fierce mock operation on the outskirts of Nîmes. “At the start, it wasn’t difficult physically, but psychologically.”

The French Foreign Legion may still conjure up images of white kepis, brutal training and men on the run from the law, thanks to films such as Beau Geste, starring Gary Cooper.

Farming policy: an end to French hypocrisy?

Sarkozy makes historic move to divert European subsidies from rich cereal ranches to small traditional farms

By John Lichfield in Paris

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

After 46 years of shovelling farm subsidies to its richer, more polluting farmers, France yesterday took a historic step towards a greener and fairer European agriculture policy.

Paris announced that from next year it would confiscate over 20 per cent of the billions of euros of European taxpayers’ money paid to its ranch-like cereals farms and divert the cash to hill farmers, grazing land, shepherds and organic agriculture.

The announcement brings to an end almost half-a-century of official hypocrisy in which French governments have talked about protecting “family farms” and “quality food” but allowed the bulk of European largesse to flow to chemical-assisted, hedge-free, cereals-ranching in northern, central and eastern France.


Darfur rebel leader vows to topple President al-Bashir

From The Times

February 24, 2009

Anthony Loyd in N’Djamena

The leader of the most powerful rebel group in Darfur said that his forces will redouble their efforts to topple the Sudanese Government the moment an international arrest warrant is issued against President al-Bashir.

“When this warrant comes it is, for us, the end of Bashir’s legitimacy to be President of Sudan,” Khalil Ibrahim, chairman of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), told The Times. “We will work hard to bring him down … If he doesn’t co-operate with the ICC [International Criminal Court] the war will intensify.”

Prosecutors for the ICC charged the Sudanese President last year on ten counts – three of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of war crimes. The court, based in The Hague, is considering the application for an arrest warrant and is expected to rule on March 4.

For Rwandans, Fragile Acts of Faith

Returning From Years in Congo’s Bush, Hutu Rebels Seek Their Place in a Homeland Struggling to Forge a New Unity

By Stephanie McCrummen

Washington Post Foreign Service

Tuesday, February 24, 2009; Page A01

KINIGI, Rwanda — The 958 Express arrived at last.

In the early-afternoon sun, Leonard Hakorimano, with his wife and two sons, squeezed into a crowded bus that was soon winding down the road, delivering them to an uncertain new life.

“Where are you coming from?” a passenger asked.

“Congo,” Hakorimano said quietly, referring to the neighboring country where he had become a rebel.

“When did you leave Rwanda?” the passenger asked.


For Pakistan’s Swat residents, uneasy calm

A tenuous cease-fire has halted Taliban-Army fighting, as negotiations for a permanent deal continue.

By Issam Ahmed | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the February 24, 2009 edition

MINGORA, PAKISTAN – Residents of the troubled Swat Valley are breathing a little more easily following the announcement of a cease-fire between the Pakistani government and Taliban forces last week, though uncertainty remains over how long peace can last.

The kidnapping and subsequent release of a senior government official on Sunday underscored the fragile nature of the deal negotiated last week by the government of the North West Frontier Province and hard-line cleric Maulana Sufi Mohammad.

During the 10-day cease-fire, Mr. Mohammad is attempting to convince Taliban militants – led by his son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah – to accept a long-term agreement to stop fighting if the government implements Islamic law. The two sides are discussing whether the sharia to be imposed will simply help speed up a currently logjammed judicial system, or institute the Taliban’s tougher stances such as banning girls’ education.

The deal was greeted optimistically by provincial lawmakers as a respite from violence that has left more than 1,200 people dead, displaced at least 250,000, and seen the destruction of more than 150 schools.

Nestled between snow-capped peaks, the former princely state of Swat, which formally acceded to Pakistan in 1969, was once a thriving tourist venue.

Latin America

Governor of Mexico’s Chihuahua state downplays attack

Gov. Jose Reyes Baeza Terrazas says gunmen who fired on his convoy weren’t aiming at him.

By Ken Ellingwood

February 24, 2009

Reporting from Mexico City — The governor of Mexico’s most violent state said he was not the target of gunmen who opened fire on his convoy late Sunday night.

Jose Reyes Baeza Terrazas, governor of the northern state of Chihuahua, was uninjured when gunmen in a car fired at guards who were trailing him at some distance.

A bodyguard died in the shootout, which occurred after Baeza’s three-car convoy stopped at a signal in the state capital, also called Chihuahua. Two other bodyguards and an assailant were wounded.

Baeza, who was in the lead car, said shots were fired “many meters” behind him and aimed only at the trailing vehicle. He said “four or five” gunmen in a compact car never got close to him or gave chase when he drove off.