Docudharma Times Monday March 16

I’m Not Sure We

Can Fathom The

Horrors Wrought By

The Bush Administration  

Monday’s Headlines:

Greatest threat to Obama spending plan? Moderate Dems

Palestinian attack suspected after two Israeli policemen shot dead

Iraqis ‘more upbeat about future’

Madagascar president offers ballot in power deadlock

EU peacekeeping mission ends amid growing fears over Darfur

Bernard Buffet: Return of the ‘poser’

Spain set to tear down its last statue of General Franco

Pakistan Leader Backs Down and Reinstates Top Judge

Q+A – What’s at stake in Indonesia’s elections?

‘The fiesta of the people’

Red Cross Described ‘Torture’ at CIA Jails

Secret Report Implies That U.S. Violated International Law

By Joby Warrick, Peter Finn and Julie Tate

Washington Post Staff Writers

Monday, March 16, 2009; Page A01

The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report that the Bush administration’s treatment of al-Qaeda captives “constituted torture,” a finding that strongly implied that CIA interrogation methods violated international law, according to newly published excerpts from the long-concealed 2007 document.

The report, an account alleging physical and psychological brutality inside CIA “black site” prisons, also states that some U.S. practices amounted to “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” Such maltreatment of detainees is expressly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

Claims of British collusion in torture spread to Egypt

• Briton claims UK colluded in his torture in Egypt

• Detainee says he was hooded and beaten over five days

Ian Cobain

The Guardian, Monday 16 March 2009

Allegations of British collusion in torture have widened to Egypt, where a young British man says he suffered appalling mistreatment during a week of illegal detention while being interrogated on the basis of information that he says can only have come from the UK.

The development comes after the Conservative leader, David Cameron, said there needed to be a full inquiry, not just to discover whether crimes had been committed by British officials but to establish whether the government’s “moral authority” has been maintained.

Azhar Khan, a 26-year-old who has seen a number of friends jailed for terrorist offences, says Egyptian intelligence officers who detained him when he flew into the country last July forced him to stand on the same spot for five days, with little rest, while beating him and subjecting him to electric shocks. Throughout this time, he says, he was asked detailed questions about his friends and associates in the UK.



In Iraq withdrawal, equipment poses a key logistical challenge

U.S. commanders are deciding what to take, and what to leave behind. Some of the materiel will go to replenish military warehouses in the Persian Gulf region, and some to Afghanistan.

By Julian E. Barnes

March 16, 2009

Reporting from Washington — The American withdrawal from Iraq marks the beginning of one of the largest relocations of military hardware and manpower in recent years. But much of the equipment will not be returning to the United States.

Instead, some will remain with the Iraqi security forces and some will be shipped to Afghanistan. But as important, millions of tons of armor and weaponry will be used to restock huge U.S.-run warehouses across the Middle East — in case it is needed in the future.

The plans follow a pattern set by the military for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and again for the troop buildup in 2007, when the Defense Department drew on equipment stored around the Persian Gulf region, including in massive facilities in Kuwait and Qatar.

Equipment removed from Iraq will be sent to those warehouses, officials said, to ensure that the military is able to respond to a variety of contingencies, including possible Iranian aggression or renewed violence in Iraq.

Greatest threat to Obama spending plan? Moderate Dems

By David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – Government spending on most domestic programs is growing at its fastest pace in nearly 30 years, and a lot of worried Democrats are seeking ways to rewrite and reduce the size of President Barack Obama’s budget proposals.

As a result, “you’ll see a budget come out of the House that spends considerably less,” said Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla., a leader of the Blue Dog Democrats, a group of 47 of the party’s House of Representatives conservatives and moderates.

If all 47 Blue Dogs joined the House’s 178 Republicans, they could deny Democratic leaders a House majority of 218.

Middle East

Palestinian attack suspected after two Israeli policemen shot dead

• Prisoner-swap deadline on eve of PM’s departure

• Gazan militants captured 22-year-old three years ago

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem, Monday 16 March 2009 01.42 GMT

Two Israeli policemen were shot dead in the West Bank yesterday in what Israeli police said they suspected was a Palestinian attack.

No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the shooting, which took place near the mainly agricultural settlement of Massuah, in an area of the West Bank close to the border with Jordan that is under Israeli security control. “The main suspicion points to a nationalistic motive,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The attack came as the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, sent two senior negotiators to Cairo yesterday in a final attempt to secure the release of an Israeli soldier captured by Gazan militants nearly three years ago.

Iraqis ‘more upbeat about future’

Violence and insecurity are no longer the main concern of most Iraqis, for the first time since the 2003 US-led invasion, an opinion poll suggests.

The BBC  

It says Iraqis are much more hopeful about the future and are increasingly pre-occupied with more conventional worries like the economy and jobs.

But Iraqis remain unhappy about the role foreign powers play in their country, notably Iran, the US and UK.

The survey was carried out for the BBC, ABC News and NHK in February.

A total of 2,228 Iraqis were questioned across all 18 provinces. The margin of error is 2.5%.


The poll is the sixth in a series of surveys stretching back to March 2004 and shows a marked overall improvement in perceptions, the BBC’s Adam Mynott says.


Madagascar president offers ballot in power deadlock


Haroon Siddique and agencies

The Guardian, Monday 16 March 2009

Madagascar’s president, Marc Ravalomanana, yesterday offered to hold a referendum in an attempt to stave off opposition calls for him to step down and a possible military intervention.

More than 135 people have been killed this year and the Indian Ocean island’s economy has nosedived amid political turmoil. Opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, who has accused Ravalomanana of turning a blind eye to high levels of poverty, declared himself the new president on Saturday. He claims he has the backing of the nation’s army and has urged Ravalomanana to quit. But Ravalomanana insisted yesterday that he retained a mandate to govern and vowed never to resign. “We must follow democratic principles. If we have to, we will organise a referendum. We are not afraid to do so,” the president told some 5,000 cheering supporters at a church service outside his palace. Several thousand opposition supporters attended another church service in the downtown square that has become the focal point for anti-government demonstrations.

EU peacekeeping mission ends amid growing fears over Darfur

Refugees near border of Chad-Sudan rely on foreign forces for their safety

By Vanessa Mock in Iriba, Northern Chad

Monday, 16 March 2009

As he points fearfully towards the sky, a gust of hot wind and sand sweeps across the face of the Chadian police officer and the sprawling refugee camp behind him. A Sudanese plane came across the border illegally just hours ago, a sign of worse to come, says the police chief, Daniel Durandik. “These planes should not to be crossing into Chad. It’s illegal. What if they start dropping bombs on us, like they did before?” he asks, turning to the European officers patrolling the Oure Cassoni camp. Located 700 metres from the Sudanese border, the camp provides shelter for more than 30,000 refugees from Darfur.

Ever since an international arrest warrant was issued earlier this month for the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, tensions along the Chad-Sudan border have run high, sparking fears of a fresh humanitarian crisis.


Bernard Buffet: Return of the ‘poser’

For 50 years, French artist Bernard Buffet was reviled but rich, a victim of Picasso’s jealousy and his country’s snobbery. John Lichfield tracks a surprise revival

Monday, 16 March 2009

On a sunny afternoon in the 1950s, Pablo Picasso was sitting with his children on the terrace of a café in the south of France. Another artist arrived. “Look, there is Bernard Buffet,” said Picasso’s children. They jumped up and asked for the autograph of the young, handsome, awkward man who was – joint equally with their father – the most celebrated painter of the post-war world, a modern master who had made a colossal fortune from his work by the age of 30.

After a meteoric rise to stardom, Buffet fell victim in the 1960s to a campaign of denigration in his home country, led, among others, by Picasso. The Spanish genius detested Buffet for rivalling his fame and certainly never forgave him for becoming a cult hero to his children.

Spain set to tear down its last statue of General Franco

From The Times

March 16, 2009

Graham Keeley in Barcelona

The last statue of General Franco in Spain is to be withdrawn almost 34 years after the death of the dictator.

The regional government of Melilla, one of Spain’s North African enclaves along with Ceuta, said the bronze statue of General Franco would be removed “within the period of 15 days”.

The move means no more commemorative figures will stand in public streets to the man who ruled Spain between the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939 and his death in November, 1975.

Daniel Conesa, spokesman for the Melilla regional government, said the statue, which shows Franco standing, would be kept in storage then transferred to a military museum.


Pakistan Leader Backs Down and Reinstates Top Judge


Published: March 15, 2009

LAHORE, Pakistan – The Pakistani government agreed early on Monday to reinstate the independent-minded former chief justice of the Supreme Court, a stunning concession to the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who had been heading toward the capital in a convoy threatening to stage a mass protest over the issue after he broke free from house arrest at his residence near here.

The concession, broadcast on national television by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, came after a tumultuous weekend in Pakistani politics in which a dispute between President Asif Ali Zardari and Mr. Sharif escalated into a crisis that was destabilizing nuclear-armed Pakistan, already under pressure from a growing Islamic insurgency and severe economic troubles.

The decision to restore the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, came after calls to Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif, including from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, asking them to ease their differences.

Q+A – What’s at stake in Indonesia’s elections?

Mon Mar 16, 2009

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesians go to the polls on April 9 to choose members of parliament, paving the way for the more important presidential election on July 8.

The official campaign season in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy kicked off on Monday. Here are some questions and answers about the elections.


Bottom line — it is about reform versus vested interests.

The result will determine whether Indonesia continues with a much-needed overhaul of its key institutions — civil service, judiciary, police, military — so it can attract more foreign investment, create jobs and shift to a much higher level of economic growth after years of underperformance.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s administration has made some progress in cleaning up a few of the corrupt institutions such as the tax and customs departments, and dealing with endemic graft, a legacy of three decades under former President Suharto.

Latin America

‘The fiesta of the people’

In Mexico, lucha libre is rivaled only by soccer. The masked and caped wrestlers star not only in the ring, but in films, comic books and commercials. Now, the sport’s following is growing in the U.S.

By Kevin Baxter

March 16, 2009

Blue Demon Jr. is in trouble.

His tag-team partner has been knocked into a stupor and the other men in the ring have pinned Demon in a corner, where one pounds at his midsection while the other pulls at the blue-and-silver Lycra hood that envelops his head down to his Adam’s apple.

Big mistake.

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind and you don’t — under any circumstances — pull the mask off Blue Demon Jr.

In a flash, Demon vaults off the top of the turnbuckle, scissoring one foe with his powerful legs and flipping him to the mat with an acrobatic twist. The other wrestler, in a glistening gold mask, cowardly climbs between the ropes and dashes into the grandstands of the Pico Rivera Sports Arena.

But Demon quickly gives chase, catching him from behind and knocking him silly with a plastic garbage can as the crowd goes wild, with some joining in on the pummeling.


    • RiaD on March 16, 2009 at 1:41 pm


  1. Rachel Corrie, an American college student in Gaza to protest Israeli military and security operations, was killed when run over by a bulldozer while trying to stop Israeli troops from demolishing a Palestinian home.

    The 23-year-old from Olympia, Washington, was a member of International Solidarity Movement and was the first nonviolent western protester to die in the occupied territories.

    In Memoriam Rachel Corrie 1979-2003

  2. Mark Danner ICRC story… it may take me all week to actually find time to read this.

Comments have been disabled.