Docudharma Times Sunday March 1

Rush “I’m A Racist” Limbaugh

Takes Control Of The Republican Party

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Sunday’s Headlines:

Leaving Iraq: U.S. plans taking shape

Israel PM’s family link to Hamas peace bid

Hariri court set to formally open

Girls being force-fed for marriage as junta revives fattening farms

Mugabe: Last white farmer should leave

Boy, 4, murdered in hate war against Hungarian gypsies

EU holding economic crisis summit

Tycoons tumble as ailing China turns against capitalism

Karzai moves up election date, challenging opposition

With Force, Mexican Drug Cartels Get Their Way

Serbian spy’s trial lifts cloak on his CIA alliance

As Milosevic’s intelligence chief, Jovica Stanisic is accused of setting up genocidal death squads. But as a valuable source for the CIA, an agency veteran says, he also ‘did a whole lot of good.’

By Greg Miller

March 1, 2009

Reporting from Belgrade, Serbia — At night, when the lawns are empty and the lamps along the walking paths are the only source of light, Topcider Park on the outskirts of Belgrade is a perfect meeting place for spies.

It was here in 1992, as the former Yugoslavia was erupting in ethnic violence, that a wary CIA agent made his way toward the park’s gazebo and shook hands with a Serbian intelligence officer.

Jovica Stanisic had a cold gaze and a sinister reputation. He was the intelligence chief for Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, and regarded by many as the brains of a regime that gave the world a chilling new term: “ethnic cleansing.”

Israel’s death squads: A soldiers story

A former member of an Israeli assassination squad has broken his silence for the first time. He spoke to Donald Macintyre

Sunday, 1 March 2009

The Israeli military’s policy of targeted killings has been described from the inside for the first time. In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, and in his testimony to an ex-soldiers’ organisation, Breaking the Silence, a former member of an assassination squad has told of his role in a botched ambush that killed two Palestinian bystanders, as well as the two militants targeted.

The operation, which took place a little over eight years ago, at the start of the present intifada, or uprising, left the former sharpshooter with psychological scars. To this day he has not told his parents of his participation in what he called “the first face-to-face assassination of the intifada”.



Obama’s Backing Raises Hopes for Climate Pact


Published: February 28, 2009

Until recently, the idea that the world’s most powerful nations might come together to tackle global warming seemed an environmentalist’s pipe dream

The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, was widely viewed as badly flawed. Many countries that signed the accord lagged far behind their targets in curbing carbon dioxide emissions. The United States refused even to ratify it. And the treaty gave a pass to major emitters in the developing world like China and India.

But within weeks of taking office, President Obama has radically shifted the global equation, placing the United States at the forefront of the international climate effort and raising hopes that an effective international accord might be possible.

Leaving Iraq: U.S. plans taking shape

American presence will shift to south as combat troops exit in 2010

Associated Press

BAGHDAD – The U.S. military map in Iraq in early 2010: Marines are leaving the western desert, Army units are in the former British zone in the south and the overall mission is coalescing around air and logistics hubs in central and northern Iraq.

Meanwhile, commanders will be shifting their attention to helping Iraqi forces take full control of their own security.

The Pentagon has not released the full details of President Barack Obama’s plan to end America’s combat role in Iraq by Aug. 31 of next year, but the broad contours are taking shape.

Middle East

Israel PM’s family link to Hamas peace bid

Olmert rejected Palestinian attempts to set up talks through go-between before Gaza invasion

Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor

The Observer, Sunday 1 March 2009

Hamas, the militant Palestinian organisation, attempted to conduct secret talks with the Israeli leadership in the protracted run-up to the recent war in Gaza – with messages being passed from the group at one stage through a member of prime minister Ehud Olmert’s family.

Confirmation of attempts to establish a direct line of communication between Hamas and Israel – and the willingness of senior figures in Hamas to contemplate direct negotiations – fundamentally alters the narrative of the build-up to the war in Gaza which claimed more than 1,300 Palestinian lives and led to about a dozen Israeli deaths.

Most remarkable is the story of the involvement of a member of the prime minister’s family in the passing of messages to Olmert about the case of the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.<

Hariri court set to formally open

The international court set up to try the suspected killers of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri is to formally open – four years after his death.

The BBC  

The tribunal, sitting in The Hague, could take up to five years to examine evidence gathered during a UN investigation into the assassination.

Mr Hariri and 22 other people were killed in the 2005 bombing in Beirut that his allies blamed on Syria.

Syria denied any role. Four people in custody have not been charged.

But they are considered most likely to be the first defendants to appear before the court – although a trial date has yet to be set.

Senior officials

“The prosecutor has kept his cards very close to his chest,” said court registrar Robin Vincent about potential suspects and evidence, AFP news agency reported.


Girls being force-fed for marriage as junta revives fattening farms

  Campaigners in Mauritania accuse the new military regime of turning a blind eye to a cult of obesity among young girls being groomed for suitors

Alex Duval Smith, Africa correspondent

The Observer, Sunday 1 March 2009

Fears are growing for the fate of thousands of young girls in rural Mauritania, where campaigners say the cruel practice of force-feeding young girls for marriage is making a significant comeback since a military junta took over the West African country.

Aminetou Mint Ely, a women’s rights campaigner, said girls as young as five were still being subjected to the tradition of leblouh every year. The practice sees them tortured into swallowing gargantuan amounts of food and liquid – and consuming their vomit if they reject it.

“In Mauritania, a woman’s size indicates the amount of space she occupies in her husband’s heart,” said Mint Ely, head of the Association of Women Heads of Households. ”We have gone backwards. We had a Ministry of Women’s Affairs. We had achieved a parliamentary quota of 20% of seats.

Mugabe: Last white farmer should leave

Speaking at a rally to celebrate his 85th birthday, Zimbabwe’s President says that the farm seizures will go on. Raymond Whitaker reports

Sunday, 1 March 2009

A defiant President Robert Mugabe used his 85th birthday celebrations yesterday to insist that land seizures would continue, and called for the country’s last white farmers to leave. “Land distribution will continue. It will not stop,” Mr Mugabe told a rally in his home area of Chinhoyi, north-west of the capital, Harare. “The few remaining white farmers should quickly vacate their farms as they have no place there.”

Last year a group of white farmers whose land had been targeted for seizure by the government went to a regional tribunal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which ruled in their favour, but the Zimbabwean leader called the decision “absolute nonsense”. He added: “We have courts here … that can determine the rights of people. Our land issues are not subject to the SADC tribunal.”


Boy, 4, murdered in hate war against Hungarian gypsies

From The Sunday Times

March 1, 2009

Bojan Pancevski, Vienna

SURROUNDED by woodland, the village of Tatarszentgyorgy, near Budapest, is a quiet rural community known for its hunting grounds. But the tranquil retreat was the scene last week of a brutal double murder, stirring fears of a right-wing hate campaign against Hungary’s Roma minority.

Robert Csorba, 27, a farm worker, and his four-year-old son were shot dead as they ran from their home after it had been set on fire. His wife and the couple’s two other young children were seriously injured in the shooting.

Police believe that several attackers plotted the murder, one throwing a firebomb while others opened up with hunting rifles as the family fled.

The Csorba family was described as “decent” and “hard-working” by its neighbours and belonged to the small Roma community living on the edge of the village.

EU holding economic crisis summit

European Union leaders are preparing for an emergency summit in Brussels seeking to bridge differences on how to deal with the global economic crisis.


The summit was called after French President Nicolas Sarkozy promised to bail out France’s car industry if it did not shift jobs out of France.

The French move raised fears that national protectionism could scupper hopes of recovery within the EU.

Leaders of badly-hit European nations will also meet prior to the summit.

Many of the newer EU members of Central and Eastern Europe have seen their financial institutions and economies battered by the developing recession.

The heads of nine of those nations – among them Hungary and Latvia, both facing serious liquidity problems – will gather before the full summit begins.


Tycoons tumble as ailing China turns against capitalism

How the dream has gone sour for those who got rich on the back of political patronage – then lost it

From The Sunday Times

March 1, 2009 Michael Sheridan, Far East Correspondent

THE richest man in China has ended up in police custody and other “red billionaires” have plunged into debt or political disgrace as the communist nation’s flirtation with capitalism turns sour.

Meanwhile, millions of ordinary Chinese have lost their shirts in the stock market after share prices collapsed, and at least 20m workers have lost their jobs due to the recession.

In this atmosphere, the plight of Huang Guangyu, 39, has won little public sympathy. He is still languishing in detention after three months, while investigators probe allegations of bribery and irregular share trading.

Huang was a peasant’s son who built up a successful electrical appliance chain until it had 800 stores and he had shares worth £2 billion.

Karzai moves up election date, challenging opposition

By Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan President Hamid Karzai stepped up a confrontation with his opposition Saturday, ordering this year’s presidential election to be moved up by at least three months despite the top election official’s concerns that insufficient preparation time, funds and international forces could render the results illegitimate.

Karzai’s decree may also intensify tensions with the United States, which backed an Independent Election Commission decision scheduling the vote for Aug. 20 so that an additional 17,000 U.S. troops could be deployed to bolster security.

Some 60,000 troops from the United States and 40 other countries are currently helping Afghan security forces battle the al Qaida-backed Taliban insurgency, and getting reinforcements in place within the next three months presents Washington and its NATO allies a huge challenge.

Latin America

With Force, Mexican Drug Cartels Get Their Way


Published: February 28, 2009

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico – Mayor José Reyes Ferriz is supposed to be the one to hire and fire the police chief in this gritty border city that is at the center of Mexico’s drug war. It turns out, though, that real life in Ciudad Juárez does not follow the municipal code.

It was drug traffickers who decided that Chief Roberto Orduña Cruz, a retired army major who had been on the job since May, should go. To make clear their insistence, they vowed to kill a police officer every 48 hours until he resigned.

They first killed Mr. Orduña’s deputy, Operations Director Sacramento Pérez Serrano, together with three of his men. Then another police officer and a prison guard turned up dead. As the body count grew, Mr. Orduña eventually did as the traffickers had demanded, resigning his post on Feb. 20 and fleeing the city.


  1. It’s hard these days to be thankful for the news.

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