Docudharma Times Sunday March 15

Republican Logic Is Undeniable

Hooray For Stupidity  

Sunday’s Headlines:

Conservative talk radio on the wane in California

 Germany and France reject Brown’s global economic recovery plan

Riots erupt as top republican is held over soldiers’ murders

Pakistan arrests opposition leader Nawaz Sharif

‘Green’ dams hasten rape of Borneo forests

Israel’s new defence minister accused of war crime

Mideast Press Questions Obama

Guinea narcostate revealed in TV confessions

Bodies exhumed near Mexican city

Troops Face New Tests in Afghanistan

Battalion’s Experience Outlines Issues in South

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, March 15, 2009; Page A01

MAYWAND, Afghanistan — Lt. Col. Daniel Hurlbut rolled into this dusty Taliban stronghold in September with a battalion of U.S. Army infantrymen and a detailed, year-long plan to combat the Taliban.

The first quarter was to be devoted to reconnaissance. The next three months would involve military operations to root out insurgents. By now, his unit should have been focusing on reconstruction and building up the local government.

But the battalion’s efforts to pry information about the Taliban from the local population — by conducting foot patrols, doling out money for mosques to buy new prayer rugs and offering agricultural assistance to subsistence farmers — have been met with indifference, if not downright hostility.

“Nobody wants to tell us anything,” Hurlbut said, sighing.

Israelis ‘firing live rounds’ at West Bank protesters

Peter Beaumont

The Observer, Sunday 15 March 2009 00.01 GMT

Israeli armed forces and border police used the cover of the war against Hamas in Gaza to reintroduce the firing of .22 rifle bullets – as well as the extensive use of a new model of tear-gas canister – against unarmed demonstrators in the Occupied West Bank protesting at the building of Israel’s “separation wall”.

The tactics were highlighted on Friday, when a US protester, Tristan Anderson, 38, was hit in the head by one of the new extended-range gas canisters in the village of Ni’ilin, suffering an open wound in his skull and substantial brain damage. Anderson’s friend, Gabrielle Silverman, claims he was struck by a canister fired from a high-velocity rifle. The Israeli military says stone-throwing “poses a threat to troops”, and several officers have been injured by rocks.

It said troops used the permitted means of riot dispersal in Friday’s incident, including tear gas, rubber-coated steel pellets and stun grenades.



A.I.G. Planning Huge Bonuses After $170 Billion Bailout


Published: March 14, 2009

WASHINGTON – The American International Group, which has received more than $170 billion in taxpayer bailout money from the Treasury and Federal Reserve, plans to pay about $165 million in bonuses by Sunday to executives in the same business unit that brought the company to the brink of collapse last year.

Word of the bonuses last week stirred such deep consternation inside the Obama administration that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told the firm they were unacceptable and demanded they be renegotiated, a senior administration official said. But the bonuses will go forward because lawyers said the firm was contractually obligated to pay them.

The payments to A.I.G.’s financial products unit are in addition to $121 million in previously scheduled bonuses for the company’s senior executives and 6,400 employees across the sprawling corporation. Mr. Geithner last week pressured A.I.G. to cut the $9.6 million going to the top 50 executives in half and tie the rest to performance.

Conservative talk radio on the wane in California

The economy’s downturn has depressed ad revenue at stations across the state, thinning the ranks of conservative broadcasters.

By Michael Finnegan

March 15, 2009

Tune in to conservative talk radio in California, and the insults quickly fly. Capturing the angry mood of listeners the other day, a popular host in Los Angeles called Republican lawmakers who voted to raise state taxes “a bunch of weak slobs.”

With their trademark ferocity, radio stars who helped engineer Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rise in the 2003 recall have turned on him over the new tax increases. On stations up and down the state, they are chattering away in hopes of igniting a taxpayers’ revolt to kill his budget measures on the May 19 ballot.

But for all the anti-tax swagger and the occasional stunts by personalities like KFI’s John and Ken, the reality is that conservative talk radio in California is on the wane. The economy’s downturn has depressed ad revenue at stations across the state, thinning the ranks of conservative broadcasters.


Germany and France reject Brown’s global economic recovery plan

Angela Merkel insists any further short-term fiscal stimulus should be up to individual governments, not the G20

Toby Helm and Heather Stewart, Saturday 14 March 2009

Gordon Brown’s hopes of uniting the world’s most powerful economies behind a massive new package of tax cuts and public spending increases suffered a serious blow yesterday when he failed to persuade France and Germany to back his plan to revive the world economy.

After talks at Chequers to prepare the way for next month’s G20 summit in London, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, ruled out ordering another “fiscal stimulus” in the short term, and made it clear that if more action were to prove necessary in Germany it would be for Berlin to decide, not the G20.

Her comments were echoed by the French finance minister, Christine Lagarde, who was attending a meeting of G20 finance ministers in Horsham, West Sussex.

Riots erupt as top republican is held over soldiers’ murders

Police are petrol-bombed as former IRA prisoner who defected to the dissidents is arrested

By Andrew Johnson

Sunday, 15 March 2009  

Tensions flared in Northern Ireland yesterday when masked gangs attacked police with petrol bombs, bricks and stones after a dissident republican was arrested in connection with the murder of two soldiers last week.

Colin Duffy, 42, is a former IRA prisoner who stood trial in the 1990s for the murder of a soldier but was acquitted when it emerged that a key witness against him was a loyalist paramilitary.

Following his arrest yesterday, gangs took to the streets near his home in Lurgan, Co Armagh, and members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) were pelted with stones before petrol bombs were hurled at their vehicles. A tense stand-off developed last night with youths forming makeshift barricades to block the railway lines in the town.


Pakistan arrests opposition leader Nawaz Sharif

  By Babar Dogar, Associated Press

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Police today put Pakistani opposition leader Nawaz Sharif under house arrest to stop him from leading anti-government protests, his spokesman said, fanning a political crisis that has alarmed the United States about the country’s ability to fend off growing Islamist violence.

Sharif aides said hundreds of police surrounded his residence in the eastern city of Lahore before dawn today and detained about 250 of his supporters gathered outside.

Officers showed party officials an order stipulating Sharif and his politician brother Shahbaz were to be placed under house arrest for three days, party spokesman Pervaiz Rasheed said.

‘Green’ dams hasten rape of Borneo forests

From The Sunday Times

March 15, 2009

Michael Sheridan, Kuching, Sarawak

THE island of Borneo, a fragile treasure house of rainforests, rare animals and plants, is under threat from plans for Chinese engineers to build 12 dams that will cut through virgin land and displace thousands of native Dayak people.

The government of the Malaysian state of Sarawak says the dams are the first stage of a “corridor of renewable energy” that will create 1.5m jobs through industries powered by safe, clean hydro-electricity.

Campaigners are furious but appear powerless in the face of a project they fear will compound the devastation wreaked on Borneo’s peoples and land by previous dam projects and the felling of its forests.

They point to the ruin caused by the levelling of millions of acres of trees for oil palm plantations to meet the world’s demand for biofuels.

Middle East

Israel’s new defence minister accused of war crime

From The Sunday Times

March 15, 2009

Uzi Mahnaimi, Tel Aviv

A HAWKISH general, who cancelled a trip to London four years ago because he feared being arrested on war crime charges, is expected to become Israel’s new defence minister.

Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon, 58, former chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, is reported to have accepted an invitation from Binyamin Netanyahu, the incoming prime minister, to serve in the new government.

Renowned as a tough-minded commander, Ya’alon’s legal problems stem from a decision in July 2002 to assassinate Salah Shehadeh, the commander of the military wing of Hamas, the hardline Islamic organisation that now controls Gaza.

Mideast Press Questions Obama

Top Intelligence Pick’s Pullout Blamed on ‘Pro-Israel Hawks’

By Walter Pincus

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, March 15, 2009; Page A08

The Middle East press has questioned President Obama’s authority over Arab-Israeli issues since Charles W. Freeman Jr.’s withdrawal from his appointment to a senior intelligence position.

A commentary in Abu Dhabi’s the National, a newspaper owned by an investment fund controlled by the government, said Freeman’s decision Tuesday to withdraw as chairman of the National Intelligence Council “threw the Obama administration into the heart of a long-running controversy over the alleged supremacy of pro-Israel hawks in determining U.S. foreign policy after having taken a cautious approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so far consistent with previous administrations.”


Guinea narcostate revealed in TV confessions

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, Associated Press Write

CONAKRY, Guinea – When the planes arrived loaded with cocaine, it was Guinea’s presidential guard that secured the cargo.

Drug deals were conducted inside the first lady’s private residence and in the president’s VIP salon at the international airport. To avoid detection, cocaine was sent to Europe in the country’s diplomatic pouch.

As the people of Guinea sit transfixed before their TV sets, top government officials one after another are confessing to their role in a lucrative international cocaine trade. Organized by a military junta that seized power three months ago, the confessions offer unprecedented insight into an exploding drug trade in West Africa, one that connects coca leaves grown in South American fields to cocaine in European discos.The confessions paint a picture of an illicit trade conducted with total impunity, with the help of officials, members of the president’s family and security forces. They also show the large role Guinea and other West African countries are playing as drug hubs, and how vulnerable they are to the corrupting influence of drug dollars.

Latin America

Bodies exhumed near Mexican city

Mexican police have found at least nine unidentified bodies on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, near the US border


Officials say the bodies, which were partially buried in a desert area south of the city, showed signs of torture.

Ciudad Juarez is Mexico’s most violent city. Fighting between drug gangs has led the government to send thousands of troops to patrol its streets.

About 1,600 people were killed in the city last year as criminals fight to control drug routes into the US.

More than 1,000 people across Mexico have been killed already in 2009, about one-third of them in Ciudad Juarez.