vrijdag 29 september 2006

The Empire 18

Ik kreeg vandaag dit email van Amnesty International:

'USA: Congress rubber stamps torture and other abuses.

By passing the Military Commissions Act, the United States Congress has, in effect, given its stamp of approval to human rights violations committed by the USA in the “war on terror”. This legislation leaves the USA squarely on the wrong side of international law, and has turned bad executive policy into bad domestic law. Amnesty International will campaign for repeal of this act and fully expects the constitutionality of this legislation to be challenged in the courts.In the “war on terror”, the US administration has resorted to secret detention, enforced disappearance, prolonged incommunicado detention, indefinite detention without charge, arbitrary detention, and torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Thousands of detainees remain in indefinite military detention in US custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. Congress has failed these detainees and their families. President Bush has defended the CIA’s use of secret detention and in the debates over the Military Commissions Act, members of Congress have done the same. This policy clearly violates international law. See also: USA: Rubber stamping violations in the "war on Terror": Congress fails human rights, 29 September 2006http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGAMR511552006USA: Military Commissions Act of 2006 – Turning bad policy into bad law, 29 September 2006http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGAMR511542006USA: Justice at last or more of the same? Detentions and trials after Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 18 September 2006http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGAMR511462006 USA: Rendition – torture – trial? The case of Guantánamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi, 20 September 2006http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGAMR511492006

Joachim Fest 11

Joahim Fest schrijft in Tegenlicht. Een Italiaanse reis over 'een tijd waarin wij door vernieuwingen verslagen worden en nauwelijks weten hoe we ons daartegen moeten verweren. Zich onthouden van handelen is vaak even verdienstelijk als het handelen zelf, al valt daarop minder licht. De gedachte is dat een beschaving slechts een beperkte mate van verandering kan verdragen. In tijden van versnelde ontwikkelingen is het belangrijker het traditionele te behouden dan het af te breken... Anders breken bij het voorwaarts dringen ook de emotionele bindingen met het vroegere, waaraan zowel maatschappij als enkeling zijn houvast te danken heeft.'

The Empire 17

De VS mag dan wel het machtigste land ter wereld lijken, maar het is tegelijkertijd ook het armste land ter wereld, gezien de immense schuld dat het heeft. Via Globalcirclenet kreeg ik dit bericht:

'In the late 1990s and up to Fiscal Year 2001the federal government falsely claimed a budget surplus - yet debt increased each year faster than before -
- and for FY 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005 debt was even higher - - dramatic pictures tell the story
The Grandfather Economic Reports is a series of picture reports of threats to the economic future of families and their children, compared to prior generations. You are now at the chapter on Federal Government Debt trends. Welcome. We hope your visit will find useful information to help you and your loved ones. (see report at http://mwhodges.home.att.net/ ).
This is page 1 of a 2-page mini-report about the high dependence of the economy on government debt, impacting families and the young, presented in an easy-to-understand format with 8 color pictures. (GIVE it a CHANCE to LOAD those neat color graphics)
Our younger generation is being loaded with a historic debt burden, caused by run-away consumptive social spending 1965 to present - with zero plan by the generation that created it to take the responsibility of paying it off.
Our generation has allowed a federal 'government credit card' to be used in a run-away manner, to avoid paying for the social spending excesses we allowed government to make - - and we intend to leave the credit card bill to our children and grandchildren to pay off - - lowering their future living standards compared to what it could and should be.
More than half of all federal debt was created in the 1990s, more & more owed internationally, on top of the 2 largest tax increases in history.
In fiscal year 2005 debt increased to $7.9 trillion. That's an increase of $554 billion, equivalent to an added $7,476 per family of four. Each prior fiscal year also had a higher debt than the year before.
How could they claim a surplus in the late 1990s and early 2000s and that they were paying down debt, when total debt increased every one of those years?
"I place economy among the first and most important of republic virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared." -Thomas Jefferson to William Plumer, 1816.
You will see color graphics on debt dollars, debt per child, debt ratios, and a graphic showing the culprit - along with a short summary. Other graphics on page 2 will show interest costs, foreign ownership, international debt, a summary table of all national debt and a debt reduction plan.
DO OUR CHILDREN (and grandchildren) DESERVE to inherit an economy loaded with debt, as follows:
Which is the World's largest debtor nation, PLUS an internal federal government debt of $26,750 per child, (half of which occurred just in the 1990's,despite two record tax increases) - plus an additional $10,000 per child of international and state & local government debt?
Where federal debt in 1998, for example, was 80% of national income - - higher than 40 years previously when we were completing the World War II debt pay-off plus covering the Korean War, yet there were zero hot or cold wars in 1998?
Where today's federal debt ratio is double that achieved 20 years ago (meaning excess debt today of $3.6 trillion).
Where the federal government continually siphons-off all social security & federal employee pension surplus trust funds ($1.5 trillion to date) to spend on non-pension items (an illegal practice in all states for private pensions) - - which annually creates more debt pile-up on the back of our young generation, while hastening the day when even more debt (and reduced benefits) is required to cover retirement payments?
Loaded with debt, or be free-clear of $7.9 Trillion in federal government debt not created by themselves?
Where consumer debt payments as a percentage of disposable income are at an all-time high?
Where international debt is expanding at $600 billion annually, due to decades of negative trade performance, and foreign interests now own 44% (or $1.9 trillion) of our outstanding treasury bonds and notes - - double the amount owed just 4 years ago?
AND, is it fair to pass to them an economy where combined nation-wide government plus private sector debt ratio is twice as much as in 1957 (a $17 trillion debt excess to 1957 ratios)?
Does this make us proud ? Shouldn't we fix it, instead of passing it on to our children ?'

Lees verder: http://mwhodges.home.att.net/debt_a.htm

The Empire 16

Toen ik van de zomer duizenden kilometers langs prikkeldraad was gereden waarmee de 'High Desert' in het zuidwesten van de VS is afgezet (met overal borden No Trespassing en Private Property) arriveerde ik net voor de grens van Arizona en New Mexico een gedenksteen met een plaquette: ‘Near here Geronimo last Apache chieftain and Nachite with their followers surrendered on sept. 6th 1886 to general Nelson A. Miles. U.S. Army lieutenant Chas. B. Gatewood with Kieta and Martine Apache scouts risked their lives to enter the camp of the hostiles to present terms of surrender offered to them by general Miles. After two days, Gatewood received the consent of Geronimo and Nachite to surrender. The surrender of Geronimo in Skeleton Canyon on that historic day, forever ended Indian warfare in the United States. This memorial erected A.D. 1934 by the City of Douglas, with federal C.W.A. funds.’

Er stond het woord 'hostiles.' Maar wie waren nu eigenlijk de vijandigen geweest? De blanke kolonisten die met geweld binnenvielen en niet de oorspronkelijke bewoners. Een diepe droefheid overviel me op die plaats. Hier werd even stilgestaan bij het einde van iets dat nooit meer in deze vorm zou terugkeren. Het verzet had bijna vier eeuwen geduurd. En waar zijn de blanke veroveringen en genocide goed voor geweest? Ik keek om me heen, een vuilnisbak, afval dat er naast lag, weggewaaide colablikjes en plastic zakken, de uitgestrekte ruimte achter prikkeldraad, ergens in de leegte een vervallen houten barak, verder geen leven te bekennen. Private Property wat eens gemeenschappelijk bezit was geweest. ‘How can one sell the air?’

Heidenen versus gelovigen. Geestlozen versus bezielden. Het probleem is te groot. Het waaide op de immense hoogvlakte, daar waar de geesten van de Indianen rondzwierven, want het blijft Indianenland, hoeveel prikkeldraad de blanke ook mag gebruiken.

Chief Joseph: ‘The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.’ En Chief Seattle zei het zo: ‘Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people. And the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than to yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch… And when the last red man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the white men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe. And when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night, when the streets of your cities and villages are silent, and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The white man will never be alone. Let him be just and deal kindly with my people. For the dead are not powerless. Dead, did I say? There is no death. Only a change of worlds.’

Iedereen met een beetje gevoel en verbeeldingskracht beseft dat wanneer hij door dit immense land reist. De geesten reizen overal met ons mee.

The Empire 15

Globalcirclenet bericht:

'(CBS) Veteran Washington reporter Bob Woodward tells Mike Wallace that the Bush administration has not told the truth regarding the level of violence, especially against U.S. troops, in Iraq. He also reveals key intelligence that predicts the insurgency will grow worse next year.
In Wallace's interview with Woodward, to be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. ET/PT, the reporter also claims that Henry Kissinger is among those advising Mr. Bush.
According to Woodward, insurgent attacks against coalition troops occur, on average, every 15 minutes, a shocking fact the administration has kept secret. "It's getting to the point now where there are eight-, nine-hundred attacks a week. That's more than 100 a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," says Woodward.
The situation is getting much worse, says Woodward, despite what the White House and the Pentagon are saying in public. "The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,'" he tells Wallace. "Now there's public, and then there's private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know," says Woodward.
"The insurgents know what they are doing. They know the level of violence and how effective they are. Who doesn't know? The American public," Woodward tells Wallace.
Woodward also reports that the president and vice president often meet with Henry Kissinger, who was President Richard Nixon's secretary of state, as an adviser. Says Woodward, "Now what's Kissinger's advice? In Iraq, he declared very simply, 'Victory is the only meaningful exit strategy.'" Woodward adds. "This is so fascinating. Kissinger's fighting the Vietnam War again because, in his view, the problem in Vietnam was we lost our will."
President Bush is absolutely certain that he has the U.S. and Iraq on the right course, says Woodward. So certain is the president on this matter, Woodward says, that when Mr. Bush had key Republicans to the White House to discuss Iraq, he told them, "I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me."
Woodward reported for two years and interviewed more than 200 people, including top officials in the Bush administration, to learn these and other revelations that he makes in his latest book, State of Denial, published by Simon & Schuster, part of the CBS Corp.'

The Empire 14

Common Dreams bericht:

'Economy Booming for Billionaires.

Millionaires are so last millennium. The new Forbes 400 list of richest Americans is billionaires only.
If you're net worth is a mere $999 million, forget it. A billion means a thousand million, and that's the Forbes 400 minimum -- up from $900 million in 2005.
Donald Trump and two of his kids grace the Forbes 400 cover, but ranked No. 94 with $2.9 billion, Trump's a long way from No. 1 Bill Gates with $53 billion.
The combined wealth of the 400 richest Americans is a record-breaking $1.25 trillion. That's about the same amount of combined wealth held by the 57 million households who make up half the U.S. population.
The economy is booming for billionaires. It's a bust for many other Americans.
A record 400 Americans are billionaires -- and a record 47 million Americans have no health insurance.
America has 400 billionaires -- and 37 million people below the official poverty line.
The official poverty line for one person was just $9,973 in 2005 (latest data). That wouldn't cover the custom-made men's shoes ($4,128) and Hermes purse ($6,250) on the Forbes Cost of Living Extremely Well Index. The official poverty line of $15,577 for a three-person family is lower than the cost of the Patek Philippe men's gold watch ($17,600).
The Forbes 400 minimum is up $100 million since 2005, but the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour -- just $10,712 a year -- since 1997. GOP leaders in Congress have been holding a raise for minimum wage workers hostage to more giant tax cuts for wealthy inheritors.
Wealth isn't trickling down. It's flooding up -- from workers to bosses, small investors to big, poorer to richer.
The heirs to Wal-Mart founders Sam and Bud Walton have a combined $82.5 billion -- while the children of Wal-Mart workers swell the ranks of state health insurance programs for the neediest.'

Lees verder: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0928-31.htm

donderdag 28 september 2006


Ik ontving deze email:

'From: Frank Tiggelaar Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet (We don't trust voting computers)
>During the Dutch campaign warning of the dangers of using voting
>computers during the upcoming November 22 parliament elections, one of
>the arguments against the use of such machines came from the USA:
>Virus beats voting machines
>Princeton computer scientists say they have written a virus that can
>override the functions of Diebold voting machines, the U.S.'s most
>popular, altering vote counts with little chance of detection,
>Bloomberg News reported from New York.
>The virus could modify all of the machine's records, audit logs and
>counters, the scientists, Ariel Feldman, J. Alex Halderman and Edward
>Felten, said. Someone with access to Diebold's AccuVote-TS machine, or
>to a memory card installed in it, can infect its operations in about a
>minute's time, they said.
>More than 33,000 Diebold machines are scheduled to be in use in 357
>U.S. counties for the November elections, representing almost 10
>percent of all voters, Princeton said.
>A demonstration of the Princeton engineers' achievement was shown on
>Dutch TV on Monday. Once these machines are in place at all polling
>stations, it would require no more than few dozen computer programmers
>to rig the outcome of any nation-wide, state or local ballots.
>The website http://wijvertrouwenstemcomputersniet.nl/ warning of the
>dangers of voting computers also contains a section in English and the
>group's opt-in newsletters are now also available in English.

woensdag 27 september 2006

The Empire 13

Free Camilo bericht: 'Camilo Mejia freed from Oklahoma Army prison.

Iraq CO and family honored by Oklahoma peace activists

Camilo Mejia was sentenced to one year in an Oklahoma Army prison for "desertion" when he refused to continue to participate in a war he felt was immoral. His release was celebrated by dozens of local activists who were notified of his low-key re-entry into "normal" life.
Camilo Mejia was sentenced to one year in prison for "desertion" when he refused to continue to participate in a war he felt was immoral.
On February 15, Camilo Mejia was released from the prison at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, where he had been incarcerated since last June. He was welcomed by members of his family, including his mother, aunt and 5-year-old daughter. The family met with Oklahoma peace activists for a celebratory dinner before going on to Miami, where Camilo will take up residence to be near his daughter (he and her mother are divorced).
Camilo, who holds dual citizenship in Nicaragua and Costa Rico, was a centering and calming influence on the crowd, many of whom expressed concern about how the US government will address his lack of citizenship here. The family had refrained from making any kind of media event out of the release, prefering to give Camilo time to adjust, and to avoid precipitating any adverse reaction by authorities.
The dinner was held at Church of the Open Arms in Oklahoma City, a UCC church were many peace-related activities occur. Attenders represented a wide cross-section of the peace and justice community in the Oklahoma City area, and included Mennonites, Quakers and Catholics, as well as non-religious organizations.'

Lees verder: http://freecamilo.com/release-article.htm

The Empire 12

Democracy Now bericht:

'Army reservist Sergeant Marshall Thompson spent a year in Iraq working as a military journalist. He reported from across Iraq, interviewing thousands of US soldiers. Now back home in his native Utah, he is planning a 500-mile walk across the state to protest the war and call for a withdrawal of US troops. [includes rush transcript]
His goal is to walk from the Utah/Idaho border to the Utah/Arizona border in 26 days, that’s one day for every 100 soldiers who have died in Iraq. He’ll have to average about 20 miles a day.
I spoke with Sergeant Marshall Thompson on Monday in Salt Lake City in his first national broadcast interview. He began by talking about why he was planning the walk.
SGT. MARSHALL THOMPSON: Well, I got back from Iraq about two months ago, and I knew I’d have to do something to make things right. And so I decided, my wife and I, that it would be a good idea to do a walk through Utah. Utah is my home state, and I love it. It's also the reddest state in the nation. It's kind of a symbol of the last bastion of support for the war. So I thought that if I could walk through Utah in a peaceful manner and show that there's support in Utah for peace, then that just might be what turns the tide.'

Lees verder: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/09/27/146243

Joachim Fest 10

Joachim Fest in Tegenlicht. Een Italiaanse reis: 'Et quid amabo quod aenigma est? Wat moet ik liefhebben, zo niet het raadsel.'

Israelisch Expansionisme 25

Het International Middle East Media Center bericht: 'Jewish rabbi calls for extermination of all Palestinian males.

A Jewish rabbi living in the West Bank has called on the Israeli government to use their troops to kill all Palestinian males more than 13 years old in a bid to end Palestinian presence on this earth.

Extremist rabbi Yousef Falay, who dwells at the Yitzhar settlement on illegally seized Palestinian land in the northern part of the West Bank, wrote an article in a Zionist magazine under the title "Ways of War", in which he called for the killing of all Palestinian males refusing to flee their country, describing his idea as the practical way to ensure the non-existence of the Palestinian race.

"We have to make sure that no Palestinian individual remains under our occupation. If they (Palestinians) escape then it is good; but if anyone of them remains, then he should be exterminated", the fanatic rabbi added in his article.

Falay is not the first to have called for such extreme measures. Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Kach movement, called for "the transfer of Israel's Arab population to Arab (or other) lands." (As it states on the group's website). Followers of Kahane have been connected to a number of murders of Palestinians, particularly in the Hebron area in the southern West Bank. In the most well-known of such attacks, 29 Palestinians praying in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron were gunned down by Baruch Goldstein, a follower of Kahane, in 1994, with Israeli soldiers looking on and allowing the gunman to reload his automatic machine gun and continue killing innocent civilians. In response to that massacre, the Israeli authorities punished the Palestinian victims by taking over the Ibrahimi mosque and turning half of it into a synagogue, where Israeli settlers go to pray each week. And each year, on the anniversary of the massacre, Israeli settlers in Hebron dress up like Baruch Goldstein and parade through the streets of Hebron, firing guns in the air.'

Lees verder: http://www.imemc.org/content/view/21527/1/

dinsdag 26 september 2006

Joachim Fest 10

Joachim Fest in Tegenlicht. Een Italiaanse reis: 'Over de levenskunst van de Romeinen. Francois had in de loop der jaren drie belangrijke maximes ontdekt. Er zijn waanzinnige dingen die je niet kunt tegenhouden. Vervolgens: men moet de noodlottige gebeurtenissen, die altijd groot zijn, vergeten en ten volle genieten van het geluk, dat klein is. Ten slotte: de dwaasheden waarin de mensen vastlopen, moet je begrijpen, misschien moet je erom glimlachen, maar je mag ze nooit veroordelen.'

The Empire 11

Associated Press bericht:

'Retired Officers to Criticize Rumsfeld.
Retired military officers on Monday are expected to bluntly accuse Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld of bungling the war in Iraq, saying U.S. troops were sent to fight without the best equipment and that critical facts were hidden from the public.
"I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq," retired Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste said in remarks prepared for a hearing by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
A second witness, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, is expected to assess Rumsfeld as "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically ...."
"Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinarily bad decision-making," said his testimony prepared for the hearing, to be held six weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections in which the war is a central issue.
The conflict, now in its fourth year, has claimed the lives of more than 2,600 American troops and cost more than $300 billion.
Sen. Byron Dorgan (news, bio, voting record), D-N.D., the committee chairman, told reporters last week that he hoped the hearing would shed light on the planning and conduct of the war. He said majority Republicans had failed to conduct hearings on the issue, adding, "if they won't ... we will."
Since he spoke, a government-produced National Intelligence Estimate became public that concluded the war has helped create a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Several members of the Senate Democratic leadership were expected to participate in the hearing. Dorgan said Republican lawmakers had been invited.'

Lees verder: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/092506A.shtml

maandag 25 september 2006

The Empire 10

De Los Angeles Times onderzocht Amerikaanse oorlogsmisdaden in Afghanistan.

'Two Deaths Were a 'Clue That Something's Wrong'

A Special Forces team in Afghanistan failed to alert its superiors. Witnesses tell of torture.

WAZI, Afghanistan — The Green Berets of ODA 2021 were on high alert as their convoy rumbled down the winding, rutted road that day in March 2003. The team had been tipped that armed men loyal to the notoriously volatile warlord Pacha Khan Zadran lay in wait around the bend.As they approached this mountain village in eastern Afghanistan, the Americans spied the warlord's fighters high on a ridge to their right. They scrambled for cover behind their trucks and Humvees.
Moments later, machine-gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades rained down on their vulnerable position. Though pinned down, the Americans responded with a fusillade of their own."The air was snapping like Rice Crispies [sic]," the Special Forces team's newly assigned commander, Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth C. Waller, 32, wrote in a florid after-action report. "So many rounds were flying back and forth that lead was overcoming the oxygen in the air."The battle raged for 45 minutes, then A-10 attack planes and Apache helicopters flew in and strafed the Afghans into retreat.There were no casualties among the 17 Americans on patrol that day. "It seemed as if we had an angelic bubble surrounding our position," Waller reported to headquarters.Though Waller filed several detailed and colorful accounts of the battle, he apparently omitted any mention of what happened next.As some members of ODA 2021 pursued the warlord's men into the hills, others moved into the village to search the mud-walled houses for fighters.They detained three unarmed men for questioning. Two of them, brothers Jan and Wakil Mohammed, told the soldiers they were just returning from evening prayers at the mosque and had nothing to do with the shootout.Suddenly, another band of five or six Green Berets emerged from the hills where they had been chasing Pacha Khan's men. They had no interpreters."Those soldiers were running toward us and yelling in English, and we didn't understand what they were saying," Jan Mohammed recalled in an interview. Amid the confusion, he said, his brother grew frantic. Wakil, a woodcutter and father of two, raised his hands and shouted in Pashto, "De Khoday day para ma me vala!" according to his brother. "For God's sake, don't shoot me!"There was a burst of gunfire from one soldier, Jan Mohammed said, and three rounds ripped into Wakil. One struck him in the mouth. He fell dead at his brother's feet.'

Nederland steunt de Amerikaanse politiek in Afghanistan. Lees verder over onze bondgenoten in de zogeheten 'war on terror.'

The Empire 9

De oorlogsstaat is in financiele moeilijkheden, want oorlog is bijzonder duur.

Army Warns Rumsfeld It's Billions Short. An extraordinary action by the chief of staff sends a message: The Pentagon must increase the budget or reduce commitments in Iraq and elsewhere.
Washington - The Army's top officer withheld a required 2008 budget plan from Pentagon leaders last month after protesting to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in Iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding.
The decision by Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, is believed to be unprecedented and signals a widespread belief within the Army that in the absence of significant troop withdrawals from Iraq, funding assumptions must be completely reworked, say current and former Pentagon officials.
"This is unusual, but hell, we're in unusual times," said a senior Pentagon official involved in the budget discussions.
Schoomaker failed to submit the budget plan by an Aug. 15 deadline. The protest followed a series of cuts in the service's funding requests by both the White House and Congress over the last four months.
According to a senior Army official involved in budget talks, Schoomaker is now seeking $138.8 billion in 2008, nearly $25 billion above budget limits originally set by Rumsfeld. The Army's budget this year is $98.2 billion, making Schoomaker's request a 41% increase over current levels.
"It's incredibly huge," said the Army official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity when commenting on internal deliberations. "These are just incredible numbers."
Most funding for the fighting in Iraq has come from annual emergency spending bills, with the regular defense budget going to normal personnel, procurement and operational expenses, such as salaries and new weapons systems.
About $400 billion has been appropriated for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars through emergency funding measures since Sept. 11, 2001, with the money divided among military branches and government agencies.'

Lees verder:
la-na-military25sep25,0,5555967.story?coll=la-home-headlines En:

The Empire 8

Why Retired Military Brass Don't Want Torture

Firsthand combat experiences compel old guard to attack Bush's "alternative interrogation."

43 generaals en admiraals van de Amerikaanse strijdkrachten hebben zich fel uitgesproken tegen wat zij noemen martelingen (en die opmerkelijk genoeg in de Nederlandse avondkrant de NRC 'hardhandige verhoren' heten).

De Los Angeles Times bericht: 'For one 83-year-old veteran of World War II, it was the searing memory of a Japanese prisoner who helped turn the tide on Iwo Jima. For a 40-year veteran of Army intelligence, it was a trip to the battlefield at Gettysburg. For all 43 retired generals and admirals, it was a combination of moral outrage and deep disgust over President Bush's proposed legislation on interrogating terrorist suspects that propelled them into unfamiliar territory.
"None of us feels comfortable speaking out publicly," said retired Rear Adm. John D. Hutson, who served as the Navy's judge advocate general from 1997 to 2000 and presided over the JAG corps' 1,600 members. "That's not the nature of what military officers do.... [But we] care very, very much about the country and the military - and that's why [we] are speaking out."
The group of retired flag officers first came together in 2005, when a dozen of them signed a letter opposing the nomination of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general for his role in developing Bush's policies on torture in the war on terror. Late last year, they supported Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) ban on cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees in U.S. custody anywhere in the world.
And last week, the Republican senators with whom the retired officers are allied in a fight against Bush's proposed legislation to weaken the spirit and the letter of the Geneva Convention won a compromise with the administration. According to the agreement, all forms of torture would be banned, including waterboarding, which White House officials had insisted wasn't real torture, although it was one of the Gestapo's favorite techniques.
The retired officers believe that the negative consequences of the president's anti-terror policies could have been avoided if the administration had followed traditional military practices. Retired Marine Maj. Gen. Fred E. Haynes, 83, is a veteran of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. In 1945, he was a captain in the regiment that seized Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima and raised the U.S. flag there. In March of that year, his unit found two U.S. soldiers dead, apparently victims of torture. On March 17, about 10 days before the battle ended, a Japanese soldier, wearing nothing but his boots and a cotton jock strap, stepped out of a cave with his hands up. He had read one of the leaflets Americans were distributing in artillery shells that promised that anyone who gave up would get his wounds treated and his stomach filled.'

Lees verder:

opinion/la-op-kaiser24sep24,1,326876.story?coll=la-news-comment En:

The Empire 7

Axel Merk is Manager of the Merk Hard Currency Fund.

The Economy in Denial: Fallout From the Bursting Housing Bubble

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Every day, another economist claims that the impact of the slowdown in housing on the economy is overrated; a few months ago, many still disputed there even was a housing bubble. There has been a housing bubble, the bubble has only started to deflate, and it may have very negative long-term implications for the U.S. economy as well as the U.S. dollar.
Almost every day, a high profile company directly or indirectly targeting the U.S. consumer warns that its outlook is bleak. Let it be Yahoo warning about advertising revenues; let it be Kellogg’s warning about its high costs; let it be Dell’s warning that its eternal rebate programs cannot push sales anymore; let it be the automakers that sell many of their brands at prices below last year’s level, yet are still unable to boost volume. All these incidents are linked to the U.S. consumer; and U.S. consumer spending, in turn is very closely linked to the health in the housing market. It also comes as no surprise that so far this year, the U.S. dollar has fallen significantly versus a basket of currencies.
Home building activity has collapsed with some builders reporting as many as half their orders cancelled. The volume of homes sold has declined and inventories are up. Home prices have – so far - held up reasonably well mostly because the cost of long term mortgages has been very well behaved; while short-term interest rates have risen, interest rates on longer term loans have in some instances even come down. As a result, the squeeze on consumer spending has been relatively mild and limited to a squeeze on home owners who have been dependent on adjustable rate mortgages who have seen their rates rise; beyond that, the squeeze has been on home owners who have employed their homes as ATM machines – these owners are dependent on eternally rising home values to finance their spending.'

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Joachim Fest 10

Joachim Fest in Tegenlicht. Een Italiaanse reis: 'Alle perioden van verval beginnen met de macht van het historische. Wie alleen maar wil behouden, is al aan het einde.'

zondag 24 september 2006

The Empire 6

De geschiedschrijver Sallustius schreef dat de oosterse vorst Mithridates over de Romeinen had gezegd: 'De Romeinen hebben maar 1 reden om oorlog te voeren met alle landen, alle volkeren en alle koningen: hun onverzadigbare honger naar macht en rijkdom. Vroeger, toen ze nog gewoon een stelletje struikrovers waren, hebben ze zich alleen maar in een stad verenigd om op die manier een plaag voor de hele aarde te kunnen worden. Geen enkele goddelijke of menselijke wet zou hen kunnen verhinderen te plunderen, hun bondgenoten en vrienden te overvallen en iedereen als vijand te behandelen die hun slaaf niet is. De Romeinen strijden het hardnekkigst tegen degenen van wie de nederlaag hun de rijkste buit belooft.'