Free Internet Press

Uncensored News For Real People This is a mirror site for our daily newsletter. You may visit our real site through the individual story links, or by visiting .

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Saturday December 8 2007 - (813)

Saturday December 8 2007 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

Audit: Military Lost Track Of Equipment In Iraq Worth Millions
2007-12-08 02:33:51

Pentagon auditors said they could not account for millions of dollars worth of rocket-propelled grenades, armored vehicles, ammunition and other supplies and equipment that were to be used to train and equip Iraqi security forces, because of inadequate paperwork and a lack of oversight personnel.

A report released Thursday by the Defense Department's inspector general looked at $5.2 billion in the Iraq Security Forces Fund, which is part of the $44.5 billion U.S. reconstruction effort in Iraq.

It found that the command in charge, known as the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, couldn't provide "reasonable assurance" that the money for the Iraqi security forces was used properly and that it was protected from "waste and mismanagement."

The inspector general said the command was unable to prove that it received 12,712 of the 13,508 weapons it bought because the serial numbers were not kept when they were brought to the Abu Ghraib warehouse, and when they were sent out there wasn't adequate paperwork tracking them to a contract. The 13,508 weapons were made up of 7,002 pistols, 3,230 assault rifles, 2,389 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 887 machine guns.

Read The Full Story

Blackwater Contracts Short On Details
2007-12-08 02:33:19

The U.S. State Department has released copies of its contracts for private security services with Blackwater Lodge and Training Center and Blackwater Security Consulting.It's a hefty 323-page stack, and it comes with a catch:

About 169 of the pages are blank or mostly blank.

Released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the contracts - worth up to $1.2 billion - have been heavily redacted by the government. A State Department spokesman said the officials responsible for the cuts are simply trying to protect sensitive information that might put individuals at risk. He declined to say what kind of information was cut.

In a cover letter, the department notes that it "gave full consideration" to deletions recommended by Blackwater officials.

Read The Full Story

Commentary: Our Troops Must Leave Iraq
2007-12-07 22:08:17
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by Walter Cronkite and David Krieger and appeared on the website on Tuesday, December 4, 2007. Mr. Cronkite is the former long-time anchor for CBS Evening News. Mr. Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Their commentary follows:

The American people no longer support the war in Iraq. The war is being carried on by a stubborn president who, like Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War, does not want to lose. But from the beginning this has been an ill-considered and poorly prosecuted war that, like the Vietnam War, has diminished respect for America. We believe Mr. Bush would like to drag the war on long enough to hand it off to another president.

The war in Iraq reminds us of the tragedy of the Vietnam War. Both wars began with false assertions by the president to the American people and the Congress. Like Vietnam, the Iraq War has introduced a new vocabulary: “shock and awe,” “mission accomplished,” “the surge.” Like Vietnam, we have destroyed cities in order to save them. It is not a strategy for success.

The Bush administration has attempted to forestall ending the war by putting in more troops, but more troops will not solve the problem. We have lost the hearts and minds of most of the Iraqi people, and victory no longer seems to be even a remote possibility. It is time to end our occupation of Iraq, and bring our troops home.

This war has had only limited body counts. There are reports that more than one million Iraqis have died in the war. These reports cannot be corroborated because the U.S. military does not make public the number of the Iraqi dead and injured. There are also reports that some four million Iraqis have been displaced and are refugees either abroad or within their own country. Iraqis with the resources to leave the country have left. They are frightened. They don’t trust the U.S., its allies or its mercenaries to protect them and their interests.

Read The Full Story

Commentary: The Surge Is A Sideshow. Only A Total U.S. Pullout Can Succeed.
2007-12-07 22:07:36
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by Jonathan Steele and appears in the Guardian edition for Friday, December 7, 2007. Mr. Steele is a Guardian columnist, roving foreign correspondent and author; his latest book, "Defeat: Why They Lost Iraq", is scheduled to be published next month. In his commentary, Mr. Steele writes: "When resistance leaders are given an assurance that the Iraq occupation will end completely, real negotiations can begin." His commentary follows:

If the gladdest tidings of this pre-Christmas season have been the U.S. intelligence community's brilliant move to undermine a Bush attack on Iran by revealing there is no Iranian nuclear weapons program, the worst news concerns U.S. policy on Iraq. And it is not just the U.S. announcement of plans to get the Iraqi government to agree to permanent U.S. military bases and an open-ended occupation, thereby confirming what most analysts had long assumed was the Republicans' intention.

More alarming was the Democratic party's reaction and indeed that of the U.S. media. The revelation produced no burst of headlines or commentaries, even though it rides roughshod over most Americans' wishes. A Pew Research poll two weeks ago found 54% wanted the troops home "as soon as possible".

Yet the Democratic contenders for the presidency barely murmured. The passion for a clear timetable of an early U.S.  troop pullout that was raging in large sections of the Democratic party last spring, in the weeks after it regained control of the House and Senate, has fizzled out.

Whatever effect Bush's "surge" of extra troops has had in Iraq, it has clearly worked in Washington. The Democrats are in retreat, and the Bush strategy of entrenching the Iraq occupation still further and handing the mess to his successor is proceeding virtually unopposed.

Read The Full Story

Britain Faces Stormy Weekend, Braces For Floods
2007-12-07 22:06:17
Flood warnings were issued for rivers in Wales and western England last night as parts of Britain battened down the hatches for a stormy and wet weekend.

Small-boat owners in southwest England were warned not to put to sea, with severe winds gusting up to 80 mph expected on Sunday, particularly in Devon and Cornwall. Disruption to transport and power networks was possible, said government agencies.

Rough seas on Thursday and Friday indicated stormy weather to come as a 55,000-ton car transporter was in danger of being wrecked and a cruise ship guest lecturer and nurse were taken by helicopter from a liner 50 miles south of Falmouth. The lecturer was found on the floor of his cabin on the Saga Rose early Friday afternoon and his condition was described as "poorly". The liner, just a day out of Southampton, continued towards the Caribbean, taking holidaymakers for a 30-night Christmas cruise.

Sixty homes in the Rhondda area of Wales were flooded. Three towns on the Wye - Ross, Hereford and Hay - were in danger of flooding, according to the Britain's Environment Agency, as were two stretches of the Severn in Powys and the Dee in Wrexham. Another 58 less severe "flood watches" were in effect in the West Country, Wales, the Midlands and north-west England.
Read The Full Story

Senate Energy Bill Vote Blocked
2007-12-07 15:11:21

Senate Democrats failed to muster enough votes this morning to close debate on the energy bill passed by the House yesterday, setting the scene for a vote Tuesday on a new version of the bill that would strip it of a requirement for electric utilities to use renewable energy for 15 percent of their generation.

The Senate voted 53-42 to close debate, falling short of the 60 votes needed to permit a vote on passage even though the leading presidential candidates returned from the campaign trail to bolster the measure's chances.

Only yesterday, the House had brushed aside a veto threat from the White House when it approved the energy bill,  which would raise automobile fuel-efficiency standards for the first time in 32 years and require increased use of renewable energy sources to generate electricity. The bill would also raise $21 billion in revenue over 10 years, largely through altering tax provisions for the nation's biggest oil companies.

Anticipating the Senate vote during an interview earlier Friday morning, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Maryland) conceded that the final deal would have to drop the renewable electricity generation quotas, but he said a stripped-down version of the House legislation "is still a good bill." Senate aides said the new version could be brought to a vote Tuesday and could also include some modification of the tax package.

Read The Full Story

Embattled State Dept. Inspector General Krongard Resigns
2007-12-07 15:10:44
The embattled State Department Inspector General, who has been accused of impeding a Justice Department investigation of Blackwater Worldwide, announced his resignation Friday to colleagues.

Howard Krongard revealed his departure to coworkers at the department on Friday, said Gonzalo Gallegos, a department spokesman.

Gallegos offered no other details, including when Krongard's departure takes effect.

"We thank him for his service," said Gallegos.

Read The Full Story

CIA Destoryed Tapes Of Harsh Interrogations, Including Waterboarding
2007-12-07 00:58:03
Disclosures come on the same day that House and Senate negotiators reach an agreement to prohibit use of waterboarding and similar CIA tactics.

The CIA made videotapes in 2002 of its officers administering harsh interrogation techniques to two al-Qaeda suspects but destroyed the tapes three years later, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said Thursday.

Captured on tape were interrogations of Abu Zubaydah, a close associate of Osama bin Laden, and a second high-level al-Qaeda member who was not identified, according to two intelligence officials. Zubaydah has been identified by U.S. officials familiar with the interrogations as one of three al-Qaeda suspects who were subjected to "waterboarding," a technique that simulates drowning, while in CIA custody.

The tapes were made to document any confessions the two men might make and to serve as an internal check on how the interrogations were conducted, said senior intelligence officials.

Read The Full Story

News Analysis: On Mortgage Relief Who Gains The Most?
2007-12-07 00:57:01
At least one thing is clear about President Bush’s plan to help people trapped by the mortgage meltdown: it is an industry-led plan, not a government bailout.

Although Bush unveiled the plan at the White House on Thursday, its terms were set by the mortgage industry and Wall Street firms. The effort is voluntary and it leaves plenty of wiggle room for lenders. Moreover, it would affect only a small number of subprime borrowers.

The plan was the target of criticism from consumer advocates who said its scope was too narrow, and from investment firms, who said it went too far. Others warned that the plan, by letting some stretched homeowners off the hook, could encourage more reckless borrowing in the future.

“The approach announced today is not a silver bullet,” said Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., who hammered out the agreement. “We face a difficult problem for which there is no perfect solution.”

The heart of Bush’s plan is a cautious attempt to help troubled homeowners by persuading financiers to freeze mortgages at low introductory rates for five years, but without actually forcing the hands of lenders and investors who hold the mortgages.

Read The Full Story

Vessel Leaks 15,000 Tons Of Crude Oil Off South Korea Coast
2007-12-07 00:56:00
A Hong Kong-registered oil tanker collided with another vessel in seas off South Korea's west coast Friday and leaked about 15,000 tons of crude oil, said an official with the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry.

It was believed to be South Korea's largest offshore oil leak, according to the official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity citing office policy.

The collision left three holes in the 146,000-ton tanker Hebbei Spirit. The leaked oil amounts to 110,000 barrels, the official said.

Read The Full Story

List Of 'Willing' U.S. Allies In Iraq Steadily Shrinks
2007-12-08 02:33:39
The commander of the Kazakh soldiers in Iraq, all 29 of them, keeps a stack of English-language instruction books on his desk inside Forward Operating Base Delta. He already speaks Russian, Turkish and Kazakh, and after English, he plans to learn Chinese. He has the time.

Kazakhstan has two main missions here in Kut, Iraq, on the geographic and strategic periphery of the war, and both of them could be going better. The Kazakh troops are sappers, trained to dispose of explosives. They were ordered by their government not to leave the base after one of those bombs, nearly three years ago, killed the first and only Kazakh soldier to die in Iraq. The soldiers also run a water purification system but find less use for that these days, too. "It's not necessary," said Capt. Samat Mukhanov. "There is bottled water here."

When asked how he felt about working in Iraq, the commander, Maj. Shaikh-Khasan Zazhykbayev, barked in his thick accent: "Not so comfortable! ... But we are military. Our government sends us to serve in Iraq, and we are serving in Iraq."

President Bush once called it the "coalition of the willing," the countries willing to fight alongside the United States in Iraq. The list topped off in mid-2004 at 32 countries; troop strength peaked in November that year at 25,595. The force has since shrunk to 26 countries and 11,755 troops, or about 7 percent of the 175,000-strong multinational force, according to mid-November figures provided by the U.S. military.

Read The Full Story

Bush Does Not Recall Learning Of Destroyed CIA Tapes
2007-12-07 22:08:34

President Bush does not recall being informed before Thursday morning about the existence or subsequent destruction of video recordings showing harsh CIA interrogations of terrorism suspects, the White House said Friday.

The recordings, which CIA Director Michael V. Hayden disclosed Thursday had been made in 2002 but destroyed three years later, set off a furor on Capitol Hill Friday, with the Senate's second-ranking Democrat demanding a Justice Department investigation.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Illinois), the Senate majority whip, called for the probe in a letter to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey. He urged Mukasey to investigate "whether CIA officials who destroyed these videotapes and withheld information about their existence from official proceedings violated the law."

In a floor speech, Durbin rejected Hayden's explanation to CIA employees Thursday that the recordings were destroyed in part to prevent the identification of CIA interrogators, protecting them and their families from retaliation by al-Qaeda terrorists if the recordings ever leaked. Durbin said it was "possible and in fact easy to cover the faces" of any employees appearing on camera.

Read The Full Story

Poll: 58% Of Military Families Want Troops Home From Iraq Within A Year - Or Sooner
2007-12-07 22:08:00
A majority disapprove of the president's handling of the war in Iraq and are more in line with the views of the general public.

Families with ties to the military, long a reliable source of support for wartime presidents, disapprove of President Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq, with a majority concluding the invasion was not worth it, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.

The views of the military community, which includes active-duty service members, veterans and their family members, mirror those of the overall adult population, a sign that the strong military endorsement that the administration often pointed to has dwindled in the war's fifth year.

Nearly six out of every 10 military families disapprove of Bush's job performance and the way he has run the war, rating him only slightly better than the general population does.

Among those families with soldiers, sailors and Marines who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, 60% say that the war in Iraq was not worth the cost, the same result as all adults surveyed.
Read The Full Story

Anger At New York Public Library's Bush Exhibition
2007-12-07 22:06:46
Authors of Iraq War made "suspects" in library's art exhibition; right-wing bloggers cry foul over "doctored" photos.

A series of six black and white prints on display in an unassuming corner of the New York City public library have sparked controversy on the airwaves and blogosphere quite out of keeping with the dark, marble-lined corridor in which they are hung.

The prints show the mugshots, in the style of police arrest photographs, of main members of the Bush administration in the first few years of his presidency. There is President Bush himself, scowling into the camera, and a fierce, finger-pointing Dick Cheney.

Each of the "suspects" in Line Up, as the display is called, carry placards bearing a date. The artists, Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese, have chosen the dates to refer to key speeches in which they believe the politicians incriminated themselves in front of the American people.

An audio tape runs beside the prints and plays the speeches as the prints come up in a slide show.

Read The Full Story

Britain's Guantanamo Four To Be Released
2007-12-07 22:05:55
Release is set to reduce the U.K.'s involvement with the U.S. camp in Cuba to just one inmate. Amnesty International questions why one man must stay in jail.

Four British residents held without charge at the American detention camp for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are to be released, reducing the U.K. involvement with the camp to just one inmate.

The four men have all lived in Britain after being granted refugee status or temporary immigration status. They have struggled to have their cases heard because, until recently, Britain refused to represent them on the grounds that they were not U.K. citizens.

Three of the men - Jamil el-Banna, Omar Deghayes and Abdenour Samuer - are to be allowed to return to the U.K. by Christmas. A fourth, Shaker Abdur-Raheem Aamer, will be sent back to his home country, Saudi Arabia.

That leaves one U.K. resident, Binyam Mohammed al-Habashi, from Ethiopia, still in Guantanamo. The Pentagon claims he is particularly dangerous and has determined that he stays to face one of the military commissions established to prosecute prisoners at the camp.

Read The Full Story

Democrats Want Investigation Into CIA Tapes Destruction
2007-12-07 15:11:05
Angry Democratic lawmakers called for investigations Friday into the Central Intelligence Agency's destruction in 2005 of at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two al-Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, of Massachusetts, accused the C.I.A. of “a cover-up,” while Senator Richard J. Durbin,  of Illinois said it was possible that people at the agency had engaged in obstruction of justice. Both called on Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate.

“We haven’t seen anything like this since the 18½ -minute gap on the tapes of Richard Nixon,” Kennedy said in a speech on the Senate floor, as reaction to the disclosure about the videotapes seemed to intensify minute by minute.

Durbin, the Democratic whip, said he had written Mukasey to ask for an inquiry into “whether C.I.A. officials who destroyed these videotapes and withheld information about their existence from official proceedings violated the law.”

Read The Full Story

Fiji Prepares For Category 4 Cyclone
2007-12-07 03:28:54

Cyclone Daman was due to hit Fiji's northern Vanua Levu island Thursday night and on over Taveuni and the islands of the Lau Group.

In the last two hours Cyclone Daman has changed course away from the tourist heavy areas of western Viti Levu.

Neighboring Tonga has been put on alert.

"It has undergone some very erratic behavior and its path is changing all the time," Fiji Meteorology Service head Dr. Rajendra Prasad told Fairfax Media a short time ago.

It was heading for the Vanua Levu town of Labasa which on January 14, 2003, was devastated by Cyclone Ami, killing nine people.

Daman is a now a category four hurricane on a five point scale and is stronger than Ami.

Read The Full Story

Future Combat: U.S. Army's $200 Billion Makeover
2007-12-07 00:57:33
Developers of new weapons systems think wars of the future will be wireless combat by mouse clicks.

A $200 billion plan to remake the largest war machine in history unfolds in one small way on a quiet country road in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Jack Hensley, one of a legion of contractors on the project, is hunkered in a slowly moving SUV, serving as target practice for a baby-faced soldier in a Humvee aiming a laser about 700 yards away. A moment later, another soldier in the Humvee punches commands into a computer transmitting data across an expanse of sand and mesquite to a site 2 1/2 miles away. On an actual battlefield, this is when a precision attack missile would be launched, killing Hensley almost instantly.

For soldiers in an experimental Army brigade at the sprawling Fort Bliss base, it's the first day of field training on a new weapon called the Non-Line of Sight Launch System, or NLOS-LS, a box of rockets that can automatically change direction in midair and hit a moving target about 24 miles away. The Army says it has never had a weapon like it. "It's not the Spartans with the swords anymore," said Emmett Schaill, the brigade commander, peering into the desert-scape.

In the Army's vision, the war of the future is increasingly combat by mouse clicks. It's as networked as the Internet, as mobile as a cellphone, as intuitive as a video game. The Army has a name for this vision: Future Combat Systems, or FCS. The project involves creating a family of 14 weapons, drones, robots, sensors and hybrid-electric combat vehicles connected by a wireless network. It has turned into the most ambitious modernization of the Army since World War II and the most expensive Army weapons program ever, military officials say.

Read The Full Story

Serbian Official Threatens To Go To War Over Kosovo
2007-12-07 00:56:20
Simic claims country has a right to defend its territory; European Union envoy says Serb government must retract its statement.

The European Union special envoy on Kosovo Thursday demanded the retraction of a threat by a senior Serbian official that his country could resort to war if the mostly ethnic Albanian province declares independence.

Aleksandar Simic, an advisor to Serbia's prime minister, was quoted in the Belgrade media as saying that Serbia had the legal right to use war as a means of defending its territory, if Kosovo, a United Nations protectorate for the past eight years, declares independence in the coming weeks as expected.

"Serbia has had negative experiences from certain armed clashes during the civil wars in the former Yugoslavia, and this is why we are more prudent and cautious now, but, of course, state interests are defended by war as well," said Simic.

Wolfgang Ischinger, the European member of a troika of international negotiators who have spent the past four months trying in vain to find a negotiated settlement on Kosovo's future, reacted angrily to Simic's remarks.

Read The Full Story
Original materials on this site © Free Internet Press.

Any mirrored or quoted materials © their respective authors, publications, or outlets, as shown on their publication, indicated by the link in the news story.

Original Free Internet Press materials may be copied and/or republished without modification, provided a link to is given in the story, or proper credit is given.

Newsletter options may be changed in your preferences on

Please email there are any questions.

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication:


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home