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 .

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Wednesday August 13 2008 - (813)

Wednesday August 13 2008 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

Critics Say U.S. Banks Not Failing Fast Enough
2008-08-13 03:09:14

First the borrowers. Now the banks.

Federal and state regulators have closed eight banks this year, four since the start of July, as rising borrower defaults on residential and commercial real estate loans start to push some lenders into default, too.

There were no bank failures in 2005 or 2006 and only three in 2007. Now, some analysts expect a few hundred banks to fail over the next several years - the most since the savings-and-loan crisis two decades ago.

And some critics say the failures aren't happening fast enough. They say regulators are keeping some troubled banks on life support by allowing them to spend money to stay in business that should be reserved to cover loan losses after the bank has failed.

"They are dragging their feet in forcing these banks to reserve realistically," said Bert Ely of Ely & Co., a bank consulting firm in Alexandria. "Some of these banks could have been closed two or three quarters earlier."

Read The Full Story

Russia To Georgia, Surrender Or Else
2008-08-13 03:08:52

The Kremlin Tuesday night dictated humiliating peace terms to Georgia as the price for halting the Russian invasion of the small Black Sea country and its four-day rout of Georgian forces.

Faced with strong western denunciation, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev called a halt to the Russian offensive and negotiated terms for a truce and a broader settlement with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who, as chair of the European Union, rushed to the region to try to strike a deal on a ceasefire.

Early this morning in Tbilisi, Georgia's president, Mikheil Saakashvili, signaled his partial assent to the terms, announcing with Sarkozy that he accepted the ceasefire; but Saakashvili raised questions about a continuing Russian military presence in Georgia and the prospects for any durable settlement looked  uncertain.

"We do not yet have a peace deal, we have a provisional cessation of hostilities; but this is significant progress," Sarkozy said after talks with Medvedev in Moscow and before taking the terms to Tbilisi. This morning Sarkozy predicted Saakashvili would accept Russian terms on the broader settlement.

Medvedev branded Saakashvili a "lunatic" as he outlined tough terms to the French leader, in effect demanding Georgian capitulation to vastly superior Russian forces.

Read The Full Story

Audit: Firms Redirected Money Meant For Native Alaskans
2008-08-13 03:08:17

Two government contractors designated as small, Alaska-Native-owned firms directed millions of dollars in fees to other companies owned by managers who were not Alaska Natives and should not have received the payments, according to an audit report by the Office of Inspector General at the Small Business Administration.

The findings are part of an ongoing review by the inspector general's office of the status of Alaska Native corporations, or ANCs, which are eligible to receive sole-source contracts of any size from federal agencies. Congress three decades ago permitted the creation of ANCs as a means to settle land claims and to spur economic development.

In this case, the firms, established by ANC parents, hired managers who soon gained ownership in the companies. These managers then hired other companies they personally owned and paid them with money from the set-aside contracts, according to the report. The financial arrangements allowed those other companies to take advantage of the set-aside programs without the SBA's approval, auditors found.

The audit report recommended that the two companies - APM, a construction management company from Yorba Linda, California, and Goldbelt Raven, a Chantilly firm that provides acquisitions support, program management and technology services - be terminated from the agency's 8(a) small business set-aside program.

From 2003 to 2006, the firms secured federal contracts worth up to $833 million.

Read The Full Story

UBS TAkes More Hits In Subprime Crisis
2008-08-13 03:07:50
UBS, one of the hardest-hit banks in the subprime mortgage crisis, said Tuesday that it lost $331 million in the second quarter as it took another $5.1 billion hit in write-downs on bad assets.

The net loss for Switzerland's largest bank in the April to June period compared with a profit of $5 billion a year earlier, while the write-offs on dwindled holdings brought the total for the past year to $42.5 billion.

The bank proposed four new board members as part of its plan to strengthen oversight of management and warned that the early impression that the worst of the subprime crisis was over turned out to be illusory.

"The positive sentiment seen at the end of first quarter 2008 that the credit crisis may be easing was short-lived as trading conditions deteriorated significantly in the second half of May, in particular for assets related to U.S. residential real estate as well as other structured credit positions," a bank statement said.

The new results come on top of write-downs totaling $37.4 billion over the previous nine months.

Read The Full Story

Russia Orders Halt In Georgia As Fighting Continues
2008-08-12 15:39:28
Russia President Dmitri A. Medvedev Tuesday agreed to the terms of a cease-fire that could end the clashes in Georgia,  saying Russia had “punished” Georgia enough for its aggression against the separatist enclave of South Ossetia.

The six-point agreement - which the Georgians had endorsed in an earlier draft - would withdraw troops to the positions they occupied before fighting broke out Thursday. It would grant unfettered access to humanitarian aid, cease the use of force in the disputed territories, and begin the delicate process of negotiation over the future of the two breakaway enclaves.

“I think these are good principles to settle the problem, to end this dramatic situation,” Medvedev said at a news conference with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy. “It is up to Georgia now.”

Sarkozy was due to fly to Georgia later on Tuesday to put the proposal to the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili. 

If the cease-fire takes hold, Russia will have edged back from a confrontation that threatened to draw it into a cold-war-style conflict with Western nations. A great goal has already been accomplished: Russia has asserted its ability to wrestle its neighbors to the ground at will, and - if not now, then later - resume its old role as the hegemon of the South Caucasus.

Read The Full Story

Attack On Pakistani Air Force Bus Kills 13
2008-08-12 15:38:49
A bomb targeting a Pakistani Air Force bus carrying personnel from a military base killed 13 people and wounded 11 others on Tuesday on a major road near the center of this city, said the police.

Taliban forces reportedly took responsibility. The attack was seen as retaliation for Pakistani airstrikes in Bajaur, a militant stronghold near the border with Afghanistan, said inspector general of police Malik Naveed Khan. Five of the dead were air force personnel and the eight others were bystanders, he said.

In the past several days, the government has unleashed an offensive against militants in Bajaur, an area of Pakistan’s tribal region adjacent to Peshawar where the Taliban and al-Qaeda have forged particularly close ties on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border.

The bomb appeared to have been placed on top of a bridge or near the bridge and triggered by remote control, said  Khan.

Also Tuesday, Pakistani security forces said that a senior al-Qaeda commander, identified as Abu Saeed al-Masri, had been killed in the fighting in Bajaur. Masri was described by the Pakistanis as the most senior al-Qaeda operative to have been killed in the tribal area since a strike last month by a remotely piloted American aircraft killed Abu Khabab al-Masri, a chemical and biological weapons expert, in South Waziristan near the Afghan border.

Read The Full Story

White House Wants To Eliminate Scientific Reviews On Endangered Species
2008-08-12 03:22:14

The Bush administration Monday proposed a regulatory overhaul of the Endangered Species Act to allow federal agencies to decide whether protected species would be imperiled by agency projects, eliminating the independent scientific reviews that have been required for more than three decades.

The new rules, which will be subject to a 30-day public comment period, would use administrative powers to make broad changes in the law that Congress has resisted for years. Under current law, agencies must subject any plans that potentially affect endangered animals and plants to an independent review by the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service. Under the proposed new rules, dam and highway construction and other federal projects could proceed without delay if the agency in charge decides they would not harm vulnerable species.

In a telephone call with reporters Monday, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne described the new rules as a "narrow regulatory change" that "will provide clarity and certainty to the consultation process under the Endangered Species Act."

Environmentalists and congressional Democrats blasted the proposal as a last-minute attempt by the administration to bring about dramatic changes in the law. For more than a decade, congressional Republicans have been trying unsuccessfully to rewrite the act, which property owners and developers say imposes unreasonable economic costs.

"I am deeply troubled by this proposed rule, which gives federal agencies an unacceptable degree of discretion to decide whether or not to comply with the Endangered Species Act," said Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-West Virginia), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, who asked for a staff briefing before the proposal was announced but did not receive one. "Eleventh-hour rule makings rarely, if ever, lead to good government - this is not the type of legacy this Interior Department should be leaving for future generations."

Bob Irvin, senior vice president of conservation programs at the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife, questioned how some federal agencies could make the assessments, since most do not have wildlife biologists on staff.

Read The Full Story

Some Web Firms, Including Google, Admit Tracking Users Without Consent
2008-08-12 03:21:48

Several Internet and broadband companies have acknowledged using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers, according to letters released Monday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

And Google, the leading online advertiser, stated that it has begun using Internet tracking technology that enables it to more precisely follow Web-surfing behavior across affiliated sites.

The revelations came in response to a bipartisan inquiry of how more than 30 Internet companies might have gathered data to target customers. Some privacy advocates and lawmakers said the disclosures help build a case for an overarching online-privacy law.

"Increasingly, there are no limits technologically as to what a company can do in terms of collecting information ... and then selling it as a commodity to other providers," said committee member Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts), who created the Privacy Caucus 12 years ago. "Our responsibility is to make sure that we create a law that, regardless of the technology, includes a set of legal guarantees that consumers have with respect to their information."

Markey said he and his colleagues plan to introduce legislation next year, a sort of online-privacy Bill of Rights, that would require that consumers must opt in to the tracking of their online behavior and the collection and sharing of their personal data.

Some committee leaders cautioned that such legislation could damage the economy by preventing small companies from reaching customers. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Florida) said self-regulation that focuses on transparency and choice might be the best approach.

Read The Full Story

Analysis: A Hot Proxy War
2008-08-12 03:20:53
The rapid escalation of the conflict in South Ossetia shows just how much the crisis suits all parties involved. Georgia wants to ingratiate itself into the West, and Russia wants to prevent just that. The welfare of the South Ossetians plays no role whatsoever.

The South Ossetia conflict has been simmering since March, but it had taken the form of the controlled instability that had governed Russian-Georgian relations ever since the standstill agreement of June 24, 1992. The Georgian attack on the South Ossetia capital of Tskhinvali on August 8 turned this "frozen conflict," as diplomats call it, into a hot proxy war. At present its potential for escalation seems virtually unlimited and has direct consequences for Europe's security.

Protecting South Ossetia's national culture and identity isn't the issue here. This is more about the local business dealings of the self-declared president of South Ossetia's de facto regime - Eduard Kokoity, who isn't recognized by any government. His dealings play into the hands of Russian geopolitical interests and also serve Georgia, Europe and the United States.

South Ossetia has been part of Georgia since the 5th century. But the independence proclaimed in 1991 has proved a good earner for Kokoity. The Roki Tunnel, the only passable border crossing into North Ossetia, which belongs to Russia, is a much used smuggling route. This conduit is in the hands of Kokoity and the so-called Russian peacekeeers.

The Intervention Has Putin's Handwriting

Russia also supplies peacekeeping troops for Abkhazia, the other Georgian breakaway region. The dispatch of the Black Sea fleet to Abkhazia, the bombing of the Georgian towns of Poti and Gori and of an aircraft factory near the Georgian capital of Tbilisi show how determined Russia is to escalate this conflict. And how uninterested Russia is in living up to its role as a peacekeeping power.
Read The Full Story

GAO: Many Corporations Didn't Pay Taxes From 1998 To 2005
2008-08-12 03:20:08

About two-thirds of corporations operating in the United States did not pay taxes annually from 1998 to 2005, according to a new report scheduled to be made public today from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In 2005, after collectively making $2.5 trillion in sales, corporations gave a variety of reasons on their tax returns to account for the absence of taxable revenue. The most frequently listed included the cost of producing their goods, salary expenses and interest payments on their debt, said the report.

The GAO did not analyze whether the firms had profits that should have been taxed.

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-North Dakota) called the findings "a shocking indictment of the current tax system."

"It's shameful that so many corporations make big profits and pay nothing to support our country," he said. "The tax system that allows this wholesale tax avoidance is an embarrassment and unfair to hardworking Americans who pay their fair share of taxes. We need to plug these tax loopholes and put these corporations back on the tax rolls."

Eric Toder, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, said the vast majority of corporations are small businesses and start-ups that have adopted a corporate structure that allows them to lower their tax bills.

"I'm not trying to imply that there aren't tax-compliance issues among small corporations," he said. "But when you are talking about businesses that size, I would suspect the norm would be to not pay taxes, and there's nothing nefarious about that." Toder had not yet seen the GAO study.

Read The Full Story

In U.S., Partisan Expert Witnesses Frustrate Many
2008-08-12 03:19:20

Judge Denver D. Dillard was trying to decide whether a slow-witted Iowa man accused of acting as a drug mule was competent to stand trial. But the conclusions of the two psychologists who gave expert testimony in the case, Judge Dillard said, were “polar opposites”.

One expert, who had been testifying for defendants for 20 years, said the accused, Timothy M. Wilkins, was mentally retarded, had a verbal I.Q. of 58 and did not understand the proceedings.

The prosecution expert, who had testified for the state more than 200 times, said that Wilkins’ verbal I.Q. was 88, far above the usual cutoffs for mental retardation, and that he was competent to stand trial.

Judge Dillard, of the Johnson County District Court in Iowa City, did what American judges and juries often do after hearing from dueling experts: he threw up his hands. The two experts were biased in favor of the parties who employed them, said the judge, and they had given predictable testimony.

“The two sides have canceled each other out,” the judge wrote in 2005, refusing either expert’s conclusion and complaining that “no funding mechanism” existed for him to appoint an expert.

Read The Full Story

Editorial: Mr. Mukasey In Denial
2008-08-13 03:09:03
Intellpuke: This editorial appeared in the New York Times edition for Tuesday, August 12, 2008.

Conservatives like to talk about personal responsibility, but Attorney General Michael Mukasey does not seem to think it applies to the Bush administration. In a speech on Tuesday, he described the shameful politicization of the Justice Department as a “painful” episode in which “the system failed”.

Mr. Mukasey made no mention of the role played by his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales, and other members of President Bush’s inner circle. There is by now strong reason to believe that they were involved in plans to fire United States attorneys for political reasons, fill other important positions on the basis of partisanship rather than competence and order prosecutions designed to help Republicans win elections.

The department has never properly pursued the bad actors. It has shown no real concern for the victims. Mr. Mukasey’s cynical remarks shrugging off the whole scandal should prod Congress to pursue it even more vigorously.

The Justice Department’s inspector general and its ethics office have issued a pair of reports confirming that top aides to Mr. Gonzales improperly used political litmus tests to fill nonpolitical positions. The politics was remarkably crude. One example: a career terrorism prosecutor was turned down for a counterterrorism position because his wife was an active Democrat.

Mr. Mukasey told the American Bar Association that he did not see any crimes to prosecute. “Not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime,” he said. In any case, the wrongdoers have been punished, he claimed, by “substantial negative publicity.”

Read The Full Story

Analysis: Georgian Conflict Leaves West Reeling And Russia Walking Tall
2008-08-13 03:08:38

The Kremlin's decision Tuesday to call a halt to its five-day assault on Georgia leaves Russia calling the shots in the energy-rich Black Sea littoral and Caspian basin. The quick and easy victory exposes the west's lack of leverage over a resurgent Russia despite years of heavy American political investment in Georgia.

In the tussle for supremacy in a vital strategic region, the balance has tilted. Russia has successfully deployed its firepower in another country with impunity for the first time since communism's collapse.

"This is not the Russia of '93 or '94, a terribly weakened Russia," said a European official. "The Russians are now negotiating from a position of strength."

The impact of Mikheil Saakashvili's rash gamble storming South Ossetia last week and of Vladimir Putin's comprehensive rout of the Georgians will ripple in many directions.

In less than a week, Putin has redrawn the geopolitical map of the contested region between Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

Read The Full Story

Honeybee Deaths Reach Crisis Point In Britain
2008-08-13 03:08:03
Britain's honeybees have suffered catastrophic losses this year, according to a survey of the nation's beekeepers, contributing to a shortage of honey and putting at risk the pollination of fruits and vegetables.

The survey by the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) revealed that nearly one in three of the U.K.'s 240,000 honeybee hives did not survive this winter and spring.

The losses are higher than the one in five colonies reported dead earlier this year by the government after 10% of hives had been inspected.

The BBKA president, Tim Lovett, said he was very concerned about the findings: "Average winter bee losses due to poor weather and disease vary from between 5% and 10%, so a 30% loss is deeply worrying. This spells serious trouble for pollination services and honey producers."

The National Bee Unit has attributed high bee mortality to the wet summer in 2007 and in the early part of this spring that confined bees to their hives. This meant they were unable to forage for nectar and pollen and this stress provided the opportunity for pathogens to build up and spread.

Read The Full Story

Mukasey: No Prosecutions In Justice Dept. Hiring Scandal
2008-08-12 15:39:38
Former Justice Department officials will not face prosecution for letting improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Tuesday.

Mukasey used his sharpest words yet to criticize the senior leaders who took part in or failed to stop illegal hiring practices during the tenure of his predecessor, Alberto Gonzales.

He told delegates to the American Bar Association annual meeting, "not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime. In this instance, the two joint reports found only violations of the civil service laws."

Other intrusions of Bush administration politics into department hirings and firings remain under investigation. Justice officials say the attorney general's remarks do not preclude criminal prosecutions if wrongdoing is found in the inquiries into the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the hiring practices in the department's civil rights division.

The political controversies prompted Gonzales' resignation last year.

Read The Full Story

Cyberspace Barrage Preceded Russian Invasion Of Georgia
2008-08-12 15:39:13
Weeks before physical bombs started falling on Georgia, a security researcher in suburban Massachusetts was watching an attack against the country in cyberspace.

Jose Nazario, of Arbor Networks in Lexington, Massachusetts, noticed a stream of data directed at Georgian government sites containing the message: win+love+in+Rusia.

Other Internet experts in the United States said the attacks against Georgia’s Internet infrastructure began as early as July 20, with coordinated barrages of millions of requests - known as distributed denial of service, or D.D.O.S., attacks -  that overloaded certain Georgian servers.

The Georgian government blamed Russia for the attacks, but experts say that was not clear.

“Could this somehow be indirect Russian action? Yes, but considering Russia is past playing nice and uses real bombs, they could have attacked more strategic targets or eliminated the infrastructure kinetically,” said Gadi Evron, an Israeli network security expert who assisted in pushing back a cyber attack on Estonia’s Internet infrastructure last May. “The nature of what’s going on isn’t clear.”

Read The Full Story

Sovereign Funds Become Big Oil Speculators
2008-08-12 03:22:26

Sovereign wealth funds, the massive investment pools run by foreign governments, are now among the biggest speculators in the trading of oil and other vital goods like corn and cotton in the United States, according to interviews with brokers who handle their investments at leading Wall Street banks, veteran traders and congressional investigators.

Some lawmakers say the unregulated activity of sovereign wealth funds and other speculators such as hedge funds has contributed to the dramatic swing in oil prices in recent months.

The agency regulating the market said it had not picked up on this activity by sovereign wealth funds. In a June letter, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) told lawmakers that its monitoring showed that these funds were not a significant factor in commodity trading.

The CFTC is not detecting the growing influence of foreign funds because they invest through Wall Street brokers known as "swap dealers" who often operate on unregulated markets, said sources familiar with the transactions.

Several Democrats said the Republican-led CFTC won't use its authority to clamp down on such unregulated activity because it doesn't want to hurt the influential Wall Street firms it favors.

Read The Full Story

Global Trail Of An On-Line Crime Ring
2008-08-12 03:22:04

As an international ring of thieves plundered the credit card numbers of millions of Americans, investigators struggled to figure out who was orchestrating the crimes in the United States.

When prosecutors unveiled indictments last week, they made a stunning admission: the culprit was, they said, their very own informant.

Albert Gonzalez, 27, appeared to be a reformed hacker. To avoid prison time after being arrested in 2003, he had been helping federal agents identify his former cohorts in the online underworld where credit and debit card numbers are stolen, bought and sold.

But on the sly, federal officials now say, Gonzalez was connecting with those same cohorts and continuing to ply his trade, using online pseudonyms - including “soupnazi” - that would be his undoing. As they tell it, Gonzalez had a central role in a loosely organized online crime syndicate that obtained tens of millions of credit and debit card numbers from nine of the biggest retailers in the United States.

The indictments last week of 11 people involved in the group give a remarkably comprehensive picture of how the Internet is enabling new kinds of financial crimes on a vast international scale.

In interviews over the last few days, investigators detailed how they had tracked Gonzalez and other members of a ring that extended from Ukraine, where a key figure bought and sold stolen numbers over the Internet, to Estonia, where a hacker infiltrated the servers of a Dallas, Texas-based restaurant chain.

Read The Full Story

Russian Army Marches Into Georgia, Georgian Troops Pulled Back To Defend Capital
2008-08-12 03:21:05

Russia's punitive campaign in the Caucasus threatened to intensify into all-out war against Georgia Monday night, with Russian troops seizing control of strategic towns a couple of hours from the capital, and aircraft pounding Georgian infrastructure.

Vastly outnumbered by the Kremlin's ground and air forces, the Georgian government announced it was pulling back its troops to defend the capital, Tbilisi, against a feared Russian onslaught. Washington accused the Kremlin of long preparing an invasion of Georgia in "aggression that must not go unanswered".

"Russia has invaded a sovereign neighbouring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century," President George Bush said. "The Russian government must reverse the course that it appears to be on." He urged Russia to agree to a ceasefire offer by Georgia.

The Georgian authorities said the town of Gori, 40 miles north of Tbilisi, had, in effect, fallen to the Russians, who were also advancing from the breakaway province of Abkhazia in the west into territory previously under Georgian control.

"The Georgian army is retreating to defend the capital. The government is urgently seeking international intervention to prevent the fall of Georgia and further loss of life," said the Georgian government. Its president, Mikhail Saakashvili, said the Russian campaign was aimed at overthrowing his government.

Read The Full Story

Commentary: Of Helpless Hotheads And Half-Baked Warriors
2008-08-12 03:20:38
Intellpuke: This commentary was written by Christian Neef and appeared in Spiegel Online's edition for Monday, August 11, 2008.

The escalating war in the Caucasus region is an example of the political stubbornness of both sides. Diplomacy is ineffectual and, aside from warm words, can deliver nothing. The West, where speaking plainly to Russia went out of vogue a long time ago, is also partly to blame.

"War in South Ossetia," "General Mobilization in Georgia," "Russia Invades." These are the headlines of a weekend in which newspaper publishers had expected the Olympics in Beijing to dominate the front page. The surprise, or rather, irritation over this conflict that has suddenly pushed its way into the limelight is so great that even the International Olympic Committee - which, as we well know, is a master of political sensitivity - criticized the escalation of fighting. "Conflict is not what we want to see," said IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies.

For once, the IOC is right. South Ossetia - excuse me, where? Tskhinvali? Never heard of it! A tiny mountainous realm one-and-a-half times the size of Luxembourg, and all of this happening less than 3,000 kilometers (1,875 miles) from Berlin? And in that not-so-faraway place, Russian and Georgian tanks on the move, while Russian fighter jets launch strikes into the Georgian hinterland? It sounds crazy, but what is now coming back to haunt us is the consequence of everyone - for a full 20 years - having disavowed this small, simmering trouble spot in the oh-so-inscrutable Caucasus, the home of breakaway regions like Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Mikhail Saakashvili, the young hothead sitting in the president's chair in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, wants to rein in two breakaway provinces lost in the bloody wars of secession in the early 1990s, a period when hundreds of thousands of his countrymen were forced to leave their homes overnight. One of Saakashvili's key campaign promises was to enable them to return to their ancestral home, an understandable wish that no Georgian president could ignore. It is as if the Lusatian Sorbs, a tiny Slavic ethnic group that settled in the border region between modern-day Germany and Poland in the 6th century A.D., had suddenly taken control of a slice of the German state of Brandenburg and driven everyone else out, or as if the Bavarians ... But let's leave it at that.

A Futile Effort To Join NATO

Saakashvili's logic is supported by the fact that the (Western) international community has been making it clear to him for years that Georgia would not be welcomed into NATO or the European Union as long as its conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia remained unresolved. But membership in these two alliances is near and dear to Saakashvili's heart, since it would enable the Georgian leader and his country to finally escape from the gravitational field of their domineering neighbor, Russia.
Read The Full Story

Al-Qaeda Video Calls For War On Pakistan And Musharraf
2008-08-12 03:19:48

Pakistan's beleaguered president, Pervez Musharraf, faced a direct challenge from al-Qaeda Monday, after the terrorist group lambasted his record in a video.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's deputy leader, whose voice apparently appeared on the tape, spoke in English and called for an uprising against Musharraf and the Pakistan state, which he said was "virtually ruled from the American embassy".

The video came as Pakistan's parliament convened Monday for the start of a special session on impeachment proceedings against Musharraf. The government has not yet released its "charge sheet" against the president, but al-Qaeda spelled out its anger in the video.

"Pervez has insulted and compromised Pakistan's sovereignty by allowing the CIA and FBI to operate freely in Pakistan and arrest, interrogate, torture, deport and detain any person, whether Pakistani or not, for as long as they like, thus turning the Pakistani army and security agencies into hunting dogs in the contemporary crusade," said Zawahiri.

The al-Qaeda leader denounced Musharraf for the crackdown he ordered on Islamabad's radical Red Mosque - an army raid last year resulted in about 100 deaths - and his treatment of the renegade Pakistani nuclear scientist, Dr. A.Q..Khan, who has been under house arrest for four years.

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