September 26th, 2007

Chris Keeley

The State Department has interceded in a congressional investigation of Blackwater USA, the private

The State Department has interceded in a congressional investigation of Blackwater USA, the private security firm accused of killing Iraqi civilians last week, ordering the company not to disclose information about its Iraq operations without approval from the Bush administration, according to documents revealed Tuesday

State Dept. intercedes in Blackwater probe

A House panel reveals a letter telling the firm not to disclose information about its Iraq operations without the administration's OK.
By Peter Spiegel
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 26, 2007

WASHINGTON — The State Department has interceded in a congressional investigation of Blackwater USA, the private security firm accused of killing Iraqi civilians last week, ordering the company not to disclose information about its Iraq operations without approval from the Bush administration, according to documents revealed Tuesday.

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Chris Keeley

Man lives after chair leg penetrates eye socket and throat

Man lives after chair leg penetrates eye socket and throat
 Ffximage 2007 04 19 Jtskull Wideweb  470X285,0
Seen above is an X-ray of Shafique el-Fahkri, a 20-year-old student who was attacked outside of a Melbourne, Australia nightclub in January. During a brawl, another 20-year-old, Liam Peart, threw a metal-framed chair at Fahkri. The chair leg went through Fahkri's eye socket and down into his neck. Amazingly, Fahkri not only survived but did not lose his eye, which was pushed to the side by the chair leg. From The Age:
(Fahkri) told The Age yesterday that his eye remained very blurry, his body was weak and his neck was stiff after the incident. "I feel all right at the moment, actually, but I am too weak for work," he said in a raspy voice, a consequence of the chair leg passing through his throat.

But he holds no grudges against 20-year-old Liam Peart, who yesterday pleaded guilty to a charge of negligently causing serious injury on January 21.

"I forgive him, totally," Mr Fahkri said, a sentiment confirmed by Peart's barrister Duncan Allen, SC, in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.
Link (Thanks, Vann Hall!)
Chris Keeley

Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia. In a wide-ranging conversation, Morales disc

 Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia. In a wide-ranging conversation, Morales discusses the impact of the war in Iraq on Latin America, warns against the use of biofuels to reduce carbon emissions and highlights the importance of indigenous rights. "I am convinced that the indigenous people are the moral reserve of humanity," Morales said. He also discusses the enduring legacy of Che Guevara, whether he will stop sending Bolivian troops to train at the School of the Americas and why he is establishing diplomatic relations with Iran. "As far as I know," Morales said. "[Iran] is not a country that is sending troops to kill people in other countries." [includes rush transcript]

 


Today, we spend the hour with Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia. He traveled to New York this week, where he is scheduled to speak before the United Nations General Assembly today. On Monday, he addressed a high-level UN meeting on climate change where he said "predatory capitalism" was affecting the environment.

Evo Morales first spoke before the UN General Assembly last year, where he dramatically brandished a coca leaf and vowed never yield to U.S. pressure to criminalize coca production. Morales's rise to power began with his leadership of the coca growers union in Bolivia and his high-profile opposition to the U.S.-funded eradication of the coca crop. He helped to lead the street demonstrations by Indian and union groups that toppled the country's last two presidents. An Aymara Indian, Evo Morales became the country's first indigenous president when he was elected nearly two years ago with more popular support than any Bolivian leader in decades.

Since then he has moved to nationalize Bolivia's oil and gas industry and is seeking a new constitution that would grant more power to Bolivia's indigenous majority. Today we spend the hour with Evo Morales talking about indigenous rights, biofuels, the Iraq war, establishing diplomatic relations with Iran and the enduring legacy of Che Guevara in Latin America. Democracy Now!'s Juan Gonzalez and I sat down with President Morales at the Bolivian mission here in New York.

 

  • Evo Morales, President of Bolivia.

     

- Click to Read Juan Gonzalez's article in the New York Daily News

AMY GOODMAN: Today,

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Chris Keeley

In front of the Hirshhorn Museum, the Smithsonian Institution’s outpost of modern and contemporary a

In front of the Hirshhorn Museum, the Smithsonian Institution’s outpost of modern and contemporary art: Valentino wool crepe jacket, $3,280, and skirt, $850. At Valentino, 747 Madison Avenue. Thomas Pink shirt, $130. LaCrasia gloves. All hosiery throughout these pages from Wolford. On “Secret Service men”: Ermenegildo Zegna suits. Thomas Pink and Ermenegildo Zegna shirts. Ray-Ban sunglasses.




 Photo: Miles Aldridge
Chris Keeley

Sidebar to Al Kamen's Column--WashPost 9/26/07

Sidebar to Al Kamen's Column--WashPost 9/26/07

Protest Procedure*

Wednesday, September 26, 2007; A17

/The Supreme Court kicks off its new term on Monday, and those who feel
strongly about the death penalty, the rights of terrorism detainees and
the limits of presidential power -- among the cases the court will hear
this term -- may already have their protest signs ready./ /Below, notes
of guidance from the regulations that maintain "suitable order and
decorum within the Supreme Court Building and grounds."/

The use of signs on the perimeter sidewalks on the Supreme Court grounds
is regulated as follows:

1. No signs shall be allowed except those made of cardboard,
posterboard, or cloth.

2. Supports for signs must be entirely made of wood, have dull ends, may
not be hollow, and may not exceed 3/4 inch at their largest point. There
shall be no nails, screws, or bolt-type fastening devices protruding
from the wooden supports.

3. Hand-carried signs are allowed regardless of size.

4. Signs that are not hand-carried are allowed only if they are

(a) no larger than 4 feet in length, 4 feet in width, and 1/4 inch in
thickness (exclusive of braces that are reasonably required to meet
support and safety requirements, as set forth in section 2 above), and
not elevated so as to exceed a height of 6 feet above the ground at
their highest point;

(b) not used so as to form an enclosure of two or more sides;

(c) attended at all times (attended means that an individual must remain
within 3 feet of each sign); and

(d) not arranged in such manner as to create a single sign that exceeds
the size limitations in subsection (a).

5. No individual may have more than two non-hand-carried signs at any
one time.

Notwithstanding the above, no person shall carry or place any sign in
such a manner as to impede pedestrian traffic, access to and from the
Supreme Court Plaza or Building, or to cause any safety or security
hazard to any person.
Chris Keeley

Al Kamen's Column--WashPost 9/26/07

This priceless item is for those of you who don't have access to the
Washington Post.

*This Time, He Really Was Railroaded*

By Al Kamen
Wednesday, September 26, 2007; A17

Once he had a whole list of countries to invade, a huge security detail,
choppers overhead guarding him, and an entourage of aides and gofers.
Until the recent unpleasantness, he was the world's banker, greeted as a
head of state when he traveled abroad, often in his own chartered plane.

On Monday, /Paul Wolfowitz
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Paul+Wolfowitz?tid=informline>/
was on the 10 a.m. Acela train to New York
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/New+York?tid=informline>,
not even in first class, munching on a pastry, unnoticed, all alone.

Dressed in trousers from a dark suit and a white shirt with no tie, he
settled in with a pile of newspapers, a printed schedule and other
papers, and our professional spotter was seated just behind him.

There was an embossed invitation to a farewell event hosted by Robert
Gates
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Robert+Gates?tid=informline>
-- probably the one for the Joint Chiefs chairman, Gen. Peter Pace
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Peter+Pace?tid=informline>,
whom we prematurely retired a few columns ago. Wolfie plopped the
Financial Times
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Financial+Times+Ltd.?tid=informline>
on top of the pile but then didn't really read it, being totally
absorbed in scrolling through his BlackBerry
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/BlackBerry+Mobile+Devices?tid=informline>
e-mails.

At 10:25 a.m., he made a call on the BlackBerry. "Hi there, just calling
to say hi," he said. A woman's voice was on the other end. They chatted
for a bit.

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Chris Keeley

Bill Polk Text

Full text of talk before the Democratic Caucus of the U.S. Congress

September 19, 2007♠

Last week in this room, you heard General David Petraeus present his version of Iraq.  Listening to him, I was reminded of the parable of the blind Brahmins describing an elephant. One grabbed the trunk and another the tail.  General Petraeus, whom I have not met and whose motives I do not mean to impugn, had hold of the tail.  The elephant he described was a little fellow, more like a lapdog than an elephant, ready to fetch and carry at the orders of his master.  Unfortunately, I see a different creature, one that is not following our orders, does not want us to be in its territory and has inflicted great harm upon us.  The facts are these:  

First, the human costs to America:

    * During the years of the American occupation, April 2003-September 1, 2007, 3,738 servicemen and women have been killed;
    * about 1 in each 5 soldiers has been “at least partially disabled” with over 100,000 granted disability payments and another 100,000 expected to claim them;
    * in December 2005, the U.S. Surgeon General estimated that more than 1 in 3  of the half million Marines and soldiers who had served in Iraq needed mental health treatment;
    * at least 50,000 have suffered concussions that will affect them with memory loss, headaches and confused thinking for the rest of their lives to such an extent that they will not be able to function well in society and will be a burden on their families and the public;
    * another large number will develop cancer as a result of exposure to an aerosol mutation (U3O8) of the depleted uranium used in artillery shells and bombs.  (Some scientists believe this is the cause of so-called Gulf War Syndrome.)

 

Second, the monetary costs to America:

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