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Showing posts from February, 2009

Disappeared in the Name of National Security

By Mohamed Farag Bashmilah
Client of the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU

February 25, 2009
Huffington Post

From October 2003 until May 2005, I was illegally detained by the U.S. government and held in CIA-run "black sites" with no contact with the outside world. On May 5, 2005, without explanation, my American captors removed me from my cell and cuffed, hooded, and bundled me onto a plane that delivered me to Sana'a, Yemen. I was transferred into the custody of my own government, which held me -- apparently at the behest of the United States -- until March 27, 2006, when I was finally released, never once having faced any terrorism-related charges. Since my release, the U.S. government has never explained why I was detained and has blocked all attempts to find out more about my detention.

What I do know is that the Jordanian government -- after torturing me for several days -- handed me over to a U.S. "rendition team" in Amman, which then abducted me, forc…

Things To Do if in Auckland

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Update - it would help Bob if you could read.... turned up a week early I did

wot a plonker

Tough Times in Troubled Towns

America's Municipal Meltdowns
By Nick Turse

When Barack Obama traveled to Elkhart, Indiana, to push his $800 billion economic recovery package two weeks ago, he made the former "RV capital of the world" a poster-child for the current economic crisis. Over the last year, as the British paper The Independent reported, "Practically the entire [recreational vehicle] industry has disappeared," leaving thousands of RV workers in Elkhart and the surrounding area out of work. As Daily Show host Jon Stewart summed the situation up: "Imagine your main industry combines the slowdown of the auto market with the plunging values in the housing sector." Unfortunately, the pain in Elkhart is no joke, and it only grew worse recently when local manufacturers Keystone RV Co. and Jayco Inc. announced more than 500 additional job cuts.

In a speech at Elkhart's town hall, Obama caught the town's plight dramatically: "[This] area has lost jobs faster than anywhere…
Dear John,

Please tell us the truth about the economy and what it means for our standards of living. Tell us what we need to do as a nation and as individuals to get through this with the minimum of pain for ourselves and succeeding generations. Tell us what we’ve done wrong and how we can fix it.

Trust us with the truth. I think New Zealanders can handle it because deep down we know something is deeply wrong and know we need to change. We’re just not sure exactly what to change and we haven’t had someone “in charge” tell us what to do.

According to the latest polls, most of us trust you and like you. We are craving leadership and we know real leaders sometimes tell us things we don’t want to hear. We know real leaders look beyond the electoral cycle and look past the flotsam and jetsam that bobs around in the 24-hour news cycle. Sometimes a leader will rally the troops to prepare them for a fight. Now is that time.

I think you know the seriousness of the situation and the fundamental fla…

1000 Posts

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I need to get out more.... this is my 1000th post here, actually to be precise my 1002nd post

Here is Moby's 1000 to celebrate




hip hip hoooray, or something



US Steps up search for WMD

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The New Depression

The business and political elite are flying blind. This is the mother of all economic crises. It has barely started and remains completely out of control.

By Martin Jacques, the New Statesman.

We are living through a crisis which, from the collapse of Northern Rock and the first intimations of the credit crunch, nobody has been able to understand, let alone grasp its potential ramifications. Each attempt to deal with the crisis has rapidly been consumed by an irresistible and ever-worsening reality. So it was with Northern Rock. So it was with the attempt to recapitalise the banks. And so it will be with the latest gamut of measures. The British government – like every other government – is perpetually on the back foot, constantly running to catch up. There are two reasons. First, the underlying scale of the crisis is so great and so unfamiliar – and, furthermore, often concealed within the balance sheets of the banks and other financial institutions. Second, the crisis has undermined …

The Death of The News

If reporting vanishes, the world will get darker and uglier. Subsidizing newspapers may be the only answer.
By Gary Kamiya

February 17, 2009 "Salon" --- Journalism as we know it is in crisis. Daily newspapers are going out of business at an unprecedented rate, and the survivors are slashing their budgets. Thousands of reporters and editors have lost their jobs. No print publication is immune, including the mighty New York Times. As analyst Allan Mutter noted, 2008 was the worst year in history for newspaper publishers, with shares dropping a stunning 83 percent on average. Newspapers lost $64.5 billion in market value in 12 months.

All traditional media is in trouble, from magazines to network TV. But newspapers are the most threatened. For readers of a certain age, newspapers stand for a vanishing era, and the pleasures of holding newsprint in their hands is one that they are loath to give up. As a former newspaperman myself, like most of the original founders of Salon, I have…

Burning Questions:

What Does Economic "Recovery" Mean on an Extreme Weather Planet?
By Tom Engelhardt

It turns out that you don't want to be a former city dweller in rural parts of southernmost Australia, a stalk of wheat in China or Iraq, a soybean in Argentina, an almond or grape in northern California, a cow in Texas, or almost anything in parts of east Africa right now. Let me explain.

As anyone who has turned on the prime-time TV news these last weeks knows, southeastern Australia has been burning up. It's already dry climate has been growing ever hotter. "The great drying," Australian environmental scientist Tim Flannery calls it. At its epicenter, Melbourne recorded its hottest day ever this month at a sweltering 115.5 degrees, while temperatures soared even higher in the surrounding countryside. After more than a decade of drought, followed by the lowest rainfall on record, the eucalyptus forests are now burning. To be exact, they are now pouring vast quantities of stor…