Spotlight: Blackwater Scandal
“In last week's incident, Blackwater guards shot into a crush of cars, killing at least 11 Iraqis and wounding 12. Blackwater officials insist their guards were ambushed, but witnesses have described the shooting as unprovoked.” However, Iraqi eyewitnesses insist that the Blackwater guards fired completely unprovoked.
A U.S. general said that the Blackwater scandal is worse than Abu Ghraib in the damage it has done to the U.S. image in Iraq. This scandal is particularly important because there are currently more U.S. contractors (circa 180,000) than U.S. troops (circa 163,000) in Iraq. These contractors were granted immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rice successfully pressured the Iraqi government into withdrawing their demand for the expulsion of Blackwater from Iraq and Blackwater was rewarded for their exemplary behavior with a NEW government contract this week from the Pentagon.
Private Security Puts Diplomats, Military at Odds
More Contractors than U.S. Troops in Iraq
Pentagon Gives Blackwater New Contract
Eyewitnesses Insist Iraqis Didn't Fire on Blackwater Guards
Congress Quietly Approves Billions More for Iraq War
“The Senate agreed on Thursday to increase the federal debt limit by $850 billion - from $8.965 trillion to $9.815 trillion - and then proceeded to approve a stop-gap spending bill that gives the Bush White House at least $9 billion in new funding for its war in Iraq.” Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) was the only Senator to vote against it; and among the fourteen “no” votes in the House were Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Lacy Clay (D-MO) voted “no.”
[General] Petraeus Admits to Rise in Iraq Violence
Senate Endorses Plan to Divide Iraq
Reporting for The Washington Post, Shailagh Murray says, "Showing rare bipartisan consensus over war policy, the Senate overwhelmingly endorsed a political settlement for Iraq that would divide the country into three semi-autonomous regions." This was a non-binding resolution, but it will initiate the diplomatic efforts at the regional and national level to make this plan happen.
U.S. Is Top Arms Seller to Developing World
“The United States maintained its role as the leading supplier of weapons to the developing world in 2006, followed by Russia and Britain, according to a Congressional study to be released Monday. Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia were the U.S.’s top buyers.” Russia came in second, and it is noted in the article that they have sold weapons to Iran and Venezuela.
Highly Recommended Commentary of the Week: 'The Mega-Lie Called the "War on Terror": A Masterpiece of Propaganda'
Quote of the Week:
“We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we've had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gadhafi was our Hitler. And now we have this guy Ahmadinejad. The reality is, he's not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad.”
-Seymour Hersh (In interview: ‘Bush Has Accepted Ethnic Cleansing in Iraq’ at: http://www.alternet.org/waroniraq/63986/?page=1)
Peace and Social Justice Suggestion of the Week:
Independent Media. I highly suggest that if you don’t already, you start getting your news from independent media sources. The big media outlets, NBC, Associated Press, CNN, Fox, CBS, ABC, etc., are all controlled by big corporations and therefore do not offer fair nor balanced news. Here are some of the independent media sources I suggest: