Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

IRAQ: BUSINESSES SHUT DOWN DUE TO VIOLENCE

***Where's the great job that the Bush administration is doing in Iraq? How are the Iraqi people prospering from us being there? Why are our troops there when there is a civil war going on? And why or when in the hell is the Iraqis going to take over their own security? I'm getting real tired of the American people falling more and more behind because of this idiotic war that we are in.

What is Israel doing over at the Syrian border for? Are they going to claim that they have found the weapons of mass destruction in Syria? Come on....give the people a break! Nobody believes this administration anymore, especially since there wasn't any proof found in Iraq that there were any even being made. All the evidence that was found was old and that's what Clinton had already taken care of!

Let's see how the war in Iraq is going today:


Baghdad's once bustling commercial hubs are now deserted streets


MSNBC News
The Associated Press
August 2, 2006

BAGHDAD<>

Ali, a Shiite Muslim and a father of two, closed his shop---Ambassadors' Fashion---in the mostly Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah, fearing sectarian attacks might cost him not just his business but his life.

"Now, I am trying to minimize my consumption to the spend the least," said Ali, whose boutique used to earn him up to $900 a month---a handsome income in Iraq.

He now dips into his savings just to put food on the table. The family eats meat only once a week and no longer vacation in neighboring Syria and Jordan.

"The kids understand," he said.

Sectarian violence and rising crime are transforming Baghdad's once bustling commercial hubs into deserted streets---leaving the country's economy in tatters. Popular markets in neighborhoods such as the Sunni Azamiyah and Shiite Kazimiyah have all but disappeared.


Violence delays deliveries

Merchants are shuttering their shops not only because they fear attacks but also because they are unable to keep their shops well-stocked.

Bombings, hijackings and checkpoints delay deliveries. Customers shy away from shopping in parts of town where their sect is in the minority.

"We used to get our supplies from the wholesale in Sadr City," said Ahmed Ismail, a 55-year-old Sunni vegetable vendor, "But many of my fellow (Sunni) vendors were killed there. Who dares to go there?"

In Kazimiyah, jewelry stores have folded after driving restrictions and checkpoints discouraged customers from reaching their shops. In Mansour, once among the capital's most prosperous neighborhoods, gunmen last month threatened some store owners with death if they didn't close.

Fliers containing the warnings are slipped under the doors of boutiques, bookstores and bakeries owned by Shiites, Sunnis and even Christians. Some merchants who defied the orders lost their lives to drive-by shooters.

All this adds yet another element to the sense of gloom spreading over Baghdad as the U.S. and the Iraqi government struggle to contain the violence, which surged after February's bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra and the wave of reprisal against Sunnis that followed.


Ataying home

Baghdad residents are increasingly staying home, changing their routes or giving up jobs in areas where they feel at risk from the rival Muslim sect.

Saad Abbas, a 26-year-old Shiite building contractor, used to work as a foreman on construction projects in Sunni neighborhoods. He stopped after some of his friends were waylaid by Sunni gunmen and killed because they had Shiite names.

"I'm too afraid to work outside Sadr City now," he said. "So I have to accept any work I can get, even a simple laborer, as long as it's inside the city."

Fear has driven many Iraqis to take low-paying jobs deemed safer---even at the cost of abandoning businesses into which they had sunk their life savings.

Omran Abdul Salam, a Shiite, shut down his booming mobile phone store after receiving a death threat. Now he peddles cigarettes on the curb.

"It's not a good source of income for a father of four," he said. "But it's better than losing my life."

Falah Hassan al-Dilaimi, a Sunni, went from being a partner in a car dealership to driving a taxi. Gunmen kept stealing the cars and asking for money, "and I paid more than once until I lost all my money and my share in the business," he said. "I'm thinking of leaving the country."


High unemployment

The decline in commerce comes despite renewed efforts by the United States to help Iraqis revive their economy, still moribound more than three years after the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.

No reliable unemployment figures are available, but some estimates put the figure as high as 40 percent nationwide---highers in areas of western Iraq where the Sunni insurgency is widespread.

Last month, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez signed an agreement with the Iraqi government to stregnthen the country's economy and lure foreign investment into a nation with the world's third-largest proven petroleum reserves.

But until the security situation improves, economic revival seems a distant dream.

"Iraq's current situation shows that building a new nation is about more than going to the polls and creating coalition governments," said Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institute.

"Democracies cannot succeed unless they protect their peoples, guarantee the rights of their minorities, and make it possible for their economies to grow and their peoples to prosper," he said.










INVESTIGATION: U.S. BORDERS PERILOUSLY POROUS




The Republicans keeping claiming that they are the best party for this country when it comes to keeping the American people safe. I want to know what makes them think that they can keep us safe when they have done nothing but lie to us about what is really happening out there? Check this out:


Federal investigators easily pass border checks using fake identification

By: Lisa Myers
Senior investigative correspondent
NBC News
Augist 1, 2006

Along the northern and southern borders, undercover federal investigators tried to enter the United States using fake driver's licenses and fake birth certificates.

The results? Staggering! At all nine border crossings tested, investigators got in easily. Not a single border agent detected the phony IDs. In fact, at two crossings, agents didn't even check any IDs at all.

***President Bush and the Republicans in Washington have continuosly been telling us that they are better for national security than the Democrats are! I mean, they never stop. They actually believe that if the American people see widespread terrorism spreading across the world, that the Republicans will stay in power. Is this all a plan by the Bush and Israeli government, in order to win the elections? We are not going to need to be saved by anyone if they keep doing this. NOT PROTECTING OUR BORDERS! It's like the Bush administration is looking for another 9/11, just like they were looking for another Pearl Harbor.

"Well, this is totally unacceptable," says Thomas Kean, former chairman of the 9/11 commission.

***As far as I know, the Bush administration has not takn on any of the suggestions given to them by the 9/11 commission. The Democrats have been screaming about this ever since the recommendations have come out, and yet, Bush won't do a darn thing about anything! Bush and the Republicans do nothing but spend all of our taxpayer money on their great failed Iraq situation, while the American people have been putting up with all of the cuts from our domestic programs back here in the U.S.

Kean notes that some 9/11 hijackers used fraudulent IDs. He said someone must finally be held accountable for lapses at the border.

***Whose to blame? Who is running this country? Bush and the Republican majority in Washington, that's who! Who else?

"It's happened too often," Kean says. "And the American people aren't safe because of it."

In fact, this investigation by the Government Accountability Office is a follow-up to one three years ago in which three crossings were tested, and all the agents failed to detect the fake IDs.

At the time, we gave a Washington, D.C., bar manager a stack of IDs to see if he could pick out a fake license---almost exactly the same as the one government agents missed.

He did.

Sen. Charles Grassley, (R-IOWA), says it's appalling that nothing has been fixed.

***He's a Republican. He should go tell his boss about this! He can't, because then he won't get supported by the RNC according to Rove! These kind of people shouldn't be in government. Grassley isn't strong enough.

"The Department of Homeland Security hasn't made any progress in three years!" Grassley says.

We will not reveal the exact crossings tested this year, but they're in a variety of states: California, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Michigan and New York.

DHS says it has increased manpower and trining so officers can spot fake documents.

***Evidently, it's not enough! If the Department of Homeland Security would quit spending all of its appropriations on things that aren't appropriate, like surgeries and bar bills, then maybe there'd be enough money for protecting the people of America.

"It's appropriate to note we acknowledge the vulnerability exists," says DHS offical Paul Morris. "And it will continue as long as we have inconsistent and somewhat insecure documents."

***But what about those crossings that didn't even look at the IDs? What does this guy have to say about that? What? Isn't there enough manpower to get these guys to even look at IDs? There's no excuse, is there?

The 9/11 commission and now DHS say the answer is to require passports for everyone crossing the border---even Americans.

***We know about those recommendations already. But why hasn't anything been done yet?

WHITE HOUSE PROPOSAL WOULD EXPAND AUTHORITY OF MILITARY COURTS




A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seek to expand the reach and authority of such "commissions" to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.

The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will to those under the military court's jurisdiction. The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said.

The draft proposed legislation, set to be discussed at two Senate hearings today, is controversial inside and outside the administration because defendants would be denied many protections guaranteed by the civilian and traditional military criminal justice systems.

Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack the rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.

Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.

An early draft of the new measure prepared by civilian political appointees and leaked to the media last week has been modified in response to criticism from uniformed military lawyers. But the provisions allowing a future expansion of the courts to cover new crimes and more prisoners were retained, according to government officials familiar with the deliberations.

The military lawyers received the draft after the rest of the government had agreed on it. They have argued in recent days for retaining some routine protections for defendants that the political appointees sought to jettison, an administration officials said.

They objected in particular to the provision allowing defendants to be tried in absentia, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to describe the deliberations. Another source in contact with top military lawyers said, "Their initial impression is that the draft was unacceptable and sloppy." The source added that "it did not have enough due-process rights" and could further tarnish America's image.

The military lawyers nonetheless supported the jurisdiction of the commissions to cover those accused of joining with terrorist groups engaged in anti-U.S. hostilities, and of committing or aiding hostile acts by such groups, whether or not they are part of al-Qaeda, two U.S. officials said.

That language gives the commissions broader reach than anticipated in a November 2001 executive order from President Bush that focused only on members of al-Qaeda, those who commit international terrorist acts and those who harbor such individuals.

Some independent experts say the new procedures diverge inappropriately from existing criminal procedures and provoke no more protections than the ones struck down by the Supreme Court as inadequate. John D. Hutson, the Navy's top uniformed lawyer from 1997 to 2000, said the rules would evidently allow the government to tell a prisoner: "We know you're guilty. We can't tell you why, but there's a guy, we can't tell you about, who told us something. We can't tell you what, but you're guilty."

Bruce Fein, an associate deputy attorney general during the Reagan administration, said after reviewing the leaked draft that "the theme of the government seems to be, 'They are guilty anyway, and therefore due process can be slighted.'" With these procedures, Fein said, "there is a real danger of getting a wrong verdict" that would let a lower-echelon detainee "rot for 30 years" at Guantanamo Bay because of evidence contrived by personal enemies.

But Kris Bobach, a senior Justice Department lawyer in Bush's first term who now teaches at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, said he believes that the draft strikes an appropriate balance between "a fundamentally fair trial" and "the ability to protect the effectiveness of U.S. military and intelligence assets."

Administration officials have said that the exceptional trial procedures are warranted because the fight against terrorism requires heavy reliance on classified information or on evidence obtained from a defendant's collaborators, which cannot be shared with the accused. The draft legislation cites the goal of ensuring fair treatment without unduly diverting military personnel from wartime assignments to present evidence in trials.

The provisions are closely modeled on earlier plans for military commissions, which the Supreme Court ruled illegal two months ago in a case brought by Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni imprisoned in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. "It is not evident why the danger posed by international terrorism, considerable though it is, should require, in the case of Hamdan, any variance from the courts-martial rules," the court's majority decision held.

No one at Guantanamo has been tried to date, though some prisoners have been there since early 2002.

John Yoo, a former Justice Department lawyer who helped draft the earier plan, said Bush administration officials essentially "took DOD regulations" for the trials "and turned them into a statute for Congress to pass." He said the drafters were obviously "trying to return the law to where it was before Hamdan" by writing language into the draft that challenges key aspects of the court's decision.

"Basically, this is trying to overrule the Hamdan case," said Neal K. Katyal, a Georgetown University law professor who was Hamdan's lead attorney.

The plan calls for commissions of five military officers appointed by the defense secretary to try defendants for any of 25 listed crimes. If gives the secretary the unilateral right to "specify other violations of the laws of war that may be tried by military commission." The secretrary would be empowered to prescribe detailed procedures for carrying out the trials, including "modes of proof" and the use of hearsay evidence.

Unlike the international war crimes tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the commissions could rely on hearsay as the basis of their conviction. Unlike routine military courts-martial, in which prosecutors must overcome several hurdles to use such evidence, the draft legislation would put the burden on the defense team to block its use.

The admission of hearsay is a serious problem, said Tom Malinowski, director of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch, because defendants might not know if it was gained through torture and would have difficulty challenging it on that basis. Nothing in the draft law prohibits using evidence obtained through cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment that falls short of torture, Malinowski said.

The U.S. official countered that a military judge "would look hard" at the origins of such evidence and that defendants would have to count on "the trustworthiness of the system."

To secure a death penalty under the draft legislation, at least five jurors must agree, two fewer than under the administration's earlier plan. Courts-martial and federal civilian trials require that 12 jurors agree.


***Do you realize what they are talking about here? Don't think they are talking about foreigners. They are talking about everyday people here. Here's one of the sentences:

.....would allow the secretary of defense (Rumsfeld) to add crimes at will TO THOSE UNDER THE MILITARY'S COURT JURISDICTION."

That could mean just about anybody! If you are a veteran, you can be considered "under the military's court jurisdiction." Your family can fall under those provisions. So on and so forth. What has this government done to the United States of America? This is not 1940's Germany, Mr. Bush! You should resign, NOW!

*IF ANYBODY VOTES REPUBLICAN THIS ELECTION SEASON, YOU ARE NUTS! BOTTOM LINE!


Washington Post
By: R. Jeffrey Smith
August 2, 2006