2003 torture memo released by Pentagon – NOW

Justice Department document said Bush could ignore torture bans

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon on Tuesday released a now-defunct legal memo that approved the use of harsh interrogation techniques against terrorism suspects, saying that President Bush’s authority during wartime trumps any international ban on torture.

The Justice Department memo, dated March 14, 2003, outlines legal justification for military interrogators to use harsh tactics against al-Qaida and Taliban detainees overseas – so long as they did not specifically intend to torture their captors.

Even so, the memo noted, the president’s wartime power as commander in chief would not be limited by the U.N. treaties against torture.

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Pentagon: Colleges must hand over names

The Defense Department has announced a new get-tough policy with colleges and universities that interfere with the work of military recruiters and Reserve Officer Training Corps programs.

Under rules that will take effect April 28, defense officials said they want the exact same access to student directories that is provided to all other prospective employers.

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Report: Syrian reservists called up for fear of Israeli strike

London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper quotes sources in Damascus as saying Syria views Israeli media reports, IDF commanders’ statements as incitement, attempt to prepare public opinion for war. According to report, Syrian army on heightened alert, conducting wide-scale drills

Syria is preparing for a comprehensive Israeli strike which will be combined with an attack on Hizbullah, sources in Damascus have told the London-based Arabic-language al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.

The sources, which refused to reveal their identity, reported that Syria was closely monitoring the movement of Israeli forces along the northern border.

The newspaper reported Wednesday that Damascus viewed the Israeli media reports and statements made by senior Israel Defense Forces officials as incitement and attempts to prepare the Israeli and global public opinion for a war against Syria.

The sources added that the Syrian forces were conducting wide-scale military maneuvers and have called up reservists in preparation for an Israeli attack.

Read moreReport: Syrian reservists called up for fear of Israeli strike

Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran’s borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

“The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran,” the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran “that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost.”

He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week that the Pentagon is planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iran’s military infrastructure in the near future.

A new U.S. carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf.

The USS John C. Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006.

The U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.

27/03/2007 17:31

Source: Ria Novosti

Hersh: Don’t trust Washington on Iraq


Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh

Prominent journalist Seymour hersh says the US is ‘in real trouble’ because news coverage on Iraq is anything but balanced and unbiased.

When the American government says the US is winning in Iraq and is not torturing prisoners, they are just words, hersh told his audience of journalism students in Regina, Canada. “We are in real trouble [in Iraq].”

Pointing to the changes reporting has undergone since the Vietnam War, the award-winning journalist explained that reporters are now imbedded with troops who cloud their judgment and therefore do not touch the same kind of issues.

“It has led to a lot of lousy reporting,” continued hersh. “I don’t think it is bad for a journalist to come back (from covering a war) and say it sucks.”

hersh said media outlets spread ‘fake’ news and suggested his audience resort to translations of local media sources when learning about issues concerning the Middle East.

Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Myron hersh first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War.

MT/AA

Source: Press TV

Military Report: Secretly ‘Recruit or Hire Bloggers’

Source: Wired
A study, written for U.S. Special Operations Command, suggested “clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers.”

Since the start of the Iraq war, there’s been a raucous debate in military circles over how to handle blogs — and the servicemembers who want to keep them. One faction sees blogs as security risks, and a collective waste of troops’ time. The other (which includes top officers, like Gen. David Petraeus and Lt. Gen. William Caldwell) considers blogs to be a valuable source of information, and a way for ordinary troops to shape opinions, both at home and abroad.

Read moreMilitary Report: Secretly ‘Recruit or Hire Bloggers’

Hayden: White Boy al-Qaeda on the Rise

“Al-Qaeda, in its haven in western Pakistan, is training operatives who are ‘western’ in appearance, making it easier for them to get past U.S. airport security, Central Intelligence Director Michael Hayden said,” reports Bloomberg.

Does anybody who looks “western” have an easy time getting past airport security? Mr. Hayden needs to visit an airport and see for himself — just about everybody, from grandmothers to toddlers, are under suspicion, even if they look Scandinavian. It has nothing to do with actual suspicion. It has to do with sending a message: you live in a police state now, get used to it, and if you don’t want to end up dead in a holding cell like Carol Ann Gotbaum, you’ll submit and not complain.

Of course, Mr. Hayden, as the head honcho of the CIA, is “catapulting the propaganda,” as Bush might call it. Now that al-Qaeda operatives look like stock brokers and cashiers at the local Stop ‘n Gas, we need to push ahead with the control grid, now only partially in place. Our rulers think we need to hear this kind of nonsense every few weeks, just to remind us and get us accustomed to those CCTV cameras everywhere and the NSA vacuuming up our telephone conversations and emails. It’s all to protect us from the white boy al-Qaeda.

Read moreHayden: White Boy al-Qaeda on the Rise

GAO Blasts Weapons Budget

Cost Overruns Hit $295 Billion
Government auditors issued a scathing review yesterday of dozens of the Pentagon’s biggest weapons systems, saying ships, aircraft and satellites are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.

The Government Accountability Office found that 95 major systems have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average. In addition, none of the systems that the GAO looked at had met all of the standards for best management practices during their development stages.


The Navy expects the costs of its first two Littoral Combat Ships to exceed their combined budget of $472 million by more than 100 percent. (Lockheed Martin Via Associated Press)

Auditors said the Defense Department showed few signs of improvement since the GAO began issuing its annual assessments of selected weapons systems six years ago. “It’s not getting any better by any means,” said Michael Sullivan, director of the GAO’s acquisition and sourcing team. “It’s taking longer and costing more.”

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The Kingdom ‘braces for nuclear war’

Saudi Arabia is reportedly preparing to counter any ‘radioactive hazards’ which may result from a US strike on Iran’s nuclear plants.

Popular government-guided Saudi newspaper Okaz recently reported that the Saudi Shura Council approved of nuclear fallout preparation plans only a day after US Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Kingdom’s high ranking officials, including King Abdullah.

As a result of the Shura ruling, the Saudi government will start the implementation of ‘national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the Kingdom following expert warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors’.

Read moreThe Kingdom ‘braces for nuclear war’