Daily Archives: July 9, 2007

Did Bush choke on another pretzel?


Bush, supposedly banged up after choking on a pretzel in January 2002

Did Bush choke on another pretzel?

Look at the scrape, bump or bruise over his left eye.

Did Bush choke on another pretzel? Get slapped around by Big Dick Cheney? Have a rough night with a male escort? Or a wild night of vodka slamming with Pootie-Poot?

You decide.

“Coalition of the billing”: US waging privatised war in Iraq

The Age | Jul 5, 2007

THE number of US-paid private contractors in Iraq now exceeds American combat troops in the country.

Newly released figures from by the US State and Defence departments raise fresh questions about the privatisation of the war effort and the Government’s capacity to carry out military and reconstruction campaigns. More than 180,000 civilians — Americans, Iraqis and others — are working in Iraq under US contracts. Including the recent troop surge, 160,000 soldiers and a few thousand civilian government employees are stationed in the country.

The number of private contractors, far higher than previously reported, shows how heavily the Bush Administration has relied on corporations to carry out the occupation of Iraq — a mission criticised as being undermanned.

“These numbers are big,” said Peter Singer, a Brookings Institution scholar who has written on military contracting. “They illustrate better than anything that we went in without enough troops. This is not the coalition of the willing. It’s the coalition of the billing.”

The numbers include at least 21,000 Americans, 43,000 foreign contractors and about 118,000 Iraqis — all paid in US dollars.

The array of private workers promises to figure in debates on policy regarding the privatisation of military jobs and the number of Iraqi refugees allowed to resettle in the US.

But there are signs that even those mounting numbers may not tell the full story. Private security contractors, who are hired to protect government officials and buildings, were not fully counted in the survey, according to industry and government officials.

Continuing uncertainty over the numbers of armed contractors drew criticism from military experts. “We don’t have control of all the coalition guns in Iraq. That’s dangerous for our country,” said William Nash, a retired army general.

The Pentagon “is hiring guns. You can rationalise it all you want, but that’s obscene,” he said.

The US has relied more on contractors in Iraq than in any other war in the nation’s history, according to military experts. Contractors perform construction work, private security and weapons system maintenance.

Military officials say contractors cut costs while allowing troops to focus on fighting.

“The only reason we have contractors is to support the war fighter,” said Gary Motsek, the assistant deputy under-secretary of defence who oversees contractors. “Fundamentally, they’re supporting the mission as required.”

But critics worry that troops could be jeopardised if contractors, functioning outside the military’s command, refuse to deliver vital supplies under fire.

In 2004, for example, US forces were put on food rations when drivers baulked at taking supplies into a combat zone.

No single agency keeps track of the number or location of contractors.

In response to demands from Congress, the US Central Command began conducting a census last year of the contractors working on US and Iraqi bases to determine how much food, water and shelter was needed.

That census shows approximately 130,000 contractors and subcontractors working at US and Iraqi military bases.

But US military officials acknowledged that the census did not include other government agencies, including the State Department and the US Agency for International Development.

Giuliani’s NYC Campaign Manager Dies Suddenly While Jogging

The Gothamist | Jul 8, 2007


John D’Amato, a prominent Staten Island attorney, died of a heart attack yesterday; the 52-year-old had been jogging near his Dongan Hills home. D’Amato, a lawyer and lobbyist, had been appointed as the NYC campaign manager for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign. (He had hosted a fund-raiser for Governor Spitzer’s campaign last year, though.) The Staten Island Advance writes:

John D’Amato was a titan on Staten Island — one of the most ambitious, aggressive and influential of the borough’s native sons…He spearheaded the ongoing lawsuit against the alleged Saudi Arabian financiers of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and achieved a landmark $75 million national settlement from the maker of the painkiller OxyContin– the Island’s largest-ever civil case. And though neither fight was successful, he was a key player in the city’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics and in the borough’s controversial lobby for a proposed NASCAR track on the West Shore.

According to his biography on his law firm’s website, D’Amato “attended undergraduate at Ohio State University where he was awarded an athletic scholarship and was a member of the 1975 Rose Bowl Football Team.” And he had been inducted into Staten Island’s Sports Hall of Fame.

We Are Change Protest Mayor Bloomberg Over Public Filming And Photography Ban

We Are Change.org | Jul 8, 2007

WeAreChange.org protest against Mayor Bloomberg’s new law that states, anyone with a camera taking pictures or shooting video needs $1 million liability insurance and permits to shoot on public streets in NYC.


New York Moves To Ban Public Filming And Photography
Broad rules do not exempt amateur photographers, independent reporters and filmmakers


Oklahoma City Mayor Calls for North American Union

Oklahoma Corridor Watch | Jul 3, 2007

by Adam Rott

“If we can have but three nations and one economy,” said Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornettt “I think it would be much easier for us to solve a lot of the social problems with the end migration.”

These remarks came in a video interview at the 2004 United States Conference of Mayors which was held in Boston, for which Mayor Cornett was describing the development of Oklahoma City. The Conference of Mayors is, according to their website, “the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more,” and has been in existence since 1932.

This signifies how local governments across the nation are either moving forward with, or directly supporting, the economic integration of North America, also called the North American Union. While such a pursuit may seem like the stuff of conspiracy theories, it is increasingly becoming more apparent that our government, with the direct support of private sector participants, is building a union in North America comparable to the European Union.

Mayor Cornett went on to say in the video that since Oklahoma City is situated on along I-35, which is “really apart of that NAFTA Corridor,” the potential for economic development on a global scale is a real possibility. I-35 received the NAFTA Superhighway designation by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1995, and there are currently plans by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to expand I-35 into a 10-lane, multi-modal corridor in the Oklahoma City area.

The sovereignty and democratic process of our State and the Union are coming under increasing fire from groups who are advocating a more “regional” approach to governance, and our elected officials at all levels, seem to not care about the ramifications of “economic integration,” nor are they involving the public whom they’re meant to serve in the process of deciding the course for our future.

Another UK Hotel Bans 9/11 hero William Rodriguez for “political views”

RINF Alternative News | Jul 6, 2007


William Rodriguez holding his ID card and the master key to the World Trade Center

By Mick Meaney

For the second time in less than a month, five times honoured 9/11 hero and last man out of the Twin Towers, William Rodriguez, has been banned from a British hotel.

A hotel in Cumbria, the Graythwaite Manor, told William Rodriguez to stay away because of his “political views”.

William Rodriguez is currently touring the UK on a mission to expose the truth about the events of 9/11 – but his presentation does not point the finger or make any accusations towards who might have been responsible for the horrific attacks in New York. (See the remaining tour dates here http://www.nineeleven.co.uk)

He does however provide a startling first hand account of what happened which differs greatly from the official account, raising many unanswered questions.

The banning is a very strange occurrence as William Rodriguez had previously been made very welcome at the hotel, in February of this year he planted a tree at the hotel’s grounds in remembrance of the 9/11 victims.

The hotel has issued this press statement: “After careful consideration, the new management of Graythwaite Manor Hotel has decided to postpone William Rodriguez visit to the hotel due to his political views.

“Regarding the tree planting. The tree planted in the grounds of the Graythwaite Manor Hotel is purely in remembrance of the victims of 9/11 and is in no way related to Cumbria 9/11 Truth and Peace Group.”

In actual fact, the planting of the tree was arranged by the Cumbria 9/11 Truth and Peace Group.

One of the event organisers, Penny Pullen said: “I do not know the whole story. There has been one or two complaints about the talk to the tourist information centre.

“Mr Rodriguez does not present political views. He just presents his story and it’s up to everyone to do their research and find out what is the truth for themselves.”

Penny Pullen represents a peace group working in the area to raise awareness of social, political and health issues, which RINF is also a member of. Since becoming involved with the group and seeing for myself, I can state without hesitation that all work being done is for the benefit of the community, providing positive real world solutions and information to counter the unacceptable mainstream media’s distortions and denials – and to also pressure politicians into rejecting their compliance of the criminality within the British government.

William Rodriguez’s presentation does not carry any political content apart from his own personal accounts of the 9/11 Commission and his dealings with members of the Bush administration. His views are his own and he does not represent the group or act as a spokesman. He has been unfairly punished for his association with a dissident group dedicated to promoting peaceful activism.

This is the second time that William Rodriguez has been banned from a British hotel. Last month RINF reported that a hotel in Peterborough had cancelled a presentation by William Rodriguez, citing an attack from a member of the public on one of the event promoters as the reason – but quickly reversed their story claiming the event organiser attacked the member of the public, which has since been exposed as less than truthful.

Despite the set back, tonight William Rodriguez gave a remarkable and moving presentation at the Victoria Hall in Grange, which drew a standing-room-only audience. The sheer volume of people attending to hear his story is a clear indication the masses are no longer thoroughly convinced by the lies of the Bush administration in their attempt to cover up the facts of what really happened on 9/11 – and the fact that it has been used as an excuse by the British government to step up ‘security measures’ that amount to nothing more than a Orwellian surveillance society. The events of 9/11 have also been used to start illegal and immoral wars that kill hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, while funding the military industrial complex in the excess of trillions.

A member of the audience stated afterwards: “I’m outraged at how this man has been treated by the hotel. He is a guest in our country and should be treated like one. It is so admirable what he is doing. We have someone who will be in the history books forever staying in our village and I’m disgusted with the way Graythwaite Manor have treated him. I urge all to boycott the hotel in a sign of protest. ”

A newspaper report from the North-West Evening Mail reported the story, but claims “the Cumbria 9/11 Truth and Peace Group were unavailable for comment”, a blatant lie that demonstrates the mainstream media’s tendency to report what it wants to, while ignoring the facts and makes no attempts to uncover them. The paper had actually quoted Penny Pullen, but still made the false claim – in what can only be assumed as an attempt to damage the groups’ reputation.

The peace group are seeking an apology from the paper for their sloppy and unprofessional standards in journalism.

Speaking to RINF, William Rodriguez said this type of treatment only makes him more determined to get his message out.

“When people try to stop me and when I see articles on the internet trying to damage me, I know we are winning. The UK 9/11 truth movement is a powerful force and these attacks only strengthen us, they actually do us a favour and draw more people to the movement. We have the truth on our side and they cannot defeat that,” said Mr Rodriguez.

Priest accused of murder and torture

Spero News | Jul 6, 2007


Rev. Christian Von Wernich praying for a miracle

Rev. Christian Von Wernich is accused of complicity with the torture and murder of scores of fellow Argentines during a military dictatorship of the 1970s. Argentine president said the priest had “dishonored” the Church.

By Martin Barillas  See all articles by this author

A priest and former chaplain of Argentina’s police forces was accused in court on July 5 of murders and torture committed during that country’s right-wing military dictatorship (1976-1983). Christian Von Wernich is accused of participation in seven homicides, 31 cases of torture and 42 abductions at five different detention centers in the Buenos Aires area. Appearing at the Federal Oral Tribunal in the coastal city of La Plata, some 45 miles from the nation’s capital, the priest appears to be the first such cleric in Latin America to be tried for human rights violations, according to journalist Hernán Brienza – author of the book “Maldito eres tú (You’re damned): the Von Wernich case, the Church and illegal repression”.

Argentine president Nestor Kirchner said in a statement in La Plata that this was an historic moment for Argentina as a priest who had dishonored the Church, afflicted the poor and violated human rights is being brought to justice. Von Wernich appeared in court as a graying older man, wearing a bulletproof vest over his clerical shirt and Roman collar. The prosecutor in the case accused Von Wernich of “primary complicity” in torture and murders, having had direct contact with those detained in the Argentine dictatorship’s many detention centers. In the city of Buenos Aires and the surrounding province of Buenos Aires, Von Wernich is accused of serving during the time when the feared General Ramon Camps had control of police and military facilities – such as the infamous Naval College – where scores of victims, including pregnant women, were detained, tortured, and killed at the hands of security forces.

In relation to the Von Wernich case, journalist and author Horacio Verbitsky – a frequent critic of the Catholic Church – told AFP that the paradox of the Church in Latin America during the 1970s was that even while many of the clergy supported right-wing dictatorships, there were many murders of priests and bishops and laity by the right-wing. For example, the current cardinal of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, has been accused by human rights investigators of “sinister complicity” in right-wing repression of the 1970s and early 1980s. The political and military leaders of that regime, such as General Leopoldo Galtieri, have been brought to book; until now, clerics had been apparently immune.