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Tuesday, Sep 16th

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Anti-Bush Graffiti: 25 Countries, Six Continents

As President George W. Bush nears the end of a mostly disastrous eight-year term, he too should be given credit for public appearances overseas.

Traveling by air — er, compressed air, that is — and landing on everything from brick walls to telephone poles to the doors of trash chutes, Bush boasts a presence in just about every last nook in the world.

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Wall Street privatises US government: be very afraid

The US low-tax zealot, Grover Norquist, is famous for wanting to "shrink government down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub". Still alive, he is not turning in his grave, but his idea has been well and truly buried - and not by the Democrats he hates; they have been tongue-tied on the credit crisis.

It seems that President Bush and the Republicans are not just well to the left of Grover Norquist. They leave clear blue water on the left of Gordon Brown, much to the envy of Euro-lefties no doubt, who would love to ditch what they call "neo-liberalism", and what we call free markets, as easily as the American right wing.

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Iraq: Violence is down – but not because of America's 'surge'

As he leaves Iraq this week, the outgoing US commander, General David Petraeus, is sounding far less optimistic than the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, about the American situation in Iraq. General Petraeus says that it remains "fragile", recent security gains are "not irreversible" and "this is not the sort of struggle where you take a hill, plant the flag and go home to a victory parade... it's not a war with a simple slogan."

Compare this with Sarah Palin's belief that "victory in Iraq is wholly in sight" and her criticism of Barack Obama for not using the word "victory". The Republican contenders have made these claims of success for the "surge" – the American reinforcements sent last year – although they are demonstrably contradicted by the fact that the US has to keep more troops, some 138,000, in Iraq today than beforehand.

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Health facilities flush estimated 250M pounds of drugs a year

U.S. hospitals and long-term care facilities annually flush millions of pounds of unused pharmaceuticals down the drain, pumping contaminants into America's drinking water, according to an ongoing Associated Press investigation.

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Jews attacking Jews

The equation "anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism" has thus become the new orthodoxy, and has even earned the seal of approval of the European Union. Its racism and anti-Semitism monitoring center (the Federal Rights Agency) produced a "working definition" of anti-Semitism, with examples of five ways in which anti-Israel or anti-Zionist rhetoric is anti-Semitic. The 2006 report of the U.K.'s All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism urged the adoption of the EU definition, and the U.S. State Department's 2008 report "Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism" is also based on it.

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Intelligence officer claims CIA was complicit in torture in Uzbekistan

Ikrom Yakubov, a former major in the National Security Service (SNB), accused the CIA of involvement in torture sessions in the central Asian republic in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Herald, during which he made a series of startling claims. These include claims that:

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Terror trial blown away - and it's all George Bush's fault

The collapse last week of the London trial against the men accused of a plot to blow up airliners can be traced back to a peevish president desperate for a poll fillip.

The most knowledgeable British anti-terrorism officials are the most outraged. Before dawn breaks in the UK, they’re already assessing the damage from what one calls a “forced, foolish hastiness”. But the White House already has a media strategy in place to leverage news of the thwarted attack, “the worst since 9/11”. All that’s left to do is wait a few hours until sunrise, when the arrests will hit the US news cycles and the president and vice-president can register surprise about how right they’ve been all along, about everything. 

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U.S. Arms Sales Climbing Rapidly

The Bush administration is pushing through a broad array of foreign weapons deals as it seeks to rearm Iraq and Afghanistan, contain North Korea and Iran, and solidify ties with onetime Russian allies.

From tanks, helicopters and fighter jets to missiles, remotely piloted aircraft and even warships, the Department of Defense has agreed so far this fiscal year to sell or transfer more than $32 billion in weapons and other military equipment to foreign governments, compared with $12 billion in 2005.

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Andover law school convenes Bush War Crimes Conference

Saturday morning, the dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover will convene a two day planning session with a single focus: To arrest, put to trial and carry out sentence on criminals in the Bush Administration.

The conference, arranged by Lawrence Vevel, cofounder of the Andover school, will focus on which of Bush's officials and members of Congress could be charged with war crimes. The plan also calls for "necessary organizational structures" to be established, with the purpose of pursuing the guilty "to the ends of the Earth."

"For Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Yoo to spend years in jail or go to the gallows for their crimes would be a powerful lesson to future American leaders," Velvel said in a media advisory.

In a published document entitled "The Long Term View" (PDF link), Vevel argues, at the very least, "there is no question" George W. Bush is guilty of conspiracy to commit torture, a war crime.

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