December 21, 2009

Israel Admits to Illegally Harvesting Palestinian's Organs


From the Guardian

Israel has admitted that pathologists harvested organs from dead Palestinians, and others without the consent of their families – a practice that it said ended in the 1990s, it emerged at the weekend.

The admission, by the former head of the country's forensic institute, followed a furious row prompted by a Swedish newspaper reporting that Israel was killing Palestinians in order to use their organs – a charge that Israel denied and called "antisemitic".

The revelation, in a television documentary, is likely to generate anger in the Arab and Muslim world and reinforce sinister stereotypes of Israel and its attitude to Palestinians. Iran's state-run Press TV tonight reported the story, illustrated with photographs of dead or badly injured Palestinians.

Ahmed Tibi, an Israeli Arab MP, said the report incriminated the Israeli army.

The story emerged in an interview with Dr Yehuda Hiss, former head of the Abu Kabir forensic institute near Tel Aviv. The interview was conducted in 2000 by an American academic who released it because of the row between Israel and Sweden over a report in the Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet.

Channel 2 TV reported that in the 1990s, specialists at Abu Kabir harvested skin, corneas, heart valves and bones from the bodies of Israeli soldiers, Israeli citizens, Palestinians and foreign workers, often without permission from relatives.

The Israeli military confirmed to the programme that the practice took place, but added: "This activity ended a decade ago and does not happen any longer."

December 16, 2009

Obama's Corporatized, Privatized, war in Afghanistan

from TPM Muckraker

Private contractors will make up at least half of the total military workforce in Afghanistan going forward, according to Defense Department officials cited in a new congressional study.

As President Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan unfolds, the number of contractors will likely jump by between 16,000 and 56,000, adding up to a total of 120,000-160,000, according to an updated study from the Congressional Research Service.

DOD officials who spoke with the study's author said contractors would make up 50-55 percent of the total workforce -- troops plus contractors -- in the future. This would actually be a significant reduction from the last two years, when contractors have averaged 62 percent of the total.

As we've reported, many questions about the army of contractors, which outnumbers the size of the U.S. troop force, remain unanswered and underexamined. We don't have up to date numbers on how much the United States spends on private contracts, and the DOD does not break down the services done by contractors in Afghanistan (it does for Iraq).

As of September 2009, contractors providing security, transportation, and logistical services numbered 104,100 in Afghanistan and 113,700 in Iraq, according to the military. Most of the contractors in Afghanistan are local nationals, according to the military. Here's a table looking at how much the numbers in Afghanistan will increase with Obama's surge:

Interestingly, it looks like military planners themselves -- not just the media and politicians -- find it all too easy to ignore the role of contractors in U.S. foreign policy. The most recent Quadrennial Defense Review, a key strategic overview of American defense and military policy, runs over 100 pages. Just five sentences of the QDR document addresses the use of private contractors, the CRS study notes.

Besides crunching the numbers, the study also looks at whether contractors can undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the issue of abuses of civilians by contractors.

Here's a graph we've shown you before, now updated through September 2009:

[so much more after the jump]

December 8, 2009

The Story of Cap & Trade: or Why You Can't Fix the Problem with the Thing That Caused the Problem

The Story of Cap & Trade is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill. Host Annie Leonard introduces the energy traders and Wall Street criminals... er um, innovators.

December 7, 2009


Under Stupak, if you want to get an abortion, you can pay out of pocket, just like now. No change.
If you pay for your own private insurance, and your plan covers abortion, you can have an abortion. No change there either.

Since the Hyde Amendment, federal funding for abortion has been illegal.
The problem isn't the Stupak amendment, it's the Hyde Amendment.
Why has the left-wing chosen NOW to get pissed off, when it's been on the books for years?
Why have they never made an issue about it before now?

The usual stuff:

December 6, 2009


Protests today are totally impotent...

Except there's an unpermitted protest coming up in March, that I didn't know about at the time of filming, which I hope proves me wrong:
The usual stuff:

December 5, 2009

December 4, 2009

Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires

The war in Afghanistan is like being caught in a brier patch-- once you're in far enough, every way you go is equally as bad. That's why the best way out is to simply wander in circles until you bleed to death. Obama clearly understands this strategy.