God's Politics

The latest reports on Blackwater, Iraq, Immigration, Election, Secrecy, Darfur, Korea, Iran, Fair Trade, Burma/Myanmar, Nuclear weapons, Africa, Israel, Arms sales
Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail »

Blackwater. Other Killings By Blackwater Staff Detailed “Blackwater security contractors in Iraq have been involved in at least 195 “escalation of force” incidents since early 2005, including several previously unreported killings of Iraqi civilians, according to a new congressional account of State Department and company documents.” Report Says Firm Sought to Cover Iraq Shootings “The report by the Democratic majority staff of a House committee adds weight to complaints from Iraqi officials, American military officers and Blackwater’s competitors that company guards have taken an aggressive, trigger-happy approach to their work and have repeatedly acted with reckless disregard for Iraqi life.” Blackwater founder defends role in Iraq “‘I believe we acted appropriately at all times,’ he says in a congressional hearing called after the private security firm is implicated in the deaths of Iraqi civilians.” Blackwater boss grilled over Iraq “The chairman of US private security firm Blackwater defends his company during a grilling by US lawmakers.” Blackwater founder denies Iraq security guards are out of control “Blackwater has had to fire 122 guards – one-seventh of the personnel it has in Iraq – over the past three years for problems ranging from misuse of weapons, alcohol and drug violations, inappropriate conduct, and violent behavior, the committee report said.” Blackwater defends Iraq activities “A US congressional report has said Blackwater was involved in nearly 200 shooting incidents in Iraq over the past two years and opened fire first in most of them.”


Iraq. Most in Poll Want War Funding Cut “Most Americans oppose fully funding President Bush’s $190 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a sizable majority support an expansion of a children’s health insurance bill he has promised to veto.” U.S. and Civilian Deaths Decrease Sharply in Iraq “Numbers alone cannot describe the level of danger and the pervading sense of insecurity that still exist in much of Iraq. Some U.S. soldiers in Iraq have argued that sectarian cleansing in some Baghdad neighborhoods has progressed to the point that there are fewer opportunities for killing rivals.”

Immigration. Judge Delays Ruling on Illegal Workers “A federal judge in San Francisco yesterday delayed for 10 days a ruling on the legality of the Bush administration’s enforcement drive targeting U.S. firms that hire illegal immigrants.”

Election. Giuliani Tests GOP on Social Issues “The growing anguish on the right over Rudy Giuliani’s presidential candidacy signals a coming test of strength inside the Republican coalition, a test that will help answer whether the power of religious and social conservatives has crested.”

Secrecy. Presidential-Records Order Partly Invalidated “The order aroused controversy among scholars and journalists, who saw the Bush move as an effort to keep presidential records secret long past the point when most FOIA exemptions expire.”

Darfur. Senegal Threatens to Pull Out of A.U. Force “Senegal threatened Monday to withdraw its more than 500 troops from Darfur, moving the African Union’s beleaguered peacekeeping mission closer to collapse after a spectacular militia attack over the weekend left 10 A.U. soldiers dead and dozens more missing or wounded.” Report Says Firm Sought to Cover Iraq Shootings “The deadly attack on an African Union peacekeeping base by rebels in Darfur over the weekend brought the credibility of the rebel forces to a low point. It also demonstrated the extent to which the force, struggling with minimal manpower and matériel to keep a nonexistent peace, has come to be seen by many non-Arabs in Darfur as at best ineffective and irrelevant, and at worst, a tool manipulated by the Sudanese government, in the view of some rebel groups.” Deterioration in Darfur “It is not clear who carried out the attack…. What is clear is that the situation has mutated from one of rebellion against counter-insurgency to all-against-all banditry.”

Korea. S. Korea’s Roh Enters The North For Summit “The lame-duck president of South Korea, Roh Moo Hyun, traveled north on Tuesday to a summit with Kim Jong Il, the unpredictable North Korean leader whose closeted government last year exploded a nuclear bomb but this year is flashing intermittent signals of peace.” Korean leaders in historic talks “Critics say the South’s attempts at friendship and large donations of aid have failed to break down the impoverished North’s isolationism or improve its human rights record.”

Iran. An Iranian University Invites Bush to Speak “After the controversial appearance of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University last week, an Iranian university yesterday invited President Bush to travel to Iran and speak on campus about a range of issues, including the Holocaust, terrorism, human rights and U.S. foreign policy.”

Fair Trade. Fair Trade in Bloom “Importers and retailers rush to meet a growing demand from consumers and activists to adhere to stricter environmental and social standards.”

Burma/Myanmar. UN envoy leaves Burma after crisis talks with leaders “The UN special envoy seeking a resolution to the violence in Burma left the country today after talks on the crisis with the detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and with the junta’s reclusive top general.” After Delays, U.N. Envoy Is to Meet Myanmar Leader “A United Nations envoy met with the leader of Myamar’s junta today, according to a diplomat in Yangon, as authorities continued a crackdown after crushing huge peaceful demonstrations last week.” For Myanmar’s Neighbors, Mutual Needs Trump Qualms “For two decades, Myanmar’s neighbors have grappled with how to respond to the unrelenting repression of the country’s people by its ruling generals…. At a time of rising energy prices, the prospect of extracting resources appears to override the embarrassment and shame of dealing with a junta that has attracted worldwide condemnation. For that reason, the countries with the most leverage over Myanmar seem the most reluctant to use it, analysts say.”

Nuclear weapons. New nukes need more work, panel says “An independent group of nuclear weapons experts said Monday that substantial work remained to be done on a new generation of warheads in order to show, short of underground testing, that the bombs would be reliable.”

Africa. U.S. steps up its military presence in Africa “Africa’s ambivalence, and in some cases outright antipathy, to a stepped-up US military presence on the continent is born of a long and bitter history of past foreign interventions by British, French, Italian, German, Belgian, Portuguese, and Arab armies. But as Washington begins to understand the strategic importance of Africa – from keeping Al Qaeda from gaining new footholds to the fact that the US now imports nearly 22 percent of its oil from African countries – the arrival of an Africa Command was just a matter of time.”

Israel. Israel admits air strike on Syria “Israel confirms for the first time that it carried out a strike on a Syrian military site almost a month ago.” IDF lifts censorship on Sept. 6 IAF strike on target inside Syria “The IDF is still maintaining censorship on the details of the air strike, including the target, which troop forces were involved, the success of the strike, and the decision-making process that led up to it.” Israel admits air attack on Syria “Syria says its air defence systems confronted Israeli aircraft, which subsequently bombed an area inside the country.” US warned of summit failure “The Bush administration was warned yesterday by former senior US diplomats that it is setting itself up for the failure of its Middle East peace summit by neglecting to lay the groundwork for a successful meeting of American, Israeli and Ara
b leaders.”

Arms sales. America cashes in on arms sales to developing world “American weapons sales accounted for 42% of the global market, a total of nearly $17bn in sales, up $3.4bn from the previous year. The boom in US sales appears to have been partly fuelled by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have made neighbouring countries nervous. Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia were the biggest buyers.”

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus