Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2013

Only one word for it. Bribery!

Stephen Walt, writing his latest blog on FP, suggests that Secretary of State John Kerry's attempt to re-ignite the so-called Middle East peace process between Israel and Palestine, is nothing other than naked bribery.

"You gotta give U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry credit for persistence -- or maybe just perverseness -- in his efforts to restart the Middle East "peace process." Given the complete failure of the past two decades of peace-processing, you might also wonder why he's bothering. My guess is that he does realize that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still a significant problem for the United States, as well as a source of continued human suffering. The fighting in Syria and the continued struggles in Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere may command more attention these days, but the situation in Israel/Palestine remains a potent source of anti-Americanism and a constant headache for every president. Plus, Kerry is an ambitious guy, and who wouldn't li…

No loss when Congresswoman departs

Here is a woman, Michele Bachmann, with a high profile as US Congresswoman and aspirations for greater things - and a seemingly ignorant motor-mouth to boot.   Thankfully she has decided not to run for office again.    Some of her "better" quotable quotes.....

"On homosexuality: "It's a very sad life. It's part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It's anything but gay ... Because if you're involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it's bondage. Personal bondage, personal despair, and personal enslavement. And that's why this is so dangerous."

On global warming: "Life on planet Earth can't even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that's on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that — that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental life cycle of Earth." (2009)

And again: "The big thing we are worki…

The Iraq War continues.......

The West - that is, the Coalition of the Willing, principally the USA, the UK and Australia - have regarded their task as "done" in Iraq, and the war over - but all too sadly the "war" continues for the people of Iraq.     Another truth in all of this is that those responsible for unleashing the war on Iraq (remember "Shock and Awe") in the first place will not be brought to account.

"In 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg stated the following, in language that was introduced by Judge Robert Jackson, the lead American prosecutor of Axis war criminals:

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

This means that those who launch a war of aggression are responsible for far more than just the initial death and destruction caused by the war. They should be held …

Britain has its own Gitmo

The US has Gitmo.   There are also variously described camps dotted throughout Europe.   Australia has detention camps for so-called illegal migrants.   There are many in the Oz camps, having been classified as refugees by the UN but detained indefinitely.

Now it's revealed that the Brits are in on the "act" of detaining people, without any charges levied, let alone a trial.

"On Wednesday, UK Defense Minister Philip Hammond confirmed that 80 or 90 Afghan men are being detained without charges at the UK-run Camp Bastion—a revelation that many are calling "illegal" with obvious parallels to the United States' Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.

According to lawyers representing eight of the detainees, a number of the men have been held for up to 14 months without charge or any indication of a trial date, and many others have not yet been allowed to consult a lawyer after months spent in prison.

"Our client has been held at Camp Bastion since August 2…

A widening war

As if there weren't enough issues in the Middle East, a new dimension has been added with Hezbollah announcing its commitment to support President Assad in Syria.      This piece "Hezbollah Widens the Syrian War" from The New Yorker highlights why this new development should not be ignored.

"It’s official: the war in Syria has spread to Lebanon. In an extraordinary speech Saturday, Hassan Nasrallah, the bearded and bespectacled leader of the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, promised an all-out effort to keep the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad in power in Syria. “It’s our battle, and we are up to it,” Nasrallah said in a televised address. The war, he said, had entered “a completely new phase.”

This is a terrifying development; the beginning of a regional war. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed armed group, has been fighting inside Syria for months, something I detailed in an article on the group in February. But Hezbollah was intervening in Syria covertly, in larg…

Abolishing war!

Over the last years, there have been moves to abolish things like landmines and cluster bombs.   Now there are steps being taken to abolish war.  Yes, war!  

Qadir Sheikh, a landmine victim from Warsun in Kashmir, says that his handicap will mean no education for his two daughters. Credit: Athar Parvaiz/IPS
"Slavery. Colonialism. Apartheid. Gender discrimination in voting. All were abolished in most places after longstanding battles – largely in bygone eras.

Now a high-level panel is scheduled to meet next month to discuss another politically sensitive issue: Should the institution of war be abolished?

Asked if this would be just an exercise in futility, Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, told IPS, “I don’t think that working toward ending war is an exercise in futility.

“I think there is little consistent effort to challenge the view that war is inevitable and to begin serious education from the time children enter school about…

Call for abolition of Gitmo

The call couldn't be louder....or more made more clearly! 

"Anti-terror policies implemented by the U.S. and governments around the world have grossly violated human rights, warned United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay on Monday, warning that the U.S. government's Guantanamo Bay detention center and international rendition and drone programs have done far more harm than good.

"Time and again, my Office has received allegations of very grave violations of human rights that have taken place in the context of counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency operations," Pillay warned.

"Such practices are self-defeating. Measures that violate human rights do not uproot terrorism: they nurture it."

In the speech, given at the opening of the spring session of the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, Pillay most explicitly slammed the U.S. for Guantanamo, in which 166 prisoners remain in indefinite detention without charge or trial.

"The United States’ failure …

Peace not even a remote possibility

John Kerry, US Secretary of State, and the British Foreign Minister,William Hague have in the last days spoken about the so-called Two-State solution between Israel and Palestine having only a little while left before it's dead.     Informed commentary will say that it has been dead for years.      Just look at how Israel has done everything within its power - with the merest of tut-tutting by Western nations - to expand settlements (in reality towns) in the West Bank.   An update, on MEMO (Middle East Monitor) on the on-going building.

"Saeb Erekat, member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee, stated that the Israeli government "Continues to exercise the settlement policy on the occupied Palestinian territories."

During a meeting with the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Erekat said: "The total number of Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land after Benjamin Netanyah…

Robert Fisk on the escalation of the Middle East conflict

Now Hezbollah is in on the seemingly ever-widening and never-ending war in Syria.    Beirut has already seen bombing in the last 24 hours.     Middle East expert Robert Fisk in his latest piece for The Independent writes on what it all means.   Not good....obviously!

"Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has crossed the Rubicon.

The Hezbollah chairman who said exactly 13 years ago that his resistance movement would not cross the Israeli frontier – that it was for the Palestinians to “liberate” Jerusalem – has declared that Hezbollah has crossed the Syrian frontier. Not only that, but Nasrallah said at the weekend he would fight “to the end” to protect President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Hezbollah, he said, was entering “a completely new phase.” He can say that again. "


"He talked, of course, about the danger of “extremists” trying to overthrow Assad, claiming they were also a danger to Lebanon, that Assad’s Syria was a backbone of Hezbollah “and the resistance cannot stand with i…

Climate warming confirmed......only just a little slower

The sceptics may continue to scoff and question - ignorant sods? - but the overwhelming evidence is in.   And it's from scientists, not armchair pundits, newspaper men or politicians.    Climate warming is with us, although not quite as fast as first thought.

"Some of the most extreme predictions of global warming are unlikely to materialise, new scientific research has suggested, but the world is still likely to be in for a temperature rise of double that regarded as safe.

The researchers said warming was most likely to reach about 4C above pre-industrial levels if the past decade's readings were taken into account.

That would still lead to catastrophe across large swaths of the Earth, causing droughts, storms, floods and heatwaves, and drastic effects on agricultural productivity leading to secondary effects such as mass migration.

Some climate change sceptics have suggested that because the highest global average temperature yet recorded was in 1998 climate change has sta…

Obama: Speaking with a forked tongue about Gitmo

Whatever Obama might say about Gitmo, the unquestioned fact is that it is appalling that it continues to exist and a travesty that there are still innocent people incarcerated there - and to make matters worse, subjected to utterly disgraceful treatment.     Is it any wonder that the message, loud and clear, conveyed about Gitmo acts as incitement to many and shows, all too clearly, that Obama, and the USA, speak with a forked tongue when they say they require other countries to adhere to democratic principles and the rule of law.

"Late Wednesday afternoon, less than 24 hours before President Obama made his big national security speech — in which he said, for the umpteenth time, that the prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, should be closed — a group of American lawyers representing Guantánamo detainees filed an emergency motion with the Federal District Court in the District of Columbia. The motion asked the court to order the removal of “unjustified burdens” that the military comman…

Sydney lights up

Some of Sydney's famous landmarks, such as the Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art and the city's Circular Quay, are transformed into a spectacular canvas of light as Vivid Sydney takes over the city after dark. Vivid Sydney is an annual event where immersive light installations and projections illuminate the city from 24 May until 10 June. In recent years the event has attracted more than 500,000 people

A big no to Monsanto's genetically modified seed

It is said we are what we eat.   But does that mean we have to ingest food which is bad for one or full of chemicals?     Certainly not!.... as many are now saying - loud and clear.    There is a concerted movement, worldwide, against Monsanto in relation to its genetically modified seed.    

Research studies have shown that Monsanto’s genetically-modified foods can lead to serious health conditions such as the development of cancer tumors, infertility and birth defects.In the United States, the FDA, the agency tasked with ensuring food safety for the population, is steered by ex-Monsanto executives, and we feel that’s a questionable conflict of interests and explains the lack of government-led research on the long-term effects of GM products.Recently, the U.S. Congress and president collectively passed the nicknamed “Monsanto Protection Act” that, among other things, bans courts from halting the sale of Monsanto’s genetically-modified seeds.For too long, Monsanto has been the benefac…

There's no stopping the Chinese

Credited to Patrick Chappette

Obama speaks. Three key questions remain unanswered

Obama gave a major policy speech this week, principally addressing the question of the war on terror, drones and Gitmo.    It will be recalled that an outburst by a woman as Obama spoke (see post) attracted almost as much attention as the speech itself.   As this piece on truthdig points out Obama avoided 3 key issues in his speech.

"In the midst of his carefully scripted counterterrorism address Thursday at National Defense University in Washington, D.C., President Obama encountered an unexpected speed bump in the form of Medea Benjamin, the highly animated 60-year-old co-founder of anti-war group Code Pink whose track record for crashing high-profile political events and heckling speakers has earned her the reputation of being the country’s most disruptive protester.

As Obama shifted the focus of his wide-ranging remarks from drone attacks to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, attempting to craft a new and more transparent legal framework for the war on terror and promisin…

It's a mugs game. They pay tax! The others?

It looks like one can "organise" ones affairs so as to avoid, or at least minimise, the payment of tax. Certainly corporations can, especially if they are multi-national.   Just look at what was revealed about Apple this past week.

"Earlier this week, a Senate panel investigated how Apple avoided billions in taxes through a web of offshore subsidiaries “so complex it spanned continents and went beyond anything most experts had ever seen.” Although the company may have achieved, in the words of Sen. Carl Levin, the “holy grail of tax avoidance,” senators didn’t accuse Apple of doing anything illegal and it is by no means alone in its use of loopholes and gimmicks to avoid paying taxes.

Here’s a list, topped by Apple, of 10 companies that increased their offshore holdings in the past year.

The U.S. corporate tax rate is 35 percent — one of the highest in the world — but as The New York Times reported yesterday, the effective corporate tax rate (what companies actually…

Israel's IDF: Living in a parellel universe....and, as is customary, lying

Can anyone forget these graphic photos, believe it or not, back in 2000? 

Apart from the question of why it has taken 13 years to investigate and report on the incident, one really has to wonder at least two things.  What universe does Israel's IDF occupy? - and do they really believe that anyone will believe their tripe and lies?    

"Thirteen years after the iconic photo of his shooting helped spark the Second Intifada, Israel has issued a report finding that 12-year-old Muhammad Al-Durra was not killed by Israeli forces, and in fact might not even be dead. Yes. It says that. The new report, focusing on the infamous image of the terrified Muhammad huddling against his father amidst gunfire moments before he slumped to the ground, argues that the shooting was either staged or the fault of Palestinians and has long been unfairly used to justify terrorism and "the delegitimization of Israel." Muhammad is one of nearly 1,400 Palestinian children killed since 2000 as a …

Yes, a horrid crime......but was it terrorism?

There can be no doubting that the vicious murder in London a couple of days ago was horrific.    Some aspects are downright bizarre.  But, was it an act of terrorism as it has been labelled by all and sundry, from the British PM downwards?

"It's true that the soldier who was killed yesterday was out of uniform and not engaged in combat at the time he was attacked. But the same is true for the vast bulk of killings carried out by the US and its allies over the last decade, where people are killed in their homes, in their cars, at work, while asleep (in fact, the US has re-defined "militant" to mean "any military-aged male in a strike zone"). Indeed, at a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on drone killings, Gen. James Cartwright and Sen. Lindsey Graham both agreed that the US has the right to kill its enemies even while they are "asleep", that you don't "have to wake them up before you shoot them" and "make it a fair…

Shades from the past....

Credited to Rick McKee, Cagle Cartoons

Amnesty International: Much of the world is not a good place

Amnesty International has issued its annual Report for 2013.   It doesn't make for happy reading.

"Amnesty International says the world has become an increasingly dangerous place for refugees and migrants.

In its annual report, the group said millions were forced to live on the margins of society and allowed to be the targets of "populist rhetoric".

Amnesty said governments were more interested in protecting their own borders than the rights of migrants."


"The failure to address conflict situations effectively is creating a global underclass," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty's Secretary General.

"The rights of those fleeing conflict are unprotected. Too many governments are abusing human rights in the name of immigration control - going well beyond legitimate border control measures."

Increasingly, there is very little that governments and corporations can do in hiding behind 'sovereign' boundaries”

He added: "These measures not onl…

Does the USA have a greater involvement in Syria than we know about?

Stephen Walt, professor of international relations at Harvard, writing in his blog on FP, considers that the USA is much more involved in the Syrian conflict than we are being told.

"Permit me to indulge today in a bit of speculation, for which I don't have a lot of hard evidence. As I read this article yesterday on Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian civil war, I began to wonder whether U.S. involvement in that conflict isn't more substantial than I have previously thought. And then I did a bit of web surfing and found this story, which seemed to confirm my suspicions. Here's my chain of reasoning:

1. The Syrian conflict has become a proxy fight between the opposition and its various allies (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Turkey, etc.) and Bashar al-Assad's regime and its various outsider supporters (Iran, Russia, Hezbollah).

2. For Washington, this war has become a golden opportunity to inflict a strategic defeat on Iran and its various local allies…

Obama and press freedom (?)

Credited tocChristopher Weyant

Yes, Assange is the subject of being fitted up

There seems to be little doubt that Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame- ever the pariah - has been framed.     There is now even evidence of it, as UPI reports.

"WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said messages he got from a British agency included speculation he was framed by Swedish officials seeking his extradition.

The messages from the Government Communications Headquarters, obtained through an official request for information, included discussions by the government eavesdropping agency that speculated he was being framed by Swedish authorities seeking his extradition for questioning on rape allegations, The Guardian reported Sunday.

Assange spoke about the messages Sunday night during an interview with the Spanish television program, "Salvados."

The instant messages to which Assange had access remained unclassified by GCHQ.

Assange has spent the past 11 months in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid arrest and extradition to Sweden. He has maintained his innocence an…

Listening (is anyone?) Afghan voices

Essentially the voices we read and hear in the West in relation to the Afghan war, is those of Westerners, principally peddling the pr handouts from politicians and the military.   But what about Afghan peoples?    What are they thinking, feeling and experiencing?

"Since 2009, Voices for Creative Nonviolence has maintained a grim record we call the “The Afghan Atrocities Update” which gives the dates, locations, numbers and names of Afghan civilians killed by NATO forces.  Even with details culled from news reports, these data can't help but merge into one large statistic, something about terrible pain that's worth caring about but that is happening very far away.

It’s one thing to chronicle sparse details about these U.S. led NATO attacks. It’s quite another to sit across from Afghan men as they try, having broken down in tears, to regain sufficient composure to finish telling us their stories.  Last night, at a restaurant in Kabul, I and two friends from the Afghan Peace…

Oklahoma Tornado: The tragic consequences of cost-saving

The devastation wrought by the tornado in Oklahoma, USA, is hard to believe.   Even more difficult to fathom is how that there wasn't a greater, or better, warning to the populace about the pending tornado.     The answer seems readily available.    Lack of money for the weather service.   And this in the supposed richest country in the world?

"Was the severe weather system culminating in yesterday’s Oklahoma City tornado intensified – or even created – by climate change? That question will almost certainly be batted back and forth in the media over the next few days. After all, there is plenty of scientific evidence that climate change intensifies weather in general, but there remain legitimate questions about how – and even if – it intensifies tornadoes in specific.

One thing, however, that shouldn’t be up for debate is whether or not we should be as prepared as possible for inevitable weather events like tornadoes. We obviously should be – but there’s an increasing chance t…

A "new" angle on the reason for the war in Syria......lack of water!

Thomas Friedman, author and op-ed writer for The New York Times, has been travelling in Syria.  Now, whilst no one could ever say that Friedman is insightful, let alone knowledgable about foreign affairs - just to the contrary! - in his latest piece for the Times he notes one cause for the present conflict in Syria.   Drought!   To what extent he is on the money is hard to evaluate.     

“The drought did not cause Syria’s civil war,” said the Syrian economist Samir Aita, but, he added, the failure of the government to respond to the drought played a huge role in fueling the uprising. What happened, Aita explained, was that after Assad took over in 2000 he opened up the regulated agricultural sector in Syria for big farmers, many of them government cronies, to buy up land and drill as much water as they wanted, eventually severely diminishing the water table. This began driving small farmers off the land into towns, where they had to scrounge for work.

Because of the population explosi…

A real and true hero

Credited to Randall Enos, Cagle Cartoons

Russia shirt-fronts the West in relation to Syria

Putin, and the Russians, are playing hard-ball in relation to Syria.   The West, notably the US and Israel, are not finding that they can have things there way with regard to what is happening in Syria.   Of course, it's all a game of diplomacy and one-up-manship with Putin flexing his muscles in the process.

"President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation has drawn a line in the sand over Syria, the government of which he is determined to protect from overthrow. Not since the end of the Cold War in 1991 has the Russian Bear asserted itself so forcefully beyond its borders in support of claims on great power status. In essence, Russia is attempting to play the role in Syria that France did in Algeria in the 1990s, of supporting the military government against rebels, many of them linked to political Islam. France and its allies prevailed, at the cost of some 150,000 dead. Can Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pull off the same sort of victory?

Even as Damascus pus…

Great PR.......ignoring critical issues closer to home!

Pr is one thing.   A reality check another.     Here, Alice Rothchild explains in an op-ed piece in The Boston Globe why an outwardly laudable pr effort by the Israelis makes her (rightly so) uncomfortable and to use her word "uneasy".

"On the face of it, Israel has made a good and generous offer: a country well-versed in advanced trauma care offers a team of experts to Boston and its neighbors at a time of great hardship, supporting the needs of innocent victims of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings. Last week six Israeli trauma experts from the Israel Trauma Coalition for Response and Preparedness visited Boston to help develop recovery strategies with their local counterparts.

Funded by Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies to the tune of roughly $75,000, this is part of an effort to “provide people with a Jewish response to helping victims and their families recover from this traumatic event,” said Gail Weinberg of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas on its w…

Free-rein for billionaires

Who said that money can't buy influence?     Money, as we all know, can open all sorts of doors.    True it is that notwithstanding millions of dollars, from a few donors, having been poured into candidates opposing Obama during the recent presidential campaign - with no visible effect - there is no doubting that money is going to have a significant bearing on elections in the USA in the future.  

"Billionaires with an axe to grind, now is your time. Not since the days before a bumbling crew of would-be break-in artists set into motion the fabled Watergate scandal, leading to the first far-reaching restrictions on money in American politics, have you been so free to meddle. There is no limit to the amount of money you can give to elect your friends and allies to political office, to defeat those with whom you disagree, to shape or stunt or kill policy, and above all to influence the tone and content of political discussion in this country.

Today, politics is a rich man's g…

A threat (from Syria to Israel) not to be lightly dismissed

Probably out of an arrogance developed over the years - and a military superiority over any other country in the region - Israel has, with impunity, attacked Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

But the bitten can also bite back!     And Syria has warned Israel in no uncertain terms that it is now a target, if this report in The Sunday Times is correct.

"Syria has put its most advanced missiles on standby with orders to hit Tel Aviv if Israel launches another raid on its territory.

Reconnaissance satellites have been monitoring preparations by the Syrian army to deploy surface-to-surface Tishreen missiles.

An Israeli official told The New York Times that Israel, which has launched three recent attacks on Syria, was considering further strikes and warned President Bashar al-Assad that his government would face “crippling consequences” if he hit back at Israel.

The deployment of the Syrian-made Tishreen missiles, each of which can carry a half-ton payload, marks a significant escalation of tensio…

At Gitmo: 100 days.... and counting

Last Friday saw the 100th day pass on which there has been a hunger-strike underway at Gitmo.

The day has been marked by those concerned enough to care - as we all ought to be!

Activists protest against the indefinite detention of detainees outside of the Supreme Court
"Hacker vigilante group Anonymous is marking the day with a "twitterstorm," implementing social media to bring greater awareness to the human rights violations going on at Guantanamo, particularly the indefinite detention of prisoners, many of whom have for years been cleared for release.

Under the hashtag #GTMO17, the group is asking participants to tweet out facts or quotes in order to convey the reality of the detainees' imprisonment. Some examples include:

"...shackled by his wrists and around his waist —while food is “dumped into this throat” for up to two hours at a time." #GTMO17

Amnesty International added this week that the situation at the notorious camp is “at a crisis point,” #GTMO17

Turn on, log in, opt out?

Too much "life" with or on internet for you?   For many other too.    An "interesting" piece from Columbia Journalism Review:

"At a tech conference in Lake Tahoe three years ago, Eric Schmidt gave a talk that included a startling statistic. Schmidt—who was then CEO of Google, so we took his word for it—announced that every two days, we create as much digital content as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. By “we,” of course, he meant those of us who are connected to the Internet: about two billion of the world’s seven billion people. And by “create content,” he meant “upload data.” Lots and lots of data. Five billion gigabytes of data, every two days.

A not insignificant amount of that “content” is created by debates about what this constant hyper-connectivity is doing to our brains, our bodies, our children, our relationships, and our sense of ourselves in the natural world. These debates are led by an increasingly entrenched class of cyberpundi…

AWOL at the White House?

Tongue-in-cheek piece in the current issue of The New Yorker:

"President Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to reassure the American people that he has “played no role whatsoever” in the U.S. government over the past four years.

“Right now, many of you are angry at the government, and no one is angrier than I am,” he said. “Quite frankly, I am glad that I have had no involvement in such an organization.”

The President’s outrage only increased, he said, when he “recently became aware of a part of that government called the Department of Justice.”

“The more I learn about the activities of these individuals, the more certain I am that I would not want to be associated with them,” he said. “They sound like bad news.”

Mr. Obama closed his address by indicating that beginning next week he would enforce what he called a “zero tolerance policy on governing.”

“If I find that any members of my Administration have had any intimate knowledge of, or involvement in, the workings of the…

"War on Terror" now permanent - and without any limitations

It's now official.   The USA is, in effect, officially at war, because of the "war on terror".  Wherever it might go.  Scary?   And what the ramifications are of all of that of even greater concern.    Think curtailing civil liberties as but one consequence.    It can be taken as almost a given that what America does will flow on to other Western nations a la Canada, the UK, Australia and many European countries.

"On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on whether the statutory basis for this "war" - the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) - should be revised (meaning: expanded). This is how Wired's Spencer Ackerman (soon to be the Guardian US's national security editor) described the most significant exchange:

"Asked at a Senate hearing today how long the war on terrorism will last, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, answered, 'At least …

A loud and clear message

We all know that newspapers are in big trouble.    Falling circulation and cutting back on staff leading to poorer newspapers all round.      Almost all papers are hemorrhaging financially.

The infamous über-wealthy Koch brothers are on the look out to buy the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times - with the obvious intention of getting their slanted view of the world out there.

No way say readers of the newspapers!

"As reports mount that the infamous Charles and David Koch brothers are scheming to purchase the Tribune Company, and hence the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, readers are standing up and saying they will not subscribe to "Koch hate."

A new petition, launched by Roots Action along with Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), has collected the signatures of nearly 19,000 people who want to tell the Tribune Company, "Don't sell out journalism by selling your papers to the Koch brothers."

Signers vowed to cancel subscriptions if the sale g…