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interpreting the constitution
number 155    
06.01.08
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More than 100 nations have formally
adopted a treaty banning the
distribution and deployment of deadly
cluster bombs. Six countries that lead
the world in manufacturing the
controversial munitions— the US,
Russia, China, Israel, India, and
Pakistan— boycotted the
negotiations that preceded the
adoption of the agreement in Dublin
last week. The Bush administration,
which sent a delegation to the talks
to actively lobby against the cluster
bomb ban, said that the US would
ignore the treaty, calling cluster
technology munitions “absolutely
critical and essential” to military
operations.

Among the 111 countries adopting
the  
treaty, which will be officially signed
at a ceremony in Oslo in December,
are a number of close military and
strategic allies of the US. It is
uncertain whether these countries will
be required to mandate the removal
of cluster weapons from US bases on
their territory. Some human rights
advocates involved in the treaty
negotiations predicted that
heightened international pressure
would ultimately prevent the US from
ever using cluster bombs again.

According to the
Los Angeles
Times
, the negotiations turned on
the support of British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown, who overruled some
of his own military advisers to join
other EU countries in
adopting the ban on the bombs,
which have caused civilian
casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan,
Cambodia, Kosovo, and Lebanon.
The newspaper called Britain’s
break with the US “a major
diplomatic defeat.”

US diplomats have publicly
warned that an international ban
on cluster bombs will jeopardize
US participation in future
peacekeeping and disaster relief
efforts, as most American military
units possess some form of the
weaponry. Critics of the bombs
say they leave unexploded
submunitions, or “bomblets”, that
are often found and detonated by
civilian children.              
it's all true
Pentagon auditors are unable to
account for almost $15 billion in
payments made to private
contractors for goods and services in
Iraq, according to testimony before a
Congressional committee last week.
An internal Defense Department
investigation that reviewed $8.2
billion spent by the US Army found
insufficient or improper
documentation for more than $7.7
billion, amounting to a 95 percent
failure rate in basic accounting
standards. Auditors estimate that
another $1.8 billion in frozen Iraqi
assets was disbursed by the
Pentagon, often in the form of pallets
of cash, without documentation.

Legislators from both parties
condemned the revelations, which
were deemed significant because
they included a rare
acknowledgement from inside the
Pentagon that significant waste and  
contract fraud did occur. House
Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform chairman Henry
Waxman said, “Investigators looked
at 53 payment vouchers and couldn’t
find even one that adequately
explained where the money went.”

In one case highlighted during the
hearing, $320.8 million of the seized
Iraqi funds were used for “Iraqi
Salary Payment,” according to the
only information on the invoice.
Another payment of $11.1 million to
US contractor IAP contained no
indication  of what was received by
the US military. The auditors found
no details to explain $134.8 million in
cash payments to foreign
governments that sent troops to Iraq,
including $68.2 million to the UK,
$45.3 million to Poland, and $21.3
million to South Korea.        
it's all true
A number of recent media reports,
citing diplomatic and military sources,
indicate that the Bush administration
intends to launch a military strike
against Iran before the president
leaves office in January 2009.

The
Asia Times reported last week
that the US will launch an air assault
against Iranian Revolutionary Guard
and Quds forces by August. A week
earlier, Israeli Army Radio broadcast
a report that a senior member of the
president’s entourage on his recent
visit to the Middle East told Israeli
officials that Bush and Vice President
Dick Cheney were convinced it was
necessary to bomb
Iran’s nuclear research facilities
before the end of their term. A
Time
magazine article raised the possibility
of Bush ordering such an attack
some time between November and
January, “after
the political cost goes down and
when he may feel he is doing his
successor a favor.”

According to the
Asia Times, several
US legislators have already been
briefed on the planned air strike. The
newspaper claimed that two
senators, California Democrat
Dianne Feinstein and Republican
Richard Lugar of Indiana, had
privately voiced their opposition to
the attack, and had threatened to go
public with the information. The
report also noted potential
international tensions arising from an
attack on Iran, which could prompt
hostile reactions from Russia and
China, and fuel a broader anti-
American backlash in the Islamic
world.

White House Press Secretary Dana
Perino denied the Israeli Army Radio
report, which was picked up by the
Jerusalem Post and circulated
throughout the Middle East. The
original broadcast linked the
increasing likelihood of a US
attack on Iran to recent events in
Lebanon, where Hezbollah gained
control of new territory, to the
consternation of the Israeli
government. But Israel is not the
only country in the region pushing
for a strike on Iranian nuclear
facilities. According to
Time ,
Egyptian and Saudi leaders are
privately concerned about the
scope of Iran’s nuclear programs
and would not oppose an attack.

Political observers generally
agree that any attack on Iran, if
carried out before the general
election, would tend to be
favorable for Republican
candidate John McCain, a
supporter of regional military
action.
it's all true
US Marines in and around
Fallujah in Iraq have begun to
pass out ‘coins’ stamped with
Christian messages including
Bible verses to citizens after they
have been searched at a military
checkpoint at the western
entrance to the city.  
Spokespersons for Iraqis
say that the Christian coins are
humiliating to those who practice
the Muslim faith and reveal that
US soldiers are both occupiers
and missionaries.

The Christian coins are stamped
with the question, “Where will you
spend eternity?” on one side and
a verse from the Biblical Book of
John (3:16) that asserts that one
can only achieve “eternal life”
through the acceptance of
Christian doctrine.  

Local leaders in Fallujah
demanded that the Marines stop
handing out the coins saying that
the Americans, who are perceived
as an occupying force in the
country, are causing strife
between Iraqis, especially in  
Christian and Muslim communities
in the city and that the act of being
proselytized is demeaning and
humiliating.                    
it's all true
With the world gripped by a
crisis in the costs and
availability of basic foodstuffs,
a new focus on the threats to
the planet’s topsoil by
unsustainable farming
techniques and urban
development has emerged.

International Assessment of
Agricultural Knowledge,
Science and Technology for
Development released a report
in April that estimated that
“global cereal demand is
projected to increase by 75%
between 2000 and 2050 and
global meat demand is
expected to double.”  The
researchers found, however,
that farming methods that
emphasize increasing crop
yields have “in some cases
had negative consequences
on environmental
sustainability.  The report’s
authors said that over 2.5
billion people are affected by
“significant levels of land
degradation.”

The United Nations has said
that soil loss is a contributing
factor to malnourishment in
impoverished populations.  
The National Academy of
Sciences reported that US
topsoil is disappearing ten
times faster than it is created
through a chemical and
biological process that takes
years.  Topsoil is created at a
rate of one to two inches every
one to two hundred years.  

David Montgomery, a geologist
at the University of Washington
told the
Seattle Post
Intelligencer
, "The estimate
is that we are now losing about
1 percent of our topsoil every
year to erosion, most of this
caused by
agriculture."              
it's all true
The Office of the Inspector General
for the Justice Department released
a report last week that revealed that
FBI agents who were stationed at the
detention center at Guantanamo Bay
Cuba compiled a dossier that
detailed what agents referred to as
“war crimes” that were committed by
CIA and US military personnel and
private contractors as they
interrogated the detainees held there.

The file was created beginning in
2002
by FBI agents shocked by the tactics
employed by the CIA as it used so-
called “enhanced interrogation
techniques” that were devised of at
the highest levels of the US
government.  As reported previously
by
redstateupdate.net, it is now
known that torture tactics were
discussed by members of the Bush
Administration including Dick Cheney
and Condoleezza Rice in meetings at
the White House.

FBI agents recorded that CIA and
military personnel and private
contractors used various brutal
techniques as they questioned
detainees including; “short-
shackling” of the hands to the feet,
prolonged isolation, sleep and
sensory deprivation, electric shock,
humiliation, threats of death,
beatings,
sexual assault, terrorizing with attack
dogs and water-boarding.  Although
much of what is revealed in the
dossier has been previously reported
and alleged by detainees to have
taken place, the FBI dossier confirms
the reports and describes in detail
the types of torture that were used at
the facility in Guantanamo Bay.

The Inspector’s report also reveals
the divide between employees of the
FBI and agents of the CIA and others
who were hired to perform the
enhanced interrogations that took
place at the detention center.  The
inspector found that FBI agents at
Gauntanamo reported what they saw
as abuses to superiors in the Justice
Department, but they were ignored,
rebuffed and eventually told to cease
compiling reports of the abuse in
2003.

Although FBI agents did report the
abuse that detainees were suffering,
the inspector’s report was critical of
the Justice Department for not
providing agents with “specific or
consistent guidance” on how illegal
behavior by other government
agencies should be reported.  The
ACLU said, “the FBI’s leadership
failed to act aggressively to end the
abuse.”               
it's all true
verbatim                                 number 30.3
...it means there's jobs
at the machine-making
place."  
Mesa AZ  05.27.08
"And so the fact
that they purchased
the machine meant
somebody had to
make the machine...
...and when
somebody makes a
machine...
%                   50                  100
france
Software piracy rate  
selected countries
uk
china
russia
us
Pariah Policy on Cluster Bombs Blows Up in America's
Face
Topsoil Erosion
A Growing Problem
Lame Ducks Reportedly Considering One Last Quack at
Iran
Oversight Overlooked in Iraq Spending
Spree
DoJ on FBI vs. CIA : File Under CYA
Soldiers' Mission
Becoming Crusade
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