US REBUILDING OF IRAQ NEVER GOT OFF THE GROUND
"The first official history of the $25 billion American reconstruction effort in Iraq depicts a program hobbled from the outset by gross understaffing, a lack of technical expertise, bureaucratic infighting, secrecy and constantly increasing security costs..."Elsewhere, a Dahr Jamail report from the locals point of view in Iraq reveals a devastated country, with little hope of substantial rebuilding now the US has cut off the rebuilding funds, trying to get the international community to put up the money. There are some schools that have been rebuilt, some hospitals, some streets and sewerage treatment works and electricity stations and refineries, but for the majority of Iraqis the rebuilding has been barely visible. Three years after the invasion of Iraq, and the most basic necessities of democratic life, electricity and fuel, are becoming luxury items.
As one local explained to Dahr Jamail, "The last four nights without electricity…only half an hour every six hours. Fuel prices prevent people from running their generators at home. Fuel on the black market is fifty times the price what it used to be, and nobody can stand waiting at the pumps for days anymore....everybody is frustrated yet life is still going on as if the people are hypnotized.”
RUSSIA AND UK EYE EACH OTHER WARILY OVER NGO ROCK SPY AFFAIR
Moving through the streets of Russian cities, UK citizens used high-tech mobile phones, cameras, voice recorders to soak up information about everywhere they went and everything they saw. They downloaded this wealth of information to a fake rock filled with computer and satellite communications gear.
Were these UK citizens spies? Were they actually diplomats running quiet missions for the ome Office? Or were they some of the tens of thousands of NGO workers spreading the word of democracy and how to achieve through dozens of countries across the globe?Tony Blair chuckled a very nervous laugh when questioned about the Spy Rock Affair, "I think the less said about that, the better."
The London Telegraph reports the atmosphere in Putin's government "is more ominous - it marks the latest attempt by the Kremlin to throttle the human rights and pro-democracy groups.
"Moscow is appalled by the 'colour revolutions' that have removed its clients in the former Soviet Union - such as the Orange Revolution in Ukraine a year ago.
President Vladimir Putin seems convinced that the West now wants to use pro-democracy organisations in Russia itself to destabilise his increasingly autocratic rule."
Russia wants to bring together the fellow Caspian sea nations of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran to form a new grouping for defense, border control and intelligence purposes.
CHINA WON'T BACK US-ISRAEL PUSH FOR NUCLEAR IRAN ACTION AT THE UN
A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, Kong Quan, said his country has "noted the considerations" of the European countries.
"But on the other hand, we believe that further applying diplomatic efforts, and diplomatic means to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, remains a relatively suitable and better option."
Is the US Military Preparing For The Reintroduction Of Executions?
The BBC reports, "The new rules spell out the procedures for carrying out death sentences imposed at courts martial."
"The new rules are acknowledged by senior ranks as a major revision of the existing situation.
The revision also makes it possible for executions to take place at any military prison, not just Fort Leavenworth.
This, according to anti-death penalty protesters, means it would be technically legal for executions to take place at Guantanamo Bay."
Iran Issues Threats In Response To US Threats
"Iran upped the ante Monday in its nuclear standoff, warning that it will immediately begin developing a full-scale uranium enrichment program if it is referred to the United Nations Security Council.
"In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said "referral absolutely has to be made" on Feb. 2, while remaining vague on what action the Security Council could take -- and when."
Mexican Army Invades US....To Smuggle Cannabis
A Department Of Homeland Security document reveals there have been more than 200 incursions into US territory by the Mexican Army in the past few years. The US government claims these are innocent, that people get lost, that some of the border lines are not clearly defined.
But down in Texas, there's been an ARMED STAND-OFF AT THE RIO GRANDE between "Mexican soldiers and civilian smugglers....with nearly 30 U.S. law enforcement officials."
"Mexican military Humvees were towing what appeared to be thousands of pounds of marijuana across the border into the United States, said Chief Deputy Mike Doyal, of the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department."Mexican Army troops had several mounted machine guns on the ground more than 200 yards inside the U.S. border...."
"We're sitting ducks," said a border agent.
Bush Announces US Will Stand With Israel Against Iran Ever Having Nuclear Weapons
"I am deeply concerned about Iran, as should a lot of people be concerned about Iran," said Bush, yesterday, during a Q & A with American students and soldiers.
"I am concerned when the country of Iran's president announces his desire to see that Israel gets destroyed.
"Israel is our ally. We're committed to the safety of Israel, and it's a commitment we will keep."
50,000 US Troops And Aircraft Carrier For Japan
50,000 US troops will remain on station in Japan until the end of 2007, costing the Japanese government more than $US2.4 billion dollars.
The US recently reached an agreement with Japan to station a US Navy nuclear powered aircraft carrier in Japanese waters. The Pentagon is expected to build a new landing strip for larger, faster aircraft on the Japanese island of Okinawa, which was seizedd by the US during WWII.
A wave of refugees, 20,000 women, children, men, have fled into neighbouring Uganda from brutal fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
UN loses eight peacekeepers to Congo fighting. "Eight Guatemalan special forces soldiers deployed as U.N. peacekeepers in eastern Congo were killed and five more were injured on Monday during an operation against Ugandan rebels, the United Nations said."