The Missile Dick Chicks have begun reporting from the road on their tour of Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina and Washington. Aiming to sing and dance dubya ("W = War!") back into office with such delightful ditties as "Shop in Name of War" and "These Bombs Were Made For Dropping", these Patriot missile equipped ladies from Crawford, Texas are just the thing for the next Bechtel board meeting, NASDAQ trading floor or local shopping mall.
After the release of a damning report by the Law Council of Australia condemning the trial of the Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, the Australian Greens Party called on the two corporate funded parties to pressure the U.S. government to cancel the show trials against Hicks and Mamdouh Habib and return them to Australia for prosecution under Australian law.
Naomi Klein and Jeremy Scahill have an article in the UK Guardian raising questions of who the kidnappers of the two Italian and two Iraqi humanitarians are. They raise several troubling indications that the kidnappers are aligned or directed by the installed interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Democracy Now! has an interview with Scahill.
I've held out commenting on the crisis in the Sudan to get some perspective , particularly watching the U.S government's behaviour. Certainly the conflict is one which is not new, with one very sharp eyed journalist noting the involvement of China very early.
The following excerpts of a recent AP article note the magic word "oil":
U.S. Softens Sanctions Threat Vs. Sudan
By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer
Given the Bush administration is now struggling to justify any of the reasons to go to war with Iraq, finally settling on the blindingly obvious "Saddam was a tyrant" excuse (conveniently ignoring that the U.S.
Jaw-dropping but true, the U.S. senate placed an expiry date on the "Brady Bill" ban on assault weapons (e.g AK-47s, Uzi's etc). Presumably the honourable senators assumed that somehow there would be a pressing need to arm the U.S. population with people-killers in 10 years time. That expiry date is September 13th and the Republican senate and presidency have distinguished themselves by differing from Ford and Reagan administrations in refusing to renew the ban on semi-automatic weapons, allowing them to be sold with little restriction compared to standards in the first world.
According to The Australian, even the Howard government doesn't think the Hicks trial is fair:
A statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock last night said that "following our observations of the preliminary hearing, it appears that some improvements are required to ensure that understandings on procedural fairness are met".
Two sites referenced by Juan Cole provide monthly break downs of coalition casualties. The discrepencies between the two sites are explained by icasualties using confirmed numbers of those dead which have been identified, whereas globalsecurity.com uses total number of dead before they have been identified. The real stand out is the massive increase in the number wounded in August, disputing the U.S.