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The Not-So-Historic Talabani-Barak Handshake

A Kodak Moment: The Not-So-Historic Talabani-Barak Handshake
by Ramzy Baroud
Most people would not have even realised that the 23rd congress of the Socialist International was being held near Athens were it not for the moment when Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak shook the hand of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

An Associated Press report, published in the Israeli daily Haaretz, dubbed the handshake "historic". History was supposedly made in Athens on 1 July 2008. Centred in a photo, featuring a widely grinning Barak and Talabani, is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was credited for introducing the two.

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Obama: Rendering Unto Jesus

On the Peace Born of Faith
by Scott Horton
Max Blumenthal reports last week in The Nation on a hushed meeting convened on June 10 in the plush conference room of a Chicago law firm. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama met with thirty leading figures from the evangelical community. The show was stolen by the Rev. Franklin Graham, the son and successor of the evangelical world’s hottest seller, Billy Graham, better known for his highly inflammatory comments about Islam—which he once called a “very evil and wicked religion.” According to Blumenthal, Graham, who sat next to the candidate,

  • "directly confronted Obama about his supposedly Muslim background and Christian authenticity. . . He peppered Obama with pointed questions, repeatedly demanding to know if the senator believed that “Jesus was the way to God or merely a way.”

It appears that Obama impressed many with his depth in Protestant theology, but in the end failed to satisfy his socially conservative, white southern audience with answers about abortion and gay marriage.

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Taliban "Franchises" Open Broader Battle in Afghanistan

Carnage in Kabul: Graeme Smith: Taliban forces 'franchised' and Mostly Afghan Based
by The Real News
A suicide car bomb ripped through the gates of the Indian Embassy in Kabul on Monday. Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday condemned the attack that killed 41 people and wounded 150.
It was the deadliest blast in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Afghanistan was quick to blame Pakistan but Pakistan’s Prime Minister Gillani denied that its intelligence service was behind the attack. The Real News spoke with Graeme Smith of the Globe and Mail in Kandahar to learn more.
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'Public Opinion and Bear Mountain' – Now Available!

Public Opinion and Bear Mountain – Now Available!
by Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network
It took more than 6 months (and many hundreds of hours) compiling your comments about Bear Mountain Resort, the interchange, Langford's council, and all the controversy surrounding them.
Now - finally! – Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network is pleased to announce the release of a comprehensive report on public opinion and Bear Mountain.
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Somalia's American-Made Road to Perdition

The Forgotten: Somalia's American-Made Road to Perdition        
by Chris Floyd     
The on-going, American-backed atrocity continues to rage in Somalia, where George W. Bush has launched a third "regime change" front in his global Terror War, with the help of one of his many pet dictators, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.

This week the head of the UN Development Program in Somalia, Osman Ali Ahmed, was shot dead as he left evening prayers at a mosque near his home in Mogadishu. The Bush Administration immediately blamed insurgent factions fighting against the Ethiopian-imposed government; insurgent leaders immediately denied the charge: "All the Mujahedeen are not behind his killing and it is not becoming of them to kill important persons who help the Somali people on whose behalf we are fighting," said a spokesman for one of the Islamist factions opposed to the Ethiopian-imposed government.
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Why the U.S. Won't Attack Iran

Reality Bites Back: Why the U.S. Won't Attack Iran
by Tom Engelhardt
Possessing the world's second largest reserves of oil and natural gas, Iran is no speed bump on the energy map. The National Security Network, a group of national security experts, estimates that the Bush administration's policy of bluster, threat, and intermittent low-level actions against Iran has already added a premium of $30-$40 to every $140 barrel of oil.
Then there was the one-day $11 spike after Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz suggested that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities was "unavoidable."

Given that, let's imagine, for a moment, what almost any version of an air assault -- Israeli, American, or a combination of the two -- would be likely to do to the price of oil. When asked recently by Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News about the effects of an Israeli attack on Iran, correspondent Richard Engel responded: "I asked an oil analyst that very question. He said, 'The price of a barrel of oil? Name your price: $300, $400 a barrel.'" Former CIA official Robert Baer suggested in Time Magazine that such an attack would translate into $12 gas at the pump. ("One oil speculator told me that oil would hit $200 a barrel within minutes.") 

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B.C.'s Species at Risk: There Oughta be a Law

“There Oughta Be a Law, and This Ain’t It”
by Forest
The provincial government's “underwhelming” response today to a groundbreaking report on the precarious state of wildlife and wilderness in BC recycles failed policies and underscores the urgent need for a species at risk law for the province, says a coalition of leading environmental organizations.
“British Columbia is in desperate need of an endangered species law to recover our species at risk, and to prevent species from becoming at risk in the first place,” said Devon Page of Ecojustice. “We need a law that compels habitat protection. Unfortunately that’s not what was announced today.”
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The Eight Mistaken Theses of Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro and the FARC: Eight Mistaken Thesis of Fidel Castro
by James Petras
I have been a supporter of the Cuban Revolution for exactly fifty years and recognize Fidel Castro as one of the great revolutionary leaders of our time.  But I have never been an uncritical apologist: On several crucial occasions I have expressed my disagreements in print, in public and in discussions with Cuban leaders, writers and militants. 
Fidel Castro’s articles and commentaries on the recent events in Colombia, namely his discussion of the Colombian regime’s freeing of several FARC prisoners (including three CIA operatives and Ingrid Betancourt) and his critical comments on the politics, structure, practices, tactics and strategy of the FARC and its world-renowned leader, Manuel Marulanda, merit serious consideration.
Castro’s remarks demand analysis and refutation, not only because his opinions are widely read and influence millions of militants and admirers in the world, especially in Cuba and Latin America, but because he purports to provide a ‘moral’ basis for opposition to imperialism today. 
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Canadian Shot by Israeli Defence Force Talks

Canadian Shot by Israeli Defence Force Talks 
by VOP
Voice of Palestine, Canada will be interviewing Victor MacDiarmid today Tuesday evening July 8, 2008 between 8:00 and 9:00pm PDT. Victor is a Canadian activist with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who was shot in the leg yesterday by the Israeli army with a rubber-coated steel bullet while trying to bring food and supplies to the besieged town of Ni'lin.

We will talk with him about the situation in Ni'lin and about his experiences in Palestine.

Voice of Palestine broadcasts weekly on Vancouver Cooperative Radio (CFRO) 102.7 FM, Vancouver, Canada. The show broadcasts for one hour every Tuesday night from 8 to 9 pm PST (Wednesday morning 6:00 am - 7:00 am Palestine time). It first went on the air in September, 1987, and has hit the airwaves every week for the past twenty years. People outside of Vancouver can listen to the show live on the internet

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Behind Betancourt's Dramatic Rescue

The Real Operation to "Rescue" Ingrid Betancourt and US Mercenaries
by Concerned citizens of
In order to understand the "rescue operation" of Ingrid Betancourt and the Northrop Grumman Corporation mercenaries who were released with her, it is necessary to piece together articles published in the media, filter the content and out of this is form a true understanding of the facts of what happened here.

On June 3rd, Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba revealed that she possessed information that the government of Colombia was negotiating a deal with FARC to trade money for the release of Betancourt and the mercenaries.
The official policy of the United States is that they don't "negotiate with terrorists," even as many leaders of Latin American countries accuse President Uribe of supporting the AUC paramilitary death squads and accuse the United States of providing safe harbor to known terrorists such as Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles.

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Hellfire Round the B-B-Q

Anxious Hiatus
by James Kunstler 
Loveliness was everywhere this holiday weekend in upstate New York, and it was probably hard for many to believe that the wayward nation would return to the dread uncertainty of life in the crash lane when the barbeques were over. There was even a wan overtone to the late-night sports news about the Indy 500 race -- as though the spectacle of cars droning round and round a speed oval epitomized the futility of American life in this moment of our history.
I had a discussion with one guy at a Sunday night party about the prospects for hydrogen-powered cars. We rehearsed the usual reasons why such a system was unlikely to get up-and-running -- and then he said,
  • "...but what if we took all the money from the war and put it into something like the space program and... they came up with some way to make it happen...!"
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