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On the Road with 'Outside the Law'

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The Case for Dignity

A Case for Arab Dignity
by Ramzy Baroud
The ongoing socio-economic and political ills that mar potential progress in Middle Eastern countries can largely be attributed to the ill-defined foreign policy of the United States.
 
Utterly desperate situations have arisen whereby US clients rule with an iron fist, making prospects for a meaningful democracy sit at an all-time low.
 
However it would be nothing less than self-deception to elucidate Arab social, economic and political ailments exclusively on US-Israeli military and political belligerency; there needs to be an element of self-reflection and responsibility to make viable any pragmatic steps towards improvement and justice.


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L'Affaire Siegelman: The Whistleblower

A Whistleblower's Tale  
by Glynn Wilson
Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, one of the most popular progressive governors in Southern political history, is cleaning toilets in a Louisiana jail today, convicted on bribery charges in what may be one of the worst abuses of the federal courts by the executive branch during President Bush's tenure.
 
Siegelman's case, among others, was taken up October 23 in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on selective prosecutions.


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The Facade of Incompetence

Behind the Facade of Incompetence
by Charles Sullivan
It is clear that the US media moguls would have us believe that the catastrophic invasion and occupation of Iraq was a sincere effort to promote freedom and democracy in the Middle East, gone awry.
 
But we must remember that everything associated with capitalism is about marketing: making the people believe that things and events are the opposite of what they really are, and creating artificial wants that neither benefit the individual nor society, while simultaneously embellishing corporate profits.
 
 
 
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The Guardian: Advertising Climate Disaster

Advertising Climate Disaster
by Dave Edwards
The Guardian this week published an article by the readers' editor, Siobhain Butterworth, discussing "the contradiction between what the Guardian has to say about environmental issues and what it advertises". (Butterworth, 'Open door - The readers' editor on... the contradiction between what we say and the ads we run,' The Guardian, October 29, 2007;)

Butterworth cited comments made by Guardian columnist George Monbiot following a discussion with Media Lens.

"Newspaper editors make decisions every day about which stories to run and which angles to take. Why can they not also make decisions about the ads they carry? While it is true that readers can make up their own minds, advertising helps to generate behavioural norms. These advertisements make the destruction of the biosphere seem socially acceptable."

Monbiot asked: "why could the newspapers not ban ads for cars which produce more than 150g of CO2 per kilometre? Why could they not drop all direct advertisements for flights?"



 
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Banned: Canada Expels Peace Activist

Banned: Canada Expels Peace Activist
by Mobilization Against the War 
After 7 weeks of campaigning to have all Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) charges against her dropped, US antiwar activist Alison Bodine received the Immigration & Refugee Board decision on her case Wed Oct 31st.
 
Currently Alison Bodine is Co-chair, executive committee member and spokesperson of Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) in Vancouver, BC. 
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Siegelman Key to Reining Rove?

Career Prosecutors Opposed Siegelman Case
by Scott Horton
From the first emergence of allegations that the Siegelman prosecution was politically motivated, the Bush Administration has rested its defense on a single straw: that the case was brought and carried forward by career prosecutors.
 
That contention has now been dealt a fatal blow by the man who raised it.


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Burning the Bill: "Democratic" Senate Gets in on the Act

Senate and Neocons Agree to Carve Up Bill of Rights
by Kurt Nimmo
It's now official, the entire Senate is criminally complicit in undermining the Fourth Amendment.

“Senate Democrats and Republicans reached agreement with the Bush administration yesterday on the terms of new legislation to control the federal government’s domestic surveillance program, which includes a highly controversial grant of legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted the program, according to congressional sources,” reports the CIA’s favorite newspaper, the Washington Post.



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NRA Gun Cult Goes South of the Border

Matadero Cinco: The NRA Gun Cult Goes South of the Border     
by Chris Floyd  
Our text for today: U.S. Guns Behind Cartel Killings in Mexico (Washington Post). An excerpt:

The U.S. weapons -- as many as 2,000 enter Mexico each day, according to a Mexican government study -- are crucial tools in an astoundingly barbaric war between rival cartels that has cost 4,000 lives in the past 18 months and sent law enforcement agencies in Washington and Mexico City into crisis mode…

The arms traffickers have left Mexico awash in AK-47s, pistols, telescope sighting devices, grenades, grenade launchers and high-powered ammunition, such as the so-called cop-killer bullets believed to be able to penetrate bulletproof vests… law enforcement officers on both sides of the border have never seen anything like the flood of guns now surging into Mexico.

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Bhutto's Moment

Benazir Bhutto's Defining Moment
by Graham Usher
Karachi - The bloody reception afforded Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan on October 18 demonstrated two facts. One was that -- despite eight years of self-imposed exile, corruption cases against her in three countries, and character assassination by Pakistan's military regime -- the two-time prime minister not only commands the most effective party machine in Pakistan, she alone can inspire and mobilize its poor -- tens of thousands of whom turned out to greet her.

Second, the barbarity of the attempt to kill her pushed to the fore the alliance she has long claimed to be the most lethal threat facing her country: a retrograde militant Islam in coalition with "some" in Pakistan's military establishment.
 
 
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Blackwater's Murderous Immunity

When Blackwater Kills, No Questions Asked
by Ali al-Fadhily
The recent attacks by Blackwater USA mercenaries in Baghdad are far from the first -- and many believe they will not be the last.

Seventeen Iraqis were killed Sep. 16, and another 27 wounded at Nisoor square in western Baghdad when mercenaries from the company opened fire on them. Dozens of witnesses said that, contrary to Blackwater claims, the mercenaries had not come under attack.


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Put a Country in Your Tank!

Why Did We Invade Iraq Anyway?
Putting a Country in Your Tank
by Michael Schwartz
Lately, even Democratic candidates for president have been weighing in on why the U.S. must maintain a long-term, powerful military presence in Iraq. Hillary Clinton, for example, used phrases like protecting our "vital national security interests" and preventing Iraq from becoming a "petri dish for insurgents," in a major policy statement. Barack Obama, in his most important speech on the subject, talked of "maintaining our influence" and allowing "our troops to strike directly at al Qaeda." These arguments, like the constantly migrating justifications for invading Iraq, serially articulated by the Bush administration, manage to be vaguely plausible (with an emphasis on the "vaguely") and also strangely inconsistent (with an emphasis on the "inconsistent").

That these justifications for invading, or remaining, are unsatisfying is hardly surprising, given the reluctance of American politicians to mention the approximately $10-$30 trillion of oil lurking just beneath the surface of the Iraq "debate" -- and not much further beneath the surface of Iraqi soil. Obama, for example, did not mention oil at all in his speech, while Clinton mentioned it twice in passing. President Bush and his top officials and spokespeople have been just as reticent on the subject.

Why then did the U.S. invade Iraq?
 
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