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by Fran on Mon Jun 5th, 2006 at 11:59:53 PM EST
Guardian: Disgraced leader beats ex-soldier in Peruvian presidential election

Alan García, whose 1985-90 presidency of Peru marked a period of political turbulence and left the country in economic ruin, has won back the office in a run-off against a nationalist ex-soldier endorsed by Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez.

Mr García had a lead of 55.5% against 44.5% for Ollanta Humala with 77.3% of the vote counted, the electoral agency said. That margin could shrink, however, as Mr Humala's support is strongest in rural areas, where vote reporting is slower.

Speaking before the agency made its announcement, Mr García said his victory showed Peruvians wanted no part of the "militaristic, retrograde model" that Mr Chávez was "trying to impose" in South America.

A Humala victory could have tilted Peru in favour of the "friends of Chávez", who have already extended his regional influence with the election of Evo Morales as Bolivia's president in December.

by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:09:28 AM EST
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Guardian: Pentagon's interrogation manual dodges Geneva ban

The Pentagon is drafting a new rulebook for military interrogators which omits the Geneva convention ban on "humiliating and degrading treatment", it was reported yesterday.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the army field manual on interrogation has not been finalised, and state department lawyers are fighting to have the convention protections restored.

Pentagon officials said yesterday that a final version should be published in the next few weeks.

A spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ballesteros, said: "The document you refer to remains in coordination and it would be premature to comment on it prior to its release. The department of defence remains committed to the humane treatment of all its detainees."

by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:16:13 AM EST
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This is so sad. Simply depressing.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 03:56:15 AM EST
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They'll put it back, in this form:

"You will not humiliate or degrade prisoners - in front of witnesses"

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 03:57:50 AM EST
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Just wait for the UN human rights committee to get its hands on a copy of this...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 04:23:59 AM EST
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As Digby wrote:-
http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2006_06_01_digbysblog_archive.html#114953910455778259

" They think that "being tough" and "sending the right message" will make the enemy put its tail between its legs and run for the hills. .........

Romans and conservatives are very big on "sending messages." They like to make examples of people; it's one of their favorite authoritarian tactics. And executing children sends a hell of a message, no doubt about it. No gloves anywhere to be seen in that operation. The "humiliating and degrading" treatment at Abu Ghraib, the torture at Bagram and Gitmo and god knows where else, the kidnapping and renditions, and yes, the massacre of civilians including children, is not a matter of incompetence or misunderstanding or the fog of war. It's the plan.

The vaunted neo-conservative intellectuals have a simplistic, shoolyard view of the world based on what appears to be a very simplistic, schoolyard psychology that very much appealed to the boy-man that had been installed in the white house when bin Laden struck on 9/11. What serendipity! It is this puerile psychological misfire that united them with the feverish one handed typists of the 101st keyboarders --- all threats, no matter how small or insignificant at the time, must be met with crude brute force lest someone taunt you about your small cojones. The real threat is the appearance of weakness.

.......................Yet they also need to maintain a sort of religious fiction about themselves as being purveyors of democracy and freedom --- concepts that don't ordinarily lend themselves to barbaric message sending.

And that is how we found ourselves invading and occupying (and killing and torturing) to prove we are good and they are evil. And it's why with every failure, every misstep, every hypocrisy and war crime, this braindead macho policy makes America far more vulnerable today than we were on 9/11. This mistaken belief that bin Laden attacked us because he thought we were weak --- has made us weak. Virtually the entire American political establishment got punked by Osama bin Laden's trash talking and they still don't get it. With every impotent "message" of toughness we send, the more we play into his hands.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 06:35:15 AM EST
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Gulf News: US economy may be heading downhill

After years of talking about the Goldilocks economy not too hot and not too cold all of a sudden it appears the little rascal just got mugged by the three bears.

While the US economy began the year growing at a strong pace, activity seems to have hit the skids in the spring.

Factory orders fell in April. The five-year housing boom is cooling, with home sales falling and price gains slowing. In the biggest shocker of all, the government reported Friday that businesses created just 75,000 new jobs in May 100,000 fewer than expected.

If the onslaught of weaker economic data was not bad enough, there also are signs that long-dormant inflation may be starting to be a problem, and not just in the pain from $3 per gallon gasoline.

The relentless rise in crude oil to above $70 per barrel seems to be starting to trigger price problems outside of energy. The core rate of inflation, excluding food and energy, is now above the 2 per cent upper limit favoured by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues.

by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:24:07 AM EST
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WaPo: Fed Chief Raises Inflation Concern

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke expressed more concern about rising inflation than the cooling U.S. economy yesterday, sending his strongest signal yet that interest rates are probably headed higher.

Stocks plunged after Bernanke vowed to combat the recent "unwelcome" pickup in inflation, even as he told an international bankers' conference that an economic slowdown "seems now to be underway."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 02:59:06 AM EST
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"When night falls, will any of us see the dawn"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 06:37:35 AM EST
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Given the average US consumer is in consumer debt up to his/her eyeballs with their major 'investment' being a house - they also haven't paid for - it will be interesting to see how they can avoid debt-peonage.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Jun 7th, 2006 at 10:46:33 AM EST
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Gulf News: People are supporting us, says Taliban commander

Chaman: The Taliban are gaining strength in Afghanistan and are determined to intensify their attacks against foreign and government forces, a Taliban commander said yesterday.

Violence has surged in Afghanistan in recent weeks to its worst since the 2001 overthrow of the hardline Taliban government but the district commander, Mullah Hayat Khan, said the violence was winning the militants more support.

"There is more anger against foreign forces and their brutality against the people," he said, referring to recent bombing by US forces that he said had killed many civilians.

"The people of Afghanistan have become fed up with Americans," said Khan, who said he was Taliban commander of the Spin Boldak area, in the southern province of Kandahar, opposite Chaman. "They break into houses, arrest people indiscriminately and torture them. These brutalities have increased anger among the people," he said.

by Fran on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:32:05 AM EST
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And yet winning hearts and minds is so easy. Apparently you just delete the Geneva convention from your manuals whilst you train your soldiers in "ethics".

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 06:39:09 AM EST
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TVNZ: Man in court on sedition charges

The trial of an Auckland man charged with two counts of sedition is underway.

Tim Selwyn denies publishing pamphlets that the Crown alleges called on people to react with lawlessness and disorder.  He was involved in an incident in 2004 during which an axe was thrown through the Prime Minister's electorate office in Mount Albert.

The Crown told the Auckland District Court that Selwyn left pamphlets at the scene and in Ponsonby calling on others to react with similar civil disobedience.

The Crown says to find him guilty the jury must decide if the pamphlets did call on a similar response to his own and whether Selwyn knew that is what the material set out to do.

There's extensive coverage of the trial and the history of sedition in New Zealand on my blog.

by IdiotSavant on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 12:44:11 AM EST
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