Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bush won't supply subpoenaed documents

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent Thu Jun 28, 7:26 PM ET
WASHINGTON - President Bush, in a constitutional showdown with Congress, claimed executive privilege Thursday and rejected demands for White House documents and testimony about the firing of U.S. attorneys.
His decision was denounced as "Nixonian stonewalling" by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Bush rejected subpoenas for documents from former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor. The White House made clear neither one would testify next month, as directed by the subpoenas.
Presidential counsel Fred Fielding said Bush had made a reasonable attempt at compromise but Congress forced the confrontation by issuing subpoenas. "With respect, it is with much regret that we are forced down this unfortunate path which we sought to avoid by finding grounds for mutual accommodation."
The assertion of executive privilege was the latest turn in increasingly hostile standoffs between the administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress over the Iraq war, executive power, the war on terror and Vice President Dick Cheney's authority. A day earlier, the Senate Judiciary Committee delivered subpoenas to the offices of Bush, Cheney, the national security adviser and the Justice Department about the administration's warrantless wiretapping program.
While weakened by the Iraq war and poor approval ratings in the polls, Bush has been adamant not to cede ground to Congress.
"Increasingly, the president and vice president feel they are above the law," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Bush's assertion of executive privilege was "unprecedented in its breadth and scope" and displayed "an appalling disregard for the right of the people to know what is going on in their government."
White House press secretary Tony Snow weighed in with unusually sharp criticism of Congress. He accused Democrats of trying "to make life difficult for the White House. It also may explain why this is the least popular Congress in decades, because you do have what appears to be a strategy of destruction, rather than cooperation."
Over the years, Congress and the White House have avoided a full-blown court test about the constitutional balance of power and whether the president can refuse demands from Congress. Lawmakers could vote to cite witnesses for contempt and refer the matter to the local U.S. attorney to bring before a grand jury. Since 1975, 10 senior administration officials have been cited but the disputes were all resolved before getting to court.
Congressional committees sought the documents and testimony in their investigations of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' stewardship of the Justice Department and the firing of eight federal attorneys over the winter. Democrats say the firings were an example of improper political influence. The White House contends that U.S. attorneys are political appointees who can be hired and fired for almost any reason.
In a letter to Leahy and Conyers, Fielding said Bush had "attempted to chart a course of cooperation" by releasing more than 8,500 pages of documents and sending Gonzales and other officials to Capitol Hill to testify.
The president also had offered to make Miers, Taylor, political strategist Karl Rove and their aides available to be interviewed by the Judiciary committees in closed-door sessions, without transcripts and not under oath. Leahy and Conyers rejected that proposal.
The Senate Judiciary Committee's senior Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said the House and Senate panels should accept Bush's original offer.
Impatient with the "lagging" pace of the investigation into the U.S. attorney firings, Specter said he asked Fielding during a phone call Wednesday night whether the president would agree to transcripts on the interviews. Fielding's answer: No.
"I think we ought to take what information we can get now and try to wrap this up," Specter told reporters. That wouldn't preclude Congress from reissuing subpoenas if lawmakers do not get enough answers, Specter said.
Fielding explained Bush's position on executive privilege this way: "For the president to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisers and between those advisers and others within and outside the Executive Branch."
This "bedrock presidential prerogative" exists, in part, to protect the president from being compelled to disclose such communications to Congress, Fielding argued.
In a slap at the committees, Fielding said, "There is no demonstration that the documents and information you seek by subpoena are critically important to any legislative initiatives that you may be pursuing or intending to pursue."
It was the second time in his administration that Bush has exerted executive privilege, said White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto. The first instance was in December 2001, to rebuff Congress' demands for Clinton administration documents.
The most famous claim of executive privilege was in 1974, when President Nixon went to the Supreme Court to avoid surrendering White House tape recordings in the Watergate scandal. That was in a criminal investigation, not a demand from Congress. The court unanimously ordered Nixon to turn over the tapes.

Sự can thiệp của đế quốc mang lại gì cho trẻ thơ Iraq?

Trong 11 năm Iraq bị cấm vận, 500,000 trẻ nhỏ và thiếu niên đã chết vì thiếu thốn, nhưng như vậy chưa thấm thía gì so với bây giờ vì chúng phải đối diện với bạo lực chết chóc hàng ngày. Ngoài chết chóc vì bom đạn ra, chúng còn chịu ~ hậu quả về nặng nề về tâm lý mà khó có thể cân đo đong đếm chính xác được.

Trích Washington Post:

...Iraq's conflict is exacting an immense and largely unnoticed psychological toll on children and youth that will have long-term consequences, said social workers, psychiatrists, teachers and aid workers in interviews across Baghdad and in neighboring Jordan.

"With our limited resources, the societal impact is going to be very bad," said Haider Abdul Muhsin, one of the country's few child psychiatrists. "This generation will become a very violent generation, much worse than during Saddam Hussein's regime.

Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, 4 million Iraqis have fled their homes, half of them children, according to the United Nations Children's Fund. Many are being killed inside their sanctuaries -- at playgrounds, on soccer fields and in schools. Criminals are routinely kidnapping children for ransom as lawlessness goes unchecked. Violence has orphaned tens of thousands...."

...Abdul Muhsin started to focus on children only last year. Like many of the estimated 60 psychiatrists who remain in Iraq, he treated only adults before the invasion. Back then, he said, children with psychological problems were a rarity.

Inside his bare office at Ibn Rushed Psychiatric Hospital, where armed guards frisk patients at the entrance, he flipped through a thick ledger of patients. In the past six months, he has treated 280 children and teenagers for psychological problems, most ranging in age from 6 to 16. In his private clinic, he has seen more than 650 patients in the past year.

In a World Health Organization survey of 600 children ages 3 to 10 in Baghdad last year, 47 percent said they had been exposed to a major traumatic event over the past two years. Of this group, 14 percent showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In a second study of 1,090 adolescents in the northern city of Mosul, 30 percent showed symptoms of the disorder.

...Many of the children Abdul Muhsin treats have witnessed killings. They have anxiety problems and suffer from depression. Some have recurring nightmares and wet their beds. Others have problems learning in school. Iraqi children, he said, show symptoms not unlike children in other war zones such as Lebanon, Sudan and the Palestinian territories.

On this morning, 4-year-old Muhammad Amar had a blank look on his soft, round face framed with curls of black hair. When mortar shells pummeled his street seven months ago, he was too terrified to cry. "He remained still, in shock. He froze," said his father, Amar Jabur, standing in the sunlit courtyard of Ibn Rushed. Muhammad is showing signs of epilepsy and had a mild seizure the night before.

Abdul Muhsin said he believes there could be a link between the explosions and the seizure, and recommended a brain scan to rule out other causes. At the very least, he said, the violence worsened the child's condition.

After the visit, Jabur cast a glance at his silent son. "It is quite possibly because of the fear," he said. "We adults are afraid of what's happening in Iraq. How do you think it will affect the children?"

Three months ago, Abdul Muhsin treated his most horrific case. A 13-year-old girl had been kidnapped in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood and held for a week in a house with 15 other girls. Some were raped in front of her, another was fatally shot. The girl was released after her parents paid a $6,000 ransom. But she is still imprisoned by her experience.

"She was in a terrifying condition," recalled Abdul Muhsin. "She was shouting. She abused her parents verbally and physically."

He and other child specialists say as many as 80 percent of traumatized children are never treated because of the stigma attached to such ailments....

...At Sadr General, as many as 250 children arrive for treatment every day, nearly double from last year. "We only treat the first 20 children who arrive and then we run out of drugs," Sahib said. There is no child psychiatrist on staff...

Parents Lost

At the orphanage, Dina Shadi sleeps a few feet away from Marwa Hussein. Twelve-year-old Dina had recently received two telephone calls from relatives. She learned that her 17-year-old brother had been killed and that her aunt had been kidnapped and executed.

"She totally collapsed," Tahsin recalled.

"I was not able to control myself that day. I cried," Tahsin said, her voice cracking. "There is a great amount of sadness here. No matter what we do for the children, it will never replace the kindness of their mother and father."

"Now Dina expects another call with more bad news. She has a very dark image of the future. More and more, she's afraid of the future."

UNICEF officials estimate that tens of thousands children lost one or both parents to the conflict in the past year. If trends continue, they expect the numbers to rise this year, said Claire Hajaj, a UNICEF spokesperson in Amman, Jordan.

While many children at the orphanage have lost one or both parents, others have been abandoned or sent here because their parents can no longer afford to care for them.

"The tragedy is that there's an upswing in number of children who are losing parents, but you see a decrease in the ability of the government, the community and even the family to care for separated and orphaned children because of violence, insecurity, displacement, stress and economic hardship," Hajaj said. "These kids are definitely the most vulnerable around."

Bombs have exploded near Alwiya, and the sound of gunfire is frequent. There is always the possibility of an attack. In January, mortar shells landed in a Baghdad school, killing five girls.

Tahsin still had one more task this day. She had to inform two motherless sisters that their father, a Sunni truck driver, would not be coming to see them. He had been kidnapped by Shiite gunmen at a fake checkpoint and executed...

Friday, June 29, 2007

May mắn cho các 'nhà dân chủ' VN

Đấu tranh cho "dân chủ" ở nước "độc tài" VN sướng quá, được lãnh tiền đô gửi về cứ thế mà chửi ĐCS. Cùng lắm là bị bắt rồi lại thả ra chẳng hề hấn gì. Nếu các "nhà dân chủ" như Lý, Đài, Nhân,... mà chống chế độ ở 1 nước "dân chủ" như Phi thì đã đc quân đội hay cảnh sát cho đi đầu thai mấy kiếp rồi.
Dưới đây là tin tức về "hoạt động dân chủ" sôi nổi ở Philippines. Ngoài "tự do bầu cử" ra, cảnh sát, quân đội, và người của các phe phái CT ở Phi còn được tự do bắn giết và bắt cóc để sàng lọc các thành phần chính trị. Từ 2001 đến nay, đã có 800 vụ giết người và 200 vụ bắt cóc CT mà chính quyền chưa đem ra tòa xử vụ nào hết!!!
Ch phủ Mỹ nhảy dựng lên mỗi khi cq VN bắt 1 vài tên nặc nô chửi mướn. Nào là họp báo, "lên tiếng", "áp lực", hăm he bỏ VN vào danh sách này danh sách nọ..., trong khi đó Phi ám sát, bắt cóc CT hà rầm nhưng Mỹ lại tỉnh bơ! Hai phản ứng trái ngược nhau cho cùng môt hành động đó nói lên điều gì?
Thật ra chúng 0 có gì trái ngược nhau cả mà lại là nhất quán. Mỹ bênh các "nhà dân chủ" VN và làm ngơ trườc ~ giết chóc, bắt bớ CT ở Phi là vì các "nhà dân chủ" VN và Ch phủ Phi đều hoạt động phục vụ cho quyền lợi CT của Mỹ thì dĩ nhiên đại ca phải ứng xử 1 cách có lợi cho em út rồi?
Rights group exposes Philippine abuses;_ylt=Ar...
By HRVOJE HRANJSKI, Associated Press Writer Wed Jun 27, 10:41 PM ET
MANILA, Philippines - A human rights group accused the Philippine military of waging "a dirty war" against left-wing activists, and said the government has not prosecuted a single soldier for the killings or forced disappearances.
In a new report highlighting years of abuse in the Philippines, the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said it had conducted more than 50 interviews with witnesses and relatives of victims of political killings, who pointed their fingers at security forces.
Two preliminary reports from a government commission that investigated killings last year and a U.N. human rights expert in January also implicated soldiers.
"There is strong evidence of a 'dirty war' by the armed forces against left-leaning activists and journalists," said Sophie Richardson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
She said the failure to prosecute soldiers or police suspected in these killings "shifts the spotlight of responsibility to the highest levels of the government."
The local human rights group Karapatan has reported that more than 800 people have been killed and another 200 abducted since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo came to power in 2001. Most of the victims belonged to leftist groups linked by the military to a low-level communist insurgency that has dragged on for 39 years in parts of the countryside.
Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said he will study the report and may comment on it later Thursday. Arroyo and the military have repeatedly denied the killings are part of a state policy to defeat insurgents, and have blamed them on an internal purge within the communist movement.
In one attack last year, police said masked gunmen dragged a Methodist pastor, Isaias Santa Rosa, a member of the left-wing National Peasant Movement, from his home in central Albay province and fatally shot him.
The body of a soldier with military identification was found near the pastor, apparently accidentally shot by other gunmen. In May, police filed a murder complaint naming two army majors and 10 other men, but the case has not moved forward.
Human Rights Watch said it was "unable to uncover a single case of apparent extrajudicial killing in recent years for which a member of the armed forces was successfully prosecuted."
The killings "appeared to shift into a higher gear" after Arroyo accused left-wing political parties of plotting her ouster last year, the group said. Months later, Arroyo declared an all-out war against the rebel New People's Army.
"None of the incidents investigated by Human Rights Watch involved anyone who was participating in an armed encounter with the military or was otherwise involved in NPA military operations. Each victim appears to have been individually targeted for killing," the rights group said.
The government has created special courts to investigate the killings, but officials have complained they cannot prosecute cases unless witnesses overcome their fears and testify.
The Supreme Court has called for a meeting of judges, police officials and human rights advocates next month to discuss steps to end the killings.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Những người VN vong thân vong bản

Trong khi cả thế giới nghi ngờ các đế quốc, đặc biệt là Mỹ và 0 muốn Bush chõ mũi vào chuyện nước họ thì ngược lại có 1 số ng VN tự cho mình khôn hơn ng khác nhưng lại cứ tối ngày thích xoăn xoe cầu cạnh Mỹ xía mồm vào chuyện chính trị của VN! Đặc biệt với kinh nghiệm của chính VN, hậu quả ghê gớm và tàn khốc của sự can thiệp chính trị, quân sự của Mỹ vẫn đang còn hằn đậm trên quê hương mà mắt mũi đầu óc của họ ở đâu mà 0 thấy gì hết nhẩy?
Tâm lý con ng thường là: "Cứt của ng ta thì thối, cứt của mình thì thơm" còn đối với cái đám ng VN ngu muội vong thân vong bản này, thì hoàn toàn ngược lại, Mỹ có làm gì VN họ cũng 0 dám hó hé mà chỉ luôn để giành hết sức lực chống lại ng cùng dân tộc thôi!
Poll: Global distrust of U.S. is growing
WASHINGTON (AP) — Unease with American foreign policy and President Bush has intensified in countries that are some of the closest U.S. allies and around the globe, while Russia and China also face growing international wariness, a survey released Wednesday said.

Support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq, the NATO military action in Afghanistan and worldwide American efforts against terrorism have dropped since 2002, according to an international survey by the non-partisan Pew Research Center. Views of the U.S. in much of the Muslim world remain particularly negative.

In one measure of Bush's unpopularity, the poll showed he is less trusted on foreign policy than Russian President Vladimir Putin by allies Britain, Germany and Canada, even as faith in Putin has plummeted. About half in the U.S. say they have little or no trust in either leader's conduct of foreign affairs.

Bush's sagging numbers partly reflect widespread opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq. Of the countries surveyed — which included the U.S. — more people favored the removal of American forces from Iraq in all but Israel, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya.

"Even though there is a mixed view of the United States around the world, there is increasing disapproval of the principal cornerstones of our foreign policy," said Pew President Andrew Kohut.

Speaking at the Islamic Center of Washington on Wednesday, Bush accused religious extremists in the Middle East of seeking to fan anti-American sentiment.

"This enemy falsely claims that America is at war with Muslims and the Muslim faith, when in fact it is these radicals who are Islam's true enemy," he said.

The poll covered 46 nations plus the Palestinian territories.

The U.S. is still seen favorably in most countries surveyed, including India, Japan, Italy, Israel and many countries in Africa. American culture and technology are widely admired, and many believe a better life can be had by moving to the U.S.

Yet wide-ranging majorities think the U.S. does not consider their interests when formulating foreign policy; worry that U.S. customs are hurting their countries; and think the U.S. contributes to the gap between rich and poor nations.

As the U.S. has waged its war on terrorism over the past five years, its overall image has worsened. It has dropped from 75% favorable in Britain in 2002 to 51% now; from 60% to 30% in Germany; and from 64% to 56% in Mexico.

Views of the U.S. have also slipped in Russia, Indonesia, Canada, China and India. The U.S. is seen favorably by 9% in NATO ally Turkey, the lowest of any country measured; 13% in the Palestinian territories; and by 15% in Pakistan and 20% in Jordan, both terror-war partners.

Though Putin is popular in Russia, his worldwide image has declined. Only in China, Ukraine and a handful of African nations did most express trust in his foreign policy.

Views of Russia are mixed, with slightly favorable opinions in the U.S., China, India and South Korea. Majorities in most European countries express worries about reliance on Russian energy, following last year's Russian cutoff of natural gas to Ukraine during a clash over prices.

Though more than half the nations polled have positive views of China, its image has widely worsened. China is seen most favorably by countries in Africa and Latin America, where its trade has recently grown, and in Asia, though two-thirds in regional rival Japan view it negatively.

Majorities in most countries think China's economic growth is good for them, with concerns expressed in Western Europe and India. Unease with Beijing's military was wider spread, with majorities in most countries surveyed expressing worries — notably neighbors Japan and South Korea, much of Europe and the U.S.

The report also found:

•Concern over environmental issues has grown more than any other world problems the poll tested. The U.S. was viewed as the primary culprit by far, trailed distantly by China.

•37% in the U.S. named the environment as a major concern — less than in any other advanced nation surveyed.

•The spread of nuclear weapons and ethnic hatred were the two most often cited worries in the Middle East. For sub-Saharan Africa, it was AIDS and other diseases, and the gap between rich and poor.

•While views of American people have gotten worse in many countries, they are generally better liked than the U.S. itself.

The polling was conducted last April and May, in most countries by face-to-face interviews, some by telephone and some using both methods.

The number of people interviewed in each country ranged from 500 to 3,142, with the margin of sampling error ranging from plus or minus 2 to 4 percentage points. Most of the surveys were national, though in eight nations — Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Pakistan, China, India, Ivory Coast and South Africa — they were mostly or completely urban.

Những người VN ngu muội

Mỹ giàu nứt đố đổ vách, có tiền vung vãi khắp nơi thế giới để xây dựng "tự do dân chủ nhân quyền" trên xứ người nhưng ngay trên nước Mỹ vào bệnh viện mà 0 có tiền cũng bị quăng ra đường như thường. Người 0 có tiền thì 0 bằng con chó của người có tiền! Như vậy mà vẫn có khối ng VN ngu muội tin Mỹ còn hơn ông nội của họ!

LA Skid Row patient dumping alleged

Wed Jun 27, 10:16 AM ET

LOS ANGELES - Prosecutors have filed civil complaints against two hospitals and a transportation service accusing them of dumping homeless patients in Skid Row, including a paraplegic man found crawling in a gutter.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Feliz and Methodist Hospital in Arcadia were accused of dumping two patients each in the downtown area over 14 months. The four people were sent there not by informed choice and without any plan for followup medical care so that the hospitals could rid themselves of the expense of caring for them, the compaints said.

Empire Enterprises, whose van driver allegedly left paraplegic Gabino Olvera at a Skid Row park as spectators protested, was named as a coconspirator. Olvera, 54, was found wearing a soiled hospital gown and a colostomy bag.

The complaints, filed Tuesday, seek fines against the hospitals and a court order banning the practice of dumping patients. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is trying to use a state law concerning unfair business practices against the hospitals.

Kaylor Shemberger, executive vice president CHA Health Systems, the parent company of Hollywood Presbyterian, issued a statement saying Olvera told the van driver where to drop him off, against hospital policy.

"Following this incident, we instituted several new policies and intensified training to make sure nothing of the sort happens again," Shemberger said.

Methodist Hospital said its officials wanted to review the complaint before commenting.

Last year, the city's attorney's office filed false imprisonment and dependent care endangerment charges against Kaiser Permanente — the nation's largest nonprofit health maintenance organization — after a patient from Kaiser Permanente's Bellflower hospital was seen wandering Skid Row in a hospital gown.

Kaiser Permanente agreed last month in a settlement with the city to institute new discharge rules, provide more training for employees and allow a former U.S. attorney to monitor its progress.

Hollywood Presbyterian later said it too would adopt the same discharge rules for homeless patients. Delgadillo said at the time that Hollywood Presbyterian's adoption of the rules would have little effect on any legal action by his office.

Allegations that hospitals have dumped homeless patients in Skid Row have investigated by police and the city attorney's office for months.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lưu manh đế quốc mướn lưu manh xã hội đen ám sát Castro

CIA plot to kill Castro detailed

By ANITA SNOW, Associated Press Writer

HAVANA - The CIA recruited a former FBI agent to approach two of America's most-wanted mobsters and gave them poison pills meant for Fidel Castro during his first year in power, according to newly declassified papers released Tuesday.

Contained amid hundreds of pages of CIA internal reports collectively known as "the family jewels," the official confirmation of the 1960 plot against Castro was certain to be welcomed by communist authorities as more proof of their longstanding claims that the United States wants Castro dead.

Communist officials say there have been more than 600 documented attempts to kill Castro over the decades. Now 80, Castro has not been seen in public since handing power to his younger brother Raul while recovering from intestinal surgery last July. But in a letter published on Monday, the elder Castro claimed without providing details that President Bush had "authorized and ordered" his killing.

And while Cuban government press officials didn't return a call seeking reaction Tuesday, the release of the newly declassified CIA documents had already been noted in state media.

"Upon the orders of the White House, the Central Intelligence Agency tried to assassinate President Fidel Castro and other former personalities and leaders," the Communist Party newspaper Granma said Saturday. "What was already presumed and denounced will be corroborated."

Other aborted U.S. attempts to kill Castro, who rose to power in January 1959 in a revolution that ousted dictator Fulgencio Batista, have been noted in other declassified documents.

The papers released Tuesday were part of a report prepared at the request of CIA Director James Schlesinger in 1973, who ordered senior agency officials to tell him of any current or past actions that could potentially violate the agency's charter.

Some details of the 1960 plot first surfaced in investigative reporter Jack Anderson's newspaper column in 1971.

The documents show that in August 1960, the CIA recruited ex-FBI agent Robert Maheu, then a top aide to Howard Hughes in Las Vegas, to approach mobster Johnny Roselli and pass himself off as the representative of international corporations that wanted Castro killed because of their lost gambling operations.

At the time, the bearded rebels had just outlawed gambling and destroyed the world-famous casinos American mobsters had operated in Havana.

Roselli introduced Maheu to "Sam Gold" and "Joe." Both were mobsters on the U.S. government's 10-most wanted list: Momo Giancana, Al Capone's successor in Chicago; and Santos Trafficante, one of the most powerful mobsters in Batista's Cuba. The agency gave the reputed mobsters six poison pills, and they tried unsuccessfully for several months to have several people put them in Castro's food.

This particular assassination attempt was dropped after the failed CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. The CIA was able to retrieve all the poison pills, records show.

CIA plot to kill Castro detailed - Yahoo! News

Thursday, June 21, 2007

CIA sống trên pháp luật

Có ~ người VN ngô nghê nghĩ rằng ở Mỹ mọi người đều bình đẳng trước pháp luật. Các cơ quan công quyền đều phải chịu trách nhiệm trước pháp luật nếu họ vi phạm pháp luật. Mỹ nói cái gì thì họ lập tức lặp lại như con vẹt!

CIA declassifies 1970s records on illegal surveillance

Thu Jun 21, 6:48 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Documents from the 1970s that detail more than two decades of the CIA's illegal spying activities on US soil have been declassified and are now available on the Internet, officials said Thursday.

The 693-page file details the Central Intelligence Agency's illegal activities, such as tapping reporters' phones, engaging in surveillance on students, opening mail, plotting assassinations and human experimentation.

The documents -- the so-called "family jewels" -- are part of official investigations and reforms instituted in 1973 on the order of then CIA chief James Schlesinger, after he discovered illegal activities had been ongoing since the 1950s.

The files were posted online by the National Security Archives at George Washington University.

Until now, only a few dozen pages from the file have been declassified, but with heavy redactions.

The release offers "a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency," said a statement by CIA director Michael Hayden.

The CIA also declassified 11,000 pages of analyses of Soviet and Chinese domestic policies, information on the Warsaw Pact military programs and hundreds of pages about the A-12 spy plane.

"This is the first voluntary CIA declassification of controversial material since (former CIA director) George Tenet in 1998 reneged on the 1990s promises of greater openness at the agency," said National Security Archive director Thomas Blanton.

Schlesinger commissioned the report after learning that former CIA agents were involved in the Watergate scandal which led to president Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974.

US journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story of the CIA's decades of unlawful activities in a front page New York Times story in December 1974.

Thiên Đàng Dân Chủ?

Sau 4, 5 năm Mỹ và chư hầu đích tay nỗ lực xây dựng "thiên đàng dân chủ" ở Afghanistan và Iraq bằng bom đạn và giết chóc, số dân vẫn chạy làng, 0 dám về nhà ở 2 nước này là 2.1 và 1.5 triệu. Mỗi tháng có 50,000 dân Iraq chạy làng sang các nước láng giềng. Rốt cục Mỹ vào Iraq bơm dầu (ăn ốc), còn Jordan và Syria tha hồ hứng người tị nạn (đổ vỏ).

World refugees on rise after 5 years

Wed Jun 20, 6:46 PM ET

GENEVA - The numbers of people driven from their homes by violence, natural disasters and poverty increased last year for the first time since 2002 and is almost certain to rise further due to deepening conflicts across the world, the U.N. refugee chief said.

"We are very concerned that many conflicts today are not being solved and are becoming worse and worse, resulting in many displacement situations," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said.

In a report released Tuesday, the UNHCR said the number of refugees reached 9.9 million at the end of 2006 — a 14 percent increase over the 8.7 million refugees recorded in 2005. It was the highest number since 2002, when there were 10.6 million refugees.

The report said the increase was largely due to the war in Iraq, which by the end of 2006 had forced up to 1.5 million Iraqis to seek refuge in other countries. The report said some 50,000 Iraqis continue to flee the country each month, mostly for Jordan and Syria, which complain that the refugees are exhausting their limited resources.

Tariq Ziad, a former Iraqi civil servant who fled to Jordan after receiving death threats, said he exchanged problems linked to war and violence with the misery of being an illegal alien.

He said he faced the "constant threat" of being sent back to Iraq, and struggled to feed his six children because he has had no regular income.

The UNHCR report said the largest group of refugees were the 2.1 million Afghans still living outside their homeland. The Iraqis were second, followed by 686,000 Sudanese, 460,000 Somalis, and about 400,000 apiece from Congo and Burundi.

The refugee total omits the 4.3 million Palestinians living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza, who are under the auspices of a separate agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA. The total number of refugees under both agencies is more than 14 million.

Guterres said Wednesday in Nairobi, Kenya, that the rising number of Sudanese returning to their homes in southern Sudan is a hopeful sign. A 2005 peace deal ended a 21-year civil war between the government and southern rebels, allowing the refugees to head back to the region.

He said a comprehensive peace deal is the key to ending the violence in Sudan's Darfur region, where a separate war between the government and rebels has killed more than 200,000 people and driven 2.5 million from their homes since 2003. He said the peace deal was just as important as plans to send a joint U.N.-African Union force to the region.

"Without a comprehensive peace agreement with all the actors, even a very strong force will not be able to guarantee security for all concerned," Guterres said.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Agent Orange: An Ongoing Atrocity

Diện tích bị rải CĐDC. Theo bài dưới đây, 40 năm sau, 40% diện tích đất miền Nam chỉ có cỏ dại mọc nổi!

Agent Orange: An Ongoing Atrocity

by Michael Austin

A review of Agent Orange: "Collateral Damage" in Vietnam by Philip Jones Griffiths
Trolley Ltd. (Great Britain)
Hardback, 160 pages, with 100 b/w photographs

In this welcome and timely follow-up to his well-known 1971 classic Vietnam, Inc., photojournalist Phillip Jones Griffiths takes readers on a moving journey into the heart of darkness, shining a light on the pain that still lingers in Vietnam, whose residents are reminded every day of the war most of the world has tried to forget about.

As the title suggests, the photos and text of Agent Orange are focused specifically on the lasting damage done by the most famous of the various defoliants (nicknamed for the orange canisters it was transported and stored in) with which U.S. forces drenched the jungles of South Vietnam. Although "Agent Orange" was intended only as a tactical weapon – not meant to inflict physical damage on the enemy, only to deprive them of cover – it contained a byproduct of chlorine known as dioxin, one of the worst toxins known to man. A huge segment of the population of South Vietnam (along with some residents of Cambodia and many U.S. soldiers) was exposed to the poison during the war, whether it was rained directly onto their skin, inhaled during the spraying of large areas, or ingested in water or food that was exposed. (Unbelievably, the used orange storage barrels were also used for water, food and petroleum storage, and even as barbecue pits, causing further spread of the toxin.) Dioxin is a virtual "genetic time bomb" :once it has entered the body, it may cause any number of birth defects in the children of those exposed, ranging from stillbirth or infant death to mental retardation or physical deformity. Agent Orange is a devastating pictorial catalogue of these defects and more – the enduring legacy of dioxin poisoning in Vietnam.

The images that open the book are of the barren landscapes left by the use of defoliants. They are stark, patchy plains, containing only scrubby grass, often leafless trees, and the occasional sign of militaristic life here and there. These opening pictures are just the calm before the storm, tame in comparison to the images of human suffering that follow, but they do set the mood and illustrate succinctly the quote that opens the book's first section of narration: "America didn't just threaten to bomb Vietnam back to the Stone Age, it went right ahead and did so." As these pictures attest, even 40 years later, 40% of South Vietnam remains barren, growing nothing more than grass.

Following these photos is a section entitled "Poisoning the Land," which contains a slightly more positive group of pictures (despite its grim title), mostly of local people working to clear and cultivate damaged land. This more positive section at first seems out of place in a book about collateral damage, but it does express the enduring strength of the Vietnamese people and their will to do their best with the lot they are given, which turns out to be a major theme of the book.

From here the book dives into much darker territory, beginning with a section entitled "The Bell Jar." Griffiths tells his readers that the vast majority of dioxin-affected fetuses are stillborn or die within 48 hours of birth, if they make it to the end of term at all, and he proceeds to document this statement with silently screaming images of some of the many deformed babies that arrived dead or passed away soon after birth at Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City and are preserved in formaldehyde in its basement. Here, like a real-life version of some mad scientist's lab, are babies with two heads or two faces, conjoined twins, children with monstrously cleft palates, seemingly missing parts of their skulls, even children so far from the normal form their bodies are barely recognizable as human. But they are human, every one, and every one had a mother and a father they never knew and a life they never got to live. Griffiths worked to prevent this section from becoming a voyeuristic freak show, instead bringing out the humanity and pathos in the victims where he could. The most striking photo here, for instance, is one of a baby with no visible abnormalities simply lying on its back, its hands appearing clasped over its face, as if in despair – as if it were trying to avoid acknowledgment of its fate and the fate of all those who share his dark, silent room. These still, sleeping children, these glimpses of life perverted and destroyed before it even had a chance, are perhaps the saddest and most haunting pictures in the book, though one might argue that at least these victims were spared the lasting torture endured by the victims whose images fill the remainder of the pages.

In the sections that follow are pictures of people living with a huge range of problems almost certainly caused by dioxin's presence in one or both of their parents. It is a collection of portraits eloquent in their expression, yet elegant in their simplicity, accompanied by simple, blunt captions that explain only the necessary details not obvious in the pictures above them: the names of the people pictured, perhaps their age or the town they come from, the scientific names for the disease or deformation they suffer. These pictures would be beautiful if what they portrayed were not so horrible.

Most of the victims shown are young, but many are full-grown adults. Some appear almost normal but suffer from mental retardation, blindness, or epilepsy. Others have perfectly intact minds but live with missing or terribly malformed limbs. Still others suffer from torturous skin conditions, dwarfism, paralysis, double sets of elbows and knees, tumors, and countless other maladies. Some have doctors checking on them, others have parents patiently massaging and holding them. Amazingly, though most of the pictures show people living with deformations, few readers could imagine facing, very few appear to be pictures of suffering. There is little crying or wailing, little beseeching the camera for help. What Griffiths has created is not so much a record of the miseries caused by Agent Orange, but a record of humanity surviving against all odds. Again, these pictures are a testament to the incredible endurance, will, and acceptance that has become a way of life for the South Vietnamese people. Where it might have been easy to create portraits that begged, accused, and frightened, such pictures are all too easy to turn away from, block out, or ignore. Instead, Griffiths' pictures all contain a dignity and a humanity that stares the reader straight in the eye, drawing him in and forcing him to recognize the injustice these people have been forced to live with. The magnitude of the atrocity looms even larger because of the undeniable humanity and admirable strength visible in Griffiths' pictures.

Frustratingly, though there seems to be a large body of research from some of the chemical companies that created Agent Orange showing the genetic havoc wreaked by dioxin in lab animals, though Americans exposed to the chemical during the war won a $180 million lawsuit against its manufacturers, and though South Vietnamese children suffer from an incredibly high rate of these deformities (even in today's third generation, as Vietnamese soil, water, animals, and parents still contain a high concentration of the chemical, which is dangerous even in trace amounts), neither the chemical manufacturers nor the United States government has ever admitted any fault in the matter, and neither has ever paid a penny in reparations to the people of Vietnam or made any effort to help those who still face exposure to dioxin and live with its horrifying effects.

Perhaps Agent Orange's only weakness is the book's lack of explanation as to why, as the publisher's statement says, "theoretically and scientifically there are no proven connections between the maimed subjects of Griffiths' photographs and the presence of dioxin in Agent Orange." There is conclusive scientific evidence of dioxin's poisonous effects on animals and of its presence in Agent Orange, and the author clearly believes in the connection, as the general thesis of the book seems to be that America owes reparations and assistance to dioxin's victims. The reasons cited for America's denial of responsibility and assistance are also frustratingly vague (though not particularly surprising to anyone familiar with the history of American Empire); apparently, dioxin also exists naturally in the world, and no one has proved decisively that the U.S.' use of Agent Orange is solely responsible for the high concentration of it in South Vietnam. The book also states that "selective experts" have denied links between birth defects and dioxin. Perhaps most pertinently, Vietnam simply lacks the economic and political pull to produce its own scientific proof or to force the United States to own up. Griffiths also brings up the fact that by denying or ignoring the problem's existence, the world scientific community is wasting a rare opportunity to study dioxin's effects, properties, and dangers, as they have a near-identical human populations and environments to compare (North Vietnam was sprayed little if at all with Agent Orange during the course of the war, while South Vietnam was inundated with the chemical).

In any case, if the book leaves one a little starved for detail, it also leaves one incredibly frustrated with the injustice of this self-perpetuating war crime. The victims of dioxin have no choice but to accept its effects. The least the United States government could do is accept some measure of fault for the lasting contamination of an entire country, and do something to assist its victims. One hopes Agent Orange will spread awareness and motivate people to do more to assist dioxin's victims and cleanse Vietnam of the poison. In these days of nuclear materials, chemical weapons, depleted uranium and other deadlier toxins being used in warfare, Agent Orange also stands as an undeniable and invaluable record of the lasting horror we risk inflicting on our world for untold generations if we do not stop to consider the lasting consequences of our actions in war.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Theft rising at U.S. Wal-Mart stores

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO and MARCUS KABEL, AP Business Writers 19 minutes ago

NEW YORK - Shoppers at Wal-Mart stores across America are loading carts with merchandise — maybe a flat-screen TV, a few DVDs and a six-pack of beer — and strolling out without paying. Employees also are helping themselves to goods they haven't paid for.

The world's largest retailer is saying little about these kinds of thefts, but its recent public disclosures that it is experiencing an increase in so-called shrinkage at its U.S. stores suggests that inventory losses due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors and supplier fraud could be worsening.

The hit is likely to rise to more than $3 billion this year for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which generated sales of $348.6 billion last year, according to retail consultant Burt Flickinger III.

Flickinger and other analysts say the increase in theft may be tied to Wal-Mart's highly publicized decision last year to no longer prosecute minor cases of shoplifting in order to focus on organized shoplifting rings. Former employees also say staffing levels, including security personnel, have been reduced, making it easier for theft to occur. And a union-backed group critical of the retailer's personnel policies contends general worker discontent is playing a role.

Wal-Mart declined to offer any explanations for the rise in losses, but denied it has cut security staff and said employee morale is rising rather than falling.

Although Wal-Mart declined to reveal any details, analysts suspect Wal-Mart — which for years had a theft loss rate that was half that of its peers — is getting closer to the industrywide average. Theft is a big problem for all retailers, costing them $41.6 billion last year, according to a joint study released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation and the University of Florida. The study found that the theft rate as a percentage of sales ticked upward slightly to 1.61 percent of sales in 2006 from 1.60 percent in 2005.

Whatever the cause, such theft — which late founder Sam Walton once called one of retailers' top profit killers — adds one more challenge when Wal-Mart is already struggling with sluggish sales at its established stores due to an overall economic slowdown as well as its own stumbles in its home and apparel merchandising strategies.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and CEO of Wal-Mart's U.S. store division, briefly acknowledged the theft problem in a mid-May conference call with analysts. He cited shrinkage as well as increased markdowns and higher inventory for dragging down first-quarter profit margins.

"We are concerned about shrinkage and are investigating the cause and are taking steps to correct it," Castro-Wright said. Company officials won't comment on those countermeasures.

The company also said in a June 1 filing with federal securities regulators that the gross profit margin for its Wal-Mart Stores segment fell by 0.1 percentage points in the first quarter due in part to "higher inventory shrinkage."

John Simley, a Wal-Mart spokesman, declined to elaborate. He would say only that the company's theft losses as a percentage of sales is "better than our industry peer groups."

Analysts say it's significant that the company has publicly disclosed that theft is becoming a problem. "It is getting to the point of being material," said Richard Hastings, vice president and senior retail sector analyst at Bernard Sands. Securities regulations require companies to alert shareholders to significant corporate developments that could affect the value of their holdings.

Such pilferage as a percentage of sales has been declining since the mid-1990s as retailers have invested in new technology such as closed circuit TVs, according to Richard Hollinger, professor of criminology at the University of Florida.

About 47 percent of the dollars lost came from employee theft, while shoplifting accounted for about 32 percent, according to the National Retail Federation report. Administrative errors account for 14 percent, while supplier fraud accounts for 4 percent. The remaining 3 percent is unaccounted for.

In one of the more brazen employee thefts, a man wearing dark clothing and a ski mask entered a Port Clinton, Ohio, Wal-Mart store in January at midnight unnoticed by employees and stole $45,000 from the store safe. The store's night manager, Dana Walker, 30, was later arrested for the crime. He became a suspect because he knew the combination to the safe, police said.

The company's vociferous critic, funded by the United Food and Commercial Workers which has for years tried to organize the retailer's workers, publicized the company's decision last year to relax its zero-tolerance policy on shoplifting. The new policy seeks prosecutions of first-time offenders only if they are between ages 18 to 65 and steal at least $25 worth of merchandise.

That change may have emboldened some folks to shoplift, said Mark Doyle, president of Jack L. Hayes International, a retail consultancy on loss prevention. and some former employees said Wal-Mart may also have been trying to appease complaints by some police departments that its stores tied up police with too many shoplifting calls. Wal-Mart has denied that.

Wal-Mart also may have been spooked by worries about lawsuits from wrongful death, unlawful imprisonment and other legal issues related to aggressively chasing down shoplifters. In March, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $750,000 to the family of a suspected shoplifter who suffocated to death as loss prevention workers held him down in a parking lot outside a store in Atascocita, Texas. The shoplifter died in August 2005 in a parking lot, according to published reports.

The change in policy came at the same time the company began using more part-time workers — in part because of a new scheduling system that matches staffing more closely to peak shopping hours — and shifting security personnel, analysts and critics say. That has left the discount chain without an experienced and loyal staff to monitor what's strolling out its back and front doors, analysts and some former employees supplied by said.

"The business is being run by bean counters. I am shocked at the Spartan level of staffing," said Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resources Group. He added, "There are also morale issues. Workers feel that the company is taking care of itself."

While Wal-Mart denies that it has cut anti-theft jobs overall, it said it has adjusted staffing to put more personnel in stores in high-crime areas and fewer in stores with less trouble.

However, Dan Meyer, a former district loss prevention supervisor for several Wal-Mart stores in New Jersey, disputes that. Meyer, who said he accepted a buyout last fall after almost 12 years with the company, said Wal-Mart reduced the number of loss prevention staff in each store last year and redesigned their jobs in a way that was less active and more administrative.

"That's why shrinkage is up," he said.

Meyer said he averaged 13 apprehensions a month during most of his time at Wal-Mart. That number dropped to three to four a month in the months before he left last October. Meyer said his totals dropped because there were fewer security staff and less support from his managers for aggressively rooting out theft. has linked rising theft to its claims that the company offers skimpy pay and benefits. Wal-Mart also faces a class-action lawsuit alleging female workers were passed over for men in pay and promotions.

"I am not the type to steal, but because we are so mistreated, when I saw things I just didn't do anything," said Gina Tuley, a former Wal-Mart bakery worker, who quit her job at the Seagoville, Texas, store in March. A big complaint was that her hours had been cut, reducing her take-home pay.

Wal-Mart defends its pay as competitive and its health care coverage as better than most retailers, and has denied gender discrimination.

Simley said an April survey of employees that showed rising job satisfaction suggests Tuley's attitude does not represent most Wal-Mart associates.

Even so, several former associates said in interviews that their bonuses have declined because of the rise in inventory losses. Wal-Mart's Simley disputes these claims, saying theft reduction was dropped from the bonus formula about a dozen years ago. It was Walton's idea to tie associates' bonuses to their stores' pilferage levels to give them a vested interest in keeping theft in check.

Tuley said her bonus last year was $300, down from $800 the previous year.

Still, she said, "People would walk out with bags of merchandise ... I heard the alarms go off and people wouldn't even look," she added.


Business Writer Marcus Kabel contributed reporting for this story from Springfield, Mo.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Moore fears film seizure after Cuba trip

By Michelle Nichols Mon Jun 11, 4:58 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Filmmaker Michael Moore has stashed a copy of his latest documentary in Canada because he fears the U.S. government will try to confiscate it after part of it was filmed during an unauthorized trip to Cuba.

The U.S. Treasury Department is investigating Moore's trip to communist Cuba in March to film part of his documentary, "SiCKO," which takes a swipe at the U.S. health-care system and is due to be released in U.S. theaters on June 29.

U.S. citizens are generally barred from going to Cuba, unless approved by the government under a broad trade embargo imposed since 1962. But Moore says he has not broken any laws because he traveled to Cuba for a "journalistic endeavor."

"We brought back 15 minutes of the movie and we're concerned about any possible confiscation efforts," Moore told a news conference in New York.

"We took measures a few weeks ago to place a master copy of this film in Canada so if they did take our negative we would have a duplicate negative of this film in Canada."

Moore -- whose 2004 anti-Bush film "Fahrenheit 9/11" ranks as the most successful U.S. documentary -- and lawyer David Boies accused President George W. Bush's administration of discriminating against the controversial filmmaker.

Molly Millerwise, spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, declined to comment, saying in an e-mail that the department does not confirm or deny the existence of investigations.

Moore traveled to Cuba with three volunteers who worked in the ruins of New York's World Trade Center after the September 11, 2001, attacks. He said the volunteers were now suffering health problems after working at Ground Zero and struggling to get appropriate treatment under the U.S. health-care system.

Moore said that he took them by boat to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, where Washington is holding foreign terrorism suspects, to see if they could get the same free health coverage as the detainees.

After they were refused, he said they decided to see what kind of health care they could get in Cuba.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Theo gương 'tôn trọng nhân quyền' kiểu Mỹ

Lần sau VN xử Ô. Ng V Lý (chắc chắn có nếu thả ông này ra) thì nên bắt chước nước Mỹ tôn trọng nhân quyền bằng cách xử dụng stun gun như cảnh sát Mỹ. Nói ngọt 0 nghe thì giựt cho nó trợn mắt sùi bọt mép ra chết tươi cho đỡ nhọc, bịt miệng làm gì cho người ta lên án là 0 biết tôn trọng nhân quyền?

Death raises questions about stun guns

By MURRAY EVANS, Associated Press Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY - A woman confronted by police outside a homeless shelter is the latest example of someone who died after being shocked with a Taser, an electric stun gun designed to help officers subdue violent suspects without nightsticks or guns.
But in Milisha Thompson's case, she was already on the ground and in handcuffs. Her death has raised questions about whether police are abusing the stun guns by using them as a convenient labor-saving device to control uncooperative people.
"It's a legitimate law-enforcement tool," said Florida State University criminology professor George Kirkham, a former police officer. "But it's supposed to be used as a defensive weapon. The problem we're seeing around the country is it's being used abusively."
Amnesty International USA, which has done a study on Taser use, has counted 250 cases in which people died after being stunned with a Taser. The human rights organization cannot say whether the shock from a Taser actually caused those deaths. But some experts contend the weapon can be deadly, particularly when used on suspects who use drugs or suffer from heart problems.
A blurry surveillance video shows Thompson running near the homeless shelter, seemingly agitated. The picture is poor, so exactly what happens next is unclear, but at some point she struggles with officers and is shocked.
Thompson, 35, soon stopped breathing. The cause of her May 19 death has not been determined, pending results of toxicology tests.
Police Chief Bill Citty insisted officers acted appropriately because the 6-foot, 260-pound Thompson was kicking and posed a danger, even though her hands were shackled.
Kirkham said only in rare circumstances would it be appropriate to use a Taser on a handcuffed person. If officers have problems with a handcuffed suspect, a better approach would be to bind the suspect's legs, he said.
Tasers have been officially listed as a contributing factor in about 12 deaths nationwide, said Steve Tuttle, a spokesman for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International Inc., which makes the weapon. He said 11,000 U.S. law enforcement agencies use Tasers.
The company has prevailed in all 45 wrongful-death or injury cases in which it has been a defendant, Tuttle said.
Taser International and police say that no weapon is risk-free and that Tasers actually save lives by helping officers avoid more dangerous weapons.
Over the past two years, Tasers have been used on people in handcuffs in Colonial Beach, Va.; Austin, Texas; Pensacola, Fla.; and Lorain, Ohio, though none of those cases involved deaths.
In the Virginia case, federal civil-rights charges were filed against the two officers involved, but a judge exonerated both. In Pensacola, a fired sheriff's deputy was cleared of wrongdoing last month but was not given his job back. In Ohio, the officer involved was reinstated. In Austin, two officers were acquitted of official oppression.
In response to such complaints, some police departments have prohibited the use of Tasers on handcuffed suspects.
In Oklahoma City, the police chief said, two officers were investigating a report of drug activity near the homeless shelter when they encountered Thompson. She ran up to the officers twice and was being disruptive, so police put her in handcuffs, Citty said.
Citty said Thompson continued to be combative, so officers used the Taser. She was on the ground when an officer tried five times to shock her, stunning her twice in the neck, Citty said.
Her husband, Marvell Thompson, disputes the police report and contends his wife was shocked 20 times. "They did use excessive force on my wife," he said.
Mike Gassaway, an attorney for Thompson's estate, said Thompson and her husband worked at the shelter, called the City Rescue Mission.
He said she ran toward officers because she had found a crack pipe and wanted to give it to them. Gassaway said they overreacted and used the Taser after having trouble getting Thompson in the patrol car.
"There were a substantial amount of people there, and we surmise the police wanted to give them a show of force," Gassaway said. "So they simply used Mrs. Thompson as their example of what would happen to other people."
Thompson's family has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Oklahoma City, accusing the police of excessive force and failure to train officers properly.
"The Taser should not be used at all, especially on women," Marvell Thompson said. "There are other ways to control people."

British Parliament rejects Iraq inquiry

By THOMAS WAGNER, Associated Press Writer Mon Jun 11, 4:33 PM ET

LONDON - The House of Commons on Monday rejected a motion by the opposition Conservative Party calling for a formal inquiry into the British government's decision to go to war in Iraq.

On a 288-253 vote, the lower house of Parliament sided with Prime Minister Tony Blair, who ruled out such an inquiry now.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said the government's view was that "there would come a time when these issues will be explored," but she added that "it would be wrong to launch such an inquiry" while British troops are engaged in Iraq.

In a separate vote, lawmakers voted 274-229 to adopt a government resolution warning that an inquiry would divert attention from the vital task of improving conditions in Iraq.

Although the government defeated the inquiry motion as expected, the vote was closer than Labour's 61-seat majority, indicating some party members voted against Blair, who angered many in his party by joining in the war.

Blair gives up the premiership June 27 and will be replaced by Treasury chief Gordon Brown, who made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday to study Britain's participation in the war and to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Liam Fox, the Conservative Party's defense spokesman, said before the inquiry vote that it was important to examine how British leaders decided whether to back the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

"We want the principle established that there must be an inquiry. It's about making sure we don't make the same mistakes again," said Fox, whose party at the time strongly supported Blair's decision.

In a key House of Commons debate on March 18, 2003, shortly before the war began, 90 percent of Conservative legislators voted for the invasion, compared to 62 percent of Labour members. All the Liberal Democrats, the third-largest party in the Commons, voted against.

The Conservatives' foreign affairs spokesman, William Hague, urged lawmakers to bow to the "gathering consensus" and hold an inquiry into the war, which has been very unpopular with the British public.

"This government and future governments need to learn the lessons and the country needs to be assured that they will have done so," he said.

Hague, who led the Conservative Party from 1997 to 2001, spoke in favor of the invasion in the debate four years ago.

At that time, he said it was part of Britain's "national interest to act in concert with the United States of America in matters of world peace and stability."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Russia calls for new economic world order

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Sunday for the creation of a new world economic order that gives greater clout to fast-growing emerging nations.
Days after attending a Group of Eight summit in Germany, Putin suggested that club was outdated and failed to reflect a shift in economic power away from the industrialized West to countries like his own.

"If 50 years ago, 60 pct of the world's gross domestic product came from the G7, now it's the other way round, and 60 percent of the world's GDP is produced outside," Putin said in a speech to a major economic conference.

He also took aim at financial organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, saying they were created in "a completely different reality" and had lost relevance in the fast-changing global economy.

Russia is enjoying an unprecedented spell of economic growth that has enabled it to pay down its foreign debts and accumulate foreign exchange reserves of over $400 billion -- the world's third largest.

Putin said the world needed to reduce its dependency on the dollar as a reserve currency, and plugged the ruble as one alternative. Russia abolished capital controls last year.

"We need several financial centers and several reserve currencies," Putin told an audience of international chief executives and government leaders attending the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Putin declared Russia open to foreign investment, highlighting opportunities to invest in the power generation sector, now undergoing reforms to create market competition, and in infrastructure.

But he called for industrialized nations not to throw up barriers to Russian companies seeking to invest abroad.

"We see how in developed countries despite the doctrine of free investment there are completely different approaches," he said.

"It turns out that foreign investment is not always seen as positive and foreign participation is practically closed in those sectors such as infrastructure, telecoms and energy."

Friday, June 8, 2007

Mạng lưới 'nhân quyền' của Mỹ trên TG

Investigator: CIA ran secret prisons

By ELAINE GANLEY, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 28 minutes ago;_ylt=Asv9GrsyGF08vdcg4tTsyKsUewgF

PARIS - The CIA ran secret prisons in Poland and Romania from 2003 to 2005 to interrogate detainees in its war on terror, European investigator Dick Marty said in a report released Friday. The report, citing unnamed CIA sources, said top terror suspects Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were secretly held and interrogated in Poland, and that the "highest state authorities" in countries involved knew of the alleged detention centers.
Sheikh Mohammed is the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. Abu Zubaydah is a suspected senior al-Qaida operative.
Marty also accused Germany and Italy of obstructing his probe into the alleged secret detentions by the CIA.
The report said collaboration by U.S. allies was critical to the secret detention program, which took place in the framework of NATO's security policy. "The secret detention facilities in Europe were run directly and exclusively by the CIA," said the report. "While it is likely that very few people in the countries concerned, including in the governments themselves, knew of the existence of the centres, we have sufficient grounds to declare that the highest state authorities were aware of the CIA's illegal activities on their territories."
Poland and Romania hosted the prisons under a special post-Sept. 11 CIA program to "kill, capture and detain" so-called high value terrorist suspects, wrote Marty, a Swiss senator investigating the alleged role of Council of Europe states in the CIA program.
Evidence of secret flights — at least 10 flights to Poland between 2002 and 2005 — show the pivotal role played by Poland and Romania as drop-off points, the report says.
"There is now enough evidence to state that secret detention facilities run by the CIA did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania," the report said.
Jerzy Szmajdzinski, who served as Poland's defense minister from 2001-2005, sarcastically brushed aside the accusations.
"Of course, I organized everything and gave them a red-carpet welcome," said Szmajdzinski. He declined further comment, saying: "I don't deal with political fiction."
Romanian Senator Norica Nicolai, who headed an investigation for parliament into the allegations, rejected Marty's findings as "totally unfounded."
In Germany, government spokesman Thomas Steg strongly rejected the accusation that it hindered the probe.
"The government knows of media reports about apparent prisoner transports and secret prisons, but the government itself has no information on such transports and facilities," Steg said. "To date, Mr. Marty has in his other reports also failed to provide any evidence that was is alleged is actually true."
Steg said the government would examine the new report.
Marty did not name sources from his information, but said that the report was based on discussions with people "who had worked or still worked for the relevant authorities, in particular intelligence agencies."
"We have never based our conclusions on single statements and we have only used information that is confirmed by other, totally independent sources," the report said, adding that where possible information was "cross-checked" in the European countries in question, in the United States or through documents or data.
"Clearly, our individual sources were only willing to talk to us on the condition of absolute anonymity," the report said.
Last year, Marty accused 14 European nations — spanning a swath from Dublin to Berlin to Bucharest — of colluding with U.S. intelligence in a web of rights abuses to help the CIA spirit terror suspects to illegal detention facilities.
Marty said evidence suggested that CIA-linked planes carrying terror suspects had landed at airports in Timisoara, Romania, and Szymany, Poland, and likely dropped off detainees there.
His second report confirms Szymany as a drop-off point in Poland, where at least 10 flights — six coming from Kabul, Afghanistan — landing there. The report lists eight of the CIA flights, with one each originating in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates and Rabat, Morocco, and says it can be "demonstrated" that the majority of them were "deliberately disguised."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Tế bào gốc có thể tạo ra từ tế bào da

Teams mimic stem cells using skin cells - Yahoo! News

Teams mimic stem cells using skin cells

By MALCOLM RITTER, AP Science Writer 1 hour, 25 minutes ago

NEW YORK - In a leap forward for stem cell research, three independent teams of scientists reported Wednesday that they have produced the equivalent of embryonic stem cells in mice using skin cells without the controversial destruction of embryos.

If the same could be done with human skin cells — a big if — the procedure could lead to breakthrough medical treatments without the contentious ethical and political debates surrounding the use of embryos.

Experts were impressed by the achievement.

"I think it's one of the most exciting things that has come out about embryonic stem cells, period," said researcher Dr. Asa Abeliovich of Columbia University in New York, who didn't participate in the work. "It's very convincing that it's real."

But he and others cautioned that it will take further study to see whether this scientific advance can be harnessed for creating new human therapies. For one thing, the procedure used to get the mouse skin cells to mimic embryonic stem cells wouldn't be suitable. And it's simply not known whether the mouse results can be reproduced with human cells.

"We have a long way to go," said John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University, a stem cell researcher who also wasn't involved in the new work.

In any case, scientists said, the advance does not mean that research that involves getting stem cells from human embryos should now be abandoned. "We simply don't know which approach ... will work the best," said researcher Konrad Hochedlinger of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, who led one of the three teams.

Embryonic stem cells are prized because they can develop into all types of tissue. So experts believe they might be used for transplant therapies in people who are paralyzed or have illnesses ranging from diabetes to Parkinson's disease.

To harvest human embryonic stem cells, embryos must be destroyed, an action many people oppose.

Scientists have long hoped to find a way to reprogram ordinary body cells to act like stem cells, avoiding the use of embryos altogether. The new mouse studies seem to have accomplished that. Past experiments seeking alternative routes to getting stem cells have generally involved tampering with an embryo or egg.

At a press conference Wednesday, Hochedlinger and a member of a second team said their work was not an attempt to evade the ethical objections to embryo destruction. Instead, they said, the goal was to learn how cell reprogramming works.

But in a telephone interview, a prominent critic of embryonic stem cell research welcomed the new work on ethical terms.

"This is what we were looking for people to explore because it may provide all the advantages of embryonic stem cells without the moral problem," said Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of pro-life activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "So I'm very encouraged."

Hochedlinger and colleagues present their work in the inaugural issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell. (The first word in the journal's name refers to its publisher, Cell Press).

The other two teams reported their results Wednesday on the Web site of the journal Nature. Rudolf Jaenisch of the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., is the senior author of one paper, and the work behind the other paper was led by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan.

The new work builds on a landmark paper Yamanaka published last August. He found that by slipping four genes into mouse skin cells called fibroblasts, he could make the altered cells behave much like embryonic stem cells in lab tests.

But these so-called "iPS" cells still showed significant differences from embryonic stem cells. The three new papers report on creating iPS cells that proved virtually identical to stem cells in a variety of lab tests.

The technique used in the mouse studies could promote cancer in any patients getting therapy based on iPS cells, so researchers emphasized that a new approach that avoids that hazard would have to be developed.

Gearhart called that a major issue to be resolved. In addition, he said, scientists still must show that these cells can give rise to many cell types in the lab, as embryonic stem cells can.

And all this must be accomplished in human cells — a difficult task, he said, because introducing genes into human cells is a major challenge.

If the technique can be harnessed for people, the iPS cells and the tissue they develop into would provide a genetic match to the person who donated the skin cells. That would make them suitable for transplant to that person, theoretically without fear of rejection.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Putin told the naked truth

Putin attacks West ahead of G-8 summit - Yahoo! News

Putin attacks West ahead of G-8 summit

By JIM HEINTZ, Associated Press Write Mon Jun 4, 3:44 PM ET

MOSCOW - President

Vladimir Putin

called himself the world's only "absolute and pure democrat" in an interview published Monday, and launched scathing attacks on the U.S. and Europe ahead of this week's Group of Eight summit.

At the same time, the 54-year-old Putin hinted that he may not be ready to leave the public stage after all when his second term expires next year. "I am far from pension age and it would be absurd just to sit at home doing nothing," he told a group of reporters invited to dinner over the weekend.

Despite Russia's agreement last month to tone down the rhetoric, Putin's statements exposed vast gaps between Russia and the West ahead of this week's Group of Eight summit. He called Britain's decision to demand the extradition of the man suspected of killing former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko with a radioactive poison an act of "stupidity."

The interview touched on much that the rest of the world finds disturbing about Putin's Russia: the backsliding on democracy, the increasing assertion of military power, the general perception of a leader who feels immune to international criticism.

To the many Westerners who say he has rolled back Russia's democratic reforms, Putin responded with the startling assertion that he is the world's one true champion of democracy.

"I am an absolute and pure democrat," Putin said. "But you know what the misfortune is? Not even a misfortune but a real tragedy? It's that I am alone, there simply aren't others like this in the world."

The transcript noted that Putin laughed when making that comment, suggesting he was joking. A few moments later he added: "After the death of Mahatma Gandhi, there's nobody to talk to."

Sandwiched between his acid criticisms and ironic assertions was a brief but brutal criticism of the West.

"We look at what has been created in North America — horror: torture, homelessness, Guantanamo, detention without courts or investigation," he said.

"You see what's going on in Europe: harsh treatment of demonstrators, the use of rubber bullets, tear gas in one capital, the killing of demonstrators in the streets in another," he added, in an apparent reference to the death of an ethnic Russian in the Estonian capital during protests over the removal of a Soviet-era war memorial.

Rather than try to soothe nerves before the G-8 summit in Germany, Putin repeated, and even amplified, recent Kremlin criticism of the United States — including his allegation in February that the United States was engaging in a "hyper-use of power," and Russian officials' denunciation of purported Western attempts to destabilize Russia by funding pro-democracy groups.

The Russian president's comments came despite last month's agreement between Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to tone down the rhetoric on both sides.

Much of the toughest talk from the Kremlin has focused on U.S. plans to build a missile-defense system in Europe, which Washington insists is aimed at preventing attacks by rogue states such as Iran and North Korea rather than Russia.

Putin renewed the verbal offensive in his weekend interview, in chilling comments that evoked the balance-of-terror language of the Cold War.

"We are being told the anti-missile defense system is targeted against something that does not exist. Doesn't it seem funny to you, to say the least?" a clearly irritated Putin said.

"If a part of the strategic nuclear potential of the United States appears in Europe and, in the opinion of our military specialists will threaten us, then we will have to take appropriate steps in response," Putin said. "What kind of steps? We will have to have new targets in Europe."

These could be targeted with "ballistic or cruise missiles or maybe a completely new system."

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, asked aboard Air Force One about Putin's comments on the missile shield, said there has been "some escalation in the rhetoric."

"We think that that is not helpful. We would like to have a constructive dialogue with Russia on this issue. We have had it in the past," Hadley said.

Russia's relations with the West also are troubled by its refusal to turn over Andrei Lugovoi, the man whom Britain says it has enough evidence to charge in last year's fatal poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko. The case raised fears that Moscow has returned to its Soviet-era practice of killing dissidents abroad.

Russia refuses to turn over Lugovoi, saying its constitution forbids extradition of Russian citizens to face prosecution abroad. Putin called Britain's demand "stupidity."

"If they didn't know (about the constitutional prohibition) it's a low level of competence and thus we have doubts about what they're doing there," Putin said. "And if they knew and did this, it's simply politics.

"This is bad and that is bad — from all sides it's just stupidity," Putin said.

Putin, less than a year away from the end of his second and final four-year term in office, told reporters he believes Russian presidents should serve longer terms. But he did not say whether he believes his current term should be extended.

Over the years, he has consistently rejected suggestions that the constitution be amended to allow him to seek a third consecutive term, and during his annual address to parliament in April said it would be his last as president.

But Putin's ambiguous comments seemed certain to feed speculation that he would seek to stay in power beyond the spring of 2008. At the very least, his suggestion could discourage other G-8 leaders from treating him as a lame duck.

"Four years is a fairly short time," Putin said. "It seems to me that in today's Russia five, six or seven years would be acceptable, but the number of terms still should be limited."

Russia is scheduled to hold presidential elections in March. Putin, who was re-elected in 2004 with more than 71 percent of the vote, has presided over one of the most prosperous periods in Russian history and enjoys sky-high approval ratings.

Putin has not publicly said whom he would prefer to see succeed him — an endorsement that would carry immense influence, since that candidate could instantly expect the support of the Kremlin and its allies.

Some leaders in post-Soviet states have called referendums to approve extension of their terms. But these moves have been widely criticized abroad as naked power-grabs.

While Putin seems increasingly to scorn his Western critics, the move would create an uproar that he might not want to face.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Lưu Mạnh Khôi - Vật Chất và Hạnh Phúc

Một cái nhìn về vụ Thảm sát Sinh viên ở Mỹ
Lưu Mạnh Khôi
đăng ngày 13/05/2007

Hạnh phúc từ thương yêu, hạnh phúc không lấy từ vật chất…Làm sao để con người khi giải quyết vấn đề đều bắt đầu từ tình thương, sự hiểu biết...

Những ngày qua không chỉ có báo chí Mỹ mà báo chí của nhiều nước trên thế giới đã đưa tin, bày tỏ sự đau xót trước vụ thảm sát cùng một lúc chết 33 người (kể cả hung thủ). Lí do phẫn nộ và đáng kinh ngạc là vụ thảm sát diễn ra ngay trong trường học - một môi trường nhân văn, đào tạo con người và người thủ ác lại chính là sinh viên.

Một hành động đầy bạo động, và ở một khía cạnh tâm lí, y học cho rằng do bệnh lí tâm thần hoặc do chủ nghĩa vị kỉ, cá nhân! Tôi cũng đồng tình với quan điểm này, sinh viên 23 tuổi người Hàn Quốc Cho Seung Hui đã thể hiện sự bất bình trước thế giới mà anh ta đang sống một cách mù quáng, điên rồ và anh ta cảm thấy đau khổ, thất vọng. Sau đó, trong suy nghĩ Cho hình thành tính cách lầm lì, phản kháng, muốn tiêu diệt nó.

Lại một lần nữa dư luận lại đặt ra một câu hỏi rằng "Xã hội Mỹ nói riêng và xã hội ở những đất nước phát triển, giàu có như Âu châu liệu đã mang đến hạnh phúc cho con người?". Nếu vật chất, sự phồn hoa, hưởng thụ những khoái lạc mang lại hạnh phúc cho con người thì tại sao số người (đặc biệt là người trẻ) lại tự tử nhiều đến thế, tại sao họ lại luôn bạo động? Câu hỏi đặt ra và ngấp nghé một lời giải thích hùng hồn từ thực tế khách quan đang hiện hữu ở chính xã hội được đề cao tự do cá nhân, giàu có đó rằng: những giá trị vật chất chưa đủ mang đến cho con người hạnh phúc. Có thể sự tôn trọng giá trị vật chất đang làm cho con người trở nên ích kỷ hơn và đến một lúc họ trở nên ích kỷ tột độ và kết thúc là phản kháng theo cái kiểu "xã hội đen" mang màu sắc bạo lực, dã man như hành động của sinh viên Cho trong vụ thảm sát vừa rồi.

Vấn đề tiếp tục được đặt ra cho những nhà tâm lí, những nhà xã hội học, truyền thông, nhân học rằng "Đâu là gốc của hạnh phúc, đâu là đường hướng giáo dục, tuyên truyền để bồi dưỡng nhân cách cho con người?". Với tôi, gốc rễ sâu xa của hạnh phúc bắt đầu từ tâm hồn và lối sống của mỗi người. Chủ nghĩa cá nhân phải có nhưng không nên tôn sùng nó như một cách để tự khẳng định mình. Nếu anh biết yêu cộng đồng và những người xung quanh sau khi yêu bản thân mình thì hẳn nhiên anh sẽ không nỡ xuống tay phá hoại sự bình yên và kết cấu của xã hội anh đang sống. Nuôi dưỡng hạnh phúc ở trong chính mỗi con người chính là làm sao để họ cảm thấy thương yêu là hạnh phúc chứ không phải được cung phụng, được thụ hưởng, được thỏa mãn nhu cầu cá nhân.

Nhìn từ xã hội Mỹ, xã hội Âu châu mà tôi cảm thấy lo lo, bởi những người trẻ phương Đông trong đó có Việt Nam hình như đang học đòi lối sống ấy. Kiếm tiền, thụ hưởng và theo cá nhân chủ nghĩa, điều đó tôi không lên án hay phản bác đúng - sai, bởi cái gì cũng có hai mặt của nó. Tất cả những điều đó không có tội tình gì nếu chúng ta không lạm dụng và nâng nó lên mức chân lý cho sự phát triển và hạnh phúc.

Người ta vẫn chê người Việt Nam sao có vẻ thiếu tính cá nhân, quá thiên về lối sống cộng đồng, thiếu quyết đoán, "Hai Lúa" quá… Điều đó chúng ta thừa nhận, nhưng đừng lên án hoàn toàn khi trong lối sống như vậy chúng ta - những người Việt Nam đã ít có những bạo động, ít có những hành xử dã man, điên rồ.

Văn hóa phương Đông, văn hóa Việt từ xưa với Nhân, Lễ, Nghĩa…của Nho giáo, học làm một con người theo nghĩa người Quân tử nghe có vẻ cầu kỳ nhưng thật đáng học, đáng để suy nghĩ và vận dụng ngay trong thời buổi nhiễu nhương, coi trọng đồng tiền, hưởng thụ này. Rồi văn hóa Phật giáo với yếu chỉ "Từ bi", "Hỉ xả" đã giúp cho nhân cách con người được hoàn thiện, được nâng cao ở mức: Sống với nhau hãy đối đãi bằng lòng từ bi, thương yêu với mọi người, kể cả với những loài khác! Với lề lối và cách sống đó đã giúp cho bạo động không hề có trong lịch sử Phật giáo. Nên chăng, mỗi người cũng nên đặt vấn đề tìm kiếm hạnh phúc ở nội tâm của mỗi người thay vì cứ kêu gọi tìm kiếm hạnh phúc từ bên ngoài! Hạnh phúc từ thương yêu, hạnh phúc không lấy từ vật chất…

Với một góc nhìn xã hội học, phải chăng khi xã hội càng phát triển con người càng lao vào guồng máy của làm - làm - làm… và suốt ngày chỉ biết có hai chữ CÔNG VIỆC mà quên rằng "Gia đình là bến đỗ bình yên nhất". Những ông bố, bà mẹ bỏ bê con, chỉ biết công việc và tiền, thương con theo cách cung phụng nhiều vật chất cho con làm con trẻ thiếu tình thương - vốn là gốc rễ của hạnh phúc. Từ đó, cá nhân con trẻ thấy cô đơn và vẽ cho mình một thế giới khác, đầy những bạo lực, hưởng thụ vật chất. Điều đó đang có mầm mống ở xã hội VN, một mầm mống mà chúng ta đang mang từ những xã hội phát triển về.

Bạn nghĩ sao, nếu tôi khuyên bạn hãy bỏ qua một số cơ hội kiếm tiền để ăn một bữa cơm gia đình, để chia sẻ với người mình thương, để nghe tâm tư con trẻ…? Và tôi cho rằng gia đình thiếu sự quan tâm đến con trẻ cũng là một trong những nguyên nhân gây đổ vỡ nhân cách con người!

Tất nhiên, khi nói những điều này tôi không hề lên án chuyện kiếm tiền, phát triển sự nghiệp cá nhân bằng việc chăm chỉ với công việc. Nhưng bất cứ một sự chọn lựa và một cách hành xử nào đó cũng có hai mặt, chúng ta phải trả giá cho mặt nào đó mà mỗi người phải suy nghĩ lợi nào hơn, hại nào hơn để quyết định. Bạo lực là kết quả của sự bất bình trước xã hội mình đang sống, và bạo lực chắc chắn dẫn đến chết chóc, hận thù. Làm sao để con người khi giải quyết vấn đề đều bắt đầu từ tình thương, sự hiểu biết. Điều đó không nằm ở sự kêu gọi chung chung của tôi, hay một cá nhân nào đó mà ở sự chung tay của mọi người, của xã hội. Bài học ở xã hội Mỹ thiết nghĩ đang nóng bỏng ở xã hội Việt Nam, xin hãy chung tay làm một cái gì đó đi…

Kết thúc bài viết này, bạn nghĩ sao với thông tin này "Thêm một ngày đẫm máu tại Baghdad, Iraq khi bốn vụ đánh bom lớn cướp đi sinh mạng của ít nhất 160 người và làm hơn 200 người khác bị thương. Một vụ đánh bom khác tại thành phố Sard làm 30 người chết (Theo hãng AP)".