Monday, July 18, 2005

News afoot

* The British Telegraph reports, "Police were investigating the possibility last night that the London bombings were not suicide attacks. Senior officers said they were examining claims that the four bombers had been duped into killing themselves along with 54 fellow Tube and bus passengers."

* A new report from Chatham House, the respected British think tank with close ties to the government, asserts that Britain's prime vulnerability to terrorism comes from having been "riding as a pillion [back seat] passenger with the United States in the war against terror," and hopping on board for the Iraq invasion.

* According to the Boston Globe, two new studies -- one Israeli, the other Saudi -- provide further documentation that the "foreign fighters" in Iraq are, overwhelmingly, "not former terrorists and became radicalized by the war itself."

* "The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost taxpayers $314 billion, and the Congressional Budget Office projects additional expenses of perhaps $450 billion over the next 10 years," reports James Sterngold of the SF Chronicle.

* The London Times and NY Times have features on the fallout from the plague of suicide bombings across Iraq over the weekend, which killed 150 and wounded 300.

* Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article on the machinations behind the American manipulation of the January elections in Iraq is now available. Hersh reveals that fears about an Iranian-friendly Shi'ite bloc rising to power drove the Americans to support Iyad Allawi's ticket "off the books" via "retired C.I.A. officers and other non-government personnel" using "funds that were not necessarily appropriated by Congress."

* Judith Coburn examines the ignored and unnamed Iraqi deaths from the war in a TomDispatch piece.

* Things look to be getting very hairy in Gaza, as the Israeli military is, alternatively, preparing to clamp down on settler protests and threatening to invade the strip to knock back Hamas. The planned Gaza withdrawal set to begin August 15 is, most definitely, in trouble.

* In keeping with past patterns, it turns out the FBI is still keen on conflating protesters with terrorists.