Sunday, May 06, 2007

Random News & View Roundup

- Meet the new, accountable government: Tory minister racks up $149,389 in plane rentals, declares zero air fare. Yesiree, that's quite the way to kick off “Democratic Reform Week" - a week designed to highlight the minority government's accountability measures.

- If you were concerned about last year's secret "Deep Integration" meeting in Banff, you should read this.

- Just what the world needs, she said sarcastically, another right-wing leader: Sarkozy takes French presidency. Of course they always give rousing, inclusive victory speeches. Then reality sets in...

Although a centre-right president will replace a centre-right president on 16 May, M. Sarkozy, 52, represents a much harder, less compromising kind of right-wing politics.

- Limbo time! Bush's approval rating hits a new low of only 28%. How low can he go?

- Use Facebook? Watch this.

- Gideon Levy has harsh words for anti-Olmert protesters asking them where they were during the Israel/Lebanon war and who will end up taking Olmert's place. If it's Netanyahu, it's definitely more of the same - or worse.

Haim Israeli, a long-serving but now retired civil servant in the Ministry of Defence, said: “He’s a dangerous man.”
A close friend of Netanyahu said: “He won’t wait too long to attack Iran.” As for the Palestinians, it seems unlikely that he would make territorial compromises with them.

“A shaky hand is holding David’s sword these days,” Netanyahu told Olmert last week. “The restoration of our might is a matter of life or death.”

Meanwhile, Olmert's government is fracturing. It's only a matter of time before it falls apart.

- An innocent old man, yet they shot him

My cousin Sabah took me to the checkpoint where his father died, not far from his home on the outskirts of Kirkuk. Kakarash had gone out first thing in the morning, before breakfast, to get petrol before the queues built up. As luck would have it, I found several eyewitnesses who had seen the whole incident.

One of them was an Iraqi soldier who had been on duty at the checkpoint. 'When the Americans are here we have to stop all the cars, but your uncle was distracted and kept driving,' he told me. 'The Americans shot a bullet into the ground to warn him - he didn't stop but tried to turn away and the Americans started shooting at him, thinking he might be a suicide car bomb.'

A group of local men, clearly distressed by what they had seen, told me the soldiers kept on firing after my uncle had turned around and tried to get away. 'They obviously shot to kill him,' one man told me. 'If not, they could have stopped after the first shot, they could have given him a chance to see what was he going to do next, but they just shot him dead.'

I went to see the car in a local garage. I counted 86 bullet holes.

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