This is an viagra generico 25 mg pagamento online a Venezia OPEN THREAD. Here are four stories in the news at 4 o’clock to get you started.
The New York Times reports that a senior State Department calls the Kurd oil deal at odds with Baghdad. “A senior State Department official in Baghdad acknowledged Thursday that the first American oil contract in Iraq, that of the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas with the Kurdistan Regional Government, was at cross purposes with the stated United States foreign policy of strengthening the country’s central government… ¶ Hunt Oil, a closely held company, signed a production-sharing agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government this month. The company’s chief executive and president, Ray L. Hunt, is a close political ally of President Bush and serves on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board… ¶ The embassy official said at least four other American and international oil companies had consulted with the State Department about energy investment in Iraq… ¶ Iraqi Kurdish officials bristled Thursday at word that the Iraqi central government would sign an agreement with Turkey on Friday that Kurds fear might pave the way for Turkish soldiers to cross into Iraq to pursue Turkish Kurdish separatists who take refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan.” In semi-related news, Spiegel has an interview with Seymour Hersh claiming Bush has ‘accepted ethnic cleansing’ in Iraq.
The Surge means basically that, in some way, http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=how-do-you-get-accutane the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he’s talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He’s not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You’re going to have a Kurdistan. You’re going to have a Sunni area that we’re going to have to support forever. And you’re going to have the Shiites in the South.
News from Aghanistan in The Guardian today Taliban stands to recapture territory, warns Nato commander. “The Taliban stands to recapture ground this winter previously lost to British forces, the Nato commander in Afghanistan has warned. ¶ General Dan McNeill said the alliance had made important military gains in the past six months. ¶ But he said Afghan security forces might not be able to hold the territory as the Taliban regroups during the winter.” The BBC has more with Gen. McNeill in Afghan gains ‘could be lost’. Even more on McNeill and the detiorating situation in Afghanistan in my essay, ‘Top Commander in Afghanistan Doubts Taliban Ever Defeated‘.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Army looks to accelerate expansion. “Army Secretary Pete Geren said the planned expansion from its official size of 482,000 to 547,000, announced by President Bush in December as the first post-Cold War increase in U.S. forces, should be completed in four years rather than five to alleviate the strain on troops from frequent combat tours… ¶ The new Army plan would attempt to build the larger force in a shorter time by instead moving aggressively to retain personnel. ¶ The military has begun to consider options beyond the traditional cash bonuses and college scholarships to entice soldiers to continue service. New approaches under consideration include the promise of graduate school for young officers and the offer of educational benefits for career soldiers’ children. ¶ The new approaches reflect the continuing fallout of the 4 1/2-year-old Iraq war… ¶ Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday that he was inclined to support the Army plan to speed up the expansion. But he said he would not allow the Army to enlist more recruits without high school diplomas.” The AP has more in Gates expects to approve Army expansion. The Army’s proposal would cost “nearly $3 billion extra”.
Of course, more Blackwater coverage today.
Reporting for The New York Times in ‘Blackwater Shooting Scene Was Chaotic‘, James Glanz and Sabrina Tavernise write “Participants in a contentious Baghdad security operation this month have told American investigators that during the operation at least one guard continued firing on civilians while colleagues urgently called for a cease-fire. At least one guard apparently also drew a weapon on a fellow guard who did not stop shooting, an American official said.” After an IED detonated near to where “senior American officials” were meeting, Blackwater mercenaries decided to evacuate the officials from a “secure compound” instead of remaining in lock down until the situation on the Baghdad streets calmed down. During the September 16th Nisour Square massacre, Blackwater first shot a man driving a car and his passengers, a woman holding an infant.
After the family was shot, a type of grenade or flare was fired into the car, setting it ablaze, according to some accounts. Other Iraqis were also killed as the shooting continued. Iraqi officials have given several death counts, ranging from 8 to 20, with perhaps several dozen wounded. American officials have said that no Americans were hurt.
At some point during the shooting, one or more Blackwater guards called for a cease-fire, according to the American official. The word cease-fire “was supposedly called out several times,” the official said. “They had an on-site difference of opinion,” he said.
In the end, a Blackwater guard “got on another one about the situation and supposedly pointed a weapon,” the official said. “That’s what prompted this internal altercation,” the official said.
The official added that in the urgent moment of a shooting events could often become confused, and cautioned against leaping to hasty conclusions about who was to blame.
AFP has more coverage in Blackwater besieged by more Iraq allegations. “‘The Americans are embarrassed,’ said Jalal Al-Din Al-Saghir, a member of parliament from the ruling Shiite majority. ‘What happened … is a crime.’ ‘To deter the company it is not enough to accuse it, it should first be condemned then closed down,’ he added.” The Washington Post has even more in ‘First Blush’ Report Raises New Questions on Shooting. The story details how the Army had to restore calm and extract Blackwater from the shootout. “‘The U.S. Army QRF’ — quick-reaction force — ‘arrived on scene at 12:39 hours and mediated the situation,’ the report said. ‘They escorted TST 22 out of the area and successfully back to the [Green Zone] without further incident.'” TST is a Blackwater ‘tactical support team’.
The New York Times reports by State Department count, there have been 56 shootings involving Blackwater so far this year while guarding American diplomats in Iraq. According to a State Department letter signed by Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte, Blackwater made 1,873 “convoy runs” in Iraq and its employees fired weapons 56 times.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has asked Mr. Negroponte to oversee the department’s response to problems with security contractors. A government official who was briefed on an hourlong meeting involving State Department officials on Thursday morning said that Ms. Rice had prezzo levitra 20 mg in farmacia appeared surprised at the report that Blackwater had been involved in a higher rate of shootings than its competitors.
“She needs to be convinced that Blackwater’s hands are clean,” the government official said. Ms. Rice was also said to be enter site taken aback by pressure from Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, who issued an angry letter to her this week complaining about what he saw as the State Department’s efforts to block his panel’s investigation into Blackwater.
The meeting on Thursday with Ms. Rice seems to signal that the State Department’s leaders now recognize that the Blackwater issue is more serious than they had first thought, and that it may become harder for the Bush administration to defend Blackwater and allow the company to retain its prominent role in providing diplomatic security in Iraq.
According to McClatchy Newspapers, Blackwater guards killed 16 as U.S. touted progress. “As [U.S. Ambassador Ryan] Crocker and [Army Gen. David] Petraeus told Congress that the surge of more U.S. troops to Iraq was beginning to work and President Bush gave a televised address in which he said “ordinary life was beginning to return” to Baghdad, Blackwater security guards shot at least 43 people on crowded Baghdad streets. At least 16 of those people died… ¶ It was an astounding amount of violence attributed to Blackwater. In the same eight-day period, according to statistics compiled by McClatchy Newspapers, other acts of violence across the embattled capital claimed the lives of 32 people and left 87 injured, not including unidentified bodies found dumped on Baghdad’s streets.” The article gives accounts of many Iraqis being gunned down by Blackwater in cold blood including Batoul Mohammed Ali Hussein, a clerk in the Iraqi customs office in Diyala province, and four others in Khilani Square.
The House oversight commitee has released their findings on the death of four Blackwater USA employees in Fallujah, Iraq. “These eyewitness accounts and investigative reports conflict with Blackwater’s assertion that they sent the team out with sufficient preparation and equipment.” The committee’s full report (pdf) is available. The Virginian-Pilot has coverage on the report, Congressional probe faults Blackwater in Fallujah ambush. ” A congressional investigation has found Blackwater USA at fault on multiple levels in the infamous 2004 Fallujah convoy ambush in which four of its operatives were killed by Iraqi insurgents. The report, issued Thursday, also accuses Blackwater of repeated efforts to stonewall the investigation, even defying a congressional subpoena at one point.”
The March 31, 2004, ambush in the restive Sunni Arab stronghold of Fallujah, in which two of the victims’ mutilated bodies were hung from a bridge, drew worldwide attention and prompted a devastating retaliatory assault on the city by U.S. military forces that fueled the Iraqi insurgency to new heights.
The report by investigators on the staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says Blackwater “ignored multiple warnings about the dangers of traveling through Fallujah, cut essential personnel from the mission, and failed to supply its team with armored vehicles, machine guns, sufficient threat intelligence, or even maps of the area.”
Based on reports from Blackwater, the company that held the contract previously, the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the investigation found details of the incident “disturbing, revealing an unprepared and disorderly organization operating in a hostile environment. Mistake apparently compounded mistake.”
The investigators concluded that Blackwater’s actions “raise serious questions about the consequences of engaging private, for-profit entities to engage in essentially military operations in a war zone.”
One of the four sections in the 18-page report was labeled “Impediments to the Committee Investigation.” The report says Blackwater consistently delayed and impeded the inquiry, erroneously claiming that the relevant documents were classified and then seeking to get them retroactively classified. The committee finally issued a subpoena for the documents, but Blackwater still refused to comply. It was only after the committee threatened a vote to hold Blackwater in contempt of Congress that the company produced the documents, according to the report.
The Washington Post story seemed surprised to report that Blackwater is focused on cost, not safety, report says. “The private security firm Blackwater USA brushed aside warnings from another security firm and focused on cost, not safety… ¶ The report disclosed that another complicating factor was a contract dispute with a different company. The report suggested that Blackwater never intended to armor its own vehicles. Instead, Blackwater employees were told to ‘string along’ the other company in hopes of forcing them out of their contract or giving them ‘no choice but to buy us armored cars,’ according to interviews by the committee staff with Blackwater officials.” Blackwater, of course, claims the report is “one-sided”.
The Pentagon announced on Thursday that Blackwater was awarded a $92 million contract to deliver people and cargo. “Presidential Airways, Inc., an aviation Worldwide Services company (d/b/a Blackwater Aviation), Moyock, N.C., is being awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) type contract for $92,000,000.00. The contractor is to provide all fixed-wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger, cargo and combi Short Take-Off and Landing air transportation services between locations in the Area of Responsibility of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. This contract was competitively procured and two timely offers were received. The performance period is from 1 October 2007 to 30 September 2011. The United States Transportation Command Acquisition Directorate, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is the contracting activity (HTC7 11 -08-D-0010).”
News on mammoth cloning beneath the fold…
The Los Angeles Times reports that mammoth hair is a rich source of DNA that could accelerate interest in cloning the extinct mammal. “Using samples of fur from mammoths that roamed Siberia 17,000 to 50,000 years ago, the researchers were able, they say, to reconstruct the complete mitochondrial genomes of 10 animals, even though some of the hair had been stored at room temperature for 200 years. ¶ By multiplying the potential sources of ancient DNA, the discovery could accelerate efforts to clone woolly mammoths and other extinct beasts, though scientists said it would take millions of dollars and decades of work to overcome the daunting technical hurdles that remain. ¶ The findings, released today by the journal Science, suggest that heaps of ancient DNA are readily available in natural history museums and other collections, not just in fossil bones buried beneath layers of permafrost, said Tom Gilbert, a biologist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, who led the study.”
So, what else is happening?