torsdag 31 juli 2008

Obama tar avstånd från rapparen Ludacris

Rapartisten Ludacris har gjort en låt som hyllar Obama, men säger mindre trevliga saker om Bush, Hillary och McCain - något Obama själv dock tar avstånd ifrån. SVD skriver om saken här.

Och här är en lite längre artikel om saken där Obamas kampanj skriftligt tar avstån från rapparen - vars text går bl a så här:

Well give Luda a special pardon if I’m ever in the slammer. Better yet put him in office, make me your vice president. Hillary hated on you, so that bitch is irrelevant.

Paint the White House black and I’m sure that’s got ‘em terrified. McCain don’t belong in any chair unless he’s paralyzed
Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped. Ball up all of his speeches and I throw ‘em like candy wrap
’cause what you talking I hear nothing even relevant and you the worst of all 43 presidents.

Ludacris som sjunger oanständigheter Obama inte vill att hans döttrar ska höra, Jesse Jackson som vill skära av hans ballar och pastor Wright som i ena stunden säger att USA uppfunnit AIDS, och i andra andetaget att han vill bli Obamas vice-president. Man kan fråga sig om Obama verkligen representerar dessa svarta - de tycks göra honom fler björntjänster än något annat.

Economy picks up in second quarter with help of tax rebates

En artikel som beskriver hur skattesänkingarna faktiskt har hjälpt ekonomin:

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer 38 minutes ago

Economic growth picked up in the second quarter as tax rebates energized consumers. The rebound followed a treacherous patch where the economy jolted into reverse at the end of 2007.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that gross domestic product, or GDP, increased at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the April-to-June period. That marked an improvement over the feeble 0.9 percent growth logged in the first quarter of this year and an outright contraction in the economy during the final quarter of last year.

Still, the second-quarter rebound wasn't as robust as economists had hoped; they were forecasting growth to clock in at a 2.4 percent pace. The rebound, while welcome, isn't likely to be seen as a signal that the fragile economy is out of the woods. There are fears that as the bracing tonic of the tax rebates fades, the economy could be in for another rough patch later this year.

Wall Street didn't like what it saw. Stocks appeared headed for a lower opening.

The health of the economy is the top concern of the public — and by extension politicians including candidates vying for the White House.

GDP actually contracted by 0.2 percent, on an annualized basis, in the last three months of 2007, according to annual revisions released by the government.

That contraction reflected the deepest cuts in 26 years from builders clobbered by the housing slump and caution on the part of consumers spooked by all the fallout.

The fourth-quarter's dip marked the worst showing since the third quarter of 2001, when the economy was last in a recession. The government's previous estimate for the final quarter of last year was in positive territory — but not by much — at an anemic 0.6 percent growth rate.

GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States and is the best barometer of the country's economic fitness.

A pickup in consumer spending and brisk sales of U.S. exports abroad figured prominently in the second-quarter improvement.

Consumers boosted their spending at a 1.5 percent pace in the second quarter. That was up from a 0.9 percent growth rate in the first quarter and marked the best showing since the third quarter of 2007 when the economy was still performing strongly despite the severe housing slump.

Billions of dollars in tax rebates, the centerpiece of the government's $168 billion stimulus package, spurred more spending in some areas by consumers, a major force shaping overall economic activity. Spending on furniture and household appliances went up, while people cut spending on cars.

Meanwhile, sales of U.S. exports grew at a 9.2 percent pace in the second quarter, up from a 5.1 percent growth rate in the first quarter. The weak dollar has made U.S. goods cheaper to foreign buyers, helping to bolster exports.

Government spending also helped second-quarter GDP.

The housing slump continued to take a bite — although a smaller one — out of overall economic activity.

Builders cut back on residential projects by 15.6 percent, on an annualized basis, in the second quarter. That was not as deep as the 25.1 percent cut made in the first quarter or the 27 percent annualized drop in the final quarter of 2007.

Businesses showed caution in other areas. They trimmed spending on equipment and software and they reduced investment in inventories in the second quarter.

An inflation gauge tied to the GDP report showed all prices galloping ahead at a rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter, the fastest pace since the end of last year.

However, when energy and food costs are stripped out, all other — or "core" — prices rose at a pace of 2.1 percent, down from a 2.3 percent rise in the first quarter. Still, the second-quarter's core inflation reading is outside the Fed's comfort zone.

Given mounting inflation fears, the Fed in June halted a nearly yearlong campaign of rate cuts to shore up the economy. It is expected to hold rates steady again next week. Boosting them too soon to fend off inflation could hurt the economy and the already crippled housing market.

A trio of crises — housing, credit and financial — have badly bruised the economy. In response, employers have cut jobs for six months in a row, bringing total losses this year close to a staggering half-million — 438,000.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of applications for jobless benefits soared to 448,000, an increase of 44,000 from the previous week. That was far worse than the decline of 8,000 that economists had been expecting.

With more job cuts expected for July and in coming months, there's growing concern that many people will pull back on their spending when the bracing effect of the tax rebates fades, dealing a blow to the shaky economy.

These worries — along with the negative GDP in the fourth quarter of last year — may rekindle recession fears.

There's been a lot of debate about whether the economy is on the brink of, or has fallen into, its first recession since 2001. Under one rough rule, if the economy contracts for two straight quarters it is considered to be in a recession.

However, that didn't happen in the last recession — in 2001. The unofficial determination, made by a panel of academics at the National Bureau of Economic Research, usually comes well after the fact. The panel takes into account economic activity, as well as employment, income and other things.

As part of the annual revisions, the government marked down growth in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Last year the economy grew by 2 percent, the weakest showing since 2002. The revisions are based on more information as well as improved methodologies.

Yahoo News:

Obamas utmärkta Berlin-tal

Jag har just sett Obamas Berlintal, och jag måste säga att det var ett otroligt bra tal. Detta av två anledningar: dels därför att Obama inte var där för att promota sig själv (i alla fall inte inför tyskarna), och inte heller för att kasta skit vare sig på McCain eller Bush; tvärtom så talade Obama istället om behovet av att Europa och USA står enade - eftersom de är varandras bästa allierade. Han talade också om behovet av att besegra Talibanerna i Afghanistan och att det var inte bara USA:s utan även NATO:s ansvar, och att NATO:s första insats utanför Europa måste bli lyckad.

Han talade också om att USA och Tyskland måste sända ett tydligt besked till Iran att backa från sina kärnkraftskrav. Om Irak sa han också att - oavsett åsikter - skulle man stödja det irakiska folket. Där kom också det enda "politiska" han sa, genom att kort säga att det är så man för kriget till ett slut - dvs genom att stödja det irakiska folket.

Överlag sa Obama bra saker. Min egen refelktion är att den amerikanska vänstern förmodligen kan använda Obama för att kritisera Bush - däremot gav Obama inte den europeiska kommunistvänstern något bränsle alls till dess anti-amerikanism. Obama framstod tvärtom, som en amerikansk ambassadör som visade Tyskland att USA var ett land han var stolt över. Slutet av hans tal är i princip en lovprisning till allt Amerika står för. Det löd så här:

People of Berlin - people of the world - this is our moment. This is our time.

I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived - at great cost and great sacrifice - to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom - indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us - what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America's shores - is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

Those are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. Those aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of those aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of those aspirations that all free people - everywhere - became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of those aspirations that a new generation - our generation - must make our mark on history.

People of Berlin - and people of the world - the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. Let us build on our common history, and seize our common destiny, and once again engage in that noble struggle to bring justice and peace to our world.

Här är talet i dess helhet:

GITMO-fånge spränger sig i Irak

En GITMO-fånge som släpptes 2005 sprängde sig själv i Irak. Historien om honom har bl a nvänts av Antonin Scalia i kampen med Högsta Domstolen om GITMO- fångarnas rättigheter:

1/3 av muslimska brittiska studenter stöder dödande


DN skriver om saken:

En pro-McCain-artikel som förespråkar Romney som VP

En artikel där McCain föreslås välja Romney och det å snarast? Varför? Inte därför att Romney kan ekonomi, eller att han skulle kunna ge McCain Michigan, att han skulle kunna väcka de konservativa till liv, eller samla in pengar till McCain. Allt det där är förstås bonus - men artikelförfattaren menar att som kampanjpartner så vore Romney en person som skulle kunna komplettera McCains svaga sida; McCain är ingen retoriker - till skillnad från Obama. McCain har lika lite som Hillary lyckades, lyckats tränga in Obama i ett hörn; McCain har anklagat Obama för att vara oerfaren (vilket i prinicp var vad hela Hillarys kampanj gick ut på att anklaga Obama för) - men kritiken rinner av Obama som vatten. Dels därför att Obama är skicklig på att bemöta anklagelser, men också för att McCain faktiskt inte är speciellt duktig på saken. Hillary var förmodligen bättre, och kunde inte hon, så kan inte han. Det finns dock en Republikan som är bra på att prata, som är bra på att komma på snabba sammanfattande meningar och föra fram dem vid precis rätt tillfälle; nämligen Mitt Romney. McCain har inte tid - och han gör det heller inte speciellt bra - att försöka "sätta dit" Obama vare sig när det gäller att utmåla Obama som superliberal, oerfaren et c. Att göra sådant är McCain vare sig van vid, eller duktig på. Vad McCain däremot är bra på är sin "straight talk" strategi - att säga vad han anser vara rätt eller fel och sedan förklara vad som behöver göras. Det borde han fortsätta med, och sen låta Romney vara den som skapar allmänhetens bild av Obama. Det skulle för McCains kampanjs vara det viktigaste bidrag en VP skulle kunna bidra till, innan en seger är säkrad.

tisdag 29 juli 2008

Nixons seger 1972

Richard Nixon är väl mest känd för Watergateskandalen som tvingade honom att som den förste och ende presidenten i USA:s historia att tvinga avgå. Nixon vann dock valet 1972 med en jordskredsseger. Titta på den här valkartan:

Det resultatet kommer inte ens Obama att slå :)

Obamas intresse för Hillary minskar

När primärvalet var slut i början av juni så talades det väldigt intensivt om huruvida Hillary kunde bli Obamas running-mate eller inte. Många Demokrater betecknade ett sådant team som en "dream ticket", och om dessa två färgstarka kandidater slog sig samman istället för att slå sig blodiga mot varandra så skulle ingen kunna stoppa deras väg till Vita Huset.

Efter att Obama vunnit nominering indikerade såväl han, som Hillary att en sådan lösning inte var omöjlig. Det har nu gått ca 2 månader sen dess, och nyhetsflödena om Hillary har sakta men väldigt säkert minskat för att nu nästan vara obefintliga (Vilket märks även på den bristande rapporteringen av hennes förehavanden också på denna blogg).

I följande artikel förklaras hur Obamas intresse för Hillary sjunkit drastiskt, och att hon i dagsläget nästan säkerligen inte kommer att bli hans running-mate. Något hon själv också verkar ha såväl förstått som accepterat:

Artikel om Guantanamorättegångarna

McCain använder inte datorer

En artikel i Newsweek som beklagar sig över att McCain inte använder datorer.

Om McCain vore helt ensam så vore en sådan ledare givetvis katastrofal och helt ute ur tiden - men jag tror dock att han har hur många nära medarbetare som helst, som faktiskt använder datorer :)

Bush OKs execution of Army death row prisoner

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 47 minutes ago

President Bush on Monday approved the execution of an Army private, the first time in over a half-century that a president has affirmed a death sentence for a member of the U.S. military.

With his signature from the Oval Office, Bush said yes to the military's request to execute Ronald A. Gray, the White House confirmed. Gray had had been convicted in connection with a spree of four murders and eight rapes in the Fayetteville, N.C., area over eight months in the late 1980s while stationed at Fort Bragg.

"While approving a sentence of death for a member of our armed services is a serious and difficult decision for a commander in chief, the president believes the facts of this case leave no doubt that the sentence is just and warranted," White House press secretary Dana Perino said.

In the military courts, "Private Gray was convicted of committing brutal crimes, including two murders, an attempted murder and three rapes. The victims included a civilian and two members of the Army. ... The president's thoughts and prayers are with the victims of these heinous crimes and their families and all others affected."

Unlike in the civilian courts, a member of the U.S. armed forces cannot be executed until the president approves the death sentence. Gray has been on death row at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., since April 1988.

Members of the U.S. military have been executed throughout history, but just 10 have been executed by presidential approval since 1951 when the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military's modern-day legal system, was enacted into law.

President Kennedy was the last president to stare down this life-or-death decision. On Feb. 12, 1962, Kennedy commuted the death sentence of Jimmie Henderson, a Navy seaman, to confinement for life.

President Eisenhower was the last president to approve a military execution. In 1957, he approved the execution of John Bennett, an Army private convicted of raping and attempting to kill an 11-year-old Austrian girl. He was hanged in 1961.

The death penalty was outlawed between 1972 and 1984, when President Reagan reinstated it.

Gray was held responsible for the crimes committed between April 1986 and January 1987 in both the civilian and military justice systems.

In civilian courts in North Carolina, Gray pleaded guilty to two murders and five rapes and was sentenced to three consecutive and five concurrent life terms.

He then was tried by general court-martial at the Army's Fort Bragg. In April 1988, the court-martial convicted Gray of two murders, an attempted murder and three rapes. He was unanimously sentenced to death.

The court-martial panel convicted Gray of:

_Raping and killing Army Pvt. Laura Lee Vickery-Clay of Fayetteville on Dec. 15, 1986. She was shot four times with a .22-caliber pistol that Gray confessed to stealing. She suffered blunt force trauma over much of her body.

_Raping and killing Kimberly Ann Ruggles, a civilian cab driver in Fayetteville. She was bound, gagged, stabbed repeatedly, and had bruises and lacerations on her face. Her body was found on the base.

_Raping, robbing and attempting to kill Army Pvt. Mary Ann Lang Nameth in her barracks at Fort Bragg on Jan. 3, 1987. She testified against Gray during the court-martial and identified him as her assailant. Gray raped her and stabbed her several times in the neck and side. Nameth suffered a laceration of the trachea and a collapsed or punctured lung.

The six-member court-martial panel returned its unanimous verdict after about two hours of deliberations. The panel also reduced Gray from Spec. 4 to private, forfeited all his pay and ordered him to be dishonorably discharged from the Army.

Gray has appealed his case through the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (then known as the U.S. Army Court of Military Review) and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Services. In 2001, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Silas DeRoma, who left active duty in 1999, was one of several military attorneys who represented Gray on appeal.

"It's disappointing news, as you can imagine," said DeRoma, who now works as a regulatory attorney in Honolulu for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He said the basis for some of Gray's appeals focused on the prisoner's mental competency and his representation at trial.

Bush got the secretary of the Army's recommendation to approve Gray's death sentence in late 2005. Since then, it's been under review by the Bush administration, including the White House legal counsel.

Complicating the administration's deliberation was a case under review this year by the Supreme Court.

The court ruled in April to uphold the most common method of capital punishment used across the United States. The justices said the three-drug mix of lethal-injection drugs used by Kentucky and most other states does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling in the case of Baze v. Rees cleared the way for a resumption of executions nationwide.

It was unclear where Gray would be executed. Military executions are handled by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Bush's decision, however, is not likely the end of Gray's legal battle. Further litigation is expected and these types of death sentence appeals often take years to resolve.

The military also has asked Bush to authorize the execution of Dwight J. Loving, who has been at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., since 1989 after being convicted of killing two taxicab drivers while he was an Army private at Fort Hood, Texas. But that request is not yet ripe for a presidential decision. The White House declined to discuss the case.


Associated Press Writer Martha Waggoner in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.

Källa Yahoo News: 2008-07-29

måndag 28 juli 2008

Petraeus motsätter sig tydligt en tidsplan

Såvitt jag vet har general Petraeus inte endorsat någon kandidat, men nu tar han tydligt avstånd från en tidsplan för ett trupptillbakadragande - vilket i alla fall indirekt antyder att han går helt emot Obamas linje. Yahoo News rapporterar:

Petraeus won't join bandwagon on Iraq withdrawal timetable

By Nancy Youssef, McClatchy NewspapersSun Jul 27, 5:45 PM ET

BAGHDAD -- The top U.S. military commander in Iraq isn't buying the increasingly popular idea of a withdrawal timetable for American troops.

Gen. David Petraeus , the Iraq commander, said in an interview with McClatchy that the situation in Iraq is too volatile to "project out, and to then try to plant a flag on a particular date."

With violence at its lowest levels of the war, politicians in both the United States and Iraq are getting behind the idea of a departure timetable. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was first, suggesting he would have combat troops home within 16 months of Inauguration Day . The idea got a big boost during his overseas trip last week, when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki indicated support for that general timeline.

During a Friday interview on CNN's "The Situation Room," Republican candidate John McCain , who had opposed setting a timeline, appeared to shift ground. McCain said that 16 months "is a pretty good timetable" but must be based on conditions on the ground.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration has embraced "time horizons" as it negotiates with the Iraqi government a status of forces agreement over the future role of U.S. troops. Petraeus said any timetable must have "a heck of a lot more granularity than the kind of very short-hand statements that have been put out."

"We occasionally have commanders who have so many good weeks, (they think) it's won. We've got this thing. Well we don't. We've had so many good weeks. Right now, for example we've had two-and-a-half months of levels of violence not since March 2004 ," he said from his office at Camp Victory.

"Well that's encouraging. It's heartening. It's very welcome. But let's keep our powder dry. . . .Let's not let our guard down."

Petraeus is pushing for what he says as a more nuanced debate as both U.S. and Iraqi political leaders are in campaign seasons, with many voters in both countries wanting to hear there is an end. Maliki is trying to sway voters in time for this fall's scheduled provincial elections by winning support from his political rival, firebrand cleric Muqtada al Sadr , who has called for a U.S. withdrawal date since 2004.

Throughout his tenure, Petraeus has argued for a drawdown based on conditions, saying that the last of the five surge brigades could leave earlier this month because Iraqi forces are increasingly capable of securing Iraq .

Petraeus said that while both Sunni and Shiite extremists groups are weaker, Iraqi security forces still face threats as the groups try to reconstitute themselves throughout Iraq . And because of that, U.S. and Iraqi forces must not assume that the battle here is won, he said.

Maliki's surprise spring offensive in the southern port city of Basra was a turning point in the security situation. It rid Iraq's second-largest city of militia control and bolstered the confidence of both the Iraqi people and military. But the Iraqi security forces turned to U.S. troops to help them win, leading some to call for a more cautious withdrawal plan.

Petraeus has said he believes there will be a "long-term partnership" in which the U.S. acts primarily in an advisory role to Iraqi forces, but with enough combat power to step in and help if major battles erupt. But he said that that like most things in Iraq , plans could change.

"We know where we are trying to go. We know how we think we need to try to get there with our Iraqi partners and increasingly with them in the lead and shouldering more of the burden as they are," Petraeus said.

"But there are a lot of storm clouds out there, there are lots of these possible lightning bolts. You just don't know what it could be. You try to anticipate them and you try to react very quickly. . . .It's all there, but it's not something you want to lay out publicly." 2008-07-28

Don´t tread on me

Och avslutningsvis Metallicas "Don´t tread on me" i 9/11 tappning:

Citizien Reign

Den här låten har jag postat förut, men här är den igen - Citizen Reigns "Fight for Me" - en patriotisk låt med lite mer modernt sound:

Ung kille sjunger American Soldier med Toby Keith

En liten grabb sjunger Toby Keiths "American Soldier". Till skillnad från de tidigare sångarna är han väl ingen skönsångare - men han gör det åminstone hjärtligt:

America the Beautiful

Alicia Keys sjunger America the Beautiful

Star Spangled Banner

Framförd av Whitney Houston:

Och en till...

A Tribute to those in uniform

Obamas styrka, inte så stark som den borde vara

En väldigt intressant artikel hos Real Clear Politics, som erkänner att Obama har en unik kampanj, att han är en unik kandidat och att hans rundresa i världen var lyckad. Men likväl har Obama inte nått den magiska gränsen på ett 50%-igt stöd på hemma plan. Den senaste opinionsmätningen från två veckor sedan visar att stödet för Obama ligger på 46% medan stödet för McCain ligger på 41%. Det visar att Obama fortfarande inte har lyckats vinna över stora delar av vita väljare - som te x den vita arbetarklassen. Detta trots att Hillary Clinton nu kampanjar för honom. Detta menar författaren borde väcka uppmärksamhet. I många val har Demokraterna nämligen lett stort i opinonsmätningarna just över sommaren - medan Republikanerna nästan alltid gjort come-back framåt hösten. Författaren Robert Novak skriver:

It is particularly troubling to Democrats who recall past Democratic candidates taking a huge lead over the summer before being overtaken or nearly overtaken by a surging Republican opponent. In 1976, Jimmy Carter took a 33-point summer lead over President Gerald Ford and won in a photo finish. In 1988, Michael Dukakis led George H.W. Bush by 17 points after being nominated in Atlanta before he lost the election. Al Gore and John Kerry were ahead of George W. Bush in the summer.

Novak går sedan vidare och förklarar att ett av Obamas misstag på sin resa var att i princip gå emot den mycket populäre befälhavaren David Petraeus:

"...sitting by the popular Gen. David Petraeus and disagreeing with his military judgment may not have been the way to win over undecided white working men.

The toughest interrogation of Obama was CBS anchor Katie Couric's in Jordan last Tuesday. She asked four different times whether the troop surge he had opposed was instrumental in reducing violence in Iraq. Each time, Obama answered straight from talking points by citing "the great effort of our young men and women in uniform." That sounded like the old politics. He would have sounded more like a new politician if he had simply said, "Yes, the strategy did work." That would have infuriated anti-war activists, but not enough for them to drop Obama."

Novak avslutar sedan artikeln:

Several Democrats I have talked to noted that recent Democratic presidents got elected with a minority of the vote and also that McCain is further below the 50 percent standard than Obama. But McCain, running a flawed campaign in a big Democratic year, is dangerously close. He still could back in unless Obama closes the deal.

Obama lovordar Bush

Tro det eller ej, men Obama har faktiskt lovordat Bush. Jag tror faktiskt aldrig jag hört honom göra det förut. Bush har ju låtit skicka en man vid namn Bill Burns för att försöka förhandla med Iran - ett initiativ Obama länge förespråkat och nu prisar. Yahoo News skriver följande - och jag markerar Obamas pro-Bush utlåtanden i fetstil:

Obama: Iran should take U.S. seriously

By Caren Bohan2 hours, 12 minutes ago

Presidential candidate Barack Obama said President George W. Bush's decision to send a senior diplomat to nuclear talks with Iran was a substantive move and should be taken seriously by Tehran.

Obama, a Democrat, has been highly critical in the past of Bush's policies toward Iran and has promised that if elected he would pursue a policy of greater engagement aimed at persuading Tehran to abandon its nuclear enrichment program.

But in a rare signal of solidarity with the current Republican administration, Obama told a news conference in Paris on Friday that Iran should not wait for the next U.S. president to try to reach a deal over its nuclear program.

He also praised Bush's decision to send senior U.S. diplomat William Burns to talks in Geneva with Iranian officials.

"Bill Burns is a very serious guy. And the Iranians should take that gesture seriously," Obama told Reuters in an interview on Saturday as he flew back from a weeklong tour abroad.

Obama, who is running against Republican John McCain in the November election, is seeking to burnish his foreign policy credentials. He traveled to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and Britain.

Iran was a key topic in many of the meetings he had with leaders of those countries.

Iran has refused demands to freeze sensitive atomic work the West fears is aimed at making bombs. Tehran says the nuclear program is aimed at the peaceful purposes of generating electricity.

Envoys from the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain -- the so-called sextet of world powers -- attended the Geneva meeting.

"I want the Bush administration to be successful in working with the Europeans to get Iran to stand down on its nuclear weapons program," Obama said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted on Iranian state television saying his country has more than 5,000 active centrifuges for enriching uranium, suggesting a rapid expansion of nuclear work.


Also in the Reuters interview, Obama talked of his impressions of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, both of whom he met during the trip.

"I think Maliki has made some tough choices, particularly going into Basra and Sadr City to disperse the Shia militias. I'm glad to see that he is eager to take more responsibility for his country's own security," Obama said.

"I think he recognizes that the Iraqi government both has to become more efficient and more inclusive. Whether he understands the degree to which that has to happen ... I can't tell," he added.

The Democratic candidate said Karzai is "very smart and charming" and has a vision for Afghanistan's future. But he said he needed to move to rid his government of corruption and combat the narcotics trade.

"I told President Karzai that I thought that he needs to really focus on issues of corruption and counternarcotics and to counter the narcotics trade much more aggressively than has been done so far," he said.

Obama has called for a renewed focus on Afghanistan, including the addition of two U.S. brigades and has called on European countries to do more to help stabilize the increasingly violent country.

(Editing by Eric Beech) 2008-07-28

söndag 27 juli 2008

ABC NEWS: Intervju med McCain

Idag, exakt hundra dagar innan valet i november sänder ABC NEWS här en 21 minuter lång intervju med John McCain som talar om Irakkriget, ekonomin et c:

lördag 26 juli 2008

Obama kanske blir en svårare nöt för Europa att knäcka än man trott...

Obama kanske inte kommer att vara lika "europeisk" som många i Europa hoppas att han är, skriver European Voice i följande artikel:

Bushs nya pragmatism orskar problem för McCain

New York Times skriver i en artikel hur Bushadministrationens nya inställning till hur man bör förhålla sig till Iran och Nordkorea - samt uppgörelsen med Iraks regering om en "tidsplan" för trupptillbakadragande, har gjort vissa saker lite problematiska för McCain, som nu tycks framstå som mer högaktig än Bush. Här är artikeln:

Obamas bön uppsnappad

Vid besöket vid Klagomuren i Israel, stoppade Obama enligt sedvänjan in en lapp i muren med en bön. Lappen snappades dock upp av en israelisk student som läckte till media. Så här löd Obamas bön:

“Lord — Protect my family and me,” reads the note published in the Maariv daily. “Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.”

Fox News rapporterar om händelsen i följande artikel:

Obamas sken-skickliga Irakpolitik

Obama är en person som haft mycket tur. Väldigt mycket sådan. Under primärvalet mot Clinton satsade Obama på att framhålla att han själv motsatte sig Irakkriget när Hillary förespråkade det. Sitt anti-krigstal höll han dock i en extrem vänstermiljö år 2002. I en miljö där en sådan åsikt inte var speciellt unik, utan bara vad precis alla andra tyckte. Hans roll som delstatssenator gjorde honom heller inte mer kunnig än Clinton, McCain och USA:s federala senatorer, som, till skillnad från Obama, hade mängder av underrättelserapporter framför sig som sa att Saddam Hussein var ett hot. Inget antyder egentligen att Obama - som alltid tyckts svänga efter hur vinden blåser där han befinner sig - skulle ha motsatt sig kriget om han själv suttit på Capitol Hill vid den tidpunkten. Detta till skillnad från McCain som förespråkade kriget när kriget var populärt, som försvarade kriget när det var impopulärt, och som förespråkade den lyckade truppförstärkningen när alla (samt Bakerrapporten) menade att USA stegvis skulle minska sin närvaro i Irak. Obama däremot, motsatte sig givetvis truppökningen, och menade att den förmodligen inte skulle leda till någon högre säkerhet alls. Påståenden som Obamas kampanj nu tagit bort från sin hemsida.

Artikeln säger sedan:

Regardless of where voters stood on the original decision to invade — and, to be sure, far more Americans now believe that the Iraq war was a mistake than those who think it was the right decision — what ought to be equally, if not more, important remains the question of what we do now. And on this question there can be little debate: John McCain’s judgment vastly exceeds that of Barack Obama.

Spekulationerna kring McCains VP fortsätter

Här är en artikel där de mest troligaste vp kandidaterna till John McCain presenteras. Bobby Jindal finns med på listan, men ligger inte högst upp. Analytikernas favorittips verkar vara Minnesotas guvernör Tim Pawlenty följt av Mitt Romney. När det gäller Jindal skriver artikelförfattaren Reid Wilson:

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (30-1): Yes, he's popular, and yes, he's a reformer in a state that's in desperate need of reformation. But what better way to make an issue of McCain's septuagenarian status than to pick someone who's nearly half his age? Jindal seems more likely to run for president in 2012 or 2016. After all, the guy's only 37!

fredag 25 juli 2008

En kul sak

McCain sa en gång att han hellre vann ett krig, än vann ett presidentval. Jag kom på en liten skämtsam grej:

McCain: I rather lose an election, than lose a war.

Obama: I rather lose a war, than a lose a election.

Bush: I rather start a war, than lose a election.


torsdag 24 juli 2008

Obama har anlänt till Tyskland

Dit kom han idag direkt från Israel och träffade där Förbundskansler Angel Merkel. Senare ikväll ska han hålla ett tal. Han tonade dock ner förväntningarna (där tidigare presidenter som Reagan och Kennedy gjort storslagna uttalanden) genom att påpeka att "de var presidenter", medan han bara var en "vanlig medborgare". DN rapporterar:

Lieberman försvarar pastor Hagee

Joe Liberman som förmodligen är den mest aktive icke-Republikanska pro-McCain politikern försvarade idag pastor John Hagee, som tidigare gjort uttalanden om att den katolska kyrkan var skökan från Babylon, samt att Gud använde Förintelsen för att driva judarna till Israel - uttalanden som fick McCain att ta avstånd från Hagees endorsement.

Liberman förklarar dock John Hagees stöd till Israel väger tyngre än de uttalanden som fick Mcain att ta avstånd från honom.

Jindal kommenterar VP-spekulationerna

Bobby Jindal kommenterar spekulationerna kring huruvida han ska bli McCains vice- eller ej. Jindal försvarar också McCains surge-policy:

De två ska dock träffas redan -idag- och kanske får vi veta redan idag vem McCain valt, och vem som valt att låta sig väljas av honom. Jindal eller Romney?

Karl Rove dissar Obama

Karl Rove skriver i en ny artikel att både McCain och Obama är flip-floppers. McCain har ändrat sig gällande borrning av olja på nya områden inom USA - något han tidigare motsatt sig, men nu ser positivt på pg a de höga bensinpriserna. Han har också ändrat sig gällande skattesänkningar - varför han 2001 och 2003 röstade emot Bushs skattesänkningar men nu anammar dessa.

Obama flip-floppar också: Rove skriver hur Obama ändrat sig i allt från NAFTA (som han var kritisk till under primärvalet med Hillary Clinton i vita arbetarstater som Pennsylvania och Ohio), till D.C -gunban-lagen, terroristövervakning genom telecom-näten (USA:s FRA-lag), Jerusalems status et c.

Rove förklarar dock vad som skiljer de två flip-flopkandidaterna åt. Även om McCain ändrar sig, så förklarar åtminstone McCain -varför- han ändrar sig, medan Obama däremot ändrar sig, men sedan låtsas om att han inte har ändrat sig alls. Ett bra exempel på detta är Irak:

medan Obama år 2006 och tidigt 2007 förklarade Obama att alla amerikanska trupper skulle bort från Irak och hotade med att rösta för att skära av det ekonomiska stödet till trupperna, även om de befann sig i strid. I juli 2007 ändrade han sig gradvis och sa då att en del trupper skulle få finnas kvar i regionen, som te x i Kuwait - för att kunna gå in i Irak igen om det behövdes. I oktober 2007 förklarade han att han ville behålla somliga trupper i Irak för att skydda diplomater och utföra insatser mot Al Qaida. Förra veckan ändrade sig Obama igen och skrev nu att den kvarvarande styrka av soldater i Irak skulle ha tre uppgifter, nämligen att förfölja Al Qaida, skydda amerikanska tjänstemän och träna de irakiska trupperna. En av Obamas rådgivare har sagt att möjligen 60-80 000 trupper skulle få bli kvar i Irak vid 2010.

Karl Rove skriver sedan:

So much for withdrawing all combat troops.

It's dizzying. Yet, Mr. Obama acts as if he is a paradigm of consistency. He told a Georgia rally this month that "the people who say [I've been changing] apparently haven't been listening to me." In a PBS interview last week he said, "this notion that somehow we've had wild shifts in my positions is simply inaccurate."

Rove konstaterar slutligen att även om både McCain och Obama har ändrat, och ändrar sig - så har McCain åtminstone förmågan att ta ställning även i obekväma och svåra frågor och sedan stå fast vid sitt beslut oavsett hur opinionen blåser - för att sedan vara villig att faktiskt ändra sig om nya fakta skulle uppkomma. Medan Obama däremot bara intar den position som tillfälligtvis ger honom vind i seglen.

Om man läser Karl Rove mellan raderna, så hade denne förmodligen sett att Bush suttit en tredje period till :)

Här är artikeln:

Ödets hand gjorde Obamas resa lyckad

En artikel som skildrar hur ödet tycks lagt sakerna rätt för Obama på sin rundresa: när han gav sig av från Chicago för sin internationella nio-dagars-truné kunde han inte veta att President Bush i just det ögonblicket kom att förändra USA:s sex år gamla inställning att högre amerikanska ämbetsmän inte skulle förhandla med Iran om dess kärnkraftsambitioner (varför det hittills till största del varit EU-länder som skött de förhandlingarna). Denna förändring är något Obama efterlyst en längre tid - och något som McCain motsatt sig.

Obama kunde heller inte veta att Iraks premiärminister al-Malaki skulle gå ut med att näst intill endorsa Obama och dennes tidsplan för en truppreträtt i Irak i tyska Der Spiegel. Nästan samtidigt så slöts ett avtal mellan USA och Irak där man talade om att insatsen i Irak skulle vara begränsad - man sa inget slutdatum - men bara ordet "begränsad närvaro" är lättare att associera med Obama än med McCain (alla minns väl YouTube-klippet där McCain talar om hundra års, eller t o m tiotusen års militär närvaro i Irak)

McCain har det således inte lätt just nu, när allt tycks ha dukat upp bordet helt till Obamas fördel. T o m de saker som borde vara McCains styrkor. Att det var McCains policy - och inte Obamas - som ledde fram till det ökade säkerhetsläget i Irak känns plötsligt som gamla nyheter. Nu när säkerhetsläget är uppnått, verkar irakierna vilja bli lämnade ifred - och där är det Obamas policy, och inte McCains - som passar bäst.

Författaren sammanfattar artikeln så här:

McCain... had a credible position to argue on national security issues, and a record that was consistent and in some respects prescient.

But now the ground has shifted -- and his opponent was right where he needed to be to capture the advantage. July has been a cruel month for McCain.

onsdag 23 juli 2008

Umeå-doktoranden Mohammad Fazlhashemi intervjuas

Mohammad Fazlhashemi från Umeå Universitet intervjuas här av TV-Axess:

Pat Condell: Islam is not a victim

Ännu en suverän video av Storbritanniens främste samhällsanalytiker:

Jindal ÄR Republikanernas framtid

Jag är helt säker på den saken. Om Republikanerna i framtiden inte helt ska köras över av en ung Obamadyrkande generation, så måste Republikanerna lyfta fram sådana som Jindal. Jindal vore den perfekta kandidaten att representera den Moderna Konservatism jag själv förespråkar. Jag skulle seriöst vilja åka till Lousianna bara för att han är guvernör där. Det borde inte vara omöjligt att få en intervju med honom - betydligt lättare än med McCain eller Romney iaf :)

Fox News återger Demokraternas kassa anti-Jindal ad

Jindal intervjuas av Sean Hannity och förklarar tydligt sin kristna tro. Helt otroligt rak på sak. Innan Göran Hägglund skulle säga så som Jindal säger där:

Här är Jindals guvernörssegertal, där han talar om "real change" och tackar sina föräldrar som kom till USA i sitt sökande efter den amerikanska drömmen:

Jindal är en blandning av Bush, Obama och Schwarzenegger :)

Bobby Jindal gästar Jay Leno

Här är Jindal på Jay Leno. Killen har en skön attityd - han borde kolla upp på kameran lite mer dock, men det kan han lära sig :)

Unga pro-Jindal Republikaner kommenterar Jindal efter Jay Leno-showen:

Bobby Jindal 4 President!

Här är Wikipedias artikel om Jindal (bl a med en vacker bild där Jindal träffar Bush) President Bush nominerade honom redan i mars 2001 till Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation - en roll som sedan fick Senates godkännande, och en tjänst han påbörjade redan i juli 2001.

Här är hans hemsida i sin roll som Lousiannas guvernör. Och här är en video där Jindal talar om ekonomi. Jag har inte helt koll på vad han säger - däremot verkar han vara en duktig talare, som vet vad han talar om. Han framstår som seriös och beslutsam.

Som jag skrev tidigare; han måste bli president någon gång. En -äkta- kristen, som faktiskt konverterat från hinduism till katolicism, och som inte är vare sig vänsterkristen likt Obama, namnkristen likt McCain, eller mormon som Romney. Att Jindal dessutom är född 1971, dvs han är 8 år äldre än mig och 10 år YNGRE än Barack Obama är helt makalöst otroligt. Det är sådana som han som kan rädda Republikanerna från en annars nästan säker undergång.

För McCains del tror jag att Romney är ett säkrare kort i det här valet, eftersom Jindal är tämligen okänd. Men Jindal ska tydligen få tala på RNC-konventet nu i höst. Om McCain förlorar mot Obama så skulle Jindal ha alla möjligheter i världen att "göra en Obama" och slå till om fyra år. Blir han president vid fyritoett års ålder, så vore han den yngsta amerikanska president någonsin, och han skulle förskjuta JFK till andraplats.

Här är dessutom Bobby Jindals egen hemsida:

Här insvärs Jindal som Lousiannas guvernör:

Romney eller Jindal?

En färsk artikel från Real Clear Politics där man argumenterar för att McCain har antingen Jindal eller Romney att välja mellan. Det ska bli riktigt spännande att se vem det blir. Jag gillar Romney - men Jindal verkar verkligen, precis som artikeln skriver, vara Obamas Republikanska motsvarighet, fast tvärtom.

Obama vows support for Israel in Jerusalem visit

Obama lovar i sitt besök i Israel att stödja landet, och säger:

"I will share some of my ideas. The most important idea for me to reaffirm is the historic and special relationship between the United States and Israel -- one that cannot be broken," Obama said after landing at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday night.

Obama är populär i Israel, men det är också, hör och häpna, president Bush - och Israel är förmodligen det enda land utanför USA där stödet för McCain är störst - och förmodligen större än för Obama. Hela artikeln finns här:

Personligen tror jag att Obama är en genuin Israelvän. Och helt oavsett pastor Wrights flörtande med antisemitism, får jag känslan av att Obama delar en evangelikal syn på Israel. Gör han det, så är det otroligt bra. För det är jag nästan säker på att McCain inte gör. Jag ska köpa boken om hans tro, så fort Stephen Mansfield ger ut den.

Obama grilled on whether "surge" cut Iraq violence

By JoAnne Allen1 hour, 58 minutes ago

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama was pinned down on Tuesday on whether he credits an increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq -- known as the "surge" -- for helping stabilize the country.

Obama was asked repeatedly on "CBS Evening News" whether the surge has worked.

He explained why he would still oppose a troop increase in Iraq, saying it does not meet the long-term U.S. strategic goal and that the emphasis on Iraq had taken a toll on the U.S. effort in Afghanistan.

"If we have shifted away from the central front of terrorism as a consequence of enormous and continuing investments in Iraq, then that's a poor strategic choice," the Illinois senator continued.

Pressed once more on whether he gives the surge any credit for reducing violence in Iraq, Obama said he did, as one factor of many.

""No, no of course I have," he said. "There is no doubt that the extraordinary work of our U.S. forces has contributed to a lessening of the violence, just as making sure that the Sadr militia stood down or the fact that the Sunni tribes decided to flip and work with us instead of with al-Qaeda -- something that we hadn't anticipated happening. All those things have contributed to a reduction in violence."

On the campaign trail, Republican John McCain once again rebuked Obama for his opposition to the surge.

"When we adopted the surge, we were losing the war in Iraq, and I stood up and said I would rather lose a campaign than lose a war," McCain said in New Hampshire.

In a separate CBS interview, the Arizona senator hammered home the point.

"Sen. Obama said the surge would fail. He said that it couldn't succeed. He was wrong," McCain said. "He said he still doesn't agree that the surge has succeeded now that everybody knows that it has succeeded."

(Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Philip Barbara)

tisdag 22 juli 2008

Commander's surrender deals 'shattering blow' to Taliban

2 hours, 1 minute ago

A senior Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan surrendered to Pakistani authorities and British forces killed another leader, dealing a "shattering blow" to the militant group's leadership, the British army said on Tuesday.

Mullah Rahim, the top commander for southern Helmand province, gave himself up after British forces had killed two other Taliban leaders in little over three weeks.

Hours after his surrender, another senior Taliban commander, Abdul Rasaq, also known as "Mullah Sheikh," was killed in a British missile strike 15 km (9 miles) north of the town of Musa Qala in Helmand on Monday morning, the British army said in a statement. Three other insurgents also died.

Rasaq headed Taliban actions around Musa Qala and was active in the insurgency for a number of years, it said.

"The Taliban's senior leadership structure has suffered a shattering blow," British army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Robin Matthews said in the statement.

Musa Qala town holds a symbolic importance after Taliban fighters forced British troops out of the dusty opium-trading centre in late 2006. The Taliban then seized it in February last year making it the only town of any size held by the rebels.

Afghan, British and U.S. forces took back Musa Qala in an offensive in December but Taliban insurgents are still active around the town.

Elsewhere, U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces backed by airpower killed or wounded more than 30 Taliban insurgents in fighting in the west of Afghanistan, a senior police official said on Tuesday.

Fighting broke out in the Bala Boluk district of Farah province on Tuesday, regional police chief Ikramuddin Yawar said.

"The toll might be more than 30 because the operation is ongoing," Yawar told Reuters.


A U.S.-led convoy was hit by small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades on Tuesday morning in Bala Boluk, a U.S. military spokesman said.

Air strikes were called in but no munitions were dropped. The U.S. military could not confirm if any Taliban were killed dead. International forces do not usually give casualty figures for insurgents.

In the capital, Kabul, a Taliban suicide bomber wounded five civilians when he blew himself up as he was challenged by police on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry said.

Taliban militants have launched some 100 suicide attacks so far this year, mostly targeting Afghan and international security forces but as many as 80 percent of their victims are civilians, security experts say.

The bomber struck in the morning in the Gozargah area of the capital, next to the walls of the historic tomb of Babur, the 16th century founder of India's Mughal dynasty. Only a leg of the bomber remained, lying on the ground, Reuters witnesses said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

(Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi, Yousuf Azimy and Sharafuddin Sharafyar; Writing by Jon Hemming and Jonathon Burch; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Artikel om Obama i Der Spiegel

The biggest surprise for Europe would be if Obama, were to open a third front in the mountains of Pakistan. He has often spoken of "taking the fight to al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan." It is a message that shows little concern for the sovereignty of Pakistan, a country which possesses nuclear weapons, but it shows his desire to put a stop to extremist activities in the region along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Obama will not necessarily continue the peaceful relationship President Bush maintained with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," says Obama.

Läs hela artikeln här:,1518,567148-3,00.html

Obama kontra Jesse Jackson

En artikel som skildrar de stora olikheterna mellan Obama och Jesse Jackson:

Jackson var länge en amerikansk svart politisk ikon. Men han spelade - likt många svart post 1960-talsledare på den "vita skuldkänslan", genom att alltid hävda att de svartas problem existerade på grund av de vitas oförätter. Så gjorde inte Martin Luther King - men däremot gjorde många av hans arvtagare, som te x Jackson, just detta.

Obama har däremot gjort precis tvärtom. Istället för att - som de tidigare svarta politikerna (och den äldre generationen) - beskyllt de vita för dittan och dattan, har Obama betonat hur tacksam han är för att vara amerikan. Och när han talade häromveckan så sa han något som ingen svart ledare tidigare skulle kunnat tänka sig säga, nämligen att svarta fäder borde ta större ansvar. Något som fick Jackson att utbrista att han ville skära av ballarna på Obama.

Rätt komsikt kanske, men det visar också skillnaden mellan de två. Där den förra aldrig lyckats med att vinna fler anhängare en en kärna svarta - har Obama lyckats vinna miljontals vita anhängare. Och även om Obama tillhör en senare generation och till skillnad från Jackson aldrig demonstrerade tillsammans med Martin Luther King, så har han förmodligen större likheter med denne än Jesse Jackson har. Och det tycks även det Vita Amerika notera.

Romney McCains troligaste VP?

NY TIMES har ett videoklipp som beskriver hur Romney alltmer framstår som McCains troligaste kandidat. Jag börjar också luta åt det hållet. Här är videon:

NY Times: Obamas internationella rundtur bedöms som lyckad

NY Times bedömer Obamas rundtur, som efter besöket i Irak passerat den mest kritiska stationen på resan, som lyckad. Han har inte gjort några klumpiga uttalanden eller gett McCain speciellt mycket att skjuta på:

måndag 21 juli 2008

Obama möter politiker och militärbefäl i Irak

CNN skildrar Obamas möte med premiärminister al Malaki och andra politiker och militärbefäl i Irak:

Obama tycks vara populär i Irak

Iraqis say they like Obama, divided on his policies

By Khaled al-Ansary and Mohammed AbbasMon Jul 21, 4:39 AM ET

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is popular among Iraqis.

In two dozen interviews across the country, many told Reuters a black man would understand their plight.

Obama arrived in Iraq on Monday on only his second trip to the country. He wants to bolster his foreign policy credentials and counter accusations from Republican presidential rival John McCain that he has not seen conditions in Iraq for himself.

"I support Obama. I think he is the best for Iraq and for the world ... if McCain wins I will be devastated," said Mustafa Salah, an office worker in the southern city of Basra.

Hisham Fadhil, a doctor in northern Kirkuk added: "He is much better than others because he is black and black people were tyrannized in America. I think he will feel our suffering."

Obama is the son of a white mother and a black Kenyan father. He refers to himself as black and often talks of his multi-cultural background.

Ordinary Iraqis are unlikely to get a glimpse of Obama, who will spend most of his time surrounded by heavy security.

While violence is at a four-year low and some efforts have been made toward national reconciliation, the threat of car bomb attacks and kidnapping has not disappeared.

Indeed, Iraqis are divided over Obama's plan to withdraw U.S. combat troops within 16 months if he wins office. Some say the policy is overdue while others are opposed because they feel Iraq's security forces are not ready.

"What Obama said about pulling out U.S. forces is just for political gains. It is unrealistic," said Munadhil al-Mayyahi, an independent politician in Basra.

Kamiran Mohammed, from Kirkuk, said he visited the United States recently as part of a polling watchdog to study elections. Obama would be good for Iraq, not McCain, he said.

"When I was in the United States I found Democrats are more peaceful and avoid wars," Mohammed said.


Obama made his opposition to the U.S.-led invasion five years ago a centerpiece of his election campaign.

McCain supported President George W. Bush's decision to go to war, and also his troop "surge" last year, which helped pull Iraq back from the brink of sectarian civil war.

"The face of America was spoilt by the Republicans and Bush. A McCain win means Bush stays," said Zainab Riyad, a teacher.

Questions about Obama's heritage -- he is a Protestant Christian but his Kenyan father was raised a Muslim -- and whether this background would lead to better U.S. policy in the Middle East drew a cynical response from most Iraqis.

Obama's campaign has sought to dispel rumors he is Muslim.

"Frankly, Muslims in our society have not done anything for us," said Mohammed Sadeq, who owns a mobile telephone store in Baghdad. Another Iraqi pointed to wars between fellow Muslims.

Others were dismissive of the U.S. presidential election in general, more concerned with the struggle of daily life in Iraq.

"For the moment I'm thinking about getting enough electricity. I do not believe either candidate will change the situation in Iraq," said Abdul-Mahdi Hadi, a Basra teacher.

(Reporting by reporters in Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk and Kerbala, Writing by Mohammed Abbas: Editing by Dean Yates and Matthew Jones)

Obamas utlandskampanj

New York Times skriver i en artikel om Obamas möte med Afghanistans president Hamid Karzai:

Och här drar att Obamas utlandsvistelse kan visa sig komma att stärka hans trovärdighet gällande utrikespolitik. Han kom nämligen till Afghanistan i ett läge när våldet är på väg uppåt där - och Obama har alltid talat om hur kriget i Afghanistan borde prioriteras bättre:

Och här en artikel om Obamas ankomst till Irak, där den irakiske premiärministern nu försöker distansera sig från vad som tidigare tolkats som hans stöd för Obama.

Och här en artikel i SVD om Obamas resa till Irak:

McCain-ad riktad till hispanics

söndag 20 juli 2008

Obama försöker efterlikna Reagan

Obama har efter primärvalets slut försökt framställa sig som en "förändrare" på samma sätt som Reagan, något bland annat John Edwards kritiserat, eftersom denne anser att Reagans förändringar inte medförde något gott:

Maliki endorsar INTE Obama och stöder INTE hans reträttplan

Iraks regering förklarar nu att citatet från premiärminister Maliki i tyska tidningen Der Spiegel översatts fel, och att Maliki aldrig sagt att han stöder Obamas plan.

Iraq PM did not back Obama troop exit plan: government

2 hours, 6 minutes ago

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki did not back the plan of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and his comments to a German magazine on the issue were misunderstood, the government's spokesman said on Sunday.

Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement that Maliki's remarks to Der Spiegel were translated incorrectly.

The German magazine said on Saturday that Maliki supported Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months. The interview was released on Saturday.

"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," Der Spiegel quoted Maliki as saying.

Dabbagh said statements by Maliki or any other member of the government should not be seen as support for any U.S. presidential candidate.

Obama is visiting Afghanistan and is set to go to Iraq as part of a tour of Europe and the Middle East.

Maliki's remarks were published a day after the White House said he and President George W. Bush had agreed that a security agreement currently being negotiated between them should include a "time horizon" for withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Bush has long opposed setting a timetable for withdrawal, and the White House said the time horizon agreed by the two leaders was not as specific as a time frame pushed by Democrats and could be adjusted based on conditions on the ground.

(Reporting by Dean Yates)

Iraks premiärminister endorsar Obama

Iraks premiärminister Al Malaki anser att USA bör lämna Irak så snart som möjligt, och han anser att Obamas 16-månadersgräns den rätta tidsramen. Yahoo News skriver:

Iraqi PM says US should leave as soon as possible

28 minutes ago

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says U.S. troops should leave Iraq "as soon as possible," according to a magazine report, and he called presidential candidate Barack Obama's suggestion of 16 months "the right timeframe for a withdrawal."

In an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel magazine released Saturday, al-Maliki said he was not seeking to endorse Obama. The Illinois senator and likely Democratic nominee has pledged to withdraw combat troops from Iraq within 16 months if he is elected.

"That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," al-Maliki was quoted as saying. "Those who operate on the premise of short time periods in Iraq today are being more realistic. Artificially prolonging the tenure of U.S. troops in Iraq would cause problems."

Asked when U.S. forces would leave Iraq, he responded, "As soon as possible, as far a we're concerned."

In Iraq on Saturday, Sadiq al-Rikabi, an adviser to al-Maliki, declined to discuss the prime minister's published remarks, but he said Iraqi officials do not intend to be "part of the electoral campaign in the United States."

"We will deal with any administration that comes to power," he said.

Obama's Republican presidential rival, John McCain, has supported Bush administration policy opposing a set timetable for taking troops out of Iraq.

"Barack Obama advocates an unconditional withdrawal that ignores the facts on the ground and the advice of our top military commanders," McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann said Saturday. "John McCain believes withdrawal must be based on conditions on the ground.

"Prime Minister Maliki has repeatedly affirmed the same view, and did so again today. Timing is not as important as whether we leave with victory and honor, which is of no apparent concern to Barack Obama," Scheunemann said in a statement.

Just days ago McCain told reporters on his campaign bus that Maliki "has exceeded a lot of the expectations."

"I think that much to the surprise of some Maliki has proved to be a more effective leader," McCain said Tuesday in New Mexico.

The national security adviser to the Obama campaign, Susan Rice, said the senator welcomed al-Maliki's comments.

"This presents an important opportunity to transition to Iraqi responsibility, while restoring our military and increasing our commitment to finish the fight in Afghanistan," Rice said in a statement Saturday.

Obama arrived on his first visit to Afghanistan on Saturday, less than four months before the general election. He also is expected to stop later in Iraq.

McCain has criticized Obama for his lack of experience in the region. The Arizona senator has suggested he would pursue an Iraq strategy "that's working" — a reference to the troop buildup credited for sharply reducing violence in the country.

Al-Maliki is scheduled to visit Germany next week for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and business leaders amid a renewed German push in helping to rebuild Iraq. Berlin had opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

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lördag 19 juli 2008

SVD: McCain och Obama samma syn på Afghanistan

Artikel i SVD som beskriver hur Obama och McCain visserligen skiljer sig åt i synen på Irak, men att båda har ungefär samma syn på kriget i Afghanistan.

Lite fakta om Bernard Lewis

Bernard Lewis är urpsrungligen en brittisk jude och historiker som dock sedan länge verkat i USA. Han är född 1916, och således över 90 år gammal, men fortfarande aktiv. Han räknas som en av världens främsta mellanösternkännare, och Bush gav honom 2006 en medalj kallad National Humanities Medal. Lewis har också uppmålat att västvärlden ligger och historiskt legat i konflikt med muslimvärlden - en av dem som influerats av Lewis är Dick Cheney. Lewis förespråkade också ett krig mot Irak.

Inte helt oväntat har några av Lewis främsta kritiker varit vänsterpalestiniern Edward Said (numera död) samt Noam Chomsky. Lewis har dock aldrig varit sen att ge dessa kritiker svar på tal.

Här är en artikel på Wikipedia om Bernard Lewis:

Barack Obama ger sig ut på internationell turné

Barack Obama ska nu besöka Europa, och Afghanistan och Irak - här diskuterar CNN:S Mark Preson Obamas resa:

Och här är ett videoklipp om McCains kritik av Obamas utrikespolitik, och om Obamas besök i Afghanistan där han anlände idag:

fredag 18 juli 2008

Intervju med Karl Rove

Karl Rove intervjuas i Expressen:

En annan svensk USA-blogg, som dock drivs av massvis av personer, och heller inte är så där jättebra:

Obamas irakpolicy

Mordplan mot Bush i Israel

Yahoo News skriver:

Israel makes arrests in alleged plot against Bush

32 minutes ago

Israel accused six Arabs on Friday of trying to set up an al Qaeda cell in Israel and said one of them had proposed attacking helicopters used during a visit by President George W. Bush.

Israel's Shin Bet counter-intelligence agency said one of the suspects had used his mobile phone to film helicopters at a sports stadium in Jerusalem that was used as a landing site for Bush's delegation.

The suspect then posted queries on Web sites frequented by al Qaeda operatives, asking for guidance on how to shoot down the helicopters, the agency said in a statement.

Bush visited Israel in January and again in May.

Lawyers for the six suspects could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Shin Bet identified four of the suspects as Palestinian residents of Arab East Jerusalem and two as Israeli Arabs.

The Shin Bet said the men had met several times at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, seeking to organize a local al Qaeda network. The agency said computers seized from several of the suspects contained bomb-making manuals.

Earlier this month, Israel indicted two of its Bedouin Arab citizens for links to al Qaeda and for planning attacks inside the Jewish state.

(Reporting by Avida Landau; Editing by Catherine Evans) 2008-07-18

Expressen anser att svenska journalister fjäskade för Rove

Expressen anser i denna krönika att de svenska journalisterna fjäskade för den i USA impopuläre Karl Rove vid dennes Sverigebesök:

torsdag 17 juli 2008

Fannie, Freddie spent $200M to buy influence

Artikel om hur de två stora problemintrasslade amerikanska bolåneinstituten Freddie Mac och Fannie Mae under sina problematiska år spenderat 200 miljoner dollar för att framställa sig själva i god (förbättrad?) dager. 2008-07-17

Ännu en rapport om Al Qaidas nederlag i Irak

Al Qaida i Irak är i princip besegrat. Den rapporten kom tidigare, är styrks den rapporten med följande nyhetsrapportering. Samtidigt rapporteras förstås dock om större svårigheter i Afghanistan och att problemen där nu är större än problemen i Irak. Det må så vara, men i så fall om man jämför det nuvarande läget i Irak med det nuvarande läget i Afghtanistan, inte det nuvarande läget i Afghanistan med det tidigare läget i Irak. Kommas ihåg bör också att USA har ca 3x fler trupper i Irak än i Afghanistan. Det är mina egna tankar. Men här är i alla fall artikeln:

Iraq's al-Qaida fighters now `furtive terrorists'

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military WriterThu Jul 17, 3:57 AM ET

It's quiet around here in farm country, south of Baghdad where al-Qaida once held sway. Just months ago U.S. foot patrols through the wheat fields nearby would regularly draw fire — if the soldiers managed first to elude al-Qaida-planted roadside bombs.

"The difference is night and day," says Capt. George Morris, 26. He and his soldiers in Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division walked the area this week to visit a handful of farm families five miles east of the town of Latifiyah, not far from the Tigris River.

And it's not just here. Throughout the country, al-Qaida in Iraq, an insurgent organization thought to be affiliated with the global terrorist network but comprised mainly of Iraqis, has lost so much clout it is close to becoming irrelevant to the outcome of the war. The group has not been eliminated, however, leaving open the possibility of resurgence if the Iraqi government fails to follow up the military gains with civilian services like the irrigation that's badly needed here.

When President Bush announced in January 2007 that he was sending more than 21,000 extra U.S. combat troops to Iraq — mostly to the Baghdad area — as part of a new approach to fighting the insurgency, commanders said their No. 1 focus was degrading al-Qaida's ability to foment sectarian violence.

In the Latifiyah area, it's not hard to see that goal appears to have been achieved — an accomplishment that adds to the expectation that Bush will be able to further reduce U.S. troop levels this fall.

Iraqi Army Capt. Jassim Hussein al-Shamari, whose men were part of Morris' foot patrol, has one explanation for al-Qaida's fall.

"The people themselves will turn over the terrorists" if they show themselves, says al-Shamari. He's speaking through an interpreter to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, a deputy commander of U.S. forces in the swath of once-violent territory stretching south of Baghdad from the Iranian border to Anbar province.

Buchanan sees it much the same way.

"The people are fed up with what they experienced under (al-Qaida's) presence," Buchanan said, adding that the key to keeping the terrorist group down is having the government in Baghdad step in and provide more essential services, like the irrigation that farmers in the Latifiyah area find in short supply.

And there is a troubling disconnect between the central government and local leaders.

"The link to the government of Iraq is almost nonexistent here," Morris said.

So it remains an open question: Once U.S. combat forces depart, whenever that may be, will al-Qaida find an avenue for resurgence? It is generally accepted among U.S. officers and intelligence specialists that despite its decline, al-Qaida will remain in Iraq at some level long after the Americans are gone. The group had no meaningful foothold in the country before U.S. forces invaded in March 2003.

There is no available official estimate of the number of al-Qaida fighters in Iraq. A U.S. intelligence estimate early this year put it at a maximum of 6,000, although it probably has fallen far lower recently. Perhaps more importantly, U.S. officers said in a series of Associated Press interviews over the past 10 days that so many al-Qaida leaders have been captured or killed that its remnants are ineffective.

Col. Al Batschelet, chief of staff for the U.S. command overseeing military operations in the Baghdad area, said that once the leadership began disappearing, lower-level technicians were pressed into duty.

That had the effect of accelerating the group's decline: the technical experts were not as good at organizing and executing attacks, and by taking the lead they exposed themselves to being captured or killed. That, in turn, has left even less-technically skilled fighters to perform the specialized work of assembling bombs like al-Qaida's signature weapon, the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, officers said.

The triggering mechanisms of al-Qaida's bombs have become less sophisticated and less effective, Batschelet said. Also, vehicle-borne IEDs used to contain hundreds of pounds of explosives, but they now typically are only 25 pounds.

"They just can't get the material any more to do what they want to do," Batschelet said. "But they still try. So we are unable to say that we've defeated their will" to continue their acts of violence.

Col. Bill Hickman, commander of 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, sees much the same thing in the neighborhoods of northwest Baghdad where his soldiers have witnessed a dramatic decline in violence this year.

"There are still disrupted cells of al-Qaida in our area," he said in an interview. "So they're active, but they're not as effective as they used to be. And their IEDs are small IEDs now."

As for eliminating al-Qaida entirely in Iraq, "That's probably not achievable," said Batschelet.

Although U.S. and Iraqi forces have put enormous pressure on al-Qaida by pursuing its leaders with relentless raids informed by improved intelligence this year, an even more important factor, arguably, was the decision by Sunni Arabs who had opposed the U.S. occupation to ally with the Americans against al-Qaida.

Whether those newfound allies — dubbed Sons of Iraq by their Americans benefactors — remain in opposition to the Sunni extremists, or decide to switch sides again, will tell much about al-Qaida's future in Iraq.

Either way, however, the moment seems to have passed when al-Qaida could prevail in this conflict. It has been forced out of its original strongholds in Anbar province, and more recently it has lost Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul, although it still can pull off a deadly attack there and elsewhere.

Stephen Biddle, an Iraq watcher in Washington at the Council on Foreign Relations, said in an interview that without an urban hideout, al-Qaida is reduced to the role of being "furtive terrorists."

"If they don't have an urban area with a friendly population that can enable them to operate" — and from which to recruit fighters — "then they're going to be isolated terrorist actors," Biddle said. Thus, eliminating them entirely need not be the goal of U.S. commanders and the Iraqi government.

"That's not central to the outcome of the war," Biddle said.

U.S. to establish presence in Tehran: report

1 hour, 18 minutes ago

The United States will announce in the next month that it plans to establish a diplomatic presence in Tehran for the first time in 30 years, a British newspaper said on Thursday.

In a front-page report, the Guardian said Washington would open a U.S. interests section in the Iranian capital, halfway towards opening an embassy.

The unsourced report by the newspaper's Washington correspondent said: "The Guardian has learned that an announcement will be made in the next month to establish a U.S. interests section in Tehran, a halfway house to setting up a full embassy.

"The move will see US diplomats stationed in the country."

Senior U.S. diplomat William Burns said in testimony to Congress last week the United States was looking to opening up an interest section in Tehran but had not made a decision yet.

The Guardian said the development was "a remarkable turnaround in policy by President George Bush who has pursued a hawkish approach to Iran throughout his time in office."

Washington said on Wednesday it was sending Burns to join atomic talks with Iran this weekend to signal to Tehran and others that Washington wanted a diplomatic solution to their nuclear impasse.

Iran says its nuclear work is for peaceful power generation, and not for the development of nuclear weapons as the West suspects, and has rejected conditions it give up uranium enrichment.

On Sunday, President Amhmoud Ahmadinejad suggested Iran would consider any proposal by the United States for a U.S. interests section in the Islamic Republic, should one be forthcoming.

U.S. media have reported that the State Department is considering opening an interests section that could mean U.S. diplomats returning to Tehran but operating under another country's flag.

The United States cut off diplomatic ties with Tehran during the 1979-1981 hostage crisis, in which a group of militant Iranian students held 52 U.S. diplomats hostage at the American embassy for 444 days.

Iran maintains an interests section at the embassy of Pakistan in Washington. Mottaki said it serves the large Iranian community in the United States.

(Reporting by Andrew Dobbie; additional reporting by Sue Pleming in Washington; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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Irakiers syn på Obama

En artikel om irakiernas syn på Obama:

Romney talar om ekonomin och ger McCain en slogan

Mitt Romney talar i en CNN-intervju om USA:s ekonomi och McCain kontra Obamas skilda förhållningssätt till saken.

I intervjun säger Romney så här: "Sweet talk is awful nice but it doesn´t compare with straight talk" - vilken slogan! Den borde McCain i sin straight talk express-kampanj utnyttja. Helt genialt: Sweet talk is nice, but it doesn´t compare with straight talk! McCain har ju, till skillnad från Obama, hittills saknat minnesvärda slogans, men där har han ju en rakt av, om han bara lyckas snappa upp den. Just sådana kommentarer är Romney väldigt bra på att utdela.

onsdag 16 juli 2008

JibJab: 2008 Campaign

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Israel byter med Hezbollah

Israel bytte idag under FNs uppsikt en (och fler) fångar mot att de fick vad som visade sig vara de döda kropparna av två israeliska soldater som kidnappades av Hezbollah för två år sedan och som startade det 34-dagar långa kriget mot dessa. Yahoo News skriver:

Hezbollah delivers remains of two Israeli soldiers

By Ayat Basma and Avida Landau 8 minutes ago

Hezbollah handed the bodies of two Israeli soldiers to the Red Cross on Wednesday to be exchanged for Lebanese prisoners held by Israel in a deal viewed as a triumph by the Lebanese Shi'ite guerrilla group.

Many Israelis see it as a painful necessity, two years after the soldiers' capture sparked a 34-day war with Hezbollah that killed about 1,200 people in Lebanon and 159 Israelis.

Two black coffins were unloaded from a Hezbollah vehicle at a U.N. peacekeeping base on the Israel-Lebanon border after a Hezbollah official, Wafik Safa, disclosed for the first time that army reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were dead.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) took the coffins and drove them into Israel. Safa later said DNA tests conducted by the ICRC had verified the identity of the soldiers. The Israeli army said it had started its own checks.

"We are now handing over the two imprisoned Israeli soldiers, who were captured by the Islamic resistance on July 12, 2006, to the ICRC," Safa said at the border. "The Israeli side will now hand over the great Arab mujahid (holy warrior) ... Samir Qantar and his companions to the ICRC."

In a deal mediated by a U.N.-appointed German intelligence officer, Israel was to free Qantar and four other prisoners.

Qantar had been serving a life prison term for the deaths of four Israelis, including a four-year-old girl and her father, in a 1979 Palestinian guerrilla attack on an Israeli town.

The fathers of the two Israelis soldiers spoke of their pain at watching the television pictures of their sons' coffins.

"It is not easy to see this, although there was not much surprise to it. But ... confronting this reality was difficult, yes," Shlomo Goldwasser told Israel radio.

Zvi Regev said on Army Radio: "It was very moving when we saw it. We couldn't watch too long. It was a terrible thing to see, really terrible. I was always optimistic, and I hoped all the time that I would meet Eldad and hug him."

An ICRC truck later drove into Lebanon with the bodies of eight Hezbollah fighters killed during the 2006 war.

Israel will also hand over the remains of nearly 200 Arabs killed trying to infiltrate northern Israel. Hezbollah will return the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in south Lebanon.

The deal also calls for Israel to release scores of Palestinian prisoners at a later date as a gesture to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.


Hezbollah has dubbed the exchange "Operation Radwan," in honor of "Hajj Radwan," or Imad Moughniyah, the group's military commander who was assassinated in Syria in February.

Yellow Hezbollah flags and banners fluttered across south Lebanon and along the coastal highway from the border village of Naqoura to the capital, Beirut. "Liberation of the captives: a new dawn for Lebanon and Palestine," one banner read.

Israel denounced the planned festivities.

"Samir Qantar is a brutal murderer of children and anybody celebrating him as a hero is trampling on basic human decency," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev said.

For some Lebanese, the exchange demonstrated the futility of the devastating conflict with Israel two summers ago.

"There shouldn't have been a war in 2006. A lot of lives were lost," said Rami Nasereddine, an 18-year-old student in downtown Beirut. "It's good that the prisoner exchange is taking place. Israel should have done that two years ago."

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas said the prisoner swap strengthened its own position in demanding the release of hundreds of long-serving prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured two years ago near the Gaza Strip.

"This is a great victory to the resistance and to Hezbollah and it is a festival for the Lebanese prisoners and their families," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza.

Israeli President Shimon Peres set the prisoner swap in motion on Tuesday by pardoning Qantar, reviled in Israel for his role in the 1979 attack. Qantar, aged 17 at the time, has said the father was shot by Israeli soldiers who also wounded him, and that he doesn't remember what happened to the girl.

Peres said he felt "bitter and unbearable pain" at the decision, but that Israel was obliged to retrieve its soldiers.

Olmert had described Qantar as the last bargaining chip for word on Israeli airman Ron Arad, missing since he bailed out over Lebanon in 1986. Israel said a report supplied by Hezbollah on Arad as part of the swap had failed to clarify his fate.

The other Lebanese prisoners being freed along with Qantar, a Druze, were named as Maher Qorani, Mohammad Srour, Hussein Suleiman and Khodr Zeidan. They were to be welcomed with rallies and fireworks in Lebanon, which declared a public holiday.

(Additional reporting by Tom Perry and Nadim Ladki in Beirut, Jeffrey Heller and Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Giles Elgood)

GITMO-fången: Video shows weeping Canadian Guantanamo inmate

By David LjunggrenTue Jul 15, 4:31 PM ET

Omar Khadr, the only western prisoner still held in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, broke down and wept when questioned by Canadian interrogators, video footage released on Tuesday shows.

Khadr, a Canadian, was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 at the age of 15 and is charged with killing a U.S. medic. The secret video was taken in February 2003 and shows Khadr -- then 16 -- being grilled by officials from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service spy agency.

At one point, when his interrogators are out of the room, Khadr moans repeatedly in a desperate voice as he holds his head in his hands.

The phrase sounded very much like the English words "Kill me," but a native Arabic speaker from the National Council on Canada-Arab Relations told Reuters that he believed Khadr was in fact saying "Ya ummi," the Arabic for "my mother."

Extracts of videos taken over four days of interrogation were released by Khadr's lawyers on Tuesday after a long battle with the Canadian government.

"It's the cry of a desperate young man. He expected the Canadian officials to take him home," said lawyer Dennis Edney.

The poor quality footage -- recorded by cameras hidden in the room -- offers a rare glimpse into the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility, where the United States is holding about 265 prisoners in conditions criticized by human rights groups.

Khadr also tells the interrogators, "You don't care about me," complains of poor medical treatment and removes his orange jumpsuit to show scars from the serious wounds he suffered during the firefight in Afghanistan in which the medic died.

Critics of Khadr's treatment say he is a child soldier who should be rehabilitated rather than punished. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has brushed off calls to intervene with Washington, saying Khadr faces serious charges.

Khadr has alleged U.S. interrogators repeatedly threatened to rape him or send him to another country to be raped.

In Guantanamo Bay on Tuesday, Osama bin Laden's former driver took the witness stand and said he had been subjected to isolation, sleep deprivation and sexual impropriety during nearly seven years of captivity.

Documents released earlier this month show U.S. authorities deprived Khadr of sleep ahead of a separate interview with an official from Canada's foreign ministry in 2004.

Edney said the videos and the documents demonstrated that Harper misled Canadians when he said Ottawa had received U.S. assurances that Khadr was being treated well.

"They knew from Omar Khadr that he had been mistreated, that he was frightened of the Americans and had been tortured ... this kid has suffered enough. This kid needs to come home. This kid is not a terrorist," he told reporters.

A Canadian judge ruled last month that Khadr has a right to see descriptions of interviews that the Canadians conducted with him, to help him prepare for his trial at Guantanamo.

The video shows Khadr at a plain wooden table in an apparently windowless cell, and also sitting on a sofa. He wears an orange prison jumpsuit, and at times buries his head in his hands, or pulls at his hair.

"I lost my eyes, I lost my feet, everything," he says. "No, you still have your eyes and your feet are still at the end of your legs, you know," responds one Canadian official.

Khadr was taken to Afghanistan by his father Ahmed Said Khadr, an alleged al Qaeda financier and close friend of Osama bin Laden. Khadr senior was killed in a battle with Pakistani forces in 2003.

Omar's brother Abdullah Khadr faces extradition from Canada to the United States on charges of gun-running and conspiracy to murder Americans abroad. A middle brother, Abdurahman Khadr, was also a prisoner at Guantanamo, but he was later freed.

Other western countries have successfully pressed for the repatriation of citizens imprisoned in Guantanamo.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)