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"Vice President for torture", secret CIA prisons

Folkard Wohlgemuth recommends the op-ed "Degrading our soldiers and ourselves" in the International Herald Tribune, which deals with Vice President Cheney's attempt on allowing the CIA to treat (or should one rather say: "abuse"?) captives basically as they please. "It is worth remembering that the rule of law is not just a "value," much less a luxury confined to more peaceful times", comments the author, Anne-Marie Slaughter. "Our founders looked to law as constraint, not as license; as a check on power, not authorization. The difference is a matter of honor, of values, of identity itself."
Washington Post editorial calls Vice President Cheney "an open advocate of torture."

The Wash Post's Dana Priest reports about a "covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries":

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Double standards in media coverage of Iraq and Kosovo

The Daily Demarche, a "blog by members of the State Department Republican Underground - conservative Foreign Service Officers serving overseas commenting on foreign policy and global reactions to America," writes:

The "Paper of Record", late last week, ran an editorial entitled "Kosovo, Still Messy After All These Years" lamenting the failure of the U.N. efforts there to produce a lasting peace with real results. What I love about this piece is that when the U.N. is involved and six years have passed and there is nothing to show for it the results are "messy." When George Bush frees Iraq, successful elections are held and a constitution is overwhelmingly approved (and underwhelmigly reported) in a fraction of that time, the result is a "quagmire."

Obviously there is much less violence in Kosovo, but that is one more reason to expect more progress and an exit strategy from the UN and the European Union, which is also strongly involved in Kosovo and other parts of the Balkans. The author of the post, Dr. Demarche, continues to contrasts the Armed Forces TV news in contrast to the mass media's coverage of Iraq:

Our family and friends who visited were always astonished to see footage of soldiers and Marines handing out toys, aiding women and children, building schools and hospitals or just speaking with Iraqis who did not cower in fear or try to kill the hated Americans on site. They simply had no idea that for most troops, most of the time, violence was a rare thing.

Speaking of double standards: Davids Medienkritik compares Spiegel Online's German and English commentary on Iraq and concludes:

Cheap Anti-American Populism Sells Well in German: Not So Well in English.

Pakistani Fulbrighters call for more aid for quake victims

Pakistani officials told the BBC that the earthquake killed more than 55,000 people, injured another 78,000 and left three million homeless. The UN estimates that over 800,000 people are without shelter as the bitter winter nears. The problem seems to be some Pakistani mismanagement, but primarily international donor fatigue. The World Food Program says it may be forced to ground its relief helicopters because it lacks the funds to fly them and calls for donations.

Prof Slaughter, Dean at Princeton University, calls for a Berlin Airlift for the 21st century  that would simultaneously advance humanitarian and strategic objectives by winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world. The US military, however, says a helicopter was fired upon while delivering aid, which Pakistan denies.

Several Pakistani Fulbrighters appealed for more aid. Following are three emails from Saad Sheikh, PhD Student at The University of Illinois, and from Fouad Khan, who studies at The University of Houston, Texas as well as from Umber Shamim:

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