Life in claustrophobic Baghdad 'jail ....
Thousands of volunteers - all Sunni Arabs - have been stepping forward and offering to protect their own neighbourhoods. Some are former insurgents who have switched sides.
Others are young unemployed men who have had enough of the violence.
It is a remarkable turn-around that so many now want to co-operate with the Americans, the very people they had previously been trying to kill.
Few average Americans have been changed, however, by what the CIA does in our name. Blame that on the tight official secrecy that continues over how the CIA extracts information. On July 20, the Bush administration issued a new executive order authorizing the CIA to continue using these techniques - without disclosing anything about them.
On Monday, President Bush will visit Australia to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. The White House is using the trip to try to influence the Australian election, where Bush’s good friend John Howard is pitted in a contest against Labor leader Kevin Rudd.
Howard was an early supporter of the Iraq invasion and has remained one of Bush’s few solid foreign allies. Prior to the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Howard weighed in, claiming a Bush reelection was needed in order to “stay and finish the job” in Iraq.
Paul Keating, the former prime minister and architect of the current APEC structure, said those complaining should "grow up, count yourselves lucky".
"Here you have leaders representing 60 per cent of the world gross domestic product, a massive power grouping, coming to your city to discuss world affairs, and we think it's a bother? Really?" he told the Herald. "Look who's here - the President of the US, the President of China, the Prime Minister of Japan, the President of Indonesia, the President of Russia.
Cabinet ministers have launched a robust defence of Britain's role in Iraq, rebuffing American criticism that UK forces had failed in their mission.
Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, took the unusual move of writing an editorial in the Washington Post yesterday, insisting that Britain was on track to hand over Basra to Iraqi authorities "within months".
It's worth comparing the vital statistics (though not on CNN or Fox News): Syria has accepted almost one and a half million Iraqi refugees - caring for them, providing them with welfare and free hospital services - while Washington, when it isn't cursing Iraq's prime minister, has accepted a measly 800 Iraqis.
The media is silent, Congress is absent, and Americans are distracted as George W. Bush openly prepares aggression against Iran.
US Navy aircraft carrier strike forces are deployed off Iran.
US Air Force jets and missile systems are deployed in bases in countries bordering or near to Iran.
US B-2 stealth bombers have been refitted to carry 30,000-pound "bunker buster" bombs.
The US government is financing terrorist and separatist groups within Iran.
I'm buggered if I'll take my shoes off for APEC: Whitlam
Gough Whitlam ... "Ordinarily they know me there and they just let me through, but with APEC they're going to be extra officious so I decided not to go."
Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was unable to attend an event in Darwin today because of what he described as "overly officious" APEC security at Sydney airport.
Alex Mitchell writes ....
APEC: a week of Kafka, collusion and spooks
The Federal and NSW security forces have a list of banned citizens, individuals who will be arrested and detained if they go anywhere near next week's APEC summit in downtown Sydney. Who is on the list? It is a secret, replies NSW Police Minister David Campbell.
"He is a man of steel, because he’s a person of conviction & principle: whether it be Afghanistan or Iraq, we've got more work to do."
bush to savour sydney and side-step election debate
US President George Bush has told of his excitement about visiting "beautiful" Sydney - and dodged suggestions ally John Howard could be defeated at the coming election - in an interview with Sky News today.
"I'm looking forward to coming to one of the most beautiful cities in the world," he said.
Darwin insider Henri Ivrey writes:
Brough's takeover targets: a shopping mall, a car yard, a pipeline ...
Earlier this year, Aboriginal MP Karl Hampton opened extensions to the Yeperenye shopping centre—the largest shopping complex in Alice Springs. It was a proud moment for the Territory’s youngest MP: it was a building he’d grown up with, shopped at, or just hung around with his mates in the air conditioning.
Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.
Prayers, protests and a lingering disgust with the government's response to Hurricane Katrina marked the disaster's second anniversary Wednesday, with a presidential visit doing little to mollify those still displaced by the storm.
Clarence Russ, 64, took a dim view of politicians' promises as he tried to put the finishing touches on his repaired home in the city's devastated Lower 9th Ward.
"There was supposed to be all this money, but where'd it go? None of us got any," said Russ, whose house was the only restored home on an otherwise desolate block.