U.S. may close Gitmo prison

The US government is considering closing a war-on-terror detention center at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and granting it detainees substantially greater rights, The New York Times reported on its website Saturday.

Citing unnamed officials involved in the discussions, the newspaper said the plan also called for possibly moving most of the detainees to the United States.

A clear case of U.S. impotence

It’s August 2009, oil prices have topped 150 dollars a barrel and a secret uranium plant has been detected in Iran.

Tehran and Caracas are slashing oil exports by 700,000 barrels to punish the West for sanctions, and the US military is ready to move its entire Pacific fleet into the Middle East to counter threats.

It may be tomorrow’s headlines, but on Thursday a high-powered panel of Washington insiders acting as the US president’s national security council found they would face almost impossible choices and be powerless in such a case, baring the United States’ growing inability to lead in global crises.

Shock jock Imus back on radio

A little more than six months ago, Don Imus’ career seemed doomed. The shock jock had been fired over a racist and sexist remark that ignited an uproar over the limits of taste and tolerance.

But the cantankerous Imus has clambered back from the professional brink before, and the Rasputin of radio is poised to do it again.

Citadel Broadcasting Corp. announced Thursday that Imus would return to radio Dec. 3., confirming long-rumored reports that he was coming back to morning drive time on WABC-AM, based in New York — the same city where he was banished from the airwaves last spring.

The cost of intelligence

One of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission was that the figure for overall U.S. spending on intelligence should be made public annually.

A law enacted this summer required that the Bureau of National Intelligence produce that number 30 days after the end of the federal fiscal year. That was Sept. 30, and Tuesday, 30 days later, came the figure — $43.5 billion for fiscal 2007.

If there is a surprise, it is that the total is lower than most outside experts had estimated. They put it at around $45 billion.

All the news that’s fit to twist

Mark Twain famously said that “if you don’t read the newspapers you are uninformed — if you do read the newspapers you are misinformed.” Today, those who rely on the elite media for news of Iraq suffer from both disabilities.

Why gas prices are rising

In April of last year, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was asked why gas prices were surging ever closer to $3 per gallon. She told CNN: “We have two oilmen in the White House … The logical follow-up from that is $3-a-gallon gasoline. It is no accident. It is a cause and effect.”

Firestorm over immunity deal

The US State Department faced tough questions Tuesday over reports that it offered immunity to Blackwater security firm employees in the wake of a Baghdad shooting that left 17 civilians dead.

Top Democratic lawmakers sent letters to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding answers over reports that Blackwater, which protects US diplomats in Baghdad, had been offered protection from prosecution when the State Department investigated the September 16 shooting.

Help wanted: Must be willing to die

White House assurances that Iraq in general and Baghdad in particular have become safer thanks to President Bush’s “surge” strategy are apparently not resonating at certain levels of the U.S. State Department.

The department has been unable to attract enough volunteers from among its diplomatic corps to fully staff the huge Baghdad embassy, the United States’ largest, so it is resorting to its first mandatory call-up of Foreign Service officers since the Vietnam War.

FEMA’s fantasies

Fox News and MSNBC tag-teamed the other day in a wacky, zany comedy contest against “Saturday Night Live.”

Final score: FNC & MSNBC 1, “SNL” 0. The triumph came when the 24/7 cable news channels aired a live comedy program that the trained professional comedians at “Saturday Night Live” could not possibly match.

Live from FEMA — it’s Tuesday afternoon!

Blackwater mercenaries get immunity

A controversial immunity deal for Blackwater mercenaries involved in the murder of Iraqi civilians threatens a criminal investigation into the killings and has further angered the Iraqi government.

The immunity deal promised by the State Department is viewed by some as a cover up of Blackwater’s many illegal activities in the Iraq war and a blatant attempt by the Bush administration to whitewash the actions by a company whose owner is a major supporter of Republican political activities.