For the last few years, this website, has sought, in all honesty, to present the daily news as truthfully as possible. Signs of the Times is one of the very few news and information portals on the web that remains uncorrupted in any way and is staffed by a small group of people who are dedicated to one thing - bringing the Truth to the general public. We are able to do this because we rely solely on support from our readers and our own hard work: book sales. You may not necessarily agree with our take on events but I would hope that you agree that alternative media is now essential to the preservation of our basic freedoms. As I wrote in my editorial for the Signs of the Times Podcast on February 19, 2006:
Knowledge is power. Those who control information can control the masses; it's that simple.
As we researched the subject of the media, we came across The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. As everyone knows, this is a vicious anti-Semitic hoax. We agree. We do not for a minute think that this represents Judaism or ordinary Jewish people.
What was shocking for us was our realization that the Protocols is being implemented almost line by line by many of the members of the Bush Administration and the various government 'think-tanks' that formulate their policy. In other words, the Protocols is not a hoax because it is nonsense, but rather it is only a hoax because it was attributed to Jews.
Here, we present the text of Protocol 12 from which several excerpts were read on the podcast and which we jokingly referred to as "The Gospel According to Karl Rove."
Read it and understand that this is, indeed, the number one issue that America must deal with before they can do a single other thing.
PROTOCOL No. 12 Control of the Press
1. The word "freedom," which can be interpreted in various ways, is defined by us as follows -
2. Freedom is the right to do that which the law allows. This interpretation of the word will at the proper time be of service to us, because all freedom will thus be in our hands, since the laws will abolish or create only that which is desirable for us according to the aforesaid program.
3. We shall deal with the press in the following way: what is the part played by the press to-day? It serves to excite and inflame those passions which are needed for our purpose or else it serves selfish ends of parties. It is often vapid, unjust, mendacious, and the majority of the public have not the slightest idea what ends the press really serves. We shall saddle and bridle it with a tight curb: we shall do the same also with all productions of the printing press, for where would be the sense of getting rid of the attacks of the press if we remain targets for pamphlets and books? The produce of publicity, which nowadays is a source of heavy expense owing to the necessity of censoring it, will be turned by us into a very lucrative source of income to our State: we shall lay on it a special stamp tax and require deposits of caution-money before permitting the establishment of any organ of the press or of printing offices; these will then have to guarantee our government against any kind of attack on the part of the press.
For any attempt to attack us, if such still be possible, we shall inflict fines without mercy. Such measures as stamp tax, deposit of caution-money and fines secured by these deposits, will bring in a huge income to the government. It is true that party organs might not spare money for the sake of publicity, but these we shall shut up at the second attack upon us. No one shall with impunity lay a finger on the aureole of our government infallibility. The pretext for stopping any publication will be the alleged plea that it is agitating the public mind without occasion or justification. I BEG YOU TO NOTE THAT AMONG THOSE MAKING ATTACKS UPON US WILL ALSO BE ORGANS ESTABLISHED BY US, BUT THEY WILL ATTACK EXCLUSIVELY POINTS THAT WE HAVE PRE-DETERMINED TO ALTER. WE CONTROL THE PRESS
4. NOT A SINGLE ANNOUNCEMENT WILL REACH THE PUBLIC WITHOUT OUR CONTROL. Even now this is already being attained by us inasmuch as all news items are received by a few agencies, in whose offices they are focused from all parts of the world. These agencies will then be already entirely ours and will give publicity only to what we dictate to them.
5. If already now we have contrived to possess ourselves of the minds of the GOY communities to such an extent the they all come near looking upon the events of the world through the colored glasses of those spectacles we are setting astride their noses; if already now there is not a single State where there exist for us any barriers to admittance into what GOY stupidity calls State secrets: what will our positions be then, when we shall be acknowledged supreme lords of the world in the person of our king of all the world ....
6. Let us turn again to the FUTURE OF THE PRINTING PRESS. Every one desirous of being a publisher, librarian, or printer, will be obliged to provide himself with the diploma instituted therefore, which, in case of any fault, will be immediately impounded. With such measures THE INSTRUMENT OF THOUGHT WILL BECOME AN EDUCATIVE MEANS ON THE HANDS OF OUR GOVERNMENT, WHICH WILL NO LONGER ALLOW THE MASS OF THE NATION TO BE LED ASTRAY IN BY-WAYS AND FANTASIES ABOUT THE BLESSINGS OF PROGRESS. Is there any one of us who does not know that these phantom blessings are the direct roads to foolish imaginings which give birth to anarchical relations of men among themselves and towards authority, because progress, or rather the idea of progress, has introduced the conception of every kind of emancipation, but has failed to establish its limits .... All the so-called liberals are anarchists, if not in fact, at any rate in thought. Every one of them in hunting after phantoms of freedom, and falling exclusively into license, that is, into the anarchy of protest for the sake of protest....
7. We turn to the periodical press. We shall impose on it, as on all printed matter, stamp taxes per sheet and deposits of caution-money, and books of less than 30 sheets will pay double. We shall reckon them as pamphlets in order, on the one hand, to reduce the number of magazines, which are the worst form of printed poison, and, on the other, in order that this measure may force writers into such lengthy productions that they will be little read, especially as they will be costly. At the same time what we shall publish ourselves to influence mental development in the direction laid down for our profit will be cheap and will be read voraciously. The tax will bring vapid literary ambitions within bounds and the liability to penalties will make literary men dependent upon us. And if there should be any found who are desirous of writing against us, they will not find any person eager to print their productions. Before accepting any production for publication in print, the publisher or printer will have to apply to the authorities for permission to do so. Thus we shall know beforehand of all tricks preparing against us and shall nullify them by getting ahead with explanations on the subject treated of.
8. Literature and journalism are two of the most important educative forces, and therefore our government will become proprietor of the majority of the journals. This will neutralize the injurious influence of the privately-owned press and will put us in possession of a tremendous influence upon the public mind .... If we give permits for ten journals, we shall ourselves found thirty, and so on in the same proportion. This, however, must in no wise be suspected by the public. For which reason all journals published by us will be of the most opposite, in appearance, tendencies and opinions, thereby creating confidence in us and bringing over to us quite unsuspicious opponents, who will thus fall into our trap and be rendered harmless.
9. In the front rank will stand organs of an official character. They will always stand guard over our interests, and therefore their influence will be comparatively insignificant.
10. In the second rank will be the semi-official organs, whose part it will be to attack the tepid and indifferent.
11. In the third rank we shall set up our own, to all appearance, opposition, which, in at least one of its organs, will present what looks like the very antipodes to us. Our real opponents at heart will accept this simulated opposition as their own and will show us their cards.
12. All our newspapers will be of all possible complexions -- aristocratic, republican, revolutionary, even anarchical - for so long, of course, as the constitution exists .... Like the Indian idol "Vishnu" they will have a hundred hands, and every one of them will have a finger on any one of the public opinions as required. When a pulse quickens these hands will lead opinion in the direction of our aims, for an excited patient loses all power of judgment and easily yields to suggestion. Those fools who will think they are repeating the opinion of a newspaper of their own camp will be repeating our opinion or any opinion that seems desirable for us. In the vain belief that they are following the organ of their party they will, in fact, follow the flag which we hang out for them.
13. In order to direct our newspaper militia in this sense we must take special and minute care in organizing this matter. Under the title of central department of the press we shall institute literary gatherings at which our agents will without attracting attention issue the orders and watchwords of the day. By discussing and controverting, but always superficially, without touching the essence of the matter, our organs will carry on a sham fight fusillade with the official newspapers solely for the purpose of giving occasion for us to express ourselves more fully than could well be done from the outset in official announcements, whenever, of course, that is to our advantage.
14. THESE ATTACKS UPON US WILL ALSO SERVE ANOTHER PURPOSE, NAMELY, THAT OUR SUBJECTS WILL BE CONVINCED TO THE EXISTENCE OF FULL FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND SO GIVE OUR AGENTS AN OCCASION TO AFFIRM THAT ALL ORGANS WHICH OPPOSE US ARE EMPTY BABBLERS, since they are incapable of finding any substantial objections to our orders. ONLY LIES WILL BE PRINTED
15. Methods of organization like these, imperceptible to the public eye but absolutely sure, are the best calculated to succeed in bringing the attention and the confidence of the public to the side of our government. Thanks to such methods we shall be in a position as from time to time may be required, to excite or to tranquillize the public mind on political questions, to persuade or to confuse, printing now truth, now lies, facts or their contradictions, according as they may be well or ill received, always very cautiously feeling our ground before stepping upon it ....
WE SHALL HAVE A SURE TRIUMPH OVER OUR OPPONENTS SINCE THEY WILL NOT HAVE AT THEIR DISPOSITION ORGANS OF THE PRESS IN WHICH THEY CAN GIVE FULL AND FINAL EXPRESSION TO THEIR VIEWS owing to the aforesaid methods of dealing with the press. We shall not even need to refute them except very superficially.
16. Trial shots like these, fired by us in the third rank of our press, in case of need, will be energetically refuted by us in our semi-official organs.
17. Even nowadays, already, to take only the French press, there are forms which reveal masonic solidarity in acting on the watchword: all organs of the press are bound together by professional secrecy; like the augurs of old, not one of their numbers will give away the secret of his sources of information unless it be resolved to make announcement of them. Not one journalist will venture to betray this secret, for not one of them is ever admitted to practice literature unless his whole past has some disgraceful sore or other .... These sores would be immediately revealed. So long as they remain the secret of a few the prestige of the journalist attacks the majority of the country - the mob follow after him with enthusiasm.
18. Our calculations are especially extended to the provinces. It is indispensable for us to inflame there those hopes and impulses with which we could at any moment fall upon the capital, and we shall represent to the capitals that these expressions are the independent hopes and impulses of the provinces. Naturally, the source of them will be always one and the same - ours.
WHAT WE NEED IS THAT, UNTIL SUCH TIME AS WE ARE IN THE PLENITUDE POWER, THE CAPITALS SHOULD FIND THEMSELVES STIFLED BY THE PROVINCIAL OPINION OF THE NATIONS, I.E., OF A MAJORITY ARRANGED BY OUR AGENTUR. What we need is that at the psychological moment the capitals should not be in a position to discuss an accomplished fact for the simple reason, if for no other, that it has been accepted by the public opinion of a majority in the provinces.
19. WHEN WE ARE IN THE PERIOD OF THE NEW REGIME TRANSITIONAL TO THAT OF OUR ASSUMPTION OF FULL SOVEREIGNTY WE MUST NOT ADMIT ANY REVELATION BY THE PRESS OF ANY FORM OF PUBLIC DISHONESTY; IT IS NECESSARY THAT THE NEW REGIME SHOULD BE THOUGHT TO HAVE SO PERFECTLY CONTENDED EVERYBODY THAT EVEN CRIMINALITY HAS DISAPPEARED ... Cases of the manifestation of criminality should remain known only to their victims and to chance witnesses - no more.
The position of freedom of expression particularly when it is expressing Truth, is now very serious as the world is slipping steadily into a manufactured chaos - manufactured as described above...
Our website - Signs of the Times - represents one of many alternative sites but we seem to be doing something that most of the others aren't doing as we have now been attacked by some "serious heavies" in the form of the world's biggest, meanest, law firm that just happens to be based in Virginia - and we all know who else comes from Virginia - this is no coincidence.
As many of the readers of Signs of the Times are aware, this attack was launched via a gang we have suspected to be agents of Pentagon psy-ops - abovetopsecret.com and friends - on the night of the 22nd. We became aware that there was a problem only after many of our readers had sent emails asking why Signs of the Times was inaccessible.
Since we experience regular DOS attacks, but have learned to deal with them quickly and efficiently (with the help of the server techs), we first thought that this might be the problem. It was only after writing to the server people that we became aware that the problem was something "other" than just simple DOS attacks. The server techs told us that they had discontinued our service because of having received a notice of "copyright infringement." Well, heck, we get that all the time but the server techs have NEVER been intimidated before; so what was up with this? we wondered. Since the server people know what our site is about and this has NEVER been an issue before, just what was going on here? (To get an idea of some of the nonsense that goes on behind the scenes, have a look HERE).
That was the first clue that tactics were being used that had never been used before.
We got on the phone to the server techs and basically explained to them that heck, if someone is accusing us of copyright infringment, we need to know who it is and what they are claiming is copyright violation so we can take care of it. It was then that the techs forwarded to us the letter from the attorney claiming to represent abovetopsecret.com(CENSORED! This section of the post can only be read on my blog or more attacks will be directed at our server tech)
As soon as we received the information from our server, and determining from their fear of Mr. Jaeschke that something other than a letter was behind this, we removed the "offending articles" from the server and placed them elsewhere. Since there was no copyright violation (as we had been assured by our own legal counsel), but the fear that was evident in the attitude of the server techs suggested that something more was going on with this issue, we made this decision to place the articles elsewhere. And then, in order to explain the disruption and notify our readers of what was going on, we posted Jaeschke's letter on the Signs of the Times Forum.
Since we were still sitting at our computers (it was the middle of the night here in France) working on changing links and putting in redirects, we were immediately aware when, a few minutes later, the site was taken down again. So, we were back on the phone to the server people who told us that Mr. Jaeschke had called them and demanded that his contact details be removed. (At least that is what they told us; what Jaeschke actually said to them, we have no way of knowing.) We explained that we couldn't do that if the site was not working, so they re-activated it.
I was IN THE PROCESS of doing it, trying to upload the changes, when the site disappeared again!
Yup, three times in less than an hour!
We were back on the phone asking "what's wrong THIS time???" It seems that Jaeschke was screaming that he was getting death threats already because we had posted his info and what he REALLY wanted was that his entire letter be removed, not just the contact details.
The server techs were REALLY scared! We patiently explained that Wayne is just a cointelpro agent and internet psy-ops game player using his position as an attorney to intimidate them. So, after they got calmed down a bit, the site went back up and they stayed on the phone until I gave them the signal that the letters had been removed from all three threads.
I actually felt sorry for those poor fellas! And that kind of terror is what psychopaths count on and that is why it is so important to study psychopathy, to know them fully and well so that you are not susceptible to their maneuvers and manipulations! In this day and time, a course about psychopaths ought to be required for anybody in a position to be intimidated or coerced by such blatant strong-mouth manipulation.
Possibly utilizing the "special psychological knowledge" of the psychopath that Andrew Lobaczewski describes in his work on Ponerology, good ole Wayne did such a number on those poor tech guys that they folded instantly. Seeing how Mr. Jaeschke managed to intimidate the heck out of the tech's really makes you wonder just what kinds of things he said to them on the phone? Geez! Didn't Hannibal Lecter convince a guy to swallow his own tongue? But I digress...
Nevertheless, at this point, the fog began to clear! What Mr. Jaeschke was really concerned about was the public association of his name or the name of his firm with abovetopsecret.com. That's why I wrote in the previous post that it became clear that this was supposed to be a "stealth" attack. We were never supposed to SEE the letter from abovetopsecret.com's attorney, Wayne C. Jaeschke, Jr. of Morrison & Foerster LLP in McLean VA . Nobody was ever supposed to see it. It was sent to our host server, not to us.
CENSORED! Read it on the Blog!
Well, I had certainly read it and, as far as I was concerned, as the subject of the message, I was "authorized to receive for the addressee". And since I was "authorized" to receive, I was certainly entitled to "use, copy and disclose" to everyone the message and the information contained in the message.
Wayne, if you don't agree, sue me, please!!! And also explain to me why we have never received an official letter in the mail - as is standard operating procedure - regarding this matter? Is it because you don't want any hard evidence floating around about your close association with abovetopsecret.com?
As I said, Wayne's pathetic screaming and crying that he was getting death threats within 5 minutes of his publicly available contact details appearing on the internet is what clued us into the fact that it was his exposure as an associate of abovetopsecret.com that was at issue. Why? Because every single one of the contact details that Wayne claims were exposing him to mortal danger just happen to be published on the Morrison and Foerster website which also tells us this:
The International Law Firm for Israeli Companies
Morrison & Foerster combines extensive experience representing Israeli companies in cross-border business transactions and litigation with the high- tech focus of its Silicon Valley practice.
We offer our Israeli clients comprehensive, global legal services that only an international law firm with over one thousand lawyers in nineteen offices around the world can provide in intellectual property, litigation, public offerings, technology transactions, M&A, corporate finance and all other areas of law they face as international players.
Gee, I wonder if they represent Israeli Moving Companies such as the ones that employed the Five Dancing Israelis on September 11, 2001, Urban Moving Company? But I digress...
Getting back to Wayne: is what is said about the Northern Virginia office where Wayne is one of a whole gaggle of associates:
1650 Tysons Boulevard, Suite 300 McLean, Virginia 22102 Phone: (703) 760-7700 Fax: (703) 760-7777
Key Facts about Morrison & Foerster's Northern Virginia Office
- Founded in 2000
- 43 Attorneys specializing in the areas of Intellectual Property, Government Contracts, Litigation, Labor, and Corporate Finance
- Serving the technology, life sciences, and financial services industries that drive commerce in the Nation's Capitol and beyond
- Named as sixth best place to work in 2005 by Washington Business Journal
- "Home" of two of Washington Business Journal's Leading Litigation and IP Lawyers for 2004.
Managing Partner: Brian Busey
If you click " List of Attorneys in our Northern Virginia office" you can then select Wayne's name:
Wayne C. Jaeschke Associate Primary Office: Northern Virginia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (703) 760-7756 Fax: (703) 760-7777
These are the same phone numbers and the same email that were on the above email to our server techs. What's more, you can even have a look at Wayne's mug... Have a quick peek...
Whiny looking guy, isn't he? Geez, reminds me of a story on Signs of the Times about How to spot a baby conservative - Whiny children, claims a new study, tend to grow up rigid and traditional.
Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.
... The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.
The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn't going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on the right. Similar conclusions a few years ago from another academic saw him excoriated on right-wing blogs, and even led to a Congressional investigation into his research funding. [...]
Shades of the Protocols!
The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.
The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective. [...]
He reasons that insecure kids look for the reassurance provided by tradition and authority, and find it in conservative politics. The more confident kids are eager to explore alternatives to the way things are, and find liberal politics more congenial.
In a society that values self-confidence and out-goingness, it's a mostly flattering picture for liberals. It also runs contrary to the American stereotype of wimpy liberals and strong conservatives.
Of course, if you're studying the psychology of politics, you shouldn't be surprised to get a political reaction. Similar work by John T. Jost of Stanford and colleagues in 2003 drew a political backlash.
The researchers reviewed 44 years worth of studies into the psychology of conservatism, and concluded that people who are dogmatic, fearful, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, and who crave order and structure are more likely to gravitate to conservatism. Critics branded it the "conservatives are crazy" study and accused the authors of a political bias. [...]
More action according to the Protocols?
Whether anyone's feelings are hurt or not, the work suggests that personality and emotions play a bigger role in our political leanings than we think. All of us, liberal or conservative, feel as though we've reached our political opinions by carefully weighing the evidence and exercising our best judgment. But it could be that all of that careful reasoning is just after-the-fact self-justification. What if personality forms our political outlook, with reason coming along behind, rationalizing after the fact?
It could be that whom we vote for has less to do with our judgments about tax policy or free trade or health care, and more with the personalities we've been stuck with since we were kids.
Regarding the above conclusions, taken in context with the Protocols of the Pathocrats, we have to consider psychopathy and other pathological conditions and how psychopaths can influence those with mental deficits at the social, national, and even global level. It could be said that being whiny and insecure may very well be evidence of congenital mental deficits that tend to make an individual more susceptible to Ponerological dynamics.
Speaking of Ponerology, How many of you are aware that Signs of the Times is never officially censored, but that the censorship imposed on us is covert and comprehensive. We have received many emails from readers about this issue and just the other day a reader who is an EXECUTIVE in a big multinational company branch in the UK sent me the following screen shot that he recently started getting on his computer when he tries to access Signs of the Times:
Now, as I said, this is an executive who generally logs onto Signs to dowload the news for reading later at home. He is not using his work computer to "waste time" or diddle around. Generally, executives are allowed to access whatever they like on their work computers. More than that, Signs of the Times is not a "Newsgroup" or "Bulletin Board," it is an Alternative News Source. I understand that we are also totally black-listed in China.
But back to Wayne's tantrum about his contact details being revealed. Fact is, the law firm actually publishes Directions to their location along with a handy little map. Gee, isn't that right down the road from the CIA? As one of the posters to our forum points out:
"MoFo is a heavyweight law firm. Sort of like the Mercedes-Benz of law firms. These aren't ambulance chasers. Their meat and potatos are IP law and other big corporation stuff. Intel retains them, among others. They don't usually bother with harassment suits, but as long as your coin is good (and plenty), they'll do whatever you want. Whoever is behind this has a lot of coins to throw around."
Another poster responded:
Having said that, there are two Wayne Jaeschke's at MoFo (is that name symbolic?), most likely father and son, of which our Wayne is the son. It seems that while MoFo might be the 'Mercedes Benz' of law firms, Wayne junior isn't up to much other than intimidating customer support at server companies and trying to find new ways to build bigger and better speakers, probably so he can listen to a recording of his own voice telling himself what a big, powerful lawyer he is.
Whether or not MoFo actually represents abovetopsecret.com, for our purposes, the most significant thing about Wayne Jaeschke's letter to our server people (that we were never supposed to see) was that it confirmed the close association of Jaeschke with the abovetopsecret.com "Three Amigos". This brings us to something else most interesting, the whole so-called Project SERPO hoax that abovetopsecret.com - with the gleeful assistance of attorney Wayne Jaeschke - has been running on the internet since last fall. There is a discussion about that on our forum also, which includes many fun facts and findings, and on that discussion page you can see a very interesting image about half way down which I am including here for the reader's convenience..
This is an image of an email that Bill Ryan of Project SERPO sent to me claiming that it had been sent to him by "friends" who were on the list of recipients. When I initially published it on the forum, I blacked out the name of the sender because I wasn't at all sure that a respectable attorney with a reputable law firm would actually be doing what this email suggests he is doing: creating a hoax to propagate on the internet via abovetopsecret.com. But now Jaeschke's involvement with ATS is on the record (even if he did not intend it), I am publishing the image without the name of the sender blacked out:
In short, this high-end corporate attorney is VERY thick in the whole Abovetopsecret gang activity. (Funny, QFG only ever had ONE attorney member and he only lasted about a week. He couldn't stand being in a group that demands the truth, I guess.)
You can see that this email comes from Wayne at "speakerbuilder.net. This is Wayne's "hobby site" where he likes to be called "The Rev". Hmmm... that's pretty suggestive of some strange mental quirks, not the least of which might be fundamentalist conservatism. If you click "email the Rev" you will get this publicly available email address. so if he starts yelling that his contact details are being revealed, he's full of it.
From this email we surmise that Wayne and the abovetopsecret.com Three Amigos and possibly others are communicating about their Hoaxing Activities re: Project SERPO. Apparently the set-up was to create a food fight about Serpo between Ryan and abovetopsecret.com in hopes that I would run to the defense of Ryan and get stuck in the Serpo Tar Baby. The above referenced "Friday the 13th" message was supposed to be the big expose that Serpo was a hoax. Had QFG been defending Serpo, we would have had significant egg on our face. As you can see from the email exchange posted on our forum, we suspected this from the beginning. We haven't been researching UFO and related matters this long to not recognize COINTELPRO when we see it.
One of the things that clued us in was that Bill Ryan removed the list of recipients before sending the email image to me, and my suspicions were raised even higher because he chose to send me an image rather than forwarding the email itself with the headers intact. My guess is that he was on the list of recipients as well.
In short, it tells us that the whole Serpo story is a creation, a game, put together by this bunch of sick turkeys.
Notice also Victor's (Martinez) comment: "If and when the official program goes into effect with legitimate, mainstream news media sources. " That definitely suggests that Victor is convinced that he is in contact with a gov intell guy - or that someone is - and that this whole program is sanctioned by the US psy-ops gang. Victor's question: "were ALL of the postings fake" tells us that he is not completely on the inside.
I'd bet dollars to donuts that Wayne is the author of ALL of the Serpo hoax material with maybe a little help from William Irvine and Mark Allin and Allin's Halliburton employee wife, "Val Hall". In short, abovetopsecret.com is just a nest of vipers, hoaxers and probably a central node for internet COINTELPRO funded by the Pentagon and backed by Dick "Shoot First, Ask Questions Later" Cheney.
Meanwhile, a reader of Signs of the Times has sent me a link to another blog, State of the Nation, which carried the following comments the day after our little "event."
Anatomy of a COINTELPRO shakedown II
The image above is the cover of the book Agents of Repression by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall. It is great for getting some history of COINTELPRO but to see how COINTELPRO is used today, which the authors admit would require a whole other book, you may want to read the accounts of Laura Knight Jadczyk. It's not just used against minority or counter cultural political groups. Why would power hungry psychopaths limit it to such groups anyway? It was afterall successful, and now they have both big and small fish to fry. Ms Jadczyk is now one of the many fishes in their sight.
A while back, based on her work, I detailed how COINTELPRO agents work. The chief activities of such agents is to limit anyone with a following that shows the true state of the nation and the world. As Agents of Repression and Ms Jadczyk's blog will show you, they spread disinformation, infiltrate legitimate groups, harass and sic their big guns on workers for truth.
This woman must have angered someone in both high and low places because they got some really big guns to shut down her website yesterday. These were lawyers from McLean, Virginia acting on behalf of a group whose activities were detailed on the anatomy of a cointelpro shakedown.
Ms. Jadczyk has documented her experiences and findings beyond what I wrote a while back. The following links lays it all out.
By the last link, she had decided to lay off the ATS business and I thought they had gotten to her. I thought they scared her into not revealing what she was learning about Above Top Secret (ATS). I still followed her various writings because ATS isn't the world. They're just one of many on our planet who knowingly or unknowingly become agents of repression. I was happy however, see that they did not manage to scare her off and her website is back up. They are certainly trying hard to neutralize her.
It is a real lesson on the ways in which COINTELPRO has our nation in the state that it is in now.
Well, you can say that again!
One of the more interesting responses that we have received to our forum posting of the information that ATS was behind the website shutdown is the following forum posting regarding the Project Serpo :
My first impression upon reading the ATS "attack" emails sent to Bill Ryan reflected my opinion of ATS itself: a business. Just as Ms. Knight Jadczyk touched on, they are all about marketing. I see a website littered with advertisements; I see a website trying to sell me something.
So I thought to myself Mr. Ryan here had a good idea but his execution (ie writing and such, as rs cited about story building) was poor. As a business, perhaps ATS saw serpo.org as a good opportunity for money if the Skeptic Overlord took over the marketing and consumer manipulation to match how they make their $$$ over at ATS. From an Occam's standpoint, it might just be simple, if not dirty and bullying, business. Capitalism and all that nonsense.
Except for Mr. Ryan's attitude and activity towards Ms. Knight Jadczyk. Once told that she thought his serpo stuff was all hokey, followed by her inability to provide any assistance, a man with his concern for what he purported (his credibility and website) would have moved on to someone else he thought could help him out if he really thought he was in a pickle. But his continued communication with her shows his concern and attention toward her, not his own business, perhaps shedding light of a different agenda all together.
For ATS and Serpo to all be in cahoots, months and months worth at that, all just to set a trap that in itself isn't definite (ie one would need to go for the cheese to get caught in the trap) seems quite elaborate. Elaborate actions dictate a very serious motive, ie Ms. K must have really pissed off someone, or that it really isn't so elaborate. There is the offchance that ATS and co. are all crazy and they like spending months and months building a card castle just so no one would go inside it.
But simplicity usually lays a heavy hand on human motive, even in the intelligence field. Cointelpro or what have you, people are people first, and people's actions and choices have been observed long enough to get a good idea of using one thing to get a type of reaction. This is why those hollywood blockbusters bust so much block. So the question is, what would have happened if Ms. K decided to go along with the whole hullaballoo so diligently put forth by these conniving con-men?
Editorials notwithstanding, any one of the possibilities here is just that, a possibility. The most weight can be given to one if we can get an idea of which way they are blowing the wind. Discredit to a nice author with a newfound penchant for genealogy? Or this website, and its mentally delicious Pentagon presentation? Judging from how they act on their own boards, ATS would hardly be above stating "Admin of this board is attatched to Loony Bin Mcgee and his Alien Silliness!" followed up with Hoots n Hollers from their camp followers. But all this activity just to try and paint a bad picture of a "competitor" board? That's a whole lot of effort involved here just to gain more webtraffic. Then again, I am constantly amazed at the lengths capitalists go to to get more bang in their buck.
But if this is political that would easily explain away the effort used here. Perhaps the business end of it is just a kicker, a nice bonus. The real intent to Lie and smudge away at someone else's tasty truths, especially if those truths reveal a not so nice view of ones' self (or history, such as shooting our own five sided buildings). Information is puported to be the most valuable commodity. Perhaps that is the showdown here: two cookies vying for the public's mouth; one a tasty truth, the other a tasty something but accompanied by a nightstick. Perplexing quandary at best. Yummy in my tummy or a safety net?
What is becoming increasingly clear from this Stealth Attack, and other signals, is that Signs of the Times is probably the most dangerous site on the internet from the perspective of the Powers That Be. For them to take the risk of exposure as they did (and did they get exposed!) only convinces us that the issues raised in the Flying Fish article and the Pentagon Flash are of such importance that they will pull out all stops to defame, harass, stalk, and intimidate us with the ultimate goal of destruction. They want to see SOTT disappear from the Web, that is certainly clear and it is now becoming even clearer just WHO is behind it.
Now, we are no strangers to COINTELPRO. We have been targeted since I started investigating UFOs in 1993 and talking about it back in 1995. It started out being MUFON and UFO true believer types. Then, it was the New Age types. Then, of course, the standard religious types... though they aren't as bad as the UFO/New Age types. At first, it all seemed to be just random: jealousies, people whose beliefs were being threatened, and so on. And certainly, to a great extent that can be true all by itself. But later on, after I began writing the Wave Series, exposing so much of the New Age Sewage, it got more serious and "dedicated." We have our own full-time agent of defamation who doesn't even have a real job - he seems to have absolutely unlimited time to devote to destroying us, our peace of mind, our reputations, our work, our lives, the lives of our children, our friends, our groups, etc. - Vincent Bridges, associated with Jay Weidner, associated with Jeff Rense, with Ray Flowers, with Drunvalo Melchizedek, funded to the tune of several million by Jirka Rysavy, Czech millionaire who many claim is just a CIA front man with has his fingers in a LOT of New Age pies. At present, their favorite tactic is to post endless defamatory lies on "cointelpro friendly" forums, or to sign on to legitimate forums under various internet "handles" - or anonymously - and whenever a positive reference is made to our work to jump in and rant "cult, cult" or make some of the most bizarre accusations I've ever heard of. My personal favorites are that my husband is funded by George Soros and I plagiarized my autobiography! (Yeah, go figure.)
So, it seems that we were targeted quite early on, but for the past few years, it has taken a more serious turn, obviously because of our 911 research including the "Pentagon Strike." Vinnie and gang are no longer sufficient because people are starting to recognize that when gangs rant "cult," they are identifying themselves as lower level COINTELPRO throwaways. Now they brought in some bigger boys waving their manufactured "creative commons" flags the way Bush waves his "I'm eavesdropping because I can" flag. Remember from the Protocols:
Freedom is the right to do that which the law allows. This interpretation of the word will at the proper time be of service to us, because all freedom will thus be in our hands, since the laws will abolish or create only that which is desirable for us according to the aforesaid program.
It'll be interesting to see what the next maneuver is!
The subject of the 911 strike on the Pentagon was subjected to intense cointelpro activity - as described in the Protocols above - from the very beginning so that now, even the so-called 911 truth seekers will nod their heads sagely and say "Yeah, it's just a set-up to make the whole 911 truth movement look silly."
I beg to differ.
I admit that I thought exactly the same thing in the beginning when our readers began to write to me and ask me about Theirry Meyssan's book. In fact, I even wrote comments to that effect and urged everyone to NOT touch this one with a mile long pole.
But even though I had made that initial assessment, based on what seemed logical to me, I still put our researchers on it because I WAS curious. And as the info kept coming in, it looked more and more like the Pentagon was, indeed, the "smoking gun" of 911 - even moreso than the collapse of WTC building 7.
I wrote my article "Comments on the Pentagon Strike" based on what info we had collected and as time went by and more data came in, we have added to it.
The Pentagon Flash Video was based, in part, on this article. What really shocked us was the way the video "took off" on its own. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that it has been viewed by at LEAST 500 million people. Yeah, half a BILLION (and that was six months ago when we assembled the data for a count). It took down about five dedicated servers that were hosting it. It also triggered some VERY interesting reactions. But what I want to point out here is that the extraordinary popularity of this video says one thing: people know subconsciously that it is TRUE, that there was no Flight 77 at the Pentagon. Now notice carefully that I do not say that there was no PLANE, because there certainly was. It was just not Flight 77 nor anything like a Boeing 757.
This short little video did what no other work on 911 "Truth" had done up to that point: it triggered a whole lot of active "damage control" as we will see in a few moments.
What I noticed about the reactions to the Pentagon Strike that we have received via email is that they are overwhelmingly positive. Sensible people who can see through Bush and the Neocons have no problem seeing that there was no Flight 77 at the Pentagon. The negative reactions are also interesting; they fall into two categories: 1) honest, sincere people who have been influenced by the cointelpro/psy-ops who then, without even being aware, become de facto cointelpro agents; 2) the REAL cointelpro/psy-ops agents.
To give an example of what I think is the former type: not too long ago, Jeff Wells, on his Rigorous Intuition blog made the astonishing remark that:
"I've posted a number of times on the blog about the mistake of constructing 9/11 "truth" upon the sand of physical evidence. The "no plane" hypothesis (more than a hypothesis for many; more like an unforgiving creed) is one of the most egregious missteps. One I believe encouraged, if not led, by COINTELPRO."
First of all notice that, like a robot, he is repeating "no plane," as though that is what is being said. It is not. What is being said is that it was NOT a Boeing 757. But this is the first clue that Jeff Wells is mechanically repeating something that has impressed itself on his mind in some way.
The second thing to note is this astonishing phrase: The "sand of physical evidence" ??? !!!!
Now, let me say right up front here that being accused of being cointelpro ourselves is truly bizarre, but not unexpected; after all, that's what cointelpro does: muddy the waters, create foodfights, and generally make it impossible for people to get together and actually make a difference.
The very fact that Jeff Wells can say that (and I think he's a sincere guy) just proves my point about psy-ops and how it affects the mind. It demands of us the question: how someone can be so mentally divided that, on the one hand, they can question why the majority of Americans cannot see through Bush and the Neocons as an evil Fascist system, and on the other hand, turn around and do just what those people who support Bush are doing: believe that "witness testimony" is more reliable than physical evidence! Isn't that something of a contradiction? That's the same kind of general hystericization that has taken over the minds of Americans and makes it almost impossible to show them facts about Bush and Gang and to get them to see the reality. That's the same kind of mindset that allows Americans to sit by complacently while Bush and the Neocons wage pre-emptive war, torture, divest Americans of their rights, engage in illegal spying, vote fraud, destroy the economy of America, and the whole host of criminal activities going on in this country. And if anybody thinks that this gang of criminal psychopaths can't run psy-ops to produce "innocent" witnesses to say anything they want them to say, or to even buy witnesses, think again! And if you still think you can vote the bastards out of office, you had better wake up before it is too late.
So, when somebody says: "the mistake of constructing 9/11 "truth" upon the sand of physical evidence" what he is really saying is that he MUST acknowledge that the physical evidence (or lack thereof) is compelling, but still - because COINTELPRO has been run so effectively on the 911 truth movement - OR because most of the 911 Truth Movement IS COINTELPRO - he just has to go with the "witnesses." And many people will do that because the alternative is far too horrible to contemplate.
And that is the big problem with the whole 911 truth movement. COINTELPRO that produces such muddled thinking as is evidenced in Jeff Wells, a guy I used to read faithfully and really admired. In the case of Jeff Wells and most of the 911 researchers, I am reminded of the Protocols above, where it says:
When a pulse quickens these hands will lead opinion in the direction of our aims, for an excited patient loses all power of judgment and easily yields to suggestion. Those fools who will think they are repeating the opinion of a newspaper of their own camp will be repeating our opinion or any opinion that seems desirable for us. In the vain belief that they are following the organ of their party they will, in fact, follow the flag which we hang out for them.
That is exactly what is being done with the 911 movement.
Turning now to Joe's Flying Fish article that abovetopsecret.com and Wayne Jaeschke and their bosses in the Pentagon are so desirous of making disappear from the internet, Joe Quinn wrote the following::
We notice that very few items of so-called "conspiracy theory" have rattled the "Bushes" quite like our Pentagon Strike Flash did. The Pentagon Strike video came out on August 23rd 2004. Probably nobody really noticed it at that point, but it hit a chord of response in the hearts of millions of people around the world. They began to madly download and forward it to their friends and relatives. Latest stats on how many people have viewed it to date are 500 million!
Apparently it even landed in the email box of the Editor of the Washington Post, which is why Carol Morello sent us an email asking for an interview. Or so she said. My suspicion was that the Post was instructed to do "damage control", albeit oh, so gently!
Now, look at this mini-timeline:
August 23rd 2004: Pentagon Strike Video which propagates wildly for a month.
September 11, 2004: CatHerder post to Above Top Secret forum.
September 21st 2004: First contact by Carol Morello of the Washington Post
October 7th 2004: Washington Post articleIt was an interesting feeling to know that if they hadn't seen the Pentagon Strike before, certainly George and Dick, Karl and the gang were watching it after the Washington Post wrote an article about it.
October 19th 2004: George Bush visits New Port Richey - a previously unscheduled "whistle-stop" on his campaign trail. NPR is very small, not likely to be a major target of any presidential candidate, but it just happens to be Laura Knight-Jadczyk's hometown. It was our initial reaction that Dubya's visit to Laura's little home town - certainly of no importance on the campaign trail - was deliberately done to send a message to her. Fact is, her daughter's ex-boyfriend wrote to tell her that he had been among those selected to shake the hand of George W. himself! Now, how's that for a coincidence?
As to exactly what Carol Morello of the Washington Post wrote to Laura, here is the pertinent passage which is actually quite revealing:
A couple of editors here saw the video/film, and I was asked to find out what I could about it. As you can imagine, we continue to have an intense interest on the attack on the Pentagon and the people who were affected.
I've just begun reporting, so it would be premature to tell you what "perspective" my story would have.
My initial impressions are that the questions and theories expressed in the video got a spurt of attention in early 2002, after the publication of a best selling book in France, then the furor died down for a while, and now they have re-emerged with the extraordinarily wide dissemination of this video on the Internet.
The 911 Commission report appears to have done little to dampen the controversy. I hoped to speak to you about how and why you posted it on your web site, what kind of response you've received and what you think about it. […]
Notice that she attributes the resurgence of interest in the "Pentagate" problem to the Pentagon Strike video. Can we say "damage control"?
And if there is damage control, then that means there is damage.
Up to this point in time, the only acknowledgement the administration ever gave to such issues was to refer vaguely and dismissively to "conspiracy theories". Now, suddenly, it seems that dealing with the "conspiracy theories" in a direct manner was seen to be imperative. "9/11: Debunking the Myths" came out in Popular Mechanics Magazine in March of 2005, just five months after the Washington Post article. That's pretty fast work.
Under the tutelage of Editor in Chief Jim "Oh look, a tank!" Meigs, Popular Mechanics assembled a team of researchers, including "professional fact checkers" (impressive eh?) to debunk the 16 most common claims made by conspiracy theorists about 9/11. Unsurprisingly, the PM editors claim that, in the end:
"we were able to debunk each of these assertions with hard evidence and a healthy dose of common sense. We learned that a few theories are based on something as innocent as a reporting error on that chaotic day. Others are the byproducts of cynical imaginations that aim to inject suspicion and animosity into public debate."
In fact, a careful analysis of the article shows that at most, just three of the sixteen claims could have been the result of "reporting error", forcing us to assume that, in the razor-like, emotionally unclouded cerebrum of Jim Meigs, at least 13 of the conspiracy claims about 9/11 are the result of "cynical imaginations aiming to inject suspicion and animosity into public debate".
The sad fact is that, while Popular Mechanics claims to be interested in understanding what really happened that day, their rebuttal of sixteen of the most common claims by so-called "conspiracy theorists" about 9/11 isn't worth the $3.57 of server space that it has so far cost them to publish it.
If there is one glaring hole in the arguments put forward by 9/11 conspiracy "debunkers", it is the fact that such people have never come up with a reasonable argument to explain why, in the wake of 9/11, so many obviously intelligent citizens became gripped by the uncontrollable urge to continually waste their time recklessly and fecklessly "injecting suspicion and animosity into public debate" for no apparent reason. It really is a mystery. Maybe they're trying to take over the world or something.
On the other hand, it doesn't take a degree in psychology to understand the primary motivations of the conspiracy debunkers. You see, the very last thing that many Americans (and others) want to believe is that their government would attack its own people. For 9/11 "debunkers", logic and intellect have no part to play in investigating the question of what really happened on 9/11. It's pure emotion all the way. [...]
Most people think that "conspiracy theories" are made up by "conspiracy theorists", but the term "conspiracy theory" is most often used by those people who have most to gain from the ridicule of the allegations that are directed at them. The tactic has been used to such great effect over the years that certain high crimes committed by government have become the touchstone by which all other "conspiracies" are measured.
Take the folks at Popular Mechanics. In dealing with 9/11 they simply couldn't resist referencing that other most despicable crime committed by a US government - but of course, to them it's just another "theory":
"Don't get me wrong: Healthy skepticism is a good thing. Nobody should take everything they hear--from the government, the media or anybody else--at face value. But in a culture shaped by Oliver Stone movies and "X-Files" episodes, it is apparently getting harder for simple, hard facts to hold their own against elaborate, shadowy theorizing."
Did you catch it? The reference to Oliver Stone can mean only one thing: Jim's "fact checkers" contacted the CIA, and they told him straight up that some bullets really can do magic things.
So far, we have been generous to the people at Popular Mechanics. We have assumed that they are simply well-intentioned but misguided souls. However, it appears that there is a more sinister, and dare we say it, "conspiratorial" side to Popular Mechanics' "innocent" debunking of 9/11 conspiracy theories. You see, it turns out that one of the main contributors to the article is one Benjamin Chertoff, a cousin of the new Dept. of Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff.
American Free Press' Christopher Bollyn, who dug up the information, also claims that Ben Chertoff's mother was a Mossad agent. While there is, as of yet, no evidence of any working relationship between the two, it is certainly noteworthy that the cousin of the current Homeland Security Chief, (who, in his previous incarnation as head of the Justice Department's criminal division was instrumental in the release of obvious Israeli spies before and after 9/11), happens to be behind a high-profile attempt to debunk 9/11 conspiracy theories. [...]
According to another 9/11 researcher:
"The editors of Scientific American followed in the footsteps of Popular Mechanics in exploiting a trusted brand in order to protect the perpetrators of the mass murder of 9/11/01. The column by Michael Shermer in the June, 2005 issue of Scientific American, titled Fahrenheit 2777, is an attempt to deceive the magazine's readers into dismissing the overwhelming evidence that 9/11 was an inside job without ever looking at that evidence. More specifically, Shermer attempts to inoculate readers against looking at the decidedly scientific refutation of the official story… […]
According to another 9/11 researcher:
"The editors of Scientific American followed in the footsteps of Popular Mechanics in exploiting a trusted brand in order to protect the perpetrators of the mass murder of 9/11/01. The column by Michael Shermer in the June, 2005 issue of Scientific American, titled Fahrenheit 2777, is an attempt to deceive the magazine's readers into dismissing the overwhelming evidence that 9/11 was an inside job without ever looking at that evidence. More specifically, Shermer attempts to inoculate readers against looking at the decidedly scientific refutation of the official story… […]
Shermer's column exhibits many of the same propaganda techniques as the ambitious feature article in the March issue of Popular Mechanics by Benjamin Chertoff, for which Shermer professes admiration:
'The single best debunking of this conspiratorial codswallop is in the March issue of Popular Mechanics, which provides an exhaustive point-by-point analysis of the most prevalent claims.'
Comparing the two attack pieces is instructive. Both pieces mention a similar range of issues, with Shermer adding Jewish conspiracy rumors and UFOlogists to the mix...
This last is undoubtedly a direct reference to Signs of The Times, while avoiding giving a direct link to our website out of fear that the reader might be influenced.
Shermer uses an array of deceptive methods to persuade the reader that challenges to the official story of the 9/11 attack are worthy only of ridicule and should not be scrutinized. His primary technique is to use hoaxes and unscientific ideas to "bracket" the valid ideas that he seeks to shield the reader from.
That Shermer went to such great lengths to thoroughly misrepresent the painstaking, scientific, evidence-based work of many researchers is a testament to the success of the Pentagon Strike Video! It really stepped on a sore toe. And that tells us something important, the same thing Carol Morello of the Washington Post wrote:
"…the questions and theories expressed in the video got a spurt of attention in early 2002, after the publication of a best selling book in France, then the furor died down for a while, and now they have re-emerged with the extraordinarily wide dissemination of this video on the Internet."
We notice that never, in any of the two major "debunking" articles that followed fast on the heels of the Pentagon Strike video, was the video ever even mentioned by name, nor was our website mentioned. Other books, other researchers, other web sites were mentioned, but the deliberate avoidance of Signs of The Times - the origin of the Pentagon Strike, was conspicuous. We notice the same trend in the Above Top Secret forum.
Again we point out: debunkers are sent in only when damage control is needed. And damage control is only needed when it is thought that there might be damage. That means that the Pentagon Strike is understood clearly, in the minds of the perpetrators, to be the weak link in their chain of lies.
Debunkers are sent in not to give answers to the outstanding questions, but to push the emotional buttons of the public, to reassure people who really want "a reason to believe" that their government is not lying to them. [...]
As Laura Knight-Jadczyk notes in her book 9/11:The Ultimate Truth, the attack on the Pentagon is the Achilles Heel of the entire 9/11 coverup, and for one very good reason: while we all saw repeated footage of Flight 11 and Flight 175 crash into the WTC towers, and we all saw the wreckage of Flight 93 and have hundreds of eyewitness testimonies that a commercial airliner did indeed crash in Pennsylvania, there is no reliable evidence that a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon on September 11th 2001. No one has seen any footage that shows Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon, and the tapes that actually exist that could easily and immediately prove what did hit that day, have been confiscated by the FBI and the U.S. government studiously refuses to release them.
The US government claims that a Boeing 757 impacted the Pentagon on 9/11, many people dispute this, yet the same American government refuses to release video tapes that would put the matter to rest and show once and for all what hit the Pentagon. Use your head and ask yourself, "why?"
There is one very obvious answer.
In other words, you can push arguments about the WTC building's collapse from now 'til doomsday and get nowhere... Even if you prove that it collapsed due to explosives, you can't ever prove that those planes that flew into the WTC buildings were not big passenger jets with alleged Arab hijackers onboard. Even if you forced the government to admit that, yes, there were explosives that brought down the building, it can so easily be attributed to "terrorists" in a big "discovery" of bait and switch. That's why they don't really worry too much about the WTC attacks. That's why all manner of conspiracy theories about the WTC are tolerated with disdainful amusement.
But notice that there is NO real amusement about the Pentagon Strike. Oh, sure, they work really hard to poke fun at it, but the fact is, the Pentagon Strike video - and our work on that subject - is the one and only thing that has baited the Beast from his lair and it was for THAT reason that special "agents" like The Washington Post, Popular Mechanics, Scientific American, abovetopsecret.com and Wayne Jaeschke have been employed to stop it! To STAMP it out! To get RID of it! At ALL costs! Heck, that's probably what was on Dick Cheney's mind when he shot his buddy... he was having a waking dream and thought he was pointing the gun at the SOTT team!
The fact is, there is NO defense against the facts on the ground at the Pentagon except the word of a small group of "special" witnesses against another group of witnesses who say that it was NOT Flight 77. Think about it. As I happens, Dave McGowan, a pretty clever guy, has addressed these issues thoroughly. He writes:
A popular hobby of late among some 9-11 researchers seems to involve disparaging the efforts of, and questioning the motives of, those researchers who refuse to ignore the fact that the available evidence is entirely inconsistent with the crash of a jetliner at the Pentagon. These individuals generally refer to certain other Pentagon investigators as "no-plane" theorists. For the purposes of this article, I have adopted a name for them as well: Tattoo theorists. This appellation is, of course, an homage to the "Fantasy Island" character best known for the tag line, "Ze plane! Ze plane!"
Two of the most aggressive of the Tattoo theorists, by the way, are Jim Hoffman and Brian Salter, both of whom were on the other side of the fence, so to speak, until fairly recently. If you have ever known someone who quit smoking and thereafter embarked on a mission to browbeat and berate every other smoker on the planet, then you have a pretty good idea of how the Tattoo theorists operate.
On February 24, Brian Salter (questionsquestions.net) posted a histrionic denunciation of Pentagon "no-plane" theorists that included the bizarre claim that any efforts to "keep the unnecessary no-plane speculation alive just helps to smear 9-11 Truth activists as hateful maniacs. Maybe that's the idea."
Well, I guess the jig is up. Mr. Salter, it seems, has figured out our diabolical plot. All along, the real goal has been to cast 9-11 researchers as - dare I say it? - hateful maniacs. In fact, the 'talking points' that I receive from my secret CIA backers routinely contain such notations as: "Operation Hateful Maniacs is, as you know, proceeding on schedule; prepare to shift into the next phase of the program, Operation Deranged Psychopaths."
Of course, it could also be that those of us who continue to focus on the glaring inconsistencies in the official story of what happened at the Pentagon are actually pursuing the truth, which is what a "Truth activist" is supposed to do, rather than peddling entirely speculative drivel about a mythical 'plane bomb,' which is what the Tattoo theorists choose to do.
The primary strong-arm tactic of the Tattoo theorists is to cast "no-plane" theorists as part of a Cointelpro-type operation aimed at undermining the 9-11 skeptics' case. The "no-plane" theories, it is claimed, are "straw man" arguments, propped up specifically so that they can be easily brushed aside by "debunkers," thus discrediting the 9-11 movement in its entirety by attacking at points of greatest vulnerability.
In his blog, Salter claims "media debunkers have shown maximum enthusiasm for portraying [Pentagon no-plane theories] as the heart and soul of 9/11 skepticism and making it the centerpiece of practically every hit piece." (http://questionsquestions.net/blog/) Hoffman has written that "the prominence of the no-757-crash theory will damage the cause, particularly as it reaches a wider audience less inclined to research the issue ... The mainstream press is casting the no-757-crash theory as a loony construct of conspiracy theorists, and representative of all 9/11 skepticism." (http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/pentagontrap.html) Mark Robinowitz has joined the chorus by claiming "'No Planes' has been the most effective means to discredit issues of complicity inside the Beltway." (http://www.oilempire.us/pentagon.html)
Obviously then, everyone is in agreement (as if they were all reading the same 'talking points') that we must immediately drop all support for the "no-plane" theories, because if we don't, we will continue to furnish the enemy with useful ammunition with which to attack and discredit us. Sounds like a good plan -- except for the fact that it is based on a false premise.
The reality is that there have been almost no mainstream media 'debunkings' of the 9-11 skeptics' case, and there is a very good reason for that: the cumulative case that has been painstakingly compiled is (despite the spirited efforts of people like the Tattoo theorists) a formidable one that major media outlets, along with most so-called 'alternative' media outlets, have wisely chosen not to confront.
By far the most ambitious, high-profile media 'debunking' of the claims made by 9-11 skeptics has been the hit piece that graced the cover of the March 2005 edition of Popular Mechanics magazine (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/defense/1227842.html). Since it is known that this article was co-written by Benjamin Chertoff, reportedly a cousin of our very own Director of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, then it is probably safe to assume that a primary objective was to knock down all the 'straw men' arguments that had been carefully planted and nurtured by government operatives. That is, after all, how this game is played, as the Tattoo theorists readily acknowledge.
We should, therefore, expect to find that the Popular Mechanics article focuses considerable attention on the Pentagon "no-plane" theories, and on the Pentagon attack in general. But what we find instead is quite the opposite; instead of emphasizing questions about the Pentagon, the issue is downplayed and given very little attention -- which isn't really surprising given that the attack on the Pentagon has always been, from day one, relegated to the status of a relatively insignificant footnote.
The PM article presents what it says are the top sixteen claims made by 9-11 skeptics, coupled with what are supposed to be 'debunkings' of each of those claims. The claims are grouped into four categories, which are presented in the following order: "The Planes" (the ones that hit the towers); "The World Trade Center" (the collapse of the towers); "The Pentagon"; and "Flight 93." Five of the sixteen claims examined concern the collapse of the WTC towers, four concern Flights 11 and 175, four concern Flight 93, and just three concern the Pentagon attack. In terms of word count, the article runs (minus the introduction) about 5,200 words, and it breaks down roughly as follows: collapse of towers - 2,050 words; WTC planes - 1250 words; Flight 93 - 1150 words; and the Pentagon - a paltry 750 words.
So if we are to use the focus of mainstream media attacks to gauge the points of greatest vulnerability in the 9-11 skeptics' case, then, in terms of both word count and number of claims examined, the collapse of the Twin Towers would be, by far, the weakest leak in the chain (which is kind of ironic, when you think about it, considering that most, if not all of the Tattoo theorists actively promote the theory that the towers were brought down with explosives). As for Pentagon "no-plane" theories, they are, according to the given criteria, the point of least vulnerability. [...]
Claims concerning the Pentagon attack don't make an appearance on the Popular Mechanics list until well into the second half of the article. And once they do appear, they are given very little print space. The three claims 'debunked' in the PM piece barely scratch the surface of the cumulative case that has been built to challenge the official version of the Pentagon attack. And the 'debunking' of even these cherry-picked 'claims' is pathetically inept. The undeniable lack of aircraft debris from the alleged crash, for example, is brushed aside with nothing more than this ludicrous emotional appeal from an alleged blast expert and witness to the aftermath of the attack: "I saw the marks of the plane wing on the face of the building. I picked up parts of the plane with the airline markings on them. I held in my hand the tail section of the plane, and I found the black box ... I held parts of uniforms from crew members in my hands, including body parts. Okay?"
You would think that if the Pentagon attack theories were the 'straw men' that the Tattoo theorists claim, then the 'debunkers' would be better prepared to knock those straw men down, and they would devote more print space to doing so. Instead, we find the Pentagon attack being downplayed in a major media attack on the 9-11 skeptics movement -- at the very same time, curiously enough, that a number of 9-11 skeptics have begun aggressively demanding that all "unnecessary speculation" about the Pentagon attack be dropped, and at the very same time that a new purported Pentagon skeptics' site suddenly appeared, professionally designed and complete with new interviews and photos (from insider sources), numerous omissions, copious amounts of spin and disinformation, a new DVD for sale, and, of course, enthusiastic backing from the Tattoo theorists and other 9-11 skeptics.
I have to say, quite frankly, that all of this just seems too well choreographed for my tastes. And, I have to also say that the Tattoo theorists' recent efforts to bury the Pentagon "no-plane speculation" seem rather desperate and overreaching.
I suggest that all of you read Dave's newsletter linked above with the Protocols of the Pathocrats held firmly in mind. As another poster in the Signs of the Times forum wrote:
Eye-witness testimony is notoriously pliable, and when already primed by FOUR airliners being hijacked, two have been flown into the World Trade Centre Buildings, and then something hits the Pentagon, it has to be one of the four airliners. It's in the programming, the priming, the following demonstrates this theory...
From 'Forensic & Criminal Psychology' Dennis Howitt:
"Few would doubt that human memory is fallible. An intriguing demonstration of this was a study of memory concerning the crash of an EL AL Boeing 747 jet onto a residential area of Amsterdam (Crombag et al., 1996). The crash had only been verbally reported on news bulletins as NO FILM OR VIDEO OF THE PLANE CRASH EXISTS [emphasis mine] Apart from eyewitnesses, no one could have seen the events. Nevertheless, participants in the research were misled into thinking that they may have seen such images on television by asking them about their recollections of the news coverage. Substantial numbers of participants in the study readily provided visual details of the crash as if they had seen it on film.[...]
"The key finding of the research is the failure of participants to recognise the falsity of their claims. That is to say, they did not realise that they were manufacturing memories."...]
This is not to say that eyewitnesses are not at all reliable, they are, but the essential point in the above is that with the right 'cueing' (programming) a vast number of people can be led to manufacture memories. Very sad isn't it, and it is easy to see the comparison here with how most people were led to believe it was a hijacked passenger airliner that hit the pentagon.
The truth is: NOBODY saw Flight 77 fly into the Pentagon. It didn't happen.
And so it is: Joe Quinn's rebuttal of the Pentagon Strike rebuttal, created and propagated by abovetopsecret.com, is just too dangerous to be allowed to continue to be "out there."
Even if it is completely legal to write a critical analysis as Joe Quinn did - utilizing the original article for the critique (how else can you write an analysis?) - covert intimidation and coercion from a fancy law firm in Virginia has been initiated to force the removal of this article from the internet after the pathetic efforts of the abovetopsecret.com "Three Amigos" didn't do the job. This was never supposed to be made public, it was designed to quietly and covertly "kill the messenger."
Discerning those whose intent is to deceive from those who are already deceived, but sincere, is very difficult but it can be done if people will begin to educate themselves and deal with the FACTS. Really and truly grokking COINTELPRO and the damage it does, and learning how to combat it, is a MUST if anything positive is ever to happen on this god-forsaken planet.
At this point, you can pretty well discern the COINTELPRO alternative sites from the sincere ones by who publishes this Exposure of abovetopsecret.com and who doesn't. Right about now, it IS that simple.
Now those of you that have read this far, let me mention that we removed our fundraiser, our fun little "Send Dick Cheney to the Moon" thing because, after a month, we raised less that 20% of our target - that is, double digits in thousands, not triple digits. Meanwhile, we know that the moveon.org people who haven't yet awakened to that fact that all their efforts and all their money is just going down the drain in the face of criminal fascists were able to raise several million dollars. That is another reason for COINTELPRO, to deprive the legitimate and UNCORRUPTED researchers of funds desperately needed to place the truth before the masses of people in a way that can compete with the Fox News type brainwashing.
Do you see moveon.org getting attacked? Do you see their website being taken down? In fact, please try to think of any other website that has been so thoroughly subjected to defamation, repeated DOS attacks, personal harassment, stalking, and now outright assault and intimidation from people with obvious connections to the Bush Neocons.
You can't. There isn't another website that can demonstrate with hard evidence, documentation, the level of attack that SOTT has been subjected to for the past five years.
What is really disheartening is that it is crap like this that makes it difficult for legitimate groups to operate. We've been tarred with the "cult" and "fleecing the faithful" brush by COINTELPRO agent Vincent Bridges from the very beginning. And they use examples of real cults and real frauds to create knee-jerk reactions in people.
Fact is, we have to have funds to continue to operate. QFG supports an ever-expanding network of researchers; pays enormous internet fees; and even donates to other non-affiliated alternative researchers to keep them up and running. QFG supports scientific research, and in 2004 and 2005, we were able to give significant support to scientific programs at the university level.
The PTB would like nothing better than to have everyone on the planet think that QFG is nothing but a cult that fleeces its "minions" for nefarious purposes.
You can visit the Quantum Future Group site HERE to get a better idea of what we are all about. ( Note that it is still under construction.) Our financial reports are being prepared by an independent auditor and will soon be posted publicly. We hope that this will go some way towards putting the kibosh on the COINTELPRO defamation campaign, but we aren't holding our breath.
The fact is, we account for every penney that is brought in either by donations or booksales. Here I want to make a special note of the fact that all the income from booksales - the results of our hard work - go right back into QFG and nobody gets a salary or collects "royalties." Considering what we manage to do, the old saying holds true: Never have so few done so much for so many with so little to work with!
Think about it.
And think about how much you might want us to continue to be available to you for news, analysis, commentary, and just the TRUTH.
When we are gone, who will take our place?
From the 'Protocols of the Pathocrats':
[T]o sow discord in all parties, to dislocate all collective forces which are still unwilling to submit to us, and to discourage any kind of personal initiative which might in any degree hinder our affair. THERE IS NOTHING MORE DANGEROUS THAN PERSONAL INITIATIVE: if it has genius behind it, such initiative can do more than can be done by millions of people among whom we have sown discord.
It is now imperative that we have funding in order to sustain - and even increase - our web presence. If you believe in the right of people to research and publish their work and their opinions I would ask you to please donate to the site today and to encourage your friends as far and wide as possible to do so as well - we need funding and we need it regularly. If you see your way clear to making a monthly donation that would help us a great deal.
Many people are afraid to be associated with those that have the courage to speak out against the creeping fascism that is enveloping the planet - we understand this but would also mention that there comes a time when we each of us have to make our stand - the editors of the website have taken theirs and do so every day. You may not agree with all they say but I would be most grateful if you would show your agreement and support their right to have their opinions and publish them freely without harassment and intimidation from the CIA.
This may all sound very dramatic but the situation is serious and your support will go a very long way to helping one light of truth in this world that is growing darker every day to keep shining.
If you want us to be able to continue to research and bring to you the best and most accurate and objective information available, you must show some personal initiative and stand behind us now, please. Give as generously as you can because we see a long and expensive fight ahead. If we don't get the funds to be able to fight this battle, then we will know that not enough people want what we are offering: just the Truth. If you want us to be here for you tomorrow and after tomorrow, give today! Please! And Thank all of you who have already given!
We know that U.S. forces conducted a raid on a house in the village on March 15. We know that the Pentagon said the American troops were "targeting an individual suspected of supporting foreign fighters for the al-Qaeda in Iraq terror network," when their team came under fire, and that the troops "returned fire. utilizing both air and ground assets." We know that the Pentagon said that "only" one man, two women and one child were killed in the raid, which destroyed a house in the village.
We know from photographic evidence that the corpses of two men, four shrouded figure s (women, according to the villagers), and five children – all of them apparently under the age of five, one as young as seven months – were pulled from the rubble of the house and laid out for burial beneath the bright, blank desert sky. We know that an Associated Press reporter on the scene saw the ruined house, and a photographer for Agence France Presse took the pictures of the bodies.
We know that two Iraqi police officials, Major Ali Ahmed and Colonel Farouq Hussein – both employed by the U.S.-backed Iraqi government – told Reuters that the 11 occupants of the house, including the five children, had been bound and shot in the head before the house was blown up. We know that the U.S.-backed Iraqi police told Reuters that an American helicopter landed on the roof in the early hours of the morning, then the house was blown up, and then the victims were discovered. We know that the U.S.-backed Iraqi police said that an autopsy performed on the bodies found that "all the victims had gunshot wounds to the head." We know that the U.S.-backed Iraqi police said they found "spent American-issue cartridges in the rubble."
We know that Ahmed Khalaf, brother of house's owner, told AP that nine of the victims were family members and two where visitors, adding, "the killed family was not part of the resistance, they were women and children. The Americans have promised us a better life, but we get only death."
We know from the photographs that one child, the youngest, the baby, has a gaping wound in his forehead. We can see that one other child, a girl with a pink ribbon in her hair, is lying on her side and has blood oozing from the back of her head. The faces of the other children are turned upwards toward the sun; if they were shot, they were shot in the back of the head and their wounds are not evident. But we can see that their bodies, though covered with dust from the rubble, are otherwise unmarked; they were evidently not crushed in the collapse of the house during, say, a fierce firefight between U.S. forces and an "al Qaeda facilitator." They died in some other fashion.
We know from the photographs that two of the children – two girls, still in their pajamas – are lying with their dead eyes open. We can see that the light and tenderness that animate the eyes of every young child have vanished; nothing remains but the brute stare of nothingness into nothingness. We can see that the other three children have their eyes closed; two are limp, but the baby has one stiffened arm raised to his cheek, as if trying to ward off the blow that gashed and pulped his face so terribly.
These facts are what we know from American officials, American-backed Iraqi officials and reporters for Western press associations on the scene. This is probably all we will ever know for certain about what happened in Abu Sifa (Isahaqi) on March 15. The rest will remain obscured by the murk instigated by U.S. military spokesmen, who are evidently not telling the truth about the body count of the raid, and by the natural confusion that must attend the villagers' description of an attack that struck without warning in the middle of the night. But beyond this cloud of unknowing, there are a few other facts relevant to the case that can be clearly established.
For instance, we know that the American troops who caused the deaths of these children – either by tying them up and shooting them, an unspeakable atrocity, or else "merely" by storming or bombing a house full of civilians in a night raid "with both air and ground assets" – were sent to Iraq on a demonstrably false mission to "disarm" weapons that did not exist and take revenge for 9/11 on a nation that had nothing to do with the attack. And we now know that the White House – and George W. Bush specifically – knew all along that the intelligence did not and could not support the public case he had made for the war.
We know that the only reason that this dead baby has his arm frozen to his lifeless face is that three years ago this week, George W. Bush gave the order to begin the unprovoked, unjust and unnecessary invasion of Iraq. He hasn't fired a single shot or launched a single missile; he hasn't tortured or killed any prisoners; he hasn't kidnapped or beheaded civilians or planted bombs along roadsides, in mosques or marketplaces. Yet every single atrocity of the war – on both sides – and every single death caused by the war, and every act of religious repression perpetrated by the extremist sects empowered by the war, is the direct result of the decision made by George W. Bush three years ago. Nothing he says can change this fact; nothing he does, or causes to be done, for good or ill, can wash the blood of these children – and the tens of thousands of other innocent civilians killed in the war – from his hands.
And anyone who knows these facts, who sees these facts, and fails to cry out against them – if only in your own heart – will be forever tainted by this same blood.
Comment on this Editorial
The Bushites obviously believe that, if they can get a public court conviction for Moussaoui, then the American and world public will fall in line and the haemorraging that the 'official story' is currently experiencing will stop. The fact that Moussaoui is French is just a bonus, and can only work in the favor of US government and mainstream attempts to associate 'true blue' American patriotism with sending your son or daughter or father or mother to be blown to pieces in a foreign country for no reason.
But why did it take the US government so long to prosecute Moussaoui? Why, in so many other cases, did the US government refuse to publicly prosecute other alleged 9/11 planners? What are the so often cited 'security reasons' that prevent other alleged terrorists in US custody from being publicly cross examined? Should we be wary of anything that the US government says when it refuses to provide evidence for any of its claims and hides behind 'security reasons'? When there are several alleged terrorist individuals in US and foreign custody who could reveal the extent of their contacts with the FBI prior to 9/11, yet the US government refuses to allow them to testify in public, should we be even a little suspicious?
As part of the proceedings, Moussaoui was questioned by the prosecution. He told the court he knew the World Trade Centre attack was coming and had lied to investigators when arrested in August 2001 because he wanted the operation to continue.
Prosecutor Spencer asked: "You knew on August 16 that other al-Qaida members were in the US?"
"That’s correct," Moussaoui replied.
Spencer: "You knew there was a pending plot?”
Spencer: "You lied because you wanted to conceal that you were a member of al-Qaida?"
"You lied so the plan could go forward?"
What needs to be kept in mind here is that certain FBI agents would give exactly the same answers as Moussaoui to the above questions. From the details of the trial to date, it is quite clear that its goal is to distract from the FACT that the FBI, CIA and the Bush government all had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks yet failed to do anything to prevent them, and to place the focus on a likely 9/11 patsy. We are being told that, if only Moussaoui had told what he knew to the FBI the 9/11 attacks could have been stopped, but this is not true, because the FBI and Bush administration WERE informed of the likelihood of an upcoming spectacular attack using planes as missiles yet they refused to take any action whatsoever. In fact, they deliberately obstructed FBI agents in their attempts to know more from Moussaoui, as the LA Times reported last week:
"The FBI agent who arrested Zacarias Moussaoui weeks before Sept. 11 told a federal jury Monday that his own superiors were guilty of "criminal negligence and obstruction" for blocking his attempts to learn whether the terrorist was part of a larger cell about to hijack planes in the United States."
Ask yourself "why?"
Moussaoui is a patsy, plain and simple, and in classic patsy style his story has already performed at least one 180 degree turn. For example, during the trial defence attorney Gerald Zerkin asked Moussaoui:
"Before your arrest, were you scheduled to pilot a plane as part of the 9/11 operation?"
Moussaoui answered: "Yes. I was supposed to pilot a plane to hit the White House."
Yet this account by Moussaoui is a complete contradiction of his previous statements, including his confession when pleading guilty last April when he said he had no involvement in the September 11 plot. Instead, he has said he was taking pilot lessons in the upper Midwest state of Minnesota to fly a 747 jetliner into the White House later should the US refuse to release a radical Egyptian sheikh imprisoned for separate terrorist convictions.
Ritualised psychological and physical torture does strange things to the mind of a human being. Rather than being the best way to get the truth out of someone, it is in fact the worst way as it tends to force the victim to disassociate from their normal cognitive awareness and enter a state where the lines between reality and fantasy are either blurred or non-existent. This effect has been known for a long time. The real benefit of this type of torture therefore is not to get at the truth but to create 'truths' in the mind of the victim. 'Truths' which he can then be relied on to reveal, in a court of law for example. Consider the fact that Moussaoui's defence team attempted to undercut his testimony by calling on the written testimony of two 'high-ranking al-Qaeda captives', (who could not appear in person for 'security reasons') in which they claim that Moussaoui had no role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Consider also the fact that the intelligence agencies of America, Israel and Britain have, for many years, been recruiting members of alleged terrorists organisations like al-Qaeda. What they actually do with these recruits we cannot know for sure and while we are told that they are used to try and gain inside knowledge about terrorist plans, such attempts appear to have failed on every occasion. In fact, the involvement of these intelligence agencies with the alleged terrorists, if anything, seems to have aided the terrorist's success rate.
The CIA employed many of the people that they today allege are 'al-Qaeda' members as mercenaries in Afghanistan in the 1970's, in Bosnia in the 1990's and in Chechnya over the past 10 years. In each case, the goal of these fundamentalist Islamic mercenaries (who nevertheless were well paid) was to foment ethnic conflict between Muslims and Christians. What is clear is that the 9/11 attacks have done more than any other event to make a 'clash of civilizations' between Islam and the West a reality. Is it a mere coincidence then that the same people who work(ed) for the CIA at inflaming world-wide Muslim-Christian tensions had a hand in the 9/11 attacks that facilitated Bush's religious crusade against Middle East Muslims?
At this point, I have little more to say about 9/11 and the alleged war on
terror. It has all been said. Evidence that the US government was behind the
9/11 attacks is overwhelming. Why should I, or anyone else, continue to repeat
ad nauseam that which is patently obvious for all to see? The only thing left
to do is sit back and watch what happens when a group of psychopaths are entrusted
with absolute power and normal humanity appears to have entirely lost its will
Comment on this Editorial
Egypt, in its present domestic political picture, is already a corpse, all the more so if we take into account the growing Moslem-Christian rift. Breaking Egypt down territorially into distinct geographical regions is the political aim of Israel in the Nineteen Eighties on its Western front.
Egypt is divided and torn apart into many foci of authority. If Egypt falls apart, countries like Libya, Sudan or even the more distant states will not continue to exist in their present form and will join the downfall and dissolution of Egypt. The vision of a Christian Coptic State in Upper Egypt alongside a number of weak states with very localized power and without a centralized government as to date, is the key to a historical development which was only set back by the peace agreement but which seems inevitable in the long run.
The Western front, which on the surface appears more problematic, is in fact less complicated than the Eastern front, in which most of the events that make the headlines have been taking place recently. Lebanon's total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precendent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unqiue areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel's primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi'ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today.
Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. [Oded Yinon, A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties, This essay originally appeared in Hebrew in KIVUNIM (Directions), A Journal for Judaism and Zionism; Issue No, 14--Winter, 5742, February 1982, Editor: Yoram Beck. Editorial Committee: Eli Eyal, Yoram Beck, Amnon Hadari, Yohanan Manor, Elieser Schweid. Published by the Department of Publicity/The World Zionist Organization, Jerusalem. Translated by Israel Shahak. http://www.geocities.com/alabasters_archive/zionist_plan.html]
"We control America"."Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." [Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001.]
Anti: Prefix from the Greek that serves to form many composite words by introducing the sense of opposition. Thus we say Antiscorbutique (antiscurvy) when speaking of remedies for scurvy. We will find in the Dictionary only those composite words that are in regular use.
ANTI-SEMITE: adj for two genders. That which has a relationship with anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitic propaganda.
It is also used as a noun. An anti-Semite. He who professes anti-Semitism.
ANTI-SEMITISM. n. m. Fight against the Jews.
SEMITE. (Page 2:576)
SEMITE. n. of two genders. He or she who belongs to the race that we trace its origin to Sem. A Semite. As an adjective, the Semite type.
SEMITIC. Adj. of two genders. Having to do with Semites. The Semitic races. The Semitic languages are Hebrew, Arabic, Syrian, etc. Several Semitic languages, such as Chaldean, Phoenician, no longer exist.
I. The composed form signifies "that which is against the notion designated by the base"; an adjective formed from an adjective or an adjectivable word formed from a substantive.
II. A. The composite is an adjective formed from an adjective.
1. It signifies "that which is hostile to the system of ideas or opinions characterized by the base adjective", or, when it is a substantive, "the person hostile to…".
ANTI-SEMITE, adj. and subst. A. Use as adj. [Speaking of actions undertaken by men or the men who undertake them] Who demonstrates anti-Semitism, who is hostile to the Jewish race.
Thomas sparked the contentious exchange with the president by asking Bush, "[W]hy did you really want to go to war?" From the White House transcript of the March 21 press conference:
[THOMAS]: I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your cabinet -- your cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?
BUSH: I think your premise -- in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- is that -- I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect --
[THOMAS]: Everything --
BUSH: Hold on for a second, please.
[THOMAS]: -- everything I've heard --
BUSH: Excuse me, excuse me. No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true. My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We -- when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people. Our foreign policy changed on that day, Helen. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life. And I'm never going to forget it. And I'm never going to forget the vow I made to the American people that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.
Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy. And that's why I went into Iraq -- hold on for a second --
[THOMAS]: They didn't do anything to you, or to our country.
BUSH: Look -- excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for Al Qaeda. That's where Al Qaeda trained --
[THOMAS]: I'm talking about Iraq --
BUSH: Helen, excuse me. That's where -- Afghanistan provided safe haven for Al Qaeda. That's where they trained. That's where they plotted. That's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.
I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the [United Nations] Security Council; that's why it was important to pass [Resolution] 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences --
[THOMAS]: -- go to war --
BUSH: -- and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.
[OTHER REPORTER]: Thank you, sir. Secretary Rumsfeld -- [laughter]
[THOMAS]: Thank you.
BUSH: You're welcome. [laughter] I didn't really regret it [asking Thomas a question]. I kind of semi-regretted it. [laughter]
As Media Matters for America noted, the press corps failed completely to ask any follow-up questions challenging Bush on his evasive and even false assertions.
On that same day, O'Reilly began defending Bush and attacking Thomas. During the March 21 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor, O'Reilly stated that if he were Bush, he "would have laid her [Thomas] out" for asking such questions of him. "I would have laid into that woman, and I don't care how old she is," O'Reilly said, "I would have laid her out, saying, 'How dare you?' " On the March 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly called Thomas's question "out of bounds," and on the March 22 Radio Factor, O'Reilly accused Thomas of trying to "undermine everything" Bush does. Additionally, during the same show, O'Reilly asserted that the "essential element" of the exchange between Bush and Thomas was whether Americans would rather have Bush or Thomas "in charge of the war on terror."
Several other conservative commentators have followed suit, attacking Thomas and her questioning of Bush:
From the March 21 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: All right. So, he's teed off. And he should be. He should be. Look, the big mistake that President Bush has made -- and this is as far as his public perception is concerned -- is that he isn't passionate enough in the defense of his policies. You see? He -- and now it's time for the president, who does not have to run again, who has a Republican party very worried, to step up to the Helen Thomases of the world. You can disagree with me, and I'll respect the disagreement, but don't be going accusing me of getting people killed and being irresponsible and being a liar. Don't you dare do that. Don't you dare do that.
See, if it were me -- I think Bush is very polite. [laughing] I would have laid into that woman, and I don't care how old she is. I would have laid her out. Saying, "How dare you -- how dare you imply that it's my war? That I wanted the war? I'm doing what I feel is best for the American people. They re-elected me. And I'm doing it. And here's why I'm doing it. How dare you?
You know, these personal attacks, ladies and gentlemen -- and believe me, I get them every day, as you know -- are so disgusting, and so revolting, and our country has now degenerated into this -- that it's time for people to get angry about them.
From the March 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: Well, at this point in his administration, the president would be wise to do more of that, to directly confront critics he believes are full of hot air. The president can't become obsessed with that kind of thing as Richard Nixon did, but he can show the public that he feels these people are flat-out wrong. There's no question the media in America is heavily liberal, every study shows that. And with the rise of the Internet, the far left now dominates the liberal agenda, the far left. To these Kool-Aid drinkers, no personal attack is out of bounds, no distortion too dishonest to use. They're all about the end justifying the means, destroying your political enemy if you can.
"Talking Points" believes Americans find that behavior disgusting. And even those who are disenchanted with President Bush want him to answer his critics in an authoritative way. He did that today, and I thought it worked. That's the "Memo."
Now for the top story tonight, a look at today's press conference, joining us from Washington, Fox News analyst Newt Gingrich.
You know, this Helen Thomas has been out of bounds for a long time. And I was happy that -- to see him make it a little bit personal. I think he should have done it a long time ago. What say you?
From the March 21 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:
SCARBOROUGH: Karen Hanretty. Karen Hanretty, it may be just be a snapshot, but, you know, you go to some of these sites like the Grand Canyon, and you get those cameras that will get you that panoramic picture that you can see all of the Grand Canyon in one shot. Well, if it's just a snapshot, it's a snapshot that goes a long way back. This president has been declining in the polls for months now. I mean, he's going in the wrong direction, and Americans want troops home now. What's the president do?
HANRETTY: Well, look, I think actually what the president did today was very good. The first word that came to my mind after watching the press conference was "solid." And if the American public isn't buying what he's selling, it's because he hasn't been selling it. And I think that if the president goes out there on a regular basis, he's doing those speeches, and that's well and good, but I disagree with the fact that today's press conference doesn't make a difference. I think it can make a difference over the long haul. He's got to continue to go back to the reporters, take on Helen Thomas. Look, Helen Thomas is the embodiment of Howard Dean, George Soros, Cindy Sheehan, everything that is vitriolic and assertive.
From the March 21 edition of MSNBC's The Situation with Tucker Carlson:
CARLSON: Thanks and welcome to The Situation. We appreciate you tuning in tonight.
Tonight reporter-turned-propagandist Helen Thomas uses a White House press conference to air her political views. And it's not the first time. We'll bring you Thomas's top five most over-the-top moments in the briefing room.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Long before we were born, Helen Thomas was a news reporter based at the White House, or so they claim. And at some point, many years ago, she decided to go into the opinion business, and she's been there every since. The most recent outburst came today, when she barked at President Bush during a news conference, but it was only the latest. In tonight's top five list, we give you our favorite Helen Thomas bloviating in the briefing room moments.
Thomas has been hanging around the White House briefing room for more than four decades, starting with the Kennedy administration. Whatever you think of her questionable skills as a journalist, she isn't shy.
From the March 22 broadcast of The Radio Factor:
O'REILLY: No, it's not clear to me. I know I'm not as smart as Helen Thomas, but it looked like Bush didn't do anything the first year he was in office at all. He wasn't saber rattling. Clinton was much more aggressive towards Saddam than Bush was in his first year. But look, Helen Thomas doesn't like him and, you know, thinks that it's illegal for the United States to take pre-emptive action. And Helen Thomas has said that. She believes that international law dictates the United States has no right to ever -- ever under any circumstances -- circumstances, take military action unless attacked. No first strike. We can't do it. No pre-emptive war, according to Helen Thomas.
Now again, I always pose this question. You make the call. You make the call. It's between George Bush and Helen Thomas fighting the war on terror. Should we do a poll question? [laughing]
LISA WIEHL (co-host): [laughing] Hold a --
O'REILLY: Now look, even you people in San Francisco, all right? I'm coming to your house with a little chart and I'm asking you -- just like a Jehovah's Witness would, OK? It's between Bush, who you loathe -- we know that, in San Francisco -- and Helen Thomas, as far as who's in charge of the war on terror. Who do you pick? All right? I love that question, because it just boils it right down to the essential element. So I think Helen Thomas will probably get about maybe 10 percent, and all of them would come from the Bay Area. A little from Cambridge, probably, Massachusetts. And then 90 percent of the people would go [laughing]: "Well, you know -- well, I, you know, [Inaudible] there. And that really says it all.
O'REILLY: The country's future is, what's the best thing to do now that you're [Bush] in a difficult position? What's best for the country going forward? What is it? Is it best for the country to hate Bush? To undermine everything he does? Is that what's best for the country? Helen Thomas?
See, that's my first question to Helen Thomas, which is why she's never come in, and she runs over to CNN and MSNBC. Ms. Thomas, is it helpful to the country, does it protect the folks, for you to hate Bush and try to undermine everything he does? Is that -- is that helpful? [laughing] You know? There it is. I mean, I'm a simple guy. I break it down in very simple things.
From the March 22 broadcast of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning:
IMUS: I mean, he deserves some respect, he's the president, and it was an insulting way she asked the question.
KELLY O'DONNELL (NBC News White House correspondent): Well, that was no surprise for the president, because, as I'm sure you know, Ms. Thomas, who asks a question of [White House press secretary] Scott McClellan every single day, and the tone of her questions is often much the same as she asked the president. Although, she hasn't asked Mr. Bush a question, she's not been called on in a few years. And, I'm told from folks here, in our press corps, that she was not surprised that he did, in fact, call on her because she recently made an appearance that the president liked at the Gridiron Club, which is an old prestigious Washington club.
IMUS: The old bag should shut up and get out. I'm sick of her.
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Top U.S. court being asked to curb Bush's powers
Last Updated Tue, 28 Mar 2006 07:47:16 EST
The Supreme Court of the United States was set to hear oral arguments Tuesday in a case that may determine what limits, if any, should be placed on the wartime powers of an American president.
The case involves an al-Qaeda member from Yemen, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who once worked as a driver and bodyguard to Osama bin Laden.
He is incarcerated at an American military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and faces trial before a Pentagon-controlled military commission.
His lawyers are asking the country's top court to ban such commissions and curtail the powers of the president who created them.
"The laws of war were set up to get rid of the idea that to the victor went everything," said Lt.-Cmdr Charles Swift, the U.S. navy lawyer assigned to defend Hamdan.
He said the military commission that is supposed to try his client is not a legitimate court because President George W. Bush created it on his own, without the participation of Congress.
The Pentagon wrote its rules, and the judge, jury, prosecution and defence are all military personnel.
There's also no external judicial review if a defendant wants to appeal.
Swift said that's not justice.
"A full and fair trial – no one can ask for more", he added. "I've never asked for more for my client than a full and fair trial."
Previous ruling backed government's case
The Bush administration argues that in a time of war, the president has the virtual and unencumbered right to wage that war as he sees fit, without Congress or the courts getting in his way.
And last summer, to the delight of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a Federal Appeals Court ruling on the Hamdan case agreed with that argument.
"It vindicates the president's determination to treat suspected terrorists humanely but not to grant them the protections of the Geneva conventions as a matter of right," Rumsfeld said after that decision came down.
The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in the Hamdan case, expected this summer, will be one of the most important of the Bush presidency. It will either confirm the president's expansive view of his own authority, or trim it back and rein it in.
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Off the Record, Bush Makes Media Inroads
By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 28, 2006; Page A14
As he defends his Iraq policy with a public campaign of speeches and a recent news conference, President Bush also has been waging a private campaign that has included off-the-record sessions with White House reporters, sources said yesterday.
One gathering, which took place Thursday in the White House residence, was an unusual gesture by Bush, who has agreed to comparatively few lengthy exchanges with reporters during his five years in office. Bush has said publicly that he needs to convince Americans that the U.S. mission in Iraq is on a path to victory, despite what he called a news media focus on daily violence.
Last week's session involved reporters from several prominent broadcast and print outlets, including ABC News and The Washington Post. Under the off-the-record ground rules, the journalists were barred from reporting what was discussed. White House officials said they also hoped the meetings' mere existence would remain under wraps. That proved impossible when journalists from The Post who were not participants in the session, as well as those at other publications, learned of the meetings from sources outside the paper and began to report on them.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan did not return messages yesterday.
Off-the-record sessions with presidents are somewhat controversial in journalism circles. Critics say reporters should not subject themselves to being influenced or "spun" under ground rules that prevent the comments from being relayed to the public. But many news organizations say the sessions give reporters a rare opportunity to observe the president up close and to gain insight into his thinking and concerns.
President Bill Clinton, who held more full-fledged news conferences than Bush has, tried different background briefings with reporters. During a March 1996 flight from Israel, he spoke with journalists on Air Force One under guidelines that forbade them to take notes and allowed them to attribute his general remarks only to the administration's "highest authority" familiar with his views. According to a pool report filed by the reporters for colleagues traveling on a separate plane, press secretary Michael McCurry wanted Clinton's comments to be on "psych-background."
In March 1999, shortly after he was acquitted on impeachment charges, Clinton attended an off-the-record dinner with reporters accompanying him on a Central America trip. His remarks were not reported.
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Republican congressman warns that US regime is too powerful
Imperial overreach is accelerating the global decline of America
The disastrous foreign policies of the US have left it more isolated than ever, and China is standing by to take over
'Our power, then, has the grave liability of rendering our theories about the world immune from failure. But by becoming deaf to easily discerned warning signs, we may ignore long-term costs that result from our actions and dismiss reverses that should lead to a re-examination of our goals and means."
These are the words of Henry Hyde, chairman of the House international relations committee and a Republican congressman, in a recent speech. Hyde argues that such is the overweening power of the US that it may not hear or recognise the signals when its policy goes badly wrong, a thinly veiled reference to Iraq.
He then takes issue with the idea that the US can export democracy around the world as deeply misguided and potentially dangerous. He argues: "A broad and energetic promotion of democracy in other countries that will not enjoy our long-term and guiding presence may equate not to peace and stability but to revolution ... There is no evidence that we or anyone can guide from afar revolutions we have set in motion. We can more easily destabilise friends and others and give life to chaos and to avowed enemies than ensure outcomes in service of our interests and security."
It is clear that the US occupation of Iraq has been a disaster from almost every angle one can think of, most of all for the Iraqi people, not least for American foreign policy. The unpicking of the imperial logic that led to it has already commenced: Hyde's speech is an example, and so is Francis Fukuyama's new book After the Neocons, a merciless critique of Bush's foreign policy and the school of thought that lay behind it. The war was a delayed product of the end of the cold war and the triumphalist mentality that imbued the neocons and eventually seduced the US. But triumphalism is a dangerous brew, more suited to intoxication than hard-headed analysis. And so it has proved. The US still has to reap the whirlwind for its stunning feat of imperial overreach.
In becoming so catastrophically engaged in the Middle East, making the region its overwhelming global priority, it downgraded the importance of everywhere else, taking its eye off the ball in a crucial region such as east Asia, which in the long run will be far more important to the US's strategic interests than the Middle East. As such, the Iraqi adventure represented a major misreading of global trends and how they are likely to impact on the US. Hyde is clearly thinking in these terms: "We are well advanced into an unformed era in which new and unfamiliar enemies are gathering forces, where a phalanx of aspiring competitors must inevitably constrain and focus options. In a world where the ratios of strength narrow, the consequences of miscalculation will become progressively more debilitating. The costs of golden theories [by which he means the worldwide promotion of democracy] will be paid for in the base coin of our interests."
The promotion of the idea of the war against terror as the central priority of US policy had little to do with the actual threat posed by al-Qaida, which was always hugely exaggerated by the Bush administration, as events over the last four and a half years have shown. Al-Qaida never posed a threat to the US except in terms of the odd terrorist outrage. Making it the central thrust of US foreign policy, in other words, had nothing to do with the al-Qaida threat and everything to do with the Bush administration seeking to mobilise US public opinion behind a neoconservative foreign policy. There followed the tenuous - in reality nonexistent - link with Saddam, which provided in large measure the justification for the invasion of Iraq, an act which now threatens to unravel the bizarre adventurism, personified by Donald Rumsfeld, which has been the hallmark of Bush foreign policy since 9/11. The latter has come unstuck in the killing fields of Iraq in the most profound way imaginable.
Hyde alludes to a new "unformed" world and "a phalanx of aspiring competitors". On this he is absolutely right. The world is in the midst of a monumental process of change that, within the next 10 years or so, could leave the US as only the second largest economy in the world after China and commanding, with the rise of China and India, a steadily contracting share of global output. It will no longer be able to boss the world around in the fashion of the neoconservative dream: its power to do so will be constrained by the power of others, notably China, while it will also find it increasingly difficult to fund the military and diplomatic costs of being the world's sole superpower. If the US is already under financial pressure from its twin deficits and the ballooning costs of Iraq, then imagine the difficulties it will find itself in within two decades in a very different kind of world.
Hyde concludes by warning against the delusions of triumphalism and cautioning that the future should not be seen as an extension of the present: "A few brief years ago, history was proclaimed to be at an end, our victory engraved in unyielding stone, our pre-eminence garlanded with permanence. But we must remember that Britain's majestic rule vanished in a few short years, undermined by unforeseen catastrophic events and by new threats that eventually overwhelmed the palisades of the past. The life of pre-eminence, as with all life on this planet, has a mortal end. To allow our enormous power to delude us into seeing the world as a passive thing waiting for us to recreate it in an image of our choosing will hasten the day when we have little freedom to choose anything at all."
That the world will be very different within the next two decades, if not rather sooner, is clear; yet there is scant recognition of this fact and what it might mean - not least in our own increasingly provincial country. The overwhelming preoccupation of the Bush administration (and Blair for that matter) with Iraq, the Middle East and Islam, speaks of a failure to understand the deeper forces that are reshaping the world and an overriding obsession with realising and exploiting the US's temporary status as the sole global superpower. Such a myopic view can only hasten the decline of the US as a global power, a process that has already started.
The Bush administration stands guilty of an extraordinary act of imperial overreach which has left the US more internationally isolated than ever before, seriously stretched financially, and guilty of neglect in east Asia and elsewhere. Iraq was supposed to signal the US's new global might: in fact, it may well prove to be a harbinger of its decline. And that decline could be far more precipitous than anyone has previously reckoned. Once the bubble of US power has been pricked, in a global context already tilting in other directions, it could deflate rather more quickly than has been imagined. Hyde's warnings should be taken seriously.
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Neurotic-in-Chief: Bush's "Change of Course"
By JOHN BOMARMarch 25 / 26, 2006
George Bush's recent admission that our occupation of Iraq will extend beyond his presidency passed with hardly a ripple in American public opinion. Uh oh.
The greatest fear leading to the outrage that fans the flames of terrorist tactics in the Middle East and around the world is that America's real aim in Iraq is to try and control the region through permanent military bases. Such outposts of garrisoned troops stationed at permanent airstrips now number in the hundreds, and ours is an empire based on military might and high-tech war machines.
In the complete absence of reassurances by Mr. Bush of eventual withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, what are those in the region to think? What does his silence on this issue say to Arab moderates? Other than what has been said by Islamic radicals; that the ultimate goal of the US occupation is to control Iraqi oil fields and subjugate its people to semi-colonial rule?
Hardly anything is more important in the discussion of international terrorism and the present Mideast strife than the question of permanent US bases in the region.
Think about it. Would we accept an Islamic military outpost in our territory? Of course we would not. Why do we think Muslims are any different?
The recent imbroglio over the Dubai port deal is but one example of our duplicity and hypocricy. We fully expect to be understood in our denial of their bid to control our most important seaports, while we turn a deaf ear and blind eye to their outraged perception that we are establishing military bases in their lands that will remain forever.
Besides, it won't work. Not only do such perceptions feed the fires of nationalistic fervor and anti-Americanism, it gives succor and support to the radical elements within the Islamic populations. It also sweeps the floor from underneath the moderate progressives in the region who would try and bring reason, democratic institutions and moderation to governments; our stated goal.
So, where are the pronouncements from Mr. Bush and company that we definitely plan on leaving; that our long-term goal is other than hegemony -- control? Where are the reassurances that our plan is to leave a sovereign and autonomous Iraq and Afghanistan? Where are the words acknowledging their right to self determination, free of US imperialism? Where are the words that would quell the raging hatred and burning fears of those in the region?
Or, is it as many in the world suspect; our ultimate goal is to establish permanent bases to try and control the region through perpetual threat of violence for any who would dare to confront us, or challenge our power?
Such sinister speculation is not as ominous as it sounds given the history of the past fifty years. In fact, it would seem par for the course. Our tracks betray us. What other nation on earth has such an expansive network of military bases scattered around the globe?
Our continued and seemingly perpetual presence in Saudi Arabia supporting the "no fly" zone in Iraq was the ultimate recruiting poster for Osama Bin Laden.
Sure, Saddam Hussein was a terrible despot, but many argue that our tactics after the Gulf War only strengthened his hold on the Iraqi population. The embargo imposed at our behest killed an estimated one hundred thousand Iraqi's, most of them children, elderly and frail. And in the end, all Iraqi's were dependent on Baathist Party handouts to simply eat.
Such seemingly brutal, counterproductive and short-sighted tactics by the West are what has driven so much of the hatred that now confronts us, and did so on 9-11.
Until we face these realities and indeed "change course;" working on the diplomatic front while curbing our own apparent greed, we face a perpetual state of warfare between East and West. No matter how we label it, or how strongly we work to demonize others, some of the culpability for the mess we are now in lies at our own doorstep.
When things go really badly, only a neurotic places all the blame on the other side of the ledger.
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Andrew Card Resigns as White House Chief of Staff
By Peter Baker and Debbi Wilgoren
Tuesday, March 28, 2006; 10:09 AM
Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten Will Step in For Card on April 14
White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. announced his resignation this morning after nearly 5 1/2 years as President Bush's top aide. Bush said Card will be replaced by Joshua B. Bolten, the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Card will serve until April 14 to provide a transition period. The move could presage broader staff changes as Bolten takes over an operation hobbled by political problems heading into a crucial midterm election season.
Bush made the announcement in the Oval Office at 8:30 a.m., standing at the podium with Card to his right, Bolten to his left. The president thanked Card for his "wise counsel, his calm in crisis, his ability, his integrity, and his tireless commitment to public service" and said "he will always be my friend."
Turning to Bolten, Bush described his new chief of staff as a creative thinker and a strong advocate for accountability and effective management in the federal government.
"He is a man of candor and humor and directness, who is comfortable with responsibility and knows how to lead," Bush said.
Card has held the top staff job at the White House longer than any person since Sherman Adams under President Dwight D. Eisenhower and had earned enormous respect within the building and around Washington for his calm professionalism and stamina. But his stewardship of the Bush team had come under question in recent months after a series of mishaps, including the failed Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, the bungled federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the slow public disclosure of Vice President Cheney's shooting accident and the unexpected Republican revolt over a plan to turn over management at a half dozen ports to an Arab-owned company.
Bush said Card had approached him earlier this month about the possibility of stepping down, and Bush accepted his offer this weekend, when the two were at Camp David.
"He's been here 5 1/2 years. The average tenure of chief of staff is two years," said a senior administration official, who spoke before the announcement, but refused to be named so as not to upstage the president. "Change can be good and necessary and that's what they had discussed."
The official said the decision was Card's, not Bush's: "Andy initiated it with the president."
Bolten is among the most respected officials within the administration and a trusted confidant of the president's--not at all the kind of independent, outside voice that some pundits have said the White House should bring on board. His selection as chief of staff suggests the likelihood of a smooth transition, but officials anticipate that he might want to make further changes to a team that has largely been intact since the beginning of the Bush presidency in January 2001.
Bolten served as deputy White House chief of staff in Bush's first term and then was moved over to head the budget office at a time when spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Medicare benefits and the recovery from Hurricane Katrina pushed up deficits. In an attempt to deal with the new spending demands, Bolten oversaw two consecutive budgets that actually cut overall non-security discretionary domestic spending. But many Republicans in Congress have complained that the administration has not done enough to tighten the federal belt.
Bolten, a former Goldman Sachs executive, is known as a detail-oriented workaholic who often stays at work for hours after the early-to-bed president has gone to sleep. The son of a CIA official, he grew up in Northwest Washington and attended the prestigious St. Albans school, Princeton University and Stanford Law School.
Taking the microphone this morning after Bush, Bolten said he was "eager to get to work" on the president's agenda, which he described as protecting Americans at home, promoting freedom abroad and expanding economic prosperity.
He said he was honored to succeed Card, adding, "I say succeed Andy Card and not replace him, because Andy cannot be replaced."
Bush had brushed off talk of staff changes at a news conference last week but explicitly did not rule them out. "I am happy with the people I surrounded myself with," he said at the time. When asked if he might bring aboard a veteran Washington operative to repair relations with Congress, he said, "I'm not going to announce it right now."
Card, 59, has been the focal point of much discussion in Washington about how physically and politically exhausted the White House staff must be in the sixth year of a presidency buffeted by recession, terrorism and war. Card has told interviewers that he gets up every day at 4:20 a.m., arrives at the White House an hour or so after that and works until 8 or 9 at night.
A former secretary of transportation for President George H.W. Bush, Card has been a fiercely loyal part of the larger Bush political clan for many years. Unlike other chiefs of staff who have been seen as autocratic, Card managed the competing egos and political crosscurrents of the White House with quiet efficiency, respect and seemingly no independent agenda. He is known for wandering the West Wing to check in on aides and leaving notes of thanks to those who had done a good job.
Largely invisible to the public, he is best known beyond the Beltway probably for his cameo role on Sept. 11, 2001, informing Bush that a second hijacked plane had struck the World Trade Center in New York. Bush at the time was reading a children's book to students in a Florida classroom. As the cameras recorded the moment, Card calmly approached Bush and whispered in his ear. "A second plane hit the second tower," Card told Bush, according to later accounts. "America is under attack."
Card began his political career in his home New England, where he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature in 1974 as a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights and gay rights. He ran for governor in 1982 but lost the Republican nomination.
His work with the Bush family began in earnest in 1980 when he ran the Massachusetts campaign for George H.W. Bush's failed attempt to win the presidential nomination. After Bush became Ronald Reagan's vice president, he brought Card into the White House, where he worked in the intergovernmental affairs office. Card later joined Bush's presidential campaign and then served as deputy chief of staff before taking over the Transportation Department.
In picking Bolten to replace Card, the current President Bush stayed close to home. Resisting Republican advice to pick a seasoned Washington veteran the way Reagan brought in former Senate majority leader Howard H. Baker Jr. (R-Tenn.) when his own presidency was listing in his second term, Bush characteristically picked someone he knows well and trusts implicitly.
Card spoke third in the Oval office this morning, after Bush and Bolten, in a raspy Boston accent made even thicker by emotion.
"Ecclesiastes reminds us that there are different seasons," he said. "There is a new season."
He said he felt deeply privileged to have served Bush and his White House. "You're a good man, Mr. President," Card said. "And you do great things."
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Crimes in Iraq
Bush told Blair determined to invade Iraq without UN resolution or WMD
Mon Mar 27, 1:49 AM ET
NEW YORK - US President George W. Bush made clear to British Prime Minister Tony Blair in January 2003 that he was determined to invade Iraq without a UN resolution and even if UN arms inspectors failed to find weapons of mass destruction in the country, The New York Times reported.
Citing a confidential British memorandum, the newspaper said the president was certain that war was inevitable and made his view known during a private two-hour meeting with Blair in the Oval Office on January 31, 2003.
Information about the meeting was contained in the memo written by Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The Times.
"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," the paper quotes David Manning, Blair's chief foreign policy adviser at the time, as noting in the memo.
"'The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March,' Mr. Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. 'This was when the bombing would begin'," the paper continued.
The timetable came at an important diplomatic moment, the paper said.
Five days after the Bush-Blair meeting, then US secretary of state Colin Powell was scheduled to appear before the
United Nations to present evidence that Iraq posed a threat to world security by hiding unconventional weapons.
Stamped "extremely sensitive," the five-page memorandum had not been made public, according to the report. Several highlights were first published in January in the book "Lawless World," which was written by British lawyer and international law professor Philippe Sands.
In early February, Channel 4 in London first broadcast excerpts from the memo.
But since then, The New York Times has been able to review the five-page memo in its entirety.
The document indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable, the paper said.
Bush predicted that it was "unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups." Blair agreed with that assessment.
The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq, The Times noted.
Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a US surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Iraqi president
Comment: Gee, do you think the Bush gang is also determined to take care of Iran no matter what?
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Sending mentally ill soldiers back to Iraq
By Stephen Soldz
Reckless disregard for soldiers' welfare and for Iraqi lives
As the US military has difficulties recruiting and retaining soldiers for
its never-ending war of occupation in Iraq, the armed services are resorting
to increasingly desperate means of coping. The Stop-Loss option in soldiers’ contracts
has allowed soldiers to be kept in uniform months or years after their term
of service has expired. The National Guard has been sent overseas to a previously
unprecedented extent. And military standards have been lowered,
so that drug or alcohol abuse, pregnancy, and poor fitness no longer necessarily
lead to dismissal of new recruits.
Now word comes that “mentally ill” troops are being
sent back to Iraq. [See: Some
troops headed back to Iraq are mentally ill] This article refers to “a
little-discussed truth fraught with implications,” but the implications
discussed all have to do with the effects on the soldiers being returned, and
these soldiers’ “effectiveness in combat.” In many instances,
being returned to combat, and to a state of constant tension, will exacerbate
the soldier’s problems, the article -- correctly -- suggests.
The article indicates that the military is putting pressure on
mental health professionals treating these soldiers to minimize the extent
of their problems and to declare them fit for return to Iraq and combat. For
example, some Army doctors are reporting that they are being told to diagnose
combat-stress reaction instead of the more serious post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD). Further, the article reports that professionals treating emotionally
disturbed soldiers “are under pressure” to approve their redeployment
to Iraq. I have written about the moral issues involved in mental health treatment
of soldiers in Iraq [To
Heal or To Patch: Military Mental Health Workers in Iraq]. The issues are
similar for those treating the soldiers when they return if the professionals
play any role in deciding whether or not the soldiers should return to combat.
The mental health professionals are not in a position to make unbiased judgments
as to a soldier’s readiness to return to combat when their own status
and advancement in the military may depend upon how they exercise that judgment.
One “implication” not even mentioned in the
article is that sending “mentally ill” soldiers back into
combat puts not only the soldiers’ own mental health at risk, but endangers
Iraqis as well. What is the quality of decision-making by highly stressed soldiers,
whether they suffer from “PTSD” or only from “combat-stress
reaction”? These soldiers are armed with lethal weapons and are often
in a position to make split-second life-or-death decisions. After all, “stress” is
often used as a defense when other armed authorities, such as police, are caught
engaging in abusive or even murderous behavior. Surely the effects of stress
can only be magnified on soldiers who spend a year or more being assigned to
a country where they can never feel entirely safe.
We know from the memoirs of US soldiers in Iraq how alienated
from Iraqis they feel. Thus, Colby Buzzell, in his My War: Killing Time in
Iraq describes being “hit with the realization that I’m on the
other side of the planet far away from home, and that I’m a stranger
in a really strange land” (p. 297).
These strangers feel so alienated from Iraqis that they have
a number of names for them. As Kayla Williams tells us in Love My Rifle More
Than You: Young and Female in the US Army:
“[W]e called them hajjis, but we also called them sadiqis… or
habibis…. We called them towelheads. Ragheads. Camel jockeys. The fucking
locals. Words that didn’t see our enemy as people – as somebody’s
father or son or brother or uncle” (p. 200; emphasis in original).
Of course, it isn’t only “the enemy” that terms
like these describe, and who aren't seen as people. Ordinary Iraqis of all
stripes are characterized as the “hajjis” or “the fucking
Not surprisingly, in such a climate of alienation combined with
pervasive never-ending danger, even mentally “healthy” soldiers
have emotional difficulties. For example, Jason Christopher Hartley, author
of the memoir Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq, describes
attempting to refuse leave:
“[I]n all honesty, I did it because I didn’t want
to leave Iraq. One of the ways to cope with being in combat is to go crazy
just a tiny bit and learn to enjoy the work… I was afraid that if I
left, it would be difficult to get back into the ‘combat is fun’ way
of thinking when I returned” (p. 279).
If Hartley, by all indications a mentally healthy soldier, was
only able to survive by going a bit crazy and, in his case, cultivating a love
of combat, what happens to an emotionally disturbed soldier returned to that
crazy-making environment? Does (s)he cower in terror, perhaps shooting at stimuli
little more dangerous than his or her shadow, even if those stimuli happen
to be Iraqi civilians? Or does (s)he perhaps cultivate an even greater love
for combat, shooting at Iraqis as an expression of a game necessary to transform
the pervasive fear? Undoubtedly each of these paths is chosen by some. Either
possibility will increase the odds of adding to the massive Iraqi civilian
casualties being generated by this war of occupation, estimated at about 100,000
in September 2004 and considerably higher at this point. [See my 100,000
Iraqis Dead: Should We Believe It? and When
Promoting Truth Obscures the Truth: More on Iraqi Body Count and Iraqi Deaths and
Les Roberts: The
Iraq War: Do Iraqi Civilian Casualties Matter?]
Soldiers in Iraq routinely make split-second decisions whether
to shoot or not, such as at the innumerable checkpoints or
when on convoy.
We already know from a study published in the July 1, 2004 New England Journal
of Medicine [Combat
Duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mental Health Problems, and Barriers to Care:
see their Table 2] that 14% of Army soldiers and 28% of Marines returning from
Iraq reported “being responsible for the death of a noncombatant.” To
deploy mentally unstable soldiers [not to mention those with drug or alcohol
problems] likely will increase these horrific numbers. This policy of returning
potentially unstable soldiers to combat in Iraq is, thus, not only a serious
threat to the mental health of the soldiers, but a threat to occupied Iraqis.
This policy, already reprehensible because of the danger it poses to the long-term
mental health of the US troops, is also in its reckless disregard for Iraqi
lives yet another example of the innumerable war crimes being committed against
the Iraqi people.
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Iraq minister says US, Iraqi troops killed 37 civilians in cold blood
Mon Mar 27, 2006
BAGHDAD - Iraq's security minister, a Shi'ite political ally of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, accused U.S. and Iraqi troops on Monday of killing 37 unarmed people in an attack on a mosque complex a day earlier.
"At evening prayers, American soldiers accompanied by Iraqi troops raided the Mustafa mosque and killed 37 people," Abd al-Karim al-Enzi, minister of state for national security, said.
"They were all unarmed. Nobody fired a single shot at them (the troops). They went in, tied up the people and shot them all. They did not leave any wounded behind," he told Reuters.
Shi'ite politicians had earlier said 20 people were killed at the mosque. The U.S. military's account of Sunday evening's incident said Iraqi special forces with U.S. advisers killed 16 "insurgents", arrested 15 people and freed an Iraqi hostage. The military denied entering any mosque.
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Baghdad governor says suspends cooperation with US
Baghdad provincial governor Hussein al-Tahan said on Monday he would suspend all cooperation with U.S. forces until an independent investigation is launched into the killing of 20 Shi'ites in a mosque.
"Today we decided to stop all political and service cooperation with the U.S. forces until a legal committee is formed to investigate this incident," he told reporters, adding that the inquiry panel should include the U.S. embassy and the Iraqi defence ministry but not the U.S. military.
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Did American Marines murder 23 Iraqi civilians?
The US military deny accusations of massive over-reaction when attacked. But video evidence from one incident has led the official story to unravel.
US military investigators are examining allegations that Marines shot unarmed Iraqis, then claimed they were "enemy fighters", The Independent on Sunday has learned. In the same incident, eyewitnesses say, one man bled to death over a period of hours as soldiers ignored his pleas for help.
American military officials in Iraq have already admitted that 15 civilians who died in the incident in the western town of Haditha last November were killed by Marines, and not by a roadside bomb, as had previously been claimed. The only victim of the remotely triggered bomb, it is now conceded, was a 20-year-old Marine, Lance-Corporal Miguel Terrazas, from El Paso, Texas.
An inquiry has been launched by the US Navy's Criminal Investigation Service after the military was presented with evidence that the 15 civilians, including seven women and three children still in their nightclothes, had been killed in their homes in the wake of the bombing. If it is proved that they died in a rampage by the Marines, and not as a result of "collateral damage", it would rank as the worst case of deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by US armed forces since the invasion three years ago.
The military still insists that eight men who also died on 19 November were insurgents who opened fire on a Marines patrol after the bomb explosion. One military spokeswoman said the civilian deaths were their fault, because they "placed noncombatants in the line of fire as the Marines responded to defend themselves". But numerous witnesses say the only shooting was by the Marines, and that the only difference between these victims and the rest were that they were young men who could be depicted as insurgents. Despite claims of a fierce firefight after the explosion, military officials say two AK-47 rifles were the only weapons recovered.
Four of the young men who died were students on their way to college. They were in a car which was near the Marines' convoy when the bomb went off. According to the soldiers' statements to investigators, they told the youths to leave the car and lie face down in the road. Instead they ran, and were shot down. All this time, the Marines said, they were under fire from nearby houses.
The IoS understands, however, that local people have contradicted this account in almost every detail. According to their statements, the soldiers were not under fire when they approached the car. Rather than order the occupants to leave the vehicle and lie down, they simply dragged them out and shot them. While investigators seek to determine the truth of the incident, the military has admitted no weapons were found in the vehicle.
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The Logic of Withdrawal
By Anthony Arnove, In These Times. Posted March 28, 2006.
We find ourselves in a remarkable situation today. Despite a massive propaganda campaign in support of the occupation of Iraq, a clear majority of people in the United States now believes the invasion was not worth the consequences and should never have been undertaken.
Likewise, people strongly disapprove of the foreign policy of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, particularly their position on the war in Iraq. In a September 2005 New York Times-CBS News poll, support for immediate withdrawal stood at 52 percent, a remarkable figure when one considers that very few political organizations have articulated an "Out Now" position.
The official justifications for the war have been exposed as complete fallacies. Even conservative defenders of U.S. empire now complain that the situation in Iraq is a disaster.
Yet many people who opposed this unjust invasion, who opposed the 1991 Gulf War and the sanctions on Iraq for years before that, some of whom joined mass demonstrations against the war before it began, have been persuaded that the U.S. military should now remain in Iraq for the benefit of the Iraqi people. We confront the strange situation of many people mobilizing against an unjust war but then reluctantly supporting the military occupation that flows directly from it.
In part, this position is rooted in the pessimistic conclusions many drew after the February 15, 2003, day of international demonstrations -- perhaps the largest coordinated protest in human history -- failed to prevent the war. This pessimism was exacerbated by some of the leading spokespeople for the antiwar movement, who misled audiences by suggesting that the demonstrations could stop the war. As inspiring as the demonstrations were, it would have taken a significantly higher degree of protest, organization, and disruption of business as usual to do so.
The lesson of February 15 is not that protest no longer works, but that protest needs to be sustained, coherent, forceful, persistent, and bold -- rather than episodic and isolated. And it needs to involve large numbers of working-class people, veterans, military families, conscientious objectors, Arabs, Muslims, and other people from targeted communities, not just as passive observers but as active participants and leaders.
We will need this kind of protest to end the occupation of Iraq. But we will also need to be able to answer the objections and concerns of thoughtful, well-meaning people who have been persuaded by one or more of the arguments for why U.S. troops should remain in Iraq, at least until "stability" is restored. Below, I outline eight reasons why the United States should leave Iraq immediately, addressing common arguments for why the United States needs to "stay the course."
The U.S. Military has no right ro be in Iraq in the first place.
The Bush administration built its case for invading Iraq on a series of deceptions. The war in Iraq was sold on the idea that the United States was preempting a terrorist attack by Iraq. But Iraq posed no threat. The country was disarmed and had overwhelmingly complied with the extremely invasive weapons inspections. In a rare moment of honesty, Vice President Dick Cheney told CNN in March 2001,"I don't believe [Saddam Hussein] is a significant military threat today."
As the case for war has crumbled, so has the case for occupation, which also rests on the idea that the United States can violate the sovereignty of the Iraqi people and all the laws of occupation, such as the Hague and Geneva Conventions, which clearly restrict the right of occupying powers to interfere in the internal affairs of an occupied people.
The United States is not bringing democracy to Iraq.
Having failed to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- the first big lie of the invasion -- the United States has turned to a new big lie: George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, John Negroponte, Condoleezza Rice, John Bolton, and their friends are bringing democracy to the Iraqi people. Democracy has nothing to do with why the United States is in Iraq. The Bush administration invaded Iraq to secure long-established imperial interests in the Middle East -- the same reason Washington backed Saddam Hussein as he carried out the worst of his crimes against the Iraqi people, the Kurds, and the Iranians.
By invading Iraq, Washington hoped not only to install a regime more favorable to U.S. oil interests; it hoped to use Iraq as a staging ground for further interventions to redraw the map of the Middle East. Several U.S. bases have been established in Iraq and are likely to remain long after U.S. troops are expelled. All of this has nothing to do with democracy. In fact, the United States has long been a major obstacle to any secular, democratic, nationalist, or socialist movements in the region that stood for fundamental change, preferring instead what is euphemistically called "stability," even if it meant supporting the most reactionary fundamentalist religious forces or repressive regimes.
The U.S. government opposes genuine democracy in the Middle East for a simple reason: if ordinary people controlled the region's energy resources, they might be put toward local economic development and social needs, rather than going to fuel the profits of Western oil companies. Democracy cannot be "installed" by outside powers, at gunpoint. Genuine democracy can come about only through the struggle of people for control over their own lives and circumstances, through movements that are themselves democratic in nature. When confronted with such movements, such as the 1991 Iraqi uprising, the U.S. government has consistently preferred to see them crushed than to see them succeed.
The United States is not making the workd a safer place by occupying Iraq.
The invasion of Iraq has made the world a far more unstable and dangerous place. By invading Iraq, Washington sent the message to other states that anything goes in the so-called war on terror.
After September 11, India called its nuclear rival Pakistan an "epicenter of terrorism." Israel has carried out "targeted assassinations" of Palestinians, bombed Syria, and threatened to strike Iran, using the same rationale that Bush did for the invasion of Iraq." You don't negotiate with terrorism, you uproot it. This is simply the doctrine of Mr. Bush that we're following," explained Uzi Landau, Israel's minister of public security.
Furthermore, the invasion of Iraq is spurring the drive for countries to develop a deterrent to U.S. power. The most likely response to the invasion of Iraq is that more countries will pursue nuclear weapons, which may be the only possible protection from attack, and will increase their spending on more conventional weapons systems. Each move in this game has a multiplier effect in a world that is already perilously close to the brink of self-annihilation through nuclear warfare or accident.
Meanwhile, the invasion has also quite predictably increased the resentment and anger that many people feel against the United States and its allies, therefore making innocent people in these countries far more vulnerable to terrorism, as we saw in the deadly attacks in Madrid on March 11, 2004, and London on July 7, 2005.
The United States is reviled not because people "hate our freedoms," as Bush suggests, but because people hate the very real impact of U.S. policies on their lives. As the British playwright and essayist Harold Pinter observed," People do not forget. They do not forget the death of their fellows, they do not forget torture and mutilation, they do not forget injustice, they do not forget oppression, they do not forget the terrorism of mighty powers. They not only don't forget. They strike back."
The United States is not preventing civil war in Iraq.
Perhaps the greatest fear of many antiwar activists who now support the occupation is that the withdrawal of U.S. troops will lead to civil war. This idea has been encouraged repeatedly by supporters of the war. "Sectarian fault lines in Iraq are inexorably pushing the country towards civil war unless we actually intervene decisively to stem it," explained one U.S. Army official, making the case for a continued U.S.presence.
But Washington is not preventing a civil war from breaking out. In fact, occupation authorities are deliberately pitting Kurds against Arabs, Shia against Sunni, and faction against faction to influence the character of the future government, following a classic divide- and-rule strategy. Taking this idea to its logical extreme, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman argues, "We should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind." Such arguments are not just the fantasy of keyboard warriors like Friedman, however. As the journalist A.K. Gupta notes, "the Pentagon is arming, training, and funding" militias in Iraq "for use in counter-insurgency operations." Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said such commandos were among "the forces that are going to have the greatest leverage on suppressing and eliminating the insurgencies."
In addition, the Iraqi constitution, drafted under intense pressure from occupation authorities, essentially enshrines sectarian divisions in Iraqi politics. And, finally, despite all of its rhetoric about confronting Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq, the United States has in fact encouraged it, bringing formerly marginalized fundamentalist parties such as the Dawa Party and the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq into the Iraqi government.
The United States is not confronting terrorism by staying in Iraq.
Iraq has never been the center of a terrorist threat to the United States. Each month, further evidence emerges that the Bush administration went to great lengths to suppress facts that undermined its case for war, while touting bogus evidence in its support. As the New York Times reported in November 2005, "A top member of Al Qaeda in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document."
Al-Qaeda made its first appearance in Iraq only after the invasion, a predictable outcome of the U.S. occupation. In reality, the United States engaged in state terrorism under the pretext of fighting a terrorist threat that did not exist in Iraq, and in the process greatly increased the likelihood of individual and organizational terrorist acts targeting the United States or its proxies abroad.
Even more circular is the idea that the United States has to stay in Iraq until it "defeats" the resistance to the occupation. The occupation itself is the source of the resistance, a fact that even some of the people responsible for the war have been forced to acknowledge.
The United States is not honoring those who died by continuing the conflict.
One of the most cynical reasons for staying in Iraq was advanced by President Bush in response to the growing public criticism over the mounting deaths of U.S. soldiers and the deliberate campaign by the administration to suppress images of the returning coffins. Speaking to a carefully targeted audience in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he fled to escape the protest of Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son, Casey, in Iraq on April 4, 2004, Bush made a rare public acknowledgment of the number of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We owe them something," he said. "We will finish the task that they gave their lives for. We will honor their sacrifice by staying on the offensive against the terrorists."
Sheehan herself had the best response to this attempt to manipulate people into supporting continued occupation, asking, "Why should I want one more mother to go through what I've gone through, because my son is dead?. . . I don't want him using my son's death or my family's sacrifice to continue the killing."
The soldiers in Iraq have not died for a "noble cause," as Bush claims. Whatever personal motivations may have brought them into the military, they died for oil, for empire, for power and profit. More deaths and injuries of Iraqis and of U.S. soldiers will only compound the tragedy of the numerous lives already lost.
The United States is not rebuilding Iraq.
The contractors now in Iraq are not there to help the people of Iraq but to help themselves, drawing on their close ties to influential politicians to secure contracts and profit from what Pratap Chatterjee rightly calls the "reconstruction racket."
The reality is, Halliburton, Bechtel, and the other companies in Iraq are looting the country far more than they are rebuilding it. Iraqis have been forced to pay elevated prices to import oil, benefiting corporations like Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root, while ordinary Iraqis have to stand in lines sometimes for days to buy gasoline. Project after project remains unfinished. Hospitals are in shambles. Electricity is still at woefully inadequate levels.
As the journalist Naomi Klein eloquently observes, "The United States, having broken Iraq, is not in the process of fixing it. It is merely continuing to break the country and its people by other means, using not only F-16s and Bradleys, but now the less flashy weaponry" of economic strangulation.
The Iraqi people are perfectly capable of rebuilding their own society, in fact far more so than foreign soldiers or contractors. To the extent that there have been any social services or security in the last two years, it is primarily Iraqis who have provided it. During the years of sanctions, Iraqis also showed their immense resourcefulness in holding together their badly damaged infrastructure. Iraqi engineers, teachers, and doctors have long been among the most educated and best trained in the Arab world. It is ultimately a racist worldview that believes Iraqis cannot rebuild or run their own country.
The United States is not fulfilling its obligation to the Iraqi people for the harm and suffering it has caused.
Understandably, many opponents of the war now believe that the United States has an obligation to the Iraqi people and therefore has to stay to "clean up the mess it has created." MoveOn.org, which grabbed headlines and signed up millions of online members with its anti-Bush campaigning, refuses to call for withdrawal of troops from Iraq because, in the words of its executive director, Eli Pariser, "There are no good options in Iraq." Using this same logic, leading anti-sanctions and antiwar groups such as the Education for Peace in Iraq Center have formally adopted positions in support of occupation, if somehow a more enlightened occupation, and therefore against immediate withdrawal.
We must confront the bizarre logic of saying that the people who have devastated Iraq, who encouraged and enforced sanctions that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the last decade, who have failed at even the most basic responsibilities as an occupying power, who are the source of the instability in Iraq today, are the only ones who can protect Iraqis from hunger and anarchy. In no other area of our lives do we accept such logic, but when it comes to the crimes of empire, we are supposed to continually ignore history. The "doctrine of good intentions" exculpates all crimes.
The reality, however, is that the U.S. occupation, rather than being a source of stability in Iraq, is the major source of instability and ongoing suffering.
Moreover, those calling for immediate withdrawal do not advocate a position of isolationism and of simply walking away from any obligation to the Iraqi people. Does the U.S. government have an obligation to the Iraqi people? Absolutely. An obligation for the crimes Washington supported for years when Saddam Hussein was an ally. For arming and supporting both sides in the brutal Iran-Iraq War. For the destruction of the 1991 Gulf War. For the use of depleted uranium munitions, cluster bombs, daisy cutters, and white phosphorus. For the devastating sanctions. For the humiliation and deaths caused by the 2003 invasion, and for the great damage the occupation has caused since.
But the first step in meeting this obligation is to withdraw immediately.
If there were any genuine justice for the people of Iraq, not only would the politicians responsible for this unjust war face prosecution for their crimes, but the U.S. government would be required to pay reparations to the Iraqi people and to the families of U.S. soldiers who have been maimed and killed by its criminal actions.
In demanding an end to the U.S. occupation, we do not need to call for some other occupying power to replace the United States. We should allow the people of Iraq to determine their own future. This means, as Naomi Klein has argued, that in addition to calling for an end to military occupation, we should be calling for an end to the economic occupation of Iraq and the cancellation of all debts that Iraq still owes from the previous regime (many of which still have not been forgiven).
If the Iraqis ask for outside assistance, that is their prerogative. But it is their decision, not ours, to make, and that decision can only be freely made if the United States, United Kingdom, and other occupying armies withdraw completely and end their economic, political, and military coercion of Iraq.
This article is adapted from Anthony Arnove's forthcoming book Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, due out on April 18 from The New Press.
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Iraq War Coverage - CNN Responds
Posted March 27, 2006.
Your critique of CNN's war coverage indicates that you, reader, are on the 'fringe.'
"One man's fact is another man's opinion."
That in a nutshell is Jonathan Klein's answer to the many questions and criticisms posed in this space recently by me and you concerning CNN's coverage of the ongoing war in Iraq.
To the president of CNN/US, we're "naive, highly partisan extremists," a "definite minority out on the fringe" whose tone is strident but whose criticism is insubstantial, and clearly out of step with "the vast majority of Americans who simply do not feel" the way we do.
After a lengthy negotiation with CNN publicists (see sidebar) Klein and I finally spoke over the phone last week. While he declined to comment on CNN's coverage of the start of the war, "since I didn't start working at CNN until December 2004," he was more forthcoming about his positive view of CNN's current war coverage, as well as his dismissive take on anti-war critics of the mainstream media in general, and CNN in particular.
"We're being very aggressive in covering the war at the moment," Klein began. "We have lots of people with lots of expertise on the ground in Baghdad now. Generally, I think we're doing a good job of daily reporting, and we also have the capacity to do in-depth reporting and documentaries. In fact we've aired five or six docs and specials already, including an hourlong look at WMD, two hours on how war is going, and so forth."
While praising his own, Klein was critical of his critics, saying, "It's naive for otherwise intelligent people to assume CNN has any role other than reporting the facts. They may oppose the war, but the conduct of the war is simply not up to CNN.
"Who is the 'anti-war crowd?'" Klein asked rhetorically. "Many people now oppose the war, but how many take such an extreme position vis-a-vis the mainstream media and complain about the war coverage? It's one thing to be opposed to the war, it's another to affix blame to the media. In any event, whether that is a valid point of view or not, it's certainly not shared by the majority of Americans."
As a case in point, Klein referred to questions raised about coverage of the so-called "Downing Street memo," which famously revealed the details of a meeting between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair that concerned Bush's intent to "fix" intelligence and facts in order to justify an eventual attack on Iraq. As I had noted in a question to Klein (question 10), the bombshell memo was "ignored by mainstream media until it became too embarrassing to suppress."
To Klein, however, the coverage of the memo is a "good example" of what CNN is doing right. "The Downing Street memo was reported on CNN," he said. "Perhaps not as often as certain partisan extremists would have liked it to be but it certainly was not ignored by us or by the mainstream media in general. "It's true the memo was also widely covered by alternative media," he added. "So does it matter if it was or was not covered enough by the mainstream to satisfy a highly partisan crowd? The great thing about the new media landscape is that people can get information if they need it. Thank God there is lots of opportunity now to get more information from sources other than the mainstream."
Can CNN do a better job of reporting on the war? "Of course we could do all sorts of things better," he said. "We want to add more depth and more analysis, for example -- NPR is great at that -- and we also want more diversity, because that makes us more interesting to watch."
When challenged about the lack of diversity (question 2) among his on-air war analysts, however, Klein averred, "Our list of analysts is very good. Yes, many have worked in government in the past, but that just means they have inside knowledge. And our top terrorism analyst Peter Bergen is certainly very independent.
"Look, an enormous amount of data comes through CNN on a daily basis -- video, audio, texts, graphics, you name it -- and just keeping up with it all is a tough job," he continued. "We're committed to getting better, but to do so we have to tune out the constant din of criticism from partisans on both sides and replace it with a good calibration."
I asked Klein to comment on criticism (question 3) leveled by star CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour at her own network for its coverage of the still-missing WMD. (While serving as executive vice president of CBS News from early 1996 through 1998, he brought Amanpour to 60 Minutes as a contributor.)
"I've known her a long time, I respect her a lot, and I debriefed her on how we could cover the war better when I first took this job," Klein revealed. He refused to share any details of what he oddly termed a "private conversation" but claimed "you can already see the results on air with better coverage "
I returned to the topic of viewer dissatisfaction with that coverage, but Klein again gave no quarter.
"Look, that's who you hear from," he told me. "An extreme wing gives statements of opinion to you. But I hear from both the left and the right, and the tone of the criticism is quite similar -- and not substantial. I get the same sort of questions from extremists on both sides, and I can't get engaged in that conversation. I'm not here to please the fringes."
Does he not see any sign of mainstream media complicity in its coverage of the run-up to and current conduct of the disastrous war in Iraq?
"That's what you're disposed to see," he countered. "What I see is that we go out in a very dangerous situation and do great reporting with experienced and knowledgeable correspondents like Christian, Nic Robertson and many others
"The vast majority of Americans do not feel the way your readers do, and do not express those feelings to us," he stated flatly. "In fact the number of people watching CNN today is higher than 10 years ago. There's no mass disaffection with either CNN or the MSM. The reality is that every week 66 million American get their news from watching CNN -- more than any other news network -- so we must be satisfying their needs for information. But we can't cover everything, and we can't please every fraction of the audience all the time.
"You're talking about a highly partisan and definitely minority point of view," the CNN/US president reiterated. "It's really just a certain segment of extremists who don't see their particular point of view reflected enough. And as I said, we hear similar complaints from extreme poles of both right and left."
To Klein, at least, the situation is eminently clear: "We're putting considerable resources into the story, but somehow it's still not enough to satisfy certain people -- even though we do more than anyone else! These people are definitely on the fringe."
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Bush was not set on going to war: White House
Tue Mar 28, 12:40 AM ET
WASHINGTON - The White House denied a New York Times report that President George W. Bush was determined to invade Iraq by late January 2003, two months before he did so. [...]
Asked Monday if the memo showed Bush was determined to go to war, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "that's not an accurate assessment," although he did not deny the existence of the memo.
"The use of force was the last option," said McClellan, adding that the option had to be planned for.
In his memo, Manning paraphrased Bush as saying "'The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March,'" according to the Times report. 'This was when the bombing would begin'."
"We were continuing to pursue a diplomatic solution, but we recognized that is was necessary to prepare and plan accordingly in the event we would need to use force," McClellan said.
"The president pursed a diplomatic solution, that's why we went to the United Nation, that's why we passed a 17th resolution that called on the regime to disclose or face serious consequences," he said.
Asked about the contradiction between his statements and the memo cited by the Times, McClellan said: "I think that our public and private comments are fully consistent."
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Life in the USA
Boy, 8, accused of sexual harassment
Morning Journal Writer
LORAIN -- Lorain school officials this week executed an "emergency removal" of an 8-year-old boy who they say sexually harassed a girl in gym class.
The boy's mother, Tammy Barth, said yesterday her son was playing in gym on Tuesday when a girl student said he and two other boys may have grabbed her buttocks.
He was then questioned in an informal hearing by school officials and he admitted he had been passing love notes to the same girl.
The second-grader then asked to sign a notice of emergency removal form for sexual harassment without a parent present, Barth said. The boy printed his first name on the portion of the form asking for his signature.
School documents provided by Barth and the boy's father, Frank Johnson, did not give specifics on the incident but showed that the second-grader was removed from school on Tuesday for "sexual harassment during gym." It also states the student "admits to writing notes saying 'I love you' and giving them to a student."
"It's an embarrassment to me and it's an embarrassment to him because he doesn't understand what's going on," Barth said.
Lorain schools spokesman Dean Schnurr confirmed yesterday that a student was sent home on an "emergency removal" for inappropriate actions. Schnurr insisted that his removal was a minor, precautionary action.
"It's not a disciplinary action," Schnurr said yesterday, adding the allegation will not be placed in the student's permanent record. "We don't want to put something in the permanent record of a youngster who may not understand what they did wrong."
"He admitted to what he was being accused of," Schnurr said, unable to give specifics but said they were "inappropriate" in nature.
However, the student's mother said the school assumed her son touched the girl because he had written her a love letter a few weeks ago.
"Apparently, they had to treat it as sexual harassment," Barth said, adding the girl has been friends with her son for a long time. "And then he was given a day off of school because of passing notes that say 'I love you.'"
Johnson said the incident was harmless and referring to it as sexual harassment is what was "inappropriate."
"Little kids are going to do stupid things like that," he said of his son passing love letters.
The student was temporarily removed from school for a day, March 23, and instructed to come back to school on March 24 with a parent.
"It's our job to teach students at a young age that inappropriate behavior is unacceptable," Schnurr said. "The student did something wrong, admitted he did something wrong and received the proper discipline."
He added it is unfortunate that this discipline is not emphasized at the student's home.
The second-grader's parents are still wondering how to discipline their son because they are not sure of what he did wrong. Barth said being reprimanded for passing love notes to another student is not and should not be a disciplinary matter.
Johnson said his son has had a difficult time with the whole ordeal.
"He started crying and he thinks he did something wrong (by passing a love letter)," Johnson said. "He's a good kid and he's very, very shy. And now he's emotionally distraught."
Barth and Johnson are planning to remove their two children from Frank Jacinto, and the Lorain School system altogether, sometime next week and enroll them in the Clearview Schools District. She said she and Johnson are also looking into taking civil action against the school.
All four of her children are honor roll students, she said, adding that any school system would be happy to take them.
"I want them out of there before (the school system) does some damage."
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You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Buys You
By Norma Sherry
Grave robbers are back. Unlike the ghouls of the 1800's who were caked in mud and slithered about cloaked in the dark of night today's ghouls wear Armani and Rolex watches and prance about in the hollowed halls of modern day morgues, the finest universities, the best hospitals, and mortuary offices everywhere. Unlike yesterday's loathsome stealers of bodies nowadays they are more likely the neighborhood mortician or hospital administrator or university professor.
Money rules. The FDA turns a blind-eye and tweaks its neck in another direction. Legislators succumb to the power brokers. Families and the dearly departed believe they are selfless contributors to the betterment of science and humankind. But, the truth more often than most of us are willing to acknowledge, is that they are being duped.
In Annie Cheney's book, Body Brokers, she delves deeply into America's underground trade of brokering bodies and body parts. A new, fresh body can bring in as much as $200,000 if sold off in parts. Diener's are expert at precisely cutting off limbs, dissecting hearts and brains, even blood vessels and skin. Each cutting has a price tag. If it's new meat, and that is how the industry views the deceased, its worth is considerably more.
An industry that is not bound by laws or legislators is permitted to run amuck. Individuals who request that their bodies be given to medical science, or loved ones whose loved one is taken suddenly and who may offer their remains to science, are unaware that the university coffers are overflowing with the bodies of the departed. Unscrupulous professors tempted by the big bucks are succumbing to the seduction of getting rich quick.
Worse yet are the body brokers who are willing to sell off parts and tissue of a diseased deceased caring less of the consequences and more about lining their own pockets. Stories of diseased-ridden bones, organs and tissue sometimes make the news. A human outcry ensues, lawmakers articulate their legal disgust, the outrage dies down, the story is forgotten, and everyone settles down and back to business as usual.
It's become a billon-dollar business. One might rightly state that "they're worth more dead than alive", which brings to mind a more sinister and complex concern. Mashed up bone meal, specific bone fragments, and articulated bones are an orthopedist's tools of the trade. Doctors, hospitals, surgeons don't ask where these parts came from they're just happy and relieved they've got them at their disposal. Without them bone replacement surgery would be non-existent. They rely on companies such as Regeneration Technologies, Inc., and the plethora of companies with names that give little clue to the layperson as to their true business: Bio-technology, Bio-medical Tissue Services, Surgical Body Forms, Science-Care Anatomical, and National Anatomical Services.
The practice of utilizing tissue, bone, and muscle from the deceased is not relegated to the Orthopod. The plastic surgeon may use cadaver skin to puff up a thin lip or fill in a jaw line; a dentist uses ground up bone to fill in teeth. An ophthalmologist may use a cadaver Cornea to repair vision. All good uses one would argue, and agreeably that's true. The problem lies in the lie. Many, too many of the bodies used were never intended for such use, nor were they tested to be disease free.
Crematoriums have grown as an industry offering a less expensive internment for the deceased than burials and coffins and such, but as such, they've also become an excellent resource for the nefarious body broker. In some cases the limbs have been sliced off and sold off. After all, would a family know if they were missing a few ashes? In worse cases, families received commingled ashes of an assortment of body parts because their loved ones never saw the crematorium at all. Rather, their lot in eternity was to be sold piecemeal: one piece at a time.
Today's bodies originally donated, unbeknownst to the families, routinely show up in fancy hotels like Trump International in Miami. Steel gurney's line up in a row with cadavers in altered stages of decomposition and are displayed under surgical lights readied for the surgeon's new lessons. Modern day companies of surgical equipment instruct physicians and surgeons on their latest techniques on cadavers in fancy hotels. Although spray bottles of disinfectant and room deodorizers are used, there is no denying the stench of rotting flesh. An unusual occurrence, one would think in the elegant ballroom of many noteworthy hotels. Surprisingly, it is the same ballroom, which one might visit for dinner or a wedding celebration the day after a cadaver class. The bodies are always supplied by the infamous, unregulated Body Broker.
With no end in sight for the need of fresh bodies it would seem that body brokering is a business growing steadily every day. One such corporation, RTI, or Regeneration Technologies, Inc., based in Florida is already a multi-billion dollar company who is spreading its wealth by buying up smaller companies and going international.
Willed body programs of many universities are well-intentioned, but not so true are the dieners' whose job it is to dissect and dismember or the ill-paid professor struggling to make ends meet. Without legislation and laws protecting our dearly departed, it appears that one is worth more dead then alive. Yes, indeed the grave robber is back. He's still a ghoul; he's just better dressed.
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Amnesty International: US Taser Deaths Up
By MARK SHERMAN
Tue Mar 28, 2:53 AM ET
WASHINGTON - The number of people who have died in the U.S. after being shocked by police stun guns is growing rapidly, Amnesty International says in a report that catalogs 156 in the past five years.
Deaths after the use of Taser stun guns have risen from three in 2001 to 61 last year, the international human rights group said. Fourteen have died so far this year, it said, citing police and autopsy reports as well as press accounts.
The rise in deaths accompanies a marked increase in the number of U.S. law enforcement agencies employing devices made by Taser International of Scottsdale, Ariz. About 1,000 of the nation's 18,000 police agencies used Tasers in 2001; more than 7,000 departments had them last year, according to a government study.
Amnesty urged police departments to suspend the use of Tasers pending more study. The group said there has been insufficient independent research on safety issues, an assertion the company disputes.
Taser did not immediately comment on the report. But it has called similar studies flawed because they link deaths to Taser use when there has been no such official conclusion. To the contrary, Taser has said that more than 9,000 lives have been saved because police officers have been able to use stun guns instead of bullets. Tasers deliver a 50,000-volt jolt through two barbed darts that can penetrate clothing.
The Amnesty report is the latest study that raises concerns that Taser use - intended as a nonlethal alternative to a gun - can be fatal in certain circumstances, most often when the victim is using illegal drugs.
Police officers should use Tasers "only in circumstances where potentially lethal force is justified," said William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA. Schulz acknowledged that stun guns could be an effective part of a police arsenal, preferable in some cases to a nightstick or a gun.
Many of those who died were high on drugs, mentally ill or otherwise agitated. Many deaths in the past year occurred after victims were hit by Tasers at least three times and, in some cases, for prolonged periods, the report said.
In seven cases medical examiners or coroners determined that Taser use was a cause of death.
- Timothy Mathis, 35, had amphetamines in his system when sheriff's deputies in Larimer County, Colo., shocked him between three and seven times during an altercation. Mathis went into cardiac arrest and died three weeks later. The coroner ruled the death a homicide, but the district attorney declined to press charges.
- A Taser used by a Chicago police officer caused the death of Ronald Hasse, 54, in February 2005, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. Drug use was a contributing factor. Hasse was hit by a five-second electrical burst, followed by a 57-second charge, said Dr. Scott Denton, a deputy medical examiner.
In another 16 cases, authorities ruled that Taser use was a contributing factor in the death. In the bulk of the cases, victims died or lost consciousness soon after being shocked, but autopsies most often determined that illegal drugs were responsible or no cause of death was ascribed. Schulz said all 156 cases should be the subject of independent medical research.
Some police agencies have tightened their rules on stun-gun use following Taser-related deaths.
In Nashville, Tenn., paramedics bearing tranquilizers are called on in place of stun guns to subdue suspects who may have a drug-induced condition known as excited delirium.
The change was made after Patrick Lee, 21, was shocked up to 19 times with a Taser by police officers who found him acting strangely outside a nightclub. Lee, who had drugs in his system and an enlarged heart, died two days later.
Police officers in Las Vegas may no longer use Tasers on handcuffed prisoners and are discouraged from applying direct multiple shocks, following two deaths in 2004.
Apart from use by police, Taser said it has sold more than 115,000 devices to individuals since 1994. Stun guns are legal in 43 states, with varying restrictions, the company's Web site says. They are illegal in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., the company said.
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Towns, Cities Pass Resolutions Urging Impeachment
Brattleboro, Vermont, has joined nine other towns and cities, five state Democratic parties, and 19 local Democratic committees in passing resolutions urging the impeachment of President Bush and -- in most cases -- Vice President Cheney.
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Woman Ticketed For 'Bushit' Bumpersticker
Wow! I was driving in Atlanta (DeKalb County) and I got pulled over by the police. Imagine my utter surprise when the cop told me I had a "lewd decal" on my bumper!
Those darn kids of mine… must have put something terrible on my car. I am an 47-year-old female, mostly conservative person, so it could not possibly be one of MY bumper stickers that caused the police to pull me over… how wrong was I!
The police told me that my anti-Bush sticker that reads "I am tired of all the Bushit" was lewd according to DeKalb standards; he then proceeded to give me a lecture. My kids would have been so proud of me. I told the police officer in my most motherly voice that if he was going to give me a ticket to do so, but I did not want to discuss my politics with him and that I would see him in court.
So there we are. I go to court in DeKalb County on Apr. 18 and have written up some petitions that my children will help me to get signed. I am amazed that the police officer did this. There are four or five stickers on my vehicle and other than the Blue Sky sticker, all are political in nature and all anti-Bush. I have done my research and the police haven't met the Miller test for obscenity as defined by the Supreme Court, so this should be interesting.
I am of the belief that I was ticketed for my political beliefs and not any sense that I was offending the public with my lewd decal. Be outraged… it seems this is happening all over the country. Bush is out to abolish our civil rights… one at a time.
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Americans Like Athiests Less Than Muslims, Gays
JEANNINE AQUINO, MINNESOTA DAILY
Atheists are America's least trusted group, according to a national survey conducted by university sociology researchers. Based on a telephone survey of more than 2,000 households and in-depth interviews with more than 140 people, researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, homosexuals and other groups as "sharing their vision of American society." Americans are also least willing to let their children marry atheists. . .
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Cruise in birth control
By JULIE MOULT
TOM Cruise's pregnant fiancée Katie Holmes will be reminded to keep her vow of silence during birth - by signs plastered around their home.
The couple - following the Scientology tradition of a silent birth - had the posters delivered to their Beverly Hills mansion.
The 6ft placards will be placed so Katie can see them in labour.
One reads: "Be silent and make all physical movements slow and understandable."
Dawson's Creek actress Katie, 26, must "keep mum" and will not even be allowed painkillers when she has the couple's first child due any day.
Friends - believed to be Scientology elders - were pictured carrying the huge white boards through the gates.
The "birthing boards" will also tell staff and visitors to stay silent.
Followers believe it is traumatic for babies to hear their mother scream or groan when giving birth. They think it can cause "psychic" damage, which takes years of therapy to overcome.
The cult's creator, sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard, once said: "Maintain silence in the presence of birth to save both the sanity of the mother and child."
The doctrine stresses newborns cannot be poked or prodded for medical tests or spoken to for seven days.
Katie began dating Tom, 43, last year. She was well-known for her Catholic beliefs but quickly fell pregnant and is yet to wed.
This is as evil as the Yahwist's circumcision on the 8th day. I agree that screaming and yelling ought to be minimized, but no talking for 7 days? The time of primary bonding? Guaranteed to create a characteropath.
The most important thing for a child is to hear the sounds of the mother's voice right away... So it is with all of nature... that is what bonds...
For more on the negative effects of circumcision, see The Wave. Between the followers of Yahweh and the Scientologists, they have the creation of characteropaths down to a very sick science.
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In the Streets
US Students Rally On Streets, Downtown Freeways
March 27, 2006
Mayor Meets With Students To Discuss Immigration Bill
LOS ANGELES -- More than 36,000 students from throughout Los Angeles County skipped classes and marched through streets and on various freeways Monday to protest an immigration bill being debated in Congress.
More than 1,000 students waving Mexican, El Salvadoran, Guatemalan and American flags began gathering on the south lawn of Los Angeles City Hall just after 9 a.m., but crowds finally dispersed by 6 p.m., Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Paul Vernon said.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Chief William Bratton and Los Angeles Unified School District officials urged students to return to class Tuesday morning, when schools will be on lockdown.
"Our paramount concern right now is for the safety of these students," Villaraigosa said during a late afternoon news conference. "I'm asking parents to make sure that their kids are at school tomorrow, ready to learn and ready to discuss the important issues that they were here to demonstrate about."
Middle and high school classes throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District are scheduled tomorrow to discuss a bill introduced by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., which would crack down on employers hiring illegal workers and people smuggling illegal immigrants into the country.
"We will have in-class teachings for students so that they can have conversations to deal with this issue in a very productive way," said Rowena Lagrosa, executive officer of educational services for the district. "We are being proactive so that those students will show up for school tomorrow."
Letters and recorded phone messages in English and Spanish were sent to parents throughout the district, urging them to make sure their students attend classes Tuesday, Lagrosa said.
Students participating in a mass demonstration last Friday and Monday could face discipline ranging from suspension to exclusion from certain school-sponsored functions, Lagrosa said.
It was unclear how much money the school district lost due to decreased attendance today and Friday, she said. The district receives state funding based on average daily attendance.
Darlene Robles, superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education, said the more than 36,000 students who walked out of class Monday were from 26 school districts throughout the county.
The LAPD was placed on citywide tactical alert as a precaution because of the protests in various parts of the city, leading to five arrests during a demonstration at Van Nuys City Hall, Vernon said. The status allows police commanders to deploy officers beyond the end of their shifts as needed.
Four youths were arrested on suspicion of assault, while another was arrested for alleged disorderly conduct. In one instance, a student waved a large tree limb at police officers during the Van Nuys gathering, Vernon said.
Shortly after 1 p.m., about 100 student protesters took their march onto the Harbor (110) Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. The students brought traffic to a stand-still on the northbound lanes of the freeway, then broke into two groups heading both north and south on the Hollywood (101) Freeway, according to Bratton.
"Those who got on the freeway were very foolish," Bratton said. "Those cars are going 70 miles per hour with kids walking by. That's not a good mix. But, by and large, these were peaceful demonstrations."
Bratton said he did not anticipate any student protests tomorrow because the weather forecast calls for rain.
During the protest at City Hall, Alejandro Aguirre, 15, and his father Sergio said they wanted to voice their opposition to the Sensenbrenner bill.
"Right now, the most important thing to me is this," said Alejandro, a sophomore at John Marshall High School. "If I miss class, it's not as bad as if this bill passes. I can always make up homework, but this is the most important thing affecting us right now."
The Aguirres, who marched with about 500,000 people through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, said they believe the proposed legislation unfairly targets Latino immigrants.
"This is a country of immigrants, and this country would not be possible without us," said the elder Aguirre, who emigrated from Mexico about 20 years ago and now works as a Los Angeles city planner. "We are the backbone, we work hard to get here and we work hard after we're here, but this bill is trying to take all that away."
The Sensenbrenner bill, HR 4437, would require employers to verify Social Security numbers with the Department of Homeland Security, increase penalities for immigrant smuggling and stiffen penalities for undocumented immigrants who reenter the United States after having been removed.
Under the bill, approved last December by the House of Representatives, local law enforcement agencies would be reimbursed for detaining illegal immigrants. Refugees with aggravated felony convictions would also be barred from receiving green cards.
The U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee softened part of the immigration reform bill today by adopting an amendment by Sen Richard Durbin, D-Ill., that would protect charitable organizations and churches from criminal charges for providing aid to illegal immigrants.
The full Senate has yet to vote on the revised legislation.
"We may be illegal immigrants, but we are human," Metropolitan High School senior Melania Preciado said as she waved a Mexican flag. "We deserve the same rights as everyone else, not be treated like criminals."
"We're coming from very different, rival high schools to come together and protest against this bill because it criminalizes people from other countries, who cross the border to get jobs, to contribute to the U.S. economy," said Gustavo Dominguez, a senior at Belmont High School. "We're just here to achieve a better life, that's it."
The students outside City Hall cheered loudly when Villaraigosa came out after speaking with six students selected by protest organizers. He said their opposition to the Sensenbrenner bill was heard, but urged the students to return to class.
"You've come today, you registered your commitment to your families, your opposition to the Sensenbrenner legislation, but it's time to go back to school," Villaraigosa said. "But in your schools, I want you to work to educate the other students about why it's so important for us right now."
Villaraigosa made a second appearance around 4 p.m. asking students to go home, but was met with taunts and obscenities in Spanish.
"I knew there was a possibility that the kids would react the way that they did," Villaraigosa said. "I knew that they were still very agitated, but I made it absolutely clear that even though they have a right to demonstrate, they also have a duty to return to school."
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Commuters hit by French strikes
Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 10:39 GMT
Commuters in France are facing major disruption after transport workers joined a nationwide strike against the controversial new youth employment law.
Large parts of the country's rail, bus and air networks have been shut down, causing severe delays.
More than 100 demonstrations are expected as public and private sector workers join students in calling for the government to scrap the contracts.
Extra riot police are being deployed in Paris ahead of an afternoon march.
The state-run SNCF rail company said only two out of three of its high-speed trains, about 40% of other long-distance trains and about half of its suburban lines were operating.
In Paris, the underground rail network and the RER suburban service were also badly hit.
Disruption was also reported in Bordeaux, Lille, Marseille, Nancy, Strasbourg and Valenciennes.
Airport authorities warned of delays and cancellations and urged passengers to check with their airlines.
Schools, post-offices, banks, government offices and unemployment bureaux were also expecting serious disruption, on a fifth day of nationwide demonstrations against Prime Minister Domininque de Villepin's First Employment Contract (CPE).
'Test of resolve'
Protesters are bitterly opposed to the CPE, which allows employers to end job contracts for under-26s at any time during a two-year trial period without having to offer an explanation or give prior warning.
The government says it will encourage employers to hire young people but students fear it will erode job stability in a country where more than 20% of 18 to 25-year-olds are unemployed - more than twice the national average.
The BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says these latest demonstrations are a real test of the prime minister's resolve, and it is hard to see how he can break the stalemate.
To find a solution without losing face - or ground to his main rival for the presidency, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy - is proving the biggest challenge of Mr de Villepin's political career, our correspondent adds.
The main unions refuse to negotiate until he withdraws the contracts - while Mr de Villepin insists he will not be dictated to by the streets.
In France, street protests have long proved a powerful political weapon. Yet there are serious fears on all sides about a breakdown in public order if these protests continue.
Riot police will be stationed in Paris to try to stop a repeat of last Thursday's scenes, when more than 400 people were arrested and dozens injured as protests turned violent.
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State Dept. Warns of Violence in France
By ANNE GEARAN
AP Diplomatic Writer
Mon Mar 27, 5:55 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Three days before a visit to Paris by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the State Department warned Americans of violent protests in France and advised travelers to avoid city crowds.
The security alert Monday advised Americans traveling or living in France to "avoid areas where crowds are expected to gather" and use caution because of sometimes violent demonstrations in Paris and other large cities over a divisive youth jobs law.
Rice will be in Paris on Thursday for talks with
President Jacques Chirac on the Iranian nuclear standoff and other topics. She will only be in the city for a few hours and will not stay overnight.
The protests by university and high school students over the new law have drawn tens of thousands of demonstrators on recent nights. French police are promising increased surveillance on the country's rail network before nationwide strikes and protests planned for Tuesday.
"Recent demonstrations have occurred at times in areas frequented by tourists," the U.S. announcement said. "Some of the demonstrations may be announced, while others may be spontaneous. Police have responded by using tear gas. U.S. Embassy personnel have been advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings."
The announcement expires April 30.
The jobs law, meant to put the brakes on sky-high unemployment among young people and make France's economy more flexible, would allow employers to more easily hire - and fire - workers under age 26. Critics feel it will eat into job protections and leave young workers even more vulnerable.
Last week, a department warning about travel to Italy became a campaign issue in that country's upcoming national elections.
The department told Americans that Italy continues to be under heightened public threat by al-Qaida and other Islamic extremists for its continued participation in multinational activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a Washington ally, defended the U.S. government's right to inform its citizens. His center-left opponent Romano Prodi said the advisory created a climate of fear.
Comment: Perhaps the US State Department is unaware that protests are an integral part of French culture. Then again, the trial of Moussaoui is big news in the US right now, and he just happens to be French. Coincidence? We think not.
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Scuffles erupt at Paris protest
Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Scuffles have broken out in Paris as thousands of people protest across France against the government's controversial youth employment laws.
There were reports of fighting as crowds took to the streets of the French capital amid a hail storm.
Extra riot police had been deployed before the march. A rally in Paris last week led to running battles.
A nationwide strike has closed large parts of France's transport networks.
Workers and students in more than 100 cities are calling for the government to scrap the controversial employment contracts.
Unions reported a huge turnout for a march in Marseille, and large crowds were expected in other cities.
As transport workers joined the strike, commuters were left battling with widespread disruption as large parts of the country's rail, bus and air networks came to a halt.
The trade unions and student groups are hoping Tuesday's protest in Paris will be the largest so far, the BBC's James Menendez says.
French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy met police in the capital before the march, and told them to only get tough with those he called delinquents.
"My first instruction is that you protect the demonstrators, especially the youngest ones," he said.
"The second instruction is to arrest as many thugs, that means delinquents, as you can."
Unions said between 200,000 and 250,000 people turned out for a march in Marseille - many more than at the previous worker-student demonstrations on 18 March.
In the western city of Nantes, police put the figure at 42,000, more than double the 18 March turnout. Le Mans, Rouen and Tours also reported increased crowds.
As transport workers joined the strike, the state-run SNCF rail company said only two out of three of its high-speed trains, about 40% of other long-distance trains and about half of its suburban lines were operating.
In Paris, the underground rail network and the RER suburban service have already been badly hit by the strike.
Disruption was also reported in Bordeaux, Lille, Marseille, Nancy, Strasbourg and Valenciennes.
Airport authorities warned of delays and cancellations and urged passengers to check with their airlines.
Schools, post-offices, banks, government offices and unemployment bureaux are also experiencing serious disruption.
'Test of resolve'
Protesters are bitterly opposed to the First Employment Contract (CPE), which allows employers to end job contracts for under-26s at any time during a two-year trial period without having to offer an explanation or give prior warning.
The BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says these latest demonstrations are a real test of the Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's resolve, and it is hard to see how he can break the stalemate.
To find a solution without losing face - or ground to his main rival for the presidency, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy - is proving the biggest challenge of Mr de Villepin's political career, our correspondent adds.
FRENCH STUDENT PROTESTS
2005: Conservative education minister withdraws key elements of school reform after pupils and teachers protest
1995: Protests over pension reforms push Conservative PM Alain Juppe from office two years later
1994: Conservative PM Edouard Balladur abandons law cutting wages for young people in job training in face of month of protests
1986: Mass protest leads Conservative government to shelves university reform plan
May 1968: Uprisings help undermine legitimacy of President Charles de Gaulle, who stands down following year
The government says it will encourage employers to hire young people but students fear it will erode job stability in a country where more than 20% of 18 to 25-year-olds are unemployed - more than twice the national average.
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Unions claim three million on streets of France
PARIS, March 28, 2006 (AFP)
A French union leader said three million people took to the streets of France against the government's youth jobs law Tuesday, describing it as a "historic" figure.
"We are more than three million on the street. It is historic. It is unthinkable for the prime minister to stay fixed in his position," said Bernard Thibault of the CGT union.
"For us there is just one issue and that is withdrawal of this reform," he said.
Unions said between 200,000 and 250,000 people turned out for a march in Mediterranean port of Marseille, many more than on a last day of worker-student demonstrations on March 18.
In the western city of Nantes police put the figure at 42,000, more than double the turnout of March 18.
Le Mans, Rouen and Tours also reported increased crowds.
The biggest demonstration was due in the afternoon in Paris, with police on high alert for outbreaks of violence.
An alliance of unions, students and left-wing political parties is seeking the withdrawal of Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's First Employment Contract (CPE), which makes it easier to hire and fire under 26 year-olds.
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Villepin, Sarkozy diverge on solutions to CPE crisis
PARIS, March 28, 2006 (AFP)
Tensions deepened inside France's ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party Tuesday after Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's methods for introducing a controversial youth jobs law were contested by his powerful number two, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Speaking in the northern town of Douai Monday evening, Sarkozy - who is interior minister as well as UMP president - implicitly criticised Villepin for failing to consult with unions and employers before drawing up the First Employment Contract (CPE), which has sparked three weeks of street protests.
"For change to succeed, there has to be social dialogue. Social dialogue is an essential precondition for the success of any reform," Sarkozy said.
"We must rediscover the spirit of compromise, in which each side takes a step towards the other in order to build a more just society.... No government texts on social issues that have not been the subject of prior consultation, and no blockages and ultimatums by unions," he said.
Speaking before UMP deputies Tuesday Sarkozy recommended a period of "non-application (of the CPE) pending negotiations between the social partners to search for a compromise."
Villepin - widely regarded as Sarkozy's rival ahead of next year's presidential election - has refused to withdraw the CPE, instead offering "adjustments" outside the framework of the law.
Commentators said Sarkozy was treading a careful path, officially expressing solidarity with the prime minister but trying to limit the damage from the campaign of worker-student protests to his own political ambitions.
"As a presidential candidate (Sarkozy) does not want to be carried down with the rest of the right in the storm over the CPE.... But he cannot take his criticism beyond these repeated appeals for compromise or he could face accusations of betrayal of his own party," said Le Figaro newspaper.
Villepin has been comforted by opinion polls that show that even if two-thirds of the French oppose the CPE, some 74 percent of UMP voters believe he should stick to his guns.
For the two leaders it was an ironic reversal of roles, as Villepin was until recently cast as the socially conscious gradualist reformer, and Sarkozy as a supporter of a clean break - 'la rupture' - with France's economic model.
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More War! All the time!
'Dirty Bombs' Crossed U.S. Borders in Test
By LIZ SIDOTI
Mar 27 7:21 PM US/Eastern
WASHINGTON - Undercover investigators slipped radioactive material - enough to make two small "dirty bombs" - across U.S. borders in Texas and Washington state in a test last year of security at American points of entry.
Radiation alarms at the unidentified sites detected the small amounts of cesium-137, a nuclear material used in industrial gauges. But U.S. customs agents permitted the investigators to enter the United States because they were tricked with counterfeit documents.
The Bush administration said Monday that within 45 days it will give U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents the tools they need to verify such documents in the future.
The Government Accountability Office's report, the subject of a Senate hearing Tuesday, said detection equipment used by U.S. customs agents to screen people, vehicles and cargo for radioactive substances appeared to work as designed.
But the investigation, carried out simultaneously at both border crossings in December 2005, also identified potential security holes terrorists might be able to exploit to sneak nuclear materials into the United States.
"This operation demonstrated that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is stuck in a pre-9/11 mind-set in a post-9/11 world and must modernize its procedures," Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., said Monday in a statement.
The NRC, in charge of overseeing nuclear reactor and nuclear substance safety, challenged that notion.
"Security has been of prime importance for us on the materials front and the power plant front since 9/11," commission spokesman David McIntyre said in an interview.
The head of the Homeland Security Department's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Vayl Oxford, said the substance could have been used in a radiological weapon with limited effects.
A Senate Homeland Security subcommittee, which Coleman leads, released details of the investigation and two GAO reports on radiation detectors and port security before hearings on the issues this week.
The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, also found that installation of radiation detectors is taking too long and costing more money than the U.S. expected. It said the Homeland Security Department's goal of installing 3,034 detectors by September 2009 across the United States _ at border crossings, seaports, airports and mail facilities _ was "unlikely" to be met and said the government probably will spend $342 million more than it expects.
Between October 2000 and October 2005, the GAO said, the government spent about $286 million installing radiation monitors inside the United States.
To test security at U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada, GAO investigators represented themselves as employees of a fake company. When stopped, they presented counterfeit shipping papers and NRC documents that allegedly permitted them to receive, acquire, possess and transfer radioactive substances.
Investigators found that customs agents weren't able to check whether a person caught with radioactive materials was permitted to possess the materials under a government-issued license.
"Unless nuclear smugglers in possession of faked license documents raised suspicions in some other way, CBP officers could follow agency guidelines yet unwittingly allow them to enter the country with their illegal nuclear cargo," a report said. It described this problem as "a significant gap" in the nation's safety procedures.
Jayson Ahern, the assistant customs commissioner for field operations, said a system for customs agents to confirm the authenticity of government licenses will be in place within 45 days. Ahern noted the radiation detectors had sounded alarms.
"We're pleased when a test like this is able to demonstrate the efficacy of our technology," Ahern said.
False radiation alarms are common - sometimes occurring more than 100 times a day - although the GAO said inspectors generally do a good job distinguishing nuisance alarms from actual ones. False alarms can be caused by ceramics, fertilizers, bananas and even patients who have recently undergone some types of medical procedures.
At one port - which investigators did not identify - a director frustrated over false alarms was worried that backed-up trains might block the entrance to a nearby military base until an alarm was checked out. The director's solution: simply turn off the radiation detector.
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Are we finished having our children killed?'
By Gideon Levy
A bullet in the head from a distance of a few meters, fired suddenly and without warning shots aimed at the wheels, which the Israel Defense Forces claims there were. This is the way undercover soldiers from the Border Police killed Akaber Zaid, an eight-and-a-half year-old, who was on her way to the doctor, according to her uncle, who was with her and was also wounded.
Little Akaber was going to the doctor and he did indeed see her, but there was no longer a reason for him to do so. She had been on the way to have him remove stitches from her chin, but instead arrived dead at the same doctor's office, with her head smashed and her skull gaping.
Soldiers from the Israeli Border Police's undercover unit, known by the Hebrew acronym Yamas, shot at her uncle's taxi at close range as he was parking the vehicle next to the doctor's office. All the soldiers' claims, as presented to the media by the IDF, to the effect that they had shot at the taxi's wheels in accordance with the "regulations for arresting a suspect," were nothing but lies, says the girl's uncle, who was sitting next to her. The car was sprayed from the right and from behind with bullets, which entered through its windows. The shots were fired from just a few meters away, the uncle stresses, in the light of a street lamp.
We saw the taxi this week: All its wheels are intact. However, those who carried out the "investigations" on behalf of the IDF and the Border Police did not even bother to examine the vehicle, or to question the man who had driven it. He was also wounded and is hospitalized. We also took testimony from him and could not find a single fact on the ground that contradicts what he reports: The undercover soldiers shot at the girl from two directions, from nearby and, the uncle says, without warning. No soldier with a gun, certainly not an expert sharpshooter from the Yamas, would aim at close range at wheels and hit someone in the head instead.
Down the road, hundreds of meters from the shooting, are the remaining signs of the destruction wreaked by the Border Police. Not one wanted man was detained, but a five-story apartment block was badly damaged and there are wrecks of cars that were completely crushed, one after the other, still standing in the street.
Why did the undercover soldiers shoot at a young girl? How could they dare claim they aimed at the wheels? Why did they have to shoot at innocent people in a taxi in the first place? Why did they wreak such havoc? Why did they crush vehicles that were the last source of income for their owners? What is the difference between this action on the soldiers' part and a terrorist attack? And why are these questions not being asked?
The father did not accompany his daughter to Dr. Samara. He said he could not bear to see the doctor removing the stitches from her little chin. Akaber was a second-grade pupil from the village of Al-Yamoun, northwest of Jenin. In her picture from kindergarten, she can be seen wearing a square black graduation cap, like those worn by university graduates and people receiving doctorates. That is the custom in the Al-Yamoun kindergarten: The children who excel are photographed with the special hat. That is how she will remain in the collective consciousness of that town, whose sons once worked in Israel.
Akaber is not the first girl they are burying. How many children were killed in Al-Yamoun in the past few years? The school principal, who came to pay his condolences to the family, begins to list them, one by one, but stops suddenly and asks: "Why should I count them? Are we finished having our children killed?"
The father enters the mourners' room in the local council building, his eyes red with crying. Abdel Rahman Zaid, 31, the father of six, drives a commercial van that travels in the West Bank, when possible. About three weeks ago, Akaber fell on the stairs in her house and hurt her chin. Last Friday it was time to remove the stitches. When Abdel Rahman returned from work, he asked his brother Kamal - a 27-year-old taxi driver, whom he calls Hamoudi - to go with Akaber to the doctor's house on the hill, where he has his office. It was Friday night, the last night of her life. His brother took the girl and she sat beside him in the passenger seat. The father stresses that the taxi's windows were transparent; there were no curtains covering them or hiding the passengers. Any soldier could see the occupants, any soldier from the Yamas could see that there was a small girl with a braid sitting there.
The two left for the doctor's and soon reached his street. From his bed in the government hospital in Jenin, his wounded hand in a bandage, Kamal relates that after parking, he suddenly noticed some soldiers to the right of the car. It is a narrow road and they were standing barely a few meters away. He says they began firing immediately, from the right and from behind. Only after that did he hear shouting in Hebrew, which he does not speak. Little Akaber was already lying on the seat with her head smashed.
Kamal lifted her up in his arms; the soldiers instructed him to leave her on the road. Thus, they remained on the road - the dead girl and her wounded uncle. The Yamas soldiers ordered him to stand, to lift up his shirt and then to sit back down. They continued to shoot in the air, Kamal says. A neighbor took the girl to the doctor who was expecting her. From there she was taken to the hospital in Jenin where her death was confirmed.
The uncle's arm was bandaged on the spot and he was taken by military Jeep for interrogation. He says the soldiers beat him. There was a dog in the vehicle, who sniffed him, and a soldier called Raslan who, he says, hit him in the head when he spoke Arabic. Kamal took three bullets in the arm and leg. He says seven bullets hit the girl, three of them in her head.
The yellow Renault taxi tells the story: Its wheels are intact, but its body is riddled with bullet holes. The back window is shattered, and there are bullet holes in the back head rest and in its sides. There are blood stains everywhere, the blood of the dead girl and her wounded uncle.
All this time, they hid her death from her father. Abdel Rahman had heard the shots - the doctor's office is not far from their house - but he never thought of his daughter somehow, only of his brother. He went to the doctor's office and there they told him that Akaber had been wounded. The doctor injected him with a sedative, and he says he did not wake up until morning. Only when he awoke and went home, at about 5 A.M., did his other brother break the bad news. His wife already knew: She heard the news on an Arabic-language TV station.
Through his tears, the father wants to tell us something: The girl's mother, Ikram, was born in Israel. Akaber was also Israeli. She was born in a Nazareth hospital and has an Israeli birth certificate. She was buried in the Al-Yamoun cemetery on Saturday morning.
The IDF Spokesman: "On March 17, while a special forces unit of the Border Police was engaged in arresting wanted men in the village of Al-Yamoun, northwest of Jenin, the unit surrounded an area in which there was a suspicion that wanted men were hiding. During the operation, the force saw a taxi that seemed suspicious approaching the area and began the procedure of arresting a suspect. When it failed to heed the soldiers' calls, they opened fire in the direction of the taxi."
Does anyone think the uncle would not have heeded the calls to stop if indeed the soldiers had called out? The man was taking his little niece to the doctor. The army announced merely that "the IDF regrets harming the Palestinian girl and is conducting a comprehensive examination of the circumstances of the event."
The scene of the destruction: A Palestinian bulldozer removed the wreckage next to the Zaid family's house on Sunday. A five-story building, which the soldiers suspected was housing wanted men, has been partially destroyed. The family members are now covering the huge holes in it with gray bricks, and its elegant columns are in danger of collapsing. In the yard below are the other wrecked cars: a yellow Mercedes taxi, a white Subaru, and another few pieces of metal that were once cars.
Mohammed Zaid, who owns one of the apartments, emerges from the debris: "This is the Jewish army - this is the bad Jewish army," shouts his uncle who is with him. Mohammed recalls that at about seven on Friday night, he saw another group of soldiers outside his grocery shop. They demanded that he tell all the residents to leave the building. There are five large families - families of a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer, a teacher - living in the five stories. All the tenants went out into the street and had to wait there until morning - dozens of children, women and men - until the soldiers finished their work.
Mohammed says that the women and children acted as a barrier between the area where people were shooting at the soldiers, from one house, and the area where the Border Police was returning fire. When the building had been evacuated, they sent Mohammed to turn the lights on in all the rooms to see if someone was still there. An IDF bulldozer was ready to tear the structure down. Mohammed says he suggested the soldiers accompany him to see that no one was left inside, but they shut him up, saying, "We know what work we have to do." Around midnight, the bulldozer started tearing things down. The house across the street was also damaged.
Mohammed says he asked an officer: "Does Israeli law permit you to do this?" The officer said, according to Mohammed: "Go and complain at the UN."
Mohammed's brother, a dentist, whose clinic was completely destroyed, tried to tell an officer that he was a doctor "for humans," and the officer replied: "Shut up."
Mohammed was taken for interrogation at the Salem facility and was released only on Saturday at noon. He says he told his interrogator: "On TV, you say you are a democracy." The interrogator replied: "Democracy is only for the TV."
Mohammed, a teacher, says: "I always tell my pupils that we like peace. What will I tell them now? That this is what peace looks like?"
We go to the top of the hill where Akaber was killed. A sign points the way to Dr. Samara's clinic. Someone has placed a row of little stones on the road where the taxi stood, to mark where the little body was. The bloodstains have not yet been wiped away. From an old elections poster, Yasser Arafat's picture looks down on this makeshift memorial to Akaber.
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US planning bases across Middle East, Central Asia
WASHINGTON: The United States is planning to build at least six bases across the Middle East and Central Asia in the next 10 years for "deep storage" of munitions and equipment to prepare for regional war contingencies.
According to William M Arkin, author of more than 10 books on military affairs, and a former US army intelligence analyst and nuclear weapons expert during the Cold War, the plan came to attention this month through contracting documents that call for the continued storage of everything from packaged meals ready to eat (MREs) to missiles in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman, as well as the establishment of two new storage hubs, one in a classified Middle Eastern country "west" of Saudi Arabia and the other in a yet to be decided "Central Asian state."
The plans to continue to "pre-position" war material in the Persian Gulf region leave ambiguous whether the US military foresees the ability to establish a permanent present in Iraq in the long-term. By 2016, the contracting documents show that the tonnage of air munitions stored at sites outside Iraq will double from current levels.
According to Arkin, "In 2001, existing headquarters and bases were used to run air operations from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, ground operations were directed from a virtual US permanent base in Kuwait, and special operations were centered on Oman. New expeditionary bases were established in places like Pakistan and Uzbekistan, as well as new bases in places like Bulgaria and Romania, but it was the existing web of forward operating locations and contingency facilities that allowed the immediate deployment." Arkin writes, "Central to the US military presence in the Middle East to fight both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars has been the use of pre-positioned war materiel and the quick establishment of expeditionary bases. At the height of operations in both countries in 2003, the Air Force, for instance, operated from 36 bases in and around the region. That number has since shrunk to 14 today, including four main operating bases in Iraq. Under the review, up to 70,000 troops will be relocated to the continental United States, primarily drawn from forces in Germany and Europe, and the Cold War presence in many parts of the world will end altogether.
More central to the review though was the articulation of a basing strategy for those parts of the world - especially the Middle East - where no "permanent" combat forces are assigned. Here the strategy relies on a network of forward operating sites (FOS) capable of supporting rotational forces, as well as a set of more austere cooperative security locations (CSL) used for contingency purposes."
He points out that with the elimination of a permanent American presence that includes families and the typical Cold War accoutrements, the United States will not only have greater flexibility, but many political impediments will be eliminated as host countries will also be able to claim that there are no American "bases" on their soil. Though the United States began to pre-position war material in the Middle East after President Jimmy Carter established the Rapid Deployment Force to operate against a Soviet attack on the Gulf, it was the build-up for the 1990 Gulf War that cemented many of the basing relationships today. After 9/11, these airbases as well as the continued presence of pre-positioned material in countries like Oman and Qatar became central to the US rapid response in Afghanistan.
Another factor that began to influence US basing in the Middle East during the 1990's was information technologies that allowed forward operations with reduced manpower. The concept called "reach back," is defined as "the process of obtaining products, services, and applications or forces, equipment, or material from Air Force organisations that are not forward deployed." After the current Iraq war, there are plans to shift the future US forward presence in the Middle East from the "ever present" posture to one characterised as "enduring access" and "episodic employment." Pre-positioned materiel and ready-to-use though largely unoccupied bases are central to this strategy. This allows the maintenance of military capabilities without a large or visible US presence, and compensates for the loss of Saudi Arabian bases and infrastructure closed with the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Arkin writes, "Despite impressive physical facilities in Saudi Arabia, freedom of action from Saudi bases had always been a sticking point between the United States and the Kingdom.
Prior to 9/11, the US was already in the process of moving capabilities to Qatar and Kuwait and Air Force aircraft operations shifted to Al Dhafra air base in the United Arab Emirates. Now bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE constitute the permanent basing of the United States, no matter what the new fangled Pentagon labelling. Countries like Jordan, Egypt, and Yemen, and even Saudi Arabia, will continued to be pressured to support episodic operations and clandestine forces, just as they actually are doing today." khalid hasan
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The Great Charade
As the West prepares for an assault on Iraq, John Pilger argues that 'war on terror' is a smokescreen created by the ultimate terrorist ... America itself
It is 10 months since 11 September, and still the great charade plays on. Having appropriated our shocked response to that momentous day, the rulers of the world have since ground our language into a paean of cliches and lies about the 'war on terrorism' - when the most enduring menace, and source of terror, is them.
The fanatics who attacked America came from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. No bombs fell on these American protectorates. Instead, more than 5,000 civilians have been bombed to death in stricken Afghanistan, the latest a wedding party of 40 people, mostly women and children. Not a single al-Qaeda leader of importance has been caught.
Following this 'stunning victory', hundreds of prisoners were shipped to an American concentration camp in Cuba, where they have been held against all the conventions of war and international law. No evidence of their alleged crimes has been produced, and the FBI confirms only one is a genuine suspect. In the United States, more than 1,000 people of Muslim background have 'disappeared'; none has been charged. Under the draconian Patriot Act, the FBI's new powers include the authority to go into libraries and ask who is reading what.
Meanwhile, the Blair government has made fools of the British Army by insisting they pursue warring tribesmen: exactly what squaddies in putties and pith helmets did over a century ago when Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, described Afghanistan as one of the 'pieces on a chessboard upon which is being played out a great game for the domination of the world'.
There is no war on terrorism; it is the great game speeded up. The difference is the rampant nature of the superpower, ensuring infinite dangers for us all.
Having swept the Palestinians into the arms of the supreme terrorist Ariel Sharon, the Christian Right fundamentalists running the plutocracy in Washington, now replenish their arsenal in preparation for an attack on the 22 million suffering people of Iraq. Should anyone need reminding, Iraq is a nation held hostage to an American-led embargo every bit as barbaric as the dictatorship over which Iraqis have no control. Contrary to propaganda orchestrated from Washington and London, the coming attack has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein's 'weapons of mass destruction', if these exist at all. The reason is that America wants a more compliant thug to run the world's second greatest source of oil.
The drum-beaters rarely mention this truth, and the people of Iraq. Everyone is Saddam Hussein, the demon of demons. Four years ago, the Pentagon warned President Clinton that an all-out attack on Iraq might kill 'at least' 10,000 civilians: that, too, is unmentionable. In a sustained propaganda campaign to justify this outrage, journalists on both sides of the Atlantic have been used as channels, 'conduits', for a stream of rumours and lies. These have ranged from false claims about an Iraqi connection with the anthrax attacks in America to a discredited link between the leader of the 11 September hijacks and Iraqi intelligence. When the attack comes, these consorting journalists will share responsibility for the crime.
It was Tony Blair who served notice that imperialism's return journey to respectability was under way. Hark, the Christian gentleman-bomber's vision of a better world for 'the starving, the wretched, the dispossessed, the ignorant, those living in want and squalor from the deserts of northern Africa to the slums of Gaza to the mountain ranges of Afghanistan.' Hark, his 'abiding' concern for the 'human rights of the suffering women of Afghanistan' as he colluded with Bush who, as the New York Times reported, 'demanded the elimination of truck convoys that provide much of the food and other supplies to Afghanistan's civilian population'. Hark his compassion for the 'dispossessed' in the 'slums of Gaza', where Israeli gunships, manufactured with vital British parts, fire their missiles into crowded civilian areas.
As Frank Furedi reminds us in The New Ideology of Imperialism , it is not long ago 'that the moral claims of imperialism were seldom questioned in the West. Imperialism and the global expansion of the western powers were represented in unambiguously positive terms as a major contributor to human civilisation.' The quest went wrong when it was clear that fascism was imperialism, too, and the word vanished from academic discourse. In the best Stalinist tradition, imperialism no longer existed. Today, the preferred euphemism is 'civilisation'; or if an adjective is required, 'cultural'.
From Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an ally of crypto-fascists, to impeccably liberal commentators, the new imperialists share a concept whose true meaning relies on a xenophobic or racist comparison with those who are deemed uncivilised, culturally inferior and might challenge the 'values' of the West. Watch the 'debates' on Newsnight. The question is how best 'we' can deal with the problem of 'them'.
For much of the western media, especially those commentators in thrall to and neutered by the supercult of America, the most salient truths remain taboos. Professor Richard Falk, of Cornell university, put it succinctly some years ago. Western foreign policy, he wrote, is propagated in the media 'through a self righteous, one-way moral/legal screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted violence'.
Perhaps the most important taboo is the longevity of the United States as both a terrorist state and a haven for terrorists. That the US is the only state on record to have been condemned by the World Court for international terrorism (in Nicaragua) and has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling on governments to observe international law, is unmentionable.
'In the war against terrorism,' said Bush from his bunker following 11 September, 'we're going to hunt down these evil-doers wherever they are, no matter how long it takes.'
Strictly speaking, it should not take long, as more terrorists are given training and sanctuary in the United States than anywhere on earth. They include mass murderers, torturers, former and future tyrants and assorted international criminals. This is virtually unknown to the American public, thanks to the freest media on earth.
There is no terrorist sanctuary to compare with Florida, currently governed by the President's brother, Jeb Bush. In his book Rogue State , former senior State Department official Bill Blum describes a typical Florida trial of three anti-Castro terrorists, who hijacked a plane to Miami at knifepoint. 'Even though the kidnapped pilot was brought back from Cuba to testify against the men,' he wrote, 'the defence simply told the jurors the man was lying, and the jury deliberated for less than an hour before acquitting the defendants.'
General Jose Guillermo Garcia has lived comfortably in Florida since the 1990s. He was head of El Salvador's military during the 1980s when death squads with ties to the army murdered thousands of people. General Prosper Avril, the Haitian dictator, liked to display the bloodied victims of his torture on television. When he was overthrown, he was flown to Florida by the US Government. Thiounn Prasith, Pol Pot's henchman and apologist at the United Nations, lives in New York. General Mansour Moharari, who ran the Shah of Iran's notorious prisons, is wanted in Iran, but untroubled in the United States.
Al-Qaeda's training camps in Afghanistan were kindergartens compared with the world's leading university of terrorism at Fort Benning in Georgia. Known until recently as the School of the Americas, it trained tyrants and some 60,000 Latin American special forces, paramilitaries and intelligence agents in the black arts of terrorism.
In 1993, the UN Truth Commission on El Salvador named the army officers who had committed the worst atrocities of the civil war; two-thirds of them had been trained at Fort Benning. In Chile, the school's graduates ran Pinochet's secret police and three principal concentration camps. In 1996, the US government was forced to release copies of the school's training manuals, which recommended blackmail, torture, execution and the arrest of witnesses' relatives.
In recent months, the Bush regime has torn up the Kyoto treaty, which would ease global warming, to which the United States is the greatest contributor. It has threatened the use of nuclear weapons in 'pre-emptive' strikes (a threat echoed by Defence Minister Geoffrey Hoon). It has tried to abort the birth of an international criminal court. It has further undermined the United Nations by blocking a UN investigation of the Israeli assault on a Palestinian refugee camp; and it has ordered the Palestinians to replace their elected leader with an American stooge. At summit conferences in Canada and Indonesia, Bush's people have blocked hundreds of millions of dollars going to the most deprived people on earth, those without clean water and electricity.
These facts will no doubt beckon the inane slur of 'anti-Americanism'. This is the imperial prerogative: the last refuge of those whose contortion of intellect and morality demands a loyalty oath. As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the Nazis silenced argument and criticism with 'anti German' slurs. Of course, the United States is not Germany; it is the home of some of history's greatest civil rights movements, such as the epic movement in the 1960s and 1970s.
I was in the US last week and glimpsed that other America, the one rarely seen among the media and Hollywood stereotypes, and what was clear was that it was stirring again. The other day, in an open letter to their compatriots and the world, almost 100 of America's most distinguished names in art, literature and education wrote this:
'Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression. We believe that questioning, criticism and dissent must be valued and protected. Such rights are always contested and must be fought for. We, too, watched with shock the horrific events of September 11. But the mourning had barely begun when our leaders launched a spirit of revenge. The government now openly prepares to wage war on Iraq - a country that has no connection with September 11.
'We say this to the world. Too many times in history people have waited until it was too late to resist. We draw on the inspiration of those who fought slavery and all those other great causes of freedom that began with dissent. We call on all like-minded people around the world to join us.'
It is time we joined them.
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The Final Say
by Eric Margolis
U.S. President George Bush again reassured Americans last week they were winning the war in Iraq.
Please, Mr. President, no more "mission accomplished," no more victories. Your debacle in Iraq recalls King Phyrrus' famous lament, "One more such victory and we are ruined."
The Bush administration invaded Iraq for two key reasons: 1) To seize Iraq's vast oil reserves and turn Iraq into a base to dominate the Mideast; 2) To destroy one of Israel's two main enemies (Iran being the other).
Three years later, the first goal remains elusive while the second was achieved. Large parts of Iraq – once the Arab world's most developed nation – are in ruins, anarchy, or approaching civil war.
U.S. forces in Iraq struggle just to defend their bases and vulnerable supply lines. Their fruitless, Vietnam-style search-and-destroy missions, like this week's Operation Swarmer, are a sure sign of strategic failure and senior officers too stupid or arrogant to draw obvious lessons from recent guerilla wars.
More than 2,300 American soldiers have died; 16,300 wounded. Some 30,000 Iraqi civilians have died. The U.S. holds 15,000 to 18,000 Iraqi prisoners – more than did Saddam Hussein.
The stalemated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost Washington a staggering $9.8 billion (all figures US) monthly as the U.S. Treasury borrows billions from China and Japan just to keep the government running. That figure excludes hundreds of millions in secret CIA bribes to rent co-operation from tribal chiefs and politicians, or hire mercenaries called "contractors."
What was to have been a jolly little war to "liberate" Iraq's oil has cost over $500 billion so far. That's $50 billion more than the Vietnam War's total cost in 2006 dollars. Clearly, the U.S. armed forces are too expensive to send to a war lasting longer than a few months.
While a debacle for the U.S. and Iraq, the war has greatly benefited Iran and Israel. Iran's influence in Iraq grows daily. The recent remarkable public agreement by Washington to open talks over Iraq with Great Satan Iran shows even the Bush people see the writing on the wall in Babylon. Besides, occupying Iraq has left the U.S. too weak to invade Iran.
After getting Saddam to invade Iran in 1980, and funding the ensuing eight-year Iran-Iraq war, the U.S. now watches helplessly as Iran slowly ingests large portions of Iraq. The U.S. invasion of Iraq handed power to pro-Iranian Shia religious parties. Shia spiritual leader Ali al Sistani warned followers they would go straight to hell – and lose their wives – if they did not vote for Shia religious candidates. Some democracy.
Israel has been the second beneficiary of the Iraq war. The long-term strategic goal of Israel's rightists – shattering unstable Arab states to leave Israel dominant in the region – has been half attained by Iraq's fragmentation into three parts. Syria is destabilized and faces possible civil war. Any future challenge by Iraq to Israel's Mideast nuclear monopoly has vanished.
Meanwhile, Israel has been able to cut defence spending, intensify pressure on the Palestinians, and is quietly extending its influence into the semi-independent, oil-rich Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
$10B a month
Ironically, the third major beneficiary of Bush's war has been his nemesis, Osama bin Laden. The only way to drive U.S. influence out of the Muslim world, bin Laden has long maintained, is to tie it down in a series of small wars that bleed it financially. The nearly $10-billion-a-month wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are doing just that. Iraq, as even Bush admits, has become an incubator, magnet, and call to arms for anti-American jihadists across the Muslim world.
Worse, the United States has lost its honour in this brutal little neo-colonial war. The neoconservatives' ambition to plunder Iraq's oil has become a mirage, and the Bush-Cheney diumverate presidency is quickly sinking into the quick-sands of Iraq.
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Russia expects clear answer from Iran on enrichment proposal
www.chinaview.cn 2006-03-28 23:39:14
MOSCOW, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Iran should give a clear answer to Russia's offer to set up a uranium enrichment joint venture on Russian territory, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Tuesday.
"Iran should say unambiguously whether it is planning to acceptor reject the offer in order to allay the international community's concerns," Ivanov told a news conference in Moscow.
"Tensions are running high over Iran. Our offer of uranium enrichment on Russian territory remains on the table. But it is a complex proposal that should be handled within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Ivanov said.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov plans to meet with his colleagues from the European trio--Germany, Britain and France, as well as China and the United States in Berlin on Thursday to discuss issues related to the Iranian nuclear program, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said on Tuesday.
Lavrov sent the same message to Tehran on Monday. "Our proposal for a joint uranium enrichment venture remains on the negotiating table but stays within the context of a general package," Lavrov said, adding that all remaining questions concerning Iran's nuclear program should be answered to confirm its peaceful character.
Lavrov also called for comprehensive support of the Vienna-based IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog.
"It is necessary to support the IAEA activity. It will be useful for the UN Security Council to uphold the IAEA, but the Security Council should not assume functions of experts," the minister said.
Tehran "intends to continue talks with Moscow" on creating the joint venture to enrich uranium, Iranian ambassador to Russia Gholam-Reza Ansari told a local news agency. "The talks will be held when (and) if necessary."
The dispute over Iran's nuclear program escalated after Tehran resumed nuclear fuel research in January, prompting the IAEA decision last month to report its case to the UN Security Council.
Iran then stopped the IAEA's snap inspections of its nuclear sites and resumed small-scale uranium enrichment work.
Iran denies the U.S. charge of developing nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, insisting on its right to peaceful nuclear technology.
The UN Security Council's five permanent members held closed consultations on March 8 on the approach the powerful organ should take in handling the crisis over Iran's disputed nuclear program.
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Voting to Kill
New worldview shapes vote in Israel
By Joshua Mitnick
The Christian Science Monitor
March 28, 2006
A centrist third party leads the polls heading into Tuesday's election.
TEL AVIV – As Israelis go to the polls Tuesday to select a new parliament, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the Kadima party lead the field despite staking the campaign on a provocative idea: an unconditional retreat from much of the West Bank behind a unilaterally fixed border with the Palestinians.
The rise of unilateralism, underway since Ariel Sharon's exit from the Gaza strip, signals a shift away from the dominant ideologies of left and right that emerged after the 1967 Six Day War in favor of a new centrist pragmatism. After a failed peace effort in 2000 and five ensuing years of the Palestinian uprising, Israelis have concluded that neither "peace now" nor "greater Israel" are realistic.
"It's a disenchantment with two utopias: with the left-wing utopia of peace and harmony, and with the right-wing utopia of greater Israel by blood and fire," says Yaron Ezrahi, a political science professor at Hebrew University.
"Disengagement was seen as the middle compromise. It takes an element of the right and the left. The element of the right is pessimism about the ability of the Palestinians to sign an agreement. The element of the left is willingness to divide the land. And the disengagement is the perfect synthesis of this," Mr. Ezrahi adds.
In the final surveys taken before Tuesday's balloting, Labor and Likud, the two dominant rivals of the last three decades, are a distant second and third. Unscathed by the threat of Hamas or by Israel's yawning social gap, Kadima ends the campaign fighting primarily voter apathy.
And yet, it is still uncertain whether the urge for a one-sided divorce from the Palestinians can meld into a philosophy that will hold together the political center that gravitated around Mr. Sharon and Kadima before Sharon suffering a massive stroke two months ago.
Newspaper columns describing the vote as a "fateful" decision have made little impression on prospective voters. Opinion polls predict that voter turnout will be weak. In previous elections, the highways would be littered with political banners and bumper stickers, but the public landscape has been relatively clean.
"Most Israelis are tired of the big decision. It is as if they're saying to the politicians do your thing and leave me alone," says Tom Segev, an Israeli historian and journalist. "This used to be a very deeply divided society. For 40 years, we have been debating about the future of the territories, and people now feel that question has been decided."
Warning that the occupation of land conquered in 1967 is a moral albatross for Israel, Israeli doves have traditionally backed negotiations with the Palestinians as a way of trading back land for a peace deal. The answer from the right wing had been to expand Jewish settlements across the West Bank, while dismissing Palestinian peace initiatives as disingenuous.
It was a debate nourished with the ideological fervor of the generation that grew up at the time of Israel's independence and came of age during the 1967 and 1973 wars. But in the subsequent decades, as Israeli society gradually opened up to the West, it became less focused on the old ideological debates.
"That's a deep change in priorities. People are much less political today," Segev says. "They have found other values of life. We are developing normal attitudes, a normal set of priorities. We are growing out of our childhood."
Embraced by an Israeli prime minister nicknamed "bulldozer," unilateralism has become the foreign policy for Israelis who are impatient for a resumption of peace negotiations and realize that Israel's military has no fail-safe answer to suicide bombers.
"It's much more than a policy, it's a paradigm," says Dan Schueftan, the deputy director of the National Security Studies Center at University of Haifa and a proponent of the strategy.
"Once Israelis realized that the option of peace wasn't there, that you won't get a settlement in return for withdrawal, there is a motivation to withdraw unilaterally, and there is no motivation to consider the Palestinians when we set our borders," he says. "The idea that we will permanently sit there and wait for things to improve is something that Israelis no longer believe."
Sharon conceived of Kadima as the political home of the new pragmatism after despairing of Likud. When Sharon fell into a coma in January, many predicted the party's demise. But when Ehud Olmert emerged from Sharon's shadow two weeks ago to promise a new West Bank withdrawal, it was a sign that the party could go it alone.
"The Kadima party's goal is to determine the borders of Israel. This was never the goal of either the right or the left," says Tzachi Hanegbi, a Kadima member who defected from Likud.
"If you asked me if Kadima would stay powerful after Sharon stepped down the way he did, I would have said 'no way.' It proved that people's support was not only personal. People want hope. Kadima offers hope that is not an illusion, but more reasonable, limited, and cautious."
But even as Kadima seems headed for an unprecedented political feat, critics warn that the standard-bearer of unilateralism is little more than a grab bag of opportunist politicians that will ultimately unravel.
"Kadima's cover looks nice. They've put everything in the cake. And everyone believes it will be good," says Avshalom Vilan, a founder of "Peace Now" and a candidate of the ultra-dovish Meretz party who hopes to join Kadima's coalition. "Politics is not a cake. In the long run, the cake that you can have everything in can't work."
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Israel's anti-Arab parties
Several parties who maintain anti-Arab platforms are running for seats in the upcoming Israeli general elections, with at least one having previously called for "relentless terror" against Palestinians
"Our party calls for cleansing the region extending from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean from the goyim (non-Jews) and thus guaranteeing a Jewish majority of no less than 90% throughout the land of Israel"
- Beny Elyaho, co-founder,the Jewish Front
The Jewish Front, headed by Baruch Marzel, is an offshoot of the Kach group, whose principles Israel's Supreme Court said incited racism.
Kach was outlawed by both the Israeli and US governments in 1994.
The Jewish Front advocates the forced expulsion of Arabs from "the land of Israel".
According to Beny Elyaho, a co-founder of the party, the expulsion of non-Jews would resolve all of Israel's political, economic and social problems.
"Our party calls for cleansing the region extending from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean from the goyim (non-Jews) and thus guaranteeing a Jewish majority of no less than 90% throughout the land of Israel," he was quoted as saying during a party meeting in West Jerusalem last year.
Marzel has called parties willing to negotiate with the Palestinians "traitors" and "criminals" and says the Israeli military should assassinate Uri Avnery, leader of the Gush Shalom peace activist movement.
Another party, Herut, headed by Michael Kleiner, advocates legislation that would offer Palestinians and other non-Jewish citizens of Israel "financial inducements" to emigrate to the Arab world and elsewhere
Herut, meaning freedom in Hebrew, maintains the vision of Eretz Yisrael Hashlema (or Greater Israel) encompassing all mandatory Palestine where non-Jews are accorded inferior or no rights by virtue of being non-Jewish.
The party also views nearly all of Jordan as part of Israel which "one day" could be "re-incorporated into Israel".
According to the party platform, Herut stands for increasing the "Jewish bond" with the Temple Mount, a euphemism for demolishing al-Aqsa mosque and other Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.
The National Union (Haichud Haleumi) party, comprised of the Settler Party, the Mifdal, and other Jewish groups, also calls for the resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Arab countries and elsewhere.
No Palestinian state
The party headed by Benjamin Elon, a former Israeli cabinet minister, also opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.
"The National Union pledges that another political entity will not rise between Jordan and the sea. The funds which were being transferred to the Palestinian Authority by the government, will henceforth be used for reparations for the damage Israel has suffered during the period of terror," the party's website says.
It advocates the creation of a Talmudic Jewish kingdom whereby non-Jews in general, and Palestinians in particular, are treated as "water carriers and wood hewers" in the service of Jews.
Yisrael Beitenu (Israel is Our Home), headed by Russian immigrant Avigdor Lieberman, is mainly a "Russian party" since most of its support come from Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants who moved to Israel in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Lieberman advocates "population transfer" of Israel's Arab citizens. And according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, he also calls for ignoring the Palestinian Authority and drawing Israel's final borders with Egypt, Jordan and the road map quartet of the UN, the US, the EU and Russia.
Arab MPs in the Knesset have accused Lieberman of racism for seeking to expel Israeli Arabs, some of whom he has called extremist elements.
Likud, headed by Benyamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, has drifted further to the right since Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister who now lies in a coma, left the party to form the Kadima (Forward) party in November 2005.
Likud has called for the annexation of the bulk of the West Bank (at least 50% of the occupied Palestinian territories) and granting Palestinians a limited autonomy which could be allowed to evolve into a mini-state in the future.
According to its campaign website, Likud also opposes relinquishing control of the Golan Heights to Syria and firmly opposes Kadima's policies of unilateral withdrawals.
Israeli law states that no one can stand for elections to the Knesset if his goal or actions "expressly or by implication", includes "incitement to racism".
But Fawaz Kamal, the head of the Israeli government press office, told Aljazeera:
"The judicial system in Israel saw that there was no legal grounds for outlawing these parties or barring them from participating in the elections as long as they don't include their purported racist attitudes and views in their respective platforms."
Talab al-Sani'e, a Knesset member and lawyer, said: "the Israeli High Court has effectively ignored this law and decided to let the people (voters) decide".
"Only in extreme cases, such as in the case of the Kahana party, which openly called for the expulsion of the Arabs, did the court decide to ban that party."
However, Kamal and al-Sani'e could not explain why other parties such as the Jewish Front, which also advocate the forced expulsion of Arabs, have been allowed to run.
Kadima, led by Ehud Olmert, the acting prime minister and staunch Sharon ally, stands at odds with Likud and other right wing parties.
It calls for the continuation of the peace process with the Palestinians but simultaneously "continuing to wage an unremitting war against terrorism".
Olmert's Kadima looks set to win
a third of the Knesset seats
It calls for a determination of Israel's permanent borders based on a peace deal and also says a solid Jewish majority is crucial to the future security of Israel.
The Labour party, led by Amir Peretz, has various approaches to the peace process, with some members calling for all out war against "terrorist" organisations and others saying Israeli tactics have been heavy handed.
Labour believes continuing the peace process is crucial and in recent days Peretz announced his platform to compensate settlers willing to leave West Bank settlements prior to any withdrawal.
There are also parties such as Meretz, which calls for an end to occupation and a permanent peace deal based on the 1967 borders.
Meretz is headed by Yossi Beilin, a former economy and planning minister and a current member of parliament.
"Today, [slain prime minister Yitzhak] Rabin's legacy is clearer than ever: Reaching peace requires a historic compromise. And only a historic compromise will ensure the full equality of Israel's citizens, and thus the fulfilment of the Zionist dream," Beilin says in his party's charter.
He calls for a two-state solution with two capitals in Jerusalem. In 2003, his party won six seats.
According to an Israeli army poll, Kadima is likely to win over 42 seats (out of 120 seats making up the Israeli Knesset), with Likud gaining some 15-16 seats, and Labour some 14 seats.
Right wing and religious parties could muster as many as 55 seats, only 6 seats short of an absolute majority.
Ira Sharkansky, a professor in Hebrew University's political science department, told Aljazeera.net the presence of so many right wing and religious parties hinders the democratic process.
He said "this is the way it is in Israel", adding that it is very difficult for the judicial system in Israel to "outlaw a political party".
"They allowed these parties just as they allowed an Islamic party to run," said Sharkansky.
There are four Israeli Arab parties running in the upcoming elections - Hadash, Balad, Movement for Arab Renewal, and the United Arab List, run by Shaikh Ibrahim Sarsur.
All four parties call for the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and more rights for Israeli Arabs.
They also advocate East Jerusalem as a future capital of the Palestinian state.
Current Arab Knesset member and leader of Movement for Arab Renewal, Ahmed Teibi, who is contesting the elections, believes the growth of "racist right-wing factions" is a sign of how Israeli society is leaning.
"The mushrooming of these racist right-wing factions is an honest and representative reflection of Israeli Jewish society. It is a society that is increasingly racist, bigoted and chauvinistic.
"How can we think otherwise when a majority of Jews here advocate the expulsion of non-Jewish citizens in Israel?"
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Separation Before Peace
Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
Monday March 27, 2006
Israelis to vote for Sharon legacy : Kadima heads for victory by pressing on with ailing founder's plan to put separation before peace
In the early days of the campaign for tomorrow's general election in Israel, the once mighty Likud party launched an advertisement playing on the name of its new but dominant rival - Kadima.
Kadima is Hebrew for "Forward". The advert showed the face of its leader and acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert, alongside what was meant as a derisive declaration: "Forward to the 1967 borders!"
It was an attempt to portray Kadima as a danger to Israel with its plan to pull out of large parts of the occupied West Bank, and Mr Olmert as a coward for retreating from the dream of a greater Israel in the face of an advancing Palestinian Islamic group, Hamas.
Likud was forced to pull the advert after many voters thought it was pro-Kadima, agreeing with what they saw as a positive message: Don't talk to the Palestinians; separate from them.
Opinion polls say that Kadima, the party created by Ariel Sharon only four months ago, will crush Likud, which he took to power in 2001 with promises to break the Palestinians.
Mr Sharon - still in a coma after suffering a stroke earlier this year - tore Likud apart by pulling Jewish settlers out of Gaza. If the polls are right, Kadima will emerge with about 36 seats in the 120-seat Knesset (parliament). Labour, its likely coalition partner, will take around 20 seats. Likud is trailing badly with only about 15.
Likud's leader, Binyamin Netanyahu, has described tomorrow's ballot as a referendum on Kadima's plans. Mr Olmert is, indeed, seeking a mandate for his proposal to draw Israel's final borders within four years by moving tens of thousands of settlers from some parts of the West Bank while annexing the larger colonies that are home to hundreds of thousands of other settlers.
He intends to use the vast West Bank barrier to mark out the border, and he plans to decide its final route by talking to the Americans but not the Palestinians."We want to set the permanent borders of Israel, and to do so we must separate from the Palestinians," he told Israel radio yesterday. "In order to separate from the Palestinians, we must define for ourselves our red lines."
Mr Netanyahu has tried hard to portray Kadima's policy as surrendering territory to Hamas without getting anything in return. He favours the continued use of force to hold on to all that Israel now controls.
However, Lior Chorev, a leading Kadima campaign strategist, said his party's lead was built on a belief among large numbers of Israelis that while the occupation could not go on, there was, as Mr Sharon frequently said, "no partner for peace" on the other side. It is a view strengthened by Hamas's victory in the recent Palestinian election - leaving only "unilateral separation".
"Most Israelis are not looking for peace with Palestinians. They are looking for quiet, for security, and they want the fence to be high enough so that they don't have to see them any longer," Mr Chorev said.
Mr Sharon founded Kadima in November as a vehicle to continue his unilateral strategy in the face of debilitating hostility within Likud. At the time, the new party was widely viewed as a one-man, one-theme show. After Mr Sharon's stroke in January, his opponents in Likud quietly rejoiced at what they saw as the new party's burial.
They doubted that Mr Olmert - who does not carry the same political clout as the maverick general he succeeded - could provide leadership over what they saw as a nationally divisive issue. But Mr Sharon had tapped into a deep desire among many Israelis to be rid of the Palestinians, and the polls show that most voters want to see his strategy carried through by Kadima.
Mr Netanyahu accuses Kadima of moving far to the left of Mr Sharon. The Likud leader says he would move the barrier deeper inside the West Bank, to contain Palestinian urban areas in cantons and retain control of most of the rest of the occupied territory.
"When we left Gaza without getting anything in return, this was interpreted as a flight from terror," he said. "If we get out to the 1967 lines, it will not work. I do not want to go back into Palestinian cities, but I do not want to give land we hold to terrorists."
He concedes that the bulk of Israeli public opinion is against him, adding: "I don't know when the reality will bring the wake-up call, but it will come."
Snapping at Likud's heels is the far-right Yisrael Beitenu which advocates redrawing the borders to strip 500,000 Arab Israelis of their citizenship and place them inside a Palestinian state in a "swap" for the major settlements. Its leader, Avigdor Lieberman, has capitalised on a deep suspicion of Mr Netanyahu among some on the right owing to his hesitation to quit the government after the removal of settlers from Gaza.
Doubts about Labour
The haemorrhage of support to Kadima and Yisrael Beitenu has kept Likud behind the Labour party, led by a former trade union leader, Amir Peretz, who has worked hard to put the economy and growing poverty on the election agenda. Polls show that large numbers of voters share his criticism of welfare cuts and the government's monetarist policies, but these remain secondary issues, and many people lack confidence in Mr Peretz's ability to handle security.
The Labour leader has shifted his position several times on the future of the occupied territories, but recently he said he favoured negotiation over unilateral measures. "In contrast to Olmert, we do not intend to waive the negotiations stage," he said. "A unilateral step on the West Bank will not achieve international support, since there won't be a return to the 1967 borders and the world will view it as an attempt to set boundaries unilaterally."
But Gideon Levy, a commentator for the newspaper Ha'aretz, described the consensus among Israeli voters after decades of controlling Palestinian lives as a desire to make them go away. "Nobody is speaking about peace with them - nobody really wants it. Only one ambition unites everyone - to get rid of them, one way or another," he wrote.
"An absolute majority of the MPs [in the next parliament] will hold a position based on a lie: that Israel does not have a partner for peace ... A massive majority will cast its vote for the racist arrangement that ignores the Palestinians, as proposed by Kadima, Likud and, to a large extent, Labour. None of them tried to propose a just peace."
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Apartheid-ways: Bi-level highway plan for West Bank may ease roadblock ills
By Amira Hass, Haaretz Correspondent
A prospective IDF plan provides for West Bank highways built on two levels, with Israeli motorists driving above and Palestinians below, in an effort to ease the burden of military checkpoints on Palestinians traveling in the area.
The plan combines security and transportation solutions along 140 kms (out of 2,000 km of roads in the West Bank) spread out on 34 roads. According to the military source, the plan is based on having separate levels of traffic. Six of the 12 interchanges planned for this purpose have already been built. They enable Israeli passengers to travel through the upper highways "without noticing the Palestinian traffic underneath, while the Palestinian traffic remains unhindered," the source said.
A military source told Haaretz that "it is clear to us that roadblocks make everyday life very difficult, so the idea came up to create a situation in which in 80 percent of the roads Palestinians would be able to travel without encountering a permanent roadblock, and to get from Dahariya to Jenin in a reasonable amount of time."
Under present conditions, "The roadblocks in the West Bank are an operational need because Palestinians are transporting terror between one sector and the other," the source said.
According to the source, 518 terrorists were apprehended in roadblocks in 2005.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority, the IDF and Palestinian local councils are working on reconditioning, upgrading and paving roads in the West Bank as a solution for traffic limitations created by IDF roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank, and the redirection of Palestinian vehicles to secondary roads linking between villages.
The three bodies are working without any coordination between them, but the PA and the local authorities are not allowed to pave roads without an Israeli authorization for work carried out outside of Area A.
During the past few months the IDF has formulated a new plan to create a system of roads for continuous Palestinian traffic, in order to improve the Palestinians' quality of life, according to military sources. According to Palestinian sources, the IDF has not formally reported the plan to the PA.
In contrast to the plan submitted by the security establishment to the World Bank and donor states 18 months ago, which called for the creation of two separate transportation systems in the West Bank, one for Israelis and for Palestinians, the current plan does not include roads in which Palestinian traffic is banned. According to the sources, in the 20 percent of West Bank roads used by Israelis, Palestinian traffic would also be allowed.
The plan to upgrade and pave roads for Palestinians, which has not been approved in its entirety yet, includes three types of roads: parallel roads that are alternatives for routes used by Israeli traffic; roads to bypass the separation fence; and roads that will improve the quality of Palestinian transportation. The plan was drafted by the department dealing with strategic planning in the Central Command, headed by Colonel Danny Tirza (Res.).
According to the military source, the plan is not new and is based in a plan from 1997 for paving roads for Israeli traffic, which will not cross through Area B. But now, for the first time, the security establishment is preparing and financing a traffic system for Palestinians too.
Seven roads and access roads have been reconditioned and paved in the framework of the separation fence project, to replace direct roads cut by the fence and another five roads are being built. Another 11 roads are planned to be reconditioned or paved in the framework of the separation fence and the remaining 11 planned roads are not in the framework of the security fence project. Some of the planned or paved roads are meant to redirect Palestinian traffic away from the center of crowded villages and to create a system of interregional roads, the source said.
According to the military sources, it was not the international objection to the previous plan of two separate traffic systems that brought upon the new plan, but rather a dispute between two security perceptions. According to the winning perception, it is safer to enable Palestinian vehicles to travel on the roads used by Israelis.
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US Administration Denies Visa To Award Winning Palestinian human rights advocate
RFK Memorial calls on members of the media and human rights community to ask State Department officials how this could happen
Washington, DC - 1991 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award winner, Palestinian human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, has been stuck in Gaza despite plans to meet numerous U.S. officials from March 24th -30th. The United States Department of State has not granted Sourani a travel visa to the US though he has confirmed meetings with high-ranking officials at the Department of State, the National Security Council, an advisor to President Bush, The International Republican Institute, and The Heritage Foundation. In a letter addressed to Sourani, the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem required him "to obtain an Israeli police certificate" before his application could move further.
"International law is not a potluck dinner, the U.S. can't simply pick and choose when to apply it and when to ignore it," said Todd Howland, Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights whose organization was facilitating Sourani's visit. Howland went on to say, "on one hand the US government asks a Palestinian wanting to visit the U.S. to obtain a police certificate from Israel, a country that international law holds is illegally occupying its territory. On the other hand, the U.S. government does not address the fact that Israel has obligations, regardless of the legitimacy of the occupation, to the health and welfare of those living in Gaza based on the Fourth Geneva Convention - obligations its present closure of the border crossings contradict."
UN Security Council Resolution 242 (S/RES/242), unanimously adopted on 22 November 1967 by all members of the Security Council, including the US, called for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict." "Forcing a Palestinian to obtain a police clearance from an occupier who was instructed to withdraw over 35 years ago is absurd," added Howland.
Timothy Smith, Office Manager for desk coordinating the multi-agency review process for visas at the Department of State (202-663-1246; email@example.com), can be contacted to for an explanation of how it is possible for the Department of State to request Mr. Sourani to obtain a police clearance from Israel, even though international law considers the Israeli occupation illegal and therefore its actions related to Palestinians de jure should be questioned.
Todd Howland, Director of the Center for Human of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial can be contacted to discuss the details of Mr. Sourani's case and abuse of discretion by US government officials by making such a request of Mr. Sourani and other Palestinians. Please call Sushetha Gopallawa 202-463-7575 ext 270 to contact Howland.
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911 and Beyond
9/11 Commission Members Accepted Bribes To Skew Report Details
The Telegraph (India)
New Delhi, March 12: The Pakistan foreign office had paid tens of thousands of dollars to lobbyists in the US to get anti-Pakistan references dropped from the 9/11 inquiry commission report, The Friday Times has claimed.
The Pakistani weekly said its story is based on disclosures made by foreign service officials to the Public Accounts Committee at a secret meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday.
It claimed that some of the commission members were also bribed to prevent them from including damaging information about Pakistan.
The magazine said the PAC grilled officials in the presence of foreign secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan and special secretary Sher Afghan on the money paid to lobbyists.
"The disclosure sheds doubt on the integrity and honesty of the members of the 9/11 inquiry commission and, above all, the authenticity of the information in their final report," it said.
The report quoted an officer as saying that dramatic changes were made in the final draft of the inquiry commission after the lobbyists got to work. The panel was formed to probe the September 11 terror attack and make suggestions to fight terrorism.
After the commission tipped the lobbyists about the damaging revelations on Pakistan's role in 9/11, they contacted the panel members and asked them to go soft on the country. The Friday Times claimed that a lot of money was used to silence these members.
According to the report, the lobbyists also helped Pakistan win the sympathy of 75 US Congressmen as part of its strategy to guard Islamabad's interests in Washington. "US softened towards Pakistan only because of the efforts of the foreign office," an official was quoted as saying in the report.
The Pakistan foreign office defended the decision to hire the lobbyists, saying it was an established practice in the US.
An observer at the Islamabad meeting said money could play an important role in buying powerful people. The remark came in response to comments made by some US officials after 9/11 that "Pakistanis will sell their mothers for a dollar".
Pakistan had emerged as front-runner in the fight against terrorism unleashed by the US after the terror strikes. Washington pumped in billions of dollars to win President Pervez Musharraf's support in launching a crackdown on al Qaida network thriving on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
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Charlie Sheen's Statement to the London Guardian
March 27 2006
Challenges Press to Stop Slinging Mud, Confront The Science
Charlie Sheen felt compelled to respond to one of many hit-pieces against him, a column written for the London Guardian and carried by British commonwealth newspapers worldwide. Sheen sent his statement to The Australian newspaper. This is his full statement minus a phone number to his manager so that the paper could confirm its authenticity. This is a direct challenge for them to debate the facts.
Sheen Challenge to Media
I dare you to print this email in it's entirety ...
The mere fact that you did a cut and paste job of the slanderous and idiotic Marine Hyde London Journal piece, speaks volumes about your credibility as a major media entity.
Like so many other mainstream outlets, domestically and abroad, no attention whatsoever is given to the questions I raise or the evidenc! e that stimulated those very questions.
Instead, low-brow idiotic hit pieces are spewed forth in an effort to sway the readers' opinion of the messenger while blatantly disregarding any of the potentially valuable content of the story. It's transparent sandbox propaganda as dated and cheap as the paper it's printed on.
Do a little research on Building Seven. Building Seven lives at the epicenter of my entire debate. Prove yourself worthy of genuine investigative journalism. Look at the video evidence.
Observe the same data I have. Submit a formal request to the Pentagon or the DOD to release video PROOF that flight 77 did exactly as they claim. You will be stonewalled. You will be dismissed unconditionally. If there is nothing to hide - why are they hiding it?
To avoid any confusion - I reiterate:
Building Seven - Pentagon video documentation.
If any portion, or portions of this text is any way deleted or manipulated, you will only confirm what myself and countless others have suspected all along: Media complicity with no interest in the truth.
A CNN poll at the time of this writing currently sits at 84 percent IN SUPPORT of my views.
Say what you must about me - it means nothing.
Yet, if you continue to overlook the hard questions and physical evidence regarding 9/11 - you only confirm what so many of us "Conspiracy Idiots"! have suspected all along - The Official Report is, at best, an insulting work of FICTION.
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9/11 emergency calls to be released
March 28, 2006 - 9:30AM
New York City will release partial recordings and transcripts this week of emergency calls made from the twin towers of the World Trade Centre by victims of the September 11, 2001 attack.
The municipal government has been forced to disclose the material following a freedom of information lawsuit brought by some victims' families and The New York Times.
From the more than 130 emergency 911 calls made from the towers, city officials say they have confirmed the identities of 28 callers, including one person who survived.
Letters mailed over the weekend offered the relatives of those identified the chance to listen to the full recording of the conversation involving their loved one.
Redacted recordings and transcripts, containing only the words of the emergency responder, will be made available to the press and general public.
Sally Regenhard, who was among the family members who brought the lawsuit, was furious about the editing of the material.
"That is terrible. So wrong. It's just an example of further censorship," she said.
Regenhard, whose son was killed in the attack, said the lawsuit had been motivated by a desire to have as much information as possible about September 11 released to the public.
"This is vital historical information," she said.
Bill Doyle, whose son was killed in the twin towers, said some relatives had been extremely upset at unexpectedly receiving the letters telling them their family member had been identified as a 911 caller.
"They were alerted very coldly by a Fedex," Doyle said. "Some of them had no idea about the 911 call and thought there should have been some prior notification to prepare them for the shock."
Doyle said many families preferred to believe their relative died instantly, without suffering.
Regenhard said she was also concerned at the abrupt way the respective families were told of the 911 calls.
"But what they should really be upset about is that they did not receive this information four-and-a-half years ago," she added.
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New Versions of Moussaoui's Role Emerge
By MATTHEW BARAKAT
Tue Mar 28, 3:11 AM ET
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The jury that will determine whether Zacarias Moussaoui lives or dies must decide whether to believe Moussaoui himself, who says he planned to fly a plane into the White House on Sept. 11, 2001, or the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, who says Moussaoui had nothing to do with them.
Moussaoui's testimony Monday at his death-penalty trial that he was part of the 9/11 plot along with shoe-bomber Richard Reid came as a shock since he previously had denied any role in the Sept. 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
As soon as Moussaoui finished testifying, the jury was read statements from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the Sept. 11 mastermind now in U.S. custody, who said Moussaoui was to have been used in a second wave of attacks completely disconnected from Sept. 11.
The jury was expected to hear statements Tuesday from another al-Qaida operative in U.S. custody, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, a suspected paymaster for al-Qaida.
Moussaoui is the only person in this country charged in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks, during which hijackers crashed passenger jetliners into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
But even prosecutors are not alleging a direct role for Moussaoui in the 9/11 plot. Instead, they argue that Moussaoui allowed the Sept. 11 plot to go forward by lying about his al-Qaida membership and his true plans when federal agents arrested him in August 2001.
Moussaoui repeatedly had denied involvement in 9/11, and when he admitted guilt in April 2005 to conspiring with al-Qaida to hijack aircraft and commit other crimes, he pointedly made a distinction between his conspiracy and 9/11.
On Monday, though, Moussaoui put himself at the center of the plot. He was asked by defense attorney Gerald Zerkin: "Before your arrest, were you scheduled to pilot a plane as part of the 9/11 operation?"
Moussaoui: "Yes. I was supposed to pilot a plane to hit the White House."
He said he knew few other details, except that planes also were to be flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
He had met Reid, his purported partner, in the 1990s at London's Finsbury Park mosque, a haven for Islamic fundamentalists.
On Dec. 22, 2001, Reid was subdued by passengers on a flight from Paris to Miami when he attempted to detonate a bomb in his shoe. That plane landed safely in Boston. Reid later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.
Moussaoui's defense attorneys, in their opening arguments, suggested that Moussaoui may prefer execution, which he would see as martyrdom, to life in prison. He isn't cooperating with his court-appointed attorneys and testified against their wishes.
Mohammed's testimony came in the form of a 58-page statement culled from government interrogations. He said repeatedly that Moussaoui was to be part of a second wave of attacks, distinct from 9/11.
He was said to have wanted to use only Middle Easterners for Sept. 11 so that Europeans like Moussaoui would stand a better chance of mounting a subsequent attack after security was increased.
Mohammed said he wasn't aware that Moussaoui was in custody until after Sept. 11, and that Moussaoui's arrest on Aug. 16 would have disrupted Sept. 11 plans if he were a part of the operation. Mohammed said the second-wave of attacks never materialized because he did not anticipate the ferocity of the U.S. response to Sept. 11 and the only other pilot backed out.
Comment: Horse hockey. See the article on today's page about how US border security is so lax that undercover agents were able to sneak radioactive material into the country. The US is no more secure today than it was before 9/11. Sure, there are more police and soldiers with guns, and more security checks - but it is clear that the primary "benefit" of all this is to scare the heck out of the American people so that they continue to accept whatever Bush dishes out.
Mohammed considered Moussaoui too self-confident and too talkative. He instructed Sept. 11 planner Ramzi Binalshibh to cut off contact with Moussaoui in early August 2001 for fear that Moussaoui would get Binalshibh caught.
One other tidbit from Mohammed's statement: He said the plane that crashed in a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11 after passengers rebelled against the hijackers was to have targeted the U.S. Capitol. There has been ongoing debate about whether the plane was headed for the Capitol or the White House.
Comment: For a very interesting hypothesis on this particular matter, don't miss 9/11: The Ultimate Truth.
Because Moussaoui has already pleaded, the jury must only determine his sentence: death or life in prison. To obtain the death penalty, prosecutors must prove that Moussaoui's actions resulted in at least one death on Sept. 11.
Comment: Gosh, Moussaoui is one confused guy. His story keeps on changing about as often as the Bush gang changes reasons for the occupation of Iraq.
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Christian Zionism: The new heresy that sways America
By Stephen Sizer
Christian Zionism is a theology that supports a political regime based on apartheid and discrimination - yet millions of people in the US express their support for it. How dangerous is it given the US role in the Middle East?
"Only one nation, Israel, stands between ... terrorist aggression and the complete decline of the United States as a democratic world power... If Israel falls, the United States can no longer remain a democracy. ...Arab money is being used to control and influence major U.S. Corporations, making it economically more and more difficult for the United States to stand against world terrorism."
While many would not necessarily go as far as Mike Evans, it is nevertheless assumed by a large proportion of Christians in Britain and America that it is their biblical responsibility to support the State of Israel and that God's blessing on them is conditional on their blessing Israel. Dale Crowley, a Washington based religious broadcaster, describes this movement as the 'fastest growing cult in America':
'It's not composed of "crazies" so much as mainstream, middle to upper-middle class Americans. They give millions of dollars each week – to the TV evangelists who expound the fundamentals of the cult. They read Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye. They have one goal: to facilitate God's hand to waft them up to heaven free from all the trouble, from where they will watch Armageddon and the destruction of planet earth.'
Christian Zionism Defined
Christian Zionism is essentially Christian support for Zionism. Zionism is a political system based on ethnic exclusivity giving Jews preferential political rights which are denied to Palestinians. The United Nations has defined Zionism as a form of racism and apartheid. Nevertheless, in the words of Grace Halsell the essential message of the Christian Zionist is this: "every act taken by Israel is orchestrated by God, and should be condoned, supported, and even praised by the rest of us."
The Significance of the Christian Zionist Movement
Estimates as to the size of the movement as a whole vary considerably. While critics like Crowley claim, 'At least one out of every 10 Americans is a devotee', that is between '25 to 30 million', Christian Zionists such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell claim weekly access to 100 million sympathetic Americans. What ever the true figure, all are agreed, that number that is growing in size and influence. They are led by 80,000 fundamentalist pastors and clergy, their views disseminated by 1,000 local Christian radio stations as well as 100 Christian TV stations. Doug Kreiger lists over 250 pro-Israeli organisations founded in the 1980s alone.
The Unity Coalition for Israel, for example, which is the largest, brings together 200 different Jewish and Christian Zionist organisations including the International Christian Embassy, Christian Friends of Israel and Bridges for Peace. They claim a support base of 40 million active members. These organisations make up a broad coalition which not only helps keep Sharon's racist government in power and is also, as we shall see, helping to shape the aggressive stance of US foreign policy in the Middle East today.
The rise of contemporary Christian Zionism can be traced to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 which came to be seen as the most significant fulfilment of biblical prophecy, indeed for many, 'the greatest piece of prophetic news that we have had in the 20th Century.' Following the Six Day War of 1967, Billy Graham's father-in-law Nelson Bell, then editor of Christianity Today, expressed the sentiments of many American evangelicals when, in an editorial for the magazine he wrote, 'for the first time in more than 2,000 years Jerusalem is now completely in the hands of the Jews gives a student of the Bible a thrill and a renewed faith in the accuracy and validity of the Bible.'
In 1976 a series of events brought Christian Zionism to the forefront of US mainstream politics. Jimmy Carter was elected as the 'born again' President drawing the support of the evangelical right. In Israel, Menachem Begin and the right wing Likud Party came to power the following year. A tripartite coalition slowly emerged between the political Right, evangelicals and the Jewish lobby. In 1978, Jimmy Carter acknowledged how his own pro-Zionist beliefs had influenced his Middle East policy. In a speech, he described the State of Israel as, 'a return at last, to the biblical land from which the Jews were driven so many hundreds of years ago ... The establishment of the nation of Israel is the fulfilment of biblical prophecy and the very essence of its fulfilment.' However, when Carter vacillated over the aggressive Likud settlement programme and proposed the creation of a Palestinian homeland, he alienated the pro-Israeli coalition of Jews and evangelicals who switched their support to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 elections. Reagan's election as President gave a considerable boost to the Christian Zionist cause. Don Wagner shows, 'The election of Ronald Reagan ushered in not only the most pro-Israel administration in history but gave several Christian Zionists prominent political posts. In addition to the President, those who subscribed to a futurist premillennial theology and Christian Zionism included Attorney General Ed Meese, Secretary of Defence Casper Weinberger, and Secretary of the Interior James Watt.'
'White House Seminars' became a regular feature of Reagan's administration bringing bringing Christian Zionists like Jerry Falwell, Mike Evans and Hal Lindsey into direct personal contact with national and Congressional leaders. In 1982, for instance, Reagan invited Falwell to give a briefing to the National Security Council on the possibility of a nuclear war with Russia. Hal Lindsey also claims Reagan invited him to speak on the subject of war with Russia to Pentagon officials. In a personal conversation reported in the Washington Post two years later in April 1984, Reagan elaborated on his own personal convictions to Tom Dine, one of Israel's chief lobbyists working for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC): 'You know, I turn back to the ancient prophets in the Old Testament and the signs foretelling Armageddon, and I find myself wondering if - if we're the generation that is going to see that come about. I don't know if you've noted any of these prophecies lately, but believe me they certainly describe the times we're going through.'
While George Bush Snr., Bill Clinton and George W. Bush do not appear to have shared the same dispensational presuppositions of either Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan, they nevertheless have maintained, however reluctantly, the strong pro-Zionist position of their predecessors. This is largely due to the influence of the Zionist lobby considered by many to be the most powerful in the United States. Aluf Ben, a spokesman for Shimon Peres, was quoted in the mass-circulation Tel Aviv daily Ha'aretz as claiming "60 percent of all financial help to Democrats came from Jewish sources." According to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, "Most pro-Israel fund-raisers estimate that at least 60 to 90 percent of Democratic campaign funding comes from Jewish sources, which also supply perhaps 40 percent of Republican funding." Perhaps this is why it is hard to find a single elected American politician willing to criticise Israel publicly.
Three Christian leaders, in particular, each given a White House platform by Reagan, have probably achieved more than any others in the last thirty years to ensure American foreign policy remains pro-Zionist. They are, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Hal Lindsey. became an avid supporter of the Zionist State. Grace Halsell describes Falwell's conversion:
'The stunning Israeli victory made a big impact not only on Falwell, but on a lot of Americans ... Remember that in 1967, the United States was mired in the Vietnam War. Many felt a sense of defeat, helplessness and discouragement. As Americans, we were made acutely aware of our own diminished authority, of no longer being able to police the world or perhaps even our own neighborhoods ... Many Americans, including Falwell, turned worshipful glances toward Israel, which they viewed as militarily strong and invincible. They gave their unstinting approval to the Israeli take-over of Arab lands because they perceived this conquest as power and righteousness ... Macho or muscular Christians such as Falwell credited Israeli General Moshe Dayan with this victory over Arab forces and termed him the Miracle Man of the Age, and the Pentagon invited him to visit Vietnam and tell us how to win that war.'
In 1979, the same year Falwell founded Moral Majority, the Israeli government gave Falwell a Lear jet to assist him in his advocacy of Israel. A year later in 1980, Falwell also became the first Gentile to be awarded the Vladimir Ze'ev Jabotinsky medal for Zionist excellence by Israel's Prime Minister, Menachem Begin. Jabotinsky was the founder of Revisionist Zionism and held that Jews had a divine mandate to occupy and settle 'on both sides of the Jordan River' and were not accountable to international law. When Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear plant in 1981, Begin phoned Falwell before he called Reagan. He called to ask Falwell to 'explain to the Christian public the reasons for the bombing.' During the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, Falwell similarly defended Israel's actions:
'When the massacres occurred at the two Palestinian camps, Falwell just mimicked the Israeli line: "The Israelis were not involved." And even when The New York Times was giving eyewitness accounts of Israeli flares sent up to help the Phalangists go into the camp, Falwell was saying, "That's just propaganda".'
In March 1985, Falwell spoke to the conservative Rabbinical Assembly in Miami and pledged to 'mobilize 70 million conservative Christians for Israel.' In January 1998, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Washington, his first meeting was with Jerry Falwell and with The National Unity Coalition for Israel, a large gathering of more than 500 fundamentalist Christian leaders, rather than with President Clinton. According to Donald Wagner, the crowd hailed Netanyahu as 'the Ronald Reagan of Israel.' This time Falwell promised to contact 200,000 pastors and church leaders who receive his National Liberty Journal and ask them to 'tell President Clinton to refrain from putting pressure on Israel' to comply with the Oslo accords. In an interview with The Washington Post in 1999, Falwell described the West Bank as 'an integral part of Israel.' Pressing Israel to withdraw, he added, 'would be like asking America to give Texas to Mexico, to bring about a good relationship. It's ridiculous.' In 2000, Falwell revived Moral Majority under the name People of Faith 2000, 'a movement to reclaim America as one nation under God' and which also takes a strong pro-Israeli stance. Falwell has succeeded, probably better than any other American Christian leader, to ensure his followers recognise that their Christian duty to God involves providing unconditional support for the State of Israel.
While Jerry Falwell may be one of the most influential Christian Zionists, he is also a figurehead, along with Pat Robertson, for a much wider alliance of over 150 influential fundamentalist Christian leaders including Oral Roberts, Mike Evans, Tim LaHaye, Kenneth Copeland, Paul Crouch, Ed McAteer, Jim Bakker, Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Chuck Missler and Jimmy Swaggart who have all taken a pro-Zionist stance in their writings or broadcasts. These Christian leaders and their organisations have regular access to over 100 million Christians, more than 100,000 pastors and combined budgets of well in excess of $300 million per annum. They form a broad and immensely powerful coalition which is both shaping and driving US foreign policy on the Middle East as well as Christian support for Israel today.
The Historical Development of Christian Zionism
If you want to explore in more detail the historical roots or the theological basis of the movement, check out the bookstore for some helpful resources.
Instead, I want to concentrate now on six aspects of the political agenda of the Christian Zionist movement and show why Christian Zionists are implacably opposed to the peace process in the Middle East. Indeed I want to show how they may be contributing to the very holocaust in the Middle East which they predict.
The Political Agenda of Christian Zionism
We are going to examine six ways in which Christian Zionist theology has been translated into political action: This outline illustrates the correlation between the movements distinctive doctrines and their political agenda.
Standing with Israel
Facilitating the Aliyah Programme
Supporting West Bank Settlements
Lobbying for International Recognition
Funding the Rebuilding of the Temple
Opposing Peace & Hastening Armageddon
Lets consider each one at a time.
1. The Chosen People : Supporting Israeli Colonialism
The conviction that the Jewish people remain God's 'chosen people' in some way separate from the Church, is deeply rooted in Christian Zionism. A recent Christianity Today survey of evangelical opinion about Israel gives an indication of the strength of Christian Zionism in America. The survey revealed that 24% believe 'the biblical mandate for Christians is to support the State of Israel.' This is expressed in a variety of ways:
1.1 Standing with Israel
Following the Six Day War in 1967, apart from the support given by the United States government, Israel has been largely isolated within the international community. Hal Lindsey laments: 'Up to the time of the 1991 Madrid Conference, the Arabs were "called upon" to "comply", "desist", "refrain" etc. four times. Israel was "demanded", "ordered", etc. to do General Assembly bidding three hundred and five times. The UN voted six hundred and five resolutions between its inception and the Gulf War. Four hundred and twenty nine of those resolutions, or, sixty-two percent of the total of the UN's resolutions were against Israel or its interests.'
Citing Isaiah 40, Christian Zionists see their role to, 'comfort, Israel.' So for example, in October 2000, just days after Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the Haram Al-Sharif, which was deliberately timed to undermine the government of Barak for negotiating with Arafat over a shared Jerusalem, and sparking the second intifada, an advertisement appeared in the New York Times entitled 'Open Letter to Evangelical Christians from Jews for Jesus.' In it they called upon evangelicals to show solidarity with the State of Israel at this critical time: 'Now is the time to stand with Israel. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, our hearts are heavy as we watch the images of violence and bloodshed in the Middle East ... Christian friends, "The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" (Romans 11:29). So must our support for the survival of Israel in this dark hour be irrevocable. Now is the time for Christians to stand by Israel.'
1.2 The Israeli Lobby on Capitol Hill
Until the 1980s, US Middle East policy was largely peripheral to the wider global threat posed by Soviet Communism. The protection of Western Europe through NATO was a higher priority. The collapse of Communism, however, created a power vacuum in the Middle East which the US has filled. Following the Gulf War to liberate Kuwait and then more recently, Afghanistan from the Taliban then Iraq from the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein, the US has significantly increased its influence in the Middle East. Many contend that US foreign policy has become skewed through the disproportionate influence of the Zionist lobby. Michael Lind, the political analyst summarises the ways in which the Israeli lobby has distorted US foreign policy: 'Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, enabled by US weapons and money, inflames anti-American attitudes in Arab and Muslim countries. The expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land makes a mockery of the US commitment to self-determination for Kosovo, East Timor and Tibet. Beyond the region, US policy on nuclear weapons proliferation is undermined by the double standard that has led it to ignore Israel's nuclear programme while condemning those of India and Pakistan.'
The Christian Right came to shape US foreign policy largely through the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. His victory over Jimmy Carter gave a considerable boost to the Christian Zionist cause. His election, 'ushered in not only the most pro-Israel administration in history but gave several Christian Zionists prominent political posts.' White House seminars became a regular feature of Reagan's administration bringing leading Christian Zionists like Jerry Falwell, Mike Evans and Hal Lindsey into personal contact with national and congressional leaders. In the same year, the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem, was founded with the purpose of coordinating 'direct political lobbying activities in cooperation with the Israeli government.' Along with other organisations making up the Unity Coalition for Israel, their principal strategy is to lobby the US media and political establishment, to challenge what they term 'disinformation and propaganda' and to express 'the truth about Israel.'
The power of the pro-Israeli lobby ensures Israel continues to receive between 3-8 billion dollars annually from the US in grants, loans and subsidies and military assistance. This power can be gauged by the fact that George Bush Snr. was the last US President to criticise Israel in public. During the Gulf War, he enraged the Israeli lobby by pressurising Israel not to retaliate against Iraqi attacks and promised the Arab coalition partners that he would deal with the Palestinian issue. In September 1991, he complained that, 'there are 1,000 lobbyists up on the Hill today lobbying Congress for loan guarantees for Israel and I'm one lonely little guy down here asking Congress to delay its consideration of loan guarantees for 120 days.' Lind points out that the pro-Israeli lobby was also responsible for encouraging, 'the greatest abuse of the Presidential pardon power in American history' when Bill Clinton, on his last day in office, controversially pardoned Mark Rich, the fugitive billionaire on the FBI's 'Most Wanted' list. In a New York Times article in February 2001, Clinton explained that he had done it for Israel:
'Many present and former high-ranking Israeli officials of both major political parties and leaders of Jewish communities in America and Europe urged the pardon of Mr Rich because of his contributions and services to Israeli charitable causes'
The pro-Israeli lobby is also accused of involvement in the selection, appointing and firing of US government officials and appointees. In 1980, the former US ambassador to Qatar, Andrew Killgore, writing in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, gave this critique of the Israeli lobby: 'It is wrong and perverse for fanatical elements within the two and a half percent of our population who are Jewish to hold Congress hostage… America must regard the Israeli progression from penetration to direction of US foreign policy as the work of a master criminal.'
Christian Zionists have also been influential in forging a closer relationship with Israel by facilitating solidarity tours to the Holy Land.
1.3 Solidarity Tours to Israel
Since 1967, following the capture of most of the important biblical sites associated with pilgrimages from Jordan and Syria, Israel has systematically exploited what has been described as a lucrative 'touristic gold mine', making tourism a tool of propaganda. Israel's greatest success, however, has been to enlist American evangelical leaders such as Pat Boone and Jerry Falwell as allies in promoting pro-Israeli solidarity tours. For example, Falwell's 'Friendship Tours' to Israel include not only meetings with top Israeli government and military officials but also, .....On-site tour of modern Israeli battlefields... Official visit to an Israeli defence installation... strategic military positions, plus experience first hand the battle Israel faces as a nation.
Christian Zionists are not, however, content to support the State of Israel politically and financially. They are also active in persuading Jews to emigrate to Israel and fulfil their destiny.
2. Restorationism : Facilitating Aliyah from Russia and Eastern Europe
Christian Zionists are convinced that it is God's will for the Jewish people to return to Israel since it was given in perpetuity to the descendants of Abraham. With the fall of Communism in the Former Soviet Union (FSU) and Eastern Europe, Christians Zionists have become increasingly active in facilitating Jewish émigrés to make aliyah.
Since 1980, a coalition of Christian Zionist agencies has taken the initiative in encouraging Jewish people to emigrate to Israel, seeing this as the fulfilment of prophecy. Exobus was probably the first Christian Zionist agency to turn the doctrine of Restorationism into a reality and assist Jews in the former Soviet Union (FSU) to make aliyah. Founded in 1984 they have assisted over 56,000 Jewish people to emigrate to Israel in close cooperation with the Jewish Agency. Exobus is also probably the largest Christian agency facilitating aliyah, comprising 80 team members, drawn from 13 countries and operating 40 vehicles transporting approximately 1,200 Jews overland from 16 different bases in the FSU each month.
Since 1991, the ICEJ has also paid for the transportation of another 40,000 immigrants, 15,000 of whom were taken to Israel on 51 ICEJ sponsored flights. ICEJ Russian team members are especially active in the more remote regions of the FSU. They locate Jews, persuade them to emigrate, help them obtain documents to prove their Jewish origins, distribute humanitarian packages and pay for exit permits, passports, debt repayment, transport and accommodation. Once in Israel, ICEJ assist émigrés with their resettlement costs, providing food, clothing, blankets, kitchen and school supplies as well as medical equipment. Believing the Jews remain God's chosen people and that God is bringing them back to the land, it is imperative that they claim all the land God promised their forefathers.
3. Eretz Israel : Sustaining the West Bank Settlements
For religious Zionism, Jewish and Christian, the legitimate borders of Israel are considerably larger than those presently disputed with Syria, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
Christian involvement in the realisation of Eretz Israel includes the military justification of these enlarged borders; the political adoption of the settlement programme; and economic support for the settler movement. For example, David Allen Lewis, President of Christians United for Israel, puts the territorial claims of Israel into the wider context of the Middle East. He observes that, 'The Arabs already have 99.5 per cent of the land … this cannot be tolerated.'
In response to international calls on Israel to give back the West Bank, Bridges for Peace asks the rhetorical question: 'What is so sacred about the June 4th, 1967 line?' Nothing, they argue since historically this was all part of biblical Israel and 'squarely won in defensive battles in 1967 and 1973.' This conviction that the entire West Bank is integral to Israel has led many Christian Zionists to 'adopt' exclusive Jewish settlements to strengthen their claim to the land.
Adopting the Settlements
Since 1967, using various economic and tax incentives as well as appealing to biblical rhetoric, Israel has encouraged over 400,000 Jews to colonize East Jerusalem, The West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights through 190 illegal settlements. Several Christian organisations have given their full support to this judaization of the Occupied Territories. The Christian Friends of Israeli Communities (CFOIC), founded by Ted Beckett in 1995, works in partnership with Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) and defines a settlement as: "A piece of land where brave, Jewish pioneers have taken up residence. In most cases it is a barren rocky hilltop set up to establish a Jewish community where none had existed for thousands of years.'
So far, CFOIC claims 39 illegal Israeli settlements have been adopted by 50 churches in the USA, South Africa, Germany, Holland and the Philippines. For example, Ariel has been adopted by Faith Bible Chapel, Arvada, Colorado; Hevron by Greater Harvest, Tallahassee, Florida; Alei Zahav by Calvary Chapel, Nashville. To strengthen the settlers' claim to the land, CFOIC publish maps on their website showing the few areas of the West Bank given back to the Palestinian Authority. CFOIC lament what they describe as the 'partition' of the land as 'the reality of the "peace process" for those living in the Land G-d promised the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for ever!' The reality is that Palestine is no more. The Separation Wall has cast in concrete the reality that all Palestinians can hope for are a few isolated and impoverished Bantustans similar to the Indian reservations of North America, although on the West Bank they are also denied the freedom of movement between them. Christian Zionists have not only made a clear stand in justifying Israel's illegal settlement of the West Bank. Their 'adoption' programme is also intended to be a means by which financial assistance as well as practical support for the settlers is delivered.
Funding the Settlers
Besides facilitating the emigration of Jews to Israel, several Christian Zionist agencies are active in funding illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank. During the 1991 ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles celebration, for example, representatives from 12 countries presented cheques to the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitshak Shamir, to help finance the settlements. Through their 'Social Assistance Programme' ICEJ also provides financial support for projects in the Jewish settlements, including bullet proof vests to strengthen the resolve of settlers, living among what they describe as '3 million hostile Palestinians.' ICEJ's 'Bulletproof Bus for Efrat' appeal is also raising $150,000 to purchase an armour plated bus to transport settlers in and out of the West Bank from Efrat settlement. Bridges for Peace (BFP) has a similar scheme called 'Operation Ezra' which funds over 50 otherwise unsustainable projects such as the settlement farm, Sde Bar, near Beit Jala and the Herodian. Integral to this strategy is Jerusalem and the progressive Judaizing, occupation and settlement of Arab East Jerusalem and the Old City. For Zionism there can be no compromise, since controlling Jerusalem has always been a barometer of their existence as a nation.
4. Jerusalem : Lobbying for International Recognition
At the core of Christian Zionist support for Israel's claim to the Occupied Territories lies the conviction that Jerusalem is, and must remain, the exclusive and undivided Jewish capital. Attempts to reach agreement in the wider Arab-Israeli conflict have so far stalled or stumbled over the final status of Jerusalem. Christian Zionists are strongly opposed to any proposal for joint sovereignty or the creation of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.
As early as February 1984, the ICEJ sent a representative, Richard Hellman, to testify before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in Washington to urge the US to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognise the city as the capital of Israel. Jerry Falwell and the AIPAC lobby also spoke in favour of such a move. Senator Bob Dole later introduced legislation in the American Senate which required the US Embassy to be rebuilt in Jerusalem by 31 May 1999, and authorised $100 million for 'preliminary' spending. In October 1995 he stated, 'Israel's capital is not on the table in the peace process, and moving the United States embassy to Jerusalem does nothing to prejudice the outcome of any future negotiations.' Lamenting the failure of the US President to ratify the Senate decision, Dole commented: 'Jerusalem is today as it has been for three millennia the heart and soul of the Jewish people. It is also, and should remain forever, the eternal and undivided capital of the State of Israel ... The time has come ... to move beyond letters, expressions of support, and sense of the Congress resolutions. The time has come to enact legislation that will get the job done.'
In 1997 the ICEJ also gave support to a full page advert placed in the New York Times entitled, 'Christians Call for a United Jerusalem.' It was signed by 10 evangelical leaders including Pat Robertson, chairman of Christian Broadcasting Network and President of the Christian Coalition; Oral Roberts, founder and chancellor of Oral Roberts University; Jerry Falwell, founder of Moral Majority; Ed McAteer, President of the Religious Roundtable; and David Allen Lewis, President of Christians United for Israel: 'We, the undersigned Christian spiritual leaders, communicating weekly to more than 100 million Christian Americans, are proud to join together in supporting the continued sovereignty of the State of Israel over the holy city of Jerusalem … we believe that Jerusalem, or any portion of it, shall not be negotiable in the peace process. Jerusalem must remain undivided as the eternal capital of the Jewish people.'
Readers were invited to 'Join us in our holy mission.' 'The battle for Jerusalem has begun, and it is time for believers in Christ to support our Jewish brethren and the State of Israel. The time for unity with the Jewish people is now.'
In 2002, Falwell controversially linked the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre with Israel's exclusive claim to Jerusalem. He called upon his supporters to petition the US President to 'Keep Jerusalem Free.' Christian Zionists have therefore been resolute in their efforts to get the international community to recognise Jerusalem as the de facto capital of Israel. However, even more critical to a Christian Zionist reading of prophecy is the necessity for the Jewish Temple to be rebuilt.
5. The Temple : Identifying with Religious Zionism
Dispensational Christian Zionists, in particular, are convinced the Jewish Temple must be rebuilt because, based on their futurist eschatology from Daniel, the anti-Christ must desecrate it just prior to the return of Christ. David Brickner claims that the preparations for rebuilding the Temple began in 1967 with the capture of the Old City of Jerusalem. Lindsey is equally sure that, 'right now, as you read this, preparations are being made to rebuild the Third Temple.' Contemporary Christian Zionists are working to achieve this.
Promoting the Temple Mount Movement
Randall Price is the leading dispensational expert on the imminent plans to rebuild the Jewish Temple. In his 735 page The Coming Last Days Temple, he provides comprehensive details of all the Jewish organisations involved in attempts to seize the Temple Mount, destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, rebuild the Jewish Temple and re-institute Temple worship, priesthood and sacrifices. These include the Temple Institute and Temple Mount Faithful. Gershon Salomon is the controversial figurehead of the movement and founder of The Temple Faithful. Zhava Glaser, of Jews for Jesus, praises Salomon for his courage to talk about 'the most important subject in the Jewish religion.'Speaking as a guest of the ICEJ, at the Christian Zionist Congress in 1998, Salomon insisted:
'The mission of the present generation is to liberate the Temple Mount and to remove - I repeat, to remove - the defiling abomination there ... the Jewish people will not be stopped at the gates leading to the Temple Mount ... We will fly our Israeli flag over the Temple Mount, which will be minus its Dome of the Rock and its mosques and will have only our Israeli flag and our Temple. This is what our generation must accomplish.'
In a London Times, interview Salomon insisted that the Islamic shrine must be destroyed: 'The Israeli Government must do it. We must have a war. There will be many nations against us but God will be our general. I am sure this is a test, that God is expecting us to move the Dome with no fear from other nations. The Messiah will not come by himself; we should bring Him by fighting.' Since 1967 there have been over 100 armed assaults on the Haram Al-Sharif by Jewish militants, often led by rabbis. 'In no instance has any Israeli Prime Minister or chief rabbi criticized these assaults.'
Facilitating the Temple Building Programme
In order to sustain a fully functioning Temple it is also necessary to identify, train and consecrate priests to serve in the Temple. According to the Book of Numbers, the ashes of a pure unblemished red heifer, itself previously offered by a ritually pure priest, must be mixed with water and sprinkled on both them and the Temple furniture. With the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD the ashes used in the ceremony were lost and the Jews of the Diaspora have therefore been ritually unclean ever since.
In 1998, however, Clyde Lott, a Pentecostal Mississippi rancher, formed Canaan Land Restoration of Israel, Inc. for the purpose of raising livestock suitable for Temple sacrifice. According to Newsweek, in 1997, the first red heifer for 2000 years was born at the Kfar Hassidim kibbutz near Haifa and named 'Melody'. Unfortunately she eventually grew white hairs on her tail and udder. Undaunted, Chaim Richman, an Orthodox rabbi and Clyde Lott, the Pentecostal cattleman, have teamed up to breed red heifers in the Jordan Valley, in the hope of producing a perfect specimen for sacrifice.
The design and construction work, furnishings and utensils, the training of priests and breeding of sacrifices all require funds and in large measure, like the red heifer, these are being provided by Christian Zionists. According to Grace Halsell, Stanley Goldfoot raises up to $100 million a year for the Jerusalem Temple Foundation through American Christian TV and radio stations and evangelical churches. 'Jewish longing for the Temple, Christian hopes for the Rapture, and Muslim paranoia about the destruction of the mosques [are being] stirred to an apocalyptic boil.'
6. The Future : Opposing Peace and Hastening Armageddon
The US-Israeli Alliance
Jerry Falwell offers a simple explanation for the close relationship between America and Israel. God has been kind to America because 'America had been kind to the Jew.' Gary Bauer, president of American Values, put it like this. "Terrorists don't understand why Israel and the United States are joined at the heart." Mike Evans, founder and President of Lovers of Israel Inc. describes the special relationship between Israel and America: 'Only one nation, Israel, stands between ... terrorist aggression and the complete decline of the United States as a democratic world power ... Surely demonic pressure will endeavour to encourage her to betray Israel … Israel is the key to America's survival … As we stand with Israel, I believe we shall see God perform a mighty work in our day. God is going to bless America and Israel as well … If Israel falls, the United States can no longer remain a democracy.'
For Christian Zionists such as Falwell and Evans, America is seen as the great redeemer, her super-power role in the world predicted in scripture and providentially ordained. The two nations of America and Israel are like Siamese twins perceived to be pitted against an evil world dominated by Communism and Islam both antithetical to the Judeo-Christian democratic values of America and Israel.
Antipathy Toward Arabs
Ramon Bennett illustrates how such prejudices remain common today describing the modern Arab nations as 'barbarous'. 'The customs of hospitality and generosity have changed little in 4,000 years,' he claims, 'nor have the customs of raiding (thieving, rustling), saving face or savagery.' Bennett argues that the Arab 'is neither a vicious nor, usually, a calculating liar but a natural one.'
Franklin Graham, President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, made similar but unguarded remarks in an interview for the Charlotte Observer in 2000: 'The Arabs will not be happy until every Jew is dead. They hate the State of Israel. They all hate the Jews. God gave the land to the Jews. The Arabs will never accept that.'
Hatred of Arabs is personified in attitudes toward Yasser Arafat. In February 1999, for example, Arafat was invited to attend the 47th annual Congress-sponsored National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. The breakfast is normally attended each year by more than 3,000 political and religious leaders but on this occasion Arafat's invitation generated considerable controversy. The Traditional Values Coalition, founded by Pat Robertson and representing 40,000 churches, urged congressmen to boycott the breakfast. The ICEJ said that attending the breakfast with Arafat would be 'like praying with Satan himself.' Despite considerable pressure from pro-Israeli groups the invitation was not withdrawn. It was left to the White House press secretary, Joe Lockhart, to defend the invitation. He lamented, 'it's done every year in the spirit of reconciliation. And it's unfortunate that there are some who don't fully understand the spirit of reconciliation and inclusion.' But I'm afraid it gets worse…
Justifying the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
Frequently, defending Israeli security leads Christian Zionists to deny Palestinians the same basic human rights as Israelis. Some are even reluctant to acknowledge the existence of Palestinians as a distinct people. Dave Hunt is typical of those who equate Palestinians with the ancient Philistines, and use the term Palestinian in an entirely pejorative sense.
Central to the Middle East conflict today is the issue of the so-called Palestinian people... Palestinians? There never was a Palestinian people, nation, language, culture, or religion. The claim of descent from a Palestinian people who lived for thousands of years in a land called Palestine is a hoax!.
Based on Hunt's logic presumably the same arguments could be used against the right to self-determination of citizens of the United States or indeed of several dozen nations founded in the 20th Century. The history of the persecution of the Jews illustrates how easily the denigration of an 'inferior' people or a denial of their existence as a distinct people can lead to the rationalizing of their eradication.
In May 2002, Dick Armey, the former Republican House Majority leader, made ground breaking news by justifying the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories. In an interview with Chris Matthews on CNBC on May 1st 2002, Armey stated that: 'Most of the people who now populate Israel were transported from all over the world to that land and they made it their home. The Palestinians can do the same and we are perfectly content to work with the Palestinians in doing that. We are not willing to sacrifice Israel for the notion of a Palestinian homeland … I'm content to have Israel grab the entire West Bank … There are many Arab nations that have many hundreds of thousands of acres of land, soil, and property and opportunity to create a Palestinian State.'
Matthews gave Armey several opportunities to clarify that he was not advocating the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians from the West Bank, but Armey was unrepentant. When asked, 'Have you ever told George Bush, the President from your home State of Texas, that you think the Palestinians should get up and go and leave Palestine and that's the solution?', Armey replied, 'I'm probably telling him that right now … I am content to have Israel occupy that land that it now occupies and to have those people who have been aggressors against Israel retired to some other arena.'
Armey's view that Palestinians should be 'retired' is only the latest in a series of calls in the mainstream US and UK media for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories. While such racist attitudes among Christian Zionists toward Arabs are common, as are the stereotypes that Palestinians are terrorists, it is more especially Muslims who are demonised.
Anti-Arab and Islamaphobic sentiments have become even more widely tolerated since 11th September 2001. Such views have recently been described as a form of new 'McCarthyism'. In February 2002, for example, Pat Robertson caused considerable controversy when he too described Islam as a violent religion bent on world domination. He also claimed American Muslims were forming terrorist cells in order to destroy the country. Robertson made the allegations on his Christian Broadcasting Network '700 Club.' After clips showing Muslims in America, the announcer, Lee Webb asked Robertson, 'As for the Muslim immigrants Pat, it makes you wonder, if they have such contempt for our foreign policy why they'd even want to live here?' Robertson replied: 'Well, as missionaries possibly to spread the doctrine of Islam ... I have taken issue with our esteemed President in regard to his stand in saying Islam is a peaceful religion. It's just not. And the Koran makes it very clear, if you see an infidel, you are to kill him … the fact is our immigration policies are now so skewed to the Middle East and away from Europe that we have introduced these people into our midst and undoubtedly there are terrorist cells all over them.'
At the 2002 Southern Baptist Convention held in Florida, the former national convention leader, the Rev. Jerry Vines, pastor of the 25,000 member First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, brought applause from several thousand participants of the pastors' conference when he described Muhammad as 'a demon-possessed paedophile' Such antipathy toward Arabs, denigration of Palestinians and hatred of Islam invariably leads Christian Zionists to also oppose any peaceful resolution of the Arab Israeli conflict which might
require or coerce Israel to relinquish territory or compromise its security.
Opposing the Peace Process
While Christian Zionists endorse Israel's unilateral claim to the Occupied Territories, they oppose similar Palestinian aspirations to self determination since they believe the two are intrinsically incompatible. Christian Zionists have been most vociferous in opposing the Road Map to Peace initiative of the US government, UN, European Community and Russia. Hal Lindsey, for example lamented "I am heartbroken over the latest stage of the "road map to peace", describing it instead as a "Odyssey to Holocaust" He went on to rebuke the US president.
"I was sickened to watch a well-meaning Christian American president talk incessantly about his vision for a Palestinian state and Jewish state living side by side in peace." At the Interfaith Zionist Leadership Summit, held in Washington May 2003, Jewish and Christian Zionist leaders met to consider how to turn the "road map" into a road-block. Gary Bauer, called the president's initiative "a Satanic roadmap". To many Christian Zionists, peace talks are not only a waste of time, they demonstrate a rebellious defiance toward God's plans. Such infallible certitudes lead some Christian Zionists to anathematise those who do not share their presuppositions.
Forcing God's Hand
Christian Zionists often attempt to silence critics with the threat of divine retribution. For example, recently Hal Lindsey said this,
"My great fear is that President Bush is ignorantly leading the United States into God's judgment. For God warns that He will judge all nations that have contributed to keeping Israel from living in the land He sovereignly gave them."
Christians are left in no doubt which side to 'uphold.' On the 1st January 2002 edition of the CBN 700 Club, Pat Robertson warned that if the US
'wants to interfere with Bible prophecy and wants to move in and wrest East Jerusalem away from the Jews and give it to Yasser Arafat … heaven help this nation of ours … If the United States takes East Jerusalem back and makes it the capital of the Palestinian State, then we are asking for the wrath of God to fall on this nation.'
Robertson even suggests that Rabin's assassination was an act of God, a judgement for his betrayal of his own people: 'This is God's land and God has strong words about someone who parts and divides His land. The rabbis put a curse on Yitzhak Rabin when he began cutting up the land.'
Such pronouncements coming from highly influential Christian leaders appear little different from those of Muslim fundamentalists who call for a 'holy war' against the West. Karen Armstrong is not alone in tracing within Western Christian Zionism evidence of the legacy of the Crusades. Such fundamentalists have, she claims, 'returned to a classical and extreme religious crusading.'
7. Conclusions: The Political Implications of Christian Zionism
We have seen how Christian Zionism as a movement has profound and deeply destructive political consequences. Christian Zionists have shown varying degrees of enthusiasm for implementing six basic theological convictions that arise from their literal and futurist reading of the Bible:
1. The belief that the Jews remain God's chosen people leads Christian Zionists to a justification for Israel's military occupation of Palestine.
2. As God's chosen people, the final restoration of the Jews to Israel is therefore actively encouraged and facilitated through partnerships between Christian organisations and the Jewish Agency.
3. Eretz Israel, as delineated in scripture, belongs exclusively to the Jewish people, therefore the land must be annexed and the settlements adopted and strengthened.
4. Jerusalem is regarded as the eternal and exclusive capital of the
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Brain Cells Fused with Computer Chip
By Ker Than
LiveScience Staff Writer
27 March 2006
The line between living organisms and machines has just become a whole lot blurrier. European researchers have developed "neuro-chips" in which living brain cells and silicon circuits are coupled together.
The achievement could one day enable the creation of sophisticated neural prostheses to treat neurological disorders or the development of organic computers that crunch numbers using living neurons.
To create the neuro-chip, researchers squeezed more than 16,000 electronic transistors and hundreds of capacitors onto a silicon chip just 1 millimeter square in size.
They used special proteins found in the brain to glue brain cells, called neurons, onto the chip. However, the proteins acted as more than just a simple adhesive.
"They also provided the link between ionic channels of the neurons and semiconductor material in a way that neural electrical signals could be passed to the silicon chip," said study team member Stefano Vassanelli from the University of Padua in Italy.
The proteins allowed the neuro-chip's electronic components and its living cells to communicate with each other. Electrical signals from neurons were recorded using the chip's transistors, while the chip's capacitors were used to stimulate the neurons.
It could still be decades before the technology is advanced enough to treat neurological disorders or create living computers, the researchers say, but in the nearer term, the chips could provide an advanced method of screening drugs for the pharmaceutical industry.
"Pharmaceutical companies could use the chip to test the effect of drugs on neurons, to quickly discover promising avenues of research," Vassanelli said.
The researchers are now working on ways to avoid damaging the neurons during stimulation. The team is also exploring the possibility of using a neuron's genetic instructions to control the neuro-chip.
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NASA Reinstates Dawn Asteroid Mission
Mar 27, 2006
Washington DC - NASA officials announced Monday that the agency has decided to reinstate the Dawn mission, a robotic exploration of two major asteroids that had been canceled earlier this month because of technical problems and cost overruns.
The new decision arrived in a letter from Rex. D. Geveden, the agency's associate administrator for science missions, to Charles Elachi, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which was developing Dawn. It followed an appeal of the decision by JPL.
Officials had named the mission Dawn because it was designed to study objects dating from the beginning of the solar system. Its planned trajectory would have taken it to Vesta and Ceres, two of the largest asteroids orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, including planned orbits of each object via an advanced electric ion-propulsion system.
The mission originally was approved in December 2001 and set for launch this June, but technical problems and other difficulties delayed the projected launch date to July 2007 and pushed its cost from the original estimate of $373 million to $446 million.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin decided to cancel Dawn on March 2, after about $257 million already had been spent. Officials estimated that about $14 million more needed to be spent to terminate the project.
The reinstatement resulted from a review process established by Griffin and intended to "help ensure open debate and thorough evaluation of major decisions regarding space exploration and agency operations," NASA said in a statement.
"We revisited a number of technical and financial challenges and the work being done to address them," Geveden, who chaired the review panel, said in the same statement. "Our review determined the project team has made substantive progress on many of this mission's technical issues, and, in the end, we have confidence the mission will succeed."
Based on the decision, Geveden's letter ordered JPL to restaff the Dawn project immediately, based on "full funding," and to resume planning operations for the mission.
The letter said Geveden's Science Mission Directorate would develop a detailed replan with JPL, "including an integrated master schedule and updated cost analysis with appropriate confidence factors. JPL will undertake Propulsion Power Unit 500-hour life testing as soon as possible and will report progress and outcomes to SMD within 90 days."
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Moon To Sweep Through The Pleiades
Mar 28, 2006
Washington DC - A special celestial event to watch is coming up on Saturday evening, April 1, 2006, for anyone who lives in the eastern or central part of North America. That evening, if the sky is clear, you can watch the waxing Moon eclipse, or "occult," a number of stars in the Pleiades cluster in the western sky during and after dusk.
You'll have a decent view with your unaided eyes if your vision is sharp, but binoculars will do much better. And if you have a telescope, now is certainly the time to get it out.
Just keep watch on the Moon from twilight on April 1st until the Moon sinks too low in the west to follow. You'll notice right away that the Moon is next to, or among, the stars of the Pleiades cluster. Optical aid will also show the Moon's dark, night side dimly visible by earthshine -- the light of Earth's daylit face lighting up the Moon's night landscape.
As time goes on, you'll see that the Moon's dim earthlit edge is creeping toward the stars it's facing. Eventually, with a little luck, you'll see the edge approach a star until the star seems to hang right on the edge, like a tiny white fire on the Moon. Then suddenly -- instantly -- the star will snap out of view. You've just witnessed a lunar occultation (from the Latin word occultare, to hide).
The Moon moves by about the width of its own diameter per hour against the background stars. So the occulted star reappears out from behind the Moon's other, sunlit edge up to an hour or so after disappearing. But the reappearances are much harder to see, since they happen in the bright glare of the Moon's daylit side. For these you really need a good telescope.
More on this beautiful event appears in the April 2006 issue of SKY & TELESCOPE and the April/May 2006 issue of NIGHT SKY magazine. Included in each is how to get time predictions of when individual stars will be covered up by the Moon's dark edge at your particular location.
The Value of Occultations
Astronomers have tracked occultations for centuries. Aristotle told of the Moon covering Mars on April 4, 357 BC -- proof that Mars was farther away than the Moon. The suddenness of star occultations offered the first proof that the Moon has no air and therefore cannot support life.
If the Moon had an atmosphere, stars would gradually dim as the Moon's edge approached them, the same way the setting Sun dims before it reaches Earth's horizon. Scrutinizing an occultation in 1843, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel found that a star's light rays did not bend at the Moon's edge by any amount he could measure, a sign that the Moon could have no more than 1/2,000th as much air as Earth.
For many years, precise timings of occultations gave the most accurate fixes available on the Moon's orbital motion around the Earth. Also, many close double stars were first discovered by their "stepwise" occultations.
In such an event, the star drops out of sight on the Moon's edge in two distinct steps, as first one star of the double is covered, then the other -- even though the stars are so close together that they may look single even in the most powerful telescopes.
Most of these scientific uses for occultations have been superseded by other, more modern techniques. But amateur astronomers still go on expeditions to time grazing occultations -- when the Moon's edge barely skims a star sideways.
During such an event, the star may flash in and out of view several times as lunar hills and valleys slide silently across it. Timings of grazing occultations are still valuable for mapping the Moon's profile very accurately.
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A world of computers with one mind
By ADT Staff
Toshiba and MIT's Media Lab plan to launch the "GlobalMind" project, a large-scale knowledge database designed to promote advancements in the field of AI technology. Toshiba hopes to bring to computers an understanding of situations and feelings as experienced by their human users so that they can recognize, understand and respond to information in a real-life environment as people do.
GlobalMind will be an extension of the OpenMind database project, which the MIT Media lab initiated in 2000; to date, it has gathered about 800,000 facts through the contributions of some 20,000 people. The aim is to teach computers these facts, more like common sense, and provide them with the same understanding that humans experience daily.
"The GlobalMind project allows us to build on our relationship with Professor Minsky and the Media Lab to promote human-centric technology, one of our key R&D activities," said Dr. Mutsuhiro Arinobu, corporate VP and director of the Corporate Research & Development Center at Toshiba. "With GlobalMind, we hope to move significantly closer to realizing computers that understand the meaning of information and real-life situations, and to apply that to communication with people. This is one of the most crucial issues in AI."
GlobalMind is an important step in bringing the research and information of OpenMind to different languages and cultures. This is significant because, while some cultural phenomena are universal (eating when hungry, drinking when thirsty) other behaviors experience a great deal of variety, at least in expression, across different cultures. GlobalMind will extend OpenMind to more languages, including Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, French and Spanish, with the goal of gathering common-sense facts and information from as many cultures and languages as possible.
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Earthquake shakes central Japan
www.chinaview.cn 2006-03-28 22:24:10
TOKYO, March 28 (Xinhua) -- An earthquake measuring about 6.0 magnitude on the Richter scale hit central Japan on Tuesday night, Japan Meteorological Agency reported.
Mild shakes were felt in downtown Tokyo. The quake occurred at around 10:33 p.m. ( 1333 GMT). Its epicenter was 410 km under the waters of the Pacific Ocean.
There were no immediate reports of casualty or damage.
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Climate Change Rice Genome To The Rescue
by Staff Writers
Mar 28, 2006
Los Banos, Philippines - New evidence is emerging that climate change could reduce not only the world's ability to produce food but also international efforts to cut poverty. However, the recent sequencing of the rice genome is already providing researchers with some of the tools they need to help poor rice farmers and consumers avoid the worst effects of the problem.
The new knowledge generated by the sequencing effort is allowing scientists to both develop new rice varieties faster and with the specific characteristics needed to deal with climate change, such as tolerance of higher temperatures. However, scientists are calling for more research to fully understand the impact of climate change – especially the extreme weather it may cause – on international efforts to reduce poverty and ensure food security.
A "Climate Change and Rice" planning workshop this month at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines was told that climate change is already affecting Asia's ability to produce rice, and that this could eventually slow efforts to reduce poverty in the region, where most of the world's poor live.
The workshop was informed that, to overcome many of the climate change–related problems facing rice production in Asia – and continue to meet the demand for rice in the region – yields will have to double over the next 50 years. Research has confirmed that global warming will make rice crops less productive with increasing temperatures decreasing yields.
"Clearly, climate change is going to have a major impact on our ability to grow rice," Robert S. Zeigler, IRRI director general, said. "We can't afford to sit back and be complacent about this because rice production feeds almost half the world's population while providing vital employment to millions as well, with most of them being very poor and vulnerable."
For these reasons, Dr. Zeigler announced at the workshop that IRRI – in an unprecedented move – was ready to put up US$2 million of its own research funds as part of an effort to raise $20–25 million for a major five-year project to mitigate the effects of climate change on rice production. "We need to start developing rice varieties that can tolerate higher temperatures and other aspects of climate change right now," he said.
"Fortunately, the recent sequencing of the rice genome will allow us to do this much faster than we could have in the past," Dr. Zeigler added. "But, in addition to new rice varieties, we must develop other technologies that will help poor rice farmers deal with climate change."
In one of several examples presented to last week's climate workshop, researchers mentioned El Nino weather phenomena that hit the Philippines in 1996-97 and caused a severe drought, resulting in a sharp drop in national rice production. Other examples focused on the impact of climate change and variability on gross domestic product, generally causing it to slip by several percentage points.
"One of the main problems with climate change is that the effects are felt mostly in poor, underdeveloped countries because of their reliance on agriculture as one of the main drivers for national development," Dr. Zeigler said. "In turn, agriculture is very dependent on climate.
"Another more insidious effect may be more frequent extreme weather events such as typhoons, floods and droughts," Dr. Zeigler warned. "IRRI's research has shown that even one drought year can push millions of rice farmers back below the poverty line. This affects the whole family for many years after the drought year, as they will have sold their livestock and withdrawn their children from school just to survive."
IRRI's senior climate change researcher, John Sheehy, told the workshop that poor farmers need help in several challenging new areas. "We need to develop rice varieties tolerant of higher temperatures that can maintain yield and quality when extreme temperatures occur," Dr. Sheehy said. "We also need rice varieties that can take advantage of higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, rice that is vigorous enough to recover quickly from extreme weather events and disasters, and very high yielding rice that will provide a supply buffer for poor communities during periods of change.
"We need to be able to protect poor people from the harmful effects of climate change, and rice is especially important because most of the world's poor depend on it," he added. "We also need to ensure that the world community is not adversely affected by greenhouse gas emissions from rice production systems."
Dr. Sheehy said researchers need to acquire knowledge and develop technologies critical to ensuring that rice production systems are sustainable in the face of climate change and do not adversely contribute to climate change.
Comment: Climate change is going to affect a lot more than just the poorest of the poor. Why else would the Pentagon be so concerned about climate change??
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Flashback: Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday February 22, 2004
Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
Threat to the world is greater than terrorism
Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.
The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.
'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.
The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.
Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.
Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.
A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.
One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.
Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.
Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'
Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.
'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.
'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.
Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.
Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'
Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.
'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'
So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.
The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.
Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'
Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.
The Observer writes: "The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority."
Well, maybe that is disingenuous. Maybe the leaders of the world know that this is the truth and they have all agreed to pretend to be at odds with each other so as to create wars which will eliminate millions - or billions - of "useless eaters."
Or maybe Bush is setting the US up to be the "king of the mountain"? Not only can the US eliminate billions of people, they can then take all their resources for the "chosen people."
It's difficult to tell what the liars do or don't know, the only thing that is certain is that it does not look good for most of humanity. And, as Dave McGowan wrote:
"Perhaps you are thinking that this type of future is not for you. You'd really prefer something a little different. That's unfortunate, because the future holds very few options. Here's Campbell again, concluding his mini version of Mein Kampf:
Another problem is likely to be the residual opposition to population reduction from sentimentalists and/or religious extremists unable to understand that the days of plenty, when criminals and the weak could be cherished at public expense, are over. Acts of violent protest, such as are carried out today by animal rights activists and anti-abortionists, would, in the Darwinian world, attract capital punishment. Population reduction must be single-minded to succeed.
"So it appears as though those who fight back against the agenda will likely be summarily executed, while those who passively go with the flow stand about a 95% chance of being killed off anyway. With odds like that, I would think that fighting back might be a good idea. By any means available. And sooner rather than later."
Better do a quick re-read of Laura's two recent articles: 94% and Political Ponerology.
And again we say: get a copy of The Secret History of The World and How to Get Out Alive.
This ain't just an advertisement, either because you can get all the info that is in the book by reading everything on this site. But if you want to have the info available when the system locks down, and if you want it condensed and explicated clearly, get the book. Save yourself (and those you love) some time and grief in the coming "Hard Times."
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New City-sized Iceberg Created Near Antarctica
By LiveScience Staff
27 March 2006
A city-sized iceberg has broken off an island near Antarctica.
The iceberg is about 8 miles wide and 15 miles long. It broke free of the Fimbul Ice Shelf, a large glacial ice sheet along the northwestern section of Queen Maud Land, in the eastern Weddell Sea near Antarctica.
The discovery was announced Friday. The National Ice Center, using visible satellite imagery from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, spotted the iceberg now named named D-16.
Iceberg names are derived from the Antarctic quadrant where they are first sighted.
Last year, a larger wandering iceberg named B-15A rammed into the continent and single-handedly ripped two other new city-sized icebergs free.
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Earth Is At ... The Tipping Point
By JEFFREY KLUGER
Polar Ice Caps Are Melting Faster Than Ever... More And More Land Is Being Devastated By Drought... Rising Waters Are Drowning Low-Lying Communities... By Any Measure, Earth Is At ... The Tipping Point
No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth. Never mind what you've heard about global warming as a slow-motion emergency that would take decades to play out. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us.
It certainly looked that way last week as the atmospheric bomb that was Cyclone Larry--a Category 5 storm with wind bursts that reached 180 m.p.h.--exploded through northeastern Australia. It certainly looked that way last year as curtains of fire and dust turned the skies of Indonesia orange, thanks to drought-fueled blazes sweeping the island nation. It certainly looks that way as sections of ice the size of small states calve from the disintegrating Arctic and Antarctic. And it certainly looks that way as the sodden wreckage of New Orleans continues to molder, while the waters of the Atlantic gather themselves for a new hurricane season just two months away. Disasters have always been with us and surely always will be. But when they hit this hard and come this fast--when the emergency becomes commonplace--something has gone grievously wrong. That something is global warming.
The image of Earth as organism--famously dubbed Gaia by environmentalist James Lovelock-- has probably been overworked, but that's not to say the planet can't behave like a living thing, and these days, it's a living thing fighting a fever. From heat waves to storms to floods to fires to massive glacial melts, the global climate seems to be crashing around us. Scientists have been calling this shot for decades. This is precisely what they have been warning would happen if we continued pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, trapping the heat that flows in from the sun and raising global temperatures.
Environmentalists and lawmakers spent years shouting at one another about whether the grim forecasts were true, but in the past five years or so, the serious debate has quietly ended. Global warming, even most skeptics have concluded, is the real deal, and human activity has been causing it. If there was any consolation, it was that the glacial pace of nature would give us decades or even centuries to sort out the problem.
But glaciers, it turns out, can move with surprising speed, and so can nature. What few people reckoned on was that global climate systems are booby-trapped with tipping points and feedback loops, thresholds past which the slow creep of environmental decay gives way to sudden and self-perpetuating collapse. Pump enough CO2 into the sky, and that last part per million of greenhouse gas behaves like the 212th degree Fahrenheit that turns a pot of hot water into a plume of billowing steam. Melt enough Greenland ice, and you reach the point at which you're not simply dripping meltwater into the sea but dumping whole glaciers. By one recent measure, several Greenland ice sheets have doubled their rate of slide, and just last week the journal Science published a study suggesting that by the end of the century, the world could be locked in to an eventual rise in sea levels of as much as 20 ft. Nature, it seems, has finally got a bellyful of us.
"Things are happening a lot faster than anyone predicted," says Bill Chameides, chief scientist for the advocacy group Environmental Defense and a former professor of atmospheric chemistry. "The last 12 months have been alarming." Adds Ruth Curry of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts: "The ripple through the scientific community is palpable."
And it's not just scientists who are taking notice. Even as nature crosses its tipping points, the public seems to have reached its own. For years, popular skepticism about climatological science stood in the way of addressing the problem, but the naysayers--many of whom were on the payroll of energy companies--have become an increasingly marginalized breed. In a new TIME/ ABC News/ Stanford University poll, 85% of respondents agree that global warming probably is happening. Moreover, most respondents say they want some action taken. Of those polled, 87% believe the government should either encourage or require lowering of power-plant emissions, and 85% think something should be done to get cars to use less gasoline. Even Evangelical Christians, once one of the most reliable columns in the conservative base, are demanding action, most notably in February, when 86 Christian leaders formed the Evangelical Climate Initiative, demanding that Congress regulate greenhouse gases.
A collection of new global-warming books is hitting the shelves in response to that awakening interest, followed closely by TV and theatrical documentaries. The most notable of them is An Inconvenient Truth, due out in May, a profile of former Vice President Al Gore and his climate-change work, which is generating a lot of prerelease buzz over an unlikely topic and an equally unlikely star. For all its lack of Hollywood flash, the film compensates by conveying both the hard science of global warming and Gore's particular passion.
Such public stirrings are at last getting the attention of politicians and business leaders, who may not always respond to science but have a keen nose for where votes and profits lie. State and local lawmakers have started taking action to curb emissions, and major corporations are doing the same. Wal-Mart has begun installing wind turbines on its stores to generate electricity and is talking about putting solar reflectors over its parking lots. HSBC, the world's second largest bank, has pledged to neutralize its carbon output by investing in wind farms and other green projects. Even President Bush, hardly a favorite of greens, now acknowledges climate change and boasts of the steps he is taking to fight it. Most of those steps, however, involve research and voluntary emissions controls, not exactly the laws with teeth scientists are calling for.
Is it too late to reverse the changes global warming has wrought? That's still not clear. Reducing our emissions output year to year is hard enough. Getting it low enough so that the atmosphere can heal is a multigenerational commitment. "Ecosystems are usually able to maintain themselves," says Terry Chapin, a biologist and professor of ecology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. "But eventually they get pushed to the limit of tolerance."
CO2 AND THE POLES
As a tiny component of our atmosphere, carbon dioxide helped warm Earth to comfort levels we are all used to. But too much of it does an awful lot of damage. The gas represents just a few hundred parts per million (p.p.m.) in the overall air blanket, but they're powerful parts because they allow sunlight to stream in but prevent much of the heat from radiating back out. During the last ice age, the atmosphere's CO2 concentration was just 180 p.p.m., putting Earth into a deep freeze. After the glaciers retreated but before the dawn of the modern era, the total had risen to a comfortable 280 p.p.m. In just the past century and a half, we have pushed the level to 381 p.p.m., and we're feeling the effects. Of the 20 hottest years on record, 19 occurred in the 1980s or later. According to NASA scientists, 2005 was one of the hottest years in more than a century.
It's at the North and South poles that those steambath conditions are felt particularly acutely, with glaciers and ice caps crumbling to slush. Once the thaw begins, a number of mechanisms kick in to keep it going. Greenland is a vivid example. Late last year, glaciologist Eric Rignot of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and Pannir Kanagaratnam, a research assistant professor at the University of Kansas, analyzed data from Canadian and European satellites and found that Greenland ice is not just melting but doing so more than twice as fast, with 53 cu. mi. draining away into the sea last year alone, compared with 22 cu. mi. in 1996. A cubic mile of water is about five times the amount Los Angeles uses in a year.
Dumping that much water into the ocean is a very dangerous thing. Icebergs don't raise sea levels when they melt because they're floating, which means they have displaced all the water they're ever going to. But ice on land, like Greenland's, is a different matter. Pour that into oceans that are already rising (because warm water expands), and you deluge shorelines. By some estimates, the entire Greenland ice sheet would be enough to raise global sea levels 23 ft., swallowing up large parts of coastal Florida and most of Bangladesh. The Antarctic holds enough ice to raise sea levels more than 215 ft.
One of the reasons the loss of the planet's ice cover is accelerating is that as the poles' bright white surface shrinks, it changes the relationship of Earth and the sun. Polar ice is so reflective that 90% of the sunlight that strikes it simply bounces back into space, taking much of its energy with it. Ocean water does just the opposite, absorbing 90% of the energy it receives. The more energy it retains, the warmer it gets, with the result that each mile of ice that melts vanishes faster than the mile that preceded it.
That is what scientists call a feedback loop, and it's a nasty one, since once you uncap the Arctic Ocean, you unleash another beast: the comparatively warm layer of water about 600 ft. deep that circulates in and out of the Atlantic. "Remove the ice," says Woods Hole's Curry, "and the water starts talking to the atmosphere, releasing its heat. This is not a good thing."
A similar feedback loop is melting permafrost, usually defined as land that has been continuously frozen for two years or more. There's a lot of earthly real estate that qualifies, and much of it has been frozen much longer than two years--since the end of the last ice age, or at least 8,000 years ago. Sealed inside that cryonic time capsule are layers of partially decayed organic matter, rich in carbon. In high-altitude regions of Alaska, Canada and Siberia, the soil is warming and decomposing, releasing gases that will turn into methane and CO2. That, in turn, could lead to more warming and permafrost thaw, says research scientist David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo. And how much carbon is socked away in Arctic soils? Lawrence puts the figure at 200 gigatons to 800 gigatons. The total human carbon output is only 7 gigatons a year.
One result of all that is warmer oceans, and a result of warmer oceans can be, paradoxically, colder continents within a hotter globe. Ocean currents running between warm and cold regions serve as natural thermoregulators, distributing heat from the equator toward the poles. The Gulf Stream, carrying warmth up from the tropics, is what keeps Europe's climate relatively mild. Whenever Europe is cut off from the Gulf Stream, temperatures plummet. At the end of the last ice age, the warm current was temporarily blocked, and temperatures in Europe fell as much as 10°F, locking the continent in glaciers.
What usually keeps the Gulf Stream running is that warm water is lighter than cold water, so it floats on the surface. As it reaches Europe and releases its heat, the current grows denser and sinks, flowing back to the south and crossing under the northbound Gulf Stream until it reaches the tropics and starts to warm again. The cycle works splendidly, provided the water remains salty enough. But if it becomes diluted by freshwater, the salt concentration drops, and the water gets lighter, idling on top and stalling the current. Last December, researchers associated with Britain's National Oceanography Center reported that one component of the system that drives the Gulf Stream has slowed about 30% since 1957. It's the increased release of Arctic and Greenland meltwater that appears to be causing the problem, introducing a gush of freshwater that's overwhelming the natural cycle. In a global-warming world, it's unlikely that any amount of cooling that resulted from this would be sufficient to support glaciers, but it could make things awfully uncomfortable.
"The big worry is that the whole climate of Europe will change," says Adrian Luckman, senior lecturer in geography at the University of Wales, Swansea. "We in the U.K. are on the same latitude as Alaska. The reason we can live here is the Gulf Stream."
As fast as global warming is transforming the oceans and the ice caps, it's having an even more immediate effect on land. People, animals and plants living in dry, mountainous regions like the western U.S. make it through summer thanks to snowpack that collects on peaks all winter and slowly melts off in warm months. Lately the early arrival of spring and the unusually blistering summers have caused the snowpack to melt too early, so that by the time it's needed, it's largely gone. Climatologist Philip Mote of the University of Washington has compared decades of snowpack levels in Washington, Oregon and California and found that they are a fraction of what they were in the 1940s, and some snowpacks have vanished entirely.
Global warming is tipping other regions of the world into drought in different ways. Higher temperatures bake moisture out of soil faster, causing dry regions that live at the margins to cross the line into full-blown crisis. Meanwhile, El Niño events--the warm pooling of Pacific waters that periodically drives worldwide climate patterns and has been occurring more frequently in global-warming years--further inhibit precipitation in dry areas of Africa and East Asia. According to a recent study by NCAR, the percentage of Earth's surface suffering drought has more than doubled since the 1970s.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Hot, dry land can be murder on flora and fauna, and both are taking a bad hit. Wildfires in such regions as Indonesia, the western U.S. and even inland Alaska have been increasing as timberlands and forest floors grow more parched. The blazes create a feedback loop of their own, pouring more carbon into the atmosphere and reducing the number of trees, which inhale CO2 and release oxygen.
Those forests that don't succumb to fire die in other, slower ways. Connie Millar, a paleoecologist for the U.S. Forest Service, studies the history of vegetation in the Sierra Nevada. Over the past 100 years, she has found, the forests have shifted their tree lines as much as 100 ft. upslope, trying to escape the heat and drought of the lowlands. Such slow-motion evacuation may seem like a sensible strategy, but when you're on a mountain, you can go only so far before you run out of room. "Sometimes we say the trees are going to heaven because they're walking off the mountaintops," Millar says.
Across North America, warming-related changes are mowing down other flora too. Manzanita bushes in the West are dying back; some prickly pear cacti have lost their signature green and are instead a sickly pink; pine beetles in western Canada and the U.S. are chewing their way through tens of millions of acres of forest, thanks to warmer winters. The beetles may even breach the once insurmountable Rocky Mountain divide, opening up a path into the rich timbering lands of the American Southeast.
With habitats crashing, animals that live there are succumbing too. Environmental groups can tick off scores of species that have been determined to be at risk as a result of global warming. Last year, researchers in Costa Rica announced that two-thirds of 110 species of colorful harlequin frogs have vanished in the past 30 years, with the severity of each season's die-off following in lockstep with the severity of that year's warming.
In Alaska, salmon populations are at risk as melting permafrost pours mud into rivers, burying the gravel the fish need for spawning. Small animals such as bushy-tailed wood rats, alpine chipmunks and piñon mice are being chased upslope by rising temperatures, following the path of the fleeing trees. And with sea ice vanishing, polar bears--prodigious swimmers but not inexhaustible ones--are starting to turn up drowned. "There will be no polar ice by 2060," says Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation. "Somewhere along that path, the polar bear drops out."
WHAT ABOUT US?
It is fitting, perhaps, that as the species causing all the problems, we're suffering the destruction of our habitat too, and we have experienced that loss in terrible ways. Ocean waters have warmed by a full degree Fahrenheit since 1970, and warmer water is like rocket fuel for typhoons and hurricanes. Two studies last year found that in the past 35 years the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes worldwide has doubled while the wind speed and duration of all hurricanes has jumped 50%. Since atmospheric heat is not choosy about the water it warms, tropical storms could start turning up in some decidedly nontropical places. "There's a school of thought that sea surface temperatures are warming up toward Canada," says Greg Holland, senior scientist for NCAR in Boulder. "If so, you're likely to get tropical cyclones there, but we honestly don't know."
WHAT WE CAN DO
So much for environmental collapse happening in so many places at once has at last awakened much of the world, particularly the 141 nations that have ratified the Kyoto treaty to reduce emissions--an imperfect accord, to be sure, but an accord all the same. The U.S., however, which is home to less than 5% of Earth's population but produces 25% of CO2 emissions, remains intransigent. Many environmentalists declared the Bush Administration hopeless from the start, and while that may have been premature, it's undeniable that the White House's environmental record--from the abandonment of Kyoto to the President's broken campaign pledge to control carbon output to the relaxation of emission standards--has been dismal. George W. Bush's recent rhetorical nods to America's oil addiction and his praise of such alternative fuel sources as switchgrass have yet to be followed by real initiatives.
The anger surrounding all that exploded recently when NASA researcher Jim Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a longtime leader in climate-change research, complained that he had been harassed by White House appointees as he tried to sound the global-warming alarm. "The way democracy is supposed to work, the presumption is that the public is well informed," he told TIME. "They're trying to deny the science." Up against such resistance, many environmental groups have resolved simply to wait out this Administration and hope for something better in 2009.
The Republican-dominated Congress has not been much more encouraging. Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman have twice been unable to get through the Senate even mild measures to limit carbon. Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman, both of New Mexico and both ranking members of the chamber's Energy Committee, have made global warming a high-profile matter. A white paper issued in February will be the subject of an investigatory Senate conference next week. A House delegation recently traveled to Antarctica, Australia and New Zealand to visit researchers studying climate change. "Of the 10 of us, only three were believers," says Representative Sherwood Boehlert of New York. "Every one of the others said this opened their eyes."
Boehlert himself has long fought the environmental fight, but if the best that can be said for most lawmakers is that they are finally recognizing the global-warming problem, there's reason to wonder whether they will have the courage to reverse it. Increasingly, state and local governments are filling the void. The mayors of more than 200 cities have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, pledging, among other things, that they will meet the Kyoto goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in their cities to 1990 levels by 2012. Nine eastern states have established the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative for the purpose of developing a cap-and-trade program that would set ceilings on industrial emissions and allow companies that overperform to sell pollution credits to those that underperform-- the same smart, incentive-based strategy that got sulfur dioxide under control and reduced acid rain. And California passed the nation's toughest automobile- emissions law last summer.
"There are a whole series of things that demonstrate that people want to act and want their government to act," says Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense. Krupp and others believe that we should probably accept that it's too late to prevent CO2 concentrations from climbing to 450 p.p.m. (or 70 p.p.m. higher than where they are now). From there, however, we should be able to stabilize them and start to dial them back down.
That goal should be attainable. Curbing global warming may be an order of magnitude harder than, say, eradicating smallpox or putting a man on the moon. But is it moral not to try? We did not so much march toward the environmental precipice as drunkenly reel there, snapping at the scientific scolds who told us we had a problem.
The scolds, however, knew what they were talking about. In a solar system crowded with sister worlds that either emerged stillborn like Mercury and Venus or died in infancy like Mars, we're finally coming to appreciate the knife-blade margins within which life can thrive. For more than a century we've been monkeying with those margins. It's long past time we set them right.
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Forecasts: Northeast Due for Big Hurricane
Mar 27 7:37 PM US/Eastern
DOVER, N.H. - New England could be in for a big one. Meteorologists say conditions - including warmer temperatures in the Atlantic Basin and cooler temperatures in the Pacific Ocean - are ripe for the Northeast coast to be hit by a whopper of a hurricane this season.
Ken Reeves, a senior meteorologist at the AccuWeather Center in State College, Pa., said that when the Pacific is cooler, it "essentially drives the storm track further to the east in the Atlantic Ocean basin."
He predicts the East Coast north of the Mid-Atlantic states could see a Category 3 hurricane, a storm that could resemble the devastating systems that hit New England between the 1930s and 1950s.
"There are some eerie similarities to the pattern of the 1938 hurricane," he said.
A 1938 storm known as the "The Long Island Express" remains the region's worst hurricane. Its 121 mph winds gusted to 183 mph and caused massive flooding, power outages and wind damage throughout the region, leaving 600 people dead.
During recent decades, New Englanders mostly have experienced only the remnants of storms that hit other parts of the country, such as Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and Hurricane Bob in 1991, which brought heavy rains, localized flooding and power outages.
If a big storm did hit, the New Hampshire coast might be spared the worst of the damage because it is sheltered compared to areas like Cape Cod, Portland, Maine, and Long Island, N.Y., Reeves said.
Lourdes Aviles, a Plymouth State University assistant meteorology professor, said Reeves' forecast sounds right. That New England hasn't had a strong hurricane in 50 years could signal the region's luck is running out, she said.
John Jensenius, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said his group has been concerned for years that a strong hurricane could strike New England's coast.
Hurricane activity tends to be cyclical, he said. Every 50 years, a pattern develops that increases the potential for a major storm. But that doesn't mean a storm is imminent.
"The chances of one happening this year is no greater than it was last year," Jensenius said.
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Russian Communist leader sees U.S. behind bird flu outbreak
Interfax News Agency
MOSCOW - Russian Communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov has blamed the United States for the spread of avian influenza, or bird flu, in a number of European countries, including Russia.
"The forms of warfare are changing. It's strange that not a single duck has yet died in America - they are all dying in Russia and European countries. This makes one seriously wonder why," Zyuganov said at a press conference at the Interfax main office on Tuesday.
Zyuganov said that he has good knowledge of war gases as he dealt with them during his army service.
"I tested all kinds of war gases at a range myself," he said.
Asked to be more precise as to whether he believes the bird flu outbreak could be a deliberate attack by the U.S., Zyuganov answered positively.
"I not only suggest this, I know very well how this can be arranged. There is nothing strange here," he said.
Comment: But of course, he's a commie, so no need to give his claims any credit at all, he obviously has an agenda...then again, who doesn't have an agenda these days. Question is, could there be someone with an agenda to kill off a large percentage of the human race?
[T]his "theoretical possibility" was recognized over 25 years ago, if not before. It was originally brought to the attention of potential customers with the publication of an article in the Military Review of November 1970.
This journal for command-level military personnel was published by the US Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The feature, entitled "Ethnic Weapons," authored by Carl A. Larson, outlines the history, desirability, and possibilities of engineered biological pathogens which would affect only those races which historically have no natural defense against certain "enzyme inhibitors."
Larson is listed as head of the "Department of Human Genetics at the Institute of Genetics, Lund, Sweden" as well as a licensed physician. The Hippocratic oath was apparently not administered in Sweden when Larson received his accreditation.
Larson explains that many of the chemical activities and functions within the human body are caused by the interactions of enzymes. One of the more significant activities enabled by enzyme chemical reactions are the contraction and relaxation of muscle tissue. If the activities of these enzymes are blocked, the victim will be paralyzed, even to the point of death by asphyxiation.
Not coincidentally, the enzyme-blocking action of compounds called organophosphates were discovered in Germany in the 1930s when experimental insecticides killed the people unlucky enough to have used them. This discovery led to the mass production of a substance named "Trilon," later used to impressive effect in the extermination of groups of people the Nazis considered little more than insects. This substance and others of similar makeup became known as "nerve gas.
The London Times
November 15 1998
ISRAEL is working on a biological weapon that would harm Arabs but not Jews, according to Israeli military and western intelligence sources. The weapon, targeting victims by ethnic origin, is seen as Israel's response to Iraq's threat of chemical and biological attacks.
A scientist there said the task was hugely complicated because both Arabs and Jews are of Semitic origin. But he added: "They have, however, succeeded in pinpointing a particular characteristic in the genetic profile of certain Arab communities, particularly the Iraqi people."
Exclusive to American Free Press
By Gordon Thomas
Dr. David Kelly-the biological warfare weapons specialist at the heart of the continuing political crisis for the British government-had links to three other top microbiologists whose deaths have left unanswered questions.
The 59-year-old British scientist was involved with ultra secret work at Israel's Institute for Biological Re search. Israeli sources claim Kelly met institute scientists several times in London in the past two years....
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Twenty-five killed as rival factions clash in Pakistan
Tue Mar 28, 3:45 AM ET
PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Gunmen loyal to rival pro-Taliban clerics fought street battles in Pakistan's tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, leaving at least 25 people dead.
The clashes erupted late Monday after supporters of a Pakistani preacher tried to knock down a house which belonged to an Afghan Islamic leader's faction, a tribal areas spokesman told AFP.
The fighting with automatic weapons near the remote town of Bara in Khyber district follows about a year of tensions during which the two mullahs have used illegal private FM radio stations to criticise each other.
Spokesman Shah Zaman said five of Pakistani cleric Mufti Munir Shakir's men were shot dead late Monday when they attempted to demolish the Afghan clan's house.
In retaliation, Shakir's men attacked tribesmen of Afghan rival Pir Saifur Rehman at around 2:00 am (2100 GMT) on Tuesday, killing 18 of them, Zaman said.
Another two of Shakir's men injured in the shooting later died, a local administration official said on condition of anonymity.
The Pakistani cleric's group also took hostage an unspecified number of women and children, the official said.
The situation was tense in the area and the local administration was trying to end fighting through a jirga, or tribal assembly, Zaman said.
Both clerics are supporters of Afghanistan's former Taliban regime, many members of which fled across the border to Pakistan's tribal areas after the fundamentalist movement was ousted by a US-led invasion in late 2001.
Tensions are already high in the border region following major clashes earlier this month between troops and pro-Taliban militants in the North Waziristan tribal area, which have left more than 200 insurgents dead.
Suspected militants blew up a checkpost in Patosi village, some 25 kilometres (15 miles) east of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, late Monday, a security official told AFP.
Separately a rocket fired by insurgents late Monday fell close to government buildings in Miranshah where Pakistani troops are camped, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Neither attack caused any casualties, he said.
Meanwhile the US consulate was temporarily closed for security reasons Tuesday in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province, which adjoins the tribal areas.
A spokeswoman for the US embassy in Islamabad said there had been a "specific and credible" threat while a Pakistani official told AFP that a consulate official had received a telephone threat.
Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led "war on terror", has deployed 80,000 troops along the border to hunt down Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
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Bus plunge kills 25, injures 4 in southwest China
Tue Mar 28, 1:18 AM ET
BEIJING - A bus plunged into a deep valley in southwest China on Tuesday, killing 25 people and injuring four, Xinhua news agency said.
The bus carrying 29 people tumbled into a valley more than 100 meters (109 yards) deep in Laodian, a town in the province of Yunnan, Xinhua said, quoting a local official.
One of the injured was in a critical condition, it said.
China's roads are the deadliest in the world. Traffic accidents killed almost 100,000 people last year, or 270 a day.
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Battles after Belarus' election are over: Lukashenko
www.chinaview.cn 2006-03-28 23:10:23
MOSCOW, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Belarussian president-elect Alexander Lukashenko announced on Tuesday "all political battles after the March 19 presidential poll are over."
"At present, peace and order is ensured in Belarus after casual outbreaks of unrest that were promptly and effectively eliminated by law enforcers," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Lukashenko as saying.
"The unique feature of the Belarussian election campaign is that the government is never involved in political events and remains the country's economic think tank," Lukashenko said.
The originally planned inauguration date, March 31, was postponed, Nikolai Lozovik, secretary of the Central Election Commission, said on Tuesday.
The date "has not been coordinated with the work schedule of the head of state," he said, adding, "It is the president who fixes the date."
Lozovik said the inauguration ceremony would, supposedly, take place in the first half of April.
Lukashenko won a landslide victory in the presidential election on March 19, collecting 83 percent of the votes. His main rival Alexander Milinkevich received just 6.1 percent.
Opposition demonstrators have camped in October Square since the day after the vote, in support of a call for a rerun of the presidential vote. Long after midnight on Wednesday, the number of people who remained on the square reached at least 700 and some 250 people stayed there overnight.
Thousands of opposition supporters also gathered on Saturday in a Minsk park after being denied access to square. Riot police were sent to break up the rally, which the government said was illegal.
The 51-year-old Belarussian leader was first elected in 1994 and got the go-ahead to run for a third term through a constitutional referendum in 2004.
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Psychopaths on the March
Che Rides Again (On a Mountain Bike)
By Nick Miroff
Has Latin America ever had such a unifying figure?
At political rallies, his visage is held aloft as a beacon to regional independence and self-determination. He's helped forge new trade partnerships to spur economic growth and alleviate poverty. And his leadership has fanned a gale-force electoral trend that's sweeping the hemisphere to topple one pro-Washington government after the next.
Who is this grand inductor of Latin American leftism? Venezuelan fireball Hugo Chavez? Blue-collar Brazilian Lula Ignacio da Silva? Bolivia's coca-farmer-cum-president, Evo Morales?
¡Epa! It's George W. Bush, the accidental revolutionary.
In the past five years, the swaggering Texan has inspired a leftward surge that is uniting Latin America and threatening to knock Che Guevara right off all those natty t-shirts.
When Che's ill-fated insurgency ended in the jungles of Bolivia with his death in 1967, his vision of a single, unified, socialist continent remained utterly unfulfilled. U.S.-backed right-wing military dictators would rule much of Latin America over the ensuing two decades, and many of Che's followers would be tortured and killed in efforts to overthrow them.
As democracy returned to the region at the end of the Cold War, most Latin American governments rushed to embrace the "Washington consensus" -- market-oriented liberalization policies that cut social spending and privatized national industries in order to pay down national debts. But the formula, pushed on the region by successive American presidents, largely failed to deliver the goods and left entire governments bankrupt and beholden to foreign lenders. For Latin America's angry, marginalized, impoverished masses, already-threadbare social safety nets only unraveled further.
"The macroeconomic proposals of the Washington consensus have not been working," says Guillermo Delgado, professor of Latin American Studies at UC Santa Cruz. "That model was supposed to create prosperity and, after so many years, such prosperity has not been seen and class polarization has grown deeper."
Sensing an opportunity, new social and political movements in the region began marshalling their forces. Then George W. Bush came along, combining Yankee hubris with a Che-worthy radicalizing touch.
Bush has since presided over one of the most significant political re-alignments in the history of the Western Hemisphere. By this summer, every major Latin American nation but Colombia is likely to be run by elected leaders with stronger backgrounds in Marx than free markets. If Cold War-era "domino theory" has been a bust in the Middle East, it's working with textbook precision in Latin America.
Late last year, voters overwhelmingly elected former coca-grower Evo Morales, the founder of Bolivia's "Movement Toward Socialism" party, who fancies himself a "nightmare" for the Bush administration. Then, in January, Chilean voters chose socialist candidate Michele Bachelet, a torture victim of the Pinochet regime, as the nation's first woman president. Leftists now rule as well in Venezuela, Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina, and are leading in upcoming elections in both Peru and Mexico, the region's electoral grand prize. Even recycled Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega -- "a hoodlum," according to Roger Noriega, formerly the U.S.'s top Latin America official -- appears poised for a comeback when Nicaraguan voters go to the polls in November.
Though Latin America's national borders won't melt away anytime soon, Che's vision of pan-Latin cooperation has already begun to materialize. Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina recently announced a $20 billion plan to build a trans-national gas pipeline through the Amazon. Chile has opened dialogue with landlocked Bolivia, easing a long-simmering feud over seaport access that stretches back more than a century. Cuba, that tropical bête noire of the White House, still uses doctor diplomacy and sends physicians all over the region -- only now, it receives billions of dollars worth of Venezuelan oil in return. And Mercosur, a South American common market dominated by Brazil, has emerged as a rival to the faltering U.S.-sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
Mercosur member states blocked ratification of the FTAA at the 2005 Summit of the Americas in Argentina. When Bush arrived to deliver a speech at the conference, he was greeted by mobs of angry street protestors who burned American flags, a Burger King, and unflattering effigies in his likeness.
"Fascist Bush!" they chanted, "you are the terrorist!"
Fencing Off the "Backyard"?
Bush's overwhelming unpopularity in Latin America is especially disappointing given that he put Latin American relations at the top of his foreign-policy agenda after taking office. No other U.S. president had gone to Latin America for his first visit abroad, and even after 9/11, Bush maintained that the United States "has no more important relationship in the world than the one we have with Mexico." At every turn, he'd trot out his twangy Spanish in order to burnish his Latin cred.
Since then, Latin America has only drifted further south. Support for the U.S. war in Iraq is notably abysmal. Only a handful of countries in the region backed the invasion to oust Saddam Hussein and all were minor players with the exception of Colombia, the fifth-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. That Washington is willing to spend lavishly on drug eradication in the Andean region but little on development or public health has not been lost on the new ascendant left, either.
In a recent Zogby poll, fewer than 20% of Latin American elites (typically the most politically conservative voters in the region) gave Bush a favorable approval rating. Only 6% said Bush's policies were better than those of his predecessors.
Some analysts have attributed Latin America's political shift to U.S. foreign policy negligence, arguing that, because the Bush administration is so consumed with Iraq, American officials are now incapable of wielding effective diplomatic influence in the region.
"After 9/11, Washington effectively lost interest in Latin America," writes Peter Hakim, President of Inter-American Dialogue, in the January/February issue of Foreign Affairs. "Since then, the attention the United States has paid to the region has been sporadic and narrowly targeted at particularly troubling or urgent situations."
This interpretation suggests Bush has been a kind of inattentive steward, too busy riding that mountain bike to notice the mutiny going on beneath his nose. Worse yet, Hakim believes the United States has neither the resources nor the will to alter the course.
But Latin America's leftward shift stems from more than White House distraction. It's not that the United States is acting aloof with its neighbors; rather, we're the worst-behaved homeowner on the block. We fly the biggest flag, make the loudest demands, and on top of it all, we don't even like having guests over. Sure, the United States has treated Latin America as its "backyard" for two hundred years -- but now, Bush's own party wants to fence it off.
House Republicans recently approved a plan to erect a 2,000-mile, Israeli-style barrier that would wall off Mexico and the rest of Latin America. The plan isn't expected to survive a Senate vote, but it sums up the current state of north-south relations quite well. And it's been a godsend for the presidential campaign of left-wing Mexico City Mayor Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leading candidate in the July 2nd elections and a frequent Bush critic.
For Lopez Obrador, the border fence proposal is proof that NAFTA is faltering and that outgoing President Vicente Fox was on the wrong end of the rope in his faux-ranchero friendship with Bush. Fox had staked his presidential reputation on securing an immigration accord with the Bush administration, and his failure has made excellent fodder for Lopez Obrador's campaign. His election victory in July would leave the last domino leaning right on Washington's doorstep.
The Bush administration has been most frazzled by the growing regional influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whom Donald Rumsfeld recently likened to Hitler. Chavez has his own nickname for Bush -- "Mr. Danger" -- and he's effectively shaped the American president into his political foil.
As Bush pushes the region away, Chavez pulls. The Venezuelan leader has fashioned himself into a kind of Latin American Robin Hood, raking in tanker-loads of petrodollars in order to bankroll massive social programs and regional integration schemes. He's provided oil at subsidized rates to poor countries throughout the Caribbean, even sending discounted winter heating oil to low-income residents in Boston and the Bronx -- an act of mockery as much as aid. The Bush administration's tacit endorsement of a 2002 coup that briefly ousted Chavez has left the U.S.'s rhetoric about respect for democracy ringing hypocritical.
At the World Social Forum in Caracas in January, Chavez t-shirts were reportedly de rigueur, along with all the other standard-fare knickknacks of rebellion: Castro-hats, Zapatista stickers, and anything red with Che on it. By comparison, Bush apparel was in short supply.
Granted, he did show up on a few banners and posters that weren't slated for immolation, like one that read "Chavez yes, Bush no!" But twenty years from now, who knows? Latin America may be much better off then. And perhaps he'll finally get the "Gracias Bush" he deserves -- with his own face on a silkscreen.
Nick Miroff is a student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He has reported from Latin America for National Public Radio, Mother Jones, and the Oakland Tribune.
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America's Debt Wish
by Bob Burnett
March 27, 2006
Late on the evening of March 16th, the Senate passed a record $2.8 trillion budget and increased our national debt limit to a tad below $9 trillion. You may ask what difference it makes that our national debt is trillions of dollars and each citizen's share is $27,981?
It makes a lot of difference in terms of the operation of the US government. More importantly, it says a lot about the American psyche.
We have an $8.363 trillion debt because the Bush Administration spends money as if there'll be no tomorrow. And they have a rather cavalier attitude about all their expenses; they don't want to pay for them. Their constant refrain is, "put it on my tab." When the tab comes due, there's not enough money in the US treasury to pay for it-remember those tax cuts that Republicans are so fond of-and so the government has to borrow money.
You may ask why don't we just refuse to pay? What if Congress refused to raise the debt limit? Wouldn't that teach bad George a lesson? Perhaps, but it would also mean that the Feds couldn't send checks to Social Security and Medicare recipients, not to mention victims of Hurricane Katrina. What's worse is that it would send a signal to the world that the US is no longer a credit-worthy client. Interest rates would shoot up, costing the US government, and you and me, a lot more to borrow money.
There are two schools of thought about our debts: One, represented by certain economists, and that old swifty, VP Dick Cheney, argues that the national debt, and the Bush Administrations annual deficits, don't really matter so long as they are a reasonable percentage of the gross national product. I won't bore you with the technical details, other than to say they're the sorts that economists love to ponder. This group says, in effect, don't worry, be happy.
The other group, represented by people who have their wits about them, folks like Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, argues that a day of reckoning is just around the corner. This has two faces: one actuarial and the other political.
I'll be brief about the actuarial problem. There are these folks called "baby boomers" who are about to retire. When they do, they will expect services such as Social Security and Medicare; services that already cost us more than $1 trillion each year. The additional service recipients will dramatically increase annual Social Security and Medicare costs and probably our national debt.
So what? Why don't we just keep borrowing? It's worked for the Bush Administration, why won't work it work indefinitely?
It might work indefinitely if we were borrowing from a politically neutral source, like The Bank of Heaven, but we aren't. Sixty percent of the debt is privately held; countries like China, Saudi Arabia, and Japan hold one third. There is an increasing danger that our debt holders will wake up one day and declare, "You Americans are on a non-stop spending spree. We're not going to pay for it any more."
Of course, they wouldn't cut us off completely. They'd be like our parents, they'd continue to loan us money, but with stringent conditions attached; like no going out after dark, and much higher interest rates. The problem is that these conditions would affect everything in our economy. They'd result in a drastic reduction in public services such as education and health care.
The other obvious problem is that we have dicey relationships with some of our creditors, like China and Saudi Arabia. So, if we threatened them militarily-I know that's hard to imagine, but bear with me-they might respond by refusing to buy more of our bonds and selling those they have on the open market. This would immediately raise interest rates and, some say, cause runaway inflation. DNC chair Howard Dean recently characterized this problem as "a national security failure" of the Bush Administration.
The larger problem is that it's not just the Bush Administration that likes to party as if there is no tomorrow, it's the American people. As a group we spend more than we earn. Americans have a negative personal savings rate; we cover our tabs by taking out home equity loans. This propensity to borrow shows up everywhere in our economy. Last year our imports were 57 percent more than our exports.
So it's not just the Bush Administration. Here's the ugly truth: those party animals in the White House are reflective of a national psyche that spends as if there is no day of reckoning. If you're one of those apocalyptic Christians who believe that the rapture is going to occur momentarily, then this may make sense. But, for the rest of us, it's a problem.
When the day of reckoning comes then, at the least, we're going to have to pay more for everything because all interest rates will jump up. Meanwhile, government services will be dramatically reduced. We'll experience America's morning after that will go on for a painfully long time.
In the meantime, America has to compete with other countries like India and China, and the European Community who have national mottos somewhat different from "Let's party" and "Let's kick some butt with our military." These countries have mottos like "Let's have the most advanced manufacturing capability in the world," "Let's become the world leader in telecommunications," and "Lets have the most skilled work force."
Remember, they can see us on TV. They're all watching. Marveling at our collective debt wish. Party on, you crazy gringos.
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Seattle killer "clearly intent on homicidal mayhem": police
www.chinaview.cn 2006-03-28 11:26:43
BEIJING, March 28 (Xinhuanet) -- The 28-year-old man, who killed six young people at a house party over the weekend before turning the gun on himself, was "clearly intent on doing homicidal mayhem," Seattle Deputy Police Chief Clark Kimerer said Monday.
The police identified the shooter as Aaron Kyle Huff, who moved to Seattle about four years ago from Montana, and shared an apartment with his identical twin brother Kane.
The police said Huff had attended a rave dance called "Better Off Undead" on Friday night at Seattle's Capitol Hill Arts Center. That event had heavy security, but some people continued the party at a home on Capitol Hill and Huff had been invited.
Some of the partygoers told the police that Huff left the after-party about 7:00 a.m. Saturday and returned minutes later wearing bandoliers of ammunition and carrying a 12-gauge pistol-grip shotgun and a handgun. He fired on the 30 young partygoers gathered in the house, and when a police officer arrived and confronted him, he turned one of the weapons on himself.
It was Seattle's deadliest crime in more than 20 years.
Witnesses interviewed by police said Huff was quiet and self-effacing at the party and acted calm and deliberate during the shootings, firing off bullets and saying something like "there's plenty for everyone."
The deputy chief particularly noted the amount of firepower Huff had with him. He had more than 300 rounds of ammunition, and the detectives seized additional weapons from the apartment he shared with his twin brother.
"My speculation is that this was not a sudden attack. He came heavily armed with additional ammunition ... clearly intent on doing homicidal mayhem in a killing spree," Seattle Deputy Police Chief Clark Kimerer said at a news conference.
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PENN HAS TORTURE DOLL
Hollywood activist SEAN PENN has a plastic doll of conservative US columnist ANN COULTER that he likes to abuse when angry. The Oscar-winner actor has hated Coulter ever since she blacklisted his director father LEO PENN in her book TREASON. And he takes out his frustrations with Coulter, who is a best-selling author, lawyer and television pundit, on the Barble-like doll. In an interview with The New Yorker magazine, Penn reveals, "We violate her. There are cigarette burns in some funny places. She's a pure snake-oil salesman. She doesn't believe a word she says."
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Poodleville or Blairing Sycophancy
Guantanamo Bay Briton was MI5 spy, court is told
By Daniel McGrory
THE Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been forced into an embarrassing change of heart over its refusal to press for the release of a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay after the High Court was told yesterday that he had links to MI5.
Bisher al-Rawi, 37, who has lived in Britain for more than 20 years, says that he was working for British Intelligence when he was picked up by the CIA during a trip to Africa.
Lawyers for Mr al-Rawi and two other long-term British residents held at Guantanamo claim that they are all being tortured and want the High Court to order Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, to lobby the US authorities for their release.
The Government has said that as foreign nationals the men have no legal right to the assistance they are demanding.
But the Foreign Office said yesterday that Mr al-Rawi's case was now regarded as different. "The Foreign Secretary considered it appropriate to reconsider Mr al-Rawi's request that he make representations to the US," it said.
Mr al-Rawi, an Iraqi national, and his Jordanian business partner, Jamil el-Banna, who was granted refugee status in 2000, were picked up in Gambia three years ago and accused of trying to set up an al-Qaeda terrorist training camp. Both men claim that they were asked by British Intelligence to infiltrate an organisation run by a London-based radical cleric, Abu Qatada.
Timothy Otty, who is appearing for the detainees, said that documents from a security service agent, "Witness A", established that there were "communications" relating to the two men before their arrest in November 2002, between the British and US security services.
The third man, Libyan-born Omar Deghayes, 36, had also been held at Guantanamo for three years and was now on a hunger strike, Mr Otty said.
The hearing is expected to last for two more days.
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Parliament vigil man is arrested
"We're killing each other - dropping bombs on our children. Someone somewhere has to do something to stop this madness."
Anti-war protester Brian Haw, who won a court battle to maintain his Parliament Square vigil which began in 2001, has been arrested.
The 56-year old father-of-seven, from Redditch, Worcestershire, was with a fellow campaigner when the arrest occurred, supporters said.
Mr Haw was arrested on suspicion of obstructing police.
Both Mr Haw and the other campaigner, Barbara Tucker, were taken into custody but were later released.
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "A man and a woman were arrested at 2pm in Parliament Square."
The woman was arrested on suspicion of unlawfully demonstrating in Parliament Square, and she allegedly refused to give her details to police when requested.
Scotland Yard said the pair had been released pending a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Last July a High Court ruled Mr Haw could continue his protest, which began initially over the international sanctions regime imposed against Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
New legislation means that police permission is required before mounting a demonstration within a mile of parliament.
But the court ruled that the requirement did not apply to Mr Haw, as his protest began in June 2001, which was before the law came into force.
Mr Haw's dedication is well known and he did not even return home last Christmas.
Speaking at that time he said: "We're killing each other - dropping bombs on our children. Someone somewhere has to do something to stop this madness."
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British agents set men up for CIA detention
By James Button Herald Correspondent in London
March 29, 2006
TWO British residents have spent three years in Guantanamo Bay because the security agency MI5 told the CIA the men were carrying a bomb part, even though MI5 knew the item was a harmless battery charger, documents released in Britain suggest.
Telegrams sent by MI5 to the CIA and released in Britain's High Court on Monday led to the "extraordinary rendition" of Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil al-Banna from Gambia in November 2002, BBC news reported.
It is the strongest evidence to date that the British security services may have been aware of and supported the American practice of extraordinary rendition, in which terrorism suspects are arrested outside the United States and taken to another country for detention.
British officials arrested the men at Gatwick Airport after MI5 maintained they were carrying an "electronic device" that could be part of an improvised bomb.
In a note to the Foreign Office 10 days later MI5 said it had released the men at Gatwick "after it was assessed that this item was a commercially available battery charger that had been modified by Bisher al-Rawi in order to make it more powerful".
MI5 also agreed that the men genuinely planned to set up a peanut oil business in Gambia, where they were seized and secretly flown to an Afghan jail, and then Guantanamo.
However, while it told the CIA about the first arrest, it did not tell the American security agency of its subsequent view that the battery charger was harmless, the BBC reported.
The documents were released during a legal challenge to the British Government's failure to press for the release of Mr Rawi, an Iraqi refugee from Saddam Hussein's regime, and Mr Banna, a Jordanian Palestinian.
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