The assassination of John F. Kennedy is a lot like the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Since that terrible day, almost 43 years ago, there have been over 2,000 books written about the JFK assassination. There have also been numerous television programs and several movies. There is endless theorizing and speculation as to why John F. Kennedy was executed by what amounts to a firing squad, in broad daylight, in the middle of Dallas Texas, on a sunny day in November. Additionally, there have been a lot of myths created and propagated seemingly to muddy the waters. The only thing that most of the proponents of various theories can agree on is that the FBI and the CIA did little to help the Warren Commission solve the crime. Well, that also sounds a lot like the official 9/11 Report. Both events were dealt with in the same way, by a "select group of bureaucrats with an agenda of lies".
Just as with the events on 9/11, there is the "official story"; in the case of Kennedy, it was the "lone gunman"; in the case of 9/11, it was 19 improbable terrorists directed by a cave-dwelling mastermind. In fact, Osama bin Laden and Lee Harvey Oswald have a lot in common: both worked for the CIA.
In the end, what has ruled America for the past 43 years is a corrupt government that took power on November 22nd, 1963, in a coup d'etat that worked from that day forward towards the goal of turning the United States of America into a Fascist machine for World Conquest: the New World Order.
And it makes no difference who is in office: Democrats or Republicans. For example, Bill Clinton appointed five scholars to the "Assassination Records Review Board", whose mission was, quoting Chairman John Tunheim, to "convince the American people that the government is not withholding any documents from the public."
Again, we are reminded of 9/11. The chief argument against a government conspiracy of any kind is "how could they keep something like that secret?"
"To the stock objection that it would be virtually impossible to assemble a murder conspiracy without leakage, the response is that an existing conspiratorial network or system of networks, already in place and capable of murder, would have much less difficulty in maintaining the discipline of secrecy." - Author Peter Dale Scott in "Deep Politics and The Death of JFK"
This speaks directly to the problem addressed by Andrzej Lobaczewski in his book, Political Ponerology: The Science of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes. In this seminal work on how evil rises to the top in any society and culture, and how it develops ramified networks of manipulation and control, the problem is addressed in terms of pathological deviance. In any society, there is a small percentage of deviant individuals who seek power over others. In a society, set up as the American society is, based on the previously described capitalistic ideology of John Calvin, what quickly develops is a "dog eat dog" world, and the fact is that deviant dogs always do better than normal ones. Lobaczewski writes:
The actions of this phenomenon affect an entire society, starting with the leaders and infiltrating every village, small town, factory, business, or farm. The pathological social structure gradually covers the entire country, creating a "new class" within that nation. This privileged class of deviants feels permanently threatened by the "others", i.e. by the majority of normal people. Neither do the pathocrats entertain any illusions about their personal fate should there be a return to the system of normal man.
A normal person deprived of privilege or high position will go about finding and performing some work which will earn him a living; but pathocrats never possessed any solid practical talent, and the time frame of their rule eliminates any residual possibilities of adapting to the demands of normal work. If the laws of normal man were to be reinstated, they and theirs could be subjected to judgment, including a moralizing interpretation of their psychological deviations; they would be threatened by a loss of freedom and life, not merely a loss of position and privilege. Since they are incapable of this kind of sacrifice, the survival of a system which is the best for them becomes a moral imperative. Such a threat must be battled by means of any and all psychological and political cunning implemented with a lack of scruples with regard to those other "inferior-quality" people that can be shocking in its depravity.
In general, this new class is in the position to purge its leaders should their behavior jeopardize the existence of such a system. This could occur particularly if the leadership wished to go too far in compromising with the society of normal people, since their qualifications make them essential for production. The latter is more a direct threat to the lower echelons of the pathocratic elite than to the leaders.
Pathocracy survives thanks to the feeling of being threatened by the society of normal people, as well as by other countries wherein various forms of the system of normal man persist. For the rulers, staying on the top is therefore the classic problem of "to be or not to be".
We can thus formulate a more cautious question: can such a system ever waive territorial and political expansion abroad and settle for its present possessions? What would happen if such a state of affairs ensured internal peace, corresponding order, and relative prosperity within the nation? The overwhelming majority of the country's population would then make skillful use of all the emerging possibilities, taking advantage of their superior qualifications in order to fight for an ever-increasing scope of activities; thanks to their higher birth rate, their power will increase. This majority will be joined by some sons from the privileged class who did not inherit the pathological genes. The pathocracy's dominance will weaken imperceptibly but steadily, finally leading to a situation wherein the society of normal people reaches for power. This is a nightmare vision to the psychopaths.
Thus, the biological, psychological, moral, and economic destruction of the majority of normal people becomes, for the pathocrats, a "biological" necessity. Many means serve this end, starting with concentration camps and including warfare with an obstinate, well-armed foe who will devastate and debilitate the human power thrown at him, namely the very power jeopardizing pathocrats rule: the sons of normal man sent out to fight for an illusionary "noble cause." Once safely dead, the soldiers will then be decreed heroes to be revered in paeans, useful for raising a new generation faithful to the pathocracy and ever willing to go to their deaths to protect it. [...]
The ideology must, of course, furnish a corresponding justification for this alleged right to conquer the world and must therefore be properly elaborated. Expansionism is derived from the very nature of pathocracy, not from ideology, but this fact must be masked by ideology. Whenever this phenomenon has been witnessed in history, imperialism was always its most demonstrative quality. [Political Ponerology]
Martha Rose Crow, in her article The Nine Stages of American Autogenocide, describes how things work in such networks. Just substitute "Pathocrat" [pathological individual who has risen to the top due to his deviant nature, which is usually genetic and passed on to the children] for "Patriarch" as you read the following excerpt:
The decision [to kill] is made in a way so it is never traced all the way to the top. To this day, no paper has ever surfaced to tie Hitler directly to ordering the holocaust.
At least 95% of all communication is non-verbal, thus the language transforms into something else, something usually less concrete and more surreal. Non-verbal communication can (and usually does) become or evolve into one or more of the following forms: symbolic, semantic, rhetorical, allegorical, cryptographic, metamorphic, philosophical, psychological, hypnotic, controlling, patriarchal, oppressive, numerological, occult, erotic, homoerotic, theological, prophetic, epiphanic, spiritual, so forth. Many messages with double/triple meanings are woven/hidden within these forms on non-verbal communications.
Most of the messages... are conveyed non-verbally, indirectly or through a third-person.
The order is usually "innocent" and done in an indirect way. The elite are always surrounded with males from upper social levels and these males lean on every one of their masters' words.
The order is usually given in an informal atmosphere where the ultra rich go. The order can be given at a club, a country club, smoking room, a fancy restaurant, a sauna, a dining or meeting room of an estate, an executive bathroom, on the golf course (where much of the world's fate has been decided for decades), at "charity" functions, posh parties of the rich, so forth.
There are always lower tiers of the elite at these places, including politicians, plus business and society journalists. The males of these upper groups, plus the media (that are basically owned by the elite) and other conveyers of culture are conditioned and socialized to hear and obey the males above them in the hierarchy. That is how patriarchies work and that is how the ruling patriarchs spread their messages.
The top elite male will start a conversation about one thing and segue it into something else that leads into the "problem." Afterwards, he will make his complaint in an indirect way. He hesitates for a few moments while changing his posture, then tone of voice into a more authoritarian one. After silently and discreetly checking for responses of the male faces in the room and to make sure the right ears are listening, he adds more power to his non-verbal language: he segues from a man to a divine person as he begins to talk like the biblical-type wise man/savior of the village. Although charismatic, his language - verbal and nonverbal - gain in authority, thus high patriarchy. He is at the top of the patriarchal chain, so he must exhibit a great amount of power in a subdued, but apparent way.
After he is sure the right male ears are listening, he begins his list of complaints to strengthen and justify his original complaint. The male ears at the table, urinal, golf club, country club, boardroom, fundraiser, so forth, listen and wait for the "solution" that is really a secret command in the world of males.
Then it comes. The Man of Power will make short, casual, "benign" remarks like, "Something has to be done about this," "The numbers (statistics of growing populations that threaten power) have to change,"or "back in other times, they knew how to fix this" (it may sound nostalgic, but this is an indirect order to solve the "problem" by using classic patriarchal methods of rule, including the patriarchal authority of violence. [Martha Rose Crow]
Certainly, it was exactly this type of society that enabled the Kennedy clan to come into being as a "power" on the political scene. It was John Kennedy's father who bulldozed his way into the ranks of the international high finance circles. It is also true that John Kennedy obtained public office the only way it is obtainable in such a system: by means of financial power and with the help of the Mafia. It is a certainty that without the support of "the elite" - and here we mean even Zionist elites - he would never have become President.
However, what is interesting is the fact that it seems that John Kennedy knew what he was doing - at least up to a point. He utilized the system and then, apparently, intended to change it! Immediately after his election, John Kennedy, with the help of his brother, Robert, attacked organized crime. It is said that John Kennedy and Chicago mobster Sam Giancana had the same mistress, Judith Campbell Exner. It is also reported that John Kennedy had an affair with the wife of Cord Meyer, a high ranking CIA official.
What is interesting about this is the fact that Professor Alfred McCoy tells us, in his book "The Politics of Heroin," that since 1942, the CIA and the Mafia have worked together in numerous clandestine operations. One even wonders if the stories of JFK's supposedly legendary "way with women" might not be a bit exaggerated?
In any event, John Kennedy shrewdly used the system to get inside, and then it is clear from his actions that he intended to change it, that he did not like or approve of it, and that is, I believe, why those who had lived by this system, with its ideological cover of "Calvinism," decided that he had to go.
When John Kennedy refused to allow the CIA and American troops to attack Cuba, resulting in the Bay of Pigs debacle in 1961, General Charles P. Cabell, Deputy Director of the CIA, went around Washington calling President Kennedy a traitor!
Now, try to understand this: John Kennedy was being called a traitor because he did not believe in the CIA conducting covert operations in other countries, subverting other governments, and generally behaving illegally from any normal person's point of view. Also keep in mind that all of this was directed at creating a "New World Order" with the oligarchy of the U.S. in control. Kennedy had to die for their plans to come to fruition. Nine years after Kennedy's death, things were well on their way when Roy Ash, Director of the Office of Management and Budget stated, "Within two decades, the institutional framework for a world economic community will be in place. Aspects of individual sovereignty will be given over to a supernational authority."
Of course, there is more to this than immediately meets the eye. International bankers have controlled America for over 100 years. On November 21, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt stated,
"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the United States since the days of Andrew Jackson."
President Woodrow Wilson wrote,
"There is a power so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive that prudent men better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."
Later, Congressman Louis McFadden, Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, stated,
"The Federal Reserve is one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever seen. There is not a man within the sound of my voice who does not know that this nation is run by international bankers."
This international banking cartel is largely Jewish, but not solely. However, it is where the interests of Israel intertwine with the interests of banking that problems arise. Michael Collins Piper presents evidence to show that there was a large Zionist influence on the Kennedy assassination, just as there is much evidence of a large Zionist influence on the events of 9/11.
As an aside, this leads us to consideration of the role of George H. W. Bush in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the role of his son in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Let us consider these points:
Although he does not recall when asked, George (Herbert Walker) Bush was in Dallas the day JFK was assassinated.
Bush lies about the fact that he was a high-ranking CIA official at the time of JFK's death.
Bush allowed the escape of a convicted terrorist from prison to go to work for him as an undercover CIA asset in Iran-Contra.
Bush released another convicted terrorist.
Both these terrorists were present on Dealey Plaza on 11/22/1963.
Both these terrorists were convicted for killing 73 people by blowing up an airliner.
Bush is personal friends with a close associate of these convicted terrorists, who was also a participant in Iran Contra.
Bush took a leading role as CIA official in structuring/organizing these terrorists in effective organizations.
[See: Did the Bushes help to kill JFK? for all the details and to view the documents that strongly implicate George H. W. Bush in the conspiracy]
Now, with just those items, would we be at all surprised to discover the connections between Bush Junior and the CIA asset/patsy Osama bin Laden? But there is so much more!
Consider this item:
Edward R. Stetteninus was Secretary of State under both Roosevelt and Truman. He was President of U.S. Steel before World War II. His father was the head of the Federal Lend-Lease program during World War I. The elder Stetteninus also worked for J.P. Morgan. Edward R. Stetteninus created the International Bank of Washington, the world's largest merchant bank. He was also the first American to serve in the United Nations after lobbying heavily for its formation. He was also a "mover and shaker" (and outspoken supporter) of the bill to create the CIA in 1947 under the administration of President Harry Truman. (He was killed mysteriously in 1949).
Edward R. Stetteninus also bought all of the rights to Liberia including the flag plus the mining and rubber industries (i.e. "the country") from the dictator who controlled the small sovereignty. Liberian Services, Inc. ("LSI") of Reston, Virginia and New York City controls the entire shipping industry in Liberia.
LSI is a CIA "front."
In 1963, John F. Kennedy was preparing to amend the National Labor Relations Board statutes and various Internal Revenue Service statues that would prevent foreign flag shipping from being exempt from American income taxes. These amendments would have seriously affected Liberian shipping magnates and the assets of men such as Aristotle Onassis. Billions of dollars were at stake. President Kennedy was killed three days before he was to make these amendments public.
For now, however, let us return again to the past, to Farewell America, to gain a broader understanding of the man America Lost on that sunny day in November, 43 years ago.
"The only glory in public life is that which portends the future and blazes a path through the haze of the present." [Disraeli]
Senator Kennedy won the 1960 Presidential elections by an "exquisitely narrow" margin. (1) White, Protestant Americans can legitimately claim that he was not their President. Kennedy was elected with the votes of 70% of the Negroes, 78% of the Catholics, and 80% of the Jews, not to speak of the women. For what American woman wouldn't have wanted to be the mother, the wife, the elector of this gracious young man who, while campaigning in Boston, invited the ladies to step up to the platform one by one so that he, his mother and his sister might have the pleasure of making their acquaintance and of taking tea with them afterwards?(2)
For his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, one of the twenty richest men in the United States, wealthier than Rockefeller or Henry Ford, richer than the Jews, the Harrimans or the Whitneys, there were no accidents in politics -- only money and organization. John Fitzgerald Kennedy wanted to become President almost as much as his father wanted him to, no matter what road he had to follow.
And he followed it. During the Kennedy campaign, you couldn't take three steps without running into a Kennedy banner, a Kennedy poster, a Kennedy brother or an employee of the Kennedys. Kennedy was seen, Kennedy was heard, and in some cases it was even possible to sleep with Kennedy. Kennedy spoke several times a day, and everyone talked about Kennedy for the rest of the day. The Kennedys were a new breed of politician. They had as much money, or more, than the best of the professionals, and they developed an electoral machine more powerful and efficient than any before. If we are to believe Victor Lasky, old Joe Kennedy once declared, "Three things are needed to win an election. The first is money, the second is money, and the third is more money." Lasky claims that with the millions he spent for his son John, Joe Kennedy could have had his chauffeur elected to Congress. Senator Humphrey's bus was no match for his opponent's Convair.
There is some truth in these sarcasms, but John Kennedy was the only Democratic candidate who could have beaten Richard Nixon in 1960, no matter what the sums involved. At that time, John Kennedy already had a remarkable knowledge of politics, the daily diet of his family. To his technique, perfected by fourteen years in Congress, he added a total faith in his destiny. During the 1960 Democratic Convention, three candidates arrived almost simultaneously at Los Angeles airport. Stevenson's first words were, "I do not want to be chosen, and I have come here almost incognito." Johnson said, "I'm sorry to be late, but I've just been traveling all over the country." Kennedy declared, "I am here to receive the nomination."
In Congress, no one could decide whether he was a liberal or a conservative. A member of the Democratic Party, he often voted with Harry F. Byrd, the leader of the economy bloc. His vote in June, 1960 with Senator Williams of Delaware on a matter as controversial as the oil depletion allowance was surprising, but Senator Williams' bill was rejected by a wide margin, and it was thought that Kennedy had only been employing clever tactics.(3) He had voted against a similar bill in the past, and everyone remembered that he had supported the Republicans in the House of Representatives by voting against statehood for Hawaii, and against the censorship of Senator McCarthy. In short, it was said that he was independent because he could afford to be. This reasonable explanation satisfied even his toughest critics. He was on friendly terms with everyone, and in particular with the committee chairmen, who appreciated his courtesy and his attention. He was not as experienced as Senator Anderson, or as good a speaker as Governor Clement, or as popular with the farmers as Hubert Humphrey, but he was John Kennedy, the handsomest man in the Senate, a veteran of the war in the Pacific, the winner of a Pulitzer prize. Another millionaire, Henry Cabot Lodge, had money, but not as much as Kennedy. The power of the Kennedys could work magic, as Edward Kennedy's election to the Senate in 1962 was to prove.
President Kennedy would probably have preferred that his younger brother wait two more years, but he yielded to family pressure and, in the best Kennedy tradition, the organization was set in motion. There was more to this organization than just dinner parties and beautiful women. With rigorous pragmatism, the Kennedy Brain Trust analyzed the problems at hand and determined the most effective action. The power of the Kennedys had become a political reality capable of upsetting the traditional electoral scales.
Certainly, America had known other dynasties in the course of its history. There had been the Adams, the Harrisons, the Roosevelts and the Tafts, but the potency of these families manifested itself only once in a generation. John Adams was elected President at the age of 61, and his son John Quincy Adams did not enter the White House until he was 57, and without having played a real role during his father's term in office. William Henry Harrison entered the White House at 68, and was followed only by his grandson at the age of 55. The Roosevelts, Theodore and Franklin, were only distantly related. As for the Tafts, they exercised their power in different spheres: William Howard was President, Robert a Senator, and in 1962 Robert A., Jr. was only running for the House of Representatives.(4) That same year Edward Kennedy, aged 30, took his seat in the Senate. Robert Kennedy, 36, occupied the post of Attorney General under his brother John, making the Kennedys the most powerful family in the history of the United States, and probably in the history of the world.
Chief of the most powerful nation in the world, Commander-in-Chief of her armed forces, alone responsible for the use of nuclear weapons, directing relations with more than one hundred foreign governments, distributing more than ninety billion dollars a year through 2.5 million federal employees, living in a 132-room mansion, traveling in two jet planes or in one of the ten helicopters in his personal fleet, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the most powerful man in the world.
The voters liked the idea that John Kennedy was the great grandson of the owner of a barroom and accepted the fact that his father had made his fortune as a bootlegger and had played the stock market when he was Ambassador to London. The average American, raised in the belief that the way money is earned has nothing to do with morality, saw nothing frightening about this. The rise of the Kennedys was in the best American tradition. Joseph had been the first Kennedy to graduate from Harvard. His sons attended Choate before entering Harvard in their turn.(5) His daughters and daughters-in-law attended Radcliffe or Vassar and were polished in the finishing schools of Switzerland and France. The Kennedys, now better-dressed than the most respected brahmins of Beacon Street,(6) were no longer obliged to hide behind tinted window panes. They were in a position to set the styles themselves.
The working American doesn't really like the kind of people who have never had to earn a living. The self-made man rejects the notion that man is, to a great extent, the result of his social position, and the fact that the wealth of a family like the Kennedys permits its sons to set forth in the pursuit of power with no financial worries, and with a treasury large enough to finance a war. Obviously, this represents a threat to a democracy, which wants nothing of the virtues of political Sybarites, and many Americans feared the power of the Kennedys.
The public was not fully aware of what had happened when, on January 20, 1961, a new administration that was really a new regime took over in Washington. Largely inspired by George Pope Morris, the Civil War poet, and by Abraham Lincoln, the new President's Inaugural Address was one of the finest pieces in the history of American literature. This long sermon in blank verse with key words that rhymed was the thunderclap announcing the birth of a new state. It was the advent, not of a dynasty, but of the intellect.
"We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom -- symbolizing an end as well as a beginning. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.
"The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.
"We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of the first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans -- born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage -- and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
"This much we pledge, and more.
"To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do -- for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
"To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom -- and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
"To those peoples in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required -- not because the communists may be doing it, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
"To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge -- to convert our good words into good deeds -- in a new alliance for progress -- to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.
"To that world assembly of sovereign states, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far out-paced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support -- to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective -- to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak -- and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.
"Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.
"We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.
"But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course -- both sides over-burdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war.
"So let us begin anew - remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
"Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.
"Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms -- and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.
"Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.
"Let both sides unite to heed in all comers of the earth the command of Isaiah -- to 'undo the heavy burdens . . . (and) let the oppressed go free.
"And if a beach-head of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
"All this will not be finished in the first hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in the lifetime of our planet. But let us begin.
"In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
"Now the trumpet summons us again -- not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need -- not as a call to battle, though embattled we are -- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, 'rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation' -- a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
"Can we forge against the enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?
"In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.
"My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
"Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth, God's work must truly be our own."
In the enemy camp people listened, people read, people were moved and sometimes shaken, but they preferred to voice their amazement that President Kennedy had invited mostly writers, artists and scientists to the inauguration -- Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Pearl Buck, William Inge, Arthur Miller, Thornton Wilder, Tennessee Williams, John Hersey, Robert Frost, Saint John Perse, Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Ludwigmies Van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, Paul Hindemith, Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Fritz Reiner, Eugene Ormandy, and one lone journalist, Walter Lippman. "There's nobody left at Harvard" became a popular wisecrack when the composition of the Presidential team was announced. But some only half-laughed. In the months that followed, America, anaesthetized by eight years under Eisenhower, awakened to discover that she had a President with both a brain and a heart.
Kennedy sought in the history of the world the perspectives of the art of politics and the role that he might play in it. He introduced his favorite heroes -- Greek, Roman, English, French, German, and even American -- to the American people. He declared, "I have read a great deal about the Presidency. The President must be at the center of the action. He alone must make the decisions."
"We must, I want, we will . . ."
"I know no one who can do this job better than I."
"To remain free, the free world must display more intelligence than the unfree world."
Like Thomas H. Benton, he could suddenly recite from the Georgics of Virgil, the Thousand and One Nights, Herodotus or Sancho Panza, the New Testament, the German Reformers or Adam Smith, Fenelon or Hudibras, the financial reports of Necca or the acts of the Council of the Thirty, the debates that preceded the adoption of the Constitution, or some half-forgotten speech by a deceased member of Congress. In Chicago he quoted from the Greek poet Alcaeus. When the students of a girls' school translated his Inaugural Address into Latin because the style reminded them of Cicero, he answered them in Latin (with the help of one of his assistants). The letter began as follows:
Johannes Filiusgeraldi Kennediensis, Respublicae Presidens, puellis Scholae Daltoni salutem plurinam dicit.
He quoted the Founding Fathers, Woodrow Wilson and Justice Holmes, but he also cited Shakespeare, Goethe and Sophocles, and it was said that at candlelight dinners at the White House he would read from Keats and Marlowe, whom no one in Kansas City had ever heard of.
The abstract verbal intercourse at his press conferences was often over the heads of his public. He juggled easily with the salaries of the laundry workers, the average Social Security payment, the proportion of high school graduates unable to go to college, the number of university graduates in India, or the average per capita income in Libya or the Congo. He also declared that "there is no point in sending astronauts into space if our minds remain earthbound."
He reminded the country that in the period following the Declaration of Independence and again during the Civil War, the most capable men in America, the most outstanding citizens, had chosen a career in politics. From the Civil War until the Depression, and again after the death of Roosevelt, they preferred to go into business. Kennedy wanted to make politics once again the foremost career in America.
He put up signs in the State Department reading, "Junk the Jargon. Improve your writing." Which meant: write English. Kennedy himself set the example, but many Americans thought his speeches strange. They heard it said that the President's style was inspired by Gladstone, but who was Gladstone? To them, English was another language, and this intellectual Kennedy thought too much and too fast. He cut the fine sentiments and noble aspirations into a series of cabalistic fulgurations that flared up and died out with the speed of light. People began to feel that this man who never stopped thinking thought too much. In the frontier days of the West, a man who stopped to think was a dead man. Not only did Kennedy think, but his dialectic was straightforward and direct:
First, it is more and more obvious.
Secondly, it is more and more obvious.
Third . . .
Dwight McDonald, who never met Kennedy, wrote:
"Americans often imagine that facts are solid, concrete and distinct objects like marbles, but they are far from this. Rather, they are subtle essences full of mystery and metaphysics, which change form, color and sense according to the context in which they are presented. They must always be treated with skepticism, and the judgment must be based not on the number of facts that can be mobilized in support of an opinion, but on a skillful discrimination between them and the objectivity with which they are treated to arrive at the truth, which is something altogether different from the facts, although there is some connection between them."
When someone asked Kennedy, "What kind of a President will you be? Liberal or conservative?", he replied, "I hope to be responsible." It was an extremely intelligent answer, but one hardly suited to a bipartisan nation. When De Gaulle wrote to him on the subject of Berlin, "Sur quel terrain nous rencontrerons-nous?(7) Kennedy exclaimed, "Isn't that superb!" He well knew that in De Gaulle's mind there was no suitable terrain, but his first reaction concerned only the General's style.
The history of the Kennedy administration will be difficult to write because nearly all the President's discussions with his advisors or his visitors took place man-to-man, mind-to-mind. He was an intellectual.
He was not friendly to the extent that people felt close to him. His personality was witty and penetrating, and his language was as direct as the finger he so often pointed during his press conferences. Romain Gary said that never, in seven years in the United States, had he encountered a cerebral mechanism that functioned so perfectly. "He does not answer your argument, but immediately asks another question. Little by little, I felt as if I were no longer there; he reduced me to an intellectual function. I felt 'both honored by this excessive attention paid to me by the President of the United States and a little dazed to be subjected to this sort of analysis. I would have liked at least to know what he thought about me. There was something curiously voracious about his need for information . . . After three hours of conversation, I had no idea which argument I had gotten across, which idea had impressed or convinced him. He listened to everything with equal attention, but when I had finished he did not tell me his conclusion and went on to something else. He did not for one minute forget that he was President of the United States, and although he encouraged me to speak as his equal, the equality stopped there."
Kennedy told Romain Gary,
"Your children live on streets like the Rue Anatole France, Boulevard Victor Hugo, Avenue Valery. When they are still very young they begin to sense the importance of history and culture. Our streets all have numbers. We have enough great names to replace them: Hemingway Square, Melville Boulevard . . . I would like to see a twelve-year-old boy come home and tell his mother, when she scolded him for being late, 'I was playing baseball on William Faulkner Avenue.'"
Such an extraordinary man, interested in everything! He would sometimes rise at daybreak to gaze pensively out of a White House window at the streetcleaners on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Washington! A sleepy little town under Truman, headquarters of a provincial garrison in Eisenhower's time, it became under Kennedy the true capital of the nation. America likes her President to come from a small town. "Our Town" is the seat of moral rectitude, and its inhabitants are known to lead exemplary family lives. Past Presidents of the United States had always felt obliged to live simply and virtuously. The Roosevelts were well off, but Eleanor reigned with austerity. The Trumans had only the President's salary to live on, and their receptions offered nothing but cookies, lemonade, and good cheer. The Eisenhowers lived modestly in the company of a few tired old friends. The White House was not the hub of Washington society, which gathered weekly at a few lusterless diplomatic receptions and dull private parties, the most fashionable of which were given by a couple of old ladies who had become the moral arbiters of the town, and once a year at the Dancing Class.
That was Washington.
Then suddenly everything changed. Suddenly, Carolyn Hagner Shaw (Callie to her friends), whose Green Book with its roster of VIPs could make or break a reputation, found herself dethroned. Dethroned also was Perle Mesta, former United States Ambassador to Luxembourg, a hostess who liked to dabble in politics. The generals' and senators' wives on Kalorama Road became suddenly conscious of their age. When they heard what was going on at the White House, they were reminded of Margaret Mitchell's Atlanta, that wide-open city that made no effort to hide its sins. They read in the papers that Shakespeare and ballets were performed at the White House, where the finest dishes and the most exquisite wines were served while an orchestra played at dinner.
American society confuses elegance with extravagance. For the jealous matrons of Washington, the elegance that reigned at the White House naturally meant a waste of money. They gossiped that the Kennedys easily spent $ 2,000 on the food for one of their parties, neglecting to add (or perhaps they did not know) that the President donated his entire salary to charity.(8) The Washington upper-crust was dying for an invitation to the White House, but it either wasn't invited, or wasn't automatically invited. The White House receptions -- the only ones that really counted -- were open only to the personal guests of the Kennedys. Even the "cliff dwellers" and Mesdames George Garrett, Sidney Kent Legare, John Newbold and Benjamin Thoron ("we're not snobs in the usual sense") were ignored.
The big, fashionable embassies -- the British, the French, the Chilean, the Mexican, the Peruvian -- followed suit. By giving preference on their invitation lists to those already honored by the Kennedys, they practiced a sort of social segregation patterned largely on that of the White House. It was a little like a royal court. Only the oil magnates, celebrating noisily at the Carroll Arms Hotel, did not feel left out.
Washington was a new city. Certain Senators changed their ties, and under the scrutiny of the cold rationalists of the New Frontier, visitors to the White House learned not to spit. The spittoons, for that matter, had been removed. The lobbyists moved their parties to Miami or Las Vegas. If, when they stopped by the Jockey Club, they noticed someone who looked like Salvador Dali or Pablo Casals, it really was that "degenerate" Dali or that "Communist" Casals. The clothes of the Kennedy clique came from Dior, Balenciaga or Chanel, and in their dresses from Saks Fifth Avenue or Garfinkels, the best-dressed women in the city suddenly felt very provincial.
"King Jack" and his court and the dolce vita at the White House were on the tip of every tongue, and many people felt that Sodom and Gomorrah had been destroyed for less. America became suddenly conscious of the fact that there were 72 servants in the White House, although the Eisenhowers had had as many. Had the Kennedys, these fabulously rich Kennedys, with their limousines, their jewels, their long gowns and their impassive air of the well-to-do, forgotten that the President and the First Lady are supposed to set an example of piety, sobriety and moral respectability?
This book is not intended as a censure of Jacqueline Kennedy, but everything associated with the image of a President contributes to his strengths and his weaknesses. His wife is destined to play a part in history. John Kennedy was a man with a strong personality. He had no need of a strong wife. A President's wife assumes new responsibilities and the obligation to renounce certain of her former prerogatives. The American people, with their common sense and their strong moral principles, want a First Family that is simple and respectable. Since the President is essentially a political figure, it falls to the First Lady to symbolize the American family.
Jacqueline Kennedy was bored by the White House. To her, the traditional social obligations of the First Lady were only a nuisance. She disliked the atmosphere of Washington politics -- the party rallies, the womens' clubs, and the company of the Congressional wives. Her disdain for the "hurly-burly and the vulgarity of politics" won her some powerful enemies. Washington -- and even New York -- were too small for her. Nor was she made for "the citadel, the impregnable refuge of the family."(9) The Republican press referred to her as a "desert princess," a "dark-haired beauty," a "Parisian nymph."(10)
Spite and jealousy had their part in the gossip and scandals that circulated, and continue to circulate, about President Kennedy's wife, but there is generally an element of truth in the ugliest of rumors. "The people are sometimes mistaken in their cheers, but never in their jeers."(11) Jacqueline Kennedy had chosen "to live in the cream of the cream and to swim in it,"(12) and that is a dubious position for the wife of a President.
Doubt leads to suspicion. In little time, Jackie's slips over-shadowed her virtues. Her popularity faded as her egoism and her indiscretions became public knowledge.(13) Americans condemned Jackie for "putting on airs." European aristocrats, who disdain "cafe society," scoffed at her "mauvais genre." Both were mistaken.
Jacqueline Kennedy had, perhaps, an "unfortunate passion for the nobility,"(14) but above all she wanted to LIVE -- as much and as well as possible. Such is the desire of most modem young women, but the American public expects something more from its First Lady. The voters had dreamed of a young queen with democratic ideals. Instead, they got a star.
Her biggest mistake was probably in considering John Kennedy first as a husband, secondly as a Kennedy, and never as President of the United States. She was wrong.(15) The American Constitution and the tradition of the Presidency assign no special role to the President's wife. She must rely on her good sense, her discretion, and her heart. Remarkable First Ladies like Abigail and Louisa Catherine Adams attracted little notice. Dolly Madison was a ravishing beauty, and Frances Folsom was only 21 when she married President Cleveland, but all remained in the shadow of their husbands and on the inside pages of the newspapers. The reputation of President Lincoln was hurt by the superficial frivolities of his wife, but when Mary Todd Lincoln died insane, public opinion remained indifferent.
The civilization of modem communications, with its idols and its popular myths, has turned the spotlight on the President's wife. A wife who can make or break the career of a private citizen has her part in the destiny of a President. The energy, the tact, and the intelligence of Lady Bird have done much for Lyndon Johnson. Governor Rockefeller's divorce and remarriage have hurt his political career. "Jackie" tarnished the image of the Kennedys. They accepted her only because she was the wife of one of them. She had stolen John's heart, and she had married him. That was the limit of their affinity. With her French and (although she denies it) Jewish blood, her high society upbringing and her finishing school education, she was about as far removed from the tradition of American womanhood as Pat Nixon or Ethel Kennedy are close.
Spite and envy had their part in the attacks on the President and his wife. "Calumny is a necessary ingredient of every authentic glory,"(16) and no one, not even the President of the United States, is immune. It was said that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had syphilis, and that Eisenhower was a German Jew. Women had always been the weak spot of the Kennedys. "It runs in the family," people said. President Kennedy liked to relax, and he needed to. A Secret Service agent whose code name was "Dentist" was in charge of the President's pleasures.
Puritanism is so widespread in this world, and hypocrisy so strong, that some readers will be shocked by these passages. But why should we feign to ignore such matters, when they have already passed into history? Why should a nation tolerate a politically corrupt but not a physiologically normal President?
The pastimes of great men are of very little importance. Too intelligent, in too much of a hurry, too hard-working, too enthusiastic, too generous, John Kennedy also had too much vitality and too much heart. The national interest requires that the state be a cold monster. The weakness and the hypocrisy of its citizens demand the same attitude of a Chief of State. Kennedy was treated with cortisone, but he hid this from the public, and he was wrong. Eisenhower had suffered a heart attack and a serious operation, and the details were known to every American. Ordinary men take comfort in the illnesses of the great. Kennedy took several [therapeutic] baths a day and slept on a horsehair mattress with a bed board, but he would have walked if he were half dead, People distrust those who are not like themselves.
It is difficult to abolish prejudice in those bereft of ideas. The more hatred is superficial, the more it runs deep.
1. Daily Telegraph.
2. New York Times.
3. See Chapter Eleven, "Oilmen."
4. Seth Taft, William Howard's grandson, was defeated in November 1967 in the Cleveland municipal elections.
5. John graduated in 1940, Robert in 1948, and Edward (with help) in 1954.
6. The most elegant street in Boston.
7. "On what ground shall we meet?"
8. Since his election to the House of Representatives in 1947, Kennedy had always donated his salary and the royalties from his books to charity. As the President's salary is $100,000 and his personal income amounted to $400,000, his critics pointed out that, after taxes, his generosity cost him only $9,524.
9. John Steinbeck.
10. Time magazine, September 25, 1963.
11. Richard Cromwel1.
12. Porfirio Rubirosa, an international playboy and personal friend of Jackie's.
13. In September, 1962, George Gallup published the results of a poll on Jacqueline Kennedy's public image. Heard by the Gallup poll reporters were the following criticisms:
1. Travels too much away from family
2. In the limelight too much
3. Her hair-do
4. Her taste in clothes
6. Her voice, the way she talks
7. Spends too much money, wastes money
8. Pictures in the paper in a bathing suit
9. Doesn't wear right attire to church
10. Too much social life, parties.
Also heard were: show-off, snobbish, too fun-loving, unaware of common people, etc.
14. On several occasions she expressed her dislike for Princess Grace of Monaco, who is, on the contrary, a noteworthy example of nobility, dignity and simplicity.
The night of President Kennedy's funeral, his widow curtsied to Prince Philip of Edinburgh, who had come to present his condolences on behalf of Queen Elizabeth. The curtsy was quite out of place, but Jackie probably thought it would look chic. Prince Philip was so embarrassed that, back in London, he remarked that for a minute he thought he was at the Royal Variety Performance.
15. Jacqueline Kennedy's style of living shocked not so much because of her "immorality" or her "European elegance" as because of her disregard for the traditions and regulations of the American government and the political policies of her husband the President.
She hired Stephane Boudin, Director of Jansen's in Paris, to redecorate the White House. The new curtains, rugs, upholstery, the wood paneling and even the woodwork and some of the furniture were ordered from France, from the workshops of Saint Sabin and the Gobelins in particular, but Jacqueline Kennedy arranged to have the bills sent from Jansen's New York branch. The White House is prohibited by law from purchasing furnishings abroad when the equivalent can be purchased in the United States.
When she declared to the press in 1962, on her return from a trip to India and Pakistan (a trip that was filmed in color by the US Information Agency at a cost of $78,104) that she had "left $600 in a bazaar where she hadn't intended to spend more than $50," did she forget that the American balance of payments was $2,203 in deficit, and that President Kennedy had just signed a bill limiting the free entry privileges of Americans returning from abroad to $100?
When she accepted the gifts of jewelry presented her by President Ayub Khan of Pakistan and King Hassan of Morocco, did she realize that Pakistan received $323 million in American aid (in 1962), and Morocco $56 million (in 1963)? To our knowledge, these diamonds and emeralds were not among the objects she left behind, as tradition dictates, when she left the White House.
16. Edmund Burke.
Comment on this Editorial
|The scene near a mosque in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun after Israeli troops opened fire on a group of Palestinian women, killing one of them (see here) and injuring 10 others. The mosque had been the scene of an Israeli siege after a group of men, presumed to be armed, took refuge there. Photograph: Suhaib Salem/Reuters|
This story should come as no surprise to anyone. Successive Israeli governments have given ample evidence over the past 60 years that, in their opinion, Palestinian life is worth little more than that of the animals that extreme orthodox Jews sacrifice to their destroyer god "Yahweh". Indeed, at least on a symbolic level, the murder of Palestinian men, women and children by Israeli soldiers is seen by Zionists as a similar type of blood offering to the all-too-human "god" that "promised them Palestine" 2,500 years ago.
With such callous disregard for the life of other human beings, what does anyone expect the end result of the manufactured "Middle East crisis" to be, other than the murder of probably millions of innocent people, Arabs and Jews alike, with only the Zionist leaders escaping unscathed, as always.
A Palestinian woman was killed and another 10 were reported wounded when Israeli forces today opened fire on a group preparing to act as a human shield for "militants" in a Gaza mosque.
Dozens of women were gathering outside the mosque in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza Strip after an appeal on a local radio station. At least a dozen gunmen had taken refuge in the building after the Israeli army launched its largest Gaza offensive in months in an attempt to stop militants launching rocket attacks on nearby Jewish settlements over the border.
Television pictures showed at least 50 women making their way along a pavement when shots could be heard ringing out. They started to flee in terror and at least two women were left lying on the ground.
Witnesses said one woman, aged about 40, was killed, and 10 others were wounded. The Israeli army said troops spotted two militants hiding in the crowd of women and opened fire.
Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers surrounded the building when militants took refuge there after two days of fighting, the Israeli military and Palestinian security officials said. A large group of women protesters went on to gather outside the mosque. An unidentified number of militants escaped while the demonstration was going on, but some remained inside, the Israeli army and Hamas said.
A 22-year-old Palestinian man was also killed in the northern town, which troops seized on Wednesday.
Overnight, the two sides exchanged fire. Troops also threw stun and smoke grenades into the mosque to pressure the gunmen to surrender. Witnesses said an Israeli army bulldozer knocked down an outer wall of the mosque. It was not clear if there were any casualties inside.
Residents said Beit Hanoun, a town of 30,000 people, was effectively under full Israeli control, with a curfew imposed.
The army said it targeted Beit Hanoun because it was a major staging ground for rocket attacks. But Israeli officials have said the takeover of Beit Hanoun was expected to last only a few days and did not signal the start of a wider-scale military offensive in Gaza.
Militants, however, continued to fire rockets at Israeli border communities, including two that landed on Friday. Two Israelis were slightly wounded and a house was damaged in the latest attacks.
In a separate operation last night, an Israeli air strike on a car in Gaza City killed three Hamas fighters, including a local militant commander, witnesses said. An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the strike.
In the various news reports on this story, the men that the women were attempting to protect are described as "militants" or "gunmen", yet the Israeli soldiers are only ever referred to as "soldiers". The term "militants" has a clear negative connotation, which has been deliberately fomented by the Israeli propaganda machine over the past few years to the point that it is not synonymous with "terrorist". Palestinians, you see, are not allowed to carry or use guns in defence of their lives. If they do, they are "terrorists". Israeli soldiers, on the other hand, are free to murder and maim at will, safe in the knowledge that they will be lauded as heroes. Why? Because the Israeli government and the controlled Western media says so, and you believe it.
If, however, you retain an essence of your own decency and humanity, you cannot but understand that these Palestinian men are, first and foremost, the fathers, husbands, sons and brothers of the women who attempted to protect them, men who were taking a stand and attempting to halt the ongoing murder of innocent Palestinian civilians that is the hallmark of every Israeli incursion into beleaguered and terrorized Gaza.
|"Before the final signing [of the Sèvres Protocol], I asked Ben-Gurion for a brief adjournment, during which I met Mollet and Bourgés-Maunoury alone. It was here that I finalized with these two leaders an agreement for the building of a nuclear reactor at Dimona, in southern Israel... and the supply of natural uranium to fuel it. I put forward a series of detailed proposals and, after discussion, they accepted them."
-- Shimon Peres
"I told him [French prime minister Guy Mollet] about the discovery of oil in southern and western Sinai, and that it would be good to tear this peninsula from Egypt because it did not belong to her, rather it was the English who stole it from the Turks when they believed that Egypt was in their pocket. I suggested laying down a pipeline from Sinai to Haifa to refine the oil and Mollet showed interest in this suggestion."
"A security firm at the Paris airport told French authorities on two different days that the shoe bomb suspect should be screened further, the president of the firm told CNN Tuesday. Lior Zucker, president and CEO of the security firm ICTS, said his security officers recommended Friday and Saturday that French authorities take a closer look at the suspect now identified as Richard C. Reid, 28. ICTS does security screening for American Airlines in France and in other European countries..."What is ICTS? Why it's the very same Israeli owned airport security company that handled the security for Boston and Newark airports on the morning of 9/11, from whence three of the four 9/11 planes departed, allegedly with "Arab terrorists" on board. Now baggage handlers at CDG are being denied security passes because they might be involved in "Arab terrorism". Sounds like a very good idea. It's pretty hard to keep tabs on the Mossad after all.
At the beginning, the Venezuelan ruling class was ambivalent in their attitude towards Chavez. He was clearly not their candidate, but since he had been elected into office, some thought that he could be pressurised, arm twisted, into moderating his programme, and basically that he could be used to give the discredited Venezuelan bourgeois democracy a new clean face, but without endangering their power, wealth and privileges.
But these hopes vanished when in December 2001 president Chavez passed 49 enabling laws which would implement the most important parts of his programme: to maintain the nationalised character of the oil industry and to implement land reform. On the face of it, these were quite moderate progressive reforms. The oil industry had already been nationalised in 1976 and the land reform which was being proposed dealt mainly with distributing state-owned land and expropriating with compensation idle estates. But the rotten parasitic Venezuelan oligarchy, the 100 families which had controlled the country's wealth for two hundred years and run the state and the nationalised oil company as a private fiefdom, could not tolerate any of this. It was not just a simple matter of opposition to the 49 Enabling Laws, it was their fear of the revolutionary movement that was being unleashed from below, of the process of the raising of the consciousness of the masses that Chavez had started, of the organisation of millions of workers, peasants and urban poor into rank and file revolutionary organisations of all sorts.
Those who had always been excluded from political decisions now thought that they could rule the country, and this was something that could not be allowed. This explains the fundamental and irreconcilable opposition of the oligarchy (the small clique of capitalist owners of the banks, the land and industry, in alliance with multinational capital) to the Bolivarian Revolution. It does not matter how many times Chavez has tried to appeal to them, has opened negotiations and tried to conciliate. As long as Chavez is a factor in encouraging the revolutionary movement of the masses, they will not cease in their efforts to overthrow him and put an end to the Bolivarian revolution, by any means necessary.
This was clearly shown in the military coup in April 2002, the lock out and sabotage of the economy in December 2002-February 2003 (which was accompanied by a new attempted military coup) and the "guarimba" riots of February 2004 (in which the opposition brought 130 Colombian paramilitaries into the country). But all these attempts at a violent overthrow of the government failed because they were met by a mass movement of the people which defeated them. In the case of the oil sabotage in 2002, this included the oil workers (with the support of the local communities and sections of the armed forces) taking over the installations and running them under workers' control, in what is the most advanced example of workers' control anywhere in the world in recent times.
The oligarchy and the elections
Counter-revolution is governed by some of the same rules that govern revolution. Having been soundly defeated on a number of occasions, the opposition (i.e. the oligarchy) became demoralised, divided, and lost the capacity it had had to mobilise hundreds of thousands amongst the middle classes of the East of Caracas. The defeats of the attempted coups also meant that the most reactionary sections of the Armed Forces purged themselves out of the Army. At the same time these events strengthened the confidence of the masses in their own forces and their resolve to defend the revolution. This left the oligarchy, in the short term, unable to carry out a new coup attempt.
But it would be a dangerous mistake to think that they have reconciled themselves to the idea of acting only within the limits of parliamentary democracy. Their aim is to get rid of Chavez and to smash the revolutionary movement and spirit of the masses. And they know very well that, for now, they cannot achieve this in a clean election contest. In this field they have been also soundly beaten, in the recall referendum in August 2004, in the state governor elections in October 2004 (where they only won in 2 of the country's 23 states) and then in the council elections in 2005 (where they only won about 25% of local councils).
Even thought they might be forced to participate in electoral contests, for lack of a better plan, this is just a tactical move. At the time of the recall referendum in August 2004, they knew they could not win and their plan was to announce their victory, with the backing of the media and international observers and create a situation of chaos which would "justify" international intervention (maybe under the fig leaf of the OAS). At the last minute, faced with the enormity of Chavez's victory and fearing the revolutionary implications of a mass movement against any attempts to rig the referendum result, the most intelligent sections of imperialism pulled out from this plan, leaving the Venezuelan opposition screaming "fraud" for a few months.
In the National Assembly elections of 2005, the tactic used was different. The opposition participated in the election while organising a systematic campaign to undermine its credibility (attacking the voting system, the electoral register, the National Electoral Council, etc), in order to justify pulling out at the last minute (even though most of their demands regarding the voting methods, counting and so on, had been met). The idea was to de-legitimise the national assembly. This was a clear signal that the Venezuelan capitalist class is not interested in parliamentary democracy, since it does not produce the results they want.
This time round, the opposition seems to be using a combination of both tactics. First of all they managed to rally behind a united candidate (quite an achievement), Manuel Rosales, the current opposition governor of the oil rich state of Zulia on the border with Colombia. Rosales represents a more shrewd type of opposition politician. Rather than opposing frontally the extremely popular social programmes of the Chavez government (the Misiones), he has introduced copycat versions of those in Zulia under a different name (and without the revolutionary element of self-organisation of the masses that many of the misiones contain). In his election campaign he has declared that he will keep the misiones if he is elected. In fact, he has made some many promises of social assistance that he is the genuine populist candidate in this election!
The opposition is still making a lot of noise about irregularities in the electoral register, about the unsafe nature of electronic voting machines, etc. But Rosales has promised to stay in the race until the end and not to withdraw.Their strategy this time seems to be more similar to the one they used during the presidential recallreferendum. Through their control of private mass media they are moulding public opinion to the idea that Chavez's lead is being reduced and that the gap between him and Rosales is closing. As we get close to election day, they can very easily produce opinions polls "showing" that this is a very close race, that both candidates have more or less the same voting intentions, ... and then when the results show Chavez winning by a comfortable margin to organise a campaign saying there has been fraud, appealing to the armed forces and the "international community" to intervene, etc.
While the opposition is relatively weak, one of the main dangers for the Bolivarian revolution comes from within. There is a whole layer of officials in the state apparatus and in the structures of the Bolivarian movement who are preventing the revolution from going forward and being completed. Chavez himself is very much aware of this, and in a recent interview he warned that this is now the main threat facing the revolution:
The Threat from Within
"The main threat is within. There is a constant bureaucratic counter-revolution. I am an enemy on a daily basis. I have to walk around with a whip, because I am being attacked from all sides by this enemy, the old bureaucracy and a new one which resists change. So much so that I have to be constantly on guard when I give an instruction, and follow it up so that it is not stopped, or diverted, or minimised by this bureaucratic counter-revolution which exists within the state. This would be one of the elements of the new phase that we are entering: the transformation of the State."
"The State was transformed at the macro level, but the micro levels remain intact. We need to think from now about a new package of laws, to transform the macro political and juridical level down to the lowest levels of the state in order to defeat this resistance.
"A sister threat to that of bureaucratic counter-revolution is the counter-revolution of bureaucracy. This is another terrible threat, beacause it strikes where you least expect it" (Panorama Digital, reproduced in http://www.aporrea.org/actualidad/n83403.html)
This raises two different problems which are linked. On the one hand the Venezuelan state apparatus is still the same capitalist state apparatus of the IV Republic. A whole number of activists who come from the revolutionary movement now occupy positions in Ministries and institutions, but the basic structures and most of the personnel are still the same. This means that there is constant sabotage of decisions taken by the government or the different ministers. When rank and file organisations have to deal with state institutions they find themselves blocked at all levels by functionaries who have been in those positions for 10, 15, 20 years, who are there clearly to serve the interests of the ruling class.
One of the main lessons Marx and Engels drew from the experience of the Paris Commune, is that "the working class cannot simply lay hold of ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes." (The Civil War in France). The experience of the Bolivarian revolution over the last few years is a damning confirmation of this idea, and there is a growing discontent within the revolutionary movement with this state of affairs.
The way Chavez has dealt with this so far has been by trying to by-pass to a certain extent existing institutions while creating others. For instance the social plans in the fields of education, health and others (misiones) were actually not implemented through the Ministries of Health and Education, but rather directly into the communities. The problem is that, lacking a proper structure of control and accountability on the part of the workers and the communities themselves, bureaucracy has also reproduced in many of these new institutions. The problem is therefore not only the old bureaucracy of the IV Republic, but also this new bureaucracy of which Chavez talks, which disguises itself as "Bolivarian" but in reality is playing a counter-revolutionary role.
The latest attempt to deal with this problem is the creation of Communal Councils. These bodies are based on mass assemblies of 200 to 400 families in urban areas and they have the power to elect and recall community spokespersons. Communal Councils (of which there are now thousands across the country) are also supposed to get direct funding from the state in order to deal with issues in the areas where they operate. This, potentially, could be the basis for a new form of state, one which is firmly under the control of working people. The problem arises when these councils co-exist with the present state apparatus, are not part of a nation-wide centralised structure (and therefore their real power is limited) and with the fact that Venezuela still has a capitalist economy (so these councils cannot really plan or manage the economy in their areas). Unless the current state apparatus is destroyed and replaced by a new form of state, one based on elected and recallable delegates from factories, workplaces, communities, etc. the problem of bureaucracy will reproduce itself once and again.
Reformists and bureaucrats
The other side of the problem is that of the reformist and bureaucratic sections of the Bolivarian movement. Those who reluctantly accept Chavez's attacks on capitalism and his appeals for socialism, but who in reality are basically social democrats, who think that the revolution has already gone far enough, and above all, that one must respect private property of the means of production.
The division between left and right at all levels of the Bolivarian movement is sharpening. A whole number of recent incidents are an indication of this. At the end of August we saw the polemic between Caracas Mayor Juan Barreto and Vice-president Jose V Rangel over the expropriation of two golf courses in the East of Caracas (http://www.marxist.com/venezuela-expropriations-reformism-elections.htm). This was significant because it was the first time that there was an open split in the Bolivarian leadership on political issues. And the demarcation lines were clear: Rangel argued that "in no way do we accept violating the right of property, as it is described in the constitution", while Barreto answered that if "we keep silent", in order not to "scare off a part of the middle class" this will "demoralise our people".
The Bolivarian masses are clearly becoming impatient when they see that after more than 7 years of the revolutionary process, still the majority of the people live in poverty and the progress of the revolution is being constantly stalled by bureaucrats, reformists and the fifth column. One of the places where the anger of the rank and file of the revolution has acquired an organised expression is the Andean state of Mérida, with the formation of the Front of Socialist Forces. On October 8, this coalition of rank and file revolutionary organisations, participants of the education misiones, left wing political organisations, trade unions, land reform committees, etc, called a demonstration under the banners of "Chavismo with Chavez", "With Chavez towards socialism" and "With Chavez without bureaucrats". Without the support of any of the official chavista parties or state institutions, the march gathered a red tide of more than 12,000 people, (http://venezuela.elmilitante.org/index.asp?id=muestra&id_art=2734). The "Bolivarian" bureaucracy responded as usual with accusations that the organisers were opposition supporters, that they were against Chavez, etc. But representatives of the Front of Socialist Forces clearly pointed out that this was a pack of lies and that in fact, Arnaldo Marquez, the representative of the Comando Miranda making these allegations was himself a former member of opposition party Acción Democrática.
Briceño, a spokesperson for the Front, explained "our unwavering support for our president Hugo Chávez," but added that "we are sick and tired of false leaders who take their positions and forget about their responsibility towards the people, while they have lucrative appointments which allow them to buy expensive cars".
Mérida is one of the very few places where the rank and file revolutionary opposition to the bureaucracy in the Bolivarian movement has reached such an organised expression, but the attitude of the masses is similar everywhere.
The problem of bureaucracy and lack of democracy does not only exist within the state apparatus but also, and probably more dangerously, within the structures of the revolutionary movement itself. The main government parties (MVR, PPT, PODEMOS) are thoroughly discredited as instruments through which the rank and file can express themselves. This is made worse by the way in which candidates from the Bolivarian movement have been selected for the different elections in the last few years. Basically they have been appointed from above without any consultation to the rank and file and its organisations. The Bolivarian masses have still voted for them, but only because they were "Chavez's candidates".
In order to address this problem Chavez has now started to talk about the need for a united party of the revolution. This idea has met with a lot of support by the rank and file, which see it as a way of getting rid of the bureaucratic structures of the parties that do exist now. But the main problem remains, what will be the structure of such a party? If it is a repetition of the different organisational forms that have been used up until now (mostly top down, without any accountability), this will be a new failure. Only an organisation based on genuine democratic principles (election and right of recall of all representatives by the rank and file) can serve the needs of the Venezuelan revolutionary movement.
The struggle for workers' control and a socialist economy
The bureaucracy has also been busy trying to water down and sabotage the experiences of workers' control that have developed in Venezuela since the expropriation of Venepal in January 2005.
A whole range of forces have gathered to prevent these experiences from going any further. On the one hand there are those who have argued, publicly and in private, that there should be no workers control or participation of the workers in the management of state owned companies in strategic sectors (particularly oil and energy). Workers in both industries have responded by saying that they are very aware that these are strategic interests involved but that this is a precisely one of the main reasons why they should be under the direct control of the workers and the communities (that is, under the direct control of the Venezuelan people), and that the sabotage of PDVSA in December 2002 shows that un-elected, unaccountable managers and directors cannot be trusted to defend the interests of the country, never mind the interests of the revolution. This deliberate blocking of workers control (or as it is known in Venezuela cogestión) has already killed the experience of workers participation in the electrical company Cadafe, leaving behind a legacy of demoralisation and cynicism amongst trade union leaders there.
There are those who argue, incredibly, that the workers of Venezuela have neither the political level of consciousness, nor the cultural level, to implement workers control, and therefore that this is a discussion for the long distant future. This idea was put forward for instance by Jacobo Torres, from the Bolivarian Workers' Front (one of the tendencies within the UNT), at a meeting organised by the British TUC in Brighton. He added that "regardless of what some have been saying" there is "no workers control in Venezuela" and "least of all in the basic industries in (http://www.handsoffvenezuela.org/british_tuc_solidarity_latin_america_2.htm) Guayana". This flies in the face of reality. In the state owned steel mill Alcasa, in Guayana, the workers elect the different managers of the company, these are subject to the right of recall by the workers and do not receive a higher wage than what they had before (see for instance this report: http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1407). If this is not workers' control, whatever the name it takes in Venezuela, what is it? Not only this, but both in the case of Alcasa, and in the case of the oil workers during the lock out, Venezuelan workers have given enough proof that they have the necessary political and cultural level to exercise workers control.
The political position put forward by Torres and others in the Bolivarian and trade union movement, is just a rehash of the old Stalinist two-stage theory, which argued that revolution should be clearly divided into two stages: first the struggle for national liberation and democracy, and second, in the long and distant future, the struggle for socialism. The problem proponents of this theory have is that Chavez has clearly stated that the aim is socialism and the debate is open in the revolutionary movement. The capitalist class of Venezuela, as we explained at the beginning, when faced with the first measures of a genuine national and democratic revolution (not a socialist one), decided to organise an armed uprising! What clearer example do you want of the fact that one cannot separate one from the other. As soon as you start carrying out, in a serious fashion, the tasks of the national democratic revolution, you are faced with the simple fact that the enemy you are facing is not only imperialism, but also the local owners of banks, land and industry, that is, the capitalist class.
But the development of workers' control has not only been stopped by the sabotage of the bureaucracy and the reformists. Unfortunately, the main factor has been the inaction of the trade union leaders. On a number of occasions Chavez has made an open appeal for workers to take over factories where the employers have sabotaged production. He event went as far as drawing up a list of 700 companies that were paralysed and another 500 that were semi-paralysed and made an appeal for workers to occupy them.
What did the UNT leadership do? Instead of taking up the call and organising the workers in different regions to actually occupy these factories and demand the state to expropriate them under workers control, they basically did not do anything. Even former Minister of Labour, M. Cristina Iglesias, publicly criticised UNT leaders for their inaction on this front! Some will argue that, after all, Chavez was only calling on workers to occupy factories that had already been abandoned by their owners, and that this is not a socialist measure at all. Strictly speaking this is true. But just imagine the impact of workers occupying 700, or even 100 factories and demanding expropriation under workers control, and then these factories being expropriated by the government. This would have seriously put the debate about workers control in private and state owned industry, and the need for democratic planning of the economy, at the top of the agenda for the workers' movement. In fact, already now, many conflicts over wages and conditions, end up with the workers discussing the issue of occupation and of expropriation (as in the case of Sanitarios Maracay). In a revolutionary situation like in Venezuela there would be no Chinese wall separating bankrupt companies from active ones which are attacking workers rights and conditions, nor any division between private and state owned enterprises.
The Trade Unions
Some in the UNT leadership (as we have seen in the case of Jacobo Torres) are actually opposed to workers' control (or at least they are opposed to workers' control being posed now, as opposed to in the long and distant future). But what is more worrying is the attitude of some of those in the left wing of the UNT leadership who have not taken this issue seriously. For instance, leading members of the CCURA left wing of the UNT, who are promoting the new Party of Revolution and Socialism, argued against participation in the Latin American Gathering of Worker RecoveredFactories (http://www.marxist.com/gathering-worker-factories021105.htm ), because, they said, this was a "gobiernero" meeting (a pro-government meeting). Surely, it is a good thing if the Ministry of Labour promotes such a meeting (as long as it does not try to interfere with the conclusions that the workers should draw). But even if one was in political opposition to the organisers of the meeting, the worst thing one can do is ... abstain from it! To his credit Orlando Chirino did participate in the meeting, but most others in CCURA followed the sectarian advice of PRS leaders.
The PRS leaders have also abstained in general from participating in the movement of occupied factories, Freteco, which was only set up on February this year, and which now organises the overwhelming majority of factories under cogestión in Venezuela. The only tendency in the labour movement which proposed the setting up of such a front and has worked consistently to develop it, has been the Revolutionary Marxist Current (CMR http://venezuela.elmilitante.org/).
The recent National Gathering of Freteco (http://www.marxist.com/occupied-factories-venezuela171006-2.htm) was in this respect an indication of what is possible. The worker activists behind Freteco, starting with those leading the experience of workers' control at Inveval in Los Teques, have had to resist enormous pressure on the part of the state bureaucracy to water down the content of their struggle, and more recently to put an end to workers' control altogether.
This is still a young movement, learning from its own mistakes. This was the case for instance at Invepal, the paper mill in Morón. Here the workers decided to disband the union after the expropriation. They felt that since they were in control now and elected the directors, they did not need one. This was a serious mistake, and the newly elected directors moved away from the original aims of the struggle. But the most important point is that finally, in October 2005, a mass workers' meeting decided to remove them and elect a new team. This was not negative, but on the contrary, as the workers explain, it shows how workers' democracy, accountability and the right of recall are the only genuine weapons against bureaucracy.
Because of the existence of a body like Freteco, the workers involved in this struggle, apart from giving each other elementary solidarity, have also been able to discuss their experiences and to generalise their conclusions. If an organisation like this (based on elected delegates at each factory) existed for the whole of the revolutionary movement, that would be a major step forward.
The workers at Inveval and Invepal, and other occupied factories, despite all difficulties, show that workers are perfectly capable of running industry in a democratic way. But they are also very conscious that they cannot remain small islands of socialism within a sea of capitalism, and that their struggle is only a part of the general struggle for the expropriation of the capitalist class as a whole and the running of the Venezuelan economy under a democratic plan of production.
The Venezuelan economy remains a capitalist economy. Key sectors remain in private hands and some of them in the hands of multinational companies. This is the case with the banking sector for instance (in the hands of two Spanish based multinationals), telecommunications, the distribution of food, the mass media, etc. These capitalists have shown once again their irreconcilable opposition to the Bolivarian revolution, even though this has not so far threatened the private ownership of the means of production directly.
The issue of who controls the economy must be resolved in the next stage of the revolution. These levers of economic power cannot be left in the hands of the counter-revolution, which will not hesitate in using them to smash the revolution, when it feels the time is right.
Turning Point for Revolution
Thus, summarising, we can say that the December 3rd elections are a crucial turning point for the Venezuelan revolution. The masses will mobilise to achieve a resounding victory on December 3rd, but after that they will expect, and demand, solutions to these crucial problems: the state and the bureaucracy, the democratic organisation of the revolutionary movement and above all the question of the economy.
In these conditions, the ideas of Marxism which are already being widely discussed in the movement, will find an even keener audience.
The Venezuelan revolution can only solve these contradictions by decisively moving in the direction of socialism, that is, a nationalised and democratically planned economy and a genuine workers' state based on elected recallable delegates at all levels.
This would have a massive impact in the already fertile ground of revolutionary Latin America and open the doors for continent-wide revolution.
Original source / relevant link:
In Defense of Marxism
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Fiji PM, army dampen coup fears amid tight security
By Paul Tait
Fri Nov 3, 2006
SUVA - Fiji's embattled prime minister and its influential military played down fears of a fourth coup in 20 years but tensions remained high on Friday as the armed forces paraded their strength in the capital.
Police set up roadblocks around parliament, scene of a May 2000 coup by armed indigenous nationalists, for the South Pacific country's budget address while on the other side of Suva hundreds of soldiers gathered for week-long drills.
Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has defied a threat by outspoken military chief Commander Frank Bainimarama to force him from office. The military in turn has rebuffed an attempt by Qarase to replace Bainimarama.
Qarase, installed as interim leader during the 2000 coup, said he had met Bainimarama's deputy, Captain Esala Teleni, before the budget speech.
He described the impasse as "a crisis" but sought to allay fears by saying he had received an assurance that the military would not act illegally.
"The message to our people is that things are normal," Qarase told reporters. "Unfortunately we have this hiccup but we will deal with our problem in our own way."
Teleni, deputizing while Bainimarama visits Fijian troops in the Middle East, also played down tensions which began when Bainimarama last month told Qarase he had three weeks to drop two contentious pieces of legislation or be forced out.
"Let me reassure you and everyone ... we're not here to conduct a coup," Teleni told reporters inside Suva's Queen Elizabeth Barracks after addressing troops.
Uncertainty remains over when Bainimarama will return to Fiji and what the military's next move will be.
Teleni said Bainimarama would be back next Tuesday, but an army spokesman later said it could be as long as two weeks.
Qarase joked with government ministers but appeared tense as he drank three bowls of kava, Fiji's mildly intoxicating ceremonial drink, while waiting for Finance Minister Ratu Jone Kubuabola's budget speech after meeting Teleni.
Bainimarama believes Qarase has been too lenient on the perpetrators of the May 2000 coup and a failed but bloody mutiny which almost cost him his life six months later.
He has demanded Qarase drop the proposed legislation that would grant amnesty to those involved in that coup, but Qarase has refused to buckle and has warned of dire economic consequences if the former British colony suffers another coup.
Australia fears there is a real threat of a coup and has sent two navy ships toward Fiji in case it needs to evacuate some of the 7,000 Australians holidaying there.
Tourism Minister Tom Vuetilovoni has said visitors are safe.
Qarase wants the Great Council of Chiefs, Fiji's ultimate powerbrokers, to help find a solution. The council, comprising the heads of 14 provinces, will meet next Thursday.
Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes also said he did not believe the military would stage a coup but has taken precautions by stepping up security in Suva.
The crisis is causing economic ripples, with ratings agency Standard & Poor's warning it may downgrade the former British colony's already below-par rating.
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Police arrest 10,733 fugitives in U.S.-led sweep
Thu Nov 2, 2006
WASHINGTON - More than 10,000 fugitives, including 1,659 alleged sex offenders, were arrested in a week-long sweep by law enforcement officials in 24 eastern states, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Thursday.
The arrests were conducted October 22-28 in the third installment of Operation Falcon, which Gonzales told reporters was designed to make "sure that there aren't second or third victims, especially children ... by a dangerous fugitive."
Results of the crackdown came five days before U.S. congressional elections as well as voting on state and local issues in the 50 states.
John Clark, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, said the roundup of the 10,733 fugitives was planned "without regard to any political elections coming up." He said agents wanted to have the advantage of the warm fall weather, when fugitives are still circulating outside.
Under the Falcon program, U.S. marshals teamed with local law enforcement to capture fugitives accused of a range of serious crimes, from murder to sexual abuse of children, assault, rape, armed robbery and theft.
The previous two fugitive roundups under Operation Falcon -- an acronym for Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally -- were in April of this year and April 2005. The three operations resulted in the arrest of more than 30,000 fugitives.
Neither Gonzales nor other Justice Department officials had details on how many convictions stemmed from the earlier fugitive arrests or prison terms issued. About 90 percent of those arrested in the latest roundup were related to state and local law enforcement warrants, a Justice Department spokesman said.
The federally organized effort, which involved about 3,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, has put only a dent in bringing to justice those who have eluded police. Clark said that there are at least 1 million fugitives in the United States.
He said during an average week, police arrest about 1,000 fugitives nationally.
But Gonzales said the project targeted the "worst-of-the-worst fugitive felons in the country." Those included more than 100 who were wanted for murder and 364 gang members.
While no law enforcement officers were injured during last week's operation, officials said a murder suspect near Atlanta was killed when he apparently showed a weapon. In northern Florida, the mother of a suspect fired shots at police.
More than half of the fugitives initially arrested on sex charges were unregistered sex offenders. A new federal law was enacted last summer to focus U.S. funds on rounding up sexual predators.
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Civilians main cluster bomb victims
Friday November 3, 2006
- Toll could be 100,000, after study of 24 countries
- Controversial weapon still lethal after 30 years
The overwhelming majority of people killed or maimed by cluster bombs are civilians and a significant number of those are children, an unprecedented study into the lasting impact of the controversial weapons system published today shows.
Research in 24 countries revealed more than 11,000 confirmed casualties of cluster munitions. Extrapolated, the total figure could be as high as 100,000, says Handicap International, the charity which carried out the survey.
The full extent of the damage caused by unexploded "bomblets" scattered by the weapons will probably never be known, it says. Ninety-eight per cent of the casualties it found were civilian. Of the 11,044 cases it discovered, 3,830 people were killed and the remainder injured.
Cluster bombs have been used in most major conflicts since the Vietnam war. Nato aircraft dropped them over civilian areas during the Kosovo conflict, British forces fired Israeli-made cluster weapons around Basra during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the Israelis fired them at Lebanon this summer when Hizbullah guerrillas launched Chinese-made cluster weapons against six Israeli locations, according to Human Rights Watch.
"Cluster submunitions incidents involve more people at a time, are more fatal, and result in more multiple injuries, than mines," today's study says. It points out that military personnel in forces which fire cluster weapons themselves regard areas the submunitions land as dangerous minefields.
"Cluster munitions are wide-surface weapons contaminating more than the military target; they were used in indiscriminately high quantities, as in Laos; they were often used near civilian areas, as in Afghanistan; and they sometimes explicitly targeted civilian targets as in Chechnya," says the report.
In parts of south-east Asia unexploded cluster munitions continue to cause significant casualties more than 30 years after they were used by attackers, says the report entitled Fatal Footprint: The Global Human Impact of Cluster Munitions.
In some areas of Iraq, it says, casualties from unexploded cluster submunitions, account for between 75% and 80% of all casualties.
It was known from the outset, the study notes, that the most widely used submunition in the conflict in south-east Asia, the BLU-26, had a failure rate of 26% under optimal test conditions. One of the cluster submunitions in the Israeli stockpile used in Lebanon this summer was of the same type and age as those used more than 30 years ago in south-east Asia, according to Handicap International. The charity operates in 60 countries in the fields of rehabilitation, inclusion of disabled people, and disability prevention.
It says the failure rate of cluster submunitions has been far above the manufacturer specifications - as high as 80% by some estimates. The vast majority of casualties occurred when people were carrying out their normal daily activities such as farming or tending animals. In Lebanon most casualties happened near the home when people were inspecting bomb damage, trying to salvage crops or just walking around.
Over 80% of the casualties from cluster weapons were men. In Kosovo and Cambodia boys under 18 were the largest single casualty group, and in Afghanistan boys represented more than half of the victims of unexploded submunitions.
More than 2,000 people in Iraq were confirmed casualties of cluster submunitions between 1991 and this year, according to the report, which says the figures are far from complete.
Cluster bombs affect "young people going about their normal daily affairs and trying to make a living, families returning to their homes after a conflict, children just playing, as well as peacekeepers and those clearing failed submunitions to make communities safe," said Samantha Rennie, director of Handicap International UK.
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Group: Lab breach bigger than thought
By DEBORAH BAKER
Thu Nov 2, 2006
SANTA FE, N.M. - A former nuclear weapons lab contract worker took home not only classified information on a portable computer storage drive, but also about 200 pages of printed documents, her lawyer said Thursday.
The confirmation of the papers follows a watchdog group's report that an internal memo from the Los Alamos National Laboratory indicates the amount of classified information found at the woman's home is substantially larger than first thought.
Nuclear Watch New Mexico, an activist organization, reported that the memo appeared to be a summary of a briefing on the security breach, though the group said it could not verify the memo's authenticity.
Two officials with the federal agency that oversees the nation's nuclear weapons program said there were "significant errors" in the memo but did not reject it outright. The officials, who work for the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration, spoke anonymously because of the ongoing investigation into the breach.
They said they could not confirm the briefing referred to by the author of the memo, which Nuclear Watch said it obtained through an intermediary.
"If true, this summary indicates that a very serious and compromising breach has occurred; perhaps the most serious" in the troubled lab's history, Nuclear Watch said in a news release.
Police seized three portable computer storage drives - called flash drives, among other names - and the papers Oct. 17 during a drug raid at the home of Jessica Quintana, the contract worker.
Quintana has not been charged. A man who was renting a room at her home was jailed on drug and probation charges.
Her lawyer, Stephen Aarons, told The Associated Press that the material included copies of front pages of various documents from the lab. Quintana, an archivist, had planned to use them to create an index of items she had converted to an electronic format, he said.
Aarons also said that one of the three portable computer storage drives contained lab-related material, but that the information wasn't transferred to another computer.
"It was downloaded, but it was never uploaded," Aarons said, adding that Quintana did not show the material to anyone.
The 22-year-old archivist took the material home in August because she faced a work deadline to create the index, then forgot about the documents, he said.
"Her intent was to destroy the hard copies, and she never did it," Aarons said.
Nuclear Watch said the memo on the security briefing at the lab said Quintana had a level of security clearance that would have given her access to documents that could have contained information on how to bypass the authorization process for using nuclear weapons.
"She doesn't know anything about nuclear weapons," Aarons responded. "She knows how to scan documents."
The Energy Department and the Nuclear Security Administration declined Thursday to discuss the scope of the security breach, citing the investigation.
But an official with knowledge of the government probe acknowledged there were "several hundred" pages of classified documents discovered during the drug raid in addition to the classified material found in three computer "thumb" storage devices.
"It is a sizable amount," said the individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is under way. He declined to characterize the documents and said the exact number had not been determined.
Said Energy Department spokesman Craig Stevens: "We're taking it (the security breach) very seriously." He added that Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman "was personally disturbed" that classified documents turned up during a drug raid.
"We want to know how this could happen," Stevens said.
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US closes 'weapons of mass destruction cookbook' website
By Tim Hall and agencies
Last Updated: 11:20am GMT 03/11/2006
The American government has closed one of its websites after a newspaper reported the site contained instructions on how to build a nuclear bomb.
Intelligence officials set up the website last year to provide public access to documents seized from Saddam Hussein's regime following the American invasion.
Over-stretched translators hoped the public would help sift through the huge archive for useful information.
However, the New York Times yesterday reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency had complained to Washington, saying the website contained diagrams, equations and other details for making a nuclear bomb.
The paper cited experts who said that around twelve documents relating to Iraq's pre-1991 covert nuclear research constituted "a basic guide to building an atom bomb."
Another diplomat called the information "a cookbook" for weapons of mass destruction which could provide countries like Iran with vital clues.
The New York Times said the documents provided information on building nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives as the radioactive cores of atom bombs, all of which goes beyond what is available elsewhere on the internet and other public forums.
The United States' top intelligence official today said that the website, called "Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal," had been shut down while an investigation is carried out.
A spokesman for National Intelligence Director John Negroponte said his office has suspended access to the site "pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing."
The spokesman said: "While strict criteria had already been established to govern posted documents, the material currently on the website, as well as the procedures used to post new documents, will be carefully reviewed before the site becomes available again."
Mr Negroponte's office set up the website following pressure by Republican members of Congress.
Conservative politicians hoped the documents would provide evidence of the danger Saddam Hussein had posed to America and so justify George Bush's 2003 invasion.
The archive, collected over more than a decade, ran to more than 48,000 boxes and millions of pages, most of them written in Arabic.
The pages were posted gradually, with a disclaimer from the US government saying it could not vouch for their accuracy.
The disputed pages were posted in recent weeks.
The New York Times report said the website had been questioned once before.
Earlier this year UN arms control officials complained that the documents included information on producing deadly nerve agents sarin and tabun.
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US Air Force Creates Cyberspace Command
Brandon Hill (Blog)
November 2, 2006
The United States Air Force is adding a new division to its formidable ranks. The Air Force, which already maintains such units as the Space Command and Air Combat Command, is going to institute the new Cyberspace Command.
"The capital cost of entry to the cyberspace domain is low. The threat is, that a foe can mass forces to weaken the network that supports our operations," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne. According to Wynn, terrorist organizations are using increasingly more sophisticated technology and weaponry to advance their causes and the United States must be better prepared to counter these advances.
As a result, the Cyberspace Command will be in charge of protecting the United States against vulnerabilities that include satellite communications, radar and navigational jamming, and Internet-based financial transactions. "This new way of war is data-dependent. We need to protect our data while detecting adversary data and then deny, disrupt, dissuade or destroy the source of that data or transmission as appropriate," said Wynn.
The Cyberspace Command will be based at the 8th Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The 8th Air Force first gained wide acclaim for its daylight bombing campaigns of Europe during World War II. Currently, the 8th Air Force employs a workforce of 41,000 and operates such aircraft as the B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress (aka B.U.F.F) and the E-3C Sentry.
The Cyberspace Command will be run by Lt. Gen. Robert Elder who will ensure that all of the proper resources are acquired to make the new unit a success. "There will be careers and a strong future for the airmen whose work is in the cyberspace domain. Air Force military and civilian experts are working now forming the career and school paths that will ensure a full career with full opportunities for advancement to the highest ranks of the Air Force," said Wynn.
The Air Force is on tap to first seek funding for the new Cyberspace Command during fiscal year 2009.
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Iran test-fires three new missiles in the Gulf
Last Updated: Friday, November 3, 2006 | 5:32 AM ET
The Associated Press
Iran has successfully test-fired three new models of missiles in the Persian Gulf, state television reported in Tehran on Friday.
Television showed footage of the elite Revolutionary Guards firing the missiles from mobile launching pads on the shore, and from warships.
The three new types of missiles, named Noor, Kowsar, and Nasr, have a range of about 170 kilometres and were built for naval warfare, TV reported.
The weapons are "suitable for covering all the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf and the sea of Oman" said Admiral Sardar Fadavi, the deputy navy chief of the Revolutionary Guard.
About 20 per cent of the world's oil supply passes every day through the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The Revolutionary Guards began manoeuvres Thursday, shortly after a U.S.-led military exercise in the Gulf.
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Key US Evangelical Quits Amid Gay Sex Claim
Friday November 3, 2006
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The leader of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals, a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, resigned Thursday after being accused of paying for sex with a man in monthly trysts over the past three years.
The Rev. Ted Haggard, a married father of five who has been called one of the most influential evangelical Christians in the nation, denied the allegations. His accuser refused to share voice mails that he said backed up his claim.
Haggard also stepped aside as head of his 14,000-member New Life Church while a church panel investigates, saying he could "not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations.''
"I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity,'' Haggard said in a written statement. "I hope to be able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date.''
He also told KUSA-TV late Wednesday: "Never had a gay relationship with anybody, and I'm steady with my wife, I'm faithful to my wife.''
The allegations come as voters in Colorado and seven other states get ready to decide Tuesday on amendments banning gay marriage. Besides the proposed ban on the Colorado ballot, a separate measure would establish the legality of domestic partnerships providing same-sex couples with many of the rights of married couples.
Mike Jones, 49, of Denver told The Associated Press he decided to go public with his allegations because of the political fight. Jones, who said he is gay, said he was upset when he discovered Haggard and the New Life Church had publicly opposed same-sex marriage.
"It made me angry that here's someone preaching about gay marriage and going behind the scenes having gay sex,'' said Jones, who added that he isn't working for any political group.
Jones, whose allegations were first aired on KHOW-AM radio in Denver, claimed Haggard paid him to have sex nearly every month over three years. Jones also said Haggard snorted methamphetamine before their sexual encounters to heighten his experience.
Haggard and his attorney, Martin Nussbaum, did not return calls Thursday night from the AP.
Jones said that he had advertised himself as an escort on the Internet and that a man who called himself Art contacted him. Jones said he later saw the man on television identified as Haggard.
He said that he last had sex with Haggard in August and that he did not warn him before making his allegations this week.
Jones said he has voice mail messages from Haggard, as well as an envelope he said Haggard used to mail him cash, though he declined to make any of it available to the AP.
"There's some stuff on there (the voice mails) that's pretty damning,'' he said.
Haggard, who is about 50, was appointed president of the evangelicals association in March 2003. He has participated in conservative Christian leaders' conference calls with White House staffers and lobbied members of Congress last year on U.S. Supreme Court appointees after Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement.
After Massachusetts legalized gay marriage in 2004, Haggard and others began organizing state-by-state opposition. Last year, Haggard and officials from the nearby Christian ministry Focus on the Family announced plans to push Colorado's gay marriage ban for the 2006 ballot.
At the time, Haggard said that he believed marriage is a union between a man and woman rooted in centuries of tradition, and that research shows it's the best family unit for children.
"Homosexual activity, like adulterous relationships, is clearly condemned in the Scriptures,'' the evangelicals association says on its Web site. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin that "brings grave consequences in this life and excludes one from the Kingdom of God.''
Haggard's resignation from the NAE seems unlikely to do lasting damage to the organization, an umbrella group for a diverse and independent-minded membership. At his own church, Haggard's decision to step aside - if it became permanent - would have a more profound effect.
"One would hope and pray that this matter would be resolved expeditiously and quickly and he can be restored back to being the pastor of the church and the leader of the NAE,'' said Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative Washington think tank.
New Life Church member Brooks DeMio, 44, said he thinks Jones is a liar and can't believe Haggard would engage in sex with a man.
"He loves the Lord, homosexuality is a sin and that's not Ted,'' DeMio said. "His desire is to serve other people and uphold the word of God. ... I don't know him well enough to give a complete character description, but I know him enough to know it's not true.''
Carolyn Haggard, spokeswoman for the New Life Church and the pastor's niece, said a four-member church panel will investigate the allegations. The board has the authority to discipline Haggard, including removing him from ministry work.
"This is really routine when any sort of situation like this arises, so we're prepared,'' Carolyn Haggard said. "The church is going to continue to serve and be welcoming to our community. That's a priority.''
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Families push for expanded WTC search
Last Updated: Friday, November 3, 2006 | 7:04 AM ET
At an emotional rally Thursday evening at Ground Zero, relatives of 9/11 victims pushed for a more comprehensive search for human remains.
More than 150 people, including some relatives of the 2,749 people killed in the attacks gathered at the New York rally. Some called for federal intervention in the form of the Joint PoW/MIA Accounting Command, a military unit that specializes in finding remains.
"We shouldn't have to rally. We shouldn't have to beg," said Robin Audiffred, who has no remains for her husband, James. "You need to make it right. You need to do whatever it takes at this point."
Their cause has been spurred in the last two weeks by the discovery of over 200 pieces of bone and other remains in an abandoned manhole along the west side of the World Trade Center site. The manhole had been paved over and forgotten after a service road had been built.
"Enough of this haphazard discovery of human remains,'' Diane Horning, president of WTC Families for Proper Burial, told Reuters.
"How many more times should we wake up in the morning, open our newspaper and read that recognizable body parts and personal items have been literally right under our feet every September 11 since our loved ones have been massacred?''
Horning lost her 26-year-old son Matthew in the attack.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has promised a more extensive search around the site, but has maintained that it is the city's responsibility and that construction at the site won't stop.
Meanwhile, New York's medical examiner's office Thursday officially confirmed remains of three more victims. While their remains were discovered years ago, DNA testing was needed for a positive identification.
They included Karen Martin, a 40-year-old flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into the north tower. A fellow flight attendant reported during a call to the airline's flight services office on Sept. 11 that Martin had been stabbed by one of the hijackers.
Martin's cousin, Michelle Pare, said news of the recovery was "bittersweet."
"We thought she just disintegrated - her body did - not her memory," said Pare. "Now it's a bigger relief. We really have her."
The second identified person was Douglas Joel Stone, a 54-year-old passenger from Dover, N.H. The third person was a male victim whose family asked that his identity not be disclosed.
The medical examiner has identified over half of the nearly 21,000 remains that have been recovered.
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Battle over 'net neutrality' arrives in Canada
Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2006 | 5:13 PM ET
The Canadian Press
The fight in the United States by major telecom companies to control web content has arrived in Canada with little fanfare - and could dramatically change the nature of the internet.
It's being waged over something called net neutrality, dubbed the First Amendment of the internet in the United States. Net neutrality aims to ensure the public can view the smallest blogs just as easily as the largest corporate websites.
"Right now, the internet is almost a perfect, universal democracy," says Pippa Lawson, the executive director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Law Clinic.
"The smallest bloggers can be accessed as easily and as quickly as the websites of major corporations."
Leave it to market forces, Canadian companies urge
But Lawson said that could change drastically if Canadian telecommunications companies like Bell, Telus and Rogers follow the lead of their American counterparts, including Verizon and AT&T.
The U.S. telecom companies were successful in the summer in persuading Congress to gut the net neutrality law, which specified that no provider of physical infrastructure - from roads to railways to electrical or telephone companies - could have any say over the content and services flowing over their networks. U.S. legislators are currently reviewing their decision to scrap the law.
Meanwhile, Canadian companies have already argued in various forums that net neutrality legislation isn't necessary.
"Our position on network diversity/neutrality is that it should be determined by market forces, not regulation," Jacqueline Michelis, a spokeswoman for Bell Canada, said in a recent e-mail to the Canadian Press.
Must have law to avoid corporate biases: expert
That viewpoint is making those who advocate for a free and open internet nervous.
"Let's say you're Rogers and you're trying to sell Major League Baseball stuff so the Toronto Blue Jays content loads faster than anyone else's, or you're Bell Globemedia, so you ensure that CTV content loads far faster than the CBC's does," said Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa who specializes in internet law.
Rogers own the Jays and Bell Globemedia owns CTV.
"There's clear incentive there for those who have the economic interests to discriminate. That's why it's necessary to ensure that there's a level playing field and you have to do that legislatively."
Lawson said Canadian companies want exactly what American companies want - to control the web and make a lot of money doing so.
"There's a big push in Canada right now to allow those sorts of discriminatory practices," Lawson said.
"The companies that own the pipes of the internet - the telecom companies - haven't liked sitting back and watching big content providers like Google and Yahoo make billions of dollars. They want a piece of the pie, and they want to be able to favour their own content or the content of the corporations that would pay them big money."
Canadian legislation under review
Industry Minister Maxime Bernier is currently poring over a report by the federally appointed Telecommunications Policy Review Panel that recommends changes to the Telecommunications Act, including replacing a clause on "unjust discrimination" that does little to either uphold the principles of net neutrality or prevent it from being violated.
What telecom companies most want is to promote their own content, said Ben Scott of the U.S. media watchdog Free Press and SavetheInternet.com.
"If I'm Telus and I've just created my own Telus iTunes and I decide I want my Telus iTunes to work better than Apple's, well, too bad for Apple," Scott said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.
"Essentially they set themselves up as gatekeepers and they say: 'Well, we own the wires and instead of treating all bits alike in a non-discriminatory fashion, we're going to set up special deals and if you have the money, you can pay us to make your websites go much faster. And you can pay us to set up an exclusive deal where your website goes very fast and your competitor's doesn't.'"
Google, Yahoo, Microsoft want law
That's something big content providers like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are dead set against, arguing it will destroy the free and open nature of the internet and also create a tiered, dollar-driven net that favours the wealthiest corporations over everyone else.
"Telephone companies cannot tell consumers who they can call; network operators should not dictate what people can do online," Google vice-president Vint Cerf said in 2005.
Scott gave another example, pointing out that electrical companies can not differentiate between different brands of CD players: they all have equal access to the electricity when plugged in.
"The internet has always worked that way. In the U.S., it always worked that way because we had a law that said it had to work that way, and they took away that law."
Scott said the big U.S. telecom companies are on their best behaviour as they await a final green light from the U.S. legislators reviewing the decision to scrap the net neutrality law.
Web freedom 'seriously in jeopardy'
Some might wonder why consumers unhappy with the behaviour of their ISPs couldn't simply switch companies. But as Scott pointed out, it's a lot more difficult to switch over to Rogers, say, from Bell Sympatico than it is to switch search engines - particularly in regions where only one or two ISPs are in play. That's a situation that exists in many parts of North America.
"If Google were to attempt to give preferential treatment to corporate clients, you could just switch to a different search engine in two seconds," he said. "Google and Yahoo wouldn't dare start doing that, because they know you'd drop them like a hot rock. It's a real hassle and a lot tougher to switch service providers than it is to switch search engines."
For Scott, the end of net neutrality could very well sound the death knell for the heady days of the internet as a wide-open information frontier - and what happens in the United States, he said, will most certainly happen in Canada.
"The beauty of the internet is that you have a completely unfettered communications and commerce system," he said. "There are no barriers to entry and nobody to ask permission - you just put up a website and if you've got a good idea, people will come and read your stuff and buy your stuff and you will be successful.
"That is seriously in jeopardy if these companies succeed."
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Indigenous Opposition to the Border Wall
By BRENDA NORRELL
November 1, 2006
Indigenous peoples at the Border Summit of the Americas on Tohono O'odham tribal land opposed the construction of a border wall, which will dissect indigenous communities on ancestral lands split by the U.S.-Mexico border. They also issued a strong statement against the ongoing militarization of their homelands.
During the Border Summit, held Sept. 29-Oct. 1, organized by Tohono O'odham Mike Flores and facilitated by the International Indian Treaty Council and the American Indian Movement, indigenous peoples unanimously opposed the Secure Fence Act, passed by the Senate. The wall will divide the ancestral lands of many Indian Nations, including the Kumeyaay in California, Cocopah and Tohono O'odham in Arizona, and the Kickapoo in Texas. The wall is expected to be completed by May 2008.
Describing it as "psychological oppression and terrorism," the participants representing many tribes from the United States and Mexico also called for a halt to the militarization of their ancestral homelands and sacred places along the border.
Tohono O'odham offered testimony on how their human rights are violated by the Border Patrol, immigration agents, and more recently the National Guard. The Tohono O'odham's tribal land of 2.8 million acres is located on the Arizona border and traditional lands span the border into the northern Mexico state of Sonora.
Members of the Tohono O'odham Nation said the proposed border wall would be a barrier to traditional routes of passage for ceremonies and traditional practices. The wall would interfere with O'odham ways for O'odham members living on both sides of the border who cross routinely for ceremonial, cultural, family, and health reasons. One Tohono O'odham father said increased border security has already made it impossible for his children to ride the bus to school because of harassment by border agents.
Bill Means of the International Indian Treaty Council noted that the U.S. government plans to build the southern border wall in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, environmental laws, and other federal laws.
"This is a violation of indigenous peoples' human rights and a violation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples now being considered by the United Nations General Assembly," Means asserted, noting that in 2005, Homeland Security waived all federal laws, including environmental laws, to complete the border fence in Southern California.
During the testimony, several indigenous representatives said the militarization and occupation of indigenous lands are in direct violation of indigenous peoples' rights to economic, political, social, and cultural control of their lands.
One participant, Tohono O'odham Mike Wilson, also stated that his Nation has had no say in the state and federal programs implemented on its lands. He said he asked former Tohono O'odham Chairman Edward Manuel whether the Tohono O'Odham Legislative Council was consulted before the United States' Operation Gatekeeper or Operation Hold the Line were launched. Those two operations funneled migrants onto tribal land, where they often died in the desert.
According to Wilson, Chairman Manuel confirmed that the Tohono O'odham were never consulted.
Cross-border Indigenous Activism
Indian Nations are now uniting to take action in defense of ancestral lands, burial sites, and the environment. Earlier, the Kumeyaay opposed the border wall and said it would allow the U.S. government to "plow through" the burial places of their ancestors in Southern California. Members of the Kumeyaay Nation supported the Tohono O'odham in resisting the latest phase of wall-building.
Among those attending with a new vision of indigenous border solidarity was Mark Maracle, Mohawk, representing the Women Title Holders. Maracle presented Flores with two flags of solidarity and spoke of the need for unified action at the northern and southern borders.
He presented a statement of the Women Title Holders that said that native people can freely exercise their right to free transit at the northern border as established under traditional and federal law by the Jay Treaty at the northern border.
It states, " the Red Card indicates that a person is a Haudenosaunee/Six Nations Iroquois of Turtle Island. According to the Two Row Wampum Agreement, at all times we are free to pass and repass by land or inland navigation [or by air] onto our territories, that we are free to carry on trade and commerce with each other, that we shall not pay any duty or import whatever, that we are free to hunt and fish anywhere on our vast territory, and that we shall have free passage over all toll roads and bridges."
Wall Violates Indigenous Rights
During the summit, Tohono O'odham described how Border Patrol intrude into the homes of elderly O'odham without permission, hold people at gunpoint and ask for papers, and throw garbage in sacred sites on their patrols. Tohono O'odham described harassment by Border Patrol, including being tailgated in the vehicles, spotlighted in their homes, and held at gunpoint while being asked for papers on tribal land.
"As far as I am concerned the United States Border Patrol is an occupying army. If we were truly a sovereign nation, we would not have an occupying army on sovereign land," Wilson stated. He pointed out that the Border Patrol's "occupying army" has a military camp two miles north of the international border on Tohono O'odham tribal land in Arizona.
Wilson said O'odham, too, are migrants and most have moved about looking for work during their lives. Many of those dying in the desert are indigenous peoples, from Chiapas, Guatemala, Honduras, and other countries in Central and South America. "Where is our moral outrage?" Wilson asked the gathering. "We collectively in the social justice community turn away and let our brothers and sisters die."
Summit participants pointed out that the Tohono O'odham Nation law criminalizes transporting migrants, including a fine for the first offense and jail time for second offense. Means pointed out that in the event that a migrant was dying in the desert, an O'odham on tribal land would be charged with a crime for transporting the migrant to a hospital.
During the Border Summit, Angelita Ramon, Tohono O'odham, described how her son, 18-year-old Bennett Patricio, Jr., was run over and killed by the Border Patrol on April 9, 2001 in a deserted area of tribal land. Ramon, and Patricio's stepfather Irvin Ramon, said they believe Patricio witnessed a possibly illicit transfer of items by Border Patrol agents and was intentionally run over. The family's case against the Border Patrol is proceeding on federal appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
"I'm here to let everyone know about the Border Patrol and how they killed my son," Angelita told the summit. She said the truth of what happened that night has still not been revealed.
Jimbo Simmons, member of the International Indian Treaty Council, said, "The Border Patrol is a death squad. They are operating like they do in Central and South America, because no one can hold them accountable."
Manny Pino of Acoma Pueblo said indigenous people all along the border are affected by the militarization. "As indigenous people, we didn't draw lines on the land," Pino told the summit. "It was all our Earth Mother."
Pino said the militarization of the border and the manipulation of truth follows in the pattern of the Indian Reorganization Act, which established systems of government that were "shoved down the throats" of Indian people in the United States in the 19th century.
Now, Pino said, the U.S. government is telling the Tohono O'odham Nation that if the tribe does not allow the military on their lands, their federal funding will be cut off.
Pino added that nationwide, some American Indian people are being caught up in attitudes of racism toward migrants. This reflects a tactic that the U.S. government has long used to divide the people, he noted, citing the example of the so-called Navajo and Hopi land dispute.
He pointed out that it is important for Indian people to recognize the real enemy. "It is George Bush, Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, and the people who want to tap our phone lines," Pino concluded.
Reflecting the comments of many in the border area, Pino said a border wall would not stop the people from coming across. "The 'Tortilla Curtain' will be torn. The real challenge for indigenous peoples is to 'decolonize' the mind."
One Man Makes a Difference
The Baboquivari District on Tohono O'odham lands has one of the highest rates of migrant deaths on the border. Mike Wilson, Tohono O'odham, has challenged the Tohono O'odham Nation to become "morally responsible," and take actions to prevent deaths on tribal lands.
Wilson began to put out water for migrants when they started to die in disproportionate numbers in 2001. Since then, between 240 and 250 migrants have lost their lives each year in the Sonoran Desert. Of those, 70 to 90 have died on O'Odham lands. He states simply, "Let me be very, very clear, hopefully, in what I'm trying to do. No one deserves to die in the Arizona Sonora Desert for want of a cup of water."
Wilson does volunteer work with Humane Borders away from tribal land, but his actions on tribal land are as an individual. The Tohono O'odham tribal government has halted humanitarian groups from coming onto tribal land to render aid, he said. He urged that the tribal government be held accountable for its callous inaction. "We who were once oppressed, are ever increasingly becoming the oppressor."
The Tohono O'odham tribal Attorney General's Office and Superintendent of Public Safety earlier told Wilson to stop maintaining the water stations for migrants. Both offices threatened him with banishment as a tribal member and said, "Under penalty of banishment you must cease putting out water." However, when asked about the banishment, Chairman Manuel responded, "You are O'odham, no one can banish you."
Wilson appears in the film, "Crossing Arizona," shown at the Border Summit, which includes his efforts of putting out water in gallon jugs and barrels, and testing for impurities, on a weekly basis at stations. During the summit, he shared more of one migrant man's story documented in the film. Wilson said he told the man in the desert that if he goes north, he would be dead within a few hours. The man said he would rather die in the desert than return to Mexico and watch his wife, who needs surgery, and his children, starve to death.
The reasons for Wilson's actions go beyond altruism and touch on his fundamental beliefs and the experiences that led him to his activism. Over the past five years, he has witnessed migrants dying of thirst on tribal land, including a seven-year-old girl with blood in her urine who barely survived.
"All human life is sacred When it comes to people dying in the desert, we are all equal." When one undercover detective asked him whose authority he was acting on, Wilson replied, "The man upstairs."
Threats to a Traditional Way of Life
The impact of the border wall and militarization on communities were not the only threats to Native American way of life that were denounced at the Summit. Pointing out that the fragile desert ecosystem and all of its creatures will be affected, Maracle said, "The environmentalists should be up in arms."
Representatives of the Tarahumara in Northern Mexico also spoke out against the devastating effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Urging a halt to trade policies that are leading to unemployment in the Americas, the summit called for nullification of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade agreements.
Other indigenous peoples from the Americas said that genetically modified seeds are destroying the peoples' crops and their health. They also opposed corporate profiteering by Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown, and Root. This company, accused of profiting off corporate contracts in Iraq, is now under contract to build migrant prisons.
The Border Summit also opposed anti-Indian legislation in Arizona, including Proposition 103 English-only, Prop. 200 voter identification, and Prop. 300 proof of citizenship for services.
Local, state, and federal governments were told to recognize the international rights of indigenous peoples as upheld by the United Nations, treaty rights, and the sovereignty of American Indians. They were also mandated to obtain prior permission before entering onto or engaging in construction or development on indigenous lands.
During the Border Summit, indigenous peoples called for removal of the existing Border Patrol detention center for migrants on Tohono O'odham tribal land near San Miguel, AZ.
Tohono O'odham described how Border Patrol agents occupied sacred sites, including Baboquivari Peaks, the sacred place of the Creator I'itoi. Dennis Manuel, Tohono O'odham spiritual keeper of the traditions, said the Border Patrol-now under Homeland Security-occupied the sacred area of I'itoi and refused to leave the area. Manuel took his plea for help to the United Nations. When the Border Patrol did later leave, he said, they left their garbage strewn in the sacred area.
On the third day of the summit, the indigenous participants drafted a proclamation with recommendations for direct action:
Proposals and Demands
* The United Nations is asked to intervene and prevent the United States from violating federal laws to build the border wall. These laws protect American Indian burial sites and traditional routes of passage necessary for ceremonies, which are vital for the continuance of traditional lifeways.
* American Indian tribes are urged to use federal laws, including the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and other laws protecting Indian cultural and burial sites and environmental laws, to halt construction of the border wall.
* The government of Mexico is asked to demand an environmental impact statement by the United States before construction of the border wall begins in the fragile desert ecosystem.
* The Border Summit calls for the nullification of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and other trade agreements, which are resulting in widespread hunger and desperation for indigenous peoples in the Americas.
* The Border Summit demands a halt to the dissemination, export, and distribution of genetically modified seeds, particularly corn and other grains.
* The summit calls for the creation of a new human rights office in conjunction with the Tohono O'odham Nation.
* The Bennett Patricio, Jr., Memorial Human Rights Fund was established to assist the families of indigenous border victims, including attorneys and court costs.
* The Tohono O'odham Nation is urged to establish water stations and develop the goal of zero migrant deaths on tribal lands from dehydration and heat exhaustion.
* Educational campaigns are encouraged to inform migrants that Indian people in the United States are not their enemy, and their lands and people should be respected.
* Camera and camcorder patrols are to be created, with Indian youths encouraged to carry cameras and video cameras to document the treatment of people at the border, carrying out regular patrols to the homes of elderly and people with special needs.
* Stockholder direct action campaigns will be organized, including a campaign to inform Boeing stockholders of the sovereignty of Indian lands and federal laws protecting burial places, traditional routes of passage, and the fragile ecosystem of the desert.
* The Tohono O'odham Nation is urged to set a date for the time when the Border Patrol will leave sovereign tribal land. Tohono O'odham should be trained to provide their own border security.
* Indigenous classes in language, accurate history, and cultural continuity and the right of O'odham children to school transportation are to be increased.
* Indigenous peoples are urged to create their own newspapers and radio stations so their own voices can be heard.
* The Border Summit encouraged efforts to address racism and xenophobia within tribes and establish protocol for conflict resolution within and between tribes to achieve unity.
* Mexico is urged to establish a living wage and take earnest steps to eradicate poverty.
* The Border Patrol is obliged to observe mandatory speed laws and other tribal, state, and federal laws.
* The United States is urged to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and abide by Article 35, which recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples whose lands are separated by international borders and their right to continue their spiritual and cultural practices.
* States within the United States are advised that free, prior, and informed consent of Indian people is required before states or corporations begin any development on sovereign Indian lands.
Michelle Cook, Navajo law student, noted that the protection of burial places is vital. "If there are ancestral remains, they have to stop development. They have to repatriate those remains. However, it is the native peoples' responsibility to make them accountable. We have to go out there and watch them to make the accountable."
During the Border Summit, American Indian actor and activist Floyd Westerman Red Crow showed a work in progress, the first in a series of films revealing the genocide of American Indians. The first segment tells how Indian people in California were targeted for systematic genocide by the delivery of blankets infected with small pox. The state and federal government also paid bounties for Indian heads and scalps as the gold rush progressed.
Westerman performed in concert with American Indian singer Keith Secola. Before the Border Summit began, a traditional sweat was held for purification purposes and tobacco offered in the traditional way.
At the conclusion of the Border Summit, Jose Garcia, lieutenant governor of the O'odham in Mexico, said the most important aspect of the summit was bringing O'odham people together with other indigenous peoples to work to resolve issues. "It brought us together in unity."
The testimony was aired live on radio in the Tucson area and on the Internet, with listeners responding around the world, including e-mails of appreciation from listeners in Alaska, the Dominican Republic, and Europe. The audio file archives will be available online at Earth Cycles (see Resource List below).
Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 23 years, working as a staff reporter for Navajo Times and Indian Country Today and as an AP correspondent during the 18 years she lived on the Navajo Nation. She is currently a freelance writer based in Tucson and a contributor to CounterPunch and the IRC America's Program.
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3 Bodies Found in SC Drainage Pipe
Friday November 3, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Police investigating the slayings of three people whose bodies were found inside a drainage pipe early Thursday said they were questioning a man they described as a "person of interest.''
A woman was stabbed to death and two men were fatally shot, Coroner Gary Watts said. They were found near a public housing complex where the woman lived; the woman's apartment, where Chief Dean Crisp said at least one victim was killed, was cordoned off.
Police said a resident of the apartment complex reported seeing the bodies in the pipe, which is wider than 3 feet. Police also received a call about gunshots in the area, but Crisp said he was unsure whether it was related.
Soon after police announced they were looking for Charles Gamble, investigators found the 24-year-old Columbia man and began questioning him. Police described him only as a "person of interest,'' not a suspect, and they said he was not arrested.
Crisp said authorities think the man "has some contacts with this residence, where the murder occurred,'' but did not say what relationships, if any, he had to the victims. They were identified as Charlene Octavia Yarbrough, 19, Marcus Antonio Wilson, 26, and Marquis Mitchell, 25.
Rodrena Patrick, who lives in the apartment complex and said she was a close friend of Yarbrough, said Gamble was Yarbrough's ex-boyfriend and the father of the woman's baby boy. The child was taken into protective custody.
Patrick, 20, said Gamble had been living at the apartment complex until the couple got into a fight about a month ago.
Investigators were looking at several possible motives, including a possible domestic dispute, Columbia police spokeswoman Sgt. Florence McCants said.
Gamble, who has a criminal record dating back to a 2000 grand larceny charge, was on probation for a stalking conviction, Crisp said.
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Nature and The Unnatural
Asteroid Can Collide With Earth in 2029 - Russian Scientist
Created: 02.11.2006 15:43 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 15:43 MSK
An asteroid could collide with the Earth in 2029, a Sergey Smirnov, a senior researcher at the Pulkovo Space Observatory, told a press conference in Moscow on Thursday, Interfax news agency reports.
On April 13, 2029 the asteroid Apofiz-99942 will be at its closest distance to the Earth for 200 years, Smirnov said.
The asteroid will pass the Earth at a distance of 30,000 to 40,000 km. "This crosses the geo-stationary orbit, where all the telecommunications and a lot of military satellites are," he said.
Whatever happens, the Earth will feel the effect of the asteroid, and in the worst case, it will collide with the Earth, and at best it will damage equipment in space in the geo-stationary orbit.
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World Fisheries Risk Collapse by 2048, Scientists Say
By Alex Morales
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg)
The world's ocean fishing grounds may be almost exhausted by 2048 if catches and pollution aren't limited, according to scientists who conducted a four-year study.
The rate at which stocks in the fishing areas have collapsed is accelerating, the scientists led by Boris Worm of Canada's Dalhousie University said today in the journal Science. A seafood species is said to have collapsed when the catch falls below 10 percent of the maximum annual haul. By 2003, 29 percent of seafood species were in that category, the scientists said.
"If the long-term trend continues, all fish and seafood species are projected to collapse within my lifetime -- by 2048,'' Worm said. "It is a very clear trend.''
The scientists found that the risk of a species dying out increases when it shares an ecosystem with fewer other creatures. The loss of wildlife also affects the quality of the water, which becomes more polluted, they said.
"The elimination of locally adapted populations and species not only impairs the ability of marine ecosystems to feed a growing human population but also sabotages their stability and recovery potential,'' the scientists said. "Business as usual would foreshadow serious threats to global food security, coastal water quality, and ecosystem stability.''
Maintaining a variety of fish in an area means the fishing industry can choose from several targets, giving an over-fished species a chance to recover, the scientists said.
Over-fishing has already led to the extinction of species in some regions. These include the bluefin tuna in the Baltic Sea, the Atlantic sturgeon in the U.S. East Coast's Chesapeake Bay, and the gray whale, Atlantic salmon and European oyster in the Wadden Sea off the Netherlands.
The decline in the stocks of fishing grounds can be stopped by the establishment of protected marine reserves, the scientists found after studying 44 such areas. Closing the fisheries and creating reserves led to a 23 percent average increase in species diversity, they said. At the same time, fishing around the reserves became four times more productive.
"We can turn this around,'' Worm said. "We won't see complete recovery in one year, but in many cases species come back more quickly than people anticipated -- in three to five to 10 years. And where this has been done we see immediate economic benefits.''
Aside from seafood, the "services'' provided by marine creatures include the filtration and detoxification of water, and the processing of carbon dioxide into food and oxygen. Coastal habitats such as mangroves and marshland also provide a defense against flooding.
The scientists conducted experiments, examined coastal areas and analyzed data from the world's main ocean fishing sites to gauge the effect of species diversity on survival.
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Supercow and pigs that glow at night - an average day on the GM farm
3rd November 2006
"The administration says the inventory is needed to ease growers' adjustment to the methyl bromide phase-out that was ordered 14 years ago."Sure... Because, you know, 14 years isn't anywhere near long enough to switch over to different pesticides...