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Editorial: Ten Thousand Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews Join Mass Protest
Jews Against Zionism
with commentary by Signs of the Times
On Thursday, November 9, 2006, over ten thousand anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews participated in a protest sponsored by the Central Rabbinical Congress outside the "Israeli" consulate on 2nd avenue in New York City.
True Torah Jews has obtained photos from this event which have been published on the Jews Against Zionism web site in the form of a slide show.
To view the slide show, visit this link or go to www.jewsagainstzionism.com
Signs Editor Note:
Zionism has always been the domain of a select group of so-called "Jewish leaders" who cared nothing for the welfare of ordinary Jewish people except insofar as they could be used to further the selfish aims of the Zionist leaders. Consider the following extract from Douglas Reed's books Controversy of Zion and the words of Zionist leader of the day Dr Weizmann:
In England in 1915 the Anglo-Jewish Association, through its Conjoint Committee, declared that "the Zionists do not consider civil and political emancipation as a sufficiently important factor for victory over the persecution and oppression of Jews and think that such a victory can only be achieved by establishing a legally secured home for the Jewish people. The Conjoint Committee considers as dangerous and provoking anti-Semitism the 'national' postulate of the Zionists, as well as special privileges for Jews in Palestine. The Committee could not discuss the question of a British Protectorate with an international organization which included different, even enemy elements".
In any rational time the British and American governments would have spoken thus, and they would have been supported by Jewish citizens. In 1914, however, Dr. Weizmann had written that such Jews "have to be made to realize that we and not they are the masters of the situation". The Conjoint Committee represented the Jews long established in England, but the British Government accepted the claim of the revolutionaries from Russia to be "the masters" of Jewry.
In 1917, as the irrevocable moment approached, the Conjoint Committee again declared that the Jews were a religious community and nothing more, that they could not claim "a national home", and that Jews in Palestine needed nothing more than "the assurance of religious and civil liberty, reasonable facilities for immigration and the like".
By that time such statements infuriated the embattled Goyim around Dr. Weizmann from Russia. Mr. Wickham Steed of The Times expressed "downright annoyance" after discussing "for a good hour" (with Dr. Weizmann) "the kind of leader which was likely to make the best appeal to the British public", produced "a magnificent presentation of the Zionist case".
In America, Mr. Brandeis and Rabbi Stephen Wise (two Zionists) were equally vigilant against the Jews there. The rabbi (from Hungary) asked President Wilson, "What will you do when their protests reach you?" For one moment only he was silent. Then he pointed to a large wastepaper basket at his desk. "Is not that basket capacious enough for all their protests?"
In England Dr. Weizmann was enraged by "outside interference, entirely from Jews". At this point he felt himself to be a member of the Government, or perhaps the member of the Government, and in the power he wielded apparently was that. He did not stop at dismissing the objections of British Jews as "outside interference"; he dictated what the Cabinet should discuss and demanded to sit in Cabinet meetings so that he might attack a Jewish minister! He required that Mr. Lloyd George (british Prime Minister) put the question "on the agenda of the War Cabinet for October 4, 1917" and on October 3 he wrote to the British Foreign Office protesting against objections which he expected to be raised at that meeting "by a prominent Englishman of the Jewish faith".
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Editorial: Depleted Uranium, Another Gift
By Pauline Paulinson
16 November, 2006
Harvard President and physicist James B. Conant developed poison gas in WW I and recommended the development of poison gas weapons from the radioactive trash of the atomic bomb project in WW II. At that time, it was known that radioactive materials dispersed in bombs from the air, from land vehicles or on the battlefield produced very fine radioactive dust which would penetrate all protective clothing, gas masks, filters or the skin contaminating the lungs and blood, thereby killing or causing illness very quickly. It was also recommended as a permanent terrain contaminant, which could be used to destroy populations by contaminating water supplies and agricultural land with radioactive dust. The first DU weapons system was developed for the Navy in1968. DU weapons have since been sold by the US to 29 countries.
Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, director of the Oncology Center at the largest hospital in Basra, Iraq stated at a 2003 medical conference in Japan: "Two strange phenomena have come about in Basra which I have never seen before. The first is double and triple cancers in one patient. The second is the clustering of cancer in families...Children in particular are susceptible to DU poisoning. They have a much higher absorption rate...Cancers...rarely been seen before the age of 12 is now also common." The Japanese began studying DU effects in southern Iraq in 2003. During their visit, a local hospital was treating up to 600 children per day, many of whom suffered symptoms of internal poisoning by radiation. Dr. Yuko Fujita, assistant professor at Keio University, Japan: "As a result of the Iraq war, the situation will be desperate in some 5-10 years." Award-winning scientist, Dr. Rosalie Bertell led UN medical commissions and has studied 'low-level' radiation for 30 years. She found that DU damages DNA and causes cell mutations which lead to cancer. Moreover, these particles are absorbed by body fluids and travel through the body damaging more than one organ. Also, she found that this particular type of radiation can cause the body's communication systems to break down, leading to malfunctions in many vital organs of the body.
Dr. Alim Yacoub of Basra University conducted a study into incidences of malignancies in children in the Basra area bombed with DU during the first Gulf War. He found from 1990-1999, there was a 242% rise. That was before the recent invasion. Because conditions now are so chaotic in Iraq, only a small fraction of both cancer and birth defects due to DU are being reported. There are, however, many photos of infants born without brains, with their internal organs outside their bodies, without sexual organs, without spines, with terribly shortened limbs, with huge bulging tumours where their eyes should be, or with a single eye, or without eyes, or without limbs, and even without heads. Such birth defects are now commonplace. Doctors are making comparisons to the birth defects that followed the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII. As a special advisor to the WHO, the UN, and the Iraqi Ministry of Health, Dr. Ahmad Hardan has documented the effects of DU in Iraq from 1991-2002: "I arranged for a delegation from Japan's Hiroshima Hospital to come and share their expertise in the radiological diseases we are likely to face over time. The delegation told me the Americans had objected and they decided not to come. Similarly, a world famous German cancer specialist agreed to come, only to be told later that he would not be given permission to enter Iraq." Ross B. Mirkarimi, a spokesman at The Arms Control Research Centre stated: "Unborn children of the region are being asked to pay the highest price, the integrity of their DNA. Apparently, over 30% of Iraqis already have cancer, and there are lots of kids with leukemia. The depleted uranium left by the U.S. bombing campaign has turned Iraq into a cancer-infested country. For hundreds of years to come, the effects of the uranium will continue to wreak havoc on Iraq and its surrounding areas." Planet Earth the Latest Weapon of War by Rosalie Bertell, Public Health Disaster For The People Of Iraq and Afghanistan By Douglas Westerman 05/01/06
US forces admit to using over 300 tons of DU weapons in 1991. The actual figure is closer to 800. Also the US used 200 tons more in Baghdad alone during the recent invasion with a total of 1500 tons in all of Iraq. And this time it wasn't limited to anti-tank weapons but was extended to guided missiles, large bunker busters and big 2000-pound bombs used in Iraq's cities. This means that Iraq's cities have been blanketed in lethal particles. Japanese professor, Dr. Yagasaki, calculated that 800 tons of DU is the atomicity equivalent of 83,000 Nagasaki bombs. The US has used more DU since 1991 than the atomicity equivalent of 400,000 Nagasaki bombs. The "smog of war" from the 1991 Gulf War was found in deposits in South America, the Himalayas and Hawaii. In addition, the use of DU in huge bombs which throw the deadly particles higher and wider in huge plumes of smoke means that billions of deadly particles have been carried high into the air swept worldwide by the winds. In June 2003, the WHO announced in a press release that global cancer rates will increase 50% by 2020. In 1997, while citing experiments in which 84% of dogs exposed to inhaled uranium died of lung cancer, Dr. Asaf Durakovic, then Professor of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington said: "The US Veterans Administration asked me to lie about the risks of incorporating depleted uranium in the human body." Dr. Durakovic's UMRC (Uranium Medical Research Center) research team also conducted a 3 week trip to Iraq Oct/03 in 10 cities, including Baghdad, Basra and Najaf. He said preliminary tests showed that the air, soil and water samples contained "hundreds to thousands of times" the normal levels of radiation. Durakovic told The Japan Times: "They are hampering efforts to prove the connection between DU and the illness." Since then, Dr. Durakovic was warned to stop his work, then he was fired from his position, then his house was ransacked, and he has also repeatedly received death threats. www.sfbayview.com/du
After Gulf War I, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) came up with estimates for the potential effects of the DU contamination left by the conflict. It calculated that "this could cause "500,000 potential deaths". The AEA's calculation was made in a confidential memo to the privatized munitions company, Royal Ordnance, in Apr/91. This study was made prior to the more recent invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq where DU munitions were used on a larger scale in and near many of the most populated areas. Since 1991, the US has staged four nuclear wars using DU. Vast regions in the Middle East and Central Asia have been permanently contaminated with radiation. Extrapolating the UK AEA estimate with this recent amount gives a figure of potentially 3 million extra deaths from inhaling DU dust in Iraq alone, not including Afghanistan. Dr. Dan Bishop, a chemist for IDUST feels that this estimate may be low, if the long life of DU dust is considered.
With now over 10 trillion doses of DU in Iraq and Afghanistan, it comes as no surprise that widespread field studies in Afghanistan point to the existence of a large scale public health disaster. UMRC is the first independent research organization to find DU in the bodies of US, UK and Canadian Gulf War I veterans and following 'Operation Iraqi Freedom', they found DU in the water, soils and atmosphere of Iraq as well as in Iraqi civilians. In May/02, the UMRC examined hundreds of people with acute symptoms characteristic of radiation poisoning along with chronic symptoms of internal uranium contamination including deformity in newborns. Two additional scientific study teams were sent to Afghanistan in June/02 and Oct/02. The teams found that in both Jalalabad and Kabul, DU was causing high levels of illness with tests showing radiation concentrations 400% to 2000% above normal; amounts not recorded in civilian studies before. Without exception, at every bombsite investigated, people are ill. In Afghanistan, unlike Iraq, UMRC lab results indicated high concentrations of Non-Depleted Uranium, with concentrations much higher than in DU victims from Iraq. Afghanistan was used as a testing ground for new 'bunker buster' bombs containing high concentrations of other uranium alloys. The Pentagon/DOD, UN regulatory agencies (WHO, UNEP, IAEA, CDC, DOE, etc) and the military and the weapons industry have all interfered with UMRC's ability to have its studies published by managing a persistent misinformation program in the press against UMRC and destroy the reputation of its scientific staff, physicians and laboratories.
UMRC is not alone. "Ingested DU particles can cause up to 1,000 times the damage of an X-ray", said Mary Olson, a nuclear waste specialist and biologist at the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Washington DC. Also, a 2001 study of DU's effect on DNA done by Dr. Alexandra C. Miller for the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute shows DU causes 1 million times more genetic damage than from its radiation effect alone. Just 467 US personnel were wounded in the 3 week Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991. However, out of 580,400 soldiers who served, 11,000 are now dead, and by 2000 there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. This means that a decade later, 56% of those soldiers who served in Gulf War I now have medical problems. DU is also in the semen of soldiers. In a group of 251 soldiers from a study group in Mississippi who all had normal babies before the Gulf War, 67% of their post-war babies were born with severe birth defects. The Department of Veterans Affairs has stated they do not keep records of birth defects occurring in families of veterans. The American Free Press (2005) reported that 40% of the soldiers in a unit that served in 2003 have developed malignancies in just 16 months. Marion Fulk, a nuclear physical chemist retired from the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab and formerly involved with the Manhattan Project, interprets the new and rapid malignancies in soldiers from the 2003 war as "spectacular ... and a matter of concern... I would say that it [DU] is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people." Writes Leuren Moret, another DU researcher, "... Inhalation of nano-particles of depleted uranium is the most hazardous exposure, because the particles pass through the lung-blood barrier directly into the blood... through the nose... directly into the brain... Many Gulf era soldiers have brain tumours, brain damage and impaired thought processes. John Hanchette, a journalism professor at St. Bonaventure University, and one of the founding editors of USA TODAY told Moret that he had prepared news-breaking stories about the effects of DU on Gulf War soldiers and Iraqi citizens but each time he was ready to publish, he received a phone call from the Pentagon asking him not to print the story. He has since been replaced as editor of USA TODAY. Dr. Keith Baverstock, WHO chief expert on radiation and health for 11 years and author of an unpublished study has charged that his report "on the cancer risk to civilians in Iraq from breathing uranium contaminated dust" was also deliberately suppressed. San Francisco Bay View March/05 Depleted Uranium: A Death Sentence Here and Abroad by Leuren Moret
A medical doctor reported being trained by the Pentagon months before Gulf War II to diagnose and treat soldiers returning from the 2003 war for mental problems only. Medical professionals treating returning soldiers were threatened with $10,000 fines and with jail if they talked about the soldiers or their medical problems. Reporters have also been prevented access to the thousands of medically evacuated soldiers since the 2003 war who are in the Walter Reed Hospital near Washington DC. In 1996 and 1997 UN Human Rights Tribunals condemned DU weapons for illegally breaking the Geneva Convention and classed them as 'weapons of mass destruction'. Since then, following leukemia in European troops in the Balkans and Afghanistan (where DU was also used), the EU has twice called for DU weapons to be banned. Yet, far from banning DU, the US and Britain stepped up their denials. The British authorities have even abolished military hospitals so that specialized research on the effects of DU and treating DU among the soldiers is impossible. The current House of Commons briefing paper on DU hazards says "it is judged that any radiation effects from possible exposures are extremely unlikely to be a contributory factor to the illnesses currently being experienced by some Gulf war veterans." Over a quarter of a million sick and dying US and UK vets are called 'some'. In the days before the UK and the US first used DU, its hazards were no secret. One US 1990 study said DU was 'linked to cancer when exposures are internal, [and to] chemical toxicity-causing kidney damage'. Another study openly warned that exposure to these particles under battlefield conditions could lead to cancers of the lung and bone, kidney damage, non-malignant lung disease, neuro-cognitive disorders, chromosomal damage and birth defects. Indeed, one must take heed of the Union of Concerned Scientists (more than 60 scientists including 20 Nobel laureates) who have issued a statement asserting that the Bush administration has systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weapons at home and abroad.
www.wagingpeace.org/articles, www.gulflink.osd.mil/du, Horror Of US Depleted Uranium In Iraq Threatens World By James Denver Apr/05, The International Herald Tribune Feb/2004.
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Editorial: The Price of Imperial Arrogance
16 November 2006
Later that year, he privately acknowledged the Tonkin Gulf incident never happened and told Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara "we concluded maybe they hadn't fired at all." He was referring to the claimed attacks by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on two US destroyers which, on its face, seemed preposterous but which propelled this country deeply into the Vietnam conflict that didn't end until President Gerald Ford evacuated the last of the US forces and a few South Vietnamese collaborators in humiliation from the rooftop of the US Embassy in Saigon 11 years later in April, 1975. They left behind a nation in ruins, its landscape devastated and chemically poisoned that remains so today, and a few million dead Southeast Asians in three countries showing the kind of men Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were - imperial war lords who never had to answer for their war crimes as they never do under a system of victor's justice. The only compensation the victims got was their freedom from US aggression when realizing it couldn't win it decided to give up a futile fight and pull out.
Lyndon Johnson was a conflicted man about Vietnam almost from the time he took office. As early as May, 1964, he confessed his doubts about the conflict to his good friend Senator Richard Russell in one of the many phone calls he taped in the Oval Office. That was three months before the fateful Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave him congressional authorization for military action in Southeast Asia without needing a formal declaration of war for it. Later that year, he privately acknowledged the Tonkin Gulf incident never happened and told Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara "we concluded maybe they hadn't fired at all." He was referring to the claimed attacks by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on two US destroyers which, on its face, seemed preposterous but which propelled this country deeply into the Vietnam conflict that didn't end until President Gerald Ford evacuated the last of the US forces and a few South Vietnamese collaborators in humiliation from the rooftop of the US Embassy in Saigon 11 years later in April, 1975. They left behind a nation in ruins, its landscape devastated and chemically poisoned that remains so today, and a few million dead Southeast Asians in three countries showing the kind of men Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were - imperial war lords who never had to answer for their war crimes as they never do under a system of victor's justice. The only compensation the victims got was their freedom from US aggression when realizing it couldn't win it decided to give up a futile fight and pull out.
Long before he left office, Johnson knew the war was unwinnable, and in 1965 told Secretary McNamara "I don't believe they're ever going to quit. And I don't see....that we have any....plan for victory - militarily or diplomatically" - spoken as he was about to escalate the conflict dramatically by shipping over many thousands more US forces that would eventually exceed a half million before things began to be scaled down in preparation for the final exodus in disgrace and defeat. Johnson did it even while confiding to his closest Senate friend, Richard Russell, that he was on the horns of his greatest dilemma. He had to find a way out of the Vietnam mess he felt was pointless but said he couldn't do it without being impeached - for Johnson, a classic Hobson's choice or in his own words "I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't." He asked his savvy friend for advice, but Russell told him he had none. Johnson felt trapped, and in May, 1964, (when the US commitment stood at a 16,000 troop strength level) he told Russell "We're in quicksand up to our necks, and I just don't know what the hell to do about it."
He did a lot about it, but made a criminal and coward's choice that destroyed him. It was apparent on March 31,1968, two months after the momentous Tet offensive showed how hopeless things were and how pointless it was to pursue an agenda certain to fail. Johnson addressed the nation on national television that night saying he wouldn't seek reelection for another term. His only way out was to "cut and run" because he was so unpopular he had no chance to win. Lyndon Johnson left office in January, 1969 a disgraced and defeated man. This powerful, bigger-than-lfe figure was never the same again, and four years later he was dead.
Audible Echoes of Vietnam Today
Today, echos of Vietnam are heard again resonating from the Middle East more loudly than 30 years ago. Does anyone in Washington high circles understand George Santayana's famous dictum that "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it?" And do people in those circles know about British playwright George Bernard Shaw who said "We learn from history that we learn nothing from history" and could have explained how doomed this adventure would be from the start? There are just as many damn fools now as in the past, but the most dangerous ones are those who won't admit they got it wrong till it's too late and then it's someone else's problem. The only debate now is whether it's already beyond fixing, and no solution acceptable to Washington will work.
The elite there should read all 1000+ pages of noted longtime Middle East-based British journalist Robert Fisk's new book called The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East and learn how they're making the same mistakes that doomed the British occupiers after WW I. In a recent discussion of his book, Fisk compared today with then and explained: (today in Iraq) "It is not just similar, it is 'fingerprint' the same." During the "war to end all wars" the UK under Prime Minister Lloyd George (the Tony Blair of his time) invaded Iraq in 1917 and claimed, like George Bush, we (the UK) come "not as conquerors but as liberators." After the war, the Brits arbitrarily carved out the territory they called Iraq from the former greater Mesopotamia that was under Ottoman rule for almost 400 years until the war ended it. They told Iraqis they would have "democracy," held a referendum to prove it, and "elected" a puppet monarch who understood who was really in charge. In 1920, there was an insurrection, and Fallujah was the first town bombed followed by a siege against Najaf. Lloyd George defended his actions on the floor of the House of Commons (which British PMs must do unlike in the US) and claimed "if British troops leave Iraq there will be civil war." Sound familiar?
Winston Churchill was Secretary for War and Air for a time under George in the 1920s and thought it was a waste of British soldiers putting down tribal or sectarian revolts. Instead he advocated using the new Royal Air Force to bomb villages and was unconcerned if it targeted innocent civilians along with the legitimate resistance struggling (like today) to be free from a repressive occupation. He also authorized what Saddam was condemned for - using poison gas for the first time ever against a civilian population and at the time wrote: "I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against 'uncivilised' tribes." In a 2002 BBC poll, this "uncivilised" war criminal was voted the greatest-ever Briton, and his bust is now prominently displayed in the Oval Office occupied by the current war criminal ensconced in it.
British rule in the country was turbulent and harsh until Iraq became nominally independent in 1932 and later finally freed itself from British control after the Baathists expelled the Brits for good in the late 1950s, 40 years after they first arrived and not long after Saddam Hussein joined the party he would lead 22 years later. It took the Brits all that time to learn what the Bush administration should already know - Iraqis won't tolerate a foreign occupation, especially one as harsh as the one now imposed on them. This hopeless adventure was doomed the moment George Bush signed off on it, but the arrogance of imperial power blinded the neocons in Washington to what should have been obvious to them and eventually will be - the battle of Iraq can't be won, and the only alternative is a full, unconditional and immediate withdrawal along with reparations paid to help rebuild the country we pillaged and destroyed.
That happening is wishful thinking even though many in high places understand the futility of "staying the (present) course" and are scrambling for an alternate solution. It remains to be seen what they have in mind and if they can get the ruling neocon cabal to accept it or manage to sidestep them if they don't. It won't be any easier convincing an administration nominally headed by a man who believes he's on a messianic mission to decide he made a mistake and be willing to change course than it was to get a former president with a working brain to do it in 1969. He and his successor "stayed their course" for another blood-soaked six years that scarred this nation and the people of Southeast Asia who paid the greatest price and won't ever fully recover until they reject the chains of neoliberalism that allow the dominant West to strangle them.
How Bad Is It in Iraq and On the Home Front
First consider the enormous and growing economic cost according to an estimate by Joseph Stiglitz - 2001 economics Nobel laureate, former Chairman of Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors and chief economist at the World Bank until he quit his job in November, 1999 to speak publicly about his opposition to bank policies, and Linda Bilmes who teaches public finance at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. In January, 2006, they estimated the war's cost could reach $2 trillion but now believe that figure is low and may go much higher because of current and estimated future budgetary costs, the economic impact of lives lost, jobs interrupted, the risk premium in oil prices from uncertainty in the Middle East, the growing cost of veterans' long-term medical care and disability benefit obligations, the human and capital investment needed to "reset" or restore the military to its pre-war strength and preparedness, and a host of other direct and indirect costs including the most accurate measure of the amount eventually to be needed for the war when all budgetary items are included now and into the future.
The government doesn't calculate the total cost as Stiglitz and Bilmes say it should because of the way the it does its accounting. It uses a "cash accounting" system that would make a CPA wince (and likely lose his accreditation) and only reports expenses when payments are made, not when they're committed for as most all businesses must do by "accrual accounting" methodology that includes future obligations assumed but unpaid. Add it all up according to Stiglitz and Bilmes and it comes to $2 trillion + and counting because future obligations not yet in reported budgets are huge for years to come that will drain many billions of dollars from the federal treasury and put an enormous strain on an economy already reeling from massive deficits that are far greater than the phony numbers reported to hide how bad the country's fiscal condition really is.
Stiglitz and Bilmes also point out that going to war with Iraq (and Afghanistan) was a matter of choice and so is staying there that raises the cost the longer the conflict continues (as well as in Afghanistan not included in their calculations). And they go much further saying as overwhelming as the $2 trillion + budgetary, social and macroeconomic costs are already, more must be added to them such as the expenses incurred by other nations and this country's intangible ones that include the following:
-- the cost of our reduced capability to respond to national security threats in other parts of the world.
-- the cost of high and rising anti-American sentiment in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere - most everywhere.
-- the price paid for the sham notion that this country defends and supports human rights and democracy.
-- the cost of the sharp decline of America's "soft power" from the Bush administration having tarnished the country's credentials, reducing Washington's ability to influence or prevail on crucial issues like trade, global warming, the international criminal justice system and much more.
Stiglitz and Bilmes don't say it, but they seem to suggest the "empire" is in decline economically and politically, and the Bush administration and its war on the world agenda had a lot to do with it. They may also be saying, or at least hinting, that this administration's budgetary recklessness did enormous fiscal damage to the country that by some estimates now place the national debt as high as $70 trillion when all future financial obligations are included; it also ran up a true 2005 budget deficit of $760 billion, not the fictitious $318 billion it reported; and it exacerbated a huge current account deficit now exceeding $800 billion and rising - meaning the nation leached at least $1.5 trillion in 2005 from these two sources alone plus whatever is hidden and so far unknown including from other government reported data that was cooked to look better than it is.
In a recent interview, Stiglitz went even further saying...."in this current administration, the defense industries and the energy industries have really been running the show and it has been disastrous." He discussed the mismanagement and ominous signs of a housing bubble now deflating. It was generated by a tsunami of irresponsible Federal Reserve generated printing press created prosperity under Alan Greenspan and still ongoing under the radar because the Fed stopped publishing overall M3 monetary aggregate figures in March, 2006 it wants to conceal. And that was exacerbated by the administration's reckless spending policies that now set up the possibility of a global economic depression Stiglitz believes can only be avoided by implementing big changes in how the US economy is managed going forward. He added how hard it will be to do it because of the entrenched interests in the administration saying...."this has been perhaps the worst six years of mismanagement of the macro economy," and that an implosion can only be avoided with careful management, but if the present course continues to be followed a global depression will result in 12 - 24 months.
The news isn't any better in the November 20, 2006 issue of Business Week in which writer Michael Mandel points out another startling fact in his feature article called "Can Anyone Steer This Economy?" In it he says sometime around a year from now "the US will hit a milestone. For the first time in recent memory" this country will import a dollar value of goods and services exceeding what the federal government collects in revenues that now amounts to $2.4 trillion a year. He goes on to say the US economy was once an "800 pound gorilla," but that's not true anymore because the global economy is overtaking us. The forces of globalization "have overwhelmed Washington's ability to control the economy." In today's brave new world order environment, giant corporations, called transnationals for a good reason, are free to offshore their manufacturing and other activities anywhere in the world and do it where the cost of doing business is cheapest - meaning, as Stiglitz and Blimes would likely conclude, this country is slowly sinking economically and the enormous financial obligations and burgeoning debt it's run up is only making it happen faster. Writer Mandel seems to agree saying "Washington is no longer the center of the economic universe".......or New York, Chicago or Los Angeles either.
The Pentagon may know a thing or two about this, worries about what effect it eventually will have on its future operations as well as a lot about its current impossible one in Iraq it likely wants to wash its hands of. It showed in a mid-October classified briefing leaked to the New York Times in which high-level military officials said conditions in Iraq are in a state of chaos beyond its control. This came out of the US Central Command in charge of the Middle East. It reported Iraqi government security forces can't cope with the violence that's "at an all-time high, spreading geographically."
When the most powerful military force in the history of the universe throws up its hands and effectively cries uncle, it shows how bad things are in the Kafkaesque maelstrom of Iraq. It also shows how hopeless this adventure was that should have been brain-dead and stillborn from the start - but you'd never know it from the head-in-the-sand comments of the "stay-the-coursers" in Washington that includes the president, vice-president and Democrat leadership even when their language changes. They're willing to fine-tune the tactical management of the operation as they're now about to do but never willing to give up the prize they've already invested so much in and can't afford to give up because the cost of doing it is so great. It's what journalist Robert Fisk meant when he said "the US must get out (of Iraq), they will get out, and they can't get out."
Here's more evidence of how bad things are and how impossible it's becoming trying to deal with it. In his November 1 column in the London Independent, unembedded journalist Patrick Cockburn wrote that "Baghdad Is Under Siege." It follows his article days earlier called "From 'Mission Accomplished' to 'Mission Impossible' in Iraq." From his vantage point on the ground, Cockburn paints a grim picture of out-of-control chaos. "Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city (Baghdad) to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital." He goes on to say food shortages in some neighborhoods are becoming severe, and the scale of daily killing is "massive" --
--1000 or more violent deaths weekly.
--Shia fighters controlling most of the city encircled by Sunnis.
--1.5 million Iraqis have fled their homes according to the Iraqi Red Crescent (a separate UNHCR estimate apart from Cockburn's article puts the number at 1.8 million Iraqis living in neighboring countries and another 1.6 million "internally displaced" within Iraq including those who left during the 1990s).
--Shia and Sunni militias control the country, not the US military, Iraqi army or police that are all impotent.
--the militias grow "stronger by the day because the Shia and Sunni communities feel threatened and do not trust the army and police to defend them."
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres confirmed through his chief spokesperson Ron Redmond on November 3 how bad things are in Iraq based on the number of refugees the conflict is generating. UNHCR says about 100,000 Iraqis now leave their homes each month in a desperate attempt to find safety. The UN agency estimates 2000 a day go to Syria, another 1000 a day cross into Jordan, some go to other countries and still others seek asylum in Europe. UNHCR also estimates an additional 50,000 Iraqis become "internally displaced" each month.
The immense refugee problem is the most visible sign of a failed US policy along with the out-of-control daily violence across most of the country killing 100 or more every day according to a UN estimate that's too low. It's the culmination of nearly 16 years of a US-directed reign of state-sponsored terrorism against the country and its people that slaughtered or caused the deaths of over two million Iraqi men, women and children and counting and left in its wake a surreal lawless armed camp wasteland with few or no essential services like electricity, clean water, vital sanitation, medical care, education, fuel and most everything else needed for sustenance and survival. Things aren't improving. They're getting worse as a brutal occupation grinds on and death squads roam freely including the US-directed "Salvador option" ones of the type National Intelligence Director John Negroponte once led in the 1980s when he was US Ambassador to Hondurus during the Reagan Contra wars when he directed the administration's terror war of that era against the Nicaraguans and Salvadorans fighting for their freedom.
Today it's happening again, and it's all part of an insane agenda to control the immense energy resources of the Middle East by brute force. The plan in Iraq is to do it by destroying all the institutions of a modern secular society along with the country's historical treasures to transform this once prosperous nation into an impotent desert kingdom populated by serfs. If the Baker Commission plan prevails, discussed below, it's likely to be divided into several autonomous regions under nominal Iraqi regional and national rule but centrally controlled by a dominant US authority headquartered in the US Embassy in the fortress-like Green Zone using a US-directed satrap Iraqi army and police to enforce order for its master in charge of everything. That may be the plan, but it's another story to make it work.
What has worked is the US campaign on the ground that created an epic humanitarian disaster by every measure imaginable on top of the destruction of essential services listed above that barely exist anywhere in most of the country:
-- desperate poverty and mass unemployment up to a 70% level.
-- 84% of the country's higher learning institutions burnt, looted or destroyed according to a UN International Leadership report.
-- archeological museums and historic sites, libraries and archives plundered deliberately.
-- daily targeted assassinations against academics, other teachers, senior military personnel, journalists, doctors, other professionals and anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time which can be anywhere.
-- nearly the entire country including parts of the Kurdish-controlled north now a lawless war zone with the US military and Iraqi security forces helpless to do anything about it and are just making it worse by their presence.
The Price Paid at Home
The US public has also paid an enormous price for the Bush administration's agenda and shows it in its anger over the hopeless war without end in Iraq, the endemic cesspool of Washington corruption and a general feeling of unease and mistrust with the political class in the nation's Capitol. But what about the rest - the annulment of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the loss of habeas and due process, the removal of checks and balances and separation of powers, and the end of republican government replaced by congressionally and judicially allowed tyranny.
Chalk it up to the power and influence of the corrupted corporate-controlled media. They effectively program the public mind suppressing the ugly truths in their dual roles as flag-waving support-the-troops America-uber-alles cheerleaders on the one hand and as court jesters on the other diverting attention from the important to the trivial. With due respect to George Orwell - in a time of universal corporate media deceit, if some in it told the truth it would be a revolutionary act. None there are that bold as it would likely cost them their jobs - except for one noted host of a one-hour nightly newscast and commentary so far allowed on MSNBC for whatever reason the network airs it.
The first casualty of war (and of all the other ways government ill-serves us) is truth at a time when that commodity is more needed than ever. It's not hyperbole to believe if people understood the neocon's domestic and foreign agenda it would spark a second American revolution - this time aimed at the criminal class in Washington who betrayed the nation's founding principles. The Bush administration, led by the Vice-President and de facto head of state, shamelessly used the 9/11 tragedy to stage a power-grab coup d'etat against free people everywhere. They declared war on the world for imperial gain and strangled a republic already on life support to establish a national security fascist police state in America signed into law in a contemptible act of lawlessness by George Bush on October 17 - a day that will live in infamy. He did it with little fanfare, public awareness or consent giving himself the power to rule like the dictator he once "jokingly" said he'd like to be.
In a White House signing ceremony for the occasion, George Bush signed the Military Commissions Act (aka the torture authorization act and lots more) that effectively annuls the Constitution and Bill of Rights and gives him the extraordinary authority (in violation of the Constitution) to designate anyone an enemy of the state on his say alone with no corroborating evidence. As noted British journalist John Pilger wrote in the New Statesman - anyone for any reason may now be labelled a "terrorist" for committing what Orwell called a "thoughtcrime" in his book Nineteen Eighty-Four. We're all now "enemy combatants," and no one is safe from the reach of "Big Brother" in Washington.
The new law grants the chief executive what Pilger calls "the power of unrestricted lawlessness." He can now order anyone arrested, interrogated, tortured and incarcerated in a secret prison anywhere in the world, subject to the justice of a military tribunal with no competent defense or right of appeal. The new law annuls the right of habeas corpus and due process, effectively applies to all US citizens, and subjects everyone everywhere to the whims of a man who uses the power vested in him to wage permanent war on all parts of the world unwilling to genuflect and kiss his ring.
On the same day, George Bush went even further. He privately and quietly signed into law a provision revising the Insurrection Act of 1807 that along with the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the use of federal and National Guard troops for law enforcement inside the country except as allowed by the Constitution or expressly authorized by Congress in times of a national emergency like an insurrection. The new Public Law 109-364 (HR 5122) called the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 allows the chief executive the right to claim a public emergency, effectively declare martial law, and deploy federal and National Guard troops anywhere on the nation's streets to suppress whatever he calls public disorder. It may be for any reason including against peaceful demonstrators demanding their rights of free expression and assembly we no longer have.
Without public knowledge or consent, the president of the United States signed away the last vestige of a free society with overwhelming congressional support that approved it 396 to 31 in the House and by unanimous consent in the Senate including all those Democrats we think will change everything post-November 7. As of October 17, 2006, the new law of the land effectively annointed George Bush Augustus Caesar subjecting everyone to the will and whims of a man who uses power recklessly, flaunts it with his audacious swagger, and has no concern for those he harms. This is someone who can't be trusted and was once described by his Texas aides when he was governor as a man who enjoys killing - referring to his indifference to those facing the death penalty in a state that executed more people under his authority than any other after the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
Is it any wonder a recent international poll published in the UK Mail & Guardian Online showed that in Britain and other countries people think George Bush is a greater threat to world peace than North Korean leader Kim Jong-il or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (both of whom, in fact, represent no threat unless provoked). The US public spoke even more loudly pronouncing their own judgment on November 7 by rejecting the Bush administration's agenda at the polls. They gave Democrats nominal control of both houses of Congress for the first time since the Republican sweep in 1994 even though what they'll get when the 110th Congress convenes on January 3 may be little different than what they turned out, and at least one Connecticut Senate "Democrat" turned "independent" can now be counted on to vote Republican any time the party that funded and elected him calls in its chips.
Today in Washington - Democrat, Republican or so-called Independent hardly matters anymore. For six years, the Democrats marched in lock step with the Republican leadership making it clear little will change in the new Congress. Post-election, George Bush repeated where he stands announcing no plans for a hasty exit from Iraq. At the same time, he made a change of the guard at the Department of Defense (DOD) appointing Robert Gates, replacing one controversial secretary and accused war criminal with an unindicted liar and equally controversial former Reagan and senior Bush official based on his past role in cooking the intelligence to fit the policy in the Iran-Contra scandal he was never held to account for, and his involvement in secretly arming Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. When he takes over from Donald Rumsfeld after an easy Senate confirmation hearing, expect one thing - the Pentagon under new management representing the same failed strategic agenda smoothed over with some already planned tactical changes that aren't likely to work any better under his aegis than the old ones did under his predecessor.
Nonetheless, the new secretary-designate was chosen by and is allied with the more pragmatic wing of the party represented by the president's father under whom he served in a number of capacities including as CIA director in its last two years after the heat of scandal that tainted him cooled down enough. The neocon opposition he's allied with will need whatever support he and others can provide given the state of things in Iraq, the neocons professed desire to "stay the course," and the new Democrat leadership wanting business as usual proving once again the criminal class in Washington is bipartisan. What's not even on the table in all the packaged for television post-election hoopla is the growing out-of-control conflict in Afghanistan or any plan for an equitable resolution of the long-running Israeli agenda of genocide in slow motion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories without which there can never be peace and stability in the volatile Middle East.
For now though, the dominant theme portrayed in the corporate media is the deceptive post-election afterglow designed to make the public think a change of agenda will follow one in the congressional leadership. Expecting that is like believing with enough convincing carnivores will become vegetarian and opt for new menu choices. The only likely change ahead will be on the tactical management of the war in Iraq with no dispute among the contesting parties on the overall plan for the country and region. It's part of the agreed on unchanged strategic agenda for world dominance, now focused on nailing it down in the Middle East with all that oil the world's ruling class will never relinquish control of because having it is as central to its hold on power as Samson's hair was to his.
So the battle being waged is only a skirmish pitting the power of a neocon administration with Bush and Cheney still in charge allied with the influential Israeli Lobby dead set against any change in the regional agenda vs. the Baker team and Democrat leadership with most others in the party kind of on both sides of the tactical policy choices.
The neocon-Zionist alliance got a boost with the appointment of hawkish ultra-right wing Avigdor Lieberman as deputy Israeli prime minister with a brief to handle Israel's "security threats." It was greeted in Israel by a Meretz party parliamentary leader calling the appointment a (Kadima party) "terrorist attack on democracy," to go along with George Bush's power grab on October 17 that signaled the denouement of democracy in America.
The script in Washington today is eerily similar to the 1930s in Germany where there, like here, it happened with a whimper, not a bang, only much quicker then. On March 23, 1933, less than two months after Hitler became Reichschancellor, the German Reichstag allowed the democratic Weimar Republic to pass into history by enacting the Enabling Act or Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Empire that legally established a Nazi fascist dictatorship. It gave Adolph Hitler absolute power and the right to enact laws and changes to the constitution without public consent and with little more than rubber-stamping from a now impotent Reichstag.
On October 17, the Congress of the United States gave George Bush similar power, the difference here being the legislators go through the motions of enacting laws proposed and written for them by corporate lawyers and lobbyists the president then ceremonially or quietly signs and alters with signing statements to modify whatever portions of them he wishes to change, add to or delete. It's still called "democracy, American - style" which is no democracy at all.
Hitler just called for the people to support him and used his anointing to unleash a reign of terror across the continent. It now remains to be seen how much more damage George Bush will do with his power and what the newly elected Democrat congress will do about it that early-on doesn't look like much of anything. Dare we imagine the price to be paid for more of the same ugly business as usual and a president given the power of a dictator to act as he pleases without restraint and a willingness to use it.
Serious Efforts to Change Course in Iraq but Not the Strategic Agenda
Along with events at home, the so-called Baker Commission (officially called the Iraq Study Group or ISG) is now making news ahead of what it's likely to propose which, details aside, will be a reassertion of more practical neoliberal economic and political interests in the Middle East over the belligerent imperial agenda of endless wars and occupation there that aren't working as they failed to do in Vietnam and are isolating the US now seen as an out-of-control hegemon pariah state. The Wall Street Journal calls the ISG "the foreign policy establishment's vehicle" and when it makes its recommendations "both sides assume (they) won't be resisted."
We'll soon learn if the Journal is right about a Commission that represents powerful business interests aligned with more practical former government so-called moderates and internationalists who fear the country may be heading for a political and economic train wreck without a change of course. No country can maintain a reckless borrow and spend policy forever without facing dire consequences eventually nor can it wage endless wars on the world for dominion over all of it without being destroyed on the shoals of its own hubris and imperial overreach. That's where the US is now that's led some of the savviest and most powerful people in Washington to believe a change in management tactics is essential while agreeing with the administration's overall strategy that never changes whichever party is in power.
James Baker formed the Commission he heads to fine-tune the process before the current one leads to the inevitable train wreck he and others fear with potential consequences even he and they can't imagine or predict. Baker is a noted Republican mandarin and a formidable figure in his own right having been a top official in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and GHW Bush and having helped engineer the fraud-laden election of GW Bush in 2000 - something he may now regret. He's also been the longtime Bush family consigliere, is a man whose opinion is always taken seriously and is known to be the party's go-to Mr. Fix-It when the going is the toughest and the situation is in most disrepair.
Baker put together a bipartisan blue ribbon group of 60 high-level figures (with no neocons) co-chaired by former congressman and empire loyalist Lee Hamilton and working with four like-minded influential think tanks - the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the US Institute of Peace, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Baker's own James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy - all combined to give added weight to their forthcoming proposals due out during the post-election congressional lame duck session. They'll have the endorsement of the president's father, some top former officials in his administration and other influential power-brokers in Washington other than Dick Cheney who'll likely lead the weakening neocon opposition to them and on October 19 signaled his intentions using the language of "total victory" as the only acceptable course in Iraq. It remains to be seen if he really means it or if it's typical Cheney bravado putting out some red meat for the hard line faithful but knowing post-election he has to compromise and may have already done it.
Cheney has been the most potent man in town, in contrast to Baker who's one of the shrewdest, most practical, and when the stakes are greatest most ruthless, but the vice-president's influence may be waning based on a growing disconnect within Republican ranks combined with the Democrat's stunning electoral win on November 7. Jim Baker can exploit that and may now get added support in a quarter of Washington that would have been impossible a year or two ago. He's also got public sentiment on his side that shows up in the polls and in the mid-term election results from the types of candidates who fared best in them. The public is fed up with a war gone sour along with a cesspool of government corruption and blames the Bush administration and politicians supporting him for it.
It's the main reason for the president's sinking approval ratings (now at a low around 31% in at least one national poll cutting deeply into his once solid base) and the fact that many in the party see him as radioactive and want to keep a safe distance from a man considered politically harmful. Jim Baker is a consummate well-connected politician and as savvy and well-respected in Washington as anyone in this most political of all pieces of real estate in the world. He'll take full advantage of the strong tailwind in his favor to complete the job he's undertaken. Whatever his Commission proposes will be taken very seriously, and the way things work in Washington it may already be a fait accompli. Until an announcement is made, however, it remains to be seen what's in the Baker plan and how much of it will be revealed to the public - not the most important parts to be sure.
One thing almost for certain won't be in it - extending the Middle East conflict to Iran and Syria. It's no secret the powerful Israeli Lobby and Washington hard liners have wanted forcible regime change in Iran for a decade or longer and now claim another reason to pursue it is the contrived pretext that Iran's fledging commercial nuclear capability is cover for its intent to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has every legal right to develop its commercial nuclear program, is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), unlike Israel (a known nuclear power and nuclear outlaw) that is not, and the US encouraged the Iranians to develop its commercial nuclear industry during the 25 year terror reign of its close ally at the time, Shah Reza Palevi - something unreported amidst the hostile anti-Iranian rhetoric today the Baker Commission will likely want to stop or at least curtail.
Baker and the other Commission members know any hope of ending the Middle East conflict depends heavily on getting Iranian and Syrian cooperation. If the Baker Commission recommendations prevail, there will be no extended war in the region targeting either country despite several recent ugly reports to the contrary. One was published on November 2 in Israel's Maariv Daily that French President Jacques Chirac asked George Bush at the recent UN summit if Israel could attack Iran to prevent it from getting the "bomb" to which the US president reportedly said: "We cannot rule this out. And if it were to happen, I would understand it." Another is a report circulating in many Western capitals in the wake of Avigdor Lieberman's appointment as Israeli deputy prime minister that even the Israel-uber-alles New York Times choked on calling him "the wrong partner." It said the Israelis will go it alone and attack Iran if the US won't do it and has given the Bush administration a six month deadline to decide.
Haaretz.com published a third report quoting Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh's November 10 comments that Israel must be ready to prevent Iran's nuclear program "at all costs." The minister added "I consider it a last resort. But even the last resort is sometimes the only resort....we must prevent this (Iranian) regime from obtaining nuclear capability at all costs." Still more anti-Iranian vitriol came out of the White House on November 13 during a photo-op session between George Bush and Ehud Olmert when the president seemed to rule out direct negotiations with Iran by calling for international isolation unless Iran "gives up its nuclear ambitions" which the Iranians have rightfully refused to do. On the same day, Condoleezza Rice told Maariv she believes Syria "is a dangerous state (because the country) is a way-station for Iranian arms that cross the Middle East."
Offsetting these reports was a positive one reported on November 7 by Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoting "a senior US official" (unidentified) saying "Israel will not target Iran's nuclear facilities because it has said this is a problem of the entire world. Israel understands that the only way to defuse the nuclear crisis is through diplomatic channels." That "understanding" takes on added importance in light of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's political weakness, following the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) drubbing at the hands of Hezbelloh in the summer Lebanon war. It showed in a recent poll of his approval rating that plunged to a low of 20% indicating his tenure as Kadima party leader is very shaky and uncertain. Add to that the Bush administration's embarrassing defeat in the mid-term congressional elections over the Iraq war, and it points to more diplomacy and no extension of the conflict in the region because the US public won't tolerate it.
Can Even the Redoubtable Jim Baker Pull A Rabbit Out of a Very Threadbare Hat
Whatever comes out of the ongoing policy discussions in Washington, it remains to be seen if there can be any resolution of the Iraq conflict short of a total and unconditional foreign occupation force withdrawal from the country the resistance and majority of Iraqi people demand as well as preventing an attack against Iran, Syria or any other country in the region. Jim Baker knows this, and if the Commission recommends anything less it almost guarantees more conflict that will only get worse.
At the same time, Baker isn't about to recommend a full withdrawal because without the muscle of the US military close at hand on some of the many dozens of bases Halliburton built for it - reportedly 106 of them from micro to super-large according to Bradley Graham in a May, 2005 Washington Post report. They include four super-bases with one or two other ones like it planned that represent an enormous investment of billions of dollars Washington isn't about to write off voluntarily or hand over to an Iraqi force nor will it give up the control of the country and region it wanted to achieve by invading in the first place. It also won't write off its largest embassy in the world inside the protected four square kilometer fortress-like Green Zone HQ in central Baghdad equipped with every imaginable high tech device for communications and security including ground-to-air missiles plus all the conveniences of a modern US city.
But what the US planned and wants isn't likely to be what Iraqis have in mind. In the end, the US may have to give up what it's no longer able to hold onto just like it did in Vietnam when it had to walk away from the enormous investment it made at Cam Rahn Bay, Danang, Saigon and elsewhere once the Pentagon gave up the fight and withdrew entirely. A lot of people now think it's just a matter of time before it faces another much more serious strategic and humiliating defeat in Iraq than the one in Southeast Asia.
We're a long way from that stage now, however, and whatever comes out of the Baker Commission will be a plan to avoid a Vietnam ending at all costs. It's likely to be something on the order of a Nixonian type Vietnamization with a hoped for effective Iraqi praetorian guard satrap army ready to take over security operations supported by US air power with a smaller US ground force redeploying to hunkered down positions inside their protected super-bases but ready to move out again any time as needed - much like the Israelis did it in their announced disengagement in Gaza only to go back in again full-force over the summer to reinstigate hostilities that are still ongoing with no sign of a letup.
Whatever the are, the best laid plans are never simple under any conditions, and accomplishing them in Washington is never easy - something Jim Baker understands as well as anyone. He also knows if Israel attacks Iran on its own (inconceivable without US approval), all bets are off. He has to head that off as well as build consensus and be willing to give a little to get what he and the Commission members want most - an exit/redeployment strategy with a reliable client state government in place (centrally and/or regionally) and an effective Iraqi security force firmly under US control. Anything short of that would create the possibility of Washington's worst nightmare - a majority Shiite ruled Iraq allied with Shiite Iran and possibly linked with the Saudi Shias located in the bordering eastern oil-rich part of the kingdom.
But even that possible disaster would worsen if a Tripartite Shia Middle East alliance controlling most of the world's oil joined either or both organizations formed to compete with the US for control of Central Asia's huge energy reserves - the Asian Energy Security Grid and the more significant Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that was formed in 2001 for political, diplomatic, economic and security reasons as a counterweight to US-controlled NATO. China and Russia are core members of both alliances and key countries like India, Venezuela, Iran and even Japan may join to add more heft to a Middle Eastern - Asian block jockeying with the US and the West for control of the most oil-rich part of the world. This worst of all possible nightmare scenarios is what the Baker Commission above all else will try to avoid, but it has its work cut out for it with no guarantee of success.
The Commission must pull off a near-impossible mission. First, it has to reach accommodation with the ruling neocon cabal on how to achieve their shared goal of world dominance - whether by the subterfuge of velvet glove neoliberalism or hard line iron-fisted militarism. Both sides are adherents to market-based imperialism based on the notion that all other nations must comply with the rules made in Washington or face the consequences. The debate then is what to do about the outliers. Baker, his Commission members and the president's father have nothing against persuasion by conflict as long as it's against targeted countries too weak to put up a good fight. The dominant interests of capital in the country love and support wars because when they're winnable the benefits for the bottom line outweigh the costs and potential risks.
Back in the 1980s, Jim Baker and the president's father had no qualms about the ugly Contra war the Reagan administration they served in waged against the people of Nicaragua and the ruling Sandinistas. The new government offended Washington by ousting the US-backed Somoza dictatorship, freeing Nicaraguans from serfdom and impoverishment and providing them with essential social services they never had before like free health care and education. Baker also supported the same odious business in neighboring El Salvador where the FMLN resistance was fighting the country's US-supported fascist dictatorship for the same things. He sided with the pathetic and illegal muscle-flexing invasion of Grenada in 1983, the toppling of Panamanian dictator and former CIA asset Manuel Noriega in 1989 because he dared disobey "the lord and master of the universe," and even the appalling Gulf war because the plan was narrowly focused to remove the threat of Israel's main enemy in the region, seize control of Iraq's immense oil reserves, get the Saudis, Kuwaitis and others to pay for the operation, come and do the job quickly, and leave with mission accomplished.
What the Bush neocons had in mind for Iraq in 2003 was none of the above, and it's likely Baker and some on the Commission were dubious about it from the start and possibly the Afghan war as well as they should have been. Both countries have a long history of successfully expelling invaders which is why GHW Bush and Brent Scowcroft, his National Security Advisor, warned the younger Bush about the perils of his agenda that included invasion and occupation. They feared the Iraq adventure was unwinnable and could have easily discovered the futility of the Afghan one by talking to the Russians and Brits who learned that lesson the hard way as the US is finding out now in both countries. Bush co-conspirator Tony Blair also might have told George Bush about Sir Olaf Caroe, the last British governor of North West Frontier province in bordering Pakistan who understood the way events play out in that part of the world and once explained: "Unlike other wars, Afghan wars become serious only when they are over." That's true in Iraq as well as the Bush administration now knows and so does Jim Baker and his Commission members.
Baker may have felt that way back in March, 2003 even while never expressing it publicly. It's commonly believed he's never been allied with the ruling neocons and has always been more of a internationalist and pragmatic adherent to the art and practice of realpolitik. He's also very close to the Bush family and especially the president's father who's likely been a significant behind-the-scenes player in the Commission's formation and it's assigned mission. GHW Bush, Jim Baker and the heavyweight members on it are plenty worried about the mess in Iraq and know a change of tactics is crucial before it's too late. They also may agree with former Reagan administration National Security Agency (NSA) chief General William Odom's view for the need to "unmask the absurdity of the administration's case (to) stay the course and finish the job (as well as Odom's belief it's) "obvious the war was never in the US interest." Odom added "(It's) the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States."
That view was also expressed by Middle East expert Gilbert Achcar in his new book Perilous Power co-authored with Noam Chomsky. Achcar calls the Bush administration policy in Iraq "stupid" that will result in it going "down in history....as the undertaker of US interests in the region." It doesn't get any stronger and plainer than what Odom and Achcar believe, but it'll be even worse if the US ends up losing control of the greater Middle East's energy reserves because of the administration's colossal blunder and obstinancy. That possibility is central for the president's father, Jim Baker, and his Commission members assuring a significant change in management tactics is coming - but with no guarantee anything will work at this stage.
Baker must now craft an accord with the neocon leadership and newly empowered congressional Democrats who supported the war from the outset and won't go any further than criticize its management. He'll also have to confront and pacify the powerful Israeli Lobby as well as a caricature of a president who believes his cause is just and the Almighty directs him. Up to now, that opposition believed with enough super-weapons and unchallengeable military might it could rule the world forever as long as it didn't err and blow it up instead which is a real possibility. Adolph Hitler only guaranteed 1000 years, misjudged by 988, and might have blown it up himself if he had today's weapons of mass destruction. Baker and his realists face a formidable challenge, the stakes are enormous, and the potential cost of getting it wrong or failing because nothing will work at this stage is incalculable, especially if, in the end, the Iraqi resistance has the final say as it likely will. As they say, things are getting "interestinger and interestinger."
A Desperate Need for Change - But Will Anything Work at this Stage
The Baker team must come up with a sensible alternative agenda of the Hail Mary variety the ruling neocons will accept or at least reach accommodation with. To avoid a strategic policy meltdown, there must be consensus that the Iraq and Afghan wars can't be won, and the longer the US military remains in both countries in force the greater their losses will be, the larger the number of alienated countries no longer willing to support us will become, the more likely the unsustainable cost will move the nation closer to economic bankruptcy, and the harder it will be to reverse the mind-set of the majority of countries that now see this one as a moral pariah and greatest of all threats to world peace, security and stability.
Jim Baker has a formidable challenge trying to achieve a near-impossible goal to change the hearts and minds of the ruling establishment in Washington and Tel Aviv and convince Iraqis that rule by an even scaled back foreign occupying force inside its fortress-like super-bases and city-state sized fortified Embassy is in their best interest. As they say, the chance of pulling this off may be slim to none, and it's likely to prove again the painful lesson all empires learn sooner or later - the price for imperial overreach is always the same. It never works, and those ruling the waves thinking it does almost never spot the time when the tide begins to turn and they're swimming against it. They're so consumed by their own hubris and belief their way is just and right, they're blind to the futility of their agenda.
Overcoming an obstacle this great may be a job for Superman and then some and more than even a man like Jim Baker and his power-packed team can handle. He's smart enough to know there's no assurance he can do it, whether he'll go far enough or even if he does if it can make a difference at this late stage. It is assured whatever he does won't be with the public welfare in mind but only for the interests of wealth and power he represents and the elitist class of which he's a member in good standing. It's his job to pull their fat out of the fire the neocons lit and keep throwing more fuel on, or better stated, it's his task to put spilt milk back in its leaky bottle and keep it there.
As for the public, it's not even a player in this game and won't come out a winner whichever side wins or loses. Neither will the people in the Greater Middle East short of a near-impossible eventuality nowhere in sight - a full and unconditional US troop withdrawal from the region, the freedom of Iraqis and Afghans to run their countries out of Washington's clutches, a solution to the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict not even being addressed, and an end to the joint US-Israeli partnership of imperial aggression in the region. Even with all that, it would only be a beginning but what a major one well stated by the old Chinese maxim that the "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step" or the joke about all those lawyers on the bottom of the ocean being a good start. At this stage, the best people of conscience, not at the table, can hope for is the beginning of a process that eventually will achieve the scenario just laid out that looks impossible now but one day may happen because enough people never stopped working for it in the region and around the world.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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Editorial: Happy Birthday, Fulcanelli
Signs of the Times
16 November 2006
French physicist Jules Violle, also known as the alchemist Fulcanelli
On this day in 1841, in the French town of Langres, was born Jules Violle,
celebrated French physicist, member of the French Academy of Sciences, and
alchemist. Better known under his pen name Fulcanelli, Jules Violle wrote two
important alchemical texts, The Mystery of the Cathedrals and The Dwellings
of the Philosophers, as well as leaving the notes for a third volume, Finis
Gloriae Mundi, a work that was withdrawn before publication.
Although there has been much speculation since the publication of these two
books over the true identity of the Master Alchemist Fulcanelli, with answers
ranging from his non-existence as an individual (according to this hypothesis,
Fulcanelli was in fact a committee!), to his being a member of the Parisian
occult circles of the late 19th and early 20th century, Patrick Rivière
has settled the case in his book Fulcanelli: His True Identity Revealed. With
painstaking research and ample evidence taken from the career of this illustrious
French scientist, it is clear that not only did Fulcanelli exist, but that
he was a physicist of great repute.
Violle achieved his fame via his work on solar radiation and
the establishment of the unit of luminous intensity which bears his name: the
Violle. His research on the solar constant and atmospheric absorption led him
to consider that the Sun's temperature was much lower than thought at
the time, arguing that the higher the altitude, the less dense the atmosphere
and lower the temperature. And this is precisely what Fulcanelli wrote in the
following terms, in The Dwellings of the Philosophers:
High mountains remain crowned with snow despite the heat of the summer. In
the elevated regions of the atmosphere, when the sun reaches the zenith, the
cupolas of hot air balloons are covered with frost and their passengers suffer
from intense cold. So, experience demonstrates that temperature goes down as
altitude increases. Even light is only visible to us in as much as we are placed
in its field of radiation. If we are outside the radiant beam, its action ceases
for our eyes. It is a well-known fact that an observer looking at the sky from
the bottom of a well at noon sees the starry night sky.
Whence, then, do heat and light come from? From the simple shock of cold and
dark vibrations against the gaseous molecules in our atmosphere. And since
resistance increases in direct proportion to the density of the environment,
heat and light are stronger on the surface of the earth than at great altitudes
because the strata of air are also denser. Such is, at least, the physical
explanation of the phenomenon. In fact, and according to hermetic theory, the
opposition to the vibratory movement, the reactions are nothing more the first
causes of an effect that translates into the liberation of luminous and fiery
atoms from atmospheric air. Under the action of the vibratory bombardment,
the spirit, freed from the body, takes on, for our senses physical qualities
characteristic of its active phase: luminosity, radiance, heat. [pp. 53-54]
Violle, himself, conducted experiments at the summit of Mont Blanc to collect
data for testing his theory. Rivière's book is replete with such parallels
from the writings of Violle and of Fulcanelli that establish their common interests
and common friends.
To celebrate the birth of this great man, we publish below Chapter 10 from
Patrick Rivière's book, the account of Eugène Canseliet's mysterious
meeting with his Master in Seville, thirty years after Violle's "death".
From the Master's Succession
to the "Strange Manor"
After the official disappearance
of Fulcanelli in 1923, his disciple, Eugène Canseliet, succeeded the Master.
Nine years later, one year after Julien Champagne's death in 1932, Eugène
Canseliet moved to 10 quai des Célestins in Paris. His new residence was
again a garret room, but this time one which was better fitted for alchemical
work. He had carried out a variety of experiments the previous year - notably
on the wet path. Following in the footsteps of Irenee Philalethes, he used
a glass matrass in which he achieved a long coction of gold-mercury. He
depicted this in a series of forty-eight watercolours, which, alas, disappeared
during the invasion in 1940.
In 1932, Canseliet also became acquainted with Paul Le
Cour, the chair of the Atlantis association, headquartered in Vincennes. He collaborated
with the association for half a century, publishing numerous articles of
high literary quality on the subject of hermeticism with them. Curiously,
Paul Le Cour revealed to Canseliet that the famous sentence that he had heard
in a dream in his adolescence:
When, in your house, black ravens have begotten white doves,
then you will be called The Wise...
figured "among others also seen on the lintel, jambs and
threshold of a door", which was dated 1680 and integrated into the wall enclosing
the public gardens at Piazza Vittorio-Emmanuele in Rome, and which was among
the last remains of Marquis Massimiliano Palombara's villa. Astounded by
such a "coincidence", Eugène Canseliet decided to undertake a thorough study
of that new "philosopher's dwelling", and indeed included it in a book signed
this time with his own name: "Deux Logis Alchimiques", published by Jean Schemit in
1945. What is even more curious is that the eminent scholar through whom
these inscriptions reached Eugène Canseliet was actually named Cancellieri!
In 1936, on the occasion of a party organized to celebrate
the bonfire of St. John, the writer Rosny the Elder questioned Eugène Canseliet
about Fulcanelli's identity. Pierre Geyraud reported this conversation in
his book, L'Occultisme à Paris:
[...] I am only the "prefacer", answered Eugène Canseliet
to his interlocutor; Champagne is only the illustrator; and Fulcanelli
is the pseudonym of a third person whom, in observance of the hermetic
rule of silence, I am not allowed to designate otherwise. This Fulcanelli is
still alive. He is commissioned by the White Brotherhood to help with
the evolution of mankind. He is a genuine Rose-Cross.
He is sometimes in Argentina, sometimes traveling all over the world in
the way of the Rose-Cross of old. For the time being, he is in the south
of France. He is a master with wonderful powers....
Was this enlightening reply from a studious disciple an
authentic testimony, or was it simply reflecting a belief? Was it a figment
of the imagination of an idealist imbued with mysticism? The question remains
irremediably open, even and above all, if we keep in mind the time-honoured
tradition of the Adepts. Did Bertrand Russell not write:
It is good to believe certain things and bad to believe
others, irrespective of the knowledge that these things are true or false!
That year, Eugène Canseliet succeeded in extracting the
"philosopher's sulphur", the precious rémore, embryo of the Philosopher's Stone. Two years later, he undertook the
famous coction of the Third Work at Deuil-la-Barre (in the Val d'Oise area)
where he had just settled with his family. When the aurora borealis arose
- glowing brilliantly and exceptionally visible in the nocturnal European
skies on that Monday, January 24, 1938 - the Egg hatched and the radiating energy, like a little Sun, suddenly arose
from the athenor and rushed into the chimney.
Anticipated apocalyptic spectacle promised by Saint John
where, radiating from the north, long, green beams hit the red coat spreading
in the sky that seemed to reflect all the blood that martyred mankind was
about to shed on Earth....
It should be mentioned that, indeed, a few months
later, the Second World War broke out!
Canseliet attempted to produce the famous coction
again three times after that, but was, alas, always unsuccessful.
In the 1950s, he went on a very unusual trip to Spain,
the story of which he secretly confided
to his friend, writer Claude Seignolle. Seignolle wanted to publish this
strange story in a compendium of more or less fantastic tales, and ultimately
yielded to the temptation to do so, though he did so under conditions of
the strictest anonymity. The book appeared in 1969 under the generic title
"Invitation au Château de l'Etrange":
By revealing this confidential adventure, I am going to
betray a friend with whom there has been a strong exchange of affection
going on for a long time - not only with him, but also with his two daughters.
He is a simple, modest, and - this goes without saying - sincere man. His
science is vast, genuine. Of course, I will keep his name secret, for he
is famous and respected in esoteric circles, but I bend my head before
his reproaches in advance, in case he should see these lines.
Every day, he receives a minister's correspondence and he
regularly exchanges exciting letters with, among others, a rich Castilian
family. This family claims to be withdrawn from Time, and writes in an
old French delightfully interspersed with imperfect subjunctives, to the
great joy of my friend who speaks this way on a daily basis, even with
Two or three years ago, these Castilians sent him a plane
ticket to Madrid, inviting him to spend a few days with them in order to
learn more from him, and themselves pledging to teach him more about his
specialty - which actually seemed to be a challenge! The adventure being
tempting, my friend, although little inclined to accept that kind of invitation,
felt he was on the verge of discovering interesting things. Indeed, already,
the style and contents of the letters received over several years never
failed to surprise him by their subtle remarks, as well as by their rich
He took the plane. At the Madrid airport, an old Hispano
car was waiting for him. The chauffeur looked more like a coachman than
a driver, wearing an old-fashioned livery and looking worthy of appearing
in one of Goya's paintings. Nobody else came to welcome him and the chauffeur
remained silent. My friend began one of his usual smiling meditations as
he enjoyed the ride. They covered a long distance and at dusk arrived before
the gates of a park enclosed by high walls. However, they had not yet reached
their destination: a sinuous, stony road led them first to the left, then
to the right, as if losing itself....At last they stopped along a platform.
The driver turned off the engine, got out, and taking my friend's suitcase,
invited him to follow him. There, a lane led them farther. They walked
for a long time before arriving at a large, old mansion, low but stately.
Upon entering, my friend observed that there was no electricity.
No bulbs. Here, the only light came from candles. Was it in his honour,
to give an atmosphere of old-Spain? Or was it customary? His hosts
were there waiting for him, faithful to a dressing tradition that, instead
of leading him to consider it a grotesque masquerade, gave him cause to
rejoice. "At last," he thought, "here are people who know how to evade
this century's ever-changing and sometimes daring fashions. Here, all the
ladies are wearing long dresses. Velvets and brocades. The gentlemen are
wearing a kind of doublet, long stockings, buckle shoes."
All gathered around the Master come from another place and
welcomed him (for an instant I place myself in that delightful man's stead
when he heard old-French, peppered with old-Castilian,
spoken around him).
The welcoming repast had the same old-fashioned flavour,
regarding both the food, as well as the service. As for conversation, it
was quite astonishing. My friend soon noticed - which he had already
observed from their letters - that his hosts, while not quite sure of themselves
in the field of modern alchemy, had a thorough knowledge of ancient alchemy,
and spoke about it quite naturally, just as they would about things that
they would normally do on a daily basis. My friend was then stupefied to
hear - since he believed that he knew everything - not only of the existence
of books of which he was unaware and the quoting of forgotten formulas,
but also of the existence of the lost Force of ancient alchemy, which he
found in these people.
Who were these characters living in 1966, but who were keeping
the lifestyle of the eighteenth-century? He carefully refrained from asking.
In any case, had he not seen even stranger things in his magician's life?
His sojourn there lasted one week. Not only did he
learn a lot, but it was a beneficial recovery cure. He saw planes crossing
the sky without the slightest noise, and on the neighbouring road, cars
drove in silence, as if the present was only a figment of his imagination.
There were no sounds around him other than the ones of a loving and peaceful
family indefatigably and patiently repeating their daily gestures and holding
the feverish conversations of an endless life.
Of course, Eugène Canseliet heard about the publication
of this singular tale, and two years later in 1971, decided to speak about
the strange trip that had brought him to the surroundings of Seville. Journalist
Henri Rode took his statement in an interview that the good master of Savignies
gave to the magazine Le Grand Albert (n°1):
As for Fulcanelli, alive, he certainly is... Time does not
matter... It so happens that I saw him again in 1951 and I discovered the
secret place where he is. I was traveling in Spain, not far from Seville,
where I was the guest of a friend who owns a beautiful mansion with a terrace
and large staircase opening on a park. I immediately felt Fulcanelli in
the atmosphere. The more so as I discovered from my window - which added
to the charm of the picture - the presence of a child of about 10 and a
little girl, who both seemed to have originated from a painting by Velazquez.
A pony and two greyhounds were at their sides. But after one of those long
working nights so customary for me, my discovery seemed even more convincing: in
a large lane with dense foliage, a young lady, a queen, was approaching,
wearing the Collar of the Golden Fleece and was followed by a Duenna. All
this very vivid, very luminous. The young lady warmly nodded to me, and
I was sure that Fulcanelli whispered, "Do you recognize me?", to which
I replied, "Yes". But how could such certainties be conveyed?
Edifying testimony indeed!
Let us add some excerpts from the book by Kenneth Rayner
Johnson, entitled The Fulcanelli Phenomenon: The Story of a Twentieth-Century Alchemist in the Light of
New Examination of the Hermetic Tradition:
Eugène Canseliet, the man who was closest to Fulcanelli,
all during his strange existence, affirmed that again he saw his master
in Spain at a more recent date: 1954.
Kenneth Rayner Johnson says he is sure of the quoted date:
Undoubtedly, Mr Canseliet was in Spain during this year.
Gérard Heym, a knowledgeable esoterist, knew M. Canseliet through his friendship
with his daughter and was able to see Canseliet's passport. It contained
a visa for Spain only for 1954.
This checking indeed leaves no room for doubt. Later
on we shall see why this is so important to us. For the time being, let us
continue with the British author's story:
Mr Canseliet prepared his bags and undertook his trip to
Spain. His destination was Seville. [...] Someone came to meet him - we
don't know exactly who - and M. Canseliet was conduced to a manor
or a large estate in the mountains. There he was received by his old master,
Fulcanelli, who appeared to be about fifty. M. Canseliet was fifty-four.
M. Canseliet was taken to his rooms, on the first floor,
in a tower of the manor; the window opened on a large, rectangular terrace.
During his stay, he had the distinct impression that the manor was the
refuge of an entire colony of distinguished alchemists-including
Adepts like his master-and that it was owned by Fulcanelli. Shortly
after his arrival, he was shown to a small laboratory and was told he could
work there and carry on his experiments.
Returning to his rooms, M Canseliet went to his window to
breathe some fresh air and observed the patio below. He saw a group of
children-probably the children of other guests at the manor-who
were playing. But there was something strange about them. In looking more
closely, he realized it was in the clothing they were wearing. They looked
like they were from the XVIth century. The children were playing some sort
of game, and M. Canseliet thought they were dressed this way for a masquerade
or a costume party. That night he went to bed without thinking more about
The next day, he returned to his experiments in the laboratory
he had been given. From time to time his master visited him briefly to
watch over his progress.
One morning, M. Canseliet, descending the staircase of the
tower in which he was staying, found himself under a vaulted porch that
opened onto the patio when, suddenly, he heard voices. Crossing the patio,
he approached a group of three women who were talking animatedly. M. Canseliet
was surprised to see that they were wearing ample and long clothes in the
style of the XVIth century, just like the children he had seen two days
earlier. Was it another masquerade? The women then approached him. M. Canseliet
was torn between surprise at what he was seeing and embarrassment at being
dressed so casually. He went to turn around and return to his rooms when,
as the women passed by, one of them turned abruptly, looked at him, and
gave him a smile.
All this lasted only an instant. The woman rejoined her
companions and together they continued on, out of sight. [...]
M. Canseliet remained shaken because he could have sworn
that the face of the woman who had given him the smile was that of Fulcanelli...
What can be concluded from the above? That she was closely
related to the Adept? Or else, as Kenneth Rayner Johnson suggests, was it
an initiatory phenomenon comparable to a shamanic trance, and in this case,
perfectly symbolizing the archetype of the hermetic androgynous state?
In any event, the prodigious character of these experiences
as reported by Eugène Canseliet certainly deserves further consideration.
Indeed, he gave further details in various interviews. He revealed in Le
Feu du Soleil that:
He [Fulcanelli] is no longer there. He is on the Earth,
but it is the Earthly Paradise. What does he do now? I have seen nothing.
I saw him upon my arrival, when he welcomed me in a three-piece suit. [...]
And then I saw him while I was working in the laboratory.
He came to see me where I was working, and I saw him; I saw him twice.
When they came to fetch me, they said it was to go to Italy.
Upon arrival in Paris, we stopped in front of the Drouant restaurant, Gare
de l'Est. At that time, it took at least three days to obtain a visa for
Spain. They went to fetch my visa and brought it back at once. So,
we were to travel to Spain. It was near Seville. I was walking like a king.
All that was needed was there, but I always went back to my apartment and
left again early every morning. There were apple and lemon trees in the
garden, and a brisk stream. It was magnificent!
So, I certainly did not expect to meet Fulcanelli with my
suspenders falling down on my trousers. When he saw me, he again addressed
me as "tu" and "toi", as he used to do: "But then, you (tu) recognize me?"
It is difficult to recognize a child you have known when
he is 25. In this case, it was the opposite. The previous times I had seen
Fulcanelli in the Sarcelles gasworks, for instance, he was a handsome old
man, but an old man. But I recognized him because I had drawn portraits.
And then on Jacques Chancel's Radioscopie radio programme in 1978:
It is as if he had gone backwards in Time, but one still
recognizes many things in the face: ears, the shape, the hair, greying,
yes, but which was black. Well, you will tell me that he could be dyeing
it! No, it was him. I could not see whether or not he had new teeth, I
am going far, but on the whole, what bearing!...
To this should be added a posthumous testimony, supplied
this time by the late Jean Laplace. Shortly after Eugène Canseliet's demise
in 1982, Laplace and Eugène Canseliet's daughter, Isabelle, discovered a
cardboard folder in the family house in Savignies. This folder contained
documents pertaining to the famous Finis Gloriae
Mundi - Fulcanelli's unpublished third
book - as well as a precious relic connected to the mysterious trip to Seville,
which he alluded to as follows:
A small, rectangular photographic card, serrated at the edges, as was the
custom in the 1950s. I am so impressed by what this venerable relic represents
that I dare not reveal its existence... What to do with it? Destroy it? It
would be a shame to relegate to the ashes forever the majestic spirit fixed on a plate that is sensitive
to all which irradiates.
Then in a footnote:
It must not be thought that it is the impression of an ectoplasm.
I am simply talking about the face of an ordinary mortal that has kept
a human shape, and that has been enriched by an indescribable expression.
And he added:
At Savignies, in the ground floor study after supper, an
amazing silence suddenly settled. Taking the photograph in her hand with
the greatest respect, Isabelle said: "I have no doubt".
And he concluded:
[...] I think I should make it clear that the photograph referred
to is no longer in the possession of any being living in this world. That
was, by the way, the indispensable condition for Isabelle Canseliet and
myself to be allowed to talk about it...
Would it really have been all that surprising if Fulcanelli
had said to his disciple when he met him again in Seville: "Do not touch
me!"... thus renewing the Easter Mystery
that sees the triumph of the body of Light,
the only body worthy of glorious immortality?
Further, didn't Eugène Canseliet opportunely write about
Fulcanelli's first initiator, the Adept Basile Valentin, in the preface to
his major work: Les Douze Clefs de la Philosophie:
Of course, no more heavy-to-bear secret difficult to defend
against malice and nastiness, for the Adept having shed his old human slough,
who enjoys the invisibility and ubiquitousness devolved only upon the members
of the Rose-Cross, as well as on those of the universal Heliopolis. Is, henceforth, oblivion not
inherent in his glorified body, as it would be for the man who is freed
from his very past?
It is this that the sensitive plate of the camera
had caught, and which the late Jean Laplace sincerely attempted to convey
To close this chapter where the fantastic is king, let
us tell you that in Le Feu du Soleil Eugène
Canseliet claimed that when he saw Fulcanelli again in Seville, the latter
was at least 113 years of age. The reader will then understand, in view of
the preceding chapters and of the evidence discovered by Gérard Heym in Eugène
Canseliet's passport, verifying that Canseliet had travelled to Spain in
1954, that Fulcanelli could only have been born in 1841.... As was Jules Violle.
Comment on this Editorial
International Terrorism? Try US/Israeli Terrorism
France: USA Cause of Hatred for West
Paris, Nov 15 (Prensa Latina)
France holds the United States responsible for promoting hostility toward the West with the war in Iraq, considering it divided Europe, and the preordained failure is plunging into chaos.
French Prime Minister Dominique Villepin savaged Washington in a speech during an assessment of the occupation of the Arab nation, accusing it of dividing Europe, which has not recovered its unity since the beginning of that invasion.
In his speech at the University of Lille, Villepin said the great democratic East the US government promised has not emerged from the war, and on the contrary, it has increased fear, divisions, and hostility toward the West.
Due to the invasion of Iraq, which France opposed, the international mechanisms have weakened and solutions to serious problems, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have become complicated, he said.
The prime minister, who opposed the invasion at the UN Security Council in 2003, considers Iraq has become a laboratory for international terrorism.
After analyzing the convulsive situation, the head of government called on the European Union to make its own foreign policy because, he said, the French do not want to give up their social ambitions or see Europe yield to pressures of other powers.
Comment on this Article
Olmert calls for 'one voice' on Iran
Nov 14 2006
LOS ANGELES - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called on the international community Tuesday to "speak with one voice" to halt the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Appearing before the largest annual gathering of Jewish community leaders in North America, he called on moderate Arab states to "unite their common interest in preventing Iran from undermining stability in the Middle East."
"If Iran achieves the ability to produce nuclear weapons, as we know it is seeking to do, we will enter a new era of instability unlike any the world has ever seen," Olmert told several thousand members of the United Jewish Communities, an umbrella group for dozens of organizations.
Israel wants peace, he said, but "no longer can the international community afford to hesitate, contemplate or waver in its dealings with this defiant state."
Olmert's appearance came a day after he received reassurances from the Bush administration in Washington that it is not backing down from its view that Iran and its nuclear program are a world threat.
Israel is worried that political fallout from last week's Republican election defeat and rising calls for U.S. engagement with Iran may soften President Bush's resolve against a country whose leader has said the Jewish state should be wiped from the map.
With Olmert at his side following a White House meeting Monday, Bush told reporters that a nuclear-armed Iran not only would threaten Israel but loom as an "incredibly destabilizing" threat to the region and the world.
In his remarks Tuesday, Olmert called Bush "a great friend ... of Israel" but said America must have the support of the international community to "defuse this mortal threat."
It was Olmert's first appearance before the group since an inconclusive war with Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. The audience was silent when he said, "despite all that has been said and written, we stood up to the challenge."
But he was loudly applauded at other points, including when he said Israel will not tolerate "those who challenge Israel's right to exist."
Olmert thanked Jewish organizations for raising hundreds of millions of dollars to assist reconstruction efforts, and said tourism bolstered the nation's spirit in a time of war.
"Our fates are intertwined," he said. "We may be separated by a vast ocean, but our hearts beat together."
Comment on this Article
Russia Still At Odds With US, Europe Over Iran
Created: 16.11.2006 09:52 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 12:11 MSK, 2 hours 45 minutes ago
The United States and key European countries failed to make any progress with Russia on the scope of UN sanctions that Iran should face for refusing to rein in its nuclear program and suspend uranium enrichment, The Associated Press reported.
U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said Wednesday there were still "wide gaps" between the Russians and Europeans, a view echoed by Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.
The five veto-wielding Security Council members - the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France - and Germany have now held six rounds of closed-door talks here with both camps refusing to budge.
"We'll report back again that after the sixth meeting, we are still basically where we have been," Bolton said. Asked whether there had been any progress since the talks began, he said, "Well, we didn't make any progress today - let's leave it at that."
Churkin said senior foreign ministry officials from the six countries failed to bridge the differences during a telephone discussion Tuesday and at Wednesday's meeting of UN ambassadors there was "a rather intense exchange of opinion." He said there was "movement," but he couldn't tell whether it represented progress.
The Europeans circulated a draft resolution late last month that would order all countries to ban the supply of materials and technology that could contribute to Iran's nuclear and missile programs and impose a travel ban and asset freeze on companies, individuals and organizations involved in those programs. It would exempt the nuclear power plant now being built by the Russians at Bushehr, Iran, but not the nuclear fuel needed for the reactor.
Russia proposed major changes that would limit sanctions solely to measures that would keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and eliminate any travel ban, asset freeze, or mention of Bushehr. The United States also proposed amendments that would strengthen the measures proposed by Britain and France.
Both Russia and China, which have major commercial ties with Iran, have continued to publicly push for dialogue instead of UN punishment, despite the collapse last month of a European Union attempt to entice Iran into talks.
"Our position is very clear," Churkin said. "We think at this point ... we should focus our efforts on non-proliferation risks which emanate from the Iranian activity in the nuclear area. So this is the stage of the game."
He referred to talks in Moscow last week between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani. Both called for a renewal of international talks with Iran, stressing that the dispute should be resolved through negotiations rather than sanctions. Lavrov said Moscow could help bridge the differences with the U.S. and Europeans.
In the most optimistic assessment of that meeting, Churkin said, "after the discussions which we had with Mr. Larijani ... we believe that there is a chance for a negotiated outcome."
"So we believe that if and when the resolution is adopted, it should leave doors open for further negotiations with the Iranians," he said.
The six countries offered Iran a package of economic incentives and political rewards in June if it agreed to consider a long-term moratorium on enrichment and commit to a freeze on uranium enrichment before talks on its nuclear program.
But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly and defiantly said his country would continue enrichment, and is not intimidated by the possibility of sanctions.
Bolton said the Russian explanations about their text "shows that there are wide gaps in the items that would be covered under the two alternative sanctions proposals."
He said "the very targeted sanctions" in the European draft "are entirely appropriate and we don't want to strip away many of the goods and technology that would be covered."
Bolton and Churkin, when asked whether negotiations should now move up to foreign ministers, said the UN ambassadors would keep talking. But Bolton said other discussions would talk place, including on the sidelines of the upcoming Asia-Pacific summit in Hanoi, Vietnam which will be attended by the U.S., Russian and Chinese leaders.
In a Fox News interview earlier Wednesday, Bolton expressed hope that U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin would talk about sanctions against Iran because "we've been having a lot of difficulty with Russia in particular."
Russia must accept that "the fight against nuclear proliferation is more important than commercial contracts," he said.
U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley played down differences between Washington and Moscow, saying negotiations on UN resolutions are "a little bit like sausage making."
"It's not pretty and a lot of it spills out to the public, but I think the international community has held together on this issue and I think it will again," he said.
Comment on this Article
General Ivashov: "International terrorism does not exist"
General Leonid Ivashov
General Leonid Ivashov was the Chief of Staff of the Russian armed forces when the September 11, 2001, attacks took place. This military man, who lived the events from the inside, offers an analysis which is very different to that of his American colleagues. As he did during the Axis for Peace 2005 conference, he now explains that international terrorism does not exist and that the September 11 attacks were the result of a set-up. What we are seeing is a manipulation by the big powers; this terrorism would not exist without them. He affirms that, instead of faking a "world war on terror", the best way to reduce that kind of attacks is through respect for international law and peaceful cooperation among countries and their citizens.
As the current international situation shows, terrorism emerges where contradiction aggravate, where there is a change of social relations or a change of regime, where there is political, economic or social instability, where there is moral decadence, where cynicism and nihilism triumph, where vice is legalized and where crime spreads.
It is globalization what creates the conditions for the emergence of these extremely dangerous phenomena. It is in this context that the new world geo-strategic map is being designed, that the resources of the planet are being re-distributed, that borders are disappearing, that international law is being torn into pieces, that cultural identities are being erased, that spiritual life becomes impoverished...
The analysis of the essence of the globalization process, the military and political doctrines of the United States and other countries, shows that terrorism contributes to a world dominance and the submissiveness of states to a global oligarchy. This means that terrorism is not something independent of world politics but simply an instrument, a means to install a unipolar world with a sole world headquarters, a pretext to erase national borders and to establish the rule of a new world elite. It is precisely this elite that constitutes the key element of world terrorism, its ideologist and its "godfather". The main target of the world elite is the historical, cultural, traditional and natural reality; the existing system of relations among states; the world national and state order of human civilization and national identity.
Today's international terrorism is a phenomenon that combines the use of terror by state and non-state political structures as a means to attain their political objectives through people's intimidation, psychological and social destabilization, the elimination of resistance inside power organizations and the creation of appropriate conditions for the manipulation of the countries' policies and the behavior of people.
Terrorism is the weapon used in a new type of war. At the same time, international terrorism, in complicity with the media, becomes the manager of global processes. It is precisely the symbiosis between media and terror, which allows modifying international politics and the exiting reality.
In this context, if we analyze what happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States, we can arrive at the following conclusions: 1. The organizers of those attacks were the political and business circles interested in destabilizing the world order and who had the means necessary to finance the operation. The political conception of this action matured there where tensions emerged in the administration of financial and other types of resources. We have to look for the reasons of the attacks in the coincidence of interests of the big capital at global and transnational levels, in the circles that were not satisfied with the rhythm of the globalization process or its direction.
Unlike traditional wars, whose conception is determined by generals and politicians, the oligarchs and politicians submitted to the former were the ones who did it this time.
2. Only secret services and their current chiefs - or those retired but still having influence inside the state organizations - have the ability to plan, organize and conduct an operation of such magnitude. Generally, secret services create, finance and control extremist organizations. Without the support of secret services, these organizations cannot exist - let alone carry out operations of such magnitude inside countries so well protected. Planning and carrying out an operation on this scale is extremely complex.
3. Osama bin Laden and "Al Qaeda" cannot be the organizers nor the performers of the September 11 attacks. They do not have the necessary organization, resources or leaders. Thus, a team of professionals had to be created and the Arab kamikazes are just extras to mask the operation.
The September 11 operation modified the course of events in the world in the direction chosen by transnational mafias and international oligarchs; that is, those who hope to control the planet's natural resources, the world information network and the financial flows. This operation also favored the US economic and political elite that also seeks world dominance.
The use of the term "international terrorism" has the following goals:
Hiding the real objectives of the forces deployed all over the world in the struggle for dominance and control;
Turning the people's demands to a struggle of undefined goals against an invisible enemy;
Destroying basic international norms and changing concepts such as: aggression, state terror, dictatorship or movement of national liberation;
Depriving peoples of their legitimate right to fight against aggressions and to reject the work of foreign intelligence services;
Establishing the principle of renunciation to national interests, transforming objectives in the military field by giving priority to the war on terror, violating the logic of military alliances to the detriment of a joint defense and to favor the anti-terrorist coalition;
Solving economic problems through a tough military rule using the war on terror as a pretext. In order to fight in an efficient way against international terrorism it is necessary to take the following steps:
To confirm before the UN General Assembly the principles of the UN Charter and international law as principles that all states are obliged to respect;
To create a geo-strategic organization (perhaps inspired in the Cooperation Organization of Shanghai comprised of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) with a set of values different to that of the Atlantists; to design a strategy of development of states, a system of international security, another financial and economic model (which would mean that the world would again rest on two pillars);
To associate (under the United Nations) the scientific elites in the design and promotion of the philosophical concepts of the Human Being of the 21st Century.
To organize the interaction of all religious denominations in the world, on behalf of the stability of humanity's development, security and mutual support.
General Leonid Ivashov is the vice-president of the Academy on geopolitical affairs. He was the chief of the department for General affairs in the Soviet Union's ministry of Defense, secretary of the Council of defense ministers of the Community of independant states (CIS), chief of the Military cooperation department at the Russian federation's Ministry of defense and Joint chief of staff of the Russian armies.
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Blair 'faces new rebellion over anti-terror legislation'
Tony Blair has been warned that he faces renewed dissent over planned anti-terror laws as research showed the Government faced record levels of rebellion from its backbenchers last year.
Labour MPs defied the whip in more than a quarter of votes during the last session of Parliament, academics at Nottingham University said.
More than half of the rebellions, and the four defeats inflicted, were over Home Office Bills, leading to warnings that the Government could face problems with legislation in a Queen's Speech expected to focus on crime and anti-terror measures.
The research came amid renewed calls for the Government to consider extending the time police can hold terror suspects without charge. The current limit of 28 days was set as a compromise after MPs threw out government plans to permit suspects to be held for up to 90 days.
Tomorrow's Queen's Speech is expected to include controv-ersial anti-terror legislation, while Gordon Brown and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair have called for an extension of the time suspects can be held in terror cases.
Labour MPs rebelled in 95 out of 343 votes, almost equalling the 96 rebellions suffered by the Government during the whole of Mr Blair's first term. MPs rebelled more often even than during the 1992-93 session, when John Major struggled to push the Maastricht treaty through Parliament.
Philip Cowley, a researcher, found that 114 Labour MPs had voted against their whips since the general election. He said no other post-war government with a majority of more than 60 in the Commons had suffered as many defeats in an entire parliament, let alone in its first session.
The most frequent rebel was John McDonnell, the chairman of the Socialist Campaign Group of MPs and a declared candidate to stand as a left-wing successor to Mr Blair. Mr McDonnell warned there was widespread unease over civil liberties across all parties and predicted fresh unrest if ministers failed to make the case for new anti-terror laws. He said: "If the Government is going to focus on this in the Queen's Speech they will have to come up with some very strong arguments and evidence."
Other senior Labour backbenchers also warned that the Government had to give strong evidence to justify extending the length of time police can hold terror suspects.
David Winnick, the Labour MP who proposed the 28-day compromise, told the BBC that he did not believe there was "any justification" for increasing it.
John Denham, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, called for an independent review of any case for an extension. He said: "If the Government is now convinced by the evidence they should subject it to the sort of independent scrutiny that the select committee called for. I think that if that happened, Parliament would be inclined to support a change."
Comment: Sadly, no such forces for rebellion exist in the US government.
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US: Immigrants to be held indefinitely
WASHINGTON - Immigrants arrested in the United States may be held indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism and may not challenge their imprisonment in civilian courts, the Bush administration said Monday, opening a new legal front in the fight over the rights of detainees.
In court documents filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., the Justice Department said a new anti-terrorism law being used to hold detainees in Guantanamo Bay also applies to foreigners captured and held in the United States.
Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was arrested in 2001 while studying in the United States. He has been labeled an "enemy combatant," a designation that, under a law signed last month, strips foreigners of the right to challenge their detention in federal courts.
That law is being used to argue the Guantanamo Bay cases, but Al-Marri represents the first detainee inside the United States to come under the new law. Aliens normally have the right to contest their imprisonment, such as when they are arrested on immigration violations or for other crimes.
"It's pretty stunning that any alien living in the United States can be denied this right," said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney for Al-Marri. "It means any non-citizen, and there are millions of them, can be whisked off at night and be put in detention."
The new law says that enemy combatants will be tried before military commissions, not a civilian judge or jury, and establishes different rules of evidence in the cases. It also prohibits detainees from challenging their detention in civilian court.
In a separate court filing in Washington on Monday, the Justice Department defended that law as constitutional and necessary.
Government attorneys said foreign fighters arrested as part of an overseas military action have no constitutional rights and are being afforded more legal rights than ever.
In its short filing in the Al-Marri case, however, the Justice Department doesn't mention that Al-Marri is being held at a military prison in South Carolina - a fact that his attorneys say affords him the same rights as anyone else being held in the United States.
The Justice Department noted only that the new law applies to all enemy combatants "regardless of the location of the detention."
The Bush administration maintains that al-Marri is an al-Qaida sleeper agent. The Defense Department ordered a review of Al-Marri's status as an enemy combatant be conducted if, as requested, the case is thrown out of court.
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Woman says she was kicked off plane for breast-feeding baby
November 14, 2006
BURLINGTON, Vt. - A New Mexico woman has complained that she was kicked off an airplane about to leave Burlington International Airport because she was breast-feeding her baby.
A complaint against two airlines was filed with the Vermont Human Rights, although Executive Director Robert Appel said he was barred by state law from confirming the complaint. He did say state law allows a mother to breast-feed in public.
Elizabeth Boepple, a lawyer hired by 27-year-old mother Emily Gillette, confirmed that Gillette filed the complaint late last week against Delta Air Lines and Freedom Airlines. Freedom was operating the Delta commuter flight between Burlington and New York City.
A Freedom spokesman said Gillette was asked to leave the flight after she declined a flight attendant's offer of a blanket.
"A breast-feeding mother is perfectly acceptable on an aircraft, providing she is feeding the child in a discreet way," that doesn't bother others, said Paul Skellon, spokesman for Phoenix-based Freedom. "She was asked to use a blanket just to provide a little more discretion, she was given a blanket, and she refused to use it, and that's all I know."
Gillette, her husband Brad and their daughter River, who live in New Mexico, had been visiting relatives in Vermont. Their flight was three hours late but appeared to be preparing for takeoff Oct. 13 when Gillette decided to breast-feed her 22-month-old, she said.
Gillette said she was being discreet. She was seated by the window in the second-to-last row, her husband was seated between her and the aisle and no part of her breast was showing, she said.
A flight attendant approached, tried to hand her a blanket and told her to cover up, Gillette said. She said she had a legal right to breast-feed her baby.
Moments later, a Delta ticket agent approached and said the flight attendant had asked that the family be removed from the flight, Gillette said. She said she didn't want to make a scene and complied.
"It embarrassed me. That was my first reaction, which is a weird reaction for doing something so good for a child. And then helpless," Gillette said.
The Vermont Human Rights Commission investigates complaints and determines whether discrimination may have occurred. The parties to a complaint are given six months to reach a settlement. If none is reached, the commission then decides whether to go to court. A complainant can file a separate suit in state court at any time.
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Another Coup In The Making in Venezuela?
Thursday, Nov 16, 2006
By: Chris Carlsson - Gringo in Venezuela
On April 11th, 2002, a group of businessman, politicians, and military officers, in conjunction with the cooperation of the major national media, kidnapped the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, and took over the national government. Two days and 19 deaths later, the coup d'etat ultimately failed and the president was returned to power. The wealthy businessmen and oligarchs were unable to get rid of the popular president of the masses. However, recent events give the impression that they will soon make another attempt.
With most of the polls and surveys showing that Chavez has a huge advantage in the upcoming December elections, there remains little doubt about who will win the presidential elections on December 3rd. However, the opposition candidates and opposition media in Venezuela have a habit of claiming fraud every time Chavez or his party win an election. The stage is already being set for the upcoming elections, as mainstream media in Venezuela constantly mention the possibility of fraud, and claims the elections are not transparent. The question remains; how can they claim fraud when dozens of surveys taken over the last few months show that the election won't even be a close contest? And secondly, why would the Chavez government commit fraud when it is obvious that they will easily win? The answer: it is all part of a plan to overthrow the government in the days following the December 3rd election.
The opposition parties in Venezuela have been making claims of fraudulent elections over the last few years. Often times they focus on the "captahuella" machines, which take the voters fingerprint to prevent them from voting more than once. Other times the claims center on the CNE, the national electoral body which oversees the elections. The opposition claims that this body is totally under the control of the Chavez government. All of these claims by the opposition are, of course, widely covered in the private media, and have created the feeling that Venezuela has unfair elections. So, for the December presidential elections, whether people believe it or not, this is all more of the same old story.
Last week, however, leaders of the opposition stepped up their rhetoric and discussed a "plan" for the days surrounding the elections. Prominent journalistic businessman Rafael Poleo, who was also involved in the 2002 coup attempt, announced on the cable network Globovision the opposition "plan" for December 3rd, 4th, and 5th. The plan calls for all voters aligned with the opposition to come out and vote on December 3rd. Then, on December 4th, claiming that the elections were fraudulent, the opposition voters must take to the streets to protest the Chavez victory. Referring to the "Orange Revolution," when popular protests in Ukraine overturned fraudulent elections in 2004, Poleo claims that the electoral fraud is already in place, and makes a call for all Venezuelans who are opposed to Chavez to come out into the streets and protest on December 4th. He emphasizes that Manuel Rosales, the opposition candidate, must join this movement on December 4th and claim that the elections were fraudulent. If he does, says Poleo, Rosales could become the most important person in 21st century Venezuelan history.
With all of this in place, the plan continues with a call to the high military command, in the words of Poleo, to "decide if it is going to continue forcing the Venezuelan opposition to put up with an embarrassing regime." These words, directed to the high military command, basically amount to a call to overthrow the government. He continues by referring to the plan as a sequence of events that all Venezuelans are going to see this December, and in which their destiny as dignified human beings, and the destiny of their respectable nation, is at play. Obviously, Poleo is implying that if Chavez continues in power, Venezuela will cease to be a dignified and respectable nation, and that Venezuelans should not have to continue putting up with him. He forgets to mention, however, that surveys show Chavez has the support of the majority of Venezuelans.
This message to the high military command coincides with a similar call made by candidate Manuel Rosales one day before. At a political rally, Rosales made a call for a meeting with the high military command, "because we have to be preparing for a transition and change of government that will come to Venezuela in the near future," he said. Rosales has yet to make the claim that the elections are fraudulent, but he did call on the government to get rid of the "captahuella" machines, which he had previously accepted as a condition of the election. Rosales maintains that he will win at the ballot box, although nearly all the polls show him to be trailing Chavez by a large margin.
If it weren't for the 2002 coup attempt, which occurred in a strikingly similar fashion, these words from the opposition might not be as significant. But the 2002 coup also began with large opposition protests against the government. When violence broke out between pro and anti-government groups, snipers and the Metropolitan police opened fire on innocent protesters both from the Chavez camp and from the opposition. Next, blaming the violence on the government, military officers aligned with the opposition forced the president to leave office under the threat that the Presidential Palace would be bombed. Just as they appear to be doing now, the private media set the stage for the coup after they made numerous calls for the people to come out and march against Chavez. Later, with the intervention of a group within the military they were almost successful in overthrowing the government. Popular demonstrations forced them to hand power back over Chavez, but the radical opposition groups didn't go away, and they have continued their attempts to destabilize the country in the years since.
On December 4th, it is almost certain that there will be large opposition protests in the major cities of Venezuela. Since the private media continues to report false surveys that show a possible victory for the opposition, a large sector of the population now believes that Rosales may hold the lead. When Chavez beats him at ballot box, which is the obvious result according to most polls, it will be a hard reality to accept for all those Venezuelans who have been decieved by their major media's manipulation. Rosales and the opposition leaders have called out to the people, and to the military command. There will no doubt be protests in the days following the elections, but will there be a coup?
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Doubts cast on UN report of Somali support for Hizbullah
Xan Rice in Nairobi
Thursday November 16, 2006
A UN report that claims 720 fighters from Somalia's Islamic courts fought alongside Hizbullah during the recent war with Israel has been questioned by experts.
The report, compiled by the Monitoring Group on Somalia and to be presented to the UN security council tomorrow, also alleges that Iran sought to purchase uranium from the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia (Sics) in exchange for weapons. It names 11 countries that have violated the country's arms embargo, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Libya and Egypt.
If the allegations about the Hizbullah links and Iran's uranium quest are true, the report would vindicate those in the west who view the rise of the Islamic courts as a threat to world peace.
But several Horn of Africa analysts say these and other claims in the report appear exaggerated and lack evidence.
A diplomatic source who follows Somalia and asked not to be named said he feared the 80-page report could become a "very useful propaganda tool" for hawks in the west.
Matt Bryden, a regional consultant to the International Crisis Group, expressed similar reservations. "We need to treat many of these claims with caution until we see firm evidence," he said.
The four-man monitoring group is mainly based in Nairobi and relies on intelligence from Somalia. The team is respected, although some of its previous reports have been seen by some as alarmist. The latest covers the period from May 5, a month before Sics took control of the capital, Mogadishu.
Ethiopia and Eritrea are identified as the principal embargo violators, a fact no one disputes. Ethiopia, which backs the government, is believed to have thousands of soldiers in Somalia. Eritrea has sent a smaller number to back the courts. The report's mention of a massive build-up of heavy weapons on both sides is also not questioned, nor the fact that the country may be on the brink of an all-out war.
But the allegations of battlefield assistance to Hizbullah have aroused widespread scepticism. "To me it's completely counter-intuitive," said Ken Menkhaus, a professor of political science and Somalia expert at Davidson College in the US. "Somalis, whether secular or Islamist, are parochial, and have never been animated about distant causes."
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The Butchers Of Palestine
'Israel must prepare for full-scale war'
Israel has to prepare for a full-scale war, in which Syria will be an important player, an Israeli military official told the British Sunday Times. "The challenge from Iran and Syria is now top of the Israeli defense agenda, higher than the Palestinian one," another official said.
The recent war with Hizbullah and the threat that Iran could achieve nuclear weapons capability have led Israel to reexamine its defense strategies, and focus on the region's two major supporters of terrorism, IDF sources have said recently. One conclusion is that Israel has allocated too much time and energy to addressing the terror threat posed by Palestinian groups in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
According to London's International Institute for Strategic Studies, both Iran and Syria have ballistic missiles whose range extends over most of Israel, including Tel Aviv. Funds have reportedly been approved for the construction of appropriately equipped shelters.
Eyeing Syria, the IDF has formed a new infantry brigade, known as Kfir (young lion), as a countermeasure against Syria's commando forces, which are considered "better" than Hizbullah guerrillas, a military source informed the Times. The IDF is also reportedly integrating three elite brigades in preparation for them cooperating on deep cross-border operations into Syria and Iran.
Also, shortly before the Lebanon war, Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy was appointed head of the IDF's Iranian Front - and as such will command any future strikes against Syria or Iran.
Some analysts say that it would have been better for Israel to attack Syria during the recent war with Hizbullah. Syria has consistently supplied Hizbullah with weapons, and according to recent UN reports, has continued to smuggle arms to the organization despite an international embargo. "If they had acted against Syria during this last kerfuffle, the war might have ended more quickly and better," American analyst Richard Perle said.
"Syrian military installations are sitting ducks and the Syrian air force could have been destroyed on the ground in a couple of days," Perle continued.
Comment: Israeli Zionist warmongers will not be content, it seems, until millions of innocent people in the Middle East have been slaughtered.
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Israel promises harsh response to deadly rocket attack
Israel today promised a punishing response to the first deadly Palestinian rocket attack on the Israeli town of Sderot since the Gaza Strip evacuation last year, even as Palestinian leaders and international envoys pursued diplomatic efforts to spur deadlocked peacemaking.
The home-made rocket exploded about 350 feet from the home of Israel's defence minister in Sderot, a favourite target of the militants because it is less than a mile from the Gaza fence.
The rocket killed a 57-year-old woman walking to the corner grocery and badly wounded a member of the minister's security detail who was patrolling the area.
The projectile was one of at least eight that struck Israel throughout the day, including the port city of Ashkelon.
After nightfall, a rocket seriously injured a Sderot teenager, the rescue service said.
Militants affiliated with the Palestinians' ruling Hamas group and Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility for the fatal Sderot attack, calling it retaliation for the deaths of 19 civilians killed last week in an Israeli shelling in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.
"The occupation hasn't stopped attacking Palestinians before or after Beit Hanoun, so we say resistance is a right of Palestinians," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.
The Israeli defense minister, Amir Peretz, scheduled an emergency meeting of senior security officials for Wednesday evening to discuss a response to the militants' attack. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert talked to Peretz and generals before the meeting, said his spokeswoman, Miri Eisin. Olmert is in Los Angeles, California, attending a meeting of Jewish leaders.
Olmert told reporters there, "The operations in Gaza will continue without letup."
Peretz vowed a harsh response. "We will act against anyone involved in firing Qassam (rockets)," he vowed. "The terror organisations will pay a heavy price."
Another senior member of the Cabinet, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, said Israel must expand its operations to bring about "a complete halt" to rocket fire, "whether that means a ground operation, an air operation or other special operations." He did not elaborate.
The area military commander, Maj Gen Yoav Gallant, told reporters the army "will get those responsible for the attacks in the way we know how."
Israel's latest military operation against rocket squads, an offensive in Beit Hanoun, just across from Sderot, ended last week without major achievements. For more than a week, troops, backed by attack helicopters and tanks, went after rocket squads in the town, killing about 50 militants, but also leaving behind badly damaged buildings, uprooted trees and streets chewed up by tank treads.
Comment: Israeli forces have murdered hundreds of Palestinians over the past 9 months. In response, Palestinian militants kill ONE Israeli citizen, and the ISraeli government uses this to justify a "harsh response", (which means dozens more dead Palestinian civilians). It's called Zionist 'justice', in case you were wondering.
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Israeli helicopter fires on house in Gaza
November 15, 2006 09:29 PM
GAZA (Reuters) - Israel's air force bombed the homes of two senior Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday after warning their occupants to get out, witnesses and militant officials said.
The first strike, by a helicopter gunship firing two missiles, targeted the house of a leader of the Popular Resistance Committees armed group in Shathi refugee camp outside Gaza City. Residents said a person walking outside was wounded.
Minutes later, an Israeli warplane bombed the home of a military commander from the governing Palestinian faction Hamas in nearby Jabalya refugee camp. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said the air strikes, which came hours after a Palestinian rocket salvo from Gaza killed a woman in Israel, targeted militant arms caches.
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Israeli DM: Operations in Gaza to continue
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-16 04:06:29
JERUSALEM, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- In the wake of a lethal Qassam rocket attack on southern Israeli town of Sderot on Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz vowed to continue Israeli operations in the Gaza Strip "in accordance with Israel's policy and security interests."
Peretz made the remarks at an emergency meeting attended by top defense officials, including Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, following a Qassam rocket strike in southern town of Sderot on Wednesday morning that killed a woman and seriously injured one of Peretz' bodyguards.
Peretz said during the meeting that he viewed the matter with great severity and the war on terror would be continuous and would correspond with Israel's security interests and policies.
Earlier in the day, Peretz said that the strike would not go unpunished.
"Israel will act against anyone involved in the rocket fire, from the terrorist leaders to the last activist," he said, warning" the terrorist organizations will pay a heavy price." Islamic Jihad and militants from the ruling Palestinian movement Hamas both claimed responsibility for the attack. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the Palestinians acted in self-defense.
The militant groups said the rockets fire was meant to avenge the deaths of 18 civilians killed last week in IDF shelling of an apartment compound in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.
Comment: Of course such military actions are going to continue. That is the whole point, to terrorize the Palestinians, forcing conditions where they will either decide to leave their homeland or be killed if they stay.
The killing and terrorizing of Palestinians is Israeli policy. Israel knows that the governments of the world do not care enough to actually protest and do something to stop the carnage. 9/11 was planned by Israel in order to give them carte blanche in their genocide. The decades old demonization of the Arabs as beasts, savages, and suicide bombers was planned in order to justify and excuse Israel's bloody hands. Mossad false flag operations are carried out to plant these ideas in the minds of the Western public through the pathocratic press.
Mind control at its most effective.
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Weekly Report: On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
09 - 15 November 2006
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Escalate Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)
6 Palestinians, including 4 children, were killed by IOF.
4 of the victims died in the Gaza Strip from previous wounds they had sustained by IOF.
17 Palestinians, including 9 children, were wounded by IOF.
IOF have continued to launch air strikes on houses and civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip; 3 houses and a commercial store were destroyed.
IOF conducted 30 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, and one into the Gaza Strip.
IOF arrested 55 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children and two women.
IOF closed the Palestinian Center for Media and Studies in Tulkarm.
IOF have continued to impose a total siege on the OPT; IOF arrested 5 Palestinian civilians at checkpoints in the West Bank
IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall in the West Bank; IOF razed areas of land in Bethlehem and Qalqilya; IOF seized areas of land in 'Anata village, northeast of Jerusalem; and Palestinian farmers have been denied access to their agricultural lands to cultivate olives.
Israeli settlers have continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property in the OPT; Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers and prevented them from cultivating olives.
Israeli violations of international law continued in the OPT during the reported period (9 - 15 November 2006):
Killing: During the reported period, IOF killed 6 Palestinians, including two children, and wounded 17 others, including 9 children.
In the Gaza Strip, on Sunday morning, 12 November 2006, IOF killed a Palestinian child, when they fired a surface-to-surface missile at a number of children, who were standing near a launcher of home-made rockets in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia. Two other children were wounded. Four Palestinians, including 3 civilians, died from previous wounds they had sustained during the IOF offensive on the northern Gaza Strip. Also on Sunday morning, IOF fired at a Palestinian civilian, who suffers from a psychological disorder, in the east of Khan Yunis, wounding him. Thus, the number of Palestinians killed by IOF since the beginning of the offensive on the northern Gaza Strip has mounted to 83 Palestinians, including 54 civilians. In addition, 264 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 76 children and 60 women, have been wounded.
IOF also launched 5 air strike on 4 houses and a commercial store in the Gaza City and Jabalya town. As a result, 3 of these houses and the store were destroyed and a number of neighboring houses were severely damaged. IOF often warn residents of houses of their intention to attack them a very short time prior to the attack.
In the west Bank, on Tuesday, 14 November 2006, IOF killed a member of the Palestinian resistance in 'Ein Beit al-Maa' refugee camp, west of Nablus. He bled to death as IOF prevented ambulances from entering the camp for several hours. In addition, 13 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children, were wounded by the IOF gunfire in the West Bank. Moreover, IOF wounded and arrested a Palestinian in Ramallah, claiming that he was wanted.
Incursions: During the reported period, IOF conducted at least 30 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, during which they raided houses and arrested 55 Palestinian civilians, including 6 children and two women. IOF also raided, searched and closed offices of the Palestinian Center for Media and Studies in Tulkarm. They also raided offices of al-Ihsan Charitable Society in the town, which was closed last year.
In the Gaza Strip, IOF moved into al-Shouka village, east of Rafah. They raided and searched a number of houses and transformed 3 of them into military sites. They also gathered and interrogated Palestinian civilians aged 15-45.
Restrictions on Movement: IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Occupied East Jerusalem.
IOF have imposed a strict siege on the Gaza Strip. They have closed its border crossings as a form of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians.
IOF have closed Rafah International Crossing Point since 25 June 2006, even though they do not directly control it. During this period, the crossing point was reopened on 14 and 15 November 2006, and hundreds of Palestinian were able to travel through it. Since 15 June 2006, the crossing point has been opened for 20 separate days. On 15 November 2006, the Palestinian - Israeli agreement on border crossing, which was concluded under US and European supervision, expired. Under this agreement, IOF have maintained indirect control over of the crossing point. The European observation team working at the crossing point extended their mission for additional 6 months. IOF have imposed severe restrictions at commercial crossings of the Gaza Strip, especially al-Mentar (Karni) crossing. As a consequence, the economic situation inside the Gaza Strip has further deteriorated and many goods have been lacked in markets. During the reported period, IOF partially reopened Sofa crossing near Rafah for two days, while Kerem Shalom crossing has remained closed. IOF have also continued to close Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip had been prevented from traveling through this crossing. IOF have allowed international workers to pass through the crossing. With this closure, only few Palestinian patients have been able to travel to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank. In addition, IOF have continued to prevent Palestinian fishermen from fishing for 5 months.
IOF have tightened the siege imposed on Palestinian communities in the West Bank. They have isolated Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. IOF have continued to separate between the north and south of the West Bank. On Saturday, 11 November 2006, IOF imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians wishing to travel to Ramallah to participate in the commemoration of the second anniversary of the death of President Yasser Araafaf. During the reported period, IOF positioned at various checkpoints in the West Bank arrested 5 Palestinian civilians.
Annexation Wall: IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside the West Bank. During the reported period, IOF started to construct a new section of the Wall to the south of 'Azzoun-'Atma village, south of Qalqilya. The new section of the Wall is expected to isolate at least 4,000 donums of agricultural land, 10 houses and a well. On Thursday morning, 9 November 2006, IOF surveillance teams started to survey on the lands of Um Salamouna village, south of Bethlehem. According to local sources, the surveyed areas of land would be razed to establish a crossing point separating the village from neighboring villages and from the Wall. On Sunday, 12 November 2006, IOF issued a military order seizing more areas of Palestinian land in 'Anata village, north of occupied Jerusalem, to establish "a security fence" north of "Ma'leh Adomim" settlement, east of Jerusalem. On Monday morning, 13 November 2006, IOF started to raze areas of land in Wadi Rahhal village, south of Bethlehem, to construct a new section of the Wall in the area.
Illegal Settler Activities: Israeli settlers in breach of international humanitarian law continue to reside in the OPT and have launched a series of attacks against Palestinian civilians and property. During the reported period, Israeli settlers attacked dozens of schoolchildren in al-Tawani village, south of Hebron, injuring a number of them. Israeli settlers also attacked a house in the center of Hebron. In addition, IOF prevented Palestinian farmers from reaching their agricultural land near "Ma'oun" settlement, south of Hebron. They also prevented a number of Palestinian civilians from reaching their agricultural land near "Tilim" settlement, west of Hebron, to cultivate olives.
The outcome of crimes committed by IOF since 25 June 2006:
o 434 Palestinians, 275 of whom are civilians, including 82 children and 25 women, have been killed by IOF.
o At least 1456 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 424 children and 107 women, have been wounded by the IOF gunfire.
o At least 315 air-to-surface missiles and hundreds of artillery shells have been fired at Palestinian civilian and military targets in the Gaza Strip.
o Buildings of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National economy, the office of the Palestinian Prime Minister and a number of educational institutions have been destroyed.
o The electricity generation plant, providing 45% of the electricity of the Gaza Strip, was destroyed, and electricity networks and transmitters have been repeatedly attacked.
o 6 bridges linking Gaza City with the central Gaza Strip and a number of roads have been destroyed.
o Hundreds of donums of agricultural land and dozens of houses have been destroyed.
o Hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including 10 ministers and 31 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), including the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Secretary, have been arrested. Minster of Prisoners' Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Labor and Second Deputy Speaker of the PLC were released.
o The Palestinian governmental compound in Nablus has been destroyed.
o Many families in Rafah, Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia have been forced to leave their houses.
o IOF intelligence has warned some Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip by phone to evacuate their houses, which would be attacked.
o 61 houses belonging to activists of Palestinian factions have been destroyed by IOF warplanes.
o IOF have imposed a strict siege on the OPT, and have isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
Israeli Violations Documented during the Reporting Period (9 - 15 November 2006)
1. Incursions into Palestinian Areas and Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Property in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
Thursday, 9 November 2006
- At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into al-Zeer neighborhood in the south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians:
1. Ibrahim Salim al-Zeer, 23;
2. Yasser Mahmoud 'Awadallah, 21; and
3. Mohammed Mahmoud 'Awadallah, 24.
- Also at approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Taqqou' village, southeast of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Ahmed Salim al-Badan, 24, and arrested him.
- At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Nablus and neighboring refugee camps. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians:
1. Rami Ghazi Zahran, 26;
2. Sa'id Mas'oud Khaled, 54; and
3. 'Aaa' Na'im al-Sourkaji, 24.
- At approximately 02:15, IOF moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 9 Palestinian civilians, including two children:
1. 'Emad Khaled al-Damaj, 32;
2. Mahmoud Khaled al-Damaj, 25;
3. Najeeb Khaled al-Damaj, 24;
4. Taher Mohammed al-Damaj, 27;
5. Ibrahim Mohammed al-Damaj, 23;
6. Isma'il Mohammed al-Damaj, 17;
7. Mohammed 'Afeef al-Damaj, 25;
8. 'Ali Mohammed al-Damaj, 16; and
9. Fadi Mahmoud 'Abdullah, 22.
- At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Tammoun village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched a house belonging to 'Ali Samara Bani 'Ouda. They interrogated members of the family and threatened to kill the owner's son, 'Abdul Qader, if he didn't surrender to them. IOF also raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Mohammed Suleiman Bisharat, 27, and arrested him.
- At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Sawahra village, southeast of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Mahmoud Jameel Ja'far, 22, and arrested him.
- At approximately 10:00, hundreds of Palestinian civilians organized demonstrations in Hebron in protest to the massacre committed by IOF in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. A number of demonstrators threw stones at IOF vehicles. Immediately, IOF soldiers fired at the demonstrators, wounding 5 of them:
1. Ziad As'ad al-'Ajlouni, 20, seriously wounded by a live bullet to the chest;
2. fadi 'Abdul Rahman Harbawi, 17, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the face;
3. Fadi Wa'el Salhab, 20, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the forehead;
4. Mohammed Nazmi al-Swaiti, 18, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the left leg; and
5. Mohammed Mazen Kawahla, 13, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the right shoulder.
Friday, 10 November 2006
- At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Habla village, south of Qalqilya. They detonated sound bombs near a number of houses, damaging a house belonging to 'Abdullah Mohammed ;Ouda. They then raided and searched two houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:
1. Jaber Mohammed 'Ouda, 20; and
2. Adham Rabah 'Ouda, 22.
- At approximately 01:15, IOF moved into Wadi Ma'ali neighborhood in the south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:
1. Ahmed Mustafa Abu al-Kamel, 45; and
2. Yasser 'Abdullah Eskafi, 42.
- At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Abu Dis town, east of occupied Jerusalem. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of 'Atiya Hanin 'Eraikat, 25, and arrested him.
- At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into al-Khader village, southwest of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a house belonging to Khaled Jameel al-Da'dou', 40, and arrested him.
- Also at approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Abu Rumman neighborhood in the southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Kazem Mershed al-Qasrawi, 35, and arrested him.
- At approximately 10:00, Palestinian medical sources declared that Bassem 'Abdul Hadi al-Kafarna, 39, died at an Israeli hospital from a wound he had sustained on Wednesday morning, 8 November 2006, when IOF shelled houses in the northwest of Beit Hanoun. This attack killed 18 Palestinian civilians and wounded 56 others. Thus, the number of Palestinian civilians killed in the attack has increased to 19.
- At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into Beit 'Awa village, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 5 Palestinian civilians:
1. Bassam Isma'il al-Shalaf, 25;
2. Mohammed 'Aqel al-Shalaf, 28;
3. Nasser 'Abdullah al-Masalma, 22;
4. Rezeq 'Ouda al-Masalma 31; and
5. Mahmoud 'Ali al-Swaiti, 19.
- At approximately 22:30, IOF moved into Nour Shams refugee camp, east of Tulkarm. They opened fire at houses, damaging a number of them. They withdrew from the camp later, and no casualties or arrests were reported.
Saturday, 11 November 2006
- At approximately 08:30, IOF moved into Housan village, west of Bethlehem. They patrolled in the streets and arrested two Palestinian children:
1. 'Ali Mohammed Shousha, 14; and
2. Fateem Mohammed Shousha, 14.
Sunday, 12 November 2006
- At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Tulkarm. They broke into Da'bas Mall near Tulkarm Hospital. They raided offices of the Palestinian Center for Media and Studeis (Mass Press) on the second floor of the building, destroyed their contents and closed them. According to Mohammed Eshtaiwi, director of Mass Press, IOF soldiers confiscated two computer sets, television camera and a satellite receiver. It is worth noting that Mal Press provides media training courses. At the same time, IOF soldiers raided and searched the offices of al-Ihasan Charitable Society in 'Afeef Abu Safiya building in the east of the town. They damaged the contents of the office. IOF had closed the society last year.
- At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They opened fire indiscriminately, and raided and searched a number of houses. They withdrew a few hours later, and no casualties or arrests were reported.
- Also at approximately 02:00, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Khan Yunis, fired at Bassem Jaber Abu Haleeb, 22, when he was walking near the border, he was wounded by a live bullet to the right foot. According to his family, he suffers from a psychological disorder.
- At approximately 08:00, Palestinian medical sources declared that Mohammed Nabeel Salim Abu Mo'awad, 18, from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, died from a wound he had sustained on Friday, 3 November 2006. According to PCHR's documentation, at approximately 21:30 on Friday, 3 November 2006, an IOF warplane fired a missile at a group of the Palestinian resistance and a number of Palestinian civilians in Be'r al-Na'ja area in the west of Beit Lahia, wounding a number of them. Half an hour later, an ambulance of Palestine Red Crescent Society arrived at the area to evacuate the wounded. Soon, an IOF warplane fired another missile at the area. As a result, two paramedics and 4 other Palestinians, including a child, were killed. In addition, 4 Palestinians, including Abu Mo'awad, were wounded.
- At approximately 08:55, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Jabalya, fired a surface-to-surface missile at a number of Palestinian children who were standing near a launcher of home-made rockets, nearly 400 meters away from Balsam Hospital in Beit Lahia. As a result, Mousa Ahmed Zuhod, 14, from Beit Lahia, was killed. Two other children were also wounded:
1. 'Abdullah 'Atiya Abu Namous, 17, wounded by shrapnel to the back and the left foot; and
2. Shadi Mahdi Zaher, 20, wounded by shrapnel throughout the body.
- At approximately 11:30, IOF moved into al-Zababda village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses. They withdrew a few hours later and no arrests were reported.
- At approximately 12:00, medical sources at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City declared that Mahmoud Hassan Abu Hamada, 17, from Tal al-Za'tar area in Jabalya, died from a wound he had sustained on Monday, 6 November 2006. According to PCHR's documentation, at approximately 06:45 on Monday, 6 November 2006, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Beit Lahia town, fired a surface-to-surface missile at Jabalya Youth Club near Jabalya - Beit Lahia intersection. The missile fell nearly 15 meters away from a kindergarten bus that was at the intersection. A schoolchild was killed by shrapnel, and 16 others, including Abu Hamada, were wounded.
- At approximately 18:30, IOF moved into al-Doha village, southwest of Bethlehem. They raided and searched the building of al-Roa'a Television and a number of neighboring houses, and arrested Ma'ath 'Aatef Abu 'Akar, 15.
- At approximately 22:20, IOF moved into 'Ein Beit al-Maa' refugee camp, west of Nablus. They raided and searched a house belonging to the family of Mohammed Rafeeq Maraqa, 17, and arrested him.
- At night, Palestinian medical sources declared that Mohammed 'Abdullah Ibrahim Maqhaz, 21, a member of the Palestinian resistance, died at an Egyptian hospital from a wound he had sustained on Friday, 3 November 2006, when IOF soldiers positioned atop of houses in 'Izbat Beit Hanoun opened fire at a number of the Palestinian resistance.
Monday, 13 November 2006
- At approximately 00:00, IOF moved into Abu Snaina and Um al-Dalia neighborhood in the south and southwest of Hebron respectively. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:
1. Hazem Ibrahim Abu Nijma, 25; and
2. Hamdi 'Abdul Qader al-Atrash, 27.
- At approximately 01:45, IOF moved into al-Rama neighborhood in the northeast of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Sami Is'haq al-Ja'bari, and arrested 3 of his sons: Mash'our, 21; Hamza, 24; and Hatem, 22.
- At approximately 03:00, IOF, reinforced by heavy military vehicles and helicopters, moved hundreds of meters into al-Shouka village, east of Rafah. They raided and searched a number of houses, and transformed them into a military sites. At approximately 09:00, IOF called through megaphones on residents of the area to get out of their houses and gather in one place. IOF soldiers interrogated them.
Tuesday, 14 November 2006
- At approximately 01:50, IOF, reinforced by a bulldozer and two helicopters, moved into 'Ein Beit al-Maa' refugee camp, west of Nablus. They patrolled in the streets and opened fire at houses. A number of members of the Palestinian resistances clashed with IOF. As a result of these clashes, a member of the resistance, 26-year-old Bahaa' Salah Khatari, was wounded by a live bullet to the left side. He bled to death. According to eyewitnesses, IOF prevented Palestinian medical crews until 11:40. During this incursion, IOF transformed the roofs of a number of houses into military sites. In the morning, a number of Palestinian civilians gathered and threw stones at IOF military vehicles. Immediately, IOF soldiers fired at these civilians, wounding 8 of them, including 6 children:
1. 'Obaida 'Abdullah Ghefari, 16, wounded by a live bullet to the right foot;
2. 'Emad Talal al-Barq, 16, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the chest;
3. Makkawi Sa'id Baghdadi, 16, wounded by two live bullets to the thighs;
4. Nidal Daman Qarqash, 16, wounded by a live bullet to the left thigh;
5. Israa' Ibrahim Salem, 17, wounded by a live bullet to the left thigh;
6. Rawhi Eyad Hourani, 18, wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet to the testicles;
7. 'Aamer Dirar Barakat, 24, wounded by shrapnel to the left shoulder; and
8. Sabreen Ibrahim al-Damouni, 18, hit by a sound bomb to the face.
- At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into Shraim neighborhood in the center of Qaqlilya. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mahmoud 'Ali Shraim, 34. They forced him to accompany them to his shop in the center of the town, where he maintain computer sets. They confiscated at least 50 computer sets and arrested him. According to his family, IOF also confiscated at least 50,000 NIS (approximately US$ 11,700) and a number of cameras. Shraim is a cameraman of Reuters, and also maintain computer sets in his own shop.
- At approximately 02:00, an IOF warplane fired a missile at a store of used car parts belonging to Hashem Rabah al-Hatu in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. The store was destroyed, a number of neighboring houses were damaged, and electricity was cut off.
- At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Harmala village, southeast of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 5 Palestinian civilians:
1. 'Abdullah Taleb 'Atallah, 27;
2. Waleed Taleb 'Atallah, 24;
3. Naji 'Ali 'Atallah, 28;
4. Rami Ahmed 'Atallah, 22; and
5. Mohammed 'Aadel 'Atallah, 21.
- Also at approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Taqqou' village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians:
1. Jom'a Ameen Sabbah, 20;
2. Haitham Yousef Sabbah, 18; and
3. Basheer Khaled Sabbah, 20.
Wednesday, 15 November 2006
- At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into al-Doha village, southwest of Bethlehem. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:
1. Kifah Mahmoud al-Ja'fari, 33; and
2. Mohammed Tawfiq al-Zaghari, 27.
- At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Jenin town and refugee camp. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested two Palestinian civilians:
1. Haitham Ahmed al-Haj Saleh, 21; and
2. Ra'fat Ahmed al-Haj Saleh, 20.
- At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into al-Fawar refugee camp, south of Hebron. They raided and searched a number of houses and arrested Najah Mahmoud Abu Rabee', 33, a mother of 8 children.
- At approximately 16:00, an IOF undercover unit moved into Rukab Street in the center of Ramallah. Immediately, IOF soldiers opened fire at 'Omar al-Salfiti, 27. He was wounded and IOF soldiers arrested him. Israeli sources claimed that IOF arrested a wanted member of Hamas after seriously wounding him.
- At approximately 23:15, an IOF warplane fired two missiles at a 160-square-meter, 3-storey house, in which 16 people (3 families) live, belonging to 'Eissa Ahmed al-Shrafi in al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City. As a result, the second floor of the house was totally destroyed, and other parts of the house were severely damaged. According to al-Shrafi's son, he received a call on his mobile phone from a person who introduced himself as an Israeli officer and told him that the house would be bombarded in 15 minutes.
- At approximately 23:30, an IOF fighter jet dropped a bomb on a 350-square-meter, 5-storey house, in which 43 people (10 families) live, belonging to Nehru Mahmoud Mas'oud and his brothers in Tal al-Za'tar area in the northern Gaza Strip town of Jabalya. The house was largely destroyed and 3 neighboring houses were severely damaged. According to a resident of the house, he received a call on his mobile phone from a person who introduced himself as an Israeli officer and told him that the house would be bombarded in 15 minutes.
- At approximately 23:55, an IOF fighter jet dropped a bomb on a 170-square-meter house, in which 10 people live, belonging to Nafez Mahmoud Salman in Tal al-Za'tar area in the northern Gaza Strip town of Jabalya. The house was destroyed and 12 neighboring houses were severely damaged. According to Salman, his wife received a call on her mobile phone from a person who introduced himself as an Israeli officer and told her that the house would be bombarded.
2. Continued Siege on the OPT
IOF have continued to impose a tightened siege on the OPT and imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Occupied East Jerusalem.
Following an attack launched by Palestinian militants on 25 June 2006 near the Israeli-Egyptian border, southeast of Rafah, which left two IOF soldiers and two of the attackers dead and a third IOF soldier missing, IOF have closed all border crossings of the Gaza Strip:
- Rafah International Crossing Point: Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border is the sole outlet for the Gaza Strip to the outside world. IOF have closed Rafah International Crossing Point, even though they do not directly control it. They have prevented European observers working at the crossing point form reaching it. The crossing point, which has been closed since 25 June 2006, has been opened for only 18 separate days. On Tuesday and Wednesday, 14 and 15 November 2006, the crossing point was reopened and hundreds of Palestinians were able to travel through it.
On 15 November 2006, the Palestinian - Israeli agreement on border crossing, which was concluded under US and European supervision, expired. Under this agreement, IOF have maintained indirect control over of the crossing point. The European observation team working at the crossing point extended their task for additional 6 months. On 15 November 2005, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel reached an agreement over the border crossings of the Gaza Strip. Under the agreement, on 25 November 2005, the Rafah International Crossing Point, on the Egyptian border in the south of the Gaza Strip, was opened for civilian travel to Egypt and the rest of the world. The Palestinians and European Union (EU) observers would run the Palestinian side of the crossing point. In addition, the EU observers would transmit live images to a joint control room several kilometers away. The EU observers repeated withdrew from the crossing following receiving warnings from IOF that there were threats to them. However, all warnings proved to be void, and the observers resumed their work.
- Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing: IOF have completely closed Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, which links the Gaza Strip with Israel and the West Bank. Before this latest closure, IOF had prevented Palestinian workers from reaching their work places inside Israel through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing since 12 March 2006. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip had been prevented from traveling through this crossing. IOF have allowed international workers to pass through the crossing. With this closure, few Palestinian patients have been able to travel to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank. Palestinian female patients aged under 40 from passing through the crossing, even though most of these patients are in serious conditions and suffer from serious diseases.
- Al-Mentar (Karni) Commercial Crossing: IOF have closed the crossing, which is the main commercial crossing for the Gaza Strip. As a consequence, the economic situation inside the Gaza Strip has further deteriorated and many goods have been lacked in markets. During the reported period, IOF partially reopened the crossing. They allowed the importation of foodstuffs and medicines into the Gaza Strip, and the exportation of some goods from the Gaza Strip to Israel and the West Bank. The number of trucks allowed into the Gaza Strip daily is 200, whereas only 30 trucks loaded with exported goods from the Gaza Strip are allowed to pass through the crossing. During the reported period, IOF reopened Sofa crossing, northeast of Rafah, for two days only. IOF have also continued to close Kerem Shalom crossings near Rafah.
The closure of border crossings deprives the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip of their right to freedom of movement, education and health.
IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on fishing in the Gaza Strip. Following the attack on IOF on 25 June 2006, IOF prevented fishing. Approximately 35,000 people in and around Gaza's coastal communities rely on the fishing industry, including 2,500 fishermen, 2,500 support staff and their families. Fishermen have been subjected to intensive monitoring by IOF, which use helicopter gunships and gunboats to monitor the fishermen.
The West Bank
IOF have imposed a tightened siege on the West Bank. They have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians and imposed curfews on a number of Palestinian communities.
- Nablus: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. On Thursday morning, 9 November 2006, IOF closed Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, for an hour. On Saturday morning, 11 November 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at Za'tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They prevented dozens of buses, which were on their way to Ramallah to commemorate the second anniversary of the death of President Yasser Arafat, from passing through the checkpoint. IOF soldiers positioned at Hawara checkpoint, south of the city, imposed similar restrictions. Also on Saturday morning, IOF soldiers positioned at Beit Eiba checkpoint, west of Nablus, imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians, especially those aged under 40. On Sunday morning, 12 November 2006, IOF held hundreds of Palestinian civilians at al-Bathan checkpoint, north of Nablus, which had been reopened a few days earlier following a 6-month closure.
- Tulkarm: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They have also continued to prevent Palestinians aged under 35 from crossing checkpoints around the town. On Thursday, 9 November 2006, IOF deployed on the roads linking Tulkarm with neighboring villages. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilians vehicles. On Friday evening, 10 November 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint on Tulkarm - Nablus road near the entrance to Nour Shams refugee camp. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. On Saturday, 11 November 2006, IOF closed Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, and Ennab checkpoint, east of the town, and prohibited the movement of Palestinian civilians. At approximately 05:00, IOF closed Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, and prohibited the movement of Palestinian civilians. IOF soldiers also pursued Palestinian civilians who resorted to alternative dirt roads. On Monday, 13 November 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Bala'a intersection, east of Tulkarm, and another one at Far'oun intersection, south of the town. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. On Tuesday, 14 November 2006, IOF reinforced their presence and erected additional checkpoints on the roads leading to villages in al-Sha'rawiya area, north of Tulkarm. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilians, and pursued young men who resorted to alternative dirt roads. On Wednesday, 15 November 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They also closed the checkpoint from 10:00 until 12:00.
At approximately 09:00 on , 11 November 2006, IOF soldiers positioned at Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, arrested 4 Palestinian civilians:
1. Fadi Nasser al-Kuhla, 21, from Tulkarm;
2. Sami Ibrahim Abu Sheikha, 23, from Shwaika suburb;
3. Mahmoud Khader al-Jarad, 21, from 'Ezbat al-Jarad village; and
4. Murad Rasheed Ghanem, 20, from Deir al-Ghosoun village.
At approximately 17:00 on the same day, IOF soldiers positioned at Wad al-Teen checkpoint, south of Tulkarm, arrested Ashraf Billa al-Tabbal, 19.
- Jenin: IOF have continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians in Jenin. On Thursday evening, 9 November 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Sanour intersection, southeast of Jenin. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. On Saturday morning, 11 November 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint on Tubas -al-Fara'a road, southeast of Jenin. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles. On Sunday morning, 12 November 2006, IOF erected more checkpoints on the roads leading to Jenin. They obstructed the movement of Palestinian civilians on those roads.
- Hebron: IOF have continued to imposed severe restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians inside and outside Hebron. During the reported period, IOF erected a number of checkpoints inside the town and stopped and checked Palestinian civilians, allegedly to secure the movement of Israeli settlers. At approximately 17:00 on Thursday, 9 November 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Murra intersection in the east of Hebron. They stopped, checked and interrogated many Palestinian civilians. On Friday, 10 November 2006, IOF soldiers permanently positioned in the center and south of Hebron imposed additional restrictions on the movement of Palestinian civilians. They stopped, checked and interrogated Palestinian civilians, including women and children. At approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 11 November 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at Wadi al-Quf intersection on the road leading to the old town. They erected another checkpoint on Dura - Ethna road, west of Hebron. They stopped, checked and interrogated Palestinian civilians.
- Bethlehem: At approximately 18:00 on Thursday, 9 November 2006, IOF imposed a curfew on Nahalin village, west of Bethlehem. They closed the entrances of the village and erected a number of checkpoints. At approximately 16:00 on Saturday, 11 November 2006, IOF erected a checkpoint at the entrance of tal-Iskan neighborhood in the west of Beit Jala, and another one at the eastern entrance of al-Khader village, southwest of Bethlehem. They stopped and searched Palestinian civilian vehicles.
3. Construction of the Annexation Wall
IOF have continued to construct the Annexation Wall inside West Bank territory.
- During the reported period, IOF started to construct a new section of the Wall to the south of 'Azzoun-'Atma village, south of Qalqilya. IOF informed the local council of the village that the Israeli High Court rejected petitions submitted to the court against the construction of the Wall. According to the local council of the village, IOF started to construct a new section of the Wall, imposing severe restrictions on access of Palestinian civilians to their land. The land seized for the construction of this section of the Wall includes 10 houses and a well. The new section of the Wall is expected to isolate at least 4,000 donums of agricultural land planted with olives and citrus, and a number of greenhouses. According to a number of residents of the village, they saw IOF on Sunday, 12 November 2006, establishing a fence in the southwest of the village, and that they confronted an Israeli contractor who started to construct the new section of the Wall. The contractor was forced to suspend work. Soon, IOF soldiers positioned at an iron gate established at the entrance of the village imposed additional restrictions of access of Palestinian civilians to their land to prevent them from confronting construction activities. The construction of this new section of the Wall will totally isolate the village. The local council of the village issued a press release calling on international humanitarian organizations to immediately intervene to stop Israeli plans to stop the construction of the new section of the Wall. It is worth noting that 1,500 Palestinians live in the village, which includes the most fertile agricultural land in Qaqlilya district, on which at least 1,000 greenhouses stand. There is also a school in the village, in which students from the neighboring village of Beit Ameen study.
- On Thursday morning, 9 November 2006, IOF surveillance teams started to survey on the lands of Um Salamouna village, south of Bethlehem. According to local sources, the surveyed areas of land would be razed to establish a crossing point separating the village from neighboring villages and from the Wall. The establishment of such crossing point will force residents of the village to use much longer roads to travel to Bethlehem.
- On Sunday, 12 November 2006, IOF issued a military order seizing more areas of Palestinian land in 'Anata village, north of occupied Jerusalem, to establish "a security fence" north of "Ma'leh Adomim" settlement, east of Jerusalem. When IOF establish this fence, will be closed on all directions. It is worth noting that 'Anata village is surrounded by "Pisgat Ze'ev" settlement and a section of the Wall in the north; "Antout" military post and another section of the Wall in the south; and an IOF checkpoint in the west. The village, in which approximately 18,000 Palestinians live, is the linking point between Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.
- On Monday morning, 13 November 2006, IOF started to raze areas of land in Wadi Rahhal village, south of Bethlehem, to construct a new section of the Wall in the area.
4. Settlement Activities and Attacks by Settlers against Palestinian Civilians and Property
Israeli settlers (living in the OPT in violation of international humanitarian law) have continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and property:
- On Saturday noon, 11 November 2006, 6 armed Israeli settlers from "Aviga'il" settlement, south of Hebron, attacked at least 40 schoolchildren, aged 8-12, in al-Tawani village. A number of children sustained bruises. The settlers also took a number schoolbags from the children.
- At approximately 03:00 on Monday, 13 November 2006, a number of Israeli settlers from "Ramat Yishai" settlement in Tal Rumaida neighborhood in the center of Hebron attacked a house belonging to Mohammed Rateb Abu Haikal, 40, with stones and empty bottles. IOF did not intervene to stop the attack, and even arrested Abu Haikal claiming that he attacked the settler when he called for help. He was released in the evening.
- On Saturday afternoon, 11 November 2006, IOF prevented a number of Palestinian farmers from Yatta village, south of Hebron, from reaching their agricultural land, located nearly 3 kilometers away from "Ma'oun" settlement, southeast of the village.
- On Monday noon, 13 November 2006, IOF prevented Mohammed 'Abdul Salam Abu Eshkhaidem and his family, from Hebron, from reaching their land, which is located near "Tilim" settlement, west of Hebron, to cultivate olives. IOF also held 11 members of the family and 3 tractors for more than two and a half hours.
Recommendations to the International Community
1. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their legal and moral obligations under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure Israel's respect for the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. PCHR believes that the conspiracy of silence practiced by the international community has encouraged Israel to act as if it is above the law and encourages Israel continue to violate international human rights and humanitarian law.
2. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to convene a conference to take effective steps to ensure Israel's respect of the Convention in the OPT and to provide immediate protection for Palestinian civilians.
3. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to comply with its legal obligations detailed in Article 146 of the Convention to search for and prosecute those responsible for grave breaches, namely war crimes.
4. PCHR recommends international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations and NGOs to participate in the process of exposing those accused of grave breaches of international law and to urge their governments to bring these people to justice.
5. PCHR calls upon the European Union to activate Article 2 of the Euro-Israel Association Agreement, which provides that Israel must respect human rights as a precondition for economic cooperation between the EU states and Israel. PCHR further calls upon the EU states to prohibit import of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the OPT.
6. PCHR calls upon the member States of the EU, and all other states, to adopt a voting pattern at the UN bodies, particularly the General Assembly, Security Council and Commission on Human Rights which is keeping with international law.
7. PCHR demands that the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion be immediately implemented by the international community.
8. PCHR calls on the international community to recognize the Gaza disengagement plan, which was implemented last year, for what it is - not an end to occupation but a compounding of the occupation and the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
9. In recognition of ICRC as the guardian of the Fourth Geneva Convention, PCHR calls upon the ICRC to increase its staff and activities in the OPT, including the facilitation of family visitations to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
10. PCHR appreciates the efforts of international civil society, including human rights organizations, bar associations, unions and NGOs, and urges them to continue their role in pressuring their governments to secure Israel's respect for human rights in the OPT and to end its attacks on Palestinian civilians.
11. In light of the severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli government and its occupying forces on access for international organizations to the OPT, PCHR calls upon European countries to deal with Israeli citizens in a similar manner.
12. PCHR reiterates that any political settlement not based on international human rights law and humanitarian law cannot lead to a peaceful and just solution of the Palestinian question. Rather, such an arrangement can only lead to further suffering and instability in the region. Any peace agreement or process must be based on respect for international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law.
 1 donum is equal to 1,000 square meters.
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Five civilians injured by overnight strikes in Gaza
IMEMC & Agencies
16 November 2006
Israeli Air Force carried several air strikes late Wednesday night until Thursday morning, targeting a number of houses that belong to families of resistance fighters; five civilians were injured; some seriously.
The attacks came shortly after the Palestinian resistance groups resumed its homemade Qassam shell firing at Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip, which killed one Israeli woman and injured several others. Palestinian resistance fighters resumed the shelling in retaliation of the Israeli military offensive "Autumn Clouds" that claimed the lives of 95 civilians in the Gaza Strip, mainly in Beit Hanoun.
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Israeli Army invades Al Ein Refugee Camp in Nablus; shoots and kills one resident
IMEMC & Agencies
16 November 2006
Mohamed Salamah Ihmedan, 25, was shot and killed during an Israeli military invasion to Al Ein refugee camp in Nablus city, in the northern part of the West Bank, on Thursday at dawn.
Eyewitnesses reported that a convoy of Israeli army vehicles and one bulldozer stormed the camp while another battalion surrounded it. Soldiers attacked residents' houses and turned a number of them into military posts.
Ihmedan, who is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was shot and killed while standing on the balcony of his house in the camp, eyewitnesses told the Palestine News Network. Medical sources said that he received fatal wounds and died on the spot.
In the meantime, troops conducted a wide scale house-to-house search campaign to residents' homes in Al Ein Refugee Camp; it was reported that soldiers ransacked the houses and damaged families' belongings.
Elsewhere, in the nearby Balata Refugee Camp, an Israeli army force attacked the camp, searched some houses and clashed with local resistance fighters; no injuries were reported, but there was damage to residents' property was reported.
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NAM for UN Action on Palestine
United Nations, Nov 16 (Prensa Latina)
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) aims to achieve a UN General Assembly condemnation of the recent massacre of Palestinian civilians committed by Israel troops, the bloc s diplomats said Thursday.
The request to convene the General Assembly to analyze that issue was approved by the NAM Coordination Bureau during a meeting held Wednesday, stated one of the diplomats.
The NAM Coordination Bureau at the UN is responsible of the fulfillment of tasks by the Movement, made up of 118 countries during the period among its ordinary ministerial meetings and summit conferences.
The NAM Meeting could be convened for Friday, November 17 by Bahrain ambassador Sheika Haya Rashed Al Kalifa, president of the 61st General Assembly ordinary period.
The Palestinian issue was extensively debated in the 14th NAM Summit run in September in Havana, where attendees condemned "the continue Israel imposition of collective punishments against that Arab nation."
Supported by 10 of 15 Security Council members, the resolution also demanded the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza's Strip, as well as the end of violence between the two parties.
According to Al Kalifa, the motion that is expected to be approved by the General Assembly November 17 could be very similar to that adopted in Geneva by the Human Rights Council on Wednesday, which slammed Israel for massacring Palestinians.
Comment: The General Assembly of the United Nations is handcuffed by the vetos cast on the Security Coucil by the USA in matters having to do with Palestine. Neither the US nor Israel submit to international democracy when it impinges upon their own, supposedly God-given, right to do what they want, when they want, regardless of the consequences for the rest of the world.
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Interview: Tina and Michael Hannouneh, Americans beaten by Israeli guards at border crossing
IMEMC Audio Team, transcribed by Hanin Amr and Tania Tabar - Monday, 24 July 2006, 00:06
The following are two interviews with Tina and Michael Hannouneh. Tina is an American of Palestinian origin who was beaten by Israeli border guards, along with her son, Michael, at the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank.
listen to the audio: Michael | Tina (mp3 format)
Interview with Michael Hannouneh - 17 years old
Interview conducted by Saed Bannoura, transcribed by Hanin Amr
Q: Can you please describe your experience at the Allenby Bridge?
A: Ok, well we give the guy our luggage and our passports. Then he gives us back our passports and tells us to walk around. And when I was walking around, a guy, supposedly a security, but he wasn't wearing, just a shirt and shorts, asks for my Ipod in Arabic, but I don't understand him. So I say "What?" And he says it in English a second time. And I said "no, why?". And the next thing you know, he throws me on the floor. And my mom tries to tell him I don't understand. He hits her, and she falls on this pole that was by us, like a bench, and broke her nose. And then he jumps on me and starts hitting me, and pounds me head onto the floor. And I wasn't resisting. I said "ok". And he kept on hitting me. And he pulled me up and hand cuffed me. And he pushed me on the floor again and asked me why I didn't give him my IPod. And I told him I don't understand and he pulled me over to the side and talks to me.
And he was just asking me questions like "Do you have any weapons me and he looked at my IPod a few minutes, and he gave it back to me, I told him "no", I don't have any weapons or nothing like that, nothing. And he goes "Ok, Ok". And then he said "sorry", and tried to fix me up. I told them to fix up my mom. And we went to the main guy and he said "sorry for the inconvenience and stuff like that. And they we were talking for hours, two hours and checking out our passports, to make sure we're ok to walk through and go on.
And then they said yes, you can go on, but we needed a Palestinian passport, and I did that yesterday, so now I'm good. And they said sorry, and that they will pay the medicals for my mom. She had to go to the hospital. She got two stitches on her right eye, on the eyebrow and she got a broken nose. So they said that they will pay for the doctor. And they called a cab for us to go home. And on the way home, we stopped to get directions. And cops saw, and they told us to follow them. We did a report at the police station.
Q: When they tried to take your ipod, did you think they were thieves, or did they - ?
A: No, no, it was one guy, on guy, he was asking for my IPod. And I said no, and I thought he was a thief. Because I haven't been here for a while. So I don't know what's happening. Yes, I thought he was a thief
Q:Because he wasn't wearing anything that identified that he was security?
A: Yeah, and he hit me on the floor. And when I looked closely, he put on a quick hat; I don't know what it says on it. I think it was a security hat. I couldn't read what it said, it was written in Arabic or some other language. I don't know because he had nothing (he didn't have anything that showed that he is a security personal). He had a shirt and shorts. You know, if he had something to show me he was a cop, I would had given him the IPod.
Q: How does this incident make you feel about Israel?
A: I don't think I really probably want to come back. This is the second time I came here. The first time I was too little to understand. And now I don't want to come back. I don't want to come back. I don't want to deal with this stuff.
Q:Why, in your personal opinion, do you think they treated you this way?
A: I asked him what other evidence he had that there was something wrong, and he said I don't know. I said "ok". So I don't know why he did it, I don't know. I was confused.
Q: They tried to talk to you in Arabic?
A: Yeah, and I don't understand Arabic, I don't know why he used it. I understand like 3 or 4 words. I understand little, very little. I'm trying to learn.
Q: So they assumed you knew Arabic very well and started talking to you in Arabic. Did they give you a chance to explain that you don't know Arabic?
A: No, I said "what" than he said it in English. And then he hit me on the floor. Then my mom came, and told him I don't understand. He hit her right away. He told her something, I don't know what he told her. He hit her and then she fell.
Q: Thank you very much, and we hope you and your mother are both feeling better.
A: All right, thank you very much.
Interview with Tina Hannouneh:
Transcribed by Tania Tabar
Q: I'm speaking with Tina Hannouneh, an American citizen. Could you tell me about your experience at the Allenby Bridge border crossing?
A: Well, you know what, it was really terrible because as soon as we got in they jumped my son and they wanted to take his ipod and they didn't even ask, 'Can you give me this?' He said to him in Arabic 'give me this.' My son, he doesn't understand any Arabic. And he said 'no' and as soon as he said 'no,' they started hitting him. He hit him, dropped him on the floor and started punching him.
I started to interfere, I told him 'you know, he doesn't speak Arabic.' Can you speak to him in English?' I told my son to give him what he wants. He hit my face, hit my nose, and broke my nose. I fell down, I hit my nose and head, and have stitches, like deep ones on my left eye. I started bleeding. Another guy had his gun in my face, pointed between my eyes, and he said, ' if you say one word I will shoot you.' I just stayed quiet. And it was really terrible. My son was so excited to come over here, and now he is not. He was so disappointed and he didn't even go to a doctor because he is scared. So I don't know what to tell you. It's really awful.
Q: Did the men who assaulted your son identify themselves as officers?
A: No. Not at all. If they did none of this would have happened. If he did my son would have gave it to him. He thought that any guy wanted to take his ipod and he paid for it from his own pocket. He worked hard for it and he's not going to let anybody take it. If that guy had identified himself as a police officer or security, my son would have given it to him.
Q: He thought it was someone trying to steal the device?
Q: Why do you think that the security guards at Allenby pounced on your son in such an aggressive way? Why did they target him?
A: I really don't know. I look like an Arab and he's a young kid. As soon as they heard me speaking English to my son, they came from inside running outside, and they said 'Arab-American.' They knew that I'm Arab and my son is American. I think at that time they stopped and they started apologizing and they cleaned up my face.
He was hitting my son real bad. And I was yelling at him until that guy came who said he was going to shoot me if I said one more word. I have dark skin and I look like an Arab, because I was born here in Bethlehem.
Q: You are from Beit Sahour?
Q: Are you Christian?
A: Yes, I am Christian. I have a Christian family. All of us are Christian.
Q: I think many Americans are not aware of the Palestinian Christian population.
A: Yes that's true. I work in Arizona and I have a lot of people who are surprised to hear that there are Christians in Bethlehem. I tell them that this is the land of Christ and a lot of people are Christian over there. But most of them, they flee the country because they want to live. They fear for their families, their kids. There are still a lot of them there and they are still suffering.
Q: Now back to your son. Is this his first trip into Palestine?
A: Since 1997. He was a young kid back in 1997 and this is now his second trip and back then he didn't know anything. He was a little kid. But now he knows everything, he wants to see everybody. He downloaded the bible on his ipod. He was listening to it from Arizona to here because he wants to see all those places where Jesus walked, and where he was born. All those places.
Q: And now?
A: And now to tell you the truth, he is scared to go anywhere. He is so scared.
Q: It this your first experience being treated this way by the Israelis?
A: Well, to this limit. Yes.
Q: Did you have to get medical treatment?
A: When they knew that there was an Arab-American on the bridge, they took me to the manager of the bridge. He called the hospital and arranged for the medical treatment so it's on his expense. Otherwise, to tell you the truth, if I didn't have the American passport, I wouldn't get this treatment. I wouldn't get this attention but because I have an American passport and I live in the United States, they did that.
Q: Do you think this is common?
A: For any other Palestinian, they don't get anything. They just hit them and forget about it.
Q: Do you feel that the Israeli soldiers were seeing you as a Palestinian despite your American passport?
A: Yes. They didn't know that I have an American passport, but they heard me talking to my son in English and some of the girls they said 'American-Arab', and they saw the passport on the ground, and the luggage, the backpack and they noticed the American passport. It was in my hand when he hit my face.
Q: And if you were a Palestinian without an American passport, do you think you would be hit in the same way?
A: I would be hit more and I wouldn't get any treatment. That's a shame, huh?
Q: That's horrible.
A: It is.
Q: There isn't any legal recourse for Palestinians?
A: I don't think so. There are a lot of people I hear, here and there, they just get hit and they leave them. They don't care and they're not going to care about them. They are not going to take them to any doctor or get them any medical attention. They just leave them, they hit them and they walk away.
Q: Can I ask why you originally decided to go to the United States?
A: Well I married my husband and he used to live in the Arizona, he went to study over there. All of his family used to own a house in Jerusalem. The Jewish people, or the Israeli people, took over this house and they don't have any house anymore here. So most of his family, all of his uncles, brothers, and sisters, all of them live in the United States. California Los Angeles, Arizona San Diego, and Washington. None of them are here. They used to own a big house, but not anymore. Overnight they came over and took it, and that's it. So he was over there and he visited over here because he wanted to marry a young girl back from the old country so we met and we got married and we went over there. And that was it.
Q: Do you know anything about the Israelis denying entry to Americans of Palestinian origin? Did they attempt to do that with you?
A: No, not really. They told me my son cannot go in, but because of what happened to me, because I need to go in and take medical attention they would let him in. I didn't remember that he is registered with me in my [Palestinian] ID, I didn't even think about that. He was born in the United States, in Arizona. He is American, totally, 100% American. His mom and dad, fine, they are Palestinian. In 1997 I put him on the ID with me and I forgot about that. So on the bridge they said he couldn't get in, he was supposed to go back to Jordan but because I needed medical attention, they made special arrangements and he went in with me. Other than that they would make him go back. They wouldn't have let him in.
Q: The Israelis, despite him being born in the United States, were considering him a Palestinian?
Q: That seems discriminatory.
A: It is.
Q: Are you planning to file a legal appeal against the Israeli authorities?
A: Yes. I consulted a lawyer and I sent an email to the consulate in Jerusalem and I would like to press charges against this guy. To me and my son, we saw death in our eyes. A guy pointing a gun between my eyes, and with his big eyes telling me, 'If you say one word I will shoot you.' God knows, if I said something, or if I just moved a little bit, if he shot me, no one would know anything about this. They would say something else or they would find me a crime, say that I did this and say I deserved this, and they would cover it for him.
My son was looking at my face and my whole face was full of blood. It was a really terrible scene for my kid. And he is having nightmares on his first week. Every night he wakes up in the middle of the night and he is saying something about what is happening on the border. That is not right.
Q: I bet you are not anxious to go back across that border when you leave?
A: To tell you the truth my son is asking if we can go through Tel-Aviv, but I told me it is impossible for them to let us do that. He doesn't want to go through there again and he doesn't want to come back here again. And I don't blame him.
Q: Why would the Israelis not allow you to go through Tel-Aviv if you are both Americans?
A: Well even though we have American citizenship we're considered Palestinians. As long as we have Palestinian IDs, we're considered Palestinians, no matter what, no matter what identity or passport you have. And we're not allowed to use that as a way out.
Q: Has the American consulate been helpful?
A: They've been considerate and they wanted to know what happened. I sent them the email and he said he will look at it and we will keep in touch if there is anything that they need to know. But I told him , yes, I want to press charges and they can do whatever it takes. And they are helpful, yes. I wouldn't think they would stand by Israeli abuse.
Q: The US consulate has said in the cases where Palestinian-Americans have been denied entry that basically its not the American government's place to intervene despite the fact that it violates the US law, this discrimination against people who are American citizens based on their country of origin. Do you think that they would stand up to the abuse, when they wont stand up for Palestinian-Americans who are denied entry?
A: I really don't know how to answer that question, but I would rather think that they would be against this abuse. That's what I would like to think but I really don't know how to answer this question.
Q: Well, good luck, I really hope that you are able to get some justice for what happened to you and your son.
A: I hope so.
Q: Thank you so much for talking to me Tina
A: No problem.
Comment: This story would have ended differently if Tina and Michael didn't have US passports. The Palestinians have no out. They are being exterminated and terrorized.
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Dems Iraq Policy - US Butchery to Continue
US plans last big push in Iraq
Thursday November 16, 2006
President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration's internal deliberations.
Mr Bush's refusal to give ground, coming in the teeth of growing calls in the US and Britain for a radical rethink or a swift exit, is having a decisive impact on the policy review being conducted by the Iraq Study Group chaired by Bush family loyalist James Baker, the sources said.
Although the panel's work is not complete, its recommendations are expected to be built around a four-point "victory strategy" developed by Pentagon officials advising the group. The strategy, along with other related proposals, is being circulated in draft form and has been discussed in separate closed sessions with Mr Baker and the vice-president Dick Cheney, an Iraq war hawk.
Point one of the strategy calls for an increase rather than a decrease in overall US force levels inside Iraq, possibly by as many as 20,000 soldiers. This figure is far fewer than that called for by the Republican presidential hopeful, John McCain. But by raising troop levels, Mr Bush will draw a line in the sand and defy Democratic pressure for a swift drawdown.
The reinforcements will be used to secure Baghdad, scene of the worst sectarian and insurgent violence, and enable redeployments of US, coalition and Iraqi forces elsewhere in the country.
Point two of the plan stresses the importance of regional cooperation to the successful rehabilitation of Iraq. This could involve the convening of an international conference of neighbouring countries or more direct diplomatic, financial and economic involvement of US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
"The extent to which that [regional cooperation] will include talking to Iran and Syria is still up for debate," said Patrick Cronin, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. "Externally, US policy is focused on what is achievable. Some quarters believe Syria in some ways could be helpful. There are more doubts about Iran but Iran holds more cards. Some think it's worth a try."
Yesterday, a top state department official, David Satterfield, said America was prepared in principle to discuss with Iran its activities in Iraq.
Point three focuses on reviving the national reconciliation process between Shia, Sunni and other ethnic and religious parties. According to the sources, creating a credible political framework will be portrayed as crucial in persuading Iraqis and neighbouring countries alike that Iraq can become a fully functional state.
To the certain dismay of US neo-cons, initial post-invasion ideas about imposing fully-fledged western democratic standards will be set aside. And the report is expected to warn that de facto tripartite partition within a loose federal system, as advocated by Democratic senator Joe Biden and others would lead not to peaceful power-sharing but a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
Lastly, the sources said the study group recommendations will include a call for increased resources to be allocated by Congress to support additional troop deployments and fund the training and equipment of expanded Iraqi army and police forces. It will also stress the need to counter corruption, improve local government and curtail the power of religious courts.
"You've got to remember, whatever the Democrats say, it's Bush still calling the shots. He believes it's a matter of political will. That's what [Henry] Kissinger told him. And he's going to stick with it," a former senior administration official said. "He [Bush] is in a state of denial about Iraq. Nobody else is any more. But he is. But he knows he's got less than a year, maybe six months, to make it work. If it fails, I expect the withdrawal process to begin next fall."
The "last push" strategy is also intended to give Mr Bush and the Republicans "political time and space" to recover from their election drubbing and prepare for the 2008 presidential campaign, the official said. "The Iraq Study Group buys time for the president to have one last go. If the Democrats are smart, they'll play along, and I think they will. But forget about bipartisanship. It's all about who's going to be in best shape to win the White House.
The official added: "Bush has said 'no' to withdrawal, so what else do you have? The Baker report will be a set of ideas, more realistic than in the past, that can be used as political tools. What they're going to say is: lower the goals, forget about the democracy crap, put more resources in, do it."
Addressing Congress yesterday, General John Abizaid, the top US commander in the Middle East, warned against setting a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, saying it would impede commanders in managing US and Iraqi forces. Gen Abizaid spoke as the Senate armed services committee began re-examining US policy after last week's Democratic election victory. But Gen Abizaid argued against extra troops, saying US divisional commanders believed more pressure needed to be put on the Iraqi army to do its part.
- Increase US troop levels by up to 20,000 to secure Baghdad and allow redeployments elsewhere in Iraq
- Focus on regional cooperation with international conference and/or direct diplomatic involvement of countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
- Revive reconciliation process between Sunni, Shia and others
- Increased resources from Congress to fund training and equipment of Iraqi security forces
Comment: Democrats claim that, now that they control Congress and the Senate, they will begin the push for troop withdrawal from Iraq. What actually happens? Bush increases troops in Iraq. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Of course, the real motivating factor here is the comments by Olmert when he met Bush recently in Washington. He warned against withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Hey, whatever the Zionists want, the Zionists get.
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Iraq minister orders universities closed
Iraq's higher education minister ordered universities closed after gunmen wearing police commando uniforms kidnapped up to 150 people from a government institute on Tuesday. He said he had already asked the interior and defense ministries to protect universities and the ministry's departments.
Comment: Mission partly accomplished for the Neocons and Israelis.
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Total chaos in Iraq only months away
Sheldon Alberts, CanWest News Service
Published: Thursday, November 16, 2006
WASHINGTON -- America's top military commander in the Middle East on Wednesday warned the U.S. has only "four to six months" to secure Iraq before the country slips into chaos, but rejected the need for more American troops to end the violence.
Gen. John Abizaid, in confrontational testimony before Congress, also warned lawmakers against setting a fixed timetable for the early withdrawal of U.S forces.
"The sectarian violence, if not brought under control soon, can actually destroy our hope for a stable Iraq," Abizaid told the House armed services committee.
"The situation could be bleak."
The U.S. general's testimony followed a contentious two-hour session before the Senate armed services committee, where frustrated lawmakers pressed Abizaid for evidence of progress in Iraq.
"The American people do not want our troops caught in a crossfire between Iraqis if they insist on squandering that opportunity through civil war and sectarian strife," said Democratic Senator Carl Levin, the committee's incoming chairman.
Abizaid, who expressed hope last January that U.S. forces could be reduced to 100,000 from 140,000 by the end of 2006, told lawmakers his optimism was misplaced.
The sectarian bloodletting and insurgent attacks remain "unacceptably high," he said, particularly in Baghdad and Sunni-dominated areas such as Al Anbar province.
"I would not say we've turned the corner," said Abizaid, who heads U.S. Central Command.
Asked by Democratic Senator Jack Reed to estimate how much time the U.S. has to curb the violence in Iraq before it becomes uncontrollable, Abizaid said: "Four to six months."
But the key to stabilizing Iraq is not to experiment with increased or decreased numbers of American troops, Abizaid insisted.
Instead, the U.S. must continue to focus on accelerating the training of Iraqi military forces and giving them the lead role within 12 months, he said.
"I believe more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, taking more responsibility for their future," he said.
At the same time, Abizaid said he "would not recommend troop withdrawals" because that would embolden warring sects and al-Qaida operatives and signal a lack of U.S. resolve.
Abizaid's recommendation is at odds both with Democrats and Republicans. Democratic leaders have called for a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces beginning within four months, while Republican Senator John McCain favours sending an additional 20,000 troops to confront Iraq's illegal militias.
During a testy exchange with Abizaid, McCain accused the general of promoting a failed military plan that ignores the reality in Iraq. Current troop levels have failed to prevent increases in attacks against Americans, Iraqi security forces and Iraqi civilians, McCain said.
"Was it encouraging when in the broad daylight (Tuesday) or the day before that people dressed up in police uniforms are able to come in and kidnap 150 people? General, it's not encouraging to us," McCain said.
"I regret deeply that you seem to think that the status quo and the rate of progress we're making is acceptable. I think most Americans do not."
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Marine gets 18 months for Iraq civilian killing
Thursday November 16, 2006
A US marine has been sentenced to 18 months' jail in a Californian military court over his role in the kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi man in April.
The sentence of John Jodka III was reduced yesterday after he pleaded guilty to his part in the killing of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, in Hamandiya, west of Baghdad. The military judge in the case, Lieutenant Colonel David Jones, said five years in prison and a dishonourable discharge were appropriate, but due to a "very fortuitous pre-trial agreement", the sentence was reduced.
Jodka III is one of seven marines and a navy corpsman accused of kidnapping and murdering Awad, a retired Iraqi policemen, in April this year. The crippled man was picked up, taken to a roadside hole and shot dead. The soldiers later conspired to cover up the incident.
The 20-year-old soldier, the youngest and lowest ranking member of the squad, had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice, while charges of murder and kidnapping were dropped. As part of his plea deal, he has agreed to give evidence against the other defendants in the case.
"I decided to plead guilty because in the end it was the right thing to do," Jodka III told the court at Camp Pendleton. "I had to weigh in myself the need for truth as opposed to the loyalty to the squad I had bonded with in Iraq."
Jodka told the court he thought the man was an insurgent and, because it was dark at the time of the attack, he wasn't able to tell who the man was at the time.
Asked by his civilian attorney, Jane Siegel, if he would have fired had he known the man was not, Jodka replied: "Absolutely not."
He is first marine in the case to get a plea deal. The navy corpsman and two other marines also have made plea agreements. The corpsman, Petty Officer Melson Bacos, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but will only serve one because of his agreement.
Jodka's sentence comes a day after a US soldier pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of three of her family members in a village near Baghdad in March this year.
Specialist James Barker is one of four soldiers charged over the incident, which is considered one of the most brutal examples of attacks on civilians in Iraq. He is expected to be sentenced to life in prison after striking a deal to escape the death penalty.
Comment: Hey, let's not get carried away here, after all, it was only a 'raghead' that this fine American soldier killed.
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US soldier admits killing family after raping girl
Thursday November 16, 2006
- Body of 14-year-old was burned to conceal atrocity
- Defendant pleads guilty to avoid death penalty
An Iraqi ID card issued in 1993 to Abeer Qassim al-Janabi. US specialist soldier James Barker has pleaded guilty to taking part in her rape and the murder of her family in March this year, when she was 14
An Iraqi ID card issued in 1993 to Abeer Qassim al-Janabi. US specialist soldier James Barker has pleaded guilty to taking part in her rape and the murder of her family in March this year, when she was 14.
An American soldier yesterday pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of three members of her family in a village near Baghdad in March in one of the most brutal examples of attacks on civilians in Iraq.
The soldier, Specialist James Barker, also agreed to testify against three other accused soldiers. He agreed to the plea in return for a guarantee that he would not face the death penalty, his lawyers said.
The murders took place on March 12 in Mahmoudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad. Prosecutors allege that five soldiers stationed at a checkpoint there raped the girl, Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, then burned her body to hide the evidence, and killed her father, mother and six-year-old sister.
The alleged ringleader, Private Steven Green, was discharged from the army in May for a "personality disorder" before the crime came to light. He is being tried as a civilian in a federal court in Kentucky, and has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder and sexual assault.
The other defendants are still serving in the 101st Airborne Division and are being tried by court martial.
Specialist Barker has told investigators that the soldiers had drunk whiskey and played cards while plotting the attack on the family, and that he, Pte Green and another soldier, Sergeant Paul Cortez, had taken turns in raping the girl. He said Pte Green had shot her and her family.
In an earlier hearing yesterday, the army arraigned Sgt Cortez on charges in the rape and murder of the teenager and the killing of her family. Sgt Cortez deferred entering a plea and a trial date was not set.
The killings have been the most inflammatory of a series of war crimes that have tarnished the reputation of US and British forces. An insurgent group, the Islamic Army in Iraq, claimed to have built a rocket with a range of 12 miles, and named it Abeer after the victim.
The dead girl's uncle, Ahmad Qassim, told the Guardian last month that he had little faith in the US justice system. "They should hand the criminals to us ... they should be tried in Iraq and executed here," he said. Adnan Janabi, a local leader, said: "A murder can be solved in a local council by money, but rape can only be solved by killing the perpetrator."
The authorities believed the family were killed by insurgents until a member of the unit involved came forward.
Pte Green's involvement has raised questions about the army's recruiting procedures in an unpopular war that has killed nearly 3,000 Americans. He entered the army soon after being arrested for underage drinking and had a record of alcohol and drug abuse.
To make up for a recruitment shortfall, the army has begun accepting a higher number of "category four" candidates who score low on a military aptitude test.
Specialist James Barker
Charged with rape and murder. Pleaded guilty to avoid death penalty.
Sergeant Paul Cortez
Charged with rape and murder. Deferred entering a plea; trial date yet to be set. Could face death penalty.
Private Jesse Spielman
Charged with rape and murder. To be arraigned in December. Could face death penalty.
Private Bryan Howard
Charged with rape and murder. Yet to enter a plea. Unclear if death penalty will apply.
Former private Steven Green
Charged in a civilian court with murder and sexual assault. Pleaded not guilty. Discharged from army before charges. Unclear if death penalty will apply.
Comment: Watch these fine American boys get light sentences. After all, let's be reasonable here, it was only a 14 year old 'rag-head' girl that they raped, shot and then burned, right? I mean, look at her picture, clearly she's barely human, right?.
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She Survived Iraq -- Then Shot Herself at Home
By Greg Mitchell
Published: November 13, 2006 12:10 PM ET
NEW YORK Her name doesn't show on any official list of American military deaths in the Iraq war, by hostile or non-hostile fire, who died in that country or in hospitals in Europe or back home in the USA. But Iraq killed her just as certainly.
She is Jeanne "Linda" Michel, a Navy medic. She came home last month to her husband and three kids (ages 11, 5, and 4), delighted to be back in her suburban home of Clifton Park in upstate New York. Michel, 33, would be discharged from the Navy in a few weeks, finishing her five years of duty.
Two weeks after she got home, she shot and killed herself.
"She had come through a lot and she had always risen to challenges," her husband, Frantz Michel, who has also served in Iraq, lamented last week. Now he asks why the Navy didn't do more to help her.
Michel's story has now been probed by reporter Kate Gurnett in today's Albany Times-Union. It's headlined, "A casualty far from the battlefield."
And yet, in many ways, not far at all.
Why did it happen? "Like thousands of others returning from Iraq, her mental state was fractured," Gurnett explains. "And it went untreated. Within two weeks, Linda Michel would become a private casualty of war. Re-entry into the world of peace can be harder than deployment, experts say. Picking up where you left off doesn't just happen. ...
"Women experience stronger forms of post-traumatic stress disorder and have higher PTSD rates, experts say. In response, the Veterans Affairs Department launched a $6 million study of female veterans.
Seeking treatment -- seen by some as a weakness -- may be even tougher for women, who still feel the need to prove themselves to men in military service."
In fact, this past August, three veterans in New York's Adirondack region committed suicide within three weeks, according to Helena Davis, deputy director of the Mental Health Association in New York.
Michel has served under extremely stressful conditions at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, a U.S-run prison where guards shot four inmates dead in a 2005 riot -- and an episode of female mudwrestling drew headlines. Michel was treated for depression and prescribed Paxil, but they took her off that medicine when she returned home. Her husband was not informed.
"I just wish the Navy would have done some more follow-up, instead of just letting her come home," Frantz, who is on the division staff of the Army National Guard, told the reporter. "If somebody needs Paxil in a combat zone, then that's not the place for them to be. You either send them to a hospital or you send them home and then make sure that the family members know and that they get follow-up care."
He has pressed the Navy for answers: "Why wasn't she sent to a facility to resolve the issues? Not keep her in Iraq and give her some antidepressant medication and then just send her home. So those are the answers that I don't have. Which makes me a little angry because I know what is supposed to occur."
The Times Union carried another lengthy story on Sunday, by Dennis Yusko, on post-traumatic stress syndome (PTSD) and Iraq veterans. "The number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans getting treatment for PTSD at VA hospitals and counseling centers increased 87 percent from September 2005 to June 2006 -- to 38,144, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs," Yusko revealed.
"At least 30 percent of those who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan are now diagnosed with PTSD, up from 16 percent to 18 percent in 2004, said Charlie Kennedy, PTSD program director and lead psychologist at the Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Of the 400 Capital Region vets in the program, 81 served in Iraq or Afghanistan, Kennedy said, and that number is growing. 'This kind of warfare is devastating,' Kennedy said. 'You don't know who is your friend and who is your enemy.'"
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Former prisoner tells of torture at Guantanamo
14 November 2006
ANKARA - A German-born Turk, who was held for four years in the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, has alleged systematic torture in the hands of the US military, from beatings to being chained to a ceiling for days.
Murat Kurnaz, 24, who was released in August because of lack of evidence he was involved in terrorist activities, said he endured "many types of torture -- from electric shocks to having one's head submerged in water, (subjection to) hunger and thirst, or being shackled and suspended."
A burly man with long reddish hair and a thick beard stretching down to his belly, Kurnaz spoke, betraying no emotion, to Turkey's CNN Turk television from his home in Bremen, northern Germany, in an interview aired here late Monday.
"They tell you "you are from Al Qaed"' and when you say "no" they give the (electric) current to your feet.... As you keep saying 'no' this goes on for two or three hours," he said, adding he had several times lost consciousness.
He claimed he was once shackled to a ceiling for "four or five days".
"They take you down in the mornings when a doctor comes to see whether you can endure more," he said. "They let you sit when the interrogator comes.... They take you down about three times a day so you do not die."
Kurnaz also alleged prisoners were locked up in cells into which frigid or hot air was pumped.
"I saw several people die," he said. "Sometimes I thought I could no longer stand it and would also die."
He claimed he was once left without food for 20 days and spoke of psychological abuse, including "religious insults" such as the Quran being kicked on the ground.
A Turkish citizen with permanent residency in Germany, Kurnaz was arrested in Pakistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks and turned over to US forces, who took him to a prison in the Afghan city of Kandahar before transferring to Guantanamo.
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Zionists Control America? You Betcha!
Bush will not hesitate to use force in Iran: Israeli ambassador
Nov 15, 2006
US President George W. Bush will not hesitate to use force against Iran to halt its nuclear program if other options fail, Israel's outgoing US ambassador Danny Ayalon said in an interview Wednesday.
"US President George W. Bush will not hesitate to use force against Iran in order to halt its nuclear program," Ayalon told the Maariv daily.
"I have been priviledged to know him well, he will not hesitate to go all the way if there is no choice," said Ayalon, due to return to the Jewish state next week after serving as ambassador in Washington for more than four years.
Israel, widely considered the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, views Iran as its arch-foe, pointing to repeated calls by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to wipe the Jewish state off the map.
The international community has been wrangling for months with the Islamic republic over its nuclear program, which Tehran insists is for civilian purposes and the West fears is a cover to develop atomic weapons.
In the interview, Ayalon said he thought Bush would first try to use diplomacy in trying to halt Tehran's atomic energy program.
"First the president will try to exhaust the diplomatic process," he said. "I estimate that there is a 50 percent chance that the diplomatic effort will succeed. If not, he will advance another step and consider imposing isolation and a blockade on Iran, like the US imposed on Cuba in the past.
"If this too does not succeed, he will not hesitate to employ force," he said. "If sanctions succeed, all the better. Otherwise, he will act by all means possible, including military action."
Ayalon said that a US military operation against Tehran would differ substantially from its invasion of Iraq in 2003.
"That is not the model. This is more (a case of) employing air power combined with limited ground forces.
"Anyone who is familiar with President Bush knows that he is very determined. he is convinced of the moral supremacy of democracies over dictatorships.
"Even when he was at a low, he was not alarmed and continued to stick to his path. He also told me personally, in one of these difficult moments, that if you continue and persevere in your path, the people will ultimately follow you."
Comment: Jewish lobby? What Jewish lobby? Anyone who says that Zionist leaders more or less dictate the policies of the American government are crazy! Where's the proof?! (ignore this article).
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Bush doesn't fear attack on Iran: Israeli envoy
Wed Nov 15, 3:44 AM ET
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - President Bush will not hesitate to use military force against Iran if other options fail, Israel's outgoing ambassador to the United States said in an interview published on Wednesday.
"I know President Bush well ... From his standpoint, a nuclear Iran, ayatollahs with a bomb, is unacceptable," Danny Ayalon told Israel's Ma'ariv newspaper.
"I have been privileged to know him well, he will not hesitate to go all the way if there is no choice."
Concern over Iran's atomic ambitions figured prominently in talks in Washington this week between Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The U.S. and allies including Israel have accused Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian energy program. Iran denies the accusation.
Ayalon, who has spent the past 4-1/2 years in Washington, said Bush would continue to pursue diplomatic efforts for now, and failing that would chose to try to isolate Iran via sanctions.
But if that tactic also failed to stem Iran's nuclear plans, Ayalon said Bush would likely use air power combined with limited ground forces to attack Iran.
"Anyone who knows President Bush knows that he is very determined. He is convinced of the moral supremacy of democracies over dictatorships ... If the sanctions succeed, all the better. Otherwise, he will act by all means possible, including military action," he said.
In public, Bush has said he backs a diplomatic solution with Iran but has refused to rule out a military strike.
The Islamic republic has said it is willing to talk to the U.S., but that Washington must first "change its attitude."
Asked if the United States would be capable of taking military action against Iran, given that it is already engaged in a debilitating conflict in Iraq, Ayalon said:
"This is not an operation on the same scale. There is no intention of employing large ground forces. That is not the model. This is more a case of employing air power combined with limited ground forces."
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Iran informs IAEA about Zionist's threats over country's nuclear facilities
Vienna, Nov 14 - Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh delivered here Tuesday Iran's protest letter to IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei detailing Israeli threats of a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
In the protest letter, relevant clauses and statements in documents of the United Nations and IAEA have been included to back up the country's claim.
The protest letter is to be downloaded as a document in the IAEA website.
Referring to IAEA Resolution 533, the letter calls for prompt condemnation of Israel's threats against Iran.
IAEA Resolution 533 underlines that any threat or attack on nuclear facilities already operating or under construction will be regarded as a violation of the UN Charter, IAEA letters of association and international rules and regulations and requires swift response from the UN Security Council, it said.
The letter urges the IAEA director-general to promptly condemn the Zionist threats and take proper action to prevent similar threats.
"On November 10, 2006, Ephrain Sneh, a deputy minister in the Israeli cabinet, said that the regime may launch a pre-emptive military strike against Iran's peaceful nuclear program.
"I consider it a last resort. But even the last resort is sometimes the only resort," the deputy minister said.
On October 19, 2006 Ehud Olmert, in a blatant threat against the Islamic Republic of Iran, said that Iran would have "a price to pay" if it does not relinquish its peaceful nuclear program.
He also said that Israel was making preparations for such possible attack and further threatened that Iranians "have to be afraid of the actions that may be taken by the Israeli regime." On May 15, 2006, Josef Olmert, who works closely with the Israeli mission to the United Nations in New York, threatened at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles that "Israel will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear capability, and will launch a unilateral military strike if necessary to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities"...(and further) said that "Israel cannot wait for a (possible) regime change in Iran because time is running out."
On March 7, 2006, Moshe Ya'alon, the former chief of staff of the Israeli regime's military, said at Hudson Institute in Washington DC that "Israel has a military option to counter Iran and decision-makers must take the Israeli military option into consideration."
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For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel Is 'God's Foreign Policy'
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: November 14, 2006
WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 - As Israeli bombs fell on Lebanon for a second week last July, the Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio arrived in Washington with 3,500 evangelicals for the first annual conference of his newly founded organization, Christians United For Israel.
When a Christian-Jewish group ran this ad during the Lebanon war, evangelicals responded en masse to support Israel, an official said.
At a dinner addressed by the Israeli ambassador, a handful of Republican senators and the chairman of the Republican Party, Mr. Hagee read greetings from President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and dispatched the crowd with a message for their representatives in Congress. Tell them "to let Israel do their job" of destroying the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, Mr. Hagee said.
He called the conflict "a battle between good and evil" and said support for Israel was "God's foreign policy."
The next day he took the same message to the White House.
Many conservative Christians say they believe that the president's support for Israel fulfills a biblical injunction to protect the Jewish state, which some of them think will play a pivotal role in the second coming. Many on the left, in turn, fear that such theology may influence decisions the administration makes toward Israel and the Middle East.
Administration officials say that the meeting with Mr. Hagee was a courtesy for a political ally and that evangelical theology has no effect on policy making. But the alliance of Israel, its evangelical Christian supporters and President Bush has never been closer or more potent. In the wake of the summer war in southern Lebanon, reports that Hezbollah's sponsor, Iran, may be pushing for nuclear weapons have galvanized conservative Christian support for Israel into a political force that will be hard to ignore.
For one thing, white evangelicals make up about a quarter of the electorate. Whatever strains may be creeping into the Israeli-American alliance over Iraq, the Palestinians and Iran, a large part of the Republican Party's base remains committed to a fiercely pro-Israel agenda that seems likely to have an effect on policy choices.
Mr. Hagee says his message for the White House was, "Every time there has been a fight like this over the last 50 years, the State Department would send someone over in a jet to call for a cease-fire. The terrorists would rest, rearm and retaliate." He added, "Appeasement has never helped the Jewish people."
This time Elliott Abrams, the White House deputy national security adviser who met with him, essentially agreed, Mr. Hagee said.
Leaving the White House offices, "we felt we were on the right track," he said.
Now, in tandem with the Israeli government, many evangelical Christians have focused on a new villain, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Evangelical broadcasters and commentators have seized on Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments questioning the Holocaust and calling for the abolition of the Israeli state. And many evangelicals now talk of the Iranian leader as a "mortal threat" to Israel.
Some evangelical leaders say they are wary of reports that a panel including former Secretary of State James A. Baker III might recommend negotiating with Iran about the future of Iraq. "It certainly bothers me," said Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and one of the most influential conservative Christians. "That has the same kind of feel to it as the British negotiating with Germany, Italy and Japan in the run up to World War II."
At rallies this fall for Christian conservative voters, Dr. Dobson sometimes singled out Mr. Ahmadinejad as a reason to go to the polls, arguing that Democrats could not be trusted to face down such dangers. "Hitler told everybody what he was going to do, and Ahmadinejad is saying exactly what he is going to do," Dr. Dobson explained. "He is talking genocide."
The same name, with many pronunciations, comes up repeatedly on Christian talk radio shows, said Gary Bauer, a Christian conservative political organizer. "I am not sure there is a foreign leader who has made a bigger splash in American culture since Khrushchev, certainly among committed Christians," he said.
Mr. Hagee, for his part, said Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments about Israel and the Holocaust were part of what motivated him to found Christians United For Israel late last year. Since the fight with Hezbollah, Mr. Hagee said, he is doing all he can to keep the pressure on United States officials to take a hard line with Iran.
When 5,000 evangelicals gathered last month for a "Night to Honor Israel" at his San Antonio megachurch, for example, Mr. Ahmadinejad was much discussed.
Mr. Hagee compared the Iranian leader with the biblical pharaoh of Egypt. "Pharaoh threatened Israel and he ended up fish food," Mr. Hagee said, to great applause.
Evangelical Christians who know President Bush, including Marvin Olasky, editor of the magazine World and a former Bush adviser, said Mr. Bush, unlike President Reagan, has never shown any interest in prophecies of the second coming.
Such theological details, however, have not kept the Israeli government and Jewish pro-Israel lobbying groups from capitalizing on the powerful support of American evangelicals. Fearing a backlash over Lebanon last July, Israeli officials and their American allies sought public statements of support from American evangelicals. Some groups declined because of risks to missionaries in the Arab world.
Dr. Dobson read a statement on his popular radio program expressing "heartache" at the civilian casualties but comparing Israel's fight to "the Biblical skirmish between little David and mighty Goliath." He explained, "There sits little Israel with its five million beleaguered Jews, surrounded by five hundred million Muslims whose leaders are determined to drive it into the sea."
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and the Israeli government's official goodwill ambassador to evangelicals, said the statements turned out to be superfluous because there was a groundswell of grass roots evangelical support.
Mr. Eckstein said he had discovered the depth of that support when he ran television commercials on the Fox News Channel seeking donations. The response, mainly from evangelicals, "burned out the call centers," Mr. Eckstein said. During the five-week war, his group added 30,000 new donors. Thanks to the influx of money, he said his organization has exceeded its income from the first 10 months of last year by 60 percent, putting it on track to pull in $80 million this year. "The war really generated a momentum," Mr. Eckstein said.
Evangelicals' support for Israel, of course, is far from uniform. Mr. Hagee is an author of several books about the interpretation of biblical prophecies. He says he believes the Bible assigns Israel a pivotal role as a harbinger of the second coming. Citing passages from Revelation and Ezekiel, he argues that conflict between Israel and Iran may be a sign that that time is approaching.
Others say they believe more generally that God maintains his Old Testament covenant with the Jewish people and thus commands Christian believers to help protect their "older brothers."
"My theology indicates that Israel is covenant land," Dr. Dobson said in an interview.
Many conservative Christians and their Jewish allies acknowledge a certain tension between the evangelical belief in a Biblical commission to convert non-Christians and their simultaneous desire to help the Jews of Israel.
"Despite all the spiritual shortcomings of the Jewish people," Dr. Dobson said, "according to scripture - and those criticisms come not from Christians but from the Old Testament. Just look in Deuteronomy, where Jews are referred to as a stiff-necked and stubborn people - despite all of that, God has chosen to bless them as his people. God chose to bless Abraham and his seed not because they were a perfect people any more than the rest of the human family."
Dr. Dobson, along with some other evangelicals, has expressed disappointment with what he saw as the Bush administration's pressure on Israel to sign the cease-fire that ended the fight.
"They began by saying they had to take a hard line, by saying they would support Israel and they ended up urging them to compromise and go home," Dr. Dobson said. "All that is going to do is allow everybody to reload. That didn't solve anything." (Mr. Hagee said that he believed the administration gave Israel "ample time" but that Israel erred by not "unleashing the full might of its ground troops" until it was too late.)
The Israeli government and its American allies have been building their alliance with evangelicals for decades. Israeli officials began working closely with Mr. Hagee and his church, for example, a quarter century ago, when he met several times with then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
The Jerusalem Post, an English-language newspaper, recently started an edition for American Christians.
The Israeli government temporarily cut off ties with the Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson after he suggested that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke might have been God's punishment for withdrawing from territory that belonged to the Biblical Israel. But then Mr. Robertson flew to Israel during the fight with Hezbollah. In a gesture of reconciliation, the Israeli government recently worked with him to film a television commercial to attract Christian tourists.
"Israel - to walk where Jesus walked, to pray where Jesus prayed, to stand where he stood - there is no other place like it on earth," Mr. Robertson says in the commercial, according to the Jerusalem Post.
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The neocons' last stand
Thursday November 16, 2006
Even before the electoral repudiation of President Bush, the guardians of the Bush family trust surfaced as the presumptive executive committee of the executive branch. For years, George Bush Sr and his former national-security team have tried to rescue the president from himself - and from the clutches of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their neoconservative centurions. Earlier this year Bush Sr quietly approached a retired four-star general to inquire if he would be willing to replace Rumsfeld, but that premature coup came to naught. Several of the father's associates personally warned Bush Jr before the Iraq war that it would lead to sectarian civil war, only to be dismissed with disdain.
James Baker - the elder Bush's campaign manager and secretary of state, charged for decades with cleaning up family messes - is now chairman of the Iraq Study Group (ISG) and has assumed the aura of a regent. He is burdened with more tasks than those specified in his commission's brief about Iraq. Not only is he developing a whole new US foreign policy, he is trying to salvage whatever can be retrieved from the wreckage of Bush's presidency for its last two years and to prevent the Republican party, having lost the crown jewel of the Congress, from being permanently tainted.
Just before the electoral doom, the neocons scurried off the sinking ship. Richard Perle, former chairman of the defence policy board (DPB), put the onus on Bush in an interview for Vanity Fair: "At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible." Kenneth Adelman, another neocon DPB member, who predicted that the invasion of Iraq would be a "cakewalk", said of Bush administration policy makers: "Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."
Yet the neocons plot to confound Baker. Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, on the advisory panel of the ISG, says the ISG member Edwin Meese will oppose the recommendations.
The neocon logic in favour of the Iraq war was that the road to Jerusalem led through Baghdad: an invasion would install an Iraqi democracy that would force the Palestinians to submit to the Israelis. Now near-unanimity exists on Baker's commission to reverse that formula. The central part of a new policy must be, they believe, that the road to Baghdad leads through Jerusalem.
In an article in the Washington Post in July, Brent Scowcroft, the elder Bush's national security adviser, who is very close to Baker, spelled out the notion that security and stability in the region, including Iraq, can only be achieved by re-establishing the Middle East peace process. Scowcroft's piece is a precis of Baker's views as well. On September 15, Philip Zelikow, Condoleezza Rice's legal adviser and a former Scowcroft protege, echoed Scowcroft's ideas in a speech at Washington's Middle East Institute. Afterwards, Cheney pressured Rice and she rebuked her closest deputy, underlining her own weakness.
Then the electoral catastrophe intervened, giving Baker leeway (and sidelining Rice). Baker even summoned Tony Blair to testify on Tuesday in order to support a restart of the Middle East peace process. If Baker were to propose that, he knows - although he will not explicitly say so - that its enactment would require the firing of neocons on the national security council and Cheney's staff, in particular Elliott Abrams, the NSC's near-east affairs director.
If Baker actually advocates what he thinks, Bush will have to either admit the errors of his ways and the wisdom of his father and his father's men - or cast them and caution aside once again.
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The expulsion of Trotsky from the Soviet party
Wednesday November 16, 1927
Complete hostility has been declared between the orthodox wing of the Russian Communist party and the leaders of the Opposition.
It was announced in Moscow yesterday that Trotsky and Zinovieff had been excluded from the party, and that eleven other Opposition leaders had been expelled from the Central Committee. Trotsky and his supporters are defiant. The indications are that the repression of their activities by the absolutist and all powerful governing authorities will be ruthless.
The expulsion represents a decisive step toward the placing of the Opposition outside party legality, and guarantees that no Opposition voice will be heard during the party Congress.
[Their] aggressive activity in holding demonstrations during the revolutionary anniversary celebration and organising meetings of "conspirators" induced the Central and Control Committees to take immediate action.
Trotsky and Zinovieff will only be able to conduct an illegal political agitation, which may end in their imprisonment. Considering the implacable character of the fight between them and the orthodox wing, it would seem they are afraid of nothing and will continue to struggle.
Trotsky at bay Report extracted from "Pravda", of the discussion at the last plenary sitting of the Central Committee. Trotsky complained that the Opposition had been denounced as counter-revolutionary, referring always - amid protests - to the party leaders as the "fraction".
[He specified] "The Stalin-Bukharin fraction, which has thrown and is throwing into the inner prison of the G.P.U. splendid party men like Vassilyev, Fishelev, and many others . . ."
Petrowski: "A disgusting speech, a Menshevist speech. Frightful!"
Trotsky: "This fraction cannot stand our presence. The present regime believes in the omnipotence of force, even against its own party."
Trotsky: "Under Lenin's leadership the general secretariat played an altogether subordinate part. (Uproar.) The situation began to change during Lenin's illness. The choice of men by the secretariat, the grouping of Stalinists in the organisation became independent of political directives.
"That is why Lenin, when he saw his retirement approaching, gave the party final advice 'Get rid of Stalin, who may lead the party to schism and downfall.'" (Uproar.)
Skvorzov-Stepanov (editor of the "Izvestia"): "An old calumny!"
Thalberg: "You gossip, tale-bearer!"
Kalinin (President of the Soviet Union): "Petit-bourgeois!"
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Hasidic Jews: Montreal police in 'men-only' uproar
Nov. 16, 2006. 05:45 AM
QUEBEC BUREAU CHIEF
MONTREAL-What to do if you're a policewoman trying to take a statement from a Hasidic Jew who refuses to look at you, never mind answer questions?
In Montreal, an internal police document recommends stepping aside and calling on a male colleague, advice that has infuriated some officers, and the union that represents them.
The guidance is contained in a slim newsletter the Montreal police service says is meant to promote cultural sensitivity, but critics see it as the latest in a series of cases where civil rights collide with efforts at "reasonable accommodation" of religious and cultural minorities.
The issue is a major topic in Montreal, where a litany of analogous incidents has come to light in recent months, and where pundits are suggesting the outer limits of official multiculturalism have been reached.
The question has even prompted the provincial government to set up an expert committee to provide advice on how to craft reasonable accommodations in public institutions like schools and hospitals.
But there are clearly still some kinks to be worked out.
The piece in the police newsletter, which the service stresses is not formal department policy, is headlined "Sometimes being ignored is respectful."
It then explains the cultural sensitivities of Hasidic Jews and says "your role, as a professional, is to facilitate exchanges with your interlocutor.
"In some cases, that could mean bringing in your male colleague to intervene."
The president of La Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal, which represents the city's 4,200 cops, said it was "discriminatory" for the police service to give such advice.
"We support reaching out to cultural groups. It's to our members' advantage and they do it every day, but saying that it's okay for someone to tell a female officer to step aside and let the men take over is just going too far," said Yves Francoeur, who demanded yesterday the police service retract its stand.
"We have 1,200 women in the service, gender relations are going pretty well, we've long talked about equality and there is no issue there.
"But you can't tell someone to stand aside and be quiet" because it is discriminatory.
Police spokeswoman Melissa Carroll said "this is not a new policy" and the passage in a column in the October issue of the internal newsletter L'heure juste - presented as a hypothetical scenario involving a robbery in a Hasidic bakery - simply serves to inform officers about situations they may encounter.
In some Hasidic communities - which observe an ultra-Orthodox form of Judaism - scriptural interpretations forbid men from interacting with, speaking to, or touching women to whom they aren't related by blood or marriage.
The incident is the latest in a series of high-profile cases.
Earlier this month, a Montreal YWCA made headlines - and prompted a petition from members - over a decision to install frosted windows in order to accommodate a Hasidic school across the alley.
Last summer, a suburban Montreal school board found itself at the centre of a controversy after it closed a school pool - and covered windows - to allow two Muslim female students to take a swim test.
Toronto police only accommodate requests for specific officers from Hasidic males, and anyone else who asks, when someone comes into a station in a non-emergency situation.
"If we're investigating something criminal ... whatever officer arrives on the scene, that's what they get," Const. Norman Smart said.
Constitutional expert Julius Grey warned against the type of advice in the police newsletter, saying it risks doing more harm than good.
"We should only make accommodations in order to help people integrate. I'm opposed to the ghettoization of people," said Grey.
Some Hasidic community leaders, meanwhile, hailed the pamphlet's example as a "respectful" position in regards to their religious beliefs.
"But I'm not all that complicated. If there's a male officer and female officer I'll speak to the man, but if they're both women, then I'll speak to them," Montreal shopowner Faivel Binder told La Presse.
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Earth On Edge, Economy Too
California volcano showing signs of life, professor says
The State Hornet
November 15, 2006
The city of Clearlake, Calif., is home to an active volcano that may erupt violently within the next 10,000 years, said Lisa Hammersley, professor of geology.
Hammersley was the speaker for the inaugural lecture for Sacramento State's Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Excellence at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 in the University Union's Redwood Room.
Hammersley said the next eruption in Clearlake, a city about 80 miles west of Sacramento, would probably be a violent explosion of magma, not a small lava flow. Past eruptions in Clearlake "have been everything from small eruptions to large eruptions," she said.
Hammersley has been one of the only geologists to conduct extensive volcanic research in Clearlake, a location that the United States Geology Survey recently named as a "high threat" location that should be monitored more closely.
Hammersley's research indicated that the volcano in Clearlake, which she said last erupted around 10,000 years ago, may be "actively recharging" for a future eruption for several reasons.
The Earth's crust around the volcano is giving off an usual amount of heat, and is emitting gases that are chemically similar to magma, Hammersley said.
"Gases don't stick around very long . . . so there must be magma in the crust," Hammersley said. She also explained that geologists have observed earthquakes below the Earth's surface in Clearlake, and they "have a fluid signature," which points to the existence of magma below the Earth's surface. Geologists can tell the difference between earthquakes where something solid is breaking and where a liquid is moving, she said.
Hammersley explained some of the challenges she faced during her research, such as the difficulty in taking samples of the Earth's crust in Clearlake.
"People there are quite private and don't want you on their land," Hammersley said. "Access to that land can be quite difficult."
Although Hammersley's lecture contained complex mathematical theories, some students found it easy to understand.
"It's great that they make (these lectures) so approachable," said junior Christine O'Neill, a geology major.
"(Hammersley's lectures) are based in complex math that she explains really well to undergraduates," said senior Tiffany Pratt, a geology major.
For a schedule of STEM's future lectures or more information about the program, visit its website.
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Multiple earthquakes hit Russian Pacific islands, no damage reported
16/ 11/ 2006
MOSCOW, November 15 (RIA Novosti) - More than 20 earthquakes have been registered in the Kuril Islands area, off Russia's Pacific coast, since Wednesday afternoon, the country's Emergency Situations Ministry said Thursday.
"Twenty-two seismic events measuring up to 5.3 [on the Richter scale] struck 75-275 kilometers (47-171 miles) from Simushir Island between 2:30 p.m. Moscow time (11:30 a.m. GMT) November 15 and 6 a.m. Moscow time (3 a.m. GMT) on the 16th," the ministry said.
An 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck 75 kilometers southeast of Simushir Island at 2:14 p.m. Moscow time (11:14 a.m. GMT) Wednesday, raising fears of an imminent tsunami.
Following the powerful tremor, a tsunami warning was issued for residents of the South Kuril Islands to evacuate coastal areas for higher ground, but the wave skirted the islands and people are now returning to their homes, the ministry said.
"The tsunami threat passed at 4:44 p.m. Moscow time (1:44 p.m. GMT Wednesday. There were no casualties or damage."
Severo-Kurilsk, in the North Kuril Islands, was hit by a smaller quake, measuring three on the Richter scale.
Japan's Meteorological Agency reported earlier Wednesday that earthquake-generated waves, 40 centimeters (16 inches) to two meters (6.5 feet) high as they came ashore, hit the archipelago's northern islands of Honshu and Hokkaido, and warned they could approach Russia's Kurils.
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210,000 in the dark after storm pounds B.C. coast
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | 5:31 PM PT
The latest winter storm hammered B.C.'s South Coast Wednesday, with extensive ferry cancellations, road closures and massive power outages.
About 210,000 B.C. Hydro customers are without lights as strong winds blew trees onto power lines, downing them completely in some cases.
Hydro spokeswoman Elisha Moreno said the hardest-hit areas are Vancouver, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford and Mission.
There are also widespread outages on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast.
Moreno said all available crews are out trying to make repairs and restore power. But she said they will stop for the night at 10 p.m. PT due to safety reasons, and start work again at first light on Thursday.
Moreno says there could be outages in the B.C. Interior as the storm makes its way eastward across the province.
Trees hitting homes
The high winds, which gusted up to 100 km/h, also blew trees onto people's homes on the Lower Mainland on Wednesday.
In East Vancouver, a large elm tree blew down on 12th Avenue near Kingsway, with its top branches ending up in the attic of a heritage home. No one was hurt.
In the Seascape development north of Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver police went door-to-door ordering 40 people out because of the danger of trees falling on their homes.
"There are quite a number of trees that have come down in this area due to the high winds, and several have actually landed on houses," said spokesman Sgt. Paul Skelton.
Police also closed Highway 99 to Whistler for several hours because of the danger.
Peter Gordon told CBC News he was waiting in traffic on the highway when falling trees almost hit two cars in the lineup.
"Just slightly north of Lions Bay, and while we were stuck in traffic, two more trees came down. And one big fir landed just dead-on between two cars. We thought someone was going to get killed for sure."
But they didn't, and Gordon said everyone got out without any injuries.
The danger of falling trees prompted emergency officials to ask motorists to stay off Highway 1 between Capilano Road in North Vancouver and 264th Street in the Fraser Valley - B.C.'s busiest stretch of highway.
Meanwhile, Highway 101 north of the ferry terminal on the Sunshine Coast was also closed by the high winds.
Ferries stay docked
The rough weather conditions forced BC Ferries to cancel numerous sailings between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island on Wednesday.
Spokesman Mark Stephanson said the entire system was shut down for a time, except for the Horseshoe Bay-to-Langdale run, because of the "extreme" conditions.
Ferry service has since resumed, but most ferries were running behind schedule.
Harbour Air cancelled its commuter flights from Vancouver to Victoria and Nanaimo on Wednesday morning, although West Coast Air maintained its service between Vancouver and Victoria.
Helijet service across Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island was not disrupted.
Slow going on Island highways
Highways on the Island are taking a pounding. Highway 14, west of Victoria, is closed 20 kilometres west of Sooke at Point No Point by downed hydro wires.
Farther up the Island, Highway 18 is closed halfway between Duncan and Lake Cowichan.
Highway 4 to the west coast of the Island has been closed between the Tofino-Ucluelet junction to the Sutton Pass summit and on the other side of the summit near Port Alberni.
About 4,500 students in Port Alberni were sent home because the schools have no electricity.
On northern Vancouver Island, two mudslides have closed a large section of Highway 19 from the Sayward Road Junction to just south of Woss. Another mudslide near Gold River has closed Highway 28 in both directions at Muchalaat Drive.
Flood warnings have been issued for five rivers on the Island: the Cowichan, Chemainus, Englishman and Tsolum Rivers on the east side of the island, and the Gold River on the west side.
In northern B.C., there is a heavy snow warning along Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert.
North Shore on alert
The high winds and heavy rain are of particular concern in North Vancouver, where mountain streams and creeks are already surging.
District of North Vancouver Mayor Richard Walton said some residents of the Indian Arm area have no water because their intake pipes have been broken off by the raging creek waters.
Officials are also keeping a close watch on the escarpment in North Vancouver, where a mudslide claimed a life nearly two years ago.
Crews and homeowners are also on the alert in the Boundary Bay area of Delta where there was extensive flooding damage in a major storm back in February.
Just last week, the first big storm of the season caused major problems, including the evacuation of about 200 homes in the Fraser Valley.
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Banks warned of 'end to the good times'
Jill Treanor and Rupert Jones
Thursday November 16, 2006
The City regulator issued a warning to the high street banks yesterday that the "clouds were already darkening" and urged them to prepare for the impact of rising unemployment and the knock-on effect on bad debts.
The Financial Services Authority highlighted mortgages based on high multiples to income - as much as five times in some instances - and questioned whether sales of these products would be monitored properly.
Clive Briault, managing director of retail markets at the FSA, said: "While retail banks appear to have adequate financial resources today, the good times will not last forever - indeed, there is evidence that the clouds are already darkening and that banks need to prepare now for the potential storms ahead."
In a speech to the British Bankers' Association, he also urged them to conduct stress tests - essentially worse case planning scenarios - to assess the impact of a downturn in the housing market on the business. The regulator believes banks should consider the impact of a 40% fall in property prices and a 35% increase in the repossession rate on their business but stressed that it does not mean it expects such sharp movements to take place.
Mr Briault's comments came as banks were embroiled in a row over moves to end free banking. First Direct, the online and telephone bank owned by HSBC, is facing the prospect of a customer backlash after its decision to levy a £10 monthly fee on its current accounts. The controversial move affects about 200,000 customers who pay in less than £1,500 a month. To avoid the fee, these customers will either have to pay in more money or sign up for another First Direct product such as a credit card or mortgage.
Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said it was "shocking" that the bank was targeting its charges at anyone who earned less than £24,000. He added: "This is an early sign that the banks are going to abandon free banking and impose charges for the use of a current account. This will create a further barrier to people on low incomes trying to use the banking system."
One theory is that HSBC is using First Direct to trial the fee-charging model. Other banks denied they were moving towards charging for current accounts, but the price comparison website uSwitch.com said it would not be surprised to see the changes made by First Direct becoming common practice across the industry.
Mr Briault warned banks of the risk to their reputations if large numbers of customers started to default on loans. Figures show increasing numbers of customers are applying for individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) to control their debt repayments. "You will already be at least as familiar as I am with the levels of unsecured debt and the possibility that a relatively small change in economic circumstances could result in a large increase in the numbers facing significant difficulties in meeting their obligations," he told the bankers. "Even if this is not in itself a significant threat to banks' capital, it is a potential reputational risk to the industry."
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Dealing With The Chinese Dragon
November 14, 2006
BEIJING - While American voters were finally giving President George Bush and his southern-fried Republican Party a richly-deserved, long-overdue drubbing, I was off in China observing a nation that while rigidly authoritarian, is at least governed by capable, intelligent leaders.
The same, alas, could not be said of the Bush Administration's neocon ideological crackpots, dim-witted rural legislators, and evangelical religious extremists who saddled America with two lost wars, now costing over $8 billion monthly, monster budget deficits, and the intense dislike, if not downright hostility, of people around the world.
Here in Beijing for my umpteenth visit since 1975, I've seen the future, and it still says, 'made in China.' In all my decades of travel and reporting, China's transformation from Maoist gulag to economic powerhouse is by far the most awesome event I have ever witnessed.
This gigantic metropolis of 25 million seems destined to become the world's new capitol city - provided China's economy, still surging at over 10% per annum, remains strong, and political stability continues. But once China's surging growth slows, or comes to a halt after a financial crisis or political upheaval, the rest of the world risks being hit by a major financial and trade crisis. So we must not let China euphoria and greed overcome what should be natural caution and prudence in dealing with this new colossus.
Beijing's massive new skyscrapers, huge government blocks, broad, traffic-clogged avenues and miasma of smog and dust give it the look of an imperial capital in a science fiction film.
Last week, China staged a grandiose summit for 48 African leaders summoned to Beijing to receive $10 billion in aid from China's new leader, President Hu Jintao.
Energy voracious China now gets 30% of its oil from Africa. Angola just passed Saudi Arabia as China's leading oil supplier. China is bent on securing the lion's share of Africa's supplies of oil and other strategic resources. China-Africa trade has surged 30% to $50 billion in 2003. Interestingly, during the height of the Cold War in the late 1980's, the Soviet Union tried the same strategy, but was thwarted by the CIA and South Africa.
China's non-interference policy in foreign affairs means its trade and aid come without strings, a major plus for authoritarian or boycotted African regimes. But at least China is not hypocritical. While Washington boycotts Sudan and Zimbabwe over human rights, it cosies up to other African nations like Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia that are routinely accused of serious violations by international rights groups.
The summit was a lavish spectacle, with convoys of bigwigs in armoured limousines racing down the avenues, dancers, drummers, acrobats, small armies of tough security details, and regiments of China's feared, ramrod-straight paramilitary police, the Wujing, scowling at everyone. Algeria's secret police - who enjoy torturing victims with electric drills and blow torches - took first prize for looking sinister.
This week, China announced a third quarter trade surplus of US $102 billion. Beijing's monetary reserves have finally topped US $1 trillion, surpassing the former cash king, Japan. Much of China's reserves remain in US dollars. Beijing continues to finance America's spending binge by lending it billions, and keeping its reserves in dollars, though their value is under increasing pressure as the dollar threatens to further weaken. Communist China, in effect, continues to prop up the capitalist dollar in the face of growing pressure for its devaluation.
China's mammoth trade surplus, and a rising flood of foreign investment, has swamped the nation's banks with cash. This, in turn, has fuelled indiscriminate speculative investments, particularly in real estate and factories, and ignited a gold rush frenzy that often obscures China's solid economic achievements.
This flood of hot money poses a serious danger. Indiscriminate investment leads to overproduction, which then causes a deflationary crisis that could end in financial meltdown. Japan experienced similar phenomena in the 1990's, provoked by the sudden collapse of its wildly over-heated property market.
China's government has been struggling without much success to restrain this investment dragon. Beijing refuses, however, to allow its controlled, seriously undervalued currency, the yuan, to float, as its trade partners keep demanding.
The undervalued yuan has given China its huge surplus, the motor of growth that has pulled the nation out of poverty. China still needs to deal with hundreds of millions of struggling farmers, state industry workers, and unemployed. So it refuses to allow the yuan to inch up by more than 5%.
If the yuan were allowed to float, say Chinese bankers, people would rush to convert to dollars, causing a dire financial crisis that would wreck the fragile banking system.
Anyway, argue Chinese officials, why should China pay the price for America's profligacy in refusing to save and running huge government deficits by revaluing the yuan?
America's Treasury is printing too much money in order to keep America's debt-ridden economy growing. Since 60% of all US dollars end up abroad, the Bush Administration's reckless spending and over-stimulative money policies have caused a dangerous world-wide cash flood and serious imbalances to the global economy.
Who would have ever imagined that it would take Chinese loans to keep the US financial system from imploding?
US Republican who idolize free enterprise would do well to take pointers on capitalism from China's Communists who have beaten the western devils at their own game.
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Mainstream Media Rulz
Rules of the Western Media in dealing with the Middle East
TO AVOID CONFUSION PLEASE FOLLOW THESE RULES:
Rules of the Western Media in dealing with the Middle East :
Rule 1: In the Middle East, it is always the Arabs that attack first, and it's always Israel who defends itself. This is called "retaliation".
Rule 2: The Arabs, whether Palestinians or Lebanese, are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called "terrorism".
Rule 3: Israel has the right to kill Arab civilians; this is called "self-defense", or these days "collateral damage".
Rule 4: When Israel kills too many civilians. The Western world calls for restraint. This is called the "reaction of the international community".
Rule 5: Palestinians and Lebanese do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even a limited number, not even 1 or 2.
Rule 6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (Palestinians: around 10000 to date, 300 of which are children, Lebanese: 1000s to date, being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or trial. All that is needed is the magic word: "terrorism"
Rule 7: When you say "Hezbollah", always be sure to add "supported by Syria and Iran"
Rule 8: When you say "Israel", never say "supported by the USA, the UK and other European countries", for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.
Rule 9: When it comes to Israel, don't mention the words "occupied territories", "UN resolutions", "Geneva conventions". This could distress the audience of Fox.
Rule 10: Israelis speak better English than Arabs. This is why we let them
Speak out as much as possible, so that they can explain rules 1 through 9. This is called "neutral journalism".
Rule 11: If you don't agree with these rules or if you favor the Arab side over the Israeli side, you must be a very dangerous anti-Semite. You may even have to make a public apology if you express your honest opinion (isn't democracy wonderful ?).
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OJ Simpson reveals how he would have killed his wife
Thursday November 16, 2006
- Ex-sports star records hypothetical confession
- Victims' heirs accuse Fox of 'awakening nightmare'
More than 12 years after the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goodman, OJ Simpson will revive memories of the case that gripped America with a controversial TV appearance later this month.
In the latest twist in a case that has captivated America for more than a decade, Simpson is to tell how he would have killed his ex-wife and her friend, if he were responsible for the murders.
"In the two-part event, Simpson describes how he would have carried out the murders he has vehemently denied committing for over a decade," Fox News said in a statement.
The interview will be conducted by celebrity publisher Judith Regan. The day after it airs, Regan Books is publishing Simpson's new book, If I Did It, Here's How It Happened, in which Simpson "hypothetically describes how the murders would have been committed".
Regan Books paid Simpson $3.5m (£1.85m) for the book, according to the New York Post. The Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, as is Fox TV. Regan Books, too, is owned by Murdoch. The imprint, best known for publishing an autobiography by porn star Jenna Jameson, is part of the HarperCollins group, which is owned by News Corp.
In a promotional clip for the interview Simpson is shown answering questions posed by an unseen woman.
"You wrote, 'I have never seen so much blood in my life'," the woman asks.
"I don't think any two people could be murdered without everybody being covered in blood," Simpson answers.
In a statement Brown's sister Denise condemned the interview. "It is unfortunate that OJ Simpson has decided to awaken a nightmare," she said, before expressing concern for Brown's two children, who are being brought up by Simpson. "We hope Ms Regan takes full accountability for promoting the wrongdoing of criminals and leveraging this forum and the actions of Simpson to commercialise abuse," she added.
Although Simpson was famously acquitted of the June 1994 murders, he was found to be responsible for both killings at a subsequent civil trial and was ordered to pay $33.5m to the heirs of the victims. To date he has not made any payment. A lawyer for the Goldman family said he would explore legal action should Simpson profit from the book or the interview.
Regan Books had no comment, although a recent report on the book said that Simpson's account of the murder is "so detailed and so chillingly realistic" that readers will likely draw the conclusion that he committed the murders.
Since the trial, Simpson has lived a secluded life in Florida. He recorded television interviews to mark the 10th anniversary of the killings, and to promote a reality TV show he planned to make.
The verdict in the civil case meant that Simpson has been unable to work as any income would go toward the costs awarded in the judgment. Simpson, who was a professional football player before becoming a film star, receives a pension from his sporting career which is protected from any court action.
"OJ won't get rich off this because if the money comes to him then it's subject to the civil judgment," said Laurie Levenson of Los Angeles' Loyola law school.
"OJ loves the limelight," he added. "I think he just wants to be in the headlines again."
Comment: Only in America can a brutal slaying be promoted as prime time entertainment for the masses. Something is rotten in the state of the greatest democracy on earth.
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Spin and Consequences
Published: November 15, 2006
New York Times
When President Bush announced in September that he was transferring 14 men suspected of heinous acts of terrorism to Guantánamo Bay, his aim was baldly political - to stampede Congress into passing a profoundly flawed law that set up military tribunals to try "illegal enemy combatants" and absolved U.S. officials of liability for illegally detaining and torturing prisoners.
But that cynical White House move may also have unintentionally provided the loose thread to unravel the secrecy and lawlessness that have cloaked the administration's handling of terrorism suspects.
For more than two years, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department have vigorously battled efforts to force the administration to account for the network of secret C.I.A. camps at which specially designated prisoners are hidden away. It has resisted a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union that seeks the release of documents relating to prisoner policies, including the C.I.A. prisons. Government lawyers have argued that even admitting that some documents existed would endanger national security.
But when Mr. Bush announced that he was sending the 14 prisoners to Guantánamo for trial, he effectively confirmed the existence of the secret C.I.A. prisons. Later, in the debate over the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Mr. Bush said that Congress had to absolve C.I.A. agents of any legal responsibility for their actions so he could order them to go on interrogating prisoners.
That was a major blow to the C.I.A.'s legal strategy. After all, if the president could talk about the prisons and interrogations to suit his political interests, why couldn't they be discussed in court?
The Justice Department quietly reversed field after Mr. Bush's announcement, and it informed the A.C.L.U. in a letter last week that two of the documents the group has been seeking do, in fact, exist - although it is still refusing to release them.
One of those documents is a presidential order signed by Mr. Bush authorizing the C.I.A. to set up prisons outside the United States to house terrorism suspects. The other is a 2002 memo from the Justice Department outlining what sorts of "aggressive interrogation techniques" may be used against those prisoners. That phrase, we now know, is Bush administration code for acts that the rest of the world regards as abuse and even torture.
The government now has to file a detailed argument by the end of this month explaining why it believes these documents should not be made public.
Courts are sympathetic to legitimate claims of national security when it comes to intelligence and military operations. But the Bush administration has abused the courts' - and the nation's - trust in the indiscriminate way it has tried to hide its policies behind a supposed shield of national security. At the very least, it should now be much harder for government lawyers to do that.
It would be even better if the courts ultimately compelled the release of these and other documents. Americans have a right to know what standards their president has been applying to the treatment of prisoners. The nation's image is at stake, as well as the safety of every man and woman who is fighting Mr. Bush's so-called war on terror.
Comment: The Editors of the NYT are certainly polite. Where is the outrage at what is happening in their country? There is none, only tepid verbiage.
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