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The most successful tyranny is not the one
that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the
awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable
that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an
"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." - Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural
It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. --Voltaire--
consciousness is freedom
Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the worlds will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the "past." People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the "Future." [Cassiopaea 09-28-02]
April 1, 2003 Today's edition of Brought to You by The Bush Junta, Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions....The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen." If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!
"Congress is cutting US $14.6 billion from veterans health care programsThe vote passed last Thursday 215 to 212. The House of Representatives is controlled by the Republicans - the pro-military party. Meanwhile President Bush is giving US$10 billion to Israel - $1 billion more than they asked for. Comment: In other words, there are almost 300,000 US service personnel in the Iraq theatre of operations - fighting and dying for Shrub while and his gang cut their future benefits and gives the money to Israel. Dont go getting any ideas about complaining though, otherwise your unpatriotic " disgruntled" ranting may just precipitate a code red and force Osama out from under your bed to shut you up.
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tonight issued a
bullish message to Saddam Hussein, only hours after a statement
from the Iraqi leader called for the Muslim world to rise up
"There will be no outcome to this war that leaves Saddam Hussein and his regime in power", he said. "Let there be no doubt, his time will end, and soon. The only thing that the coalition will discuss with this regime is their unconditional surrender."
Mr Rumsfeld's authority was bolstered by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, who stepped in to defend the foreign secretary from persistent reports that he over-ruled military officials when creating the battle plan for Iraq.
An impassioned General Myers told a meeting at the Pentagon: "My view of those reports is that they're bogus. First of all they're false, they're absolutely wrong, they bear no resemblance to the truth and it's just harmful to our troops who are out there fighting very very bravely and courageously."
Mr Rumsfeld concurred: "The fact is that one person prints it, then everyone else runs around and copycats it and writes it again. Then pretty soon it's been printed 16 times and everyone says, 'Well it must be true'. That's nonsense." Comment: For once Rummy is right, the above last paragraph is exactly the way we should interpret everything that is issued from the whitehouse from now on.
'You didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!' A journalist's account of the killing of a car full of Iraqi civilians by US soldiers differs widely from the official military version, says Brian Whitaker The invasion forces suffered another self-inflicted disaster in the battle for hearts and minds yesterday when soldiers from the US 3rd infantry division shot dead Iraqi seven women and children. The incident occurred on Route 9, near Najaf, when a car carrying 13 women and children approached a checkpoint.
A US military spokesman says the soldiers motioned the vehicle to stop but their signals were ignored. However, according to the Washington Post, Captain Ronny Johnson, who was in charge of the checkpoint, blamed his own troops for ignoring orders to fire a warning shot. "You just fucking killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!", he reportedly yelled at them.
In another checkpoint incident this morning, US forces say they killed an unarmed Iraqi driver outside Shatra. Meanwhile it has emerged - as a result of detective work on the internet by a Guardian reader - that the explosion in a Baghdad market which killed more than 60 people last Friday was indeed caused by a cruise missile and not an Iraqi anti-aircraft rocket as the US has suggested.
A metal fragment found at the scene by British journalist Robert Fisk carried various markings, including "MFR 96214 09". This, our reader pointed out in an email, is a manufacturer's identification number known as a "cage code". Cage codes can be looked up on the internet (www.gidm.dlis.dla.mil), and keying in the number 96214 traces the fragment back to a plant in McKinney, Texas, owned by the Raytheon Company.
Raytheon, whose headquarters are in Lexington, Massachusetts, aspires "to be the most admired defence and aerospace systems supplier through world-class people and technology", according to its website (www.raytheon.com). It makes a vast array of military equipment, including the AGM-129 cruise missile which is launched from B-52 bombers. US backs checkpoint killings soldiers A spokesman for US central command today backed soldiers who shot seven women and children at a checkpoint and blamed the Iraqi regime for the killings. Navy Captain Frank Thorp said initial reports indicated the soldiers from the US 3rd Infantry Division had acted properly in firing on a car that failed to stop at a checkpoint in the southern Iraqi desert near Najaf last night.
According to the US
military, the soldiers motioned for the car to stop and fired
warning shot when their commands were ignored. When those shots
were ignored the soldiers fired shots into the car engine but it
continued to drive towards the checkpoint. The soldiers then fired
into the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Comment: 7 women and children, one man, all in one
car, shot to death. There is no further comment needed other than
"by their fruits you shall know them"
March 31, 2003 Today's edition of Brought to You by The Bush Junta, Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions....The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen." If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!
Terror Code Red Would Trigger Virtual Lockdown National
landmarks such as the Washington Monument, Ellis Island and the
Gateway Arch in St. Louis could be shut down. Planes could be
grounded, trains could stop running, and bridges and tunnels could
be closed. U.S. borders might be sealed off, and roadblocks might
be set up on interstates and other major highways. The United
States is prepared to go into lockdown mode if the government
should raise the nation's terror alert to Code Red, the highest
threat level for terrorism. Code Red means there is a severe risk
of terrorist attack, or that an attack is imminent or may already
be under way.
Outbreak may still be in its infancy, experts warn Spread of SARS in Hong Kong complex raises fears illness will be hard to contain. The rapid spread of SARS through a Hong Kong housing complex is raising fears that the epidemic will be hard to contain and that the still unidentified virus may be airborne. The number of people infected in Amoy Gardens, in urban Kowloon, has soared to 121 from seven in the past four days, sending shivers down the spines of public health officials in Canada. Residents of the complex have been quarantined for 10 days in the first isolation order since the government invoked quarantine laws on March 29. They must remain in their units until April 9, but will be provided with three free meals a day and medical advice.
Margaret Chan, Hong Kong's director of health, said the rapid spread of the disease through the upscale estate suggests that the virus may be airborne. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressed similar worries over the weekend, and said it may be an indication the epidemic is in its infancy. "What we know about respiratory viruses suggests that the potential for infection of a large number of people is very great," CDC director Julie Gerberding said in a teleconference. "We may be at the very early stages of what could be a much larger problem."
Adding to the flurry of bad news on the medical front, the World Health Organization said there is evidence that the time from exposure to development of the illness may be as long as 14 days. That suggests that many more people are likely infected, that people may be infectious longer and that quarantine periods may have to be extended. It was believed that SARS was spread by droplets and could be contracted only by close proximity to an infected person sneezing or coughing. An airborne virus would be far more infectious.
Donald Low, chief of microbiology at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, tried to play down those aspects yesterday, saying that "there is no epidemiological evidence that this is airborne" and that "14 days would be the exception, not the rule." He described the worries as theoretical. But Paul Gully, senior director-general of the population health and public health branch of Health Canada, said "there is a real concern about community spread" based on the latest news out of Hong Kong. To date, all of the SARS cases in Canada have been among travellers to high-risk areas in Asia and among family members, health-care workers and patients who came in contact with them.
Worldwide, there have been at least 1,612 SARS cases and 59 deaths, according to the WHO. Of the deaths, 34 occurred in China, 13 in Hong Kong, four in Canada, four in Vietnam, three in Singapore and one in Thailand. The death recorded in Thailand illustrates the danger SARS poses to health-care workers. Carlo Urbani, the Italian doctor who first identified the outbreak, died in Bangkok on Saturday. The 46-year-old contracted the illness in mid-March from a patient he was treating in Vietnam. Cases have been reported in 13 countries in Asia, North America and Europe, and there are fears that SARS may have jumped to Africa. So far, the regions hardest hit are China, Hong Kong and Canada, and public-health officials are warning that the number of cases will likely rise for at least one or two more weeks, even if the spread has been contained.
In recent days, a number of
countries have put screening measures in place at airports to try
to prevent SARS carriers from travelling by air. In Hong Kong, all
incoming travellers are being questioned by nurses. Health Canada
has recommended that airlines question departing international
travellers to ensure they do not have SARS symptoms. The department
has also recommended that people defer travel to China, Singapore
and Vietnam. Microbiologists around the world have been working
feverishly to pinpoint the cause of SARS. Much of the evidence so
far points to a previously unknown coronavirus, a pathogen that may
have jumped to humans from cattle. But scientists have not entirely
ruled out a metapneumovirus, from a family of viruses that usually
cause respiratory ailments in children. Nor have they ruled out a
co-infection involving the two viruses.
Why the US bombed al-Jazeera’s TV station. In Kabul Just before the Northern Alliance marched into Kabul on Monday November 12, US armed forces dropped a 500-pound bomb on the studios of the popular Arab satellite TV station al-Jazeera (the Peninsula). No one was hurt, as the building was not occupied at the time by any of the 10 al-Jazeera journalists and technicians based there, a decision having already been taken to evacuate the building in advance of the Northern Alliance’s entry into Kabul. The same attack damaged nearby offices of the BBC and the Associated Press.
Immediately after the raid, the station’s London bureau chief, Muftah Al Suwaidan, told the Guardian newspaper, “al-Jazeera’s office is in the heart of Kabul. The building is the only one to have been hit so it looks like it was deliberate.” The station’s managing director, Mohammed Jassim al-Ali, said that the US had been previously informed of al-Jazeera’s location.
Al-Jazeera has earned the enmity of Washington for its critical coverage of the US war in Afghanistan, and particularly by broadcasting interviews with Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. Because of their impact on public opinion in Muslim countries, the Western media and politicians had warned that the US was in danger of losing the propaganda war. It seems that the US decided the best way to win the battle for hearts and minds was to take out its critics.
Destroying the al-Jazeera office before the Northern Alliance occupied Kabul ensured that whatever massacres and reprisals took place are be less likely to be reported. Following the bombing, the station’s Kabul correspondent Tasir Alouni—who has become world famous for fronting reports showing the devastation caused by the US bombing of the Afghan capital—was seized and assaulted by incoming Northern Alliance forces. He was only released after the intervention of Paktia tribal groups. Alouni was so traumatised by his experiences that he said later he had witnessed, “scenes that, I’m sorry, I couldn’t describe to anybody”. Broadcasting later from eastern Afghanistan, he described his condition as one of “deep psychological shock.” The bombing of the Kabul office is not the only attempt undertaken by Washington to disrupt al-Jazeera’s newsgathering and reporting.
On November 14, the station’s Washington correspondent, Mohammad al-Alami, was detained at Waco airport during his efforts to cover the summit meeting between George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Al-Alami described how credit card details used to buy the plane ticket to Waco were traced to transactions in Afghanistan. When Al-Alami tried to leave Waco airport, police armed with M-16 rifles detained him, although he was later released.
The US has issued contradictory explanations of the al-Jazeera bombing. At a November 14 defence department news conference, Rear Admiral Craig R. Quigley told an al-Jazeera journalist that the bombing was a “mistake” because “a weapon went awry”. Challenged as to whether the US had information regarding the location of al-Jazeera, BBC and Associated Press facilities in Kabul, Quigley replied evasively, “I don’t know that we do.” Colonel Rick Thomas, speaking to CBS for US Central Command, insisted that the building was “a known al Qaida facility in central Kabul... We had no indications this or any nearby facility was used by al-Jazeera. We had identified two locations in Kabul where al-Jazeera people worked, and this location wasn’t among them.”
On November 17, al-Jazeera’s chief of Arab language broadcasting, Ibrahim Hilal, again accused the US of deliberately targeting their Kabul office. Hilal said that the station had been on a list of US targets ever since the start of the bombing campaign, and that transmissions between Kabul and the station’s headquarters in the tiny Middle Eastern emirate of Qatar were routinely monitored by US intelligence. Suggestions that part of US war policy was to deliberately target news organisations drew attention from the Newsworld conference of media executives, meeting recently in Barcelona. Reflecting the broad concerns amongst journalists, BBC World correspondent Nik Gowing told the conference, “It seems to me there is some evidence to be put to the Pentagon about the targeting of news organisations... It seems people uplinking journalistic material [by satellite] can be targeted legitimately.” Gowing noted, “al-Jazeera has been providing some material that has been very uncomfortable.” Gowing also compared the attack on al-Jazeera to the US bombing of Serbian TV in Belgrade in 1999.
Speaking for the US military, Colonel Hoey reiterated Rear Admiral Quigley’s line to the Barcelona conference that US forces did not have the location co-ordinates of the al-Jazeera offices, and that, in any case, “The US military does not and will not target media. We would not, as a policy, target news media organisations—it would not even begin to make sense.” But, as Gowing’s comments indicate, the bombing of al-Jazeera is not the first time that the US has bombed a TV station that has broadcast reports contradicting official Pentagon propaganda about “targeted actions” and “limited collateral damage.”
On April 23 1999, at the height of a NATO bombing of Belgrade, US cruise missiles destroyed the headquarters of Radio Television Serbia (RTS). Thirteen journalists and staff were killed and many more were injured. RTS, a network employing 7,000 people, and the largest TV station in the Balkans, had been providing footage and rebroadcast facilities to international news organisations, ensuring the world’s population had at least some inkling of what was being done to the Serbian people. The attack followed weeks in which all the TV transmitters and private TV facilities in Serbia had been destroyed, and after an ultimatum from NATO Air Commander David Wilby demanding airtime to put NATO’s case to RTS viewers. RTS and the Belgrade government of Slobodan Milosevic had apparently agreed to broadcast six hours of NATO propaganda, in return for six minutes of Yugoslav news on European and US networks. NATO bombed RTS anyway, with US General Wesley Clarke overruling objections from other NATO governments.
Al-Jazeera has for some years figured in Washington’s calculations in the Middle East and has become a target for US ire because of its reputation for independent and comprehensive coverage of Middle Eastern politics. Since its foundation in 1996, al-Jazeera has won a large audience across North Africa and the Middle East, and has antagonised political leaders from Algeria to Saudi Arabia.
The station generally advances a pan-Arab nationalist political line and is used by the Qatar government as an occasional instrument of policy. However, the station claims to employ staff from a wide range of political backgrounds, and its most popular programmes are political debates and talk shows which explore the most controversial issues in Middle Eastern politics—allowing open debate between Islamic fundamentalists, liberals, supporters and opponents of the Middle Eastern peace process. The Jerusalem Post estimates 40 percent of residents in the Gaza Strip watch al-Jazeera, because the station regularly exposes human rights abuses, shows live footage of riots, discusses women’s rights under Islam, and criticises government parties in a region where the broadcast media is largely under state control.
Last year, the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy noted the growing impact of
satellite TV in the region: “From the Atlantic to the Indian
Ocean, Arab governments are worried they have lost control of
information, one of the key means they have used to stay in power
in the past. Diplomats in the region have dubbed the phenomenon
‘the al-Jazeera effect’.” In early October, US
Secretary of State Colin Powell asked the Emir of Qatar, who partly
finances the station, to rein in its editorial line. Al-Jazeera
responded by publishing the request. Comment:
Baghdad assault 'delayed for up to 40 days' The United States-led advance on Baghdad appeared to have been placed firmly on hold yesterday after frontline units reported orders to settle into their positions for the next 35 to 40 days. General Tommy Franks, the US commander, insisted there would be no pause in the assault on Saddam Hussein’s regime. But troops on the ground suggested there had been a marked change in the coalition’s military strategy.
Frontline soldiers to the
south of Baghdad said they were digging trenches, laying mines and
camouflaging vehicles to protect their positions, instead of
preparing for an imminent advance on the Iraqi capital. Initial
reports at the weekend suggested there would be a delay of about
six days to allow supplies and reinforcements to reach the front.
However, military officials reportedly told one frontline unit the
"pause" in the attack could last 35 to 40 days. Other reports
claimed there would be a two-week pause. Comment: I would not discount that the possible (or
probable) reason for such a delay is to allow for the "boredom
factor" to set in among the western public in relation to this war.
The US and British governments are well aware of the fact that
after a certain period of time people adjust to the new climate and
turn their attention back to "normal life". US military planners
may well be counting on such a situation in order to use a "final
solution" on the "Iraqi resistance" (which at this stage includes
just about every Iraqi that can fire a gun).
This may sound like a radical viewpoint, but these are
desperate men with their backs to the wall, even if they wanted to,
they simply could not extricate themselves from the mire of this
illegal war. This was a one way ticket. With the real objective of
taking Baghdad by conventional means looking more and more
unlikely, they may decide that they have to resort to
unconventional means. As we all know, you have conventional weapons
and unconventional weapons.
Bloodied children's shoes bear witness to deadly strike at Baghdad farm JANABIYAH, Iraq. Bloodied school books and children's shoes lie amidst animal carcasses on the road leading to the Ismails' farm in this village on the southeastern edge of Baghdad. The main building of this hamlet, accessible via a checkpoint manned by militiamen, has been levelled, the second burned out and the third partially destroyed.
A neighbour told an AFP journalist that two missiles fired by coalition warplanes Saturday night caught five sleeping families living on the farm. The raid left 20 people dead, including 11 children, seven women and two men. Ten others injured in the attack were taken to hospital. The victims have already been buried according to Muslim tradition but the smell of death still permeates the farm: the bombing also cost the life of several of the farm's animals.
Littered amongst the rubble spread over the grass were carcasses of four cows, their eye, nose and mouth cavities blackened by swarms of flies. Two dogs, sheep and chickens lay motionless nearby. "Five children were turned into human torches in this house because of the gas cylinders inside," one of the two survivors said, wondering how God spared him while four other family members were wounded. "Their bodies protected me because I was in a corner," he mused.
A neighbour, with missile debris in his hands, said: "That is Bush's democracy. They want us to welcome them with flowers. Look what they've done to our families." Civilian casualities in Baghdad and its outskirts have mounted since the US-led war to topple President Saddam Hussein's regime was launched on March 20. The coalition has relentlessly bombed the southern rim of the city, where elite Republican Guard units are believed to be guarding the approach to Saddam's seat of power. AFP journalists have witnessed five such incidents in which civilians were the primary victims of a coalition strike, reporting at least 70 dead and dozens of wounded.
Iraqi officials have said hundreds of civilians have been killed and wounded since the start of the war. US and British war planners have declared their intent to minimise civilian casualities and accuse the Iraqi leadership of deliberately placing military targets such as weapons and ammunition in residential neighbourhoods. They have also suggested that some of the blasts might have been the result of misguided Iraqi anti-missile missiles. Comment: The extent to which these people hold innocent human life in contempt is disgusting. They care nothing for the pain and suffering they cause to the Iraqi men women and children.
Indonesia considers switch from dollar to euro JAKARTA - Echoing a wider move away from the US dollar, the Indonesian government and the central bank, Bank Indonesia, may begin to use the euro in export-import transactions and foreign-exchange reserves.
The statement was made by
Finance Minister Boediono, Bank Indonesia governor Syahril Sabirin
and senior deputy governor Anwar Nasution here on the weekend in
connection with state oil company Pertamina's plan to use the euro
in its trade transactions.
Boediono said that if the
US dollar continues to weaken compared with other foreign
currencies including the euro, users of the greenback may seek more
stable currencies. Comment: The REAL
"threat" that is behind this war and the massacring ofIraqi
civilians. This time "it really is the economy stupid" - the world
economy and the continued US dominance of it.
U.S. Tank Falls in Euphrates; Four Marines Dead A U.S. tank carrying four U.S. Marines plunged from a bridge into the Euphrates River last week after the driver was killed in combat, apparently causing the other three crewmen to drown, U.S. military officials said on Monday. The incident occurred on March 27 near the town of Nassiriya in southern Iraq, but the tank and the dead Marines were not pulled from the river until Sunday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement from its battle headquarters in Qatar.
Central Command said the
tank driver was shot and killed while crossing a bridge and the
M1A1 tank toppled into the river, landing upside down. The other
three crew were believed to have drowned, it said. The statement
did not name the river, but U.S. military personnel near Nassiriya,
which has been the scene of heavy fighting since early in the
12-day-old war, told Reuters it was the Euphrates. They said the
incident occurred during a heavy sandstorm. The names of the
Marines were being withheld pending notification of their families.
Comment: Ok, so it could have
happened, but what are the chances? How was the driver killed
INSIDE the tank? The same type of magic bullet that killed Kennedy?
This story stinks to high heaven and given the US track record of
outright lies then we can justifyably be suspicious of this
Second correspondent dies The Channel 4 News foreign affairs correspondent Gaby Rado has been found dead at a hotel in Suleimaniya, northern Iraq. ITN - producers of Channel 4 News - said that there appears to be no direct connection with any military action. It is believed that Gaby fell from the roof of the Abu Sanaa hotel into the car park below, where his body was found. ITN journalist Terry Lloyd was killed in Iraq earlier this month after coming under fire. Two of his crew are still missing.
The Abu Sanaa hotel is being used by a number of journalists including the team from Channel 4 News. Between 0820 and 0830 local time the security guard at the hotel car park reported that somebody had fallen from the hotel roof. Gaby was found with serious head injuries in the hotel car park. He received immediate first aid at the scene and was then taken to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Gaby's body is currently at the Forensic Hospital in Suleimaniya. The Suleimaniya police are conducting a full inquiry and are also keeping ITN informed of developments. They have found an eyewitness who saw Gaby walking up to the hotel roof alone but did not see what happened next. Comment: Yeah, its really easy just to fall of the roof of a hotel, happens all the time...
Are Independent Journalists Being 'Executed' By the Bush Administration? The number of casualties among independent journalists in Iraq is higher, percent-wise than ANY OTHER GROUP in the war zone. Are Independent Journalists Being 'Executed' By the Bush Administration?
Since the war started, a total of at least half a dozen journalists have been killed - an outrageously high percentage of casualties - the highest for any single group of people in the war zone, from the civilian support personnel to the soldiers themselves. It seems way, way beyond coincidence that most of the fallen journalists are non-embedded writers dedicated to telling the truth. The latest death is British reporter (Channel 4, ITN) Gaby Rado, covering the action in Northern Iraq. Rado died under mysterious circumstances in a "fall" from a hotel roof. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2900379.stm Not long before, fellow ITN journalist Terry Lloyd was killed in Iraq by 'friendly fire' from Allied forces. Lloyd was one of the "unilateral" reporters, travelling freely around the war zone, as opposed to being "embedded."
A Frightening Overview:
MARCH 11: British veteran Journalist Kate Adie warns that US. plans to target independent journalists. (story on Adie's interview on an Irish radio station: http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=8238
MARCH 30: As of this date, at least 5 independent and/or non-embedded journalists in Iraq have died from car bombs, friendly fire or mysterious accidents or have mysteirously disappeared.
FALLEN HEROES - DEAD or presumed dead:
Gaby Rado, ITN journalist,
in northern Iraq from mysterious fall from roof
INJURED (partial list)
Daniel Demoustier, ITN
cameraman - friendly fire
journalist, Newsday, Baghdad
These two newsfolk were declared missing as of March 25 from Iraq after being ordered to leave. Their hotel room was completely cleaned out, no word left. Here's the story from Newsday:
There are two alternative theories here:
1. They were killed by the Iraqi government: This is the story that is being heavily implied by US government sources, because the Iraqis officially expelled them. But why "pre-announce" an execution and thus clearly draw the world's outrage? This isn't the Saddam regime's style. They would have been more likely to arrest and "try" the reporters very publicly as "spies," levying highly-publicized, specific charges.
2. The two were real journalists who had acquired information that would be damaging to US/UK interests. They were intercepted on their way out of Iraq, or even in Syria, and murdered to prevent them from filing these stories.
I am putting my money on theory 2, especially as McAllester has written extensively on the plight of Iraqi children in the wake of UN sanctions and received the full accreditation of the Iraqi government to write on Iraq just a few months back.
Here's a story from Newsday (3/30) that offers more evidence of the menacing attitude of US military official toward independent-minded journalists: "Four journalists, two Israeli and two Portuguese, trailing coalition troops in Iraq, were arrested by American soldiers and expelled from the country after a harrowing period of custody in which they said they were mistreated and accused of being Iraqi spies."
Meanwhile, back home, in the safety of their comfy studios and dressing rooms, Tim Russert, Tom Brokaw, George Will, Katie Couric, Dan Rather, et al, continue to promote the war and disseminte propaganda with a callous disregard for the safety of American troops or the honor of their nation. Meanwhile, the courageous, honest - and honorable - reporters in the war zone must be wondering: "Who's next?"
Flashback: Pentagon threatens to kill independent reporters in Iraq. The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: "Who cares.. ..They've been warned."
According to Ms. Adie, who twelve years ago covered the last Gulf War, the Pentagon attitude is: "entirely hostile to the the free spread of information."
"I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot reporting, as the war occurs," she told Irish national broadcaster, Tom McGurk on the RTE1 Radio "Sunday Show."
Ms. Adie made the startling revelations during a discussion of media freedom issues in the likely upcoming war in Iraq. She also warned that the Pentagon is vetting journalists according to their stance on the war, and intends to take control of US journalists' satellite equipment --in order to control access to the airwaves.
Another guest on the show, war author Phillip Knightley, reported that the Pentagon has also threatened they: "may find it necessary to bomb areas in which war correspondents are attempting to report from the Iraqi side." Listen to radio interview
premier denounces US as "very dangerous" Brussels, March
30, IRNA -- Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt Sunday toughened
his position against the war in Iraq. Speaking at a meeting of his
liberal VKD party in the city of Antwerp, Verhofstadt denounced the
US as "very dangerous." "America, a power deeply injured, and has
become very dangerous, and it thinks to take over the whole Arab
world," Belgian RTL TV quoted him saying. He said the US regards
the Arab world responsible for all terrorism. "This is a logic
which I do not share," he said. An estimated 30,000 Muslims mainly
from North African countries live in the port city of Antwerp .
Verhofstadt added that everything must be undertaken to restore the
international legal order. Comment:
The beast is
Demons Of Necessity: Why Weapons of Mass Destruction Will be Found "We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth." - Sidney Schanberg (columnist) Under a large rock in the deserts of Iraq, lie the weapons of mass destruction that threaten "freedom." They are there somewhere, now or later, and they WILL be found. History authored the notion that necessity is the mother of invention. History is also the diary in which is recorded that necessity sometimes, or perhaps often, spawns the great demons of so-called civilization.
Adolph Hitler gained a strong foothold in the control of Germany when he achieved the chancellorship in 1933. That wasn't enough to allow him to implement his grand plan, however, which required convincing the German people to give him control over the military. For such extreme trust from the people, there needed to be a threat beyond the danger of putting such power into the hands of one man. Such a threat was a NECESSITY for him to achieve full dictatorial powers. On the night of February 27th, just after Hitler became chancellor, the Reichstag caught fire and burned to the ground.
Within the hour, Hitler's S.A. picked up a mentally ill (probably schizophrenic) man named Marinus van der Lubbe. Van der Lubbe, under "questioning," confessed to starting multiple fires using the underground tunnels beneath the Reichstag. He was accused of having done so as a representative of the German communists, whom Hitler feared and hated. The German people were incensed that the communists-turned-terrorists had attacked them right in the jugular. Der Lubbe was executed and few people asked why there were no police or other security people guarding the Reichstag that night.
Communist (KPG) leaders were arrested and Hitler was granted the dictatorial powers he had sought. Most of us know what followed. This is not to suggest that a deranged lone man did not successfully burn the Reichstag to the ground on a night when no one was looking. It is to suggest only that necessity perhaps dictated what happened. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson desperately wished to send more troops to Vietnam, in a full-scale escalation of the non-declared war, but neither the people nor the congress felt any justification for such escalation. Then, on August 4, on nationwide television, Johnson declared that North Vietnamese torpedo boats had launched an "unprovoked attack" against a U.S. destroyer on "routine patrol" in the Tonkin Gulf. Further, Johnson and the Pentagon told the American public that North Vietnamese PT boats followed up with a "deliberate attack" on a pair of U.S. ships.
The accusations turned out to be fabrications. The U.S. destroyer Maddox was actually engaged in aggressive intelligence-gathering maneuvers -- in sync with coordinated attacks on North Vietnam by the South Vietnamese navy and the Laotian air force. But the lies were NECESSARY in order to produce support for Johnson's plans. The now-famous Gulf of Tonkin Resolution - the closest thing there ever was to a declaration of war against North Vietnam -- sailed through Congress on August 7, with a vote of 88 to 2, the votes based on the now-accepted deception. The deception had been NECESSARY. In the end, it was costly, especially to the more than 50,000 American soldiers who died in the jungle and the millions of Vietnamese they killed. Nevertheless, it was at its inception, in the minds of some, necessary.
In 1997 the rightwing thinktank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC), dealing with permanent hegemony of the United States, was formed. Finding the U.S. as a sole superpower with financial surpluses unheard of since the 60s, there, just waiting to happen, was a pax americana, a U.S. imperialism to control the world. The vast cost of setting such imperialistic aims in motion necessitated a belief by the American people that they were in danger that could be averted by an even larger military machine, one which would by chance be financially beneficial to many prominent people in the U.S. government. What was needed for America to dominate much of humanity and the world's resources, the PNAC crowd said, was "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor." This, according to John Pilger in The New Statesman, was written in advance of 9-11.
A terrorist strike on American soil, the likes of which had never before been envisioned, was necessary. On September 11, 2001, that strike came when a handful of Saudi hijackers (according to accepted conclusions) with some boxcutters flew two planes into the World Trade Center and another into the Pentagon, opportunely for them, at a time when the U.S. Air Force trained to intercept such actions on any other day had fallen asleep at the wheel. Americans woke up, shocked, heartbroken, and ready for battle. The administration could have whatever it wanted. Congress gave Mr. Bush carte blanche, making him the most powerful chief executive in American history. To refuse him ANYTHING was considered almost treasonous. A former Honduran ambassador accused by the Honduran Human Rights Commission of aiding in death squad activity was able to slide right through as Mr. Bush's choice for U.N. ambassador.
A heinous act had been perpetrated upon the American people, and no one could object to any demand made by the new Commander-in-Chief. To place our full trust in him, regarding military matters, tax cuts, and anything else imaginable, was NECESSARY. There were skeptics about the sudden jump to conclusions. The administration and hundreds of thousands of flagwavers blindly agreed to obliterate Afghanistan if it meant they might find the perpetrator of this act. All evidence pointed to Osama bin Laden, a man created by the CIA during the cold war. Mr. Bush, despite family and business ties between the Bush and the Saudi bin Laden families, vowed to find Osama, "dead or alive."
Coincidentally, the previous May, Colin Powell had delivered 43 million dollars to the Taliban who controlled Afghanistan. It was an old story of their having something we wanted and our having something they wanted. The Caspian oil reserves at that time were projected to be one of the largest in the world, and western oil companies were working late into the night to decide who the oil belonged to and how it could be transferred from the former Soviet bloc countries to the sea. France already had a deal going to ship its share via a proposed pipeline in Iran. The U.S. had no place to put a pipeline. Afghanistan was the logical choice, and bartering began. During all this business-as-usual, many of us all over the world were trying to draw attention to the inhumane treatment of women by Afghanistan's Taliban. Our outrage was ignored. The pipeline was of greater importance, and relations couldn't be strained as long as the U.S. was dependent upon the Taliban to build this pipeline.
Then the Taliban balked and wouldn't cooperate. As has happened so often in the past century, you cross Uncle Sam and you get to wear a black hat. The sequence of events is not that confusing. Attempts were made to buy off pipeline rights with the Taliban. The Taliban refused. The World Trade Center was attacked. The alleged ringleader, Osama bin Laden, was hiding out in Afghanistan. So, mostly from six miles up, the U.S. attacked and conquered Afghanistan, easy pickings in a destitute, war-ravaged third-world country. The lesson of Vietnam had been to attack only when certain of victory, i.e. a focus on weak or defenseless countries. The two most wanted men, Osama and his son-in-law, Mullah Omar, were not found. In an ironic twist, the Caspian oil reserves now appear to be less fertile than originally calculated. Still, it had been NECESSARY to send Afghanistan further into the Stone Age because Osama was probably hiding out there in a cave with his dialysis machine.
Necessity justified the attack, the destruction of unborn lives through depleted uranium, and a civilian death toll we don't yet have straight. As for the failure to find Osama, the administration patiently explained to us that the issue wasn't "a single man." Osama is already in the process of being forgotten. It is not NECESSARY to find him. Afghanistan was practice. Since long before 9-ll, many eyes had been on Iraq. Not only does Iraq have the second largest oil reserves (and considering sulfur content, the richest) on earth but many consider it a perfect foothold for control of the entire mideast. We began to be told that the REAL danger to our nation and its allies lay in Iraq, with its weapons of mass destruction, which were to have been destroyed at the close of Gulf War I.
Inspectors had searched for these weapons for several years before leaving the country to avoid Clinton's bombings in 1998. (Contrary to popular myth, they were never "thrown out" of Iraq.) The U.S. demanded retribution for Iraq's alleged failure to comply with the U.N.'s resolution calling for the destruction of the weapons, while Iraq insisted it no longer had such weapons. The U.N. insisted that the next step was to send the inspectors back. The inspectors returned, given full access to the entire country. While they sometimes found Iraqi officials difficult to work with, in the end chief weapons inspector Hans Blix stated unequivocally that the inspectors had found not one piece of evidence of weapons of mass destructions.
There were some red herrings, but each was shot down by the International Atomic Energy Commission or the U.N. Over a hundred al-Samoud 2 missiles, all declared by Iraq, were found to overshoot their allowed distance by ninety kilometers. Despite Iraq's insistence that the extra range resulted from empty payloads, they began to be destroyed, unavailable for defense should the Anglo-American forces decide to unilaterally invade anyway. If WMD existed in Iraq, they were out of the reach of the inspectors. And the U.S. was eager to get the inspectors out so that the invasion could begin before the climate became too hot for soldiers unused to the desert. World opinion was growing against the Anglo-American position, and there was no time to be lost.
The American people allowed the genocide now taking place in Iraq for two reasons:
1. In a bewildering show of ignorance, the people could not keep Osama and Saddam straight, believing that it was Saddam who attacked the world trade center. Not even Bush claimed this, but few at the top explained to the people that Saddam and Osama are mortal enemies. The people wanted revenge for the 3,000 deaths in New York City, and they went for the wrong man.
2. From sea to shining sea, the majority of the American people believed Saddam had/has weapons of mass destruction. A frenzy allowed people to pass on such untenable fears as, "If we don't take his nukes from him, he can wipe out New York City whenever he wants." The corporate press fed this fear daily.
Most of the U.N. and the International Atomic Energy Commission and millions and millions of people opposing this invasion knew that there probably WERE no weapons of mass destruction. The "evidence" was all paper-tiger quality, shot down as it was discovered to be fabrications, some of it embarrassingly so. The evidence that all former WMD (Saddam had in the past been provided some by Britain and the U.S., had even used some of their chemicals on the rebelling Kurds) no longer existed was much stronger. Most of the world concluded that however much a thug Saddam Hussein might be, it had no bearing on whether he posed a danger to anyone outside his own country.
But the "coalition" (armed by three countries - the U.S., Britain, and Australia) has now invaded a sovereign country against the wishes of the U.N., the EU, NATO, the world's religious leaders, and the majority of the people on earth. American and British servicepeople have died. Iraqi civilians have died. More will die. Dozens of mothers in the United States are weeping. Thousands of mothers in Iraq are weeping. The only thing that will "justify" these deaths is the discovery of vast amounts of dangerous weapons of mass destruction. It is NECESSARY, vitally necessary, to those who orchestrated the current happenings, that these weapons be found and shown to the world as evidence of Bush/Blair rightness. It is essential in allowing the U.S. to save any face left to be saved.
So they WILL be found.
And millions of people, those with yard signs that say, "Iraq today, France tomorrow," those who still confuse Iran and Iraq, those who don't know the difference between Osama and Saddam, those who believe Bush has a serious connect with God, those who think the nineteen alleged hijackers on 9-11 were Iraqis (documentation shows them to be primarily Saudi), all these people will trust their leaders that these weapons were there all along. This is how it happens. This is what necessity does in the hands of ruthless men. This is how the fine fabric of goodness turns to frayed gossamer, then rotted remnants of dirty threads. This is how a land of compassion, integrity and courage can become the most hated nation on earth.
It sleeps with Necessity. It snuggles close. It either blindly believes or it does whatever it has to do to win the prize. It lets its once-pure face be stroked by the seductive, gnarled hands of power and greed, complacency and ignorance. It joins either the Germans who turned their heads when the trains rolled by or it joins those who used cattle prods to pack dissidents into the cars. There is no in-between. Of all the spawn of this necessary seduction, Ignorance is the most unforgivable.
The touted weapons of mass destruction WILL be found. They will be found because it is NECESSARY that they be found.
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