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June 9, 2003

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Powell slams media on Iraq WMD reports

'No doubt whatsoever' they were present before invasion

Powell: claims of false WMD reports are "nonsense."

There is a bit of revisionist history going on here. -- Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday it was "nonsense" to label U.S. intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as bogus.

Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice blanketed the Sunday morning talk shows to say they were confident the intelligence was accurate and sound.[...]

Meanwhile, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote a letter to British intelligence services reassuring them the government would take "far greater care" using their material, following a controversy over a dossier on Iraq's weapons.

The dossier -- titled "Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation" -- sparked outrage after it was discovered that parts of it were copied from a 12-year-old thesis by an American student.

Kristol: Bush Made Misstatements on Iraq WMDs


In comments sure to be seized upon by Bush administration critics at home and abroad, one of the leading proponents of the war in Iraq said Sunday that President Bush may have misstated the case that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before the U.S. attacked.

"We shouldn't deny, those of us who were hawks, that there could have been misstatements made, I think in good faith," Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol told "Fox News Sunday."

Asked, by whom, the leading Iraq war backer explained, "By the president and the secretary of state, [statements] that will turn out to be erroneous."

Kristol stressed that he didn't believe charges from Bush administration critics that the president had deliberately distorted WMD intelligence.

But the leading neoconservative writer and former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle added, "I hope [the WMDs] are found but I'm very skeptical.

"We have interrogated a lot of people and we haven't found a single person who said he participated in disposing, destroying the stock of weapons of mass destruction. Or in hiding them."

Kristol said that Saddam probably "did bluff a little bit" when it came to acknowledging he possessed WMDs in 1998, saying that "[U.S.] intelligence estimates were wrong, too."

"I don't think we need to be apologetic about the war," Kristol insisted. But he said the U.S.'s inability to uncover significant quantities of Iraqi WMDs means that the war may not have been as necessary and urgent as previously believed.

"People like me, who were hawks, said the war was both just, prudent and urgent," he said. "I think just and prudent - fine. But it is fair to say that if we don't find serious weapons of mass destruction capabilities, the case for urgency, which Bush and Blair certainly articulated, is going to be undercut to some degree."

Kristol, who made his comments just minutes after Secretary of State Colin Powell said on the same broadcast that there was no doubt Saddam had WMDs when the U.S. attacked, did acknowledge, however, "There has been evidence that they had an ongoing weapons of mass destruction program, I think, even if they did not have as large a stock of the weapons as we thought."

Comment: This is pathetic, these idiots cant even get their story straight, however that wont matter since the public is so easily hoodwinkable it seems...

Powell, Rice defend Iraq arms charges

By Audrey Hudson

Bush administration officials yesterday called charges the government exaggerated Iraq's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction "outrageous" and said evidence of the "effectively concealed" weapons is forthcoming.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said there is no doubt in the intelligence community that Saddam Hussein's government had the weapons.

On "Fox News Sunday," Mr. Powell stood by his prewar remarks that "there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more, and he has the ability to dispense these lethal poisons and diseases in ways that can cause massive death and destruction."

Captives Deny Qaeda Worked With Baghdad

New York Times

Two of the highest-ranking leaders of Al Qaeda in American custody have told the C.I.A. in separate interrogations that the terrorist organization did not work jointly with the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein, according to several intelligence officials.

Abu Zubaydah, a Qaeda planner and recruiter until his capture in March 2002, told his questioners last year that the idea of working with Mr. Hussein's government had been discussed among Qaeda leaders, but that Osama bin Laden had rejected such proposals, according to an official who has read the Central Intelligence Agency's classified report on the interrogation.

In his debriefing, Mr. Zubaydah said Mr. bin Laden had vetoed the idea because he did not want to be beholden to Mr. Hussein, the official said. [...]

Pentagon's intelligence service reported no reliable evidence of Iraqi weapons last September

By Robert Burns
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon's intelligence service reported last September that it had no reliable evidence that Iraq had chemical agents in weaponized form, officials said today.

The time frame is notable because it coincided with Bush administration efforts to mount a public case for the urgency of disarming Iraq, by force if necessary. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others argued that Saddam Hussein possessed chemical, biological and other weapons and was hiding them.

Two months after major fighting in Iraq ended, U.S. officials have yet to find any chemical or other mass-killing weapons, although they still express confidence that some will turn up.

Rumsfeld recently raised the possibility that Iraq destroyed the weapons before the war started March 20. He also has said he believes some remain and will be discovered when U.S. search teams find knowledgeable Iraqis who are willing to disclose the locations.


The Senate Armed Services committee today convened a closed-door hearing focusing on the mission of the 75th Exploitation Task Force, which made the initial effort to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction at the conclusion of the war, and the follow-on search team, called the Iraq Survey Group.
The committee was hearing from Stephen A. Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence; Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the DIA; and an unidentified CIA representative.

Barrels Looted at Nuclear Site Raise Fears for Iraqi Villagers


For Iptisam Nuri, a mother of five who was sick with typhoid, the arrival of the barrels in her home at first seemed a godsend.

When the electricity went out during the war, the water-pumping station that serves this area 30 miles southeast of Baghdad shut down, and people were thirsty. Then men from a village near here broke through the fence guarding "Location C" at Saddam Hussein's nuclear complex.

"We had to find something to bring water," said one of the men, Idris Saddoun, 23.

They say they broke into the warehouse, emptied hundreds of barrels of their yellow and brown mud, took them to the wells and canals and filled them with water for cooking, bathing and drinking.

For nearly three weeks, hundreds of villagers who live in the shadow of the high earthen berm and barbed wire fences that surrounded the labyrinth of the Iraqi nuclear program here bathed in and ingested water laced with radioactive contaminants from the barrels. [...]

Soldiers commit Suicide

Sunday Mirror
By Mike Hamilton

TWO young soldiers have killed themselves after falling ill with suspected Gulf War Syndrome following the latest conflict in Iraq.

Both men committed suicide after showing recognised symptoms of the illness - blamed on controversial jabs our troops were given before the war. [...]

Gulf War Syndrome expert Professor Malcolm Hooper, a member of the MOD's independent Vaccine Panel, said: "The soldiers are hung out to dry, where instead they should be offered help when they come back from a horrific war distressed and unwell."

An MOD spokesman said yesterday: "We recognise people are ill but we do not recognise a single syndrome.
"We will not comment on individual cases."

Child sickness 'soars' in Iraq


Children in Basra have been hit particularly badly

The number of children in Iraq suffering from diarrhoea and related diseases appears to have risen dramatically in the past year, the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) said on Sunday.

The incidence of diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid was 2.5 times higher this May than for the same month last year, said Unicef spokesman Geoffrey Keele, quoting from a limited survey.

The World Food Programme said that, before the US-led invasion, one-million Iraqi children had been malnourished as a result of diarrhoea.

But the war and the collapse of Iraq's infrastructure had worsened the health hazards, disrupting clean water supplies, damaging sewage systems and halting rubbish collections.

The WFP has begun distributing food rations across Iraq but it warns that food is not enough if water supplies remain contaminated.

Sewage threat

The Unicef survey was limited in scope and complete figures were unavailable due to the breakdown in the health system during the war, the organisation's spokesman said.

Mr Keele said that 70% of child deaths before the war this spring had been the result of diarrhoea or respiratory infections.

Unicef's figures meant that 72% of the children it had surveyed had had diarrhoea, Mr Keele said, pointing out that the condition was a killer in Iraq.

Dysentery and typhoid, spread through contaminated water and food, were "becoming a real problem for children", he said.

Cholera was also on the rise with 66 confirmed cases in the southern city of Basra alone, most of them among small children. Three people had died there of the disease.

Unicef was working to provide treatment to health centres during the high-risk summer months, he said, but Iraq's "poor hygiene" remained a major threat.

"There are 500 breaks in Baghdad's water system alone that lead to contamination with sewage," Mr Keele said.

Comment: America sows death and destruction, making no distinction between its own citizens or those of other countries.

Blair misled us all, says widow of commando

Lianne Seymour, whose husband was killed in the war, accuses the PM of a breach of trust

By Severin Carrell
The Independent

The widow of a British commando killed in the Iraq war has accused Tony Blair of "deceiving" her husband with misleading claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. [...]

It Seems to Me

Howard Zinn

Dying for the Government

Our government has declared a military victory in Iraq. As a patriot, I will not celebrate. I will mourn the dead--the American GIs, and also the Iraqi dead, of whom there have been many, many more.

I will mourn the Iraqi children, not just those who are dead, but those who have been blinded, crippled, disfigured, or traumatized. We have not been given in the American media (we would need to read the foreign press) a full picture of the human suffering caused by our bombing.

We got precise figures for the American dead, but not for the Iraqis. Recall Colin Powell after the first Gulf War, when he reported the "small" number of U.S. dead, and when asked about the Iraqi dead, replied: "That is really not a matter I am terribly interested in."

As a patriot, contemplating the dead GIs, I could comfort myself (as, understandably, their families do) with the thought: "They died for their country." But I would be lying to myself.

Those who died in this war did not die for their country. They died for their government. They died for Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld. And yes, they died for the greed of the oil cartels, for the expansion of the American empire, for the political ambitions of the President. They died to cover up the theft of the nation's wealth to pay for the machines of death. [...]

Comment: Brace yourself, here are more pictures that the Bush Reich media is not showing us.

No 10 regret on war dossier

Kamal Ahmed and Gaby Hinsliff
The Observer

Downing Street is to express regret about the fundamental flaws in the second 'dodgy dossier' on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Senior Whitehall sources told the Observer that the officials who will be called before the Intelligence and Security Committee inquiry into the weapons issue will say that the second dossier on Saddam's history of deception undermined public trust in government information.

If Blair is questioned on the issue, he will concede that mistakes were made.

Number 10 officials now admit that the second dossier, which was largely culled from a 13-year-old thesis by a Californian PhD student, is damaging the Government's case for war against Iraq. [...]

Majority of British dissatisfied with Blair: poll

LONDON, (AFP) - Fifty-four percent of the British are dissatisfied with the performance of Prime Minister Tony Blair, a sharp fall in his popularity since Saddam Hussein was ousted in April, according to an opinion poll published Sunday.

Muslim charities sue "60 Minutes" over TV report

Aparnah H. Kumar

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two Virginia-based Muslim charities are suing CBS for $80 million, claiming a "60 Minutes" report falsely linked them to Osama bin Laden.

Bloodshed, Fear And a Deadly Ambush

FROM HIGH over Iraq yesterday, President George Bush cast his Olympian eye over ancient Mesopotamia after praising the Americans in Qatar who had "managed" the war against Saddam Hussein. But far below him, on a dirty street corner in a dirty town called Fallujah that Mr Bush would prefer not to hear about, was a story of American blood and American power and American boots smashing down the front gates of Iraqi homes.

"She's got a gun," an American soldier shouted when he caught sight of a woman in her backyard holding a Kalashnikov assault rifle. "Put it down! Put the gun down!" he screamed at her. The soldiers were hot and tired and angry. They'd been up since 3am, ever since someone fired a grenade at a lorry-load of troops from the 101st Airborne. You could see why Mr Bush chose to avoid any triumphal visits to Iraq.

Survivors of the ambush were among the soldiers yesterday, remembering the early hours as only soldiers can. "They fired a grenade at a two-and- a-half ton truck full of the 101st Airborne and then straffed it with AK fire and then just disappeared into the night," one of them told me. "The guys were in a terrible state. One of our soldiers was dead with his brains hanging out of his head and his stomach hanging out, and there were eight others in the back shouting and pulling bits of shrapnel out of their legs."

Before dawn, the Americans came back to wash their comrades' blood off the street. Then they returned once more to deal with the people who live in this scruffy corner of the old Baathist city of Fallujah.

In Qatar - before his 75-minute flight through Iraqi airspace - Mr Bush did his best to lay down an appropriately optimistic narrative of the Iraq war. Iraq was a better place now that Saddam had gone - "a great evil has been ended," he said - and praised the "humanitarian work of US troops".

On weapons of mass destruction, he was understandably a little more circumspect. "We are on the look. We will reveal the truth ... But one thing is certain. No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the Iraqi regime is no more." But of course, no weapons of mass destruction have been found.

If Mr Bush thought his soldiers should be proud of what they had done in Iraq - that was what he told his commanders in Qatar yesterday - in Fallujah it was all sweat and fear and loudspeakers ordering civilians from the streets. Would the gunmen who "disappeared into the night" have really hidden in the nearest houses to the main road, right next to their ambush? Only if they were mad.

But someone in the 3rd Infantry Division decided yesterday to send the American 115th Military Police Company to capture a few guns and round up the usual suspects. It didn't make for happy viewing.

Ever deeper into the wilderness of occupation, these soldiers were confused about the people they had just "liberated". Some were good men. Take Sergeant Seth Cole, who once lived in Northampton and who worked out that if just 10 per cent of the people of Fallujah didn't like Americans, "that is an awful lot of people".

Take Sergeant Phil Cummings, a big cheerful cop from Rhode Island who talked to the Iraqis glowering at him from the pavement. "Some of these people don't like us even though we came to save them," he said. "But I always smile at them. At the schools, the kids throw rocks at us and I give them candy. I give them candy - they give me rocks."

But it did not take long to see why children might throw rocks. There was another American soldier 40 metres away who was busy losing hearts and minds. "Tell them to get the fuck out of here," he told a private, pointing at a group of teenagers. Then he turned to a middle-aged man sitting on a chair on the pavement. "You stand up and I'll break your neck," he screamed at him.

"Figures on the roof!" an MP shouted and 30 automatic rifles pointed to the top of a yellow-painted house. A sergeant pressed binoculars to his eyes. "It's OK! It's a woman with her little girl." And there was a child with long black hair staring at the soldiers. That's when they saw the woman with the AK. "She's got a gun! There's a woman with a gun." The cry rippled down the lines of American troops. A few hours with soldiers who are as likely to be victims as they are victors and you realise why they have to shout information to each other like street vendors. "She's got a gun!" "She's got a gun!" "She's got a gun!" went up and down the street again.
Three soldiers pushed their rifles through the iron laticework of the gate, all shouting: "Put the gun down!" until a tall, sweating MP kicked the gate and it swung open. "She's put the gun down - we've got the gun!" Three soldiers ran into the yard and came back with a Kalashnikov. Then two female officers brought out the woman, a teacher in the local high school, veiled and dressed all in black. "Why did you hold the gun?" one asked. The woman's eyes stared back through the
slit in her veil. Then she folded her arms in a gesture of defiance and refused to speak.

"Please sir, you're taking my son away - he's done nothing wrong." There had been the crashing of another door down the street and I just caught sight of a young man in a brown shirt being driven away in a Humvee between two American MPs. An elderly man was pleading with a medical officer. "Why my son? Why my son?"

Things were no better two metres away. A tall soldier from Massachusetts - how eerily the state sounded here in this heat-blasted town - was listening to a man who spoke good English and wanted to help. Over the road, three soldiers were hammering on a metal screen. "It's an old, sick man who lives there; it's only his shop, he sells candies to kids," the Iraqi was telling the soldier. He did not reply.

So we stood in the oven-like sun until the shop's front door opened. Three soldiers pointed their guns at the slowly widening crack in the door. And then behind it we saw a very old man with a long white beard and white hair in all directions, a frail creature in a long white gown - ancient was the word that came to mind - who had to lean on his refrigerator of ice-creams to steady himself. He looked like a prophet and for a moment the Americans paused. "I'm sorry sir, we have to search your shop," one of them said. And the three went inside while the old man stood in the street and looked at us and at the shop and then hobbled back into the darkness.

There was some shooting a few hundred metres away and the soldiers ran for cover behind walls and gardens. Then a gate was booted open and a man in a grey dishdash came out and sat by the gatepost with his hands on his head and his family sitting on the porch beneath the bougainvillaea while the Americans went through their home. Another AK was produced - almost every family in Iraq has two or three guns. They were, for the most part, what we would call middle-class people, educated and with homes that might pass for villas in this run-down city with its broken munitions factories and its Baath party apparatus so deep that it's hard to find an official uncontaminated by the stain of Saddam.

Yesterday, the Americans made a hundred more enemies among them. One young man told me that a few nights ago, gunmen had arrived at their homes and asked them to join a new resistance movement. "We turned them down," he said. "I don't know what I'd say if they came again." Perhaps the same questions were once asked of the men who opened fire and wounded two American soldiers outside a Baghdad bank yesterday.
In Fallujah, one of the US MPs turned to me as his search was called off. "The Third Infantry Division are coming in here to go through this place tomorrow," he said. It will be interesting to see what "going through" means. But remember the name Fallujah.

'There are a lot of bad guys here,' troops say

By Gary Strauss and Jack Kelley, USA TODAY
6/8/2003 8:26 PM

FALLUJAH, Iraq — Anger and unrest continue to mount against U.S. troops as they step up efforts to quell unrest in this former stronghold of Saddam Hussein.

U.S. officers said reinforcements sent last week are here to mop up scattered pockets of resistance responsible for recent attacks. But residents said the increased level of U.S. military patrols only serves to antagonize people here.

"People are taking potshots at us," said 1st Sgt. Kenneth Molina, gazing at a fist-size hole left by a grenade. "We're trying to get rid of the bad guys — and there are a lot of bad guys here." [...]

As U.S. Army patrols intensify in number and size, many residents complain that the increase in military muscle is heavy-handed. Resentment has been mounting since April 28, when U.S. troops, who said they were under attack by Iraqi protesters, killed 18 people and wounded 78, many of whom were children. [...]

Amed Hadi Taresh, a physician at Fallujah General Hospital, said many in this city of 200,000 remain bitter over the protesters' deaths. He said many of the recent attacks against U.S. soldiers are acts of revenge for the shootings in April.

"If anyone killed your small child, would you forget?" Taresh asked. "We don't want the Americans. We wish we had Saddam back," said Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, 20. "Saddam provided everything for us: food, security, employment. Now, if you don't loot, you can't have an income."

The anger is so intense that many Iraqis vow to step up attacks against U.S. soldiers. "I swear by God that if the Americans do not pull out, we will force them out tank by tank," said Yasser Ali, 23, an unemployed laborer. "They have turned our liberation into an occupation. We will not accept this. We will bomb and attack." [...]

US soldier killed at Iraq checkpoint


A US soldier has been killed by gunmen at a checkpoint near the Syrian border in western Iraq, the military said in a statement today.

The attackers pulled up in a car and called for medical assistance for someone in the vehicle, it said. When the American soldier approached, they pulled pistols and shot him.

US Central Command said the troops at the checkpoint returned fire, killing one person and capturing a second. At least one other assailant fled in the car.

The killing appeared to be part of escalating clashes between US troops and Iraqis in the centre and west of the country. Dozens of American soldiers and Iraqis have been killed or wounded in almost daily skirmishes.

Iraq's postwar oil sale fuels bout of confusion

By Carl Mortished, International Business Editor

THE phone lines are down, the fax machine is dead and e-mails don’t get through but Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organisation (Somo) is selling ten million barrels of oil this week and prospective buyers have to get their bids to Baghdad by tomorrow.

The first sale of Iraqi oil since the war is exciting huge interest among Western oil companies. Iraq’s crude blends, such as Basra Light and Kirkuk, are highly favoured by refiners, in particular in the United States, and the main oil companies are more than usually keen to get their names high on the list of friends of a new-look Iraqi oil ministry.
No one has yet resorted to carrier pigeon but the oil trading world is grappling with unexpected obstacles in this week’s Iraqi tender. The whole operation, which could net some $270 million (£165 million) in proceeds, is being conducted by the Iraqis with the aid of a couple of satellite phones, which are always engaged. [...]

Two Saudi Companies Clinch Iraq Reconstruction Contracts

Javid Hassan
Arab News Staff

RIYADH, 8 June 2003 - Two Saudi companies are among 13 international firms to have been awarded contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Police massacre in Pakistan


Eleven trainee Pakistani police officers have been shot dead in what is believed to have been a sectarian attack in the capital of Balochistan province, Quetta.

Another nine are reported to have been wounded in the attack, carried out by two men on a motorcycle.
No group has said it was behind the killing - the second in a week targeting members of the minority Shia community. [...]

The group has also been accused of having connections with Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan.

DHS Unveils Cybersecurity Agency

by George V. Hulme

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday unveiled the long-anticipated formation of its National Cyber Security Division, which will work under the department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate.

No decision has been made as to who will head the new agency, says a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. In an E-mail to InformationWeek, he said the hiring process has shifted from "quiet inquires" to "an active search to find the right person."

Whoever is selected will report directly to Robert Liscouski, the assistant secretary of homeland security for infrastructure protection.

According to a statement released by the department, the new division will provide round-the-clock cyberspace security analysis and issue security alerts. It will also improve security information sharing and aid in national-level recovery efforts.

N Korea declares nuclear arms goal


Pyongyang says it has a right to nuclear arms

North Korea has warned publicly for the first time that it is ready to develop nuclear weapons.

A commentary carried by the official news agency in Pyongyang said it would build a nuclear deterrent to counter the threat from the United States, "unless the US gives up its hostile policy".

North Korea said its aim in developing such weapons was not to blackmail others, but to reduce spending on conventional military forces and improve the lives of its people.

[North Korea] will have no option but to build up a nuclear deterrent force [...]

The scent of racism

By Gideon Levy

Shock is the proper reaction to the remark of cabinet Minister Gideon Ezra, who explained last week that Arabs should be used as security guards in Israel because only they have "the sense of smell needed to smell other Arabs, more so than guards who are immigrants from the former Soviet Union."

If anyone in Europe dared to say something similar about Jews, the world would be outraged, and rightly so. Another possibility is to ignore what Ezra said: What's the relevance of a low-life utterance from a marginal minister whose level of speech only casts a gloomy light on the institution he came from, the Shin Bet security service, and on his current place at the cabinet table?

On second thought, though, we should be thankful to Ezra: He has provided an apt description of the reality in which we live. We do in fact "sniff out" Arabs, all of whom are suspect in our eyes solely because of their ethnic origins.

We are all racists. Like it or not, we live in a reality of national, not to say racist, separation. A fusion of genuine security distress, the appalling terrorist attacks in the cities, the moral scars we bear as a result of decades of occupation and the faulty education we received has created a day-to-day reality here that can only shock anyone who believes in human rights.

However, we have grown accustomed to the situation and our eyes have become dim. We have grown used to seeing citizens who are made to say something, so that security guards can judge how much danger they pose on the basis of their accent. That has become entirely natural. Racism is here, but we continue to imagine that we live in a highly enlightened and progressive society. [...]

Comment: A few more quotes:

"We must expel Arabs and take their places."
DAVID BEN GURION, Prime Minister of Israel, 1937, Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs, Oxford University Press, 1985.

"Our strategy was always to provoke the Arabs and get an appropriate response so we could attack and smash them". Israeli General Moshe Daylan "We must use TERROR, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population."
ISRAEL KOENIG The Koenig Memorandum", Israeli government report

The removal of Arabs bodily from Palestine is part of the Zionist plan to "spirit the penniless population
across the frontier by denying it employment...Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the
poor must be carried away discreetly and circumspectly."
THEODORE HERZL founder of the World Zionist Organization Complete Diaries, June 12, 1895 entry.

"Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as
they can to enlarge the settlements because everything we
take now will stay ours... Everything we don't grab will
go to them." ARIEL SHARON, Israeli Foreign Minister,
Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998

Apocalypse soon

Evangelicals in the US believe there is a biblical basis for opposing the Middle East road map

Giles Fraser
The Guardian

Just as new life is being breathed into the peace process, religious groups throughout the US are whipping up hostility to the road map. The aim of the Christian-Jewish "interfaith Zionist leadership summit" held in Washington last month was "to oppose rewarding murderous Palestinian terrorism with statehood". Attending the conference were some of the most influential figures of the Christian right; behind them a whole infrastructure of churches, radio stations and bible college courses teaching "middle-east history".

Since the late 19th century, an increasing number of fundamentalists have come to believe that the second coming of Christ is bound up with the political geography of Israel. Forget about the pre-1967 boundaries; for them the boundaries that count are the ones shown on maps at the back of the Bible.

The acceptance of the state of Israel by the UN in 1949 brought much excitement to those who believed the second coming was being prepared for. A similar reaction greeted the Six Day war in 1967. The displacement of Palestinians mattered little compared with the fulfilment of biblical prophecy. Writing in Christianity Today immediately after the Six Day war, Billy Graham's father-in-law, Nelson Bell, claimed the fact that "for the first time in more than 2,000 years Jerusalem is now completely in the hands of the Jews gives the student of the Bible a thrill and a renewed faith in its accuracy and validity."

So as the international community withdrew its embassies after the war, and the UN passed resolution 242 condemning Israel's occupation of the West Bank, the International Christian Embassy was set up to show support for Israel. Since then the Christian right has staunchly opposed trading land for peace or any attempt to broker a settlement by power-sharing arrangements. The destruction of the al-Aqsa mosque continues to be sought after by both Christian and Jewish fundamentalists. US churches are encouraged to form links with Jewish settlers via email and to support them through fundraising.

Happy to have any friend it can get, the Israeli government has long since exploited its connections with far-right US Christian groups. While moderate Christians, such as the Palestinian Bishop of Jerusalem, cannot get to see Ariel Sharon despite repeated requests, the door is always open to southern Baptists and TV evangelists.
What is astonishing about this marriage of convenience is that their version of evangelical Christianity believes that biblical prophecy leads to Armageddon and finally to the conversion of the Jews to Christ. According to the most influential of the Christian Zionists, Hal Lindsey, the valley from Galilee to Eilat will flow with blood and "144,000 Jews would bow down before Jesus and be saved, but the rest of Jewry would perish in the mother of all holocausts". These lunatic ravings would matter little were they not so influential. Lindsey's book, The Late Great Planet Earth, has sold nearly 20m copies in English and another 30m-plus worldwide.

Against this crazy theological background, an ideological battle is now being waged. Despite the fact that apocalyptic prophecy as read by the Christian right ends with another holocaust, some Israeli politicians and journalists are encouraging fundamentalists to stick by the implications of their narrative. In a recent column in the Jerusalem Post, Michael Freund called upon evangelical Christians to lobby against the pressure being put on George Bush by Tony Blair and Colin Powell. "If Jesus were alive today," he wrote, "the US state department would likely criticise him for being a Jewish settler and an obstacle for peace."

There are 45 million evangelicals in the US and they represent a crucial block vote for born-again Bush. It is therefore to his credit that he has resisted their pressure and managed to persuade Sharon to accept the peace plan. Perhaps Bush is able to take the evangelical vote for granted in much the same way as Blair is able to take the left's vote for granted: both have nowhere else to go.

Yet Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal of Jerusalem doesn't trust Bush. He thinks the combination of European impotence and the US's refusal to pressure Israelis into stopping building settlements means the plan is already dead in the water. "It took them six days to occupy the Palestinian territories; they could get out in three," he says. Bishop Riah has persuaded the World Council of Churches to call for sanctions on all products from the occupied territories.

The diocese of Jerusalem runs hospitals in Gaza and Nablus. It's in places like these that the real work of Christian ministry is conducted. By contrast, US evangelicals oppose the peace process and swarm into Iraq to convert its people to Jesus.

·The Rev Dr Giles Fraser is the vicar of Putney and lecturer in philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford

Axis Of The Apocalyptic

The Hindus, Jews and Christians versus the Moslems of the world today and the Confucians of China tomorrow. This is nothing less than the Axis of the Apocalyptic.

by Satya Sagar

06/08/03: (Znet) As old, established global alliances break like empty beer bottles in a Bombay street brawl- the War on Terror is giving birth to a strange coalition across the continents. India-Israel-USA.

In their own words they call themselves a Triad against Terrorism. In reality they are nothing more than the curious progeny of a spurious theory- Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations.

The Hindus, Jews and Christians versus the Moslems of the world today and the Confucians of China tomorrow. This is nothing less than the Axis of the Apocalyptic.

On May 8, India’s National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra formally announced its arrival at the 97th annual dinner meeting in Washington of the American Jewish Committee, an out-and-out Zionist outfit.

To quote Mishra “ a core, consisting of democratic societies” must emerge, “which can take on international terrorism in a holistic and focused manner ---- to ensure that global terrorism is pursued to its logical conclusion”. The India-Israel-USA triad would form the core of this ‘democratic’ alliance. (He could have added that the ‘logical conclusion’ will be annihilation of all those defined as ‘terrorists’).

Topping up his irrational exuberance over the viability of this axis Mishra went to make a startling announcement. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will visit India sometime in the second week of June this year.

Before we get into discussing the life expectancy of this newborn creature a little bit of background first. This is an axis that has been in the making for a while now ever since the quasi-fascist Hindu chauvinists came to power in India a few years ago.

The Indian loony right have used ‘Islamic terrorism’ as the ostensible excuse for their assiduous cultivation of both the US and Israel in search of strategic partnership. But for those who know them well it is also obvious they harbor grandiose illusions about the destiny of the nuclear-armed ‘Hindus’ becoming a great power in global affairs.

While Israel responded warmly to the Indian overtures right from the start, the US was initially indifferent. It already had an old and trusted slave in South Asia- Pakistan- the pet hate object of the Hindu chauvinists- and was reluctant to retire it hastily.

The events of September 11 however have seen the US do precisely that- fire Pakistan- and allow India to qualify for the post of Uncle Sam’s favorite vassal in the region. The blooming India-Israel romance has merely helped seal this dubious deal between three very different countries.

For the obvious question that arises is - what do the world’s only hyper-power, a nation set up by the survivors of the Nazi holocaust and the world’s largest producer of masala movies- really have in common ? It seems, their interests do intersect on several themes.

To begin with- they are all deeply in love with Osama Bin Laden.

Seriously, in Bin Laden all three governments have found their perfect demon- a demon with designer horns. He is Muslim, suitably long-bearded, a religious fanatic, a confirmed terrorist and likes living in caves. Even better he pops up once in a while on our television screens speaking in a strange tongue. Just like the odious villain in a James Bond flick threatening to blow up the world if not allowed to take it over. (Heck, I thought the Talebs prohibited music, dance and photography)

All of which makes it easier for the regimes that run these three countries to keep their citizens perpetually scared, jack up military spending and justify whatever economic/social policies their corporate masters want them to implement.

Secondly, since all three nations pretend to be great democracies (the messiest, the costliest and the loneliest) the Bin Laden bogey allows them to squash every semblance of civil and political rights from the lives of their citizens- while getting extreme right wingers re-elected on ultra-nationalist, anti-terrorist platforms.

At a deeper level there is another interesting commonality emerging between these three countries. The power elites ruling all of them are deeply obsessed with manipulating the structures of the STATE.

The Hindu right wing is desperately trying to capture the Indian State and cleanse it of all the secular, pluralist, democratic elements inherited from the Indian struggle against British colonialism (a struggle to which they contributed absolutely nothing). They want to redefine what it means to be an Indian completely in ‘Hindu’ terms and define what it means to be a Hindu according to the Weltenschauung of a minority upper-caste. And all this in a country where there are large non-Hindu minorities present.

Sharon’s ‘Likud’ationists are ruthlessly seeking to consolidate and expand the racist Israeli State to fulfill an ultra-nationalist vision of lebensraum for a Greater Israel.

The most audacious of all manipulations is of course the attempt by the US elites to breakdown existing international structures and create a completely new State- at the global level. A State that will serve their interests and their interests alone. The 100 year American Reich.

But is that all it is about- their common grounds ? I wish it were. Really. Quite frighteningly, all three regimes are today run by people who will not show a moment’s hesitation in using weapons of mass destruction against anyone they dub their ‘enemy’.

The repeated pronouncements in recent times by the United States that it ‘reserves the right’ to exercise the nuclear option, even for a first strike, is to be taken seriously. Particularly as it comes from a nation that is the only one on this planet to have ever carried out a nuclear attack anywhere.

Israel, the middle-east’s only nuclear power, has also repeatedly threatened there will be ‘devastating consequences’ for countries that dare to strike Israel even with conventional weapons. Surely a clear signal of their willingness to use WMDs.

The Indian Minister of Defense George ‘loose cannon’ Fernandes, has in the past year said publicly several times that if there is a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan ‘ We will lose a few million people but Pakistan will be wiped out completely’. (I want to know the names and addresses of these few million people he is willing to sacrifice) That a senior minister of any government will even talk about such a possibility so casually shows the material these madmen are made of.

Wait, it gets worse. What is even more horrific about this emerging Axis of the Apocalyptic is that all of them today harbor elements who have classic Nazi-like intentions towards Muslims (in the abstract).

In the US there are those who talk of ‘nuking Mecca’ who are dangerously close to the powers-that-be. In Israel the extreme rightwing would like to ethnically cleanse the West Bank and Gaza of its Palestinian people.

In India the state sponsored pogrom against Muslims in the western Indian state of Gujarat two years ago showed the world the true face of Hindu fascism. Over 2000 Muslim men, women and children were systematically killed by Hindu mobs while state authorities looked on or even joined in. A clear attempt was made by the Hindu fanatics to push the entire Muslim community out of the province by destroying their sources of income.

[...] Coming back to how this new Axis is likely to fare in the future it is obvious that there are glaring contradictions within its fold. Contradictions, that have to do with the sheer mismatch in the abilities and ambitions of India and Israel on one hand and the United States on the other.

The simple fact is that while India and Israel delude themselves about being invited to sup with the Superpower for the latter they are both a highly dispensable duo. Mere client-states to be disposed off with when their utility is over.

Israel, as the United State’s best bulldog in the turbulent Arab world, to keep an eye on those precious oil reserves. India the dumb, short-sighted elephant to be suckered into conflict with the Chinese dragon someday. And both to seek, hunt and destroy subversive Muslim militants on behalf of Uncle Sam.

So, on closer observation, this Axis of the Apocalyptic turns to be not a single creature but a strange menagerie of a bulldog, elephant and the man-eating tiger that the US has currently become. A tiger that has always had permanent interests, never permanent friends.

Together in the short run they could be a terrifying lot indeed. But if the prey turns out to be tougher to get and the hunt gets longer than planned the tiger will surely not mind supping solo. All alone by itself- on elephant steak and bulldog burger. SHLURP ! BURP ! SHALOM ! NAMASTE

The 'good Texan' test


WASHINGTON - It has neither the gravitas nor the grandeur one would expect of a label for the leader of the world's most powerful nation.

But George W. Bush bestowed it upon himself.

"I'm the master of low expectations," he told reporters aboard Air Force One last week. [...]

Overhaul of Federal Workforce Sought

By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer

The Bush administration, citing national security concerns, is pressing Congress to enact the biggest overhaul of the federal civil service system in a quarter-century.

In the name of reshaping the federal bureaucracy to better counter global terrorism, administration officials are seeking the authority to rewrite long-standing pay and personnel rules governing 746,000 civilian employees at the Department of Defense. The powers would be similar to those won by the administration last year in a contentious battle over the formation of the Department of Homeland Security, which has about 180,000 employees. [...]

Comment: Are they preparing themselves for future whistle blowers?

Israelis: Attacks won't stop peace process

Monday, June 9, 2003 07:42 GMT

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Israeli officials, reacting to Palestinian militant attacks that left five Israeli soldiers dead Sunday, say "fanatics" will not succeed in derailing the ongoing quest for peace.

"The extremists, the fanatics are trying to destroy our effort," Israeli Justice Minister Tommy Lapid told CNN, "and they will not succeed."

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Lapid called the attacks "very, very painful" and said he feared "that's not the end of it."

Comment: Why do we get the impression that we can trust Lapid whe he says this? Maybe because Hamas was founded and is funded by the Israeli government?

Why America is Waking Up to the Truth About WMD

by Marion McKeone in New York
Sunday, June 8, 2003 by The Sunday Herald (Scotland)

THE leak of part of a Department of Defense report has added fuel to the firestorm over Bush administration claims about the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The top-secret report by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) last September concluded that it could find no evidence of chemical weapons activity in Iraq. 'There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, its one-page summary said.

The leak has put the White House on the defensive as controversy over the non-discovery of WMD grows.

Hours after the report summary -- written by Defense Department in-house intelligence experts -- was leaked, the head of the DIA was dispatched to deny it contradicted the Bush administration's warnings of a dire, imminent threat to the US from Iraqi chemical weapons.

DIA Director Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby said the report showed his agency 'could not specifically pin down individual facilities operating as part of the WMD programs'. Pressed to explain the discrepancies between the report and administration claims, he said the report was 'not in any way intended to portray the fact that we had doubts that any program existed, that such a program was active, or that such a program was part of the Iraqi WMD infrastructure'.

The leak appeared to catch the White House by surprise. One official said: 'Look, we are not the only people who claimed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. The rest of the world, including the UN Security Council, believed it too. The only person who claimed that Saddam didn't have weapons was Saddam.' [...]

The alacrity of the White House response to the leak suggests it now believes the issue is a political danger for the President . Bush faces increasing pressure from influential lawmakers like Democratic senators Robert Byrd and Bob Graham who demand to know whether the administration manipulated intelligence to make the case for war.

That doubts about Iraqi weapons existed as far back as a year ago raises a number of unanswered questions . There is growing unease on Capitol Hill, as even Republican lawmakers feel the issue is a symptom of the massive increase in power Rumsfeld has awarded himself at the expense of the CIA and the Department of State.

'The basic problem here is that the office of the secretary of Defense has become too powerful,'Patrick Lang, a former senior official in the DIA told the Senate. Others, including retired CIA analyst Larry Johnson, have publicly criticized CIA director George Tenet for allowing Rumsfeld to annex the CIA's role. 'Tenet sided with the Defense crowd and cut the legs out from under his own analysts,'Johnson said.

Senior CIA officials have distanced themselves from Rumsfeld's claims that WMD posed an imminent threat. They say these claims are based on information passed directly to Rumsfeld's office by Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress and a Pentagon favorite to become the next Iraqi leader. But the CIA regarded his sources as deeply suspect and said his claims were largely based on hearsay from other defectors with vested interests in regime change.

The big question now is: was Bush was duped himself, or did he dupe the people into believing war was necessary? [...]

Comment: Anyone who is still asking this question is beyond help. The evidence for Bush's complicity is simply overwhelming, still the human capacity for self delusion knows no bounds...

Reservists pay steep price for service

By Sandra Block, USA TODAY
6/8/2003 11:43 PM

Thousands of citizen soldiers charged with rebuilding Iraq face an even more daunting prospect when they return home: repairing the damage to their careers and personal finances.

For some, the task could take years. More than a third of military reservists and National Guard members suffer a cut in pay when they're called to active duty. Long term, the cost of military service is even greater: Small businesses collapse. Raises and bonuses disappear. Clients defect to competitors.

Reservists and Guard members are being deployed more frequently, and for longer periods, than ever before. As of May 28, there were 219,692 on active duty vs. just 83,746 a year ago, according to the Department of Defense. Some have been called up two or three times since the Sept. 11 attacks.

And unlike Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when most returned after six months, many citizen soldiers in this war have been on duty for a year or longer. Those who have already returned home worry they'll be called up again to fight the war on terror or help with the reconstruction of Iraq. [...]


by Gordon Thomas

A killing war between Israel's Mossad and Islamic fanatics came closer this weekend in Britain. The Israeli intelligence agency has sent four members of its kidon assassination squad to this country, to join fifteen other handpicked katsas, its relentless field agents. Their brief is to "disable" any of the "close to 50" British Muslims that the extremist Islamic group, Al-Muhajiroun, last week boasted were ready to carry out suicide missions similar to the one in Tel Aviv. Al-Muhajiroun spokesman, Asif Butt, said the 50 were "primed and ready to go".

The threat was sufficient for Mossad to send its own termination squad to head off any further threat to Israel or to synagogues and other Jewish institutions in this country. "In Mossad-speak 'disable' means taking them out permanently", said an MI5 source grimly. "We know from past experience that the kidon can make murder look like an accident. It is their speciality".

Two of the kidon are women. They have been trained to be ready to sleep with someone to obtain vital information.Former Mossad chief Meir Amit said that "sex is a woman's weapon. Pillow talk is not a problem for her. But it takes a special kind of courage - to sleep with the enemy".

Mossad often operates outside the law of this country - or any country. In the past, it has killed terrorists in the streets of Paris, Frankfurt and other European cities. In turn, it has lost over 100 agents in the past 50 years. Their memorial is a monument shaped like a human brain in a suburb of Tel Aviv. In Britain, they are banned from using guns or explosives. But they are equipped with long and short-blade knives and piano wire to strangle. They are also trained in the art of melting into a hostile community.

Some of the team have spent time undercover in Arab capitals. They speak all the languages of the Middle East - and can pass as Islamic extremists to get close to the fanatics they have come to hunt down in Britain. Israel has openly made it clear it fears Britain has become a haven for extremist preachers and their network of organisations dedicated to sowing hatred. They cite how terrorists have been able to hire expensive lawyers to fight extradition.

For years Khalid Fawwaz, wanted in the US for his alleged role in the bombing of the American embassy in Kenya, has used the courts in Britain for the past four years to avoid extradition. The expense of his fight has cost the taxpayer £428,000.

Israel accepts that the majority of this country's 1.8 Muslims are law abiding. But it says that since the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, there has been an increase in extremists entering Britain under the guise of asylum seekers. The attack by two British suicide bombers in Tel Aviv has led to Mossad being ordered to "carry the war to our enemies", said a senior Israeli intelligence source.

The Mossad team in Britain know their actions are sanctioned by their government. Rafi Eitan, a former director of operations, said: "we are like the official hangman or the doctor on Death Row who administers the lethal injection. We are simply fulfilling a sentence sanctioned by the prime minister of the day". Since he has come to office, it is known that Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has "sanctioned" a number of assassinations of terrorists who could not be brought before Israeli courts.

Victor Ostrovsky, a former member of the assassination team said that kidon always use a weapon appropriate to the situation. "Strangulation if the target is to be killed at night. Sometimes an aerosol or a syringe in the jugular to deliver a fast-acting nerve agent that kills and leaves no trace". The decision to send in the Mossad came after urgent discussions between Ariel Sharon and Downing Street last weekend. Later, Mossad's new hardman chief, Meir Dagan, called Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5, and told her that his men would co-operate closely with her agents.

Next day, katsas from Mossad headquarters in Brussels had flown into Heathrow. Twenty-four hours later, the four-man kidon had arrived on an El Al flight from Israel. Supporting them are Mossad yahalomin - specialists at bugging phones and buildings.

Their targets include a Leicester-based charity, Interpal. It has been accused of fund-raising for Hamas and is currently under investigation by the Charity Commissioners. Interpal insists its fund-raising is "purely humanitarian". Although the Home Office has officially banned 20 terror groups, Mossad believes many are still operating behind Islamic front organisations.

Former operations chief Rafi Eitan, who has worked secretly in Britain said: "there has always been a love-hate relationship with British intelligence. But after the suicide bomber attack last week, that is over". Nevertheless, the Mossad team will virtually operate on its own rules. "The one rule which overrides all others is: kill or be killed. That is why the kidon are here.

Mossad. Israel's prime intelligence service. Formally known as Mossad le Aliyah Beth. Employs some 1,500 full-time staff. Less than 100 are field agents. But has an estimated one million informers within the Jewish Diaspora.

Speak the Truth and Shame the Devil

Paul Wolfowitz shocks the world with his openness

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has already become the star of the Pentagon and of the American administration on the whole. Wolfowitz' statements outshone American President George W. Bush, although the deputy defense secretary has never had the image of a man who likes to express all of his ideas. One may only guess at what made Wolfowitz release such sensational statements concerning the reasons for the war in Iraq. Probably, it is all about cynicism - America is allegedly the only superpower in the world, so it does not have to look for any reasons to justify its actions. However, it is also possible that there is a certain yet inexplicable struggle going on between different groups in the American administration. Regardless of whether Mr. Wolfowitz wants it or not, his statements have cast doubts on the actions of the American president.

[...] We wonder what the White House thought of all this. It goes without saying that Wolfowitz has chosen a bad moment for his confession. What will President Bush and Prime Minister Blair say about it? Will Wolfowitz resign?

Nevertheless, the Pentagon still insists that the intelligence information about Iraqi WMD was correct. This is a strange situation: the second-highest senior official in the department says that WMD were not important for the American administration, but his subordinates are trying to convince the world of the opposite. On the other hand, Wolfowitz was honest about the subjects that had occurred to everyone in the very beginning. It looks rather cynical, and the American administration has gained the control over the Iraqi crude. There may be no point in looking for lethal weapons anymore.

The White House is not making it a secret that this is the new stage in a struggle to control natural resources. If there is a need to use military force - they will use it. Weapons of mass destruction are only used as a justifiable cover-up.

Trotsky's ghost wandering the White House

Jeet Heer
National Post

Influence on Bush aides: Bolshevik's writings supported the idea of pre-emptive war ...

Before it moves, nuke it

It’s time that the mass media informs the public as to the truth about US first use nuclear strategy and the threat it poses to the future of the planet and the central role nuclear weapons play in US plans for achieving global dominance

Holding the world to ransom

By William Bowles

(Information Clearing House) If anything should make people wake up and smell the coffee, it’s the US ‘posture’ on nuclear weapons. In a new round of accelerated development of so-called battlefield nuclear weapons, the US have signaled to the world that the use of nuclear weapons is a prerogative that they reserve entirely for themselves and that their use will now be part of a ‘conventional’ warfare scenario. Moreover, they project their development and use for the next 50 years including space-based weapons systems designed to ‘take out enemies’ from the safety of orbit.

Doing the unthinkable

In a classified document entitled "The Nuclear Posture Review", portions of which have been leaked to the press, the US lays out exactly what it thinks about nuclear disarmament in the post-Soviet period – no can do. This in spite of its signing legally binding international agreements to ban the acquisition of a new generation of nuclear weapons, testing and the eventual elimination of its existing stockpile.

Using the ‘war on terror’ as a pretext, thinking the unthinkable has become doing the undoable, for once the idea that the use of ‘mini-nukes’ is transformed into policy, the door is opened and a new propaganda offensive will be unleashed on the US public, to get them to accept the idea that in order to ‘survive’, deaths in the order of 20 million of its own citizens is acceptable. In a paper written by Keith Payne and Colin Grey, George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld’s very own Dr. Strangelove (twins), bizarrely entitled ‘Victory is possible’, they write.

"[A]n intelligent United States offensive [nuclear] strategy, wedded to homeland defenses, should reduce U.S. casualties to approximately 20 million … a level compatible with national survival and recovery."

Nukes are "the only game in town"

The mind boggles, yet these crazy bastards are serious. Dr. Keith Payne has been pushing the idea for over 20 years and he’s finally got a president and a policy ready to take him seriously. Note that they use word "offensive" not defensive. Payne who was an acolyte of Herman Kahn at the Hudson Institute (the original Dr. Strangelove who first proposed the idea of ‘winning’ a nuclear war back in the 1960s) wrote in 1999 that,

"[T]he future of United States nuclear forces faces a very serious challenge" from "anti-nuclear activists" and that "unless a coolly reasoned response is presented, their agenda will appear to be the only game in town."

[...] Moreover, their use is envisioned under a wide range of situations, including blanket bombing of entire "areas" where even non-nuclear missiles are "suspected" of being located. Once more, we see that the policy of pre-emption is embedded in US strategy. Nuclear weapons are now seen as "complementing" conventional weapons, not of deterring a potential aggressor from using nuclear weapons against the US, a policy which has (in theory anyway) been central to US strategic planning since the 1960s

And the usual suspects are promoting the idea:

""[Charles] Krauthammer trumpeted a new "Bush Doctrine," which "holds that, when it comes to designing our nuclear forces, we build to suit. We will build offensive missiles to suit our needs.... For reasons of delicacy, Bush spoke of the need to ‘replace’ rather than abrogate the treaty, which remains the Linus blanket of an entire generation of arms controllers. No matter. He made it clear that we will blithely ignore it.... Sure, to placate the critics we will be consulting and assuaging and schmoozing everyone from Tokyo to Moscow. But in the end, we will build a defense to meet the challenge of the missile era. If others don’t like it, too bad."

Too bad eh? For who though? Not only do the warmongers of the White House regard 20 million or so of their own citizens as a ‘reasonable’ price to pay for waging war on the planet, it reveals the underlying strategy of the Bush administration is to hold the world to nuclear ransom as intrinsic to its goal of achieving total, global hegemony. How soon before threats of using nuclear weapons becomes reality?

[...] "Over the next 10 years, the Bush administration's plans call for the United States to retain a total stockpile of intact nuclear weapons and weapon components that is roughly seven to nine times larger than the publicly stated goal of 1,700 to 2,200 "operationally deployed weapons." This is an accounting system worthy of Enron.""

Contrary to its publicly stated policy of reducing the total number of nuclear weapons, the reality is in fact the complete opposite:

"[The] Bush administration is actually planning to retain the potential to deploy not 1,700 to 2,200 nuclear weapons, but as many as 15,000."

So much for the champions of peace and freedom. But what will it take for people to wake up to the realities of this ‘New World order’? How much longer will the media continue to push the fiction of a peace-loving US, intent on ridding the world of ‘terrorists’ when the reality is that the real terrorist is the US government and its junior accomplice, the UK? [...]

Tablets that may reveal El Niño secrets are feared lost in Iraq

By Ben Russell, Political Correspondent
The Independent

The secrets of El Niño, one of the most mysterious and destructive weather systems, could be unlocked by hundreds of thousands of ancient clay tablets now feared lost or damaged in the chaos of Iraq.

Researchers believe the tablets, written using a cuneiform text, one of the earliest types of writing, form the world's oldest records of climate change and could give vital clues to understanding El Niño and global warming.
Academics are demanding that ministers act to protect the unique cultural records, which have chronicled agriculture and other areas of everyday life in the Near East for nearly 5,000 years.

The fear is that the tablets and other priceless records are being plundered from sites across the country in the aftermath of war. The tablets record the ancient Akkadian and Sumerian empires, which once dominated the land now divided between Iraq, Iran and Syria. They outline the catastrophic collapse of the city of Ur more than 4,000 years ago. Hundreds of thousands of people are thought to have died in a disastrous series of flash floods and severe droughts that may have lasted up to 30 years. [...]

MONKEYPOX or Monkey Business?


Prairie dogs kept as pets may be spreading an illness in the Midwest, the CDC warns.

Facts about monkeypox, the possible cause of prairie dog-related illnesses

The disease has never before been reported in the Western Hemisphere. It is usually found in remote villages in Central and West Africa.

Monkeypox is related to the virus that caused smallpox, and smallpox vaccinations also give protection against it.

The death rate among those with monkeypox ranges from 1 to 10 percent, with the highest rates among young children.

The disease is usually transmitted to people from squirrels and primates through a bite or contact with the animal's blood.

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Pet prairie dogs may be spreading a pox-like illness to people in the upper Midwest, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning.

Cases of the illness first appeared early last month, with the most recent one identified June 3, and a number of people have been hospitalized, said Dr. James Hughes, director of CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases.
A total of 19 cases have been reported, including 17 in Wisconsin and one each in Illinois and Indiana, state health officials said. Four people, ages 4 to 48, have been hospitalized in Wisconsin, said Dr. Jeffrey Davis, the state's chief epidemiologist. No human deaths have been reported.

Most patients had direct or close contact with ill prairie dogs, health officials said.

The CDC investigation determined that the symptoms were caused by a virus from the pox family and are consistent with monkeypox, Hughes said. [...]

Signs Of SARS - Bay Area Man Quarantined After Violating Voluntary Isolation Order

By Sabin Russell
Chronicle Medical Writer

Two other unidentified county residents who had close contact with the man are being sought, to place them on fever watch as well. Morrow said that none of the contacts posed a health risk to anyone unless they were to become ill. The point of the monitoring is to assure that, if they become ill, they can be quickly isolated. [...]

Hospitals rapped for SARS breaches

Ministry warns of community risk if they fail to comply
Memo says directives not open to interpretation

Toronto Star

Some hospitals are not complying with provincial government directives on SARS, threatening further spread of the virus and placing the public at risk, the Ontario health ministry warns.

A memo sent to all acute-care hospitals in Toronto, York and Durham regions Saturday — a copy of which was obtained by the Star — warns of the importance of complying with health ministry directives aimed at containing spread of the deadly virus. [....]

New Range Of Antibiotics May Present A Threat To Public Health

Science Daily

A remarkable range of antibiotics under development may compromise our natural defences against infection, warns McGill evolutionary biologist Graham Bell. His paper, entitled Arming the Enemy: the evolution of resistance to self-proteins and co-authored by Pierre-Henri Gouyon, was published in the journal Microbiology this week. The new antibiotics are attracting increasing interest as a major new weapon in the campaign against bacterial infection, even though both experimental evidence and theoretical arguments suggest that this claim is doubtful,according to their paper. "It is claimed that bacteria will be unable to evolve resistance to them because they attack the "Achilles' heel' of bacterial cell-wall structure," explains Dr. Bell. However, if this is true, "the introduction of these substances into general use may provoke the evolution of resistance to our defence proteins."

Because previous reviews have emphasized the potential benefits of such antibiotics without drawing attention to the likelihood that resistance will evolve, or to the possible consequences for human populations if this should happen, Bell wants development of this new category of antibiotics restrained "until the likely response of bacterial opulations is more clearly understood." He argues therefore that "the evolutionary consequences of new clinical treatments involving the health of whole populations, present and future, must be considered in the regulatory process."

Bell insists that if further investigation shows that bacteria will not build resistance to the new antibiotics, then the path would be clear for their introduction into wider circulation as a potentially valuable weapon against infectious disease. On the other hand, mathematical models already indicate that resistance is quite likely to spread, and therefore caution must be exercised until more research is carried out.

Searching for the 'God particle' in a giant underground cavern

By Steve Connor, Science Editor
09 June 2003

Deep below the Franco-Swiss border lies a giant cavern big enough to house Canterbury Cathedral, and grand enough to be part of the greatest scientific experiment on Earth. At the weekend, engineers began the delicate task of preparing the snow-white cavern for the giant machine that will take up residence in its subterranean home.

If all goes to plan, the Atlas instrument - five storeys high and weighing 7,000 tonnes - will lead the search for the holy grail of physics, an elusive subatomic phenomenon formally called the Higgs boson, but nicknamed the "God particle".

The theoreticians have for years predicted the existence of the Higgs but no instrument has yet been able to find it. If scientists do detect it, the discovery could answer one of the biggest questions in science; why do we, and all other matter in the Universe, exist?

Found: Queen Nefertiti’s mummy

Jack Grimston

BRITISH archeologists believe they may have identified the body of one of the most legendary beauties of the ancient world.

They are confident a tattered mummy found in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings is probably Queen Nefertiti, stepmother of the boy king Tutankhamun and one of the most powerful women in ancient Egypt.

The conclusion has been made after 12 years of research, using clues such as fragments of a wig and the piercing of the mummy’s ears. The breakthrough came after the Egyptian authorities allowed the 3,500-year-old body to be examined in detail for the first time.

Under a pile of ancient linen, archeologists found a broken-off arm bent in a way that was permitted only if the dead person was a pharaoh or queen.

Joann Fletcher, a key member of the research team from York University, said: “It’s a royal woman of the late 18th dynasty who wielded tremendous power. There are not many who fit that description. We can never have cast-iron certainty that it is Nefertiti but we have narrowed it right down.”

The mummy was originally found with two others by a French team in 1898. It was walled up in a side chamber of the tomb of King Amenhotep II. The body’s poor condition meant it drew little attention.

It was photographed only once, in 1907, before the chamber was walled up again. Since then it has been known simply as “the younger woman”.

Fletcher’s interest in the mummy was sparked when she noticed the photograph’s resemblance to a Nefertiti bust on display in Berlin since the 1920s whose beautiful face makes it one of the best-known images of ancient Egypt. It shows a woman with a long neck, high cheekbones and a slender nose. The name Nefertiti means “a beautiful woman has come”.

The bust was found at Amarna, where Nefertiti’s husband, the pharaoh Akhenaten, had his capital in the 14th century BC. But after his death he was branded a heretic and anything connected with his reign was destroyed.

“Nefertiti is the big name. She is such a phenomenally important Egyptian figure and she is an icon because of that bust in Berlin,” said Fletcher.

Comment: While they are certainly wrong about the identity (says nothing about skull structure and it's pretty clear that this must be the identifier), what IS interesting is that they state that the mummy is 3,500 years old, and is of the 18th dynasty. That puts the 18th dynasty at about 1500 BC...Most Egyptologists place Akhenaten's reign at 1350 BC. So they've added a couple hundred years to the dating.

‘UFO’ Falls in Jizan Region

Mahmoud Ahmad • Arab News Staff

JEDDAH, 9 June 2003 — An unidentified flying object fell to earth in the southern Jizan region last Monday and experts believe that it could be part of a spy plane that invaded Saudi airspace.

Witnesses told Al-Watan daily that the object looked like a flying saucer and radiated light. A number of people in Arraith town, about 220 km northeast of Jizan, watched the strange object fall at about 9 a.m. on Monday.

The fall of the object sent shockwaves through the area and frightened cattle. People ran away from the object and observed it from a distance.

Abdul Rahman Al-Osaimi, governor of Arraith, told the Arabic daily that he visited the area where the object had fallen, adding that it had frightened the residents.

“The object is not big, but it scares people,” the governor said.

Informed sources told Al-Watan that security officers visited the site to inspect the object and interview witnesses.

If the UFO turned out to be a spy plane, it could bring back memories of stories of flying saucers frequently found during the Cold War period. The United States recorded some 850 flying objects crashed on its territory in those days.

Salman Al-Raithy, a resident of Arraith, told the daily that he had watched the object flying at a low altitude and then fall on the ground.

Wadi Amoud in Arraith saw a number of strange incidents over the past years.

It witnessed the emergence of poisonous carbon water from a well in the area, which the superstitious used to treat diseases, forcing authorities to cover the well. An old mass grave with the remains of people killed in battles was also found in the area.

Comment: Yes indeed a spy plane that radiates light...very effective. You gotta love these colorful explanations.

And Finally...

Naked motorcyclist crashes after bee sting

A naked motorcyclist wearing just a scarf, sunglasses and a pair of sandals crashed his bike after he was stung on the inner thigh by a bee.

The 36-year-old, who had been driving to the swimming area at a German nudist colony, lost control of the bike as he swatted the insect away.

He fell on to the road, but escaped with just a shoulder injury and minor cuts and bruises.

Police said they are considering pressing charges after the incident at Giessen in Hessen - as the man was not wearing a crash helmet.


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