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June 13, 2003

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New Article: The Mossad Happy Dance

Sharon's Fingerprints on Latest Suicide Bombing


It is difficult to imagine that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, with his much vaunted military and strategic acumen, did not understand the consequences of his policies over the past month.

Since the last suicide bombing on November 21, escalating Israeli military assaults have killed over sixty Palestinian civilians, culminating in the December 26 wave of killing and abductions, in which Israeli occupying forces killed at least nine Palestinians, injured more than 30 and abducted several others.

On that day alone, Israeli execution squads assassinated three prominent members from three different militant Palestinian groups: Hamza Abu el-Rab of Islamic Jihad, Ibrahim Hawash, of Hamas and Gamal Abu el-Nader of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades. All three groups vowed revenge.

As if on que, the horrific double suicide bombing near the old Tel Aviv bus station took place within two weeks of these assassinations and reports have now confirmed that the bombers were members of the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades. Twenty two Israeli's and foreign workers were killed and a hundred more injured.

Any observer with elementary skills in discerning cause and effect could see this latest suicide bombing atrocity coming. In fact, the vast majority of the nearly 100 Palestinian suicide bombings since they began in 1994 have followed an almost predictable sequence: Israeli attacks that cause major Palestinian civilian casualties or Israeli assassinations of important militant leaders are the most common trigger leading to suicide bombing cycles.

[...]Yet this striking pattern has become even more frequent and predictable since Ariel Sharon became Prime Minister in February 2001 and escalated military assaults on Palestinian civilian areas and adopted a systematic assassination campaign of Palestinian militant leaders. The startling fact is that four times as many suicide bombings--around 80--have occurred since Ariel Sharon became Prime Minister than in the seven previous years combined--around 20.

None of this has deterred Sharon from escalating assassinations of militants or violent military actions against civilians.

[...] In a widely cited article from November 25 2001, the conservative military commentator for one of Israel's leading newspapers Yediot Aharanot, Alex Fishman, noted that this assassination had the effect of "shattering in one blow the gentleman's agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority." He continued that "Whoever decided upon the liquidation of Abu Hanoud knew in advance that [a terrorist attack inside of Israel] would be the price. The subject was extensively discussed both by Israel's military echelon and its political one, before it was decided to carry out the liquidation."

The brutal bombings that followed Abu-Hanoud's assassination gave Sharon the ideal pretext for his subsequent declaration of war upon Arafat. Moreover, it effectively scuttled the Zinni mission and Sharon obtained an unprecedented open backing from President Bush for more aggressive policies during his scheduled visit to Washington the next week.

More recently, it was widely reported that the July 22, 2002 assassination of leading Hamas militant Salah Shehada in Gaza, which also killed 15 civilians, 11 of them children, came within hours of a unilateral cease-fire declaration by both the Palestinian nationalist militia Tanzim and Hamas. Sharon had been briefed by EU go-betweens, yet he went ahead anyway.

And now, the December 26 executions of members from all three militant Palestinian groups took place while representatives from Fatah, Hamas and other factions were meeting in Cairo to formulate a cease-fire to last through the Israeli election on January 28 later this month.

The only conclusion one can draw from these actions is that either Sharon thought it so important to kill these militant leaders despite the bloody consequences for Israeli civilians or that he took these actions precisely because he expected these consequences and cynically sought to reap the political gains. Either way, Sharon is complicit.

[...] Palestinian officials were quick to point out the obvious following December 26 assassinations.

"The escalation of violence by (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon is aimed at creating a volatile atmosphere which he believes will serve him in his election campaign," Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo told Reuters on December 27. "Sharon is inviting retaliation because he wants ... to prevent any possibility of an agreement (between Palestinian factions) on a cease fire," he continued.

By the same token, it appears that militant Palestinian groups are more than willing to seize upon Sharon's provocations through their myopic preoccupation with revenge.

Palestinian militants have not only soured the Israeli public on peace, they have also severely damaged the Palestinian cause in the court of world opinion. In effect, they have aligned themselves with Israel's expansionist right wing, led by Ariel Sharon, by escalating the conflict into open military conflagration, which could be disastrous for Palestinians.

[...] In a scathing August 2, 2002 editorial in Israel's prestigious Ha'aretz newspaper, Doron Rosenblum declared that "In short, any four-year-old child who examined this pattern of events would conclude that this government, whether consciously or not, is simply not interested in the cessation of the terrorist attacks, for they constitute its raison d'etre" [...]

Comment: The comments above about "Palestinian militants" and their seemingly "myopic" and 'foot-shooting' actions is very interesting. The author, while bravely stating the obvious that Sharon has no interest in any peace with the Palestinians and willfully provokes them to further attacks, seems to shrink from making the next obvious connection, i.e. that the Israeli government is behind at least some of the suicide bombings.

If we look at Sharon and his track record, it is clear that he is not a man of peace. Responsible for the Shatila and Shabra massacres as defence minister, he is acknowledged the world over as a ruthless and brutal man.

If war is your "raison d'etre", and your only acceptable outcome the extermination of your opponents, you cannot take the chance that they might at some point give in and ask for peace. That simply would not do. As such, the way to ensure that the war continues "to the death" is to control both warring factions. If you want to attack the opposing army, then first attack your own thereby creating the justification. This is exactly the Israeli policy, lead by Sharon.

How often have Hamas ( trained and funded by Israel) furthered the Israeli agenda through the perpetration and timing of their attacks? Even to the point of helping Sharon out of a tight spot when, during the run up to the last government elections, as he was being accused of various financial wrong doings, Hamas could be relied on to come to the rescue with a "suicide" bombing, drawing attention away from Ariel and indeed bolstering his popularity as he was "forced" to retaliate with his signatory ruthlessness towards (mainly) Palestinian civilians. In the most recent Hamas attack however, Sharon may have been a little to quick off the mark.

Wednesday's suicide attack was responded to " within minutes", raising the awkward question of how was it possible for news of the attack to be relayed, orders sent to the armed forces, a helicopter gunship pilot and payload (made and supplied for free by the USA) prepped and dispatched all in a matter of a few minutes? The answer it seems is that it is simply impossible, unless there was foreknowledge of the bus bombing.

The apalling conclusion then is that on many occasions Sharon has willfully sanctioned the mass murder of Israelis, to justify his genocial activites towards the Palestinians, and then has publicy talked about the need to protect Israelis.

Shocking - yes, but this is the nature of the reality in which we live. The American government has acted in the same way on various occasions, most recently on Sept. 11th 2001. This is SOP for our "leaders", this is how things "get done" in this world, you do not react to things in your enviornment, you actively create both the cause and the solution to further your aims, this is what total control facilitates.

We all therefore have a choice to make, do we reject this modus operandi? If so, to reject it as a way of being we must first see it and accept that it exists, we must take a stand for the truth however unpleasant it may be for us to truly see our predicament for the first time. By choosing not to do so, we loose our ability and therefore renege on our right to choose and a choice is made for us. We close our eyes and return to sleep to await the future that "they" choose for us."

Is Sharon to blame? Israelis wonder

PM's bid to kill Hamas leader condemned

Chris McGreal in Jerusalem
Thursday June 12, 2003
The Guardian

It is question rarely asked by Israel's Jews, and almost never in public. But yesterday one member of the Israeli parliament, Roman Bronfman, cautiously wondered if the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, did not have Jewish blood on his hands. [...]

"They could take out Rantissi any time they wanted, so why now?" said one. "Whenever Sharon gives ground, as he did to the Americans in Aqaba, he always tacks back the other way." [...]

The Complex Art Of Simulation

Tanya Reinhart
Yediot Aharonot, June 6, 2003

[The article went to Print a few hours before Israel's attempted assassination of Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Abdel Aziz Rantisi.]

[...] In the Israeli consciousness, it is not the test of actions that matters, but the test of words - the complex art of the simulation of peace, which so eased our conscience during Oslo. In this perception, Bush and Sharon are the indubitable proponents of world peace. Who would stop to notice what actually occurs in the real world?

From May onward we began to hear that "Hamas leaders openly declared their willingness this weekend to enter a temporary cease-fire (hudna) with Israel, for the first time since the establishment of the movement in 1987. If such a cease-fire is attained, it would mean a cessation of terror attacks against civilians in Israel. A senior Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who usually represents movement hardliners, said on Friday: 'The Hamas movement is prepared to stop terror against Israeli civilians if Israel stops killing Palestinian civilians ... We have told (Palestinian Authority Prime Minister) Abu Mazen in our meetings that there is an opportunity to stop targeting Israeli civilians if the Israelis stop assassinations and raids and stop brutalizing Palestinian civlilians" (Ha'aretz, Arnon Regular, May 25, 2003).

What could be more suitable for a new peace initiative then starting with a period of some calm - quiet for the Israelis without terror, quiet for the Palestinians without the constant presence of the IDF in their midst? Not in Sharon's view, who repeatedly rejected this proposal. On the eve of the Aqaba summit, the headline in Ha’aretz declared: “The prime minister: A Palestinian ceasefire is not enough”; and the text continued to explain that "in his meeting with U.S. president George Bush at the Aqaba summit, prime-minister Ariel Sharon will seek the U.S. backing of his demand that the Palestinian authority will use forceful [military] means against the terror organizations and their infrastructure in the territories, as a precondition for any diplomatic advance. Sharon will tell Bush that it is not acceptable to settle just for agreements between the Palestinian organizations to a cease fire (Hudna)… In return Sharon will promise Bush that Israel will evacuate illegal outposts in the West bank ” (Ha’aretz Hebrew edition, Aluf Ben, June 2, 2003). (1) In other words, until the Palestinian organizations willingly begin to kill one another, the IDF will continue to do this job for them.

In the plans of Sharon and the army, the situation in the territories will remain precisely where it stands today: IDF soldiers present everywhere, demolishing, killing, abusing, and causing starvation. Each week, another piece of Palestinian land is stolen under the auspices of the Separation Wall project. Even during the week of the peace summits, when in the world of simulation the headlines heralded an easing of the closure, the IDF made sure to clarify that nothing would change. On the contrary, the restrictions over Palestinian movement were increased. (Ha’aretz, June 3, 2003, see next article).

The diabolical aspect of this plan is that from now on, only the Palestinians will be accused of whatever happens. Since the Aqaba summit, Palestinians shouldn’t show any resistance to the IDF, because in the Israelis’ perception, Israel has already fulfilled its part of the bargain when Sharon declared that he has had enough of the occupation, and will even evacuate a number of outposts (most of which are empty). Now it is the turn of the Palestinian Authority to fulfill its part of the generous agreement and to prove that it is capable of controlling terror, even without any change in the situation on the ground.

Thus, the People of Israel are left to wait for the next inevitable terror attack, following which, we will sigh and declare, “what could we do, we tried again, but with the Palestinians, making peace is just impossible.”

No doubt that the deterioration of the Intifada into armed struggle brought disaster upon the Palestinians. No doubt that it would be better to return to a path of non-violent struggle, but for that, one basic condition must exist that Israel will make this path possible for the Palestinians.

No signs of eased conditions in West Bank By Arnon Regular

"The picture that emerged yesterday after a day of driving up and down and back and forth across the West Bank is of tens of thousands of people who have seemingly been thrown back into the Middle Ages, when the only mode of transport was by foot." On road to Ramallah, thousands still travel by foot from village to city and back Haj Yusuf Musa, 77, is on his way back to his village, north of Ramallah, after he made
the trip to the city to get medicine for his bad back.

He makes his way - on foot - down the road to the checkpoint that marks the start of the area where Palestinian vehicles are not allowed to travel. From there, he makes his way down a steep hill, for about 500 meters into a wadi, and then back up another hill, for another 500 meters, to reach another checkpoint. Only when he's through that checkpoint can he look for a Palestinian taxi to take him to his village.

Yesterday, like every day, thousands of people crossed this checkpoint on foot. Cripples on crutches, elderly people and children, women, the pregnant, old and infirm, some on horses others on donkeys, everyone goes through the humiliation. Those who need medicine or those who want to visit family.

Adal, a handicapped man from Silwad, needs his crutches to stand. He's sweating in the hot sun after somehow making his way down the 500 meters and then back up the 500 meters. The pity of the others goes out to him. Someone offers him water, another suggests he lean against a railing. After he catches his breath, he explains he couldn't find a car that would take him.

[...] Palestinians are not allowed to use the thousands of kilometers of new highways and "bypass" roads built in the territories over the past decades. Only settlers and the army are allowed on those roads. They aren't allowed on Highway 60, the main road in the West Bank.

Hundreds of mounds of dirt and mobile and stationary checkpoints force them onto the side roads, old one-lane roads, sometimes made of dirt, often in bad repair, and those who want to go to Ramallah from Nablus, for example, have to take the narrow village roads. Eventually, they all end up at Surda.

A few months ago, the civil administration decided to let Palestinian buses move on main roads. But the lengthy security checks required to get a pass to use the buses, has kept them empty. There are parking lots with the buses in Halhul, al Khader, and in the northern West Bank. A lot of buses. Very few passengers.

Hamas vows to 'tear Israel to pieces' after Gaza attack

By Sa'id Ghazali in Jerusalem and Rupert Cornwell in Washington
13 June 2003

Hamas vowed yesterday to "blow up the Zionist entity and tear it to pieces" as Israeli helicopters patrolled the skies over Gaza to hunt down Palestinian militants in one of the most crowded cities in the world.

Speaking after an Israeli rocket attack that killed seven people, including a senior Hamas militant, Mahmoud al-Zahar, the Hamas leader, said the movement would "launch a series of new attacks against the Israeli people by the youths of Palestine. This crime will not pass without punishment.''

Activists from Yasser Arafat's mainstream movement said they were siding with the Islamic militants of Hamas. Hussein al Sheikh, a Fatah leader in Ramallah, said: "This is a bloody war against the Palestinian people. [The] Fatah movement stands with the Palestinian people in the resistance against the occupation.''

The dramatic hardening of their position came after Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, promised at an emergency cabinet meeting to press ahead with attacks against Hamas. His language seemed to doom the US-sponsored road-map for peace in the Middle East, which calls for an end to violence as a first step.

Israeli forces thrust into Gaza yesterday after their botched attempt to kill Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, Hamas's political leader, on Tuesday, which terrified the people of Gaza City as they went about their business. "We live in panic,'' Halima al-Ghoul, 55, said. "I do not know whether it is safe to ride a car or walk.''

Traffic stopped each time aircraft appeared and people got out of their cars, fearing another rocket attack. "We believe in fate,'' Khaled Jondia, 33, said. She was selling baby clothes in Shajia market when yesterday's attack happened.

In Jerusalem, Israeli police set up more checkpoints in Arab neighbourhoods, searching people and checking their identity cards.

Yesterday's attack - in retaliation for the worst suicide bombing in six months, which killed 16 people on a bus in Jerusalem on Wednesday - came after the funeral of 10 Palestinians who were killed on Wednesday night by Israeli helicopters. They fired missiles at targets in Sabra, where Ahmed Yassin, Hamas's spiritual leader, lives. Hamas claimed responsibility for Wednesday's bus bombing.

Mr Sharon has served notice that he will continue to strike at suspected Palestinian terrorists as and when he chooses, whatever the damage to the road-map. Israeli officials say Hamas leaders, including Sheikh Yassin, are not immune from retaliation.

Nabil Amr, the moderate Palestinian cabinet spokes-man, blamed the government of Israel for starting the tit-for-tat violence after the Aqaba summit, attended by President George Bush, which endorsed the road-map.

"As a Palestinian citizen and a Palestinian Authority member, I say today's attack is deliberate. It is a new war waged by Sharon. The consequences will be grave. Sharon is the one who started it," Mr Amr said yesterday.[...]

Bush Seeks to Stem Middle East Violence

Thu June 12, 2003 06:40 PM ET
By Gwen Ackerman

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - President Bush will dispatch a veteran U.S. diplomat to Israel this weekend to try to stop escalating violence that has killed 37 people in two days and threatened Bush's fledgling Middle East peace plan.
Israeli air raids targeting militants in the Gaza Strip, shootings in the West Bank and a Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem have fueled an internal debate in the Bush administration over how to rescue the plan.

U.S. officials said John Wolf would leave for Jerusalem as early as Saturday to lead an American team charged with monitoring day-to-day progress under the U.S.-sponsored peace "road map," which envisages a Palestinian state by 2005.

Comment: Here we have war monger Bush, pretending to be earnest peace maker Bush, trying to counter balance the image left after his murderous war in Iraq. With his "kill for peace" policy expect the blood shed to continue. If you missed yesterday's Signs of the Times commentary on Bush you can still read it here.

Israeli army ordered to 'wipe out' Hamas

Israeli army radio reports the army has been ordered to 'completely wipe out' the Palestinian Islamic militant group Hamas, a day after a suicide bomber killed 16 people on a Jerusalem bus. [...]

Hamas declares all-out war on Israel

Jun. 12, 2003. 08:53 AM

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Palestinian resistance group Hamas said today it has ordered "all military cells" to take immediate action and carry out more attacks on Israelis.

The group also urged foreigners to leave Israel and the Palestinian areas for their own safety.[...]

Bush Under Fire in Congress for Criticizing Israel

NY Times

June 11 — Supporters of Israel in and out of Congress assailed President Bush today for criticizing Israeli attacks on Palestinian militant groups as the administration worked to protect its Middle East peace initiative from a new cycle of violence.

On a day of new attacks and counterattacks by Israeli and Palestinian militant forces, diplomats said there was concern in the administration that without dramatic improvement of some kind, the peace initiative known as the road map could founder.

A day after he criticized Israel for its attempt to kill a militant Palestinian leader, Mr. Bush today denounced a suicide bomb attack on a bus in Jerusalem that killed 16 people and wounded more than 100.

"I strongly condemn the killings," he said, "and I urge and call upon all of the free world, nations which love peace, to not only condemn the killings, but to use every ounce of their power to prevent them from happening in the future."

At a hearing of the House International Relations Committee, Representative Gary L. Ackerman, said that Mr. Bush's rebuke might lead his critics "to think of the word hypocrisy."

"How can we take certain actions in response to terrorism, and then tell others that when they do the same exact thing that it is not helpful?" Mr. Ackerman, a New York Democrat, said during questioning of William J. Burns, the State Department's senior diplomat for Middle Eastern affairs.

The influential pro-Israel lobbying group, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as Aipac, issued a rare criticism of Mr. Bush, if only obliquely. Israel, it said, "will and must take the responsibility to fight terrorist organizations" and "it should be the policy of the U.S. to support" such actions. [...]

But there was an unusual quality to the statements given the inflamed situation. If there was a new wrinkle to the day's developments, it was the criticism directed at Mr. Bush for his rebuke of the Israeli government on Tuesday.
Reflecting dismay that a new round of violence might undermine the spirit achieved in Aqaba and Sharm el Sheik, Mr. Bush said the attack on the Hamas leader would not help Israel's security. His statement drew fire from those saying that Israel had carried out the attacks to defend itself, just as the United States has done.

Representative Robert Wexler, a Florida Democrat, said Israel's use of military force to protect itself against "a ticking time bomb factory" was "100 percent justified."

Representative Tom Lantos of California, the ranking Democrat on the International Relations Committee, defended Israel's right to protect itself, saying that the Palestinian Authority under Mr. Abbas was unable to do the job. If the Palestinians will not disarm terrorists, "then Israel clearly will do so," he said. [...]

But other diplomats said the Israelis had to know that the attack would provoke a new cycle of violence and make it impossible for Mr. Abbas to keep what little support he has among Palestinians.

Jews Against Zionism: Historical Documents Opposing Zionism

Sabotage hits Iraq pipeline as crude exports prepare to resume

An Iraqi oil pipeline was burning after being sabotaged as the country's crude was set to return to the world market, and despite an offensive by US-led forces against opponents of their occupation regime.

Fires blazed on the major pipeline from Iraq's northern oilfields after what residents said were twin bomb attacks aimed at sabotaging exports through Turkey.

An AFP correspondent saw two separate fires on the pipeline, 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the key refinery town of Baiji, close to the main highway between Baghdad and the northern regional capital of Mosul.

US military helicopters hovered overhead.

Local residents said the pipeline had been attacked by Iraqis using explosives around 8:45 pm (1645 GMT) Thursday, the same day Iraq awarded its first post-war oil export contracts.

"It's to stop the Americans taking the oil out to Turkey," said Khidr Aziz.[...]

OUT: Law Lords and the Lord Chancellor. IN: a Supreme Court

Blair shakes up Cabinet, then the justice system

By Andrew Grice, Political Editor
13 June 2003

Tony Blair announced sweeping changes to the legal and judicial systems and the House of Lords yesterday as he carried out a cabinet reshuffle.

The Prime Minister used the retirement of Lord Irvine of Lairg to abolish the 1,400-year-old office of Lord Chancellor, replace the Law Lords with an American-style Supreme Court and create an independent system for appointing judges, who are now chosen by the Lord Chancellor. [...]

Lord Falconer hailed the changes as "a new beginning as far as the courts, Crown Prosecution Service and police are concerned". He will work closely in modernising the criminal justice system with David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, who clashed with Lord Irvine after accusing some judges of being out of touch.

Comment: It is curious that this shake-up has occurred in the UK fairly soon after changes in the Bush administration. The institution of a Supreme Court is also interesting, given that the U.S. Supreme Court was instrumental in installing Bush as president. It seems Blair doesn't like the present justice system, seems that he could actually be prosecuted under it when he lies to parliament and the people! So time for a new supreme court, modeled on the wonderful American judicial system (the one that can appoint you as president if your brother is govenor of the state). Now Blair can hand pick (via Gordon Brown the Chancellor) a bunch of his lapdogs to ensure that he can do as he likes, safe in the knowledge that he will never be called to account, just like his 'ol buddy George.

US loses two aircraft in Iraq

George Wright
Thursday June 12, 2003

US forces in Iraq lost an Apache helicopter to "hostile fire" and an F-16 fighter in unknown circumstances today, as they stepped up their campaign against "subversive elements".

The US losses took place in the hours following an air raid on what US central command described as "a terrorist training camp" 150 km north-west of Baghdad. Both aircrews escaped unharmed.

Central command said it would launch an investigation into loss of the fighter, which crashed at approximately 6.30am local time (0330BST) south-west of Baghdad.

It said in a statement: "The aircraft was flying to Iraq from an air base in south-west Asia. The pilot ejected safely from the single-seat aircraft and was rescued at approximately 7.30am. He was transported to the nearest facility for medical care. The cause of the incident is unknown at this time and will be investigated."

The Apache was shot down in western Iraq, and its two crew were evacuated from the crash site by ground forces, according to central command. [...]

Comment: It appears that the resistance movement in Iraq is much more than just some disgruntled Saddam-loving Baathists with a few Kalishnikovs. It takes some serious hardware to down an Apache or an F-16, if the fighter was indeed shot down. It appears also that there is a "terrorist training camp" in Iraq, that's "Iraqi citizens attempting to defend themselves" to you and me.

Baghdad's oil returns to the market amid continuing violence

Friday June 13, 11:52 AM

Iraq's oil returned to the world market, bringing hopes for economic recovery as US-led forces went on the offensive against resistance elements and former Iraqi soldiers battled with police.

Spain meanwhile agreed to take a leading role in a multinational peacekeeping force, in a sector under Polish command.

Four European companies, a Turkish firm and the US company ChevronTexaco were awarded contracts Thursday to buy 9.5 million barrels of Iraqi oil, marking the return of Iraqi oil to the international market after a three-month suspension, industry sources said.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition running Iraq said the contracts still would have to be reviewed by acting ministry chief Thamir Ghadhban and his US adviser, Philip Carroll.

The sale of Iraq oil on international markets was halted following the suspension of the UN oil-for-food program at the beginning of March shortly before the war.

The choice of companies reflects the Iraqi oil authorities aim to separate politics from business in regard to marketing the country's oil.

"It is a completely open bidding procedure," the coalition spokesman said. [...]

Comment: It's a complete open bidding procedure as long as Bush and his Gang of Oil Thugs can keep making billions.

Secret US army unit scoured Iraq for WMD's, but found nil: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) Jun 13, 2003

A covert, specialized army unit scoured Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, even before the US-led war, but has come up empty handed, The Washington Post said Friday.
Drawn from the US Army's special mission units known as Delta Force, Task Force 20 "found no working nonconventional munitions, long-range missiles or missile parts, bulk stores of chemical or biological warfare agents or enrichment technology for the core of a nuclear weapon," said the daily.

Citing sources with firsthand knowledge of the unit's mission and others with access to its reports, the post said Task Force 20's sent "a stream of initially promising reports" to a small group of Washington officials.

Those reports prompted US President George W. Bush and his senior national security advisers to feel optimistic about the eventual discovery of illegal weapons in Iraq, the military and intelligence sources in Washington and Baghdad told the daily. [...]

Downsizing in Disguise

The Nation

The streets of Baghdad are a swamp of crime and uncollected garbage. Battered local businesses are going bankrupt, unable to compete with cheap imports. Unemployment is soaring and thousands of laid-off state workers are protesting in the streets.

In other words, Iraq looks like every other country that has undergone rapid-fire "structural adjustments" prescribed by Washington, from Russia's infamous "shock therapy" in the early 1990s to Argentina's disastrous "surgery without anesthetic." Except that Iraq's "reconstruction" makes those wrenching reforms look like spa treatments.

Paul Bremer, the US-appointed governor of Iraq, has already proved something of a flop in the democracy department in his few weeks there, nixing plans for Iraqis to select their own interim government in favor of his own handpicked team of advisers. But Bremer has proved to have something of a gift when it comes to rolling out the red carpet for US multinationals. [...]

Like so many Bush foreign policy players, Bremer sees war as a business opportunity. On October 11, 2001, just one month after the terror attacks in New York and Washington, Bremer, once Ronald Reagan's Ambassador at Large for counterterrorism, launched a company designed to capitalize on the new atmosphere of fear in US corporate boardrooms. Crisis Consulting Practice, a division of insurance giant Marsh & McLennan, specializes in helping multinationals come up with "integrated and comprehensive crisis solutions" for everything from terror attacks to accounting fraud. Thanks to a strategic alliance with Versar, which specializes in biological and chemical threats, clients of the two companies are treated to "total counterterrorism services."

To sell this sort of high-priced protection to US firms, Bremer had to make the kinds of frank links between terrorism and the failing global economy that activists are called lunatics for articulating.[...]

American Cleansing in Iraq

Vasily Bubnov

The American command decided to take measures to prevent attacks on US forces

According to the scanty information that comes from Iraq, both the American command and the American political administration did not expect the things that are currently happening there. Apparently, a series of attacks on American servicemen in Iraq has made the US-led administration pay attention to those events. The threat to lose control over the country seems to be absolutely real, since a large-scale military operation has been launched in Iraq. Thousands of soldiers, tens of planes, helicopters and military boats take part in "Operation Peninsula Strike." The operation is being conducted near the town of Duluiyah, 45 miles north of Baghdad. A spokesman for the American command said that the goal of the operation was to cease attacks on US Army soldiers in Baghdad and on its outskirts. More than 400 suspects have already been detained in the raid, two Iraqi men have been killed in a skirmish.[...]

It is hard to say, which effect the current operation might produce in Iraq. One does not know for sure, if all arrested suspects participated in subversive activities against US forces. In fact, the "Operation Peninsula Strike" reminds of what they call "cleansing" procedures in Chechnya.

Not buying revisionist sales job on Iraqi weapons

Jules Witcover
Baltimore Sun

WASHINGTON - In a few short months, President Bush has turned from being Paul Revere on the "imminent threat" of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction into a patient teacher of recent history.

"Intelligence throughout the decade showed that they had a weapons program," he instructed White House reporters the other day. "I am absolutely convinced with time we'll find out they did have a weapons program."
Nobody argues, though, with Saddam Hussein having had such weapons in the early 1990s, that he used them against rebellious Kurds and that U.N. inspectors found and directed the destruction of weapons components before they withdrew from Iraq in 1998.

So the pertinent question has always been whether, as the Bush administration insisted in launching the invasion, those weapons were in hand and so ready for use as to constitute a clear and present danger requiring immediate military action.

Mr. Bush's latest expressions of conviction that the Iraqis had a "weapons program" seemed a distinction and a hedge from his earlier statement on Polish television that "we found the weapons of mass destruction." [...]

Suppose You Wanted to Have a Permanent War

by Robert Higgs
The Independent Institute

I'll concede that having a permanent war might seem an odd thing to want, but let's put aside the "why" question for the time being, accepting that you wouldn't want it unless you stood to gain something important from it. If, however, for reasons you found adequate, you did want to have a permanent war, what would you need in order to make such a policy viable in a democratic society such as the United States?

First, you would need that society to have a dominant ideology--a widely shared belief system about social and political relations--within which having a permanent war seems to be a desirable policy[...]

Second, you would need periodic crises, because without them the public becomes complaisant, unafraid, and hence unwilling to bear the heavy burdens that they must bear if the government is to carry on a permanent war. As Senator Arthur Vandenberg told Harry Truman in 1947 at the outset of the Cold War, gaining public support for a perpetual global campaign requires that the government "scare hell out of the American people." [...]

Third, you would need some politically powerful groups whose members stand to gain substantially from a permanent war in terms of achieving their urgent personal and group objectives. Call me crass, but I've noticed that few people will stay engaged for long unless there's "something in it for them." [...]


The Science of Propaganda

This web site is devoted to operationally defining the various techniques of modern propaganda. Propaganda is generally defined as the dissemination of information, but more specifically, it connotes the dissemination of information for the purposes of persuasion and advocating an agenda.

Repetition - owing to the infantile limitations of collective memory, a message must be continuously propagated in order to take hold within the collective consciousness.

Simplicity - The message must be designed in such a way that it appeals to or is quickly understood by the lowest common intellectual denominator of the collective. This is not only true because of the vast ignorance of the masses, but also because the collective attention span is virtually nonexistent.  We now live in a world of sound-bite discourse.  The simple lie always conquers the complex truth.

Imagery - The most powerful propaganda is embedded within appealing imagery. This imagery could be pictorial or descriptive.  This is why movies and music are such potent forms of pr propaganda.

Sentiment - The message must contain as little detail as possible, and instead be designed in such a way that it appeals to some strong emotion or sentiment—such as sex or sympathy.

The exclusion of detail allows for the quicker processing of the message, while the underlying sentiment reinforces it. The message need not be logically or factually based, this only clouds the affective force of the message. If any logic or fact is included, it must be very simple and plain, requiring virtually no processing time — the use of cliches and platitudes is quite effective. [...]

FBI Admits: No Evidence Links 'Hijackers' to 9-11

The possibility that 19 Muslim men accused of being the Sept. 11 hijackers were not, in fact, the hijackers, is not so extraordinary an idea as it might seem.
Exclusive To American Free Press
By Michael Collins Piper

After seven months of non-stop declarations by U.S. government spokesmen that there exists solid proof tying 19 Muslim men to plotting the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller has now admitted quite the opposite.

That 19 Muslim men who have apparently disappeared have been named as the hijackers is not in doubt.

What is in doubt is whether those 19 men were actually plotting anything, either individually or together.

The amazing possibility remains that others carried out the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, using the identities of the 19 Muslims who have been assigned guilt in the tragedy.

[...]The FBI director stated flatly:
In our investigation, we have not uncovered a single piece of paper - either here in the United States or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere - that mentioned any aspect of the Sept. 11 plot.
In describing Mueller's evidence fiasco, Los Angeles Times reporters Erich Lichtblau and Josh Meyer, whose article was reprinted in The Washington Post on April 30, note that:
Law enforcement officials say that while they have been able to reconstruct the movements of the hijackers before the attacks - all legal except for a few speeding tickets - they have found no evidence of their actual plotting.
The Times reporters acknowledge that Mueller's comments "offer the FBI's most comprehensive and detailed assessment to date of its investigation, remarkable as much for what investigators have not found as for what they have."

The FBI director explained away the absence of evidence by making the disingenuous assertion that the hijackers used "meticulous planning, extraordinary secrecy and extensive knowledge of how America works" to conceal their scheme.

Mueller made this claim despite the fact that in the immediate wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, a variety of U.S. officials and media sources speciously announced, almost instantaneously, that there was firm evidence not only that these 19 Muslim men were agents of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda "network" but that they were indeed the individuals who hijacked the doomed flights on Sept. 11.

Mueller seems to forget that early government and media reports loudly hyped "discoveries" - letters and other documents - in the luggage and personal belongings of the presumed hijackers which "proved" that they were on a "mission for Allah," etc etc.

Now Mueller's comments seem to contradict everything that's been said.

FBI Agent Probed After Criticizing Bureau

By Vic Walter, Brian Ross, and Maddy Sauer
ABC News

June 12 — A 12-year veteran FBI agent is under investigation for alleged insubordination following his appearances on ABCNEWS programs and a recent press conference in Washington, D.C., in which he criticized the bureau's efforts to combat terrorism, according to the agent's attorney.

Special Agent Robert Wright first went public last year on PrimeTime Thursday and told ABCNEWS Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross that he believes the FBI has failed to safeguard the United States from terrorist attacks.

"Sept. 11 is a direct result of the incompetence of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit," Wright said. "No doubt about that. Absolutely no doubt about that."

Wright began tracking terrorists in the Chicago area in the mid-1990s for the Terrorism Task Force. He says he soon became frustrated when he was ordered by his superiors at the FBI Intelligence Division not to make any arrests of suspected terrorists.

According to Wright, he was ordered to drop his investigation into a suspected terror financier whose name had arisen during the investigation into the bombings of two American embassies in East Africa in 1998, in which at least 224 people were killed.

Wright and his partner John Vincent, who has since retired from the FBI, said that the money trail uncovered in the embassy bombing probe led to, among others, a powerful Saudi Arabian businessman, Yassin Qadi, who had extensive business and financial ties in Chicago. [...]

Last year, Wright told ABCNEWS that he had more to say about the failures of the Terrorism Task Force. "There's so much more," he said. "God, there's so much more."

French Al Qaeda Bust Provides New Details

By Alexis Debat and Risa Molitz
ABC News

June 12 — French investigators say the interrogation of a captured al Qaeda foot soldier who was allegedly about to embark on a plot to bomb a French resort hotel in the Indian Ocean is yielding fresh details on the terror network's capabilities.[...]

US plays aid card to fix war crimes exemption

Ian Traynor in Zagreb
Thursday June 12, 2003
The Guardian

The US is turning up the heat on the countries of the Balkans and eastern Europe to secure war crimes immunity deals for Americans and exemptions from the year-old international criminal court.

In an exercise in brute diplomacy which is causing more acute friction with the European Union following the rows over Iraq, the US administration is threatening to cut off tens of millions of dollars in aid to the countries of the Balkans unless they reach bilateral agreements with the US on the ICC by the end of this month. [...]

Comment: This tactic has become the Bush Doctrine standard. The Bush Reich threatened to not lift sanctions from Iraq unless the G8 was done Bushy's way with the War on Terror the main priority. They destroyed Iraq and are demanding money from other nations to clean up, while they rake in oil profits. Now they are forcing others to make the awful choice between no help for those whose lives were destroyed in the Balkan Wars or to allow the steel-toed fascist Bush boot to stomp all over the world as he sees fit. It may be only the beginning, with the U.S. always attempting to make the world, and the American citizens, choose between two losing options. It's Game Theory, which is about co-opting the free will of others. And a psychopath usually wins. See the Adventure Series for Laura's in depth research into the topic that everyone should know about to better able understand how our political world works:

"It's like a poker player who has absolutely nothing in his hand, but because he is so intent on winning, and is so unmoved by the possibility of losing because lying produces absolutely no internal, emotional reaction of fear of being discovered or the potential shame or disaster inherent in such an event, is able to bluff so convincingly that the other players - any of whom might have a winning hand, fold and walk away because they are convinced by the psychopath's confidence that he must have the winning hand of all time.  Only he doesn't.  And this means that the psychopath's strength is also his Achilles heel.  Once he has been spotted, identified, understood, he no longer has the power to bluff.  Once knowledge enters the game, the psychopath is exposed, and has no more ability to 'con' the other players.  The sad part is: he also has no ability to learn from this experience anything other than how to make his bluff better and more convincing next time.  The psychopath never gets mad because he is caught in a lie; he is only concerned with "damage control" in terms of his ability to continue to con others. "

US threatens to boycott Belgium over war crimes law

Ian Black in Brussels and Ewen MacAskill
Friday June 13, 2003
The Guardian

The bitter dispute between the US and Europe over Iraq burst into the open again yesterday when the US threatened Belgium with a boycott and Germany and France registered protests at the UN about Washington's continued opposition to the international criminal court.

The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, warned Belgium at a Nato meeting to drop its controversial war crimes law or face a boycott of Nato's Brussels HQ.

Belgium, a founder member of Nato, has a law giving it jurisdiction to try war crimes, genocide and other crimes against humanity wherever they are committed. The government has already been trying to water it down.

Mr Rumsfeld condemned "divisive politicised lawsuits" such as the one threatening General Tommy Franks, the commander of US forces in Iraq.

The US is threatening to suspend its financial support for a new €400m (£280m) building for Nato.

"It would obviously not be easy for US officials ... to come to Belgium," Mr Rumsfeld said. "It would not make much sense to build a new headquarters if they can't come here for meetings." [...]

Unfit for Office - Time for Rumsfeld to Resign

June 12, 2003

It is no secret that Donald Rumsfeld treats his flag rank officers with contempt and disdain. Rumsfeld's latest dissing of his senior officers came when he chose retired General Peter Shoomaker, the former head of the US Special Operations Command, to succeed outgoing Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki.

Rumsfeld was faced with the problem that neither of the two active duty generals he first asked to take the Army Chief of Staff job, wanted it. CENTCOM commander General Tommy Franks, fresh from his victory over Iraq, decided to retire rather than preside over Rumsfeld's plan to restructure the U.S. Army into small mobile SWAT teams. Shinseki's Vice Chief of Staff, General John Keane, turned down Rumsfeld's offer because of his wife's illness.

Rumsfeld vainly looked for others to take their turn in the lion's den. The job that every flag rank officer covets was systematically turned down by Army commanders around the world: General B.B. Bell of the US Army European Command, General James Campbell of the US Army Pacific Command, General Larry Ellis of the US Army Forces Command, and General Philip Kensinger, commander of the US Army's Special Operations Command.

The deputy head of CENTCOM, Lt. Gen. John Abazaid, an Arab-American, also turned down Rumsfeld. Shinseki, Franks, Keane, and Abazaid could not stand the thought of putting up with Rumsfeld and his chickenhawk advisers on a daily basis. It was Rumsfeld's gruff manner that similarly forced Army Secretary, retired General Thomas White, to resign. [...]

Ashcroft pushing PATRIOT II, Bush hesitating

Scripps Howard News Service
June 12, 2003

WASHINGTON - Attorney General John Ashcroft is pushing for enhanced law enforcement powers to conduct the nation's ongoing war on terrorism, but the White House is taking a cautious route in the face of some public and congressional reservations.

Ashcroft, the moving force behind the USA-PATRIOT Act, said the law he credited with helping to "save innocent lives" nonetheless contains "several weaknesses which terrorists could exploit, undermining our defenses."

With that in mind, the Justice Department continues to work on what is popularly referred to as PATRIOT II, which would further broaden law enforcement's mandate. Ashcroft already is publicly lobbying for three changes - making it unlawful to fight for a designated terrorist organization, imposing the death penalty for various terrorist actions and extending pre-trial detention for those arrested for terrorism-related offenses. [...]

Comment: Bush is hesitating just long enough for the world situation to deteriorate enough so that Americans will be crying out for their freedoms to be stripped from them. If no one had spoken up, this bill would have passed already, because nothing makes you safer than giving up your freedoms and privacy. Meanwhile, Bush continues to dismantle the U.S. economy and utilize Game Theory on the world's population.

Latest monkeypox cases raise spectre of human-to-human transmission

Friday June 13, 9:25 AM

US health officials are monitoring three people thought to have been infected with the deadly monkeypox virus in what could be the first US cases of human-to-human transmission.

Two of the potential victims are medical staff who worked at hospitals in the Milwaukee area and were exposed to individuals known to have been infected with the disease.

One of the women -- a medical assistant at Marshfield Clinic -- sought medical care Thursday for chills, sweats and fatigue. [...]

"It has not been proven to be monkeypox but we obviously are concerned," he said. [...]

"It's not really a highly suspect case," because the woman has a single blister that appears to be healing, said the state epidemiologist in Wisconsin, Jeffrey Davis. [...]

Comment: Do you have a blister, mole, pimple, teeny-tiny mark on your skin, or have you sneezed, been chilly, had a headache, or had any aches or pains lately? If you have, it MUST be MONKEYPOX! Run for your lives! Go get a smallpox vaccination! Could this whole scam be any more ridiculous?!

Protests in Tehran for third straight night, but numbers down

Friday June 13, 12:48 PM

Anti-regime protestors defied threats of a crackdown and took to the streets of Tehran for a third night, for a violent protest albeit in reduced numbers.

A hundred students managed to break out of their university campus after midnight and take to the street after smashing down a door.

They chanted slogans hostile to the Iran's hardline Islamic leadership and hurled stones at police and member of Islamist militias.

Particular venom was directed at the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with calls for him to step down. [...]

Khamenei on Thursday accused the United States of stirring trouble in the country.

He said Washington had realized it could not overthrow the Islamic republic's regime militarily and "wanted to create trouble in Iran... divide the people and create a chasm between the regime and the populace".

In an speech in the southern city of Varamin broadcast on state television, he said if the United States "see that disgruntled people and adventurers want to cause trouble, and if they can turn them into mercenaries, they will not hesitate to do so in giving them their support".

The United States gave its full backing to the anti-government protestors in Iran but the State Department refused to address accusations from Khamenei that Washington is fomenting the protests. [...]

Hillary Clinton calls for inquiry over Iraq

06:59 Friday 13th June 2003

Hillary Clinton has called for independent inquiries to review the credibility of the intelligence used to justify war in Iraq.

The New York senator joined the mounting pressure in both Britain and the US to investigate allegations that details of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were exaggerated. [...]

But Senator Clinton said that although the jury was still out on whether weapons would ever be found, it was essential to discover what happened with the intelligence in both nations. [...]

Mrs Clinton said she did not know if people were misled but said: "That is why this cannot be left unanswered.

"I voted for the Iraqi resolution, and I did it in large measure based on the intelligence that I was privy to." [...]

Comment: A trained monkey could have figured out that the "intelligence" is horse hockey. It is obvious that the Democrats don't want to ask the tough questions. As players in BushCo's game, they have too much to lose if they actually represent the few Americans who want answers about Iraq and 9/11. Ultimately, it is unlikely that a sufficient number of Americans will awaken enough to demand change. And of those who are questioning the administration, one wonders how many of them are simply following the lead of the Bush-controlled media? Bush himself remains unscathed through the whole ordeal.

No Child Rebates for Low-Income Families

The Guardian

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans readied an expansion of child tax credits for a vote Friday but the 6.5 million low-income families it's intended to benefit would have to wait until next year to see the rebate checks being mailed this summer to middle-income households. [...]

Uganda's atrocious war

By Will Ross
BBC, Kitgum, Uganda

Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has become synonymous with torture, abductions and killings

The rebels chop off noses and ears

"They tied me and laid me down. They told me not to cry. Not to make any noise. Then one man sat on my chest, men held my arms, legs, and one held my neck".

"Another picked up an axe. First he chopped my left hand, then my right. Then he chopped my nose, my ears and my mouth with a knife."

23-year-old David was abducted by rebels of the LRA, who falsely accused him of being a government soldier.

While they were carrying out these atrocities, David pleaded with the rebels to kill him.

Instead they wrapped up David's ears in a letter warning people against joining the government forces.

The gruesome atrocities of the LRA are designed to instil fear in the civilians, but it is the frequency of the rebel attacks that is causing most alarm.

On a daily basis the rebels are attacking to loot and abduct and the army is failing to protect the civilian population.

"It's under control," is the usual refrain from the military. [...]

Reports of U.S. Operation in Somalia Denied

By Brian Hartman and Cuyler Mayer
ABC News

June 12 — Reports appearing recently on a Somalian Web site that American troops landed in Somalia last week are false, U.S. military officials in eastern Africa told ABCNEWS.

On Sunday, a Somali-language Web site reported that on June 7 U.S. and Ethiopian forces landed in central Somalia in three helicopters. The Web site, which cites eyewitness accounts from residents in the Baled Weyne District, reported that the troops traveled to Somalia to investigate fundamentalist groups associated with al Qaeda. [...]

US To Setup Military Base In Ghana

The United States plans to use Ghana as one of it's bases to boost its military presence in Africa to respond to new threats. Ghanaweb first reported this on the "Rumor Mill" page under the title: US To station 1000 Troops In Ghana .

In an article "Pentagon Moving Swiftly to Become 'GloboCop'", Interpress confirms Ghanaweb's story

The Pentagon is moving at seemingly breakneck speed to re-deploy U.S. forces and equipment around the world in ways that will permit Washington to play "GoboCop,' according to a number of statements by top officials and defense planners. [...]

Port Security to Get More Federal Funds

Efforts to Toughen Security at Nation's Seaports to Get $300M in New Federal Funds

The Associated Press

ELIZABETH, N.J. June 12 — A program in which American inspectors work abroad to check U.S.-bound ships for dangerous cargo is expanding to include some predominantly Muslim nations for the first time, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Thursday. [...]

Government surveillance centre goes live

By Steve Ranger

£25m centre becomes operational

The UK government's new £25m internet surveillance centre has become fully operational, Computing can reveal.

The National Technical Assistance Centre (NTAC) acts as an intermediary between internet service providers (ISP) and law enforcement agencies for intercepting and reading emails and web traffic.[...]

Comment: Somewhat similar to the FTC request in the news yesterday, except the UK is admitting it is already up and running.

Man charged in Al-Jazeera hacking

LOS ANGELES (June 12, 6:29 a.m. ADT) - Federal prosecutors have charged
a Web designer with intercepting e-mail and content from Arab TV station Al-
Jazeera's Internet site and rerouting it to a "Let Freedom Ring" patriotic page
he devised.

Comment: "... incredibly ironic," a reader writes, "now that he's a federal prisoner."

EU moves trigger angry protests in Havana

Demonstrators in front of the Spanish Embassy in Havana on Thursday hold pictures of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar that read "Aznar - the little fuhrer."

HAVANA (June 12, 8:25 a.m. ADT) - President Fidel Castro led hundreds of thousands of Cubans Thursday in a march outside the Spanish Embassy to protest what he sees as Europe's alignment with U.S. policies toward the communist island.
Surrounded by security men and his closest aides, the 76-year-old Castro led a river of people past the white, colonial Spanish mission. The demonstration lasted about two hours but Castro stayed for only about 10 minutes.

"Down with fascism," an announcer chanted over a public address system along the coastal highway in Old Havana. "Long live the revolution!"[...]

FEMA for Kids Homepage

Comment: FEMA - It's fun for the whole family.


Filer's Files
June 13, 2003

The purpose of these files is to report the UFO eyewitness and photo/video evidence that occurs on a daily basis around the world and in space. USA TODAY asks: Is there another earth out there? Whitley Strieber asks, will this be the year of the alien? Is SARS disease from space? New York - glowing object hovering over Shea Stadium, Virginia - two flying cylinders travel parallel, Florida - two discs spotted, Wisconsin - bright light in sky, Illinois - yellow glowing lights, Iowa - three multi-colors spheres, Missouri - boomerang, Arkansas - flying cone, Arizona - formation close to ground, California - metallic object flips along, Canada - five witnesses see flying boomerang, Argentina - underground signals, England - UFO observes police helicopter for ten minutes, German - split light, Saudi Arabia unidentified object crashes, and Australia - big disk with flashing colors. Abductees have electrolyte imbalances such as low potassium levels.

And Finally...

Homer set to pip Abraham Lincoln as greatest American

15:32 Thursday 12th June 2003

Homer Simpson looks likely to beat Abraham Lincoln to the title of the greatest ever American [...]

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