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New Article: Jupiter, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and the Return of the Mongols - Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13

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Picture of the Day

©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte


We are gathered together today under a dark cloud of Satan. Our brothers and sisters who are risking their lives bringing the word of our lord Jesus to the heathen animals of Iraq are under attack by the godless scribes of the liberal media. We pray for our sister Lynndie, now carrying the child of the man who saw her through this torment, and we ask the Lord that these two be joined in holy matrimony so that their child not be born in sin, but this Lynndie, this poor sweet young gal from West Virginia, is having her good name dragged through the mud of liberal media for doing her duty as a soldier, patriot, and defender of the rights and liberties of this country, by simply carrying out her orders.

There are also those who say: "We know the this sweet child is not responsible. It was those who commanded her to carry out these atrocious crimes."

Well I say unto you that this, too, is the voice of Satan! The ways of God are not for human understanding, and when those who are our superiors tell us to carry out a task, who are we to judge? Who among us can stand up before us and proclaim he has never had a moment of confusion? Let him who thinks he understands cast the first stone! And when that stone is cast, we will know him for the arrogant usurper of God's will that he is!

There are rumors circulating on that tool of the Devil they call the Internet -- and do you see how the symbol of the Devil is all over the Internet, not only in the vile, God-hating pornography, but in the access to all types of pagan and communistic ideas? Even the name is communistic. The Great Communist Conspiracy used to be called the International! The Communistic International has become the Godless Internet, an International NET in which to trap innocent Christians -- But on this Internet, there are rumors that the people who gave the orders to Miss England and her friends was none other than a member of the Chosen Tribe of God, an Israelite.

Well, Children, I believe this! For who else than one of God's Chosen so well understands the mind of the heathen Muslim having been forced to live in close proximity with their rank and dirty ways for so long. And to help us better understand the horrible and life-threatening situation faced by our brothers and sisters in that desert country, desert because it has been deserted by the Lord for so long, we have invited one of our Israelite brothers to be with us here today to give the sermon.

He will speak of the necessity for and and positive experiences of the use of physical stimulation of detainees, when applied in a selective and beneficial manner.

The Argument for Torture

By: Dr. Shmuel Vaknin

I. Practical Considerations

The problem of the "ticking bomb" - rediscovered after September 11 by Alan Dershowitz, a renowned criminal defense lawyer in the United States - is old hat. Should physical torture be applied - where psychological strain has failed - in order to discover the whereabouts of a ticking bomb and thus prevent a mass slaughter of the innocent? This apparent ethical dilemma has been confronted by ethicists and jurists from Great Britain to Israel.

Nor is Dershowitz's proposal to have the courts issue "torture warrants" (Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2001) unprecedented. In a controversial decision in 1996, the Supreme Court of Israel permitted its internal security forces to apply "moderate physical pressure" during the interrogation of suspects.

It has thus fully embraced the recommendation of the 1987 Landau Commission, presided over by a former Supreme Court judge. This blanket absolution was repealed in 1999 when widespread abuses against Palestinian detainees were unearthed by human rights organizations.

Indeed, this juridical reversal - in the face of growing suicidal terrorism - demonstrates how slippery the ethical slope can be. What started off as permission to apply mild torture in extreme cases avalanched into an all-pervasive and pernicious practice. This lesson - that torture is habit-forming and metastasizes incontrollably throughout the system - is the most powerful - perhaps the only - argument against it.

As Harvey Silverglate argued in his rebuttal of Dershowitz's aforementioned op-ed piece:

"Institutionalizing torture will give it society’s imprimatur, lending it a degree of respectability. It will then be virtually impossible to curb not only the increasing frequency with which warrants will be sought - and granted - but also the inevitable rise in unauthorized use of torture. Unauthorized torture will increase not only to extract life-saving information, but also to obtain confessions (many of which will then prove false). It will also be used to punish real or imagined infractions, or for no reason other than human sadism. This is a genie we should not let out of the bottle."

Alas, these are weak contentions.

That something has the potential to be widely abused - and has been and is being widely misused - should not inevitably lead to its utter, universal, and unconditional proscription. Guns, cars, knives, and books have always been put to vile ends. Nowhere did this lead to their complete interdiction.

Moreover, torture is erroneously perceived by liberals as a kind of punishment. Suspects - innocent until proven guilty - indeed should not be subject to penalty. But torture is merely an interrogation technique. Ethically, it is no different to any other pre-trial process: shackling, detention, questioning, or bad press. Inevitably, the very act of suspecting someone is traumatic and bound to inflict pain and suffering - psychological, pecuniary, and physical - on the suspect.

True, torture is bound to yield false confessions and wrong information, Seneca claimed that it "forces even the innocent to lie". St. Augustine expounded on the moral deplorability of torture thus: “If the accused be innocent, he will undergo for an uncertain crime a certain punishment, and that not for having committed a crime, but because it is unknown whether he committed it."

But the same can be said about other, less corporeal, methods of interrogation. Moreover, the flip side of ill-gotten admissions is specious denials of guilt. Criminals regularly disown their misdeeds and thus evade their penal consequences. The very threat of torture is bound to limit this miscarriage of justice. Judges and juries can always decide what confessions are involuntary and were extracted under duress.

Thus, if there was a way to ensure that non-lethal torture is narrowly defined, applied solely to extract time-critical information in accordance with a strict set of rules and specifications, determined openly and revised frequently by an accountable public body; that abusers are severely punished and instantly removed; that the tortured have recourse to the judicial system and to medical attention at any time - then the procedure would have been ethically justified in rare cases if carried out by the authorities.

In Israel, the Supreme Court upheld the right of the state to apply 'moderate physical pressure' to suspects in ticking bomb cases. It retained the right of appeal and review. A public committee established guidelines for state-sanctioned torture and, as a result, the incidence of rabid and rampant mistreatment has declined. Still, Israel's legal apparatus is flimsy, biased and inadequate. It should be augmented with a public - even international - review board and a rigorous appeal procedure.

This proviso - "if carried out by the authorities" - is crucial.

The sovereign has rights denied the individual, or any subset of society. It can judicially kill with impunity. Its organs - the police, the military - can exercise violence. It is allowed to conceal information, possess illicit or dangerous substances, deploy arms, invade one's bodily integrity, or confiscate property. To permit the sovereign to torture while forbidding individuals, or organizations from doing so would, therefore, not be without precedent, or inconsistent.

Alan Dershowitz expounds:

"(In the United States) any interrogation technique, including the use of truth serum or even torture, is not prohibited. All that is prohibited is the introduction into evidence of the fruits of such techniques in a criminal trial against the person on whom the techniques were used. But the evidence could be used against that suspect in a non-criminal case - such as a deportation hearing - or against someone else."

When the unspeakable horrors of the Nazi concentration camps were revealed, C.S. Lewis wrote, in quite desperation:

"What was the sense in saying the enemy were in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we did and ought to have practiced? If they had no notion of what we mean by Right, then, though we might still have had to fight them, we could no more have blamed them for that than for the color of their hair." (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, paperback edition, 1952).

But legal torture should never be directed at innocent civilians based on arbitrary criteria such as their race or religion. If this principle is observed, torture would not reflect on the moral standing of the state. Identical acts are considered morally sound when carried out by the realm - and condemnable when discharged by individuals. Consider the denial of freedom. It is lawful incarceration at the hands of the republic - but kidnapping if effected by terrorists.

Nor is torture, as "The Economist" misguidedly claims, a taboo.

According to the 2002 edition of the "Encyclopedia Britannica", taboos are "the prohibition of an action or the use of an object based on ritualistic distinctions of them either as being sacred and consecrated or as being dangerous, unclean, and accursed." Evidently, none of this applies to torture. On the contrary, torture - as opposed, for instance, to incest - is a universal, state-sanctioned behavior.

Amnesty International - who should know better - professed to have been shocked by the results of their own surveys:

"In preparing for its third international campaign to stop torture, Amnesty International conducted a survey of its research files on 195 countries and territories. The survey covered the period from the beginning of 1997 to mid-2000. Information on torture is usually concealed, and reports of torture are often hard to document, so the figures almost certainly underestimate its extent. The statistics are shocking. There were reports of torture or ill-treatment by state officials in more than 150 countries. In more than 70, they were widespread or persistent. In more than 80 countries, people reportedly died as a result."

Countries and regimes abstain from torture - or, more often, claim to do so - because such overt abstention is expedient. It is a form of global political correctness, a policy choice intended to demonstrate common values and to extract concessions or benefits from others. Giving up this efficient weapon in the law enforcement arsenal even in Damoclean circumstances is often rewarded with foreign direct investment, military aid, and other forms of support.

But such ethical magnanimity is a luxury in times of war, or when faced with a threat to innocent life. Even the courts of the most liberal societies sanctioned atrocities in extraordinary circumstances. Here the law conforms both with common sense and with formal, utilitarian, ethics.

II. Ethical Considerations

Rights - whether moral or legal - impose obligations or duties on third parties towards the right-holder. One has a right AGAINST other people and thus can prescribe to them certain obligatory behaviors and proscribe certain acts or omissions. Rights and duties are two sides of the same Janus-like ethical coin.

This duality confuses people. They often erroneously identify rights with their attendant duties or obligations, with the morally decent, or even with the morally permissible. One's rights inform other people how they MUST behave towards one - not how they SHOULD, or OUGHT to act morally. Moral behavior is not dependent on the existence of a right. Obligations are.

To complicate matters further, many apparently simple and straightforward rights are amalgams of more basic moral or legal principles. To treat such rights as unities is to mistreat them.

Take the right not to be tortured. It is a compendium of many distinct rights, among them: the right to bodily and mental integrity, the right to avoid self-incrimination, the right not to be pained, or killed, the right to save one's life (wrongly reduced merely to the right to self-defense), the right to prolong one's life (e.g., by receiving medical attention), and the right not to be forced to lie under duress.

None of these rights is self-evident, or unambiguous, or universal, or immutable, or automatically applicable. It is safe to say, therefore, that these rights are not primary - but derivative, nonessential, or mere "wants".

Moreover, the fact that the torturer also has rights whose violation may justify torture is often overlooked.

Consider these two, for instance:

The Rights of Third Parties against the Tortured

What is just and what is unjust is determined by an ethical calculus, or a social contract - both in constant flux. Still, it is commonly agreed that every person has the right not to be tortured, or killed unjustly.

Yet, even if we find an Archimedean immutable point of moral reference - does A's right not to be tortured, let alone killed, mean that third parties are to refrain from enforcing the rights of other people against A?

What if the only way to right wrongs committed, or about to be committed by A against others - was to torture, or kill A? There is a moral obligation to right wrongs by restoring, or safeguarding the rights of those wronged, or about to be wronged by A.

If the defiant silence - or even the mere existence - of A are predicated on the repeated and continuous violation of the rights of others (especially their right to live), and if these people object to such violation - then A must be tortured, or killed if that is the only way to right the wrong and re-assert the rights of A's victims.

This, ironically, is the argument used by liberals to justify abortion when the fetus (in the role of A) threatens his mother's rights to health and life.

The Right to Save One's Own Life

One has a right to save one's life by exercising self-defense or otherwise, by taking certain actions, or by avoiding them. Judaism - as well as other religious, moral, and legal systems - accepts that one has the right to kill a pursuer who knowingly and intentionally is bent on taking one's life. Hunting down Osama bin-Laden in the wilds of Afghanistan is, therefore, morally acceptable (though not morally mandatory). So is torturing his minions.

When there is a clash between equally potent rights - for instance, the conflicting rights to life of two people - we can decide among them randomly (by flipping a coin, or casting dice). Alternatively, we can add and subtract rights in a somewhat macabre arithmetic. The right to life definitely prevails over the right to comfort, bodily integrity, absence of pain and so on. Where life is at stake, non-lethal torture is justified by any ethical calculus.

Utilitarianism - a form of crass moral calculus - calls for the maximization of utility (life, happiness, pleasure). The lives, happiness, or pleasure of the many outweigh the life, happiness, or pleasure of the few. If by killing or torturing the few we (a) save the lives of the many (b) the combined life expectancy of the many is longer than the combined life expectancy of the few and (c) there is no other way to save the lives of the many - it is morally permissible to kill, or torture the few.

III. The Social Treaty

There is no way to enforce certain rights without infringing on others. The calculus of ethics relies on implicit and explicit quantitative and qualitative hierarchies. The rights of the many outweigh certain rights of the few. Higher-level rights - such as the right to life - override rights of a lower order.

The rights of individuals are not absolute but "prima facie". They are restricted both by the rights of others and by the common interest. They are inextricably connected to duties towards other individuals in particular and the community in general. In other words, though not dependent on idiosyncratic cultural and social contexts, they are an integral part of a social covenant.

It can be argued that a suspect has excluded himself from the social treaty by refusing to uphold the rights of others - for instance, by declining to collaborate with law enforcement agencies in forestalling an imminent disaster. Such inaction amounts to the abrogation of many of one's rights (for instance, the right to be free). Why not apply this abrogation to his or her right not to be tortured?

Ah, Children, are not the Israelites known for the agility of their mental formulations!

We thank our brother for this sermon, and we will now pray together that he shall see the light of our Lord when his people are given a second chance in the, we hope, not too distant future. It'd be a real shame to see a smart boy burn in hell for eternity because he and his people refused Jesus a second time.

Benefiting From Torture

Abdulwahab Badrakhan Al-Hayat 2004/05/8

It seems that the argument over the torture case is good cover for the battles in southern Iraq, where tens are falling, after the fall of the political solution, and after the "solution," still in the testing phase, in Fallujah. Obviously, what paved the way for the military solution against Moqtada Al Sadr's movement is the occupation authority's success in penetrating the "Shiite cover," which Sadr enjoyed. True, what happened in the last few days confirms the lifting of this cover. However, it is difficult to say that this issue is over and done with in light of such complications.

The American president also used the torture affair to give his press conference with King Abdullah a remarkable content; since it indicated the extreme that Bush could reach: regret, regret, regret - considering that the Jordanian King is the first Arab visitor to Washington after the scandal was exposed. Perhaps, it was because there is no Iraqi authority worthy of an apology, or because the factions within this authority wish more torture for the prisoners. Did some of them not say that these practices are less than the perpetrations of the former regime, which meant a justification for the torture and humiliation?

What is important is that this Bushite "regret" was the best exit strategy to avoid walking in another minefield, which could cost the American president more; offering "guarantees" to the Jordanian King, just like those which generously poured over the Israeli Prime Minister. Bush proved that he has nothing new to say to the Arabs, save for some blabber about UN decisions and "peace" principles, while not forgetting to remind the Arabs of an American-Israeli request; toppling the Palestinian leadership… with some assurances to Jordan.

Certainly no one missed that the "regret," which Bush tried to portray as an "apology," was shattered after he answered the first question. He said that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would remain in his administration. Hence, the first hangman, the one responsible for the disgraceful practices in the Iraqi prisons and for the "military intelligence agencies" that ordered its members to apply the methodical torture on the Iraqis, still attains the satisfaction of the "disgusted" and "regretful" president who almost apologized. In a press conference on Tuesday, Rumsfeld rejected the simple implication of regret. On the contrary, he used a tone belittled the importance of what happened and considered it individual behaviors of marginalized members. It is obvious that the White House did not like to play it as such, that is why Bush was personally obliged to directly interfere through the Arab media to correct the image spread by Rumsfeld.

The pictures published by the Washington Post lay to rest any doubt about the nature of practices in the prisons. These practices were not against the orders but they were carrying them out. They were not executed individually but collectively, they were not happening in separate cells but in between them. Hence, the responsibility does not lie on the persons who appeared in the pictures, but specifically, it is on their superiors. No one can justly say that these practices represent the American people (the way Saddam's crimes did not represent the Iraqi people); however, they seem true interpretations of the policies as Rumsfeld and the gang of fanatic right wing surrounding him consider. No one imagined that the prisoners, with the American occupation forces will be treated as five-star hotels treat their clients; however, the death of Iraqi prisoners under torture was the nature of the former regime.

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But Now It's News: How The British Wrote The Book On Military Brutality

By John Pilger
The Mirror - UK

Definition list of 60 items nesting level 1

When I first went to report the American war against Vietnam, in the 1960s, I visited the Saigon offices of the great American newspapers and TV companies, and the international news agencies. I was struck by the similarity of displays on many of their office pinboards. "That's where we hang our conscience," said an agency photographer. There were photographs of dismembered bodies, of soldiers holding up severed ears and testicles and of the actual moments of torture. There were men and women being beaten to death, and drowned, and humiliated in stomach-turning ways. On one photograph was a stick-on balloon above the torturer's head, which said: "That'll teach you to talk to the press."

The question came up whenever visitors caught sight of these pictures: why had they not been published? A standard response was that newspapers would not publish them, because their readers would not accept them. And to publish them, without an explanation of the wider circumstances of the war, was to "sensationalise". At first, I accepted the apparent logic of this; atrocities and torture by "us" were surely aberrations by definition. My education thereafter was rapid; for this rationale did not explain the growing evidence of civilians killed, maimed, made homeless and sent mad by "anti-personnel" bombs dropped on villages, schools and hospitals. Nor did it explain the children burned to a bubbling pulp by something called napalm, or farmers hunted in helicopter "turkey shoots", or a "suspect" tortured to death with a rope around his neck, dragged behind a jeep filled with doped and laughing American soldiers. Nor did it explain why so many soldiers kept human parts in their wallets and special forces officers who kept human skulls in their huts, inscribed with the words: "One down, a million to go."

[...] Jones Griffiths and others tried to interest the news agencies in pictures that told the truth about that atrocious war. The response often was: "So what's new?"

[...] And yet, we have only begun to identify the unspeakable element that unites the invasion of Vietnam with the invasion of Iraq.

This element draws together most colonial occupations, no matter where or when. It is the essence of imperialism, a word only now being restored to our dictionaries. It is racism. In Kenya in the 1950s, the British slaughtered an estimated 10,000 Kenyans...

[...] In Kenya, as in the failed American attempt to colonise Vietnam, as in Iraq, racism fuelled the indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and the torture. When they arrived in Vietnam, the Americans regarded the Vietnamese as human lice. They called them "gooks" and "dinks" and "slopes" and they killed them in industrial quantities, just as they had slaughtered the Native Americans; indeed, Vietnam was known as "Indian country".

In Iraq, nothing has changed. In boasting openly about killing "rats in their nest," US marine snipers, who in Falluja shot dead women, children and the elderly, just as German snipers shot dead Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, were reflecting the racism of their leaders. Paul W Wolfowitz, the Deputy Defence Secretary who is said to be the architect of the invasion of Iraq, has spoken of "snakes" and "draining the swamps" in the "uncivilised parts of the world".

Much of this modern imperial racism was invented in Britain.

Listen to its subtle expressions, as British spokesmen find their weasel words in refusing to acknowledge the numbers of Iraqis killed or maimed by their cluster bombs, whose actual effects are no different from the effects of suicide bombers; they are weapons of terrorism. Listen to Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, drone on in parliament, refusing to say how many innocent people are the victims of his government. In Vietnam, the shooting of women and their babies in the village of My Lai was called an "American Tragedy" by Newsweek magazine. Be prepared for more of the "our tragedy" line that invites sympathy for the invaders. [...]

In Iraq, nothing has changed. By the most conservative estimates, the Americans and the British have left 11,000 civilians dead. Include Iraqi conscripts, and the figure quadruples. "We count every screw driver, but we don't count dead Iraqis," said an American officer during the 1991 slaughter. Adam Ingram may not be as literate, but the dishonouring of human life is the same. Yes, the atrocities and torture are news now. But how are they news? asks the writer Ahdaf Soueif. A BBC news presenter describes the torture pictures as "merely mementoes". Yes, of course: just like the human parts kept in wallets in Vietnam. BBC commentators - always the best measure of the British establishment thinking on its feet - remind us that the torturing, humiliating of soldiers "does not compare with Saddam Hussein's systematic tortures and executions". Saddam, noted Ahdaf Soueif, "is now the moral compass of the West". [...]

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"Sometimes they pretended to kill me"

An Al-Jazeera cameraman detained and tortured at Abu Ghraib recalls beatings, threats and photos of torture victims used as screen savers on military PCs

By Phillip Robertson

May 8, 2004 | BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Last Saturday, Suhaib Badr al Baz, a cameraman for Al-Jazeera, sat in the lobby of the Swan Lake Hotel and calmly described his experience being tortured by U.S. military personnel. The soft-spoken journalist's account of his 74 days in U.S. custody was deeply disturbing, and his story not only supports what is now coming to light about human rights violations in Abu Ghraib, but also adds interesting new details. Al Baz said that much of his mistreatment took place in a building at the Baghdad airport, a place where he heard the sounds of prisoners screaming for long periods of time. If his account is accurate, it means that the abuse of prisoners in Iraq is not limited to Abu Ghraib prison or a single military unit. It may well be, as military critics argue, more widespread.

Like many other prisoners of Abu Ghraib, al Baz was never charged with a crime and did not have the opportunity to defend himself before any court. As soon as he was arrested, he found himself plunged into a secretive network of American detention facilities with little connection to the outside world, a zone where human and civil rights were completely ignored. As a civilian in occupied Iraq, he should have been protected by the Geneva Conventions, but instead, al Baz became the victim of a war crime perpetrated by U.S. soldiers. Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention defines war crimes as: "Willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment ... Unlawful confinement of a protected person ... willfully depriving protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial."

Al Baz, who is a single man of medium build and a slight belly, hardly presents the image of an insurgent. There is nothing threatening about him. He is not dramatic, choosing instead to make his points in a straightforward way. Al Baz never raised his voice while he was talking, and over the three days of our meetings he did not seem angry about his incarceration. In a country of furious people, al Baz did not make a political speech. We sought him out to tell his story; he did not seek the attention.

Al Baz was not an ordinary Iraqi as far as the soldiers were concerned. He works for Al-Jazeera, the Arab media network with few fans in the administration. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently excoriated Al-Jazeera's coverage of Fallujah, saying, "I can definitively say that what Al-Jazeera is doing is vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable." These comments reflect the bitter feelings the administration has toward producers of negative news about the occupation. But this bitterness is not confined to words -- the U.S. military hit Al-Jazeera buildings in both Baghdad and Kabul, Afghanistan, strikes that the network believes were intentional, though the military denies it. As Baghdad fell to American forces on April 8 last year, a bomb struck the office of the network and killed Tariq Ayoub, an Al-Jazeera cameraman. Many journalists who have covered the war for the past year believe there is a clear pattern of intimidation toward the network by the coalition. Al Baz himself believes he was singled out because of his employer. "They knew me, they had stopped me before," he said of the soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division, who arrested him.

Al-Jazeera, finding itself walking on increasingly thin ice in Iraq, had a crisis on its hands with an arrested cameraman. "We believe that Suhaib was not treated in accordance with his status as a journalist in a war zone. He was released from Abu Ghraib from a period of confinement without being charged," said Jihad Ballout, a spokesman for the network in Qatar. Officials at the Coalition Press Information Center said they could not confirm al Baz's detention. When given al Baz's prison I.D. number late this week, officials said that requests for such information are taking several days to process. Capt. Mark Doggett, an Australian officer, said that the office was inundated with requests.

Al Baz was able to describe his abusers and in several cases provide names of the most brutal. These names matched the independent accounts of other prisoners who had also spent time in the prison. It also appears that some of the military personnel involved in the torture used aliases to conceal their identities from the Iraqis. A man some of the former Abu Ghraib prisoners called "Joiner" was identified in one of the published photographs as Spc. Charles A. Graner in the New York Times. Al Baz also mentioned a man called "Joiner" when talking about the worst abuses he saw at Abu Ghraib

The cameraman's ordeal began Nov. 13 last year, when al Baz arrived at the site of a convoy attack in Samarra with his camera. U.S. soldiers stopped him and began to search his car. Al Baz said that when they found his Al-Jazeera I.D. badge, the soldiers asked him how he knew about the attack in advance, and then tied his hands behind his back. Al Baz says he arrived at the site four hours after the attack, and by that time, the entire city knew about it. Following his arrest, al Baz says that soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division took him to a U.S. military base in Samarra and interrogated him for two days.

"At the base I first saw a tall heavy man who put a black hood over my head," he recalls. "Then he forced me to stand in front of a wall for three or four hours. I was treated very roughly, then taken to a room and interrogated. When the tall man was not satisfied with my answers, he hit me in the face. They asked questions in a way that showed they were not interested in the truth." Al Baz says at first he was not given food or water, or allowed to pray. On the second day, he was given foul-smelling food. Immediately after his arrest, colleagues from the network and friends began to pressure the coalition for information but were told by Gen. Kimmit's staff that there was no information available. This is a common reply for people seeking information about recently detained people. Al Baz said it took a week for the military to issue him a prison I.D. number.

"I asked them if I could contact my family because they would be worried about me. The tall man told me to forget it, that my destiny was in Guantánamo Bay." Al Baz said that during his time at the base, soldiers came into his cell spitting on him and screaming in his ear to keep him awake. "I didn't know if it was day or night. They tied my hands so tightly my wrists started bleeding, but at this stage I was still allowed to keep my clothes. This was a wonderful period compared to my time in Abu Ghraib."

Al Baz says that he was taken from the base in Samarra to the airport in Baghdad, where his treatment took a sharp turn for the worse. "In there I heard some horrible noises, many people screaming. They told me to sit on the floor and I went numb from the cold. If I moved my head even a little bit, a soldier would grab my hood and slam my head into the wall. Sometimes they pretended to kill me by pulling the trigger of their rifles. I found out later that they were punishing other people there." Al Baz says that he heard screams, men shouting "Good Bush, bad Saddam!" and crying out to God for help. "But it didn't do anything to decrease the punishment they were going through."

When al Baz moved to Abu Ghraib in late November, he said he was asked to strip naked at one point but was never forced to take part in staged scenes like the others. "It didn't happen like that to me," he said. But he did say that he witnessed a disturbing episode involving a father and son. From his cell, al Baz said he watched through the small window and saw two men stripped naked. "The boy was only about 16 years old, and then a soldier poured cold water over them. Their cell was directly across from mine." Al Baz says that the father and son were made to stand naked in front of other prisoners for days.

Torturers often keep careful records; that is one of the odd but persistent features of the trade. It is never enough to destroy the captive -- there must also be proof of the victory over him, a souvenir. It is the prideful documentary urge that has undone the torturers of Abu Ghraib, although it is unlikely that the officers who sanctioned the abuse appear in the pictures. In any case, the Abu Ghraib prisoners were well aware that they were being photographed.

"I first knew that they were taking pictures when I saw that one of the computers had a picture of some prisoners as its desktop background. One of the prisoners had a black hood over his head and he was covered in cold water. I personally witnessed this event take place. The man was screaming, "I'm innocent!" until he got sick and his body got swollen from all the punishment," al Baz said. Cold water, solitary confinement, swollen bodies and constant psychological abuse are recurring images for the Al-Jazeera cameraman, who also credits his tormentors with ingenuity. "They had all different kinds of punishments and they changed them all the time. I begged them to interrogate me again so they would know that I was innocent, but they said no, that's it. All we know is that you're staying here."

The cameraman was released from Abu Ghraib in late January of this year. Since then he has returned to work for Al-Jazeera. On Friday afternoon, al Baz said, "I have one request, please don't concentrate so much on my story. There are still many people left in Abu Ghraib."

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''Racism at heart of POW abuse''

Saturday, May 01, 2004
Firas Al-Atraqchi Columnist (Canada)

( -- "Like, the only way to get through shit like that was to concentrate on getting through it by killing as many people as you can, people you know are trying to kill you. Killing them first and getting home." - Sergeant First Class John Meadows to London's Mirror, June 19, 2003.

"There was no dilemma when it came to shooting people who were not in uniform, I just pulled the trigger." - Specialist Corporal Michael Richardson to London's Mirror, June 19, 2003.

On Thursday, CBS aired pictures of female and male U.S. soldiers torturing and abusing Iraqi detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, an area known for its history of torture and execution during Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's 35-year reign.

According to Reuters, "The photos showed U.S. troops smiling, posing, laughing or giving the thumbs-up sign as naked, male Iraqi prisoners were stacked in a pyramid or positioned to simulate sex acts with one another." Several pictures depicted a female U.S. soldier, cigarette dangling from her mouth, pointing her fingers in gun-like fashion at the penises of several naked, yet hooded Iraqi men. Other pictures showed U.S. servicemen and women giving the thumbs-up.

Staff Sergeant Chip Frederick, one of the six men and women about to face court-martial for the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison (there are 17 others still being investigated for allegations of related abuse), told CBS that, "We had no support, no training whatsoever. And I kept asking my chain of command for certain things ... like rules and regulations."

Hold on there, let me get this straight: Iraqi prisoners are sexually harassed, abused, tormented, tortured, humiliated and insulted, and a U.S. soldier blames the U.S. military for conditions that led to such incidents?

Rules and regulations? By Frederick's rationale U.S. soldiers kill prisoners of war unless they are told not to; rape women and children unless they are told not to; burn people alive unless they are told not to. I am sure the U.S. military is not comprised of dolts, although Frederick seems to be a good candidate for the year's biggest moron. He needed " and regulations" to understand that sexually harassing prisoners was a no-no?

It seems Frederick has a low humanity quotient. But then again, are Iraqis humans? After all, weren't they the animals that brought down the Twin Towers?, although listening to a lot of early interviews with U.S. soldiers who invaded Iraq last year, one would have been excused for believing them when they "confirmed" that they were "going to kick raghead ass" for the September 11th tragedies.

Okay, pause. Let us take the pictures that CBS aired and exchange the hooded men, the men with their penises shown in full frontal, for white men. White men with blue or green eyes and a nice bushel of yellow hair. Do you think that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners would have been repeated with an American? A Swede? Or even U.S. public enemy number one, a Frenchie?

No. And if, by some cosmic ripple of reality and truisms, such acts occurred with Europeans or North Americans, then you could have bet your bottom petro-dollar that there would have been candlelight vigils and demonstrations; Johnnie Cochran would have been shocked into whiteness; Rush Limbaugh would have gone soprano; Ann Coulter would have shaved her head -- you get the picture.

But no outrage in North America. At least not yet. Instead, CBS, the network that aired the pictures of tortured Iraqis, ABC, the network that is about to name the fallen GIs in Iraq, and the poor woman who got the picture of U.S. coffins published, have been ostracized and labeled traitors by the neocons and their barking right-wing radio supporters.

But there are those few courageous columnists who will tell it like it is. Take the Baltimore Sun, for example: "Of the 17 reservists implicated in the mistreatment, 14 were assigned to the 372nd Military Police Company based in Cumberland and are facing criminal or administrative charges. A company like that usually includes police and correctional officers with some years of service who would be familiar with the basics of securing prisoners. That raises even more questions about the accused soldiers' behavior and the procedures at Abu Ghraib prison."

However, parents of the accused six have complained that the government turned its back on "stupid, kid stuff." They also asked why the Geneva Conventions only applied to U.S. soldiers. In fact, it doesn't, because the U.S. did not sign on to the International Criminal Court; it will not allow any court to try U.S. soldiers during times of war. There is, therefore, no guarantee that U.S. felonies in any country will be addressed.

But hold your yankee horses! On Friday, London's Daily Mirror newspaper ran a front page picture of a U.K. soldier urinating on a hooded Iraqi detainee. It later emerged that no charges were brought against the Iraqi detainee, but that he was dumped from the back of a racing truck. It was not known whether he survived. Very nice.

Don't forget the investigation into the pictures which depict two Iraqi boys holding up a sign indicating that a U.S. soldier killed the boys' father and "knocked up" their sister. The soldier is standing behind the boys with a thumbs-up. Has the thumbs-up become a U.S. military sign of abuse and humiliation? See the picture here.

In April 2003, a Norwegian newspaper ran pictures of Iraqi men stripped naked and forced to run through Baghdad streets. They were accused of being looters, but no charges were brought against them.

In May 2003, a photography shop assistant developed pictures which "allegedly showed an Iraqi, bound and gagged, hanging from a rope on a fork-lift truck," the BBC said.

In July 2003, Amnesty International (AI) reported that Iraqis were being shot while in detainment and subjected to human rights abuses: "Detainees continue to report suffering extreme heat while housed in tents; insufficient water; inadequate washing facilities; open trenches for toilets; no change of clothes, even after two months' detention." However, U.S. authorities refused to allow an AI delegation into the detention centers.

Freedom. Liberty. War against terrorism. Blah, blah, blah. What adds insult to injury is the spate of columns written every now and then accusing the Iraqis of laziness, ungratefulness, etc. Some newspapers in the U.S. have received boisterous complaints that the pictures were phony or doctored in some way. Is the ostrich native to the continental U.S.?

Indeed, al-Qaeda are ruthless death-worshipping cultists, suicide bombings are abhorrent, and wanton violence is deplorable. However, for a country that prides itself on its democratic institutions and love of freedom; a country that sees a holy mission in spreading freedom wherever it is needed; a country that grimaces when a girl is kidnapped, a famous star dies an untimely death, or a hero is fallen, the actions in Iraq are beyond expression. Hypocrisy, racism, ethno-centrism...what words can suffice?

Perhaps, if this was a Nazi army, history may have instructed us to understand -- the Nazis were often brutal in their repression. If this were a Roman army, history may have taught us the lessons from the ashes of Carthage. But this is the 21st Century and -- long live racism -- nothing has been learned. There is no civilization. Columnists decry Islam as a religion of violence, Muslims as wife-beaters, etc, etc. They judge the actions of the few and apply it to the many.

Tonight then, by their own testament, I will apply the actions of the few to the intentions of the many.

This is the face of freedom. The face of righteousness. Next time someone asks you the most idiotic of questions -- "why do they hate us" -- ask them to see the pictures in question. Next time someone asks you how Iraqis could have cut U.S. and South African mercenaries to pieces, ask them to see the pictures in question. Next time someone asks you why Iraqis are taking up arms, simply show them the pictures.

Sleep well if you can...tomorrow is another hell.

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Anti-occupation Iraqi group forms

Sunday 09 May 2004, 12:52 Makka Time, 9:52 GMT

A pan-Iraqi group has been formed to oppose the occupation of Iraq and has immediately called for a meeting with UN envoy al-Akhdar al-Ibrahimi in a direct challenge to the country's US-appointed leadership.

About 500 Iraqis met in Baghdad on Saturday to set up a national political force free of US influence to push for a handover of sovereignty under the auspices of the United Nations.

The United Iraqi Scholars Group - which appointed a 16-strong leadership panel - has vowed to boycott any political group set up by the US and called for a stronger army than the small force envisioned by the US-led coalition.

After a five-hour conference, the group said its agenda was based on "legitimate resistance to end the occupation" and keep Iraq united.

The group of moderate Shia and Sunni Muslims as well as Kurds also demanded the US-appointed Governing Council should be sidelined.

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NATO to Bush: You Broke it, You Own it

Paul Richter of the LA Times reports that NATO has had second thoughts about coming in to play a role in Iraq this summer. The ongoing insurgency, the overwhelming unpopularity of the American war in Iraq with the European public, and (probably) the breaking prison torture scandal, have all convinced NATO leaders to wait until after the November elections in the US before making a determination about their possible role in Iraq.

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If ‘This Is Not Who We Are,’ Who Are You Then?

Moodhy Al-Khalaf
Saturday, 8 May 2004

When President Bush appeared on Al-Arabiya TV station, I and many other Arabs were eager to see what he had to say about recent events in Iraq. This was his chance to “speak directly to people in the Arab nations” as the US media put it, and we were all ears.

The main reason for the10 -minute interview was to comment on the repulsive acts of US soldiers at Abu Gharib prison. In all honesty, I do not think the president could have said anything to mitigate the feelings of pain and anger that we all felt as we saw the pictures of our brothers in Iraq being humiliated. At the same time, it is obvious that even Bush with his lack of eloquence could have done a better job. Not once did he apologize for the acts of his soldiers.

Moreover, even as he promised that the perpetrators would be punished, he managed to fit in yet another patronizing remark about how “In America a person is innocent until proven guilty.” I wonder what the prisoners in the pictures were doing then — posing for the latest issue of Vogue? It does seem fashionable these days to beat, shackle and murder Arabs.

The US president had said in a prior press conference that he was “deeply offended,” and that “this is not who we are.” Who are you then, Mr. Bush?

Starving a nation for over 15 years, is that who you are? Bombing innocent people because of one man’s actions, is that who you are?

You, too, kill innocent people for selfish reasons. Al-Qaeda in Arabic means, “Base”. How many bases do you have around the world?

How many people do you train and pay to bomb and torture innocent people?

In Wednesday night’s interview, Bush did not forget to “reassure” the Iraqi people that America would not leave until it has finished its job. I am sure the Iraqis were thrilled to hear that. The president also mentions that “haters of freedom” will not scare America away.

Haters of freedom?

According to my limited knowledge of politics, what is happening in Iraq today is occupation — at its ugliest. And hence these “haters of freedom” are simply trying to free their lands from the clutches of a monstrous and terrorizing force. A force that has killed their brothers, imprisoned their fathers and robbed them of every basic human right and dignity. [...]

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Cheney Defends Rumsfeld, Says 'Get Off His Case'

By Randall Mikkelsen
May 9, 7:20 AM (ET)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney rushed to the aid of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- under fire over Iraqi prison abuses -- by saying people should "get off his case" and let Rumsfeld do his job.

"Don Rumsfeld is the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had," Cheney said in a statement from his office late on Saturday. The statement appeared to signal a White House push to rally Republicans behind the embattled Rumsfeld.

"People ought to get off his case and let him do his job," said Cheney, a Republican. [...]

Comment: After the release of the photographs of torture, it became quite clear that neither Bush nor Cheney intended to take any responsibility for what has been described as the actions of a few "bad apples". Now, after Rummy has taken the heat, Bush and Cheney both have chimed in to support Rummy. At this point, it appears that nothing much may come of the "independent" investigation Rumsfeld has said he will launch. Already that issue is being spun into something much smaller than it actually is in reality. Of course, this is quite easy to accomplish, especially when the American masses stubbornly remain ignorant of the real history of their own country. If the majority in the US refuse to pay attention to their past, how can anyone expect them to be the least bit inquisitive about the present? In any case, it seems Britain is giving the US a hand:

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UK forces taught torture methods

David Leigh
The Guardian
Saturday May 8, 2004

The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources.

The techniques devised in the system, called R2I - resistance to interrogation - match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, said: "It was clear from discussions with US private contractors in Iraq that the prison guards were using R2I techniques, but they didn't know what they were doing."

He said British and US military intelligence soldiers were trained in these techniques, which were taught at the joint services interrogation centre in Ashford, Kent, now transferred to the former US base at Chicksands.

"There is a reservoir of knowledge about these interrogation techniques which is retained by former special forces soldiers who are being rehired as private contractors in Iraq. Contractors are bringing in their old friends". [...]

Many British and US special forces soldiers learn about the degradation techniques because they are subjected to them to help them resist if captured. They include soldiers from the SAS, SBS, most air pilots, paratroopers and members of pathfinder platoons. [...]

"The feeling among US soldiers I've spoken to in the last week is also that 'the gloves are off'. Many of them still think they are dealing with people responsible for 9/11". [...]

Comment: One might notice that the issue of whether or not any troops should be torturing Iraqi prisoners has been placed on the back burner. The issue now being emphasized is why US troops didn't have the proper training to use R2I, or resistance to interrogation. The use of this new term, R2I, sounds much better than "abuse" or "torture". It also shifts the "blame", so to speak, from the soldiers conducting the torture sessions to the Iraqi prisoners themselves. After all, if it wasn't for those darn terrorists, our troops wouldn't have to learn how to resist cruel torture and abuse, right? The focus of responsibility is also shifted away from Rumsfeld and the US troops and placed on US military commanders.

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What About the Hundreds Who Were Suffocated at Kunduz?

America's Srebrenica

May 8, 2004

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio commentator, has likened the abusive and humiliating treatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers, contractors, and CIA personnel to "a college fraternity prank" (New York Times, 6 May 2004). Anyone with a grain of empathy who has seen images of the degradation inflicted on hapless Iraqi men can only be appalled by the comment. In a sense, however, Limbaugh has a point. The brutal mistreatment at Abu Ghraib prison is small potatoes, compared to what appears to have been a U.S.-sponsored atrocity -- the mass murder of thousands of prisoners of war -- in Afghanistan less than three years ago.

After the surrender of the fortress of Kunduz, at the tail end of the Afghan war in November 2001, hundreds of Taliban prisoners -- "young men who had expected the protection of the Geneva conventions" after surrendering to U.S. and U.S.-backed forces -- "instead died horribly" at the hands of the U.S.'s Northern Alliance surrogates, either by suffocation in the container trucks used to transport them towards the Shebarghan prison, or by outright execution in killings fields around Shebarghan.

So wrote Jamie Doran, producer of a television documentary titled Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death, in the respected French journal Le Monde diplomatique (September 2002). Thousands more prisoners were still missing, according to Doran. "A few may have escaped ... But according to to a number of eyewitnesses found during a six-month investigation, most lie [buried] in the sand" at Dasht-e Leili, a site only ten minutes' drive from Shebarghan.

Doran went further still. He claimed that U.S. soldiers were present when the containers were opened, and ordered the destruction of the ghastly evidence inside. "When the containers were finally opened, a mess of urine, blood, faeces, vomit and rotting flesh was all that remained ... As the containers were lined up outside the prison, a [U.S.] soldier accompanying the convoy was present when the prison commanders received orders to dispose of the evidence quickly." He cites witness testimony to the effect that "In each container maybe 150-160 [prisoners] had been killed. ... The Americans told the Shebarghan people to get them outside the city before they were filmed by satellite."

A key question is who, precisely, was in charge at Shebarghan. There is strong prima facie evidence that the U.S. was in fact in control -- at least in the sense that Israeli forces were directing events when they ushered their Christian Phalangist allies into the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982. Newsweek's detailed investigation into the Afghan atrocities ("The Death Convoy of Afghanistan," 26 August 2002) stated straightforwardly that "American forces were working intimately with 'allies' who committed what could well qualify as war crimes." [...]

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Troops shot Iraqi civilians dead in cold blood, new dossier claims

Eight new instances today and an impending Amnesty report throw doubt on the conduct of UK soldiers in Basra

By Severin Carrell and Andrew Johnson
The Independent
09 May 2004

Eight new cases of Iraqi civilians allegedly being shot dead in cold blood by British troops are detailed in documents seen by The Independent on Sunday.

The deaths will be added to a dossier of more than a dozen such cases being presented to the High Court in London on Tuesday.

Lawyers acting for the dead men's families will urge the court to ask Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence, to hold an independent judicial inquiry into the deaths - a demand backed by senior MPs.

The new cases, which all happened around Basra, are those of:

Hilal Finjan, an elderly school guard who was shot dead on 4 October last year as he tried to prevent rioters getting into the school. He was waving his legally held rifle in the air to warn off demonstrators. Witnesses insist no rioters had fired any weapons.

Ali Kadhim Shamkhi was shot in the stomach on 10 November as he ran to help his father, an education ministry civil servant, whose building was under fire from British troops. The soldiers had heard ministry guards firing warning shots in the air.

Jawad Kadhim Bahidh was on his roof with his wife and six children on 28 August, and was shot after lighting a cigarette. Local children had been throwing fire crackers nearby.

As'ad Kadhim Jassim's taxi was hit by "a barrage of bullets" on 3 November after it passed through a checkpoint which witnesses claim seemed to be unmanned and unlit. He was shot in the back of the head.

Ameen Ajman Ismail was providing security for a demonstration on 14 September and carrying an assault rifle for protection. After he had passed several British patrols without incident, one unit opened fire. Witnesses claim there was no provocation.

Husam Salih Owaid was a cigarette-seller close to an angry demonstration outside a police station on 9 August. He was shot after British soldiers fired on the demonstrators.

Ghanim Gatteh was killed during wedding celebrations on 2 January this year. British troops opened fire about 15 minutes after villagers had fired customary shots in the air.

Ammar Shakir Mahmood was shot as he watched neighbours celebrate the lifting of UN sanctions on Iraq on 28 May 2003. People had fired in the air in celebration. [...]

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Tillman Cartoon Sparks Death Threats

Satirized media's response to the death of Pat Tillman, former pro-football player killed in Afghanistan

NEW YORK — Cartoonist Ted Rall says he has received numerous death threats over a cartoon he did this week that satirized the media's response to the death of Pat Tillman , the former pro-football player killed in Afghanistan.

Rall said in an interview Wednesday that he has received about 6,000 e-mails in response to the cartoon, which was distributed Monday. pulled the cartoon from its Web site, saying it "did not meet standards of fairness and taste."

The cartoon said that Tillman "falsely believed" that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were linked to the Sept. 11 attacks, and that Tillman was a "cog in a low-rent occupation army that shot more innocent civilians than terrorists to prop up puppet rulers and exploit gas and oil resources."

Rall said the responses to the cartoon started out "extremely negative," with critical responses outweighing positive ones by nearly 100-to-1. But he said the tide has since turned, and now about 80 percent of the reaction has been supportive, which he called "the natural ebb and flow of this kind of thing."

Some 300 of the messages threatened Rall with "death or bodily harm," he said, and he also said he had received several death threats by phone.

Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes Rall's cartoons to about 70 newspapers, has received several e-mails from readers who objected to the content of the comic, spokeswoman Kathie Kerr said.

But Kerr also added that the syndicate often receives feedback about the political columnists and cartoonists it carries, which also include Ann Coulter, a conservative commentator, as well as the comic strips "Doonesbury" and "The Boondocks."

Bill O'Reilly had Rall on his program on the Fox News Channel on Tuesday, and the two traded barbs over the cartoon. O'Reilly closed the show by saying that Rall "should be ashamed of what you did to Tillman."

Rall addressed the controversy on his Web site, saying his cartoon was a "reaction to the extraordinary lionizing of Mr. Tillman as a national hero."

He also criticized the media's "decision to genuflect to a cult of death," which he said was "terrifyingly similar to the cult of Palestinian suicide bombers in the Middle East and the glorious coverage given by the Japanese during World War II to fallen kamikaze fighters."

Comment: Rall spoke the truth, most of the American public and media rejected it. Enough said.

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Analysis Of Bush Presidency Suggests A Nation Overthrown

Consider this:

An inarticulate, politically inexperienced man with family links to a previous national regime comes to provincial leadership.

Subsequently he gains the highest national office without winning the popular vote. The election in which he was declared the victor is considered
compromised by his brother's province.

He appoints a chief law enforcement officer who has repeatedly called for constitutional revisions.

Regulatory agencies are filled with those previously regulated.

Soldiers patrol transportation centers.

International treaties are abrogated.

International legal organizations are shunned.

Roles of police and military are blurred.

Law enforcement agencies are centralized.

Individual civil rights are reduced.

A "shadow" government is created.

Domestic surveillance is increased.

People are encouraged to spy on each other.

Military budgets are increased.

The military establishes a disinformation program.

Media access to government is limited.

Consultations with the legislative branch decline.

Connections to corrupt corporate sponsors are disavowed.

Efforts to further plunder natural resources for profit are initiated.

Access to past administrations' documents is limited.

A war mentality is established with imprecise enemies.

Nebulous fear-inducing alerts are periodically released.

National level profiling is introduced.

People are imprisoned without public charges and unknown others are

Does the word "coup" come to mind?

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'It all belongs to the Palestinians' - UN

Jerusalem ( - The United Nations General Assembly Thursday decided the Jews do not have a right to sovereignty over even one inch of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip - integral parts of their ancient, biblical homeland.

Instead, the world body declared, the land belongs to a group of people that has never before in history constituted a unique cultural entity or a sovereign nation - the Palestinian Arabs.

The resolution recognizing "Palestinian" sovereignty over these territories was introduced by the PA observer mission to the UN, and passed by a vote of 140-6.

That the PA is present at the UN at all is a violation of the "Oslo Accord," which forbids the "Palestinians" from conducting foreign affairs.

In a twist that highlighted the UN's hypocritical position vis-à-vis Israel, the General Assemby approval of the resolution came just one day after Secretary General Kofi Annan insisted that the outcome of the "peace" process should not be prejudiced by unilateral moves acceptable only to one side.

'Palestine' for the 'Palestinians'

The Palestinian Arabs "have the right to self-determination and to sovereignty" over the Judean and Samarian heartland of Israel's ancient homeland, as well as the Gaza Strip, where until the Arab massacres of 1929 a thriving Jewish community lived, according to the UN.

The General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a watered-down version of the "Palestinian sovereignty" resolution Thursday evening, in another example of the world body's automatic majority against the Jewish state.

Israel, the United States and four Pacific island nations voted against.

The original draft of the resolution not only called for recognition of the "Palestinian" sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, but also said that Israel "has no sovereignty over any part of this territory."

That line was removed in order to allow the 25-member European Union to vote in favor of the resolution.

General Assembly resolutions are non-binding.

A fictitious people

The Palestinian Arabs have never existed as a unique cultural entity or people group.

Nor has the region the Arabs now refer to as "Palestine" ever existed as a separate sovereign nation except under Israeli control.

Until 1948, the term "Palestinian" referred primarily to the Jews living in the British-ruled Palestine Mandate. The Arabs living in the region rejected the label, seeing themselves as part of larger Arab world.

Only after Israel's rebirth did the Arabs begin to adopt the name "Palestinian" in order to propagate the idea that they had been a separate and unique nation prior to the "Zionist invasion."

Hypocritical twist

Just one day before the General Assembly's automatic anti-Israel majority ripped the Jewish homeland out of Israel's hands, the Middle East Quartet - comprised of the US, EU, UN and Russia - had insisted neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians should take unilateral moves that would prejudice the outcome of final status negotiations.

The "Palestine" resolution "flies in the face" of the Quartet's statement, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Gillerman told the General Assembly prior to the vote.

Furthermore, Gillerman said, the resolution "offers the Palestinian side an incentive to avoid negotiations."

"After all, why bother with these difficult responsibilities, why fight terrorism when the [UN] is offering to circumvent the negotiations?"

Comment: The above comments from the editorial staff of the "Jerusalem Newswire" offer a good example of the "Zionist" mind set and the fact that the sole basis of Israel's claim to vast portions of the land mass of the Middle East amounts to the idea that "YHWH gave it to us".

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Vegas has new crime element: Israeli mob

Jeff German – Las Vegas Sun April 30, 2004

With its free flow of cash and high-stakes gambling, Las Vegas has always been an attractive target of opportunity for organized crime.

For years the traditional La Cosa Nostra dominated street rackets here and even managed to gain hidden interests in casinos on the Strip. We were considered an "open city" for more than two dozen of the nation's Mafia families.

Today Las Vegas still is considered fertile ground for organized crime, but as the mob's influence has waned because of stepped-up pressure from law enforcement authorities, other criminal groups have risen to prominence on the streets.

In recent months authorities have discovered that Israeli organized crime syndicates have set their sights on Las Vegas. One ranking crime figure was overheard a year ago by lawmen on court-approved wiretaps describing Las Vegas as "wide open" territory.

"They're really trying to rear their ugly head in Las Vegas," says Sheriff Bill Young, who has detectives assigned to a joint federal drug task force investigating the Israeli crime connection here.

The Israeli syndicates are involved in traditional rackets, such as loan sharking, extortion, money laundering, prostitution and illegal gambling.

And they're just as violent as the Mafia. Two of the biggest families, one based in Jerusalem and the other in Tel Aviv, currently are involved in a bloody war over control of street rackets in Israel.

But unlike the Mafia, the Israeli crime groups are far more sophisticated and have far-reaching international tentacles. Key members of the groups have homes in multiple countries and make most of their money importing cocaine and the club drug Ecstasy (MDMA) from Europe into the United States. Las Vegas has been the site of some Ecstasy deals, drug task force affidavits revealed.

The booming Strip nightclub scene in Las Vegas, where Ecstasy is popular, has become not only a favored playground for the rising stars of the Israeli crime families, but also an ideal climate to conduct their illicit business.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents, who have taken the lead in gaining a handle on the Israeli mob's growing influence here, say crime family members have cultivated ties with local casinos, members of the legal community and Israeli-born business people, some of whom are being shaken down for money in protection rackets.

"In my opinion, law enforcement still doesn't have a full understanding of the presence of Israeli organized crime figures here," one member of the federal drug task force says.

But the increased scrutiny -- which has taken agents around the world and prompted unprecedented cooperation with the Israeli National Police -- has begun to bear fruit.

On April 6, following an investigation that began in Las Vegas, a federal indictment quietly was unsealed in Los Angeles charging several suspected Israeli crime figures who have ties here with conspiracy, extortion and money laundering. These figures, agents allege, are members of the Jerusalem crime family known as the "Jerusalem Network."

The indictment received no publicity in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, but it clearly has significance in the ongoing local efforts to keep tabs on the Israeli mob. [...]

Comment: Israeli crimes receiving no publicity in the mainstream press? We wonder why...

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Summer heat will cause deadly ozone

Robin McKie, science editor
Sunday May 9, 2004
The Observer

Thousands of Britons may be forced to wear charcoal masks and stay indoors this summer to avoid deadly fogs of ozone that will pollute the country during heatwaves, scientists have warned.

They have discovered that last August's heatwave caused plants and trees to release waves of a chemical called isoprene, which contributes to the production of ozone in the air. Scientists now believe ozone killed up to 600 people last summer.

'Temperatures topped 100F (37.7C) last summer for the first time since UK records began, and similarly intense heatwaves will become increasingly frequent as global warming intensifies. Current projections suggest they could happen ten times more often,' said Professor Alan Thorpe, of the Centres of Atmospheric Science. 'Among all our other problems, we are going to deal with severe ozone pollution.'

Ozone, which is particularly dangerous for children, old people and asthmatics, is produced when strong sunlight breaks up the nitrogen oxides released by car exhausts.

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Man arrested under Canada's anti-terrorism law denied bail

Last Updated Sat, 08 May 2004 8:40:13

OTTAWA - A judge in Ottawa denied bail Friday afternoon for Mohammad Momin Khawaja, a Canadian accused of participating in a British bomb plot.

Khawaja, 25, is the first person arrested under Canada's new Anti-terrorism Act. The Otttawa man is charged with participating in the activities of a terrorist group and facilitating a terrorist activity.

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Chechen Bomb Kills President, 13 Others

By Sonia Oxley
Sun May 9, 2004 07:27 AM ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A bomb at a packed stadium killed Chechnya's Moscow-backed president Akhmad Kadyrov and at least 13 other people Sunday, dealing a huge blow to President Vladimir Putin's efforts to stamp out rebellion there.

The commander of Russian forces in the region was among many others injured by the assassination, apparently concealed in the stadium's structure, at annual celebrations marking Moscow's 1945 victory over Nazi Germany.

"Kadyrov passed away on May 9 on the day of our national holiday," Putin was quoted by the Kremlin as saying after meeting the official's son, Ramzan.

Valery Baranov, commander of Russian forces in the region, underwent surgery for serious wounds at a military hospital.

There were scenes of pandemonium at the "Dinamo" stadium after the blast with people running around in panic and smoke rising from the wreckage of the stands.

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4.6 Quake Hits California

May 9, 2004

A light earthquake occurred at 1:57:17 AM (PDT) on Sunday, May 9, 2004. The magnitude 4.6 event occurred 15 km (10 miles) W of Isla Vista, CA.

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At least seven injured in early morning Pakistan earthquake

An earthquake jolted the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta on Sunday morning, injuring at least seven people and waking up residents from their sleep.

Reuters newsagency quotes an official of the seismological office in Quetta as saying an earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale caused widespread panic.

A hospital official said they had received seven people with minor injuries caused by the tremor.

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Three quakes rattle Upper Hutt

09 May 2004

Three small earthquakes in an hour rattled Upper Hutt this morning.

The first quake at 7.31am measured 4.1 on the Richter scale, the second at 8.10am was also 4.1, and the third at 8.24am measured 3.4, the Earthquake Commission's website reported.

The quakes 5km from Upper Hutt were 25km to 30km deep, and there have been no reports of damage or injuries.

The same area was hit by small quakes at the same depth on April 17 and 26, and six quakes on April 3, which experts said at the time was a rare occurance.

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First Civilizations Wiped Out … Nov. 4, 2001

"Meteor clue to end of Middle East civilizations"

"Comets, Meteors & Myth: New Evidence for Toppled Civilizations and Biblical Tales"

Atlantis, the Great Flood, the Old Kingdom in Egypt, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Akkadian culture of Iraq -- what do they have in common? Whether real or imagined, all involve the disappearance of advanced civilizations by unexplained or catastrophic events prior to 2,000 B.C. New clues may explain all these civilization-ending Bronze Age mysteries as the result of an attack from outer space: while still speculative, the clues point to meteors and comets wiping out the "first" civilizations and empires on the planet.

Recent examination of satellite imagery reveals a 3-km crater near the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq. This region is historically known as Mesopotamia and formed part of the larger Fertile Crescent -- a region that stretched to the Nile River. Access to water and irrigation techniques led to the rise of many of the first recorded civilizations along the banks of these rivers.

The age of the sediments in the Iraq region indicates a crater age less than 6,000-years old. Mesopotamia was populated 7,000-years ago and many of the ancient civilizations in the area died out 4,300-years ago. This makes whatever formed the crater a prime suspect in disappearance of ancient cultures and the appearance in ancient writings of stories of cataclysmic destruction.

Throughout the world, there are a dozen impact craters that formed within the past 10,000 years. Two large ones formed in Argentina within the past 5,000 years. Because of the extent of the oceans, it is reasonable to believe that for every crater found on the ground there are several under water.

If the craters all formed around the same time, then ancient civilizations world-wide suffered a fate that was once thought to be a problem only for modern society: explosions with the force of hundreds of nuclear bombs destroying settlements locally and affecting climates globally. Analysis of sediments on land and ocean, as well as tree ring data indicates abrupt climatic changes did happen around the time of the crater impacts. And it may not have been a one-time event.

A large comet may have broken up and created a cloud of meteors that the Earth repeatedly passed through every year for a decade. The debris in our atmosphere would have made it hard for the Sun to shine through and caused global cooling.

Comment: What??! Civilisations wiped out less than 6,000 years ago? Were the dinosaurs around then? Is that what they mean? But wasn't that 65 million years ago!? We mean, aren't all of our independent and impeccably principled scientists telling us that we have nothing to worry about, that any major earth-wide disasters are thousands, if not millions of years away? Just what is going on here? We seem to be experiencing some sort of new sensation, what could it be? Is it...yes...we think it might just be a disturbance in our complacency! Oh my God! Imagine that! Luckily however, we know better than to believe the alarmist notions of reports such as the above which suggest that the earth periodically experiences cyclical catastrophes.

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… It Could Happen Again!

Princeton University
Nov. 10, 2001 Press Release:

"Survey Lowers Estimate of Asteroid Impact Risk"

A small asteroid -- 1-km in diameter -- could ruin the day for one-quarter of the Earth's population if it hit our planet. Bigger space rocks, like the 10-km-wide "mountain" suspected of causing the extinction of the dinosaurs, 65-million years ago, could end civilization altogether. So scientists are eager to learn: What are the odds of a 1-km or larger object striking our planet in any 100-year period? The answer to this question requires knowledge of the size distribution of large asteroids in our area of space and the historical record of collisions with Earth.

Historical evidence let's researchers assume that 10-km "dino-killing" events happen every 100-million-years. Discovering the distribution of asteroid sizes is problematic. At distances of hundreds of kilometers, even a "dino-killer" is dim and hard to spot from Earth.

That's where the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) comes in handy. As a survey to chart the large, faint objects outside our galaxy, it naturally discovers many dim asteroids that float through the field of being imaged. Software automatically detects these asteroids and determines their color signature and distance. Color indicates composition, which determines how much light the asteroid reflects from the Sun. These factors can be used to derive a size estimate for the object.

SDSS categorization of 10,000 asteroids within our Solar System's asteroid belt yields an estimated 700,000 rocks bigger than 1-km. This population of "main belt" asteroids feeds a smaller population of "near Earth" asteroids -- the kind that are a threat to Earth.

Calculations indicate that there is a 1:5,000 chance that one of these will strike the Earth in a 100-year period. This is actually good news because prior estimates placed the odds of such a collision at three times higher. The SDSS odds are also in agreement with a study to be published by the Spacewatch Project at the University of Arizona. That group studied actual near-earth asteroids to reach their conclusion.

Comment: So we have a one in 5,000 chance that one asteroid will hit the earth, well thank the lord! That means we can all sleep easy in our beds tonight. Forget the fact that the odds of winning the lottery are 30 million to one, yet someone still wins it every week. Statistics are very useful for confusing the masses and putting them back to sleep.

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A gorilla in the midst: how our brains deceive us
May 8, 2004

Science is beginning to understand mayhem and mishap in everyday life, Roger Highfield writes in London.

Look around, and you could be forgiven for believing that you can see a vivid and detailed picture of your surroundings.

Indeed, you may even think that your eyes never deceive you. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for your brain.

Scientists have gathered some remarkable evidence that shows it is possible to see something without observing it, in research that sheds new light on traffic accidents that occur when a driver "looked but failed to see".

The amazing lack of attention we pay to our surroundings has been highlighted by researchers Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois and Daniel Levin of Vanderbilt University.

In one experiment, people who were walking across a college campus were asked by a stranger for directions. During the resulting chat, two men carrying a wooden door passed between the stranger and the subjects. After the door went by, the subjects were asked if they had noticed anything change.

Half of those tested failed to notice that, as the door passed by, the stranger had been substituted with a man who was of different height, of different build and who sounded different. He was also wearing different clothes.

Although the subjects had talked to the stranger for 10 to 15 seconds before the swap, half of them did not detect that, after the passing of the door, they had ended up speaking to a different person. This phenomenon, called change blindness, highlights how we see much less than we think we do. [...]

Comment: It seems that seeing isn't believing after all...

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Fossil Fuel: Group says dinosaurs are in the Bible

By Lynn Arave
Deseret Morning News

Dinosaurs in Noah's Ark? In the Garden of Eden?

It's right there in the Bible, says a group in Salt Lake City today to plead its case.

Science has it all wrong, according to the Institute for Creation Research. Dinosaurs lived thousands of years ago, not millions, they or their ancestors walked the Earth with Adam and Eve, and they hitched a ride with Noah, says the Christ-focused creation ministry.

"All through school we are inundated with culture and society's idea about the Creation," Davis said. "They want to destroy the idea of God. . . . Science tries to take it outside the Bible."

[...] "The Bible is clear," the ICR Web site states. "The ancestors of every animal that ever lived were created during Creation Week. Each animal type was created 'after this kind,' and all subsequent individual animals, including dinosaurs, descended from these created categories."

[...] The only place dinosaurs could have survived the Flood was on Noah's Ark, says ICR President John D. Morris on the group's Web site. Dinosaurs could have fit in the ark if they were younger and smaller, he says.

But they might not have survived in a post-Flood world with different environmental conditions. Morris believes the dinosaurs just didn't make it to our day, noting that the process of the extinction of some animals still continues.

Comment: Praise the Lord. He gave the dinosaurs the means of making the transition, but they just weren't able to hack it in the new conditions. Is this not a just Creator?

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