Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

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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

Clair Printemps
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Elementary 9-11

Attention, loyal Americans. Do you believe in your country? Do you believe what your leaders say? Do you believe in the truth?

The greatest tragedy in American history occurred on September 11, 2001. The nation we love was attacked.
Our leaders told us a tale of what happened.

It was a lie.

We dare you, loyal Americans, to look at this evidence, which reveals - in irrefutable clarity - that the Pentagon was not hit by a jetliner on 9/11.

They say a photograph is worth a thousand words. The photos of the Pentagon on that fateful morning clearly show no evidence of airplane debris, nor hole in the wall big enough to be the imprint of a large airliner. Many windows at the point of impact were not even broken!

The photographs, analyses, diagrams and statements of fact that follow provide the clearest evidence that the actual events of that tragic day do not match what we have been told by the leaders of our country. They reveal a chilling picture of deception and misrepresentation, of lies about what happened.

You may wish to continue to support the leaders of our country, but you may not deny the truth of what you see in these pictures and learn from this shocking evidence.

And when you realize the great difference between what you have been told and what you now comprehend, in sorrow and rage you will conclude that the entire fantastic 9/11 coverup is about to unravel, and obstruction of justice, treason, and mass murder are the words the future will confer on the traitorous leaders who told us all those lies about Arab terrorists.Evil men who stole the election and the White House in the year 2000, and engineered this debauched treachery in order to turn America into a murderous police state.

John Kaminsky

[...]

The debate is over, the coverup has lost.  The case being proven, now the American people have to see that it gets to  first the court of public opinion and from there, carried on the shoulders of an outraged people to the  House of Representatives  where impeachment articles may be speedily drawn up and to a grand jury where all of the most obvious accomplices must be arraigned 

Dick Eastman

Comment: There are many "anti-war" websites on the internet. There are many "average" Americans that are against the war in Iraq - or any war anywhere who have protested against the war in various ways. There are many "alternative news" sources reporting daily on the carnage being inflicted on the sons of America and the American Ideal of life. All of these activities aimed at stopping war and correcting the imbalances brought about by the fascist Bush Administration are laudable, but they repeatedly fail to focus on the one thing that could bring about all the changes they desire. If all of those who are seeing the many aspects of falsity of the Bush Administration and the ferocity of the Forces behind it could UNITE and focus the Laser Light of Truth on that one, singular event that exposes and defines the nature of the Powers that have taken over America: the Strike on the Pentagon, the axe could be directed at the root of the tree rather than endlessly wasting time lopping branches that just keep growing back.

The fact is: the alleged strike on the Pentagon by alleged "Arab Terrorists" is the thread that, if pulled hard enough, can unravel the entire fabric of lies. As Laura has written in her Comments on the Pentagon Strike:

This brings us back to the many problems of the Pentagon strike that indicate that it was not a 757, and why would the "experts" continue to insist that it was? After all, even if it WAS a conspiracy, and somebody went to the trouble to arrange for a couple big jets to hit the World Trade Center, why not just use the same procedure and type of craft to strike the Pentagon?

Let's assume that it WAS a smaller plane that hit the Pentagon. Why?

And we come back to the idea that it is extremely likely that a plane that had onboard smart missile guidance system that can literally turn corners and hit the target with such precision that it is amazing was used.

And we consider this carefully and the only answer that presents itself as obvious is that of the necessity for precision.

And that leads us directly to the question of why such precision might be necessary?

The question can only be answered logically by assuming Precision was the major concern in the strike on the pentagon.

And theorizing that precision was a major concern - precision of the type that can hit an exact window on a designated floor and do an exact and designated amount of damage - we realize that LIMITING the damage to a specific and pre-designated area was the major concern.

And if that was the major concern, then we arrive at the idea that such precision and limitation was essential for some reason.

And the only reason that we can come to is that they wanted to hit the Pentagon for the emotional impact. Which leads to the idea that the emotional response of the public to the "poor people in the pentagon" was desirable. But since this emotional impact was achieved with such precision and control suggests to us that it was also an ALIBI. In short, the safety of CERTAIN occupants of the building was a concern. Which leads to the idea that those certain occupants of the building...

We notice that Newsweek coyly mentions that "On Sept. 10, NEWSWEEK has learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns."

Did you have a look at the list of casualties in the pentagon itself? Where were all the bigwigs in the building???? What about those guys who canceled their travel plans and who were very likely IN THE BUILDING at the time? If what we have theorized is true, it's not likely that they canceled their travel plans because they might get on the wrong jet. I would be very interested to know who those guys were.

IF we are dealing with a conspiracy - as has been suggested by many people - designed to generate the emotional response from the masses of Americans so as to facilitate the imposition of a One World Government - which is what IS happening, by the way - then it is very likely that a number of the conspirators were IN THE PENTAGON AT THE TIME IT WAS HIT.

And yes, in the worlds of intelligence and conspiracy, that kind of logic prevails. Please read Dolan for a broader understanding of the military role in the establishment of the Secret State so that you can be assured that hitting the pentagon would very likely be seen as essential to divert attention AWAY from individuals within our own military organizations as possible conspirators. Once you have a good handle on the disinformation and COINTELPRO machines, you will understand why a strike against the pentagon was important not only for the ALIBI, but for the EMOTIONAL IMPACT on the public. After all, if the buildings that represent not only our status in the world, but also our ability to maintain that status - i.e. our military organization - are hit by terrorists, then the emotional reaction of the people will naturally be that we not only have a right to strike back with all our power, but also that we MUST. They will also not look at the possibility of a "home conspiracy" because - after all - the Pentagon WAS a target, right?!

We suggest that the strike on the Pentagon was designed for maximum emotional impact. And it is obvious that, for this purpose, one would not want to use a 757 because it is not amenable to the precision required for the safety of the conspirators in the building. What was needed was something that could strike the Pentagon with extreme precision both in terms of WHERE it hit, and how.

In The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11 by Chaim Kupferberg we read:

[...] The events of September 11 were planned by those who not only had the motive, means, and opportunity to carry out the plan, but also were best placed to manage the consequences stemming from it, as well as managing the flow of information. [...] The events of September 11 were masterminded by those who were in the best position to manage the consequences. [...]

Conspiracies, involve rational, albeit cold-blooded, attempts to achieve a desired end by employing the most effective means available. [...] Motive, means, and opportunity. [...]

It appears that the events of September 11 were planned years in advance, with the groundwork being carefully laid by a propaganda campaign orchestrated to convince the public that the United States has a plausibly sophisticated nemesis with the motive, means, and opportunity to perpetrate a devastating act of terror against Americans. [...]

In all cases, the actions of proxy agents and operative planners are sufficiently distanced and compartmentalized from the true masterminds to create a condition of "plausible deniability". In short, the proxies have also been set up as possible patsies with evidence that has been carefully laid to incriminate them should cracks in the "official story" become too discernible. [...]

The real guilt must inevitably lie with those in the best position to manage the flow of information as well as reliably benefit from the new order created, primarily, the political and corporate elites of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union - also, as it happens, the very parties orchestrating the global war on terrorism....

If this notion of reality strikes you as somewhat dissonant, at odds with your own personal experience, it may be perhaps that [...] you have not read the mountain of evidence detailing political and elite deviant behaviour in this country. ...

We also still have the problem of what really happened to Flight 77 and its passengers?

If there were passengers on the Boeing that did not hit the Pentagon - as we are assured is the case by the evidence - it's clear that they could not be allowed to live to tell the tale. That means we must take another look at the group of individuals - the current administration and the forces behind it who are so obviously lying to us about a Boeing hitting the Pentagon when it clearly was NOT a Boeing. We must now look at them as cold blooded murderers.

Think about that for just a moment. Think about the implications of the idea that there are men in control of the United States of America who have obviously murdered a group of innocent passengers on an airplane simply to bolster the lie of an attack that never happened as it was described; that could NOT have happened as it was presented to the public as is clearly shown by the evidence.

Think about it!

Cold blooded murderers are in control of the United States of America.

Now, have a look at this story: 911 Widow's Bush Treason Suit Vanishes which says, in part:

Grieving New Hampshire widow who lost her man on 9/11 refuses the government's million dollar hush money payoff, studies the facts of the day for nearly two years, and comes to believe the White House "intentionally allowed 9/11 to happen" to launch a so-called "War on Terrorism" for personal and political gain.

She retains a prominent lawyer, a former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania, who served with distinction under both Democrats and Republicans and was once a strong candidate for the governor's seat.

The attorney files a 62-page complaint in federal district court (including 40 pages of prima facie evidence) charging that "President Bush and officials including, but not limited to Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft and Tenet":

1.) had adequate foreknowledge of 911 yet failed to warn the county or attempt to prevent it;
2.) have since been covering up the truth of that day;
3.) have therefore abetted the murder of plaintiff's husband and violated the Constitution and multiple laws of the United States; and
4.) are thus being sued under the Civil RICO (Racketeering, Influence, and Corrupt Organization) Act for malfeasant conspiracy, obstruction of justice and wrongful death.

The suit text goes on to document the detailed forewarnings from foreign governments and FBI agents; the unprecedented delinquency of our air defense; the inexplicable half hour dawdle of our Commander in Chief at a primary school after hearing the nation was under deadly attack; the incessant invocation of national security and executive privilege to suppress the facts; and the obstruction of all subsequent efforts to investigate the disaster. It concludes that "compelling evidence will be presented in this case through discovery, subpoena power, and testimony [that] Defendants failed to act and prevent 9/11 knowing the attacks would lead to an 'International War on Terror' which would benefit Defendants both financially and politically."

Press releases detailing these explosive allegations are sent out to 3000 journalists in the print and broadcast media, and a press conference to announce the filing is held in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on November 26th (commemorating the end of the first futile year of the independent National 9/11 Commission).

Imagine the world-churning implications of these charges. Imagine the furor if just one was proved true. Imagine the courage of this bribe-shunning widow and an eminent attorney with his rep on the line. Then imagine a press conference to which nobody came. [...]

When you present documented charges of official treachery behind the greatest national security disaster in modern history and the press doesn't show, doesn't listen, doesn't write - just what in fact is really being communicated? That despite all the deaths, lies, wars, and bizarre official actions that flowed from 9/11 there's actually nothing there to be investigated at all? That addressing desperate victim families' still unanswered cries for truth is not a legitimate journalistic concern? That news will now be what the corporate media say it will be, so drink your infotainment Kool-Aid and kindly shut up? [...]

There is a clear method and message in this obscurantist madness. All this media consolidation and tightening control is strategically aligned with deregulation, privatization, social program-gutting deficits and free trade regimes. They are all convergent tactics to enforce corporations' full spectrum dominance over democratic humankind. If your progressive or conservative instincts bid you to arise against this coup, standing with our 9/11 widow is a good place to start. Her name is Ellen Mariani, her lawyer is Phillip Berg and their complaint is now online at http://www.nancho.net/911/mariani.html.

The only problem is: when you click the link, you find that the documents charging the Bush Administration with treason have disappeared.

Jared Israel wrote on September 15, 2001:

We are not soothsayers.
We cannot say with certainty what happened September 11 - that is, what really happened, behind the scenes. But [a] report from the semi-official 'N.Y. Times' makes it clear that either Americans are being lied to by the those in the highest places - which if true has the gravest implications - or else the rulers of Washington's New World Order are criminally negligent.
In analyzing the 9-11 nightmare, we were puzzled by the official response to the so-called third plane. That is the one that left Dulles Airport, flew to Ohio, near the West Virginia and Kentucky borders, turned around, flew back to Washington and struck the Pentagon.
Concerning this plane, we asked: how could it stay in the air, hijacked, for almost an hour after two other hijacked planes had struck the WTC Towers, and not be seen by U.S. air defense forces? How could it fly to the Midwest, turn around and fly back to Washington and hit the Pentagon without being spotted and therefore intercepted? [...]
If it was difficult to believe that the third plane was not spotted, then it is a good deal harder to believe that it was spotted and tracked for over half an hour and yet nothing was done because officials "didn't know what to do." Why didn't they force the plane down and failing that, shoot it down? Before you think, "Because, as the article says, they didn't have a procedure for handling such an occurrence," note the following comment from deputy defense secretary Wolfowitz. Talking about the fourth plane, the one that crashed in Pennsylvania:
"Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, said today that the Pentagon had been tracking that plane and could have shot it down if necessary; it crashed about 35 minutes after the Pentagon crash." ('N.Y. Times, Sept. 15, 2001)
"Could have shot it down if necessary." If they "could have shot" down the fourth plane, why did they not shoot down the third?
Once they knew these were suicide hijackings - and surely they knew that by around 9:00 am - why would they wait? [...]
What we have here is either criminal negligence beyond belief, and that includes the Commander in Chief, who hearing that planes are destroying the country focuses on goats, or b) the 'N.Y. Times' piece is repeating a cover story whose purpose is to explain away the obvious flaw in the original story: namely, that a plan could be hijacked in Ohio, and fly all the way back to Washington without being spotted.
And if the 'N.Y. Times' story is a lie, then those who fed the 'Times' this lie are guilty of conspiracy. They are people in high places and they are directly involved in the murder of God knows how many people in N.Y. as well as the 800 casualties the media speaks of in Washington either because they planned these attacks, perhaps working through Islamist groups secretly controlled by the CIA or they knew the attacks were going to happen and wanted to let them happen. The obvious motive: to create a seeming justification for extreme military action. And that is why they did not allow the Air Force to stop possibly the second and certainly the third planes.
So there you have it - either criminal negligence, including Mr. Bush who reads about goats while his countrymen are slaughtered, or treason.
Given these amazing facts, available in the mainstream media, why is there no call for an investigation? Mr. Bush has called for bringing those responsible to justice. Let us begin at home.

In an article published by the Daily Telegraph we read:

A former cabinet minister is drawing huge crowds and stoking the fires of anti-Americanism in Germany with a book arguing that the US government mounted the Sept 11 attacks as part of a plot to win global domination.

Andreas von Bulow has gone further than Michael Meacher, Tony Blair's former environment minister, who was widely criticised for claiming that America knowingly failed to prevent the attacks.

Mr von Bulow, 66, a former research minister in the German government, believes that September 11, when more than 3,000 people died, was staged to justify the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. [...]

Polls show that a fifth of the [German] population, and one in three of those under 30, believe the US government ordered the attacks.

"If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars," Mr von Bulow told The Daily Telegraph at his home in Bonn.

"They have hidden behind a veil of secrecy and destroyed the evidence - that they invented the story of 19 Muslims working within Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda - in order to hide the truth of their own covert operation.

"What I saw on September 11 was a perfectly executed act that could have happened only with the support of intelligence services, and whoever controlled it must have known could only bring harm to the Muslim world," he said.

"I'm convinced that the US apparatus must have played a role and my theory is backed up by the [Washington] government's refusal to present any proof whatsoever of what happened." [...]

Some say the highly lucid politician has become a paranoid publicity-seeker. But he is not alone in his hypotheses. At least two other September 11 conspiracy theory books are on the bestseller lists in Germany. [...]

"I'm not in the least anti-American," he insisted. "I'm just part of a growing momentum against Bush and his chess power-politics. I feel sorry for those who are being sucked in by his ideas."

The telegraph published a related article on 07/09/2003:

Michael Meacher, one of Tony Blair's longest serving ministers until earlier this year, sparked outrage yesterday by suggesting that the United States government deliberately allowed the terrorist attacks of September 11 to take place. Mr Meacher said the attacks, in which at least 3,000 people died, provided a convenient pretext for wars on Afghanistan and Iraq in which the real purpose was to secure oil supplies for America.

Michael Meacher The former environment minister, who until three months ago shared responsibility for Britain's nuclear power plants, made the extraordinary claims in a newspaper article.

Mr Meacher listed a number of reports detailing intelligence that the US was said to have which warned of the September 11 attacks. He questioned why military jets were not sent to intercept the hijacked passenger aircraft on the morning of the outrage two years ago.

"Was this inaction simply the result of key people disregarding, or being ignorant of, the evidence? Or could US air security operations have been deliberately stood down on September 11? If so, why and on whose authority?" Mr Meacher wrote in The Guardian yesterday.

The MP for Oldham cited a document called Rebuilding America's Defences, written in September 2000 by a neo-conservative think tank, Project for the New American Century, which was set up by a group that included Dick Cheney, the American vice president, Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, and Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, which he called "a blueprint for US world domination". He said the document stated that making America "tomorrow's dominant force" would be a long process without "some catalysing event - like a new Pearl Harbour".

The former minister's suggestion that there might have been a deliberate attempt to allow the September 11 attacks provoked a strong reaction from the US embassy in London. "Mr Meacher's fantastic allegations - especially his assertion that the US government knowingly stood by while terrorists killed some 3,000 innocents in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia - would be monstrous, and monstrously offensive, if they came from someone serious or credible," said an embassy spokesman.

Senior Conservatives also heaped condemnation on the former minister. "We appear to be witnessing the rebirth of what used to be called the 'loony Left'," said Bernard Jenkin, the shadow defence secretary.[...]

Regarding the reaction from the US Embassy in London, we are reminded of one of the chief characteristics of the Psychopath:

As [Dr. Robert] Hare states, "Lying, deceiving, and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths...

When caught in a lie or challenged with the truth, they are seldom perplexed or embarrassed -- they simply change their stories or attempt to rework the facts so that they appear to be consistent with the lie.
The results are a series of contradictory statements and a thoroughly confused listener." [Hare, 46].

Often, their behaviour serves to confuse and repress their victims, or to influence anyone who might listen to the psychopath's side of the story. Manipulation is the key to their conquests, and lying is one way they achieve this.

One almost amusing example of how psychopaths lie can be exemplified by a man who's footprint was discovered at the scene of the crime.

"No, that's not my foot" he said, even though everyone knew he was lying.

This is how psychopaths operate. They will deny reality until their victims have a nervous breakdown.

Often, the psychopath will turn on the victim and claim that the victim suffers from "delusions" and is not mentally stable.

These tactics are exactly what we see in the Bush Administration's handling of the many clues about the truth of 9-11.

Again: If all of those who are seeing the many aspects of falsity of the Bush Administration and the ferocity of the Forces behind it could UNITE and focus the Laser Light of Truth on that one, singular event that exposes and defines the nature of the Powers that have taken over America: the Strike on the Pentagon, the axe could be directed at the root of the tree rather than endlessly wasting time lopping off branches that just keep growing back.

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September Song: A Review of "The New Pearl Harbor"

By MARC ESTRIN
May 25, 2004

The official story goes something like this:

With no actionable warning from intelligence agencies, four planes were hijacked by terrorists on the morning of September 11, 2001. Two crashed into the Word Trade Center, which then collapsed, and shortly thereafter, the third into the Pentagon. The last plane went down in Pennsylvania after a struggle between passengers and hijackers. Air defense arrived too late to stop the catastrophes. Responding to this attack on the homeland, the president declared a global war on terror which may last for generations until evil is finally eradicated, the security of America firmly established, and the world made safe for freedom and democracy.

In The New Pearl Harbor, David Ray Griffin compiles the evidence that every single assertion in the official story is implausible or impossible, and that something other must explain the inconsistencies and contra-factual assertions.

The implications of the accumulated evidence is that the Bush administration was complicit in the events of September 11th, and not merely a victim of structural problems or incompetence on the part of the intelligence establishment. In a nuanced discussion of "complicity", Griffin distinguishes eight possible levels, from the lying about events to maximize political ends, through intentionally allowing expected attacks, to actual involvement in the planning of them.

Griffin does not make specific accusations, nor does he hypothesize a "true" version of what happened. But he does demand unflinching investigations of all the contradictions, clear reporting of the results, and most difficult, a courageous drawing of conclusions, no matter how "unthinkable" or outrageous they may appear. [...]

After all the suspicious incongruities collected, we are left with two huge problems. Griffin leads us through them in a chapter entitled "Is Complicity by US Officials the Best Explanation for 9/11?":

1.Beyond showing that official explanations are implausible or impossible, how shall we construct a meaningful, alternative narrative which will contain and explain the known facts? For example, if it was not a Boeing 757 which crashed into the Pentagon, but a smaller military missile, where did the 757 go, and what happened to its passengers?

2. Most difficult of all, perhaps, is the question of how the administration -- if indeed it was complicit in 9/11 at some or several levels -- could be so incompetent at scripting a plausible story. Why not punish a few scapegoats in the intelligence community, instead of promoting those responsible for "lapses"? Why the needless, obvious lies, and continuingly changing statements? Why such massiveness to the conspiracy, requiring silence from many individuals in the White House, Justice Department, FBI, CIA, NSA, and the Pentagon, as well as in civilian security operations? Why risk demolition of buildings beyond the flight attacks? Why bring down WTC 7? Why order interceptor planes to stand down, and deny SOP readiness? Why have the president play unconcern for half an hour? So as not to upset second-graders? Why claim that human flesh could withstand temperatures which would vaporize stainless steel? There are better minds than Bush's who have been concocting covert operations for many years. Where were they? Or was it just this confounding of critics that was intended?

My one quibble with Griffin's most valuable compendium of unanswered questions is that the author nowhere examines and brings his judgement to bear on the many stories concerning Israeli and Mossad participation in the 9/11 events. But the book is a work-in-progress, necessarily incomplete.

Griffin can't put the pieces together. In this, he is honest, and calls on us to be the same. All he can do is call for more authentic investigations -- not the cover-ups currently underway -- to confront these crucial issues. And this, too, we must do.

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Meanwhile, as both major parties ignore the real issue about 9/11, we have the usual grandstanding that always accompanies an election year...

Too late to make any real difference other than to convince the Dems that they are different than the Republicans, Al Gore has come out with both barrels blazing...

Remarks by Al Gore

May 26, 2004
As Prepared

George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.

He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.

How did we get from September 12th , 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the good will and empathy of all the world -- to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib.

To begin with, from its earliest days in power, this administration sought to radically destroy the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II. The long successful strategy of containment was abandoned in favor of the new strategy of "preemption." And what they meant by preemption was not the inherent right of any nation to act preemptively against an imminent threat to its national security, but rather an exotic new approach that asserted a unique and unilateral U.S. right to ignore international law wherever it wished to do so and take military action against any nation, even in circumstances where there was no imminent threat. All that is required, in the view of Bush's team is the mere assertion of a possible, future threat - and the assertion need be made by only one person, the President.

More disturbing still was their frequent use of the word "dominance" to describe their strategic goal, because an American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people. Dominance is as dominance does.

Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. It is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for more power still by striking a Faustian bargain. And as always happens - sooner or later - to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul.

One of the clearest indications of the impending loss of intimacy with one's soul is the failure to recognize the existence of a soul in those over whom power is exercised, especially if the helpless come to be treated as animals, and degraded. We also know - and not just from De Sade and Freud - the psychological proximity between sexual depravity and other people's pain. It has been especially shocking and awful to see these paired evils perpetrated so crudely and cruelly in the name of America.

[...] What happened at the prison, it is now clear, was not the result of random acts by "a few bad apples," it was the natural consequence of the Bush Administration policy that has dismantled those wise constraints and has made war on America's checks and balances.

The abuse of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib flowed directly from the abuse of the truth that characterized the Administration's march to war and the abuse of the trust that had been placed in President Bush by the American people in the aftermath of September 11th.

[...] Private Lynndie England did not make the decision that the United States would not observe the Geneva Convention. Specialist Charles Graner was not the one who approved a policy of establishing an American Gulag of dark rooms with naked prisoners to be "stressed" and even - we must use the word - tortured - to force them to say things that legal procedures might not induce them to say.

These policies were designed and insisted upon by the Bush White House. Indeed, the President's own legal counsel advised him specifically on the subject. His secretary of defense and his assistants pushed these cruel departures from historic American standards over the objections of the uniformed military, just as the Judge Advocates General within the Defense Department were so upset and opposed that they took the unprecedented step of seeking help from a private lawyer in this city who specializes in human rights and said to him, "There is a calculated effort to create an atmosphere of legal ambiguity" where the mistreatment of prisoners is concerned."

Indeed, the secrecy of the program indicates an understanding that the regular military culture and mores would not support these activities and neither would the American public or the world community. Another implicit acknowledgement of violations of accepted standards of behavior is the process of farming out prisoners to countries less averse to torture and giving assignments to private contractors

President Bush set the tone for our attitude for suspects in his State of the Union address. He noted that more than 3,000 "suspected terrorists" had been arrested in many countries and then he added, "and many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: they are no longer a problem to the United States and our allies."

George Bush promised to change the tone in Washington. And indeed he did. As many as 37 prisoners may have been murdered while in captivity, though the numbers are difficult to rely upon because in many cases involving violent death, there were no autopsies.

[...] It is important to note that just as the abuses of the prisoners flowed directly from the policies of the Bush White House, those policies flowed not only from the instincts of the president and his advisors, but found support in shifting attitudes on the part of some in our country in response to the outrage and fear generated by the attack of September 11th.

The president exploited and fanned those fears, but some otherwise sensible and levelheaded Americans fed them as well. I remember reading genteel-sounding essays asking publicly whether or not the prohibitions against torture were any longer relevant or desirable. The same grotesque misunderstanding of what is really involved was responsible for the tone in the memo from the president's legal advisor, Alberto Gonzalez, who wrote on January 25, 2002, that 9/11 "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

We have seen the pictures. We have learned the news. We cannot unlearn it; it is part of us. The important question now is, what will we do now about torture. Stop it? Yes, of course. But that means demanding all of the facts, not covering them up, as some now charge the administration is now doing. One of the whistleblowers at Abu Ghraib, Sergeant Samuel Provance, told ABC News a few days ago that he was being intimidated and punished for telling the truth. "There is definitely a coverup," Provance said. "I feel like I am being punished for being honest."

The abhorrent acts in the prison were a direct consequence of the culture of impunity encouraged, authorized and instituted by Bush and Rumsfeld in their statements that the Geneva Conventions did not apply. The apparent war crimes that took place were the logical, inevitable outcome of policies and statements from the administration.

To me, as glaring as the evidence of this in the pictures themselves was the revelation that it was established practice for prisoners to be moved around during ICRC visits so that they would not be available for visits. That, no one can claim, was the act of individuals. That was policy set from above with the direct intention to violate US values it was to be upholding. It was the kind of policy we see - and criticize in places like China and Cuba.

Moreover, the administration has also set up the men and women of our own armed forces for payback the next time they are held as prisoners. And for that, this administration should pay a very high price. One of the most tragic consequences of these official crimes is that it will be very hard for any of us as Americans - at least for a very long time - to effectively stand up for human rights elsewhere and criticize other governments, when our policies have resulted in our soldiers behaving so monstrously. This administration has shamed America and deeply damaged the cause of freedom and human rights everywhere, thus undermining the core message of America to the world.

Ooooo, he's upset.

But look at what he is ignoring. This is a reference to 9/11:

"It is now clear that their obscene abuses of the truth and their unforgivable abuse of the trust placed in them after 9/11 by the American people led directly to the abuses of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison and, we are now learning, in many other similar facilities constructed as part of Bush's Gulag, in which, according to the Red Cross, 70 to 90 percent of the victims are totally innocent of any wrongdoing."

What? What about all the real questions of 9/11? The insider trading on American and United Airlines's stock in the days preceding the attack, the links of some of the supposed terrorists to flight training in Florida at installations with known CIA connections, the dancing Israelis and fact that of all countries in the world, only Israel has benefited from 9/11, and on and on. Gore will certainly not want the truth to come out because he is beholden to the same interests as Bush, the Israel lobby. He even quotes a decision from the Israeli Supreme Court in his speech! That bastion fo democracy where the Palestinians are treated as sub-humans are are being slowly, brutally, and painfully eliminated one by one while the US continues to supply its fascist friend with helicopters, arms, and money.

There is no way out. Gore can say what he wants, he can praise the Democractic candidate all he wants, but the reality is that there is no real difference between the politics of Kerry and the politics of Bush.

We hate Bush, so we'll vote for his double

By Stephen Gowans
May 26, 2004

With filmmaker Michael Moore's head having swelled to near bursting after winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes for his new film Fahrenheit 9/11, an exploration of the Bush family's ties to the bin Laden's, it's doubtful the Wesley-Clark-as-peace-candidate-backer will regard his election year flip-flops as anything but sheer brilliance.

Who cares that he's returned to the embrace of the Democratic Party, with gushing apologies to Al Gore, after abandoning the party four years ago, complaining bitterly that it had become a facsimile of the Republican Party.

Has the micro-thin gap between the Republicans and Democrats suddenly opened up into space you can drive a Hummer through? How about a Volkswagen? A bicycle?

The Washington Post doesn't think so. A May 9th headline declared, "Despite Rhetoric, Bush, Kerry Agree On Many Issues." Two weeks later, on May 26th, the New York Times echoed agreement: "Candidates' Iraq Policies Share Many Similarities," though "share many similarities" put the matter far too mildly. "Virtually identical" is closer to the mark.

So similar are the two candidates' positions on Iraq that the newspaper of record could only find one difference: "Mr. Kerry has called for NATO to take a major role in Iraq," though under US command.

And even that is not so much of a difference. The newspaper noted that "Mr. Bush has left open the possibility of a larger role for NATO, but has not pressed hard for such a change." It seems the French and Germans aren't champing at the bit to plunge their troops into the quagmire, and Bush knows it, so he's not wasting his breath issuing an invitation. Funny that this has eluded Kerry.

So if the Democrats remain a facsimile of the Republicans, why has Moore done a volte-face? Maybe he's personalized a systemic drive to war as "Bush's drive to war" and so figures that if you get rid of one you get rid of the other.

Meanwhile, independent candidate Ralph Nader, who Moore exhorted progressives to vote for four years ago, is calling for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. That's pretty well on target with what the antiwar Left wants. So you'd wonder why war-hating Lefties revile Nader, the candidate many of them backed four years ago, and back Kerry, the candidate who represents the party they said was little better than the Republicans four years ago, and remains no better today.

The Kerry-backers say they're just being practical. They don't like Bush, so they're forming a kind of Left imperialist bloc to back the only candidate who has a chance of beating Bush, even though their candidate is as unreservedly imperialist as Bush.

Who says Lenin's obloquy "social-imperialists -- socialists in words, imperialists in deeds," is out of date?

Gowan's criticism of Moore is well put. Although his new film looks at the links between Bush and the bin Laden family, what does it say about Israel? How convenient to place the blame for 9/11 on the backs of the Saudis, fierce opponents of Israel in the Middle East. A little too convenient, is it not?

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Bush under fire over terror alert

President Bush has come under fire for his handling of the domestic war on terror after a warning of a possible al-Qaeda attack in the US.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said information showed al-Qaeda intended "to hit the United States hard".

On Wednesday Mr Ashcroft named seven people he said were a clear danger.

But Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry questioned Mr Bush's commitment to providing the resources necessary to protect the country.

He said that while Americans would be struck by the administration's "seriousness and concern" over the issue, the threat had highlighted certain failures.

The authorities had in particular been unable to provide security on trains and chemical plants, and to inspect containers coming into US ports, he said.

"We deserve a president of the United States who doesn't make homeland security a photo opportunity," he said at a rally in Seattle.

"We deserve a president who makes America safer."

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London police, on US request, pounce on radical Muslim cleric

May 27, 2004

LONDON (AFP) - Abu Hamza al-Masri, the hook-handed radical Islamic cleric who once called Osama bin Laden "a good guy", was arrested by police in Britain acting on a US request for his extradition.

The Metropolitan Police said Hamza, 47, known for his fiery sermons in Finsbury Park, north London, was arrested at 3:00 am (0200 GMT) at his west London home "under an extradition warrant".

"Officers from the Anti-Terrorist Branch escorted the man to a central London police station where he remains in custody" pending an appearance before a magistrate later in the day, a police statement said Thursday.

A police spokesman told AFP that Hamza was being held "under an extradition warrant issued by the United States". It was believed the warrant related to terrorism allegations. [...]

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Britain to send around 370 extra troops to Iraq

May 27, 2004

LONDON (AFP) - Britain is to send around 370 extra troops to Iraq in the run-up to the June 30 restoration of Iraqi sovereignty, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told parliament.

"I am announcing a net increase of around 370 troop numbers to bring the total of United Kingdom forces supporting operations in Iraq to about 8,900," said Hoon in the House of Commons Thursday. [...]

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Bush administration has used 27 rationales for war in Iraq, study says

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor
5/10/04

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — If it seems that there have been quite a few rationales for going to war in Iraq, that’s because there have been quite a few – 27, in fact, all floated between Sept. 12, 2001, and Oct. 11, 2002, according to a new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All but four of the rationales originated with the administration of President George W. Bush.

The study also finds that the Bush administration switched its focus from Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein early on – only five months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

In addition to what it says about the shifting sands of rationales and the unsteady path to war in Iraq, what is remarkable about the 212-page study is that its author is a student.

The study, "Uncovering the Rationales for the War on Iraq: The Words of the Bush Administration, Congress and the Media from September 12, 2001, to October 11, 2002," is the senior honors thesis of Devon Largio. She and her professor, Scott Althaus, believe the study is the first of its kind. [...]

Comment: To those who are paying attention to reality, this study is nothing new. Long time readers of the Signs page will recognize that we have endeavored to point out the shifting rationales for war in Iraq as these changes occurred. Furthermore, it is doubtful that the study will have any effect on the masses. It seems that many Americans regard university studies involving politics to be necessarily "liberal" - as if all university students go through a phase of criticizing the very machine they are being trained to work inside.

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The revenge of the CIA

(Filed: 23/05/2004)

The fall from grace of would-be Iraqi leader Ahmed Chalabi is the result of fierce US infighting. Julian Coman in Washington and Philip Sherwell in Baghdad report

As television channels replayed footage of a smashed framed photograph of the former Pentagon favourite and Iraqi National Congress leader, Ahmed Chalabi, on Friday, one adviser to the State Department could not resist a smile. "Another shattered illusion for our friends at the Department of Defence," said the adviser. "How much more can they take?"

Mr Chalabi's Baghdad villa was raided by Iraqi police on Thursday. Several INC members, including his powerful intelligence chief, are among 15 people named in an arrest warrant for possible fraud charges.

According to rumours circulating in Washington, Mr Chalabi himself is suspected of passing classified US intelligence to the Iranian government - reports dismissed as "preposterous" by his aides.

Backed to the tune of $27 million by the American taxpayer, although monthly payments have now ceased, and once touted as Washington's choice to lead Iraq, Mr Chalabi is now portraying himself as the politician who dares to stand up to the US. In Iraq nowadays, that could be a winning pitch.

[...]

This is all, to say the least, disappointing news for Mr Chalabi's former backers, in particular the Deputy Secretary of Defence, Paul Wolfowitz and the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, who gave Mr Chalabi such enormous influence and access in Washington.

A Pentagon plane even flew Mr Chalabi triumphantly into post-war Iraq last March. Richard Perle, formerly the chairman of the influential Defence Policy Board at the Pentagon, condemned Thursday's raid as "appalling".

Yet in some corners of the Bush administration, the INC leader's dramatic fall from grace has been treated as cause for celebration.

In 2003, US State Department and CIA officials were routinely out-manoeuvred and marginalised by hardline Defence Department planners in the build-up to war. Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, was criticised for the distractions of the "UN route" to disarming Saddam.

The CIA was ridiculed for its caution in assessing the imminence of the threat that Iraq posed. Both organisations objected to the influence of Mr Chalabi, who still faces fraud charges in Jordan. Both were ignored.

Now, opportunities for revenge are coming thick and fast. The failure to predict and plan for an aggressive Iraqi insurgency following the fall of Saddam, and the horror of the Abu Ghraib prison photographs, have already tarnished the standing in the White House of the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, and his senior aides.

The Chalabi raid is another blow and another cue for Mr Rumsfeld's enemies to go on the attack.

"At the State Department and at the CIA, they're finally starting to swing some punches his way," said the former adviser. "When it comes to Chalabi, they've been saying for years 'not to be trusted'."

On the BBC's The World Tonight on Friday, Christopher Dickie, a journalist who has known Mr Chalabi for 20 years, said: "I interviewed Ahmed about some of the controversy surrounding him. I said: 'Look, a lot of people in the CIA and the State Department say you would do anything to drag the USA into a war with Saddam Hussein'. He looked me in the eye and he said: 'Yes. Absolutely.' "

Only a year ago, after the apparently triumphant race of US troops to Baghdad, Mr Rumsfeld was the superstar of the Bush administration, voted by People magazine as one of the "sexiest men alive". Mr Wolfowitz was acknowledged as its pre-eminent intellect.

Not any more. The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the Pentagon was not even consulted by the top US civilian in Iraq, Mr Bremer, before last week's raid on the home of its former protege, although a meeting was held involving both State Department officials and the National Security Council.

Earlier in the week, Mr Rumsfeld had seemed unaware that INC funding of $335,000 per month from Congress was to be cut off. It is hard to imagine him being by-passed in similar fashion prior to the events of this spring.

With some glee, officials outside the Department of Defence are happy to speculate on the fading lustre of Mr Rumsfeld's star.

According to one former senior administration official: "We're finally beginning to see who is responsible for the mess that is Iraq.

The prisoner abuse scandal is a disaster for Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and co, because few people believe we're just talking about military police carrying this out. It must go further up, and Seymour Hersh's investigations (in the New Yorker) are demonstrating that. Military intelligence officers were involved.

"The raid on Chalabi's villa is another humiliation. The Pentagon relied on Chalabi and his defectors for intelligence on Saddam.

They relied on Chalabi for predictions on post-war Iraq. They backed the funding of him. Now he's been discarded and discredited. Senior people in the Department of Defence took all sorts of risks and they haven't paid off."

The judgements are harsh, but these are febrile days in the capital. Infighting over Iraq within the Bush administration and on Capitol Hill has reached such a pitch and ferocity that, according to one official within the Coalition Provisional Authority, Washington DC is now referred to as "Sunni Triangle, West".

On Thursday, Mr Bush made an unexpected visit to Congress, in an attempt to persuade increasingly restive Republican representatives that events in Iraq are under control.

According to one member, the President's visit was intended to head off a "full-scale revolt".

If the news continues to be as bleak as during the past month, the revolt may only be postponed. The Abu Ghraib prison scandal, in the minds of many Bush administration officials and formerly sympathetic congressmen, has all but destroyed the possibility of a happy ending to the American occupation of Iraq.

According to one retired general: "We've gone from 'failure is not an option' to failure, of some kind, being the only option."

A failure, when the stakes are this high, requires a culprit. While Mr Bush continues to promise that the United States will stay the course in Iraq, beyond the transfer of sovereignty on June 30, the "blame game" has begun in earnest in the corridors of his administration.

From the State Department in Foggy Bottom, to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, lengthy briefings are being granted. Rivals, particularly if they work at the Pentagon, are being ruthlessly disparaged.

For three weeks anonymous officials from the CIA have filled the pages of the New Yorker with detailed observations of extreme interrogation procedures endorsed by senior civilians at the Department of Defence.

It was this gung-ho approach, post-September 11, they argue, that led eventually to the horrors of Abu Ghraib.

A sense of schadenfreude is palpable. In 2002, CIA officials were humiliated by the creation, in the heart of the Department of Defence, of a rival centre of intelligence-gathering, the so-called Office of Special Plans.

Created by Paul Wolfowitz, with the blessing of the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, the OSP soon rivalled the CIA as Mr Bush's main source of information concerning Iraq's possible weapons of mass destruction. Its very existence was intended as a damning indictment of CIA intelligence-gathering techniques.

"Cheney and Wolfowitz thought the CIA far too conservative," said a Pentagon adviser.

"It was seen as too cautious." An internal Pentagon memorandum of the time even suggested that intelligence efforts to date had "downplayed or sought to disprove" a possible link between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

Mr Chalabi, the Iraqi exile leader of the INC and a personal acquaintance of Mr Wolfowitz for years, was brought on board to help bolster intelligence on Saddam.

A series of testimonies from Iraqi defectors, discovered by Mr Chalabi, soon produced a far more menacing picture of Saddam's WMD capabilities and terrorist links.

That picture turned out to be "almost all wrong", in the words of the now retired US weapons inspector, David Kay.

Last week, the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, acknowledged that his claim to have discovered mobile biological weapons laboratories in Iraq, made to the UN last year, was mistaken, and made it clear where he thought the blame should lie: "It turned out the sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases, deliberately misleading."

A former Pentagon adviser said: "You cannot get clearer than that without talking about the OSP, the defectors and the spin machine.

" For good measure, the director of the CIA, George Tenet, said recently that CIA analysts never said there was an "imminent threat" from Saddam Hussein.

The Pentagon was not only seeking to dominate intelligence-gathering in the war on terror. The legal ground rules of what was described by officials as "a new kind of war", post 9/11, were also being transformed.

Once again, the views of the Pentagon, and in this case the White House, prevailed over those of Colin Powell and the CIA.

[...]

Earlier this week, a "close associate" of Colin Powell told the New York Times that he is speaking up now "because he doesn't want a legacy as the man who made up stories to provide the President with cover to go to war.

" According to another former intelligence officer: "No one is sorry to see the civilians at the Pentagon in trouble. This was coming to them. They respected no opinions but their own."

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Iraq and the Christian Zionists

By C.B. Hanif, Palm Beach Post Editorial Writer
Sunday, May 23, 2004

To understand what is happening in the Middle East, wrote George Monbiot in The Guardian of London recently, you must first understand what is happening in the U.S., where evangelical Christians are driving President Bush's policies. The explanation slowly is becoming familiar to us, he says, but we still have some difficulty in taking it seriously.

Mr. Monbiot recounts that in the 19th century, "two immigrant preachers cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create what appears to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to Earth when certain preconditions have been met. The first of these was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel's occupation of the rest of its 'biblical lands' (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth."

I had heard of outrage from some Jews in this country that evangelical Christian supporters of the Jewish state have motivations other than security against its Arab neighbors. One Jewish friend likened the idea as, "To save you, we have to kill you." He, too, cited what Mr. Monbiot said makes the idea so appealing to evangelicals:

"Before the big battle begins, all 'true believers' (i.e., those who believe what they believe) will be lifted out of their clothes and wafted up to heaven during an event called the Rapture. Not only do the worthy get to sit at the right hand of God, but they will be able to watch, from the best seats, their political and religious opponents being devoured by boils, sores, locusts and frogs, during the seven years of Tribulation which follow. The true believers are now seeking to bring all this about," he said, by "seeking to provoke a final battle with the Muslim world/Axis of Evil/United Nations/European Union/France or whoever the legions of the antichrist turn out to be."

Thursday's rebroadcast of Frontline's "The Jesus Factor" on PBS recounted Mr. Bush's personal religious journey and the growing political influence of the nation's more than 70 million evangelical Christians. Mr. Monbiot describes the political calculus thusly: Fifteen percent to 18 percent of U.S. voters belong to churches or movements that subscribe to these teachings, including 33 percent of Republicans. Among them are some of the most powerful men in America: Attorney General John Ashcroft, several prominent senators and the House majority leader, Tom DeLay, who last year told the Israeli Knesset that "there is no middle ground, no moderate position worth taking" toward the Palestinians.

Said Mr. Monbiot: "So here we have a major political constituency -- representing much of the current president's core vote -- in the most powerful nation on Earth, which is actively seeking to provoke a new world war. Its members see the invasion of Iraq as a warm-up act, as Revelation (9:14-15) maintains that four angels 'which are bound in the great river Euphrates' will be released 'to slay the third part of men.' " And they effectively pressure the president, he said, against any pressure on Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon.

Mr. Monbiot concludes: "The electoral calculation, crazy as it appears, works like this. Governments stand or fall on domestic issues. For 85 percent of the U.S. electorate, the Middle East is a foreign issue, and therefore of secondary interest when they enter the polling booth. For 15 percent, the Middle East is not just a domestic matter; it's a personal one:

"If the president fails to start a conflagration there, his core voters don't get to sit at the right hand of God. Bush, in other words, stands to lose fewer votes by encouraging Israeli aggression than he stands to lose by restraining it. He would be mad to listen to these people. He would also be mad not to."

What Rick Perlstein called "the absolute convergence of the neoconservatives with the Christian Zionists and the pro-Israel lobby" ("The Jesus Landing Pad," May 18 Village Voice) suggests that the bloody debacle in today's Iraq is what the current administration wanted all along. It also may explain some of Mr. Bush's recalcitrance -- which his supporters liken to steadfastness -- in the face of the realities in Iraq. Most of what has gone wrong there was predicted well before the invasion, by very qualified people in government, and was preceded by massive protest worldwide.

Raney Aronson is producer of the Frontline documentary, which can be viewed at www.pbs.org. In a Washington Post online interview, he was asked whether there is evidence that Mr. Bush "shares the 'Christian Zionist' belief that Israel must gain dominance over the Holy Land in order to bring the Second Coming of Christ, the Rapture, etc." President Bush "has not spoken about this issue," said Mr. Aronson. "But I do believe, as he talks so often of his faith, and his belief in the Bible, (that) this is a good question for him to address."

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A Political Obituary: Colin Powell, DOA

By PAUL DE ROOIJ

"You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspirations and problems. You'll own it all."

Powell statement to US President George Bush as quoted by Woodward [1].

Sometimes it is worth writing someone's obituary ahead of schedule. In the case of politicians, the purpose of an obituary is to serve as a warning against the political zombies those politicians who are politically spent or have lost their souls. There are many of them around today, e.g., Jose Maria Aznar, Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Kofi Annan, Javier Solana... and Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State.

One could almost feel sorry for General Powell. In 2000, Powell had the useful face and the useful stars, attractive attributes required for electoral purposes. Recruited into office amidst much fanfare, he has duly proven a useful political fig leaf over a foreign policy determined by others. Today he is a discredited spokesman of a bankrupt foreign policy, a token captain remote from the rudder of a foundering ship.

Murky beginning

Early on in his career, Powell specialized in whitewash and ass-cover-up operations. Remember My Lai? Well, in 1968 Major Powell was instrumental in whitewashing that sordid episode. During his stint at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Powell was responsible for pressing ahead with the 1991 Gulf War, a war that was entirely avoidable and against the judgment of the general staff. We know the disastrous consequences of that operation and much has been revealed of his murky past. This article will focus on his record as Secretary of State. (For critical background, see Parry and Solomon's excellent "Behind Colin Powell's Legend".)

The Big Lie unravels

Powell's recent admission that the evidence he presented in front of the UN Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003 had not been "solid" was the nadir of an increasingly pathetic career. For Powell to admit that there were flaws in his presentation at this late stage of the game, after thousands lay dead and Iraq had been ravaged, is like someone caught in a lie a mighty big lie and then only sheepishly admitting that it may have been false. Powell has proven that he doesn't just have thick skin, but skin calloused by experience into a carapace.

[...]

This admission is curious; it refers only to a small fraction of the litany of accusations he had leveled in front of the Security Council. The "mobile factories" claim officially hit the dust, but the remaining claims (many of which were by now also discredited) were not mentioned. In fact, the veracity scorecard of all the accusations has proven to be abysmally low: many were just transparent lies, and even the smallest details were either false or deliberately distorted. Even at the time, only the most gullible would have thought that Powell's presentation contained a smoking gun, let alone a justification for war. It is unimaginable that Powell made this presentation without realizing that most of his statements were lies or fabrications. Never mind, it is part of the job, and it has been part of General Powell's job description for the past few decades; selling and pushing wars has been his specialty.

[...]

It is clear that Powell didn't have much voice in the appointment of the neocons to policy positions. Appointing the arch-Zionist Elliot Abrams to oversee Middle East policy was as appropriate as appointing a pyromaniac to the fire brigade. The same can be said about John Bolton, Roger Noriega, John Negroponte and other Cheney cronies who can only be described as a wrecking crew, as Powell must have been aware. In addition, Powell faced the ultimate indignity when, for crucial negotiations and foreign policy advice, James Baker, the former Secretary of State, was given an office in the White House.

Powell has often uttered statements about US policy only to be contradicted by one of the rats aboard his ship. Immediately after the coup in Haiti, Powell uttered some statements about respecting a democratically elected government, only to be contradicted the same day by Roger Noriega. Despite Powell's statement, a death squad leader was appointed to head the new Haitian government.

Only indirectly, via rumors, or through the Woodward exposť, does one hear that Powell had no input in these appointments, and disagreed with the selection of these people, but yet he continues in his token post. A principled response would have required blocking such appointments or resigning; yet, his clinging on to the job is revealing.

[...]

Powell's term as Secretary of State has produced some searing memories. His role in putting the US on course for a war against Iraq, pushing (or not opposing) the neocon agenda, the undermining of international law, and the signaling of "green lights" to whatever Ariel Sharon sought to do, are infamous for the craven and callous role the "head diplomat" chose to play.

[...]

Last month some black Brazilian students traveling through Europe were astonished to find out that Powell is an African American, and one of them asked if he had been afflicted by Michael Jackson's skin disease. Perhaps even more astonishing is that a black man has been instrumental in giving the green light for an extreme apartheid solution to be imposed on the Palestinian people. As Ronnie Kasrils, the South African Minister for Water, stated recently, South African apartheid seems benign when compared to the Israeli occupation and the dispossession of the Palestinians throughout the area.

[...]

The neocons have suggested that Middle Eastern countries have to modernize, and to become democracies. Powell also played along with this charade and the State Department issued a report on what countries in the Middle East need to do, and US officials attended a meeting in the area to push the same theme. The State Dept. even coined a grand title for this rather empty initiative, i.e., the Greater Middle East Initiative. Note, that while the US was "encouraging" Middle Eastern countries to democratize the US was involved in the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Haiti. It is clear the US armed and trained a Haitian gang led by notorious death squad leaders of yesteryear. How could Powell square the US's desire for "democracy" in the Middle East when it is at the same time promoting coups against democratically elected governments in Latin America?

And now the Europeans must shut up!

The US recently instigated an OSCE meeting, and on April 29, 2004, it issued a call to fight anti-Semitism in Europe. Of course, Powell was on hand to reinforce the message that criticism of Israel may be construed as anti-Semitism. Mr. Powell stated: "It is not anti-Semitic to criticize the state of Israel, but the line is crossed when the leaders of Israel are demonized or vilified by the use of Nazi symbols." It seems that pointing out serious Israeli crimes against Palestinians, and Ariel Sharon's role in directing them may come under the OSCE's scrutiny. But what is worse, for president Bush to call Sharon a "man of peace" or for critics to call Sharon a war criminal?

[...]

The occupation of Iraq is a major disaster and the situation is unraveling before our eyes. Of course, the justifications for the war were absurd, and now the cost of the occupation is becoming astronomical. Add to this an unprecedented level of hostility against the US throughout the world, and suddenly the position of the promoters of this war is becoming increasingly tenuous. We already detect infighting among the cheerleaders of the war, and Powell even attacked Wolfowitz, albeit indirectly. Of course, any critical statement must be deniable, and it was up to one of Powell's aides to compare Wolfowitz to "Lenin"!† It seems that Powell wants to dissociate himself from the neocon warmongers, but it may be a little too late.

[...]

Just like the previous General appointed as a Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, Powell's term in office has been a disaster. Instead of leading and creating a coherent foreign policy, working actively within a multilateral framework, Powell allowed himself to be dragged along into a policy of confrontation, unilateralism, disdain for international law, and predisposed to engage in "preventive wars". The consequence is evident for all to see. At the UN, the only countries siding with the US at the General Assembly are Israel, Nauru and the Marshall Islands (even Dominica abstains these days!). Now, any architect of American diplomacy must be proud of this accomplishment! Fairly soon, Americans will not be able to travel in the Middle East and significant portions of Africa without an element of fear.

[...]

On April 27th Powell stated that he was not going to resign, but his aide, Mr. Wilkerson, revealed that Powell is unlikely to seek a second term if Bush is reelected, and "said the Secretary of State had spent much of his time doing damage control around the world for the actions of his colleagues [...] and he was physically and mentally tired". Powell went from presidential hopeful to a faded star in less than four years. What is in store for him now? Sell armaments for the Carlyle group; write another tome of his memoirs receiving a handsome sum in advance; or will he go on the lecture circuit to receive a deferred bribe?

If Powell had played a part in a tragicomedy, then one would at least have found something to laugh about. Alas, there is nothing comical about Powell's entire career, and the man can best be described as a tragipathetic character. That is, the tragedy has to do with the many corpses in Vietnam, Iraq, Palestine and Haiti; the pathetic part has to do with Powell's willingness to play along in these sordid affairs. One would almost like to say 'R.I.P.', though this would not be well deserved, especially since he was D.O.A, dead on arrival.

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U.S. soldier who deserted Iraq-bound regiment accuses U.S. of war crimes

06:39 AM EDT May 27

VANCOUVER (AP) - A U.S. soldier who deserted his Iraq-bound regiment and sought asylum in Canada said the U.S war in Iraq was illegal and he accused the United States of committing war crimes.

Pte. Jeremy Hinzman, 25, also defended his decision to leave his unit with the 82nd Airborne Division on Jan. 2, about two weeks after he learned his unit would be deployed to Iraq. He fled to Toronto along with his wife and child. "The Iraqi war is illegal according to international standards. It was condemned by most the international community," Hinzman said in a speech Tuesday sponsored by an anti-war group and an Arab advocacy group.

"If I had participated in the Iraq occupation, I would have participated in a criminal enterprise," he said.

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Sharon to unveil fresh Gaza plan

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is to unveil his revised plan for the Gaza Strip, weeks after the ruling Likud party voted against his initial plan.

Media reports about the new plan suggest it envisages a staged military withdrawal from Gaza, instead of a single-stage pullout.

Mr Sharon is reportedly presenting his ministers with drafts of the new plan, before a cabinet vote on Sunday.

Israeli military operations continued in Gaza on Wednesday.

Comment: And as Sharon marches on, the rest of the world does nothing. Palestinians continue to be killed, houses are razed, olive groves are bulldozed and uprooted. Sharon knows that his war of attrition will be victorious because he knows that no one dares move against this injustice. On the contrary, the Israeli will to terrorize is being imposed upon the rest of the world as the modus operandi of 21st century life. The entire world is being divided up into Israeli and Palestinian, and Bush's war on terror is the means by which we will all have our lives uprooted. It is happening now, every day, everywhere on the planet. There is no escape.

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British journalist arrested in Israel

Thursday 27 May 2004, 2:46 Makka Time, 23:46 GMT

Israeli police have arrested a British journalist who in 1986 exposed the country's nuclear secrets in an interview with whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.

Witnesses said plain clothes policemen on Wednesday escorted Peter Hounam, who had been preparing a new documentary about Vanunu, to his Jerusalem hotel. They searched his room and then bundled him off in a car.

A spokesman from the prime minister's office, which oversees Israel's security services, confirmed the journalist had been arrested. A government gag order prevented release of further details in the case.

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New Iran Parliament Opens with Anti-U.S. Chants

By Paul Hughes
May 27, 2004

TEHRAN (Reuters) - To chants of "Death to America" and "Death to the occupiers of Iraq" Islamic conservatives took up their majority in Iran's parliament on Thursday, heralding a radical change from the previous reformist-held assembly. [...]

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Apartments evacuated after explosion

CBC
May 27, 2004

MONTREAL - About 80 units in a Pierrefonds area apartment were evacuated following the explosion of a small home-made chlorine bomb Tuesday night.

The device exploded just after 8 p.m. on the third floor of an apartment building at 12100 Pierrefonds Boulevard.

Residents were allowed to return to their homes at around midnight. Montreal police spokesman Steve Morissette said the home-made device was a mixture of chlorine and milk or water in a two-litre soft drink bottle.

"When you mix the two together it increases the pressure inside the container that you put it in and it forces the container to explode," he said. "There was no damage to the building and nobody was injured. The building was evacuated because of the scent—the scent was very strong."

Morissette said that a second device was found in the building but didn't go off. He said that police have no suspects and no motive in the case.

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Immigrants Outlive U.S.-Born Residents

By JUSTIN PRITCHARD, Associated Press Writer
Wed May 26, 7:53 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO - Immigrants who come to the United States live an average of three years longer than people born here, new research shows in a surprising finding that challenges some common beliefs.

A growing body of evidence indicates the life span difference reflects both immigrants' innate vitality and their reluctance to embrace Americans' drive-thru, drive-everywhere mentality. They also smoke less.

The life expectancy deficit is true for all races but is most dramatic among blacks. Immigrant black men live nine years longer than black men born in the United States, according to an analysis by a National Institutes of Health researcher. [...]

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Secrecy may have cost Russian virus scientist her life

By Judith Miller in New Orleans
smh.com.au
May 26, 2004

A Russian scientist at a former Soviet biological weapons laboratory in Siberia has died after accidentally sticking herself with a needle laced with Ebola, the deadly virus for which there is no vaccine or treatment.

The accident occurred on May 5 at the State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology - known as Vector - but it was not reported to the World Health Organisation until last week, raising concerns about safety and secrecy at the centre, which in Soviet times specialised in turning deadly viruses into biological weapons.

Although the centre had isolated the scientist to contain any potential spread of the disease and there is no requirement that accidents involving Ebola be reported, the delay meant that WHO scientists could not provide prompt advice on her treatment that might have saved her life.

News of the accident came to light at the weekend when details were posted on the Pro-Med website, an informal discussion network used by doctors and health-care professionals.
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Vector officials said the scientist, Antonina Presnyakova, was working on an Ebola vaccine, but have declined to identify who was financing the research or to discuss its specific nature.

The centre has been a leading recipient of US aid in a program to help former Soviet scientists and laboratories convert to peaceful research. [...]

Comment: Yet another mysterious death in the biological weapons field. She accidentally stuck herself with an Ebola-contaminated needle? Right...

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Minor earthquake rattles Bernardo residents a bit

Haley Wachdorf News-Bulletin Staff Writer; hwachdorf@news-bulletin.com

Bernardo A minor earthquake shook the ground near Bernardo around 3:30 p.m. Monday, according to geophysicists at New Mexico Tech.

Earthquakes in the area surrounding Socorro are not uncommon because of the large pool of magma, molten rock, under the ground that stretches from north of Bernardo south to San Antonio, N.M.

John Schlue, a professor of geophysics at the university, said because of movements in this body of magma, there are actually small earthquakes in the area on an almost-daily basis, but Monday's was strong enough to be felt and reported by area residents.

The U.S. Geological Survey Web site listed Mon-day's earthquake at 3.5 magnitude, but Schlue said he and his colleagues believe it was actually smaller.

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Midwest Braces for Serious Flooding, U.S. Government Says

Wed May 26, 8:22 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Farmers and residents in several Midwest states face "serious flooding" after rivers and streams were swollen by heavy rains in recent days, U.S. government forecasters said on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service said the Midwest will have dry and sunny weather through the federal Memorial Day weekend, but parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin will need to closely monitor waterways that are digesting rain from the recent spate of storms.

The break in rainfall is welcome news for Midwest farmers who dealt with nearly 200 tornadoes in recent days. [...]

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UPDATE: Close to 900 dead in Haiti and Dominican Republic floods

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Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira Volcanoes

Thursday 27th May 2004

Two volcanoes continue to erupt in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Both Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira have been erupting since May 23rd, and there is a weak but steady emission from the volcanoes. Ash is expected to remain below 18,000 ft.

The Nyiragongo eruption has been observed from satellite images, but has not been confirmed from ground observervations.

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Cosmos "shaped like Eiffel Tower"

Wednesday May 26, 08:18 PM

BERLIN (Reuters) - The universe looks like the Eiffel Tower topped with a never-ending spire, a German physicist says.

Researchers in Ulm, birthplace of Albert Einstein, have developed a model of the universe as an elongated triangle like the Paris landmark, but with a spire going on and on.

The team at Ulm University hopes their model will revolutionise understanding of the universe. Visualisations are difficult because scientists have mathematical proof the universe has an infinite form but a finite volume. [...]

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Anatomy of a bolide

Last year, a brilliant fireball shattered above the Chicago suburb of Park Forest, Illinois. Astronomers have pieced together a detailed postmortem of the event.

by Andrew Fazekas
Posted May 26, 2004

A little over a year ago, on March 27, 2003, a spectacular fireball lit up northern Illinois and sent chunks of space rock crashing into the streets and roofs of a quiet Chicago suburb of Park Forest. Incredibly, the kamikaze dive of this extraterrestrial visitor was caught — completely by accident — on police car and security video cameras, providing scientists an amazing opportunity to study in detail the last fiery moments of a meteor’s life.

The Park Forest fireball represents the largest bolide to streak across a densely populated area in modern history. "With only two such events occurring on land anytime during a year around the world, this was unique by all standards," says Wayne Edwards, study team member and Ph.D. candidate from the University of Western Ontario. Many different visual and acoustic instruments around the region observed the object’s descent. Astronomers have used these measurements to determine the Park Forest meteorite’s pre-fall orbit. This is only the eighth time astronomers have been able to calculate a reliable orbit for a meteorite.

By synchronizing eyewitness videos, audio, and seismic measurements on the ground with infrared satellite imagery, Edwards and his team have been able to determine the fireball’s original spin rate, trajectory, and velocity accurately. Before entering Earth’s atmosphere, the Park Forest object weighed 12.5 tons (11 metric tons), was traveling at 12 miles (20 kilometers) per second, and packed the equivalent energy of nearly 500 tons of TNT.

Audible detonations occurred as the meteor punched through the atmosphere and broke into smaller fragments. Analysis of audio and seismic recordings clearly matched three distinctly visible fragmentation events. The main fragmentation event, visible on a police-car video, occurred at a height of 44 miles (70 km) and was quickly followed by two smaller detonations at 22 and 16 miles (36 and 26 km). "Incredibly, we can trace the meteor in the video back to the very earliest time in its entry into our atmosphere," says Edwards.

Comment: The video of the meteorite can be seen here.

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