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Thursday, June 10, 2004

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©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

A Tough Time for 'Neocons'

By Paul Richter Times Staff Writer
La Times

WASHINGTON — As U.S. tanks surrounded Baghdad 14 months ago, an ardent group of war supporters in Washington toasted the success of an invasion they had done much to inspire, as commentators spoke of their virtual takeover of the Bush administration's foreign policy.

Today, that same group, the neoconservatives, is itself under siege.

Comment: The term "useful fools" comes to mind

Many fellow conservatives have joined liberals in criticizing their case for the war. Rivals in the State Department and the Pentagon have taken charge of the U.S. effort in Iraq. And in a grave threat to their reputation, Iraqi exile leader Ahmad Chalabi, a longtime favorite of neoconservatives, is enmeshed in an FBI investigation of alleged intelligence leaks that supplied secrets to Iran.

"As these events have come one after the other, they've been feeling more and more embattled," said a Republican Senate aide.

"Neocons" — best known for advocating aggressive foreign and military policies — are in the painful zone between distinction and disfavor in Washington. They are losing battles on Capitol Hill. Their principles have stopped appearing in new U.S. policies. And where neoconservatives were once seen as having a future in Republican administrations, the setbacks in Iraq could make it difficult for the group's leading members to win Senate confirmation for top posts in the future.

Fourteen months ago, Kenneth Adelman was one of the prominent neoconservatives who took part in a now-storied victory celebration at the home of Vice President Dick Cheney that was described in Bob Woodward's book "Plan of Attack."

Since then, Adelman acknowledged, the group's influence has declined, because "Iraq didn't turn out to be as promising as it was billed."

Adelman, a former Reagan administration official, said that although he supported the rationale for the war, he was torn about what had happened since. "I still have to sort it all out. I'm just not settled yet," he said.

Other neocons worry that the real trouble for them could begin if President Bush is not reelected and, among conservatives, the finger-pointing begins — in their direction.

Comment: The fact that Adelman served under Reagan and was whopping it up with the chickenhawks over at Dick's place, leads us to wonder if the events we are seeing unfold today were in the planning even under Reagan. As to the NeoCon party at Cheney's house, all Americans and others that bought into the lies, and continue to do so, should realise that the party was not really a celebration of the demise of Saddam, but the fact that Cheney et al were able to fool the entire American public into believing their staggeringly unbelievable story.

But what of the poor NeoCons! War criminals that should be tried and imprisoned for their actions, yet all they have to "trouble" them is the idea that they may not get another 4 years leading Bush by the nose. How sad, we really feel their pain...

Neoconservatives have been especially focused on the Middle East, and they have argued that building democracy in the heart of the Arab world could foster reform throughout a troubled region.

Comment: The above idea, which has been repeated ad nauseam as the rationale for war, is pure bunk! Does anyone really believe that a true fair and just democracy can be imposed on a entire nation in a matter of months? Apparently much of the western world does, but then much of the western world is so gullible and ignorant of reality (thanks to their "leaders" and government controlled media) that they can be lead to believe anything.

Although Bush campaigned in 2000 on a platform that opposed nonessential nation-building missions, he moved sharply toward the neocon view after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Comment: The truth is that Bush knows little of foreign policy or what the real agenda of his puppetmasters is. He is simply a pawn, a figurehead, a mouthpiece to voice lies and illusions to the American public while the real directors of the USA plot the destruction of the last vestiges of the little freedom that Americans had. All Bush cares about, or is able to care about, is "I'm the president of the god damn United States!" As he is alleged to have said not long after his appointment to the White House.

His administration includes a number of officials considered neocons, including Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz; Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of Defense for policy; and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

Cheney shares many views with the neocons, but many analysts argue that because of his background and views, he is a traditional conservative.

Neoconservatives had been pushing the United States to oust Saddam Hussein for years, and they exulted in his fall. But they grew concerned when officials in charge of the U.S.-led occupation in Iraq took steps the neocons did not favor.

Comment: And why did they "exult" in the fall of Saddam? Was it that they were so happy for all freedom loving people around the world that one more evil tyrant had been ousted and the world was now a safer place for the children? Well, maybe. But a much more likely reason is the fact that many billion dollar contracts would now be awarded to US contractors to "rebuild Iraq", not to mention the large quantity of Iraqi oil reserves that would now come under the direct control of US companies. Which companies? Oh, just normal average companies which, coincidentally, the boys whooping it up in Cheney's house happened to be stakeholders in. Hey, you'd be whooping it up too...

One group of neoconservatives, including onetime Reagan Defense official Richard Perle, was unhappy that the White House didn't move more quickly to turn sovereignty over to Iraqis and put the country in control of dissidents such as Chalabi.

As the postwar problems deepened, many neocons found themselves in the strange position of criticizing the White House, while being blamed in various quarters around the world for provoking the war. An antiwar group in Brussels created a shadow international tribunal that convicted the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative think tank founded by Kristol, for war crimes.

"It's not fun to be accused of war crimes," said Gary Schmitt, the center's executive director.

Comment: No it is certainly not Gary, and again, we feel your pain, but at the moment we are too busy studying pictures of the 10-15,000 Iraqi civilians that you and your friends at PNAC decided to murder so as to incorporate the Iraqi nation into the freedom lovers club of Jewish NeoCon affiliated countries. So do please excuse us if the sympathy card arrives a little late...

Some neoconservatives see an element of anti-Semitism among their critics, because many prominent adherents are Jewish. Neocons also discount views that they are a "cabal" that wields improper influence over the administration.

Comment: Oh! well why didn't they say so in the first place! We didn't realise that if you were Jewish you were immune from prosecution for war crimes, and that, if you actually committed those war crimes, then any accusation that you did so is merely evidence of anti-semitism. Truly the definition of an anti-semite can no longer be a person that hates Jews, but rather a person that is hated by certain Jewish representatives and leaders.

Last year, Wolfowitz, a former senior State Department official, was frequently mentioned as a leading candidate to replace Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in a second Bush term. Now, congressional officials and neoconservatives agree there is little chance that Wolfowitz, seen as a primary advocate of the war, could survive a Senate confirmation.

"No way," said a senior Republican congressional aide.

Feith, the No. 3 Pentagon official, has been struggling to put to rest what he regards as unfair charges that he was trying to create a separate intelligence network in the Pentagon to guide administration decisions, and that he was an "intimate" of Chalabi. Feith met with Chalabi fewer than 10 times, said a spokesman.

Question: Why does Douglas Feith regard as "unfair" charges that he was "trying to create a separate intelligence network in the Pentagon to guide administration decisions"? Is it:

a) because he was doing no such thing!

or

b) because he was doing just that and someone made this information public and that's what's not fair?

Here are some clues...

Douglas Feith

An anonymous "Pentagon insider" told the Washington Times last year that Feith was the person who urged the Bush administration to make Saddam's WMD the chief public rationale for going to war immediately

Feith's office was in charge of Iraq's military prisons, but that's not the only reason his name keeps turning up in newspaper reports about the scandal. It was Feith who devised the legal solution for getting around the Geneva Conventions' prohibition on physically or psychologically coercing prisoners of war into talking. As a Pentagon official in the 1980s, Feith had laid out the argument that terrorists didn't deserve protection under the Geneva Conventions. Once the war on terrorism started, all he had to do was implement it.

And even more damning than his legal rule-making is Feith's reported reaction to complaints by military Judge Advocate General lawyers about the new, looser interrogation rules. "They said he had a dismissive, if not derisive, attitude toward the Geneva Conventions," Scott Horton, a lawyer who was approached by six outraged JAG officers last year, told the Chicago Tribune. "One of them said he calls it 'law in the service of terror.' "

Ah yes, thanks to Douglas' insistence that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to US soldiers, the world is a safer place, especially for Iraqi children in Abu Ghraib Prison...

Abu Ghraib Prison Abuse

By Scott Higham and Joe Stephens
Washington Post
Friday, May 21

Hilas (a detainee) also said he witnessed an Army translator having sex with a boy at the prison. He said the boy was between 15 and 18 years old. Someone hung sheets to block the view, but Hilas said he heard the boy's screams and climbed a door to get a better look. Hilas said he watched the assault and told investigators that it was documented by a female soldier taking pictures.

Loss of Feith in Douglas

By Jim Lobe
Asia Times 2003

[Feith's] now-defunct Office of Special Plans (OSP) is alleged to have collected - often with the help of the neo-conservatives' favorite Iraqi exile, Ahmed Chalabi - and "cooked" the most alarmist pre-war intelligence against Saddam Hussein and then "stovepiped" it to the White House via Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, unvetted by the intelligence agencies.

Still not sure? Check this little tidbit out:

In a particularly provocative move that raises a host of conflict-of-interest questions, Feith's former partner Zell has set up shop with Chalabi's nephew in Baghdad to help interested companies win contracts for reconstruction projects.

Now we can't be sure, but we suspect that the above provides evidence that Feith and the other Neocons had more on their minds than spreading "freedom and democracy" when they planned the Iraq invasion. So what happened to "freedom and democracy"? Ask George, he's the "Commander in Chief" after all...

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Bush the Narcissist - The Empire is His Mirror

By MICHAEL LEON

On February 7, 2004, Tim Russert interviewed President George W. Bush from the Oval Office for a highly-anticipated Meet the Press segment broadcast the following morning. The administration was politically wounded from Iraq and the powers that be at the White House thought or at least hoped that his appearance might stem the bleeding. It didn't. Bush was blasted across the political spectrum for an inept performance full of bromides and short on coherency. And his approval ratings crept downward.

Most strikingly, the Meet the Pres appearance offered a stark illustration of a defining feature of the man_Bush has a narcissistic personality disorder marked with authoritarian instincts, surprising ignorance, and an anti-intellectual bent that create a figure inspiring revulsion and loathing among many Americans and most of the world, AKA Bush hating.

Note the following exchange:

Tim Russert: Are you prepared to lose?

President Bush: No, I'm not going to lose.

Most public officials would have made the American people the focus of the answer and replied with something like: "Should the American people decide to reelect me...." or "The American people believe in...." But not narcissistic George. It's all about him and his internal world. The way he said "No, I'm going to lose" was weird. Bush was expressing his fervent belief he will win, period, any way, the electorate be damned. Would not a normal psychology offered in reply some nod that the decision is up to the electorate? And the way he said it was strange in tone, as though he were in touch with some force who assured him of his victory.

In another question, Bush was asked about the false statements the administration made regarding Saddam's threat to America. The reply: President Bush: I think, if I might remind you that in my language I called it a grave and gathering threat, but I don't want to get into word contests. But what I do want to share with you is my sentiment at the time. There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a danger to America. That is five mentions of "I" and three mentions of "my" in a too-brief response to a very important question.

One has to believe that most presidents would have made the facts of Saddam's alleged threat to the American people the focus of the answer and presented the case. Not narcissistic George. He rambled on about his self-involved estimation of his sentiments and doubts in his own mind as though they were what is important and not external reality and facts.

You can get the same thing, the yuck-what-is-this-guy-thinking-reaction, from most of Bush's unscripted public moments.

We are not psychological experts, but consider the leading indicators of a narcissistic personality disorder as derived from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:

* An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

* Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love * Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

* Requires excessive admiration

* Has a sense of entitlement

* Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends

* Lacks empathy

* Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him

* Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes

Do these indicators describe the idiotic decision to invade Iraq, the arrogance, political vindictiveness, sense of entitlement and moralizing religiosity of the militaristic, unilateralist, brought-to-you-by-God, with-me-or-against-me, my-enemies-are-assholes George W. Bush? They surly do. Most of us have met a narcissist at school or work. They are about the most annoying people one can deal with, creepy because no matter how hard you try to explain or communicate with them, you are still talking to this creature completely full of himself, delusional and self-important. No one likes these people. They are repulsive.

Despite the efforts of the White House image machine, George W. Bush the narcissist is coming through. That explains in part the visceral Bush-hating phenomenon, and also why the man is toast in November.

Forget his policies, if Bush were a enormously-warm, empathetic presence like Reagan or Clinton, he could get away with enacting a lot more of his hard-right policies in this depoliticized society.

You cannot talk to narcissists. You cannot talk to Bush, the man has a messiah complex who observes of himself that he has no self-doubt, cannot recall any mistakes that he has made and is in league with the supreme metaphysical force guiding his political decisions.

How does one suggest to a narcissist that he change his entire psychological view of the world?

Comment: Most of the above indicators of narcissism are also indicators of psychopathy, not that we needed anyone to tell us that Bush is a psychopath. Clearly he is. For more on psychopathy, see here.

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Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Torture

By MIKE WHITNEY
June 9, 2004

"THE GENEVA Conventions are so outdated and are written so broadly that they have become a sword used by terrorists to kill civilians, rather than a shield to protect civilians from terrorists. These international laws have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution."

This is the opening passage of Alan Dershowitz's attack on the Geneva Conventions. It sets the tone for a polemic that savages our continued commitment to the humane treatment of prisoners and endorses "varying forms of rough interrogation".

The essay, "The Rules of War Enable Terror", employs the Harvard professor's rhetorical skills to undermine the legal barriers that restrict the use of torture. It is a assault on the fundamental principles of human decency.

This is no exaggeration; Dershowitz is quite forceful in articulating his belief that treating people with dignity and humanity is anathema to the goals of the war on terror.

"The time has come to revisit the laws of war and to make them relevant to new realities," Dershowitz insists.

But what changes in the law does Dershowitz have in mind?

"The treaties against all forms of torture must begin to recognize differences in degree among varying forms of rough interrogation, ranging from trickery and humiliation, on the one hand, to lethal torture on the other. They must also recognize that any country faced with a ticking-time-bomb terrorist would resort to some forms of interrogation that are today prohibited by the treaty."

Ah, yes, the "ticking-time-bomb" theory once again; that "all purpose" pretext for excusing any imaginable form of cruelty. Dershowitz invokes the most extreme scenario and uses it as the rationale for overturning the laws that protect the individual.

The "ticking-time-bomb" theory has always served as a blanket justification for torture. It is the one example that convinces ordinary people that security should take precedence over human rights. When it is pointed out, however, that the victims of torture are no more than "suspects", (without positive proof of their culpability) attitudes quickly change.

Dershowitz also fails to mention that in countries where torture is permitted, its use quickly spreads to minor criminals who pose no real threat to society at large.

He knows as well as anyone, that once society entrusts the state with the power to use "physically coercive" measures, those measures are likely to be implemented well beyond their original mandate. It is a surefire prescription for widespread physical abuse against people who have no legal recourse.

We should consider the deleterious affects of abandoning our core principles for short term gain. Torture has an inherently corrupting influence on society. It deprives man of his humanity and elevates the state over the individual. The victims are stripped of their rights and left at the mercy of the state.

In Dershowitz's world, these constitutional protections are not only provisional, but subordinate to national security; the loftiest goal of all. It is a breathtaking departure from our professed commitment to human rights, and particularly surprising coming from an "officer of the court."

But, it is not merely torture that Dershowitz advocates, but murder; "premeditated", state sponsored murder.

"Democracies must be legally empowered to attack terrorists who hide among civilians, so long as proportional force is employed. Civilians who are killed while being used as human shields by terrorists must be deemed the victims of the terrorists who have chosen to hide among them, rather than those of the democracies who may have fired the fatal shot."

There are enormous gaps in Dershowitz's reasoning, the most prominent of which is his careless manner of excusing the killing of innocent civilians to achieve the objectives of the state. What Dershowitz blithely refers to as "proportional force" is in reality the "scattershot" justice practiced by Israel in their targeted assassination campaign. This is a policy that is so detestable, so utterly racist (it is impossible to imagine that Israel would ever fire missals into populated areas in Tel Aviv to dispatch an "alleged" terrorist; only in the enclaves of the "untermenschen") that it eschews any conceivable moral justification.

It is murder, plain and simple.

It's absurd for Dershowitz to suggest that "democracies must be legally empowered" to carry out these crimes. Assassination is NEVER the instrument of democracy, but tyranny. There is no consensus on assassination; no public mandate; it is the usurping of unauthorized power and a violation of the government's "sworn" commitment to operate within the law.

Again, Dershowitz demonstrates his frail grasp of the primary purpose of government. Governments are established as the guarantors of life and liberty; it is not within their authority to perpetrate illegal attacks on civilians, let alone to kill them.

The "extra judicial" killing of civilians is the highest crime government can commit. It is the complete breakdown of the legal firewall that protects the individual from the vagaries of state power.

It represents a total disregard for mans most fundamental right; the right to life. When the state claims the power to kill its own citizens or foreign nationals, the rule of law ceases to be.

In this respect, Dershowitz's defense of "targeted assassination" can be taken as an attack on the law itself. It implies that senior members of government can ignore "whatever" legal restraints they choose as long as their activities can be construed as fighting terrorism. The law can be conveniently dismissed when it does not coincide with the objectives of the people in charge.

Ironically, Dershowitz's belief, that it is acceptable to kill civilians in the pursuit of terrorists, is a validation of terrorism.

What difference does the motive make?

It is the willingness to sacrifice innocent people for one's own objectives that is, by definition, terrorism

Dershowitz essay ominously takes aim at those, "In the middle, who applaud the terrorism, encourage it, but do not actively facilitate it. At the guilty end are those who help finance it, who make martyrs of the suicide bombers, who help the terrorists hide among them, and who fail to report imminent attacks of which they are aware. The law should recognize this continuum in dealing with those who are complicit, to some degree, in terrorism."

Those who "applaud terrorism, but do not actively facilitate it"?

Those who are "complicit to some degree"? Does Dershowitz mean those who understand the roots of terror?

Does he mean those who speak of the "legitimate grievances" of oppressed people, some of whom fill the ranks of terrorist groups?

Does he mean those who oppose the Bush war on terror or who write for leftist web sites?

Dershowitz's world view appears to merge quite nicely with that of John Ashcroft; America's menace to civil liberties. Both of them seem to prefer flexible definitions of "terrorism" so that they can include anyone who might be "perceived" as a security risk. They favor a net that is large enough to entrap any possible threat, real or imagined.

Isn't this the precedent that led to the illegal detention of 1,100 Muslims following 9-11? (None of whom were ever connected to any terrorist group?)

Wasn't this the same logic that put thousands of innocent Iraqis behind bars in Abu Ghraib even though (according to the Red Cross) 70% to 90% of them were simply rounded up in random sweeps?

Dershowitz comments are vague but troubling. They suggest that our due process rights are too generous and should be reworked to accommodate security concerns. In his mind, the standard has shifted from "innocent until proven guilty" to "complicit to some degree". (a disturbing trend that we see reflected in the behavior of the Justice Dept)

Dershowitz's closing thoughts are revealing;

"The old black-and-white distinctions must be replaced by new categories, rules and approaches that strike the proper balance between preserving human rights and preventing human wrongs. For the law to work, it must be realistic and it must adapt to changing needs."

What Dershowitz is suggesting is that we toss out the cumbersome "constitutional" system ("adapt to changing needs") and morph into Fortress America, the United States of Paranoia; a country that is no longer guided by institutions and principles, but by fear and repression.

Maybe there was a time when the issues of torture and assassination could be lightheartedly debated in the insulated confines of a college classroom, but that time has passed. We are reminded almost daily, with photos and stories from Abu Ghraib, of the horrors that originate from the flawed reasoning of men like Dershowitz. [...]

There is a yawning chasm between "free societies" and the "national security state". It is the latter that emerges according to Dershowitz's recommendations.

Torture is a dramatic expansion of state power and sets us firmly on the path of unchecked government authority. It abandons much of what is admirable about American justice and our commitment to the rights of man.

It is a detour we don't need to take.

Comment: And yet, as the author points out, it is a detour that has already been taken - yet many Americans still do not see it. The national security state continues to evolve into an ever more blatant and menacing machine, steamrolling over the ideas of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America likes to point the finger, to blame someone else for the country's problems. Commies, Arab terrorists, bleeding heart liberals, and so on. Everyone wants the freedoms and benefits without the hassle - without having to take any responsibility for the actions of their government. This mindset is certainly no coincidence. It makes it that much easier for someone like Bush to declare, or even just imply, that he is infallible and that the problem in his war on terror is one person or a few bad apples - in this case some now infamous soldiers who worked at Abu Ghraib, and George Tenet.

Indeed, it seems there was a failure of intelligence regarding 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. But the failure was not the result of just one man, or one group of soldiers, or one intelligence agency, or even one president; the failure of intelligence was on the part of the American people. It is most interesting that a nation that so values self-sacrifice and personal responsibility when it comes to the military would be so lacking in these same characteristics when it comes to the government itself.

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The Pinochet Principle: Bush Defends Torture in the Name of National Security

Democracynow.com
Wednesday, June 9th, 2004

The administration has come under fire from human rights groups and military lawyers in recent days for concluding two years ago that it could ignore international and domestic laws and allow US soldiers to torture detainees.

A series of leaked memos published in the press this week outline how lawyers for the administration determined U.S. soldiers could torture detainees during interrogations by claiming it was in the interest of national security. The memos indicate that lawyers from the Defense and Justice departments as well as the White House and Vice President's office backed the policy changes.

During three hours of testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Attorney General John Ashcroft refused to provide copies of the memos in a session marked by several sharp exchanges. During the hearing Ashcroft came under questioning from Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy.

(Tape)
KENNEDY: In the front page of the Times, it has this quote, "A team of administration lawyers concluded in a March 2000 legal memorandum, President Bush was not bound either by international treaty prohibiting torture or by federal anti-torture law because he has the authority as commander in chief to approve any techniques needed to protect the nation's security." Do you agree with that conclusion?

ASHCROFT: Senator Kennedy, I'm not going to try and issue hypothetical...

KENNEDY: I'm not asking hypothetical. This is a memoranda that, again, was referred to today in the Post. "August 2002, Justice Department advised the White House that torturing Al Qaida terrorists in captivity abroad may be justified and that international laws against torture may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations." Do you agree with that?

ASHCROFT: I am not -- first of all, this administration rejects torture.

KENNEDY: I'm asking you whether this is -- these are -- there are three memoranda, January 9, 2002, signed by John Yo (ph), the August 2002 Justice Department, the (inaudible) amendment memo and the March 2000 -- the interagency working group. Those are three memoranda. Will you provide those to the committee?

ASHCROFT: No, I will not.

In July 2002, just one month before the August memo referred to by Kennedy, the U.S. had opposed a United Nations draft international treaty against torture that had taken a decade to negotiate and would have set up an international system of inspections for all sites where prisoners were held, to insure that torture was not taking place. Kennedy yesterday continued to press Ashcroft to release the memo when Delaware Senator yielded the floor to him:

(Tape)
KENNEDY: Just, General, has the president authorized you to invoke the executive privilege today on these documents?

ASHCROFT: I am not going to reveal discussions, whether I've had them or not had them, with the president. He asked me to deal with him as a matter of confidence. I have not invoked executive privilege today. I have explained to you why I'm not turning over the documents.

KENNEDY: Well, what are you invoking?

ASHCROFT: I have not invoked anything. I have just explained to you why I'm not turning over the documents.

BIDEN: Thank you very much. Well, General, that means you may be in contempt of Congress then. You got to have a reason not to answer our questions, as you know from you sitting up here. There may be a rationale for executive privilege that misses the point, but, you know, you have to have a reason. You are not allowed, under our Constitution, not to answer our questions, and that ain't constitutional.

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Detainees' Medical Files Shared

Guantanamo Interrogators' Access Criticized

By Peter Slevin and Joe Stephens
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Military interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been given access to the medical records of individual prisoners, a breach of patient confidentiality that ethicists describe as a violation of international medical standards designed to protect captives from inhumane treatment.

The files, which contain individual medical histories and other personal information about prisoners, have been made available to interrogators despite continued objections from the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Post. After discovering the practice in mid-2003, the Red Cross refused to send medical monitoring teams to the facility for more than six months, sources said.

There is no universally established international law governing medical confidentiality. But ethics experts said international medical standards bar sharing such information with interrogators to ensure it is not used to pressure prisoners to talk by withholding medicine or by using personal information to torment a detainee.

"I don't think any American medical worker, doctor, nurse should go along with this," said Arthur L. Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. "The role of health care workers in any facility should be solely looking after the health of patients; anybody who is not involved in that should not have access to medical records."

How military interrogators used the information is unknown. But a previously undisclosed Defense Department memo dated Oct. 9 cites Red Cross complaints that the medical files "are being used by interrogators to gain information in developing an interrogation plan." Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the facility at the time, denied the allegations, according to the memo.

Military officers have reported a continuous search for defensible ways to pressure Guantanamo's 600 prisoners to reveal details about terrorist operations and organizations. Early last year, the Defense Department formally authorized interrogators to use "stress and duress" techniques designed to disorient detainees and weaken resistance. With proper permission, the guidelines allow some prisoners to be subjected to techniques designed to "invoke feelings of futility." [...]

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Human Rights Groups Sue Over Iraq Abuses

By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer
June 10, 2004

WASHINGTON - An unusual racketeering lawsuit filed by human rights lawyers accuses U.S. civilian contractors at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq of conspiring to execute, rape and torture prisoners to boost corporate profits from military payments.

Some of the new abuse allegations were among the cruelest described so far within the Iraqi prisons.

One person, identified in court documents only as a prisoner named Rasheed, told lawyers his tongue was shocked with electricity and his toenails pulled out. Another person, identified only as a prisoner named Ahmed, said he was forced to watch while his 63-year-old father, Ibrahiem, was tortured to death.

A plaintiff identified only as a prisoner named Neisef told lawyers he was raped by a female interrogator who left him naked on the floor, saying "It is our job to take your manhood away."

Shereef Akeel, a Detroit lawyer, said the people he helps represent in the case were "subjected to unspeakable crimes."

The lawsuit seeks "substantial" payments for the alleged victims and a ban on future government contracts for Titan Corp. of San Diego and CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Va., whose employees worked as government interrogators and translators.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego, where Titan, the larger of the two defendants, is headquartered. It alleges violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the 1970 law that often is used by government prosecutors to go after organized crime.

Part of the allegation is that Titan and CACI would benefit if interrogations were successful and proved their worth, resulting in more government contracts.

Michael Ratner, president of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, cited a litany of international rules against torture and abuse and said, "Unfortunately, in this case, our administration and a number of contractors are outside the law." [...]

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Bush's Kiss of Death

By Molly Ivins, AlterNet
June 8, 2004

AUSTIN, Texas – As Lily Tomlin observed, "No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up." But as Con Ed used to say, dig we must. Courtesy of David Sirota at americanprogress.org, we find the following matches between word and deed:

Just before Memorial Day, Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi said, "Our active military respond better to Republicans" because of "the tremendous support that President Bush has provided for our military and our veterans." The same day, the White House announced plans for massive cuts in veterans' health care for 2006.

Last January, Bush praised veterans during a visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The same day, 164,000 veterans were told the White House was "immediately cutting off their access to the VA health care system."

My favorite in this category was the short-lived plan to charge soldiers wounded in Iraq for their meals when they got to American military hospitals. The plan mercifully died a-borning after it hit the newspapers.

In January 2003, just before the war, Bush said, "I want to make sure that our soldiers have the best possible pay." A few months later, the White House announced it would roll back increases in "imminent danger" pay (from $225 to $150) and family separation allowance (from $250 to $100).

In October 2003, the president told troops, "I want to thank you for your willingness to heed the important call, and I want to thank your families." Two weeks later, the White House announced it opposed a proposal to give National Guard and Reserve members access to the Pentagon's health insurance system, even though a recent General Accounting Office report estimated that one out of every five Guard members has no health insurance. What a nice thank you note.

A month before the war started, the White House proposed cutting $1.5 billion from funding for military housing. The House Armed Services Committee had concluded that thousands of military families were living "in decrepit and dilapidated military housing." Progressive lawmakers counter-proposed an amendment to restore $1 billion in housing funds and pay for it by reducing new tax cuts Bush was proposing for the 200,000 Americans who make more than $1 million a year. Instead of getting $88,000 in tax cuts, the poor millionaires would get only $83,000. The House, with White House backing, voted the proposal down. (All thanks to Sirota.)

With the release of the 2006 budget, we're constantly finding instances of programs that Bush, the candidate, proudly claims to support, while he prepares to cut them drastically in order to pay for making his tax cuts permanent.

According to The Washington Post, the White House guidelines for the 2006 budget include a $1.7 billion cut for education, supposedly his signature program. That neatly wipes out last year's increase – and, you may recall, the administration has never funded education at anything close to the figures in the original agreement with Sen. Ted Kennedy. Teachers say the No Child Left Behind law should be called "No Dollars Left Behind to Pay for It." Head Start is to be cut by $177 million, and the highly successful nutrition program for women, infants and children is to be cut by $100 million. [...]

Any time Bush goes out into the country and claims credit for, or praises the work being done by, some government program, it is an almost-certain kiss of death – budget cuts follow.

Are there any grown-ups in this administration? Budgets are the guts of government. "Who benefits?" and "Who pays?" are the only serious questions. Except, of course, for the always timely, "What the hell will they do to us next?"

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Bin Laden Has Mole Deep Within The White House

By David Lederman

06/09/04 "ICH" -- Osama bin Laden has a secret agent working for him in the United States and you definitely know who he is. He is able to recruit members for Osama's fantical Islamic cause.

He does this by invading an Islamic country that had not ties whatsoever with 9/11. He does this by promising freedom and democracy to those invaded countries but instead delivers sweetheart deals to his oil buddies and military cronies. He tops this off by delivering rampant unemployment, human rights abuses, the killing of innocent men, women, and children, and toerating an atmosphere of lawlessness to exist. Who is this man? His name is George W. Bush.

Yes, Osama bin Landen couldn't have asked for a better recruiter for Al Qaeda than George W. Bush. [...] (Ed. - or his "handlers")

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Schoolgirls find Iraq less free

By Deborah Horan
Chicago Tribune


BAGHDAD, Iraq — The Sami sisters, ages 17, 15 and 11, listen to Madonna and Britney Spears. They play basketball and read Agatha Christie novels and watch movies starring Russell Crowe.

They also rarely venture outside their upscale home in central Baghdad out of fear of explosions and violence.

Most days, the Iraqi schoolgirls say, they can hear gunfire ring out in the distance, and sometimes closer to home. When a bomb detonated in front of the Red Cross headquarters in October, the explosion was so close to Mais Sami's Tigris Middle School that the ninth-grader thought the school grounds were hit.

In April, insurgents aiming for an adjacent Iraqi police station launched a mortar round into the field behind the school, sending Mais and her classmates home for 10 days while school authorities determined whether holding classes in the building was safe.

"We thought it was the al-Mahdi Army," said Mais, a thin girl dressed in faded jeans and a green T-shirt. At 15, she knows all about the black-clad militia loyal to rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that has been battling U.S. troops.

Their teenage world was simpler when Saddam Hussein was in power.

Back then, they said, they hung out with friends at the Pharmacists Club, a swanky place with a swimming pool to which their father, the vice president of Iraq's Pharmacists Union, belonged.

They watched the latest American and French movies on a television station called Shabbab, "Youth" in Arabic, that was run by Saddam's son Odai, who pirated the latest flicks from the United States and Europe and showed them for free.

"Before, we would have fun," said Farah Sami, 17, a dark-haired girl wearing a frilly white top and jeans. "I used to go see my friends. I would even go walking. Now the city is not safe, and I'm afraid."

Comment: That's what we can't understand, why are these Iraqis so ungrateful? Have we not bestowed our wonderful "freedom and democracy" on them? Did not our leaders sacrifice so much just to install a just, representative and democratic government in Iraq? It really is perplexing, maybe it is true what they say, maybe those Arabs really are all a bit "crazy"... or maybe there is some other reason...

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Ex-C.I.A. Aides Say New Iraqi PM Helped Agency in 90's Attacks

Joel Brinkley
New York Times
June 9, 2004

WASHINGTON, June 8 — Iyad Allawi, now the designated prime minister of Iraq, ran an exile organization intent on deposing Saddam Hussein that sent agents into Baghdad in the early 1990's to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the C.I.A., several former intelligence officials say.

Dr. Allawi's group, the Iraqi National Accord, used car bombs and other explosive devices... Ex-CIA officer Robert Baer, recalled that a bombing during that period "blew up a school bus; schoolchildren were killed."

Dr. Allawi's group, the Iraqi National Accord, used car bombs and other explosive devices smuggled into Baghdad from northern Iraq, the officials said. Evaluations of the effectiveness of the bombing campaign varied, although the former officials interviewed agreed that it never threatened Saddam Hussein's rule.

No public records of the bombing campaign exist, and the former officials said their recollections were in many cases sketchy, and in some cases contradictory. They could not even recall exactly when it occurred, though the interviews made it clear it was between 1992 and 1995.

The Iraqi government at the time claimed that the bombs, including one it said exploded in a movie theater, resulted in many civilian casualties. But whether the bombings actually killed any civilians could not be confirmed because, as a former C.I.A. official said, the United States had no significant intelligence sources in Iraq then.

One former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was based in the region, Robert Baer, recalled that a bombing during that period "blew up a school bus; schoolchildren were killed." Mr. Baer, a critic of the Iraq war, said he did not recall which resistance group might have set off that bomb.

Other former intelligence officials said Dr. Allawi's organization was the only resistance group involved in bombings and sabotage at that time.

Comment: Yes indeed, we really don't know why those Iraqis don't appreciate their new democratic, "home-grown" leader...

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A Plunge From the Moral Heights

By Richard Cohen
Thursday, June 10, 2004; Page A19

Come and sit with me for a moment. I am in a room, in a Middle Eastern country, and I am talking to a government official. He mentions the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the U.S.-run prison outside Baghdad, and what this has done to America's image in his region. He smiles at what he says, for he is a man who appreciates irony. Of course, this same thing happens in his country, he says. Inwardly, I smile back, smug in my confidence that Abu Ghraib or no Abu Ghraib, America is a different sort of nation. It now seems I was a bit too smug.

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Israeli adviser to Prime Minister Sharon says Gaza homes will be destroyed

06:20 AM EDT Jun 10

WASHINGTON (AP) - Israel will destroy the homes of Jewish settlers when it withdraws from Gaza but will leave public buildings standing, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Wednesday.

Initially, the homes were to be left for Palestinians to take over after Israel withdrew all 7,500 settlers and all its troops from the territory. In urging Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia to "seize the opportunity" presented by Sharon's plan, Secretary of State Colin Powell had welcomed Israel's turning over the Jewish homes to Palestinians as a helpful move.

But Zalman Shoval, an adviser to Sharon and a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, said the homes would be destroyed.

He also said in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a private research group, that office buildings would be left intact.

Construction of new homes in Gaza was frozen last Sunday, he said.

Explaining the decision to destroy homes as they were evacuated, Shoval said many Israelis did not want to see Palestinian flags flying from homes once occupied by Israeli Jews.

Comment: The mean-spirited, petty character of the Israeli settlers is revealed here. Of course, anyone who has done any study at all of the Torah is aware that Jews consider non-Jews as subhuman. Wishing to destroy the homes is also a reflection of this belief.

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Israel develops own cruise missile: report

Last Updated Wed, 09 Jun 2004 16:25:32

JERUSALEM - Israel has developed a short-range surface-to-surface cruise missile capable of reaching all of its neighbours, according to a report.

The development of the Delilah-GL (ground launch), with a range of at least 250 kilometres, ends Israel's decade-long quest for such a missile, according to London-based Jane's Defence Weekly.

The U.S. has twice turned down Israeli requests to buy American Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles, reports the specialist magazine in its online edition.

The Delilah-GL comes equipped with a 30-kilogram conventional explosive warhead. But it's capable of carrying various payloads including infrared target seeking and guidance devices.

Israeli defence officials told Jane's the missile - an adaptation of the long-range air-launched Delilah missile - could reach "well beyond 300 kilometers."

That means the Delilah-GL could reach the capitals of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, but barely reach significant targets in Egypt. The missile could not reach targets in Iran.

It's guided by a global positioning system and can hover in an area before confirming its target through real-time visual intelligence transmitted back to the operator, Jane's reports.

Israel, which is thought to have nuclear weapons though it has never officially confirmed this, already has a long-range surface-to-surface missile, called the Jericho II.

That missile is estimated to have a range of at least 1,500 kilometres and is believed to be capable of delivering payloads weighing up to 1,000 kilograms.

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Occupation tanks poised to enter Falluja

Aljazeera
Wednesday 09 June 2004, 14:54 Makka Time, 11:54 GMT

US tanks have taken up positions around Falluja and appear to be preparing to enter the Iraqi city.

At least 15 tanks were seen on Wednesday taking up temporary stations one kilometre past the US checkpoint that leads into the city.

Iraqi officials in Falluja confirmed that American troops had asked local authorities to provide them with safe passage through the city.

A Sunni Muslim bastion, Falluja was rocked to its foundations in April by some of the heaviest fighting in Iraq since the US-led invasion began last year.

The last US troop patrol in the city was on 10 May, shortly after they struck an agreement with resistance fighters to end a weeks-long siege and allow Iraqi police and ex-army figures to maintain security.

The tank patrol follows an attack overnight on an Iraqi general charged with imposing security in Falluja.

The raid killed 12 members of General Muhammad Latif's militia and wounded 10 more, though Latif is not believed to have been injured. [...]

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G8 harmony dissolves, US-France spats back

Thu Jun 10, 7:32 AM ET

SEA ISLAND, Georgia (AFP) - World leaders wrap up a G8 summit after a new era of trans-Atlantic unity dissolved in just one day into fresh US-France spats and squabbles over Iraq's 120 billion dollar debt pile. [...]

Leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States did manage to agree on Bush's controversial reform plan for the Islamic world.

They also endorsed an end-of-July target for an outline deal on the most divisive issues in global trade talks, unveiled measures to halt transfers of nuclear technology and endorsed airline security improvements. [...]

They clashed on NATO's role in Iraq, after Bush called for a greater presence of the Western alliance in the occupation.

"We will work with our NATO friends to at least continue the role that now exists and hopefully expand it somewhat," Bush said after meeting top ally British Prime Minister Tony Blair. [...]

Facing a knife-edge reelection battle, Bush wants to ease the plight of US troops, many of whom are reservists or on extended tours as they battle a vicious insurgency.

But French President Jacques Chirac, a fierce critic of Bush's decision to invade Iraq, threw up an immediate roadblock.

"I do not think that it is NATO's job to intervene in Iraq," Chirac said.

"Moreover, I do not have the feeling that it would be either timely or necessarily well understood," said Chirac.

"I see myself with strong reservations on this initiative." [...]

Chirac also had pointed criticism for Bush's economic policies, warning yawning US trade and budget deficits could dampen world economic prospects.

He said he and some other leaders worried about the "possible consequences of the large US budget and trade deficit for the future and notably on interest rate developments." [...]

Discord also surfaced over the issue of Iraq's mountainous debt, with European states resisting US calls to quickly forgive almost all of it. [...]

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Ayoon wa Azan (Hope They Both Lose!!)

Jihad Al Khazen Al-Hayat 2004/06/8

I hope that George W. Bush and John Kerry will lose in the American presidential elections. However, I know that it will not happen, and my consolation is that only one of them will win.

I wrote in this column that Kerry's policy in the Middle East is worse than Bush's; although it seems impossible.

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News analysis

Egyptian-American documentary producer Jehane Noujaim has broken box office records with Control Room, her latest documentary, writes Yasmine El-Rashidi

[...] Noujaim's film provides an opportunity to re- examine one of the most pressing questions in international relations today -- is America radicalising or stabilising the Arab world? And in doing so it spotlights the complexities of television news making during times of war, when opinions and viewpoints are intensely held and information closely managed.

In providing a balanced view of Al-Jazeera's presentation of the second Iraq war to Arab viewers around the world, Control Room calls into question many of the perspectives -- cast as realities -- offered to the world by the US media. The documentary offers viewers a place in the offices of Al- Jazeera from which to look out at the war and the world.

Branded "Osama Bin-Laden's mouthpiece" by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the network has been the subject of much criticism by US administration officials.

"We are dealing with people who are perfectly willing to lie to the world in order to further their case," Rumsfeld says in a clip from an address to the press about Al-Jazeera included in the documentary.

During the war, and its disastrous aftermath, Al- Jazeera reporters have been repeatedly accused of bias -- the result, perhaps, of presenting to the world footage from which the rest of the world's media had shied away.

At one point in the film Lieutenant Josh Rushing, a young American military spokesman, responds to Al-Jazeera's explicit depictions of those killed during the war.

"The night they showed the P.O.W.'s and dead soldiers," he says, "it was powerful, because Americans won't show those kinds of images. It made me sick to my stomach."

The images produced an uproar in the US and Britain, and led US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld to accuse Al-Jazeera of violating the Geneva Conventions.

Control Room explores how truth is gathered, presented, and ultimately created by those who deliver it.

[...] "What I'm trying to figure out for myself," says Noujaim, "is why I feel I'm in a bubble when I'm in the United States? And it has to do with the fact that when you turn on the television you see a very small selection of information. Abdullah Schlieffer, one of the characters in the documentary, would say, 'well, because the US is the most powerful country in the world, there is no need to really look far outside of the United States.' Hassan [the Sudanese Jazeera journalist] says that there's this feeling that you're surrounded by a big ocean, so you're not touched by the countries around you."

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Unpacking 'Enlightened Moderation'

Masooda Bano, Arab News

[...] Starting from being an authority on what is best for Pakistan, since the last OIC submit Gen. Musharraf seems to know all that is best for the Muslims too. He is keen to sell his vision of "enlightened moderation" as a solution to problems of the Muslim world. The opening of the OIC meeting in Islamabad this week has been followed by massive attempt to again promote this vision of Gen. Musharraf.

Musharraf has published an article titled "Plea for Enlightened Moderation" not only in the Pakistani press but also in Washington Post (reprinted in the Arab News on June3 ). Given that the article deals with a vision for the entire Muslim world, it is important to unpack it and see who it blames, who is addresses, and what solution it processes.

There are many issues with this article that raise serious concerns. To begin with, winning pity from the rest of the world is what this article achieves for the Muslim world. The article shows an extremely apologetic mindset. It draws an extremely bleak picture of the current state of the Muslims. "When I think of the role of Muslims in today's world, my heart weeps" is one of the lines from the article. It paints Muslims as the poorest, the most uneducated, the most powerless and the most disunited people in the world.

True, Muslim countries are not leading the world today, but at the same time the Muslim world is by no means as deprived and miserable as Gen. Musharraf views this world to be. The article just completely sidelines the educated, intelligent Muslims that do still exist in huge numbers. Also, it gives no credit to the rich traditions and culture of the Muslim world that still remain intact.

There are two key problems with painting such a hopeless and demoralizing picture of the Muslims. One, the situation does not reflect the diversity of the Muslim world. It reduces the entire Muslim world to this helpless, powerless nation. Apart from everything else, what about the oil wealth of the Muslim countries alone which, if controlled, can send shudders down the Western world. Two, it automatically, puts the West in the superior position, and Muslims in a subordinate position. Why Gen. Musharraf should want to publish this article in a leading US daily is beyond comprehension. All it does is tell the American audience that yes you people are right, the Muslims are a hopeless case and to be held responsible for the problems of today's world.

The article accepts completely that Muslim groups are responsible for terrorism. It refers briefly to the politics of the Western world that has led to the resistance within the Muslim world but in terms of today it holds only the Muslims extremist groups responsible for the current tension in the world. The differentiation between freedom fighters and terrorists has no space in his analysis. Nor does he have any thoughts on how US continued "war on terrorism" is not the solution to bridge the perceived gap between the Muslims and the rest of the world.

[...] Gen. Musharraf "Enlightened Moderation" is not a two-step process; it is one and only one thing: All Muslims obey unquestioningly what US demands, the few crumbs that US will throw out as rewards for obeying these demands is where the salvation of Muslims lies.

Comment: To better understand why Musharraf "should want to publish" such an article in a leading US daily, read our article on links between Pakistan and the CIA.

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Eleven Chinese construction workers shot dead in north Afghanistan

AFP
Thursday June 10, 5:00 PM

Eleven Chinese construction workers were gunned down in a usually peaceful area of northeastern Afghanistan in the worst attack on foreigners since the fall of the Taliban nearly three years ago.

Around 20 armed men stormed a compound housing Chinese workers building a road in Kunduz province, 250 kilometres (150 miles) north of Kabul, and opened fire on sleeping workers with automatic weapons, the Chinese embassy said.

The night-time killing was the second murder of foreigners in a week in northern Afghanistan, up until now considered free of the bloody insurgency wracking the south and southeast.

On June 2 three Europeans working for Medecins Sans Frontieres and their two local assistants were shot dead on a road in the northwest province of Badghis. [...]

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Report: Two Men Tell of Libya Plan to Kill Saudi Ruler

Thu Jun 10, 2:29 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Libyan intelligence was plotting last year to assassinate the leader of Saudi Arabia, two participants in the plan told U.S. and Saudi officials, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

One of the participants, Abdurahman Alamoudi, an American Muslim leader now jailed in Alexandria, Virginia, has told FBI officials and federal prosecutors that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi approved the assassination plan, the newspaper said.

Gaddafi's son, in an interview in London, called the accusation nonsense, the Times said.

Mohamed Ismael, a Libyan intelligence officer in Saudi custody, also gave separate statements to Saudi officials outlining the plot, the newspaper said.

Ismael has said that his orders to be operational commander of the plot came from two Libyan intelligence chiefs who report directly to Gaddafi, the newspaper said.

U.S. officials confirmed that Alamoudi and Ismael have offered detailed accounts of a Libyan plot to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah and that they appear to be credible enough to have launched a U.S. investigation, the Times said. [...]

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China Says Doubts N.Korea Has Uranium Program

By Benjamin Kang Lim
Thu Jun 10, 2:05 AM ET

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has cast doubt on U.S. assertions that North Korea has a uranium program, the biggest stumbling block to defusing a crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, as Beijing gears up to host a new round of talks.

The United States had yet to persuade China that North Korea had a uranium program in addition to a plutonium program to develop fuel for nuclear bombs, China's deputy foreign minister, Zhou Wenzhong, said in an interview with The New York Times.

"We know nothing about the uranium program," Zhou said. "We don't know whether it exists. So far the U.S. has not presented convincing evidence of this program." [...]

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China's doubts about North Korean nuclear ambition puzzling: US

WASHINGTON (AFP) Jun 10, 2004

The United States maintained Wednesday that North Korea had been trying to build nuclear bombs using uranium, despite doubts expressed by China.

Deputy Chinese foreign minister Zhou Wenzhong in an interview with the New York Times published Wednesday said he doubted US claims that North Korea had an enriched uranium program and urged Washington to stop using the allegations to hold up nuclear talks.

He said the United States had yet to persuade China that North Korea had both uranium and plutonium programs to develop fuel for nuclear bombs.

The US State Department described Zhou's statement as "puzzling.

"We saw the story and, frankly, we find the assistant foreign minister's comments somewhat puzzling," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters.

"We have made clear over time that there is very conclusive information that North Korea has a covert uranium enrichment program," he said.

North Korea had itself acknowledged previously that it was pursuing uranium enrichment, Boucher said.

"They have asserted their so-called right to develop nuclear weapons," he said.

Boucher cited recent revelations by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan about North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Khan, a one-time national hero credited with making Pakistan a nuclear power, has admitted selling nuclear secrets abroad and to assisting North Korea's nuclear enrichment program.

"So, certainly there can be no doubt that North Korean's nuclear activities represent a clear threat and they violate several important international agreements as well as the commitments that North Korea has made in the past," Boucher said. [...]

Comment: And yet it is perfectly acceptable for America to develop new nuclear weapons and illegally detain and torture innocent people around the world in violation of numerous international treaties. Ah, the hypocrisy!

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France, Britain to cooperate on aircraft carrier construction

ABOARD THE CHARLES DE GAULLE (AFP) Jun 09, 2004

France and Britain announced Wednesday an agreement to work toward cooperation on the construction of their future aircraft carriers.

French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and her British counterpart Geoff Hoon, meeting aboard France's nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle carrier off the English city of Portsmouth, said the two sides had set a June 2005 target for reaching an industrial accord.

"The objective of the procurement strand is to reach by June 2005 an agreed understanding between industry and both ministries of defense on the prospects for industrial cooperation between the two programs (on aircraft carrier construction)," the ministers said in a joint declaration.

The two sides agreed an interim deadline of September for an initial joint evaluation of the prospects of such an industrial pact. [...]

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Motive for Cologne bomb blast a mystery

Thursday June 10, 07:15 AM

COLOGNE, Germany (Reuters) - The motive behind Wednesday's bomb blast in Cologne remains unclear as police say they still don't know if it was a political attack, organised crime or a private settling of scores.

The bomb attack in a predominantly Turkish district of the western German city wrecked a shop and a hairdressing salon and injured 22 people, four of them seriously, although none of the injuries were life-threatening. [...]

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Sudanese tell of mass rape

By Alexis Masciarelli and Ilona Eveleens
Darfur

Fifteen-year-old Aziza says she was also raped by the Janjaweed back in February. "When Kaileck was attacked, I fled towards the mountains, but five horsemen caught me and took me far away in a field," she says.

"All five of them raped me twice. They kept me for 10 days. They whipped me." "I could not say anything because they were armed. All I could do was to cry."

"They tied up my arms and my legs and would only release me when they raped me. They called me Abeid (slave in Arabic)." "Eventually they abandoned me. Someone told my mother where I was and she came to take me back. I could not walk by myself."

But the ordeal did not stop then.

"When I arrived in Kaileck, I learnt that the Janjaweed had killed my father." "I am still in pain and I can't really control myself. But I have not seen any doctor."

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Is the world's oil running out fast?

By Adam Porter
BBC
Monday, 7 June, 2004, 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK

How long will the oil keep flowing?

If you think oil prices are high at $40 a barrel then wait till they are four times that much.

How will you pay to run your car? How will you get the children to school? How will you heat your house? How much will transported food go up in price?

How will we pay for plastics, metals, rubber, cheap flights, Simpson's DVDs, 3G phones and everlasting economic growth?

The basic answer is, we won't.

This is the message from the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO).

The group of oil executives, geologists, investment bankers, academics and others has been warning the world of high oil prices, and the ensuing fallout, for some years now.

The end of cheap oil

It includes a diverse range of oil industry insiders.

People like Ali Bakhtiari, head of strategic planning at Iran's National Oil Company (NOIC), Dr Colin Campbell, a former executive vice president of Total-Fina, and Matthew Simmons, an energy investment banker and adviser to the controversial Bush-Cheney energy plan.

They are united by one idea, that global oil production is about to peak, which in turn will signal the permanent end of cheap oil.

And they warn that this is the foundation of the current rise in oil prices.

Who hurts when prices explode?

"Oil is far too cheap at the moment," says Mr Simmons.

"The figure I'd use is around $182 a barrel. We need to price oil realistically to control its demand. That is because global production is peaking." [...]

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Teenagers jailed for torturing student

Ben Aris in Berlin
Thursday June 10, 2004
The Guardian

A German court yesterday jailed the teenage ringleaders in a class of students that tortured a schoolmate for months and posted film clips of the abuse on the internet.

The three teenagers, identified only by their first names, were found guilty of torturing the victim known as Dieter, then aged 17, nearly every day between last November and January this year.

The members of class 03B at the Werner von Siemens school in Hildesheim in northern Germany took turns to beat Dieter with iron bars, pummelling him with their fists and kicking him while he lay on the floor nearly every day over a three-month period.

The abuse was only discovered after Dieter began to suffer from psychological problems.

All nine students on trial confessed to 26 criminal charges including grievous bodily harm, coercion and blackmail.

The judge sentenced Alexander, 18, and Patrick, 17, to 18 months, while Tibet, 17, received a 15-month sentence.

Two of the other six students received suspended sentences of nine and 12 months respectively. The others were given a total of 200 hours of community service and will have to attend a first aid course.

The case against the remaining two members of the class was dismissed for a lack of evidence.

The attacks began shortly after Dieter joined the school for a one-year vocational course. The school offers vocational training for children with poor academic records.

Spurred on by the three ringleaders, nearly all the students participated in beating Dieter. They filmed some of the attacks and posted clips on the internet.

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Medical errors kill up to 24,000 Canadians a year

Last Updated Wed, 09 Jun 2004 22:12:33

TORONTO - Nearly a quarter of Canadian adults say they or a family member have experienced a preventable medical error, according to a report released Wednesday. Drug errors and infections top the list.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information's fifth annual report (Health Care in Canada 2004) used the institute's studies and Statistics Canada data to examine patient safety. For the first time, it compares how common some errors are.

In May, a comprehensive study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found preventable medical errors contribute to between 9,000 and 24,000 deaths in Canada a year.

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Tourists Flocking Back to Bridges, Dams

By JOHN K. WILEY, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jun 10, 3:02 AM ET

GRAND COULEE DAM, Wash. - Tourists are flocking back to the nation's engineering marvels — the dams, bridges and other structures that had seen increased security and lightened visitor traffic since September 2001 - despite the fact that they're still potential terrorist targets. [...]

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Oak Island's lords of the ring: Frozen circle of dirt could solve mystery, say treasure hunters

By BEVERLEY WARE / South Shore Bureau

WESTERN SHORE - A frozen ring could finally solve the mystery of Oak Island. But this ring is no precious gem - it's a mass of frozen dirt.

That's the premise of a plan devised by two geotechnical engineers intent on determining once and for all whether there's buried treasure on the 56-hectare island.

"This is a good plan with a high chance of success in solving the mystery," said Les MacPhie, vice-president of SNC Lavalin subsidiary Geocon, of Montreal.

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Human impact delaying ice age, study finds

By CHRIS DOLMETSCH
Bloomberg News
Thursday, June 10, 2004

Earth's current climate may last for at least another 15,000 years, barring any effects from human intervention, according to a new study of Antarctic ice published in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

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Two Dead, 18 Missing as Tornado Hits Philippines

June 10, 2004

MANILA (Reuters) - A tornado ripped through a town in the central Philippines, destroying hundreds of flimsy houses and killing at least two people, the national disaster agency and the coast guard said on Thursday.

A dozen residents from the coastal town of Dulag on Leyte island were reported missing.

The tornado, which lasted 35 minutes on Wednesday morning, destroyed about 900 houses, leaving one elderly man dead and four people wounded, agency officials said. [...]

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Electrical storms in northern Germany spark fires, flooding

HAMBURG, Germany (AFP) Jun 09, 2004

Fierce storms lashed northern Germany Wednesday, snarling traffic and sparking hundreds of fires, authorities said.

Fallen trees and branches blocked rail lines and roads and damaged roofs and cars while heavy rains flooded several streets.

Rail travel between the ports of Hamburg and Kiel was disrupted and trains bound from Hamburg to Berlin had to be rerouted. Traffic on the autobahns around Hamburg was backed up for several kilometers (miles).

Lightning was believed to have started a fire at a Dow chemical plant in the city of Stade, when hydrogen-based exhaust from a ventilation pipe on the roof ignited. The company said the blaze caused no damage.

Electrical storms led to a fire at a wind farm in the town of Wulfshagen. Firefighters let the windmill's rotor burn because they were unable to reach it with hoses.

In Hamburg, the fire brigade took 260 emergency calls while large swathes of the state of Schleswig-Holstein on the Danish border lost electricity.

Meteorologists warned of further storms in the eastern states of Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg and said tornadoes were possible.

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Lightning kills four in central Pakistan

MULTAN, Pakistan (AFP) Jun 09, 2004

Three women and a man were killed by in a lightning strike in central Pakistan in an early monsoon thunderstorm, police and hospital officials said Wednesday.

"Four persons including three women died and more than a dozen people were injured by lightning," Aftab Ahmed Shaikh, senior medical officer in Leiah district told AFP. [...]

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Power outages plague Island

WebPosted Jun 9 2004 03:49 PM ADT

CHARLOTTETOWN - Maritime Electric said crews will be working through Wednesday to restore power to parts of Prince Edward Island.

At noontime around 3,100 customers were without power. A lightning storm earlier in the day is being blamed for the outages. [...]

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Nfld., N.S. phone cables deliberately cut

Last Updated Wed, 09 Jun 2004 22:07:34

ST. JOHN'S, NFLD. - The RCMP confirmed Wednesday that two fibre optic cables were deliberately damaged, cutting off phone, internet and cable service overnight to 200,000 people in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. [...]

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In sweltering summer heat, China sounds alarm bell over water shortages

BEIJING (AFP) Jun 09, 2004

Facing another hot and dry summer, China is sounding the alarm bell over its worsening water shortage and the very real effect it has already started to have on the economy, state media said Wednesday.

The bad news is that China's water supply is under greater pressure than ever, and the even worse news is that the situation will go on deteriorating until 2030, when the population peaks at 1.6 billion, the China Daily said.

"By then, China may be plunged into a water crisis," said Suo Lisheng, vice minister of water resources. [...]

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Man's body lies undisturbed for two decades in Tokyo apartment

01:31 PM EDT Jun 10

TOKYO (AP) - The decomposed body of a man dressed in pyjamas was discovered in an abandoned Tokyo apartment building 20 years after he is believed to have died, police said Thursday.

A Tokyo Metropolitan Police official said construction workers were preparing to tear down the building earlier this month when they found the man's skeletal remains laying face-up on a mattress on the tatami mat floor of a second-floor room.

The morning edition of a newspaper dated Feb. 20, 1984, was on a table nearby and a calendar, opened to the same month, hung on the wall, said the official, who refused to be identified.

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Danish Lutheran minister who says God doesn't exist is suspended again

01:31 PM EDT Jun 10
JAN M. OLSEN

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - The Lutheran minister who proclaimed last year that there is no God or afterlife was suspended a second time Thursday for ignoring church orders not to repeat those beliefs from the pulpit.

Helsingoer Bishop Lise-Lotte Rebel suspended Rev. Thorkild Grosboell, pastor of Taarbaek, and handed his case to the government "requesting that it take the necessary steps."

In Denmark, Lutheran ministers are employed by the state and only the government can fire them and only with a recommendation from their presiding bishop. Rebel oversees the diocese that includes Taarbaek, a small town north of Copenhagen.

Grosboell has been under Rebel's strict supervision since he first was suspended after a May 2003 interview in which he said "there is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection."

About 85 per cent of Danes belong to the state Evangelical Lutheran Church, though just five per cent attend church services regularly.

Grosboell eventually retracted his statement and apologized for what Rebel had termed "provocative" remarks. His suspension was lifted.

Yet, he repeated those beliefs in past weeks.

"I expected he would change his mind," the bishop said in a statement Thursday.

Grosboell "again has spoken in a strongly provocative, hurting and confusing way," Rebel said.

She cited an undated but recent sermon in which Grosboell allegedly said, "God had abdicated in favour of his son, hence in our favour."

"Therefore there is no longer a heavenly guarantee or an interfering might, there is only the godly kingdom (on earth) that is achieved by us and between us. So if it fails, there is nothing."

The sermon was "clearly incompatible with the state church's faith," the bishop said.

Rebel concluded that Grosboell "had disregarded the state church's basis for belief, undermined his duty's respect and confidence, disregarded the official order (and) caused a deep confusion about the state church."

Grosboell responded by saying he was puzzled.

"Basically, I can only say that I still don't understand what she means and talks about," he told The Associated Press, adding there was "nothing concrete" in her order. He did not deny giving the sermon.

Comment: This is a very frightening story. Denmark has a state religion!

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Web Site Shows Photos Of Prostitutes' Alleged Customers

Local10.com
June 10, 2004

DALLAS -- Dallas police hope a little exposure will get "johns" to think twice. The DPD is posting pictures on its Web site of people busted for allegedly soliciting prostitution. The Internet page not only has pictures of the alleged Johns, but their names, birth dates and hometowns, too. The photo gallery is under the heading of "indecency related offenses," and police officials said it's pretty popular. Lt. John Dagen said in the first 24 hours alone, the site had more than 4,100 hits. He said they even had two women call the department, after hearing their husbands' pictures were posted.

Comment: Not that we endorse prostitution, but this is another perfect example of the increasing lack of freedoms in "the greatest democracy on earth".

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