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Monday, June 14, 2004

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We recently ran across the following exchange between Thomas L. Freidman, columnist for the New York Times, and Khaled Al-Maeena, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News. It speaks volumes to the American mindset. The horrifying thing is, Freidman is seen by many people in the US as being, heaven help us, a liberal!

Although this article is now over 2 years old, the propaganda campaign against Saudi Arabia is about to come back with a vengeance with Michael Moore's new film.

Dear Saudi Arabia

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
December 12, 2001

Memo from: President Bush

To: Sheik Saleh al-Sheikh, Saudi Arabia's minister of Islamic affairs

Dear Minister: I'm sure you find it unusual to be receiving a letter from me. In the past, U.S. presidents have been interested in writing only the Saudi oil minister, because we just looked on Saudi Arabia as a big gas station to be pumped and defended but never to be taken seriously as a society. But we've learned from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 that you are the minister we need to talk with, because, sadly, 15 young Saudis were involved in these attacks ó or, to put it another way, 15 recent graduates of your schools and religion classes.

First, let me make something very clear: America has not suddenly decided to become anti-Saudi. There is no "Zionist" plot here to sour our relations. I beg you not to fall prey to such conspiracy nonsense. There's actually broad recognition here that Saudi Arabia has been a good ally and that many Saudis have studied here and are pro-American. More important, we know it will be impossible for us to counter radical Islamism without Saudi help. Saudi Arabia is the keeper of the Muslim holy places and leader of the Islamic world; it finances thousands of Islamic schools and mosques around the globe; we can't be effective without you.

But having said all that, you would also be dead wrong to think there's no problem between us, or that the only thing you need is better P.R. and a few meetings with Washington elites to smooth things over. You have a problem with the American people, who, since Sept. 11, have come to fear that your schools, and the thousands of Islamic schools your government and charities are financing around the world, are teaching that non-Muslims are inferior to Muslims and must be converted or confronted.

I want to be sensitive here. We can't tell you how to teach your children, but we can tell you that several thousand American children are without a parent today because they were hit by radical Islamists educated in your schools, who justified their mass murder in the name of Islam. We can't tell you how to teach your children, but we can tell you that in a wired world ó in which tools for mass destruction are increasingly available to individuals ó we need you to interpret Islam in ways that sanctify religious tolerance and the peaceful spread of your faith. If you can't do that then we will have a problem ó then Saudi Arabia will become to our war on terrorism what the Soviet Union was to our war on Communism: the source of the money, ideology and people who are threatening us.

What encourages us is that you seem to understand that and are taking steps to curtail incitement in your mosques and media. I notice that Crown Prince Abdullah recently called on your country's leading clerics "to examine with restraint every word that leaves our mouths, [because] Allah has said in the Koran: 'We have made you a moderate nation.'" I also noticed that you told a group of Saudi religious leaders that "what is important here is for a centrist trend [in Islam] to grow gradually. If this trend grows rationally, other trends will become weak." And I was also heartened that Sheik al-Sabil, the imam of the Holy Mosque in Mecca, denounced the suicide killing of civilians as against Islamic law.

These are important words. We hope that they will enter your textbooks and classrooms. And we invite you to come over and look at our public schools, and if there are texts that you find offensive to Islam, tell us. Look, in the age of globalization, how we each educate our kids is a strategic issue. In the 1990's we learned that another country's faulty financial software can harm our Wall Street portfolios. On Sept. 11 we learned that another country's faulty education software can destroy all of Wall Street.

We understand that the issue of Palestine is also very important for you. But you can't come here and tell us that it must be America's business how Israel behaves, but it is none of our business how you behave, or what you teach, when 15 of your sons helped to kill 4,000 Americans. We do not want you as an enemy and we don't want a war with Islam. We want a war within Islam ó a war against intolerance and extremism. We want you to be the voice for moderation that we and all Muslims will listen to. But we can only listen to what you say about us when you talk honestly about yourselves. Good luck.

Sincerely, George W. Bush - the first U.S. president who wants to be your friend, not just your customer

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A Mere Brush With Our Reality

by Khaled Al-Maeena, Editor in Chief

Memo from: Editor in Chief, Arab News, Saudi Arabia

To: New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman

Dear Mr. Friedman: I have read your "memo" (The New York Times, Dec. 12) from President George W. Bush addressed to Sheikh Saleh Al-Shaikh, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Islamic Affairs. I was pleased that you revealed your inner belief that for the United States, Saudi Arabia was "a big gas station to be pumped and defended but never to be taken seriously as a society." I am also pleased that you have confirmed what is also my belief, that only PR and meetings with Washington elites (who usually murmur sweet nothings) do not resolve problems.

I beg to differ with your assertion that Saudi Arabia's schools, and the thousands of Islamic schools and charities financed by us, were responsible for depriving several thousand American children of their parents. By making that statement — and thus indirectly equating Saudi Arabia with terror — you are posing a veiled threat that Saudi Arabia will now be considered just as the Soviet Union was considered during the Cold War.

I do not know what motivated you to write your memo. Have you taken it upon yourself to become a modern-day Boswell, merely penning down for the world the ideas and utterances of the American President and his officials? Your motives are anyway of little concern to me. However, what you say is, and I wish to set the record straight.

Neither the school curriculum in Saudi Arabia nor our charity organizations preach that non-Muslims are inferior to Muslims and must be converted or confronted. That would be absurd. They are not focused on preaching hatred. While this is certainly not part of the national school curriculum there are individual teachers with extremist ideas — just as there are in any country. The job of both our governments is to root them out.

If a school curriculum leads directly to the violence perpetrated by the students who follow it, then America too must as a top priority radically alter its curriculum. After all, have there not been numerous incidents of violence at many schools right across America?

Charles Whitman, the university student who climbed up the university tower in Texas in 1966 with an arsenal of weapons, and then killed 17 of his fellow students and teachers and injured many more, was not a product of Saudi schools. The Columbine school massacres were committed by schoolboys who did not receive their primary education in Riyadh. The followers of Charles Manson, who believed the latter was God and blindly obeyed his orders to go on a killing spree, were not educated in Dhahran. Timothy McViegh did not attend a madrassa. The Una bomber was neither a student nor a professor at a Saudi university. The thousands who accepted without question orders given by Rev. Jim Jones to commit suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, on Nov. 18, 1978, were not educated in Hofuf.

It is your education system which produced these demented individuals who became slavishly devoted to self-styled gods and gurus — David Koresh, founder of the Children of God, Moses David, L. Ron Hubbard and so many others.

So, before advising others, you should focus your attention on what's happening in your own backyard. Otherwise, you leave yourself vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy. In terms of education, the United States has one of the highest rates of adult illiteracy in the developed world. Even an impoverished country like Cuba, which you have been trying to choke to death for 42 years, has a higher literacy rate than the United States.

It is Congress that has prevented educational reforms, health service reforms and welfare reforms that would have helped the many millions of your citizens who live below the poverty line. It is Congress which provides the weapons that allow Israel to commit mass murder against Palestinians and the billions of dollars that help that country build settlements on stolen land, while, at the same time, allocating relatively little money for the renovation of the many decaying inner cities across the United States.

Your armed forces are ever at the ready to bomb other countries and overthrow or install their leaders. At the same time, your internal security forces have proved themselves incapable of combating organized crime or defeating the drug lords who, in practical terms, control large parts of your major cities.

It is important that you balance your views by dealing fairly with the facts about the country you are criticizing. In Saudi Arabia, we believe in a global education system, one that promotes tolerance and understanding. I personally would like to see a restructuring of the Muslim education system, not because of what you have said but because we need an education system that is on a par with the most developed in the world — one that will ensure our people can compete in the world's most progressive and competitive societies.

As for the 15 young Saudis who, you claim, were responsible for the deaths on Sept. 11: if we go by the latest Osama Bin Laden tape which the Pentagon has presented as conclusive evidence of that man's guilt, those individuals were pawns in a game about which they had little — if any — knowledge.

Even if they knew what they were up to, these individuals were just that — individuals. Their organization and leaders were long ago outlawed in Saudi Arabia and all of those alleged hijackers would have been jailed if the authorities here had gotten the merest hint of what they were planning to do. To criticize the Kingdom because of the mad acts of a few of its individuals is grossly mistaken.

They were responsible for their own actions, unlike the US Marines who committed the My Lai massacres or the pilots who dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

However, better than this hurling of accusations would be a dialogue of civilizations. In order to have such a dialogue, we should focus on what we have in common. Saudi Arabia — now the whipping boy of your media — has since its founding been a promoter of international political understanding. As a founding member of the Arab League, the United Nations and several international bodies, it has striven to promote progress and understanding around the world. As the base for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), this country has offered moral and material help to alleviate the sufferings of millions of people, irrespective of their religious affiliations, all around the globe. As a leading OPEC member, Saudi Arabia played a major role in stabilizing the price of oil — to the infinite benefit of developing nations. The Kingdom earmarks a high percentage of its GNP for foreign aid. All of this is a result of its belief in Islam.

We grieve personally for the victims of the Sept. 11. We also grieve for the hundreds of innocent Palestinians who have been killed and the many thousands who have been left permanently disabled during the latest intifada alone. It is not our schools or madrassas that breed bitterness against the United States. It is the unqualified support your country gives to Israel. Unless you look at this fact impartially, you will never even come close to understanding why there is anger directed against your government.

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Federal judge reverses decision declaring anti-terror law unconstitutional

DENVER (AP) - A federal judge has reversed his earlier decision declaring part of an anti-terrorism law unconstitutional, meaning the government can prosecute a man accused of illegally sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to the United Arab Emirates.

A scheduling conference was scheduled for next week in the case of Ismael Issa Barre, who is charged with operating a money-transfer business without a state licence, a felony under the Patriot Act.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock in April declared the law unconstitutional, saying it arbitrarily divided money-transfer operators into two groups - those covered by state laws that punish failure to obtain a licence and those who work in states that don't require a licence. [...]

Comment: It would appear that the above change in ruling has more to do with the fact of where the money was going rather than that it was actually being transfered without a licence.

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The Son of Patriot Act Also Rises

By Kim Zetter
02:00 AM Jun. 14, 2004 PT

While activists and politicians work to repeal or change parts of the Patriot Act that they say violate constitutional rights, Patriot Act II legislation -- which caused a stir when it came to light last year -- is rearing its head again in a new bill making its way through Congress.

The bill would strengthen laws that let the FBI demand that businesses hand over confidential records about patrons by assigning stiff penalties (up to five years in prison) to anyone who discloses that the FBI made the demand. The bill would also let the FBI compel businesses to cooperate with record requests, and it would expand the government's secret surveillance powers over noncitizens in the United States.

"There is no reason for this legislation," said lawyer Chip Pitts, head of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee of Dallas and a former constitutional law professor. "Given the expanse of powers and secrecy already granted in the Patriot Act, and given the unclear security benefits and possible security detriments of that legislation, why do we need a further amendment of the law to grant more powers to the government?"

The bill, known as the Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Tools Improvement Act of 2003, or HR 3179, was introduced last September by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) and was co-sponsored by Rep. Porter Goss (R-Florida), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a possible contender to replace departing CIA chief George Tenet.

It contains four sections that first appeared in a proposed piece of legislation dubbed Patriot Act II. That proposed law was discovered last year by the Center for Public Integrity just weeks before the invasion of Iraq. Patriot Act II, or "Son of Patriot" as critics called it, was written by the Justice Department to expand Patriot Act powers, but the department was forced to shelve the proposal after news of it created an uproar.

But critics, like conservative former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Georgia), say that rather than abandoning the legislation altogether, the department has been extracting provisions and having sympathetic lawmakers slip them one by one into new bills to pass the legislation piecemeal. At least five other bills pending in Congress also contain provisions from Patriot Act II, but HR 3179 is the one that's in imminent danger of being passed under the radar.

Last year, a Patriot Act II provision was slipped into the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004 at the last minute and passed quickly before legislators opposed to it had time to fully examine it. The Intelligence Authorization Act, an annual bill that allocates funds for intelligence agencies, is a must-pass bill that generally gets drafted and passed quickly in secrecy.

The new bill, HR 3179, was set to pass through Congress without a hearing last year, but the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sensenbrenner, changed its mind and held a hearing May 18. The bill is waiting for markup in that committee, but critics fear that Rep. Goss and the House Intelligence Committee will slip the bill into this year's Intelligence Authorization Act during a closed-door hearing on June 16, and pass it quickly before lawmakers can revise or further debate it. [...]

Comment: Well, we all knew it would happen sooner or later...

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Proposition to take DNA at arrest stirs privacy fears

John Wildermuth
SFGate.com
Saturday, June 12, 2004

A man who lost his brother to an unknown serial killer has bankrolled a November ballot measure that would force everyone arrested for a felony in California to provide a DNA sample.

Although backers of the measure say such a greatly expanded DNA database could clear up thousands of unsolved crimes, civil rights activists argue it would give the government access to too much information about too many people.

"DNA is not like a fingerprint, since getting it is more invasive and it holds information beyond mere identification," said Tania Simoncelli, a science and technology fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union. "Storing it permanently for future criminal investigations doesn't comply with the Constitution." [...]

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Fast-Tracking Flyers

After paying a fee and submitting to an extensive background check, airline passengers may be entitled to special security treatment

By SALLY B. DONNELLY
Time.com
Sunday, Jun. 13, 2004

As the number of airline passengers starts to soar with the temperature, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is finally taking a significant step toward speeding the security process for at least some flyers. Aviation sources tell Time that this week the TSA will announce the launch of a three-month trial of its Registered Traveler program, which will start at five airports, beginning in Minneapolis—St. Paul and then in other cities, including Los Angeles and Houston.

A sort of fast track for frequent flyers, the program aims to let approved passengers use less crowded lanes to the security checkpoints and possibly avoid such routine security measures as removing their shoes and coats. To gain that privilege, passengers must submit to an extensive background check, including searches of commercial and government databases. After being approved and paying a small annual fee (yet to be determined), they would be issued a card—containing a biometric identifier (a fingerprint, for example) and personal data—that shows they're entitled to the special security treatment.

The initiative comes not a moment too soon. Almost 200 million people are expected to fly this summer, a 12% increase from last year, yet the cash-strapped TSA has had to lay off thousands of screeners. Up to 15% of passengers are still being singled out for extra screening because of outdated parameters like buying a one-way ticket or paying in cash. The TSA has fumbled efforts to improve the screening procedures and carry out a new color-coded system that verifies the identity and assesses the risk of every passenger.

Critics of the pilot program doubt it will make the security process much easier for prescreened travelers. But airport officials are supportive. "We love the idea," says Tim Anderson, an executive director of the Minneapolis—St. Paul International Airport. "It helps move us away from treating everyone the same and searching for the needle in the haystack."

Comment: One way to ensure that the masses love being controlled by Big Brother is to make them feel special or privileged. To become a member of the exclusive Registered Traveler program, all you have to do is give up your right to privacy. Then you will receive a futuristic biometric ID card that will serve as a symbol of your increased social status. Heck, why not just get an RFID tag implanted instead?

And to top it all off, people will actually have to pay for this "privilege". Fake a terror attack, lock down the country, and then make people pay you to regain a bit of their former freedom. If that's not a racket, we're not sure what is...

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Sharon bribery charges 'dropped'

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will not face charges of bribery over the so-called Greek Island affair, according to reports on Israeli TV.

Channel Ten said the Israeli Attorney General has decided there is not enough evidence to continue the case.

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'Do not have children if they won't be healthy!'

By Tamara Traubmann

A shocking new study reveals how key figures in the pre-state Zionist establishment proposed castrating the mentally ill, sterilizing the poor and doing everything possible to ensure reproduction only among the `best of people.'

Castrating the mentally ill, encouraging reproduction among families "numbered among the intelligentsia" and limiting the size of "families of Eastern origin" and "preventing ... lives that are lacking in purpose" - these proposals are not from some program of the Third Reich but rather were brought up by key figures in the Zionist establishment of the Land of Israel during the period of the British Mandate. It turns out there was a great deal of enthusiasm here for the improvement of the hereditary characteristics of a particular race (eugenics). This support, which has been kept under wraps for many years, is revealed in a study that examines the ideological and intellectual roots at the basis of the establishment of the health system in Israel.

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Who is Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi?

by Michel Chossudovsky

The US intelligence apparatus has created it own terrorist organizations. And at the same time, it creates its own terrorist warnings concerning the terrorist organizations which it has itself created. In turn, it has developed a cohesive multibillion dollar counterterrorism program "to go after" these terrorist organizations.

Counterterrorism and war propaganda are intertwined. The propaganda apparatus feeds disinformation into the news chain. The terror warnings must appear to be "genuine". The objective is to present the terror groups as "enemies of America."

The underlying objective is to galvanize public opinion in support of America's war agenda.

The "war on terrorism" requires a humanitarian mandate. The war on terrorism is presented as a "Just War", which is to be fought on moral grounds "to redress a wrong suffered."

The Just War theory defines "good" and "evil." It concretely portrays and personifies the terrorist leaders as "evil individuals".

Several prominent American intellectuals and antiwar activists, who stand firmly opposed to the Bush administration, are nonetheless supporters of the Just War theory: "We are against war in all its forms but we support the campaign against international terrorism."

To reach its foreign policy objectives, the images of terrorism must remain vivid in the minds of the citizens, who are constantly reminded of the terrorist threat.

The propaganda campaign presents the portraits of the leaders behind the terror network. In other words, at the level of what constitutes an "advertising" campaign, "it gives a face to terror." The "war on terrorism" rests on the creation of one or more evil bogeymen, the terror leaders, Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, et al, whose names and photos are presented ad nauseam in daily news reports.

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The Story Behind Chalabi, Feith and Company

James J. Zogby, Arab News

WASHINGTON, 2 June 2004 — There's a story behind the story. And it is a messy tale of deceit, cronyism and corruption.

Ahmad Chalabi's apparent falling out with the US, and some recent reports indicating that US Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith may be losing influence in the administration, represent only the latest chapter in their sordid histories and relationship.

Back in 2001, when Feith's name was first mentioned for the No. 3 position in the Pentagon, I wrote two lengthy articles on his business dealings and his ideology. Part of the Reagan-era Defense Department neo-conservative group, Feith left government service and trading off his political contacts, he became a lobbyist and foreign agent, representing Turkey and some Israeli interests as well. In1996 , Feith, a supporter of the Likud in Israel, co-authored a paper for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu advising him to end the Oslo peace process. When Netanyahu signed the Wye Agreement, Feith broke with him, accusing the Israeli leader of compromising away his values.

Chalabi has a long and well-known history of shady business dealings. His active courting of pro-Israel and neoconservative groups leading to the passage by Congress of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (ILA), is also quite well-known. So much for their separate histories.

Their relationship blossomed after Feith was confirmed by the Senate and assumed his post at the Pentagon. Early on, he began, in earnest, to lay out the justification for a war with Iraq. The funds that Congress mandated in the ILA, had been frozen during the Clinton years. Early in the Bush term, they were freed up to help finance Chalabi's activities. For his part, the Iraqi and his group began to supply Feith's newly reorganized Defense Department with "intelligence" on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction progress, and later on, with "information" linking the Baghdad regime to Al-Qaeda.

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New terror network involved in Afghan attack

www.chinaview.cn 2004-06-13 09:31:42

KABUL, June 12 (Xinhuanet) -- The military commander of northeastern Afghanistan said that probably 14 gunmen were involved in the terror attacks early Thursday morning that killed 11 Chinese construction workers and wounded four others in Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Saturday, Lieutenant General Daoud disclosed that a new terrorist network was found involved in the attacks that planned the brutal killings. However,he said he could not give any details as the investigation was still going on.

"So far four suspects have been arrested and they are from Baghlan Province," he said. "These people in the past belonged to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar' s party, and they later joined the Taliban."

"They came by two vehicles and escaped after the attacks," he said.

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Powell: Terrorism report a "big mistake"

www.chinaview.cn 2004-06-14 10:23:13

BEIJING, June 14 (Xinhuanet) -- A U.S. State Department report that incorrectly showed a decline last year in terrorism worldwide was a "big mistake," Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday. "Very embarrassing. I am not a happy camper over this. We were wrong," the secretary told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Powell said he was working with the CIA, which helped to compile the data, to determine why the errors got into the report. He said he planned a meeting on the issue Monday and that the intelligence agency was working through the weekend in preparation, according to Monday's China Daily.

"I'm not saying it is responsible until I sit down with all of the individuals who had something to do with this report: CIA, my department, members of my department, other agencies that contributed to it," Powell said.

"It's a numbers error. It's not a political judgment that said, `Let's see if we can cook the books.' We can't get away with that now. Nobody was out to cook the books. Errors crept in," he told ABC's "This Week."

He pledged to release a corrected report as quickly as possible.

"I am regretful that this has happened. And we're going to get it fixed, we're going to get it corrected, and that's the best I can do," Powell said.

A leading House Democrat, Rep. Henry Waxman of California, had challenged the findings, contending they were manipulated for political purposes. The conclusion that terrorism was on the decline was used to boost one of U.S. President George W. Bush's chief foreign policy claims, success in countering terror.

Waxman asked Powell for an explanation and the secretary called last week to say the mistakes for unintentional.

"He says it wasn't politically motivated so I will accept that," Waxman said after their conversation. Still, the lawmaker said, "We are still left with the fact that this report is useless until it is corrected."

The April report said attacks had declined last year to 190, down from 198 in 2002 and 346 in 2001. The 2003 figure would have been the lowest level in 34 years and a 45 percent drop since 2001, Bush's first year as president.

The report also showed the virtual disappearance of attacks in which no one died.

"There's a new terrorist threat information center that compiles this data under the CIA. And we are still trying to determine what went wrong with the data and why we didn't catch it in the State Department," Powell said Sunday.

"It's a very big mistake. And we are not happy about this big mistake," he added.

The department has said that one of the mistakes was that only part of 2003 was taken into account.

When the annual report was issued April 29, senior administration officials used it as evidence the war was being won under Bush.

"We weren't saying terrorism has gone away. The report clearly says terrorism is a main problem facing the world today. We've got to continue going after terrorists," Powell said.

"But based on the data we had within the report, there was a suggestion that the number of incidents had dropped and it was the lowest since 1969," he added. "That turns out not to have been correct. We were wrong. We will correct it."

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Retired Officials Say Bush Must Go

By Ronald Brownstein Times Staff Writer
Sun Jun 13, 7:55 AM ET

WASHINGTON — A group of 26 former senior diplomats and military officials, several appointed to key positions by Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, plans to issue a joint statement this week arguing that President George W. Bush has damaged America's national security and should be defeated in November.

The group, which calls itself Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, will explicitly condemn Bush's foreign policy, according to several of those who signed the document.

"It is clear that the statement calls for the defeat of the administration," said William C. Harrop, the ambassador to Israel under President Bush's father and one of the group's principal organizers.

Those signing the document, which will be released in Washington on Wednesday, include 20 former U.S. ambassadors, appointed by presidents of both parties, to
countries including Israel, the former Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia.

Others are senior State Department officials from the Carter, Reagan and Clinton administrations and former military leaders, including retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, the former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East under President Bush's father. Hoar is a prominent critic of the war in Iraq. [...]

It is unusual for so many former high-level military officials and career diplomats to issue such an overtly political message during a presidential campaign. [...]

"We just felt things were so serious, that America's leadership role in the world has been attenuated to such a terrible degree by both the style and the substance of the administration's approach," said Harrop, who served as ambassador to four African countries under Carter and Reagan.

"A lot of people felt the work they had done over their lifetime in trying to build a situation in which the United States was respected and could lead the rest of the world was now undermined by this administration — by the arrogance, by the refusal to listen to others, the scorn for multilateral organizations," Harrop said.

Jack F. Matlock Jr., who was appointed by Reagan as ambassador to the Soviet Union and retained in the post by President Bush's father during the final years of the Cold War, expressed similar views.

"Ever since Franklin Roosevelt, the U.S. has built up alliances in order to amplify its own power," he said. "But now we have alienated many of our closest allies, we have alienated their populations. We've all been increasingly appalled at how the relationships that we worked so hard to build up have simply been shattered by the current administration in the method it has gone about things." [...]

The document will echo a statement released in April by a group of high-level former British diplomats condemning Prime Minister Tony Blair for being too closely aligned to U.S. policy in Iraq and Israel. Those involved with the new group said their effort was already underway when the British statement was released. [...]

Oakley said the statement would argue that, "Unfortunately the tough stands [Bush] has taken have made us less secure. He has neglected the war on terrorism for the war in Iraq. And while we agree that we are in unprecedented times and we face challenges we didn't even know about before, these challenges require the cooperation of other countries. We cannot do it by ourselves."

Comment: Of course, the focus remains on what Bush has done wrong in Iraq. No one is asking any real questions about the core issue: 9/11.

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Who is Rabbi Dov S. Zakheim?

Well, first of all he is a Jewish Rabbi, but not just any Jewish Rabbi. For the past three years he has worked as Chief Financial Officer of the United States Dept. of Defense at the Pentagon. Prior to that from 1985 until March 1987, Rabbi . Zakheim was Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Planning and Resources. In that capacity, he played an active role in the Department's system acquisition and strategic planning processes and he guided Department of Defense policy in a number of international economic fora. He also successfully negotiated numerous arms cooperation agreements with various U.S. allies.

Dr. Zakheim (still?) serves as Consultant to the Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. He is an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asian Studies of the Council on Foreign Relations, Adjunct Scholar of the Heritage Foundation, and a Senior Advisor at the Center for International and Strategic Studies.

Dr. Zakheim also served the Reagan administration in a variety of other senior Department of Defense posts from 1981 through 1985. He had served previously as Principal Analyst with the National Security and International Affairs Division of the Congressional Budget Office.

A graduate of Columbia University, New York, where he earned his B.A., Summa Cum Laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Dr. Zakheim also studied at the London School of Economics. Dr. Zakheim earned his doctorate in economics and politics at St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, a Columbia College Kellett Fellow, and a post-doctoral Research Fellow. He has served as Adjunct Professor at the National War College, Yeshiva University, and Columbia University and as Presidential Scholar and Adjunct Professor at Trinity College, Hartford, CT.

Dr. Zakheim writes, lectures, and provides media commentary on national defense and foreign policy issues, both domestically and internationally, including appearances on major U.S. network news telecasts, CNN's Newshour, Larry King Live, BBC Arab and World Service, and Israeli, Swedish, and Japanese television. He is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, a regular contributor to Defense News, and an editorial board member of Israel Affairs and of The Round Table (the Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs). He serves on review panels for the Wilson Center for International Scholars, the United States Institute of Peace, and the U.S. Naval Institute. He is the author of Flight of the Lavi: Inside a U.S.-Israeli Crisis (Brassey's, 1996), Congress and National Security in the Post-Cold War Era (The Nixon Center, 1998), and numerous articles and chapters in books. Dr. Zakheim is also a trustee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute; serves on the Board of Directors of Search for Common Ground and of Friends of the Jewish Chapel of the United States Naval Academy; and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and other professional organizations. Dr. Zakheim is a member of the advisory boards of the Center for Security Policy, the Initiative for Peace and Cooperation in the Middle East, and the American Jewish Committee.

Rabbi Zakheim also co-authored the Project for the New American Century's infamous tract, "Rebuilding America's Defenses," in which the Bush Administration's entire design for renewed global conquest was laid down a full year prior to 9-11. On page 63, the authors note that timely implementation of their ideas would require "some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."

The good Rabbi's industry employment history reads like a who's who of the murky world of the US military industrial complex.

Council on Foreign Relations

Rand Corporation

National Security Advisory Council

U.S. Naval Institute

Foreign Policy Research Institute

American Jewish Committee

Consultant and employee of defence contractors Northrop Grumman, Boeing and McDonell-Douglas

Most importantly for the purpose of our discussion here, Rabbi Zakheim was also Corporate Vice President of System Planning Corporation

System Planning Corporation (SPC) a high-technology, research, analysis, and manufacturing firm based in Arlington, Virginia. Dr. Zakheim is also Chief Executive Officer of SPC International Corporation, a subsidiary of SPC that specializes in political, military, and economic consulting, and international sales and analysis. In addition, Dr. Zakheim serves as Consultant to the Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Throughout its 29-year history, System Planning Corporation has supported nearly every department and agency in the federal government. In addition to the partial, current client list provided below, we also support national laboratories, universities, state governments, and U.S. and foreign industries. Bringing a breadth of experience with and knowledge of clients coupled with in-depth technical expertise, we provide lessons learned and innovative, cost-effective solutions to all of our clients' needs."

Federal Government

* Department of Defense (see below)
* Department of the Interior
* Department of State
* Department of Transportation
* Department of the Treasury
* Department of Justice
* National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)
* Central Intelligence Agency
* Federal Emergency Management Agency

Specialises in:

· Arms Control
· Biological and Chemical Warfare Analysis
· Continuity of Government
· Electronic Security System Integration
· Emergency Planning
· Facilities Management Engineering
· Fire/Life Safety
· Foreign Missile Threat Characterization
· Instrumentation Radars and Processing Systems
· Intelligence Requirements Definition and Analyses
· International Import/Export Agreements
· Long-Range Planning
· Modeling and Simulation
· Multiphenomenological Signatures Analyses
· Policy Planning
· Radar Cross Section (RCS) Measurement and Data Analyses
· Security, Life, and Safety Design and Engineering
· Space Physics
· Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance/Program Management
· Test and Evaluation
· Technology Transfer

Along with Rabbi Zakheim other past and present employees of SPC show many Intelligence community "insiders":

Allan R. Shure

As Chief Financial Officer at SPC, Mr. Shure is responsible for accounting, contract administration, and purchasing. An expert in new business capture strategies, risk management, and program review and support, he provides oversight and management of SPC's day-to-day financial operations as well as long-range financial planning to meet future corporate goals.

Mr. Shure has over 30 years of financial and management experience in the government sector with both small and large contractors. At Titan Corporation and SAIC, he was responsible for financial performance of business units that provide products, services, and systems integration. For Titan, Mr. Shure successfully conducted acquisition analyses resulting in a $23 million merger transaction that added 700 employees, and reorganized and eliminated administrative functions that resulted in $22.5 million in annual savings. He held similar financial management positions with Andrulis Research Corporation, Network Solutions, Inc., and Data Design Laboratories. Mr. Shure also served a tour with the U.S. Navy as a communications officer.

Charles F. Hengels

As Executive Vice President of SPC, Mr. Hengels is responsible for all business and legal activities of the corporation.

Mr. Hengels has utilized his considerable skills and knowledge in the areas of program management, business planning, and financial analysis for previous employers including American Medical Buildings, the Committee for Responsible Healthcare, and Purdue University. As a consultant to the Indiana Council for Economic Education and the Indiana State Board of Education, he worked to achieve a complete revision of the economics curriculum in all Indiana high schools.

As an intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy in the early 1970s, Mr. Hengels became expert in all areas of naval intelligence, including missile, air, surface, and subsurface threats; electronic warfare; nuclear warfare; and cryptography. His training led to a second tour of duty with the Naval Intelligence Command Headquarters in 1972.

Mr. Hengels holds bachelor's degrees in political science and economics and master's degrees in sociology and education from Purdue University. He is a recipient of the Freedoms Foundation Award and the General Dynamics Award.

Ronald L. Easley

As Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of System Planning Corporation, a company he founded in 1970, Dr. Easley is responsible for establishing and promoting corporate policies and standards for in-house research. He participates in research conducted for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and directs the planning effort that provides a framework for the DoD to develop a long-range investment strategy aimed at the orderly development and procurement of weapons systems to meet national security requirements within budgetary constraints. Dr. Easley also provides advice to principals of the national security community and has served as chairman of the OSD Defense Security Board panels on treaty verification and nonnuclear missile defense.

Dr. Easley has over 30 years of engineering and management experience within the government/defense community. An expert in the areas of strategic systems and policy analysis, program management, arms control, and treaty verification, Dr. Easley has provided direction and support of national strategic policy to many of the defense and technologies industry's key players, including the OSD, DoD, White House, National Security Council, State Department, CIA, and Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (ODDR&E). His expertise in the field of physics led him to assignments with the Stanford Research Institute, the Army Guided Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal, AZ, and the Hughes Aircraft Company where he was instrumental in the development of the Falcon/F-102 and F-106 missile fire control systems.

Dr. Easley holds a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Illinois, a master's degree in physics from MIT, and a doctorate in physics from the University of Alabama.

John M. Bachkosky

As Chief Operating Officer of System Planning Corporation, 'Jack' Bachkosky leads the research activities of SPC's Centers of Excellence. He is also responsible for developing new business opportunities in advanced technology areas. Mr. Bachkosky has more than 20 years of experience in managing major defense research and development programs. He has held senior management positions with the U.S. Navy, Defense Nuclear Agency (now Defense Threat Reduction Agency), and Office of the Secretary of Defense.

During his distinguished career, Mr. Bachkosky has been responsible for identifying technology concepts and for structuring, initiating, and executing programs, including the development of a semiactive laser guidance system for the Bull Pup missile and the structuring of the DoD response to the initial requirement for the Strategic Defense Initiative. He has provided invaluable S&T planning leadership to the DoD, joint staff, warfighting commands, and armed services branches in their efforts to identify military needs and deficiencies to be addressed through technology exploitation. In addition to the many complex and managerially challenging programs he has initiated and executed, including the Sidewinder, Phoenix, and Harpoon missile systems, Mr. Bachkosky also developed and built the most capable high-energy laser system facility in the free world.

Mr. Bachkosky holds a bachelor's degree in engineering mechanics from Pennsylvania State University. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the President's Distinguished Executive Award, DoD Medal for Outstanding Public Service, DoD Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service, Secretary of Defense's Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service, Defense Nuclear Agency Exceptional Civilian Service Medal, Presidential Distinguished Rank Award, and Navy Superior Civilian Service Award.

Lawrence C. Myers
Mr. Lawrence Myers is the head of System Planning Corporation's Australian subsidiary, SPC (Australia) Ltd.. The subsidiary was chartered in early 1997 to support SPC's business activities in the Asia Pacific Region, which focuses on Radar Electronic Warfare Systems.

Mr. Myers and his staff have provided LO design concepts from a signature control and C4I analysis standpoint incorporating the latest materials and proposed combat system component considerations for the proposed SC-21 (now DD-21) program, the DDG-51 Flight IIA program, and the Joint Arsenal program. A major contribution involves radar detection modeling and simulation programs designed by SPC engineers. Mr. Myers is a member of the DoD Signature Control Technologies Working Group commissioned by then USD A&T, Dr. Paul Kaminski. The group is currently tasked to review and recommend changes to export policy for low observables-related technologies and equipment. Mr. Myers, a recognized authority in the LO (Low Obervable - e.g. Stealth bombers etc.) technology area, directs and participates in analyses and studies of low observables and counter-low observables technologies and their potential integration into advanced platforms/vehicles to enhance combat effectiveness.

Prior to his employment with SPC, Mr. Myers served for 21 years in the U.S. Navy, including an assignment as the Deputy Director for low observables technology and special programs for the Office of Naval Research. Mr. Myers was responsible for technology development for DoD weapons systems signatures (radar, IR, visual). He was the Navy focal point for inter-service technology development programs and was also the program manager for an international bilateral technology R&D program. Current Operations planner and action officer, Mr. Myers drafted the war plans and sensitive political policy for Desert Storm and U.S. operations in Panama. Prior to 1987, Mr. Myers was assigned to various aviation patrol squadrons as mission commander aboard the P-3 Orion aircraft where he flew numerous antisubmarine warfare (ASW) surveillance and command and control missions. Additionally, Mr. Myers was designated a Surface Warfare Officer during shipboard assignments.

Mr. Myers is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in operations research, the Golden Gate University in San Francisco with a master's degree in business administration, and the U.S. Naval War College (with distinction).

Robert P. Phillips

Mr. Phillips is a professional technical intelligence officer with over 34 years of experience developing and operating sophisticated science and technology collection equipment. As vice president for SPC's Center for Intelligence and Advanced Concepts, he leads a group of intelligence analysts, engineers, and support staff in the production of high-quality reports, briefings, and database products prepared for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO).

Mr. Phillips has served as a senior executive and program manager for the CIA where he managed a global technical intelligence program requiring close cooperation with senior officials from the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Department of State, DoD, and Congress. He was the principal contributor to the CIA's 1996 technology strategy, which identified the 44 critical technologies that the Agency would either have to provide leadership in advancing, or monitor for future integration into Agency activities. Mr. Phillips also served in the Pentagon as director of a major multiagency program.

Mr. Phillips holds a bachelor's degree in electronic engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and has successfully completed the Program for Executive Leadership and Management at the Federal Executive Institute. He is the recipient of the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement and the Intelligence Medal of Merit.

Roy M. Smith

As Group Vice President for SPC's Signatures and EW Technology Group, Mr. Smith directs and participates in analyses and studies of low-observable (LO) and counter-low-observables (CLO) technologies and their potential integration into advanced platforms/vehicles to enhance combat effectiveness. He is responsible for overseeing the development of improved techniques for measuring various signatures and identifying methods for reducing or effectively managing those signatures. He has directed efforts to achieve reduced signatures for combat platforms, including the gathering of measurement data to validate both material and design performance involving significant technology advances. Mr. Smith's prior work at SPC included assisting in the evaluation and assessment of existing and programmed command, control, communications, electronic warfare, and surveillance initiatives for the Navy. He also evaluated programs against new requirements in a number of special areas, including antijam communications, low probability of intercept, and decoys.

Prior to joining SPC, Mr. Smith was the senior analyst and study director at the Sante Fe Corporation where he directed a study addressing the question of the characteristics of future nuclear warfare and nuclear weapons for naval forces. The study findings were compared with ongoing and planned programs to identify potential areas of development incorporating technology advances.

As study director and head of the wargaming division for the Center for Naval Analyses, Mr. Smith designed, conducted, analyzed, and reported the results of fleet wargames involving AAW, ASW, and strike warfare for advanced naval vehicles (e.g., SESs, PHMs, V/STOL aircraft).

Most significantly, System Planning Corporation is a major player in the "Homeland Security" industry. Interestingly, one of the products that SysPlan sells is the 'Command Transmitter Systems', a remote control system for planes, boats, missiles and other vehicles. It's highly customable and configurable to interface with an almost limitless number of vehicle types.

It is no secret that the US government and its defense contractors began joint development of remote flight control and flight circumvention technology at least two decades ago. But it seems that the technology developed by System Planning Corporation, called the "Flight Termination Program", under the guidance of Rabbi Zakheim, is the culmination of these many years' work.

Recently however, after plying his trade in the bowels of the US DOD, Rabbi Zakheim has decided to move back into "industry". Note the date on which his resignation was tendered...

Pentagon finance manager resigns

Thursday 11 March 2004

The Pentagon's chief financial officer has offered his resignation after overseeing a spiralling defence budget look set to hit $450 billion in 2005.

Rabbi Dov Zakheim's refused to tell journalists the exact reason for his departure on Wednesday.

However, he hinted that the task of controlling hundreds of billions of dollars in the Bush administration was exhausting.

"I'm leaving because I've served three very arduous years in this job."

Background

A former adjunct economics professor at New York's Yeshiva University, Rabbi Zakheim has spent more than 30 years working in various jobs at the Pentagon.

But he has also worked in private industry, specifically as a consultant to McDonnell Douglas and Boeing.

Rabbi Zakheim worked under Reagan and later in various positions within the US DOD, including a stint as senior foreign policy adviser to then - Governor George Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign. During that time he also worked on fine tuning the technology that would allow for aircraft (even commerical airliners) to be flown either via a predetermined program or via remote control. Then, just 3 months prior to 9/11, Zakheim moves from industry back to government as CFO for the Pentagon. Three years after that, in March 2004, just a few months before this year's Presidential elections and on the same day as the Madrid bombings, Zakheim moves again, back into industry...

Booz Allen elects new vice president

18/05/2004

Booz Allen Hamilton’s Board has elected a former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Defense as vice president of the firm. As an officer in Booz Allen's public sector business, Dov Zakheim, Ph.D, will offer a broad set of skills and experience across the entire federal consulting business.

"Dr. Zakheim's international expertise, coupled with his depth of knowledge in national security affairs and national defense policy, serve as a perfect fit for our global management and strategy firm," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ralph W. Shrader.

Before being sworn in as an Under Secretary of Defense three years ago, Dr. Zakheim served in a number of key positions in government and private business.

He was corporate vice president of System Planning Corp., a technology, research, and analysis firm based in Arlington, Va. He also served as chief executive officer of SPC International Corp., a subsidiary specializing in political, military and economic consulting. During the 2000 presidential campaign, he served as a senior foreign policy advisor to then-Governor Bush.

From 1985 until March 1987, Dr. Zakheim was Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Planning and Resources in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy). In that capacity, he played an active role in the Department's system acquisition and strategic planning processes. Dr. Zakheim held a variety of other Department of Defense posts from 1981 to 1985. Earlier, he was employed by the National Security and International Affairs Division of the Congressional Budget Office.

Dr. Zakheim has been an adjunct professor at the National War College, Yeshiva University, Columbia University and Trinity College, Hartford, Conn., where he was presidential scholar.

He is the author of "Flight of the Lavi: Inside a U.S.-Israeli Crisis", "Congress and National Security in the Post-Cold War Era", "Toward a Fortress Europe?", and numerous articles and chapters in books.

He was responsible for such tasks as preparing defence planning guidance for nuclear war.

The rabbi was a senior foreign policy adviser to then - Governor George Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign.

As Pentagon Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer, Rabbi Zakheim's priority has been financial management.

A study by the Defense Department's inspector general found that the Pentagon couldn't properly account for more than a trillion dollars in monies spent.

And what areas of research is Booz Allen Hamilton involved in?

U.S. Federal Transit Administration - A New Framework for Transit Security

For the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Booz Allen assembled a diverse team to perform the first-ever nationwide security assessment.

Although major metropolitan transit authorities had considered the risk of terrorism even before September 11, 2001, many smaller and more rural operators had never addressed this threat. Working with federal and local transit authorities around the nation, the team had to identify the most vulnerable areas and devise a strategy to defend them.

Essentially, among other things, Rabbi Zakheim will now be involved in analysis of the vulnerabilities of the civilian transit system in the US to a "terrorist" attack.

Of course, we draw no conclusions here, but Rabbi Zakheim's history certainly makes for interesting reading, and suggests that he has been a key player in shaping and implementing the policies and actions of several US administrations, from the Reagan era up until the current, Pro-Israel, Neocon dominated Bush administration.

While the US constitution is based on the premise of separation of church and state, it appears that there is nothing to stop a minority religious leader from attaining a position of very significant influence over the polices and destinies of the US citizenry. This is particularly true, it seems, if you are a leader of one very specific religion.

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Interrogation abuses were 'approved at highest levels'

By Julian Coman in Washington
The Telegraph
13/06/2004

New evidence that the physical abuse of detainees in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay was authorised at the top of the Bush administration will emerge in Washington
this week, adding further to pressure on the White House.

The Telegraph understands that four confidential Red Cross documents implicating senior Pentagon civilians in the Abu Ghraib scandal have been passed to an American television network, which is preparing to make them public shortly.

According to lawyers familiar with the Red Cross reports, they will contradict previous testimony by senior Pentagon officials who have claimed that the abuse
in the Abu Ghraib prison was an isolated incident.

"There are some extremely damaging documents around, which link senior figures to the abuses," said Scott Horton, the former chairman of the New York Bar
Association, who has been advising Pentagon lawyers unhappy at the administration's approach. "The biggest bombs in this case have yet to be dropped." [...]

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Mash Note for the "Girl with the Leash"

Military Conscription is Alive and Well in the Dominion of the Whip

By JOE BAGEANT
June 13, 2004

Good for you, Lynndie England, you chinless, inbred, runty, androgynous backwoods mutt! When you mimed a crotch-shot at that hooded detainee, you reminded us all of what Imperial service should be like: one long S&M tour of the tropics, where every man, woman and child of the conquered peoples exists solely as an object for your pleasure.
--John Dolan, columnist for the website, "Exile."

When I saw the above arrogant, piece of witty horseshit, I wanted to go strangle John Dolan myself. Then I came back to the realization that all writing is masturbation, mine included, and that some of us do it with our eyes closed---as John Dolan does. If he had even one eye open he would have seen the pathos and national hypocrisy represented by "the girl with the leash."

Lynndie England never had a chance. Abu Ghraib, or maybe something even worse (an RPG up the shorts, for instance) was always her destiny. Nearly half of the 800 Americans killed in Iraq to date came from small towns like hers, like mine. Forty-six percent of the American dead in Iraq came from towns of less than 40,000. Yet these towns make up only 25% of our population. Most of the young soldiers were fleeing economically depressed places, or dead end jobs like Lynndie had at the chicken processing plant. These so-called volunteers are part of this nation's de facto draft---economic conscription. Money is always the best whip to use on the laboring clasess. Thirteen hundred a month, a signing bonus and free room and board sure beats the hell out of yanking guts through a chicken's ass.

And there are those big bucks for college later. Up to $65,000. Lynndie was supposedly going to college after her enlistment to become a "storm chaser," like in the Helen Hunt movie "Twister." Yeah, right. There are millions of openings in the tornado chasing business. And I'm going to be the centerfold in the next Playgirl beefcake issue. I suppose lots of poor kids do go to college on their military benefits. But personally speaking, I can count the number I know who actually did it on one hand. Let's be honest here: graduating from a small town redneck white high school not knowing where Alaska is on a map of the US is not exactly the path to the fountain at Harvard Yard. But I suspect that down inside Lynndie knew her lot in life from the start---she wore combat boots and camo outfits to high school. Swore she loved it. If you are doomed to eat shit, you may as well bring your own fork.

I grew up poor in Winchester, Virginia---about as poor as the pinup girl of Abu Gharaib---in a moreover scabby rundown town about forty miles from Lynndie's ancestral mobile home over there in Fort Ashby, West Virginia. Sometimes I walk the street on which I grew up, across the railroad tracks that have divided the classes here since before the Civil War. And when I look around I see the likes of Lynndie everywheregirls of the type I dated as a kid. They are all fatter, thanks to the fast food that was unavailable in my youth, but they are the same cigarette-smoking, in-your-face white girls I knew then, the tough daughters of the unwashed. Here in my old neighborhood, over one quarter of adults do not have a high school diploma, and there are lots of yellow ribbons in the windows just like the one on Lynndie England's family trailer, for those serving in Iraq or elsewhere on the far-flung perimeter of our expanding empire of blood and commerce.

Lynndie Rana England was born in 1982. I have a son her age. Like my son, she graduated high school in 2001. Folks in Fort Ashby say she did well in school, which is no great achievement in these places where the academic bar is set so Damned low it is buried in the ground in hopes that any student who bothers to even attend school will meander across it. Then, true to local form, she got married at age 19. I'm sure she married mostly out of smalltown boredom. I got married that way once, though I've got sense enough now to be positively embarrased to tell you how young I actually was. Anyway, Lynndie is in a "relationship" with a fellow reserve unit member and is now pregnant at 21 and facing a possible prison term. I wonder if she still thinks much about chasing tornadoes like Helen Hunt.

All hail the flag people!

To talk about Lynndie's class you have to talk about that other class, her betters. The class that would not piss on her if her shirt was on fire---the flag people. The kind who smirk at "the mutt girl." I live among them now, on a street where the American flag hangs from nearly every Antebellum or Georgian or Greek Revival front porch, in the part of town where every man is a business man, solidly "patriotic." All went to college and few if any have been in the armed services. The regional tire distribution kingpin across the street (who is also a Republican city councilman with, they tell me, a contract for the city's vehicles) flies his flag. Next door the local office supply hotwire (former mayor and born-again chairman of the city GOP) flies two flags, one American and on of his alma mater. The bigtime landlord up the street, another steel bottomed Republican, flies her colors. She too is on council and her daughter is state GOP chairman to boot. Next house down is the daughter of a mogul hard-right-wing developer. She has never worked a day in her life; Daddy just bought her a half million dollar home. They are all waving a flag. They are all super GOPers and shitting in the tall cotton.

Waving a flag and making a mint. What the folks on the "good streets" understand but never say is that America's class war is over and they, the business class, won. Now they can sit back and be outraged by the pics of an ignorant girl in the testosterone choked air of an American torture chamber. They won on the backs of the other nine tenths in these non-union towns where the annual wage is less than three-quarters of the national average. And they won because god wants it that way. Their families got here first and stole early. Their daddies stole land from farmers during the Depression and they made millions later selling it to Wal-Mart, the new medical center, and all those low wage non-union factories (after conveniently rezoning it to suit their interests while on city council.) Contrary to common belief, the bedrock of this nation's rip-off by the rich is in the small and medium sized towns, where the so-called "small" business associations have a direct phone line to the state capital, where they can stymie any increase in minimum wage or snuff anything even remotely resembling a fair tax structure. And if Lynndie England wants a piece of their American pie, well, she can start in the Army reserves by posing for mock crotch shots in the belly of Abu Ghraib, then claw her way up from there. Just like their great granddaddies did.

My hometown friend and drinking buddy, Richard, is an heir to an old line real estate fortune in the tens of millions (and is a fourth generation city council member, naturally.) He says there is absolutely nothing wrong with this system. I say there is absolutely nothing right with it. And as long as I keep my proper place in the scheme of things, and he continues to be able to hold his liquor (because I sure as hell can't) I suppose we'll go to our graves remaining fairly civil about what we both know is the injustice of it all. You won't ever see any of his privately schooled kids eating MREs in Iraq. Nor any of mine, if I can possible help it. But for opposing reasons. He's raising his kids to rule in the New Republican World Order and I raised mine to be resistance fighters against that same order.

We've seen the shy and pretty blonde Jessica Lynch exploited as a fake hero rescued from the swarthy hand of the godless Muslim. We've seen the not-so-pretty, coarse Lynndie forced to pose for a bondage torture flick, then be publicly scourged in the name of some corrupt justice understood only by those powerful men whose fancy was tickled by an unlawful military attack and occupation. I simply do not see how even a morally and philosophically bereft country such as ours can come up with another way to exploit graphic images of women at war.

A bass boat for the angel of Abu Ghraib

[...] But hold there hoss! The Lynndie England show is by no means over yet. As I write a dozen committees are excavating for the truth about Abu Ghraib. And they remind us that we do not yet know the "full facts." We will not know them until they are done being manufactured by the administration and its stacked committees. And they are stacked. Stacked if for no other reason because the lawyers and politicos doing the judging never received orders to pose for war porn on behalf of a savage, pitiless republic, or faced the prospect of a stomach turning chicken plant as their destiny. They do not understand that here on the wrong side of the tracks, in places like Fort Ashby or Winchester, Virginia, here in the dominion of the whip, a homely girl with a leash is relatively speaking, an angel---albeit the angel of our brutish disregard.

Joe Bageant is a fabulously wealthy author and bon vivant who writes from his 70-room estate in Winchester, Virginia. He may be contacted at bageantjb@netscape.net.

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Red Cross ultimatum to US on Saddam

Release him, charge him or break international law, Bush told

Jonathan Steele in Baghdad
The Guardian
Monday June 14, 2004

Saddam Hussein must either be released from custody by June 30 or charged if the US and the new Iraqi government are to conform to international law, the International Committee of the Red Cross said last night.

Nada Doumani, a spokeswoman for the ICRC, told the Guardian: "The United States defines Saddam Hussein as a prisoner of war. At the end of an occupation PoWs have to be released provided they have no penal charges against them."

Her comments came as the international body, the only independent group with access to detainees in US custody, becomes increasingly concerned over the legal limbo in which thousands of people are being held in the run-up to the transfer of power at the end of the month.

The occupation officially ends on June 30 and US forces will be in Iraq at the invitation of its sovereign government.

"There are all these people kept in a legal vacuum. No one should be left not knowing their legal status. Their judicial rights must be assured," Ms Doumani said.

Saddam and other senior officials of the old regime are the only Iraqi detainees to have been given POW status. Hundreds of other Iraqis have been seized since the war often, according to critics, on flimsy suspicion and held for long periods without charge, usually without their families knowing for weeks where they are.

The ICRC visited the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in early June and found 3,291 detainees, including three women and 22 boys under 18. This was less than half the 6,527 it found in March. [...]

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At least seven killed, 50 wounded in Baghdad car bomb attack: police

June 14, 2004

BAGHDAD (AFP) - At least seven people were killed and 50 wounded when a car bomb exploded as three Western-style all-terrain vehicles passed by a busy Baghdad street, with the blast knocking part of the front off a building and destroying the cars.

An AFP photographer saw a charred corpse in a burnt sports-utility vehicle and four bodies covered in sheets at the site of the blast by Sadoun Street, a main commercial boulevard lined with restaurants, shops and residences.

At least seven people were killed and some 50 wounded in the bombing, according to a tally by three hospitals. [...]

A convoy of Western-style vehicles, two tan Mitsubishi jeeps and one GMC, sped down the street, not far from the main headquarters of the US-led coalition across the river, when the explosion struck at 8:15 am (0415 GMT).

Major Mohammed Saleh, the top policeman at the scene, said: "It was a three-car American convoy. A suicide car bomber in a small Volkswagen Brazilia drove between the cars and blew himself up," Saleh said.

"For sure it was a suicide bombing," said Sergeant Sayed Khamat, who witnessed the attack.

Other witnesses said they thought a parked car was detonated by remote control as the convoy sped by, but there was no independent confirmation. [...]

Comment: There is another group in Iraq that is supposed to be using SUVs: the Iraqi National Task Force.

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FLASHBACK! U.S. training a new Iraqi military force to battle guerrillas at their own game

by Jeffrey Gettleman
The New York Times
June 4, 2004

TAJI, Iraq, June 3 -- American military advisers are forming an all-Iraqi counterinsurgency force and training it in guerrilla tactics like ambushing trucks and hiding alongside the road camouflaged as bushes.

The new force, called the Iraqi National Task Force, is the most ambitious effort yet to fight the uprising using Iraqis, and it already has 1,000 soldiers, with plans to grow to 7,000.

It is being created as a response to the refusal of a group of regular Iraqi soldiers to face insurgents in Fallujah two months ago. That breakdown culminated in a tense standoff on an airfield with eight American marines surrounded by an angry group of 200 armed Iraqis who refused to board helicopters. [...]

The new force is being trained at Taji, a big military-industrial complex north of Baghdad littered with the detritus of conflicts past: burned-out tanks, smashed factories and office buildings with hallways that are crunchy with shattered glass. [...]

The lesson: do as the insurgents do. [...]

The new force will use sport utility vehicles so that it can be light and mobile. Units have been carefully constructed to ensure that Iraq's three major groups -- Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds -- are proportionally represented. [...]

The task force is part of the push to get Iraqi security forces up and running before the United States transfers authority to an interim Iraqi government on June 30.

American advisers say they are pleased with the progress. The original goal for the police force was 85,000 officers; 92,000 have been hired. The border patrol is fully staffed at 17,000 officers, and so is the facility protection services, with 74,000 officers. [...]

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Military Alters Afghan Prison Procedures

By STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer
June 14, 2004

KABUL, Afghanistan - The U.S. military is changing procedures at its jails in Afghanistan following a review prompted by prisoner abuse allegations, the military said Monday, although it declined to give details of the changes.

The military is acting on the interim findings of an American general who visited American jails across the country, without waiting for his final report, spokesman Lt. Col. Tucker Mansager said.

"We're taking action on those (findings) as they come forward, evaluating them, implementing some of them, deferring some of them and planning some of the rest of them out," Mansager told a news conference in Kabul.

He declined to describe the report's suggestions or the changes made. [...]

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Leaders rue Euro poll 'disaster'

Senior politicians across Europe have voiced dismay at EU parliamentary election results, after low turnouts and big gains for opposition parties.

Governing parties in Germany, France and Poland suffered big losses, while many eurosceptic parties had their best result at the polls.

Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot said the outcome was a "disaster for the existing coalition in many countries".

Turnout reached a record low, with just 45.3% of EU voters casting ballots.

European Parliament spokesman David Harley said turnout was "pathetically low" for many of the 10 new member states, which averaged a mere 26.4%.

One of the worst offenders was Poland, where fewer than 20% of voters turned out.

Comment: One of the winners from the recent EU elections is loud-mouthed, daytime TV chat show presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk, who presented himself as a candidate for the Euro skeptic UK independence Party. In response to the suggestion that he was elected as a result of "protest votes" Kilroy-Silk said:

"It is extremely patronising to suggest that people who voted out of a very deep and clear conviction or commitment are wasting their vote or protesting....

We are the only party throughout the election that had a very clear, straightforward policy. We are the only party that talked about Europe and didn't actually tell any lies."

Indeed, but then as always, what some call lies, others call truth, and vice versa, and Kilroy-Silk himself has expressed some pretty interesting views in the past...

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Flashback: Kilroy 'regrets' anti-Arab comments

Television presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk has apologised for a newspaper article in which he made anti-Arab comments.

He said he greatly regretted the offence caused by the Sunday Express article, which was written in April but "republished last weekend in error".

In it, he branded Arabs "suicide bombers, limb amputators, women repressors" and asked what they had given to the world other than oil.

Comment: British voters will surely be content that they now have a man of such reasoned and moderate views to represent them on the European stage...

EU Voters Send No-Confidence Message

By Paul Taylor
June 14, 2004

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's voters delivered a massive vote of no confidence in their governments in European Parliament elections, by both hammering ruling parties and staying away from the ballot boxes in record numbers. [...]

Only the recently elected Spanish and Greek governments escaped the voters' wrath, amplifying their national victories. A mere 44.2 percent of nearly 350 million eligible voters bothered to cast ballots in the four-day exercise in cross-border democracy, the lowest turnout since direct elections for the Strasbourg-based assembly began in 1979. [...]

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2 Texas border agents found dead in Arizona

Associated Press
June 13, 2004, 11:47AM

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Two off-duty border agents based in Texas were found dead Friday near Tucson in what authorities were investigating as a murder-suicide.

The male and female agents, who both worked for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in El Paso, were found around 2:30 a.m. by a Tohono O'odham Nation police officer who was responding to a report of an abandoned vehicle 10 miles southwest of Tucson, the tribe said.

Doug Mosier, a spokesman for the Border Patrol in El Paso, said the agents were identified as Arturo Betancourt, 45, and Elizabeth Granillo, 31.

Betancourt had worked for the Border Patrol for 15 years and Granillo for 2 1/2 years, Mosier said.

It was not immediately clear what the two agents were doing in Arizona, according to Mosier.

"The case is being investigated as a murder-suicide," said Mosier, who declined to release details on how the agents died. [...]

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UPDATE: Severe Storms Cause Two Deaths in Midwest

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Typhoon Chanthu Kills Seven in Vietnam

Sun Jun 13,11:22 PM ET

HANOI, Vietnam - Typhoon Chanthu killed seven people and left seven more missing when it swept through central Vietnam over the weekend, officials said Monday.

Five fishermen were killed when their boat sank Saturday off the coast of Binh Dinh province, some 650 miles south of Hanoi, said the official from the provincial floods and storms control bureau, who identified himself only as Tuan.

Another man, who was washing his feet in a river, drowned after being sucked in by the strong current. A sixth fisherman was killed when strong winds forced two fishing boats against the dock, crushing him, the official said.

The typhoon also injured five people and destroyed or damaged more than 180 houses in the province. [...]

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Science proves that love is blind

Scientists have shown that there is a degree of truth in the old adage that love is blind.

They have found that feelings of love lead to a suppression of activity in the areas of the brain controlling critical thought.

It seems that once we get close to a person, the brain decides the need to assess their character and personality is reduced.

The study, by University College London, is published in NeuroImage.

The researchers found that both romantic love and maternal love produce the same effect on the brain.

They suppress neural activity associated with critical social assessment of other people and negative emotions.

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Cassini flies past Saturn moon

Taken from less than 100,000km; even better images will soon be released (Nasa/JPL/SSI)

The Cassini spacecraft, which is en route to Saturn, has made a close pass of the planet's mysterious moon Phoebe.

The US-European spacecraft made its closest approach to the moon on Friday at 2156 BST at a distance of 2,000km.

Images show a scarred moon pounded by massive impacts that tossed building-sized rocks out on to its surface.

The pictures have already revealed exciting clues to Phoebe's history, including alternating layers of bright and dark material around its craters.

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Exhibition traces UFO signs in Slovakia

The Slovak Spectator
June 14, 2004

THE SLOVAK National Museum in Bratislava recently opened an exhibition entitled Crop Circles displaying the pictograms and agro-symbols that unidentified flying objects have left on Slovak territory.

According to the exhibition's organisers, witnesses have seen round, disk-shaped UFO objects at the site of 85 percent of crop circles here, as well as abroad.

The exhibition displays all the pictograms from Slovakia that have been registered by the Trnava UFO club. "There might have been more, but we have no information on those," said Miroslav Karlík, the club's chairman.

The Trnava club has registered nine locations where crop circles appear, and 178 reports on UFO observations in the Trnava region between 1992 and 2003. Captured on a videocassette and in pictures by amateurs, the display also features photographs from the Bratislava region.

Another part of the exhibition presents the cases of pictograms found in England in the areas of Stonehenge, Crabwood, and Chilbolton. The country is famous for its large number of these formations. At the beginning of the 1990s, around 300 pictograms were found there annually. [...]

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