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Monday, July 5, 2004

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Picture of the Day

Orge
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Sometimes the important clues are right there in front of us, yet we miss them.

The Damaged Mind of George W. Bush: The Madness in His Method

By KATHERINE van WORMER
July 1, 2004

In 2004 alone, major commercial publishers have published or will publish at least 25 books attacking the character and policies of George W. Bush. Outstanding among these are: Against All Enemies: Inside the White House's War on Terror in which former counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke documented how unconcerned the Bush administration was with terrorism, pushing for strikes on Iraq even right after September 11; Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward who in his interviews with Bush and members of his cabinet confirmed the early start on a war plan to invade Iraq and revealed a disturbing statement by Bush implying the world would come to an end; and Worse than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush by former Nixon legal adviser, John Dean who stated in a TV interview that Bush's obsession with Iraq started before 9/11 but "I can't understand why."

The writer of this article then goes on to explain Bush's invasion of Iraq in terms of his relationship with his father. While it is certainly possible that Bush's preoccupation with Iraq was in part psychologically driven by his need to prove something to Daddy, we think the key phrase in the this paragraph is the part we have highlighted. Bush believes the world is coming to an end. For Jesus to return, Israel must be established, and for many fundies, this is the "Greater Israel" that extends from the Mediterranean to the banks of the Euphrates. Might this not have something to do with an invasion of Iraq?

If you do a search on Google for "Bush" & "end times" you get over 23,000 returns. Bush's evangelical streak has not gone unnoticed. But do we really reflect upon the implications and the possible consequences?

Bush believes that God chose him to lead the US in the fight against "terror". He claims that he talks with God. Not only that, God gives him military advice, suggesting targets such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

We think it is entirely probable that Bush "hears voices", voices he takes for the voice of God. The technology to produce audio hallucinations is well-documented. Richard Dolan, in his remarkable investigation, UFOs and the National Security State, has this to say:

By the early 1970s, there were already means available to alter the moods of unsuspecting persons. A pocket-sized transmitter generating electromagnetic energy at less than 100 milliwatts could do the job. This is no pie-in-the-sky theory. In 1972, Dr. Gordon J.F. McDonald testified before the House Subcommittee on Oceans and International Environment on the issue of electromagnetic weapons used for mind control and mental disruption. He stated:

[T]he basic notion was to create, between the electrically charged ionosphere in the higher part of the atmosphere and conducting layers of the surface of the Earth, this neutral cavity, to create waves, electrical waves that would be tuned to the brain waves. ...About ten cycles per second. ...You can produce changes in behavioral patterns or in responses.

The following year, Dr. Joseph C. Sharp, at Walter Reed Hospital, while in a soundproof room, was able to hear spoken words broadcast by 'pulsed microwave audiogram.' These words were broadcast to him without any implanted electronic translation device. Rather, they reached him by direct transmission to the brain. [Revised Edition, p. 382.]

If Bush is hearing the "voice of God", and this voice is being transmitted by the 2004 equivalent of the technology discussed above, this raises the question of who is sending Bush "God's" advice?

Our research indicates that the Earth undergoes periodic cataclysms. The memory of such events is contained in myths of the Flood. Large portions of the planet are destroyed. A large portion of the population is killed. Any infrastructure that the inhabitants may have developed is lost. But this is a natural phenomenon, not a religious judgment of a vengeful God. The world does not "end", it is just given a powerful smacking. This is what the geological record shows. This is what the analysis of tree rings and ice cores shows. For more on this, we refer the reader to the article Independence Day.

Religion, as a means of control, rather than a means of liberation, has no interest in viewing the Flood, or the predictions of an Apocalypse, in scientific terms. It is seen as retribution for sins, for straying from the path of the righteous, and the high priests, of course, define the rules. How convenient to have the "end of the world" as the trump card, especially if you know the scientific facts, like the story of the Europeans who saved themselves from death by telling the Natives that the sun would go out if they were harmed -- knowing full well that a solar eclipse was due.

We think that there are those who know what is on the way. If we can figure it out, then people with budgets way beyond ours might even have a better idea of when. Setting the evangelicals up as their front line, with the gullible George W. in the White House, is a potent political force, especially if the real powers know that the future will contain the appropriate "Signs of the Times" that will confirm a "Christian's" wildest end times fantasy. This political lobby could then be used to support the putting into place of the laws needed to control the population when things start to get out of hand. The fundies will agree to draconian measures - first, because they will be expecting to be "saved" in time to avoid the worst of it, with the rest of us being "left behind" to face the Tribulation; and second, because they will consider that the unsaved "sinners" will deserve it, having ignored the warnings of God's faithful.

Writers like Katherine van Wormer don't touch this subject, the idea of cataclysms having been removed from rational discourse by its association with religious craziness. How much more reassuring to pass off the invasion of Iraq to a psychological disturbance of the President.

Meanwhile, "Christian" belief is being harnessed to prepare for a Middle Eastern apocalypse.

One might argue that Bush is capable of implementing such policies on the basis of his Christian beliefs, spurred on by the Zionists in his Administration. There is no need to bring in cycles of cataclysms or undercover forces beaming God's word into the White House bedroom. However, Bush seems to be convinced that the end is nigh. Had he been given scientific information discussing the threat of meteors and comets, he would have interpreted it as confirmation of his religious beliefs. But the idea that the Earth goes through periodic disasters is an old one. You find references to it in Isaac Newton.

There is evidence that this knowledge is a secret knowledge, passed down though the centuries, perhaps by those who sought to warn their descendants of the great danger. The acts of Bush and his friends, however, don't appear to be for the welfare of humanity. This raises questions of whether this knowledge has also been passed down by forces who seek to take advantage of it, who seek to turn the death and destruction into an opportunity for their own advancement. Think Cheney and his friends at Halliburton profiting from Iraq and the misery of the Iraq people, but on a cosmic scale...

That idea will bring accusations of "conspiracy theory".

We think there is more than enough evidence of a conspiracy, one that goes back thousands of years. Laura Knight-Jadczyk lays the groundwork for our understanding in her book Ancient Science. But to understand, you must know about hyperdimensional physics. With hyperdimensional physics, the possibility is before us that there exist what in religion would be termed "higher realms". Remove the religious gloss and you have the possibility, based upon science and not religion, that other realms exist, and these other realms may be inhabited. The wealth of myth, fairy tale, and Fortean phenomena may well be evidence of hyperdimensional denizens interacting with our realm. The writer John Keel, whose book The Mothman Prophecies was recently made into a movie, thinks these beings enjoy playing with our minds.

Time in the higher dimension is elastic. One can move in time as easily as we walk down the driveway. Organising such a conspiracy over thousands of years would be as easy as our connecting with people over the Internet.

We do not know how much George W. knows. If the forces at work operate on a "need to know" basis, it may be very little. As long as his "Christian" agenda gets the job done, he won't need to know more. If it stops doing the job, he may well be expendable. But if these forces are the next level equivalents of Dick Cheney, then we are in for a lot of nasty surprises.

Onward Bush's soldiers: War with Iraq is 'dress rehearsal for Armageddon' says head of Evangelical Israel Broadcasting Network

Bill Berkowitz
WorkingForChange
03.14.03

"And ye shall hear of wars & rumors of wars... For nation shall rise against nation, & kingdom against kingdom..." (Matthew 24:7)

"If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed." (Chinese proverb)

Armageddon may or may not be televised. But if Dr. Mike Evans has his way, his newly launched Evangelical Israel Broadcasting Network will be broadcasting directly from the scene. Dr. Evans, who heads the Jerusalem Prayer Team, believes a war with Iraq could be a "dress rehearsal for Armageddon" -- the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Although there is by no means unanimity on the question of Iraq and Armageddon, Dr. Evans' reading of the Bible may help explain why many conservative Christian fundamentalists are supporting President Bush's push toward a war with Iraq.

In the promotional materials for his new book, "America's War: The Beginning of the End," Dr. Evans writes: "It may be time to ask whether there is a deeper significance to this confrontation. Is it a coincidence that Iraq's ancient forbearer, Babylonia, was targeted with destruction by Biblical prophecy?"

According to Dr. Evans, the Bible refers to the "place known today as Iraq" a number of times: "It was there, near the Euphrates River, where the Garden of Eden was said to be located. It was also there that the poison of sin first entered the world. Iraq is also considered the location of the Tower of Babel that invoked the wrath of God because of the people's disobedience."

Dr. Evans argues that since Saddam Hussein believes he is the embodiment of Babylon's wicked King Nebuchadnezzar, who "conquered Israel and Judea in 586 BCE" intent on destroying the Jewish people, the Iraqi leader is outfitting a 7 million man army to "liberate Jerusalem."

"Does the New Testament predict the destruction of Iraq?" Evans asks.

In an e-mail alert dated March 11, Dr. Evans writes: "The world is on the brink of a spiritual battle of monumental proportions. The epicenter of this battle centers on Jerusalem and Babylon (modern-day Iraq), the biblical centers of spiritual light and darkness." He's calling on Christians worldwide to sign the Prayer Shield Petition and pledge to "pray daily at Noon your time for a Shield of Protection over America, our troops, the House of Israel, and all peoples on Earth who are in harm's way" (including the people of Iraq?).

It has taken more than two decades, but evangelical Christian organizations in the United States like the Jerusalem Prayer Team (JPT) have become among the most diehard and dependable supporters of the state of Israel. Where once the Rev. Jerry Falwell got into trouble for saying that the Antichrist would be a Jew and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson was scorned for using anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in his books, all that has changed. Now, Israel's leadership has the religious right on its A-list.

Interested in keeping up with developments about this growing relationship, I signed up to receive updates from Dr. Evans' Jerusalem Prayer Team several months ago.

There's always something going on with this lively ministry and in early February, I learned of the launch of the Evangelical Israel Broadcasting Network (EIBN), a network made up of evangelical Christian television and radio stations, and broadcasting organizations across America.

"EIBN will be a Christian alternative to the liberal, secular media's fundamentally biased news stories on Israel. EIBN plans to provide not only news, but the newsmakers of the nation of Israel directly, and uncensored to the Christian marketplace through the network," said Dr. Evans.

A group of notable Christian broadcasters -- names that folks who are not familiar with Christian radio wouldn't know, such as Dr. Jerry Rose, Dr. David Clark, Dr. Michael Little, President of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Belarmino "Blackie" Gonzalez -- joined Dr. Evans at the Opry Land Hotel in Nashville, TN. to help Dr. Evans get the network off the ground.

"The first goal of EIBN is to mobilize one million intercessors to unite in prayer over America and Israel's present crisis in the Middle East," reads the JPT announcement.

The end of times

The network's mission "is to guard, protect, and defend Eretz Yisrael and its people until the Messiah comes to Zion." The phrase "until the Messiah comes to Zion" is more than a little troubling, particularly if you're Jewish. As historian Paul S. Boyer has written, a series of end-times signs including "wars, natural disasters, rampant immorality, the rise of a world political and economic order, and the return of the Jews to the land promised by God to Abraham" will signal the Rapture.

"True Believers will be magically whisked off to heaven, the Antichrist will seize world power... thus ushering in the Second Coming, Armageddon and the Millennium," writes columnist Gene Lyons. And Jews who have not reconsidered their position will be left behind.

Former President Jimmy Carter recently wrote in the New York Times: "As a Christian and as a president who was severely provoked by international crises, I became thoroughly familiar with the principles of a just war, and it is clear that a substantially unilateral attack on Iraq does not meet these standards. This is an almost universal conviction of religious leaders, with the most notable exception of a few spokesmen of the Southern Baptist Convention who are greatly influenced by their commitment to Israel based on eschatological, or final days, theology."

According to Deb Richardson-Moore, a reporter with the Greenville New, "The question of Iraq's involvement in [the end times]... will undoubtedly become even more pronounced when 'Armageddon,' the 11th installment of the popular 'Left Behind' series, appears in bookstores April 8."

The series of apocalyptic novels was conceptualized by longtime Religious right activist Dr. Tim LaHaye and written by Jerry Jenkins, who "fleshes out LaHaye's theology with fictional characters and fast-paced action, has sold more than 50 million books." For book 11, "the heroes were left behind when the Rapture occurred, but quickly accepted Christ as the horrors of the Tribulation set in. In 'Armageddon,' Satan is ruling the world from New Babylon, Iraq, and faces his cosmic battle with Israel and her Christian allies."

(For more on the end-times, see "Christian Coalition latches onto Israel: Group plans 'Israel, You Are Not Alone' Washington rally for October" and "Strangers in a strained land: Christian Right ratchets up support for Israel.”)

Jerusalem Prayer Team

EIBN is an affiliate of the Jerusalem Prayer Team. Its Board of Governors includes nationally recognized leaders like Robertson, Dr. LaHaye, Former Colorado University head Football Coach and Promise Keepers founder, Bill McCartney, and a host of other notables. Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, Robertson, Mr. Tom Rose (publisher of the Jerusalem Post), and Dr. Evans and others serve as co-chairs.

Founded in June 2002, the Jerusalem Prayer Team organizes Christians to support the state of Israel. It is a direct outreach project of the Corrie ten Boom Fellowship which was established by the ten Boom family -- "devoted Christians who dedicated their lives in service to their fellow man," says the JPT Web site.

Aside: The story of the ten Boom family is a fascinating tale of courage and commitment. In 1844, the family began a weekly prayer meeting, praying for the Jewish people. In 1943 and during the first two months of 1944, the ten Boom family hid local Jews and members of the Dutch underground in their home. On February 28, 1944, after nearly one-hundred years of uninterrupted meetings, the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, raided their house and took family members away; surprisingly, despite the Nazi's thorough search of the house, they didn't find the four Jews and two members of the underground hidden behind a false wall in Corrie ten Boom's bedroom.

Members of the ten Boom family were imprisoned by the Nazis and several died. Corrie ten Boom survived. After the war, she began a world-wide ministry and worked with that ministry until her death in 1983. Dr. Mike Evans is the Executive director of the Corrie ten Boom Fellowship, as well as the Corrie ten Boom Foundation located in Holland.

The Jerusalem Prayer Team "continues to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and encourages Christians to exercise their faith by helping the Jewish people -- God's ancient people." For more than twenty-five years, Dr. Evans has been working to build bridges between Evangelical Christians in the US and Jews.

Honoring Dr. Evans

On February 9, at the National Religious Broadcasters' Convention in Nashville, Dr. Evans "was honored by Israel with the presentation of the Distinguished Ambassador Award. The plaque is a 16th Century silver map of the world with Jerusalem in the Center [that] is generally presented to world leaders."

Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Prime Minister of Israel and its current Finance Minister, sent a congratulatory message thanking Evans for his "decades of support for the State of Israel." Netanyahu went on: "The tens of millions of Christians who fervently support Israel are fortunate to have your passionate and dedicated voice helping them understand the critical issues that face the one and only Jewish State.

"In your devotion to Israel, you have consistently demonstrated the moral clarity that is necessary to defend Israel against the lies and distortions of its enemies, and championed the Jewish people's claim to the Land of Israel! Now that you have launched the Evangelical Israel Broadcasting Network and the Jerusalem Prayer Team, I look forward to strengthening our friendship on your many future visits to Jerusalem."

In his message, Mayor Olmert said, "Twenty-five years have passed since you embarked upon an ambitious program to recruit the North American Evangelical community in support of the State of Israel. During this time, you have written books, produced television specials, spoken to millions and initiated a variety of programs in which I had the pleasure of participating... .I highly value your contribution and exemplary assistance to the City of Jerusalem and to me personally."

Dr. Mike Evans has assembled a powerful team; pulling together his own version of the Holy Trinity -- President Bush, Netanyahu and Olmert. And he's got enough chutzpah to think God is on his side as well.

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Profiles in Prophecy: Which Armageddon Angle is Right for You?

BUZZFLASH READER COMMENTARY
by Maureen Farrell

Four years ago, the magazine I write for featured a synopsis of a book by an author who predicted the end of days. I don't recall the author's name or the book's title, mind you, but clearly remember Doomsday's date: December 21, 2012.

This was based mostly on Mayan prophecy, I learned, but also involved mysteries surrounding Stonehenge, the Temple at Angor Wat and the annual appearance of a serpentine illusion on the Kukulkan pyramid. I'm not certain of the significance of any of this, however, because though I admittedly googled "Dec. 21, 2012" to understand how the author came to his conclusions (apparently the Mayan calendar, which is decoded from Mayan text using precise mathematical equations, abruptly ends), I was too busy rolling my eyes to do further research. Why-oh-why, I wondered, do people believe superstition?

That was then, this is now.

This week, articles entitled "Armageddon Anxiety," ,"When U.S. Foreign Policy Meets Biblical Prophecy" , "Bush, Drawing on the Divine," and "Bush and God" have graced everything from alternative web sites to the cover of Newsweek. Gene Lyons has tried to decode Bush's messianic message, while New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff, though agreeing that "there may be an element of messianic vision in the plan to invade Iraq and 'remake' the Middle East," argued that more evangelical Christians should deliver the nightly news. Um, isn't it bad enough that they're shaping foreign policy?

Of course, various mainstream sources, from the BBC to the Christian Science Monitor, have long been reporting on ways Biblical prophecy is influencing political reality. The Christian Zionists' campaign to oust the Palestinians in order to make way for the Second Coming of Christ, for example, has been extensively covered -- as has Israeli reaction. As historian Paul S. Boyer writes, "The most hard-line and expansionist groups in Israel today, including Likud Party leaders, have gratefully welcomed this unwavering support. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the United States in 1998, he called first on [Jerry] Falwell, and only then met with President Clinton." Though Christians are funding Jewish settlers' treks to Israel to facilitate End Times prophecy, the Antichrist's slaughter of Jews and the conversion of survivors to Christianity is rarely mentioned.

Then, too, the secretive Council for National Policy, which ABC News deemed "the most powerful conservative group you've never heard of," (John Ashcroft, Ralph Reed and "Left Behind" author Tim LaHaye have all hung their hats there), has also been spotlighted -- most notably for the rumored "king-making" speech G.W gave before the group in 1999, which fueled speculation that the council was responsible for his presidential nomination. Though the Bush campaign refused to release the tape of that speech, it was already clear by December 2001, as the Washington Post reported, "For the first time since religious conservatives became a modern political movement, the president of the United States has become the movement's de facto leader."

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CHURCH & STATE

by Neal Pollack

A lunatic Christian cult has the run of the White House and the ear of the president. What do they want? The end of the world. Be afraid.

Every truly religious person can tell the story of his or her moment of conversion. Mine came when I heard that the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq would now be called Camp Redemption. I can think of 100 more appropriate names, including the International House of Torture, Leashland, or Symbolic Pile of Rubble. But no, Camp Redemption it will be. I didn't see God, exactly, upon learning of the holy camp. It's more like I saw our president's God clearly, for the first time. Yea, I did shiver at the sight of his flaming sword!

Who or what, exactly, will Camp Redemption redeem? The people who committed the torture? They're currently either being sacrificed in show trials or slowly having their names erased from our collective memory by some sort of sinister government mind-control device. Is it our international reputation? That would have to be one whale of a camp. Or what about the prisoners themselves? Come, you heathens! A ticket to heaven awaits you at... Camp Redemption!

Like everything else churned out by the Bush administration, Camp Redemption is an Orwellian nonsense term. It's a big old jail, people. Get over yourselves. I'm offended nonetheless. We all know that "redemption," under this president, can only be handed out by one mythical figure, Jesus Christ himself. I have no truck with the many good men and women of the United States who believe in Jesus, but that doesn't mean that I share their specific belief. Heaven help me, I'm an American, not a Christian. I don't want my tax dollars going to help Halliburton "build" bridges, and I don't want my semi-hard-earned money going to "redeem" anyone in my name. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord, my ass. This is a secular country.

- - -

Writers for alternative newspapers on the West Coast generally aren't prone to making hyperbolic, paranoid statements, but I'll smash the mold: Our country is being run by a lunatic Christian cult. The evidence grows tumescent. Example one is General Jerry Boykin, a deputy undersecretary of defense who, after September 11, started making the rounds of evangelical churches preaching that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein would "only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus." The U.S. is in a "holy war," he preached, against Satan, who wants to destroy our "Christian army." Guess what work Boykin was engaged in while making those speeches on the weekend? That's right. He was helping Donald Rumsfeld craft the specifics of Operation Copper Green, that top-secret Christian program that got us into so much trouble at Camp Redemption. At one of his preaching sessions, Boykin established the pecking order of moral authority. "George Bush was not elected by a majority of voters in the U.S.," he said. "He was appointed by God." Yes, sir! God approves of making prisoners masturbate each other, sir!

Hah-hah, you say. This is just one crazy general, an aberrational escapee from the lost reel of Dr. Strangelove. I mean, a guy who throws a retreat at Fort Bragg for Baptist preachers, like Boykin did in April 2003, must be one of a kind. One reverend wrote in an invitation letter, "It is believed by you, me, and others that we must find a group of men who are warriors of FAITH, pastors who have the guts to lead this nation to Christ and revival!" But still, this isn't the kind of country where preachers go to military bases to watch a demonstration of "today's war-fighting weapons" with a high-ranking federal military officer.

Actually, it is. This is also the kind of country where the president meets with the members of a radical, far-right millennialist Christian sect three weeks before he counteracts all known international law and opinion regarding the Israeli-Palestinian situation. That sect, known as the Apostolic Congress, opposes any deal with the Palestinians because it believes that Christ won't return to Earth until all of Israel belongs to the Jews and Solomon's temple is rebuilt. To those of us who like a dose of sanity in our morning coffee, such ideas are anathema, but to President Bush, they're a daily briefing. Even Ronald Reagan, that holy-rollerist of presidents, didn't give apocalyptic Christians weekly telephone briefings on White House policy. It's almost impossible for Kofi Annan to get a meeting with the president, but Robert G. Upton, of the United Pentecostal Church, can say, as he did a couple of weeks ago in that house organ of fundamentalism, the Village Voice, "We're in constant contact with the White House."

We're currently living through Ronald Reagan's canonization as a secular saint. It's tempting to say that the Reagan administration was a religious preface to the White House reign of Captain End Times. Reagan was certainly a millenialist. He opened the White House to fundamentalist Christians. But that mostly electoral strategy. The man didn't go to church. And even if Reagan believed in Armageddon, he didn't actively try to bring it about. You can't say the same about George W. Bush.

- - -

My mother-in-law attends chapel every Sunday. She prays quietly to herself before bed, serves on the committee that oversees the church's daycare center, and practices with the hand-bell choir. She's humble, pious, and unobtrusively dedicated to good works. Now that's a Christian.

President Bush prays every night as well, and sometimes during the day. David Aikman's book, A Man of Faith: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush, tells the story of a courier making an important delivery to the Oval Office only to find the president "lying prostrate on the floor in prayer." The very image gives me the chills, but if you're a true believer, you might find it warming.

Allow me to invoke the rhythms of my favorite Jewish holiday song here. If President Bush had been an alcoholic who needed Jesus to get sober and be a better family man, it would have been enough. If he'd used his faith to help the Republican Party coalesce the important evangelical Christian vote, it would have been enough. If he'd made Christian values the cornerstone of his time in the Texas governor's mansion, it would have been enough. If he'd declared Christ as his favorite political philosopher during a Republican presidential primary debate, it would have been enough.

But when he starts invoking church doctrine in a holy war against "evildoers," well, that's enough. If, like me, you happened to have seen the Frontline documentary The Jesus Factor, then you saw the president speak in coded language to his evangelical followers. You saw the president say that the Bible is the "guidebook" for federal social policy. You realized that Bush really does believe he's God's right-hand guy. When you were through shivering with fear in your bedroom closet, you knew for certain that President Bush is a fanatic who will get us all killed if he isn't stopped.

The website for The Jesus Factor features excerpts of an interview with Jim Wallis, the editor of the liberal theology magazine Sojourners. The man makes sense. Wallis has a problem with Bush's theological references in his speeches. In particular, he blanches at Bush's use of the phrase "wonder-working power" when describing the abilities of the American people. The problem, he says, is that "wonder-working power" describes finding faith in Christ, but now "all of a sudden it's [about] supporting American foreign policy, when it wasn't about American foreign policy. It's about the light of Christ in the world. It was about the word of God in history. It wasn't about the American people and their values."

I do declare! We have a state religion! Why, that's not in the Constitution at all! I quote Wallis at length, because, unlike me, he knows what he's talking about:

"The Bible is being used to justify our policies, not to call them into question. When Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney talk about the necessity of American power and supremacy, military supremacy in the world as the only way to peace, I understand that as a foreign policy. I think it's not a wise foreign policy, but I understand it.

"When President Bush adds God to their formulation and says God's purpose or intention is somehow linked with American military preeminence, that's a very dangerous thing. [After September 11,] President Bush and the White House basically choreographed a liturgy at the National Cathedral. President Bush was a chief homilist. In the pulpit of the National Cathedral, he made a war speech. He called the nation to arms in the pulpit of the National Cathedral, and he claimed a divine mission for our nation to rid the world of evil. That is not only bad foreign policy or presumptuous foreign policy--I would say it's idolatrous foreign policy to claim God's purpose for that mission. And in the language that Mr. Bush has used, he does this again and again and again. Our role, and his role as president, this is acclaiming a righteous [decree] that Pax Americana is God's foreign policy. This is a very unsettling thing."

- - -

Color me even more unsettled when you consider that this is a country where, according to a recent ABC News poll, 61 percent of the people believe that the world was literally created in seven days, where public schools are teaching evolution as "just another theory," and where churches fill theaters with audiences dying to watch a nasty snuff film about Jesus. Americans, like people everywhere, are mostly good. But they're also quite susceptible to manipulation by charlatans. How many of you, in the last year, have had a conversation where someone casually threw out the funny suggestion that "Bush is the Antichrist"? I see a lot of you raising your hands. Well, it's no joke, sister.

Millions of Americans believe that Armageddon is coming soon. Revelation states that the first stage of the apocalypse will be a battle where four angels, "which are bound in the great river Euphrates," will be unleashed to "slay the third part of men." Then Israel and its allies must occupy the rest of its "biblical lands," which happens to encompass most of the Middle East, and then they have to build the Third Temple where the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque now stand, and... well, you see where this is going.

Wake up, people! It's worse than you imagined! The United States of America has been hijacked by religious nutballs who are trying to bring about the end of the world! We have to stop them now! The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Wolf! Wolf!

But how, you ask, do we pull the brakes on this steaming train of holiness? The answer isn't simple, but it is righteous. You beat them at their own game.

Perhaps you've heard of the Presidential Prayer Team. This is a nonprofit group that's registered 2.8 million people to "pray daily for the president." Bill McCartney, the founder of the Promise Keepers, is on the board of directors, along with such cultural figures as Christian singer Michael W. Smith, "Painter of Light" Thomas Kinkade, Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo, and Ricky Skaggs. So obviously, if you're reading this essay, it's not the group for you. The Prayer Team likes to circulate an image of President Bush bowed in reverence with an illumined cross behind him. On one side of Bush, the ghost of Abraham Lincoln lowers his head while grasping Bush's shoulder. On the other, a spectral George Washington does the same. Jesus Christ, that's creepy!

A sample prayer goes: "Pray for the president as on Monday he begins a series of speeches detailing the handover of power to the Iraqi interim government. Pray for godly wisdom and protection as Mr. Bush delivers Monday's speech at the Army War College which will be followed by a speech each week at other sites."

There you have it. A group of people more than twice the size of the largest march ever organized on Washington says a daily prayer for the success of the White House's latest propaganda initiative. The bearded martyr who divided loaves and fishes would be so proud. As McCartney says on the Prayer Team's website, "God's Word instructs us to honor and submit to our government's leadership. Prayer is the first and most powerful way to do this."

No, Captain Promise Keeper, God's Word says no such thing. I sincerely doubt you were praying for Bill Clinton in the '90s.

Breaking news: In key states, the Bush reelection campaign is trying to find "friendly congregations" where Bush supporters can sign up voters and spread the gospel of George W. A campaign spokesman said, "People of faith who feel strongly about the president are people we want to be a part of our campaign."

Even more recent breaking news: Last weekend, the Texas Republican party approved a platform that refers to the "myth of the seperation of church and state," and proclaimed America a "Christian nation." The platform also declares that the Ten Commandments are "the basis of our Freedoms."

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As people started getting worked up about Bush's religious beliefs, the right-wing magazine the National Review decided to set in and let us know that the Moslems were even worse....

Sound Familiar?: Understanding Islamic End-Times beliefs.

Rod Dreher
February 28, 2003 9:00 a.m.

Many Evangelical Christians in America are watching events unfold in the Middle East with great interest, seeing in the preparations for war the possible unfolding of the End-Times scenario predicted in the Bible. A small segment of ultraorthodox Judaism shares an apocalyptic vision, centering around rebuilding the Temple on Mount Zion (where the Islamic Dome of the Rock Shrine and al-Aqsa mosque, now sit). What many Americans don't realize, though, is that Islam also has an eschatological endgame, and that like any Left Behind-reading American, many Muslims see current events as a run-up to their own version of Armageddon.

Islam derives its Last-Days scenario from the Koran, which appeared centuries after the Christian Bible — a fact that for non-Muslims could account for elements of Christian and Jewish prophecy appearing in the Koranic text. Particularly since the mid-1980s, modern interpreters within Islam cast the Arab-Israeli conflict, and more broadly, the conflict between Islam and the West, as part of the cosmic conflict that will mean the end of history and the ultimate triumph of Islam. David Cook, a Rice University scholar of Muslim apocalypticism, sketches below the main themes of Islamic End-Times prophecy, and its ramifications:

Rod Dreher: What are the main beliefs of Islamic eschatology?

David Cook: Referring to Sunni Islam, the principal beliefs are:

  1. There are a series of signs or portents previous to the end: moral and social decay, natural and cosmic disasters, and political events that will demonstrate in an incontrovertible manner that the end is about to happen.
  2. A tempter, or Antichrist, called the Dajjal will appear and lead the world (with the exception of true Muslims) astray. Almost everyone will be subject to his tribulations, but just before he succeeds in annihilating the Muslims, Jesus will come down from the heavens and kill him.
  3. There will be a messianic age, led by either Jesus or another messianic figure called the Mahdi. This latter figure will conquer the entire world and convert everyone to Islam.
  4. After the time of the Mahdi, then Gog and Magog [cf. Ezekiel 38, 39; the Islamic version goes by the name Yajuj and Majuj] will invade the world and destroy it.
  5. God will bring the world to an end.

Dreher: What sort of Muslim tends to make Islamic End-Times prophecy central to his piety?

Cook: Usually one without much hope in the likelihood that there will be positive changes that will benefit Islam in the immediate future. Such people can oftentimes be attracted by an apocalyptic, destroy-it-all framework or long for the messianic age.

Dreher: How popular is apocalypticism at the present moment among Middle Eastern Muslims?

Cook: In certain areas, quite popular. Radical Muslims (followers of or sympathizers with al Qaeda) have responded to their setbacks during the recent past by publishing large numbers of apocalypses, and mahdi scenarios. Among Palestinians, apocalyptic speculations are also quite prominent. I think that apocalypse as a genre has become less popular in Egypt than it was 3-4 years ago, however, and Algerian radicals no longer use apocalyptic motifs either.

Dreher: If one is reading current events through the lens of contemporary Islamic prophecy, what will one see?

Cook: Many of the apocalyptic wars before the appearance of the Dajjal speak of Christian powers invading Muslim lands. This is the interpretation of the [seemingly imminent] Iraq war. The Dajjal is said to be a Jew, and will blaspheme the area of Jerusalem. Ariel Sharon is usually made to fit that bill. Among radical Muslims, the Mahdi is oftentimes said to be either Mullah Omar or in some cases Osama bin Laden. One of the traditions says: "The Prophet of Allah promised us a raid on India" which is widely cited by Pakistani radicals.

Dreher: Given the central role the Temple Mount plays in the End-Times beliefs of certain fervent Jews, Christians, and Muslims, what kind of trouble might we see there in the event of Middle Eastern war?

Cook: Right now the Temple Mount is effectively closed. It will probably always be the center of scary predictions and fears for Muslims as long as Israel has any power or influence in the region, but I don't foresee any necessary reason why the Temple Mount should be a focus. Most of the material published now speaks of wars and apocalypses on a grand scale; the materials on the Temple Mount were all because of the fear that Israel would rebuild the Temple in the year 2000 (perhaps contributing to the explosion of the second Intifada during Sept. 2000).

Dreher: In the secular West, we tend to discount the role religious visions play in driving or at least shaping world affairs. If you were advising the president on what he could do to avoid provoking unnecessarily Muslims who believe strongly in Islamic prophecy, what would you tell him?

Cook: I would tell him to convert to Islam if I were trying to get him to avoid provoking Muslims who believe strongly in Islamic prophecy. There is probably no other way to avoid provoking them. For them, Bush is easily cast into the role of Pharaoh, the Dajjal (for those who aren't satisfied with Sharon as the one). He is usually referred to as the Hubal (the name of a pre-Islamic idol) of this age, which signifies that there is no chance to mollify this type of people.

Dreher: It doesn't matter whether or not a particular prophetic vision is true; what matters is how it affects the actions of those who do believe it's true. With that in mind, what kind of problems could Islamic apocalypticism pose for the United States as it attempts to foment governmental and society change on Middle Eastern populations through force?

Cook: The basic problem is that our actions could, in the perception of large numbers of the population, coincide with apocalyptic interpretations. If this is the case then it will serve to radicalize people, and raise the stakes that much higher for the apocalyptic groups. If they view the situation (or perhaps I should say if enough of them, or enough of those placed in the right place) as an apocalyptic one, then they will respond accordingly.

Dreher: I guess what I'm getting at with this last question is this: How cooperative will Islamic populations be with the forces of a man, George W. Bush, whom they may see as their version of the Antichrist?

Cook: It depends upon the issue of perceived victory, I think. No one challenges the victory of the U.S. in Afghanistan because it was complete (more or less) and legitimate (or perhaps legitimized by the new Afghan government). If that is perceived to be the case in Iraq, then the result could be exactly the opposite. What should not happen is for something to drag out; in hindsight that was the problem with both the Oslo negotiations and the blockade of Iraq. They were lengthy and people forgot the original reasons why they were the way they were, and then allowed themselves to be swayed by radical and apocalyptic interpretations of events.

Comment: We have a president in the US who is a religious fanatic, who believes God speaks to him, and who thinks the end is nigh, who commands weapons of mass destruction and is willing to send his armies overseas to further his apocalyptic vision, yet we're supposed to be worried about the Moslems... who have little or no WMD, no armies to speak of, only a few "terrorists" being provoked daily by the new Crusade.

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THE POINT OF NO RETURN

WRH

"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator"
- G.W. Bush 12/18/2000

Dictators do not appear overnight. They must gradually assume more and more power over time so that the population does not realize what is going on, or does not feel it is worthwhile to object.

But to maintain control, dictators "seduce" their population into greater and greater atrocities, over time. There is more than simply acclimating the population involved to the dictator's agenda. By tricking the population into acceptance of greater and greater atrocities, the dictator will eventually reach a position where the people will be too afraid to examine what they themselves have become. Trapped by the fear of examining themselves, such people turn into the most fanatical of the dictator's supporters. They dare not look at the dictator's evil for to do so is to look at their own. Once the dictator can trick his people past that point, they are his slaves. Hitler used this tactic. So did Stalin.

The people of the United States stand at that point right now. That the US Government is using torture on POWs (just as Hitler did) is beyond argument. One can either stand up and denounce that torture and demand the firing of all who took part in it (and the end of the war), or one is by default complicit, an accessory after the fact, seen by all to condone such barbarism.

Anyone who steps across that line is trapped. Unable to look at what they themselves have become they will refuse to look at what the government has become, indeed will create or accept any justification, no matter how thin and transparent, rather than question that government. And indeed this web site gets email from people who have already crossed that point, and are trying to explain why torture is really necessary "this time".

So, you are down to a choice. There is no more being neutral, or sitting on the fence. As Bush himself said, you are either with him or against him, and unless you are actively against him and his war machine, then he wins by default.

Unless you stop them now, sooner or later, Bush and the NeoCons will succeed in turning this nation into the 21st century version of Nazi Germany, powered by fanatics so afraid to look in a mirror that they will inflict any pain on any people, rather than do so.

Time to decide.

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Pre-emptive War, Pre-emptive Arrests

Bush's Police State and Independence Day

By ELAINE CASSEL
July 4, 2004

As a criminal defense attorney, I am often in the unenviable position of telling a first-time offender that the rights they thought they had under the Constitution don't mean what they think they do. Recently, a well-educated, professional woman engaged me to defend her in charges of obstruction of justice. Her crime? She had tried to talk to a police officer (big mistake, there) about the circumstances that led to her friend, about to be arrested, walking on highway (absolutely nothing wrong with that, but that is beside the point).

She was arrested for obstruction of justice, but not until backup officers and dogs had been called. Her companion, who had exited her car over an argument they were having, was "arrested" for jaywalking. He was not "jaywalking," and, if he were, he would have been issued a "summons," not arrested and cuffed and taken to jail.

My client was arrested, cuffed, taken to jail, finger-printed, charged, released on bail, and faces trial. Depending on the judge and prosecutor, they may be little I can do. For technically, she violated the law. She "interfered" with an officer in the line of duty--which, now, the Supreme Court has recently told us, includes stopping any of us and inquiring about our identity, even if we are doing nothing wrong. Even though the charges against her friend were summarily dismissed by the judge, the charge against her stands. For the case against her does not depend on the valid arrest of her friend--but on the fact that she attempted, so the officer has charged, to impede him while he was making an arrest. Under the law, that arrest can have been illegal, and my client still found guilty.

The point of this story is, that any one of you may be at the wrong end of the criminal justice system even though you did nothing "wrong." The same can be said in the "war on terror." Even though you are not a "terrorist," you may be detained, imprisoned, charged, arrested, and tried as one.

That's why you better care about the Ashcroft and Bush's agenda. It has trickled down to your local and state police, many of whom are recipients of federal dollars to look for "suspicious" people and "detain" them until the feds are called.

The New York Times today, July 4, has what I think is an extraordinary editorial. I share it with you today, Independence Day, with the hope that you will make yourselves aware of how, under the Bush regime, we are far less free than we were when he took office. Supreme Court decisions notwithstanding (see my article on this on this page), you have much more to fear from the Bush doctrine of preemptive and unlawful arrests than you think.

About Independence

People too often get the impression that the only people who use the nation's civil liberties protections are lawbreakers who were not quite guilty of the exact felony they were charged with. Perhaps we should thank the Bush administration for providing so many situations that demonstrate how an unfettered law enforcement system, even one pursuing worthy ends, can destroy the lives of the innocent out of hubris or carelessness.

There was, for instance, Purna Raj Bajracharya, who was videotaping the sights of New York City for his family back in Nepal when he inadvertently included an office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was taken into custody, where officials found he had overstayed his tourist visa, a violation punishable by deportation. Instead, Mr. Bajracharya wound up in solitary confinement in a federal detention center for three months, weeping constantly, in a 6-by-9 cell where the lights were never turned off. As a recent article by Nina Bernstein in The Times recounted, Mr. Bajracharya, who speaks little English, might have been in there much longer if an FBI agent had not finally taken it upon himself to summon legal help.

Mr. Bajracharya ran afoul of a Justice Department ruling after the 2001 terrorist attacks that ordered immigration judges to hold secret hearings in closed courtrooms for immigration cases of "special interest." The subjects of these hearings could be kept in custody until the FBI made sure they were not terrorists. That rule might have seemed prudent after the horror of 9/11. But since it is almost always impossible to prove a negative, any decision to let a person once suspected of terrorism free constitutes at least a political risk. If officials have no particular prod for action, they will generally prefer to play it safe and do nothing. The unfortunate Nepalese was finally released only because of James Wynne, the FBI agent who originally sent him to detention. Mr. Wynne's investigation quickly cleared Mr. Bajracharya of suspicion, but no one approved the paperwork necessary to get him out of prison. Eventually, Mr. Wynne called Legal Aid, which otherwise would have had no way of knowing he was even in custody.

When law enforcement officials make mistakes, there is an all-too-human temptation to press on rather than admit an error. Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer in Oregon, was arrested in connection with the bombing of commuter trains in Madrid, even though he had never been to Spain. Spanish authorities had taken a fingerprint from a plastic bag discovered at the scene and FBI officials thought it matched Mr. Mayfield's prints, which were among the many from discharged soldiers in the enormous federal database.

The American investigators must have felt they hit pay dirt when they discovered that Mr. Mayfield was a convert to Islam, that his wife had been born in Egypt and that he had once represented a terrorism defendant in a child custody case. The fact that there was no indication he had been out of the country in a decade did not sway them. Neither did the fact that Spanish authorities were telling them that the fingerprints did not actually match.

Mr. Mayfield was held for two weeks, even though the only other connections between him and terrorism were things like the fact, as the FBI pointed out, that his law firm advertised in a "Muslim yellow page directory" whose publisher had once had a business relationship with Osama bin Laden's former personal secretary.

When the Spaniards linked the fingerprint to an Algerian man in May, Mr. Mayfield's case was dismissed and the FBI did apologize. But the ordeal could have dragged on much longer if the investigation had not involved another nation, whose police were not invested in the idea that the Oregon lawyer was the culprit. And it could have been endless if Mr. Mayfield had been an undocumented worker being held in post-9/11 secrecy, or if he had been picked up in Afghanistan as a suspected Taliban fighter and held incommunicado at Guantanamo.

For more than two years now, about 600 men have been kept in American custody in Cuba, and the odds are that some - perhaps most - were merely hapless Afghan foot soldiers or bystanders swept up in the confusion of the American invasion. But it took the Supreme Court to tell the Bush administration they could not be kept there forever without giving them a chance to contest their imprisonment.

Anyone who needs another demonstration of how difficult it is for law enforcement authorities to acknowledge error can always look to the case of Capt. James Yee. A Muslim convert, Captain Yee was a chaplain at Guantanamo until he was taken into custody on suspicion of espionage. He was held in solitary confinement for nearly three months, during which time authorities realized that the case against him was nonexistent. Rather than simply let him go, they charged him with mishandling classified material. The charges seemed to have much less to do with security concerns than official face-saving. And to repay Captain Yee for its self-inflicted embarrassment, the military went at great lengths in court to prove he was having an affair with a female officer. While that had nothing to do with security either, it did humiliate the defendant in public, as well as his wife and child, who were present at the trial.

Virtually every time the Bush administration feels cornered, it falls back on the argument that the president and his officials are honorable men and women. This is an invitation to turn what should be a debate about policy into a referendum on the hearts of the people making it. But this nation was organized under a rule of law, not a dictatorship of the virtuous. The founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights specifically because they did not believe that honorable men always do the right thing.

Elaine Cassel practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teaches law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime's dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. Her book, The War on Civil Liberties: How Bush and Ashcroft Have Dismantled the Bill of Rights, will be published by Lawrence Hill this summer.

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FBI Raids Islamic Institute In Virginia

By Mustafa Abdel-Halim, IOL Staff

CAIRO, July 2 (IslamOnline.net) - US federal agents raided an Islamic institute in Northern Virginia on Thursday, July 1, with no reasons cited, a move seen by an American Muslim civil rights group as a "new fishing expedition".

Agents from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) swarmed into the premises of the Institute for Islamic and Arabic Sciences in Merrifield and interrogated all employees inside, Arsalan Iftikhar, a lawyer of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told IslamOnline.net Friday, July2 , over the phone from Washington.

He said authorities interviewed institute staffers individually until mid-afternoon but did not detain anyone.

The lawyer noted that no reasons were cited for the raid, expressing doubts that any charges would eventually be filed.

Iftikhar, the director of legal affairs for CAIR, arrived on the scene after one of the institute's employees called the civil rights group during the raid.

The number of agents drew the attention of neighbors and TV crews, who recorded the event.

TV images showed the agents getting out of the building with boxes that were later said carrying computers.

Founded in 1989, the institute is reportedly affiliated with Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

It offers free courses in Islamic studies and Arabic. [...]

Earlier this year, 16 Saudis affiliated with the institute had their diplomatic passports revoked. State Department officials said they were teaching at the institute rather than serving as diplomats.

The department later declined to renew their residence visas. The Muslim leader said all of the Saudi officials in the institute have left the country since. [...]

Ibrahim Hooper, the execute director of CAIR, the largest Muslim American civil advocacy group, voiced concerns that the act could be nothing but a "fishing expedition".

"We are concerned that this could be nothing but a fishing expedition, in which the whole case would end up with nothing in evidence [against the institute]," he told IOL over phone.

Hooper recalled raids on a variety of Muslim businesses and charities over the past few years as part of a broad investigation into alleged financing of terrorist activities.

He stressed that no charges have been filed against those charities.

The federal authorities had raided the office of an Islamic group in Northern Virginia citing allegations of links to terrorism. But no charges were later filed without explanation.

"This is damaging to the reputation of American Muslims, and [pushes] the American public to unfairly associate Islam with terrorism," said Iftikhar, noting that the raids by federal authorities have increased since the September 11 attacks. [...]

Comment: Americans already associate Islam with terrorism. It's a done deal. Imagine the hell that would have broken loose if the raids had been conducted against a Jewish institute. Obviously, equality in America is a thing of the past - if it ever existed in the first place.

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Midwest Theaters Ban 'Fahrenheit 9/11'

By The Associated Press
Saturday, Jul. 3, 2004 - 3:14 PM

DECORAH, Iowa (AP) - The president of a company that owns movie theaters in Iowa and Nebraska is refusing to show director Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11."

R.L. Fridley, owner of Des Moines-based Fridley Theatres, says the controversial documentary incites terrorism.

Fridley said in an e-mail message to company managers that the company does not "play political propaganda films from either the right or the left."

"Our country is in a war against an enemy who would destroy our way of life, our culture and kill our people," Fridley wrote. "These barbarians have shown through (the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001) and the recent beheadings that they will stop at nothing. I believe this film emboldens them and divides our country even more."

"Fahrenheit 9/11" won best picture at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and has grossed millions of dollars at the box office. Moore won an Academy Award for an earlier work, "Bowling for Columbine."

Critics accuse the film of being an unfair and inaccurate portrayal about President Bush's policies before and after Sept. 11, 2001.

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Rumsfeld 'Can't Imagine' Revived Military Draft

By Will Dunham
Sun Jul 4, 9:05 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration is expressing steadfast opposition to reviving the military draft despite the stress placed on America's all-volunteer force by large-scale operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I just can't imagine it," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said last week when asked under what circumstances it might be necessary to resume the draft.

"As a matter of fact, despite all the talk about the stress on the force, today we still are having very good results with respect to recruiting and retention. And we do not have a problem of attracting and retaining the people we need in the military," Rumsfeld said.

Comment: Sure, we believe you, Rummy... That's why the individual ready reserves are being tapped, and soldiers already in Iraq are having their tours extended and being prevented from retiring. Yup, no problem at all attracting and retaining people for the military...

The United States ended the draft in 1973 during the tumult of the Vietnam War era, creating a military whose members signed up willingly.

But recent extraordinary measures by the Pentagon to maintain 140,000 troops in Iraq and 20,000 more in Afghanistan have prompted criticism that the administration is boosting forces by imposing a "back door" draft.

Congress, which must approve a draft, has shown no appetite to revive it during an election year.

Bills introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, a Korean War veteran, in the House of Representatives and Sen. Ernest Hollings of South Carolina, a World War II veteran, in the Senate to reinstate the draft have little support.

"A military draft along the lines of what we had during the Vietnam era is, at the moment, politically untenable," said defense analyst Charles Pena of the libertarian Cato Institute.

Neither President Bush nor Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts will "win any votes by saying, 'Let's bring back the draft.' And the same is true for anybody in Congress. It is the surest way to lose votes as opposed to gain votes," he said.

Comment: Exactly. So why would any American assume that Rumsfeld is telling the truth when he claims there are no plans for a draft?

Nonetheless, many Americans are talking about the draft.

The Selective Service System, the agency with which men at age 18 must register for a draft, has been socked with so many e-mails and telephone calls that it posted a statement on its Web site saying "notwithstanding recent stories in the news media and on the Internet, Selective Service is not getting ready to conduct a draft."

'NEVER SAY NEVER'

"Look, we never say never," Selective Service spokesman Dan Amon said. "But there is no indication, no hint, no whisper at all that there's going to be anything like a draft."

"It's understandable why rumors are circulating ... because of what's going on in the world," Amon added. "But it doesn't make them any less false." [...]

"If we do over-deploy the Army to the point where people stop being willing to join, then you have no choice but to either initially try to lower recruiting standards and get more people in the military that way, or if things go badly enough actually go to a draft," O'Hanlon said.

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FLASHBACK!

A question to our American readers:

Have you ever heard of bill 'HR 163'? Perhaps this is a rather flippant question, since few Americans, or indeed citizens of western democratic countries, really know or care what laws are passed by those that they have, in theory, elected to rule them. While the majority of legislation that has sneaked in under the malfunctioning radar of the US public has not affected them in a direct or immediate way, bill HR 163 appears to break with tradition in this respect. The actual text of the bill is as follows:

Universal National Service Act of 2003 (Introduced in Senate)

108th CONGRESS

1st Session S. 89

To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense homeland security, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

January 7, 2003

Mr. HOLLINGS introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services

A BILL

To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.

Note the phrase "homeland security", which sprung up as a result of the faked terror attacks on 9/11.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the 'Universal National Service Act of 2003'.

(b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. National service obligation.

Sec. 3. Two-year period of national service.

Sec. 4. Implementation by the President.

Sec. 5. Induction.

Sec. 6. Deferments and postponements.

Sec. 7. Induction exemptions.

Sec. 8. Conscientious objection.

Sec. 9. Discharge following national service.

Sec. 10. Registration of females under the Military Selective Service Act.

Sec. 11. Relation of Act to registration and induction authority of Military Selective Service Act.

Sec. 12. Definitions.

SEC. 2. NATIONAL SERVICE OBLIGATION.

(a) OBLIGATION FOR YOUNG PERSONS- It is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every other person residing in the United States, who is between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a period of national service as prescribed in this Act unless exempted under the provisions of this Act.

(b) FORM OF NATIONAL SERVICE- National service under this Act shall be performed either--

(1) as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services; or

(2) in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and homeland security.

(c) INDUCTION REQUIREMENTS- The President shall provide for the induction of persons covered by subsection (a) to perform national service under this Act.

(d) SELECTION FOR MILITARY SERVICE- Based upon the needs of the uniformed services, the President shall--

(1) determine the number of persons covered by subsection (a) whose service is to be performed as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services; and

(2) select the individuals among those persons who are to be inducted for military service under this Act.

(e) CIVILIAN SERVICE- Persons covered by subsection (a) who are not selected for military service under subsection (d) shall perform their national service obligation under this Act in a civilian capacity pursuant to subsection (b)(2).

SEC. 3. TWO-YEAR PERIOD OF NATIONAL SERVICE.

(a) GENERAL RULE- Except as otherwise provided in this section, the period of national service performed by a person under this Act shall be two years.

(b) GROUNDS FOR EXTENSION- At the discretion of the President, the period of military service for a member of the uniformed services under this Act may be extended--

(1) with the consent of the member, for the purpose of furnishing hospitalization, medical, or surgical care for injury or illness incurred in line of duty; or

(2) for the purpose of requiring the member to compensate for any time lost to training for any cause.

(c) EARLY TERMINATION- The period of national service for a person under this Act shall be terminated before the end of such period under the following circumstances:

(1) The voluntary enlistment and active service of the person in an active or reserve component of the uniformed services for a period of at least two years, in which case the period of basic military training and education actually served by the person shall be counted toward the term of enlistment.

(2) The admission and service of the person as a cadet or midshipman at the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, or the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

(3) The enrollment and service of the person in an officer candidate program, if the person has signed an agreement to accept a Reserve commission in the appropriate service with an obligation to serve on active duty if such a commission is offered upon completion of the program.

So the only way a person can avoid being drafted is if they are already a member of the 'uniformed services'. Unless of course...

(4) Such other grounds as the President may establish.

Which means that the President's friends and their families will probably not have to enlist.

SEC. 4. IMPLEMENTATION BY THE PRESIDENT.

(a) IN GENERAL- The President shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out this Act.

(b) MATTER TO BE COVERED BY REGULATIONS- Such regulations shall include specification of the following:

(1) The types of civilian service that may be performed for a person's national service obligation under this Act.

(2) Standards for satisfactory performance of civilian service and of penalties for failure to perform civilian service satisfactorily.

A prison term perhaps?

(3) The manner in which persons shall be selected for induction under this Act, including the manner in which those selected will be notified of such selection.

Kidnapped from their homes and thrown on a cargo plane maybe?

(4) All other administrative matters in connection with the induction of persons under this Act and the registration, examination, and classification of such persons.

(5) A means to determine questions or claims with respect to inclusion for, or exemption or deferment from induction under this Act, including questions of conscientious objection.

So the President is going to decide the criteria for exemption...

(6) Standards for compensation and benefits for persons performing their national service obligation under this Act through civilian service.

(7) Such other matters as the President determines necessary to carry out this Act.

(c) USE OF PRIOR ACT- To the extent determined appropriate by the President, the President may use for purposes of this Act the procedures provided in the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.), including procedures for registration, selection, and induction.

SEC. 5. INDUCTION.

(a) IN GENERAL- Every person subject to induction for national service under this Act, except those whose training is deferred or postponed in accordance with this Act, shall be called and inducted by the President for such service at the time and place specified by the President.

(b) AGE LIMITS- A person may be inducted under this Act only if the person has attained the age of 18 and has not attained the age of 26 (c) VOLUNTARY INDUCTION- A person subject to induction under this Act may volunteer for induction at a time other than the time at which the person is otherwise called for induction.

(d) EXAMINATION; CLASSIFICATION- Every person subject to induction under this Act shall, before induction, be physically and shall be classified as to fitness to perform national service. The President may apply different classification standards for fitness for military service and fitness for civilian service.

SEC. 6. DEFERMENTS AND POSTPONEMENTS.

(a) HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS- A person who is pursuing a standard course of study, on a full-time basis, in a secondary school or similar institution of learning shall be entitled to have induction under this Act postponed until the person--

(1) obtains a high school diploma;

(2) ceases to pursue satisfactorily such course of study; or

(3) attains the age of 20.

So if you happen to be between 20 and 26 and in full-time education, you have the choice of giving up your education and being drafted into 'service', or, suffer the "penalties for failure to perform civilian service satisfactorily", as defined by the President.

(b) HARDSHIP AND DISABILITY- Deferments from national service under this Act may be made for--

(1) extreme hardship; or

(2) physical or mental disability.

(c) TRAINING CAPACITY- The President may postpone or suspend the induction of persons for military service under this Act as necessary to limit the number of persons receiving basic military training and education to the maximum number that can be adequately trained.

(d) TERMINATION- No deferment or postponement of induction under this Act shall continue after the cause of such deferment or postponement ceases.

SEC. 7. INDUCTION EXEMPTIONS.

(a) QUALIFICATIONS- No person may be inducted for military service under this Act unless the person is acceptable to the Secretary concerned for training and meets the same health and physical qualifications applicable under section 505 of title 10, United States Code, to persons seeking original enlistment in a regular component of the Armed Forces.

(b) OTHER MILITARY SERVICE- No person shall be liable for induction under this Act who--

(1) is serving, or has served honorably for at least six months, in any component of the uniformed services on active duty; or

(2) is or becomes a cadet or midshipman at the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, the United States

Merchant Marine Academy, a midshipman of a Navy accredited State maritime academy, a member of the Senior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or the naval aviation college program, so long as that person satisfactorily continues in and completes two years training therein.

Is it just us, or is this beginning to look like a plan to replace most of the active military personnel with civilian conscripts?

SEC. 8. CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION.

(a) CLAIMS AS CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR- Any person selected under this Act for induction into the uniformed services who claims, because of religious training and belief (as defined in section 6(j) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 456(j))), exemption from combatant training included as part of that military service and whose claim is sustained under such procedures as the President may prescribe, shall, when inducted, participate in military service that does not include any combatant training component.

Interestingly, the above mentioned act, under the provison for who should be drafted, states the following:

The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to any alien lawfully admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant under section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (66 Stat. 163; 8 U.S.C. 1101), for so long as he continues to maintain a lawful nonimmigrant status in the United States.

1-108. Aliens and noncitizen nationals of the United States who, on or after July 1, 1980, come into and reside in the United States shall present themselves for registration in accordance with Sections 1-101 to 1-105 or within 30 days after coming into the United States, whichever is later.

Only "lawful nonimmigrants" are exempt - this seems to suggest that all illegal immigrants are 'eligible' to be drafted. Could this be a reason for the many recent reports of the southern US borders essentially being opened to immigrants? More cannon fodder perhaps?

(b) TRANSFER TO CIVILIAN SERVICE- Any such person whose claim is sustained may, at the discretion of the President, be transferred to a national service program for performance of such person's national service obligation under this Act.

Cleaning Dick Cheney's toilet bowl perhaps?

SEC. 9. DISCHARGE FOLLOWING NATIONAL SERVICE.

(a) DISCHARGE- Upon completion or termination of the obligation to perform national service under this Act, a person shall be discharged from the uniformed services or from civilian service, as the case may be, and shall not be subject to any further service under this Act.

Yes, you may be dead, but you will be discharged, and need not fear that your grave will be desecrated and your bones dragged off for another tour of duty. Now that's peace of mind!

(b) COORDINATION WITH OTHER AUTHORITIES- Nothing in this section shall limit or prohibit the call to active service in the uniformed services of any person who is a member of a regular or reserve component of the uniformed services.

SEC. 10. REGISTRATION OF FEMALES UNDER THE MILITARY SELECTIVE SERVICE ACT.

(a) REGISTRATION REQUIRED- Section 3(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 453(a)) is amended--

(1) by striking 'male' both places it appears;

(2) by inserting 'or herself' after 'himself'; and

(3) by striking 'he' and inserting 'the person'.

Now isn't that nice, they have even informed women that, to register, they must make it clear that they are women by using feminine rather than masculine personal pronouns - or by simply calling themselves, "the person".

It appears that, this time, the apathy of the US public and their extreme aversion to taking responsibility for their own lives may well produce some very direct and unsavory effects. But look on the bright side, you get paid!

Pay and allowances

With respect to the persons inducted for training and service under this title (sections 451 to 471a of this Appendix) there shall be paid, allowed, and extended the same pay, allowances, pensions, disability and death compensation, and other benefits as are provided by law in the case of other enlisted men of like grades and length of service of that component of the armed forces to which they are assigned.

While the above bill has not yet passed into law, there are plans to do so in the spring of 2005. In recent months various "lawmakers" have been pushing for "all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price". If Americans want an all-out, unending war, it looks like they'll get it - only this time, they will be personally involved in the shooting and dying instead of just watching it on TV in the comfort of their living rooms.

On the other hand, it seems that some young Americans are actually eager to kill and be killed for their country:

What I Want to Kill When I Grow Up

Conservative darling Tim Bueler can't wait to slaughter Muslims

by Gustavo Arellano
July 2, 2004

Like all incoming high school seniors, Tim Bueler has big plans after graduation. The 17-year-old student at Rancho Cotate High School near San Francisco is acclaimed in conservative circles for starting the High School Conservative Clubs of America, an organization that is just what its name states. But instead of taking the next logical step and entering politics, Bueler plans to do what so many conservatives merely dream about: kill Muslims.

Bueler revealed his after-graduation plans to an audience of about 130 at the June 23 meeting of the Huntington Beach-based California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR). He'd received nationwide attention after establishing a "Conservative Hot Line" that urged Rancho Cotate students to rat out "the liberal traitors who call themselves teachers." The ensuing furor provoked 40 teachers to sign a letter challenging Bueler to cite any instances of liberal bias. Bueler took his story to the conservative press, which immediately transformed the lanky kid into a cause célèbre.

At the CCIR meeting, he took diligent notes as speakers launched into the group's usual anti-immigrant canards, snapping pictures of the elderly crowd like a health inspector visiting a retirement home. In turn, the CCIR crowd doted on Bueler like a spoiled grandkid, especially after he revealed that his own family "no longer wants anything to do with me" because of his views.

"Over 3,000 of our own people died at the hands of illegal aliens and their religion of peace, Islam!" Bueler screamed. Soon after assuming the podium, he denounced George W. Bush as being soft on immigration, mocking him for expressing sympathy for migrants who die trying to cross the U.S.-Mexican border.

"The price of freedom, my friends, is paid in blood," Bueler boomed. "The blood of our ancestors. For hundreds of years, Americans have fought to keep it and secure our freedom. And to extend the light of liberty to other countries. I'm not going to stand by and let some Third World illegal immigrants from Mexico, the Middle East or any other country continue to destroy our language and our American culture.

"We're at a crossroads in America," Bueler continued. "If our government is not willing to enforce our immigration laws and uphold our laws, then what do we start to do? We take matters into our own hands."

That sentiment produced cheers from the crowd.

After finishing his 20-minute speech, Bueler entertained questions from the floor. One man asked about his plans after high school—what college he would attend or whether he ever thought about entering politics.

"Politics is not the answer," Bueler shot back. His eyes glinted as he began explaining to the audience why he was no longer planning to enroll at a university. "I am tired of the religion of peace, Islam," Bueler thundered. "I know that Islam is not peaceful—it's rooted in evil. And these people have declared war against all of us, all of us being Christians and Jews. And they want to do what they did to Daniel Pearl and Paul Johnson and Nick Berg to us. What I'm going to do is join the Army Rangers."

The elderly crowd began applauding, but Bueler wasn't finished. He explained how his father tried to sway Bueler from this decision, warning that he would most likely find death in Iraq. To this point, Bueler shared with the audience, he shrugged and smiled.

"As long as I take one of those guys with me, I'll be very satisfied."

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Congressman Admits Working for C.I.A.

July 2, 2004

Mark Kirk (Republican, 10th District – Illinois) admitted on the floor of Congress that he has been working for the Central Intelligence Agency at the same time he is serving in Congress. Lee Goodman, Kirk's Democratic opponent, called for Kirk's resignation from Congress. "The conflict of interest is blatant and appalling," said Goodman.

"Congress has been struggling to investigate intelligence failures by the CIA and now it turns out Kirk is working for the CIA. No wonder Kirk voted not to investigate these failures after 9/11. He is working for the people who didn't want to be investigated. Any high-schooler who has studied the separation of powers in U.S. history class would recognize the problem."

Goodman pointed out that until this revelation, Kirk had concealed his CIA connection. "Up until now, all he said was that he was a Navy reservist who was spending some weekends at the Pentagon. Now it turns out he is working with the people who conduct covert operations. Is there any way an agent of the CIA can be expected to function as a legitimate representative of the people in his district? The CIA is an organization that depends on secrecy. Congress is supposed to operate under public scrutiny. The two just aren't compatible."

Goodman also said Kirk has a conflict in the ongoing inquiry into the CIA's role in torturing prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. "Congress has been looking into prisoner abuse, and Kirk is working for the agency that wrote a manual on torture and that may have been instrumental in the perpetration of these atrocities," said Goodman. "Now we know why Kirk publicly condoned the torturing of prisoners. If Congress is to have any credibility in these matters, they should toss this guy out on his ear."

"Kirk's CIA connection also explains his support for the Patriot Act," said Goodman. "He works for a surveillance agency. Of course he thinks it's a good idea for the government to be able to spy on people."

Comment: How much more evidence do the people need to realize that American democracy is a sick joke?

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Congressman suggests Bush hiding Osama

'They are trying to decide what day they should bring him out'

WorldNetDaily.com
July 3, 2004 1:00 a.m. Eastern

In a speech to business leaders in India, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., gave credence to a rumor that the U.S. has captured Osama bin Laden and for political reasons is waiting for the right moment to reveal it, according to the Indo-Asian News Service.

"There are already rumours circulating that Osama bin Laden is being held somewhere already and it's only that they are trying to decide what day they should bring him out," McDermott told Confederation of Indian Industry representatives at a luncheon in New Delhi on Thursday.

The remarks came as McDermott told his audience that the loss of jobs during the Bush administration and the Iraq war will cause Americans to pick a new president in the fall.

The congressman, who made a controversial trip to Baghdad before the war, said the bin Laden scenario may not influence the electorate since Americans are disturbed by the pictures of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib prison.

"It is hard to take away the impact that has had on us," he said.

McDermott tacitly accused the administration of a similar scheme in a remark to a reporter after the capture of Saddam Hussein.

"I don't know if it was definitely planned on this weekend, but I know they've been in contact with people all along who knew basically where he was," McDermott reportedly said. [...]

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The Secret Service at Booker Elementary: The Dog That Did Not Bark

WRH

We've all seen the video. It figures prominently in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11". It is the video of George Bush at Booker Elementary School being informed by Andy Card of the second impact of a passenger jetliner into the World Trade Center, then sitting there for several minutes reading about goats.

What damns the Bush administration is not what is in this video, but what SHOULD be in the video and is not. Ostensibly, Bush and Card are reacting to a surprise attack, but Bush does not act surprised, and Andrew Card does not act like a man delivering an unexpected piece of news but instead is merely delivering a progress report to which he already knows Bush will not have an immediate response.

There is one more thing that should be in this video and isn't, and that is the Secret Service, the protective detail whose one and only job is the President's safety.

The fictional Sherlock Holmes solved the crime in "Silver Blaze" deducing that it is the owner of the house who is the criminal. How does he know? Because the dog did not bark. The only criminal who could could carry out the crime and not arouse the dog was a criminal the dog already knew as a friend, the dog's owner.

Now let us turn our Sherlockian logic on 9-11. Hijacked aircraft were wandering across the eastern half of the country. In theory nobody could have known how many there are or if more planes were not in the process of being hijacked. How could they? Two of the planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. There is an airport only four miles from Booker Elementary School, and Bush's presence at the school was known to the public 24 hours in advance. Nobody would have assumed he was not a target.

And yet the President's Secret Service Detail did not rush in and remove the President to a secure location, or at least to the safety of the armored Presidential Limousine. That's their job. That's what they do in the case of a real surprise attack with so many unknowns. They don't do anything else.

But the President's Secret Service Detail did nothing. The dog did not bark.

Bush defenders try to explain away Bush's inaction as not wanting to upset the children. Michael Moore explains away Bush's inaction by suggesting he hadn't been told to leave. But Michael Moore failed to follow that line of reasoning through to its logical conclusion; where were the people whose job it is to get the President to a place of safety in event of attack, the people who would have, SHOULD have, pulled Bush out of there, children and public appearances be damned! And in point of fact, the Vice-president's Secret Service Detail was busy hustling Dick Cheney off to his secret bunker at the exact same time we see the President's Secret Service Detail, well, the point is we DON'T see them do much of anything at all!

The President's Secret Service Detail did nothing. The dog did not bark.

If the events of 9-11 were really a surprise to the United States Government, then there is no way that the President's Secret Service Detail could know there wasn't a hijacked or stolen plane headed towards Booker Elementary School that very second.

The President's Secret Service Detail did nothing. The dog did not bark.

The President's Secret Service Detail should be in that video but they are not.

From their inaction, it is clear that the President's Secret Service Detail KNEW FOR A FACT THAT THE PRESIDENT WAS NOT A TARGET OF ONE OF THE HIJACKED PLANES. And the only way anyone could know that for a fact at that moment is to have known what the targets of the hijacked planes were, at that exact moment, standing there in the school.

The President's Secret Service Detail did nothing. The dog did not bark.

Quod Erat Demonstradum, the Bush Administration was part of the 9-11 plot.

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Kerry Campaign releases Middle East policy seemingly drafted in Tel Aviv

Position Paper, John Kerry Campaign
2 July 2004

The Forward, a Jewish weekly newspaper published in New York, reported on June 25th that: Kerry's campaign is building national and state Jewish leadership teams "comprised of prominent national and local leaders in our communities," Kerry's senior adviser on Middle East and Jewish affairs, Jay Footlik, writes in a letter to supporters. The groups will act as surrogates for the campaign at local events and debates. Attached to Footlik's letter is a document titled "John Kerry: Strengthening Israel's Security and Bolstering the U.S.-Israel Special Relationship," which Footlik asks recipients to e-mail "to friends and neighbors, to synagogues, federations, youth groups, sisterhood and brotherhood groups, study groups, to your personal and professional networks."

John Kerry has been at the forefront of the fight for Israel's security during his nineteen years in the US Senate. His pro-Israel voting record is second to none.

John Kerry did not wait until he was running for president of the United States to visit Israel - he has been there on numerous occasions throughout his public life. Through his meetings with Israeli political and military leaders - and especially his interaction with ordinary Israelis - he has experienced the everyday security threat that Israelis face and this has deepened his understanding of Israel's security needs. In short, John Kerry will never do anything to compromise that security.

John Kerry believes that particularly in uncertain times like these we must reaffirm and indeed strengthen our special relationship with Israel, our most steadfast friend and ally in the region. His commitment to a safe, secure, democratic Jewish state of Israel is unwavering. It comes from a personal belief that Israel's cause must be America's cause.

John Kerry understands that anti-Semitism masked in anti-Israel rhetoric is a dangerous trend threatening both Israel and Jewish communities around the world. John Kerry has always fought against anti-Semitism and as president, he will take governments around the world to task for failing to address this escalating threat.

Israel's Right to Respond to Terrorism

Kerry supports Israel's right of self defense to eliminate threats to its citizens, including actions taken by Israel against Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups in Gaza. In spring 2002, when Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield to root out Palestinian terrorists and dismantle the Palestinian infrastructure, Kerry co-sponsored a resolution expressing solidarity with Israel and called for continued assistance in strengthening Israel's homeland defenses.

Supporting Israel's Plan to Withdraw from Gaza

John Kerry expressed support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's unprecedented plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. He recognizes that in any final settlement for Israel to remain a Jewish State, Palestinians must settle in a future Palestinian State rather than in Israel, and that in light of demographic realities, a number of settlement blocks will likely become a part of Israel.

Israel's Security Fence Is A Legitimate Right of Self Defense

John Kerry supports the construction of Israel's security fence to stop terrorists from entering Israel. The security fence is a legitimate act of self defense erected in response to the wave of terror attacks against Israeli citizens. He believes the security fence is not a matter for the International Court of Justice.

New Palestinian Leadership

John Kerry believes that Yasser Arafat is a failed leader and unfit partner for peace and therefore has supported his total isolation. He has demanded a new, responsible Palestinian leadership, committed to ending the violence and fighting terror - in word and in deed - and will work tirelessly to ensure that this new leadership emerges.

Foreign Aid to Israel

John Kerry has always voted to maintain critical foreign aid to our ally Israel, resisting any attempts to cut it over his years in the Senate. In the early 1990s, he fought President Bush when his administration restrict ed aid to Israel through the loan guarantees program.

The UN and other International Organizations

John Kerry has always believed the US must stand solidly behind Israel at the UN and other international organizations. He recognizes the UN must establish more credibility on Arab-Israeli matters and would never hesitate to wield a US veto on the Security Council in the face of anti-Israel/anti-Zionist resolutions.

Fighting to Move the American Embassy to Jerusalem

John Kerry has long advocated moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, Israel's indisputable capital. In 1999, he signed a letter taking President Clinton to task for not moving the embassy.

Maintaining Israel's Military Superiority

John Kerry understands that America must guarantee Israel's military superiority and supports carefully restricting arms sales to Arab countries in the region. He opposed the sale of Maverick missiles and F-15 fighter planes to Saudi Arabia.

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U.S. Said to Return Saudi Suspects in Secret Deal, NYT Reports

July 3 (Bloomberg) -- Five suspected terrorists were released from the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and returned to Saudi Arabia as part of a secret agreement last year, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified senior U.S. and U.K. officials.

In return, Saudi Arabia released five U.K. citizens and two others who had been convicted of terrorist strikes in Saudi Arabia, the newspaper reported on its Web site in a story to be published in tomorrow's edition. U.K. diplomats said the men had likely given false confessions after being tortured by Saudi security police officers, the newspaper reported.

Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency and Justice Department officials at first objected to the transfer of the Saudi suspects, who they said were possibly too great of a threat to be released from U.S. custody, the Times reported, citing unidentified officials involved in the deliberations. The deal helped satisfy important allies as the U.S. invaded Iraq, the paper said.

"There is no recollection here of any linkage between these two actions," Sean McCormick, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told the Times. He denied that the Saudi detainees were transferred in exchange for the U.K. prisoners. He said the return of the Saudis was "part of the normal policy of transferring detainees from Guantanamo for prosecution or continued detention."

Comment: What is the glaring contradiction in this piece? It says "U.K. diplomats said the men had likely given false confessions after being tortured by Saudi security police officers."

FALSE CONFESSIONS after being TORTURED.

So what does that say about any information extracted by US and Israeli torture? It says that they KNOW that whatever they get is likely to be false, and they just do it because they can and want to.

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Saudi Prince: US downright submissive to Israel

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jul. 3, 2004 17:23


The United States should rethink its policies in the Middle East to counter frustration in the Islamic world over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd argued in an interview released Saturday.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal told the German weekly Der Spiegel that "the majority of Arabs and Saudis find that America is doing too little in Palestine and is downright submissive to Israel."

"America could force Israel into a peaceful solution and, in so doing, remove a significant cause of the terror we have," he was quoted as saying.

"There is a lot of frustration in the Islamic world and America is not being helpful."

The prince, a billionaire who has invested heavily in fostering U.S.-Muslim relations and is seen as independent of the Saudi government, stressed that "we are good friends of the United States, and I personally admire much about America."

"But I also say that the United States should think over its Middle East policy thoroughly," he said.

During the past year, Saudi Arabia has been rocked by suicide bombings, gunbattles and kidnappings targeting foreign workers. The attacks have been blamed on al-Qaida and sympathizers of the network, which wants to topple the Saudi royal family.

In an amnesty offer last week, Fahd said wanted militants who surrendered within one month would not face the death penalty. If they don't comply, Prince Alwaleed said, "we will treat them very unpleasantly."

"We were too soft up to now on the question of terror," he was quoted as saying. "But now our survival depends on the destruction of these terrorists."

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Israeli security chief warns of growing threat by Jewish extremists

JOSEF FEDERMAN

JERUSALEM (AP) - The head of Israel's Shin Bet security service on Sunday warned that Jewish extremists are becoming more militant, as some prominent rabbis encouraged settlers to resist evacuation from their homes.

Violence continued in the Palestinian territories as an Israeli motorist and a Palestinian gunman were killed in separate shootings in the West Bank, and a Palestinian teenager was shot to death in the Gaza Strip. Also, Israeli border police killed a Palestinian labourer just west of Jerusalem.

The warning from Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter came as Israel prepares to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and from four isolated settlements in the West Bank. The evacuations will affect some 7,500 Jewish settlers in Gaza and about 500 of the 230,000 residents of West Bank settlements.

Some settler leaders have said they would resist evacuation. Many settlers are religious Jews who believe the West Bank is theirs by divine promise.

Late Sunday, about 1,000 settlers and supporters, including several prominent rabbis and politicians, held a rally at the Western Wall, a retaining wall of the ancient Jewish Temple and Judaism's most sacred shrine. Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, a former chief rabbi of Israel, led a mass prayer session.

Yitzhak Levy, a politician from the pro-settler National Religious Party, said he does not support violence, but did not rule out the possibility of fighting.

"The eviction will be tough," he told Israel's Channel Two TV. "But I can't promise it won't be violent, even though we are calling for there not to be violence."

Dichter, the Shin Bet chief, told a cabinet meeting Sunday that the threat of extremist violence is growing, a government official said.

Dichter said Jewish militants recently attacked an army officer in Jerusalem because he had helped dismantle a synagogue at an unauthorized West Bank settlement outpost, the official said on condition of anonymity.

In recent weeks, settler leaders and prominent rabbis have spoken out harshly against the government's plan to remove some settlements.

Last month, settler leader Uri Elitzur, who was a top aide of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said violent resistance to settlement evacuations is legitimate. Last week, an eminent rabbi in Jerusalem said that anyone who removes Jewish settlements would be subject to the death penalty under biblical Jewish law.

Justice Minister Joseph Lapid told the cabinet meeting that he isn't surprised by the growing threat. He said police failure to take action against Elitzur encouraged violence, according to a source close to Lapid.

Israeli security officials confirmed that the Shin Bet has grown concerned.

They said their main concern is the threat of assassination. In 1995, then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by an ultranationalist Jew opposed to his peace efforts. The security officials said they are also preparing for the threat of attacks on Arabs and potential violence against security forces.

A poll published Sunday indicated that Israeli support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's withdrawal plan had grown slightly, while Palestinian support plummeted.

Palestinian backing for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's pullout plan dropped to 34 per cent at the end of June, from 73 per cent in March, while Israeli support was up to 66 per cent from 64 per cent.

Since March, Sharon's plan has won the backing of the United States but has been overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum of members in his own Likud party. [...]

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Israel offers no explanation for suspected spies caught in New Zealand

01:19 PM EDT Jul 05

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - The government is waiting for Israel to explain why two alleged Israeli secret agents were in New Zealand illegally applying for a passport, Prime Minister Helen Cark said Monday.

The pair, Urie Zoshe Kelman, 30, and Eli Cara, 50, pleaded guilty on Friday to a charge of trying to obtain a false New Zealand passport. The pair are to be held in custody until their sentencing on July 15. The maximum sentence they face was not immediately clear.

The Wellington government suspects they are spies attached to Israel's Mossad foreign intelligence service, and Clark has demanded that the Israeli government explain what they were doing in New Zealand.

Asked Monday whether she had received a response, Clark said "No."

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Iran's supreme leader warns US of global retaliation to any attack

July 5, 2004

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned the United States that any attack on the Islamic republic's interests would be met with a global response.

"If the enemy attacks our scientific, natural, human or technological interests, the Iranian people will cut off its hand without hesitation and place in danger the interests of the aggressor everywhere in the world," he told a gathering in the western city of Hamedan.

According to the official news agency IRNA, the all-powerful guide was responding to US allegations that Iran was damaging Washington's interests.

The United States, often simply referred to by Iranian leaders as the "enemy", accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, supporting terrorists and supporting insurgents in Iraq.

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France digs for "Ogre" victims

Sat 3 July, 2004 15:07
By Pierre Savary

DONCHERY, France (Reuters) - A suspected French serial killer, dubbed the Ogre of the Ardennes after officials said he confessed to nine murders, has led police to his old chateau in the woods to dig for bodies of a woman and girl.

Earth-movers turned up soil at two spots in the vast grounds of the Sautou chateau aided by directions from Michel Fourniret, 62, a former forest warden who officials say started to confess this week after his estranged wife denounced him.

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IBM begins testing supercharged barcodes

CNN
Friday, July 2, 2004 Posted: 9:25 AM EDT

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) -- International Business Machines Corp opened a test center for radio tags in Nice, France on Thursday to keep up with fast growing interest from retailers, manufacturers and transport firms.

Radio tags, supercharged versions of the barcode, can help to track goods, automate banking services, improve product quality and ultimately even prevent someone from washing a new red t-shirt with the white laundry.

"This is acknowledgment that the market is moving so fast that we need more resources," said Faye Holland, IBM's global chief of radio frequency identification, or RFID, business. Some 1,000 IBM employees work part-time or full-time on RFID.

Top retailers like U.S.-based Wal-Mart, Germany's Metro and Britain's Tesco have said they will use the chips that allow product information to be read automatically and wirelessly by readers built into cargo docks and cash tills or the doors of offices and buses.

The U.S. Department of Defense is planning to require its suppliers to attach RFID tags to their shipments.

Holland said potential customers include all major ports, airports and airlines in Europe and the Asia Pacific region to tag and track baggage and cargo.

"We're talking to all major ones," she told Reuters in an interview.

"Still in 2004 and early 2005 there will be lots of pilots, but by mid-2005 I expect to see a lot of real implementations," Holland added.

Standardization

Commercial adoption is expected to accelerate after this summer, when new standards will be introduced to regulate radio frequency bands.

IBM's new test and interoperability lab is another effort to make sure that chips, readers and software work together.

The company has also opened test centers in the United States and Asia, but IBM's Holland said Europe was ahead of those regions in terms of acceptance and interest.

Concerns about privacy, a big issue in the United States, appear to be less prominent in Europe where strict privacy laws have been implemented, she added.

Mass adoption, when every item from stockings and milk carts to credit cards and aircraft engines are labeled with the chips, is still some time away because they are currently priced between 0.10 euro and 0.50 euro ($0.12-$0.61), others said.

"We don't see item-level tracking within next 10 years. But you will see us on high-level items, like jewelry and consumer electronics," a spokesman for Philips' semiconductors unit said.

Dutch electronics maker Philips is one of the producers of RFID chips. Together with Japan's Sony Corp, credit card company Visa and handset maker Nokia it is pushing an advanced version called Near Field Communication which can be used for wireless electronic payments and other transactions by using a phone.

Fifty percent of all items will be tagged by 2005, IBM estimates, which is when billions of products will be smart enough to know what they are and when they were manufactured.

IBM said it is also talking to all major pharmaceutical companies to find a better way to track and control drug shipments. It is adding temperature sensors for new biological drugs that need to be stored in fridges all the time.

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Moderate Earthquake Shakes Central Turkey

Associated Press

ISTANBUL, Turkey - A moderate earthquake shook central Turkey late Saturday. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 and was centered in Afyon province, the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory said. Afyon is about 160 miles southwest of the capital, Ankara.

Quakes are frequent in Turkey, which lies atop active fault lines. Two devastating earthquakes killed about 18,000 people in northwestern Turkey in 1999.

On Friday, a magnitude-5.0 quake wrecked 67 houses in a village in eastern Turkey, killing 18 people and injuring 27.

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People flee as volcano erupts

KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara: Hundreds of residents fled their homes on Sunday for safer areas on Flores island in East Nusa Tenggara after Mount Egon erupted again.

The 1,701 meter volcano in Sikka regency belched out ash and sulfuric gases over the regental capital of Maumere on Saturday night, according to Pater Huber Thomas of the Flores Humanitarian Voluntary Team (TRUK-F).

No injuries were reported, but Sikka Regent Alex Longginus prohibited residents on the slope of the mountain from approaching the volcano that continued to spew hot ash on Sunday.

The volcano previously erupted on Jan. 29 this year and in 1907.

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Archaeologists tackle China mystery

Sunday 04 July 2004, 2:38 Makka Time, 23:38 GMT

British researchers are heading to a remote part of western China to try and unravel one of archaeology's most puzzling mysteries.

The researches are trying to find why the same sacred symbol has been found in apparently unconnected ancient sites around the world.

Depictions of three hares joined by the ears can be seen in British medieval churches, 13th century Mongol metalwork and temples from China's Sui dynasty of the 6th and 7th Century, the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Academics have long been baffled as to why the circular motif became prominent in Christian, Islamic and Buddhist cultures separated by such great distances and times, the paper said.

In each place the depiction of the hares, chasing each other in a circle with the ears touching each other's heads, is virtually identical.

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Camper claims aliens created crop circle

by Brendan Montague

When camper Wayne Parry was disturbed in the middle of the night, the last thing he expected to find was a crop circle.

As he peered out of his tent he was amazed to see a huge five-circle design just a few feet away.

Some might say the pattern was created by hoaxers but Wayne, 27, is convinced it is the work of aliens.

The facilities cleaner, who was taking advantage of the warm summer nights and camping in barley crops near Coldean Lane, Brighton, claimed there was no way hoaxers could have got into the field without waking him.

Wayne, of Shanklin Road, Brighton, said: "I was very shocked indeed when I woke up - I've never seen a crop circle before.

"They were not there at 10pm when I went to sleep. Where I was camping there is a metal gate and I would have heard them climb over it. There is no way they could have got past."

The circle is hidden from the A27 by trees and consists of two concentric circles with three smaller filled circles apparently orbiting the outside.

Wayne, who works at Asda in Hollingbury, Brighton, said extra-terrestrials could have had a hand in making them because there were no trails leading to the creation.

He said: "The circles are too perfectly formed for someone to have done this.

"They only had a space of a couple of hours to do it. There's no explanation I can give except the usual explanation that this is UFOs.

"It's a nice design, quite psychedelic, and it is a great view from my tent."

An investigation is to be launched by experts from Southern Circular Research, based in Sussex, to find out if the latest design is a hoax.

Andy Thomas, 39, author of the crop circle book Vital Signs and editor of Swirled News, said the field had become a hot spot for suspected UFO visits.

He said: "This is a very interesting case because the guy was there but didn't hear anything.

"When we have conducted hand-made demonstrations it does make a lot of noise with people crunching in the field.

"We've had surveillance experiments before where a crop circle has appeared near equipment caravans without us hearing a thing.

"This field has seen formations for the past 15 years. Nobody knows where these have come from.

"It's a mystery and I could not possibly say what is going on here."

David Taylor, 52, the tenant farmer who owns the crop, said he had lost hundreds of pounds because of the damage but he thought it was more likely to be the work of hoaxers than aliens.

He said: "I've no idea where this circle has come from but to blame it on aliens may be a little far-fetched."

The first crop circle to appear in Sussex this year was created in the centre of a field of oilseed rape.

The 260ft wide shape with spiral arms sprang up at Tegdown Hill, near Patcham, Brighton.

There was a spate of sightings last year, including a strange pattern found in an oilseed rape field on Newmarket Hill, near Woodingdean, in May.

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UFO was Venus, says prof

July 5, 2004
By Bhavna Sookha

A professor from the University of KwaZulu-Natal has quashed reports that there were sightings of an unidentified flying object in Phoenix last week.

Arthur Hughes, professor of physics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who viewed the video footage, said the object on film was not an unidentified flying object.

"It couldn't have been a fireball as they don't usually last that long. It also could not have been a satellite as they pass over quite quickly. Satellites go around the earth in 90 minutes," he said.

When questioned about whether the university had received any other calls about unusual sightings last Sunday, Hughes said that he had received no other calls.

"I have also heard of no other reports of unusual sightings for that period.

"It was the planet Venus. Venus is visible in the early parts of the morning," he said.

But the woman who saw the object, Roshnie Naidu, says that she knows what she saw and it was definitely not Venus.

"Initially I was very sceptical about UFOs and alien sightings but after I experienced what I experienced for hours on Sunday morning, I am more open-minded," she said.

Naidu's husband, Shrirama, who also saw the huge light, said they had expected people to be sceptical when they discussed what they had seen with each other.

"We expected this reaction. But we both could not have been mistaken," he said.

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