Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!
Saturday, July 10, 2004
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The above is clear evidence that the idea of an "opposition" in the US political structure is nothing but a myth. Consider what the democrats have done here. They have signed their names to a document, the findings of which they disagree with, thereby agreeing with those findings. In return for this "compromise", they will be able to later conduct an investigation that will prove that they were right to disagree with the findings, at which point they will be unable to do anything about it because they have already signed their names in agreement with the findings.
Depite this, Jay Rockefeller, as democrat representative of the Senate Intelligence Committee, claims that he disagrees with a central point. In reality, however, this "disagreeing" is merely for public consumption, there is no disagreement that the blame for Wolfowitz's war on Iraq should be laid at the door of the "intelligence community".
The completely immoral Jay Rockefeller was as vociferous in his condemnation of the CIA as Pat Roberts, Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Rockefeller claims that he now regrets his support for the war last year. We feel your pain Jay, we really do. We empathise also with poor Pat Roberts who, in a classic piece of emotional ham acting, recounted how he "stood on a hill in Iraq" and "watched as 18,000 bodies were exhumed" (supposedly a result of Saddam's actions) and he pondered "man's inhumanity to man". This is the level of deceit going on here folks, we need all our wits and strength of will to resist the urge to buy into the phony humanity that these psychopaths attempt to portray. See the video of the report here if you stomach the lies.
So where is the disagreement? How can it be that a democrat is supporting the entirely inaccurate findings of this report that will simply help Bush and Cheney to retake the White House in November?? Rockefeller claims that the CIA failed in its intelligence gathering - clearly this is a lie, the truth being that the CIA had no intelligence which showed that Iraq had WMDs, simply because there WERE, AND ARE, NO WMDs, is that so hard for people to figure out!?
Who wanted this war? Was it the CIA? Cast your mind back. Who has been gunning for Saddam for the past 5-10 years? Who wrote countless reports on the need to oust Saddam? Who has been pandering to the demands of Israel and its claims that Iraq posed a mortal threat to its existence? Are we REALLY meant to believe that certain members of the CIA, AGAINST government wishes, wanted the US military to invade Iraq and went ahead and fabricated the evidence all on their own? Is it not true that the CIA is, and always has been, used for the implementation of the wishes of its bosses (whoever they might really be)??
But we see now that the CIA were RIGHT! There are no WMDs? So how can this report claim that the CIA were wrong?
So now, finally, we get to the truth, but it is immediately overlooked and discarded. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Rove, Feith, and their buddy Chalabi (who has now outlived his usefulness) all conspired to concoct false information about Saddam's WMDs and put that information in the mouth of the CIA. Now that it has been proven to be false, it is a simple task to blame the CIA, threatening its employees to toe the line "or else".
But phase two of the investigation will not happen before the November elections, by which time it will be old news, a new "terror attack" on America or invasion by US forces having moved to center stage. Alternatively, it is very possible that the WMDs that have been moved into Iraq by US covert operatives, will be produced, not only to "prove" that, after all, Saddam really did have WMDs, but to also ensure that Bush can steal another election on the back of it.
In any case, phase two of the investigation will be worthless, given that, phase one, which conclusively blames the CIA, has already been agreed to by BOTH parties.
A high-ranking military officer reveals how Defense Department extremists suppressed information and twisted the truth to drive the country to war.
[...] From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us could do about it.
I saw a narrow and deeply flawed policy favored by some executive appointees in the Pentagon used to manipulate and pressurize the traditional relationship between policymakers in the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies.
I witnessed neoconservative agenda bearers within OSP usurp measured and carefully considered assessments, and through suppression and distortion of intelligence analysis promulgate what were in fact falsehoods to both Congress and the executive office of the president.
While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress and the country into a war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses, and a war one year later Americans do not really understand. That is why I have gone public with my account. [...]
only helps Bush
If anyone thinks the Senate Intelligence Committee report on pre-Iraq war intelligence failures, released Friday, is all about making needed corrections to U.S. intelligence agencies and procedures, they're mistaken. This report is all about covering the Bush administration's posterior and getting President Bush reelected this fall.
More than a year ago, when the Senate Intelligence Committee began talking about doing this investigation, the Republican committee majority wanted no part of it. The Democrats wanted a single broad investigation, similar to the work of the congressional 9/11 commission, that looked both at how the flawed intelligence was produced and how it was used by the Bush administration.
To get any investigation at all, the Democrats had to settle for dividing the work into two parts. The first part, the basis for the report released Friday, investigated the intelligence failures themselves. The second part, yet to begin and conveniently due long after the fall election, investigates how the Bush administration used the intelligence to build its case for war.
When the draft Senate report was sent to the CIA, officials there delayed the report for months and moved to have almost half of it redacted. Many of the redactions had no intelligence rationale; they were simply meant to eliminate as much embarrassment for the agency as possible. In the end, about 20 percent was left out. So what you have is an investigation that was politicized from the outset, being further politicized by CIA efforts to avoid shame. Service to the American people -- the ostensible reason all these people work in Washington -- played at most a minor role.
The Senate report's criticisms of the CIA and other agencies will come as no surprise to most people. The intelligence failures have been well-catalogued by the 9/11 commission and various authors who have delved into the issue.
Predictably, Republicans rushed to proclaim that the report exonerated the Bush administration's prewar activities. "I would say it's a total vindication of any allegations that might ever have been made about what the administration did with the information," asserted Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. He said that, with a straight face, about an investigation that was specifically designed to avoid questions of "what the administration did with the information."
And what the administration did with the information wasn't pretty. It spun an entire web of exaggerations, misleading statements and outright falsehoods that induced the American people to believe both that Saddam Hussein's regime possessed huge amounts of weapons of mass destruction, and that it was closely linked to Al-Qaida and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Neither was true, and many people said so forcefully before the war in Iraq. The notion that the Bush administration acted in good faith then, only to learn later that it had been misled by the CIA, doesn't pass the smell test. The CIA made many mistakes, but the Bush administration grossly amplified those mistakes. The administration also frequently ignored CIA cautions that did not fit the administration's long-standing determination to wage war in Iraq come hell or high water.
The American people were duped into war by an administration that knew exactly what it was doing. Now it's trying to prevent exposure of its prewar conniving. Its efforts are cynical attempts to thwart the proper working of American democracy. Those efforts are not worthy of the American people, and they must not be allowed to succeed.
in Iraq: Evidence Mounts
Karpinski is the highest-ranking official to confirm an Israeli presence in Iraq. As the head of the 800th Military Police Brigade, Karpinski was responsible for all of Iraq's 17 U.S.-run prison facilities. She was suspended in May for her role in the systemic torture carried out by personnel under her command in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq.
Disclosures suggesting Israeli involvement in the ongoing occupation of Iraq are damaging to the U.S.' already meager credibility in the Middle East. Anger toward Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, which the U.S. has backed since 1967, as well as its own human rights abuses and reputation for torturing Arab prisoners, render suspicion of Israeli involvement in Iraq an explosive issue throughout much of the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Kamal Muhammad, the manager of al-Aswar furniture shop in Baghdad gave a predictable reaction to the Jerusalem Post. "The Americans and the Israelis are one," he said. "They are the same enemy. Israel is just the baby of the U.S. with the same policies."
In an interview last week with The Signal, a newspaper in Santa Clarita, Cal., Karpinski said she was "shocked" by the Israeli interrogator's presence, and that the development struck her as "unusual."
But a mounting body of evidence indicates that the presence of Israeli operatives working in Iraq is not at all unusual.
New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh told the BBC that his sources – which include high ranking Lebanese and Turkish officials – confirm the presence of Israeli agents in Iraq. Hersh said it is his understanding that one of the Israeli aims was to gain access to detained members of the secret Iraqi intelligence unit who specialized in Israeli affairs, the BBC reports on its website.
In an article last month, Hersh quoted a senior CIA official and Israeli intelligence officer describing how agents of Israeli's Mossad intelligence service were active in Iraq, while Israeli commandos were training militants in the Kurdish areas of Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Hersh found this information to be "widely known" in the U.S. intelligence community.
A top US military official quoted in the Washington Post on Sunday denied claims of Israeli presence in Iraq, calling the story an "urban legend."
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom similarly dismissed Gen. Karpinski's claims as "completely baseless," telling Israel's Army Radio: "We are not involved in any way in Iraq. We are not involved in training or in interrogations, or in anything else. The whole claim is preposterous."
The Foreign Minister's assertion is contradicted by significant documentation of Israeli-American "strategic cooperation" with regard to intelligence sharing and training in Iraq.
A December article in the Guardian described how Israeli advisers are involved in training U.S. special operations troops in counter-insurgency tactics to be used in Iraq. The operations being trained are said to include the use of assassination against resistance leaders. Quoting US intelligence and military sources, Guardian writer Julian Borger reported that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sent urban warfare specialists to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of U.S. Army Special Forces.
On that same day, the Associated Press ran a story under the headline "U.S. employs Israeli tactics in Iraq," in which American and Israeli officials publicly noted "high-level meetings" and "strategic cooperation" between the two countries on the subject of operations in Iraq.
In a July letter in Army Magazine, Brigadier General Michael Vaneter, the deputy chief of staff at the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, acknowledged that he had "recently traveled to Israel to glean lessons learned from their counter-terrorist operations in urban areas."
In relation to the presence of Israeli interrogators and contractors working within U.S. prisons in Iraq, the torture report by General Antonio Taguba refers to "third country nationals" involved in the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq. A company at the center of the scandal, CACI International, has extensive links to the IDF and Israeli military intelligence.
Comment: The Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom says in the above that "claims of Israeli involvement in Iraq were "completely baseless" and "preposterous". But there are many reports that show that Israel is DEEPLY involved in Iraq, and that the Iraq invasion was actually conducted at the behest of Israel. So, guess what? The Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom is a liar. He lied and he knew he was lying. He probably does it all the time. It does not bother him that he is lying about something of grave international significance, because he justifies it by telling himself that he does so for Israel's "national security" or "national interest".
Fear is a great motivator. If a government can convince the people that they are threatened by a fictitious foe, which of course, they cannot defend themselves against, they can be made to agree, or give consent to, anything, in exchange for perceived protection from that phony foe.
And so it is with the US and its "war on terror". The fact that the US people accepted and continue to accept the lies told them by their leaders means that they can expect nothing else but to be lied to continuously, they have, in a way, asked for it. The result of this situation, if taken to its logical conclusion, is that the lies will continue to get more and more outrageous, yet the compound effect of having believed the previous lies make it increasingly difficult for the people to disbelieve, regardless of how unbelievable the lies. Of course, when you believe a lie, you become complicit in and responsible for the act that surrounds the lie, even if you were not directly involved.
Chronicle Of A Battle For The Truth That Has Now Been Lost
By John Kaminski
the day when the Berlin Wall fell and everybody immediately started talking
about a Peace Dividend, money that would be diverted from making weapons
and invested in social improvements. And I remember that bright and hopeful
turn of the millennium into the two thousands, when eager optimists predicted
that a new kind of humane society would sweep the earth to make wars obsolete
and living sweet. Neither, of course, has come to pass. Or will anytime
Washington — The FBI is intensifying efforts nationwide to enlist Muslims, Arab-Americans and Sikhs to help thwart a possible terrorist attack this summer or fall.
FBI Director Robert Mueller told top agents in all 56 FBI field offices to increase contacts with these groups in their areas amid a consistent flow of intelligence that indicates al-Qaeda wants to launch a major attack on U.S. soil in coming months.
"While we currently lack precise knowledge about when, where and how they are planning to attack, we are actively working to gain that knowledge," Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement issued Friday. "As part of that effort, we are again reaching out to our partners in the Muslim and Arab-American communities for any information they may have."
Also Friday, the FBI said in its weekly intelligence bulletin to 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies that increased security precautions should be taken around energy installations such as oil refineries and nuclear power plants.
The bulletin noted a lack of specific, credible intelligence that would point to an attack on such a facility in the United States. But it said terror attacks recently have occurred against the energy sector in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and could be attempted in this country.
Comment: In the entire war on terror, when has the administration EVER had "specific, credible intelligence" to back up any of its claims to the American public?
Before and during the Iraq war, the FBI interviewed nearly 11,000 people of Iraqi descent to gather information they might have about Saddam Hussein's military capabilities and weapons plants.
FBI executives and agents also have held frequent community meetings around the country with Muslim, Arab-American and Sikh groups about terror threats and partly to deal with complaints that they are subjected to unfair government scrutiny in the aftermath of the terror attacks of Sept.11, 2001. Sikh men, whose religion emerged from South Asia, wear turbans and beards and sometimes are mistaken for Muslims.
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said most Muslims welcome the FBI outreach effort but still have concerns about infringement of their civil liberties and legal rights.
The new effort, which also includes stepped-up interviews by the FBI, comes as U.S. officials grapple with a persistent threat of an al-Qaeda attack apparently aimed at disrupting this year's
In addition to terrorism prevention, the FBI said it hoped the increasing contact with Muslims, Arab-Americans and Sikhs would increase these groups' comfort levels with federal agents and reassert an FBI commitment to pursue claims of hate crimes.
Comment: Perhaps the FBI is using these contacts in order to create a database of information about Muslims, Arab-Americans, and Sikhs in order to have a convenient scapegoat when the real attack happens. If another "terrorist" attack hits the US, the people on the FBI's list will be the first to visit camps like Guantanamo.
LANDSTUHL, Germany - A Marine who disappeared in Iraq and showed up three weeks later in Lebanon, drawing claims both that he was kidnapped or part of an elaborate ruse, is resting in Germany and hasn't begun to tell his mysterious story, doctors said.
Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun was flown from the Lebanese capital to Ramstein Air Base aboard a C-17 transport jet earlier Friday. He was immediately whisked to the nearby Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, where U.S. Navy doctor Cmdr. Peter Marco examined him.
"I found him in excellent physical condition," Marco told reporters at Landstuhl, though he said Hassoun lost about 20 pounds during his absence. "There are no physical bruises on his body."
Lt. Col. Sally Harvey, a clinical psychologist who met Hassoun in Lebanon and traveled with him to Germany, said Hassoun had yet to tell doctors what happened to him but would likely start talking Saturday.
"He has been sleeping only two to three hours a night for the past three weeks," although it was not yet clear why, Harvey said.
Hassoun took a sleeping pill after arriving at Landstuhl, doctors said. "He is so exhausted it's pretty hard to see where he is," Harvey added. "His spirits are good — he's glad to be back."
While Hassoun was missing, conflicting reports emerged about his fate — first that he was kidnapped, then that he was beheaded, then that he was alive. Arab television on June 27 broadcast a videotape purportedly from Islamic militants showing him blindfolded with a sword held above his head.
In the latest twist to his story, there was speculation he might have deserted his base and been headed to Lebanon when he was abducted. The Navy was investigating whether the entire kidnapping might have been part of a hoax. [...]
July 10, 2004 Posted: 1228 GMT
Secretary of Foreign Affairs Delia Albert, in a statement Saturday, did not say if the decision not to extend the Filipino troops' mandate past August 20 was part of the ongoing hostage negotiation process.
The Arabic-language network Al Jazeera on Saturday aired a new plea from Filipino hostage Angelo de la Cruz -- speaking in English -- asking his country to withdraw its troops.
"To my colleagues in the Philippine company and all the Filipinos heading to Iraq, I advise you not to come to Iraq and to President (Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo, I beg you to withdraw the troops from Iraq," the man read.
CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the videotape.
Cruz's abduction was reported Wednesday by Al Jazeera, which broadcast video of Cruz surrounded by three armed men wearing black head coverings and clothing.
The kidnappers identified themselves as members of the Khaled Bin Al-Walid Squadrons, part of the Islamic Army of Iraq.
They threatened to kill Cruz unless the Philippines withdraws its troops from Iraq within 72 hours.
The Philippines had considered extending the mandate for its 50 troops in Iraq, as it did last year. [...]
Four Cabinet ministers were last month so concerned Tony Blair was considering resignation that they personally urged him to stay on, the BBC has learned.
In separate meetings, John Reid, Tessa Jowell and Charles Clarke assured Mr Blair he had wide government support, while Patricia Hewitt wrote to the PM.
He had been "seriously reviewing his position", the BBC's Andrew Marr said.
The PM next week faces the publication of the Butler report into intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
BBC political editor Andrew Marr said that "underlying tensions in the cabinet are now as bad as at any stage in recent years".
Cabinet gossip was now of a deal between Mr Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown last November involving the prime minister handing over "around about now".
But the prime minister had told friends this was "absolute rubbish", Mr Marr said.
Mr Blair had come through "something of a long night of the soul about whether to carry on" but was now "in steely mood". [...]
the Intifada Over?
"The Palestinian Intifada is over, and the Palestinians have lost"- - thus proclaimed the Jewish American columnist Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post [i] (June 18, 2004). Armed resistance has dwindled; there are no attacks on Israeli civilians; the Palestinians have been brought to their knees, thanks to the assassination of Palestinian leadership and to the Wall that has locked the unruly natives in their ghettos, wrote the Zionist stalwart. Is it true? Is the resistance over, and has the Holy Land been surrendered to the victor? Well, up to a point:
Palestine can't be separated from the larger context: the battle for Palestine began in Jerusalem and Gaza, but now it rages in Falujah and Kerbala, notwithstanding the appointment of a CIA agent as a ruler of 'independent Iraq'; before coming back to Jerusalem, the war against Judeo-American domination probably will spread to Teheran, Damascus and even European capitals. But the Intifada in Palestine unsurprisingly ran out of steam.
The military might of the Jewish state knows no rivals in the Middle East and beyond. Armed to the teeth, equipped with the latest American weaponry and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, it is probably able to take on any army on earth. Every Israeli man and woman serves in the Army, and his or her military exploits are the necessary requirement for any career, from minister to hairdresser. This militarised settler society easily overpowered the thoroughly disarmed native population.
The usual weapon of a Palestinian is a stone picked up on his hillside; their famed 'suicide-bombers' were rather manifestation of their indomitable spirit than a threat to Israel; hardly more than a nuisance from military point of view. Ordinary road accidents kill more Israelis than the Palestinians. None had military training; cordoned off from the outer world, a Palestinian could not obtain arms save those bootlegged by the renegade settlers; no wonder he could not defeat the steely rows of tanks and air-to-ground laser-guided missiles.
Moreover, the Jews have a powerful secret weapon at their disposal - their readiness to ruin the land. Their well-planned artesian wells killed the springs of water and turned the Holy Land into parched desert. This week I walked along the watercourse of Ghor (Arugot, in Hebrew), formerly a perennial stream. Home to mountain goat and leopard, this spring dried up, as the nearby kibbutz of Ein Gedi bored a shaft, laid a pipe and caught the water to bottle and sell in Tel Aviv. The gentle slopes of Samaria are disfigured by new roads to new Jewish suburbs. In the North of Gaza strip, a green land of fragrant orchards is turned into black wilderness of Mordor with smouldering stubs of burned trees. In the ruined land, the settlers prevail over the natives.
And still Krauthammer's declaration of victory is premature. This immigrants-versus-natives confrontation over the sweet land of Palestine reminds me of the Knight's Tale, this first fruit of Chaucer, that tells of two brothers, Arcite and Palamon, madly in love with King's daughter Emely, 'fresh as May with blossoms born anew, all mild and reverent, her body washed with water from a well'.
In order to win her hand, Arcite appealed to the God of War, and Palamon pled to the Goddess of Love. In the decisive tournament, Mars-inspired Arcite defeated the love-stricken Palamon, but he was not destined to wed the fair maiden: after his military victory, he collapsed and suddenly died. The God of War could deliver victory, but only the Goddess of Love could deliver the maiden. The gentle King gave his daughter to the defeated Knight, and 'with all bliss and joyous melody this Palamon hath wedded Emely', concludes Chaucer. Thus the English bard prophesied an event unexpected by the hard-nosed Krauthammer: people who love their land will have her, even if military victory will be had by their adversaries.
For the land should be loved as Emely was loved by Palamon, as woman is loved by man; and such a love is beyond the abilities of most Jews. Some of them see in Palestine a symbol of God's promise to the people of Israel or a pledge of Messianic days, but such symbolic love is doomed to fail. Likewise, my French socialist friend married a Russian girl, for she symbolised Communism and Dostoyevsky, but their marriage broke down under the heavy load of symbolism.
My English politician friend has married to obscure his sexual preferences; he was tired to explain the voters why he did not marry. Likewise, many Jews were tempted to embrace Zionism as they were tired of explaining why they have no land of their own. But tiredness is a poor basis for marriage, and a real woman and a real land weren't made to provide an excuse.
The worst of all are Krauthammers, the American Jews who believe that a land they did not plough and did not seed can belong to them for they have the deed, like a summer cottage they rarely visit - they know no love, but an impotent sultan's jealousy to his bought-and-paid-for slave girl.
The settlers proved their lack of true love at their withdrawal from Sinai in 1980s. Leaving these places after a short sojourn, they smashed everything they could lay their hands on, dynamited every house and bulldozed every garden and vineyard planted by native and imported hands. And now, discussing withdrawal from Gaza, the settlers swear they will obliterate all signs of life on their lands before surrendering them to the hated natives. This is not the way to deal with a loved land: a poet spread his tenderness towards his beloved like a carpet under her feet as she forsook him, and wished her to be happy with her new man, ‘loved as much as he loved her’.
Indeed, Palestinians never damaged their homes and gardens they were forced to leave, and beautiful old Arab houses and gardens in Talbieh and Ain Karim bear witness to their masters' love to the end. Not only their faith in eventual return kept them back from torching their trees and burning their houses down before fleeing to the refugee camps of Lebanon and Gaza - but their selfless love for the land and trees.
The Holy Land is a common project by Our Lord God and by her people. He created her, and they attended to her, built her terraces, dug around olives, and worshipped her Lord on her high places. Just as the defeated Palamon won his fair Emely, the vanquished will inherit the land; while victorious in battle will perish unless they surrender to the Goddess of Love, love to the land and her people.
Somebody ought to tell President George Bush something he obviously doesn't know. He keeps talking about wanting democracy in the Middle East and reform in general as an antidote to extremism.
What apparently his staff members have not told him, probably because they themselves don't know, is that most of the reformers in the Middle East in recent years have been Islamist, and sometimes the Islamic fundamentalists. It is they who have provided social services the government neglected to provide. It is they who have often demanded democratic elections and honest government.
In Algeria, for example, an Islamist party was on the verge of sweeping the board in a free election. The Algerian army stepped in and stopped the election. Unfortunately, the United States backed the army rather than democracy and the Islamists. A bloody civil war was the result.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban came to power as reformers, driving out the warlords, who were corrupt and brutal. We, of course, have brought the warlords back to power, and Afghanistan is now once again one of the world's greatest sources for opium.
Islam is an interesting and lovely religion, as highly moral and peaceful as Christianity or any other. Americans should read some books about it, rather than listening to ignorant demagogues or people with a secret agenda. "The Oxford History of Islam" is a good place to start.
Of course, Bush is preaching democracy because that's the platitude generated by the neoconservative, pro-Israeli ideologues who have dominated his administration. It's an excuse to avoid facing the truth, which is that our problem in the Middle East is our one-sided support for the terrible mistreatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis. That's it. It's not the conditions in the Arab world. It's not the Islamic fundamentalists. It's our own policy, stupid.
How can we legitimately put pressure on Iran about its nuclear program while we remain dead silent about the nuclear arsenal Israel has already built? All of the Arab countries and Iran have repeatedly called for a nuclear-free Middle East, but we won't back it, because we won't confront Israel about its weapons of mass destruction.
How can we talk about obeying United Nations resolutions when Israel is in defiance of more than 60 of them? How can we talk about the rule of law when Israel's occupation and illegal settlements are a violation of international law? How can we talk about respect for human rights while staying silent about the abuses of Palestinian human rights?
It would serve George Bush right if there really were free elections in the Middle East. After that, we wouldn't have one single friend in the region — for our only friends are these very authoritarian and undemocratic rulers he seems to stupidly want to depose.
As for Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia whom some people are trying to blame for terrorism, that's pure bunk. The Wahhabi movement was founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhabi, who lived in the 1700s. It is to Islam what the Puritans were to Christianity. Wahhabis believe in literalism (as do Southern Baptists), strict observance of Muslim rituals and the condemnation of the cult of the saints.
It has always been the religion of Saudi Arabia, and we have had good relations with that country since World War II, based on its oil and our greed for it. In all those decades, the Wahhabis never gave us any trouble. Why should they now? I submit to you they haven't. Don't confuse Islamic fundamentalism with terrorism, as the pro-Israel crowd wants you to do. And don't commit the racist fallacy of concluding that a particular few terrorists represent the whole of Muslims.
UNITED NATIONS - Following their victory in the U.N.'s highest court, the Palestinians will ask the General Assembly next week to demand that Israel destroy the barrier it is building to seal off the West Bank.
After Friday's ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, that the barrier violates international law, the Palestinians and their Arab supporters said they will seek a resolution enforcing the decision.
In a sharply worded advisory opinion, the court said Israel should tear down the barrier, compensate Palestinians harmed by the structure and return property confiscated for its construction.
The court urged the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council to consider "what further action is required to bring to an end to the illegal situation."
The court also called for a negotiated peace settlement establishing a Palestinian state "as soon as possible."
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat praised the court's 14-1 decision as "a victory for justice."
"We are proud of this decision," Arafat said. "We will turn to the United Nations General Assembly, which sent this issue to the court, to discuss it."
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Dan Gillerman said the barrier will remain as long as suicide bombers keep attacking Israelis and Arafat's "terror" campaign continues.
He said it was "shocking and appalling" that the court failed to recognize that the projected 425-mile-long barrier was "a temporary, nonviolent security measure" that had reduced terrorist attacks against Israelis by 90 percent. About one-fourth of the barrier has been built.
In almost four years of violence, 970 Israelis have died in Palestinian strikes, with more than 1,000 wounded. [...]
Comment: A huge, 425-mile-long barrier is just a temporary measure? Horse hockey! The article also fails to mention that over 3,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israelis. If the Palestinians are the "evil terrorists" in this case, why is it that the Israelis are slaughtering more people than even the "Palestinian suicide bombers"? Why is it that just when peace is about to "break out", the Palestinians repeatedly appear to shoot themselves in the foot by launching alleged suicide bomb attacks against Israel? Why is it that Israel can build a concentration camp around the Palestinians, develop biological, nuclear, and ethnic specific weapons, and the global community barely bats an eyelash? Could it have something to do with Zionist influence around the globe? The bottom line is that no country would dare to act against Israel, even if the UN has declared the barrier to be illegal.
The Catholic Church condemned anti-Zionism as a cover for anti-Semitism by means of a joint statement issued by a forum of Catholic-Jewish intellectuals this week.
The announcement was made at a gathering of religious, academic and other leading Jewish and Catholic figures in Buenos Aires.
"We oppose anti-Semitism in any way and form, including anti-Zionism that has become of late a manifestation of anti-Semitism," the statement said.
This is the first time that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism have been equated by the Catholic Church.
The statement also includes a stern condemnation of terrorism, particularly terror in the name of faith.
Comment: That's funny - "terror in the name of faith" could be the motto of the current Israeli and US governments.
"Terror is a sin against man and against God. Fundamentalist terrorism in the name of God has no justification and cannot be justified."
Ilan Steinberg, director of the World Jewish Congress, one of the forum's organizers, described the joint statement as "an historic moment."
"For the first time, the Catholic Church recognizes in anti-Zionism an attack not only against Jews, but against the whole Jewish people."
Senior Jewish figures called the announcement a significant, public statement of support by the Catholic Church in the face of anti-Zionism.
"In the past, Zionism was equated with racism, and this statement turns anti-Zionism statements to a form of racism," a Jewish leader said in New York.
The statement joins a prior European Union announcement and UN declaration of war against anti-Semitism as part of a global front fighting the scourge.
Comment: We wonder how many ordinary Jews would agree with the statement that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. We are reminded of the following articles:
Bush Walks Out on Media, Refuses to Answer Questions About Relationship
With Ken Lay
A clearly-rattled President George W. Bush walked out of a media briefing Thursday, refusing to answer questions about his close relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth Lay, a campaign benefactor Bush nicknamed "Kenny Boy" when the two were up-and-comers in Texas.
The President, visibly upset, stomped off the stage when reporters pressed him about his relationship with Lay and left White House press secretary Scott McClellan to deal with the questions.
It has been "quite some time" since Bush and Lay talked with each other, McClellan said Thursday, brushing off questions about whether the two were friends.
"He was a supporter in the past and he's someone that I would also point out has certainly supported Democrats and Republicans in the past," McClellan said.
Lay clearly favored the GOP. He and his wife, Linda, donated $882,580 to federal candidates from 1989-2001, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. All but $86,470 went to Republicans.
McClellan declined to discuss the federal indictment charging Lay with a wide-ranging scheme to deceive the public, company shareholders and government regulators about the energy company that he founded and led to industry prominence before its collapse.
Instead, McClellan answered questions about Lay by talking about Bush's desire to curb corporate fraud.
"This president has worked to go after those wrongdoers and directed his administration to pursue those who are dishonest in the boardroom," McClellan said.
"The president has made it very clear that we will not tolerate dishonesty in the boardroom. This administration worked to uncover abuses and scandals in the corporate arena. And certainly the president's concern is with those workers and other people who have been harmed by corporate wrongdoing," McClellan said.
Democrat John Kerry's campaign had a different view, accusing the administration of dragging its feet on Enron. "It was three years too late," Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said of the Lay indictment.
Lay's relationship with the Bush family dates from at least 1990 when he was co-chairman of former President Bush's economic summit for industrialized nations, which was held in Houston. Lay also was co-chairman of the host committee for the Republican National Convention when it was held in Houston in 1992.
The Center for Public Integrity, a Washington-based nonprofit group, said the Lays had given $139,500 to George W. Bush's political campaigns over the years.
Those donations were part of $602,000 that Enron employees gave to Bush's various campaigns, making Enron the leading political patron for Bush at the time of the company's bankruptcy in 2001.
In addition to Lay's political campaign donations, he and his wife contributed $100,000 to Bush's 2001 inauguration. Lay also was a fund-raiser for Bush, bringing in at least $100,000 for the president's 2002 campaign. That put Lay in "Pioneer" status as one of the president's top money-raisers.
CAIRO, Egypt - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's new prime minister has until Saturday to replace more than 30 ministers who resigned after failing to enact sorely needed economic, political and social reforms.
The mass resignations and Mubarak's appointment of relatively unknown former state minister Ahmed Nazief as prime minister further consolidate the president's power at a time of growing calls for sweeping change in the Arab world's most populous state.
The Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Ahram reported Saturday that Mubarak would select the new defense, foreign, interior and justice ministers. The four posts usually are called "sovereign ministries" in the press and traditionally have been very close to the presidency.
Friday's resignations of Prime Minister Atef Obeid and 32 ministers were long expected. The reshuffle follows a much-publicized reform movement headed by Mubarak and his 41-year-old son, Gamal.
The government-owned Al-Gomhouria newspaper lauded the mass resignation.
"Finally what we want has happened and the first steps of change have begun," the paper's editor-in-chief, Samir Ragab, said in an editorial. [...]
Many French city suburbs are becoming ethnic ghettoes, a report has warned.
The study by the French domestic intelligence services found many areas were populated by poor, young French of north African immigrant backgrounds.
The report, leaked to Le Monde newspaper, found at least half of the 630 suburbs it looked at had already become separate ethnic communities.
The report warned the ghettoes, cut off from mainstream French society, could encourage radical Islam to take root.
The intelligence service report deals with an extremely sensitive issue for France: just how bad the sense of alienation has become in the suburbs, among the French-born children of north African immigrant background.
The report - given to the interior minister, Dominique de Villepin - concludes that the situation is actually worse than previously thought.
Of the suburbs studied, the report says at least half could already be called ghettoes, whose inhabitants felt rejected by, and were in turn rejecting, mainstream French society.
Sat Jul 10,
3:06 AM ET
Paul Khlebnikov, 41, had walked out of his office late on Friday in northeastern Moscow when a car pulled up and several shots were fired at him. Khlebnikov, a U.S. citizen of Russian origin, died on his way to hospital.
He was the latest victim of post-Soviet city-center killings which have struck down officials, businessmen and journalists. News reports said cartridges of two different calibers were found, suggesting two assailants had opened fire.
Forbes, the magazine which tracks the worth of the world's wealthy, started publication in Russia in April and a month later issued a list of Russia's biggest fortunes. Dominated by oil magnates and metals tycoons, it revealed Moscow to be the city with the world's most billionaires.
The editor of Newsweek's Russian-language edition, Alexander Gordeyev, told Interfax news agency he had rushed to Khlebnikov after the attack and spoke to him as he lay dying.
"I asked Paul several times why he thought this had happened," Gordeyev was quoted as saying. "Paul said he didn't know. He told me several times nothing suspicious had happened to him. He said nothing more about it. He just asked for help."
Interfax quoted others associated with the magazine as saying they had no notion of who might be behind the murder. [...]
By IRA DREYFUSS
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government told cosmetics makers Friday they can no longer use brain and spinal cord tissue from older cattle in lipstick, hair sprays and other products.
The new Food and Drug Administration regulations come in the wake of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease last December. They are aimed at preventing the disease from reaching people, where it can cause a rare but similar fatal condition, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Mad cow - also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE - causes the brains of affected animals to waste away.
Consumer groups complained that the regulations are insufficient, saying the government should also ban the same tissues from younger cattle and extend the prohibition to use in animal feed.
"While the risk is small, if there does happen to be an ingredient from a BSE-infected cow, the consequences would be incredibly drastic," said Rachel Weintraub, assistant general counsel of the Consumer Federation of America.
For instance, she said, cosmetics include sprays that could contain animal protein, which could be inhaled.
Caroline Smith DeWaal, head of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said it's virtually impossible for a consumer to know from the label whether a banned product is in cosmetics.
The agency and businesses ought to put out lists of products containing bovine-derived material "so people can throw out old cosmetics and purchase new ones that are subject to this requirement," DeWaal said. [...]
Comment: Sure, why not! The plan spreads even more fear around the country while filling the pockets of cosmetic companies.
LOS ALAMOS — Two items containing classified information are missing from Los Alamos National Laboratory, a lab spokesman said Friday.
The items — so-called "Classified Removable Electronic Media" — were discovered missing from the Weapons Physics Directorate during an inventory check Wednesday, lab spokesman Kevin Roark said.
While Roark refused to say if the items contained information that could jeopardize national security if in the wrong hands, he said the CREM items could include products like compact flash disks, CDs and floppy disks.
A search was under way Friday, and lab Director Peter Nanos said he would order a full inquiry into what happened. [...]
This is the second such incident in recent months. Material also classified as CREM was reported missing in May. That data had been set to be destroyed before it went missing, Roark said at the time.
Roark acknowledged Friday that this situation is different because the items were to be used for an upcoming experiment and are in fact missing. He added that Nanos' tone is also different this time.
"What's different in this case is the director is saying this won't stand," Roark said. "If you can't keep track of classified material, then you can't work at Los Alamos anymore. The director is serious." [...]
The University of California has run Los Alamos since the lab was created as the headquarters of the Manhattan Project — the secret effort to create the first atomic bomb — in 1943.
The contract is up for bids after management failures in recent years, including the firing of two investigators who raised allegations of mismanagement, abuse of lab purchasing and financial malfeasance.
By Hil Anderson
PASADENA, Calif., July 9 (UPI) -- All systems were go Friday for the weekend launch of a Delta II rocket set to carry into a new satellite into orbit that scientists expect will provide a wealth of new information on the increasingly controversial subject of global warming.
The Aura satellite is scheduled to blast off during the wee hours of Sunday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It is equipped with cutting-edge scanning instruments that will monitor the various layers of the atmosphere and how they interact with pollutants that include the greenhouse gases that may or may not be causing Earth's climate to heat up.
Climate scientists can always use new and improved data, but the Aura mission's greatest value may be in the political arena where policy makers remain in the middle of a battle between environmentalists who insist global warming is a genuine threat and skeptics led by some in the business community who dismiss the entire concept as junk science."
"Nothing really is in the works that addresses global air quality," Project Scientist Phil DeCola told reporters from Vandenberg in a televised news conference Friday. "One can imagine the value of this information in developing future policies."
Described as being about the size of a small school bus, Aura holds four different types of scanning instruments that will take in-depth measurements of the atmosphere, in particular the ozone layer in the upper stratosphere that protects humans from the sun's harmful radiation. [...]
As soon as data from Aura begins streaming back to Earth, in about 90 days, it should help present a truer picture of the globe's air quality and set the stage for meaningful regulation that is more tightly focused on the scope and source of the problem. [...]
Comment: Although the official line in the scientific community and in Washington seems to be that nothing is wrong with the planet, one has to wonder why so much effort and money was dumped into this latest satellite launch. Obviously, someone is more than a little concerned about global climate change...
Bird Flu Erupts Again in Thailand, China
BANGKOK - The strain of bird flu that killed 24 people in Southeast Asia early this year has erupted again in Thailand and China, but authorities in both countries said this week the outbreaks were under control.
Thailand said it had confirmed outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which first emerged in Hong Kong in 1997, at two farms near towns north of Bangkok.
China said the virus had struck a farm in central Anhui province, 180 miles west of Shanghai. [...]
bird flu outbreak linked to wild birds
SHANGHAI, China (AP) - China said Wednesday that wild birds may have sparked a new outbreak of avian flu on a lakeside farm, while Thailand confirmed fresh outbreaks in two central provinces.
The cases in Anhui province, China's first reported outbreak in nearly four months, involve the same severe bird flu strain that earlier this year ravaged Asia's poultry industry and jumped to people in Vietnam and Thailand, killing 24. About 100 million chickens across the region were slaughtered to halt its spread.
China's Agriculture Ministry said the farm in Anhui was quarantined following confirmation of the flu on Tuesday. All poultry within two miles of the affected farm have been slaughtered and birds within three miles vaccinated, the reports said.
"The local government has made necessary measures of slaughter or quarantine to prevent a spread and sent samples to the authorities. It has also isolated the area," the official Xinhua News Agency said. It said Agriculture Ministry authorities were first informed of bird deaths on the farm on Saturday. [...]
Last Updated Fri, 09 Jul 2004 20:22:36
PASADENA, CALIF. - Scientists have trained monkeys to move a cursor around a computer screen by merely thinking about it.
The research is a step toward the development of prosthetic devices that allow people with spinal cord injuries to move and communicate based on their thoughts.
Unlike earlier studies that relied on signals from the brain's motor cortex or movement control centre, the neuroscientists decoded the animals' higher-level or cognitive brain signals, which is potentially more versatile for different devices.
Richard Andersen of Caltech in Pasadena, Calif., and his colleagues at the Institute of Neuroinformatics in Zurich, Switzerland, and the University of Western Ontario in London, describe the study in Friday's issue of the journal Science.
Three monkeys had wires inserted into the parietal cortex of their brains just above the ear. They were trained not to move their eyes during the experiments to rule out sensory input.
"We have him think about positioning a cursor at a particular goal location on a computer screen, and then decode his thoughts," said Anderson in a release.
"He thinks about reaching there, but doesn't actually reach, and if he thinks about it accurately, he's rewarded."
By decoding signals from the parietal cortex, the researchers were able to predict where the trained monkeys planned to reach about 85 per cent of the time when the animals were expecting a reward.
The rewards varied in size, type and frequency, such as receiving water or orange juice. The researchers were able to predict what reward a monkey expected.
So far, humans have been implanted with larger devices to make simple movements of a cursor on a computer screen with their thoughts.
A moderate earthquake shook Tokyo today, swaying buildings but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 4.9 and was centred just north-east of Tokyo in southern Ibaraki Prefecture at a depth of about 25 miles. The tremor lasted for about 10 seconds.
There were no reports of damage to buildings or Tokyo’s subway and commuter train lines.
There was no threat of a tsunami, potentially dangerous waves triggered by seismic activity, the Meteorological Agency said.
Jul 10, 2004, 06:49
An Earthquake measuring 3.9 degreeon the Richter scale hit the provincial town of Lamerd in this southern province Wednesday night.
The Shiraz Seismological Base affiliated to Geophysics Institute of Tehran University recorded the tremor at 23:16 hours local time (1846 GMT) in north of Lamerd, 480 km southeast of the capital city of Tehran.
The base registered the epicenter of the tremor in an area at 27.52 latitude and 53.38 longitude.
No report has been available yet on possible casualty or damage to property caused by the quake.
A third of male fish in British rivers are in the process of changing sex due to pollution in human sewage, research by the Environment Agency suggests.
A survey of 1,500 fish at 50 river sites found more than a third of males displayed female characteristics.
Hormones in the sewage, including those produced by the female contraceptive pill, are thought to be the main cause.
The agency says the problem could damage fish populations by reducing their ability to reproduce.
The death toll from floods submerging eastern India reached 78 as army helicopters averted tragedy by airlifting children from their marooned school.
Five more people died in the northeastern state of Assam when two boats carrying families capsized in the region's central Kamrup district Friday, a police spokesman said.
But in the same area, army helicopters swooped down Friday to rescue some 350 children trapped when their school was hit by a flash flood, Kamrup district's chief administrator Samir Sinha said.
"The children were forced to take shelter on the rooftop before two MI-17 helicopters airlifted them to safety," Sinha told AFP by telephone.
Fifty-five deaths have been reported in northeastern India since annual monsoons began last month, while 23 people have died in the eastern states of Bihar and West Bengal.
In Bihar, state Chief Secretary K.A.H. Subramanian said two air force helicopters were arriving Saturday to assist in relief as floods had snapped communication with areas bordering Nepal.
India last year recorded more than 1,000 deaths from floods, which are triggered annually by monsoon rains and melting snows from the Himalayas.
People who are too young to legally drink alchohol saw more liquor advertising in magazines than adults, according to a new study. Girls saw more alcohol advertisements than boys, according to the study by David J. Jernigan of Georgetown University. In 2002, the year the study looked at, alcohol companies in the United States spent $1.9 billion on magazines, newspaper, television, radio and outdoor advertisements, 21.1 percent of which was used in magazines advertising, according to the study
Three women were allegedly raped by a gang of around 40 men in a village in Madhya Pradesh, police said on Friday in Bhopal.
The incident occurred in a village in Seoni district late on Thursday night. The men allegedly raped the women, who belonged to the Dalit or socially under-privileged class, in retaliation for one of their male relatives eloping with an upper caste girl.
According to the reports reaching at Bhopal on Friday, a man from Seoni named Umesh had eloped with Santoshi, an upper caste girl on Sunday. Both lived in the same village.
A police complaint was filed against Umesh on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the village council met and ordered his relatives to fetch him and Santoshi as soon as possible.
Following the diktat, all male members of Umesh's family went out to look for him. But when they did not return by Thursday night, a group of around 40 men barged into Umesh's house.
Umesh's mother, aunt and sister-in-law were in the house. The villagers forcibly took the women into a field and allegedly raped them.
Police learnt about the incident on Friday and swung into action. They arrested nine of the men.
"The women have been kept in a police station. Armed guards have been posted at their house," said a senior police official.
"The prima facie evidence shows that the women were raped. They have been medically examined and we are yet to get the report," he said.
Police has arrested a man who killed his wife on Thursday evening to propitiate Goddess Kali in the Rajpur area of the city to get rid of a ghost who was allegedly hovering around their 19-year-old son Sandeep.
The man Bharat Lal was offering prayers at the Kali temple along with his wife Kamla Devi when he suddenly took out a sharp-edged weapon and hacked her to death.
Lal also cut off his wife's tongue and ate it before setting her body on fire.
The gory incident took place in the presence of the couple's three children, Sandeep, Smita (17) and Saloni (13).
A case of murder has been registered against Lal who during interrogation admitted that he had killed his wife on the directions of Goddess Kali.
Thu Jul 8,
9:48 AM ET
Yvan Tessier was turned away from an English immersion course at the University of New Brunswick because he would be forced to give his dog, Pavot, instructions in French.
Students in the course are expected to communicate only in English, at all times, during the intensive five-week course. That was to include talking to the dog, but the university relented, saying in a statement that Tessier will be allowed to use "essential commands in his native French language to his guide dog."
Earlier, Tessier said he would file a complaint with the human rights commission if the university stuck to its decision.
"They don't have the openness of spirit to understand that it's better for me and my mobility to operate with my guide dog. It's only 17 commands in French; it won't compromise the English program," he said from Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Tessier has been guided by the black Labrador retriever for the past two years. Pavot was trained by the Quebec-based Mira Foundation specifically for French speaking clients.
"We were astonished by this," said Pierre Noiseux, a spokesman at the foundation which placed Pavot with Tessier.
"The dog doesn't speak French or English. He doesn't know how to spell 'en avant.' He doesn't know it's French. He just knows that 'en avant' means forward."
The university, in the eastern Canadian town of Fredericton, New Brunswick, said it turned Tessier away because it did not have enough time to prepare for his special needs.
"In the past, the service has been provided that we do teach their guide dogs commands in English, so the dog learns English as well," a university spokeswoman told CBC Television.
Tessier said it would take too long to teach Pavot English commands. The Mira Foundation said it was also dangerous to teach the dog new commands just as Tessier arrives in unfamiliar surroundings.
"He's in a new city, he needs a dog that will be really alert," Noiseux said. "Sure we could take the dog, bring him back and recode. But why would I do that? The guy is French."
First there were "freedom fries" - for patriotic Americans who couldn't stomach the French version because of their opposition to the war in Iraq.
Now there's "W" ketchup to dip them in.
The W apparently stands for Washington after the nation's first president - but the manufacturers are throwing their weight behind George W Bush's bid for re-election.
In an appeal to Republicans, the sauce's website says "you don't support Democrats, why should your ketchup?"
That is a reference to Teresa Heinz Kerry - wife of the Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
She inherited a fortune from her former husband Senator John Heinz, who died in a plane crash in 1991.
Even before this latest salvo, Heinz was forced to point out that it was a non-partisan organisation and that no member of the Kerry family was involved in its management.
The firm will be hoping the election doesn't become a food fight.
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