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Sunday, August 22, 2004
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Masquerading as ‘Journalism’
The following report appeared in today’s London Sunday Times and it’s a prime example of disinformation being fed to the public in the guise of journalism. It reports on the development of a device refered to as ‘Robolander’, which would enable air traffic controllers to remotely take control of an aircraft already in flight. The only problem is that this technology is not being developed because it already exists.
Indeed it was probably used on September 11, 2001.
While Rabbi Dov Zakheim, the man behind its development, had called for a “new Pearl Harbour” to help facilitate a process of transformation in America in September 2000. So the following is not just ‘old news’, but disinformation dressed up as journalism.
to combat terror hijacks
Terrorists could be prevented from carrying out September 11-style attacks by a device that would allow air traffic controllers to take control of aircraft and land them remotely.
The device, known as “Robolander”, is among a number of pilot aides that the American government’s Department of Homeland Security has asked Boeing to fit to new aircraft. Despite resistance to the technology from unions and airlines, the government may contribute up to £40m towards a prototype “proof of concept” aircraft to be built by 2010.
Robolander merges several modern computer systems, including a “refuse to crash” program that steers planes away from mountains and high buildings if pilots do not respond to audible warnings.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) recently flew a real Boeing 757 over a simulated version of Washington DC and tried to “crash” it into the White House, but the computer software blocked the pilot and forced him to turn away.
John Douglass, president of the Washington-based Aerospace Industries Association, said the logical next step was to allow air traffic controllers to take control of a plane in an emergency: “If the pilot hears the terrorist crashing through the door, he could send an encrypted signal to an air traffic centre and pass them control.”
President George W Bush publicly threw his weight behind the development of such systems after the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. At present the only way to defeat hijackers who have broken into the cockpit is to shoot down the plane.
Although the remote control technology has existed for some time — the military regularly fly pilotless “drone” aircraft on surveillance and bombing missions — America’s cash-strapped airlines have long fought against developing it, largely on cost grounds.
Douglass said the mood had gradually changed. “I am confident that Robolander can be built into the next generation of air traffic control systems to deal with drunken passengers or suicidal pilots as well as hijackers,” he said.
“That will bring prices down so dramatically that the private pilot fearing a heart attack can also share it.”
Other companies are working on different solutions to the hijacker menace. Cubic Corp of San Diego, California, has been granted a patent for a panic button that locks a hijacker out of the cockpit and then flies the plane home by autopilot.
Stanley Craig, an Arizona air safety consultant, has patented a device that demands a code before pilots can operate the controls: any unauthorised change alerts ground control to a possible hijack.
“There have been on average 50 hijackings a year since 1975,” Craig said. “Locking the cockpit door is not enough; I can knock down any door in 15 seconds.”
Other ideas range from advanced cabin cameras to hidden nozzles that could pump sleeping gas into the fuselage.
Current methods of controlling potential hijackers rely on manpower rather than microchips: up to 20,000 armed air marshals are routinely deployed on American aircraft.
Pilots are reluctant to cede control to computers. “What would happen if the terrorists took over the air control tower and hacked the codes?” said a senior executive at the international Airline Pilots Association last week. “They would have a dozen flying bombs.”
Those who have been the most emotionally affected by the September 11 attacks, however, have no qualms about the new technology.
“If airline bosses cannot find the money to make their planes more hijack-proof, then maybe they should be running a hot-dog stand instead,” said a spokesman for the Family Steering Committee, which represents many of the victims of those attacks.
Comment: Indeed, as noted above, the technology to remote control planes has been around for quite some time. So any current reports which subtly suggest that the technology is only now available are at best an example of extremely poor investigative journalism and at worst evidence of deliberate media disinformation being spread by media corporations on the orders of the governments that essentially own them. As regards the remote control technology, one company in particular, "System Planning Corp." has been at the forefront of such research and development and boasts some very interesting board members, such a Jewish Rabbi Dov Zakheim who joined the company after spending a number of years as the Pentagon's Chief Financial officer. Interestingly, Zakheim resigned this year on the day of the Madrid train bombings. Just a few days ago, we see the following report
Flashback: Pentagon says it can't document $1.8b
Pentagon auditors have found that Halliburton Co. cannot properly document more than $1.8 billion worth of work done under its contracts in Iraq and Kuwait, US Army officials said yesterday. The latest setback for the Houston-based oil services company came in an audit by the Defense Contract Auditing Agency, which also found that the company's system for generating cost estimates used in negotiations with the government was ''inadequate."
The agency recommended that government-contracting officials demand fixes within 45 days and seek more detailed information during negotiations with Halliburton, which has contracts worth as much as $18.2 billion in Iraq to feed and house troops and restore the country's oil infrastructure.
So how much might a top notch, global scale, hoax terrorist attack cost these days?
What with recent reports about the Pentagon being unable to account for billions of dollars and more billions missing from Iraq's oil fund, we have to wonder if there is any connection between the good Rabbi's stint as money-launderer in chief at the Pentagon, his connection to the Neocons and their call for a "new Pearl Harbor", his subsequent 'flight' to a company that develops remote control systems for airliners and our recent wonderings about who put up the cash for the extremely elaborate and surely costly 9/11 hoax. See our previous Signs page for more on the, no longer so mysterious, Rabbi Zakheim.
Oh, and while we are on the subject of 9/11 and strange inexplicable Israeli connections....
911 Airports Serviced by Same Israeli Security Firm
It's one of those times when an innocuous comment in an unrelated news report triggers a revelation. In the article at http://afrocubaweb.com/news/israelispying.htm there is the following paragraph.
"To make the situation worse, a private security company called ICTS, owned by an Israeli, Ezra Harel, and registered in the Netherlands, was employed at Charles de Gaulle airport to screen passengers boarding US planes. Most of its personnel are ex-Shin Bet officers. The company covers security at Boston’s Logan airport, where the American Airlines plane came down after flight attendants and passengers overpowered Reid."
The point of thie article was that ICTS knew Reid was dangerous, but allowed him on board a flight from Tel Aviv to Paris. Maybe they did and maybe they didn't. But the idea that an Israeli owned company had inside access to the airport used to launch an abortive terror attack brought to mind the strange message Odigo Systems, another Israeli owned company with offices near the World Trade Towers, received that warned of the impending attacks before the hijacked planes had even left the ground.
So, I went back to another story that had surfaced briefly, reported here about how at least one hijacker had smuggled a GUN aboard one of the hijacked planes. Even prior to 9-11, getting a gun on board a passenger plane represented a serious lapse of security. I wondered why this story of a gun was being concealed behind talk of box cutters and screwdrivers.
Then I went back to the first article and its mention that ICTS handled security at Logan International Airport, from which two of the 9-11 hijacked planes had departed.
Sure enough, a visit to ICTS' own web site at www.icts-int.com/ confirms that ICTS is in fact an Israeli owned company, and that it sells services to every airport from which the hijacked planes operated, including security, sometimes through wholly owned subsidieries like Huntleigh USA Corporation.
It has been suggested that the incredible feat of hijacking four aircraft without a single arrest at the gate would require the resouces of a nation-state. This is even more true with the revelation that at least one gun had managed to be aboard a hijacked plane. One company had automatic inside access to all of the airports from which hijacked planes departed on 9-11, and to the airports used by Richard Reid, the shoe bomber. An Israeli company. One that Mossad agents could easily find employment with without the management knowing who they were or what their purpose really was.
But one thing is clear. By virtue of the Odigo warning, someone knew enough about the planned attacks to warn Odigo before the planes had even departed the airport gates, yet they did not call the Israeli security company at the airports which could have stopped the flights from leaving.
Think about that one for a while.
"Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information." -US official quoted in Carl Cameron's Fox News report on the Israeli spy ring.
"Investigators within the DEA, INS and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying ... is considered career suicide." - Carl Cameron, as quoted in The Spies Who Came In From The Art Sale
"While I agree with you, if I say anything about US geopolitical interests with Israel, I might as well clean off my desk. - Unnamed reporter as quoted in American Media Censorship and Israel
01/07 2004 - Now that Mijailo Mijailovic has confessed the murder of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, it's about time I publish the following article by Trowbridge Ford. He is one of those that just can't believe that a confused lonely psychotic would be able to pull off the murder of a high ranking member of the Swedish government. Neither do I. And I don't thing we are alone in thinking that two assasinated Swedish ministers is at least two to many without some seriously foul play to be in action.
Israel's Mossad Still Leading Suspect In Assassination of Sweden's Anna Lindh
by Trowbridge H. Ford, Ph.D.
In any murder inquiry, investigators should look for suspects who had the motive, means, and opportunity for committing the crime. In an assassination, a politically-motivated killing, the same holds truth, though finding suspects is more difficult because of the greater need and ability of their employers to hide their identity, and how they did the deed.
Only intelligence services of most tenuous states these days resort to clear, conspiratorial acts of violence - like Pinochet's secret police organization (DINA) blowing up critics Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in a car in front of the Chilean Embassy in Washington on September 21, 1976 - for fear that they will be fatally exposed by their opponents, leading to the regime's collapse. On the other hand, the conspiracy must not be so clever that no one is convicted of the killing - what unexpectedly happened because of Soviet spying in the 1986 assassination of Swedish statsminister Olof Palme - because everyone will conclude that it must have been one, most likely by the people who wanted him dead.
Consequently, the secret intelligence services of developed states, especially America's Central Intelligence Agency, Israel's Mossad, and Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, have spent countless amounts of money, and endless research by scientists to develop assassins who will do the desired acts on demand, and without any recall of what they have done. Of course, here we are talking about Manchurian Candidates, but the name is a misnomer as the most important research and operations in the field were done by the Americans and the Israelis, not the North Koreans.
The primer on the subject is John Marks' The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate", but in reading it, one must realize that the search was successful, and Manchurian Candidates have often been used in many operations around the world. The classic cases have used drugs to prepare the mind for manipulation, psychic driving of a positive and negative nature to create a false manic-depressive condition, and hypnosis to implant a secret agenda in the candidate's subconscious which will be acted upon in an elevated state. The most sinister trigger of the process has been achieved by a form of remote viewing instead of hypnosis where the handler commands the subject's subconscious to action through extremely low frequency sound messages and images directly into the brain from a nearby location. Marks, in short, has just exposed the most benign tip of the projects.
The task for covert operatives, especially the CIA's William King "Executive Action" Harvey, and Israel's Major Benjamin Shalit, has been to find just the right kind of loner, one with a most disassociated makeup which can be determined by proper personality assessment, and who can be driven upon demand, ideally from a remote source, with little chance of anything being dragged out of him later by any investigator. Experience has shown that even with the right type of loner, operatives must not try to make him do anything that he is consciously or unconsciously opposed to, and even successful assassins, especially ones with split personalities, can be exposed if they later experience stable, nuturing relationships. The best insurance against this ever happening is for operatives to see that any successful Manchurian Candidate is either killed on the spot, or locked up in prison for life.
The evidence of this being the case in political assassinations is everywhere if one only thinks about it. Nearly all the important political assassinations or attempted ones of the last half century have involved loners of this nature. For example, James Earl Ray was programmed by Harvey's people in Los Angeles and New Orleans to kill Dr. Martin Luther King after he was moved into position with binoculars and a rifle with a telescopic sight to trigger the shooting in Memphis, while Sihran Sirhan was driven by similar people to be a decoy shooter for assassin Thane Eugene Cesar in the murder of RFK a few months later on the West Coast. The attempted assassination of Governor George Wallace in 1972 by loner Arthur Bremer, arranged by Harvey in Milwaukee when he was leading Nixon's Plumbers, was very similar to the MLK one.
The best example of all of the above, though, is the belated killing of Beatle John Lennon in New York City by Mark David Chapman - what Harvey's follower at CIA Ted "The Blond Ghost" Shackley arranged right after Ronald Reagan's election to insure that his original effort before the polling - what proved misguided and unnecesary - never leaked out because of his nuturing wife. Of course, the assassinations were all dismissed by the controlled press in America as the non-political handywork of decided losers and loners.
The limits and risks of using Manchurian Candidates were still demonstrated in the careers of Lee Harvey Oswald, a programmed Palestinian to kill Yasser Arafat right after the MLK killing, Ted "The Unabomer" Kaczynski, and John Hinckley, Jr. Harvey's people could no more program LHO to kill JFK, though he had been recruited to kill some Soviet leader on cue, by a form of rapid hypnosis in Mexico City than Shalit could direct through deeper hypnosis the unwilling Palestinian to assassinate the PLO leader. Of course, both the CIA and the Mossad planned for limiting damage when the programming failed, but only Harvey managed to get Jack Ruby, who was forced to use underlings of Mafioso Sam Giancana as assassins in place of the recalcitrant Oswald, to dispose of the increasingly troublesome ex-Marine. The Mossad's radio-controlled bomb on Arafat's assassin failed to explode when the ridiculing Palestinian finally escaped its clutches.
The Kaczynski and Hinckley cases are just more extreme examples of the trouble programmed assassins can cause intelligence agencies like the CIA. While the Agency went to great trouble to recruit Kaczynski, going all the way back to his days at Harvard as a math whiz, hoping that he would be such a terrorist threat to Carter's re-election that the President would be afraid to even leave the White House in order to attract desperately needed votes, Ted was only interested in attacking corporate executives, especially of airlines, and the scientists who made their enterprises possible, so the CIA was ultimately obliged to let him run free for nearly a generation after his first cigar-box bombs against them had exploded for fear that catching him would backfire on it.
Hinckley was properly programmed by Shackley's people working for the Reagan-Bush ticket to assassinate Carter if he pulled off an "October Surprise" with Iran over the hostages, but when this proved unnecessary, thanks to Reagan's own surprise in the matter, Hinckley was so distraught over, and reclaimed by his own reason because of Lennon's similar assassination at the same time that he tried to exact vengeance on the new Republican President who had double-crossed him. Both cases illustrate the trouble operatives have in reclaiming Candidates if he or the situation on the ground radically changes.
In sum, assassinations by developed states today almost always require a single gunman or decoy to seemingly do the deed, preferably Manchurian Candidates, so one should never discount a probable political conspiracy because of police claims that the assassin was a loner. He almost has to be, or else the plot could result in serious consequences, even war, if prevented, or discovered after the fact. Even in the Palme assassination, Stig Bergling, the convicted Soviet spy, was set up to appear to be the party policeman who killed the statsminister for Moscow while on prison release to get married, and then had escaped to the USSR for his honeymoon - what the CIA's Rod Carlson tried to arrange through the American Embassy in Stockholm, but Bergling had enough sense to decline, leaving the void Swedish police have yet to decipher.
All this seems most relevant in discussing the murder of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh. The Mossad certainly had the motive, capability, and apparently the opportunity to kill the most troublesome Swedish politician since Palme. Ever since Ariel Sharon was elected Israel's Prime Minister in his own right in early 2001, the government in Tel Aviv has increasingly sought to end the peace process with the Palestinians under the Olso Accords in a way which would secure her demise as part of the war on terror, starting with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, while achieving the release in America of the Mossad's Jonathan Pollard for allegedly spying for the Soviets.
Pollard had been set up for spying in the run-up to Palme's assassination to persuade Moscow that it had all the protection it needed to prevent a first strike from the West - what Washington planned to take full advantage of with more sophisticated satellites, a cargo container full of sensitve sensors transported across the USSR at the time, taps of key communication cables in Moscow and the Barents Sea, and double agents to make it look as if the Soviet response to the set up was a first strike of their own against Sweden.
While the real spying by the Agency's Aldrich "Rick" Ames, and the FBI's Robert Hanssen prevented this from happening after Palme was assassinated, Washington locked up Pollard for life in an attempt to defuse the growing confusion about what had happened, and why. Sharon, as part of his election mandate, made Pollard's release from prison an integral condition of Israel's on-going diplomatic relations with Washington. Then fellow Likud Member of Parliament Gilad Erdan made such a fuss about Pollard's plight that Jewish agencies, as far away as the Orthodox Union in America, were calling for pardoning him, what President Clinton had granted sleazy Marc Rich, and Al Schwimmer, the arms dealer who was supposed to arrange the HAWK missile shipment through Sweden in November 1985 - the fiasco that led to Palme's assassination.
Lindh was soon doing things, especially during Sweden's presidency of the European Commission, which made her Sharon's leading antagonist while his election manager, Meir Dagan, was clearing the way through special operations for the elimination of Iraq's regime, and ultimately the Foreign Minister herself.
Dagan's agenda was headed by eliminating Yasser Arafat, and the Oslo Accords - what brought him into direct conflict with Lindh who did not consider the PLO leader a terrorist, wanted their implementation at the expense of illegal Jewish settlements, and was ultimately calling for the EU to break diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv. To help promote Lindh's agenda in Palestine, MI6 agent Alistair Crooke, veteran security adviser to the EU's special envoy to the Middle East, worked with Palestinian militants, especially Hamas, to arrange a ceasefire so the Mitchell Plan could be implemented.
To prevent this initiative from getting anywhere, Dagan arranged in July 2002 for the IDF to bomb Sheikh Salah Shehadeh's house, killing him and 14 other people, nine of whom were children. Then there was Lindh's strong criticism of Kofi Annan's report on the IDF's invasion of Jenin the following month, killing up to 500 Palestinians she claimed.
Dagan earned the Mossad's Director Generalship in September by arranging the assassination of deepest agent Abu Nidal in Baghdad, what cleared the way for the Coalition's war on Iraq. Nidal knew where many of the West's skeletons were buried, especially arms shipments and armed attacks in the lead-up to the Palme assassination, and Saddam Hussein believed that what he could divulge was a great deterrent to an attack. While one of Dagan's kidons, four-man special operations squads, was allegedly trying to kill the Iraqi leader, another one cut down Nidal in the same fashion that Gerald Bull was eliminated, leaving Iraqi security forces to explain lamely that they had killed Nidal because he had documents linking him to an unnamed enemy, obviously Israel.
During the past year, Lindh actions - promising Palestinians political asylum while protesting the Iraqi war, the isolation of Arafat at Abu Mazen's expense, the treatment of so-called unlawful combatants from Afghanistan in Cuba, and the targeting of militants, especially by America, of any sort - just moved the Mossad to give teeth to Sharon's permission .."to carry out assassinations," as UPI reported in January, "of suspected terrorist targets on the U.S. and other allies' soil." The Foreign Minister had worn down the last opposition to her assassination in Washington by being so demanding about the release of three Swedish citizens, charged falsely with working for Al-Qaeda while helping fellow Somalis.
While the Mossad was infiltrating agents into, and recruiting co-religionists in friendly countries to carry out these missions, counterterrorists in Europe and North America were dragooned into the process. Britain was so afraid that an air liner would be shot down over Heathrow - like what nearly happened to an El Al liner in Africa, and resulted in Dagan being named the Mossad's DG - that MI5 called out the Army to meet the alleged threat. The FBI, in cahoots with the Russian intelligence service, trapped a New Jersey arms merchant into buying doctored missiles for the same purpose in the States.
The clock starting ticking for Lindh's assassination when MI5's Director General Eliza Manningham-Buller gave an unprecedented lecture in June, warning that an unconventional terrorist attack upon a West European city by Osama bin Laden or one of the Islamic networks loosely affiliated with him was just "a matter of time." Thanks to allowing 15 Mossad agents (katsas) to help Britain in its counterterrorist efforts, the country had unrivalled expertise in fighting terrorism, she explained.
Gordon Thomas added in his May 16, 2003 article, "Mossad's Killing Machine comes to Britain," an Israeli kidon was even in Britain, tracking down, and killing at close quarters. An MI5 source told Thomas that "...they are equiped with long and short-blade knives and piano wires to strangle" their victims. The kidons, composed of men and women in their late twenties, were trained to melt into the local community.
In this context, it seems most likely that Swedish security forces again followed Britain's lead - as they had in the Palme case to their detriment about providing reliable bodyguard protection for their leading public officials - allowing katsas and their kidons to take up positions in Stockholm to protect the city from terrorist attacks. How else could Säpo, the Swedish security service, have denied Lindh repeated calls from the Foreign Ministry for bodyguard protection, claiming that she was under no threat? Of course, the Israelis were the greatest threat to the Foreign Minister, as Jewish extremists were constantly contending that she was"the greatest apologist of terrorsim," deserving to be assassinated - what they gleefully repeated when it happened.
During the summer, Dagan's people apparently found a Serb in Stockholm - like the ones who had assassinated the Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic in March while he was on his way to a meeting with Lindh - to give them cover for what they planned. Djindjic, who Tel Aviv wanted murdered because of his alleged supplying Saddam with vital, illegal war material in the run-up to the war, was the first European political leader since Palme to be assassinated. Djindjic had infuriated Slobodan Milosevic's followers in just the way Lindh had Sharon's - sending the former President to The Hague to answer war crimes charges - and bloody pre-emptive action, Dagan's specialty, seems what the situation called for. If a Serb could solve the problems with Djindjic, another one could solve the ones with Lindh.
While the 24-year-old suspect may prove to be innocent despite all the claims by the newspapers, and leaks from the police - as happened in the Palme case with Victor Gunnarsson and Christer Pettersson, and was repeated in this one with a 35-year-old suspect - it seems much more likely that the conspirators planned very carefully for a convincing fall guy this time to avoid another fiasco which would make Sweden's police the laughing stock of the world. This suspect appears to have all the credentials for a knife attack he couldn't recall since this was what actually happened when he repeatedly attacked his father with a knife, for which he received a suspended sentence. He also made threatening phone calls, and was convicted of illegal gun possession. In sum, this suspect is an ideal fall guy, a loose cannon, just waiting for someone to pull his trigger.
The only thing left for the Mossad to do was to make sure that Pollard would finally be released from prison in return for this favor also for Washington. Thanks to the constant pressure that the Orthodox Union (OU) and other Jewish groups had put on American intelligence agencies, on September 2nd Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan heard arguments calling for the life sentence to be vacated - what he has yet to rule on.
On a personal note, I had sent an article I had written for publication in Eye Spy! magazine about why it took so long to discover the spying for the Soviets by Ames and Hanssen - what would justify a reduction of Pollard's punishment - to help the OU's appeal. It was only right after Lindh had been stabbed that I received an excited acknowledgement from it, thanking me for helping its efforts, saying that its Institute for Public Affairs would be contacting me immediately for more information, and requesting that I supply any more information which would help. I sent back an article about the reckless double-agent operations that Washington and London were conducting after Pollard had been caught which caused them to start spying for Moscow. Obviously, OU's interest in what I had done was to take responsibility off the Mossad for any unexpected favors in gaining Pollard's release, what it realized was a big mistake as soon as it had done it as I have never heard anything more from them.
In this context, the assassination of Anna Lindh, which required the actions of between 4 to 5 operatives, took place. There is no way that a single assassin could have kept track of the travels of the Foreign Minister and her friend, stolen a knife, on the spur of the moment, from the distant PUB store, escaped arrest for the theft, and yet still caught them alone and unattended many blocks away on the first floor of the deparment store without the help of several others. It all requires the use of a yahalomin bugging unit for what Lindh and her friend were saying, announcing, and doing - what would be communicated to the assassin, and any possible decoy to keep control of the operation.
According to reports, moves become even more muddy when the murder itself occurred. While the police have been relying completely on the camera at the entrance of NK for possible suspects, they have ignored the fact that a kidon could have easily entered, and exited the store unnoticed from the underground parking garrage. Then the TV video of the alleged killer hardly looks like the 24-year-old suspect, having a pocked-marked skin and a mole on his lower left-cheek which the suspect clearly lacks. Then his DNA on a discarded hat hardly proves anything. As for the murderer's DNA being on the just-stolen knife which killed the Foreign Minister, and which was handled by several persons besides the assassin before the police received it, I would challenge any criminal investigator to recall a similar case.
In sum, I think, at best, the current suspect, perhaps under some kind of psychological manipulation, is a decoy for the operation, emboldened apparently to tell "all" to understanding relatives who will not be allowed to testify at his trial. Actually, the only substance, it seems, to his confession is the remarks by relatives in Serbia who understandably were appalled by what they were told by reporters, and made some confirming responses with no idea of what had really happened. Little wonder that Swedish police are now saying that the real assassins may have escaped.
As a coda to the whole conspiracy, I would remind readers that the British Foreign Office, headed by the out-of-the-loop Jack Straw, and the only Anglo-American-Israeli leader truly shocked by Lindh's assassination, recalled MI6's Crooke despite his protests, once the blood from the murder had been washed away, from Palestine, fearing that he too might be assassinated by Sharon, Dagan, and company as part of its pledge to "obliterate terrorst groups."
After all, we still don't know how weapons expert Dr. David Kelly really died. All the Thames police have said is that his death is unexplained, and inquest by Oxford coroner Nathaniel Gardiner has been postponed because of the Hutton Inquiry investigation of his apparent suicide - which Prime Minister Blair called in order to sidetrack more important inquiries . The British MoD thought that Kelly was under threat enough to take him to a safe house for protection, and the scientist certainly did not choose an easy way to dispose of himself. The question is: did the kidon in Britain get rid of him too? Certainly, it seems to have all the tailor-made signs of another Dagan assassination.
For those ill-informed enough to think that Secretary of State Colin Powell's belated pleasantries in the wake of Lindh's assassintion constituted real sorrow, I would remind them that he used Hurricane Isabel, which completely shut down Washington, as an excuse not to come to her funeral rather than an added justification. Powell learned from Thatcher and Reagan after Palme's assassination that one could piss on Stockholm obsequies with impunity. Powell, rather than being a multilateralist, is hard-core unilateralist, as his willingness before Palme's assassination for the Pentagon to directly resupply Israel for all the illegal weapons it shipped to Tehran - what the statsminister was murdered for trying to stop, America's Operation Staunch. Powell just has a job now where he is supposed to act as if he wants to work with others not committed to the New World Order.
Then the Canadian government expelled nine Israelis as spies, enough katsas to compose two kidons, fearing that the Mossad was planning more international terrorism at its expense in Ottawa. They were all in the twenties, working without permits. Similar deportations of Israeli spies occurred earlier in Toronto and Calgary. In Syria, the security police arrested an Israeli kidon trying to assassinate Hamas leaders around Damascus, resulting in the IDF raid on an alleged Patestinian training camp outside the Syrian capital to hush up the story, and to sustain the Mossad's terrorist initiative. [...]
If the assassination of the Foreign Minister passes without any Mossad suspects being indicted for this deliberately most vicious, terrorizing murder, can one anticipate that Pollard will be released from prison, thanks to a change of mind by officials in America, especially former Reagan SOD Caspar Weinberger, that his spying wasn't that dangerous to national security after all? If so, one can be sure that former Clinton SOD William Cohen, who was in all the covert operation loops back then, made all the necessary connections.
A few years ago when Weinberger was a bit too candid about American and NATO violations of Swedish territorial waters at Palme's expense, Cohen, in the wake of NATO Secretary George Robertson's similar visit, came to Stockholm to smooth out everything. Weinberger, it seems, just misspoke. Just before 9/11, Cohen prevailed upon similar officials determining Pollard's fate to spare the FBI's Hanssen from the gas chamber.
If this happens, Säpo will be put in the same position as Saddam's security service after the Mossad's assassination of Abu Nidal. When and where will this terrible tale end?
For those naive enough to think that Washington may be having second thoughts about the Sharon-Dagan agenda for fighting the war against terrorism, I would remind them that DCI George Tenet, who deliberately helped derail the Mitchell plan, and promote the Pollard one, is now going to be thrown on history's scrapheap for outing CIA agent Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joe Wilson who made a liar out of George W. Bush for claiming in his State of the Union Address that Niger was supplying Saddam with weapons-grade uranium. Plame is an analyst at Langley whose occupation has long been known, but her identification by columnist Robert Novak is being used to scapegoat Tenet, who has long outlived his usefulness in promoting Israel's expanding agenda against all alleged terrorism.
Sunday 22 August 2004, 16:39 Makka Time, 13:39 GMT
Palestinians have accused the United States of destroying the Middle East peace process after Washington signalled it could accept some growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Until now the US had demanded the freezing of all building on land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.
Such building is seen as illegal by almost every country although Israel disputes this.
But the Bush administration signalled flexibility on Saturday on limited growth in West Bank settlements, to help embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as he tries to get a plan for withdrawal from occupied Gaza past his far right opponents.
"I do not believe that America says now that settlements can be expanded. This thwarts and destroys the peace process," Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya said.
Palestinians - who fear uprooting the Gaza settlers is a cover for strengthening Israel's hold on bigger West Bank enclaves -said the US was shredding its own peace "road map", a blueprint for a Palestinian state that has been stalled by violence.
A senior US administration official, commenting on Israel's plan to build 1000 more settler homes said on Saturday: "There is some flexibility there."
White House denied any official change in the US stance, an official said
efforts were under way to clarify with the Israelis what "settlement
A senior Israeli source said there was a clear understanding the US was trying to help Sharon push through his plan for "disengagement" from nearly four years of conflict with the Palestinians.
"This is crucial for Sharon to get through the disengagement plan. He needs it for the Israeli public and his party. The Americans understand that," the source said.
Accepting limited construction within existing settlements could also benefit President George Bush, who would not want to cross Jewish-American voters who back settlements and other conservative supporters of Israel in the run-up to the November election.
8/22/2004 3:00:00 PM GMT
The Palestinian group Hamas denied on Sunday that it would ever carry out attacks in the United States. It also condemned the arrest of two members by American authorities, saying they are politically motivated.
"It is not our policy to carry out any attacks against Zionist targets outside the Palestinian occupied land," the movement said in a statement received by AFP in its Gaza stronghold.
Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada, 18 August 2004
There are currently 800 Palestinian prisoners being held in Meggido detention center.
Palestinian prisoners in four different Israeli prisons started an open-ended hunger strike on Sunday to press for better living conditions of the nearly 8,000 Palestinian prisoners. Israeli authorities reacted to the strike with disciplinary measures and suspended several of the prisoners' privileges such as confiscating television sets and radios, suspending newspaper deliveries and stopping visits.
Since 1967 to date, Israel has arbitrarily detained over 630,000 Palestinians. In 1989 alone, Israel detained 50,000 Palestinians, representing 16% of the entire male population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip between the ages of 14 and 55. By way of comparison, that same year, out of a total African population of 24 million in South Africa, no more than 5,000 or 0.2% were detained for security offenses against the apartheid regime. Over 200 Palestinian prisoners have died while in Israeli custody, due to torture, ill-treatment, deprivation of medical treatment, and neglect.
Israel has systematically tortured and ill-treated approximately 80% of all Palestinian detainees. Methods of torture used by the State of Israel include both psychological and physical torture, including beatings of sensitive organs, choking, pulling of hair off the body, prolonged solitary confinement, subjecting Palestinian detainees to noise, screams, and threats against their families.
Other forms of torture and ill-treatment applied by Israel against Palestinian detainees include forcing a person to stand, hooded and handcuffed, for long periods of time, while depriving him of food or sleep, starvation, the use of electric shocks, burnings, beatings with hands, fists, truncheons, and boots, deprivation of food, sleep, and basic hygiene, resulting in lice and general discomfort, and forcing detainees to stand for protracted periods of time. In the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel has established military courts that do not comply with fair trial standards.
In the past few years, Israel's occupation army has rounded up thousands of Palestinian men and boys. This figure includes today 370 Palestinian children (under the age of 18) and 103 Palestinian women and girls. Their conditions of detention are extremely poor, and in some cases, life-threatening. Between September 2000 to the end of June 2003 approximately 2,000 Palestinian children have been arrested and detained. Children as young as 13 are held in Israeli prisons with children aged 13 and 14 constituting approximately ten percent of all child detainees. Almost all child detainees have reported some form of torture or mistreatment. Children are routinely held in detention centers under appalling conditions: in some centers up to eleven children have been packed into cells as small as five square meters.
They have been taken to detention centres both inside and outside the occupied Palestinian territories. These detention centres do not even meet the minimum standards of treatment, presenting a real threat to the lives of detainees. Thousands of prisoners have been exposed to ill-treatment and torture.
The dominant interrogation method is a coordinated, rigid and increasingly painful regime of physical constraints and psychological pressure applied over several days, and often for weeks at a time, on detainees who are held without charge and usually without access to a lawyer. The chief methods included prolonged sleep deprivation, the use of blindfolds or tight-fitting hoods, shackling or otherwise forcing detainees in body positions that grow increasingly painful, prolonged toilet and hygiene deprivation, and verbal threats and insults. Many detainees are also beaten during rounds of questioning.
Only one month ago, Newsweek reported on Israel's secret torture facility 1391, which was used for prisoners rounded up during the Israeli military assault on Jenin in April 2002. Facility 1391 has been airbrushed from Israeli aerial photographs and purged from modern maps.
An article written by Boston Globe reporter Dan Ephron, somehow exposed the existence of facility 1391. However, the existence of this facility was already noted by human rights organizations and appeared on the pages of the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz and the Guardian. For uncertain reasons news was not taken up by other major media. On September 1, 2003, an article in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, "Inside Israel's Secret Prison" provided gruesome details about Israel's "Abu Ghraib". This secret detention and interrogation center is reportedly located in the north of Israel, close to the main road between Hadera and Afula.
One former inmate has filed a lawsuit saying that he was raped twice - once by a man and once with a stick - during questioning. Most of those who emerge complain about the psychological torture of solitary confinement in filthy, blackened cells so poorly lit that inmates can barely see their own hands, and with no idea where they are or, in many cases, why they are there.
Inside other Israeli prisons, Palestinian prisoners frequently report attacks by prison guards including the firing of tear gas inside prisoner's cells, beatings, denial of food and medical treatment and long periods of solitary confinement. Women prisoners report that they have been stripped naked by prison guards and shackled spread-eagled to prison beds in solitary confinement. They also reported severe abuse during interrogation. Israeli prison guards regularly burst into the prisoners' rooms, cut the electricity, shoot tear gas, shut the windows and attack the prisoners. Papers, books and other belongings are confiscated.
A large number of Palestinian prisoners are in urgent need of medical treatment and yet receive little more than basic pain relievers. Prisoners report that provision of medical treatment is often used as another form of coercion against them by the prison authorities. Israel continues to arrest and torture Palestinian children at an unprecedented rate.
Family visits to Palestinian prisoners have been almost impossible since the beginning of the Intifada. When these visits have occurred, family members are forced to undergo a series of humiliating and invasive checks prior to their admittance to the prison where their relative is being held. Prisoners are prevented from communicating with their families by phone. Letters are permitted but cannot be sealed and can be read by the administration at any time.
About half of the nearly 8,000 Palestinian prisoners are being detained without charge. The vast majority of Palestinian prisoners are political prisoners who have been arbitrarily imprisoned or detained for no legitimate security reason, but for political expression or simply because they are Palestinian.
Last month, Israel's Public Defender's Office criticised prison conditions in Israeli detention centers. It found these centers overcrowded, violent and unsanitary, with many prisoners having to eat and sleep on bare floors.
To protest these abhorrent conditions Palestinian prisoners commenced their hungerstrike last Sunday. Yet, Israeli Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi said that the prisoners would not win the battle of wills and told a news conference that the prisoners could even starve to death, as far as he was concerned. Such comments must be taken seriously and prisoners must be protected against policies that such comments might entail.
No issue symbolizes Israel's denial of freedom to Palestinians better than that of political prisoners. Palestinians have been subjected to the highest rate of incarceration in the world - approximately 20 percent of the Palestinian population in the occupied Palestinian territories has, at one point, been arbitrarily detained or imprisoned by Israel.
Israel's treatment of Palestinian prisoners is a manifestation of its failure to respect human rights. Administrative detention and imprisonment inside Israel are illegal under international humanitarian law. Israel's failure to release Palestinian political prisoners and its continued arbitrary arrest of Palestinian civilians only serves to highlight that Israel continues to view itself above the law and the Palestinians beneath it.
Comment: Detained without being charged. Torture. Where have we seen this recently? Oh, yes. Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. The coordination of policies between the Americans and the Israelis is tight - like a noose being tightened around the Arab world.
We saw yesterday how a plaque in Tel Aviv to the victims of a bombing promoted the the "Gentiles are subhuman" theme of Judaism. If a tourist from the Philippines is considered as a "second-class victim", then it is clear that within this mindset, the Palestinians are less than human...
Given the ingrained sense of superiority among many Jews, the conditions of Palestinian detention would most likely resemble a zoo, although the guards would probably treat their animals better than they treat the Palestinians. What is morally repugnant in this behaviour, beyond the inhumanity of it, is that it shows that many Jews - those who commit these acts, those who agree with and support these acts, and those who stand by and do nothing - learned no moral lesson from the Second World War. Many Jewish groups are quick to discuss the Holocaust. But how many of them are willing to apply the lesson? What lesson has been learned if they turn around and threat the Palestinians the way the Nazis treated the Jews? The only lesson they learned was to strike first, strike hard, and to treat everyone that doesn't recognise their superiority and "Chosen" status as the "enemy".
We are reminded of the following exchange from Darkness Over Tibet, a book by T. Illion.
"For all I care, they can starve to death!" announced Tzahi Hanegbi, after Palestinian prisoners declared an open-ended hunger strike against prison conditions. Thus the Minister for Internal Security added another memorable phrase to the lexicon of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hanegbi became famous (or infamous) for the first time when, as a student activist, he was caught on camera with his friends hunting Arab students with bicycle chains. At the time I published a photo of him that would not have shamed German or Polish students in the 1930s. With a small difference: in the 30s the Jews were the pursued, now they were the pursuers.
In the meantime, Hanegbi has changed like many young radicals – he has turned into an unrestrained careerist. He has become a minister, wearing elegant suits even on hot summer days and walking with the typical, self-important gait of a cabinet minister. Now he even supports Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, much to the distress of his mother, Geula Cohen, an extreme-right militant who has not changed her spots.
But beneath the minister's suit and the statesman's robe, Tzahi has remained Tzahi, as evidenced by the total inhumanity of his statement about the prisoners for whose wellbeing he is officially responsible. His influence is not limited to words: the current prison crisis was caused by his appointment of a new Director of Prisons, who immediately proceeded to create intolerable conditions for the Palestinian prisoners.
Let's not dwell too much on the personality of the honorable minister. It is much more important to turn our thoughts to the strike itself.
Its basic cause is a particularly Israeli invention: the one-sided war.
The IDF generals declare again and again that we are at war. The state of war permits them to commit acts like "targeted eliminations", which, in any other situation, would be called murder. But in a war, one kills the enemy without court proceedings. And in general, the killing and wounding of people, demolition of homes, uprooting of plantations and all the other acts of the occupiers that have become daily occurrences are being justified by the state of war.
But this is a very special war, because it confers rights only on the fighters of one side. On the other side, there is no war, no fighters, and no rights of fighters, but only criminals, terrorists, murderers.
Once there was a clear distinction: one was a soldier if one wore a uniform; if one did not wear a uniform, one was a criminal. Soldiers of an invading army were allowed to execute local inhabitants who fired at them on the spot. But in the middle of the 20th century, things changed. A worldwide consensus accepted that the members of the French resistance and the Russian and Yugoslav partisans and their like were fighters and therefore entitled to the international protection accorded to legitimate fighters. International conventions and the rules of war were amended accordingly.
So what is the difference between soldiers and terrorists? Well, the occupiers say, there is a tremendous difference: Soldiers fight soldiers, terrorists hurt innocent civilians.
Really? The pilot who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians – was he a soldier or just a criminal, a terrorist? And what were the pilots who destroyed whole cities, like Hamburg and Dresden, when there was no valid military necessity anymore? The declared aim was to break the will of the German civilian population and compel them to capitulate. Were the commanders of the British and American air forces terrorists (as the Nazis indeed called them, inventing the term "Terrorflieger")?
What is the difference between an American pilot who drops a bomb on a Baghdad market and the Iraqi terrorist, who lays a bomb in the same market? The fact that the pilot has a uniform? Or that he drops his bomb from a distance and does not see the children he is killing?
I am not saying this, of course, to justify the killing of civilians. Indeed, I strongly condemn it, whoever the perpetrators may be – soldiers, guerillas, pilots above or terrorists below. One law for all.
Soldiers who are captured become prisoners-of-war, entitled to many rights guaranteed by international conventions. A particular international organization – the Red Cross – oversees this. POWs are not held for punishment or revenge, but solely in order to prevent them from returning to the battlefield. They are released when peace comes.
Underground fighters captured by their enemies are often tried as criminals. Not only are they not entitled to the rights of POWs, but in Israel their prison conditions are even worse than the inhuman conditions inflicted on Israeli criminals. The American have learned from us, and President George W. Bush has been sending Afghan fighters to an infamous prison set up for them in Guantanamo, where they are deprived of all human rights, both the rights of POWs and the rights of ordinary criminal prisoners.
Years ago, when the Hebrew underground organizations were fighting the British regime in Palestine, we demanded that our prisoners be accorded the rights of POWs. The British did not accept this, but in practice prisoners were generally treated as if they were POWs. The captured underground fighters could enrol for correspondence courses, and in fact, many of them completed their studies in law and other professions in British prison camps.
One of the prisoners at that time was Geula Cohen, Tzahi Hanegbi's mother. It would be interesting to know how she and her Stern Group comrades would have reacted if a British police commander had declared that he didn't give a damn if she died in prison. Probably they would have tried to assassinate him. Fortunately, the British behaved otherwise. They even brought her to a hospital for treatment (where she promptly escaped with the help of Arab villagers.)
Towards the Irish underground fighters, the British took a different line. When they declared a hunger strike, Margaret Thatcher let them starve to death. This episode, on top of her attitude towards workers and the needy, contributed to her image as an inhuman person.
A humane treatment of political prisoners is preferable even for purely pragmatic reasons. Ex-prisoners are now filling the upper ranks of the Palestinian Authority. Men who have spent 10, 15 and even 20 years in Israeli jails have become political leaders, ministers and mayors. They speak fluent Hebrew and know Israel well. Almost all of them now belong to the moderate Palestinian camp, advocating co-existence between Israel and a Palestinian state. They also head the forces seeking democracy and reforms in the Palestinian Authority. The fair treatment they got at the time by the prison personnel must have contributed to this.
But for me, the main thing is that the State of Israel should not look like Tzahi Hanegbi and his ilk. It is important for me that human beings – Palestinians as much as Israelis – should not starve to death in Israeli prisons. It is important for me that prisoners – whether Israelis or Palestinians – should be accorded humane conditions.
If Tzahi Hanegbi were in prison, I would be demanding the same even for him.
terror - morally justified'
18 August 2004 - A leading philosopher, who has been compared to Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre and praised by Noam Chomsky, says Palestinian "terrorism" is a moral response to Israeli ethnic cleansing.
Ted Honderich, a professor of philosophy at University College London, plans to take the same message to the Edinburgh International Book Fair on Thursday, where tickets to hear his speech have already sold out.
The philosopher plans to begin his talk at the Opus Theatre with a close look at definitions of terrorism, particularly when it applies to Palestine and the expansion of Israel outside its 1967 borders.
He concludes it is "killing and maiming for political and social ends … illegal in terms of national or international law", and suggests Iraq could also fall into this definition.
"It needs remarking, seemingly, that the plain definition of terrorism, which essentially takes it to be a kind of illegal political violence, cannot but include terrorism by a state," he told Aljazeera.net on Wednesday.
"America is now engaged, as I say, in the principal piece of moral stupidity of this time … it is as if the causes of terrorism that are neo-Zionism and Palestine do not exist," he added.
"In Britain we used to hear the government line about being tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime in our own society.
"The government has stopped saying that now. I fancy that one of the reasons is anticipation of people asking about being tough on terrorism and tough on the causes of terrorism."
Honderich told Aljazeera.net he believed that though "it would have been just to carve a Jewish state out of a part of Germany … it was right to assign a part of Palestine to the Jewish people" due to their substantial population in the region.
In the land assigned to them by the United Nations, "there were an equal number of Palestinians and Jews in that part of Palestine". There were 80 times as many Palestinians as Jews in the other part of Palestine.
However, defining "neo-Zionism" as the movement to expand Israel outside its pre-1967 borders, he condemns some Israeli policy today as an "ongoing rapacity of ethnic cleansing, the violation of the remaining homeland of the remaining Palestinians".
"It dishonours the great Jewish moral and political tradition of resolute compassion for the badly-off, a tradition now exemplifed by Noam Chomsky."
"This rape of a people and a homeland is in its wrongfulness a kind of moral datum … and issues in a moral right on the part of the Palestinians to their terrorism," he concludes.
Formerly married to a Jew, Honderich brushes aside allegations that he is anti-Semitic.
But his objections to neo-Zionism have lead to several vicious email campaigns and even lead to a leading UK charity to refuse a sizeable donation.
Criticising Tel Aviv has become a dangerous business, he claims.
"A new American dictionary, Merriam-Websters' Third New International Dictionary, defines anti-Semitism as 'sympathy for the opponents of Israel'," he says.
"This tells you of the usefulness and the responsibility of lexicographers. The brazenness of the definition calls for a reply. It is that in the sense in question we ought all to be anti-Semites.
Anti-Semitism, he insists "is not to be taken as prohibiting condemnation of the violation of Palestine"
Sun Aug 22, 7:55 AM ET
PARIS (Reuters) - Arsonists set fire to a Jewish soup kitchen in central Paris early on Sunday morning and daubed Nazi symbols on the building, police said, in the latest anti-Semitic act in France.
No one was killed or injured in the attack on the kitchen which prepares food for the needy of Paris. President Jacques Chirac vowed to pursue those responsible and severely punish them.
It was the second anti-Semitic act in the French capital in about a week after vandals last Saturday drew a swastika and wrote "death to the Jews" on a low wall in front of Paris's Notre Dame cathedral early on Saturday.
A wave of such attacks have hit eastern France, with more than 300 tombs or graves desecrated since April -- many in Jewish cemeteries but also some Muslim and a few Christian graves.
"There's no doubt about the stupid and criminal motivations of those who burn down a soup kitchen while inscribing anti-Semitic graffiti," a spokesman for the Jewish representative council in France (CRIF) said.
"It's definitely Jewish hatred which inspires them. The CRIF asks the authorities to promptly arrest and sanction in an exemplary manner the perpetrators of this odious act which besmirches France," he added.
Comment: Our guess is that the perpetrators will never be arrested. Given the recent highly-publicized fake anti-Semitic attack on a French woman - along with Sharon's declaration that French Jews should move to Israel - it is highly likely that many of these "attacks" on all things Jewish are a setup designed to instill fear and corral all Jews in Israel. Now, why do we think that might be?? We'll give you a hint: the reason involves the recent worldwide crusade against Arabs, and the fact that the term "Semites" encompasses both Jews and Arabs...
WASHINGTON.D.C.-- Iranians in the United States are experiencing a surge in firings, deportations, FBI interrogations and security clearance denials and revocations related to the ongoing U.S. terrorist sweep.
Executive Director Dokhi Fassihian of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) said she is getting reports of five cases a day in her offices in Washington, D.C.
Fassihian says Iranians have been singled out since 9/11 but that the current intensity of the attacks on Iranians derives from the momentum mounting since 9/11 as government agencies send out directives and begin implementing policies. In general, she says, the attacks reflect unfounded fears of Middle Easterners as agents of terrorism.
Regarding the clamp-down on immigrants, Amrit Singh, a lawyer from the Immigrant Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City, says that the government is certainly tightening its borders and curtailing the right of immigrants from all over the world. But certainly there has been an additional discrimination against Middle Eastern and Muslim peoples in particular, or on those who appear to be Middle Eastern or Muslim as in peoples from Southeast Asia.
Fassihian says the government and private employers are not applying rules fairly but discriminating and profiling by race. Iranians report that there is no intelligence findings that they are security threats, simply that they are Iranian and therefore subject to harsh treatment.
Neil Gordon, a director with the AIDS Research Alliance in Los Angeles, recently lost the services of a key researcher, an Iranian citizen with a green card, who returned this year to Iran for her father's funeral.
The U.S. State Department required her to get her visa stamped as a condition for returning. When she tried to obtain clearance in the U.S. consulate in Switzerland, she was denied entry pending a review of her application that could take six months or more while the FBI does a background check.
Gordon was upset that a person doing such valuable work and who had been working in the United States for seven years would be subject to these procedures.
"The frustration is that it is not that she is researching anthrax or in nuclear research, it's that she is Iranian and has a biochemistry Ph.D," he said.
Workers at the alliance are in contact with her by telephone and fax but without her in the lab, it is difficult to sustain her research.
An Iranian couple in West Virginia were recently fired from their jobs with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). They received no explanation for their firings and were told there was no appeal.
Aliakbar Afshari and Shahla Azadi had been in the United States for 17 years and worked for NIOSH in Morgantown for seven years with green cards as permanent residents. In May they were told they had failed a background check and escorted off the premises. They were not aware there was even a background check under way, and each had passed a previous check.
When they asked for documentation of the background check, they were told it was classified. Their attorney Allan Karlin used the Freedom of Information Act in an effort to obtain the documents. The FBI said they had none in Washington but are still looking in other areas.
No one with NIOSH in the Morgantown office knew anything about the firings before the order came down. Karlin did find out that the background check was ordered by the Department of Homeland Security on individuals from "threat countries to the United States." Iran is one of those countries.
Karlin was perturbed that the government had made no attempt to find out anything about the couple from fellow employees and superiors. He said he obtained 20 letters from a diverse cross section of the community who testified to the couple's upstanding character.
Karlin himself said, "These are two of the finest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing and representing."
Fassihian, from the NIAC, reported that many Iranians have been denied security clearances for federal jobs or for contracts for federal work. This has had an adverse effect on the ability of Iranians to earn a living in a tough economic climate.
Fassihian also cited an instance of a person who has been in the United States since 1973 with a green card since 1983 who applied in 1998 for citizenship. His application has been stalled for six years with no answers for the delay.
Fassihian said there is a new round of FBI interrogations, but people are too scared to step forward to tell their stories.
After Sept. 11, the government required males, 18-65 years old, from 25 Middle East countries to report to INS offices throughout the United States the process was called the National Security Entry Exit Registration System (NSEERS).
In Southern California the system was marked by illegal treatment and detention. After approximately 1,000 Iranians voluntarily registered, the INS took them into custody, hand-cuffing them and detaining them for days without access to attorneys, families or doctors.
Fassihian and Morad Ghorban, political director for the Iranian American Political Action Committee, think that the current round of interrogations stems from NSEERS during which the government gathered information and made lists of Iranian nationals.
Fassihian says that tough enforcement of immigration laws does not take into consideration that the Iranians under deportation have not committed crimes and, in fact, made every effort to comply with the laws. Many were applying for permanent residence but, were detained before their case could be adjudicated. They responded to NSEERS by registering and now are subject to deportation procedures.
Fassihian and Ghorban want a balanced treatment of Iranians in the United States, one that promotes homeland security while respecting the rights of those who are industrious and law-abiding. They question why Iranians are targeted while other foreign nationals with unsettled immigration status do not have to contend with the same strict enforcement. They said the treatment is out of proportion given the way Iranians have settled peacefully into life in the U.S.
Said Fassihian, "Never, never has there been an instance of terrorism by someone from the Iranian community in America."
by Jack MacAndrew
It has been a busy time for the forces of democracy, as represented by the United States of America and the hired Iraqi police force. The fighting is raging in the city of Najaf and people are getting killed. Every so often, on the television news, the graphics come up with the body count: two American soldiers killed, 20 Americans soldiers wounded; an estimated 300 Shia insurgents killed.
Not a bad outcome for the forces of good. But it occurs to me that something is missing. Either that, or the Iraqi policemen fighting with the Americans must have had a miraculous time of it, coming through the battle with nary a casualty.
That, of course, is extremely unlikely.
So why aren't these soldiers for democracy in the body count? Does their sacrifice not count? Do they not bleed as Americans do? Are their bodies not shattered by grenades as American bodies are? Do they not leave grieving mothers, wives and children as American "heroes" do?
Or is the omission of Iraqi casualties in the cause of democracy simply a sign of the racism and religious bigotry that underlies the American approach to the war in Iraq, bigotry fuelled by the fundamentalist Christian movement in its attempts to present this war in Iraq, not only as a struggle for democracy but also, and more importantly, a re-incarnation of the Christian crusades of long ago — the Christians against the Muslims.
But the world is different now. If we are to exist on this planet, we must co-exist. Our environmental problems are global in context. The scourge of AIDS in Africa threatens the whole world. The potential disasters instigated by climate change are already having their effect on the people of the world.
We cannot any longer afford the "luxury" of religious bigotry as a hiding place from ecological reality.
In the United States of America, fundamentalist churches have entered the election campaign in a concerted way, making a vote for George W. Bush a testament of the true faith. Bush, you may recall, has pronounced publicly that "God is on our side."
His opponent for the presidency, John Kerry, turns the equation around, hoping that, "We are on God's side."
It's an approach with a tad more humility, contrasting with the certainty of Bush that he was personally chosen by the Almighty to prosecute this Iraqi war in the name of God's gift of democracy as His preferred way to arrange the social order.
David Kirkpatrick, writing in the New York Times, says that fundamentalist ministers describe their efforts to get out the vote for Bush as, "fulfilling biblical obligations."
Kirkpatrick quotes one fundamentalist layperson: "We have got this figured out. These are the bad guys, we are the good guys."
Needless to say, the Bush campaign is doing whatever it can to encourage this mixing of religion and politics, for if George W. Bush is perceived by himself and others as God's messenger on earth, where does that leave the two Johns?
In the arms of Satan, that's where!
Said the Reverend Gerald Davidson to his 5000 member congregation, according to journalist Kirkpatrick: "Don't let your labour union, don't let your teacher's group and all the other groups tell you how to vote — you vote the way the word of God tells you to vote."
There is no doubt who the Rev. has in mind.
Never mind that the government of God's supposed messenger is making an absolute mess of things at home and abroad — that the war goes badly, with no end in sight; that his democratically-appointed dictator for Iraq is now a fugitive from Iraqi law; that the projected American budget deficit is astronomical and the economy of the country in shreds; that the gap between rich and poor in the world's richest country is widening every day, while the rich pay less and less in taxes for the privilege of being rich.
Never mind that God's supposed messenger, with deliberate intent, lied to the people of his nation to take them into the horrifying maze of a religious war to which he can now find no end.
And never mind that the same anointed gent squints into the camera, hunches his shoulders and lies through his teeth: "The economy is strong," he says, "and it's growing stronger."
In the elevated language of one economist: "The weak job market continues to put downward pressure on wage growth."
Translation: There ain't no jobs for millions of Americans and their well-paying jobs in manufacturing and high tech industries are moving offshore as fast as the multinationals can take them. Meantime, the government of the democratic United States of America is borrowing money from the communist People's Republic of China, and the middle-aged are the emerging new class of personal bankruptcies, now at an all-time high.
God's chosen one has no plan, apparently, to lead his people through, around or under these stormy seas.
Pray to God somebody notices, before November 2.
Associated Press Writer
ROANOKE, VA. -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell will open a law school this month in hopes of training a generation of attorneys who will fight for conservative causes.
"We want to infiltrate the culture with men and women of God who are skilled in the legal profession," Falwell said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We'll be as far to the right as Harvard is to the left."
Graduates of the law school -- part of Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, -- could tackle such issues as abortion rights and gay marriage, Falwell said. Classes begin Aug. 23 for the first-year class of 61 law students.
"I'd love to fight Roe vs. Wade," said incoming law student Heidi Thompson, 33, a Liberty graduate who has spent the past few years working as a high school counselor in Florida.
Falwell said his law school will be similar to its Christian-leaning counterparts such as Regent University in Virginia Beach, which religious broadcaster Pat Robertson founded.
Classroom lectures and discussions will fuse the teachings of the Bible with the U.S. Constitution, stressing the connections between faith, law and morality, said law school Dean Bruce Green, who has experience in civil liberties litigation.
"There is a strong need for this," said Green, who believes many of his colleagues take sides on abortion and genetic engineering without first considering what is morally right.
Joe Conn, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the law school is part of a crusade by Falwell to get the government to carry out his religious agenda.
The September 11 commission's recommendation for federal standards of identification documents such as driver's licenses and birth certificates is tantamount to the introduction of a national ID card system "through the back door," some lawmakers believe.
The commission stopped short of actually recommending the introduction of national ID cards but did say that the fight against terrorism required greater consistency and security of state-issued identification documents.
"There needs to be consistent standards to ensure the integrity of both the document and the issuance process," said commission member Jamie S. Gorelick, a former Clinton administration Justice Department official.
The commission also recommended a radical transformation of the way government data are stored, to facilitate the free flow of information among federal agencies and between them and state and local governments.
testified Friday before the House subcommittee on the Constitution and
will go before the entire House Judiciary Committee tomorrow.
Utah Republican Commissioner Slade Gorton, a former Republican senator from Washington, said the difference is that driver's licenses are already widely accepted and used as a de facto ID card but are issued according to different state standards and are too easy to obtain without proper identification.
"We're simply saying take something that everyone accepts now and have it standardized in a way that it really identifies the people who are holding onto it," he told Mr. Cannon.
By JOHN RABY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A man who heckled President Bush at a political rally was fired from his job at an advertising and design company for offending a client who provided tickets to the event.
The fired graphic designer said Saturday he won't try to get his job back.
"I'm mad less about losing the job -- I'm more mad about the reasons," said Glen Hiller, 35, of Berkeley Springs. "All I did was show up and voice my opinion."
Hiller was ushered out of Hedgesville High School on Tuesday after shouting his disagreement with Bush's comments about the war in Iraq war and the search for weapons of mass destruction. The crowd had easily drowned out Hiller with its chant: "Four more years."
"He surrounds himself with people who support him," Hiller said of Bush. "Your opinion ... is viewed as right or wrong."
When he showed up for work at Octavo Designs of Frederick, Md., the following morning, he said he was told he'd embarrassed and offended a client who provided tickets to the event -- and that he was fired.
The client was a public relations worker who represents the Berkeley County school district, he said. "It's just bizarre that you disagree with them and it all turns evil," Hiller said.
Messages left with Octavo Designs were not immediately returned Saturday.
The father of two young girls had worked at the design firm for five months, doesn't plan to appeal the firing, and holds no grudge against his boss.
"To some degree I can see her point of view," Hiller said. "Advertising is all about having the perfect tan and driving a cool car. It's all about image."
Hiller said he now plans to pursue work as a registered nurse, a field in which he worked for 10 years before landing the design job.
Last month, Charleston City Council apologized to two protesters arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts to the president's July 4 rally. The pair were taken from the event in restraints after revealing T-shirts with Bush's name crossed out on the front and the words "Love America, Hate Bush" on the back. Trespassing charges were ultimately dismissed.
Officers in hurricane-ravaged Fort Myers used a Taser gun on a man allegedly trying to get by a police barrier to get home, and it was caught on tape. A crowd formed around the scene and voices can be heard yelling, "Leave him alone," "That is so wrong," and "Come on man, he's frustrated."
The man had three children in the car with him. Many in the crowd felt for the man who hasn't seen his home in days. Many of the police officers are in the same situation. It's not known exactly what led up to police using the Taser gun.
Comment: We advise all of our readers to go the link above and watch the short video excerpt. Note particularly the reaction of various members of the public who are witnessing the event. We would like to be able to say that this is, and will remain, an isolated incident. The evidence, however, suggests that such scenes may well be common place across the US in the very near future.
veteran called for duty
IRRs are not part of a reserve unit, do not get paid and do not attend monthly reserve training. However, because of critical skills they possess, they can be recalled to duty if needed. In disbelief, he called the Army hotline listed on his orders. "Am I reading this thing right? At my age you still want me?" he asked.
But there was no mistake. Treviño is to report to a mobilization unit Sept. 15 at Fort Jackson, S.C. "If I do not execute these orders, I go to jail," he said
Blair snubs Bush's war honour invite
by Paul Gilfeather
TONY Blair has snubbed George Bush's pleas to fly to the US and pick up his "war medal" ahead of the Presidential elections.
The US President knows the PM, who is massively popular in the States, would provide his flagging re-election campaign with a much-needed boost.
And he is putting huge pressure on Mr Blair to pick up the Congressional Medal of Honor, awarded by America for his unswerving support in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But Mr Blair's closest aides have warned him to resist the plan, insisting that a meeting with President Bush would torpedo Democrat rival John Kerry's bid for the White House.
A senior Government source said: "There has been a lot of telephone traffic between the White House and Downing Street over the medal in recent weeks. George Bush wants the Prime Minister to come to Washington and pick up the medal, which is the highest honour America can bestow on a foreigner. [...]
"The Democrats are watching the situation very carefully and there would be uproar if Tony travelled to Washington to meet Bush so close to the Presidential elections.
"But Bush isn't letting up. The White House has already let it be known that they feel slighted because of this and believe they can use this to put pressure on Blair to get him out there." [...]
By MIKE WHITNEY
No need to inquire about co-payments at Abu Ghraib prison facility.
Rummy's HMO will cover the whole thing.
And, there's no sense in worrying about those nagging medical malpractice suits either.
American doctors can pursue their own diverse inclinations without inhibition or fear of reprisal.
The Pentagon now provides cover for dilettantes in the ancient art of prisoner abuse; a security umbrella for aspiring "interrogation specialists".
The British medical journal, The Lancet, confirms that: "Doctors working for the US military in Iraq collaborated with interrogators in the abuse of detainees at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, profoundly breaching medical ethics and human rights."
University of Michigan Steven Miles cited evidence "that doctors or medics falsified death certificates to cover up homicides, hid evidence of beatings, and revived a prisoner so he could be further tortured."
"....and revived a prisoner so he could be further tortured."
Some things bear repeating.
It looks a though Rumsfeld's views on modernizing the military now include "transforming" the Hippocratic Oath as well.
Originally, it was believed that medical personnel were merely involved in covering up cases of abuse. These new developments suggest that something much more sinister was going on; something whose roots were deep in the Defense establishment, perhaps, going all the way to the front offices of the DOD. (Dept of Defense)
Professor Miles continues by stating, "The medical system collaborated with designing and implementing psychologically and physically coercive interrogations..."
"A physician and a psychiatrist helped design, approve and monitor interrogations at Abu Ghraib."
This should adequately prove that the atrocities at Abu Ghraib were both intentional and, more importantly, "systemic".
Such procedures that are articulated here only reinforce the belief that torture was an integral part of a carefully considered policy that was approved at the highest levels of government.
Miles paints a picture of "physician complicity, and in isolated cases, active participation...in abuse at the Baghdad prison, as well as in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba."
(The fact that the abuse was uncovered at ALL of the prisons again suggests that the practice was condoned from above.)
In one case reported by Human Rights Watch "soldiers tied a beaten detainee to the top of his cell door and gagged him. The death certificate indicated he died of natural causes...during his sleep" Afterwards, the Pentagon "changed the cause of death to homicide by blunt force injuries and suffocation."
How does one find doctors who will abandon their oath and comply with such flagrant criminal activity?
Does the Pentagon have a recruiting program for "aspiring Mengeles"? (note: Josef Mengele; the ruthless, Nazi concentration camp doctor, who carried out murderous experiments on Jewish prisoners)
Certainly this profligate entourage of sadists didn't just descend on the Pentagon one day with their resume's in hand?
There must be a screening program...a litmus test...a way of confirming that ones abilities meet the challenges of the job.
All this, should finally put to rest the "few bad apples" theory.
The brutality and torture at Abu Ghraib took place with the full knowledge and approval of the Secretary of Defense. He alone set the standards for prisoner treatment. No underling would dare to put their career at risk by authorizing the type of behavior that transpired at the Baghdad prison facility.
From the earliest days following 9-11 (memos) clearly indicate that the DOD was looking for ways to eviscerate the rules governing the humane treatment of prisoners. Their determination brought about a seismic shift in the prevailing ethic at the War Dept. Torture was not only "on the table" it was the accepted standard of the new regime.
Their search resulted in the farrago of American Gulags that now stretch across the globe; (those 24 jewels in the imperial crown) the myriad of islands that attest to Rumsfeld's "culture of cruelty."
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - U.S. military review panels have decided not to release 10 Guantanamo Bay detainees, concluding they were properly classified as "enemy combatants," a military official said Saturday.
The decision brought to 14 the number of cases decided by the panels, said Navy Cmdr. Katy Wright, a spokeswoman at the Pentagon. The panels decided to hold all 14.
The military so far has reviewed the cases of 31 detainees, including that of a 30-year-old prisoner on Saturday who allegedly served as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. All 585 Guantanamo detainees are accused of links to al-Qaida or Afghanistan's former Taliban regime.
The military would not release details of the concluded cases, including when the detainees went before the review panels, their names, nationalities or the circumstances surrounding their capture. [...]
www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-22 19:42:37
TEHRAN, Aug. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran on Sunday dismissed US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's allegation that Tehran may be working to develop missiles capable of reaching the United States, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"Acquiring missiles which could have a range up to America is a new issue which we hear," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi was quoted by the agency as saying.
"Such a program is not on our agenda and this propaganda of certain American officials is only for media consumption," he said.
The German government dismissed remarks by U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton alleging that Iran had admitted to Germany, France and Britain that it could build nuclear weapons in three years. "I cannot confirm this," a top German Foreign Ministry official told IRNA in Berlin Friday.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, was reacting to Bolton's statements in the U.S. media claiming Iran had informed the three European powers that it could produce weapons-grade uranium within a year and nuclear weapons within three years. (article)
A hawkish nominee of U.S. President George W. Bush, Bolton has become the front man for America's psychological warfare with Iran.
Comment: Is anyone beginning to have deja vu yet? Can you sense the imminent release of copious amounts of blatant lies, poorly doctored evidence and plain old BS that will be presented by Porter Goss to the world as justification for an attack on Iran? Well, we can, and our stomachs are churning already.
Sun 22 August,
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. helicopter gunships are pounding Shi'ite militias in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf as tanks rumble to within 800 meters (yards) of a holy shrine at the centre of a near three-week insurgency.
With talks aimed at ending the siege of the Imam Ali mosque stalled, U.S. forces appeared to have tightened their noose around the old city, a stronghold of rebels loyal to radical Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-22 19:41:56
BAGHDAD, Aug. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- At least 40 Iraqis were killed on Saturday in fierce clashes between Shiite militiamen and US-led forces in the town of Kufa near the southern holy city of Najaf, Iraq's Interior Ministry said Sunday.
The casualties were Mehdi Army militants loyal to rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and civilians, the ministry said.
Kufa, some 10 km northeast of Najaf, is a hotbed of Shiite insurgents who have risen up with Sadr supporters in some other Iraqi cities.
The debates about Iraqi Shiism seem to me to occur often in a sort of historical vacuum in which everyone ignores the elephant in the living room. That is Ayatollah Khomeini and his movement, the central tenets of which were rejected by Najaf but accepted by the Sadr movement.
That American neo-imperialists like Richard Perle, William Kristol, Douglas Feith, and Paul Wolfowitz thought they could remove Saddam and step in to reshape Iraq without having to grapple with Khomeini's legacy is an index of their ignorance and arrogance. Perle and Feith and David Wurmser even wanted to try to bring back the Hashimite monarchy in Iraq, seeming to think that it might still have influence with Iraq's Shiites. But the central idea of Khomeinism was that Shiite Islam is incompatible with monarchy, and the Sadrists would have made endless trouble about this. (Perle, Feith and Wurmser even thought a revived Hashimite monarchy could be used to "moderate" Hizbullah in Lebanon, which is ridiculous on the face of it, and you wonder in what world do these people live?)
It is true that Khomeinism seemed to have run its course in Iran, where it is now only a governmental ideology but lacks much popular support. But US actions like repeatedly bombing Najaf's sacred cemetery (where a lot of Iranians' loved ones are buried) and generally reducing much of this pilgrimage site to rubble, is strengthening Iran's hardliners and the Bush administration is succeeding in breathing new life into Khomeinism in Iran, as well. Khomeinism was ultimately about trying to construct a nativist cultural and political barricade against American-led globalization. As the chaos in Iraq gives the latter a black eye, it encourages the former.
George Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper and Christian Chesnot of French radio have not been heard of since Thursday, the French foreign ministry said.
The two men have often worked together and published a book on Iraq last year.
An interpreter working for missing Italian reporter Enzo Baldoni has been found dead, raising fears that the journalist has been kidnapped.
The editor-in-chief of Mr Baldoni's magazine, Diario, said the interpreter's body was found near Najaf, where militants have been battling US-led forces for weeks. The last contact with Mr Baldoni had been on Thursday.
"One increasingly fears a kidnapping," Enrico Deaglio told Italian news agency Ansa.
A fourth Western journalist, French-American Micah Garen, is being held hostage along with his interpreter, but a threat to kill him has reportedly been lifted.
An aide to Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr, who has been attempting to secure the reporter's release, said on Saturday that the two men could be released within days.
The French foreign ministry said on Saturday that its embassy in Baghdad had been "completely mobilised" but no trace of the two French reporters had been found since Thursday evening.
A joint statement by Le Figaro and Radio France Internationale said the two news organisations were "concerned about their correspondents... both on assignment in Iraq".
The French news agency AFP describes the two as "seasoned Iraq specialists".
Last year they published a book in France called The Iraq of Saddam Hussein "in which they criticised what they said was the failure of Western powers to understand Iraq", the agency adds.
Posted 8/21/2004 12:44 PM
WASHINGTON (AP) — On the heels of a U.S. indictment of Hamas leaders, the State Department on Saturday issued an updated warning that Americans in the Middle East and North Africa could be targets of terrorist attacks.
"Anti-American violence could include possible terrorist actions against aviation, ground transportation and maritime interests, specifically in the Middle East, including the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, the Arabian peninsula and North Africa," the department said.
The federal indictment unsealed Friday in Chicago against a senior political leader of the militant Hamas group and two others "may be used as an excuse to target American citizens or American interests throughout the region," the alert said. [...]
Rahman • Arab News
The blasts occurred as opposition leader Hasina Wajed was addressing the rally from atop a truck outside her party's headquarters in central Dhaka. She was unhurt, her party said.
Only 10of the dead could be identified until late in the evening. Police identified them as Rahima Afroz, Kala Sentu, Kasem Mia, Moazzem, Mahbub, Jahed Ali, Abul Kasem, Ada Rafiq, Sufia and Rina.
The death toll could increase as some of the injured were in critical condition, hospital doctors said, adding that one opposition member, Ivy Rahman, had lost both her legs. Other injured Awami League officials included Amir Hossain Amu, Suranjit Sengupta, Mohammad Nasim and Abu Sayeed.
Five policemen, who were deputed to guard Hasina, were also injured in the serial blasts.
No group claimed responsibility for the blasts at Bangabandhu Avenue, but Awami League General Secretary Abdul Jalil claimed they targeted Hasina.
Visibly shaken, Hasina crouched low in the truck soon after the first blast occurred around5 . 25p.m., a witness said.
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia condemned the "dastardly attack on a political rally," and said her government will try to find those responsible.
There was chaos at the blast scene. "People were covered with blood. Many injured were crying for help," said Mohammad Yasin, a rickshaw driver. "It was so ghastly and so terrible that I've no words to describe," said Farook Khan, an opposition lawmaker who was standing close to Hasina.
"It seemed to me that some of the bombs were thrown from multistory buildings near the scene," he said, and added that at least15 , 000people were at the rally when the explosions occurred.
Soon after the blasts, angry Awami League activists burned down dozens of cars and buses around Bangabandhu Avenue and police fired tear gas to disperse the mobs. Paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles troops were called out to guard important installations and patrol the city streets as tensions ran high.
Violence spread to about dozen other cities and towns, where protesters smashed vehicles and attacked shops, witnesses said. Security was stepped up across the country, authorities said.
Chittagong Mayor A.B.M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury called for a general strike in the southeastern port city today. The Awami League was also expected to call for a nationwide strike.
The Awami League has staged a series of general strikes since January. The stoppages at the start of the year were part of the League's stepped-up campaign to oust the government, a four-party Islamist-allied coalition led by Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
The opposition accused the government of failing to crack down on corruption and crime, while the government said it was working to remedy a difficult situation inherited from the previous Awami League administration.
Yesterday's explosions followed two separate blasts earlier this month in the northeastern town of Sylhet. One person died in each blast. The rally had been called to protest those blasts.
WANA (Pakistan) Aug 21 - Pakistan's military used helicopter gunships and artillery to pound suspected hideouts of al-Qaeda-linked militants in mountains near the Afghan border on Saturday, officials and residents said.
The military launched its assault near Shakai, a remote village in South Waziristan tribal region, where militants are believed to be hiding but there was no word on casualties.
"We are hearing artillery fire from the military. So far there is no response from the other side,'' said a resident of Shakai, which lies 30 km (18 miles) southwest of South Waziristan's main town of Wana.
Wana is 400 km (250 miles) southwest of the capital, Islamabad.
Military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan said the assault came after militants stepped up their attacks on security forces in the region in recent days.
He said several suspected militants were killed in an exchange of fire on Thursday.
The military suffered no casualties in Saturday's attack or Thursday's clashes, he added. [...]
Aug 21, 2004
Thirteen people were injured, two of them seriously, when two blasts rocked a market on the outskirts of Kiev on Friday, Ukrainian officials said.
took place within minutes of each other, Vassyl Khorochun, said spokesman
for the Ukrainian emergency situations ministry.
Police said they were investigating the cause of the blasts, which occurred as the market was preparing to shut down for the day.
The Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that the blasts were caused by homemade explosive devices hidden in trash cans at the Troeshchinsky market on the outer edge of Kiev.
Two bombs have exploded in northwestern Spain, injuring at least four people.
The blasts, which were described as small, came after a telephone warning in the name of the Basque terrorist group ETA. The bombs appear to be the latest in a series of ETA attacks aimed at Spain's summer tourist business.
There were four explosions at holiday resorts earlier this month. The latest targets were two coastal towns in the Galicia region.
ATHENS (AP) - Two Greek anarchists were arrested Saturday on charges they attacked and slightly injured four Spanish television journalists in Athens to cover the Olympics.
Police said the two men, both 24, used "their hands and feet" to attack the journalists from Televisiona Espanola shortly after midnight as they were taping around Monastiraki square, a tourist district at the foot of the Acropolis.
The journalists suffered cuts and bruises. An Egyptian resident of Athens and a Greek who joined in to help the journalists were also slightly injured, police said.
Although the cause of the attack was not known, Greek anarchists are know to regularly attack television journalists -especially if they think they are being taped.
Police said the men would be charged with the offence of having caused unprovoked bodily injuries, a misdemeanour.
Also Saturday, police reported the death of a 36-year-old South Korean journalist, whose body was found in the sea near the port of Rafina, about 25 kilometres east of Athens. A coroner said the man -whose name was not released -had drowned Friday.
It has been a summer of dire warning about eroding health care, leading doomfully toward a health summit in September. This is not new. For a decade, virtually the entire political class and opinion elites have said our health care is not "sustainable," as if it is a coastline faced by a weather system.
The sole public voice (aside from the public) to reject this fatalism has been Roy Romanow. This week, he noted that tax cuts have cost $250-billion in revenue since 1996 while health costs have risen just $108-billion. In other words, the decline in health care is a result of free human choice.
The reason public opinion has resisted elite wisdom about our hopeless health care is not that people adore those "free" doctor visits, but that they have come to see it as a basic right. It may not have begun that way, but it soon took on that air. This sense of health care as a right makes it resistant to fiscal fear-mongering. What would you say if you were told we cannot afford free speech, or democracy, due to current economic conditions? Health care is different and similar. But rights can be lost, as well as gained.
To shed light on how that happens, let me take another case: the right to be free of destitution, known disparagingly as welfare. (Welfare is not just about being poor but being destitute. Welfare incomes are often about 15 per cent of average income and miles below the poverty line.)
The sense of welfare as a human right emerged in the 1960s, like health care. It, too, occurred by stealth. Till then, welfare had been akin to charity, bestowed by their betters on the poor, who were seen as partially or wholly responsible for their plight. But during the Depression, the destitute started being seen as victims of market forces largely outside of their control. The token of this change was the 1966 Canada Assistance Plan (CAP), which offered federal funding for welfare as long as the provinces made it universally available, provided a decent living standard and removed distinctions between the worthy and unworthy poor. It was a kind of informal acceptance of the right not to be destitute.
The retraction of this right — one of the "givebacks" of the 1990s — was the work of then-finance minister Paul Martin. His 1995 budget abolished the CAP, replacing it with the Canada Health and Social Transfer, a pot of money the provinces were handed with far fewer conditions attached. Ontario and B.C. swiftly brought in the old divisions between the worthy and unworthy poor, plus programs such as workfare. The right of Canadians not to be destitute was effectively repealed.
It's striking that this did not extend to the health component of federal funding. There, standards stayed in place and the right to health care stood. The ill as a class were now treated as more fully human, as mirrored by their rights, than the poor — surely due to calculating the votes involved.
This was bad news for the poor. But I'd say it was also bad news for the rest of us. The loss of the right not to be destitute makes the poor less fully human. The non-poor, meanwhile, become more fully human, and they get to show it by lording it over the poor, deciding their fate by giving or withholding welfare. This kind of social breakup is the essence of charity, which was defined in 1825, for instance, as something that exists "to signify the promoting of the happiness of our inferiors." Welcome to the 19th century. Less human solidarity, more division and strife.
The accumulation of human rights is a social, historical process. It isn't handed down once and for all. It can move ahead and fall back. If you can find a reason to deny the rights of the destitute, you can do the same for those of the ill. Why not give health care only to those who deserve it, who exercise, don't smoke etc. It is not inherently illogical. The same for free speech. You can find reasons to withdraw it: terror, moral decay . . . The right to vote? At one time, it went only to those with property or other virtues.
When they came to take away the rights of the destitute, I was not destitute, so I did not speak out. Then they came to take the rights of the ill.
You wouldn't know it from the running-on-empty debates of the US presidential campaign, but crude oil prices hit an all-time high this week of more than $47 a barrel. Some economists are warning about a full-blown energy crisis, where prices may rise to $65 or more until they bring on a global recession that finally slows demand.
The oil market right now is a sort of inverse bubble, propelled by its own momentum of anxiety and bad news. Wherever analysts look for reliable sources of oil, they see trouble - in Iraq, in Saudi Arabia, in Russia, in Venezuela. And on the demand side, they see the inexorable rise of the Chinese economy and its new hunger for oil imports. So traders bid up the price of crude.
It's a one-way market at the moment, with prices crashing through the previous barriers. "The $50 level is acting like a magnet," energy consultant Peter Beutel told the Associated Press last Wednesday, after prices for US light crude hit $47.27.
No market goes up forever. But Philip Verleger, a respected energy economist, warns that over the next several years, the price pressure will probably get worse. "Prices may rise to $50 per barrel, or $60 per barrel, or even $70 per barrel," he wrote in a recent report to clients. "They will likely remain there until growth in petroleum demand slows down enough to match available refining, logistical and productive capacity."
[...] So with a severe energy crisis just over the horizon, what do the US presidential candidates have to say? Not much that's helpful.
12:16 AM EDT Aug 22
MOSCOW (AP) - One firefighter was killed and three people were missing after a gas leak caused a massive explosion at a helium factory in central Russia, emergency officials reported Saturday.
The blast at the factory in Orenburg, about 1,300 kilometres southeast of Moscow, occurred around 2:55 p.m. local time, according to a duty officer at the Emergency Situations Ministry, who declined to give his name.
Firefighters spent five hours putting out the blaze, which sent thick smoke and balls of fire hundreds of metres into the air, Russian RTR television reported.
Three people were taken to hospital with serious burns, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. Rescuers were searching for three other people, the official said.
The resulting fire destroyed several buildings at the plant and more than 200 people had to be evacuated from the site, ITAR-Tass said.
TOKYO (AP) - Boatloads of Japanese protesters met the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis as it pulled into port in southern Japan on Saturday.
About a dozen boats were filled with demonstrators at Sasebo port, while others on the dock punched their fists into the air and chanted, "Keep out nuclear-powered aircraft carriers!"
Japan is the only country ever to have suffered an atomic attack -the Second World War bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -and there are strong concerns about the military use of atomic energy, and port calls by U.S. nuclear-powered vessels.
The 87,000-tonne Stennis, based in San Diego, Calif., was stopping in Japan to participate in drills with the USS Kitty Hawk and Japan's Self-Defence Forces, said public broadcaster NHK. [...]
The Stennis, with its crew of 4,500, is expected to leave Sasebo Wednesday, NHK said. [...]
August 21, 2004, 11:41 PM EDT
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Weekend storms battered parts of eastern New York, knocking down trees, flooding roads and leaving thousands of residents without power.
Police reported minor accidents on the New York State Thruway, the Taconic Parkway, the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and throughout the mid-Hudson Valley. Emergency crews blocked off parts of Route 216 and Route 218 in Orange and Dutchess counties after the storms dumped more than 2 1/2 inches of rain there.
Crews that worked to restore power to about 7,000 people early Friday evening had to return after 11 p.m. to respond to 4,800 outages. By Saturday evening, about 1,500 people were still waiting for power.
near Vernon growing rapidly
Firefighters are working overtime as the Taylor Creek fire near Vernon has grown from 30 hectares to 200 hectares in less than a day.
Fire information officer Dale Bojara says the fire is in steep terrain and winds aren't helping matters.
But, even with 50 firefighters, heavy equipment, helicopters and air tanker support, holding the fireline proved next to impossible.
Bojara says for the time being the crews have been pulled off the line because the situation is too dangerous.
He says a new battle plan will be put in place today.
750 people were killed by air pollution in last year's record temperatures,
a government-funded study has revealed.
The study suggests there will be further increases in the numbers of pollution-related deaths as global warming takes effect.
The findings, which will be presented at an international air-quality conference in London on Tuesday, are likely to lead to even stronger warnings about the risks of ill-health during heatwaves.
Dr John Stedman, the study's author, said his findings suggested more stringent measures were needed, such as banning cars from city centres in heatwaves and keeping people indoors.
Tim Brown, from the National Society for Clean Air, said about 2,000 people were thought to have died directly because of last August's heatwave and that up to 40 per cent of those were killed by air pollution.
"We need to be much more aware of air pollution levels when there's a heatwave going on. When air pollution episodes like this happen, the Government needs to redouble its warnings," he said.
Mallet in Hong Kong
The boast made earlier this year by Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong's chief executive, about improved air quality under his administration was left sounding hollow this week after the territory was blanketed in toxic smog from power stations, vehicles and factories in the Pearl River Delta.
Air pollution was so severe on Thursday that visibility in the harbour fell to as little as 550m and officials said the smog contributed to collisions on the water involving eight vessels. In some areas, people with heart problems or respiratory ailments were advised to stay indoors.
The smog, much of which comes from neighbouring Guangdong province in southern China, is only the latest sign of the heavy environmental price paid by Chinese city-dwellers for the country's rapid economic growth.
On Wednesday the coal mining province of Shanxi became the first area in China to calculate its "green GDP". It concluded that its sustainable gross domestic product - economic output minus environmental costs - had barely grown in the past two decades.
Hong Kong government officials yesterday blamed the latest smog on the weather. They said two typhoons in the Pacific had caused very stable atmospheric conditions over Hong Kong and prevented pollutants being blown away in the usual way. [...]
Record lows temperatures were recorded this morning in Minneapolis, St. Cloud and Little Falls.
The National Weather Service says the temperature dipped to 33 degrees in St. Cloud this morning -- the coldest Aug. 21 on record there. The previous record was 42 degrees, set in 1923.
The St. Cloud temperature tied that city's previous all-time low, set on Aug. 31, 1974.
The 44-degree reading in Minneapolis broke the old record of 50 degrees set on this date in 1956 and 1920.
Little Falls set a new record for today, too, with a low of 34 degrees. That broke the old record of 40 degrees, set in 1956.
The Weather Service says the record cold will soon give way to more normal weather. Gusty south winds and warmer temps are on the way. Highs today are expected from the mid-60s in the Arrowhead to the upper 70s in western Minnesota.
By T. Eve
Please join us in a crazy, yet profound, journey into a radical new future. Imagine this... you wake up tomorrow morning and find out that the Dow Jones has just plunged 2,000 points. Trading has been halted. Over the next few weeks: Major stock markets around the world crash, Banks close, Supermarket shelves are half-empty, Power is intermittent, gasoline hard to find, email sporadic… -From the editors at Adbusters
Dear Adbusters Editors,
Believe me, I am as unconvinced by capitalism as you are. I'm down with even the most offensive billboard alterations, I appreciate a good sweatshop expose, and I have stood in support of many of the messages your magazine has worked to put across over the years. Really, I have. But when I received the recent invitation to join you in a "crazy, yet profound, journey into a radical new future," I have to admit – I was less than impressed.
The invite, which suggested that its recipients imagine waking up tomorrow to find that:
Violent gangs and bandits roam the streets. People move to the country – if they can. Governments try to maintain order, yet it appears that the old globalized order is gone, if not forever, then for a long, long time.
The next issues of Adbusters, they tell us, is going to be compiled as if it were being published 6 months after this supposed crash. The editors, in their request for so-called Post-Crash submissions, say they can see "a chance to create the new world that we've always dreamed about."
Back up. I understand theoretical catastrophe can sometimes be sexy. Like a lightning storm right until the moment it is over your own home. And thought experiments and apocalyptic scenario-planning has been around longer than Adbusters.
Whenever I hear about the disparities between the first and third world, I am well aware that there's no way things in the West can stay the way they are. But encouraging people into an absurd mental game, to not only hope for drastic destabilization and chaos, but to assume they'd survive it with a "sporadic" email connection – and asking for "how-to tips" on how to kill a chicken – as their biggest concerns seems not only like an profound waste of time, it seems irresponsible.
If you work for social justice you know that most positive change happens slowly. It takes time to build movements and reconcile all the pieces. But – and Adbusters has proved this nicely – there is a big difference between making change and sitting around hoping change will happen.
This echoes what I've heard people saying about why they don't vote: that Gore and Bush were the same, and now Kerry and Bush are just as much the same, and that they'd prefer to hang out and wait until the system crashes. This is one way to uphold the status quo: Keep people polarized around participation in "the system." Either you're with us in our vision of a 180-degree crash-and-burn turn, or you remain "part of the problem."
The fact that such an important and influential media source would take such an abstract, academic approach to change – especially at a time when many of us see participation in the system as crucial to changing it – concerns me. This goes beyond "culture jamming," beyond giving people tips on how to "buy nothing" or how to break up their sidewalks and plant trees.
What about the casual mention of violent gangs that will "roam the streets?" And who are these readers who can afford to move to the country? I saw "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome." I know I'm not enough like Tina Turner to survive. An apocalypse isn't the only way to attain that new world that Adbusters editors have always dreamed about.
Comment: Unfortunately, the Adbusters vision of an apocalyptic future where the stock market crashes and violent gangs roam the streets seems more than likely, given the direction our society is headed. However, Adbusters is wishfully thinking when it says this chaos will usher in "a crazy, yet profound, journey into a radical new future."
The author of this piece is also wishfully thinking in her hopes that "participation in the system" is crucial to changing it. There is no hope. Things are the way they are. The Signs are all around us, and it's going from bad to worse. It seems that any real change can only happen on an individual level, as each of us struggle to wake up and grasp the true horrible nature of this "reality". The choice is ours and the time is now.
HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) - A couple face at least three years in prison for disciplining their young children by letting their part-pit bull dog attack them.
Joyce Hoskins, 47, and David Hoskins, 46, pleaded guilty Friday to three counts each of assault and were being held without bail.
Investigators said the couple disciplined their eight-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son by allowing their dog Nigel -a mix of pit-bull terrier, Doberman pinscher, German shepherd and Labrador retriever -to attack them.
The attacks took place over two years and both children suffered bites that required treatment, investigators said. The children are now in foster homes and the dog has been euthanized.
Neighbour Voight Barnhardt said he called police during an attack March 19.
"There was a kid crying and a dog ripping her to pieces," Barnhardt told the Oregonian newspaper.
"It was bloodcurdling."
required stitches for tears and puncture wounds in that attack, The Oregonian
Judge Marco Hernandez said he would sentence Joyce Hoskins to no more than three years, two months because she has limited mental capacities. Deputy district attorney Andrew Erwin said he would argue for a longer sentence for David Hoskins.
Sentencing is scheduled Sept. 23.
Sat 21 August, 2004 12:27
LONDON (Reuters) - Love could not conquer all for a rare, 10-year-old Komodo Dragon who plunged to her death at London Zoo after she scaled a dividing wall to reach her mate.
Six-foot-long (2-metre-long) Nina died from internal bleeding after she fell trying to reach Raja, who is still in good health and on display, a zoo spokesman said on Saturday.
"Immediate measures have been put in place to prevent a similar incident happening and we are carrying out a thorough investigation into what occurred," London Zoo's curator David Field said in a statement.
The Komodo Dragon is the largest flesh-eating lizard in the world and is found in the wild on only four small Indonesian islands. They number about 5,000 worldwide.
Nina arrived at the zoo last month and staff hoped she and Raja would mate and become a major attraction.
The dragons were being held in adjacent cages separated by an 8-foot-high wall with a gap at the top so they could gradually become accustomed to each other.
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