Signs Supplement: The Suicide Bombing Cycle
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
| 9/11 WHITEWASH – A DIRTY
LAUNDRY LIST REVISITED
| SOTT Editorial
By Glenn Becker
1. Four commercial airliners make unauthorized flight pattern detours
and transponders are turned off. FAA standard operating procedures
require air controllers to notify the DoD of the possibility of
a hijacking. Jet fighter interceptors are typically shadowing a
suspected hijacked plane within 15 minutes, but not on this day.
The DoD just happened to be conducting several airliner hijacking
exercises, all far away from the New York City and Washington, D.C.
areas, leaving a conveniently unprotected corridor for the 9/11
incidents to occur. The DoD standard operating procedures concerning
airliner hijackings were also changed in the months prior to 9/11/2001.
DoD document CJCSI3610.01A issued on 6/1/2001 changed the prior
protocol and required field officers to get final authorization
to use lethal force, if other methods were unsuccessful, directly
from the Secretary of Defense. Therefore, Rumsfeld was solely responsible
for the stand down of interceptors that day.
Approximately an hour and a half elapsed between the first crash
and the last. The fact that the first airliner was off course for
a considerable amount of time, makes it implausible for the President,
and primarily Rumsfeld, to use the excuse that they thought that
the first WTC crash was just an incredibly unfortunate accident.
2. President Bush using a photo-op stays among children reading
stories even after being informed of the second WTC crash. National
emergency, what national emergency? Which is it, Duh-bya or Doubt-ya?
3. WTC towers collapse in a definite controlled demolition pattern.
Firemen on the scene report hearing consecutive downward floor-by-floor
explosions immediately prior to the towers collapsing. WTC7 collapses
after only minor fire damage. Afterwards, a passport of one of the
alleged hijackers is found eight blocks away below, in pristine
4. The entrance hole in the Pentagon outer wall is 16 ft. wide.
A passenger airliners’ wingspan width is approximately 125
ft. wide. That area of the Pentagon was being remodeled. No plane
wreckage is found on the lawn directly outside of the ‘crash
impact site’. Security camera videotapes from cameras angled
in the direct view of the crash area were confiscated for national
security reasons. The footage has never been released to the public.
5. Witnesses in Somerset County, Pennsylvania claim to have heard
missiles fired and seeing a smaller jet in the vicinity before the
Flight 93 airliner crash near Shanksville. Debris was found as far
away as eight miles from the crash site. Somewhere in the chain
of command someone seems to have ignored the stand down order, or
for some reason the stand down order was rescinded. If those people
on the ground who heard missiles being fired, one of whom is an
ex- combat Vietnam veteran, were correct, the official version would
appear to be yet another ruse.
DIRTY LAUNDRY LIST ADDENDUM – Information culled after the
1. Condoleeza Rice warns San Francisco mayor not to travel on commercial
airliners just days prior to 9/11/2001.
2. John Ashcroft changes his routine, by traveling on private planes
instead of traveling on commercial flights in the days before 9/11/2001.
3. Major networks’ news footage of both WTC airliner crashes,
when slowed down, show an anomalous pod on the right side of the
underbelly of both airliners, and a flash of fiery light coming
out of the pods just before the planes impact the WTC towers. Footage
can be viewed at letsroll911.org.
4. Members of the Bin Ladin family and others are flown out of
the U.S. during the days after 9/11 when air travel was restricted
for national security reasons. They were not interviewed by the
F.B.I. or other law enforcement agencies. President Bush refuses
to answer questions pertaining to why this occurred and who the
5. Operation Northwoods document, albeit written in 1962, revealed
a willingness by government insiders to use attacks on American
holdings, thereby framing an adversarial country to garner support,
in order to facilitate invasion plans against that country.
6. Project for a New American Century’s “ Rebuilding
America’s Defenses”, a game plan for neo-conservative
ambitions of hegemony describes a need for a ‘new Pearl Harbor.
7.Trading of an abnormally large amount of commercial airlines
put options, a 1200% increase above average volume, just days before
9/11/2001, nets $5,000,000. $2,500,00 of which goes unclaimed to
Who made these transactions?
Maybe A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard, presently the number three
Executive Director at the C.I.A. and former Chairman at the investment
bank A.B. Brown, could shed some light on this one. A.B. Brown later
became Deutsche - A.B. Brown, where Krongard continued on as a personal
client consultant. Deutsche - A.B. Brown was the firm used to place
most of these put options.
This partial dirty laundry list of curious, and also quite convenient
circumstances should be more than enough to raise a few eyebrows.
Only time will tell if it will all come out in the wash.
There is one more very important article of dirty laundry for us
If early on 9/11/2001 President Bush did not have any prior knowledge
of the events that were about to unfold, why would he continue to
stay around children after he was informed of the first WTC attack?
For all he or his security detail knew, the President himself could
also have been a target on that day. So, why would he put innocent
children in harm’s way? On the other hand, if he did have
prior knowledge, he knew there was no potential danger to himself
or the children.
Think about it. Was it reckless bravado, false bravado, or even
worse, was he hiding amongst children? Either way, it does not bode
well for his character traits despite all his moral grandstanding.
Of course, maybe he assumed it was just an incredibly unfortunate
accident, and Bush did claim that the reason he sat on for 20 minutes
was because he didn’t want to alarm the children. But in this
case, the question must be asked, just what was it he did not want
to alarm the children about? An unfortunate air accident hundreds
of miles away? Only he knows for sure what he knew and when he knew
it. But all the convenient circumstances are too convenient. One
thing is for sure; the longer dirty laundry remains unlaundered
the more it stinks.
FANTASIES ABOUT SEPT 11 DISTRACT FROM THE REAL ISSUES
It doesn't help to have people spreading
silly conspiracy theories about Sept 11
Astute observers of history are aware that for every notable event
there will usually be at least one, often several wild conspiracy
theories which spring up around it. "The CIA killed Hendrix"
" The Pope had John Lennon murdered ", "Hitler was
half Werewolf", "Space aliens replaced Nixon with a clone"
etc, etc. The bigger the event, the more ridiculous and more numerous
are the fanciful rantings which circulate in relation to it.
So its hardly surprising that the events of Sept 11 2001 have spawned
their fair share of these ludicrous fairy tales. And as always,
there is - sadly - a small but gullible percentage of the population
eager to lap up these tall tales, regardless of facts or rational
One of the wilder stories circulating about Sept
11, and one that has attracted something of a cult following amongst
conspiracy buffs is that it was carried out by 19 fanatical Arab
hijackers, masterminded by an evil genius named Osama bin Laden,
with no apparent motivation other than that they "hate our
Never a group of people to be bothered by facts, the perpetrators
of this cartoon fantasy have constructed an elaborately woven web
of delusions and unsubstantiated hearsay in order to promote this
garbage across the internet and the media to the extent that a number
of otherwise rational people have actually fallen under its spell.
Normally I don't even bother debunking this kind of junk, but the
effect that this paranoid myth is beginning to have requires a little
rational analysis, in order to consign it to the same rubbish bin
as all such silly conspiracy theories.
These crackpots even contend that the extremist
Bush regime was caught unawares by the attacks, had no hand in organizing
them, and actually would have stopped them if it had been able.
Blindly ignoring the stand down of the US air-force, the insider
trading on airline stocks - linked to the CIA, the complicit behavior
of Bush on the morning of the attacks, the controlled demolition
of the WTC, the firing of a missile into the Pentagon and a host
of other documented proofs that the Bush regime was behind the attacks,
the conspiracy theorists stick doggedly to a silly story about 19
Arab hijackers somehow managing to commandeer 4 planes simultaneously
and fly them around US airspace for nearly 2 hours, crashing them
into important buildings, without the US intelligence services having
any idea that it was coming, and without the Air Force knowing what
to do. The huge difficulties with such a stupid story force
them to invent even more preposturous stories to distract from its
core silliness, and thus the tale has escalated into a mythic fantasy
of truly gargantuan proportions.
It's difficult to apply rational analysis to such unmitigated stupidity,
but that is the task which I take on in this article. However, it
should be noted that one of the curious characteristics of conspiracy
theorists is that they effortlessly change their so called evidence
in response to each aspect which is debunked. As soon as one delusion
is unmasked, they simply invent another to replace it, and deny
that the first ever existed. Eventually, when they have turned full
circle through this endlessly changing fantasy fog , they then re-invent
the original delusion and deny that you ever debunked it, thus beginning
the circle once more. This technique is known as "the fruit
loop" and saves the conspiracy theorist from ever having to
see any of their ideas through to their (ill)logical conclusions.
According to the practitioners of the fruit loop, 19 Arabs took
over the 4 planes by subduing the passengers and crew through the
use of guns, knives, box cutters and gas, and then used electronic
guidance systems which they had smuggled on board to fly the planes
to their targets.
The suspension of disbelief required for this outrageous concoction
is only for the hard core conspiracy theorist. For a start, they
conveniently skip over the awkward fact that there weren't any Arabs
on the planes. If there were, one must speculate that they somehow
got on board without being filmed by any of the security cameras
and without being registered on the passenger lists. But the curly
question of how they are supposed to have got on board is all too
mundane for the exciting world of the conspiracy theorist. With
vague mumblings that they must have been using false ID ( but never
specifying which IDs they are alleged to have used, or how these
were traced to their real identities), they quickly bypass this
problem, to relate exciting and sinister tales about how some of
the fictitious fiends were actually searched before boarding because
they looked suspicious. However, as inevitably happens with any
web of lies, this simply paints them into an even more difficult
corner. How are they supposed to have got on board with all that
stuff if they were searched ? And if they used gas in a confined
space, they would have been affected themselves unless they also
had masks in their luggage.
"Excuse me sir, why do you have a boxcutter, a gun, a container
of gas, a gas mask and an electronic guidance unit in your luggage?"
"A present for your grandmother? Very well sir, on you get."
"Very strange", thinks the security officer. "That's
the fourth Arabic man without an Arabic name who just got on board
with a knife, gun or boxcutter and gas mask. And why does that security
camera keep flicking off every time one these characters shows up?
Must be one of those days I guess..."
Asking any of these basic questions to a conspiracy theorist is
likely to cause a sudden leap to the claim that we know that they
were on board because they left a credit card trail for the tickets
they had purchased and cars they had rented. So if they used credit
cards that identified them, how does that reconcile with the claim
that they used false IDs to get on to the plane? But by this time,
the fruit loop is in full swing, as the conspiracy theorist tries
to stay one jump ahead of this annoying and awkward rational analysis.
They will allege that the hijackers' passports were found at the
crash scenes. "So there!" they exalt triumphantly, their
fanatical faces lighting up with that deranged look of one who has
just a revelation of questionable sanity.
Hmm? So they got on board with false IDs but took their real passports
with them? However, by this time the fruit loop has been completely
circumnavigated,and the conspiracy theorist exclaims impatiently,
"Who said anything about false IDs? We know what seats they
were sitting in! Their presence is well documented!" And so
the whole loop starts again. "Well, why aren't they on the
"You numbskull! They assumed the identities of other passengers!"
And so on...
Finally, out of sheer fascination with this circular method of
creative delusion, the rational sceptic will allow them to get away
with this loop, in order to move on to the next question, and see
what further delights await us in the unraveling of this marvelously
"Uh, how come their passports survived fiery crashes that completely
incinerated the planes and all the passengers?" The answer
of course is that its just one of those strange co-incidences, those
little quirks of fate that do happen from time to time. You know,
like the same person winning the lottery four weeks in a row. The
odds are astronomical, but these things do happen...
This is another favourite deductive method of the conspiracy theorist.
The "improbability drive", in which they decide upon a
conclusion without any evidence whatsoever to support it, and then
continually speculate a series of wildly improbable events and unbelievable
co-incidences to support it, shrugging off the implausibility of
each event with the vague assertion that sometimes the impossible
happens (just about all the time in their world). There is a principle
called "Occam's razor" which suggests that in the absence
of evidence to the contrary, the simplest explanation is most likely
to be correct. Conspiracy theorists hate Occam's razor.
Having for the sake of amusement, allowed them to get away with
with the silly story of the 19 invisible Arabs, we move on to the
question of how they are supposed to have taken over the planes.
Hijacking a plane is not an easy thing to do. Hijacking it without
the pilot being able to alert ground control is near impossible.
The pilot has only to punch in a four digit code to alert ground
control to a hijacking. Unconcerned with the awkward question of
plausibility, the conspiracy buffs maintain that on that Sept 11,
the invisible hijackers took over the plane by the rather crude
method of threatening people with boxcutters and knives, and spraying
gas (after they had attached their masks, obviously), but somehow
took control of the plane without the crew first getting a chance
to punch in the hijacking code. Not just on one plane, but on all
four. At this point in the tale, the conspiracy theorist is again
forced to call upon the services of the improbability drive.
So now that our incredibly lucky hijackers have taken control of
the planes, all four pilots fly them with breath taking skill and
certainty to their fiery end, all four pilots unflinching in their
steely resolve for a swift meeting with Allah. Apart from their
psychotic hatred of "our freedoms", it was their fanatical
devotion to Islam which enabled them to summon up the iron will
to do this. Which is strange, because according to another piece
of hearsay peddled by the conspiracy buffs, these guys actually
went out drinking and womanizing the night before their great martyrdom,
even leaving their Korans in the bar - really impeccable Islamic
behavior - and then got up at 5am the next morning to pull off the
greatest covert operation in history. This also requires us to believe
that they were even clear headed enough to learn how to fly the
huge planes by reading flight manuals in Arabic in the car on the
way to the airport. We know this because they supposedly left the
flight manuals there for us to find.
It gets better. Their practical training had allegedly been limited
to Cessnas and flight simulators, but this was no barrier to the
unflinching certainty with which they took over the planes and skillfully
guided them to their doom. If they are supposed to have done their
flight training with these tools, which would be available just
about anywhere in the world, its not clear why they would have decided
to risk blowing their cover to US intelligence services by doing
the training in Florida, rather than somewhere in the Middle East,
but such reasoning is foreign to the foggy world of the conspiracy
theorist, too trapped in the constant rotation of the mental fruit
loop to make their unsubstantiated fabrications seem even semi-believable.
Having triumphantly established a circular delusion in support
of the mythical Arabs, the conspiracy theorist now confronts the
difficult question of why there's nothing left of the planes. Anybody
who has seen the endlessly replayed footage of the second plane
going into the WTC will realize that the plane was packed with explosives.
Planes do not and cannot blow up into nothing in that manner when
Did the mythical Arabs also haul a huge heap of explosives on board,
and mange to deploy them in such a manner that they went off in
the exact instant of the crash, completely vapourizing the plane?
This is a little difficult even for the conspiracy theorist, who
at this point decides that its easier to invent new laws of physics
in order to keep the delusion rolling along.
There weren't any explosives. It wasn't an inside job. The plane
blew up into nothing from its exploding fuel load! Remarkable! Sluggishly
combustible jet fuel which is basically kerosine, and which burns
at a maximum temperature of around 800 C has suddenly taken on the
qualities of a ferociously explosive demolition agent, vapourizing
65 tons of aircraft into a puff of smoke. Never mind that a plane
of that size contains around 15 tons of steel and titanium, of which
even the melting points are about double that of the maximum combustion
temperature of kerosine - let alone the boiling point - which is
what would be required to vapourize a plane. And then there's about
50 tons of aluminium to be accounted for. In excess of 15lbs of
metal for each gallon of kerosine.
For the conspiracy theorist, such inconvenient facts are vaguely
dismissed as "mumbo jumbo". This convenient little phrase
is their answer to just about anything factual or logical. Like
a conjurer pulling a rabbit out of a hat, they suddenly become fanatically
insistent about the devastating explosive qualities of kerosine,
something hitherto completely unknown to science, but just discovered
by them, this very minute. Blissfully ignoring the fact that never
before or since in aviation history has a plane vapourized into
nothing from an exploding fuel load, the conspiracy theorist relies
upon Hollywood images, where the effects are are always larger than
life, and certainly larger than the intellects of these cretins.
"Its a well known fact that planes blow up into nothing on
impact." they state with pompous certainty. "Watch any
Bruce Willis movie."
"Care to provide any documented examples? If it's a well known
fact, then presumably this well known fact springs from some kind
of documentation - other than Bruce Willis movies ?"
At this point the mad but cunning eyes of the conspiracy theorist
will narrow as they sense the corner that they have backed themselves
into, and plan their escape by means of another stunning backflip.
"Ah, but planes have never crashed into buildings before, so
there's no way of telling." they counter with a sly grin.
Well, actually planes have crashed into buildings before and since,
and not vapourized into nothing.
"But not big planes, with that much fuel ", they shriek
in hysterical denial.
Or that much metal to vapourize.
"Yes but not hijacked planes!"
"Are you suggesting that whether the crash is deliberate or
accidental affects the combustion qualities of the fuel?"
"Now you're just being silly".
Although collisions with buildings are rare, planes frequently
crash into mountains, streets, other aircraft, nosedive into the
ground,or have bombs planted aboard them, and don't vapourize into
nothing. What's so special about a tower that's mostly glass? But
by now, the conspiracy theorist has once again sailed happily around
the fruit loop. "Its a well documented fact that planes explode
into nothing on impact."
Effortlessly weaving back and forth between the position that its
a "well known fact" and that "its never happened
before, so we have nothing to compare it to", the conspiracy
theorist has now convinced themselves ( if not too many other people)
that the WTC plane was not loaded with explosives, and that the
instant vapourization of the plane in a massive fireball was the
same as any other plane crash you might care to mention. Round and
round the fruit loop...
But the hurdles which confront the conspiracy theorist are many,
and they are now forced to implement even more creative uses for
the newly discovered shockingly destructive qualities of kerosine.
They have to explain how the Arabs also engineered the elegant veritcal
collapse of both the WTC towers, and for this awkward fact the easiest
counter is to simply deny that it was a controlled demolition, and
claim that the buildings collapsed from fire caused by the burning
For this, its necessary to sweep aside the second law of thermodynamics
and propose kerosine which is not only impossibly destructive, but
also recycles itself for a second burning in violation of the law
of degradation of energy. You see, it not only consumed itself in
a sudden catastrophic fireball , vapourizing a 65 ton plane into
nothing, but then came back for a second go, burning at 2000C for
another hour at the impact point, melting the skyscraper's steel
like butter. And while it was doing all this it also poured down
the elevator shafts, starting fires all through the building. When
I was at school there was a little thing called the entropy law
which suggests that a given portion of fuel can only burn once,
something which is readily observable in the real world, even for
those who didn't make it to junior high school science. But this
is no problem for the conspiracy theorist. Gleefully, they claim
that a few thousand gallons of kerosine is enough to:
- completely vapourize a 65 ton aircraft
- have enough left over to burn ferociously enough for over an
hour at the impact point to melt steel ( melting point about double
the maximum combustion temperature of the fuel )
- still have enough left over to pour down the elevator shafts
and start similarly destructive fires all through the building.
This kerosine really is remarkable stuff! How chilling to realize
that those kerosine heaters we had in the house when I was a kid
were deadly bombs, just waiting to go off. One false move and the
entire street might have been vapourized. And never again will I
take kerosine lamps out camping. One moment you're there innocently
holding the lamp - the next - kapow! Vapourized into nothing along
with with the rest of the camp site, and still leaving enough of
the deadly stuff to start a massive forest fire.
These whackos are actually claiming that the raging inferno allegedly
created by the miraculously recycling, and impossibly hot burning
kerosine melted or at least softened the steel supports of the skyscraper.
Oblivious to the fact that the smoke coming from the WTC was black,
which indicates an oxygen starved fire - therefore, not particularly
hot, they trumpet an alleged temperature in the building of 2000
C, without a shred of evidence to support this curious suspension
of the laws of physics.
Not content with this ludicrous garbage, they then contend that
as the steel frames softened, they came straight down instead of
buckling and twisting and falling sideways.
Since they're already re-engineered the combustion qualities of
jet fuel, violated the second law of thermodynamics, and re-defined
the structural properties of steel, why let a little thing like
the laws of gravity get in the way?
The tower fell in a time almost identical to that of a free falling
object, dropped from that height, meaning that its physically impossible
for it to have collapsed by the method of the top floors smashing
through the lower floors. But according to the conspiracy theorists,
the laws of gravity were temporarily suspended on the morning of
Sept 11. It appears that the evil psychic power of those dreadful
Arabs knew no bounds. Even after they were dead, they were able,
by the power of their evil spirits, to force down the tower at a
speed physically impossible under the laws of gravity, had it been
meeting any resistance from fireproofed steel structures originally
designed to resist many tons of hurricane force wind as well as
the impact of a Boeing passenger jet straying off course.
Clearly, these conspiracy nuts never did their science homework
at school, but did become extremely adept at inventing tall tales
"Muslim terrorists stole my notes, sir"
"No miss, the kerosine heater blew up and vapourized everything
in the street, except for my passport."
"You see sir, the schoolbus was hijacked by Arabs who destroyed
my homework because they hate our freedoms."
Or perhaps they misunderstood the term "creative science"
and mistakenly thought that coming up with such rubbish was in fact,
their science homework.
The ferocious heat generated by this ghastly kerosine was, according
to the conspiracy theorists, the reason why so many of the WTC victims
can't be identified. DNA is destroyed by heat. (Although 2000 C
isn't really required, 100C will generally do the job.) This is
quite remarkable, because according to the conspiracy theorist,
the nature of DNA suddenly changes if you go to a different city.
That's right! If you are killed by an Arab terrorist in NY, your
DNA will be destroyed by such temperatures. But if you are killed
by an Arab terrorist in Washington DC, your DNA will be so robust
that it can survive temperatures which completely vapourize a 65
You see, these loonies have somehow concocted the idea that the
missile which hit the pentagon was not a missile at all, but one
of the hijacked planes. And to prove this unlikely premise, they
point to a propaganda statement from the Bush regime, which rather
stupidly claims that all but one of the people aboard the plane
were identified from the site by DNA testing, even though nothing
remains of the plane. The plane was vapourized by the fuel tank
explosion maintain these space loonies, but the people inside it
were all but one identified by DNA testing.
So there we have it. The qualities of DNA are different, depending
upon which city you're in, or perhaps depending upon which fairy
story you're trying to sell at any particular time.
This concoction about one of the hijacked planes hitting the Pentagon
really is a howler. For those not familiar with the layout of the
Pentagon, it consists of 5 rings of building, each with a space
inbetween. Each ring of building is about 30 to 35 ft deep, with
a similar amount of open space between it and the next ring. The
object which penetrated the Pentagon went in at about a 45 degree
angle, punching a neat circular hole of about a 12 ft diameter through
three rings ( six walls).A little later a section of wall about
65 ft wide collapsed in the outer ring. Since the plane which the
conspiracy theorists claim to be responsible for the impact had
a wing span of 125 ft and a length of 155 ft, and there was no wreckage
of the plane, either inside or outside the building, and the lawns
outside were still smooth and green enough to play golf on, this
crazy delusion is clearly physically impossible.
But hey, we've already disregarded the combustion qualities of
jet fuel, the normal properties of common building materials, the
properties of DNA, the laws of gravity and the second law of thermodynamics,
so what the hell - why not throw in a little spatial impossibility
as well? I would have thought that the observation that a solid
object cannot pass through another solid object without leaving
a hole at least as big as itself is reasonably sound science. But
to the conspiracy theorist, this is "mumbo jumbo". It
conflicts with the delusion that they're hooked on, so it "must
be wrong" although trying to get then to explain exactly how
it could be wrong is a futile endeavour.
Conspiracy theorists fly into a curious panic whenever the Pentagon
missile is mentioned.They nervously maintain that the plane was
vapourized by it's exploding fuel load and point to the WTC crash
as evidence of this behavior. (That's a wonderful fruit loop.) Like
an insect which has just been sprayed, running back and forth in
its last mad death throes, they first argue that the reason the
hole is so small is that plane never entered the wall, having blown
up outside, and then suddenly backflip to explain the 250 ft deep
missile hole by saying that the plane disappeared all the way into
the building, and then blew up inside the building (even though
the building shows no sign of such damage). As for what happened
to the wings - here's where they get really creative. The wings
snapped off and folded into the fuselage which then carried them
into the building, which then closed up behind the plane like a
piece of meat.
When it suits them, they'll also claim that the plane slid in on
its belly, (ignoring the undamaged lawn) while at the same time
citing alleged witnesses to the plane diving steeply into the building
from an "irrecoverable angle." How they reconcile these
two scenarios as being compatible is truly a study in stupidity.
Once they get desperate enough, you can be sure that the UFO conspiracy
stuff will make an appearance. The Arabs are in league with the
Martians. Space aliens snatched the remains of the Pentagon plane
and fixed most of the hole in the wall, just to confuse people.
They gave the Arabs invisibility pills to help get them onto the
planes. Little green men were seen were seen talking to Bin Laden
a few weeks prior to the attacks.
As the nation gears up to impeach the traitor Bush, and stop his
perpetual oil war, it's not helpful to have these idiots distracting
from the process by spreading silly conspiracy theories about mythical
Arabs, stories which do nothing but play into the hands of the extremist
At a less serious time, we might tolerate such crackpots with amused
detachment, but they need to understand that the treachery that
was perpetrated on Sept 11, and the subsequent war crimes committed
in "retaliation" are far too serious for us to allow such
frivolous self indulgence to go unchallenged.
Those who are truly addicted to conspiracy delusions should find
a more appropriate outlet for their paranoia.
Its time to stop loony conspiracy theories about Sept 11.
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In the three years since 9/11, we've begun
to understand that it's possible to know what happened without knowing
It's the difference between knowledge that is both private and
communal - our memories of where we were, what we saw, what we lost
- and knowledge that is truly public. Some of what we need to know
publicly has been provided by the report of the 9/11 commission.
Other answers are lacking.
It's striking to almost anyone whose memories of that day are
fresh to watch the crushing immediacy of the events of Sept. 11,
2001, turn, so to speak, into "9/11" - a symbol, a forensic
and intelligence and financial problem, and, above all, a political
rallying cry. It's striking to see the emotional complexity squeezed
out of the day even as our sense of its historic complexity grows.
We're at a stage where gains in public understanding are matched
by a strange attrition.
There is still, for instance, a deep reluctance to look too closely
at the harder edges of the horror. Every mention of the day seems
to require a picture of average New Yorkers as they look tearfully
upward, and, of course, the sight of the president with firefighters
at ground zero is the stuff of endless election-year commercials.
But while it has become possible to use the terrorist attack as
a plot device on stage and on television, it
is somehow less possible to represent the critical moments when
the planes struck and the buildings fell. The footage that we thought
we would never stop seeing is now suddenly very hard to see.
Some things are behind us - the memorial design competition, for
instance -but the number is actually very small. You can watch a
time-lapse film of ground zero over the past three years on the
Project Rebirth Web site. It shows plenty of activity. But that
is merely the nucleus of an entire universe of legal, financial
and political proceedings, many of them a long way from resolution.
It is the nature of historic events to
gain and lose complexity simultaneously. The moment vanishes, and
what we are left with are impressions, re-creations and the solid
residue of fact, which doesn't merely lie there waiting to be picked
up but must be carefully elicited. For all our knowing, there
is still so much we don't completely understand, like the inner
workings of the terrorists' minds, how the attack affected the long-term
health of New Yorkers and why so many first responders died.
Sept. 11, 2001, is a central event in this nation's history. It's
important that we who live most immediately in its shadow press
hard to learn everything that can be learned about that day and
to make sure that nothing is allowed to fade into the world of the
NEW YORK — Former Georgia
congresswoman Cynthia McKinney accused Republicans
on Thursday of exploiting the memory of Sept. 11, 2001, for political
gain and repeated her implication that truths about the attacks
The DeKalb County Democrat, who is running to reclaim the 4th District
congressional seat, was voted out two years ago after making controversial
comments about the Sept. 11 attacks during a radio interview. She
implied that the Bush administration had known the attacks were
coming but did nothing to prevent them.
On Thursday, she chaired a hearing staged by activist groups and
researchers who say the government has covered up information related
to the hijackings.
"No organization, no administration, no forces, no powers
that be are going to crush the truth of what happened on Sept. 11
to the ground," she vowed.
She said the New York event, dubbed the "Omissions Hearings,"
had "no political agenda other than the truth." By contrast,
she said, the Republicans who came to Manhattan to hold their national
convention last week "stormed into New York City, their words
dripping with the politicization of an American tragedy."
McKinney's Republican opponent, Catherine Davis, said in a telephone
interview that it is "really unfortunate that the former congresswoman
from Georgia has not been able to bring herself to stand with our
government, with our troops when we have an open declaration of
war against the terrorists."
McKinney said she would not back off the issue just because she's
trying to reclaim her former office.
"I'm not going to become a different person," she said.
"It would be a betrayal to my constituents and to all of the
The hearing was sponsored by 9/11 CitizensWatch and 911truth.org,
groups that say the official Sept. 11 commission report contains
"egregious omissions, discrepancies and distortions."
They told an audience of about 100 that the investigations must
"The 9/11 commission report failed
to answer the majority of questions posed by victims' family members,"
said Kyle Hence, communications director of 9/11 CitizensWatch.
He said unanswered questions concerning the attacks include those
about "multiple specific warnings from overseas, the spiking
of FBI investigations, terrorist financing, the lack of defensive
air response and the inadequately explained breakdown of the national
chain of command that morning." [...]
"Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes
and consequences of September 11. When people across the US and
around the World find out that Al Qaeda is not an outside enemy
but a creation of US foreign policy and the CIA, the legitimacy
of the bipartisan war agenda will tumble like a deck of cards."
(Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalization, The Truth behind
September 11, 2002)
Global Research E-Monograph and Reports Series, No. 1, 2004
Copyright Michel Chossudovsky and the Centre for Research
on Globalization 2004. All Rights Reserved.
As the election campaign unfolds, the "war on terrorism"
has become the main if not the sole election issue. Ironically,
Osama bin Laden has become a central figure of the election debate.
Whatever it takes"… said President Bush:
"[We will] fight the terrorists across the Earth, not for
pride, not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are
Senator Kerry has promised to do even better:
"As President, I will fight a smarter, more effective war
on terror. We will deploy every tool in our arsenal: our economic
as well as our military might; our principles as well as our firepower."
In other words, the tragic events of 9/11 are
being used by both political parties to galvanize public opinion
in support of America's war agenda.
9/11 is being used as a justification to wage a pre-emptive war
against "rogue states" and Islamic terrorists, which are
"threatening the security of Homeland".
Meanwhile, the "war on terrorism" has
diverted attention from all other issues, including the militarization
of America and a looming social and economic crisis, marked by rising
levels of poverty and unemployment.
Think about this for a moment - America's attention has been diverted
away from the militarization of the country and a looming social
and economic crisis. The US economy does not seem to be improving.
A serious economic meltdown would be the perfect opportunity for
those in power to expand their plans and seize the reins of the
budding empire more firmly. It's a good plan - after all, it worked
for Hitler. Many Germans were more than willing to join the Nazi
party and fight for their fuhrer. They had status, power, and a
sense of belonging that was lacking when they were out of work with
nowhere to go.
Across the land, the image of an "outside enemy" is instilled
in the consciousness of Americans. Al Qaeda is threatening America
and the world. The repeal of democracy under the Patriot legislation
is portrayed as a means to providing "domestic security"
and upholding civil liberties.
The Big Lie
This evolving bipartisan consensus is based on a lie. Confirmed
by congressional transcripts, intelligence and news reports, this
illusive outside enemy is a creation of the US intelligence apparatus.
The enemy of America is "Made in America". This is an
The "Islamic Militant Network"
(the forerunner of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda), was created and
sustained by the CIA. CIA-sponsored guerrilla training in Afghanistan
and Pakistan were integrated with the teachings of Islam.
The madrasas were set up by Wahabi fundamentalists financed out
of Saudi Arabia, with the support of Washington.
The Reagan, Bush senior and Clinton administrations
actively supported the Islamic brigades during the Soviet-Afghan
war and its aftermath. The Taliban were the "graduates"
of the CIA sponsored madrasas. They would not have been able to
form a government, had it not been for US military aid, channeled
Confirmed by official congressional documents, US support to Al
Qaeda continued after the Cold war.
Ironically, during the Clinton administration, it was the Republicans
who were accusing Bill Clinton of having links to the Islamic Militant
Network in Bosnia and Kosovo. A 1997 document emanating from the
House Republican Party Committee entitled "Clinton-Approved
Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base",
accused Clinton of working hand in glove with Al Qaeda in Bosnia:
"The Clinton administration's hands-on involvement with
the Islamic network's arms pipeline included inspections of missiles
from Iran by U.S. government officials... [T]he Third World Relief
Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phoney humanitarian organization
... has been a major link in the arms pipeline to Bosnia... TWRA
is believed to be connected with such fixtures of the Islamic
terror network as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind
behind the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing) and Osama bin Laden,
a wealthy Saudi émigré believed to bankroll numerous
- (Congressional Press Release, Republican Party Committee (RPC),
U.S. Congress, Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn
Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base, Washington DC, 16 January 1997,
available on the website of the Centre of Research on Globalisation
(CRG) at http://globalresearch.ca/articles/DCH109A.html
Needless to say these Congressional documents, while revealing
the outright lies behind US foreign policy, were not meant to be
read by the broader public.
US Support to Al Qaeda (1999-2001)
US and NATO support to Al Qaeda continued during the wars in Kosovo
(1999) and Macedonia (2001). Three weeks before 9/11, the US government
and the "Islamic Militant Network" were working hand in
glove in supporting and financing the self-proclaimed National Liberation
Army (NLA), involved in the terrorist attacks in Macedonia. US military
advisers mingle with Mujahideen within the same paramilitary force,
Western mercenaries from NATO countries fight alongside Mujahideen
recruited in the Middle East and Central Asia. And the US media
calls this a "blowback" where so-called "intelligence
assets" have gone against their sponsors!
Needless to say, the Republicans and the Democrats
are complicit. They accuse one another of having links to Al Qaeda.
Yet successive Democratic and Republican administrations have been
involved from the outset of the Soviet Afghan war in 1979 in developing
and sustaining Al Qaeda as a US sponsored "intelligence asset".
In other words, if the Democrats were to win the
2004 presidential elections, continuity in US foreign policy would
be maintained. More importantly, the "war on terrorism"
and the lies concerning Al Qaeda and 9/11 would also be maintained.
The 9/11 Commission Report
The 9/11 Commission Report is devoid of a historical perspective.
While it provides all the appearances of a constructive critique
of the US government, it serves to uphold the myth of an outside
Following the publication of the 9/11 Commission Report, the unfolding
consensus is there were "intelligence failures. "They
knew but failed to act".
This line of reasoning is appealing to many 9/11 critics and Democrats,
because it tends to place the blame on the Bush administration.
Yet in a bitter irony, the very process of expressing public outrage
on the failures of senior Bush officials in waging an effective
"war on terrorism", the Report has contributed to reinforcing
the myth of the "outside enemy", which is being used to
justify the largest military build-up since the Vietnam war.
The foreknowledge issue is an obvious red herring. It serves to
present Al Qaeda as a threat, as an "outside enemy", when
in fact Al Qaeda is a creation of the US intelligence apparatus.
Both the 9/11 Commission Report and the earlier Joint Senate-House
Inquiry constitute a cover-up. The function of these reports is
to destroy the historical record of US covert support to internationalism
terrorism, while creating the illusion that America and "Western
Civilization" are threatened. In turn, the various terrorist
warnings and code orange alerts have created, across America, an
atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Refuting the Myth of the Outside Enemy
In response to the 9/11 Commission Report, we bring to the attention
of our readers a compilation of articles on 9/11 and the "war
This collection includes most of my recent writings on 9/11, together
with a few of earlier texts written the immediate wake of September
The material contained in this collection will eventually be the
object of a full-length book, as a sequel to my earlier book entitled
War and Globalization, the Truth behind September 11.
However, in view of the urgency and the need to inform public
opinion, at this critical juncture in our history, we decided to
bring this collection out in the context of The CRG's E-Reports
and Monograph Series.
The Table of Contents provided below provides
a link to key articles on different aspects of 9/11 and the war
It does not, however, purport to provide an exhaustive review
of 9/11 issues. Its main objective is to refute the myth of "the
outside enemy", which has served as a justification for war
and the repeal of civil liberties.
Michel Chossudovsky, Centre for Research on Globalization
(CRG), 8 September 2004 [...]
Washington, DC, Sep. 11 (UPI) -- The effects
of the devastating terror attacks of three years ago continue to
ripple through the U.S. economy, including such massive costs as
the war in Iraq and increased homeland security, along with high
oil prices and slow hiring on the jobs front.
In the most recent impact on the economy, the rapid rise in oil
prices this spring and summer has acted as an unexpected restraint
on economic growth. A key reason for the rise of oil has been geopolitical
concern over ongoing conflict in Iraq, a war avowedly launched by
the Bush administration to combat terror in the wake of the Sept.
"If it weren't for the oil price spike, I would be very optimistic
about where the economy is going," said U.S. Federal Reserve
Chairman Alan Greenspan in remarks to the House budget committee
Oil recently spiked at around $49 a barrel and currently is hovering
at around $42, well above the price of oil before the U.S. invasion
Also an issue of focus among House members during the Greenspan
testimony was the more than $400 billion U.S. budget deficit expected
for fiscal year 2004, which ends Sept. 30. Helping to push the deficit
upwards has been the multi-billion dollar cost of war in Afghanistan
and Iraq, along with the heavy cost of homeland security.
When the attacks on New York and Washington took place three years
ago, they sent shockwaves through an already fragile economy and
disrupted what seemed to be a developing, modest recovery. [...]
On the issue of Iraq war cost, the Center for American Progress,
a liberal think-tank, recently estimated the U.S. expenditures on
military operations in Iraq at $134.5 billion, and growing. This
amount along with the total allocated to date -- but not spent yet
-- comes to around $200 billion, according to most estimates. [...]
NEW YORK -- The latest Newsweek poll, released
this week, revealed that 42% of Americans continue to believe that
Saddam Hussein's regime was "directly involved" in the
9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, despite all the evidence
to the contrary. That's nearly as many as the 44% who disagree.
It seems to matter little that every official federal probe, most
recently the much-lauded 9/11 Commission, has debunked this myth,
in high-profile reports. Yet the percentage of Americans clinging
to the Iraq connection has declined only slightly in the past year.
Two weeks ago, in a previous column, I explored findings from another
poll that suggested that Americans remain "woefully uniformed
or misinformed about certain key issues relating to the war."
One survey result: 35% still believe that Iraq had stockpiles of
WMD when the U.S. invaded.
I ended that column by asking readers to send along their thoughts
on the following question: Does the media deserve blame for failing
to educate the public, or do we need to accept the fact that "you
can lead readers to the truth but you can't make them drink it"?
Thanks for the many thoughtful replies, along with the usual hate
mail (often from people claiming Saddam WAS behind 9/11).
Excerpts from some of the letters follow.
How people accommodate new, even contradictory information is a
fascinating field of study (at least to Bill Gates, among others,
who are familiar with Baysean problem-solving). There seems to be
resistance to incorporating new data into one's mind-set after an
opinion has formed. And of course, old studies have shown we better
remember info agreeing with our established opinions.
Santa Fe, NM
Time was, when a reader could trust the press to actually do some
research, ask some questions, check some facts, and report them
in the same story as the person making the misstatements designed
to mislead. How one hungers for a story that contains the words
"The President's statements are contradicted by the record,
which states..." or some variant thereof.
Yes, I feel the press could do more. Repeating what all the participants
said isn't reporting; it's transcribing. Reporting, as I understand
it, brings context and perspective, not necessarily partisan, but
enough factual information to allow a reader to understand what's
going on. The lackey role of the press is more properly understood
in the context of media consolidation and all that it entails.
Let us never underestimate the staying power of lies.
The press is shocked to learn that the viewing and reading public
actually still believes what the press told them in 2002. And how
did the White House promulgate its lies, except through a complicit
press? From Fox News to The New York Times, virtually no one in
the established media was willing to expend the time, energy or
resources to do anything except provide a megaphone to the government's
propagandists as they beat their drums and whipped the country into
a war frenzy. Today, there is blood on all our hands.
New York, N.Y.
Too much of our "news" is now Michael Jackson, Laci Peterson,
and Janet Jackson's bared breast, which gives little time left for
issues that really impact the daily lives of most readers or viewers.
I thank God daily that I had a chance to work for an honorable publisher
(Ed Harte of Harte-Hanks) who rewarded editors and reporters who
made sure both sides of an issue were reported fairly and accurately
and who rarely asked editors and reporters to scurry after stupid
stories that did little to inform the public.
You think it's not true, you
think it's not coming, you think "it can't happen here."
But it can, and it is, right before your eyes.
George Bush's United States is clearly in a proto-fascist condition.
Of course, there's no such thing as direct equivalence between historical
events. The same dangers never come around again -- not in the same
form nor with precisely identical content. At every point in time,
a new set of elements and circumstances coalesce to create the unique
reality of that particular historical moment.
But if you take the general definition of fascism
provided by its founder, Benito Mussolini -- "the merger of
corporate and state power" -- and apply it to the elements
that are coalescing in America at this historical moment, you could
hardly find a more apt description of the Bush Regime. Couple that
with the Bushists' radical transformation of party politics into
a quasi-religious cult of militarism and leader worship, and you
have not an equivalence but certainly an ever-deepening resonance
with the malevolent spirit that swept Germany and Italy during the
first half of the 20th century.
The Bushist convention in New York -- an unprecedented belching
forth of bile, mendacity and bootlicking -- gave ample proof that
Republicans now "claim to be far more
than a political party; they [are] a movement, sweeping up the ...
people and carrying them unstoppably to a better future,"
as historian Richard Evans described a similar ugly metamorphosis
in his excellent new book, "The Coming of the Third Reich."
"The vagueness of the [party's] program,
its symbolic mixture of old and new, its eclectic, often inconsistent
character, to a large extent allowed people to read into it what
they wanted and edit out anything they might have found disturbing,"
he wrote of the Nazis. Evans also notes: "What the [party]
did not offer, however, were concrete solutions to [the nation's]
problems, least of all where they were most needed, in economy and
Again, the resonances are striking. Like the Nazis, the Bushists
are not interested in actual policies, actual governance. They are
not even interested in politics as such, i.e. the pursuit of effective
government through open debate and honorable compromise with fellow
citizens of opposing views. No, what drives their "movement"
is a lust for raw power: the power to impose their brutal vision
of unbridled state corporatism -- which Bush calls "the single
sustainable model of national success." Policies, programs,
grand ideological crusades ("family values," "national
security," "war on terror," "defense of marriage,"
"ownership society") are all just empty blather to the
Bushists, false fronts to be shuffled, twisted or dropped as necessary
to mask the rapacious (and unpopular) nature of their ultimate goal.
Bush's state corporatism entails the destruction
of government as an instrument for social good and civic life; any
possible fetters on the desires of the powerful for more money and
more privilege must be removed. The only "legitimate"
functions of government in such a system are dividing the spoils
of power among favored interest groups (Bush's loyal cadre of Christian
extremists, for example), and maintaining a gargantuan military
machine to "project dominance," grab loot and provide
fat contracts for arms dealers, servicing companies, mercenaries
and other corporate war profiteers. Everything else can be privatized,
outsourced, sold off to cronies -- or simply eliminated in "forced"
cutbacks blamed on deliberately engineered budget deficits.
The Bushist movement also entails the destruction of ordinary politics.
Any opposition to the "single sustainable model" -- even
the timid deviations offered by the thoroughly corporatized Democrats
-- must be crushed, and relentlessly demonized as an "attack
on America from within," as the Bushists declared at their
convention. Even the democratic process itself -- the Constitutionally
mandated presidential election -- was scorned from the podium as
nothing more than a "manic obsession to bring down our commander
in chief." Thus the very idea of free, contested elections
-- "the consent of the governed" -- is now openly dismissed
as a dangerous notion, a sign of mental illness.
There are more sinister resonances between Reich
and Regime, of course. One is the penchant for aggressive war based
on false premises, in the name of protecting the sacred "Homeland"
from imminent attack by godless evildoers. Another is the brazen
use of the "Big Lie," such as Bush's repeated public assertions
that he was "forced" to invade Iraq because "Saddam
wouldn't allow the inspectors back in" -- an extraordinary
perversion of reality on a par with any of Hitler's delusionary
Finally, as in earlier fascist movements, the faith of Bush's
adherents has been sealed in blood: a proven method of binding followers
to a ruthless leader. With his illegal aggression, Hitlerian in
principle if not yet in scale, Bush has made his followers -- and
by extension, his nation -- complicit in mass murder. The terrorist
horrors of Beslan have been replicated 70-fold across Iraq, where
an estimated 35,000 noncombatants have been killed. As in Beslan,
this slaughter of innocents was often deliberate. For example, Pentagon
chief Donald Rumsfeld personally approved every bombing raid likely
to kill 30 or more civilians -- and there were more than 50 such
willful mass terror killings in all, The New York Times reports.
No wonder Bush's zealots swallow his lies so readily; otherwise
they would have to acknowledge the blood dripping from their own
You think it's not happening, because the crudities of yesteryear
-- brownshirts, goose steps, shattered glass -- are absent, because
the targets of wrath and fear are different. But the Bush Regime
is the form that state corporatism -- fascism -- is taking in this
particular historical moment. It is happening. The night and fog
In "American Assassination,"
two professors explain how.
Senator Paul Wellstone was, "the first 1960s radical elected
to the U.S. Senate." In Senate Race 2002, the White House made
defeating Wellstone priority #1. Karl Rove hand-picked arch Republican
Norm Coleman to run against him. Despite massive funding, Coleman
was trailing the popular Wellstone two weeks before election day.
Then, tragedy struck. On the morning of October 25th, 2002, Wellstone
was killed after a mysterious communication cut-out and crash of
his small aircraft. He died alongside his wife Sheila, their daughter
Marcia, three staff members, and two pilots, while trying to land
at Minnesota’s Eveleth airfield. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer
insisted to his reporter at the scene that foul weather was the
lethal factor in the crash, despite the statements to the contrary
from the CNN correspondent. To this day, the public tends to blame
Ph.D. Professors James Fetzer and Don "Four
Arrows" Jacobs present the harrowing truth. The weather didn’t
bring down Senator Wellstone. Nor were the two pilots incompetent,
as the ridiculous report of the National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) eventually claimed.
The facts point elsewhere: the FBI happened to arrive at the remote
rural crash scene a startling two hours after the crash. Did they
know about it in advance? The FBI forbade the ambulance and fire
teams to take photos. Even the AP photographer on hand was intimidated,
delayed and then highly monitored. For some reason, a member of
the U.S. Capitol Police Dignitary Protection Division was also present.
Why did these representatives of law enforcement
illegally remove evidence before the NTSB arrived to investigate,
seven hours later? Why did the FBI state that they were treating
the site as a "crime scene" although there were "no
indications of any criminal activity?" How could the FBI swiftly
conclude and state publicly, before NTSB arrived, that there was
"no evidence of terrorism" involved? How could they know?
American Assassination confirms the worst fears
of a nation. Senator Paul Wellstone was murdered.
Both authors are decorated university professors. A Native American,
Four Arrows (a.k.a. Dr. Don Jacobs) teaches educational leadership
and is a staunch critic of US foreign policy. Dr. Jim Fetzer is
a published expert on U.S. political assassinations and the logic
of science. Although no one can prove exactly what happened in the
events leading to Wellstone’s death, these two Ph.D.s point
out the official story’s inconsistencies and deliberate omissions.
With a methodical argument, they present evidence of an official
cover-up, a compelling motive for Wellstone’s assassination,
and a more probable explanation for how Senator Wellstone was downed.
Their facts point to a new conclusion:
• There was never any distress call from the pilots. Communication
was somehow cut off shortly before the crash.
• NTSB’s Carol Carmody handled the Wellstone case.
A former CIA official, Carmody is a damage-control expert who
handled the NTSB’s investigation of the suspicious aircraft
crash of Democratic Senatorial candidate Mel Carnahan, exactly
two years earlier.
• NTSB is legally mandated to take jurisdiction over a
crash scene, yet they let the FBI tamper with evidence. The NTSB
failed to mention the FBI’s presence in their report.
The NTSB did not consider all of the available evidence!
• Some witnesses heard the engines cutting out, a phenomenon
not consistent with a stall.
• Others reported odd cell-phone and garage-door phenomena
that were taking place about the same time the plane lost both
communications and control.
• The NTSB's own simulations, which replicated properties
like those of King Air A-100s under similar conditions, were unable
to bring the plane down—even when conducted under abnormally
• One of the members who actually signed the report, Richard
Healing, admitted that they really had no idea what had caused
the plane to crash.
Since becoming active in this issue, normal citizens contacted
Professor Fetzer and related strange electronic communications interference
in the area at the time of the crash. The
automatic garage doors in entire neighborhoods mysteriously opened.
Cell phones experienced never-before-heard kinds of static. These
auditory patterns eerily match those created by "electro-magnetic
pulse" (EMP) weapons recently developed by the Pentagon to
jam the computer-assisted controls of an enemy aircraft. Radar images
from the time of the crashes of both Senators Carnahan and Wellstone
match the profile for EMP fingerprints. EMPs not only jam an airplane’s
electronics, they disable the radio communication of the plane.
In the wake of the crash, 69% of Minnesoteans blamed "A GOP
Conspiracy" for Wellstone’s death. In appendices to American
Assassination, Wellstone’s courageous stands against
the rich and powerful continue to inspire us. Our epilogue presents
highlights from Wellstone’s agenda, and his speech "On
Iraq." His opposition to the oligarchy helps the reader understand
why Wellstone was assassinated. When the reader meets Wellstone
in his own words, his vision is kept alive and lives on in each
of us, despite the desires of the plutocrats.
DENVER, Colorado (AP) -- A
university president and a Democratic state lawmaker said rules
put in place this year to protect conservative views on Colorado
campuses have led to death threats against professors and a harmful
effect on free speech.
Republican lawmakers responded that conservative students still
are being harassed and more needs to be done.
A handful of college officials and students went before the Legislature's
Joint Education Committee on Thursday to report on efforts to enforce
the Academic Bill of Rights. All state-funded colleges adopted the
policy this year under pressure from Republican lawmakers.
Professors at Metropolitan State College in Denver are concerned
that some topics may be off-limits in the classroom, interim president
Ray Kieft told lawmakers. He cited discussions of stem cell research,
a lightning-rod issue for some Republicans who claim it amounts
Kieft said death threats against a Metro State
political science professor have "sent a real chill across
the campus." The professor, Oneida Meranto, said in March she
was threatened after a student filed a complaint against her and
told lawmakers he had asked to drop her class because she was biased
Meranto responded publicly that the student was failing, prompting
the student to accuse her of violating his privacy rights. School
officials said the threats originated off campus and the FBI has
said it was investigating.
Sen. John Andrews, R-Centennial, a committee member, pointed to
three new complaints aired by students at the meeting as evidence
that schools need to enforce the policy more strictly.
University of Colorado law student Mario Nicholas said a professor
called him a Nazi after Nicholas complained when the professor told
the class that "the 'R' in Republican stands for racist."
The professor was chastised by the dean but not suspended.
Metro State student William Pierce said he filed a grievance after
a professor accused him of spying on the class for Republicans intent
on enforcing the new policy.
Colorado State student Heather Schmidt, an Army veteran whose husband
is serving in Iraq, said one of her professors criticized former
President Reagan and drew a caricature of President Bush. She said
when she complained, she was told to find another class.
Sen. Ken Gordon, D-Denver, said he called the professor involved
in that complaint and was told he had been forced out of the classroom
by death threats.
"He said he sleeps with a shotgun under his bed," Gordon
told the panel. The professor did not return a call from The Associated
Rep. Lynn Hefley, R-Colorado Springs, said professors who violate
the rules should be suspended.
"It seems to me you need to take swift action," she told
the university presidents.
Larry Penley, chancellor of the Colorado State University System,
CU President Elizabeth Hoffman and University of Northern Colorado
President Kay Norton told legislators they are enforcing the policy.
Colleges agreed to implement a stripped-down version of the policy
after lawmakers killed a measure that would have required them to
allow students to file grievances against professors if they felt
they were being harassed for their political or religious beliefs.
| TALLAHASSEE - A thousand dead in
Iraq. For what? History's highest budget deficit. For what? George
W. Bush has been so reckless with America's lives, wealth and reputation
and so stupendously incompetent and untrustworthy overall as to defy
belief that anyone but Halliburton and the House of Saud would want
him to be elected.
And yet, if the polls are accurate, Bush is leading. Dismal as
that news may be, what's more to be feared is the reason. Though
they see through him in nearly every other respect, many people
are convinced of his leadership, his courage, his sense of resolve.
This triumph for the art of propaganda - all we
really know about his courage, after all, is how little of it he
displayed during Vietnam - signifies mortal danger for American
The "man on horseback" mentality, the
belief that a leader's strength is more important than where it
leads them, defines a population that is vulnerable to dictatorship.
This is not to call Bush a dictator or suggest that he wants to
be one. But let no one believe that it couldn't happen here, as
has happened so often elsewhere.
It has happened here, and by the design of better
statesmen than Bush.
John Adams, an original American patriot, signed the Alien and
Sedition Acts that put people in prison for what they said or wrote.
Abraham Lincoln, one of our three greatest presidents, suspended
the writ of habeas corpus.
Woodrow Wilson, a scholar by profession, jailed and deported people
for opposing a war that, nearly a century later, still raises the
question of what American interests compelled our participation.
Franklin D. Roosevelt put 110,000 men, women and children in concentration
camps because of their race.
In each instance, danger was the pretext for suspending
democracy and decency.
Dictatorship has struck even in the absence of danger. Right here,
In December 2000, the Florida House of Representatives, in broad
daylight, voted 79 to 41 to steal the 2000 presidential election
by formally appointing the Republican slate of electors regardless
of what a recount might show. Though presumptively legal under the
Constitution, that was a dictatorial act in light of the modern
expectation that the people, not the politicians, elect the president.
Florida rewarded the perpetrators by sending Tom Feeney to Congress
and re-electing nearly everyone who followed his orders. If that
disgraceful vote ever became even an issue in any of their campaigns,
I am unaware of it.
The Senate did not follow suit, but only because of President John
McKay's shrewd strategy of waiting to see what the Supreme Court
would do. Nonetheless, a precedent was set for use in the next state
where one party controls both houses and opportunity knocks.
Meanwhile, it is becoming clear that the great falsehoods of this
administration were not limited to the phantom weapons of mass destruction,
the fanciful link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, and (most
recently) the phony Medicare drug benefit cost figures that were
deliberately fed to the Congress.
To that list must be added the deception that the Republicans wanted
Howard Dean for their opponent. The Washington punditry corps regurgitated
that as fact and helped give the Republicans exactly what they did
want: a senator (actually, two senators) on the opposition ticket.
It didn't matter who. Sitting members of Congress are sitting ducks
because they come with the fresh baggage of complicated voting records
that are easy to misconstrue and misrepresent.
The Homeland Security Act, for example, contained a poison pill
for Democrats: Its labor-bashing component set up Max Cleland, a
triple amputee Vietnam War hero, to be smeared as unpatriotic. If
there is such a place as hell, surely it awaits the liars who did
In the entire history of the United States, there have been only
four presidents who went straight from the Congress to the White
House. The last of them - and the only Democrat - was John F. Kennedy,
44 years ago.
Former members of Congress have fared much better, but in recent
years only by way of the vice presidency.
The Democrats should have learned by now. Of the six Democratic
presidents directly elected since the Civil War, all but one (JFK)
were governors: Grover Cleveland, Wilson, Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter
and Bill Clinton. (Michael Dukakis would have won too had he managed
to show anger, or any other passion, at appropriate moments.) Truman
and Lyndon Johnson would not have made the White House but for the
Governors, or former governors, have played well for the GOP too:
e.g., Ronald Reagan, George Bush. A governor's record is rarely
as complex as that of a member of Congress, and the job title itself
conveys a sense of competence and authority.
Even if, as we see now, the competence is only an illusion.
The Hague/Zagreb, 8 September: Former political
analyst at the US Senate James Jatras appeared before the UN war
crimes tribunal in The Hague on Wednesday (8 September) as the second
defence witness in the trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan
Milosevic, and said that the US allowed Iran and Saudi Arabia to
supply arms to Bosnia-Hercegovina in the early 1990s.
The Clinton administration tacitly approved
the transfer of arms from Iran and helped in turning Bosnia into
an Islamic militant base, Jatras said, adding that Washington
later gave preference to the aid from Saudi Arabia, finding Riyadh's
influence in Bosnia "healthier" than Iran's.
Jatras, now a partner in the Venable law firm in Washington, was
a Republican Party foreign policy analyst in the Senate from 1975
to 2002. As a specialist for Eastern Europe, he compiled five reports
on Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Jatras was examined in the courtroom by Steven Kay, Milosevic's
court-appointed defence counsel.
The witness, citing his 1997 report called "The
Green Light for Iran", said that the Clinton administration
had signalled to the Croatian government to leave open channels
for Iranian arms.
While in 1992 and 1993 most of the weapons for
the Bosnian army arrived from Iran, as of 1994 the Clinton administration
preferred another network from Saudi Arabia which today would be
called Al-Qa'idah, he said.
Quoting a statement by a Saudi official from the Washington Post
of 1996, that weapons worth 300 million dollars
had been delivered to Bosnia-Hercegovina, the witness said that
the US had disregarded long-term consequences at the time.
Jatras said that foundations for a global terrorist network, with
Usamah Bin-Ladin at its centre, had been laid in Bosnia and Kosovo.
In 1992, New York businessman
Harry Katz phoned the President of AIPAC, David Steiner, to offer
contributions. Steiner proceeded to make several claims, including
negotiating with then-candidate Bill Clinton over who would be Secretary
of State, and had already "cut a deal" with Baker for
more aid to Israel.
Unknown to Steiner, Katz taped the phone call and gave the recording
to the media, worried that AIPAC's influence had grown to dangerous
Following release of the transcripts of the phone conversation,
David Steiner was forced to resign the Presidency of AIPAC.
The following is part of the a transcript of the Oct. 22, 1992
conversation with President David Steiner of the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) recorded without his knowledge
by New York businessman Haim (Harry) Katz. Its existence was first
revealed to the Washington Times and its release triggered Steiner's
resignation. Click here
for the full transcript.
[...] HAIM KATZ: So if you had a little lamp, a wishing lamp and
you could wish for either Bush, Clinton or Perot. . .
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Clinton.
HAIM KATZ: Clinton all the way? And in terms of Israel having political
power, between the three candidates, the one who will give us the
most political power?
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Clinton is the best guy for us.
HAIM KATZ: He's the best one.
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: I hope you're serious about what you told
HAIM KATZ: I am, I'll tell you this [tells a long anecdote about
David Souter promising to oppose abortion as a nominee and then
reversing himself on the Supreme Court]. So I wish we had a Jewish
candidate for president.
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: I don't think the country's ready.
HAIM KATZ: If the country was ready, is there any Jewish candidate...?
DAVID STEINER AIPAC:I wouldn't venture to say anything.
HAIM KATZ: You know who? I don't know him, I've never met him,
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Oh, I'm very friendly with Joe. I'm having
dinner with him Monday night.
HAIM KATZ: Let me tell you, I think Joe Lieberman would have, uh,
would have, if he wasn't Jewish, that's the only problem he has.
He's highly respected.
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: I'd like to see him on the Supreme Court.
HAIM KATZ: If Clinton is elected, has he told you who he's going
to put on the Supreme Court?
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: We're talking now. We don't have no commitments
yet. We're just negotiating. We're more interested right now, in
the secretary of state and the secretary of National Security Agency.
That's more impor
tant to us.
HAIM KATZ: If Clinton is elected, who do you think will be secretary
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: We don't know yet, we're negotiating.
HAIM KATZ: Who are you hoping for?
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: I've got a list. But I really can't go through
it. I'm not allowed to talk about it.
HAIM KATZ: But you figure, God willing, if Clinton's elected .
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: We'll have access.
HAIM KATZ: You'll have access and you'll
have a good input into who's secretary of state.
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: I do believe so.
HAIM KATZ: And the other position is. .
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: National security adviser.
HAIM KATZ: Those are the two critical positions.
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Right.
HAIM KATZ: Gotcha. Well, David, thanks for talking with me.
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: And we're going to get together next week.
I hope you'll have your checkbook ready.
HAIM KATZ: Will do.
DAVID STEINER AIPAC: Okay, thanks.
Media reporting of suicide bombings in Israel
and the occupied Palestinian territories is as predictable as it
is inadequate, for while such attacks are rightly given much coverage,
the necessary context and background information are almost always
totally absent, giving the false impression that such events occur
out of the blue, irrationally, to provoke an innocent, peaceful
Israel's daily injustices and provocations leading up to suicide
bombings are often not reported, even less so now with the carnage
in Iraq, Sudan and elsewhere, as the media falls into the trap of
reporting "big" news such as explosions, while ignoring
the "drip, drip" effects that lead to acts of horrendous,
desperate, indiscriminate revenge.
The twin suicide bombings in Beersheba on August 31 typify all
that is wrong with the media's approach.
"Hamas reignites conflict" read one broadsheet headline,
"violence returns to Israel" read another, "Israel
shaken by return of the suicide bombers" read another.
The articles proved no better, reporting that a "five-month
lull", a "period of relative peace", had been "shattered".
One broadsheet reporter went so far as to claim that "a sort
of peace has hung over Israel and Palestine for much of the summer."
Nothing could be further from the truth. In that
"five-month lull" between the Beersheba suicide bombings
and the previous one at Ashdod on March 14, Israel killed 436 Palestinians
and injured 2,221, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.
In this "period of relative peace",
more Palestinians were killed than the total number of Israelis
by suicide bombings throughout the entire four-year uprising against
the longest military occupation in modern history.
During that time, Israel made thousands homeless through house
demolitions, and continued its settlement expansion, arrests, military
attacks, barrier construction and land expropriation. Meanwhile,
30 Israeli Jews were killed and 57 injured, almost all of them soldiers
and settlers in the occupied territories, according to Israel's
Foreign Ministry. That is a ratio of almost 15 Palestinians killed
for every Israeli, and almost 39 Palestinians injured for every
Is none of this worth reporting? The media doesn't seem to think
so. In fact, out of all the British national dailies, the only person
that did was the Guardian's Middle East editor Brian Whitaker, who
reported that "the killing of Palestinians continues unabated,
with 2004 set to become the second worst since the uprising began."
These glaring omissions are inexcusable. One cannot claim that
such information is hard to find – it is readily available
on the websites of the PRCS and Israel's Foreign Ministry. The former
even allows one to view fatality and casualty figures for any desired
date range instantly.
One also cannot claim that there is no space or time for such
background information. Besides the fact that articles on suicide
bombings often remind people that they have killed hundreds of Israelis,
it is our job, our duty as journalists to report not just the what,
where, when and how, but perhaps most importantly, the why.
This certainly does not mean excusing suicide bombings, which
in my opinion are as reckless and damaging to Palestinians as Israelis.
However, failing to provide such background decontextualises suicide
bombings, giving people a blinkered view of what is happening in
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also
results in Palestinian suffering being ignored or trivialized as
somehow less important than the suffering of Israelis. We are constantly
told of the effect, but seldom the cause.
Another frequent omission in the media's coverage of suicide attacks
is any background detail of the bombers. Again, this is not to excuse
their actions, but to investigate what may have happened to those
people for them to consider taking their lives and those of surrounding
Such detail is easy to come by through an internet search of the
bombers' surnames and their towns of origin. In
the case of the Beersheba bombings, the families of the perpetrators,
Ahmed Qawasmeh and Nasim Jaabari, both from Hebron, had been subjected
to a horrendous series of killings, injuries, house demolitions
and detentions by Israeli forces. It
is difficult to see how such experiences would not fill someone
with hopeless, lethal rage.
The Mirror quoted Eaatadal Qawasmeh in June 2003 as saying: "When
these youths are harassed by the Israelis, when they see their families
beaten and killed, when they close their universities and take away
their futures, they become time bombs."
That same month I wrote an article about suicide bomber Hiba Daraghmeh,
and pointed out what the media had failed to – that she had
lost 10 relatives, including children, during this intifada.
A recent phenomenon in the media's coverage of suicide bombings
is the supposed link with Israel's barrier. All news organizations
reported that it has not yet been built in Hebron, the closest Palestinian
town to Beersheba. None reported that the planned Israeli route
will entail annexing large swathes of Hebron land.
Many used the subjective term "security barrier", as
if to back Israel's justification for its construction, and some
reported that it had reduced Palestinian attacks in Israel. Ignored
was the fact that Israel has yet to provide a reasonable explanation
for why the barrier is being built on Palestinian land rather than
its internationally recognized borders. It is this that led the
International Court of Justice to rule that the barrier is illegal
and should be dismantled, and affected Palestinians compensated.
This did not stop the Daily Telegraph publishing
the headline "Deaths are proof for Israel that barrier must
be finished quickly".
Giving context to suicide bombings will no doubt be resisted by
apologists for Israel and those afraid of coming under pressure
from them, but this resistance is short-sighted, for there will
be no end to such carnage as long as journalists, decision-makers
and the public are blind to its root causes. In this case, everybody
-Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi is chairman of Arab Media Watch
http://www.ArabMediaWatch.com, an organization dedicated to objective
British coverage of Arab issues. He encourages your comments: email@example.com.
Palestinians are being terrorised
by the hardline group
Israeli media have exposed a paramilitary Jewish group that has
been terrorising Palestinian civilians in the West Bank with tacit
approval from the Israeli army.
State-run Israeli radio, Reshet Bet, announced on Sunday that members
of the group, known as the Hebrew Brigade" are armed with automatic
rifles and equipped with jeeps and vicious attack dogs.
Quoting unidentified security sources, the radio said the group
is made up of dozens of erstwhile cadres of the Kach movement, the
"terrorist group" founded by Rabbi Meir Kahana and dedicated
to the destruction of the Palestinian community in Israel, the West
Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
Kahana, a one-time member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset,
called for the "extirpation" or "extermination"
of non-Jews in Israel and the occupied territories, following the
example of the ancient Israelites who ethnically cleansed the Canaanites
as narrated in the Torah.
Kahana also advocated that democracy and Judaism were completely
incompatible and that non-Jews could never attain equality in a
truly Jewish state.
Kach has been declared a "terrorist group" by both Israel
and the United States.
In 1995, a member of Kach named Egal Amir assassinated former Israeli
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for signing the Oslo Accords with the
Palestine Liberation Organisation.
However, since Ariel Sharon came to power in Israel in 2001, the
Israeli government, and especially the powerful military establishment,
has been dealing rather leniently with Kach and similar far right
groups, ostensibly because of the ideological affinity between Sharon's
party Likud and the far-right parties.
A Hebrew newspaper, the Ma'ariv, published a report on the resurfacing
vigilante group last week.
The Kach vigilantes, as they are commonly known, erect surprise
roadblocks and checkpoints on roads used by Palestinian motorists,
using attack dogs, the newspaper reported.
Sometimes, the extremists reportedly serve as a "back-up force"
by "assisting" the army in "keeping law and order"
by harassing Palestinian civilians.
Some members of the well-organised group have reportedly threatened
and blackmailed Israeli security officers living in their respective
The Israeli army has acknowledged, rather begrudgingly, the existence
of the group but denied that it was operating under its supervision.
However, army spokesperson Eitan Arusi confirmed that "those
people operate within the settlements and their main function is
to prevent Palestinians from infiltrating their respective communities".
Arusi told Aljazeera.net that the army was ultimately responsible
for the activities of the vigilantes.
Arusi's statements, however, were contradicted by another army
spokesman, quoted earlier by Israeli radio, who sought to distance
the army from the group.
A number of Knesset members have castigated the Israeli government
for allowing the extremists to function.
"These are a bunch of killers and vile terrorists, I can't
understand why our government allows them to function freely in
the streets of the West Bank," said Ran Cohen, a member of
the newly-founded neo-leftist party, Yahad.
Cohen, who described the group as a dangerous militia, called on
the Israeli justice system to force the government to outlaw the
group and end their activities.
One Israeli legal expert, Moshe Hangbi, accused the Israeli government
of "indulging in a serious breach of the law".
"This terrorist organisation [Kach] is supposed to be outside
the confines of the law since it was outlawed and declared a terrorist
organisation in 1994," he said.
"The fact that it is allowed to function flies in the face
of Israeli authorities," he added.
Attacks and massacres
Kach has a long record of attacking and harassing Palestinian civilians.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the right-wing extremists placed
bombs in the cars of three Palestinian mayors, causing the legs
of the former mayor of Nablus, Bassam Shaka'a, to be amputated.
In 1982, two armed men belonging to Kach attacked the campus of
the University of Hebron with machine guns and hand grenades, killing
and injuring dozens of students.
Also in the early 1980s, Kach members sought to destroy the al-Aqsa
mosque in Jerusalem, using ground-to-ground missiles allegedly stolen
from Israeli army barracks.
The bloodiest act against Palestinians by the movement took place
in 1994 when Baruch Goldstein, an American immigrant, cold bloodedly
murdered 29 unarmed worshippers while they were praying at the Ibrahimi
mosque in downtown Hebron.
The worshippers were searched and had to pass through metal detectors
before entering the prayer area.
The Kach leadership, along with the leaders of the settler movement
of Gush Emunim, then enthusiastically supported the massacre, evoking
a Talmudic edict that a thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth
a Jew's fingernail.
Since the beginning of the intifada four years ago, extremists
affiliated with Kach and other right-wing groups, such as Kahana
Hay (Kahana is alive), have killed and injured hundreds of Palestinian
The same groups have also planned and carried out attacks on Arab
schools in East Jerusalem and the Hebron region.
BEIRUT: Iraqi insurgents are slowly but surely
extending their control over key cities in the notorious "Sunni
Triangle" north and west of Baghdad, a creeping consolidation
of their influence that bodes ill for the fumbling transitional
government and the U.S. forces propping it up. Continued uprisings
by Shiite irregulars of the Mehdi Army militia, led by cleric Moqtada
al-Sadr, scion of a revered religious family, point to the possibility
of Shiite militants seizing and holding other "no-go zones"
in southern Iraq, further undermining the putative central government
Whether this phenomenon deepens the rift between the Sunni minority,
the pillar of Saddam Hussein's grotesque regime, and the long suppressed
Shiite majority and pushes Iraq toward the long-feared fragmentation
remains to be seen. The Royal Institute of
International Affairs in London concluded in a briefing paper published
on Sept. 1 that with the way events are unfolding in Iraq, the country
will be fortunate if it manages to avoid a break-up and civil war,
a development that would have dangerous ramifications for the entire
"The fragmentation scenario goes to the very core of the
identity debate within Iraq, and is related closely to the issue
of 'who rules' the country in the future," the institute's
assessment said. "It is, sadly, a not
unlikely scenario." [...]
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A U.S. helicopter gunship
fired at Iraqis milling around a burning U.S. vehicle in a Baghdad
street Sunday during fierce battles in which witnesses
and officials said 13 people had been killed and 61 wounded.
Elsewhere in the city, at least seven car bombs and various outbreaks
of violence killed nine Iraqis, and insurgents fired over a dozen
mortar bombs or rockets around the U.S.-occupied Green Zone compound.
It was one of the heaviest barrages in the capital
in months. "We've seen a tremendous increase in the number
of attacks," Brigadier General Erv Lessel, a U.S. military
spokesman, told Reuters.
South of Baghdad, three Polish soldiers were killed and three wounded
when they were attacked near Hilla.
In rebel-occupied Ramadi, west of Baghdad, U.S. tanks and helicopters
fired on a residential district, killing 10 Iraqis, including women
and children, a doctor said. The U.S. military had no immediate
The surge in violence coincided with new American
offensives to retake insurgent-held areas before elections due in
Heavy fighting erupted in Haifa Street, a thoroughfare in central
Baghdad notorious as a rebel stronghold. The crackle of gunfire
echoed for several hours as U.S. tanks and tank-like Bradley fighting
vehicles moved into the area.
Witnesses said a U.S. helicopter fired at
a group of Iraqis crowded round a burning Bradley. Reuters
Television images showed Iraqis running for cover shortly before
a blast felled Al Arabiya producer Mazen Tomeizi.
The Palestinian, who was working for the Dubai-based TV channel,
died soon afterwards. Reuters cameraman Seif Fouad, who had been
recording the scene, was also injured in the explosion.
"Mazen's blood was on my camera and face," Fouad said
from his hospital bed. He said his friend screamed at him for help:
"Seif, Seif! I'm going to die. I'm going to die."
The U.S. military said two of its helicopters
opened fire after coming under attack from the crowd. Reuters
television footage showed no evidence of shooting from the ground.
"As the helicopters flew over the burning Bradley they received
small-arms fire from the insurgents in vicinity of the vehicle,"
a military statement said. "Clearly within the rules of engagement,
the helicopters returned fire destroying some anti-Iraqi forces
in the vicinity of the Bradley."
Earlier, the U.S. military had said a helicopter destroyed the
vehicle "to prevent looting and harm to the Iraqi people"
after four U.S. soldiers were lightly wounded in the attack on the
Specialist James Wilks, 25, from Fort Worth,
Texas, sits in the searing sun outside his barrack block in Camp
Eagle, smoking a menthol cigarette. Beyond the blast walls, sentry
towers and barbed wire lies Sadr City, a Baghdad suburb where throughout
the summer fighters loyal to a radical Shia Muslim cleric have fought
running battles with the American troops based here. A day earlier,
fighting had flared again in the narrow, rubbish-strewn alleyways
that for months have been Wilks's hunting ground.
Wilks is a sniper and is proud of the three 'kills' he has notched
up in the first six months of his year's tour of duty. The first
came in early April, during an assault on a position held by Shia
'It was night and low visibility,' Wilks said. 'But I saw a guy
with an AK-47 lit up by the porch light in a doorway about 400 metres
away. I watched him through the sights. He looked like just another
Iraqi. I hit him low in the stomach and dropped him.'
The second kill was in July. Camp Eagle has been hit by more than
700 mortar rounds, usually fired at night.
From the roof of the barracks block, Wilks picked out a group of
men behaving suspiciously nearly 700 metres away.
'We watched them for an hour. When I was sure one guy had a weapon
on his back, I squeezed a shot off and he went down.'
Killing from long distance is 'weird', says Wilks,
who joined the army after six years as a poorly paid waiter. 'It's
not like in a firefight, when it is really scary and you don't think
about it. When you are looking down the scope and no one knows you
are there, it gives you a sense of power. You get an adrenalin rush,
though I'm not sure if it is in a good way.'
Wilks's comrades are proud of his success. Almost all the men of
the First Cavalry's Task Force 12 have seen combat. Scores have
been injured and several killed. Long routine patrols are broken
by moments of intense fear and excitement when units come under
The Observer joined an eight-hour patrol along Route Predator,
a key road leading into Sadr City that has been the site of regular
bomb attacks and ambushes.
Apart from some wayward mortar shells early on, the patrol was
uneventful - though the following one suffered two killed and three
injured when two roadside bombs exploded. Sergeant Herman Groombridge,
35, and his men drive slowly up and down the pitted tarmac.
Groombridge points out a mosque from where gunmen opened fire a
few weeks earlier. Jesus Sales, a 21-year-old who joined the army
to pay for college fees, is the unit's reserve sniper. He shot a
man a few weeks earlier: 'I didn't feel anything weird. I just felt
Wilks is equally phlegmatic: 'Sometimes I feel
like I should feel guilty, but I don't. Everyone I shot deserved
it. It doesn't bother me.'
| BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Iraq's
Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed
during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures
compiled so far, the official who oversaw the count told The Associated
Press on Wednesday.
The health minister, Dr. Khodeir Abbas,
denied in an email that he had anything to do with the order, saying
he didn't even know about the study.
Dr. Nagham Mohsen, the head of the ministry's statistics department,
said the order was relayed to her by the ministry's director of
planning, Dr. Nazar Shabandar, who said it came on behalf of Abbas.
She said the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which oversees
the ministry, also wanted the counting to stop.
"We have stopped the collection of this information
because our minister didn't agree with it," she said, adding:
"The CPA doesn't want this to be done."
Abbas, whose secretary said he was out of the country, sent an
email denying the charge.
"I have no knowledge of a civilian war casualty survey even
being started by the Ministry of Health, much less stopping it,"
he wrote. "The CPA did not direct me to stop any such survey
"Plain and simple, this is false information," he added.
Despite Abbas' comments, the health ministry's civilian death toll
count had been reported by news media as early as August, and the
count was widely anticipated by human rights organizations. The
ministry issued a preliminary figure of 1,764 deaths during the
Shabandar's office said he was attending a conference in Egypt
and wouldn't return for two weeks. A spokesman for the CPA said
it had nothing to add to Abbas' response, which came after the CPA
reached him by telephone.
The U.S. and British militaries don't count civilian
casualties from their wars, saying only that they try to minimize
A major investigation of Iraq's wartime civilian
casualties was compiled by The Associated Press, which documented
the deaths of 3,240 civilians between March 20 and April 20. That
investigation, conducted in May and June, surveyed about half of
Iraq's hospitals, and reported that the real number of civilian
deaths was sure to be much higher.
The Health Ministry's count, based on records of all hospitals,
promised to be more complete. [...]
The number of U.S. soldiers killed in the war is
well documented. The Pentagon says 115 American military personnel
were killed in combat from the start of the war to May 1, when President
Bush declared major combat over, and 195 since.
Iraq kept meticulous records of its soldiers killed in action but
never released them publicly. Military doctors have said the Iraqi
military kept "perfect" records, but burned them as the
war wound down.
| Colin Powell in four-letter
neo-con 'crazies' row
| Martin Bright
Sunday September 12, 2004
A furious row has broken out
over claims in a new book by BBC broadcaster James Naughtie that
US Secretary of State Colin Powell described neo-conservatives in
the Bush administration as 'fucking crazies' during the build-up
to war in Iraq.
Powell's extraordinary outburst is alleged to have taken place
during a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
The two became close friends during the intense negotiations in
the summer of 2002 to build an international coalition for intervention
via the United Nations. The 'crazies' are said to be Vice-President
Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul
Following the catastrophic outcome
of this month's hostage-taking at a school in North Ossetia on Russia's
southern border - which left hundreds of children dead -- Israel's
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon telephoned Russia's President Vladimir
Putin. Their two countries, he urged, should join forces against
'world Islamic Jihad.'
Sharon has long sought to identify the Palestinian's
struggle for an independent state with 'international Islamic terrorism'.
This policy served him well in winning the support of U.S.
President George W. Bush after 9/11. Now, after the school siege
at Beslan, Sharon is putting the same policy to work with Vladimir
Putin, apparently with equal success.
On 6 September, the day after Sharon's phone
call to the Kremlin, Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister arrived
in Israel to be greeted by Israel's foreign minister Sylvan Shalom
with the words: 'The terrorism that struck Russia is no different
from that which struck New York, Tel-Aviv or Madrid.' Russian
and Israeli intelligence and security agencies are now to cooperate
closely against what they see as a common threat.
Invoking the danger from Islamic militants, Israel's 'old soldier'
has thus managed to establish close ties both with America's self-styled
'war president' and with the 'strongman of the Kremlin.'
All three share a belief that terror can be defeated by military
force and that negotiations with 'rebels,' 'bandits' and 'terrorists'
can, and must, be totally ruled out.
Can terror be defeated by military means?
When a journalist asked Putin this week whether he would consider
negotiating with Chechen separatists he replied indignantly: 'You
might as well ask Westerners to negotiate with Ben Laden, to invite
him to NATO headquarters in Brussels or the White House in Washington!'
Sharon, too, adamantly refuses to negotiate with the Palestinian
leadership, sticking to his threadbare excuse that there is no 'peace
partner' in the Palestinian camp.
And, just as Putin cold-shoulders the moderate Chechen leader Aslan
Maskhadov, who was elected in 1997, but whom he considers a puppet
of the fundamentalists, so Sharon has sought to isolate and destroy
the Palestinians' elected leader, Yasser Arafat, who, for all his
faults, is a moderate, totally opposed to the violent methods of
his rivals in Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
Are such policies effective?
Far from defeating the terrorists, Bush's
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and his global 'war on terror' have
swollen the ranks of the militants. In the same way, the
atrocities at the school in North Ossetia, as well as the recent
suicide bombing on the Moscow metro, and the explosions on two Russian
aircraft -- which together have killed some 500 Russians in the
past two weeks - are clearly a reaction to Putin's brutal attempts
over the past five years to suppress the Chechens by torture, kidnapping
and military force, which have resulted in the death of some 250,000
people, a quarter of the Chechen population.
Indeed, Russia has been trying to tame the Chechens
by force, using 'iron-fist' methods and mass deportations, ever
since the late 19th century.
Putin's reaction to the latest hostage taking has been to revamp
his security services, to put an $8m price on the head of Chechen
separatist leaders and to threaten to strike at 'terrorist bases'
anywhere in the world. Sounds familiar? Putin,
Bush and Sharon speak the same language.
Yet, for all their tough policies, the cycle of violence continues,
whether in Russia, Palestine or Iraq, with no clear 'victory' in
sight for either side. [...]
A close look at the world-wide phenomenon of political violence
suggests that killing or capturing militant leaders and cowing the
civilian population by collective punishments - whether in Palestine,
Chechnya, Afghanistan or Iraq - merely produces a new generation
of enraged fighters, even more determined than their elders to strike
Is the hard-nosed approach of Bush, Putin and Sharon the only,
or even the most effective, way to deal with desperate men, ready
to die for their cause, whether they be Chechens, Palestinians or
America's Muslim opponents? Or is there another way?
Addressing the 'roots of terror'
It might, on the contrary, be argued that violence
breeds violence and that a political or diplomatic approach, aimed
at addressing the 'roots of terror' - that is to say the grievances
which cause men and women to resort to terror even at the cost of
their lives -- could be far more effective than the naked use of
military force. The evidence seems to point in this direction.
However repellent their actions may seem, most
terrorists are not blind killers. They have a political agenda,
whether to punish their oppressors, to advance their own cause of
national self-determination or to deter attacks against the populations
they claim to defend.
Only when the motivation of the terrorists is understood - only
when their political agenda is addressed and debated through negotiation
and dialogue -- can terror be brought to an end by stemming the
flow of militant recruits.
It is surely a mistake to write, as David Brooks of the New York
Times did this week, that the 'cult of death' which 'is thriving
on the fringes of the Muslim world' is beyond reason or negotiation
and is about 'the sheer pleasure of killing and dying.'
In the same uncomprehending and pessimistic vein, a letter to the
Financial Times on Tuesday by a certain Michael Pravica claimed
that 'the terrorists have no interest in compromise or negotiation.
They only want the death of the infidel.' This is dangerously bigoted
Israel claims that its policy of 'targeted killings' - that is
to say the murder of militant Palestinian leaders - has brought
some relief from suicide bombings. Before the bus bombings in Beer
Shiva there was indeed a pause for several months, which has now
Every time Israel has killed a militant Palestinian or Lebanese
leader - whether it be the Hezbollah secretary-general Abbas Moussawi
in February 1992, the Islamic Jihad founder Fathi Shiqaqi in late
1995, the Hamas bomb-maker Yehia Ayyash in January 1996, the PFLP-General
Command fighter Jihad Jibril in May 2002, or the Hamas leaders,
Yassin and Rantissi, earlier this year, among many, many others
-- revenge has followed ineluctably, cranking up the violent cycle
by another bloody notch.
Is it not time for political leaders in the U.S., Russia and Israel
to adopt a more flexible approach? Should they not be seeking political
negotiations with their opponents, beginning with a truce? Might
not the fear of appearing weak be crippling their thinking?
Palestinian society can be starved, battered and decimated, but
the thirst for independence and an end to the occupation cannot
be stifled by such means. The Chechens are not about to give up
the cause for which they have fought for well over a century. Nor
are America's opponents about to lie down and surrender under the
blows inflicted on them at Fallujah, Najaf, Sadr City, southern
Afghanistan, and many other places around the globe.
TEHRAN, Sept. 12 (Xinhuanet)
-- Iran on Sunday rejected a deadline set by the European Union
(EU) for Iran to clear itself on the nuclear activities, saying
it would make no concession on its rightof peaceful nuclear technology.
"We have settled over 95 percent of the issues over Iran'snuclear
program, and we believe that the very limited suspended issues will
be also resolved," Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi
told reporters at his weekly news briefing.
| KABUL, Sept. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- The
newly appointed governor of Heart in west Afghanistan Syed Mohammad
Khirkhah assumed office amid tight security and increasing violence
Afghan Vice President Niamatullah Sharani who introduced the new
governor to provincial authorities at a heavily guarded ceremony
returned to Kabul presumably on security reasons the same day. Many
officials have also left the city, Xinhua correspondent who was
at the scene noticed.
The handover ceremony was held at 4 p.m. local time but the ousted
former governor Ismael Khan was absent. Rumors have circulated that
the defiant former warlord was kept under US custody, but this cannot
be independently verified.
ROME, Sept. 12 (Xinhuanet) --
A group claiming to be holding two kidnapped female Italian aid
workers has issued a new ultimatum demanding that the government
of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi order the withdrawal of all
Italian forces deployed in Iraq, Italian media reported on Sunday.
The group, which calls itself the Islamic Jihad, warned that if
their demands were not met, then "we will execute the sentence
of God which will be to slit the throats of the two Italian hostages,if
God will it."
CARACAS, Sept. 11 (Xinhuanet)
-- The Venezuelan government on Saturday accused the United States
of hindering efforts to improve the bilateral relations by supporting
pro-coup forces and obstructing an international loan to the South
Venezuela "wants to call attention to the double standard
of the United States" with respect to Venezuela, since it will
be "inconvenient" for the improvement of the deteriorating
bilateral ties, said Venezuela's Communications and Information
Minister Andres Izarra.
US President George W. Bush announced Friday in a memo to Secretary
of State Colin Powell an order to block "some 250 million US
dollars of a loan Venezuela was to receive through multinational
The United States accused Venezuela of letting loose human trafficking
inside the country and abroad. "Venezuela does not combat the
trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation,"
the White House said.
| Violent clashes have cut short a
major ceremony in Chile to remember those who died in the 1973 military
Police fired tear gas and water cannon and arrested dozens of people
at the main cemetery in the capital, Santiago, after demonstrators
Chile's socialist president, Salvador Allende, was among those
who died in the military takeover on 11 September.
The coup signalled the start of the 17-year military government
of General Augusto Pinochet.
Several thousand people were taking part in the annual march from
the city centre to the cemetery when a pitched battle between some
protesters and police officers erupted.
Demonstrators, many of them wearing masks, threw molotov cocktails
and rocks, while the police responded with water cannon and tear
At least two dozen people were arrested and several policemen were
The violence forced an early end to the traditional ceremony organised
by the National Assembly for Human Rights.
Organisers condemned the violence and said the event had been hijacked
by thugs. Police appeared to agree, saying the vast majority of
those who took part in the traditional parade in the city centre
to the cemetery were peaceful and a small number of people had started
HAVANA, Sept. 11 (Xinhuanet)
-- The US government has put the world on the verge of Apocalypse
with its so-called anti-terroristcrusade, whose purpose is consolidating
the leadership of Washington, Cuban daily Granma said on Saturday.
The newspaper said that three years after the terrorist attacksin
New York and Washington, the administration of US President George
W. Bush has put into practice "a lethal, racist, hegemonic,occupational,
colonialist and lying philosophy."
The newspaper questioned why so many possibilities to prevent
those attacks were left unattended.
It recalled that the so-called anti-terrorist
crusade started in Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in
the world. While thousands of people were killed and many cities
destroyed in the country, Bush still could not find Osama bin Laden.
The newspaper noted that Afghanistan is still occupied by foreign
troops; the country is as poor as ever; and instability and opium
Granma pointed out that oil led the White House to fabricate the
Iraqi enemy, based on lies such as the presence in the Arab country
of nuclear and chemical weapons.
The paper concluded by saying that three years after Sept. 11,
the confrontation policy of Bush has left human beings feeling more
insecure and the United States may invade and occupy new territories,
but are not able to control them.
Imagine being told you'd never been born.
Or rather, that records of your birth were no longer valid.
Last month, thousands of Hudson County, N.J., residents got that
unnerving news, after hearing that their birth certificates had
been declared invalid because of an ongoing fraud investigation
at the Hudson County Clerk's office, just across the river from
Manhattan. The U.S. State Department had shut down passport operations
at the clerk's office after an investigation uncovered alleged document
fraud at the office -- specifically, sale of fraudulent birth certificates.
The investigation is ongoing.
And so is America's document problem.
There is little disagreement among experts that
America's identification systems are in shambles. Corruption, including
the sale of forged documents by inside employees, is rampant. Driver's
licenses are easy to fake; motor vehicle agencies easy to fool.
Passports and visas, both those issued by the United
States and those by foreign countries, cannot be trusted. Whether
screening airplane passengers, providing medical treatment, or trying
to guard the border, experts agree: Today, there is no reliable
way to identify people.
The Sept. 11 attacks brought this problem squarely into focus.
The report issued last month by the 9/11 Commission identified document
forgery as a key security issue, saying: "For terrorists, travel
documents are as important as weapons."
But while the problem is clear, solutions are not.
"What we have right now, we're just playing games, just fooling
ourselves," said identity theft expert Rob Douglas, who operates
PrivacyToday.com. "But we may be looking for solutions
that don't exist."
The document problem is really two issues. First, it's a domestic
problem: forging driver's licenses, Social Security cards and birth
certificates is relatively easy. Second, it's a matter of border
security, as the U.S. government tries to keep track of who enters
and leaves the country. In both arenas, attempts to improve
identity documents is meeting with severe technical and logistic
problems, along with thorny privacy issues.
The most immediate changes will be seen in travel documents.
Next year, both U.S. passports and foreign visitor passports will
be issued with a special computer chip woven into the cover.
The chip will include a photograph of the traveler, and face recognition
technology will be used to make sure the passport presenter is the
same as the person who applied for the document.
This change will be gradual in the United States. All new passports
will include the chip by next year, but those holding valid passports
won't be required to upgrade until their current ones expire.
On the other hand, citizens of countries in the U.S. visa waiver
program, such as Britain and Spain, will have to arrive on U.S.
shores with a biometric chip in their passport beginning in October
of next year. Congress has already extended that deadline from the
initial October 2004 date mandated in a 2002 law.
The program is hardly without controversy. Facial
recognition is notoriously inaccurate, with some studies suggesting
error rates as high as 50 percent. Simple changes in lighting,
or beard growth, can foil it. But Rick Norton, who works at the
government-funded National Biometric Security Project, says inclusion
of the technology is a good first step. It prevents people from
just splicing their own picture onto a stolen passport, for example.
"Is it a flawed technology? Sure," Norton said. "But
used properly it's an important new tool."
The State Department has been criticized for not insisting on
obtaining fingerprints from new passport applicants when the program
begins in the United States next year. Fingerprinting is a much
more mature technology, and generally has a far better accuracy
rate. But the agency has said in the past that it is simply
following standards approved by the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation
Organization, which last year opted for facial recognition over
fingerprints, saying the technology was far less intrusive. Frank
E. Moss, deputy assistant secretary of state for passport services,
declined an interview for this story.
Fingerprinting stirred controversy at U.S. borders anyway earlier
this year, when the US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant
Status Indicator Technology) program took effect. Foreign
visitors must now submit two fingerprints and have their photographs
taken upon entering the country. Initially, holiday travelers were
exempt, but beginning this month, even visitors from countries in
the U.S. visa waiver program who plan to stay for less than 90 days
must submit the biometric information.
The US-VISIT launch sparked harsh criticism from international
privacy advocates and foreign governments. Brazil, in retaliation,
began fingerprinting U.S. visitors.
But fingerprinting is now so commonplace that the technology should
be used to enhance identity verification systems, argues Rep. John
Carter, R-Texas. He's even in favor of using the biometric to solve
the country's other major document dilemma: ineffective driver's
Carter points out that he's sometimes asked for
fingerprints now when he cashes checks at the grocery store.
"This is the kind of thing we've got to do," he said.
"We've got to make it harder for the bad guys to imitate the
documents we have."
The thorny issue of national standards for driver's licenses and
other documents was taken up by the 9/11 Commission and by the McCain-Lieberman
bill introduced just this week in the Senate. Both urge sweeping
reforms, such as mandated federal standards for license formats.
"The driver's license framework is
broken and is in need of repair," said Jason King, spokesman
for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. "Especially
if America wants to continue using it as their ID of choice. ...
In it's current state, it can't even keep
unsafe drivers from getting multiple licenses."
But standardization, and perhaps even biometrics, will hardly
provide a quick solution, said Ari Schwartz, Associate Director
of the Center for Democracy and Technology.
The same kind of fraud now dogging that New Jersey county clerk's
office is also rampant at DMVs around the country, Schwartz said.
He looked study that included only publicly reported crimes from
2003, some 20,000 to 30,000 licenses were sold by corrupt DMV employees,
"It's usually covered as a local story, but it's a nationwide
problem," Schwartz said.
Yes, things could be worse
Privacy experts worry that the cure may be more dangerous than
the disease. National standards that
require states to add a fingerprint to driver's licenses might effectively
create a national ID card. The
premise stirs fears of Nazi Germany, and an era when citizens needed
to "present their papers" to move around the country.
But even outside the complex privacy issues involved, Schwartz
noted that fingerprints aren't foolproof either. There's always
the issue of initial authentication: an imposter could fool an ill-designed
system and get a license under a fake name but with his own fingerprints,
"There is something that worse than what we have today: a
flawed national ID card is worse than a system people know is broken,"
he said. "A fingerprint is not a bulletproof answer."
Considering that the ID world is necessarily one of incremental
solutions, Norton said he believes fingerprinting on both passports
and licenses would still help. At least the use of a biometric locks
a person into a particular identity at a particular time.
"It is a valid starting point for any good identity program,
as long as it's accompanied by controls that reassure everyone that
information will not be abused," he said. "But the identity
world is a strange one. You end up clamping down in one place and
funneling your problem in another direction."
And there is still another hurdle for those trying to design intelligent
paperwork systems to keep America safer. There's
no point in knowing who someone is unless there's a list of suspects
to check their name against. The 9-11
Commissioners made clear in their report that a system to positively
identify travelers is only half the problem, and would do no good
unless developed simultaneously with a reliable watch list of terrorist
As for the difficulty of doing that, just ask the senior senator
from Massachusetts, who was repeatedly stopped and questioned at
airports because he shared the same name as someone on a watch list:
The complexity of the document problem generally renders identity
experts speechless when offered the chance to construct a comprehensive
solution to the problem.
"I sympathize with Homeland Security. It is mindboggling,"
said identity theft expert Douglas. "But I don't think it means
we just throw up our hands in frustration. ... It is certainly not
the kind of a problem we are going to solve on a fixed date, even
in the next five to 10 years."
Commentators are desperately trying to make
sense of what seem like senseless events in Beslan. But they are
attempting to force it into political categories where it simply
Some have located the school siege in the broader bloody clash
between Chechen nationalists and the Russian state. 'There
can be no denying the direct link between the Beslan tragedy and
the war in Chechnya', wrote Ahmed Zakaev, former deputy prime
minister of Chechnya, in the UK Guardian. Others have rushed to
blame Beslan on Russian President Vladimir Putin, arguing that the
siege is a tragic blowback for his strongman tactics in Chechnya
Yet taking hostage an entire school on the first day of term, surrounding
teachers, parents and kids with land mines and high explosives,
makes little sense as a nationalist strike against a military aggressor
or as a tactic for weakening Russian rule in the Caucasus. Instead,
like the Moscow theatre siege of 2002, the school siege looked more
like a murderous stunt, an al-Qaeda-esque assault, designed to provoke
fear and outrage rather than to realise any discernible political
Too many want to understand Beslan through traditional political
and military frameworks. But there is something new going on here.
As British Brigadier Aldwyn Wight told BBC2's Newsnight, the
Beslan assault had 'no political rationale', and strikingly the
hostage-takers exercised 'no restraint' when it came to taking casualties.
The kind of violence visited on Beslan
is not rooted in Chechnya or in any traditional nationalism; rather,
like the attacks of 9/11, Bali, Madrid and elsewhere, this is a
rootless terrorism, dislocated from political, military or national
norms, with no clear motivation and little compunction about killing
civilians. What has given rise to such terror?
It remains unclear who was behind Beslan. In keeping with other
recent rootless attacks, nobody has claimed
responsibility or explained why they did it. The
Chechen authorities deny any involvement in what they describe as
a 'savage attack'; former Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov, whom
the Russian authorities accuse of masterminding the siege, today
offering $10million for information that leads to his capture, has
also denounced this attack on 'defenceless children' (2).
For obvious reasons, Russia is keen to situate Beslan within the
international 'war on terror', effectively claiming that the siege
was the work of al-Qaeda. Putin's al-Qaeda talk is clearly opportunist;
his aim is to distract from his repressive policies in Chechnya
since a second war was launched there in 1999 (the first war having
taken place under Boris Yeltsin from 1994 to 1996).
So Russian officials talk up the alleged mix of foreigners who
took part in the attack. A North Ossetian spokesman initially claimed
that 10 of the estimated 30 to 35 hostage-takers were Arabs; a Russian
official said the hostage-takers were made up of Chechens, Ingush
(from the state next to North Ossetia), Arabs, Kazakhs and Slavs.
Yet now some argue that there were no Arabs,
but rather that the dead hostage-takers' charred faces were mistaken
for dark skin. This morning Sergei Ivanov, Russia's
defence minister, is quoted as saying that not a single Chechen
has been found among the 32 dead terrorists, raising questions about
earlier attempts to explain Beslan as a straightforward 'Chechen
But then, the identities of the attackers are not enough to explain
why this attack was so ruthless. If a few Arabs did take part in
the siege, that alone could not explain the rise of the new terrorism,
in Chechnya or anywhere else. There is no doubt that the Chechen
separatist movement has become internationalised over the past decade,
with Mujihadeen fighters and wannabe jihadists arriving from the
Balkans, Afghanistan, the Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and even
Britain and France; and this influx of jihadists has certainly helped
to 'Islamicise' Chechen separatism.
There are clear links between the global Mujihadeen and Chechen
separatists. It is suspected that Shamil
Basayev, leader of a Chechen separatist group, played a part in
organising, or perhaps sanctioning, the Beslan school siege. He,
like other Chechen separatist leaders, is reported to be a veteran
of the Mujihadeen training camps in Afghanistan. These were
originally set up with American backing in the 1980s, to train Afghans,
Arabs and others to take on the invading Soviet army; US
officials estimate that between 1985 and 1992, 12,500 foreigners
were trained in bomb-making, sabotage, urban guerrilla warfare and
other military tactics in these CIA-sponsored camps. [...]
| SEOUL, South Korea Sept. 12, 2004
— The South Korean government said it was looking into a report
Sunday of a large explosion in the northern part of North Korea that
left a crater more than two miles wide.
The explosion happened at 11 a.m. Thursday in Yanggang province
near the border with China, according to the South Korea news agency
Yonhap cited unidentified sources, with one in Washington saying
the incident could be related to a natural disaster such as a forest
fire. It also cited a diplomatic source in Seoul as raising the
possibility of an accident or a nuclear test.
Yonhap later quoted Kim Jong-min, spokesman for the presidential
office, as saying:
"Currently, we are trying to find out in detail the exact
character, cause and size of the accident, but we don't think North
Korea conducted a nuclear test."
Although North Korea is believed to be developing nuclear weapons,
international experts would likely have been able to detect the
test if one had occurred several days ago.
"We understand that a mushroom-shaped cloud about 3.5- to
4-kilometer in diameter was monitored during the explosion,"
the source in Seoul told Yonhap. Yonhap described the source as
Four kilometers is about 2.5 miles.
The agency also quoted an unidentified government official as saying
there was seismic activity related to two blasts in North Korea
at 11 p.m. Wednesday and 1 a.m. Thursday.
Thursday was the anniversary of North Korea's founding on Sept.
9, 1948. Leader Kim Jong Il uses the occasion to stage performances
and other events to bolster loyalty among the impoverished North
Experts have speculated that North Korea might use a major anniversary
to conduct a nuclear-related test, but one analyst said an open
test, as opposed to one below ground, would be difficult in such
a small country.
"It's difficult to say, but it won't be easy for North Korea
to conduct a nuclear test without resulting in massive losses of
its own people," said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert in
Seoul. "I think there is a (greater) possibility that it is
a simple accident, rather than a deliberate nuclear test."
Yonhap's diplomatic source in Seoul said the explosion took place
"not far" from a military base that holds ballistic missiles.
North Korea, which has a large missile arsenal and more than a million
soldiers, is dotted with military installations.
The damage and crater left by the explosion in Kim Hyong Jik county
was big enough to be noticed by a satellite, a source in Beijing
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) —
A large explosion occurred in the northern part of North Korea,
sending a plume of smoke more than two miles wide into the air on
an important anniversary of the communist regime, a South Korean
news agency reported Sunday. Secretary of State Colin Powell said
the explosion Thursday was not a nuclear test but that it was not
known yet what caused it. [...]
The New York Times, quoting anonymous senior intelligence officials,
reported Sunday that President Bush and his top advisers had received
intelligence reports in recent days describing a confusing series
of actions by North Korea that some experts believed could indicate
the was preparing to conduct its first test explosion of a nuclear
The Times report quoted one official with access to the intelligence
as citing "a series of indicators of increased activity that
we believe would be associated with a test." The Times further
quoted the official as saying that the "likelihood" of
a North Korean test had risen significantly in just the past four
weeks. It was that changed assessment that led to the decision to
give an update to President Bush, the officials said.
The Times noted, however, that American intelligence agencies were
divided about the significance of the new North Korean actions,
with some saying they did not believe the actions were a harbinger
of a test.
| SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - A mushroom-shaped
cloud was seen in North Korea last Thursday following a large explosion,
a South Korean news agency reported Sunday.
The explosion in Kim Hyong Jik county produced a crater large enough
to be seen by a satellite, said the Yonhap news agency.
Kim Hyong Jik is reported to hold a major missile base.
The cloud measured 3.5 to 4 kilometres in diameter, an unidentified
diplomatic source told Yonhap .
Police in Paris have discovered
a fully equipped cinema-cum-restaurant in a large and previously
uncharted cavern underneath the capital's chic 16th arrondissement.
Officers admit they are at a loss to know who built or used one
of Paris's most intriguing recent discoveries.
"We have no idea whatsoever," a police spokesman said.
"There were two swastikas painted on the ceiling, but also
celtic crosses and several stars of David, so we don't think it's
extremists. Some sect or secret society, maybe. There are any number
Members of the force's sports squad, responsible - among other
tasks - for policing the 170 miles of tunnels, caves, galleries
and catacombs that underlie large parts of Paris, stumbled on the
complex while on a training exercise beneath the Palais de Chaillot,
across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.
After entering the network through a drain next to the Trocadero,
the officers came across a tarpaulin marked: Building site, No access.
Behind that, a tunnel held a desk and a closed-circuit TV camera
set to automatically record images of anyone passing. The mechanism
also triggered a tape of dogs barking, "clearly designed to
frighten people off," the spokesman said.
Further along, the tunnel opened into a vast 400 sq metre cave
some 18m underground, "like an underground amphitheatre, with
terraces cut into the rock and chairs".
There the police found a full-sized cinema screen, projection equipment,
and tapes of a wide variety of films, including 1950s film noir
classics and more recent thrillers. None of the films were banned
or even offensive, the spokesman said.
A smaller cave next door had been turned into an informal restaurant
and bar. "There were bottles of whisky and other spirits behind
a bar, tables and chairs, a pressure-cooker for making couscous,"
the spokesman said.
"The whole thing ran off a professionally installed electricity
system and there were at least three phone lines down there."
Three days later, when the police returned accompanied by experts
from the French electricity board to see where the power was coming
from, the phone and electricity lines had been cut and a note was
lying in the middle of the floor: "Do not," it said, "try
to find us."
The miles of tunnels and catacombs underlying Paris are essentially
former quarries, dating from Roman times, from which much of the
stone was dug to build the city.
Today, visitors can take guided tours around a tightly restricted
section, Les Catacombes, where the remains of up to six million
Parisians were transferred from overcrowded cemeteries in the late
But since 1955, for security reasons, it has been an offence to
"penetrate into or circulate within" the rest of the network.
There exist, however, several secretive bands of so-called cataphiles,
who gain access to the tunnels mainly after dark, through drains
and ventilation shafts, and hold what in the popular imagination
have become drunken orgies but are, by all accounts, innocent underground
The recent discovery of three newly enlarged tunnels underneath
the capital's high-security La Santé prison was put down
to the activities of one such group, and another, iden tifying itself
as the Perforating Mexicans, last night told French radio the subterranean
cinema was its work.
Patrick Alk, a photographer who has published a book on the urban
underground exploration movement and claims to be close to the group,
told RTL radio the cavern's discovery was "a shame, but not
the end of the world". There were "a dozen more where
that one came from," he said.
"You guys have no idea what's down there."
Charley, Frances and Ivan. Three major hurricanes.
Two assaults on Florida already and possibly a third by next week.
Get used to it. This is the new normal.
Scientists say we are in a period of enhanced hurricane activity
that could last for decades, ending a 24-year period of below-average
They add the law of averages has caught up with Florida, with
a change in atmospheric steering currents turning the state into
a hurricane magnet.
If Hurricane Ivan hits the state, it will be the first time since
1964 that three hurricanes smacked Florida in the same year.
And September and October tend to be among the most-active months
of the six-month hurricane season that ends Nov. 30.
"The season is still young," said Max Mayfield, director
of the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade County. "It
certainly seems from my perspective that we're in the active period
that has been predicted.
"The only surprise is that Florida hasn't been hit more often
in the last few years," Mayfield said.
Research Goldenberg conducted with NOAA scientist Chris Landsea,
private expert William Gray and others found distinct patterns of
low-activity hurricane periods and high-activity periods, each of
which endured for decades.
One period of "hyperactivity" ended in 1970 and was
followed by a 24-year lull.
The new period of heightened activity began in 1995 and could
last for another 10 to 30 years, according to Goldenberg's report,
which was peer-reviewed and published in 2001 in the prestigious
Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 08:05:18 AM local
time at epicenter, 35 km (20 miles) ESE of INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana.
Felt in the Indianapolis area.
Disastrous weather is set to continue for
at least another six months, it was officially announced yesterday,
as Hurricane Ivan headed for the Cayman Islands and Cuba after leaving
at least eight people dead in Jamaica.
The US government confirmed that a new El Niño is about
to strike, bringing torrential rain and droughts around the world.
Meanwhile, Ivan developed winds of 155mph. Jamaica escaped a direct
hit, but still suffered extensive damage. So far, at least 34 people
have lost their lives, mostly in Grenada.
Over the next two days both Tony Blair and Michael Howard - in
an unprecedented double act - will make major speeches describing
climate change as one of the greatest threats facing civilisation.
They will set out programmes for combating global warming, and call
for the rapid development of clean, renewable sources of energy.
Niños usually kill more people worldwide even than bad hurricane
years, and the announcement by the US government's National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) presages more natural and
human disasters stretching at least into the early months of next
"El Niño conditions have developed in the tropical
Pacific and are expected to last through early 2005," said
Jim Laver, director of the Noaa's Climate Prediction Centre.
During an El Niño, warm water flows eastwards
across the Pacific, bringing heavy rain to the US West Coast and
most of Central and South America. By contrast Australia, Indonesia
and parts of north-east and southern Africa usually suffer drought.
Europe is relatively unaffected.
The last big El Niño in 1997-98 cost
hundreds of lives and caused $34bn (£19bn) in damage worldwide,
partly through flooding to Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia and partly
through failing harvests in Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
A more recent, milder one in 2002-03 caused the worst Australian
drought in a century.
Well, that's interesting. Yesterday,
we ran an
article from CNN that mentioned that the estimated worldwide
damage from the 1997-98 El Niño was only $20 billion...
So far, the new one looks more like 2002-03 than 1997-98 but climatologists
stress that all are different. The oceanic phenomena, like hurricanes,
are growing more frequent. Research suggests
that they are occurring nearly three times as often as 300 years
ago, and some scientists believe that there is a link with global
Another week, another hurricane. Is this
Just about. The only time on record
that anything like this happened before was in 1947, when two
hurricanes and one tropical storm hit Florida within five weeks.
In the 38 years since 1966 only one hurricane - Andrew in 1992
- hit the state before last month.
Yes, since you ask. August saw a record number
of tropical storms so big that they were given names. Eight of
them. And the US suffered 173 tornadoes last month, easily outstripping
the previous record of 128.
Is this the end of it?
Unlikely. Friday marked the half-way point
in the hurricane season. Prof William Gray of Colorado
State University, one of the world's top hurricane forecasters,
predicts at least one more this month. But he foresees a quiet
October, partly because another disturbance - El Niño -
is gathering pace in the Pacific, and this tends to suppress hurricanes
in the Atlantic.
Haven't there been rather a lot of hurricanes over the last
Yes, indeed. The years since 1995 have been the
worst on record. And experts predict it will go on for decades
What's going on?
A combination of factors must combine to make a hurricane. These
include thunderstorms, distance from the Equator, and particular
wind conditions. But one of the most vital
is warm seawater: the Atlantic is very warm this year.
So it's all down to global warming?
Hard to say. There are natural cycles in the temperature of the
oceans. But most scientists agree that hurricanes will get stronger
as the world warms up. Whether they will be more frequent is a
much more open question.
Something strange is tugging at America's
oldest spacecraft. As the Pioneer 10 and 11 probes head towards
distant stars, scientists have discovered that the craft - launched
more than 30 years ago - appear to be in the grip of a mysterious
force that is holding them back as they sweep out of the solar system.
Some researchers say unseen 'dark matter' may permeate the universe
and that this is affecting the Pioneers' passage. Others say flaws
in our understanding of the laws of gravity best explain the crafts'
As a result, scientists are to press a European Space Agency (Esa)
meeting, called Cosmic Visions, in Paris this week for backing for
a mission that would follow the Pioneers and pinpoint the cause
of their erratic movements.
The strange behaviour of the Pioneers - which swept by Jupiter
and Saturn in the Eighties - was discovered by John Anderson and
Slava Turyshev of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and
Michael Martin Neito of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
They had been tracking the probes using the giant dishes of Nasa's
Deep Space Network. By the time the two spaceships had swept beyond
Pluto, they noted there were persistent anomalies in their trajectories.
Every time they looked the Pioneers were in the wrong place. The
effect was not large, but it was significant. Something more than
the Sun's gravity appeared to have a grip on the craft. [...]
Scientists believe they have located the part
of the brain where people's dreams are created.
A team from the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland, made
the discovery after treating a woman who stopped dreaming after
she had a stroke.
It had affected an area deep in the back of the brain - and they
suggest this is the area controlling dreaming.
The researchers, writing in the Annals of Neurology, say the finding
offers a new focus for dream research.
The 73-year-old patient lost a number of brain functions, mostly
related to vision, with her stroke.
Most came back after a few days - but she then stopped dreaming.
Before her stroke, she had dreamt three or four times a week.
The loss of the ability to dream - along with visual disturbances
- following damage to a specific part of the brain, is called Charcot-Wilbrand
syndrome, named after the eminent neurologists Jean-Martin Charcot
and Hermann Wilbrand, who first described it in the 1880s.
The syndrome is quite rare, especially cases that lack symptoms
other than dream loss.
The Swiss researchers decided to monitor the patient to try to
discover which part of the brain was affected in people with the
They monitored the woman's brainwaves for six weeks as she slept.
Her sleep was not disrupted, and she continued to have REM (rapid
eye movement) sleep as normal.
This is significant, because dreaming and REM sleep occur together,
although research has pointed to different brain systems underlying
The researchers say their findings appear to confirm that dreaming
and REM sleep are driven by independent brain systems.
Scans of the patient's brain showed the stroke had damaged areas
located deep in the back half of her brain.
Other studies have shown that some of this region is involved
in the visual processing of faces and landmarks, as well as the
processing of emotions and visual memories, a logical set of functions
for a brain area that would generate or control dreams.
After around a year, the patient did begin to have occasional
dreams, but no more than one per week.
She reported that her dreams were less vivid and intense than
they were before the stroke.
Writing in the Annals of Neurology, Dr Claudio Bassetti, of the
Department of Neurology at the University Hospital of Zurich in
Switzerland, who led the research, said: "How dreams are generated,
and what purpose they might serve, are completely open questions
at this point.
"These results describe for the first time in detail the
extent of lesion necessary to produce loss of dreaming in the absence
of other neurological deficits.
"As such, they offer a target for further study of the localisation
He added: "Further conclusions about this brain area and
its role in dreams will require more studies analysing dream changes
in patients with brain damage."
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