Signs Supplement: The Suicide Bombing Cycle
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
Everybody talks about mercy,
But they don't know the meaning of the word.
Fallujah is an Iraqi Beslan. The only difference is that the cameras
The city of 500,000 is being held hostage by an American leadership
who doesn't mind shedding the blood of innocent civilians to achieve
their broader political goals. That is the very definition of terrorism.
Since, the Marines were rebuffed last April in a three week siege
that killed an estimated 650 Iraqis, the military has repeatedly
bombed sections of Falluja using the spurious claim of targeting
terrorist "safe houses." Every
incident involved the wanton destruction of personal property and
the loss of innocent life.
These attacks are part of larger "psy-ops"
(psychological operation) strategy that requires the long-term terrorizing
of the population to make them more compliant to American wishes.
Certainly, the Chechen rebels should be taking notes if they want
to truly grasp the subtleties of a well-managed terrorist procedure.
If terrorism is not recorded on video, it doesn't exist. This
is the "great lesson" that the Dept of Defense gleaned
from our involvement in Vietnam. Nothing was learned about the moral
depravity of killing 3 million people and poisoning their land in
a blatant act of aggression. No, the lesson of Vietnam was simply
to keep the killing and maiming off American TVs.
As a result, Iraq has become a war on information
every bit as much as a war for vital resources. The reporting has
been so meticulously sanitized that it bears no resemblance to the
real horror we are unleashing against a defenseless civilian population.
It should surprise no one that Al Jazeera was expelled from Iraq.
Their coverage has been a major departure from the Pentagon narrative
that fills the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post.
Rather than provide apologetics for the hostilities, they have focused
their gaze on the suffering of normal people; people living without
power or clean water, people dealing with the daily struggle of
living in a war zone, people digging their family members out of
the ruins of a smoldering building.
This level of truth is anathema to the objectives of the empire.
As Beslan proves, it is impossible to carry on a campaign of terror
under the scrutiny of a camera lens.
Besides, America doesn't perpetrate terrorism. Our efforts in
Iraq are purely altruistic. We have come to "liberate";
to bring democracy to unwashed natives of a primitive third world
backwater and remove the scourge of WMD from a crazed tyrant.
Nonsense. The fear that engulfed Beslan, now cuts a wide swath
through Iraq enveloping everyone within its vice-like grip. Falluja
is just the most recent chapter in this campaign of terror.
BAGHDAD - More than 100 Iraqis
have been killed in some of the heaviest fighting in the country
Insurgents clashed with U.S. forces in the capital where nearly
40 died. The American military has also reported that fighting in
Tarar in eastern Iraq, wich began on Thursday, has left 51 dead.
There is no explanation, so far, why the fighting has erupted in
There are now surges of violence daily in towns
and cities across Iraq and there is little sign of the stability
promised by Washington and the interim Iraqi government.
| WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (Xinhuanet)
-- US Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted Sunday that the United
States miscalculated the difficulty in post-war Iraq and the insurgency
in the country would go on for some time.
"We did miscalculate the difficulty, but we are not miscalculating
the challenge we are facing now," Powell said in aninterview
with the Fox News Sunday program.
That is why the United States is leaving nearly 140,000 troops
in Iraq after the handover of sovereignty to the Iraqi interim government,
As for the insurgency in Iraq, Powell said "it will go on
for some time."
"This insurgency is not going to go away, but with the buildup
of Iraqi security forces ... increasingly, Iraq will be able to
deal with its own security problem, and I think the insurgency could
be brought down to a level, and I would like to see it go away entirely,"
"I want to see it defeated, but I think, over time, you will
see it being brought under control," Powell said.
Powell also defended the Iraq war launched by the Bush administration,
claiming that the war was justified by toppling the Saddam Hussein
"We did the right thing at the right place and the right
time to get rid of that dictator and to give the Iraqi people a
chance for peace," Powell said.
More than a year after the end of the Iraq war, the United States
has failed to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,a major
excuse for US President George W. Bush to go to war in Iraq.
this day three years ago a total of 2,973 people died in America
at the hands of 19 Islamic terrorists in the most devastating domestic
attack the US had ever experienced (the War of 1812 only killed
2,260 Americans, even although the Brits burned down the White House).
The 9/11 event was immediately denounced as an act of war, which
it was (though by whom?), and the Bush administration quickly promised
constant war against terrorist "evil" in reply, a notion
the president continues to re-iterate.
But Americans have yet to be offered 9/11 in any historical context.
Indeed, any discussion of terrorism as acts of war that is not 100%
condemnatory is branded as unpatriotic. Because of this, U.S. citizens
are missing important truths and cannot weight the attack of three
years ago in any sensible way.
It is curious, too, that trying to find a detailed analysis of
the 9/11 deaths is a difficult task. On the world wide web, the
most recent breakdown of the figures come from an article in a newspaper
in Iowa. Is there a reluctance because the total, almost never stated
precisely but at 3000, does not quite blend with the hysterical
invective that still blurs discussion about its implications?
In historical terms of war casualties worldwide, 9/11 was a relatively
minor event. But because for two centuries Americans have lived
invulnerably, protected by two vast oceans and confident no foreigners
could invade or even bomb them, the Sept 11 carnage was psychologically
catastrophic. Americans said it changed the world, but in fact Americans,
or the US government, are making the most changes.
Some comparisons: From September to May 1941-42, the Nazi bombing
blitz on Britain killed 40,000, all civilians and 5,000 of them
children. At that rate Americans would have to experience identical
9/11s once a week for over three months to equal Britain's suffering.
America's worst losses of its own were in the Civil War (1861-65),
when a total of 214,938 on both sides died in combat. But in the
early hours of one day, March 10, 1945, more than 300 US B-29 planes
fire-bombed Tokyo in a meticulously planned air-raid that incinerated
108,000 Japanese in their homes. Of those, 88,000 were never identified
and all were civilians, many children.
Turning to larger statistics of World War II (some of which do
vary), we find megadeath. The number of Chinese civilians who died
was 7.75 million; Soviet Union, 7 million; Germany, 2.75 million;
Japan, 672,000. Then there is a zero -- the United States lost no
civilians, say some statistics. Others put it at 6,000, but those
were non-military citizens killed abroad, not at home.
World War I was the notorious charnel house. On July 1, 1916 on
the first day of the battle of the Somme, opver 20,000 British soldiers
were killed, mostly by German machine guns. It was the worst disaster
in British military history. In the navy battle of Jutland on May
31, 1916, the Brits lost 6,097 sailors and 14 ships, with the Germans
suffering "only" 2,551 deaths and 11 ships for a day's
total of 8,648 dead.
But what about those sissy French? Between August 4, 1914, the
first day of the war, and the 29th of that month, 260,000 French
soldiers had perished. By the autumn the French had lost more men
than the whole of the US army's deaths in the entire 20th century.
The US lost 47,752 military personnel in the Vietnam war (1964-73)
and another 33,629 in Korea (1950-53). Its total killed in combat
in World War II was 292,000, more than Britain, which lost 264,000.
But 2.05 million Chinese military were killed and 1.3 million Japanese.
These were set wars, it may be said, and the "war" against
terror is not so formalised. True, but again no statistics are offered.
For instance, although the terrorist "Troubles" in Northern
Ireland lasted from 1969 to 1998, the total killed on all sides
exceeded 9/11 by 495, for a total of 3,468 in a part of the UK with
only a population of 1.5 million, about the same as Manhattan, during
If we are seeking civilian deaths on 9/11 we should exclude the
Pentagon's 125 deaths. Not all of them were in uniform, but official
web sites are poor on any breakdown. Removing them all drops the
total to 2,848, a shocking number to be sure, and one which offers
for the bereaved no comfort in comparison.
But that is not the point. It is that the world is a shockingly
violent place and Americans should be advised of this.
Professor Rudolph Rummel, of the University of Hawaii and formerly
Yale, is the acknowledged expert on what he calls "domicide"
or death by government. These are killings brought about by official
orders or policies of governments whether or not elected democratically
(and the worst are usually not).
In his book called Death
by Government (1994 Transaction Publishers, NJ), Dr Rummel estimates
that the world domicide total from 1945 to the end of the last century
was over 80 million. That figure may include acts of genocide, but
does not take in deaths by famine. It exceeds by five times the
international total killed in World War II, and in that war far
more civilians perished than people in uniform.
Meanwhile President Bush is claiming that his wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq have made not only the US, but the world "a safer
place" from terrorism. Unfortunately this is not true.
The world total for 2002 was about 750 people killed. Last year
it was around 650. This year it already exceeds 1,000, including
the recent deaths in the Russian school, the 191 killed in Madrid
in March, and the 271 in the Shiite festival in Iraq the same month.
None of this should detract from the solemnity of today's anniversary.
But the figures offered above should be marked, as well as the 9/11
Christopher Reed can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
[Editors' Note: We have some minor
quibbles with a few of Christopher Reed's numbers, in an otherwise
edifying column. Military
deaths during the Civil War are generally recorded at being somewhere
between 620,000 and 700,000, a figure which rightly includes deaths
of the wounded, prisoners-of-war and by disease. Add in civilian
casualties and the Civil War death toll probably exceeds 1.25 million.
By one estimate, one-in-ten American families suffered a casualty
in that bloodfest. On one September day alone, more than 22,000
fell on a field in Maryland called Antietam--8
times the number of casualties of 9/11. Pearl Harbor also deserves
mention in any tally of attacks on America. On that December day
in 1941, 2,403
Americans died, including 68 civilians. The death count was
slightly less than the 9/11 attacks, but the American population
was then roughly half of its present size. The events of 1812, lost
in the misty corridors of history to many, remain fresh in the minds
of both the Cockburn and St. Clair households. Cockburn's relative,
George Cockburn, sacked Washington and feasted off of Dolly
Madison's china, while the relatives of Kimberly Willson-St. Clair
hosted Little Jimmy Madison and Dolly in the Maryland countryside
(now buried under subdivisions) on their flight from Washington,
set aflame by Cpt. Cockburn's torch-wielding terrorists/liberators.
JERUSALEM, Sept. 13 (Xinhuanet)
-- If not obstructed in its pursuit of atomic programs, Tehran will
be able to develop nuclear weapons by early next year, local newspaper
Ha'aretz quoted Israeli military intelligence chief as saying Monday.
"If the processes continue as we are currently seeing them,
the coming half year will determine whether Iran will achieve in
spring 2005 an unconventional capability in the sphere of nuclear
research and development," Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash was quoted
as saying in a Sunday speech to the Israeli-Jordanian Chamber of
"That is to say, it will no longer require external aid to
reach an unconventional capability," the official added.
However, "this does not mean that it will have a bomb in
2005. It means that it will have all the means at its disposal to
build a bomb," he said.
Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces Moshe Ya'alon said
Sunday that Iran's attempt to achieve nuclear weapons is not only
a challenge to Israel but also to the Western world, and its attempt
to obtain unconventional weapons spells disaster for the stability
of the Middle East.
The United States has accused the Islamic republic of pursuing
nuclear programs secretly for years, a charge repeatedly denied
Instead, Iran claims that its nuclear ambitions are of a pure
Iran is now trying to take its nuclear issue off the meeting agenda
of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors,
which kicked off Monday in its headquarters in Vienna.
| The revival of a Cold War elite committee
says a lot about how far Washington's neocons are willing to go to
keep Americans in a state of fear and perpetual war, writes Sam J
On 20 July, we were witness to
a second resurrection of the "Committee on the Present Danger"
(CPD), an organisation with two previous incarnations. Who are these
people who seek a third life, and what are their objectives?
The identity of the honorary co- chairs of CPD-III provides a clue
as to its orientation: Senators Joseph Lieberman and Jon Kyl. Positioning
one member of each of the two major political parties at the helm
continues the tradition from earlier committees, CPD-I from 1950
and CPD-II from 1976. This bi-partisan alliance is yet another example
which belies the two party system in US politics; there are minimal
What explains this Cold War relic surfacing again? Speculation
runs the gamut from the need to find an institutional bastion for
the so called "neocons", should George W Bush be defeated
in the forthcoming election, to an anchor for the battle of the
soul of the conservative movement between the ideologues of US pre-emptive
hegemony, such as Norman Podhoretz, Kenneth Edelman and Max Kampelman,
and the so- called traditional, pragmatic, less interventionist
conservatives, represented by Colin Powell, Alexander Haig, Zbigniew
Brzezinski and Robert Gates.
As CPD-III lays claim to the legacy of its predecessors, let us
go back a bit and trace out that heritage.
The common thread of CPD-I, II and III is the perception by elements
of the US elite that major threats loom that the general population
fails to fully comprehend. This has led, the theory runs, to a dangerous,
potentially catastrophic lack of support for what they see as the
necessary defensive response. CPD-I was led by Harvard University
President James B Connant after his return from his European diplomatic
assignment. Parenthetically, one of Connant's lieutenants while
in Europe was the father of US presidential hopeful Senator John
Kerry of Massachusetts.
With the support of then Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Assistant
Secretary of State Edward R Barnett said it would be necessary to
initiate a "psychological scare campaign" directed at
the American people. It has been suggested that CPD-I was initiated
to preserve the good name of "anti- communism", which
was being caricatured by the antics of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
The fear was that if McCarthy maintained his dominance of the anti-
communist movement it would result in a diminution of the Soviet
threat in the eyes of the American people.
CPD-I functioned on the basis of what was then called "ExSET"
(Expanding Soviet Empire Theory). Policies flowing from this theory
were designed to destabilise the USSR via a military build-up, economic
isolation and peripheral insurgencies. It maintained vigorous opposition
to any and all Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I and II) with
the Soviet Union. It took any such talks as a sign of US weakness.
Among early members was Jay Lovestone, former leader of the "City
College faction" of the American Communist Party who was purged
and subsequently became the backbone of anti-communism within the
American trade union movement.
CPD-II resurfaced formally in 1976, led by Eugene V Rostow and
Paul Nitze, the latter having authored National Security Council
document NSC-68, which called for a massive military build up against
the Soviets and the maintenance of US global hegemony.
The resurfacing evolved out of a group organised by George Bush
Sr, who then headed the CIA, and was authorised by President Gerald
Ford. This group was known as "Plan B". The group was
led by Richard Pipes and Paul Nitze and included Paul Dundes Wolfowitz,
four Generals and the Rand Corporation, among others.
The political anchor of the group was The Coalition for a Democratic
Majority, led by right wing hawks of the US Senate from the Democratic
Party such as Henry "Scoop" Jackson, who believed that
communism was the great evil and had to be obliterated and replaced
by global "democracy", plus Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
While the Democrats were in the majority they were joined by those
of similar persuasion from the ranks of the Republican Party; the
initial number totalling 193 members. To this list were added UN
Ambassador Jeanne J Kirkpatrick and Ronald Reagan, who became a
member of the Executive Committee in 1979.
During the administration of President Jimmy Carter, CPD-II considered
itself under siege as his foreign policy shifted away from US unilateralism
towards what was then characterised as "trilateralism";
a movement originating with the Trilateral Commission of which Carter
as governor of Georgia was a member, and where he encountered Zbigniew
Brzezinski, who became his national security adviser.
Trilateralism placed a renewed emphasis on strategic consultations
between the US, Japan and Europe, and saw arms limitation agreements
with the Soviet Union as being in American interests. Both aspects
of this policy were seen as anathema by CPD-II. Founding member
William R Van Cleave said "arms control had a depressant effect
not only on our military programmes but also on our ability to deal
with the Soviets. It has totally muddled our thinking." In
other words, arms control suggests that we in the "democratic
world" accept the existence of the USSR.
The Carter policy was reversed under the first Reagan administration
with the inclusion of 33 CPD- II members, with more than 20 of them
strategically placed in the national security apparatus. Included
in this group were Claire Booth Luce, former ambassador to Italy
in the late 1940s and the architect of undermining the impending
Communist Party electoral victory in that country. Others included
Donald Rumsfeld, Richard V Allen, as national security adviser,
and Ray Cline, deputy CIA director, with links to the World Anti-Communist
League, and academics such as the University of Pennsylvania's Robert
Added to this group, under the influence of Jay Lovestone were
prominent members of the US trade union movement; the heads of the
AFL-CIO, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, the Amalgamated
Clothing Workers Union, the American Federation of Teachers, the
Iron Workers International Union and the International Union of
Operating Engineers. Other labour affiliated groups included the
A Philip Randolph Institute, the Free Trade Union Institute, the
African-American Labor Center, the Asian-American Free Labor Institute,
the Bayard Rustin Fund, the League for Industrial Democracy, the
Social Democrats of the USA, Freedom House, the International Rescue
Committee and the National Democratic Institute for International
Not to be left out, the corporate sector was represented by Hewlett-
Packard, the Potomac International Corporation, Concept Associates,
Goldman-Sachs Investments, Gateway National Bank, Time Inc, Reader's
Digest, Digital Recording, Prudential Insurance, Nichols Co, International
Bank and Honeywell.
Bringing up the rear, were the think tanks, including the Hudson
Institute, the Rand Corporation, the Hoover Institution on War,
Revolution and Peace, the Brookings Institution, the Center for
Strategic and International Studies, and the Middle East Institute
of Columbia University.
Initial funding came from David Packard of Hewlett-Packard, followed
by grants from three foundations linked to Richard Mellon Scaife,
of Gulf Oil, totalling $300,000 from 1973 to 1981, from 1984 a sustaining
group of 1,100 contributors. If this is any consolation, individual
contributions were limited to $10,000 per year.
As can be seen, the skeleton group of the 1950s developed into
a full-blown bi-partisan elite of the most bellicose elements within
US political life. With the implosion of the Soviet Union in the
late 1980s the driving force of many CPD-II members seemed to wane.
That the US was elevated to the position of sole remaining superpower
was self evident and its hegemony understood by all. NATO under
American guidance had broken Yugoslavia, advanced to the borders
of European Russia and established a military presence in Central
Two phenomena combined have led to the third life of CPD. One was
the emergence of an increasing divergence within Europe from the
tactical and strategic goals of the US, under the slogan of "multi-polarity",
joined by a preliminary realignment of China and Russia around the
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. To this are added the so-called
pariah states of Iran, Syria, Libya, the DPR of Korea, Cuba, Vietnam,
Laos and Cambodia; a broad and tenuous alliance of states in one
way or another hostile to the US. The sole commonality between them
is a desire to inhibit US intervention in their domestic polities
and dilute the power of its hegemony. This was an irritant to US
policymakers, but not sufficient to regenerate the CPD. If we combine
this with the totally unanticipated response to the invasion of
Iraq, the chemistry seems right.
What has terrified hawks who have morphed into "chicken- hawks"
(defined as those prepared to sacrifice others when they themselves
avoided military service) is the increasing alienation of the entire
Muslim world in tandem with the acts of terrorism from an amorphous
adversary under the misnomer "Al-Qaeda". While we have
not yet reached the state where "the enemy of my enemy is my
friend", multiple groups have emerged which reinforce the challenge
to US global domination. It is within this context that CPD-III
The primary fear of CPD-III's initiators is that a growing anti-war
sentiment in the US will weaken America's historical resolve to
undertake the arduous task of maintaining its global dominance.
As the two honorary chairs of CPD- III, Senators Lieberman (Democrat)
and Kyl (Republican) have argued, we must not permit a political
undertow (read anti-war sentiment) in the US to "wash out the
recent gains" of the invasion of Iraq. CPD-III's line continues:
"too many people are insufficiently aware of our enemy's evil
worldwide designs which include waging jihad against all Americans
and re-establishing a totalitarian religious empire in the Middle
East", and the war against it is the "test of our time".
In their mission statement it is explicitly stated that reform must
be supported "in regions threatening to export terror".
It is important to note that regions which do not export terror
are not worthy of mention.
Consistent with previous CPDs, support for "decisive victory"
must be built against what one of the 41 CPD-III adherents, Frank
Gaffney, calls "islamofascism". This is not just a political
creed; it has taken on a form of religious zealotry. Kenneth Edelman,
another member of the 41-strong CPD-III has argued that it is our
duty and destiny to eliminate totalitarian threats from radical
Islam, while Midge Decter, a current and past member of CPD, has
cautioned that it is time for Americans to understand that they
have been chosen by providence.
Until now I have scrupulously avoided mention of a lateral issue
of significance -- the Israeli connection to CPD. Six of the 41
current members of CPD-III overlap in membership with the Likud-
oriented Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA),
Middle East Forum or the US Committee for a Free Lebanon. The linchpin
in this relationship is Michael Ledeen, comrade-in- arms with Oliver
North in the Iran-Contra affair, with David Kimche, in the release
of US hostages from Lebanon, with Morris Amitay, of the American-Israel
Public Affairs Committee, and Francesco Pazienza of the Italian
secret police, SISMI. Ledeen, a founding member of JINSA who has
recently argued for "regime change" in Iran, Syria and
Lebanon, holds to the view that violence is the essence of history
and boasts that "creative destruction is our [America's] middle
name". Currently resident at the right wing think-tank, the
American Enterprise Institute, he may be characterised as the theologian
of the neocons. Parenthetically, he has also called for a purge
of "environmental wackos and radical feminazos". It appears
clear that the invasion of Iraq, the war on terror, proposed action
against Lebanon, Syria and Iran are motivated in large part by the
perverse view that Israel is best defended with these policies.
In a recent article by Laura Rozen posted on Altnet, the funding
sources for CPD-III are identified. They include Edgar Bronfman,
president of the World Jewish Congress, Charles and Andrea Bronfman
of Seagrams, Bernard Marcus of Home Depot, Leonard Ambramson of
US Healthcare, the Judy and Michael Steinhardt Foundation, Dale
Feith, father of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, and the
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, among others. There
is an apparent link between these benefactors and the Foundation
for the Defense of Democracies, which was initiated to improve Israel's
public relations in the US and gain support for the Israeli reaction
to the Al-Aqsa Intifada .
| Republicans beat the drums of war in New
York and a gang of criminals butcher impoverished Nepalese workers
in Iraq. The contrived clash of civilisations is becoming all too
real, warns Azmi Bishara
| The world seemed to have gone entirely
insane over the past two weeks, but when the UN Security Council convened
suddenly it was not because of this, nor for any apparent reason having
to do with international peace and security. Certainly it did not
meet to discuss the collapse of state and society in Iraq and Palestine,
where, only last week, I was unable to get to the West Bank town of
Hebron, what with the road having been blocked for nearly two years
with barricades of rubble set up by the occupation army.
The Security Council did meet, however, to discuss constitutional
amendments in Lebanon, where there have been no military hostilities,
no dead or wounded.
Evil seems to be extending its dominion in the world, and the politics
of war drums, hypocrisy and deception are its kingdom. It is hardly
necessary to put readers through a survey of the madness; they are
already turning their faces away from the television screens in
disgust. However, the link between the warmongering Republican convention,
Kerry's hypocrisy and dissemblance, and Chirac's familiar, if peculiarly
non-political, motives for mobilising the Security Council against
Syria, defies reason. Ideology, sociological paradigms and other
such analytical tools have ceded to a hazy impressionism. And the
impression that so overwhelms feelings as to paralyse the intellect
is that the kingdom of evil is coming into its own through the popular
consumption of virtually everything; through show biz and the beatific
awe before the media spectacle; through the routine, automatic and
axiomatic acceptance of self-interest as the prime mover of politics
and of the lie as one of its main instruments; through the imposition
of identity politics -- the so-called clash of civilisations --
upon the world in a manner that leaves impressionists almost believing
that this war is real, and not just a fabrication or form of propaganda.
I should stress, however, that what we are facing here is not so
much a clash of civilisations as a clash between those who seek
to impose such a confrontation and those who reject it. The clash
of civilisations has not yet prevailed; what predominates is the
battle over whether such a confrontation should prevail or not.
To any democratically minded person, this should represent the crux
of the conflict in the world today.
Over there, on the side of the barricade that is bent on forcing
a clash of civilisations upon the world, the Republican Party circus
must have been inspired by some nightmarish Hollywood script, with
confused genres; a combination of fascist war rally, a chest-thumping,
jingoistic mobilisation drive and an Oscar awards ceremony, albeit
in more modest dress.
The prevailing rhetoric of the convention embraced lies and fabrication
as legitimate political tools. So, naturally, there could be no
soul-searching over non-existent WMD or the non-existent relationship
between Saddam and Al- Qaeda, even as front and back row apologists
hailed the liberation of Iraq from a cruel dictatorship. As with
every rigid belief system, the escape route from having its lies
exposed and its premises shaken is a deft verbal tap dance performed
to a few simple but catchy refrains, each stacked with powerful
emotive symbols and connotations guaranteed to bring all logic to
a grinding halt: "True, we didn't find any WMD, but that man
we dragged out from the pit in which he was hiding was the worst
type of WMD."
A cheap literary device, but not all that different from some of
the pronouncements we hear from the Left, which neither construct
an argument or refute others, but rather use metaphor and image
to hit directly at the visceral and stultify the intellect.
Here's another oft-repeated refrain from the Republican conference:
"Maybe there is no relationship between Iraq and Al-Qaeda,
just as there was no relationship between Nazi Germany and Pearl
Try to come up with an answer to that one.
If you succeed, please turn to the following: "Perhaps we
had no immediate cause to go to war, but America has to choose between
war on its own land and war on their land." Here we have an
obvious campaign ploy that plays on fear and, specifically, on the
division between "us" and "them". Take another
that deceptively plays on the "us" versus "them"
dichotomy: "They understood that America will not take terrorism
lying down. They understood that the fate of Saddam Hussein is the
end. That's why Libya disarmed."
Such was the tenor of a convention clamouring for the perpetuation
of war, in spite of the fact that some of the speakers propelled
to the podium during prime time were billed as "moderate".
Among these were "Arnie" -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, who
else? -- who conjured up takes from his films in an "objective"
portrayal of the war on terrorism, starring Bush. It will not have
escaped the astute reader that the Herculean Bush had used his father's
strings to keep from going to Vietnam. But that little fact would
never bother a convention that had long since buried the relationship
between truth and politics as one buries a dead donkey's malodorous
and putrefying corpse. There is no such relationship, declared the
convention whose moral substance consisted of no more than fodder
for the paranoiac "us" versus "them".
The Bush campaign team deftly succeeded in convincing people that
Kerry, a Vietnam War hero who took part in the anti-war demonstrations
after he was discharged, was a lily-livered coward, while casting
Bush, who evaded combat, as a stouthearted hero. So up steps sliver
screen star Arnie, from the Republicans' arsenal of PR tools, to
say, as though reciting the lines from one of his films: America
is back from the terrorist strike and the economic strike... thanks
to a single man: the 43rd president of the United States... He is
a man of internal strength. He doesn't blink, he doesn't flinch,
he doesn't back down. He knows that talking to terrorists rationally
and logically doesn't work, and that he has to defeat them.
Was this not a Hollywood promotional short complete with the sonorous
voice-over as action shots flash across the screen?
For all his "moderation," Schwarzenegger, who has said
that terrorism is worse than communism, was not an exception to
the rule in that convention of saber-rattling against "them"
and of the glorification of "us", albeit the latter was
occasionally played down with a charming self-effacing wit. The
victorious can afford a little fun-making when it's all in the family.
Indeed, this is what must have inspired the idea of getting the
twin daughters up to the podium right after their father's acceptance
address to say, "Isn't he awesome?" -- a line they delivered
in the tone of the wide- eyed adolescent female admiring muscle-bound
masculinity with a touch of flirtatious mock awe. From their opening
words to the end of their speech, the twins embodied the light-hearted
mirth that is now permitted in modern conservative circles as a
way to prove that conservatives have evolved. The twins were the
Republican convention's potent answer to Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry's
presentation of their father. Their speech consisted of a series
of cute sarcastic remarks of the sort children tell about grownups,
thereby earning themselves indulgent pats on the head from the sober
and respectable subjects of their barbs. And the girls' jabs at
their elders' unfamiliarity with the latest pop screen stars and
singers, and their discomfort about sex were oh so side-splittingly
funny: "Our grandmother Barbara thinks that Sex in the City
is what married people do but don't talk about."
Ha! Ha! Ha! Doesn't this make for a nice, light dose of teenage
insolence that can be sprayed into the conference hall like so much
air-freshener? Of course, there is always the danger that you spray
too much, which can also produce another brand of head-splitting
stink. What you need is cute insolence that stops seconds short
of causing embarrassment or shock. It transpires that the correct
dosage and timing for the twins' "extemporaneous" comedy
routine was scripted to order by none other than Bush's adviser,
the not so young Karen Hughs.
But, cheap taste reached its peak -- or rather its depth -- when
Laura Bush and Lynne Cheney ascended to the podium at the end of
the convention. One wore a red dress, the other a blue one, in the
same bold hues as the American flag. Germany's leaders during WWII
had clearly lacked such imagination. The good wives of the Republican
running mates are not just supposed to be adoring fixtures at their
husbands' sides, speakers at charities and family value gatherings,
and testifiers to their husbands' abundant milk of human kindness,
of which Laura Bush tried to convince her audience in her convention
speech, also ghost written by another Bush adviser. No, they must
also serve as the physical embodiment of the patriotic veneration
of the American flag, and in the most blatantly literal and flagrantly
kitsch manner imaginable, through their colour-coordinated outfits.
These are the trappings of patriotism, the esthetics of war.
Perhaps readers might recall the other no less embarrassing and
no less crude face of this particular symbolism. It is to be found
on the other side of the civilisational clash, where speakers' trample
on the American flag on their way to and from the podium -- minus,
of course, all the coloured spotlights, balloons, glitter and elephant
On the "other side" -- the " us vs them" --
a gang of criminals, who have hijacked Islamic symbols and idiom,
murdered 12 Nepalese. They recited religious formulae while slaughtering
innocent people, in spite of the Islamic prohibition against murder.
It is as though a new religion is being created to the tune of the
clash of civilisations, one that has no bearing whatsoever on the
Islam millions of people know, a mock Islam that sanctifies ritual
murder. Because, why else would these thugs recite "God is
great" while slaughtering fellow human beings in front of video
Over the action-packed past two weeks, one's tired mind could only
reel at the brutality and bloodthirsty callousness; at the hypocrisy
and perfidy that went along with them. Twelve Nepalese were murdered
-- only the Devil knows why. One had his head cut off, the others
were shot. These Nepalese workers, who had been sent to Iraq by
a Jordanian firm to work for a Japanese company, make up almost
half of the 26 hostages who have been executed in Iraq since the
beginning of the occupation, although the horrifying images suggest
a higher toll.
What distinguishes the deaths of the Nepalese is the silence; their
murder was as quiet as is their native country in international
affairs. Nepal is a very poor country. It has a per capita annual
income of $1,200. It has a Maoist revolutionary movement, a constitutional
monarchy and widespread abject poverty. Perhaps the last time readers
came across Nepal in the news was when the whole royal family was
killed during an attack on the royal palace on 1 June 2001. Barely
a word was uttered in response to the horrifying slaughter of the
12 Nepalese workers, although Katmandu was quickly placed under
curfew because angry popular demonstrations erupted against Islam
and Muslims, during which the city's mosque was set on fire and
police killed two demonstrators.
Why did no one speak out, in even so much as a whisper? Why were
there no appeals for mercy made to the kidnappers? National leaders,
Islamic movements and even Palestinians in Israeli prisons issued
appeals to the kidnappers to spare the lives of the French journalists.
Why did not a single movement that claims to defend the oppressed
and downtrodden issue an appeal on behalf of the poor Nepalese workers?
Because, in the context of the clash of cultures and civilisations
the movements supposedly championing the poor and downtrodden do
not have a particle of the liberation morality that characterised
liberation movements in the past.
How one misses, in today's contexts, the political and even ideological
rhetoric of the democratic and progressive movements of the past.
Many who came to the defence of the kidnapped French journalists
maintained that their stance was based on the fact that France is
a friend of the Arabs. It did not occur to them to base their stance
on the moral ground that it is simply wrong to kill another human
being, and especially one who is helpless, innocent and at the mercy
of his captors.
Are we to understand that the citizens of countries that are friends
to the Arabs should enjoy some form of immunity while the citizens
of countries who are not are legitimate bait for kidnapping and
murder? The inability or the refusal to distinguish between the
citizen and the state is one of the salient traits of the wars of
identity and the clash of civilisations. Advocates of the rights
of the South against discrimination by the North, of resistance
against Western imperialism and occupation, are shooting themselves
in the foot if they believe that death has a value only when the
victims are Western or white, or the citizens of powerful nations
whether black or white.
Meanwhile, it appears Nepalese or Egyptian workers and the like
have no value, in death as in life, from the perspective of these
movements that claim that France is the Arabs' friend. Nepal is
not an enemy of the Arabs and France is not just a friend of the
Arabs. Above all, what does any of this have to do with the life
or death of a French or Nepalese citizen who has been taken captive?
The image of the corpses of the Nepalese workers tossed carelessly
face down into a pit has cast everything into a profound nihilistic
gloom. It is amazing the extent to which America's war of civilisations
has won, and what a horrifying victory it has been.
Could someone please tell us how resistance against the occupation
has taken the form of a knife against the throats of poor workers
from the East? It is very difficult to connect the dots between
the US occupation and imperialism and the death of 12 Nepalese,
who were neither combatants nor caught by accident in the vicinity
of an explosion, but deliberately and brutally murdered with their
hands tied behind their backs. Twelve Nepalese not only met meaningless
and gruesome death; they were treated as little more than animals,
by their kidnappers and by Arab public opinion, including the self-proclaimed
leaders of the battle against the various forms of colonialism and
Elsewhere, some 400 students along with some of their captors were
killed in a school in Beslan in North Ossetia. Once again, the hostage
takers hid behind innocents, as was the case with the siege of a
Moscow theatre three years ago. Once again, too, Putin, the Russian-style
Republican, demonstrated that great nations could be ruled by gangs
of thugs who have no respect for human life, place no value on human
death and have no regard for the fate of the individual.
Putin's forces attacked the school, but not with the poison gas
that killed all the 133 dead in the Moscow theatre in October 2002,
apart from two who were shot. Putin has committed major crimes --
the destruction of Grozny and Chechnya in general wrought nothing
less than wholesale genocide. Nevertheless, rather than being regarded
as a war criminal he is hailed by leaders throughout the world as
an important fellow leader.
On the other hand, what were supposed freedom fighters doing in
a children's school at the beginning of the scholastic year? They
were being transformed into barbarians. They were transforming their
struggle into tribal warfare. They were reaffirming the neo-con
culture-clash premise by mimicking the very image that the proponents
of that clash ascribe to them.
One of the greatest challenges faced by any self- respecting democratic
force, Arab or non-Arab, Islamic or not Islamic, is to bring a halt
to this process by which people are being transformed into mimics
of their ascribed roles in a putative clash of civilisations. Failing
this, they might well wake up to find that the clash of civilisations
has become all too real, and it is they that have become putative
AMSTERDAM - Dutch authorities says they have
arrested more suspects in a plot to attack key sites in the country,
including Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.
Last week Dutch prosecutors said they had uncovered plans for
the attacks. They identified Schiphol, one of Europe's busiest airports,
as a target, along with a nuclear power plant, the country's Parliament
building and the Defence Ministry in The Hague.
The plot came to light after police searched the home of a teenager
who was arrested in June in connection with an armed robbery investigation.
They found evidence linking him to plans for an unspecified attack.
Neither the Dutch Justice Ministry, nor the police prosecutors
have commented on the new arrests.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Protesters angered
at President Hamid Karzai's sacking of a warlord governor in the
west of the country ransacked U.N. compounds and clashed with security
forces today, leaving as many as three people dead and dozens wounded,
including several U.S. troops who were hit with stones.
Interior Minister spokesperson Latfullah Mashal said there were
The U.S.-backed interim leader, facing a fresh security crisis
ahead of Oct. 9 elections that already are threatend by Taliban
militants, denounced the rioting and said he would deal with it
Angry protestors took to the streets after yesterday's announcement
that Gov. Ismail Khan, the regional strongman, had been "promoted"
to a Cabinet post in the capital.
Mobs chanting slogans against the government
and in favour of Khan turned their wrath on the United Nations,
storming and looting two of its compounds and forcing its staff
to flee to an American military base.
At least one U.N. vehicle and a guard house were set ablaze, spokesman
Manoel de Almeida e Silva said.
The U.S. soldiers were injured by rocks as they helped evacuate
dozens of U.N. staff and relief workers to their small base in the
city, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said.
Afghan police and soldiers trying to control
the crowd fired shots and wounded as many as 10 people, Mashal said,
claiming the soldiers fired into the air and killed no one.
But the provincial health chief said later that
three people were fatally injured, including a 15-year-old boy.
"His family came to the hospital this afternoon and we handed
over the body," Mohammed Omar Samim said.
Samim said 51 more were wounded, including one patient in a critical
condition. Most suffered bullet wounds, he said. "The surgeons
will work through the night.''
The deputy director of the city's main hospital, Khalid Ahmad
Tawakul, said he had seen the bodies of two young men. [...]
Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's
claims, there's precious little evidence that the massacre of the
schoolchildren at Beslan was masterminded by or was assisted in
any significant way by either Al Qaeda or by Islamic terrorists.
There may have been a couple of "foreigners" among the
hostage-takers and others may have provided planning advice and
technical know-how. But the deed was essentially domestic. Chechen
rebels were lashing back at the Russians for the harshness of their
In one fundamental respect, though, what the Chechens did and
what Islamic terrorists did three years ago in the 9/11 attacks—
also before then and, of course, many times since — are one
and the same.
These are acts of unabashed, unapologetic evil.
These are not acts of war, as when fighters on one side, whether
regular soldiers or guerrillas, kill fighters on the other side
(whether justifiably or not in political and historic terms being
entirely another matter).
They are not acts of murder, as when these fighters kill civilians.
They are not even "merely" war crimes.
They are manifestations of the force of evil in human affairs.
Doubts have been raised that Indonesian police
received a warning via SMS of the Jakarta bombing 45 minutes before
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said today
an Australian businessman had contacted the AFP advising them that
he had learned third-hand of the possibility of an SMS message being
received by local police.
Mr Keelty said he had raised the issue with the chief of the Indonesian
national police, but the chief was unaware of the claim.
"The Indonesian national police quite rightly now are chasing
down that information," Mr Keelty told ABC radio.
"They have the name of the so-called Indonesian police officer
who purportedly had this information.
"Obviously, it needs to be chased down because there is a
potential indication that someone might have known something before
the bombing occurred."
Asked whether he felt that it was far from
hard evidence, Mr Keelty said: "That is exactly right."
Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander
Downer have both mentioned the SMS message in public statements
since the bombing.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd, who attended
meetings with Mr Downer at which the allegation was raised, said
there were conflicting accounts about it.
"There was genuine uncertainty on the part of our Indonesian
counterparts as to what precisely this SMS was supposed to be and
what precisely it was supposed to contain," Mr Rudd told ABC
"It may have been Mr Downer and the prime minister had other
information at their disposal.
"But based on what I heard first-hand myself in Jakarta,
there was no certainty ... about this SMS message."
But Mr Rudd said he could not say whether Mr Downer's comments
"I have no information to base that on at all," he said.
Mr Howard today said he did not regret releasing details of the
"It was one of those situations where you're damned if you
do and damned if you don't.
"If the information had not been made available and subsequently
came out, I would be accused of sitting on it and accused of trying
to hide something."
Mr Howard said he expected the embassy would reopen tomorrow.
| Two-pronged election strategy: The GOP spends
and Jesus saves
You can't buy this kind of publicity, even if you're George W.
Bush and your campaign has raised more money than any other in U.S.
There he is on the homepage of the Southern Baptists' website,
handing out "bags of ice and words of hope" on Wednesday
to Floridians battered by Hurricane Frances. Whoops, there he is
again on the homepage, in another photo, this time with Brother
Jeb, putting ice and bottled water in another motorist's car. Oh,
wait, there's a story too.
Bush is well aware of the code phrases that push evangelicals'
buttons—his video address to the Southern Baptists' annual
meeting in June praised them for "spreading the good news."
But the really good news delivered to Bush by the nation's largest
Protestant denomination is newly elected Southern Baptist Convention
president Bobby Welch's whirlwind evangelical bus tour of all 50
states, now in progress. (The Baptists are the second-largest religious
group in the U.S., trailing Catholics, but they have 37,000 churches,
more than any other group.)
Welch mixes politics right into his altar calls. An interview
with Welch by his denomination's news service goes like this, in
He called attention to Psalm 142, a prayer of David's when
he was hiding in a cave from the evil that surrounded him. Welch
said the images of evil are embedded in minds across the world,
and most Americans remember those from September 11 and the Iraq
Welch mentioned an interview he saw with former secretary of
state Henry Kissinger in which Kissinger said if Americans don't
pursue terrorists abroad, the terrorists will follow them home and
kill them here. The same is true with the church and the devil,
he said. Christians must be on the offense if they are to have any
chance of winning the fight.
Christ is the answer, of course, but he didn't make the ballot.
So Bush'll do for now as a favorite son. The Southern Baptists are
mounting a massive electoral campaign, called I Vote Values, which
instructs believers to "examine your core values." It
Point Out: Our loyalty needs to be with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Strongly consider voting for candidates who believe like you do.
Don't just vote—vote your values!
Hey, now, this is strictly nonpartisan—the Baptists can
keep their tax-exempt status. So they're not advocating any particular
candidate, even though Welch is a pal of madcap General Jerry Boykin,
the Pentagon intelligence official who said at a January 2003 evangelism
conference at Welch's Daytona Beach church that his God "was
bigger" than Allah, who was nothing but an "idol."
That's from The Baptist Standard, a Texas paper that will give you
an idea of how important this election is to the millions of evangelical
Christians who are being mobilized to vote a few weeks hence. And
they're not going to be voting for that "Hollywood" candidate,
I tell you what.
On July 30, a day after Kerry was formally nominated, Bush spewed
out that code word to an adoring crowd in Bible Belt capital Springfield,
Missouri, home of the Southern Baptists' equally evangelical brethren,
the Assemblies of God, the sect of praying mantis John Ashcroft.
"We have a clear vision on how to win the war on terror and
bring peace to the world," Bush told his acolytes in Springfield.
"They somehow believe the heart and soul of America can be
found in Hollywood. The heart and soul of America is found right
here in Springfield, Missouri."
Now don't get all lathered up just because the Assemblies of God
does things like run kiss-butt "profiles" of Barbara Bush
and because Southern Baptist Bobby Welch mixes politics and Christ
to fuel an infernal-combustion bus tour just before the November
election. Remember the power of the Reverend Martin Luther King
Jr. and the importance of black churches to the civil rights movement.
Just keep this evangelizing in mind when issues like the constitutional
amendment on marriage pop up. Earlier this summer, the Baptists
moved their Battle for Marriage III rally from August 29 to September
19 to coincide with a possible U.S. House debate on "protecting"
But rally has been subsumed by a giant Mayday for Marriage gathering
of Christian soldiers planned for October 15 in D.C. and featuring
former Nixon hatchet man and convicted Watergate felon Chuck Colson,
Colorado evangelical pope James Dobson, and Southern Baptist official
Richard Land, who wears official presidential-seal cuff links, a
present from Bush himself. They're hoping to get at least 1 million
people on the Mall. (Please, men: Don't wear your wifebeaters.)
There'll be plenty of Southern Baptists there, because the denomination's
leaders tell their troops, "Seek God for your government."
As to party affiliation, well, the Republicans clearly have nothing
to do with this. The Baptists' marching orders include this uplifting
quote from Benjamin Rush, the 18th century Philly doctor:
I have been alternately called an Aristocrat and a Democrat.
I am neither. I am a Christocrat.
WASHINGTON - Authorities' targeting of people
because of their racial background or religious affiliation is a
deep-rooted problem in the United States, with nearly 32 million
people reporting they've been racially profiled, a human rights
group said Monday.
The report by Amnesty International USA also said at least 87 million
people — one in three — in the United States are at
high risk of being victimized because they belong to a racial, ethnic
or religious group whose members are commonly targeted by police
for unlawful stops and searches.
Racial profiling is a growing problem as the government has expanded
its war on terror, the report said. Police, immigration and airport
security procedures are the areas where the problem has gotten worse
since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it said.
Citizens and visitors of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent,
and others who appear to be from these areas or members of the Muslim
and Sikh faiths, have become more frequent subjects of racial profiling
over the last three years, the study said.
Such racial profiling is a distraction to law enforcement and therefore,
undermines national security efforts, the report said. As
police primarily focus on Arab, Muslim and South Asian males, it
said, they are more likely to overlook terrorists who are white.
PORT ST. JOHN, Fla. (AP) - A man who was
freed after serving 22 years for a rape he didn't commit walked
out of jail with a few possessions in a plastic bag, and nothing
Wilton Dedge, 42, didn't get the $100 US that Florida gives even
its most vicious ex-cons when he was released last month. He didn't
get the counselling or job referrals or temporary housing the state
offers paroled murderers and rapists.
He didn't even get a bus ticket home.
There was no compensation for the prison term Dedge received after
a 17-year-old rape victim mistakenly identified him as her attacker.
DNA testing proved his innocence.
"The system is not set up to deal with
exonerees," said Nina Morrison, a lawyer who fought
for more than a decade to free Dedge on behalf of the New York-based
Innocence Project. "Ironically, instead of getting more, exonerees
usually get less."
Debbie Buchanan, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections,
said Dedge was not entitled to the benefits given to parolees because
he was released from a county jail, where he was awaiting the outcome
of the DNA test.
Because Florida has no wrongful-conviction compensation law, Dedge
will have to sue the state or persuade a state legislator to sponsor
a private-claims bill if he hopes to gain any state money. [...]
ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - US Airways Group Inc.
(UAIR), the nation's seventh largest airline, filed for bankruptcy
protection Sunday for the second time in two years. The company's
president vowed to continue restructuring the airline into a low-cost
carrier during the bankruptcy process.
"We have come too far and accomplished too much to simply
stop the process and not succeed," said Bruce Lakefield, US
Airways' president and chief executive. "A restructured US
Airways with low costs and low fares will be a dynamic competitor."
US Airways said customers would notice no operational changes as
a result of the bankruptcy and that it will seek permission to continue
its frequent flyer program.
The Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Alexandria came
after US Airways was unable to obtain $800 million in annual cost
cuts from its workers' unions that the airline said it needed to
The company's return to bankruptcy comes as several of its larger
rivals also confront the need to repair weak finances. UAL Corp.'s
United Airlines has been operating under bankruptcy for nearly two
years, AMR Corp. (AMR)'s American Airlines was on the brink of a
filing 18 months ago and Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) warned that
it might seek similar protection soon if it cannot trim its labor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State
Colin Powell refused to get into the debate over the Vietnam service
of the U.S. presidential candidates on Sunday but said if the United
States ever went back to mandatory enlistment, everybody should
be "equally liable" for war service.
Powell made the remark on "Fox News Sunday," explaining
his opposition to Vietnam-era policies that allowed many, including
his boss, President Bush, to serve in Reserve and National Guard
units instead of on the battlefield.
Powell said he disagreed with the policies that allowed people
like Bush to serve out the war in a National Guard unit. "But
those were the policies that were in place at that time," Powell
said. "And President Bush and Senator Kerry volunteered to
serve their nation under the policies that were in place. And both
served honorably and both were discharged honorably." [...]
"The policies determining who would be drafted and who would
be deferred, who would serve and who would escape, who would die
and who would live, were an anti-democratic disgrace," Powell,
a leading black in the Republican administration, said in his 1995
autobiography, "My American Journey."
"I am angry that so many sons of the powerful and well-placed
managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units,"
wrote Powell, a 35-year career soldier and four-star general who
was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bush's father, former
President Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton.
With the Iraqi war causing greater casualties and extended deployments,
legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress to revive the
draft, which was ended in 1973 as the Vietnam War wound down and
subsequently replaced by an all-volunteer army.
But Powell said on Fox, "If we ever go back
to conscription -- and I don't think we will have to go back to
conscription under any set of circumstances I can see -- I hope
that at that time it will be the kind of conscription that was put
in at the end of the Vietnam War."
"And that is everybody is equally liable to be called to serve
the nation in time of conflict."
In Vietnam, historians have noted that although
draftees made up only 16 percent of the U.S. armed forces, they
were the bulk of infantry riflemen and accounted for more than half
the army's battle deaths. Because of student and other deferments,
the draft and casualties fell disproportionately upon working-class
youths, black and white, they said. [...]
A question to our American readers:
Have you ever heard of
bill 'HR 163'? Perhaps this is a rather flippant question, since
few Americans, or indeed citizens of western democratic countries,
really know or care what laws are passed by those that they have,
in theory, elected to rule them. While the majority of legislation
that has sneaked in under the malfunctioning radar of the US public
has not affected them in a direct or immediate way, bill HR 163
appears to break with tradition in this respect. The actual text
of the bill is as follows:
Universal National Service Act
of 2003 (Introduced in Senate)
1st Session S. 89
To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young
persons in the United States, including women, perform a period
of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance
of the national defense homeland security, and for other purposes.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
January 7, 2003
Mr. HOLLINGS introduced the following bill; which was read twice
and referred to the Committee on Armed Services
To provide for the common defense
by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including
women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian
service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland
security, and for other purposes.
Note the phrase "homeland security",
which sprung up as a result of the faked terror attacks on 9/11.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
(a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the `Universal National
Service Act of 2003'.
(b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents for this Act is
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. National service obligation.
Sec. 3. Two-year period of national service.
Sec. 4. Implementation by the President.
Sec. 5. Induction.
Sec. 6. Deferments and postponements.
Sec. 7. Induction exemptions.
Sec. 8. Conscientious objection.
Sec. 9. Discharge following national service.
Sec. 10. Registration of females under the Military Selective
Sec. 11. Relation of Act to registration and induction authority
of Military Selective Service Act.
Sec. 12. Definitions.
SEC. 2. NATIONAL SERVICE OBLIGATION.
(a) OBLIGATION FOR YOUNG PERSONS- It
is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every
other person residing in the United States, who is between the
ages of 18 and 26 to perform a period of national service as prescribed
in this Act unless exempted under the provisions of this Act.
(b) FORM OF NATIONAL SERVICE- National service under this Act
shall be performed either--
(1) as a member of an active or
reserve component of the uniformed services; or
(2) in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President,
promotes the national defense, including national or community
service and homeland security.
(c) INDUCTION REQUIREMENTS- The President shall provide for the
induction of persons covered by subsection (a) to perform national
service under this Act.
(d) SELECTION FOR MILITARY SERVICE- Based
upon the needs of the uniformed services, the
(1) determine the number of persons covered by subsection (a)
whose service is to be performed as a member of an active or reserve
component of the uniformed services; and
(2) select the individuals among those persons who are to be
inducted for military service under this Act.
(e) CIVILIAN SERVICE- Persons covered by subsection (a) who are
not selected for military service under subsection (d) shall perform
their national service obligation under this Act in a civilian
capacity pursuant to subsection (b)(2).
SEC. 3. TWO-YEAR PERIOD OF NATIONAL SERVICE.
(a) GENERAL RULE- Except as otherwise provided in this section,
the period of national service performed
by a person under this Act shall be two years.
(b) GROUNDS FOR EXTENSION- At the
discretion of the President, the period of military service for
a member of the uniformed services under this Act may be extended--
(1) with the consent of the member, for
the purpose of furnishing hospitalization, medical, or surgical
care for injury or illness incurred in line of duty;
(2) for the purpose of requiring the member to compensate for
any time lost to training for any cause.
(c) EARLY TERMINATION- The period of national service for a
person under this Act shall be terminated before the end of such
period under the following circumstances:
(1) The voluntary enlistment and active service of the person
in an active or reserve component of the uniformed services for
a period of at least two years, in which case the period of basic
military training and education actually served by the person
shall be counted toward the term of enlistment.
(2) The admission and service of the person as a cadet or midshipman
at the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval
Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard
Academy, or the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
(3) The enrollment and service of the person in an officer candidate
program, if the person has signed an agreement to accept a Reserve
commission in the appropriate service with an obligation to serve
on active duty if such a commission is offered upon completion
of the program.
So the only way a person can avoid being
drafted is if they are already a member of the 'uniformed services'.
Unless of course...
(4) Such other grounds as the President may establish.
Which means that the President's friends
and their families will probably not have to enlist.
SEC. 4. IMPLEMENTATION BY THE PRESIDENT.
(a) IN GENERAL- The President shall prescribe such regulations
as are necessary to carry out this Act.
(b) MATTER TO BE COVERED BY REGULATIONS- Such regulations shall
include specification of the following:
(1) The types of civilian service that may be performed for a
person's national service obligation under this Act.
(2) Standards for satisfactory
performance of civilian service and of penalties for failure to
perform civilian service satisfactorily.
A prison term perhaps?
(3) The manner in which persons
shall be selected for induction under this Act, including the
manner in which those selected will be notified of such selection.
Kidnapped from their homes and thrown on
a cargo plane maybe?
(4) All other administrative matters in connection with the induction
of persons under this Act and the registration, examination, and
classification of such persons.
(5) A means to determine questions
or claims with respect to inclusion for, or exemption or deferment
from induction under this Act, including questions of conscientious
So the President is going to decide the criteria
(6) Standards for compensation and benefits for persons performing
their national service obligation under this Act through civilian
(7) Such other matters as the President determines necessary
to carry out this Act.
(c) USE OF PRIOR ACT- To the extent determined appropriate by
the President, the President may use for purposes of this Act
the procedures provided in the Military Selective Service Act
(50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.), including procedures for registration,
selection, and induction.
SEC. 5. INDUCTION.
(a) IN GENERAL- Every person subject
to induction for national service under this Act, except those
whose training is deferred or postponed in accordance with this
Act, shall be called and inducted by the President for such service
at the time and place specified by the President.
(b) AGE LIMITS- A person may be
inducted under this Act only if the person has attained the age
of 18 and has not attained the age of 26 (c) VOLUNTARY
INDUCTION- A person subject to induction under this Act may volunteer
for induction at a time other than the time at which the person
is otherwise called for induction.
(d) EXAMINATION; CLASSIFICATION- Every person subject to induction
under this Act shall, before induction, be physically and shall
be classified as to fitness to perform national service. The President
may apply different classification standards for fitness for military
service and fitness for civilian service.
SEC. 6. DEFERMENTS AND POSTPONEMENTS.
(a) HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS- A person
who is pursuing a standard course of study, on a full-time basis,
in a secondary school or similar institution of learning shall
be entitled to have induction under this Act postponed until the
(1) obtains a high school diploma;
(2) ceases to pursue satisfactorily such course of study; or
(3) attains the age of 20.
So if you happen to be between 20 and 26
and in full-time education, you have the choice of giving up your
education and being drafted into 'service', or, suffer the "penalties
for failure to perform civilian service satisfactorily", as
defined by the President.
(b) HARDSHIP AND DISABILITY- Deferments from national service
under this Act may be made for--
(1) extreme hardship; or
(2) physical or mental disability.
(c) TRAINING CAPACITY- The President may postpone or suspend
the induction of persons for military service under this Act as
necessary to limit the number of persons receiving basic military
training and education to the maximum number that can be adequately
(d) TERMINATION- No deferment or
postponement of induction under this Act shall continue after
the cause of such deferment or postponement ceases.
SEC. 7. INDUCTION EXEMPTIONS.
(a) QUALIFICATIONS- No person may be inducted for military service
under this Act unless the person is acceptable to the Secretary
concerned for training and meets the same health and physical
qualifications applicable under section 505 of title 10, United
States Code, to persons seeking original enlistment in a regular
component of the Armed Forces.
(b) OTHER MILITARY SERVICE- No
person shall be liable for induction under this Act who--
(1) is serving, or has served honorably
for at least six months, in any component of the uniformed services
on active duty; or
(2) is or becomes a cadet or midshipman
at the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval
Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard
Academy, the United States
Merchant Marine Academy, a midshipman
of a Navy accredited State maritime academy, a member of the Senior
Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or the naval aviation college
program, so long as that person satisfactorily continues in and
completes two years training therein.
Is it just us, or is this beginning to look
like a plan to replace most of the active military personnel with
SEC. 8. CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION.
(a) CLAIMS AS CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR- Any person selected under
this Act for induction into the uniformed services who claims,
because of religious training and belief (as defined in section
6(j) of the Military
Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 456(j))), exemption from
combatant training included as part of that military service and
whose claim is sustained under such procedures as the President
may prescribe, shall, when inducted, participate in military service
that does not include any combatant training component.
Interestingly, the above mentioned act, under
the provison for who should be drafted, states the following:
The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to any
alien lawfully admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant
under section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,
as amended (66 Stat. 163; 8 U.S.C. 1101), for so long as he continues
to maintain a lawful nonimmigrant status in the United States.
1-108. Aliens and noncitizen nationals of the United States who,
on or after July 1, 1980, come into and reside in the United States
shall present themselves for registration in accordance with Sections
1-101 to 1-105 or within 30 days after coming into the United
States, whichever is later.
Only "lawful nonimmigrants", are
exempt, this seems to suggest that all illegal immigrants are 'eligible'
to be drafted. Could this be a reason for the many recent reports
of the southern US borders essentially being opened to immigrants?
More cannon fodder perhaps?
(b) TRANSFER TO CIVILIAN SERVICE- Any
such person whose claim is sustained may, at the discretion of
the President, be transferred to a national service program for
performance of such person's national service obligation
under this Act.
Cleaning Dick Cheney's toilet bowl perhaps?
SEC. 9. DISCHARGE FOLLOWING NATIONAL SERVICE.
(a) DISCHARGE- Upon completion or termination of the obligation
to perform national service under this Act, a person shall be
discharged from the uniformed services or from civilian service,
as the case may be, and shall not be subject to any further service
under this Act.
Yes, you may be dead, but you will be discharged,
and need not fear that your grave will be desecrated and your bones
dragged off for another tour of duty. Now that's peace of mind!
(b) COORDINATION WITH OTHER AUTHORITIES- Nothing in this section
shall limit or prohibit the call to active service in the uniformed
services of any person who is a member of a regular or reserve
component of the uniformed services.
SEC. 10. REGISTRATION OF FEMALES UNDER THE MILITARY SELECTIVE
(a) REGISTRATION REQUIRED- Section 3(a) of the Military Selective
Service Act (50 U.S.C. 453(a)) is amended--
(1) by striking `male' both places it appears;
(2) by inserting `or herself' after `himself'; and
(3) by striking `he' and inserting `the person'.
Now isn't that nice, they have even informed
women that, to register, they must make it clear that they are women
by using feminine rather than masculine personal pronouns, or simply
call yourself, "the person".
It appears that, this time, the apathy of
the US public and their extreme aversion to taking responsibility
for their own lives may well produce some very direct and unsavory
effects. But look on the bright side, you get paid!
Pay and allowances
With respect to the persons inducted for training and service
under this title (sections 451 to 471a of this Appendix) there
shall be paid, allowed, and extended the same pay, allowances,
pensions, disability and death compensation, and other benefits
as are provided by law in the case of other enlisted men of like
grades and length of service of that component of the armed forces
to which they are assigned.
While the above bill has not yet passed into
law, there are plans to do so in the spring of 2005. To read the
text yourself, go to the Library
of Congress web site and enter "HR 163" in the 'Bill
Number' box and click 'Search'.
In recent months various "lawmakers"
have been pushing for "all of our citizens to bear some responsibility
and pay some price"...
A senior Republican lawmaker said Tuesday
that deteriorating security in Iraq may force the United States
to reintroduce the military draft.
"There's not an American ... that doesn't understand what
we are engaged in today and what the prospects are for the future,"
Senator Chuck Ha gel told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing
on post-occupation Iraq.
"If that's the case, why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens
to bear some responsibility and pay some price?" Hagel said,
arguing that restoring compulsory military
service would force "our citizens to understand the intensity
and depth of challenges we face."
The Nebraska Republican added that a draft, which was ended in
the early 1970s, would spread the burden of mililitary service in
Iraq more equitably among various social strata.
"Those who are serving today and dying
today are the middle class and lower middle class,"
Jean Bevan got a taste of the new spirit of
raw, unrestrained anti-Americanism this summer on a visit to her
local Halifax shopping mall.
For three years -- ever since she found herself watching the horrors
of Sept. 11, 2001, from the proximity of a holiday stop in New Jersey
-- Bevan and her Nova Scotia family have driven about town with
a sticker of the American flag in the window of their car.
It was a gesture of sympathy and solidarity that seemed fitting
in the shell-shocked days following the terrorist attacks in New
York and Washington, D.C.
Today, Bevan still carries the Stars and Stripes on her car despite
being accosted by a man who considered her a fool for displaying
such a symbol.
"This fellow at the shopping centre walked by the car, looked
at our American flag and began mocking me. I said to him: 'Do you
have a problem with that?'"
On this third anniversary of 9-11, many
Canadians do have a problem with the United States, one that goes
beyond the traditional rivalry and moral superiority that was common
before 2001. Today -- in the wake of
the Iraq war and a host of other perceived American outrages --
there is anger, suspicion and open scorn of the U.S., feelings that
would have seemed unimaginable three years ago when Canadians shed
tears for our neighbour's wounds and losses.
Consider how a team of 12-year-old hockey players from Massachusetts,
in Montreal last year for a peewee hockey event, were hounded out
of town by anti-Iraq war demonstrators who pounced on their bus,
emblazoned with American colours, as it arrived in the city.
Consider Clifford Krauss, Canada correspondent for the New York
Times, who this year watched two schoolboys on the street outside
his Toronto home, holding a sign that read, Honk If You Hate President
Bush. "I was shocked," Krauss has said, "by the use
of the word hate."
Consider Bevan, who was belittled by a stranger for displaying
the American flag.
"I feel there's a lot of anger toward Bush and the United
States among all Canadians for going after Saddam Hussein,"
she says. "I don't support the war in Iraq either -- there's
over 1,000 dead Americans there -- but I don't hate America for
it. I still feel enormous sympathy for what happened on 9-11, and
we still have our American flag in our car window."
Bevan's ongoing empathy for America makes her part of a dwindling
crowd in Canada. One month after 9-11, a poll of 1,400 Canadians
commissioned by the Association of Canadian Studies found that 78
per cent of those surveyed had a "favourable" opinion
of the U.S., compared to only 14 per cent with an "unfavourable"
opinion. By 2003, those numbers had changed:
Favourable feelings were down to 62 per cent while more than a third
of everyone surveyed -- 36 per cent -- expressed negative views
of Canada's closest neighbour and ally.
The most favourable responses came from Atlantic Canada, the most
hostile from Quebec.
"We are at a very low point in terms of our feelings and
relationships with the United States," says Jack Jedwab, director
of the Association of Canadian Studies. "That doesn't mean
Canadians no longer regard the events of 9-11 with horror. But much
of the sympathy and charity we felt for America at that time has
Let's face it: If we listen to the media or
the government's take on things, we live in dark and despairing
times. A recent Horatio Alger Assn. poll
even showed that 55 percent of high schoolers think there will be
a draft in the near future. [...]
Senate Bill No. 89 and House of Representatives Bill No. 163 both
aim to reinstate a draft. (You can read the full text of each of
these bills by going to http://thomas.loc.gov and searching for
S89 and HR163.)
These aren't your mama's drafts: Women are fair game, college deferment
is gone, and thanks to a "smart-border
declaration" between Canada and the United States in 2001,
the option of "conscientiously objecting" from Canada
While both bills are grid-locked, they may
be strategically tabled in wait of a special "lame-duck"
session expected after the November election. A "lame duck"
is a member of Congress who has been voted out of office and doesn't
have to worry about being elected again. They could pass
a bill to reinstate the draft for the simple reason that they don't
have to worry about public outcry for their re-election campaigns.
It's like when you're a child and you do something bad, then your
parents tell you that you're grounded and you keep on doing it because,
hey, what else can they do to you? [...]
| SARTRE - September 10, 2003
Two years after, are you safer now? Has the
world really changed or has it just been manipulated one more time?
How about the 64 dollar question: Is the United States a victim
or have the policies for decades been rooted in an insane death
Furthermore, some readers still refuse to deal with the reality
of the world. They desire to be patriotic, by defining love of country
as support for government. No matter that the facade of self-defense
has been exposed as the arrogance of self-denial. Global garrisons,
permanent deployments and client colonies are the methods of imperialism.
If this war on terror was really a fight for national survival,
why is it
acceptable to sacrifice the essence of our purpose, to defeat a
contrived enemy, baited by bankrupt policies? If the price of securing
the future is capitulation under the Patriot Act, there is nothing
You have witnessed the utter obliteration of traditional conservatism
under a Bush regime. [...] The phony war that destroys actual Americans,
has been used as an excuse to complete the extinction of the last
vestiges of a once proud Republic.
Constant jingoistic propaganda from the mouths of approved pundits
is so embedded that voices of rational dissent are dismissed as
quacks Media moguls design the 'PC' message, as on air personalities
deliver their script.
Academic stooges spin their own version of living history, as the
lie grows in scope and reach.
Common sense is portrayed as disloyalty, while the political elite
commit treason and guarantee national genocide.
This is the tragic and somber record, two years after the event
that was meant to deceive, confuse and control the sheeple that
wave the plastic flags made in China. [...]
Has this been great - two years after - or what? The war to save
civilization is being lost on the home front. The real enemy lurks
in the corridors of the puissant bureaucracy, the suites of the
humane multinationals, the ingenious political consultants class
from K Street, each altruistic member of the oligarchy and every
pork-barrel recipient of government avail.
Urban legends don't need a conspiracy when they are official policy.
When the plug is pulled by Rush Limebaugh on a caller for bringing
up the Carlyle Group, you don't need collusion - it's just part
of the get ahead distraction act.
The Washington Post found that 69 percent of all Americans believe
that Hussein worked with al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden to carry
out terrorist plans nearly two years ago. If they really believe
that nuisance, how difficult is it to get them to salute an emperor?
Since there is no public demand for a serious inquiry into the
real facts about 911, how can anyone expect a widespread outrage
over a cover-up? [...]
The country has been held hostage to the fraud of a contrived crisis.
We are being held prisoner by a warden that wants to extend his
gulag domestically to match the one he has built in all the occupied
territories. The road to perdition is paved with slabs of beguiling
adamantine stone, installed by hoodwinked blockheads, set in broken
mortar - under the direction of master masons. Does it require an
Impressionist to view the image of doom or can any gallery patron
see what has happened in the last two years? What is lacking is
not the light to spotlight the landscape, but the will to see the
illuminati . . .
| South Korean media has been full
of speculation about the blast
North Korea has given its first explanation for the huge blast last
week which prompted speculation that it had carried out a nuclear
The country's foreign minister, Paek Nam-sun, said the blast was
in fact the deliberate demolition of a mountain as part of a huge,
Washington - Children and teenagers taking
the antidepressant Luvox - the drug taken by Columbine shooter Eric
Harris - experienced mania at four times
the rate of adults, a study submitted to drug regulators
There is no way to know for sure how much
the drug influenced Harris psychologically or chemically.
His medical records are under court seal,
and attorneys in the case are forbidden to discuss what they know.
The coroner has said Harris had Luvox in his system when
But new information coming out about the class of antidepressants
that includes Luvox renews the questions about Harris and the drug.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March issued a warning
that people taking antidepressants have become violent and suicidal,
though the FDA said it had not established a direct connection between
the drug and the events. Canadian health authorities in June forced
makers of Luvox and eight similar antidepressants to add a warning
that there have been violent acts associated with the drugs.
"It does become much more important and legitimate to ask"
about Columbine, said Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Glenmullen, who
has written about antidepressant-triggered violence.
A lawsuit filed against the maker of Luvox, Solvay Pharmaceuticals,
was dropped in 2003 after the company made a $10,000 donation to
"We believe that the product had absolutely nothing to do
with Mr. Harris' actions," Solvay spokeswoman Gabrielle Braswell
said in an interview. "You have to bear in mind that he was
acting with Dylan Klebold, who was not taking Luvox to my knowledge
or any other antidepressant at the time."
Dr. Peter R. Breggin, the psychiatrist
who planned to testify in the lawsuit, said he's positive Harris
was suffering from Luvox-induced mania. Another psychiatrist
said it amounted to the "Twinkie defense" to blame violence
The year-long planning of the attack weighs against the possibility
that the antidepressant influenced Harris, most said, though
Glenmullen and others said it could have made him less empathetic
to others' pain. Glenmullen believes all of the new antidepressants
can trigger suicide in the first few weeks they're taken, but that
there can also be reactions after months or more.
Luvox has not been actively marketed in the U.S. since 2002 but
is prescribed in its generic form, doctors said. It was approved
by the FDA for use in pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder in
1997. It had already been approved for adults.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A suspected arson fire
raced through an apartment complex in suburban Columbus on Sunday,
killing 10 people and forcing others to jump from third-story windows
Eight of the victims, including a child, lived in the same apartment
on the third floor, which was destroyed in the quickly moving fire,
At least 53 people were left homeless by the blaze in Prairie
Township, which destroyed the building's roof and third floor, melted
siding and left its wooden skeleton exposed. [...]
The fire came just six weeks after three fires were set in the
same building in an empty apartment and hallway, said Fire Chief
Steve Feustel. There were no suspects and no known witnesses to
Sunday's suspected arson, he said. [...]
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Earthquakes have
been rumbling more frequently deep beneath Mauna Loa, suggesting
that the world's largest volcano is getting ready to erupt for the
first time in 20 years, scientists said.
"We don't believe an eruption is right around the corner,
but every day that goes by is one day closer to that event,"
said Paul Okubo, a seismologist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
on the Big Island.
Mauna Loa erupted for three weeks in 1984, sending a 25-kilometre
lava flow toward Hilo. Since then, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates
that more than $2.3 billion US has been invested in new construction
along Mauna Loa's slopes.
Since July, more than 350 earthquakes have been recorded far beneath
the 4,170-metre-high Mauna Loa, said Don Swanson, scientist-in-charge
at the observatory.
"Mauna Loa is grumbling, growling and getting ready to come
out of its den," he said.
The earthquakes have been what seismologists call "long period,"
which means their signals gradually rise above the noise generated
by usual seismic activity.
"Such a concentrated number of deep, long-period earthquakes
from this part of Mauna Loa is unprecedented, at least in our modern
earthquake catalogue dating back to the 1960s," Okubo said.
While forecasting an eruption cannot be exact, Okubo noted that
the mountain today is wired with more state-of-the-art tracking
and measuring technology than ever before.
The definite sign of an impending eruption is an earthquake swarm
- a dramatic increase in the number of daily tremors from a handful,
to dozens to ultimately hundreds, Okubo said.
Mauna Loa is within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which also
contains the well-known Kilauea volcano. Kilauea has been erupting
continuously since Jan. 3, 1983.
DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, UTAH -- A NASA spacecraft
spun out of control and crashed into the Utah desert this morning,
putting a disastrous end to a years-long mission to bring back samples
of the Sun.
The probe was supposed to deploy a parachute and be snagged by
a helicopter for safe recovery.
The capsule, carrying tiny particles from the solar wind that scientists
were eager to study for the first time, was half buried in the sandy
surface and "appeared to be intact," said a NASA mission
Closer inspection showed the flying-saucer-shaped ship had cracked
in two, however.
100 mph impact
Genesis and its solar cargo slammed into the ground at about 100
mph, said Chris Jones, a spokesperson for NASA. The space agency
did not immediately provide any detail on the expected condition
of the probe's contents, but scientists are optimistic there will
be some particles to recover.
"We've lost something," said Roger Wines, science team
flight payload leader from Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Now
we'll have to analyze the pieces."
Since its launch in August 2001, the $264 million Genesis mission
flew to a point just under one million miles (1.5 million kilometers)
from Earth. Once there, the spacecraft deployed sample collectors
to "soak up the Sun" -- entrapping particles carried into
space by a constantly streaming "solar wind," for return
to Earth. The particles were obtained by sets of collectors that
were exposed to space over a period of 850 days. [...]
ATHENS (AFP) - Thousands of migratory birds
in the Greek nature reserve of Lake Koronia have died in recent
months in what birds specialists are calling "an ecological
catastrophe," several sources said.
Hundreds of dead gulls, tern and ducks -- at least 15 species in
all -- were discovered just in the last few days, the sources said
Autopsies and tests of water samples from the lake are underway,
but experts do not yet know what is responsible for the sudden wave
of avian fatalities, described by Xenofon Kappas, spokesman of the
Greek ornithological society, as "a major ecological catastrophe."
"For the moment, we are in the process of counting the number
of dead birds," Kappas told AFP.
The Greek news agency ANA put the Lake Korina avian death toll
at 3,000, but experts said that more than 10,000 dead birds have
been found on the lake in recent months.
The Mayor of Salonika, 520 kilometers (320 miles) north of Athens,
adopted "emergency measures" to deal with the crisis,
reported ANA, and water samples have been sent to Salonika University
for testing. Fishing has also been banned, though no dead fish have
Lake Korinia is one of 27 parks in Greece that are part of the
Natura 2000, a European Union-sponsored network of bird sanctuaries
and threatened habitats.
The Lake is also one of 10 Greek ecological sites protected by
the Ramsar treaty, and international convention on wetland ecosystems
adopted in the mid-1970.
| Hurricane Ivan has strengthened
as it heads towards Cuba after bringing destruction to the tiny Cayman
Southern Cuba has been feeling the first effects of Ivan's winds,
and the island's western tip is expected to take the full force
later on Monday.
Meanwhile, the low-lying Cayman Islands have reportedly suffered
enormous damage, with large areas under water. [...]
Reuters reported people clambering on to kitchen counters and roof
tops as waist-high storm surges aided by 160mph (260km/h) winds
swept across the island.
The US National Hurricane Center said Ivan had strengthened to
the most dangerous category five level as it moved from the Cayman
Islands on to Cuba. [...]
Hurricane Ivan is the sixth-strongest storm to ever hit the Atlantic
basin, the National Hurricane Center has said.
HYDERABAD: Mysterious mild tremors rocked parts of Andhra Pradesh's
Vijayawada city Sunday night and early on Monday, damaging some
houses and causing panic.
The tremors were experienced in Krishna Lanka and surrounding areas,
and panic-stricken people spent the night on roads as the tremors
continued through the night.
Seismologists from Hyderabad and Kolkata are rushing to Vijayawada
to study the tremors.
Surprisingly, the seismology observatory in Hyderabad recorded
Lakshmi, a resident of the Krishna Lanka area, said she watched
asbestos roof of her house vibrating and windowpanes rattling. Another
resident, Sandhya, said the tremors continued throughout the night
and until 9 a.m. Monday.
The authorities swung into action to provide temporary shelters
as people rushed out of their homes.
District officials were surprised over the phenomenon.
V.P. Dimri, director of the National Geological Research Institute
(NGRI) here, said the observatory did not record tremors. He said
the tremors could have been very small in magnitude, may be less
than 1.5 on Richter scale.
Municipal Commissioner V. Usha Rani said the experts informed her
that the tremors were not recorded on Richter scale. She said the
experts would look into phenomenon.
Vijayawada has never recorded tremors in the past. She said the
geologists would also look into the drying up of Krishna River bed
as a possible reason for the tremors.
She said the climatic change due to release of water from Krishna
barrage downstream could have led to some seismic activity. The
barrage and surrounding areas also felt the tremors.
(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush, right, take
part in a moment of silence, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2004, on the South
Lawn of the White House to mark the third anniversary of the Sept.
11 terrorist attacks.
Unfortunately, President Bush could not remember where
his heart is located.
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