Monday, September 13, 2004
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So why bother?

SOTT Editorial
13/09/2004

The world seems to be getting more and more crazy. The US election is surreal in the level of debate, or should we call that "name-calling". Iraq and Afghanistan are in civil war, due to the invasion and occupation of the US led "coalition of the willing". The occupied territories in Palestine are being dismembered, in image of the fate of its people. The "war on terror", the first crusade of the millennium, has led to explosions around the globe, but are they all being carried out by "Arabs"? The climate is as crazy as the political scene with stronger and more numerous hurricanes than ever in memory. El Niño is on the way back. Earthquakes and volcanoes are shaking the globe. Torrential rains have killed thousands in Asia. Cuba is facing its second hurricane while Florida is preparing for its third in a matter of weeks.

The momentum in all of these areas is on the side of disorder and chaos, opening the way for more suffering for the world's inhabitants.

There are no solutions in sight.

Bush looks like he'll win again if the polls and the rigged voting machines are any indication. Not that the polls are accurate. They are supposed to reflect the results, not the actual voting patterns of Americans. He is preparing to bring back the draft. We wonder what for? Oh, right. He has still to conquer Syria and Iran, two phantom pillars of the Axis of Evil.

In the US, the slow acclimatisation to tyranny will continue as Americans remain willing to give up their liberties in exchange for the illusion of being "safe". The merger of fundamentalist Christian beliefs and the State will continue. Bush will establish God's kingdom on Earth, even if it takes a great war in the Middle East to do it. After all, it's all in a good cause, the Second Coming of Jesus!

Vladimir Putin, after the recent events in Besra, is showing more and more the true face of the ex-KGB chief that he was. He sent off a minister to seek advice from those masters of manipulation, the Israelis. Sharon, Putin, and Bush, three of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse? The One World Government that is so dreaded is showing more and more openly its bestial face -- even if it has already been in place for longer than we can imagine.

In response to these horrors, people are seeking refuge in quarters of questionable security: the idea that we can change things; the idea that we can think positive thoughts and it won't matter what happens -- we'll be protected by our angels or our "guides" or a luminous bubble of light; the vague hope that someone or something will intervene to save us at the last moment. These are but a few of the ways people seek to escape. For others it is more physical: they are searching for a safe haven in the hills, or the Andes, and plan to sit it out, secure that they have decoded the secret message left by our ancestors who went through it all long ago.

We think that our ancestors did go through this long ago. We think they left us clues as to how to pass through the coming cataclysm and emerge safely to the other side. We just don't think that this involves stocking food and fresh water.

Safe passage will appear, if it appears at all, only for those who are pure of heart.

What do we mean?

We look at the world and interact with it and others from the point of view of the self. That is, we place ourselves at the centre of everything. We are interested in others and events to the extent that they touch us. Only rarely are we able to step back and see ourselves as others see us. But to do that, one must be aware that it is a possibility in the first place. Preoccupied as we are with our jobs, our families, our friends, and our search for countless ways of having fun, we are rarely able to step outside of this bubble.

The bubble twists and distorts all of the data we are receiving from our environment. We are not seeing the world as it is, we are seeing it as we would like it to be, unless we receive a massive shock, a blow that makes us all too acutely aware that our reading machine is off and that the world is vastly different from our illusions of it.

Until one has been struck down by such a shock, it is easy to continue on in the same old ways, to live without questioning your deepest beliefs. Unfortunately, that is how it is. Very few of us are willing and able to confront the true terror of the situation as long as we can continue on in our daily lives as before. We are creatures of habit, dulled into mindless repetition of our daily rounds.

Does this mean that one must overthrow one's life in one fell swoop? No, of course not. None of us are supermen or superwomen able to leap great problems in a single bound. How can we know what it is we want -- in the deepest sense -- if we have no clue as to who we are? How can we do what we need to do if we are as yet unable to DO anything at all -- unable because we have too many conflicting desires pushing and pulling us this way and that. How can we be pure of heart when "we", in the sense of our real "I"s, do not yet exist?

Is everything that you do in your life aligned towards one goal? What is that goal?

Is esoteric work a hobby or a need like breathing?

Purity of heart. Purity of vision. What do you SEE when you look upon the world? Do you see the world as it is or do you see it as you wish it to be?

Why bother?

Not to change anything. We bother because we are doing our best each day to see the world as it is, in all its complexity, in all its glory, in all its horror. Only then shall we be ready to leave, to move on, to find other adventures of the Soul.

This article may be reproduced for educational, non-commercial purposes, as printed in its entirety and with proper credit is given.

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If Terrorism Isn't Video-taped, It Doesn't Exist. Fallujah: an Iraqi Beslan
MIKE WHITNEY
September 11, 2004

Everybody talks about mercy,
But they don't know the meaning of the word.
-Mose Allison

Fallujah is an Iraqi Beslan. The only difference is that the cameras aren't rolling.

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.

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Heavy fighting erupts across Iraq
CBC Online
Last Updated Sun, 12 Sep 2004 20:15:49 EDT

BAGHDAD - More than 100 Iraqis have been killed in some of the heaviest fighting in the country in weeks.

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 the city.

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.

Comment: For more details on the fighting, check out Juan Cole's blog today.

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Powell: US miscalculates difficulty in post-war Iraq
www.chinaview.cn 2004-09-13 11:22:35
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, Powell said.

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," Powell said.

"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 regime.

"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.

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A Minor Event in Terms of War Casualties Worldwide
9/11: an Historical Context
Christoper Reed

On 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 that time.

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 dead mourned.

Christopher Reed can be reached at: christopherreed@earthlink.net

[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, Captain 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. AC/JSC]

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Iran able to develop nukes next year: Israeli official
www.chinaview.cn 2004-09-13 17:43:12

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 Commerce.

"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 by Tehran.

Instead, Iran claims that its nuclear ambitions are of a pure civilian nature.

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.

Comment: Well, the Israelis would say that, wouldn't they? Just as they said that Saddam was a menace because of his weapons of mass destruction, weapons that did not exist. Much of the justification for the invasion of Iraq came from such Israeli 'intelligence' funneled to the Bush Administration through the neocons.

Why should people believe them this time around?

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Be very afraid
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 Noumoff

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 differences.

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 Strasz- Hupe.

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 Affairs.

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 Asia.

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 surfaced.

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 .

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Reign of evil
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 Harbor."

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 heads.

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 cameras?

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 occupation.

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 human beings.

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Dutch make more arrests in plot to attack key sites
Last Updated Sun, 12 Sep 2004 18:23:06 EDT

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.

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Afghan warlord's firing sparks riots
Sep. 12, 2004. 01:00 PM
STEPHEN GRAHAM
ASSOCIATED PRESS

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 no deaths.

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 "strongly."

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. [...]

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Not acts of war, these are plainly acts of evil
Sep. 12, 2004. 01:00 AM
RICHARD GWYN

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 occupation.

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. [...]

Comment: Not only is there precious little evidence of Al Qaeda involvement at Beslan, there is also some doubt as to whether this was part of the Chechen conflict either. This tragic and ruthless targeting of innocents has all the hallmarks of a Mossad false flag operation in order to paint Muslims as bloodthirsty terrorists.

These are acts of unabashed, unapologetic evil, an evil that has no conscience and knows no limits - an evil that permeates the highest levels of government, finance and the media, one that has become an inexorable part of our daily life here on planet earth.

What can we do about an evil that is everywhere, when the world is perfect as it is? Can we face it, look it in the eye, stare it down, and accept the truth about our reality? Do we have the courage to see this evil acting in ourselves and then choose differently?

What more can be done here than for each of us to wake up to the horror and see it for what it is? What possibilities open up when we each make this change on an individual level? Rather than trying to change the world, we can change our relationship to the world, and perhaps then a different future may be open to us.

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SMS bomb warning 'third-hand'
September 13, 2004 - 2:15PM

Doubts have been raised that Indonesian police received a warning via SMS of the Jakarta bombing 45 minutes before it occurred.

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 radio.

"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 were improper.

"I have no information to base that on at all," he said.

Mr Howard today said he did not regret releasing details of the SMS message.

"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.

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The Christocrats

friday, september 10th
by Ward Harkavy

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. history.

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 part:

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 war.

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 further commands:

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" marriage.

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.

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Study: Racial Profiling a Growing Problem
By SIOBHAN McDONOUGH, Associated Press Writer
September 13, 2004

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. [...]

Comment: Therefore, the obvious solution is not less racial profiling, but rather harassment and control of the entire population of the US.

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Florida frees exonerated man after 22 years, but leaves him with nothing
September 12, 2004 

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 else.

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. [...]

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US Airways Files for Bankruptcy Protection
By MATTHEW BARAKAT
Sep 12, 9:09 PM (ET)

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 stay afloat.

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 costs. [...]

Comment: Don't worry though, the economy has dramatically rebounded since 9/11...

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Powell Says War Service Should Pertain to Everyone
By Lori Santos
Sun Sept 12, 2004

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. [...]

Comment: It behooves our American readers to carefully contemplate the implications of this article. Powell may not publicly state that a draft is in the works for the US, but we have reason to believe that the draft will return - and sooner than most think.

The facts are that the US economy is still in bad shape, despite the spin that Washington may place upon its economic reports. There is talk of further military action in the war on terror, most probably in Iran. Due to popular demand for more "security", the erosion of privacy and individual rights in the Land of the Free continues unabated each day. The Republican National Convention is granted a request for a "mini Guantanamo" for illegal detention of protestors. One might wonder if the Republican party is becoming more of a movement than a party. Big Brother has also begun placing cameras all over large cities, ostensibly for the protection of the civilian population.

When we put all the pieces of the puzzle together, it is obvious that no matter the outcome of the 2004 election, the war on terror will thrive. The US military does not have enough troops to support the invasion and occupation of more countries. As America's actions anger more people around the globe, the need for "security" at home and abroad will increase. All this requires manpower, and manpower means a draft. Given the deteriorating economy, military service will most likely be welcomed by the unemployed if things continue to get worse.

While we have been accused of fear mongering, the real question is: are we just trying to make people afraid, or are they afraid because we have assembled part of the puzzle, and they don't like what they see?

For those who believe we are simply trying to frighten our readers, what purpose would this action serve? We don't care who wins the presidential election. It won't matter. We have repeatedly stated so here on the Signs page. America's recent actions are about much more than just Republican versus Democrat, good versus evil, or black versus white.

Think time loops... Think Nazi Germany...

For more information, read Ancient Science.

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Flashback: A question to our American readers:

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

Universal National Service Act of 2003 (Introduced in Senate)

108th CONGRESS

1st Session S. 89

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

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

January 7, 2003

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

A BILL

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

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

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

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

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

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. National service obligation.

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

Sec. 4. Implementation by the President.

Sec. 5. Induction.

Sec. 6. Deferments and postponements.

Sec. 7. Induction exemptions.

Sec. 8. Conscientious objection.

Sec. 9. Discharge following national service.

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

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

Sec. 12. Definitions.

SEC. 2. NATIONAL SERVICE OBLIGATION.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEC. 4. IMPLEMENTATION BY THE PRESIDENT.

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

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

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

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

A prison term perhaps?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEC. 5. INDUCTION.

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

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

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

SEC. 6. DEFERMENTS AND POSTPONEMENTS.

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

(1) obtains a high school diploma;

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

(3) attains the age of 20.

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

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

(1) extreme hardship; or

(2) physical or mental disability.

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

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

SEC. 7. INDUCTION EXEMPTIONS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEC. 8. CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaning Dick Cheney's toilet bowl perhaps?

SEC. 9. DISCHARGE FOLLOWING NATIONAL SERVICE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Flashback: Senator says US may need compulsory service to boost Iraq force
WASHINGTON (AFP)
Apr 20, 2004

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," he observed.

Comment: Note the above comment:

"restoring compulsory military service would force our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face."

You don't believe that the "war on terror" is real? Well, we can fix that! Why should all the regular troops be the only ones to be duped into giving their lives for the power lust of their 'leaders'? Notice also the good Senator's comments that it is the middle and lower middle classes that are dying for no good reason. The solution? Introduce a draft so that even more middle and lower middle class citizens can also die for no good reason, and they'll throw in a few dissenting upper middle and upper classes just for good measure. Bush and the Neocons have fabricated a 'war without end' and now they want every American citizen to take responsibility for that which the political "leaders" have wrought.

"You can fool some of the people all the time, and these are the ones you want to concentrate on." - President George W. Bush -- Speaking at a Gridiron Club Dinner, Washington D. C.; March of 2001

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Solidarity with U.S. crumbling
Richard Foot
CanWest News Service
September 11, 2004

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 ebbed away."

Comment: Perhaps these dwindling numbers in support of Bush's America indicate that many Canadian people are beginning to see the lies of the Neo-Con Administration, and want no part of it. It would seem that feelings of fear and mistrust are a natural response to the actions of an aggressive arrogant bully like Dubya. Sharing the longest undefended border with a country whose leader is a psychopathic warmonger is bound to make a lot of people uneasy. Like Austria in 1933, being geographically linked to an emerging fascist state doesn't bode well for Canada at all.

And for those of you who figure you can dodge the draft by escaping to Canada, think again:

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Portillo: The draft: A lottery you could 'win'
By Julian Portillo - J-W Teen Advisory Board
Tuesday, August 24, 2004

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 is gone.

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? [...]

Comment: Rumor Mill News reports:

Dodging the draft will be more difficult than those from the Vietnam era. College and Canada will not be options. In December 2001, Canada and the U.S. signed a "smart border declaration," which could be used to keep would-be draft dodgers in. Signed by Canada's minister of foreign affairs, John Manley, and U.S. Homeland Security director, Tom Ridge, the declaration involves a 30 point plan which implements, among other things, a "pre-clearance agreement" of people entering and departing each country.

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Flashback: 911 2

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 wish? [...]

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 worth saving.

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 . . .

Comment: This article is as timely today as it was a year ago.

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N Korea says it blew up mountain
Some News Source
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 test.

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, hydro-electric project.

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Drug taken by Columbine killer linked to increased mania
By Anne C. Mulkern
Denver Post Staff Writer

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 shows.

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 he died.

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 charity.

"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 on antidepressants.

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.

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Suspected arson kills 10 at apartment complex
Sunday, September 12, 2004 Posted: 4:45 PM EDT (2045 GMT)

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 to escape.

Eight of the victims, including a child, lived in the same apartment on the third floor, which was destroyed in the quickly moving fire, authorities said.

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. [...]

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Scientists say Mauna Loa, world's largest volcano, getting ready to erupt
September 12, 2004 

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.

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Space Probe Fails to Deploy Chute, Slams into Earth
By Leonard David
SPACE.com
Wed Sep 8, 2:31 PM ET

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 controller.

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. [...]

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Thousands of birds found dead in Greek nature preserve

Thu Sep 9, 2004 12:54 PM ET

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 Thursday.

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 been found.

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.

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Hurricane Ivan bears down on Cuba
BBC
Hurricane Ivan has strengthened as it heads towards Cuba after bringing destruction to the tiny Cayman Islands.

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.

Warning

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.

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Mystery tremors rock Vijayawada
Monday September 13 2004 18:31 IST

IANS

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 no earthquake.

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.

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And Finally...


(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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