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WHAT'S THE STORY OF OUR RETURN?
Jewish Tribal Review
This web site will attempt one last time to stay online. If the world Internet audience has no substantial interest in helping to subsidize the costs of providing this web site and its free information, it will fold before Christmas.

If you'd like to make a contribution to help keep the Jewish Tribal Review online, one way to do this is to help defray our costs to the JTR's web host server. (This cost is, in total, at present, about $300 a year.) The link below is provided by our web server:

Donate towards the JTR web hosting bill!

(There are plenty of other costs too. If you can help with part of those, email us. In the two and a half years of this web's site's existence, the costs have sunk us $3,000 into a hole.)

In our absence, a few web sites have taken the liberty to mirror parts of the Jewish Tribal Review. We have given no one permission to do so and we do not endorse any other web site but this one. The editorial context we endorse is here at jewishtribalreview.org. On the other hand, we are interested in the widest possible audience to the information at-hand, and are not interested in policing and forbidding reproductions of our work. All we ask is credit for our bibliographic labors and that no one economically profit from our efforts.

Comment: We are happy to see the Jewish Tribal Review site is back. It is a priceless compendium of data regarding the history and influence of Jews and Judaism on the world with over 2000 pages in the section When Victims Rule alone.

On a similar note, we have a series of articles today that look at the influence of the Canadian newspaper chain CanWest. But before we look at that, here is an excerpt from the Chapter "Jewish Influence in the Mass Media" from When Victims Rule.

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WHEN VICTIMS RULE: CHAPTER 24 (pt. 1)
JEWISH INFLUENCE IN THE MASS MEDIA
Jewish Tribal Review
"Two-thirds of Americans," notes Bill McKibben, "tell researchers they get 'most of their information' about the world from television ... [Most] American homes have TVs ... on an average of seven hours a day ... As many as 12 percent of adults (that is, one in eight) feel they are physically addicted to the set, watching an average fifty-six hours a week." [MCKIBBEN, p. 18] "Twenty years ago," noted Neil Postman in 1985, "the question, Does television shape culture or merely reflect it? held considerable interest for many scholars and social critics. The question has largely disappeared as television has gradually become our culture." [POWERS/ROTHMAN/ROTHMAN, p. 41]

"Most Americans are basically," noted Jewish author Herbert Schiller in 1973,

"though unconsciously, trapped in what amounts to a no-choice
informational bind. Variety of opinions on foreign and domestic
news or, for that matter, local community business, hardly exists
in the media. This results essentially from the inherent identity of
interests, material and ideological, of property-holders (in this case
the private owners of the communications media), and from the
monopolistic character of the communications industry in general."
[SCHILLER, H., p. 19]

The ABC, CBS, and NBC television and radio networks were all controlled and developed to power by Jews: David Sarnoff at NBC, William Paley at CBS, and Leonard Goldenson at ABC. As late as 1985, "Leonard Goldenson, ABC's founder, was still very much in charge, and his network ... was still the Number One in America." [WILLIAMS, p 5]

Paley, the second mogul, achieved control of CBS in 1928 and headed it for nearly the next sixty years. Early investors in the company included other Jews of Paley's original Philadelphia home, including Ike Levy and Jerome Louchheim. One of Paley's biographers noted that he "had an insatiable appetite for power [SMITH, S., p. 15] ... CBS shaped and reflected American society to a greater degree than its rivals ... The flickering images on CBS represented the soul and sensibility of Bill Paley." [SMITH, S., p. 16]

"Officially, [Sarnoff, the third mogul] did not head RCA until thirteen years after its founding," notes Carl Drehr, "actually, as commercial manager, for all practical purposes he ran it almost from the beginning." [DREHR, C. p. 52] By 1936 David Sarnoff was both president of RCA (later CEO) and chairman of the board of NBC (he founded NBC in 1926 as a radio company). [GOLDBERG, M. H., 1976, p. 162] His son Robert became the CEO of NBC in 1955. In 1956, says a biographer, Sarnoff "brought the issue of nepotism [about the appointment of his son to head NBC] in the open." "When a man stands in the way of his son's progress," Sarnoff told an NBC staff convention, "he is not thinking of his son, he is thinking of himself." [LYONS, p. 312-313] "David Sarnoff," notes Edwin Emery, "retired in 1970 to the honorary chairmanship of the Radio Corporation of America, which he had built. RCA was a two-billion dollar business and the largest communication organization in the world. His son Robert became both President and Board Chairman of RCA and father and son sat on the NBC board [a subsidiary of RCA]." [EMERY, p. 606]

"Both Paley and Sarnoff," notes Chaim Bermant, "have shown a consistent interest in Jewish affairs. The latter was for many years on the board of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and both he and Paley have been generous supporters of the Weizmann Institute of Science [in Israel]." [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 105]

(The pattern of television ownership in England has been the same. As Bermant observes: "In Britain, until 1955, radio and television were a state monopoly ... In 1955, however, commercial television was launched and in time comprised three networks and several smaller regional companies. The networks, Associated-Rediffusion, Associated Television and Granada were headed by Emil Littler, Lew Grade, and Sidney Bernstein respectively, all of whom had spent a lifetime in show-business ... and all three were Jewish.") [BERMANT, C., 1977, p. 105]

Despite corporate buyouts and the labyrinthian nature of business takeovers, restructuring, et al, Jewish management and control over the decades has remained dominant; in 1993, for instance, the Chief Executive Officers for the three major American television networks and the four largest film studios were all Jews. [MACDONALD, p. 129] (In 1998, in a survey, the Anti-Defamation League solicited opinion about the fact that "the presidents of the three national television networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, are Jewish." [ADL, NOV 1998] In the film world, noted J. J. Goldberg in 1996, "virtually all the senior executives at the major studios are Jews." [GOLDBERG, JJ, p. 288]

While Jews make up merely 2.5% of the American population, in a 1990 issue of Premiere magazine, the first thirteen individuals identified "as the most powerful people in Hollywood," were Jewish. [WHITFIELD, p. 83] In the same year, as noted by American Film magazine, the chairmen of eight of the top ten movie and television companies were Jewish. [STAUTH, p. 44] In an October 1994 issue of Vanity Fair, ten of eighteen deemed important faces in the changing world of "media megacorporations" were Jews. [HALBERSTAM, p. 12]

In 1999, the Los Angeles Jewish Times ran an article entitled "Yes, Virginia, Jews Do Control the Media." "Four of the largest five entertainment giants," it announced, "are now run or owned by Jews. Murdoch's News Corp (at number four) is the only gentile holdout -- however Rupert is as pro-Israel as any Jew, probably more so." [LOS ANGELES JEWISH TIMES, p. 14] (And who is the Executive Vice President at the News Corporation? Gary Ginsberg.) [WEINTRAUB, B., 3-4-01] "Time-Warner, Disney, Viacom-CBS, News Corporation and Universal rule the entertainment world in a way that the old Hollywood studio chiefs only dreamed of," noted the Jewish Week in 1999, "And, after all the deals and buyouts, four of the five are run by Jews. We're back to where we started, bigger than ever." [GOLDBERG, J.J., 9-17-99, 12]

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Newspapers accused of misusing word 'terrorist'
Last Updated Fri, 17 Sep 2004 17:19:45 EDT

OTTAWA - Canada's largest newspaper chain, CanWest Global, is being criticized over its use of the word "terrorist" in stories about the Middle East.

The owner of the National Post and dozens of other papers across Canada is being accused of inappropriately inserting the word into newswire copy dealing with the Middle East, thereby changing the meaning of those stories.

One of the world's leading news agencies, Reuters, said CanWest newspapers has been altering words and phrases in its stories dealing with the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Reuters told CBC News it would complain to CanWest about the issue.

The global managing editor for Reuters, David Schlesinger, called such changes unacceptable. He said CanWest had crossed a line from editing for style to editing the substance and slant of news from the Middle East.

"If they want to put their own judgment into it, they're free to do that, but then they shouldn't say that it's by a Reuters reporter," said Schlesinger.

As an example, Schlesinger cited a recent Reuters story, in which the original copy read: "...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank."

In the National Post version of the story, printed Tuesday, it became: "...the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel."

Neither the National Post nor CanWest returned calls.

But the Ottawa Citizen, another CanWest paper, has admitted to making erroneous changes in a story about Iraq from another leading news agency.

Last week, the Citizen inserted the word "terrorist" seven times into an Associated Press story on the Iraqi city of Fallujah, where Iraqi insurgents have been battling U.S.-led occupation forces.

In an interview, Ottawa Citizen editor Scott Anderson conceded fighters in Fallujah were not terrorists but said CanWest has a policy of renaming some groups as terrorists.

He added the paper had applied that term primarily to Arab groups, and that mistakes had been made occasionally.

However, Anderson said he did not believe the paper had a duty to inform its readers when it changed words.

"We're editing for style...," he said. "We're editing so that we have clear consistent language to describe what's going on in the world. And if we've made a mistake, we should correct that. And we will."

In response to a letter published Friday about the Fallujah article, the Citizen wrote: "The changes to the Associated Press story do not reflect Citizen policy, which is to use the term 'terrorist' to describe someone who deliberately targets civilians. As such, the changes to the Associated Press story were made in error."

Riad Saloojee, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Canada, says the organization wants Canadian press watchdogs to investigate CanWest.

"We're going to be asking the Ontario Press Council to investigate exactly the extent of this policy across the country in other CanWest publications," said Saloojee.

Comment: CanWest Global is a media and newspaper conglomerate owned by the late Israel "Izzy" Asper, that is now run by his sons David and Leonard. Izzy, a staunch supporter of the Zionist State of Israel has never been shy about his pro-Israeli bias. First a little about the man himself, followed by several articles that clearly indicate that altering news stories to portray all Palestinians as "terrorists" is just one small part of the standard pro-Zionist CanWest policy.

Asper's media empire now extends out of Canada. If his interference and manipulation of the media is an extreme, the same thing goes on throughout the mainstream media, therefore we offer this as an example of what is happening everywhere the media is in the hands of supporters of Israel.

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Encyclopedia: Izzy Asper
Updated: Aug 11, 2004

Israel "Izzy" Harold Asper (August 11, 1932 - October 7, 2003), Canadian tax lawyer and media magnate, was the founder of CanWest Global Communications Corp.

Asper was born in Minnedosa, Manitoba, the son of musicians who had emigrated from the Ukraine. In 1957 he received his Bachelor of law degree, and was called to the bar shortly thereafter. He founded the firm of Asper, Freedman & Co. in 1959. In 1970 he wrote The Benson Iceberg: A critical analysis of the White Paper on Tax Reform in Canada.

Also in 1970, Asper was elected leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party (defeating university professor John Nesbitt). Asper represented a right-libertarian strain within the party: in the Manitoba election of 1973, calling for the elimination of the welfare state and a laissez-faire economy. He also advocated the public financing of election campaigns, to ensure that politics would not be dominated entirely by wealthy interests. The party won only five seats, and Asper was elected in Wolseley by only four votes. He resigned as party leader and MLA in 1975, though he continued to have an interest in the Manitoba Liberal Party in later years.

His media empire started with the Winnipeg television station CKND in 1975. CanWest grew to encompass the Global Television Network, the daily newspaper National Post and over 60 other Canadian newspapers.

Asper was noted for his fierce loyalty to Manitoba, refusing enticements to move east to Toronto. He was the leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party from 1970 to 1975. The faculty of management at the University of Manitoba renamed itself the Asper School of Business in 2000. He was also a noted philanthropist, making major donations to the arts and education; in 2001 he donated $5 million (Can) to the St. Boniface Hospital & Research Foundation in Winnipeg. Asper became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.

He was one of Canada's most prominent Jews, and was well-known for his strong faith and support for the State of Israel. He would occasionally pen editorials defending the nation in his various papers. He also advocated against unaccountable public broadcasting media, especially the CBC, which critics have accused of simply attempting to eliminate competition to his business and his political opinions.

Asper was also a close friend of many of Canada's prominent political and business elites, including Jean Chretien and Paul Martin.

He had three children, David, Leonard and Gail, all of whom became lawyers.

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OWNERSHIP: A CHILL IN CANADA
Aaron J. Moore

Quick: What is Canada's leading media company? You may not have heard much about CanWest Global Communications, but given the company's recent stunning growth and troubling behavior, you soon may.

Canada has relaxed its reluctance to allow media companies to own both television and newspaper outlets, and that paved the way for CanWest's biggest deal -- the purchase in 2000 from Conrad Black's Hollinger Company of the fourteen-newspaper Southam chain. "As a general rule, cross ownership in Canada was not allowed," says Peter Desbarats, the former dean of journalism at the University of Western Ontario. "When CanWest purchased Southam, it created a conglomeration of unprecedented scope."

The company got its start nearly thirty years ago when Israel Asper purchased an independent TV station in North Dakota, then relocated it to Winnipeg. Now it's a global presence, with some 9,000 employees and broadcasting properties in Australia, Northern Ireland, and New Zealand. The company's Canadian portfolio includes more than 120 community papers, sixteen television stations, seven specialty networks, and the news portal, Canada.com, as well as fourteen English-language metropolitan dailies, including the National Post, based in Toronto and with a daily national circulation of 322,000.

The Southam deal between Black and the Aspers -- Israel's two sons, Leonard and David, now run the company -- not only highlighted a change in the power structure of Canadian media, but seemed to confirm the fears of those who were nervous about how large media companies might use their muscles. The Aspers apparently have no qualms about directing media properties to fall in ideological line.

In December 2001, CanWest ordered all its dailies to begin running the same corporately crafted "national editorials," and as of this January the company said it would supply them three times a week. Many Canadian journalists feel that the required editorials -- lower taxes and less regulation are among favorite Asper causes -- are intrusive. Even more intrusive was a no-rebuttal order after a national editorial last August, following an attack on Israel by Palestinians, arguing that Canada should back Israel no matter how it responds, "without the usual hand-wringing criticism about 'excessive force.'" Papers in the Southam chain were told to carry neither columns nor letters to the editor taking issue with that editorial, according to journalists at two Southam papers, who said the order came via a conference call.

Meanwhile, Canadian journalists say the Aspers have censored local columnists whose viewpoints they disagree with. Stephen Kimber, a longtime columnist for the Halifax Daily News, resigned in January "because a number of columns of mine were changed to match the owner's point of view." Kimber says he does not dispute an owner's right to express a political position, but he disagrees with CanWest's reining in differing points of view, especially from columnists. He also believes CanWest's national editorials undermine the value of a local newspaper. "The power of a newspaper," he says, "is a local perspective."

Stephanie Domet, also a Daily News columnist, wrote a piece in support of Kimber, then quit when it was rejected. One of the Southam chain's most popular syndicated columnists, Lawrence Martin, was let go recently in what CanWest attributed to cost-cutting, but which many journalists think is tied to Martin's recent critical pieces on Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. The veteran syndicated columnist Peter Worthington had his column terminated in the Windsor Star after he was critical of the Aspers.

Such moves angered Montreal Gazette employees to the point where, as of late January, seventy-seven of them had signed an open letter in protest. The letter says: "This is an attempt to centralize opinion to serve the corporate interests of CanWest. Far from offering additional content to Canadians, this will practically vacate the power of the editorial boards of Southam newspapers and thereby reduce the diversity of opinions and the breadth of debate."

David Asper, chairman of CanWest's publications committee, in a December speech following the Gazette staff protest, spoke of the "bleeding hearts" of the journalistic community. "If those people in Montreal are so committed," he said, "why don't they just quit and have the courage of their convictions?"

Comment: Yeah, why don't they quit so that CanWest can continue to censor reporting without any fighting back!

All of this is giving second thoughts to some who supported media deregulation. Desbarats, who publicly supported the Southam deal, is rethinking the matter. He finds it "alarming" that the company would throw its weight around so soon after regulators awarded CanWest cross-media ownership, and after opposition forces voiced their fears over such a concentration of media power. "My concerns have intensified since the two sons have shown a tendency to use their influence to get involved with the national political debate," he says.

What's next? CanWest will inevitably expand into the United States, according to Gordon Pitts, a Canadian journalist working on a book about Canadian media groups. Pitts said the Aspers envision CanWest developing into a global print, radio, TV, and Web empire with Winnipeg as its hub. "They realize the only way to play in this league is to truly go international," Pitts says. "They would love to get into the United States and pattern themselves after Tribune or News Corp."

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Canadian press launch own Intifada: Journalists enraged at ‘censorship’ by pro-Israel owners
3 May 2002,
Lina Badih
Special to The Daily Star
(Lebanon)

Toronto: As reports of censorship and pro-Israeli media bias in Canada rage, journalists are fighting back, waging what they call their own intifada.

“We’ve seen the ugly face of censorship at the Gazette and … (it) looks a lot like Izzy Asper’s,” wrote journalists at the Montreal Gazette, the only English-language newspaper in Canada’s second largest city, in an article protesting interference in press freedom.

The article, which used the byline “Gazette Intifada,” was published in Media Magazine last month. Its authors are among the dozens of prominent Canadian journalists, authors, politicians, activists and academics who want the government to begin an inquiry into the effects of concentrated media ownership in Canada.

According to the Gazette Intifada, the Aspers, owners of CanWest Global Communications, have “clamped down on news, criticism, or commentary that is anything but 100 percent pro-Israeli.”

Canada’s largest media corporation, CanWest Global Communications, is headed by pro-Israeli ideologue Israel “Izzy” Asper. After purchasing the Southam newspaper chain in 2000, CanWest’s Canadian portfolio has come to include 126 community newspapers, one of three national television networks and a major internet portal as well as 14 major metropolitan daily newspapers including the nationally distributed National Post. In most Canadian large cities, CanWest runs the only daily newspaper.

Asper has made no attempt to keep his support for Israel a secret. In a speech last year, he remarked that “Israel is a lonely outpost of Western civilization and its values in a sea of terrorism, corruption, dictatorship and human enslavement.” He has also criticized the Canadian government for its “shameful … policy on Israel, as represented by its pro-Palestinian votes at the United Nations.”

Journalists fear Asper’s private opinions may be impacting what the public reads. CanWest has muzzled reporters and editors from coast-to-coast and meddled with the editorial stance of its newspapers, particularly in their coverage of the Middle East. Charges of censorship have not been limited to editorials and commentaries but also include news stories. According to local journalists, any negative coverage of Israel has been forbidden.

Concerns about CanWest’s ownership of 60 percent of Canadian media proved legitimate when Asper dictated in December that corporate editorials, written at the company’s headquarters in Winnipeg, must run weekly in the 14 metropolitan dailies across Canada. The “national editorials” would run in the space where papers had run local editorials. The policy has since led to employee dissent and company punitive discipline at three newspapers, according to a report by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.

“I have not had columns (before CanWest took over) where you’ve been talking about the Israeli issue and that’s verboten if you don’t take the right side,” said Stephen Kimber, a former CanWest employee, on national television. Kimber quit his job with the Halifax Daily News when the newspaper refused to run a commentary he had written criticizing their repeated censorship of his columns.

A column at another newspaper was spiked because the columnist compared the plight of Palestinians to that of aborigines in Canada.

By attempting to impose censorship and clamp down on freedom of the press, CanWest has created a strong backlash among journalists. Gazette reporters have signed a petition protesting the abuses, and vent their frustration in a website they set up on their own time.

According to Alexander Norris, Gazette reporters “have been threatened with dismissal for anything that smacks of what CanWest takes to be a violation of an obligation of primary fidelity to our employer.” Norris is one of 77 Gazette reporters who have signed an online petition in protest.

Journalists are not alone in their dissent. Pro-Palestinian students also say the media covers their events with bias.

“When we organize activities, they’re either not covered at all or covered from a negative perspective,” said Sami Nazzal, head of the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) at Concordia University. “Regardless of the activity, the media won’t cover it unless there is something negative, unless there’s something to make a pro-Palestinian activist look bad. "

Nazzal gave the example of a recent SPHR-organized rally, during which one demonstrator started to burn an Israeli flag. “It took a few seconds before we stopped him,” said Nazzal. “But the camera caught it, and that’s all they showed on TV. They didn’t  cover the thousands of people demonstrating. They didn’t say why we were there or what our message was. All they said was that we burned an Israeli flag.”

According to local journalists, letters to the editor continue to pour in. And journalists have written collectively that despite what they perceive as censorship, they will continue to report the facts as they see them. “None of this has reduced our determination one iota,” the Gazette reporters wrote.

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Asper's charges of media bias 'bizarre'
By DOUG SAUNDERS

AFTER a long, angry speech by Winnipeg media mogul Izzy Asper, which accused most of the world's media of being insufficiently pro-Israeli and implied that reporters are anti-Semitic, bewildered journalists yesterday struggled to respond.

Mr. Asper's Wednesday night speech, which was reprinted prominently in his city papers and the National Post, effectively positioned Mr. Asper and his newspapers to the far right of most of the world's major media.

As with speeches he delivered last month with former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it repeated the Israeli Likud party's conservative and aggressively anti-Arab views.

This time, though, he named names, accusing the CBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press and Reuters wire services, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, BBC, the British Guardian, Independent, Evening Standard and Daily Mirror newspapers, as well as ITV and Sky News networks, and other outlets of being "lazy, or sloppy, or stupid . . . [or] plain and simple, biased or anti-Semitic."

Comment: We all know that the New York Times is soooo anti-Semitic! As are the other mainstream media in the US! Only Fox News is saved from his outburst!

He singled out the CBC and its former Middle East reporter Neil MacDonald, accusing them of providing "the most slanted and biased information" and of routinely practising "dishonest reporting." In particular, he demanded that reporters in the Mideast, such as Mr. Macdonald, refer to all Palestinian militants as "terrorists."

Tony Burman, head of the CBC-TV news division, said yesterday that he considered Mr. Asper's opinions "bizarre," and that he would be demanding space to respond to the accusations in the Asper-owned papers.

"To suggest that most of the world's media are involved in a conspiracy against Israel, it's just a totally extreme conception on Asper's part."

He said it had been the position of the CBC and most major media outlets for 25 years not to refer to militants on either side as terrorists, regardless of their actions.

He also said that the CBC receives a commensurate number of complaints from pro-Palestinian viewers about its Middle East coverage, all of which are adjudicated by an independent ombudsman.

"There is something profoundly ironic about being told off about media bias by someone like Izzy Asper," said Mr. Burman, apparently referring to Mr. Asper's former practice of forcing his city papers to print company-written editorials that expressed the owner's views.

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Israel Asper leaves legacy of bombast and bullying
by Greg Felton
(Wednesday 05 November 2003)

Among the titles heaped upon recently deceased CanWest founder Israel Asper, “thug” was conspicuously absent. Of course, one isn’t meant to speak ill of the dead, especially the barely cold, but the damage Asper and his gormless spawn have wrought on Canadian journalism will doubtless be his most lasting legacy.

Even though Conrad Black and his Hollinger henchmen led the open assault on the free press five years ago this month, the CanWest campaign is far more blatant and unsophisticated.

For example, on Oct. 31, 2002, in the Montreal Gazette, Asper scribbled a frothing tirade against “anti-Israel bias” in the media. He dredged up the Jewish holocaust, of course, and regurgitated the libel of how those who criticize Israel are “anti-Semites” (a nonsense term); and even advocated denying funds to universities that didn’t toe the zionist line.

The source of this distemper was really Asper’s own impotence. For all of his overwhelming control of Canada’s media, he could not prevent others, especially the CBC, from giving Canadians informed criticism of Israel, and not depicting Palestinians as “terrorists.”

Asper failed to win the hearts and minds of Canadians because they have hearts and minds, and resent being manipulated. CanWest’s flagship paper the National Post still haemorrhages red ink for want of readers and advertising, and the corporate practice of filling local dailies with centralized canned copy has created an insipid conformity.

If Asper thought this was the way to cut costs and boost readership, he didn’t know newspapers, and that’s the point. He wasn’t in the newspaper business—he was in the propaganda business. He feared honest journalism, especially on Israel, and that meant dissenting opinions had to be squashed. That is his bequest to Canada. [...]

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Israel Asper, Dan Freeman-Maloy and Sovietology
Sun Jul 25th, 2004 at 05:03:11 AM PST
By Macdonald Stainsby

Living in the settler state of Canada, it's very much standard fare that the discourse  around Palestine and the Zionists would involve the colonial mindset, and several racist assumptions. The Globe and Mail, which of the two major national dailies is considered the "liberal" one, offers this first sentence to an unsigned editorial article: "Israel has long been the United Nations' favourite punching bag." The article is entitled "The UN's blinkers", and after much that would seem predictable to follow, we get this final sentence: "If the General Assembly really wanted to advance the cause of peace, it would not be condemning Israel for responding to terrorism. It would be condemning Mr. Arafat for fomenting it."

This is nothing particularly new. In general, all major media outlets in Canada have basically sided with Israel, "the only democracy in the Middle East" (and Canada can hardly get righteous about stealing indigenous land). So on July 23rd when I received what would have to be good news, I was quite surprised to see it delivered favorably by none other than Christie Blatchford of the Globe and Mail.  

Dan Freeman-Maloy was summarily and without due process suspended from all campus activity at York University in Toronto last April. The nearly graduated, high-marks-earning  22 year old was charged with using a megaphone on campus (many other students were doing this, including Zionist-supporters). When Freeman-Maloy (a Jewish student who opposes Zionism and supports Palestinian rights) asked York University President Lorna Marsden (a Zionist and converted-through-marriage Jewish woman) for an appeal, the decision was said to be final-- interpreting that she could determine the suspension unilaterally and that no appeal could be granted. "Unauthorized sound amplification device", indeed! Well, Freeman-Maloy wasn't about to let his name become one of irony. He took the university to court. Reported on page 2 of the Globe two days ago (July 21), Freeman-Maloy had won the first round, with a lame last-minute call by Marsden for a disciplinary hearing looked upon as a "nice try". The judge saw it as an attempt to create the appearance of proper procedure for the student, and denoted York's procedure was hopelessly compromised. Freeman-Maloy was to be given a chance to appeal and face a different disciplinary tribunal than the one offered by Marsden to overturn his outrageous sentence. This threat of a court ordered independent judicial review caused Marsden to yesterday (July 22) rescind the entire suspension. Now, it seems that even Freeman-Maloy's opponents on matters political have defended him on this question, but considering the record of the other national paper-- The National Post-- I'm looking forward to the kinds of editorials that will inevitably be run in defense of president Marsden's decision to persecute the advocate for Palestinian rights.

The National Post is the flagship of the now-deceased Izzy Asper media empire (owned and directed by son, Leonard). More than 60% of the daily newspapers in Canada are controlled by this proudly arch Zionist clan. When they bought the chain --Southam News-- they immediately announced they were going to change the editorial line in every paper to stop "attacking Israel" and some heads rolled. Since, there has been a total dearth of actual journalism-- so long as their papers contents are either demeaning Arabs and in particular Palestinians, or praising the ever-lasting virtues of the Jewish state, the owners have given themselves the right to print anything they want. The only thing we can be certain of is that the violence of ultra-magnified voices will continue to create "facts in the archives".

To understand the minds of where todays Christian Zionists want you to go, you end up decoding their newspapers the way "sovietologists" would once watch for shifts in tone and nuance from the pages of Pravda. It was almost a real science. The article would come out in Moscow, and then ten articles would immediately get written in various universities in the United States about what this first Soviet piece meant. This is the department of study that gave Condoleeza Rice her first degree. To carry out this kind of research and intelligence gathering today, but on "our" Christian Zionists, nothing is more suitable than the National Post. They don't mince words on the one hand, but they are not bound by even a semblance of the truth on the other. Please consider the case of liberal and honest CBC reporter, Neil Macdonald-- a favourite whipping boy of the National(ist) Post. Leonard Asper outright lied in an op-ed calling on Canadians to try and get award winning Macdonald taken off the air. Macdonald wisely put the matter back in their court by responding with his written words and facts as well as a demand for a retraction. None, of course, was forthcoming and the matter simply faded away from the Asper pages. Lies and falsifications get printed, corrections do not.

On July 22nd The National Post ran an unsigned article that signified a shift in such a manner that would be easy for a Sovietologist to recognize. The most important thing to note about any Asper paper is that it will not trifle with any aspect of the Palestinian conflict without permission; if something is printed, especially in an unsigned editorial article, it represents the official line of the Christian Zionists at Southam (and who also run the national Global networks on Canadian  television). Todays unsigned article was another attack on the UN General Assembly for voting "anti-semitically"--that is, against the construction of the apartheid wall that has stolen yet more Palestinian land. Of course, in the National Post, such an article wouldn't be complete without a demeaning and racist image used to describe Arafat while mentioning nothing of the Occupation. It was the reference to the result of the Occupation that struck me dumb. The term wasn't new to me, but it had only been the turf of the most violently anti-Palestinian websites, hate mail, and letters to the editor. To start having a major daily (which will set the standard for the editorial staff at over 60% of the city dailies in Canada) make a casual reference to the "disputed territories" was a definitive shift in political line, a softening up of the public to the idea that there will never be a Palestinian State. Such a wording truly is as much violence as can be meted out from so far abroad on the rights of Palestine to self-determination.

Considering that the pages of the Asper dynasty's various national and Montreal-based newspapers were vitriolic in their attacks on the Concordia Students Union only a couple of years ago, it will probably now be time for them to rush to the defense of the Zionists at York who wish to destroy the academic career of the "self-hating Jew" Maloy. After all, he used a megaphone at a protest in an outdoor atrium. And what were the crimes that first got the CSU in trouble with Asper and his empire? They printed a student day-planner agenda, among other things, that included reference to the "Zionist controlled media". You see we must remember that this empire decides what can be said, by who, and when-- and when dealing with journalism, the truth is only a burden.

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Asper's Blindingly White Election Team
Sun., Jun. 6, 2004
By Charles Campbell
TheTyee.ca

Every member of CanWest's election reporting team is white. CEO Leonard Asper was in B.C. speechifying to newspaper execs, so we asked why.
 
When I worked at the Vancouver Sun, not so very long ago, a reporter with a passion for civic history had a promotional ad for the paper tacked to the wall of his cubicle. "Meet the Vancouver Sun's All Canadian staff of local writers" it declared. Zero "born outside the Empire." It also trumpeted such international contributors as Mussolini. The ad was a reflection of those in power at the time - Monday, January 26, 1931.
 
Just the other day the editor of The Tyee directed my attention to a letter on the website Straight Goods, a lefty national political forum. It complained that in an ad promoting CanWest Global's current election reporting team, every photo is of a white person.
 
I rooted through my stack of Suns mouldering in the recycling bin and found a version of the offending ad. There were 32 photos and I was unable to dispute their whiteness. Nor am I able to think of today's Vancouver Sun, owned by CanWest Global, as a multicultural environment. When I left the paper last summer, the all-white hierarchy of editors ran something like this: Reynolds, Graham, Munro, Muir, Ryan, Scott, Casselton. Fralic and Bucci, maybe Cayo, were the concessions to the world beyond the Empire.
 
On Thursday, CanWest president and CEO Leonard Asper came to town to speak to the Canadian Newspaper Association's annual assembly. He's a proud member of the Jewish minority, and I thought I should ask him about the issue. So I trundled down to the conference at the Hyatt. [...]
 
Then it was Leonard Asper's turn. He began with an obtuse reference to Playboy, which reminded me that he once told a reporter that his brother David's penis isn't that big. Then he got to his meandering speech on the state of the industry.
 
"There's a lot of skulduggery and connivery [sic] and thievery and nefarious behaviour, mendacity, conspiracy ... and that's just on your team." Scattered laughter. "That's a joke by the way."
 
He declared that "we value our newspapers like no other thing that is in our lives ... I think." He admitted that "we're only now figuring out how to use the trust that Canadians have invested in us."
 
Asper talked about convergence and customer relations: "We must charge; that's our connection to our customer." He was explaining the recent shift to making people pay for internet access to his papers. [...]

However, Asper noted that the newspaper industry needs to "focus on the 60 percent of the homes we are not reaching."
 
Many of those homes belong to recent immigrants and their families. At the Sun, efforts to reach those readers come and go. Six or seven years ago, under editor John Cruickshank, the issue was a priority. Its importance waned under Neil Reynolds. Now it's waxing under Patricia Graham.
 
The new editorial page editor is Fazil Mihlar. Two editorial interns are Ai Lin Choo and Ayesha Bhatty. Stories about multiculturalism abound. But despite the Sun's best intentions, those stories still have a whiff of "us writing about them." Building a newspaper that reflects the world we live in requires savvy, relentless effort to overcome institutional inertia, and that effort has often been wanting.
 
When the conference broke for coffee, Leonard Asper idly and unwittingly approached me. I have a question, I said. "Does it bother you that every member of your 32-member election team appears to be white?"
 
"Ah, yes it does," he replied. But that doesn't mean that many of the journalists who stand behind them aren't members of visible minorities, he said, noting Global TV's diversity program. He said seniority issues are partly to blame. Unions, he said, make it hard to give young, culturally diverse reporters the best assignments. He did acknowledge, when asked, that his company's own staff cuts make the issue more difficult to address.
 
Asper said the problem is reflective of the industry, which lags behind society in general. Although I am often struck by the diversity of names I hear on CBC, I looked around the room and could not disagree.
 
Newspapers reflect the world in which their owners live.

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Asper 'prank' figures in suit
Fri, April 2, 2004
By CP

TORONTO -- A lewd "prank" by media executive David Asper has landed him and his National Post newspaper with a $405,000 lawsuit. The suit filed by former Post reporter Patricia Hickey alleges she was wrongfully dismissed. Asper and the Post deny her claim.

Her firing, Hickey claims, followed an incident where Asper, chairman of the Post and executive vice-president of Winnipeg-based CanWest Global Communications, "made an obscene and lewd gesture to (her) by unzipping the fly of his pants, sticking his finger out of his pants towards (her) to make it look like he was sticking out his penis and wiggling it."

Asper reacted with the gesture when Hickey asked him to pose for a photo at a company reception at the National Newspaper Awards May 3, 2003. She was covering the event.

Hickey claims her ensuing complaint about her boss's behaviour was the catalyst for harassing workplace incidents designed either to force her to quit or create a record to justify her termination. She was fired in November.

The statement of defence filed in court denies any suggestion that Hickey was forced out of the newspaper but acknowledges the photo incident. The statement says the paper had just cause to fire Hickey, suggesting she kept missing deadlines.

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Journalists Are Under Attack for Telling the Truth
by Robert Fisk
Dissident Voice
December 18, 2002
First it was Roger Ailes, the chairman of the Fox News Channel, who advised the US President to take the "harshest measures possible" against those who attacked America on 11 September, 2001.
 
Let us forget, for a moment, that Fox News's Jerusalem bureau chief is Uri Dan, a friend of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the author of the preface of the new edition of Sharon's autobiography, which includes a revolting account of the Sabra and Chatila massacre of 1,700 Palestinian civilians and Sharon's innocence in this slaughter. Then Ted Koppel, one of America's leading news anchormen, announced that it may be a journalist's duty not to reveal events until the military want them revealed in a new war against Iraq.
 
Can we go any further in journalistic cowardice? Oh yes, we can. ABC television announced, a little while ago, that it knew all about the killing of four al-Qa'ida members by an unmanned "Predator" plane in Yemen but delayed broadcasting the news for four days "at the request of the Pentagon." So now at least we know for whom ABC works.
 
The Pentagon said that the murdered men--and let's not lose sight of the "murdered" bit, though that's not the word ABC used--were between "two to 20" of the top ranks of al-Qa'ida. Really? So were they numbers two, three, four and five in al-Qa'ida? Or numbers 17,18,19 and 20? Who cares? The press are onside. Don't ask who is resisting forthcoming US censorship of the Iraq war. Ask who is first to climb aboard the bandwagon.
 
In Canada, the situation is even worse. Canwest, owned by Israel Asper, owns over 130 newspapers in Canada, including 14 city dailies and one of the country's largest papers, the National Post. His "journalists" have attacked colleagues who have deviated from Mr Asper's pro-Israel editorials. As Index on Censorship reported, Bill Marsden, an investigative reporter for the Montreal Gazette has been monitoring Canwest's interference with its own papers. "They do not want any criticism of Israel," he wrote. "We do not run in our newspaper op-ed pieces that express criticism of Israel and what it is doing in the Middle East..."
 
But now, "Izzy" Asper has written a gutless and repulsive editorial in the Post in which he attacks his own journalists, falsely accusing reporters of "lazy, sloppy or stupid" journalism and being "biased or anti-Semitic". These vile slanders are familiar to any reporter trying to do his work on the ground in the Middle East.
 
They are made even more revolting by inaccuracies.
 
Mr Asper, for example, claims that my colleague Phil Reeves compared the Israeli killings in Jenin earlier this year--which included a goodly few war crimes (the crushing to death of a man in a wheelchair, for example)--to the "killing fields of Pol Pot". Now Mr Reeves has never mentioned Pol Pot. But Mr Asper wrongly claims that he did.
 
It gets worse. Mr Asper, whose "lazy, sloppy or stupid" allegations against journalists in reality apply to himself, states--in the address to an Israel Bonds Gala Dinner in Montreal, which formed the basis of his preposterous article--that "in 1917, Britain and the League of Nations declared, with world approval, that a Jewish state would be established in Palestine". Now hold on a moment. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 did not say that a Jewish state would be established. It said that the British government would "view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." The British refused to use the words "Jewish state".
 
This may not matter much to lazy writers like Mr Aspen. But when it comes to the League of Nations being involved, we really are into mythology. The League of Nations was created after the First World War--had it existed in 1917, it might have stopped the whole war--and Mr Asper is simply wrong (or, as he might have put it, "lazy, sloppy or stupid") to suggest it existed in 1917. At no point, of course, does Mr Asper tell us about Israeli occupation or the building of Jewish settlements, for Jews and Jews only, upon Arab land. He talks about "alleged Palestinian refugees"--about as wrongheaded a remark as you can get--and then claims that the corrupt and foolish Yasser Arafat is "one of the world's cruel and most vicious terrorists for the past 30 years".
 
He concluded his speech to Israel's supporters in Montreal with the dangerous request that "you, the public, must take action against the media wrongdoers".
 
Wrongdoers? Is this far from President Bush's "evildoers"? What in the hell is going on here?
 
I will tell you. Journalists are being attacked for telling the truth, for trying to tell it how it is. American journalists especially. I urge them to read a remarkable new book published by the New York University Press and edited by John Collins and Ross Glover. It's called Collateral Language and is, in its own words, intended to expose "the tyranny of political rhetoric". Its chapter titles--"Anthrax", "Cowardice", "Evil", "Freedom", Fundamentalism", "Justice", "Terrorism", Vital Interests" and--my favourite--"The War on..." (fill in the missing country) tell it all.
 
Meanwhile, rest assured, the journalists are getting onside, to tell you the story the government wants you to hear.

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The Death and Disorientation of the Children of Gaza
By Guardian Newspapers,
9/16/2004

In their homes, in the street, in UN-run schools, Palestinian youth are not safe from Israeli bullets

Raghda Alassar's classmates did not hear the Israeli bullet that tore into the nine-year-old's brain as she wrote an English test. But as a pool of blood spread across her desk and spilled on to the floor, a wall of screams rose from the classroom of the UN elementary school for girls in Khan Yunis.

At that point Raghda was still crying for help. By the time she was hauled into the trauma room of a neighbouring hospital she was silent.

For five crucial days the army blocked Raghda's transfer to an Israeli hospital with the facilities to offer a glimmer of hope. An infection set in.

On Tuesday doctors told her father, Adnad, that she was brain dead.

"The bullet entered under her eye and went out the back of her head," Mr Alassar said.

"It took them a long time to stop the bleeding, and her heart stopped and they gave her shocks. From that moment she was like a dead body, although she wasn't dead."

"I find it so difficult to believe what happened to my daughter. She was at school, just carrying her notebook, not a gun. What is my daughter - nine years old - guilty of that she has to be shot? It's state terror against the whole population."

In recent weeks the Israelis have again been preoccupied with terrorism, from the murder of 16 people in the Beersheba bus bombings to the slaughter of Russian schoolchildren in Beslan, which received blanket coverage.

During the six months of relative peace for Israelis, until the Beersheba bombings, the army killed more than 400 Palestinians. Most were fighters, but they also included about 40 children under 15. Palestinians say this also is a form of terror.

"We're always listening for the helicopters, listening for the tanks, listening for the bombs," said Khitam abu Shawarib, the only social worker in Rafah refugee camp, on the southern tip of the Gaza Strip.

"I am very sorry when I hear of a Jewish woman or children killed. I think it is wrong and many people here think it is wrong. But what the Jews suffer is nothing to the terror we live with from them.

"It takes such a toll on our health, on society, most of all on the children."

Israelis live in fear of random attacks, principally the suicide bombing of buses and cafes, and shootings in the occupied territories. But they are generally safe in their homes and are more likely to be killed in a road accident than by a bomb.

In southern Gaza and parts of the West Bank there is often no sanctuary from the seemingly relentless, indiscriminate Israeli shooting.

Israel classifies Gaza Strip towns such as Rafah and Khan Yunis, and Nablus and Jenin in the West Bank, as war zones.

That, the army says, justifies the firing of powerful sophisticated weapons into residential areas or the bulldozing of scores of homes each month, ostensibly in search of rarely discovered tunnels for smuggling in weapons.

Barely a night passes in Rafah or Khan Yunis without the machine-gun fire that has shredded hundreds of homes, forcing families to sleep in a single inner room behind bricked up windows or a second wall.

Others live in the rubble of their bulldozed houses, perpetually in the firing line from the rarely seen soldiers high in the gun towers.

A fortnight ago 15-year-old Mazen al-Ara was trying to lead his siblings away from tanks and heavy shooting around their house on the edge of the "Philadelphi Road", the highly militarised border at Rafah.

The army had partially destroyed the family home months before, but the Aras went on living there because they had no money to move.

Usually they sheltered in an inner room when the shooting began, but that night it was so intense that Mazen said they would all be killed if they stayed.

As he led the terrified group into the street, Mazen was caught by a burst of fire. The boy died; doctors took 18 bullets from his body.

A few days earlier 10-year-old Munir al-Daqas left his home in Jabalya refugee camp to visit his grandparents' house five minutes' walk away. Israeli tanks were on the far side of the camp, but no one saw any danger in the heart of Jabalya, around its bustling market, in daylight.

"It must have been a sniper," his mother, Kifah, said. "People told me as I was shopping in the market. I couldn't believe it. Munir was just there with me and now they were saying he was dead."

Mrs Daqas unfolded a picture of the semi-naked body of her son in his grave. There is a bullet wound in the chest and another in the groin.

In four years of intifada, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights says, the army has killed 136 children in Rafah and Khan Yunis, a quarter of all the Palestinian children who have died during the uprising, because of its "indiscriminate shooting, excessive force, a shoot-to-kill policy and the deliberate targeting of children".

The dead in Khan Yunis and Rafah in recent weeks also include two 12-year-old boys, a 15-year-old girl and a 75-year-old man in a wheelchair, Ibrahim Halfalla, who was crushed under the rubble of his own home by an army bulldozer as his wife begged the soldiers not to advance.

The army has not offered an explanation for the killing of Raghda Alassar, but it frequently says that child victims are caught in crossfire during Palestinian attacks on the army or Jewish settlers.

There were no such battles when Raghda Alassar and Munir Daqas were hit. Or when a bullet pierced the blind of Sara Zorob's living room and struck the 10-year-old in the chest, killing her instantly.

Commanders in Gaza have admitted in the past that when their soldiers are attacked they are allowed to fire back randomly, risking civilian lives.

There are other young victims, as well.

"The children who are physically injured are not the only ones harmed," said Usama Freona, a psychologist at the UN clinic in Rafah.

"The levels of violence children are exposed to is horrific.

"We work in a lot of schools to treat the children. In the one next to Kfar Darom [a Jewish settlement in Gaza], all the children are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Most of them were crying and shaking when they were speaking about their experiences. There is a lot of bedwetting."

Mohammed abu Yusuf is the counsellor at Raghda Alassar's school.
"After Raghda was shot," he said, "the children were crying and screaming. Five girls in her class still won't come back to school. We took Raghda's desk away and brought another but none of the students will sit at it."

Raghda Alassar is not the first child shot at the cluster of UN schools in Khan Yunis. Last year an Israeli bullet blinded Huda Darwish, 12, as she sat at her desk.

Mrs Daqas said her other children could not comprehend Munir's death.

"Munir's younger brother doesn't understand he is dead. He thought he would come back after the funeral and kept asking why Munir has come when we've had 'the party' for him. His four-year-old sister asks every day if we can search the market because Munir must be lost," she said.

Mr Freona said the constant violence begets violence.

"Look at the games children play. Most of the boys play Arabs and Jews. Many want to play the role of the Jews. They see that the Israeli soldiers are the ones with the guns and they are strong and they see that is the most important thing," he said.

"They see guns as the source of power, the solution to dealing with any problem, the way to get what they want."

With that has come a collapse in respect for authority.

The image of Mohammed al-Dura, the 12-year-old Gaza boy shot as his father vainly tried to protect him from Israeli gunfire in the first days of the latest intifada, is seared on the Palestinian consciousness.

It has come to symbolise what they see as the callous indifference of Israeli forces to the lives of their children. But Mrs Abu Shawarib said it had a further impact on many children, who saw that a father was unable to protect his son.

"The respect for authority is shattered because children see their fathers beaten in front of them," she said. "The authority of the father, who used to just have to utter one word for the child to obey, is shattered. The father looks helpless to protect the child and the child thinks they are alone."

Another result of the perpetual killing was that many children came to expect an early death and to welcome the prospect of becoming a "martyr".

"The martyr is in paradise, he has glory here and in the afterlife where it is so much better than life in Rafah," she said. "The children see many people killed, so they come to expect to be killed. This is horrible, that children should accept the possibility of death."

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Sabra and Shatila - September 16, 1982: Does anyone care to remember?
by Iqbal Jassat
(Friday 17 September 2004)

"Much of the type of demonisation of Palestinians as “terrorists” going on today under Sharon the Prime Minister, is a continuation of the rhetoric of 1982 by Sharon the Defence Minister."

Since 9/11, it appears that the month of September is overshadowed by the tragic event that rocked New York.

From that moment, the likudniks in the Bush administration known as neocons, seized the opportunity to completely subvert American policies.

As a consequence they plundered two sovereign states and with their “shock and awe” brutality gave the world new challenges. Apart from detention without trial in Guantanamo Bay, whereby hundreds of people have been incarcerated as “terrorists”, they also shocked the world with the abuse and torture of inmates in Abu Ghraib.

In the process, fresh research and information is now beginning to emerge not only to challenge the gravely distorted reasons for the neocon’s “war on terror”, but also the uncomfortable reality that the likudniks have ensured that Israel remains the prime beneficiary of all the death and destruction in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The paradox is that for the Palestinians, the month of September also evokes painful memories of a horrible massacre perpetrated under the direct command of the current Israeli premier Ariel Sharon.

Historian Sami Hadawi has recorded that the 1982 massacre at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon, like the 1948 massacre at Deir Yassin was a cold, calculated atrocity. The heinous nature of the crime committed by Sharon’s proxy militias, the Phalangists, has been depicted as barbaric in the extreme.

Hence the nightmare of Sabra and Shatila has served to depict Sharon as the “Butcher of Beirut”. In addition his Defence Force members have been described as those that “slaughter children” and as those that “rip open pregnant women’s stomachs”. More chilling is the account of them “betting on the sex of the embryos”.

This cruelty is in reference to a gruesome practice that was enacted in the massacres, according to the accounts of several eyewitnesses who saw fetuses placed on stakes at the site of the massacre.

Edward Said viewed this carnage as a concerted, deliberate attempt to strip Palestinians of their national identity.

Much of the type of demonisation of Palestinians as “terrorists” going on today under Sharon the Prime Minister, is a continuation of the rhetoric of 1982 by Sharon the Defence Minister. In utter contempt of the Palestinian national struggle, Sharon and his colleagues, including Menachem Begin viewed Palestinians as two-legged beasts, making it easier to slaughter them and pretend that they were doing humanity a huge favour.

The slaughter at Sabra and Shatila of thousands of innocent refugees flowed from Likud’s callous disregard of Palestinians as real people with a real history.

So while the world is pre-occupied with America’s “war on terror” following 9/11, Palestinians in the Occupied Territories as well as in Lebanon would correctly question the morality of countries such as the United States which underwrite aid to Israel to the tune of billions of dollars in addition to supplying arms and weapons of mass destruction.

Comment: From what we have seen above, it is no wonder that the news that comes from Palestine is slanted and distorted in favour of the occupiers. Only the naive and the fool would believe that ownership of the media carries with it no editorial control.

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Report: Iraq war was 'grudge match'
Saturday 18 September 2004, 7:35 Makka Time, 4:35 GMT
British officials believe US President George Bush went to war in Iraq last year because he wanted to complete his father's unfinished business.

Quoting leaked documents, London's Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday that a senior Foreign Office official felt the war was more of a grudge match between Bush and the former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein.

"Even the best survey of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme will not show much advance in recent years," the official said in the memo.

"Military operations need clear and compelling military objectives. For Iraq's regime change does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge match between Bush and Saddam".

Downing Street said it would not comment on the leaked documents, but added the government "firmly believes that Iraq is a better place for the removal of Saddam Hussein".

False pretext

The US, aided by British and other allies, invaded Iraq last year on the basis that Baghdad had banned weapons of mass destruction, although no biological or chemical weapons have been found till date.

Bush's father was president during the first Gulf War when a US-led coalition freed Kuwait in 1991, and then drove Saddam's forces back into Iraq before withdrawing.

The leaked papers also showed that officials, including the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, expressed concern about possible chaos in a post-Saddam Iraq.

"No one has satisfactorily answered how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be any better," the Telegraph quoted Straw as saying in a note to Prime Minister Tony Blair marked ''Secret and Personal''.

Comment: Once more, evidence of the lies told by Bush and his cronies. The man should be up for impeachment, not re-election. Then they should be shipped off the The Hague for trial for war crimes.

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POLITICS-U.S.: From Bad to Worse in Iraq
Analysis by Jim Lobe

After weeks of hurricanes and controversies over swift boats in Vietnam and Texas and Alabama National Guard records, Iraq is beginning to creep back onto the front pages, and the news is uniformly bad.

WASHINGTON, Sep 16 (IPS) - Consider some of the headlines in major newspapers that appeared on their front pages on Wednesday alone:

Wall Street Journal: ”Rebel Attacks Reveal New Cooperation: Officials Fear Recent Rise in Baghdad Violence Stems from Growing Coordination”.

Baltimore Sun: ”In Iraq, Chance for Credible Vote is Slipping Away”.

Philadelphia Inquirer: ”Outlook: The Growing Insurgency Could Doom U.S. Plans for Iraq, Analysts Say”.

Washington Post: ”U.S. Plans to Divert Iraq Money: Attacks Prompt Request to Move Reconstruction Funds to Security Forces”.

And then Thursday:

USA Today: ”Insurgents in Iraq Appear More Powerful Than Ever”.

New York Times: ”U.S. Intelligence Shows Pessimism on Iraq's Future: Civil War Called Possible -- Tone Differs from Public Statements”.

All of which tended to confirm the conclusion of the latest 'Newsweek' magazine's Iraq feature: ”It's Worse Than You Think”.

Against these stories -- putting aside the other headlines detailing deadly suicide and other attacks that have killed scores of Iraqis in the past week -- Bush's insistence in a campaign address to a convention of the National Guard Tuesday that ”our strategy is succeeding” appears awfully hollow, a point made repeatedly not only by Democratic, but by some Republican lawmakers at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday.

”It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing,” noted Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, who has long been sceptical of administration claims that the Iraq occupation was going well. ”It is now in the zone of dangerous.”

Indeed, it is now very difficult to find any analysts outside of the administration or the Bush campaign who share the official optimism.

Consider the case of Michael O'Hanlon, a defence specialist at the Brookings Institution and former National Security Council aide who has been among the most confident of independent analysts of the basic soundness of Washington's strategy in Iraq.

”In my judgment the administration is basically correct that the overall effort in Iraq is succeeding,” he testified to a Congressional panel just 10 months ago. ”By the standards of counterinsurgency warfare, most factors, though admittedly not all, appear to be working to our advantage.”

This week, however, O'Hanlon, who has developed a detailed index periodically published in the New York Times that measures U.S. progress in post-war Iraq, was singing an entirely different song at a forum sponsored by Brookings and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

”We're in much worse shape than I thought we'd ever be,” he said. ”I don't know how you get it back,” he conceded, adding that his last remaining hope was that somehow the U.S. could train enough indigenous Iraqi security forces within two to three years to keep the country ”cohesive” and permit an eventual U.S. withdrawal. ”A Lebanonisation of Iraq” was also quite possible, he said.

His conclusion was echoed by his CSIS co-panelists, Frederick Barton and Bathsheba Crocker, who direct their own index that relies heavily on interviews with Iraqis themselves in measuring progress in reconstruction .

According to the five general criteria used by them, movement over the past 13 months has for the most part been ”backward”, particularly with respect to security which they now consider to be squarely in the ”danger” zone.

”Security and economic problems continue to overshadow and undermine efforts across the board”, including health care, education and governance, according to a report their project released last week. Among other things, it noted that despite a massive school-building and rehabilitation programme, children are increasingly dropping out to help their families survive an economy where almost half the working population remains unemployed.

The growing media chorus of despair actually began just one week ago, a few days after the brilliantly staged Republican convention in New York City had ended, when the U.S. military death toll in Iraq since last year's invasion topped the 1,000 mark, and the New York Times published a front-page article entitled ”U.S. Conceding Rebels Control Regions of Iraq”.

Since then, a number of articles have featured the increasing violence of the insurgency, which is now mounting an average of more than 80 attacks on U.S. targets -- four times the number of one year ago and 25 percent higher than last spring, when the U.S. faced serious uprisings in both the Sunni Triangle and in the south.

Washington officials had predicted that attacks would increase sharply just before the transfer of sovereignty from the U.S.-dominated Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to the interim government headed by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi in late June and would tail off.

But, as noted by a front-page article in the Washington Post late last week, more U.S. troops were killed in July and August than during the initial invasion in March and April 2003. Injuries suffered by U.S. troops in August alone were twice what they were during the invasion.

The escalation in violence over the summer is now being attributed by administration officials to the insurgents' efforts to derail the elections, currently scheduled for January.

The increased violence -- particularly in Baghdad and the so-called ”Sunni Triangle” where Falluja, Ramadi, Baquba and Samarra, among other towns, are controlled by insurgents -- has created a serious dilemma for administration strategists who, on the one hand, reject the notion that there are ”no-go” areas for U.S. troops, and, on the other, want to keep U.S. casualties down and off the front pages and U.S. television sets, particularly before the November elections here.

As a result, they appear to have settled on a strategy -- bombing suspected insurgent hideouts from the air -- that further alienates the civilian population.

”I don't believe that you can flatten cities and expect to win popular support,” noted CSIS' Barton.

”This is the classic contradiction of counterinsurgency,” Steven Metz, a strategy specialist at the U.S. Army War College, told the Inquirer. ”In the long term, winning the people matters more. But it may be that in the short term, you have to forgo that in order to crush the insurgents. Right now, we are trying to decide whether we have reached that point. In Vietnam, we waited too long.”

Meanwhile, both independent and U.S. military analysts believe that the insurgency, which the administration still insists is made up only of Baathist ”dead-enders”, foreign ”jihadis”, and criminals, has grown from an estimated 5,000 people one year ago to at least 20,000 and possibly significantly more.

”The bottom line is, at this moment we are losing the war”, Col Andrew Bacevich (ret.) of Boston University told USA Today Thursday. ”That doesn't mean it is lost, but we are losing, and as an observer it is difficult for me to see that either the civilian leaderhsip or the military leadership has any plausible idea on how to turn this around”.

Memo from Karl Rove: "It is imperative that we keep the deaths off the front pages until after the November election. Only a few more weeks. If things start getting so bad we can't hide it anymore, then we'll go to Plan 'B', the "incident" somewhere in the continental USA. That should take people's minds off of Iraq."

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Commentary: Iraq's bridge too far
By Arnaud de Borchgrave
UPI Editor at Large

Madrid, Spain, Sep. 15 (UPI) -- Before the Iraqi war, Europe's principal intelligence services shared the Bush administration's view that Saddam Hussein was hiding his stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. Today, these same services disagree with the White House on several critical assessments.

Off the record conversations with intelligence chiefs in five major European countries -- each with multiple assets in Iraq -- showed remarkable agreement on these points:

-- The neo-con objectives for restructuring Iraq into a functioning model democracy were a bridge too far. They were never realistic.

-- The plan to train Iraqi military and security forces in time to cope with a budding insurgency before it spun out of control was stillborn.

-- The insurgency has mushroomed from 5,000 in the months following the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime to an estimated 20,000 today, which is still growing. Insurgents are targeting green Iraqi units and volunteers for training and some have already defected to the rebels.

-- Iraqi soldiers trained by the United States are complaining that the equipment ordered by the U.S. from the Ukraine that is being assigned to them gives them "2nd class status."

-- To cope with the insurgency, the United States requires 10 times the rebel strength -- or some 200,000 as a bare minimum. Short of that number, the insurgency will continue to gain momentum. The multiple is based on the British experience in Northern Ireland for a quarter of a century as well as France's civil war in Algeria (1954-62), when nationalist guerrillas were defeated militarily, but won the war diplomatically. France deployed half a million men to defeat the fellaghas in Algeria.

-- The U.S. occupation has lost control of large swathes of Iraq where the insurgency operates with virtual impunity.

-- Iraq was a diversion from the war on a global movement that was never anchored in Baghdad.

-- Iraq does not facilitate a solution to the Mideast crisis. And without such a solution, the global terrorist movement will continue to spread.

-- Iraq has become a magnet for would-be Muslim jihadis the world over; it has greatly facilitated transnational terrorism.

-- Charting a course out of the present chaos requires an open-ended commitment to maintain U.S. forces at the present level and higher through 2010 or longer.

-- The once magnificent obsession about building a model Arab democracy in Iraq now has the potential of a Vietnam-type quagmire.

-- Everything now undertaken in Iraq is palliative to tide the administration over the elections.

-- What is urgently needed, whether a Bush II administration or a Kerry White House, is for the world's great democracies to meet at the summit to map a common strategy to confront a global challenge. The war on terrorism -- on the terrorists who have hijacked Islam -- is only one part of a common approach for (1) the defense of Western democracies and (2) the gradual transformation of an Arab world that must be assisted out of poverty, despair and defeat.

-- A war on terrorism without a global strategy, which must include the funding of major educational reforms in poor countries like Pakistan, where wannabe jihadis are still being churned out by the hundreds of thousands, could only lead to the gradual erosion of Western democratic structures.

-- The "war on terror" is a misnomer that is tantamount to rhetorical disinformation. One can no more fight terrorism than one could declare war on Hitler's Panzers in World War II or Dreadnoughts in World War I. Terrorism is a weapons system that has been used time and again for the last 5,000 years. The root causes are the problem, not the weapon.

-- To ignore the causes is to guarantee escalation -- to weapons of mass destruction.

Comment:

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Zarqawi group threatens to kill US, British hostages
www.chinaview.cn 2004-09-18 16:55:29

CAIRO, Sept. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- The Tawhid and Jihad group of suspected al Qaida ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has threatened to kill two US hostages and one British hostage seized in Baghdad, the Al Jazeera television said Saturday.

Comment:

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Confusion over North Korean cloud grows
Last Updated Fri, 17 Sep 2004 14:36:13 EDT

SEOUL - North Korea has taken foreign diplomats to a construction site that it says was the source of a mushroom-shaped cloud that led last week to speculation of a nuclear explosion in the country.

However, the dam construction site in Samsu County that the diplomats visited was 100 kilometres away from Kimhyungjik County, the site of the mushroom-shaped cloud first reported by South Korean media on Sept. 12.

North Korea had said all along it was dynamiting a mountain as part of a big hydro-electric project.

The confusion about goings-on in secretive, totalitarian North Korea was furthered on Friday when the South Korean government said it believed the cloud might not have been caused by an explosion at all.

"We believe that there was no explosion in the place where intelligence authorities had previously suspected that there were signs of an explosion," said Lee Bong-Jo, South Korea's vice-minister for unification.

"We believe that the explosion described by North Korea took place in Samsu County, about 100 kilometres from the originally suspected site, and has to do with a hydroelectric project," Lee added.

North Korea – one of three countries that U.S. President George W. Bush designated members of an "axis of evil" – is believed to have a nuclear weapons program.

Foreign media during the past week jumped on the story of the mysterious cloud, because North Korea has been resisting pressure to re-join international talks about curbing nuclear tensions in the region.

North Korea, however, has claimed South Korea was using the muddled story as a means of distracting from embarrassing recent revelations that its own scientists had produced tiny amounts of enriched uranium.

These revelation had ignited fears that South Korea, too, might again be harbouring nuclear ambitions. In reaction, North Korea said, it was now all the more determined to pursue its nuclear program.

In April, a massive explosion in a northern town near the Chinese border killed more than 100 North Koreans and wounded thousands more. The country took three days to admit anything at all had happened in Ryongchon.

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Passenger Screenings to Be More Intrusive
By LESLIE MILLER
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP)--U.S. officials got a wake-up call last month about the need to screen airline passengers for explosives when two Chechen women apparently carried bombs onto two Russian planes and blew them up.

Bags checked onto planes in the United States must pass through machines that can detect various kinds of explosives. But neither the walk-through metal detectors that passengers use on the way to gates nor the X-ray machines for carryon bags can detect plastic explosives.

The Transportation Security Administration announced Thursday that, starting next week, all passengers must take off jackets before passing through metal detectors. Also, more travelers will be subjected to pat-down searches and checks for explosives.

Rafi Ron, former head of security at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport and now a security consultant in Washington, said the steps were "something we've been expecting for too long, but finally it's coming.''

Screeners will advise passengers of the new procedures when they put their carryon bags on the conveyor belt, agency spokeswoman Yolanda Clark said.

Every passenger selected for secondary screening after passing through metal detectors will have their carryon items subjected to checks by explosives trace detectors.

Screeners also have more discretion to conduct pat-down searches and check carryon bags for bombs.

Air Travelers Association President David Stempler said the changes are a good idea, though some passengers could be upset by hand searches.

"Given the extraordinary need for it--given the recent bombing of the planes in Russia, heightened security alerts, tension leading up to the election--I think these are necessary evils that passengers have to put up with,'' he said.

The Sept. 11 commission recommended in its final report that the government make it a priority to improve the ability to detect explosives on passengers at security checkpoints.

"As a start, each individual selected for special screening should be screened for explosives,'' the report said.

The agency also is testing walk-through bomb-detection machines at five airports. Document scanners that can pick up explosives residue on boarding passes and IDs are being tested at Washington Reagan National Airport.

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Up to 50 people feared killed in fuel pipeline explosion and fire in Nigeria
11:07 PM EDT Sep 17

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - An oil pipeline exploded near Nigeria's largest city as thieves tried to siphon oil from it, with up to 50 people perishing in the flames, police said Friday.

"People were stealing fuel from the pipeline when it caught fire and exploded," police spokesman Emmanuel Ighodalo said of the blast Thursday in Amore, a village across a wide lagoon from Lagos, a city of 13 million people.

At least 30 charred bodies of victims have been recovered and more still littered the swamps and waterways surrounding the site of the explosion, making it likely the death toll could reach 50, said Ighodalo.

Giant tongues of flame coming from the pipeline scorched the nearby vegetation while large plumes of smoke billowed skywards at the scene Friday.

Eight bodies, some burned beyond recognition, still lay at the scene, not yet collected by recovery workers.

The pipeline, run by state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, pumps imported fuel from the Lagos sea port to western Nigeria.

Company officials said the pipeline pumps had been turned off to help firefighters, increasing the likelihood of fuel scarcity in parts of Nigeria.
"Our priority is to put out the fire so we can fix the pipeline," an official overseeing a team of firefighters at the site said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The closed pipeline wasn't expected to affect the amount of petroleum sent from Nigeria, Africa's largest exporter of crude and a member of OPEC.

Amore residents, including some survivors who escaped the explosion with injuries, fled fearing police arrest, said Ighodalo.

Armed police and navy troops kept watch over the village, emptied of its estimated 1,000 inhabitants.

One area resident, Tony Nwanma, quoted some survivors as saying a power generator used by the thieves to pump gasoline from the pipeline had caught fire, causing the explosion.

In the past, similar explosions occurred when villagers unwittingly ignited highly combustible petroleum as they collected it from ruptured pipelines. A 1998 pipeline blast killed over 1,000 in southern Nigeria.

Stealing valuable oil from pipelines is common in Nigeria, where most inhabitants are deeply impoverished despite Nigeria's oil riches.

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Blurred Vision
Global Eye
By Chris Floyd
Published: September 17, 2004

By the time the dynastic manipulations of his family put Tiberius Caesar in power, the Roman Republic had long been a gutted carcass. Although the outward lineaments of state retained many of the old forms of popular government, behind these bones and tatters of hide there was nothing left but pestilent corruption and vicious court intrigue.

Tiberius -- a cynical mediocrity overwhelmed by his responsibilities but too weak to give up the privileges that attended them -- knew full well the brutal reality that the ruling elite kept hidden beneath layers of pious sham and patriotic cant. When he saw how the great Senate -- where giants once clashed in fierce, open debate -- would come crawling to him, bowing and scraping, eager to act on his every whim, to accept his most brazen lies as sacred truth, he could not contain his disgust. "Men fit to be slaves," he would mutter, as they bent once again to his will.

No doubt the saturnine old ghost was smiling with grim satisfaction last week as another once-great deliberative body debased itself before a mediocre dynast. In one of the more shameless in a long series of vile and craven acts, the Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives smeared partisan filth across a legislative memorial to the innocents murdered on Sept. 11, 2001, by conflating that national tragedy with George W. Bush's war of aggression against Iraq.

The Bushist toadies couldn't simply mark the solemn occasion with a few appropriate words of common grief and resolve. Instead, they turned the resolution into a tribute to the Dear Leader, larding it with praise for Bush's "reorganizing" of the United States (that old Constitutional malarkey had to go) "in order to more effectively wage the Global War on Terrorism" -- including, of course, the "destruction" of the "terrorist regime" in Iraq. Yet while the capture of Dick Cheney's former business partner, Saddam Hussein, was given prominent play in the resolution, the actual perpetrator of the Sept. 11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, was never mentioned.

Thus this witless assemblage of bagmen and bootlickers (including, as usual, the vast majority of Democratic jellyfish) officially affirmed Bush's blood libel, his Hitlerian Big Lie: the supposed connection between Saddam and 9/11. "You can't distinguish between al Qaida and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror," Bush said in September 2002, when rolling out what his staff called the "product" -- i.e. a calculated campaign of fear and deception to drive the nation into war. "We've eliminated an ally of al Qaida," he declared in May 2003, while prancing about in military drag during his infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech. Bush and his minions have pounded this mendacious war drum so often, in so many ways, that even now, up to 50 percent of Americans still believe that Saddam was involved directly or indirectly in the 9/11 attacks -- although this canard was debunked yet again last week, this time by Colin Powell, The Washington Post reports.

These lies have already led to the deaths of more than a thousand American troops -- and more than 30,000 innocent Iraqi civilians: a murderous hurricane 10 times the size of the storm that struck America on 9/11. Yet still the toadies crawled before the unelected pipsqueak, the oath-breaking coward who walked away from his own military service during wartime but now press-gangs soldiers into combat even after they've fulfilled their sworn duty requirements.

The House measure slavishly regurgitated Bush's ludicrous assertion that the attack by Mr. Unnameable and his al Qaida crew was an assault on "the principles and values of the American people." But Bush knows that bin Laden doesn't care one way or another about American "values and principles," just as he didn't care about Soviet "principles and values" when he and the CIA were feasting on Red meat in Afghanistan back in the day. It's not "principles" but power politics that fuel bin Laden's aggression -- the same as with Bush. And both men's ultimate goal is the same: domination of the world's oil supply, which will bring them and their cronies untold riches and the power to further advance their harsh, perverted visions of society and religion. As we've said before, the "war on terror" is not a "clash of civilizations" or a "battle for freedom" -- it's a falling out among thieves, a gang fight over juicy turf.

The Congressional toadies are right about one thing, however: America's principles and values are under ferocious assault. But the assailant is their own little tin-pot Tiberius. Last week saw more damning revelations of the torture regime that Bush and his chief warlord, Donald Rumsfeld, have spread across the face of the earth. Seymour Hersh's new book, "Chain of Command," lays out in bone-chilling detail the system of assassination, sadism, rape and psycho-terror established by Bush, who issued secret presidential directives lifting legal constraints and even administrative oversight on his hit men and torturers. The dark heart of this black-op beast is the "Special-Access Program," created by Bush and Rumsfeld in late 2001 and sent forth with this sinister dictum, according to top intelligence officials: "Grab whom you must. Do what you want."

These are the true "principles and values" that Bush is defending in his toady-lauded "war on terror" -- values he shares with his cave-dwelling doppelganger, Osama. Each uses the other to justify his own outrages, each feeds on the other to fuel his own bloodlust and political ambitions. Only a fool, or a hireling -- or a slave -- would bend to the will of such loathsome creatures

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GOP Mailing Warns Liberals Will Ban Bibles
Fri Sep 17, 7:22 PM ET
By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Campaign mail with a return address of the Republican National Committee warns West Virginia voters that the Bible will be prohibited and men will marry men if liberals win in November.

The literature shows a Bible with the word "BANNED" across it and a photo of a man, on his knees, placing a ring on the hand of another man with the word "ALLOWED." The mailing tells West Virginians to "vote Republican to protect our families" and defeat the "liberal agenda."

Comment: Was politics ever a noble calling? The mudslinging of the US election, usually from the Republican side, astounds. There is no attempt whatsoever to discuss issues. Democracy, American style.

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Ivan Slams Appalachian Region; Kills 10
By BILL POOVEY
Associated Press Writer

SPRING CITY, Tenn. (AP)--Heavy rain and wind from what was once Hurricane Ivan assaulted the southern Appalachian Mountains on Friday, washing away homes and killing at least 10 people in the region.

Hundreds of thousands of people lost power, and flash flood warnings stretched along the mountain chain from northern Georgia up to southern Ohio and western West Virginia.

Already, water swamped businesses in Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. Major flooding and 3.7 inches of rain were reported in Asheville, N.C. The city of 69,000 was also hard-hit in Hurricane Frances' aftermath last week, losing drinking water for days.

About 20 miles west, in the rural Canton area, water rose as high as 4 feet inside a convenience store, and a paper plant was again flooded.

"We've been working two weeks trying to get it back running,'' said Earl Medley, a contractor at the plant.

In rural eastern Tennessee, rushing water from a creek cascaded through Spring City, breaking out storefront windows, carrying away merchandise and leaving behind a muck of mud and debris.

Mayor Mary Sue Garrison said a Coke machine also went floating down the street. "It was just really, really terrible,'' said Garrison, wearing a yellow rain slicker as she walked through the town.

Business owners were spending the morning shoveling the soggy mess out of their establishments.

"It's a complete disaster area,'' Officer B.J. Neal said. "We've had homes completely destroyed. We've had homes washed in the lakes.''

Garrison said gauges in the town, which has a population of about 2,000, showed 8 1/2 inches of rainfall since Thursday. But no serious injuries were reported. [...]

Ivan, now a tropical depression, was blamed for three deaths in northern Georgia, including a 6-year-old girl who was swept away in flooding in Cleveland. She died despite a rescue attempt by her teenage sister, who herself had to be saved by a neighbor, a county emergency official said.

Six deaths were reported in North Carolina, including two when a house collapsed in Macon County, in the state's southwestern corner. Another person died when a tree fell onto a house in Henderson County, south of Asheville, troopers said.

In Tennessee, a 25-year-old police officer in Harriman, about 35 miles west of Knoxville, crashed on a rain-slick road late Wednesday while returning from a routine patrol.

About 210,000 homes and businesses lost power in Georgia, including 160,000 in the Atlanta area. Power was also out to more than 164,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and 23,000 in South Carolina. Those numbers could rise as the storm continued, officials said. Tennessee emergency officials reported only scattered power outages affecting up to 2,000 customers.

As much of 8 inches of rain fell in western North Carolina, where high water or downed trees closed more than 100 roads, and more than 200 people were evacuated from areas near rivers.

After the rain came, rescue workers in the state used helicopters to aid people caught in swift-flowing water, said Maj. Chris Simpson of the North Carolina National Guard.

Before Ivan arrived, batteries and bottled water had vanished from Asheville stores.

"I went to the grocery store for normal stuff, but there's nothing there,'' said James Browne, a waiter at the Flying Frog cafe in downtown Asheville.

Atlanta had 5 inches of rain, and much of northern Georgia's Gilmer County was under water, said Lisa Ray, spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

"There have been some motor homes that have floated off,'' Ray said.
In South Carolina, there were several reports of tornadoes in Oconee County, and one person was slightly injured when a tree was blown onto a mobile home, county emergency director Henry Gordon said.

Ahead of the storm, Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner declared a state of emergency. Heavy bands of heavy rain lashed Virginia's mountainous southwestern tip, still waterlogged from previous rains.

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Ecuador says it will not submit to mediation in US in Texaco environmental case
QUITO (AFP) Sep 17, 2004
Ecuador will not submit to mediation in New York as proposed by US oil giant Texaco, from which indigenous people here are seeking billions of dollars in damages for alleged environmental harm to their land, the South American country's top law enforcement officer said Friday.

The Amazon basin region's four indigenous peoples -- the Siona, the Huaorani, the Cofan, and the Shuar -- in July 2003 took on Texaco in the Ecuadoran courts, seeking reparation for alleged damages to half a million hectares (1.24 million acres) of sacred lands. They put the cost of cleaning up at six billion dollars.

Texaco maintains it already has cleaned up in the area.

Ecuadoran Attorney General Jose Maria Borja told foreign correspondents Texaco's proposal for mediation in New York was "incompetent, immoral and inappropriate because it is an affront to the sovereignty of our country."

He said Texaco was trying to force state oil company Petroecuador to pick up the tab for the damage allegedly inflicted ovber 20 years.

"That damage should be repaired by Texaco," Borja said.

A New York court in May 2003 said the case should be handled in Ecuador's courts.

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825,000 stranded by floods after second Bangladesh embankment bursts
DHAKA (AFP) Sep 18, 2004
Some 825,000 people have been stranded by floodwaters in northeastern Bangladesh after a second swollen river burst its banks and poured into hundreds of villages, officials said Saturday.

An earth embankment along the Kakri river in Comilla district gave way, washing away 130 houses instantly and damaging 500 more homes, government relief officer Abu Bakar Siddique told AFP.

Some 325,000 people in the area are camping in the open on high ground such as roads and embankments or are stranded in their flooded homes, he said.

He said the deluge was triggered on September 10 and water remained waist-high in most places.

"Those people are in great misery living on streets or some high lands without adequate food supply," Siddique said.

Some 500,000 people have already been affected by floods elsewhere in the same district after the Gomoti river flooded into more than 350 villages.

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Return of the Falling Muck!

‘Blue Ice’ blamed for Blackstone mess

JOHN LARRABEE , Staff Writer 09/17/2004
BLACKSTONE -- Whatever goes up, must come down.

It’s an elementary law of physics -- and one that will, for a time, haunt a Lakeshore Drive resident whenever she looks toward the sky.

The woman (who agreed to talk if she remained anonymous) stepped out her front door Monday afternoon and found white and gray material flecked across her lawn, her porch and the front of her house. When her daughter suggested a vandal with a paintball gun had fired on their home, she called police.

The explanation offered by Patrolman Steven Livingston was even more disturbing. He theorized a jetliner had passed overhead while a passenger was flushing.

"It’s not poop, I know it’s not," the woman said yesterday, repeating the line several times in an effort to convince herself.

"It’s poop," her husband replied with resignation.

There are skeptics. Even Police Chief Ross Atstunpenas has some doubts about his officer’s report. "He doesn’t have the expertise to make that determination," said the chief, who never saw the splats himself.

But officials at the Federal Aviation Administration are hesitant to dismiss the possibility.

"Plane toilets do not flush into the air, but there is a phenomenon called ‘blue ice,’ " said Arlene Salac, spokeswoman for the FAA’s eastern regional office. "It involves leakage from the plane’s plumbing."

According to Salac, at high altitudes the leaking material can freeze and form icicles that hang from an aircraft’s underside. When the plane descends to warmer altitudes, the ice breaks off and falls to earth. Sometimes it melts, sometimes it doesn’t.

The material is called "blue ice" because that’s the color of the sanitizing liquid that swirls about in airliner toilets. Blue is really a guess, however; no one has ever peeked beneath a soaring plane to observe the icicles. Less squeamish aviation experts have suggested other hues.

Contrary to urban legends, falling sky sludge has never claimed a human life, but property damage has been reported on a number of occasions.

Last year a Santa Cruz resident sued American Airlines after a frozen chunk crashed through the skylight of his yacht. He collected $3,236. And in 2002 US Airways sent a cleaning crew to scrub down a Pennsylvania home. The airline called it a "good will gesture," not an admission of guilt.

The FAA investigates every reported incident, according to Salac. "We try to find the plane it came from, but we’re not always successful," she said. "We do a chemical analysis to determine if it really is blue ice. Sometimes it’s not. On one occasion it turned out to be a flock of Canada geese. A very large flock."

She added that while the chemicals used in aircraft toilets are not hazardous, handling blue ice material is best avoided, for obvious reasons.

By yesterday afternoon, the Lakeshore Drive family had already cleaned most of the material from their property, but a few streaks and drops remained, including a white splotch across a glass panel on the front door.

"I scrubbed that with a toilet brush and every cleanser I could find," the woman said. "Please tell me this came from a sink, not a toilet."

She went on to describe the splatter zone. "It came across this way," she said, waving a hand past the front lawn. "It was all over the bushes, all over the porch, and all over the front of the house."

"I put my nose to it," a neighbor added. "It smelled like fish."

Most family members were inside when the mystery muck fell from the sky, but no one heard a sound. They learned something had happened when they stepped outside.

With reluctance, the family has dismissed the paintball scenario. Outdoor potted plants and shrubs are streaked and spotted, but there are no torn leaves, broken twigs, or other damage one would expect from paintball fire.

Nor do they believe that birds relieved themselves en masse.

"We feed the birds, and I see what they do all the time," the woman said. "This was not birds."

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