Signs Supplement: The Suicide Bombing Cycle
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
An objective observation of human behaviour
suggests that most people are primarily motivated by two root emotions;
desire and fear. This can be illustrated quite nicely in the caricature
of the donkey with the carrot dangling in front of him and the master's
stick behind him. Where the carrot represents desire, or "reward"
for the donkey, the stick instills fear of "punishment"
by the master, both with the objective of propelling the animal
forward. It works well on donkeys, and whether we like to admit
it or not, humans are much the same. The only real difference between
us and the donkey is that our carrots and sticks are more complex.
Modern psychology describes this process as the "oral bio-survival
circuit", the first imprint we experience as infants. It relates
to feelings of "safety", instinctively moving towards
that which is warm and pleasurable and away from that which is cold
and harsh. The amount emotional and physical contact with the mother
figure in the first weeks of life seems to be the primary factor
in how this imprint is formed. It's archetype is the breast, from
which warmth, love, nutrition, sustenance, pleasure, closeness and
feelings of "safety", for the infant all flow.
It would be fair to say that for most of western civilization,
"brought up on the bottle" so to speak, the first circuit
imprint was less than ideal, resulting in various modern neuroses
that are not only ubiquitous in our culture, but seem inherent within
the system itself.
What we are left with as adults, aside from a myriad of competing
and contradictory desires, is a generalized anxiety, buried just
below the surface, that we are in fact "not safe", that
world is dangerous, and no matter how many precautions we take,
death is always right around the corner. This is the essence of
the human condition.
Another facet of the carrot and stick analogy, is the old "Good
Cop, Bad Cop" routine. We see this all the time in the movies,
where one "friendly" cop talks in a warm reassuring voice,
offering the prisoner food or cigarettes (reward), while the other
cop barks out threats and intimidation of "being put away for
life" (punishment). It is a well known psychological ploy that
is easy to spot in the movies, but much more difficult to see how
it plays in our own lives.
It takes a great deal of effort to even begin to realize how thoroughly
hypnotized and manipulated we are by our own unconscious fears and
desires. We are easily mollified and controlled by the illusory
trappings of culture. On one hand, we are slavishly compelled by
what we are told to want, and on the other side are deathly afraid
of not getting it. It's as if inside each of us are a myriad of
little "i's", all pulling in different directions. It's
no wonder humankind and the world we inhabit is in such a mess.
Needless to say, we've had lots of help.
Our parents, like their parents, also brought up in the system,
modify their children's behaviours using praise and discipline,
reward and punishment, passing on the same archaic and limiting
belief systems as they were taught. A form of ignorance inherited
from generation to generation.
Our education system conditions us to value conformity over individuality
through it's own series of rewards and punishments, ie; good and
bad grades. We desire acceptance by our teachers and fear rejection
by our peers. Upon graduation, we are shipped out into the world
as poorly functioning robots, cookie-cutter people unable to formulate
an original thought or action.
Our religions are masters of the carrot and stick program. Whether
it be heavenly fields of Christian gold, or scores of virgins in
Islamic paradise, the promised rewards of the afterlife are not
quite enough to make us forget our sordid human existence. That's
why threats of a blazing inferno in hell, and apocalyptic visions
of death and slaughter are all that's needed to keep us in line,
braying like good, obedient donkeys.
The media does an excellent job of manipulating our first circuit
imprint. Through our addiction to television, we are being subliminally
enticed with beautiful images of food, sex and gadgets (desire),
or relentlessly bombarded with horrific images of war, violence
and death (fear). The masters at the controls know exactly how to
push our buttons, to keep us entrained and clapping on cue, bread
and circuses, and they've been doing it for thousands of years.
Our politicians, those men and women we elect to represent us,
are also well aware of our suggestibility to this type of programming.
The Good Cop, Bad Cop routine is exactly how Bush and Cheney are
playing the run up to the Presidential election. Listen to how they
talk of the greatness of America (reward), and the evilness of Saddam
or Al Qaeda (punishment).
In the article that follows, try and guess who is playing which
part, then at the end ask yourself if you feel manipulated at all.
A story further down describes a new group of Moms called "Security
Moms" who believe Bush is the man to protect them and their
families from scary terrorists. Can you tell which circuit they
are operating under?
Until we begin to look objectively at ourselves, recognizing our
own automatic and unconscious fears and desires and how completely
they rule our behaviour, there can be no hope for any of us. Until
we wrest ourselves free from the chains of illusion, passed down
from our parents, schools, religion, media, politics and culture,
perhaps then we can we consciously avoid being manipulated by the
very system that seeks to enslave us. Perhaps only then can we begin
to know what freedom really means.
This article may be reproduced for educational, non-commercial
purposes, as printed in its entirety and with proper credit given.
OREGON CITY, Ore. -- Vice President Cheney
likes to warm up a crowd by comparing himself to Sen. John Edwards
(D-N.C), his telegenic opponent. "People keep telling me that
Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his charm, his sex
appeal and his great hair," he says. "I say to them, 'How
do you think I got the job?' "
Not, apparently, for his sunny optimism.
The self-deprecation is one of the few
laugh lines in a stump speech that is gloomy and serious -- deadly
serious. Cheney, one of the Bush administration's
leading voices in support of the invasion of Iraq, rallies Republicans
on the campaign trail with visions of apocalypse.
"Today, we face an enemy every bit as bent on destroying
us as were the Axis powers in World War II," he told supporters
in swing counties from Iowa to New Mexico in the past week. "This
is not an enemy we can reason with, or negotiate with, or appease.
This is, to put it simply, an enemy that we must destroy."
The crowds cheered, pumping their fists in
While President Bush campaigns with an
upbeat message that a second Bush administration will keep Americans
safer, Cheney speaks like Darth Vader, as the ticket's voice of
fear. The world changed on Sept. 11,
2001, and Americans should be afraid, he tells voters in flat, brooding
tones. Terrorists could strike again at any moment.
The al Qaeda terrorist network "is trying to do everything
they can ... to get their hands on deadlier weapons, on chemical
or biological agents, or perhaps, even a nuclear weapon if they
could," Cheney said at a town hall meeting in this Portland,
Ore., suburb on Friday, in opening remarks devoted entirely to national
security. "And there's no doubt in anybody's mind -- there
shouldn't be -- that if they ever acquire that kind of capability,
that they will, in fact, use it because there's nothing to deter
them from doing that. . . . We're at the top of the list."
The relentless focus on national security befits a personal style
that may be short on charisma but is long on gravitas. The vice
president does not waste time on the stump smiling. He dispatches
a rope line in a quick minute or two. Unlike
Edwards, he does not try to feel the pain of people who have lost
He may be bland. But that is exactly why Republicans seem to like
Cheney. "He's businesslike. He's knowledgeable," Glenn
Van Valkenburg, a Cincinnati businessman, said after hearing Cheney
speak in his city. "I mean, he's not trying to please you."
The vice president's approval ratings consistently lag behind
the president's in polls. But polls also show terrorism to be the
No. 1 issue on the minds of many voters this year.
Cheney, 63, a former defense secretary, seems to relish turning
his tireless focus on terrorism to political advantage as he campaigns
these days in intimate settings that suit him well -- town hall
meetings of a few hundred supporters and roundtables with as few
as a dozen. He sits on a stool without notes or a lectern, methodically
explaining how Bush decided he had to go on the offensive against
terrorists rather than sit back and wait for another attack.
Cheney tells audiences that taking down Saddam Hussein struck
fear in other tyrants, including Libya's Moammar Gaddafi, who gave
up his weapons program. He cites attacks around the world since
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were hit -- Bali, Saudi
Arabia, Madrid. And, in recent days, the siege by terrorists at
a school in Beslan, Russia, that killed more than a hundred children
has become, for Cheney, another reason to
reelect the president: He will keep us safer.
Along the way, Cheney keeps cranking up his anti-Kerry message,
first chiding the Democratic nominee for pledging to fight a "more
sensitive" war on terrorism, then accusing him of adopting
the antiwar rhetoric of his Democratic primary opponent, Howard
Dean, and of changing his mind. Last week, Cheney stepped back from
suggesting that a Kerry presidency would invite more terrorist attacks,
but he rolled a new applause line into his speech after John F.
Kerry's participation Wednesday on the Don Imus talk show.
"Even Don Imus, who has previously been favorably disposed
to the Kerry candidacy, got all through after Kerry had left and
said he had no idea what he'd said," Cheney told a group of
doctors and teachers seated around him in a diner in Albuquerque.
"I think a lot of people have that problem."
To critics, the Cheney message amounts to scare tactics.
"It was strictly scare tactics," Linda Yokum, a retired
schoolteacher, said after hearing the vice president in Clarksburg,
W.Va. A Republican, she said she is voting for Kerry because she
"absolutely hated their going to war" in Iraq. "They've
managed to portray it that they're going to destroy all the terrorists."
Kerry strategists say Cheney's message of fear crosses the line
and will backfire. "It's 'Apocalypse Now,' " said Mark
Kitchens, Kerry's deputy press secretary on national security issues.
"[Rap singer] Sean "Puffy" Combs reportedly went
to the Republican convention and gave Dick Cheney a T-shirt that
said 'Vote or Die.' Cheney scratched out the 'Vote' and has been
wearing it ever since."
National security gets top billing in every
Cheney speech, with the economy, the cost of medical malpractice
insurance premiums and the No Child Left Behind Act sometimes getting
only passing reference. In Reno on Thursday, Cheney devoted
225 words of a 24-minute speech to the economy.
In making the case for the administration's decision to go to
war, Cheney gives no ground on his long-held
views that Hussein had ties to al Qaeda. No strong evidence of collaboration
has been found. But, at every stop, he tells crowds that the Iraqi
leader "gave safe harbor and sanctuary" to al Qaeda terrorists.
The line draws roars of applause.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Playing on the fear factor,
Vice-President Dick Cheney suggested in a
campaign speech there might be another terrorist attack on the United
States if John Kerry were in the White House.
President George W. Bush's opponents' are
raising their own worst fears, including the potential for more
wars during a second Bush term. "That's
fear-mongering," said Joseph Carafano, a 25-year army veteran
and former West Point professor who now is an analyst with the conservative
The rhetoric continued during the weekend. House Speaker Dennis
Hastert (R-Ill.), speaking at a Saturday night fund-raiser in DeKalb,
Ill., said his opinion is that the al-Qaida terror network could
operate better with Kerry in the White House instead of Bush. Kerry's
running mate, John Edwards, issued a statement Sunday accusing Hastert
of using the "politics of fear," which Edwards said is
a "clear sign of weakness and failed leadership."
With fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq far from over, a Pew Research
Center Poll found that 51 per cent of voters surveyed said they
do worry that Bush, if re-elected, would lead the country into another
"The Bush administration is on a crusade
to make the world safe for democracy and part of that is eliminating
countries of anti-western aggression," said Loren Thompson,
a military analyst at the Lexington Institute think-tank in Washington.
"They may not like me to say that on the eve of the election,
but that's a fact," Thompson said. "It's less likely to
happen with a Kerry administration."
Both Bush and Democrat Kerry have said they prefer diplomacy to
deal with Iran and North Korea, which joined Iraq in "an axis
of evil," as described by the president.
Under Bush, there is "reason for apprehension" because
of his administration's "actions and rhetoric" over the
past four years, said Ted Galen Carpenter of the libertarian Cato
Carpenter also cited among Bush's conservative
supporters a "deep concern and fairly militant attitude"
that the United States needs to "do something" about Iran,
North Korea, Syria and perhaps other governments.
"In some extreme neoconservative circles,"
there have also been calls for "coercive measures against Saudi
Arabia," Carpenter noted.
Those who think more wars in a second Bush administration are
unlikely point out that there are not enough U.S. troops, given
that the Pentagon already is struggling to keep up with violence
in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Others say the administration has no taste for another war after
the unexpected difficulties of Iraq, and the bar has been raised
for Congress and the American public as well. They say Americans
will not so easily support another war after learning that prewar
intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was false.
"I really don't think, absent something like an invasion
of South Korea (by communist rival North Korea), that we could sustain
another one," Carafano said.
If forced into it by such a provocation, the Pentagon could most
certainly do it by mobilizing more National Guard and Reserve troops
and calling on allies, Carafano said.
But that would take the armed forces "to the edge,"
said Carafano, and would mean years to reconstitute the military
in terms of troops readiness and resupplying equipment.
Others note that while the army is stretched
extremely thin now, the air force and navy are not.
"So the talk that you hear within the
conservative community about perhaps taking strong measures against
Iran or North Korea would be feasible if it were confined to air
strikes," Carpenter said.
"Those who are concerned that a second Bush presidency might
go down that path might have some foundation for their concerns."
Some fear the United States could provoke a war
- even if it did not fire the first shot - by focusing on tough
talk and actions, rather than negotiations.
"It's this process of bluster and threat and escalation that
could lead to war," said Michael O'Hanlon of the liberal-leaning
Brookings Institute. "I don't want to say that the chance of
war is particularly high, but I think it would be higher under Bush
than under Kerry."
On North Korea, Kerry favours direct negotiations. Bush has instead
collective talks involving six countries.
With Iran, some fear any effort to aid anti-government forces
could get the United States "deeply involved in Iran's internal
politics with unpredictable consequences," Carpenter said.
The U.S. weighs the
price of a pre-emptive strike
Unprepared as anyone is for a showdown with
Iran, the threat seems to keep growing. Many defense experts
in Israel, the United States and elsewhere believe that Tehran has
been taking advantage of loopholes in the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) and is now within a year of mastering key weapons-production
technology. They can't prove it, of course,
and Iran's leaders deny any intention of developing the bomb. Nevertheless,
last week U.S. and Israeli officials were talking of possible military
action—even though some believe it's already too late
to keep Iran from going nuclear (if it chooses). "We have to
start accepting that Iran will probably have the bomb," says
one senior Israeli source. There's only one solution, he says: "Look
at ways to make sure it's not the mullahs who have their finger
on the trigger."
After the Iraq debacle, calls for regime
change without substantial evidence of weapons of mass destruction
are not likely to gain a lot of traction. But if the allegations
are correct, Iran is only one of the countries whose secret nuclear
programs hummed along while America waged a single-minded hunt for
WMD in Iraq. Another is North Korea, which hasn't stopped claiming
that it's turning a stockpile of spent fuel rods into a doomsday
arsenal. And arms-control specialists are increasingly alarmed by
Brazil's efforts to do precisely what Iran is doing: use centrifuge
cascades to enrich uranium—with a couple of key differences.
Unlike Iran, Brazil has never signed the NPT's Additional Protocol,
which gives expanded inspection rights to the International Atomic
Energy Agency. And unlike Iran, Brazil is not letting the IAEA examine
its centrifuges. If the Brazilians go through with their program,
it's likely to wreck the landmark 1967 treaty that made South America
a nuclear-free zone. But the White House has shown scant concern
about the risk.
The Iran crisis is more immediate in the
eyes of the Bush administration, in part because Iran is among the
president's "Axis of Evil." Israel,
which has long regarded Iran as a more dire threat than Iraq, is
making thinly veiled threats of a unilateral pre-emptive attack,
like its 1981 airstrike against Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor. "If
the state decides that a military solution is required, then the
military has to provide a solution," said Israel's new Air
Force chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Elyezer Shkedy, in a newspaper interview
last week. "For obvious reasons," he added, "we aren't
going to speak of specifics." U.S. defense experts doubt
that Israel can pull it off. Iran's facilities (which it insists
are for peaceful purposes) are at the far edge of combat range for
Israel's aircraft; They're also widely dispersed and, in many cases,
But America certainly could do it—and has given the idea
some serious thought. "The U.S. capability to make a mess of
Iran's nuclear infrastructure is formidable," says veteran
Mideast analyst Geoffrey Kemp. "The question is, what then?"
NEWSWEEK has learned that the CIA and DIA have war-gamed the likely
consequences of a U.S. pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
No one liked the outcome. As an Air Force source tells it, "The
war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating."
Instead, administration hawks are pinning
their hopes on regime change in Tehran—by covert means, preferably,
but by force of arms if necessary. Papers on the idea have circulated
inside the administration, mostly labeled "draft" or "working
draft" to evade congressional subpoena powers and the Freedom
of Information Act. Informed sources say the memos echo the administration's
abortive Iraq strategy: oust the existing regime, swiftly install
a pro-U.S. government in its place (extracting the new regime's
promise to renounce any nuclear ambitions) and get out. This
daredevil scheme horrifies U.S. military leaders, and there's no
evidence that it has won any backers at the cabinet level.
VIENNA, Austria (AP) - More than
40 countries with peaceful nuclear programs could retool them to
make weapons, the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Monday
amid new U.S and European demands that Iran give up technology capable
of producing such arms.
Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic
Energy Agency, suggested in a keynote address to the IAEA general
conference that it was time to tighten world policing of nuclear
activities and to stop relying on information volunteered by countries.
Beyond the declared nuclear arms-holding countries, "some
estimates indicate that 40 countries or more now have the know-how
to produce nuclear weapons,'' ElBaradei said. ``We are relying primarily
on the continued good intentions of these countries, intentions,
which ... could ... be subject to rapid change.''
His comments appeared prompted by a series of revelations of proliferation
or suspected illicit nuclear activities over the past two years.
Libya last year revealed a clandestine nuclear arms program and
announced it would scrap it; North Korea is threatening to activate
a weapons program; Iran is being investigated for what the United
States says is evidence it was trying to make nuclear arms; and
South Korea recently said it conducted secret experiments with plutonium
and enriched uranium, both possible components of weapons programs.
ElBaradei linked the need for strengthened controls to concerns
about the international nuclear black market, which supplied both
Iran and Libya and whose existence was proven last year.
The "relative ease with which a multinational illicit network
could be set up and operate demonstrates clearly the inadequacy''
of the present controls on nuclear exports, he said.
ElBaradei did not name the countries capable of quickly turning
peaceful nuclear activities into weapons programs. But more than
a dozen European countries with either power-producing nuclear reactors
or large-scale research reactors are among them, as well as Canada,
and countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
In his 2002 State
of the Union Address, President Bush threw down the gauntlet before
Iraq, North Korea and Iran.
"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute
an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.
"I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not
stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of
America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten
us with the world's most destructive weapons."
Bush-Cheney have since claimed to have "intelligence"
that Iraq, North Korea and Iran – all no-nuke signatories
to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – each had illicit
nuke development programs.
Each country has vehemently denied it, demanding that the "intelligence"
be provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for
verification or refutation.
During the Cold War, when we were spending a zillion dollars a
year collecting "intelligence" from outer space, the rest
of the world took us at our word. After all, we regularly intercepted
phone calls Chairman Brezhnev made from his limousine and tracked
the limousine's movements.
Well, we are still spending a zillion dollars a year, but by now
hardly anyone takes us at our word.
Everyone now knows that the real Bush-Cheney objective along the
"axis of evil" has been regime change.
In October 2002, Bush-Cheney submitted the National Intelligence
Estimate (NIE) entitled "Iraq's Continuing Programs of Weapons
of Mass Destruction" [.pdf] that formed the basis for the Congressional
Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq.
Bush then took his "intelligence" to the UN Security
Council, seeking their authorization, too. But the Security Council
balked, sending inspectors into Iraq to check-out Bush's "intelligence."
By mid-March it was obvious that there were no continuing WMD programs
in Iraq. Virtually the entire NIE had been wrong.
Well, what about the CIA assessments of North Korean nukes?
In October 2002, a Bush-Cheney weenie claimed that a North Korean
diplomat told him at a cocktail party they had a secret uranium-enrichment
North Korean officials immediately and vehemently denied it. All
North Korean nuclear programs had been "frozen" –
subject to IAEA lock, seal and continuous surveillance – by
the Agreed Framework of 1994.
Bush-Cheney ought then to have provided – as we were obligated
to do – the IAEA the "intelligence" that formed
the basis for the charge so the IAEA could check it out.
Instead, Bush-Cheney used the cocktail party admission as the basis
for unilaterally abrogating the Agreed Framework, immediately shutting
off the U.S. fuel-oil shipments to Korea required by it.
By December it was obvious that Bush-Cheney were going to invade
Iraq no matter what the IAEA inspectors found or didn't find. Furthermore,
North Korea might be next. So, the Koreans asked their IAEA inspectors
to leave, announced they were withdrawing from the NPT, restarted
their frozen nuclear power plant and began recovering the weapons-grade
plutonium contained in their frozen spent-fuel elements.
They now have enough weapons-grade plutonium to make a half dozen
nukes and the CIA assesses that they probably have one or two ready
How good is that CIA assessment? Well, the North Koreans don't
But the Koreans still do adamantly deny the CIA assessment that
they have – or ever have had – a uranium-enrichment
The Chinese tend to believe the Koreans, not the CIA. Now that
North Korea has withdrawn from the NPT, and doesn't deny having
a plutonium-nuke program, there is no reason to deny having a uranium-nuke
How about Iran?
Well, last year Iran agreed to submit to essentially
the same full-disclosure, unlimited-access IAEA Safeguards regime
that Iraq had agreed to a year earlier. As of this writing, the
IAEA has found no indication that Iran is pursuing – or ever
has pursued – a nuke development program.
The IAEA did find such indications in Iraq, South Africa and North
Korea in 1991-92, so they do know what to look for.
Nevertheless, Bush wants the IAEA to refer
to the UN Security Council for possible punitive action the nuke
program the IAEA says Iran doesn't have. On this issue, the
Brits-French-Germans-Russians-Chinese tend to believe the IAEA,
Meanwhile, the CIA reported a mushroom-shaped
cloud last week, near where they were expecting North Korea to test
a nuke. Well, according to the DPRK news service:
"There has been no such accident or
explosion in the DPRK recently. Probably, plot-breeders might tell
such a sheer lie, taken aback by blastings at construction sites
of hydro-power stations in the north of Korea. "
A radio is playing Marvin Gaye's What's Going On as the Veterans
for Peace create a memorial known as Arlington West on the beach
beside Santa Monica Pier. They are placing 1008 white crosses in
the sand - one for each US soldier killed in Iraq as of September
Pictures of the dead are displayed in front of a coffin draped
with the US flag and topped with a military helmet. Later, their
names will be read out. It is a sobering ceremony on this late summer's
With the war locked into a bloody stalemate, the veterans are wondering
how the military might find replacements to fill the gaps starkly
spelled out by their symbolic cemetery. For despite the Pentagon's
boast that it can fight and win two conventional wars, US forces
are seriously overstretched.
"We don't have the manpower to sustain the war in Iraq,"
says Eric Ellis, a Vietnam veteran who helped to start Arlington
West. "In Vietnam we had 550,000 troops. We rotated them every
year. We had to do one combat tour. Now we have 130,000-odd troops
in Iraq. They do a tour, come home, then go back."
Where to find the extra troops to fight a seemingly intractable
insurgency that echoes Vietnam has become a pressing question. And
although you wouldn't hear it from the Bush Administration, the
prospect of deploying a draft for the first time in a generation
may be edging towards reality.
Since Vietnam the US has fielded a volunteer military. But after
a year of bloody combat in Iraq, and to a lesser degree in Afghanistan,
its limitations are becoming apparent.
Many US soldiers in Iraq are fighting for a second year. The Pentagon
has also deployed about 45 per cent of the 1.2 million-strong National
Guard (as against 1.4 million in the regular armed forces), the
highest call-up of "weekend warriors" since World War
II. Arguably, the move could leave the US more vulnerable to attack.
Other men have been drawn from the Individual Ready Reserve, troops
on call for eight years after leaving the military.
The Pentagon has bumped the number of recruiters from 6000 to 7000,
and inductees are offered bonuses, scholarships, and various enticements
- cosmetic surgery at Government expense is one.
Meanwhile, the war in Iraq bleeds on. Besides the dead, 6690 soldiers
had been wounded by September 12.
"We're seeing new types of people going AWOL [absent without
leave]," says Steve Morse from the Central Committee for Conscientious
Objectors. "They've returned from Iraq and are extremely stressed
by the war."
Calls to the GI Rights Hotline, run by the committee, have shot
up. And a handful of soldiers have deserted, fleeing to Canada.
Can the Pentagon hold the line using volunteers? Or will it to
have to resurrect conscription?
"If Bush gets in I think a draft is a distinct possibility,"
says Ellis. He isn't alone.
Officially, the draft is a non-starter. Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld has ruled it out. The Selective Service Agency, the federal
body that would run a draft (which has to be authorised by Congress
and the president), doesn't "foresee anything on the horizon".
Neither Bush nor his presidential rival, Senator John Kerry, have
But this could change quickly. Should Washington give the go-ahead,
America's 1980 draft boards, staffed by 11,000 volunteers, are "ready
to do business", says Selective Service Agency spokesman Pat
Certainly, the agency has enough names. Registration with the agency
at 18 is mandatory, tied to voter registration, federal loans and
jobs, or acquiring a driver's licence. A draft would apply to all
males between 19 and 25.
Recruits would be chosen by a national lottery, starting with 19-year-olds
and working up. Following a 1981 Supreme Court decision women are
exempt, although this could change.
Despite official claims that a draft isn't contemplated, there
is growing concern at the grassroots.
"We're getting a lot of calls from people who are worried,"
says Morse. "Especially from young men. Even from young women."
The last point is possibly prescient. Since the Supreme Court exempted
women from any draft, female volunteers have expanded from 3 per
cent to 15 per cent of the armed forces. In Iraq, where frontlines
are non-existent, everyone is at risk, and women are coming home
in body bags.
Currently, there are two private members' bills in Congress, one
in the House and one in the Senate, to re-enact the draft.
Democrat congressman Charles Rangel, a Korean War veteran, wants
two years of mandatory military or civilian service for all young
Americans. A similar bill has been sponsored by Democrat Senator
Ernest Hollings, a World War II veteran.
So far, their calls have meet with a tepid response from lawmakers.
But this could change quickly in the New Year.
"Once the presidential election is done I
think there will be strong pressure on Congress to look at the draft,"
says Professor Don Zillman, a expert on the subject at the University
of Maine in Portland.
"We are not getting the new enlistments. And the need for
additional forces is there. If we are simply running out of soldiers
where do we find them?"
Ultimately, any decision is political. The Vietnam-era draft, which
conscripted disproportionate numbers of poor Americans, attracted
widespread odium. Since then, any tradition of public service in
the US has atrophied.
But Zillman believes a draft that was levied fairly could win public
approval in an emergency. "I think at
this stage it would be unpopular. But if we have another terrorist
attack closer to home, all bets are off."
| By Eric Margolis -- Contributing Foreign
Sun, September 19, 2004
Here comes another huge nuclear embarrassment
UN nuclear inspectors just caught close U.S.
ally South Korea enriching small amounts of plutonium and uranium
to weapons grade.
This revelation comes when the Bush administration's
neocon hawks are clamouring for war against Iran over its unproven
nuclear weapons program. These are the same hawks who raised
a hue and cry over Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
South Korea's six-year-old program was far ahead of Iran's; various
deceptions were used to conceal it from UN inspectors. North Korea,
to no surprise, has been crowing over this embarrassing revelation,
claiming its nuclear program has been justified.
This is the second time South Korea has
been found secretly working on nuclear weapons. In the early
1970s, under the rule of strongman Park Chung Hee, the CIA discovered
a covert South Korean weapons program. Washington forced Gen. Park
to shut it down.
This column has reported for a decade that South Korea had continued
a covert nuclear program. Japan, according to my Asian intelligence
sources, also developed a covert program capable of producing nuclear
weapons in under three months. North Korea has 2-9 nuclear warheads
and missiles to deliver them over all Japan and as far as Hawaii
and the U.S. I also believe Taiwan likely has an advanced, secret
nuclear weapons program.
Heightening tensions, there was a mammoth explosion in the far
north of North Korea that reportedly produced a giant mushroom cloud
with a 4-km diameter. The explosion coincided with the 56th anniversary
of the founding of Stalinist North Korea and recent reports of heightened
activities around that nation's nuclear installations. Could it
have been a gigantic "happy birthday" bang for Beloved
Leader, Kim Jong-il? North Korea claimed the explosion was part
of dam construction. There are persistent rumours North Korea soon
plans a nuclear test.
The U.S. and South Korea were quick to deny the explosion was
a nuclear test, suggesting an accident in a missile base or munitions
depot. But nerves in North Asia were clearly rattled, most of all
in Japan, whose long-discussed anti-missile system is still only
in the planning stage.
The mysterious mushroom cloud comes soon after worrying intelligence
reports North Korea is deploying two new ballistic missiles: A road-mobile
missile with a 2,500-4,000-km range, and a ship or submarine-mounted
version with a 2,500-km range. Both are based on the Soviet R-27
(SS-N-6) submarine launched missile that carries a 200-kiloton nuclear
North Korea is reportedly working on ships and a submarine design
to bring the nuclear-armed R-27 missile within range of the continental
U.S. and all U.S. bases in Asia. North Korea's 1-3 Taepo-dong ICBMs
can already reach North America, according to the CIA.
Reports that South Korea enriched uranium four times higher than
Iran and violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty were dismissed
by Washington, which accepted Seoul's response that the extractions
were only harmless laboratory tests.
George Bush's born-again cold warriors apparently have two standards
for covert nuclear states. If they're U.S. allies, like Israel,
India, Japan, Pakistan or South Korea, exposure of nuclear hanky-panky
incurs only a few tut-tuts.
If the culprit is in Washington's black book, like Iraq or Iran,
any accusations of nuclear delinquency are enough, as we have seen,
to bring invasion or threats of war.
This would also apply to North Korea, except the tough northerners
already have nuclear weapons that could be fired at South Korea,
Japan, Okinawa, Guam and Hawaii, where some 100,000 U.S. military
personnel are based.
Exposure of Seoul's nuclear ambitions undermines Washington's
efforts to mobilize its Asian allies, China and Russia, to compel
North Korea to end its nuclear development -- and reinforces the
Beloved Leader's determination to keep making nukes.
This raises a fundamental question. Why shouldn't South Korea
have the right to nuclear weapons? Its neighbours -- North Korea,
China, and Russia -- are nuclear powers. After all, nuclear weapons,
as North Korea has shown, are the best guarantee against attack
If Washington winks at Israel's large nuclear arsenal, what right
does it have to deny them to South Korea, Japan, or Taiwan?
CANBERRA - Australian Defence Minister Robert
Hill says he's hopeful international troops might be able to withdraw
from Iraq sometime next year.
Hill described the situation in Iraq as very difficult, with violence
being caused by insurgents who want to return to the old way.
He says Australian troops should stay until the job is done. That
could be until next year, according to the United Nations.
"The United Nations is looking at a timetable that takes
us through the elections, the setting up of the new constitution,
and a full transferring of government to the new Iraq, and that's
basically a period of next year," Hill said.
WASHINGTON — In World Wars I and II,
gold star mothers were the queens of their neighborhoods, the stars
in their windows ensuring that they would be treated with great
respect for their sacrifice in sending sons overseas to fight and
die against the Germans and Japanese.
Instead of a gold star, Sue Niederer, 55,
of Hopewell, N.J., got handcuffed, arrested and charged with a crime
for daring to challenge the Bush policy in Iraq, where her
son, Army First Lt. Seth Dvorin, 24, died in February while attempting
to disarm a bomb.
She came to a Laura Bush rally last week at a firehouse in Hamilton,
N.J., wearing a T-shirt that blazed with her agony and anger: "President
Bush You Killed My Son."
Mrs. Niederer tried to shout while the first lady was delivering
her standard ode to her husband's efforts to fight terrorism. She
wanted to know why the Bush twins weren't serving in Iraq "if
it's such a justified war," as she put it afterward.
The Record of Hackensack, N.J., reported that the
mother of the dead soldier was boxed in by Bush supporters yelling
"Four more years!" and wielding "Bush/Cheney"
signs. Though she eventually left voluntarily, she was charged
with trespassing while talking to reporters.
The moment was emblematic of how far the Bushies
will go to squelch any voice that presents a view of Iraq that's
different from the sunny party line, which they continue to dish
out despite a torrent of alarming evidence to the contrary.
Aside from moms who are handcuffed at Bush events and the Jersey
9/11 moms who are supporting John Kerry after growing disillusioned
with White House attempts to suppress the 9/11 investigation, the
president is doing very well with women. The
so-called security moms, who have replaced soccer moms as a desirable
demographic, are now flocking to Mr. Bush over Mr. Kerry, believing
he can better protect their kids from scary terrorists.
In the new Times poll, 48 percent of women supported the president,
compared with Mr. Kerry's 43 percent - a reversal from July, when
Mr. Kerry had the women's vote 52 to 40 percent. This is an ominous
sign for the Democrat, who lost his gender gap advantage after his
listless summer and the G.O.P.'s convention swagger.
How did the president who has caused so much
insecurity in the world become the hero of security moms? He was,
after all, in charge when Al Qaeda struck, and he was the one to
send off Mrs. Niederer's son and other kids to die in a war sold
on a false premise. And that conflict has, despite what Mr. Bush
claims, spurred more acts of terror and been a recruiting bonanza
for Osama bin Laden.
In the Times poll, half of all registered voters said they had
a lot of confidence in Mr. Bush's ability to protect the nation
from another terrorist attack, compared with 26 percent who felt
that way about Mr. Kerry. [...]
But the Bushies are way beyond spin, which is a staple of politics.
These guys are about turning the world upside down, and saying it's
right side up. And that should really give security moms the jitters.
FORT DIX, N.J. -- The 635 soldiers of a battalion
of the South Carolina National Guard scheduled to depart Sunday
for a year or more in Iraq have spent their off-duty hours under
a disciplinary lockdown in their barracks for the past two weeks.
The trouble began Labor Day weekend, when 13 members of the 1st
Battalion of the 178th Field Artillery Regiment went AWOL, mainly
to see their families again before shipping out. Then there
was an ugly confrontation between members of the battalion's Alpha
and Charlie batteries -- the term artillery units use instead of
"companies" -- that threatened to turn into a brawl involving
three dozen soldiers, and required the base police to intervene.
That prompted a barracks inspection that uncovered alcohol, resulting
in the lockdown that kept soldiers in their rooms except for drills,
barred even from stepping outside for a smoke, a restriction that
continued with some exceptions until Sunday's scheduled deployment.
The battalion's rough-and-tumble experience at a base just off
the New Jersey Turnpike reflects many of the biggest challenges,
strains and stresses confronting the Guard and Reserve soldiers
increasingly relied on to fight a war 7,000 miles away.
This Guard unit was put on an accelerated
training schedule -- giving the soldiers about 36 hours of leave
over the past two months -- because the Army needs to get fresh
troops to Iraq, and there are not enough active-duty or "regular"
troops to go around. Preparation has been especially intense
because the Army is short-handed on military police units, so these
artillerymen are being quickly re-trained to provide desperately
needed security for convoys. And to fully man the unit, scores of
soldiers were pulled in from different Guard outfits, some voluntarily,
some on orders.
As members of the unit looked toward their tour,
some said they were angry, or reluctant to go, or both. Many more
are bone-tired. Overall, some of them fear, the unit lacks strong
cohesion -- the glue that holds units together in combat.
"Our morale isn't high enough for
us to be away for 18 months," said Pfc. Joshua Garman,
20, who, in civilian life, works in a National Guard recruiting
office. "I think a lot of guys will
break down in Iraq." Asked if
he is happy that he volunteered for the deployment, Garman said,
"Negative. No time off? I definitely would not have volunteered."
A series of high-level decisions at the Pentagon has come together
to make life tough for soldiers and commanders in this battalion
and others. The decisions include the Bush administration's reluctance
to sharply increase the size of the U.S. Army. Instead, the Pentagon
is relying on the National Guard and Reserves, which provide 40
percent of the 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.
Also, the top brass has concluded that more military police
are needed as security deteriorates and the violent insurgency flares
in ways that were not predicted by Pentagon planners.
These soldiers will be based in northern Kuwait and will escort
supply convoys into Iraq. That is some of
the toughest duty on this mission, with every trip through the hot
desert bringing the possibility of being hit by roadside bombs,
rocket-propelled grenades and sniper fire.
The drilling to prepare this artillery unit for that new role
has been intense. Except for a brief spell during Labor Day weekend,
soldiers have been confined to post and prevented from wearing civilian
clothes when off duty. The lockdown was loosened to allow soldiers
out of the barracks in off hours to go to the PX, the gym and a
few other places, if they sign out and move in groups.
"There's a federal prison at Fort Dix,
and a lot of us feel the people in there have more rights than we
do," said Spec. Michael Chapman, 31, a construction
worker from near Greenville, S.C. [...]
| THIONVILLE, France, Sept 20 (AFP)
- French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin expressed guarded
optimism Monday that two French journalists taken hostage in Iraq
would be freed, one month after their capture by Islamic militants.
"We want to believe that all of the information that we have
is leading in the right direction," de Villepin told reporters
during a visit to Thionville, northeastern France.
"The situation is extremely tense in Iraq, in Baghdad. Of
course, all of this context weighs on the fate of our hostages,"
the minister said.
Radio France correspondent Christian Chesnot, Le Figaro reporter
Georges Malbrunot and their Syrian driver Mohammed al-Jundi were
kidnapped on August 20 south of Baghdad.
KABUL, Sept. 20 (Xinhuanet)
-- Afghan Vice President Namatullah Shahrani was unharmed when a
bomb went off on his way to a road project in northeastern part
of the country, local officials said Monday.
Sayed 'Engineer' Omar, governor of Kunduz province, told Xinhuain
an exclusive interview that the incident took place at 1 p.m. local
time when Shahrani, who was escorted by ranking officials from Afghan
transitional government as well as local authorities, was traveling
in Khanadad District between Kunduz and neighboring Takhar provinces.
A bomb planted by the roadside suddenly exploded by remote control
Fortunately, the Vice President was not hurt, while the car his
bodyguards were traveling in received the impact, and the driver
was injured, he said. [...]
The Taliban and it al-Qaeda ally have vowed to disrupt the first
president balloting rescheduled for Oct. 9 with all possible means.
Quotes of the Week:
"When the Americans fire back, they don't hit the people
who are attacking them, only the civilians," said Osama Ali,
a 24-year-old Iraqi who witnessed the attack [in Baghdad]. "This
is why Iraqis hate the Americans so much. This is why we love the
mujahedeen." (Dexter Filkins, Raising
the Pressure in Iraq, the New York Times, Sept. 14)
"The United States military seemed set to press ahead
with more attacks in Falluja. In areas just outside the city, American
forces spoke through loudspeakers and called for a local militant,
Omar Hadeed, to ‘come out and fight,' witnesses said Monday."
(Sabrina Tavernise, U.S.
Attacks Rebel Base in Falluja; 20 Are Killed, the New York Times,
"Every step of the way in Iraq there have been pessimists
and hand-wringers who said it can't be done. And every step of the
way, the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people have proven them
wrong because they are determined to have a free and peaceful future.
People said that there couldn't be a transitional administration
law, and there was one that was adopted by the Iraqi people. People
said that there couldn't be a transfer of sovereignty by June 30th
-- and it happened even before June 30th. So every step of the way,
the Iraqi people are proving the hand-wringers and the doubters
House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Press Briefing, September
| ROME (Reuters) - Britain's ambassador
to Italy has called U.S. President George W. Bush "the best recruiting
sergeant" for al Qaeda, Italian media have reported.
The comment, made at a closed-door conference at the weekend, was
denounced by one leading Italian newspaper editor, who issued an
open letter snubbing the veteran ambassador, Sir Ivor Roberts.
Roberts was quoted on Monday as telling an annual Anglo-Italian
gathering in Tuscany: "If anyone is ready to celebrate the
eventual re-election of Bush, it's al Qaeda."
Corriere della Sera newspaper said Roberts also told the meeting
of British and Italian policy-makers: "Bush is al Qaeda's best
The British embassy in Rome declined to comment about the remarks,
saying the Tuscan conference had been covered by the so-called Chatham
House Rules, which means that anything said by delegates should
remain off the record.
[...] American Free
Press visited Somerset County to look into some of the questions
surrounding United Airlines Flight 93, which allegedly turned over
and crashed in a refilled strip mine between Lambertsville and Shanksville,
Pa., taking 44 lives with it.
Many local residents believe the plane was shot down, which they
say would explain why parts of the plane and its contents were found
strewn over a large area.
One question, "is what happened to the physical wreckage of
"There was no plane," Ernie Stull, mayor
of Shanksville, told German television in March 2003:
"My sister and a good friend of mine were the first ones there,"
Stull said. "They were standing on a street corner in Shanksville
talking. Their car was nearby, so they were the first here—and
the fire department came. Everyone was puzzled, because the call
had been that a plane had crashed. But there was no plane."
"They had been sent here because of a crash,
but there was no plane?" the reporter asked.
"No. Nothing. Only this hole."
When AFP asked Stull about his comments, he disagreed about when
he had gone to the crash site. "A day or two later," Stull
said, was about when he went to the site. But he reiterated the
fact that they saw little evidence of a plane crash.
Nena Lensbouer, who had prepared lunch for the workers at the scrap
yard overlooking the crash site, was the first person to go up to
the smoking crater.
Lensbouer told AFP that the hole was five to six
feet deep and smaller than the 24-foot trailer in her front yard.
She described hearing "an explosion, like an atomic bomb"—not
Lensbouer called 911 and stayed on the line as she ran across the
reclaimed land of the former strip mine to within 15 feet of the
Lensbouer told AFP that she did not see any evidence of a plane
then or at any time during the excavation at the site, an effort
that reportedly recovered 95 percent of the plane and 10 percent
of the human remains.
While specific details vary, the explanation for the disappearance
of the plane is that the reclaimed land acted like liquid and absorbed
the aircraft, which is said to have impacted at between 450 and
600 miles per hour.
This explanation is also used to explain why there
was only a brief explosion with one short-lived smoke cloud, not
unlike a bomb blast.
"I never saw that smoke," Paula Long,
an eyewitness, told AFP. Long ran "immediately" after
hearing the crash but did not see the cloud of smoke caught in the
now-famous photograph by Valencia McClatchey, she said.
"It [the ground] liquefied," Bob Leverknight, an active
member of the Air National Guard and correspondent with Somerset's
Daily American, told AFP regarding how the wreck and much of the
fuel disappeared. One of the massive engines, Leverknight said,
however, bounced off the ground and was found in the woods.
Jim Svonavec, whose company worked at the site and provided excavation
equipment, told AFP that the recovery of the engine "at least
1,800 feet into the woods," was done solely by FBI agents using
Derry, NH -- The Racketeering Influenced Corrupt
Organization (RICO) lawsuit filed by New Hampshire widow Ellen Mariani
(wife of 9-11 victim Neil Mariani) against President Bush and other
high-ranking officials could be jeopardized by her step-daughter's
recent actions after meeting with an attorney from a Florida- based
law firm with multiple close ties to the Bush administration. Miami's
Greenberg-Traurig firm was hired by George W. Bush to represent
his legal interests in the Bush-Gore 2000 election recount.
According to Mrs. Mariani, Greenberg-Traurig attorney Daniel Bakinowski
met with her late husband's daughter Lauren Peters in February 2003.
Before that time, Ms. Peters supported Mariani's suit against United
Airlines (by law Peters participates in any settlement or judgement).
But since her meeting in the Greenberg-Traurig offices, Peters has
been attempting to assume administrative and financial control of
Neil Mariani's estate, accusing Mariani of incompetence in her capacity
as estate administratrix because she refused to accept a settlement
from the 9-11 Victims' Compensation fund.
Mariani, talking exclusively to TomFlocco.com, revealed that she
was deposed yesterday by Peters' in-state attorneys from Manchester,
New Hampshire's Wiggin & Nourie firm regarding the step-daughter's
estate takeover attempt, adding that her attorney Philip J. Berg
will depose Lauren Peters today. Besides Greenberg-Traurig's representation
of Bush 2000 in the Florida election recount, other Greenberg-Bush
relationships include: election day financial ties involving the
son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, prominent administrative
positions in the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund also involving Bush family
banking house Brown Brothers Harriman, current legal representation
of the President's brother Jeb Bush, Greenberg's Alberto Jose Mora--appointed
General Counsel of the Department of the Navy and its Office of
Naval Intelligence just 90 days before the attacks, and Greenberg's
Bush 2004 "pioneer" fundraiser and Washington lobbyist
Greenberg-Traurig also sponsored--and paid for in part--a high
level delegation of U.S. Congressmen, defense contractors and lobbyists
including Jack London, chairman, president and CEO of CACI International
Inc., an American defense contractor firm implicated by U.S. Major
General Antonio M. Taguba in the torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib
prison, according to a report leaked by Taguba. (Lebanon Daily Star,
The Greenberg firm was fined $77,000 in 1998 for soliciting an
illegal foreign political donation from German citizen Thomas Kramer;
and Greenberg partner Marvin Rosen, Democratic National Committee
(DNC) finance chairman, supervised the activities of convicted funder-raiser
and DNC vice-chairman of finance John Huang who had to return half
of the more than $3 million raised by Huang in contributions from
illegal foreign sources, according to World Net Daily (11-16-2000)
A primary precondition for joining the victim compensation fund--a
litigation issue--is to waive any and all future legal claims against
the government for actions such as allowing the attacks to happen
as alleged in Mariani's RICO case. By refusing to enter the fund,
Mariani has declined to accept compensation which has thus far averaged
$1.6 million in payouts. Virtually all outspoken and media-visible
victim family members have opted to accept money from the government
as compensation for their loss--in return for promising never to
sue Mr. Bush and others for their actions on 9-11. Mariani refuses
to be paid off.
The estate take-over attempt began prior to the fund's statute
of limitations expiration date in late 2003; and while the RICO
suit continues, the legal challenge Mariani faces also involves
a separate additional suit against United Airlines for alleged negligence.
Mariani's litigation also has implications as to whether Mr. Bush's
Justice Department-appointed victim compensation fund special master
Kenneth Feinberg could decide to grandfather any change in estate
control ordered by the Rockingham county judge--allowing a late
entry into the congressionally established victim fund--any future
RICO claim by Mariani against the president would effectively be
dismissed because she no longer administered her late husband's
Mariani is seeking an explanation for the president's strange actions
during the actual two-hour period of the attacks--given multiple
intelligence warnings, the 1993 World Trade Center attack, and Genoa,
Italy G-8 meetings-- protected from Arab suicide air attacks by
anti-aircraft guns. But the widow is also questioning why there
was no military response since air traffic controllers said the
first plane was considered hijacked at 8:13 am--33 minutes before
it impacted the north tower; and nearly two full hours passed with
no air defense before the fourth plane crashed.[...]
Unbeknownst to Mariani, in February, 2003 her step-daughter was
attempting to overturn the widow's court appointed control as administratrix
of her late husband's estate--an arrangement Peters had already
agreed to even though Mariani had declined substantial compensation
in order to sue Mr. Bush, United Airlines, and others in his administration
to hold them responsible for their failures before and during the
It is not known why Peters decided to change her stance and contest
control of the Mariani estate after meeting with Bakinowski. But
Bakinowski accidently told one of Mariani's attorneys "Don't
worry, we'll go before the New Hampshire courts and have Mrs. Mariani
removed as her husband's estate administrator," the New Hampshire
widow told us. Mariani told TomFlocco.com that two other lawyers
had attempted to coerce her into signing to go into the victim fund
rather than sue the president.
It is also unclear who prompted Peters to attend the meeting with
Bakinowski in the first place; but Mariani said Mr. Berg will depose
Peters today to ask whether Greenberg attorneys and other Feinberg
associated 9-11 law firms are using her step-daughter for political
reasons by helping her seek to remove Mariani from control of her
husband‘s estate which would mean the end of her presidential
Also at issue in the current legal maneuverings involving Mariani
and her step- daughter are the extremely close connections between
Bakinowski's Greenberg- Traurig firm and the administration of George
Given the implications, a case can be made that Mariani's RICO
suit against Bush and other officials and agencies could at the
least threaten his reelection effort if the New Hampshire widow's
assertions about presidential prior knowledge of impending attacks
are confirmed by court-ordered legal discovery which could include
court-ordered publication of additional presidential daily briefs
with "sources and methods" redated by administration lawyers.[...]
According to Mariani, Mr. Feinberg himself said at the outset of
the congressional compensation bill that any individual who takes
advantage of a victim's family member for personal or financial
gain will be prosecuted.
Mariani's inclusion of Feinberg as one of the defendants in her
RICO suit asserts that her alleged government criminal enterprise
promulgating a cover-up of the facts and events surrounding the
attacks is spread throughout many government agencies. Thus Feinberg,
government entities and affiliated 9-11 law firms may also have
an important stake in seeing to it that the widow's RICO suit goes
away--whatever it takes.[...]
Mariani told us "the attempt to remove me from my husband's
estate started after Lauren met with Greenberg's attorneys representing
Kenneth Feinberg in February, 2003. I have no idea what thoughts
they put into Lauren's head or how she may have been influenced
by these attorneys regarding her decision to cause this upset. I
am fighting for her father's interests and honor."
"Lauren's attorneys are claiming that I am incompetent because
I am fighting for the truth and suing the president to find out
whether he ignored all the warnings," said Mariani, adding
"it seems to me that Mr. Bush's lawyers are using my step-daughter
as a tool to get back at me since my two lawsuits have influenced
other 9-11 families not to enter Mr. Feinberg's victim fund."
"I feel that Mr. Feinberg also played a major role in complicating
my litigation, because I called his fund a ‘shut-up and go
away fund' from the very beginning. I was the very first family
member to initiate 9-11 litigation instead of going into the fund
and now he is paying me back by manipulating and influencing the
administration and control of my husband's estate by using the Greenberg
firm which George W. Bush hired to supervise his 2000 vote count,"
"I have done nothing to hurt Lauren. We agree that she should
share in any compensation or legal settlement according to New Hampshire
law; and hopefully, she would also want to know why her father was
murdered and whether government officials need to be held accountable
if they allowed the attacks to happen," she told us.[...]
But TomFlocco.com has uncovered additional relationships involving
Greenberg- Traurig's close ties to George W. Bush and his brother--links
which indicate particularly troublesome conflicts of interest meriting
a) Greenberg-Traurig lawyer Barry S. Richard represented George
W. Bush as his lead Florida attorney in the Bush-Gore 2000 election
recount in the Sunshine State. And well into his presidency, Bush
still owed the Greenberg firm nearly one million dollars for work
done by dozens of lawyers and paralegals--leaving some to question
why a Republican candidate would hire a Democratic lawyer from a
Democratic firm when the presidency hung in the balance. Greenberg's
Richard also represented Bush's brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
b) On Election Day, November 7, 2000, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Antonin Scalia's son John Scalia accepted a position with Greenberg-Traurig;
and on November 8--the day after the election, Greenberg-Traurig
partner Barry Richard said he was called about representing George
W. Bush in the Florida presidential recount which ultimately led
to the 5-4 Supreme Court vote placing Bush in the presidency. The
timing of these actions raises significant questions about inner
machinations between Bush-Cheney 2000 and Greenberg- Traurig--if
not the Supreme Court itself--let alone Greenberg's running interference
in Lauren Peters' attempt to wrest control of Neil Mariani's estate
from his wife, Ellen Mariani.
c) Greenberg-Traurig attorney Eric MacLeish chairs the board of
the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund to benefit 170 families in the state
who lost loved ones in the attacks, while also offering free financial
planning assistance and free legal services in estate administration
and other related areas. Greenberg lawyers Dan Bakinowski and Erin
Odonnell assist MacLeish with 9-11 legal services; and Bush family
banking house Brown Brothers Harriman investment account manager
Page deGregorio handles all Mass911 fund donations.
d) Three months before the September 11 attacks, Alberto Jose Mora--of
counsel to the Washington, DC office of Greenberg-Traurig--was appointed
by President Bush to be the General Counsel of the Department of
the Navy. The position also places Mora with the responsibility
of legal oversight for the elite Office of Naval Intelligence which
assumed a joint intelligence role with the CIA and FBI prior to
the September 11 attacks.
e) Raquel A. Rodriguez, another Greenberg-Traurig attorney, represents
Florida Governor Jeb Bush as his personal general counsel.
f) Jack Abramoff, Washington lobbyist for the Greenberg-Traurig
firm, raised $100,000 in bundled $2,000 dollar individual contributions
for this year's Bush- Cheney 2004 election campaign, raising him
to the elite status of Bush "Pioneer" fundraiser.
g) Greenberg-Traurig partially financed a delegation trip to Israel
(implicated by Major General Taguba to defense contractor CACI International
and prison torture techniques) with top U.S. House and Senate Armed
Services Committee members which raised unanswered questions regarding
whether legislators exchanged prison "interrogation training"
(known to insiders as "R2I," short for resistance to interrogation)
for the awarding of Homeland Security contracts to Israel. Legislators'
names were not revealed.
The Lebanon Daily Star reported that Batya Feldman of Israel's
Globes financial news service said the delegation's visit provided
Israeli companies with "an excellent opportunity to encounter
big bucks in homeland security," which also included seminars
given by U.S. lobbyists called "How to Approach the Homeland
Security Department," and "How to Sell to the U.S. Defense
It was not revealed whether Greenberg lobbyist/Bush Pioneer Jack
Abramoff or other Greenberg lobbyists participated in the seminars
which taught Israelis how to pry loose the tens of billions of U.S.
taxpayer dollars in military spending from the unnamed American
The Lebanon newspaper reported that CACI's CEO Jack London and
the House/Senate Armed Services members visited Beit Horon, "the
central training camp for the anti-terrorist forces of the Israeli
police and the border police," in the occupied West Bank, adding
that the visitors were also "briefed by top experts,"
and were able to "witness exercises related to anti-terror
When told about the litany of conflicts of interest--Greenberg-Traurig's
close ties to President Bush, reported foreign election contribution
illegalities, and questionable financial support for alleged prison
torture training--all linked to the firm that Mr. Bush's appointed
9-11 Special Master Kenneth Feinberg employed to meet with her step-daughter--the
New Hampshire widow was prompted to comment about her current legal
"I expect New Hampshire to fulfill its responsibilities regarding
my due process as a state citizen and allow me to fulfill my duties
as administratrix of my murdered husband's estate, as previously
agreed to by my step-daughter in the New Hampshire courts."
"There was no step-daughter sitting there with me during those
first two hearings while I watched Judge Hellerstein take away Lauren's
and my rights as private citizens by blocking on behalf of the government
our joint legitimate claim to obtain relevant evidence and information
which would help solve Neil's wrongful death suit," she said,
adding "Why didn't her father's death matter then as much as
it does now?"
"Judge Hellerstein is adding more salt to my wounds by indicating
that he may intervene and overrule my legal rights as Neil's wife.
And now I am required to defend myself and my lawful role in the
administration of my late husband's estate, even though I am not
the murderer and I never allowed the attacks to happen," said
the New Hampshire widow, adding, "I depended on Neil's income,
but now I have to live on a social security check."
Rep. Henry A. Waxman has released a comprehensive
examination of secrecy in the Bush Administration. The report analyzes
how the Administration has implemented each of our nation's major
open government laws. It finds that there has been a consistent
pattern in the Administration's actions: laws that are designed
to promote public access to information have been undermined, while
laws that authorize the government to withhold information or to
operate in secret have repeatedly been expanded. The cumulative
result is an unprecedented assault on the principle of open government.
The Administration has supported amendments to open government
laws to create new categories of protected information that can
be withheld from the public. President Bush has issued an executive
order sharply restricting the public release of the papers of past
presidents. The Administration has expanded the authority to classify
documents and dramatically increased the number of documents classified.
It has used the USA Patriot Act and novel legal theories to justify
secret investigations, detentions, and trials. And the Administration
has engaged in litigation to contest Congress' right to information.
The records at issue have covered a vast array of topics, ranging
from simple census data and routine agency correspondence to presidential
and vice presidential records. Among the documents that the Administration
has refused to release to the public and members of Congress are
(1) the contacts between energy companies and the Vice President's
energy task force, (2) the communications between the Defense Department
and the Vice President's office regarding contracts awarded to Halliburton,
(3) documents describing the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib, (4) memoranda
revealing what the White House knew about Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction, and (5) the cost estimates of the Medicare prescription
drug legislation withheld from Congress.
There are three main categories of federal open government laws:
(1) laws that provide public access to federal records; (2) laws
that allow the government to restrict public access to federal information;
and (3) laws that provide for congressional access to federal records.
In each area, the Bush Administration has acted to restrict the
amount of government information that is available.
Laws That Provide Public Access to Federal Records Beginning in
the 1960s, Congress enacted a series of landmark laws that promote
"government in the sunshine." These include the Freedom
of Information Act, the Presidential Records Act, and the Federal
Advisory Committee Act. Each of these laws enables the public to
view the internal workings of the executive branch. And each has
been narrowed in scope and application under the Bush Administration.[...]
Independent academic experts consulted for this report decried
these trends. They stated that the Administration has "radically
reduced the public right to know," that its policies "are
not only sucking the spirit out of the FOIA, but shriveling its
very heart," and that no Administration in modern times has
"done more to conceal the workings of government from the people."
The Presidential Records Act The Presidential Records Act, which
was enacted in 1978 in the wake of Watergate, establishes the important
principle that the records of a president relating to his official
duties belong to the American people. Early in his term, President
Bush issued an executive order that undermined the Presidential
Records Act by giving former presidents and vice presidents new
authority to block the release of their records. As one prominent
historian wrote, the order "severely crippled our ability to
study the inner workings of a presidency." [...]
In the 1990s, the Clinton Administration increased public access
to government information by restricting the ability of officials
to classify information and establishing an improved system for
the declassification of information. These steps have been reversed
under the Bush Administration, which has expanded the capacity of
the government to classify documents and to operate in secret. [...]
The passage of the Patriot Act after the September 11, 2001, attacks
gave the Bush Administration new authority to conduct government
investigations in secret. One provision of the Act expanded the
authority of the Justice Department to conduct secret electronic
wiretaps. Another provision authorized the Justice Department to
obtain secret orders requiring the production of "books, records,
papers, documents, and other items," and it prohibited the
recipient of these orders (such as a telephone company or library)
from disclosing their existence. And a third provision expanded
the use of "sneak and peak" search warrants, which allow
the Justice Department to search homes and other premises secretly
without giving notice to the occupants. [...]
In addition to expanding secrecy in government by executive order
and statute, the Bush Administration has used novel legal interpretations
to expand its authority to detain, try, and deport individuals in
secret. The Administration asserted the authority to:
* Hold persons designated as "enemy combatants" in secret
without a hearing, access to a lawyer, or judicial review; * Conduct
secret military trials of persons held as enemy combatants when
deemed necessary by the government; and * Conduct secret deportation
proceedings of aliens deemed "special interest cases"
without any notice to the public, the press, or even family members.
Our system of checks and balances depends on Congress being able
to obtain information about the activities of the executive branch.
When government operates behind closed doors without adequate congressional
oversight, mismanagement and corruption can flourish. Yet despite
Congress' constitutional oversight role, the Bush Administration
has sharply limited congressional access to federal records.[...]
A federal statute passed in 1921 gives the congressional Government
Accountability Office the authority to review federal records in
the course of audits and investigations of federal programs. Notwithstanding
this statutory language and a long history of accommodation between
GAO and the executive branch, the Bush Administration challenged
the authority of GAO on constitutional grounds, arguing that the
Comptroller General, who is the head of GAO, had no "standing"
to enforce GAO's right to federal records. The Bush Administration
prevailed at the district court level and GAO decided not to appeal,
significantly weakening the authority of GAO.[...]
The Bush Administration also challenged the authority of members
of the House Government Reform Committee to obtain records under
the "Seven Member Rule," a federal statute that requires
an executive agency to provide information on matters within the
jurisdiction of the Committee upon the request of any seven of its
members. Although a district court ruled in favor of the members
in a case involving access to adjusted census records, the Bush
Administration has continued to resist requests for information
under the Seven Member Rule, forcing the members to initiate new
On numerous occasions, the Bush Administration has withheld information
requested by members of Congress. During consideration of the Medicare
legislation in 2003, the Administration withheld estimates showing
that the bill would cost over $100 billion more than the Administration
claimed. In this instance, Administration officials threatened to
fire the HHS Actuary, Richard Foster, if he provided the information
to Congress. In another case, the Administration's refusal to provide
information relating to air pollution led Senator Jeffords, the
ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public
Works, to place holds on the nominations of several federal officials.
On over 100 separate occasions, the Administration has refused
to answer the inquiries of, or provide the information requested
by, Rep. Waxman, the ranking member of the House Committee on Government
On November 27, 2002, Congress passed legislation creating the
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States
(commonly known as the 9- 11 Commission) as a congressional commission
to investigate the September 11 attacks. Throughout its investigation,
however, the Bush Administration resisted or delayed providing the
Commission with important information. For example, the Administration's
refusal to turn over documents forced the Commission to issue subpoenas
to the Defense Department and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Administration also refused for months to allow Commissioners
to review key presidential intelligence briefing documents.
The Collective Impact
Taken together, the actions of the Bush Administration have resulted
in an extraordinary expansion of government secrecy. External watchdogs,
including Congress, the media, and nongovernmental organizations,
have consistently been hindered in their ability to monitor government
activities. These actions have serious implications for the nature
of our government. When government operates in secret, the ability
of the public to hold the government accountable is imperiled.
Washington, DC - Daniel Ellsberg, joined today
by ten former employees of the FBI, CIA, State and Defense Departments,
issued a call to current government officials to disclose classified
information that is being wrongly withheld, about plans for and
estimated costs of the war in Iraq, and other documents that contradict
The "call," in the form of an open memo to current government
employees, says "It is time for unauthorized truth-telling."
Drawing the clear parallel to Vietnam, the group urges that ongoing
silence about government deceptions and cover-ups and reluctance
to publicize information about the war's costs and projected casualties
carries with it a significant price in human life and national security.
The group released a list of existing documents wrongly withheld
within the government as examples of the kind that the public has
a right to see (see below). These include background on Army Staff
estimates before the war that the Iraq effort would require several
hundred thousand troops. Similarly, current estimates of potential
casualty rates as the insurgency in Iraq continues to grow as well
as the likely cost of waging war over the next few years almost
surely exist, and should be disclosed now.
To current government officials, Ellsberg says: "If you have
documentary evidence that our country has been lied into an unnecessary,
wrongful, endless war -- as I had during Vietnam -- I urge you to
consider doing right now what I wish I had done years earlier than
I did: give the truth to Congress and the press, with copies of
those documents. The personal costs you risk are great, but you
may save many Americans from being lied to death."
Ray McGovern adds: "Truth. Never in the past
50 years has it been in such short supply in the U.S. defense/intelligence
community. Yet it is the truth- -- once known -- that will keep
us free. Truth-tellers, arise!"
Ellsberg, best known for releasing the Pentagon
Papers to Congress and the press in 1971, was joined at a
Washington press conference by Ray McGovern, formerly an analyst
for 27 years at the CIA, who provided several presidential staffs
with their daily morning security briefings; Sibel Edmonds, former
FBI translator who was fired for revealing security lapses at the
FBI; and Coleen Rowley, one of Time magazine's Persons of the Year
as a Whistleblower, currently a Special Agent in the FBI's Minneapolis
The Call and press conference are part of Ellsberg's ongoing work
with the Truth Telling Project:
The conference is also sponsored by the Sam Adams Associates for
Integrity in Intelligence, which has given its annual Award to Colleen
Rowley and Katharine Gun (who will also be present at the conference)
and, last night at American University, to Sibel Edmonds.
Gun, a former translator with the British equivalent of the NSA,
was fired after leaking sensitive information to the British press
about efforts to "surge" intercept capability against
members of the UN Security Council. Gun was acquitted of charges
of violating England's Official Secrets Act. Another participant
is Major Frank Grevil, of the Danish Intelligence Service, who faces
trial for releasing his estimates that revealed lack of evidence
of WMDs in Iraq, contradicting his country's involvement in efforts
to distort intelligence in order to support the war.
Other signers of the Call-including Mary Ann Wright, who resigned
as Deputy Chief of Mission in Mongolia over the war-- will also
be present, along with Ann Beeson of the ACLU and Beth Daly of the
Project on Government Oversight (POGO).
For more information contact: Kawana Lloyd, Jessica Smith,
or Steve Smith Fenton Communications (202) 822-5200
A Call to Patriotic Whistleblowing
It is time for unauthorized truth-telling.
Citizens cannot make informed choices if they do not have the facts—for
example, the facts that have been wrongly concealed about the ongoing
war in Iraq: the real reasons behind it, the prospective costs in
blood and treasure, and the setback it has dealt to efforts to stem
terrorism. Administration deception and cover-up on these vital
matters has so far been all too successful in misleading the public.
Many Americans are too young to remember Vietnam. Then, as now,
senior government officials did not tell the American people the
truth. Now, as then, insiders who know better have kept their silence,
as the country was misled into the most serious foreign policy disaster
Some of you have documentation of wrongly concealed facts and analyses
that—if brought to light—would impact heavily on public
debate regarding crucial matters of national security, both foreign
and domestic. We urge you to provide that information now, both
to Congress and, through the media, to the public.
Thanks to our First Amendment, there is in America no broad Officials
Secrets Act, nor even a statutory basis for the classification system.
Only very rarely would it be appropriate to reveal information of
the three types whose disclosure has been expressly criminalized
by Congress: communications intelligence, nuclear data, and the
identity of US intelligence operatives. However, this administration
has stretched existing criminal laws to cover other disclosures
in ways never contemplated by Congress.
There is a growing network of support for whistleblowers. In particular,
for anyone who wishes to know the legal implications of disclosures
they may be contemplating, the ACLU stands ready to provide pro
bono legal counsel, with lawyer-client privilege. The Project on
Government Oversight (POGO) will offer advice on whistleblowing,
dissemination and relations with the media.
Needless to say, any unauthorized disclosure that exposes your
superiors to embarrassment entails personal risk. Should you be
identified as the source, the price could be considerable, including
loss of career and possibly even prosecution. Some of us know from
experience how difficult it is to countenance such costs. But continued
silence brings an even more terrible cost, as our leaders persist
in a disastrous course and young Americans come home in coffins
or with missing limbs.
This is precisely what happened at this comparable stage in the
Vietnam War. Some of us live with profound regret that we did not
at that point expose the administration's dishonesty and perhaps
prevent the needless slaughter of 50,000 more American troops and
some 2 to 3 million Vietnamese over the next ten years. We know
how misplaced loyalty to bosses, agencies, and careers can obscure
the higher allegiance all government officials owe the Constitution,
the sovereign public, and the young men and women put in harm's
way. We urge you to act on those higher loyalties.
A hundred forty thousand young Americans are risking their lives
every day in Iraq for dubious purpose. Our country has urgent need
of comparable moral courage from its public officials. Truth-telling
is a patriotic and effective way to serve the nation. The time for
speaking out is now.
Edward Costello, Former Special Agent (Counterintelligence), Federal
Bureau of Investigation
Sibel Edmonds, Former Language Specialist, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Daniel Ellsberg, Former official, U.S. Departments of Defense and
John D. Heinberg, Former Economist, Employment and Training Administration,
U.S. Department of Labor
Larry C. Johnson, Former Deputy Director for Anti-Terrorism Assistance,
Transportation Security, and Special Operations, Department of State,
Office of the Coordinator for Counter Terrorism
John Brady Kiesling, Former Political Counselor, U.S. Embassy,
Athens, Department of State
David MacMichael, Former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence
Council, Central Intelligence Agency
Ray McGovern, Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency
Philip G. Vargas, Ph.D., J.D., Dir. Privacy & Confidentiality
Study, Commission on Federal Paperwork (Author/Director: "The
Vargas Report on Government Secrecy"—CENSORED)
Ann Wright, Retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel and U.S. Foreign
Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatowski, recently retired from service in the
Pentagon's Office of Near East planning [...]
Twelve Examples of Existing Documents That Deserve
Each of these--wrongly withheld up till now—could and should
be released almost in their entirety, perhaps with minor deletions
for genuine security reasons. (In many cases, official promises
to release declassified versions have not been honored.)
1. Reports by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on
Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and other prisons (ships, prisons in other
countries) that hold prisoners from the "war on terrorism".
(These reports have been provided to the US government but have
not been made public.)
2. 28 pages redacted from the report of the Joint House-Senate
Inquiry on Intelligence Activities before and after 9/11, concerning
the ties between the 9/11 terrorists and the government of Saudi
3. 800 pages of the United Nations Report on Weapons of Mass Destruction
that were taken by the United States during unauthorized Xeroxing
and never given to the Security Council members. (The original report
was 1200 pages in length but has never been published in its entirety)
4. Membership, advisors, consultants to Vice President Cheney's
Energy Task Force, and any minutes from meetings (January –
5. Documents and photographs concerning/produced by military doctors
or medical personnel that document abuses toward prisoners condoned
by medical personnel.
6. Documents produced by military lawyers and legal staff that
challenge the political policy makers decision to undercut the Geneva
Conventions and any other extra-legal procedures.
7. The missing sections of the US Army General Taguba report on
prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.
8. Department of Justice-Inspector General (DOJ-IG) Report: RE:
Sibel Edmonds vs. FBI, completed, classified
9. DOJ-IG Report: RE: FBI Translation Department (security breaches,
intentional mistranslations, espionage charges), completed, classified
10. DOJ-IG Report: RE:FBI & Foreknowledge of 9/11, completed,
11. Full staff backup to General Shinseki's 2002 estimate that
"several hundred thousand troops" would be required for
effective occupation of Iraq.
12. The full 2002 State Department studies on requirements for
the postwar occupation and restoration of civil government in Iraq.
WASHINGTON, 11 September 2004 — When
the Genesis space craft, returning from an attempt to capture solar
winds, crashed unto the Earth a couple of days ago, NASA referred
to the crash as an "anticipated contingency". The direction
that the Larry Franklin Israeli spy case is now moving might also
be classified as an anticipated contingency. An article in the Financial
Times of Sept. 7 stated that the White House and John Ashcroft,
the US attorney general, had intervened in the Israelgate case to
"apply the brakes," an anticipated contingency.
The article further stated that, according to a former US intelligence
official, "The White House is leaning on the FBI. Some people
in the FBI are very upset, they think Ashcroft is playing politics
with this." This wouldn't be the first time that politics has
been played when it comes to Israeli espionage against the United
Paul McNulty is the Virginia district attorney in charge of the
Franklin probe. McNulty is a Republican political appointee and,
according to various sources, he has also been told to slow down.
McNulty, worked in the office of former Congressman Bill McCollum
of Florida in the late 1980s.
Also working in McCollum's office during that same time period
was Yossef Bodansky. On Dec. 1, 1985, the Israeli newspaper Davar
reported that "the FBI is looking into the possibility that
a journalist in the US known as an associate of Israels, may have
served as a courier for classified materials delivered to the Israelis.
The Israeli newspaper identified the man as Yossef "Seffie"
Bodansky, an Israeli living at that time in Baltimore and working
as a writer and consultant on military affairs.
According to a fascinating report published in 1986 titled "Spy,
Steal and Smuggle: Israel's Special Relationship with the United
States" by Claudia Wright, Bodansky, who was working on a contract
with the Pentagon in 1985, underwent an investigation conducted
on his activities in the Pentagon by the Defense Investigative Service,
the Pentagons own security department and, many of Bodansky's activities
were put on hold. Shortly after this, Jonathan Polllard was arrested
for spying on the United States for Israel.
Additionally Davar reported, Bodansky had met Pollard for lunch
and Bodansky admitted to the Israeli reporter that "he may
have run into Pollard at some party although he had no memory of
such a meeting." According to Wright, a Washington source claimed
that he had introduced Pollard to Bodansky and confirmed that they
knew each other.
Wright goes on to say that Bodansky's principal contact at the
Pentagon was Harold Rhode who was an adviser on Southwest Asia affairs
to the then Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle. Rhode
has been named in many articles on the current Israeli espionage
affair as having traveled to Rome with Larry Franklin to meet with
Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. Bodansky not only went
on to receive additional security clearances, but he joined McCollum's
staff in the late 1980s as the head of the Republican Task Force
on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. Though a citizen of Israel,
Bodansky held that position until very recently.
District Attorney Paul McNulty might have gotten some interesting
insights into Israeli espionage and security clearances while working
in close proximity with Bodansky on McCollum's staff. Many of these
political connections and the movement were reminiscent of the experience
of the Stephen Bryen Israeli Espionage case of more than 25 years
In 1978, Stephen Bryen, a member of the staff of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, was investigated for over a year for having
given classified documents to Israelis. The file on Bryen contained
over 1000 pages of documents and, through documents obtained with
the Freedom of Information Act, the official recommendation was
"we urge strongly to complete this important inquiry before
an investigative grand jury."
The Bryen case never went to grand jury due to some deft political
maneuvering on the part of his lawyer, Nathan Lewin, and the head
of the criminal division of the Justice Department, Philip Heymann.
Heymann was the ultimate decision-maker in the Bryen case and, though
Heymann kept the investigation moving and had a stiff exchange of
letters with Lewin, he finally capitulated to Lewin's demands and
dropped the case.
Not made public at that time was the fact the Lewin and Heymann
had been schoolmates at Harvard Law School and later workmates at
the US Supreme Court. Additionally, while Heymann and Lewin were
writing opposing letters to each other on the Bryen case, they were
actually rooming together in Washington, D.C. Normally, a legal
official would recuse himself from a case where an intimate friend
or associate was involved. That didn't happen in the Bryen case.
Lewin is now representing AIPAC in the current Larry Franklin Israeli
Watching Ashcroft and McNulty reminds one of the roles played
by various individuals in the Bryen case. These individuals include
Phillip Heymann and various aides to Heymann.
In the Bryen case, the brakes were applied when Heymann came on
the case and ultimately dropped it. The same thing could happen
again in the Larry Franklin case, an example of an anticipated contingency.
And America will continue to suffer from its intimate incestuous
relationship with a foreign country, Israel.
Rome: Kidnappers may have sold two Italian
women hostages to militants linked to the al-Qaeda ally Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, Iraq's Deputy Foreign Minister said.
Hamid al-Bayati said during a visit to Italy he had heard that
Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, charity workers kidnapped by a
criminal gang on September 7, had been transferred from western
Baghdad to Falluja.
Asked by the TV channel Tg2 if the women were being held by the
same militants who had threatened to kill one British and two American
hostages in an internet video, Mr Bayati said: "Yes, it could
On Saturday the Tawhid and Jihad Group, led by the Jordanian militant
Zarqawi, said it would kill the men unless Iraqi women prisoners
were freed from two Iraqi jails within 48 hours.
Also on Saturday an Islamic website said it had received a message
purportedly from an Iraqi group holding two French journalists hostage
saying it had conditionally agreed to free them. The website said
it could not authenticate the message.
The Lebanese Foreign Ministry said yesterday that three Lebanese
men and their Iraqi driver had been kidnapped on the Baghdad-Falluja
US troops in Iraq are to be issued with
microwave weapons that cause pain without lasting injury as concern
mounts over the growing number of civilians killed in fighting.
Using technology similar to that found in a microwave
oven, a high-powered electromagnetic beam rapidly heats water molecules
in the skin to cause intolerable pain and a burning sensation.
A doctor at the Taleb al-Janabi hospital in Falluja said yesterday
US armoured vehicles had killed four Iraqis in the east of the town.
JERUSALEM (AP) - An Iranian photographing
the hotel housing the Israeli Embassy in the Azerbaijani capital
of Baku has been detained by local authorities, an Israeli government
statement said Sunday, alleging the act was probably part of an
intelligence gathering operation.
The statement, issued by the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,
said the Iranian was detained Sept. 1 after Israeli security guards
noticed him using a video camera to photograph the entrances to
the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which houses the Israeli and Japanese embassies.
It did not identify the man or disclose if he was still in custody.
No comment was available from Azerbaijani officials.
The Israeli statement said an investigation by Azeri authorities
found that the Iranian detained in Baku was working with a compatriot
carrying Canadian identification papers and two Azeris - a businessman
and a driver.
It said the video camera in the Iranian's possession contained
footage of the entrances to the Hyatt Regency, an adjacent police
post, and several areas of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, including
The statement said the Iranian told Azeri investigators he photographed
the Hyatt because it is an attractive building.
"It is reasonable to assume that the detention of the Iranian
in Baku disrupted a wide ranging operation to collect intelligence
on Israeli targets," the Israeli statement said. It did not
give evidence to back the allegation.
Israel holds Iran responsible for a number of attacks against
Israeli and Jewish targets around the world, including the car bombings
of its embassy and a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina
in 1992 and 1994.
Iran has denied those charges.
TORONTO - A U.S.-Canada
body that regulates water use in the Great Lakes has proposed new
rules that could open the door to large diversions to the U.S.,
The Council of Great Lakes Governors, which represents eight states,
Ontario and Quebec, said it has proposed rules that will:
• Require any new or increased diversions from the lakes
to improve the environment.
• Use a "uniform, resource-based decision making standard"
to assess proposals for new or increased water uses.
• Make decisions collectively about new water uses in Great
"This is a giant step toward protecting, conserving, restoring
and improving the Great Lakes Basin and reflects the governors and
premiers commitment to work together for the long-term benefit and
protection of this precious natural resource," the council's
While the proposal has attracted little public attention, a Washington
research institute recently published two comments on the issue.
Ralph Pentland, an Ottawa-based consultant, said
in a recent paper on the Woodrow Wilson Center website that one
part of policy "is tantamount to a 'Water for Sale' sign."
"The water marketing industry, in whatever form it takes
with a world water crisis, has been handed over 'liquid gold,'"
U.S. environmental lawyer James M. Brown said.
The Council of Canadians will oppose the plan at a public hearing
in Toronto on Monday, Canadian Press reported.
About 45 million people, including 10 million Canadians, live
in the Great Lakes basin.
More and more people are being caught up in
a growing number of natural disasters, a UN agency said on Friday.
The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction said the increase
in numbers vulnerable to natural shocks was due partly to global
It said 254 million people were affected by natural hazards last
year - nearly three times as many as in 1990.
The assessment comes as the Caribbean and the US are being hit
by a series of devastating hurricanes.
Events including earthquakes and volcanoes, floods and droughts,
storms, fires and landslides killed about 83,000 people in 2003,
up from about 53,000 deaths 13 years earlier, the ISDR said.
Releasing its statistics jointly with the Centre for Research on
the Epidemiology of Disasters (Cred) at the University of Louvain
in Belgium, it said there was a consistent trend over the last decade
of an increasing number of people affected by disasters.
There were 337 natural disasters reported in 2003,
up from 261 in 1990.
"Not only is the world globally facing more potential disasters
but increasing numbers of people are becoming vulnerable to hazards,"
the ISDR said.
The problems, it said, are exacerbated because more and more people
are living in concentrated urban areas and in slums with poor building
standards and a lack of facilities.
ISDR director Salvano Briceno added that urban migrants tended
to settle on exposed stretches of land either on seismic faults,
flooding plains or on landslide-prone slopes.
"The urban concentration, the effects of climate change and
the environmental degradation are greatly increasing vulnerability,"
"Alarmingly, this is getting worse."
GONAIVES, Haiti (AP) - Tropical Storm Jeanne
brought raging floodwaters to Haiti, killing at least 90 people
in the battered nation and leaving dozens of Haitian families huddled
on rooftops as the storm pushed further out into the open seas on
Sunday, officials said.
Floods tore through the northwestern coastal town of Gonaives
and surrounding areas, covering crops and turning roads into rivers.
U.S.-backed interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue and his interior
minister toured the area in a U.N. truck Sunday, but were not able
to reach many areas because of washed out roads.
"We don't know how many dead there are," Latortue said.
"2004 has been a terrible year."
Workers with the Catholic humanitarian agency Caritas Internationalis
picked up 62 bodies in pickup trucks and counted another 18 at a
morgue in Gonaives alone, said Rev. Venel Suffrard, the organization's
local director. Suffrard said he expected the toll to rise.
The floods killed another 10 people in other parts of the country,
mostly in the northwest, said Dieufort Deslorges, a spokesman for
the Haitian Ministry of Interior.
A World Health Organization worker said he had toured parts of
downtown Gonaives and saw people pushing wooden carts filled with
cadavers. "There is no life left in the center of town,"
U.N. health worker Pierre Adam said.
The deaths came four months after floods killed more than 3,000
people on the Haitian-Dominican border. In February, a three-week
rebellion ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and left about
Several people were reported missing and feared dead. Unlike the
Dominican Republic, much of Haiti is deforested and unable to hold
At 11 p.m. EDT, Jeanne was 180 miles east-southeast of the Bahamian
island of San Salvador, moving northward near 8 mph. Storm-force
winds strengthened to 60 mph and stretched up to 85 miles from its
Jeanne didn't appear likely to hit the storm-battered southeastern
United States. It was expected to turn south over the next two days
and head back out into the Atlantic, away from Florida and other
states that have been battered by three major storms already this
Two hang-gliders were blown out of the sky
and more than 100 nursing home residents relocated last night after
a severe hail and rain storm swept parts of Sydney, the Central
Coast and the Hunter Valley.
Budgewoi, Toukley and Erina on the Central Coast were hardest
hit by the storm, the NSW Fire Brigades said.
A nursing home at Erina suffered extensive roof damage, and 102
patients were moved to another wing.
Razorback, between Camden and Picton, was pelted with hailstones
the size of 10-cent pieces. The storm swept from the west, over
Liverpool and Blacktown. Hail also fell on Katoomba and Sydney's
The State Emergency Service had received more than 300 calls for
help by late last night, a spokesman said.
Near Otford, at the southern end of the Royal National Park, a
sudden change in the weather forced two hang-gliders to land abruptly
about 3pm. The hang-gliders suffered back and leg injuries. An air
search and rescue patrol spotted them later.
One was winched to safety by helicopter and taken to St George
Hospital. The other was taken to the same hospital by ambulance.
The Bureau of Meteorology attributed the hail production to strong
updraughts and moist air.
The State Emergency Service said spring and summer were peak seasons
for thunderstorms and hail.
It urged residents to clean gutters and clear items from balconies
and gardens if they risked blowing around and causing injury. Householders
were also warned to keep battery-operated radios on hand for use
during any loss of power.
Anchorage, Alaska -- A powerful
earthquake shook the Aleutian Islands Sunday, but there were no
reports of damage on the sparsely populated island chain.
The magnitude-6.1 quake hit just before 12:30 p.m., said Coast
Guard Petty Officer Jamal Daniels, at the Coast Guard's long-range
navigation station on Attu.
The 20 people at the Coast Guard station are the only inhabitants
of Attu, Alaska's westernmost point, more than 1,500 miles southwest
The temblor, which was centered 90 miles south of Attu in the Pacific
Ocean, did not generate a tsunami, according to the West Coast Alaska
Tsunami Warning Center. An earthquake of that size could cause significant
damage if it were to strike in an urban area.
| LONDON (Reuters) - The creator of
one of the world's most famous guns, the AK-47 assault rifle, has
launched another weapon -- Kalashnikov vodka.
Lieutenant General Mikhail Kalashnikov, who invented the AK-47
after being shot by German soldiers during World War Two, said he
wanted to continue "the good name" of his gun.
"I've always wanted to improve and
expand on the good name of my weapon by doing good things,"
he told Reuters Television on Monday.
"So we decided to create a vodka under my name. And we wanted
that vodka to be better than anything made, up until now, in both
Russia and England."
The Kalashnikov rifle has become the weapon of choice for guerrillas
and gangsters across the world. But Kalashnikov said his original
intentions for the gun were purely patriotic.
"I did not create the gun for international conflicts, I created
it to protect the borders of my country," he said.
"It is not my fault that it has been
spread all over the world. It is its reliability and its simplicity
that have taken it all over the world."
Promoters of Kalashnikov vodka, which is 82 percent proof, say
it is "made from grain harvested in Russia and water drawn
from Lake Ladoga north of St Petersburg" and is best drunk
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