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The carrot and the stick
SOTT Editorial
September 20, 2004

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.

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Cheney Is Voice of Fear on National Security
Sunday, September 19, 2004

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 the air.

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 their jobs.

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.

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Fear-mongering or fact? Could a 2nd Bush term mean another U.S. war?
11:09 PM EDT Sep 19

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 Heritage Foundation.

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 war.

"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 Institute.

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.

Comment: Okay, so most of us were caught a little unawares with the Iraq invasion - we were all hoping against hope that someone in the US administration would see sense, we know better now. So in the interest of learning from our mistakes, lets not get caught out again. It is beginning already, the slow subtle (or not so subtle) build up to a setup for an invasion of Iran. We all need to keep our eyes and ears open.

In 6 months time, we need to remember that, today, there is absolutely no justification for invading Iran, killing thousands of civilians and overthrowing the government. We need to watch carefully and observe the lies and manipulations that will come from the White House and Pentagon, via the government controlled media, as they attempt to con the public, yet again, into believing that Iran is a "threat to our freedoms". Make no mistake, the "evidence" will all be contrived and therefore bogus. Watch it happen...

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War-Gaming the Mullahs

By John Barry and Dan Ephron
Sept. 27 issue

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, deep underground.

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.

Comment: So there you have it - the only rationale for invading Iran is that the country forms part of Bush's infamous and ridiculous "axis of evil". No evidence, no justification, just "because Dubya said so". That Iran might, maybe, be able to make a nuclear bomb at some stage in the future is an extremely weak argument also, after all, why can't Iran have nuclear weapons? Because they might be used as a deterrant by the government of that country to protect its people?? Apparently so.

We should also remember that the current Iranian regime is a legacy of the 1953 CIA-backed coup in Iran, when the previous democratically elected government was ousted. Yet again we see evidence of the tried and tested tactic of setting up "straw men" only to later use them as evidence of a "threat" and rush in to knock them down. Read the last paragraph from the above article again which explains US government plans for Iran:

"regime change in Tehran—by covert means, preferably, but by force of arms if necessary. [...] 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."

There is another name for this - it's called a "coup d'etat"

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U.N. Official: 40 Nations Can Make Nukes
Monday September 20, 2004 7:01 PM
Associated Press Writer

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.

Comment: The same problem as above. Some countries, those who are "responsible" according to the US, are allowed to have nuclear weapons. Others are not. So we have "responsible" Israel alone in the Middle East with a stockpile of nuclear weapons with its neighbors all more than a little worried about the targets. Given Israel's racist character, the way it considers non-Jews are less than human, and the Arabs as even lower on the rung, it is quite normal for the Arab and other Middle Eastern countries to be worried. The Palestinians serve as an example of how far the Israelis are willing to go.

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Does North Korea Have What Iraq Didn't?

September 20, 2004
by Gordon Prather

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 program.

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 to test.

How good is that CIA assessment? Well, the North Koreans don't deny it.

But the Koreans still do adamantly deny the CIA assessment that they have – or ever have had – a uranium-enrichment program.

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 program.

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, not Bush.

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. "

Comment: If Americans are wondering who is going to be doing the killing and dying so that Cheney and Rummy can effect "regime change" in Iran on behalf of Israel, look no further than your own back yard...

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US runs low on soldiers

Peter Huck – New Zealand Herald September 19, 2004

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 12.

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 day.

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 mentioned it.

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 Schuback.

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."

Comment: Bush wants war in Iran, he needs troops to do it, he won't get public support for a draft unless there is another "terrorist attack"... figure the rest out yourself - it isn't very hard.

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Embarrassing find
By Eric Margolis -- Contributing Foreign Editor
Sun, September 19, 2004

Here comes another huge nuclear embarrassment for Washington.

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.

Covert program

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.

Nerves rattled

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 warhead.

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 by superpowers.

If Washington winks at Israel's large nuclear arsenal, what right does it have to deny them to South Korea, Japan, or Taiwan?

Comment: So assuming that North Korea really does have WMD's, why are the Neocons not clamoring for war with Kim Jong-il? Look at a map... North Korea is a little far from the Middle East...

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Australia hoping its troops will leave Iraq within the year
Last Updated Sun, 19 Sep 2004 22:37:07 EDT

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.

Comment: Even though the potential Australian troop withdrawal is only hinted at being sometime "next year", this is the second major coalition country to make such announcements in two days. Yesterday, Britain was musing along the same lines, and this could be a sign that the U.S. is fast becoming more isolated in it's illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The loss of coalition troops means that the spaces must be filled up with young American soldiers. The only way to do that is to reinstate the draft and the only way people will accept the draft is if America once again appears to suffer a major attack by "evil Arab terrorists". It's only a matter of time.

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No Stars, Just Cuffs
Published: September 19, 2004

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.

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Strains Felt By Guard Unit on Eve Of War Duty
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 19, 2004

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. [...]

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De Villepin optimistic for release of Iraq hostages
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.

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Afghan vice president escaped from assassination bid 2004-09-21 00:04:14

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 device.

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.

Comment: Three weeks away from elections and the country is beset with bombings. Long live America!

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Incident on Haifa Street

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, Sept. 14)

"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 wrong." (White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Press Briefing, September 15.)

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British envoy causes stir with Bush barb
Mon 20 September, 2004 11:57
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 recruiting sergeant".

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.

Comment: Roberts is not the only one to think this. By fomenting chaos in Iraq aned Afghanistan, Bush is indeed the best recruiter for al Qaeda -- at least those parts that are not under the direct control of either Mossad or the CIA. When the Arab world sees how the US and its allies treat them, the anger rises. What can they do against the world's superpower?

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9-11 Mysteries Remain

Fri Sep 17
By KEN KUSMER, Associated Press Writer

[...] 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 the plane?"

"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 a crash.

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 smoking crater.

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 his equipment.

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NH Widow fights back-door attempt to dismiss 9-11 RICO suit
by Tom Flocco
July 30, 2004 Posted 9:00 AM -- EDT

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, 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 Jack Abramoff.

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, 5-11-2004)

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 estate. [...]

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 attacks.

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 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 RICO suit.

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 W. Bush.

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," she said.

"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 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 serious examination:

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 Department.

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 legislators.

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 warfare."

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 situation:

"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."

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Secrecy in the Bush Administration
By Rep. Henry A. Waxman
Friday 18 September 2004

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 litigation.[...]

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 Reform. [...]

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.

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A Call to Patriotic Whistleblowing

September 20, 2004

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 government lies.

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 field office.

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 since Vietnam.

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 State

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 Service Officer

Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatowski, recently retired from service in the Pentagon's Office of Near East planning [...]

Twelve Examples of Existing Documents That Deserve Unauthorized Disclosure

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 Arabia.

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 – December, 2001).

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, classified

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.

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Dropping the Franklin Inquiry: Anticipated Contingency?
Michael Saba, Arab News

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 States.

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 ago.

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 spy case.

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.

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Italian women may have been sold to Zarqawi
September 20, 2004

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 be."

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 highway.

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.

Comment: Tucked away at the end of this article speculating on whether the female Italian hostage's have been sold or not, is an interesting piece of information about the U.S.'s new non-lethal microwave weapons. How many American citizens are even aware that their government has this technology, and are currently planning to use it in Iraq? Not very many it would seem. How many Americans will one day be the the victims of such technology inside their own country when their own government uses it against them? Probably a whole lot more.

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Iranian detained in Baku for photographing hotel housing Israeli Embassy
September 19, 2004 

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 airport.

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.

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Great Lakes plan raises diversion fears
Last Updated Sun, 19 Sep 2004 19:49:29 EDT

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., experts fear.

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 Lakes regions.

"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 website says.

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.

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Natural disasters 'on the rise'
Friday, 17 September, 2004, 16:04 GMT

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 warming.

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," he said.

"Alarmingly, this is getting worse."


24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

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Tropical Storm Kills at Least 90 in Haiti
Sep 19, 11:16 PM (ET)

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 300 dead.

Several people were reported missing and feared dead. Unlike the Dominican Republic, much of Haiti is deforested and unable to hold back floodwaters.

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 center.

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 season.

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Patients evacuated as storms unleash hail
By Matthew Thompson and AAP
September 20, 2004

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 northern beaches.

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.

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Earthquake measuring 6.1 shakes Aleutian Islands
September 20, 2004

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 of Anchorage.

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.

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Kalashnikov launches new weapon - vodka
Mon 20 September, 2004 16:10
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 with friends.

Comment: No, it is never the fault of the inventors of weapons that their products are used by others in such nasty ways. Think of the A-Bomb, dynamite, antipersonnel mines. Just a "good idea" that someone took and used in a bad way.

This is the result of the development of technology cut loose from any development of our souls. The moral consequences are ignored - and look at the world we live in.

The counter-argument is that if "I" don't do it, someone else - that is, someone less responsible than "I" am - will do it first. And therein lies the problem of this world. Whether or not one side is better than the other, these types of weapons are the basis of large parts of the world's economy. In a psychopathic world, these weapons will be developed and deployed and then used - on us. There is no way out of it.

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