Article - The Blair Belief Project
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
BAGHDAD, Oct. 1 -- The wails echoed off the tile surfaces of the
emergency room at Yarmouk Hospital. Amid the blood and stretchers,
Majeed Aboud turned his tear-stained face to the body of his 5-year-old
son, Mohammad, one of at least 34 children killed when a car bomb
exploded as they gathered around U.S. soldiers handing out candy
and cakes in a southern Baghdad neighborhood.
Iraqi father cries over the body of his dead son, killed by
an "insurgent" car bomb, which, strangely enough,
killed just one US soldier and 34 Iraqi children.
The child's thin body was covered by a sheet. The sheet was covered
"My boy was playing around with other kids when the first
car bomb exploded," Aboud said when he recovered the ability
to speak. "I brought him here, but they could do nothing
"Why? Why?" a mother asked as a doctor bent over the
bloodied chest of Russul Abbas, whose entire front was perforated
by bits of metal smaller than dimes. "Why does this have
to happen to my 8-year-old kid?"
Even for September, a month that saw more than 40 car bombs detonated
in Iraq, Thursday's violence was extraordinary
for its callousness and the number of innocents killed.
At least 41 people died, including an American
soldier. U.S. forces bombed Fallujah and mounted a surprise
offensive overnight to retake Samarra, another restive Sunni Triangle
city. Arabic-language news channels reported that kidnappers claimed
to have taken 10 new captives.
But it was the young victims -- by far the most children killed
in one incident since the U.S.-led invasion 17 months ago -- who
galvanized the capital.
Most had gathered around American soldiers
after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new sewage treatment plant,
an event designed to show that not all the news in Iraq is bad.
The soldiers were passing out sweets to the children.
An officer of the Iraqi National Guard,
which was responsible for securing the area, said a Nissan pickup
truck parked near the plant apparently was detonated by remote
control. Half an hour later, as parents
carried away the wounded and ambulances pushed through the throngs
who rushed to help, a gray Daewoo sedan nudged into the crowd
Ten Americans were reported wounded at the scene, two of them
seriously. Afterward, as volunteers searched the ground for bits
of flesh to fold into plastic bags, outrage so often directed
at U.S. forces in the wake of such attacks was thrown wholly toward
those most directly responsible.
"What kind of resistance is this?"
Majeed Hameed, who lost a child, shouted again and again at the
hospital. "Why do they attack children?"
Late in the day, a Web site known as a clearinghouse for Islamic
militants posted an assertion of responsibility for three "heroic
operations" by Monotheism and Jihad, the organization headed
by Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian who U.S. officials say has links
to al Qaeda. [...]
SAMARRA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S.-led forces
stormed Samarra on Friday and said nearly 100 guerrillas were
killed in air strikes and street-to-street combat during a major
new American offensive to wrest control of the Iraqi town.
Doctors at Samarra's hospital said 47
bodies were brought in and at least 21 of those were of civilians,
including women and children. They said ambulances could
not reach many wounded as fighting, which lasted throughout the
night, was still going on.
A spokesman for the U.S. 1st Infantry Division said an estimated
94 insurgents were killed.
Troops backed by tanks pushed slowly through the streets as guerrillas
unleashed mortar attacks and fired rocket-propelled grenades and
rifles from the rooftops. As the fighting continued past midday,
residents found electricity and water cut off.
The U.S. military says it will retake control of guerrilla strongholds
like Samarra, the western cities of Falluja and Ramadi and the
Baghdad districts of Sadr City and Haifa Street by the end of
the year so elections can go ahead in January.
The Samarra assault began shortly after midnight
with air strikes and artillery barrages pounding the mainly Sunni
Muslim town, which had been a no-go zone for U.S. forces for months.
The U.S. military said three U.S. soldiers were wounded during
the operation in the town, 60 miles north of Baghdad. It said
troops destroyed several mortar sites, rocket-propelled grenade
teams and guerrilla vehicles.
Guerrillas were seen unloading weapons and ammunition from two
speedboats on the Tigris River in the town, the military said.
Troops opened fire and destroyed the boats.
Some of the fighting raged close to a mosque that attracts many
Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims to the predominantly Sunni region.
"In response to repeated and unprovoked
attacks by anti-Iraqi forces, Iraqi security forces and multi-national
forces secured the government and police buildings in Samarra
early in the morning of October 1," the U.S. military said.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Democrat
John Kerry stood his ground with President George W. Bush in their
first televised debate, delivering a strong performance that could
put him back into the election race after weeks on the ropes,
Instant polls conducted by US television networks gave a clear
edge to the Massachusetts senator after a showdown Thursday with
Bush on foreign policy and national security issues that was dominated
CBS showed Kerry the winner by 44-26 percent
and ABC by 45-36 percent. A CNN/Gallup poll put the margin at
53-37 percent and said 46 percent reported feeling better about
the Democrat after the debate, compared to 21 percent for Bush.
Analysts agreed that neither Kerry nor Bush landed any heavy
blows during the 90-minute encounter at the University of Miami,
the first of three presidential debates before the November 2
"This was the closest thing to a tie,"
said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center
for Politics. "I really was impressed. Kerry was articulate
and crisp for once and Bush, I've never seen him so articulate."
But Kerry managed to deliver his most cogent attack yet on the
Iraq war and convey a sense of solidity and coherence in front
of the man who has spent months ridiculing him as a weak-kneed
"I think he was very effective at downplaying the argument
that he had flipped and flopped on different issues," said
David Corbin, a political science professor at the University
of New Hampshire.
It was not clear whether Kerry's showing would translate directly
into the new support he badly needs to overcome Bush's lead in
the polls, generally estimated at five to eight points. [...]
In a development that highlights the cowardice
and subservience of the US media - and suggests there is far more
to the so-called "memogate" affair at CBS News than
has so far been made public - the network confirmed September
27 that it had cancelled a planned "60 Minutes" broadcast
exposing the use of forged documents by the Bush administration
in the run-up to the Iraq war.
The program focused on documents supplied to the US embassy in
Italy that allegedly confirmed Iraqi efforts to acquire large
quantities of uranium in the west African country of Niger during
the last years of Saddam Hussein's regime. The documents were
the basis of the claim by President Bush in his State of the Union
speech in January 2003 that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium
in Africa, a charge the White House was later forced to retract.
The chief reporter of the "60 Minutes" segment, Ed
Bradley, conducted the first on-camera interviews of two key figures
in the affair: Elisabetta Burba, the Italian journalist who first
obtained the phony documents, and the man who supplied them, Rocco
Martino, a Roman businessman and former Italian intelligence agent
with purported ties to other European intelligence agencies.
Burba reportedly said that she was instructed
by her editor at Panarama, a news magazine owned by Italian Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi, to provide the documents to the US
embassy in Rome, which forwarded them to the State Department
and CIA. Berlusconi has been one of the most vocal international
supporters of the Bush administration and the war in Iraq.
The documents were quickly exposed as fraudulent
when turned over to the International Atomic Energy Agency for
verification. According to the current Newsweek, which summarizes
the suppressed CBS program, "Within two hours, using the
Google search engine, IAEA officials in Vienna determined the
documents to be a crude forgery."
An investigation into the forgery subsequently initiated by the
FBI has been an exercise in stonewalling. Two years after the
event, the FBI has not even interviewed Martino, although he has
been publicly identified in the press as the source of the documents
and was even flown to New York City by CBS for his interview.
A Justice Department official said the Berlusconi government had
not yet given its permission for the FBI to interview Martino.
Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar, Iraq's former chief nuclear scientist,
also spoke to Bradley in Rome. According to a summary of the program
that CBS supplied to Salon web magazine, Jafar testified that
Iraq had completely dismantled its nuclear program after the 1991
Gulf War. "So what was going on?" Bradley reportedly
asked. "Nothing was going on,"
Jafar replied, adding that the Bush administration either was
"being fed with the wrong information" or "they
were doing this deliberately," i.e., lying to the American
people about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.
Bradley also interviewed Joseph Wilson, the former US diplomat
who was sent to Niger by the CIA in 2002 to investigate the Iraqi
purchases and concluded that the report was bogus. When Wilson
made his findings public in June 2003, exposing the lies in Bush's
State of the Union speech, he became the target of a smear campaign
by the White House. White House officials leaked the fact that
Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA operative, blowing
her cover and exposing her to possible attack.
This transparent effort at political retaliation backfired, and
a Justice Department special prosecutor has interviewed dozens
of Bush administration officials in an investigation into who
leaked the information on Plame, which is potentially a criminal
There seems to have been a similar, but more successful, effort
to block the CBS report, which was highly critical of the administration's
fabrication of the Iraq WMD claims. The
White House was acutely aware of the impending report, as "60
Minutes" approached both Bush administration officials and
congressional Republicans as part of its preparation of the story.
None would agree to be interviewed, including Porter Goss, the
Florida Republican congressman who chaired the House Intelligence
Committee and has just been sworn in as the new CIA chief.
The "60 Minutes" segment was
initially slotted for broadcast in June, but was put off because
of unspecified new developments, according to CBS spokeswoman
Kelli Edwards. It was finally scheduled for the evening of September
8, but network officials decided to replace it with the report
on Bush's National Guard service that included purported memos
from Bush's former commander that turned out to be bogus.
That decision itself demonstrates the bankruptcy
of what passes for professional journalism in the United States.
CBS decided to shelve a report carefully prepared over six months,
documenting systematic lying by the US government to justify an
illegal war in which tens of thousands of Iraqis and more than
a thousand Americans have died, and replaced it with a tabloid-style
exposure of Bush's efforts to avoid combat more than three decades
The fact that Bush used his family's political influence to escape
military service in Vietnam is insignificant compared to the war
crimes Bush has committed and continues to commit as commander-in-chief.
Even after the political furor over the use of apparently fabricated
memos in the National Guard story, the CBS reporters and producers
who worked on the Niger uranium story believed it would be broadcast.
Before the final decision to scrap the Niger story, David Gelber,
the lead producer, told Newsweek he had been told it would run
within a week, adding, "Obviously, everybody at CBS is holding
their breath these days. I'm assuming the story is going to run
until I'm told differently."
CBS News President Andrew Heyward eventually declared that broadcasting
the "60 Minutes" program on Iraq's nonexistent WMD would
be "inappropriate" so close to the election, since it
would give the appearance that the network was seeking to influence
the vote. This rationale, of course, ignores the fact that not
broadcasting the program also influences the vote, and amounts
to a whitewash of the Bush administration's lies.
Newsweek, citing CBS sources, said the network
feared it would become a "laughingstock" if it broadcast
a program criticizing the Bush White House for using forged documents
so soon after CBS itself fell victim to forged documents.
This account suggests another explanation for the whole affair:
it raises more forcefully the likelihood that the bogus memos
on Bush's National Guard service were supplied to CBS by dirty
tricks operatives of the Republican Party, for the purpose of
embarrassing the network and blowing up its planned exposure of
the WMD fabrications.
There has been relatively little comment in the US media over
the CBS decision to suppress its report on the origins of the
bogus Niger uranium story. The chilling effect of the "memogate"
scandal is being felt.
Meanwhile, the chairman of CBS's parent
company, Viacom, has publicly disavowed longstanding ties to the
Democratic Party and suggested he supports the Bush campaign.
Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone told the Asian Wall Street Journal,
"From a Viacom standpoint, the election of a Republican administration
is a better deal. Because the Republican administration has stood
for many things we believe in, deregulation and so on . . . from
a Viacom standpoint, we believe the election of a Republican administration
is better for our company."
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - U.S. forces attacked
a suspected safehouse used by an al-Qaida-linked group in Fallujah,
the military said.
Hospital officials said at least four Iraqis were killed and eight
wounded in Thursday's strike.
Also, there were conflicting accounts about the deaths of at
least six people Wednesday after an incident involving U.S. forces.
Iraqis who identified themselves as witnesses
said U.S. forces opened fire on a car passing Fallujah on the
road from Baghdad. The driver was shot in the head and lost control
of the car, which plunged into a canal, said Hussein Alwan,
who lives near the scene.
A man was taken to Fallujah General Hospital late Wednesday
with a bullet wound to the head, Dr. Ahmed Khalil said.
Later, the bodies of two women and five children were also brought
to the hospital after being recovered from the submerged vehicle,
hospital officials and witnesses said.
But the U.S. military said it fired only
warning shots at a vehicle driving erratically toward a
convoy on the road between Ramadi and Fallujah.
1st Lieut. Lyle Gilbert, a U.S. marine spokesman,
said the vehicle then swerved off the road, nose-dived into a
canal and became submerged.
"The male driver - believed to be
the vehicle's only occupant - exited the vehicle and was treated
on the scene by a U.S. navy corpsman," Gilbert said
in a statement.
However, Iraqi police, responding to the incident,
later recovered six bodies from the submerged vehicle and took
them to Ramadi, Gilbert said.
The two accounts could not immediately be reconciled.
Meanwhile, intelligence reports indicated the house attacked
by U.S. forces Thursday was being used by followers of Jordanian
terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the military said in a
statement, adding the followers were planning attacks against
U.S.-led forces and Iraqi citizens.
"Significant secondary explosions were observed during
the impact indicating a large cache of illegal ordnance was stored
in the safehouse," the statement said.
Explosions continued in the northeastern
part of the city for hours.
Witnesses said two houses were flattened and four others damaged
in the strike.
At least four Iraqis were killed - including
two women and one child - and eight wounded,
said Khalil, the doctor.
"Multinational forces take great
care to minimize collateral damage and civilian casualties,"
the military said in the statement.
"Terrorists' placement of weapons caches in homes, schools,
hospitals and mosques continue to put innocent civilians at risk."
U.S. planes, tanks and artillery units have repeatedly targeted
al-Zarqawi's network in Fallujah in recent weeks as U.S.-led forces
seek to assert control over insurgent enclaves ahead of elections
slated for January. The U.S. military said the attacks have inflicted
significant damage on the network, which has claimed responsibility
for a series of bombings, kidnappings and other attacks.
Doctors said scores of civilians have been killed and wounded
in the strikes.
U.S. ground forces have not entered Fallujah since ending a
three-week siege of the city in April that left hundreds dead.
- In a letter to the White House, a leading US Senate Democrat
expressed "profound dismay" that the White House allegedly
wrote a large portion of Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's speech
to Congress last week.
"I want to express my profound dismay about reports that
officials from your administration and your reelection campaign
were 'heavily involved' in writing parts of Prime Minister Ayad
Allawi's speech," California Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote
in a letter to President George W. Bush.
"You may be surprised by this, Mr. President, but I viewed
Prime Minister Allawis speech as an independent view on conditions
in Iraq," she wrote.
"His speech gave me hope that reconstruction efforts were
proceeding in most of the country and that elections could be
held on schedule."
"To learn that this was not an independent view, but one
that was massaged by your campaign operatives, jaundices the speech
and reduces the credibility of his remarks," Feinstein wrote.
Her letter was a response to an article appearing in Thursday's
Washington Post, which also alleged that Allawi was coached by
US officials -- including Dan Senor, former spokesman for the
Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq-- in perfecting his delivery
of the speech delivered before a joint session of Congress one
Iraq is becoming the kidnap capital of the
world, though this gets international attention only when foreigners
are taken hostage.
It is the one growth industry in the country.
Nobody is safe. "We had one case recently where the kidnappers
seized a three-year-old," said Sabah Kadhim, a senior official
at the interior ministry in Baghdad.
Most kidnap victims are Iraqis and the
motive is always money. Many well-off Iraqis have fled
to Jordan or Syria. "I just don't make enough money in Iraq
to take the risk of being taken hostage," a businessman who
had moved to Amman said. Doctors are a frequent target and many
of the best-qualified have gone abroad.
Mr Khadim says he is convinced the motive for kidnapping the
two Italian women, Simona Pari and Simona Torreta, now freed,
was always money.
"The kidnappers are not stupid," he says. "They
could see Italy was part of the coalition but the war was very
unpopular there. They knew that if they kidnapped women this would
generate publicity, and this means more money in ransom."
Only a few kidnappings are political, probably including that
of Kenneth Bigley, the British engineer, held by the Tawhid and
Jihad group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The Jordanian-born militant has discovered that as a way to attract
the world's attention, horrific videos of captives being beheaded
or pleading for their life are difficult to beat. Unlike commercial
kidnappers, few of Zarqawi's victims are known to have survived.
The wave of kidnappings started soon after the fall of Baghdad
last year. Criminals, many released by Saddam Hussein just before
the invasion, found it was an easy way to make money with almost
no fear of punishment. Some gangs have their own dungeons so they
can handle several victims at once.
The police admit they do not know how many people are being kidnapped
because relatives or friends of victims think it is dangerous
to tell them. People also think the police are paid by kidnap
One man, who turned down an offer of police assistance in getting
back his business partner, had a phone call from the kidnappers
30 minutes later complimenting him on his discretion.
The hostage-takers are often cruel. One 22-year-old student called
Ali was left in a room by himself for three days without food
or water. Later, he met two other victims, both young men, held
by the same gang. One day, a man came in and shot one victim in
the head. Negotiations with his family had failed.
Months ago, the kidnappers realised they could
make even more money seizing foreigners. Word spread that a Kuwaiti
company had paid $100,000 each for the return of several employees.
Before, the kidnappers had thought taking foreigners could cause
them trouble, but as the strength of the US occupation ebbed over
the past six months, expatriates became fair game.
It is impossible to draw a line between commercial and political
kidnappings. This is because kidnappers whose only aim is to make
money often pretend to be fighting the occupation. Iraqi security
men, who have not had much success against kidnappers, tracked
one gang which had seized a Lebanese man. In their hideout the
police found banners with religious and political slogans.
The head of the gang said they were to be used as a backdrop
if they made a video of their victim, in the hope that it would
be shown on television. "If you can get a kidnap on television,
you can make more money," the gang leader said.
Kidnapping foreigners also became easier after the Sunni Muslim
uprising in April. Fallujah and most of Anbar province in western
Iraq, stayed in rebel hands. Insurgents also control towns south
of Baghdad, including Latafiyah, Mahmouiyah and Iskandariyah,
a large no-go area for Iraqi government forces where hostages
can be concealed.
This was where the two French journalists, Georges Malbrunot
and Christian Chesnot, were kidnapped on 20 August.
Commercial and political kidnappings are likely to continue because
they are successful. But the pool of available kidnap victims
is now small. This puts foreigners in greater danger.
One dark night in Iraq in February 1991,
a U.S. Army tank unit opened fire on two trucks that barreled
unexpectedly into its position along the Euphrates river. One
was carrying fuel and burst into flames, and as men scattered
from the burning trucks, the American soldiers shot them.
"To this day, I don't know if they were civilians or military
- it was over in an instant," says Desert Storm veteran Charles
Sheehan-Miles. But it wasn't over for him.
"For the first years after the Gulf War it was tough,"
says the decorated soldier. He had difficulty sleeping, and when
he did, the nightmares came. "I was
very angry and got drunk all the time; I considered suicide for
Like many young Americans sent off to war, he
was highly skilled as a soldier but not adequately prepared for
the realities of combat, particularly the experience of killing.
Much is rightly made of the dedication and sacrifice of those
willing to lay down their lives for their country. But what is
rarely spoken of, within the military or American society at large,
is what it means to kill - to overcome
the ingrained resistance most human beings feel to slaying one
of their own kind, and the haunting sense of guilt that may accompany
such an action. There is a terrible price to be paid by
those who go to war, their families, and their communities, say
some experts, by ignoring such realities.
"We never in our military manuals address the fact that
they go forward to kill," says Lt. Col. David Grossman, a
former Army Ranger. "When the reality hits them, it has a
profound effect. We have to put mechanisms in place to help them
deal with that.
"Every society has a blind spot, an area into which it
has great difficulty looking," Colonel Grossman says. "Today
that blind spot is killing."
It may seem strange that a central fact of war for millenniums
should become an urgent concern now. But
some close to the scene say modified warfare training that makes
it easier to kill - and a US cultural
response that tends to ignore how killing affects soldiers - have
taken an unprecedented emotional and psychological toll.
A lengthy conflict in Iraq, they worry, could increase that toll
Society has a moral obligation, some argue, to better prepare
those sent to war, to provide assistance in combat, and to help
in the transition home.
"We have a profound responsibility because we send these
people into combat on our behalf, to kill for us," says Shannon
French, who teaches ethics at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis,
Postwar tragedy may have been averted, says Mr. Sheehan-Miles,
if help had been available to his tank unit. "Within
my own tank company, half of the married soldiers were divorced
within a year after the Gulf War; one shot another over a girl,"
he says. "They didn't know how to get help, and the
Army essentially did nothing."
Psychological injuries of war can't be tied solely to killing
alone - seeing close comrades die and other horrors of war are
also factors. But mental-health professionals and chaplains who've
worked closely with veterans see killing as a significant contributor,
along with other demoralizing elements of combat that soldiers
experience or see as "a betrayal of
what's right," says Veterans Affairs psychiatrist
The devastating impact of war on soldiers was visible after
World Wars I and II and the Korean War as well. But particularly
evident today is the ongoing toll of the Vietnam War, whose vets
are overrepresented in the homeless and prison populations. One-third
are said to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In July, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 16
percent of veterans of the war in Iraq suffer from depression
or PTSD, and that fewer than 40 percent have sought help.
Along with several studies, the efforts of two men are stirring
thinking within the US military: Grossman, who wrote "On
Killing: the Psychological Costs of Learning to Kill in War and
Society," and Dr. Shay, who has worked with vets for 20 years
at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Boston. Shay has written two books
("Achilles in Vietnam" and "Odysseus in America")
that provide in-depth analyses of how combat can affect individual
character and the homecoming to civilian society.
The military has hired both to help improve training and recommend
changes to military culture.
A natural resistance to killing
The military's responsibility to respond is great, Grossman
says, because of the way combat has been transformed since World
War II. Interviews by a US Army historian during that war showed
that only 15 to 20 percent of infantrymen
in the European and Pacific theaters chose to fire at the enemy
when they were under fire. Resistance to killing was strong.
Whether because of religious and moral teachings or what he
terms "a powerful, innate human resistance
toward killing one's own species," soldiers' apparent willingness
to die rather than kill stunned military officials.
To overcome that resistance, the military
revamped its training to program soldiers, through psychological
conditioning, to make shooting reflexive. The techniques
were applied with "tremendous success," Grossman says,
raising the firing rate to 55 percent in the Korean conflict and
95 percent in Vietnam. But little thought, he adds, went to the
aftereffects of overriding the soldiers' natural inclinations.
Shay also flags concerns about combat leadership, citing instances
when soldiers have been treated unfairly, lacked necessary equipment,
been asked to do things they considered wrong, or seen questionable
behavior rewarded. These are all experiences he includes under
the heading of "the betrayal of what is right." People
don't have to be injured by their wartime experience, he adds,
but that requires "assuring them cohesion in their units;
expert and ethical leadership; and highly realistic training for
what they have to do."
The first responsibility of leadership and the public, many
say, is not to put the country's sons and daughters at risk unless
going to war is essential.
If it is, then they need help sorting through the issues. Rabbi
Arnold Resnicoff, a retired Navy chaplain, calls for "spiritual
"We have a responsibility to understand the dangers war
poses to the humanity of our people and do all we can to protect
them, to develop 'moral muscle,' " he says.
In "The Code of the Warrior," his course at the Naval
Academy, Dr. French focuses on moral distinctions - the historical
legacy of the warrior and rules of war, and how to be alert to
crossing the boundaries, as occurred at Abu Ghraib prison.
"It has been very well documented
that there is a close connection between severe combat stress
and the sense of having crossed moral lines," she
While the military academies offer officers some ethical training,
the rank and file learn mostly from their commanders. Recent
training Grossman has provided to Marine battalions heading to
Iraq included distinguishing between killing and murder.
"Many have 'Thou shalt not kill' in the back of their minds,
and think they've broken a profoundly moral law," he says.
Grossman helps them see that the Judeo-Christian ethos generally
accepts the idea that killing can be justified at times, and he
emphasizes the importance of close adherence to the rules of engagement.
But there are gray areas, particularly in urban conflict, where
it is not always clear whether to shoot, says Paul Rieckhoff of
the Army National Guard, who led a platoon through combat patrols,
raids, and ambushes in Baghdad until February of this year.
During one operation, "a female truck driver dropped us
off and was guarding the truck when a kid about 10 years old came
around the corner and started shooting at her," he says.
"What does she do - shoot him or get shot?"
Vital to the health of soldiers is what happens after each combat
experience. It's essential to have "after-action reviews,"
many say, in which units sort through experiences that were disturbing
to them. These may include killing, or seeing their comrades or
innocent civilians killed. "The worst thing is to not think
about it. You can't not think about something for a lifetime,"
At the end of the 1989 US invasion of Panama, Army chaplain
R. Ryder Stevens, now retired, and another chaplain sought out
soldiers individually. "One guy talked, but kept his M-16
between us and kept taking it apart, cleaning it, and putting
it together again," says Colonel Stevens. "Finally
he blurted out, 'I murdered a woman and her baby the other day
and I'm going to burn in hell!' " He had followed the rules
of engagement and shot at a car that didn't stop fully at a checkpoint.
After he was assured that God's love was
big enough to forgive him, "he fell into my arms crying,"
In Iraq, there may be one chaplain for every 1,500 soldiers,
Rieckhoff says. Those who need help must be encouraged to seek
it. But the system is failing, many insist. Seeking help carries
a stigma, and procedures for getting help lack privacy. [...]
young American Marine is exultant. "It's a sniper's dream,'
he tells a Los Angeles Times reporter on the outskirts
of Fallujah. "You can go anywhere and there so many ways
to fire at the enemy without him knowing where you are."
a guy will go down, and I'll let him scream a bit to destroy the
morale of his buddies. Then I'll use a second shot."
take a bad guy out," he explains, "is an incomparable
"adrenaline rush." He brags of having "24 confirmed
kills" in the initial phase of the brutal U.S. onslaught
against the rebel city of 300,000 people.
Iraqi has died of his wounds after US troops beat him with truncheons
because he refused to remove a picture of wanted Shiite Muslim
leader Moqtada Sadr from his car, police said today.
motorist was stopped late yesterday by US troops conducting search
operations on a street in the centre of the central city of Kut,
Lieutenant Mohamad Abdel Abbas said.
the man refused to remove Sadr's picture from his car, the soldiers
forced him out of the vehicle and started beating him with truncheons,
troops also detained from the same area five men wearing black
pants and shirts, the usual attire of Sadr's Mehdi Army militiamen
Hassan, the director of Kut general hospital, identified the man
as Salem Hassan, a resident of a Kut suburb.
said the man had died of wounds sustained in the beating.
spokesman for the US-led coalition could not confirm the incident.
A 20-year-old Milford Haven soldier, who
broke down as his father was driving him back to his unit for
further service in Iraq, was later found hanged from the swings
at a village play area.
Gary John Boswell, of 34 Woodbine Way, Hakin, had served with
the Royal Welch Fusiliers in Iraq, Germany and Canada since joining
up in 2002, the Pembrokeshire Coroner, Mr Michael Howells, was
told at a Milford Haven inquest on Thursday.
Before recording a suicide verdict, the coroner heard from Mr
John Moses Boswell how his popular young son had suddenly banged
his head on the car door and asked him to take him back home.
He had previously attempted to cut his wrists and had also taken
an overdose of tablets, but he had seemed happy at the start of
the car journey back to camp.
Mr Boswell said his son had never cried in front of him before,
but he would not open up about what had happened out in Iraq.
"I think there was one man who was bullying Gary," he
told the coroner.
It was at 7.15am on Sunday, July 25th, that a motorist driving
past Herbrandston play area saw a figure hanging from the crossbar
of the swings.
Police found Gary hanging from his car towrope, which had been
tied to a fence and stretched over the swings.
The coroner expressed sympathy with the family over the tragic
Guns drawn, agents
of the U.S. Marshals Service served a warrant on a tiny Santa
Cruz pirate radio station early Wednesday, rousting and frisking
the pajama-clad residents of the co-op house from which the station
had been broadcasting. No one was
"This is not a criminal action against people,'' said Supervising
Deputy Cheryl Koel.
The target was Free Radio Santa Cruz, an FM micro-station boasting
35 to 40 watts of power and offering round-the-clock music,
activism and other local programming, in addition to such national
programming as Radio Pacifica's "Democracy
Now''-- all in defiance of federal licensing laws.
The blue-jacketed marshals, along with agents of the Federal
Communications Commission, dismantled the station's equipment
and carried it to a waiting pickup with a camper shell as a crowd
of perhaps 60 people yelled "Shame! Shame!'' and "Go
Residents, programmers, friends of alternative radio and enemies
of corporate media were joined by two city council members, one
council candidate and two congressional candidates. They milled
around on the sidewalk and in the street, careful to avoid traffic.
Culinary consultant Joseph Schultz, founder of the legendary
but now defunct India Joze, brought vegetable soup.
But despite Koel's assurances, residents of the house on Laurel
Street did feel "acted-against.''
"They got me out of bed,'' said Erin Calentine, 21. "They
were yelling, `Federal marshals! We have a warrant! Come down!
We're here for the radio,' '' she said.
After being frisked, the residents were kept outside for about
half an hour while the marshals "secured the location,''
said Calentine, quoting the marshals.
Mayor Scott Kennedy and Councilman Mark Primack condemned the
raid, while candidate Tony Madrigal, a union organizer by profession,
led a chant of "Sí, se puede'' -- the Cesar Chavez
motto that means "Yes, we can.'' The student co-op house
is named for Chavez.
Kennedy said the city would be willing to lend assistance, perhaps
by filing a friend-of-the-court brief.
The fact that the station frequently airs criticism of city government
"makes it important'' that the city support it, Kennedy
told the Santa Cruz Sentinel last year.
The warrant bore no names, listing as "defendant'' "any
and all radio station equipment . . . used in connection with
the transmissions.'' It gives the station operators 20 days to
respond in court.
"I don't want the reason we're doing this to get lost in
the hubbub about the raid,'' said George Cadmon, who hosts a show
called "Peace Talks.'' "This is civil disobedience,
anti-corporate action, First Amendment protest. We feel very strongly
that local voices aren't getting out there.''
Evelyn Hall hosts a program called "Eye of the Storm,''
which she describes as "spiritual activism.'' Her daughter
and a friend, both 11, have their own show, too, called "For
Your Information.'' And so does her mother, Michelle Hall, 74.
"Could it be,'' she wondered, "they are really kind
of worried?'' Hall asked, reflecting the paranoia and anger circulating
in the crowd.
The station's technical director, who as Uncle Dennis plays
1960s and '70s rock, psychedelic music and blues, said the FCC
has had its eye on the station for years. Uncle Dennis said the
station has moved several times during its nine-plus years of
life on the fringes of broadcasting.
The FCC spokeswoman declined comment on the case except to say
that it was an open investigation. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's
office in San Francisco suggested a reporter consult the station's
Web site, www.freakradio.org, where it charges that the
FCC "has proved itself to be controlled by monied interests.''
Cadmon estimated the value of the equipment seized at $5,000,
including the antenna agents removed from the roof.
THE DAY BEFORE President
Bush arrived in New York to address the U.N. last week, it was
announced that the Secret Service was hunting for upstate resident
Lawrence Ward, 57, whom they considered to be a possible threat
to the president's safety.
The notion that the reclusive guitar teacher was a potential
assassin arose after a neighbor, with Ward's blessing, entered
the mentally unbalanced man's one-bedroom home. There he found
a picture of Bush with the words "Dead Man" spraypainted
across it, obscenities painted on the floor and—proof positive
that Ward was an out-of-control lunatic—quotes from Orwell's
1984 and the Declaration of Independence on his walls.
After seeing that quote from the Declaration, the neighbor panicked
and called the authorities. Moments later, Secret Service agents
arrived on the scene to conduct a more thorough search of the
The case against Ward only grew stronger when agents uncovered
a VHS copy of Canadian Bacon, a Michael Moore film in which the
president (portrayed by Alan Alda) declares war on Canada; an
issue of Time magazine that contained a picture of a gun; and
a bag of Ruffles potato chips, one of which, investigating agents
agreed, bore a striking resemblance to Osama bin Laden.
"Sgt. Mallet and I," one of the investigating Secret
Service agents told New York Press on the condition of anonymity,
"we were having a little snack, you know. Just taking a break.
And this guy had a bag of chips in the cupboard, so we opened
them up. And I'll be darned if the third chip I pulled out didn't
look just like Osama bin Laden. Swear to god. I mean, at first
I thought it looked more like Buddy Ebsen—you know, from
The Beverly Hillbillies? That and that other show. But then Mallet
says no sir—that's bin Laden. I turned it a little, and
saw just what he meant. It really did look like him."
When asked if we could examine the chip, or see a picture of
it, the agent explained, "I'm afraid we had to bag it as
evidence, see? And so I went and put it on the front seat of the
car. When we were all done in there and everything was sealed
off, wouldn't you know it, we got back in the car and Mallory
sat on it. He's a big guy, you know. That chip didn't have a chance.
But it really did look like bin Laden when it was all together.
And what does that tell you? It tells me that anyone who was in
possession of a chip like that is a potentially dangerous man.
Very dangerous. But we'll get him."
"What no one
seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist,
"was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government
and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to
begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know
it doesn't make people close to their government to be told that
this is a people's government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled
in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really
nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.
"What happened here was the gradual habituation
of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise;
to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that
the situation was so complicated that the government had to act
on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous
that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released
because of national security. And their sense of identification
with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this
gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about
"This separation of government from people,
this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly,
each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary
emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance
or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real
reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the
slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing
remoter and remoter.
"You will understand me when I say that my Middle High German
was my life. It was all I cared about. I was a scholar, a specialist.
Then, suddenly, I was plunged into all the new activity, as the
universe was drawn into the new situation; meetings, conferences,
interviews, ceremonies, and, above all, papers to be filled out,
reports, bibliographies, lists, questionnaires. And on top of
that were the demands in the community, the things in which one
had to, was "expected to" participate that had not been
there or had not been important before. It was all rigmarole,
of course, but it consumed all one's energies, coming on top of
the work one really wanted to do. You can see how easy it was,
then, not to think about fundamental things. One had no time."
"Those," I said, "are the words of my friend the
baker. "One had no time to think. There was so much going
"Your friend the baker was right," said my colleague.
"The dictatorship, and the whole process
of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It
provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to
think anyway. I do not speak of your "little men",
your baker and so on; I speak of my colleagues and myself, learned
men, mind you. Most of us did not want to think about fundamental
things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some
dreadful, fundamental things to think about -
we were decent people - and kept us so busy with continuous changes
and "crises" and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by
the machinations of the "national enemies", without
and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful
things that were growing, little by little, all around us.
Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful.
Who wants to think?
"To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to
notice it - please try to believe me - unless one has a much greater
degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever
had occasion to develop. Each step was so
small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion,
"regretted," that, unless one were detached from the
whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the
whole thing was in principle, what all these "little measures"
that no "patriotic German" could resent must some day
lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a
farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over
"How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly
educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even
now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that
pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice - "Resist
the beginnings" and "consider the end." But one
must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings.
One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this
to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things
might have changed here before they went as far as they did; they
didn't, but they might have. And everyone counts on that might.
"Your "little men," your Nazi friends, were not
against National Socialism in principle. Men like me, who were,
are the greater offenders, not because we knew better (that would
be too much to say) but because we sensed better. Pastor Niemoller
spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke
(too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked
the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was
not a Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked
the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was
not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the
press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still
he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was
a Churchman, and he did something - but then it was too late."
"Yes," I said.
"You see," my colleague went on, "one doesn't
see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each
act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little
worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one
great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock
comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don't want
to act, or even to talk, alone; you don't want to "go out
of your way to make trouble." Why not? - Well, you are not
in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing
alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.
"Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of
decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets,
in the general community, everyone is happy. One hears no protest,
and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will
be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences;
in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even
this. In the university community, in your own community, you
speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel
as you do; but what do they say? They say, "It's not so bad"
or "You're seeing things" or "You're an alarmist."
"And you are an alarmist. You are
saying that this must lead to this, and you can't prove it. These
are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you
don't know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the
end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime,
the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-
pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your
close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought
as you have.
"But your friends are fewer now. Some have drifted off somewhere
or submerged themselves in their work. You no longer see as many
as you did at meetings or gatherings. Informal groups become smaller;
attendance drops off in little organizations, and the organizations
themselves wither. Now, in small gatherings of your oldest friends,
you feel that you are talking to yourselves, that you are isolated
from the reality of things. This weakens your confidence still
further and serves as a further deterrent to – to what?
It is clearer all the time that, if you are going to do anything,
you must make an occasion to do it, and then you are obviously
a troublemaker. So you wait, and you wait.
"But the one great shocking occasion,
when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes.
That's the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole
regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest,
thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked
– if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in "43"
had come immediately after the "German Firm" stickers
on the windows of non-Jewish shops in "33". But
of course this isn't the way it happens. In
between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible,
each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step
C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a
stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.
"And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever
sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self deception
has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little
boy, hardly more than a baby, saying "Jew swine," collapses
it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed
and changed completely under your nose. The
world you live in – your nation, your people – is
not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there,
all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs,
the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays.
But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong
mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you
live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and
fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed,
no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without
responsibility even to God. The system itself could not
have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself
it was compelled to go all the way.
"You have gone almost all the way yourself. Life is a continuing
process, a flow, not a succession of acts and events at all. It
has flowed to a new level, carrying you with it, without any effort
on your part. On this new level you live,
you have been living more comfortably every day, with new morals,
new principles. You have accepted things you would not have accepted
five years ago, a year ago, things that your father, even in Germany,
could not have imagined.
"Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you
are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven't
done ( for that was all that was required of most of us: that
we do nothing). You remember those early meetings of your department
in the university when, if one had stood, others would have stood,
perhaps, but no one stood. A small matter, a matter of hiring
this man or that, and you hired this one rather than that. You
remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too
late. You are compromised beyond repair.
"What then? You must then shoot yourself. A few did. Or
"adjust" your principles. Many tried, and some, I suppose,
succeeded; not I, however. Or learn to live the rest of your life
with your shame. This last is the nearest there is, under the
circumstances, to heroism: shame. Many Germans became this poor
kind of hero, many more, I think, than the world knows or cares
I said nothing. I thought of nothing to say.
"I can tell you," my colleague went on, "of a
man in Leipzig, a judge. He was not a Nazi, except nominally,
but he certainly wasn't an anti-Nazi. He was just – a judge.
In "42" or "43", early "43", I think
it was, a Jew was tried before him in a case involving, but only
incidentally, relations with an "Aryan" woman. This
was "race injury", something the Party was especially
anxious to punish. In the case a bar, however, the judge had the
power to convict the man of a "nonracial" offense and
send him to an ordinary prison for a very long term, thus saving
him from Party "processing" which would have meant concentration
camp or, more probably, deportation and death. But the man was
innocent of the "nonracial" charge, in the judge's opinion,
and so, as an honorable judge, he acquitted him. Of course, the
Party seized the Jew as soon as he left the courtroom."
"And the judge?"
"Yes, the judge. He could not get the case off his conscience
– a case, mind you, in which he had acquitted an innocent
man. He thought that he should have convicted him and saved him
from the Party, but how could he have convicted an innocent man?
The thing preyed on him more and more, and he had to talk about
it, first to his family, then to his friends, and then to acquaintances.
(That's how I heard about it.) After the "44" Putsch
they arrested him. After that, I don't know."
I said nothing.
"Once the war began," my colleague continued, "resistance,
protest, criticism, complaint, all carried with them a multiplied
likelihood of the greatest punishment. Mere lack of enthusiasm,
or failure to show it in public, was "defeatism." You
assumed that there were lists of those who would be "dealt
with" later, after the victory. Goebbels was very clever
here, too. He continually promised a "victory orgy"
to "take care of" those who thought that their "treasonable
attitude" had escaped notice. And he meant it; that was not
just propaganda. And that was enough to put an end to all uncertainty.
"Once the war began, the government
could do anything "necessary" to win it; so it was with
the "final solution" of the Jewish problem, which the
Nazis always talked about but never dared undertake, not even
the Nazis, until war and its "necessities" gave them
the knowledge that they could get away with it.
The people abroad who thought that war against Hitler would
help the Jews were wrong. And the people in Germany who, once
the war had begun, still thought of complaining, protesting, resisting,
were betting on Germany's losing the war. It was a long bet. Not
many made it."
NEW YORK - Nearly
17,000 service members medically evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan
are absent from public Pentagon casualty reports commonly cited
by newspapers, according to military data reviewed by United Press
International. Most don't fit the definition of casualties,
according to the Pentagon, but a veterans' advocate said they
should all be counted.
The Pentagon has reported 1,019 dead and 7,245 wounded from Iraq.
The military has evacuated 16,765 individual service members
from Iraq and Afghanistan for injuries and ailments not directly
related to combat, according to the U.S. Transportation Command,
which is responsible for the medical evacuations. Most are from
Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Pentagon's public casualty reports, available at www.defenselink.mil,
list only service members who died or were wounded in action.
The Pentagon's own definition of a war casualty provided to UPI
in December describes a casualty as, "Any person who is lost
to the organization by having been declared dead, duty status/whereabouts
unknown, missing, ill, or injured."
The casualty reports do list soldiers who died in non-combat-related
incidents or died from illness. But service members injured or
ailing from the same non-combat causes (the majority that appear
to be "lost to the organization")are not reflected in
those Pentagon reports.
In a statement Wednesday, the Pentagon gave a different definition
that included casualty descriptions by severity and type and said
most medical evacuations did not count. "The great majority
of service members medically evacuated from Operation Iraqi Freedom
are not casualties, by either Department of Defense definitions
or the common understanding of the average newspaper reader."
It cited such ailments as "muscle strain, back pain, kidney
stones, diarrhea and persistent fever" as non-casualty evacuations.
"Casualty reports released to the public are generally confined
to fatalities and those wounded in action," the statement
A veterans' advocate said the Pentagon should make a full reporting
of the casualties, including non-combat ailments and injuries.
"They are still casualties of war," said Mike Schlee,
director of the National Security and Foreign Relations Division
at the American Legion. "I think we have to have an honest
disclosure of what the short- and long-term casualties of any
A spokesman for the transportation command said that without
orders from U.S. Central Command, his unit would not separate
the medical evacuation data to show how many came from Iraq and
Afghanistan. "We stay in our lane," said Lt. Col. Scott
Ross. But most are clearly from Operation Iraqi Freedom where
several times as many troops are deployed as in Afghanistan.
Among veterans from Iraq seeking help from the VA, 5,375
have been diagnosed with a mental problem, making it the
third-leading diagnosis after bone problems and digestive problems.
Among the mental problems were 800 soldiers who became psychotic.
A military study published in the New England Journal of Medicine
in July showed that 16 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq
might suffer major depression, generalized anxiety or post-traumatic
stress disorder. Around 11 percent of soldiers returning from
Afghanistan may have the same problems, according to that study.
Many young Americans
have already died in this illegal war. Their government sent them
without adequate protection, mistreated them when they returned
home wounded, and threatened to cut their pay. Their families
and communities will miss them. The pain of their loss may one
day be healed. Their bodies have been brought back in flag-draped
coffins, hidden from public view as though there was shame in
their death. But it is not their shame, but the shame of American
leaders, military and civilian, who betrayed their country, by
their propaganda and outright lies.
Early in the Iraq invasion, Mazen Dana, an award-winning cameraman
of Palestinian descent, was shot by a soldier on a tank as he
filmed near Baghdad on 17 August 2003. Mazen found U.S. troops
covered in plastic bags in remote desert areas and he filmed them
for a TV program A US military spokesman said that the inquiry
had found troops respected their rules of engagement in the incident,
but that Washington would not publish the full report.
His brother, Nazmi, said he was deliberately murdered for discovering
mass graves of U.S. troops killed in Iraqi resistance attacks.
"Mazen told me by phone few days before his death that he
discovered a mass grave dug by U.S. troops to conceal the bodies
of their fellow comrades killed in Iraqi resistance attacks,"
Nazmi told IslamOnline.net in exclusive statements.
"He also told me that he found U.S. troops covered in plastic
bags in remote desert areas and he filmed them for a TV program.
We are pretty sure that the American forces had killed Mazen knowingly
to prevent him from airing his finding."
In February 2004, Joe Vialls reported that, "According to
a well-placed Pentagon source, the White House and corporate media
are reporting less than half the actual American military deaths
in Iraq. As of 3 February 2004, the 'official' media total stood
at 528, while the real total at midnight on the same day was 1,188.
This criminal discrepancy in the fatality figures is due to corrupt
civilians in the Pentagon working for Paul Wolfowitz Inc."
In April 2004 this report appeared on Sky News and then swiftly
Arrogantly assuming their actions would not be noticed [or
could not be countered] by the Republic Guard, a few thousand
U.S. Marines with battle tanks and other armor approached the
300,000 residents of Fallujah from the east and the west, drawn
from existing Marine bases in Ar Ramadi and Baghdad. This was
an inexcusably stupid tactical error, because as soon as the
U.S. Marines closed on Fallujah and started shelling the unarmed
women and children within, Republican Guard Special Forces units
carried out lightning strikes on the weakened Marine bases in
Ar Ramadi and Western Baghdad, destroying fuel dumps and killing
130 Americans in less than 12 hours.
In December 2003, Captain Eric Holmes May published Ghost Troop,
3/7 Cavalry, describing the strange reporting and lack of reporting
about the fall of Baghdad. US troops were being attacked and all
the media could talk about was Private Jessica Lynch and, soon
after, the photo-op mock demonstration of Iraqis "pulling
down" Saddam's statue. The misdirection worked like a charm
few asked any questions. Many troops were killed by the Iraqi
Republican Guard but Americans were not told.
Now finally there is evidence of the most grisly cover-up in US
military history. Al-Basrah.net reports that eye witnesses in
Falluja have claimed this morning (Wednesday, September 22) that
some civilians have detected a mass grave in the north western
sector of the city containing the bodies of sixteen people of
The witnesses have informed the correspondent of the German News
Agency that the inhabitants of that area have detected a grave
this morning at 11 a.m. local time which contained the dead bodies
of 16 foreigners who have recently been killed and probably belong
to American soldiers who were buried in a ditch in the North West
sector of the city.
The witnesses have clarified that the identity of the dead bodies
which were hitherto remained unidentified, were found to be dressed
in dresses similar to those worn by local Fallujans. The style
of their haircut indicated that the dead were military personnel
and the color of the hair and the face appearances suggested that
they were foreigners.
The way by which these people were killed is so far unclear.
An eye witness has said that the grave was detected when the local
people have smelled a bad odor in the surrounding which urged
them to dig up the place in order to reveal the source of the
The witnesses have also added that the local police have arrived
to the scene and have prevented the civilians and journalist from
approaching the grave and photographing the dead bodies.
Another mass grave found in Ramadi earlier this year
This statement by the Iraqi Islamic Army.
Baghdad - Iraq on the 7th of March 2004. The photos were taken
in the province of Ramadi, Iraq at a site that belongs to the
Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture and was used until the end of January
2004 by the U.S. occupation forces as a military base. Due to
the continuous attacks by the Iraqi Resistance, the enemy troops
were forced to leave. on the 20th of February a scouting group
visited the site and
it's surrounding area to confirm the lack of enemy activity in
this area. During the mission the personnel noticed a lot of dogs
& wolves in this desolate area digging and sniffing the grounds.
After a closer look, tracks & markings of heavy vehicles
were discovered along with trenches and digging area that were
left unattended. Further exploration of the site revealed the
infamous black body bags that we in Iraq have heard so many rumors
about. In these bags we found the dead bodies or body parts of
dead soldiers who died as a result of direct hits to the head
and chest areas by bullets or shrapnel. These bodies have been
buried for a few months only, and are definitely soldiers who
belong to the occupying forces. They are soldiers who have been
stripped of all their clothes and IDs. in order to avoid their
identification if discovered. A large number of bodies have been
discovered and have been removed from the sites where they were
found and relocated to places only known to our active personnel.
These bodies have been relocated for the sole purpose of uncovering
the mass deception and lies that the U.S. administration &
the British government have carried out since the beginning of
this conflict. These bodies will be handed over to the Red Cross
at the suitable time in order to be returned to their families
for proper burial. The above statement is being released by the
Iraqi Islamic Army, one of the active factions that are resisting
the occupying forces led by the
United States & Britain. Further information will be released
at the appropriate time.
Now do we have proof of the mass graves that Mazen Dana photographed
before his death? Do we have an explanation for the discrepancy
in fatalities Joe Vialls reported? Perhaps so. Only a thorough
INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION can provide definitive answers. We cannot
expect the Pentagon to investigate itself.
We have other questions to consider as well. Is this the way
Americans expect their war dead to be treated? Is this disrespect
for the dead related to the careless attitude of not providing
adequate body armor? Who are our leaders that can so cavalierly
send young American men and women off to war with such ringing
oratory and patriotic fervor and then leave them behind to rot
in the desert? If this is how they treat the "nation's finest",
how then do they view you and me? Do you wish for your son or
daughter to be buried in an unmarked mass grave in a distant land?
What are they trying to hide from us? If this is their attitude
toward an American life, how easy would it be to murder 3,000
people on 9-11?
Much has been made of the glory and honor of serving and defending
one's nation and the responsibility of never leaving a warrior
behind. That must have been another day and another generation
of leaders. Consider what lies ahead if these people continue
to lead us.
of politicians and business leaders has reached an "epidemic"
level, driven by the Iraq war, the disputed 2000 presidential
election and financial scandals, a Reuters/DecisionQuest poll
revealed on Wednesday.
The nationwide telephone survey of 1,100 adults found 61 percent
of Americans had lost faith in leaders and institutions over the
past four years.
The poll was conducted last week and had a margin of error of
2.96 percentage points.
"A significant proportion of people feel disenfranchised,"
said DecisionQuest Chief Executive Philip Anthony. "It seems
that there is an epidemic level of loss of trust here."
"A constellation of issues is causing people to lose confidence
in the state of the country," he added.
The study showed politicians received "C" grades on
a scale of A-plus, meaning totally trustworthy, to F, meaning
totally untrustworthy. President Bush and Democratic candidate
Sen. John Kerry, locked in a tight race for the White House, both
received C grades.
Bush's score resulted from more polarized rankings, with those
viewing him as totally trustworthy balanced by others with a diametrically
opposing view. Kerry's rankings were more uniformly average.
Amid business scandals ranging from Enron to Martha Stewart,
trust in corporate executives was hurt the most, with 63 percent
of respondents reporting a drop in confidence in them. Executives,
along with lawyers and entertainment celebrities, received the
lowest trustworthiness score -- C minus.
Newspaper and television reporters received a "C" grade
for trustworthiness. TV reporters are trusted less now than four
years ago by 43.8 percent of Americans, while 39.4 percent said
their trust in print reporters had eroded.
A number of major U.S. journalism outlets, including CBS, The
New York Times, USA Today and CNN, have been tainted in recent
years by flawed and false reporting.
When asked about specific factors causing an overall loss of
trust, 34.5 percent cited the war in Iraq. The 2000 election controversy
in Florida came in second with 16 percent. Other reasons included
white-collar crime scandals with 14.4 percent and terrorism with
The poll showed more women, 66 percent, had lost confidence in
leaders and institutions, than men, at 55 percent.
People's views were divided along political and racial lines.
Seventy-eight percent of Democrats reported a drop in trust, compared
with 39 percent of Republicans. Among blacks, 84 percent said
their trust had declined, compared with 57 percent of whites.
"This lack of trust is manifesting itself in jury verdicts,"
Anthony said, referring to Americans' growing suspicion of authority.
For example, over 60 percent of respondents said they would find
in favor of the Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib who were abused
by the American military if they were tried in U.S. courts. Almost
67 percent said they would side with a worker suing his employer
for racial discrimination.
People most trusted their own families and firefighters, both
graded A-minus. The next most trusted people, receiving B grades,
were neighbors, police and doctors.
Washington - The Pentagon has awarded more
than 40% of contracts since 1998 without bidding, said a study
released on Wednesday by the Centre for Public Integrity (CPI).
"Over the past six years, the Pentagon
has awarded some $362bn to companies without competitive bidding,"
said the report.
"In fact, of the top 10 contractors, only
one, SAIC, won more than half its dollars through full and open
"All the others won a majority of their dollars through
sole-source and other no-bid contracts," the investigative
Washington think-tank said.
Several companies have recently been called to account for large
no-bid contracts, notably vice-president Dick Cheney's former
employer, Halliburton, which was awarded large contracts in Iraq,
and which is the target of investigations in the United States
Another is Boeing, being investigated by the US justice department
over its huge contract for mid-air refueling tankers.
The CPI report also looks critically at the
Pentagon's increasing practice of outsourcing operations to the
private sector, noting that in the period studied each Pentagon
budget increase corresponded to an equivalent increase in external
"Fully half the defense department budget - some $900bn
since 1998 - has gone out the door to contractors rather than
paying for direct costs, such as payrolls for the uniformed armed
services," said the report.
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Business activity in
the U.S. Midwest grew in September at a faster-than-expected rate,
hinting that the economy is climbing out of its summer slow patch,
a report showed on Thursday.
Federal Reserve officials have been more
optimistic about the economy recently than many private forecasters,
and the National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago's
business barometer seemed to bear out the Fed's rosy view.
But other data suggested that consumers,
whose spending fuels-two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, are
sitting tight due to uncertain job prospects. One report
showed Americans pulled back on spending in August after a shopping
spree the previous month, while help-wanted ads were flat.
Jobless claims also jumped in the latest week, but mostly due
to the effects of hurricanes in the South.
The NAPM-Chicago index jumped to 61.3 in September from 57.3,
a 17th consecutive month of expansion in the relatively industrialized
Midwest region. New orders grew strongly.
"The manufacturing sector still seems to be growing at a
healthy pace," said Elisabeth Denison, economist at Dresdner
Hopes that the Fed might soon slow the pace of its rate increases
have dimmed, pushing market interest rates up. [...]
Economists are worried that record high U.S. crude oil prices
will slow growth by crimping consumer spending and eroding business
confidence. Crude oil traded above $50
per barrel on Thursday for a third consecutive day.
At Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana,
"WANTED" posters with a headshot of Professor Abel Alves
appeared on campus a few weeks back; a student who took Associate
professor David Gibbs' "What is Politics?" class at
the University of Arizona claimed Gibbs "is an anti-American
communist who hates America and is trying to brainwash young people
into thinking America sucks;" a political-science professor
at Metropolitan State College of Denver says she has been the
target of death threats and hate e-mail in the wake of the recent
debate over the academic bill of rights; a University of Georgia
professor is being investigated after allegations he bullied a
conservative student. Revenge of the Nerds? Twenty-first century
Gipper brigades? No, and No. It's the Horowistas, a small but
hearty band of followers of right wing provocateur, David Horowitz
and his Students for Academic Freedom.
Since 9/11, spying in the name of homeland security has become
as American as baseball, cherry pie and listening to a Cat Stevens
record. According to a recent report in the San Francisco Chronicle,
a relatively unknown branch of the Defense Department called the
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is employing its state-of-the-art
aerial imaging equipment in service of homeland security. Closer
to home, David Horowitz and the Independent Women's Forum are
scanning the nation's college campuses in the name of homeland
"Roughly twice a month, the [National Geospatial-Intelligence]
Agency is called upon to help with the security of events inside
the United States. Even more routinely, it is asked to help prepare
imagery and related information to protect against possible attacks
on critical sites," the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Despite office director Bert Beaulieu's claims that the agency
"couldn't care less about individuals and people and companies,"
Stephen Aftergood has his doubts. Aftergood, the head of a project
on government secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists
said that "What it all boils down to is 'Trust us. Our intentions
are good,'" he said. Marc Rotenberg, the executive director
of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, another
government watchdog group pointed out that "As a general
matter, when there are systems of public surveillance, there needs
to be public oversight."
Liberal academics in the crosshairs
David Horowitz, the head of the Center for the Study of Popular
Culture, and the conservative women at the Washington, DC-based
Independent Women's Forum are focusing their homeland security
operations on a much more specific target -- liberal academics.
Horowitz and the IWF have been cranking out advertisements and
placing them in a number of student newspapers across the country
encouraging conservative students to scan their campuses for so-called
Going after progressive academics has been a longtime favorite
sport of right wing ideologues:
In November 2001, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni
(ACTA), an organization co-founded by Lynne Cheney, the wife of
the vice president, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, issued a report
entitled "Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are
Failing America and What Can Be Done About It," which branded
university professors as the weak link in the fight against terrorism.
In March 2002, former Drug Czar and Education Secretary William
J. Bennett founded and became chairperson of Americans for Victory
Over Terrorism (AVOT), a project of his Washington, DC-based think
tank, EMPOWER.org. AVOT's stated mission is "to sustain and
strengthen American public opinion as the war on terrorism moves
forward." In June, AVOT released its nation-wide survey of
college and university students' attitudes and opinions about
various facets of the war against terrorism.
In announcing "the first comprehensive poll of American
college students' attitudes and opinions about the war on terrorism
this year," Bennett said that "The findings reveal that
our college students, to say nothing of our high school students,
need to know many things better: the virtues of American democracy,
the role we play in the world, and the names of players in that
role. This poll shows that we parents, teachers, professors, and
leaders have a great deal of work to do."
Another conservative organization, the Clare Booth Luce Policy
Institute, organized the "Bring a Conservative Speaker to
Your College Campus" campaign. The Institute, which describes
its mission as "prepar[ing] young women for effective conservative
leadership and promot[ing] school choice opportunities for all
K-12 children in America," also sponsors a Conservative Women
Speakers Program. Conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter,
pointed out that through the speaker's program "thousands
of college students are able to help bring a balance to issue
debates, see that there are conservative women and challenge the
intimidating dominance of liberals and radical feminists on their
Horowitz and the Independent Women's Forum are upping the ante
by placing advertisements in college newspapers across the country
encouraging students to turn in profligate professors. (Horowitz
is no stranger to placing political ads in campus newspapers:
In 2002 he launched the National Campaign to Take Back Our Campuses,
and in a booklet titled "Political Bias in America's Universities,"
Horowitz described "what's wrong in academics today,"
and the "steps you and I can take to restore sanity to our
colleges and universities.")
Now, according to Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now!, the new advertisements
running in student newspapers charge universities with being dominated
by liberal or left-wing professors. The ads "are paid for
by well-funded groups like Students for Academic Freedom - a Horowitz
group, and the Independent Women's Forum," Democracy Now!
Two of the campaigns first victims are Ball State's Professor
Alves and David Gibbs, an Associate professor of History and Sociology
at the University of Arizona, who last spring taught a course
entitled "What is Politics?"
On the Ball State University campus, posters "announcing
that history professor Abel Alves was 'WANTED' was put up by Amanda
Carpenter, a senior, who said she put up the posters in order
to attract attention to her Web site, the Muncie, Indiana Star
Press reported. The professor's "alleged offenses include
indoctrinating freshmen with liberal books, such as Fast Food
Nation, and guest lectures by the Humane Society."
According to the newspaper, Professor George Wolfe, who teaches
peace and conflict resolution, was recently profiled in Horowitz's
online publication, FrontPage Magazine. The story "accused
Wolfe of giving students extra credit for going to Washington
to protest the war in Iraq and lowering the grade of a student
who argued in favor of a military response to the Sept. 11 attacks."
The university denied that any credit had been given for merely
attending an anti-war demonstration.
On September 27, Gibbs told Amy Goodman, the host of Democracy
Now!, that his largely freshmen class "focuses on propaganda
and deception," and he "emphasize[s] incidents of the
government lying and things like that." When he taught the
class last spring, "the Independent Women's Forum put into
the local student newspaper an advertisement that basically argued
that there's a kind of left wing domination of the universities
and students should fight that with the strong implication they
should monitor their professors and report them, at least that's
how I read it."
When Gibbs received student evaluations, "a student who
said I'm anti-American communist who hates America and is trying
to brainwash young people into thinking that America sucks,"
said that "I should be investigated by the FBI, and the FBI
has been contacted." Later on, "another student on a
weblog during the summer said he took my class and also said that
he didn't like my politics and suggests that students shouldn't
take my class but should drop by and try to disrupt it. There
have been a number of instances like that which I hadn't had before."
Although Gibbs said that he wasn't sure or worried about whether
the FBI was contacted, he acknowledged that he thought it was
"indicative of a larger national trend, which is conservative
activist groups with lots of money and connections to the Republican
Party trying to encourage and even to some extent orchestrate
students and local conservative groups like those at the University
of Arizona to go and basically harass faculty if they don't like
Goodman pointed out that the full-page ads, similar to ones
placed in other college student newspapers, says: "Top ten
things your professors do to skew you. They push their political
views, liberal opinions dominate, they don't present both sides
of the debate, conservative viewpoints practically non-existent.
Classrooms are for learning, not brainwashing. They force you
to check your intellectual honesty at the door. They make you
uncomfortable if you disagree. Grading should be based on facts
not opinion. Education? More like indoctrination."
Refresher: David Horowitz, and his writing partner Peter Collier,
were well-known lefties in the 60s. Horowitz was a Black Panther
supporter and editor of Ramparts magazine, the premier left-wing
publication of the period. He and Collier, a co-founder of the
Los Angeles-based Center for the Study of Popular Culture, came
out as Reagan Republicans in a highly controversial 1985 Washington
Post article called "Lefties for Reagan." Since then,
Horowitz has blended Dr. Laura-like pomposity with an extraordinary
ability to fundraise and self-promote.
In one of his first campus-wide advertising campaigns, Horowitz
launched an anti-reparations campaign aimed both at thwarting
what was becoming a hot button issue "reparations for African
Americans" and drawing attention to his activities. His effort
was highlighted by attempts to place full-page advertisements
headlined "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad
Idea--and Racist Too," in college newspapers across the country.
What started at the University of California, Berkeley, on the
last day of Black History Month, evolved into a full-blown promotional
and fundraising project for his organization.
Since 9/11, Horowitz has been a dynamic organizer. In the immediate
aftermath of the terrorist attacks, he lambasted California Congresswoman
Barbara Lee for having the temerity to be the only congressperson
to vote against giving President Bush a blank check for his war
against terrorism. In a column called "The Enemy Within,"
Horowitz branded Lee an "anti-American communist who supports
America's enemies and has actively collaborated with them in their
war against America."
In late October 2001, Horowitz spent three hours on the radio
program of Dr. Laura Schlessinger -- America's erstwhile pop psychologist
before Dr. Phil took the reins --denouncing the "so-called
Peace Movement." As part of the "National Call to SUPPORT
the WAR," Horowitz told Dr. Laura's audience that "campus
leftists hate America more than the terrorists." The reason
for this, said Horowitz, is campus radicals view "The enemy
of my enemy is my friend. They are thrilled that the symbols of
America were destroyed."
Horowitz then launched another advertising effort, the "Think
Twice" campaign -- a name seemingly derived from his "Second
Thoughts" project of the 1980s -- which was aimed at convincing
students on college campuses not to protest against Bush's war
on terrorism. In "An Open Letter to the "Anti-War"
Demonstrators: Think Twice Before You Bring The War Home,"
Horowitz urged students to "think again and not to join an
'anti-war' effort against America's coming battle with international
Horowitz's campus jihads could not take place without well-stuffed
coffers. His first post-conversion project, which he co-directed
with Peter Collier, was called "Second Thoughts." Between
January 1986 and January 1990, this project raised $950,000. As
president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, he has
profited even more handsomely: According to mediatranparency.org,
between 1989 and 2002, Horowitz's outfits received 115 grants
accounting for more than $12,700,000. Right-wing philanthropic
partners include the Allegheny Foundation, Castle Rock Foundation
(the Coors Family), the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the
Scaife Family Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Olin
Founded in 1992 as a direct response to the Clarence Thomas
hearings, the Independent Women's Forum Mission Statement states
that its goal is "to affirm women's participation in and
contributions to a free, self-governing society."
If that sounds somewhat opaqe, here are the fine points:
"The Independent Women's Forum speaks for those who:
• "Believe in individual liberty and responsibility
for self-governance, the superiority of the market economy, and
the imperative of equal opportunity for all.
• "Respect and appreciate the differences between,
and the complementary nature of, the two sexes.
• "Affirm the family as the foundation of society.
• "Believe women are capable of defining and asserting
their interests and concerns in private and public life, and reject
the false view that women are the victims of oppression.
• "Believe political differences are best resolved
at the ballot box, and therefore oppose court imposition of what
the democratic process rejects.
• "Endorse individual recognition and reward based
on work and merit, without regard to group membership or classification."
In a May 2002 piece for the Chicago Tribune, Chris Black wrote:
"The conservative women at the Independent Women's Forum
are cheering the return of the guy. From their standpoint, the
terrorist attacks on the United States turned the feminist tide
and brought back traditional values, a retreat to home and hearth,
and an appreciation for the manly man."
Between 1994 and 2002, the Independent Women's Forum received
more than 70 grants worth more than $5 million from the Randolph,
Castle Rock, JM, Sarah Scaife, the John M. Olin Foundation and
others, according to mediatransparency.org.
David Horowitz told the Muncie Star Press that he "completely
deplore[d]" the "WANTED" poster, and that he doesn't
"demonize these professors. I want them (professors) to do
the right thing. I've never called for the firing of a professor
and wouldn't." And in a bit of Rumsfeld-speak Horowitz added
that "When you deal with students, you're dealing with students."
In lieu of "WANTED" posters, Horowitz's Students for
Academic Freedom provides students with a manual that gives an
example of a poster asking, "Is Your Professor Using the
Classroom as a Political Soapbox?" The booklet also provides
"advice on how to create Web sites, get publicity, file complaints,
and spot abuses of academic freedom, such as using university
funds to hold one-sided, partisan conferences, and inviting speakers
to campus from one side of the political spectrum," the Muncie
Star Press reported.
LOS ANGELES - A judge has ordered the FBI
to hand over its remaining secret files on John Lennon to a California
The agency must give the last 10 pages of its dossier on the
former Beatle to historian Jonathan Wiener, who teaches at the
Irvine campus of the University of California.
Wiener, who has authored two books on Lennon, has been fighting
for more than 20 years to force the FBI to relinquish the material.
The agency had argued that releasing
the remaining information would pose a national-security risk
because it had been secretly provided to the FBI by a foreign
government. The government in question
was not publicly identified.
U.S. District Judge Robert Takasugi threw out the government's
arguments on Tuesday, paving the way for the release.
Wiener originally sued the U.S. government for the documents
in 1983 under the Freedom of Information Act. As part of a legal
settlement, he received 248 pages in 1997.
That information was gathered from 1971
to 1972 and included memos that detailed Lennon's donations to
a group planning to demonstrate at the 1972 Republican National
Convention. The files did not, however,
contain allegations of any illegal acts by Lennon.
Wiener used the first batch of documents as the basis for the
book Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files. He originally
wanted the files for a previous book, 1984's Come Together: John
Lennon in His Time.
At one point, Wiener's legal fight went all the way to the U.S.
Lennon – known for his songwriting partnership with Paul
McCartney, as well as solo hits like Imagine – was shot
to death outside his New York apartment in 1980.
LAS VEGAS -- Jewish peace activists protested
Caterpillar's safety record in the Middle East when they disrupted
the Caterpillar-sponsored Safety Awards earlier this morning at
the MINExpo in Las Vegas, Nevada. They unrolled a banner with
a photo of an armored D-9 bulldozer destroying homes that read
"What do Cat dozers make possible?
Death and destruction for Palestinians and Israelis."
The United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch,
in addition to many faith-based groups, have all condemned Caterpillar's
sale of bulldozers to Israel which endanger the safety of Palestinian
and Israeli civilians.
The activists, 31-year-old Seth Schneider and 44-year-old Sydney
Levy of California-based Jewish Voice for Peace were escorted
out by security guards and their film was confiscated. They will
be joined by others in protesting outside of the convention center
today from 9 am to 11 am.
"D-9 Caterpillars sold to the Israeli
army are specifically designed to destroy homes and attack people
in a war zone," said activist Sydney Levy. "They
are retrofitted with armor, and some include grenade launchers
and even crew-operated machine guns."
Protestor Seth Schneider said, "How can Caterpillar say
with a straight face that it values safety, while profiting from
endangering the lives of Palestinians and Israelis. When it comes
to Israel and Palestine, Caterpillar deserves a zero safety-rating.
The destruction of homes is illegal by international
law, and it fuels the violent backlash against Israeli civilians."
Caterpillar equipment has demolished
over 8,000 buildings in the West Bank and Gaza, leaving over 50,000
Palestinians homeless. Caterpillar equipment destroyed
an entire neighborhood in the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002.
Caterpillar bulldozers razed over 140 houses to the ground and
severely damaged another 200 to the point of inhabitability. Human
Rights Watch reported that a Caterpillar bulldozer buried a paralyzed
man alive in his home during the raid on Jenin, despite pleas
from his family to stop in time to evacuate him. A Caterpillar
bulldozer killed American Rachel Corrie in 2003, as she nonviolently
tried to stop the demolition of a Palestinian family's home.
Jewish Voice for Peace Co-Director Liat Weingart said, "CAT
is selling weapons of war. They are violating standards of safety
- and they are violating international law and basic human rights
standards. This is certainly not something they will want to put
in their annual report." [...]
JABALIYA, Gaza Strip - Thirty-two Palestinians
and three Israelis were killed in fierce battles in the northern
Gaza Strip during a massive and open-ended Israeli army operation.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon approved recommendations by top defence
officials for a broadening of the operation, army radio reported
toward the end of one of the deadliest days in Gaza since the
Palestinian uprising began in 2000.
In the operation codenamed "Days of Penitence",
the army will carry out an "aggressive and ongoing activity"
in Jabaliya refugee camp and the nearby town of Beit Hanun in
a bid to halt Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, it said.
"We are intending to make the Palestinians pay a heavy price
so they will understand that continuing to fire Qassam rockets
does not pay," a defence official said, quoted by the radio.
Hospital officials said a total of 32 Palestinians were killed,
including four "terrorists" whose bodies an Israeli
military source said were being held by the army, and at least
140 people wounded in the day's violence.
Among them was a cameraman, who was shot and seriously wounded.
Eleven Palestinians -- at least seven of them teenagers -- were
killed in two separate incidents of Israeli tank fire on Jabaliya
in which groups of people near the entrance to the embattled refugee
camp were hit.
"What you have seen today is going to continue," Israeli
government spokesman Avi Pazner told AFP. "We have not put
a time-limit on it."
Speaking shortly after a top-level meeting involving Israel's
political and military officials, Pazer said the army would "go
in deeper and in a more comprehensive way" to stop rocket
attacks by the Islamic radical group Hamas. [...]
One out of every nine women gets breast cancer. There are
doctors who say that statistic has worsened lately and now stands
at one out of every eight. The disease is particularly violent
in younger women and the primary growth in the breast spreads
rapidly to the liver, the lungs, the bones and the brain. Is there
anything worse than being a young woman with cancer whose chances
are slim? It turns out that there is - being a young Palestinian
woman with cancer whose chances are slim.
For 10 days now, F., a 28-year-old resident of Gaza, has been
trying to get to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer for urgent
chemotherapy in the oncology department. The story of what has
happened to her during these 10 awful days sounds unbelievable,
even to someone who has already heard horrible stories. The reality
has succeeded in superseding even what the sickest imagination
F. has been undergoing treatment at Sheba's oncology department
for many months: she has had surgery twice, radiation and chemotherapy.
In Gaza, there is not a single oncology department and F. is not
allowed to go to Egypt for treatment; she is one of the tens of
thousands of Palestinians to whom Israel has refused to issue
identity cards because they were not in the territories at the
very beginning of the occupation. Without papers and without treatment
in Gaza, F. is totally dependent on Israel's good graces.
About two months ago, she was hospitalized at Sheba for several
weeks and she had the chemotherapeutic drug Taxol injected into
her veins, which reduced her suffering considerably. The attitude
toward her at the hospital was admirable. F. was liked by everyone
Israel prevented members of her family from being at her side
for most of the time she was hospitalized, and she was left all
by herself after the operations and during the period of radiation
treatments. A handful of Israeli women, among them one of the
activists of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, tried to relieve
her loneliness and her suffering.
Each of her entrances into Israel was accompanied
by hassles and humiliations. One time they demanded of her father
a deposit of NIS 30,000 so that he could accompany her.
F. was supposed to have returned to Sheba for treatment on September
14. There was a closure and her application was refused. They
promised her a permit for September 19. In the meantime, her condition
deteriorated, her pain increased and her breathing became labored.
She contacted the physicians' association and begged to be allowed
to return to the hospital.
At Sheba they said she should come as soon as possible. On September
14, Physicians for Human Rights applied to the humanitarian hotline
of the Liaison and Coordination Administration with a request
that she receive an entry permit. The permit arrived only on the
following day at 6 in the evening, restricted to that same day
and without an accompanying person. It was evening and F. was
no longer able to travel by herself. The following day the validity
of the permit had already expired.
At the association they decided to wait until Sunday, for which
the permit had already been promised. On Sunday, the permit did
not arrive until evening. In turns out that it was necessary to
submit a renewed application. On Monday there was a delay on the
Palestinian side, which was late in resubmitting her medical documents.
Her changes of going out on Monday were scotched, as well.
Last Tuesday, at 3:30 in the afternoon, the telephone call came
with the news that a permit had been given for the patient and
her mother. F. set out for the roadblock with her mother. For
hours she sat debilitated on the ground and waited. Finally
she was called to go through the metal detector. The soldiers
shouted to her from a distance that she had "something in
her chest" and ordered her to strip in front of them. She
stood there wearing only an undergarment, her mother burst out
crying at the sight of her sick, humiliated daughter and the soldiers
scolded her to shut up. Finally an officer came, reprimanded the
soldiers and ordered F. to get dressed immediately.
F. has had a mastectomy. At 8 P.M. the Liaison and Coordination
Administration informed Physicians for Human Rights that there
was "a security problem" with F. The soldiers suspected
her of carrying explosives in her chest. For some reason they
had not arrested her, but had sent her home. Apparently it was
the prosthetic breast that had set off the metal detector.
From that moment a danse macabre began, the end of which is not
in sight. MK Yossi Sarid (Yahad), one of the few Knesset members
who has taken an interest and tried to help, contacted the defense
minister's bureau that same evening. At the bureau they asked
for documents concerning F.'s prosthesis. The minister's adviser
phoned Dr. Danny Rosen, who knows F. well, and asked about the
kind of material on her body. At the bureau they also asked for
a guarantee in F.'s handwriting that she would come to the roadblock
without the prosthesis. This guarantee was given. Day followed
day, and yet another phone call and yet another request for a
form, and F. is still stuck in Gaza, her suffering increasing
and her chances running out.
The Israel Defense Forces spokesman says
that, "in light of a number of attempts by terrorists to
enter Israel in the guise of needing medical treatment, the IDF
must be extra cautious with regard to anyone who does not pass
the security check, even if he has the appropriate medical documents
in his possession. The claim concerning
inappropriate conduct by the soldiers at the crossing point has
been investigated and found to be without any basis. However,
the consideration of the request by the senior command levels
is still underway."
No danger of a suicide terrorist can justify
such behavior. It is possible to protect
ourselves against female terrorists without losing our humanity.
F.'s story is not exceptional, even if part of it is particularly
shocking; there are hundreds of Palestinian patients in a similar
condition and every injustice always has
a security excuse.
There is terror, everyone is only carrying out
orders and they are going by the book. But a book that prevents
medical treatment to dying patients, hassles them and humiliates
them, is a wicked book, and a society in which only the metal
detector speaks is a sick society.
Gideon Levy writes
for Ha'aretz, where this essay originally appeared.
A British Airways plane en route from Berlin
to London made an emergency landing at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport
today after a bomb threat was received, the Dutch authorities
It was a bomb threat but I cannot give any details about how
and when it was received," military police spokesman Rob
In London, British Airways (BA) said the plane, carrying 118
passengers, was forced to make the unexpected landing because
of a security "threat".
Shortly before the plane took off from Berlin's Tegel airport
German television station ARD received a call from an unidentified
caller saying there was a bomb on board the plane.
He named the flight number and the plane's destination. The station
immediately called the German police, ARD said in a statement
published on their website.
British Airways said the pilot took the decision to divert the
plane to Amsterdam and was escorted by F16 fighter jets of the
Dutch military, standard procedure in case of such threats, a
military police spokesman said.
The plane landed at Schiphol airport at 1.56pm (2156 AEST) and
was sent to a remote area of the airport and searched but it was
cleared after several hours.
Passengers were questioned inside the terminal and their luggage
was searched using dogs specially trained to sniff out explosives,
Rob Steenakker of the Dutch military police, responsible for security
at Schiphol airport said.
A BA spokesman speaking from London said the passengers had been
cleared and put on another plane. They arrived at London Heathrow
at 7.38pm (0438 Friday AEST), six hours later than scheduled.
A spokeswoman for the Dutch authorities announced around 1700
GMT (0300 Friday AEST) that nothing suspicious turned up in the
search of the aircraft and the passengers.
The plane was to be flown back to London empty by a new team
of pilots later today, BA said.
The Dutch authorities said they would continue investigating
the matter and concentrate on where the bomb threat came from.
The Dutch authorities would only say that the threat originated
from Germany but would not confirm the information given by the
"We take all bomb threats seriously" Steenakker said.
Hoax bomb threats forced planes from the Greek carrier Olympic
Airlines to make emergency landings in Shannon, Ireland and London
Stansted earlier this week.
TOKYO (AP) - A right-wing extremist drove
a burning car to an entrance gate at Japan's lower house of parliament
on Thursday, police said. No injuries were reported.
A Tokyo Metropolitan Police spokesman said authorities arrested
the driver, who they identified as 54-year-old Mitsuyoshi Hasegawa.
He claimed to be the former chairman of a rightist group, the
Japanese People's Union, said Akihiro Sakita, a police spokesman.
Hasegawa allegedly told police he was protesting lack of progress
in talks with North Korea over abductions of Japanese citizens
by Northern agents in the 1970s and 1980s.
"I'm dissatisfied with the Japanese government's response
to the abduction issue," Sakita quoted Hasegawa as saying.
Authorities thought at first he had crashed the car, but later
said he set it alight and then drove the burning car to the parliament's
Three fire trucks rushed to the scene and the flames were quickly
extinguished. A few hundred people gathered at the scene to watch
as three helicopters circled overhead.
Sakita said Hasegawa set the fire with a plastic bag of gasoline
and drove some 150 metres before stopping at the parliament's
south gate and abandoning the car.
Security at government buildings and public facilities in Japan
has been greatly tightened since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
attacks in the United States.
Fears are also high that Japan could be a target
for terrorists angered over its dispatch of troops to Iraq on
a humanitarian mission in support of the U.S.-led military operation
"I think, generally, most Japanese are feeling a lot more
anxious than they used to," said Yayoi Nakamura, who works
in the area.
Japan is negotiating with North Korea for more information on
Japanese citizens kidnapped by the reclusive Communist regime.
In 2002, North Korea admitted kidnapping 13 Japanese and said
eight of them had died. Pyongyang released the five survivors.
Tokyo is demanding more information on the fate of the others,
but a meeting last weekend in Beijing yielded no new information
on how they died. Many in Japan suspect some of the victims may
still be alive in North Korea.
Japan is also demanding an investigation into two other Japanese
citizens it suspects North Korea kidnapped.
Japan's right-wing extremist groups are hostile to China and
North Korea and often ride through city streets in sound trucks
blasting anti-leftist diatribes.
The head of the Australian International
School in Jakarta says fears of another bomb attack, on her students,
could prompt parents to leave and force the school to close.
Penny Robertson, the school principal, wrote to the Foreign
Minister, Alexander Downer, after the attack on the Australian
embassy asking for an interest-free loan of $827,000 to upgrade
With two campuses in Jakarta and one in Bali attended by more
than 600 students, 220 of whom are Australian, Ms Robertson said
she had told Mr Downer she needs blast walls, bomb-resistant windows,
earth works, better gates and other measures to reach the standard
recommended by security consultants.
Although other international schools in Indonesia have remained
open since the bombing of the Australian embassy, Ms
Robertson said she had no choice but to close her school until
after the Australian election.
"Looking at what happened in Spain, we really felt this
bombing was very much targeted at Australia ... it could have
been related to the [Australian] election," she said.
Students have been working at home until this week, when they
began a two-week mid-term break, and the school is planning to
reopen after the Australian election with some improvements to
But Ms Robertson says disquiet among parents with the inadequate
security could prompt them to leave and go to the American-based
Jakarta International School which she says recently received
$2 million in US Government security assistance.
"If we are not able to upgrade our visible security, we
are unlikely to be able to continue operating. People will choose
to go where the security is."
Parents with children at the school recently met the Australian
ambassador to Indonesia, David Ritchie, to explain their concerns.
Several parents the Herald spoke to confirmed they are considering
leaving at the end of this year if the security is not raised.
In her letter to Mr Downer, Ms Robertson
recalled the school had in recent years been attacked with molotov
cocktails and a grenade, incidents she said were "a direct
result of Australian Government statements", and argued
that the Government should help protect it.
TWO Israeli spies released from a New Zealand
prison are expected back in Tel Aviv today after serving less
than half of their six-month sentences for passport fraud.
The men were rushed away from Auckland's Mount Eden prison at
5am yesterday amid denials that a deal had been struck between
Israel and New Zealand, countries that have had no formal contact
since the jail term was handed down in June.
Before leaving, the two Israelis, Eli Cara
and Uriel Kelman, paid $107,000 to the Cerebal Palsy Foundation
as penance for their conviction for trying to use the identity
of an Auckland-based sufferer of the disease to acquire a false
Their early release had done little by last night to thaw diplomatic
relations between Wellington and Jerusalem, which were frozen
after the two men were convicted.
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark
has said she is convinced the two Israelis are agents of Israel's
foreign spy agency, Mossad.
Israel has refused to acknowledge that either man is a secret
agent. Its representatives in Australia and New Zealand were maintaining
their silence last night.
As part of the diplomatic freeze, Mrs Clark cancelled a visit
by Israeli President Moshe Katsav and toughened visa requirements
for Israeli officials.
"At this point there have been no approaches from the Israeli
Government with respect to the actions for which the two Israelis
were sentenced," she said yesterday.
"The ball is in Israel's court."
Ms Clark said Israel had not made representations to secure
the men's early release.
The New Zealand Department of Corrections said the pair had
been released early for good behaviour.
It is understood that Kelman and Cara were booked on a Cathay
Pacific flight to Hong Kong that departed around midday. They
then flew on to Israel with New Zealand police escorts.
Two men accused of being part of the operation to obtain the
passport, one a Sydney resident, Zev Barkan, fled New Zealand
after their colleagues' arrest and have not been located since.
Mossad agents have previously been caught using
Canadian passports to secure entry to Jordan.
SEATTLE - The flurry of earthquakes at Mount
St. Helens intensified further Thursday, and one scientist put
the chance of a small eruption happening in the next few days
at 70 percent.
Jeff Wynn, chief scientist at the U.S. Geologic Survey's Cascade
Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., said tiny quakes were
happening three or four times a minute. Larger quakes, with magnitudes
of 3 to 3.3, were happening every three or four minutes, he said.
New measurements show the 975-foot lava dome in the volcano's
crater has moved 261/27 inches to the north since Monday, Wynn
"Imagine taking a 1,000-foot-high pile of rocks and moving
it 261/27 inches. For a geologist, that's a lot of energy,"
Wynn estimated there was a 70 percent chance the activity will
result in an eruption.
Scientists did not expect anything like the mountain's devastating
eruption in 1980, which killed 57 people and coated towns 250
miles away with ash. On Wednesday, they warned that a small or
moderate blast from the southwest Washington mountain could spew
ash and rock as far as three miles from the 8,364-foot peak. [...]
Ankara, Sept 30 - A moderate earthquake measuring
4.3 on the open-ended Richter scale struck the eastern province
of Erzincanon Thursday, the Anatolia News Agency said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
The tremor struck at 12:42 p.m. (0942 GMT) with an epicenter
in the province's Ilic town, the Istanbul-based Kandilli Seismological
Institute said. But the sub-governor of Ilic, Selami Kapankaya,
told the agency:"We did not even feel the earthquake."
He said he first heard of the tremor on the television news
and that he had received no reports so far of damage or casulaties.
On Wednesday, an eartquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale
shook Turkey's biggest city Istanbul, sending people rushing into
the streets in panic though there was no reported damage or casualties.
Earthquakes are frequent in Turkey, where some 20,000 people
were killed in two massive tremors in 1999.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Overfishing
is threatening more than two-thirds of the world's most valuable
fish species, triggering fears that hundreds of millions of people
in mainly developing countries will suffer food shortages and
losses of income, scientists said Thursday.
Countries, especially in Asia and Africa, should strive harder
to combat illegal fishing and pursue trade policies and environmental
treaties that promote sustainable fishing practices, said a report
by the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based research
"It is quite evident there is a fisheries crisis,"
the report's co-author, Carmen Revenga, told a news conference
at its launch in Kuala Lumpur. "But the general public doesn't
realize this is happening, because there still seems to be lots
of fish in the supermarkets."
About 75 per cent of the world's most commercially important
fish stocks are overfished or fished at their biological limits,
raising concerns of looming shortages in developing nations, which
produce more than two-thirds of all fish eaten by humans globally,
Revenga said. [...]
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Merck & Co Inc.
pulled its arthritis drug Vioxx off the market on Thursday after
a study showed it doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The move sent the company's shares plunging almost 27 percent
and erased $25 billion of its market value.
The withdrawal, which led Merck to cut its 2004 earnings forecast,
could expose the drugmaker to billions of dollars in legal liabilities
at a time when it is already experiencing slower profit growth.
It also calls into question the ability of Chief Executive Raymond
Gilmartin to lead the company out of its troubles, analysts said.
"This company is on the scientific ropes and it just took
a body blow in the marketplace," said Jim Hall, president
of the life-sciences unit at Wood Mackenzie Inc. "There's
no easy way for them to deal with this."
Merck shares closed down $12.07 at an eight-year low of $33.00
on the New York Stock Exchange.
Vioxx, which has been used by 84 million
people around the world since 1999, is Merck's fourth-biggest
drug. It had sales of $2.55 billion last year, accounting for
more than 10 percent of annual revenues. It is part of
a class of drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors. Pfizer Inc.'s Celebrex
and Novartis AG's (NOVN.VX) experimental drug Prexige are also
members of the class.
While Celebrex and others have not been shown to cause cardiovascular
damage, some observers say the withdrawal of Vioxx casts a cloud
over the entire class. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said
it would watch other COX-2 inhibitors closely.
A local radio station's phone lines lit
up Thursday morning after motorists reported seeing a mysterious
flash of light in the sky, Local 4 reported.
Several drivers in the area of Interstate 275 and Interstate
94 called into WOMC radio at about 5:45 a.m. to report an unidentified
light flashing in the sky.
"It was a bright flash, almost like a huge flashlight, almost
like a generator going off," said one caller.
The host of the radio station's morning show, Dick Purtan, said
he had no answer to what people had witnessed in the sky.
"The first thing that I thought of was that this was possibly
the asteroid, this big rock that's about 3 miles long and a mile-and-a-half
wide that actually came within a million miles of earth this morning,
but the trouble is they say that it's not visible," Purtan
Officials at the Selfridge Air National Guard
Base reported no flying this morning, so there were no records
or photographs taken that may have identified the flash of light.
Metro airport also had no trace of the light flash because the
airport's radar readings only cover a 40-mile radius, Local 4
The National Weather Service in Cleveland told
Local 4 that the mysterious light may have been moonbeams poking
through the clouds.
Local 4 attempted to contact the North American Aerospace Defense
Command, which protects the airspace over the United States and
Canada. NORAD had yet to return calls concerning the mysterious
MARSHFIELD - So it's unidentified, and
it flies, and it's an object - that simply means it's inexplicable,
not that it's a UFO filled with little green women.
In the past two weeks, Marshfield-area residents
have reported unusual lights and objects in the night sky, some
accompanied by what looked like fighter jets.
On the night of Sept. 23, Eric Dickmann sat at a bonfire with
friends and family at his home in the town of Day. Three lights
in a triangle burned bright in the sky for about four seconds
and then they disappeared, he said last week.
Ten minutes later, the bright lights reappeared and moved the
same way, Dickmann said. He said that what the eight people at
the bonfire saw that night was the same as what his son saw the
Thursday before, while driving south from Spencer. That sighting
was accompanied by what looked like a fighter jet, he said.
Dan Young of the town of Cary, chief photographer at the Marshfield
News-Herald, said Thursday that he had seen similar lights on
several occasions, as recently as Tuesday. The lights moved close
together, then went away, he said.
"Tuesday night, the white lights came close together, and
I could see aircraft lights, kind of like warning lights,"
he said. "I thought this was probably something that most
likely could be easily explained after the second time. It looked
like, my guess is, helicopters that came together in the sky and
went their separate ways."
About 95 percent of all Americans have heard
or read something about unidentified flying objects, and 57 percent
believe alien craft are real, according to a Central Intelligence
Agency report in 1997.
Former President Jimmy Carter and the late President Ronald Reagan
said they had seen UFOs, according to the CIA.
But the lights in the night sky in the Marshfield area are most
likely military aircraft on regular training missions, said Sgt.
Katie Dahlke, an airfield manager at Volk Field.
The direction Dickmann and Young were looking when they saw lights
in the sky are consistent with two military operations areas,
Falls 2 MOA and Volk West MOA.
"Throughout the month we've had various aircraft in various
training," she said. "We have had night flying going
on with F-16s. It's happened a lot in the month of September."
During these missions, six F-16s are flying, which could explain
the three aircraft in formation area residents have reported,
she said. Other craft have included cargo planes, C-130s, and
Though some area residents have reported seeing
something the size of a hospital in the sky, Dahlke said they
were probably seeing formations of aircraft. Even the C-130 cargo
plane is "certainly not as big as a hospital," she said.
She said nothing out of the ordinary had been
sighted in the night sky by the highly trained aviators. Nothing
unusual was spotted on radar in the last month, but she added
that it has been a time of heavy military flight training.
An enigmatic humming sound made by the Earth
may be caused by the planet's stormy seas, suggests a new analysis.
Japanese seismologists first described the Earth's humming signal
in 1998. It is a deep, low-frequency rumble that is present in
the ground even when there are no earthquakes happening. Dubbed
the "Earth's hum", the signal had gone unnoticed in
previous studies because it looked like noise in the data.
"People aren't usually that interested in looking at the
noise, they want to get rid of it," explains Barbara Romanowicz,
a geologist from the University of California at Berkeley, US.
"But this is an unusual phenomenon, it's very intriguing."
No-one was sure what source of energy could be causing the constant
vibrations, which have a frequency of just a few millihertz –
well below the limits of human hearing. The Japanese team suggested
that variations in atmospheric pressure might drum on the surface
of the ground, giving rise to the vibrations, but Romanowicz was
"From the beginning, I had a hunch that the oceans might
be involved" says Romanowicz, "but then I had to prove
She and colleague Junkee Rhie collected data from networks of
seismometers in California, US, and Japan. They worked out the
direction that the hum signal was travelling on each of 60 earthquake-free
days Earth experienced in one year. Using the directions measured
at the two distant networks, they could trace the seismic signal
back to its source.
During January and March, the hum came mainly from the North
Pacific Ocean. Then the source swapped to the southern oceans
above Antarctica, before shifting north again in October. Therefore,
the hum appears to follow winter in each hemisphere, when ocean
storms are at their worst.
Romanowicz now plans to use computer models
to work out exactly how water sloshing around in the ocean basins
can transfer its energy to Earth to create the rumble.
Others in the field say they will only be
convinced when this link has been proved.
"The situation is not clear. It is possible that both the
oceanic and atmosphere turbulence are exciting the vibrations,"
says Philippe Lognonne from the Paris Geophysical Institute in
If Romanowicz's mechanism is the right one, it will mean disappointment
for scientists who thought similar vibrating signals would be
seen on other planets, creating a kind of symphony in space. Dry
planets would hum only if their atmospheres could set up oscillations.
we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part
of the world!
We also need help to keep
the Signs of the Times online.
out the Signs of the Times Archives
your comments and article suggestions to us
Fair Use Policy
Contact Webmaster at signs-of-the-times.org
Cassiopaean materials Copyright ©1994-2014 Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. All rights reserved. "Cassiopaea, Cassiopaean, Cassiopaeans," is a registered trademark of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.
Letters addressed to Cassiopaea, Quantum Future School, Ark or Laura, become the property of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Republication and re-dissemination of our copyrighted material in any manner is expressly prohibited without prior written consent.