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Dozens of Children Killed in Iraq Attack

By Karl Vick, Khalid Saffar and Bassam Sebti
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, October 1, 2004
An 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.
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.

The child's thin body was covered by a sheet. The sheet was covered with blood.

"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 for him."

"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 and exploded.

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. [...]

Comment: We have said it before, but we must continue to say it: just what kind of "Iraqi resistance" sets out to kill dozens of innocent Iraqi children and manages to kill just one US soldier who just happened to get in the way?

The "event", the opening of a sewage treatment plant, was clearly a public one, meaning that the so called "insurgents" would have been aware that a number of Iraqi civilians would be in attendance. It is also claimed that the bombs were detonated by remote control, i.e. by someone who was either watching the scene or in contact with someone who was watching the scene.

Logically then, the person with their hand on the detonator consciously choose a precise moment to detonate the bombs, which, in the case of the first bomb, just happened to be the moment when dozens of Iraqi children were within the blast zone, and, in the case of the second bomb, was precisely when Iraqi mothers and fathers were attempting to rescue their children from the first attack. Clearly the main target was Iraqi children and civilians.

Notice the reaction from one grieving Iraqi father "what kind of resistance is this?" A very good question.

As we see it, there are a number of possible covert agendas which lie beneath the publicly touted agenda of bequeathing "freedom and democracy" upon Iraq.

The first such agenda involves the US military and the utilization of it by US intelligence operatives, under the instruction of people like Perle and Rove. US soldiers in Iraq are nothing more than cannon fodder and facilitators of their superiors' hidden agendas - but then that has been true of most state military personnel throughout history, regardless of who their superiors were or where they were deployed.

Whether they know it or not, US troops are in Iraq to beat, bomb and murder the Iraqi people and any "insurgents" into submission, and thereby create the "peace" that the US proxy government in Iraq, (headed by CIA asset Allawi) needs to get on with the business of robbing the Iraqi people of their identity, culture and resources, ultimately for the benefit of "big oil" back in the US.

To do so, the US military must defeat the Iraqi "insurgents" who are, we are told, attempting to thwart the establishment of American "freedom and democracy" in Iraq - and this is where it starts to get a little confusing. Bizarrely, the preferred method for the "insurgents" to achieve their goal of defeating and evicting the occupation forces is by beating, bombing and murdering Iraqi civilians! Is something wrong with this picture? We have two opposing forces, both supposedly attempting to achieve diametrically opposed goals, using exactly the same methods! So what gives?

Enter the third force.

Israel has nothing to gain from a stable Iraq, be it under Iraqi or US control, and desires only the expansion of its own control in the Middle East, if not its actual borders. By staging repeated false flag operations like the car bombing today, Israel and it's agents forestall indefinitely the establishment of the promised "Iraqi freedom" and any promise of a cohesive or truly representative Iraqi government. Most importantly however, the continued attacks attributed to "Iraqi insurgents" and "Arab terrorists" like the mythical Zarqawi, further portray the Arab people as "blood-thirsty animals" in the minds of western people and, as a result, greatly advance the cause that is closest to Sharon's heart (black as it is) - a final, bloody solution to the "Palestinian question".

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U.S. Forces Storm Iraqi Town, Say 94 Rebels Killed
By Sabah al-Bazee
October 1, 2004

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. [...]

Comment: This last comment from the US military is particularly interesting. Consider what would happen if the roles were reversed, and Iraq had bombed and invaded the US. Would those Americans who were fighting against the occupation of their country and the control of their government by a foreign power consider their actions "unprovoked"?

Of course not.

So, why do Americans act so surprised at the "ungrateful" actions of the "Iraqi terrorist insurgents"??

Furthermore, we find the timing of this latest invasion to be rather convenient. As the article indicates, Samarra had been a "no-go zone" for months, and yet on the evening of the first presidential debate, the troops move in and start slaughtering Iraqis.

Speaking of the debate...

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Kerry scores badly needed points in debate
October 1, 2004

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, analysts said.

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 by Iraq.

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 election.

"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 waffler.

"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. [...]

Comment: A transcript of the debate can be read here. While Kerry made several good points, Bush stuck to his guns, employing the same mindless pro-Bush as-arbiter of all that is right thinly disguised as patriotism and pro-war lines that have served him so well to date. In the past, the most intelligent and articulate candidate has not always won the election. Given the rigged election in 2000, the appearance of more rigging going on this time around, the CBS/Dan Rather debacle, and the "threat" of a terrorist attack to disrupt the whole process, we suspect that this election will be full of surprises...

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CBS cancels broadcast on Bush's use of forged Iraqi WMD documents
By Patrick Martin
30 September 2004

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 offense.

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 ago.

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."

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U.S. military gives contradictory reports about shooting in Fallujah
September 30, 2004 

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.

Comment: If the reader is under the impression that discrepancies in reporting as evidenced in the above article are the exception rather than the rule, then we are sorry to say that you are sadly mistaken. It seems that every story coming out of Iraq that appears in the mainstream media is subject to the same distortion and misrepresentation by those who hold the reins of power.

In order to get an accurate representation of what is really going on in Iraq or elsewhere, it is important to contrast the "official version" of events with other reports of eyewitnesses and facts on the ground. Doing research, comparing different newspaper accounts of the same incident are vital in order to get an accurate picture of what is actually happening.

One of our goals here at SOTT is to sift through the mass of online mainstream newspapers and alternative news sites, and by doing so, hopefully convey a more accurate view of reality. It is difficult and often exhausting work, but well worth the effort as it helps us fine tune our reading instruments, and gives others the opportunity to see how effectively we are being manipulated by those who literally own the airwaves.

If you happen to spot any deliberate lies or media bias in your local newspaper, or read of an unusual or under-reported event, please send your submissions to In the meantime, here's something to get you started...

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Lawmaker expresses "dismay" that White House allegedly wrote Allawi speech

Thu Sep 30

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 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 week ago.

Comment: Ah yes, many pro-war US citizens must be brimming over with pride at the way in which American "freedom and democracy" is blooming in Iraq. An ex-CIA man as President, who comes to congress and gives a speech on the status of Iraq that was drawn up by White House officials; it doesn't get any more twisted than that folks. As for the truth about the reality of life in Iraq...

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The Kidnap Capital of the World
September 30, 2004

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 gangs.

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.

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Is anyone ever truly prepared to kill?
By Jane Lampman
Christian Science Monitor

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 awhile."

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 dramatically.

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, Md.

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 Jonathan Shay.

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 force protection."

"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 says.

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," Grossman says.

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," Stevens recounts.

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. [...]

Comment: Having faced the reality of life on this planet over the past few years, we have come to a tentative hypothesis that in a very general way, there may well be two very different "types" of human beings sharing said planet.

The theory goes like this:

The first group of humans, as evidenced in the story above, naturally experience a great deal of remorse and psychological problems when ordered by their government to kill another human being. It seems that, for these people, despite relentless indoctrination and brainwashing at the hands of the military, they still can't cope with the after effects of taking another life. They cannot help but feel EMPATHY for their victims, and realize deep down that by committing such crimes is akin to a "sin against the soul". Their internal conflict arises from what they are told is true; that Arabs are the enemy and must be wiped out at all costs, and what they feel inside is true; that Arabs are human beings too and are really no different from you or I.

On the other side of the coin are people who not only seem to enjoy killing other people, but seem to derive some sick and twisted sense of power from holding another's life in their hands. These people appear to lack any empathy or compassion for their victims and seem to become more ruthless and energized as their "kill count" rises.

For this second "type" of human, killing is merely a mechanical task like any other, and far from requiring counseling, they are usually the ones who rapidly rise up through the ranks to become commanders, generals and presidents. According to the theory, our social system is structured in such a way that such unconscionable behaviour is rewarded and, in the end, we find our societies being run by the "worst of the worst" - aka psychopaths and madmen - albeit very able and sometimes even "charming"examples.

Perhaps such a theory can answer some of the questions that have troubled "free thinkers" throughout the ages - questions which truly need answers if we are to ever wake up and understand just "what this whole show is all about, before it's out".

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Flashback: "It's a sniper's dream"

By Mike Davis
April 19, 2004

The 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."

"Sometimes 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."

"To 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.

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Flashback: Iraqi 'beaten to death' by US troops

April 14, 2004
The Australian

AN 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.

The 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.

After 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, he said.

US troops also detained from the same area five men wearing black pants and shirts, the usual attire of Sadr's Mehdi Army militiamen and followers.

Qassem Hassan, the director of Kut general hospital, identified the man as Salem Hassan, a resident of a Kut suburb.

He said the man had died of wounds sustained in the beating.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition could not confirm the incident.

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Suicide of soldier recalled to Iraq
Pembrokeshire | News

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 incident.

Comment: "Compassionate leadership", that's what Tony Blair is all about. Bush, on the other hand, is more into passion than compassion. He is passionate about a lot of things - radio stations that don't share his views for example...

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Marshals shut down Santa Cruz radio station
Thu, Sep. 30, 2004
By David L. Beck
Mercury News

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 arrested.

"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 home!''

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,, 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.

Comment: Or people who don't really like him...

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Fri Sep 17
Translated from "El Sureño"

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 premises.

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."

Comment: Joking aside, there is mounting evidence that the US is very definitely going the same way as Germany during the 1930's and early 40's. It was not so much Hitler's barbarity that made the Nazi regime unique, but rather the wholesale way in which the German people, via the dissemination of fear-based programming and jingoism, were ever so slowly co-opted into supporting the rise of a police state, brutal dictatorship, and all that resulted.

Today, we see the same creeping fascism in the US, and it is at an alarmingly advanced stage. People must understand that there are many millions in the US today who see nothing wrong with the actions of either Lawrence Ward's neighbours or the FBI, and indeed applaud them. They seem unaware of history and its tendency to repeat itself, and appear quite willing to offer themselves up as yet further examples of the ignorant and somnolent nature of the majority of human beings. As to whether future generations will finally learn the lesson, we cannot say. Given the fervor with which current humanity is embracing subjectivity and illusion, we hesitate to speak of the possibility of there even being a future for any of us.

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Flashback: But Then It Was Too Late

Third Reich Roundtable

"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 it.

"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 on."

"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 his head.

"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 to know."

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."

Comment: The close parallels between the above account of how creeping fascism spread throughout Germany in the 1930's and the current state of the average America mind set in relation to the US government and its "war on terror" should be obvious. Many of the tools employed by the propaganda wing of the Nazi regime are being used today by the Bush administration.

Few Americans will argue with the fact that the German people were manipulated by the Nazis, but equally few seem prepared to allow for the possibility that they could be vulnerable to the same deception.

Why is this?

If you lived in Nazi Germany, do you really think that you would have been able to see past the patriot propaganda and the host of economic and social manipulations to which the German people were subjected?

Why do Americans today credit themselves with the ability to recognise a massive government lie when just 70 years ago the German people, and indeed much of the population of the rest of the world, were unable to do so?

With the vast increase in mass media communication in the later half of the 20th century, if it chose to do so, today it would be much easier for a government to deceive the people en masse than it was back in the 1930's.

People give lip service to the maxim that "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it", but it appears that they do not take that concept seriously.

Why is this?

Hitler and the Nazis showed us all how it was done. They showed the world that through the slow propagation of the "big lie", through diversion and promotion of bogus threats to the lives of the citizenry, an entire people can be completely and unconditionally deceived.

Read again this extract from the above article - and think about it.

"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.

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?

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 his head.

Today, the government controls every aspect of the life of the average citizen, whether they know it or not. From the food we put in our mouths to the thoughts we think, there is no facet of life that does not have a government agency assigned to monitor it. This is natural, but is also the crux of the matter.

In the case that a government decided to deceive the population in a wholesale manner, is it really reasonable to be so smug as to assume that we would immediately and easily recognise such a deception? Many of our readers, and many Americans seem to think so.

We are not suggesting that it is impossible for a person to know if their government is lying to them, but if we expect to ever know the truth, we must stop blindly accepting everything that we are told, or fleeing into denial at the first sign that our comfort zone might be disturbed. Objective research and analysis is required, there can be no 'sacred cows', nothing can be taboo, all evidence must be weighed up impartially and given its due without pity for ourselves, others, or our illusions.

But among all the resources available to us in this task, one of the most important is history. By scrutinising the events that make up our world history, we may arm ourselves with the knowledge derived from the hard-won lessons of those that have gone before us. In that respect and in relation to the current US, and global, political and social climate, the experiences of the German people under the Nazis contain some crucially important lessons for us to learn. It behooves us all to learn them, before it is too late - again.

"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.

"War and it's necessities" lots and lots of gullible cannon fodder...

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Huge US casualties: Draft vital to restore losses

Mark Benjamin – UPI September 15, 2004

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, 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 said.

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 conflict are."

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.

Comment: The 'Operation Truth' website is claiming that part of the reason the Bush administration can get away with "cooking" the body count is due to the fact that more than 31,000 members of the U.S. armed forces are not even American citizens:

"More than 31,000 members of the U.S. armed forces are not American citizens. After returning from honorably serving in the United States armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, non-U.S. citizen Servicemembers are put through a lengthy process to obtain U.S. citizenship – often, it is only after their death that they are given immediate citizenship.

It affects more than 31,000 members of the U.S. armed forces who are not American citizens. Following President Bush’s declaration of an expedited naturalization process for Service Members who fight in the war on terror (link), 8,000 green card holders soon thereafter joined the military. US military advertisements in English & Spanish highlight military service as a shortcut to citizenship. In places like Los Angeles, recruiters say that 50% of their recruits are “green card troops”. Upon enlisting, Marine recruiters tell recruits concerned about citizenship that 'the Marines will take care of that.'"

Hence, when troops are killed or wounded in combat, the authorities are not required to register them as KIA or wounded. The following article makes the case that such casualties of war are not even due a proper burial...

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Where have all the young men gone?

Seventh Fire News
September 2004

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 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 disappeared:

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. 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 foreign appearance.

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 unpleasant smells.

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.

Comment: And throughout it all, people still trust the government...or do they?

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Poll Shows U.S. Distrust of Politicians 'Epidemic'

Gail Appleson — Reuters September 29, 2004

Americans' distrust 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 11.5 percent.

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.

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Pentagon in contract scandal
30/09/2004 11:03

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 competition.

"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 and abroad.

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 contracts.

"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.

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U.S. Midwest Economy Stronger
By Ros Krasny
Thu Sep 30, 4:59 PM ET

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 Kleinwort Wasserstein.

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.

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David Horowitz's Campus Jihads
by Bill Berkowitz
SEPTEMBER 28, 2004

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 security.

"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 anti-American academics.

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, 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 campuses."

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! reported.

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 their politics."

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."

Horowitz's hate

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 terrorism."

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, 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 Foundation.

Independent women?

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

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.

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FBI loses fight over Lennon files
Last Updated Thu, 30 Sep 2004 14:50:56 EDT

LOS ANGELES - A judge has ordered the FBI to hand over its remaining secret files on John Lennon to a California university professor.

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. Supreme Court.

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.

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Jewish Activists Disrupt Safety Awards at MINExpo to Protest Caterpillar's Sales to Israeli Army
Report, Jewish Voice for Peace,
28 September 2004

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." [...]

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32 Palestinians, three Israelis killed in open-ended Gaza offensive
Thu Sep 30, 6:40 PM ET

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. [...]

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When You Have Breast Cancer in Gaza
September 30, 2004

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 could invent.

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 around her.

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.

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Bomb scare grounds BA airliner
October 1, 2004 - 6:54AM

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 said."

It was a bomb threat but I cannot give any details about how and when it was received," military police spokesman Rob Steenakker said.

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 ARD.

"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.

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Extremist attacks Japanese parliament

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 south gate.

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 there.

"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.

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Security fears for Jakarta students
By Matthew Moore, Herald Correspondent in Jakarta
October 1, 2004

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 security.

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 security.

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.

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Clark denies deal on release of spies
Martin Chulov
September 30, 2004

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 passport.

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.

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Scientist: 70 percent chance of small eruption at Mount St. Helens
Thursday, September 30, 2004

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 said.

"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 said.

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. [...]

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Mild quake jolts eastern Turkey

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.

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World faces fish shortage that could endanger livelihoods of millions: report
Thursday, September 30, 2004

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 group.

"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. [...]

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Merck Pulls Arthritis Drug from Market
By Ransdell Pierson
Thu Sep 30, 4:57 PM ET

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.

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Drivers Report Mysterious Flash Of Light In Sky
4:54 pm EDT September 30, 2004

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 said.

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 reported.

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 light.

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Odd lights seen over Marshfield
By Matt Conn
For the Daily Tribune
Fri, Oct 1, 2004

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 helicopters, UH-60s.

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.

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Earth's 'hum' springs from stormy seas news service
18:00 29 September 04

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 not convinced.

"From the beginning, I had a hunch that the oceans might be involved" says Romanowicz, "but then I had to prove it somehow".

Sloshing around

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 Paris, France.

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.

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