Article - High Strangeness
Article - The Blair Belief Project
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
| By Mary Jacoby
Thursday 16 September 2004
| His former
Harvard Business School professor recalls George W. Bush not just
as a terrible student but as spoiled, loutish and a pathological liar.
For 25 years, Yoshi Tsurumi, one of George W. Bush's professors
at Harvard Business School, was content with his green-card status
as a permanent legal resident of the United States. But Bush's ascension
to the presidency in 2001 prompted the Japanese native to secure
his American citizenship. The reason: to be able to speak out with
the full authority of citizenship about why he believes Bush lacks
the character and intellect to lead the world's oldest and most
"I don't remember all the students in detail unless I'm prompted
by something," Tsurumi said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
"But I always remember two types of students. One is the very
excellent student, the type as a professor you feel honored to be
working with. Someone with strong social values, compassion and
intellect - the very rare person you never forget. And then you
remember students like George Bush, those who are totally the opposite."
The future president was one of 85 first-year MBA students in
Tsurumi's macroeconomic policies and international business class
in the fall of 1973 and spring of 1974. Tsurumi was a visiting associate
professor at Harvard Business School from January 1972 to August
1976; today, he is a professor of international business at Baruch
College in New York.
Trading as usual on his father's connections, Bush entered Harvard
in 1973 for a two-year program. He'd just come off what George H.W.
Bush had once called his eldest son's "nomadic years"
- partying, drifting from job to job, working on political campaigns
in Florida and Alabama and, most famously, apparently not showing
up for duty in the Alabama National Guard.
Harvard Business School's rigorous teaching methods, in which
the professor interacts aggressively with students, and students
are encouraged to challenge each other sharply, offered important
insights into Bush, Tsurumi said. In observing students' in-class
performances, "you develop pretty good ideas about what are
their weaknesses and strengths in terms of thinking, analysis, their
prejudices, their backgrounds and other things that students reveal,"
One of Tsurumi's standout students was Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif.,
now the seventh-ranking member of the House Republican leadership.
"I typed him as a conservative Republican with a conscience,"
Tsurumi said. "He never confused his own ideology with economics,
and he didn't try to hide his ignorance of a subject in mumbo jumbo.
He was what I call a principled conservative." (Though clearly
a partisan one. On Wednesday, Cox called for a congressional investigation
of the validity of documents that CBS News obtained for a story
questioning Bush's attendance at Guard duty in Alabama.)
Bush, by contrast, "was totally the opposite of Chris Cox,"
Tsurumi said. "He showed pathological
lying habits and was in denial when challenged on his prejudices
and biases. He would even deny saying something he just said 30
seconds ago. He was famous for that. Students jumped on him; I challenged
him." When asked to explain a particular comment, said Tsurumi,
Bush would respond, "Oh, I never said that." A
White House spokeswoman did not return a phone call seeking comment.
In 1973, as the oil and energy crisis raged,
Tsurumi led a discussion on whether government should assist retirees
and other people on fixed incomes with heating costs. Bush, he recalled,
"made this ridiculous statement and when I asked him to explain,
he said, 'The government doesn't have to help poor people - because
they are lazy.' I said, 'Well, could you explain that assumption?'
Not only could he not explain it, he started backtracking on it,
saying, 'No, I didn't say that.'"
If Cox had been in the same class, Tsurumi said, "I could
have asked him to challenge that and he would have demolished it.
Not personally or emotionally, but intellectually."
Bush once sneered at Tsurumi for showing the
film "The Grapes of Wrath," based on John Steinbeck's
novel of the Depression. "We were in a discussion of the New
Deal, and he called Franklin Roosevelt's policies 'socialism.' He
denounced labor unions, the Securities and Exchange Commission,
Medicare, Social Security, you name it. He denounced the civil rights
movement as socialism. To him, socialism and communism were the
same thing. And when challenged to explain his prejudice, he could
not defend his argument, either ideologically, polemically or academically."
Students who challenged and embarrassed Bush in
class would then become the subject of a whispering campaign by
him, Tsurumi said. "In class, he couldn't challenge them. But
after class, he sometimes came up to me in the hallway and started
bad-mouthing those students who had challenged him. He would complain
that someone was drinking too much. It was innuendo and lies. So
that's how I knew, behind his smile and his smirk, that he was a
very insecure, cunning and vengeful guy."
Many of Tsurumi's students came from well-connected or wealthy
families, but good manners prevented them from boasting about it,
the professor said. But Bush seemed unabashed about the connections
that had brought him to Harvard. "The other children of the
rich and famous were at least well bred to the point of realizing
universal values and standards of behavior," Tsurumi said.
But Bush sometimes came late to class and often sat in the back
row of the theater-like classroom, wearing a bomber jacket from
the Texas Air National Guard and spitting chewing tobacco into a
"At first, I wondered, 'Who is this George Bush?' It's a
very common name and I didn't know his background. And he was such
a bad student that I asked him once how he got in. He said, 'My
dad has good friends.'" Bush scored in
the lowest 10 percent of the class.
The Vietnam War was still roiling campuses and Harvard was no
exception. Bush expressed strong support for the war but admitted
to Tsurumi that he'd gotten a coveted spot in the Texas Air National
Guard through his father's connections.
"I used to chat up a number of students when we were walking
back to class," Tsurumi said. "Here was Bush, wearing
a Texas Guard bomber jacket, and the draft was the No. 1 topic in
those days. And I said, 'George, what did you do with the draft?'
He said, 'Well, I got into the Texas Air National Guard.' And I
said, 'Lucky you. I understand there is a
long waiting list for it. How'd you get in?' When he told me, he
didn't seem ashamed or embarrassed. He thought he was entitled to
all kinds of privileges and special deals. He was not the only one
trying to twist all their connections to avoid Vietnam. But then,
he was fanatically for the war."
Tsurumi told Bush that someone who avoided a draft
while supporting a war in which others were dying was a hypocrite.
"He realized he was caught, showed his famous smirk and huffed
Tsurumi's conclusion: Bush is not as dumb as his detractors allege.
"He was just badly brought up, with no discipline, and no compassion,"
In recent days, Tsurumi has told his story to various print and
television outlets and appears in Kitty Kelley's exposé "The
Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty." He said other
professors and students at the business school from that time share
his recollections but are afraid to come forward, fearing ostracism
or retribution. And why is Tsurumi speaking up now? Because with
the ongoing bloodshed in Iraq and Osama bin Laden still on the loose
- not to mention a federal deficit ballooning out of control - the
stakes are too high to remain silent. "Obviously, I don't think
he is the best person" to be running the country, he said.
"I wanted to explain why."
Dan Rather and I will soon have
one thing in common: we both will be guilty of reporting unverified
information, because both stories begged to be told.
You've already heard how Rather crossed the line of journalistic
prudence. Now it's my turn---with this caveat--- I'm convinced that
the source for my story may indeed be more reliable than Rather's.
We shall see.
The document I have become privy to is called, "A Psychiatrist's
Analysis of Bush and Cheney in Debates." According to who posted
the report, (Benjamin Franklin), the psychiatrist he writes about
has many years of clinical experience and works for a local government.
The author's use of Franklin's name, and the "no name"
psychiatrist convince me that both men, for whatever reason, prefer
to remain unknown. But this doesn't bother me because I'm used to
it. Many factual news reports end with the reference: "according
to anonymous sources" Even one of today's best sellers, "Imperial
Hubris-Why the west is losing the war on terror", was written
anonymously. For the same reason, probably.
Be that as it may, the psychological analyses of Bush and Cheney
are so revealing and self-evident that you may find these excerpts
from each of them as startling and frightening as I did.
"This man is a sociopath. He is devoid of both conscience
and access to his emotions, other than pure rage. This is the most
dangerous type of disorder since such people are not human in the
way that a normal person can understand. They might look human but
are incapable of relating to people as human beings.
"This is clear from his eyes and facial expressions, the glare
lets us seek through the mask to the intense rage beneath it. Senator
Edwards was freaked out by this---it is unlikely that he has ever
sat down so close to this
type of sociopath.
"That is how such people try to control others by using that
monster-like characteristic of their personalities. Cheney's behavior
is cold-blooded rational, uninfluenced by truth, or even the response
of the other person (s).
"I feel sorry for Edwards---someone who sat across a small
table from a killer, who sits there glaring at him. One can provoke
such an individual by standing up to him as one stands up to a bully;
by countering his assertions and lies, but you have to be prepared
for the horrible rage that will explode outward. I guess he wasn't
prepared for that. Regardless, more people will come away terrified
of Dick Cheney."
If you watched Cheney's eyes during the debate you got the meaning
of what this psychiatrist said.
"The President clearly suffers from a severe paranoia that
causes him to greatly fear situations in which he is exposed to
people hostile to his delusional viewpoints. Bush entered the debate
in his own world, his own psychological shell. To make it through
the debate he essentially blotted out all reality, REACTING FROM
SOME KIND OF PROGRAMMED RESPONSE TO PROMPTS. WHEN THE EXPECTED PROMPTS
DID NOT OCCUR HE COULD NOT FORMULATE RESPONSES AND WAS REDUCED TO
MUMBLING REPETITIONS OF MEMORIZED FORMULATIONS.
"The lack of formatted audience response locked him deeper
into his shell. He became completely unaware that his infantile
reactions were witnessed by millions, nor did he have any control
over them. It would not have mattered if the lights went off while
he was speaking, his paranoid fear would have left him unaware of
the world outside his shell.
"Individuals such as Bush need to be reassured, and absent
that reassurance, tend to fall apart. This type of psychopathological
behavior is characteristic of a person who is easily manipulated
by those who offer reassurances, who reinforce their delusions.
"Bush is a clinically pathetic case who, in stressful situations,
must act and make decisions from within a paranoid shell, making
him an easy prey of strong-willed people on whom he must depend."
Now, about Bush's back. One TV picture of the presidential debate
was shot from behind the two speakers. Both men's backs were in
full view. Inside Bush's suit coat, in the center between his shoulders,
was a fair-sized bulge. We don't know what the bulge was. But the
outline, having square corners, suggests some object, rather than
creases in the material.
Knowing the capabilities of today's modern electronics, together
with Bush's need for "reassurance prompting"----read again
the capitalized copy in the first Bush paragraph---initial reports
speculated that the bulge might have been an electronic device connected
to a hidden "receiver" which relayed answers, key phrases,
and "encouragement" to the President.
Absurd? Ridiculous? Impossible? Living in the era of space-age
technology, this kind of "wired" communication is NOT
absurd, ridiculous, or impossible. In fact, it not only CAN be done,
but IS being done in some way every day.
I wish I were making all this up. It would make a great novel.
Instead, what we have here is a clear picture of two psychologically
impaired men who presently hold the fate of the United States of
America in their hands.
If that doesn't frighten you, what does?
| Sy Hersh in the UC Berkeley News:
"How could eight or nine neoconservatives come and take
charge of this government?" he asked. "They overran
the bureaucracy, they overran the Congress, they overran the press,
and they overran the military! So you say to yourself, How fragile
is this democracy?"
Apparently you just need 8 positions to take over the US government:
Chief, Near East and South Asia division of the Department of Defense;
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; Deputy Secretary of Defense;
Secretary of Defense; Undersecretary of State for Arms Control;
Chairman, Defense Policy Board; Vice President; Chief of Staff to
the Vice President; and Deputy National Security Adviser. Of course,
it only works if you have a president who needs radio signals to
be told what to say and do (see below). If you don't know who held
the positions mentioned during 2002-2003, do look them up on google.com,
and then compare the holders of these offices to the members of
the Project for a New American Century and the signers of the 1996
policy statement done for Israel's Likud Party, "A Clean Break."
Both "A Clean Break" and the PNAC documents insisted back
in the 1990s on a war against Iraq.
In recent past issues, we
have carried comments from a reporter assigned to the White House
press corps. Some of these remarks, most especially one about Bush’s
physical and mental problems, drew an enormous number of viewers
and hundreds of inquiries, most especially from foreign press entities.
The reporter advised us by email that there was rampant fury in
the White House and security was becoming very tight. As a result
of this, he decided to lay low for a few weeks and see how the wind
was blowing. Yesterday, he sent us the following material which
we are now posting. Some of it is outrageous in the extreme but
to date, no one has proven him wrong. Our source was the first to
expose and we were the first to make public, the accusations that
the President of the United States was a man that suffered from
serious psychological problems. Since our initial publication of
what we call the Madness of King George, there has been increasing
interest in the subject and herewith, we present additional input
from inside the White House.
October 10, 2004: “This time, friends, I have some very important
news for all of you. Unlike the usual silly gossip that goes on
around the White House, intermingled with loud praying, this is
really news. We are about to embark on another war! Yes, it has
been decided and carefully planned. Who are we going to war with?
Iran. Background here: (I am taking this from a paper which I have
Thesis: Iran hates the United States and Israel. Iran has atomic
weapons and missiles (the Shahab, courtesy of North Korean/Russian
technicians) It can easily reach Tel Aviv. It can also reach US
troop concentrations in Iraq. Israel is scared shitless. Their pressure
groups have leaned on the White House, with a great deal of assistance
from Cheney and the Neocons. The actual plan is this:
The U.S. has no troops available for an Iranian adventure and the
Israelis would rather not lose any warm bodies so…it has been
firmly decided that both Israel and the U.S. will launch a surprise
1., Iranian missile sites,
2. Iranian nuclear facilities and
3. the leadership of Iran located in and around Tehran.
How will this be done? By aircraft attack using U.S. developed
“smart bombs” and the so-called “bunker-buster”
bombs designed to destroy underground reinforced concrete facilities
.We just sent these to Israel.
Because of the political ramifications, the Israelis will conduct
the main strikes, supported by U.S. aircraft as needed. The aim
will be to wipe out any vestige of nuclear weaponry, its delivery
system and all the Iranian leaders capable of starting any attacks
on Israel (mostly Tel Aviv…too many fellow Muslims in Jerusalem.)
Since it would be a problem for Israeli Air Force units to fly
round trip from Israel, the solution will be to launch these attacks
from U.S. aircraft carriers located in the Persian Gulf area. As
I write, the super carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) is now in
the Persian Gulf along with the so-called Essex Expeditionary Strike
Group (ESG) [31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) (SOC)] which consists
of:: USS Essex (LHD 2) USS Juneau (LPD 10) USS Harpers Ferry (LSD
49) USS Mobile Bay (CG 53USS Hopper (DDG 70) USS Preble (DDG 88)
The initial attacks will be an early-morning surprise attack launched
to coincide with religious services in Tehran’s Muslim mosques
with the idea of catching not only the leading Mullahs inside but
a large number of their congregations as well. One attack will concentrate
on these religious centers and the other will hit both the underground
nuclear facilities and identified (courtesy of U.S. satellite shots)
missile launching sites.
The U.S. will supply observation and radio surveillance aircraft
with radar-jamming capacities operating out of Turkey and Italy.
The entire attack is scheduled to last no more than one hour with
at least three waves of Israeli aircraft utilized. No warning will
be given to the Iranians and no declaration of war.
The possible deaths of foreign diplomats in the attacks has been
discussed and accepted as part of the price.
This attack has the full support of the President who wants it
launched before the elections. He can then make a speech to the
American people stating that the evil Iranian nuclear weaponry has
been destroyed by the Israelis with the full cooperation of his
government as part of his heroic war against terrorists. Believe
me, that speech has already been written and I have seen a copy
The brass here feels that this will have a tremendous impact on
the American people, just before the elections. No U.S. ground troops
will be used; Bush will stress that this is a joint U.S.-Israeli
anti-terrorist project. Part of the speech deals with ongoing Shiite
Iranian physical support of their Shiite brethren in Iraq and that
by knocking out the Iranian nuclear weaponry, at the same time,
they are protecting GIs from ongoing guerrilla warfare. The brass
is literally rubbing it’s hands and drooling over what they
see as Bush’s Final Victory.
I have seen a negative report copy from someone in the Pentagon
[who is not going to get promoted] that says if the Iranians get
wind of this little game, they might strike first and they might
also realize that large numbers of vulnerable American troops are
concentrated inside Iraqi cities, prime targets for a nuclear tactical
attack. These people are literally insane and I really hope you
don’t delete this. Something really has to be done to stop
these maniacs before we all die of radiation sickness!”
Even a partial strike on Iranian nuclear facilities
would set back Teheran's efforts to get nuclear weapons, the head
of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies said Monday.
Presenting the center's annual Middle East Strategic Balance,
Prof. Shai Feldman also said the US-led war in Iraq "has become
a major distraction from the global war on terrorism."
"Iraq has now become a convenient arena for jihad, which
has helped al-Qaida to recover," the annual report said. "The
US presence in Iraq now demands more and more assets that might
have otherwise been deployed against various dimensions of the global
terrorist threat such as the kind we saw this past weekend."
He was referring to the two bombing attacks in the Sinai that
killed at least 32 people, including 12 Israelis.
Still, the think tank based at Tel Aviv University held that Israel's
overall strategic situation has improved. It said, though, that
despite tactical success in quashing Palestinian terror, there is
currently no resolution of that conflict in sight and growing extremism
on both sides.
The threat of conventional war is low and the qualitative gap,
even between Israel and Egypt, is increasing.
Feldman also pointed out that Israel did not reach out to the
extended Syrian overtures to resume peace talks, thus losing an
opportunity to reap considerable positive strategic benefits.
Iran is said to be "closer than ever before" to producing
fissile material essential for making nuclear bombs. Consequently,
the US "seems closer to the possible use of force to prevent
Iran from completing its nuclear program."
Ephraim Kam, deputy head of the center, said any military strike
would be very complicated and not at all resemble the surprise 1981
IAF strike on the Iraqi reactor at Osirak. Iran
learned from that and has spread out its installations.
Feldman said this should not prevent the option
of military strike.
"There is a logic to operating against
Iran even if the location of every facility is not known, because
just taking out the facilities that are known, especially if they
include the enrichment and heavy water plants, would in itself create
a serious degradation of the Iranian potential," he
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shlomo Brom, a senior researcher at the center,
said that theoretically a nuclear balance could be forged between
Israel and Iran. But he warned that a nuclear-armed Iran would likely
set off a chain reaction, with nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia
seeking to obtain atomic bombs, further destabilizing the Middle
East. He also said it was "wishful thinking" to believe
that the mullahs in Teheran would become more responsible leaders
once they obtained nuclear weapons.
He said an Israeli military option exists, but
is highly problematic and requires a sustainable operation beyond
the IDF's capability.
"Iran is far away and to reach it you have to pass over Jordan,
Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or other Persian Gulf states. You can get entangled
along the way. It is hard for me to imagine
that the Americans would coordinate or cooperate with us, because
if that was ever published it would greatly harm their position,
which is already at a low point in the Middle East,"
said Brom, a former air force intelligence officer.
The think tank's annual report marked Israel's impressive achievements
in the war on Palestinian terror. This is particularly impressive,
it said, in contrast with experiences elsewhere, especially in Iraq.
But the experts said the virtue of this tactical "success"
in defeating Palestinian terror is also its major flaw since it
creates extremism on both sides.
During an interview with British journalist Robert Fisk on Democracy
Now! on October 1, the morning after the first Bush-Kerry presidential
debate, Amy Goodman's associate Juan Gonzalez, clearly hoping for
a substantive response, observed to Fisk that Israel had hardly
been mentioned during the debate; each presidential candidate mentioned
it only once, and moderator Jim Lehrer asked no questions at all
about Israel or the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But Fisk simply
dismissed the issue as of no particular moment. Sure, he said, this
is something you just cannot talk about in political discussions
in the U.S., and so he did not.
Fisk was not sympathizing with this very American impulse to push
aside an issue of overriding importance, but his brush-off did help
perpetuate a serious misconception in American politics.
One of the enduring myths of the Arab-Israeli
and especially the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is that this conflict,
and the U.S.-Israeli relationship at its heart, is basically a sideshow,
vitally important emotionally to American Jews and in fact to most
Americans but of no great strategic significance to U.S. national
This sense among far too many Americans that Israel has no relationship
to U.S. global policies, and particularly to the U.S. pursuit of
empire, has been particularly evident in the last few years, just
when everyone truly desirous of a peaceful Middle East should have
been promoting precisely the opposite viewpoint.
In the last year, there has been a rash of investigative films
and in-depth studies and analyses put out by progressive journalists
and media outlets that examine the U.S. drive for global hegemony
and try to look at why terrorists are targeting the U.S. These journalists
and media outlets, the very progressives who should best be able
to "get it," have all totally or almost totally ignored
the Israeli connection to the Iraq war and to the various other
Bush administration plans for the Middle East: the much discussed
possibility of an attack on Iran and its nuclear capability, the
possible plans to attack Syria, the so-called "transformation"
of the Middle East supposed to come about by foisting a false democracy
on it upon the wings of cruise missiles and B-52s.
These documentaries and reports include particularly such widely
circulated video presentations as Uncovered, which made a big splash
late last year, and Hijacking Catastrophe, which is very popular
right now. There is also Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Among
the reports are at least two very serious in-depth studies done
by Foreign Policy in Focus ("A Secure America in a Secure World,"
published in September 2004) and by a think tank at Notre Dame ("Toward
a More Secure America: Grounding U.S. Policy in Global Realities,"
jointly published in November 2003 by the Fourth Freedom Forum and
the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the
University of Notre Dame). Both of these studies were signed on
to by a wide range of highly respected scholars and former government
experts. And, of course, there is the 9/11 Commission report, which
is being taken in most circles as the definitive word on what went
wrong before September 11 and whether U.S. foreign policy had anything
to do with provoking the attack.
Hijacking Catastrophe actually gets close to the Israeli connection
by directly examining the neo-conservative plot to induce the fear
in average Americans that would serve as Bush's mandate for implementing
the plans for an invasion of Iraq that the neo-cons had formulated
long before, largely for the benefit of Israel. But
this film, as well as the others like it and the reports, all stop
just short of examining the Israeli connection to U.S. war-mongering
in the Middle East. These are all excellent
exposés of Bush administration empire-building and oil greed,
but film after film and investigative report after investigative
report ignore one of the most important strategic motivators for
the Iraq war: Israel and the effort to guarantee Israel's security
by neutralizing its greatest threat, which was Iraq under Saddam
Hussein. The neo-cons are now working on Iran, and you can
bet that, if the U.S. attacks Iran, a year or two hence when that
war begins to go bad, everyone will ignore Israel's connection to
that one too -- even though, with Saddam gone, Iran is now Israel's
(Both Bush and Kerry did actually slip up a bit in their first
debate by mentioning the Israeli connection to Iraq, but this was
ever so en passant, so that virtually no one noticed. Bush volunteered
that, along with other imagined benefits to the U.S. and the world,
"a free Iraq will help secure Israel." Kerry, not to be
outdone in the competition to fawn on Israel, inserted a statement
that he will "get it right" in Iraq because "it's
important to Israel, it's important to America, it's important to
the world." The candidates may have lost sight momentarily
of the general desire to downplay any Israeli connection, but each
undoubtedly thought it more important for the moment not to let
his opponent gain an advantage in the competition to demonstrate
the greatest support for Israel. Nevertheless, this whole episode
blew over in the blink of an eye, and in the arena of public discourse,
Israel remains a sideshow.)
The bottom line here is that virtually no
one -- no analyst, no moviemaker -- wants to touch the Israel issue.
You can't sell a movie like Fahrenheit 9/11 if you talk about Israel;
you won't have the same impact, and you certainly won't be able
to make any money, if you are seen to criticize Israel in any way,
so better just to ignore it. In actuality, it is impossible
to get around the fact that most of the neo-conservatives in this
current administration, who wield a great deal of influence over
U.S. foreign policy, have long been active supporters of Israel,
even to the point of opposing past U.S. policy on the peace process
that went against the desires of Israel's right wing. It is also
impossible to get around the fact that many of the neo-cons happen
to be Jewish. But this is reality; in the surreal world of U.S.
and Israeli politics, you cannot bring this up. It is anti-Semitic,
you are told, to say that Jews have any power at all, because that
begins to sound like the old canards, which really were anti-Semitic,
that used to put forth a specious case for Jews trying to run the
So no one wants to touch the issue. The result is that the moviemakers
and commentators who mold public opinion too often steer away from
it. This is true even of progressive journalists who know the realities.
It is true also of virtually all politicians, most of whom don't
know the realities, with the blessed exception of Ralph Nader. It
is true of former diplomats. It's impossible to count on the fingers
of two hands the number of retired diplomats who, called upon in
various public forums to expatiate on U.S. policy toward Palestine-Israel,
will spout meaningless formulas or beg off entirely because the
subject is too sensitive, too dangerous, too set in the concrete
determined by domestic politics.
As a result of this pervasive silence, public opinion comes to
think that Israel has no strategic influence on the U.S., that the
U.S. certainly wouldn't ever carry out any policy because of Israel
or even in cooperation with Israel, and that Israel's policies in
the occupied territories and its oppression of the Palestinians
have no strategic impact anywhere and could not possibly factor
in to the reasons the U.S. is targeted by terrorists or to the reality
that most of the Arab and Muslim world hates the United States because
of its foreign policies and particularly because it enables Israel's
oppression of the Palestinians. Israel is
the elephant in the room of empire.
There is a vicious circle at work here: the less the media and
politicians discuss Israel-Palestine, the less knowledgeable and
the less interested the public becomes, and vice versa. The general
tone of the few press articles that took note of the candidates'
silence following the first Bush-Kerry debate was that Palestinian-Israeli
issues are of little concern to the public and therefore should
concern the candidates little. Shibley Telhami, a leading Middle
East expert and himself a Palestinian American, was quoted as saying
that the issue is not "on the agenda for the public" and
is therefore of low priority for the candidates. "They have
bigger fish to fry," said another scholar from a Middle East
think tank in Washington. According to a Council on Foreign Relations
poll taken in August, respondents placed resolving the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict at number 17 on a list of 19 important issues for the next
administration. The Israelis are getting the message. An article
in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz summed it up: "The candidates
can't be blamed. They didn't set the agenda for the electorate;
they only respond to it, and the voters are far from being interested
in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
This is appalling -- a startling upending of the concept of leadership,
a huge failure of understanding by the American public, and a dismal
failure of understanding by the politicians in whose hands U.S.
security is supposed to lie. In fact, the
U.S.-Israeli relationship has grown so very close over the years
that it is almost impossible to distinguish whose policy, Israel's
or ours, is being pursued in the Middle East, and this is a reality
that puts the United States in grave danger.
The U.S.-Israeli tie has been growing steadily since well before
there was an established state of Israel -- from the time when the
Zionist movement arose and won the support of much of the American
public and of early twentieth-century policymakers. But by now,
the political culture in the United States has turned so decidedly
toward support for Israel that any alternative view is almost impossible
to express. This is more true nowadays than at any time in the past,
and today the relationship is much more than a matter simply of
emotional sympathy for the plight of Jews or admiration for Israel's
accomplishments, much more than merely a matter of looking at the
conflict from an Israel-centered perspective.
After decades of ever-solidifying ties, Israel
is now so closely linked to the United States in concrete ways that
it is actually a part of the U.S. military-industrial complex.
Israel sells military equipment, with our knowledge, to countries
to which the U.S. is restricted by law from selling -- for instance,
to China. So many arms and types of arms are produced in the U.S.
for Israel that it has become quite easy for Israel's lobbyists
in Washington to go to individual congressmen and point out to them
how many jobs in a given district depend on this arms industry and
on not withholding arms from Israel. In this way, Israel becomes
a direct factor in sustaining the U.S. military-industrial complex,
in maintaining jobs in the U.S., and in keeping congressmen and
other politicians in office.
With the kind of pro-Israeli activists who people the policymaking
ranks of the Bush administration, it has come to the point that
the U.S. gears much of its foreign policy to furthering Israel's
interests as much or more than to furthering our own interests.
Bush policymakers have as little interest in actually resolving
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as the voters in the Council on
Foreign Relations poll whom they are supposed to be leading; their
interest is in dealing with the conflict in whatever way Israeli
sees fit. One of the primary reasons we went to war in Iraq was
to benefit Israel. This reality is so frightening that it needs
to be trumpeted whenever motivations for the war are discussed.
The United States' own pursuit of global hegemony was obviously
another major motivation, as was oil, but U.S. and Israeli goals
in the Middle East are so intertwined that it is impossible to determine
where a policymaker like Paul Wolfowitz, for instance, or Donald
Rumsfeld or the many neo-conservatives in the Defense Department
stop thinking of Israeli interests and begin to think exclusively
of U.S. interests. Policy and policymakers are so closely interlinked
that there probably is no such point. This needs to be discussed
loudly and often.
One problem with treating Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians
as a sideshow, with no direct impact on U.S. interests, is that
the more Israel is ignored as a factor, as an ingredient in U.S.
empire-building, the stronger Israel becomes, the stronger its ties
to the military-industrial complex, the more it is able to stand
up to the United States and resist any U.S. demands -- in the peace
process for instance -- the more it is able to kill Palestinians,
pursue its territorial aggrandizement, and ultimately endanger the
United States. Everything Israel does in the Middle East is perceived
throughout the world, and accurately so, as having been condoned,
encouraged, and enabled by the United States, with the result that
any terrorists able to concoct an attack like September 11 will
target us before they will target Israel.
Another problem is that the entire anti-war and anti-empire movement
in the U.S. is split on the question of policy toward Israel, and
efforts to hide this split are widespread. Two different arguments,
both spurious, are made in favor of continuing the cover-up. The
first is that the U.S.-Israeli relationship is simply not a major
causal factor behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq or the U.S. desire
to concentrate its drive for global domination first and foremost
on the Middle East. Many Israeli and American-Jewish peace activists
firmly support this argument, and it cannot be denied that many
non-Jewish activists do also, although some of these may do so at
least in part for tactical reasons.
The second argument is completely tactical, and those who espouse
it openly recognize that fact. This argument alleges that unity
in the U.S. peace movement is important above all else, and that
we will weaken the movement irretrievably unless we ignore the controversial
Israel-Palestine problem. The fear is that media companies and publishers
will refuse to distribute documentary videos, films, books, and
articles if we challenge establishment positions on Israel and Palestine,
and that fewer people will watch or buy or read our documentaries
and writings. The rationalization is often put forward that there
are so many other issues on which we can attack the bellicose policies
of the U.S. that it is really not even necessary to deal with the
particular hot potato of the American relationship with Israel.
For starters, the argument goes, we have oil to talk about; the
wrongs of global domination; the immoral wars against "terrorism"
(which is nothing but a tactic) as self-servingly defined by Washington
and its allies; killings of thousands of innocents in Afghanistan
and Iraq that the U.S. refuses even to count; the injustices of
a U.S. version of economic globalization that has widened the gap
between rich and poor throughout the world; ever-expanding military
expenditures in the U.S.; more new American military bases almost
everywhere; continuing U.S. support for authoritarian governments
in the Arab world, Central Asia, and elsewhere; new nuclear weapons
produced by a blatantly hypocritical U.S. government futilely trying
at the same time to prevent unfriendly nations and non-state entities
from obtaining nukes, etc., etc., etc.
So, with so much to talk about, why bother
with one more issue that is exceedingly troublesome? Just ignore
the Israel-Palestine thing and the excessive pandering by both Republicans
and Democrats to a terrible right-wing Israeli government.
After all, criticizing any Israeli policy
comes too close to anti-Semitism, and that would destroy the peace
movement. So -- play on the team. At the same time, we must
still deplore, and at great length, acts against Israelis such as
the recent terrorism at Taba, whether committed by Palestinians,
by al Qaeda, or by anyone else, and we must be careful to avoid
serious criticism of any Israeli retaliation, even though that retaliation
may be on a scale two or three times greater than the original terrorism.
And of course it would also be better not to rile up Israel and
its AIPAC supporters by talking loudly about Israel's recent excessive
killings of Palestinians in Gaza -- many more than the number of
Israelis killed at Taba. Just let all that go. Unity of the peace
movement is far more important.
At a time when most Republican and Democratic leaders already pander
quite thoroughly to AIPAC and the present Israeli government, how
can we change the situation? First, those leaders of the peace movement
who believe such pandering is wrong should show some courage. They
should forget about unity with anyone who believes that present
U.S. policies toward Israel and Palestine are morally justifiable
and beneficial to future global peace and stability. Then, they
should also loudly and publicly announce their belief that criticizing
Israel's cruel and oppressive policies toward Palestinians is not
anti-Semitism, just as criticizing the present combined Republican
and Democratic policy of supporting Israel so completely is not
anti-Americanism. They should lead in the peace effort and cease
trying to achieve unity with anyone who believes, absurdly, that
criticism of any government's policies constitutes ethnic hatred.
Certainly, there are multiple aspects of U.S. foreign and military
policies that peace activists in this country should be working
to change. But none of the elements of U.S. global policies in the
list above is more important as a cause for hatred of U.S. policies
around the world, and therefore as a potential cause of future terrorism
against the U.S. and its allies, than the failure to impose meaningful
restraints on Israel's occupation and its behavior toward Palestinians.
By erasing U.S. policies toward Israel from the list of acceptable
targets for criticism, too many peace movement spokesmen inevitably
-- and sometimes perhaps unconsciously -- exaggerate the importance
of other U.S. policies. What has been exaggerated the most, in part
because it best suits the propaganda needs of Israel's Likud government,
is the U.S. relationship to, and the role of, authoritarian Arab
governments as a root cause of the September 11 terrorist acts.
This exaggeration particularly applies to the misplaced emphasis
on the alleged ties of the Saudi Arabian government to the events
of that date. The Saudi royal family's almost feudal rule, supported
for over half a century by the U.S., and the resulting alienation
of many average Saudis, particularly among the young, both from
the U.S. and from their own government's policies, clearly constitute
one -- although only one -- of the causes of terrorism against the
U.S. and its allies. But efforts by Israeli officials and friends
of Israel in the U.S. to magnify this as the single root cause above
all others began immediately after September 11 and have largely
Unfortunately, to take just one example, Michael
Moore and his film Fahrenheit 9/11 contributed substantially to
this success, both by devoting so much attention to the Saudis and
by ignoring U.S. support for Israel as a considerably more important
factor behind terrorism against the United States. Such distortions
have been close to universal in other recent films and academic
analyses of U.S. foreign policies as well, making it easier for
any administration to conclude that it can "win" or "solve"
the so-called war on terror while continuing to support Israel's
colonization of the West Bank to the hilt.
And in the meantime, the U.S. relationship with Israel continues
to be treated, at all levels of political discourse in the United
States, as a sideshow to larger strategic questions. This is extremely
dangerous. There will be no resolution to the war on terror and
no easing of the hatred of the United States by our own allies and
by the Arab and Muslim world, until there is a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict that gives as much justice to Palestinians as to Israelis.
We ignore the direct danger Israel poses to us at our own peril.
Our drive for empire already came back to bite us three years ago
on September 11, and it will come back again as long as we fail
to distinguish our own interests from Israel's.
Yet The campaign rhetoric of Bush and Kerry snores on, and neither
the candidates nor the media moderators of their so-called debates
have once raised the issue of justice for the Palestinians. The
sideshow recedes ever farther from the minds of Americans, even
as the likelihood mounts of an international explosion arising from
Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served
as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the CIA's
Office of Regional and Political Analysis. He is a contributor to
Imperial Crusades, CounterPunch's new history of the wars on Iraq
Kathleen Christison is a former CIA political analyst and has
worked on Middle East issues for 30 years. She is the author of
Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - A car bomb exploded
near Palestinian security headquarters in Gaza City after nightfall
Tuesday as security chief Moussa Arafat's convoy was leaving, but
he was not hurt, witnesses and security officials said.
The convoy was seen speeding away from the scene as security officers
fired submachine-guns in the air. Security officials said none of
the bodyguards were hurt. The booby-trapped car was destroyed in
the blast on the west side of the complex. Hospital officials said
a bystander was injured.
Nobody claimed responsibility and the Israeli military said it
had nothing to do with the blast. Arafat, a relative of Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat, was the target of an attack last year, when
he said Palestinian enemies fired a rocket at his office. Then too,
he escaped unharmed.
Moussa Arafat's appointment as overall commander of Gaza security
in July was torpedoed by riots and demonstrations in Gaza, as residents
complained that Moussa Arafat was involved in corruption and was
known for his cruelty.
Yasser Arafat reinstated the security official his relative was
to have replaced, but kept Moussa Arafat in a senior position.
Israel has killed dozens of Palestinian militants in air strikes
during four years of violence but has not targeted Palestinian security
DENVER - With just 21 days left until an election
in which every vote will count, the 9News I-Team has uncovered voter
registration fraud that could cause chaos on Election Day for hundreds,
possibly thousands of Colorado voters.
9News has discovered a record number of fraudulent voter-registrations
across the state. Secretary of State Donetta Davidson tells 9News
she is concerned about what the I-Team has uncovered and wants those
responsible prosecuted. "It has just gone rampant," she
told reporter Deborah Sherman in an interview Monday afternoon.
Most of the fraud has come from registration drives,
where people at grocery stores or on the streets ask you to sign
up. 9News has learned many workers have re-registered voters multiple
times by changing or making up information about them. 9News has
documented 719 cases of potentially fraudulent forms at county election
offices show fraudulent names, addresses, social security numbers
or dates of birth in Denver, Douglas, Adams, Boulder and Lake counties.
Information from other counties is still coming in.
Some voter registration application forms are completely bogus.
Others belong to legitimate voters, who have had one or two facts
changed that could affect their registration when they show up at
the polls November 2nd. Tom Stanislawski registered to vote six
years ago. But this summer, someone signed
him up again and changed his party affiliation. "My
concern would be I'd walk in November 2nd and be unable to vote,"
Some of the registration drive workers earn $2 per application
or about $10 an hour. One woman admitted to forging three people's
names on about 40 voter registration applications. Kym Cason says
she was helping her boyfriend earn more money from a get-out-the-vote
organization called ACORN or Association of Community Organizations
for Reform Now. ACORN works with low or moderate-income families
on housing issues. Cason said her extra registrations earned her
Gerald Obi says workers pressured him to keep registering to vote
so they too could earn extra cash. When asked how many times he
had registered this year, Obi said, "about 35 times."
ACORN's state director said they are victims of the fraud as well
and told 9News the group is cooperating with local investigators.
Ross Fitzgerald says the group has fired workers for the fraud.
"Our goal is to register as many people as we can," said
Fitzgerald. "If they're fraudulent, that hurts our numbers."
Clerk and Recorders from several counties met Monday with Secretary
of State Donetta Davidson to discuss this problem, and the problem
of felons registering to vote. "I have to question whether
we should be allowing people to accept money for voter registration,"
said Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Carole Murray.
Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson agreed and said she
will be looking at ways to reform the system.
Employees of a private voter registration company
allege that hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters who may think
they are registered will be rudely surprised on election day. The
company claims hundreds of registration forms were thrown in the
Anyone who has recently registered or re-registered to vote outside
a mall or grocery store or even government building may be affected.
The I-Team has obtained information about
an alleged widespread pattern of potential registration fraud aimed
at democrats. Thee focus of the story is a private registration
company called Voters Outreach of America, AKA America Votes.
The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for
the past few months, registering voters. It employed up to 300 part-time
workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former
employees of the company say that Voters Outreach of America only
wanted Republican registrations.
Two former workers say they personally witnessed
company supervisors rip up and trash registration forms signed by
"We caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them
to her assistant and he ripped them up right in front of us. I grabbed
some of them out of the garbage and she tells her assisatnt to get
those from me," said Eric Russell, former Voters Outreach employee.
Eric Russell managed to retrieve a pile of shredded paperwork including
signed voter registration forms, all from Democrats. We took them
to the Clark County Election Department and confirmed that they
had not, in fact, been filed with the county as required by law.
So the people on those forms who think they
will be able to vote on Election Day are sadly mistaken. We
attempted to speak to Voters Outreach but found that its office
has been rented out to someone else.
The landlord says Voters Outreach was evicted
for non-payment of rent. Another source
said the company has now moved on to Oregon where it is once again
registering voters. It's unknown how many registrations may
have been tossed out, but another ex-employee told Eyewitness News
she had the same suspicions when she worked there.
It's going to take a while to sort all of this out, but the immediate
concern for voters is to make sure you really are registered.
Call the Clark County Election Department at 455-VOTE orclick here
to see if you are registered.
The company has been largely, if not entirely funded,
by the Republican National Committee. Similar complaints have been
received in Reno where the registrar has asked the FBI to investigate.
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said Tuesday
it will consider whether the Ten Commandments may be displayed on
government property, ending a 25-year silence on a church-state
issue that has prompted bitter legal fights around the country.
Ten Commandments displays are common in town squares and courthouses
and on other government-owned land, including the Supreme Court.
A wall carving of Moses holding the tablets
is in the courtroom where justices will hear arguments in the case.
Courts around the country have splintered over
whether the exhibits violate the constitutional principle of separation
of church and state.
The disputes have led to emotional battles, such as one in Alabama
by Chief Justice Roy Moore, who lost his job after defying a federal
order to remove a 5,300-pound monument from the state courthouse.
The Supreme Court refused last week to help him get his job back.
But the justices agreed to address the constitutionality of displays
in Kentucky and Texas. The case probably will be argued in February
with a decision before July.
Supporters of the monuments celebrated the news.
"The Lord answers prayers," said former Judge-Executive
Jimmie Greene of McCreary County, Ky., which was ordered to remove
a display in the hallway of the county courthouse. Greene refused
to do the task himself.
"I am a law-abiding citizen, but there is
a higher power," Greene said. "I just could not remove
that sacred document. Could you think of a better reason to go to
jail than standing up in defense of the Ten Commandments?"
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church
and State said the court should block all government displays of
"It's clear that the Ten Commandments is a
religious document. Its display is appropriate in houses of worship
but not at the seat of government," Lynn said.
The last time the court dealt with the issue was 1980, when justices
banned the posting of Ten Commandments in public schools. That case
also was from Kentucky.
Mathew Staver of the conservative law group Liberty Counsel, attorney
for Kentucky counties in the current case, said the Supreme Court
has expected for a long time that a blockbuster religious
liberty case would come along.
"It's finally here," Staver said.
Officials in two Kentucky counties - McCreary and Pulaski - hung
framed copies of the Ten Commandments in their courthouses and added
other documents, such as the Magna Carta and the Declaration of
Independence, after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged
the display. The ACLU won and county officials are appealing the
David A. Friedman, general counsel for the Kentucky ACLU, said
people of different faiths follow different versions of the document.
"Especially in a courthouse, people should
not be made to feel like outsiders in their own community because
they may not share the prevailing religious view," he said.
In the Texas case, a homeless man, Thomas Van Orden, lost his lawsuit
to have a 6-foot granite monument removed from the state Capitol
grounds. The Fraternal Order of Eagles donated the exhibit to the
state in 1961, and it was installed about 75 feet from the Capitol
in Austin. The group gave scores of similar monuments to American
towns during the 1950s and '60s, and those have been the subjects
of multiple court fights.
Religion cases have been difficult for the Supreme Court. In June,
the court sidestepped a ruling on the constitutionality of the phrase
"under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.
"This is an issue that touches deep chords on both sides -
those who believe religious symbols should be part of our government
and those who believe the symbols shouldn't be part of our government,"
said Van Orden's attorney, Erwin Chemerinsky of Duke University.
LONDON - The war in Iraq has put neither
Iran nor North Korea off the idea of nuclear weapons and has "stimulated
terrorism", Hans Blix, the former United Nations chief arms
inspector in Iraq, said.
"You wouldn't expect any government to admit that they were
wrong," Blix told BBC radio. "I think, like everybody
else, that it is good that Saddam (Hussein) is gone. The world is
better off without Saddam.
"But the world is not any safer. If this was meant to be a
signal to terrorists to stop their activities, it has failed miserably,
it has stimulated terrorism.
"And it doesn't stop proliferation. The Iranians and North
Koreans, if they are up to that, they are not stopped by it.
"So I don't think that any of the aims, except
getting rid of Saddam himself, have succeeded."
Blix poured scorn on British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for justifying
the invasion of Iraq, originally based on the premise that Saddam
had weapons of mass destruction, on a now watered-down reason that
Saddam had the intention of producing such weaponry.
The chief US weapons hunter, Charles Duelfer, found in his 1,000-page
Iraq Survey Group report published last week that Saddam had destroyed
most of his chemical and biological weapons after his 1991 Gulf
War defeat and that his nuclear program had "progressively
But he said the Iraqi leader had hoped to renew his weapons quest
if sanctions were lifted.
"When you read Duelfer's report now you really wonder how
dangerous he was," Blix, a former Swedish foreign minister
who led the UN hunt for banned chemical and biological weapons in
Iraq before the March 2003 invasion, told the bBBC.
"OK, he claimed that there were programmes to produce weapons
of mass destruction. But he also takes a step back from this and
says there were no documented programmes.
"What he has got out of interrogation of
various people who worked with Saddam was rather that 'well he wanted
to, that was probably his intention' etc, but these are straws I
think for Jack Straw to cling to."
Blix has previously criticized British Prime Minister
Tony Blair's government for "hyping" pre-war intelligence
about Iraq and denounced US President George W. Bush's war as boosting
terrorism and causing more suffering than Saddam's dictatorial regime
Blair admitted in a Labour party speech earlier this month that
pre-war claims about Saddam's threat were wrong, but he and his
closest ally Bush have staunchly defended taking Iraq to war.
LONDON (AFP) - German Defence Minister Peter
Struck appeared in an interview with Britain's Financial Times newspaper
to soften his country's stance on Iraq, hinting that Germany might
deploy troops if conditions there change.
"At present I rule out the deployment of German troops in
Iraq," Struck told the FT, before hinting there may be circumstances
under which his government could send troops.
"In general, however, there is no one who
can predict developments in Iraq in such a way that he could make
such a binding statement (about the future)," he told the newspaper.
Germany, like France and Russia, was strongly against the US-led
invasion of Iraq, and has declined to supply any military personnel
to serve with the coalition.
Struck indicated Germany's support for a proposal by the US Democratic
presidential candidate, John Kerry, to convene an international
conference on Iraq.
"This is a very sensible proposal," he told the FT.
"The situation in Iraq can only be cleared up when all those
involved sit together at one table.
"Germany has taken on responsibilities in Iraq, including
financial ones; this would naturally justify our involvement in
such a conference," he was quoted as saying.
Struck's comments provide support for Kerry's claim that he could
persuade countries that opposed the war to work in Iraq, a claim
ridiculed by US President George W. Bush.
"I know how these people think," Bush
told the audience last week in the second of three televised presidential
debates between the two men.
"I meet with them all the time ... They're
not going to follow an American president who says follow me into
a mistake," he said.
Depsite German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's staunch opposition
to the war in Iraq, Struck and other German officials reportedly
said that developments in Iraq meant the position over troops was
under constant review.
In the next two months Germany will train hundreds of Iraqi drivers,
explosives experts and others in the United Arab Emirates and Germany,
the FT said.
VIENNA (AFP) - Equipment and materials that
could be used to make nuclear weapons, in some cases entire buildings
housing sophisticated technology, are disappearing from Iraq, the
UN nuclear watchdog has reported to the UN.
In a letter to the UN Security Council, International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei said he was
concerned about the "widespread and apparently systematic dismantlement
that has taken place at sites previously relevant to Iraq's nuclear
program" under deposed dictator Saddam Hussein.
So-called dual-use equipment - with peaceful as
well as weapons-making applications -- is disappearing, ElBaradei
said, raising fears terrorists could be getting their hands on it.
The October 1 letter to the United Nations was posted on the IAEA
web site Tuesday.
The IAEA, whose inspectors left Iraq before the US-led war to
topple Saddam Hussein began in March 2003 and have not been allowed
to return, now must rely for its reporting on "open sources
and commercial satellite imagery," ElBaradei said.
He said "the imagery shows in many instances the dismantlement
of entire buildings that housed high precision equipment (such as
flow forming, milling and turning machines; electron beam welders;
coordinate measurement machines) formerly monitored and tagged with
Meanwhile, material such as high-strength aluminium has also vanished
from open storage areas, he said.
While some military equipment in Iraq later turned up in scrap
yards abroad, "none of the high-quality dual-use equipment
or materials ... (have) been found," ElBaradei said.
"The disappearance of such equipment and
materials may be of proliferation significance," ElBaradei
US President George W. Bush justified the war by saying Saddam's
push for weapons of mass destruction was one reason for launching
But a new report last week from chief US weapons inspector Charles
Duelfer concluded that Saddam had stopped trying to build weapons
of mass destruction after international inspections were begun following
the 1991 Gulf war.
ElBaradei reports every six months to the Security Council since
the IAEA still has a UN mandate to investigate Iran's nuclear program.
IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said that neither US authorities
in Iraq nor Iraq government officials have reported to the agency
about nuclear facilities in the country.
ElBaradei said in his letter that the IAEA needed "to be
provided by all states with information" relevant to the agency's
But Gwozdecky said: "We're not getting information from authorities
on what's happening."
He said that when the IAEA had inspectors in
Iraq, it "had all of this stuff under close scrutiny and Iraq
did regularly report to us whenever there were changes in inventory."
"Iraq still has an obligation to report to us whenever there
is a change in inventories, but this has not been happening,"
Military denies that illness of pilots,
crew caused by squalene
A former Dover Air Force Base commander says military officials
used his troops as guinea pigs in illegal medical experiments under
the government's controversial anthrax vaccination program.
After some of his troops in their 20s and 30s began developing
arthritis, neurological problems, memory
loss and incapacitating migraine headaches, Col. Felix Grieder
took a drastic step. In 1999, he halted the vaccination program
in Dover, a move he said ended his military career. The decorated
Air Force colonel has spent the past five years trying to discover
the truth about the vaccine program in Dover, where he commanded
"In my opinion, there was illegal medical experimentation
going on," says Grieder, who lives in Texas.
Grieder has interviewed scores of his former pilots and crew who
say they have had life-altering reactions to the vaccine.
"They would have no reason to lie. I believed them,"
he recalls. "I wanted to talk to them face to face."
Dover is now ground zero in the controversy
because troops there were injected with anthrax vaccine containing
squalene, a fat-like substance that occurs naturally in the body.
Squalene boosts a vaccine's effect, but some
scientists say injecting even trace amounts of it into the body
can cause serious illness.
Government officials have acknowledged
that the Department of Defense secretly tested squalene on human
beings in Thailand. Grieder believes they did the same in
In a March 1999 report, the General Accounting Office accused
the Defense Department of a "pattern of deception" and
said the military confirmed human tests involving squalene only
after investigators found out about them.
The Department of Defense says vaccine sent to
Dover was accidentally contaminated with squalene. Grieder and other
officers believe, however, that it was intentionally introduced
to test pilots and crew in Dover.
The Defense Department made anthrax inoculations mandatory for
all active-duty military personnel in 1998. The immunization order,
which remains in effect today, calls for six shots over an 18-month
period. Defense officials deny that military personnel were illegally
used as guinea pigs to test a vaccine containing squalene.
But a News Journal investigation raises significant questions
about the military's denials and the safety of the vaccine:
• Of the first 50 batches of vaccine
distributed worldwide for the mandatory inoculations, only five
contained squalene - and those were
all shipped to Dover. After denying for more than a year
that there was squalene in the vaccinations given at Dover, the
Air Force admitted in 2000 that it had been wrong.
• The five batches of vaccine sent to Dover contained increasing
concentrations of squalene, Food and Drug Administration tests show.
Some scientists say the pattern of squalene
concentration could indicate that the military was measuring the
troops' response to different dosages. Professor Dave Smith,
a microbiologist at the University of Delaware, is one: "I'm
certainly not saying they did or didn't do it. But you have to ask
yourself, if you have five data points like that, what are the odds
of that happening?"
• The Defense Department has rejected the evidence that
the vaccine ever contained squalene. It has steadfastly contended
that FDA technicians introduced squalene into the vaccine test via
a "dirty fingerprint." The FDA has refused to explain
its laboratory procedures for the tests. The military has never
retested its stockpile of vaccine for squalene, claiming that, even
if the amounts of squalene detected by the FDA were accurate, the
concentrations were too low to affect human health. The department
continues to require the vaccination for all military personnel
- active duty, reserve and National Guard.
• Tulane University professor Robert Garry testified before
Congress that even trace amounts of squalene
injected into the human body suppress the immune system.
In an interview with The News Journal, he said the body's response
can cause some young and middle-age people to get illnesses normally
associated with aging.
• Tulane University professor Pamela Asa and Baylor College
of Medicine professor Dorothy Lewis have concluded that squalene's
possible links to serious human illnesses should be studied further.
The military has dismissed Asa's studies as inconclusive, although
it has conducted no follow-up research on the health effects of
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan said on Tuesday it successfully
test-fired a medium-range, nuclear-capable missile that could hit
most cities in neighbouring India, but defence officials said the
exercise was not intended as a message to the South Asian rival.
'The new version of the Ghauri V missile, which was test-fired
today, has a range of 1,500km, and can hit most cities in India,'
a senior defence official told The Associated Press.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Pakistani
authorities had informed India and other neighbouring countries
beforehand about the test, and that it was not aimed at inflaming
tensions in South Asia.
The defence official said Islamabad was not sending 'any wrong
signal to India' by test-firing the missile at a time when the two
nations are pursuing peace talks aimed at resolving more than a
half-century of tensions.
Pakistan's military released a statement confirming there had been
a successful test - part of a planned series of such tests - of
the Ghauri V missile and that it showed the weapon is 'based on
the highest standards of scientific and superior technology advancement'.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and other civilian and military dignitaries
witnessed the launch ceremony, the statement said.
Pakistan became a declared nuclear power on May 28, 1998, when
it conducted underground nuclear tests in response to earlier tests
carried out by India.
The two countries have a history of bitter relations and have fought
three wars - two of them over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir
- since independence from Britain in 1947.
TOKYO (Reuters) -- Japan will host a multinational
naval exercise on October 26 as part of an initiative aimed at clamping
down on the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), a Japanese
newspaper said on Monday.
Citing unidentified sources, the Asahi Shimbun said the
United States, Australia and France would also take part in the
exercise, which is part of the U.S.-led Proliferation Security
Another 14 nations, including Russia, will participate as observers
in the drill, which is to be held in waters near Tokyo Bay, the
Japan had urged China and South Korea to take part, but they are
thought to be staying away for fear of offending North Korea, which
has expressed anger over the PSI, Asahi said.
In the exercise, a Japanese navy patrol aircraft will report to
vessels of the participating countries that it has discovered two
suspicious ships, Asahi said.
Special personnel units will be transferred
by helicopter from their vessels to the suspicious ships, where
they will practice searching for and seizing weapons of mass destruction,
the paper said.
Japan is limiting its navy's participation to information transmission
to avoid irritating neighboring countries. The Japanese Coast Guard
will take a more active role in the drill, the Asahi said.
The October 26 exercise will be followed by a smaller-scale one
the following day, in which Japanese Navy personnel will board a
vessel and search for weapons, but will not themselves be armed,
the paper said.
Japan sent a Coast Guard vessel to the first interdiction exercise
held in the Coral Sea off Australia's northeast coast in September
last year and has sent military and Coast Guard observers to various
other PSI drills.
WELDON SPRING, Mo. - For more than a year,
Denise Brock has been trying to win government compensation for
workers who were exposed to high levels of radiation while helping
to create the atom bomb and Cold War-era weapons.
Now Brock has her eye on another kind of recognition for their
Brock is working with the Department of Energy to build an exhibit
that will tell the story of more than 3,500 Missourians who worked
on the U.S. atom bomb program and at Cold War-era nuclear sites
in St. Louis, Weldon Spring and Hematite, Mo.
"It's bittersweet," said Brock, whose father died of
cancer in the 1960s after working at the old Mallinckrodt Chemical
Co. plant in St. Louis, which produced uranium dioxide for the atom
The tribute should be completed by year's end and will become a
permanent display at the Weldon Spring Interpretive Center. [...]
A four-year-old federal law requires the government to compensate
workers in the nuclear weapons industry, or their survivors, for
job-related cancer or other diseases. Workers from about 350 sites
nationwide, including 10 in Missouri, may qualify.
But critics call the system burdensome and time-consuming. Claimants
must show proof of employment as well as exposure to radiation,
even though records often are missing or were never kept.
Tony Windisch, who suffers from cancer, said he couldn't serve
in World War II, so instead he worked on the Manhattan Project in
St. Louis, helping to create the atomic bomb that annihilated Hiroshima
Now, as he sees his co-workers dying from multiple
cancers, and their survivors struggling to get compensation, he
feels betrayed by a government that he says didn't adequately protect
them from radiation exposure.
"To find out at this late date, not only did
they destroy (workplace) documents, but treated us as guinea pigs,
that's what really angers me," said Windisch, 78.
SEATTLE - Molten rock that has been rising
inside Mount St. Helens after weeks of earthquakes and steam eruptions
has finally pushed its way to the surface, forming a new lava dome
just behind the existing one in the volcano's crater.
The quakes subsided as the new lava emerged Monday and cooled in
the open air, suggesting molten rock from deep inside the Earth
had found the path of least resistance by going around the old dome,
Jon Major, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Cascades
Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., said Tuesday.
Unlike the dramatic rivers of red-hot lava from Hawaii's volcano,
St. Helens' extrusion of new rock was subtle and difficult to see
from outside the crater. A lazy plume of steam rose slowly from
the mountain for much of Tuesday.
The last dome-building activity at St. Helens began in the months
after its deadly May 1980 eruption and lasted six years. Layers
of emerging rock gradually formed a rocky dome nearly 1,000 feet
tall at the center of the crater floor. The top of the new dome
is almost level with the old one just to the north.
The mountain had been shaking since Sept. 23, with periods of sharp
jolts - up to magnitude 3.3 - occurring as often as four times a
minute at the height of seismic activity.
"The inference was that those were breaking a pathway"
through rock, Major said.
Explosive eruptions are still possible and often
follow lava extrusion, said John Pallister, a volcanologist with
The 1980 eruption left 57 people dead, leveled trees for miles
around and covered much of the Pacific Northwest with ash. It was
"barely a five" on the eight-level Volcanic Explosive
Index, Major said.
At this point, scientists believe there is a 10 percent chance
of a level four or larger eruption at the 8,364-foot mountain, he
said. The area immediately around the mountain is closed.
Any explosive eruption would likely go straight
up, Major said, blowing ash and steam tens of thousands of feet
high. That could cause concern for aircraft and cars in the area,
but nothing like 1980's lateral blast.
A moderate earthquake occurred at 18:14:19
(UTC) on Monday, October 11, 2004. The magnitude 5.9 event has been
located in VANUATU. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)
A moderate earthquake occurred at 22:03:46
(UTC) on Monday, October 11, 2004. The magnitude 5.7 event has been
located in the SAMOA ISLANDS REGION. (This event has been reviewed
by a seismologist.)
A moderate earthquake occurred at 15:29:01
(UTC) on Tuesday, October 12, 2004. The magnitude 5.5 event has
been located in the FIJI REGION. The hypocentral depth was poorly
constrained. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)
An unexplained and unprecedented rise in carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere two years running has raised fears that
the world may be on the brink of runaway global warming.
Scientists are baffled why the quantity of the main greenhouse
gas has leapt in a two-year period and are concerned that the Earth's
natural systems are no longer able to absorb as much as in the past.
The findings will be discussed tomorrow by the government's chief
scientist, Dr David King, at the annual Greenpeace business lecture.
Measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere have been continuous for
almost 50 years at Mauna Loa Observatory, 12,000ft up a mountain
in Hawaii, regarded as far enough away from any carbon dioxide source
to be a reliable measuring point.
In recent decades CO2 increased on average by 1.5 parts per million
(ppm) a year because of the amount of oil, coal and gas burnt, but
has now jumped to more than 2 ppm in 2002 and 2003.
Above or below average rises in CO2 levels in the atmosphere have
been explained in the past by natural events.
When the Pacific warms up during El Niño - a disruptive
weather pattern caused by weakening trade winds - the amount of
carbon dioxide rises dramatically because warm oceans emit CO2 rather
than absorb it.
But scientists are puzzled because over the past
two years, when the increases have been 2.08 ppm and 2.54 ppm respectively,
there has been no El Niño.
Charles Keeling, the man who began the observations in 1958 as
a young climate scientist, is now 74 and still working in the field.
He said yesterday: "The rise in the annual rate to above
two parts per million for two consecutive years is a real phenomenon.
"It is possible that this is merely a reflection of natural
events like previous peaks in the rate, but it is also possible
that it is the beginning of a natural process unprecedented in the
Analysts stress that it is too early to draw any long-term conclusions.
But the fear held by some scientists is
that the greater than normal rises in C02 emissions mean that instead
of decades to bring global warming under control we may have only
a few years. At worst, the figures
could be the first sign of the breakdown in the Earth's natural
systems for absorbing the gas.
That would herald the so-called "runaway
greenhouse effect", where the planet's soaring temperature
becomes impossible to contain. As the icecaps melt, less
sunlight is refected back into space from ice and snow, and bare
rocks begin to absorb more heat. This is already happening.
One of the predictions made by climate scientists in the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change is that as the Earth warms, the absorption
of carbon dioxide by vegetation - known as "carbon sink"
- is reduced.
Dr Keeling said since there was no sign of a dramatic increase
in the amount of fossil fuels being burnt in 2002 and 2003, the
rise "could be a weakening of the Earth's carbon sinks, associated
with the world warming, as part of a climate change feedback mechanism.
It is a cause for concern'.'
Tom Burke, visiting professor at Imperial College London, and
a former special adviser to the former Tory environment minister
John Gummer, warned: "We're watching
the clock and the clock is beginning to tick faster, like it seems
to before a bomb goes off." [...]
The heatwave of last year that is now believed to have claimed
at least 30,000 lives across the world was so out of the ordinary
that many scientists believe it could only have been caused by global
But Dr Cox, like other scientists, is concerned that too much
might be read into two years' figures. "Five or six years on
the trot would be very difficult to explain," he said.
Dr Piers Forster, senior research fellow of the University of
Reading's Department of Meteorology, said: "If this is a rate
change, of course it will be very significant. It will be of enormous
concern, because it will imply that all our
global warming predictions for the next hundred years or so will
have to be redone."
David J Hofmann of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
centre, which also studies CO2, was more cautious.
"I don't think an increase of 2 ppm for two years in a row
is highly significant - there are climatic perturbations that can
make this occur," he said. "But the absence of a known
climatic event does make these years unusual.
"Based on those two years alone I would say it was too soon
to say that a new trend has been established, but it warrants close
Tracking newly discovered asteroids and comets
to identify their orbits is the work of a small number of observatories.
Yet UK students, using the Faulkes Telescope North - a remotely
operated research quality telescope dedicated for educational use
- will now be swelling these ranks. The
students have taken such accurate data of a number of asteroids
that the telescope has been awarded an observatory code and can
now submit official data to the international body that monitors
asteroids and comets, the International Astronomical Union's
(IAU's) Minor Planet Centre.
The students, at King's School in Canterbury, have been aided
by their teacher Dr Andrew Taylor and Dr Lothar Kurtze, from Technische
Universität in Darmstadt. Over the period of a month, several
asteroids were observed to demonstrate the high quality of the images
and the telescope's ability to accurately track asteroids, an area
of research called astrometry.
Dr Andrew Taylor says, "It's great to be working alongside
professional astronomers, and using the Faulkes Telescope North
is extremely simple over the internet. The students are thrilled
to be making a valuable contribution in this important area of research."
In achieving the IAU code, users of the Faulkes Telescope North
can now follow in the steps of Star Trek Voyager's Seven of Nine,
head of the Astrometrics Lab. She uses astrometry to plot courses
for the starship to avoid hazardous areas and enemies! By using
the Faulkes Telescope Project students can help provide astrometric
information about the orbits of potentially hazardous asteroids
Most asteroids are discovered by a limited number of search projects
which are then observed by amateur astronomers using fairly small
telescopes. All new discoveries must have 'follow-up' observations
made in order to determine accurately the asteroid's orbit around
the Sun. The follow-up observations are vital and using the new
observatory code this can now be carried out by UK schools. The
Faulkes Telescope Project and the Spaceguard Centre have jointly
developed a programme where asteroids can be tracked, including
those objects which are too small and faint to be seen with small
Jay Tate, Director of the Spaceguard Centre says, "This is
a tremendous achievement for the Faulkes Telescope Project and the
students and teachers that have carried out the work. The UK can
now, for the first time, make a very significant contribution to
the global asteroid tracking network, and it will be schools around
the country that will be doing real, cutting edge work that equals
that done by professionals!"
Anyone using the Faulkes Telescope North can search for new asteroids
or make follow-up observations of recent discoveries and can now
get them officially recognised. This presents excellent opportunities
for not only schools but also the amateur astronomy community who
otherwise may not be able to access such state-of-the-art telescopes.
Currently there are only six working observatories in the UK which
have this honour and none of the telescopes can compete with the
size and capability of the Faulkes Telescope on the Hawaiian island
of Maui which is fully robotic and has a 2m diameter primary mirror.
TOKYO -- It's believed to be Japan's biggest-ever
Seven people, four young men and three young women, have been found
slumped over dead in a van outside Tokyo. Four charcoal stoves were
also in the van -- investigators think the young people died of
carbon monoxide poisoning.
In a separate case, two women apparently took their lives in a
car at a temple about 60 miles from Tokyo.
The nine deaths are setting off alarm bells in a country with one
of the highest suicide rates in the world.
Some pacts have been made by people who meet at Internet Web sites
devoted to discussions about death. One expert theorizes that group
suicides could be on the rise because "young people don't have
a sense of reality about death."
The expert said young Japanese are not exposed to death as much
as in previous generations as fewer relatives die around them.
| A ROYAL Australian Airforce F1-11
has been blamed for a sonic boom which shook coastal areas of south-east
Queensland this morning.
The roof-shuddering boom was reported just before 10am by residents
in Brisbane's bayside suburbs of Clontarf, Deception Bay and Redcliffe
and as far north as Coolum on the Sunshine Coast, sparking fears
of an earthquake.
Defence spokesman Paul Lineham said the F1-11 had been conducting
engine tests about 60 nautical miles off the coast in a designated
Mr Lineham said it was highly unusual for the "boom"
to travel so far and it had most probably travelled in an inversion
layer between two different temperature levels.
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