Article - High Strangeness
Article - The Blair Belief Project
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
As most readers are aware, the main purpose of the Signs of the
Times page is to uncover and present the truth - to as great an
extent as we can uncover it - about our world, the nature of the
people that inhabit it, and the many and varied groups involved
in attempting to control it. In the interests of objectivity and
a deeper understanding of the dynamics at work, it may be useful
for us, at this particular point in time, to stop for a minute and
consider the state and nature of human existence on our planet at
There are approximately 6 billion of us on this planet. The lives
and fortunes of this 6 billion people are directed in various ways
by a relatively small group of elected or unelected individuals
who, together, make up what is called "government".
No individual or group alive today can lay claim to having come
up with the idea that an individual or a small group should be in
charge of everybody else. All of us were born into a world where
some form of government or another already existed, including those
individuals who, during their lifetime, became part of the ruling
class. There is obviously a power - a "line of force"
- behind these governments, but we will leave that aspect of the
question aside for the moment. For now, we want to look at very
There are two possible explanations as to why some form of government
or another - a ruling class vis a vis the masses of humanity - has
existed now for many generations.
The first explanation is the argument that it is fundamental to
human nature to look to a leader or leaders to take and enact decisions
on behalf of the larger group. The argument goes that, due to another
fundamental aspect of human nature - the tendency towards service
to self - leadership by an individual or small group is necessary
to ensure that a structured society, even the most primitive, can
succeed without descending into anarchy, violence and survival of
the fittest, and that even those humans who wish that it were not
so, innately understand this and therefore willingly embrace a hierarchy
as a necessary evil. Leadership, or government, then, is a structure
that is put in place essentially to protect the people from themselves
while maintaining the structure of society for the benefit of all,
and places power into the hands of the few who present themselves
as most able to do the job.
Let us notice this important fact: by and large in recent history,
those that have presented themselves, or have been presented by
others, as being fit for the job of leadership, have been elected
or selected as a result of their own claims, or the claims
of others, as to their competence rather than due to any stunningly
evident leadership qualities. That is to say, society is too large
for direct contact and intimate knowledge of the leaders by the
people, so we end up having to trust their claims or the claims
of their pals.
This, of course, leads to the question of who will protect the
people from the leaders and regulate their actions if such a need
This issue does not seem to be provided for in any practical or
rational way, and the 'governees' are left to paradoxically hope
that the leaders somehow possess, or will develop, the benevolent
qualities befitting those who aspire to positions of power.
The paradox is, of course, in the fact that the lack of these benevolent
qualities in humans in general, including the leaders, is what creates
the need for leaders in the first place!
The second explanation, while accepting that human beings tend
towards self service, proclaims that it is not by any means a 'black
and white' issue and that there exists also an altruistic aspect
to human nature, if only in potential. Furthermore, it is proposed
that the degree to which self centeredness and altruism are manifested
can vary greatly from person to person. It is further argued that
there exists the possibility that, if the human potential for altruism
were to be cultivated, a very different social structure might have
a chance to develop. With this as its basis, the second explanation
asserts that the concept that a few must naturally govern the many
is not necessarily true and, in fact, is most often promoted by
those in whom the service to self nature is strongest.
Indeed, it can be convincingly argued that, for those people of
a predominantly self-serving nature, the first explanation is in
fact very true, but only for them, and it is in this idea that a
foundational problem of our existence arises.
In a world where some people possess the potential for service
to others, and some do not, those that do not will, by their very
nature, be able to provide false evidence that the first
explanation is the truth, that anarchy does indeed result from a
lack of leaders, which then precludes the possibility that anything
other than a hierarchical structured society can ever exist. Furthermore,
and again as a result of their predominating service to self nature,
we see that it is from the ranks of these people that the few that
rule the many are most often drawn. Some might also call such a
scenario "catch 22".
Another strategy is to agree that mankind is able to evolve and
develop the altruistic seed within, and then propose that this is
best done by a small elite who knows best what altruism really means.
Synarchy is one form of this strategy.
By the beginning of the 21st century, the process of electing leaders
and governing the masses by the few has become so refined as to
be virtually an automated procedure (the 2000 US presidential elections
being a case in point). Those predisposed to self-serving ideals
join and rise up through the ranks of the existing leaders and continue
the job of governing the many. A natural and closed clique among
the leaders results, and today's citizenry, whose ancestors long
ago relinquished power to what has today become a self-perpetuating
organism, must simply sit, wait, hope, and ultimately lie to themselves
in order to believe that their leaders will act in the best interests
Having said that, the "best interests of all" from the
point of view of the leaders, is to maintain the status quo, the
status quo being that the many continue to believe that their leaders
really are acting for the good of all, even when their innate human
nature leads them to act only in their own interests. This naturally
forces those in government to resort to acts of deception in order
to maintain the illusion as they go about the job of serving their
The people however are not completely denuded of any resources
to search for and uncover the truth about the real intention of
their leaders. Deception is only an attempt to hide an already existent
truth, it does not wipe out the existence of the truth. As such,
those citizens of a diligent and truth-loving disposition can, with
enough effort and desire, still discover evidence to corroborate
the truth of the idea that was lost to our ancestors - that those
who actively seek and attain political or government office are,
by their nature, generally unfit for it. Democracy merely enlarged
the pool from which psychopaths and self-centered people could be
brought into the ruling elite.
We see these games of deception going on every day in the news.
The invasion of Iraq and the lies used to justify this act - criminal
under international law - are but one example. The stories told
by the Israelis to justify the murder of Palestinian children is
another horrifying example.
Now that we are all happily unburdened by the indecision over whether
or not our leaders "would do that", and are abundantly
furnished with the proof of logical reasoning which shows that,
by their very nature, they would indeed and always have "done
that", we can confront objectively the events of September
11th, 2001 and it's aftermath.
There exists copious amounts of evidence which strongly suggests
that the WTC and Pentagon attacks were but one more deceptive act
in a long history of deceptive acts by our leaders. That evidence
is available for all to see on this and other sites. However, we
understand that some of our readers, being in some respects still
under the sway of government propaganda, will not yet be ready to
put their faith in the writings of "conspiracy theorists".
For this reason, today we will present verified, historically accurate,
evidence which shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that leaders and
governments have time and again carried out attacks against their
own citizens and those of other coutries in order to further their
own self-serving goals, and that they have subsequently done all
in their power to cover up the evidence.
In his new exposé of
the National Security Agency entitled Body of Secrets, author James
Bamford highlights a set of proposals on Cuba by the Joint Chiefs
of Staff codenamed OPERATION NORTHWOODS.
This document, titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention
in Cuba” was provided by the JCS to Secretary of Defense Robert
McNamara on March 13, 1962, as the key component of Northwoods.
Written in response to a request from the Chief of the Cuba Project,
Col. Edward Lansdale, the Top Secret memorandum describes U.S. plans
to covertly engineer various pretexts that
would justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba. These proposals -
part of a secret anti-Castro program known as Operation Mongoose
- included staging the assassinations of Cubans living in the United
States, developing a fake “Communist
Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities
and even in Washington,” including “sink[ing] a boatload
of Cuban refugees (real or simulated),” faking
a Cuban airforce attack on a civilian jetliner, and concocting a
“Remember the Maine” incident by blowing up a U.S. ship
in Cuban waters and then blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage.
Bamford himself writes that Operation Northwoods “may be the
most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government.”
ago, it all seemed very clear.
"American Planes Hit North Vietnam After
Second Attack on Our Destroyers; Move Taken to Halt New Aggression",
announced a Washington Post headline on Aug. 5, 1964.
That same day, the front page of the New York Times reported: "President
Johnson has ordered retaliatory action against gunboats and 'certain
supporting facilities in North Vietnam' after renewed attacks against
American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin."
But there was no "second attack" by North
Vietnam -- no "renewed attacks against American destroyers."
By reporting official claims as absolute truths, American journalism
opened the floodgates for the bloody Vietnam War.
A pattern took hold: continuous government lies passed on by pliant
mass media...leading to over 50,000 American deaths and millions
of Vietnamese casualties.
The official story was that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched
an "unprovoked attack" against a U.S. destroyer on "routine
patrol" in the Tonkin Gulf on Aug. 2 -- and that North Vietnamese
PT boats followed up with a "deliberate attack" on a pair
of U.S. ships two days later.
The truth was very different.
Rather than being on a routine patrol Aug. 2, the U.S. destroyer
Maddox was actually engaged in aggressive intelligence-gathering
maneuvers -- in sync with coordinated attacks on North Vietnam by
the South Vietnamese navy and the Laotian air force.
"The day before, two attacks on North Vietnam...had taken
place," writes scholar Daniel C. Hallin. Those assaults were
"part of a campaign of increasing military pressure on the
North that the United States had been pursuing since early 1964."
On the night of Aug. 4, the Pentagon proclaimed that a second attack
by North Vietnamese PT boats had occurred earlier that day in the
Tonkin Gulf -- a report cited by President Johnson as he went on
national TV that evening to announce a momentous escalation in the
war: air strikes against North Vietnam.
But Johnson ordered U.S. bombers to "retaliate"
for a North Vietnamese torpedo attack that never happened.
Prior to the U.S. air strikes, top officials in Washington had
reason to doubt that any Aug. 4 attack by North Vietnam had occurred.
Cables from the U.S. task force commander in the Tonkin Gulf, Captain
John J. Herrick, referred to "freak weather effects,"
"almost total darkness" and an "overeager sonarman"
who "was hearing ship's own propeller beat."
One of the Navy pilots flying overhead that night was squadron
commander James Stockdale, who gained fame later as a POW and then
Ross Perot's vice presidential candidate. "I
had the best seat in the house to watch that event," recalled
Stockdale a few years ago, "and our destroyers were just shooting
at phantom targets -- there were no PT boats there.... There was
nothing there but black water and American fire power."
In 1965, Lyndon Johnson commented: "For
all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there."
But Johnson's deceitful speech of Aug. 4, 1964, won accolades from
editorial writers. The president, proclaimed
the New York Times, "went to the American people last night
with the somber facts." The Los Angeles Times urged Americans
to "face the fact that the Communists, by their attack on American
vessels in international waters, have themselves escalated the hostilities."
An exhaustive new book, The War Within: America's Battle Over Vietnam,
begins with a dramatic account of the Tonkin Gulf incidents. In
an interview, author Tom Wells told us that American
media "described the air strikes that Johnson launched in response
as merely `tit for tat' -- when in reality they reflected plans
the administration had already drawn up for gradually increasing
its overt military pressure against the North."
Why such inaccurate news coverage? Wells points to the media's
"almost exclusive reliance on U.S. government officials as
sources of information" -- as well as "reluctance to question
official pronouncements on 'national security issues.'"
Daniel Hallin's classic book The "Uncensored War" observes
that journalists had "a great deal of
information available which contradicted the official account [of
Tonkin Gulf events]; it simply wasn't used. The day before
the first incident, Hanoi had protested the attacks on its territory
by Laotian aircraft and South Vietnamese gunboats."
What's more, "It was generally known...that `covert' operations
against North Vietnam, carried out by South Vietnamese forces with
U.S. support and direction, had been going on for some time."
In the absence of independent journalism, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
-- the closest thing there ever was to a declaration of war against
North Vietnam -- sailed through Congress on Aug. 7. (Two courageous
senators, Wayne Morse of Oregon and Ernest Gruening of Alaska, provided
the only "no" votes.) The resolution authorized the president
"to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against
the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression."
The rest is tragic history.
Nearly three decades later, during the Gulf War, columnist
Sydney Schanberg warned journalists not to forget "our unquestioning
chorus of agreeability when Lyndon Johnson bamboozled us with his
fabrication of the Gulf of Tonkin incident."
Schanberg blamed not only the press but also "the apparent
amnesia of the wider American public."
And he added: "We Americans are the
ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this
time the government is telling us the truth."
| An Interview with Robert B. Stinnett
by Douglas Cirignano
On November 25, 1941 Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto sent a radio
message to the group of Japanese warships that would attack Pearl
Harbor on December 7. Newly released naval records prove that from
November 17 to 25 the United States Navy intercepted eighty-three
messages that Yamamoto sent to his carriers. Part of the November
25 message read: “…the task force, keeping its movements
strictly secret and maintaining close guard against submarines and
aircraft, shall advance into Hawaiian waters, and upon the very
opening of hostilities shall attack the main force of the United
States fleet in Hawaii and deal it a mortal blow…”
One might wonder if the theory that President Franklin Roosevelt
had a foreknowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack would have been alluded
to in this summer’s movie, Pearl Harbor. Since World War II
many people have suspected that Washington knew the attack was coming.
When Thomas Dewey was running for president against Roosevelt in
1944 he found out about America’s ability to intercept Japan’s
radio messages, and thought this knowledge would enable him to defeat
the popular FDR. In the fall of that year,
Dewey planned a series of speeches charging FDR with foreknowledge
of the attack. Ultimately, General George Marshall, then Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, persuaded Dewey not to make the speeches.
Japan’s naval leaders did not realize America had cracked
their codes, and Dewey’s speeches could have sacrificed America’s
code-breaking advantage. So, Dewey said nothing, and in November
FDR was elected president for the fourth time.
Now, though, according to Robert Stinnett, author of Simon &
Schuster’s Day Of Deceit, we have the proof. Stinnett’s
book is dedicated to Congressman John Moss, the author of America’s
Freedom of Information Act. According to
Stinnett, the answers to the mysteries of Pearl Harbor can be found
in the extraordinary number of documents he was able to attain through
Freedom of Information Act requests. Cable after cable of decryptions,
scores of military messages that America was intercepting, clearly
showed that Japanese ships were preparing for war and heading straight
for Hawaii. Stinnett, an author, journalist, and World War II veteran,
spent sixteen years delving into the National Archives. He poured
over more than 200,000 documents, and conducted dozens of interviews.
This meticulous research led Stinnet
to a firmly held conclusion: FDR knew.
“Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars,”
was Roosevelt’s famous campaign statement of 1940. He wasn’t
being ingenuous. FDR’s military and State Department leaders
were agreeing that a victorious Nazi Germany would threaten the
national security of the United States. In White House meetings
the strong feeling was that America needed a call to action. This
is not what the public wanted, though. Eighty
to ninety percent of the American people wanted nothing to do with
Europe’s war. So, according to Stinnett, Roosevelt provoked
Japan to attack us, let it happen at Pearl Harbor, and thus galvanized
the country to war.
Many who came into contact with Roosevelt during that time hinted
that FDR wasn’t being forthright about his intentions in Europe.
After the attack, on the Sunday evening of December 7, 1941, Roosevelt
had a brief meeting in the White House with Edward R. Murrow, the
famed journalist, and William Donovan, the founder of the Office
of Strategic Services. Later Donovan told
an assistant the he believed FDR welcomed the attack and didn’t
seem surprised. The only thing Roosevelt seemed to care about, Donovan
felt, was if the public would now support a declaration of war.
According to Day Of Deceit, in October 1940 FDR adopted a specific
strategy to incite Japan to commit an overt act of war.
Part of the strategy was to move America’s Pacific fleet
out of California and anchor it in Pearl Harbor. Admiral James Richardson,
the commander of the Pacific fleet, strongly opposed keeping the
ships in harm’s way in Hawaii. He expressed this to Roosevelt,
and so the President relieved him of his command. Later Richardson
quoted Roosevelt as saying: “Sooner or later the Japanese
will commit an overt act against the United States and the nation
will be willing to enter the war.”
The TWA Flight 800 Independent
Researchers Organization, FIRO, has taken the unusual step of filing
a petition with the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB,
asking for reconsideration of the findings on the probable cause
of the crash of TWA Flight 800. Such petitions are entertained only
if new evidence has been found or a showing that the NTSB findings
were erroneous. FIRO claims that some evidence
that the NTSB kept secret and which has now become available for
public scrutiny is new evidence that shows that the official findings
Their petition cites as one important example metals of "unknown
origin" that were found in the bodies of many of those who
died in the crash on July 17, 1996. The FBI
asked the Brookhaven National Laboratory to analyze pellets found
in the bodies. They contained zirconium and barium, indicative of
an incendiary device foreign to a Boeing 747airliner. The
NTSB acknowledges that the source of these pellets is unknown and
that the FBI did not try to determine the source.
The Suffolk County coroner, Dr. Wetli, found shrapnel in 89 of
the bodies he examined. The FBI compiled a secret eight-page list
describing the metal found in each of the bodies. FIRO has sued
under FOIA to obtain this list. The court ordered the FBI to release
it, but they are trying to get that reversed on privacy grounds,
claiming it invades the privacy of the dead. That is a spurious
argument because the dead have no privacy rights, but FIRO is not
arguing that point. It says it is not interested in the names of
those in whose bodies the shrapnel was found. What it wants is its
description of the metal found in each of those bodies. It is believed
that a lot of it will be pellets.
Retired Brigadier General Benton Partin, who helped
design missiles for the Air Force, has said that the Brookhaven
Laboratory’s analysis of the composition of the mysterious
pellets suggests to him that they came from a missile.
Excerpts from his book: The
Gun and the Olive Branch, 1977, 1984, Futura Publications
In July 1954 Egypt was plagued by a series
of bomb outrages directed mainly against American and British property
in Cairo and Alexandria. It was generally assumed that they
were the work of the Moslem Brothers, then the most dangerous challenge
to the still uncertain authority of Colonel (later President) Nasser
and his two-year-old revolution. Nasser was negotiating with Britain
over the evacuation of its giant military bases in the Suez Canal
Zone, and, the Moslem Brothers, as zealous nationalists, were vigorously
opposed to any Egyptian compromises.
It therefore came as a shock to world, and
particularly Jewish opinion, when on 5 October the Egyptian Minister
of the Interior, Zakaria Muhieddin, announced the break-up of a
thirteen-man Israeli sabotage network.
The trial established that the bombings had indeed been carried
out by an Israeli espionage and terrorist network. This was headed
by Colonel Avraharn Dar --alias John Darling-- and a core of professionals
who had set themselves up in Egypt under various guises. They had
recruited a number of Egyptian Jews; one of them was a young woman,
Marcelle Ninio, who worked in the offices of a British company.
Naturally, the eventual exposure of such an organization was not
going to improve the lot of the vast majority of Egyptian Jews who
wanted no-thing to do with Zionism. There were still at least 50,000
Jews in Egypt; there had been something over 60,000 in 1947, more
than half of whom were actually foreign nationals.
The welfare of Oriental Jewry in their various homelands was, as
we have seen, Israel's last concern. And in July 1954 it had other
worries. It was feeling isolated and insecure. Its Western friends-let
alone the rest of the world-were unhappy about its aggressive behaviour.
The US Assistant Secretary of State advised it to 'drop the attitude
of the conqueror'.53 More alarming was the rapprochement under way
between Egypt, on the one hand, and the United States and Britain
on the other. President Eisenhower had urged Britain to give up
her giant military base in the Suez Canal Zone; Bengurion had failed
to dissuade her. It was to sabotage this
rapprochement that the head of Israeli intelligence, Colonel Benyamin
Givli, ordered his Egyptian intelligence ring to strike.
On Givli's instructions, the Egyptian network
was to plant bombs in American and British cultural centres, British-owned
cinemas and Egyptian public buildings. The Western powers, it was
hoped, would conclude that there was fierce internal opposition
to the rapprochement and that Nasser's young regime, faced with
this challenge, was not one in which they could place much confidence.
Mysterious violence might therefore persuade both London
and Washington that British troops should remain astride the Canal;
the world had not forgotten Black Saturday, 28 January 1951, in
the last year of King Farouk's reign, when mobs rampaged through
downtown Cairo, setting fire to foreign-owned hotels and shops,
in which scores of people, including thirteen Britons, died.
The first bomb went off, on 2 July, in the
Alexandria post office. On 11 July, the Anglo-Egyptian Suez negotiations,
which had been blocked for nine months, got under way again. The
next day the Israeli embassy in London was assured that, up on the
British evacuation from Suez, stock-piled arms would not be handed
over to the Egyptians. But the Defence Ministry activists were unconvinced.
On 14 July their agents, in clandestine radio contact with Tel Aviv,
fire-bombed US Information Service libraries in Cairo and Alexandria.
That same day, a phosphorous bomb exploded prematurely in the pocket
of one Philip Natanson, nearly burning him alive, as he was about
to enter the British-owned Rio cinema in Alexandria.
His arrest and subsequent confession led to the break-up of the
whole ring-but not before the completion of another cycle of clandestine
action and diplomatic failure. On 15 July President Eisenhower assured
the Egyptians that 'simultaneously' with the signing of a Suez agreement
the United States would enter into 'firm commitments' for economic
aid to strengthen their armed forces.55 On 23 July --anniversary
of the 1952 revolution-- the Israeli agents still at large had a
final fling; they started fires in two Cairo cinemas, in the central
post office and the railway station. On the same day, Britain announced
that the War Secretary, Antony Head, was going to Cairo. And on
27 July he and the Egyptians initiated the 'Heads of Agreement'
on the terms of Britain's evacuation.
The trial lasted from 11 December to 3 January. Not all the culprits
were there, because Colonel Dar and an Israeli colleague managed
to escape, and the third Israeli, Hungarian-born Max Bennett, committed
suicide; but those who were present all pleaded guilty. Most of
them, including Marcelle Ninio, were sentenced to various terms
of imprisonment. But Dr Musa Lieto Marzuk, a Tunisian-born citizen
of France who was a surgeon at the Jewish Hospital in Cairo, and
Samuel Azar, an engineering professor from Alexandria, were condemned
to death. In spite of representations from France, Britain and the
United States the two men were hanged. Politically, it would have
been very difficult for Nasser to spare them, for only seven weeks
before six Moslem Brothers had been executed for complicity in an
attempt on his life. Nevertheless Israel reacted with grief and
anger. So did some Western Jews. Marzuk and Azar 'died the death
of martyrs', said Sharett on the same day in the Knesset, whose
members stood in silent tribute. Israel went into official mourning
the following day. Beersheba and Ramat Gan named streets after the
executed men. Israeli delegates to the Egyptian-Israeli Mixed Armistice
Commission refused to attend its meeting, declaring that they would
not sit down with representatives of the Cairo junta. In New York
there were bomb threats against the Egyptian consulate and a sniper
fired four shots into its fourth-floor window.56
This whole episode, which was to poison
Israeli political life for a decade and more, came to be known as
the 'Lavon Affair', for it had been established in the Cairo trial
that Lavon, as Minister of Defence, had approved the campaign of
sabotage. At least so the available evidence made it appear.
But in Israel, Lavon had asked Moshe Sharett for a secret inquiry
into a matter about which the cabinet knew nothing. Benyamin Givli,
the intelligence chief, claimed that the so-called 'security operation'
had been authorized by Lavon himself. Two other Bengurion proteges,
Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres, testified against Lavon. Lavon denounced
Givli's papers as forgeries and demanded the resignation of all
three men. Instead, Sharett ordered Lavon himself to resign and
invited Bengurion to come out of retirement and take over the Defence
Ministry. It was a triumphant comeback for the 'activist' philosophy
whose excesses both Sharett and Lavon had tried to modify. It was
con-summated, a week later, by an unprovoked raid on Gaza, which
left thirty-nine Egyptians dead and led to the Suez War Of 1956.
When the truth about the Lavon Affair came to light, six years
after the event, it confirmed that there had been a frame-up-not,
however, by the Egyptians, but by Bengurion and his young proteges.
Exposure was fortuitous. Giving evidence in a forgery trial in September
1960, a witness divulged on passant that he had seen the faked signature
of Lavon on a document relating to a 1954 'security mishap'.58 [...]
But Lavon was not the only real victim. There were also those misguided
Egyptian Jews who paid with their lives or long terms of imprisonment.
It is true that when, in 1968, Marcelle Ninio and her colleagues
were exchanged for Egyptian' prisoners in Israel, they received
a heroes' welcome. True, too, that when Miss Ninio got married Prime
Minister Golda Meir, Defence Minister Dayan and Chief of Staff General
Bar Lev all attended the wedding and Dayan told the bride 'the Six-Day
War was success enough that it led to your freedom'.61 However,
after spending fourteen years in an Egyptian prison, the former
terrorists did not share the leadership's enthusiasm. When
Ninio and two of her colleagues appeared on Israel television a
few years later, they all expressed the belief that the reason why
they were not released earlier was because Israel made little effort
to get them out. 'Maybe they didn't want us to come back,' said
Robert Dassa. 'There was so much intrigue in Israel. We were instruments
in the hands of the Egyptians and of others ... and what is more
painful after all that we went through is that this continues to
be so.' In Ninio's opinion, 'the government didn't want to spoil
its relations with the United States and didn't want the embarrassment
of admitting it was behind our action'.62
But the real victims were the great mass of Egyptian Jewry. Episodes
like the Lavon Affair tended to identify them, in the mind of ordinary
Egyptians, with the Zionist movement. When, in 1956, Israeli invaded
and occupied Sinai, feeling ran high against them. The government,
playing into the Zionist hands, began ordering Jews to leave the
country. Belatedly, reluctantly, 21,000 left in the following year;
more were expelled later, and others, their livelihood gone, had
nothing to stay for. But precious few went to Israel.
49. Jerusalem Post, 12 December 1954.
5O. 13 December 1954.
51. 13 December 1954.
52. Berger, op. cit., p. 14.
53. love, Kennett, Suez: The Twice-Fought War, McGraw-Hill, New
York, 1969, P. 71.
54. Ibid., p . 73.
55. Ibid., p. 74.
56. Love, op. cit., P. 77.
57. See p. 198.
58. New York Times, 10 February 1961.
60. Jewish Chronicle, London, 17 February 1971.
61. Ha'olam Hazeh, 1 December 1971
62. Associated Press, 16 March 1975.
|On June 21, 1933, the German Zionist
Federation sent a secret memorandum to the Nazis:
"Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish
condition, which consists above all in an abnormal occupational
pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not
rooted in one's own tradition. Zionism recognized decades ago that
as a result of the assimilationist trend, symptoms of deterioration
were bound to appear, which it seeks to overcome by carrying out
its challenge to transform Jewish life completely.
"It is our opinion that an answer to the Jewish question
truly satisfying to the national state can be brought about only
with the collaboration of the Jewish movement that aims at a social,
cultural and moral renewal of Jewry--indeed, that such a national
renewal must first create the decisive social and spiritual premises
for all solutions.
"Zionism believes that a rebirth of national life, such as
is occurring in German life through adhesion to Christian and national
values, must also take place in the Jewish national group. For the
Jew, too, origin, religion, community of fate and group consciousness
must be of decisive significance in the shaping of his life. This
means that the egotistic individualism which arose in the liberal
era must be overcome by public spiritedness and by willingness to
By 1936, the Post ran a news flash, "German Zionists Seek
"A bold demand that the German Zionist Federation be given
recognition by the Government as the only instrument for the exclusive
control of German Jewish life was made by the Executive of that
body in a proclamation today. All German Jewish organizations, it
was declared, should be dominated by the Zionist spirit."
Zionist factions competed for the honor
of allying to Hitler. By 1940-41, the "Stern Gang,"
among them Yitzhak Shamir, later Prime Minister
of Israel, presented the Nazis with the "Fundamental Features
of the Proposal of the National Military Organization in Palestine
(Irgun Zvai Leumi) Concerning the Solution
of the Jewish Question in Europe and
the Participation of the NMO in the War on the Side of Germany."
Avraham Stern and his followers announced that
"The NMO, which is well-acquainted with the goodwill of the
German Reich government and its authorities towards Zionist activity
inside Germany and towards Zionist emigration plans, is of the opinion
1. Common interests could exist between the establishment of a
new order in Europe in conformity with the German concept, and the
true national aspirations of the Jewish people as they are embodied
by the NMO.
2. Cooperation between the new Germany and a renewed folkish-national
Hebraium would be possible and,
3. The establishment of the historic Jewish
state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with
the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened
future German position of power in the Near East.
Proceeding from these considerations, the NMO in Palestine, under
the condition the above-mentioned national aspirations
of the Israeli freedom movement are recognized on the side of the
German Reich, offers to actively take part in the war on Germany's
They hanged people all over Europe after WW II for notes to the
Nazis like these. But these treasons against the Jews were virtually
unknown in the run up to the creation of the Zionist state in May
can be deceptive. It’s fair to say that some of the sensational
never-published-before documents, in this book, will shock those who
have accepted Zionism and its supposed history, at face value, as
a political movement that was the hope of the Jews. Lenni Brenner,
the intrepid author of “Zionism in the Age of Dictators,”
reveals disturbing new evidence in his latest effort, that suggest
just the opposite. In fact, he makes a compelling case that the Zionist
record was “dishonorable.” You can consider this excellent
tome as a worthy sequel to his first expose’ on the myopic Zionist
zealots of that bygone era.
For openers, Brenner showed how the Zionists
had a long history of shameless cooperation with the Nazis, especially
after the dictator Adolph Hitler had came to power in 1933.
The Zionists were also in bed, to some extent, with the other members
of what later became known as WWII’s “Axis of Evil,”
that included Benito Mussolini’s Italy, and Tojo Hideki’s
Japan. For example, on March 29,1936, Zionists praised Il Duce,
and his regime, at the opening of a maritime school, funded by the
Fascist government, at Civitavecchia. This is where a Zionist youth
group, the “Betar,” trained its sailors for the future
Revisionist state. The speakers ignored the fact that on Oct. 3,
1935, Italian troops had invaded Abyssinia.
The Zionist also had a trade plan with the Berlin government by
which German Jews could redeem their property in Nazi goods exported
to then British-occupied Palestine. And to top it all off, the infamous
SS-Hptscharf. Adolf Eichmann, had visited Palestine, in October,
1937, as the guest of the Zionists. He also met, in Egypt, with
Feivel Polkes, a Zionist operative, whom Eichmann described as a
“leading Haganah functionary.” The chain-smoking Polkes
was also on the Nazis’ payroll “as an informer.”
Brenner isn’t the first writer to address the mostly taboo
subject of how the Zionist leadership cooperated with the Nazis.
Rolf Hilberg’s seminal “The Destruction of European
Jews”; Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem”;
Ben Hecht’s “Perfidy”; Edwin Black’s “The
Transfer Agreement”; Francis R. Nicosia’s “The
Third Reich and the Palestine Question”; Rudolf Vrba and Alan
Bestic’s “I Cannot Forgive”; and Rafael Medoff’s
“The Deadening Silence: American Jews and the Holocaust,”
also dared, with varying public success.
After the Holocaust began in 1942, Eichmann dealt
regularly with Dr. Rudolf Kastner, a Hungarian Jew, whom he considered
a “fanatical Zionist.” Kastner was later assassinated
in Israel as a Nazi collaborator. At issue then, however, was the
bargaining over the eventual fate of Hungary’s Jews, who were
slated for liquidation in the Nazi-run death camps. Eichmann said
this about Kastner, the Zionist representative, “I believe
that [he] would have sacrificed a thousand or a hundred thousand
of his blood to achieve his political goal. He was not interested
in old Jews or those who had become assimilated into Hungarian society.
‘You can have the others,’ he would say, ‘but
let me have this group here.’ And because Kastner rendered
us a great service by helping keep the deportation camps peaceful.
I would let his groups escape.”
Readers, too, will be surprised to learn, that after the Nuremberg
Anti-Jewish Race Laws were enacted in Sept., 1935, that
there were only two flags that were permitted to be displayed in
all of Nazi Germany. One was Hitler’s favorite, the Swastika.
The other was the blue and white banner of Zionism. The Zionists
were also allowed to publish their own newspaper. The reasons for
this Reich-sponsored favoritism was, according to the author: The
Zionists and the Nazis had a common interest, making German Jews
emigrate to Palestine.
The Mossad realized that it had
to come up with a new threat to the region, a threat of such magnitude
that it would justify whatever action the Mossad might see fit to
The right-wing elements in the Mossad (and in the whole country,
for that matter) had what they regarded as a sound philosophy: They
believed (correctly, as it happened) that Israel was the strongest
military presence in the Middle East. In fact, they believed that
the military might of what had become known as "fortress Israel"
was greater than that of all of the Arab armies combined, and was
responsible for whatever security Israel possessed. The
right wing believed then - and they still believe - that this strength
arises from the need to answer the constant threat of war.
The corollary belief was that peace overtures
would inevitably start a process of corrosion that would weaken
the military and eventually bring about the demise of the state
of Israel, since, the philosophy goes, its Arab neighbors are untrustworthy,
and no treaty signed by them is worth the paper it's written on.
Supporting the radical elements of Muslim
fundamentalism sat well with the Mossad's general plan for the region.
An Arab world run by fundamentalists would
not be a party to any negotiations with the West, thus leaving Israel
again as the only democratic, rational country in the region. And
if the Mossad could arrange for the Hamas (Palestinian fundamentalists)
to take over the Palestinian streets from the PLO, then the picture
would be complete.
The Mossad regarded Saddam Hussein as their biggest asset in the
area, since he was totally irrational as far as international politics
was concerned, and was therefore all the more likely to make a stupid
move that the Mossad could take advantage of.
What the Mossad really feared was that Iraq's
gigantic army, which had survived the Iran-Iraq war and was being
supplied by the West and financed by Saudi Arabia, would fall into
the hands of a leader who might be more palatable to the West and
still be a threat to Israel.
The first step was taken in November 1988,
when the Mossad told the Israeli foreign office to stop all talks
with the Iraqis regarding a peace front. At that time, secret
negotiations were taking place between Israelis, Jordanians, and
Iraqis under the auspices of the Egyptians and with the blessings
of the French and the Americans. The Mossad
manipulated it so that Iraq looked as if it were the only country
unwilling to talk, thereby convincing the Americans that Iraq had
a different agenda.
By January 1989, the Mossad LAP machine
was busy portraying Saddam as a tyrant and a danger to the world.
The Mossad activated every asset it had, in
every place possible, from volunteer agents in Amnesty International
to fully bought members of the U.S. Congress. Saddam had
been killing his own people, the cry went; what could his enemies
expect? The gruesome photos of dead Kurdish mothers clutching their
dead babies after a gas attack by Saddam's army were real, and the
acts were horrendous. But the Kurds were entangled in an all-out
guerrilla war with the regime in Baghdad and had been supported
for years by the Mossad, who sent arms and advisers to the mountain
camps of the Barazany family; this attack
by the Iraqis could hardly be called an attack on their own people.
But, as Uri said to me, once the orchestra starts to play, all you
can do is hum along.
The media was supplied with inside information
and tips from reliable sources on how the crazed leader of Iraq
killed people with his bare hands and used missiles to attack Iranian
cities. What they neglected to tell the media was that most of the
targeting for the missiles was done by the Mossad with the help
of American satellites. The Mossad was grooming Saddam for
a fall, but not his own. They wanted the Americans to do the work
of destroying that gigantic army in the Iraqi desert so that Israel
would not have to face it one day on its own border. That in itself
was a noble cause for an Israeli, but to endanger the world with
the possibility of global war and the deaths of thousands of Americans
was sheer madness.
The previous august (1989) a contingent of the Maktal (Mossad reconnaissance
unit) and several naval commandos had headed up the Euphrates, their
target was an explosives factory located in the city of Al-Iskandariah.
Information the Mossad had received from American intelligence revealed
that every thursday a small convoy of trucks came to the complex
to be loaded with explosives for the purpose of manufacturing cannon
shells. The objective was to take position near the base on Wednesday
August 23rd and wait until the next day when the trucks would be
loaded. At that point, several sharpshooters would fire one round
each of an explosive bullet at a designated truck while they were
in the process of loading, so that there would be a carry on explosion
into the storage facility.
The operation was quite successful and the
explosion generated the sort of publicity the Mossad was hoping
for in attracting attention to Saddam's constant efforts at building
a gigantic and powerful military arsenal. The Mossad shared
its "findings" with the Western intelligence agencies
and leaked the story of the explosion to the press.
Since this was a guarded facility Western reporters had minimal
access to it. However, at the beginning of September, the Iraqis
were inviting Western media people to visit Iraq and see the rebuilding
that had taken place after the [Iran-Iraq] war, and the Mossad saw
an opportunity to conduct a damage assessment.
A man calling himself Michel Rubiyer saying he was working for
the French newspaper "le figaro", approached Farzad Bazoft,
a thirty one year old reporter freelancing for the British newspaper
the Observer. Rubiyer was in fact Michel M. a Mossad agent.
Michel told Farzad that he would pay him handsomely and print his
story if he would join a group of journalists heading for Baghdad.
The reason he gave for not going himself was that he had been black-listed
in Iraq. He pointed out the Bazoft could use the money and the break
especially with his criminal background. Michel told the stunned
reporter that he knew of his arrest in 1981 for armed robbery in
Northhampton England. Along with the implied threat he told Bazoft
that he would be able to print his story in the Observer as well.
Michel told Bazoft to collect information regarding the explosion
ask questions about it get sketches of the area and collect earth
samples. He told the worried reporter that
Saddam would not dare harm a reporter even if he was unhappy with
him. The worst the Saddam would do was kick him out of the country,
which would in itself make him famous.
Why this particular reporter? He was of
Iranian background and would make punishing him much easier for
the Iraqis and he wasn't a European whom they would probably only
hold and then kick out. In fact, Bazoft had been identified
in a Mossad search that was triggered by his prying into another
Mossad case in search of a story involving an ex-Mossad asset Dr
Cyrus Hashemi who was eliminated by mossad in 1986. Since Bazoft
had already stumbled on too much information for his own good -
or the Mossad's for that matter - he was the perfect candidate for
this job of snooping in forbidden areas.
Bazoft made his way to the location as he was asked and as might
be expected was arrested. Tragically, his British girlfriend, a
nurse working in a baghdad hospital was arrested as well.
Within a few days of his arrest, a Mossad
liaison in the US called the Iraqi representative in Holland and
said that Jerusalem was willing to make a deal for the release of
their man who had been captured. the Iraqi representative asked
for time to contact Baghdad, and the liaison called the next day,
at which point he told the Iraqi representative it was all a big
mistake and severed contact. Now the
Iraqis had no doubt that they had a real spy on their hands, and
they were going to see him hang. All the Mossad had to do was sit
back and watch as Saddam proved to the world what a monster he really
On March 15th 1990 Farzad Bazoft, who had been held in the Abu
Gharib prison met briefly with the British Ambassador to Iraq.
A few minutes after the meeting he was hanged.
The world was shocked, but the Mossad was not done yet. To fan
the flames generated by the brutal hanging, a Mossad sayan in New
York delivered a set of documents to ABC television with a story
from a reliable Middle Eastern source telling if a plant Saddam
had for the manufacturing of uranium. The information was convincing
and the photos and sketches were even more so.
It was time to draw attention to Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.
Only three months before, on December 5, 1989, the Iraqis had launched
the Al-Abid, a three-stage ballistic missile. The Iraqis claimed
it was a satellite launcher that Gerald Bull, a Canadian scientist,
was helping them develop. Israeli intelligence knew that the launch,
although trumpeted as a great success, was in fact a total failure,
and that the program would never reach its goals. But that secret
was not shared with the media. On the contrary, the missile launch
was exaggerated and blown out of proportion.
The message that Israeli intelligence sent out
was this: Now all the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together.
This maniac is developing a nuclear capability (remember the Israeli
attack on the Iraqi reactor in 1981) and pursuing chemical warfare
(as seen in his attacks on his own people, the Kurds). What's more,
he despises the Western media, regarding them as Israeli spies.
Quite soon, he's going to have the ability to launch a missile from
anywhere in Iraq to anywhere he wants in the Middle East and beyond.
After the arrest of Bazoft, Gerald Bull, who was working on the
Iraqi big gun project called Babylon, was visited by Israeli friends
from his past. The visitors (two Mossad officers) had come to deliver
a warning. They were both known to Bull as members of the Israeli
intelligence community. The Mossad psychological department had
studied the position Bull was in and analysed what was known about
his character. It arrived at the conclusion that, even if threatened,
he wouldn't pull out of the program but would instead carry on his
work with very little regard for his personal safety.
Ultimately, Bull's continuing with the program would play right
into the Mossad's hands. Through the bullet riddled body of Gerald
Bull the world would be made to focus on his work: the Iraqi giant
gun project. The timing had to be right though; Bull's
well publicised demise had to come right after an act of terror
by the Baghdad regime, an act that could not be mistaken for an
accident or a provocation. The hanging of the Observer reporter
on March 15 was such an act.
After the reporter's execution in Baghdad, a Kidon (Mossad assassination)
team arrived in Brussels and cased the apartment building where
Bull lived. It was imperative that the job be done in a place where
it would not be mistaken for a robbery or an accident. At the same
time, an escape route was prepared for the team and some old contacts
in the Belgian police were revived to make sure they were on duty
at the time of Bull's elimination so that, if there was a need to
call on a friendly police force, they'd be on call. They weren't
old of the reason for the alert, but would learn later and keep
When Bull reached the building at 8.30pm, the man watching the
entrance signaled the man in the empty apartment on the sixth floor
(Bull's floor) to get ready: the target had entered the building.
The shooter then left the apartment and hid in an alcove.
Almost immediately after the elevator door closed behind Bull,
the shooter fired point blank at the man's back and head. The shooter
then walked over to Bull and pulled out of his tote bag a handful
of documents and other papers, which he paced in a paper shopping
bag he had with him. He also collected all the casings from the
floor and dropped the gun into the shopping bag.
In the following weeks, more and more discoveries were made regarding
the big gun and other elements of the Saddam war machine. The Mossad
had all but saturated the intelligence field with information regarding
the evil intentions of Saddam the Terrible, banking on the fact
that before long, he'd have enough rope to hang himself.
It was very clear what the Mossad's overall goal was. It wanted
the West to do its bidding, just as the Americans had in Libya with
the bombing of Qadhafi. After all, Israel didn't possess carriers
and ample air power, and although it was capable of bombing a refugee
camp in Tunis, that was not the same. The
Mossad leaders knew that if they could make Saddam appear bad enough
and a threat to the Gulf oil supply, of which he'd been the protector
up to that point, then the United States and its allies would not
let him get away with anything, but would take measures that would
all but eliminate his army and his weapons potential, especially
if they were led to believe that this might just be their last chance
before he went nuclear. [...]
In their dealings with Nasser
(Egyptian Prime Minister 1952-1970) the British used any means necessary,
including espionage, diplomacy, bribery and even direct military
might to retain control over Egypt and the Suez Canal. The newly
founded CIA also became interested in Egypt when Nasser showed signs
of tilting to the Soviet Union. Aburish explains h ow this new avenue
of intrigue evolved.
"According to CIA agent Miles Copeland,
the Americans began looking for a Muslim Billy Graham around 1955...
When finding or creating a Muslim Billy Graham proved elusive,
the CIA began to cooperate with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Muslim
mass organization founded in Egypt but with followers throughout
the Arab Middle East... This signalled the beginning of an alliance
between the traditional regimes and mass Islamic movements against
Nasser and other secular forces." (1)
The CIA was following the example of British
Intelligence and sought to use Islam to further its goals. They
wanted to find a charismatic religious leader that they could promote
and control and they began to cooperate with groups such as the
Muslim Brotherhood. With the rise of Nasser the Brotherhood
was also courted more seriously by the pro-Western Arab regimes
of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. They needed all the popular support
that they could muster against the rise of Nasser-inspired Arab
nationalism to keep their regimes intact.
The Muslim Brotherhood was an obvious ally against Nasser, because
he had abolished it from Egypt after it was involved in a failed
assassination attempt on his life in 1954. The Brotherhood rejected
Nasser's policy that, for the most part, kept religion out of politics.
Officially the Brotherhood was an outlawed organization, but it
remained influential and active within Egypt working against the
secular regime, often hand-in-hand with British Intelligence. In
June of 1955 MI6 was already approaching the Brotherhood in Syria
to agitate against the new government that showed strong left-wing
tendencies and a desire to merge with Egypt (2). The Brotherhood
became an even more important asset after Nasser announced the Egyptian
takeover of the Suez. Author Stephen Dorril documents how this move
was viewed from Britain,
"On 26 July in Alexandria, in a calm speech, but one that
was described by London as hysterical, Nasser made his nationalisation
announcement, which from a strictly legal point of view was no more
'than a decision to buy out the shareholders.' That night in Downing
Street, [British Prime Minister] Eden's bitterness at the decision
was not concealed from his guests... Eden summoned a council of
war, which continued until 4 a.m. An emotional Prime Minister told
his colleagues that Nasser could not be allowed, in Eden's phrase,
'to have his hand on our windpipe.' The 'muslim Mussolini' must
be 'destroyed.' Eden added: 'I want him removed and I don't give
a damn if there's anarchy and chaos in Egypt.'" (3)
Former Prime Minister Churchill had fueled
Eden's fire by counseling him about the Egyptians, saying, "Tell
them if we have any more of their cheek we will set the Jews on
them and drive them into the gutter, from which they should have
never emerged." (4)
Sir Anthony Nutting, a member of the Foreign Office at the time,
recalls an irate phone call from Eden who was upset at the slow
pace of the campaign against Nasser. Eden raged, "What's all
this poppycock you've sent me? ... What's
all this nonsense about isolating Nasser or "neutralizing"
him, as you call it? I want him destroyed, can't you understand?
I want him murdered..." (5)
To prepare the way for the desired coup the British Information
Research Department (IRD) was called into action. They
ratcheted up their efforts to control radio broadcasts into Egypt
and they planted false stories in the BBC, the London Press Service
and the Arab News Agency. Forged documents were created that suggested
that Nasser was planning to take over the entire Middle East oil
trade, and a bogus report was disseminated that alleged that Egyptian
dissidents were being sent to a concentration camp manned by ex-Nazis.
Nuclear equipment - and in some
cases whole buildings - have vanished in Iraq, the UN’s nuclear
watchdog is warning, amid fears that the material could be used
to make nuclear weapons.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has raised concerns
“about the widespread and apparently systematic dismantlement
that has taken place at sites previously relevant to Iraq’s
nuclear programme”, since coalition forces wrested power from
Satellite imagery has revealed the disappearance of entire buildings
which housed high-precision, "dual use" equipment, as
well as the removal of materials from open storage areas, warned
Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the IAEA, in a letter to
the UN Security Council on 1 October. Dual use equipment has commercial
uses but could also be harnessed to manufacture nuclear arms.
Their disappearance, along with materials such as high-strength
aluminium “may be of [nuclear] proliferation significance",
Eye in the sky
The IAEA has been required to give six-monthly reports verifying
Iraq’s nuclear capabilities since April 1996. However, since
the beginning of the war in March 2003 and despite the overturning
of Hussein’s regime, IAEA inspectors have not been able to
return to Iraq. As a result, they have been unable to resume on-site
monitoring. Instead, they have been tracking locations of interest
through commercial satellite imagery.
Iraq is obliged to inform the IAEA of any changes at these sites,
but the agency says it has “received no such notifications"
from any nation involved.
"There’s clearly a problem because the IAEA has flagged
it up," says John Eldridge, editor of Jane’s Nuclear,
Biological and Chemical Defence. A “sinister aspect”
to the disappearance of dual use equipment is that there is a terrorist
market for them, he says.
“Even if it isn't going somewhere
directly it may well end up as somebody’s bargaining chip.
There’s a huge amount of collusion between terrorist organisations,"he
| The US and
UK governments will this week be accused of conspiring to break the
international agreement to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
The claim will be backed by detailed evidence of the large-scale
collaboration by the two countries to develop their nuclear arsenals,
an activity that the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) is specifically
designed to prevent.
The claim comes from the British American Security Information
Council (BASIC), a think tank based in London and Washington DC.
Although the UK and the US cooperated on nuclear matters throughout
the Cold War, the extent of their collaboration since then has never
been documented. [...]
Accusations of hypocrisy
The UK Ministry of Defence insists that the Mutual Defence Agreement
is "fully compatible" with the NPT. Jon Wolfsthal, a nuclear
policy expert who used to advise President Clinton, thinks that
the agreement does not violate the NPT.
"However, there can be no denying that
the US-UK nuclear cooperation undercuts the moral position of both
as they work to prevent other countries from seeking nuclear weapons,"
The accusation comes at a difficult time for the nuclear non-proliferation
treaty, which is due to be reviewed in 2005. "The accusations
of hypocrisy are harder to deflect as non-nuclear weapon states'
resentment intensifies," says Chamberlain.
| The Israeli
army has cleared a commander serving in the southern Gaza town of
Rafah of any wrongdoing a few days after he riddled a Palestinian
girl's body with bullets.
The company commander, whose
identity was not revealed, shot 13-year-old Iman al-Hams as she
was on her way to school in Rafah. A few minutes later he riddled
her body and head with 15 to 20 bullets to make sure she was dead.
The practice, known as verification of killing, is used widely
in the Israeli army after shootings of Palestinians.
Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Moshe Yaalon on Friday concluded
that the platoon commander acted properly and that no action should
be taken against him.
In a briefing to the Israeli cabinet last week, Yaalon argued that
the officer should be given the benefit of the doubt, saying he
suspected she could have been used by Palestinian fighters to divert
soldiers' attention and lure them from their positions.
However, soldiers serving under the officer's command gave damning
evidence, suggesting he killed the girl in cold-blood before "emptying
his entire magazine to her head".
"We saw her from a distance of 70m," one of the soldiers
is quoted as saying.
"She was fired at and shot from the outpost. She tried to
flee but was wounded badly. I understand she was dead.
"The commander walked toward her, he shot her two additional
bullets before returning to the outpost. Then he returned to the
girl, put his weapon on the automatic mode and emptied his entire
"Our hearts ached for her - just a 13-year-old girl. How can
anyone spray a girl from close range? The commander was hot for
a long time to take out Arabs and shot the girl to relieve pressure."
The Israeli army radio, Gali Tzahal, on Thursday quoted another
soldier as saying that the commander was "waiting impatiently
to see an Arab pass by to kill him".
When the incident occurred nearly 10 days ago, an Israeli army spokesperson
said the girl might have been carrying a bomb in her school bag,
and that she had to be killed to rule out any risk to troops.
It was also said that she might have tried to lure out soldiers
so Palestinian snipers could shoot them.
The Israeli army later said the girl entered a closed military zone
and had to be killed.
Since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli
military occupation more than four years ago, the Israeli army and
paramilitary Jewish settlers have killed an estimated 600 to 700
Palestinian children and minors.
Since the beginning of October alone, the Israeli army has killed
at least 124 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the bulk of them civilians.
According to the Israeli human rights organisation B'tselem, up
to 30 children were among the victims, including nine-year-old Ghadir
Mukhaimar who was shot by an Israeli sniper last week while sitting
in her class in Khan Yunis, south of Gaza City.
Israeli army spokespeople normally explain child fatalities as happening
in "crossfire" or "in vague circumstances".
However, Palestinian officials and human rights groups argue that
the killing of Palestinian children and civilians is carried out
"knowingly and deliberately".
"Do you think all these kids were killed by mistake?"
said Muhammad Yusuf, head of the disaster management unit at the
Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Gaza.
"The fact that a disproportionate number of Palestinian civilians
are killed by the Israeli army in this unequal conflict shows there
is a deliberate and conscious Israeli policy to kill civilians."
He told Aljazeera.net Israeli troops often fire artillery shells
at crowded streets and neighbourhoods, aware that the shells will
kill and maim children and civilians.
Asked why he thought the army would target civilians, he said:
"Criminality toward the Palestinians is an old and intrinsic
instinct in the overall Israeli mentality.
"They are taught to kill the Palestinians when they are very
young. They are taught that another holocaust could happen if they
don't destroy their enemies. That is why Israeli soldiers murder
our kids without the slightest guilt."
And the Israeli media does little to deny that the army is occasionally
light on the triggers.
Indeed, the newspaper Haaretz quoted a high-ranking officer earlier
this month as saying: "Our troops will not be meticulous about
the direction of their bullets."
Moreover, it is clear that the Israeli army views the killing of
Palestinian civilians as an integral part of the losses Palestinians
must incur as punishment for their uprising against occupation.
One Israeli soldier was quoted as saying on Thursday: "We have
erected 100 mourning tents for them," alluding to the killings
in Gaza during the past two weeks.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israeli
tanks and bulldozers entered a Palestinian refugee camp in the southern
Gaza Strip early Sunday, firing machine-guns at nearby homes, witnesses
No injuries were reported.
The witnesses said 10 tanks and three bulldozers entered the Rafah
refugee camp just after midnight. They said there were no injuries.
The Israeli military said its troops were engaged in an operation
aimed at rooting out weapons smuggling tunnels in the area.
Rafah, abutting the Egyptian border, has been a frequent hotbed
of friction between Palestinian militants and the Israeli army.
The move came a day after Israeli officials said a broad offensive
into the northern Gaza Strip had struck a heavy blow to Palestinian
militants who have fired rockets into southern Israel.
But the officials conceded the operation was unlikely to halt the
rocket attacks altogether and stressed the army was prepared to
move back into the area.
The 17-day campaign, launched after a deadly rocket strike on the
Israeli border town of Sderot, ended after nightfall Friday, when
Israel withdrew tanks and ground forces from populated areas in
At least 110 Palestinians, including dozens of
civilians, were killed, making it the bloodiest offensive in northern
Gaza in four years of fighting. Five Israelis died in the Sderot
attack, including two preschoolers.
Palestinians awoke to a scene of heavy damage Saturday, sifting
through rubble in search of belongings. Dozens of homes were destroyed,
farmland was uprooted and roads and infrastructure were torn up.
Residents accused the army of wanton destruction.
A military official said the offensive "managed to dramatically
reduce" the ability of militants to fire rockets, although
the threat of future attacks remains.
The official, who requested anonymity, said the operation had eliminated
many militant cells, adding civilian casualties were regrettable.
In a television interview, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said while
Israeli forces had pulled back in northern Gaza, troops remain committed
to battling the rocket threat - a strong hint Israel believes more
will be launched.
"We are continuing to fight against the Qassams," he
said, referring to the homemade Palestinian rockets.
Throughout the fighting, Palestinian militants managed to fire
rockets toward southern Israel, although the frequency and intensity
of the attacks decreased.
The Israeli operation focused on the Jebaliya refugee camp and
the towns Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, the main launching grounds
for hundreds of Qassam rockets in the last four years.
Much of the fighting took place in densely populated areas of the
refugee camp. Residents accused the army of causing unnecessary
damage, saying the narrow alleyways made it impossible to launch
"There wasn't a single rocket fired from here," said
Abdel Hadi Daher, a 52-year-old resident of Jebaliya.
"Their real intention was to humiliate us."
The army has accused militants of using civilian areas for cover
and said soldiers only destroyed buildings used to stage attacks.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza said at least 80
homes were demolished during the offensive, including 60 in Jebaliya
and 20 in Beit Lahiya. The group said dozens of homes, shops and
public buildings were damaged.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia called the offensive "part
of a series of planned Israeli attacks to bring our people to their
knees but this will never happen."
In the eastern part of Jebaliya, at least 45 homes and a partially
built mosque were razed. On the ground floor of the mosque, which
had been in use for the last five months, carpets and holy books
were covered in sand.
Latife Abu Oudeh, 55, was sitting on a pile of rubble as her daughter-in-law
carried mattresses, children's clothing, a pink teddy bear, silverware
and a bag with cosmetics and perfume from the ruins of their house.
Abu Oudeh's seven-year-old grandson, Ahmed, looked at the teddy
bear and said: "It looks very dirty. We need to wash it."
He took the toy and ran away.
Abu Oudeh said her four-room house, home to 16 people, was destroyed
at the beginning of the offensive. She said the family received
no warning and was sleeping when a bulldozer approached before dawn.
Many Palestinians in northern Gaza have criticized the rocket attacks,
saying they provoke harsh Israeli reprisals.
However, Abu Oudeh said her heart is now set on revenge.
"I am happy rockets were fired and I want more to be fired,"
she said bitterly.
The fighting in northern Gaza has complicated Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the entire Gaza Strip next
Sharon said the withdrawal, which is to be accompanied by a pullback
from four small settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan River,
will boost Israel's security after four years of fighting with the
Palestinians. He said the continued occupation of Gaza, where 8,000
Jewish settlers live amid 1.3 million Palestinians, is untenable.
| Vanunu Interview
| By Johannes Wahlstrom
Ten minutes stroll northward
from the lively alleyways of the Old City and its renowned Golden
Dome lays one of the Holy Land's smallest parishes; the Anglican
Church, with its neo-gothic St George Cathedral. The massive towers
and defence-walls give the impression of an impregnable bastion,
while inside one finds a green oasis of tranquillity. In the inner
yard, surrounded by grapes, almonds, olives, pomegranates, sage,
narcissus, cypress, oleander, roses and all other imaginable and
unimaginable biblical plants, lays a Guesthouse. Here, weary Jerusalem
pilgrims rest their sore feet after a long day in the Holy City.
And here for the past four months, a fellow-Anglican, the nuclear
whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has taken his refuge.
A technician at the Dimona nuclear weapons production plant, he
blew the whistle, and revealed the Israeli nuclear arms program
to the nation and the world; a revelation that would cost him dearly.
After being kidnapped Israeli Mossad agents in Rome, Vanunu was
sentenced at a secret trial to 18 years of jail, 12 years out of
them he served in solitary confinement
In the solitude of the jail, he wrote:
I am your Spy. I am the clerk, the technician, the mechanic,
the driver. They said: Do this, do that, don't look left or right,
don't read the text. Don't look at the whole machine. You are
only responsible for this one bolt. For this one rubber-stamp.
This is your only concern. Don't bother with what is above you.
Don't try to think for us. Go on, drive. Keep going. On, on.
"I refused to be a bolt in the deadly machinery", Vanunu
says after his release in an exclusive interview. After receiving
death threats from Jewish extremists and being placed under surveillance
and travel restrictions by the Israeli government, Vanunu has taken
refuge at St George Cathedral in East Jerusalem. Here Vanunu attends
services, rings the bells, and dreams to leave the unyielding clutches
of the Jewish state – for England or elsewhere.
He is suntanned, his handshake is firm, and his stare is fixed.
The only mark bearing witness to the 18 years of torment and isolation
is his stern face. What makes a man follow his heart and beliefs
and to pay so dearly for his convictions?
Vanunu pours a bottle of local Palestinian beer into his glass.
The golden label reads Taibeh, or 'tasty' in Arabic. "Ever
since I was a child I have learned to be open to other views",
he says, "to criticize, to be independent, and most importantly
to be faithful to the truth. This is why I have always tried to
serve mankind, by contributing to peace and foremost to justice
for the much-suffering Palestinians."
Vanunu has however paid the price of refusing conformity, of being
independent. In the 70's he supported the Palestinian cause, and
lost his job. In the 80's he entered the Anglican Church and was
ostracized by his Jewish family. When he revealed the Israeli nuclear
program in order to avert a nuclear holocaust, he was imprisoned.
Now again he refuses to be subdued as he rejects the restrictions
placed upon him by the Israeli government.
"I'm being punished for no crime," Vanunu says while
cautiously squeezing the beer cap in his hand. "I'm not allowed
to leave the country for a year; I have to report to the police
of my whereabouts, and even if I want to overnight elsewhere I have
to get their permission." Vanunu is not allowed to talk to
foreign press, to pass in the vicinities of embassies, borders or
airports, write e-mails or chat by internet. He is well aware that
by defying the restrictions in giving this interview, he can once
again be incarcerated.
The Israeli court regards Vanunu as a 'security threat'. And although
he has served his sentence, emergency regulations from the time
of the British Mandate have been enforced upon him. These laws have
become part of Israeli legal practise and can revoke the fundamental
democratic rights of a citizen if an army general regards him as
a "security threat".
What kind of security threat is Vanunu? Is he biding his time to
reveal more nuclear secrets? "I have no secrets that I haven't
already revealed." Besides, he points out, "I live among
Palestinians, the 'enemy'. So why can't I speak to foreigners?"
Vanunu speaks his mind without weighing his words; maybe this is
what they are afraid of? "I repeat all the things that Israel
wants to be kept silent; I remind of Israel's nuclear weapons program,
I speak of the barbaric treatment in Israeli prison, and I express
my political views of the conflict," he sums up.
One of the most astounding revelations that Vanunu gave concerned
the size of Israel's nuclear arsenal. The photos he took and the
calculations he conducted at Dimona nuclear centre showed that apart
from manufacturing hydrogen bombs, Israel was producing 40 kg of
plutonium yearly, and at the time had a capacity of 200-300 atomic
weapons, sufficient for turning Europe into a parking lot many times
over. While pondering why they needed so many bombs, Vanunu came
to the conclusion that "it was like a factory production; while
the first ones are expensive to make, the rest are cheap."
Despite of Israel's nuclear capacity, Vanunu believes the bombs
are useless. "It's not an issue of UN resolutions; the world
would intervene if Israel used its holocaust weapons." When
it comes to having them as a deterrent, Vanunu explains: "the
problem isn't Iran, Iraq or North Korea, its Israeli aggression.
Iraq didn't have any nuclear weapons, I'm sure that neither does
Iran. If Israel wasn't so aggressive with its nuclear arms, none
of the other countries would even need to get them." He concludes
that the international community should intervene and stop the Israeli
aggression before it gets out of hand.
Vanunu's voice takes on
a tense and serious tone when Israel is described as 'the only democracy
in the Middle East'. "First they invade a sovereign
nation while kidnapping me in Rome. Then they sentence me at a secret
trial, where neither I nor my attorney is allowed take part of the
evidence. They imprison and torture me for the crime of talking
to a journalist. And still they deny me my freedom of speech and
the freedom of movement." He explains that the phrase may have
been valid in the 50's. "But what kind of democracy is it now,
with all these emergency laws? I am a living proof that Israel is
not a democracy." The anger on his face seems to subside; he
reaches for the perspiring glass on the table.
At Vanunu's release from prison in April, he was not only welcomed
by world media and a crowd of supporters, but equally by an angry
mob chanting for his death. The Israeli newspaper Maariv published
a census showing that a majority of Israelis disagreed with letting
him free; 33 percent thought he should be executed. Now he doesn't
venture into the Jewish-held parts of the city, the chance of being
lynched is much too real; in a few instances he has even been assaulted
by Jewish extremists outside of the church.
If the Israelis were fooled about their country's nuclear arms
why do they consider Vanunu a traitor? "This is one of the
reasons I refuse to speak to Israeli press," he explains. "They
played a cruel game on me and spread vicious lies while I was in
total isolation, saying I celebrated suicide bombings and so on".
Vanunu has now filed a multimillion shekel lawsuit against the
Israeli tabloid, Yediot Aharonot for falsely accusing him in providing
nuclear production skills to Hamas. According to Vanunu, the media
incited the Israeli public for they perceived him as a Christian
that betrayed the Jews.
He is convinced that his baptism is a greater
issue than the nuclear revelations, where both the media as well
as the court would have treated him differently had he not converted.
"They could have lived with the revelations; I could even have
been treated as a hero among the Jews," Vanunu explains. "They
are not really thinking about nuclear weapons, they think I'm a
traitor for going to the gentiles. But I had to turn to the British
press, since the Israeli media is completely infiltrated; they all
work for the Mossad." Even Vanunu's parents are more concerned
with his conversion, and he explains that "if there is one
thing they can't accept it's the rejection of Judaism".
On Sundays, at the back row of St George church, Vanunu participates
in the local Palestinian mass. One by one the members of the parish
line up to receive the Holy Communion. From Edward VII church tower,
the Jerusalem courthouse reminds of its presence just down the road;
here Vanunu was sentenced 18 years ago. Opposite the courthouse
is the ministry of Justice; two armed men in black patrol the entrance
and guard it from intruders and curious journalists. Further down
the road, hundreds of Palestinian women and men have gathered at
the fortified gates of the Ministry of Interior. Today, as they
do every other day, they stand in line to receive their mandatory
ID-cards asserting which zones they are allowed to visit.
Vanunu passes here every day as he ventures outside the protective
keep of the cathedral. The constant presence of soldiers and guards
checking on ID-cards at every corner reminds him that he is still
not free. "Just like the Palestinians I want to have my rights
and the freedom to go wherever I want, to do whatever I please.
Israel has to become a secular democratic state; a state without
apartheid and Jewish laws, a state that respects freedom of speech
and other religions."
But Vanunu doesn't want to talk on behalf of the Palestinians.
"They have their own representatives. I am just a man with
my views, and I have to be able to express them, it can't be reasonable
to be imprisoned for talking to journalists."
Out on the street, Palestinians passing by wave at Vanunu; sometimes
they approach, press his hand respectfully and invite him for coffee
or dinner. For many of them he is a symbol of hope and coexistence
with the Israelis. For Vanunu it is in the Palestinian society that
he feels free and appreciated.
During his years of isolation, Vanunu developed an intricate friendship
with his Palestinian inmates at the Ashkelon Prison. Although they
had never met they would always leave him a glass of tea with mint
at the courtyard, and during Ramadan they would give him the traditional
Arabic sweets, baklawa. Once the prison guards forgot to bring him
in and he got the chance to meet his benefactors. "Those twenty
minutes at the courtyard was the only time we met. We talked and
laughed, we became friends, and then the guards came and we parted
In prison, Vanunu was incarcerated at the 'Agaf seven', a secret
section run by the security service. Here he was tortured and abused.
And even as the prison guards did all they could to make him aggressive,
he refused to play by their rules. Once he couldn't keep his temper
and called them Nazis. "Then they got a reason to hit me. After
that I learned not to give them any more such chances." Instead
Vanunu relied upon his faith and international support.
In 1987 Vanunu was granted the "Right Livelihood Award",
better known as the Alternative Peace Prize. The real Nobel Peace
Prize, Vanunu reminds bitterly, was given to Shimon Peres, the man
responsible for his kidnapping and the driving force behind Israeli
nuclear ambitions. Since his initial incarceration Vanunu has received
numerous awards, the latest of which was Yoko Ono's Lennon Peace
grant. The award, given with the motivation that he had "spoken
out for the benefit of the human race", will, due to the restrictions
placed upon him, be sent to the care of St George Cathedral rather
than being delivered in person at the UN building in New York.
Vanunu now pleads to the international community: "I'm waiting
for the world to intervene, to deal with Israel." And he adds
that "the only way to be free is to be free from Israel."
In order to leave the country Vanunu is trying to cancel his Israeli
citizenship, but for the authorities to approve of it, he needs
a foreign one. While he has applied for Swedish, Norwegian, Danish,
Irish and even Palestinian citizenship, his application for British
citizenship has yet to receive any clear response. Yet it was a
British newspaper that published his revelations, and he was trapped
by the Mossad on British soil.
Vanunu moved to Israel as a 10 year old Jewish
child from Morocco, now he indeed feels as though he has
long since overstayed his welcome in the country. "If I where
you", he says, "I wouldn't be here, I would rather sit
somewhere in peace and quiet, study history and write a book."
In the holy city of Jerusalem, Vanunu wants nothing more than to
get away from the constant patrolling of police and military, away
from oppression, away from occupation and walls. As a convalescent
after years of laying-in, he cautiously walks the streets, discovers
the simple pleasures of a swim, of a friendly company, of a dinner
with fork and knife.
Outside the protective keep of the cathedral the streets are full
of life. In the green tranquillity of the inner yard Mordechai Vanunu
wonders whether after 18 years he will finally be free.
If Americans appreciated the
scale of human-rights abuses committed by Israeli colonists in the
occupied territories, they would condemn the journalists who keep
them in the dark, a US peace activist says.
Kim Lamberty, a member of the Christian Peacemakers Teams (CPT),
has told Aljazeera.net on Tuesday that a cruel and criminal practice
is largely going unreported: settlers are routinely attacking children
on their way to school.
And Lamberty should know. Unable to walk since a vicious attack
on 29 September by Jewish colonists, she says physical assaults
on schoolchildren and the volunteers who escort them have all increased
in the past two weeks.
"Human-rights abuses are being carried out
by Israeli settlers on a massive scale, but the US media continues
to choose not to present the whole Palestine/Israel story - just
the Tel Aviv version," she says.
"Dozens of volunteers from Amnesty International,
CPT, Operation Dove, as well as numerous parents, and of course
Palestinian schoolchildren, have all been assaulted this week alone.
"We are not talking verbal abuse, taunts and
pushes - we are talking punctured lungs, broken arms, fractured
ribs and whipping with chains. But Israeli police are not investigating."
When contacted by Aljazeera.net, no Israeli Defence Force spokesperson
was prepared to comment on whether the latest attack on children
and volunteers (last Sunday) - or the assault on Lamberty - was
But the absence of interest in investigating attacks
on schoolchildren and international peace volunteers is matched
by a western media disinterest in reporting it.
Alison Weir, the executive director of ifamericansknew.org, says
that while Americans are well informed about the deaths of Israeli
children, very few realise that approximately six times more Palestinian
children have been killed.
"For three and a half months [at the beginning of the al-Aqsa
Intifada], Palestinian children were being killed - often by gunfire
to the head - and the world's governments did nothing," she
Weir blames a western media bias in Israel's favour,
and her views are backed up by studies into headlines from prominent
US newspapers. One such investigation into the coverage of deaths
in Israel and Palestine in 2003, revealed a major pattern of omission.
San Francisco study
Analysis of the San Francisco Chronicle has shown
that headlines reported prominently on Israeli children's deaths
at a rate 30 times greater than Palestinian ones.
While 150% of Israeli children's deaths had resulted
in headline coverage (some deaths generated multiple stories), only
5% of Palestinian children's deaths received similar coverage.
But studies of media omissions on Palestinian issues are not limited
to the US. Academics studying BBC coverage have reached similar
Greg Philo and Mike Berry of the Glasgow University Media Unit
in the UK studied television news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict and reached some startling conclusions regarding its effect
BBC reporting criticised
Based on an audience sample of more than 800 people
and a detailed analysis of TV news over a two-year period, the main
conclusion was that BBC television news on the Israel/Palestinian
conflict confuses viewers and substantially features Israeli government
Israelis are quoted and speak in interviews over twice as much
as Palestinians, and there are major differences in the language
used to describe the two sides, the researchers discovered.
Speaking to Aljazeera.net on Wednesday, Philo said TV news says
almost nothing about the history or origins of the conflict.
"The majority of those surveyed did not know
Palestinians had been forced from their homes and land when Israel
was established in 1948. In 1967 Israel occupied by force the territories
to which the Palestinian refugees had moved.
"Most viewers did not know that the Palestinians
subsequently lived under Israeli military rule or that the Israelis
took control of key resources such as water, and the damage this
did to the Palestinian economy," he said.
"And because there was no account of historical
events such as the Palestinians losing their homes, there was a
tendency for viewers to see the problems as 'starting' with Palestinian
Philo also found that Israeli actions tended to
be explained and contextualised - they were often shown as merely
"responding" to what had been done to them by Palestinians.
The study concluded that there is also a tendency to present Israeli
settlements in the occupied territories as vulnerable communities,
rather than as groups of colonists playing a role in imposing the
But as the Israeli historian Avi Shlaim has written, they have
a key military and strategic function. They have been built on hilltops
to give a commanding position and their occupants are often heavily
"Most viewers knew very little of this - one participant expressed
his surprise at learning that the settlements controlled over 40%
of the West Bank," Philo concluded.
However, a few western mainstream journalists are not afraid to
speak out about the issue of poor and confusing media coverage from
the occupied territories.
Twice chief Middle East correspondent for the BBC, Tim Llewellyn
has pointed out the way language is used to spin a one-sided story
in the book Tell Me Lies.
"For a short while on BBC news, 'occupied
territories' became 'disputed'. We heard much of Palestinian 'claims'
of occupation rather than of the 33-year-long fact of it,"
"Illegal Jewish settlements near Jerusalem
became 'neighbourhoods'. Palestinians are killed (it happens); but
Palestinians killing Israelis (that is deliberate); dead Israelis
have a name and identity, dead Arabs are - just, well, dead Arabs.
"When Palestinians die their bereaved vent
'rage' at apparently riotous funerals; Israeli survivors express
shock. The list goes on. The news-speak of the crisis is adjusted
to favour the Israeli side."
Activist speaks out
And with nothing to suggest that western media coverage is about
to change anytime soon, CPT activist Chris Brown wonders how the
system of apartheid currently practised in the occupied territories
is going to change.
Suffering a punctured lung for merely walking Palestinian children
to school himself, Brown says that the settlement his attackers
came from is not "even supposed to be there. It was supposed
to be dismantled".
However, he believes Americans do increasingly appreciate that
it is their $16 million a day in taxation that allows the settlements
Brown says he can see a day when statements "from the floor
of the House and the Senate that this kind of thuggery is not accepted
in any democratic society" will be made.
It just saddens him that this may happen despite western media
coverage rather than because of it.
The US government move to shut
down nearly two dozen antiwar, anti-globalization web sites on October
7 is an unprecedented exercise of police power against political
dissent on the Internet. The World Socialist Web Site denounces
the attack on the Indymedia sites and demands a halt to all such
attempts at suppressing political criticism of the US government.
The shutdown was carried out by Rackspace, a US-based web-hosting
company with offices in San Antonio, Texas, and greater London,
in response to an order from the FBI requiring it to turn over two
of its British servers that were hosting dozens of Indymedia sites.
There are conflicting accounts of the legal process, with Indymedia
attributing the order to a US federal district court, while the
Electronic Freedom Foundation, which is supplying legal representation
to the group, describes it as a "commissioner's order"
directly from the FBI itself.
At least 20 national web sites, including
those for Brazil, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Uruguay were
taken down when the hard drives for the servers were given to the
FBI. Most of the sites were restored to service by the end
of the weekend, but they may have lost significant digital content
because of the removal of the hardware.
The seizure appeared to be politically timed. It
came just one week before the start of the third session of the
European Social Forum (ESF), a large gathering of antiwar and anti-globalization
activists, scheduled to take place in London October 15-17. The
ESF was to be broadcast live via streaming video on many of the
The FBI said the action was taken at the request of Italian and
Swiss authorities, under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which
provides for cooperative efforts by various national police agencies
against international terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering.
According to a statement issued by the web-hosting firm, "Rackspace
is acting as a good corporate citizen and is cooperating with international
law enforcement authorities."
The invocation of such a treaty against a
group of left-wing web sites with no link to any form of terrorism
is an outrageous smear. Indymedia was formed in 1999 to provide
live on-the-spot coverage of the anti-globalization protests in
Seattle. It has expanded into a worldwide network of 140 locally
based sites that provide extensive coverage of political activities
that are frequently blacked out by the corporate-controlled media.
According to a statement issued by the Indymedia
network, the group was asked by the FBI last month to remove a story
posted on one its member sites about Swiss undercover police. The
story included photographs of two secret police officers who had
acted as agents provocateurs during anti-globalization protests
last year outside the G-8 summit meeting in Evian, France. The
FBI conceded that the posting of this information did not violate
any US law, and Indymedia did not take down the information.
The two policemen had engaged in violent actions
in the center of Geneva, the Swiss city adjacent to Evian, where
most of the anti-globalization protests took place. These provocations
became the pretext for police attacks on peaceful demonstrators.
The Indymedia report gave the names and addresses of the undercover
cops as well as their photographs.
Indymedia said it could not be sure that the FBI action was related
to the Swiss police exposure "since the order was issued to
Rackspace and not to Indymedia." Two other possible motives
have been suggested: one relating to the politics of Italy, the
other relating to the US elections.
According to some Internet reports, the
federal prosecutor for the Italian city of Bologna, Marina Plazzi,
has begun an investigation of Indymedia for possible "support
of terrorism," claiming a link between the group and attacks
on Italian soldiers in the Iraqi city of Nasiriya last November.
Plazzi claims to have contacted the FBI as well as the Italian
Department of Justice.
Several leaders of the neo-fascist National
Alliance party have demanded the outright shutdown of Indymedia,
including Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of the fascist dictator.
National Alliance leader Gianfranco Fini is the deputy prime minister
in the coalition government headed by billionaire Silvio Berlusconi,
and a fervent supporter of Italian participation in the occupation
According to the International Federation of Journalists
(IFJ), which condemned the Indymedia shutdown, this action may be
related to a court case heard September 30 in San Jose, California,
against some Indymedia activists who helped expose security flaws
in the electronic voting machines that will be used by tens of millions
of voters in the November 2 US elections.
Aidan White, general secretary of the IFJ, declared, "We have
witnessed an intolerable and intrusive international police operation
against a network specializing in independent journalism.... The
seizing of computers and the high profile nature of this incident
suggest that someone wanted to stifle these independent voices in
A representative of the US-based Electronic Freedom Foundation
said, "The Constitution does not permit the government unilaterally
to cut off the speech of an independent media outlet, especially
without providing a reason or even allowing Indymedia the information
necessary to contest the seizure."
Reporters Without Borders, an international group defending freedom
of the press, also condemned the seizure of computer equipment in
an open letter to David Blunkett, the British Home Secretary. The
letter declared: "This intervention is the responsibility of
the British authorities because it relates to a hosting company
operating on their territory. Closure of websites is a serious step,
the reasons for which should definitely be made public."
This intervention by American police to shut down
antiwar web sites has been widely reported in Europe, with accounts
carried in the British Guardian and Independent and by the French
news agency Agence France-Presse, among others. But nothing has
appeared as yet in the American mass media. This silence only underscores
the role of the American corporate media as the accomplice of the
Bush administration's attacks on democratic rights, both at home
The suggested connection between the Indymedia shutdown and the
US elections is especially significant. At the September 30 court
hearing in northern California, federal judge Jeremy Fogel ruled
in favor of two Swarthmore College students and the Online Policy
Group, an Internet service provider that hosts an Indymedia site,
in their suit against Diebold Election Systems, a leading manufacturer
of electronic touch-screen voting machines.
The two students had web-posted internal Diebold company memos
describing flaws in the software of the voting machines that would
permit vote rigging and alteration of vote totals. The Online Policy
Group was a party to the suit because it served as the Internet
service provider for the San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia web site,
which posted a link to the memos.
Diebold had brought lawsuits against several other groups that
posted the memos, but the two students, active in the Swarthmore
Coalition for the Digital Commons, filed a civil suit against Diebold
claiming that it had unfairly used provisions of the Digital Millennium
Judge Fogel ruled that Diebold had violated provisions in the act
that make it illegal to knowingly misuse copyright law to stifle
free speech. He ordered the giant manufacturer to pay damages as
well as court costs and lawyers' fees.
in southern Germany during Roman times may have witnessed a comet
impact 5,000 times more destructive than the Hiroshima atom bomb,
Scientists believe a field of craters around Lake Chiemsee, in
south-east Bavaria, was caused by fragments of a huge comet that
broke up in the Earth's atmosphere.
Celtic artefacts found at the site, including a number of coins,
appear to have been strongly heated on one side.
This discovery, together with evidence from ancient
tree rings and Roman reports of "stones falling from the sky",
has led researchers to conclude that the impact happened in about
However the claim still needs to be verified by other experts.
The crater field was uncovered after amateur archaeologists working
in the area found pieces of metal containing unusual minerals.
A team of geologists led by Kord Ernston, from
the University of Wurzburg in Germany, went to the site and discovered
evidence of a cataclysm that would have left the region devastated
Not only would trees and homes have been flattened
for many miles by the blast, but the local climate would have changed
for years afterwards.
Tree rings show that vegetation growth slowed down
in around 207BC, possibly because of the "nuclear winter"
effect of dust blotting out the sun.
More than 80 craters were found in an elliptical area 36 miles
long and 17 wide, ranging in size from 10 to 1,215 feet across.
The largest, filled with water, now formed Lake Tuttensee.
Around the site the team found clues that suggested an impact from
space, including rock heated into glass and minerals associated
The most likely cause was a low-density comet, 0.7 miles (1.1 kilometres)
wide, that broke up at an altitude of 43 miles and fell in pieces
to Earth, the scientists reported in Astronomy Magazine.
They wrote: "The main mass of the projectile
struck the ground at 2,200 miles per hour, releasing an amount of
energy equivalent to 106 million tons of TNT."
The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima at the end of
the Second World War had an explosive force of just 20,000 tons
The scientists gave a graphic description of what it might have
been like to experience the impact.
"About two seconds after the strike, people
six miles away (10 kilometres) would have felt the ground shake
as it would in a magnitude six earthquake. The air blast, arriving
30 seconds after impact, would have swept through at a speed of
500 miles per hour and produced a peak pressure of about 1.4 atmospheres,
easily collapsing buildings, especially wooden ones.
"Even from 10 kilometres away, sound from
the impact would have reached 103 decibels – loud enough to
cause strong ear pain. Up to 90% of the trees would have blown over;
the rest would have lost their branches."
Forest beneath the blast would have ignited suddenly,
and continued to burn until the shock wave blew the fire out, said
The conflagration had left a thin layer of ash in and between the
Roman authors at the time wrote about showers of stones falling
from the sky and terrifying the local population.
Because of these events, the Senate in 205BC ordered that a conical
meteorite known as the Needle of Cybele, which had been worshipped
in Asia Minor, be brought to Rome.
"The impact undoubtedly had a major effect on the environment
and people then living in the vicinity of Altoetting-Chiemgau,"
wrote Ernston's team.
"The region must have been devastated for
decades. We are currently looking for gaps in the historical and
archaeological records during the time we propose for the impact
to better understand both the event itself and its cultural effects."
Dr Benny Peiser, a leading expert on impact events from Liverpool
John Moore's University, said the report should be treated with
caution until more was known.
He said the date was speculative, and pointed out that asteroids
or comets a kilometre wide struck the Earth on average only once
every 500,000 years. Generally such a large impact would cause much
more severe and obviously traceable damage.
"In short, this is an an intriguing find, but I remain sceptical
for the time being," said Dr Peiser. "The impact cratering
research community has not assessed these claims yet. That's what
needs to be done next."
| [...] Currently there is a fine
exhibit of Latino arts and crafts in the main display area and I was
able to revisit the wonderful display of Bowie knives, long known
as "Arkansas Toothpicks" that has drawn me back there over
For those who don't know the story of the Bowie knife and Arkansas,
briefly, Jim Bowie, who stopped off in Arkansas on his way to Texas
and his death in the Alamo with Davy Crockett, William Travis and
the other heroes of the frontier, it is said asked a blacksmith
in Old Washington, Ark. to make a knife of his design that was followed
by a whole family of knives used all over the world.
The original Bowie knife, by legend, was made from a piece of meteor
from another world and was sort of magic in that Bowie could kill
most anything or anybody with one. One of the knives on display
has the inscription of "J. Bowie" engraved on the blade,
but no claim is made that it is the original or even the one he
carried when he was killed.
| American interceptor missiles are
to be stationed on British soil after Tony Blair agreed a secret deal
with the United States, it has been reported.
The Independent on Sunday says Downing Street has agreed in principle
to a Pentagon request to base missiles at RAF Fylingdales in North
The weapons would allow the US to destroy incoming missiles and
form part of the Son of Star Wars defence system.
But a Ministry of Defence spokesman said no formal approach had
been made. [...]
According to the Independent on Sunday, the deal to permit missiles
was brokered in Washington last May by senior official from the
British Embassy and the US State Department.
It is reported the British agreed the deal in principle,
but asked that it be kept under wraps until after the next election.
A spokesman for the MoD said no formal request
had been made by the US to base missiles in the UK.
He said: "We are not to going to comment on this alleged secret
"What we will say is that no formal approach has been made
to the UK to base missiles here.
"Nor have we decided whether we need our own missile defence
system here in the UK."
| Oil's record-breaking run has not
hit consumer demand in France, the fastest growing euro zone economy,
said Budget Minister Dominique Bussereau.
Speaking on Radio Inter, Mr Bussereau said that "there are
no signs of a slowdown in overall consumption".
Mr Bussereau's comments came as barge operators protested in Paris
on Saturday, calling for state help to offset the effects of high
Consumer spending is a key driver of worldwide economic growth.
On Friday, US Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan also tried to
play down the threat posed by surging oil prices.
As crude futures set a new record of $55 a barrel in New York,
Mr Greenspan said that the higher costs do not yet put the US economy
French growth is enjoying an upturn, and the government forecasts
that the economy will expand by 2.5% both this year and the next.
SUNRISE, Florida (AFP) - US President George
W. Bush said he had signed into law a bill requiring the State Department
to monitor global anti-Semitism and rate countries annually on their
treatment of Jews.
"This nation will keep watch; we will
make sure that the ancient impulse of anti-Semitism never finds
a home in the modern world," Bush said as he campaigned
in the key battleground state of Florida. The state's Jewish population
is the third largest in the world after Israel and New York.
Since when is anti-Semitism "ancient"? But then, we sometimes
forget that Bush considers reading the bible to be historical research...
The US State Department had opposed the legislation, saying it
was unnecessary as the department already compiles such information
in its annual reports on human rights and religious freedom.
"Defending freedom also means disrupting the evil of anti-Semitism,"
Bush told thousands of cheering supporters packed into a sports
arena usually used by the Florida Panthers professional ice hockey
"Today, I signed the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004.
This law permits the government to keep a record of anti-Semitic
acts throughout the world, and also a record of responses to those
acts," he said.
Florida is the richest haul among the battleground states expected
to decide the November 2 presidential election, with 27 electoral
college votes out of the 270 needed to win.
Jewish voters are thought to favor Democrats historically,
but the Bush campaign hopes that his strong support for Israel and
aggressive outreach efforts could win a majority of Florida's sizeable
The State Department had drawn fire for its position from Jewish
groups -- which wield significant political power especially during
a presidential election year -- and in September, more than 100
prominent Americans signed a letter to US Secretary of State Colin
Powell saying that stance was "wrong."
"The fight against anti-Semitism deserves specific, focused
attention," said the letter which was signed by former Republican
vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp and ex-UN ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick
The bill, known as the Global Anti-Semitism Awareness
Act, was introduced by California Democratic Representative Tom
Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor in the US Congress, in response
to recent acts of anti-Semitism in Europe and the Middle East.
Jewish groups have hailed passage of the bill which they said provided
a new avenue to fight anti-Semitism.
Under the legislation, the State Department will have to produce
an annual report on anti-Semitism around the world and form a specific
office headed by a special envoy to document anti-Semitic abuses
and design strategies to combat them.
It requires the department to document acts of physical violence
against Jews, their property, cemeteries and places of worship abroad,
as well as local governments' responses to them and take note of
instances of anti-Jewish propaganda and governments' readiness to
promote unbiased school curricula.
By tradition, Bush, who signed the legislation on his official
Air Force One jet on his way to Florida, will treat the law's requirements
more like strong advice and guiding principles because of the separation
A FRENCH woman who lied about being the victim
of a vicious anti-Semitic attack - a claim that sparked nationwide
outrage - has been handed a four-month suspended sentence.
Marie-Leonie Leblanc, 23, was also given two years'
probation and ordered to get psychiatric treatment for "reporting
an imaginary crime" after falsely telling police she had been
assaulted on a suburban Paris train on July 9.
The criminal court in Cergy-Pontoise, northwest of Paris, also
ordered Leblanc to pay a symbolic 1 euro ($1.70) in damages to the
French national railway SNCF in what presiding judge Jean Idrac
called a "warning sentence".
The woman initially told police a gang of six Arab and black youths
had slashed her clothes, cut a lock of her hair and drawn swastikas
on her stomach after mistaking her for a Jew.
She also said the youths had tipped over her baby carriage with
her 13-month- old daughter inside. [...]
But the lie quickly unravelled when no witnesses
came forward to back her story and closed-circuit video cameras
in the station where Leblanc said the youths had left the train
did not show any trace of the supposed gang.
The Israeli government has released figures
showing that 47 percent of antisemitic incidents in Western Europe
take place in France, according to a report in Le Monde.
The figures, released yesterday (25 January) also showed that while
global incidents in general have almost halved, they have almost
doubled in France in the past year.
There were 983 incidents of antisemitism in 2003 - a sharp decline
from 1,979 in 2002. The downward trend is reflected in the UK (107
incidents compared to 114) and the US (40 incidents, down from 45
However, in France, the figure has almost doubled from 77 to 141.
Presenting the figures in Jerusalem, Israeli minister Nathan Chtcharansky
said, "The situation for Jews in France is very problematic.
Last year, the number of antisemitic incidents doubled and 47 percent
of antisemitic attacks in Western Europe took place in France".
[...] France dismissed Israeli charges of rising
anti-Semitism yesterday, saying attacks on
Jews and Jewish property had dropped by 36 per cent last year rather
than doubled as Natan Sharansky, the Israeli minister for
diaspora affairs claimed. He said 47 per cent of all anti-Semitic
attacks in Europe last year were in France, a jump to 141 from 77
The French interior ministry said: "The number
of acts registered dropped from 195 to 125."
[...] The very serious problem for the Jewish
Lobby today, of course, is that with the current right-wing Ariel
Sharon government, the state of Israel's many moral crimes against
the Palestinians are frequent, blatant, obscene, immoral, and well-publicized
(at least in Europe). They are more and more difficult to hide.
And they are very, very difficult to explain away, even with the
usual Jewish victimhood rhetoric. While everywhere Jewish pundits
still decry criticism of Israel's moral depravity as "anti-Semitism,"
more and more commentators (although few Americans) are withstanding
the Jewish defensive assault.
Intensive Jewish propagandizing in all social spheres (mass media,
government, the educational apparatus, etc.) since the so-called
"Holocaust" of World War II has successfully framed Jewish
power, Jewish history, Jewish political activism, and Jewish identity
itself to be beyond the realm of reasoned critical inquiry. Anyone
who has dared to mount a sustained critique of anything Jewish has
faced, at worst, an avalanche of smears, threats, and character
assassinations and, at best, the silent treatment: a virtual banishment
from the realm of what is declared to be reasoned public discourse.
We live in a kind of Alice in Wonderland world that declares making
any kind of critical generalization about Jewry is moral crime.
One may, however, make gratuitously positive generalizations, of
course. Hence, Jews are smart. Jews are studious. Jews are hardworking.
Jews are family-oriented. And so forth, into infinity.
Conversely, the ideology of today's "Antisemitismology"
says this: it is entirely kosher (acceptable) to paint in broadly
negative generalizations other ethnic and religious groups, at least
in the context of the Jewish issue. Hence, Christians are deemed
to be generically anti-Semitic. Muslims? Increasingly so. Poles?
Russians? Argentineans? The French? And many, many others? Condemned
by Jewry as "anti-Semitic," yes, as an entire people.
The crucial premise in Jewry's conception of "anti-Semitism,"
which has been thoroughly propagandized throughout Western culture,
is that "anti-Semitic" bigotry is a one-way street. "Anti-Semites"
"hate" Jews and it has never been the other way around.
In fact, there is never any forum anywhere, ever, to even pose the
question: what have Jews thought about non-Jews throughout Jewish
I gave a talk on Thursday to a group of bright
students from Council Rock South HS. Of course, it was about the
Palestine/Israel conflict. I knew that most of the students were
Jewish and likely to have strong opinions, but I was not prepared,
initially at least, for an onslaught before I had presented less
than five minutes of my talk. The gist of their questions and comments
boiled down to a belief that the land between the Mediterranean
and Jordan River rightfully belongs to Israel and that Palestinians,
who have existed on that land for centuries, millennia even, are
but trespassers, squatter, mere accidents of history.
From the corner of my ear, I caught the smiling comment of one
boy, "Israel kicked their butts and the rest is war booty."
While I pretended not to hear, I will admit that I felt a burning
at my core. With such ironic, unrepentant racism, a Jewish American
high school student had reduced my entire family and the whole nation
to which we belong, to "war booty." For a good few moments,
I struggled to subdue images bubbling in my mind: Of my grandmother,
the heir to a beautiful stone home inside the Old City wall, rotting
away as a refugee in a bug infested shack, while an immigrant Jewish
family enjoyed the fruits of her heritage, her furniture, money
and personal belongings; The ancient olive farms, passed on from
one Palestinian generation to the next like family heirlooms, confiscated
and then uprooted to make way for another Jews-only settlement;
The countless images of ineffable suffering of human beings dispossessed
of home and heritage, of dignity and freedom, of water and life.
The most vociferous students were battle ready. Of these, few came
with open ears. And I conceded that anyone is entitled to believe
that an immigrant population from Europe, Russian and New York has
the right to forcefully take possession of property belonging to
the indigenous population; that a soldier has the right to shoot
an unarmed child for throwing rocks at an occupation military; or
that it is acceptable to promote the welfare of a select group based
on their religion, to the terrible detriment of those who do not
belong to that religion. But such beliefs do not stand on moral
ground, certainly not on legal ground.
I have never understood how an abused child
grows up to be an abuser of children, and I shall never understand
how a people who endured the foulest racism should come to violate
and oppress another people as the Israelis have done for the past
half-century. I believe that I shan't ever understand how American
Jews, liberal and compassionate defenders of Civil Rights, continue
to defend and excuse Israel's horrendous abuses of Palestinians.
James Bovard, the great libertarian champion
of our freedom and civil liberties, recently shared with readers
his mail from Bush supporters. For starters here are some of the
salutations: "communist bastard," "asshole,"
"a piece of trash, scum of the earth." It goes downhill
Bush's supporters demand lock-step consensus that Bush is right.
They regard truthful reports that Saddam Hussein had no weapons
of mass destruction and was not involved in the September 11 attack
on the US – truths now firmly established by the Bush administration's
own reports – as treasonous America-bashing.
As well, Bovard is interpreted as throwing cold water on the feel-good,
macho, Muslim butt-kicking that Bush's invasion of Iraq has come
to symbolize for his supporters. "People like you and Michael
Moore," one irate reader wrote, "is (sic) what brings
down our country."
I have received similar responses from conservatives, as, no doubt,
have a number of other writers who object to a domestic police state
at war with the world.
In language reeking with hatred, Heritage
Foundation TownHall readers impolitely informed me that opposing
the invasion of Iraq is identical to opposing America, that Bush
is the greatest American leader in history and everyone who disagrees
with him should be shot before they cause America to lose another
war. TownHall's readers were sufficiently frightening to
convince the Heritage Foundation to stop posting my columns.
Bush's conservative supporters want no debate.
They want no facts, no analysis. They want to denounce and to demonize
the enemies that the Hannitys, Limbaughs, and Savages of talk radio
assure them are everywhere at work destroying their great and noble
I remember when conservatives favored restraint in foreign policy
and wished to limit government power in order to protect civil liberties.
Today's young conservatives are Jacobins determined to use government
power to impose their will at home and abroad.
Where did such "conservatives" come from?
Claes Ryn in his important book, America the Virtuous, explains
the intellectual evolution of the neoconservatives who lead the
Bush administration. For all their defects, however, neocons are
thoughtful compared to the world of talk radio, whose inhabitants
are trained to shout down everyone else. From whence came the brownshirt
movement that slavishly adheres to the neocons' agenda?
Three recent books address this question. Thomas Frank in What's
the Matter With Kansas, locates the movement in legitimate conservative
resentments of people who feel that family, religious, and patriotic
values are given short shrift by elitist liberals.
These resentments festered and multiplied as offshore production,
jobs outsourcing, and immigration took a toll on careers and the
An audience was waiting for rightwing talk radio, which found its
stride during the Clinton years. Clinton's evasions made it easy
to fall in with show hosts, who spun conspiracies and fabricated
a false consciousness for listeners who became increasingly angry.
Show hosts, who advertise themselves as truth-tellers in a no-spin
zone, quickly figured out that success depends upon constantly confronting
listeners with bogymen to be exposed and denounced: war protesters
and America-bashers, the French, marrying homosexuals, the liberal
media, turncoats, Democrats, and the ACLU.
Talk radio's "news stories" do not need
to be true. Their importance lies in inflaming resentments and confirming
that America's implacable enemies are working resolutely to destroy
David Brock's The Republican Noise Machine lacks the insights of
Thomas Frank's book, but it provides a gossipy history of the rightwing
takeover of the US media. Brock is unfair to some people, myself
included, and mischaracterizes as rightwing some media personalities
who are under rightwing attack.
Brock is as blindly committed to his causes as the rightwing zealots
he exposes are to theirs. Unlike Frank, he cannot acknowledge that
the rightwing has legitimate issues.
Nevertheless, Brock makes a credible case that
today's conservatives are driven by ideology, not by fact. He argues
that their stock in trade is denunciation, not debate. Conservatives
don't assess opponents' arguments, they demonize opponents. Truth
and falsity are out of the picture; the criteria are: who's good,
who's evil, who's patriotic, who's unpatriotic.
These are the traits of brownshirts. Brownshirts know they are
right. They know their opponents are wrong and regard them as enemies
who must be silenced if not exterminated.
Some of Brock's quotes from prominent conservative commentators
will curl your toes. His description of the rightwing's destruction
of an independent media and the "Fairness Doctrine" explain
why a recent CNN/Gallup poll found that 42% of Americans still believe
that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 terrorist attack
on the US and 32% believe that Saddam Hussein personally planned
A country in which 42% of the population is totally
misinformed is not a country where democracy is safe.
Today there is no one to correct a lie once it is told. The media,
thanks to Republicans, has been concentrated in few hands, and they
are not the hands of newsmen. Corporate values
rule. If lies sell, sell them. If listeners, viewers, and readers
want confirmation of their resentments and beliefs, give it to them.
Objectivity turns listeners off and is a money loser.
In his book, Cruel and Unusual, Mark Crispin Miller, professor
of media studies at New York University, explains how rightwing
influence has moved the media away from reporting news to designing
our consciousness. "The Age of Information," Miller writes,
"has turned out to be an Age of Ignorance."
Miller makes a strong case. His description of how CNN and Fox
News destroyed the credibility of Scott Ritter, the leading expert
on Iraq's weapons, reveals a media completely given over to propaganda.
Ritter stood in the way of the neocon's invasion of Iraq.
CNN's Miles O'Brien, Eason Jordan, Catherine Callaway, Paula Zahn,
Kyra Phillips, Arthel Neville, and Fox News' David Asman and John
Gibson portrayed Ritter as a disloyal American, a Ba-athist stooge
on the take from Saddam Hussein, and compared him to Jane Fonda
in North Vietnam.
With this, the rightwing talk radio crazies were off and running.
Anyone with the slightest bit of real information about the state
of weapons development in Iraq was dismissed as a foreign agent
who should be shot for treason.
By substituting fiction for reality, the US media
took the country to war. The CNN and Fox News "journalists"
are as responsible for America's ill-fated invasion of Iraq as Cheney
and Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Perle.
With a sizable percentage of the US population now addicted to
daily confirmations of their resentments and hatreds, US policy
will be increasingly driven by tightly made-up minds in pursuit
of unrealistic agendas.
American troops are in Iraq on false pretenses. No one knows all
the fateful consequences of this mistaken adventure. Bush's reelection
would be seen as a vindication of aggression, and more aggression
would likely follow. A continuing expenditure of blood, money, alliances,
good will, and civil liberties is not a future to which to look
Dr. Roberts served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in
the Reagan administration. During the Cold War era, he was a member
of the Committee on the Present Danger. He is a former Associate
Editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal editorial page
and a former contributing editor of National Review. During 1986-87
he assisted the French government's privatization of socialized
firms and was awarded the Legion of Honor. He is the co-author of
Tyranny of Good Intentions.
NEW YORK - The New York Times endorsed John
Kerry for president, becoming the first major US daily to announce
its presidential preference, and was joined by small papers in the
swing states of Ohio and Minnesota in backing the Democratic senator.
Kerry's "wide knowledge and clear thinking" are the makings
of "a great chief executive," the Times said in a lengthy
editorial published 16 days before Americans head to the polls on
The Times said that while Kerry's candidacy initially seemed mostly
to tap into public dissatisfaction with US President George W. Bush,
over time "we have come to know Mr Kerry as more than just
an alternative to the status quo.
"We like what we've seen," the editorial said.
"He has qualities that could be the basis for a great chief
executive, not just a modest improvement on the incumbent"
the Times said, including a willingness to "re-evaluate decisions
when conditions change" and a "strong moral core."
The Times' backing is one of the most coveted and influential of
any endorsement during the US presidential campaign, although given
the newspaper's somewhat left-of-center tendency, not entirely unexpected.
As for Bush, the Times had few kind words in calling for the end
of his presidency, which the paper's editors referred to as "disastrous."
Uncooperative Guantanamo Bay
detainees have been regularly subjected to highly abusive treatment
over a long period of time.
The revelations come from unidentified guards at the US military
base, intelligence agents and others who worked in the prison who
talked to The New York Times.
US military officials have long maintained such treatment had occurred
in isolated cases only.
Prisoners at the Cuban base include those captured in Afghanistan
and Iraq and suspected of association with or membership in what
is termed "extremist" organisations.
Human rights groups have criticised the United States for indefinitely
detaining prisoners at the base, most without charges or legal representation.
Earlier this year, photographs of US personnel abusing Iraqi prisoners
at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad generated outrage around the
The Times reported in its Sunday editions that
prisoners at Guantanamo deemed uncooperative were stripped to their
underwear, shackled hand and foot to a bolt in the floor and forced
to endure strobe lights and loud music played from close loudspeakers.
At the same time, the air-conditioning was turned
up to maximum levels for periods as long as 14 hours.
The treatment was described to the newspaper by a military official
who said he witnessed the procedure and others who said they participated
in the techniques, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.
"It fried them," the newspaper quoted
the official as saying.
The unidentified official told the newspaper he spoke because of
anger over the treatment of the prisoners.
Pentagon officials would not comment on the details of the Guantanamo
allegations, the Times said.
The defence department said in a statement quoted by the Times
that the military was providing a "safe, humane and professional
detention operation at Guantanamo".
LONDON, Oct 17 (IranMania) -
An earthquake shook the city of Shahroud in the northeastern province
of Semnan Saturday night. According to Iran's State News Agency
(IRNA), it was measuring 3.6 degrees on the open-ended Richter scale.
According to the seismological base of Tehran University's Geophysics
Institute, the tremor occurred at 19:29 hours local time (15:59
In similar incidents, another earthquake, measuring 3.5 degrees
on the open-ended Richter, hit the city of Garmsar in the same province
The seismological base of Tehran University's Geophysics Institute
said the tremor occurred at 06:55 hours local time (03:25 GMT).
There were no reports of any casualty or damage to property caused
by the quakes. Iran is situated on some of the world's most active
seismic fault lines and quakes of varying magnitudes are of usual
A moderate earthquake occurred at 10:04:38
(UTC) on Saturday, October 16, 2004. The magnitude 5.1 event has
been located in the IRAN-IRAQ BORDER REGION. The hypocentral depth
was estimated to be 45 km (28 miles). (This event has been reviewed
by a seismologist.)
| NAPLES, Italy - Mount St. Helens,
the rumbling volcano in Washington state, has been belching out dramatic
columns of steam and ash, but in Naples, volcano experts regard all
the excitement across the Atlantic as a mere diversion.
The area around Mount St. Helens is largely uninhabited. But Mount
Vesuvius stands within the Naples megalopolis of 5 million inhabitants.
Keeping tabs on it is a matter of massive life and death. No volcano
on Earth could put as many people in immediate danger.
"Our Vesuvius is the one to watch out for," said Giovanni
Macedonio, director of the Vesuvius Observatory, a venerable institution
dedicated to keeping tabs on the volcano's mood.
Because Vesuvius has not erupted since 1944, the responsibility
on Macedonio and his 90 experts is ever more crucial. The longer
a volcano sleeps, the more powerful an explosion is likely to be
when it awakens, Vesuvius monitors say.
If the observatory decides that Vesuvius is about to erupt, a series
of emergency measures would be set into motion. Chief among them
would be the evacuation of 600,000 residents in 18 towns. "We
are not working to let tourists know when to visit," Macedonio
In the mid-1990s, the Italian government designed a plan for evacuating
the slopes of Vesuvius by transferring residents to preselected
towns across Italy. But some of the orders attracted ridicule. Citizens
of Torre del Greco, a city on the coast, were told to await trains
and boats to take them to Sicily.
Evacuation drills have not resolved residents' concerns: Typically,
only a few hundred have taken part, boarding buses and being given
wine and cake for trips to the Italian hinterland.
In any event, the evacuation plan assumes having at least a two-week
notice of an eruption. But some scientists note that the catastrophic
1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens was preceded by only a few hours
of turbulence. A disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1631 was
preceded by weeks of tremors and puffs of smoke, yet 4,000 people
died when lava and water blew from the crest of the mountain.
Fear of crying wolf haunts Vesuvius Observatory scientists. "People
are skeptical as it is," Macedonio said. If an evacuation is
ordered and the mountain does nothing, "imagine the criticism,"
he said. "Imagine the economic costs of making a mistake. And
when would we be able to tell everyone it's safe to return home?"
New technology has given researchers observation tools on land,
below ground and in space. Seismic measuring devices are positioned
around the mountain, and two sensors have been lowered 200 yards
into the mountain to record subterranean shifts. Lately, the observatory
has been supplied with European Space Agency satellite feeds that
offer real-time recordings of up or down movements of the earth
of even a few millimeters.
"We are looking at Vesuvius in more ways from more angles
than ever," said Marcello Martini of the National Institute
of Geophysics and Volcanology. "But we still don't know all
the variables that exist inside Vesuvius. An exact time factor is
not in our powers to predict."
Mount Vesuvius is arguably the most recorded volcano in history.
The eruption in A.D. 79 that buried Pompeii in mud and ash was described
by Pliny the Younger, a Roman senator. "Ashes were already
falling, hotter and thicker . . . followed by bits of pumice and
blackened stones, charred and cracked by the flames," Pliny
wrote. "Meanwhile, on Mt. Vesuvius, broad sheets of fire and
leaping flames blazed at several points, their bright glare emphasized
by the darkness of night." After that, the volcano erupted
every century or so for 1,000 years. It then went dormant until
1631. During the next four centuries, it blew its top 21 times.
Most of the cells in your body are not your
own, nor are they even human. They are bacterial. From the invisible
strands of fungi waiting to sprout between our toes, to the kilogram
of bacterial matter in our guts, we are best viewed as walking "superorganisms,"
highly complex conglomerations of human, fungal, bacterial and viral
That's the view of scientists at Imperial College London who published
a paper in Nature Biotechnology Oct. 6 describing how these microbes
interact with the body. Understanding the workings of the superorganism,
they say, is crucial to the development of personalized medicine
and health care in the future because individuals can have very
different responses to drugs, depending on their microbial fauna.
The scientists concentrated on bacteria. More than 500 different
species of bacteria exist in our bodies, making up more than 100
trillion cells. Because our bodies are made of only some several
trillion human cells, we are somewhat outnumbered by the aliens.
It follows that most of the genes in our
bodies are from bacteria, too.
Luckily for us, the bacteria are on the whole commensal, sharing
our food but doing no real harm. (The word derives from the Latin
meaning to share a table for dinner.) In fact, they are often beneficial:
Our commensal bacteria protect us from potentially dangerous infections.
They do this through close interaction with our immune systems.
"We have known for some time that many diseases are influenced
by a variety of factors, including both genetics and environment,
but the concept of this superorganism could have a huge impact on
our understanding of disease processes," said Jeremy Nicholson,
a professor of biological chemistry at Imperial College and leader
of the study. He believes the approach could apply to research on
insulin-resistance, heart disease, some cancers and perhaps even
some neurological diseases.
Following the sequencing of the human genome, scientists quickly
saw that the next step would be to show how human genes interact
with environmental factors to influence the risk of developing disease,
the aging process and drug action. But because environmental factors
include the gene products of trillions of bacteria in the gut, they
get very complex indeed. The information in the human genome itself,
3 billion base pairs long, does not help reduce the complexity.
"The human genome provides only scant information. The discovery
of how microbes in the gut can influence the body's responses to
disease means that we now need more research into this area,"
said Nicholson. "Understanding these interactions will extend
human biology and medicine well beyond the human genome and help
elucidate novel types of gene-environment interactions, with this
knowledge ultimately leading to new approaches to the treatment
Nicholson's colleague, professor Ian Wilson from Astra Zeneca,
believes the "human super-organism" concept "could
have a huge impact on how we develop drugs, as individuals can have
very different responses to drug metabolism and toxicity."
"The microbes can influence things such as the pH levels in
the gut and the immune response, all of which can have effects on
the effectiveness of drugs," Wilson said.
The Imperial College research demonstrates what many -- from X
Files stalwarts to UFO fanatics -- have long claimed: We are not
alone. Specifically, the human genome does not carry enough information
on its own to determine key elements of our own biology.
|We at the National Institute for Discovery Science
have come to a time in which a decision must be made as to the direction
of the Institute. We have labored long and hard, coming to the conclusion
to place NIDS in an inactive status.
The reasons for this decision are as follows:
1. We have not had the need to do any major
investigative work for well over 2 ½ years.
2. In view of that fact we decided to reduce our staff.
3. Our administrator, Colm Kelleher, has taken a position outside
of Nevada to do cancer research. Colm's ambition has always been
to do cancer research and was employed in this field prior to his
employment with NIDS. We are sorry to see him leave.
It is unfortunate that there isn't more
activity, as there was in the past, that warrants investigation.
However, we will still retain our Secretary/Receptionist who will
remain at NIDS to answer your calls. Her name is Mary Allman and
can be reached at (702) 798-1700. She will be talking daily to Mr.
Bigelow's assistants Janice and Donna.
Should substantial activity occur with a need
for investigation then NIDS will be reactivated with new personnel.
They have become legendary in UFO circles.
Huge, silent-running "Flying Triangles" have been seen
by ground observers creeping through the sky low and slow near cities
and quietly cruising over highways.
The National Institute for Discovery Science
(NIDS), has catalogued the Triangle sightings, sifting through and
combining databases to take a hard look at the mystery craft. Based
in Las Vegas, Nevada, NIDS is a privately funded science institute
with a strong research focusing on aerial phenomena. The
results of their study have just been released and lead to some
unnerving, still puzzling conclusions.
The study points out: "The United States is currently experiencing
a wave of Flying Triangle sightings that may have intensified in
the 1990s, especially towards the latter part of the 1990s. The
wave continues. The Flying Triangles are being openly deployed
over and near population centers, including in the vicinity of major
A key NIDS conclusion is that the actions of these triangular craft
do not conform to previous patterns of covert deployment of unacknowledged
aircraft. Furthermore, "neither the agenda nor the origin of
the Flying Triangles are currently known."
The years 1990-2004 have seen an intense
wave of Flying Triangle aircraft, the study observes. Sifting
through reports by hundreds of eyewitnesses, the NIDS assessment
states that the behavior of the vehicles "does not appear consistent
with the covert deployment of an advanced DoD [U.S. Department of
the Defense] aircraft."
Rather, it is consistent with (a) the routine and open deployment
of an unacknowledged advanced DoD aircraft or (b) the routine and
open deployment of an aircraft owned and operated by non-DoD personnel,
suggests the NIDS study.
"The implications of the latter possibility
are disturbing, especially during the post 9/11 era when the United
States airspace is extremely heavily guarded and monitored,"
the NIDS study explains. "In support of option (a), there is
much greater need for surveillance in the United States in the post
9/11 era and it is certainly conceivable that deployment of low
altitude surveillance platforms is routine and open."
Open, even brazen
According to Colm Kelleher, NIDS Administrator, the newly completed
quasi "meta-analysis" of Flying Triangles melds three
major U.S. databases: NIDS, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and data
collected by independent researcher, Larry Hatch, the creator and
owner of one of the largest and most comprehensive UFO databases
in the world.
Kelleher said, the analysis indicates that deployment of Flying
Triangles is open, not covert, and involves low-flying, brightly
lit aircraft routinely deployed over populated areas including cities
and Interstate highways.
"However, I cannot say whether these are U.S. Air Force aircraft.
We simply don't know," Kelleher told SPACE.com . "But
it does not appear to be consistent with the covert patterns of
deployment we saw with the F-117 and B-2 prior to their acknowledgement.
This is open, even brazen," he stated.
For example, a perfunctory look at the how past DoD stealth aircraft
programs were kept from public eye -- although eventually came to
light -- is different from the patterns for the Flying Triangles.
Prior to acknowledgement of the F-117 and B-2
aircraft, only rare night time sightings occurred in the sparsely
populated sections of Nevada, California and a few other states.
Flying at low altitude over populated areas was rarely reported
for the F-117 or B-2.
"In contrast, the Flying Triangle deployment,
especially during the 1990s, appears more consistent with the open
and public operation of these aircraft," the study explains.
The trend of open deployment of the Flying Triangles is not consistent
with secret operation of an advanced DoD aircraft.
No attempt to hide
The database-driven study of the Flying Triangle shows the following
-- Sightings take place near cities and on Interstate highways
-- They are seen at low altitude in plain sight of eyewitnesses
-- They fly at extremely low speed or hover in plain sight of eyewitnesses
-- The vehicles sometime fly with easily noticeable bright lights
-- either blinding white lights, or have "bright disco lights"
that usually flash combinations of red, green or blue.
The NIDS study emphasizes that the flying of these vehicles may
be more in harmony with an attempt to display or to be noticed.
There appears to be little or no attempt to hide. That finding has
led to a modification of an earlier NIDS hypothesis that the Triangles
are covertly deployed DoD aircraft.
While it is too early to dismiss the previously published NIDS
correlation between Triangle sightings and a subset of U.S. Air
Force Bases, the apparent association with centers of population
may point away from a covert program. "Rather, it is consistent
with routine and open deployment of an advanced aircraft,"
the NIDS study concludes.
Clustered on both coasts
During the ensuing
years (2000-2004), NIDS received hundreds of reports from people
in the United States and Canada reporting large triangular aircraft,
often silent and often flying at very low altitude and at low air
speed. In many cases, the objects were brightly lit.
NIDS files also include reports of Flying Triangles from remote
In mid 2004, NIDS reviewed its database that contains the locations
of the Triangle sightings in the United States. The sightings of
Triangles appear primarily adjacent to population centers and along
Interstate Highways, with sightings clustered on both coasts.
NIDS has amassed almost 400 separate sightings
of triangular/boomerang/wedge-shaped objects. Many of these craft
are brightly lit, low flying, and traveling at unexpectedly low
In earlier reports, NIDS outlined a tentative correlation between
reported sightings of Triangles and the locations of Air Mobility
Command and Air Force Materiel Command bases in the United States.
Like a Star Trek "uncloaking"
According to ground observers, the features of a Black Triangle
are indeed impressive.
For example, the NIDS study includes the observation of a Port
Washington Wisconsin person who encountered a large object that
flew over her home at 500 feet altitude in October 1998. Her eyeing
of the clear starry night was interrupted as the craft came into
her field of view.
"Suddenly this monstrosity came out of the 'blue', just like
a Star Trek 'uncloaking', no kidding…so quiet I couldn't believe
it and so huge…no more than 500 feet or so up, and big enough
to take up my field of sky vision," she reported.
Crude mathematics, the witness recounted, would make the vessel
about 200 feet wide and 250 feet long.
In wrapping up its look at the burgeoning number of Flying Triangle
sightings in the United States, NIDS also took into account the
work of writers and researchers delving into the topic both in the
United States and abroad.
Those analyses fall into two camps: The Triangles are human-made,
while the other says they are not.
"In 2004 it is extremely difficult to distinguish
between these two possibilities since the former option overlaps
heavily with legitimate national security concerns, while in the
absence of much more physical evidence, the latter option is not
testable," the NIDS assessment concludes.
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