Article - 911 Eye-witnesses
Article - High Strangeness
Article - The Blair Belief Project
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
Rove led the nation to war to improve the political prospects of George
W. Bush. I know how surreal that sounds. But I also know it is true."
- James C Moore May 7 2003 LA Times
| This election is about Rovism,
and the outcome threatens to transform the U.S. into an ironfisted
Even now, after Sen. John F. Kerry handily won
his three debates with President Bush and after most polls show
a dead heat, his supporters seem downbeat. Why? They believe that
Karl Rove, Bush's top political operative, cannot be beaten. Rove
the Impaler will do whatever it takes - anything - to make certain
that Bush wins. This isn't just typical Democratic pessimism.
It has been the master narrative of the 2004 presidential campaign
in the mainstream media. Attacks on Kerry come and go - flip-flopper,
Swift boats, Massachusetts liberal - but one constant remains, Rove,
and everyone takes it for granted that he knows how to game the
Rove, however, is more than a political sharpie with a bulging
bag of dirty tricks. His campaign shenanigans - past and future
- go to the heart of what this election is about.
Democrats will tell you it is a referendum on Bush's incompetence
or on his extremist right-wing agenda. Republicans will tell you
it's about conservatism versus liberalism or who can better protect
us from terrorists. They are both wrong. This election is about
Rovism - the insinuation of Rove's electoral tactics into the conduct
of the presidency and the fabric of the government. It's
not an overstatement to say that on Nov. 2, the fate of traditional
American democracy will hang in the balance.
Rovism is not simply a function of Rove the political conniver
sitting in the counsels of power and making decisions, though he
does. No recent presidency has put policy in the service of politics
as has Bush's. Because tactics can change
institutions, Rovism is much more. It is a philosophy and practice
of governing that pervades the administration and even extends to
the Republican-controlled Congress. As Robert Berdahl, chancellor
of UC Berkeley, has said of Bush's foreign policy, a subset of Rovism,
it constitutes a fundamental change in "the fabric of constitutional
government as we have known it in this country."
Rovism begins, as one might suspect from the most merciless of
political consiglieres, with Machiavelli's rule of force: "A
prince is respected when he is either a true friend or a downright
enemy." No administration since Warren Harding's has rewarded
its friends so lavishly, and none has been as willing to bully anyone
who strays from its message.
There is no dissent in the Rove White House without reprisal.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki was retired after he
disagreed with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's transformation
of the Army and then testified that invading Iraq would require
a U.S. deployment of 200,000 soldiers.
Chief Medicare actuary Richard Foster was threatened with termination
if he revealed before the vote that the administration had seriously
misrepresented the cost of its proposed prescription drug plan to
get it through Congress.
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill was peremptorily fired for questioning
the wisdom of the administration's tax cuts, and former U.S. administrator
L. Paul Bremer III felt compelled to recant his statement that there
were insufficient troops in Iraq.
Even accounting for the strong-arm tactics of Lyndon B. Johnson
and Richard Nixon, this isn't government as we have known it. This
is the Sopranos in the White House: "Cross us and you're road
Naturally, the administration's treatment of the opposition is
worse. Rove's mentor, political advisor Lee Atwater, has been quoted
as saying: "What you do is rip the bark off liberals."
That's how Bush has governed. There is a feeling, perhaps best expressed
by Georgia Democratic Sen. Zell Miller's keynote address at the
Republican convention, that anyone who has the temerity to question
the president is undermining the country.
At times, Miller came close to calling Democrats traitors for putting
up a presidential candidate.
This may be standard campaign rhetoric. But it's one thing to excoriate
your opponents in a campaign, and quite another to continue berating
them after the votes are counted.
Rovism regards any form of compromise as weakness. Politics isn't
a bus we all board together, it's a steamroller.
No recent administration has made less effort to reach across the
aisle, and thanks to Rovism, the Republican majority in Congress
often operates on a rule of exclusion. Republicans blocked Democrats
from participating in the bill-drafting sessions on energy, prescription
drugs and intelligence reform in the House. As Rep. George Miller
(D-Martinez) told the New Yorker, "They
don't consult with the nations of the world, and they don't consult
with Congress, especially the Democrats in Congress. They can do
it all themselves."
Bush entered office promising to be a "uniter, not a divider."
But Rovism is not about uniting. What Rove
quickly grasped is that it's easier and more efficacious to exploit
the cultural and social divide than to look for common ground.
No recent administration has as eagerly played wedge issues - gay
marriage, abortion, stem cell research, faith-based initiatives
- to keep the nation roiling, in the pure Rovian belief that the
president's conservative supporters will always be angrier and more
energized than his opponents. Division, then, is not a side effect
of policy; in Rovism, it is the purpose of policy.
The lack of political compromise has its correlate
in the administration's stubborn insistence that it doesn't have
to compromise with facts. All politicians operate within an Orwellian
nimbus where words don't mean what they normally mean, but Rovism
posits that there is no objective, verifiable reality at all. Reality
is what you say it is, which explains why Bush can claim that postwar
Iraq is going swimmingly or that a so-so economy is soaring. As
one administration official told reporter Ron Suskind, "We're
an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.. We're
When neither dissent nor facts are recognized as constraining forces,
one is infallible, which is the sum and foundation of Rovism. Cleverly
invoking the power of faith to protect itself from accusations of
stubbornness and insularity, this administration
entertains no doubt, no adjustment, no negotiation, no competing
point of view. As such, it eschews the essence of the American political
system: flexibility and compromise.
In Rovism, toughness is the only virtue. The mere appearance of
change is intolerable, which is why Bush apparently can't admit
ever making a mistake. As Machiavelli put it, the prince must show
that "his judgments are irrevocable."
Rovism is certainly not without its appeal. As political theorist
Sheldon Wolin once characterized Machiavellian government, it promises
the "economy of politics." Americans love toughness. They
love swagger. In a world of complexity and uncertainty, especially
after Sept. 11, they love the idea of a man who doesn't need anyone
else. They even love the sense of mission, regardless of its wisdom.
These values run deep in the American soul,
and Rovism consciously taps them. But they are not democratic. Unwavering
discipline, demonization of foes, disdain for reality and a personal
sense of infallibility based on faith are the stuff of a theocracy
- the president as pope or mullah and policy as religious warfare.
Boiled down, Rovism is government by jihadis in the grip of unshakable
self-righteousness - ironically the force the administration says
it is fighting. It imposes rather than proposes.
Rovism surreptitiously and profoundly changes our form of government,
a government that has been, since its founding by children of the
Enlightenment, open, accommodating, moderate and generally reasonable.
All administrations try to work the system to their advantage,
and some, like Nixon's, attempt to circumvent the system altogether.
Rove and Bush neither use nor circumvent, which would require keeping
the system intact. They instead are reconfiguring the system in
extra-constitutional, theocratic terms.
The idea of the United States as an ironfisted
theocracy is terrifying, and it should give everyone pause. This
time, it's not about policy. This time, for the first time, it's
about the nature of American government.
We all have reason to be very, very afraid.
Neal Gabler, a senior fellow at the Norman Lear Center at USC
Annenberg, is author of "Life the Movie: How Entertainment
Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times
|Charlie Brooker Saturday October
23, 2004 The Guardian
Heady times. The US election
draws ever nearer, and while the rest of the world bangs its head
against the floorboards screaming "Please God, not Bush!",
the candidates clash head to head in a series of live televised
debates. It's a bit like American Idol, but with terrifying global
ramifications. You've got to laugh.
Or have you? Have you seen the debates? I urge you to do so. The
exemplary BBC News website (www.bbc.co.uk/news) hosts unexpurgated
streaming footage of all the recent debates, plus clips from previous
encounters, through Reagan and Carter, all the way back to Nixon
Watching Bush v Kerry, two things immediately strike you. First,
the opening explanation of the rules makes the whole thing feel
like a Radio 4 parlour game. And second, George W Bush is... well,
he's... Jesus, where do you start?
The internet's a-buzz with speculation that Bush has been wearing
a wire, receiving help from some off-stage lackey. Screen grabs
appearing to show a mysterious bulge in the centre of his back are
being traded like Top Trumps. Prior to seeing the debate footage,
I regarded this with healthy scepticism: the whole "wire"
scandal was just wishful thinking on behalf of some amateur Michael
Moores, I figured. And then I watched the footage.
Quite frankly, the man's either wired or mad. If it's the former,
he should be flung out of office: tarred, feathered and kicked in
the nuts. And if it's the latter, his behaviour goes beyond strange,
and heads toward terrifying. He looks like he's listening to something
we can't hear. He blinks, he mumbles, he lets a sentence trail off,
starts a new one, then reverts back to whatever he was saying in
the first place. Each time he recalls a statistic (either from memory
or the voice in his head), he flashes us a dumb little smile, like
a toddler proudly showing off its first bowel movement. Forgive
me for employing the language of the playground, but the man's a
So I sit there and I watch this and I start scratching my head,
because I'm trying to work out why Bush is afforded any kind of
credence or respect whatsoever in his native country. His performance
is so transparently biz arre, so feeble and stumbling, it's a miracle
he wasn't laughed off the stage. And then I start hunting around
the internet, looking to see what the US media made of the whole
"wire" debate. And they just let it die. They mentioned
it in passing, called it a wacko conspiracy theory and moved on.
Yet whether it turns out to be true or not, right now it's certainly
plausible - even if you discount the bulge photos and simply watch
the president's ridiculous smirking face. Perhaps he isn't wired.
Perhaps he's just gone gaga. If you don't ask the questions, you'll
never know the truth.
The silence is all the more troubling since in the past the US
news media has had no problem at all covering other wacko conspiracy
theories, ones with far less evidence to support them. (For infuriating
confirmation of this, watch the second part of the must-see documentary
series The Power Of Nightmares (Wed, 9pm, BBC2) and witness the
absurd hounding of Bill Clinton over the Whitewater and Vince Foster
Throughout the debate, John Kerry, for his part, looks and sounds
a bit like a haunted tree. But at least he's not a lying, sniggering,
drink-driving, selfish, reckless, ignorant, dangerous, backward,
drooling, twitching, blinking, mouse-faced little cheat. And besides,
in a fight between a tree and a bush, I know who I'd favour.
On November 2, the entire civilised world will
be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably
win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The
world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted
bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John
Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you
now that we need you?
Sunday October 24, 2004
The final sentence of a column in The Guide on Saturday caused
offence to some readers. The Guardian associates itself with the
following statement from the writer.
"Charlie Brooker apologises for any offence caused by his
comments relating to President Bush in his TV column, Screen Burn.
The views expressed in this column are not those of the Guardian.
Although flippant and tasteless, his closing comments were intended
as an ironic joke, not as a call to action - an intention he believed
regular readers of his humorous column would understand. He deplores
violence of any kind."
"This is God here ..."
"Hi, God. What can I do for you?"
"I want you to stop this Iraq thing, George."
"But you told me to do it, God!"
"No I didn't, George ..."
"But you did! You spoke to me through Karl, Rumsey and Dick
and all those other really clever guys!"
"How did you know it was me talking, George?"
"Instinct, God. I just knew it!"
"Do you really think I'd want you to unleash all this horror
and bloodshed on another lot of human beings?"
"But they're Muslims! They don't believe in You, God!"
"But, George, they do believe in me. Jews, Christians and
Moslems all worship the same Me! Didn't you do comparative theology
at school, George?"
"No, of course not! You think I'm some sort of peace-waving
dope-headed liberal faggot-lover, God?"
"No, of course not, George, but I expect you to know something
about the people you're bombing."
"Oh, come on! I know it's right to bomb those oily rag-heads
until there's not one left to wipe a wrench on!"
"How do you know that, George?"
"Cause You tell me that's what I should do, God."
"George, I do not tell you to do that!"
"But I hear You, God! You speak to me! You tell me what to
do! You tell me what is Right and what is Wrong! That's why I don't
need to listen to any soft-baked, mealy-mouthed liberal Kerry-pickers!"
"George, you're deluding yourself."
"God! How can you say that? I got some of the most powerful
people on this planet down on their knees every day in the White
House just a-praying to You! Now are you gonna tell me You ain't
listening? Because if You ain't listening, God, that's Your problem
- not mine!"
"George, of course I'm listening - it's you who is not listening
"And I'll tell you why! 'Cause You ain't addressing me right."
"What d'you mean, you jumped-up little Ivy League draft-dodger?"
"If you're so 'omniscient', God, you oughta know that you
gotta go through Karl Rove, John Ashcroft, Rumsey and Dick ... those
fellas know what they're talking about! I can't listen to just any
deity who can pick up the phone!"
"But, I'm God, George!"
"Does Karl say you are?"
"But why do you believe Karl?"
"Because my gut tells me he's right!"
"Listen, you ignorant little pinch-eyed Billy Graham convert!
Can't you get it into your head that I'm God and I'm telling you
to stop all this 'pre-emptive strike' nonsense! Stop destroying
Iraq! Stop supporting that monster Sharon! Stop picking a fight
with the only other human beings on the planet that believe in Me!
You're leading the world into unbelievable chaos and horror!"
"That's enough, God! That's just the sort of defeatist crap
that I won't allow in the White House! Get out of here!"
"I cannot believe I'm hearing this, George."
"Well you better start believing, God, because this is the
new reality. Don'tcha know that a recent Gallup poll shows that
42% of Americans identify themselves as 'born again'? That cuts
across Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, white and black!
This is a real political power base, God, and you'd better believe
"Look, all I'm asking is for you to show a little compassion
to your fellow human beings!"
"I'm not going to debate this with you, God! You're beginning
to sound like you belong to the reality-based community!"
"What the hell does that mean?"
"Well by the 'reality-based community', we mean people who
believe that solutions emerge from their judicious study of discernible
reality." "Sounds fair enough..."
"But, as one of my advisors told Ron Suskind of the Wall
Street Journal: 'The reality-based community is not the way the
world really works any more. We're an empire now and, when we act,
we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality
- judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new
realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort
out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left
to just study what we do'."
"You mean...you don't give a damn, George?"
"I mean You speak through me, God, not the other way round!
Is that clear?"
"Yes, Mr President."
Kuala Lumpur - Americans
are "very ignorant," and will almost certainly re-elect
a "liar" as their leader, Malaysia's former Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad said in a trademark tongue lashing directed at
United States President George W Bush.
In an interview with Malaysia's The Star newspaper published on
Tuesday, Mahathir - known for his blunt remarks - also
didn't spare Bush's rival, Senator John Kerry, saying both politicians
were "in total denial" about the root causes of terrorism.
Mahathir, however, wrote an open letter dated October 15 to American
Muslims, urging them to vote for Kerry because Bush has been "the
cause of the tragedies" across the Muslim world.
Meanwhile, current premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Tuesday distanced
himself from Mahathir's statements and refused to comment on whether
the Malaysian government wants Bush or Kerry to win.
Palestine is the problem
"Whatever (Mahathir) has written is his own opinion. Full
stop," Abdullah told reporters.
Mahathir stepped down as prime minister after 22 years in office
October last year, but has remained as candid as ever in criticising
American leaders and Jews, as was evident in Tuesday's interview
with The Star.
Mahathir, who cracked down on terror while in
office, repeated his view that Islamic terrorism has been fuelled
by US and Israeli injustices against the Palestinians.
Mahathir told The Star neither Bush nor Kerry
want to address the root problem of terrorism because that would
"annoy the Jewish group (voters)."
"If you mention Palestine as the root cause (of terrorism),
you will lose the election. So neither Kerry nor Bush will mention
Palestine," he said.
"But surprisingly, the electorate appears
to be willing to accept a person who told a blatant lie and to elect
a liar as their president," he said, referring to Bush's
claims about Saddam Hussein stockpiling weapons of mass destruction
"The American people are, by and large,
very ignorant and know nothing about the rest of the world.
... Yet they are the people who will decide who will be the most
powerful man in the world," he said, adding that he thinks
Bush will win the November 2 election.
He also blasted Bush's close allies British Prime Minister Tony
Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who won a resounding
victory at national polls early this month.
"They (accepted) Blair, and I am sure they will accept Bush.
They have already accepted Howard who told a blatant lie,"
he said, without elaborating.
Mahathir's last days in office were tainted by a controversial
speech he gave at a summit of Islamic leaders when he said "Jews
rule the world by proxy."
George Bush has exploited
the suffering of September 11 and turned back decades of efforts
to make the world a safer place, the former president Jimmy Carter
says in an interview with the Guardian published today.
Attacking Mr Bush and Tony Blair over Iraq, Mr Carter calls the
war "a completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements".
He also criticises Mr Bush for "lack of effort" on the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and accuses him of abandoning nuclear
non-proliferation initiatives championed by five presidents.
The US "suffered, in 9/11, a terrible and shocking attack
... and George Bush has been adroit at exploiting that attack, and
he has elevated himself, in the consciousness of many Americans,
to a heroic commander-in-chief, fighting a global threat against
America," Mr Carter says.
"He's repeatedly played that card, and to some degree quite
successfully. I think that success has dissipated. I don't know
if it's dissipating fast enough to affect the election. We'll soon
Mr Carter, 80, was president from 1977-1981, but did not win re-election
amid the US hostage crisis in Iran. By comparison, support for Mr
Bush's Iraq invasion is widespread, something Mr Carter attributes
to a transformation in America's national mood.
"When your troops go to war, the prime minister or the president
change overnight from an administrator, dealing with taxation and
welfare and health and deteriorating roads, into the commander-in-chief,"
he says. "And it's just become almost unpatriotic to describe
Bush's fallacious and ill-advised and mistaken and sometimes misleading
Mr Bush and Mr Blair are blamed for helping to fuel the depth of
anti-American feeling in the Islamic world. Denying any link between
his handling of the Iranian crisis and the present threat, Mr Carter
says: "The entire Islamic world condemned Iran. Nowadays, because
of the unwarranted invasion of Iraq by Bush and Blair, which was
a completely unjust adventure based on misleading statements, and
the lack of any effort to resolve the Palestinian issue, [there
is] massive Islamic condemnation of the United States."
American media organisations, he adds, "have been cowed, because
they didn't want to be unpatriotic. There has been a lack of inquisitive
journalism. In fact, it's hard to think of a major medium in the
United States that has been objective and fair and balanced, and
critical when criticism was deserved".
On nuclear proliferation, the issue that the Democratic contender
John Kerry has identified as the single most serious threat to national
security, Mr Carter attacks Mr Bush for abandoning "all of
those long, tedious negotiations" carried out by presidents
Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan and himself.
In recent weeks he has also warned of the possibility of a new
election fiasco in Florida.
The two presidential candidates spent the weekend focusing their
resources and words even more tightly on the small number of swing
states considered crucial to the election on November 2.
Mr Bush told supporters in Florida that "despite ongoing violence,
Iraq has an interim government. It's building up its own security
forces. We're headed toward elections in January. You see, we're
safer, America is safer with Afghanistan and Iraq on the road to
democracy. We can be proud that 50 million citizens of those countries
now live as free men and women".
Mr Carter's interview marks the UK publication of his book The
Hornet's Nest, a story of the American revolutionary war and the
first novel to be published by a former president. Ironically, he
notes, those fighting for US independence could never have triumphed
were it not for an alliance with the French.
age of anxiety
American academic Richard Sennett, who has
been teaching in London for five years, returns to New York and
takes the cultural and political temperature
| Saturday October 23, 2004
| [...] "Fascism" is both
a strong and an opaque word. Discussions here about whether America
is threatened by fascism have been focused this autumn by the appearance
of Robert Paxton's The Anatomy of Fascism. An historian of Vichy France
at Columbia University, Paxton calmly explores rather than rants about
fascism as "democracy gone wrong" in Europe from 1919 to
1939. Yet its final chapter has roused debate because Paxton argues
that democracy can go wrong whenever far-right beliefs intersect with
conservative economic and political institutions, and that the longing
for an iron grip is much more than historical accident. Light references
to Israel and the United States evince Paxton's prudence yet his readers
have not taken these suggestions lightly.
We could think of fascism itself as either hard or soft. Hard fascism
rams home to the citizen that he or she is held in that iron grip,
as in Mussolini's theatre of force or George Orwell's nightmare
Nineteen Eighty-four. Soft fascism is not so much a velvet glove
as an invisible hand, the operations of control hidden from scrutiny
as Patriot Act II, and more, internal repression presented to the
public as merely preventive action against threats that have yet
to materialise. The Bush administration acted in this preventive
way, for instance, by shutting three of the larger Muslim charities
in America, not for anything they had done, but for what might happen,
some time, somewhere. In hard fascism the state exploits concrete
fear, in soft fascism the state exploits diffuse anxiety.
"Security" takes on a peculiar meaning in soft fascism.
Perhaps the most disturbing book to appear this year, Jeffrey Rosen's
The Naked Crowd, illuminates the twisted experience of security.
In Rosen's view, reality TV and its like have made invasion of privacy
into popular entertainment. The pleasure of stripping away privacy
fits into an economy where high-tech firms such as Oracle make large
profits from developing personal data bases, listening devices,
and auditing software for business. Government destruction of private
rights thus become "naturalised": the public already enjoys
the act of stripping people naked, and this intrusion is just an
extension of how business gets done in the computer age.
Diffuse anxieties only add further fuel to this "naturalised"
process. Insecurity about what might happen, some time, somewhere,
becomes an ongoing state of mind; it co-habits with preventive measures,
but these draconian measures do not erase unease. Indeed, as the
state machine acts stealthily to prevent things happening, as its
technologies become built into the fabric of everyday business practice,
there can be no defining moment when an ordinary citizen could declare,
"now I am more secure".
Is America menaced by soft fascism, as many intellectuals fear?
ICH -- Let us for a few moments put aside
our lavish lifestyles of fortuitous endowment and providence that
have made us blind to the realities of billions of our fellow humans.
Let us ignore our plasma televisions, our DVDs, our two-story cookie
cutter homes and gas-guzzling SUVs. Let us promise to not open our
overstocked pantries and refrigerators, or to go out and eat at
one of many corporate controlled franchise restaurants offering
vast assortments of gargantuan meals. We should ignore the opulence
of our society that dwells permanently in our minds that makes us
forget the severe indigence and suffering that transpires beyond
our shores and borders.
In short, we should come out of our luxurious bubble that has shielded
us from the evils inflicted on billions of humans that have not
been as privy to a life of safety and security. Let us traverse
the road of reality, sojourning through history and through mirages
of hidden truths. Let us dive into the making of the Evil Empire
so that we may see what our government has and continues to do in
our name. The road ahead will not be easy to swallow or comprehend,
yet we must open our minds to the possibility that what has happened
is real and what is occurring is not fiction. Only then will we
understand why our hands are smeared in the blood of tens of millions
of human cadavers and countless more whose lives and futures have
been devastated at the hands of the United States of America. Only
by knowing who and what we are can we correct ourselves.
Our society is ingrained with an appetite for violence. It is apparent
in the over 11,000 murders by firearm per year. It is apparent in
Hollywood's gratuitous assembly-line of blood and gore, violence,
devastation and death. It is visible in the ever-growing number
of video games sold to our children depicting egregious violence,
killings and bloodletting. Our society celebrates violence, be it
through football, hockey or boxing, television, cartoons and music.
Even Disney cartoon movies have as a main theme battles of good
versus evil and the plethora of violence, destruction and death
associated with them. The US military industrial complex supplies
the world with 45 percent of all weapons for sale on the market.
Yet without public demand for violence none of
the above would exist. It is the citizenry – with complicit
help from government and corporate media – that drives the
engine that conditions us toward accepting and participating in
our violent society.
Violence in America is today a manifestation of our society and
history, of a never ending thirst for blood, conquest, oppression
and death that sprung from the first moment of Puritan arrival.
Before and after the Revolutionary war Americans participated in
one of the greatest acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing the world
has ever witnessed. Millions upon millions of native Indians were
slaughtered, raped and cleansed from the lands of North America.
Manifest destiny ransacked from Atlantic to Pacific like a devastating
hurricane, destroying everything native people thought precious
and sacred. Wars against native populations extinguishing the energies
of men, women, children and elderly alike. The American thirst for
violence had been born. The addiction for blood would become insatiable
and never ending.
Native peoples' lands were taken from them; lies, manipulations
and betrayals erased their tribes from the homes they once knew
and cherished. Replanted into hellholes called reservations, Indians
were left to rot away their existence, given only the evil of Firewater
to wash away their inner demons and scars in a land both alien and
inhospitable. Hidden from the voracious Anglo onslaught, Indians
of talent and ability were left to dwell on a future lost through
the disappearance of opportunity. Disease, depression, lack of education
and incessant poverty soon followed. Demons of a life wasted and
opportunity lost consumed those who escaped the barrel of a gun
and the virus of the white man.
Entire ethnicities, tribes, languages and
cultures were eviscerated from the face of the Earth by those whose
importance of property and ownership superceded the respect for
human life. Beautiful peoples took with them to the grave lives
living free, roaming pristine and untouched forests, deserts and
prairies, being one with nature, respecting everything that breathed
and a spirituality that has much to offer our capitalistic civilization.
Advanced civilizations in wisdom and spirituality,
yet seen as savages to the "more sophisticated" European
people, native peoples' way of life was vanished, never to fully
flourish again. Millions ethnically cleansed, millions whose lives
were made barren, all making way for the destructive bulldozer ravaging
land and man. The Evil Empire had sprung to life, a trail of victims
visible everywhere the giant walked.
Not satisfied with the killing of millions of native peoples, the
citizens of America next decided to unleash hell onto each other.
As a result the American Civil War of the latter part of the 19th
century killed more than 600,000 people, leaving the United States
mourning for brothers and sons, fathers and grandfathers. Graveyards
littered the landscape; battlefields were transformed into fields
of death and devastation. Divided a prospering nation stood, soaked
in blood and agony, splitting apart families, creating widows and
orphans. In the end, hundreds of thousands lay dead, many more maimed
and wounded, all to quench the voracious appetite for violence,
death and destruction.
The Evil Empire's cannibalism was only the beginning of a much
greater disease. [...]
Lands and People of the Middle East
With wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Evil Empire has killed tens
of thousands of Arabs in the last two years. The remnants of cluster
bombs and depleted uranium used by the American war machine have
and will continue to kill and maim thousands more in the coming
US sponsored sanctions on Iraq, in essence
nothing more than a cruel form of economic genocide that was imposed
in the aftermath of Gulf War I, unleashed its inherent evils for
the next decade, resulting in the death of up to a million men,
women and children who were denied basic necessities needed for
survival. This form of crime against humanity enforced by
the Evil Empire was in essence a quasi-concentration camp in which
a million humans perished due to the American government's collective
punishment on an entire population.
Iraq, needless to say, has suffered tremendously both by the one-time
American lackey whose tyrannical dictatorship led to the deaths
of thousands of innocent civilians and by US wars and sanctions.
The Evil Empire has made the Cradle of Civilization a walking wasteland
of death, suffering and destruction, a barren desert whose fertility
has been eroded.
For years the people of Iran were forced
to endure the horrors and despotism of the shah, an American proctor
and puppet that subjected his people to tyranny, oppression and
exploitation. Democracy was subverted, many innocent civilians were
killed or disappeared and the nation fell into decay while the shah
and his cronies basked in the splendor of oil's rewards.
When the masses finally revolted, the American
embassy was attacked and destroyed, a clear symbol of who the people
thought was responsible for their misery. The Great Satan was purged
from the lands of Persia and to this day has not returned.
Today, Saudi Arabia is controlled by a US-protected monarchy loyal
to its masters. Meanwhile, the people linger in growing poverty
and desperation. Democracy is non-existent, as are freedoms and
liberties. As a result, many living below human dignity are turning
toward resistance and resentment that is manifesting itself in a
growing hatred of both the Saud monarchy and American "Crusaders"
despoiling sacred Muslim lands.
In Turkey, the Kurdish minority has for years been ethnically cleansed
by the Turkish government. Hundreds of thousands of people have
died and many more maimed and injured thanks to the vast, modern
and sophisticated array of weapons and military hardware provided
by the Evil Empire, who has turned a blind eye to the genocide and
repression that has brought misery and suffering to the Kurds of
Turkey. The Empire's failure to act in the face of such crimes against
humanity and its approval of arms sales to the Turkish military
makes it complicit in the systemic annihilation and plight of the
Through one-sided political support for
the crimes against humanity being perpetrated by Israel against
the occupied and oppressed Palestinian people, the Evil Empire's
hands are smeared in the blood of a people robbed of their land,
raped of their livelihood and dehumanized of their existence.
It is American Apache helicopters, Abrams tanks, Caterpillar bulldozers,
fast missiles, smart bombs, weapons and bullets that are decimating
an entire population, making prisoners of millions who now live
in Bantustans and ghettos.
This, along with billions of dollars in financial and military
aid to the Israeli government has morphed the crimes of the IDF
with the interests of the Evil Empire, forming a Molotov cocktail
of destruction, dehumanization and death. The apartheid wall being
built today that is usurping Palestinian land, crops, water, homes
and lives is in large part possible thanks to American taxpayer
money. The Evil Empire's role in Israel's treatment of the native
Palestinian people is apparent in the geopolitical protection afforded
the country by the US and its role in vetoing UN condemnations of
Israeli behavior and by its tacit support for Israeli actions in
the occupied territories.
The Evil Empire is once more involved in the devastation
of millions of people who have been robbed of their lands and lives,
live in utter decay and dehumanization, suffer severe forms of collective
punishment and are being ethnically cleansed in a most meticulous
and abhorrent way. Palestinians are today living in a state of apartheid,
in ghettos resembling large concentration camps, under the watchful
eyes of a trigger-happy occupying force, struggling to survive on
the measly crumbs Israel throws their way and with the knowledge
that their endemic and ruinous plight is endorsed by the greatest
"purveyor of democracy" and "defender of human rights"
the world has ever seen.
In Central Asia, the Evil Empire is systematically forging alliances
with a new group of tyrannical dictators that have subjugated their
people to despotism. In these nations, democracy is dwindling, freedoms
are hardly existent and the decay of liberties is being exacerbated.
Torture, death, misery and poverty are hallmarks of the new group
of dictators now entrenched in the pockets of the US government.
It seems that when vast oil wealth is involved the US altruistic
fight for democracy is a principle that is easily disposed of and
forgotten. The struggle for human rights and dignity the US so boldly
declares as a priority is erased and ignored.
The Evils Done in our Name
The devastation of peoples throughout the planet directly or indirectly
sponsored by the Evil Empire, who through no fault of their own
are denied rights, freedoms and democracy, are subjected to gross
human rights violations and persecutions and face death or disappearance
is a crime against humanity. It is state sponsored terrorism and
genocide. Market colonialism has decimated both countries and the
lives of their inhabitants. Economic genocide has wrought suffering
and increased indigence, robbing millions of education, healthcare,
opportunity and livable wages. The world's people have in many instances
been enslaved to cater to the interests of the Evil Empire and its
The evils done in our name have created
worldwide animosity and hatred. They have given rise to desperation
and humiliation that is today manifested by the growing number of
humans fighting the system that has been imposed onto them. From
Al-Qaeda to Iraqi freedom fighters to the Venezuelan poor to enlightened
Europeans to the growing number of sprouting "terror"
groups franchising around the world, the people of the world are
growing frustrated at the Evil Empire's devastation of peoples in
order to suit its interests, both corporate and governmental.
Billions are searing in anger at the US government
and by indirect complicity at its citizens as well. We are no longer
welcome neighbors in the community of nations. To be American is
to be scorned and castigated, to be unwelcome in the lands of the
exploited and subjugated. The evils done in our name are beginning
to have karmic repercussions through out he globe, and the danger
now present will affect us all who have been made blind to the crimes
against humanity and the planet being committed by theEvil Empire.
In the last 200 years the United States has killed,
directly or indirectly, tens of millions of human beings, surpassing
the horrors of evildoers past and present. It has created untold
levels of suffering and depravity, sending untold millions to the
sewers of poverty and dehumanization. These truths are not easy
to swallow, or to accept, yet they are as real as the air we breathe.
It is time we accept the evils done in our name.
George W. Bush is but the latest in a long line of presidents who
have continued the cycle of violence our nation has such a propensity
towards. America, it seems, gravitates naturally towards violence
and destruction, perhaps due to the fact that besides 9/11, we have
never seen the true horrors of what man is capable of unleashing
onto his fellow man. The reality that afflicts billions is to us
a distant haze of blurriness. We have not
been made privy to the suffering and misery, the death, disease
and maiming of a land in war, an environment in flames and a people
in battle. Our luck has been the world's misfortune.
Our society has been made blind to endemic and ceaseless worldwide
suffering at the hands of our government. Through years of conditioning
we now fail to blink at the carnage our military engenders around
the world. From the cradle to the grave we are subjected to incessant
violence, whether real or fictional, that makes us immune to the
torment prevalent in the rest of the world. Through careful manipulation
we are made to believe that war is peace, destruction is prosperity
and murder is life.
The world burns while we live lives of consumption
and production, happy worker bees stuck in hour long commutes working
most of our productive lives. We live in peace and harmony at home,
distracted from reality by our television screens and movie theatres,
by our lavish lifestyles and wasteful society. In
the land of the individual the communality of peoples is an alien
principle. Content, conformist and passive thanks to our
nation of plenty, we care not for peoples outside our borders. We
have everything we need, after all, and a plethora of distractions
in our daily lives prevents us from even considering that a larger
world exists beyond our shores.
The impenetrable bubble we live in protects
us from empathizing with billions whose lives have been made worse
since the birth of the Evil Empire. We have been made ignorant
to that which has been unleashed onto the world and that owes its
existence to our continued lifestyle and complicity by acquiescence
and failure to act. The Evil Empire runs rampant through the planet,
devouring all in its path, enslaving millions and conquering and
despoiling lands. Meanwhile, inside the belly of the beast we sit,
basking in extravagance and splendor, complacent in life and circumstance,
unwilling to open our eyes and minds to the evils done in our name.
Manuel Valenzuela is social critic and commentator, international
affairs analyst, Internet columnist and author of Echoes in the
Wind, a novel now on sale by Authorhouse.com.
A collection of essays, Beyond the Smoking Mirror: Reflections on
America and Humanity, will be published in early 2005. His articles
appear in alternative news websites and you can find him regularly
His unique style and powerful writing is read internationally and
seeks to expose truths and realities confronting humanity today.
Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at email@example.com.
A diverse collection of many of his essays and articles can be found
Articles by Manuel Valenzuela, 2004 and at at
WHAT DO a Pathan tribesman in Pakistan, a
factory hand in Shanghai, a grape picker in Chile, and a Canadian
autoworker have in common?
Their lives are all shaped by decisions made by the White House,
the closest thing we have today to world government.
It's unfair the whole world cannot somehow vote in the upcoming
U.S., elections since they affect all mankind. Maybe the rest of
the world could vote and count as one U.S. state, Internationalia.
However, if this happened, the result would be a landslide for John
Kerry. The vision of a re-elected George W. Bush ruling the world
does not sit well. Few non-Americans know anything about Kerry,
but that hardly matters. He is popular everywhere abroad simply
because he looks civilized and is the un-Bush.
My eagle-eyed friend, Countess Pamela de Maigret, brought my attention
to an interesting Internet site, BetaVote.com. This site tabulates
straw votes for Bush and Kerry from around the world. Though unscientific,
and distorted in its U.S. section by Bush unlovers, it provides
a good sample of world thinking about the election.
Among 42,721 global respondents, Kerry leads Bush by 88% to 11%.
In Brazil, Kerry leads by 91%; by 79% in Italy; 91% in France; 71%
in India; 77% in Japan; 11% in Kuwait; 89% in Germany; 81% in Britain;
17% in Israel; 61% in Nigeria.
Only in the African state of Niger does Bush lead, by 71%. Bush
and Kerry are tied, oddly, in Libya, North Korea, Christmas Island
and Niue, wherever that is.
What deeply alarms many non-Americans is the
prospect of a second Bush term dominated by a coalition of evangelical
Christians, Christian "Rapturists," American partisans
of Israel's PM Ariel Sharon, and rural voters from the Deep South
who reject evolution and think French is the native language of
These groups tend to share a loathing of Europe, the UN, the Pope,
Muslims in general, Arabs in particular, intellectuals, anything
international, and believe themselves God's chosen people. Some
born-again Christians see Bush as a kind of messiah.
There is deep concern abroad that American politics is falling
increasingly under the influence of extreme religious groups at
a time when secularism is accepted across Europe and non-Muslim
Many Catholics will vote against Kerry on their bishops' orders.
Many American supporters of Greater Israel, who shape U.S. foreign
policy these days, believe they are fulfilling God's commands.
The 41% of Americans calling themselves born-again Christians are
being whipped into a pro-Bush frenzy by many of their preachers.
So much for separation of church and state.
America's fastest-growing cult, the Rapturists,
believe once Greater Israel is created and all Jews converted to
Christianity, they will be instantly transported to heaven while
the world will be destroyed and all non-believers slowly burned
Their unofficial bible, the Left Behind series of books, has sold
nearly 60 million copies. They are Bush's most ardent supporters.
Such extremist groups would merely be curiosities of America's
outback were they not so dominant in Republican circles. A recent
survey shows born-agains in general comprising 22% of voters in
Pennsylvania, 36% in Missouri, 30% in Iowa, 27% in Ohio -- all key
battleground states that will decide the election.
A New York Times survey found big-city voters backed Kerry 69%
to only 23% for Bush; and, in small cities, 53% to 40%. But in suburbs,
Bush leads 50% to 42%. In rural areas and the south, Bush leads
by a whopping 55% to 35%.
More educated Americans back Kerry, while Bush speaks for those
who love his folksy ways, mangled English, jingoism and religious
However, a president who says he communicates with God regularly
and claims to be on a "divine mission" makes the world
Who will the Lord order Bush to "liberate" next? Iran
and Syria? Sinful France, with its cigarettes, wine and wild sex?
Lefty Canadians with all that water and oil? Or the Chinese, who
reject Christian values and work too cheap?
Add to the Bush vote the 20% of Americans who believe Elvis is
still alive, and you end up with an unbeatable majority.
Passing almost without notice
earlier this month, the public release of The Civil Rights Record
of the George W Bush Administration - the official staff report
prepared by the US Civil Rights Commission - whose submission is
required by federal law, was blocked by the Republican commissioners.
None the less, it was posted on the commission's website: "This
report finds that President Bush has neither exhibited leadership
on pressing civil rights issues, nor taken actions that matched
Bush has held the Civil Rights Commission in contempt since its
June 2001 report on Election Practices in Florida During the 2000
Campaign. Then it concluded: "The commission's findings make
one thing clear: widespread voter disenfranchisement - not the dead-heat
contest - was the extraordinary feature in the Florida election
... The disenfranchisement of Florida's voters fell most harshly
on the shoulders of black voters."
Vast efforts to mobilise or suppress African-American,
Hispanic and Democratic voters have already reached a greater level
of intensity than in any modern campaign. The Republicans
in Ohio, for example, have attempted to toss out new Democrat registrations
because it was claimed they were written on the wrong weight of
paper, a gambit overruled by a federal court. From Pennsylvania
to Arizona, a Republican consulting firm is discouraging new Democratic
voters from getting on the rolls.
Meanwhile, the Democratic party has more than 10,000 lawyers deployed
to defend against voter suppression, 2,000 stationed in Florida;
civil rights groups are sending out more than 6,000 lawyers. Bush
v Gore remains an open wound; and now the battle over voting rights,
over democracy itself, is being fought again.
Since 2002, when Republicans exploited terrorism to besmirch the
patriotism of Democrats in the midterm elections, what can only
be called a new Democratic party has been summoned into existence
by extra-party groups. More than 100,000 activists are tramping
through the precincts. In Ohio alone, more than 300,000 new Democratic
voters have been added, Cecile Richards, director of America Votes,
told me. These registrations of literally millions of new voters
did not just happen; they were organised.
The polls, nearly all showing a dead-even race, fail to account
for the new voters, who have no past records. They do not measure
those for whom a mobile is their main phone - 6% of the population
- who will vote Democrat by a margin of two-and-a-half to one.
The Democracy Corps poll, however, filters in newly registered
voters. Four months ago, the newly registered made up only 1% of
the sample. One month ago, they comprised 4%. Now they are at 7%
and rising. And they will vote for Kerry over Bush by 61% to 37%.
Bush's job approval has fallen now to 47 in this poll; presidents
below 50 always lose. Bush has not campaigned in Ohio for three
weeks, though he plans to stop there this week. Unemployment continues
to rise in the state. "There is no other explanation for his
absence," says Stanley Greenberg, Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign
pollster, "other than his numbers go down when he's there.
His position on jobs is implausible."
Democracy Corps research shows that best-case arguments
for either candidate shift no voters. The deciding factor will be
turnout: the higher the turnout the larger the vote for Democrats.
Since September 11 infused Bush with a mission, he has evoked hovering
angels, crusades, mushroom clouds, evildoers, shades of a universe
of death. His imagery induces a dynamic of paralysis before the
threat and fervour in embrace of his absolute reassurance and power.
Dread without end requires faith without limit.
Yet Bush found himself on the defensive when the New York Times
reported on the closed gathering of his campaign contributors,
where he revealed his radical programme for his second term - rightwing
capture of the supreme court, privatising social security, turning
over national land to the oil companies, more tax cuts. Kerry
was prompted to raise these issues. And Bush whined that Kerry was
practising "the politics of fear". The next day Dick Cheney
projected terrorists exploding nuclear weapons within the US, and
offered Bush as saviour from looming apocalypse.
"No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers
of acting and reasoning as terror," wrote Edmund Burke. But
not even the eve of destruction will stifle turnout.
A lot of folks have been talking about "Animal
Farm" in the wake of the "Wolves" and "Eagle"
ads, but the Orwell motif that dominates this election is still
Now comes news from here in Pennsylvania that you can be barred
from a Bush campaign rally and even bodily searched if you're identified
as "a Democratic supporter." No signs, no yelling, no
snarky T-shirts. Just a known Democrat (We guess they all look alike.)
"The spotters, and eventually police, asked the Democratic
supporter to remove a jacket, a sweater and some other articles
of clothing in what was described as basically a police search."
Even worse, a U.S. Army soldier who's bound for Iraq in two weeks
-- a registered Republican, no less -- was barred from the rally
for apparently associating with this Demo sympathizer.
It happened yesterday in Wilkes-Barre, and was written about in
the Citizens' Voice newspaper there.
According to the account, the 27-year-old soldier from the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre
region -- who didn't want to be identified by name for obvious reasons
-- was an undecided voter who wanted to hear what the president
had to say.
While waiting in line, he noticed a stranger standing alone
and invited the person to stand with him. 'I didn't think that would
be a problem,' he said. It turned out to be. Individuals from the
Bush campaign spotted the individual with the soldier and identified
the person as a Democratic supporter.
Amazingly, the unnamed Democrat -- who didn't complain about being
searched -- had a ticket to the rally but still wasn't let in. And
then it gets even creepier.
The Bush people claimed the Democrat wasn't on a "master
list." The soldier asked to see this list but the organizers
said "they didn't have it." But, they soon told the solider
that he wasn't it, either -- and they turned him away from the event
The story says that the soldier who came to the event undecided
walked away vowing to volunteer for the Kerry campaign.
"I thought the whole Bush message was compassionate conservatism.
I didn't see anything compassionate from the Bush people."
CINCINNATI, Ohio -- At least two Hamilton
County voters have received absentee ballots without Democratic
presidential nominee John Kerry's name.
The voters received ballots with the words "CANDIDATE REMOVED"
printed in the space where Kerry's and running mate John Edwards'
names were supposed to appear.
Elections officials believe the error only occurred on the two
ballots. But they're trying to contact 20 other people who received
absentee ballots in the area.
"It's a screw-up," said Hamilton County Board of Elections
chairman Tim Burke, who also happens to be county Democratic chairman.
"The tragic thing is that even though
I think we will have a very fair and accurate count here, this will
cause people to question the accuracy of our operation."
The board of elections prepares 72 different ballots for political
jurisdictions in the county, with variations among each ballot.
Elections officials believed the error was limited to a single
variation of one of the 72 ballots, said John Williams, director
of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.
Williams said he called one of the voters in Alaska and sent him
a complete ballot. The other voter has already received a new ballot.
The Guardian, a London-based newspaper, ended
a letter-writing campaign aimed at defeating U.S. President George
W. Bush after a Web site hosting the promotion was attacked by hackers.
Ian Katz, an editor at the British newspaper who thought up "Operation
Clark County," said in a letter posted to the company's Web
site on Thursday that despite garnering an
overwhelming response from the public, the project was being scrapped.
The campaign asked for non-American volunteers to pen letters to
undecided voters in Clark County, Ohio--which the Guardian had identified
as a crucial region in a battleground election state--urging them
to vote against Bush in next month's presidential election.
According to Katz' letter, more than 4,000 people visited the Guardian's
Web site to be matched with Clark County voters during the first
24 hours after the campaign was launched on Oct. 13. By the next
day, the total had risen to 7,000, and by last Sunday some 14,000
individuals had volunteered to write to the U.S. voters.
However, Katz said the Guardian's Web site came
under attack on Sunday, by "presumably politically inspired"
hackers. The editor said he and 53 members of the newspaper's staff
were also buried under an onslaught of more than 700 spam e-mails
each, many of which promoted conservative political causes.
Katz wrote in his letter that the effort was launched as something
of a joke, but took on a more serious tenor as angry letters began
flooding into the Guardian from Americans incensed by the plan.
Despite taking the turn for the worse, the editor said his project
still had its intended effect, provoking discussion of the election.
"We set out to get people talking and thinking about the impact
of the U.S. election on citizens of other countries, and that is
what we have done," Katz wrote. "For the Guardian to have
experienced such a backlash to an editorial project is extraordinary,
but the numbers of complaints are thoroughly outdone by the number
of people who engaged positively with the project."
WASHINGTON - The effort to rename the Minnesota
Veterans Affairs Medical Center after the late Senator Paul Wellstone
has stalled because of opposition from some Minnesota Republicans.
Representative John Kline of Burnsville says the
hospital should be named for -- quote -- "a real war hero."
A bill in Congress would rename the hospital the Paul Wellstone
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. It
was introduced by D-F-L Representative Betty McCollum and U-S Senator
Bob Graham of Florida as a way to honor Wellstone's work on behalf
Kline says Wellstone deserves honor and recognition -- but not
at a veteran's hospital, since the senator
didn't support defense budgets and had a reputation as an anti-war
Opposition from Kline as well as representatives Gil Gutknecht
and Mark Kennedy is enough to doom its chances this year.
McCollum notes that major national veterans groups
and their Minnesota chapters also support the renaming.
"In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's
tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard. It's ... and it's hard
work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every
day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it's necessary
work. We're making progress. It is hard work." - President
George W Bush, presidential debate, September 30
Fallujah may become the new Gaza. Or the new Grozny. Meanwhile,
here's what's happening on the ground, as summarized to Asia Times
Online by sources in Baghdad very close to the Fallujah resistance.
More than 1,000 marines, supported by a few hundred US-trained
Iraqi forces, are entrenched less than a kilometer away
from the city. There are constant firefights in the eastern and
southern sectors. Thousands of families have left, "90% of
them" - according to guerrilla leaders themselves - but there
is no looting. Hospitals are badly overstretched. All shops are
closed. And the city may be running out of food. The
Americans even bombed a local institution - the top kebab restaurant
in a city that prides itself on making the best kebabs in Iraq.
Fallujah at the moment is still basically controlled by the Iraqi
police and dozens of different mujahideen groups from different
clans. They all fiercely coordinate the defense strategy among themselves.
The unifying banner is Islam, not the tribal clan. The police -
as long as they are not perceived as being bossed around by Americans
- and the mujahideen get along very well.
According to the sources in Baghdad, Fallujans
vehemently deny the presence of foreign jihadis - including of course
the ubiquitous al-Qaeda-linked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, blamed by the
Americans for virtually everything that happens in Iraq.
The few dozen foreign jihadis who indeed may be in action have blended
in smoothly. Fallujah tribal leaders are notoriously suspicious
of foreigners: they fear they may be spying for the Americans. One
of the key organizers of the guerrillas is Mohammed Younis al-Ahmed,
a former senior Ba'athist official also badly wanted by the Americans.
The majority of Fallujah's citizens yearn for peace. But they
also believe US military precision strikes - at times imprecision
strikes - and the almost inevitable assault against the city will
happen because the mujahideen, after three weeks and hundreds of
casualties in April, inflicted a de facto military defeat on
the Americans. Most citizens also believe the central government
in Baghdad is split between President Ghazi al-Yawar, a Sunni sheikh,
deeply involved in negotiations, and Prime Minister Iyad Allawi,
a Shi'ite surrounded by a coterie of thuggish neo-Ba'athists, taking
orders from the Americans and ready to level Fallujah to the ground.
The problem is negotiations collapsed last week.
Senior Sunni clerics are adamant: if the Americans attack, they
will issue a fatwa proclaiming jihad all over Iraqi territory.
"Democracy" is not the issue in Iraq. How can people
believe that precision strikes against civilian neighborhoods are
a persuasive weapon conducive to winning hearts and minds and establishing
democracy? Moreover, there's nothing "precise" about it: US
ground intelligence is sketchy at best.
There are only four United Nations officials on the ground preparing
for the elections scheduled for January. Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah
and other Arab leaders had persuaded US President George W
Bush to accept an Arab and Muslim peacekeeping force of several
hundred to protect UN operations in Iraq. But then Washington killed
the idea because the force would be under UN, not US, control. Arab
countries refused to place their soldiers under US control. So the
whole project died last month.
The Gaza model
Alain Joxe, sociologist, strategist and president of the French
think-tank Cirpes, has written one of the most devastating indictments
of the Bush neo-conservative world view ("L'Empire du Chaos",
La Decouverte, 2002). Joxe goes to the heart of the matter when
he analyzes the reason Israel is so important to Washington: "Israel
maintains itself as a model of delocalized border demarcation that
technically interests the American military: the creation of a prototype
of suburban war, with no hope of peace, but placing the prototypes
of the perimeters of fortified security which will be very useful
if the Empire of Chaos of George W Bush keeps its progression."
So the key point in the whole exercise is the "military interest
for a technical prototype". Joxe notes
that nowhere else is the prototype of suburban war so precise and
high-tech as in Palestine. He then analyzes how the Israeli model
has been applied to the control of Baghdad. A natural development
will be the application of the Gaza model - invasion, leveling of
whole neighborhoods, lots of "collateral damage" - to
Fallujah and other rebel Sunni triangle cities.
The US may level Fallujah in order to "save
it" - yet another Vietnam recurrent theme. The Pentagon
has identified up to 30 cities in Iraq that must be subdued before
the January elections. But even assuming these 30 Fallujahs will
be subdued - starting with precision strikes causing untold civilian
deaths - it is impossible to occupy such vast "conquered"
territory. The Americans cannot even control most of Baghdad - and
the guerrillas are now systematically attacking the Green Zone itself.
All major roads around Baghdad are intersected by the guerrillas,
who in many cases have established their own checkpoints. The only
way to get into Haifa Street, the so-called "Little Fallujah",
which is only 400 meters away from the Green Zone, is with tanks
supported by helicopters.
As a national liberation movement, the Iraqi guerrillas, increasingly
unified, are bound ultimately to prevail. For example, the Imam
al-Mujahideen Brigades, a resistance coalition now operating under
a central command, has grown to more than 7,000 members all over
Iraq. They have access to an unlimited supply
of heavy weapons - strategically placed throughout Iraq before the US
invasion. At least 25,000 guerrillas - and counting - may
now be in operation all over Iraq.
'Free and fair'
As for the January elections, if they indeed take place, the majority
of Iraqis, Sunnis and Shi'ites alike, will not accept the concept
of a "free and fair election" with 138,000 US troops occupying
the country. So most Sunnis will boycott them. Shi'ite rebel leader
Muqtada al-Sadr is inclined to boycott them - because they are being
imposed by the occupying power. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani,
the influential Shi'ite leader, wants them as free and fair as humanly
possible. But if he doesn't get what he wants, he can issue a fatwa
and start a widespread urban revolution that will the make the US
presence absolutely untenable. So even if
elections do happen, few people will vote, there's a risk of enormous
bloodshed and the whole process will be regarded as illegitimate.
The guerrillas meanwhile are succeeding in mobilizing the Iraqi
urban masses, Sunni and Shi'ite, against the occupation. The ultimate
aim of the guerrillas is urban revolution - exactly what Sistani
will inspire if he does not get his fair elections. That's why every
day the guerrillas target the already crumbling Iraqi infrastructure
and bomb crowds of civilians: their aim is to make people realize
that the key reason their lives are so miserable and dangerous is
because the invaders refuse to leave.
Meanwhile, in the US elections
The European diplomat in Washington does not mince his words:
"The Americans know they have lost the war in Iraq. What they
are trying to find now is an exit strategy."
On the political level, inside the US, a dynamic is set: Bush
desperately tries to destroy Democratic candidate John Kerry on
the campaign trail as the Iraq bloodshed - more than 100
daily attacks - slowly destroys Bush. On
the military level, inside Iraq, the Bush administration's counter-insurgency
strategy consists of precision strikes in heavily populated neighborhoods
- even during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan that is now under
way. If Bush is re-elected, as administration
strategists spin it in euphemism alley, "you'll see us move
very vigorously", meaning the leveling of whole cities.
No amount of spin disguises the fact that the real reasons for
the war on Iraq are related to Washington establishing an impregnable
strategic beachhead in the oil-drenched Middle East, and at the
same time eliminating any conceivable threat to the security of
Israel. As the whole adventure went badly wrong, desperate measures
applied: that's why Iraqification is being enforced - yet another
reminder of another failed policy, Vietnamization.
The options left are all unsavory. 1) Washington may put at least
300,000 troops on the ground, instead of the current 138,000, and
try to smash the resistance for good. This means an indefinite occupation
- and no "democracy" at the end of the tunnel. 2) Washington
may leave the whole mess as it is, with a constant stream of US
casualties and the resistance getting stronger by the minute. 3)
The US may pull out of Iraq entirely.
Even leading US military strategists and prominent retired generals
are angrily denouncing, on the record, Bush's war as already lost.
Seasoned intelligence analysts are resigned that the best hope is
for an Iraqi "semi-failed state hobbling along with terrorists
and a succession of weak governments". In any case, the neo-con
model for a "reformed" Middle East is dead. There
is also insistent chatter in Washington from "influential sources"
that Bush, if re-elected, will beat a hasty retreat from Iraq. This
is extremely unlikely. As the neo-cons consider Iraq the ultimate
strategic prize, a retreat would never be considered.
So on the campaign trail, Bush cannot possibly
tell the truth: his real choice, if re-elected, is to bury Iraq
under an avalanche of precision strikes - as Richard Nixon imprecisely
bombed Vietnam and Cambodia - or to manufacture an exit strategy
under the cover of a barrage of spin. It's a lose-lose situation.
Kerry on the other hand has said on the record that, if elected,
he will "double the number of Special Forces so that we can
do the job we need to do with respect to fighting the terrorists
around the world". So this would mean an equally unsavory global
counter-insurgency, a gigantic operation modeled on the covert wars
the US waged all over Latin America, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia,
Indonesia and Afghanistan from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Whom is al-Qaeda voting for?
From al-Qaeda's point of view, the US leaving Iraq would be a
major victory. And the US staying in Iraq - bleeding thousands of
men and billions of dollars in the hands of a national guerrilla
struggle - is also a major victory. So al-Qaeda
does not bother to vote Bush or Kerry because the main sticking
point - US policy in the Middle East, the thirst for oil, the one-sided
support for Israel - will still be there.
But in terms of accelerating a clash of civilizations - a total
polarization between the Muslim world and the Christian world -
of course al-Qaeda prefers a fundamentalist like Bush.
NewsChannel5 reported an attack at Camp Victory,
the main U.S. base near Baghdad International Airport and what
is supposed to be the most secure area in Baghdad has claimed
the life of a U.S. State Department agent from northeast Ohio.
WEWS reported Ed Seitz was an extraordinary man from an extraordinary
family. He was the son and brother of police officers and he also
served on the Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland Police Departments.
Standing under an American flag at his home in Broadview Heights,
his brother, Billy Seitz told WEWS that his brother had dedicated
his life to state department security.
"He was 100 percent into the government
and 100 percent into doing what he wanted to do to defeat terrorism,"
he said. "And that's what he did. That's what he gave his life
Seitz, a 41-year-old Holy Name High School graduate, died early
Sunday morning when an explosive was lobbed into the green zone.
"He was just an amazing man," said his sister-in-law
Colleen Seitz. "There was just nothing that he wouldn't do
for someone. Every time he'd get on the phone ... what can I do
for you? What do you need? What can I help with? That's just the
way he was and that's what he was trying to do there."
Seitz had been in Iraq for less than three months.
He leaves behind a wife, parents and his brother, who through
his pain takes great pride in what made his brother who he was.
"His work was his life," Billy Seitz said. “He
did what he could to protect this country and to keep terrorism
from your front door. That's what he did and how he did it. That's
what made him Eddy. That's what made him my brother."
Secretary of State Colin Powel called Ed Seitz "a brave American,
dedicated to his country and to a brighter future for the people
of his Iraq."
Officials say Seitz is believed to be the first U.S. diplomat
killed in Iraq since Operation Iraqi Freedom began in March 2003
TORONTO (CP) - A Canadian-based security
expert will tell a panel on Internet pharmacies this week that mail-order
drug companies could become targets for terrorists.
Alan Bell of Globe Risk International Security Consulting said
a study he completed of 18 Internet pharmacies in Canada suggests
the websites for the businesses could be compromised by terrorist
groups working outside the country.
Bell, based in Toronto, is scheduled to present an overview of
his study at a panel discussion on cross-border trade in prescription
drugs hosted by the Canadian American Business Council in Montreal
"I'm in no shape or form for or against either side of the
argument," Bell said, referring to the prickly issue that mail-order
drugs from Canada has become in the U.S. election campaign.
"I'm a consultant who did a study."
On average, drug prices in Canada are 30 per cent lower than in
the United States, and in some specific cases can cost 80 per cent
less north of the border, according to a U.S. congressional study.
U.S. President George W. Bush has questioned the safety of imported
Canadian drugs, while his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, ordered
several state firms to stop selling drugs from Canada pending an
investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Bell said a terrorist organization could easily set up a website
that looks like a Canadian pharmacy, but is based somewhere else.
U.S. customers who provide their credit card numbers and order prescription
drugs from the site would have no idea where the drugs were coming
from, he said.
He said terrorists could use the site to fund
illegal activities, or the drugs they ship could be poisonous.
"You don't know who you're dealing with."
Bell would not divulge who commissioned his study,
saying only that it was a law firm.
Dave MacKay, an advocate with a group that represents 35 mail
order pharmacies in Canada, already worries drug companies will
use the study as part of their efforts to keep Americans from accessing
cheaper Canadian prescriptions.
MacKay, who has also been invited to speak on the panel, said
that during a conference call he took part in on Friday, representatives
from the business council, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers
of America and a drug maker discussed how to spin the study.
MacKay said he believes the participants in the conference call
were so candid because they were unaware he represented Internet
"They feel that terrorism is now the
button that they're going to push," said MacKay, speaking
The Canadian Press contacted the business council on Sunday, but
phone messages were not returned.
Bell, who was also a participant in the conference call, said
MacKay is not giving an accurate account of the discussion. Bell
said he's only going to be speaking for a few minutes on the panel,
which won't be long enough to generate controversy.
"The fix isn't in," Bell said. "There's nothing
to get hyped about."
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) said yesterday
only five soldiers had suffered adverse reactions in defence trials
of a widely used anti-malarial drug, rejecting
claims of widespread side-effects including psychosis.
The ADF was responding to a report that hundreds
of Australian soldiers serving in East Timor were
ordered to take the drug Lariam as
part of tests to observe side-effects, which can also include depression
An ADF spokeswoman said Defence's preferred anti-malarial was
the antibiotic Doxycycline.
But the few personnel unable to tolerate that drug could be given
Lariam, which was also known as Mefloquine.
The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said a Brisbane law firm was set
to launch a class action on behalf of hundreds of soldiers who said
they were used as guinea pigs to test the effects of Mefloquine
while serving in East Timor.
| A VOLCANO has erupted in northern
Papua New Guinea, raising concerns for the safety of thousands of
Mount Iabu on the northern PNG island of Manam started throwing
up lava and ash over the weekend, prompting authorities to advise
nearly 3000 villagers to move to safer parts of the island, authorities
A spokesman for the National Disaster Management Office said there
had been no reports of casualties but the island remained on a state
of high alert with fears of further eruptions in the coming days.
He said the eruption had sent thick clouds of smoke 6000m into
the air and lava flowing into the surrounding sea.
"We are assisting the people on Manam Island to move to safer
parts of the island where they can receive shelter and food,"
Mount Iabu is about 100km from the resort town of Madang in the
country's north-west. [...]
Mount Iabu is one of 14 active volcanos in PNG.
| OJIYA, Japan: More strong aftershocks
jolted central Japan as exhaustion took its toll on thousands preparing
for a third night in shelters after the country's worst earthquake
in nearly a decade that left 25 people dead.
About 380 tremors have followed the first quake of 6.8 on the
Richter scale late Saturday in Niigata, a coastal area 200 kilometres
(125 miles) northwest of Tokyo, with the biggest Monday measuring
5.6 at 6:05 am (2105 GMT Sunday).
Police said 25 people had died from the quakes with the death toll
rising as residents -- particularly the elderly -- are worn down
physically and mentally.
Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Japan's
bond futures rose to a five- month high as the country's deadliest
earthquake in almost a decade and oil prices near a record sent
Ten-year bonds rose for a third day in four as quakes in northwestern
Japan killed 24 people, injuring more than 2,100, bringing down
bridges and derailing trains. Surging crude-oil prices also threaten
growth in the world's second-largest economy.
"Investors are feeling safer buying bonds,'' said Yoshiaki
Murakawa, who helps oversee the equivalent of about $2.81 billion
at Societe Generale Asset Management Co., a unit of France's No.
3 bank. "The earthquake is hurting investor confidence on stocks
after surging oil prices raised concern about slowing corporate
profits and economic growth.''
Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Japanese
stocks fell after the country had its biggest earthquake since 1995
and the dollar fell against the yen. Insurers including Millea Holdings
Inc. and exporters such as Nissan Motor Co. slid.
"The biggest excuse that people have to sell is the earthquake
and what we are seeing today is a bit of knee-jerk reaction,'' said
Pascal Masse, who helps manage the equivalent of $900 million at
Aberdeen Asset Management Asia Ltd. in Singapore. "The weaker
dollar and the resulting stronger yen are probably also having a
bit of an impact on export-related stocks.''
TOKYO (Reuters) - The dollar tumbled to eight-month
lows against the euro and six-month troughs versus the yen on Monday
as worries persisted about the outlook for the U.S. economy.
The dollar also fell sharply to eight-year lows against the Swiss
franc and two-month lows versus sterling, with traders citing a
close upcoming U.S. presidential election as another reason to sell
"People are talking about all kinds of things that are bad
for the dollar," said Mitsuo Imaizumi, deputy general manager
of forex and international bonds at Daiwa Securities SMBC.
"We have the twin deficits, officials hinting a weaker dollar
and (Democratic candidate John) Kerry's close fight. All these things
are being talked about in the market."
Dealers say a victory for Sen. Kerry over President Bush would
be a signal to sell the dollar since his administration would likely
be less tolerant about any Japanese intervention to stem the yen's
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Ten people died Sunday
in the crash of an airplane owned by the Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR
racing team, the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed.
The plane was on its way to a NASCAR race in Martinsville. Eight
passengers and two pilots died in the crash, the NTSB said. [...]
NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said the FAA has notified the National
Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating to determine
Murray said the Beech 200 took off from Concord, N.C., and crashed
in the Bull Mountain area about seven miles west of the Martinsville
airport at about 12:30 p.m.
Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Bailey said rescue workers
could not immediately reach the crash site because of the rough
Hendrick owns the teams of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Terry
Labonte and Brian Vickers in the Nextel Cup Series.
Johnson won Sunday' race at Martinsville Speedway.
Hunter said NASCAR learned of the plane's disappearance during
the race and withheld the information from the Hendrick drivers
All the Hendrick drivers were summoned to the NASCAR hauler immediately
after the race and Johnson was excused from Victory Lane.
MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Jet fighters have intercepted
a pair of small planes that flew too near President George W. Bush's
campaign rallies in Florida.
In both cases, the planes were escorted to nearby airfields and
the White House said the president was never in any danger.
In one incident, a pair of F-15's streaked over Space Coast Stadium
-- a baseball field in Melbourne, Florida -- to challenge a plane
as Bush spoke.
The plane landed at an airport near Cocoa Beach and the pilot
was questioned by Secret Service agents.
In another incident, a plane violated restricted airspace over
Ty Cobb field in Lakeland.
That plane landed at Winter Haven and its pilot was also questioned.
FAA spokesman Greg Martin says further action is possible.
Reporters covering Bush's campaign event said the military jets
drowned out Bush's words at Space Coast Stadium.
The activity in the sky repeatedly distracted the crowd from Bush's
FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. -- Military officials
are investigating why a jet fighter dropped a 25-pound practice
bomb on a Pennsylvania hiking trail.
No one was injured when the cast-iron bomb accidentally fell about
10,000 feet earlier this month. But one hiker was close enough to
hear the thud.
The grapefruit-sized bomb left a crater about six inches wide
in the trail, which runs along an abandoned rail line near Fort
A military spokesman said two A-10 Thunderbolts were flying a
routine training mission when one jet dropped a bomb about a mile
from its intended target.
The jet has since been grounded. Investigators said they've ruled
out pilot error.
QUEBEC (CP) - A Canadian Forces reservist
was arrested Sunday after police were led
on a 200-kilometre car chase by a man wearing a mask and combat
Police said a man damaged a cruiser at CFB Bagotville, 200 kilometres
north of Quebec City, fired shots at a house
and at a provincial police detachment in Alma, Que. He then
drove about 200 kilometres south to Quebec City, where he was eventually
arrested as he tried to visit a relative.
A 20-year-old man was to appear in court on Monday.
(AP) - NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A pastor says he
was "just kidding" when he told airport security he had
a bomb, reached into his luggage and pulled out a Bible, declaring,
"This is my bomb."
Jose L. Gonzalez, a citizen of Spain living in Deltona, Fla., was
arrested and charged Sunday with making a false statement.
Gonzalez was earlier reported to be part of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church. However, organization officials said Wednesday he is not
a member of their group.
Seventh-day Adventist officials said Gonzalez is part of the Seventh
Day Adventist Reform Movement, a group that broke from the denomination
in the mid 1860s and headquartered in Roanoke,Va., officials said.
The incident occurred as security screeners at the Nashville International
Airport were searching his carry-on bag.
Gonzalez, a passenger on an Orlando, Fla.-bound Delta flight,
had already raised suspicion when screeners found a laptop
computer that he said at first he didn't have.
An investigation determined that Gonzalez did not pose a threat,
but the FBI still arrested and charged him with making the statement.
"Upon being questioned by airport security officers about
the above episode, Gonzalez admitted having said that he had a bomb,"
a federal criminal complaint states, "but insisted that he
was just kidding.
"He claimed he had used the term 'bomb' as a way of referring
to the Bible as having the ability to change one's life," the
complaint states. "He admitted that it had been stupid and
that he had not intended any harm."
U.S. Magistrate Judge Cliff Knowles presided over Gonzalez's initial
court appearance Tuesday and advised him that, if convicted, he
faces up to five years in prison and a potential fine of $250,000.
In this era of high-tech memory management,
next in line to get that memory upgrade isn't your computer, it's
Professor Theodore W. Berger, director of the Center for Neural
Engineering at the University of Southern California,
is creating a silicon chip implant that mimics the hippocampus,
an area of the brain known for creating memories. If successful,
the artificial brain prosthesis could replace its biological counterpart,
enabling people who suffer from memory disorders to regain the ability
to store new memories.
And it's no longer a question of "if"
but "when." The six teams involved in the multi-laboratory
effort, including USC, the University of Kentucky and Wake Forest
University, have been working together on different components of
the neural prosthetic for nearly a decade. They will present the
results of their efforts at the Society for Neuroscience's annual
meeting in San Diego, which begins Saturday.
While they haven't tested the microchip in live rats yet, their
research using slices of rat brain indicates the chip functions
with 95 percent accuracy. It's a result that's got the scientific
community excited. [...]
Berger's team began its research by studying the re-encoding process
performed by neurons in slices of rat hippocampi kept alive in nutrients.
By stimulating these neurons with randomly generated computer signals
and studying the output patterns, the group
determined a set of mathematical functions that transformed any
given arbitrary input pattern in the same manner that the biological
neurons do. And according to the researchers, that's the
key to the whole issue. [...]
COLLINSVILLE, Illinois -- A thousand years
ago along the banks of the Mississippi River, in what is currently
southeast Illinois, there was a city that now mystifies both archeologists
At its zenith, around A.D. 1050, the city that is now called Cahokia
was among the largest metropolitan centers in the world. About 15,000
people lived in the city, with another 15,000 to 20,000 residing
in its surrounding "suburbs" and outlying farmlands. It
was the region's capital city, a place of art, grand religious rituals
But by 1300, the city had become a ghost town, its carefully built
structures abandoned and its population dispersed.
Archeologists continue to comb what is now the Cahokia Mounds
State Historic Site, looking for clues that will tell them what
happened here -- why the city and its culture vanished and why the
people who lived here built more than a hundred earthen mounds,
many of which are still scattered across the countryside.
Cahokia is not the historical name of this city; the current name
comes from the native people who were living in the area when French
explorers arrived in the early 1600s. The city's authentic name
-- the name given to it by its creators -- is lost to time, as its
residents did not appear to have a written language.
But what really puzzles archeologists and anthropologists
is that there are no legends, no records, no mention whatsoever
of the once-grand city in the lore of any of the tribes -- Osage,
Omaha, Ponca and Quapaw -- that are believed to be the direct descendents
of the city's builders.
This odd silence on the matter of Cahokia
has led some experts to theorize that something particularly nasty
happened there. Possibilities include
an ugly struggle for power following a leader's death, a government
gone berserk, droughts, a period of very cold weather that killed
the crops, disease.... All have been put forth as reasons for Cahokia's
Whatever happened, it was bad enough that people just wanted to
forget Cahokia, according to Tim Pauketat, an associate professor
of archeology at the University of Illinois, who is excavating at
Despite its hard-luck reputation, the Cahokia site feels immensely
peaceful today. There's no whiff of angst from an unsettled spirit
world, no sense that anything awful happened here.
The 2,200-acre site contains the central portion of what had been
roughly a 4,000-acre city. Scattered across the site are about 68
human-made mounds of various sizes, some no more than a gentle rise
on the land, others reaching 100 feet toward the sky.
Originally, there might have been more than 120 mounds, but the
locations of only 109 have been recorded. Many were altered or destroyed
over the last three centuries by farming and construction projects.
The Cahokians made three different types of mounds -- pyramid-shaped
(with flat tops upon which important officials' houses and ceremonial
lodges were built), ridge-topped and conical. The latter two were
used for burials of wealthy citizens and sacrificial victims.
Monks Mound, Cahokia's biggest mound, is a pyramid mound that
rises 100 feet from its 14-acre base. Visitors can reach the top
by climbing the 141 stairs that pass through the mound's three tiers.
Archeologists have found that a large building -- 105 feet long,
48 feet wide and about 50 feet high -- was once positioned on top
of the mound. It's believed to have been the home of Cahokia's rulers.
Radiocarbon sampling of the earth that makes up the mound, as
well as tools and other artifacts discovered within it, indicates
it took 250 years to build Monks Mound, from around A.D. 900 to
1150. The mound was constructed by hauling 22 million cubic feet
of dirt from pits located a mile or so away. The dirt was piled
into baskets and dragged to the site by workers.
These structures survived for close to two millennia before most
were plowed over in the 19th century, paved over in the 20th century
or destroyed by archaeologists digging to recover artifacts such
as pipes, pottery and other religious relics.
A team from the University of Cincinnati's Center for the Electronic
Reconstruction of Historical and Archaeological Sites, has been
virtually piecing together the fragments of the immense existing
earthworks built by three other prehistoric Native American cultures
-- the Adena, Hopewell and Fort Ancient peoples -- in the area that
now comprises Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. The people who
built Cahokia were of the Mississippian culture.
Using archaeological data gleaned from remote-sensing devices
that can detect remains below the ground, and infrared aerial photographs
and satellite images to figure out where the earthworks had been
located and what they looked like, the University of Cincinnati
team is virtually rebuilding the mounds, using standard architectural
rendering software. The result will be interactive programs that
show how the river valleys of the Midwest would have looked when
the mounds were new.
At Cahokia, most of the mounds still exist, though some were destroyed
before the site was protected. Two mounds that provided a clear
view of a drive-in movie theater's screen several miles away were
removed in the 1960s to stop people from watching films for free.
Anthropologists said it's critical to preserve the mounds, which
contain many clues about Cahokian culture. While no longer in danger
of being leveled for commercial purposes, the mounds are fragile
and subject to environmental degradation. State budget cuts have
made it difficult to ensure that rain doesn't wash away the remnants
of what is the only known prehistoric Indian city north of Mexico.
A recent excavation of a small ridge-top mound -- Mound 72 --
exposed the bodies of nearly 300 people,
mostly young women believed to be sacrificial victims, who'd been
buried in mass graves. Nearby is the burial site of a man
believed to have been a ruler, about 45 years of age, whose body
lies on a blanket of more than 20,000 shell beads, surrounded by
piles of arrow tips from tribes that inhabited the present-day states
of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin. They were presumably
given as a tribute to the deceased.
Archeologists believe other bodies buried near the ruler are the
remains of those who were sacrificed to serve him in the next life.
But the skeletons of four men with their
heads and hands missing were also found near the largest sacrificial
pit, and no one is quite sure why these bodies were mutilated before
Certainly, a headless, handless body wouldn't make for a good
Every new discovery here raises more questions than it answers
about Cahokia, said Bill Iseminger, assistant site manager at Cahokia
"I believe that new archeological technology will absolutely
allow us to solve many of the mysteries of Cahokia," Iseminger
said. "But right now, what with the budget cuts, we're focused
mostly on keeping the site intact, just trying to survive so that
we can make more people aware of the complexity and brilliance of
Native American culture."
we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part
of the world!
We also need help to keep
the Signs of the Times online.
out the Signs of the Times Archives
your comments and article suggestions to us
Fair Use Policy
Contact Webmaster at signs-of-the-times.org
Cassiopaean materials Copyright ©1994-2014 Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. All rights reserved. "Cassiopaea, Cassiopaean, Cassiopaeans," is a registered trademark of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.
Letters addressed to Cassiopaea, Quantum Future School, Ark or Laura, become the property of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Republication and re-dissemination of our copyrighted material in any manner is expressly prohibited without prior written consent.