Article - 911 Eye-witnesses
Article - High Strangeness
Article - The Blair Belief Project
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
Rigel (large white star at bottom) in Constellation of Orion
| BuzzFlash: You
stated that in order to understand the two Bush family administrations,
we have to understand the Watergate scandal, Nixon’s resignation,
and also the Vietnam catastrophe. What would you say are the most
important things to know about these events that contributed to the
Republican and right-wing takeover of American politics? Many forces
on the right saw these losses as an opportunity to build a right-wing
infrastructure. At first it was meant as more of a defensive strategy
-- to build think tanks, alternative media, public relations specialists,
pressure groups -- to not let the fallout of Watergate continue. But
eventually it would lead to a coordinated and sophisticated machine
that could go on the attack.
Robert Parry: If you go back to the Watergate
period, and the period right after the Vietnam War, you had a very
demoralized Republican Party. And you had an essentially shattered
conservative movement. They had lost not just the White House; they
were the minority in the House and the Senate. They’d lost
a lot of seats in the '74 election in particular. They’d been
faced with a popular movement there that they could not really deal
with, and they felt it undercut them. They felt that the press was
hostile to them. But they decided the world they saw was a very
Now what they did about it is very important. They started building
in their own institutions. A person who was the Treasury secretary
under Nixon, William Simon, plays an important role here. He starts
pulling together these conservative and right-wing foundations,
and they begin making strategic investments in media, in think tanks,
in attack groups. They build effectively their own establishment
in Washington and make it heavily focused in Washington, which is
their key point.
So they begin to counteract very aggressively what they see as
this hostile situation. It starts relatively modestly by some standards.
It's in the tens of millions of dollars, but then it accelerates.
After the Reagan-Bush victory in 1980, the Executive Branch gets
behind this effort.
There is coordination that we find in documents that came out --
especially during Iran Contra hearings -- about the role of the
Reagan-Bush White House in helping to build this infrastructure.
So you had this development of this counter-establishment that has
more and more magazines, more and more commentators and supporters,
larger and larger think tanks. And suddenly Washington begins to
react to it. And reporters who try or tried to do their jobs in
disclosing some of the negative information that existed about the
Reagan-Bush operation -- those reporters find themselves under heavy
And I think traditionally newspapers and news organizations have
been more Republican-oriented than Democrat. Historically, far more
publishers endorse Republican candidates than Democratic.
But this got darker and more difficult for reporters to deal with.
There was also an effort to do what'’s called "perception
management" which is a concept that really comes out of the
Central Intelligence Agency, that is then applied increasingly to
the domestic political operations in the United States.
Because of the Vietnam demonstrations, and the
opposition to the war generally, the conservatives came to see the
American people as the strategic threat. Their
response to that was to develop these mediums to do what they called
perception management. They felt that if they could control how
the American people perceived events, especially overseas, then
they could keep the American people in line in supporting the policies
that the Reagan-Bush Administration wanted to carry out.
So in other words, if the right-wing could make the American people
really angry about the Nicaraguan Sandinista government, then that
would help build support for the contra operations to attack and
undermine it. If the White House could minimize or contain the information
about atrocities being committed in El Salvador and Guatemala by
security forces, then again the Reagan Administration would have
a freer hand in sending weapons to those security forces that are
carrying out these mass blood baths.
So the idea was, if you could control how Americans
perceived events, and use essentially CIA tactics to do it, then
you could make these policies work.
There was a combining of these different factors. There was a growing
infrastructure that was essentially a conservative echo chamber.
There was an ability to beat down reporters or other people who
were coming up with information that said otherwise. There were
these new strategies for putting in place propaganda to manage the
perceptions of the American people. And that’s what evolved
in the 1980s. And sadly, it was remarkably effective.
Does God favour the Republican George Bush
or the Democrat John Kerry? Bush supporters have no doubts.
"God is out there, actively campaigning for President Bush,"
said Beverly Ryan, a retired legal secretary and born-again Christian
from West Palm Beach, Florida.
But Barry Lynn, a United Church of Christ minister and the executive
director of the Americans United for the Separation of Church and
State, said: "It is, I think, extremely dangerous for people
to believe that God is a Republican or a Democrat or a Naderite
or even a Libertarian."
When Mr Bush sought the presidency in 2000 he played down his
religious convictions and played up his "compassionate conservative"
values. But his political strategist, Karl
Rove, realised that about 4 million evangelical Christian voters
had not turned out in 2000, and set out a plan to get them on board
in this year's re-election campaign.
Mr Bush's campaign has made no secret that it wants support from
the 40 million Americans who consider themselves evangelical Christians.
Mr Bush has reportedly suggested that he is
not only putting his faith in his God, but apparently believes that
he is an agent of God's plans.
In the The Faith of George W. Bush, a sympathetic portrait written
by Stephen Mansfield, the author recounts a statement that a Texas
minister said Mr Bush made to him in 1999.
"I feel like God wants me to run for
President," Mr Bush reportedly told James Robison.
"I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need
Senator Kerry, after months of saying little about his own Catholic
faith, has in recent weeks started to criticise Mr Bush obliquely.
At the urging of advisers, he has also started speaking seriously
about his own Catholic faith.
At the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Miami he spoke
of politicians who "talk a lot" about faith but who don't
back up the talk with programs to help the needy.
"It is written in James: 'What does it mean, my brother,
to say that you have faith if there are no deeds?"' Senator
Kerry told a predominantly black congregation.
"Faith without works is dead."
That is a persuasive argument for Todd Daniel, who said he was
supporting Senator Kerry, despite their disagreement on abortion,
because of his interest in helping the disadvantaged.
"It's a strong Christian value," Mr Daniel said. "I
just think that John Kerry is going to help more people in the United
States achieve the American dream."
Heidi Wilson, 48, a schoolteacher, who attended a recent rally
by Mr Bush in West Palm Beach, said Senator Kerry's support of abortion
rights showed he was not a serious Catholic. "The Pope would
be ashamed of him."
For the Bush faithful, whether Saddam Hussein
was involved with the September 11 terrorists attacks is irrelevant.
Mr Bush had all the justification he needed to attack Iraq in the
Beverly Ryan said: "George Bush did
what God wanted him to do. Who cares what the rest of the world
| It's been going on for years now.
Almost daily we read that another child, another parent, another sister
or brother, another grandpa or aunt, is killed in Afghanistan or Iraq
by U.S. weaponry in Mr. Bush's "war on terror." Sometimes
it's a wedding party, or a bunch of kids, or a family of six. Sometimes
it's a journalist, or a whole group of journalists, who may even be
killed on camera in real time for all the world to see and hear.
But no matter how bad it gets, nothing seems to
change Americans' support for war, which for some reason is stiffest
among Christian supporters of the Bush administration. "Stuff
happens in a war zone." "Don't worry because God is in
control." With these and other slogans, I've been reassured
by countless pro-war Christians that, as long as civilians aren't
intentionally targeted, taking their lives is okay, maybe even predestined,
Recently a Christian from Australia wrote to ask, "Why are
American Christians so bloodthirsty? Why do they support the war
in Iraq, no matter how many innocent people are made to suffer?
We just don't understand why they're willing to kill other people
so that they can feel more safe – it's so selfish!"
She's right, and she's wrong. She's right about the fact that many
Christians in America will blindly support whichever war their president
promotes, with the assumption that his much-advertised praying guarantees
us that God approves of all those bombs and missiles, and even the
inevitable collateral damage.
This "don't worry, be happy" stance of pro-war Christians
can make those of us who suffer at the news of civilian deaths almost
green with envy: How do they go blithely to church, pray and give
an offering, then go eat some nice mashed potatoes and gravy at
Cracker Barrel with nary a worry about the families being bombed
or shot or crushed by their own military at that very moment?
But she's wrong in her assumption that all Christians in the U.S.
find civilian deaths an acceptable price to (let someone else) pay
for Mr. Bush's ultimate goals. Many, including those in the evangelical
community, were raised to obey Jesus' teachings above any other,
and suffer mightily whenever they learn that more innocent people
have lost their lives to this terrorizing "war on terror."
She's also wrong about the seemingly bloodthirsty
attitude of pro-war Christians; most of them are nice people on
a personal basis. They love their kids and their fellow Americans,
and would never have supported the bombing of, say, Oklahoma City's
malls and suburbs in an effort to target a Timothy McVeigh. And
they certainly don't go around saying they hope a lot more civilians
are killed by U.S. bombs and guns. They've been trained to deny
it's happening or downplay its importance, thinking instead about
Iraq's future democracy, the next life, or the "big picture."
Failure to Care: How it Happens
The reasons for blindness or indifference toward civilian casualties
are several. Many if not most pro-war Christians, particularly those
in the southern and midwestern states:
1. rarely see news accounts of civilian
casualties because our major TV news programs and newspapers
either omit those stories altogether or mention them in passing
(without photos, the crucial element in terms of public opinion)
and, wanting to believe that Bush's war is working, do not seek
out evidence of the maiming and killing of our troops or of Iraqi
2. have been immunized against thinking
for themselves or doubting the Bush administration with
certain Bible verses (particularly those verses in Romans telling
us to obey and submit to governmental authority figures) –
a passive stance that's strikingly different from the questioning
that Jesus both urged and modeled toward greedy, power-seeking,
and hypocritical authority figures (e.g., "false prophets"
and "wolves in sheep's clothing"),
3. are told not to worry, when they do
hear of civilian casualties, that life in the flesh is less important
than life eternal (one European writer told me that a friend
confided, "Yes it's sad, but if some Iraqi civilians are
killed by U.S. bombs and it saves even one soul, it will have
been worth it" – a sentiment that, sadly, is not unusual),
4. feel they dare not oppose this or any
war because talking about peace, objecting to war's human cost,
or even referring to the United Nations has become associated
in their minds with the Antichrist and eternal damnation, thanks
to fictional works based on Thessalonians such as the Left Behind
books and video (this video makes clear the fearful reasoning
behind the knee-jerk reactions of many pro-war Christians against
peace itself, peacemakers of any kind [poignant indeed in light
of Jesus' teaching, "Blessed are the peacemakers"],
the Middle East "road map," international dialogue and
cooperation, and any form of human rights accountability), and
5. have been convinced by right-wing preachers,
authors and radio hosts (people like Rush Limbaugh are the most
influential, because their voices are heard for hours daily rather
than written in a book or heard once a week in church) to
shift their allegiance away from Jesus' teachings about merciful
behavior toward and compassion for family and stranger alike ("the
least of these") to the more pro-violence, pro-war values
espoused by various non-Gospel biblical writers.
Each of these is a powerful influence, but when combined, they
dramatically alter Christian values in fundamental ways. Whereas
evangelical churches used to teach compassion (in liberal doses,
not conservative soundbites) and warn against responding to threats
or attacks with violence, today's conservative
churches urge parishioners to support capital punishment, zero-tolerance
policies of all kinds, and corporal punishment to "shape the
will" of babies, toddlers, and children. Someone raised in
this kind of environment grows up to become an adult who's afraid
to step out of line, and who naturally resents or even hates those
who feel free to do so.
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card summed
it up best: President Bush sees Americans as so many children who
need a father to guide and protect them. Indeed,
conservative Christians are raised for a dictatorship where the
"leaders" make the calls and are not to be questioned,
rather than a democracy, where dissent is a cherished right. As
linguistics professor George Lakoff has concluded from his study
of the conservative-liberal divide that's polarizing American society,
conservatives (the popular but by no means accurate label) are accustomed
to, hence gravitate toward, a strict father – and nothing
can be more strict than "our father" Bush demanding that
we accept without question all the "stuff" that happens
in his war.
Moral Relativism: In War, Anything Goes
But most importantly, conservative Christianity
in the U.S. has succumbed to that which it has, in decades past,
most rigorously warned against: moral relativism. By restricting
any discussion of morality to sexual behavior, right-wing politicians
have obliterated the once-central Christian teaching that the way
we teach others is of paramount importance to God. Cleverly
"working the room," pro-war politicians have infiltrated
churches to such a degree that killings and torture are no longer
within the province of morality. When morality is only about sex,
no aspect of war – even the killing of entire families –
can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.
In short, everything that happens in the execution of war, even
that which is flagrantly in violation of the moral values that Jesus
taught regarding violence and revenge, prayer for enemies and peacemaking,
becomes acceptable when Jesus' teachings are compartmentalized as
relevant only in our personal lives. When Jesus is sidelined, those
parts of the Bible that support authority, no matter what it does
to innocent people, will take precedence. This is what has happened
(often with the prodding, political influence and financial support
of right-wing political organizations) in many of our churches today.
Unless Christians begin to speak up publicly for the teachings of
Christ – the cornerstone of our faith – we will continue
to slide into the kind of moral relativism that causes others to
wonder why we are so bloodthirsty.
Manheim, Penn. — Erin Randolph cannot
imagine voting for a U.S. presidential candidate who does not believe
"That would be a scary thing," said Ms. Randolph, 22,
who is studying to be a teacher. "I lead my life based on belief
in a higher power to give me direction. Without
a set of core beliefs, you can do whatever you want."
That's the main reason Ms. Randolph and her boyfriend, Justin Shaw,
are staunch supporters of George W. Bush, and plan to vote for him
in the presidential election next week. "I
see Bush as a man of integrity and knowing that he's a man of faith,
I have so much trust in him," she said.
"If you're serious about your faith, it shapes the way you
view the world and everything you do in the world," said Mr.
Shaw, a 20-year-old biology student, after the two left Sunday services
at the Lancaster County Bible Church. [...]
Churches like this one are at the core of Mr. Bush's re-election
campaign, particularly in Pennsylvania and the other swing states
where the race is too tight to call.
The Republicans are depending on conservative semi-rural areas
such as Lancaster County to deliver a big vote for Mr. Bush to balance
Democratic strength in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with their concentration
of minorities and more liberal voters.
Republican election strategist Karl Rove
has said he is convinced that four million Christian evangelical
voters stayed home in 2000, and the party's grassroots efforts
are concentrating on those potential supporters.
"We believe that people who are regular churchgoers . . .
tend to be far more supportive of the President than they are [John]
Kerry," Lancaster Republican chairman Dave Dumeyer told a local
newspaper. "We decided to look at all church members more closely."
Judging from the proliferation of Bush-Cheney bumper stickers
in the Bible Church's parking lot, the effort has been effective,
a trend that is also reflected nationally. An
Ipsos-Associated Press opinion poll published Friday found that
72 per cent of white evangelical respondents plan to vote for Mr.
At the Bible Church yesterday, congregants crowded the Scripts
bookstore, which offers a wide variety of inspirational books and
tapes, including a guide to improving your golf game with help from
the Bible and Jack Nicklaus. The store also features a selection
of political books that cater to the Christian right, including
a guide entitled We Will Pray for Election Day that features a prayer
for A President After God's Own Heart.
"Please lead us to a man who not only has deep-seated morals
but is grounded in a relationship with you," the prayer says.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - U.S. President George
W. Bush used all the trappings of incumbency yesterday, shutting
airspace, scrambling military aircraft and buzzing a football stadium
with Air Force One in a mad sprint across Florida, the scene once
again of an epic political showdown.
The U.S. president made four stops on both coasts, energizing
his base 10 days before election day, climaxing in a huge rally
here at the home of the football Jacksonville Jaguars.
He kicked up dirt on supporters at the winter home of the Boston
Red Sox when his chopper, escorted by five U.S. Marine helicopters,
landed for the first stop at the baseball stadium in Fort Myers,
where Bush disembarked to the theme from
the movie Top Gun and a huge cheer from an estimated 12,000 supporters.
Later, fighter jets were scrambled to escort two private planes
out of the president's airspace when they wandered too close to
his second stop in Lakeland, where he spoke to 13,000.
Bush also spoke in Melbourne but it was here at Alltel Stadium,
site of this season's Super Bowl, where a crowd estimated by organizers
at 50,000 was treated to all the flourishes — some would say
kitsch — of late-campaign presidential rallies.
In the hours before the president's entry to the stadium through
clouds of dry ice, a sun-splashed crowd more realistically put at
30,000 was serenaded by country music, entertained by pom-pom waving
"Dubya cheerleaders" and heard
testimonials to their commander-in-chief suffused in religious and
Among the thousands of signs in the crowd,
one read "God Wants Bush.''
The U.S. president won a testimonial from a Canadian-born former
National Hockey League star, Ron Duguay, followed by Duguay's wife,
model Kim Alexis, who called the U.S. president
"One man can determine the nation, in God's
mind,'' she said. "How can one man deliver so much? Well, only
by the grace of God.''
She also likened the U.S. military effort
in Iraq to the armies of Israel which "as long as they pleased
the Lord, they could not be defeated.''
They were followed to the podium by the parents of Todd Beamer,
the passenger on the American Airlines flight on Sept. 11, 2001,
who is credited with saying "let's roll,'' before leading passengers
who overpowered the hijackers and forced the plane to crash at Shanksville,
Both campaigns are using the parents, spouses
and children of those killed that day in political ads and testimonials.
The flyover of the football stadium and a tour of the Fort Myers
baseball field by helicopter made for a bevy of pretty pictures,
but the latest poll released here shows Bush with a one-point lead
over Democratic challenger John Kerry — in effect, a statistical
Both sides are alleging dirty tricks during early voting and a
repeat of the Florida voting fiasco of four years ago is a real
possibility. Bush won a disputed election here over Al Gore in 2000
by 537 votes and he brought his brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush
to every stop, reminding Floridians how well he performed following
a string of four hurricanes here. [...]
But Bush played the fear card all day long with
polls still showing he's well ahead of Kerry on questions of homeland
"Americans will go to the polls in a time of war and ongoing
threats unlike any we have faced before. Terrorists who killed thousands
are still dangerous. They are determined to strike us again.
"The outcome of this election will set the direction of the
war against terror.''
Kerry, Bush says, does not understand the nature of the war and
has a "Sept. 10'' mindset.
"If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade,
the world will drift toward tragedy,'' Bush said. "This will
not happen on my watch.'' [...]
Vote for us or your children
will die. It is a compelling message and President George
Bush has no qualms about delivering it as he heads into the final
week of this election in a neck-and-neck race with John Kerry.
Mr Bush may dance around the words, but there can be no doubt about
their subliminal meaning.
Campaigning in Florida over the weekend, he warned his supporters:
"The choice in this election cannot be clearer. You cannot
lead our nation to the decisive victory on which the security of
every American family depends if you do not see the true dangers
of the post-September 11 world."
Weakness, Mr Bush says repeatedly, will
hound the US if Senator Kerry is elected next Tuesday. Anyone who
votes for him, by extension, is throwing their family to the wolves.
Just in case any swinging voter has failed to grasp his warning,
the Bush campaign team has begun airing a scary political ad.
It is perfectly timed, one week before Halloween, to crank up
the fear factor several notches.
The opening scene is a moonlit night in a dark forest where a
pack of hungry wolves is eyeing the camera. A female announcer gravely
"In an increasingly dangerous world ... Even after the first
terrorist attacks on America ... John Kerry and the liberals in
Congress voted to slash America's intelligence operations ... Cuts
so deep they would have weakened America's defences ... And weakness
attracts those who are waiting to do America harm."
On cue, wolves start skulking towards camera, growling ominously,
waiting to pounce.
The commercial, like Mr Bush's speeches, is aimed squarely at
the so-called security moms, a new voting block that the Republicans
say has replaced the "soccer moms" who once supported
the Democratic president Bill Clinton and his economic program.
Since the September 11 attacks the security mom
is more worried about terrorism than job tenure.
The Vice-President, Dick Cheney, was the first to hammer the message
on the campaign trail in the struggling Midwest, where job losses
are holding back support for Mr Bush. Now his daughter Liz Cheney,
mother of four, is workshopping this message to Republican women
activists around the country.
Is it working? Yes, she said. In the 2000 election Mr Bush's macho
image cut into his support among women but now, Ms Cheney said,
they were giving their support almost equally to both candidates.
"As I travel the country and talk to women, talk to mothers
in particular, they tell me they know George
Bush will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. And they're
frankly confused and concerned about where Senator Kerry is on this
Mr Bush appears convinced the message is working. In a television
interview he repeated the warning that terrorists still hoped to
attack the country during the elections.
"I don't want to alarm anybody because's nothing specific
at this point in time," he said, while agreeing that a nuclear,
chemical or biological attack in the US was still possible. "That's
the biggest threat we face."
Senator Kerry is trying to puncture this potent message by accusing
Mr Bush of running a campaign based on visceral fear.
"I believe our future belongs to freedom and not to fear,"
he told supporters in Florida. [...]
WASHINGTON - Memories of Florida's contested
2000 presidential election and a growing number of pre-election
lawsuits are making Americans skeptical about a voting process they
once took for granted.
Six in 10 of those surveyed in an Associated
Press poll say it's likely there will not be a clear winner in the
presidential race by Nov. 3 — the day after the election —
and fear the results will be challenged in court. The poll
was conducted for the AP by Ipsos Public Affairs.
Both Democrats and Republicans worry about the possibility of an
unresolved election — though Democrats express more worries.
About seven in 10 Democratic voters, 69 percent, say they think
it's likely there won't be a clear winner by Election Day, while
almost six in 10 Republican voters, 56 percent, say they feel that
With both political parties putting thousands of lawyers on call
for Election Day, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans —
just over half of each — expect the election results will
be challenged in court.
"I read the other day that there's going to be a perfect storm,"
Jack Martin, a businessman who lives near Salt Lake City, said of
the growing number of lawsuits. "I think
it's coming down to the courts. It worries me about our election
system. I used to think every vote counts." [...]
Worries about politics and legal challenges far outweigh worries
about terrorist attacks intended to disrupt the elections, the poll
Just under one-third of those polled say they expect terrorists
will attempt to disrupt elections. [...]
"They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting
to die for one's country. But in modern war, there is nothing
sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no
good reason." ~Ernest Hemmingway
My friend Bernie says anyone who believes that George W. Bush's
war on terror isn't a miserable, howling failure is surely a member
of the media, a perp over at the Project for the New American Century
(PNAC), or has had "the lobotomy." Bernie says if Bush
manages to screw up another election, the second thing he's going
to do is hit us with a full-blown draft.
"The second thing?" I asked. "Okay -- since Bush
always screws up everything he touches -- I'll bite. What's the
"Iran!" Bernie snorted. "Don't you pay attention?
The articles have already been written. The graphics are loaded.
The media is just waiting for Bush to give 'em the signal so they
can write the headlines and fill in the date and time of the attack.
Then," he grinned, "Hi-ho, hi-ho -- it's off to war we
Bernie could be on to something. Anybody even remotely familiar
with the totally mad ravings of the Machiavellian Michael Ledeen
for the past two decades, or the sheer inhumanity lurking behind
the chilly smile frozen on the warmongering face of Bill Kristol,
editor of Rupert Murdoch's neoconservative Weekly Standard, knows
that Iraq was only the beginning of a struggle with the "terror
masters" of evil -- a war that Ledeen cheerfully announces
will "go on forever."
"I've been watching Ledeen for years," Bernie said, "ever
since the '80s, when he weaseled his way not only into the National
Security Council and the Pentagon, but into Alexander Haig's brain
over at State. Now, he squats in the 'freedom chair' at the American
Enterprise Institute (AEI), and works with folks at AIPAC (American
Israel Public Affairs Committee) and JINSA (Jewish Institute for
National Security Affairs) whippin' up blind fear that Iran is gonna
nuke us before sunset.
"Nobody makes a better livin' at killin' than Mikey Ledeen.
Hell," Bernie continued. "The body parts hadn't been scraped
off the streets of Baghdad from Bush's premature and giddy attack
on Iraq before Ledeen was ready to move on -- to deliver God's gift
of freedom to millions of folks unfortunate enough to live on top
of the oil in Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and even little ol' Libya.
Liberation's a dirty job," Bernie said. "It's hard work
-- but like Ledeen says, somebody's gotta do it."
"Bernie," I said, fighting the impulse to skitter into
the corner to crouch there, whimpering and gnawing on what little
remains of my hair, "there must be another way. Surely, if
George Bush screws up...er, wins another election, surely he's learned
his lesson. He won't listen to people like Kristol and Ledeen..."
"Naw, Bush don't listen to 'em," Bernie grinned. "He
don't have to listen. He wouldn't understand what they were sayin'
even if he did listen. He just opens up, and whatever they shout
in his ear immediately blasts out through his pie hole. I call it
Bush's pie-hole foreign policy. I call it Bush's premature, pre-emptive
pie-hole foreign policy. I call it Bush's predatory, pre-emptive,
"Okay -- okay! I get the picture!" I interrupted hurriedly.
"But you're right, Bernie. There's no way we can continue on
this course without a draft. As of today, we've lost 1,110 American
troops in Iraq. Seven of that number are reported as killed but
not identified because their families don't yet know they are gone
forever. More than 8,000 have been wounded and nearly that many
more evacuated because of disease, much of which -- like Ledeen's
eternal war -- is the depleted uranium gift that just keeps on giving.
"Americans need to snap out of it,"
Bernie said, his eyes suddenly hard. "Time's up. Americans
are out there dancin' alone on the brink of catastrophe, and nobody's
covering their backs. They've been played for fools by the media,
betrayed by their political leaders and cuckolded by their religious
"Help is not on the way for folks who
think they can barricade themselves behind closed doors and ride
out the storm," Bernie said. "War is on the way. A draft
is on the way, and you can take it to the bank that these guys agree
with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who has been widely
quoted as saying contemptuously that military men are just dumb,
stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy. [...]
The Bush administration intends to seek about
$70 billion in emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
early next year, pushing total war
costs close to $225 billion since the invasion of Iraq early last
year, Pentagon and congressional officials said yesterday.
White House budget office spokesman Chad Kolton emphasized that
final decisions on the supplemental spending request will not be
made until shortly before the request is sent to Congress. That
may not happen until early February, when President Bush submits
his budget for fiscal 2006, assuming he wins reelection.
But Pentagon and House Appropriations Committee aides said the
Defense Department and military services are scrambling to get their
final requests to the White House Office of Management and Budget
by mid-November, shortly after the election. The new numbers underscore
that the war is going to be far more costly and intense, and last
longer, than the administration first suggested.
The Army is expected to request at least an additional
$30 billion for combat activity in Iraq, with $6 billion more needed
to begin refurbishing equipment that has been worn down or destroyed
by unexpectedly intense combat, another Appropriations Committee
aide said. The deferral of needed repairs over the past year has
added to maintenance costs, which can no longer be delayed, a senior
Pentagon official said.
The Army is expected to ask for as much as $10 billion more for
its conversion to a swifter expeditionary force. The Marines will
come in with a separate request, as will the Defense Logistics Agency
and other components of the Department of Defense. The State Department
will need considerably more money to finance construction and operations
at the sprawling embassy complex in Baghdad. The Central Intelligence
Agency's request would come on top of those.
"I don't have a number, and [administration officials] have
not been forthcoming, but we expect it will be pretty large,"
said James Dyer, Republican chief of staff of the Appropriations
Bush has said for months that he would make an additional request
for the war next year, but the new estimates are the first glimpse
of its magnitude. A $70 billion request would
be considerably larger than lawmakers had anticipated earlier this
year. After the president unexpectedly submitted an $87 billion
request for the Iraq and Afghanistan efforts last year, many Republicans
angrily expressed sticker shock and implored the administration
not to surprise them again.
This request would come on top of $25 billion in war spending allocated
by Congress for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. The two bills
combined suggest the cost of combat is escalating from the $65 billion
spent by the military in 2004 and the $62.4 billion allocated in
2003, as U.S. troops face insurgencies that have proven far more
lethal than expected at this point. [...]
In making cost estimates for the supplemental
budget request, Pentagon officials have distanced themselves from
the Bush administration's public optimism about trends in Iraq.
Instead, they make the fairly pessimistic assumption that about
as many troops will be needed there next year as are currently on
the ground. [...]
Yale University economist William D. Nordhaus estimated
that in inflation-adjusted terms, World War I cost just under $200
billion for the United States. The Vietnam War cost about $500 billion
from 1964 to 1972, Nordhaus said. The cost of the Iraq war could
reach nearly half that number by next fall, 2 1/2 years after it
A Pentagon spokeswoman declined to comment. "We are going
to let OMB talk for the administration on this issue," Marine
Lt. Col. Rose-Ann Lynch said.
NEW YORK -- As a 16-year-old high school student,
Tom Brokaw spent his first working Election Night in a radio station
newsroom in Yankton, South Dakota. He reported results from rural
polling places, and ate chicken catered from Kip's Blue Moon restaurant.
His last Election Night will be considerably grander.
NBC News is building a huge temple of democracy
at New York's Rockefeller Center. A giant jigsaw-puzzle map of the
United States will cover the famed ice skating surface and the General
Electric building will be the backdrop for an electronic bar graph
tracking the Bush-Kerry fight.
And when either candidate reaches the magic mark of 270 electoral
votes, fireworks will explode over the New York City skyline.
OK, that last part's a fib.
But you get the idea.
NBC is expecting a big night for TV viewers, and Brokaw will be
at the center of it all.
Election Night will also mark the end of an era in broadcast journalism.
For more than two decades, the three biggest networks have turned
to the same men to anchor coverage of important news stories --
Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather.
This should be Brokaw's last hurrah, since he steps down as NBC's
chief anchorman December 1. By Election Day 2008, certainly one
and maybe all three network faces will be different. Rather turns
73 on Halloween and is fighting for his future after CBS's botched
story on President Bush's National Guard service. Jennings is 66.
"It's a natural transition and it's a new generation taking
over," said Brokaw, 64. "I had my opportunity when I replaced
John (Chancellor). Dan replaced Walter (Cronkite)."
'They rely on us'
What Brokaw has found most touching are the moments in airports
-- most recently Phoenix after the final presidential debate and
Los Angeles -- where folks approached him to say they'll miss seeing
him on television.
"That probably means more to me than anything we could do
around here because I've always felt that the essence of television
news (is) it's a mass medium," he said. "We are connected
from these large, glittering, bells-and-whistles sets in New York
to ordinary households in the Southwest, the Midwest, to barrooms
and schools and other places.
"They rely on us," he said. "You
feel at the end of having done it all these years that if people
still have faith in what you've done and feel a personal connection,
and feel it so strongly that they're willing to come up to you and
express that, that's very gratifying."
His biggest disappointment after two decades anchoring "Nightly
News" is that the broadcast is still 30 minutes long and not
On Election Night, his sidekick in an anchor booth overlooking
the rink will be Tim Russert. Brokaw's eventual replacement, Brian
Williams, will report that night from a nearby booth adjacent to
NBC will almost certainly be the most-watched network that night,
and not for nostalgic reasons. Brokaw has been lengthening NBC's
lead in the evening news ratings race in recent months, and it has
been the network of choice for most big political events this year.
Citing an NBC News poll that found 74 percent of Americans who
said the election was very important to them, Brokaw said the last
time he saw such a tuned-in electorate was during the 1968 Vietnam-era
campaign between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey.
"Here you have two men of privilege, both
from Yale University, both from the same fraternity, members of
Skull & Bones, with distinctly different points of view about
how the world should take shape in the next four years and what
the place of the United States should be in it," he said.
"That's a story of almost Shakespearean proportion, when you
think about it," he said. "And that's the story that we
need to tell." [...]
In a massive pre-election embarrassment for
the Bush administration, nearly 350 tons
of lethal explosives - which could be used to trigger nuclear weapons
- have vanished from a military facility in Iraq supposed
to have been guarded by US troops.
Hardly had the disappearance come to light than John Kerry, the
Democratic presidential challenger, seized on the episode as proof
that George Bush was incapable of keeping America safe. The material
could already be in terrorist hands, he warned yesterday.
This was "one of the great blunders of the war," Mr
Kerry said on the campaign trail in the swing state of New Hampshire.
A statement from his campaign said the "unbelievable incompetence
of this President and this administration has put our troops at
risk and this country at greater risk", adding that Mr Bush,
"who talks tough and brags about making America safer, has
once again failed to deliver".
According to The New York Times, which broke the story in a lengthy
front-page story, the missing stockpiles - some 350 tons in all
- are of HMX, RMX and PETN, extremely powerful,
conventional explosives that are used to blow up buildings, fill
missile warheads or detonate nuclear weapons.
So devastating are they that just one pound of a similar explosive
was enough to destroy Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in December
1988. HMX, RMX, or explosives like
them have been used in car and apartment bombings in Moscow and
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in recent years.
At the time of the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the
explosives were being stored by the Saddam regime, under United
Nations control at the al-Qaqaa military facility south of Baghdad,
which was mentioned in the Government's September 2002 dossier as
a source of possible chemical-weapons production. Some
time after the fall of Saddam the explosives disappeared, but their
loss was not formally notified to the Bush administration and the
IAEA nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna until two weeks ago.
In a letter on 10 October 2004, the Ministry of Science and Technology
of the interim Iraqi government of Iyad Allawi detailed the losses
to the IAEA, which it ascribed to "theft and looting".
Five days later, the agency sent the letter to Bush's administration.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the director of the
IAEA, is said to be "extremely concerned" about the "potentially
devastating consequences" of the vanished explosives.
Yesterday, the agency made clear that the US, as leader of the coalition
in Iraq, had been repeatedly warned of the importance of making
sure the stockpiles were safe. "The coalition
was responsible" for looking after the weapons, an IAEA spokeswoman
said. "We had hoped that they would be protected."
After the news was disclosed, Mr ElBaradei formally informed the
UN Security Council in a letter yesterday. Agency officials denied
suggestions that the IAEA director had been
under pressure from the administration to keep the news quiet until
after the presidential election next Tuesday.
The White House immediately moved to contain the possible political
damage, playing down the threat posed by the explosives. The material
did not constitute a risk in terms of nuclear proliferation, said
Scott McClellan, Mr Bush's spokesman.
As soon as US officials in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, had
been told of the disappearance, the news was passed to Condoleezza
Rice, the National Security Adviser, who then informed the President.
Dismissing complaints that the news should have been made public
earlier, the White House said the Iraq Survey Group - which reported
last month - would try to find out what had happened.
It remains to be seen whether the episode is lost in the swirl
of the campaign, or whether it becomes the "October surprise"
- the unexpected event dreaded by both parties, capable of tipping
a close election to the other side.
Democrats see the debacle as a perfect means of discrediting Mr
Bush's claim that he is the commander-in-chief best able to protect
America from terrorists. "The unbelievable blindness, stubbornness,
arrogance of this administration to do the basics have now allowed
this President to once again fail the test of being the commander-in-chief,"
Mr Kerry said.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Bombs and clashes killed
12 Iraqis Monday in a surge of Ramadan attacks that also claimed
the lives of an Estonian and an American soldier.
An Interior Ministry official said he had no figures for the violence
since the Muslim fasting month began 10 days ago but added: "We
can't deny that there has been an increased number of attacks during
An Estonian soldier was killed and five were wounded in a bomb
blast in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, officials said.
A roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier and wounded five in western
Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The death brought to 845 the number
of U.S. troops killed in action since the start of the Iraq war
In the first attack on their contingent since the end of the war,
three Australians were hurt when a car bomb blew up near the Australian
embassy in central Baghdad. The U.S. military said the blast killed
three Iraqis and wounded at least six. [...]
BEIRUT - A seven-year-old Lebanese boy was
taken hostage in Iraq over the weekend, and his kidnappers are demanding
$150,000 in ransom.
On Monday, Lebanon's foreign ministry said it was working with Iraqi
authorities to secure the release of Mohammed Hammad, who was reportedly
abducted on the way home from school on Saturday.
The officials did not say who they were negotiating with in Iraq.
The kidnapping took place in Diyala province, east of the Iraqi
capital of Baghdad. Mohammed 's father, Abdel-Ghani Hamad, is a
Lebanese citizen who has lived in Iraq for 30 years.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, hundreds of Lebanese people,
many of them construction workers, have gone to Iraq looking for
opportunities in the war-torn country's reconstruction.
Three other Lebanese nationals are believed to be hostages in
Iraq. One Lebanese hostage has been killed.
More than 150 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq in recent
months. Most were kidnapped for ransom and freed unharmed, but at
least 30 – including three Americans – have been killed
in order to drive out foreign troops and companies.
| PARIS, Oct 25 (AFP) - The withdrawl
of US troops from Iraq would be "a real signal of the return
of sovereignty" for the violence-wracked country, French Foreign
Minister Michel Barnier said Monday.
Such a withdrawl should be discussed during an international conference
on Iraq to be held in Egypt on November 22-23, Barnier told French
television news channel LCI.
A solution to bring stability to Iraq can only
be brought about "by negotiation, discussion, a political process,
by elections and, at a given moment, by the departure of international
troops, notably the American ones," he said.
But while France hoped to see the troop issue put on the conference
agenda, it was not making it a precondition to participating, Barnier
US President George W. Bush's administration has embraced the idea
of the conference, long called for by Paris, but French officials
have suggested that Iraqi insurgents also have seats at the table
and that a pull-out of US-led forces be raised.
Washington wants the conference to rally international support
ahead of Iraq elections which continue to be planned for January
despite the daily bloodshed in Iraqi cities and towns.
Barnier said of the elections that "everything must be done
so that they take place as planned" but he added "that
will be difficult".
The French minister on Monday chaired a smaller regional meeting
looking at the situation in Iraq. The gathering - of foreign ministers
and senior diplomats from 11 EU, north African and Middle East countries
- took place in Paris under the aegis of the Mediterranean Forum.
The forum's members comprise Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy,
Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey.
| PARIS, Oct 25 (AFP) - What if Saddam
Hussein were to have a genuinely fair trial? That is the central question
of a hard-hitting documentary to be aired on French television Tuesday.
Michel Despratx of France's Canal Plus television teamed with independent
Canadian filmmaker Barry Lando to produce "The Trial of Saddam
Hussein, the Trial You'll Never See."
The 43-minute film begins with frank and graphic highlights of
Saddam's brutal reign. But it soon delves
into a history of collusion going back to the cataclysmic Iran-Iraq
war of the 1980s, when Washington, fully aware that Saddam was using
mustard and nerve gas against Iranian civilians, calculated that
it was better to keep backing him as the lesser of two evils.
"There are your options. Neither one palatable," says
retired Air Force
Captain Rick Fontana in the film.
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is shown in a clip from Iraqi
television shaking hands with Saddam in 1983 when he was president
Ronald Reagan's special representative for the Middle East.
Shown the clip 20 years later, Rumsfeld muses: "Where did
you get this video? ... Isn't that interesting? There I am."
Copies of the documentary have been ordered
by television outlets in Canada, Japan and Australia, but "American
stations are not interested," Despratx told AFP.
One of the most notorious episodes of Saddam's rule was the gassing
of 5,000 Kurds in northern Halabja, an atrocity which drew little
In the heat of the Iran-Iraq war, news programmes mentioned it
without naming Saddam, leaving open the suggestion that the Iranians
"That was the diplomatic language of the time," said
former French foreign minister Roland Dumas.
"The West closed its eyes a little bit ... Iraq was a strategic
country for the balance of the region," adds Peter Galbraith,
top adviser to the Senate foreign relations committee at the time.
"Nobody wanted to upset Saddam Hussein, and
if Kurds getting gassed was something that would cause troubles,
neither the Reagan nor the Bush administration wanted to hear a
word about it."
Another part of the film deals with the numerous companies which
supplied Saddam with chemical weapons.
"Our estimation is that Germany supplied
far more than anyone else to Iraq's chemical weapons program, but
the French certainly were important suppliers," says
Gary Milhollin, an expert on arms proliferation.
The 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait provides another scathing indictment
of the US collusion with Saddam.
The film shows a meeting between then US ambassador
April Glaspie and Saddam eight days before the invasion in which
she assures him that Washington will take "no position in the
event of any border conflict between Iraq and Kuwait."
Four months later, the United States and its allies
unleashed the first Gulf War, removing Saddam from Kuwait but leaving
him in Baghdad to dispense new terror to his people, killing 300,000
Shiites who rose up against him at the encouragement of the first
president George Bush, broadcast repeatedly on Iraqi radio.
In the north, the Kurds also rose up, only to be crushed once again.
Galbraith says in the film: "Having called for the uprising
the Bush administration then decided they didn't want it to succeed."
The damaging consequences of 12 years of international sanctions
against Iraq, during which at least half a million children under
five died of disease, according to the UN childrens fund (UNICEF),
are also examined in the film.
The deliberate destruction of Iraq's water system during the war
led to outbreaks of typhoid and other waterborne diseases, and the
embargo prevented Iraq from importing the parts needed to repair
the system, the film reveals.
At the end of the documentary Madeleine Albright,
then US ambassador to the United Nations, and later secretary of
state, is asked whether containing Saddam was worth the deaths of
500,000 Iraqi children, and replies yes.
Last week, at this site, Teri
Wills Allison, a mother from Texas whose soldier son is now in Iraq,
wrote an up-close and personal piece on "the
costs of war" -- for her and us. It was a brave essay in
which she discussed, among other things, how it feels to have your
son so far away and in danger, and the kinds of angry emotions Bush's
war evokes in her. It brought a small flood of e-mail to the Tomdispatch
One thing struck me: Amid all the pundits opining and journalists
reporting on the state of the nation, we almost
never hear the voices of Americans who, like Teri Allison, have
to deal with the fallout from the mess this administration has created.
There's no place in our media for that.
To give but a small example, Allison spoke of the
way Bush's war has driven a wedge into her extended family -- between
herself and relatives who have "become evangelical believers
in a false faith, swallowing Bush's fear mongering… cheering
his ‘bring ‘em on' attitude as a sign of strength and
resoluteness." When pundits and journalists write about "polarization"
in America, they talk about red states and blue states. It sounds
politically important, yet strangely abstract; just those big colored
squares on a map. What Allison's piece and the letters in response
tell us is that, as at the height of the Vietnam War, such polarization
is reaching deep into families, causing intense pain and anguish.
This is another kind of reality, possibly more important than what
you read in the papers.
I was also struck by the offers of help of all sorts directed to
Teri Allison (who had, in her piece, mentioned the plight of a Kurdish
translator her son works with and of wounded friends of his now
back in the U.S.). I've included several of these letters below
because in their generosity of spirit they offer a kind of hope
and renewal all their own.
Among letters not reprinted were a number from mothers of draft-age
or younger children offering Allison thanks for her piece and expressing
strong opposition to any future draft -- a potentially explosive
issue in our country. In the end, I chose ten of the many letters
that came in -- articulate and filled with emotion, with pain and
tears, empathy and anger. (Many more, just as heartfelt, came to
Allison via Military Families Speak Out, an organization with which
she's associated and which posted her piece on-line.) All of the
letter writers below wrote me in their own names. Some, despite
the very personal nature of their letters, felt determined that
those names be used; others understandably felt differently. I've
identified each of them as they asked to be identified.
Just going through the letters that arrived was, for me, an emotional
experience. I especially want to express my admiration to the parents
of soldiers in, or heading for, Iraq who wrote so forthrightly of
their situations. Whoever is elected on November 2, their strength
will be needed if this war is to be ended. Tom
President Hamid Karzai has won
the majority of votes in the Afghan election, securing over 55 %
and paving for the way for him to become the country's first popularly
Results posted on the website of the Joint Electoral Management
Board (JESB) - an Afghan and United Nations election commission
- showed Mr Karzai way ahead with 55.3 % of the vote while his nearest
rival, former education minister Yonous Qanooni secured only 16.2
With nearly 95 % of votes counted, the interim leader already has
more than half the estimated 8.1m votes cast. Under election rules,
a candidate must secure 50 % plus one vote to win.
A spokesman for Mr Qanooni conceded defeat last night, according
to Reuters, but official confirmation of Karzai's victory was frozen
pending the outcome of an investigation into alleged polling irregularities.
The official result will be announced by the JESB later this week,
after it has seen a report into the allegations by an independent.
The three-man panel, made up of a Canadian diplomat and election
experts from Britain and Sweden, is due to meet most of the 18 candidates
later today to discuss claims of fraud.
The biggest problem was the use of imperfect indelible ink on voters
hands, which potentially allowed for multiple voting.
Among the other candidates, Hazara Shia leader Muhammad Mohaqeq
received 11.8 % and Uzbek general Abdul Rashid Dostum had 10.3 %.
The only female presidential candidate, Masooda Jalal, was running
sixth, with 80,922 votes, or 1.1 %.
Voting for the historic election began on October 9, with approximately
22,000 polling stations operational in all districts of Afghanistan's
34 provinces. Millions of mostly illiterate Afghans braved threats
of violence and harsh weather to cast their first vote.
A European envoy to Afghanistan said that while there has been
some flaws, they were not serious enough to affect the actual outcome
of the vote. "The vote pretty accurately reflects what the
people feel," Francesc Vendrell, the EU's special representative,
told the BBC.
The JESB has reported that 60 % of votes were cast by women and
in some provinces there was a 100 % voter turnout. In the largest
out-of-country voting operation ever, 2,800 polling stations served
refugees in Iran and Pakistan.
Mr Karzai has served as interim leader of Afghanistan since the
US forces toppled the ruling Taliban regime. With a likely victory,
he will be president for the next five years and his most immediate
task will be to prepare for parliamentary elections.
Afghanistan, The Taliban, And
The Bush Oil Team
According to Afghan, Iranian, and Turkish
government sources, Hamid Karzai, the interim Prime Minister of
Afghanistan, was a top adviser to the El Segundo, California-based
UNOCAL Corporation which was negotiating with the Taliban to construct
a Central Asia Gas (CentGas) pipeline from Turkmenistan through
western Afghanistan to Pakistan.
Karzai, the leader of the southern Afghan Pashtun Durrani tribe,
was a member of the mujaheddin that fought the Soviets during the
1980s. He was a top contact for the CIA and
maintained close relations with CIA Director William Casey, Vice
President George Bush, and their Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence
(ISI) Service interlocutors. Later,
Karzai and a number of his brothers moved to the United States under
the auspices of the CIA. Karzai continued to serve the agency's
interests, as well as those of the Bush Family and their oil friends
in negotiating the CentGas deal, according to Middle East and South
When one peers beyond all of the rhetoric of the White House and
Pentagon concerning the Taliban, a clear pattern emerges showing
that construction of the trans-Afghan pipeline was a top priority
of the Bush administration from the outset. Although UNOCAL claims
it abandoned the pipeline project in December 1998, the series of
meetings held between U.S., Pakistani, and Taliban officials after
1998, indicates the project was never off the table.
Quite to the contrary, recent meetings between U.S. Ambassador
to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlain and that country's oil minister Usman
Aminuddin indicate the pipeline project is international Project
Number One for the Bush administration. Chamberlain, who maintains
close ties to the Saudi ambassador to Pakistan (a one-time chief
money conduit for the Taliban), has been pushing Pakistan to begin
work on its Arabian Sea oil terminus for the pipeline.
Meanwhile, President Bush says that U.S. troops
will remain in Afghanistan for the long haul. Far from being engaged
in Afghan peacekeeping -- the Europeans are doing much of that --
our troops will effectively be guarding pipeline construction personnel
that will soon be flooding into the country.
Karzai's ties with UNOCAL and the Bush administration
are the main reason why the CIA pushed him for Afghan leader over
rival Abdul Haq, the assassinated former mujaheddin leader from
Jalalabad, and the leadership of the Northern Alliance, seen by
Langley as being too close to the Russians and Iranians.
Haq had no apparent close ties to the U.S. oil
industry and, as both a Pushtun and a northern Afghani, was popular
with a wide cross-section of the Afghan people, including the Northern
Alliance. Those credentials likely sealed his fate.
When Haq entered Afghanistan from Pakistan
last October, his position was immediately known to Taliban forces,
which subsequently pinned him and his small party down, captured,
and executed them. [...]
A chief benefactor in the CentGas deal would
have been Halliburton, the huge oil pipeline construction
firm that also had its eye on the Central Asian oil reserves. At
the time, Halliburton was headed by Dick Cheney. After Cheney's
selection as Bush's Vice Presidential candidate, Halliburton also
pumped a huge amount of cash into the Bush-Cheney campaign coffers.
And like oil cash cow Enron, there were Wall Street rumors in late
December that Halliburton, which suffered a forty per cent drop
in share value, might follow Enron into bankruptcy court.
While Clinton's State Department omitted Afghanistan from the top
foreign policy priority list, the Bush administration, beholden
to the oil interests that pumped millions of dollars into the 2000
campaign, restored Afghanistan to the top of the list, but for all
the wrong reasons.
After Bush's accession to the presidency, various Taliban envoys
were received at the State Department, CIA, and National Security
Council. The CIA, which appears, more than ever, to be a virtual
extended family of the Bush oil interests, facilitated a renewed
approach to the Taliban.
The Clinton administration made numerous attempts to kill Bin
Laden. In August 1998, Al Qaeda operatives blew up several U.S.
embassies in Africa. In response, Bill Clinton ordered cruise missiles
to be launched from US ships in the Persian Gulf into Afghanistan,
which missed Bin Laden by a few hours.
The Clinton administration also devised a plan with Pakistan's
ISI to send a team of assassins into Afghanistan to kill Bin Laden.
But Pakistan's government was overthrown by General Musharraf, who
was viewed as particularly close to the Taliban. The CIA cancelled
its plans, fearing Musharraf's ISI would tip off the Taliban and
Bin Laden. The CIA's connections to the ISI in the months before
September 11 and the weeks after are also worthy of a full-blown
investigation. The CIA continues to maintain
an unhealthy alliance with the ISI, the organization that groomed
bin Laden and the Taliban.
Last September, the head of the ISI, General Mahmud
Ahmed, was fired by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for his
pro-Taliban leanings and reportedly after the U.S. government presented
Musharraf with disturbing intelligence linking the general to the
General Ahmed was in Washington, DC on the morning of September
11 meeting with CIA and State Department officials as the hijacked
planes slammed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Later,
both the Northern Alliance spokesman in Washington, Haron Amin,
and Indian intelligence, in an apparent leak to The Times of India,
confirmed that General Ahmed ordered a Pakistani-born British citizen
and known terrorist named Ahmed Umar Sheik to wire $100,000 from
Pakistan to the U.S. bank account of Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker.
When the FBI traced calls made between General Ahmed and Sheik's
cellular phone - the number having been supplied by Indian intelligence
to the FBI - a pattern linking the general with Sheik clearly emerged.
According to The Times of India, the revelation
that General Ahmed was involved in the Sheik-Atta money transfer
was more than enough for a nervous and embarrassed Bush administration.
It pressed Musharraf to dump General Ahmed.
Musharraf mealy-mouthed the announcement of his general's
dismissal by stating Ahmed "requested" early retirement.
Sheik was well known to the Indian police. He was arrested in New
Delhi in 1994 for plotting to kidnap four foreigners, including
an American citizen. Sheik was released by the Indians in 1999 in
a swap for passengers on board New Delhi-bound Indian Airlines flight
814, hijacked by Islamic militants from Kathmandu, Nepal to Kandahar,
Afghanistan. India continues to believe the ISI played a part in
the hijacking since the hijackers were affiliated with the pro-bin
Laden Kashmiri terrorist group, Harkat-ul-Mujaheddin, a group only
recently and quite belatedly placed on the State Department's terrorist
list. The ISI and bin Laden's Al Qaeda reportedly assists the group
in its operations against Indian government targets in Kashmir.
The FBI, which assisted its Indian counterpart in the investigation
of the Indian Airlines hijacking, says it wants information leading
to the arrest of those involved in the terrorist attacks.
Yet, no move has been made to question General
Ahmed or those U.S. government officials, including Deputy Secretary
of State Richard Armitage, who met with him in September. Clearly,
General Ahmed was a major player in terrorist activities across
South Asia, yet still had very close ties to the U.S. government.
General Ahmed's terrorist-supporting activities - and the U.S. government
officials who tolerated those activities - need to be investigated.
The Taliban visits to Washington continued up to a few months prior
to the September 11 attacks. The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence
and Research's South Asian Division maintained constant satellite
telephone contact with the Taliban in Kandahar and Kabul. Washington
permitted the Taliban to maintain a diplomatic office in Queens,
New York headed by Taliban diplomat Abdul Hakim Mojahed. In addition,
U.S. officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for South
Asian Affairs Christina Rocca, who is also a former CIA officer,
visited Taliban diplomatic officials in Islamabad. In the meantime,
the Bush administration took a hostile attitude towards the Islamic
State of Afghanistan, otherwise known as the Northern Alliance.
Even though the United Nations recognized the alliance as the legitimate
government of Afghanistan, the Bush administration,
with oil at the forefront of its goals, decided to follow the lead
of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and curry favor with the Taliban mullahs
of Afghanistan. The visits of Islamist radicals did not end
with the Taliban. In July 2001, the head
of Pakistan's pro-bin Laden Jamiaat-i-Islami Party, Qazi Hussein
Ahmed, also reportedly was received at the George Bush Center for
Intelligence (aka, CIA headquarters) in Langley, Virginia.
According to the Washington Post, the Special Envoy of Mullah Omar,
Rahmatullah Hashami, even came to Washington bearing a gift carpet
for President Bush from the one-eyed Taliban leader. The Village
Voice reported that Hashami, on behalf of
the Taliban, offered the Bush administration to hold on to bin Laden
long enough for the United States to capture or kill him but, inexplicably,
the administration refused.
The obvious, and woefully underreported, interfaces between the
Bush administration, UNOCAL, the CIA, the Taliban, Enron, Saudi
Arabia, and Pakistan, the groundwork for which was laid when the
Bush Oil team was on the sidelines during the Clinton administration,
is making the Republicans worried. Vanquished vice presidential
candidate Joseph Lieberman is in the ironic position of being the
senator who will chair the Senate Government Affairs Committee hearings
on the collapse of Enron. The roads from Enron also lead to Afghanistan
and murky Bush oil politics.
UNOCAL was also clearly concerned about its past ties to the Taliban.
On September 14, just three days after terrorists of the Afghan-base
al Qaeda movement crashed their planes into the World Trade Center
and Pentagon, UNOCAL issued the following statement: "The company
is not supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan in any way whatsoever.
Nor do we have any project or involvement in Afghanistan.
Beginning in late 1997, Unocal was a member of a multinational
consortium that was evaluating construction of a Central Asia Gas
pipeline between Turkmenistan and Pakistan [via western Afghanistan].
Our company has had no further role in developing or funding that
project or any other project that might involve the Taliban."
The Bush Oil Team, which can now rely on the support of the interim
Prime Minister of Afghanistan, may think that war and oil profits
mix. But there is simply too much evidence
that the War in Afghanistan was primarily about building UNOCAL's
pipeline, not about fighting terrorism. The Democrats, who
control the Senate and its investigation agenda, should investigate
the secretive deals between Big Oil, Bush, and the Taliban.
| RAMALLAH, Oct. 26 (Xinhuanet) --
Palestinian senior official has accused Israel of deceiving the whole
world by its Gaza withdrawal plan.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's top aide Nabil Abu Rudeineh
told a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday
evening that what happens inside the Israeli Knesset (parliament)and
the government about the intended withdrawal from the Gaza Strip
is a gambit to deceive the world.
"If Israel was serious of its withdrawal, it would pull out
from the Gaza Strip as it did in southern Lebanon," said Abu
Rudeineh. He added that "what happened in the southern Gaza
Strip city of Khan Younis are continuous Israeli massacres to put
obstacles before any international and Arab peace effort."
He called on Palestinians and the Arab world to unite to face
the Israeli gambits, adding that "the Israeli government is
not only attacking the Palestinian security, but also the Arab's
TEHRAN (MNA) -- Israeli
commandos played an active role in the occupying forces’ attacks
on Najaf, Sadr City, Tall’Afar, Mosul, Samarra, Falluja, and
some areas in Tikrit, Ramadi, and Baqubah.
With the increased crackdown on the Iraqi people, the presence
of Zionist forces has become more evident, to the extent that Israelis
have taken over some military operations in Tall’Afar, Samarra,
and Falluja, informed sources in Iraq, including two Iraqi National
Guard officers, said.
One of these officers told the Mehr News Agency
that Israeli commandos significantly increased their presence in
Iraq after some Israeli jet pilots joined the occupying forces.
U.S. occupation troops have been using the experiences
of these commandos in suppressing the Palestinian people, he added.
The Iraqi National Guard officer said the Zionist commandos are
now stationed at the Baghdad airport, just south of Falluja, and
in two palaces of toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, adding
that one of their headquarters came under missile attack last month.
He said the U.S. military is making serious
efforts to prevent contact between the Israeli forces and members
of the new Iraqi National Guard and police, even though these
commandos may have contact with Baathist commanders who have taken
over the security of Falluja.
According to certain reports, there are over 200
Zionist troops in Iraq dressed in U.S. Army uniforms and under the
command of a fully-equipped intelligence network.
A short time ago, the head of Israeli military intelligence, General
Aharon Zeevi, acknowledged that Tel Aviv should compensate the United
States for the Iraqi quagmire.
Aharon even warned that the U.S. may put pressure on Israel to
modify its policies toward the Palestinians because of the problems
it is facing in Iraq.
The Zionist general admitted that the deeper the
U.S. sinks in the Iraqi quagmire, the more Israel should pay.
After the occupation of Iraq, reports surfaced
about the extensive activities of Israeli companies and Jewish organizations
in Iraq, especially in the north of the country. The reports also
said that the Jewish companies attempted to buy Iraqi land at high
Even though these reports have been dismissed by Iraqi officials,
some media outlets have occasionally published reports about the
clandestine activities of the Israeli intelligence
service Mossad and the active presence of Israeli companies
In addition, some time ago senior Israeli officials ordered the
Mossad to provide a report on the country as the Iraqi crisis worsened.
The intelligence service received help from Iraqi and other Middle
Eastern experts and some research centers which have ties with the
Israeli military and security services in compiling the report.
A single draft of the 40-page report has been delivered to Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon. Some other organizations have received drafts
of the report.
The report says that Israeli security and commercial
companies have succeeded in earning great profits from the Iraqi
market. It adds that Israel is preparing to insert specialized security
groups into sensitive Iraqi centers with the consent of the Iraqi
The report argues that security and military cooperation
with any side would be like opening a brilliant chapter of cooperation
and diplomatic ties and would also be in the best interests of Israeli
DURHAM, N.C. - A columnist for
the Duke student newspaper denouncing Jewish opposition to last
weekend's Palestinian conference on campus argued Jews use the Holocaust
to rebut legitimate criticism.
The column by Philip Kurian in Monday's edition of The Chronicle
also called Jews "the most privileged 'minority' group in the
"What Jewish suffering - along with exorbitant Jewish privilege
in the United States - amounts to is a stilted, one-dimensional
conversation where Jews feel the overwhelming sense of entitlement
not to be criticized or offended," Kurian wrote.
By Wednesday evening, more than 100 people had posted messages
on The Chronicle's Web site, most of them critical of the column.
The column was deeply offensive, said Rachael Solomon, student
president of the campus' Freeman Center for Jewish Life. Besides
statements about the Holocaust, the column mentioned the belief
that Jews were over-represented at top universities.
Solomon's organization now wants an investigation of The Chronicle
to see whether its top editors are fit for their jobs. Others have
already called for Karen Hauptman, The Chronicle's student editor,
and other editors to resign and for Kurian to give up his column.
No resignations are planned, Hauptman said.
No one answered the telephone listed to Kurian late Wednesday.
In closing his column, Kurian said his intent was not to ignore
Jewish oppression or the Holocaust, but to encourage Jews to "own
up to their privilege in America" and to use it more wisely
to confront inequality.
In a letter to the editor Wednesday in The Chronicle, Duke President
Richard Brodhead wrote that he was "deeply troubled" by
"The column was (headlined), 'The Jews,' as if Jews were susceptible
to group definition, and though its author probably did not mean
to, it revived stereotypical images that have played a long-running
role in the history of anti-Semitism," he wrote.
Brodhead's decision to allow the Palestinian Solidarity Movement
conference on campus last weekend provoked several weeks of debate
on and off campus.
More than 90,000 people signed an online petition calling for the
conference to be barred from Duke. Jewish groups organized events
in response after campus officials refused.
Jewish students felt the student paper was unbalanced in its coverage
of events surrounding the conference, Solomon said.
The Chronicle's editors had been scheduled to meet Monday with
Jewish student leaders to talk about the paper's coverage of the
conference, but the meeting was postponed after the column appeared,
The Chronicle reported that about 45 people met Tuesday at the
Freeman Center for Jewish Life on campus to discuss the column and
the paper's news coverage of events surrounding the conference.
The paper will probably publish a response to the criticism, Hauptman
"We are internally talking about some of the issues that have
been raised, and how to discuss them," she said.
Hauptman also said she understood why Kurian's column may have
angered some readers.
"Do I think Philip Kurian is anti-Semitic? The answer is no,"
she said. "Do I think the column could be read as anti-Semitic
and does it employ arguments that have been used for anti-Semitic
purposes? Yes. That's a fact."
Little-Known Use of DU in Commercial
The recent crash of a Boeing 747 in Halifax, Canada, raises a number
of questions about the use of depleted uranium (DU) in airplanes,
public health concerns and the 9-11 attacks. When a Boeing 747 crashed
and burned on takeoff at Halifax International Airport in Nova Scotia,
Canada, on Oct. 14, an official accident investigator said the aircraft
probably contained radioactive depleted uranium.
Bill Fowler, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board
of Canada, said the plane was likely equipped with DU as counterweights
in its wings and rudder.
“A 747 may contain as much as 1,500 kilograms [3,300 lbs.]
of the material,” the Canadian Press reported. It took 60
firefighters and 20 trucks about three hours to control the fire.
Fowler said: “there is no threat or concern” about
DU exposure to those working on the wreckage.
“That’s baloney,” Marion Fulk, a retired staff
scientist from Lawrence Livermore National Lab, told American Free
Press. Fulk, 83, is currently researching how low-level ionizing
radiation causes cancer, birth defects and a host of other health
problems. Burning depleted uranium creates a “whole mess of
oxides,” Fulk said, “which is what makes it so wicked
In 1988, American physicist Robert L. Parker wrote that in the
worst-case scenario, the crash of a Boeing 747 could affect the
health of 250,000 people through exposure to uranium oxide particles.
“Extended tests by the Navy and NASA showed that the temperature
of the fireball in a plane crash can reach 1,200 degrees Celsius.
Such temperatures are high enough to cause very rapid oxidation
of depleted uranium,” he wrote.
“Large pieces of uranium will oxidize rapidly and will sustain
slow combustion when heated in air to temperatures of about 500
degrees Celsius,” Paul Lowenstein, technical director and
vice-president of Nuclear Metals Inc., the company that has supplied
DU to Boeing, wrote in a 1993 article.
Now, some researchers are turning to the large number of sick firefighters
and workers from the World Trade Center site and reports of elevated
radiation levels around the Pentagon after 9-11. They contend that
the Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft involved in the attacks may have
also contained depleted uranium counterweights.
PENTAGON RADIATION LEVELS
Around the Pentagon there were reports of high
radiation levels after 9-11. American Free Press has documentation
that radiation levels in Alexandria and Leesburg, Va., were much
higher than usual on 9-11 and persisted for at least one week afterward.
In Alexandria, seven miles south of the burning Pentagon, a doctor
with years of experience working with radiation issues found elevated
radiation levels on 9-11 of 35 to 52 counts per minute (cpm) using
a “Radalert 50” Geiger counter.
One week after 9-11, in Leesburg, 33 miles northwest of the Pentagon,
soil readings taken in a residential neighborhood showed even higher
readings of 75 to 83 cpm.
“That’s pretty high,” Cindy Folkers of the Washing
ton-based Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) told AFP.
Folkers said 7 to 12 cpm is normal background radiation inside the
NIRS building, and that outdoor readings of between 12 to 20 cpm
are normal in Chevy Chase, Md., outside Washington.
The Radalert 50, Folkers said, is primarily a gamma ray detector
and “detects only 7 percent of the beta radiation and even
less of the alpha.” This suggests that actual radiation levels
may have been significantly higher than those detected by the doctor’s
“The question is, why?” Folkers said.
If the radiation came from the explosion and fire
at the Pentagon, it most likely did not come from a Boeing 757,
which is the type of aircraft that allegedly hit the building.
“Boeing has never used DU on either
the 757 or the 767, and we no longer use it on the 747,” Leslie
M. Nichols, product spokesperson for Boeing’s 767, told AFP.
“Sometime ago, we switched to tungsten, because it
is heavier, more readily available and more cost effective.”
The cost effectiveness argument is debatable. A waste product of
U.S. nuclear weapons and energy facilities, DU is reportedly provided
by the Department of Energy to national and foreign armament companies
free of charge.
DU is used in a wide variety of missiles
in the U.S. arsenal as an armor penetrator. It
is also used in the bunker-buster bombs and cruise missiles.
Because no photographic evidence of a Boeing 757 hitting the Pentagon
is available to the public, 9-11 skeptics and independent researchers
claim something else, such as a missile, struck the Pentagon.
A white flash, not unlike those seen in videos of the planes as
they struck the twin towers, occurs when a DU penetrator hits a
Photographs from the Pentagon reveal that large
round holes were punched through six walls in the three outer rings.
The outside wall is 24 inches thick with a six-inch limestone exterior,
eight inches of brick and 10 inches of steel reinforced concrete;
the other walls are 18 inches thick.
The object that hit the Pentagon on 9-11 penetrated
several feet of reinforced concrete, leaving holes with diameters
between 11 and 16 feet.
Bill Bellinger, then head of the EPA’s Radiation
Program for Region III, which includes Virginia, told AFP that he
had received information of elevated radiation levels and contacted
EPA officials at the Pentagon.
“I was concerned about that,” Bellinger said. “I
didn’t disregard it at all.”
Bellinger told AFP that he thought the radiation
was from DU in the aircraft.
Bellinger, who was based in Philadelphia, did not personally visit
the Pentagon site and said that EPA personnel at the site had not
reported high levels of radioactivity. However, the EPA official
who Bellinger said had worked at the Pentagon, Craig Conklin, now
at FEMA, told AFP that he had not been involved at the site, “directly
Workers and FEMA officials at the Pentagon were seen wearing special
protective outfits and respirators. FEMA photos show the workers
going through decontamination procedures.
Bellinger told AFP that the Department of Defense was responsible
for on-site safety procedures at the Pentagon/ [...]
AMEC Construction Management, a subsidiary of the British engineering
firm AMEC, renovated Wedge One of the Pentagon before 9-11 and cleaned
it up afterward.
AMEC had also renovated Silverstein’s WTC 7, which collapsed
mysteriously on 9-11, and then headed the cleanup of the WTC site
afterward. The AMEC construction firm is currently in the process
of closing all its offices in the United States.
|A Thai plaincloth police
officer, left, tie the
arms of an ethnic Thai Muslim rioter as
others lie on the ground after dispersing
them at Takbai district of Narathiwat
province, southern Thailand Monday. (AP)
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Security forces fired shots in the air
and used water cannons and tear gas to disperse about 2,000 angry
Muslim youths rioting in Thailand's troubled south Monday, leaving
at least six people dead and 12 injured, an official said.
A protest to demand the release of six detained security guards
turned violent earlier Monday, with demonstrators hurling rocks
at a police station in southern Narathiwat province's Takbai district
and overturning a military truck.
The rioters then tried to storm the building and a nearby district
office during the six-hour melee. Police and soldiers responded
by firing water cannons and tear gas, while shooting in the air
to scatter the rioters.
"There are 12 injured and six dead," said Sirichai Pattananutaporn,
Narathiwat's public health officer. He was unable to give more details
about the deaths but said autopsy results would be available Tuesday.
The casualties include one injured policeman.
One protester had been grazed by a bullet, said an emergency room
official at Sungai Kolok hospital who asked not to be identified.
Local television footage showed soldiers dragging,
kicking and hitting some of the protesters with their rifle butts.
Near-constant gunfire can be heard in the background.
It also showed close-up footage of the body of a man who appeared
to be dead, slumped over a cement planter with a large open wound
on his head. [...]
PATTANI, Thailand (Reuters) - Almost 80 people
died of suffocation in southern Thailand while being taken to detention
at a military barracks after a violent demonstration, a justice
ministry official said Tuesday.
Only six people were previously believed to have been killed in
the violence in the Muslim-dominated region on Monday, but the official
said 78 others later died of suffocation. "We found no wounds
on their bodies," the official, Manit Sutaporn, told a news
conference in Pattani, a provincial capital 700 miles south of Bangkok.
He said the 78 victims were among hundreds arrested after the 1,500-strong
rally was dispersed from outside a police station in Narathiwat
The deaths appear to have occurred while the men
were being taken in trucks to a military barracks in Pattani, a
journey that took five hours, Major General Sinchai Nutsatit told
the news conference.
Army spokesman Akom Pongprom confirmed the
toll and cause of death as suffocation. He said the bodies
were being kept at the barracks.
Troops and police fired live rounds, as well as water cannon and
teargas, during a six-hour standoff Monday with the crowd of Muslims
demanding the release of six villagers accused of handing over government-issue
shotguns to militants.
Shots were also fired from the crowd, officials said, adding that
some of the protesters were under the influence of drugs or were
frail because of fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Six protesters were killed in the violence, and
20 people injured.
"This is typical," Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra told reporters when asked about accounts of scores
dead. "It's about bodies made weak from fasting. Nobody hurt
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - Efforts to enlarge a
Muslim cemetery in Indonesia turned up a cache of 123 bombs, police
said on Monday.
Abdi Darma, police chief in Poso, a city in Sulawesi about 1,500
kilometres east of Jakarta, said 123 home-made bombs were found
when bulldozers were preparing to clear shrubs to enlarge the graveyard.
The bombs were ready to be used for possible attacks, said Darma,
although it wasn't clear how long they had been there. At
least eight of them were filled with shrapnel such as nails and
Police wouldn't speculate on who might have been stockpiling the
explosives, or whether they were leftovers from previous violence.
The ethnically mixed region was swept by violence between Muslims
and Christians in the late 1990s, in which 2,000 people were killed.
Intermittent violence has continued despite a government-brokered
truce in 2001.
The al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group is believed to have
had a military camp around Poso at the height of the conflict, but
Indonesian intelligence officials say it has long been closed.
Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for a number of deadly bombings
in recent years.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - A
Buddhist monk with suspicious white powder on his passport
sparked a security scare the Canadian High Commission in Sri Lanka,
prompting authorities to close the building and evacuate staff,
officials and police said.
Police said they later discovered the powder
wasn't anthrax, but bug repellent. The powder was detected
when a visa officer opened the passport of the saffron-robed monk,
a commission official said on condition of anonymity.
Embassy staff were immediately evacuated and all departments shut
after the discovery. The embassy will reopen Tuesday, the official
Embassy officials forced the monk to take
a shower as a precaution, said the official. The monk was
then taken to a nearby police station, but he was later released,
said Sirisena Herath, deputy inspector general of police.
In August, the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka was closed and staff
were evacuated after it received mail containing a suspicious white
powder. Subsequent tests found the powder to be harmless.
THE threat posed to the world by biological
weapons is now far greater than that from nuclear and chemical because
of the "riotous" development in biotechnology, a leading
scientist has warned.
He said if nothing is done, bio-weapons technology could be harnessed
by terrorists to target specific ethnic groups to release devastating
diseases, such as the 1918 Spanish flu.
Among the biological weapons with the potential to wreak havoc
are genetically engineered anthrax and a synthetic version of the
The warning came yesterday as the British Medical Association
(BMA) published its second report in five years into biological
and genetic weapons.
In 1999, the BMA called for the 1975 Biological and Toxin Weapons
Convention (BTWC) to stop the spread of biological and chemical
weapons to be strengthened.
The new report, Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity II, warned
that the "window of opportunity" to tackle the spread
of these weapons is shrinking fast.
Professor Malcolm Dando, the head of Peace Studies at Bradford
University, who has studied arms control for 20 years, wrote the
report. He said: "What we are talking about here is the development
of a technology which could clearly be misused by terrorists or
"We have a much more difficult problem in controlling biological
weapons (as opposed to nuclear) in the long term. If life sciences
are misused there are major threats to human rights, human dignity
and human safety."
Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the head of science and ethics at the BMA,
said it was appropriate for a medical association to report on weapons
of mass destruction. She explained: "As far as doctors are
concerned, the issue of weapons control is important, because at
the end of the day doctors literally pick up the pieces."
The reason for publishing a second report only five years after
the first was because biological science had developed so rapidly,
"It’s never been easier to develop biological weapons
- all you have to do is look on the internet."
She went on: "The situation today is arguably worse than
it was when we published our last report five years ago.
"The very existence of international laws to protect us is
being questioned, and the anthrax attacks in the US in 2001 caused
Urging the international community to take up the issue, she said:
"This report does not make comfortable reading, but it is essential
governments take action on this issue now. If we wait too long it
will be virtually impossible to defend ourselves."
The BMA studied the impact of terrorist atrocities such as September
11, the anthrax attacks of 2001, the Moscow theatre siege in 2002
and the Beslan tragedy this year.
In 1975, the BTWC was set up to provide some protection over biological
weapons. Calls in 1999 to strengthen the
convention "failed abysmally", after the US government
claimed imposing controls on bio-technology would interfere with
benign research being carried out.
As a result, the US pulled out of international talks aimed at
boosting the BTWC in 2001.
The issue is now being used as a political football in the US,
with the Democratic presidential contender, John Kerry, hinting
that he would consider a multi-lateral agreement if he got into
In its recommendations today, the BMA report urged the international
community to try to find a way to increase the power of the BTWC.
It also called for scientists to realise the potential risks and
responsibilities associated with their cutting-edge work.
Dr Nathanson added: "We can never produce 100 per cent security,
but what we can do is significantly lessen the likelihood of the
knowledge available being misused."
The 165-page report has been sent to the Foreign Secretary, Jack
Straw, as well as numerous international agencies.
TAYLORVILLE, Ill. -- A skydiver whose parachute
deployed prematurely and got tangled in the plane's tail was killed
when his head slammed into the wing, a coroner said Monday.
The other four members of the parachuting club, along with the
pilot, jumped to safety before the plane crashed into a bean field
Sunday near Taylorville Municipal Airport in central Illinois.
Investigators were trying to determine whether
the tangled chute caused the crash or the plane had stalled as some
of the survivors reported.
Bill Jensen, 38, was jumping from the single-engine Cessna with
the Mid-America Sport Parachute Club. Coroner Rick Sutton said Jensen's
parachute deployed too soon and got tangled around the tail of the
plane, jamming the rudder.
The other skydivers and the pilot thought Jensen had cut himself
loose from the tangled main parachute and jumped to safety, Sutton
But Jensen's reserve parachute became caught on the plane's wing,
he said. Though Jensen was wearing a helmet, his neck slammed into
the wing, fracturing his skull, Sutton said.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the
investigation, declined to comment on a possible
cause of the crash. A final report should be completed within
a year, said Mitch Gallo, an NTSB air safety investigator in Chicago.
Sutton said the pilot suffered minor injuries when he was jarred
by a hard landing after his jump. The other club members were not
hurt, he said.
CHICAGO - A United Airlines flight to Brazil
was forced to return to O'Hare International Airport and make an
emergency landing because of mechanical trouble in one of the plane's
United Flight 835 to Sao Paulo landed without incident about 40
minutes after takeoff Sunday, United spokeswoman Andrea Arroyo said.
The Boeing 767 was carrying 179 passengers and 12 crew members
when it departed, she said.
No injuries were reported, Arroyo said.
"The plane is intact," she said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane's crew reported
a problem with one of its engines shortly after its departure from
O'Hare at about 9:50 p.m.
The pilot reported "a compressor stall,
something that caused flames to shoot out from the engine,"
according to the FAA.
The plane was over Lake Michigan when the problem was noticed,
The pilot then reduced the aircraft's weight before making an
emergency landing by circling over the lake, said the FAA, which
is investigating the incident.
The Elk Grove Village Fire Department said residents of the suburban
Chicago community called the emergency number and reported seeing
flames coming from the plane.
Elk Grove Village Fire Capt. Scott Miller said
some of the firefighters heard a series of "explosions or concussions"
from inside their station, which is near O'Hare.
"We went out in front of the station and we observed the
plane circling the community," Miller said. "We thought
we had observed a bit of flames coming out from one of the wings."
Arroyo said hotel accommodations were being provided to the passengers
who were to resume their trip later Monday, she added.
Engine failure forced an American Airlines plane to make an emergency
landing at O'Hare in September. It was later determined that a bird
had been sucked into one of the plane's engines, apparently causing
The incident occurred just after the MD-80 jet had taken off from
O'Hare, bound for Philadelphia. None of the 112 people aboard that
plane were injured.
A five-day search for a missing jet was called
The 40-foot-long Czechoslovakian jet disappeared
off the Seattle Center Air Traffic Control radar screen late Tuesday.
Pilot Rocky Stewart and passenger Scott Smith were on board,
said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nisha Hanchinamani.
"They lost radar contact near Kachess Lake and Keechelus
Lake. They searched that area several times," said Hanchinamani.
"If someone sees something or there are new leads they'll go
Search and rescue crews focused much of their search in the vicinity
of Cle Elum, Kittitas County. But the jet could have come down anywhere
within a nearly 2,400-square-mile area, said Hanchinamani.
The single-engine, two-seat L-39 took off from Boeing Field en
route to Lewiston, Idaho, when the pilot
radioed air-traffic control to report difficulty controlling the
plane shortly before noon.
The mens' families traveled from California to Ellensburg, where
a search and rescue camp was set up. They were notified about the
search being called off.
The jet, built in 1981, is one of several bought by Americans
and was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.
DETROIT (AP) - A CN freight train carrying
a highly explosive material derailed Monday in a residential neighbourhood
on the city's east side, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people
in a 1.5-kilometre radius, the fire department said.
There were no reports of injuries or illness related to the derailment.
About 1,500 students at three city schools were evacuated. Nine
cars, including a few containing a flammable liquid, left the tracks
about 10 a.m. EDT near Interstate 75. Some of the tankers were flipped
At least two of four derailed tank cars contained methyl alcohol,
which is used as an antifreeze and is highly explosive. Some liquid
reportedly leaked from the train, but fire officials described the
leak as minimal.
CN spokeswoman Gloria Combe said the methanol had been leaking
at the rate of eight drops per minute and the leak was contained.
Parents and others rushed to the schools to pick up their children.
At the same time, school buses and city buses helped transport students
to another school outside the evacuation area, Mattie Majors, a
schools spokeswoman, told the Detroit Free Press.
Combe said railway employees were working with local emergency
officials to assess the situation.
"Our focus in on securing the safety of the community,"
Authorities did not know the cause of the derailment. A crew from
Toledo, Ohio, was called to the scene to help the company lift the
MOUNT VERNON — Several Knox County
residents reported seeing a mysterious blue
glow in the sky last night. It was actually a meteor shower.
Sarah Graham and Carri Yost, Mount Vernon Nazarene University
students, witnessed the shower about 11:15 p.m. The students were
traveling on Lower Gambier Road near Ohio 229 when, according to
Graham, “The atmosphere turned blue,
then there was a little split in the sky and an orange color appeared.
It happened very quickly.” A 9-1-1 dispatcher confirmed
that it was indeed a meteor shower over Licking County.
According to NASA, on any night, at any location, a few meteors
can be seen each hour. These are called sporadic meteors, or simply
sporadics. Occasionally, though, intense meteor displays fill the
sky with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of meteor trails. These
displays are called meteor showers. Many meteor showers can be predicted,
as they repeat every year when the earth passes through the path
of a comet. The bits of debris left behind
by the comets, most no larger than
a grain of sand, create a spectacular
light show as they enter the earth’s atmosphere. [...]
| MOUNT VERNON — Several Knox
County residents reported seeing a mysterious blue glow in the sky
last night. It was actually a meteor shower.
Sarah Graham and Carri Yost, Mount Vernon Nazarene University students,
witnessed the shower about 11:15 p.m. The students were traveling
on Lower Gambier Road near Ohio 229 when, according to Graham, “The
atmosphere turned blue, then there was a little split in the sky
and an orange color appeared. It happened very quickly.” A
9-1-1 dispatcher confirmed that it was indeed a meteor shower over
According to NASA, on any night, at any location, a few meteors
can be seen each hour. These are called sporadic meteors, or simply
sporadics. Occasionally, though, intense meteor displays fill the
sky with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of meteor trails. These
displays are called meteor showers. Many meteor showers can be predicted,
as they repeat every year when the earth passes through the path
of a comet. The bits of debris left behind by the comets, most no
larger than a grain of sand, create a spectacular light show as
they enter the earth’s atmosphere.
Known meteor showers are usually named for the constellation from
which the meteors seem to originate, called the radiant, or for
the comet responsible for the shower. In this case, the meteor shower
Orionid is scheduled through Wednesday, stemming from the Orion
Was it a bird? A plane? A lot of people are
wondering what lit up the sky around 11:15 p.m. on Sunday.
The mysterious blue light was seen flying
over Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. The fireball was left
by Halley's Comet and was part of a meteor shower that peaked last
All those who saw it say it really was a sight.
Judy Spaulding says, "It was just amazing. We thought
it was lightning but it couldn't have been it
was blue and it lit up the whole the sky. It was weird. That's all
I can say. It was weird."
"You think maybe UFO. You never know with everything that
going on," says Carl Lovingshimer.
An amateur astronomer in Hocking County in southeast Ohio says
a fireball lit up the sky for about two seconds
and then left a trail of light and smoke that lasted for several
He describes fireballs as large, bright meteors.
Craig Kelly from COSI says, "When the earth plows through
that, that's when you see a meteor show. This time it was hitting
the Earth at 66 kilometers per second."
It is unknown where the meteor landed.
It is believed to have landed somewhere on earth, but no
reports just yet.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The following are viewer
e-mails to NBC 4 after they saw a bright flash of light in the sky
Sunday night in Central Ohio.
*At 11:20 p.m. over in the sky northeast of Pataskala Ohio, we
just saw a strange flash of light, it was
blue-green, it lit up our street and then orange smoke (was)
in the sky.
*I live off of Holt Road in Grove City. As I was driving home
this evening around 11:15 p.m., I saw a bright flash of light, looked
up and saw what looked to be a streak of fire that quickly dimmed.
At first I thought the flash of light was lightning, but then I
saw the streak in the sky. I've seen "shooting
stars," but this was extremely bright and I had never seen
one "burning out" so clearly before.
* I was on I-270 driving and at approximately 11:18 p.m., I saw
what was probably a large meteor that looked like it was traveling
east and lit up the sky.
* My husband and I were driving in Pickerington toward Baltimore
and we saw something amazing in the sky. It looked like something
exploded, making a white flash, then the
entire sky was glowing bright blue. We saw something that
seemed to be burning, falling in the direction of I-70. The trail
of the object was also glowing orange, and then it turned to smoke
*There was a flash of blue light in the sky, like an explosion!
It was bright enough to light up my block.
*I was laying in bed last night looking out my bedroom window
when I saw the blue light just beneath the crack in my window shade.
It was like a turquoise-blue light lighting
up the sky. The sight reminded me of a light bulb that had
just burnt out after you turn on the switch except it was a pretty
*I was on I-71 North last night, maybe 40 minutes outside of Columbus,
when the whole sky lit up a bluish-green
color and then there was a giant flash of white. It looked
like a firework, but my friend and I knew it was too far away to
be a firework. We thought maybe it was a meteor or even an alien
spacecraft. It was quite beautiful!
*I was returning home from a concert sometime after 11 p.m. last
night. As I opened the front door to my house, suddenly the whole
sky seemed to light up for a brief instant in a bright shade of
blue. I turned around to face the eastern sky, and I
saw in the distance a bright blue ball of light and a trail of white
and yellow "sparks" emanating from it, streaking across
the sky. It looks like an offshoot from a fireworks display,
only clearly at a much higher altitude than fireworks -- and no
sound. As the "sparks" trailed off, they left a faint,
hazy glowing trail in the sky for several minutes. I opened the
door and called to my wife to come and see, but by the time she
made it out, the trail had nearly vanished.
*I saw it last night as I was standing out talking to a friend.
It did not "streak across the sky." It dropped from the
*First of all there was the bright blue flash that lit up the
whole sky area, I was facing slightly away from it so it was in
the edge of my sight when it exploded, but I turned quickly to it.
I saw something twirling down leaving a glowing
trail like no other meteorite I have ever seen. I then saw something
large drop below it very fast but not like a meteorite.
*The stream was not sparking, it was glowing, as seen from here.
It was obviously glowing residue. It did
not fade away as I have seen all other meteorites fade. It
gradually spread out and the glowing got dimmer. If you did not
know it was there and looked in the sky you might not see it. Knowing
it was there I kept watching. You could see the stream slowly spreading
out with the spiraling route seen easier.
* At no point did I think, not now do I believe it was a meteorite,
It had the appearance of either a plane exploding then falling from
the sky, Or a space capsule exploding then falling from the sky
in a swirling motion as some planes do when they lose control suddenly
*The stream looked like the space capsule that exploded after
take off, and spiraled up, but this was in reverse.
*I saw the light in Galloway. The only reason I did was because
my dogs started going crazy, very agitated
and barking right before it happened and I got up to put
them outside. It looked like a spotlight
from a helicopter it was so bright, only it was blue.
*I am a resident in Athens, Ohio. I saw the light last night when
I was leaving my friend's house at 11:21 p.m. to be exact. It did
undoubtedly leave the sky bright blue for a split second. However,
it burned, literally, red like it was on fire and left a trail of
smoke behind it. The smoke lingered in the air for some time
after it disappeared.
*I walked outside Sunday onto the porch around 11:15 p.m. and
happened to be looking toward the eastern sky. That's when I saw
it the object in the sky. The sky lit up
like a welder's torch and the entire neighborhood lit up like a
silent flash of lightning. The object was traveling northeast
as it exploded instantly leaving a broad long trail of glowing embers
that remained visible for nearly 20 seconds. It was a clearly visible
over porch lights and a bright moon. I consider myself lucky to
have seen such a magnificent show.
*I live in southern Ohio, in Jackson County, and I saw the meteor.
It came from the east, lighting up the sky as it traveled, leaving
a long, bright trail. It disappeared over the northern horizon.
The light was bright enough that the dogs outside started barking.
*The meteor last night provided a little extra "scare"
for me and three of my friends. We had just gotten out of "The
Grudge," a new scary movie with Sarah Michelle Gellar, and
we were all a little spooked. As we were walking out to our car
there was a sudden booming sound and the
entire sky lit up. We looked up and saw a streak across the
sky. Everyone in the parking lot just stopped what they were doing
and looked up to the sky. I think everyone got a little Halloween
spook out of the meteor.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Typhoon Nock-ten lashed
northern Taiwan with powerful winds and driving rain Monday, disrupting
international flights and closing financial markets, schools and
Flash floods killed three people, including a TV cameraman and
a firefighter. The typhoon's eye passed just north of the capital,
Taipei, and forecasters said the storm would churn northeast toward
Japan, still recovering from another typhoon that killed 83 people
But Nock-ten, which was weakening, could be downgraded to a tropical
storm before reaching Japan, Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said.
A moderate earthquake occurred at 01:50:49
(UTC) on Monday, October 25, 2004. The magnitude 5.4 event has been
located in KEPULAUAN ALOR, INDONESIA. The hypocentral depth was
poorly constrained. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)
A moderate earthquake occurred at 12:43:26
(UTC) on Monday, October 25, 2004. The magnitude 5.0 event has been
located in the ROTA REGION, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS. (This event
has been reviewed by a seismologist.)
| A moderate earthquake occurred at 16:40:39 (UTC)
on Monday, October 25, 2004. The magnitude 5.4 event has been located
near the NORTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE. (This event has been reviewed
by a seismologist.)
| A strong earthquake shook southwest
Tibet on Tuesday, but no damage or injuries were reported, state television
The magnitude-5.7 temblor hit at 10:11 a.m. (0211GMT) in Zhadapulanjian,
near the Himalayan mountain range, China Central Television reported.
The snow-covered area is sparsely-populated, the report said.
In August, a quake struck the northern part of the region, near
the tracklaying base for a railway project that stretches from Tibet
to neighboring Qinghai province.
No deaths or injuries were reported.
A moderate earthquake occurred at 07:24:19
(UTC) on Tuesday, October 26, 2004. The magnitude 5.4 event has
been located in the SOLOMON ISLANDS. (This event has been reviewed
by a seismologist.)
| A moderate earthquake shook southeastern
Taiwan on Tuesday, the Central Weather Bureau said, but no damage
or injuries were immediately reported.
The magnitude-4.4 quake was centered under the Pacific Ocean about
22 kilometers (14 miles) east of the town of Taitung, the weather
Taitung is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) southeast of the capital,
Quakes frequently rattle Taiwan, but most are minor and cause little
or no damage. However, a magnitude-7.6 earthquake in central Taiwan
in September 1999 killed more than 2,300 people.
| TOKYO : More aftershocks jolted
central Japan on Monday, following a powerful earthquake on Saturday
that left 25 people dead.
It is the country's deadliest earthquake in nearly a decade.
Even as rescue efforts continue, Japan is bracing itself for yet
another typhoon, the 10th to hit this year.
Exhaustion seems to have taken a toll on the estimated 100,000
people, who are prepared to spend a third night in shelters, as
more aftershocks jolted Japan in the wake of Saturday's first quake,
measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale.
"There are things all over the floor of my house and I am
worried about that, but I am also worried about how long the earthquakes
and this situation will last. "
Niigata Prefecture appeared to have suffered the most damages and
And aftershocks on Monday were felt as far away as Tokyo, about
250 kilometres away.
OJIYA, Japan : Strong aftershocks
rocked central Japan as exhaustion took its toll on thousands spending
a third night in shelters after the country's worst earthquake in
nearly a decade left 25 people dead.
Nearly 400 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). [...].
US Ambassador to Japan Howard Baker offered a largely symbolic
50,000 dollars in disaster aid and said the United States "stands
ready to provide additional assitance to help ease the burden of
The quakes flattened hundreds of houses, cracked more than 1,000
roads and triggered 11 fires and some 90 landslides, particularly
in ground softened by the typhoon, officials said.
| The Cassini spacecraft is set to
reveal the closest views yet of Saturn's moon Titan, when it makes
a close pass of the satellite on Tuesday.
At 1744 BST, the probe will make its closest approach to Titan,
passing within 1,200km of the enigmatic world.
The students who read Weekly
Reader’s magazines have made their preference for President
known: they want to send President Bush back to the White House.
The results of this year’s Weekly Reader poll have just been
announced, and the winner is President Bush. Hundreds of thousands
of students participated, giving the Republican President more than
60% of the votes cast and making him a decisive choice over Democratic
Senator John Kerry.
Since 1956, Weekly Reader students in grades 1-12 have correctly
picked the president, making the Weekly Reader poll one of the most
accurate predictors of presidential outcomes in history.
President Bush was a strong winner in the student poll; the only
state Senator Kerry won was Maryland. Senator Kerry was also in
a statistical dead heat with President Bush in New York, Massachusetts,
Washington, D.C. and Vermont. President Bush won most grades, although
Senator Kerry did win among tenth-graders.
This year students caught election fever, with an increase of more
than 20% in the number of students participating in the Weekly Reader
poll than in any prior year. While there were participants from
grades K through 12, third- and fourth-graders were the most enthusiastic
voters. More than 57,000 students from each of those two grades
The presidential poll, in which teachers collected their students’
votes and forwarded them to an independent polling company to be
tabulated, is part of Weekly Reader’s “Promote the Vote”
program, created to teach students about the election process, the
issues, the candidates, and how democracy works.
“This program teaches students that voting is a privilege
and a responsibility,” said Emily Swenson, President of Weekly
Reader. “Through this authentic experience, we are hoping
students will become advocates and lifelong voters. And even though
the election may be over in eight days, the learning will continue.”
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