Article - 911 Eye-witnesses
Article - High Strangeness
Article - The Blair Belief Project
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
Copyright 2004 Pierre-Paul
Osama Pulled Out Of The
Bag For US Elections
Noooooooooooooo! Say it ain't
so! Sadly, it is all too true. Yes indeed, you guessed it, just
before the US elections, "Osama" releases another shocking
video tape. In this particular masterpiece of smoke and mirrors
Osama seated behind a table and dressed in the garb of an elder
statesman, talks calmly and coolly about the reasons for the "war
on terror" and the ways in which the American people can avoid
further attacks. He also appears to hint at the fact that he was
responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Well, what can we say - George Bush really is the luckiest man
the world has ever seen.
We mean, really, who could have predicted it? THREE DAYS before
the US population exercises their right to put a piece of paper
in a box or play eeny meeny miny mo on a touch screen voting machine,
Osama bin Laden, aka "the boogey man", is dragged out
out from under the bed to scare the bejeesus out of the 13 year
old child masquerading as the average American adult.
But do not be fooled. This is not simply about attempting to scare
Americans into voting for Bush and his continued "war on terror".
This most recent piece of well-choreographed theatrics is designed
to ensure that, when Bush is re-appointed
on Nov 2nd as the front man for the greatest farce of a democracy
on earth, all those who voted to have him removed from office will
think that they were simply outvoted by the Christian fundie right
wingers rather than brazenly disenfranchised by the back room boys
that really run the US government.
It funny. Almost every mainstream media outlet is interpreting
the Osama tape as evidence that Osama wants to influence the US
elections and help to oust Bush. But in the tape Osama warns of
more attacks against the US, and surely Osama is aware that one
way to ensure that Bush stays in office is to provide justification
for the phony "war on terror" upon which Bush has staked
So what's up with that?
Despite all his experience in fighting against the Russians, the
Americans, the Saudis and a host of other powerful regimes, Osama
appears to have gleaned very little understanding of the way power
politics really works. Is he really so naive to think that by declaring
that he wants to help oust Bush, that that American public will
help him in his aspirations? Surely it should be obvious to Osama
that most Americans will react by doing exactly the opposite of
that which their "arch nemisis" desires. We can almost
hear them now: "So Osama wants us to get rid of Bush? Well
that must mean that Bush is one of the good guys!"
One would almost think that Osama was some sort of asset of the
Bush regime and that this video was commissioned just in time for
the election... But heck! What are we saying, that would mean that
there was some sort of conspiracy going on, and we all know that
conspiracies simply don't exist...right?
QATAR - Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden appeared in a new message
aired on an Arabic TV station Friday night, for the first time claiming
direct responsibility for the 2001 attacks against the United States.
you look closely you can almost see the strings
The militant Islamic group decided "we should destroy towers
in America" because "we are a free people... and we want
to regain the freedom of our nation," said bin Laden, dressed
in yellow and white robes and videotaped against a plain brown background.
In the 18-minute message, parts of which were played on Qatar-based
Al-Jazeera just four days before the American
presidential election, bin Laden accused U.S. President George
W. Bush of negligence on the day 19 suicide hijackers took over
four American passenger jets.
He also threatened new attacks if the policies
of the U.S. government do not change.
According to translators, bin Laden told American voters: "Your
security is not in the hands of [Democratic presidential candidate
John] Kerry or Bush or al-Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands.
"Each state that does not meddle with our security has naturally
guaranteed its own security."
Bush insists U.S. 'will prevail'
Bush reacted to the tape by saying the United States would not
be intimidated by bin Laden's attempt to interfere in Tuesday's
"Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy
of our country," he said. "We're at war with these terrorists
and I am confident that we will prevail."
Kerry was also quick to condemn bin Laden's threats.
"As Americans, we are absolutely united in our determination
to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists,"
he said during a campaign stop in Florida.
Al-Jazeera said it received the message earlier in the day, but
would not say how.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said U.S. intelligence officials
believe the tape to be authentic.
The FBI is comparing the video to one broadcast Thursday night
on the American network ABC. In that message, a masked man who says
he is an American member of al-Qaeda says more attacks against the
U.S. are imminent.
Bush's reaction on 9/11 ridiculed
This is the first time the world has heard
from the fugitive al-Qaeda leader in more than a year –
and the first time he has accepted responsibility for the 2001 attacks
rather than just praising them.
He eluded capture when the United States invaded Afghanistan,
where he was based, in late 2001. Many analysts believe he found
refuge in a chain of mountains along the border with neighbouring
One of bin Laden's more explosive statements on the tape was that
al-Qaeda's suicide airplane attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, would have
been less severe if Bush had been more vigilant and acted more quickly.
The World Trade Center towers burning on Sept. 11, 2001. Instead,
he said, Bush continued listening to "a little girl's talk
about her goat and its butting."
The president was visiting a school in Florida when an aide told
him that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. A cameraman
captured the stunned politician continuing
to listen to a young student reading My Pet Goat for the next seven
The al-Qaeda leader said the hijackers had planned to have all
the attacks take place within 20 minutes because they were sure
the Americans would react quickly and start shooting down errant
Bush's delay "gave us three times the required time to carry
out the operations, thanks be to God," bin Laden said.
A total of 58 minutes elapsed between the time the first plane
hit the first Manhattan office tower and the moment the third plane
crashed into the Pentagon – the Defence Department headquarters
– in the Washington area.
A fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field after passengers
learned what had happened to the other hijacked airplanes and stormed
the cockpit in order to divert it from a fourth populated target.
That crash came one hour and 25 minutes after the initial airplane
hit its target.
Invasion of Lebanon led to Sept. 11 attacks
The al-Qaeda leader said he decided that militants should start
planning to attack the United States in the wake of Israel's 1982
invasion of Lebanon, when apartment towers in Beirut were bombed.
The U.S. backed Israel in that action, he said.
Bin Laden also said Bush had misled the American people in the
three years since al-Qaeda's 19 hijackers accomplished their deadly
"Bush is still deceiving you and hiding
the truth from you and therefore the reasons are still there to
repeat what happened," he said.
Here is a transcript of those
excerpts broadcast by al-Jazeera:
Oh American people, my talk to you is about the best way to avoid
another Manhattan, about the war, its causes, and results.
Security is an important pillar of human life. Free people do not
relinquish their security. This is contrary to Bush's claim that
we hate freedom.
Let him tell us why we did not strike Sweden, for example. It is
known that those who hate freedom do not have proud souls, like
the souls of the 19 people [killed while perpetrating the 11 September
2001 attacks], may God have mercy on them.
We fought you because we are free and do not accept injustice.
We want to restore freedom to our nation. Just as you waste our
security, we will waste your security.
'Striking the towers'
I am amazed at you. Although almost four years have passed since
the [11 September] incidents, Bush is still practising distortion
He also continues to conceal from you the real reason [for the
11 September attacks]. Thus, the motives still exist for repeating
I will speak to you about the reasons behind these incidents. I
will honestly tell you about the minutes in which the decision was
made so that you will consider. I say to you that God knows that
the idea of striking the towers never occurred to us.
But, after things had gone too far and we saw the injustice of
the US-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon,
I started thinking of that.
The events that influenced me directly trace back to 1982 and subsequent
events when the United States gave permission to the Israelis to
invade Lebanon, with the aid of the sixth US fleet.
At those difficult moments, many meanings that are hard to describe
went on in my mind. However, these meanings produced an overwhelming
feeling to reject injustice and generated a strong determination
to punish the unjust ones.
While I was looking at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred
to me to punish the unjust one in a similar manner by destroying
towers in the United States so that it would feel some of what we
felt and to be deterred from killing our children and women...
We did not find it difficult to deal with Bush and his administration,
because it is similar to regimes in our countries, half of which
are governed by the military and the other half of which are governed
by the sons of kings and presidents; and we have a long experience
In both categories, you find many who are characterised by hubris,
arrogance, greed, and unlawful acquisition of money. This similarity
transpired since Bush Senior's visit to the region.
While some of our people were dazzled by the United States and
hoped that these visits would affect our countries, he, instead,
was affected by these royal and military regimes, envying them for
remaining in their posts for scores of years, embezzling public
money without being held accountable or monitored.
Accordingly, he transferred dictatorship and the repression of
freedoms to his son by introducing the Patriot Act under the pretext
of fighting terrorism.
Bush Senior deemed it appropriate to assign his sons to states.
He also did not forget to convey the [election] rigging experience
from the leaders of the [Arab] region to Florida to benefit from
it at critical times...
We had agreed with the chief amir [leader - of the 11 September
hijackers] Mohammed Atta that he should accomplish all the operations
within 20 minutes before Bush and his administration could take
It never occurred to us that the supreme commander of the US armed
forces would leave 50,000 of his citizens in the two towers to face
those great horrors alone, at a time when they needed him badly.
This is because it seemed to him that being preoccupied with the
little child's talk about her goat and its butting was more important
than being preoccupied with the planes and their ramming into the
This gave with three times the period required for carrying out
the operations, praise be to God.
Your security does not lie in the hands of Kerry, Bush, or al-Qaeda.
Your security is in your own hands. Each and every state that does
not tamper with our security will have automatically assured its
| Osama Bin Laden has appeared in
a video tape, warning America. It is obvious that UBL is trying to
affect U.S. elections, scheduled for this Tuesday. He, like many other
terrorists, do not like George Bush and would prefer the pacifism
of a John Kerry administration.
He realizes that a Kerry administration would mean a weaker U.S.
led War on Terror.
However, he misunderstands the American street.
Most Americans like the sound of the B-52's
heading towards the middle east for revenge. He does not
understand that America accepts his challenge, and like a poker
match; we are calling his bluff.
America sits with 4 Aces waiting. We will win.
met a man today who did not know the difference between Saddam Hussein
and Osama bin Laden; he did not even know the difference between
Iraq and Afghanistan. But he did know about the War on Terrorism--well,
“We had to do something when they knocked those buildings
down in New York,” Joe insisted, his mouth twisted with anger.
I calmly explained to this World War II veteran
and former mechanical engineer that it was not Iraqis who flew those
airplanes into the World Trade Center towers but al Qaeda, which
was based not in Iraq but in Afghanistan, two very different countries.
Joe replied with a look of confusion, and then
said, “When they say all those foreign names, I just turn
my mind off.”
“Turn your mind off?”
“Yeah, turn off my mind” he repeats
Missouri is the demographic center of the United States, and some
Americans believe it is also the soul of America. “The heart
and soul of America,” President Bush said on a recent visit,
“is found right here in Springfield, Missouri.”
But what I found in Springfield, Missouri,
was an America where intensely personal politics swamps thoughtful
public dialogue, where simplistic slogans like “freedom”
are a substitute for understanding the substance of freedom.
What I found was an America dominated by intransigent minds and
tightly sealed mindsets. What I found was
From “Turned Off Mind” to “Kill Them All”
I’ve seen a humongous amount of stupid nonsense--too often
originating from my own twisted thinking--so I’m not surprised
by what the turned off mind says. Yet, what Joe said next surprised
me. Leaning forward, looking directly at me,
he said slowly: “I say kill them all.”
Joe is in his 80s and lives in rural southwest Missouri, an area
that identifies with the long-time embittered Deep South--Missouri
was the northernmost slave state--as opposed to the metropolitan
areas of St. Louis and Kansas City that feel more like the moderate
North. Joe thinks it was the liberal media, and “those liberal
politicians,” who lost the Vietnam War, so today he watches
Fox News, and only Fox News. Joe doesn’t have to learn those
strange sounding foreign names because he trusts his basic instincts,
or as he says, “his gut feelings,” and of course Fox
News. Joe’s mind can be turned off--Fox
is turned on!--and with complete confidence scream, Kill them all!
A turned off mind does not see a four-year-old
Iraqi boy with both arms amputated squirming in excruciating pain.
A turned off mind does not see a mother’s contorted face,
a face insane from unbearable horror. A turned off mind does not
hear screams or pleas. A turned off mind cannot understand the futility
of occupying Iraq; it does not remember Vietnam. A turned off mind
just says, Kill them all!
A turned off mind can be informed of everything,
yet know nothing. It is the only mind to have when reality is the
Here in Springfield, Missouri, the hometown of John Ashcroft, there
are churches on nearly every corner, bookstores are hardly anywhere,
yet turned off minds are everywhere: in the motel lobby, a man handed
me a Jesus Saves brochure, insisting my soul was in jeopardy; on
my car radio an angry young man screamed, “Those liberals
are the devil’s work”; sitting in a bar, several locals
complained that the Democrats run America (aren’t all three
branches of the federal government run by Republicans?). But don’t
even try to have a discussion with Jesus when you’re the devil.
This is where I heard Saddam Hussein was
involved in 9/11, as some 40 percent of Americans doggedly insist.
In Springfield, the big lie thrives. This is where I heard
that we actually found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but that
the U.N. stole and destroyed them. This is where I heard we must
support our wartime president, yet I never heard we must pay for
this war. And this is where I heard that John Kerry is a traitor.
Here in the Show Me State, there is much they don’t want
to be shown.
From “Kill Them All” to Killed Democracy
Anti-intellectualism has a long tradition
in America, a long tradition
in every country, yet today in our country it seems stronger and
more vicious--a relentless plague wiping out
reason in whole sections of our country. Males
especially, admiring our inarticulate, dimwitted president, have
never been prouder of their own inarticulateness and wear shallow
thinking as evidence of their swaggering “manhood.”
John Kerry not only rubs them the wrong way, he outrages them.
Sometimes I think our advanced technology and
great wealth is only a fig leaf for our pathetic primitiveness.
Lately I have been thinking that a lot.
Although many of us still cling to the Jeffersonian promise that
common citizens in public dialogue can craft thoughtful solutions,
we can’t hide from the spreading darkness.
Harry Truman lost the presidency because of the Korean War, Lyndon
Johnson quit his job--before he could lose it--because of the Vietnam
War, yet George Bush is running neck-and-neck with John Kerry although
the Iraq War is clearly a disaster. The difference for America could
not be greater.
Our ballooning federal deficit has reached a record $445 billion,
yet Congress just approved additional tax cuts. We have allocated
$200 billion for Iraq, yet in America 77 million Baby Boomers will
soon begin retirement and be dependent upon federal money. Health
care costs are skyrocketing, rising 36 percent in the last four
years, yet government is doing nothing. Where are the plans to pay
for all of this? Where are the public debates? Where is our democracy?
Joe had not heard about the tax cut, which surprised me since he
supports all tax cuts, although don’t suggest that government
services be cut back for anything that will affect him. He was only
vaguely aware of the spiraling deficit, but our national debt doesn’t
seem important to him. Health insurance is an issue, but Joe has
his. In fact, Joe is busy thinking about something else, about “getting
those A-rabs.” Where is our democracy? It’s being swallowed
by the politics of illusion that screams kill them all and says
Then Joe dropped another surprise on me, one quite different from
wanting to kill them all. After taking a sip of his coffee, he looked
at me and with deliberation said, “I know I should vote for
Kerry, but I just can’t.”
It was a confession, a sad confession. Retired and living on a
fixed income, Joe knows (yet nearly always represses) that he should
vote for John Kerry. Yet the warping rhetoric, his revved-up emotions,
and the suffocating unitary culture ensure that he will vote for
George Bush. The fig leaf was suddenly gone; it was clear that Joe
was not in control. Joe was an advocate against his own self-interests.
“Against his own self-interests”? you ask. Is it in
his interest to continue the transfer of funds from his dwindling
bank account to a small number of wealthy individuals? For each
year that George Bush has been president, the average American family
has lost $1,600. Is it in his interest to have more unnecessary
wars and more unnecessary dead Americans? Will it be one of his
grandchildren next year? Is it in his interest to saddle his children
with a record debt, which they will be forced to pay off for many
years to come? Is it in his interest to continue under-funding veterans’
programs? He needs those Veterans Administration’s programs.
Yet this is exactly what Joe will be voting for next week by casting
his ballot for George Bush.
Freedom for Joe is the opportunity to do what he should not do,
and voting is the right to vote for whom he should not. This is
not what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he wrote about the common
sense of common people. This is not what can sustain American democracy.
Although in 2000 Al Gore won St. Louis and Kansas City, the rest
of Missouri, including its third largest city, Springfield, went
for George Bush and went in a big way: 58 percent to 39 percent.
It’s not surprising that the Kerry campaign gave up on Missouri;
there are too many Joe’s here. The question for this election,
then, is this: how many Joe’s are there in Ohio and Pennsylvania
and the other swing states? If many, then the politics of ignorance
will win, and George Bush will win the election.
Maybe America is not as dark as I fear, as I have
written; maybe Americans will vote with their brains instead of
with twisted feelings and stunted thinking. We shall know soon.
WASHINGTON—Five days before the 2000
election, a chastened George W. Bush appeared before the cameras
to confirm he had been convicted of drunk driving 24 years earlier.
Another "October surprise."
The term has entered the folklore of U.S. campaigns, but most
agree it was coined by former U.S. president Ronald Reagan, who
used it in 1980 to warn that incumbent Jimmy Carter was likely trying
to spring American hostages in Iran just before voting day.
The irony, of course, is that it is also
now accepted that Reagan and his running mate George H.W. Bush (George
W.'s dad) were up to their own October surprise, working the back
channels to ensure the hostages would be released after his own
election. And they were, on inauguration day in January,
In 2004, conspiracy websites, the deft hand of Bush adviser Karl
Rove, and voter cynicism are all at play and millions
of Americans expect the president to hop off a bus in rural Ohio
any day now with Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in hand.
"The problem with that theory is to assume an October surprise
is to assume the Bush administration has the situation under control,"
says Mark Fenster, a University of Florida law professor who has
written on conspiracy theories. "You
can't orchestrate a surprise when things are out of control."
Fenster, who has also studied conspiracy theories, says the Bush
campaign has not tried to ratchet up the pre-election fear by trotting
out Attorney-General John Ashcroft to raise the terror level for
a very good reason.
"The administration has never been good at separating politics
from the war on terror," he said. "Certainly at least
half the country — all Democrats — would say the move
was politically motivated."
The October surprise term originally was defined as a last-minute
move by an incumbent to assure re-election,
but it is now used for any outside event that can play a role in
a close campaign.
| BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Hercegovina : Al-Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden is actively directing terrorist cells in the former
Yugoslav republic of Bosnia, a top US terrorism analyst told a local
Yossef Bodansky, director of the Task Force
on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the US Congress,
told the Glas Srpske daily that terrorists responsible for the bombing
of the UN headquarters in Baghdad last year were trained near the
central Bosnian town of Zenica.
"There is a terrorist network in Bosnia, composed
of several well-trained and connected groups, which are directly
or indirectly responsible to ... Osama Bin Laden,"
he was quoted as saying in the Serbian-language paper.
He said the cells were using Bosnia as a training ground and a
gateway to send terrorists to western Europe or to hide them on
their way to the east if they were on the run.
"The network in Bosnia ... is training
and controlling terrorists who later travel to Western European
countries," Bodansky said in comments translated from
"On the other hand, terrorists for whom arrest warrants have
been issued in the west are coming back to Bosnia where 'liaison
officers' welcome them and provide accommodation and hiding places,
and they are later transferred to the east."
He said the Zenica region had provided a training ground for terrorists
who conducted a series of suicide attacks in Baghdad in August last
year, including the UN bombing which killed 22 people.
"Literally, they were trained in Zenica's milieu, and from
there they were sent out through Italy
to Iraq to fight American forces," he said.
Bodansky, who met Bosnian officials last week, complained that
the international community and local authorities were aware of
terrorists' activities but had failed to do enough to stop them.
"Representatives of the international community in Bosnia
and (local) authorities are aware of this but they do not work enough
to fight international terrorism," he said.
NATO peacekeepers are still deployed in Bosnia under peace accords
which ended the country's 1992-95 war, during which hundreds of
foreign so-called mujahedeen, or holy warriors, fought alongside
Bosnian Muslim forces.
Foreign Muslim fighters were ordered to leave Bosnia under the
1995 peace accords, but some of them stayed and obtained citizenship
either on the basis of their army service or by marrying local women.
Forensics experts have exhumed 405 bodies
from a mass grave, making it the second-largest such site found
in Bosnia since the end of the 1992-95 war.
The site contains the bodies of Muslims and Croats killed at two
wartime concentration camps, said Esad Bajramovic, a member of the
Muslim-Croat missing persons commission.
Exhumations will continue for another week at the grave in Stari
Kevljani, 110 miles north-west of Sarajevo. The mass grave is the
51st found in the area.
Based on evidence so far collected, most of the dead appeared
to be Bosnian Muslims who had lived in and around Prijedor and were
killed in the Omarska and Keraterm concentration camps in 1992,
"We are dealing with a secondary mass grave and expect to
find another 20 to 30 bodies in it," he said.
So-called secondary mass graves are sites
where bodies have been moved after being buried elsewhere in an
effort to cover up the crime.
The remains will undergo DNA analysis in an attempt to identify
Over the years, UN and local forensics experts in Bosnia have
exhumed 16,500 bodies from more than 300 mass graves. Thousands
of people remain missing following the war.
About 260,000 people were killed and 1.8 million driven from their
homes during the conflict, which pitted Bosnia’s Muslims,
Croats and Serbs against each other.
I get this a lot:
Hey Mark, you're a rather weird, unconventional columnist, why
don't you quit toeing the typical blasé journalism line and
renounce the corporate-controlled news feeds and standard pop-culture
drivel and instead write about the real truths, the real and sinister
power structures at work in America and the world?
Like for example how both Kerry and Bush are members of mega-yuppie
Yale secret society/boys' club Skull
& Bones, and therefore suckle at the same tit of nefarious
primeval Illuminati power and draw their ideas from same trough
of covert draconian ideology, the one that is right now running
the world via an insanely intricate network of corporate fronts
and Swiss bank accounts and invisible spaceships and ancient cabals
featuring really elaborate handshakes that would make "The
Da Vinci Code" seem like a day at the sandbox? Hmm?
And why, furthermore, don't you talk about the real truths of 9/11?
Like how BushCo not only allowed the tragedy to occur to further
his administration's snarling agenda but also how he actually made
it happen, signed
the order himself, with the full and complicit cooperation of
the FBI and the CIA and the Saudis and maybe even Enron and the
Wal-Mart heirs and probably the Olsen twins.
And by the way did you know the planes that crashed into the WTC
were fully radio controlled? And Dick Cheney was commanding the
entire thing from the ground and they had been rehearsing
the attack for months and it was all part of a master plan decades
in the making and by the way what about the Pentagon?
you seen that amazing video on that Web site? Those incredible
and damning photos? Noticed the weird cover-up? That wasn't no 747
that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, buddy. Look a little closer.
See? And what about Building
7? Why did that 47-story tower adjacent to the WTC collapse
when it had no fire and no plane crash and no reason to fall? Why
isn't the media reporting any of this? Where is the outrage? Goddamn
frightening, is what it is.
This is what they say. Mark, don't be a typical media lackey, avoiding
the real truth in favor of safe, predigested corporate news tripe.
What are you, scared? Repressed? I mean, who cares about the price
of raw sweet crude or rampant overfishing when there's astounding
crop-circle phenomena and suspicious Air Force inactivity and grainy
aerial photos from Area 51 to stare at with a magnifying glass and
huge doses of mistrust?
Does this make you laugh? Scoff? It is,
after all, incredibly easy to dismiss conspiracy theories as ranty
silly unproven wishful thinking wrought by desperately lonely fatalists
and nutballs and geeks, fringe kooks ever reaching for some eternally
just-out-of-reach meta-explanation, some sort of proof of
massive cover-up and of the existence of a very real Matrix, and
it's all best explained by the mad brilliance of the books of David
But you know what? It's not that easy.
And it ain't so silly. These
people, they have a point. They are indeed onto something quite
large and ominous and it very much has to do with the media toeing
the line of "safe" information and not really asking truly
difficult or radically off-track questions of our leaders or of
the strangeness happening in the world. Reptilian super-races
from the fifth dimension walking among us and secretly mind controlling
your child via MSG and fluoridated water? OK, maybe not. But look
just a little deeper.
After all, there is indeed ample evidence that the U.S. government,
long before 9/11, had already discussed the quite plausible possibilities
and strategic benefits of unleashing a "Pearl
Harbor"-type event on America for the purposes of creating
havoc and fear and furthering certain agendas. This much is a given.
And it's just the tip of the iceberg.
Look. There are plenty of strangely unanswered questions about
9/11, about the stunning inaction of NORAD and Bush's stupefying
nonreaction upon hearing of the attack, not to mention his administration's
incredible attempts to halt any independent 9/11 investigations,
and have you ever read a fully satisfying account of how this whole
atrocity could have happened, one that answered all your questions
and quelled your lingering doubts and squashed, once and for all,
any hints of dread you had about our government's potential role
in the tragedy? Neither have I. Neither has anyone.
Of course, no one in any major media will touch
this stuff. It is professional suicide to dare suggest an alternate
truth to the one supplied by the Pentagon and regurgitated by the
media, despite the fact that most every journalist, trained as they
are to be suspicious and wary and fully cognizant of the fact that
there is always more to a given apocalypse than meets the eye, every
journalist knows that buried just beneath the slippery surface of
any good conspiracy theory is a gem or three of real truth, a question
that begs to be solved or at least researched and, yet, most likely
never will, because it has been cast into the madhouse of "outrageous"
impossibility and is therefore rendered impotent and hopeless.
Look at it this way. Much of the world believes in UFOs. Or ghosts.
Or telekinesis. Or past lives. Or alternate realities. Or the paranormal.
Or all of the above. Most of us fully intuit that we are not the
center of the universe and that it's rather narcissistic and outrageously
arrogant of us to think we are. Whether or not this means shiny
blinking flying saucers and androgynous Gumby-like aliens with almond-shaped
eyes is beside the point; most sentient bipedal creatures know there
is more to all
of this than just puny and egotistical little us.
And yet, go ahead and try to get any serious
public figure or mainstream pundit to openly admit this belief,
this fact, in public. Try to find more than a glossy and
supercilious feature in, say, Time magazine (i.e., "UFOs: Gosh,
are they really here?") Won't happen, so surrounded are such
topics in hokum and wide-eyed ranting and fringe intellectual cheese.
The world of conspiracy theories, it is like a zoo. It is like
a black hole. It is the place we as a culture toss ideas that don't
fit quite right, that unsettle and disturb and cause us to shudder
and shake off the queasy feeling.
And it is the place the Powers That Be will toss
any sinister and dark questions about their behavior, safe in the
knowledge that anyone who goes to look for the answer will have
to dive into that gnarled world and will look foolish and silly
and will be probably be laughed off the stage.
Sometimes it's all you -- or I -- can do to hint at the existence
of these radical notions and illuminate the frightening possibilities
and scream into the Void, hoping to agitate and inform and inspire
while still covering your professional butt. A copout? Maybe. But
then again, if there's an alternative, I have yet to find it.
And the truth is, we don't really want such
unstable questions answered. We simply
cannot tolerate to have our world, our leaders, our foundations
so questioned. We prefer stasis to
growth, security to true knowledge, blind faith to chaotic sticky
After all, once you allow the real possibility
of UFOs or psychic healing or crop-circle phenomena or the notion
that we could very well have a hugely malicious,
criminal U.S. government capable of pulling a 9/11 on its own citizens,
well, the happy capitalistic all-American Christian world begins
to implode. Foundations crumble. Trust in our institutions
vanishes. Gods fall and doctrines crumble and televangelists spontaneously
combust and everyone starts reimagining the social order in ways
that absolutely terrify those who now hold the reins.
Real truth, after all, often means anarchy, disorder, revolution.
And God knows we can't have that.
Somewhere in this fair northern land, there's
an Iranian-born scientist who refuses to travel to the United States
He's tired of being singled out for search and
interrogation by U.S. border guards and has decided it just isn't
worth the hassle or the humiliation.
He isn't alone.
A lot of dark-skinned Canadians, or Canadians with Middle Eastern
or Arab roots, have reached the same conclusion.
To Robert Birgeneau, who cites the specific case of the unnamed
scientist from Iran, this is a big deal.
"There are difficulties now," says the newly appointed
chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, among the
premier scientific research institutions in the United States. "Petty
behaviour by some people at the border has done a lot of damage."
Birgeneau, who recently departed the president's office at the
University of Toronto to take up his new post in California, says
it's "imperative" that Canadian researchers and teachers
be free to travel to the United States, to attend conferences or
to meet their American counterparts.
But that freedom — like much else
in this post-9/11 world — is now being threatened. The
issue may not have garnered many headlines yet, but it's one more
reason that Canadians have a lot riding on the outcome of next Tuesday's
presidential election in the United States.
Birgeneau believes that a victory by Democratic challenger John
Kerry would help to ease tensions at the U.S. border, particularly
for Canadians who happen to have either the "wrong" appearance
or the "wrong" place of birth.
"I think this issue would be more readily facilitated under
a Kerry administration," he says, although he concedes it's
no easy matter to impose courteous manners or enlightened ideas
upon a large and unwieldy labour force — in this case, the
190,000 men and women employed by the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security. "It's hard to get them all in line."
Bigotry on the border, if that's what it is, represents one of
many areas in which life after 11/2 — that is, next Tuesday
— will either change or remain the same, depending on the
outcome of the U.S. vote.
Canadians, with their abiding economic dependence on the United
States, have almost as much at stake in the elections as Americans
do themselves, but Birgeneau warns that the
differences between the two principal candidates — Kerry and
Republican President George W. Bush — may have been exaggerated.
But Canadians beware. Much like Americans in general, and Bush
in particular, Kerry is not what you'd call a dedicated student
of things Canadian.
No matter which man triumphs next week, people in Canada will
still have to struggle to be heard above the partisan clamour in
Washington and will often wind up feeling ignored and neglected,
much as they do now, much as they always have.
Says Birgeneau, "I don't think that would be very different."
VICTORIA - The USA Patriot Act violates British
Columbia's privacy laws because it can order American companies
to hand over information on British Columbians in secret, B.C. Privacy
Commissioner David Loukidelis said Friday.
In a report on the privacy implications of the Patriot Act, Loukidelis
notes that once
information is sent across borders, it's difficult, if not impossible,
The 151-page report states that under the
Patriot Act, the U.S. government can demand access to a wide range
of personal and confidential information about Canadians from U.S.
financial institutions, phone companies and internet providers.
"It is never possible to guarantee perfect protection of
information. Regardless, our report concludes that measures can
and should be put in place that meaningfully guard against access
by the USA Patriot Act," said Loukidelis.
One important recommendation is to have Ottawa and the provinces
pass legislation that will "prohibit personal information from
being stored or sent outside Canada."
Loukidelis would also like to make it illegal for Canadian subsidiaries
of U.S. firms to turn over information to a U.S. agency without
a Canadian court order.
Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Ontario employ
U.S.–based companies to manage provincial government databases.
The B.C. government has contracted out some business to one U.S.
firm and wants to use another American company to operate the province's
Medical Services Plan.
CIBC credit card holders in Canada sign
an agreement that allows personal information about them to be viewed
by U.S. authorities, the report said.
The privacy commissioner began his investigation earlier this
year after concerns were raised about the effect of the Patriot
Act on the privacy rights of British Columbians.
This month the B.C. government passed a law to prevent the U.S.
from examining information on British Columbians that is in possession
of private U.S. companies.
Those that break that law risk fines from $2,000 for individuals
and $500,000 for corporations.
The Patriot Act was enacted following the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001. It allows the U.S. government to review information
on private and public businesses in an effort to hunt down terrorists.
VICTORIA (CP) - The United States is willing
to review a British Columbia report that concludes the U.S. Patriot
Act has the power to eyeball private information about Canadians,
Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said Friday.
The U.S., like Canada, is concerned about protecting the privacy
rights of its citizens, but when it comes to fighting terrorists
law enforcers need tools to get the job done, he said.
Cellucci made the comments following Friday's release of a report
by B.C. privacy commissioner David Loukidelis who concluded private
information about Canadians could be viewed by U.S. authorities
despite Canadian attempts to thwart the probes.
"We live in an age of terror,"
said Cellucci in a telephone interview from Vancouver.
"We have to make sure law enforcement can protect us while
at the same time protect privacy rights," he said.
Loukidelis said the long arm of the Patriot Act allows U.S. authorities
to access the personal information of Canadians if it ends up in
the United States or if it is held by U.S. companies in Canada.
"Our research and analysis led us to
the conclusion that the USA Patriot Act knows no borders,"
he said at a news conference at the B.C. legislature.
Cellucci said the U.S. will review the B.C. report and work with
the province and Canada on privacy and protection concerns.
"We're willing obviously to have a look at this to have some
dialogue," he said. "We want to find the right balance
where law enforcement has the tools to protect people, but we also
want to protect privacy rights as well."
Ottawa said it will work with Loukidelis to address the issue
of cross-border information sharing.
"Striking a balance between the protection of privacy and
the promotion of national security is one of the single most important
issues facing our society today," said Jennifer Stoddart, privacy
commissioner of Canada, in a statement.
Stoddart's office will work to address several of the 16 recommendations
in Loukidelis's report, including reviewing the federal privacy
and anti-terrorism acts.
"There is a considerable degree of uncertainty and anxiety
with the broader issue of trans-border exchanges of information,
done by both public-sector and private-sector organizations,"
"Canadians deserve to know how their personal information
is being shared." [...]
The 151-page report also concluded U.S. courts have the power
to require American companies to produce records held in Canada
by subsidiaries "because they have the legal or practical ability
to obtain the records."
The Patriot Act was enacted following the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001. Section 215 of the act allows
a special court to secretly issue
an order requiring "the production of any tangible things"
to the FBI.
It gives the U.S. government sweeping powers to review information
banks of private and public businesses in an effort to hunt down
Loukidelis said he doesn't agree with earlier B.C. government
statements that the risk posed by the USA Patriot Act to the privacy
of British Columbians is minimal.
"There is no reason to think that
the risk of USA Patriot Act access is minimal or vanishingly small,"
Loukidelis said. [...]
He said people feel they are losing control over what happens
to their personal information and worry their privacy rights are
being overtaken by security concerns.
Many are also concerned there is too much blurring of the lines
between information used for domestic law enforcement, information
used by governments who provide services and information used by
governments investigating terrorism threats. [...]
| Ukraine’s extremely important
national elections tomorrow are causing deep concern among Canada’s
ethnic Ukrainian communities and, far too late, in Europe and the
Twenty-three candidates are running for president. But all eyes
are on the bitter race between pro-western democratic reformer and
former prime minister, Viktor Yushchenko, and the Moscow-oriented
current prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych who is considered a stand-in
for Ukraine’s widely-criticized president and strongman for
the past decade, Leonid Kuchma.
A key political figure in the election is Yulia Tymoshenko, one
of the most interesting, attractive female politicians of our day.
This brilliant, feisty lady led a one-woman crusade against the
rampant corruption in the Kuchma government and was briefly jailed.
She told me last year that Ukraine could soon slip back into the
orbit of Russia if democracy were not firmly established in the
The election race has been exceptionally dirty,
even by East European standards. Candidates and their families have
been threatened, journalists intimidated. The national media controlled
by Kuchma and his allies has shamelessly promoted Yanukovych while
ignoring Yushchenko. Voter lists and registration forms have been
corrupted or destroyed.
Last month, Yushchenko fell gravely ill and spent weeks in hospital
after an attempt to poison him. He remains unwell and suffers from
partial facial paralysis. Poisoning is a old favorite of KGB. Whether
Yushchenko was poisoned by the Russian or Ukrainian KGB is unknown,
but he clearly was victim of an assassination attempt.
Yanukovych claimed he, too, was targeted for assassination, and
was briefly hospitalized, after being hit by an egg.
While the west has been absorbed by the American election drama,
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a massive covert
effort to support Yanukovych, including large sums in bribes, and
efforts to mobilize Ukraine’s ethnic Russian minority. Over
the past decade, Moscow has also conducted a subtle and quite effective
campaign to keep Ukraine diplomatically and economically isolated
from the west. Much of Ukraine’s economy and power grid remains
tied to Russia.
President Putin even made a high profile pre-election visit this
week to Ukraine to coincide with a military parade commemorating
World War II that led to rumors of an armed coup.
There can be no doubt Moscow is determined to draw Ukraine –
which it still views as a breakaway province(as China sees Taiwan)
– back into an eventually reconstituted Russian Union. Reunion
with Ukraine’s 48 million people would do much to restore
Russia to its former superpower status. Yanukovych recently has
proposed making Russian an official national language.
As Russian pressure on Ukraine intensified, the west responded
by issuing a few feeble warnings about the need for free elections.
The Bush Administration has backed the Moscow-oriented
Kuchma-Yanukovych side, lavishing tens of millions in official aid
and covert payments on government officials in return for Ukraine
sending troops to Iraq. This quickly ended Washington’s previous
complaints about the Kuchma government’s human rights violations
Yuschenko vows to pull his nation’s troops out of Iraq, so
he has been largely ignored by the Bush Administration.
Similarly, the Polish government was also reportedly
`induced’ by Washington to send troops to Iraq by very large
covert payments to its senior members and to business cronies of
Tomorrow’s vote will likely not produce a clear winner. A
second ballot is scheduled for 21 November. The election is expected
to be fraught with vote tampering, ballot box stuffing, intimidation
and a host of other irregularities as the Kuchma-Yanukovych faction
struggles to retain power at any cost.
Ukraine’s election will likely determine whether this highly
strategic nation slowly degrades back into Russia’s orbit,
or firmly orients itself towards the European Union and NATO. The
west has neglected Ukraine for far too long, and may now pay the
price if the pro-Moscow faction consolidates power.
I was told in Sunday school
the word "Christian" means to be Christ-like, but the
message I hear daily on the airwaves from the “christian ”
media are words of war, violence, and aggression. Throughout this
article I will spell christian with a small c rather than a capital,
since the term (as I usually hear it thrown about) does not refer
to the teachings of the one I know as the Christ. I hear church
goers call in to radio programs and explain that it was a mistake
not to kill every living thing in Fallujah. They quote chapter and
verse from the old testament about smiting the enemies of Israel.
The fear of fighting the terrorists on our soil rather than across
the globe causes the voices to be raised as they justify the latest
prison scandal or other accounts of the horrors of war . The words
they speak are words of destruction, aggression, dominance, revenge,
fear and arrogance. The host and the callers echo the belief in
the righteousness of our nation's killing. There are reminders to
pray for our “christian” president who is doing the
work of the Lord: Right to Life, Second Amendmendment, sanctity
of marriage, welfare reform, war, kill, evil liberals. . . so much
to fight, so much to destroy.
Let me tell you about the Christ I know. He was born poor to an
unmarried woman. He was not born into a family of privilege. He
was a radical. He said, “It was said an eye for and eye and
a tooth of a tooth, but now I say love your enemies and bless those
who curse you.” He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn
for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall
inherit the earth. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be
called the children of God.” (Mattew 5: 3-9) He said, “All
those who are called by my name will enter the kingdom of heaven."
He said, "People will know true believers if they have the
fruit of the spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
gentleness, self control.“
He knew he would be led like a sheep to the slaughter. He responded
with “Father forgive them.“ He explained that in Christ
there is neither Jew nor gentile, slave or free male nor female.
He explained that even to be angry is akin to murder. He said the
temple of God is not a building, but is in the hearts of those are
called by his name. He was called "the Prince of Peace."
His final days were spent in prayer, so that he could endure what
was set before him, not on how he could overpower the evil government
of that day. When they came for him he was led away and didn’t
resist his death sentence.
This is a stark contrast to the call of the religious christian
right, who vote for war and weapons, and suggest towns and villages
be leveled to bring freedom and peace to the people. They proudly
boast this country’s superiority, suggesting God has blessed
our nation. Today, as I listened to a popular christian news network,
I was reminded that in the last days, even God’s elect will
be deceived, (II Timothy 3:13). When the religious media moguls
preaching prosperity spout their rhetoric, I am reminded of the
difficulty Jesus described of a rich man’s ability to enter
the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19: 24) (http://www.4religious-right.info/rr_economics.htm)
Some who believe they are fighting evil will cry to the Lord, and
he will say “I never knew you.“ (Matthew 22). They will
have a form or godliness but will deny the power (II Timothy 3:5)
to move mountains through prayer. (Matthew 17:20). Jesus explained
that he has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power,
love, and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:17) I wonder if the innocent
moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and grandmas
and grandpas who were the victims of US military weapons (the never
reported collateral damages we are protected from in the “liberal”
nightly news) felt the love of Jesus with the shock and awe. I wonder
if the surviving family members now understand His radical love
and that they no longer have any need for weapons or defense.
The solutions to the social issues used to manipulate good, decent
people have no resemblance to how Jesus responded to the social
concerns of his time. He never once mentioned the “right to
life” the year he was born King Herod ordered the execution
of all babies. (Matthew 2:16). He knew that passing laws does not
change the heart. As a follower of his teaching I believe in the
right to life, including the children in Iraq who stumble onto land
mines, cross the street at the wrong time, or who are snuggly tucked
within the warm bellies of their wounded or grieving mothers as
US fighter jets fly overhead. These are living, breathing children.
The killing of these little ones are never even reported, and our
tax dollars pay for these bombs. I believe in the right to life
for those in the United States who are unwanted and impoversihed.
I believe in the right to life of the naive kid who was promised
by the recruiter they could choose a desk job and still get their
education paid or could see the world or could accelerate their
life or could play a very realistic video game from a cockpit.
As a shelter worker, I know first hand the reality of unwanted
children. I know the reality of this right wing rhetoric when week
after week I begged and pleaded with people to give up only one
night every three months to sit with these unwanted living children
for a few hours while the overworked house parents had a night off.
Of the few I found, many changed their minds when they discovered
that they would need to wear rubber gloves to change the babies
diapers. These “believers” stand on the street corners
holding right to life signs and then vote against medical assistance
for the mothers and their unwanted children creating an impossible
existence for them. The few of these abortion activists who might
adopt some of these unwanted children generally want the white and
the healthy. The ones with hydrocephalous, tracheotomies, emotional/
mental problems and communicable diseases along with their life
long medical expenses can be someone else’s problems.
I cringe as many christians vote for policies that deny help to
the poor in our own county, who vote to support the war and military
strength, assuring the latest weapons are developed and that the
heavens will be dominated by the military of the United States.
We develop electromagnetic weapons to shatter skulls , split
the earth and silently destroy a body as a thief in the night.
Studies are even now searching for the frequencies to override the
freewill. These unbelievable technologies are a reality and DNA
specific weapons can or soon will target
a specific nationality.I weep as the waters Jesus walked on
with uranium. I grieve as the missiles fly through the atmosphere
on the continent where Jesus rose into the sky, defying death and
the grave and where the Holy Sprit first descended. I cry out at
the horrors of war and the indignity of the prisons so close to
where He took captivity captive. So I am no longer a christian if
Christianity has become what is presented to us by our christian
president and christian media. I cannot support the right of the
United States and Israel to develop and use the most heinous weapons
ever imagined. I want no part of a temple built on the blood of
the innocent. The sheep have been lead astray by the teachings of
prosperity and misinterpretation of the final battle between good
and evil. Many no longer can recognize the voice of the good Shepard.
Some “good christians” even work at weapons facilities.
It is not a stretch to say that a woman who tightens a last rivet
on a shiny new missile just off the assembly line might be the same
woman who licks the gold star on the attendance chart in morning
Sunday school. The missile could be launched by the kid in the youth
group who reads the invocation and it will find it’s destiny
at a “target of interest” which might or might not have
been a result of good intelligence. The collection plate circulates
children are taught to love their enemies and bless those who curse
The statements and lifestyle of Jesus are difficult for me to understand.
What would he say to evil dictators? This God would not justify
15,000 or more deaths. Even the wrathful jealous God of the old
testament spared whole cities for a few righteous souls. For christians,
to support mass killings as a way to prevent future deaths is not
at all like Christ. He would not say, "When I am talking about
war I am really talking about peace," like the self professed
christian President proudly states. Who but God has the right to
determine what price a people should pay for their freedom? The
religious leaders on the airwaves today respond to the voices of
the few brave peacemakers who dare to speak out. They say that pacifism
is insane, and that it doesn’t make sense, but what is forgotten
is that logic and faith are separate entities. I believe in the
example of Jesus and his admonition to love your enemies and bless
those who curse you . Do I understand how this works on the global
scale? Do I know what Jesus would say to all the world’s leaders?
No, nor do I totally understand how the example of Christ’s
life and his message of love works in the world today. That’s
why I need faith. Am I always correct in my assessments and actions?
No, that’s why I need grace. Am I brave and unafraid? No,
that’s why I need the perfect love that casts out fear. Some
put trust in Chariots and some in horses but I will remember the
name of the lord our God--the Prince of Peace. Perhaps politics
has no place for imitators of Christ.
Who will show the face of Christ to the world? Who will speak His
radical message? I hear from these so called imitators of Christ
that the pacifists are a collection of kids, hippies, socialists
and communists who haven’t got a clue. Some of us, however,
have come to our beliefs as a result of careful and prayerful study
of the scriptures and admonishment from our elders. Many are Mennonite,
Amish, Quaker and other Anabaptists, whose ancestors did not resist
their torturers and were drowned, burnt at the stake and flogged
for their pacifist stand. They truly followed the example of Christ,
and their resistance against the catastrophic effects of the merging
of church and state cost them a great price. Churches today have
signed onto the government plan and have agreed to look the other
way in exchange for tax free privileges. The true message of Christ
still exists to some degree in the quiet of the land to peacemakers,
but sadly these good people have been deceived by the angry words
from a righteous sounding religious media majority broadcasting
in cars and trucks and tractors all over our land ironically preaching
the “good news of war for peace“ and convincing 24-7
“liberal“ bashing. I suspect there are many who share
my sorrow at the loss of what it means to be Christ-like, but our
voice is seldom heard. The blaring rhetoric drowns out the still
small voice of the mighty God. Peace used be the opposite of war,
Conservative used to mean the tendency to conserve resources. Liberal
used to mean kind and generous, and Christian used to mean like
So I am no longer a christian but just a person who continues trying
to follow the example of Christ. I’ll let him call me what
he wants when I see him face to face. Until then, I will pray that
someday people like me will be able to reclaim the meaning of Christ’s
identity, and the world will see the effects of the radical message
of Christ‘s love--the perfect love that casts out fear.
| The 16th Knesset is strenuously
working to hammer together a constitution at a time when the right
controls both the Israeli parliament and its Law and Constitution
Committee. One of the most important missions of the forthcoming constitution
in the view of the Israeli right is to reinforce the notion of the
Jewishness of the Israeli state. In order to promote this drive in
the media and academic circles the Israeli Institute for Democracy,
that elitist establishment that holds its annual conventions in Herzliya,
has launched a campaign "for the sake of constitution by consensus".
As part of this campaign, the institute resorted to a tactic generally
used by Israeli liberals to compel Arab Knesset representatives
to toe the party line, which was to conduct a survey among Arab
Israelis. In this case, the survey was designed to impress upon
Arab MPs the desire of their Arab constituents to participate in
the making of a "historic deal" by approving a constitution
that upholds the Jewishness of the state in exchange for full equality
in civil rights and liberties.
Naturally, the survey did not take the trouble to point out to
respondents the inherent contradiction between the notions of equality
and the Jewishness of the state or the fact that the conservative
and religious right will have the ultimate say in producing a new,
solid and immutable definition of what it means to be a Jewish state.
Until now any such definition has been restricted to a few words
in the opening lines of the Basic Laws, which the Arabs never had
the opportunity to approve or disapprove to begin with. These same
words were imposed on them under Article 7A of the Knesset Law,
which the Arabs would oppose if it were put to a vote again, just
as they opposed it when the law was first enacted. According
to this provision any party that does not recognise Israel as a
Jewish and democratic state cannot participate in parliamentary
Unlike the constitutional drives of the 1990s the constitutional
coup that is currently being engineered in Israel is anything but
liberal in inspiration. Nevertheless, it is capitalising on the
fact that to the Arabs the word "constitution" has positive
connotations. That Arab propaganda has wrongly portrayed the absence
of a constitution as a shortcoming in Israeli law and proof of Israel's
refusal to set borders and hence of its expansionist designs reflects
nothing but ignorance of the actual reasons why a constitution has
never been promulgated in this country. The current campaign is
an attempt to entrench ideological and historical concepts that
are still being contended. It is being spearheaded by the Israeli
right as part of its ongoing battle against the liberal democratic
concept of a state for all its citizens and, to a lesser degree,
against what it perceives as the liberalism of the Supreme Court.
The origins, sources and dynamics of the
development of Israeli democracy cannot be divorced from their Zionist
context. Agreement on Israel being a state for Jews, a Jewish
state that seeks to attract Zionist migrations, is at the core of
Israeli democracy. In the absence of a shared democratic history
or national structure, it was this concept that was promoted as
the key to creating the unity and cohesion needed to support pluralistic
democracy and to forestall any disintegration of the state through,
for example, civil/sectarian war. Zionism, and not citizenship,
is the vehicle for Jewish democracy and, simultaneously, the prime
obstacle to its development. In times of crisis in particular it
is a democracy that has all the hallmarks of the tribe.
If it is impossible to separate the Jewishness
of the state from the substance of its democracy; this is not because
it is stipulated by law. The linking of Jewishness and democracy,
that double-barrelled coda appended to the state, appears in only
two of the constitutional-like Basic Laws, and these are relatively
recent. The Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty of 1992 states
that the "purpose of this Basic Law is to protect human dignity
and liberty, in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of
the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state". The
formula is repeated in point two of the Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation.
"The purpose of this Basic Law is to protect freedom of occupation,
in order to establish in a Basic Law the values of the State of
Israel as a Jewish and democratic state."
Israel's prevailing Zionist culture fears too
loose an interpretation of democracy, specifically one the liberal
components of which may undermine the notion of the Jewish state
or conflict with the essence, identity or character of that state's
democracy. There is an instinctive feeling, seldom articulated,
that an inherent contradiction exists between the Zionist ideology
and character of the state, and the liberalisation of its democracy
in the direction of such concepts as the rights of citizenship.
Consequently, in order to preclude any further discussion of the
subject in the process of legislating acts of a constitutional nature
the Knesset has made it de rigueur to include the phrase "Jewish
and democratic" in any Basic Law it contemplates passing.
After more than half a century since its establishment, Israel
is not satisfied with mere recognition as a sovereign state; it
wants its definition of the ethnic/religious character of that state
recognised too. This demand -- indeed, condition -- surfaced in
the context of the Israeli government's discussion of the roadmap,
which was officially presented to Israel on 30 April 2003 and only
approved a month later, on 25 May. More precisely, the Israeli government
did not approve the American-sponsored plan but "agreed to
accept the steps set out in the roadmap" to which it appended
14 conditions, and even then the decision was only approved by a
majority of 12 to 7. The sixth "comment", as these conditions
were termed, required the Palestinians to relinquish the right of
Palestinian refugees to return to Israel, or as it was so eloquently
worded: "In connection to both the introductory statements
and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel's
right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right
of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel."
As this reservation makes explicit demands for
the recognition of the Jewishness of Israel it must be seen against
the background of demands that Palestinians relinquish the right
to return before negotiations begin, not against the background
of any discussion of the two-state solution, or within the debate
between religious parties and secularists over the Jewishness of
the state or the controversy sparked by democratic nationalists
who propose a modern, liberal democratic state for all citizens.
And this is the background that has given rise to the pseudo- liberal
Zionist drive to engage the Arabs in Israel in a historic deal in
accordance with which they add their blessing to the Jewishness
the state has enshrined in a constitution. Only thus can the circle
be made complete.
The Israeli Law of Return, as was the case
with the declaration of independence before that, is founded upon
the premise that Israel is the state of the Jewish people. The
Supreme Court effectively gave this principle constitutional force
when it upheld the decision of the Central Elections Committee (CEC)
to disqualify the Land Movement from participating in parliamentary
elections. In ruling on the case the court stated: "Israel
is not just an independent sovereign state but also a Jewish state
on the land of Israel, because its establishment occurred primarily
and above all in fulfilment of the natural and historic right of
the Jewish people to live, like other peoples, independently in
their own sovereign state."
This paragraph was lifted almost verbatim from the Israeli declaration
of independence, which has evolved into a document of constitutional
standing. The same paragraph was frequently cited by Israeli Supreme
Court justices in their rulings before the Knesset enacted, in 1985,
legislation barring any party that overtly or implicitly, through
its actions or deeds, denied the Jewish character of the state of
The carefully worded judgement of Supreme Court Justice Dov Levin
on the appeal against the CEC's decision to permit the registration
of the Progressive List for Peace (PLP) is in this context illuminating.
One of the minority justices who voted to void the CEC decision,
Levin stated: "The essential character
of the state is that it is a Jewish state, the system of government
of which is democratic." In other words, the state is Jewish
in substance and only democratic in form. The liberal Justice
Aharon Barak went a step further to place the liberal versus conservative
debate in Israel squarely in its ideological context. Citing the
remarks of his colleagues Dov Levin and Menachem Elon in their rulings
on the PLP case, Barak stated: "We are a young state in which
an old people has returned to its land. The state of Israel is the
realisation of aspirations the Jewish people have had for generations
to revive their ancient history, the beginning of deliverance and
the realisation of the Zionist vision. Deep is the national, religious
and historical political bond between the people of Israel and the
land of Israel, and between the Jewish state and the Jewish people."
Note that Justice Barak attempts, in effect, to codify Zionism's
messianic vision through his affirmation that the Zionist bond is
a religious-political one which effectively precludes any distinction
between the notions of a "Jewish state", a "Zionist
state" and "a state for Jews".
The question of the character and identity of the national group
that makes up the nation state in the Zionist sense has a direct
and crucial bearing on the question of citizenship rights. The Law
of Return of 1950 states:
"1. Every Jew has the right to immigrate to Israel.
"4. Every Jew who has immigrated into this country before
the coming into force of this law, and every Jew who was born in
this country, whether before or after the coming into force of this
law, shall be deemed to be a person who has immigrated to this country
under this law.
"4A. (a) The rights of a Jew under this law and the rights
of an oleh [Jew immigrating to Israel] under the Nationality Law
(of 1952), as well as the rights of an oleh under any other enactment,
are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse
of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild
of a Jew, except for a person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily
changed his religion.
"4B. For the purposes of this Law, Jew means a person who
was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and
who is not a member of another religion."
When advocating this law before the Knesset, Ben Gurion said: "This
law determines that it is not the state that grants the Jew from
abroad the right to settle in the state. Rather, this right is inherent
in him by the very fact that he is a Jew, if only he desires to
join in the settlement of the land."
Then begins the verbal alchemy that attempts to reconcile this
"right" with the principle of equality: "In the State
of Israel the Jews have no right of priority over non- Jewish citizens,"
he said, but "...the right to return preceded the State."
"In" versus "preceded" -- one cannot help but
admire this exercise in political metaphysics, or legal hocus-pocus,
that renders equality coterminous with the state and the right of
return prior to the state.
Ben Gurion continues: "This right originates in the unbroken
historical connection between the people and the homeland, a connection
that has also been acknowledged in actual practice by the tribunal
of the peoples."
By "tribunal of the peoples" Ben Gurion
was referring, of course, to the Balfour declaration and its incorporation
into the British mandate over Palestine. It is doubtful that he
would also allude to the UN resolution on the partition of Palestine,
for although the resolution stipulates the creation of a "Jewish
state" and "Arab state" in Palestine, it stresses
that the inhabitants of each of these states would be regarded as
citizens as long as they did not apply for citizenship in the other
state. Under the partition resolution, there is no distinction between
Arab and Jewish rights to citizenship in either state; citizenship
derives from residence, not from the "right to return"
or an "unbroken" historical bond, religious or otherwise.
Had the Arabs not been systematically driven from what would become
Israel as Arab villages that fell within the borders of the state
defined by the partition resolution were systematically destroyed,
Arabs would have formed 45 per cent of the population of the state.
Tellingly, there was not so much as an attempt to figure out how
the existence of such a large proportion of Arabs could have been
rendered consistent with the definition of Israel as a Jewish state.
The UN resolution to create two states, one Arab and one Jewish,
was a political, not an ideological, decision, but the Zionist leaders
exploited it politically to realise their ideological aims. No modern-day
Zionist could conceive of a Jewish state, half the population of
which is Palestinian. But Israel's founding fathers had no problem
accepting the resolution at the time.
Ben Gurion's speech may be more than 50 years
old but it remains relevant. The distinction he drew between the
Jews' superior right to the state and equality in the state is what
liberal Zionists now want us to accept in a constitutionally laid-down
definition of Israel as a Jewish state. The distinction is pure
illusion. It is logically impossible, and practice has proven
it false. Discrimination in the right to the state is what led to
the expulsion of the Palestinians following the partition resolution
and then gave rise to the state's discriminatory regard towards
the Arabs that remained -- as either a burden or testimony to Zionism's
abundant tolerance. As long as a segment of the populace exists
without a right to the state a question will hover over that segment's
membership in the state. It should come as no surprise that on 15
January, 1951, hot on the heels of the above-mentioned Knesset speech,
and in the same building, Ben Gurion suggested to his Mapai bloc
that Israel should take the first opportunity to expel the Arabs,
because "they want to throw us into the sea". In so saying
Ben Gurion set two records: he, not Meir Kahana, is the first Israeli
politician after 1948 to call for the expulsion of the Arabs and
he is also probably the first to use the phrase "throw us into
the sea" in Israeli political rhetoric. In all events, the
very man who had waxed so eloquently about the equality of all citizens
"in" the state then urged that a large proportion of those
citizens be removed.
And now we find Sharon echoing Ben Gurion half a century down the
line. Arab citizens have rights in the country
but not to the country, he said in a Knesset session. There
is only one way to interpret this: sovereign rights belong to the
Jews and this sovereignty entitles them to grant (or withhold) rights
to others in the country. Needless to say, such a distorted conception
of rights puts paid to any notion of equality.
The concept of the Jewishness of the state was
the instrument that facilitated the enacting of laws for the confiscation
of Arab land. It accorded priority to the values of "ingathering"
Jews and absorbing Jewish immigrants, regardless of how that conflicted
with the rights of non-Jewish citizens, including property rights.
The Jewishness of the state was the impetus behind the enactment
of the Jewish Agency and International Zionist Organisation Law
of 1952, which accords these two Jewish organisations, as well as
the Jewish National Fund and other non-governmental organisations,
special status and privileges with regard to land ownership, settlement
construction and absorbing Jewish immigrants -- tasks that are the
sine qua non to the Jewishness of the state.
The 15th Knesset (1999 -- 2003) introduced
15 blatantly racist laws all intended to consolidate the concept
of a state for Jews and the Jewishness of the state. Recently
the Knesset has been presented with another bill intended to reinforce
prohibitions against Arab purchase of "state lands" --
these being the lands upon which were constructed Jewish towns and
villages inside the Green Line. We do not need to go to great lengths
to explain that these "state lands" were originally acquired
through the occupation and confiscation of Arab land. Until now
the founding and acceptance committees of the cooperative and community
settlements determine who is allowed to live in these towns or villages.
It was taken for granted that Arabs were not allowed, as these settlements
on confiscated Arab land were established for purely Zionist purposes.
Nevertheless, the Supreme Court has recently changed all that, having
been forced to rule in favour of an Arab citizen who had expressed
his desire to assimilate into Israeli society, specifically by moving
into this type of settlement.
Since then, other attempts have been made to keep
Arabs out of community ( yishuv ) lands. In April, the Israel Lands
Authority (ILA) issued a tender for marketing 43 plots for housing
in a neighbourhood in Carmiel. When it transpired that 17 of the
families that made successful bids were Arabs, the ILA froze the
tender on the grounds that the land belongs to the Jewish National
Fund (JNF), and was thus available for sale to Jews only. Three
months later the ILA issued another tender for the Carmiel neighbourhood,
this time attempting to preempt Arab participation with the announcement
that the land for sale was owned by the JNF. When faced with a court
injunction to allow Arabs to participate in the bids, the ILA announced
that it had decided to cancel the entire tender.
The foregoing cases cast into relief an important historical fact,
which is that Israel is still in the process of formulating the
contractual relationship between the individual and the state, and
that the desired relationship is not one founded upon the concept
of citizenship but upon ethnic-religious affiliation. This process
is occurring as Arabs are being asked to give a stamp of approval
to the Jewish character of the state in a special provision of the
Recently, the right attempted to cut short all further discussion
on this issue by introducing a law that stated: "No Arabs will
be allowed to live in a Jewish communal settlement." The parliament's
legal bureau refused to allow the bill to be brought to the floor
of the Knesset on the grounds that it was racist. Instead it insisted
on rewording it as follows: "The designation of ILA lands for
the purpose of establishing a small community that wishes to maintain
its special character would not be deemed discriminatory even if
its inhabitants are to be limited to members of one nation only."
Mickey Herskowitz - a ghost writer
for both George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush - has revealed startling
information about both men, which he learned from extensive candid
conversations with the 41st and the 43rd presidents. Herskowitz
revealed the information in a series of interviews with investigative
reporter Russ Baker, which Baker tape recorded.1
Baker's article reveals that "in 2003, Bush's father indicated
to [Herskowitz] that he disagreed with his son's invasion of Iraq."2
George W. Bush was reluctant to talk to Herskowitz about his National
Guard service. But Bush did tell him "that after transferring
from his Texas Guard unit two-thirds through his six-year military
obligation to work on an Alabama political campaign, he did not
attend any Alabama National Guard drills at all, because he was
'excused.'"3 Bush's comments to Herskowitz "directly contradicts
his public statements that he participated in obligatory training
with the Alabama National Guard."4
According to Herskowitz, "two years before the September 11
attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking
privately about attacking Iraq."5 In 1999, Bush said to Herskowitz,
"My father had all this political capital built up when he
drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance
to invade…. if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste
it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed
and I'm going to have a successful presidency."6
1. "Bush Wanted To Invade Iraq If Elected
in 2000," Russ Baker, 10/27/04.
MOSCOW - More than 80 suicide bombers have
been trained on foreign soil to carry out attacks on Russia, the
head of country's security service said on Friday.
Federal Security Service director Nikolai Patrushev told Russia's
lower house of parliament that some of the potential attackers had
But he says the problem is that authorities do not know what route
militants might take to get into the country.
In recent years, rebels have carried out suicidal missions to
take large numbers of hostages, such as the seizure of the school
in Beslan last month in which more than 330 people were killed.
In August, twin explosions on airlines killed more than 90 people,
and nine people died a few days later when a suicide bomber blew
up a Moscow subway station.
A former KGB spy, President Vladimir Putin
has become the subject of international criticism over the security
tactics used to crack down on militants.
Putin has proposed sweeping electoral changes
he says are needed to fight terrorism, including abolishing direct
On Thursday, the Kremlin bused in thousands of students and pensioners
for a government-sponsored rally in support of Putin's reforms.
In September, more than 100 international politicians and intellectual
leaders published an open letter to Putin, accusing him of using
terrorism as an excuse to undermine democratic freedoms.
shot and killed an eight-year-old Palestinian girl who was on her
way to school in a Gaza Strip refugee camp today, witnesses said.
Rania Iyad Aram of the Khan Younis camp was killed by random machine
gun fire an army outpost near the neighbouring Jewish settlement
of Ganei Tal, they said.
The Israeli army had no immediate comment.
The Israeli military completed a two-day operation earlier in the
week against Palestinian militants firing mortars at Jewish settlements
from the Khan Younis area. Seventeen Palestinians were killed in
In other Israeli-Palestinian violence, 40 Israeli tanks and armoured
vehicles moved into the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank last
night, exchanging fire with Palestinian militants, witnesses said.
There were no initial reports of injuries.
Military officials said the raid was intended to root out Palestinian
militants in the camp and was expected to last a number of days.
Israel has frequently raided West Bank towns and refugee camps during
the last four years of fighting.
AHMADABAD, India (AP) - An enormous explosion
shook an oil refinery in India's western Gujarat state Friday morning,
critically injuring 16 workers, leaving six trapped and shaking
homes seven kilometres away, officials said.
The 4 a.m. explosion set fire to part of the refinery, and the
fire was still burning hours later, said B.N. Bankapor, executive
director of the Indian Oil Corp., which owns the refinery in the
town of Koyali, some 115 kilometres southwest of Ahmedabad, the
largest city of Gujarat. He said 16 workers sustained critical injuries
and that a half dozen were still trapped in the burning unit.
Sudhir Sinha, a regional police official, said in a telephone
interview that houses up to seven kilometres from the refinery were
shaken by the explosion.
The blast occurred in a boiler in the refinery's fluidized catalytic
cracker, said Bankapor, a key unit in refining gasoline and other
products from crude oil. The blast then set fire to the entire cracker
unit, he said.
The fire did not spread through the refinery, which has a yearly
capacity of 13.7 million metric tons, but it was shut down so the
fire could be battled, Bankapor said.
UFOs seem to favour a 3-km-wide strip
running along the high-voltage power lines
UFO enthusiasts call it the Surrey corridor -- a three-kilometre-wide
strip of land that runs from New Westminster to the U.S. border,
along BC Hydro's high-voltage power lines.
It is here, they say, where you will find the greatest concentration
of UFO sightings and alien encounters in the province.
"I have received numerous reports from inside this area,
not only of sightings, but abduction events," said Graham Conway,
vice-president of UFO*BC, who said anywhere from one-quarter to
one-third of all Unidentified Flying Object sightings in the Lower
Mainland take place in the corridor.
Last year alone, there were 304 UFO sightings in B.C., according
to Chris Rutkowski, a UFO researcher in Manitoba who collects numbers
from provincial groups like UFO*BC.
That made B.C. the number one province for UFO sightings in the
country, with more than twice the sightings of second-place Ontario,
which had 150. It was B.C.'s fifth year in top spot.
And UFO*BC is doing its best to keep track of it all.
The nine-year-old organization posts detailed reports on sightings
and abductions on its website, sends out a quarterly newsletter
to its 60 members and even maintains a toll-free hotline where B.C.
residents can report UFO sightings and alien encounters. [...]
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