Global Game of Survivor: America's Next Four Years
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Publication! The Wave finally in book form!
Wave: 4 Volume Set
With a new
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and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's
vastly popular series The Wave is available as a Deluxe four
book set. Each of the four volumes include all of the original illustrations
and many NEW illustrations with each copy comprising approximately 300
is an exquisitely written first-person account of Laura's initiation at
the hands of the Cassiopaeans and demonstrates the unique nature of the
Volume 1 now. Available at the end of November!
of the Day
| Interview with Robert Kennedy
Johannes von Dohnányi
(Translated by a reader)
Q: Mr. Kennedy, during the
election campaign you supported John Kerry. How disappointed are
you now about the victory of the Republican George W. Bush?
K: I still haven't got over the shock. Bush is a catastrophe for
my country, its economy, the environment and our international relationships.
Q: Most of your fellow citizens have seen this differently.
They have elected Bush because of the moral values he represents.
K: I have to tell you something: The top traditional value of the
USA is democracy. From here democracy dispersed. The US stands also
for fairness, justice and an independent jurisdiction. For the right
of the people to control the things themselves that influence their
lives directly. And mainly we have fulfilled the expectations the
world put on us.
Q: And this is over now?
K: When I was travelling through Europe with my father as a little
boy, people were standing on the roads, ten of thousands, sometimes
hundreds of thousands just to see an American politician. Then we
were the moral and political leading nation. Streets and places
were named after US presidents like Lincoln, Roosevelt or Kennedy.
Just one day after the attacks of 9/11 the biggest French newspaper
"Le Monde" had a headline: "We are all Americans
Q: Such a headline would be impossible today.
K: Exactly. All the international respect and the moral leadership
that was built-up over 230 years in the USA, with discipline and
visionary leadership, president Bush has given away in just three
and a half years.
Q: Is nothing left of it?
K: All that is gone. And just because of the monumental arrogance
and incompetence of this one president. The USA is the most hated
nation of the world. 5.5 billion people around the world fear and
despise us. That's for me the most bitter pill of the Bush presidency.
And Americans have no idea about it, how much they are hated around
the world. They just won't get informed.
Q: The free American press withholds such information?
K: The media today are the result of a thirty year old strategy
of the American right. In the seventies an unholy alliance was built
between the environment destroying industries and the right-wing
ideologists. First they created right-wing think-tanks in the shadow
of the capitol. Then they overtook the media.
Q: Mr. Kennedy - You exaggerate!
K: You think? I tell you: Right-wing, almost right-wing extremists
are controlling all 5000 US TV-stations, the 15,000 radio stations
and 80% of our print media. The free press, invented in the USA,
is now controlled by a Christian taliban. By right-wing extremist,
Q: Do you know that the people all over the world see CNN?
K: And do you know that 72% of the Bush-voters still believe that
it was Iraq that was behind 9/11? This is the kind of information
that will always be distributed by, for example, Fox news. Owned
by Rupert Murdoch, this broadcaster distributes such news into US
broadcasts. With only the "Los Angeles Times" on the West-coast
and the "New York Times" on the East-coast, you can't
hold against it. It's just impossible.
Q: And what are the consequences of this situation?
K: You know, I'm at the point of hating radio in the US. In the
United States of America today it is like the twenties of the past
century in Germany, Italy or Spain. A true brown-shirt attitude
takes over. Whoever criticises the government will be branded as
unpatriotic. But without a free and critical press the survival
of our democracy is very difficult to imagine.
Q: Now you've gone to far!
K: Also in Europe there were the right-wing industrialists who made
a pact with fanatical fascists, which until then just existed on
the edge of civil society. But with the money of industries... Don't
forget - also Hitler was elected democratically - from the people
of the most educated nation of the world. And as with Hitler, so
also Franco and Mussolini. In the USA we see today a similar pattern.
This is pretty scary for those who believe in progress and democracy.
Q: That's strong tobacco - The USA like the pre-nazi Germany!
K: Look at the composition of the cabinet of the Bush government.
There are three times more CEOs as in any other previous American
government. And they will continue in the levels below of this administration.
Everywhere are sitting the lobbyists of the most greedy and destructive
industries in the political top-positions.
Q: Can you prove this?
K: The boss of the public forest authority was former lobbyist of
the wood industry. The boss of the land conservation authority comes
from the mining industry. The top guard of the quality of our air
was a lobbyist of the energy industry. The woman that should help
us to assert the existing environmental laws, was in the past helping
the destroyers of the environment to circumvent just these laws.
They didn't go into public service to work for the public welfare.
They just there to overthrow the existing laws.
Q: And what about the "compassionate conservatism"
Bush declared as his top maxim?
K: For whatever Bush and his people stand for - it's nothing but
a fraud. Take the word conservative. It comes from conservation,
therefore to keep, preserve. But where do the neo-conservatives
preserve? They preach about the free market, but are instead only
interested in the well-being of their own multinational groups [companies].
Do you know what I call this?
K: Capitalism for the poor and socialism for the rich. The Bush-people
say that they stand for law and order. And then they are the first
to release law-breakers. They call themselves Christians and continuously
break all rules the Christian faith has given to us. It was given
to us to be responsible with earth, to preserve it for future generations.
We shall take care of our poor brothers and sisters. It's about
this and not the balances of the multinational groups [companies]
the Christian teachings talk about. The form of capitalism Bush
propagates, that we normally only know from countries like Nigeria,
paralyses democracy, our efficiency and reduces our prosperity.
Q: Such a tough self-criticism you don't hear much from the
K: I don't say anything new. We seem to have just forgotten that
Abraham Lincoln, the maybe greatest republican of all, said at the
peak of the civil war: "I have the Confederacy before me and
the bankers behind me, and I fear the bankers most." And Franklin
Roosevelt described the control of the government by the power of
the multinational groups [companies] as the essence of fascism.
Mussonlini preferred to say corporatism. The merging of the state
with the power of the multinational groups [companies] is a danger
for our democracy.
Q: But you are the heir of the president John F. Kennedy and
Robert, his minister of justice, your father. Where is your engagement
for the American democracy?
K: Of course I fight back. I do nothing else but fight those guys.
I don't know yet what I will do in four years. First the dust has
to settle down. But whatever happens - the following four years
I will be in a direct fight with these guys. And probably a long
time after that.
| The following article is from
Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2.
Free Inquiry readers
may pause to read the "Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement
of Principles" on the inside cover of the magazine. To a secular
humanist, these principles seem so logical, so right, so crucial.
Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema
to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s
principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading
as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché
that people and nations learn from history is not only overused,
but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or
draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.
We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi
Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German
and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this
twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this
worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated
by protofascist1 regimes at various times in the twentieth century.
Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist
regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars
question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute
their visual similarities.
Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist
regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus
operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political
observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective
to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current
For the purpose of this perspective, I will consider the following
regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s
Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and
Suharto’s Indonesia. To be sure, they constitute a mixed bag
of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history.
But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining,
expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have
been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic
characteristics and abuses is possible.
Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads
that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and
abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and
intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least
some level of similarity.
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous
lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the
part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy,
was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands
for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It
was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often
bordered on xenophobia.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes
themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance
to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever
use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human
rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted.
When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial,
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use
of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention
from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel
frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless
propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often
the regimes would incite "spontaneous" acts against the
target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews,
ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members
of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and "terrorists."
Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists
and dealt with accordingly.
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling
elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial
infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national
resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs
were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism,
and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate
other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling
5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political
elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes
inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly
anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually
codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox
religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.
6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes,
the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied
upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised
more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the
control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure,
appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass
media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The
result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware
of the regimes’ excesses.
7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national
security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite.
It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret
and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the
rubric of protecting "national security," and questioning
its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist
regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed
as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached
themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose
to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The
fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with
the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug.
Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders
of the faith and opponents of the "godless." A perception
was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to
an attack on religion.
9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal
life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability
of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised.
The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only
ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an
additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite
were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued
mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of "have-not"
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized
labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the
political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies,
it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an
underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some
regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated
with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic
freedom were considered subversive to national security and the
patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically
unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions
of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these
regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or
they had no right to exist.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these
regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge
prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost
unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. "Normal" and
political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges
and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear,
and hatred, of criminals or "traitors" was often promoted
among the population as an excuse for more police power.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business
circles and close to the power elite often used their position to
enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite
would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite,
who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members
of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from
other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources.
With the national security apparatus under control and the media
muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well
understood by the general population.
14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites
or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections
with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the
power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining
control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising
opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as
a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.
Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this
is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution,
a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly
being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these
are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.
1. Defined as a "political movement or regime
tending toward or imitating Fascism"—Webster’s
Andrews, Kevin. Greece in the Dark. Amsterdam:
Chabod, Frederico. A History of Italian Fascism. London:
Cooper, Marc. Pinochet and Me. New York: Verso, 2001.
Cornwell, John. Hitler as Pope. New York: Viking, 1999.
de Figuerio, Antonio. Portugal—Fifty Years of Dictatorship.
New York: Holmes & Meier, 1976.
Eatwell, Roger. Fascism, A History. New York: Penguin,
Fest, Joachim C. The Face of the Third Reich. New York:
Gallo, Max. Mussolini’s Italy. New York: MacMillan,
Kershaw, Ian. Hitler (two volumes). New York: Norton, 1999.
Laqueur, Walter. Fascism, Past, Present, and Future. New
York: Oxford, 1996.
Papandreau, Andreas. Democracy at Gunpoint. New York: Penguin
Phillips, Peter. Censored 2001: 25 Years of Censored News.
New York: Seven Stories. 2001.
Sharp, M.E. Indonesia Beyond Suharto. Armonk, 1999.
Verdugo, Patricia. Chile, Pinochet, and the Caravan of Death.
Coral Gables, Florida: North-South Center Press, 2001.
Yglesias, Jose. The Franco Years. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill,
When I spoke with Jeff Fisher
this morning (Saturday, November 06, 2004), the Democratic candidate
for the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida's 16th District
said he was waiting for the FBI to show up. Fisher has evidence,
he says, not only that the Florida election was hacked, but of who
hacked it and how. And not just this year, he said, but that these
same people had previously hacked the Democratic primary race in
2002 so that Jeb Bush would not have to run against Janet Reno,
who presented a real threat to Jeb, but instead against Bill McBride,
who Jeb beat.
"It was practice for a national effort," Fisher told me.
And some believe evidence is accumulating that the national effort
happened on November 2, 2004.
The State of Florida, for example, publishes a county-by-county
record of votes cast and people registered to vote by party affiliation.
Net denizen Kathy Dopp compiled the official state information into
a table, available at
http://ustogether.org/Florida_Election.htm, and noticed something
While the heavily scrutinized touch-screen voting machines seemed
to produce results in which the registered Democrat/Republican ratios
largely matched the Kerry/Bush vote, in Florida's counties using
results from optically scanned paper ballots - fed into a central
tabulator PC and thus vulnerable to hacking – the results seem to
contain substantial anomalies.
In Baker County, for example, with 12,887 registered voters, 69.3%
of them Democrats and 24.3% of them Republicans, the vote was only
2,180 for Kerry and 7,738 for Bush, the opposite of what is seen
everywhere else in the country where registered Democrats largely
voted for Kerry.
In Dixie County, with 9,676 registered voters, 77.5% of them Democrats
and a mere 15% registered as Republicans, only 1,959 people voted
for Kerry, but 4,433 voted for Bush.
The pattern repeats over and over again - but only in the counties
where optical scanners were used. Franklin County, 77.3% registered
Democrats, went 58.5% for Bush. Holmes County, 72.7% registered
Democrats, went 77.25% for Bush.
Yet in the touch-screen counties, where investigators may have
been more vigorously looking for such anomalies, high percentages
of registered Democrats generally equaled high percentages of votes
for Kerry. (I had earlier reported that county size was a variable
– this turns out not to be the case. Just the use of touch-screens
versus optical scanners.)
More visual analysis of the results can be seen at http://us
www.rubberbug.com/temp/Florida2004chart.htm. Note the trend
line – the only variable that determines a swing toward Bush was
the use of optical scan machines.
One possible explanation for this is the "Dixiecrat" theory, that
in Florida white voters (particularly the rural ones) have been
registered as Democrats for years, but voting Republican since Reagan.
Looking at the 2000 statistics, also available on Dopp's site, there
are similar anomalies, although the trends are not as strong as
in 2004. But some suggest the 2000 election may have been questionable
in Florida, too.
One of the people involved in Dopp's analysis noted that it may
be possible to determine the validity of the "rural Democrat" theory
by comparing Florida's white rural counties to those of Pennsylvania,
another swing state but one that went for Kerry, as the exit polls
there predicted. Interestingly, the Pennsylvania analysis, available
http://ustogether.org/election04/PA_vote_patt.htm, doesn't show
the same kind of swings as does Florida, lending credence to the
possibility of problems in Florida.
Even more significantly, Dopp had first run the analysis while
filtering out smaller (rural) counties, and still found that the
only variable that accounted for a swing toward Republican voting
was the use of optical-scan machines, whereas counties with touch-screen
machines generally didn't swing - regardless of size.
Others offer similar insights, based on other data. A professor
at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, noted that in Florida
the vote to raise the minimum wage was approved by 72%, although
Kerry got 48%. "The correlation between voting for the minimum wage
increase and voting for Kerry isn't likely to be perfect," he noted,
"but one would normally expect that the gap - of 1.5 million votes
- to be far smaller than it was."
While all of this may or may not be evidence of vote tampering,
it again brings the nation back to the question of why several states
using electronic voting machines or scanners programmed by private,
for-profit corporations and often connected to modems produced votes
inconsistent with exit poll numbers.
Those exit poll results have been a problem for reporters ever
since Election Day.
Election night, I'd been doing live election coverage for WDEV,
one of the radio stations that carries my syndicated show, and,
just after midnight, during the 12:20 a.m. Associated Press Radio
News feed, I was startled to hear the reporter detail how Karen
Hughes had earlier sat George W. Bush down to inform him that he'd
lost the election. The exit polls were clear: Kerry was winning
in a landslide. "Bush took the news stoically," noted the AP report.
But then the computers reported something different. In several
Conservatives see a conspiracy here: They think the exit polls
Dick Morris, the infamous political consultant to the first Clinton
campaign who became a Republican consultant and Fox News regular,
wrote an article for The
Hill, the publication read by every political junkie in Washington,
DC, in which he made a couple of brilliant points.
"Exit Polls are almost never wrong," Morris wrote. "They eliminate
the two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly
separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots
but never do and by substituting actual observation for guesswork
in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state."
He added: "So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls, for example, Kerry
was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada,
and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network
had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by
Yet a few hours after the exit polls were showing a clear Kerry
sweep, as the computerized vote numbers began to come in from the
various states the election was called for Bush.
How could this happen?
On the CNBC TV show "Topic A With Tina Brown," several months ago,
Howard Dean had filled in for Tina Brown as guest host. His guest
was Bev Harris, the Seattle grandmother who started www.blackboxvoting.org
from her living room. Bev pointed out that regardless of how votes
were tabulated (other than hand counts, only done in odd places
like small towns in Vermont), the real "counting" is done by computers.
Be they Diebold Opti-Scan machines, which read paper ballots filled
in by pencil or ink in the voter's hand, or the scanners that read
punch cards, or the machines that simply record a touch of the screen,
in all cases the final tally is sent to a "central tabulator" machine.
That central tabulator computer is a Windows-based PC.
"In a voting system," Harris explained to Dean on national television,
"you have all the different voting machines at all the different
polling places, sometimes, as in a county like mine, there's a thousand
polling places in a single county. All those machines feed into
the one machine so it can add up all the votes. So, of course, if
you were going to do something you shouldn't to a voting machine,
would it be more convenient to do it to each of the 4000 machines,
or just come in here and deal with all of them at once?"
Dean nodded in rhetorical agreement, and Harris continued. "What
surprises people is that the central tabulator is just a PC, like
what you and I use. It's just a regular computer."
"So," Dean said, "anybody who can hack into a PC can hack into
a central tabulator?"
Harris nodded affirmation, and pointed out how Diebold uses a program
called GEMS, which fills the screen of the PC and effectively turns
it into the central tabulator system. "This is the official program
that the County Supervisor sees," she said, pointing to a PC that
was sitting between them loaded with Diebold's software.
Bev then had Dean open the GEMS program to see the results of a
test election. They went to the screen titled "Election Summary
Report" and waited a moment while the PC "adds up all the votes
from all the various precincts," and then saw that in this faux
election Howard Dean had 1000 votes, Lex Luthor had 500, and Tiger
Woods had none. Dean was winning.
"Of course, you can't tamper with this software," Harris noted.
Diebold wrote a pretty good program.
But, it's running on a Windows PC.
So Harris had Dean close the Diebold GEMS software, go back to
the normal Windows PC desktop, click on the "My Computer" icon,
choose "Local Disk C:," open the folder titled GEMS, and open the
sub-folder "LocalDB" which, Harris noted, "stands for local database,
that's where they keep the votes." Harris then had Dean double-click
on a file in that folder titled "Central Tabulator Votes," which
caused the PC to open the vote count in a database program like
In the "Sum of the Candidates" row of numbers, she found that in
one precinct Dean had received 800 votes and Lex Luthor had gotten
"Let's just flip those," Harris said, as Dean cut and pasted the
numbers from one cell into the other. "And," she added magnanimously,
"let's give 100 votes to Tiger."
They closed the database, went back into the official GEMS software
"the legitimate way, you're the county supervisor and you're checking
on the progress of your election."
As the screen displayed the official voter tabulation, Harris said,
"And you can see now that Howard Dean has only 500 votes, Lex Luthor
has 900, and Tiger Woods has 100." Dean, the winner, was now the
Harris sat up a bit straighter, smiled, and said, "We just edited
an election, and it took us 90 seconds."
On live national television. (You can see the clip on www.votergate.tv.) And they had left no tracks
whatsoever, Harris said, noting that it would be nearly impossible
for the election software – or a County election official - to know
that the vote database had been altered.
Which brings us back to Morris and those pesky exit polls that
had Karen Hughes telling George W. Bush that he'd lost the election
in a landslide.
Morris's conspiracy theory is that the exit polls "were sabotage"
to cause people in the western states to not bother voting for Bush,
since the networks would call the election based on the exit polls
for Kerry. But the networks didn't do that, and had never intended
According to congressional candidate Fisher, it makes far more
sense that the exit polls were right - they weren't done on Diebold
PCs - and that the vote itself was hacked.
And not only for the presidential candidate - Jeff Fisher thinks
this hit him and pretty much every other Democratic candidate for
national office in the most-hacked swing states.
So far, the only national "mainstream" media to come close to this
story was Keith Olbermann on his show Friday night, November 5th,
when he noted that it was curious that all the voting machine irregularities
so far uncovered seem to favor Bush. In the meantime, the Washington
Post and other media are now going through single-bullet-theory-like
contortions to explain how the exit polls had failed.
But I agree with Fox's Dick Morris on this one, at least in large
part. Wrapping up his story for The Hill, Morris wrote in his final
paragraph, "This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong
across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul
Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored
Award-winning best-selling author and host of a nationally syndicated
daily progressive talk show. www.thomhartmann
.com His most recent books are "The
Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal
Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human
The People: A Call To Take Back America," and "What
Would Jefferson Do?: A Return To Democracy."
- Most American voters say the decisive presidential
election last week has given them renewed confidence about the nation's
electoral system and they're hopeful about the next four years, an
Associated Press Poll finds.
At the same time, they feel
a sense of urgency about Iraq, their top priority for President
Bush to tackle after his re-election, questioning disclosed. Iraq
was followed by terrorism among voters' leading concerns.
Voters took comfort from an election that wasn't
tied up in the courts as in 2000.
"Anytime you have to wait as long as it the election did in
2000, it leaves people with doubts and a bitter taste in their mouths,"
said Jim Seaman, a Republican businessman from Summerville, S.C.
The poll taken in the days following the election also found that
voters want Bush to cut the deficit, which ballooned under his watch,
rather than pushing for more tax cuts.
The voters' concerns stood in contrast to the priorities Bush cited
after he defeated Democrat John Kerry. Bush pledged to aggressively
pursue major changes in Social Security, tax laws and medical malpractice
awards. Terrorism was a chief concern both for Bush and many voters
in the poll. [...]
On another domestic issue, six in 10 voters say they are comfortable
the president will nominate the right kind of person to serve on
the Supreme Court. Bush has sidestepped questions about who he would
name if there were an opening, more likely with Chief Justice William
Rehnquist's battle against cancer. [...]
Voters were generally accepting of the election
results, Democrats were very likely to be in a gloomy mood.
"I've seen the future,
baby, and it's murder."
Here's something else Leonard Cohen sings: "There is a
war between the ones who say there is a war and the ones who say
there isn't." You can see that divide online today within
the ranks of American Democrats. While one side collects evidence
of another stolen election and has shaken off the illusion of democracy,
the other still holds an unrequited love for the system, and passionately
strokes off to Hillary/Obama revenge fantasies for 2008. ("Just
wait - We'll get 'em next time!")
Do you know what's happening in the Ukraine, America? Tens of thousands
are in the streets of Kiev, protesting alleged election
"Vote results from Ukraine's Central Election Commission
showed Yushchenko trailing Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in
last Sunday's race, but final results have not been announced
and Yushchenko's supporters want a re-count. Yushchenko backers
claim he won 300,000 more votes than Yanukovych. Some
exit polls also put Yushchenko in the lead."
In the Ukraine, when election results conflict with exit polls,
it's grounds for belief a fraud was perpetuated. While in the United
States, when results reverse exit polls only in battleground states,
even outside the margin of error, and only in favour of Bush, it's
the fault of bloggers for disseminating "erroneous" data
which "confused" voters.
"Why don't you come on back to the war - that's right,
get in it."
Can we stop saying, please, that fascism
is coming to America? Fascism has arrived. We needn't await a Holocaust
to say so. (Though we needn't have long to wait.) The regimes
of Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Peron, Marcos and more - many of
them loyal US allies - were fascist as well, and some were better
than others at maintaining the illusion of representative government.
I expect most Democrats who believe they lost fair enough last
week, and are picking themselves up with the mantra of "third
time's the charm," would balk at the notion that America
is now a fascist state. Some will concede that fascism - understood
chiefly as a vague boogie man to "get out the vote" -
may threaten America, but many more would say that using
the f-word demonstrates political immaturity and "alienates
the heartland." They argue the Democratic Party merely needs
to repackage, or redefine itself, or whatever; and then, God willing,
it can groove once again to "Don't Stop thinking about tomorrow."
To the former I say, what are you waiting to see before you will
be able to see? To the latter, enjoy your coping mechanism. It may
save your peace of mind, but it won't save your country or our world.
"Why don't you come on back to the war - don't be a tourist."
November 2 confirmed the sum of my fears. That is, it isn't "just
me" - the world really is this fucked. But the self-diagnosis
isn't exactly cheering. Rather a dose of mental illness than global
calamity. But we "tinfoilers" expected the worst last
week, and damn if we didn't get it. We had been screaming since
the mid-term theft of 2002 about the vulnerability of America's
electronic vote, and were roundly ignored by many because, in the
words of J Edgar Hoover, "the individual is handicapped by
coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe
Floyd, more than a year ago:
"Who's behind these private companies? It's hard to tell:
The corporate lines – even the bloodlines – of these
"competitors" are so intricately mixed. For example,
at Diebold – whose corporate chief, Wally O'Dell, a top
Bush fundraiser, has publicly committed himself to "delivering"
his home state's votes to Bush next year – the election
division is run by Bob Urosevich. Bob's brother, Todd, is a top
executive at "rival" ES&S. The brothers were originally
staked in the vote-count business by Howard Ahmanson, a member
of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing "steering
group" stacked with Bushist faithful.
Ahmanson is also one of the bagmen behind the extremist "Christian
Reconstructionist" movement, which openly advocates a theocratic
takeover of American democracy, placing the entire society under
the "dominion" of "Christ the King." This
"dominion" includes the death penalty for homosexuals,
exclusion of citizenship for non-Christians, stoning of sinners
and – we kid you not – slavery, "one of the most
beneficent of Biblical laws." Ahmanson also has major holdings
in ES&S, whose former CEO is Republican Senator Chuck Hagel
of Nebraska. When Hagel ran for office, his own company counted
the votes; needless to say, his initial victory was reported as
"an amazing upset." Hagel still has a million-dollar
stake in the parent company of ES&S. In Florida, Jeb Bush's
first choice for a running mate in his 1998 gubernatorial race
was ES&S lobbyist Sandra Mortham, who made a mint installing
the machines that counted Jeb's votes.
Ahmanson, counter of America's votes, has admitted "My purpose
is total integration of biblical law into our lives." Now,
and in light of mounting and massive evidence of anomalies favouring
the Republican ticket, which is more incredible: that fundamentalists
would allow unaudited virtual ballots to be hacked in order to
further the establishment of God's law upon American lives, or
that George Bush won 51% of the vote? (Coincidentally, the 51/48
split was the margin Dick Cheney forecast a week before the election.)"
Sion on the Christian reconstructionists and their faith-based
electronic voting machines:
"Theonomic Reconstructionism is a belief that the only true
authority is God's, that allegiance to biblical laws trumps that
of civic law and that the Kingdom of Heaven needs to be built
on Earth before Jesus will come again. In addition to that, homosexuals
should be put to death, women should be banned from civic office,
apostates and heretics should be stoned to death and there is
a great need for more Christian politicians.
Not content to philosophize about such things, the TR movement
sprang into action. Funded by billionaires such as Howard Ahmanson
and the Coors and Hunt families, Reconstructionists formed think
tanks such as the Chalcedon Institute and the Rutherford Institute
(the friendly guys that funded Paula Jones' lawsuit against Clinton)
to give the Christian Right a philosophical base to draw from,
and political action committees to finance their elections....
Ahmanson inherited his money from his father, owner of Home Savings
& Loan (during the S&L scandal of the Reagan years, Home's
investors, mostly small family investments, lost over $150 million
dollars. No one went to jail). In addition to funding PACs and
think tanks, Howard Jr. parlayed his fortune into the majority
stock of a business called American Information Systems (AIS)
started by two enterprising brothers, Todd and Bob Urosevich.
AIS later merged with Business Records Corporation (BRC) and became
Election Systems & Solutions (ES&S). ES&S is the number
one provider of touch-screen voting machines. Their website claims
that their products were used in collecting 56% of the national
vote in the last presidential elections.
Todd Urosevich is now Vice President of ES&S. Strangely enough,
brother Bob moved on to head the second largest computerized vote-counting
business, Global Election Systems, recently purchased by ATM and
security giant Diebold. (They now have both the Ohio and Georgia
contracts.) In a round table swap of incestuous patronage the
previous executives of Global moved on to head the third largest
vote-counting company in the nation, Advanced Voting Systems.
Combined, these three corporations will process nearly 80% of
the next nationwide elections."
So wake up, America, to your perfect Straussian nightmare: abroad,
the neoconservatives are pursuing their imperial energy strategy,
while at home Christo-fascists dope the populace on crusader morality
and levitical law. If you still can't see the lights going out,
it's because your eyes have adjusted to the dark.
"Why don't you come on back to the war - let's all get
November 6, 2004
-- Former President Bill Clinton, in his first comments on President
Bush's re-election, yesterday urged Democrats not to "whine"
about the outcome, but to find a "clear national message."
Clinton also said that Democrat John Kerry was hurt by the polarizing
issue of gay marriage, which was legalized by Massachusetts' top
court and put on the ballot in 11 states, and the surfacing of a
tape from Osama bin Laden in the final days of the race.
Reminded of terrorism by the bin Laden tape, voters
decided they didn't want to "change horses" during a time
of heightened concern over national security, Clinton said in a
speech to the Urban Land Institute at the New York Hilton.
Clinton said Hispanic voters tilted to Bush because
of terrorism fears, as did suburban "soccer moms," who
Clinton said turned into "the security moms of 2004."
He also said that while Democrats registered more new voters than
Republicans, the Bush campaign did a better job of getting voters
to the polls who were already registered but had not previously
Despite the GOP victory, the former president — whose wife
Hillary is already being mentioned as the top contender for the
White House in 2008 — said Democrats "shouldn't be all
that discouraged" by Kerry's defeat.
Clinton said it would be "a mistake for our party to sit around
and . . . whine about this and that or the other thing."
Clinton attributed Kerry's loss to the Democrats' failure to combat
how they were portrayed by Republicans to small-town America.
"If we let people believe that our party doesn't believe in
faith and family, doesn't believe in work and freedom, that's our
fault," he said.
Democrats "need a clear national message, and they have to
do this without one big advantage the Republicans have, which is
they won't have a theological message that basically paints the
other guy as evil," he said.
Clinton said the country was more divided than it was in 1968 and
called for an end to the "culture war."
In his hourlong speech Clinton, who had open-heart surgery in September,
gave Bush and the Republicans full credit for the election victory.
"The Republicans had a clear message, a good
messenger, great organization and great strategy," he said.
Clinton said Bush should use his second term to move toward less
dependence on foreign oil.
"This election presents a great opportunity
for President Bush and a great opportunity for Democrats, and the
two are not necessarily in conflict," he said.
The biggest opportunity he noted was the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian
peace amid the impending demise of Yasser Arafat.
Peace in the region would "take enormous steam" out of
Islamic fundamentalist terrorism worldwide, Clinton said. "They
would have to think of a new excuse to murder people."
Palestinian Authority Chairman
Yasser Arafat was poisoned by Israel, one of his advisers said Sunday.
The option is being seriously considered by the PA, which has sent
blood samples to the US and Germany to confirm or rule out the option,
Arafat suffers symptoms similar to those of former PFLP military
leader Wadi'a Hadad, he said.
Hadad was poisoned in the late 1970s by a close aide who was allegedly
recruited by the Mossad, the adviser said, although the official
reason for his death was cancer.
"It took Hadad eight weeks to die... he also entered a coma",
he said, "Unless they find an antidote, Arafat will die,"
There are four possible reasons for the breakdown of Arafat's red
blood cells, and two options have been ruled out, he said.
He does not have cancer and did not take an overdose of certain
medications, he added. Poisoning is one of the two remaining possibilities,
Other PA officials, including Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said they
could not rule out that Arafat was poisoned, but said they needed
to see some proof before publicly making such accusations.
Some PA officials dismissed the poisoning option.
They said it was in the PA's interest to keep Arafat on life support
to allow PLO deputy Mahmoud Abbas and Qurei to run the PA.
1999 - Arafat during a visit
to Hebron with Nabil Abu Rudeineh and an emissary from
is not privileged"
Israeli Prime Minister, repeatedly during talks about
killing and deporting Arafat.
Arafat is an open choice for us"
"The Israeli Minister-President for Political and Security
affairs made a tentative decision to remove Arafat as
an obstacle to peace."
Olmert, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister
(link in Arabic)
will choose the right way and the right time to kill
Israeli Defence Minister
kill Arafat softly"
"The only way to achieve the peace process is deporting
"We must kill him softly and throw him out from
the PA Presidential palace, we must find an alternative
leadership. I'm sure Mohamed Dahlan is qualified for
Ya'alon, ITF Chief of Staff
(link in Arabic)
All these quotes and more are matter of record and can
be found in various media archives)
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in all probability
discussed the killing
of President Arafat with U.S President George Bush during
his last visit to the White House. Israel has continuously
accused Arafat of promoting violence and terror and
has sought to isolate him in his half-ruined Ramallah
headquarters since December 2001. Israeli government
officials have often threatened to kill
Arafat in the past. All the while, Israel never once
offered any conclusive evidence to sustain their accusations
In the end President Arafat was slowly and fatally poisoned
by Israel in his isolated headquarters in Ramallah.
The Israeli collaborators who officially work in the
PA and Arafat's office poisoned his food slowly, caused
him serious problems in his blood platelets, a case
which lead to continuous coma.
The Jordanian personal doctor of Arafat, Ashraf Kurdi
said: "All the symptoms of Arafat's sickness confirm
that he was poisoned, sometimes he would awaken when
the influence of the poison vanished from his blood."
The spokesperson of military hospital in Paris said
that the wife of the President Arafat, Suha, asked them
to keep secrecy regarding her husbands situation and
Suha. Arafats "widow", now swimming in stolen PA money
Why did Madam Suha ask for that? The Palestinians suspect
the secrecy which Suha imposed around Arafats sickness as
this secrecy serves the interests of Israel, who poisoned
Arafat in the first place, and not the Palestinian national
interests. Suha fled to Paris during the Intifada. She did
not honestly stay in the company President Arafat even though
she was his wife. This has been matter of much talking among
the majority of the Palestinians. We didn't like Suha, her
marriage with our President Arafat was seen as a big mistake
by everybody. In hindisght this appreciation was correct.
At the first sign of trouble she ran to Paris where she led
a more than luxurious lifestyle with PA money
from Palestinian taxes and international sources.
Mohammed Dahlan. Death squad leader from Gaza in the service
of the CIA.
The corrupt "ugly
Rashid, Palestinian Minister for Civil affairs and
suspected collaborator Jamil al-Tarifi, and the Israeli–CIA
representative Mohammed Dahlan all accompanied Suha and
President Arafat to Paris. This increased an already high
level of anger in the West Bank and Gaza. None of them
are honest, they are all suspected of machinating the
end Arafat behind the scenes. Suha fled to Paris taking
her child Zahwa and leaving her husband Yassir Arafat
behind, at the beginning of Al-Aqsa Intifada. This caused
lots of criticism on President Arafat, who continued transferring
big sums of Palestinian money so she could keep her lavish
lifestyle in Paris.
Mohammed Rashid. Thief and Israeli collaborator.
At the beginning
of this year the Palestinian Parliament members asked
for investigation 9 millions dollars which had been transferred
to Suha. The money had been transferred first to a PA
bank account in Switzerland and from there to Madam Suha's
account in a Paris Bank. The Palestinian Parliament President
Rafiq Al-Natsheh was fired from his post as President
of the Parliament because he asked for an investigation
into the matter.
Rafiq Al-Natsheh, former President of the Palestinian
Khaled Salam is
well known as the most corrupt in the PA. He is an "asset"
of the Israeli Mossad and the American CIA, and furthers
the dirty business of these organizations in the Palestinian
territories. He controls the PA budget under a veil
of secrecy, having parked Palestinian Authority
moneys in overseas accounts under his name. The Palestinian
Minister for Civil Affairs, Jamil al-Tarifi, is another
corrupt operator and well known collaborator, so much
so that he is known as "the right arm of Israel"
Jamil Tarifi, Minister and Israeli collaborator
the slow poisoning of Arafat very seriously, and many
are asking for the execution of these well-known Israeli
collaborators inside the PA. Many Palestinians also
refuse to acknowledge any new Israeli-CIA installed
"leadership" of corrupt operators in the next
future. This is a new situation brought as a consequence
of the murder of Arafat.
Arafat is in all probability dead since last Wednesday,
and while the bickering around the future of Palestinian
"leadership" goes on, the corpse will be transferred
to Egypt, from where transport to Gaza will be easiest.
Israel has already said that they do not want to have
Arafat buried in Jerusalem, and Suha has helped them
implement their plan by first bringing Arafat to die
far from home in Paris.
Given the many sordid characters named in connection
with Arafat's "illness" and the interests involved,
the logic conclusion to be drawn is that, through proxy
or otherwise, Israel Poisoned Arafat.
A reader of LibertyForum
posted an interesting link to the Jerusalem
Post. A short quote:
symptoms similar to those of former PFLP military leader
was poisoned in the late 1970s by a close aide who was
allegedly recruited by the Mossad, the adviser said, although
the official reason for his death was cancer."
took Hadad eight weeks to die... he also entered a coma",
he said, "Unless they find an antidote, Arafat will die"
According to DerStandard
(link in German) Michael Barnier, the French Minister
of Foreign Affairs, has found it necessary to go public
and deny "any signs of poisoning". Denials of this kind
can normally be taken as a sign that major political fallout
is feared ahead.
The Arab edition Yediot Aharonot is running an article
stating that the matter of Arafat having been poisoned
has caused a row in the Knesset.
Specifically, MK Isam Mahoul
stated that he "couldn't deny that Israel had administered
poison to Arafat and caused him a fatal poisoning".
According to the article, Mr.
Mahoul also stated that he wouldn't put it beyond the
government to poison Arafat, as they had a long record
of poisoning their political opponents.
He mentioned the case of Khaled
Mishal (link in Arabic) as an example.
A reader from England has written to say that in the UK
Television it is being reported that Arafat has been poisoned.
Various other readers from the US and UK have written
to say they are very upset about this.
The San Francisco Gate
has written an article
with information about Suha and the finances of the PA.
(Picture Credits: Various Palestinian and Arab Newspapers)
How and Where to Bury
MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 7 Nov: Yasser Arafat is
Dead; likely assassinated by blood poisoning by the Israelis. Frantic
struggles and manuevers are underway for power, money, and the symbolism
of how and where Arafat will be buried. Arafat's long-time cronies
neither of whom has any real popular support but who are trying
to take total control of the PLO and the PA with Israeli and U.S.
assistance -- Abu Mazen and Abu Ala -- are on the way to Paris.
They are hoping one way or another to finalize everything regarding
Arafat and then to be seen to accompany Arafat's body to whereever
the Israelis, the Americans, and key Arab governments will allow
them to go. Even though the source of this first article known on
the Internet as Debka is always suspect for extensive connections
with Israeli intelligence much of the information in the report,
if not the analysis, may well be accurate. The additional report
that follows comes from the UK published in today's Telegraph.
Paris Tells Palestinians to Remove Arafat
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report -November 7, 2004
French president Jacques Chirac’s patience with the Palestinians’
desperate maneuvers to cover up Yasser Arafat’s demise has
run out. DEBKAfile’s Paris and Washington sources reveal exclusively
that Friday, November 5, exactly a week after Arafat was admitted
to the Percy military hospital near Paris, the French president
put in a call to the White House and informed President George W.
Bush that it was all over.
Paris and Washington both then swung into action.
An American delegation, organized at top speed by US Middle East
diplomats, called on Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qureia in
Ramallah on Saturday, November 6, and asked him how Washington could
help expedite a fitting end to the episode. The visit was more a
token of support than a practical offer of help.
In Paris meanwhile, Suhah Arafat sacked the PLO ambassador Leila
Shahid, the Palestinian spokesperson who issued almost daily bulletins
after Arafat arrived in Paris.
What happened next was that Christian Estripeau, spokesman of the
French military health services, informed Mrs. Arafat that he would
issue no more bulletins on Arafat’s condition; neither would
Percy hospital. She was given to understand that the hospital had
kept her husband artificially alive as long as it intended to. The
conversation followed a decision by a top-level conference of French
officials, attended also by the president, to disengage from the
pretence that Arafat was still alive. They realized it was no longer
tenable without compromising the military hospital’s ethical
position and medical credibility.
They also decided to settle the Arafat problem before November
12, because that is when Ramadan ends with "Orphan’s
Friday" and moves into the three-day Eid al Fitr festival,
during which no business of any kind can be contracted with Muslim
authorities. If the Palestinian leader can be buried by Wednesday
or Thursday, the French government reckons, the days of mourning
can be wound up in time for Muslims to celebrate the festival and
get started on the post-Arafat era.
However, French efforts to unload Arafat by mid-week have been
stymied by the lack of any accredited authority willing and able
to organize the funeral or even determine the Palestinian leader’s
final burial place. No Arab or Muslim leader will attend a funeral
in Gaza or Jerusalem because it would entail transiting through
an Israeli international port as well as risking his life in a Palestinian
terrorist battle zone such as the Gaza Strip.
An earlier suggestion to overcome this difficulty, by Arab and
European leaders attending a lying-in-state ceremony in Paris before
the coffin’s transfer to Cairo, fell through. According to
DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources, three governments - France,
Egypt and Jordan – refused to allow any part of the final
ceremonies on their soil. Paris then asked the Tunisian president
Zeit bin Ali for permission to hold the central ceremony in his
capital, so that European, Arab and Muslim leaders could pay their
last respects in safety. The coffin would then be flown to Cairo
and on to the Gaza Strip for burial.
The Tunisian president agreed. The Egyptian government firmly declined,
as did Jordan.
In Ramallah, the power vacuum is widening.
Prime minister Ahmed Qureia and his predecessor Mahmoud Abbas are
losing ground in their attempts to assume the interim reins of government.
1. Saturday, Qureia went to Gaza City to try and negotiate a temporary
halt in terrorist attacks with the heads of 13 Palestinian factions
– at least until after the funeral. They turned him down.
Hamas demanded that first a unified Palestinian leadership be established
with a place for itself.
2. The Gaza-based Palestinian Authority secretary Tayeb Abu Rahim
Qureia humiliated Qureia at Saturday’s session of the Palestinian
national security council by declaring angrily that nothing in the
Palestinian constitution provided for the prime minister to step
in as acting PA Chairman in Arafat’s absence. That prerogative,
he said, belongs to another Gazan, the Palestinian legislature’s
speaker, Fathi Rouh.
3. Then, the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s politburo
chief, Farouk Kaddumi, who turned up in Paris Thursday, questioned
Abbas’s constitutional credentials to stand in for Arafat
as chairman of the PLO central committee. Kaddumi claimed that he
was the rightful chairman and Abbas, who is listed as one of two
deputies, must report on his every action to Kaddumi as his subordinate.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report -November 7, 2004
Arafat doctors 'told to delay' brain death tests
By Kim Willsher and Inigo Gilmore
Telegraph, November 7 , 2004: Crucial tests to establish whether
Yasser Arafat is brain dead have not been carried out by a Paris
hospital, a French newspaper reported yesterday, leading to claims
that doctors are under pressure to delay tests to determine his
Amid conflicting reports of the Palestinian leader's health, there
were rumours on the West Bank that he was being kept alive in order
to buy time for a political deal on his succession to be hammered
Mr Arafat allegedly has no blood-flow to the brain
In France, a patient can be declared brain dead only after a series
of strict clinical tests. They include two brain scans - either
two EEGs performed four hours apart or an EEG and an artery scan
showing no blood flowing to the brain.
According to the newspaper, Liberation, Mr Arafat, 75, underwent
only one brain scan on Thursday, which showed a blood-flow failure.
The required second scan was reportedly not carried out.
Earlier last week, unidentified French medical officials said that
Mr Arafat was brain dead but being kept alive on life-support machines.
The Percy military hospital, where the ailing leader was taken
from the West Bank on October 29, did not respond yesterday to queries
from the Telegraph about the second scan. But a senior Palestinian
adviser, Nabil Abu Rudeina, denied that Mr Arafat was beyond recovery,
saying that his condition remained critical but not hopeless.
As confusion over Mr Arafat's condition grew, a Palestinian legislator
last night called for his financial adviser, Mohammed Rashid, who
controls a multi-billion dollar network of Palestine Liberation
Organisation accounts, to be investigated.
Over the past 40 years, Mr Arafat's PLO has built up a global empire
of investments, worth an estimated $4.2 billion to $6.5 billion.
(£2.3-£3.5 billion). Meanwhile the Palestinian Authority,
which administers the territories, is virtually bankrupt.
Abdul Jawwad Saleh, a leading independent member of the Palestinian
Legislative Council, wants Mr Rashid to be questioned at the organisation's
Ramallah headquarters. His demand reflects concern that very few
people will know the whereabouts of more than £2 billion of
PLO funds if Mr Arafat dies. Mr Rashid left Ramallah some months
ago, and is currently in Paris. Hassan Khreishe, another legislative
council member, said Mr Rashid would be held to account. "We
will follow him, don't worry," he said.
Mr Saleh is also calling for Mr Arafat's wife, Suha, who is said
to be a business partner of Mr Rashid, to be questioned. "Mr
Arafat's situation has presented a chance for us to question Mohammed
Rashid," he said. "He knows better than anyone else the
whereabouts of all the money, all the secret accounts. This is the
A confidential report last month by the Palestinian finance ministry
shows that the Palestinian Authority is running a deficit of about
£73 million a month.
Last year, the International Monetary Fund said Mr Arafat had diverted
$1 billion or more of Palestinian Authority funds from 1995 to 2000.
A Palestinian lawyer who has investigated PLO corruption, and who
wished to remain anonymous, said he knew of three or four Arafat
loyalists who held secret bank accounts. "He paid a lot of
this money to buy loyalty, squandering millions of dollars,"
"The corruption was huge. The PLO had monopolies on cement,
petrol, construction, taxes and cigarettes. It has investments everywhere.
Nobody knows what has happened to all these assets."
Conflicting reports about Mr Arafat's condition have fuelled rumours
that he was poisoned by Israeli agents.
Dr Hisham Ahmed, a member of Mr Arafat's Fatah faction, said a
bodyguard told him that the Palestinian leader had whispered to
him: "This time they got me."
Yasser Arafat's wife has accused
senior Palestinian officials of plotting to "bury her husband
alive" as they try to succeed him in power.
The criticism originally forced the officials to put off a trip
to France to visit Mr Arafat. However, they have now reversed their
decision and will travel to Paris.
Reports in the Israeli media intitially said that Mr Arafat was
to be taken off life-support equipment after Mahmoud Abbas, secretary
general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Ahmed Qurie, the
Palestinian prime minister, and Nabil Shaath, the foreign minister,
arrived in France.
But the trip was then postponed after Suha Arafat appeared on the
Arabic satellite television station al-Jazeera condemning a "conspiracy"
against her husband.
Mrs Arafat said that the Palestinian leader was well and would
be returning home as she accused the officials of being desperate
to take his place.
But officials have privately accused Mrs Arafat, who had not seen
Arafat for three years before he was flown to a Paris military hospital
at the end of last month, of limiting access to their leader.
They have now denied that they had postponed the trip and should
see Mr Arafat tomorrow.
the interim Iraqi prime minister, today said he had given US and
Iraqi forces the authority to clear the city of Falluja of "terrorists
who continue to use [it] as a base for their operations".
The long-anticipated assault on the city appeared to be under way
as US marines stormed into its western outskirts and secured two
Mr Allawi announced a 48-hour closure of Baghdad's airport, the
Syrian and Jordanian borders and the imposition of emergency rule
on Falluja and the rebel stronghold on Ramadi.
Roads and government institutions in the two cities will be closed
and all weapons banned.
"We have no other option but to take
the necessary measures to protect Iraqi people from these killers
and liberate Falluja," Mr Allawi told a press conference.
US and Iraqi forces have been encroaching on the rebel stronghold
for the last few weeks, but the assault put them on the other side
of the Euphrates river from suspected insurgent bases in the main
part of the city.
In the first movement into Falluja proper, US forces secured an
apartment building in the north-west corner. Captain Brian Heatherman,
a US marine commander, said there were some Iraqi casualties as
the troops seized the building. [...]
Overnight, artillery fire and AC-130 gunships pounded Falluja.
Most of the population has fled but there are estimated to be tens
of thousands of civilians left. [...]
Several hundred Iraqi troops were sent into Fallujah's main hospital
after US forces sealed off the area. The troops detained about 50
men of military age inside the hospital, but about half were later
Iraqi doctors said 10 people were killed and 11 others injured
during overnight clashes. Two US marines were killed in the assault.
Dr Salih al-Issawi, the head of the hospital,
said he had asked US officers to allow doctors and ambulances go
inside the main part of the city to help the wounded but they refused.
There was no confirmation from the US military.
During the siege of Falluja last April, the hospital was a main
source of reports about civilian casualties that US officials insisted
were overblown. Those reports generated strong public outrage in
Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab world, prompting the Bush administration
to call off the offensive.
There is little guarantee that the fresh assault will calm the
The Iraqi president, Ghazi al-Yawar, has spoken out publicly against
A similar attack last month on Samarra, another rebel stronghold
north of Baghdad, was hailed a success. But insurgents promptly
flooded back into the city.
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - Backed
by a barrage from warplanes and artillery, American troops fought
their way into the western outskirts of Fallujah on Monday, seizing
a hospital and two bridges over the Euphrates River in the first
stage of a major assault on the insurgent stronghold.
The U.S. military reported its first casualties of the offensive
- two Marines killed when their bulldozer
flipped over into the Euphrates. A military spokesman estimated
that 42 insurgents were killed across Fallujah in the opening round
Four foreigners, including two Moroccans and two unidentified people,
were captured when U.S. and Iraqi forces
swept into the first objective: Fallujah's main hospital,
which the military and Iraqi Prime Minister
Ayad Allawi said was under insurgent control.
Iraqi soldiers stormed through the facility, blasting
open doors and pulling handcuffed patients into the halls in search
Allawi said he had given the green light for international and
Iraqi forces to launch the long-awaited offensive against Fallujah,
considered the strongest bastion of Iraq's Sunni insurgents.
"We are determined to clean Fallujah of terrorists,'' he said.
Allawi initially said 38 people were killed
in the hospital seizure, but the U.S.
military said no one was killed in the hospital operation.
A military spokesman later gave a figure of 42 dead across the city
since the Fallujah assault began. The spokesman, 1st. Sgt. Steven
Valley, said the situation was "fluid'' and information on
casualties was difficult to pin down.
Doctors in Fallujah reported 10 people killed and 11 wounded during
the bombardment overnight.
Throughout the morning, artillery and mortars pounded targets in
Fallujah and on its outskirts, and a U.S. jet swooped low to fire
rockets at insurgent positions. An AC-130
gunship raked the city all night long with cannon fire, and and
before dawn, four 500-pound bombs were dropped, raising orange fireballs
over the city's rooftops.
Outside the city. U.S. troops set up mortar positions and filled
sandbags in preparation for an anticipated assault. U.S. troops
clashed with insurgents in several locations along the outskirts
of the city, firing rifle shots as they took cover around corners
and behind the doors of their Humvees.
Commanders said the toughest fight was yet to
come: when American forces cross to the east bank of the Euphrates
and enter the main part of Fallujah - including the Jolan neighborhood
where insurgent defenses are believed the strongest.
U.S. commanders have avoided any public estimate on how long it
may take to capture Fallujah, where insurgents fought the Marines
to a standstill last April in a three-week siege.
Marine commanders have warned the new offensive
could bring the heaviest urban fighting since the Vietnam war.
Some 10,000 U.S. Marines, Army soldiers and Iraqi forces are around
Fallujah, where commanders estimate around 3,000 insurgents are
dug in. More than half the civilian population of some 300,000 people
is believed to have fled already.
Much depends on whether the bulk of the defenders, believed to
be Iraqis from the Fallujah area, decide to risk the destruction
of the city or try to slip away in the face of overwhelming force.
Foreign jihadis may choose to fight to the end, but it's clear how
many of them are still in the city.
Another issue is the role of Iraqi forces fighting
alongside the Americans. A National Public Radio correspondent embedded
with the Marines outside Fallujah reported desertions among the
Iraqis. One Iraqi battalion shrunk from over 500 men down to 170
over the past two week - with 255 members quitting over the weekend,
the correspondent said.
Clerics in Fallujah denounced Iraqi troops participating in the
assault, calling them the "occupiers' lash on their fellow
"We swear by God that we will stand against you in the streets,
we will enter your houses and we will slaughter you just like sheep,''
the clerics said in a statement.
A senior aide to firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr urged
Iraqi forces not to fight alongside U.S. troops.
"We appeal to the Iraqi National Guard
and Iraqi police not to help the occupation troops as they want
to target the Iraqi people in Fallujah,'' said Sheikh Abdul-Hadi
al-Daraji. The Iraqi troops should not be a tool in the hands of
the occupation troops.'' [...]
One key reason to take Fallujah hospital
early was likely to control information: The facility was
the main source of Iraqi death tolls during the first U.S. siege
of Fallujah in April, and U.S. commanders accused doctors there
of exaggerating numbers.
The U.S military said Monday that insurgents had been in control
of Fallujah General Hospital - located on the west bank of the Euphrates
- and were "forcing the doctors there
to release propaganda and false information.''
The reports of hundreds of civilians killed
in the April siege - and scenes of soccer fields turned into mass
graves for the dead - generated strong public outrage in Iraq and
elsewhere in the Arab world, prompting the Bush administration to
call off the offensive. U.S. officials insisted the numbers were
The Association of Muslim Scholars, an influential Sunni clerics
group that has threatened to boycott elections, condemned the assault
on Fallujah, calling it "an illegal and illegitimate action
against civilian and innocent people.''
NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov 6 (AFP)
- With US forces massing outside Fallujah, 35
marines swayed to Christian rock music and asked Jesus Christ to
protect them in what could be the biggest battle since American
troops invaded Iraq last year.
Men with buzzcuts and clad in their camouflage
waved their hands in the air, M-16 assault rifles laying beside
them, and chanted heavy metal-flavoured lyrics in praise of Christ
late Friday in a yellow-brick chapel.
They counted among thousands of troops surrounding the city of
Fallujah, seeking solace as they awaited Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad
Allawi's decision on whether or not to invade Fallujah.
"You are the sovereign. You're name is holy.
You are the pure spotless lamb," a female voice cried out on
the loudspeakers as the marines clapped their hands and closed their
eyes, reflecting on what lay ahead for them.
The US military, with many soldiers coming from the conservative
American south and midwest, has deep Christian roots.
In times that fighting looms, many soldiers draw on their evangelical
or born-again heritage to help them face the battle.
"It's always comforting. Church attendance
is always up before the big push," said First Sergeant Miles
"Sometimes, all you've got is God."
Between the service's electric guitar religious tunes, marines
stepped up on the chapel's small stage and recited a verse of scripture,
meant to fortify them for war.
One spoke of their Old Testament hero, a shepherd who would become
Israel's king, battling the Philistines some 3,000 years ago.
"Thus David prevailed over the Philistines,"
the marine said, reading from scripture, and the marines shouted
back "Hoorah, King David," using their signature grunt
The marines drew parallels from the verse with their present situation,
where they perceive themselves as warriors fighting barbaric men
opposed to all that is good in the world.
"Victory belongs to the Lord," another
young marine read.
Their chaplain, named Horne, told the worshippers they were stationed
outside Fallujah to bring the Iraqis "freedom from oppression,
rape, torture and murder ... We ask you God to bless us in that
The marines then lined up and their chaplain blessed them with
holy oil to protect them.
"God's people would be annointed with oil," the chaplain
said, as he lightly dabbed oil on the marines' foreheads.
The crowd then followed him outside their small
auditorium for a baptism of about a half-dozen marines who had just
The young men lined up and at least three of them stripped down
to their shorts.
The three laid down in a rubber dinghy filled with water and the
chaplain's assistant, Navy corpsman Richard Vaughn, plunged their
heads beneath the surface.
Smiling, Vaughn baptised them "in the name of the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit."
Dripping wet, Corporal Keith Arguelles beamed after his baptism.
"I just wanted to make sure I did this before
I headed into the fight," he said on the military base not
far from the city of Fallujah.
| JERUSALEM - The flight over Israel of an unmanned
Hezbollah spy plane has deeply embarrassed the Jewish state's air
force, which has prided itself for decades on having total control
of the region's skies.
"Breach in aerial security. Air force embarrassed. Hezbollah
sees all," read Monday's front-page headline in Israel's top-selling
daily Yediot Aharonot.
"And what if next time the drone carries a bomb?" asked
the daily Maariv.
The Lebanese guerrilla group announced on Sunday that it had sent
the drone over "northern Palestine" (Israel) in retaliation
for repeated violations of Lebanese airspace by Israel, deemed "Zionist
attacks on Lebanese sovereignty".
Hezbollah also warned that it could carry out more such flights.
After several hours of complete silence from the Israeli military
about the incident, the army eventually confirmed the overflight
of its territory.
"This morning, an Iranian UAV (unmanned air vehicle) operated
by the Hezbollah terror organization infiltrated into Israel over
the western Galilee," a military spokesman said in a statement.
The army said the spy plane, launched from southern Lebanon, flew
for about 15 minutes along Israel's northern Mediterranean coast
until it reached the coastal resort of Nahariyah.
The drone later crashed in southern Lebanon, Israeli military sources
"We must know immediately how it's possible for such a rudimentary
device to pass through the Israeli army's heavy air defenses, in
which billions have been invested," said opposition Labor parliamentary
deputy Eitan Cabel. [...]
The dollar could slide still further, in spite
of hitting an all-time low against the euro last week in the wake
of George W. Bush's re-election, currency traders have said.
The dollar sell-off has resumed amid fears among traders that Mr
Bush's victory will bring four more years of widening US budget
and current account deficits, heightened geopolitical risks and
a policy of "benign neglect" of the dollar.
Many currency traders were taken aback on Friday when the greenback
fell in spite of bullish data showing the US economy created 337,000
jobs in October.
"If this can't cause the dollar to strengthen
you have to tell me what will. This is a big green light to sell
the dollar," said David Bloom, currency analyst at HSBC,
as the greenback fell to a nine-year low in trade-weighted terms.
The dollar's fall comes as the Federal Reserve is widely expected
to raise US interest rates by a quarter point to 2 per cent when
it meets on Wednesday and to signal that it will continue with a
measured pace of rate increases.
Speculative traders in Chicago last week
racked up the highest number of long-euro, short-dollar contracts
on record. Options traders have reported brisk business in
euro calls - contracts to buy the euro at a pre-determined rate.
However, the market has been rife with rumours
that the latest wave of selling has been led by foreign governments
seeking to cut their exposure to US assets.
India and Russia have reportedly been selling
US assets, as well as petrodollar-rich Middle Eastern investors.
China, which has $515bn of reserves, was
also said to be selling dollars and buying Asian currencies
in readiness to switch the renminbi's dollar peg to a basket arrangement,
something Chinese officials have increasingly hinted at. Any re-allocation
could push the dollar sharply lower and Treasury yields markedly
LONDON (Reuters) - The dollar hit a new record
low against the euro and a nine-year low on a trade-weighted index
Monday as investors continued to shun the greenback on worries over
the United States' bloated deficits.
The dollar fell as low as $1.2985 to the euro in early trade and
analysts said it was only a matter of time before it dropped through
the psychological $1.30 level.
"The U.S. has a current account deficit, a budget deficit
and a president who appears unconcerned about dollar weakness,"
said Shahab Jalinoos, senior currency strategist at ABN AMRO. "No
one can see any reason to buy the dollar at the moment."
The latest leg of dollar weakness began last Wednesday as investors
took the view the administration of re-elected President Bush would
do little to alleviate the United States' twin deficits.
The U.S. budget deficit is about $427 billion, or 3.7 percent of
gross domestic product, while its current account -- the broadest
measure of trade -- hit a record $166.18 billion shortfall in the
The dollar's weakness was broad based with the U.S. currency hitting
a nine-year low against a basket of currencies below 83.80, a 12-year
low against the Canadian dollar and multi-month lows against sterling
and the yen.
"The euro/dollar's break of $1.30 is only a matter of time,"
said Naomi Fink, senior currency strategist at BNP Paribas. "It's
just a question of momentum." [...]
Top central bankers meeting in Basel said on Sunday
they were keeping a wary eye on currencies, but analysts said Japanese
and euro zone policymakers were unlikely to step into the market
to stop the dollar's fall at this stage.
The dollar fell to 105.30 yen in early European trade, its lowest
since April but still some way off this year's low below 103.40
Japan intervened heavily on the foreign exchanges, selling about
35 trillion yen ($332.2 billion) in 2003 through to March this year.
But analysts say Tokyo is unlikely to repeat such a large scale
campaign given the Japanese economy is now in better shape.
A weaker dollar helps combat inflation and
cushion the impact of high oil prices and analysts reckon euro zone
policymakers are also more tolerant of dollar weakness now than
they were earlier in the year. [...]
WASHINGTON - Victims of the Sept. 11 attacks
received $38.1 billion in compensation, with insurance companies
picking up the largest portion of the tab, according to a study
The report by Rand Institute for Social Justice found that civilians
killed or injured have received an average of $3.1 million per person
from the government, charities and insurance companies, or $8.7
Emergency personnel killed or injured were given a total of about
$1.9 billion. First responders received an average of $1.1 million
more than civilians with similar economic losses, the study found.
Most of the extra money came from charities.
Insurers paid 51 percent of the overall total, or about $19.6 billion.
The government distributed $15.8 billion, or 42 percent, and charities
paid $2.7 billion, or 7 percent.
The majority of the money went to New York City
businesses, which received $23.3 billion, according to Rand. Three
out of every four dollars that went to businesses came from insurance
In such a large-scale disaster, even the secondary assistance added
up to billions of dollars in compensation. About $3.5 billion was
paid to displaced residents, workers who lost their jobs, and those
who suffered emotional problems or were exposed to environmental
Lloyd Dixon, who co-authored the study, said the results raise
questions about the future role of insurance companies in the response
to any attack.
"It points out the hole that would be created if we don't
have terrorism insurance," Dixon said. "What
if the insurers weren't there the next time?"
A federal guarantee protecting companies against major financial
losses in the event of another attack is set to expire at the end
of 2005, and some in Congress are pressing for an extension now
to keep premiums down. [...]
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- A magnitude
four earthquake shook parts of west Alabama about 5:20 a-m Sunday,
but apparently caused no damage.
The U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center
said the epicenter of the moderate earthquake was located 25 miles
southwest of Tuscaloosa and 45 miles north of Linden.
While no damage was reported, some people in Eutaw, Livingston
and Northport felt a light shake.
Earthquake magnitudes are measures of earthquake size calculated
from ground motion recorded on seismographs.
SALT LAKE CITY - A magnitude
4.1 earthquake shook a sparsely populated area along the Utah-Colorado
state line, and was felt about 60 miles away, the University of
Utah Seismographic Stations reported.
There were no immediate reports of damage.
The epicenter of the earthquake late Saturday was in the Paradox
Valley area, seven miles east of the state line and 16 miles southwest
of the mining ghost town of Uravan, Colo., said Dr. Walter Arabasz.
People reported feeling the tremor in Grand Junction, Colo., about
60 miles to the northeast, Arabasz said.
Previous shocks in the area include a magnitude 4.3 earthquake
in May 2000, and two shocks of magnitude 3.7 and 3.8 in June and
| An earthquake of a 5.8 magnitude
rocked northern Japan.
The quake occurred near the area where the country's deadliest
earthquake in years struck last month. The quake appears to be an
aftershock to the earthquake that killed 39 people and injured more
than 2,000 last month.
Thousands of people in the area are still living in temporary shelters.
OAK RIDGE - An updated safety
analysis has identified "extensive seismic deficiencies"
at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant.
According to a staff memo at the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety
Board, the earthquake concerns involve the plant's 9212 complex
- the hub for manufacturing uranium warhead parts.
"The seismic analyses indicated extensive seismic deficiencies
with the building structure as well as facility systems and components,"
the Oct. 15 memo said.
There apparently is a debate, however, about whether the fixes
are worth the price tag - as much as $72 million - because the government
hopes to replace the old warhead-making shops over the next decade.
This is not the first time seismic issues have been raised at Y-12
and its main production facility.
In 1989, an engineer with Lockwood Greene, a federal contractor,
claimed he was fired because he raised seismic concerns at the 9212
building. Paul Nestel concluded that the building's unreinforced
walls would collapse during a serious earthquake.
8 (RIA Novosti) - The Shiveluch volcano, which is located in the
so-called "Country of geysers and volcanoes" - the Kamchatka
peninsula in the north-east of the Asian part of Russia, washed
by the waters of the Bering Sea and the Okhotskoe Sea - continues
to eject ashes to the heights between 1,500 and 4,500 meters.
According to experts from the Kamchatka scientific and methodological
seismology research group, they registered a 3,000-meter-high emission
at 11:05 local time on Monday (the time difference with Moscow is
Poor weather conditions hindered the visual observation of the
volcano for the most part of yesterday. However, according to seismic
data, the volcano has already registered at least 5 high-altitude
emissions of gas and ashes.
Satellite pictures, provided by the Alaska volcanological observatory,
show an 85-km long ash cloud moving in southeast direction. Seismic
stations in the vicinity of the volcano register ground shocks at
the depth of 5 kilometers and intermittent volcanic vibration.
Kamchatka's northernmost active 3,283-meter-high Shiveluch volcano
registered the increase in its activity back in January of this
At present, it does not pose any danged to residents of nearby
villages. Nevertheless, clouds of emitted ashes might be very dangerous
for aircraft and tourists, anglers and hunters who get too close
to the volcano.
Britain's largest drug company drew up a
secret plan to double sales of the controversial anti-depressant
Seroxat by marketing it as a cure for a raft of less serious mental
conditions, The Observer can reveal today.
The contents of the 250-page document have alarmed health campaigners
who accuse the firm, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), of putting profit before
the therapeutic needs of patients by attempting to broaden the market
for the drug which has been linked to a spate of suicides.
The revelation is likely to prompt further concerns about the role
and influence of the pharmaceutical industry, which has come under
severe scrutiny in recent months. The document is now being investigated
by a parliamentary inquiry into the drugs industry.
The internal report carries a section which outlines how GSK planned
to double sales of 'selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)'
- the industry term for anti-depressants - by winning the marketing
war against Seroxat's chief rival, Prozac, manufacured by Eli Lilly.
Written in 1998 and subsequently updated in following years, the
section is entitled: 'Towards the second billion - all SSRIs are
not the same' and discusses strategies to see off the threat posed
The document outlined how GSK intended to market
Seroxat for a range of conditions other than clinical depression.
Chief among these was a condition the company identified as social
anxiety disorder, although other forms of anxiety were also discussed
'What this document makes clear is that a number of different forms
of anxiety were being targeted in a systematic way. The thrust was
to move sales beyond the $1 billion to $2 billion mark by pushing
it to people who were not clinically depressed,' said Professor
David Healy, a psycho-pharmacologist at Cardiff University, who
has given evidence to the House of Commons Health Select Committee.
In addition the document shows GSK made a great
virtue of the fact that Seroxat had a relatively short 'half-life'
compared with Prozac, an argument which has subsequently proven
A half-life is the scientific term for how long it takes for the
concentration of a drug to drop by 50 per cent in a patient's bloodstream.
The company suggested Seroxat's short half-life meant patients could
come on and off the drug easily, compared with those on Prozac,
even to the extent that they could take 'treatment holidays'. 'There
was an argument that a short half life was really good news,' Brook
'But five years later, Seroxat has withdrawal
issues. It's the short half life that causes the problems. The substances
get into the body so quickly it causes some sort of dependency reaction.
So one of the things the company was saying was a benefit was actually
a problem.' [...]
HOBART, Australia - Australia will host a conference
here this week to try to win international support for a campaign
to save endangered seabirds from being wiped out by fishing and
pollution, the government said Sunday.
Australia has already won the support of New Zealand, Ecuador,
Spain, Britain and South Africa in ratifying an agreement to protect
albatrosses and petrels, which came into effect in February.
But it believes the plight of the two seabirds is now so dire that
much more needs to be done if they are to be rescued from extinction.
"Australia is hosting this meeting because we believe that
more can be done to protect these birds, whose journeys have inspired
mariners for years and continue to link Southern Hemisphere countries,"
said Environment Minister Ian Campbell. [...]
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