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
introduction by the author and never before published, UNEDITED sessions
and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's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
of Fallujah - Sacrificial Lambs In The Bogus War On Terror
had to stop some operations until the [U.S.] elections were over,'
said a senior Iraqi Defense Ministry official who requested anonymity
because he's not an authorized spokesman. ‘The Iraqi government
requested support from the American side in the past, but the Americans
were reluctant to launch military operations because they were worried
about American public opinion. Now, their hands are free.'"
(Jonathan S. Landay and Hannah Allam, Bush
expected to move quickly on Iraq, Knight Ridder)
"[Iraq is] a huge strategic disaster, and it will only get
worse… The idea of creating a constitutional state in a short amount
of time is a joke. It will take ten to fifteen years, and that is
if we want to kill ten percent of the population." (Lt.
Gen. William Odom, Director of the National Security Agency,
So let the madness begin.
his first post-election press conference, our President said,
"You asked, do I feel free. Let me put it to you this way: I earned
capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to
spend it. It is my style… and I'm going to spend it for what I told
the people I'd spend it on, which is -- you've heard the agenda:
Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education,
fighting and winning the war on terror."
So brace yourself, because we are evidently on the eve of the
spending of more than a little of that "capital" in Falluja. As
I write, perhaps 10,000 American troops are at the edges of that
recalcitrant city in the heartland of Sunni Iraq, supported by small
numbers of recently trained, untrusted Iraqi troops who are meant,
in that classic American phrase, to put an "Iraqi
face" on the American battle to come. No news reports on these
new Iraqi troops seem complete anymore without a
quote from a skeptical American like "'These people,' says [Marine
Sgt.] Scarfe, ‘will let us walk right to our death.'" And almost
all reports out of Iraq indicate that these troops like the Iraqi
police are thoroughly infiltrated by the insurgents. ("'The
infiltration is all over, from the top to the bottom, from decision
making to the lower levels,' says [a] senior Iraqi official.") In
fact, just this weekend reports have surfaced that a
Kurdish officer in the Iraqi security forces, briefed on the
American plans for taking Falluja, has deserted, evidently with
his briefing notes but without his uniform.
On the American side, our troops have been used as pawns in a
game of political chess that certainly will leave them more exposed
in any battle for Falluja than might otherwise have been the case.
Our ultimate threat, of course, is that those 10,000 soldiers backed
by air power and artillery will make an example of Falluja, producing
an American version of the Roman solution to Carthage. It would
serve as a fierce example of what might lie in store for any incompliant
Sunni or Shiite city. As the intelligence
outfit Stratfor recently put it in a report, "The Politics of
Storming Al Fallujah": "[T]he fate of Al Fallujah will likely serve
as an example to tribal leaders throughout the country who have
remained undecided about their relationships with coalition forces
and the IIG [Iraq Interim Government]." In other words, if you can't
"liberate" them, crush them.
With the power of that threat in mind, our offensive against Falluja
has been one of the slowest developing and most publicly announced
events of recent times. This, in turn, means we have left the Fallujan
insurgents all the time in the world to plan for the defense of
the city or to fade away as the fighting begins. (Some Americans
are already suggesting that casualties in the coming battle will
levels.) The insurgents, in turn, have been offering their own
set of threats, ranging from waves of car bombs to missiles
"tipped with deadly chemicals including cyanide."
will not be heard
This is an information age, but it will
be months before we learn the truth about the assault on Falluja
| Madeleine Bunting
Monday November 8, 2004
With fitting irony, one of the
camps used by the US marines waiting for the assault on Falluja
was formerly a Ba'ath party retreat occasionally used by Saddam
Hussein's sons. Dreamland, as it was known, has an island in the
middle of an artificial lake fringed by palms.
Now the camp's dream-like unreality is distorting
every news report filed on the preparations for the onslaught on
Falluja. We don't know, and won't know, anything about what
happens in the next few days except for what the US military authorities
choose to let us know. It's long since been too dangerous for journalists
to move around unless they are embedded with the US forces. There
is almost no contact left with civilians still in Falluja, the only
information is from those who have left.
This is how the fantasy runs: a city the
size of Brighton is now only ever referred to as a "militants'
stronghold" or "insurgents' redoubt". The city is
being "softened up" with precision attacks from the air.
Pacifying Falluja has become the key to stabilising the country
ahead of the January elections. The "final assault" is
imminent, in which the foreigners who have infiltrated the almost
deserted Iraqi city with their extremist Islam will be "cleared",
"rooted out" or "crushed". Or, as one marine
put it: "We will win the hearts
and minds of Falluja by ridding the city of insurgents. We're doing
that by patrolling the streets and killing the enemy."
These are the questionable assumptions and make-believe which are
now all that the embedded journalists with the US forces know to
report. Every night, the tone gets a little more breathless and
excited as the propaganda operation to gear the troops up for battle
coopts the reporters into its collective psychology.
There's a repulsive asymmetry of war here: not the much remarked
upon asymmetry of the few thousand insurgents holed up in Falluja
vastly outnumbered by the US, but the asymmetry of information.
In an age of instant communication, we will have to wait months,
if not years, to hear of what happens inside Falluja in the next
few days. The media representation of this war will be from a distance:
shots of the city skyline illuminated by the flashes of bomb blasts,
the dull crump of explosions. What will be left to our imagination
is the terror of children crouching behind mud walls; the agony
of those crushed under falling masonry; the frantic efforts to save
lives in makeshift operating theatres with no electricity and few
supplies. We will be the ones left to fill in the blanks, drawing
on the reporting of past wars inflicted on cities such as Sarajevo
The silence from Falluja marks a new and agonising departure in
the shape of 21st-century war. The horrifying
shift in the last century was how, increasingly, war was waged against
civilians: their proportion of the death toll rose from 50% to 90%.
It prompted the development of a form of war-reporting, exemplified
by Bosnia, which was not about the technology and hardware, but
about human suffering, and which fuelled public outrage. No longer.
The reporting of Falluja has lapsed back into the military machismo
of an earlier age. This war against the defenceless
will go unreported.
The reality is that a city can never be adequately
described as a "militants' stronghold". It's a label designed
to stiffen the heart of a soldier, but it is blinding us, the democracies
that have inflicted this war, to the consequences of our actions.
Falluja is still home to thousands of civilians. The numbers who
have fled the prospective assault vary, but there could be 100,000
or more still in their homes. Typically, as in any war, those who
don't get out of the way are a mixture of the most vulnerable -
the elderly, the poor, the sick; the unlucky, who left it too late
to get away; and the insanely brave, such as medical staff.
Nor does it seem possible that reporters
still use the terms "softening up" or "precision"
bombing. They achieve neither softening nor precision, as
Falluja well knew long before George W Bush arrived in the White
House. In the first Gulf war, an RAF laser-guided bomb intended
for the city's bridge went astray and landed in a crowded market,
killing up to 150. Last year, the killing of 15 civilians shortly
after the US arrived in the city ensured that Falluja became a case
study in how to win a war but lose the occupation. A catalogue of
catastrophic blunders has transformed a relatively calm city with
a strongly pro-US mayor into a battleground.
One last piece of fantasy is that there is
unlikely to be anything "final" about this assault.
Already military analysts acknowledge that a US victory in Falluja
could have little effect on the spreading incidence of violence
across Iraq. What the insurgents have already shown is that they
are highly decentralised, and yet the quick copying of terrorist
techniques indicates some degree of cooperation. Hopes of a peace
seem remote; the future looks set for a chronic,
intermittent civil war. By the time the bulldozers have ploughed
their way through the centre of Falluja, attention could have shifted
to another "final assault" on another "militant stronghold",
as another city of homes, shops and children's playgrounds morphs
into a battleground.
The recent comment of one Falluja resident is strikingly poignant:
"Why," she asked wearily, "don't they go and fight
in a desert away from houses and people?" Why indeed? Twentieth-century
warfare ensured a remarkable historical inversion. Once the city
had been the place of safety to retreat to in a time of war, the
place of civilisation against the barbarian wilderness; but the
invention of aerial bombardment turned the city into a target, a
place of terror.
What is so disturbing is that much of the violence meted out to
cities in the past 60-odd years has rarely had a strategic purpose
- for example, the infamous bombing of Dresden. Nor is it effective
in undermining morale or motivation; while the violence destroys
physical and economic capital, it usually generates social capital
- for example, the Blitz spirit or the solidarity of New Yorkers
in the wake of 9/11 - and in Chechnya served only to establish a
precarious peace in a destroyed Grozny and fuel a desperate, violent
Assaults on cities serve symbolic purposes: they are set showpieces
to demonstrate resolve and inculcate fear. To that end, large numbers
of casualties are required: they are not an accidental byproduct
but the aim. That was the thinking behind 9/11, and Falluja risks
becoming a horrible mirror-image of that atrocity. Only by the shores
of that dusty lake in Dreamland would it be possible to believe
that the ruination of this city will do anything to enhance the
legitimacy of the US occupation and of the Iraqi government it appointed.
Muslim fundamentalist insurgents
seeking to topple the government are holed up in a conservative
city with little sympathy for secularism or pluralism. They raise
the banner of Islam, and they call on the rest of the country to
rise up and expel the oppressors. The government reacts by massing
forces around the city. It demanded that the militants surrender
or the city give them up. If not, the city would be destroyed. Fallujah
this week? Yes, but it was also the Syrian city of Hama in the spring
The fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood seized Hama as the first
step towards its goal of a national uprising against the secular
Baathist regime. The Syrian President demanded their surrender.
His army shelled the city, and special forces went in to kill or
capture the militants. The Syrians employed the same strategy that
the US is using now. Its tanks and artillery waited outside the
city; they fired on militants and civilians alike. Its elite units,
like the American Marines surrounding Falljuah today, braced themselves
for a bloody battle.
The US condemned Syria for the assault that is
believed to have cost 10,000 civilian lives. The Syrian army destroyed
the historic centre of Hama, and it rounded up Muslim rebels for
imprisonment or execution. Syria's actions against Hama came to
form part of the American case that Syria was a terrorist state.
Partly because of Hama, Syria is on a list of countries in the Middle
East whose regimes the US wants to change.
Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, declared a state of emergency
on Sunday to assume powers reminiscent of those wielded by Saddam
Hussein: to break up public gatherings, enter private houses without
warrants and detain people without trial. Perhaps in
waging war against the Iraqis who want to expel the Americans and
topple America's chosen Iraqi leaders, the insurgents have compelled
the US and its Iraqi allied regime to behave like the two Baathist
regimes that they believed were so totalitarian they had to go.
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AFP) - The skies
above Fallujah burned red as artillery, war planes and tanks pounded
the Iraqi rebel bastion and some 3,000 US troops poured in at the
start of an operation to retake the city.
Following a day of heavy shelling, marines and
soldiers stormed the northern entrance to the city west of Baghdad,
while doctors there voiced dismay over a lack of vital supplies
after Iraqi troops seized the main hospital.
A unit of marines penetrated the insurgent heart of the city barely
an hour after the offensive officially started at 7:00 pm (1600
GMT) amid a blistering volley of gunfire and slim resistance, an
AFP reporter embedded with them said.
In a two-front attack, heavy fire ripped through the notorious
Jolan district in the northwest as a separate unit also took control
of Fallujah's train station in the northeast, a marine officer told
As they edged closer to Jolan, at least four 2,000-pound
(900-kilogram) bombs were dropped in the northwest of the city,
an AFP reporter said.
The marines poured into a complex of several buildings, including
two apartment blocks, a school, a mosque
and a government building, in the sector.
Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi authorised the operation, dubbed
Phantom Fury, some seven months after an initial attempt by the
US military to reclaim the rebel nerve centre ended in a stalemate
that forced the troops to withdraw.
Ending weeks of anticipation, crack Iraqi
troops and US marines seized control of Fallujah's main hospital
during a pre-dawn offensive on Monday triggering a day of clashes
that erupted into an all-out assault as night fell.
Missiles rained down indiscriminately on
the city, with the action most intense in the Askari district
in the northeast and Jolan in the northwest.
Comment: Remember this is a city with approximately 150,000 civilians,
upon whom the brave US military are "indiscriminately"
raining 2,000lb bombs and high calibre depleted uranium shells.
"They are in the process of incinerating
the sector," a Jolan local said.
Iraq's Defense Minister Sheikh Hazem Shaalan warned that worse
was to follow as the US-backed government battles to retake the
city, the symbol of a potent insurgency that is bent on undermining
its plans to hold elections by January.
"Tomorrow is the large-scale operation to retake the city,"
"We've called it Operation Dawn. God willing,
it's going to be a new, happy dawn for the people of Fallujah."
Shaalan said some insurgents had already fled and vowed to catch
"But our intelligence services are tracking them and we are
going to get them and teach them a lesson that they would never
Just before the official battle started, Allawi paid a surprise
visit to the thousands of Iraqi troops also camped out around Fallujah,
poised for action.
"Your job is to arrest the killers but if you kill them then
let it be," he said.
"You need to avenge the victims of the terrorists
like the 37 children who were killed in Baghdad and the 49 of your
colleagues who were slaughtered," he said, referring to two
of the deadliest attacks unleashed by insurgents loyal to Iraq's
most wanted militant and Al-Qaeda frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Iraqi and US officials believe that Zarqawi and
his followers have turned Fallujah into an operating base. They
gave the residents an ultimatum to surrender the militants or face
assault, but city leaders insist such people are not there.
Many of Fallujah's 300,000 residents are
thought to have fled Fallujah to surrounding camps or Baghdad
as living conditions deteriorated and fears of the assault, which
has been in the pipeline for months, grew.
Doctors inside the besieged city painted a grim picture amid a
chronic lack of medical equipment, trained staff, water and electricity.
"All of the surgeons in the city are blocked in the general
hospital and are not permitted to return to Fallujah," said
Dr Hashem Issawi, who works in one of just two functioning medical
"Ambulances have also been confiscated. We lack material and
Local medics said 12 people had been killed and 30 wounded in the
day-long bombardment, while Allawi said 38 militants died in clashes
around the western fringe of the city as US and Iraqi troops tried
to secure the hospital and two bridges they seized in the pre-dawn
Determined to bring the unruly city in line, Allawi also announced
a raft of draconian emergency measures including an indefinite curfew
that started at 6:00 pm, saying it would be lifted on an area-by-area
basis when order was restored. [...]
FALLUJA, Iraq, Monday, Nov. 8
- Explosions and heavy gunfire thundered across Falluja on Sunday
night and Monday morning as American troops seized control of two
strategic bridges, a hospital and other objectives in the first
stage of a long-expected invasion of the city, the center of the
Iraqi insurgency. [...]
It was the second time in six months that a battle had raged in
Falluja. In April, American troops were closing in on the city center
when popular uprisings broke out in cities across Iraq. The outrage,
fed by mostly unconfirmed reports of large civilian casualties,
forced the Americans to withdraw.
American commanders regarded the reports as inflated, but it was
impossible to determine independently how many civilians had been
killed. The hospital was selected as an early target because the
American military believed that it was the source of rumors about
"It's a center of propaganda," a senior American officer
Today the Iraq Body Count (IBC)
website has published its analysis of the civilian dealth toll in
the April 2004 siege of Falluja. This analysis leads to the conclusion
that betweeen 572 and 616 of the approximately 800 reported deaths
were of civilians, with over 300 of these being women and children.
The scale of the fighting in
the Iraqi town of Falluja last week is becoming clear as a shaky
ceasefire takes hold.
A group of five international charities estimated
that about 470 people had been killed, while hospital officials
put the death toll at about 600.
Reuters television footage from Falluja showed
corpses of children, women and old men lying in the street beside
body parts no one has had time to collect.
"Hospitals and medical staff are overwhelmed," the five
They added that they were "asking desperately for blood, oxygen
The group said that at a conservative estimate, about 1,200 had
been wounded, according to Reuters, which did not name the aid agencies
Residents of Falluja have reportedly been burying
the dead in their gardens and a football field because it is too
dangerous to go to the cemeteries on the outskirts of town.
Kifaya Ilawee fled the town when her neighbour's house was hit
by a shell.
"I have lived in Falluja for 30 years. I have never seen anything
like this, what we saw every day in Falluja last week," she
She is now living in Baghdad with 35 others who also fled the fighting.
Umm Samir left the town with her family on Saturday, London's Guardian
She described "constant bombing" as US-led coalition
forces battled insurgents during the week in Falluja, known as the
city with 100 mosques.
US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said on Monday that about 70
coalition soldiers had been killed in Iraq in April, and that about
10 times that number of Iraqis had been killed over the same period.
The US says most of the Iraqi dead were fighters.
Umm Samir, 62, says her family was originally pleased that the
Americans had deposed Saddam Hussein.
But then the US troops began treating Iraqis
"disrespectfully... as though we were beneath their feet,"
she told the Guardian.
American behaviour had helped provoke ordinary
people to join the resistance, she said, adding that even she and
her older sister wanted to join the fighters.
"When the Americans arrived there were only
about 50 guerrillas," another Falluja resident, Nada Rabee,
"By the end of the week there were a few
thousand. They are just making the situation worse."
A New York Times report corroborates these claims.
The US newspaper says that many people - perhaps tens of thousands
- who did not consider themselves full-time resistance fighters
were now prepared to join the insurgency.
Khalif Juma, a 26-year-old vegetable seller, told the newspaper
he was angry about the US treatment of radical Shia religious leader
Moqtada Sadr, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued.
"To be honest, we weren't like this before. But we're religious
people, and our leader has been threatened," he told the newspaper.
"We would be ashamed to stay in our houses with our wives
at a time like this."
He and his cousins have bought a crate of Kalashnikov rifles, he
Sunday November 7, 09:13 AM
An Iraqi boy recovers in a Fallujah hospital after
a U.S. airstrike in Fallujah, Iraq Saturday, Nov. 6, 2004, which
killed his father and wounded his brother, according to hospital
officials. U.S. jets pounded Fallujah early Saturday in the heaviest
airstrikes in six months, including five 500-pound bombs dropped
on insurgent targets.
Saturday November 6, 09:50 AM
Iraqi Children throw stones at an American armored
vehicle in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq Saturday,
Nov. 6, 2004.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Sunday November 7, 09:50 PM
A purple heart medal is taped to the chest of an
unidentified American soldier while in the intensive care unit of
31st Combat Support Hospital in the Green Zone of Baghdad, Iraq
Sunday, Nov. 7, 2004. The soldier was wounded in a car bomb explosion
in Baghdad Sunday, and the medal, awarded for being wounded in combat,
was taped to his chest so that it would not be lost during his medevac
to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany
NEAR FALLUJA, Iraq, Nov. 5 [...]
"Locked, cocked and ready to rock,"
said Lance Cpl. Dimitri Gavriel, 29, who left an investment banking
job in Manhattan 18 months ago to enlist, using a popular Marine
expression. "That's about how we feel."
Many of the young marines expected to lead the attack have not
yet been part of a major battle. Most of those who took part in
the operation in Falluja in April have been sent home. And though
some of the commanders here fought the first phase of the war last
year, many of the rank and file arrived here for the first time
All of them, though, seem eager to prove their mettle and at last
confront the insurgency head on.
"It's kind of like the cancer of Iraq,"
said Lt. Steven Berch, a lanky platoon commander, speaking of Falluja.
"It's become a kind of hotel for the insurgents. Hopefully
getting rid of them will help to stabilize the whole country."
Others point to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant who
is said to be using Falluja as a base.
"We're doing the right thing here,"
said First Lt. Christopher Wilkens, pausing for breath during a
drill. "These guys are terrorists, there
are connections to Al Qaeda, and fighting them is what we came here
[...] The marines also expect heavy house-to-house fighting once
they enter the city, and they are fully aware of the risks. During
drills they do test runs of their arrival in Falluja, running out
the back of the armored personnel carriers that will bring them
into the city while carrying all their weapons and a 45-pound pack.
None of the dangers seem to rattle their confidence. Between drills,
they do pull-ups and play touch football. In the evening, laughter
echoes around the barracks where they live, along with heavy metal
music blasting from CD players.
"I don't think about it," said
Pfc. Anthony Mells, a 20 year-old marine from Queens, when asked
about the risks of battle. "It's all about motivation. Getting
wounded is not in my job description."
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - A Marine
major implicated in the death of an Iraqi prisoner testified at
his court-martial Monday that he thought the
prisoner was uncooperative and faking illness.
Maj. Clarke Paulus is accused of ordering a subordinate to drag
Nagem Hatab, 52, by the neck from a holding cell at a Marine detention
facility in Iraq on June 6, 2003. Hatab died shortly afterward;
a military forensics examiner found he broke a bone in his neck
Military judge Col. Robert Chester barred all medical
evidence from the trial because some of Hatab's body parts have
After the prosecution rested its case Friday, the judge reduced
the most serious charge against Paulus from aggravated assault to
assault and battery. Paulus had faced up to four and a half years
in prison; he now faces a maximum of 18 months.
Paulus, of New Hope, Pa., testified Monday
that Hatab had to be moved from a cell he shared with other prisoners
because he had diarrhea. When guards tried to get the Iraqi
to stand, he fell into barbed wire. Paulus said he then ordered
a lance corporal to drag Hatab by the neck.
"It was the only area that didn't have
feces on it," Paulus testified.
Paulus said he watched as Hatab was dragged about 20 feet and saw
no signs of choking. He said if he had, he would have stopped it.
He said a medic determined Hatab's vital signs were normal.
Paulus said Hatab showed no signs of distress — even when
he grabbed onto barbed wire as he fell. He said he still believed
Hatab was faking.
"How many people in your life do you
know that can fake diarrhea?" prosecuting lawyer Maj.
Leon Francis asked during cross-examination. "None that I know,"
Asked about the hold used to drag Hatab, Paulus also said: "Did
I think it could cause an injury? ... In some cases, yes; in this
In September, a Marine sergeant, Gary Pittman, was acquitted of
abusing Hatab but convicted of assaulting prisoners. He
was sentenced to 60 days of hard labor and demoted to private. Charges
against six others have been dismissed.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Army Spec.
Megan Ambuhl has pleaded guilty to one count of dereliction of duty
in the Abu Ghraib Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, in a deal with prosecutors
sparing her any prison time, the U.S. Army said on Tuesday.
Ambuhl, a 30-year-old reservist from Centerville,
Virginia, was reduced in rank to private and ordered to forfeit
half a month's pay, said Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman
at the Pentagon. [...]
A U.S. military court in Baghdad last month also ordered two more
soldiers, Spec. Charles Graner and Sgt. Javal Davis, to stand trial
on charges stemming from the scandal. Graner's trial is due to open
on Jan. 7 and Davis's on Feb. 1.
BAGHDAD, Iraq — As a U.S.
Army patrol rolled into Sadr City one night in August, soldiers
received a tip that militants in dump trucks were planting roadside
American troops had been clashing regularly with Al Mahdi militiamen
in the restive Baghdad slum. So when Staff Sgt. Cardenas Alban of
Carson, Calif., saw an object fall from a garbage truck in the distance,
his company took positions around the vehicle and unleashed a barrage
of fire from rifles and a 25-millimeter cannon atop a Bradley fighting
vehicle. The truck exploded in flames.
As soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment approached
the burning vehicle, they did not find insurgents. The victims were
mainly teenagers, hired to work the late shift picking up trash
for about $5 a night, witnesses said.
Medics scrambled to treat the half a dozen
people strewn around the scene. A dispute broke out among soldiers
standing over one severely wounded young man who was moaning in
pain. An unwounded Iraqi claiming to be a relative of the victim
pleaded in broken English for soldiers to help him.
But to the horror of bystanders, Alban, 29, a
boyish-faced sergeant who joined the Army in 1997, retrieved an
M-231 assault rifle and fired into the wounded man’s body.
Seconds later, another soldier, Staff Sgt. Johnny Horne Jr., 30,
of Winston-Salem, N.C., grabbed an M-16 rifle and also shot the
The killing might have been forgotten except for a U.S. soldier
who days later slipped an anonymous note under the door of the unit’s
commander, Capt. Robert Humphries, warning that “soldiers
had committed serious crimes that needed to be looked at.”
U.S. officials have since characterized the shooting
as a “mercy killing,” citing statements by Alban and
Horne that they shot the wounded Iraqi “to put him out of
Military attorneys, however, are calling it premeditated murder
and have charged the two sergeants, saying the victim’s suffering
was no excuse for the soldiers’ actions.
“I have no doubt that’s why they did it,” said
Capt. John Maloney, one of the military attorneys prosecuting the
case. “But it still constitutes murder.”
Military attorneys in Baghdad said they were unaware of any legal
precedent justifying “mercy killing” in a war zone,
though such circumstances could be considered during sentencing.
Rather than provide medical help to an injured civilian, the soldiers
treated the Iraqi as if he were an animal struck by a car.
“We are not sheep,” said Emad Raheem, 40, who said
he was the driver of the dump truck. “We are human beings.”
Seven Iraqis were killed in the attack, including the one who
was shot, military officials said. Eight others were wounded.
Alban and Horne — both on their second tour in Iraq —
and their attorneys declined to comment. In statements to military
investigators, both acknowledged shooting the Iraqi but have not
entered formal pleas. They are facing Article 32 hearings in Baghdad,
which will determine whether there is enough evidence to begin court-martial
proceedings. If convicted, the soldiers could receive the death
The case — one of about a dozen murder cases filed against
U.S. troops in Iraq — is fueling a debate about the conduct
of American forces here and the treatment of Iraqi civilians, particularly
in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.
Two other soldiers in Alban’s unit, from
Fort Riley, Kan., also are under investigation for what military
officials say were the premeditated murders of three Iraqi civilians
in separate cases.
In September, a U.S. reservist was sentenced
to 25 years for killing a teenage Iraqi national guard soldier after
a sexual encounter in an observation tower. The soldier said he
lost control because of traumatic memories of childhood abuse, but
family members of the victim accused the American of assaulting
the Iraqi and then shooting him to cover it up.
“These crimes represent the pinnacle of American oppression
and violence,” said Mudaffar Battat, editor of a Sadr City
The identity of the Iraqi killed by Alban and
Horne remains unclear. U.S. military officials say they cannot verify
the individual’s name because they never collected his personal
information, did not interview or compensate family members and
then lost track of his body, which could hinder the case. They suspect
his body was taken by Iraqi police and buried.
Iraqi witnesses found by the Los Angeles Times identified the
victim as Qassim Hassan, 16, who had joined his brother and several
cousins that night to earn extra money. They said their group of
15 was traveling in three dump trucks about 1:30 a.m. and had just
passed through a military checkpoint when they were attacked.
“Most of (the victims) were poor teenagers,”
said Heider Ali Ismail, 21, who drove one of the trucks. “We
were finishing up and just about to unload the trucks.”
Hassan sat in the back of one of the trucks amid the rubbish,
which ignited after the American soldiers struck.
Hassan’s cousin, Ahmed Majid, said in an interview that
Hassan’s clothing caught fire and he struggled to jump off
the truck, falling to the ground unconscious.
Military officials would not confirm whether Hassan is the same
person shot by the soldiers. Majid and Raheem said they had been
invited to testify at a military hearing Saturday.
Accounts of the incident by U.S. and Iraqi witnesses bear some
similarities, but the two sides disagree on other aspects of the
attack, including the extent of injuries suffered by the Iraqi.
Alban and Horne said in confessions that the man they shot was
severely wounded and unlikely to survive. They said they watched
him moan and writhe in pain until they could stand it no longer.
Sgt. Jacob E. Smith, an Army medic who helped treat the wounded
Iraqis, testified the victim’s limbs were severely burned
and his intestines were spilling out.
“Everything from his ribs to his hips was
gone,” Smith said. “He was in bad shape. He was going
to die.” Another witness said the man’s spinal cord
Majid said his cousin was unconscious and struggling
to breathe, but his only injuries were burns. He said he pleaded
with soldiers to help his cousin and his brother, who still was
trapped in the burning truck. But when he tried to help Hassan,
he said, a soldier pushed him away, saying, “Shut up and go!”
Then the soldier shot his cousin, he said.
BAQOUBA, Iraq (AP) -- By the light
of flashlights and a crescent moon, the three-member crew catapults
a 300-pound pilotless airplane into the sky.
Minutes later, other U.S. soldiers behind a computer screen inside
a shed monitor video images from the plane, known as a Shadow, as
it loiters over a traffic circle frequently attacked by insurgent
"We fill some of the gaps in the intelligence field. We put
one of these in harm's way instead of a soldier.
It's all about saving lives," says Sgt. Francisco Huereque,
who is in charge of the night's launch.
Unmanned aerial vehicles and other so-called "stand-off"
weapons, whether currently used or in secret testing, belong to
a developing high-tech arsenal that the U.S.
military says will help minimize casualties as it battles insurgents.
Most of the systems are slated for continued, if not intensified,
use as Iraqi forces train to take over the bulk of combat operations
from the Americans -- though when that might happen remains uncertain.
More than 1,120 U.S. soldiers have died in the conflict at a current
rate of more than two each day.
In units like the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, several surveillance
drones and specially equipped terrestrial vehicles are deployed
daily to protect soldiers against what persists as the deadliest
killer -- roadside explosives.
An armored, tractor-like vehicle called the Meerkat is often dispatched
to detect suspected improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, while
soldiers stand safely back. The South African-made vehicle, which
can be driven by a soldier or operated by remote control, can withstand
the simultaneous blast of three anti-tank mines, said Staff Sgt.
Darrell Theurer, a native of Bismarck, North Dakota.
Combing the roads around this provincial capital 35 miles north
of Baghdad, Theurer's unit also trots out the Buffalo, a massive,
heavily armored machine that can run Meerkats by remote control
and plow through a minefield to scoop up explosives with its retractable
In other missions, robots are called in to shoot video of the insides
of cars suspected of carrying bombs.
The life-protecting technologies extend to the airwaves.
A system installed in Humvees called Warlock, made by EDO Corp.
of New York, can jam signals from mobile telephones, garage door
openers and other remote-control devices used by insurgents to detonate
Officers say that without such technologies, casualties would unquestionably
The Pentagon estimates some 40 percent of improvised explosive
devices are now discovered before rebels set them off.
Higher up the military chain from the brigade, still classified
technology to ferret out roadside bombs is being tried out while
in the wings are other intelligence-gatherers that may or may not
make it to the Iraqi battlefield.
On the ground, a variety of new unmanned vehicles are expected
to enter the field in coming years.
Among them is the Military R-Gator, built by tractor-maker Deere
& Co. and iRobot, which makes the far smaller remote-controlled
PackBot robots already deployed to scout out dangerous locations
and dispose of explosives. The R-Gator, set to begin full production
in 2006, will be autonomous, meaning it will navigate and perform
some tasks without any input from humans.
In the air, military officials are investigating the use of stationary,
spherical "spy in the sky" airships and a digital camera
packed into a mortar shell that transmits photos to a soldier's
laptop while the shell floats to the ground attached to a parachute.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, were flying over Iraq even before
the war began and now range from the high-altitude, super-sophisticated
Global Hawk to the Raven, which comes in a carrying case and is
launched by just flipping it into the air.
The tiny Raven is just 3 feet long, with a wing span of 4 1/2 feet,
and weighs 4 pounds. It can fly as far away as nine miles and stay
in the air for 80 minutes.
Military officials will not reveal the total number of UAVs being
used in Iraq, citing operational security.
But Loren Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute
think tank in Washington, said he has heard that UAVs across all
branches are performing about 400 sorties a day in Iraq.
The U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts,
which developed the Raven, said in May that more than 100 of the
tiny UAVs were being deployed this year in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It's clear from the troops on the ground that they'll take as many
as they can get.
"It's such a sought-after commodity, they can't churn them
out fast enough," says Sgt. Michael Lucas, a pilotless-craft
mission commander from Jerseyville, Ill. Soldiers are also being
streamed out of the nine-month UAV training school.
This brigade operates four Shadows, which are used mainly to snoop
for roadside explosives, car bombs, rebel mortar positions, urban
snipers and insurgents who may be stalking U.S. convoys.
Soldiers with Huereque, who is from Prineville, Oregon, say a Shadow
will be in the air 45 minutes after an order is given, much quicker
than it takes for the unit to receive images from satellites.
One Shadow recently tracked a van driving from a mortar emplacement
as it dropped off four individuals at various points before arriving
at a house.
Alerted about what the Shadow had seen, ground troops moved in
to round up six insurgents who were carrying incriminating evidence:
the insurgents' own video of mortars being fired at U.S. bases,
according to 2nd Lt. Liesel Himmelberger, who monitors real-time
images from UAVs in the brigade's operation center.
It's also suspected that as a UAV flies overhead, its mere sound
-- described as "a lawnmower on steroids" -- may help
"If you're doing something nasty and you have one buzzing
over your head at 5,000 feet you might just break off," says
Himmelberger, of Newburgh, New York.
The brigade's intelligence officer, Maj. Kreg Schnell, says the
unit that replaces theirs when it leaves Iraq in February will be
more digitally advanced.
But Schnell, from Seattle, is skeptical about how many lives can
be saved as the Americans seek to put more unmanned machines in
the line of fire and relegate soldiers to the role of intelligence
"It's a force-oriented enemy that will still come after us,"
Schnell predicts. "Economic and political well-being for the
Iraqis, that will save American lives."
Anonymous for SOTT
It started out innocently enough...
I began to think at parties now and then -- to loosen up. Inevitably,
though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just
a social thinker. I began to think alone-"to relax," I
told myself - but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and
more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.
That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I had turned
off the TV and asked my mate about the meaning of life, but she
just spent that night at her mother's.
I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment
don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends
at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to
the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly
we are doing here?" One day the boss called me in.
He said, "Listen, I like you, and it hurts me to say this,
but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking
on the job, you'll have to find another job."
This gave me a lot to think about.
I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey,"
I confessed, "I've been thinking..."
"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want
"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."
"It is serious!" she said, lower lip aquiver. "You
think as much as college professors, and college professors don't
make any money. So if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"
"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently. She exploded
in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with
the emotional drama.
"I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out
the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche.
I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to
the big glass doors. They didn't open. The library was closed. I
had reached the absolute nadir of my life...
To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for
me that night. As I sank to the ground, clawing at the unfeeling
glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend,
is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably
recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous
poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker.
Now I never miss a TA meeting.
At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it
was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we
avoided thinking since the last meeting. Our motto is "never
have an original thought”, and we take it one step at a time.
I am now at a point where I deny cause and effect, eschew science,
idolize industry and business, and always think I am the only one
who is right....and I even believe that privatization is God's rule
on earth. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.
Life just seemed easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.
I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me. Today,
I even registered to vote.
LONDON, Nov. 9 (Xinhuanet) --
US President George W. Bush would continue his "aggressive"
foreign policy during his second term, US Secretary of State Colin
Powell said in an interview with the British Financial Times newspaper
published on Tuesday.
"The president is not going to trim
his sails or pull back. It's a continuation of his principles, his
policies, his beliefs," Powell said in his first interview
since Bush was re-elected on Nov. 2.
The US foreign policy had been "aggressive in terms of going
after challenges, issues," the president was "going to
keep moving this direction," Powell told the paper.
While Bush's policy would be "multilateral
in nature," the United States would act alone where necessary,
However, Powell said the United States would also reach out to
the international community where it can, adding that Bush would
convey to European leaders that he was "anxious to reach out"
On the Middle East peace process, Powell described the peace process
as "one of the biggest overhangs in our foreign policy, the
way it is perceived," but he did not elaborate on how the United
States intended to become more involved and warned that it still
needed responsible partners on the Palestinian side.
Referring to cooperation between the United States and Europe
over Iran, Powell said there was no agreement yet between Iran and
the European Union trio of Britain, France, Germany on its nuclear
program, confirming that "regime change" was not the US
policy towards Iran.
Azzaman, 2004-10-30 -- More
than 310 Iraqi scientists are thought to have perished at the hands
of Israeli secret agents in Iraq since fall of Baghdad to US troops
in April 2003, a seminar has found.
The seminar, held in Cairo, was attended by politicians, journalists
and experts with an interest in current Iraqi affairs.
The experts said they had detected an organized
campaign aimed at “liquidating Iraqi scientists” in
the past 18 months and most of them pointed the finger at the Israeli
secret police service, the Mossad.
The organizers said their aim was to highlight the plight of Iraqi
scientists particularly those who were engaged in the weapons programs
under the former regime.
“There is a joint American and Israeli
plan to kill as many Iraqi scientists as possible,”
said Abdel Raoof al-Raidi, an ambassador and assistant foreign minister.
The Iraqi ambassador in Cairo, Ahmad al-Iraqi, accused Israel of
sending to Iraq immediately after the US invasion “a commando
unit” charged with the killing of Iraqi scientists.
“Israel has played a prominent role in liquidating
Iraqi scientists … The campaign is part of a Zionist plan
to kill Arab and Muslim scientists working in applied research which
Israel sees as threatening its interests,” al-Iraqi said.
DR. Imad Jad, an Israeli affairs expert at the Al-Ahram Studies
Center, said the US had already airlifted 70 Iraqi scientists out
of the country and placed them in areas to make it difficult for
them to “transfer information to anti-US quarters.”
He said more than 310 Iraqi scientists have been killed so far
and most of them at the hands of Mossad agents working in Iraq.
He said the Ahram Center estimated that nearly 17,000 Iraqi scientists
working in various fields of knowledge have fled the country since
the US-led invasion.
In Baghdad, interim government officials refused to comment on
the deliberations that took place in the Cairo conference.
However, the Ministry of Higher Education and
the Ministry of Science and Technology said their own figures tally
with those mentioned at the seminar, particularly regarding the
number of Iraqi scientist been killed so far.
French doctors treating Yasser Arafat confirmed for the first time
today that he was in a coma and said his condition had deteriorated.
"President Yasser Arafat's health worsened in the night,"
said Gen. Christian Estripeau, spokesman for the Percy Military
Training Hospital outside Paris. "His coma, which led to his
admission to the intensive care unit, became deeper this morning."
In comments that appeared to suggest that the Palestinian leader
may not recover, he added that Arafat's deterioration "marks
a significant stage toward a development for which we reserve our
The comments were by far the most detailed by doctors since Arafat
was admitted to the hospital Oct. 29, and they came amid a dramatic
dispute between Arafat's wife Suha and Palestinian officials whom
she has accused of trying to topple the veteran leader.
Four top Palestinian officials - including Prime Minister Ahmed
Qureia and former premier Mahmoud Abbas - arrived in Paris late
Monday, amid confusion over his condition and despite uncertainty
that they would be allowed to see him.
Prior to Estripeau's announcement, Palestinian envoy Leila Shahid
- one of a small inner circle allowed access to his bedside to date
- had said in a radio interview last week that Arafat was in a "reversible"
coma and was "between life and death."
Media reports, epecially in Israel, have said he was brain dead.
But other Palestinian leaders - and Suha Arafat - have painted a
less dire picture.
Shahid had suggested the coma occurred after Arafat was put under
anesthesia for medical tests including an endoscopy, colonoscopy
and a biopsy of the spinal cord.
foreign-policy neoconservative with close and long-standing ties
to top hawks in the George W. Bush administration has laid out what
he calls ''a checklist of the work the world will demand of this
president and his subordinates in a second term.''
The list, which begins with the destruction of
Falluja in Iraq and ends with the development of ''appropriate strategies''
for dealing with threats posed by China, Russia and ''the emergence
of a number of aggressively anti-American regimes in Latin America,''
calls for ''regime change'' in Iran and North Korea.
The list's author, Frank Gaffney, the founder and president of
the Center for Security Policy (CSP), also warns that the Bush administration
should resist any pressure arising from the anticipated demise of
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to resume peace talks that could
result in Israel's giving up ''defensible boundaries.''
While all seven steps Gaffney listed in an article published Friday
morning in the National Review Online have long been favoured by
prominent neocons, the article itself, entitled 'Worldwide Value',
is the first comprehensive compilation to emerge since Bush's re-election
It is also sure to be contested—not just by Democrats who,
with the election behind them, are poised to take a more anti-war
position on Iraq—but by many conservative Republicans in Congress
as well. They blame the neoconservatives for failing to anticipate
the quagmire in Iraq and worry that their grander ambitions, such
as those set forth by Gaffney, will bankrupt the treasury and break
an already-overextended military.
Yet its importance as a road map of where neoconservatives—who,
with the critical help of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, dominated Bush's foreign policy after
the 9/11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon—want U.S. policy
to go was underlined by Gaffney's listing of the names of his friends
in the administration who, in his words, ''helped the president
imprint moral values on American security policy in a way and to
an extent not seen since Ronald Reagan's first term.''
In addition to Cheney and Rumsfeld, he cited the most clearly identified—and
controversial—neoconservatives serving in the administration:
Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis ''Scooter'' Libby; his top Middle
East advisors, John Hannah and David Wurmser; weapons proliferation
specialist Robert Joseph and top Mideast aide Elliott Abrams on
the National Security Council; Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz,
Undersecretary for Policy Douglas Feith; and Feith's top Mideast
aide, William Luti in the Pentagon; and Undersecretaries for Arms
Control and International Security John Bolton and for Global Issues
Paula Dobriansky at the State Department.
Virtually all of the same individuals have been
cited by critics of the Iraq war, including Democratic lawmakers
and retired senior foreign service and military officials, as responsible
for hijacking the policy and intelligence process that led to the
Indeed, in a lengthy interview about the war last May on 60 Minutes,
the former head of the U.S. Central Command and Secretary of State
Colin Powell's chief Middle East envoy until 2003, ret. Gen. Anthony
Zinni called for the resignation of Libby, Abrams, Wolfowitz and
Feith, as well as Rumsfeld, for their roles.
Zinni also cited former Defense Policy Board (DPB) chairman Richard
Perle, who has been close to Gaffney since both of them served,
with Abrams, in the office of Washington State Sen. Henry M. Jackson
in the early 1970s. When Perle became an assistant secretary of
defense under Reagan, he brought Gaffney along as his deputy. When
Perle left in 1987, Gaffney succeeded him before setting up CSP
As Perle's long-time protegé and associate, Gaffney sits
at the center of a network of interlocking think tanks, foundations,
lobby groups, arms manufacturers and individuals that constitute
the coalition of neoconservatives, aggressive nationalists like
Cheney and Rumsfeld, and Christian Right activists responsible for
the unilateralist trajectory of U.S. foreign policy since 9/11.
Included among CSP's board of advisors over the years have been
Rumsfeld, Perle, Feith, Christian moralist William Bennett, Abrams,
Feith, Joseph, former UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, former Navy
Undersecretary John Lehman, and former CIA director James Woolsey,
who also co-chairs the new Committee on the Present Danger (CPD),
another prominent neoconservative-led lobby group that argues that
Washington is now engaged in ''World War IV'' against ''Islamo-fascism.''
Also serving on its advisory council are executives from some of
the country's largest military contractors, which finance CSP's
work, along with contributions from wealthy pro-Likud individuals,
such as prominent New York investor Lawrence Kadish and California
casino king Irving Moskowitz, and right-wing foundations, such as
the Bradley, Sarah Scaife and Olin Foundations.
Gaffney, a ubiquitous ''talking head'' on television in the run-up
to the war in Iraq, himself sits on the boards of CPD's parent organisations,
the Foundation for the Defense Democracies (FDD) and Americans for
Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT), and also was a charter associate,
along with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz and Abrams, of the
Project for the New American Century (PNAC), another prominent neoconservative-led
group that offered up a similar checklist of what Bush should do
in the ''war on terrorism'' just nine days after the 9/11 attacks.
His article opens by trying to pre-empt an argument that is already
being heard on the right against expanding Bush's ''war on terrorism;''
namely that, since a plurality of Bush voters identified ''moral
values'' as their chief concern, the president should stick to his
social conservative agenda rather than expand the war.
''The reality is that the same moral principles that underpinned
the Bush appeal on 'values' issues like gay marriage, stem-cell
research, and the right to life were central to his vision of U.S.
war aims and foreign policy,'' Gaffney wrote. ''Indeed, the president
laid claim square to the ultimate moral value—freedom—as
the cornerstone of his strategy for defeating our Islamofascist
enemies and their state sponsors, for whom that concept is utterly
To be true to that commitment, policy in the second administration
must be directed toward seven priorities, Gaffney says, beginning
with the ''reduction in detail of Fallujah and other safe havens
utilized by freedom's enemies in Iraq;'' followed by ''(r)egime
change—one way or another—in Iran and North Korea, the
only hope for preventing these remaining 'Axis of Evil' states from
fully realizing their terrorist and nuclear ambitions.''
Third, the administration must provide ''the substantially increased
resources need to re-equip a transforming military and rebuild human-intelligence
capabilities (minus, if at all possible, the sorts of intelligence
'reforms' contemplated pre-election that would make matters worse
on this and other scores) while we fight World War IV, followed
by enhancing ''protection of our homeland,'' including deploying
effective missile defenses at sea and in space, as well as ashore.''
Fifth, Washington must keep ''faith with Israel, whose destruction
remains a priority for the same people who want to destroy us (and...for
our shared 'moral values) especially in the face of Yasser Arafat's
demise and the inevitable, post-election pressure to 'solve' the
Middle East problem by forcing the Israelis to abandon defensible
Sixth, the administration must deal with France
and Germany and the dynamic that made them ''so problematic in the
first term: namely, their willingness to make common cause with
our enemies for profit and their desire to employ a united Europe
and its new constitution—as well as other international institutions
and mechanisms—to thwart the expansion and application of
American power where deemed necessary by Washington.''
Finally, Bush must adapt ''appropriate strategies for contending
with China's increasingly fascistic trade and military policies,
(Russian President) Vladimir Putin's accelerating authoritarianism
at home and aggressiveness toward the former Soviet republics, the
worldwide spread of Islamofascism, and the emergence of a number
of aggressively anti-American regimes in Latin America,''—which
Gaffney does not further identify.
''These items do not represent some sort of neocon 'imperialist'
game plan,'' Gaffney stressed. ''Rather, they constitute a checklist
of the work the world will demand of this president and his subordinates
in a second term."
W. Bush’s vote tallies, especially in the key state of Florida,
are so statistically stunning that they border on the unbelievable.
While it’s extraordinary for a candidate
to get a vote total that exceeds his party’s registration
in any voting jurisdiction – because of non-voters –
Bush racked up more votes than registered Republicans in 47 out
of 67 counties in Florida. In 15 of those counties, his vote total
more than doubled the number of registered Republicans and in four
counties, Bush more than tripled the number.
Statewide, Bush earned about 20,000 more votes than registered
By comparison, in 2000, Bush’s Florida total represented
about 85 percent of the total number of registered Republicans,
about 2.9 million votes compared with 3.4 million registered Republicans.
Bush achieved these totals although exit
polls showed him winning only about 14 percent of the Democratic
vote statewide – statistically the same as in 2000 when he
won 13 percent of the Democratic vote – and losing Florida’s
independent voters to Kerry by a 57 percent to 41 percent margin.
In 2000, Gore won the independent vote by a much narrower
margin of 47 to 46 percent.
[For details on the Florida turnout in 2000, see here.
For details on the 2004 Florida turnout, see here]
Exit Poll Discrepancies
Similar surprising jumps in Bush’s vote tallies across the
country – especially when matched against national exits polls
showing Kerry winning by 51 percent to 48 percent – have fed
suspicion among rank-and-file Democrats that the Bush campaign rigged
the vote, possibly through systematic computer hacking.
Republican pollster Dick Morris said the Election
Night pattern of mistaken exit polls favoring Kerry in six battleground
states – Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa
– was virtually inconceivable.
“Exit polls are almost never wrong,”
Morris wrote. “So reliable are the surveys that actually tap
voters as they leave the polling places that they are used as guides
to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries. …
To screw up one exit poll is unheard of. To miss six of them is
incredible. It boggles the imagination how pollsters could be that
incompetent and invites speculation that more than honest error
was at play here.”
But instead of following his logic that the discrepancy suggested
vote tampering – as it would in Latin America, Africa or Eastern
Europe – Morris postulated a bizarre conspiracy theory that
the exit polls were part of a scheme to have the networks call the
election for Kerry and thus discourage Bush voters on the West Coast.
Of course, none of the networks did call any of the six states for
Kerry, making Morris’s conspiracy theory nonsensical. Nevertheless,
some Democrats have agreed with Morris's bottom-line recommendation
that the whole matter deserves “more scrutiny and investigation.”
[The Hill, Nov. 8, 2004]
Democratic doubts about the Nov. 2 election have deepened with
anecdotal evidence of voters reporting that they tried to cast votes
for Kerry but touch-screen voting machines came up registering their
votes for Bush.
In Ohio, election officials said an error with
an electronic voting system in Franklin County gave Bush 3,893 extra
votes in suburban Columbus, more than 1,000 percent more than he
Yet, without a nationwide investigation, it’s
impossible to know whether those cases were isolated glitches or
part of a more troubling pattern.
If Bush’s totals weren’t artificially enhanced, they
would represent one of the most remarkable electoral achievements
in U.S. history.
In the two presidential elections since Sen. Bob Dole lost to Bill
Clinton in 1996, Bush would have increased Republican voter turnout
nationwide by a whopping 52 percent from just under 40 million votes
for Dole to just under 60 million votes for the GOP ticket in 2004.
Such an increase in voter turnout over two consecutive election
cycles is not unprecedented, but has historically flowed from landslide
victories that see shifting voting patterns, with millions of crossover
voters straying from one party to the other.
For example, in 1972, Richard Nixon increased Republican turnout
by 73.5 percent over Barry Goldwater’s performance two elections
earlier. But this turnout was amplified by the fact that Goldwater
lost in 1964 to Lyndon Johnson by about 23 percentage points and
Nixon trounced George McGovern by 23 percentage points.
What’s remarkable about Bush’s increase
over the last two elections is that Democrats have done an impressive
job boosting their own voter turnout from 1996 to 2004. Over this
period, candidates Al Gore and John Kerry increased Democratic turnout
by about 18 percent, from roughly 47.5 million votes in 1996 to
nearly 56 million in 2004.
What this suggests is that Bush is not so much winning his new
votes from Democrats crossing over, but rather by going deeper than
many observers thought possible into new pockets of dormant Republican
But where did these new voters come from, and how did Bush manage
to accelerate his turnout gains at a time when the Democratic ticket
was also substantially increasing its turnout?
While the statistical analysis of these new voters is only just
beginning, Bush’s ability to find nearly 9 million new voters
in an election year when his Democratic opponent also saw gains
of about 5 million new voters is the story of the 2004 election.
Exit polls also suggest that voters identifying themselves as Republicans
voted as a greater proportion of the electorate than in 2000 and
that Bush won a slightly greater percent of the Republican vote.
The party breakdown in 2000 was 39 percent Democrats, 35 percent
Republicans, and 27 percent independents. In 2000, Bush won the
Republican vote by 91 percent to 8 percent; narrowly won the independent
vote by 47 percent to 45 percent and picked up 11 percent of the
Democratic vote compared with Gore’s Democratic turnout of
86 percent. [See here
According to exit polls this year, the turnout broke evenly among
Democrats and Republicans, with about 37 percent each. Independents
represented about 26 percent of the electorate. Kerry actually did
better among independents, winning that group of voters by a narrow
49 percent to 48 percent margin.
However, Bush did slightly better among the larger number of Republican
voters, winning 93 percent of their vote, while matching his 2000
performance by taking about 11 percent of the Democratic vote.
While this turnout might strike many observers as unusual in an
election year that witnessed huge voter registration and mobilization
efforts by Democrats and groups aligned with Democrats, the increased
GOP turnout does seem to fit with the campaign strategy deployed
by the Bush team to run to the base.
From the start of the 2004 campaign, political strategist Karl
Rove and the Bush team made its goals clear – maximize Bush’s
support among social and economic conservatives – including
Evangelicals and Club for Growth/anti-government conservatives –
and turn them out by driving up Kerry’s negatives with harsh
attacks questioning Kerry’s leadership credentials.
This strategy emerged from Rove’s estimate after the 2000
election that 4 million Evangelical voters stayed home that year.
The Bush/Rove strategy in 2004 rested primarily on turning out that
base of support.
But, even if one were to estimate that 100 percent
of these Evangelical voters turned out for Bush in 2004 and that
100 percent of Bush’s 2000 supporters turned out again for
him, this still leaves about 5 million new Bush voters unaccounted
Altogether, Bush’s new 9 million votes came mainly from the
largest states in the country. But nowhere
was Bush’s performance more incredible than in Florida,
where Bush found roughly 1 million new voters, about 11 percent
all new Bush voters nationwide and more than twice the number of
new voters than in any other state other than Texas.
Bush increased his turnout in all 67 Florida counties, marking
the second consecutive election in which Bush increased Republican
vote totals in all Florida counties, and overall achieved a 34 percent
increase in Florida votes over his 2000 total.
Since Bob Dole’s 1996 turnout of 2.24 million
Florida votes, Bush has increased the GOP’s performance in
the state by an astonishing 74 percent. Making Bush’s gains
even more impressive, Kerry also saw gains in all but five Florida
counties and in 22 counties earned at least 10,000 more votes than
Gore earned in 2000.
But Bush’s vote gains exceeded Kerry’s in all the large
counties in the state except in heavily Democratic Miami-Dade, where
Kerry increased his turnout by 56,000 new votes compared with Bush’s
40,000 new votes. This Democratic improvement in Miami-Dade seems
to have come in large part from Democratic success in registering
new voters in the county by almost a 2-to-1 margin over Republicans.
In spite of this new-voter registration advantage,
Kerry only earned a 7-to-5 increase of new voter turnout over Bush
in Miami-Dade, a statistical oddity given the fact that Kerry did
a better job than Gore in turning out his Democratic base, earning
a vote total equaling 85 percent of all registered Democrats in
the county compared with Gore’s total in 2000 equaling 83
percent of all registered Democrats.
In other Democratic strongholds of Broward and Palm Beach counties,
Kerry gained 114,000 new voters, earning nearly 770,000 votes, and
bested Bush by more than 320,000 votes. But, this was actually a
modest improvement for Bush over 2000, thanks to Bush’s increase
of 119,000 new voters in these counties, from 330,000 votes in 2000
to 449,000 votes in 2004.
Bush’s performance in these two counties is worth studying
in greater detail. In both counties, Democrats saw a significant
increase in new voter registration since 2000, more than 77,000
newly registered Democrats in Broward and 34,000 newly registered
Democrats in Palm Beach.
Republicans on the other hand only registered 17,000 new voters
in Broward and a bit more than 2,000 new voters in Palm Beach. While
both counties saw substantial numbers of new unaffiliated or third
party registered voters, the Democratic advantage in both counties
combined of more than 111,000 newly registered Dems against fewer
than 20,000 newly registered GOP voters, as well as the voter intensity
that these new registration rates usually represent, suggested that
Kerry should have done better than Bush relative to the 2000 election.
Instead, Bush actually increased his vote total in the two counties
by earning about 5,000 more new voters than Kerry.
Beyond southern Florida, Bush took turnout throughout
the state to a new level, testing the bounds
of statistical probability by winning votes seemingly from every
corner of the state, from the panhandle to the Gulf Coast,
from the I-4 corridor to the Atlantic Coast from Jacksonville to
Another county worth examining in some detail is Orange County,
a swing county home to Orlando in the center of the state. As in
Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward counties, Democrats successfully
registered substantially more new voters than Republicans, about
49,000 new Democrats against about 25,000 new Republicans.
These gains broke what was once a statistical tie in registered
voters between the parties, giving Democrats a 214,000 to 187,000
advantage across the county. But Kerry only managed a narrow countywide
victory with 192,030 votes against 191,389 votes for Bush. In 2000,
Gore carried the county with 140,115 votes against 134,476 votes
While it's conceivable Bush might have achieved
these and other gains through his hardball campaign strategies and
strong get-out-the-vote effort, many Americans, looking at these
and other statistically incredible Bush vote counts, are likely
to continue to suspect that the Republicans put a thumb on the electoral
scales, somehow exaggerating Bush's tallies through manipulation
of computer tabulations.
Only an open-minded investigation with public scrutiny would have
much hope of quelling these rising suspicions.
Americans have been bombarding
New Zealand officials with inquiries about emigrating since President
George W Bush was re-elected last week.
The Immigration Service in Wellington said its website recorded
10,300 hits from America the day after Mr Bush was re-elected, more
than four times the average of 2,500. A further 300 inquiries were
being received daily by telephone and e-mail, compared with about
eight a day before the election.
Don Badman, the service's marketing manager, said: "It has
exploded. It really started picking up from 11pm on the night of
the election." Interest is especially strong in Democrat-voting
San Francisco and Los Angeles, where before the election many people
threatened to leave if Bush won.
The size of his victory has led hardcore Democrats, as well as
homosexuals, opponents of the Iraq war and supporters of abortion
rights to fear that their values and way of life may be at risk.
Canada and Australia have also reported renewed interest from Americans.
New Zealand is seen as a relatively safe destination, because of
its geographical remoteness and because the Labour-led government
has distanced itself from the war in Iraq. It has said it will not
be replacing a force of 61 army engineers who have just finished
a post-war tour of duty attached to British troops in Basra.
Helen Clark, the prime minister, was careful not to link the surge
in immigration inquiries with the election in America. Analysts
said Miss Clark has no wish to undermine her government's uneasy
relationship with the Bush administration.
"We regard US migration as very desirable," she said.
New Zealand has enjoyed a high profile in America in recent years
thanks to the filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy amid some
of its most spectacular scenery.
The future, Samir believes, is
grim. 'We are hated now,' the teenager said, leaning over the handlebars
of his bicycle. 'Whatever we do will be wrong, everything we say
will be wrong, everywhere we go will be wrong.'
Samir was born in the Netherlands but is of Moroccan descent. He
does not pray or go to a mosque, but says he is proud to be a Muslim
and proud to be Dutch. He is not alone in his fear and confusion.
This weekend the nation known for its relaxed tolerance is gripped
by tension, anger and insecurity. An outspoken film-maker, Theo
van Gogh, was shot dead by a 26-year-old Dutch-born Muslim last
Tuesday. Since then a series of public figures have been threatened
with death by Islamic extremists. The murder
has catalysed a steady erosion of the Dutch tradition of moderation
and self-censorship on race and religion.
Even politicians on the left spoke last week of 'harsh truths'
on immigration, noting that 5 per cent of the population is now
Muslim and saying 'foreigners' top the lists of criminality and
truancy. One web-based book of condolences for van Gogh had to be
shut down because of racist abuse. As he spoke, Samir waved towards
the grim housing estate on the outskirts of Amsterdam where van
Gogh's alleged killer lived. 'I don't know what happens now, but
it isn't going to be good,' he said.
Van Gogh's murder was apparently sparked by a documentary he made
earlier this year with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born woman politician
who calls herself 'an ex-Muslim'. The provocative film, broadcast
on national television, featured quotes from the Koran, which Muslims
believe is the word of God, projected on to a naked female body
with a commentary composed of the testimonies of abused Muslim women.
'It is terrible. There is madness in the world,' said Fred, 46,
a postal worker laying a bunch of blue tulips. 'It didn't happen
40 years ago before the first big waves of immigration.'
Such views, unspoken in the past, are now commonly voiced. 'For
too long we haven't spoken the truth about the situation with Muslim
immigrants,' said one mourner at van Gogh's offices on the day after
his death. 'No one wanted to face up to it. Theo just said what
people were thinking.'
Gils van de Westelaken, van Gogh's business partner and close friend,
said the country had lost its way. 'It is an accident waiting to
happen. If you got a real rightwinger with charisma and drive, who
knows where it could lead. We have had a tolerant tradition for
400 years, but though we are proud of our image it doesn't entirely
reflect reality. In the UK you have a straighter way of dealing
with immigration. Here, in the name of tolerance, a lot of difficult
issues are never discussed.'
As van der Westelaken spoke, the family and friends
of van Gogh, who had a 13-year-old son, watched an edit of his latest
film, to be released in December, about the murder of Pim Fortuyn,
a gay rightwinger whose anti-immigration rhetoric brought him a
massive wave of support in the run-up to elections two years ago.
Fortuyn was killed, by an animal rights activist, before the poll.
The film implies that the Dutch security services
allowed Fortuyn to die, under pressure from American businesses
anxious to conclude an arms deal that he opposed.
Van Gogh had as high a profile as Fortuyn - and a similar taste
for shocking people. He had been fired by virtually every Dutch
newspaper after columns he wrote offended readers. He lambasted
strict Catholics and compared the Jewish mayor of Amsterdam to a
'collaborator with the Germans' for taking a soft line on Islam
after the 11 September attacks on the US.
Though many called for calm in the wake of the
killing, there is now unprecedented support for tough measures.
The Netherlands' ruling centre-right coalition has pledged to deport
more than 25,000 illegal immigrants from the Netherlands, some of
whom have been there for decades, and make language classes compulsory.
Prayer leaders in mosques will have to attend lessons in Dutch culture.
Last week the Justice Minister said she would strip any migrants
convicted of terrorist offences of Dutch citizenship.
Experts say the root of the problem was 'cultural, not economic'
and lay primarily in the failure of first-generation immigrants
who arrived in the Sixties and Seventies to integrate. 'In many
Moroccan-Dutch households they speak Berber or Arabic, so when the
kids get to school they are already at a disadvantage,' said Rachid
Jamari of the Amsterdam Centre for Foreigners. 'There needs to be
a debate, both in the Muslim community and in society generally.'
Others see a change since al-Qaeda's 2001 attacks on America. 'A
different wind is blowing now and there is far less understanding,'
declared Mohammed el-Assiati, of the Dutch Moroccan Association.
'This could not have come at a worse time'.
| BEIJING, Nov. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- The
dollar fell as low as $1.2985 to the euro in morning trading, with
analysts expecting the American currency to drop through the psychologically
important $1.30 level.
The dollar weakened today despite Friday's upbeat US jobs report,
evidence of how seriously the markets view the imbalances in the
The latest weakening of the greenback began last Wednesday amid
scepticism that George Bush, who has won another four years in the
White House, will do much to tame the towering US deficits.
The US budget deficit is about $427bn, or 3.7% of gross domestic
product, while its current account - the broadest measure of trade
- widened to a record $166.1bn in the second quarter.
The dollar's weakness was broad based with the U.S. currency hitting
a nine-year low against a wide range of currencies below 83.80,
a 12-year low against the Canadian dollar and multi-month lows against
sterling and the yen.
AURORA WATCH: A coronal mass ejection
(CME) is heading for Earth. When it arrives, perhaps tonight, it
could trigger a geomagnetic storm and auroras. Stay tuned for updates.
[Technology India]: London,
Nov 8 : Huge craters discovered in the Sahara desert have confirmed
that Earth suffered from simultaneous meteor impacts in the recent
According to Newscientist, the largest field of impact craters
ever uncovered on Earth had gone unnoticed until now because it
is partially buried beneath the sands of the Sahara desert in south-west
Philippe Paillou of Bordeaux University Observatory in Floirac,
France, first noticed circular geological structures in the Sahara
last year, while analysing radar satellite pictures of the area.
The structures turned out to be part of a huge field of 100 craters
spread over 5000 square kilometres near the Gilf Kebir plateau.
The craters vary in diameter from 20 metres to 2 kilometres across.
The previous largest known crater field covers a mere 60 square
kilometres in Argentina.
In February, Paillou led a joint Egyptian and French mission to
find the site and examined 13 of the craters, confirming that they
were the result of simultaneous impacts. But accurately dating the
field has been tricky. Paillou estimates that it is roughly 50 million
years old, relatively young in geological terms.
The size of the field suggests that it could be the result of two
or more meteors disintegrating as they entered Earth's atmosphere,
the first evidence of a multiple strike, he says.
"Because the field is so big, it can't have been made by one
meteor," Paillou was quoted as saying. (ANI)
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