Global Game of Survivor: America's Next Four Years
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
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and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's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
© 2004 Pierre-Paul
(Graphic below: Final screenshot, 6:17 PM
EST (11/11), after CNN closed the poll and also started to remove
A Portugal-based investigative
journalist has presented THE NEWS with version of the September
11th attacks that has to date failed to attract the attention of
the international press. The report, compiled
by an independent inquiry into the September 11th, World Trade Centre
attack, warns the American public that the government’s official
version of events does not stand up to scrutiny.
A group of military and civilian US pilots, under
the chairmanship of Colonel Donn de Grand, after deliberating non-stop
for 72 hours, has concluded that the flight crews of the four passenger
airliners, involved in the September 11th tragedy, had no control
over their aircraft.
In a detailed press communiqué the inquiry stated: "The
so-called terrorist attack was in fact a superbly executed military
operation carried out against the USA, requiring the utmost professional
military skill in command, communications and control. It was flawless
in timing, in the choice of selected aircraft to be used as guided
missiles and in the coordinated delivery of those missiles to their
The report seriously questions whether or
not the suspect hijackers, supposedly trained on Cessna light aircraft,
could have located a target dead-on 200 miles from take off point.
It further throws into doubt their ability to master the intricacies
of the instrument flight rules (IFR) in the 45 minutes from take
off to the point of impact. Colonel de Grand said that it would
be impossible for novices to have taken control of the four aircraft
and orchestrated such a terrible act requiring military precision
of the highest order.
A member of the inquiry team, a US Air Force officer
who flew over 100 sorties during the Vietnam war, told the press
conference: "Those birds (commercial airliners) either had
a crack fighter pilot in the left seat, or they were being manoeuvred
by remote control."
In evidence given to the enquiry, Captain Kent Hill (retd.) of
the US Air Force, and friend of Chic Burlingame, the pilot of the
plane that crashed into the Pentagon, stated that the US had on
several occasions flown an unmanned aircraft, similar in size to
a Boeing 737, across the Pacific from Edwards Air Force base in
California to South Australia. According to Hill it had flown on
a pre programmed flight path under the control of a pilot in an
Hill also quoted Bob Ayling, former British Airways
boss, in an interview given to the London Economist on September
20th, 2001. Ayling admitted that it was now possible to control
an aircraft in flight from either the ground or in the air. This
was confirmed by expert witnesses at the inquiry who testified that
airliners could be controlled by electro-magnetic pulse or radio
frequency instrumentation from command and control platforms based
either in the air or at ground level.
All members of the inquiry team agreed that even if guns were held
to their heads none of them would fly a plane into a building. Their
reaction would be to ditch the plane into a river or a field, thereby
safeguarding the lives of those on the ground.
A further question raised by the inquiry was why none of the pilots
concerned had alerted ground control. It stated that all pilots
are trained to punch a four-digit code into the flight control’s
transponder to warn ground control crews of a hijacking - but this
did not happen.
During the press conference Captain Hill maintained
that the four airliners must have been choreographed by an Airborne
Warning and Control System (AWACS). This system can engage several
aircraft simultaneously by knocking out their on-board flight controls.
He said that all the evidence points to the fact that the pilots
and their crews had not taken any evasive action to resist the supposed
hijackers. They had not attempted any sudden changes in flight path
or nose-dive procedures - which led him to believe that they had
no control over their aircraft.
THE NEWS, in an attempt to further substantiate the potential veracity
of these findings, spoke to an Algarve-based airline pilot, who
has more than 20 years of experience in flying passenger planes,
to seek his views. Captain Colin McHattie, currently flying with
Cathay Pacific, agreed with the independent commission’s findings.
However, he explained that while it is possible to fly a plane from
the ground, the installation of the necessary equipment is a time-consuming
process, and needs extensive planning. THE NEWS will publish a full
interview with Captain McHattie in next week’s edition.
The FBI also came in for criticism for the various pieces of contradictory
evidence it has published regarding the suspects. Questions are
now being asked as to how incorrect information was given out regarding
the ID cards of the suspects, and the seat numbers they supposedly
occupied after boarding the flights.
None of the suspects named by the FBI appeared
on any of the official passenger lists. A
further point was how the FBI had managed to retrieve the passport
of one of the suspects amid the molten and twisted remains of thousands
of tons of steel and rubble brought about by the Twin Towers collapse.
Dr. Paul Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury,
and presently Senior Research Fellow at Stamford University, has
lent his support to the independent inquiry findings. He also claims
that Osama Bin Laden was not responsible for September 11th. The
doctor has challenged President Bush to make public the so-called
"irrefutable evidence" incriminating Bin Laden.
Colonel Donn de Grand said that if President
Bush is lying it would not be the first time that the American people
had been mislead by its government. He cited the recently
published official government archives describing President Roosevelt’s
duplicity in deceiving Americans about the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbour, which triggered the US entry into WWll.
He also highlighted the role of the country’s government
in misleading its citizens in respect of the Bay of Pigs invasion
in Cuba, and the events that brought about the Spanish American
war in the late 19th, century. "Whilst considering who committed
this act of war on September 11th," he said, "albeit Russia,
China, an Islamic country or NATO, we must also consider that the
enemy may well be within the gates.
"Not for the first time the American public
might be being mislead, by those with ulterior motives, into lending
its support to a war, this time against Iraq, that has no bearing
whatsoever on the interests of the people of the USA."
So far the mainstream American news media has failed to publish
or broadcast any details regarding the independent inquiry. Similarly,
the White House, whilst having received a copy of the report, has
remained silent on its findings.
Interview of Dr. William (Bill)
Richard Deagle, MD (see link for full transcript)
[...] WD: What happened is, this guy started really having a bit
of panic attack right in my examination room at the St. Francis
hospital in Colorado Springs. So I said what’s going on –
these are military personnel and they’re used to being in
difficult situations. The same teams were in the Khobar Towers forensic
evaluation over in Riyad, Saudi Arabia, I guess a couple of years
before that. I said, "Look, I’m not going to do anything
for you until you come clean because I have to know what you were
exposed to, if it was chemicals or dust or whatever." He said
it wasn’t any of those. It was radiation. I said, "Come
on." He said, "We got exposed to radiation." And
he said, "Look at this." And he showed me this weird rash.
And I thought, that looks strange. And he said, "Look, I want
sperm counts. I want blood tests." And I said, "Look,
you’ve got to tell me the whole story of what happened."
He said, "Look, you are not going to put my name on there"
and I won’t. But he told me everything.
He said, "We removed two baseball-size micro-nuclear weapons
that were on the pillars of the building and a very large C4 pineapple
that could have vaporized the building. He also told me that the
debris was hauled away by Wackenhut under armed security and they
were told that all of their bags were searched and checked with
radiation detectors. [...]
| Most voters in Ohio chose Kerry.
Here's how the votes vanished.
This February, Ken Blackwell, Ohio's Secretary of State, told his
State Senate President, "The possibility of a close election
with punch cards as the state’s primary voting device invites
a Florida-like calamity." Blackwell, co-chair of Bush-Cheney
reelection campaign, wasn't warning his fellow Republican of disaster,
but boasting of an opportunity to bring in Ohio for Team Bush no
matter what the voters wanted. And most voters in Ohio wanted JFK,
not GWB. But their choice won't count because their votes won't
The ballots that add up to a majority for John
Kerry in Ohio -- and in New Mexico -- are locked up in two Republican
hidey-holes: "spoiled" ballots and "provisional"
OHIO SPOILED ROTTEN
American democracy has a dark little secret. In a typical presidential
election, two million ballots are simply chucked in the garbage,
marked "spoiled" and not counted. A dive into the electoral
dumpster reveals something special about these votes left to rot.
In a careful county-by-county, precinct-by-precinct
analysis of the Florida 2000 race, the US Civil Rights Commission
discovered that 54% of the votes in the spoilage bin were cast by
African-Americans. And Florida, Heaven help us, is typical. Nationwide,
the number of Black votes "disappeared" into the spoiled
pile is approximately one million. The other million in the no-count
pit come mainly from Hispanic, Native-American and poor white precincts,
a decidedly Democratic demographic.
Ohio Republicans, simultaneously in charge of
both the Bush-Cheney get-out-the-vote drive and the state's vote-counting
rules, doggedly and systematically insured the spoilage pile would
be as high as the White House.
Vote spoilage comes in two flavors. There are "overvotes"
-- too many punches in the cards, and "undervotes." Here
we find the hanging, dimpled and "pregnant" chads created
by old, dysfunctional punch card machines, in which the bit of paper
covering the hole doesn't fall out, but hangs on. Machines can't
read these, but we humans, who know a hole when we see one, have
no problem reading these cards … if allowed to. This is how
Katherine Harris defeated Al Gore, by halting the hand count of
the spoiled punch cards not, as is generally believed, by halting
Whose chads are left hanging? In Florida
in 2000 federal investigators determined that Black voters' ballots
spoiled 900% more often than white voters, mainly due to punch card
error. Ohio Republicans found those racial odds quite attractive.
The state was the only one of fifty to refuse to eliminate or fix
these vote-eating machines, even in the face of a lawsuit by the
Apparently, the Ohio Republicans like what the ACLU found. The
civil rights group's expert testimony concluded that Ohio's cussed
insistence on forcing 73% of its electorate to use punch card machines
had an "overwhelming" racial bias, voiding votes mostly
in Black precincts. Blackwell doesn't disagree; and he hopes to
fix the machinery … sometime after George Bush's next inauguration.
In the meantime, the state's Attorney General Jim Petro, a Republican,
strategically postponed the trial date of the ACLU case until after
Fixing a punch card machine is cheap and easy.
If Ohio simply placed a card-reading machine in each polling station,
as Michigan did this year, voters could have checked to ensure their
vote would tally. If not, they would have gotten another card. Blackwell
knows that. He also knows that if those reading machines had been
installed, almost all the 93,000 spoiled votes, overwhelmingly Democratic,
would have closed the gap on George Bush's lead of 136,000 votes.
JIM CROW'S PROVISIONAL BALLOT
Add to the spoiled ballots a second group of uncounted votes, the
'provisional' ballots, and -- voila! -- the White House would have
turned Democrat blue.
But that won't happen because of the peculiar way provisional ballots
are counted or, more often, not counted. Introduced by federal law
in 2002, the provisional ballot was designed especially for voters
of color. Proposed by the Congressional Black Caucus to save the
rights of those wrongly scrubbed from voter rolls, it was, in Republican-controlled
swing states, twisted into a back-of-the-bus ballot unlikely to
Unlike the real thing, these ballots are counted only by the whimsy
and rules of a state's top elections official; and in Ohio, that
gives a virtually ballot veto to Bush-Cheney campaign co-chair,
Mr. Blackwell has a few rules to make sure a large proportion of
provisional ballots won't be counted. For the first time in memory,
the Secretary of State has banned counting ballots cast in the "wrong"
precinct, though all neighborhoods share the same President.
Over 155,000 Ohio voters were shunted to these
second-class ballots. The election-shifting bulge in provisional
ballots (more than 3% of the electorate) was the direct result of
the national Republican strategy that targeted African-American
precincts for mass challenges on election day.
This is the first time in four decades that a political
party has systematically barred -- in this case successfully --
hundreds of thousands of Black voters from access to the voting
booth. While investigating for BBC Television, we obtained three
dozen of the Republican Party's confidential "caging"
lists, their title for spreadsheets listing names and addresses
of voters they intended to block on any pretext.
We found that every single address of the thousands
on these Republican hit lists was located in Black-majority precincts.
You might find that nasty and racist. It may also be a crime.
Before 1965, Jim Crow laws in the Deep South
did not bar Blacks from voting. Rather, the segregationist game
was played by applying minor technical voting requirements only
to African-Americans. That year, Congress voted to make profiling
and impeding minority voters, even with a legal pretext, a criminal
offence under the Voting Rights Act.
But that didn't stop the Republicans of '04. Their
legally questionable mass challenge to Black voters is not some
low-level dirty tricks operation of local party hacks. Emails we
obtained show the lists were copied directly to the Republican National
Committee's chief of research and to the director of a state campaign.
Many challenges center on changes of address.
On one Republican caging list, 50 addresses changed from Jacksonville
to overseas, African-American soldiers shipped Over There.
You don't have to guess the preferences registered
on the provisional ballots. Republicans went on a challenging rampage,
while Democrats pledged to hold to the tradition of letting voters
Blackwell has said he will count all the "valid" provisional
ballots. However, his rigid regulations, like the new guess-your-precinct
rule, are rigged to knock out enough voters to keep Bush's skinny
lead alive. Other pre-election maneuvers by Republican officials
-- late and improbably large purges of voter rolls, rejection of
registrations -- maximized the use of provisional ballots which
will never be counted. For example, a voter wrongly tagged an ineligible
"felon" voter (and there's plenty in that category, mostly
African-Americans), will lose their ballot even though they are
KERRY BLACKS OUT
It was heartening that, during his campaign, John Kerry broke
the political omerta that seems to prohibit public mention of the
color of votes not counted in America. "Don't tell us that
in the strongest democracy on earth a million disenfranchised African
Americans is the best we can do." The Senator promised the
NAACP convention, "This November, we're going to make sure
that every single vote is counted."
But this week, Kerry became the first presidential candidate in
history to break a campaign promise after losing an election. The
Senator waited less than 24 hours to abandon more than a quarter
million Ohio voters still waiting for their provisional and chad-spoiled
ballots to be counted.
While disappointing, I can understand the cold calculus against
taking the fight to the end. To count the ballots, Kerry's lawyers
would, first, have to demand a hand reading of the punch cards.
Blackwell, armed with the Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore diktat, would
undoubtedly pull a "Kate Harris" by halting or restricting
a hand count. Most daunting, Kerry's team would also, as one state
attorney general pointed out to me, have to litigate each and every
rejected provisional ballot in court. This would entail locating
up to a hundred thousand voters to testify to their right to the
vote, with Blackwell challenging each with a holster full of regulations
from the old Jim Crow handbook.
Given the odds and the cost to his political career, Kerry bent,
not to the will of the people, but to the will to power of the Ohio
We have yet to total here the votes lost in missing absentee ballots,
in eyebrow-raising touch screen tallies, in purges of legal voters
from registries and other games played in swing states. But why
dwell on these things? Our betters in the political and media elite
have told us to get over it, move on.
To the victors go the spoils of electoral class war. As Ohio's
politically ambitious Secretary of State brags on his own website,
"Last time I checked, Katherine Harris wasn't in a soup line,
she's in Congress."
NEW MEXICO GOES KERRY - BUT WHO'S COUNTING?
Why single out Ohio? So it also went in New Mexico
where ballots of Hispanic voters (two-to-one Kerry supporters) spoil
at a rate five times that of white voters. Add in the astounding
13,000 provisional ballots in the Enchanted State -- handed out
"like candy" to Hispanic, not white, voters according
to a director of the Catholic Church's get-out-the-vote drive --
and Kerry wins New Mexico. Just count up the votes … but that
BuzzFlash was forwarded a copy
of a new research paper (271k PDF) on the exit polls from the
In "The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy," Dr. Steven
F. Freeman says:
"As much as we can say in social science that something
is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between
predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground
states [Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania] of the 2004 election
could have been due to chance or random error."
The odds of those exit poll statistical anomalies
occurring by chance are, according to Freeman, "250,000,000
to one." That's 250 MILLION to ONE.
He concludes the paper with this:
"Systematic fraud or mistabulation is a premature conclusion,
but the election's unexplained exit poll discrepancies make it
an unavoidable hypothesis, one that is the responsibility of the
media, academia, polling agencies, and the public to investigate."
Update: Palm Beach County has
updated their numbers and added 91,802 absentee ballots and 1,041
provisional ballots. Note that the vote totals for president only
increased by 1,543 votes. To view an archived copy of the previous
report, click here. While Palm Beach County appears to have accounted
for the discrepancy, this underscores the flaws in the system and
According to the official election results posted on the Palm Beach
County election website, 542,835 ballots were cast for a presidential
candidate while only 454,427 voters turned out for the election
(including absentee). This leaves a discrepancy of 88,408 votes
cast for the presidential candidates.
Palm Beach County's supervisor of elections is Theresa LePore who
is known for the 2000 Presidential Election and the notorious "butterfly
ballot" that caused confusion among seniors and other Floridians.
Other election oddities occurred throughout Florida with some counties
registering a 400% increase in expected voter turnout among Republicans
while Democrats supposedly experienced a -60% decline in expected
support within certain counties. The 50 counties experiencing the
high percentage fluctuations in expected turnout used optical scan
voting machines on November 2nd.
Vote discrepancies were also found in Gahanna, Ohio which gave
an extra 4,000 votes to President Bush. The error was explained
away by Franklin County administrators as a "glitch" in
the electronic voting system
Secretive company administers
almost every last aspect of ‘democratic’ election process
CHICAGO, Illinois—The morning after Election Day, Democratic
presidential candidate John Kerry and the vice presidential candidate
John Edwards promised the nation that the Democrats would make sure
that every vote counts, and that every vote is counted. Later in
the day, Kerry and Edwards, however, conceded
defeat before some 170,000 to 250,000 provisional ballots from Ohio,
which could have changed the outcome of the election, had been counted.
But how were the votes actually counted across the nation on Nov.
2? On Election Day, voters in Cook County, Ill., were among the
60 million Americans who voted with machines made by Election Systems
& Software, a secretive company based in Omaha.
ES&S, as it is known, calls itself "the world’s
largest and most experienced provider of total election management
solutions." According to the company’s own figures, 42
percent of all registered voters in the United States voted on ES&S
equipment on Election Day.
ES&S sells its "end-to-end election management suite of
solutions" to replace traditional voting methods and election
officials with what it calls "‘one-stop-shop,’
full service election coordination from start to finish."
What this means on Election Day is that ES&S,
a private company, manages everything about the voting, from voter
registration, the printing of ballots, the programming of the voting
machines, the counting and tabulation of the votes and the final
reporting of the results—for 60 million Americans in 47 states.
Four years after first revealing the flaws inherent in the insecure
ES&S electronic voting machines used in Cook County, American
Free Press went to the county clerk’s office to observe how
ES&S manages the counting of the votes for America’s third
largest city, Chicago, and the suburban area around it.
Scott Burnham, spokesman for the county clerk, had informed me
that the vote count is open to the public and that press credentials
would not be required.
Shortly after arriving, I ran into Burnham and David Orr, the county
clerk, in the hallway. Although I had arrived just shortly before
the polls closed at 7 p.m., I was the only member of the public
or the press around except for a couple of Associated Press (AP)
reporters in the far corner of the room.
They were busy setting up their laptop to the ES&S computer
in the backroom, which provided them with "direct feed"
of the results. I was surprised to see so few people attending such
an important event. In France, scores of citizens watch the vote
count in each polling station. While the results were coming in,
the AP reporter read a novel while her laptop did the communicating.
When I went to talk to the AP reporter, Burnham quickly appeared
and told me to leave. "You should talk to AP," he said.
"She is AP," I replied.
"She just works for AP," he said.
Clearly the subject of AP having direct data feed from the mainframe
computer was something Burnham did not want me to discuss.
Dane Placko, a local reporter for the Fox News network, told AFP
that "Fox gets direct feed."
Any actual counting of the votes by citizens is very rare in the
United States except for a few counties in Montana and other states
where paper ballots are still hand-counted.
In most counties the ballots are treated as input data to be processed
through computer systems controlled by private companies like ES&S.
In Cook County the ballot is inevitably a cluttered punch card
with nearly 100 votes. After voting for the president and vice president,
a senator and a congressman, the voter has to wade through pages
of choices to vote for some 80 local officials from the sanitation
board to the state’s general assembly. Every voter had to
vote on nearly 80 judges.
LONG & COMPLICATED
Rather than holding separate elections for national and local officials,
as is done in most countries, the Cook County ballot is extremely
long and complicated. Officials who support electronic voting systems
give the complexity of the ballot as the main reason why voting
machines are necessary—because it would take too much time
to count the votes manually.
After calling and personally visiting ES&S
headquarters in Omaha and Chicago, I can say it is a highly secretive
company. In August, I visited ES&S company headquarters on John
Galt Blvd. in Omaha.
Although the company says it is the largest voting
machine company in the United States, they were unable to provide
any information about their company or their products. The ownership
of the company is a closely guarded secret.
I asked to meet with Todd Urosevich, one of the two brothers that
founded the company.
Bob and Todd Urosevich started ES&S as a company called Data
Mark in the early 1980s. Today, Bob Urosevich heads Ohio-based Diebold
Election Systems, a competitor of ES&S and the second largest
U.S. manufacturer of electronic voting machines. Together,
the computerized ballot scanners and touch-screen voting machines
systems made by ES&S and Diebold recorded some 80 percent of
all votes cast in the recent U.S. presidential election.
As ES&S had no media relations person available, and Todd Urosevich
was not willing to be interviewed, the company’s chief financial
officer Tom O’Brien finally appeared. Clearly displeased with
my visit and questions, O’Brien refused to provide any information
about the company.
Although I was ill on Election Day, I knew I had to go to the county
clerk’s office to observe "counting" of the vote.
It is, after all, the only "counting" open to the public.
What I saw in Chicago, however, only made me more nauseous.
The only "vote count" the press or public can observe
in Chicago is what is projected on screens.
The opening screen read: ES&S Automatic Election
Returns, Release 35, Under License to the City of Chicago, Serial
No. 0004, Copyright 1987. Carl Zimmerman, technical supervisor for
the clerk’s office, said that the computer that ran the system
was in the back—"in the ES&S room," he said.
At 7 p.m., Jonathan Lin, a worker on the county clerk’s computer
staff, came out and turned on the monitors on the 6th floor, where
the City of Chicago votes were tallied and displayed. Behind him
was Rick Thurman, an ES&S technician, checking the first results.
Thurman seemed surprised when I asked him if he worked for ES&S.
He said that the company had about six engineers running the computer
in the back room. He then checked himself, saying he had said too
Later I asked Lin who was actually operating the
computer that was generating the results being shown on the monitors.
"ES&S is running the mainframe for all of this," Lin
said, pointing to the television displays.
In the press room in the back I noticed stacks of boxes containing
"Votamatic" voting machines and "prepunched"
ballots printed by ES&S of Addison, Texas, for the different
precincts in Cook County. In the rear hallway behind the pressroom
was the ES&S room. Only ES&S personnel were allowed into
When I poked around in the hallway and peeked
into the ES&S room, an armed marshal and ES&S employee quickly
appeared. In no condition for a confrontation, I made myself scarce.
I met a couple reporters from CLTV, a local cable channel of WGN.
One of the reporters asked about my interest in the Chicago tallies.
I said I was interested to see how a private company runs the elections
Seemingly unaware of how ES&S operates elections
in Cook County, I explained the basics. "I’ve observed
elections across Europe," I added, "from France and Germany
to Serbia and Holland. Everywhere in Europe, voting is done on paper
ballots that are counted by the citizens, except Holland."
Obviously uncomfortable with this discussion, the reporter responded:
"I’m glad I’m not in Serbia. I don’t mind
if a machine counts the votes."
| Global Eye
By Chris Floyd
November 12, 2004
We said it here over and over, going back
to 2003: If the U.S. presidential election was close enough to be
gamed, it damn sure would be gamed. And the chunks of evidence now
rolling in -- like so many cracked shells of fact in a high tide
of pompous drivel -- increasingly indicate that millions of votes
were indeed monkeyed with on the way to amassing George W. Bush's
teeny-tiny one percent majority last week.
It seems we were all a bit too quick to concede the reality of
Li'l Pretzel's "mandate." For example, in county after
county, state after state, unprecedented discrepancies between the
exit polls and the final result turned up -- in areas that used
electronic voting, that is, usually without a recountable paper
trail. In almost every such case, exit poll leads for John Kerry
-- sometimes very substantial leads, beyond the realm of statistical
error -- were converted in the end to narrow victories for Bush.
Yet strangely enough, in those areas that relied on paper ballots
-- utterly tangible records of voter intent -- the exit polls and
final counts were in virtual lockstep. Of course, for decades exit
polls have been phenomenonally successful in gauging the actual
electoral outcome -- until the advent of national elections involving
Bush and his political puppeteer, Karl Rove.
There was also the wild imbalance between party identification
in voter registration and the actual vote in key counties across
the nation, particularly in Florida. In the latter, counties where
Democrats comprise more than 70 percent of the voters suddenly showed
Bush winning 50, 60, even 70 percent of the total. In Calhoun County,
for example, an 82 percent Democratic registration somehow morphed
into a 63 percent Bush vote. To be sure, an incumbent in wartime,
running on a campaign of wild fearmongering and deliberately stoked
(or is it stroked?) sexual panic might peel away a few of the other
party's voters. Yet every single measure of the electorate this
year showed that partisanship was extraordinarily high and remarkably
solid: Only a sliver of party-identified voters crossed the line
to vote for the other side. So where did they come from, these astounding
registration reversals that produced, in discrete packets here and
there, hundreds of thousands of extra Bush votes that no one had
We've often spoken here of the fact that more than one-third of
all American votes were counted this year on machines owned, programmed,
installed -- and in some cases even inspected -- by private companies
whose bosses are major Bush financial donors and campaign officials.
Some of the main players in the virtual-vote game were originally
bankrolled by a single Bushist tycoon, Howard Ahmanson, who spent
decades pushing "Christian Reconstructionism" -- i.e.,
complete theocratic rule of society and government by Christian
mullahs who advocate, among other delights, death by stoning for
homosexuals. Studies by leading scientists at Stanford, Johns Hopkins
and other bastions of the "reality-based community" showed
that these corporate e-vote systems are eminently -- even laughably
-- hackable, either from the inside, by the Bushist companies themselves,
or from the outside, by, say, "information warfare" specialists
at the CIA or Pentagon, as investigative journalist Robert Parry
notes. Nor would this hackery require placing gremlins in the thousands
of voting machines operated by the Bushist firms; the final tabulations
are actually made by a handful of central computers drawing together
totals from outlying precincts, as analyst Thom Hartmann reports.
Thus one little aptly placed "worm" could poison the well
of an entire state.
Meanwhile, legions of phantom voters stalked polling booths across
the land. In one key Ohio county alone -- carried by Bush -- the
number of votes cast outstripped the number of actual registered
voters by 93,000 -- a pattern repeated in numerous e-voting precincts.
Yet another Ohio county sealed its vote count from public scrutiny
after Bush's Homeland Security commissars told terrified local officials
that their suburban area had suddenly become a terrorist target
of "the highest order," MSNBC reports.
Bush's limp mandate was also engorged with a double dose of electoral
Viagra: voter purges and voter suppression. As intrepid investigator
Greg Palast notes, key states controlled by Bushist officials conducted
mass purges of qualified voters from the rolls, utilizing an array
of arcane laws, obscure regulations and -- as in Florida 2000 --
race-specific lists of supposed convicted felons, drawn up by private
corporations using deliberately vague criteria that guaranteed false
"matches" with legitimate voters, disenfranchising thousands
of people -- the majority of them law-abiding African-Americans.
Meanwhile, an unprecedented voter suppression operation flooded
low-income areas with bogus "official" letters and phone
calls warning the poor they could be imprisoned for voting if they
had unpaid bills or outstanding debts.
Even when these targeted minorities were able to get to the polls,
they had to run a gauntlet of antiquated machinery that produced
a massive amount of "spoiled" votes by mangling ballots,
leaving those infamous chads unpunched and otherwise failing to
register the voter's choice. Official U.S. government studies confirm
that the majority of this "spoilage" does indeed occur
in minority precincts; in 2000, for example, more than 1 million
African-American votes were simply thrown in the trash. With this
year's higher turnout straining the thin resources of such precincts,
experts say the spoilage rate will be even higher.
Of course, given Bush's strong support among the vast Deluded-American
community, he might have won the election anyway, even without all
this criminal katzenjammer. But now we'll never know. His "mandate"
-- miniscule as it is -- will be forever tainted by doubt, smeared
with the vicious sleaze and contempt for democracy that has marked
every aspect of his malevolent reign.
Veteran Palestinian leader Yasir
Arafat has been laid to rest at his battered Muqata compound in
the West Bank town of Ram Allah.
Shortly after his coffin was lowered on Friday into a marble-and-stone
grave, the crowd began a prayer joined by Palestinian leaders, including
newly appointed Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) chairman
Mahmud Abbas and Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya.
Arafat had been due to lie in state ahead of the burial, but the
programme was disrupted by chaos at the compound, where thousands
of mourners surged past security forces.
"He was buried ahead of time because of the emotion of the
crowd. We had no choice," one official said.
Wounded by gunfire
Before the burial, thousands of mourners rushed to the coffin and
police fired into the air to disperse the crowd that held up the
removal of his body from the aircraft that flew in from Egypt.
Medics said four people were wounded by gunfire in the
Arafat, who became a Third World liberation icon and won a Nobel
Peace Prize, died at the age 75 in a French hospital on Thursday
from an undetermined cause.
The chaotic scenes in Ram Allah were in sharp contrast to a funeral
service earlier at a Cairo air base, where the public was kept away
and even some world leaders were mistakenly shut out by overzealous
A few kilometres from the burial site, an explosion in a car
killed two people in a reminder of the continuing violence in the
| PARIS Even after Yasser Arafat's
death Thursday morning, French health officials continued their stony
silence about exactly what disease killed the Palestinian leader.
And so, the man who lived so much of his life simply and in the public
eye, died mysteriously, surrounded by secrecy.
After two weeks, the medical databases at Percy Military Training
Hospital in Clamart must be crammed with information about Arafat's
condition - scans, biopsies, reams of blood test results - that
would have defined for doctors within minutes the condition of Arafat's
kidneys, liver and lungs. But these remain top secret.
The hospital officially announced Arafat's death in a terse statement
delivered by the hospital spokesman, General Christian Estripeau,
who told reporters there would be no details released on tests,
the cause of death or whether there would be an autopsy. When reached
by telephone later on Thursday, Estripeau said there would be "no
In fact, all the information about Arafat's sudden death that has
dribbled out comes from his Palestinian aides, who provide facts
through a non-medical and highly politicized filter. These few misshapen
puzzle pieces are insufficient to create a picture of what went
As their beloved leader deteriorated in the past two days, Arafat's
aides announced only that he was in a deep coma on life-support
machines, having suffered a brain hemorrhage - a stroke caused by
bleeding into the brain. But such a fatal event can have many underlying
causes, and does not explain why Arafat's health had deteriorated
so precipitously in the past month.
In France, a patient or the next-of-kin must give permission for
doctors to release information. In his carefully worded statements,
Estripeau suggested that this permission was not given: "It
is not up to the defense forces' health services to reveal information
given to the family," he said today.
Strokes are generally sudden affairs, and Arafat's was almost certainly
a secondary result of his underlying and undisclosed illness. At
the time of his medical evacuation to Paris two weeks ago, aides
revealed that he was suffering from a low platelet count and had
undergone a platelet transfusion. Since platelets are involved in
blood clotting, patients with low platelet counts are predisposed
to brain hemorrhages, and this may have contributed to Arafat's
But low platelet counts in the blood are a common finding in a
wide range of illnesses, including severe infections, liver disease,
end-stage cancer, and even AIDS. And doctors made no mention of
a hemorrhage until Wednesday, suggesting that it was a recent event.
On Nov. 4, doctors and aides announced that Arafat was being transferred
to the intensive care unit because his condition had deteriorated.
No mention of a brain hemorrhage was made at that time, although
such bleeding would have been immediately obvious on a CAT scan.
It is accepted medical practice throughout the world that patients
or their families have the right to keep medical information private.
In France, politicians and celebrities frequently keep their medical
lives secret, but in many countries, such as the United States,
public figures are expected to reveal private health information
and hospitals tend to encourage it.
"There can be tension between what the public would like to
know and what the family feels comfortable talking about, but our
policy is that the privacy of the patient and the patient's family
comes first and is paramount," said Myrna Manners, spokesperson
for the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which has treated many world
leaders including the Shah of Iran.
But, she added: "Rather than have rumors or speculation run
amok, we feel its better to have a clear process and a bit of information.
We encourage that."
There are various reasons why Arafat's inner circle would want
to keep the cause of his death a secret. Perhaps he suffered from
a disease that they considered embarrassing. Or perhaps the doctors
who treated him during the early phases of his illness in Ramallah
missed a treatable medical condition, letting him deteriorate to
the point it was too late to cure him once he was moved to Paris.
In the end, the actual timing of his death - like in much of his
life - was probably tinged with a hefty dose of politics and religion.
At some point after he was transferred to intensive care, Arafat
was placed on a ventilator, a machine that assists in breathing.
Such assistance can be required because of lung problems - like
pneumonia - or in cases where the brain-centers that control breathing
are not functioning properly. Both deep comas and large strokes
can damage these centers temporarily and require that a patient
be placed on a machine.
Once a patient's breathing is maintained by a ventilator, the exact
timing of death often becomes something of a matter of choice. More
important, it also becomes subject to religious variations concerning
the ethics of caring for terminally ill patients.
Islamic scholars have generally prohibited the discontinuation
of life support machines, since the Koran advises: "Don't throw
yourself into death." Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian foreign
minister, reacted violently to press reports yesterday that Palestinian
officials had arrived in Paris to "pull the plug" on Arafat.
"We don't accept euthanasia," he said, Arafat "is
in the hands of God."
But in France, as in much of the world, death is now defined by
the death of the brain, or "brain death." A patient on
a ventilator can be breathing and have a pumping heart- at least
for some time - even though he is medically and legally dead.
Many Islamic scholars say that a patient can be disconnected from
life support once he is brain dead, since he is no longer really
alive. But some conservative Muslim groups, as well as many conservative
Jews, still maintain that the person lives so long as the heart
It is not known if Arafat was removed from life-support machines
or if his heart stopped beating while he was still on them.
These are some of the
public threats in the past few years. One can only imagine what
has been said when the cameras and microphones were not present.
day's events have proven again that Yasser Arafat is a complete obstacle
to any process of reconciliation. ... Israel
will act to remove this obstacle in the manner, at the time, and in
the ways that will be decided on separately."
took action against Ahmed Yassin and Abdelaziz Rantisi (both assassinated)
and a few other murderers when we thought the time was right. On
the matter of Arafat we will operate in the same way, when we find
the convenient and suitable time.
One needs to find the time and do what has to be done."
"I wouldn’t suggest
either one of them should feel secure. I wouldn’t propose that any
insurance company gives them coverage" (reference to Arafat
and other Palestinian leaders). www.haaretz.co.il/hasen/spages/411795.html
The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem,
Sept 2003: "The
world will not help us; we must help ourselves. We must kill as many
of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders as possible, as quickly as
possible, while minimizing collateral damage, but not letting that
damage stop us. And we must
kill Yasser Arafat, because the world leaves us no alternative....
Arafat’s death at Israel’s
hands would not radicalize Arab opposition to Israel.
The current jihad against us is being fueled by the perception that
is blocked from taking
decisive actions to defend itself….
Killing Arafat, more than any other act, would demonstrate that the
tool of terror is unacceptable."
Prime Minister of Israel
told Israel Radio that killing
Arafat "is definitely one of the options" under
consideration by the government.
foreign minister said yesterday in an apparent attempt to soften remarks
by the vice premier who said that assassination was an option.
has not adopted a formal decision to kill Yasser Arafat"
September 15th & 16th, 2003
Guest editorial by Mark LeVine,
Professor of modern Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine, author
of Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for
Palestine (Berkeley: University of California Press) and Why
They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil (forthcoming,
In the weeks leading up to Palestinian President Yassir Arafat’s
death American politicians and pundits have repeatedly called
on the Palestinian people to use the opportunity of his passing
to transform the intifada from a violent uprising into a non-violent,
democratic and pragmatic program for achieving independence. This
is very good advice, needless to say, except for one small problem:
Palestinians have been trying to build such a movement for the
last two decades, and the Israeli Government, IDF and American
policy-makers have done everything possible to make sure it could
not be heeded.
One of the first exponents of Palestinian non-violence the Palestinian-American
doctor Mubarak Awad, founded the Palestinian Centre for the Study
of Nonviolence in 1985. His innovative ideas and training of Palestinians
in the tactics of non-violent resistance to the occupation was
considered dangerous enough by Israel that it expelled him from
the land of his birth in 1988. During the same period, the government
supported the rise to power of militant religious groups such
as Hamas as a counterweight to the PLO (which that year recognized
Israel’s right to exist).
By the time the first intifada wound down in the early 1990s
Jewish/Israeli-Palestinian "dialog" or "people-to-people"
groups had become all the rage, most of whom had as an important
goal building relationships of trust and solidarity that could
help Palestinians build a viable political future. Unfortunately,
while liberal Israelis were busy sharing hummus with their new
Palestinian friends successive Likud and Labor governments accelerated
the pace of land confiscation, settlement construction and economic
closure of the Territories, which ultimately left many Palestinians
to wonder if all the conversation wasn’t a ruse to keep
them occupied while Israel permanently secured its hold on their
But mid-way through the Oslo era hope was still in the air.
In January 1996 I sat on the terrace of a friend’s house
in Abu Dis as about 100 meters away Yaser Arafat cast his vote
in perhaps the greatest day in the history of Palestinian nationalism:
the elections for the presidency and Legislative Assembly. Unfortunately,
soon after the elections the CIA and Shin Bet began what seemed
like weekly meetings with the "security" officials of
the Palestinian Authority. The stated reasons were always to "coordinate
security;" the real reason was to make sure the new Assembly
was still born because newly elected legislators promised to investigate
PA corruption and push for a final settlement more in line with
the desire of Palestinian society.
Needless to say, the Assembly didn’t make it. In its place,
however, Hamas did quite well, precisely because it constituted
perhaps the only powerful voice of dissent against the emerging
status quo of corruption and continued occupation.
Since the outbreak of the "al-Aksa intifada" in September
2000 most Palestinians I know--and increasingly, their comrades
in the Israeli peace movement--have exerted incredible energy
trying to build grass roots non violent movements that could somehow
check the inexorable advance of the occupation and the slow death
of the national dream of an independent state. The response by
the Israeli military has often been brutal. Not just Palestinian
activists, but foreign peace activists and even Israelis are routinely
beaten, arrested, deported, and even killed by the IDF, with little
fear that the Government of Israel would pay a political price
for crushing non-violent resistance with violent means.
In this environment the very act of going about ones daily life
without losing all hope and "joining Hamas" (something
former Prime Minister Barak admitted he would have done if he
were Palestinian) has become perhaps the supreme, if unheralded,
act of non-violence against the occupation. The Israeli Government
is quite aware of this, which is why it does its best to make
daily life as difficult as possible for Palestinians.
Not surprisingly considering this dynamic, a poll I helped direct
earlier this year revealed that Hamas has now surpassed the PLO
as the most popular Palestinian political movement. But what of
the courageous Palestinians who still believe in non-violence,
who are risking their lives working with Israeli peace activists
to fulfill the fading Oslo dream of two states living side by
side in peace? We could ask this question to Ahmed Awad, founder
of the non-violent Committee for the Popular Struggle against
the Separation Fence, which has brought Palestinian and Israeli
activists together in a relatively successful campaign to redirect
the separation wall away from local olive groves. In the process
his group has become a model for grass-roots, non-violent struggle.
Unfortunately, we’d have to wait at least three months
for an answer, as Awad has just been jailed without charge by
a military court on the accusation he constituted a "threat
to security." The judge who handed down the order hoped that
his detention would lead him to "turn away from th[is] bad
road with its unhappy ending," although its hard to see whom
his stated goal of "letting the world understand that there
can be coexistence between us and the Jews" threatened. In
the meantime, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the army
has stepped up violence and aggression against protesters in order
to enable the fence to proceed along its original route.
And on it goes. As the Bush Administration and America’s
pundocracy search for a new generation of pragmatic and non-violent
Palestinian leaders, they should be heartened to know that they
won’t have to look very hard to find them. But that’s
because so many are either in the hospital, jail or exile. And
like Arafat shriveling away in his besieged Muqata’a (which
will now be his tomb), the Palestinian peace movement will continue
to wither as long as Israel is more comfortable confronting Hamas
than Ahmed Awad.
Associate Professor of History
Department of History
Murray Krieger Hall
Irvine, CA 92697-3275
Assassination Cover Up Succeeds.
Quick Clean Funeral and Burial Planned
MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 11 November: The powers that
be have gotten things mostly their way when it comes to the death
of the man Yasser Arafat, as well as they must be thinking to the
symbolic end of the true Palestinian nationalist quest he came to
Amazingly the assassination of Yasser Arafat is being covered up
right in front of the whole watching world.
By at the least a preponderence of all the
evidence and circumstances Arafat was blood poisoned by the Israelis
with the help of turned Palestinians and an American OK.
His own personal doctor reached that diagnosis before being barred
from seeing Arafat at the French military hospital and from speaking
out further. After threatening to go public
about the great 'conspiracy you can't imagine' of which she screamed
in her short frantic call to Al-Jazeera Monday, Arafat's 'wife',
Suha Tawil, appears to have been herself threatened and bribed to
shut up or else.
The announcement of Arafat's death was withheld for some days as
the Israeli and U.S.-approved new 'Palestinian leadership' worked
to coordinate with those in Washington and Jerusalem, in addition
to the French, just how to transfer to themselves as much of Arafat's
powers and monies as they could; how to best take care of the funeral
and burial with the least fanfare they could get away with; and
how to position everyone for the new political pressures and disingenuous
'peace plans' now immediately ahead.
[...] the new 'Palestinian leadership' has been taught a special
lesson with the killing of Yasser Arafat. If the Israelis and the
U.S. can manage this assassination and its aftermath in such a crafty
and deceptive manner, and get away with it all so easily, the message
is rather clear:
"You Arab and Palestinian 'leaders'
have much more to fear from us (Israel and the U.S.) if you don't
play ball than you do from your own people. On top of all the other
leaders we have killed off or imprisoned one way or another, we
can even pull off a 'Stealth Assassination' of Nobel Peace Prize
winner, former most frequent foreign guest to the White House, and
international famed Yasser Arafat because he refused to do as we
told him he must. So beware: COMPLY, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE."
LOS ANGELES - CBS News has fired the producer
responsible for interrupting the last five minutes of a hit crime
drama with a special report on the death of Palestinian President
Yasser Arafat, a network source said on Friday.
Word of the dismissal came a day after CBS apologized to viewers
for breaking into "CSI: NY," one of its top-rated shows,
on Wednesday night.
"An overly aggressive CBS News producer jumped the gun with
a report that should have been offered to local stations for their
late news. We sincerely regret the error," the network said
in a statement on Thursday.
The network, owned by Viacom Inc., declined comment on a report
of the dismissal posted on the Web site of trade publication Broadcasting
But a network source told Reuters that CBS fired the producer who
decided to break into "CSI" with a report from "Up
to the Minute" anchor Melissa McDermott.
According to the source, the producer failed to
follow standard procedures that require a senior CBS News executive
to be consulted before interrupting regular programming.
The fact Arafat already had been reported near death for several
days also figured in the network's decision. The
source said the producer disregarded explicit, advance instructions
that breaking news of Arafat's death -- if it occurred during prime
time -- was to be reported with a news "crawl" at the
bottom of the screen.
"Arafat had been literally on his deathbed for a week. Everyone
knew he was going to die. It was just a matter of when," the
source said. [...]
AID workers yesterday warned that four days
of fighting had turned the city of Fallujah into a disaster area,
with water and electricity cut off and the stench of dead bodies
permeating the air.
The majority of the city’s inhabitants are thought to have
fled before the attack started on Monday, but thousands are still
trapped inside their homes, unable to get out.
US military commanders say civilian casualties have been low,
but that is disputed by residents, who describe
incidents in which non-combatants, including women and children,
have been killed by shrapnel or hit by bombs.
Rasoul Ibrahim, a father of three, fled Fallujah on Thursday morning
and arrived with his wife and children in Habbaniya, about 12 miles
to the west, later the same day. He said families left in the city
were in desperate need. "There’s no water. People are
drinking dirty water. Children are dying. People are eating flour
because there’s no proper food," he told aid workers
in Habbaniya, which has become a refugee camp sheltering around
The Iraqi Red Crescent Society, which receives support from foreign
agencies, including the Red Cross and UNICEF, said it had
asked US forces and Iraq’s interim government to let them
deliver relief goods to Fallujah and station medics there, but it
had received no reply.
"We call on the Iraqi government and US forces to allow us
to do our humanitarian duty to the innocent people," said Firdoos
al-Ubadi, Red Crescent spokeswoman. "This is their responsibility."
The Red Crescent has seven teams of doctors and relief workers,
backed by trucks of food and other aid, ready to go into each of
Fallujah’s districts when the word is given.
Scores of buildings in Fallujah have been completely destroyed,
with TV footage showing some districts all but levelled. Water and
electricity have been shut off for days and food shops have been
closed, residents say.
"Anyone who gets injured is likely
to die, because there’s no medicine and they can’t get
to doctors," said Abdul-Hameed Salim, a volunteer with
the Red Crescent. "There are snipers
everywhere. Go outside and you’re going to get shot."
The Palestinian Authority has
reacted with scepticism to US President George Bush's expressed
support of elections and hope of establishing a Palestinian state
in the next four years.
Speaking to Aljazeera on Friday, Palestinian Labour Minister Ghassan
al-Khatib said the US had not been serious in assisting Palestinians
hold elections in the past.
He pointed out that when Palestinians recently
started to prepare for elections and began registering voters for
local and presidential polls, Israel hindered the process, especially
This went against Israel's agreement with the
Palestinians, he said. As for the US, it did nothing to help, the
Al-Khatib said it was up to the Palestinians to decide on elections.
"The manner in which thousands of Palestinians responded to
the death of Arafat was an indication of the popular support he
enjoyed and the backing the people gave for his political methods
and positions," he said.
Ghassan al-Khatib, Palestinian Authority labour minister
Whether elections are held or not, the future of Palestinians would
be decided by the Palestinian people, al-Khatib said. And, the course
they adopt will be internationally legitimate, he added.
The minister said there was a peace road map with a specific time
frame for a Palestinian state.
"Bush has drawn back from an old promise; it is unfortunate,
unacceptable and inexcusable," al-Khatib said.
The minister said a European view and a unified Arabic stance were
crucial if peace was to be achieved in the region.
He said there were specific resolutions of the UN Security Council
on the issue and that the US "should be more serious and honest
in applying these to the region so as to ensure international legitimacy".
FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Trooping past bodies and
abandoned weapons, U.S. marines blasted their way through walls
and hammered open doors Friday in the hunt for insurgents in Fallujah.
On the Muslim holy day, no calls to prayer were heard in a town
dubbed "the city of mosques."
As the main offensive pushed into the southern part of the city,
marines scoured a northern district looking for fighters hiding
behind the front line.
"What we're doing now is killing any
that snuck in behind us or we might have missed earlier.
And blowing up weapons caches," said 2nd Lieut. Adrian Pirvu,
22, of Dearborn, Mich., leading a patrol from the 3rd Battalion,
5th Marine Regiment.
Explosions began rocking Fallujah at dawn and U.S. warplanes swooped
out of the sky to blast targets with machine-gun fire. Howitzer
and mortar shells slammed into the city, flinging chunks of shrapnel
hundreds of metres.
"Damn, flying Harleys!" one of the marines quipped as
one piece of steel whirred overhead.
Heavy gunfire could be heard across the city of low, yellow-brick
buildings silhouetted by tall minarets from mosques. The few civilians
in the streets were outnumbered by dogs and cats skittish from the
sounds of combat.
Avoiding narrow alleys that can be turned into deathtraps by guerrillas,
the marines moved through the neighbourhood using plastic explosives
and blasting cord to knock down doors and tear open walls connecting
darkened homes. They also leaped from roof to roof, carrying
a sledgehammer to break open locked, metal doors leading down into
In one house, they found two bodies in a room scattered with AK-47
assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The two men
apparently died in combat earlier in the week when the U.S. offensive
"The terrorists, they deserve it,"
said Lance Cpl. Freddy Ramosavila, 22, of Commerce City, Colo. "Better
them than me. They're killing us, too."
Marines said the fight had been easier and faster than they expected.
Officers estimated between 1,000 and 5,000 fighters were holed
up in Fallujah when the attack began early Monday after a heavy
artillery bombardment that collapsed some buildings and spattered
shrapnel into others.
"I don't know if they ran, but you can see all the weapons
on the ground," Cpl. Jeremy Mueller said, referring to the
ammunition boxes, body armour, grenades and rifles lying in doorways
on many streets.
"I guess they're pulling back into the centre of the city,
where they must have stockpiles. But they won't carry their guns,
because they know if we see them, we'll shoot them," said the
23-year-old from Steelville, Ill.
As they moved from building to building, the
marines checked through cupboards and drawers, looking for weapons
and ammunition, but more often coming across the mundane of daily
life, including family photos and prayer beads.
Early Friday, a group of eight Iraqi civilians waved a green flag
of surrender at the patrol, which herded the group together for
transfer off the battlefield.
"We're not animals. When we come across innocents, we try
to hook them up," said Pirvu, the commander.
They also captured a man in a white dishdasha robe who they said
shot at them the previous evening.
Although U.S. commanders have warned that capturing Fallujah won't
immediately break the resistance, they hope stepped-up offensives
against insurgents will spread security and increase the chances
for successful elections planned for January.
The six-day US-led
assault on Falluja has turned catastrophic for civilians there and
fuelled fighting in Iraq's northern city of Mosul.
"Conditions in Falluja are catastrophic," said Firdus
al-Abadi, spokeswoman for the Iraqi Red Crescent in Baghdad.
A four-truck convoy of relief supplies left Baghdad for Falluja,
even though the US military and Iraq's interim government have not
accepted the Red Crescent's pleas for permission to enter the urban
"Our destination is Falluja. We know it is risky but this
is our duty as a humanitarian society and as Iraqis," she said.
The trucks were carrying food, blankets, first-aid kits, medicine
and a water purification unit from the Red Crescent, the International
Committee of the Red Cross and Unicef.
"We've had no contact with the Americans," said Jamal
al-Karbouli, the doctor in charge of the convoy. The trucks would
drive until troops stopped them, he said.
"Then we'll try to talk to them, let them search the trucks
to see we only have medicine, food and first-aid," he said
as the convoy began its eastward 50km drive to Falluja.
Fadhil Badran, Aljazeera correspondent in Falluja reported that
fighting was fierce and continuous in Falluja's south-eastern neighbourhood
al-Shuhadaa and in the al-Julan on the north-west.
Day sometimes turns night-like due to the intense smoke from the
burning of homes, shops and factories as also from the burning of
US military vehicles, Badran said.
US forces have moved from the middle to the north of the city,
he reported. The north and west are still controlled by the Iraqi
resistance, Badran said, adding that large numbers of fighters were
in the Senaee and Askari neighbourhoods.
Describing the conditions for civilians as very
hard, Badran reported that US air strikes had killed several families.
Women, children and patients have been buried in their gardens,
"I met a Falluja civilian who told me that he asked the Red
Crescent for help but they could not oblige. He said he had buried
two of his children and that too would die today and hence he did
not need any assistance," Badran reported.
Meanwhile, the attack on Falluja has inflamed resentment
across central Iraq, where anti-US fighters have launched a wave
of attacks and bombings.
Iraqi national guardsmen based near the Syrian border were ordered
to move to Mosul where the fighters have taken over streets and
police stations since Wednesday.
On Saturday, looters rampaged through a palace that had been used
as a US base in Mosul after troops apparently left at dawn.
Cars and trucks packed with people swarmed to the palace, where
they were seen making off with food, equipment and clothes, even
a mattress, a reporter at the scene in northern Mosul said.
The government fired Mosul's police chief after nine police stations
fell into the hands of fighters. Residents said armed men roamed
the streets on Saturday, with no sign of security forces.
The US military denied on Friday that Mosul was out of control,
but said it had launched air strikes on Thursday night to try to
The United States said the Falluja offensive launched by 10,000
US and 2000 Iraqi troops on Monday would not stop until all resistance
in the city had been wiped out.
In New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists
said it was deeply disturbed by a new directive from Iraqi authorities
warning media to stick to the government line on Falluja.
"It damages the government's credibility in establishing a
free and democratic society," CPJ director Ann Cooper said.
Aljazeera has meanwhile apologised to its viewers
for being unable to cover the Iraqi events directly due to the closure
of its offices by the Iraqi interim government three months back.
AMS member held
Meanwhile, Iraqi national guards force arrested Mustafa al-Dulaimi,
a member of Iraq's influential Muslim body, Association of Muslim
Scholars, after raiding his home in Baghdad.
Eyewitnesses confirmed that he was beaten fiercely
by some guards.
Al-Dulaimi had recently led a demonstration in
front of Abu Haneefa mosque to condemn the US and Iraqi forces attacks
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The Iraqi government warned
news organizations Thursday to distinguish between insurgents and
ordinary civilians in coverage of the fighting in Fallujah and to
promote the leadership's position or face unspecified action.
The warning came in a statement sent to news organizations by
Iraq's Media High Commission, which cited the 60-day state of emergency
declared Sunday on the eve of the offensive in Fallujah.
"You must be precise and objective in handling news and information,"
the statement said.
It stressed the necessity of differentiating
between "innocent citizens of Fallujah who are not targeted
by the military operations and between the terrorist groups who
infiltrated the city and took its people hostage under the pretext
of resistance and jihad."
It also told news organizations to tell their correspondents "to
be credible and precise" and not to
"add patriotic descriptions to groups of killers and criminals."
Finally, the commission told news organizations
to provide space to explain "the government position, expressing
the ambition of most of the Iraqi people" and underscore
that "these military operations did not come about until all
peaceful means were attempted" to avoid violence.
It said that failure to follow the instructions
will require authorities to "take all necessary measures to
safeguard the supreme interest of the homeland." The
statement did not provide further details.
US troops, backed by Iraqi forces,
are locked in a fierce fight to wrest the city of Falluja from rebel
control. The BBC News website spoke by phone to Fadhil Badrani,
an Iraqi journalist and resident of Falluja who reports regularly
for Reuters and the BBC World Service in Arabic.
We are publishing his and other eyewitness accounts from the city
in order to provide the fullest possible range of perspectives from
those who are there:
"A row of palm trees used to run along the street outside
my house - now only the trunks are left.
The upper half of each tree has vanished, blown away by mortar
From my window, I can also make out that the minarets of several
mosques have been toppled.
There are more and more dead bodies on the streets
and the stench is unbearable.
Smoke is everywhere.
Sleeping through bombardment
A house some doors from mine was hit during the bombardment on
Wednesday night. A 13-year-old boy was killed. His name was Ghazi.
I tried to flee the city last night but I could not get very
far. It was too dangerous.
I am getting used to the bombardment. I have learnt to sleep
through the noise - the smaller bombs no longer bother me.
Without water and electricity, we feel completely cut off from
I only found out Yasser Arafat had died because the BBC rang
It is hard to know how much people outside Falluja are aware
of what is going on here.
I want them to know about conditions inside this
city - there are dead women and children lying on the streets.
People are getting weaker from hunger. Many are dying from their
injuries because there is no medical help left in the city whatsoever.
Some families have started burying their dead in their gardens.
There has been a lot of resistance in Jolan.
The Americans have taken over several high-rise buildings overlooking
But the height has not helped them control the area because the
streets of Jolan are very narrow and you cannot fire into them
The US military moves along the main roads and avoids the side-streets.
The soldiers do not leave their armoured vehicles and tanks.
If they get fired on, they fire back from their tanks or call
I saw some Iraqi government soldiers on the ground earlier.
I don't know which part of the country these soldiers are from.
They are definitely not from any of the western provinces such
I have heard people say they are from Kurdistan.
They are well co-ordinated. When the US forces pull back from
an area, the Iraqi soldiers will take over there."
The Netherlands will pull out its troops from
Iraq on March 15, sticking with a decision first made in June.
Dutch news agency ANP cited Defense Minister Henk Kamp on Friday
as saying that the country's 1,350-contingent will leave the US-led
The Netherlands first sent troops to Iraq in August 2003 and won
parliamentary approval this summer to extend their stay until March
Iraq's interim administration wants to hold elections in January
despite mounting violence, and the Netherlands has come under increasing
US and British pressure to keep its troops there after March.
A suicide bomber who killed three
Black Watch soldiers was white, suggesting British troops are being
targeted by European terrorists.
The bomber's face was seen by surviving troops as he drove up
to a road block seconds before the blast. His features have allowed
Army commanders to rule him out as an Arab.
A senior military source in Iraq said: "The bomber was Caucasian.
That means he could be from anywhere between Bosnia to Birmingham.
We don't know any more because there wasn't much left of him.
"But it confirms our fears that the Black Watch are now up
against foreign terrorists."
The killer and the second suicide bomber who left two more British
soldiers seriously injured on Sunday both attacked with a calm grin
on their faces.
Their relaxed manner and broad smile seconds before they struck
fooled troops into thinking that they meant no harm.
The senior source added: How they could commit such a cold-blooded
act in that manner is very hard to comprehend."
The two corporals - both bomb disposal experts - blown up on Sunday
only escaped death because they were standing behind an armoured
door. Most of the blast was absorbed by the open door of a Warrior
fighting vehicle but the full force hit them below the knees.
One had his legs blown off and the other suffered serious lower
The men, part of the 850-strong battle group at Camp Dogwood, 20
miles south of Baghdad, were put on an emergency flight from Baghdad
to a US military hospital in Germany yesterday for specialist treatment.
A video by one of the bomber's conspirators was released yesterday
on the website "The al Qa'eda Group in the Land of Two Rivers".
Entitled "First martyr operation against British forces in
Baghdad", it shows a sports utility vehicle being driven along
a desert road.
It then explodes and military vehicles and a helicopter are shown
at the site "evacuating the dead and wounded", according
to a voice-over on the tape.
The terrorists then plumb new depths when one is seen repeatedly
stamping on part of an arm. The voice on the tape described the
arm as part of the "remains" of the British soldiers.
As religious chanting is heard in the background, the voice adds:
"Crush them. Do not respect neither truce nor peace."
This pooled dispatch was compiled under Ministry of Defence reporting
WASHINGTON - Government counterterror experts
say the threat of an attack by al-Qaida remains a significant concern,
perhaps even this year, although the nation safely passed the benchmark
of the Nov. 2 election.
The Homeland Security Department this week lowered the terror alert
for the financial sector in New York, Washington and northern New
Jersey that was in place for three months. But authorities still
caution the possibility of an attack is just as high as it was a
"The whole notion taking a deep breath and saying, 'Wow, we
got past this and now we are OK for a while' is a ... very dangerous
train of thought," Homeland Security Deputy Secretary James
Loy told reporters in a conference call Wednesday.
Since April, U.S. authorities have warned of an increased risk
of attack to disrupt democracy, often pointing to the now-passed
elections. But they remain concerned about the upcoming holidays,
the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration and beyond. Loy said the time
period does not have a termination date.
He said a relaxed posture for financial institutions — from
code orange, or heightened, to code yellow, or elevated —
came because government and private-sector officials had run drills,
improved security and taken other measures to "harden"
the potential targets. The passing of the election, too, was on
the minds of authorities.
Now, counterterrorism officials are analyzing
why al-Qaida may not have attacked and what may be ahead.
Among other efforts, experts in and out of government have been
combing through two tapes released by al-Qaida in the two weeks
before the election — first by a man calling himself "Azzam
the American" and another by Osama bin Laden, leader of the
In a recent analysis, Ben Venzke, president of
the private IntelCenter and a consultant to government counterterrorism
agencies, said three bin Laden videos directly addressing Americans
— in October of 2002, 2003 and 2004 — were followed
between one and 53 days by attacks. Venzke said he didn't know why
the videos come annually in October.
None of the attacks was in the continental United States. Al-Qaida
attacked a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen and a Saudi
housing complex in Riyadh after the 2002 and 2003 videos, respectively.
However, Venzke said he was particularly concerned about an attack
directly against U.S. interests now because the new tapes represent
"the most significant effort by al-Qaida to address the American
people in the last couple years." [...]
WASHINGTON - Federal judges are jeopardizing
national security by issuing rulings contradictory to President
Bush's decisions on America's obligations under international treaties
and agreements, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday.
In his first remarks since his resignation was announced Tuesday,
Ashcroft forcefully denounced what he called "a profoundly
disturbing trend" among some judges to interfere in the president's
constitutional authority to make decisions during war.
"The danger I see here is that intrusive
judicial oversight and second-guessing of presidential determinations
in these critical areas can put at risk the very security of our
nation in a time of war," Ashcroft said in a speech to the
Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers' group.
The Justice Department announced this week it would
seek to overturn a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robertson
in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who the government contends was
Osama bin Laden's driver.
Robertson halted Hamdan's trial by military commission
in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, rejecting the Bush administration's position
that the Geneva Conventions governing prisoners of war do not apply
to al-Qaida members because they are not soldiers of a true state
and do not fight by international norms.
Without mentioning that case specifically, Ashcroft criticized
rulings he said found "expansive private rights in treaties
where they never existed" that run counter to the broad discretionary
powers given the president by the Constitution.
"Courts are not equipped to execute the law.
They are not accountable to the people," Ashcroft said.
During his successful re-election campaign, Bush repeatedly promised
to appoint judges who would adhere to strict interpretations of
the Constitution. In addition to numerous lower courts, Bush is
likely to appoint at least one and perhaps several justices to the
Supreme Court during the next four years.
The administration lost a crucial legal battle this year when a
divided Supreme Court determined the president lacks the authority
to hold terror suspects classified as enemy combatants indefinitely
with no access to lawyers or the ability to challenge their detention.
Ashcroft intends to remain as attorney general until his nominated
successor, Alberto Gonzales, is confirmed by the Senate.
Chief Resigns From CIA
Agency Is Said to Be in Turmoil Under New Director Goss
| By Dana Priest and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, November 13, 2004; Page A01
The deputy director of the CIA resigned yesterday
after a series of confrontations over the past week between senior
operations officials and CIA Director Porter J. Goss's new chief
of staff that have left the agency in turmoil, according to several
current and former CIA officials.
John E. McLaughlin, a 32-year CIA veteran who was acting director
for two months this summer until Goss took over, resigned after
warning Goss that his top aide, former Capitol Hill staff member
Patrick Murray, was treating senior officials disrespectfully and
risked widespread resignations, the officials said.
Yesterday, the agency official who oversees foreign operations,
Deputy Director of Operations Stephen R. Kappes, tendered his resignation
after a confrontation with Murray. Goss and the White House pleaded
with Kappes to reconsider and he agreed to delay his decision until
Monday, the officials said.
Several other senior clandestine service officers
are threatening to leave, current and former agency officials said.
The disruption comes as the CIA is trying to stay abreast of a
worldwide terrorist threat from al Qaeda, a growing insurgency in
Iraq, the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan and congressional
proposals to reorganize the intelligence agencies. The agency also
has been criticized for not preventing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks
and not accurately assessing Saddam Hussein's ability to produce
weapons of mass destruction.
"It's the worst roiling I've ever heard of," said one
former senior official with knowledge of the events. "There's
confusion throughout the ranks and an extraordinary loss of morale
Current and retired senior managers have criticized
Goss, former chairman of the House intelligence committee, for not
interacting with senior managers and for giving Murray too much
authority over day-to-day operations. Murray was Goss's chief of
staff on the intelligence committee.
Transitions between CIA directors are often unsettling for career
officers. Goss's arrival has been especially tense because he brought
with him four former members of the intelligence committee known
widely on the Hill and within the agency for their abrasive management
style and for their criticism of the agency's clandestine services
in a committee report.
Three are former mid-level CIA officials who left the agency disgruntled,
according to former colleagues. The fourth, Murray, who also worked
at the Justice Department, has a reputation for being highly partisan.
When senior managers have gone to Goss to complain about his staff
actions, one CIA officer said, Goss has told them: "Talk to
my chief of staff. I don't do personnel."
The overall effect, said one former senior CIA official, who has
kept up his contacts in the Directorate of Operations, "is
that Goss doesn't seem engaged at all."
If other senior clandestine officers leave, said
one former officer who maintains contacts within the Langley headquarters,
"the middle-level people who move up may eventually work out,
but meanwhile the level of experience and competence will go down."
The CIA declined to comment on the issues raised by the current
and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A
CIA spokesman said McLaughlin's retirement "was a long-planned
personal decision taken at a natural transition point in the administration
and not connected to any other factors."
McLaughlin issued a statement that said: "I have come to the
purely personal decision that it is time to move on to other endeavors."
Goss, too, issued a statement, which applauded McLaughlin's "outstanding
Parents and students say they
are outraged and offended by a proposed band name and song scheduled
for a high school talent show in Boulder this evening, but members
of the band, named Coalition of the Willing, said the whole thing
is being blown out of proportion.
The students told ABC News affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver they are
performing Bob Dylan's song "Masters of War" during the
Boulder High School Talent Exposé because they are Dylan
fans. They said they want to express their views and show off their
But some students and adults who heard the band
rehearse called a radio talk show Thursday morning, saying the song
the band sang ended with a call for President Bush to die.
Threatening the president is a federal crime, so
the Secret Service was called to the school to investigate.
Students in the band said they're just singing the lyrics and not
inciting anyone to do anything.
The 1963 song ends with the lyrics: "You might say that I'm
young. You might say I'm unlearned, but there's one thing I know,
though I'm younger than you, even Jesus would never forgive what
you do ... And I hope that you die and your death'll come soon.
I will follow your casket in the pale afternoon. And I'll watch
while you're lowered down to your deathbed. And I'll stand o'er
your grave 'til I'm sure that you're dead."
'We Were Just Singing'
The students told KMGH they never threatened the president and
never changed the lyrics to the song.
"It's just Bob Dylan's song. We were just singing Bob Dylan's
song ... If you think it has to do with Bush that's because you're
drawing your own conclusions. We never conveyed that Bush was the
person we were talking about," said Allysse Wojtanek-Watson,
a singer for the band.
"She never said anything about killing Bush ... It's crazy,
it's chaos. We have nothing in there it says about killing Bush,"
band leader Forest Engstrom told KMGH.
The principal of the school said he stands behind the students.
"Never was it rehearsed or auditioned with a change of lyrics.
I want to be very clear about that," Boulder principal Ron
Cabrera said Secret Service agents questioned him for 20 minutes
and took a copy of the lyrics. They did not ask to speak to any
of the students but they did question a teacher who had supervised
a student protest that was held at the school last weekend.
Despite the controversy, the Boulder School District said it will
allow the students to perform this evening.
"Boulder High School has expectations for the appropriateness
of talent show acts and those expectations are communicated to the
performers. Over the course of the rehearsals, the faculty has worked
with the performers to create a show that falls within those expectations.
School staff have monitored the performance and spoken with the
students and are satisfied that the performance is simply student
expression and not a threat against anyone," Boulder Schools
spokeswoman Susan Cousins said in a statement.
During the rehearsals for the show, teachers Jim Vacca and Jim
Kavanaugh played backup in the band at the students' request but
the teachers decided not to perform this evening because they don't
want to detract from the students' performance, Cousins said.
The band had at one point considered calling itself The TaliBand,
but the students decided against it after discussing with Vacca
whether the name would be offensive to some people, she said.
Promoting a 'Leftist View?'
Vacca praised a group of 70 students after they camped out overnight
in the school library last week to protest the results of the presidential
election and to announce their worries about the direction of the
country. The students wanted to meet with Colorado's political leaders
to get assurances that they were being heard.
The students said they worried about war, a return of the draft
and the future of the environment after the election in which they
could not participate.
"In an age where narcissistic college students riot in an
inarticulate drunken stupor, you have students here at Boulder High
School, principled, thoughtful and yet scared of four more years
of pre-emptive war, the Patriot Act and an increase in militarism
at school through the No Child Left Behind Act," Vacca had
said. But other people said they are upset students and teachers
are allowed to put on such a performance, and some say the high
school students are being manipulated by the adults.
"These kids are being used to promote an extreme leftist point
of view on the taxpayers' dime," Boulder resident James Lemons
He said other students who saw the tryouts and were upset by the
presentation discussed it with their parents but are afraid of speaking
up because of the political environment within the school and in
Boulder, considered the most liberal city in Colorado.
The principal said Lemons' accusations and allegations are untrue
"I feel that the school and these students have been accused
without being able to confront their accusers," Cabrera said,
adding that no student or parent had talked to him about the allegations.
"Why would someone do that?"
The burgeoning new legal category
of "enemy combatant lite."
Last Monday, the U.S. Defense Department spit
out Yaser Esam Hamdi like a piece of bad meatloaf—deporting
him to Saudi Arabia with the agreement that he renounce his U.S.
citizenship and never visit or harass the United States again. Now
back in Saudi Arabia, Hamdi
says he was innocent all along. Following a serious smackdown
from the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2004—which ruled that
he could not be held without some measure of due process—neither
the Defense Department nor the Justice Department could digest the
hard, chewy lump that was Hamdi any longer. After nearly three years
of detention and interrogation in the Tower of Charleston, err...the
Charleston, S.C., naval brig, Hamdi was sent packing.
One of the chief arguments advanced by Hamdi's supporters was that
if the administration could do this to American citizen Hamdi, it
could do the same to you. Yet, despite the Draconian implications
case, most Americans have little reason to fear this kind of
treatment. After all, Hamdi was captured on an Afghan battlefield
by U.S. forces and their allies engaged in active combat. Despite
the best efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development
and others, Afghanistan has not yet developed a booming tourist
business (although the jihad business remains quite brisk), so few
Americans actually risk a fate like Hamdi's. However,
lots of Americans face another fate, perhaps best dubbed "enemy
combatant lite"—a status that involves more punishment
and less process than the regular criminal justice system—via
other Justice Department initiatives that affect the activities
of millions of Americans.
This dragnet has affected significant numbers of recent immigrants
and foreign visitors to this country, all of whom face a substantially
tougher immigration-enforcement regime since Sept. 11, regardless
of whether they are connected to terrorism or from a country that
sponsors terrorism. It may also affect the
millions of Americans who give money to charity or support any number
of political causes, because of the aggressive way the government
has enforced the law outlawing material support to foreign terrorist
Despite the popular myth about how the United States has welcomed
the world's huddled masses to its shores, U.S.
immigration law has long given foreigners a cold shoulder. Our
immigration policies have long reflected American ambivalence about
its role in the world, its responsibilities to refugees, and its
recognition of hardship in other countries. Perhaps
the most notable instance of this was during the Holocaust of World
War II, when the United States refused entry to thousands of mostly
Jewish refugees from Europe seeking to escape Nazi tyranny.
One would think we would have gotten smarter about the use of such
laws since then. [...] In fact, if policymakers
had consciously tried to invent a system more capable of alienating
immigrants and citizens of Middle Eastern descent, it's hard to
imagine they could have done so.
Only two U.S. citizens—Hamdi and alleged "dirty bomber"
Jose Padilla—have received the full "enemy combatant"
treatment wherein they are locked up indefinitely without access
to courts, lawyers, or charges. But thousands more have been detained
as something just short of enemy combatants, on technical violations
of immigration regulations once enforced with the laxity of traffic
rules. There are now 11.4 million legal
permanent residents in the United States living in perpetual
fear that their status may be in jeopardy next. The government may
not be shackling these folks and shipping them off to Gitmo, but
it is threatening their liberty nonetheless.
The second category of "enemy combatant lite" comes in
the form of criminal prosecutions by the Justice Department for
providing material support to terrorists
terrorist organizations. One of the more important parts of
the 2001 USA
Patriot Act enlarged the definition of "material support"
to include additional forms of activity such as "expert advice
and assistance." Here, there have been only a handful of charges
brought thus far, both because it appears there aren't that many
active terrorist supporters in the United States and because the
government has used other means (like immigration regulations) to
target people who might otherwise qualify for prosecution under
these criminal laws. Unfortunately, the problem
doesn't stop there. The Justice Department has signaled in the material-support
cases it has brought that it intends to interpret this law quite
broadly and in such a way that could threaten millions of Americans'
otherwise lawful political and social activities.
[...] But prosecutions for material support
can go too far, too—to the point where they infringe on speech
and political activism that would otherwise be constitutionally
protected. The definition of material support—which
uses terms like "expert advice and assistance" and "training"
to describe activities that are verboten—is itself too vague,
at least according to one appellate court that looked at the law
If the Justice Department continues down
this road, it may not be long before even more tangential forms
of support qualify for prosecution. Certain
forms of speech may well facilitate crime—as Justice
Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in his Gitlow v. New York dissent many
years ago, "every idea is an incitement"—and
those forms of speech may eventually become ripe for prosecution.
The material-support law is new enough, and relatively untested
before appellate courts, that we really don't know where this slippery
slope of enforcement will lead to. [...]
Thanks to Hamdi and his lawyers, Americans probably don't have
to worry about being locked up indefinitely in brigs as enemies
of the state. But if you run a Web site or
raise money for any of the causes the Justice Department finds questionable,
you may want to give Mr. al-Hussayen in Idaho a phone call: He'd
warn you that folks like you really might be next.
Phillip Carter is a former U.S. Army officer who now writes
on legal and military affairs in Los Angeles.
WASHINGTON - The government ordered U.S. airlines
Friday to turn over personal information about passengers so it
can test a system for identifying potential terrorists. The move
was expected but nonetheless brought protests from civil libertarians
worried about invasions of privacy.
Under the system, called "Secure Flight," the Transportation
Security Administration will compare passenger data with names on
two government watch lists: a "no-fly" list comprises
known or suspected terrorists, and a "watch" list names
people who should face tighter scrutiny before boarding planes.
"Secure Flight represents a significant step in securing
domestic air travel and safeguarding national security information,
namely, the watchlists," the TSA said in a notice announcing
The TSA order gives 72 airlines until Nov. 23
to turn over computerized data for passengers who traveled on domestic
flights during June.
The data - known as passenger name records, or PNR - can include
credit card numbers, travel itineraries, addresses, telephone numbers
and meal requests. The latter can indicate a passenger's religion
Barry Steinhardt, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, said
a major problem is the lists include the names of many people who
are not security risks.
Among those subjected to extra scrutiny in recent months was Sen.
Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. The singer formerly known as Cat Stevens,
now Yusuf Islam, is trying to get off the no-fly list after he was
removed from a London-to-Washington flight because the list said
he had links to terrorists.
The lists are "a hodgepodge of information, accurate and
inaccurate," Steinhardt said. "They're the basement of
the program, and the floor is rotten." [...]
Miami-Dade police shocked a 6-year-old boy
with a 50,000-volt stun gun to keep him from hurting himself with
a piece of glass he was waving around in a school office, officials
Police say they followed their Taser guidelines, the child wasn't
injured by the shock and he might have hurt himself seriously if
they hadn't shocked him.
But the incident, which occurred Oct. 20 at Kelsey Pharr Elementary
in Brownsville, has child advocates and experts shaking their heads
''It just sounds excessive to me to Taser gun a 6-year-old when
everyone else around there were adults,'' said retired Broward County
Juvenile Judge Frank Orlando, who runs a youth-law clinic at Nova
Southeastern University. "They couldn't
subdue a 6-year-old? Must have been a pretty big kid.''
Police Director Bobby Parker said his department is reviewing
the incident, but he defended the officer's
decision to use the stun gun.
''We know the child was not harmed other than the little tiny
probe pricks you get with the Taser,'' Parker said. 'What we do
not know is if the child would or would not have subsequently cut
his vein. Had the child cut his vein and the officer had not Tasered
the child, somebody would be saying, `Well, you had the Taser. Why
didn't you Taser the child?' '' [...]
Twin brothers, one of whom was shot in the
back by Fremont police with a Taser X26, have requested an internal
investigation to determine whether excessive force was used during
a melee at a community park last Friday.
The twins, Farzan and Kayhan Sharifzada, both 17 and seniors at
Mission San Jose High School, want an apology.
"Police, not all of them, but some of them, are getting out
of hand in this country,'' said their mother, Ateefa Sharifzada.
"They are using the Tasers, not as a tool, but as a toy.''
At issue in Fremont is whether the twins were complying with an
officer's request last Friday to leave the scene of a large fight
at Old Mission Park. The twins contend they
were not part of the melee, showing up only by coincidence.
Fremont police spokesman Bill Veteran outlined the course of events
as described to him by fellow officers. He did not identify the
twins by name because they are minors. However, the Sharifzada family
agreed to let the Mercury News print their names. The following
is an account of their versions of what happened on the night in
question. Officer Adam Carpenter asked Farzan three times to turn
off the car engine before the teen finally did. But Carpenter said
Farzan wouldn't turn off his engine.
Carpenter said he went for Farzan's throat only after the teen
grabbed Carpenter's hands as the officer reached inside the car
to turn the ignition off.
Farzan countered that his hands brushed against the officer's
just as he was attempting to turn off his Honda's engine, and that's
when Carpenter punched him in the mouth. He admits he spit and swore
at the officer after this encounter.
Two other officers shot Farzan with a Taser -- three darts landing
in his back. They say he was resisting being handcuffed. Farzan
contends that he has a bad back and was jerking away in pain as
an officer aggressively twisted his arm behind his back.
Sharifzada said her boys are good sons who don't drink or do drugs,
and have cared for her since she fell and broke her neck last year.
Their extended family emigrated from Afghanistan
in the 1980s and live in an apartment complex they own together.
The Mercury News reviewed on Thursday handwritten
statements from 13 students who witnessed the fight and corroborate
the twins' story. Sharifzada plans to present the statements
in juvenile court, where her sons will appear to face misdemeanor
charges of resisting arrest. [...]
| In the end, there was probably only
one word that really mattered at the rain-swept Blair-Bush Washington
summit: that word was "capital".
The immensely powerful, unconstrained re-elected US President promised
over the next four years to "spend the capital of the United
States" trying to create a free and democratic Palestinian
If he means it, that is a formidable promise.
But it depends on the Palestinian elections producing a new leadership
that is committed to the "road map" solution of two states,
Israel and Palestine, and is not dominated by the more extreme groups
now jockeying for position in the post-Arafat Palestine; and is
utterly committed to extirpating terrorism.
Blair and Bush have agreed to push all the help they can to securing
successful Palestinian elections, with the Israelis standing back,
and international assistance with monitoring and peacekeeping.
Then, the two men agreed, the limited Israeli pull-out from Gaza
and from some West Bank settlements had to be made fully effective.
It was essential not to leave behind anarchy or chaos.
President Bush told Tony Blair privately he believed Israel's Ariel
Sharon would go far further if that happened, creating the tantalising
possibility of a final settlement to one of the world's most dangerous
But was this mere summit rhetoric? Is there any, faint, reason
for hope this time, after so many dashed hopes, bloody failures
and broken deals over past decades?
Mr Blair and his officials hope the coincidence of Yasser Arafat's
death and President Bush's re-election, making him look forward
to his eventual legacy, gives momentum and movement at last.
Mr Bush's "capital", after all, is immense.
But just as striking was the way both leaders emphasised
their central mission - nothing less than the spreading of democracy
around the trouble spots and most dangerous regions of the world.
Whether or not this is a doctrine which has been created retrospectively
to account for the Iraq war, both seemed to be using near-identical
What appears to be emerging from this unusually
private summit - the two men were together without anyone else for
two hours, and spent several more with just a small team of close
advisers - could be called the doctrine of the "new interventionism".
No longer is it acceptable to deal with dictators
or hardline regimes, so long as they don't directly threaten the
West: in future they have to be confronted and democracy has to
be spread by any means possible.
It is a strange marriage between the old internationalist instincts
of part of the liberal left and the so-called neo-conservatives
of George Bush's America.
This is, quite clearly, a restless, hugely ambitious and no doubt
at times perilous world view.
But listening to the self-certain words and observing the body
language it was quite clear - both men mean this.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar sank across
the board on Friday as dealers shrugged off robust U.S. economic
data and kept their focus on the currency's shaky fundamentals.
Given a burgeoning U.S. current account deficit -- broadly a measure
of the country's global trade, analysts say it is difficult not
to bet against the greenback.
"The current account deficit is the mantra being chanted by
dollar bears who are finding inner peace shorting the buck,"
said Andrew Busch, global FX strategist, at BMO Nesbitt Burns in
"However, six days of the same wide ranges
is providing plenty of negative karma and doubt. It doesn't end
today," he added.
The dollar fell further after minutes of the Federal Reserve's
policy-setting committee meeting on Sept. 21 expressed concern about
the massive U.S. trade gap. [...]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Boeing Co.-led team
has successfully fired for the first time a powerful laser meant
to fly aboard a modified 747 as part of a U.S. ballistic missile
defense shield, officials said on Friday.
The test, dubbed "First Light" by insiders, lasted only
a fraction of a second but gave the project an important boost at
a time it was deemed at risk of cuts or cancellation.
The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency described the event -- carried
out on Wednesday in a 747 fuselage on the ground at Edwards Air
Force Base in California -- as a "landmark achievement"
for the so-called Airborne Laser system.
"It showed they work," said Kenneth Englade, an agency
spokesman, of the laser's six identical, pickup-truck-sized, modules
linked to fire as a single unit. "The rest is fine-tuning."
The Chemical Oxygen Iodine laser is built by Northrop Grumman Corp.
. It includes breakthrough optics designed to focus a basketball-sized
spot of heat on a missile's skin to rupture it up to hundreds of
Pentagon officials envision several such aircraft flying by turns
near North Korea or another potential foe's territory. The goal
is to detect, track and destroy a missile when that would be easiest,
before it releases a warhead that could be tipped with chemical,
nuclear or germ weapons.
Demonstrated progress, particularly in achieving "First Light,"
would be critical to continuation of the project, negotiators from
the House of Representatives and Senate armed services committees
said in a report last month accompanying the 2005 Defense Authorization
Congress authorized President Bush's request for $474.3 million
for the program in fiscal 2005, which began Oct. 1, as part of the
$10 billion budgeted for missile defense development and deployment.
Philip Coyle, the Pentagon's chief weapons tester under former
President Bill Clinton and a critic of early missile defense deployment
plans, described the test on Wednesday as very important to people
working on the program.
"They deserve a lot of credit for having gotten this far,"
he said in a telephone interview. "But they've still got a
long way to go" to demonstrate shoot-down capability.
Among other technical challenges, Coyle said, engineers must figure
out ways to fire the laser for the longer time needed to zap a missile
without damaging the optics through which the beam passes -- a kind
of technical Catch-22.
In coming months, Englade said, engineers hope to boost the duration
and power of the laser's beam. It will then be installed on a 747-400F
aircraft for a test that includes shooting down a dummy ballistic
missile over the Pacific. No date has been set for that test. [...]
WASHINGTON -- It was the last question Prime
Minister Tony Blair wanted asked, and he seemed to cringe as President
Bush answered it.
"The prime minister is sometimes,
perhaps unfairly, characterized in Britain as your poodle,"
began the questioner at a joint appearance by the two leaders Friday
at the White House. "I was wondering if that's the way you
may see your relationship? And perhaps, more seriously, do you feel
for the -"
Blair broke in: "Don't answer 'yes' to that question,"
he mockingly admonished Bush, prompting laughter.
Joking aside, Bush offered a serious answer.
"Plenty capable of making his own mind. He's a strong, capable
man," the president said. "When
times get tough he doesn't wilt. You know, when the criticism starts
to come his way - I suspect that might be happening on occasion
- he stands for what he believes in." An endorsement
of his leadership qualities from the American president, no matter
how hearty, is of little help to Blair.
A wide section of the British public deeply dislikes Bush, viewing
him as a unilateralist. The detention of four Britons without trial
at Guantanamo Bay, his refusal to sign the Kyoto global warming
protocol, his rejection of an international criminal court, and
his invasion of Iraq without a specific green light from the United
Nations add to his unpopularity.
Blair's critics are unlikely to be swayed from their conviction
that the prime minister doggedly follows U.S. foreign policy without
exerting any real influence.
No wonder Blair appeared a bit uncomfortable. Still, he couldn't
resist offering a little self-defense.
"As long as I remain prime minister of our country it will
carry on being strong - not because that's in the interests of America
simply or in the interests of the international community, but because
I believe passionately it is in the interest of Britain," Blair
PARIS - A Venezuelan man swiped a policeman's
gun while handcuffed and opened fire Friday at the foot of the Eiffel
Tower, injuring a police officer and two security guards, officials
The man, who is in his 30s, was taken into custody after the incident,
which occurred as he was being questioned for attempting to enter
a restricted area of the Paris monument, police officials said.
The suspect grabbed the policeman's pistol while his hands were
cuffed behind his back, the officials said.
The officer was shot in the arm, and a security guard suffered
a bullet wound to the shoulder. A second security guard was grazed
by a bullet.
The man was not further identified, and an investigation was underway.
Day turned to night across Shenyang
when a freak cloud formation 8,000 metres deep blanketed the northeastern
For over half-an-hour noon was as black as midnight. Cars, buses
and lorries went someway to breaking up the darkness.
Tremendous lightening flashes accompanied the phenomena, reports
the website www.sina.com.cn.
Convergence of two cloud fronts formed the 8,000-metre-thick connective
With sky and sun effectively blocked out, visibility was reduced
to near zero, according to an expert from the provincial capital's
The marvellous spectacle was also reported in many other areas
of Liaoning Province and lasted for half an hour in some places,
The meteorologist warned that temperatures are likely to plummet
in the coming days.
| NIIGATA--The specter of a hard winter
fast approaching, and with it deep snow drifts, is adding to the anxieties
of Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake victims forced to abandon their homes.
The series of quakes Oct. 23 largely ruined the area's vast network
of snow-removal devices--including pipes installed under roads to
melt snow, which piles up to several meters in places in the heart
of winter. These pipes, as well as wide snow gutters, were put in
place long ago to combat some of the heaviest snowfall in Japan.
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