Wednesday, November 17, 2004
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Bush in Rapture

The Dia de los Muertos of the US Left

November 16, 2004

Even as I sasheyed down 24th Street with a hangman's noose around my neck and a crown of skulls adorning my tonsure in the Mission barrio's 30th-odd Dias de los Muertos procession, ABC-Disney was already calling Florida for Bush and hope itself was busy dying. All of a sudden, this Aztec ritual celebration of life, death, resuscitation, and death all over again seemed the aptest metaphor for the calamity that was about to engulf our nations.

By 4 AM the next morning, even as the last ballots were being cast in Columbus Ohio, Bush had surged to a purported three million plus lead in the popular vote and Kerry was on the brink of conceding Ohio, ostensibly to avoid another extended spasm of partisan malfeasance a la 2000 but bottom line, to save the empire from itself. I awoke with the bitter bile of four more years on the tip of my tongue. My inexplicable conviction that the Dems would score a landslide knockout had shipwrecked on the smiley shores of Good Morning America. Where had I gone so wrong?

I had just trekked the breadth of the country from the Republican National Convention up and down the eastern seaboard into the breadbasket of North America and thence deep into the heart of Texas, a journey of 10,000 miles, had conversed and overheard conservation with and between dozens and dozens of fellow passengers on Spaceship USA. Never once had I met a professed Bushite or a "Values Voter"-- do you buy them by the pallet-load down at Wal-Mart?-- or even, for chrissakes, a supporter of their pinche war! Yet the results would seem to shout out that there are 3,000,000 more of them than us. But where do they live?

This is not a nation divided geographically between bi-coastal blues and rock-solid reds everywhere else but around the fringe of the Great Lakes (a map that looks surprisingly like one of the slave and free states on the edge of the Civil War), not a map split between global franchises like Starbucks and Wal-Mart, or even rival religious fanatacims.

This is two nations, each claiming to be the United States of North America. We cohabit the same territory, sort of like Palestinians and Israelis. But more and more, they are all around us now. We mingle with them at airports and follow them on freeways. They have already moved in next door, perhaps into our own homes incubating down in the basement like the pods in "Invasion of the Body-Snatchers. They are coming in with the fluoridation.

Make no mistake about it, comrades; we now live under an evangelical theocracy. Those who are not Born Again will soon get the death penalty. Those who are not taken up in the Rapture will burn in the hellfires of Nuclear Armageddon. I predict that within four more years, certain states of a southern persuasion are going to enact laws making handling snakes and speaking in tongues mandatory.

The Great Satan Osama's apparition on the eve of the election was positively biblical. Radiating Koranic karma and old testament patriarchy, costumed in a golden prayer shawl, his beard fulminating dire prophecy, Osama seemed a paid political announcement for the End Time-- although what Bin Laden actually proposed (trading guarantees of your security for our security) was an offer of peace and not the bloody Jihad as Bush, Kerry, and their respective followers seemed to interpret it.

From the get-go, Al Qaeda and its Jihadist associates currently starring in Iraq set the agenda for this catastrophic election. The fear of God and the God of Fear, theirs and ours, is at the root of the new crusade that was the calling card of both candidates as Bush and Kerry marched in lockstep towards destiny's precipice, whooping it up about killing terrorists, pulverizing the infidels, and safeguarding the Holy North American Empire.

We on whets left of the Left who allowed ourselves to be duped by John Kerry into believing that when he thundered that he would do a better job of winning the war in Iraq, he really meant that he would end the occupation, have only our own souls to flagellate. Suspended belief or cognitive dissonance aside, we too were, as my old homeboy Saul Landau chortled last week, "faith-based voters."

Besides Osama, whose Al Qaeda subsid in Qatar long ago announced its endorsement of the incumbent's re-election ("his stupidity and religious fundamentalism will be beneficial to the Islamic Cause"), the Bushites were sanctified by that astute Christian theologian Karl Rove. Reverend Rove's strategy of piling up 11 anti-gay marriage initiatives in mostly Bush states (although Prop I is alleged to have put the President over the top in Ohio), encouraging a Christian landslide that won his boss a popular majority and was God's way of showing whose side He's really on. Winning the popular vote was inimical to the Bush gang's strategy of re-occupying the White House in the face of worldwide clamor for their eviction. Indeed, it was the loss of the popular vote in 2000 that nearly queered the deal to steal that election. [...]

Bush's re-election is going to be understood by the rest of the world as a declaration of war on their lives and their lands-- although the fourth world war has raged for a long time, up until now it has been a largely undeclared one.

This time around, the U.S. North American people are not getting off the hook so easily. They will not be pardoned as they were back in 2000 when they haplessly allowed Bush and his electoral goons to snatch the vote in Florida and claim a mandate the rest of the world condemns as fraudulently obtained. This time around, there are no nuances. We are all complicit. Prepare yourself accordingly. If I were you, I'd stay out of big city skyscrapers for the next four years.

The Declaration of World War IV or Four More (or five more) Wars-- Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela-- is the price of Bush's re-election. If, in fact, he was re-elected.

Start adding up the what about and see what the sum total of stolen votes amounts to. What about those 58,000 absent absentee ballots in Broward County Florida? What about the long lines of early voters I saw in Austin and San Antonio and El Paso, so long you had to make an appointment to come back to cast your ballot? What about the long lines of early voters in Florida, mostly Afro-Americans?

What about black voter suppression in the South and Midwest, the leaflets stuffed into the mailboxes in the Milwaukee projects warning black voters they could lose their children if they voted under false pretenses or if they were ever convicted of a felony? I'm old enough to remember Mississippi Freedom Summer-- how could I forget being chased all over that lynch law state by armed peckerwoods? The Bushwas' black voter suppression project of 2004 was how the Klan and the White Citizens Council operated back then. The recent decision by the Justice Department (now under the command of the first Mexican American to call the Geneva Convention 'quaint') that only that agency and not offended voters could bring voting rights suits. cuts right to the quick of black voter suppression in 2004.

And what about Columbus Ohio where tens of thousands of new voters were registered in the inner city only to have their registrations declared invalid by Elections Czar Ken Blackwell, this year's Katherine Harris, because the forms were not on 24 weight bond paper? And what about the switcheroo on polling places in the Ohio capital-- so few were set up in Afro-American neighborhoods that the avalanche of expectant voters did not subside until long after midnight, an unsubtle hint to folks of color that their suffrage wasn't wanted there. How many went home without casting a ballot?

What about New Mexico, a hotly contested state where Gore only beat Bush by 300 votes last time around and now hundreds of ballots were "lost" in the liberal enclave of Taos (Donald Rumsfeld has a home there) and hundreds of voters not registered on the books voted in a nearby conservative county? Sounds a lot like old Mexico flimflam to me.

What about punch-card fraud, electronic disenfranchisement, and "spoilage"? Indeed, the confluence of all this Republican chicanery bears an impressive resemblance to what the long ruling (seven decades) Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) used to euphemize as electoral "alchemy."

And what about John Kerry throwing in the towel in Ohio with a 156,000 provisional votes still to be counted and Bush holding a 136,000-vote lead? Was the fix in-- again?

No one in his left mind is going to believe these results. One panel of foreign experts invited to observe the process by Global Exchange concluded that the presidential elections of 2004 were less credible even than those of Kazatzstan earlier this year.

Despite all the Internet chatter, no one in my immediate circle is going to the mat for a duplicitous fool like John Kerry who we willingly allowed to delude us into voting up as an anti-war candidate. It would be embarrassing.

Instead, we should be rejoicing that we are now unencumbered by deceiving Democrats. Now we can once again say and do what we think without obtaining permits from the Party with its absurd paranoia about tipping the election to the Bushites. We are free to plot and pursue a Left-wing agenda again without being spanked by the accursed liberal machine - 2004 was, as Jim Petris correctly testified, the most right-wing, anti-labor election in decades, maybe centuries. With Sweeney and his lambs laying down for the slaughter, the only mention of "class" (as in "working class" or " class struggle") in an economy that has lost more jobs than under any president since the Great Depression was that of the "middle" one.

What's left of the U.S. Left has two obligations to the people of the world. One is to oppose Washington's imperialist aggressions, and the other is to both build an electoral alternative and an alternative to elections.

On the second score, the Left flunked the 2004 urine test miserably. The Greens' "safe states" strategy handed over all the political capital that threat of a third party had accrued in 2000 when the Democrat delusionally considered that Nader had stolen the election for Bush. So long as they remained so deluded, a Green Nader candidacy-- and the promise of Nader to withdraw from the race in exchange for an anti-war plank in the Party platform, was a hole card the Greens backed down from playing-- was the fix in again and again?

Although California was hardly a swing state, there were no Green candidates on the ballot I cast on Valencia Street in San Francisco this November 2nd-- I had to write in the only Green whose name the Bay Guardian knew to exist in the neighborhood.

But elections are a poor criteria by which to measure democracy, and an even worse weapon for effecting meaningful change. Peace with justice does not come without outrage and pain and vote taking is designed to drain the rage from political movement.

For months, we abstained from taking the streets-- August 29th at the Republican National Convention when a half million of us gave the Bushwas a humongous collective finger, was a jubilant exception to this rule-- cowed by the idiotic logic that mass demonstrations would hurt Dean or Kerry or whatever patsy the Dem candidate was going to be.

In Mexico, we have this word "corraje"-- it means both pissed off and courageous. Now we must move back onto the public thoroughfares with renewed corraje.

There may be no entity called "The Movement" functioning in the U.S. of North America these days but there is plenty of momentum and not all of it eschews the creative re-arrangement of public and private property as a weapon of resistance in the fourth world war. Frustration with the electoral process always seems to breed such strategies. During my coast-to-coast junket, I was often shadowed by survivors of the Weather Underground touring with their movie. Their audiences were always bigger and more enthusiastic than mine.

We have been at this juncture before. Back in 1968 when, like now, both candidates wanted to decimate the gooks, we ran a pig for president and declared war on the farce of electoral politics. The biggest and toughest mobilizations, the ones that brought the war back home, came after the anti-war movement divorced itself from those still wedded to the electoral option.

Whatever the true count was November 2nd, we can be assured that we account for half of the United States of North America. There are in fact two countries out there, equal in mass and weight but not in spirit. Our United States of North America is inclusive, multi-racial, multi-cultural, pluri-lingual. We are diverse. We dance.

Their United States of North America is a closed Christian Caucasian cell, one that would exclude the Other, that loves the death penalty, and demands divine retribution. Like Ashcroft, it cannot dance.

Our United States of North America demands peace with justice, exudes solidarity, stands resolutely with the earth, and resists the globalization of corporate greed. Theirs is so inflated with neo-con, neo-imperialist helium that it has drifted off the face of the planet. Our America is determined to reattach it.

On election night 2004, I was exactly where I needed to be, in the swirling midst of the Dias de la Muerte procession in my old neighborhood of La Mision. We marched that night as a community to remember those who have sweetened the earth before us and to proclaim our freedom from the death politics of The Bush people. The task right now remains to build such communities of resistance everywhere in this land. For the rest of the world, our success is a matter of life and death. For us too, it is the only way we are going to survive Bush's Rapture.

John Ross is the author of the instant cult classic "Murdered By Capitalism--A Memoir of 150 Years of Life & Death on the U.S. Left".

Ross will speak at Evergreen in Olympia Washington Nov. 19th, Laughing Horse Books in Portland Nov. 22nd, and Simon Fraser University and the Vancouver Public Library Nov. 25th-26th (if Canadian authorities choose to admit him.) Ross will make a final offering at Cody's in Berkeley Nov. 30th before returning to Mexico.

Comment: There seems to be a general perception among many people outside America that Bush and the Neocons are "over there" and will not affect those on other continents. Nothing could be further from the truth. The campaign of murderous invasions has just begun. Keep reading for a clue on which country is next. The Middle East will most likely erupt in violence. The US economy is on its way down the tubes, and will take much of the world economy with it. Also on today's Signs page is a story about one prominent country that is boosting its nuke programs to "defend" against the US. It is clear that running away from Bush, the Neocons, and their Zionist controllers won't work. The "war", it seems, will be most everywhere.

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Bush confronted with intelligence crisis as senior CIA officials resign
Wed Nov 17, 2:33 AM ET

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush is beginning his second term with a volatile intelligence crisis on his hands as resignations of senior CIA officials underscored the low morale at the intelligence agency amid fears of a purge.

Central Intelligence Agency Director Porter Goss warned in an email to CIA employees Monday that more personnel and organizational changes were coming, an intelligence official said Tuesday.

Goss has tapped the current head of the agency's counter-terrorism center as deputy director of operations, succeeding Stephen Kappes, who resigned on Monday along with associate deputy director of operations, Michael Sulick, the official said.

"The work of the agency is continuing. The men and women of the intelligence community have an important job to do and will move ahead to get done what has to get done," said the official. "There are always changes that are made when a new director comes in."

Goss, a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, took office two months ago with a mandate to reform the agency in the wake of intelligence failures in Iraq and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

But morale at the agency has suffered and some mid-level officers eligible for retirement are leaving, said Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA counter-terrorism chief.

"He's got a mandate to carry out change and reform, and certainly there are changes that are necessary. But the way they are doing it is more like using a meat cleaver, rather than a pruning shear," said Cannistraro.

"The effect is demoralization in the middle rank, which is very unfortunate because that is the area where you need to have people totally dedicated, totally on alert, particularly on the threats such as terrorism, which is a primary mission," he said.

Driving the changes, in part, is administration anger over intelligence leaks that undercut Bush's positions on Iraq during the elections, prompting suspicion among conservatives that "rogue" elements in the CIA had sided with the Democrats.

"It's not a side issue. It's a major issue," said Cannistraro. "Some of the leaks embarrassed the vice president."

Comment: Oh no, the psychopathic VP was embarrassed! The obvious result of the current turmoil will be a CIA that is firmly pro-Bush. If you thought the first four years were fun, just wait...

They included disclosures of US intelligence warnings of possible insurgency in Iraq, that intelligence findings on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were hedged, and that no substantive connection was found between Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

"I guess the most serious incident from the vice president's point of view is the fact that he kept saying there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and Zarqawi and Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda," said Cannistraro, referring to Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

"The agency kept providing analyses that said, 'No, that wasn't the case.' But worse than that then they leaked it before election that there wasn't a connection. I think that drove the vice president over the edge," he said in an interview.

Comment: Let's see if we have this straight: The Bush administration got really mad when they were confronted with the truth, so they're revamping the CIA with a bunch of people who will support the lies they want to believe. 'Create your own reality', indeed...

CIA's Deputy Director John McLaughlin announced last week that he is stepping down. He was followed by Kappes and Sulick who submitted their resignations after a confrontation with Goss's chief of staff Patrick Murray.

According to the Washington Post, Kappes and Sulick resigned in protest over Murray's treatment of another senior official, the associate deputy director for counter-intelligence.

The Post said Murray had warned her she would be held responsible if information from the personnel file of a Goss appointee to the post of executive director was leaked to the press.

Goss's first appointee to that position, Michael Kostiw, withdrew his name following news reports that he had left the agency 20 years earlier under a cloud because of a shoplifting incident.

Goss' aloofness and reliance on aides who came with him from Congress to oversee key areas of the intelligence community have added to the morale problems, according to former officials.

Goss has not spoken in person to CIA employees about the current crisis, the intelligence official said.

Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA unit that tracked Osama Bin Laden from 1996 to 1999, said he quit the agency last week in part to speak out publicly against the "scapegoating" of the CIA's clandestine services for intelligence failures that lie with US leaders.

"I think clearly the agency needs to loose some of its senior officers who are kind of chronically risk averse, but Mr. Kappes is surely not one of those people," he said in an interview.

"He is a distinguished officer, he has done a lot of hard things in his career in dangerous places. His loss is, I think, a substantial one," he said.

Comment: Stop for a moment and think of all that occurred during Bush's first four years in the White House. Then think about what is currently happening within the CIA. Now think about the fact that America and the world are faced with at least another four years of the same...

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By: Devvy
November 15, 2004

 For three plus years, families of those murdered on September 11, 2001, and survivors of that horrible day have been raising legitimate, valid questions about what really happened. They have done so, along with more and more Americans, because there are unanswered questions that have been met with silence and stonewalling. Because upon closer scrutiny, there are more holes in the official version than a mountain range of Swiss cheese. Yet, other Americans, primarily those who describe themselves as Christian conservatives, call anyone who raises questions about 9-11 traitors, wackos, off the wall and so forth.

These are people who haven't looked into the matter any deeper than what they saw on the news that day. These are people who listen to popular "conservative" pundits on TV and radio who tell their listeners and viewers not to pay any attention to all these wackos. People who have family serving in the military who are deployed in the Middle East and are terrified that this whole "war on terrorism" just might have been built on a mountain of lies, an unbearable thing to contemplate. [...]

My heart bleeds for all these families who have sons, husbands, brothers and sisters serving in the Middle East. More than a thousand of our own have died, close to 10,000 seriously wounded. It is now estimated that we have killed 100,000 people in Iraq, mostly civilians including women and children. We are dropping bombs with depleted uranium and if people don't know the consequences of this, I respectfully recommend they get the truth. The bottom line is that this "war on terrorism" is a direct result of September 11, 2001 and justification for Bush's unconstitutional invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. That's what scares the hell out of the Bush faithful: the possibility they've been had and "My, God, what have we done?"

The New Pearl Harbor

I have finished reading The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (200 pgs) by Professor David Ray Griffin. This book is quite different than Crossing the Rubicon (657 pgs). On page 15 of Crossing, author Michael Ruppert comes right now with this statement: "...the evidence will inexorably prove our case: that the United States government not only had complete foreknowledge of the attacks on September 11th, it also needed them and deliberately facilitated them, and even helped plan and execute them using techniques long understood in the world of covert operations." This is a very strong statement and before one writes it off as looney conspiracy stuff, they should read this book backed up with 900 foot note sources. [...]

For those about to launch more hate mail excoriating me for bringing up this subject, I would ask these angry GOP Bush faithful to ask themselves how come five of the 19 so-called hijackers have been proven to be alive and wondering why their names and faces are on the FBI list of dead terrorists? How could the FAA, NORAD, the CIA and FBI all be so incredibly incompetent - all at the same time? There is no proof a commercial airliner hit the Pentagon. More than likely it was a military plane, a "friendly," which is why the Pentagon's sophisticated missile defense system didn't fire at the incoming plane. If Flight 77 didn't hit the Pentagon, where are the passengers? Based on the military exercises going on that day, many of us believe we know what happened, but only a truly independent investigation with a lot of high level government officials put under oath, including Bush, is going to give us the answers. [...]

Tell the families of 9/11 to shut up and go away!

That was actually a demand shouted at me in an e-mail by some chowder head who crowed that Bush is the best president since Ronald Reagan! Where does Dunderhead get off demanding that these good, decent, Americans who have lost their loved ones shut up and go away? [...]

What kind of Americans don't want the truth, no matter how painful? Have we become a nation of cowards? How can we be the home of the brave and the land of the free if our people are too afraid to question their government?

Is that what it's come down to in this country: question 9/11 and just because it's a Republican in the White House, you're suddenly a traitor? I would like some jackass to say that to my face.

I am becoming increasing ashamed of my fellow countrymen who practice cosmetic patriotism, spout all kinds of warm, fuzzy rhetoric, but when it comes down to finding out the truth and nothing but the truth, even if it is critical of their favorite president, the messenger is now evil. I challenge all these media pundits and those Americans who haven't looked past Dan Blather to read Crossing the Rubicon and The New Pearl Harbor. Then come back and tell me you don't have serious questions about the official fairy tale sold the American people about September 11, 2001.

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UL Executive Speaks Out On WTC Study
Friday, November 12, 2005
( news service)

"The buildings should have easily withstood the thermal stress caused by pools of burning jet fuel." - Kevin Ryan

An executive at Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the company that certified the steel used in the construction of the World Trade Center, has questioned the common theory that fuel fires caused the Twin Towers to collapse.

In a letter dated Thursday (11/11, complete text below), UL executive Kevin Ryan called on Frank Gayle, director of the government team that has spent two years studying how the trade center was built and why it fell, to "do what you can to quickly eliminate the confusion regarding the ability of jet fuel fires to soften or melt structural steel."

Kevin Ryan is Site Manager at Environmental Health Laboratories (EHL) in South Bend, Indiana. This is a division of UL, the product-compliance and testing giant. Because UL certified the WTC steel for its ability to withstand fires, the steel's performance on September 11 is obviously of concern to the company. While Ryan's letter does not constitute an official statement from Underwriters Laboratories, it suggests incipient disagreements between UL and NIST about the true cause of the WTC collapses.

Gayle is deputy chief of the Metallurgy Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and head of the "NIST and the WTC" team. A draft of the government agency's final report on the WTC collapses is due in January.

Ryan copied the letter to Gayle in e-mails to David Ray Griffin, author of the New Pearl Harbor, and to Catherine Austin Fitts, who is a member of the board. Griffin requested and received permission to distribute Ryan's letter to other parties. The letter was published Friday (11/12) at, the site of the 9/11 Visibility Project. called Ryan Friday to confirm his authorship. Ryan made it clear he is speaking for himself only, not on behalf of his laboratory or the company, but others at UL are aware of his action.

The letter raises disturbing questions, pointing out that the temperatures of fuel fires in the towers on September 11 appear to have been far too low to cause a failure of the structural steel.

A chemist by profession, Ryan said he considers Gayle to be a good scientist and an honest person. Given the impact of September 11 on events around the world, Ryan said everyone needs to know the full truth of what really happened on that day.

In a related development, the New York Times reported Friday (11/12) that the NIST team under Gayle is planning to hold some of its deliberations in secret. "The announcement has been sharply protested by advocates for families of the 9/11 victims, who said they were considering a lawsuit to force the agency to open the meetings to the public," the Times wrote.

As the Times noted, the NIST investigation was started in 2002 after lobbying by, among others, the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, an organization created by Monica Gabrielle and Sally Regenhard, both of whom lost family on September 11.

Gabrielle told the Times that NIST should have "one job, and one job only - to find out the truth of what happened to those buildings and to report to the public about it. You don't owe industry, the Port Authority or federal agencies anything. You owe it to the public - the truth, no matter where it goes."

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Marine shoots his prisoner dead
Reuters, Press Association, AP, Los Angeles Times
November 17, 2004

The video footage is of an execution: a US marine raises his rifle towards an unarmed prisoner on the floor of a Falluja mosque, then shoots.

The bullet strikes his head, blood hits the wall behind and the body goes limp.

The US military is investigating the shooting as a possible war crime and has pulled the soldier and his unit out of the Falluja fight. The shooting was captured by a US news crew embedded with the unit.

The marines of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, entered the wrecked mosque on Saturday after hearing noises from within.

One of their unit had been killed the day before while checking the booby-trapped body of a dead rebel, and the accused soldier was recovering from a bullet wound to the face.

Five wounded prisoners lay on the floor, left there by another unit that had taken the mosque by storm on Friday.

A marine shouts out: "Did you shoot them? Did they have any weapons on them?"

Another says: "These are the two wounded that they never picked up."

Another voice shouts: "He's f---ing faking he's dead. He's faking he's f---ing dead."

There is another shout: "He's breathing."

At that point the accused soldier raises his rifle and shoots one of the prisoners in the head. Another marine can then be heard saying: "He's dead now."

The NBC reporter with the 3rd Battalion, Kevin Sites, said the prisoner "did not appear to be armed or threatening in any way". A Sky TV report said all the five prisoners were unarmed.

US TV networks did not show images of the shooting because they were too graphic, but broadcast an audio track of the shots.

A Marine Corps spokesman at the Pentagon, Major Douglas Powell, said an investigation into the shooting was being conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and would focus on "possible law of war violations".

No charges had been brought against any of the marines, he said. "As soon as the video was brought to the attention of the Marines Corps leadership by the reporter they immediately pulled the unit off the front lines and launched an investigation," he said.

"They're not doing combat operations any more." [...]

Comment: Just a "possible" war crime??? An American soldier is video-taped performing a cold-blooded execution on a wounded and unarmed Iraqi prisoner, and not only are no charges laid, the US military is investigating the incident as a "possible" war crime.


That is akin to saying that the video-taped footage of the planes crashing into the WTC towers should be investigated as a "possible" attack on America.

It just goes to show that those who wield power are not only exempt from the same rules that apply to others, they consider themselves to be completely above the law.

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Arabs Enraged at U.S. Soldier Shooting Wounded Iraqi
By Samia Nakhoul
November 15, 2004

DUBAI (Reuters) - Arabs were torn between seething rage at images of a U.S. soldier shooting dead a wounded Iraqi in a mosque and dismay at Iraqi insurgents in Falluja for turning holy mosques into battlegrounds.

Viewers said images, which Arab televisions aired repeatedly of a Marine killing a severely injured Iraqi, fueled growing hatred against America and helped create more "terrorists."

"I am not a jihadist, I am just a normal Muslim but such scenes are pushing me to Jihad," said Dubai-based engineer Abdallah. "We don't expect this from the representative of democracy in the world."

"This is one of the things we saw on TV. God knows how many crimes they have committed which we have not seen," he added."

In Saudi Arabia -- the birthplace of Islam and of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, whose group carried out bombings in the country -- residents said insurgents were to blame for taking their battle into mosques.

"If I was in the U.S. soldier's place I would have killed all the insurgents because they are mercenaries," said Saudi Zaher al-Saleh, a 32-year-old teacher. "They have turned the mosques into battlefields and they're killing civilians."

Islamist extremists called for revenge through their Web sites and cursed pro-U.S. Muslim leaders for remaining silent.

"Oh God your enemies have killed your believers in one of your houses. God take revenge for us," one chatter said.


Some Muslims saw the killing as a personal affront.

"It's as if they had killed every one of us. Today, it's that poor man, tomorrow, it will be me," said Sherine Mohamed, 27, a financial analyst. "Even if militants didn't respect mosque sanctities, U.S. soldiers should have done so because they claim to help Iraqis."

Muslims said pictures showing Marines lounging with their guns in a Falluja mosque were "insulting."

They said soldiers "sullied the ground with their boots" at the mosque where Muslims are obliged to take off their shoes in respect for the house of God.

"They are entering dangerous waters. If they think they are getting rid of terrorists this way, they are mistaken. They are creating more terrorists than killing them," added Abdallah.

International human rights groups said the killing could amount to a war crime and showed the need to better train U.S. forces about the laws of war.

The U.S. military opened an investigation into whether the Marine acted in self-defense, broke U.S. military law or committed a war crime in the fatal shooting of a wounded Iraqi in Falluja, the scene of fierce fighting between U.S. forces and Iraqi and Islamist militants in the past week.

That shooting was caught on videotape by an NBC television crew embedded with the Marines.

The United Arab Emirates' Al-Ittihad newspaper said the killing was "shocking and provocative" and demanded Washington investigate the "horrifying crime."

"If this crime goes unpunished it will set a dangerous precedent in U.S. policies and will destroy everything (good) it has done for Iraq," it added.

Arab animosity toward U.S. presence in Iraq has ratcheted up since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that resulted in the sentencing of several U.S. soldiers.

Lebanon's Shi'ite Muslim Hizbollah TV al-Manar led its newscasts with the shooting and said it showed "the ugliness of the actions that occupation forces are carrying out in Iraq."

"U.S. forces violating laws and committing atrocities is not new. What has surfaced is only a small part of what Iraqis are facing," said Shehab al-Ahdal, editor-in-chief of Yemen's al-Nahar newspaper.

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800 Civilians Feared Dead in Fallujah
Dahr Jamail

BAGHDAD, Nov 16 (IPS) - At least 800 civilians have been killed during the U.S. military siege of Fallujah, a Red Cross official estimates.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of U.S. military reprisal, a high-ranking official with the Red Cross in Baghdad told IPS that "at least 800 civilians" have been killed in Fallujah so far.

His estimate is based on reports from Red Crescent aid workers stationed around the embattled city, from residents within the city and from refugees, he said.

"Several of our Red Cross workers have just returned from Fallujah since the Americans won't let them into the city," he said. "And they said the people they are tending to in the refugee camps set up in the desert outside the city are telling horrible stories of suffering and death inside Fallujah."

The official said that both Red Cross and Iraqi Red Crescent relief teams had asked the U.S. military in Fallujah to take in medical supplies to people trapped in the city, but their repeated requests had been turned down.

A convoy of relief supplies from both relief organisations continues to wait on the outskirts of the city for military permission to enter. They have appealed to the United Nations to intervene on their behalf.

"The Americans close their ears, and that is it," the Red Cross official said. "They won't even let us take supplies into Fallujah General Hospital."

The official estimated that at least 50,000 residents remain trapped within the city. They were too poor to leave, lacked friends or family outside the city and therefore had nowhere to go, or they simply had not had enough time to escape before the siege began, he said.

Aid workers in his organisation have reported that houses of civilians in Kharma, a small city near Fallujah, had been bombed by U.S. warplanes. In one instance a family of five was killed just two days ago, they reported.

"I don't know why the American leaders did not approach the Red Cross and ask us to deal with the families properly before the attacking began," said a Red Cross aid worker, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Suddenly they attacked and people were stuck with no help, no medicine, no food, no supplies," he said. "So those who could, ran for the desert while the rest were trapped in the city."

If the U.S. forces would call a temporary cease-fire "we could get our trucks in and get the civilians left in Fallujah who need medical care, we could get them out," he said.

Mosques have organised massive collections of food and relief supplies for Fallujah residents as they did last April when the city was under attack, but these supplies have not been allowed into the city either.

The Red Cross official said they had received several reports from refugees that the military had dropped cluster bombs in Fallujah, and used a phosphorous weapon that caused severe burns.

The U.S. military claims to have killed 1,200 "insurgents" in Fallujah. Abdel Khader Janabi, a resistance leader from the city has said that only about 100 among them were fighters.

"Both of them are lying," the Red Cross official said. "While they agree on the 1,200 number, they are both lying about the number of dead fighters." He added that "our estimate of 800 civilians is likely to be too low."

The situation within Fallujah is grim, he said. If help does not reach people soon, "the children who are trapped will most likely die."

He said the Ministry of Health in the U.S.-backed interim Iraqi government had stopped supplying hospitals and clinics in Fallujah two months before the current siege.

"The hospitals do not even have aspirin," he said. "This shows, in my opinion, that they've had a plan to attack for a long time and were trying to weaken the people."

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Post-invasion instability in Iraq leads to new warfare field guide
November 15, 2004

Washington: For the first time in decades, the US Army has issued a field guide to counterinsurgency warfare, an acknowledgment that the kind of fighting under way in Iraq may become more common in the years ahead.

The army field manual on counter-insurgency operations is the first since the early Vietnam era, and the first ever intended for the kind of regular army units now embroiled in battles in Iraq, as opposed to the special operations forces who have taken the lead in previous counterinsurgencies.

Under orders issued in February, the manual was prepared on a crash basis by the army's Combined Arms Centre in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and was distributed to officers in Iraq and other places beginning last month. An introduction says the "aftermath of instability" in Iraq that followed the toppling of Saddam Hussein's government underscored the need for an updated army guide to counterinsurgency warfare.

Until now formal US military doctrine for fighting insurgencies has been so limited that many marines were sent to Iraq with copies of the Marine Corps Small Wars Manual, issued in 1940. The most recent army manuals on the subject, written principally for special operations forces, were prepared in 1963 and 1965, in the early stages of the Vietnam War.

The new guide contains instructions on matters such as searching a family car and setting up a hasty checkpoint. Other passages deal with the role played by "transnational insurgent", like the foreign fighters in Iraq, and emphasise the role of intelligence, rather than Vietnam-era search and destroy missions, in seeking out insurgents.

The guide also includes a stark warning about the dangers of prolonged counter-insurgency operations, saying that the longer US forces take the lead in such efforts, the greater the resentment they breed among the host-country population.

Army officers who have recently returned from year-long duty in Iraq applauded the doctrine, but said its methods were nothing new to field commanders, who have been employing and refining such tactics for months. The guide's distribution last month came nearly 18 months after the insurgency in Iraq began in May last year, following President George Bush's declaration of an end to major combat operations.

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Chirac Says Iraq War Made World More Dangerous
By Jeremy Lovell and Mike Holden
Wed Nov 17, 4:16 AM ET

LONDON - Last year's U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and ousting of President Saddam Hussein has, if anything, made the world more dangerous, French President Jacques Chirac said on the eve of a state visit to key U.S. ally Britain.

The French leader's interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, excerpts of which were aired Wednesday, indicate little chance of success for British Prime Minister Tony Blair's efforts to mend Franco-American ties damaged by the Iraq war.

"I'm not at all sure that one can say the world is safer," Chirac said. "There is no doubt there has been an increase in terrorism."

"To a certain extent Saddam Hussein's departure was a positive thing but it also provoked reaction such as the mobilization in a number of countries of men and women of Islam which has made the world more dangerous."

The full interview with the BBC is to be aired Wednesday evening as Chirac prepares to fly to Britain Thursday to meet Blair, Queen Elizabeth and business leaders to celebrate 100 years of Entente Cordiale -- an agreement that brought about French-British cooperation after a long history of rivalry.

Chirac, whose strong opposition to the war prompted Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to dismiss France as part of "Old Europe," has questioned what Blair has gained from his unstinting support of the invasion.

In a newspaper interview Tuesday, Chirac said he had urged Britain before the invasion to press President Bush to revive the Middle East peace process in return for London's support for the war.

"Well, Britain gave its support but I did not see much in return," Chirac was quoted as saying in the Times. "I am not sure that it is in the nature of our American friends at the moment to return favors systematically."

Blair's support for the war prompted bitter faction fighting inside his ruling Labor Party and torpedoed his public approval ratings ahead of elections expected by mid-2005.

A poll in the Independent newspaper Wednesday showed that 64 percent of the British public believed that having good relations with continental Europe was more important than maintaining close ties with Washington.

In the Times interview, Chirac recalled a Franco-British summit last year when he asked Blair to try to influence U.S. policy on the Middle East.

"I said then to Tony Blair: 'We have different positions on Iraq. Your position should at least have some use'. That is to try to obtain in exchange a relaunch of the peace process in the Middle East."

The French leader questioned whether Britain could act as a bridge between the United States and Europe to help heal the transatlantic rift.

"I am not sure, with America as it is these days, that it would be easy for someone, even the British, to be an honest broker," he said. [...]

Comment: Yes indeed - how does one negotiate with a country that is hell bent on taking unilateral actions to destroy a "terrorist threat" that is quite clearly based on nothing more than lies and paranoia?

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Russia to acquire new nuclear weapons systems: Putin
November 17, 2004

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would in the coming years acquire new nuclear weapon systems which other nuclear powers do not yet have and are unlikely to develop in the near future.

"We have not only conducted tests of the latest nuclear rocket systems," Putin said in televised remarks to a meeting of generals representing the various branches of Russia's armed forces. "I am sure that in the coming years we will acquire them.

"Moreover, these will be things which do not exist and are unlikely to exist in other nuclear powers," he added.

Putin failed to specify what type of systems he was referring to but Russia has been seeking to upgrade its nuclear arsenal after the United States announced plans in 2001 to develop a missile defense shield in abrogation of its 1972 ABM Treaty with Moscow.

Washington argues its shield would only be capable of defending the United States from attacks from so-called "rogue states" and could not stand up to Russia's massive Soviet-era nuclear arsenal.

However Putin has since mentioned plans for Russia to also develop a similar system along with new types of intercontinental missiles that Moscow claims could penetrate any space shield put up by the United States.

Putin said Wednesday that Russia still viewed terrorism as the greatest threat to its national security but should also not forget about the nuclear threat.

"We understand that the moment we turn our attention from such elements of our defenses as a nuclear missile shield, then we will be facing new threats," Putin said.

"That is why we will continue to persistently develop our armed forces on the whole, including its nuclear arsenal potential," Putin said.

Comment: Oh look, a new arms race! Putin even hints that the nuclear threat will not come from terrorists, and that Russia's new weapons will be able to strike the US despite the new American missile defence shield. Given the state of the world, it seems that this time, the world may not cross the finish line in relative peace...

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Osama 'now has Islamic basis to nuke America'
Nov 15, 2004

OSAMA bin Laden now has religious approval to use a nuclear device against Americans, according to a senior CIA analyst who led the hunt for the terrorist chief.

A prominent Saudi Arabian theologian had provided a 'rather long treatise' that concluded that Osama was entitled to use the weapon because America was responsible for 'millions of dead Muslims around the world', said Mr Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA unit dedicated to tracking Osama.

Mr Scheuer resigned from the CIA last Friday to enable him to speak freely about what he regards as the agency's failures to take Osama seriously prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001, London's Sunday Times reports.

In an interview broadcast on the CBS 60 Minutes programme in the United States last night, Mr Scheuer said Osama was criticised in some Muslim circles because he failed to provide advance warning of the 9/11 attacks. According to some interpretations of Islamic law, he should first have offered to help convert his victims to Islam.

Mr Scheuer argued that Osama's recent video appearance amounted to a warning of a future attack, the Times said. [...]

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Out comes the red carpet for warmongers, despite the blood spilt
By Robert Manne
November 15, 2004

Last week, as the ferocious battle for Falluja began, the neo-conservative "scholar", Robert Kagan, paid a triumphal visit to Australia. Kagan was received by the Prime Minister. An edited version of the lecture he delivered was published in five newspapers. He was interviewed, respectfully, by almost every serious public affairs program on the ABC.

Unhappily there was virtually no discussion of the pivotal role Kagan had played in the origin of the invasion of Iraq. He is one of the more prominent of the group of neo-conservatives who came together in the mid-1990s in a bid to change the direction of US foreign policy. In 1996 Kagan co-authored with William Kristol, in the journal Foreign Affairs, a neo-Reaganite manifesto, calling for the worldwide imposition of American ideals through the deployment of overwhelming US force.

In 1998 he was a signatory of a letter to President Bill Clinton calling for the immediate overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Immediately after the September 11 attacks in 2001, Kagan and Kristol began to put the case for the immediate invasion of Iraq in increasingly strident editorials in the influential Rupert Murdoch-financed Weekly Standard.

They argued that Saddam was involved in September 11. They called him "the world's most dangerous dictator". They claimed he was on the verge of producing a nuclear bomb.

The pair waxed lyrical about Bush's "axis of evil" speech, which represented, they hoped, the beginning of a new era in world history. They backed the case for the invasion on the basis of their certainty about the existence of Saddam's vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. They were probably the last people in the world to maintain the faith. As late as May this year the pair argued that even President Bush had been "intimidated by the new conventional wisdom that Saddam has done away with his WMD".

This melancholy record of warmongering misjudgment did not prevent a national red carpet from being rolled out for Kagan.

For those who remain interested in understanding what has occurred since the invasion of Iraq, two important sources of information have recently appeared.

In late October the results of a sophisticated American study of post-invasion deaths were published by the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet. For this study interviewers were sent to 33 randomly selected neighbourhoods across Iraq. Their questions concerned household deaths in the 15 months before, and the 18 months after, the invasion of Iraq.

One selected town was Falluja. In the 30 houses where interviews took place there had been reportedly more than 50 deaths since the invasion, mainly as a result of US air strikes. If Falluja was included in the calculations, the death toll since the invasion was 2.5 times higher than in the period before the invasion. If it were excluded, the toll was 1.5 times higher.

In the final calculation Falluja was excluded. The study estimated that even so, the most likely number of excess deaths caused by the US invasion was 98,000. Of these 98,000 about 60,000 were estimated to have been caused by violence since the invasion.

Because the sample was small, the margin for error was acknowledged to be large. The figure of excess post-invasion deaths might be considerably lower than 98,000. Equally, it might be considerably higher. The right-of-centre Economist magazine has praised the study. [...]

Only a few of the findings can be outlined here. In Baghdad the annual murder rate is 4500. Dozens of kidnappings take place each day. The dangers from crime and the insurgency are so great that most Iraqis no longer feel safe even in their neighbourhoods.
In all the major cities of Iraq electricity supply is far worse than before the invasion. The dangers from exposed sewerage are, however, probably even more serious. Water-borne disease is spreading. Sixty per cent of Iraqi's rely on rations; 50 per cent live beneath the poverty line.

Because of insecurity, by mid-2004 less than $US500 million ($651 million) of the $US18 billion reconstruction funds voted by Congress had been able to be spent. Iraqi public opinion has almost totally lost hope in the occupation forces.

In May 2004 80 per cent of Iraqis had "no confidence at all" in their capacity to improve their security situation. While 90 per cent of Iraqis are keen to have free elections, the same percentage now yearn for the emergence of a political strongman who can take charge of the fearful chaos into the which the country has fallen.

Meanwhile, in Australia, when one of the intellectual cheerleaders of this unutterable disaster pays us a visit, we hang on his every foolish word. A nightmare, in which we are deeply implicated, has descended upon Iraq. How long will it take before we see what we have done?

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Iran Got Warhead Design, Bomb-Grade Uranium-Exiles
By Louis Charbonneau
November 17, 2004

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran obtained weapons-grade uranium and a design for a nuclear bomb from a Pakistani scientist who has admitted to selling nuclear secrets abroad, an exiled Iranian opposition group said on Wednesday.

The group, which has given accurate information before, also said Iran is secretly enriching uranium at a military site previously unknown to the United Nations, despite promising France, Britain and Germany that it would halt all such work.

"(Abdul Qadeer) Khan gave Iran a quantity of HEU (highly enriched uranium) in 2001, so they already have some," Farid Soleiman, a senior spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), told reporters.

"I would doubt it was given enough for a weapon," he added.

Soleiman said Khan, who ran a global nuclear black market that supplied Libya and Iran with uranium-enrichment technology until it was shut down earlier this year, also gave Iran a Chinese-developed warhead design sometime between 1994 and 1996.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said Khan's network gave Libya the bomb design and is trying to find out whether Iran got it too. But it has no proof it did.

Pakistan's mission to the U.N. in Vienna told Reuters it had no knowledge of this allegation and no information to provide. [...]


Soleiman said Iran was enriching uranium, a process of purifying it for use as fuel for power plants or bombs, at a site in northeastern Tehran as part of a continuing covert program to develop nuclear weapons.

"It continues to enrich uranium as we speak," Soleiman said. He said the site had an unknown number of centrifuges, which purify uranium by spinning at supersonic speeds, as well as other technologies used to enrich uranium.

"There are more sites involving uranium enrichment in Iran," Soleiman said, adding he could not give details on them until they were verified by the group's sources inside Iran.

Soleiman said Iran was aiming to get a bomb by the middle of next year, two years ahead of Israel's latest estimate for when Tehran would be "nuclear capable."

Iran promised the European Union on Sunday to freeze its enrichment program, sparing it a referral to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions and opening the door to political and economic "carrots" France, Britain and Germany are offering.

Soleiman said the enrichment site, called the Center for the Development of Advanced Defense Technology, was run by the defense ministry and located in Lavizan, near a site where the United States suspects Iran conducted secret nuclear work before demolishing all the buildings and carting off the rubble.

Soleiman said enrichment equipment from the razed site in Lavizan was moved to this new enrichment site to hide it from the IAEA. He said the NCRI sent the IAEA a letter about the 60-acre top-secret site a few days ago.

Iran told France, Britain and Germany on Sunday it would freeze all activities related to enrichment while the two sides negotiate a permanent deal on Iran's nuclear program. This will protect Iran from being referred to the U.N. Security Council when the IAEA board of governors meets on Nov. 25.

The IAEA said in a new report on its two-year investigation of Iran's nuclear program that Iran had not diverted any of its declared nuclear materials to a weapons program, but did not rule out the possibility secret atomic activities existed.

The NCRI established its reputation as a nuclear whistleblower in August 2002 when it said the Islamic republic had not declared a massive uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak. The allegation was later confirmed and Iran declared the facilities to the IAEA.

Comment: Same old song, different verse. Remember the following articles?

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Flashback: Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed

Bombshell revelation from a defector cited by White House and press
February 27, 2003

On February 24, Newsweek broke what may be the biggest story of the Iraq crisis. In a revelation that "raises questions about whether the WMD [weapons of mass destruction] stockpiles attributed to Iraq still exist," the magazine's issue dated March 3 reported that the Iraqi weapons chief who defected from the regime in 1995 told U.N. inspectors that Iraq had destroyed its entire stockpile of chemical and biological weapons and banned missiles, as Iraq claims.

Until now, Gen. Hussein Kamel, who was killed shortly after returning to Iraq in 1996, was best known for his role in exposing Iraq's deceptions about how far its pre-Gulf War biological weapons programs had advanced. But Newsweek's John Barry-- who has covered Iraqi weapons inspections for more than a decade-- obtained the transcript of Kamel's 1995 debriefing by officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the U.N. inspections team known as UNSCOM.

Inspectors were told "that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them," Barry wrote. All that remained were "hidden blueprints, computer disks, microfiches" and production molds. The weapons were destroyed secretly, in order to hide their existence from inspectors, in the hopes of someday resuming production after inspections had finished. The CIA and MI6 were told the same story, Barry reported, and "a military aide who defected with Kamel... backed Kamel's assertions about the destruction of WMD stocks."

But these statements were "hushed up by the U.N. inspectors" in order to "bluff Saddam into disclosing still more."

CIA spokesperson Bill Harlow angrily denied the Newsweek report. "It is incorrect, bogus, wrong, untrue," Harlow told Reuters (2/24/03) the day the report appeared.

But on Wednesday (2/26/03), a complete copy of the Kamel transcript-- an internal UNSCOM/IAEA document stamped "sensitive"-- was obtained by Glen Rangwala, the Cambridge University analyst who in early February revealed that Tony Blair's "intelligence dossier" was plagiarized from a student thesis.

In the transcript (p. 13), Kamel says bluntly: "All weapons-- biological, chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed."

Who is Hussein Kamel?

Kamel is no obscure defector. A son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, his departure from Iraq carrying crates of secret documents on Iraq's past weapons programs was a major turning point in the inspections saga. In 1999, in a letter to the U.N. Security Council (1/25/99), UNSCOM reported that its entire eight years of disarmament work "must be divided into two parts, separated by the events following the departure from Iraq, in August 1995, of Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel."

Kamel's defection has been cited repeatedly by George W. Bush and leading administration officials as evidence that 1) Iraq has not disarmed; 2) inspections cannot disarm it; and 3) defectors such as Kamel are the most reliable source of information on Iraq's weapons.

Bush declared in an October 7, 2002 speech: "In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions."

Secretary of State Colin Powell's February 5 presentation to the U.N. Security Council claimed: "It took years for Iraq to finally admit that it had produced four tons of the deadly nerve agent, VX. A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes. Four tons. The admission only came out after inspectors collected documentation as a result of the defection of Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's late son-in-law."

In a speech last August (8/27/02), Vice President Dick Cheney said Kamel's story "should serve as a reminder to all that we often learned more as the result of defections than we learned from the inspection regime itself."

Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley recently wrote in the Chicago Tribune (2/16/03) that "because of information provided by Iraqi defector and former head of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel, the regime had to admit in detail how it cheated on its nuclear non-proliferation commitments."

The quotes from Bush and Powell cited above refer to anthrax and VX produced by Iraq before the 1991 Gulf War. The administration has cited various quantities of chemical and biological weapons on many other occasions-- weapons that Iraq produced but which remain unaccounted for. All of these claims refer to weapons produced before 1991.

But according to Kamel's transcript, Iraq destroyed all of these weapons in 1991. According to Newsweek, Kamel told the same story to CIA analysts in August 1995. If that is true, all of these U.S. officials have had access to Kamel's statements that the weapons were destroyed. Their repeated citations of his testimony-- without revealing that he also said the weapons no longer exist-- suggests that the administration might be withholding critical evidence. In particular, it casts doubt on the credibility of Powell's February 5 presentation to the U.N., which was widely hailed at the time for its persuasiveness. To clear up the issue, journalists might ask the CIA to release the transcripts of its own conversations with Kamel.

Kamel's disclosures have also been crucial to the arguments made by hawkish commentators on Iraq. The defector has been cited four times on the New York Times op-ed page in the last four months in support of claims about Iraq's weapons programs-- never noting his assertions about the elimination of these weapons. In a major Times op-ed calling for war against Iraq (2/21/03), Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution wrote that Kamel and other defectors "reported that outside pressure had not only failed to eradicate the nuclear program, it was bigger and more cleverly spread out and concealed than anyone had imagined it to be." The release of Kamel's transcript makes this claim appear grossly at odds with the defector's actual testimony.

The Kamel story is a bombshell that necessitates a thorough reevaluation of U.S. media reporting on Iraq, much of which has taken for granted that the nation retains supplies of prohibited weapons. (See FAIR Media Advisory, "Iraq's Hidden Weapons: From Allegation to Fact

Kamel's testimony is not, of course, proof that Iraq does not have hidden stocks of chemical or biological weapons, but it does suggest a need for much more media skepticism about U.S. allegations than has previously been shown.

Unfortunately, Newsweek chose a curious way to handle its scoop: The magazine placed the story in the miscellaneous "Periscope" section with a generic headline, "The Defector's Secrets." Worse, Newsweek's online version added a subhead that seemed almost designed to undercut the importance of the story: "Before his death, a high-ranking defector said Iraq had not abandoned its WMD ambitions." So far, according to a February 27 search of the Nexis database, no major U.S. newspapers or national television news shows have picked up the Newsweek story.

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Flashback: Iraqi Defector's Tales Bolstered U.S. Case for War

By Bob Drogin and Greg Miller
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
March 28, 2004

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration's prewar claims that Saddam Hussein had built a fleet of trucks and railroad cars to produce anthrax and other deadly germs were based chiefly on information from a now-discredited Iraqi defector code-named "Curveball," according to current and former intelligence officials.

U.S. officials never had direct access to the defector and didn't even know his real name until after the war. Instead, his story was provided by German agents, and his file was so thick with details that American officials thought it confirmed long-standing suspicions that the Iraqis had developed mobile germ factories to evade arms inspections.

Curveball's story has since crumbled under doubts raised by the Germans and the scrutiny of U.S. weapons hunters, who have come to see his code name as particularly apt, given the problems that beset much of the prewar intelligence collection and analysis. [...]

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Flashback: Germans accuse US over Iraq weapons claim

Luke Harding in Berlin
The Guardian
Friday April 2, 2004

An Iraqi defector nicknamed Curveball who wrongly claimed that Saddam Hussein had mobile chemical weapons factories was last night at the centre of a bitter row between the CIA and Germany's intelligence agency.

German officials said that they had warned American colleagues well before the Iraq war that Curveball's information was not credible - but the warning was ignored.

It was the Iraqi defector's testimony that led the Bush administration to claim that Saddam had built a fleet of trucks and railway wagons to produce anthrax and other deadly germs.

In his presentation to the UN security council in February last year, the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, explicitly used Curveball's now discredited claims as justification for war. The Iraqis were assembling "mobile production facilities for biological agents", Mr Powell said, adding that his information came from "a solid source".

These "killer caravans" allowed Saddam to produce anthrax "on demand", it was claimed. US officials never had direct access to the defector, and have subsequently claimed that the Germans misled them.

Yesterday, however, German agents told Die Zeit newspaper that they had warned the Bush administration long before last year that there were "problems" with Curveball's account. "We gave a clear credibility assessment. On our side at least, there were no tricks before Colin Powell's presentation," one source told the newspaper.

Officially, Germany's intelligence agency, the BND, has refused to comment.

The revelation is embarrassing for the Bush administration and appears to bolster the contention that it used dubious intelligence in a partisan manner in the critical few weeks before the invasion of Iraq.

It has now emerged that Curveball is the brother of a top aide of Ahmad Chalabi, the pro-western Iraqi former exile with links to the Pentagon. [...]

Recently, American officials have admitted that Curveball's information was false. [...]

Comment: Let us get this straight: The Bush Administration had credible intelligence that terrorists might use airliners as "weapons" and ignored it. Worse than ignoring it, they tried to cover it up.

Then, the Bush Administration believed and/or manufactured fraudulent evidence justifying an attack on Iraq.

And now it seems they will use the same tactics for Iran.

The evidence that the Bush Administration repeatedly believes lies and rejects truth has been mounting for quite some time now.

The Bush Administration is either too stupid to be in charge, or they are criminals. Either way, the whole world loses. It's that simple.

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Man on fire case casts doubt on NY terror prosecution
November 16, 2004 4:09 PM
The Associated Press

NEW YORK The man who set himself on fire outside the White House Monday is a key informant in a terrorism funding case. And the incident has cast the prosecution into uncertainty.

Mohamed Alanssi was to have testified in New York against Sheik Ali Hassan al-Moayad (hah-SAHN' ahl maw-YAHD'), who is accused of funneling money to Hamas and Osama bin Laden.

Before lighting his clothes on fire, Alanssi sent letters to the F-B-I and The Washington Post, complaining of the U-S government's treatment of him. A request to be allowed to visit his sick wife in Yemen has gone unanswered.

Prosecutors are not saying how the incident affects the case. Defense lawyers contend it shows how much pressure Alanssi was under to make up accusations.

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to Receive the 2004 George Bush Award
The George Bush Presidential Library Foundation today announced that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will receive the 2004 George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service at Rudder Auditorium on the Texas A&M campus on November 30. Former President Bush will present the award to the California Republican, who will join former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts as Bush Award recipients. Following the presentation of the award, Governor Schwarzenegger will deliver remarks on public service. [...]
Comment: It's hard to say which is more mind-boggling; that Arnie would win this prize or that there actually exists a George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service.

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Dollar Dives to Record Low Vs. Euro
By Katie Hunt, Reuters
Wed Nov 17, 6:14 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - The dollar crashed through key barriers to a record low on the euro and a 7-month low on the yen on Wednesday, as concern mounted a forthcoming G20 finance ministers' meeting would do little to halt its slide.

Many analysts expect the G20 officials to put new pressure on China to let its yuan currency rise against the dollar, a move seen pushing up Asia currencies against the greenback, which was causing dollar selling pressure in anticipation.

Policymakers are jostling for position ahead of the meeting and U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, on a visit to London, said the U.S. could not impose currency values but countries could not devalue their way to prosperity.

"It's difficult to go against this move in the short-term, we are seeing the new range above $1.30 -- you have all these factors such as the current account deficit working versus the dollar," said Johan Javeus, FX strategist at SEB.

By 1015 GMT, the dollar bought 104.65 yen after touching 105.53, its lowest level since April and sliding 0.7 percent from New York levels.

Against the euro, the dollar stood at $1.3030 after briefly falling to $1.3035, according to Reuters data.

Traders said real money accounts, like asset managers, were selling dollars and buying all Asian currencies and that options barriers around $1.3010 had been broken, exacerbating the euro's move higher.

The dollar also fell to a nine-year low against a basket of currencies and an 8-1/2 year low on the Swiss franc. [...]

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Japan eyes constitution overhaul to allow military force, empress
Wednesday November 17, 4:08 PM

Japan's ruling party is eyeing an overhaul of the post-war constitution to allow the military to use force in international missions and let a woman ascend the throne.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party plans to decide on the changes next month and announce a final draft in November 2005, the Yomiuri Shimbun said, citing party sources.

It would mark the first revision of the pacifist 1947 constitution imposed by the United States at the end of World War II, in which Japan renounced war and the right to maintain a military.

With some 550 Japanese troops in Iraq and Japan facing threats from North Korea, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has said the founding document should be revised "in the light of common sense." [...]

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Fantino asks for 500 Tasers
Nov. 16, 2004. 01:00 AM

(Toronto) - Police Chief Julian Fantino wants almost 500 more of his officers equipped with Tasers, the stun guns at the centre of a controversy over whether they save lives or lead to more deaths.

Fantino firmly believes that the Tasers are "life-saving," and wants the Toronto Police Services Board this week to approve their use. The devices are used to disable aggressive people by shocking them with an electrical current of up to 50,000 volts.

"It is considered by many experts to be the best less-lethal weapon currently available to law enforcement and has been credited with ... saving of hundreds of lives," Fantino says in a report to be discussed by the board this Thursday.

Nine months ago, the provincial government approved the use of Tasers by front-line supervisors. But in September, the police services board decided not to include Tasers in the 2005 capital budget. They could decide Thursday to overturn that decision.

The Toronto police now have 24 Tasers — limited to the tactical and emergency response units.

"We ought to put (more) Tasers in place as soon as possible," said Councillor Case Ootes, a police board member. "The fundamental argument is it's a better way to subdue those individuals who are out-of-control than use other means." [...]

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CanWest buys 50% of Jerusalem Post
Teaming with Israeli publisher in joint venture
David Paddon
Canadian Press
Tuesday, November 16, 2004

TORONTO (CP) -- Hollinger International is selling the Jerusalem Post and related publications for $13.2 million US cash to an Israeli publishing company that is partnering with Canada's CanWest Global Communications Corp., the companies announced Tuesday. [...]

Leonard Asper, president and CEO of CanWest, said the Winnipeg company "has harboured a long standing interest in the Jerusalem Post because of its well-established brand." [...]

Comment: For the scoop on the very pro-Israeli CanWest newspaper empire and their owners, the Aspers, see our Sept 18/04 Signs page.

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UFO Expert: Aliens May Be Preparing Us For Ultimate Encounter
November 15, 2004
By Scott Logan

BOISE - UFOs are showing a keen interest in our nuclear weapons facilities, says investigator Robert Hastings, who has spent countless hours analyzing documents dealing with UFO sightings at nuclear missile launch sites and research labs in the United States over the past several decades.

"You have reference to these objects hovering, racing away at blinding speed," he told Idaho 2 News. "There is no evidence we have an aircraft that can do that or anyone else on earth."

Hastings, who has devoted countless hours researching UFOs and the U.S. government's reaction to them, was in Boise for a lecture and slide show Monday at Boise State University.

 Hastings believes we are being visited by aliens who have mastered a faster than light form of space flight. And he speculates they have not openly revealed themselves to avoid public panic.

"What they're doing is engaging in a decades long psychological preparation process whereby slowly but surely people on earth understand this is real, they're here," he said.

Hastings believes three UFOs with aliens on board did crash at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 and points to a 1950 memo to FBI Director J Edgar Hoover saying three so-called flying saucers had been recovered "each one occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall "

And he says the spectacular UFO sighting earlier this year off the Yucatan Peninsula were the real deal. But Hastings is not a believer in the theory aliens and earthlings are working together at Area 51, the top secret base in the Nevada desert, as some suggest.

In the end, Hastings says what's missing -- so far -- is physical evidence, but he says the story is far from over. 

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Meteor running for sharp-eyed cabbie

(Australia) - A BRILLIANT green ball seen shooting across the night sky on Saturday could be part of two meteor showers expected in northern skies this month.

Stuart Elletson was driving his taxi along Primrose St, Belgian Gardens, at 9.25pm on Saturday when he saw what he believes was a meteor.

Mr Elletson described the sight as a "bright emerald green" ball that flew across the sky in an arc for about 10 seconds.

"I was looking out the window and the next thing I saw in the sky was a burning, bright light," Mr Elletson said.

"It was orange in colour at first and then it went off towards Pallarenda and it was bright emerald green.

"It definitely wasn't a shooting star."

Director for the Centre for Astronomy in the School of Maths and Physics at James Cook University Associate Professor Graeme White said hearing Mr Elletson's description, he was "almost certain" the taxi driver had seen a meteor. [...]

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Auroras in Nebraska

A reader writes:

On your Nov. 9th page, you included a short blurb about a large CME
headed towards earth that could cause aurora activity, but I haven't
seen any follow-up regarding this. (This is understandable given the
absurd amount political upheaval occurring over the last week.)

Today, I came across a page containing photos of the resulting aurora
activity in Nebraska. I formerly lived in Nebraska for many years,
and never saw any aurora activity. That must have been a very
powerful CME for there to be as much activity as these photos show so far south.

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Climate change 'ruining' Everest
Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 03:03 GMT

Campaigners demand urgent assessment of the risks to Everest
Environmentalists are calling for Mount Everest should be put on a UN danger list because of global warming.

Melting glaciers have swollen lakes and increased the risk of catastrophic flooding in the Himalayas, they say.

The move to save the world's highest peak is part of a new campaign to force reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. [...]

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Conservationists meet amid growing fears over species loss
16 November 2004 1606 hrs
BANGKOK: One of the world's largest conservation conferences gathers here to meet the threat of an unprecedented loss of animal and plant species mainly through environmental damage caused by humans.

The World Conservation Congress opens with the release of the annual red list of threatened species which is expected to paint a gloomy picture of the state of the planet's wildlife.

One in four mammals and one in eight birds are known to be at risk and hundreds more species are expected to be added to the list for this year's edition. Last year's report said 12,259 species were threatened.

More than 5,000 scientists, activists and government representatives are expected to attend the nine-day conference designed to highlight the growing threat to wildlife amid rampaging development in parts of the world. [...]

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