Global Game of Survivor: America's Next Four Years
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Publication! The Wave finally in book form!
Wave: 4 Volume Set
With a new
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and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's
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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
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Volume 1 now. Available at the end of November!
of the Day
at St Puy
What drives a man to go against
the wishes of his countryfolk and the entire world community - including
the presidents of Russia, China, France and Germany?
How can a professed Christian continue to defy church leaders worldwide
- including the Bishops of Britain and the Pope? How does he rationalize
breaking the commandments of his God, which clearly prohibit coveting
another's property, theft of their oil, and mass murder of defenseless
How can he ignore his own generals when they complain, "We're
advocating a policy that says we will invade another nation that
is not currently attacking us or invading any of our allies."
[Capitol Hill Blue Jan, 22, 2003]
To those who deem it unseemly to count the bricks on one man's
load, let us recall that this unelected President is one brick short
of killing what the UN fears could be up to a half-million people
in Iraq. This massacre could easily see Pakistan's government –
and its 30 to 40 nukes – falling to an al Qaeda/Taliban majority.
Bush's announced plans to attack North Korea and Iran have already
prompted both countries to hit the nuclear gas pedal, virtually
assuring a "nuclear event". And his $5 trillion blowout
has taken the American economy to a $2 trillion deficit in two short
years. As ignored global warming triggers Extreme Weather Events,
frightened Nobel price-winning economists warn that GW's proposed
$600 billion tax cut is "fiscal madness" - "a very
serious economic error" that will collapse the country in exactly
the same way the ex-Soviet Empire went bust buying and deploying
so many arms in so many places. Ditto Imperial Rome.
Are these the acts of a rational person?
Not since Nixon's famous freak-outs in the White House, which saw
National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger ordering military commanders
to ignore nuclear launch orders from their Commander-In-Chief, is
it so urgent that we examine a president's cognitive capacities.
[The Trial of Henry Kissinger]
It might be useful to scrutinize the following findings. While
everyone "goes nuts" from time to time, the salient question
is whether traits described below dominate and drive today's presidential
decisions. Is a man called by other government
reps, "an idiot" "an imbecile" "dangerously
incompetent" and "a moron" competent, capable and
qualified to direct America's unchallenged military might?
Read on. If you dare.
" Is The 'President' Nuts?" asks Carol Wolman, M.D. "Many
people, inside and especially outside this country, believe that
the American president is nuts, and is taking the world on a suicidal
path." [Counterpunch Oct. 2, 2002]
A board-certified psychiatrist in practice for 30 years, Dr. Wolman
feels compelled to understand the "psychopathology" of
man "under tremendous pressure from both his family/junta,
and from the world at large." Dr. Wolman wonders if GW is suffering
from Antisocial Personality Disorder, as described in the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition:
"There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation
of the rights of others: 1) failure to conform to social norms with
respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing
acts that are grounds for arrest; 2) deceitfulness, as indicated
by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal
profit or pleasure; 5) reckless disregard for safety of self or
others; 7) lack of remorse by being indifferent to or rationalizing
having hurt, mistreated or stolen from others."
GW Bush is highly regarded for "kicking" the twin demons
of cocaine and alcohol addiction. If he is still off both wagons
and there is no proof that he isn't – such a triumph, encouraged
and aided by his wife, is commendable.
When probing the mysteries of GW's brain chemistry,
a key point to ponder is that damage done to brain cells from drug
abuse is permanent and irreversible.
Quaker and university professor Katherine van Wormer co-authored
the definitive, 2002, Addiction Treatment. This expert writes that
"George W. Bush manifests all the classic patterns of what
alcoholics in recovery call 'the dry drunk'. His behavior is consistent
with being brought on by years of heavy drinking and possible cocaine
use." [Counterpunch Oct. 11, 2002]
"Dry drunk," explains the professor, "is a slang
term used by members and supporters of Alcoholics Anonymous and
substance abuse counselors to describe the recovering alcoholic
who is no longer drinking - one who is dry, but whose thinking is
Such an individual is 'dry' but not truly sober. Such individuals
tend to go to overboard. A good example of Bush' "polarized
thinking" is his call for "crusades" based on "infinite
justice" for "evil-doers" comprising an "axis
Bush's "obsessive repetition" also remind this professor,
"of many of the recovering alcoholics/addicts I had treated."
Van Wormer worriers, "His power, in fact, is such that if he
collapses into paranoia, a large part of the world will collapse
Paranoia? Impatience? Rigid judgmental outlook? Grandiose behavior?
Childish behavior? Irresponsible behavior? Irrational rationalization?
Projection? Overreaction? these are all "dry drunk" traits.
Van Wormer observers that Bush's pompous pledge: "We
must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients
before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction"
is a projection from the world's leading rogue state preparing to
attack with nuclear weapons.
"Bush's tendency to dichotomize reality" should be emphasized.
Prof. van Wormer describes this is as either/or reasoning - "either
you are with us or against us". A White House spokesperson
puts it this way: "The President considers
this nation to be at war, and, as such, considers any opposition
to his policies to be no less than an act of treason.'' [Capitol
Hill Blue Jan, 22, 2003]
BUSH'S BINGES – HISTORY IMPACTS THE PRESENT
Bush's binges were legendary. Van Wormer describes "years of
binge drinking starting in college, at least one conviction for
DUI in 1976 in Maine, and one arrest before that for a drunken episode
involving theft of a Christmas wreath." She adds:
"The Bush biography reveals the story of a boy named for his
father, sent to the exclusive private school in the East where his
father's reputation as star athlete and later war hero were still
remembered. The younger George's achievements were dwarfed in the
school's memory of his father. Athletically he could not achieve
his father's laurels, being smaller and perhaps less strong. His
drinking bouts and lack of intellectual gifts held him back as well.
His military record was mediocre as compared to his father's as
well. [He went AWOL] "
In Fortunate Son, Bush himself explained: "Alcohol began to
compete with my energies ... I'd lose focus". Though he once
said he couldn't remember a day he hadn't had a drink, he quickly
added the giveaway phrase that he didn't believe he was "clinically
Van Wormer notes that "Bush drank heavily for over 20 years
until he made the decision to abstain at age 40. About this time
he became a 'born again Christian' – going as usual from one
extreme to the other." When asked in an interview about his
reported cocaine use, he answered reasonably, "I'm not going
to talk about what I did 20 to 30 years ago".
One motive driving Dubya could be his need "to prove himself
to his father - to achieve what his father failed to do - to finish
the job of the Gulf War, to get the 'evildoer' Saddam." Adds
van Wormer, "His drive to finish his father's battles is of
no small significance, psychologically."
According to Van Wormer, "scientists can now observe changes
that occur in the brain as a result of heavy alcohol and other drug
abuse. Some of these changes may be permanent."
Van Wormer characterizes this damage as "barely noticeable
but meaningful." Researchers have found that brain chemistry
irregularities caused by long bouts of drinking or drug abuse cause
"messages in one part of the brain to become stuck there. This
leads to maddening repetition of thoughts."
One of these powerful "stuck" thoughts, says van Wormer,
is that "President Bush seems unduly focused upon getting revenge
on Saddam Hussein ('He tried to kill my Dad'), leading the country
and the world into war, accordingly."
Grandiosity is another major trait of former addicts brain-damaged
by their addiction. Bush has reversed the successful, five-decade
old U.S. policy of containment and no first strikes. Now he says,
Americans can attack anyone, anywhere at any time with any weapons
of their choosing – including banned cluster bomb munitions,
radioactive explosives and nuclear bombs.
AN AGENT OF ARMAGEDDON?
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, a person suffering
from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, "Has
a grandiose sense of self-importance-exaggerates achievements and
talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate
This personality is preoccupied with fantasies of power and being
loved. Such a person requires "automatic compliance".
He or she is "exploitative" of
others, "lacks empathy, is unwilling to recognize or identify
with the feelings and needs of others." And also "shows
arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes."
"This set of characteristics," says
Dr. Wolman, not too reassuringly, "may describe Rumsfeld and
Cheney better than Dubya."
For those who, like Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stieglitz, warn that
Bush "has been captured by a small group of ideologues,"
Dependent Personality Disorder describes someone who "has difficulty
making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice
and reassurance from others." [CBC Feb. 10, 2003]
From a Jungian perspective, writes Dr. Wolman, "Dubya
may be identifying with an archetype – something out of Revelations,
perhaps, whereby he sees himself as an instrument of God's will
to bring about Armageddon." Concurs Katherine van Wormer,
"To fight evil, Bush is ready to take on the world, in almost
a Biblical sense."
A PRESIDENTIAL PATHOLOGY
Is Bush's belligerence bent on securing another oil fix? Katherine
van Wormer believes that a Portland peace protestor's sign, "Drunk
on Power" nailed it. Says this quiet Quaker, "The drive
for power can be an unquenchable thirst, addictive in itself."
Senator William Fulbright agrees. His bestseller, The Arrogance
of Power defined power politics as the pursuit of power. "The
causes and consequences of war may have more to do with pathology
than with politics," Fulbright wrote.
A key "dry drunk" trait is impatience. Bush, who often
describes himself as "a patient man", is not. Just four
weeks after inspectors went into Iraq, he called for obliterating
Baghdad. "If we wait for threats to fully materialize",
Bush pointed out to West Pointers, "we will have waited too
long". Translations: It's okay to attack projections of our
own fearful imaginings – in case those phantom threats someday
Alan Bisbort's "Dry Drunk - Is Bush Making a Cry for Help?"
appeared in American Politics Journal. Bisbort believes that Bush's
"incoherence" when speaking away from prepared scripts
is a classic sign of addicted brain damage.
For Bisbort, another "dry drunk" tip-off is Dubya's irritability
with anyone who dares disagree with him – including Germany's
new leader, who insists he is opposing Bush's folly in Iraq as a
concerned long-time friend of America. (Schroeder's wife is American.)
Another "Dry drunk" sign says van Wormer, is Dubya's
"dangerous obsessing about only one thing (Iraq) to the exclusion
of all other things."
Van Wormer's bottom line prognosis: "George W. Bush seems
to possess the traits characteristic of addictive persons who still
have the thought patterns that accompany substance abuse. The fact
that some residual effects from his earlier substance abuse - however
slight - might cloud the U.S. President's thinking and judgment
is frightening, however, in the context of the current global crisis."
The Toronto Star recounts how NYU author and media critic Mark Crispin
Miller attempted to catalogue GW's verbal gaffes. Some favorites:
"The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country."
"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
"The future will be better tomorrow."
"He meant it for a laugh," wrote the Star. "Not
The author of Boxed In: The Culture of TV believes "Bush is
not an imbecile. He's not a puppet. I think that Bush is a sociopathic
personality. I think he's incapable of empathy.
He has an inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he's a very
skilled manipulator. And in all the snickering about his alleged
idiocy, this is what a lot of people miss."
Miller's judgment - that an unelected president might suffer from
a clinical personality disorder - is much heavier than being called
the global village idiot. "He has no
trouble speaking off the cuff when he's speaking punitively, when
he's talking about violence, when he's talking about revenge. When
he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine,"
Miller mentions. "It's only when he leaps
into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism,
that he makes these hilarious mistakes."
Bush even has trouble repeating comforting clichés. "Fool
me once, shame ... shame on ... you," Long, uncomfortable pause.
"Fool me - can't get fooled again!"
While the world was laughing, Miller saw
something darker. "What's revealing
about this is that Bush could not say, `Shame on me' to save his
life. That's a completely alien idea to him. This is a guy who is
absolutely proud of his own inflexibility and rectitude," wrote
Miller says that Bush saying, "I know how hard it is to put
food on your family" is not 'cause he's stupid, but "because
he doesn't care about people who can't put food on the table."
When Bush is envisioning "a foreign-handed foreign policy,"
Miller contends it's because he can't keep his focus on things that
mean nothing to him. "When he tries to talk about what this
country stands for, or about democracy, he can't do it," Miller
According to Miller, this is why GW is so closely watched by his
handlers. "Not because he'll say something stupid," the
Star paraphrased, "but because he'll overindulge in the language
of violence and punishment at which he excels."
"He's a very angry guy, a hostile guy," Miller says.
"He's much like Nixon. So they're very, very careful to choreograph
every move he makes. They don't want him anywhere near protestors,
because he would lose his temper." Adds this media expert,
"It would be a grave mistake to just play him for laughs."
DEPRESSION CAN BE DANGEROUSLY DEPRESSING
Confronted by a man who will not listen to anyone but a few "chickenhawks"
urging worldwide war, why shouldn't we feel depressed? Not surprisingly,
Seventy percent of U.S. pastors constantly fight depression. Right
now, almost three million Canadians are seriously depressed. (Multiply
by four or five for approximate U.S. figures.) We can't blame GW
for this. Or the fact that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death
in 15 to 24 year olds. But as the man responsible for perpetrating
a worldwide bummer, George isn't helping! [www.tonycooke.org; National
Institute of Mental Health]
If it's politically incorrect to ask these questions, how "correct"
is it to launch 800 cruise missiles and thousands of one-ton bombs
on a captive urban population already suffering the ravages of deliberately
imposed hunger and disease?
Another big clue to Dubya's displays of dementia comes in "photo-ops"
showing him slugging back diet Coke with other Aspartame addicts,
like Chicago's mayor Richard Daley. Their beet red faces spell either
embarrassment over Bush's hijacking of America, or aspartame poisoning.
[Chicago Sun Times, Sept. 27, 2002]
According to Carol Guilford, an Aspartame expert and support worker,
the President-Select's "pretzel" pratfall was most likely
an Aspartame seizure. Bush, like Carter, Al Gore and millions of
Americans, is addicted to this constant caffeine hit. Among the
FDA's listed 92 symptoms for Aspartame poisoning are: "Difficulty
Swallowing", "Fainting" and "Unconsciousness".
Bush's facial lesions, removed as a result of "Too much sun"
is another sign of Aspartame poisoning. So was his recent knee surgery:
Aspartame depletes synovial fluid lubricating the joints.
Would you drink 6 to 12 cans of formaldehyde
a day? It turns out that methanol in Aspartame converts to formaldehyde
in the tissues. As Guildford wrote to USN Captain Eleanor
Marino, Physician to the President (Feb. 21, 2002): 10% of a 200mg
can of diet soda is straight methanol wood alcohol! Methanol is
such a gross cumulative poison, the EPA's limit for drinking water
is 7.8 mg daily. For serious addicts like Bush, the methanol intake
can exceed 32 times the EPA's recommended limit..
Now the punch line: Clinical case studies show that, among other
symptoms, Aspartame ingestion results in "mind fog", feeling
"unreal", poor memory, confusion, anxiety, irritability,
depression, mania, and slurred speech. [Neurology 1994]
Alcohol-related brain damage is not helped by chugging formaldehyde.
James Turner, consumer protection lawyer and author of The Chemical
Feast learned that an Oct. 1980 FDA inquiry found that the formaldehyde
formed by Aspartame actually eats microscopic holes and triggers
tumors in the brain.
That finding banned Aspartame from the food supply. But three months
later, Searle CEO Donald Rumsfeld told that pharma giant's sales
staff he would get Aspartame approved pronto. The next month, the
FDA commissioner was replaced by Dr. Arthur Hayes. In Nov. 1983
the FDA approved aspartame for soft drinks. Under fire for accepting
corporate bribes, Hayes went to work for Searle's public-relations
firm. Searle lawyer Robert Shapiro coined the name NutraSweet. Monsanto
bought Searle. Rumsfeld received $12 million for his help. Shapiro
now heads Monsanto.
The same "revolving door" swings wide for arms makers
and the oil mafia. The Big Question is: Why hasn't Dick warned George
that the diet drinks he's swilling are eating his brain and making
Crazy? Am I calling the President-Select of the Excited States
crazy? Not me. As a journalist, I can only point out that published
medical evidence goes frighteningly far in explaining GW's behavior.
For certain, this good ol' boy should go in for a brain scan before
being allowed to command more firepower than the next 11 nations
combined. If George W. Bush is not crazy - he's sure acting like
Margaret Hassan? After the grief, the astonishment, heartbreak,
anger and fury over the apparent murder of such a good and saintly
woman, that is the question that her friends - and, quite possibly,
the Iraqi insurgents - will be asking. This Anglo-Irish lady held
an Iraqi passport. She had lived in Iraq
for 30 years; she had dedicated her life to the welfare of Iraqis
in need. She hated the UN sanctions and opposed the Anglo-American
invasion. So who killed Margaret Hassan?
Of course, those of us who knew her will reflect on the appalling
implications of the videotape, which, so her husband believes, is
evidence of her death. If Margaret Hassan can be kidnapped and murdered,
how much further can we fall into the Iraqi pit? There are no barriers,
no frontiers of morality left. What price is innocence in the anarchy
we have brought to Iraq? The answer is simple: nothing.
I remember her arguing with doctors and truck drivers when a lorry
load of medicines arrived for children's cancer wards – courtesy
of Independent readers – in 1998. She smiled, cajoled, pleaded
to get these leukaemia drugs to Basra and Mosul. She would not have
wished to be called an angel – Margaret didn't like clichés.
Even now I want to write "doesn't like clichés";
are we really permitted to say that she is dead? For
the bureaucrats and Western politicians who will today express their
outrage and sorrow at her reported death, she had nothing but scorn.
Yes, she knew the risks. Margaret Hassan was well aware that many
Iraqi women had been kidnapped, raped, ransomed or murdered by the
Baghdad mafia. Because she is a Western woman – the first
Western woman to be abducted and apparently murdered – we
forget how many Iraqi women have already suffered this terrible
fate. They go largely unreported in a world
which counts dead American soldiers, but ignores fatalities among
those with darker skins and browner eyes and a different religion,
whom we claimed to have liberated.
And now let's remember the other, earlier videos. Margaret Hassan
crying, Margaret Hassan fainting, Margaret Hassan having water thrown
over her to revive her, Margaret Hassan crying again, pleading for
the withdrawal of the Black Watch from the Euphrates river basin.
In the background of these appalling pictures,
there were none of the usual Islamic banners. There were none of
the usual armed and hooded men. No Koranic recitations.
And when it percolated through to Fallujah
and Ramadi that the mere act of kidnapping Margaret Hassan was close
to heresy, the combined resistance groups of Fallujah – and
the message genuinely came from them – demanded her release.
So, incredibly, did Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qa'ida man whom
the Americans falsely claimed to be leading the Iraqi insurrection
– but who has very definitely been involved in kidnapping
and beheading foreigners.
Other abducted women –the two Italian aid workers, for example
–when their captors recognised their innocence. But not Margaret
Hassan, even though she spoke fluent Arabic and could explain her
work to her captors in their own language.
There was one mysterious video that floated
to the surface this year, a group of armed men promising to seize
Zarqawi, claiming he was anti-Iraqi, politely referring to the occupation
armies as "the coalition forces". This
was quickly nicknamed the "Allawi tape": after
the US appointed, ex-CIA agent and Ex-Baathist who holds the title
of "interim Prime Minister" in Iraq, the same Allawi who
fatuously claimed there were no civilian deaths in Fallujah.
So, if anyone doubted the murderous nature
of the insurgents, what better way to prove their viciousness than
to produce evidence of Margaret Hassan's murder? What
more ruthless way could there be of demonstrating to the world that
America and Allawi's tinpot army were fighting "evil"
in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities that are now controlled by Washington's
Even in the topsy-turvy world of Iraq, nobody is suggesting that
people associated with the government of Mr Allawi had a hand in
Margaret Hassan's death. Iraq, after all, is awash with up to 20
insurgent groups but also with rival gangs of criminals seeking
to extort money from hostage taking.
But still the question has to be answered: who
killed Margaret Hassan?
Iraqis say they have no clues
to group which shot aid worker
Iraqi authorities yesterday admitted they still had no clear idea
about who killed the aid worker Margaret Hassan. Investigators are
being hindered by the uniqueness of the case, and the complexity
of the insurgency.
In previous kidnappings, Iraq's several insurgent groups have been
quick to identify themselves and claim responsibility, using videos
to make their demands. From the moment Mrs
Hassan was seized her case was different.
Mrs Hassan, who had Iraqi nationality and spoke fluent Arabic,
was taken from her car as she drove to work at the Care offices
in Baghdad on October 19. Two videos emerged, showing her in an
increasingly desperate state pleading for her life and asking for
the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.
At one point her kidnappers described themselves as an "armed
But unlike previous incidents they gave themselves
no specific name and used no banners or flags to identify themselves.
Again in the final video showing her apparent death, shot in the
head by a masked gunman, there was no insignia to identify a particular
Efforts were made to begin negotiations
with her kidnappers but to no avail. Information campaigns
were started and a poster showing Mrs Hassan holding a sick Iraqi
child was put up on billboards across the capital. "Margaret
Hassan is truly a daughter of Iraq. She is against the occupation,"
Her kidnappers were unmoved. At one point
they threatened to hand her over to Tawhid and Jihad, the extreme
militant group based in Falluja that is led by a young Iraqi named
Omar Hadid and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the wanted Jordanian militant.
But Tawhid and Jihad, which has produced several
videos of gruesome murders including that of Ken Bigley, the British
contractor, promised to release Mrs Hassan if she was handed over
Her case appears to confirm accounts from figures in the insurgency
that the movement is made up of several independent
groups with little overall leadership and with frequently
different methods and agendas. [...]
But there appear to be other smaller offshoots.
For some their agenda appears to be simply to force the US military
and all other Westerners from Iraq and to destabilise the Baghdad
government into collapse. Most were based in Falluja, at least until
the US military operation last week, but have bases elsewhere including
Baghdad and the town of Latifiya, south of the capital. The mutilated
body of a woman, apparently a westerner, was found on a street in
Falluja last week, though British officials said yesterday they
have yet to determine whether it was Mrs Hassan.
Canon Andrew White, of Coventry Cathedral and the international
director of the Iraqi Institute of Peace, was involved in negotiations
to obtain Mrs Hassan's release. He said that "rogue
terrorist groups" had begun to emerge and that her kidnappers
were "very likely criminal".
"One of the worrying things about the development of the whole
kidnapping scenario is that we are no longer
dealing with the established groups where at least we understood
something of their methodology. Now kidnapping is the kind
of thing taken up by any kind of rogue terrorist group," he
told the Guardian last night from Dubai. "They
don't play by the rules of kidnapping." [...]
The leadership of the insurgent groups are predominantly Iraqi,
though there are other Arab fighters involved at lower levels. Some
of their agendas are regarded as too extreme even by mainstream
WASHINGTON (AP) — Only
a tiny percentage of the more than 1,000 insurgents detained by
U.S. forces in the Iraqi city of Fallujah over the past week are
foreigners, a Marine officer said Monday.
Col. Michael Regner, operations chief for the 1st Marine Expeditionary
Force, said in a conference call with reporters at the Pentagon
that 1,052 people had been detained at last count.
Of that total, he said at least 1,030 were Iraqis, meaning only
about 20 were foreigners.
He gave no breakdown of nationalities. On Friday, Iraqi government
officials said there were 15 foreigners in detention in Fallujah.
Ten were Iranians and there was one each from Saudi Arabia, Sudan,
Egypt and Jordan and one who might be from France.
Regner did not detail the detention process, but his boss, Lt.
Gen. John Sattler, told reporters Friday that people captured in
Fallujah were being vetted; if they are found
to be dislocated civilians, they are allowed to leave the U.S.-run
Speaking from his post in Fallujah on what he said was the ninth
day of the military operation, Regner said 37 U.S. Marines and soldiers
had been killed in action there, plus one non-battle death. Of the
320 U.S. troops wounded in action, 134 had returned to duty, Regner
He declined to estimate the number of insurgents killed, although
he said published estimates of 1,000 might be close. Nor did he
estimate how many had escaped the city, but he said it was clear
some had made it to Ramadi, the provincial capital west of Fallujah.
Although the heaviest fighting in Fallujah is over, Regner said,
and 100% of the city has been "secured" — meaning
U.S. forces can move about at will — he said he would not
describe it as under full U.S. control because some insurgents were
still holding out.
The Marines learned quickly that Fallujah was no ordinary battle,
"If you weren't street-wise — and you got street-wise
about an hour into this operation — you would find yourself
as a casualty," he said.
He recounted a story of four Marines who
were discussing, as bullets sprayed around them, what Hollywood
actor would play the lead in a movie they envisioned, "The
Battle for Fallujah." Just then a "bunker-buster"
bomb struck an enemy hideout beside the Marines and they rushed
inside to gun down the survivors. [...]
KARBALA, Iraq - More than 60 Iraqi policemen
were kidnapped Sunday as they returned from training in Jordan,
one of only three men who managed to escape the ambush told AFP.
"We were around 65 policemen returning from training in Jordan
when around 20 masked gunmen entered our hotel Sunday morning in
Trebil," said the policeman from the southern town of Karbala.
"They hooded all the policemen, tied their hands and took
them away," said Leith Naama al-Kaabi.
"I managed to escape thanks to one of my colleagues. He was
frog-walked into my room by a gunman but he managed to convince
him that he was a car-dealer and that he didn't know who I was.
The attacker hit me on the head with his gun and I lost consciousness,"
"When I awoke, I realised that the one who saved me and my
room-mate had not been kidnapped. So we took a taxi and returned
to Karbala," he explained.
On October 16, nine policemen from the Karbala region were killed
on their way home from a training course in Jordan when their convoy
was ambushed in the so-called "triangle of death" south
Iraq's fledgling security forces are the target of daily attacks
by insurgents across the war-torn country.
BRUSSELS - NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop
Scheffer is furious over the refusal of some alliance members to
allow their officers to take part in a NATO training mission in
Iraq, officials said Wednesday.
NATO ambassadors adopted without debate on Wednesday an "operation
plan" for the Iraq mission which foresees the dispatch of "200
to 300" military instructors to Iraq under heavy guard, officials
But behind the scenes, sources said that Germany in particular
is holding out against letting its NATO staff officers take part
in the mission, despite the hard-won political green light given
to the proposal by the envoys.
A "heated exchange" occurred between the US and German
representatives during the ambassadors' meeting, one source said.
"This is a serious issue and one the secretary general is
looking into very closely," another official with the North
Atlantic Treaty Organisation said on condition of anonymity.
The official refused to say which countries were refusing to release
their officers attached to NATO, but Germany along with Belgium,
France and Spain has refused to have any military involvement in
the US-led coalition in Iraq.
In total, about a dozen of NATO's 26 member states
do not want to take part in the training mission, the alliance's
supreme military commander, US General James Jones, said recently.
France is not directly involved in the row because it is outside
NATO's integrated military command.
But De Hoop Scheffer expects other countries such as Germany that
are in the structure to release their NATO officers for Iraq training
"For this caveat ... to spread would be corrosive for the
solidarity of the alliance. It is something the secretary general
will resist," the official said.
NATO leaders agreed at a June summit in Istanbul to help train
Iraqi security forces, but their ambassadors battled for months
to agree on the details.
NATO finally decided last month to send up to 400 instructors,
aiming to get the bulk of them there in time for January elections.
During a visit to NATO headquarters earlier this
month, Iraq's interim prime minister Iyad Allawi urged the military
alliance to rush its training officers into the country, warning
that any delay "could cost lives".
Under the newly agreed operation plan, the instructors would train
about 1,000 Iraqi officers a year at a military academy near Baghdad.
De Hoop Scheffer hopes to have the mission up and running by the
end of the year.
The outgoing chairman of NATO's Military Committee, German General
Harald Kujat, said the latest hitch to the Iraq operation was "extremely
"This integrated command structure must function when we need
it to function," he said.
"Now we need to implement this decision (the operation plan),
and for that it is important that everybody contributes to that."
Kujat added that NATO cannot force a sovereign state into an operation
against its will, "but in the past we have had operations without
the participation of all members".
So the death of Yasser Arafat
is a great new opportunity for the Palestinians, is it? The man
who personified the Palestinian struggle - "Mr Palestine"
- is dead. So things can only get better for the Palestinians. Death
means democracy. Death means statehood. That the final demise of
the corrupt old guerrilla leader should be a sign of optimism demonstrates
just how catastrophic the conflict in the Middle East has now become.
It's a bit like Fallujah. The more we destroy it, the crueler we
are, the brighter the chances of Iraqi democracy. The more successful
we are, the worse things are going to get. That's what George Bush
said on Friday: that violence will increase as Iraqi elections grow
closer - a total mind warp since the more violent Iraq becomes,
the less the chances of any election ever being held.
Note how Bush could not even bring himself to mention Arafat's
name. It's the same old agenda. The Palestinians have to have a
democracy. They have to prove themselves; they - not the Israelis
- have to show that they are a worthy "negotiating partner".
And any new leader - the colorless Ahmad Qureia or the equally colorless
and undemocratic Abu Mazen - must "control his own people".
That was what Arafat failed to do even though he thought his job
was to represent his own people, which is what democracy is supposed
to be all about.
It's worth noting how this narrative has
been written. The Israelis, with their continued occupation, their
continued illegal construction of colonies for Jews and Jews only
on Arab land, their air strikes and helicopter executions and live-fire
shooting at stone-throwing children, are not part of this equation.
They are just innocently waiting to find a new "negotiating
partner" now that Arafat is in his grave. Ariel Sharon, held
"personally responsible" for the 1982 Sabra and Shatila
massacre by the Kahan commission report, remains, in George Bush's
words, "a man of peace". No one asks whether he can control
his own army. Or whether he can control his own settlers. He wants
to close down the colonies in Gaza - even
though his spokesman has told us that this will put Palestinian
statehood into "formaldehyde".
So let's just take a look back at those tragic years of the Oslo
accord. In 1993, we are supposed to believe,
the Palestinians were offered statehood and a capital in Jerusalem
if they accepted the right of Israel to exist. Oslo said nothing
of the kind. It did set down a complex system of Israeli withdrawals
from occupied Palestinian land and a timetable that the Israelis
were supposed to meet. We all knew that any failure to do so would
humiliate Arafat - and make him less able to "control"
his own people.
And what happened? It's important, at this supposedly "optimistic"
moment, to reflect on the facts of the previous "peace process"
in which Europe as well as the United States spent so much time,
energy and - in the EU's case - money. Under
the Oslo agreement, the occupied West Bank would be divided into
three zones. Zone A would come under exclusive Palestinian control,
Zone B under Israeli military occupation in participation with the
Palestinian Authority, and Zone C under total Israeli occupation.
In the West Bank, Zone A comprised only 1.1 per cent of the land
whereas in Gaza - overpopulated, rebellious, insurrectionary - almost
all the territory was to come under Arafat's control. He, after
all, was to be the policeman of Gaza. Zone C in the West Bank comprised
60 per cent of the land, which allowed Israel to continue the rapid
expansion of settlements on Arab land.
But a detailed investigation shows that not
a single one of these withdrawal agreements was honored by the Israelis.
And in the meantime, the number of settlers
illegally living on Palestinians' land rose after Oslo from 80,000
to 150,000 - even though the Israelis, as well as the Palestinians,
were forbidden from taking "unilateral steps" under the
terms of the agreement. The Palestinians saw this, not without reason,
as proof of bad faith.
Since facts are sometimes elusive in the Middle East, let's remind
ourselves of what happened after Oslo. The
Oslo II (Taba) agreement, concluded by Yitzhak Rabin in September
1995 - the month before he was assassinated - promised three
Israeli withdrawals: from Zone A (under Palestinian control), Zone
B (under Israeli military occupation in co-operation with the Palestinians)
and Zone C (exclusive Israeli occupation). These were to be completed
by October 1997. Final-status agreement covering Jerusalem, refugees,
water and settlements were to have been completed by October 1999,
by which time the occupation was supposed to have ended. In January
1997, however, a handful of Jewish settlers were granted 20 per
cent of Hebron, despite Israel's obligation under Oslo to leave
all West Bank towns. By October 1998, a year late, Israel had not
carried out the Taba accords.
The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, negotiated a new
agreement at Wye River, dividing the second redeployment promised
at Taba into two phases - but he only honored the first of them.
Netanyahu had promised to reduce the percentage of West Bank land
under exclusively Israeli occupation from 72 per cent to 59 per
cent, transferring 41 per cent of the West Bank to Zones A and B.
But at Sharm el-Sheikh in 1999, the Israeli prime minister, Ehud
Barak, reneged on the agreement Netanyahu had made at Wye River,
fragmenting the latter's two phases into three, the first of which
would transfer 7 per cent from Zone C to Zone B. All implementation
of the agreements stopped there.
When Arafat finally went to Camp David to meet Barak, he was allegedly
offered 95 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza but turned it down
and went to war with the second intifada. A
study of the maps, however, shows that - with the exclusion of Jerusalem
and its extended boundaries, with the exclusion of existing major
Jewish colonies and with the inclusion of an Israeli cordon sanitaire,
Arafat was offered nearer to 64 per cent of the 22 per cent of mandate
Palestine that was left to him. Then
a new explosion of Palestinian suicide bombings, usually aimed at
Israeli civilians, destroyed Israel's patience with Arafat.
Sharon, who had provoked the second intifada by strolling on to
the Temple Mount with a thousand policeman, decided that Arafat
was a Bin Laden-style "terrorist" and all further contact
This is not to excuse the PLO or Arafat himself. His arrogance
and corruption, and his little dictatorship - initially encouraged
by the Israelis and Americans who lent Arafat their CIA boys to
"train" the Palestinian security services - ensured that
no democracy could thrive in "Palestine". And I suspect
that while he personally disapproved of suicide bombings, Arafat
cynically realized that they had their uses; they proved that Sharon
could not provide Israel with the security he promised at his election,
at least until he built the new wall - which is stealing further
Palestinian land. But that was only one side of the story - and
last week Bush and Blair went back to the old game of seeing only
the other side. The Palestinians - the victims of 39 years of occupation
- must prove themselves worthy of peace with their occupiers. The
death of their leader is therefore billed as a glorious occasion
that provides hope. All this is part of the self-delusion of Bush
and Blair. The reality is that the outlook in the Middle East is
bleaker than ever.
Oh yes, and - since we'd be asking this question today if Sharon
had gone to meet his maker in an equally mysterious way - just what
did Arafat die of?
"It's too late for the French
military, or the discredited 'wife', or
America's Palestinian Fix-It Man Nabil Sha'ath, to have any
credibility. They've all now had plenty of extra time to doctor
the reports and destroy the evidence. Only a totally independent
full-scale investigative Commission of Inquiry and complete autopsy
would have any chance of being credible at this point."
MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 17 November: With the 'Stealth
Assassination' of Yasser Arafat, following a campaign to kill or
imprison most of the popular Palestinian leaders that was greatly
stepped up when Ariel Sharon became Israeli Prime Minister, the
Arab-Israeli conflict does indeed enter a new phase. But the political
cancer has already considerably metastacized region-wide and the
'two-state' cure is not really any longer possible.
The Americans and Europeans -- with a considerable group of supportive
personalities, organizations, and media under their influence --
will keep attempting to claim a 'new opportunity for peace'. The
Israelis will pretend to play along in one way or another while
in reality further working to expand their control, build their
major settlements, complete their Apartheid Wall, and imprison all
Palestinians within individual towns and villages as nowhere else
in the world.
What the Palestinians will now do, and whether the despised U.S.
and Israeli approved 'new Palestinian leadership' -- Abu Mazen,
Abu Ala, and Nabil Sha'ath -- will be able to keep the lid on and
stay in power, remains to be seen. Tensions have never been greater
as the attack against Abu Mazen last weekend makes very evident.
Immediately after the weekend gun attack on Abu Mazen and shouting
attack on Nabil Sha'ath, Abu Ala, the 'Prime Minister', said he
was now appealing to the French Military Hospital to reveal whatever
it was that killed Yasser Arafat. But it's now too late for the
French military, or the discredited 'wife', or America's Palestinian
Fix It Man Nabil Sha'ath, to have any credibility. They've all now
had plenty of extra time to doctor the reports and destroy the evidence.
Only a totally independent full-scale investigative Commission of
Inquiry and complete autopsy would have any chance of being credible
at this point.
Even as Arafat's body was being flown to Cairo last Wednesday his
personal physician of 22 years publicly cried foul and 'demanded'
an 'official death inquiry' and 'autopsy'. He further revealed that
before Arafat was taken to Paris those around him tried hard to
prevent his condition from being known but that he had concluded
the most likely diagnosis was a mysterious 'blood poisoning'. Furthermore
it was not said in advance that Arafat was being taken to a 'military
hospital' and once there the doctors made no contact with Arafat's
long-time personal physician, refused to let him come to Paris,
and did not even contact him to obtain Arafat's private medical
records or previous test results.
The major corporate media worldwide has been quite mum and manipulated
about all that has happened, including most of the PA and Israeli
controlled Palestinian media. But as word of more of the details
continues to leak out the Israelis have been active trying to further
confuse and sully Arafat's reputation by circulating nasty rumors
that Arafat really died of AIDS complications as a result of his
homosexuality, and then in today's Jerusalem Post that he died of
liver disease usually associated with alcohol drinkers.
MER was the first international news source to report not only
that Arafat has been blood poisoned and 'Stealth Assassinated' but
that just days after he arrived in Paris he was all but legally
dead, even as his 'wife' was proclaiming he 'was well' and would
return to lead his people, even as Nabil Sha'ath was going on television
programs worldwide saying Arafat was not in a coma, not being kept
artificially alive, and could yet recover. Then came 'wife' Suha's
brief hysterical outburst about a 'great conspiracy' to kill her
husband, followed quickly by a rushed visit to Paris of the Palestinian
troika (Abu Mazen, Abu Ala, and Sha'ath) where she was threatened
and silenced for a reported $22 million yearly sum. And then, just
after the troika completed the cover up and funeral arrangements,
Arafat's death was finally announced, his body rushed to Cairo for
a quick military funeral -- no public and no eulogies -- and then
rushed to Ramallah where he was quickly sealed in concrete, this
time the Israelis going on a war footing and preventing Palestinians
throughout the occupied territories from attending.
Israel's move against Mordechai Vanunu,
the man who exposed their nuclear secrets, couldn't have been timed
The death of Yasser Arafat overshadows the re-arrest of Mordechai
Vanunu, and it was, as they say, no accident: Arafat had barely
breathed his last gasp when 20 to 30 heavily armed Israeli police
commandos stormed the Anglican cathedral of St. George in Jerusalem,
seized Vanunu, and confiscated his computer, while their superiors
absurdly yelped that he had "leaked classified information."
Yes, the Israelis get really mad about the leaking of classified
information - unless it's their own agents in the U.S. who are on
the receiving end. But the funny part - if black humor suits your
tastes - is that the "secrets" he is alleged to have "leaked"
have been known for nearly 20 years. The thuggery of the Israeli
"International Crimes Unit" that desecrated a Christian
church will only serve to remind the world what Vanunu revealed
all those years ago. This act underscores
the brazen hypocrisy of Israeli whining about Iran's efforts to
obtain nuclear weapons - when everyone knows Israel has as many
as 200 to 400 nuclear-armed missiles aimed at Arab capitals, and
- who knows? - perhaps at a few European ones as well.
As a worker at Israel's Dimona nuclear weapons facility - supposedly
devoted, like today's Iranian equivalents, to the pursuit of "peaceful"
nuclear power - in the mid-1980s, Vanunu had first-hand knowledge
of Israel's weapons of mass destruction - and his conscience would
not permit silence. He gave an interview to British journalist Peter
Hounam, and the story, complete with photos, was published in the
Sunday Times of London: the truth about Israel's "nuclear ambiguity"
In retaliation, the Mossad, with the aid of one of their "American"
female assets, Cheryl Bentov, lured him to Rome, kidnapped him,
and dragged him off to Israel, where he was tried, convicted, and
served out his 18-year sentence, much of it in solitary confinement.
Released with the proviso that, like the Soviet Jews once held captive
by the Kremlin, Vanunu is not allowed to leave the country, and
may not speak to the media, or publish his own thoughts and opinions.
So much for the myth of Israel's much-vaunted "freedoms,"
which are supposed to make it a part of the West.
Like Iran, Israel is a religious theocracy dressed up in "democratic"
trappings and afflicted with delusions of military grandeur.
The extremists who control the Israeli government live in mortal
fear that Vanunu, having once exposed their limitless hypocrisy,
will continue to do so at the most inopportune time imaginable -
when Israel is kvetching about Iran's alleged
pursuit of nukes, while Tel Aviv sits atop the sixth largest stockpile
of nuclear weapons on earth.
America claims the right to launch a preemptive war against any
Arab nation even suspected of trying to acquire nuclear arms, yet
Israel is allowed weapons of mass destruction that would make the
International Atomic Energy Agency's toes curl. So why not bring
the inspectors into Israel? Why are they exempt from the "rules"
that others must obey?
These are questions the Israelis would much prefer nobody asked,
and they are less likely to be raised if Vanunu is silenced or gotten
out of the way, one way or another. Because
the truth is that Israel, and not Iran, is far more likely to use
nukes - in "self-defense," of course - and turn much of
the Middle East into a radioactive wasteland. Contemplate
the words of the influential Israeli Rabbi Zelman Melamed, who wrote:
"It is not impossible that the Jewish people will have the
ability to threaten and put pressure on the entire world to accept
our way. But even if we acquire the power to seize control of the
world, that is not the way to realize the vision of complete redemption."
Yeah, but it'll do until the Messiah arrives. The rise of religious
fanaticism in Israel parallels the development of the same phenomenon
in the Arab world. While the Committee of Rabbis in Judea, Samaria,
and Gaza protests the dismantling of any settlements, and declares
that "Everyone who has faith in his heart ... will not countenance
betrayal of the divine promise of the Jewish people," Professor
Hillel Weiss, writing in Ma'ariv, interprets this fatwa as follows:
"The purpose of the armed struggle is to establish a Jewish
state in all the territory that will be captured, from the River
Euphrates [in Iraq] to the Egyptian River [Nile]."
The Committee of Rabbis, armed with nuclear weapons - is this
really a good thing?
With the Israeli ultra-nationalist right on the march, and threatening
civil war, a nuclear-armed Israel is far more dangerous than nuclearized
Pakistan, where fundamentalists of a different sort are held in
check by Pervez Musharraf with U.S. assistance. But
what sort of leverage does the international community, including
the U.S., have over the Israelis? We don't even know what they have
- because they won't sign on to the IAEA or submit to inspections.
Yet Iran must submit - or face sanctions and a possible U.S. (or
Israeli) military strike.
The Israelis are in a position to blackmail both the Iranians
and the Americans. They can threaten Tehran with nuclear annihilation
- or threaten the U.S. with unilaterally taking out Iran's reactors
and plunging the entire region into war. With U.S. troops, as it
were, in the midst of it.
If anything, the Iranian acquisition of a similar arsenal will
deter their opposite numbers in Tel Aviv from ever using the nukes
we know they have. Because, right now, there
is nothing to stop Ariel Sharon - or some other even more extreme
and excitable Israeli politician - from launching a nuclear attack
on Tehran. The close proximity of some
150,000 American troops in Iraq may give them pause for a few seconds.
However, when it comes to ensuring their own survival, in the end
they won't fail to put Israel first.
That's all too understandable: what country doesn't
put its own interests first? Answer: the United States of America,
whose lopsided Middle Eastern policy is unfailingly Israeli-centric.
The huge propaganda campaign launched by Israel even before Arafat
stopped breathing is designed to demonize the Palestinians, and
anyone who treats them as anything other than Israel's helots. The
disgusting orgy of death-worship that has greeted his demise - from
bloodcurdling weirdness over at a site deemed by Yahoo to be racist,
to Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe dancing on the man's grave, to
this circle jerk over at "Reason" magazine - is yet more
provocation, much like the work of Theo van Gogh, the David Duke
of Dutch film. Israel's amen corner wants Muslims worldwide to read
and hear about this sort of nonsense: anything to stoke the fires
of hate and create the enemy that extremists on both sides require.
Central to the hateful festivities surrounding Arafat's death
is the myth of the missed opportunity, the completely false conception
that Arafat was offered a good deal by former Prime Minister Ehud
Barak, and Bill Clinton, and, because of a psychological inability
to make the transition from revolutionary leader to "statesman,"
failed to take it while the taking was good. This is utter balderdash,
as a simple glance at a map of what the Palestinians were offered
- here and here - graphically reveals. Alexander Cockburn put it
"Bill Clinton has always been one for the phony reconciliation,
the win-win solution, the photo-op deal. The defining moment of
his diplomacy was the 'handshake' between Rabin and Arafat, offered
to the world as the insignia of a decent settlement brokered by
But it was nothing of the sort, as Cockburn notes.
The Palestinian "nation" was to be a series of disconnected
bantustans, surrounded entirely by Israeli military posts and "settlements"
populated by ultra-Zionist fanatics. All water, roads, communications,
and other vital command posts of this "independent" entity
would be controlled by the Israelis. Some independence!
As Michael C. Desch wrote in The American Conservative:
"In the Palestinians' view, they had surrendered 78 percent
of historic Palestine to Israel when they recognized Israel as a
sovereign state at Oslo in 1993; in return, they expected that they
would get the remaining 22 percent (the West Bank and Gaza) as part
of the final agreement. Yet the Israeli occupation of Palestinian
lands continued to deepen and expand after Oslo and the Israeli
government began to interfere ever more intrusively in the lives
of ordinary Palestinians."
If Palestinians were black, instead of a rich nut-brown, the UN
would have imposed strict sanctions long ago, and in the U.S. the
Israeli government would be as reviled as the white South African
or Rhodesian regimes that lorded it over their native African majorities.
As it is, Israeli propaganda seeks to depict
any and all Arabs, and practically all Muslims, as terrorists, a
definition that suits Osama bin Laden just fine. The Israelis have
been particularly eager to smash all manifestations of secular Arab
militance, in a perfect complement to bin Laden working the other
side of the street.
Arafat was no saint, but then the only saints in that part of
the world are already buried in their graves. It's a rough neighborhood,
and by local standards the PLO leader was no better or worse than
most of his Israeli counterparts, whose crimes fall in the category
of state terrorism as opposed to the more freelance variety practiced
by the other side. After all, the Israeli state was founded by groups
that employed terrorism as a tactic, who bombed hotels full of innocent
civilians, massacred Arab villagers, and drove the remaining Palestinians
off the land. These are the very same people, by the way, who claim
that they are a bulwark against terrorism - even as they carry out
a brutal policy of state terrorism in the sight of the whole world.
This goes beyond mere arrogance, or ordinary
hubris - there is a leering, jeering, positively sinister quality
to this style of argument, and in the sneering tone affected by
Israel's amen corner as they claim moral superiority over their
Arab and Muslim enemies. We're a democracy!,
they bray, as they step on the necks of their Palestinian prisoners,
spit at Christians in the streets of Jerusalem, and threaten their
neighbors on every side. All must disarm in the face of their nuclearized
belligerence, and submit to Israeli expansionism - or face the wrath
of the United States. Their terrorism is "self-defense,"
or, in the case of the U.S. in Iraq, "liberation" - while
Arafat's, or Islamic Jihad's, or the Mahdi Army's is barbarism pure
The Israelis should shut up about terrorism, look at their own
bloody history, and change the name of their country to "Blowback."
The worst error the Western powers ever made, even more than the
colonization and conquest of the Middle East, was the Balfour Declaration.
Since that time we have had nothing but trouble, and the conflict
it created has increased exponentially with the passage of time
until it threatens to engulf the whole world in a maelstrom of hate
and retribution. When oh when will it ever end - and why must we
in the United States be a part of it?
It is time, high time, that we got out of it, because our alliance
with Israel certainly does not serve our national interests. Israel
is a tyranny, not the Athens but the Sparta of the Middle East:
a militarist, socialist, ethno-nationalist monstrosity that represents
the single greatest danger to the peace of the region. The
Balfour Declaration has functioned as a kind of curse, an incantation
that has cast a dark shadow over the Holy Land - and the world.
Anyone who points this out - Arafat, Vanunu, whomever - is subjected
to a merciless campaign of demonization, such as we now see unfolding
over the corpse of the fallen Palestinian leader. No doubt Arafat
would consider it a badge of honor.
In any case, there is not much honor to be found in that part
of the world, and no amount of American intervention is going to
change that. As American politicians buy into the Israeli narrative
of Arafat the Monster, the American people ought to realize that
there are even worse monsters out there - and some of them are our
Both Arafat and Vanunu were prisoners of Israel's war on the Middle
East, and much of the world: one is now dead, and the other is a
target. The campaign to demonize them, no matter how well-financed
(with American tax dollars) and ubiquitous, is too crude to succeed.
Whatever else might be said about this unlikely pair, they certainly
made all the right enemies.
When U.S. President George W. Bush arrives
in Ottawa — probably later this year — should he be
welcomed? Or should he be charged with war crimes?
It's an interesting question. On the face of it, Bush seems a
perfect candidate for prosecution under Canada's Crimes against
Humanity and War Crimes Act.
This act was passed in 2000 to bring Canada's ineffectual laws
in line with the rules of the new International Criminal Court.
While never tested, it lays out sweeping categories under which
a foreign leader like Bush could face arrest.
In particular, it holds that anyone who commits a war crime, even
outside Canada, may be prosecuted by our courts. What is a war crime?
According to the statute, it is any conduct defined as such by "customary
international law" or by conventions that Canada has adopted.
War crimes also specifically include any breach of the 1949 Geneva
Conventions, such as torture, degradation, wilfully depriving prisoners
of war of their rights "to a fair and regular trial,"
launching attacks "in the knowledge that such attacks will
cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians" and deportation
of persons from an area under occupation.
Outside of one well-publicized (and quickly squelched) attempt
in Belgium, no one has tried to formally indict Bush. But both Oxfam
International and the U.S. group Human Rights Watch have warned
that some of the actions undertaken by the U.S. and its allies,
particularly in Iraq, may fall under the war crime rubric.
The case for the prosecution looks quite promising. First, there
is the fact of the Iraq war itself. After 1945, Allied tribunals
in Nuremberg and Tokyo — in an astonishing precedent —
ruled that states no longer had the unfettered right to invade other
countries and that leaders who started such conflicts could be tried
for waging illegal war.
Concurrently, the new United Nations outlawed all aggressive wars
except those authorized by its Security Council.
Today, a strong case could be made that Bush violated the Nuremberg
principles by invading Iraq. Indeed, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi
Annan has already labelled that war illegal in terms of the U.N.
Second, there is the manner in which the U.S. conducted this war.
The mistreatment of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison is a
clear contravention of the Geneva Accord. The U.S. is also deporting
selected prisoners to camps outside of Iraq (another contravention).
U.S. press reports also talk of shadowy prisons in Jordan run by
the CIA, where suspects are routinely tortured. And the estimated
civilian death toll of 100,000 may well contravene the Geneva Accords
prohibition against the use of excessive force.
Canada's war crimes law specifically permits prosecution not only
of those who carry out such crimes but of the military and political
superiors who allow them to happen.
What has emerged since Abu Ghraib shows that officials at the
highest levels of the Bush administration permitted and even encouraged
the use of torture.
Given that Bush, as he likes to remind everyone, is the U.S. military's
commander-in-chief, it is hard to argue he bears no responsibility.
Then there is Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. says detainees there do
not fall under the Geneva accords. That's an old argument.
In 1946, Japanese defendants explained their mistreatment of prisoners
of war by noting that their country had never signed any of the
Geneva Conventions. The Japanese were convicted anyway.
Oddly enough, Canada may be one of the few places where someone
like Bush could be brought to justice. Impeachment in the U.S. is
most unlikely. And, at Bush's insistence, the new international
criminal court has no jurisdiction over any American. [...]
The first indication of American government's
penchant for savagery against civilians was demonstrated at Waco.
The precedent of the efficient, methodical slaughter and execution
of innocent civilians, outgunned by the unlawful partnership of
American federal police and the military used to kill the defenseless
at Waco was thus unleashed. The destruction of key elements of the
Iraqi infrastructure that had provided the population with the basics
of water, food, medicine and clothing would be the second.
Those insisting that the right course of action was taken by America
in having come to the aid of Kuwait in the first Gulf War, are either
ignorant of the fact that Saddam had been
given the green light to go ahead with the invasion of their former
province by April Glaspie of our State Department during the first
Bush administration or they simply don't care. The subsequent
embargo and sanctions launched by the first Bush administration
and expanded during the Clinton administration, resulted in 500,000
to 1,000,000 civilian deaths, mostly children. Clinton's Secretary
of State, Madeleine Albright, reasoned that these losses were just
Genocide perpetrated against a nation's civilian population is
neither a recent phenomenon, nor is it an occurrence unique to American
military force. Stalin and Chairman Mao killed millions of their
own people to create the omelet of a perfect communist society.
Hitler overran the nations of Europe via genocidal terror. American
armed forces retaliated against civilian populations at Dresden,
Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It is this reckless abandon and bloodthirsty proclivity that progresses
to a Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. It is the war crime modus operandi
of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz.
It is the mindset of the exiting Attorney General as well as the
incoming head of the Department of Justice. Considering this genocidal
mania, what sort of a mental stretch is required to presume their
collective guilt in allowing 9-11 to happen? What accountability
exists to preclude such continuing war crimes against humanity?
As John Pilger has offered, the unthinkable becomes normal.
Several Internet websites have continuously provided photographic
evidence of the war crimes and atrocities perpetrated by the criminal
Bush regime against a defenseless civilian population. Arguing that
the "insurgents" are mingling with the civilian population
is the height of fabrication and propaganda, and telling in terms
of the risks to our own individual freedoms irreversibly compromised
by a despicable government-dominated American "press."
There are no "insurgents" as The
New York Times and FOXNews would have you believe. They are Iraqi
patriots and freedom fighters, conducting guerilla warfare and counterattacks,
just as the French Resistance did against the Nazis, and the Jews
did in the Warsaw Ghetto, the efforts of the Hungarian Freedom Fighters
in 1956, and the Palestinians on the West Bank.
There is no organized military resistance in Iraq, only ragtag
civilian fighters organized by common tribal or religious bonds.
And their ranks are growing by the day! If the Bush regime had a
beef with Saddam, why is our military killing the same citizens
previously subjugated by him? Why are we still there? Why have we
shut down their water supplies?
Our burning need to justify our reason for killing innocent civilians
requires that we dehumanize the "enemy," excusing our
own horrific brutality and inhumanity. It
is just as Pilger suggests: Iraqis, Arabs and Muslims are all viewed
by us as Hitler's "Untermenschen;" people who are less
than human and therefore "killable." And if this
demonic license to kill trickles down from our controlling politicians
in Washington, the Pentagon and our military commanders in the field,
then is it any wonder that members of our military commit brutal
acts against the wounded and captured?
What has become of our once great moral and Christian nation?
What has become of our once great military of freemen, dedicated
to protecting the innocent and the defenseless masses from the horrors
of reckless military abandon scorched in history such as in the
"Rape of Nanking" and the Bataan Death March? Just as
our military and FBI drove their American victims back into the
inferno of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco in 1993, so have
American forces murdered fleeing families who tried to get out of
The Japanese military of Nanking and Bataan is no more. The Nazis
of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Dachau and Auschwitz are no more. And
the Communist threat has subsided. Welcome to the Evil Empire of
the New World Order: the US of A [the Uncontrolled Society of Atheists].
WASHINGTON - Washington was not threatened
by President Vladimir Putin's announcement Wednesday that Russia
intended to remain a major nuclear power by deploying a new weapon
in the coming years that other states lack, a State Department spokesman
"We do not perceive Russia's nuclear sustainment and modernization
activities as threatening, and what they are doing is fully consistent
with our mutual obligations under the Moscow Treaty," deputy
spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters.
"Our mutual obligations in this area are covered under the
Moscow Treaty. Pursuant to that treaty, we have regular consultations"
with Moscow, Ereli said.
"And based on those regular consultations,
we are confident that Russia's plans are not threatening and are
consistent with its obligations, and I think are indicative of a
new strategic relationship between the United States and Russia
that is focused on reducing threats and increasing confidence,"
Putin announced in Moscow on Wednesday that Russia would soon be
armed with nuclear weapons systems "which do not exist and
are unlikely to exist in other nuclear powers."
"We have not only conducted tests of the latest nuclear rocket
systems," Putin told a meeting of the armed forces' leadership.
"I am sure that, in the coming years, we will deploy them."
The ITAR-TASS news agency speculated that Putin was referring to
the mobile Topol-M missile, which is analogous to the US Minuteman-3
missile and is meant to form the backbone of Russia's future strategic
Russia this year also successfully test-fired
a different new missile that its developers claim can penetrate
any shield, since it flies in space on a ballistic trajectory and
in the atmosphere as a cruise missile -- swerving away from interceptor
WASHINGTON (AP) - A divided Senate approved
an $800 billion increase in the federal debt limit Wednesday, a
major boost in borrowing that Sen. John Kerry and other Democrats
blamed on the fiscal policies of President Bush.
The mostly party line, 52-44 vote was expected to be followed by
House passage Thursday. Enactment would raise
the government's borrowing limit to $8.18 trillion - $2.23 trillion
higher than when Bush became president in 2001, and more than eight
times the debt President Reagan faced when he took office in 1981.
In his first remarks on the Senate floor since his presidential
bid ended in defeat two weeks ago, Kerry, D-Mass., said his former
opponent had presided over "the worst fiscal turnaround in
our nation's entire history."
He was referring to the change from the $5.6 trillion in surpluses
that were projected for the next 10 years when Bush took office
in 2001, to the $2.3 trillion in deficits now estimated for the
coming decade. Kerry and other Democrats complained that those bills
will have to be paid by future generations.
"This can be called a birth tax, a birth
tax that is dumped on the back of every American child unwillingly,"
said Kerry, who voted against the borrowing increase.
Republican senators did not join in the debate, underscoring how
politically uncomfortable the measure is for them. That discomfort
was highlighted when they refused to bring the bill to a vote before
Administration officials urged lawmakers to act quickly. The government
reached its $7.38 trillion borrowing cap last month, and since then
the Treasury Department has paid federal bills by taking cash from
a civil service retirement account, which it plans to repay.
"We are nearing the end of our rope, and it is critical that
Congress act," said Treasury spokesman Rob Nichols.
Failure to raise the debt ceiling could
force a federal default and leave the government unable to pay Social
Security recipients, federal workers and other obligations.
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John
Paul II received Muslim, Orthodox Christian and Jewish religious
leaders from Azerbaijan, calling their visit Thursday a symbol of
tolerance and declaring that religion must
never be used for violent aims.
"No one has the right to present or use religion as an instrument
of intolerance, as a means of aggression, of violence, of death,''
the pope told the group.
Christians, Muslims and Jews must appeal together for an end to
violence in the world "with justice for all,'' he said.
"This is the way of religions,''
Christians like to tell the
rest of us that their religion teaches peace, love and understanding.
They also are fond of saying that the Bible is the greatest book
ever written. Well, folks, they can't have it both ways. The fact
is that the Bible promotes genocide, the systematic destruction
of entire populations of human beings. If that's Christian compassion,
then I'm the Pope.
Don't believe that the Bible teaches genocide? Check out the following
verses, just two of the many from the Bible that suggest that God
himself thinks that genocide is a wonderful idea:
Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from
before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the
Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Take heed to yourself,
lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where
you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. But you shall destroy
their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden
images (For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose
name is Jealous, is a jealous God.)
Exodus, Chapter 34, verses 11-14
You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before
you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall
put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword
before you. For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful,
multiply you and confirm My covenant with you. You shall eat the
old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new.
Leviticus, Chapter 26, verses 7-9
So this is God's love: if he looks favorably upon you, he'll help
you go out and slaughter ten thousand people just because they belong
to another ethic group and are already living on the land you want
for yourself. Furthermore, the Bible says that he wants you to go
out and commit cultural genocide, destroying the religious buildings
and holy objects of rival religions. So come on, Christians! Hop
to it! Surely you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of
God, don't you? I'll bet you can find some non-Christian temple
and start your pillage today!
If you think I'm being sarcastic, or am just making an academic
point about a couple of long-forgotten verses that have no connection
to the way that Christianity is practiced today, you're wrong. These
biblical verses, and others like them, have been used by Christians
for thousands of years to justify hundreds, if not thousands, of
horrific acts of genocide. Just in the last couple of years, the
Christian Yugoslav government led by the popular leader Slobodan
Milosevic slaughtered huge numbers of ethnic Albanian Muslims, citing
the Bible's genocidal language as justification.
Now, some peaceable apologetic Christians will argue that Christians
like Milosevic have merely misunderstood the teachings of the Bible.
They'll claim that God required his followers to commit genocidal
atrocities during the time of the Old Testament but that Jesus brought
a New Testament which instead instructs people to turn the other
First of all, Christian history does not bear this New Testament
idea out. Christian armies never turned the other cheek when they
slaughtered their enemies in the name of God. Church leaders supported
these acts and often led the clamor for holy wars.
Secondly, the New Testament argument destroys the very foundation
that Christianity is built upon. If God is really all-powerful and
all-knowing and all-loving, then he can't possibly have meant to
tell his followers to go out and engage in acts of ethnic cleansing
and then have changed his mind a thousand years or so later. If
God really knows all and can do whatever he wants, why couldn't
he have brought Jesus and the New Testament down earlier and saved
the Earth a whole lot of bloodshed? Waiting around to teach forgiveness
after you've been teaching human slaughter doesn't sound very all-loving
to me. Whichever tack you take, the argument that a New Testament
separates modern Christianity from the atrocities of the Old Testament
is a theologically unsound excuse.
That also goes for the whole rigamarole that Christians go through
to give themselves the title of God's new Chosen People. This old
Christian canard argues that God used to call the Jews his Chosen
People, but the Jews weren't worthy, so since the arrival of Jesus,
the Chosen People are the Christians. Honestly, I don't see what
difference it makes who the Chosen People are -- I don't think that
they ought to have the right to go around and kill people just because
they aren't Chosen. It doesn't matter whether genocide takes place
on the basis of ethnicity or religion. It's still genocide.
Besides, all the Christian protestations about being followers
of the New Testaments and not the Old Testament are shown to be
the hollow excuses they are by the continued use of the Old Testament
by practically every Christian church on the face of the Earth.
If Christianity really repudiates the Old Testament, then why is
the Old Testament still included in the Christian Holy Bible? Why
do Christian priests and preachers still base entire doctrines on
Old Testament Verses? Why do Christian politicians try to get the
Ten Commandments posted in public places? Why do most Christians
still circumcize their little boys if they don't believe in keeping
the old covenant with God?
return to irregulartimes.comChristians accuse New Age practitioners
of taking a buffet approach to religion: just taking whatever teachings
from whatever traditions they like and then ignoring the ones they
don't like. Pardon me, but I don't see how the Christians are any
different. If you're a real, consistent Christian, you ought to
join with other Christians to form a holy army to massacre as many
non-Christians as you can, starting today.
On the other hand, if you really believe in compassion, mercy and
forgiveness, it might be time for you to stop looking to Christianity
for answers. Of all the sources for you to search in your quest
for peace, love and understanding, Christianity and the Bible upon
which it is based are among the least likely for you to find it.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Election
officials in one Ohio county found that about 2,600 ballots were
double-counted, and two other counties have discovered possible
cases of people voting twice in the presidential election.
Prosecutors were trying to determine Wednesday whether charges
should be filed against a couple in Madison County accused of voting
twice. In addition, Summit County election workers investigated
possible double votes found under 18 names.
In the other case, Sandusky County election officials discovered
that about 2,600 ballots from nine precincts were counted twice,
likely because of worker error, elections director Barb Tuckerman
Tuckerman believes the votes were counted twice when they were
mistakenly placed alongside a pile of uncounted ballots. The room
where the ballots were being fed into optical-scan machines on election
night was so crowded that ballots had to be placed on the floor,
"It was totally hectic,'' she said.
The problem was discovered when Tuckerman found that one precinct
showed 131 percent of registered voters had cast ballots.
President Bush won the election by taking Ohio with 136,000 votes
more than Democrat John Kerry, according to the unofficial tally.
The couple who voted twice in Madison County cast absentee ballots
in October, then voted in person on Election Day, county elections
director Gloria Herrel said. The couple said
election workers told them their absentee votes were lost,
prosecutor Steve Pronai said.
In Summit county, typically the votes were made by absentee ballot
or in person, and then a second vote was cast with a provisional
ballot in another precinct, elections director Bryan Williams said.
Under Ohio law, people who vote twice could be charged with election
fraud, falsification or illegal voting, according the Secretary
of State's Office. The maximum penalty for the most severe charge
is 18 months in prison.
Double votes could have affected the result of a local schools
income tax request that failed by one vote in Madison County.
In Illinois, thousands of provisional ballots cast on Election
Day did not count, in most cases for lack of evidence the voters
were actually registered. The Associated Press count was based on
checks of several election jurisdictions. State officials were still
gathering information Wednesday on provisional ballots cast statewide,
a day after the deadline to count them.
AN executive jet is being used by the American
intelligence agencies to fly terrorist suspects to countries that
routinely use torture in their prisons.
The movements of the Gulfstream 5 leased by agents from the United
States defence department and the CIA are detailed in confidential
logs obtained by The Sunday Times which cover more than 300 flights.
Countries with poor human rights records to which the Americans
have delivered prisoners include Egypt, Syria and Uzbekistan, according
to the files. The logs have prompted allegations from critics that
the agency is using such regimes to carry out "torture by proxy"
— a charge denied by the American government.
Some of the information from the suspects is said to have been
used by MI5 and MI6, the British intelligence services. The admissibility
in court of evidence gained under torture is being considered in
the House of Lords in an appeal by foreign-born prisoners at Belmarsh
jail, south London, against their detention without trial on suspicion
Over the past two years the unmarked Gulfstream has visited British
airports on many occasions, although it is not believed to have
been carrying suspects at the time.
The Gulfstream and a similarly anonymous-looking Boeing 737 are
hired by American agents from Premier Executive Transport Services,
a private company in Massachusetts.
The white 737, registration number N313P, has 32 seats.
It is a frequent visitor to American military bases, although
its exact role has not been revealed.
More is known about the Gulfstream, which has the registration
number N379P and can carry 14 passengers. Movements detailed in
the logs can be matched with several sightings of the Gulfstream
at airports when terrorist suspects have been bundled away by US
Analysis of the plane's flight plans, covering more than two years,
shows that it always departs from Washington DC. It has flown to
49 destinations outside America, including the Guantanamo Bay prison
camp in Cuba and other US military bases, as well as Egypt, Jordan,
Iraq, Morocco, Afghanistan, Libya and Uzbekistan.
Witnesses have claimed that the suspects
are frequently bound, gagged and sedated before being put on board
the planes, which do not have special facilities for prisoners
but are kitted out with tables for meetings and screens for presentations
and in-flight films.
The US plane is not used just for carrying prisoners but also appears
to be at the disposal of defence and intelligence officials on assignments
Its prisoner transfer missions were first reported in May by the
Swedish television programme Cold Facts. It described how American
agents had arrived in Stockholm in the Gulfstream in December 2001
to take two suspected terrorists from Sweden to Egypt.
At the time of what was presented as an "extradition"
to Egypt, Swedish ministers made no public mention of American involvement
in the detention of Ahmed Agiza, 42, and Muhammed Zery, 35, who
was later cleared.
Witnesses described seeing the prisoners handed to US agents whose
faces were masked by hoods. The clothes of
the handcuffed prisoners were cut off and they were dressed in nappies
covered by orange overalls before being forcibly given sedatives
The Gulfstream flew them to Egypt, where both prisoners claimed
they were beaten and tortured with electric shocks to their genitals.
Despite liberal Swedish laws on freedom of information, diplomatic
telegrams on the case released to the media were edited to conceal
the complaints of torture.
Hamida Shalaby, Agiza's mother, said: "The mattress had electricity
. . . When they connected to the electricity, his body would rise
up and then fall down and this up and down would go on until they
A month before the Swedish extradition, the same Gulfstream was
identified by Masood Anwar, a Pakistani newspaper reporter in Karachi.
Airport staff told Anwar they had seen Jamil Gasim, a Yemeni student
who was suspected of links to Al-Qaeda, being bundled aboard the
jet by a group of white men wearing masks. The jet took Gasim to
Jordan, since when he has disappeared.
"The entire operation was so mysterious
that all persons involved in the operation,
including US troops, were wearing
masks," a source at the airport told Anwar.
On another mission, in January 2002, a Gulfstream was seen at
Jakarta airport to deport Muhammad Saad Iqbal, 24, an Al-Qaeda suspect
who was said by US officials to be an acquaintance of Richard Reid,
the British "shoe-bomber" jailed in America for trying
to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami.
An Indonesian official told an American newspaper that Iqbal was
"hustled aboard an unmarked, US-registered Gulfstream . . .
and flown to Egypt", where almost nothing has been heard of
The CIA Gulfstream's flight logs show it flew from Washington
to Cairo, where it picked up Egyptian security agents, before apparently
going on to Jakarta to take Iqbal to Egypt.
Another transfer involved a British citizen. On November 8, 2002,
the Gulfstream took off for Banjul in Gambia. On the same day Wahab
Al-Rawi, a 38-year-old Briton, was among four people arrested at
the airport by local secret police and handed over to interrogators
who said they were "from the US embassy".
Wahab said he had previously been questioned by MI5 because his
brother Basher, an Iraqi national, was an acquaintance of Abu Qatada,
the radical London-based cleric.
When Wahab asked the CIA agents for access to the British consul,
as required under the Vienna convention signed by America, the agents
are said to have laughed. "Why do you think you're here?"
one agent said to Wahab. "It's your government that tipped
us off in the first place." Wahab was later released but Basher
was sent to Guantanamo and remains there and has yet to be accused
of any specific crime.
Some former CIA operatives and human rights campaigners claim
the agency and the Pentagon use a process called "rendition"
to send suspects to countries such as Egypt and Jordan. They
are then tortured largely to gain information for the Americans
who, it is alleged, encourage these countries to use aggressive
interrogation methods banned under US law.
Bob Baer, a former CIA operative in the Middle East, said: "If
you want a serious interrogation you send a prisoner to Jordan.
If you want them to be tortured you send them to Syria. If you want
someone to disappear . . . you send them to Egypt."
Among the countries where prisoners have been sent by America
is Uzbekistan, a close ally and a dictatorship whose secret police
are notorious for their interrogation methods, including the alleged
boiling of prisoners. The Gulfstream made at least seven trips to
the Uzbek capital.
The details bolster claims by Craig Murray, the former British
ambassador, that America has sent terrorist suspects from Afghanistan
to Uzbekistan to be interrogated by torture.
In a memo, whose disclosure last month contributed to Murray's
removal, he told Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, that the CIA
station chief in Tashkent had "readily acknowledged torture
was deployed in obtaining intelligence".
The CIA and Premier declined to discuss the allegations over the
planes. The American government, however, denies it is in any way
complicit in torture and says it is actively working to stamp out
| JAKARTA : An Indonesian police team was due to
leave for the Netherlands as part of a probe into how a prominent
rights campaigner died from arsenic poisoning on a jet from Jakarta
The team investigating the death of Munir, 38, will be joined
by Usan Hamid, a coordinator for Kontras, a rights group founded
by the dead man, said fellow Kontras member Gian Moko. Police could
not be reached for confirmation.
Moko said the team would pick up an original autopsy report completed
by Dutch forensic experts on the body of Munir, who was declared
dead on arrival at Amsterdam's Schipol airport on September 7.
The rights campaigner, who claimed to have received
numerous death threats in his work to expose military-perpetrated
atrocities, had complained of severe stomach pains on the flight
before he passed out and died.
His body was found to contain excessive
levels of arsenic.
Moko said the team would also examine documents and records compiled
by Dutch investigators.
These include the identities of all those who flew on board the
same plane, the results of witness questioning, and steps taken
to help Munir while he was still on the plane, he said.
On Thursday the Dutch public prosecutor's office confirmed the
autopsy report concluded Munir died from arsenic poisoning but added
it would not investigate the death because it had no authority to
do so. [...]
SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 16 - In
a case that has spurred intense soul-searching in legal circles,
a 25-year-old convicted drug dealer, who
was arrested two years ago for selling small bags of marijuana to
a police informant, was sentenced on Tuesday to 55 years in prison.
The judge who sentenced him, Paul G. Cassell of the United States
District Court here, said that he pronounced the sentence "reluctantly"
but that his hands were tied by a mandatory-minimum law that required
the imposition of 55 years on Weldon H. Angelos because he had a
gun during at least two of the drug transactions.
"I have no choice," Judge Cassell said to Mr. Angelos,
who seemed frozen in place as the extent of the sentence became
The judge then urged Mr. Angelos's lawyer, Jerome H. Mooney, not
only to appeal his decision but to ask President
Bush for clemency once all appeals were exhausted. He also
urged Congress to set aside the law that made the sentence mandatory.
Judge Cassell said that sentencing Mr. Angelos
to prison until he is 70 years old was "unjust, cruel and even
irrational," but that the law
that forced him to do so had not proved to be unconstitutional and
thus had to stand. The sentence was all the
more ironic, he said, because only two hours earlier he had been
legally able to impose a sentence of 22 years on a man convicted
of aggravated second-degree murder for beating an elderly woman
to death with a log. That crime, he argued, was far more
The question of Mr. Angelos's sentence was at the center of a debate
as to whether it was fair to send a minor drug dealer to prison
for 55 years when a murderer, rapist or terrorist, according to
the same sentencing directives, would ordinarily receive no more
than about 25 years.
During a court hearing in September, Judge Cassell posed a question
to the opposing legal teams in the case: "Is there a rational
basis," he asked, "for giving Mr. Angelos more time than
the hijacker, the murderer, the rapist?"
The sentence against Mr. Angelos, the founder of the rap music
label Extravagant Records, stemmed from his conviction on three
counts of possession of a firearm while engaged in drug trafficking.
The first count carried a mandatory five-year sentence, with each
subsequent count calling for 25 years.
According to trial testimony, Mr. Angelos was carrying a pistol
in an ankle holster while selling marijuana. He was not accused
of brandishing the weapon or threatening anyone with it.
But in court on Tuesday, Robert Lund, an assistant United States
attorney who prosecuted the case, called Mr. Angelos a "purveyor
of poison," and said he had been dealing drugs for more than
four years before his arrest. Carrying a gun in the commission of
such crimes, he said, meant that Mr. Angelos was prepared "to
kill other human beings."
It's Chirac vs. Cheney, SUVs
vs. minicars, and pommes frites vs. freedom fries in the new transatlantic
culture war. But here's what you don't know: In the global conflict
for moral and economic supremacy, Europe is winning.
A specter is haunting America, and it ain't the specter of communism
(however much George W. Bush and company might like to describe
it that way). Barely a decade after the definitive collapse of the
Soviet bloc, the United States finds itself in a new cold war, one
being fought simultaneously on economic, political and cultural
fronts, and one it is by no means certain to win. The unipolar world
of uncontested American hegemony that we were told to expect into
the indefinite future has come to an end; it lasted just about long
enough for us to scratch our heads and wonder what was happening
Yes, "Old Europe," to borrow Donald Rumsfeld's famous
quip, is back, and it's looking pretty spry for its age. As Americans
are finally beginning to notice, Europeans (or most of them, anyway)
have reconstituted themselves into an enormous transnational superstate
of 25 nations, 455 million people and an $11 trillion economy. This
is, of course, the European Union, and its aims have become much
broader and deeper than the stuff you've probably heard about, like
allowing citizens to drive from Seville to Sicily without a passport,
or to use the same anonymous-looking currency to buy a pint of Guinness
in Cork and a glass of ouzo in Crete.
Much of American "productivity," Rifkin suggests, is
accounted for by economic activity that might be better described
as wasteful: military spending; the endlessly expanding police and
prison bureaucracies; the spiraling cost of healthcare; suburban
sprawl; the fast-food industry and its inevitable corollary, the
weight-loss craze. Meaningful comparisons of living standards, he
says, consistently favor the Europeans. In France, for instance,
the work week is 35 hours and most employees take 10 to 12 weeks
off every year, factors that clearly depress GDP. Yet it takes a
John Locke heart of stone to say that France is worse off as a nation
for all that time people spend in the countryside downing du vin
rouge et du Camembert with friends and family [...]
European children are consistently better educated;
the United States would rank ninth in the EU in reading, ninth in
scientific literacy, and 13th in math. Twenty-two percent of American
children grow up in poverty, which means that our country ranks
22nd out of the 23 industrialized nations, ahead of only Mexico
and behind all 15 of the pre-2004 EU countries. What's more horrifying:
the statistic itself or the fact that no American politician to
the right of Dennis Kucinich would ever address it?
Perhaps more surprisingly, European business has not been strangled
by the EU welfare state; in fact, quite the opposite is true. Europe
has surpassed the United States in several high-tech and financial
sectors, including wireless technology, grid computing and the insurance
industry. The EU has a higher proportion of small businesses than
the U.S., and their success rate is higher. American capitalists
have begun to pay attention to all this. In Reid's book, Ford Motor
Co. chairman Bill Ford explains that the company's Volvo subsidiary
is more profitable than its U.S. manufacturing operation, even though
wages and benefits are significantly higher in Sweden. Government-subsidized
healthcare, child care, pensions and other social supports, Ford
says, more than make up for the difference.
The new EU constitution, currently being considered by the member
states, is an unwieldy, jargon-laden document that runs to 265 pages
in English (and even more in Spanish and French). It should also
serve as an inspiration to progressives around the world. It bars
capital punishment in all 25 nations and defines such things as
universal healthcare, child care, paid annual leave, parental leave,
housing for the poor, and equal treatment for gays and lesbians
as fundamental human rights. Most of these are still hotly contested
questions in the United States; as Rifkin says, this document all
by itself makes the European Union the world leader in the human
rights debate. It is the first governing document that aspires to
universality, "with rights and responsibilities that encompass
the totality of human existence on Earth."
CAIRO - Swarms of pink locusts swept through
Cairo on Wednesday in scenes that recalled the biblical plague of
The swarms flew high above tall towers or swooped down onto treelined
streets, where scared pedestrians stamped on them or ran for cover.
The flying insects arrived from neighbouring Libya after devouring
the countryside in central and western Africa in past months. But
locust experts said they were unlikely to wreak similar havoc in
Egypt, where agriculture is a cornerstone of the economy.
"This is really horrible," said one man as he ran past
a building where locusts, some of them more than 3 inches long,
smacked into office windows or landed on cars. [...]
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Torrential thunderstorms
caused flash floods that drowned one woman who was swept from a
bridge, and more flooding was expected as rain continued falling
Wednesday. A second person was missing.
Firefighters discovered the woman's body late Tuesday. Witnesses
told police they saw the woman trying to walk across the bridge
over a creek even though a Public Works Department employee warned
her not to.
Another woman had been missing since Sunday night in the Blanco
River near San Marcos, northeast of San Antonio.
The car driven by Laurie Pineda, 24, was swept away as she tried
to drive through a low-water crossing on the Blanco River. A passenger
was rescued. The stream had risen more than three metres in two
| An earthquake measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale
was registered in Vrancea, about 250 km north of Bucharest and a centre
of seismic activity in the country. No damages or casualties were
immediately reported. The Romanian capital was seriously shaken at
the end of last month, when an earthquake with intensity 5.8 on the
Richter struck in Vrancea. The tremour rattled Bulgaria and was also
felt across portions of Turkey, Moldova and Ukraine. In 1977, a quake
measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale killed more than 1,000 people in
the Vrancea area.
Wellington - New Zealand scientists said on
Wednesday they have detected what they call a "slow earthquake"
near Gisborne, in the North Island, where an area of land has been
moving eastward at nearly two millimetres a day since the end of
It is the second time the phenomenon has been observed at Gisborne,
a port city on the east coast of the island, in the last two years
and only the third time in New Zealand, the Institute of Geological
and Nuclear Sciences said.
Geophysicist Laura Wallace said horizontal land movement of about
30mm a year is routinely seen in New Zealand, an earthquake-prone
"But to see that amount of movement in two weeks is extraordinary,"
she said. [...]
A Taichung resident, Lee Cheng-chi, who has
become known for his alleged ability to predict earthquakes has
agreed not to make any more public predictions after the Central
Weather Bureau warned him that he could be fined NT200,000 to NT$1,000,000.
"We did not fine Lee before because he previously made only
vague predictions," said CWB Deputy Director Hsin Tsai-chin.
"However, last week Lee made a bold earthquake prediction that
included scale, time and epicenter, therefore we cannot allow this
to continue." [...]
Last Friday, Lee sent a short cell phone message to the local
media informing them that a magnitude 5 earthquake on the Richter
scale would occur in northern Taiwan on November 12 or 13.
His prediction was off, though a magnitude 4.1 earthquake did
occur in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan at 3:06 p.m. on November
Lee said that he has an ear condition known as tinnitus syndrome
that causes sufferers to hear a ringing in their ears. Lee said
the symptoms become pronounced when an earthquake is about to occur.
Lee came to public prominence on October
15 when he sent an email to the CWB early that morning saying that
his tinnitus symptoms were severe and warned of an impending quake.
Around the noon that day, a magnitude 7 earthquake struck Taiwan.
The quake was centered at sea off the coast of Ilan County in northeastern
Taiwan. It was the strongest earthquake to have hit Taiwan since
September 21, 1999 when over 2,000 people were killed in a magnitude
After October 15, Lee made three other predictions on October
26, November 8 and 12. On October 26, he predicted that a strong
earthquake would occur prior to October 28 in northern Taiwan. On
the morning of October 28 morning two earthquakes occurred at Hualien
and Ilan, of magnitude 4.6 and 4.8 on the Richter scale, respectively.
On October 27, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake also shook Niigata in
northern Japan. According to Lee, it was the Japan quake that set
off his symptoms.
Lee claimed that early on the morning of November 8, his ears
started ringing again and he predicted that an earthquake would
occur in northern Taiwan. On the night of October 8, a magnitude
of 6.7 struck, centered at the sea outside Hualien.
His predictions for a quake of magnitude 5 to 6 on November 12
or 13 did not come true and on Monday the CWB held an internal meeting
to discuss how to deal with Lee. The meeting, decided not to tolerate
his predictions any more and to issue a warning for him to discontinue.
Hsin said the meeting decided to issue a verbal warning, as the
bureau took into consideration the fact that Lee may not be aware
that he was breaking the law and also because the CWB believed that
he did not intend to make false alarms and cause panic in the society.
Kuo Kai-wen, supervisor of the CWB's Earthquake Forecast Center,
made a phone call to Lee on Monday afternoon informing him that
he was violating the law, and asking him to be more cautious about
making public predictions.
In response, Lee said he was sorry to receive the warning from
the CWB. He had made the predictions with good intentions, but the
CWB considered his actions a disturbance to the society, he said.
SPRING, Tex. - In front of her gated apartment
complex, Courtney Payne, a 9-year-old fourth grader with dark hair
pulled tightly into a ponytail, exits a yellow school bus. Moments
later, her movement is observed by Alan Bragg, the local police
chief, standing in a windowless control room more than a mile away.
Chief Bragg is not using video surveillance. Rather, he watches
an icon on a computer screen. The icon marks the spot on a map where
Courtney got off the bus, and, on a larger level, it represents
the latest in the convergence of technology and student security.
Hoping to prevent the loss of a child through kidnapping or more
innocent circumstances, a few schools have begun monitoring student
arrivals and departures using technology similar
to that used to track livestock and pallets of retail shipments.
Here in a growing middle- and working-class suburb just north
of Houston, the effort is undergoing its most ambitious test. The
Spring Independent School District is equipping 28,000 students
with ID badges containing computer chips that are read when the
students get on and off school buses. The information is fed automatically
by wireless phone to the police and school administrators.
In a variation on the concept, a Phoenix school district in November
is starting a project using fingerprint technology to track when
and where students get on and off buses. Last year, a charter school
in Buffalo began automating attendance counts with computerized
ID badges - one of the earliest examples of what educators said
could become a widespread trend.
At the Spring district, where no student has ever been kidnapped,
the system is expected to be used for more pedestrian purposes,
Chief Bragg said: to reassure frantic parents, for example, calling
because their child, rather than coming home as expected, went to
a friend's house, an extracurricular activity or a Girl Scout meeting.
When the district unanimously approved the $180,000 system, neither
teachers nor parents objected, said the president of the board.
Rather, parents appear to be applauding. "I'm sure we're being
overprotective, but you hear about all this violence," said
Elisa Temple-Harvey, 34, the parent of a fourth grader. "I'm
not saying this will curtail it, or stop it, but at least I know
she made it to campus."
The project also is in keeping with the high-tech leanings of
the district, which built its own high-speed data network and is
outfitting the schools with wireless Internet access. A handful
of companies have adapted the technology for use in schools.
But there are critics, including some older students and privacy
groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, who argue that the
system is security paranoia.
The decades-old technology, called radio frequency identification,
or RFID, is growing less expensive and developing vast new capabilities.
It is based on a computer chip that has a unique number programmed
into it and contains a tiny antenna that sends information to a
The same technology is being used by companies like Wal-Mart to
track pallets of retail items. Pet owners can have chips embedded
in cats and dogs to identify them if they are lost.
In October, the Food and Drug Administration
approved use of an RFID chip that could be implanted
under a patient's skin and would carry a number that linked
to the patient's medical records. [...]
But for the Enterprise Charter School in Buffalo, where administrators
gave ID cards with the RFID technology to around 460 students last
year, the computer problems lasted for many months.
The system is set up so that when students walk in the door each
morning, they pass by one of two kiosks - which together cost $40,000
- designed to pick up their individual radio frequency numbers as
a way of taking attendance. Initially, though,
the kiosks failed to register some students, or registered ones
who were not there.
Mark Walter, head of technology for the Buffalo school, said the
system was working well now. But Mr. Walter cautions that the more
ambitious technological efforts in Spring, particularly given the
reliance on cellphones to call in the data, are "going to run
in to some problems."
In the long run, however, the biggest problem may be human error.
Parents, teachers and administrators said their primary worry is
getting students to remember their cards, given they often forget
such basics as backpacks, lunch money and gym shoes. And
then there might be mischief: students could trade their cards.
Some older students are not so enthusiastic.
"It's too Big Brother for me,"
said Kenneth Haines, a 15-year-old ninth grader who is on
the football and debate teams. "Something
about the school wanting to know the exact place and time makes
me feel kind of like an animal."
Middle and high school students already wear ID badges, but they
have not yet been equipped with the RFID technology. Even so, some
bus drivers are apparently taking advantage of the technology's
mythical powers by telling students that they are being tracked
on the bus in order to get them to behave better. [...]
Kenneth's opinion is echoed by organizations like the A.C.L.U.
and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes
It is "naïve to believe all this data will only be used
to track children in the extremely unlikely event of the rare kidnapping
by a stranger," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology
and liberty program at the A.C.L.U.
Mr. Steinhardt said schools, once they had invested in the technology,
could feel compelled to get a greater return on investment by putting
it to other uses, like tracking where students go after school.
Advocates of the technology said they did not plan to go that
far. But, they said, they do see broader possibilities,
such as implanting RFID tags under the skin of children to avoid
problems with lost or forgotten tags. More immediately, they
said, they could see using the technology to track whether students
attend individual classes.
Mr. Weisinger, the head of transportation at Spring, said that,
for now, the district could not afford not to put the technology
to use. Chief Bragg said the key to catching kidnappers was getting
crucial information within two to four hours of a crime - information
such as the last place the child was seen.
"We've been fortunate; we haven't had a kidnapping,"
Mr. Weisinger said. "But if it works one time finding a student
who has been kidnapped, then the system has paid for itself."
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