Thursday, December 9, 2004
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Picture of the Day

Operative alleges CIA retaliation over WMD

Washington Times
Dec 9 2004

Washington, DC, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- A senior CIA operative has filed suit saying he suffered retaliation for refusing to falsify reports on weapons of mass destruction, a report said Thursday.

The operative handled informants in Iraq.

The Washington Post said the operative remains under cover, but alleges that in 2001 a co-worker warned him "that CIA management planned to 'get him' for his role in reporting intelligence contrary to official CIA dogma."

The Post said documents in the suit were heavily redacted, with major portions blacked out.

The operative alleges agency managers began investigations into whether he had sex with a female informant and whether he took money meant for informants, solely in retaliation "against him for questioning the integrity of the WMD reporting ... and for refusing to falsify his intelligence reporting to support the politically mandated conclusion."

The Post said the suit is the first public forum in which a CIA employee has charged directly that agency officials pressured him to produce intelligence to support the administration's prewar position.

Comment: Now the CIA takes orders from the administration does it not? It is a well known fact that Cheney, Rumsfeld and others were demanding that the CIA "produce" intelligence reports that proved the case that Saddam was a threat to America. So who, might we assume, was giving the orders for this falsification of reports? Well, let's ask another question, "who visited the CIA headquarters 10 times just before the Iraq invasion and just before Powell gave his embarrassing speech at the UN?" Why Dick Cheney of course!

By now there is more than enough evidence to indict the entire Bush administration on charges of treason, perjury and war crimes, but when those same people essentially own the media and the judicial system, what hope is there that justice will ever be done?

Time and again we see that many of our (un)elected leaders are narcissists at best, psychopaths at worst, who don't hesitate to lie, cheat, steal and murder in order to ensure that they remain in their privileged positions. But look on the bright side, Americans don't have to feel picked on, it really is a worldwide phenomenon!

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N. Ireland power sharing deal hinges on photos

08/12/2004

Attempts to restore the power sharing assembly in Northern Ireland appear to have stalled over the issue of a photograph.

DUP leader Ian Paisley blamed Sinn Fein and the IRA for the deal's failure

The Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party wants photographic evidence that the IRA has decommissioned its weapons.

But the nationalist party Sinn Fein says such a demand is "humiliating" for the republican army.

The DUP and Sinn Fein are the provinces two main parties after recent elections and would be expected to share power in the assembly if it was restored.

Tony Blair and Ireland's Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are expected to reveal the details of a plan they have been working on during a meeting in Belfast later today.

Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, which has approved the political aspects of the governments' package, last night appeared to flatly reject the idea of photographs.

The West Belfast MP said: "I recognise that some unionists do have genuine concerns about verification of arms being put beyond use, but Ian Paisley has to recognise also that the IRA will not submit to a process of humiliation.

"I do not expect Ian Paisley or the DUP or the unionist paramilitaries to submit to such a process of humiliation."

The IRA last night confirmed in a brief, one line statement that it has been in talks with Canadian General John de Chastelain and his American colleague Andrew Sens, of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD).

However there was no detail of what was discussed.

It is believed that republicans were prepared to have Protestant and Catholic clergy join General de Chastelain to witness the putting of IRA weapons beyond use.

But they viewed a photograph a step too far, that in the context of recent comments from the Rev Paisley that the IRA must don sackcloth and ashes, it was an attempt to humiliate them.

There were fears today that in the event of Sinn Fein and the DUP failing to reach a comprehensive settlement, the IRA would withdraw its contribution to the deal.

Sinn Fein has also argued that the DUP is risking losing the greatest prize ever achieved by a unionist party - the end of violent republicanism - by insisting on photographs.

Comment: The parallels between N. Ireland and the Israel-Palestine issue, at least from a political perspective, are striking. In both cases the geo-political situation was contrived in such a way that the indigenous pre-existing population, already aggrieved by the appropriation of their land and its transformation into a new "country", constituted the minority. Through the use of systematic oppression and marginilistation by the majority, the minority could be provoked to violent acts in defence of their lives and livelihoods, which is then used to justify further oppressive measures, leading to further acts of violence in a downward spiral, or negative feedback loop.

In the case of N. Ireland, the border that was drawn in the aftermath of Irish independence and the ensuing civil war, created a Northern Irish "statelet" in which the Protestant "Unionists" would make up the majority of the overall population for many years to come. It was a fine example of the way in which the wonderful democratic principles of majority rule can be completely subverted into what is essentially totalitarian rule, with just a little premeditated tweaking of demographics and borders.

Strangely, some people tend to think and speak of "democracy" as if it were some universal, autonomous force that, once in place, bestows justice and "good" on all those crying out for it. If this were the case, we might also expect that the money in our pockets would, independently of any action on your part, and following some benevolent natural law of attraction, flow outwards into the cup of the beggar in the street. But of course, it does not.

Missing from the "logic" of such people is the fact that "democracy" and all of its alleged benefits, are wrought by the hands of men - and not just any men. Almost Invariably we find that those who seek and attain to political office are the type of people who naturally (or unnaturally depending on your point of view) gravitate towards the pursuit of personal power and self-aggrandisement; the very type of people that would just as quickly opt for totalitarianism if they thought it would better serve their goals i.e. the concentration of power and wealth to themselves. George Bush is a case in point, and while many attempt to brush aside as jocular, his comment that being President would be much easier if he were a dictator, we reply that many truths are spoken in jest.

Getting back to our comparison. The above article deals with yet another "breakdown" in the N. Ireland "peace process", one of many since the first 1993 cease fire by the IRA. Most will be aware of similar Middle East "peace processes" that also somehow repeatedly come off the rails. We have all watched these repeated and supposedly well meaning attempts to end conflict. We have all also wasted our time and energy hoping against hope that: "this time they will succeed". At this stage, we could all be excused for being less than optimistic about the prospects for a peaceful agreement ever being reached.

The most important question however, and one that is so often ignored by so-called journalists and reporters for the mainstream media is: "why?" Why do modern "peace processes" almost always fail? Is it that peace between warring factions is inherently unattainable? Is there some genetic glitch that predisposes an entire people to violence? - a proposal that has been more than hinted at by several notable individuals in the past.

In both the case of N. Ireland and Israel-Palestine, we note that, paradoxically, it is the people that have suffered the most, the genuinely oppressed, that are accused of not wanting peace and the respite from their suffering that it promises. We also note that the people who can reasonably be designated as the initial transgressors in the conflict are the ones levelling the accusations. We further note that in both the N. Ireland and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts those accusing others for failure to achieve peace are in a position of disproportionate or total power and therefore have most to lose from any negotiated peaceful settlement.

This is essentially the crux of the matter. Given our understanding of human nature, and particularly the nature of those that aggressively seek personal power, it is eminently logical to suggest that such people, having attained to a position of absolute power, will do everything they can to hold on to it. Furthermore, in the case that it was conflict that gave rise to, or necessitated their positions of power, it is reasonable to suggest that they would seek to perpetuate the conflict and therefore their positions.

The achieving of personal rather than universal goals then must be considered as the underlying motivation of people involved in "peace processes" where such people have something to lose if peace were to be achieved. It must also be understood that such people feel compelled to present a peace-loving face to the general public and will therefore seek to hide their real agenda from the public at large. One of the chief ways in which this is done is by accusing the opposition of doing that of which you, yourself, are guilty.

In the above article, the "Reverend" Ian Paisley leader of the Democratic Unionist party, a long serving bastion of rabid militant protestantism and loyal servant of the Queen of England, has derailed the present "peace process" by making unreasonable and unnecessary demands - demands that he undoubtedly knew would not be met - on the IRA. Despite this, he has no qualms about accusing the IRA of being disingenuous in not ceding to his demands and further alleges that this shows that they are not committed to peace. The result? A maintenance of the status quo where people like Paisley are still needed to defend his community from the "threat of the IRA" and the Irish community in Northern Ireland continue on as little more than second class citizens.

We see exactly the same dynamic at play in the occupied Palestinian territories. Sharon has consistently claimed that there is no chance of peace with the Palestinians while providing "evidence" for his assertion by provoking the Palestinians to violence and then calling them "terrorists" for reacting violently against overwhleming oppression. There is compelling evidence to suggest that Israel itself has been responsible for many of the attacks on its own citizens which it then blames on Palestinians. We must remember that, given Israel's goal of the establishment of a greater Israel, it has much to lose from any genuine peace settlement. Sharon knows this and he also knows that the best way to ensure that he never finds himself in the awkward position of sitting at a table discussing peace with Palestinian leaders, is to continue to blame them for Israeli crimes.

The tactic of manufacturing and maintaining the opposition as a way to further a specific agenda is not however a modern phenomenon, neither is it limited to Israel or Ireland. The present US war on terror fits equally well as an example of the attempt to fabricate a world-wide threat in order to increase control over people and resources. Bush's "war on terror" however is being presented in terms of a "holy war" between Christianity and Islam, with Islamics and Arabs being portrayed to the public by Bush and Co as somehow inherently"evil". Don't believe us? Consider the words of FOX military analyst Retired General Paul Vallely...

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Where Does FOX Get These Military Analysts?

News Hounds
Nov 19 2004

I spent a frightening 45 minutes listening to FOX military analyst Retired General Paul Vallely on FOX News Live with Alan Colmes last night. It was bad enough when he stated flatly that "we are not going to permit" a Shia majority to win the upcoming election in Iraq. He saw no hypocrisy in the US determining who should win an election in a country that we claim to have liberated and democratized.

But then he advocated forming a coalition with Israel in a holy war against Iran and Syria.

The subject arose when Alan Colmes mentioned the worrisome news that Colin Powell says Iran is working on nuclear missiles and nuclear missile delivery systems.

"Iran and Syria are next," Vallely decreed. "It's easy to do.... Israel is (already) prepared to take Iran down."

It wasn't just what he said that was so alarming. The flat-out certainty of his entitlement to cause death, destruction and mayhem (not to mention the potential for a world war) was just as chilling. He spoke of "taking down" Iran as if it were a pesky hornets' nest, rather than a sovereign country filled with humanity.

Colmes questioned the wisdom of a Judeo/Christian holy war against Muslims. "That's what's going on," Vallely said. "If you don't understand that, then you don't get it."

These were the words of a Fox analyst, not some obscure guest. Presumably, Vallely is on the Fox payroll and his views are deemed worth considering. Maybe so, but the callers to the program - generally quite conservative - mostly disagreed with him. That was only slightly reassuring.

Comment: Now some might claim that these are just the words of a retired Army General who reads the bible just a little too often, but he is certainly not alone in voicing such opinions, even if others water down their comments. Having said that, we do not doubt that there are many Americans, and indeed many people all over the world, who would agree to a large extent with the opinions of the good General (and Fox news). After all, there are 40 million fundamentalist American citizens, all of whom more than likely voted for a President who claimed that "god" told him to invade Iraq (and kill thousands of innocent men women and children).

But there is another side to this story and perhaps another side to the good General. Vallely is the senior military analyst for FOX News, having retired in 1991 from the US Army as Deputy Commanding General, US Army, Pacific. He served 32 years, more than 15 of them in Special Operations, Psychological and Civil-Military Operations. He's co-author of Endgame - Blueprint for Victory for Winning the War on Terror.

Vallely is also the co-author of "From PSYOP to Mind War, The Psychology of Victory" which he wrote with Major Michael Aquino a retired Lieutenant Colonel in US Military Intelligence, an admitted satanist and occult practitioner and owner of the Temple of Set website where one can find all sorts of treatises from satanism to remote viewing. In their paper "From Psyop to Mindwar" Vallely and Aquino sing the praises of psychological operations in warfare and state:

"Colonel Vallely sent copies of it to various governmental offices, agencies, commands and publications involved or interested in PSYOP." [...]

In its strategic context, MindWar must reach out to friends, enemies, and neutrals alike across the globe [...] through the media possessed by the United States which have the capabilities to reach virtually all people on the face of the Earth. These media are, of course, the electronic media -- television and radio. State of the art developments in satellite communication, video recording techniques, and laser and optical transmission of broadcasts made possible a penetration of the minds of the worlds such as would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. Like the sword Excalibur, we have but to reach out and seize this tool; and it can transform the world for us if we have the courage and the integrity to civilization with it. If we do not accept Excalibur, then we relinquish our ability to inspire foreign cultures with our morality. If they then desire moralities unsatisfactory to us, we have no choice but to fight them on a more brutish level. [...]

Unlike PSYOP, MindWar has nothing to do with deception or even with "selected" - and therefore misleading - truth. Rather it states a whole truth that, if it does not now exist, will be forced into existence by the will of the United States. [...]

For the mind to believe in its own decisions, it must feel that it made those decisions without coercion. Coercive measures used by the operative, consequently, must not be detectable by ordinary means. There is no need to resort to mind-weakening drugs such as those explored by the CIA; in fact the exposure of a single such method would do unacceptable damage to MindWar's reputation for truth. [...] There are some purely natural conditions under which minds may become more or less receptive to ideas, and MindWar should take full advantage of such phenomena as atmospheric electromagnetic activity, air ionization, and extremely low frequency waves.

The first question that comes to mind is: "does General Vallely actually believe that the war on terror is a "Judeo/Christian holy war against Muslims" or is this part of his and Fox news' psychological operation against the American people?" The next question we think of is, "has the US military "taken full advantage of" atmospheric electromagnetic activity, air ionization, and extremely low frequency waves" and is it in some way using them against the US population as a way to make them less resistant to and more accommodating of the lies and deceptions of the BushCons? We have to wonder also if the US military has not shared some of this "technology" with their UK counterparts.

Considering the following story, it seems that could well be the case...

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British Officer Probed for "Machine-Gun Muslims" Remarks

Vikram Dodd
Thursday December 9, 2004
The Guardian

A commanding British police officer came under investigations over anti-Muslim remarks he made during an internal security meeting, according to a leading British daily Thursday, December 9.

Superintendent David Keller, a sub-divisional commander based at Longsight police station, south Manchester, called in an internal police meeting November 24, for setting up machine guns to stop the Muslims flowing into the city to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, the Guardian said.

Sources told the daily that the remarks were made during a discussion about arrests launched in the city during Muslim celebrations on the occasion, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The internal affairs branch of Greater Manchester police (GMP) will investigate Keller’s remarks that machine guns should be put on the motorway to “shoot them [Muslims] before they get a chance to come into our city center”.

Tom Moran, of the Police Superintendents' Association, a body supporting the British officer, claimed that Keller did not believe his remarks were anti-Islamic, according to the daily.

The Manchester force has been dogged by racial controversy. In June, the Guardian revealed that the Manchester police authority was one of 14 forces found by a Commission for Racial Equality investigation to be breaking race laws.

British Muslims have repeatedly complained of maltreatment by the police and the stop-and-search operations for no apparent reason other than being Muslims.

A Syrian student lost an eye when he was accosted and beaten by five British soldiers outside a London nightclub in an apparent racist attack, London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Saturday, November 27.

Britain’s Open Society Institute said in a report Monday, November 22, that various forms of Islamophobia and racial discrimination, on the up swing since the 9/11 attacks, were alienating the sizable Muslim community in Britain.

Comment: Well, the Neocons should be proud of themselves, it seems that their hate mantra is spreading far and wide. Of course the ordinary Iraqi people are already only too aware of the fact that, for some reason, the American people seem to want them all dead, burned at the stake perhaps, like the Cathars of the last great religious Crusade...

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US Marine admits his unit killed innocent Iraqi civilians

By Stephen Collinson - TORONTO

Sergant Massey claims his unit killed ‘30 plus’ innocent Iraqi civilians within 48 hours while on checkpoint duty in Baghdad.

A former US Marine said Tuesday his unit killed more than 30 innocent Iraqi civilians in just two days, in graphic testimony to a Canadian tribunal probing an asylum claim by a US army deserter.

Marine Sergeant Jimmy Massey appeared as a witness to bolster claims by fugitive paratrooper Jeremy Hinzman that he walked out on the 82nd Airborne Division to avoid being ordered to commit war crimes in Iraq.

Hinzman, 26, claims he would face persecution if sent home to the United States, in a politically charged case which could set a precedent for at least two other US deserters seeking asylum in Canada.

Massey told Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) that men under his command in the 3rd battalion, Seventh Marines, killed "30 plus" civilians within 48 hours while on checkpoint duty in Baghdad.

"I do know that we killed innocent civilians," Massey told the tribunal, relating the chaotic days after the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Massey said that in some incidents, Iraqi civilians were killed by between 200 and 500 rounds pumped into four separate cars which each failed to respond to a single warning shot and respond to hand signals, at a Baghdad checkpoint.

At the time, US soldiers feared suicide bombers would try to ram checkpoints, he said.

Searches found no weapons in the vehicles or evidence that those killed were anything but innocent civilians, said Massey.

He also said marines killed four unarmed demonstrators, and more Iraqis the next day during another spell of checkpoint duty in the occupied Iraqi capital.

"I was never clear on who was the enemy and who was not," said Massey.

"When you don't know who the enemy is, what are you doing there?" asked the 12-year Marine, later honorably discharged from the service with severe depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

Hinzman earlier argued in the tribunal which started on Monday and was due to end Wednesday that he gradually realised after joining the army in 2001 that he could not bring himself to kill another person.

"I was faced with being deployed to Iraq to do what the infantry does, kill people, and I had no justification for doing so," said Hinzman.

Hinzman and his wife and two-year-old son arrived in Canada early this year, after deserting from his unit, an action which carries a maximum five-year term in jail.

The South Dakota-born soldier is claiming refugee status based on his contention that he was right to refuse to fight in a war which he says was illegal and violated human rights and the Geneva Conventions.

He also claims he would face persecution if returned home to face desertion charges.

Hinzman first requested conscientious objector status in 2002 before learning he was to be posted to Afghanistan, where he eventually made 18 combat parachute jumps.

The following year, the request was rejected, and late in 2003 he learned he was to be deployed to Iraq, prompting his flight to Canada.

Odds against him winning the case are slim, as no such verdict has ever been handed to a US soldier here or to a combatant in a non-conscription army.

The IRB was set up to consider the merits of refugee claims at arms length from the Canadian government.

Presiding member Brian Goodman signalled Tuesday he would ask for written submissions from Hinzman's counsel, a government lawyer and a refugee officer, thereby ruling out a judgement on the case on Wednesday.

Goodman will decide whether Hinzman would face persecution if sent back to the United States by dint of political or religious beliefs or his status as an objector to US military action.

The judgement will also question whether Hinzman will face "cruel and unusual" punishment, during what would likely be a long prison term.

Comment: Forget about the "cruel and unusual punishment" what about the "atmospheric electromagnetic activity, air ionization, and extremely low frequency waves"??

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San Diego-based sailor refuses deployment in protest of war

ASSOCIATED PRESS
1:25 p.m. December 6, 2004

SAN DIEGO A Navy petty officer opposed to the war in Iraq refused to board his ship Monday as sailors and Marines deployed for the Persian Gulf.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes, 23, said he has opposed the war since its inception. Until recently, the weapons-control technician said he did not feel he had a direct role in the war. Two weeks ago, however, he said he was involuntarily transferred to the amphibious transport USS Bonhomme Richard, which ferries Marines to Iraq.

"I don't want to be a part of a ship that's taking 3,000 Marines over there, knowing a hundred or more of them won't come back," he said. "I can't sleep at night knowing that's what I do for a living."

Paredes of the New York City borough of the Bronx said he joined the Navy in 2000 and has 20 months left on his six-year enlistment. He said he was stationed previously in Japan.

He said he was young and naive when he joined the Navy and "never imagined, in a million years, we would go to war with somebody who had done nothing to us."

Paredes was at the ship's pier at Navy Base San Diego Monday as Expeditionary Strike Group Five left for its tour in the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Military officials did not immediately comment on his actions. He could face a court-martial, a dishonorable discharge and possible time in a military jail.

He said he hopes his protest might inspire other sailors, soldiers and Marines! to refuse to take part in the war.

"I know other people are feeling the same way I am, and I'm hoping more people will stand up," he said. "They can't throw us all in jail."

Comment: This last comment is perhaps a little naive, after all, the Nazis put a LOT of people in prison camps, and as things are currently shaping up, it seems that "disgruntled citizens" aka "domestic terrorists" in the US and UK are the new "Jews"

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"God Is With Us": Hitler's Rhetoric and the Lure of "Moral Values"
by Maureen Farrell
December 7, 2004

"God does not make cowardly nations free." -- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

A couple weeks ago, while asserting that the Founding Founders intended for the U.S. government to be infused with Christianity, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that the Holocaust was able to flourish in Germany because of Europe's secular ways. "Did it turn out that, by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America?" Scalia asked a congregation at Manhattan's Shearith Israel synagogue. "I don't think so."

One might expect regular citizens to be ignorant of history, but a Supreme Court Justice? Does he imagine that the phrase "Gott mit Uns" was a German clothier's interpretation of "Got Milk"?

If photographic evidence of the Third Reich's Christian leanings were not enough, Hitler's own speeches and writings prove, at the very least, that he presented many of the same faith-based arguments heard in America today. Religion in the schools? Hitler was for it. Intellectuals who practiced "anti-Christian, smug individualism"? According to Hitler, their days were numbered. Divine Providence's role in shaping Germany's ultimate victory? Who could argue? In other words, there is enough historical evidence to color Scalia deluded. Writing for Free Inquiry, John Patrick Michael Murphy explained:

"Hitler's Germany amalgamated state with church. Soldiers of the vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with the following: "Gott mit uns" (God is with us). His troops were often sprinkled with holy water by the priests. It was a real Christian country whose citizens were indoctrinated by both state and church and blindly followed all authority figures, political and ecclesiastical.

Hitler, like some of the today's politicians and preachers, politicized "family values." He liked corporeal punishment in home and school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. While abortion was illegal in pre-Hitler Germany, he took it to new depths of enforcement, requiring all doctors to report to the government the circumstances of all miscarriages. He openly despised homosexuality and criminalized it."

For anyone wanting even more proof, Mein Kampf is chock full of the Fuhrer's musings on God. ("I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord," Hitler wrote). But anti-Semitic rants aside, some of Hitler's religious musings are interchangeable with Mr. Bush's.

Hitler was raised a Catholic and spoke of his faith in God, yet, singling out his rants against religion, politicians and pastors continue to characterize him as a pagan barbarian. Such distortions are convenient -- particularly in an age where propaganda concerning "moral values" is readily gobbled up and Christian nation legislation waits in the wings -- but, to paraphrase the Bible, overlooking the truth will not make us free.

Scalia, who also cited the Bible to claim that government "derives its moral authority from God," is hardly alone in his assertions. Leo Strauss, the philosopher who has influenced neoconservativism, and by proxy, George Bush's America, felt that religion, like deception, was crucial to maintaining social order. Meanwhile, neoconservative kingpin Irving Kristol has argued similar points -- bragging about how easy it is to fool the public into accepting the government's actions while arguing that America's Founding Fathers were wrong to insist on the separation of church and state. Why? According to Jim Lobe, it's because religion, as Strauss and his disciples see it, is "absolutely essential in order to impose moral law on the masses who otherwise would be out of control."

Saying that neoconservatives believe that secular society is undesirable "because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that may promote dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats," Lobe explained why Kristol and other neocons have "allied themselves with the Christian Right" and, in some cases, have also denounced Darwin's theory of evolution. "Neoconservatives are pro-religion even though they themselves may not be believers," Reason magazine's Ronald Bailey explained, pointing to publications like Commentary which has espoused the virtues of religious fundamentalism and has questioned evolutionary science.

(Hitler did the same. The book The German Churches Under Hitler includes his assertion that secular schools should not be tolerated while Hitler's Table Talk quotes him questioning the wisdom in teaching children both creationism and the theory of evolution. "The present system of teaching in schools permits the following absurdity: at 10 a.m. the pupils attend a lesson in the catechism, at which the creation of the world is presented to them in accordance with the teachings of the Bible; and at 11 a.m. they attend a lesson in natural science, at which they are taught the theory of evolution,"he said. "Yet the two doctrines are in complete contradiction. As a child, I suffered from this contradiction, and ran my head against a wall.")

Professor Shadia B. Drury also noted the similarities between the methods endorsed by Hitler and neoconservatives' favorite philosopher. She explained:

"Strauss loved America enough to try to save her from the errors and terrors of Europe. He was convinced that the liberal democracy of the Weimar Republic led to the rise of the Nazis. That is a debatable matter. But Strauss did not openly debate this issue or provide arguments for his position in his writings. I am inclined to think that it is Strauss's ideas, and not liberal ideas, that invite the kinds of abuses he wished to avoid. It behooves us to remember that Hitler had the utmost contempt for parliamentary democracy. He was impatient with debate and dispute, on the grounds that they were a waste of time for the great genius who knew instinctively the right choices and policies that the people need. Hitler had a profound contempt for the masses - the same contempt that is readily observed in Strauss and his cohorts. But when force of circumstances made it necessary to appeal to the masses, Hitler advocated lies, myths, and illusions as necessary pabulum to placate the people and make them comply with the will of the Fuhrer. Strauss's political philosophy advocates the same solution to the problem of the recalcitrant masses. Anyone who wants to avoid the horrors of the Nazi past is well advised not to accept Strauss's version of ancient wisdom uncritically. But this is exactly what Strauss encouraged his students to do."

Although several others, including the legendary Seymour Hersh, have noted the neoconservatives' belief that deception is essential, the religious aspect of their philosophy is especially unnerving. Religion may be the opium of the masses, but when zealots become so certain of their own righteousness that they ignore their own humanity, horror is the natural consequence. Islamic extremism offers the most glaring recent example, and now that Osama bin Laden has been granted permission to nuke America, the most extreme changes within the U.S. could very well come from the outside world.

In the meantime, however, for those who have not yet noticed, our own homegrown zealots -- those who advocate hatred in the name of the Lord -- have made considerable headway, with gays and lesbians currently at the center of legislation which, should it pass, will alter this country forever.

When the Marriage Protection Act passed the House in July, the New York Times called it "a radical assault on the Constitution. "If it passes in the Senate, the bill could obliterate the separation of powers and wipe out Constitutional protections for all minorities, stripping the courts and possibly paving the way for Christian nationhood. Other pieces of court stripping legislation bills designed to topple the wall between church and state are also in play.

This encroaching infusion of church and state, combined with recent decrees concerning moral values, doesn't resonate with inclusive tolerance. "When was the last time a Western nation had a leader so obsessed with God and claiming God was on our side? If you answered Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany, you're correct," Bob Fitrakis wrote. "Nothing can be more misleading than to categorize Hitler as a barbaric pagan or Godless totalitarian, like Stalin."

While many of us reserve a soft spot for true Christian generosity and the warm teachings of Jesus, it's important to remember that Christianity can be (and has been) distorted for darker purposes. Whether you're talking about Nazi Germany, the pre-Civil War American South, or the atmosphere in the U.S. these past few years, whenever questions of conscience are vigorously denounced, you can bet there is trouble ahead -- and the hijacking of faith and the manipulation of religion should always arouse suspicion. Moral values as a mandate? What better way to foster civil obedience and "One nation Under God" unity in a time of preventative war, suppressed liberty and sanctioned torture.

So, yes, despite tales of Hitler's atheism and Germany's Godlessness, the list of Hitler's religious assertions and Nazi Christian affiliations is long, and before Americans swallow more WMD-type baloney, it's best to comprehend this history and understand that no nation, including our own, is immune to faith-based fascism.

Substituting "America" for "Germany," many of Hitler's religious assertions could have been uttered by Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson -- with Hitler even asserting that God punished Germany for turning away from Him -- before promising that renewed piety would protect the Fatherland and make it prosperous and successful once more. "Once the mercy of God shown upon us, but we were not worthy of His mercy. Providence withdrew its protection and our people fell, fell as scarcely any other people heretofore. In this deep misery we again learned to pray," Hitler said in 1936, sixty-five years before Falwell and Robertson blamed abortionists and feminists for the tragedies of Sept. 11.

Hitler's religious phrases could have also come from the lips of George W. Bush. "Our prayer is: Lord God, let us never hesitate, let us never play the coward, let us never forget the duty which we have taken upon us,"Hitler said in March, 1933, sounding much like our president, who believes that God wants him to liberate the people in Middle East -- even if he has to torture, maim and kill tens of thousands in the process. "I believe we have a duty to free people," Bush told Bob Woodward. "I would hope we wouldn't have to do it militarily, but we have a duty.. . . Going into this period, I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will. . . ."

Speaking in Berlin in March, 1936, Hitler said something remarkably similar. "I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people to be allowed to wage this battle for Germany," he said, before launching the preventive war heard round the world.

Both leaders also promised peace while planning for war. "We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended," Bush said, in his State of the Union address in Jan. 2003, two months before launching a preventative war in Iraq. "Never in these long years have we offered any other prayer but this: Lord, grant to our people peace at home, and grant and preserve to them peace from the foreign foe!"Hitler said in Nuremberg on Sept. 13, 1936.

Yes, many of Hitler's faith-based comments could have come from George Bush himself, and are undoubtedly the kinds of sentiments many Americans not only agree with -- but take comfort in. This is not to say that Bush is Hitler or that religion is evil, but to serve as a reminder that things are not always what they seem. Christianity was used to justify everything from the Salem witch trials to slavery in America, and facilitated group-think in Germany -- when individuality and questions of conscience were needed the most. These are but a few of the Fuhrer's assertions:

• "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith." (The German Churches Under Hitler, p.241)

• "We must turn all the sentiments of the Volk, all its thinking, acting, even its beliefs, away from the anti-Christian, smug individualism of the past, from the egotism and stupid Phariseeism of personal arrogance, and we must educate the youth in particular in the spirit of those of Christ's words that we must interpret anew: love one another; be considerate of your fellow man; remember that each one of you is not alone a creature of God, but that you are all brothers! This youth will, with loathing and contempt, abandon those hypocrites who have Christ on their lips but the devil in their hearts." (Hitler: Memoirs of a Confidant, page 140)

• "It will be the Government's care to maintain honest cooperation between Church and State; the struggle against materialistic views and for a real national community is just as much in the interest of the German nation as in that of the welfare of our Christian faith." (At the Reichstag, March 23, 1933)

• "Without pledging ourselves to any particular Confession [Protestantism or Catholicism], we have restored to faith its prerequisites because we were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." (Berlin, Oct. 24, 1933)

• "But there is something else I believe, and that is that there is a God. . . . And this God again has blessed our efforts during the past 13 years." (Munich, Feb. 24, 1940)

• "You [blue-collar workers] represent the most noble of slogans known to us: "God helps those who help themselves!' (Hitler: Speeches and Proclamations, Vol. 2, page 1147)

• "Fifteen years ago I had nothing save my faith and my will. Today the Movement is Germany, today this Movement has won the German nation and formed the Reich. Would that have been possible without the blessing of the Almighty? Or do they who ruined Germany wish to maintain that they have had God's blessing? What we are we are, not against but with the will of Providence. And so long as we are loyal, honest, and ready to fight, so long as we believe in our great work and do not capitulate, we shall also in the future have the blessing of Providence." (Rosenheim, Aug. 11, 1935)

• "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. . . As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people." (Munich, April 12, 1922)

• "If positive Christianity means love of one's neighbor, i.e. the tending of the sick, the clothing of the poor, the feeding of the hungry, the giving of drink to those who are thirsty, then it is we who are the more positive Christians. For in these spheres the community of the people of National Socialist Germany has accomplished a prodigious work." (Feb. 24, 1939)

• "We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." (Berlin, Oct. 24, 1933)

• "An educated man retains the sense of the mysteries of nature and bows before the unknowable. An educated man, on the other hand, runs the risk of going over to atheism (which is a return to the state of the animal)." (Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944, page 59)

In his book, They Thought They Were Free, Milton Mayer interviewed Germans who discussed how their society changed right before their eyes, and how, despite Hitler's rhetoric, God was nowhere to be found. As one interviewee put it:

"The world you live in -- "your nation, your people" -- is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way."

Of course, America has hardly "gone all the way" and is unlikely to become as psychotic as Nazi Germany any time soon. But what do you suppose God thinks of preventative war based upon deception? Or about the use of depleted uranium? Or about dropping napalm on civilians? Are Iraqi insurgents are any less certain that God is on their side than our own Evangelical Marines?

Yes, Saddam Hussein was a brutal thug, but why do so many insist on forgetting that the U.S. helped him to power in the first place? Does God see our role in all of this as lightly as we do? And how many U.S. citizens do you know, who, mired in fear, readily dismiss America's use of torture and rationalize our disregard for international law? What else might they overlook?

In 1937, Hitler said that because of Germany's belief in God and God's favoritism towards Germany, the country would prevail and prosper. "We, therefore, go our way into the future with the deepest belief in God. Would all we have achieved been possible had Providence not helped us? I know that the fruits of human labor are hard-won and transitory if they are not blessed by the Omnipotent. Work such as ours which has received the blessings of the Omnipotent can never again be undone by mere mortals,"he said.

While attempting to solidify his power, Hitler also denounced those who denounced religion -- as if he were talking about Hollywood or blue states or Noam Chomsky. "For eight months we have been conducting a fearless campaign against that Communism which is threatening our entire nation, our culture, our art, and our public morals, "Hitler said in a speech in Oct. 1933. "We have made an end of denials of the Deity and the crying down of religion."

There will be no more crying down of religion in George Bush's America, either. Though oft-repeated assertions made by the media in the immediate aftermath of the election have proven to be nothing more than myth, propagandists would have you believe that the American people have spoken: "Moral values" reign supreme.

But how can any one of us know God's desires -- especially when our enemies claim to have God on their side as well? And doesn't it seem that religious hubris -- believing that God sanctions one's own inhumane treatment of others -- always invites a fall?

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever," Thomas Jefferson said, of the price America would eventually pay for slavery. "Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions," Ulysses S. Grant advised, describing karmic retribution without pointing hateful fingers at lesbians.

And long before that, the poet John Milton tried to "justify the ways of God to Man." But yet, the world, with its conflicting visions of morality, ethics and truth, still struggles to comprehend.

Perhaps Truth, for want of a better definition, is what God sees when he looks at any given situation. And perhaps it is ultimately impossible for us to know God's mind. After all, it's obvious that Hitler wasn't telling the truth when he spoke of God and country -- and by the same token, it's difficult to look at Najaf or Fallujah or Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay and see God's hand in any of it.

After one of Bush's operatives promised to "export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of our great nation" Bob Woodward wrote: "The president was casting his mission and that of the country in the grand vision of God's Master Plan." And sure enough, when Woodward asked Bush if he had discussed the impending invasion of Iraq with his father, President George H.W. Bush (who could have offered sage advice), the President responded: "He is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength; there is a higher father that I appeal to."

But, without knowing God's mind, most of us have only History to help us judge. And the fact is, without the benefit of History, some of the "moral values" Hitler embraced sound eerily like those being peddled today.

George Bush is not Hitler. America is not Nazi Germany. But buying into religious assertions or thinking that God is on your side is not wise when it comes to matters of war -- particularly when that war is an aggressive preventative war based on false premises and assumptions.

So, aside from Jerry Falwell, who speaks with hate-filled authority, most of us do not know how God will judge us. We will have to settle for History's imperfect record.

All of this begs the question, however. Given his assertions regarding God's role in helping him decide policy ("I pray that I be as good a messenger of His will as possible" Bush told Woodward. . . "I felt so strongly that [invading Iraq] was the right thing to do") how does Bush view the more mundane, secular implications of his actions? When asked by Woodward how History would judge the war in Iraq, Bush replied: "History. We don't know. We'll all be dead."

I challenge anyone to find the moral value in that.

Comment: For some time now, the editors here at Signs of the Times have been drawing parallels between life in present day Bush's America to that of Nazi-Germany during the build-up to World War II.

Unlike the author above however, we don't merely make the comparison to illustrate a useful metaphor between the two countries and the two times in history. We feel that not only are events of today similar to those in in the 1930's, but that they are almost an exact mirror of each other.

Compare the two 'catalyst events' of the Reichstag fire and 9/11, the demonization of the (semitic) Jews back then vs the (semitic) Arabs of today, the clampdown on civil liberties and impending martial law, and to top it all off, a psychopathic megalomaniac for a leader who believes he's doing the work of God; the parallels between these times are numerous and striking.

It could be said that the events of World War II were a "dress rehersal" for what is happening today; almost as if the PTB were testing the limits of human tolerance as to what they could get away with. Well, the human race failed miserably back then to come to the aid of the Jews, and seems even more mired in denial and wishful thinking today regarding the holocaust of Islam..

How many will truly be surprised when the brownshirts start rounding up their next-door neighbours? How many will turn in their own families as dissidents? How many will defend this corrupt "system" to the bitter end?

If any of you reading this page think you will be immune from such persecution, guess again. 15 million people died in WWII at the hands of Nazi murderers. Beside terminating millions of Jews, Poles, Ukranians and Gypsies (among others), the Nazi's also targeted intellectuals, professors, independant media, demonstrators and unionists. Anyone with a conscience and the courage to speak out was silenced and eliminated very early on.

That means us.

We are the new Jews.

And as with any dress rehearsal, the real show this time around will pull out all the stops, spare no expense, and is guaranteed to be on a much grander and bloodier scale.

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Memos: Troops threatened intelligence personnel
By Paisley Dodds
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Wednesday, December 8, 2004

U.S. special forces troops accused of abusing prisoners in Iraq threatened Defense Intelligence Agency personnel who saw the mistreatment and confiscated photos of a prisoner who had been punched in the face, according to U.S. government memos released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The troops also monitored e-mails sent by defense personnel and ordered them "not to talk to anyone" in the United States about what they saw, said one memo written by the Defense Intelligence Agency chief, who complained to his Pentagon bosses about the harassment.

Prisoners arriving at a detention center in Baghdad had "burn marks on their backs" as well as bruises and some complained of kidney pain, according to the June 25, 2004, memo. [...]

According to the memo from the Defense Intelligence chief, Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, a special forces task force in Iraq threatened two Defense Intelligence Agency members who complained about abuses. Some had their car keys confiscated and were ordered not to leave "even to get a haircut."

The memos say a task force officer punched a prisoner in the face "to the point he needed medical attention," failed to record the medical treatment and confiscated photos made by a Defense Intelligence Agency interrogator of the injuries.

The incident's date is unclear because the memo -- like others released by the ACLU -- was heavily redacted to remove dates and names. [...]

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Whitewashing torture?
By David DeBatto
Dec. 8, 2004

A veteran sergeant who told his commanding officers that he witnessed his colleagues torturing Iraqi detainees was strapped to a gurney and flown out of Iraq -- even though there was nothing wrong with him.
- - - - - - - - - - - -

On June 15, 2003, Sgt. Frank "Greg" Ford, a counterintelligence agent in the California National Guard's 223rd Military Intelligence (M.I.) Battalion stationed in Samarra, Iraq, told his commanding officer, Capt. Victor Artiga, that he had witnessed five incidents of torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees at his base, and requested a formal investigation. Thirty-six hours later, Ford, a 49-year-old with over 30 years of military service in the Coast Guard, Army and Navy, was ordered by U.S. Army medical personnel to lie down on a gurney, was then strapped down, loaded onto a military plane and medevac'd to a military medical center outside the country.

Although no "medevac" order appears to have been written, in violation of Army policy, Ford was clearly shipped out because of a diagnosis that he was suffering from combat stress. After Ford raised the torture allegations, Artiga immediately said Ford was "delusional" and ordered a psychiatric examination, according to Ford. But that examination, carried out by an Army psychiatrist, diagnosed him as "completely normal."

A witness, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Marciello, claims that Artiga became enraged when he read the initial medical report finding nothing wrong with Ford and intimidated the psychiatrist into changing it. According to Marciello, Artiga angrily told the psychiatrist that it was a "C.I. [counterintelligence] or M.I. matter" and insisted that she had to change her report and get Ford out of Iraq.

Documents show that all subsequent examinations of Ford by Army mental-health professionals, over many months, confirmed his initial diagnosis as normal. [...]

Comment: Notice the date above. June 15, 2003, almost a year before the actual "prisoner abuse scandal" broke in the media. If anything, this should effectively dispell the current myth that these type of torture tactics were just isolated incidents of a few bad apples.

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Dutch police arrest man suspected of aiding Saddam war crimes, genocide
- AFP
07 December 2004 2133 hrs
ROTTERDAM : The Dutch police said they had arrested a man suspected of aiding former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in committing war crimes and genocide by supplying him with the materials to make chemical weapons used in attacks in the 1980s.

"The suspect, a chemicals dealer, is suspected of supplying the ingredients for chemical weapons to the regime of Saddam Hussein," Wim de Bruin of the national prosecutor's office told AFP on Tuesday.

The 62-year-old man, identified as Frans van Anraat by the media, is the first Dutch national to be investigated on suspicion of complicity in genocide, De Bruin said. He also faces charges of war crimes.

The chemicals dealer is notably suspected of supplying the materials to produce the mustard gas used in the 1988 attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja, near Iraq's border with Iran.

In July officials of the Iraqi Special Tribunal set up to try deposed leader Saddam Hussein, said he faces seven charges of crimes against humanity. One of the charges specifically relates to the gassing of Kurds in Halabja during Iraq's bloody war against Iran.
According to the Dutch authorities Van Anraat supplied "thousands of tonnes of base materials for chemical weapons between 1984 and 1988."

The chemicals he sold to Iraq could be used to make mustard gas and nerve gases. The raw materials originally came from the United States and Japan, according to the prosecution. [...]


Intelligence bill proposes nearly doubling Border Patrol agents
By SUZANNE GAMBOA | Associated Press
December 7, 2004

WASHINGTON - The U.S. House intelligence bill negotiated Tuesday would double the number of border agents and substantially increase the size of immigrant detention facilities over the next five years.

House and Senate conferees broke a stalemate over legislation containing recommendations from the 9/11 Commission, and final congressional votes could come as early as Wednesday. President Bush pushed for passage in recent days, but debate over authority of a new national intelligence director and proposed immigration restrictions threatened to kill it.

Although some say the bill doesn't go far enough to restrict immigration, it authorizes the number of Border Patrol agents to grow by 10,000 and the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents by 7,500 by 2010. There are currently 11,200 Border Patrol agents and 5,500 ICE agents.

The bill also proposes 4,000 more beds by 2010 for detaining immigrants, up from about 21,000. [...]

Comment: And according to unconfirmed reports, the Bush Reich has just changed the legal definition of the word "immigrant" to include any U.S. citizen who criticizes the government, drives a foreign car, is not a fundamentalist Christian, has long hair, watches anything but FOX News or didn't vote Republican in 2004.

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U.S. government moves to muzzle dissident voices
By Scott Martelle | Associated Press
December 7, 2004

[...] In an apparent reversal of decades of U.S. practice, recent federal Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations bar American companies from publishing works by dissident writers in countries under sanction unless they first obtain U.S. government approval.

The restriction, condemned by critics as a violation of the First Amendment, means that books and other works banned by some totalitarian regimes cannot be published freely in the United States, a country that prides itself as the international beacon of free expression.

"It strikes me as very odd," said Douglas Kmiec, a constitutional law professor at Pepperdine University and former constitutional legal counsel to former Presidents Reagan and Bush. "I think the government has an uphill struggle to justify this constitutionally."

Several groups, led by the PEN American Center and including Arcade Publishing, have filed suit in U.S. District Court in New York seeking to overturn the regulations, which cover writers in Iran, Sudan, Cuba, North Korea and, until recently, Iraq.

Violations carry severe reprisals -- publishing houses can be fined $1 million and individual violators face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

"Historically, the United States has served as a megaphone for dissidents from other countries," said Ed Davis of New York, a lawyer leading the PEN legal challenge. "Now we're not able to hear from dissidents."

Yet more than dissident voices are affected.

The regulations already have led publishers to scrap plans for volumes on Cuban architecture and birds, and publishers complain that the rules threaten the intellectual breadth and independence of academic journals.

Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has joined the lawsuit, arguing that the rules preclude American publishers from helping craft her memoirs of surviving Iran's Islamic revolution and her efforts to defend human rights in Iranian courts.

In a further wrinkle, even if publishers obtain a license for a book -- something they are loathe to do -- they believe the regulations bar them from advertising it, forcing readers to find the dissident works on their own.

"It's absolutely against the First Amendment," fumed Arcade editor Richard Seaver, who hopes to publish an anthology of Iranian short stories. "We're not going to ask permission (to publish). That reeks of censorship. And `censorship' is a word that gets my hackles up very quickly."

Officials from the U.S. Treasury Department, which oversees OFAC, declined comment on the lawsuit, but spokeswoman Molly Millerwise described the sanctions as "a very important part of our overall national security."

"These are countries that pose serious threats to the United States, to our economy and security and our well being around the globe," Millerwise said, adding that publishers can still bring dissident writers to American readers as long as they first apply for a license. [...]

Curt Goering, deputy executive director for the Amnesty International human rights monitoring group, criticized the regulations as "a violation of some fundamental human rights."

Goering said international covenants recognize the right of people to receive and distribute information regardless of political boundaries. "It's yet another example of the hypocrisy of this administration on human rights," Goering said, adding that while the United States defends its role in Iraq as a defense of liberty at home it is "blocking" publication of dissident voices.

Kmiec, who is not part of the legal challenge, said the First Amendment -- and subsequent court rulings -- generally preclude the government from restricting publications before they are made.

"It does allow for limitations where there are clear and present dangers and compelling foreign policy or other interests that can be tangibly and authentically demonstrated," Kmiec said. "But short of that special application and very rare circumstance, government censorship is properly off-limits. These efforts to restrain in advance are almost sure to fail." [...]

Comment: Is it clear enough yet? Book banning?!? In the interest of national security?!? Still unconvinced? Head still stuck a little too far in the sand? Perhaps the following story will help...

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'We have to protect people'

Thursday December 9, 2004
The Guardian

President Bush wants 'pro-homosexual' drama banned. Gary Taylor meets the politician in charge of making it happen

What should we do with US classics like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Color Purple? "Dig a hole," Gerald Allen recommends, "and dump them in it." Don't laugh. Gerald Allen's book-burying opinions are not a joke.

Earlier this week, Allen got a call from Washington. He will be meeting with President Bush on Monday. I asked him if this was his first invitation to the White House. "Oh no," he laughs. "It's my fifth meeting with Mr Bush."

Bush is interested in Allen's opinions because Allen is an elected Republican representative in the Alabama state legislature. He is Bush's base. Last week, Bush's base introduced a bill that would ban the use of state funds to purchase any books or other materials that "promote homosexuality". Allen does not want taxpayers' money to support "positive depictions of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle". That's why Tennessee Williams and Alice Walker have got to go.

I ask Allen what prompted this bill. Was one of his children exposed to something in school that he considered inappropriate? Did he see some flamingly gay book displayed prominently at the public library?

No, nothing like that. "It was election day," he explains. Last month, "14 states passed referendums defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman". Exit polls asked people what they considered the most important issue, and "moral values in this country" were "the top of the list".

"Traditional family values are under attack," Allen informs me. They've been under attack "for the last 40 years". The enemy, this time, is not al-Qaida. The axis of evil is "Hollywood, the music industry". We have an obligation to "save society from moral destruction". We have to prevent liberal libarians and trendy teachers from "re-engineering society's fabric in the minds of our children". We have to "protect Alabamians".

I ask him, again, for specific examples. Although heterosexuals are apparently an endangered species in Alabama, and although Allen is a local politician who lives a couple miles from my house, he can't produce any local examples. "Go on the internet," he recommends. "Some time when you've got a week to spare," he jokes, "just go on the internet. You'll see."

Actually, I go on the internet every day. But I'm obviously searching for different things. For Allen, the web is just the largest repository in history of urban myths. The internet is even better than the Bible when it comes to spreading unverifiable, unrefutable stories. And urban myths are political realities. Remember, it was an urban myth (an invented court case about a sex education teacher gang-raped by her own students who, when she protested, laughed and said: "But we're just doing what you taught us!") that all but killed sex education in America.

Since Allen couldn't give me a single example of the homosexual equivalent of 9/11, I gave him some. This autumn the University of Alabama theatre department put on an energetic revival of A Chorus Line, which includes, besides "tits and ass", a prominent gay solo number. Would Allen's bill prevent university students from performing A Chorus Line? It isn't that he's against the theatre, Allen explains. "But why can't you do something else?" (They have done other things, of course. But I didn't think it would be a good idea to mention their sold-out productions of Angels in America and The Rocky Horror Show.)

Cutting off funds to theatre departments that put on A Chorus Line or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof may look like censorship, and smell like censorship, but "it's not censorship", Allen hastens to explain. "For instance, there's a reason for stop lights. You're driving a vehicle, you see that stop light, and I hope you stop." Who can argue with something as reasonable as stop lights? Of course, if you're gay, this particular traffic light never changes to green.

It would not be the first time Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ran into censorship. As Nicholas de Jongh documents in his amusingly appalling history of government regulation of the British theatre, the British establishment was no more enthusiastic, half a century ago, than Alabama's Allen. "Once again Mr Williams vomits up the recurring theme of his not too subconscious," the Lord Chamberlain's Chief Examiner wrote in 1955. In the end, it was first performed in London at the New Watergate Club, for "members only", thereby slipping through a loophole in the censorship laws.

But more than one gay playwright is at a stake here. Allen claims he is acting to "encourage and protect our culture". Does "our culture" include Shakespeare? I ask Allen if he would insist that copies of Shakespeare's sonnets be removed from all public libraries. I point out to him that Romeo and Juliet was originally performed by an all-male cast, and that in Shakespeare's lifetime actors and audiences at the public theatres were all accused of being "sodomites". When Romeo wished he "was a glove upon that hand", the cheek that he fantasised about kissing was a male cheek. Next March the Alabama Shakespeare festival will be performing a new production of As You Like It, and its famous scene of a man wooing another man. The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is also the State Theatre of Alabama. Would Allen's bill cut off state funding for Shakespeare?

"Well," he begins, after a pause, "the current draft of the bill does not address how that is going to be handled. I expect details like that to be worked out at the committee stage. Literature like Shakespeare and Hammet [sic] could be left alone." Could be. Not "would be". In any case, he says, "you could tone it down". That way, if you're not paying real close attention, even a college graduate like Allen himself "could easily miss" what was going on, the "subtle" innuendoes and all.

So he regards his gay book ban as a work in progress. His legislation is "a single spoke in the wheel, it doesn't resolve all the issues". This is just the beginning. "To turn a big ship around it takes a lot of time."

But make no mistake, the ship is turning. You can see that on the face of Cornelius Carter, a professor of dance at Alabama and a prize-winning choreographer who, not long ago, was named university teacher of the year for the entire US. Carter is black. He is also gay, and tired of fighting these battles. "I don't know," he says, "if I belong here any more."

Forty years ago, the American defenders of "our culture" and "traditional values" were opposing racial integration. Now, no politician would dare attack Cornelius Carter for being black. But it's perfectly acceptable to discriminate against people for what they do in bed.

"Dig a hole," Gerald Allen recommends, "and dump them in it."

Of course, Allen was talking about books. He was just talking about books. He never said anything about pink triangles.

Comment:

"We have an obligation to "save society from moral destruction".

We sincerely hope that our readers are fully aware of the fact that saving society from moral destruction" was EXACTLY the pretext used by the Nazis to impose a totalitarian regime in Germany just 70 years ago.

We also sincerely hope that our American readers are aware that once a person fervently believes that their mission is to "save" another person from something, the person being "saved" is in serious trouble. After all, the Cathars were being saved from their "heresy" by being burned alive..

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Activists Dominate Content Complaints
December 06, 2004
By Todd Shields

In an appearance before Congress in February, when the controversy over Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl moment was at its height, Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell laid some startling statistics on U.S. senators.

The number of indecency complaints had soared dramatically to more than 240,000 in the previous year, Powell said. The figure was up from roughly 14,000 in 2002, and from fewer than 350 in each of the two previous years. There was, Powell said, “a dramatic rise in public concern and outrage about what is being broadcast into their homes.”

What Powell did not reveal—apparently because he was unaware—was the source of the complaints. According to a new FCC estimate obtained by Mediaweek, nearly all indecency complaints in 2003—99.8 percent—were filed by the Parents Television Council, an activist group.

This year, the trend has continued, and perhaps intensified.

Through early October, 99.9 percent of indecency complaints—aside from those concerning the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show broadcast on CBS— were brought by the PTC, according to the FCC analysis dated Oct. 1. (The agency last week estimated it had received 1,068,767 complaints about broadcast indecency so far this year; the Super Bowl broadcast accounted for over 540,000, according to commissioners’ statements.)

The prominent role played by the PTC has raised concerns among critics of the FCC’s crackdown on indecency. “It means that really a tiny minority with a very focused political agenda is trying to censor American television and radio,” said Jonathan Rintels, president and executive director of the Center for Creative Voices in Media, an artists’ advocacy group. [...]

Comment: "Moral values" - just another way to say you are with us or you are with the enemy. Only this time the focus is not on foreign but "domestic" "terrorists". In fact, we can now see that the setup that was the phony terrorist attacks of 9/11 has a two-fold purpose. The first was to justify a preemptive attack and grab of the world's resources, the second and clearly interlinked purpose was to set the scene for the imposition of totalitarian government in America.

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F1 tornado hit Thunderbird Bay
Wednesday December 8, 2004
By Steve Nash -- Brownwood Bulletin

LAKE BROWNWOOD (Texas) -- As tornadoes go, the one that hit the Thunderbird Bay area of Lake Brownwood Monday afternoon was a small, short-lived twister -- about 75 yards wide and 4 miles long, with wind speeds estimated at 70-80 mph, or an F1 on the Fujita Scale.

But even weak tornadoes can be dangerous, Hector Guerrero of the National Weather Service in San Angelo said.

"It's a weak tornado. Weak tornadoes kill people, too," Guerrero said. "Thank God we didn't have any injuries. We're just grateful nobody got hurt." [...]

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F-1 Tornado Rips Through Hinds County
wlbt.com
12/07/04

(Jackson, MS) - Violent storms and tornados ripped through the state Tuesday morning leaving residents without electricity. In worse cases, some people lost parts of their homes.

Tree removal companies, Entergy trucks, insurance adjusters and residents worked together in the aftermath of Tuesday's storm.

Trey Proctor, an insurance adjustor with Farm Bureau surveyed the damage in Edwards. He said, "When I got here it kinda surprised me, I didn't know we had this much damage out here, this is the first house I've been to all day. " He had five more houses to visit in the area.

The Hinds County EOC said an F1 tornado hit a 14-mile radius around Edwards. It damaged two barns on Newman road. The owner said all of the animals were secured and no one was injured.

Just one street over on Puckett, a roof and yard was destroyed .

Lois Christian, the homeowner, describes the scene. "The sound was just crushing glass and roaring like a train, so we had no doubt it was a tornado." [...]

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Strong cyclone hovering over southern Kamchatka
08.12.2004, 08.51

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, December 8 (Itar-Tass) - A strong cyclone, accompanied by gale-force winds and snowfall, has hit southern Kamchatka, specialists from the local meteorological service told Itar-Tass on Wednesday. A storm warning has been issued in the region.

The cyclone has approached Kamchatka from the Khabarovsk region. According to specialists, its influence on the region won’t be long. The weather is expected to improve by Thursday morning, when the cyclone will move north. Snowdrifts and strong wind are expected in the north of the Kamchatka peninsula on Thursday.

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Heavy winds cause damage, rattle nerves
By Cathy Mong
Dayton Daily News

Connie Clarke took about an hour to stop shaking Tuesday after a large locust tree in her front yard was uprooted and blew onto the top of her house in Kettering.

She and her husband, Steven, won't know the extent of the damage to their one-story, vinyl-sided house until the tree is cherry-picked from their roof today. They are simply happy no one was hurt.

One person in Bellbrook did suffer minor injuries during Tuesday's episode with winds that the National Weather Service in Wilmington said gusted from 45 to 57 mph.

A 47-year-old woman was taken to Miami Valley Hospital after a large limb from a dead tree blew into and through her windshield as she was driving in the 4400 block of Possum Run Road, Sugarcreek Twp. police reported. The woman, whose name was not released, lost control of her car and drove into another tree. The car ended up on its side. Police and firefighters were dispatched, police said.

Power lines were downed by snapping branches or pulled loose by the gales, representatives of Dayton Power and Light Co. and Cinergy said. [...]

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Couple swept away by NSW flash flood
December 9, 2004 - 7:28AM

An elderly couple have been swept away by swift floodwaters after their car became stranded in a swollen creek in central-west NSW.

The 75-year-old man and 64-year-old woman were reported missing about 10.30pm after their car was found in the middle of Caves Creek, about 15km from Orange.

The creek had been hit by a flash flood after heavy rain.

It was believed the couple got out of the car when it became stuck in the creek and were swept away, police said.

A search begun last night resumed this morning.

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