Travel Log! The
Quantum Future Group Goes to Rennes-le-Chateau
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
Publication! 'The Wave' finally in book form!
Wave: 4 Volume Set
With a new
introduction by the author and never before published, UNEDITED sessions
and extensive previously unpublished details, at long last, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's
vastly popular series The Wave is available as a Deluxe four
book set. Each of the four volumes include all of the original illustrations
and many NEW illustrations with each copy comprising approximately 300
is an exquisitely written first-person account of Laura's initiation at
the hands of the Cassiopaeans and demonstrates the unique nature of the
Volumes 1 and 2 now!
of the Day
Hitler. Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" 1938
Bush. Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" 2004
First They Came For The
Continuing the Time-honored tradition
of picking the person who has had the most "influence on the
world" during the course of the year - and thereby manufacturing
a certain status for the person in question in the minds of the
general public, whether merited or not - Time magazine has, for
the year 2004, nominated George W Bush as their "Man of the
Year". In a eulogy to make your stomach churn, filled as it
is with nauseating platitudes and obsequious psychophantic panderings,
Time said they had chosen Bush for the second time in four years
"sticking to his guns (literally and figuratively), for
reshaping the rules of politics to fit his ten-gallon-hat leadership
style and for persuading a majority of voters this time around
that he deserved to be in the White House for another four years.
For sharpening the debate until the choices bled, for reframing
reality to match his design, for gambling his fortunes - and ours
- on his faith in the power of leadership."
High praise indeed. Unfortunately none of Time's reasons have any
basis in reality. Indeed, Bush resorted to "reshaping the rules",
specifically the rules of international law on the soverignty of
other nations and the use of torture on civilians. He sharpened
(read obsfuscated) the debate until the choices bled, and as a result
caused massive and unwarranted bloodletting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What merit can there be in "literally sticking to your guns"
when it involves the massacring of thousands of innocent civilians
in a war to pillage the resources of other countries? Bush certainly
persuaded American voters that he deserved another 4 years, but
sadly this "persuasion" took the form of ditching the
troublesome and unpredictable democratic process and installing
himself as Fuhrer by way of vote rigging.
Yes indeed, Bush fits the mold of previous Time magazine "men
of the year" very well. In fact, the parallels between Bush
and the current state of the US and another notable "man of
the year" exactly 66 years ago are startling.
Those of us alive today who look back at the events of WWII, could
be mistaken for thinking that Hitler was very obviously a madman
and was perceived as such by world public opinion of the day. Nothing
could be further from the truth however.
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain greets the Fuhrer
in Germany 1938
Prime Minister Tony Blair greets the Fuhrer in 2004
Long after Hitler had installed himself as an outright dictator,
built the concentration camps and imposed an overt police state
(albeit with the tacit consent of a majority of the population who
welcomed his promises of a "reshaping of the rules" and
a "sharpening of the debate") he was still entertaining
British and American dignitaries at his Austrian chateau and receiving
favorable write-ups in the international press. For example, in
the November 1938 edition of "Homes and Gardens" a three
page spread was dedicated to, among other things, the tastes in
home decor of the man who, in just a few short years, would be condemned
as a genocidal maniac. Like the tone of many commentaries on the
German ruler at that time, there was absolutely nothing to suggest
to the wider public that Hitler was planning to initiate a war that
would leave 65 million people dead. The "Homes
and Gardens" issue states:
"The Furher is his own decorator designer and furnisher
as well as architect. He is constantly enlarging the place building
new guest annexes and arranging in these his favorite antiques.
It is a mistake to suppose that week-end guests are all, or even
mainly, state officials. Hitler delights in the society of brilliant
foreigners, especially painters, singers and musicians. As host
he is a droll raconteur; we all know how surprised were Mr. Lloyd-George
and his party when they accepted an invitation to Haus Wachenfeld
(earlier in 1938).
All visitors are shown their host's model kennels where he breeds
magnificent Alsatians. Some of his pedigree pets are allowed the
run of the house especially on days when Herr Hitler gives a "fun
fair" to the local children. On such a day when state affairs
are over the squire himself, attended by some of his guests, will
stroll into hamlets above and below. This is the only home in
which Hitler can laugh and take his ease - or even "conduct
tours" by means of the tripod telescope which he himself
operates on the terrace for his visitors. "This place is
mine" he says. "I built it with the money that I earned."
Then he takes you into his library where you note that quite half
the books are on history, painting, architecture and music."
Despite all of the warning signs, Hitler, like Bush today, continued
to be lauded by the international press as a "revolutionary"
for his extremely agressive and opressive foreign and domestic policies.
The German people themselves, having to contend with the effects
of homespun Nazi propaganda as well as internatioal approval of
their leader, had considerably less chance of seeing the reality
of the situation.
dictator-in-waiting with dog
dictator-in-waiting with dog
In his book "Backing Hitler" Robert Gellately has this
to say about the prevailing sentiment among Germans at the time:
Hitler's appointment as Chancellor on 30 Jan 1933 was followed
the next day by the dissolution of the Reichstag. Herman Goering
took immediate steps to introduce emergency police measures. Over
the next few weeks the Nazis did not need to use the massive violence
associated with modern takeovers like the Russian revolution.
There was little or no opposition and the historian Golo Mann
said of those times that "it was the feeling that Hitler
was historically right that made a large part of the nation ignore
the horrors of the Nazi takeover...people were ready for it."
To the extent that terror was used it was selective and it was
initially aimed mainly at communists and other (loosely defined)
opposition individuals who were portrayed as "enemies of
[Prior to the passing of the enabling law] Hitler gave a government
declaration in which he signaled that he had a social and political
agenda that went beyond suppressing Communism, getting back to
work and restoring Germany's position in Europe. His
stated goals now included "creating a real community of the
people" and he alluded to the need for "the moral purification
of the body politic".
Citizens were asked to express themselves on 19 August 1934 in
a plebiscite on the issue of uniting the offices of head of state
and that of the head of government (Chancellor Hitler). around
90 percent supported Hitler. These results disappointed opponents
who kept waiting for the people to see the light. The Nazis were
clear in their own minds about their popular backing, and Hitler
was fond of saying that henceforth the struggle was for the support
of the remaining 10 percent. According to the Reichstag elections
held on 29 March 1936 the Nazis were well on their way to getting
that support, because they received no less than 99.99% of the
vote. Certainly by then the elections were
heavily tilted in favor of the government which counted spoiled
ballots or those left blank as a "yes".
On the night of 27 February 1933 a lone arsonist tried to burn
down the Reichstag. Even though Marinus
Van der Lubbe, a Dutchman with no particular ties to Communism
was caught, Hitler immediately blamed all Communists [...]
and insisted on the "Presidential decree for the protection
of the people and the state". The decree suspended
"until further notice" the constitutional guarantees
of personal liberty; made it possible for police to arrest and
detain anyone they saw fit; and to impose restrictions on freedom
of expression, assembly and association. Police were allowed to
exceed all previous legal limits on house searches and could intercept
mail and tap telephones.
Most Germans, especially anyone close
to the Nazi party, accepted the official version of events about
the attempted Communist insurrection and the need to take radical
measures. Ian Kershaw concludes that the violence and repression
that took place, far from damaging Hitler's reputation "were
widely popular". More than 200 telegrams were sent to the
Ministry of Justice demanding the death penalty for the culprit
who burnt down the Reichstag, and many volunteered for the position
The German government insisted that it was responding to a revolutionary
threat that called for emergency measures on short-term basis.
It kept reassuring the public that, once
the crisis passed, Germany's rule of law and freedoms would be
restored. It was obvious, however,
even at the time when such vague promises were made, that the
innovations introduced were going to be permanent features of
Hitler's dictatorship. [...] The combination of the Reichstag
fire and the Enabling Act gave the Nazi revolution a veneer of
legality and made it easier for the citizens to accept the dictatorship.
the right image to the masses
the right image to the masses
Almost every single aspect of the controls put in place by the
Nazi party as related by Gellately in the above excerpt has a direct
correlation to the facts on the ground in modern day America, including
the attitude of the citizens to those controls. It should be noted
that, as regards the burning of the Reichstag, most historians now
believe that van der Lubbe was actually duped by the Nazis into
setting the fire and probably was even assisted by them, without
his realizing it.
Of course, like the Nazis, with each stricture put in place, the
Bush government will attempt to assuage any public concern by issuing
denials and justifications for their actions. Yet the evidence is
all there and indeed has been there for quite some time.
For example, almost 15 years ago, Don McGillivray writing in the
Vancouver Sun recognised the ideological links between modern day
America and Nazi Germany:
from archived image file.
Ottawa - The Gulf War is being fought for a bright and shining
People who back it as a necessary war believe victory for the U.S.
over Iraq would usher in a golden age called the New world Order.
U.S. President George Bush, addressing a joint session of Congress
on Sept. 11, said the Persian Gulf crisis "offers a
rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation.
"A New World Order can emerge freer from the threat of terror,
stronger in the pursuit of justice and more secure in the quest
Bush seems to have picked up the New world Order idea from Mikhail
Gorbachev. And Prime Minister Brian Mulroney picked it up from Bush.
But Sunday's New York Times said the phrase is "unfortunate...
reminiscent of Nazi sloganeering."
It's not only reminiscent, it is borrowed directly
from Adolf Hitler.
Almost exactly 50 years ago, on Jan. 30, 1941, Hitler gave a long
rant in the Berlin Sportpalast.
"I'm convinced that 1941 will be the crucial year of a Great
New Order in Europe," Hitler said. "The World shall open
up for everyone. Privileges for individuals, the tyranny of certain
nations and their financial rulers shall fall. And last of all,
this year will help to provide the foundations of a real understanding
among peoples, and with it the certainty of conciliation among nations."
Hitler's New Order was a continuing theme. A speech collection
published in 1941 as a sequel to Mein Kampf was titled "My
It was, of course, a mad tyrant's cruel hoax on
a world groaning under his war machine.
But Hitler's description of the promised
Utopia is not much different from today's promises. Note,
especially, that he claimed nations would settle their disputes
peacefully by conciliation. That's one of the key claims for the
New World Order.
Once Saddam Hussein has been disposed of, others of his sort will
know that they must settle disputes peacefully, or the United Nations,
using the US as its policeman, will deal with them as well. This
is the war-to-end-wars illusion.
In 1967, Walter Lippmann, the US political commentator, noted:
"The historical record is quite plain... each
of the wars to end wars has set the stage for the next war."
Politicians have learned they invite cynicism if they claim that
the latest war will end all wars. But they imply it anyway.
Joe Clark said Tuesday in the Commons that "if there is a
war in the Gulf it will not be the war to end all wars." But
he went on to talk about "hope to deter aggression," to
"keep the peace," and "to make it (peace) cooperatively"
which would be lost if the US, Canada, and other countries were
not prepared to use force against Iraq.
One of the worst things about the Utopian illusion
is that it makes dreadful deeds seem permissible because the stakes
are so high
You can carpet bomb an enemy back into the Stone Age if you're
doing it in the name of a New World Order of permanent peace and
Few people will argue with the fact that the German
people were manipulated by the Nazis, but equally few seem prepared
to allow for the possibility that they could be vulnerable to the
Why is this?
If you lived in Nazi Germany, do you really think that you would
have been able to see past the patriot propaganda and the host of
economic and social manipulations to which the German people were
Why is it that Americans today seem to credit themselves with the
ability to recognise a massive government lie when just 70 years
ago the German people, and indeed much of the population of the
rest of the world, were unable to do so?
With the vast increase in mass media communication in the later
half of the 20th century, if it chose to do so, today it would be
much easier for a government to deceive the people en masse than
it was back in the 1930's.
People give lip service to the maxim that "those who do not
learn from history are doomed to repeat it", but it appears
that they do not take that concept seriously. Why is this?
Hitler and the Nazis showed us all how it was done. They showed
the world that through the slow propagation of the "big lie",
through diversion and promotion of bogus threats to the lives of
the citizenry, an entire people can be completely and unconditionally
Consider the following text from the "Third Reich Roundtable"
"The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming
into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not
to think for people who did not want to think anyway.
Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about
- we were decent people - and kept us so busy with continuous
changes and "crises" and so fascinated, yes, fascinated,
by the machinations of the "national enemies", without
and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful
things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously,
I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?
Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained
or, on occasion, "regretted," that, unless one were
detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one
understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these
"little measures" that no "patriotic German"
could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing
from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing.
One day it is over his head.
Today, the government controls every aspect of the life of the
average citizen, whether they know it or not. From the food we put
in our mouths to the thoughts we think, there is no facet of life
that does not have a government agency assigned to monitor it. This
is natural, but is also the crux of the matter.
In the case that a government decided to deceive the population
in a wholesale manner, is it really reasonable to be so smug as
to assume that we would immediately and easily recognise such a
deception? Many of our readers, and most Americans seem to think
We are not suggesting that it is impossible for a person to know
if their government is lying to them, but if we expect to ever know
the truth, we must stop blindly accepting everything that we are
told, or fleeing into denial at the first sign that our comfort
zone might be disturbed. Objective research and analysis is required,
there can be no 'sacred cows', nothing can be taboo, all evidence
must be weighed up impartially and given its due without pity for
ourselves, others, or our illusions.
But among all the resources available to us in this task, one of
the most important is history. By scrutinising the events that make
up our world history, we may arm ourselves with the knowledge derived
from the hard-won lessons of those that have gone before us. In
that respect and in relation to the current US, and global, political
and social climate, the experiences of the German people under the
Nazis contain some crucially important lessons for us to learn.
It behooves us all to learn them, before it is too late - again.
"Once the war began, the government could do anything "necessary"
to win it; so it was with the "final solution" of the
Jewish problem, which the Nazis always talked about but never
dared undertake, not even the Nazis, until war and its "necessities"
gave them the knowledge that they could get away with it.
The customers always write. I
get about 400 e-mails in response to my columns every week, which
might explain why I didn't answer yours. Here, slightly edited,
is one of the more interesting ones from last week. It's from Herr
Moellers in Germany:
"Dear Mr. Sorensen,
"I have many American friends and used to go on business travel
to the U.S. a lot (I stopped doing that after even our European
governments have given in to Uncle Sam's appetite for information
about individuals traveling to God's Own Country), and I am shocked
by the deterioration of democracy in a country that I used to love.
This administration is a shame and the destabilization they have
brought to the world is scaring the s** out of me.
"My father was a Nazi soldier and he realized during the war
what he and most of his generation was led into. I have learned
from him that a nation can be guilty and that we must stop the arrogance
of the powers at the very beginning. To me, America is becoming
truly scary and the parallels to the development in Germany of the
thirties (although the reason behind it are totally different) are
"Thank you for writing about this development. The world is
waiting for signs of opposition in the Unilateral States of America!"
Herr Moellers' e-mail is typical of a half dozen or so I've received
over the past year from people with intimate knowledge of Nazi Germany.
I respect experience, so I'm inclined to believe what these people
are telling me. Perhaps their memories help explain the attitude
of Germans toward the Bush administration these days.
They've been there, they've done that. They know what a corrupt
government smells like.
But are they "over the top"? Are they overreacting to
a normal swing of the pendulum in American politics?
To make a comparison between Germany in the 1930s and America now,
I relied on a Web site called "A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust."
The passages in quotations below are taken from the site.
"With Adolf Hitler's ascendancy to the chancellorship, the
Nazi Party quickly consolidated its power. Hitler managed to maintain
a posture of legality throughout the Nazification process."
Whether by chance or design, George W. Bush is the most powerful
American president in modern history. Not only does he have both
houses of Congress beholden to him, but the majority of the Supreme
Court is acting like a quintet of Bush lapdogs. And it all appears
"Domestically, during the next six years, Hitler completely
transformed Germany into a police state."
Civil libertarians insist that this is happening here now, with
the USA Patriot Act in force and Patriot II on the table.
"Hitler engaged in a 'diplomatic revolution' by negotiating
with other European countries and publicly expressing his strong
desire for peace."
Nobody can accuse Bush of being overly diplomatic, but, like all
political leaders, he is an apostle for peace, even while starting
two wars during his brief tenure.
In 1933, the Reichstag, Germany's parliament building, was burned
to the ground. Nobody knows for sure who set the fire. The Nazis
blamed communists. "This incident prompted Hitler[,then Germany's
chancellor,] to convince [German President Paul von] Hindenburg
to issue a Decree for the Protection of People and State that granted
Nazis sweeping power to deal with the so-called emergency."
The Reichstag fire parallels the Sept. 11 attacks here, and Hindenburg's
decree parallels our USA Patriot Act.
Soon after Hitler took power, the concentration camp at Dachau
was created and "the Nazis began arresting Communists, Socialists
and labor leaders ... . Parliamentary democracy ended with the Reichstag
passage of the Enabling Act, which allowed the government to issue
laws without the Reichstag."
With Bush leading all branches of government around by the nose,
there's a question whether parliamentary democracy still exists
here. Certainly, concentration camps exist, if we're willing to
call the lockup at Guanténamo Bay what it really is. And
the USA Patriot Act allows the president to effectively take citizenship
rights from any American-born criminal suspect.
"Nazi anti-Semitic legislation and propaganda against 'Non-Aryans'
was a thinly disguised attack against anyone who had Jewish parents
or grandparents. Jews felt increasingly isolated from the rest of
How comfortable do American-born Arabs feel in the United States
While the German concentration camps were being built and Jews
were being persecuted, in 1936 Nazi Germany hosted the Olympic Games
and put its best face forward to the world. We have the Super Bowl.
In the mid- to late 1930s, Germany was able to annex nearby territories
without firing a shot. That was because of the threat of the German
military, the strongest in the world at the time. That might be
compared with the sudden flexibility of Iran, Pakistan, Syria and
Libya, all of whom are aware that Bush will do more than just threaten;
he'll do it.
When one is comparing then and now, I think the most interesting
factor is that most German Jews remained in Germany until it was
too late. They just couldn't believe Hitler was as dangerous as
some people said he was. The more prescient Jews (most often those
who could afford to do so) got out, however.
Hitler came to power in 1933, but the killing of Jews (and others)
didn't begin until five years later, in 1938, with the historic
Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass") on Nov. 9. On
that day, "nearly 1,000 synagogues were set on fire and 76
were destroyed. More than 7,000 Jewish businesses and homes were
looted, about 100 Jews were killed, and as many as 30,000 Jews were
arrested and sent to concentration camps to be tormented ... ."
We haven't seen anything like that here, nor does it appear to
be one the horizon, yet one must wonder about the hundreds shut
away in Guanténamo Bay and in other lockups in the United
States and throughout the world.
I haven't space here to list all of the apparent comparisons between
then and now, but you can see them for yourself by reading the teacher's
guide mentioned earlier.
My conclusion is that some comparisons between modern times and
Nazi Germany are valid, and some are not. Enough are valid, in my
opinion, however, for us to be wary, and as vigilant as humanly
Whatever happens in this year's election, I would hope that Congress,
the Supreme Court and the president himself start reeling in the
power of the presidency. It has been expanding ever since Franklin
D. Roosevelt, if not before, and now it is way out of proportion
to what the Founding Fathers had in mind for our system of checks
Our current president has the power to turn the world into turmoil
with a mere stroke of the pen. No man should have that much power,
no matter who he is.
In a number of columns written
after George W. Bush's extra-constitutional seizure of powers post
9-11, I pointed out a number of similarities between Bush's GOP
and Hitler's Nazi Party.
The bombast from the usual suspect circles was swift and predictable.
Writing in the neoconservative National Review, Byron York bemoaned
the fact that "Wayne Madsen wrote that Bush is 'borrowing liberally
from Hitler's play book.'" Following the same line, The New
York Post's editorial page editor, arch-neocon propagandist John
Podhoretz, in his new book, Bush Country, whined that when I wrote
about Hitler's oratory skills being light years ahead of Bush's,
I was somehow praising Hitler. This is so typical of the right-wing
attack dogs: ignore the main point and fire off a broadside of false
innuendo. No reasonable historian would deny that Hitler's speechmaking
abilities were far ahead of the syllable-challenged Bush's. Contrasting
the policies of Bush and Hitler following terrorist attacks in their
countries is a legitimate area for historical comparative analysis.
Although Hitler was behind the burning of the Reichstag, he and
Bush virtually tore up their respective constitutions and began
viciously denouncing their political enemies. Both Bush and Hitler
failed in every business venture they started, until, of course,
they became leaders of their countries in questionable elections.
The neocon spin machine continues to defend Bush against charges
that he practices the same sort of reactionary politics embraced
by Hitler. On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, I was asked to defend
Guest Co-host Michael Wolff: But you don't see a legitimate distinction
between Adolf Hitler and George Bush?
Madsen: Well, look, if you look at some of the policies, preemptive
warfare, we know that Hitler did that against Poland. He did it
against France; he did it against the Soviet Union. Trashing the
United Nations, that's what Hitler did to the League of Nations.
Sean Hannity: Don't you see how you're alienating the majority
of the American people with your rhetoric?
Madsen: I don't think so. The way to combat terrorism isn't to
take the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights and shred
it like Mr. Hitler did after the Reichstag fire.
The exchange on Fox was prompted by two television advertisements
likening Bush to Hitler that were submitted in a contest sponsored
by MoveOn.org. Cathy Young, writing an op-ed on behalf of Reason,
a so-called libertarian magazine whose motto is Free Minds and Free
Markets, said comparisons between Bush and Hitler should be retired.
It is interesting that a magazine like Reason would use the phrase
"Free Minds and Free Markets." Considering that Reason
champions the so-called rights of companies over the Lilliputians
of the working class, that motto is not much different from the
sign over the main gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp,
"Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Liberates).
Recently, radio shock jock Howard Stern said the real reason why
the pro-Bush and Dallas-based Clear Channel dropped his nationally-syndicated
morning program from its stations was not because the company was
trying to placate the Federal Communications Commission over offensive
material on the airwaves, but was in response
to his attacking the Nazi and Taliban-like policies of Bush.
Stern also suggested that the fundamentalist right-wingers supporting
Bush were organized into Nazi-like cells. Stern is just one more
in a long list of people who have disagreed with Bush and have faced
the wrath of the Bush storm troopers. Let
us not forget what the creepy management of Clear Channel did when
The Dixie Chicks spoke out against Bush. They banned their songs
from their radio stations and sponsored compact disk smashing events
in the same manner that Hitler's minions banned books and burned
them in huge bonfires around Germany.
John Ashcroft's Gestapo-like Justice Department has engaged in
definite selective prosecutions of those who have openly opposed
Bush's policies or have contributed money to the Democratic Party's
coffers. Take former Illinois Republican Governor George Ryan: Ashcroft's
right-wing prosecutors indicted him after he commuted the death
sentences of Illinois's death row population. Ryan cited police
and prosecutorial misconduct in Chicago and the state capital of
Springfield as a major reason for his decision. Ashcroft and Bush,
both self-anointed born-again Christians, are in love with the death
penalty and championed executions while serving as governors of
their states of Missouri and Texas, respectively. In 2002, a Purim
sermon at a Washington, DC, synagogue suggested Ashcroft was like
Haman, the evil vizier of the Persian King Ahasuerus. Haman,
like Hitler, plotted to annihilate the Jews and the two are often
compared in Jewish liturgies.
And then there is Martha Stewart, a past generous contributor to
Democratic candidates and causes. She was
indicted by Ashcroft's New York feds after she lied about dumping
her Imclone stock in an insider trading deal. Never mind the fact
that Enron's former chairman, Kenneth Lay (affectionately called
"Kenny Boy" by Bush) still walks free despite the fact
that he ripped off billions of dollars from stockholders and employees.
It was hallmark of the Hitler regime to accuse political opponents
of the Nazis of committing economic crimes against the state. The
Nazis charged a number of non-Nazi business leaders with contributing
to Germany's hyper-inflation following World War I. Many were later
arrested and had their property seized. The
Nazis allowed only a few large corporations to flourish, particularly
those that generously contributed to the Nazi cause. Arms manufacturer
Gustav Krupp was won over to the Nazi cause in 1933 when the Nazis
told him that they would increase defense spending to record levels.
For his part, Krupp led an industrial fund called the Adolf Hitler
Spende. The fund collected money for Hitler's election coffers in
return for special treatment for German industries. Ken
Lay, meet Gustav Krupp.
On the subject of Enron, it was Lay and his buddies in Houston
who financially raped California in 2001 by conspiring to raise
the state's electric utility rates to a usurious degree. Who paid
the price when California was plunged into financial ruin? Democratic
Governor Gray Davis, who was recalled in a right-wing financed election
after having served less than a year of his second term. And who
replaced Davis? Self-described Hitler, Nazi, and Kurt Waldheim admirer
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the new Republican Governor of California
whose congressional soul mate, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, wants
to amend the US Constitution to allow an Austrian émigré
like Schwarzenegger to run for president. Where
before have we seen national laws changed to allow a right-wing
Austrian to run for political office in an adopted homeland?
But the neocons still continue to attack those who draw comparisons
between Bush and Hitler. Shamefully, the neocons keep silent as
Mel Gibson releases a big screen version of the Passion plays that
were historically used throughout Europe to fan the flames of anti-Semitism.
Many religious experts have pointed out that Gibson's The Passion
of the Christ will only further exacerbate tense relations between
Christians and non-Christians. Not so, say the evangelical Christians
and their neocon allies—especially those affiliated with the
Catholic right-wing secret society Opus Dei and the New American
Century/American Enterprise Institute crowd. Shamefully, they mimic
the capos of Nazi Germany's concentration camps and keep silent
as Gibson's movie fans the flames of religious intolerance. Worse,
the hallelujah chorus for the extreme right failed to urge Gibson
to condemn his father Hutton's historical revisionist comments that
Germany could not have killed 6 million Jews. "Do you know
what it takes to get rid of a dead body? To cremate it? It takes
a liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million of them? They
[the Germans] did not have the gas to do it. That's why they lost
the war," the elder Gibson told a New York radio show. He then
suggested that many Jewish victims of the Holocaust had actually
emigrated to the United States and Australia.
Yet, GOP radio and television mouthpieces like Sean Hannity, Laura
Ingraham, and Rush Limbaugh defend Mel Gibson's movie while, at
the same time, deride those who would compare what is happening
in the United States now to what occurred in Germany in the early
and mid 1930s. They feel we should just ignore Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Hutton and Mel Gibson, and the foaming-at-the-mouth racists and
xenophobes of evangelical Christendom and right-wing Catholicism.
I, for one, will not ignore what are indisputable signs that the
right wing in the United States has made a sharp turn into the netherworld
of fascism and racial and religious xenophobia.
"Mixing with Blacks was out of the question . . . The Negro
problem, indeed the racial problem in general, is viewed differently
in the industrialized North than in the more agricultural South,
which had drawn a sharp line for centuries between the colored and
Whites." That passage could have been written by any number
of racist Republicans, from Strom Thurmond, to his number one fan
Trent Lott, to Haley Barbour and Sonny Perdue, the neo-Confederate
GOP governors of Mississippi and Georgia, respectively. However,
this interpretation of race relations in the United States was prepared
in 1942 by Hitler's Reichsorganisationsleitung, a Nazi Party propaganda
mill headed by Robert Ley. Haley Barbour, meet Robert Ley.
The GOP is also engaged in a national campaign of gay bashing.
Using gay marriage as a casus belli, the GOP, fronting for the evangelical
Christian Taliban of Ashcroft, Pat Robertson, Bob Jones, and Jerry
Falwell, wants to turn the clock back on the civil liberties and
equal treatment for gays and lesbians. But the GOP, like the Nazis,
is hiding a dark secret. The Nazi youth movement (Wandervogel) was
led by a number of homosexuals, including the sadistic Gerhard Rossbach,
who would lay the groundwork for the Nazi Brown Shirts as a result
of his creation of the post-World War I Freikorps (Free Corps).
Rossbach recruited German Army Captain Ernst Roehm, another homosexual,
into his movement. Roehm would eventually become the leader of the
SA Storm Troopers of the Nazi Party. Many of the early Nazi leaders
in Munich re, in fact, gay. Heinrich Himmler began to see Roehm
and his associates as dangerous to the party. Even Hitler was suspected
of having a homosexual past, especially when he was living the life
of an itinerant on the streets of Vienna. Some of Hitler's followers
formed a secret occult order called the Ordo Novi Templi (Order
of the New Temple).
But even as Roehm and his homosexual colleagues helped extend Nazi
rule in Germany, Hitler, after his ascension to power in 1933, banned
pornography, homosexual bars and bathhouses, and homosexual rights
groups. The Nazi anti-gay laws were only directed against homosexuals
who were opposed to the Nazis, not against those who supported Hitler.
In June 1934, Hitler and his allies ordered the extermination of
Roehm and his SA associates, as well as other political enemies,
on the Night of the Long Knives. One of the chief executioners was
Reinhard Heydrich, one of Hitler's top advisers, who was also a
Fast forward to today. Although Bush and his evangelical allies
condemn homosexuality, the ranks of the Bush's brain trust are rife
with gays who support the gay bashing agenda of the GOP. It should
be pointed out that these ranks do not include the moderate Long
Cabin Republicans, a moderate Republican gay advocacy group. From
Bush's fraternity Skull and Bones, to Bush "best friend"
and fellow Skull and Bonesman Victor Ashe, the former Mayor of Knoxville,
Tennessee; to Karl Rove; to Bush's successor as Governor of Texas,
Rick Perry; to other Republican politicians in Texas, to some of
Bush's top ideological advisers and media cheerleaders, rumors are
swirling about homoerotic fraternity initiations, secretive trysts,
sudden divorce filings, and tropical island getaways. Skull and
Bones, meet the Order of the New Temple.
Germany's Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was often said
to be the friendly face of Nazism. A frequent guest at Europe's
high society dinner parties, Ribbentrop would brush aside fears
about Germany's ambitions, including its imperial designs on its
European neighbors. Colin Powell, who has been called the "good
cop" in the Bush administration's crowd of "bad cops,"
permitted his right-wing Latin America assistant, Roger Noriega,
a former chief of staff to Sen. Jesse Helms, to strong-arm and hoodwink
Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide into accepting a peace
agreement that the brutish Haitian opposition, armed and supported
by the Bush administration, had no intention of signing. Noriega's
machination was supported by his predecessor, Otto Reich [sic],
who serves as Condoleezza Rice's National Security Council point
man for Latin America. After Aristide was napped at his home at
gunpoint by U.S. troops accompanied by US Deputy Chief of Mission
Luis Moreno and flown on an American plane to house arrest in the
Central African Republic, the democratically-elected Haitian president
proclaimed that his removal was unconstitutional and had been forced
out by Washington. In 1936, beleaguered and exiled Ethiopian Emperor
Haile Selassie appeared before the League of Nations in Switzerland
to condemn its inaction over the Italian Fascist invasion of his
country. "God and history will remember your judgment,"
Selassie told the League. Colin Powell, meet Joachim von Ribbentrop.
Yes, there certainly are many comparisons between the policies
of Bush and Hitler. More astounding is the fact that Bush's grandfather,
Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut, was an investor in Nazi businesses
and industries during World War II. No wonder his son, George H.
W. Bush was urged to sign up as the youngest Navy pilot to fight
the Japanese in the Pacific! Pursuant to the Trading With the Enemy
Act, Prescott Bush had his assets seized during World War II. They
included interests in Union Banking Corporation, Holland American
Trading Corporation, Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation, and the
Silesian-American Corporation (a joint operation between Prescott
and his father-in-law George Herbert Walker). Silesian-American
would pressgang slave laborers from the Polish town of Oswiecim,
the future home of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
The similarities between the Bush and Nazi
gangs are unmistakable. The list of those who see the similarities
grows every day. The latest on the list is Howard Stern.
He joins former German Justice Minister Herta Daubler-Gmelin, CBS's
Hitler: The Rise of Evil miniseries' director Ed Gernon, financier
George Soros, filmmaker Michael Moore, actress and comedienne Janeane
Garofolo, German author and TV moderator Franz Alt, playwright Harold
Pinter, Cuban President Fidel Castro, former South African President
Nelson Mandela, "Boondocks" cartoonist Aaron McGruder,
retired Western Michigan University English professor Edward Jayne,
columnist Nicholas von Hoffman, author John Pilger, and Mexican
writer Carlos Fuentes in comparing Bush's policies and antics to
those of Hitler. I am proud to have my views associated with those
of such visionary luminaries.
During the 1930s, the famous writer H.G. Wells
was rebuked by the conservatives of his day for comparing Hitler
to Caesar and suggesting that Hitler was a "certifiable lunatic."
Weht on the money. Those of us who see a creeping fascism with Bush
and his cronies will, one day, be vindicated by the muses of history.
"What no one seemed
to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was
the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the
people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with,
here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know it doesn't
make people close to their government to be told that this is a
people's government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian
defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to
do with knowing one is governing.
"What happened here was the gradual habituation
of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise;
to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that
the situation was so complicated that the government had to act
on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous
that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released
because of national security. And their sense of identification
with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap
and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.
"This separation of government from people,
this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly,
each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary
emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or
with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real
reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow
motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter
"You will understand me when I say that my Middle High German
was my life. It was all I cared about. I was a scholar, a specialist.
Then, suddenly, I was plunged into all the new activity, as the
universe was drawn into the new situation; meetings, conferences,
interviews, ceremonies, and, above all, papers to be filled out,
reports, bibliographies, lists, questionnaires. And on top of that
were the demands in the community, the things in which one had to,
was "expected to" participate that had not been there
or had not been important before. It was all rigmarole, of course,
but it consumed all one's energies, coming on top of the work one
really wanted to do. You can see how easy it was, then, not to think
about fundamental things. One had no time."
"Those," I said, "are the words of my friend the
baker. "One had no time to think. There was so much going on."
"Your friend the baker was right," said my colleague.
"The dictatorship, and the whole process
of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It
provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think
anyway. I do not speak of your "little men", your
baker and so on; I speak of my colleagues and myself, learned men,
mind you. Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things
and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful,
fundamental things to think about - we were
decent people - and kept us so busy with continuous changes and
"crises" and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations
of the "national enemies", without and within, that we
had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing,
little by little, all around us. Unconsciously,
I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?
"To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice
it - please try to believe me - unless one has a much greater degree
of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion
to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential,
so well explained or, on occasion, "regretted," that,
unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning,
unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what
all these "little measures" that no "patriotic German"
could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing
from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing.
One day it is over his head.
"How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly
educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even
now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that
pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice - "Resist
the beginnings" and "consider the end." But one must
foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings.
One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to
be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things
might have changed here before they went as far as they did; they
didn't, but they might have. And everyone counts on that might.
"Your "little men," your Nazi friends, were not
against National Socialism in principle. Men like me, who were,
are the greater offenders, not because we knew better (that would
be too much to say) but because we sensed better. Pastor Niemoller
spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke
(too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked
the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not
a Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked the Socialists,
and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist,
and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and
so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And
then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did
something - but then it was too late."
"Yes," I said.
"You see," my colleague went on, "one doesn't see
exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act,
each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse.
You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking
occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join
with you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even to
talk, alone; you don't want to "go out of your way to make
trouble." Why not? - Well, you are not in the habit of doing
it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains
you; it is also genuine uncertainty.
"Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing
as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general
community, everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly
sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against
the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside
the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university
community, in your own community, you speak
privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you
do; but what do they say? They say, "It's not so bad"
or "You're seeing things" or "You're an alarmist."
"And you are an alarmist. You are saying
that this must lead to this, and you can't prove it. These are the
beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don't know
the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On
the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate
you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic
or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are,
naturally, people who have always thought as you have.
"But your friends are fewer now. Some have drifted off somewhere
or submerged themselves in their work. You no longer see as many
as you did at meetings or gatherings. Informal groups become smaller;
attendance drops off in little organizations, and the organizations
themselves wither. Now, in small gatherings of your oldest friends,
you feel that you are talking to yourselves, that you are isolated
from the reality of things. This weakens your confidence still further
and serves as a further deterrent to – to what? It is clearer
all the time that, if you are going to do anything, you must make
an occasion to do it, and then you are obviously a troublemaker.
So you wait, and you wait.
"But the one great shocking occasion,
when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes.
That's the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime
had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands,
yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked – if, let
us say, the gassing of the Jews in "43" had come immediately
after the "German Firm" stickers on the windows of non-Jewish
shops in "33". But of course
this isn't the way it happens. In
between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible,
each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C
is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand
at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.
"And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever
sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self deception
has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little
boy, hardly more than a baby, saying "Jew swine," collapses
it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed
and changed completely under your nose. 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.
"You have gone almost all the way yourself. Life is a continuing
process, a flow, not a succession of acts and events at all. It
has flowed to a new level, carrying you with it, without any effort
on your part. On this new level you live,
you have been living more comfortably every day, with new morals,
new principles. You have accepted things you would not have accepted
five years ago, a year ago, things that your father, even in Germany,
could not have imagined.
"Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you
are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven't done
( for that was all that was required of most of us: that we do nothing).
You remember those early meetings of your department in the university
when, if one had stood, others would have stood, perhaps, but no
one stood. A small matter, a matter of hiring this man or that,
and you hired this one rather than that. You remember everything
now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You
are compromised beyond repair.
"What then? You must then shoot yourself. A few did. Or "adjust"
your principles. Many tried, and some, I suppose, succeeded; not
I, however. Or learn to live the rest of your life with your shame.
This last is the nearest there is, under the circumstances, to heroism:
shame. Many Germans became this poor kind of hero, many more, I
think, than the world knows or cares to know."
I said nothing. I thought of nothing to say.
"I can tell you," my colleague went on, "of a man
in Leipzig, a judge. He was not a Nazi, except nominally, but he
certainly wasn't an anti-Nazi. He was just – a judge. In "42"
or "43", early "43", I think it was, a Jew was
tried before him in a case involving, but only incidentally, relations
with an "Aryan" woman. This was "race injury",
something the Party was especially anxious to punish. In the case
a bar, however, the judge had the power to convict the man of a
"nonracial" offense and send him to an ordinary prison
for a very long term, thus saving him from Party "processing"
which would have meant concentration camp or, more probably, deportation
and death. But the man was innocent of the "nonracial"
charge, in the judge's opinion, and so, as an honorable judge, he
acquitted him. Of course, the Party seized the Jew as soon as he
left the courtroom."
"And the judge?"
"Yes, the judge. He could not get the case off his conscience
– a case, mind you, in which he had acquitted an innocent
man. He thought that he should have convicted him and saved him
from the Party, but how could he have convicted an innocent man?
The thing preyed on him more and more, and he had to talk about
it, first to his family, then to his friends, and then to acquaintances.
(That's how I heard about it.) After the "44" Putsch they
arrested him. After that, I don't know."
I said nothing.
"Once the war began," my colleague continued, "resistance,
protest, criticism, complaint, all carried with them a multiplied
likelihood of the greatest punishment. Mere lack of enthusiasm,
or failure to show it in public, was "defeatism." You
assumed that there were lists of those who would be "dealt
with" later, after the victory. Goebbels was very clever here,
too. He continually promised a "victory orgy" to "take
care of" those who thought that their "treasonable attitude"
had escaped notice. And he meant it; that was not just propaganda.
And that was enough to put an end to all uncertainty.
"Once the war began, the government
could do anything "necessary" to win it; so it was with
the "final solution" of the Jewish problem, which the
Nazis always talked about but never dared undertake, not even the
Nazis, until war and its "necessities" gave them the knowledge
that they could get away with it. The
people abroad who thought that war against Hitler would help the
Jews were wrong. And the people in Germany who, once the war had
begun, still thought of complaining, protesting, resisting, were
betting on Germany's losing the war. It was a long bet. Not many
"Creators Syndicate" -- While enjoying
Christmas, good food and drink with family and friends in the warmth
and comfort of your home, take a moment to remember the falsely
imprisoned. Think about how your own family would handle the grief,
because wrongful imprisonment can happen to you.
In a just published book, Thinking About Crime, Michael Tonry,
a distinguished American law professor and director of Cambridge
University’s Institute of Criminology, reports that the
US has the highest percentage of its population in prison of any
country on earth. The US incarceration
rate is as much as 12 times higher than that of European countries.
Unless you believe that Americans are more criminally inclined
than other humans, what can explain the US incarceration rate being
so far outside the international mainstream? I can think of the
- In order to prove that they are "tough on crime,"
politicians have criminalized behavior that is legal elsewhere.
- Many innocent Americans are in jail.
There is enormous evidence backing up both reasons.
Professor Tonry notes that during the past
three decades the number of Americans in prison has increased 700%.
Imprisonment has far outstripped the growth in the population. Subtracting
children and the elderly, one in eighty Americans of prison eligible
age is locked up.
America’s privatized prisons have to be fed with inmates
in order to maintain their profitability. Prosecutors need high
conviction rates to justify their budgets and to build their careers.
Taken together these two facts create powerful incentives to put
people away regardless of crime, innocence or guilt.
Consider the case of Charles Thomas Sell as recently told by Carolyn
Tuft of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and by Phyllis Schlafly on TownHall
(Dec. 13). Mr. Sell, a dentist, has been locked up for almost 8
years without a trial. Allegedly, Sell is guilty of Medicare fraud,
but with no evidence or witnesses against him, the virtuous, just,
democratic, moral US government tortured Mr. Sell in an effort to
make him confess. Now they can’t bring him to trial where
he will talk. So Mr. Sell is kept locked up under the pretense that
his unwillingness to admit his guilt is evidence that he is mentally
Schlafly asks the correct question: "Is
there no accountability for this type of government misconduct?"
The answer is NO. Mr. Sell might as
well be in Stalin’s Gulag or in the hands of the Waffen SS
or US captors at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. No one will do
anything about the crime that the US government has committed against
No one will do anything to help William R. Strong, Jr., another
victim of our heartless injustice system. Strong has been in a Virginia
prison for a decade on false charges of "wife rape." Mr.
Strong has been trying to get a DNA test, confident that the semen
in the perk test is not his but that of the lover of his unfaithful
wife. But since Strong was convicted prior
to the advent of DNA testing, prosecutors argue that he has no right
to the evidence.
Another innocent victim of "Virginia justice" is Chris
Gaynor, who my investigations indicate was framed by a corrupt prosecutor
with the connivance of a corrupt judge, who intimidated Gaynor’s
witnesses by jailing one of them. Only liars were permitted on the
witness stand. I brought the facts to light in the newspapers at
the time, but the Arlington, Virginia, criminal injustice system
did not let facts interfere with its show trial.
Government routinely breaks the laws. So says Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
in the current issue of Cato Policy Report and in his book, Constitutional
Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws. Judge
Napolitano reports on cases of torture, psychological abuse, and
frame-ups of innocents that he discovered as the presiding judge.
Any American naïve enough to trust the police and prosecutors
should read what Napolitano has to say.
Torture has become routine in American prisons.
The goal of the torturers is guilty pleas and false testimony against
innocent defendants. The torturers succeed. Napolitano reports that
"fewer than 3 percent of federal indictments were tried; virtually
all the rest of those charged pled guilty."
Does anyone seriously believe that the police are
so efficient that 97 out of 100 people indicted are guilty?!
The cherished code, "you are innocent until proven guilty,"
no longer holds in America. You are guilty when charged. You will
be tortured or abused and threatened with more charges until you
agree to a plea bargain.
Diane Lori Kleiman is an attorney who has worked in a district
attorney’s office and for the Treasury Department’s
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. She says prosecutors have
little concern with real crimes, preferring to target high-profile
individuals in order to garner headlines and create a political
career for themselves. Martha Stewart is a victim of prosecutorial
ambition as was Michael Milken, whose false imprisonment created
a political career for Rudy Giuliani.
Kleiman says that prosecutors look for high-profile
targets. "It isn’t necessarily an issue of right and
wrong. It’s an issue of taking the case to trial and getting
the publicity. That makes your career."
The Martha Stewart case, Kleiman says, "is the first time
in history where they charged an individual with false statements,
without her signing the statement or without a tape recording that
she even made the statement. And not under oath." Kleiman is
referring to US history, not Soviet or Nazi history, histories that
our criminal injustice system now mimics.
The US criminal justice system is bereft of justice and accountability.
It only serves the ambitions of prosecutors. In
America, criminal "justice" operates like a Stalin-era
street sweep in which hapless citizens instantly became "enemies
of the people" simply by being arrested.
Dr. Roberts is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political
Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is
a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing
editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of
the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
"I want to go to trial on Monday; I've
been locked up for nearly eight years," declared Charles Thomas
Sell. "The federal court has no evidence, they have no witnesses.
I want my trial one week from today. I am not incompetent in any
way, shape or form."
His statements rang true to bystanders attending his hearing on
Nov. 22 in the federal courthouse in St. Louis. Whatever happened
to the right of an accused to have a speedy trial?
Once a successful dentist in St. Louis County who treated many
indigent patients, Sell was accused of Medicaid fraud in 1997. Although
he has never hurt anyone, and a federal court held that he poses
no danger to those around him, prison officials frequently placed
him in solitary confinement for periods that totaled nearly two
Prison officials tried to drug Sell, allegedly
to make him fit for trial, and lower courts ruled in favor of mandatory
drugging of this non-convicted, non-dangerous, nonviolent prisoner.
The federal government fought all the way
to the U.S. Supreme Court for the power to forcibly drug Sell and,
even though it lost its case there, the government continued to
imprison and prevent him from receiving proper medical care.
The forced medication was designed to correct Sell's
attitude toward the government. Sell seemed to think the government
was out to get him, and the government wanted to drug him to get
him to change his mind.
Is this occurring in the United States of America?
Psychiatrists were frequently employed by the Soviet Union to cover
up atrocities and silence critics, but U.S. veterans who fought
against the Communists in Korea and Vietnam never expected such
tactics to be used by their own government.
Earlier this year, a government psychologist declared Sell mentally
fit for trial. Apparently, that medical opinion was unsatisfactory
to Sell's persecutors, and to everyone's surprise that government
psychologist reversed his diagnosis without re-examining him, and
declared Sell unfit for trial.
An independent psychiatrist then confirmed Sell's
own view that he was fit for trial, and the court agreed and scheduled
a trial for Nov. 29. But on Nov. 22, lawyers insisted Sell was not
ready for trial and persuaded a judge to cancel it.
The lawyers argued that Sell is not competent to stand trial because
he insists on talking about the abuse he has suffered in prison,
abuse that could be proved by prison videos the government is keeping
secret. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons filed
a motion for the court to release these tapes, and the St. Louis
Post-Dispatch also intervened to demand their public release.
But it appears that the government is doing everything it can to
prevent a trial of Sell that would expose the record of this case.
In investigative reporting worthy of a Pulitzer
Prize, Carolyn Tuft of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed on Nov.
23 some of the evidence on the still-secret videos. She reported
that two videotapes of Sell show him being stripped, scalded, humiliated
and brutalized in a way that sounds shockingly similar to the abuse
of inmates by their U.S. captors at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Is there no accountability for this type of government misconduct?
Instead of investigating and punishing the wrongdoers, federal officials
are moving heaven and earth to avoid a public trial that could expose
the tapes and the fact that a man has been held in prison so long
The only one in the courtroom making any sense at what should have
been the final hearing before trial was Sell himself, who stood
up to assert his constitutional rights. His plea was to no avail,
as the judge ordered him shipped to North Carolina for yet another
examination by a government psychiatrist.
By now Sell knows the game all too well, and he announced in open
court that he would not submit to another sham mental evaluation.
Nevertheless, he will be transported cross-country to find another
government psychiatrist to deliver the desired diagnosis to save
officials from public scrutiny.
We've all seen the pictures of Abu Ghraib,
so why can't we see pictures of prisoner abuse in the federal prison
at Springfield, Mo.? Congress should demand the immediate
release of the shocking videos showing the mistreatment of Sell
and also order a full accounting of the taxpayers' money spent by
the government to keep a man in prison nearly eight years without
Country singer Chely Wright said yesterday
she was dismissing the head of her fan club and shutting down a
team of volunteers after The Tennessean learned that some of them
posed as members of the military or their families to promote her
Seventeen members of a handpicked team of fans contacted radio
stations around the country asking for more airplay for Wright's
pro-military ballad, The Bumper of My SUV. It
was all part of an organized campaign by leaders of the fan club
who encouraged the team to do such things as ''tell 'em your husband
is a marine — whatever it takes.''
After Wright learned that The Tennessean intended to publish an
article about the campaign in today's newspaper, she issued a statement
saying that she had dismissed Chuck Walter, a longtime friend who
has headed her fan club since 1996.
Wright said she was ''shocked, saddened and deeply upset by this
unethical behavior.'' She said Walter was ''an unpaid volunteer
who acted without my knowledge or direction.'' [...]
The success of Bumper has been a bit unusual compared with the
way things generally go in country music.
Last week the song was listed by Billboard magazine as the second
fastest-selling single in country music even though Wright no longer
has a deal with a major record label. The promotional power of a
major label is usually essential in getting sales as well as radio
The Bumper of My SUV is being distributed independently and the
song has appeared to be getting unusual grass-roots support. Some
radio stations have reported lots of calls and e-mails from listeners
who want to hear Bumper played — including members of the
military and their families.
Last week The Tennessean learned that many
of those calls and e-mails were coming from a team of 17 fan club
members who were encouraged to pose as either members of the armed
forces or their spouses and contact radio stations around the country
asking for the song to be played. Increased airplay not only
can move a song up the Billboard charts, resulting in publicity,
but also can acquaint more people with the song and bring additional
record sales. [...]
Contacted Friday in New York where he works on Wall Street, Walter
initially said there was no effort to get fans to call radio stations
on behalf of The Bumper of My SUV. Later he acknowledged the campaign
but said it was ''normal for any song.''
Many record labels mobilize fans to call
and e-mail radio stations to request songs. [...]
The Bumper of My SUV, which was written by Wright, tells how she
was driving down West End Avenue in Nashville in her SUV when someone
saw her bumper sticker supporting the troops and made an obscene
gesture. The song calls for support of the troops no matter what
a person thinks of the war in Iraq. [...]
John Sebastian, programmer at country station WSM-FM 95.5 in Nashville,
said Thursday that Bumper has generated a lot of caller interest
in recent weeks. He also said he believed the fan reaction was sincere.
''We had people crying on the phone, saying that
it resonated with them,'' he said, adding that listeners told him
of ''their brother or their boyfriend or their father or their husband''
in the military.
Hoffpauir said she was given a prepaid calling card and instructions
on how to mask calls by hitting a code on her telephone keypad so
radio stations wouldn't know she was calling from out of state.
''They also gave us tips on how to be more
successful with DJs, so we didn't get caught. If you were calling
Seattle, let's say, you'd go to Map Quest, find the address of a
Home Depot and tell the DJ you worked there, little tricks,'' Hoffpauir
FORT SILL, Okla. - It's a sweltering 90 degrees
and soldiers Kevin Messmer and Kroften Owen are hunched in a rubble-strewn
apartment. Peering from a window to avoid sniper fire, they see
a bustling Iraqi city.
Binoculars pressed to his face, Messmer surveys the view and finds
what he's looking for just across the river, an insurgent stronghold
near a mosque's towering minarets. He whispers coordinates to Owen,
who in turns calls them into a radio.
A crackling streak of artillery fire arrives seconds later, shaking
the room as the bomb annihilates the target in a thunderous cloud
of thick, black smoke.
The mission is a success. Except the mission doesn't really exist.
2nd Lts. Messmer, 24, and Owen, 23, of the 3rd
Battalion, 30th Field Artillery Regiment, are among the first troops
to use a new breed of military simulator that's part video game/part
Hollywood sound stage with a serious dose of theme park thrill.
The apartment setting is all about creating the illusion of urban
warfare — in a way that stimulates the senses.
Littered with chunks of brown plaster and other debris, the room
is decorated in a decidedly Middle-Eastern manner. A picture hangs
sideways on one wall, the smashed remnants of a small vase lie on
a small circular table near the kitchen area. Like a Broadway show,
walls and other set pieces can be swapped out as the training merits.
Hidden speakers envelop the set, located in a shopping center-sized
building, with sound effects both subtle (barking dogs) and earsplitting
(bombs). And the window? It's really an oversized display screen
showing an artificial cityscape with high-resolution computer graphics.
The so-called "Urban Terrain Module"
where Messmer, of Wabash, Ind., and Owen, of Philadelphia, had their
multimedia immersion training is a one-of-a-kind facility, part
of the Army's Joint Fires and Effects Trainer System, or JFETS.
Across a darkened hallway is the Outdoor Terrain Module. It's a
room with a sandy floor on which a parked Humvee faces an oversized
movie screen. Soldiers see a computerized desert landscape. In this
environment, too, the training is in how to precisely call in artillery
Since the center went live in September, more than 300 officers
have trained at the compound, whose evolution is key to a larger
Defense Department strategy to give future members of all military
branches the ability to better synchronize artillery, air support
and other weaponry on the battlefield.
The multimillion dollar system's origins go back to 1999, when
the Army first partnered with a unique consortium of educators,
video game makers and entertainment companies called the Institute
for Creative Technologies. The goal: combine the expertise of these
seemingly disparate fields to create synthetic environments that
mimic actual wartime situations. [...]
Back at the urban-training stage, Rick Bleau directs the action
from a control room hidden behind a sliding door.
Sitting at his office chair behind a bank of flat-screen computer
monitors, Bleau can tweak environmental factors, such as level of
sunlight, wind speed and temperature (between 50 and 100 degrees
He can track soldiers' movements (their helmets have built-in motion
sensing cameras) and invoke more malevolent commands, too. Anyone
who keeps their head in the window for too long can expect to hear
the whiz-pop of a sniper's incoming bullet.
"We've had a lot of soldiers coming
back from Iraq who say it's too real. The only thing we don't have
is the smell," says Bleau, a civilian government subcontractor
whose company manages the computer systems. "We're working
They'll certainly have the resources. Last
month, the Army extended its contract with the ICT in a five-year
deal worth $100 million.
The ICT, located at the University of Southern California in Marina
Del Ray, Calif., has collaborated with the Army on other projects.
The most well-known is the squad-based training program, "Full
A commercial version of the program, based
on training from the infantry school at Fort Benning, Ga., was released
to critical acclaim as a video game for the Xbox console this summer.
speech at the “Herzliya Conference”, an annual gathering
of Israel’s financial, political and academic aristocracy,
proved again his wondrous ability to conjure up an imaginary world
and divert attention away from the real one. Like every successful
con-man, he knows that the audience desperately wants to believe
good tidings and will be happy to ignore bad ones.
It was an optimistic message, as the bewitched commentators proclaimed.
According to him, we are on our way to paradise, 2005 will be a
year of tremendous progress in all fields and all our problems will
Most of the speech was devoted to his fabulous achievements since
he launched, at the same conference a year ago, the “Unilateral
This (in my own free translation) is what
he said: America is in our pocket.
President Bush supports all of Sharon’s positions, including
those that are diametrically opposed to Bush’s own former
positions. Europe has resigned itself to him. The Great of the World
are standing in line to visit us, starting with Tony Blair. Egypt
and the other Arab states are cosying up to us. Our international
position has improved beyond recognition. The economy is advancing
by leaps and bounds, our society is flourishing. Apart from the
right-wing lunatic fringe, there is no opposition left. The Labor
Party is joining the government and will support all its steps.
(He somehow forgot to mention Yossi Beilin’s Yahad party,
which, too, has promised him an “iron bridge”.)
Sharon has achieved all this solely by talking. His words have
not been accompanied, up to now, by even one single action on the
ground. There is no certainty that Sharon really intends to implement
the “disengagement” at all. His
intentions can be defined as follows:
(1) If it is possible to avoid the implementation
of the plan altogether, especially the evacuation of settlements,
without losing the sympathy of the world and the Israeli public,
(2) If there is no alternative and implementation
must start - everything must be done to drag out the matter, and
especially the evacuation of settlements, for as long as possible.
Evacuate one settlement and rest. Evacuate another one and rest
again. It should take years.
(3) Either way, the disengagement should not
change the plans concerning the West Bank.
And in the meantime: In the Gaza Strip,
from which Sharon is supposed to “disengage”, the Israeli
army is in action every single day and night, killing from three
to ten Palestinians every 24 hours. Houses are being destroyed
wholesale. Some of the atrocities committed by the army have shocked
the Israeli public. Not one single settler
has been removed. On the contrary, new settlers have still been
All this does not point to any real determination to implement
the promised disengagement. Sharon’s actions on the West Bank,
on the other hand, show a solid determination to implement his plan
In the West Bank, the occupation has intensified . The cruel checkpoints
continue to prevent any possibility of normal life. The photo showing
a Palestinian violinist compelled to play for the soldiers at a
roadblock has evoked terrible memories in the minds of many Israelis.
The building of the annexation-wall goes on, with a few changes
of the route to placate the Israeli court, while disregarding the
decision of the International Court. The settlers uproot Palestinian
olive groves in order to build new neighborhoods in their place.
Settlements are being expanded all over the West Bank, a network
of “Jews Only” roads is being built, more “illegal”
outposts come into being under army protection and with the tacit
help of all relevant ministries. Plenty of money flows into these
projects, while pensions are being cut and sick people lie around
in the corridors of the hospitals.
Is this how a statesman with a vision of peace acts? He behaves
more like a doctor who treats the hand of a patient while sticking
a knife into his belly.
All this is happening while the world gives Sharon enthusiastic
support, solely on the strength of his talking. As long as he holds
forth on the “disengagement”, he can pretty much do
on the ground whatever he fancies.
David Ben-Gurion once said: “It is not important
what the Gentiles say, what is important is what the Jews do.”
Sharon’s version is: “It is not important what we say,
what is important is what we do.”
The most important part of the speech was the part
that was not there. There was no peace offer to the Palestinians.
He did not talk about peace at all.
Throughout the world, the conviction is spreading
that there now exists a “window of opportunity”, that
this is the time for a new, redeeming peace initiative. Indeed,
Sharon mentioned with great satisfaction that Yasser Arafat is dead
and that there is now a chance for the emergence of a “moderate
Palestinian leadership”. So what did he offer this moderate
leadership in his speech?
Not a thing.
He hinted vaguely at “long-term arrangements”. Meaning:
more interim agreements on top of the existing interim agreements,
whose sole aim is to push a real peace agreement beyond the horizon.
It emerges from his speech that Israel will retain forever not only
the “large settlement blocks”, but also “areas
essential to our security”. Which areas could he mean? This
is well-known: the Jordan valley and the other territories designed
in the Oslo agreements as “Area C”. The final result
of the “Disengagement Plan” will therefore be the annexation
of 58% of the West Bank to Israel, as Sharon has wanted all along.
The Palestinians will retain, under this plan,
10-12% of pre-1948 Palestine, including the Gaza Strip (which is
a mere 1.5% of the country). Sharon’s “Palestinian State”
will consist of a number of enclaves cut off from the world. That
is what he means when he talks about “the end of the occupation”,
making “very painful concessions” and “our unwillingness
to rule over another people”, words that have attracted widespread
To rule out any doubt, Binyamin Netanyahu, too, outlined in his
speech at the conference the future borders between us and the Palestinians:
“Not the Green Line and not even close to the Green Line.”
Nobody is offering the new Palestinian leadership peace negotiations.
At most, some coordination of the steps leading to the withdrawal
from Gaza. What else? The Minister of Defense, Shaul Mofaz, promised
in his speech at the conference that the army would leave the Palestinian
towns “for 72 hours” for the elections. Between roadblock
and checkpoint, between one “targeted liquidation” and
the next, Palestinian democracy will flourish for three days.
Sharon boasted that for all practical purposes the army has already
vanquished terrorism. That was said a few days after the Palestinians,
in a commando action that elicited some silent admiration even from
the army, succeeded in destroying an entire army outpost on the
“Philadelphi Axis” by detonating a huge amount of explosives
in a tunnel dug beneath it and storming the remains. (This did not
cause too much excitement in Israel, because all the five soldiers
killed were Arabs, mostly Bedouin volunteers from among the state’s
For the time being, the number of violent attacks on Israeli citizens
has indeed fallen, but mainly because of Abu Mazen’s efforts.
This may well continue for some time, as long as the Palestinian
public has some hope of seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
As soon as they lose this hope, they will give the green light to
a new wave of attacks.
Sharon promises Israelis a wonderful year, a year of security and
tranquility, economic growth and social progress. There is no chance
of this coming about as long as he is blocking the road to peace
and keeps the peace process “in formalin”, as described
by his closest advisor.
European leaders talk about making a huge donation to the Palestinian
authority after the election of Abu Mazen. This is an illusion as
old as Zionism itself: that the Palestinian people – or any
other people fighting for its freedom, for that matter - can be
bought off and will give up its land and independence for a mess
If the money is not accompanied by a massive European intervention
for the speedy termination of the occupation and the attainment
of a permanent Israeli-Palestinian solution, the mountain (as the
ancient saying goes) will give birth to a mouse.
The United States has raised
concerns about arms sales to China with Israel but has not demanded
the resignation of any Israeli official over reported transfers
of sensitive weapons or technology to Beijing, a Pentagon spokesman
The spokesman would not comment specifically on a report by an
Israeli television channel that Washington was angered because Israel
took back a sensitive weapon system for upgrading that it had sold
to China in the mid 1990s.
Israel's Channel Two television said the Pentagon had demanded
the dismissal of Israeli Defense Ministry director general Amos
Yaron over the deal.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said any differences between the
United States and Israel were "based on policy not personalities."
"Any suggestion or accusation that anyone at the US Defense
Department demanded the resignation of anybody in the Israeli government
would simply be wrong," he told AFP.
"The United States Defense Department is not in a position
to dictate to other countries who their officials should be. So
that aspect of this story that I have seen is false," he said.
He acknowledged, however, longstanding US concerns about the sale
and transfer of weapons systems or certain technologies to China.
"And we continue to raise those concerns with our allies and
our friends, and we look for them to take responsible approaches
to arms sales to China," he said.
Whitman said the United States had held discussions about its concerns
with Israel as well as with the European Union, which is under pressure
from France and Germany to lift a 15-year-old embargo on military
sales to China.
US concerns center on the threat that China's military modernization
program poses to US forces in the Taiwan Straits as well as its
efforts to modernize its nuclear arsenal and its growing inventory
of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, he said.
He noted Israel's cancelation in 2000 of a planned sale of its
Phalcon early warning radar to China after Washington objected.
"We continue to enjoy a strong bilateral relationship and
where we have concerns, because our relationship is strong, we are
able to express it in a very open and forthright manner," he
Hypocrisy in Ukraine
| HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
BEFORE THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE
December 7, 2004
Mr. Chairman: President Bush
said last week that, "Any election (in Ukraine), if there is
one, ought to be free from any foreign influence." I agree
with the president wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, it seems that
several US government agencies saw things differently and sent US
taxpayer dollars into Ukraine in an attempt to influence the outcome.
We do not know exactly how many millions - or tens of millions
- of dollars the United States government spent on the presidential
election in Ukraine. We do know that much of that money was targeted
to assist one particular candidate, and that through a series of
cut-out non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - both American and
Ukrainian - millions of dollars ended up in support of the presidential
candidate, Viktor Yushchenko.
Let me add that I do not think we should be supporting either of
the candidates. While I am certainly no supporter of Viktor Yushchenko,
I am not a supporter of his opponent, Viktor Yanukovich, either.
Simply, it is none of our business who the Ukrainian people select
to be their president. And, if they feel the vote was not fair,
it is up to them to work it out.
How did this one-sided US funding in Ukraine come about? While
I am afraid we may have seen only the tip of the iceberg, one part
that we do know thus far is that the US government, through the
US Agency for International Development (USAID), granted millions
of dollars to the Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative
(PAUCI), which is administered by the US-based Freedom House.
PAUCI then sent US Government funds to numerous Ukrainian non-governmental
organizations (NGOs). This would be bad enough and would in itself
constitute meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.
But, what is worse is that many of these grantee organizations in
Ukraine are blatantly in favor of presidential candidate Viktor
Consider the Ukrainian NGO International Centre for Policy Studies.
It is an organization funded by the US Government through PAUCI,
but on its website you will find that the front page in the English
section features a prominent orange ribbon, the symbol of Yushchenko’s
party and movement. Reading further on, we discover that this NGO
was founded by George Soros’s Open Society Institute. And
further on we can see that Viktor Yushchenko himself sits on the
And this NGO is not the only one the US government funds that is
openly supportive of Viktor Yushchenko. The Western Ukraine Regional
Training Center, as another example, features a prominent USAID
logo on one side of its website’s front page and an orange
ribbon of the candidate Yushchenko’s party and movement on
the other. By their proximity, the message to Ukrainian readers
is clear: the US government supports Yushchenko.
The Center for Political and Law Reforms, another Ukrainian NGO
funded by the US government, features a link at the top of its website’s
front page to Viktor Yushchenko’s personal website. Yushchenko’s
picture is at the top of this US government funded website.
This May, the Virginia-based private management consultancy Development
Associates, Inc., was awarded $100 million by the US government
“for strengthening national legislatures and other deliberative
bodies worldwide.” According to the organization’s website,
several million dollars from this went to Ukraine in advance of
As I have said, this may only be the tip of the iceberg. There
may be many more such organizations involved in this twisted tale.
It is clear that a significant amount of US taxpayer dollars went
to support one candidate in Ukraine. Recall how most of us felt
when it became known that the Chinese government was trying to funnel
campaign funding to a US presidential campaign. This foreign funding
of American elections is rightly illegal. Yet, it appears that that
is exactly what we are doing abroad. What we do not know, however,
is just how much US government money was spent to influence the
outcome of the Ukrainian election.
Dozens of organizations are granted funds under the PAUCI program
alone, and this is only one of many programs that funneled dollars
into Ukraine. We do not know how many millions of US taxpayer dollars
the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) sent to Ukraine through
NED’s National Democratic Institute and International Republican
Institute. Nor do we know how many other efforts, overt or covert,
have been made to support one candidate over the other in Ukraine.
That is what I find so disturbing: there are so many cut-out organizations
and sub-grantees that we have no idea how much US government money
was really spent on Ukraine, and most importantly how it was spent.
Perhaps the several examples of blatant partisan support that we
have been able to uncover are but an anomaly. I believe Congress
and the American taxpayers have a right to know. I believe we urgently
need an investigation by the Government Accounting Office into how
much US government money was spent in Ukraine and exactly how it
was spent. I would hope very much for the support of Chairman Hyde,
Chairman Lugar, Deputy Assistant Secretary Tefft, and my colleagues
on the Committee in this request.
President Bush is absolutely correct: elections in Ukraine should
be free of foreign influence. It is our job here and now to discover
just how far we have violated this very important principle, and
to cease any funding of political candidates or campaigns henceforth.
| Once it became clear some months
ago that Saddam Hussein had been telling the truth about not having
weapons of mass destruction or connections to al-Qaida, it should
have been an embarrassment to the neo-conservatives who talked President
George Bush into war with Iraq.
They were not in the least embarrassed, though, because they had
known well before the invasion that Saddam had done everything he
could possibly do to assure the world that he was no threat to the
region, the US and the world.
Their intent all along was no secret: They wanted "regime
change" to fit their plans for an American empire, with a permanent
outpost in Baghdad.
To do this, they had to clear out all the obstacles in their path
- which meant open assaults on the international institutions that
had been developed to prevent war, through diplomacy backed by the
threat of sanctions.
This meant demeaning the United Nations, the UN Monitoring, Verification
and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) inspectors of chemical and biological
weapons under Hans Blix, and the International Atomic Energy Agency
under Muhammad al-Baradai.
France, Germany, Russia and China had become obstacles to regime
change in Baghdad, either at the UN Security Council or at Nato,
To neutralise them with American public opinion, the neo-cons used
their contacts in the news media to broadcast the argument that
these countries were pursuing selfish interests related to Iraq's
Out of this soup came the "oil-for-food scandal" which
now threatens to bring down UN General-Secretary Kofi Annan and
besmirch the UN and its affiliated institutions.
A headline in the 4 December New York Times warns: "Annan's
post at the UN may be at risk, officials fear."
It's clear enough the neo-cons and the news outlets that do their
bidding are behind the "scandal" story.
In the Times account, Richard Holbrooke, the ambassador to the
United Nations under president Bill Clinton and an Annan backer,
said: "The danger now is that a group of people who want to
destroy or paralyse the UN are beginning to pick up support from
some of those whose goal is to reform it."
Yes, but what's going on? Where's the scandal?
On the surface, there has yet to be found a single person with
his hand in the UN cookie jar. All that has appeared to date are
assertions that various people associated with the management of
the oil-for-food programme in Iraq and the UN benefited financially
through shady transactions.
It is further alleged that UN officials looked the other way as
Saddam Hussein arranged kickbacks of billions of dollars that went
into foreign bank accounts, with inferences that he was using the
cash to finance his military machine and international terrorism,
build palaces to aggrandise himself, all the while diverting money
from the intended recipients - the poor Iraqi people.
To put all this in perspective, remember that Saddam was the duly
constituted head of state in Iraq, his government not only officially
recognised by the US during the Iran/Iraq war, but also was given
palpable support in the war.
Why he invaded Kuwait in 1990 is another story, but it is now absolutely
clear his dispute was only with the emir of Kuwait and not any other
country in the Middle East.
It has now also been shown that Iraq had met the conditions of
the UN Security Council post-Gulf war resolution which demanded
he destroy his unconventional weapons before economic sanctions
could be lifted and the Iraqi government could resume the sale of
From this vantage point, it was the UN that took possession of
the oil resources of the Iraqi people.
By rough reckoning, I find that if the sanctions had been lifted
in 1991 (when they should have been lifted), Iraq would have earned
enormous amounts of money from the sale of their oil. At an average
of $10 a barrel of oil (bbl) over 14 years, they would have collected
At a more reasonable average over the period of $15 to $20, the
Iraqi government would have been able to pay all its creditors and
at the same time enable the Iraqi people to return to the high living
standards they enjoyed before the Iran-Iraq war (during which, I
repeat, the US supported Iraq).
It was because of the UN economic sanctions that persisted because
of US/British insistence that the oil-for-food programme came into
existence in 1996.
This was partly the result of UN reports that 1.5 million Iraqi
civilians had died because of the malnutrition and disease engendered
by the sanctions.
More directly, it was because president Clinton bombed Iraq in
early September 1996 during his re-election campaign that year,
on the information that Baghdad had violated the "no-fly zone"
over Iraqi Kurdistan.
It turned out Saddam did not violate the "no-fly zone"
but had sent troops on the ground to Kurdistan at the request of
the provincial government, which had come under attack by Iranian-backed
The reason? Economic distress, with the region suffering from the
same malnutrition and disease afflicting all of Iraq.
The Kurds are the friends of the neo-conservatives. They had to
be helped out of this distress. Hence, the oil-for-food programme,
designed to relieve all Iraqi citizens, but mostly Kurds, who would
get the lion's share of the relief from the oil revenues.
I'm not sure about all the details of how the programme was managed
in the years since. But when the neo-cons raised the corruption
issue at the UN through their friends in the news media, Annan finally
saw he had to respond.
He said he would investigate the allegations and persuaded former
Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker - arguably the most respected,
squeaky clean political figure in America - to undertake the investigation
and make a report, which is expected sometime next month.
Annan has rejected calls for his resignation coming from a US Republican
Senator Norman Coleman of Minnesota.
Without naming him, it was clearly Coleman to whom he referred
at a press conference last weekend when he said: "My hope had
been that once the independent investigative committee had been
set up [under Volcker], we would all wait for them to do their work
and then draw our conclusions and make judgments. This has not turned
out to be the case."
Why were Annan's hopes dashed by Coleman, a freshman senator who
chairs the permanent subcommittee on investigations?
My educated guess is that the neo-cons who continue to have serious
influence on the Bush administration through Vice-President Dick
Cheney's office, knew full well that if the Volcker commission did
its job honestly, it would be able to report that the oil-for-food
programme worked pretty much as it was designed to work.
It would have found that nothing criminal or corrupt was done and
that even Saddam had done nothing any other head of state in his
shoes would not have done under similar circumstances.
It is perfectly obvious that Coleman saw a chance to make a splash
with assertions that corruption at the UN was already a known fact.
His "smoking gun" was the news that Kofi Annan's son
received payments of $150,000 over several years from a company
that was a contractor in the oil-for-food programme.
Where did this news come from? The New York Sun, a tiny newspaper
founded by Canadian mogul Conrad Black four years ago as a mouthpiece
for the neo-cons.
Richard Perle, the most prominent of the neo-con intellectuals
who misled Bush to war with Iraq, has been a long time partner of
Conrad Black and a director of the Jerusalem Post, one of Black's
many media holdings.
Perle is also the guiding light for Rupert Murdoch's Fox News media
empire, plus the National Review, and a galaxy of staff members
of both political parties in the US Congress.
Claudia Rosett, who writes for the Wall Street Journal's editorial
page, was assigned to take on Volcker and in several articles has
practically painted him as a lapdog of Kofi Annan, at the very least
a foot-dragger who should already be able to condemn the UN for
The game plan is of course to force Volcker to issue a report that
smears the UN and threatens it with a cut-off of US funds unless
there is a house cleaning.
But what if Volcker finds that the only "wrong" was committed
by the Baghdad government in selling Iraq's own oil to its neighbours,
particularly to Turkey and Jordan, and that the revenues were deposited
in state bank accounts and used for legitimate state reasons?
We also know the oil that went through the hands of the UN agency
set up to make sure the revenues went to the people, not to the
Iraqi government, also had to have the cooperation of Baghdad in
lifting the oil and delivering it.
A 2.5% "kickback", as it has been termed by Rosett, Coleman
and the neo-con press corps, can be more properly be termed a "fee"
for facilitating this process.
If these fees were paid into the government, not to numbered bank
accounts, the regime would have to be judged clean on that count
by Volcker. He is in a tight spot.
What about the damning report of Charles Duelfer and his Iraqi
Survey Group, which announced last month that Saddam Hussein destroyed
all of his weapons of mass destruction and their programmes in 1991?
In his report, he also brought up the oil-for-food programme, which
was never part of his mission when he was appointed by Bush to check
further into Iraq's WMD intentions.
Duelfer, who could not pretend to have found WMD when none existed,
clearly used the oil-for-food programme to distract attention from
his central finding.
The report gratuitously contained the thesis that if Saddam someday
wanted to rebuild his WMD capabilities, he could be using the programme
to that end, with the complicity of the French, Russians, Chinese,
United Nations and major oil companies.
Logic should tell you, though, that the neo-cons have been behind
this hoax from the start, that they never intended to lift the sanctions
on Iraq even while knowing back in 1991 that Saddam almost certainly
had complied with that first UN resolution.
The Iraqis who are in a position to clear all this up and demonstrate
that while certain transactions might appear suspicious on the surface,
but can be fully explained, are not available for testimony.
The regime is under lock and key and not available to Rosett or
Coleman. Volcker presumably has access to them, but is not sharing
his findings with the US Congress, which he is not required to do.
His report to the UN will be made public and judgments can then
be made. It may be there is no scandal at all. Just another trick
of the neo-conservatives to blow away anyone who gets in the way
of their plans for a global empire.
Jude Wanniski is a former associate editor of The Wall Street
Journal, expert on supply-side economics and founder of Polyconomics,
which helps to interpret the impact of political events on financial
NAJAF, Iraq - The twin attacks against the
holy Iraqi Shiite cities of Najaf and Karbala killed 66 people and
wounded over 200, according to the latest toll.
The death toll in Najaf has risen from 48 to 52 and the number
of wounded from 90 to 145 in the car bombing on Sunday, Najaf governor
Adnan al-Zorfi said.
The bombing in Karbala killed 14 people and left 57 wounded, a
toll unchanged from Sunday.
|US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
has pledged to personally sign letters of condolence to the families
of American soldiers killed in action.
He spoke shortly after his admission that he had used a machine
to sign letters to relatives of more than 1,000 troops killed in
Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Rumsfeld is facing growing criticism from both Democrats and
Republicans who are questioning his record in Iraq.
He was given a public grilling from his own troops earlier this
During his visit to a US base in Kuwait, American soldiers alleged
they had used scrap metal to armour vehicles.
US President George W. Bush defended embattled
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying the Pentagon chief is
doing "a really fine job."
Bush told a news conference that he was "very pleased"
when Rumsfeld agreed to stay on after the president won a second,
"And I asked him to stay on because I understand the nature
of the job ... and I believe he's doing a really fine job,"
"The secretary of defense is a complex job. It's complex in
times of peace. And it's complex even more so in times of war.
"And the secretary has managed this department during two
major battles in the war on terror. Afghanistan and Iraq. And at
the same time, he's working to transform our military so it functions
better. It's lighter."
| PARIS, Dec 19 (AFP) - French police
and charity workers mobilised Sunday ahead of a cold snap which is
set to plunge much of the country into sub-zero temperatures.
The interior ministry declared a state of alert in 23 departments,
including Paris, triggering stepped-up efforts to locate homeless
people and take them into shelter.
Temperatures are predicted to fall to below minus 10 degrees Celsius
(14 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of northern France Sunday night,
with the freeze spreading southwards. However a thaw is due mid-week.
Meanwhile technicians were working to reconnect around 9,000 homes
that remained without electricity Sunday after the freak storm that
swept across northern France on Friday, killing six people.
| For nearly 50 years, Greenland's
Jakobshavn glacier inched inexorably toward the sea at a stable and
During the same time period, glaciers in Alaska, in Patagonia and
Antarctica proceeded steadily at well-established rates. The polar
ice cap that lay over most of the Arctic Ocean during winter remained
essentially unbroken. Snowcaps atop mountain ranges such as Europe's
Alps and even Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro stood solid and predictable.
No more. In all these cases, things have begun changing and scientists
are becoming more and more worried.
Global warming, despite mounting evidence, remains a contentious
political issue, but this is one warming-related phenomenon that
has become incontrovertible.
In some instances, the rate of glacial creep has
increased up to eightfold. More worrisome, the change has occurred
in a breathtakingly short time - since 2000.
This is phenomenal, said Waleed Abdalati, a senior research at
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Abdalati and colleagues briefed reporters about their new findings
at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting.
Jakobshavn already was the world's fastest-moving glacier when
its pace, during the last half of the 20th century, as about 4 miles
(7 kilometers) per year. Now, latest satellite and airborne laser
data show its flow has increased - over the last four years - to
10 miles (13 kilometers) per year.
Though less dramatic, similar significant changes have occurred
in glaciers all over the world.
The ice-cap situation parallels the changes in the glaciers.
During the late 1990s, for three years in a row the perennial Arctic
ice cover dropped to its lowest volumes in recorded history, according
to Josefino Comiso, also a senior researcher at Goddard.
The phenomenon is worrisome because it is the type that can fall
into a feedback mechanism. As more and more open water appears in
the Arctic Ocean, it absorbs more solar heat, which carries over
into the winter, leading to an earlier melt the following year and
thinner ice during the winter.
In addition, most of the warming is taking place in the western
Arctic, Comiso said.
For hundreds of years, explorers and entrepreneurs
alike have dreamed about the advantages of a Northwest Passage through
the Arctic Ocean that would allow a much-faster passage between
Europe and Asia.
Even as recently as the late 1960s, the only possibility
of making that passage - even during summer - was by using massive
Exxon even experimented with the Manhattan, an icebreaking supertanker
that was supposed to carry oil from Alaska's North Slope to U.S.
East Coast ports. After one voyage, the company mothballed the idea
as uneconomical and potentially too dangerous.
Comiso said the Northwest Passage soon may be
a reality during the summer.
The summer of 1998 was almost ice free, he said.
Perhaps the biggest source of worry is the western Antarctic, however.
There, according to Theodore Scambos, with the University of Colorado's
National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, a major portion of
the western Antarctic ice shelf is showing signs of collapsing.
The shelf is already dumping about 60 cubic miles (250 cubic kilometers)
of ice into the ocean each year, with only about 40 percent of that
volume replaced by snow. Right now, Scambos said, along the Western
Antarctic Peninsula, the glaciers are moving at rates three times
to eight times faster than normal.
This acceleration - the phrase creeping at a glacial pace might
have to be abandoned - is particularly disturbing.
When Arctic ice melts, it affects sea level only in a limited way
because the ice already is floating in the ocean. There is some
elevation because warmer temperatures cause the water's volume to
expand slightly, but generally sea level remains stable regardless
of what happens to Arctic sea ice.
Ice dumped into the oceans from glaciers is another
story. In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated
that sea-level rise in this century would average between 0.2 millimeters
and 0.4 millimeters per year due to melting.
Over the past four years, however, the glacial
acceleration is causing ocean levels to elevate by up to 2 millimeters
per year - already several times greater than the IPCC estimate.
Abdalati noted the glaciers have been melting at this relatively
furious pace for only a few years, so at this point it is not possible
to predict what will happen. He cautioned, however, that where the
data on the melting can be compared with long-term climate data,
all of these changes seem to be accelerating.
Chief among such correlations, he said, are the links between ice-sheet
melting and sea-level rise.
It is happening quicker than we thought - in some cases the responses
have been within months, Abdalati said. The data clearly indicate
previous estimates (of sea-level rise) are being outpaced.
The aim now, he said, is to increase understanding of the phenomena
as quickly as possible and to place a high priority on the research.
Toward that end, he added, we'll hopefully refine (the estimates)
in the coming years, but we've got a lot of people working on it.
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