Translations from other sites
Travel Log! The
Quantum Future Group Goes to Rennes-le-Chateau
Control, Thought Control, World Control
Strike Flash Presentation by a QFS member
of the Day
Bush Speaks - The World
Scratches Its Head
Last Friday two
Washington Post reporters were given the privilege of not only looking
the President in the eye, but speaking directly to him on board
his favorite Presidential toy - Air Force One. As the massive hulk
of Bush's airborne office ploughed the direct flight path from Washington
to Jacksonville Florida, the interview took a more circuitous route,
stopping off now and again for Bush to ask "what were we talking
about again?" or words to that effect.
While the topics discussed were described as "wide ranging"
and the president at times expounded incoherently on subjects like
the war in Iraq, finding Osama and Social Security, as with most
of his previous speeches the abiding feeling we are left with is
that the American Commander in Chief lacks the intelligence required
to lead a troop of monkeys, much less an entire nation. That is
not to say, however, that Bush did not sound confident, he did,
and always does, but the fact that he is unaware that he is an idiot
and indeed believes that he is a genius, simply gives us all the
more cause for concern.
In order to best summarise the interview, we have separated the
content into three categories: Obvious Lies, evidence of Bush's
ineptitude, and evidence of Bush's self-deluded Messiah complex
The Post: Can you be sure that
by the end of your second term, that there will be a significant
reduction (in troops in Iraq)?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm still on the,
as quick as possible.
The Post: Do you disagree with
Colin Powell's assessment, then, that he thinks it can be done?
THE PRESIDENT: My assessment is,
is that we will -- one of the reasons why the military sent an
assessment team to Iraq recently was to assess our training mission,
because success in Iraq will depend upon the Iraqis defeating
the enemy. And so we're constantly assessing to see whether --
where we can improve training, how we can do things better, and
what the Iraqis think they need, in order to do their job.
And so the troops have been helping to provide as much security
as possible for the elections. The political process is going
on. And at the same time, doing their job and training these Iraqis.
So we're constantly assessing, and that's what this is. The panel
will report back to determine how best to train the Iraqis. My
answer to your question is, as soon as possible, based upon fulfilling
The elections -- I am pleased that the elections are going forward.
I recognize that there are a group of terrorists trying to stop
the election process. I have been amazed by the spirit of the
Iraqi people. There's a big front-page story; I'm sure you read
that. Please don't tell me you haven't.
The main lie here is contained within the idea that those opposing
the US occupation are terrorists - that they are not ordinary Iraqis
attempting to defend their homeland from an occupying power. The
idea that "success in Iraq depends on Iraqis defeating the
terrorists" is therefore a blatant lie. "Success",
as in real freedom for Iraq, depends upon the removal of US troops
and the US proxy government headed by CIA asset Allawi. This, however,
will never happen because the Iraq war was waged for the purposes
of invasion and conquest.
As for the Iraq elections; there will be no democratic elections
in Iraq because if there were, the vast majority of Iraqis would
obviously vote for candidates who oppose the US presence in Iraq.
The US will not allow this to happen and the fact that known CIA
asset and current "interim" Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi
is running for election is proof of this. The reality is that the
plan to bring elections to Iraq is a deliberate ploy to ultimately
foment civil war in Iraq which will of course necessitate a US troop
presence for many years to come. How convenient for Israel.
The Post: In Iraq, there's been
a steady stream of surprises. We weren't welcomed as liberators,
as Vice President Cheney had talked about. We haven't found the
weapons of mass destruction as predicted. The postwar process
hasn't gone as well as some had hoped. Why
hasn't anyone been held accountable, either through firings or
demotions, for what some people see as mistakes or misjudgments?
THE PRESIDENT: Well,
we had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election.
And the American people listened to different assessments made
about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two
candidates, and chose me, for which I'm grateful.
Blatant lie number 2. The majority of those that voted
for Bush were fundamentalist Christians who voted for him because
of his stance on "moral issues" such as same sex marriage.
In any case, the election was very likely stolen, as evidenced by
the many reports of irregularities with the electronic voting machines
that were used widely throughout the country during the 2004 election.
The idea that Americans voted for Bush as an endorsement of his
and his cabinet's criminal record over Iraq is therefore laughable
and evidence of the deep state of delusion into which Bush has sunk.
We say "delusion" because psychological profiles of Bush
suggest that he actually genuinely believes his own lies. Of course,
Bush is simply a puppet, a figurehead who is being used
by others who are well aware that they are lying to the public.
Listen, in times of war, things don't go exactly as planned.
Some were saying there was no way that Saddam Hussein would be
toppled as quickly as we toppled him. Some were saying there would
be mass refugee flows and starvation, which didn't happen. My
only point is, is that, on a complicated matter such as removing
a dictator from power and trying to help achieve democracy, sometimes
the unexpected will happen, both good and bad.
Blatant Lie Number 3. Saddam was
not captured. He was flown out of Iraq in April 2003, probably
to Belarus. The man that was planted and then captured was one of
Saddam's infamous body doubles. A close examination of pictures
of the two men will prove this point. While the Iraq war may not
have provoked a refugee crisis, the Iraqi infrastructure
and economy are in tatters. Starvation may be just around the
The Post: Why do you think [Osama]
bin Laden has not been caught?
THE PRESIDENT: Because he's hiding.
The Post: Our allies have done
all they can do to help catch him?
THE PRESIDENT: We're
on the hunt.
The Post: Do you think others are
on the hunt, too? Are you happy, content with what other countries
are doing in that hunt?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
The Post: Anyone you're not happy
THE PRESIDENT: Look, bin Laden
is elusive, and he is in a remote part of the world. And we are
-- I am -- I can't think of anybody in the world who is our ally
who isn't willing to do what is necessary to try to find him.
And so I am pleased about the hunt, and I am pleased that he's
isolated. I will be more pleased when he's brought to justice,
and I think he will be.
Blatant lie number 4. Osama
is a CIA asset since the time of the Afghan-Russo war when he
was used by the CIA to funnel funds and weapons to the Afghan fighters.
The Bush administration needs a bogeyman to scare the American people
into accepting restrictions on their civil liberties and to justify
the continued bogus "war on terror" which is a war of
global conquest. The US has consistently avoided capturing Osama
and has on many occasions deliberately let
him escape. He also made an appearance in the US elections when
a video appeared just days before the vote.
Coincidence? We think not.
The Post: How concerned are you
about the enormously high levels of anti-Americanism, particularly
in the Muslim world? And is that an indication that somehow the
terrorists are winning the hearts and minds of those people?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know,
it's interesting. The people of Afghanistan, which is a part of
the Muslim world, are really happy that the government of the
United States, along with others, liberated them from the Taliban.
I suspect that people in the Muslim world, as we speak, are thrilled
that supplies are being delivered by U.S. servicemen and women.
The Iranians -- the reformers in Iran are, I suspect, very hopeful
that the United States government is firm in our belief that democracy
ought to spread. In other words, there are some places we're not
popular, and other places where we're liked.
In essence Bush's answer about the enormously high levels of anti-Americanism
is that he doesn't really care. He does not care about the fact
corruption and poverty are everywhere in 'liberated' Afghanistan.
Nor does he care about the fact that Afghanistan opium production
leaped with the overthrow of Taleban. He does not care that
vast numbers of people around the world now see American for the
brutal imperialist regime that it always was.
The Post: Only two-thirds of the
beneficiaries of Social Security, as you know, are retired people.
The rest are disabled and people collecting survivor's benefits.
Do you think that the rising costs of disability and survivor's
insurance is causing the overall Social Security problem, and
can you promise that the benefits will not be touched under your
THE PRESIDENT: We will look at
all aspects of Social Security, of course, but the main focus
I have been on, focusing on -- the main issue I have been focusing
on is the retirement system aspect of Social Security, because
it is a pay-as-you-go system. The number of payers is declining
quite rapidly relative to the number of retirees. And that, thus
far, has been our focus, because that is the part where the Congress
needs to focus.
And to answer the disability insurance, we have no plans of cutting
benefits at all for people with disabilities.
The Post: So
they'll definitely remain untouched?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I said,
we have no plans for cutting benefits.
The Post: Is that just for disability,
or for survivors, as well?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we're --
The Post: It's a different benefit
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, you're right.
Frankly, our discussions in terms of reform have not centered
on the survivor/disability aspect of Social Security. We're talking
about the retirement system of Social Security. I think that's
an accurate statement.
MR. McCLELLAN [Scott McClellan,
the White House press secretary]: You're talking about at or near
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, they're talking
about survivor and disability benefits, and we have had no discussions
of that, thus far. The best way to put it -- the answer is, we
have no discussions of that, so far, in terms of changing them,
I think is the best way to describe it.
An expert piece of filibustering - Bush style. The truth is that
Social Security is being siphoned off to support the "war against
terrorism". The whole idea that Social Security is bankrupt
is false, at least according to the records available to the public,
as much of a lie as the story that there were WMD in Iraq. That
Bush may wish to bankrupt it to finance his military adventures
is, of course, a possibility or even a likelihood. But this would
come from a refusal or inability of the US government to pay back
the Treasury bonds the government owes Social Security, not because
there are more retirees than contributors -- the oficial story.
This spike was foreseen twenty years ago and measures were taken
to prepare for it. However, if the money has been embezzeled since
Spetember 11, they need to find another reason, blame someone else.
The government cannot admit this of course, so the plan is to privatise
Social Security, hand it over to Wall Street and wait for the impending
collapse of the US economy, at which point the blame for there being
no SS funds will be laid at someone else's door.
THE PRESIDENT: I called Abu
Amas the other day, and I told him
I'm looking forward to seeing him again and working with him.
Here we see evidence of just how unaware Bush is of current world
events. The name is was trying to enunciate was "Abu Mazen",
the "nickname" of new Palestinian President Abbas.
The Post: A parochial question
for The Post in D.C.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm
trying to stay concentrated.
The Post: What's that?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm
just trying to stay concentrated. You've got a whole --
The Post: . . . I've got to ask
you at least a couple domestic questions. Your
answers are short, though.
THE PRESIDENT: A lot shorter than
We are not sure what was going through Bush's mind in the first
part of the above quote, what is very interesting however is the
comment from the Post reporter: "I've got to ask you at least
a couple domestic questions. Your answers are short, though."
How could the post reporter know that Bush's answers were short
to questions that had not yet been asked? Ok, we realise that very
often reporters are given questions to ask the President, but are
they given the answers also? And if so, who wrote the questions
and answers? Certainly, we suspect that it was NOT Bush. Here again
we have evidence for the complete incompetence of Bush as any kind
The Post: When you talk about
Social Security, you talk about the crisis being now, given the
demographic inevitabilities of the system and the financial strains.
Is Medicare in crisis, given that it has the same exact demographic
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the difference,
of course, is that in Medicare, we began a reform system that
hopefully will take some of the pressures off the unfunded liabilities,
and that is providing, for example, a drug
benefit, that will, hopefully, in cases, replace the need for
surgery. I used to tell people a
lot on the campaign trail that Medicare would pay for the heart
surgery but not for the medicine that would prevent the heart
surgery from being needed in the first place. Heart surgery costs
nearly $100,000, and the medicine could be $1,000. And
that's a reform that not only reflects the new nature of medicine,
but it's a reform, hopefully, that has cost benefits for the long
Notice that in the above Bush ends up saying the exact opposite
of what we suppose he means, saying that Medicare would pay for
the more expensive heart surgery and not for the drugs that would
prevent it in the first place.
In the following extract we have further evidence that Bush has
little or no idea about the concepts behind the words that are scripted
for him to say.
The Post: Will you talk to Senate
Democrats about your privatization plan?
THE PRESIDENT: You mean, the personal
The Post: Yes, exactly. Scott has
THE PRESIDENT: We don't want to
be editorializing, at least in the questions.
The Post: You used partial privatization
yourself last year, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes?
The Post: Yes, three
times in one sentence. We had to figure this out, because
we're in an argument with the RNC [Republican National Committee]
about how we should actually word this. [Post staff writer] Mike
Allen, the industrious Mike Allen, found it.
THE PRESIDENT: Allen
did what now?
The Post: You
used partial privatization.
THE PRESIDENT: I
The Post: Right.
THE PRESIDENT: When?
The Post: To describe it.
THE PRESIDENT: When,
when was it?
The Post: Mike said it was right
around the election.
THE PRESIDENT: Seriously?
The Post: It was right around the
election. We'll send it over.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm
surprised. Maybe I did. It's amazing
what happens when you're tired. Anyway, your question was?
I'm sorry for interrupting.
If you are not shocked by the fact that the "Commander in
Chief", the "President of the United States of America",
the "leader of the free world" has just stated that he
was totally unaware that, just a few months before, he himself had
told the nation that he was planning to "partially privatize"
the Social Security system. To make matters worse, he puts his amnesia
down to the fact that he was "tired". We wonder what else
Bush has rubber stamped in a state of semi-consciousness. But wait,
there's more to come...
The Post: So
have you talked to Senate Democrats about this?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes,
I have talked to Senate Democrats, and I will continue
to talk to Senate Democrats. And I'll continue --
The Post: Did
THE PRESIDENT: We
had a meeting with -- I think before Christmas we had the leadership
in, didn't we?
MS. DEVENISH [Nicolle Devenish,
the White House communications director]: That
How ironic. Not only can Bush not remember what meetings he was
at, he can't tell the difference between Republicans and Democrats
either. But then again, there is no difference between Republicans
and Democrats. Notice also that Bush has two aides sitting in on
the interview and listening carefully in case Bush needs to prompted
to say the right thing or quickly censored.
The Messiah Complex
The Post: But you haven't reached
out personally to [Senate Democrats] Ben Nelson or Mary Landrieu
or [Joseph] Lieberman, people that seem open, at least to the
idea, because so many Democrats say, no way.
THE PRESIDENT: I will. First step
is to make sure people address -- are willing to address the problem.
In other words -- in the campaign, you might remember, in going
to one of the debates -- Senator [John] Kerry said -- I don't
want to put words in his mouth, but basically said, this is something
that we can grow the economy and Social Security will be okay.
I think he said that. It's not fair for me -- I don't like when
people put words in my mouth, and I try not to put in theirs.
But my point is, is that to me, that points at part of the challenge
of getting the issue moving forward. That's why I love when you
all put it in the front page of your newspaper, the different
aspects of Social Security; so and so says this, and so and so
says that -- because it means people are at least talking about
it. And my view is, the more it's talked about and the more it's
debated, the more likely it is people will recognize that we have
a problem that we need to address.
And I meant what I said in some of the big speeches I gave, and
oftentimes on the campaign trail, where the job of the president
is to confront problems, not to pass them on. Plus, I enjoy confronting
problems. I enjoy it when hot shot political
reports say, can you believe -- sitting around the coffee table
-- can you believe old Bush is trying to take this on?
Bush really seems to think that he can take on the world and win,
despite the fact that he cannot get the names of high profile political
leaders right and fails to remember the content of his speeches
on important issues concerning the American people and their future.
Not that any further evidence was needed to conclude that "old
Bush", is nothing more than a useful idiot. The future does
indeed seem bleak when a man like Bush can rise to the top of a
society that is touted to the world as an example of freedom and
THE CIA has predicted that the
European Union will break-up within 15 years unless it radically
reforms its ailing welfare systems.
The report by the intelligence agency, which forecasts how the
world will look in 2020, warns that Europe could be dragged into
economic decline by its ageing population. It also predicts the
end of Nato and post-1945 military alliances.
In a devastating indictment of EU economic prospects, the report
warns: "The current EU welfare state is unsustainable and the
lack of any economic revitalisation could lead to the splintering
or, at worst, disintegration of the EU, undermining its ambitions
to play a heavyweight international role."
It adds that the EU’s economic growth rate is dragged down
by Germany and its restrictive labour laws. Reforms there - and
in France and Italy to lesser extents - remain key to whether the
EU as a whole can break out of its "slow-growth pattern".
Reflecting growing fears in the US that the pain of any proper
reform would be too much to bear, the report adds that the experts
it consulted "are dubious that the present political leadership
is prepared to make even this partial break, believing a looming
budgetary crisis in the next five years would be the more likely
trigger for reform".
The EU is also set for a looming demographic crisis because of
a drop in birth rates and increased longevity, with devastating
The report says: "Either European countries adapt their workforces,
reform their social welfare, education and tax systems, and accommodate
growing immigrant populations [chiefly from Muslim countries] or
they face a period of protracted economic stasis."
As a result of the increased immigration needed, the report predicts
that Europe’s Muslim population is set to increase from around
13% today to between 22% and 37% of the population by 2025, potentially
The report predicts that America’s relationships with Europe
will be "dramatically altered" over the next 15 years,
in a move away from post-Second World War institutions. Nato could
disappear and be replaced by increased EU action.
"The EU, rather than Nato, will increasingly become the primary
institution for Europe, and the role Europeans shape for themselves
on the world stage is most likely to be projected through it,"
the report adds. "Whether the EU will develop an army is an
Defence spending by individual European countries, including the
UK, France, and Germany, is likely to fall further behind China
and other countries over the next 15 years. Collectively these countries
will outspend all others except the US and possibly China.
The expected next technological revolution will involve the convergence
of nano, bio, information and materials technology and will further
bolster China and India’s prospects, the study predicts. Both
countries are investing in basic research in these fields and are
well placed to be leaders. But whereas the US will retain its overall
lead, the report warns "Europe risks slipping behind Asia in
some of these technologies".
For Europe, an increasing preference for natural gas may reinforce
regional relationships, such as those with Russia or North Africa,
given the inter-dependence of pipeline delivery, the report argues.
But this means the EU will have to deal with Russia, which the report
also warns "faces a severe demographic crisis resulting from
low birth rates, poor medical care and a potentially explosive Aids
Russia also borders an "unstable region" in the Caucasus
and Central Asia, "the effects of which - Muslim extremism,
terrorism and endemic conflict - are likely to continue spilling
over into Russia".
The report also largely en dorses forecasts that by 2020 China’s
gross domestic product will exceed that of individual western economic
powers except for the US. India’s GDP will have overtaken
or be overtaking European economies.
Because of the sheer size of China’s and India’s populations
their standard of living need not approach European and western
levels to become important economic powers.
The economies of other developing countries, such as Brazil, could
surpass all but the largest European countries by 2020.
Minister Ariel Sharon says he has given his troops a free hand to
launch a crackdown on Palestinian militants.
His announcement came only seven days
after the election of new Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
"Despite the change in Palestinian leadership, we have yet
to see them taking any action against terror," Mr Sharon told
Six Israelis were killed in an attack on a Gaza Strip crossing
Israel severed contacts with the Palestinian leadership after the
On Saturday eight Palestinians were killed by
Israeli troops during incursions into Gaza.
Two Israelis, including a seven-year-old, were injured by Palestinian
"The Israeli military and security apparatus
have been instructed to take any action needed without restriction,"
Mr Sharon said on Sunday.
"These instructions will remain valid as long as the Palestinians
fail to lift even a single finger."
Cabinet members from Mr Sharon's new coalition partners, the Labour
party, expressed support for Mr Sharon's tough line.
"[Mr Abbas] has clearly said that he is opposed to terrorism
but now his words must be translated into action," said Interior
Minister Ophir Pines.
"He must prove his determination to confront the terrorists."
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath condemned the announcement.
"At the same time that Abu Mazen says
he will work hard to return to the peace track, Sharon declares
a military escalation," he said, using the Palestinian
Mr Abbas used his inauguration speech on Saturday
to call for a ceasefire between Israel and the militants.
Palestinian officials said Mr Abbas will visit the Gaza Strip this
week in an effort to convince militant groups to stop attacks against
But the BBC's correspondent in Jerusalem, James Reynolds, says
Mr Sharon's latest move may complicate Mr
Abbas' tactic of trying to reach a ceasefire through negotiation
Militant factions have indicated they will only stop attacks if
Israel does the same.
Mr Sharon's comments to his cabinet suggest that that is unlikely
to happen, our correspondent says.
US ISP Verizon is persisting
with a controversial policy of blocking email sent from Europe.
Since 22 December, mail servers at verizon.net have been configured
not to accept connections from Europe by default.
Verizon is blocking ranges of IP addresses belonging to British
and European ISPs (the IP space from RIPE, APNIC, and more) in a
misguided attempt to reduce spam. Domains are only unblocked following
complaints, with Europeans effectively treated as guilty till proven
Verizon's original line was that it "only blocks spam messages
on an individual basis, and not based on geography" but a customer
services rep told Wired that it was blacklisting email from Europe
in response to spam coming from the region.
Paul Wood, chief information analyst at email security firm MessageLabs,
said it took Verizon two days to whitelist the IP addresses of its
European messaging servers from the time it first complained its
international users were having problems sending email to customers
of the US ISP.
El Reg still remains blocked at the time of writing. That means
we've been unable to deliver Reg newsletters to readers who signed
up to receive them via Verizon accounts. At the time of writing
Verizon has not responded to our requests for comment.
Verizon media relations manager Ells Edwards told Wired that he
didn't know when the ISP would lift its blockade. "Normally
these things abate in a matter of days," Edwards said.
Verizon three million DSL customers waiting for emails from Europe
were advised to use alternative forms of communication. "If
it's really important you might want to make a phone call,"
Filkin of the NYT reports on the so-called election campaign in
Iraq. He does not himself come out and say it, but the whole process
is obviously absurd, with candidates afraid to identify themselves
as such meeting secretly with prospective voters equally afraid to
admit their plans in public. Some of the few candidates so foolhardy
as to announce themselves have turned up dead. I don't think an election
conducted like this can possibly have much legitimacy, and it certainly
will not contribute to resolving the guerrilla war.
| The lives of Iraqi housewives have
not got any easier since the US invasion in March 2003 and their hopes
for better days are fading with every passing day.
Insecurity, unemployment, a lack of electricity and drinking water,
as well as a shortage of fuel are among the many facts of daily
life, some Baghdad women say.
The shortage of fuel has made winter especially tough on families.
Room heating and hot water are essential in temperatures that sometimes
"We get our electricity service for one hour every 10 hours;
if we want more than that, we have to pay for private generators.
Generator owners cheat us, bully us and use us, but we have to deal
with them," Ghada Qahtan, a 38-year-old former translator,
"It is the only way to get electricity to heat the house and
get hot water in the bathrooms. It is very cold here. Children must
have warm water and a warm indoor environment."
Ban al-Obaidi, a 37-year-old secretary, says unemployment leaves
families out on a limb.
"Life has become very difficult in our country. We have to
pay a lot of money to secure our needs. To do that, my husband and
I have to work, but there is no opportunity for a decent job that
is not associated with the US military.
"Nearly all available jobs are connected somehow with the
Americans, and you live under a constant threat. I have received
many threats from the Iraqi resistance in the past year: leave work
or get killed."
Al-Obaidi worked last February for a graphic design company. Her
company did designs for an Iraqi printing press that provides the
US military and the US-backed Iraqi interim government with designs
for cards and letterheads.
No easy options
In the eyes of the Iraqi resistance she was a collaborator, but
to her children she was a working mother.
"It is really not my intention to work for the US army, but
what can we do if all companies now in Iraq have to work directly
or indirectly with the Americans?"
Qahtan says her husband had to leave the family behind in Baghdad
and go to Arbil in the northern Kurdish area to work.
"My husband is a civil engineer, and all construction companies
in Iraq have work with the US military. He tried to work here in
Baghdad but received many death threats, especially because he is
a former Iraqi army officer. They said to him you must fight against
them [US army], not work for them.
"So he had to leave for the north where it seems much safer.
He visits us every three weeks. It is hard to have him away from
me and the kids, but we have to pay the bills," she said.
The level of insecurity in Iraq has a great impact on daily life.
Saiba al-Nawwab, a 57-year-old housewife, says the instability disrupts
"Because they are always bombing oil pipelines, we suffer
a serious shortage of fuel. Sometimes I am even unable to cook our
"We do not have a car, and the door-to-door fuel trucks and
carts we buy from often go absent for days. That means we have to
hire a taxi and go to buy fuel, which is not an easy job. It costs
a lot of money," she said.
Jinan Salih, 55, retired, has a different view of the situation.
She says the income is better than before, but people cannot spend
"Before the invasion we used to get a pension of $10, but
now we are getting about 10 times that amount. But sadly we are
not enjoying it. It is all going to cover extra expenses created
by the abnormal situation.
"Why should I pay for private generators? Why should I pay
double the taxi fare to do my shopping because all shopping has
to be done during the day?" she said.
Ghraib abuse firms are rewarded
As prison ringleader awaits
sentence, defence contractors win multi-million Pentagon contracts
| Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor
Sunday January 16, 2005
Two US defence contractors being
sued over allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison have been awarded
valuable new contracts by the Pentagon, despite demands that they
should be barred from any new government work.
Three employees of CACI International and Titan - working at Abu
Ghraib as civilian contractors - were separately accused of abusive
The report on the Abu Ghraib scandal implicated three civilian
contractors in the abuses: Steven Stefanowicz from CACI International
and John Israel and Adel Nakhla from Titan.
Stefanowicz was charged with giving orders that 'equated to physical
abuse', Israel of lying under oath and Naklha of raping an Iraqi
It was also alleged that CACI interrogators used dogs to scare
prisoners, placed detainees in unauthorised 'stress positions' and
encouraged soldiers to abuse prisoners. Titan employees, it has
been alleged, hit detainees and stood by while soldiers physically
Investigators also discovered systemic problems of management and
training - including the fact that a third of CACI International's
staff at Abu Ghraib had never received formal military interrogation
Despite demands by human rights groups in the US that the two companies
be barred from further contracts in Iraq - where CACI alone employed
almost half of all interrogators and analysts at Abu Ghraib - CACI
International has been awarded a $16 million renewal of its contract.
Titan, meanwhile, has been awarded a new contract worth $164m.
Despite the allegations in the internal US army report, the two
companies have described the claims against them 'baseless' and
as 'a malicious recitation of false statements and intentional distortions'.
out from the Times ...
Over the objections of many of its own employees, the
Social Security Administration is gearing up for a major effort
to publicize the financial problems of Social Security and to convince
the public that private accounts are needed as part of any solution.
The agency's plans are set forth in internal documents, including
a "tactical plan" for communications and marketing of the idea
that Social Security faces dire financial problems requiring immediate
Social Security officials say the agency is carrying out its
mission to educate the public, including more than 47 million
beneficiaries, and to support the agenda of President Bush.
But agency employees have complained to Social Security officials
that they are being conscripted into a political battle over the
future of the program. They question the accuracy of recent statements
by the agency, and they say that money from the Social Security
trust fund should not be used for such advocacy.
They transgress every limit, every rule. Now the Armstrong Williams
episode turns out to have been just a blip on the radar, a faint
premonition. Your payroll taxes and the whole edifice of the Social
Security Administration is being joined to Karl Rove's outside astroturf
groups pushing the Social Security phase-out. Or, I guess you
could say that your payroll taxes are being used to cheat you out
of what you've spent the last decade or two or three paying them
Gives a whole new meaning to raiding the Trust Fund.
The White House is intent on making this into a fight about what
the country is. So the battle is joined.
Here's the page
the Social Security Administration says to use if you have a complaint.
How does Senator McCain
feel about this? Congressman Leach?
Senators Chafee and Specter
One more thought: As we've tried to show in the last few days,
when you dig down into the Social Security Administration website
you find a wealth of information which directly contradicts the
lies coming out of the White House. How much longer you figure that
stuff's going to stay there? Perhaps some handy folks should start
doing some quick site archiving. Call it the Memory Hole Project.
|They say there is no such thing as
a free lunch. Or even a free vote. Having cast their ballot in the
recent US elections, it is the US public who may now be about to pay
the price for their politicians.
Whether or not Joe Schmo USA voted for President Bush or his challenger
John Kerry, there was a widespread feeling in the markets that either
candidate would unwind the flagging US economy in 2005.
Those who would be hurt the most would be the American middle-income
earners. It now appears that this premise may be starting to come
The US Federal Reserve is the central bank of the US. The chairman
Alan Greenspan has presided over monetary policy which has cut interest
rates, making credit cheaper, until very recently.
It also presided over tax cuts. It has also run up enormous debt.
This was to introduce cash, or "liquidity", into the US
economy after the stock-market crash of 2000-2002.
The record government debt is also a method of increasing cash
flow in the US economy. The current administration has raised its
own "debt ceiling" to $8 trillion 184 billion.
In December of 2004 the US national debt widened to a monthly record
of $60bn. Way over the projected $600bn annual debt for 2005.
Interest paid to its creditors, Europe, Japan
and others now touches those countries GDPs. In other words the
US is paying other countries as much as they earn by working, in
order to prop up its economy.
As a result this cheap cash, tax cuts and easy
credit has fuelled a boom in house price, commodity and asset. In
turn, as wages fail to keep pace, US (and many other industrialised
countries) consumers have incurred even greater levels of debt.
Lower wage earners and reckless spenders have
taken on even more, buoyed up psychologically by their rising house
Debt-induced spending is incredibly strong in the US right now.
Americans increased their spending by $57.8
billion more than they earned in the third quarter (Q3) of 2004.
Those without assets have simply been chopped off into the economic
But since June the Federal Reserve has started to raise rates,
currently at 2.25%. More worryingly, for the first time in years,
it has openly and plainly hinted that sharper, harder rises are
Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley in New York says "this spells
tough times ahead for the asset-dependent US economy. That's especially
the case for the income-short, saving-depleted American consumer".
Commentators who have favoured the Fed's actions point to the "historically
low" level of interest rates. As low as 1% in June 2004, the
lowest rates for 46 years. Others say people
on cheap credit have been fooled.
If base rates of interest rise from 1% to 3%,
they will still be "historically low". But the reality
is that the level of repayments for the public will have trebled.
In the case of the US, that is a public which, on average, is already
"Lacking in wage-income generated purchasing power, US households
have relied on a combination of aggressive tax cuts and equity extraction
from now-overvalued homes to support their open-ended profligacy,"
"Both of those sources of support seem destined to dry up.The
odds of any additional near-term fiscal stimulus are low."
And this in an economy where consumer spending
(Q3 2004) is now an amazing 89.2% of total GDP. So, in order
to retain business profits, rate cuts were the order of the day,
until last June. The rate cuts fuelled consumer spending and business
As well as this, the Bush administration has followed a policy
of allowing "the market" to set the rate for the dollar,
meaning it has fallen dramatically, despite a small recent rally.
This was also supposed to aid US businesses, making exports cheaper
and imports more expensive.
However, US manufacturing has shrunk under bloated costs and fierce
global competition. As a result imports of goods have not dropped.
Instead imports, now more expensive, have carried on roughly as
This has created inflationary pressures, hurting powerful business
interests. Especially in the case of those who operate on low margins
and high turnover such as K-Mart, Wal-Mart and others.
Scared over supply
Secondly is China itself. The Chinese yuan, has been "pegged"
to the dollar by the Chinese government. As a result Chinese imports
have remained unaffected by the dollar's fall.
This has indeed fuelled investment in manufacturing
capacity and jobs. But in China, not in the US.
Any reduction in consumer spending in the US
may also trigger an end to surplus manufacturing demand in Asia.
Europe will also be similarly hit as its exports to the US dry up.
The final problem has been the rise in oil prices above $40. Market
makers have been scared over the tightness of supply versus demand.
Previously around 4% of oil supply was in excess of what was needed.
That is now down to around 0.5%. Meaning there are is no room for
slip-ups. The war in Iraq has also spooked many analysts. They see
the war as a desire by the US to command "energy security"
As well as this has been the now oft-raised subject of "oil
depletion" or its more media-friendly title of "peak oil".
This is the discussion within the oil industry of exactly when world
oil production will reach its maximum point before starting to decline.
This has also contributed to higher oil costs
and further knock on increase in food and commodity prices. Most
of which are only now starting to occur.
All these fiscal demands cut into US pockets.
The result is an indebted US public is facing higher, not lower,
costs of living. The higher costs of fuel, commodities and real
estate means that in turn the Fed may well be forced to raise rates,
As Roach says, "a sharp increase in US interest
rates spells game over for a now-over-extended US housing market.
The asset economy has gone to excess, and it is high time to face
the endgame, before it's too late".
In the first week of 2005, the US national debt was $40bn. Way
over the projected $600bn annual debt for 2005."
A little book with a big title,
Dark Age Ahead, published last year, tracked the ebbs and
flows of civilisations over centuries. It came to this chilling
conclusion: "We show signs of rushing headlong
into a Dark Age." Not slipping towards a Dark Age. Rushing.
Dark Age Ahead (Random House, New York), was written by
Jane Jacobs. She may be almost unknown in this country but has been
famous in North America for 40 years, making her name writing about
how communities thrive or decay. "Jane is like a rock star in Canada,"
her publisher, David Ebershoff, told me. (Jacobs is American but
lives in Toronto.) Her dark age warning was directed at the United
States but she also wants the rest of the West to heed the signs.
She thinks Western culture is not as sturdy as it looks:
"Writing, printing, and the internet give a false sense of security
about the permanence of culture. Most of the million details of
a complex, living culture are transmitted neither in writing nor
pictorially. Instead, cultures live through word and mouth and example
... [and] countless nuances that are assimilated only through experience."
She singles out several pillars of culture that she believes are
Community and family: A culture of
consumerism and debt is working against long-term cultural regeneration.
People are choosing houses over families, consumption over fertility,
debt over discipline. "This bubble will burst," she says.
Higher education: "Credentialling,
not educating, has become the primary business of North American
universities." More and more people are being churned through
corporatised credential factories. And not just in North American
Bad science: Huge numbers of mediocrities
with flimsy credentials are sprouting jargon in defence of outdated
orthodoxies. Jacobs is especially brutal about economists.
Bad taxes: "Fiscal accountability
of public money has almost disappeared from the modern world." Governments
buy elections and suffocate innovation. "False image-making has
become a very big business throughout North America and is a staple
of the US government. Legions of hired liars labour to disconnect
reality from all manner of images."
Jacobs sees junk culture creeping over society, and skills being
exported wholesale to low-wage countries in the name of consumerism
and corporate profit, and communalism in decline. "A culture is
unsalvageable if stabilising forces themselves become ruined and
irrelevant. This is what I fear for our own culture."
What makes her fears more troubling is that they are complemented
and amplified by another substantial public intellectual, Jared
Diamond, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and professor of geography
and environmental health sciences at the University of California,
Los Angeles. His latest book, Collapse: How Societies Choose
to Fail or Succeed, will be published in Australia next month
by Penguin. Its thesis was summarised in an essay published in The
Best American Essays 2004, entitled The Last Americans:
"One of the disturbing facts of history is that
so many civilisations collapse. Few people, however, least of all
our politicians, realise that a primary cause of collapse of those
societies has been the destruction of the environmental resources
on which they depended. Fewer still appreciate that many of those
civilisations share a sharp curve of decline. Indeed, a society's
demise may begin only a decade or two after it reaches its peak
population, wealth and power ...
"Because peak population, wealth, resource consumption,
and waste production are accompanied by peak environmental impact
- approaching the limit at which impact outstrips resources - we
can now understand why declines of societies tend to follow swiftly
on their peaks."
Diamond's warning appears when both the US and Australia have never
enjoyed so much material wealth yet had so much environmental poverty.
No advanced economy is as dependent on natural resources as Australia's.
On Wednesday came the news that Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and
Perth face serious water shortages within 10 years. Research showed
that without drastic changes to Sydney's water supply and consumption,
the city faces a dire shortfall in 25 years.
As a non-doctrinaire geographer, Diamond is unmoved by the ideology
of consumerism: "Foremost among misconceptions
is that we must balance the environment against human needs. That
reasoning is exactly upside down...
"Another popular misconception is that we can trust
in technology to solve our problems ... All of our current environmental
problems are unanticipated harmful consequences of our existing
technology. There is no basis for believing that technology will
miraculously stop causing new and unanticipated problems while it
is solving the problems that it previously produced ... We think
we are different. In fact, of course, all those powerful societies
of the past thought that they too were unique, right up to the moment
of their collapse."
In one of his case studies of catastrophic cultural
hubris, he writes: "Why did the kings and nobles not recognise and
solve these problems? A major reason was that their attention was
evidently focused on the short-term concerns of enriching themselves,
waging wars, erecting monuments, competing with one another, and
extracting enough food from the peasants to support all those activities."
Unlike Jane Jacobs, who describes cultural amnesia and the hollowing
out of human relationships, Diamond's theme is driven by another
form of short-termism - environmental decay. He details the inverse
wealth of environmental problems in the US, including water restrictions
in southern California, Arizona and the Florida Everglades, forest
fires resulting from logging practices, farm land lost to salinisation,
drought and climate change on the Great Plains, worsening air quality
in the large population centres, problems with water quality, and
inundations by exotic invaders such as harbour-choking zebra mussels.
"We have already lost American chestnut trees, the Grand Banks
cod fishery, and the Monterey sardine fishery; we are in the process
of losing swordfish and tuna and Chesapeake Bay oysters and elm
trees; and we are losing topsoil."
The message in Collapse applies to the lethal combinations
of consumerist excess and environmental ignorance that has occurred
across cultures and ages. And his dissection of decline, along with
the warnings contained in Dark Age Ahead, are far from unusual
among American scholars. No less than six serious books about US
imperial overstretch were published last year, in addition to dozens
of anti-Bush, anti-war tracts. All the books appeared in the wake
of the Iraq war and their collective message led the critic Tony
Judt, in a review of all six books for The New York Review of
Books to conclude: "With our growing income
inequalities and child poverty; our underperforming schools and
disgracefully inadequate health services ... our bellicose religiosity
and our cult of guns and executions; our cavalier unconcern for
institutions, treaties, and laws - our own and other people's, we
should not be surprised that America has ceased to be an example
to the world."
The world is biting back. As Diamond argues: "The cost of our homegrown
environment problems adds up to a large fraction of our gross national
product, even without mentioning the cost we incur from environmental
problems overseas, such as the military operations they inspire.
Even the mildest of bad scenarios for our future includes a gradual
economic decline, as happened to the Roman and British empires.
Actually [America's] economic decline is already under way. Just
check the numbers for our national debt, yearly government budget
deficit and unemployment statistics..."
Social anxieties in the West have cohered
around the threat of terrorism, an anxiety fanned by the Bush Administration,
but the toll of terrorism pales into relative insignificance when
compared with the thousands of small tragedies that Western society
deems acceptable for the convenience, efficiency, freedom and glamour
associated with consumerism, above all, the motor vehicle. Australia
is certainly no exception. Over the past 50 years, while the numbers
of Australians killed in wars and terrorist attacks totalled less
than 1000, more than 135,000 people were killed on Australians roads.
Today, instead of responding intelligently to the dangerous dependence
on oil from the hair-trigger Middle East, consumers in the US and
Australia, with the encouragement of government, have reacted with
a historic boom in sales of four-wheel-drives and other heavyweight,
fuel-guzzling urban combat vehicles that have become symbols of
this era. If ever there was a metaphor for complacency...
Jane Jacobs regards the cultural addiction to the motor vehicle
as the single biggest contributor to civic decline: "Not
TV or illegal drugs, but the automobile has been the chief destroyer
of American communities ... One can drive today for miles through
American suburbs and never glimpse a human being on foot in a public
space, a human being outside a car or a truck ... While people possess
a community, they usually understand that they can't afford to lose
it; but after it is lost, gradually even the memory of what was
lost is lost. In miniature, this is the malady of Dark Ages."
Cultural amnesia, excess consumption and environmental decline
are more dangerous than terrorism, but we are so awash with propaganda
we don't even notice. Or care.
That plastic card, the one with the lousy
photo that's jammed into your wallet or purse, isn't just a license
to drive. It's the green light to buy a drink, the ticket to federal
benefits, the must-have document to get aboard airplanes. Now it's
also the flash point for an argument about how best to balance America's
security needs with worries that personal privacy could be swept
The federal intelligence overhaul that became law last month —
while creating a new national intelligence director and beefing
up border patrols — also aims to close loopholes for identity
fraud that some of the Sept. 11 terrorists used to get aboard the
jets they hijacked.
Privacy advocates warn that the new federal standards for driver's
licenses will effectively create a national ID card, centralizing
information that can be misused — by letting the government
track the whereabouts of innocent people, for instance. Government
officials say they're just making the cards more secure, and that
the worries are overblown. [...]
The small provision in the massive intelligence overhaul doesn't
take effect immediately. It requires a year-and-a-half
of deliberation by state and federal officials, and others.
States can opt out — refuse to make changes to their driver's
licenses that will be required under the federal law — but
then the licenses would be useless for any federal purpose,
from getting benefits to boarding an airplane guarded by federal
The intelligence law aims to standardize the documents drivers
present to get a license, the ways DMV workers verify that those
documents are authentic, the information included on a license and
the steps authorities take to ensure licenses can't be forged. The
law also requires that licenses can be read by machines. [...]
Many of the law's specifics have yet to be decided. Will licenses
include biometric information like fingerprints or retinal scans?
Will "machine-readable" mean bar codes or radio frequency
identification systems — in which a tiny computer chip transmits
data and can theoretically be used to track location? [...]
The biggest danger is that, as the nation becomes more security-minded,
and relies more on driver's licenses as ID, our society changes,
Johnson said. "You just wind up being
a nation where you have to show your papers to go anyplace. That's
something the American people have never put up with."
Leaders of the Church of the Brethren say
they will follow through on a request from the Selective Service
to have "alternative service" programs in place for conscientious
objectors if a draft is reinstated.
As one of the historic "peace churches"
that shun military service, Brethren officials were "cautious"
after an unannounced visit by a draft official to a church center
in Maryland last October. Officials were worried that the
visit signaled that a draft may be at hand.
In follow-up meetings, draft officials urged the
church to dust off long-standing "alternative service"
programs that allow conscientious objectors to serve in two-year
domestic service projects in lieu of military service.
In a meeting Dec. 10, the church's council voted to "maximize
our efforts" on alternative service, as well as help "guide
our youth in their choice of nonviolent service."
"We don't want to miss the part of providing resources to
our youth that will help them understand and embrace the Brethren
peace witness," said Chris Bowman, moderator of the church's
Selective Service officials have insisted there
are no plans to reinstate the draft, and said Alternative Service
Director Cassandra Costley stopped by the Brethren Service Center
simply because she was in the area.
Dick Flahavan, a spokesman for Selective Service, said officials
did their best to convince church leaders there is no draft on the
horizon. "We answered every one of their questions and they
didn't leave with anything hanging," he said. "What we
were telling them was what we tell everyone. The story hasn't varied."
Brethren leaders also agreed to meet in March with other Anabaptist
churches that oppose military service. The meeting in Elgin, Ill.,
will bring together six Brethren and Mennonite groups to discuss
"how to prepare for alternative service opportunities."
CASTEAU, Belgium - U.S. troops could start
moving from Cold War-era posts in Germany to new bases in Romania
and Bulgaria this year as part of American efforts to create a more
mobile overseas force, the top U.S. commander in Europe said Friday.
Marine Gen. James L. Jones said the United States was looking at
up to five facilities in each country for use by Army, Air Force,
Navy or Marine units.
"This is part and parcel of the transformation of our footprint
in Europe, which has been in need of surgery for some time,"
he told reporters at NATO military headquarters in southern Belgium
after a trip to Romania and Bulgaria.
Plans for the bases are expected to be drawn up soon, and Jones
said the move could start quickly if Congress and the two countries
"There's no reason why we could not start
with deployment this year," said the general, also NATO's top
The move east is part of an overhaul announced by President Bush
last year that aims to withdraw 70,000 troops and 100,000 family
members from bases in Germany and South Korea.
Under the plans, the United States would move away from many of
its big, permanent bases where troops are stationed long-term with
families and large back-up infrastructures. Instead, it would use
smaller, more austere facilities where troops would rotate in for
shorter deployments. [...]
Romania and Bulgaria, which joined NATO
in April, are considered particularly suited to new U.S. bases because
of their proximity to volatile regions in the Balkans, Caucasus
and Middle East. They also have Soviet-era facilities that
could be adapted for American use, and both countries are keen to
host U.S. troops. [...]
WASHINGTON - US President George W. Bush
may keep a wary eye on China during his second term in office as
the Asian giant musters greater political and economic
influence across the globe.
But US reliance on Beijing to keep nuclear-armed North Korea on
a leash and Washington's preoccupation with insurgency-wracked Iraq
may limit any pressure Bush may want to exert on China, especially
on human rights and trade issues.
Growing at a rapid pace, China is using its economic
clout to expand its political influence in both the East Asian region
as well as around the world, including Latin America, Africa, South
Asia and Europe, analysts say.
"Bush will have to pay a great deal of attention on China
because he owes China on the North Korea issue and
because US-China trade relations is enormously important,"
said David Steinberg, director of Asian studies at Georgetown University.
"But there has been a lack of US policy in relation to Chinese
and US roles in Southeast Asia, where the Chinese campaign for influence
has been very, very successful," he said.
Some analysts warn that China may seek to push its diplomatic momentum
further in the hope that the United States will not be a position
to resist it.
One short term problem Bush may have to confront with is Europe's
potential lifting of a 15-year arms embargo on China, seen as a
landmark development that could change the dynamics of the trans-Atlantic
"The Chinese have very cleverly discovered
an issue that can drive a wedge between the Europeans and Americans
and they managed to frame it in a way that the Europeans are inclined
to choose China's side," said John Tkacik of the conservative
The United States fears China may use any lifting of the arms embargo
-- imposed in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre -- to turn
the weapons against its own people or Taiwan, which Beijing covets
and the United States has pledged to help defend.
The Bush administration has often been accused
of not appreciating the gravity of the challenge posed by a rising
"The failing of American diplomacy is that
the United States does not know how to leverage its economic clout
whereas China is an expert on it," Tkacik said.
If Bush is not firm with China, he warned, the
US Congress might start looking at ways of exerting American economic
leverage on the world's most populous nation.
"Otherwise we are going to find our support from democracies
in Asia collapsing under the weight of China's growing political
and economic influence," he said.
But Elizabeth Economy, director of Asian studies at the US Council
on Foreign Relations, dismissed any notion that China could rapidly
assume a leadership role in Asia.
"When you speak to people in the region, they are very keen
to keep Japan and the United States and potentially even India around
because from their perspective, there is a lot of value to being
able to balance the powers and much less interest in having China
become a regional hegemon of any sort," she said.
China, too, has to address key issues such as transparency and
accountability, intellectual property rights, environmental safety
and copyright piracy before it can deepen its influence in the region,
"My question is: can China be an effective
regional leader when it itself is by and large the most important
source of many of the transnational problems that are plaguing the
Economy felt the Bush administration could be tough with Beijing
on reigning in North Korea through multilateral talks aimed at de-nuclearizing
the Korean peninsula.
"But I don't think you are going to see any new sort of US
toughness emerging when it comes to human rights or potentially
even trade," she said, citing US preoccupation with Iraq and
with the "war on terror."
"There is no sense in raising the China issue to a new level
of challenge or threat when we clearly have far more important issues
that we have to engage right now," she said.
Among key bilateral problems with China is the
burgeoning US trade deficit, which may have hit 150 billion dollars
last year or one-fourth the US deficit with all countries.
Washington is also concerned over China's fixed
currency peg, which depresses the yuan's value and gives Chinese
manufacturers an unfair advantage by making their goods cheaper
The outgoing head of the US Department of Homeland Security
has said torture may be used in certain cases in order to prevent
a major loss of life.
Speaking to the BBC, Tom Ridge said the US did not condone the
use of torture to extract information from terrorists.
But he said that under an "extreme set"
of hypothetical circumstances, such as a nuclear threat, "it
A spokesman for Mr Ridge said his comments were taken out of context
and did not amount to approval of torture.
Mr Ridge's remarks come a day after the US was accused of eroding
human rights by campaigners.
A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticised the US over the
Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in Iraq and the treatment of prisoners
at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Shocking pictures last year alerted the world to abuses at Baghdad's
Abu Ghraib prison, and there have been numerous allegations of abuse
and torture by former Guantanamo Bay inmates.
One FBI agent described in a memo seeing prisoners at Guantanamo
shackled, hand and foot, in a foetal position for up to 24 hours
at a time, and left to defecate on themselves.
The US defence department has announced a new investigation into
It has condemned the abuses in Iraq and says it is prosecuting
Mr Ridge told BBC News 24's HARDtalk: "By
and large, as a matter of policy we need to state over and over
again: we do not condone the use of torture to extract information
But he said it was "human nature" that
torture might be employed in certain exceptional cases when time
was very limited.
In the event of something like a nuclear bomb threat "you
would try to exhaust every means you could to extract the information
to save hundreds and thousands of people", he said.
'When not if'
But he admitted there was "a real question" whether using
torture on terrorists would actually gain the information required
"given the nature of the enemy".
He said the US did not have the luxury of knowing where and when
a terrorist attack might happen.
"I don't think it is 'if'. I think it's a matter of 'when'.
We operate that way," he said.
"On a day-to-day basis, not just the United States but many
allies around the world, do whatever we can to share information
about terrorists, share information about the kind of attacks."
Thursday's HRW report called for the Bush administration
to set up a fully independent commission to investigate allegations
of torture during interrogations at Abu Ghraib.
It said abuses committed by the US had significantly weakened the
world's ability to protect human rights because it had undermined
Mr Ridge argued the HRW report reflected a "foreign
perception" that the US was using different methods to those
employed before the 11 September 2001 attacks.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A woman angry with her
12-year-old daughter for having sex forced the girl to drink bleach
and sat on her until the child died, a police detective said.
The girl's 9-year-old brother was forced to watch the attack, Detective
Warren Cotton testified Thursday in a preliminary hearing for Tunisia
Archie is charged with capital murder in the asphyxiation death
of her daughter Jasmine. If convicted, she could be sentenced to
death or life in prison without parole.
Cotton said Archie, who has been jailed without bond since shortly
after her daughter's Nov. 26 death, told authorities she was disturbed
because "her daughter told her that she was no longer a virgin."
She said she poured bleach into Jasmine's mouth and the child vomited,
he said, then sat on her until she stopped breathing, Cotton testified.
Archie forced Jasmine's 9-year-old brother Jacorey to watch the
attack and "told him that if he shed a tear that she was going
to kill him, too," Cotton testified.
VENICE, Italy (Reuters) -- Gondolas
are running aground and hotel docks hang in midair as Italy's lagoon
city Venice, more commonly awash at high tide, dries out because
of good weather and an unusual combination of planetary influences.
Only the Grand Canal, Venice's biggest and most famous waterway,
can still take water traffic, and the falling canal levels have
given rise to terms such as "ghost town" and "desert"
in local papers.
"The phenomenon is due to low pressure, that is, the good
weather that coincides with the syzygy, the alignment of the moon,
earth and sun," said Venice's tides office.
The new moon this week has helped push water levels to their lowest
point in more than a decade, nearly 2.5 feet (80 cm) below sea level,
it said. The lowest fall on record was 4.1 feet (1.21 meters) below
sea level in 1934.
The city assured tourists that water levels would soon start rising
again, restoring the romantic look they expect.
| Two coronal mass ejections (movies:
#2) are heading toward
Earth and they could spark strong auroras
when they arrive on January 16th and 17th. These clouds were blasted
into space by M8-
explosions above giant sunspot 720 on Jan. 15th.
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