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
YHWH's A Member Of The GOP
Think about it, he has to be.
Anger, Jealously, covetousness, vengeance, extreme bias towards
his 'chosen people' in the Israel-Palestine conflict, all these
are hallmarks of the politics of a die hard Republican. Well, we
should probably say "were" hallmarks of a die-hard Republican.
Nowadays they are also the hallmarks of die-hard Democrats, the
two-party system having apparently given way to the unifying power
of "Christo-Judaism" and the influence of their representatives
on earth - the Washington Neocons.
If you're still not convinced of the far right-leaning politics
of the almighty, consider the fact that the current Republican president
has admitted that he enjoys the benefits of a personal hotline to
our lord and savior. By all accounts, Bush uses his direct connection
to the occupants of the flying,
fiery, metal chariot for consultations on the more difficult
aspects of governance - like which country to invade next.
In fact, it was just last year that Bush revealed
that God had told him to invade Iraq (for the sake of Israel of
course). It was notable that he choose a meeting with then Palestinian
Prime Minister Abbas to make his shocking declaration. The problem
however was that he failed to tell Abbas who this "god"
was. But perhaps it was better that he chose not to reveal to the
Muslim Arab world that he was receiving instructions on Middle East
policy directly from Jehovah. It probably wouldn't have gone down
All of this poses a slight problem for the 120
million avowed Christians in America and a really big problem
for the other 40 million "fundie" Christians - the distinction
being that an ordinary Christian is not 'overcome with the love
of Jesus' quite as often as a fundie Christian.
The fact that Bush's God and mentor is obviously the same as the
one that spoke from the "pillar
of cloud", coupled with the fact that the policies of the
US government will most likely end up ushering in the "end
times", tends to suggest that the 40 million fundie Christians
in the US (and all others around the world) may be looking at "ruptured"
(see 3.a) rather than "raptured".
That just leaves the Jews; were they right all along? Are they
the 'Chosen People' that will lead the world into a new dawn of
peace and joy? Well, "chosen" is a rather ambiguous term,
and when your God is, by his own admission, jealous and violent,
we have to wonder just what he means by "peace and joy".
Currently, things do not look good or peaceful for anyone on the
planet, least of all the Semitic peoples of the Middle East region.
Furthermore, there is a strong
case for the fact that the "Zionist" leaders that
are shaping the future of the Jewish people are Jewish in name only,
and their intentions towards their "own people", are somewhat
less than wholesome.
When all is considered, we are left with the distinct impression
that each of the major religions are right to assert that their
god is "the one true god". Jehovah, Jesus, Mohammed, Barney,
call him whatever you want. It doesn't really matter. When you look
at that which has been wrought in the name of any of the "gods"
over the past 5 thousand years, it is not hard to deduce that we
are talking about the same violent and jealous identity who thrives
on conflict and the pain and suffering of his "children".
In Palestine the Israelis --
with still increasing American help and support and having successfully
assassinated the senior credible leaders including Ahmed Yassin
and Yasser Arafat -- are now quite literally forcing Abu Mazen to
end the Intifada and acquiesce to Israeli dictate. The likely result
if Abu Mazen attempts to fully comply is the Palestinian Civil War
the Israelis have been manuevering for some time to bring about,
regardless of all the verbal smokescreens designed to obfuscate
the actual realities of the situation.
But in a sense Palestine is now a sideshow, for no real two-state
solution is any longer possible west of the Jordan and most certainly
Ariel Sharon has not spent a lifetime vanquishing and killing the
Palestinians only to turn around now when he has them everywhere
surrounded, cowering, and bleeding.
Now, in the aftermath of 9/11 and the new American/Israeli crusade
to remake the Middle East as they want it, the whole region is in
play and at stake.
On one side are the forces aligned with the American Empire, technologically
and militarily vastly superior to their opponents. Much of Europe
and other U.S. clients in the world remain in uneasy alliance with
the Americans despite stylistic and policy differences.
On the other side is now an uneasy but extraordinarily determined
coalition of Muslim-inspired fighters hardened by religious zeal
coupled with Arab nationalists together fighting desperately to
throw off the new shackles of what they see as re-imposed colonialism
and imperialism -- now constantly termed 'freedom' and 'democracy'
by the American President who continues to assert God choose him
and guides him.
The firepower plus the huge technological and financial advantage
available to the Americans is far beyond anything the world has
ever seen. Yet already, rather amazing to many observers, is how
much opposition the 'insurgents' have been able to muster against
the colonial invading armies regardless of all their disadvantages.
With the Arab world still largely co-opted and in the ruling hands
of American-backed 'client regimes' and CIA-taught police states,
regional power has shifted to Iran whose 1979 revolution continues
to shake the very foundations of Western control of the vast and
While the much in the news Palestinian situation is manipulated
by Washington largely for public relations reasons in coordination
with the Israelis, the growing power of Iran -- in a new embryonic
alliance with China as well as with Russia -- is what the U.S. and
Israel have decided they must suppress and cripple one way or another.
Indeed the situation with Iran is getting more and more dangerous
by the week with an explosion possible now at any time. Top Iranian
political and military leaders have already gone public with threats
to devastatingly counter-attack against Israel or even 'pre-empt'
against American troops in the region. They have vowed not to let
happen to them what has been done to Iraq. Already the public threatening
-- not to even mention all that is going on behind-the-scenes out
of view -- is of a very unusual and
extraordinarily dangerous kind.
Think back just a few years now. For quite some time the U.S. insisted
that the 'decision to attack' Iraq had not yet been taken. The U.S.
went loudly to the Security Council with that message in 2002, then
again with Colin Powell in 2003 -- though all the while preparations
for invading and occupying Iraq were covertly underway. Then, shortly
after the Iraq invasion began, non other than Ariel Sharon in Israel
publicly and loudly proclaimed that after Iraq must soon come Iran.
Whether the Iranians have sufficiently secret and hardened weapons
facilities, and whether or not they have at this time sufficient
deterrent weapons capabilities of the chemical and biological kind,
is unknown. The betting in Washington and in Israel seems to be
that now is the time to strike and take control, before they do.
They may be right about that. But even so the kind of military
attack that would be needed to neutralize and disarm Iran would
be like none other before. And the possible tsunami-like wave of
political, economic, and military ramifications that might flow
from such an expansion of the American/Israeli crusade might also
be like none other before; potentially sweeping the world into a
real World War III if not "just" a lingering lower-grade
world-wide conflagation with no end in sight.
Beyond devasting more of the Middle East such a wave of aftershocks
could very well further drain the U.S. of its resources, it's energies,
and it's remaining credibility; and further isolate Israel until
some day in the future when Arab and Muslim revenge would become
Bottom line: There are substantial unforseen ramifications likely
to what the American Neocons and their Israeli allies have planned;
far far greater and more dangerous than what has so far resulted
from the Invasion of Iraq and the defeat of the Palestinians
Administration is intentionally steering Iraq towards civil war.
The elections are merely the catalyst for igniting, what could be,
a massive social upheaval. This explains
the bizarre insistence on voting when security is nearly nonexistent
and where a mere 7% of the people can
even identify the candidates. (This figure gleaned from Allawi's
Baghdad newspaper, Al-Sabah) Rumsfeld is using the elections as
a springboard for aggravating tensions between Sunnis and Shiites
and for diverting attention away from the troops. It's a foolhardy
move that only magnifies the desperation of the present situation.
The Pentagon brass expected a "cakewalk" and, instead,
they've found themselves mired in a guerilla war.
Everyone from Brent Scowcroft to Tom Friedman has speculated on
the likelihood of civil war. Their comments are more reflective
of the hopes of American elites than they are of realities on the
ground. Sure, Friedman would like to see Muslims killing Muslims,
but it won't happen. Tom hasn't guessed right on the war yet, and
that's not about to change. The same could be said for Rumsfeld.
For a Sec-Def who regards "information as power", Rumsfeld
seems woefully blinkered by the true nature of the fighting. He
seems incapable of grasping even the most basic elements of the
conflict or the psychology that fuels it. Whatever happened to the
military mantra, "Know your enemy"?
When you destroy a man's home and kill and disgrace his friends,
he'll fight back. And, when you rob a man of everything he has,
including his dignity, you leave him with one, solitary passion
rage. This rage is now animating the resistance in ways that no
one had previously anticipated. The world's lone superpower is roped
to the ground like Gulliver and the Pentagon high-command is getting
Civil war can be messy. Inciting religious and sectarian hatreds
tends to disrupt the smooth execution of business; like the purging
of potential enemies and the extracting of vital resources. Never
the less, Rumsfeld is nearly out of options; "divide and conquer"
may be all that's left. If we glance at the last 3 imperial projects;
Kosovo, Haiti and Afghanistan, the very same strategy was applied.
All three nations have been effectively carved up, delivered to
US multi-national corporations, and reduced to warlordism or anarchy.
Their outcome sets the precedent for similar results in Iraq.
Will Iraq be Balkenized along ethnic and religious lines?
That's what the Generals are hoping, and
their plan is already in full swing. The Marines deployed Shiite
National Guards during the siege of Falluja with the obvious intention
of exacerbating tensions between the two factions. The Kurdish
Peshmerga was utilized in Mosul for the very same purpose. Also,
there have been a number of suspicious bombings (particularly the
attacks on Sunni clerics in Najaf and Kerbala) that are not at all
consistent with the insurgent pattern, but suggest a clandestine
(CIA?) operation to incite hostilities. Add to this the projected
election results, which will tilt heavily towards the Shiites, and
there's a real potential for internecine violence. It's easy to
see how Pentagon planners might think that these provocations could
auger a massive internal struggle. It won't happen, though.
Whatever we may think of the Iraqis at this point, one thing is
certain; they know who their enemy is. The element of surprise or
deception has evaporated like the plumes of smoke dispersing over
Falluja. They know who we are, and they know they want us out.
Rumsfeld finally seems to be grasping the seriousness of the predicament.
The security situation has deteriorated so dramatically that even
his support among elites is eroding. Last week foreign policy Gurus,
Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, fired off a salvo of criticism
directed at the mishandling of the occupation. The normally circumspect
Brzezinski was particularly savage, slamming the war as a sign of
"moral decay"; a euphemism that will undoubtedly send
shock waves through America's boardrooms and think-tanks.
James Dobbins of the conservative Rand Corporation was equally
ferocious, stating bluntly that "The beginning of wisdom is
to realize that the United States can't win."
Dobbins probably should have added, "Can't win, but won't
leave," as the appropriate adjunct to his first observation.
American elites may disparage the conduct of the occupation, but
they've tied the nation's future to its success and won't give up
Rumsfeld Shifts Gears
There are signs that the recalcitrant Rumsfeld is beginning to
get the message. Last week he dispatched retired General Gary Luck
to Iraq to produce a detailed breakdown of force strength and vulnerabilities.
When Luck returns he will appear before Congress and make an energetic
appeal for more troops and stiffer resolve. He can be expected to
draw a dismal picture of a failed state that threatens to destabilize
the entire region unless America makes a greater commitment. Both
the Congress and the media will play a role in calling on the American
people for steadfastness in the face of a very long and bloody occupation.
Many believe that Luck's assessment will determine whether Bush
will approach Congress to reinstate the draft.
Enlisting the skills of General Luck is an indication that Rumsfeld
is giving ground to his critics; that he is no longer elevating
his judgment above all others. His bungling of every aspect of the
war has limited his ability to act unilaterally. He will either
have to demonstrate some level of cooperation or step down. The
war's two main debacles so far can be directly pinned on Rumsfeld.
First, he went in "too light" (without sufficient manpower
to secure the peace) and second, he dismissed the 400,000 strong
Iraqi military, the majority of whom now comprise the resistance.
The final outcome in Iraq will certainly rest heavily on those two
The siege of a Falluja was a crossroads for the American occupation.
The right-wing punditocracy insisted that the resistance in Falluja
be crushed by any means possible; preferably overwhelming force.
The Baghdad enclave of 250,000 was decimated by the relentless pounding
of US aerial bombardment and a full-fledged ground assault that
left over 700 civilians dead; 70% of whom were women and children.
In the first attack on Falluja Lt. Col. B. P. McCoy noted that,
"We don't want to rubblize, the city. That will give the enemy
more places to hide." McCoy's injunction was ignored during
the second (Nov 8) siege. The city has been both "rubblized"
and rendered "uninhabitable". (according to the Red Crescent)
The Bush administration applied the "nuclear option"
to Falluja; leveling the city to send a message that future resistance
would be dealt with accordingly. The message was faithfully rejected.
If anything, Falluja has only strengthened the resolve of the anti-American
forces and increased recruitment for the resistance. The violence
has spread and intensified throughout the Sunni Triangle, with the
number of attacks skyrocketing to 75 per day. Falluja has removed
any doubt from the minds of young Iraqi men that a nonviolent settlement
is possible. The flattening of a city of 250,000 confirms, in stark
terms, that the war will be decided by force of arms. Falluja has
removed whatever "gray area" there may have been before.
The numbers of insurgents are steadily on the rise since the siege.
The strength of the current rebellion was estimated last week by
Iraq's Intelligence Chief, General Mohammed Shahwani. Shahwani told
a Saudi newspaper that the "US was facing 40,000 hard-core
fighters" and a support group of as "many as 150,000 to
Predictably, the story was buried in the western press, but the
implications are clear. The Pentagon has been intentionally misleading
the American people about the size and strength of the insurgency.
(previous estimates were between 5,000 to 20,000) These new figures,
which are now supported by many independent defense analysts, point
to an insurgency which is numerically larger than the occupation
and fully prepared to fight a long and gory guerilla war. This brings
us back to James Dobbins observation "The beginning of wisdom
is to realize that the United States can't win."
Falluja's failure means that the prospect of destroying the rest
of Iraq's cities is more remote. Rather, success will depend on
increasing the number of US troops and developing a long term strategy
for "incrementally" establishing security. The only other
option is to deflect attention from the occupation forces by inciting
widespread instability. A civil war may serve the short term interests
of the administration, but it could also provoke region-wide turmoil.
It's a risk that no sane person would consider. The determination
to carry out the Jan 30 elections further proves that the administration
has not veered from the reckless and delusional strategies that
have thrust the mission to the brink of disaster.
Months ago, Baghdad correspondent, Patrick Cockburn warned that
the United States was "in danger of losing the war" in
Iraq. Since then the security situation has steadily worsened and
vast swaths of the country have come under rebel control. Every
promotional device the administration has used (the forming of the
Coalition Provisional Authority; the transfer of sovereignty and,
now, the elections) has backfired; bringing on larger attacks and
stiffer resistance. Rumsfeld's "high-tech" warfare has
degenerated into death squads and torture chambers; a pitiable return
to medieval combat. The civilian leadership, drunk with hubris and
greed, never noticed the wave of insurgency looming in the distance.
Now, they,re facing daily trauma and death without a clear plan
for success. The Iraq mission is like a 21st century Striker-vehicle
buried up to its axels and lolling in the dessert sand. As the Jan
30 deadline approaches, there's little sign that things will improve.
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has acquired a strong
military capability and will deter any attacks against it, Defense
Minister Ali Shamkhani said.
Shamkhani, speaking Monday at a technology conference, said
Iran did not fear the United States, which has already toppled
the fundamentalist Taliban in Afghanistan and dictator Saddam
Hussein in Iraq.
"We can say we have developed a might
that no country can attack us because they do not have accurate
information about our military capabilities," said Shamkhani,
whose comments were released Tuesday.
"We have produced equipment at a rapid pace with the minimum
investment that has resulted in the greatest deterrent force,"
the ministry quoted Shamkhani as saying.
Shamkhani's defiant stance came the same day President Bush
said on NBC's "Today" show that he wants to resolve a potential
nuclear threat from Iran through diplomacy.
"I hope we can solve it diplomatically but I will never take
any option off the table," the president said without elaborating.
Also Monday, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Seymour Hersh reported
in The New Yorker magazine that the Bush administration had been
"conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least
since last summer" for the purpose of gathering intelligence and
White House officials rejected the report in Monday editions
of the magazine, saying it was inaccurate.
Shamkhani did not say what sort of military hardware Iran has
produced. In November, he announced that
Iran was able to mass produce its Shahab-3 missile, capable of
carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching Israel and U.S. forces
in the Middle East.
Iran last successfully tested the medium-range missile in 2002
before equipping its elite Revolutionary Guards with it in July
2003. Shamkhani has repeatedly said Iran is constantly improving
the range and accuracy of its missiles in response to efforts
by Israel to upgrade its missile systems.
Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani said in
October that the missiles now have a range of more than 1,200
The toppling of Saddam and the Taliban
have worried many Iranians about the possibility that Iran would
be next on America's list. Bush has accused Iran of being
part of an "axis of evil" with North Korea and prewar Iraq.
The United States has accused Iran of seeking a covert nuclear
weapons program. Iran has denied the charge, saying its nuclear
program is geared only toward generating electricity, not producing
Hersh, who broke the story about the Abu Ghraib prisoner torture
scandal in Iraq, wrote that he had repeatedly been told by intelligence
and military officials, on condition of anonymity, that "the next
strategic target was Iran."
European Union officials said Tuesday
they would oppose a military strike against Iran. Luxembourg
Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, whose country holds the EU presidency,
said they hoped to persuade Bush during a summit later this month
that the only solution a standoff over Iran's nuclear program
was through diplomacy.
A large majority
of people questioned in a BBC World Service global opinion poll
think US President George Bush has made the world more dangerous.
Almost half of the nearly 21,000 people in 21 countries who responded
to the poll published on Wednesday made no distinction between the
Bush administration and the US itself.
They saw US influence in the world as largely negative
and viewed Americans negatively as well.
In none of the countries polled was there support
for contributing troops to Iraq.
"Negative feelings about Bush are high and are generalising
the American people who re-elected him," said Steven Kull,
director of the programme on international policy attitudes at the
University of Maryland, which carried out the poll in collaboration
with international polling company GlobalScan.
"This is quite a grim picture for the US," he added.
Need for diplomacy
In US Senate confirmation hearings, Bush's nominee as secretary
of state, Condoleezza Rice, on Tuesday acknowledged the need for
more diplomacy and for the rebuilding of alliances.
She said US interaction with the world "must
be a conversation, not a monologue".
Typically, one British contributor to the World Service website
on Wednesday said Bush's re-election "means more pollution,
war and social injustice [particularly in America]".
"Whatever happened to the freedom-loving, forward-thinking,
right-minded people that made America the envy of the rest of us?"
On average across all countries, the BBC poll indicated
that 58% of people think Bush's re-election has made the world more
Only in three countries, Poland, India and the
Philippines, was there a majority of support for Bush.
Even in traditional US allies such as Germany, France and
Britain, as well as in neighbouring Canada and Mexico, sentiment
was predominantly anti-Bush.
In Turkey, a US ally and the only Muslim member of the North Atlantic
Treaty Organisation, 82% of those polled said Bush's re-election
was bad for world peace.
Anti-Bush sentiment was also strong in Latin America,
with 79% of those polled in Argentina and 78% in Brazil describing
his re-election in negative terms.
In the poll, which took place from 15 November to 5 January,
500 to 1800 people were surveyed in each country.
The margin of error in extrapolating the results to the entire
population was placed between 2.5 and four percentage points, depending
on the country.
A former Jordanian government
minister has told The New Yorker that an American official confirmed
to him that the Iraqi interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, executed
six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station last year.
The claim is in an extensive profile of Dr Allawi written for this
week's issue of the magazine by an American journalist, Jon Lee
Anderson, the author of The Fall of Baghdad and a regular Baghdad
correspondent for The New Yorker.
Writing about his research in Jordan in December, Anderson says:
"A well-known former government minister told me that an American
official had confirmed that the killings took place, saying to him,
'What a mess we're in - we got rid of one son of a bitch only to
get another one'."
The New Yorker also revealed that Anderson was present during an
interview conducted by the Herald's chief correspondent, Paul McGeough,
in late June, with a man who said he witnessed the executions by
Dr Allawi denied the allegations when they were published in the
Herald last July.
Anderson writes: "The man ... described
how Allawi had been taken to seven suspects, who were made to stand
against a wall in a courtyard of the police station, their faces
covered. After being told of their alleged crimes by a police official,
Allawi had asked for a pistol, and
then shot each prisoner in the head.
[One of the men survived.] Afterward, the witness said, Allawi had
declared to those present, 'This is how we must deal with the terrorists.'
The witness said he approved of Allawi's act, adding that, in any
case, the terrorists were better off dead, for they had been tortured
PHOTOGRAPHS of British troops
abusing Iraqi looters at their base in Iraq were shown at the soldiers’
court martial in Germany yesterday.
The photos taken on 15 May 2003 at a supply depot in Basra show
naked Iraqis being forced to simulate degrading sex acts.
They show one blindfolded Iraqi man trussed up like a chicken suspended
from the prongs of a forklift truck. And they show one soldier standing
on a prostrate captive like a hunter with his prey.
The 22 colour photos form the case against three soldiers of the
Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who face lengthy jail terms and dismissal
with disgrace from the army if found guilty.
The photos come as British troops still struggle for hearts and
minds in Iraq ahead of democratic elections. There are fears that
incident will be compared around the world to the abuse that took
place at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad, where US troops degraded and
humiliated their prisoners.
In an attempt to limit the damage, the head of the army, General
Sir Mike Jackson, said yesterday he condemned utterly all acts of
Lt-Col Nick Clapham, prosecuting in the case that opened at Roberts
Barracks in Osnabrueck, said: "It cannot be said that these
pictures are of incidents that are anything other than shocking
The soldiers were guarding the camp, which had been plagued by
prosecution says the accused - L-Cpl Mark Cooley, 25, L-Cpl Darren
Larkin, 30, and Cpl Daniel Kenyon, 33 - took the law into their
own hands after an unauthorised order issued to them by their commander.
Major Dan Taylor, in charge of the facility, called Camp Bread
Basket - a food centre - was fed up with the stores being looted
nightly by raiders.
After requesting extra staff - which he received - he issued an
edict that the looters stealing were to be rounded up "and
worked hard". But Maj Taylor’s order contravened both
military law and the Geneva Convention governing the treatment of
civilians in an occupied country.
"He was not authorised to issue such an order," said
Lt-Col Clapham. "Even though the order to make them work was
unlawful, had these defendants done no more than what that order
envisaged they would not be facing these charges. These charges
are a long way outside that order.
"In no way did that order envisage conduct of the type that
I have described."
Lt-Col Clapham told the seven officers sitting in judgment on the
three men that the order to catch and punish the Iraqi looters was
called "Operation Ali Baba".
It involved men dressed in training kit armed with camouflage poles
- long sticks used to erect netting around parked military vehicles
- going hunting for looters.
Once they were brought back with their plunder they were made to
run in searing heat with boxes of dried milk on their heads.
But then this "beasting", in army parlance, turned worse
when the Iraqis were split into small groups.
Cpl Kenyon, who was part of a platoon drafted into Camp Bread Basket
specifically to boost security, was in charge of men who took three
or four Iraqis away from the main body of captives.
The army alleges that he, as a senior man, aided and abetted in
the abuse that was his duty to stop.
The court heard that L-Cpl Cooley drove the forklift truck and
that most of the photos were taken by a fusilier convicted in an
earlier case relating to the abuse.
The pictures will send shockwaves through the British Army, which
still has 9,000 soldiers around Basra in the run-up to Iraqi elections.
the images are photos of two naked Iraqi men simulating anal sex
with their thumbs raised up to the cameras and a close-up photograph
of two Iraqi men simulating oral sex.
A grinning L-Cpl Cooley is also seen driving a forklift truck with
an Iraqi male suspended from the forks, which are raised about two
The court heard that L-Cpl Cooley admitted driving the truck, but
that he claimed it was "to move the
man out of the sun".
A statement from Emma Louise Blackie, who works in a photo developing
shop in Tamworth, Staffordshire, was read into court about the day
when Fusilier Gary Barclam came into the store with the "trophy
snaps" which led to the court martial.
She told police that she was shocked by the content of the photos,
which she thought "looked like PoWs being abused.
"I remember the man who brought them in as being very polite,"
Ms Blackie said. "But I called the police straight away. I
knew something was very wrong."
Gen Sir Mike Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff, said yesterday
that all such allegations of abuse were investigated immediately.
In a statement, he stressed that only a "small number"
of the 65,000 servicemen and women who had served in Iraq were alleged
to have been involved in such incidents.
And he promised that the outcome of the court martial would be
studied to see if it raised any further issues for the army.
Sir Mike said that for legal reasons he could not comment directly
on the photographs while the hearing was continuing in Germany.
"In the meantime, we can only repeat what we have said in the
past about abuse," he said.
"We condemn utterly all acts of abuse. Where there is evidence
of abuse, this is investigated immediately.
"We have always made clear that the proper way of dealing
with allegations of abuse by the armed forces is for them to be
investigated by the service police and, as appropriate, prosecuted
by the independent service authorities.
"I have every confidence in the military investigative and
Cpl Kenyon faces six charges in total, including two of aiding
and abetting a person to force two naked males being detained by
British troops to simulate a sex act.
L-Cpl Cooley faces three charges, including tying an unknown male
prisoner to a forklift truck, as well as simulating punching and
kicking another unknown male also being detained by the army.
Both entered not-guilty pleas to the abuse charges.
L-Cpl Larkin, 30, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, admitted one
charge of assaulting an unknown male at the camp, but denied another
charge of forcing two Iraqi males to undress in front of others.
William England, representing L-Cpl Larkin, said his client was
ashamed of the offence to which he had pleaded guilty.
He said: "He knows he has brought shame
on his proud regiment, his name and his family."
All the men have been allowed to continue to serve with their regiment
until the commencement of the trial, but they are facing between
four and ten years in prison if found guilty of all the charges.
The trial is expected to last a month.
A suicide driver detonated a car bomb today
outside the offices of Iraq’s largest Shiite political party,
killing three other people.
The attacker drove his vehicle to a checkpoint in front of offices
of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known
as SCIRI, and claimed to be one of the party’s security guards.
"The guards did not recognise him and the driver stepped back
and detonated his car," Lt Col Kendall Penn told reporters at
Penn said four people, including the driver, were killed and
four were injured.
The attack occurred in the capital’s Jadriyah district and left
the two vehicles in flames.
Shredded debris littered the street in front of the SCIRI offices.
SCIRI was at the forefront of the Shiite struggle against Saddam
Hussein and many of its key figures fled to Iran, returning after
the US-led invasion toppled the regime in April 2003.
It is expected to run strong in the election on January 30,
when Iraqis choose a 275-member National Assembly.
Sunni Muslim clerics have called for an election boycott and
Sunni insurgents have threatened to attack voting stations to
disrupt the ballot, expected to transfer political power to the
Assailants in southern Iraq gunned down two
candidates running in the January 30 elections for the political
coalition of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a member of the
group has said.
Alaa Hamid, who was running on Allawi's slate of candidates
for the 275-member National Assembly, was
shot dead Monday in the southern port city of Basra in front of
his family, a member of Allawi's Iraqi National Accord
said. Hamid was also the deputy chairman of the Iraqi Olympic
Committee in Basra.
The other slain candidate was Riad Radi, who was running in
the local race for Basra's provincial council on a list supported
by Allawi's INC, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Masked gunmen fired on his car Sunday as
he was driving with his family, the official said.
Sunni Muslim militants who oppose holding the elections have
warned candidates not to run. With less than two weeks until the
vote, many candidates haven't even announced they're running for
fear of attack.
Basra, a predominantly Shi'ite Muslim city, has been relatively
calm in recent weeks. In central Iraq, meanwhile, there have been
numerous attacks on polling offices in the past days.
There was violence in Basra on Sunday, as insurgents fired four
mortar rounds at schools slated to serve as polling centres.
In Baghdad on Monday, masked gunmen shot
dead another candidate, Shaker Jabbar Sahla, a Shi'ite
Muslim who was running in the National Assembly election for the
Constitutional Monarchy Movement. The party is headed by Sharif
Ali bin Hussein, a cousin of Iraq's last king.
A Catholic archbishop kidnapped at gunpoint
from outside his church in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was
freed yesterday, a day after his abduction, the Vatican said yesterday.
Pope John Paul II, who had prayed for Archbishop Basile Georges
Casmoussa's release, was told immediately of the release, papal
spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said.
"He changed his prayer to one of thanks," he said.
A ransom of $US200,000 ($265,026) initially had been demanded,
but the Syrian Catholic Church bishop was released without the
payment of any money, the Vatican said.
The Vatican had branded the kidnapping a "despicable terrorist
act" and demanded his immediate release.
The archbishop was walking in front of the Al-Bishara church
in Mosul's eastern neighbourhood of Muhandeseen when gunmen forced
him into a car and drove away, witnesses said. [...]
Eight Chinese hostages
including two teenagers have been taken hostage by insurgents
A video was released yesterday that claimed the eight would
be killed within 48 hours if the Chinese Government did not clarify
its position on the war.
Insurgents, their faces covered by chequered headdresses, identified
themselves as fighters from the Movement of the Islamic Resistance
Nuamaan Brigade, apparently named after an ancient Islamic warrior.
They released the video and a statement to the pan-Arabic television
network al-Jazeera yesterday.
"We captured these Chinese as they were trying to leave Iraq.
Interrogations showed they worked for one of the Chinese companies
helping to build American facilities in Iraq," said one of the
gunmen, holding a pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle next to the
Dressed in winter coats, they pointed their weapons at the eight
men, who stood silently on a dirt floor in front of a cement wall.
"The position of the Chinese Government towards our cause was
clear - not taking part in invasion forces and their aggression
against our country," said a voice on the tape.
"We call on the Chinese Government to clarify its position on
them and other Chinese. We will kill them 48 hours after their
pictures are televised unless that is done," the gunman said on
Along with the video, al-Jazeera also released a statement,
although the network did not release it all at once.
Part of the statement indicated that the group could free the
hostages on condition they "will quit their work with the occupation
NEW YORK As the U.S. military
approaches nearly two years in the Iraq conflict, media training
for soldiers going into the war zone has been stepped up, becoming
mandatory for Army troops since October, E&P has learned.
"Talking point" cards for military personnel,
meanwhile, are being updated regularly as the war progresses --
often as much as once a week -- to keep up with the conflict's changing
issues and the proximity of embedded reporters. Among the current
talking points: "We are a values-based, people-focused team
that strives to uphold the dignity and respect of all."
Soldiers preparing for deployment in hostile or critical areas
have received some kind of media training in handling press inquiries
since as far back as the first Persian Gulf War, according to several
military press officers. Such training has also included pocket
cards with suggested talking points for the combatants, which advise
them how best to promote the military operation and avoid awkward
or confrontational interviews.
"As situations happen, you will have ever-changing
talking points, as much as every week," said Capt. Jeff Landis,
a Marine Corps public-affairs spokesman. "They are tailored
to the situation."
The media training consists of one or two hours of briefings by
public-affairs specialists from the Defense Information School at
Fort Meade, Md. In the past, such training was provided only to
those Army units who requested it, according to Sgt. Don Dees, an
Army spokesman based at the Baghdad press center. But, since October,
it has become a mandatory requirement for all deploying Army troops.
"The Army just recently made it a common soldier task; it
is one of the requirements they go through," Dees said. "It
is in our best interest to provide them that training."
While the Marine Corps has made such training a requirement for
years, it has taken on more importance in recent months as well.
"There is more heightened awareness with this particular conflict,"
Capt. Landis told E&P, referring to the Iraq operation. "It
has taken a higher priority."
During training, soldiers are urged to speak with
the press as a way of promoting the positive elements of the operation,
but not to lie or speak about issues with which they are not familiar.
"It is a standard part of deployment preparation," said
Lt. Col. Gerard Healy, an Army spokesman based at the Pentagon.
Lt. Col. Barry Venable, a Department of Defense spokesman, compared
it to any other basic training. "It is a common task, much
like firing your rifle," he said. "It has emerged over
the past 10 years as a necessary skill."
The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., noted this week that
the first talking point in a slide show for troops at Fort Bragg
was: "We are not an occupying force."
A list of "wallet-card" talking points
given to a group of Marines heading to Iraq, obtained by that newspaper,
• The Marine Corps is trained, resourced,
and ready to accomplish its missions. We are committed to the cause
and will remain in Iraq as long as we are needed.
• The fight in Iraq is tough, but we will remain steadfast
and not lose heart.
• We are moving forward together with the Iraqi government
as partners in building a future for the sons and daughters of Iraq.
• Coalition forces will help our Iraqi partners as they build
their new and independent country and take their rightful place
in the world community.
• Our troopers and their families are our greatest and most
• The Corps is a national institution -- it has never failed
to do the will of the American people.
In media training, meanwhile, soldiers are advised not to discuss
classified information, to confine comments to their area of knowledge,
and to stay on the record. Other advice includes talking to the
interviewer, not the camera; avoiding acronyms, profanity, or a
"no comment"; and not arguing or answering a question
they do not want to answer. [...]
BAGHDAD, - The U.S. military is resorting
to collective punishment tactics in Iraq similar
to those used by Israeli troops in the occupied territories of
Palestine, residents say.
Military bulldozers have mown down palm groves in the rural
al-Dora farming area on the outskirts of Baghdad, residents say.
Electricity has been cut, the local fuel station destroyed and
the access road blocked.
The U.S. action comes after resistance fighters attacked soldiers
from this area several weeks back.
"The Americans were attacked from this field, then they returned
and started cutting down all the trees," says Kareem, a local
mechanic, pointing to a pile of burnt date palms in a bulldozed
field. "None of us knows any fighters,
we all know they are coming here from other areas to attack the
Americans, but we are the people who suffer from this."
The military action follows a similar round of attacks and retaliation
earlier this month.
U.S. Army Brigadier-General Mark Kimmit told reporters then
that the military had launched 'Operation
Iron Grip' in the area to send "a very clear message to
anybody who thinks that they can run around Baghdad without worrying
about the consequences of firing RPGs (rocket propelled grenades),
Gen. Kimmit said "there is a capability in the air that can
quickly respond against anybody who would want to harm Iraqi citizens
or coalition forces." Then as now, local people denied any knowledge
of harbouring resistance fighters.
And now, as then, they say they have to pay the price.
"They destroyed our fences, and now there are wolves attacking
our animals," said Mohammed, a schoolboy. "They destroyed much
of our farming equipment, and the worst is they cut our electricity.
They come by here every night and fire their
weapons to frighten us."
People need electricity to run pumps to irrigate the farms,
he said. "Now we are carrying water in buckets from the river,
and this is very difficult for us," Mohammed said.
"They say they are going to make things better for us, but they
Going into fields littered with unexploded mortar shells after
the U.S. retaliation has become hazardous now. "We asked them
the first time and they said okay, we'll come take care of it,"
said a farmer who called himself Sharkr. "But they never came."
Other residents say soldiers beat them up during
random home raids. "I was beaten by the Americans," said Ihsan,
a 17 year-old secondary school student. "They asked me who attacked
them, but I do not know. My home was raided, our furniture destroyed,
and one of my uncles was arrested."
People in Abu Hishma village in the area spoke of similar experiences
earlier. After U.S.. soldiers were attacked, the
entire village was encircled with razor wire. Residents
were forced to acquire military identity badges and enter through
a military controlled checkpoint.
The main farm road was blocked by four large concrete slabs
after attacks several weeks ago. Residents used tractors to remove
the blocks, but last week they say the military installed four
"They humiliate us when we talk to them," said Hamoud Abid,
a 50-year-old farmer. "They would not tell us when they will remove
these blocks, so we are all walking now."
A military spokesperson in Baghdad declined to comment on the
statements by the people in al-Dora, and declined a request for
his name. But he said there were ongoing security operations in
GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP - Hamas is claiming
responsibility for a suicide bomb attack in the Gaza Strip on
Tuesday, just hours after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived
to press militant leaders for a ceasefire.
Rescue workers said as many as six Israelis and a Palestinian
were wounded in the attack near a Jewish settlement and an army
outpost at the Kissufim border crossing. Israel closed it last
week after a deadly assault hit another crossing.
Hamas claimed responsibility in an electronic message sent to
the Associated Press, which identified the bomber as a 21-year-old
man who lived near a Palestinian refugee camp.
The attack came shortly after Abbas arrived in Gaza to negotiate
with leaders from Hamas and other militant groups, to try to persuade
them to lay down their weapons.
Abbas, who was sworn in as president of the Palestinian Authority
on Saturday, has publicly condemned the armed uprising against
Israel but has so far refused to use force against groups such
Israel has threatened major military action if Abbas fails to
rein in the militants. [...]
Speaking in Jerusalem Dec. 20,
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer made the connection between
the growth of the Islamic fundamentalist groups Hamas and Islamic
Jihad, and Israel's promotion of the Islamic movement as a counter
to the Palestinian nationalist movement. Kurtzer's comments come
very close to EIR's own presentation of the evidence of Israel's
instrumental role in establishing Hamas, and its ongoing control
of that organization.
Kurtzer said that the growth of the Islamic movement in the Palestinian
territories in recent decades—"with the tacit support
of Israel"—was "not totally unrelated" to the
emergence of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and their terrorist attacks
against Israel. Kurtzer explained that during the 1980s, when the
Islamic movement began to flourish in the West Bank and Gaza, "Israel
perceived it to be better to have people turning toward religion
rather than toward a nationalistic cause [the Palestinian Liberation
Organization—ed.]." It therefore did little to stop the
flow of money to mosques and other religious institutions, rather
than to schools.
According to the Dec. 21 Israeli daily Ha'aretz, Kurtzer made these
extraordinary statements at a seminar on religion and politics sponsored
by Oz V'Shalom-Netivot Shalom, a largely Anglo-American organization
that promotes peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Rabbi Dr.
Aharon Lichtenstein, the head of Har Etzion Yeshiva in Alon Shvut,
who is an active advocate of a just regional peace, also spoke.
Kurtzer said that as a result of the growth of Islam at the expense
of education, there are now Palestinians who are "determined
terrorists that use religious beliefs in a perverted way to appeal
to the masses."
Kurtzer said that cultural and religious interaction is potentially
a way to "build bridges." But instead, "the perverted
use of religion in the region is today becoming one of the great
challenges for the years ahead." He said that there is no "inherent
component" in Islam that advocates violence. But one of the
five principles of Islam, jihad—resistance—"in
classic religious associations connotes religious belief and fervor,
not violence." But extremists have distorted the meaning of
jihad, so it now has a connotation of violence in the service of
a religious purpose.
The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend
This statement is extraordinary given the fact that Kurtzer is
a very senior diplomat, having held the post of Ambassador to Egypt
just prior to going on to Tel Aviv. He is also an Orthodox Jew who
is not shy of criticizing the extreme anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic
views held by certain Arab circles. But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon rarely grants the United States' highest representative in
Israel an official audience.
The ambassador's comments are an acknowledgment
of what any serious Middle East observers knows: Hamas has always
been seen as a tool by which Israel could undermine the nationalist
movement led by Palestinian Authority President and Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat. Similar statements
by Arafat have been dismissed by Israel as "cranky" propaganda.
In an interview with the Dec. 11 Italian daily Corriere della Sera,
Arafat said, "We are doing everything to stop the violence.
But Hamas is a creature of Israel which at the time of Prime Minister
[Yitzhak] Shamir [the late 1980s, when Hamas arose], gave them money
and more than 700 institutions, among them schools, universities
and mosques. Even [former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin
ended up admitting it, when I charged him with it, in the presence
of [Egpytian President Hosni] Mubarak." [...]
JEURSALEM, May 20 (Xinhuanet) -- An Israeli
official closed to
Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer denied Monday afternoon
connection to a car bombing that killed a Palestinian guerrilla
leader's son in Beirut, Lebanon.
"Israel had no connection" to the killing, the official said,
adding that the defense minister had also denied any link.
The 38-year-old Mohammad Jihad Ahmed Jibril, the son of the
Popular Front for Liberation of Palestinian-General Command (PFLP-
GC)'s head Ahmed Jibril, was killed in a car bombing attack in
Beirut Monday morning.
Lebanese police said the explosion was
caused by a bomb placed
under the driver's seat, but the details of the explosion
The PFLP-GC, a separate group from the PFLP headquartered in
West Bank, accused Israel of sketching the targeted assassination.
The group is opposed to peace negotiations with Israel which
began when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat signed the 1993 Oslo
accords, and keeps close ties with the Lebanese resistance groups
of Hezbollah, or Party of God.
Israel is embarking upon a more
aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging
targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries,
former Israeli intelligence officials told United Press International.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has forbidden the practice
until now, these sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Israeli statements were confirmed by more than a half dozen
former and currently serving U.S. foreign policy and intelligence
officials in interviews with United Press International.
But an official at the Israeli Embassy in Washington told UPI:
"That is rubbish. It is completely untrue. Israel and the United
States have such a close and co-operative intelligence relationship,
especially in the field of counter-terrorism, that the assertion
With the appointment of Meir Dagan, the new director of Israel's
Mossad secret intelligence service, Sharon is preparing "a
huge budget" increase for the spy agency as part of "a
tougher stance in fighting global jihad (or holy war)," one
Israeli official said.
Since Sharon became Israeli prime minister, Tel Aviv has mainly
limited its practice of targeted killings to the West Bank and Gaza
because "no one wanted such operations on their territory,"
a former Israeli intelligence official said.
Another former Israeli government official said that under Sharon,
"diplomatic constraints have prevented the Mossad from carrying
out 'preventive operations' (targeted killings) on the soil of friendly
countries until now."
He said Sharon is "reversing that policy, even if it risks
complications to Israel's bilateral relations."
A former Israeli military intelligence source agreed: "What
Sharon wants is a much more extensive and tough approach to global
terrorism, and this includes greater operational maneuverability."
Does this mean assassinations on the soil of allies?
"It does," he said.
"Mossad is definitely being beefed up," a U.S. government
official said of the Israeli agency's budget increase. He declined
to comment on the Tel Aviv's geographic expansion of targeted killings.
An FBI spokesman also declined to comment, saying: "This is
a policy matter. We only enforce federal laws."
A congressional staff member with deep knowledge of intelligence
matters said, "I don't know on what basis we would be able
to protest Israel's actions." He referred to the recent killing
of Qaed Salim Sinan al Harethi, a top al Qaida leader, in Yemen
by a remotely controlled CIA drone.
"That was done on the soil of a friendly ally," the staffer
But the complications posed by Israel's new policy are real.
"Israel does not have a good record at doing this sort of
thing," said former CIA counter-terrorism official Larry Johnson.
He cited the 1997 fiasco where two Mossad agents were captured
after they tried to assassinate Khaled Mashaal, a Hamas political
leader, by injecting him with poison.
According to Johnson, the attempt, made in Amman, Jordan, caused
a political crisis in Israeli-Jordan relations. In addition, because
the Israeli agents carried Canadian passports, Canada withdrew its
ambassador in protest, he said. Jordan is one of two Arab nations
to recognize Israel. The other is Egypt.
At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, "I
have no intention of stopping the activities of this government
against terror," according to a CNN report.
Former CIA officials say Israel was forced to free jailed Hamas
founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and 70 other Jordanian and Palestinian
prisoner being held in Israeli jails to secure the release of the
two would-be Mossad assassins.
Phil Stoddard, former director of the Middle East Institute, cited
a botched plot to kill Ali Hassan Salemeh, the mastermind of the
1972 Munich Olympics massacre. The 1974 attempt severely embarrassed
Mossad when the Israeli hit team mistakenly assassinated a Moroccan
waiter in Lillehammer, Norway.
Salemeh, later a CIA asset, was killed in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1976
by a car bomb placed by an Israeli assassination team, former U.S.
intelligence officials said.
"Israel knew Salemeh was providing us with preventive intelligence
on the Palestinians and his being killed pissed off a lot of people,"
said a former senior CIA official.
But some Israeli operations have been successful.
Gerald Bull, an Ontario-born U.S. citizen and designer of the Iraqi
supergun -- a massive artillery system capable of launching satellites
into orbit, and of delivering nuclear chemical or biological payloads
from Baghdad to Israel -- was killed in Belgium in March 1990. The
killing is still unsolved, but former CIA officials said a Mossad
hit team is the most likely suspect.
Bull worked on the supergun design -- codenamed Project Babylon
-- for 10 years, and helped the Iraqis develop many smaller artillery
systems. He was found with five bullets in his head outside his
Israeli hit teams, which consist of units or squadrons of the Kidon,
a sub-unit for Mossad's highly secret Metsada department, would
stage the operations, former Israeli intelligence sources said.
Kidon is a Hebrew word meaning "bayonet," one former Israeli
intelligence source said.
This Israeli government source explained that in the past Israel
has not staged targeted killings in friendly countries because "no
one wanted such operations on their territory."
This has become irrelevant, he said.
Dagan, the new hard-driving director of Mossad, will implement
the new changes, former Israeli government officials said.
Dagan, nicknamed "the gun," was Sharon's adviser on counter-terrorism
during the government of Netanyahu in 1996, former Israeli government
officials say. A former military man, Dagan has also undertaken
extremely sensitive diplomatic missions for several of Israel's
prime ministers, former Israeli government sources said.
Former Israel Defense Forces Lt. Col. Gal Luft, who served under
Dagan, described him as an "extremely creative individual --
creative to the point of recklessness."
A former CIA official who knows Dagan said the new Mossad director
knows "his foreign affairs inside and out," and has a
"real killer instinct."
Dagan is also "an intelligence natural" who has "a
superb analyst not afraid to act on gut instinct," the former
CIA official said.
Dagan has already removed Mossad officials whom he regards as "being
too conservative or too cautious" and is building up "a
constituency of senior people of the same mentality," one former
long-time Israeli operative said.
Dagan is also urging that Mossad operatives rely less on secret
sources and rely more on open information that is so plentifully
provided on the Internet and newspapers.
"It's a cultural thing," one former Israeli intelligence
operative explained. "Mossad in the past has put its emphasis
on Humint (human intelligence) and secret operations and has neglected
the whole field of open media, which has become extremely important."
The slogans fixed to the big
black banners told their own story as dozens of local residents
gathered in warm sunshine in front of the town hall at the start
of a day of mourning and protest yesterday: "Wake up Sharon",
"Conquer Gaza Now", "Seven
dead in seven months", "Enough Qassams" and
"Our blood is not for sale". [...]
Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip this weekend in a rash
of Israeli violence, including a Palestinian mother and her
son who were shot by snipers while on their roof. According to an
eyewitness, Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinian homes in the Khan
Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday. Shells
were fired at a family’s home, and its roof began to burn.
The family and fire brigade managed to put out the fire, and then
Feda Aram, 50, her husband Suleiman, 54, their son Abdullah, and
other relatives went to the roof to see what damage had been done.
They were surprised by a hail of Israeli sniper fire, which killed
Feda and her son, severely injured Suleiman, and moderately injured
other family members. These Israeli offensives come at a time when
prospects for peace are hopeful but tenuous. Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon announced on Sunday that he was authorizing his forces
to hit Gaza, a mostly civilian area, “with no restrictions,”
i.e. without the restraints imposed by national or international
The Palestinian leadership has called for a halt to attacks on
Israel by Palestinian militants. But government-sanctioned
Israeli attacks against Palestinian non-combatants make newly-elected
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s task of negotiating
with and reigning in Palestinian militants much more difficult.
A NEW security threat has emerged as Washington
gears up for an extravaganza to swear in President George Bush
for a second term - limousines containing bombs.
US intelligence sources admit the fears were partially prompted
by a 39-page document seized from al-Qaida. The
paper details a mechanism for using limousines to deliver bombs
equipped with cylinders of a flammable gas, according to
Bombs can be concealed in limos because the vehicles "blend
in" and "do not require special driving skills", it says.
The paper, titled Rough Presentation for Gas Limo Protection,
is thought to have been written by Issa al-Hindi, an al-Qaida
operative captured in Britain last year.
It details how limos can access underground parking structures
and "have tinted windows that can hide an improvised explosive
Although the fast approaching inauguration is not specifically
mentioned, it is understood to suggest
the deployment of three limos, each carrying 12 or more compressed-gas
cylinders to create a "full fuel-air explosion".
The cylinders should be painted yellow
to falsely "signify toxic gases to spread terror and chaos when
emergency and haz-mat teams arrive" it reads.
Parts of the document began circulating among US intelligence
authorities earlier this month and with hundreds of limos expected
to block the capital’s streets this week, barriers have reportedly
been set up to block any potentially-destructive vehicle.
The inauguration ceremony launching Mr Bush’s second term on
Thursday will be marked by a frenzy of extravagant dinners, balls
and parties, all shrouded in unprecedented levels of security.
The four-day fiesta is estimated to cost $40m (€31m), making it
the most expensive inauguration in American history. Themed "Celebrating
Freedom, Honouring Service", it will focus on troop deployment
in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the lavish gala has attracted widespread
WASHINGTON, May 20 (Xinhuanet) -- U.S.
Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) Director Robert Mueller warned on Monday that
walk-in suicide bombers like those in Israel will inevitably hit
the United States.
"I think we will see that in the future, I think it's inevitable,"
Mueller said while responding to a question after a speech in
"I wish I could be more optimistic," he added.
Mueller admitted that it is difficult for law-enforcement agencies
to penetrate into the inner circle of a suicide bomber terrorist
group and get information to prevent such attacks.
Mueller's warning came one day after U.S. Vice President Dick
Chenney said it is almost certain that al-Qaeda networks would
attack U.S. targets again although it is unclear when and where
the attacks might occur.
"I think that the prospects of a future attack on the U.S. are
almost a certainty," Cheney told "Fox News Sunday." "It could
happen tomorrow, it could happen next week, it could happen next
year. And we have to be prepared," he said.
Cheney also said on Sunday that he sees "a real possibility"
that walk-in suicide bombers may hit the United States, if those
who have attacked Israel succeed in changing the political situation
in the Middle East.
The U.S. government has recently intercepted a series of vague
but menacing messages that appear to be communications among Al
Qaeda terrorists who could be planning a strike in the U.S.,
government officials said.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A distraught man threatened
to blow up his van a block from the White House on Tuesday, prompting
a standoff with police.
Debra Weierman, spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office,
said the man driving the red van claimed to have 15 gallons of
He said he would "blow it up if he doesn't get his child back,"
Police attempted to negotiate with the man.
The incident occurred at the corner of 15th Street and Pennsylvania
Avenue along the parade route that President Bush will travel
on Thursday after his inauguration.
The US media is disciplined by corporate
America into promoting the Republican cause
| George Monbiot
Tuesday January 18, 2005
On Thursday, the fairy king of
fairyland will be recrowned. He was elected on a platform suspended
in midair by the power of imagination. He is the leader of a band
of men who walk through ghostly realms unvisited by reality. And
he remains the most powerful person on earth.
How did this happen? How did a fantasy president from a world of
make believe come to govern a country whose power was built on hard-headed
materialism? To find out, take a look at two squalid little stories
which have been concluded over the past 10 days.
The first involves the broadcaster CBS. In September, its 60 Minutes
programme ran an investigation into how George Bush avoided the
Vietnam draft. It produced memos which appeared to show that his
squadron commander in the Texas National Guard had been persuaded
to "sugarcoat" his service record. The programme's allegations
were immediately and convincingly refuted: Republicans were able
to point to evidence suggesting the memos had been faked. Last week,
following an inquiry into the programme, the producer was sacked,
and three CBS executives were forced to resign.
The incident couldn't have been more helpful to Bush. Though there
is no question that he managed to avoid serving in Vietnam, the
collapse of CBS's story suggested that all the allegations made
about his war record were false, and the issue dropped out of the
news. CBS was furiously denounced by the rightwing pundits, with
the result that between then and the election, hardly any broadcaster
dared to criticise George Bush. Mary Mapes, the producer whom CBS
fired, was the network's most effective investigative journalist:
she was the person who helped bring the Abu Ghraib photos to public
attention. If the memos were faked, the forger was either a moron
or a very smart operator.
It's true, of course, that CBS should have taken more care. But
I think it is safe to assume that if the network had instead broadcast
unsustainable allegations about John Kerry, none of its executives
would now be looking for work. How many people have lost their jobs,
at CBS or anywhere else, for repeating bogus stories released by
the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth about Kerry's record in Vietnam?
How many were sacked for misreporting the Jessica Lynch affair?
Or for claiming that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear weapons
programme in 2003? Or that he was buying uranium from Niger, or
using mobile biological weapons labs, or had a hand in 9/11? How
many people were sacked, during Clinton's presidency, for broadcasting
outright lies about the Whitewater affair? The answer, in all cases,
You can say what you like in the US media, as long as it helps
a Republican president. But slip up once while questioning him,
and you will be torn to shreds. Even the most grovelling affirmations
of loyalty won't help. The presenter of 60 Minutes, Dan Rather,
is the man who once told his audience" "George Bush is
the president, he makes the decisions and, you know, as just one
American, he wants me to line up, just tell me where." CBS
is owned by the conglomerate Viacom, whose chairman told reporters:
"We believe the election of a Republican administration is
better for our company." But for Fox News and the shockjocks
syndicated by Clear Channel, Rather's faltering attempt at investigative
journalism is further evidence of "a liberal media conspiracy".
This is not the first time something like this has happened. In
1998, CNN made a programme which claimed that, during the Vietnam
war, US special forces dropped sarin gas on defectors who had fled
to Laos. In this case, there was plenty of evidence to support the
story. But after four weeks of furious denunciations, the network's
owner, Ted Turner, publicly apologised in terms you would expect
to hear during a show trial in North Korea: "I'll take my shirt
off and beat myself bloody on the back." CNN had erred, he
said, by broadcasting the allegations when "we didn't have
evidence beyond a reasonable doubt". As the website wsws.org
has pointed out, it's hard to think of a single investigative story
- Watergate, the My Lai massacre, Britain's arms to Iraq scandal
- which could have been proved at the time by journalists "beyond
a reasonable doubt". But Turner did what was demanded of him,
with the result that, in media fairyland, the atrocity is now deemed
not to have happened.
The other squalid little story broke three days before the CBS
people were sacked. A US newspaper discovered that Armstrong Williams,
a television presenter who (among other jobs) had a weekly slot
on a syndicated TV show called America's Black Forum, had secretly
signed a $240,000 contract with the US Department of Education.
The contract required him "to regularly comment" on George
Bush's education bill "during the course of his broadcasts"
and to ensure that "Secretary Paige [the education secretary]
and other department officials shall have the option of appearing
from time to time as studio guests".
It's hard to see why the administration bothered to pay him. Williams
has described as his "mentors" Lee Atwater - the man who,
under Reagan's presidency, brought a new viciousness to Republican
campaigning - and the segregationist senator Strom Thurmond. His
broadcasting career has been dedicated to promoting extreme Republican
causes and attacking civil rights campaigns.
What makes this story interesting is that the show he worked on
was founded, in 1977, by the radical black activists Glen Ford and
Peter Gamble, to "allow black reporters to hold politicians
and activists of all persuasions accountable to black people".
They sold their shares in 1980, and the programme was later bought
by the Uniworld Group. With Williams's help, the new owners have
reversed its politics, and turned it into a recruitment vehicle
for the Republican party. Williams appears to have been taking money
for doing what he was doing anyway.
These stories, in other words, are illustrations of the ways in
which the US media is disciplined by corporate America. In the first
case the other corporate broadcasters joined forces to punish a
dissenter in their ranks. In the second case a corporation captured
what was once a dissenting programme and turned it into another
means of engineering conformity.
The role of the media corporations in the US is
similar to that of repressive state regimes elsewhere: they decide
what the public will and won't be allowed to hear, and either punish
or recruit the social deviants who insist on telling a different
story. The journalists they employ do what almost all journalists
working under repressive regimes do: they internalise the demands
of the censor, and understand, before anyone has told them, what
is permissible and what is not.
So, when they are faced with a choice between
a fable which helps the Republicans, and a reality which hurts them,
they choose the fable. As their fantasies accumulate, the story
they tell about the world veers further and further from reality.
Anyone who tries to bring the people back down to earth is denounced
as a traitor and a fantasist. And anyone who seeks to become president
must first learn to live in fairyland.
KABUL, Afghanistan, - A traditional way of
life on Kabul's streets is slowly being swept away.
The stalls and kiosks dotted along the streets in practically
every neighborhood of the city are being removed as part of a
major cleanup operation.
A wide variety of goods, ranging from apples to zinc baths,
were sold by numerous vendors either from pushcarts or kiosks.
"We are removing the kiosks on the grounds
of sanitation, and in order to expand the roads for the benefit
of pedestrians and motorists," said Mohammad Faqir Bahram,
Kabulís deputy mayor.
He said that the majority of residents were pleased with the
changes and that displaced merchants were being given the chance
to open shops.
But most of the affected merchants are unhappy with the move.
"I have to support a family of 11, and now I am unemployed,"
said Khudadad, 54. For the past five years, he has been selling
toiletries from a handcart.
He says he is too poor to open a shop. "I was unable to buy
firewood so I have to burn newspapers and boxes,î he said. ìHow
can I afford a shop?"
Khudadad said local traders are important to the community.
"Customers come to us because we provide a service," he said.
"The authorities should have established these shops and let the
traders move in before knocking down the kiosks."
Haji Hafizullah, 60, agreed, saying,
"They should have set up a market first. Everyone round here used
to shop locally. Now we have to go to the city centre and pay
Hamidullah, 35, who sells glass and building materials from
a stall in the centre of Kabul, now operates his business out
of a shop. But he worries what will happen to fellow merchants.
"Two or three people, feeding families of eight
to 10, used to work in each of these kiosks," he said. "Now they
He added, "I think the authorities took the right action but
at the wrong time. It's the middle of winter and many people are
in financial difficulties."
Navid, who supports 11 members of his family, sold toiletries
from his stall but is now unemployed. Still, he believes the government
took the right action in the interests of sanitation.
"And it makes the city look tidier," he added. "But after they
pulled down the stalls, I would have liked them to widen the road
and ease the congestion."
City center flower shop owner Dost Mohammad said,
"Since the stalls have disappeared, prices in the shops have increased
by almost 50 percent."
GETXO, Spain (Reuters) - A car bomb exploded
in a seaside town in northern Spain on Tuesday, injuring a police
officer, in an apparent hardline response from Basque guerrilla
group ETA that quashed growing expectations of a cease-fire.
The blast destroyed the car and damaged a nearby house in Las
Arenas, a wealthy district of the Basque town of Getxo that is
home to captains of industry and often targeted by ETA.
The 40 kilo (88 pound) bomb blew up soon after Basque newspaper
Gara received a warning call in the name of the outlawed group,
which only three days earlier said it backed a negotiated end
The newspaper passed the warning to police who cordoned off
the area, but one officer was caught by the blast, he said.
"They (the police) were putting up barriers and putting on their
flak jackets when it exploded," a witness told Reuters.
The explosion snuffed out hopes that a weakened ETA might be
on the brink of a cease-fire in its 37-year-old campaign to carve
an independent Basque state out of France and Spain, in which
some 850 people have been killed.
A toddler has been returned to his mother
and a 20-year-old Chicago man who was supposed to be babysitting
faces multiple charges today after police allegedly found the
child home alone, playing with a loaded handgun.
The incident began Sunday night when police arrested Jamie Kindred
on a South Side street for allegedly dealing marijuana, WGN-AM
720 reported. The man reportedly told police he could not be taken
into custody because he had left the child alone at his home nearby,
in the 7700 block of South Shore Drive.
Officers went to the apartment and found a 2-year-old boy there
with a gun in his hands.
"Because he did have his hand on the trigger, I knew at any
time accidentally it could have just gone off, (and) myself and
my partner could have been shot, or he could have shot himself,"
Chicago police Officer Frank Mack told CLTV.
Police got the gun away from the child, and no one was injured.
Malicious internet hackers have sunk to a
new low with a virus that was spreading across the internet today.
The W32/VBSun-A is a mass-mailing worm masquerading as a plea
for donations to help with the tsunami disaster. But instead of
bringing help to millions of disaster victims, the e-mail takes
over the target computers to launch a denial-of-service attack
against a German hacker website.
Computer security experts said the attack could stem from a
rivalry between hacker groups.
The virus arrives as an e-mail with the subject line "Tsunami
Donation, Please Help!" and comes with an attachment, tsunami.exe,
which launches the malicious software.
Security experts reiterated that computer users should never
open attachments unless they are sure of their content. Suspicious
e-mails should be deleted, without opening the attachments.
Guwahati: An earthquake measuring 5 on the
Richter scale shook India's northeast Tuesday, causing panic in
Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
Police in the region and residents of Manipur's capital Imphal
said people ran out of their homes following the morning tremor.
There were no reports of damage or casualties, officials said.
S. Chanda, an official with the seismological centre in Shillong,
the capital of Meghalaya, said the epicentre of Tuesday's earthquake
was plotted along the India-Myanmar border and had its impact
in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh besides parts of Myanmar.
The region has already experienced at least half-a-dozen moderate
tremors in the last two months.
An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter
scale shook the Wellington region and Marlborough Sounds this
The quake, which struck at 1.38pm, was centred 30km northwest
of Porirua and was 50km deep.
The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences said it was
likely to have been felt widely in the Wellington region and Marlborough
The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences
is looking at what a swarm of earthquakes that shook the lower
North Island and upper South Island yesterday means for the regions.
Nine earthquakes were recorded within
nine hours from yesterday afternoon, with the biggest reaching
5.3 on the Richter scale. Seven of the quakes were centred
40km southeast of Martinborough in Wairarapa.
Dr Martin Reyners, duty seismologist at the Institute of Geological
and Nuclear Sciences told NZPA yesterday's events were uncommon
but had happened before.
"It's uncommon but there was a similar sequence about 15 years
ago near Cape Palliser in Southern Wairarapa ... (in which) a
5.3 magnitude event was the largest of them," he said.
"That's very similar to what we had last night."
Dr Reyners said there was no need for
concern and the institute was investigating.
"In terms of energy release these are very small, but having
said that we are looking into what they mean in terms of what
the plates are doing under the Wellington region."
Today the institute would look at the mechanisms of the events,
"Each earthquake is a little fault break and we can work out
the mechanisms reasonably quickly -- so we can say whether the
fault went up or down or sideways," he said.
After that the institute would look at the bigger picture.
"Every earthquake, when it happens, changes the stress field
in the immediate vicinity and what that can do is move some nearby
faults closer to failure and some away from failure," Dr Reyners
"So we're interested in what effect this might have on plate
interface as a whole."
Dr Reyners said recent events in Asia -- notably Boxing Day's
high magnitude quake and subsequent deadly tsunami -- had led
to a heightened public interest in earthquakes.
This became clear after yesterday's first earthquake, he said.
"One thing we noticed yesterday is we had the event west of
Porirua in the afternoon, and we have a facility now on the GeoNet
website where people can give information on how they felt the
earthquake, and I think in the first three hours we had over 500
people doing that," he said.
"There is definitely a heightened interest in earthquakes in
terms of the public response that we see."
Small aftershocks were likely today, he said.
"People living on the Wairarapa coast may feel one or two, but
just looking at the seismographs this morning they seem to be
The first, at 1.38pm, measured 4.4 on the Richter scale and
was centred 30km northwest of Porirua at a depth of 50km.
The second, at 5.19pm, measured 3.6 and was centred 20km west
of Hastings at a depth of 20km.
The next seven were centred 40km southeast of Martinborough
and were at a depth of 15km to 25km:
* 6.54pm -- 3.8 magnitude
* 7.24pm -- 3.7 magnitude
* 9.36pm -- 5.3 magnitude
* 9.46pm -- 3.8 magnitude
* 9.49pm -- 2.8 magnitude
* 10.00pm -- 3.1 magnitude
* 10.26pm -- 5.2 magnitude
A BEWILDERED man claims he saw
a meteorite with a bright blue tail racing across the sky over Wrexham.
Paul Davies, of Rhosddu, was enjoying a break with four colleagues
at Kellogg’s, Wrexham Industrial Estate, at 4am on Friday
when two of them spotted a ball with a flaming tail shooting across
the night sky.
Mr Davies said it was the strangest thing he had ever seen and watched
in awe before it disappeared in a flash.
He said: “The only way I can describe it was a ball moving
across the sky, obviously under the cloud cover because it was so
plain. It was moving so fast it was unbelievable and it was gone
in half a second.
“It went across the sky with this fabulous bright blue trail
behind it. It was a very short trail and looked intensely hot. I
would love to find out what it was.”
Met Office spokesman Wayne Elliott confirmed it was a meteorite,
known more commonly as a shooting star.
He said the brightness creates an illusion that it is close to
the earth, but in reality it is much further away.
VANCOUVER - While other parts of Canada
suffer through deep freezes, blizzards and ice, British Columbia
is being pounded by what meteorologists are calling a 'tropical
punch,' warm, wet air coming from the western Pacific.
"The consecutive days of rain is the key to this storm," said
David Jones of Environment Canada.
People on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland are struggling
to cope with the deluge, which has dumped as much as 100 millimetres
of rain in the past few days in some areas.
Environment Canada warns there's more to come.
Forecasters say twice the rain that would normally fall during
the entire month of January might pelt down over the next three
days – as much as 300 mm.
Some communities, including Richmond, outside Vancouver, handed
out sandbags so people could build dikes around their homes.
"We're not floating away just yet," said Ted Townsend, a spokesperson
for the City of Richmond. "But the flooding is widespread throughout
The downpour shut down many roads in the Lower Mainland, while
winter storms further inland caused numerous problems.
A mudslide shut down a Vancouver Island highway Tuesday and submerged
some parts ramps onto the Trans-Canada Highway near Burnaby. Several
major streets closed in Vancouver, Surrey and Langley.
The storm dumped freezing rain and heavy snow on the B.C. Interior,
forcing highway closures around Prince George, Revelstoke and
the Kootenay Pass in the province's southeast corner.
Environment Canada says the rain isn't expected to taper off
until Friday afternoon.
|ST. JOHN'S — Many communities throughout
western and central Newfoundland are digging out from Monday's storm,
while blizzard warnings remain in effect for the top of the Northern
Peninsula and across southern Labrador.
Winds topping 100 kilometres per hour and large snowfalls – often
more than 30 centimetres in some areas – made navigation impossible
on many roads Monday.
Some schools on the west coast were closed Tuesday morning.
Marine Atlantic reported its ferries have resumed service after
high winds kept them dockside Monday.
As the British government unveils
plans to make lie detector tests mandatory for convicted paedophiles,
some scientists in the US are working on more advanced technology
which might be better equipped at detecting deception.
Imagine the Pentagon equipped with a machine which can read minds.
Sound like the plot of a Hollywood thriller?
Well, it might not be that far away.
How conventional lie detectors work
The US Department of Defense has given Dr Jennifer Vendemia a $5m
grant to work on her theory that by monitoring brainwaves she can
detect whether someone is lying.
She claims the system has an accuracy of between 94% and 100% and
is an improvement on the existing polygraph tests, which rely on
heart rate and blood pressure, respiratory rate and sweatiness.
Her system involves placing 128 electrodes on the face and scalp,
which translate brainwaves in under a second. Subjects only have
to hear interrogators' questions to give a response.
But the system has a long way to go before it replaces polygraphs,
which were invented almost a century ago and remain a tried and
tested system of deception detection.
But some critics believe the polygraph is flawed.
"The idea with polygraphs is that there is a tell-tale physical
response associated with deception and I just don't accept that
"Even if it were true for the normal person then I don't think
it's true for psychopaths, or others with mental abnormalities,"
says Steven Aftergood, of the Federation American Sciences.
Mr Aftergood says he doesn't know about Dr Vendemia's invention
but "if there was a machine which was able to read people's
minds, it would give greater urgency to questions of people's privacy.
"In the United States it could even be unconstitutional because,
under the Fifth Amendment, citizens have a right not to self-incriminate
In the US a specific piece of legislation, the Employee Polygraph
Protection Law, forbids firms from using lie detectors to vet workers.
The one exception is the intelligence community, where polygraphs
are a ubiquitous form of checking on existing and potential employees.
Dr Vendemia says her system would be an improvement on polygraphs.
"If you are examined by a good interrogator a polygraph will
be 85 to 90% accurate," she says. "But others have less
than 50% accuracy. My technology has levels of accuracy around 94
Dr Vendemia says her research has found it takes longer for the
brain to process lies, than to process the truth and this, she says,
can be tested by monitoring the brainwaves.
Could it be used, for example, to help in the interrogation of
innocent people accused of being al-Qaeda terrorists?
"Anything can be misused. As a researcher working with technology
which has huge implications you have a responsibility to make sure
that what you are doing is ethical and make sure there is someone
more objective than you looking at what you do," says Dr Vendemia.
Professor Paul Matthews, a neuroscientist at Oxford University,
says a mind-reading machine is pure science fiction. "There
is no technology which can tell somebody what you are thinking.
But you can see what sort of areas of the brain are active. It is
the same sort of technology which is used in hospitals with MRI
and EEG scanners."
Tor Butler-Cole, a philosopher and ethicist from King's College,
London, thinks we should be wary of allowing this technology to
be used if it is not 100% accurate.
"The recent controversy with cot deaths has taught us that
we should be aware of relying on science which may turn out to be
wrong," she says.
Ms Butler-Cole believes there is also the danger jurors would give
it a lot of credibility simply because it was "scientific evidence".
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