Monday, January 31, 2005

The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity 

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The Iraqi Elections and How to Save the Planet
SOTT Commentary

There is little to say about the Iraqi elections, held as they were in the midst of the Iraqi war of resistance against the American and British occupation. What is astonishing is that observers of this farce can say, with a straight face, that everything was on the up and up.
Take the following for example:

Iraqi election well-run but needs more transparency, Canada-led group says

09:23 AM EST Jan 31

AMMAN, Jordan (CP) - The Canadian-led international mission to assess the Iraqi election gave good marks Sunday to Iraqi electoral authorities for their independence and organization, but said there should be better rules governing campaign finances, voter registration and who's eligible to run.

"Iraq's Electoral Commission has prepared and put in place a framework for an election that generally meets recognized standards in terms of election law, planning and preparations," the International Mission for Iraqi Elections, or IMIE, said in a preliminary report released after the polls closed.

Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Canada's chief electoral officer and head of the mission, said Iraqi electoral authorities should be "congratulated for the rapid progress it has achieved in establishing the foundations for democratic participation in Iraq, particularly given the short time frame and arduous circumstances."
In a statement issued in Amman, from where the mission's team of electoral experts stayed in touch with various organizations in Iraq during the balloting, Kingsley said:

"It is a remarkable testimony to the resolve of the Iraqi people, and to the importance of democratic values, that millions of Iraqis faced personal risk in order to vote today, and that tens of thousands of individual Iraqis put their lives at risk by volunteering to work in polling locations explicitly threatened with attack."

He said their courage "must redouble international resolve to assist the Iraqi people in their ongoing transition to successful self-government."

The IMIE report praised the Iraqi electoral commission for its independence and the extent and quality of its planning and organization.

"Areas recommended for further development include transparency regarding financial contributions and expenditures, improvements to the voter registration process, and reviewing the criteria for candidate eligibility," the report said.

Asked to elaborate, an IMIE spokesman in Amman said: "We're not particularly saying that there are problems so much as there seems to be perhaps not as many rules in that particular area as other countries with more developed electoral processes are familiar with."

It will be up to the Iraqi electoral commission and the newly election national assembly to decide whether to act on the recommendations, the spokesman said.

IMIE was created last month in Ottawa to assess and advise Iraqi electoral authorities in the elections.

Members of the mission include the electoral management organizations of Albania, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, Panama, Romania, United Kingdom, Yemen, and the Association of Central and Eastern European Election Officials.

In light of the poor security situation in Iraq, the mission does not have its own election observers monitoring the vote inside the country. It sent a liaison representative to Baghdad but otherwise relied largely on about a dozen Iraqi organizations to feed information about the election to IMIE experts working in neighbouring Jordan.

Canada has provided $7 million Cdn to support the work of the mission, which will be assessing two other votes planned later this year in Iraq.

Did you get that? The IMIE didn't even go to Iraq due to the "poor security situation". It stayed in the Jordan capital of Amman.

And yet it is capable of writing a report that says that "Iraq's Electoral Commission has prepared and put in place a framework for an election that generally meets recognized standards in terms of election law, planning and preparations." What kind of international standard is it that includes situations where observers are too scared for their own skins to actually observe the elections themselves?

If the observers aren't safe, under what conditions are the people voting?

Not that they really had any idea of who they were voting for, as the candidates themselves were too scared of being assassinated to list their names, and so they voted for party lists, not individuals.

While most of the world's leaders and all of the mainstream news outlets are proclaiming the success of the Iraqi elections and what a triumph for democracy the whole public relations stunt is, the reality of the situation is that the elections are being stage managed by the very same people who, just 3 months ago, pulled off a second stolen election in the space of four years in the US. So our question is: if it was so easy to fool the entire world into thinking that Bush was legitmately elected, not once, but twice - when a little objective research shows that both elections were stolen - how easy would it be for these people to pull another fast one in war torn Iraq!? Oh, we'd say about as easy as it for US troops to squeeze off a few hundred rounds into the car, and bodies, of an Iraqi family - which is real easy when you're fighting "evil terrorists".

The US troops in Iraq are an occupying force, as in, illegally invading a country that was no threat, killing anyone who didn't like foreign troops in their land, and imposing a quisling government of yes-men to the occupiers.

It is not simply "a mistake" based upon "erroneous intelligence". It was a calculated invasion that was decided in advance of the intelligence.

We sometimes hear opponents to the occupation, from the US and elsewhere, saying that "At least we got rid of Saddam", as if that justifies in any way the crime. There is no justification, no more than Hitler's need for "living space" for the German people justified his invasion of Poland in the second world war. Some Americans, well, propbably most of them, are upset when the Bush Administration is compared with Nazi Germany. Well, maybe it's time they woke up and grew up. Bush is on a crusade, a holy mission from the voice he hears in his head that tells him it is his creator speaking and that gives him his marching orders. Although his crimes far surpass anything done by Bill Clinton, the zombies in Congress remain unmoved.

Are they all so corrupt that that can all be blackmailed to keep their silence if they are not actively part of fascist takeover? Or are they really so ignorant that they do not see what is happening?

In either case, it does not bode well for either the US or the rest of the world.

French President Jacques Chirac phoned Bush to congratulate him on the elections. Russian President Vlaidmir Putin called them a step in the right direction. Our guess is that those most adamantly opposed to Bush's wars have changed their tactics. Bush has shown that he does not care what the rest of the world thinks. Let them be opposed to his politcies, he and the neocons will go it alone, or with a restricted Coalition of the Bought Off. We suspect that while Chirac and Putin are whispering sweet nothings in Bush's ear over the telephone, they are rather actively involved in finding other means to quell the American beast, perhaps of the economic sort.

Russia in particular, after the US-backed soft revolutions in Georgia and the Ukraine, is not going to sit idlely by while US influence increases in the former Soviet block. Chirac, attacked within his own party by the strongly Atlanticist Nicolas Sarkozy, is going to want to ensure the Atlanticist position is weakened in France.

And then there is China, the manufacturer of more and more products sold in the US and holder of a large amount of the US debt.

If the rest of the world gets serious about stopping Bush and the neocons, the show will be an entertaining one. Bush and his friends have shown to what ends they will go to implement their policies: they are willing to kill 3000 Americans and blame it on "Islamic terrorists", blatantly lie about Saddam and his WMD, and destroy the American economy. This bespeaks a degree of fanaticism that will not be easily stopped.

Unfortunately, the opposition within the US, most of them, are not willing to admit that 9/11 was an inside job. Such a refusal suggests that they will be impotent in the face of the enemy because they do know really know the enemy, do not, or can not, admit just how evil these people really are. Only a terrible shock will open up the possibility of their awakening to the danger because they prefer their dreams and wishful thinking to the truth.

The Truth.

But even the Truth might not be enough to save the planet. What if the truth is that it cannot be saved? At least as we know it today.

Laura Knight-Jadczyk recently received a letter from a reader who was interested in her opinion of what he should do to help save the planet. He was thinking of running for office in the US on an ecologically centred platform This is part of her reply:

"[I]t seems that you perceive that we here at cass may, indeed, have a pretty good track record of seeing and predicting, even if we point out that prediction can only be statistical, and attaching dates is a fool's game.

It also seems that what you are seeking to do is a sort of "let's tell people as much as we have to in order to make this or that adjustment, but we can't tell them everything..." approach.

It's already way too late for that.

For example, just the other night we had a couple questions about the recent earthquake and tsunami. Here is the exchange:

Session date: Jan 9, 2005

[...] Q: Regarding the recent earthquake and tsunami, there is a huge buzz on the net that this was not a natural phenomenon. Some say it could have been a meteor; others say it was a US nuke; others say it was India and Israel playing around in the undersea trenches. Then there is the speculation on an EM weapon of some description. The New agers are saying it was the start of the final 'Earth Changes". So what really caused this earthquake that happened one year minus one hour after the earthquake in Iran?

A: Pressure in earth. Not any of the proferred suggestions. But remember that the human cycle mirrors the cycle of catastrophe and human mass consciousness plays a part.

Q: In what way does mass consciousness play a part?

A: When those with higher centers are blocked from full manifestation of creative energy, that energy must go somewhere. If you cannot create “without” you create “within”.

Now, with that in mind, read the signs page of Hallowe'en, 2004 where I wrote, in part:

There is more than a little scientific support for the above ideas that consciousness - the root of existence and BEing - has two fundamental states: on, or off. In the final analysis, it seems that the metaphor of humanity and its collective "higher selves" being a movie and an audience, may be simply anthropomorphizing creative and entropic forces of the universe for the purposes of "self-calming." The stakes, it seems, are a lot higher and more real.

This brings us to the issue of subjectivity vs. objectivity. [...]

We must regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. Consider an intelligence which, at any instant, could have a knowledge of all forces controlling nature together with the momentary conditions of all the entities of which nature consists. If this intelligence were powerful enough to submit all this data to analysis it would be able to embrace in a single formula the movements of the largest bodies in the universe and those of the lightest atoms; for it, nothing would be uncertain; the future and the past would be equally present to its eyes. Pierre Laplace

Certainly, such an intelligence as Laplace describes would be "Godlike," you agree? And certainly, no one of us human beings is capable of such "seeing," you will also agree. However, what does seem to be true is that this is a significant clue to the solutions to the pressing issues of our day: knowledge that leads to awareness.

Here I will insert a major clue: As the brain interacts with its environment, synaptic circuits combine to form synaptic maps of the world perceived by the senses. These maps describe small segments of that world - shape, color, movement - and these maps are scattered throughout the brain. As the brain's synaptic network evolves, beginning at birth - or even before - these maps process information simultaneously and in parallel.

Based on our synaptic maps of the world, we are enabled to have e more or less objective view of reality.


The view of the Bush Reich is, as it happens, diametrically opposed to the view we promote here at Signs of the Times. This view has been stated quite economically by the Cassiopaeans:

Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the worlds will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the "past." People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the "Future."

[big snip]

We here at Signs of the Times are not in the business of telling anyone what to do. We are only here as a lighthouse, a constant sweeping illumination that goes around and around and says, basically, the same thing over and over again. Our readership is growing by leaps and bounds, and we know that there are new readers every day who have not read every daily report for the past couple of years. We also know that there are regular readers who, after reading the page, go back to sleep and think "it can't be THAT bad." And so, again and again we shine the light, ring the alarm bell, and try to think of different ways to get through to others the extreme peril in which we stand.

This brings us back to the issue of how does Knowledge Protect?

In the past three years, as I noted at the beginning of today's page, we have made some considerable progress on our mandate of discovering what really makes reality tick and how does humanity fit into it. Much of this work is pure science - physics and mathematics - but I'm not going to give you the formulas or the computer simulation codes, I'm going to explain it to you in simple terms.

Our universe seems to be made up of matter/energy and of consciousness.

Matter/energy by itself "prefers", as it seems, a chaotic state.

Matter/energy by itself doesn't even have a concept of "creation" or "organization". It is the consciousness that brings to life these concepts and by its interaction with matter pushes the universe towards chaos and decay or towards order and creation.

This phenomenon can modeled mathematically and simulated on a computer using EEQT (Event Enhanced Quantum Theory). Whether EEQT faithfully models the interaction of consciousness with matter, we do not know; but chances are that it does because it seems to describe correctly physical phenomena better than just the orthodox quantum mechanics or its rival theories (Bohmian mechanics, GRW etc.)

What we learn from EEQT can be described in simple terms as follows:

Let us call our material universe "the system". The system is characterized by a certain "state". It is useful to represent the state of the system as a point on a disc. The central point of the disk, its origin, is the state of chaos. We could also describe it as "Infinite Potential." The points on the boundary represents "pure states" of being, that is states with "pure, non- fuzzy, knowledge". In between there are mixed states. The closer the state is to the boundary, the more pure, more 'organized' it is.

Now, an external "observer", a "consciousness unit", has some idea - maybe accurate, maybe false or anywhere in between - about the "real state" of the system, and observes the system with this "belief" about the state. Observation, if prolonged, causes the state of the system to "jump". In this sense, you DO "create your own reality", but the devil, as always, is in the details.

The details are that the resulting state of the system under observation can be more pure, or more chaotic depending on the "direction" of the jump. The direction of the jump depends on how objective - how close to the reality of the actual state - the observation is.

According to EEQT if the expectations of the observer are close to the actual state of the system, the system jumps, more often than not, into more organized, less chaotic state.

If, on the other hand, the expectation of the observer is close to the negation of the actual state (that is when the observer's beliefs are closer to being false than to being true according to the ACTUAL state - the objective reality), then the state of the system, typically, will jump into a state that is more chaotic, less organized. Moreover, it will take, as a rule, much longer time to accomplish such a jump.

In other words, if the observer's knowledge of the actual state is close to the truth, then the very act of observation and verification causes a jump quickly, and the resulting state is more organized. If the observer's knowledge of the actual state is false, then it takes usually a long time to cause a change in the state of the system, and the resulting state is more chaotic.

What this means is that order can be brought out of chaos by observing chaos as it IS and not pretending that it is otherwise.

In short, everyone who "believes" in an attempt to "create reality" that is different from what IS, increases the chaos and entropy. If your beliefs are orthogonal to the truth, no matter how strongly you believe them, you are essentially coming into conflict with how the Universe views itself and I can assure you, you ain't gonna win that contest. You are inviting destruction upon yourself and all who engage in this "staring down the universe" exercise with you.

On the other hand, if you are able to view the Universe as it views itself, objectively, without blinking, and with acceptance, you then become more "aligned" with the Creative energy of the universe and your very consciousness becomes a transducer of order. Your energy of observation, given unconditionally, can bring order to chaos, can create out of infinite potential.

In the Adventure Series, I concentrated to a great extent on the problem of psychopathy in our world today. I was motivated to do this by the fact that we had been victimized by a psychopath whose behavior was utterly incomprehensible. As a consequence of this research, I was much better prepared to understand George Bush and his Reich and that served to "inoculate" me against the fear tactics that are utilized by the psychopath to paralyze their victims. I realize that Americans who are "stupid" are that way by design. In a sense, it is not their fault. They are no more capable of thinking on their own than the mouse is capable of escaping the claws of the cat determined to eat it.

But not everyone is a mouse. It is for those who are evolving that we continue to keep the lighthouse going. But be aware, the day may come - and sooner than you might expect - when the storm is so violent that the keepers
of the flame will abandon the task, knowing that no light can be seen in such Stygian darkness.

In the Adventure Series, I wrote the following:

Could it ever be an evolutionarily stable strategy for people to be innately unselfish?

On the whole, a capacity to cheat, to compete and to lie has proven to be a stupendously successful adaptation. Thus the idea that selection pressure could ever cause saintliness to spread in a society looks implausible in practice. It doesn't seem feasible to outcompete genes which promote competitiveness. "Nice guys" get eaten or outbred. Happy people who are unaware get eaten or outbred. Happiness and niceness today is vanishingly rare, and the misery and suffering of those who are able to truly feel, who are empathic toward other human beings, who have a conscience, is all too common.

Nevertheless, a predisposition to, conscience, ethics, can prevail if and when it is also able to implement the deepest level of altruism: making the object of its empathy the higher ideal of enhancing free will in the abstract sense, for the sake of others, including our descendants.

In short, our "self-interest" ought to be vested in collectively ensuring that all others are happy and well-disposed too; and in ensuring that children we bring into the world have the option of being constitutionally happy and benevolent toward one another.

In short, if psychopathy threatens the well-being of the group future, then it can be only be dealt with by refusing to allow the self to be dominated by it on an individual, personal basis.

Preserving free will for the self in the practical sense, ultimately preserves free will for others.

Protection of our own rights AS the rights of others, underwrites the free will position and potential for happiness of all.

If mutant psychopaths pose a potential danger then true empathy, true ethics, true conscience, dictates using prophylactic therapy against psychopaths.

It seems certain from the evidence that a positive transformation of human nature isn't going to come about through a great spiritual awakening, socio-economic reforms, or a spontaneous desire among the peoples of the world to be nice to each other. But it's quite possible that, in the long run, the psychopathic program of suffering will lose out because misery is not a stable strategy.

In a state of increasing misery, victims will seek to escape it; and this seeking will ultimately lead them to inquire into the true state of their misery, and that may lead to a society of intelligent people who will have the collective capacity to do so.

And so it is that identifying the psychopath, ceasing our interaction with them, cutting them off from our society, making ourselves unavailable to them as "food" or objects to be conned and used, is the single most effective strategy that we can play. [...]

To allow oneself to be conned, or used by a psychopath is to effectively become part of his "hierarchy" of feeding. To believe the lies of the psychopath is to submit to his "bidding" (he bids you to believe a lie, and you acquiesce), and thus, to relinquish your free will.

In strictly material terms, this doesn't seem to be much of an issue, right? After all, somebody lies to us and who really cares? Is it going to hurt us to just let them lie? Is it going to hurt us to just go along with them for the sake of peace, even if we know or suspect they are lying? After all, checking the facts and facing the psychopath with truth, and telling them "no" is generally very unpleasant. Remember, the game is set up so that we pay a lot for being ethical in dealing with the psychopath. In material terms, it really doesn't seem to be worth it because we suffer all kinds of attack - verbal, psychological, and even physical abuse - so it's just easier to let sleeping dogs lie, right? [...]

At best, we can only really penetrate to the level of the psychological reality, observed behavior that is discordant, or self-destructive. And we are thoroughly programmed to help by giving until it hurts, or trying to fix, or to make nice. All of these things, all of these accommodations of psychopathy, on just a practical level, can be seen to "select for psychopathy" in terms of the gene pool.

But on another level, considering the great amount of evidence we have that there is something very mysterious going on that has to do with "controlling the minds of humanity," and covering up something that may affect every single human being on this planet, we find that the issue is crucial. Refusing to accommodate the manipulations and maneuvers of the psychopath may, indeed, be critical to the positive transformation of our planet. [...]

And we see that the ultimate aim of the psychopath, as living representatives of the Universal forces of Entropy, of Non-Being, is to MASTER creative energy. To assimilate it to the self, to deprive others of it by inducing them to believe lies.

Because, when you believe the lie of the psychopath, you have given him control of your Free Will - the essence of Creativity. [...]

As I quoted above: Thus, the first Divine Command is BE! And that includes Being and Non-being instantaneously. Therefore, the second law is "follow Being or Non-being according to your choice and your inherent nature."

All creation is a result of the engendering command. So, in this respect, there is no Evil. But the second, prescriptive law determines to which "Face of God" one will return: Life or Death.

There ARE such things as "evil planets," and dark stars. And the real question at this time is: Is Mother Earth about to become one?

Happy Hallowe'en.

Now, you are a smart guy - no question in my mind about that - so I am sure you can do a bit of extrapolating from the above and understand that there is one, and ONLY one way to "save the earth." Since humanity - as a whole - is an "organ for transducing cosmic energies onto our planet", the condition of humanity - as a whole - is reflected by the planet. The suffering of humanity, the lies that humans believe, all have a profound effect on the planet.

VERY IMPORTANT: it is not whether or not one "believes" in good things or bad things that makes good things or bad things happen. It is the factual observation of reality and whether or not it leads to a true assessment or lies.

The effort to view the universe AS IT VIEWS ITSELF with love and acceptance even in the face of what might be termed "horror" can actually lead to amelioration of that horror. To view the universe and to deny the truth and to insist that one can believe whatever one wants and thereby make it so, is to deny reality and contributes to the chaos, the destruction, the suffering.

And so, what is the solution? The TRUTH - as close to it as we can objectively get - MUST be propagated as widely and as soon as possible.

That is the only thing that will "save the planet." Because it is in the creative centers of humanity - both kinds, those with souls and those without - that the fate of the earth lies.

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A Mixed Story
Juan Cole
I'm just appalled by the cheerleading tone of US news coverage of the so-called elections in Iraq on Sunday. I said on television last week that this event is a "political earthquake" and "a historical first step" for Iraq. It is an event of the utmost importance, for Iraq, the Middle East, and the world. All the boosterism has a kernel of truth to it, of course. Iraqis hadn't been able to choose their leaders at all in recent decades, even by some strange process where they chose unknown leaders. But this process is not a model for anything, and would not willingly be imitated by anyone else in the region. The 1997 elections in Iran were much more democratic, as were the 2002 elections in Bahrain and Pakistan.

Moreover, as Swopa rightly reminds us all, the Bush administration opposed one-person, one-vote elections of this sort. First they were going to turn Iraq over to Chalabi within six months. Then Bremer was going to be MacArthur in Baghdad for years. Then on November 15, 2003, Bremer announced a plan to have council-based elections in May of 2004. The US and the UK had somehow massaged into being provincial and municipal governing councils, the members of which were pro-American. Bremer was going to restrict the electorate to this small, elite group.

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani immediately gave a fatwa denouncing this plan and demanding free elections mandated by a UN Security Council resolution. Bush was reportedly "extremely offended" at these two demands and opposed Sistani. Bremer got his appointed Interim Governing Council to go along in fighting Sistani. Sistani then brought thousands of protesters into the streets in January of 2004, demanding free elections. Soon thereafter, Bush caved and gave the ayatollah everything he demanded. Except that he was apparently afraid that open, non-manipulated elections in Iraq might become a factor in the US presidential campaign, so he got the elections postponed to January 2005. This enormous delay allowed the country to fall into much worse chaos, and Sistani is still bitter that the Americans didn't hold the elections last May. The US objected that they couldn't use UN food ration cards for registration, as Sistani suggested. But in the end that is exactly what they did.

So if it had been up to Bush, Iraq would have been a soft dictatorship under Chalabi, or would have had stage-managed elections with an electorate consisting of a handful of pro-American notables. It was Sistani and the major Shiite parties that demanded free and open elections and a UNSC resolution. They did their job and got what they wanted. But the Americans have been unable to provide them the requisite security for truly aboveboard democratic elections.

With all the hoopla, it is easy to forget that this was an extremely troubling and flawed "election." Iraq is an armed camp. There were troops and security checkpoints everywhere. Vehicle traffic was banned. The measures were successful in cutting down on car bombings that could have done massive damage. But even these Draconian steps did not prevent widespread attacks, which is not actually good news. There is every reason to think that when the vehicle traffic starts up again, so will the guerrilla insurgency.

The Iraqis did not know the names of the candidates for whom they were supposedly voting. What kind of an election is anonymous! There were even some angry politicians late last week who found out they had been included on lists without their permission. Al-Zaman compared the election process to buying fruit wholesale and sight unseen. (This is the part of the process that I called a "joke," and I stand by that.)

This thing was more like a referendum than an election. It was a referendum on which major party list associated with which major leader would lead parliament.

Many of the voters came out to cast their ballots in the belief that it was the only way to regain enough sovereignty to get American troops back out of their country. The new parliament is unlikely to make such a demand immediately, because its members will be afraid of being killed by the Baath military. One fears a certain amount of resentment among the electorate when this reticence becomes clear.

Iraq now faces many key issues that could tear the country apart, from the issues of Kirkuk and Mosul to that of religious law. James Zogby on Wolf Blitzer wisely warned the US public against another "Mission Accomplished" moment. Things may gradually get better, but this flawed "election" isn't a Mardi Gras for Americans and they'll regret it if that is the way they treat it.

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Bush: Iraqi election "a resounding success" 2005-01-31 02:32:25
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- US President George W. Bush on Sunday called the Jan. 30 Iraqi election "a resounding success".

Hours after the election was closed, Bush praised in a televised statement the bravery of Iraqis who turned out to vote despite continuing violence and intimidation.

The Iraqi elections demonstrated "the voice of freedom from thecenter of the Middle East," Bush said.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said earlier that the Iraq election is "going better than expected".

Comment: We know that ole George calls 'em as he sees 'em. After 9/11, it was "Osama, Dead or Alive." By March 2002, it was "Osama, he isn't that important." In May 2003, it was "Mission Accomplished". Now, over 1000 American lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives later, he calls the elections "a resounding success".

But, then, we know he is saying this for the hometown crowd, those who don't watch news from other countries or get their information from the Internet. After all, if it is important, it'll be in the Bible, right?

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What the Rest of the World Watched on Inauguration Day
Published on Friday, January 28, 2005
by the National Catholic Reporter
by Joan Chittister

Dublin, on U.S. Inauguration Day, didn't seem to notice. Oh, they played a few clips that night of the American president saying, "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands."

But that was not their lead story.

The picture on the front page of The Irish Times was a large four-color picture of a small Iraqi girl. Her little body was a coil of steel. She sat knees up, cowering, screaming madly into the dark night. Her white clothes and spread hands and small tight face were blood-spattered. The blood was the blood of her father and mother, shot through the car window in Tal Afar by American soldiers while she sat beside her parents in the car, her four brothers and sisters in the back seat.

A series of pictures of the incident played on the inside page, as well. A 12-year-old brother, wounded in the fray, falls face down out of the car when the car door opens, the pictures show. In another, a soldier decked out in battle gear, holds a large automatic weapon on the four children, all potential enemies, all possible suicide bombers, apparently, as they cling traumatized to one another in the back seat and the child on the ground goes on screaming in her parent's blood.
No promise of "freedom" rings in the cutline on this picture. No joy of liberty underlies the terror on these faces here.

I found myself closing my eyes over and over again as I stared at the story, maybe to crush the tears forming there, maybe in the hope that the whole scene would simply disappear.

But no, like the photo of a naked little girl bathed in napalm and running down a road in Vietnam served to crystallize the situation there for the rest of the world, I knew that this picture of a screaming, angry, helpless, orphaned child could do the same.

The soldiers standing in the dusk had called "halt," the story said, but no one did. Maybe the soldiers' accents were bad. Maybe the car motor was unduly noisy. Maybe the children were laughing loudly -- the way children do on family trips. Whatever the case, the car did not stop, the soldiers shot with deadly accuracy, seven lives changed in an instant: two died in body, five died in soul.

BBC news announced that the picture was spreading across Europe like a brushfire that morning, featured from one major newspaper to another, served with coffee and Danish from kitchen table to kitchen table in one country after another. I watched, while Inauguration Day dawned across the Atlantic, as the Irish up and down the aisle on the train from Killarney to Dublin, narrowed their eyes at the picture, shook their heads silently and slowly over it, and then sat back heavily in their seats, too stunned into reality to go back to business as usual -- the real estate section, the sports section, the life-style section of the paper.

Here was the other side of the inauguration story. No military bands played for this one. No bulletproof viewing stands could stop the impact of this insight into the glory of force. Here was an America they could no longer understand. The contrast rang cruelly everywhere.
I sat back and looked out the train window myself. Would anybody in the United States be seeing this picture today? Would the United States ever see it, in fact? And if it is printed in the United States, will it also cross the country like wildfire and would people hear the unwritten story under it?

There are 26 million people in Iraq. Over half of them are under the age of 15. Of the over 100,000 civilians dead in this war, then, over half of them are children. We are killing children. The children are our enemy. And we are defeating them.

"I'll tell you why I voted for George Bush," a friend of mine said. "I voted for George Bush because he had the courage to do what Al Gore and John Kerry would never have done."

I've been thinking about that one.

Osama Bin Laden is still alive. Sadam Hussein is still alive. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is still alive. Baghdad, Mosul and Fallujah are burning. But my government has the courage to kill children or their parents. And I'm supposed to be impressed.

That's an unfair assessment, of course. A lot of young soldiers have died, too. A lot of weekend soldiers are maimed for life. A lot of our kids went into the military only to get a college education and are now shattered in soul by what they had to do to other bodies.

A lot of adult civilians have been blasted out of their homes and their neighborhoods and their cars. More and more every day. According to U.N. Development Fund for Women, 15 percent of wartime casualties in World War I were civilians. In World War II, 65 percent were civilians. By the mid '90s, over 75 percent of wartime casualties were civilians.

In Iraq, for every dead U.S. soldier, there are 14 other deaths, 93 percent of them are civilian. But those things happen in war, the story says. It's all for a greater good, we have to remember. It's all to free them. It's all being done to spread "liberty."

From where I stand, the only question now is who or what will free us from the 21st century's new definition of bravery. Who will free us from the notion that killing children or their civilian parents takes courage?

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Cheering ’democracy’ as the Iraqis still die
Sunday, 30th January 2005,
by Robert Fisk

IN Baghdad yesterday, they were supposed to be preparing for an election. But they were preparing for war.

The American Bradley armoured vehicles on the streets, the US foot patrols, the old Russian personnel carriers that Saddam Hussein bought on the cheap from the Soviet Union - now dressed up in the dull camouflage paint of the "new" Iraqi army - the hooded and masked policemen; they don’t look like the prelude to an experiment in democracy. They are waiting for the rivers of blood of which the insurgents have warned. But there will be democracy in Iraq.

The mortars rained down yesterday morning on the Green Zone where the US and British embassies are located. A "thumpety-thump-thump" brought the American Apache choppers over the surrounding highways in less than 30 seconds, but the insurgents had disappeared. Then a fierce gun battle broke out in the centre of Baghdad between Americans and insurgents. Too late again, the gunmen got away. Fantasy attacks before a fantasy election. Many Iraqis do not know the names of the candidates, let alone their policies. But there will be democracy in Iraq.

The media boys and girls will be expected to play along with this. "Transition of power," says the hourly logo on CNN’s live coverage of the election, though the poll is for a parliament to write a constitution and the men who will form a majority within it will have no power.

They have no control over their oil, no authority over the streets of Baghdad, let alone the rest of the country, no workable army or loyal police force. Their only power is that of the American military and its 150,000 soldiers whom we could see at the main Baghdad intersections yesterday.

The big television networks have been given a list of five polling stations where they will be "allowed" to film. Close inspection of the list shows that four of the five are in Shia Muslim areas - where the polling will probably be high - and one in an upmarket Sunni area where it will be moderate. Every working-class Sunni polling station will be out of bounds to the press. I wonder if the television lads will tell us that today when they show voters "flocking" to the polls.

In the Karada district, we found three truckloads of youths yesterday, all brandishing Iraqi flags, all - like the unemployed who have been sticking posters to Baghdad’s walls - paid by the government to "advertise" the election. And there was a cameraman from Iraqi state television, which is controlled by Iyad Allawi’s "interim" government.

The "real" story is outside Baghdad, in the tens of thousands of square miles outside the government’s control and outside the sight of independent journalists, especially in the four Sunni Muslim provinces which are the heart of Iraq’s insurrection.

Right up to election hour, US jets were continuing to bomb "terrorist targets", the latest in the city of Ramadi - which, though Messrs Bush and Blair do not say so - is now in the hands of the insurgents as surely as Fallujah was before the Americans destroyed it.

Every month since Mr Allawi, the former CIA agent, was appointed premier by the US government, American air strikes on Iraq have been increasing exponentially. There are no "embedded" reporters on the giant American air base at Qatar or aboard the US carriers in the Gulf from which these ever-increasing and ever more lethal sorties are being flown. They go unrecorded, unreported, part of the "fantasy" war which is all too real to the victims but hidden from us journalists as we cower in Baghdad.

The reality is that much of Iraq has become a free-fire zone - for reference, see under "Vietnam" - and the Americans are conducting this secret war as efficiently and as ruthlessly as they conducted their earlier bombing campaign against Iraq between 1991 and 2003, an air raid a day, or two raids, or three. Then they were attacking Saddam’s "military targets" in Iraq. Now they are attacking "foreign terrorist targets" or "anti-Iraqi forces". I especially like this one since the foreigners involved in this violence happen in reality to be Americans who are mostly attacking Iraqis.

And not only in Sunni areas. Just this month, for example, US aircraft fired missiles at a students’ dormitory at the University of Erbil in the Kurdish north of the country. Among the wounded Kurds was a survivor of Saddam’s gassing of Halabja - one of the reasons Mr Bush and Mr Blair supposedly invaded this wretched place. No explanations from the Americans.

So why were they bombing Kurds? To warn them that they will not be given independence? Or to stop them feuding over the city of Mosul, which "new" Iraq wants to keep inside the national territory, not surrender to some future "Kurdistan"?

Yes, I know how it’s all going to be played out. Iraqis bravely vote despite the bloodcurdling threats of the enemies of democracy. At last, the American and British policies have reached fruition - a real and functioning democracy will be in place so we can leave soon. Or next year. Or in a decade or so. Merely to hold these elections - an act of folly in the eyes of so many Iraqis - will be a "success".

The Shias will vote en masse, the Sunnis will largely abstain. Shia Muslim power will be enshrined for the first time in an Arab country. And then the manipulation will begin and the claims of fraud and the admissions that the elections might be "flawed" in some areas.

But we’ll go on saying "democracy" and "freedom" over and over again, the insurgency will continue and grow even more violent, and the Iraqis will go on dying. But there will be democracy in Iraq.

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US sinks deeper into quicksands of Iraq
January 31, 2005

The insurgency in Iraq will last at least a decade and American troops alone will not be able to defeat it, a senior US military officer in Baghdad has predicted.

Speaking on the eve of Iraq's first free election for 51 years, the officer conceded: "Iraqis are the ones who will have to defeat the insurgency, not multinational forces.

"It is not necessarily a growing insurgency but it is a resilient one," he said. "We're looking at a long-term insurgency, probably at a lower level of violence than now. Historically, you look at a decade - and this is no different."

The US military official maintained the insurgency was ultimately "doomed" to failure and said a successful vote could lead to a noticeable reduction in violence by April.

The Iraqi forces were becoming more capable by the day, he said.

As voting in Iraq got under way yesterday, however, Washington analysts were mulling over what America's plan B would be if the vote did not bring the stability the Bush Administration was hoping for.

In the past few days leading Democrats have called for an accelerated withdrawal, breaking a bipartisan consensus that the US should stay until the insurgency is defeated. But the Bush Administration shows no signs of preparing for a pullout. The army has said it will need 120,000 troops for the next two years at least, and the Pentagon is building a string of permanent bases at a cost of billions of dollars. The new bases, critics of the Administration argue, add weight to accusations that the US plans a permanent presence.

A Pentagon spokesman admitted "half a dozen enduring bases" were being constructed, but added they were intended for use by the new Iraqi army.

But an independent research group,, which tracks Pentagon contracts and military movements, claims there are about 12 of the bases under construction. "They are suggestive that the American presence is going to dominate for years not months," said John Pike, the head of the organisation. He added that the bases were not the only evidence that US troops planned a long stay.

"How many fighter jets does the new Iraqi army have? None. How many tanks? None. What do you call a country with no jets and no fighter planes? It's called a protectorate."

President George Bush told The New York Times last week the US would withdraw its forces from Iraq if a newly elected government requested it, but said he expected the country's new leaders would understand the "need for coalition troops - at least until Iraqis are able to fight".

"I don't see it as a policy shift. It has to be said, or else the notion of a sovereign Iraqi government has no meaning," said Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

But she said it was not clear what the Bush Administration planned to do if the elections served only to worsen the bloodshed. "I don't think there is a plan B, other than greater emphasis on the training of Iraqis," she said.

Marty Meehan, a Democratic congressman, has suggested a plan to withdraw "the vast majority" of US forces by the end of this year.

Ms Mathews said there were problems with setting a date for withdrawal: "It has an enormous effect on US troops - the problem of who wants to be the last man to die. There is more tension and trigger-happiness. And the terrorists have a date to hang on until."

Comment: Any talk of of US forces pulling out of Iraq after yesterday's sham of an election is pure nonsense. This kind of propaganda is designed for the masses back home who've sacrificed their children to this senseless and illegal war, and despite all evidence to the contrary continue to believe their leaders when they say that the occupation of Iraq is only temporary.

The construction of a dozen or more permanent military bases in the region combined with a looming war with Iran from which strategic strikes can be launched, is more than enough proof that the US military has no plans whatsoever to vacate the country in 2 months, 2 years, or even 10 years.

Add to this the need to protect American corporate interests as companies like Halliburton pilfer Iraqi oil financed by taxpayer dollars, and the strategy of bankrupting the US economy by becoming mired in a long term and unwinnable war with virtually every country in the region, and you have a recipe for permanent occupation, no matter what the polls may say.

Bottom line... the Americans are in Iraq for good, and any military analyst, advisor or spokesperson who says different is either hopelessly naive or very likely lying through their teeth.

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Real freedom still far off
Sun, January 30, 2005
By Eric Margolis -- Contributing Foreign Editor

Will today's elections for 7,785 unknown candidates in violence-racked Iraq mark the dawn of genuine Mideast democracy, as U.S. President George W. Bush claims, or be another step deeper into the bloody quagmire in Mesopotamia?

First, no election held under a foreign military occupation resulting from an unjustified war is legal under international law. During the Cold War, elections staged by the Soviets after invading Afghanistan, Hungary and Czechoslovakia were rightly denounced by the U.S. as "frauds" and the leaders elected as "stooges."

Second, Shiites, excluded from political power since Britain created Iraq in 1921, will win since they represent 60% of the population. Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani issued a fatwa, or religious decree, ordering the faithful to vote for the Shiites' coalitions. Sistani made what some see as a pact with the devil. He is abetting at least temporary U.S. occupation and exploitation of oil-rich Iraq in exchange for Washington handing power to his fellow "good" Shiites -- not to be confused with Iran's "bad" Shiites, who are facing U.S.-Israeli attack. "Good" Shiites don't sport turbans; they sideline clerics and avoid angry Islamic mutterings.

Iraq's pro-U.S. Kurds will elect their own coalitions determined to keep their oil revenues and create a state independent in all but name.

Sunnis have lost all the power and perks they previously enjoyed, they lead resistance against U.S. occupation. They will be the odd men out, at the mercy of the hated Shiites, a sect long persecuted by mainstream Sunni Muslims as dangerous heretics and fanatics.

Third, the U.S.-"guided" regime emerging from the vote will be one of form without much substance, unless a new Shiite regime revolts and asserts its independence.

For now, Iraq's real government will continue to be the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the world's largest, and 150,000 U.S. occupation troops.

Every important Iraqi ministry is run by U.S. "advisers" who call the shots and allocate all spending. Power comes from guns and money. The U.S. controls and pays Iraq's low-morale police and native troops who, in a nation with 70% unemployment, mostly serve to feed families.


Iraq's entire budget comes from sporadic oil exports and U.S.-dispensed aid (the latest bill for Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: $240 billion US).

Many Iraqis will vote for anyone promising to end violence and social misery. But just as many nationalists and Islamists, excluded from the election process, are voting their own way -- with bullets and bombs. Washington calls them "terrorists," but the UN Charter enshrines people's right to resist foreign occupation.

A "Muslim-lite" turbanless Shiite regime allied to Washington will immediately have to face Kurdish secessionists and Sunni insurgents. Younger, more nationalistic Shiites with connections to Tehran will try to oust the "quietist" collaborationist Sistani faction once Shiites are firmly in power. More, rather than less, violence is likely, with Sistani a prime bomb target.

Iraq, like Humpty Dumpty, is broken and may never be put together. That's fine with the Bush administration's pro-Israel hawks who engineered this war. A shattered Iraq will never challenge Israel's nuclear monopoly.

But not fine for the U.S. A senior commander just warned that 130,000 U.S. troops must stay in Iraq until at least 2007, maybe much longer. Iraqization, like Vietnamization, has proved a chimera. So, too, plans to plunder Iraq's oil. Meanwhile Pentagon brass are livid over neo-con plans to launch a new war against Israel's principal enemy, Iran.

This "guided" election is Bush's best last chance to declare a titanic victory, then bring all his troops home to a big ticker-tape parade before Iraq dissolves into bloody chaos or is taken over by Iran. Otherwise, the U.S. will be stuck forever to its Iraqi tar baby, ruing the day it overthrew old ally, Saddam.

A truly independent regime will eventually emerge in Baghdad when the U.S. finally runs low on money, men and crusading will power.

We'll know for sure real freedom has dawned in Iraq when Baghdad orders U.S. troops out, raises oil prices, rebuilds its armed forces, and renews support for the Palestinian cause.

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British military plane crashes near Baghdad, as many as 15 dead
01-31-2005, 00h17

BAGHDAD (AFP) - As many as 15 British military personnel died when the transport plane they were travelling in crashed in central Iraq, military sources said.

The Royal Air Force C-130 Hercules, which can carry up to 128 troops, went down northwest of Baghdad at 4:40 pm (1340 GMT), according to the coalition military press office in Baghdad.

Military sources told Britain's domestic Press Association news agency the number killed in the crash was "around 10", with it "highly unlikely" to be more than 15.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, but came during a series of attacks aimed at sabotaging the first democratic elections in Iraq for 50 years. At least 37 people were killed and 96 others wounded in the attacks.

In a televised speech earlier Prime Minister Tony Blair said "people lost their lives" in the crash, but not specifying how many had perished or providing any other details.

"This country and the wider world will never forget them," said Blair.

Wreckage from the plane was reportedly scattered over a large area.

A spokesman from the RAF Lyneham base in Wiltshire declined to speculate on the cause of the crash, and said the investigation would be thorough.

No additional information was being released until families were notified. [...]

Comment: You know, we could get all worked up and, yet again, try to explain the fact that "Bliar" is a psychopath and that the only sacrifice that British troops are making is to further the elitist goals of their corrupt leaders, but, you know what? No one really cares anymore. Those that can really see the truth have by now made their choice and those that persist in believing the lies have also chosen. Nothing more needs to be said on the subject.

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Militant group 'shot down RAF plane'

staff and agencies
Monday January 31, 2005

The defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, today announced that 10 British service personnel were killed when an RAF transport plane crashed in Iraq on Sunday.

In the biggest single loss of life since March 21 2003, when eight British troops died in a US helicopter, nine RAF personnel and one soldier died. One of the crew, Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel, a 35-year-old father of three from Australia, was named among the victims.

The C-130 Hercules was flying from Baghdad to Balad, where there is a US military base, when it crashed around 25 miles north-west of the capital. The cause of the crash remains unknown, but a militant group has claimed responsibility.

Mr Hoon said the servicemen's deaths were "especially poignant on a day when Iraqis were able to enjoy the freedom of democratic elections for the first time in many years". He said British and US forces had secured the crash site, and were recovering the bodies and attempting to ascertain the cause of the crash.

A senior US military officer said the wreckage of the plane was scattered over a large area, suggesting a mid-air explosion, but the MoD refused to comment on the speculation until its investigations were complete.

Earlier, the Iraqi militant group Ansar al-Islam posted a statement on an Islamist website, claiming its fighters had tracked the aircraft ,"which was flying at a low altitude", and fired an anti-tank missile at it.

"Thanks be to God, the plane was downed and a huge fire and black clouds of smoke were seen rising from the location of the crash," the statement said.

Ansar al-Islam is thought to have been the creation of Osama bin Laden's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in the months after September 11. Recently, it has been overshadowed by the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the group he has called al-Qaida in Iraq. [...]

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Violent racism being taught UnivHaifa?
Sun, 30 Jan 2005 14:53:16 -0700

Dear President/Rector/Dept head of Political Science-Philosophy and Students;

Thanks to the courage and integrity of a University of Haifa student's letter now in circulation around the world - demonstrating the looming crisis implicit within academic circles in Israel and the danger of continuing support--whether financial, charitable or otherwise--to the State of Israel while witnessing the moral collapse of the state which would shelter perverse and depraved racism in its institutions such as U of Haifa - I am compelled to write.

That the utterance, let alone tolerance of "in your face" violent racist statements -as allegedly articulated by an instructor within the Univ of Haifa - David Bukay of the Political Science department-- suggests a moral depravity unlike anything read or seen by many since the days of the nazification of Germany and its doctrines about the "inherent inferiority of Jews".

I never dreamt I would ever read of such perversity again, after the lessons supposedly learned from World War 2 [and the loss of an estimated 30,000,000 millions of Jews, Slavs (Poles, Russians), dissidents, gays, Catholics, soldiers, disabled, elderly, etc.] yet these days ever more horrendous demonstrations of the racist nature which underlies the chaotic result of concurrently calling a Jewish/Zionist state a "democratic" one whilst pursuing ethnic cleansing and slow genocide of another people, Palestinians in particular and Arabs in general.

It is absolutely unacceptable to read of such despicable statements/behavior being tolerated in any state supported environment whilst simultaneously and continuously being reminding that it is the "only democracy in the region". With the disparity of power within academia (between student and teacher) I recognize it takes courage for a student to speak up against the 'powers that be' and to sound the alarm of the ongoing moral disintegration -- unless it was more widely tolerated than we in the "outside world" have recognized. Daily reports of the IDF's precipitous loss of its (self identified) "moral purity" demonstrate decay runs throughout the core of Israel's government and civic institutions and begs for a comprehensive societal transformation.

With the hope that there will be disciplinary actions taken to arrest anyone's belief that Israeli academia has sunk to such a low level as has been attributed to Bukay, "shooting all Arabs in the head" as a political perspective will be treated with as much rigor as Israel has pursued against anti-Semitism in Germany over the past 60 years.

For peace with justice

Miriam Adams

An American Jewish tax payer.
cc: Congressional representatives and various media associates.


Report about the incident

Report: "The Arabs Must Be Shot in Their Heads!"

By Student in the Philosophy Department University of Haifa, Israel

Academics and human and civil rights activists in Israel launched an anti-racist campaign in the University of Haifa against racist expressions made by Dr. David Bukay from the Department of Political Science.

Bukay is accused by students in racist incitement against Arabs.

"The Arabs are greedy, chasing for sex and alcohol", Bukay said more than once in his lectures, according to students.

The news website Nana reported that thirty of the students in Bukay's course, the Intro-Arab System and Palestine Affair, had to hear their lecturer supporting the killing Arabs only for being Arabs, claiming that they are criminals by their nature and recommending to humiliate Palestinians in front of cameras, spreading those pictures - and all this in a seminar, which is being classified by the University as a duty [compulsory] in their studies toward fulfillment of bachelor's degree in the Department of Political Science.

According to students, Bukay told, "The Arabs must be caught and shot in their heads by a gun. A building in which there are Arabs and Palestinians, must be exterminated".

Bukay wrote a research of the "threats" of the radical Islam and recommended to the IDF soldiers to "humiliate the wanted [Arabs], to photo and humiliate them and afterwards to show the photos to their families who'll see that their sons are cowards".

A student who tried to discuss this racist incitement during his classes by claiming that history knew Arab mathematics and intellectuals, was answered, "You don't know what are you talking about. The Arabs did not invent anything! They are stupid and did not contribute anything to the humanity. The calculations you claimed that were invented by them, were copied [from others]. The Arabs are big liars and you should not believe to their history!"

The chairperson of the Arabs' Students Committee, Fadi Abu-Yunes, who tried opposing Dr. Bukay, claims that he was humiliated and silenced. The lecturer threatened Abu-Yunes, his student, by saying that if he will not cease from opposing him, then he will be sent to the University's disciplinary committee, and as a result - will be punished. "He threatened that I will not be able to finish his course and thus, not to be given a grade".

There are students who agreed with Bukay, and others who preferred to shut up, fearing the final grade that would be given to them if they will oppose the racist lecturer.

The University was asked to deal with this shameful affair. Dr. Asad Ganem, a senior lecturer in the department, asked Bukay to respond to the accusations of the students. "Bukay broke the University's regulations and the Education Law, and committed a criminal act. If he will not respond properly, we will take severe steps against him", he told Nana News. An appeal was also made to the Head of the Department, Dr. Gabriel Ben Dor.

The University's spokesperson reported that the University's authorities are handling the case and a clear response will be delivered within two weeks. Dr. Bukay refused to respond.

Many academics sent letters of protest to the University's officials, and Roman Bronfman MK, from the liberal Democratic Choice party, asked the University's rector to investigate the case and judge severely the racist lecturer. All those who are looking for a liberal, democratic and tolerant society in Israel, in which Jews and Arabs live together, equally, must protest against this racist.

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Israeli Professor: Shoot Arabs in the Head

Kurt Nimmo

I received an interesting email this afternoon from an American Jewish woman. She claims that David Bukay of the Political Science department at Haifa University in Israel is using his post to advocate “racist expressions” directed against Arabs and Muslims. According to a student in the Philosophy Department at the university, Bukay supports “the killing of Arabs only for being Arabs, claiming that they are criminals by their nature and recommending to humiliate Palestinians in front of cameras, spreading those pictures—and all this in a seminar, which is being classified by the University as a duty [compulsory] in their studies toward fulfillment of bachelor’s degree in the Department of Political Science.”

Bukay is not only a university professor, but also an author, editor, public speaker, and “his fields of specialization are,” according to the Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR), “the Arab-Israeli conflict; inter-Arab relations and the Palestinian question; international terrorism and fundamental Islam; theoretical issues and political applications in the Middle-East; Asad’s foreign policy towards Israel and Lebanon; the culture approach to understanding the Middle-East.” It should be noted that the ACPR counts as “Israel’s Friends” several Congress critters, including Jim Saxon, Bill McCollum, and Tom DeLay. “Contributing Experts” include the Strausscons Frank J. Gaffney and Meyrav Wurmser, wife of David Wurmser, who is Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs in the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Burkay, who teaches his students that Arabs must be “shot in their heads by a gun,” according to student mentioned above, hosted a round table discussion at the latest Jerusalem Summit, where Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-CO) and the Islamophobe Daniel Pipes also gave speeches. “Over 150 leading thinkers and statesmen from the US, Europe, Asia and Israel have convened at the 3-day Jerusalem Summit, (Nov 27-30th, 2004), at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel,” notes the Michael Cherney Foundation, a “humanitarian” organization founded after “the night of the heinous terrorist bombing outside the Dolphinarium Disco in Tel Aviv,” on June 1, 2001 (no mention here of the “heinous” terrorist bombings of Gaza by the IDF, killing far more than died outside of the Dolphinarium Disco).

Ironically—and appropriately, considering the agenda and philosophy of the people attending the Jerusalem Summit—the King David Hotel was the site of another terrorist bombing. On July 22, 1946, Irgun Tsvai-Leumi, a Zionist terrorist group, bombed the hotel, killing 92 Britons, Arabs, and Jews.

Irgun adopted the revisionist views of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the philosophical godfather of the Likud Party. Sort of a Zionist version of Hamas, Irgun bombed the British embassy in Rome, bombed a police station in Haifa, tossed grenades into a cafe in Jerusalem, killing dozens of people. Apparently unsatisifed with random terror attacks, Irgun joined up with another Zionist terror organization, the Stern gang, and attacked the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, killing at least 107 civilians. “Neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can negate the use of terror as a means of battle,” was the operating motto of the Stern gang—an assertion Osama bin Laden would likely agree with, if he were alive.

It should be noted that Israel’s sixth prime minister, Menachem Begin, was a member of Irgun and directly responsible for the bombing of the King David Hotel. As if to indicate the government of Israel approves of mass murdering Palestinian civilians, Avraham Stern, the founder of the Stern gang, has a street named after him in Tel Aviv, according to Jason Vest.

The First Jerusalem Summit was held in Israel’s capital during Sukkot (October 12-14, 2003) and featured the likes of Frank Gaffney, Benyamin Netanyahu, Richard Perle, Daniel Pipes, and Cal Thomas—a virtual roster of Likudites, Strausscons, and their fellow travelers. “Jerusalem Declaration and other Summit’s programs will provide the free world with moral clarity in the fight against radical Islam and new paradigms of thinking about the Middle East conflict,” states the Jerusalem Summit home page. Obviously, such “new paradigms” include invading soverign nations such as Iraq, Syria, and Iran, and also killing thousands of innocent civilians, a toll that currently stands at around 100,000 people in Iraq, a body count that would have made Irgun, the Stern gang, and Haganah (which eventually become the IDF) proud. Ariel Sharon was a member of the outlawed Haganah. In 1953, Sharon directed the Qibya massacre in the West Bank, slaugthering over 50 Palestinian Arabs and the destroying most houses in the village.

Considering all of this, it is not surprising that the “expert” David Bukay would tell his class Arabs are sub-human and deserve to be shot in the head. It is indicative Burkay would be invited to the Jerusalem Summit since his views are obviously not far off the mark of those held by Jim Saxon, Bill McCollum, Tom DeLay, Bob Beauprez, Richard Perle, Daniel Pipes, Frank Gaffney, and Meyrav Wurmser, all who weild disporpotinate influence over the Bush administration and U.S. foreign policy.

Finally, can you imagine a professor in the United States calling Jews sub-human and advocating they be shot in the head? He would not only be bounced in record time, but would also likely suffer the fate of Sami al-Arian, the Florida professor, “described as the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” according to CNN, and arrested in February, 2003. In fact, al-Arian’s only crime is defending the Palestinians and declaring Israeli occupation and theft of Palestinian land illegal and immoral and also founding a think tank dedicated to the study of Islam. For doing so he was fired by the president of the University of South Florida, Tampa, Judy Genshaft, a political appointee of Jeb Bush.

Sami al-Arian is now held in “solitary confinement, allowed out of his cell for only one hour each day,” writes Sarah Shields. According to Shields, al-Arian’s “attorneys are not allowed to talk with him privately … he is not allowed any phone calls … none of his visits with his wife and children permit even a hug.” In America, “suspected terrorists,” who make the mistake of appearing on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show and demanding justice for the Palestinians are thrown in prison, treated worse than serial murderers, while in Israel, “academic freedom” consists of calling for murdering Arabs execution style.

One last note: Daniel Pipes, “the nation’s leading Islamaphobe” (according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations), who attended the Jerusalem Summit and likely rubbed elbows with David Bukay, had made a career out of trashing the livelihood of professors in America he considers not loyal enough to Israel. For his effort, Bush announced in early 2003 Pipe’s nomination to the U.S. Institute of Peace, an irony, to say the least. As Mark Engler writes, Pipes said the following about Bush’s invasion of Iraq: “WMD was never the basic reason for war. Nor was it the horrid repression in Iraq. Or the danger Saddam posed to his neighbors. … The campaign in Iraq is about keeping promises to the United States or paying the consequences. … Keep your promises or you are gone. It’s a powerful precedent that U.S. leaders should make the most of.” In response, the editors of Right Web responded: “Sounds like an ideal candidate for an institute devoted to ‘promoting the peaceful resolution of international conflicts.’”

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Tsunami was God's punishment claims former chief rabbi

31/01/2005 - 12:41:59

The tsunami that ravaged southern Asia last month was God’s punishment for world support for Israel’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, a former chief rabbi has claimed.

“When the Holy One, Blessed be He, is angry with the nations of the world that don’t help Israel – but want to evacuate and disengage, and interfere in our affairs and harm us – then the Holy One, Blessed be He, claps his hands in sadness, and this causes the quake,” former Israeli Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu told the ultra-Orthodox Ma’ayanei Hayeshua magazine.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon plans to dismantle all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank this summer, displacing some 8,500 settlers.

Eliahu, who was chief rabbi in the 1980s and 1990s, is a spiritual leader of the Jewish settler movement, which bitterly opposes the withdrawal plan.

Comment: It would be nice if we could write this guy off as a someone who was dropped on his head as a baby, but the fact is that it is just this type of bigoted religious rhetoric that is used to justify the genocidal policies of the Israeli government. But then again, has organised religion ever been used for anything else?

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Signs Economic Commentary

Donald Hunt
January 30, 2005

The US stock market rose last week for the first time in 2005. The Dow closed at 10,427.20, up 0.32% for the week, while the NASDAQ closed at 2035.83 or up 0.08%. The interest rate on a ten-year US Treasury bond closed at 4.15%, up slightly from last week’s 4.14%. The dollar closed at 0.768 euros up from last week’s 0.766, or 1.302 dollars a euro compared to last week’s 1.305. Oil closed at $47.15 (36.16 euros) a barrel on Friday down from last Friday’s $48.53 (37.17 euros) and it is poised to drop further Monday after the supposedly successful Iraq elections and some help from the OPEC meeting. Gold closed at $426.80 or 327.10 euros up 0.8% (in dollars) from last week’s 423.30 and 325.42 respectively. An ounce of gold on Friday would therefore buy 9.05 barrels of oil, up from last week’s 8.72.

In the markets, we are struck by the apparent normality and the lack of strong short-term trends in any direction. There remains a thin sheet of ice -- the illusion that things are going well -- covering an unsettled ocean. Perhaps alone in the world, the average person in the United States is clinging to that illusion. No doubt that, at least at first, the Iraq elections will be spun as a success to the public in the United States. The professional investors are reinforcing that by driving the price of oil down at the moment.

In such an environment we need to keep our eye on the elite for signs that they are jumping ship. They are. Here are some headlines in Bloomberg on January 30th: “Microsoft’s Gates Bets Against the Dollar. Calls Currency’s Status ‘Scary’” and “Soros Says Greenspan Lost Credibility With Positions on Rates, Tax Cuts

Here’s what Gates had to say:

Jan. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Bill Gates, whose net worth of $46.6 billion makes him the world's richest person, is betting against the U.S. dollar.

"I'm short the dollar,'' Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., told Charlie Rose in an interview late yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "The ol' dollar, it's gonna go down.''

"It is a bit scary,'' Gates said. "We're in uncharted territory when the world's reserve currency has so much outstanding debt.''

Gates reflected the views of his friend Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has bet against the dollar since 2002. Buffett said last week that the U.S. trade gap will probably further weaken the currency.

"Unless we have a major change in trade policies, I don't see how the dollar avoids going down,'' Buffett said in an interview with CNBC on Jan. 19.

Gates in December joined the board of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the investment company that Buffett runs. Forbes magazine's list of billionaires ranks Gates, 49, No. 1. Buffett, 74, is second, with more than $30 billion. Almost all of it is in Berkshire stock.

Gates described China as a potential "change agent'' for the next two decades. "It's phenomenal,'' Gates said. "It's a brand new form of capitalism.''

Gates's $27 billion foundation in September received approval from China's foreign-currency regulator to invest as much as $100 million in the nation's yuan shares and bonds.

As for Soros:

George Soros, the billionaire investor, said Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has lost credibility for driving the benchmark U.S. interest rate to a four-decade low and advocating tax cuts that Soros said caused the U.S. budget deficit to balloon.

Soros, chairman of the New York-based Soros Fund Management LLC, said Greenspan sought to help President George W. Bush win re-election. Soros spent $26.5 million, more than any other individual donor or political action committee, seeking to help Massachusetts Senator John Kerry defeat Bush in November's elections.

"Greenspan lost credibility with me when he became too political,'' said Soros, 74, in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. ``He tried to push interest rates further down in order to help the re-election campaign, and also reached out beyond his sphere of competence by advocating tax cuts which then led to the current deficit.''

The Fed cut interest rates six times in 2001 and 2002, bringing the overnight bank-lending rate to 1 percent from 6.5 percent. In 2001, Greenspan supported the first in a series of Bush-proposed tax cuts that ultimately reached $1.85 trillion.

The Dollar

Soros said he expected the U.S. currency to extend its three- year slide, as officials and executives from the U.S., Europe and Asia at Davos blamed the U.S. budget and current account deficits for causing a plunge in the dollar. Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, the world's richest man, said yesterday that he's betting on a further slide in the dollar, calling the deficits "scary.''

The dollar has dropped 47 percent against the euro since 2001. The dollar was little changed at $1.3038 per euro in trading yesterday in New York. Federal Reserve spokeswoman Michelle Smith declined to comment on Soros's remarks.

While the dollar has fallen 2.8 percent against the currencies of its 30 major trading partners during the past year, it's fallen more against the euro, 4.8 percent, because many Asian countries link their currencies to the dollar, limiting changes in their value.

The U.S. current account deficit will likely cause the euro to continue to gain against the dollar. Because Asian currencies are linked to the dollar, their value won't change as much as the euro.

"Obviously, the dollar is already undervalued against the euro,'' Soros said. "It has every sign of getting more undervalued, because all the adjustment is between the dollar and the euro.''

So three of the richest, shrewdest people on the planet, Gates, Soros and Buffet have lost faith in the dollar. Up until recently, establishment types didn’t say this kind of thing in public.

Here’s another example. The investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, who broke both the My Lai and Abu Ghraib stories, has never, to my knowledge, written about the economy. However, in a recent talk about Iraq and the takeover of the US government by the Neocon cult as reprinted in Signs of the Times for January 29, 2005 he said the following:

[The economy is] going to go very bad, folks. You know, if you have not sold your stocks and bought property in Italy, you better do it quick. And the third thing is Europe -- Europe is not going to tolerate us much longer. The rage there is enormous. I'm talking about our old-fashioned allies. We could see something there, collective action against us. Certainly, nobody -- it's going to be an awful lot of dancing on our graves as the dollar goes bad and everybody stops buying our bonds, our credit -- our -- we're spending $2 billion a day to float the debt, and one of these days, the Japanese and the Russians, everybody is going to start buying oil in Euros instead of dollars. We're going to see enormous panic here. But [Bush] could get through that. That will be another year, and the damage he's going to do between then and now is enormous. We're going to have some very bad months ahead.

Hersh is a mainstream journalist who spends his time talking to four-star generals, CIA analysts and parents of soldiers killed in Iraq. Right now, we don’t need an economist to know which way the wind is blowing. Hersh’s words are so shocking not because we didn’t already know they were true but because someone like him is saying them publicly. The enormity of the failure in Iraq creates a situation like the building of seismic pressure before an earthquake. On the surface, everything appears normal until the moment when the pressure releases and the earth cracks and shifts below our feet.

In other words, even though last week’s Economic Commentary went through some of the economic factors that will most likely lead to a collapse, political events seem to be moving much more quickly, with the Bush Neocons perhaps realizing they don’t have much time and therefore trying a last, desperate roll of the dice by attacking Iran, Syria and perhaps even Venezuela as well. In one interesting tidbit that came to light last week, crude oil imports to China increased 35% last year, as the Chinese economy grew at a rapid rate. China needs lots of oil in order to complete its plan to become the top economic and political power in the world. In another tidbit, a wire service report on the weekend’s OPEC meeting noted that the Venezuelan oil minister was not there because the Chinese vice-president was visiting Caracas. No wonder Bush gang wants to grab all the oil it can before the empire collapses and they are all thrown in prison for treason and war crimes.

As Kurt Nimmo wrote:

If we were not caught in a Bushzarro reality warp, Douglas Feith—and Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, David Wurmser, William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Elliott Abrams, to name but a few of the more prominent Strausscons—would be arrested and packed off to the Hague to face prosecution for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Unfortunately, Douglas Feith will likely end up writing policy papers and giving speeches for one of a handful of Strausscon “think tanks” in Washington, pulling down a handsome salary. So it is in America, where war criminals such as Henry Kissinger—and former presidents such as Bill Clinton and Bush Senior—are allowed to walk free, considered “elder statesmen,” create law firms and consulting services, write best selling books, are interviewed and pampered, and have libraries built in their names.

If excusing and ignoring these crimes—indeed, often celebrating them—demonstrates anything, it is that America is suffering from a dangerous and what will likely sooner or later prove to be fatal pathology. For as Germany learned, sooner or later the rest of the world will respond to this murderous pathology and put and end to it for good, more than likely economically since the United States military, at least in a conventional warfare sense, is unbeatable, mostly due to its fearsome stockpile of nukes and other marvels of high-tech mass murder and destruction.

Of course, this will also mean the destruction of the tiny outlaw state of Israel, since it cannot exist without remaining a dependent suckling parasitically fleecing the American taxpayer.

It is interesting that Seymour Hersh advised fleeing to Europe instead of buying gold and waiting out the depression in the US. What else does he know? Could the following by Al Martin be a clue?

The current regime in the United States continues to change from a “democracy” to a dictatorship, according to already established historical precedents. There are several political regimes of the past whose political, economic, social and military policies have been the same as we see transpiring in the United States.

It should be noted that the USA Patriot I Act is extremely similar, even in the language, as a matter of fact, to some of the language that was seemingly “borrowed” from what could be called the German Homeland Security Acts of August 1934 and July 1936.

The Patriot II Act, as we have mentioned before, is transcribed almost verbatim from the Soviet Internal Security Enhancement Act of 1965, which was enacted when the Soviet Union was moving to tighten control even more within its own borders and particularly within its Eastern European satellite countries, in order to quell any further dissent because they knew that such dissent was brewing. This has a direct parallel to current conditions in the USA.

The similarities in Patriot I and these two German security acts that we’ve mentioned, were effectively used to increase the power of the President, and in the German case, of the German Chancellor to absolute power, which has now happened in the United States. Presidential power has now been changed so that previous legislative consent and judicial review has been removed from the War Powers Act, thus effectively making Presidential authority absolute in terms of all key positions, most importantly of which are the decisions that the President could make, unfettered by Congress or the Supreme Court, to permanently cancel elections. This then effectively changes the country from democracy into a dictatorship. The further enhancement in power, without Congress and the Judiciary, comes in the expansion of the War Powers Act under Patriot I, allowing the President to dissolve opposition political parties and simply turn the United States into a unicameral dictatorship.

There are certain parallels in economic policies as well. Economic legislation, including economic powers contained in the Patriot Acts, are very similar to the German Currency Stabilization Act of 1938, wherein Germany, like the Bush-Cheney regime, acted to diminish the ability of German citizens to hold gold, to transfer that gold out of the country, to limit the amount of German marks that could be taken out of the country and to ultimately limit the convertibility of those marks outside of Germany.

These are all measures which the Bush Cheney regime has either already undertaken or, according to Treasury Secretary Snow, has on the drawing board. It would be accomplished in this country through the actual re-institution of the Gold Confiscation Act of 1933 and also the imposition of currency restrictions, similar to what Nixon did in 1971.

It seems that the purely economic factors pointing to a collapse are dwarfed by geopolitical factors. Notice the wording of the German Deputy Finance Minister in Davos last week. In the article about Bill Gates on Bloomberg quoted above, he said that the US budget deficit is the number one problem facing the global economy “disregarding geopolitical risks.” Nowadays that’s a lot to disregard! Even when we focus on the geopolitical risks, is there something even worse looming? With all the news of climate change, meterorites, earthquakes and possible flu epidemics, it may be that “natural” disasters may be an even bigger threat to the global economy. It all seems to be coming to a head at once.

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Spanish blast raises fears of new ETA campaign against tourism
01-31-2005, 02h07

MADRID - A bomb went off at a hotel in a Spanish holiday resort, raising fears that the Basque separatist group ETA may be launching a new campaign to disrupt the nation's vital tourist industry.

The blast from a device hidden in a rucksack occurred after a telephone warning and all 160 people in the hotel were evacuated in time. One person was slightly injured and part of the hotel was wrecked.

The attack in Denia in the Mediterranean province of Alicante came two days ahead of a debate by Spain's parliament on giving the Basque country yet greater autonomy to satisfy separatist ambitions.

The blast also followed close on an offer by ETA, which has a record of 800 political murders over more than three decades, and its political wing Batasuna of dialogue with central government in Madrid.

But Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero has said the separatist violence must stop before talks about the future of the restless northern province can begin. [...]

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Canada moves to counter privacy threat posed by U.S. Patriot Act
Jim Bronskill
Canadian Press
Sunday, January 30, 2005

OTTAWA -- The government will revamp the wording of future federal contracts with the aim of countering U.S. powers, granted under anti-terrorism laws, to tap into personal information about Canadians.

The move is intended to prevent the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation from seeing sensitive Canadian data the government supplies to American firms doing business with federal departments in Ottawa.

The government has also asked all agencies and departments to conduct a "comprehensive assessment of risks" to Canadian information they release to U.S. companies carrying out work under contract.

The U.S.A. Patriot Act, passed following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, gave the FBI broader access to records held by firms in the United States.

The FBI can apply to a U.S. court to have a company disclose records, including information about Canadians, to assist with investigations involving prevention of terrorism or espionage.

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says that if a federal institution hires a U.S. company to process personal information about Canadians, then American laws apply to the data if the work is being done south of the border.

The federal Treasury Board leads a working group that is now busy finalizing special clauses to be used in future business proposal requests and contracts.

The group is consulting with Stoddart's office on clauses "that we believe to be fundamental" to include in future request proposals and contracts, says a federal notice recently circulated to departments.

Treasury Board spokesman Robert Makichuk said the changes would "further enhance and clarify existing protection" for such things as establishing custody and control of data, ensuring confidentiality of information and setting conditions related to use and disclosure.

Trade experts at Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Justice must review the wording before the clauses receive final approval.

Makichuk said the overall goal is to try to ward off any concerns about how sensitive Canadian information will be used when contracts are contemplated. [...]

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Analyst urges Canada to join coastal defence

WASHINGTON (CP) - Canadians don't need to break the bank to help dispel the perception among some Americans that they're freeloading when it comes to defence, says a top U.S. military analyst.

Informal talks have started on possibly expanding the North American Aerospace Defence Agreement to include land and sea defences. Dwight Mason, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says Canada should consider pledging to join forces with the United States in coastal defence.

"Canadians have an opportunity here to change the way the United States thinks about things," Mason said in an interview. "Canada can do lots of things without spending money that would change the views of a lot of people down here."

While deciding whether to sign on to the costly U.S. missile-defence program is the biggest issue on the table, participating in joint coastal defences under Norad would also be a major sign of Canada's commitment to protecting North America, he said.

"It's not free," Mason said. "But it doesn't cost much more, if you're devoting more resources to coastal defence and less elsewhere."

A sweeping review of Canada's foreign policy is due soon. "Canada will obviously make its own decision on missile defence," he said. "And if we (Americans) just say 'Spend more', we aren't really helping. It's not very helpful to express vague concerns."

Yet the decline in Canada's military capabilities is becoming more apparent to U.S. officials, Mason said. Canada is running budget surpluses and investing much more heavily in health care and other domestic programs than its military.

"It's just more visible now. The mist has dispersed a bit."

While there may not be any unrealistic expectations that Canada would spend lavishly on a general upgrading of all its military capabilities, U.S. officials are probably looking for faster movement on replacing the air force's CF-18 jet fighters and the navy's frigates that are critical to safeguarding North America from terrorists, he said.

The American view of Canada's defence policy was brought into sharp focus recently amid reports that President George W. Bush, when he visited Canada in December, linked co-operation with his missile-defence plan to future protection under the U.S. defence umbrella.

"What you generally hear is Canada is freeloading," said Mason. "I think Bush has just put it another way."

The fact that Canada is taking so long to make a decision on whether to participate in the U.S. project to defend North America against missile attacks from rogue countries or terrorists isn't helping, he said.

"The longer this drags on, the worse it gets. They've already said half-yes. The time to do this would have been right away. It just makes Canada appear indecisive and vulnerable. And it's unnecessary."

Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said last week that it's important to have military co-operation through Norad, which will survive no matter what Canada decides on the U.S. missile-defence plan.

Comment: Ah yes, where would those poor defenseless Canucks be without their arrogant and well-armed big brother to the south who protects them from those "durn evil terrorists" that Dubya is so convinced is hiding under every bed?

Dem poutine-eating, maple-syrup farming, hockey-playing socialists better stop spending all their surplus funds on health care and other domestic programs, and start spending money on poorly-designed missile defense system that don't work, or that cowboy from Texas might just include his northern neighbours among the dreaded axis-of-evil.

God Bless America.

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Collision split bus in half
Jan. 30, 2005. 09:50 AM

GENESEO, N.Y. (AP-CP) — Authorities were trying to determine today why a charter bus carrying a Canadian women’s junior hockey team rammed into a tractor-trailer in western New York, splitting the bus in half and killing four people.

The bus rear-ended the truck parked on the shoulder of Interstate 390 near Geneseo, about 45 kilometres south of Rochester. A state police spokesman says the truck driver and three passengers on the bus were killed in the accident Saturday. None of the victims have been identified.

“It was a horrible, horrible accident,” witness Kim McKenzie told the Evening Tribune newspaper of Hornell, N.Y. “All you could see was a torn up bus and a banged-up truck.”

The bus was carrying female players from the Windsor Wildcats team ranging in age from 17 to 20, as well as the players’ parents and coaches.

The team played a game Saturday and was on its way to a ski resort when the crash happened in the late afternoon.

Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester admitted 19 patients with injuries ranging from minor to serious.

The truck driver, who was standing outside his rig, was instantly killed, said Mark O’Donnell, a New York State Police spokesman. Three bus passengers also died.

The truck driver’s wife, who was travelling with him, was injured.

Police said the Coach Canada bus, carrying 22 passengers, smashed into the truck at such force that it sent the rig 23 metres forward.

Strong Memorial hospital called in about 40 extra staff — including surgeons and nurses — to help treat the injured, said spokeswoman Germaine Reinhardt.

About five were to be admitted to intensive care in guarded condition, she said.

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Cop's use of Taser on teen at school is questioned
00:00 am 1/30/05
Lisa Schuetz Wisconsin State Journal

A Madison mother is outraged and some community leaders are concerned that a police officer used a stun gun on a 14-year-old while the boy was being arrested Jan. 21 at Memorial High School. The warrant prompting the boy's arrest was later found to be a mistake.

It's the first time a Taser - which delivers a 50,000-volt pulse through wires attached to two dart-like probes - has been used on a student at a Madison school, said Ted Balistreri, the district's security coordinator.

Dalarence Goodwin, who celebrated his 15th birthday a day after the incident, was taken out of the school Jan. 21 to be arrested on a warrant for supposedly missing a court date on a month-old charge for carrying a 12-inch hatchet.

The boy broke away from Madison Police Officer Tim Harder's grip outside the school during a struggle to handcuff him. He was arrested after Harder - the officer assigned to the school -fired his Taser's darts into the boy's back.

Tasers, used by police departments nationwide to reduce police shootings, have been linked to 12 deaths in an investigation by an Arizona newspaper, and more than 70 deaths according to Amnesty International.

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an informal investigation into the Taser's safety.

But Madison police say Harder was justified in using the weapon, according to an initial review. Police Chief Noble Wray said Tasers are an important tool to reduce injuries and deaths from shootings, yet he welcomes input from the public on appropriate use.

Although the warrant was later discovered to be an error that began in a judge's office, Harder's police report indicates Dalarence will be tentatively charged with resisting arrest. Goodwin's mother, Laquitha Goodwin, 29, is being tentatively charged with disorderly conduct for yelling in Meriter Hospital's emergency room where her son was taken after his arrest.

In addition to the Taser's use, the boy's mother is angry that a Memorial principal neglected, she said, to notify her about the arrest immediately, as school board policy dictates.

Goodwin, who is black, is calling the officer's actions and the school's inaction racist. [...]

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Earthquake again hits devastated Bam in Iran
Sunday, January 30, 2005

LONDON, Jan 30 (IranMania) - An earthquake measuring 4 on the open-ended Richter scale jolted the southeastern city of Bam and its surrounding vicinity at noon Sunday.

According to IRNA, the Geophysics Institute of Tehran University located the epicenter of the tremor at 180 km south of the provincial capital, Kerman, on an area measuring 28/90 latitude and 58/37 longitude.

The quake struck at 12:59 hours local time (09:29 GMT). There were no reports of any casualty or damage, the institute added. On December 26, 2003 the city of Bam was almost leveled by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

It is still under reconstruction with domestic and foreign assistance. Over 30,000 residents were killed and many others left homeless by the killer earthquake of 2003. 

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Athens, 31 January 2005 (13:29 UTC 2)

A strong earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale recorded at 3:05 am today alarmed the residents of the island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea. The earthquake's epicenter was located at the sea region southwest of the island, 340 kilometers west of Athens.

Ten minutes later a second earthquake was recorded measuring 4 on the Richter scale. Many local residents left their homes and spent the night in town squares. The earthquake was felt in all Ionian Sea islands.

Seismologists stated that there is no cause of alarm. No damages were reported to police

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Earthquake strikes eastern Mediterranean off Turkey, no damage reported
AFP: 1/30/2005

ANKARA, Jan 30 (AFP) - A moderate earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale struck the Mediterranean sea on Sunday some 50 kilometers south of Turkey's southern port city of Kas, the Anatolia news agency said.

There were no reports of damage or injuries in Kas, which was hit by a 5.5 magnitude quake on Monday that also caused no damage but caused panic among residents.

Turkey lies along several faults and frequently experiences quakes. Two people were killed and 22 injured by a series of tremors across the eastern part of the country on Tuesday.

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Hurricane reaches Murmansk region
January 30/05 (Itar-Tass)

MURMANSK, - A hurricane reached the Murmansk region on Sunday afternoon, with the wind exceeding 27 meters per second in the city of Murmansk and 33 meters per second on the northern coast of the Kola peninsula.

Weathermen say that the wind may reach 40 meters per second in the coastal areas of the Barents Sea and icing of vessels is possible.

The traffic on the road to Norway and the Monchegorsk sector of the Murmansk-Petersburg highway has been stopped on weather reasons.

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Flash Flood Warning
KHNL - 8
January 30, 2005

(Hawaii) - The National Weather service in Honolulu has issued a Flash Flood Warning for... The island of Oahu in Honolulu County until 430 pm hst

At 124 pm hst...National Weather Wervice doppler radar indicated flash flooding from a storm over the warned area.

Radar indicates another line of heavy showers moving over the south and west sides of Oahu. The ground is saturated.

Additional rainfall will make conditions ripe for flash flooding. Excessive runoff from this storm will cause flash flooding of streams...highways...underpasses and low lying areas.

Motorists should be alert for flooding and should not attempt to cross fast flowing or rising water...many flash flood deaths occur when motorists try crossing flooded roadways.

Turn around...don/t drown. Escape rising water by climbing directly to higher ground. Never try to outrace a flood...either on foot or in your vehicle. Do not camp near streams or other areas subject to flooding.

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Another Tornado Warning in the Valley Saturday
KPHO News 5

(Arizona)--Another tornado warning was issued for Maricopa County on Saturday afternoon.  A funnel cloud was reportedly seen, and a few valley residents received serious property damage.  Whether a tornado touched down has yet to be established.

The warning was accompanied by rapid winds and hail storms in various areas across the valley.

The ASU baseball game was halted momentarily due to hail and heavy rain, and further north in Jerome people saw snow.  Near Flagstaff several accidents were reported due to adverse road conditions.

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Five die, hundreds rescued as the surf turns wild
By Geesche Jacobsen and AAP
January 31, 2005

In the worst weekend on the NSW coast this summer, five people died after getting into trouble in the ocean and hundreds had to be rescued because of treacherous surf conditions.

Most of Sydney's northern beaches, as well as Coogee, Maroubra, North Cronulla and Tamarama beaches, were closed yesterday, although an Ironman competition went ahead at Coogee.

More than 450 swimmers were rescued by surf lifesavers and nearly 4000 were warned by lifesavers this weekend as emergency services urged people to take care in the surf.

Rough surf conditions, caused by a low that has come down from Queensland, are expected to continue this morning but ease off later today and tomorrow as the system moves towards New Zealand.

Yesterday morning, a 24-year-old man collapsed after coming out of the surf near Shellharbour. Bystanders performed CPR on the man but he died soon after in Wollongong Hospital.

A 49-year-old Gateshead man died after his dinghy capsized in Swansea Channel near Newcastle. His body was recovered by the Westpac rescue helicopter.

Near Newcastle, a sailor standing on the bow of a coal ship bound for Mexico was flung to the deck when a six-metre swell washed over the vessel early in the morning. The sailor died after sustaining extensive head injuries.

On Saturday, a 79-year-old Cronulla man died at North Cronulla beach when ambulance officers were unable to resuscitate him.

A man in his 30s who tried to rescue two children died on the Central Coast. The children managed to swim to safety, but the man was swept out to sea.

Another man was in intensive care in St Vincent's Hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was pulled unconscious from the surf at Bondi beach on Saturday evening.

A 25 year-old woman was resuscitated after being found semi-conscious at North Cronulla at about 7pm on Saturday. She was taken to Sutherland Hospital and discharged yesterday.

Poor weather reduced the number of beachgoers yesterday, and fewer people had to be warned and rescued than on the previous day, a spokesman for Surf Lifesaving NSW said.

On Saturday, in two incidents at Maroubra Beach alone, more than 50 swimmers were rescued by lifesavers after they were swept off a sandbank into deep water. At North Cronulla 30 swimmers were rescued after being caught in rips.

An ambulance spokesman, Superintendent Anthony McClenaghan, urged people to swim only in patrolled areas and not to go into the water if the conditions were rough. "Don't swim alone, and don't swim after dark," he said.

Michael Logan, a severe weather forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology, said while winds had been quite calm, swells of two to three metres had been causing a strong groundswell.

"That has more energy associated with it in terms of the power of the waves," he said.

The waves were large for the NSW coastline.

"Because of that and the amount of power that's come with them, the rips are quite a lot stronger than they normally would be," Mr Logan said.

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300,000 in Georgia without power after freeze
Jan. 30, 2005, 9:31AM
Associated Press

ATLANTA - More than 300,000 customers had no electricity today in Georgia as crews worked to repair power lines snapped by an ice storm, and hundreds of people stranded by canceled airline flights spent the night sleeping at the city's airport.

Two traffic deaths in Georgia and one in South Carolina were blamed on the storm that spread sleet and freezing rain across parts of the Southeast on Saturday.

The weather was taking a sharp turn today with highs in the 40s forecast for northern Georgia and in the 60s in the southern part of the state, the National Weather Service said.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport got ready to open a third runway today, spokeswoman Lanii Thomas said. Only two -- and at one point only one -- of its four runways were available Saturday as crews labored to scrape off ice.

Still, fewer than 100 departures were scheduled out of one of the world's busiest airports Sunday morning, she said. About 300 travelers spent the night at the airport Saturday night. [...]

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2005-01-28 09:15

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, January 28 (RIA Novosti's Oksana Guseva). The highest volcano in Eurasia, Klyuchevskoy (4,833 meters high), is erupting volcanic bombs three to seven meters in diameter up to 300 meters high.

Alexei Ozerov, a senior fellow in the Volcanology and Seismology Institute of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told RIA Novosti that one bomb consisting of red-hot magma is erupted every 15 seconds. The crater of the volcano is a fountain of magma, he says.

Seismic stations have been continuously detecting series of small earthquakes called volcanic tremor. Eruptions of ash are possible, as lava fills the 700-meter-wide summit crater.

If the power of the eruption that began on January 17 keeps on growing at the same rate, in three to four months, as lava streams downhill, the volcano might become a danger for people living at the peninsula. Melting down snow and ice on the slopes, lava might trigger mudflows. If they reach the Kamchatka River, the eruption could thus translate into a flood, Ozerov said.

Eruptions of summit craters may last from one month to several years and could undermine the safety of domestic and international flights. So far, inhabited areas are out of danger.

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Oil spill found in Dalco Passage
Saturday, January 29, 2005

TACOMA -- A mystery oil spill was discovered yesterday in Dalco Passage -- close to where a 1,500-gallon spill three months ago was ignored overnight and wound up fouling more than 20 miles of shoreline.

This time, state and federal officials sprang into action after getting initial reports of an oil sheen. Two helicopters were dispatched to survey the scene, and a small fleet of cleanup boats entered the waters near Point Defiance.

The spill -- estimated at hundreds of gallons -- was discovered shortly after 11 a.m. by a Washington State Ferries captain plying the passage and construction crews on the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

By afternoon, the ribbony, silvery sheen had reached Commencement Bay, Gig Harbor on the Kitsap Peninsula and Quartermaster Harbor -- a refuge for migratory birds and spawning herring.

But last night, state Ecology Department officials recalled the cleanup boats after determining that there was little risk of further environmental harm. [...]

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