Sunday, February 27, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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Burning of the Reichstag 2001

Today in 1933 the German Reichstag is set on fire. Discovering a Dutch Communist member called Marinus van der Lubbe in the vicinity of the fire, the authorities soon act to supress most of the human rights in Germany at that time. Although whether van der Lubbe was responsible or the Nazis themselves set the fire, one fact is inescapable - the Nazi Party would rule Germany unchallenged from that point on until 1945.

On September 11th 2001 two planes crash into the WTC in New York. Other than producing flight instruction manuals and Korans that were probably planted, the US government offered no hard evidence to prove their assertion that Islamic terrorists were to blame. What is clear however is the fact that, since that day, the Bush government consolidated its control over the American people and legislature. Basic civil rights were systematically revoked in favor of draconian measures required to "protect against the terror threat". One of the most significant results of the WTC attacks was an immediate (many say preplanned) move by the Bush regime to invade so-called "Arab terrorist" countries. Using fabricated "intelligence" reports, members of the Bush regime strongarmed the American people and much of the rest of the world into accepting what is now understood as a imperialist drive to illegally invade and conquer lands strategically important to both America and Israel.

Shame - No Longer A Human Emotion

Are you an idiot? Are you incapable of grasping the most elementary facts and making deductions based on those facts? Most politicians and government leaders believe so. How else can you explain the discrepancy between their public statements and their subsequent private actions?

Take Bush's recent visit to Europe for example. Despite the public show of warm handshakes, back slapping and statements about "unity", a quick read between the lines shows that transatlantic relationships are as strained as ever. Bush achieved little from his jolly to Europe, yet clearly there was a concerted effort made to convince us all that a new era of peace and prosperity is just around the corner. Just what is it that they are trying to hide? Are things really that bad?

You better believe it.

Things are so bad in fact that, as the days and months roll by, our leaders are going to ask us to accept increasingly outlandish and ridiculous notions as fact, all in the name of keeping the people dumbed-down. And they fully expect most of us to swallow the bait.

Of course, our leaders have had a lot of practice over the years to perfect the art of conning the public. In fact, it seems that the power wielded by our "elected" representatives is inversely proportional to the accuracy of the knowledge within the public domain. The dumber the people - the richer the politicians. Of course, we are not saying that all the lies and deceptions passed off on the public over the years have been easy to spot. But there certainly have been some real 'doozies'. JFK was one. Bush's "election" in 2000 was another. Really, it doesn't get much more obvious - unless you're talking about Israel.

Indeed, if we are still in any doubt about the fact that that our leaders credit us with as much intelligence as the average sock-puppet, look no further than the size of the holes in the stories coming out of the 'holie land'.

Two days ago someone detonated some kind of explosive device outside of a Tel Aviv disco, killing 4 Israelis. Of course, even before the mainstream media informed us about the culprits, we were expected to already be muttering "damn terrorists" under our breath. But rather than go on about how ridiculous the mainstream media treatment of the story was, let's just spell out the facts.

Israel has been at some level of war with it's Arab nations for over 50 years - continuously. The primary cause of the conflict is land with religion used as the touch paper to keep the conflict at or just under boiling point. If we were to sift through the many details that could be argued by both sides, we would end up with a single fact: Israel expropriated (or had expropriated for it) land that was occupied by another group of people, who Israel then forcibly ejected. The basis for this action is the claim by Israelis that the land that they annexed was always theirs by "divine right".

Think about this. This is underlying reason for the current Middle East conflict. Now put yourself in the position of Ariel Sharon or any advocate of Israel's divine right to Middle Eastern lands. Knowing the unlawfulness upon which you claims are made, and knowing that the Palestinian people are justified in their reclamations against you, where is THE LAST PLACE that you would want to find yourself?

Clearly it is the negotiating table.

For someone like Sharon, peace means defeat. This is a clearly discernible FACT.

Come back now to the events of the last few days and weeks. The Palestinians have a new leader who is determined to do everything he can to acquiesce to Israeli demands and thereby force them to the negotiating table. At the beginning, Abbas seemed to make some progress, with concessions over security being offered by the Israelis. Then, suddenly and inexplicably, an attack on Israeli civilians comes just a few days before a scheduled international Middle East peace talks in London.

Immediately, Israel blames the Palestinians and all concessions previously offered are withdrawn. Now, given that this outcome could have been predicted even by a sock-puppet, is it really reasonable to believe that a Palestinian group would knowingly destroy any chances for a just and peaceful settlement, something they have been fighting for for so many years?

Apparently, most Western governments and the mainstream media want us to believe that it is, and, more to the point, they think that that average citizen is stupid enough to be fooled.

The question that each of us must answer is: Am I really as stupid as my government thinks I am? Am I going to prove them right or wrong? Do I remember how to get indignant when someone treats me as if I were an idiot?

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Israel blames Syria for bombing, freezes security handover to Palestinians
07:05 AM EST Feb 27
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz blamed Syria on Saturday for a suicide bombing that killed four Israelis in Tel Aviv, and also froze plans to hand over security responsibilities in the West Bank to the Palestinians.

The suicide bombing, which broke a two-week period of relative calm, has threatened to derail the informal Feb. 8 ceasefire declaration made by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. It also could spark new tensions between Israel and its arch enemy, Syria.

Abbas angrily accused a "third party" of orchestrating the suicide bombing to sabotage the peace process, and his security officials directly said the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah was involved.

In Beirut, however, Hezbollah denied the accusations, and Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group, claimed responsibility from Lebanon, reversing initial denials by its members in the Palestinian territories.

The conflicting accounts created a rare sense of mystery around Friday night's attack, which killed four Israelis outside a Tel Aviv nightclub.

In the past, militant groups have been quick to praise their members for carrying out deadly bombings. But this time, Islamic Jihad waited nearly 24 hours to issue its claim, raising speculation among Palestinian officials that the group was merely acting on behalf of Hezbollah.

Involvement by a local group like Islamic Jihad will put tremendous pressure on Abbas to crack down on militants. If an outside group is involved, however, Israel is likely to give him more leeway.

Mofaz announced Israel's response to the bombing after huddling with senior security commanders late Saturday in Tel Aviv.

"The defence minister ruled that Israel sees Syria and the Islamic Jihad movement are those standing behind the murderous attack in Tel Aviv," a statement from Mofaz's office said.

The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush strongly condemned the bombing and welcomed the Palestinian leadership's response.

"Such brutal attacks that kill and wound innocent Israelis cannot be tolerated by the Israeli people. Nor should they be tolerated by the Palestinian people, for such attacks undermine their hopes for a better future," the White House said in a statement.

Israel has repeatedly demanded that Syria close the headquarters of Palestinian militant groups in Damascus and end its support for other militant organizations.

Israeli security officials said there were no immediate plans to attack Syria. Instead, the country will launch a diplomatic effort in hopes of winning United Nations condemnation of Syria. In 2003, Israeli warplanes bombed an Islamic Jihad base in Syria in retaliation for a suicide bombing that killed 19 people at a restaurant.

Syria quickly rejected the charges.

Syria "had nothing to do with the Tel Aviv operation and that this (Islamic Jihad) movement's office is closed in Syria," a foreign ministry official in Damascus told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Israeli security officials said they might resume assassinating Islamic Jihad leaders in the Palestinian territories because the informal truce no longer applied to them.

Such a move, which Israel recently agreed to halt as part of a reinvigorated peace process after the death of Yasser Arafat and the election of Abbas, would likely mean the end of the ceasefire.

Further straining the ceasefire, Mofaz ordered a freeze in plans to withdraw troops from five West Bank towns and hand over security responsibilities to the Palestinians. The handover is among the most significant gestures by Israel in the wake of the ceasefire.

In the West Bank, Abbas met earlier Saturday with security officials and cabinet ministers to discuss a response to the attack. Abbas condemned the attack as "sabotage," reiterated his support for the truce, and said he was exchanging information with Israel, the United States and Europe.

"We believe there is a third party that wants to sabotage this process, and to harm our people and our national goals," Abbas said. "We will not hesitate to track them down and bring them to justice and punish them."

Palestinian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Abbas was referring to Hezbollah. Security officials have said the guerrilla group, which also is linked to Syria, is the biggest threat to the ceasefire, with hundreds of gunmen from various Palestinian militant groups on its payroll.

Abbas said the major Palestinian militant groups - Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - had all condemned the attack. But late Saturday, Islamic Jihad, which is based in Syria, posted an announcement on its website claiming responsibility.

In a phone call from Lebanon, an official from the Syria-based leadership of the Islamic Jihad militant group also claimed responsibility for the bombing.

A senior Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, disputed the claim saying Hezbollah was responsible for arming the bomber and giving the orders for the attack. He also accused Hezbollah of persuading Islamic Jihad to accept responsibility to deflect attention.

The bomber was identified as Abdullah Badran, 21, a university student from a village near the West Bank town of Tulkarem. His parents said he was a devout Muslim, but had no history of militant activity.

Palestinian police have arrested two suspects with ties to Islamic Jihad and more arrests were expected.

Palestinian security officials had said they were investigating whether Badran was recruited by local militants at the behest of Hezbollah. Often, there is overlap and co-ordination between militant groups.

Israeli forces also arrested two of the bomber's brothers and four neighbours in his home village, including the local mosque preacher. The alleged driver who transported the bomber was also arrested.

The attack drew condemnations from the European Union, Britain, Germany, Japan and Russia. In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned the attack "in the strongest possible terms" and said it is essential that Palestinian leaders take "immediate, credible steps" to find those responsible.

Israel and the United States said Abbas has to act quickly and forcefully - despite his long-standing reluctance to confront militants - if he wants to rescue a fragile Mideast truce.

Comment: First the bombing in Beirut to set up Syria as the fall guy in the next chapter of the neocon agenda to remake the Middle East in the image of Israel, now the fingering of Syria in the bombing in Tel Aviv to break the cease-fire between the crushed Palestinian people and the Israeli behemoth. However, it has been clear from the start that Israel's government does not want peace with the Palestinians; they want to destroy them, set them one against another, and if that doesn't work, then crush them with their bulldozers and murder them with their snipers.

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Sharon: Palestinians must crack down on terrorists
'Diplomatic progress' threatened
Sunday, February 27, 2005 Posted: 1559 GMT (2359 HKT)

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- There will be "no diplomatic progress" in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process unless the Palestinian Authority takes "vigorous action" against local terrorists, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday.

His comments follow a suicide bombing outside a Tel Aviv beachfront nightclub on Friday that killed four people and injured at least 65 just three weeks into a fragile cease-fire.

"While the state of Israel is interested in advancing toward a settlement with the Palestinians, there will be no diplomatic progress, no progress, until the Palestinians take strong action to eliminate the terrorist organizations and their infrastructures in the Palestinian Authority areas," Sharon said during his regular Sunday Cabinet meeting.

"It is clear that if the Palestinians do not begin to take vigorous action against terrorism, Israel will be compelled to step up military activity that is designed to protect the lives of Israeli citizens."

He said that although the attack is believed to have been ordered by terrorists based in Syria, that does not relieve the Palestinian Authority of its obligation to take action.

"The terrorist attack was perpetrated by members of Islamic Jihad," Sharon said. "The orders came from Islamic Jihad elements in Syria. Even though we know this for a certainty, the fact is not enough to absolve the Palestinian Authority of its responsibility for the departure of the terrorist and of its obligation to act against his partners in the crime.

"The immediate test for the Palestinian Authority will be in vigorous action against Islamic Jihad members."

Comment: Sharon is not, has not, and will never be interested in peace. He was able to go to Egypt and shake the hands of Palestinian leaders because he knew what was in store. He knew that first, as another writer on this page puts it today, the rights of Palestinian self-determination have been reduced to a series of security issues for the Israeli occupier state. Second, the cease-fire would not last because, on the one hand it was only binding on the Palestinians (the Israelis have continued killing Palestinians at will), and on the other, Israeli operatives stood by to carry out another "suicide bombing" on command.

The rest is merely show for the American public.

The Palestinian infrastructure has been destroyed by Israeli attacks designed to promote civil war between factions of the Palestinians. Sharon's plans are for the Palestinians to kill each other so that the Israeli state can sit by and say "We told you so. They are animals." To accomplish this, a faction of the Palestinian leadership has been bought off with promises from the US, but US promises are designed to keep them compliant as they are forced into an ever tightening corner. The lot of the Palestinian people as a whole will only continue to deteriorate, putting pressure from the bottom for change, pressure designed to foment Sharon's goal of civil war.

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Syria denies role in Tel Aviv bombing, blames Israel
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Syria has strongly denied accusations by Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz that it had a hand in a Tel Aviv bombing later claimed by Islamic Jihad, which killed four Israelis as well as the bomber.

"Syria has no connection with this operation and the [Damascus] office of this movement [Islamic Jihad] is closed," a foreign ministry official said, asking not to be named.

"We think that the Israeli Defence Minister's comments show that he knows the identity of the real perpetrator and that he's to be found inside Israel," the official added.

"Israel is known around the world for sabotaging any peace process."

But Mr Mofaz had been categorical in his remarks.

"We have proof directly linking Syria to this attack," Army radio quoted the Defence Minister as telling a meeting of security chiefs in Tel Aviv.

Comment: We wonder, does this "proof" come from the same Israeli sources that convinced the American people that Saddam had WMD?

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Hariri’s Assassination:
A Step towards “Greater Middle East”
February 27, 2005
By: Dr. Elias Akleh*

Rafik Hariri, the previous Lebanese President, was assassinated by a tremendous explosion, whose power was estimated to equal 350 kgm of TNT. Hariri was returning from a meeting in the Lebanese Parliament when the explosion lead to his death and the death of other 14 people among them seven of Hariri’s bodyguards. Hariri is hailed as the “Father of modern Lebanon” due to his efforts to obtain a cease fire between Lebanese factions during the civil war, due to his political efforts in the Ta’ef Agreement, and especially to his tremendous efforts in rebuilding war-ravaged city of Beirut.

Even before the fire of the explosion was extinguished the Lebanese opposition hastened to point accusation finger to Syrian and the present Lebanese government. They cited Hariri’s withdrawal from the government and his joining the opposition as a motive for his assassination. The opposition called on Lebanese to stage a peaceful “Independence Intifada” to demand a complete Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon and the resignation of the government.

Although the international political community did not initially accuse Syria directly, its reaction came to support the demands of the Lebanese opposition. Ignoring its own occupation to Afghanistan, its occupation to Iraq, and its occupation to Haiti the American administration called Syrian presence in Lebanon an occupation spreading chaos and terror in the country. The administration pulled out it ambassador from Damascus and demanded Syria to implement UN resolution 1559 requiring Syria to withdraw from Lebanon. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described Syrian presence in Lebanon as destabilizing the country, and demanded Syria to abide by the international laws, to spread freedom and democracy, and to stop supporting terrorists in Iraq and in Lebanon. During his European tour President Bush attacked Syria harshly demanded it abides by the rule of law or face more international punishments. French President Jacques Chirac expressed his deep sadness for Hariri’s assassination and asked Syria to withdraw from Lebanon as an implementation of Resolution 1559. British Foreign Minister Jack Strew asked for an international investigation of the assassination since there are doubts of a Syrian involvement. He also asked for the implementation of 1559. The reaction of the Arab leaders came pitiful and negative as usual. Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Mousa was sent to Syria to discuss withdrawal options. Egypt and Jordan expressed their usual position in such cases; applying political pressure on the Arab party to give concessions. Instead of supporting and defending Syria Jordanian king Abdullah requested Syrian withdrawal and Egyptian President Mubark second that request explaining that Syria is in a “difficult” position and could not stand up against international will “alone”.

One cannot but wonder about the motives behind this American-led international meddling in the latest Lebanese assassination. Why didn’t these countries bother themselves when in February 1992 Israel assassinated Hezbollah leader Abbas el-Mousawi? Why didn’t any of these international leaders whisper a word when Israel, again in January 2002, assassinated Eli Hubeika for fear he becomes a persecution witness against Israeli president Sharon for his role in the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla? Why didn’t any of them request an international investigation when Israel, once again in May 2002, assassinated Mohammad Jibriel from Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)? And the list goes on for multiple Israeli assassinations in Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria.

People quickly forget that Syria was lured into Lebanon in 1976 during the civil war for fear that Israel and/or United States of America would invade Lebanon under the guise of ending civil war. Late Syrian President Hafeth Asad was duped by then American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger into believing that if he did not send his troops into Lebanon, Israel would enter Lebanon to end the civil war. Syrian troops entered Lebanon, put an end to its civil war, and designed a plan for a gradual withdrawal in Ta’ef agreement. Syria had carried out, so far, five withdrawals of its troops, latest was last September 20th. Out of original 30 thousands only 14 thousand Syrian troops are still in Lebanon. Syria had trained new Lebanese security forces to ensure peace giving chance for rebuilding process. Under the leadership of Hariri, and with a full cooperation of Syria, Lebanon was able to establish a democratic government; the only democracy in the whole Arab World, where the people had enjoyed personal, political and media freedom no other Arab country had enjoyed, not even in Syria itself. Although Syrian troops never engaged directly with Israeli army, their presence in Lebanon served as a deterrent to any Israeli wide scale invasion. Syria, also, had worked hard to improving relationship with the US, to resume peace talks with Israel to obtain the return of Shib’a Farms region back to Lebanon, its original owner, and requested to keep the Middle East region free from nuclear proliferation. Yet Israel and the American administration had rebuffed all these peaceful gestures.

Hariri’s assassination and its political outcomes do not serve Syrian interests, and the Lebanese government does not need them. To find the real assassins one must recognize the real beneficiary of the assassination, who has the motives and the means to carry it.

If we examine the explosion itself, we would discover that it had caused a 4 meter deep crater, caused the collapse of walls of adjacent buildings, broke the glass windows of buildings on one kilometer distance, and caused the explosions of other 22 vehicles that were parked along the street. It came as a surprise to the German Mercedes vehicle manufacturer to find out that Hariri’s vehicles, enforced with an alloy of steel and titanium to withstand any rocket or mine attack, were melted by the force of the explosion. After a preliminary study of the explosion - its size, its incinerating results, and its penetrating capability of the armored plates – retired army generals and explosives experts concluded that the explosion was caused by a highly developed type of depleted uranium explosives, that could not be manufactured except in the United States of America. It was also revealed that the vehicles were fitted with an extremely sophisticated electronic jamming system called “E.M.B.S” to interrupt any signal may be used to remotely detonate a bomb. The system was developed by a combined American/Swedish company. It was reported that the system was rendered inoperative moments before the explosion.

An assassination was needed to cause chaos and to create sectarian conflicts in the northern region of the Arabian Middle East to provide a “legitimacy” to any foreign powers interference under the guise of protecting the Lebanese, spreading freedom and democracy, and to justify any possible future attack against Syria. Hariri was chosen as the target of this assassination because of his popular national personality with an important political position, whose assassination would devastate the majority of Lebanese the same way 911 attacks had devastated Americans. The American administration hastened to capitalize on his assassination. After adopting Syria’s Accountability Act and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, Bush and his administration blamed Syria for the assassination indirectly by pulling the American ambassador from Damascus, and demanding Syria end it’s “occupation” of Lebanon and implement 1559. Bush went further than that when he incited European leaders against Syria during his recent European tour. Members of his administration worked to coerce Arab leaders to adopt an Arab League resolution annulling Ta’ef agreement and demanding complete Syrian withdrawal. This led Egypt to postpone Arab Minister’s meeting with G8 delegation until after an Arab summit to study the matter. The American media played its role in incrimination Syria by describing it with an occupying country that supports terrorism in the region to derail any peace negotiation between Israel and its neighboring Arab countries. Their cameras had focused on groups of Lebanese in Hariri’s funeral in an exaggerating manner hinting that all Lebanese accuse Syria of Hariri’s assassination.

After the “American Empire” had spread its global hegemony other countries felt threatened. They started building political alliances with equal force to oppose such hegemony. European Union gathered ten more countries under its wings. Russia is forming an alliance with China, India, Iran, Brazil and Venezuela. It is also trying to resume relationship with Syria through its missile deal, and had also re-affirmed its commitment to provide Iran with nuclear technology for peaceful industry in spite of American and Israeli objections. America is also continuously losing its alliance of the willing in Iraq. Suddenly America felt a threat against its “Greater Middle Eastern” project, especially at Iraq had drained its military resources leaving no surplus to use for the fragmentation of what they call the “Sunni Crescent” – Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Iranian alliance with Syria to help neutralize any imposed economic sanctions made it worse for the American administration. Hence the decision came to affect an internal regime change through political assassinations, spreading chaos, and inciting sectarian struggle. These are the same methods Reagan’s administration had used in Latin America under the supervision of then American ambassador John Negroponte.

The American administration, along with its bastard child Israel, has the motives, the means, and the opportunity to assassinate Hariri. This assassination is directed towards Lebanon and Syrian in the short run, and to Iran and Russia in the long run. It aims at dividing the region into tiny helpless sectarian states that would be easy for Israel and for America to control. Hariri’s assassination is just a mere step towards the Greater Middle Eastern project.

*Dr. Elias Akleh is an Arab writer from a Palestinian descent, born in the town of Beit-Jala and lives in the US.

Comment: When one steps back and looks at the details in the light of the context of who benefits, the guilty are easily identified. The same process makes it clear that 9/11 was an inside job carried out to justify the vigorous implementation of the neocon agenda already in place prior to 9/11.

Unfortunately, the outrageous nature of reality makes it very difficult for people who have been raised to believe that their government exists to protect them to break through the conditioning and to see things as they really are. Many Americans truly believe that any hatred of their country is completely irrational and unjustified and born of a demonic fanaticism rather than American foreign policy. They believe that US bases and soldiers around the world are there to protect democracy, rather than US business interests.

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Transforming reality: Sharon's tactics will now focus on turning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into an internal Palestinian one
Mustafa Al-Barghouti*

Throughout the Arab-Israeli conflict Israel has concentrated its energies on imposing its own version of events and its own version of a solution so successfully that the Palestinians and Arabs have invariably been cornered and forced to make concessions.

Following the 1948 war Israel claimed that the Arabs refused to recognise its existence and negotiate with it. In the process it gobbled up 78 per cent of Palestinian land, shredding the UN partition resolution to which it had originally agreed. Following the 1967 war Israel protested that it had no intention of holding on to the territories it had occupied -- all the Palestinians and Arabs had to do was recognise it, halt the resistance to occupation and enter into negotiations.

When the Arabs did recognise Israel and entered into negotiations it continued its expansionist policy, annexing the Golan Heights and Arab Jerusalem, building over a hundred settlements in the West Bank and, during the Oslo period, dissecting the occupied territories with a web of ring roads and checkpoints.

During the second Intifada the problem, according to Israel, became one of Palestinian violence and its own security needs. On this basis Israel began the construction of the racist separating wall, decimated the foundations of the Palestinian economy, continued with the annexation and judaisation of Palestinian territories and pressed ahead with its project to transform any possible Palestinian entity into a collection of Bantu states.

Today, now that the Palestinians have built up a new momentum -- by virtue of heroic sacrifices made in the Intifada, their steadfast commitment to national principles, the democratic spirit they brought to recent elections and the cohesiveness they have shown in their agreement to a ceasefire and a halt to military operations -- Israel is once again driving them on the defensive.

Instead of capitalising on the current momentum the PA was drawn into the Sharm El-Sheikh summit, handing Israel the opportunity to hammer home its view that security arrangements are the crux of the peace process and providing Sharon with an opportunity to continue to evade his obligations under the roadmap and insist that the Palestinians are the only party accountable for the implementation of that plan. The only road now leading from Sharm El- Sheikh threads its way through partial negotiations and interim agreements, a course defined by Sharon's conditions and the milestones he sets for Palestinian performance on security.

Israel is desperate for the world to forget that the crux of the conflict resides in its occupation of Palestine and its refusal to accept the Palestinians' inalienable right to self- determination. Its strategy is to reduce Palestinian cause into a series of security and administrative arrangements, holding out the possibility of some improvements in their standard as the carrot for sliding peacefully into a system of racial discrimination and enslavement. Its aim is to reduce the concept of an independent state to a semi- autonomous entity, with no sovereignty over its land or borders, the primary task of which will be to serve as the occupier's policemen.

It is now more crucial than ever that the Palestinians decide how to manage the struggle rather than the negotiating process. If they have reached a consensus over calling a halt to military operations they must also reach a common strategy for peace. This strategy must be founded upon the insistence that international resolutions, the end of the occupation and national independence remain the only terms of reference of the peace process. Towards this end an international peace conference should be convened and non-militarised protest must proceed hand in hand with a diplomatic drive to secure international support and a domestic drive to promote social cohesion and steadfastness in the face of economic hardship.

Safeguarding national unity and preventing Israel from converting its conflict with the Palestinians into an internal Palestinian one are the obvious incentives for adhering to the truce. However, the preservation of national unity also requires a unified mechanism for managing the struggle and the negotiating process. Until the elections of the legislature, national council and other organisations are completed the only viable route to creating such a mechanism entails ensuring that all major Palestinian factions, including Hamas, the Palestinian National Initiative and Islamic Jihad, are represented on the PLO executive committee. This committee, in turn, will be charged with conducting the Palestinian peace offensive and its attendant negotiations.

This solution presumes that the PLO, and not the PA, will guide the negotiating process. It presumes a solid framework for maintaining a united stance rather than a body that takes policy decisions unilaterally and then scrambles to negotiate individually with each of the factions every time a crisis erupts. It presumes that commitment to national principles is something that will be translated into practice rather than forming the substance of quickly forgotten electoral slogans and that the factions are willing to place the welfare and future of the Palestinian people above their own narrow interests.

* The writer is secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative.

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The Meaning of "Calm"
Relativity, LA Times Style
February 26 / 27, 2005

Well, I just got hung up on again. This time by an editor on the Los Angeles Times foreign desk. He didn't give me his name.

I had called and attempted, as politely as possible, to give him a correction for the story on the Times, website tonight. This will probably be their front-page lead news story tomorrow morning.

The trouble is, their headline and lead paragraph are just plain wrong. And now, of course, they'll stay wrong in the paper tomorrow.

The headline proclaims: "Palestinian Suicide bomber Shatters Calm of late." The lead sentence then goes on to state that this bomber "shattered a months-long period of relative calm"

The fact is, however, that the truce and this "calm" were shattered long before this. The last suicide bombing against Israeli civilians was Nov. 1, 2004 It took three Israeli lives. Since that time, while Israelis have basked in "relative calm," 170 Palestinian men, women, and children have been killed.

During this LA Times, "relative calm," another 379 Palestinian men, women, and children were injured and maimed. Anyone who has been to the West Bank or Gaza knows what this means: leg bones splintered, intestines torn open, teeth shattered.

Also, of course, during this "calm" over 8,000 Palestinians have been sitting in Israeli prison cells, routinely abused and grotesquely humiliated; over 300 of them children.

None of this mattered to the editor I talked to. He explained that the story said relative calm. When I tried to question this adjective, he hung up the phone. So I guess I'll just have to explain this word for myself.

Maybe he means that relative to 7 Israeli deaths, 170 Palestinian deaths are insignificant. Maybe he means that relative to Israeli grief, Palestinian grief is basically unmentionable. Maybe he means that relative to the weeping of Israeli mothers and fathers, the weeping of Palestinian mothers and fathers multitudes more of them is negligible.

Maybe he means that relative to his power, my attempt to set the record straight is laughably feeble.

Over all, I guess what he means is relatively obvious:

That he can run what he wants, distort what he desires, lead with his lies. I guess he means that facts don't matter, truth is irrelevant, and deceit the order of the day.

I guess he means that Americans are pawns, readers are sheep, and people will just keep swallowing whatever the media choose to dish out.

I hope you'll tell him he's wrong: 213-237-5000 /

Alison Weir is Executive Director of If Americans Knew.

Comment: If Americans ever wondered about just how the controlled media shapes and molds and misinforms their minds, then let them wonder no longer. Does the headline in the LA Times constitute a lie? Well, consider the following two titles:

"Palestinian Suicide bomber shatters relative calm of late."

"Palestinian Suicide bomber shatters peace"

Having read the two headlines, the average reader is left with exactly the same impression - that a Palestinian suicide bomber carried out an unprovoked attack and is therefore the agressor.

Conclusion? Technically it is not a lie, but given that it creates an impression in the mind of the reader that is wholly out of step with the reality of the situation, it has exactly the same effect as a lie.

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Report: Israeli jailed in New Zealand headed Cyprus spy ring
Last Update: 27/02/2005 11:23
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
One of the two alleged Mossad agents who served a prison sentence in New Zealand following a botched operation, was involved in another failed operation in Cyprus in 1998, according to an article in Sunday's New Zealand Sunday Star Times.

The article, published on the first anniversary of the operation in which two agents, Elisha Kara and Uriel Kalman, were each sentenced to six months in jail and a fine of 50,000 New Zealand dollars, states that the failures show "a culture of carelessness," "bad judgment," and "doing favors for friends" in the Mossad.

The paper also alleges that, "based on western European intelligence," the failures in both New Zealand and Cyprus were never properly investigated, and that Kara and Kalman, together with accomplices still at large, apparently had managed to obtain New Zealand passports intended for future use by the Mossad.

The article, by Nick Hager, who covers the paper's intelligence beat, claims that Kara, 50, who headed the Mossad's Neviot branch - responsible for breaking into buildings, surveillance and bugging - had sent two unsuitable operatives to Cyprus in an intelligence-gathering mission involving Hezbollah in 1998. The two were arrested by Cypriot police, and served nine months of a three-year prison term.

The paper says that after the failure, Kara was transfered to a position at Mossad headquarters, but moved back up through the ranks thanks to his friendship with a senior Mossad man who posted him to Australia, where he masqueraded as a travel agent.

According to the article, Kara's transfer to Australia was a case of negligence and poor judgment, since he was already known to the Australian intelligence community due to intelligence exchanges between Israel and Australia.

Kara, who was deported, along with Kalman, to Israel after serving three months in prison, left the Mossad to take a senior position with the Visa Israel credit card company.

Comment: Gee, negligence and poor judgment, a culture of carelessness and bad judgment, one would think that Mossad was incapable of carrying off any operations, yet the record shows the opposite: false flag operations in Iraq where they kidnap and behead Westerners to promote anti-Arab hysteria, the recent bombing in Lebanon, the numerous "suicide bombings" in Israel whenever peace looks like it might be ready to rear its ugly head.

Don't believe these stories about Israeli incompetence.

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US provocations
By Salama A Salama
The way the US administration is acting suggests that it has either run out of patience or wants to set the region in fire in order to achieve what it failed to accomplish with the Iraq war. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has just met Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul- Gheit, used the occasion to issue a warning, not to discuss strategic cooperation and turn over a new leaf in bilateral ties. Speaking at a joint news conference with her Egyptian counterpart, Rice said that the US administration is deeply concerned over the Ayman Nour case. The US secretary called for the case, which she said was of utmost importance to the administration, Congress and the American people, to be resolved in the very near future.

This is, of course, an outrageous exaggeration. The American people know nothing about political life in Egypt. US congressmen may know all there is to know about Israel, but not Egypt. Yet it seems that interest in Nour's case has overshadowed other Middle Eastern issues, including Israel's tardiness in the implementation of pledges made in Sharm El-Sheikh. Rice didn't want to say anything that could anger Israel and hints were made that US secretary of state may not attend the G8- Arab conference to discuss political and economic reform in the region. The conference was originally a US idea which Egypt supported out of courtesy to the Americans.

Egypt's overtures did little to placate Washington's fervour or tone down its posturing over freedom and democracy. Then Al- Hariri was assassinated and the US administration took the opportunity to clobber Damascus. President Bush called for the immediate withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Rumsfeld and Rice blamed the Syrians, even though there is no evidence of Syrian involvement in the assassination of the former prime minister. The Americans keep hinting that force may be used against Iran and Syria.

The Egyptian reaction to such US provocation was timid to say the least. The NDP gave the opposition parties the cue to issue a statement denouncing foreign intervention in political reform without naming the source of any such intervention. This is hardly an adequate response. Such a statement should have been issued by the People's Assembly. It should have named names and left no one in any doubt as to where Egypt stands.

US meddling has changed the domestic dynamic with regards to the Nour affair, which everyone agreed should come to an early solution. US meddling has also disrupted the rhythm of political reform, dampening the opposition's resolve. As things stand, domestic dialogue in this country has gone back to square one, with agreement having been reached on amending the constitution but only after the coming elections; that is, in another year and under a new People's Assembly.

Washington's provocations are a public expression of the thinking of Bush and his administration. For all the occasional bouts of moderate rhetoric, pre-emptive strikes and gunboat diplomacy form the essence of this thinking. It did not take much for the mask of moderation to be dropped. The US has learned little from the horror it unleashed in Iraq. A day hardly passes without threats of military strikes being made against Iran's nuclear installations. And we can no longer rule anything out.

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Iran, Russia ink nuclear fuel deal 2005-02-27 17:31:53
TEHRAN, Feb. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran and Russia on Sunday signed a key nuclear fuel agreement which would help Iran's Busher power plant come on stream, the official IRNA news agency reported.

IRNA said that the deal was inked by Russia's nuclear chief Alexander Rumyantsev and his Iranian counterpart Gholamreza Aghazadeh at the Busher plant in southern Iran after holding the second round of talks there Sunday morning.

The two sides discussed the progress made in the first unit of the Busher Power Plant and the time of its inauguration, the report said.

Mohammad Saeidi, a deputy to Aghazadeh, was quoted as saying that Iran did not accept the time proposed by the Russian side and the two sides would try to reach an agreement on time schedule.

Saeidi referred to Russia's proposal that the opening of the plant be delayed until June 2006.

"The two sides expressed various ideas on fuel of the power plant and time for its delivery, holding serious talks last night to bring the two countries' views close," Saeidi said.

He expressed hope that Iran and Russia will fix a time for the inauguration of the power plant's first unit and sign documents of the main protocol, financial issues and time of fuel delivery.

The agreement signed on Sunday obliges Iran to return spent fuel of the Busher power plant to Russia, which was insisted by Moscow to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons with the spent fuel andremained a key disagreement hindering the Busher project to go on.

Iran at first refused the return, and then softened its stance but asked Russia to pay for it, holding that it was a baseless demand and not referred to in the initial contract between the two sides.

Rumyantsev arrived in Tehran on Friday, scheduled to sign the landmark agreement on Saturday after talks with Aghazadeh.

However, the eye-catching signing was delayed by the prolonged discussion.

Busher plant, Iran's first nuclear power plant, is being built now with Russia's aid in a Persian Gulf port city in the southern province of Busher.

The United States, accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons secretly, has pressured Moscow to abandon the project with the accusation that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons.

Comment: How long until the Israelis or the US bomb the plant?

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Schroeder starts visit to Gulf countries 2005-02-27 20:11:35
BERLIN, Feb. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder begins a seven-country tour of the Gulf region on Sunday.

He will promote German business interests during the trip that will take him to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A large delegation of German business executives will follow him.

Besides, Iran, Iraq and the Middle East peace process are also to be topics on his agenda.

Germany is opposed to Iran's alleged development of a nuclear weapons program.

Schroeder is also likely to seek assurances that the Gulf states support efforts to reach a peaceful solution in the Middle East.

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Putin Satisfied With Russia-U.S. Summit

Created: 25.02.2005 18:47 MSK (GMT 3), Updated: 18:47 MSK

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Thursday’s Russian-U.S. summit “quite substantial” and said he is “completely satisfied” with the results, Interfax reports.

“We discussed all principal issues. In addition to economic [issues, we discussed] problems relating to Iran, Iraq, the Middle East, and the North Korean nuclear program. Our positions are very similar on practically all issues,” Putin told a Friday press conference.

On Thursday, Bush warned Putin in a face-to-face meeting against backsliding on democracy in Russia in what both sides called a frank debate at the Bratislava summit, Reuters reported.

But Bush also assured the Russian president he was still a trusted partner of the United States and Putin said his country would not go back on the democratic path it embarked upon when the Soviet Union collapsed 14 years ago.

Putin said his frank discussion with Bush was useful although he made clear Russia did not accept being lectured by the West on how to run its affairs.

“The meeting was very positive both in terms of its atmosphere and the choice of topics,” Putin said.

Western and Russian civil rights campaigners accuse Putin of restricting democracy by abolishing the election of provincial governors, pursuing a vendetta against the Yukos oil company and tightening the Kremlin’s grip on the media.

Comment: The hypocrisy of Bush lecturing Putin on democracy was a Signs sick bag moment. Putin, who may have better manners than the US president, did not lecture back. However, the idea that any country is truly democratic, in the sense of government for, of, and by the people, is ludicrous. To be active in self-governance, people have to care. That means they have to be willing to be involved, to give of themselves. They must think through the issues, be willing to come together with others and exchange ideas.

Most people could care less. They allow the politicians to do their thinking for them -- in large part because they are incapable of thinking, their brains having been configured as passive image-byte receptors through years of television. But more than that, it is impossible in this world because we are not playing on a level playing field, as the old saying goes. There are human-looking beings in our world who have no sense of empathy for others. They look and sound and appear just as human as you and me, but they are wired differently. These are the psychopaths. A psychopath is willing to lie with a straight face and an overdose of charm to get his way. If he is caught out in a lie, he changes his story without batting an eye. A psychopath does not have human feelings.

How can any society beset with psychopaths ever hope to be democratic when a certain proportion of the population is willing to lie, cheat, steal, or kill to get their way, have no feelings of remorse about any of these actions, and feel entirely justified because they don't understand the big deal when others get upset. They cannot understand because they do not have the 'wiring' to understand. And they think everyone else is like them, in the same way that a feeling, empathetic person believes that everyone is like them.

So chasing after democracy is an illusion. That doesn't mean that it is not a worthwhile thing to do if one is conscious of the reality, aware of the problem of psychopaths, and incorporating this knowledge into one's work. Just don't do it to change anything; do it because that is what is in you to do. Do it because it is the truth of the moment.

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Promoting a ''do as I say, not as I do'' view of democracy
E.J. Montini
Feb. 27, 2005 12:00 AM

I fear that something President Bush said last week might be taken out of context by the liberal media and used to influence the most naïve and susceptible among us, including schoolchildren and Arizona politicians. Though not necessarily in that order.

Standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a news conference, Bush said, "Democracies have certain things in common. They have a rule of law, and protection of minorities, a free press, and a viable political opposition."

I'd guess that when the president mentioned "protection of minorities" it sent chills down the spines of Arizona legislators (or would have if they had any). Our politicians recently passed House Concurrent Memorial 2005, an "official postcard" to Congress urging its members to discriminate against a minority by promoting a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

And that's not all. Children are a minority group in Arizona. Given the fact that a greater percentage of kids here live in poverty than in most other states, some left-winger might imply that Arizona's government isn't being very "democratic" according to the president's own definition.

Simply remind such a person that Bush wasn't talking to us. He was talking to the Rooskies. And he was doing so in a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of way.

That's why he was able to describe the need for a democratic "rule of law" with a completely straight face. After all, this is a the man whose new attorney general once advised the president that the international conventions against torture applied only within the United States, not while handling foreign prisoners overseas.

Although that rule seems to apply as well in Maricopa County, where some prisoners sleep outside in tents, some work on chain gangs and more than one inmate who hasn't had a trial or been convicted of a crime has died of asphyxia while being restrained in the local jail. The same thing happened to some detainees being held by Americans in Iraqi prisons.

Bush also wasn't embarrassed and didn't burst out laughing when he mentioned a "free press." The Bush administration has paid one columnist $240,000 to write in support of its programs. Paid another columnist $21,500. And paid another $10,000. There's nothing "free" about that. They also allowed a guy using a fake name and working as a Republican Party shill to attend supposedly legitimate presidential news conferences.

At the same time, the administration punishes those who happen to not agree with it or who actually believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution by raising the fines that can be levied for offensive speech to such a degree that a number of television stations were afraid to air the movie Saving Private Ryan for fear it might bankrupt them.

As for a "viable political opposition" I'd guess that when the Russians heard that they shared a hearty laugh with Bush and said, "You mean like Democrats?"

The important thing is that you shouldn't allow liberals to convince you that Bush's comments to Putin were some kind of unintended and ironic commentary on the United States. The president said, "Democracies always reflect a country's customs and culture." Then he mentioned the stuff about rule of law, protection of minorities, a free press and viable political opposition.

Putin answered him in Russian but I didn't hear the translation. After studying the expression on Putin's face, however, I'm guessing that he said something like, "I'm rubber. You're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks on you."

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Afghans Accuse US of Chemical Dusting : Paper

Farmers accused Karzai of failing promises to help farmers who drop cultivation of poppy.

CAIRO, February 26, 2005 ( – Afghan farmers are accusing the US forces of secretly busting their lands with chemicals, killing corps and animals and causing serious health problems for the population, a leading US newspaper reported Sunday, February 26.

Villagers in the remote mountain area of Kanai in Helmand Province and at least two other villages said that the American forces, controlling the skies of the war-ravaged country, were responsible for the nighttime aerial spraying, said The New York Times.

“They are the ones with the planes,” said Abdul Ahmad who lost, together with his brother Abdullah, 200 animals from symptoms that suggested poisoning.

Abdullah told the American daily that one night in early February he was watching over his animals when suddenly a plane flew overhead three time.

In the morning, the animals “went mad, their eyes went blue and they could not eat,” said his brother Abdul Ahmad.

“Water was coming from their mouths, they were trying to eat their droppings and they were shivering,” he added.

The February 3 incident also left villagers, particularly children, complaining of fevers, skin rashes and bloody diarrhea.

A week later, the crops - wheat, vegetables and poppies - were dying.


The villagers also lashed out at President Hamid Karzai who had pledged to help farmers who drop the cultivation of poppy, but he backed down on his promises.

“We gave our vote to Karzai so he would bring us help and now he is killing our animals,” Abdul Ahmad said angrily.

Comment: The fact is that Karzai is little more than the Mayor of Kabul with the rest of Afghanistan the same lawless and impoverished expanse that it was 4 years ago. While the US government and it's media continues to laud Afghanistan as a victory in their campaign to spread freedom and democracy, the people of Afghanistan know better. The tribal war lords still rule most of the country and they always did. Poppy production has exploded since Karzai and his American protectors took over large swathes of the poppy growing regions. Yet still they do not control them all. This is the reason for the spraying mentioned in the above report. It has nothing to do with destroying the poppy crop and everything to do with attempting to deny income and therefore power to the Afghan war lords who understand the real reason for the US invasion of their country.

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Spielberg Tackles Terrorism
Josh Grossberg
Feb 16, 2005

Just when we're awaiting his next blockbuster offering, this summer's War of the Worlds remake, Steven Spielberg goes and gets serious again.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

For his next project, the Oscar-winning director has decided to tackle the thorny issue of terrorism, announcing that he will start work this summer on an as-yet untitled Universal Pictures drama about the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The film was initially slated to be in the works by now, but Spielberg temporarily shelved it after Tom Cruise became available and the two agreed to ramp up production on War of the Worlds, which began filming in November.

The delay gave Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner more time to polish the script, which was originally written by Forrest Gump's Eric Roth and Charles Randolph, who wrote the upcoming thriller The Interpreter.

The story reportedly is based on the account of a former agent of the Mossad--Israel's intelligence agency--of the day five Arab terrorists calling themselves Black September stormed the Olympic Village and took 11 Israeli athletes hostage.

The hostages were killed during a botched rescue operation by German authorities. Police captured three of the terrorists alive, but they were released after Palestinian terrorists hijacked a Lufthansa flight and traded their hostages for the jailed Olympic plotters.

The tragedy led to Israel's creation of the Mossad, whose agents hunted down and killed many of those responsible for the Munich incident.

Comment: Why limit it to the Munich killings? Why not do an all-inclusive expose on the history and tactics of the Mossad? It's not as if there isn't enough gripping material. Spielberg could include the Lavon affair where Mossad carried out bombings on American and British targets in Egypt and tried to blame it on Arabs. Then of course there is the bombing of the USS liberty by Israeli war planes (donated by the US) which was also designed to be pinned on Arabs. Without doubt the American movie-going public would be thrilled to know that the Mossad were central in the demonisation of Saddam in the eyes of the American public and the subsequent invasion of Iraq and murder of thousands of civilians in the first Gulf War.

By the way, Mossad was founded in 1951, not in the aftermath of the Munich Olympics.

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Dresdner Bank Head Warnig Linked to Putin’s Spy Past — Paper

Created: 24.02.2005 12:49 MSK (GMT 3), Updated: 12:49 MSK

The leader of the Russian division of Germany’s Dresdner Bank AG Matthias Warnig, nominated to the board of Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom, served in East Germany’s secret police during the 1980’s, when he worked together with Vladimir Putin, then a KGB agent.

Warnig helped Putin recruit spies in the West, The Wall Street Journal revealed on Wednesday, citing documents from the Stasi, as East Germany’s secret police was known.

After Warnig left the intelligence service in 1989 with the rank of major, he was sent by Dresdner Bank in 1991 to head a new operation in St. Petersburg, where Putin worked in the mayor’s office.

A Kremlin spokesman, while confirming many aspects of this account, denied that Warnig and Putin worked together as spies. He reportedly told WSJ that they didn’t meet until the early 1990s in St. Petersburg and that their relationship was “strictly business”.

Warnig was sent to Dresden in October 1989 to cooperate informally with the KGB. The Soviet security agency was running an operation in the city to recruit key Stasi members, with an eye toward getting its hands on their West German spies. Warnig’s cell, which Putin set up after the fall of the Berlin Wall, operated “under the guise of a business consultancy” but was actually recruiting agents for the KGB, WSJ reported, quoting former colleagues.

Subsequently, Dresdner helped out the Putin family on a number of occassions, flying Lyudmila Putin to Germany after she was injured in a car accident, and offering travel and living expenses for Putin’s two daughters while they studied in Germany.

Although neither Putin nor Warnig has been accused of improprieties in the awarding of investment-banking contracts, the link serves to highlight the increasing presence of siloviki — as former KGB men are known in Russia today — in and around Putin’s government.

Prominent among the ex-KGB officials who now walk the Kremlin’s corridors are Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev and FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev, as well as the heads of Russia’s arms export, defense procurement and drug enforcement agencies.

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Union drive at Wal-Mart comes to nothing

Colorado lube shop workers reject bid 17-1 after firm's concerted effort to squelch it

Steven Greenhouse, New York Times
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Loveland, Colo. -- Joshua Noble, 21, jolted Wal-Mart in November when he persuaded a majority of his co-workers to sign statements that they wanted to vote for a labor union.

The unionization drive in a tiny Wal-Mart tire and lube shop stirred a storm in this town at the foot of the Rockies and became a closely watched test of labor's efforts to bring unions to the world's largest retailer.

But on Friday, the workers at the Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Express here abandoned Noble, voting 17-1 against unionizing. And the vote became another setback for labor at the very moment that the nation's union leaders are trying to pressure Wal-Mart for better wages and benefits.

Not one of Wal-Mart's 1.2 million workers in the United States belongs to a union. The union support dissipated locally after Wal-Mart exposed workers to daily showings of videos about problems with unions and transferred several other workers into the garage shop. Two of the original union supporters left for college.

Company officials say the workers at the Tire & Lube in Loveland concluded from all the information that they did not need representation by a third party.

Officials with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union counter that Wal-Mart struck fear in the hearts of workers with an intensive antiunion campaign. The union said it will challenge the vote, citing the lack of a union observer during the election and saying the additional workers were sent to dilute support for unionizing.

Noble rounded up union support three months ago from nine of his 17 co- workers, with complaints about wages, health insurance coverage and their treatment by managers.

Wal-Mart responded to the pro-union movement by flying in a team of labor experts from its Arkansas headquarters.

"Every day, they had two or three antiunion people from Bentonville in the garage full time, showing antiunion videos and telling people that unions are bad," Noble said.

What irked him most, Noble said, was that after one union supporter was fired and two others moved away for college, Wal-Mart transferred in six workers. He believes all were antiunion.

Christi Gallagher, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said the garage was merely replacing workers who had left. The vote's results show that its workers are satisfied, company officials said.

Wal-Mart decided earlier this month to close a store in Quebec, one of its first to unionize. It said the store was barely profitable and was not closed in retaliation.

In 2000, meat cutters at a Wal-Mart in Jacksonville, Texas, became the nation's only Wal-Mart workers to vote to unionize. But two weeks later, Wal- Mart announced it was replacing its meat-cutting operations in the South with prepackaged meat.

Dan Wright, a technician in the Tire and Lube shop, said he voted against the union because he feels he can go straight to management with problems. "My grandfather said that during World War II, unions were helpful," he said. "But I don't feel I need one. This company treats me well."

Cody Fields, who earns $8.10 per hour after two years at the garage, said he originally backed the union "because we need a change" but said the antiunion videos were effective. "It's just a bunch of brainwashing, but it kind of worked," he said.

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Wal-Mart ordered to stop harassing workers in Quebec
Last Updated Fri, 25 Feb 2005 18:53:33 EST
CBC News
MONTREAL - The Quebec Labour Relations Board has ordered Wal-Mart Canada to stop intimidating workers who want to form a union.

The board's ruling cited efforts to "harass and intimidate" three employees at a Sainte-Foy store outside Quebec City.

The ruling says a Wal-Mart manager demanded one cashier give him the names of union sympathizers.

Louis Bolduc of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which is trying to organize workers at the store, said Wal-Mart was using unfair tactics.

"[Getting] the employees in an office with two top managers of the store, asking the employees about the organizing of the union," Bolduc said.

"'How many cards? Are you involved?' You shouldn't do that. If you do that, something is going to happen to you.'"

This is the second time Wal-Mart has been reprimanded for trying to intimidate workers in Quebec, Bolduc said.

Wal-Mart has been ordered to stop intimidating employees and to display the ruling in the store's lunchroom for 30 days.

Andrew Pelletier, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the company will comply with the commission's ruling, but denied that Wal-Mart intimidated employees.

"Our corporate culture is based on open communication and the empowerment of people," he told the Canadian Press. "We believe people are empowered to make their own decisions."

Earlier this month, the company announced it would close its store in Jonquiere, Que. Last August, it became the only unionized Wal-Mart in North America when it won certification.

The company said it was closing the Jonquiere outlet because of poor financial performance.

Last month, UFCW Canada won certification at another Wal-Mart store, in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. A contract agreement has not been reached at that store.

Comment: One sees clearly the type of "open communications" prevalent at Wal-Mart with the excuses it gives whenever to closes a branch that is unionised or closes a department that is unionised. The excuse is never the union. Such honesty bodes well for Wal-Mart employee "empowerment". Perhaps "empowerment" at Wal-Mart means teaching employees to think and act like a psychopath?

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Earthquake-volcano link jolts Alaska scientists
Friday, February 25, 2005 - by Dan Fiorucci

Fairbanks, Alaska - There is mounting evidence that the earthquake that triggered a killer tsunami in the Indian Ocean on Christmas weekend also triggered a second earthquake in Alaska.

That second quake was minor, but the fact that it happened at all was a revelation to scientists, who believe it provides a window into understanding volcanoes.

The first earthquake took place in the Indian Ocean, some 6,000 miles from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. But UAF seismologists say that, an hour after that massive quake occurred, they could actually detect the entire state of Alaska undulating up and down, rising and falling an inch or more every 30 seconds for several minutes.

The power that represents over such a distance is astounding, even to researchers.

But the quake did something more, something that scientists have not seen at that incredible distance. It actually triggered a second earthquake beneath Mount Wrangell, a 14,000-foot volcano about 50 miles east of Glennallen. [...]

Last December, when a huge earthquake generated a killer tsunami in the Indian Ocean, scientists watched as the quake sent a huge pulse of energy that actually engulfed the entire planet within a few hours. The event generated a power equivalent to 20,000 Hiroshimas.

“On the evening of Christmas Day here, the day after Christmas in Sumatra, after the earthquake occurred, it took about an hour for the large-amplitude seismic waves to make it to Alaska,” says Dr. West

UAF scientists watched as that pulse of energy, traveling at 6,000 mph raced toward Alaska and actually lifted the entire state an inch or more into the air.

“The ground in Alaska -- in Anchorage and everywhere else through the state -- moved a couple of inches up and down during this time period,” West says.

The heaving of the earth beneath Alaska triggered a series of magnitude 2 earthquakes beneath Mount Wrangell, 6,000 miles away from Indonesia.

“Here in the summit of the volcano and this is the general area around which the little earthquakes happened, during the passage of the waves from the Sumatra earthquake,” Dr. Sanchez says.

The phenomenon of one earthquake triggering another earthquake at a distance of 6,000 miles -- a quarter of the circumference of the Earth -- has never been seen before. Now that it has happened, scientists are hoping it will provide insight into volcanic activity in Alaska and elsewhere. Gaining clues as to when volcanoes may become active again could be an important tool in saving lives.

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Fuzzy TV screens, crackling telephones can signal quakes: Indian expert
Sunday February 27, 2005

[...] Arun Bapat also said a sudden rise in sea temperature should be treated as a serious warning of an earthquake that could trigger towering waves.

"A rise of five degrees Centigrade in sea temperature is another major indication of a possible earthquake looming," said Bapat, 56, from the western Indian city of Pune.

"Before a major earthquake, huge amounts of electro-magnetic waves are emitted because of friction between tectonic plates and these waves can disturb landline links, disrupt mobile networks, radio frequencies and TV signals," he said.

"Nature gives us all the hints and we just need to understand them," Bapat, a member of the Indian Society of Earthquake Technology, an independent body founded in 1962, said. [...]

The seismologist said he had studied 15,000 earthquake records from across the world before reaching the conclusion that quakes can be forecast, sometimes several months before actual disaster strikes.

"These changes have been observed in places like Bangladesh Bangladesh, (the Indian states of) Gujarat, China China and Japan before earthquakes actually happened," he said.

Even restlessness in cattle, rodents or insects are tell-tale indicators, he said.

"We should have the eye to understand what nature has to say to us."

Tribesmen on the Andaman Islands largely escaped the killer waves. Some of the survivors said they had known to take to high ground before the waves, some as high as 30 feet (10 meters), slammed into the islands.

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Riddle of a lost Chinese city on the Atlantic coast
Feb 24, 2005

On May 16, a Canadian architect will tell the United Nations of a lost Chinese city on the Atlantic coast of North America, lending weight to the theory that the Chinese arrived in the New World some 70 years before Christopher Columbus.

A Canadian architect has discovered what is believed to be the lost naval base of China‘s foremost explorer on the Atlantic coast of North America, lending weight to the theory the Chinese arrived in the New World some 70 years before Christopher Columbus.

The revelation was made to a Malaysian newspaper by Gavin Menzies, a former British Navy submarine commander and author of the controversial best-selling book, 1421: The Year China Discovered the World.

Menzies‘s theory that the Chinese Muslim explorer, Admiral Zheng He or Cheng Ho discovered the New World first made international headlines in March 2002 and has sparked controversy and criticism both in the West and China.

Earlier this month, Menzies revealed that a site was found on the Atlantic coast of North America which may have been Zheng‘s naval base.

The discoverer of the site, whom Menzies described as a “distinguished Canadian architect“, will inform the Canadian Government and then UNESCO, and ask the latter to make it a World Heritage site, The Star said.

Public disclosure will then be made on May 16 at the Library of Congress.

“It‘s huge,“ Menzies said.

“It has massive walls, and has remained undiscovered for 600 years. And it‘s two-thirds the size of the Forbidden City…Walls, roads, the remains of foundations, graves, God-knows-what.

“It would cost a vast amount of money to excavate this site. It‘s in a very difficult position to reach. We definitely do need a lot of money to carry on the research,“ according to the daily. [...]

Menzies‘s website ( gets 1,000 visitors a day, and some of them share their own evidence and results of their own research.

In the last two years, through the website, Menzies and his team have managed to gather some 13,000 people from 120 countries to help them in their continuing research.

“One of the big mistakes that I made in my book, which I will correct in my next edition, is that I put everything down to Zheng He,“ Menzies explained.

“But I found out that his predecessor, Kublai Khan, had charted almost all of the world, including the Americas. Zheng He owed a huge amount to Kublai Khan.

“We subsequently found Chinese maps of the Americas which predates Kublai Khan. These maps will be released to the general public on May 16 which will show that the Chinese had been mapping the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North and South America for nearly 2,000 years.“

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Peter Jennings and UFOs: Spinning and Deceiving

By Richard M. Dolan
February 25, 2005
copyright ©2005 by Richard M. Dolan. All rights reserved.

[...] I support the goal of UFO disclosure. Indeed, I consider it to be a critical goal of UFO research. But we must realize that if or when disclosure ever comes, it will be on someone’s terms. That is, the terms of covert players that have a specific agenda. Under such a situation, UFO researchers must be vigilant in determining how much information is being given out, and how much of it is true.

We may ask, why would ABC do a UFO special at all? For ratings? This in fact is what many media people cynically seem to be implying. In fact, it appears that the special helped ABC a little in that regard, but not a lot.

Could it be out of a sense of sheer intellectual and public responsibility?

Okay, now that we’re done laughing, let’s move on...

It is ludicrous to think that ABC’s leadership just decided to "do" a special like this. When dealing with the powerful media – which George Orwell today would certainly describe as our Ministry of Truth – one must assume there is a political (and in this case national security) goal. This is, after all, a critical national security topic. Major media is in bed with our national security apparatus. This ain’t your great-grandpa’s U.S. of A., sonny. It’s become more like the old Soviet Union. Indeed, we have to watch ABC in the same way that the people who used to be called "Sovietologists" analyzed official Soviet public statements. "What does so-and-so really mean by that? What is the significance of this person’s presence or absence at an official function?" As Tass was to the Soviet elite – the primary mouthpiece and propaganda instrument – so are the major networks of today, including ABC, to America’s power elite.

Thus, we might ask, was ABC attempting to "prepare the public?" Or, instead, some form of spin control?

Looks like spin control to me. [...]

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