Monday, March 28, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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US government's evidence of Saddam's WMD program
presented by Colin Powell to the UN in 2003

An Objective Look At The Case Of Terri Shciavo


In response to our editorial on the Terri Schiavo case, a reader commented:

As a long time reader of the Signs page, I, too felt a need to remark about the level of antagonism in your recent comments regarding the Terri Schiavo case. The "deep inconsistancy" between your usual fairness and the tone of real hostility towards the husband of this woman was engrossing.

Where did you find the quote "is the bitch dead yet?' And the story regarding his refusal to allow her therapy? I've read just as many stories that state just the opposite. These stories say that he loved her very much and that he took her all over for therapy. So what's true? We come to you for objectivity and truth, not for a personal opinion of Michael Schiavo.

If anyone there knows this man, please say so. I don't claim to know anything about this guy, but I'll tell you what I do know. As a registered nurse for more years than I like to count, I do know what it's like to care for a person such as Terri Schiavo. Once the cerebral cortex of a humans brain has been destroyed, it never comes back. The stories of that happening are just that, stories. The person that was, is gone. If this beautiful, young girl had a heart attack due to an eating disorder, most of us can imagine her wishes. Who would want to live this way? Who would want this for a loved one? Contracted, incontinent, wearing a diaper, your skin irritated, bruised, breaking apart at every pressure point; unaware of anyone or anything. Who would want this?

Maybe her husband knew the kind if person that she was. Maybe her young marriage and eating disorder happened because of controlling parents. None of us knows .To criticize this man for going on with his life is unreasonable, at the very least. Which one of us could sit at the bedside of a dead woman everyday for 15 years? To indicate that this man did not love his wife is unknowable to any of us. His wife died 15 years ago. and there is not one of us, including the SOTT team, who should sit in judgement. This whole sad story has been rehashed uncountable times, so I won't go on. I just felt that you need to look at your subjectivity in this matter.

It seems that, for the above reader, if we are to remain "fair" and "objective" we must not read between the lines, cut through media bias and highlight the most likely scenario based on the evidence. Given the nature of this world, to do so usually means pointing out the less savory aspects of human nature that tend to dominate our reality. Our reader would prefer that, in the absence of any categorical proof of this nastier side to life, we should just sit on the fence and facilitate our readers to maintain a belief in the possibility that there is hope for humanity in its current state, even when all of the facts suggest otherwise.

Members of the SotT team have studied the website of the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, and have read every court document filed in the last several years. We find it to be somewhat disheartening for people to make comments such as those made by the above reader without having done at least the minimum of "homework." As always, "Knowledge Protects."

The public has been told that Terri Schiavo is a "vegetable" - a shell of a person in what is called a "persistent vegetative state" (PVS). They say that her brain is "mush" (an actual quote), and that she is unaware of her environment and unable to communicate at even the most basic level.

We are also told that she had expressed her desire to be removed from life support if she were ever in such a state. Her husband, supposedly out of love for her, claims to be striving to fulfill her wishes and free her from her "living prison." Her poor, misguided parents, on the other hand, are portrayed as delusional - clinging to every blink of Terri's eyes as proof she can think - unable to face the truth and let go.

First of all, examination of the evidence demonstrates quite clearly that Terri's brain is not "mush." She is able to communicate. One member of the SotT team had a family member in exactly the condition Terri is in, and also had a friend who WAS in a Persistent Vegetative state, having been revived after cardiac arrest, and the difference is profound. People in a "persistent vegetative state" make meaningless noises and movements. Terri Schiavo clearly makes noises and movements that have meaning, that relate to understanding what is happening in her environment.

Numerous people, including three nurses charged with her care, have testified to many instances of communication. She had distinct signals to notify nurses when she had soiled her adult diaper or started her period. She greeted her nurses when they entered her room. She was distressed and depressed after visits by her husband, Michael Schiavo. There are sworn affidavits attesting to these observations.

Second, Terri is not completely reliant on the feeding tube. She is able to swallow water. Nurses have testified that she has also been fed orally, but that her husband Michael had ordered she be fed by tube instead. Judge Greer's order didn't just require that the feeding tube be removed. It expressly forbids anyone from feeding her orally, from giving her water, or even putting ice chips to her mouth.

Michael Schiavo claims that Terri had privately expressed her wishes to him. But there were no witnesses to that conversation, and we have only his word that such sentiments were ever expressed by Terri.

Several of Terri's friends have testified to the contrary.

This subject actually highlights the typical way the case has been handled. Terri's friend Diane Meyer testified in 2002 that Terri, in 1982, stated to Meyer that she disapproved of the fact that the parents of Karen Ann Quinlan were seeking to remove their daughter from life-support.

Judge Greer dismissed this testimony from Terri's friend ruling that it was obviously not credible since Quinlan had died in 1979, therefore Terri must have been a mere child when she made the comment.

The FACT is that Quinlan actually died on June 11, 1985. making Terri an adult when she complained about the ventilator being removed, thus supporting the testimony of Diane Meyer, Terri's friend.

Greer refused admit his mistake about the date of Quinlan's death and to reverse his ruling. Instead he ruled that Michael Schiavo's hearsay testimony would stand.

It should also be noted that Michael Schiavo conveniently remembered that Terri had said years ago the she wouldn't want to live on life support only AFTER the malpractice suit awarded more than $1 million to Terri for her rehabilitation. We should note that $300 thousand of this award went to Michael and he has allegedly paid $385,000 to his attorney Felos. Michael Schiavo pledged that the money would go to Terri's care, but all of her rehabilitative therapy stopped immediately thereafter, by Michael's order.

Another important avenue of investigation has also been neglected. Judge Greer denied the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to investigate 30 accusations of spousal abuse. There is testimony from expert witnesses that warrant investigation into the circumstances surrounding Terri's alleged collapse from a chemical imbalance. Allegedly there are numerous suspicious fractures on bone scans.

A neurologist who examined the timeline of Terri's brain scans found that for the first three days of her initial hospitalization in 1990, her brain scans were normal. Then suddenly, on the sixth day, her brain scan showed evidence of a massive injury. He concludes that Terri was hit on the head and suffered intracranial hemorrhage while in the hospital. The physician maintains that she did not suffer her brain damage outside the hospital but while she was hospitalized.

According to the physician, if the reports produced are accurate (normal CT brain on Feb. 27, collapse on Feb. 25, 1990) then she did not suffer an event of massive ischemia on Feb. 25, 1990, the date of her alleged 'collapse' The physician says that there is no radiologist or neurologist or neurosurgeon in the world that would dispute this as it is impossible. The CT on Feb. 27, 1990, would have been grossly abnormal." The entire article including Terri's NORMAL original brain scan can be found here.

Why is this significant?

Terri's brother and several friends have testified that Terri had expressed to them her intention to divorce Michael. They had a "violent" fight on Feb. 24, 1990, the night before her so-called "collapse." She was found, in the early morning hours, on the hallway floor with her hands around her neck.

The cause of Terri Schiavo's brain damage has never been determined. Michael Schiavo has ordered those medical records sealed.

Michael Schiavo has been reported to say "Isn't the bitch dead yet?" to the staff at the Suncoast Hospice. The affidavits are available on the (court documents section) of .

Nurses who made positive notations on Terri's chart found those notations removed by the next day. For a long time, Michael instructed that there be no sunlight, no radio and no television in Terri's room.

These are just some of the items from the Schiavo case that are not being reported in the mainstream media which is playing wildly upon the emotions of those who have not taken the time to search out the facts.

Tracking the events chronologically suggest a scenario quite different from the one presented to the public. This is not a "right to die" case. This is a "right to kill a disabled woman who can't speak for herself" case. More than that, it is a case where it seems clear that Michael Schiavo may have a vested interest in Terri NOT receiving any rehabilitative therapy. It suggests that he is afraid of that therapy and what Terri might say IF she had ever received it and had been able to tell what REALLY happened on the night when she suffered her alleged "collapse."

Consider the fact that Michael has been offered a million dollars to relinquish his guardianship of Terri. He could take the money, turn her over to her parents, and walk away from the whole problem. He wouldn't have to suffer the ire of half of America who are accusing him of being a killer. He wouldn't have to be responsible for Terri.

Some people think that Michael refused this money because he loves Terri so much that he is "incorruptible." He is determined to see her "wishes fulfilled."

There is another way to look at this refusal when one considers all the evidence.

Do we REALLY think that Michael Schiavo loves Terri so much that he is willing to withstand the hatred of millions of people, to stand up against George Bush and the congress, (who, we should point out, are easily enough able to get judges to do what they want when it serves their interests, so we suspect that Terri's death serves their interests more than her life), to be the villain for the rest of his life?

Do we believe this when we know that Michael Schiavo began living with another woman within weeks of Terri's accident while still suffering this great, everlasting love that drives him to free Terri?

Sorry, we don't buy it.

It seems rather clear that Michael Schiavo is driven by something else. Yes, he refused a million dollars. Yes, he refuses to let Terri's parents care for their daughter. Yes, he refuses to care what anyone thinks of him or how many people call him a murderer because he is driven by something else.

Michael Schiavo is driven by fear of what Terri would say if she lived and received therapy and recovered her ability to speak. The one person who could accuse him of murder and make it stick will soon be dead.

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American Family Raped by Judicial Corruption

By Cheryl Ford RN
March 25, 2005

These last several evenings, I have been sitting in a small thrift store located directly across from Woodside Hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida. A few weeks back, the local owner decided to temporarily close her thrift store business to the public. Her kindness and compassion for Terri's tragic situation led her to create a small makeshift gathering area inside her little store. This little space is where the Schindlers and close friends now find solace from the crowds and media while Terri lies dying from starvation and dehydration.

During these past two years, I have been watching the Schindlers' anguish as they ventured down every legal avenue to save their daughters life. I have witnessed a family whose expressions resembled the faces depicted in old photos of parents who stood petrified and helpless, as their children were torn from their arms in Nazi, Germany. I've watched the Schindlers' cry, plead and beg the Government to look into the inhumane execution of their daughters life. Once again, with a race against time, and for the second time in two years, I feel helpless as a nurse and their friend. I see the pain in their eyes when they look at me with desperation asking silently how much time their daughter has remaining without food and water.

Two nights ago, Terri's mother Mary, worn and extremely tired, looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked, "What am I going to do Cheryl, I am watching them kill my daughter and I am not allowed to help her?" We both cried. Her words barely audible as she desperately described Terri laying in her bed inside the death camp across the narrow street, "I love my daughter, she wasn't dying last Thursday, but she is dying now." Mary tired and numb continued...... "She responds to me, she smiles at me, we love each other, but her eyes are sinking in now and her face is beginning to show signs she is starving and is thirsty." Mary cried out......"Please, this is America, who can we get to help stop my daughters inhumane death?"

Bobby, Terri's brother emotionally and physically drained after numerous sleepless nights from traveling to meet with Senators in Washington DC, pleading for his sisters life, held his head in his hands. He exclaimed... "What am I going to do, I cannot believe this is happening to my sister; how can this be happening in America?"
Bobby paced the floor while vocalizing how his worst fears had become a reality......"She looks like a holocaust victim, how can we as a civilized society allow this to happen to any human being?"

The shock of knowing that no more than 300 yards from me laid a young, healthy woman who was dying from starvation only because of the actions inflicted upon her by her estranged spouse due to his mission to see her dead, was almost more than I could bare. Yes, Terri would die because of the initial decisions that had been made by one local probate judge many years back when Michael Schiavo entered as hearsay evidence to his court, Terri had wanted to die. The very notion that this could be happening in a country that delivers a message of freedom, liberty and justice, is unfathomable. What was I missing here? Had I been disillusioned into thinking I was actually standing on American soil, as I stood watching a 10 year old little boy arrested, handcuffed, and then placed into the back of a paddy wagon for attempting to bring water into a woman who he knew was being starved and dehydrated?

Today, Terri is on her 7th day without food and water. Her family is again forced to sit and watch the life sucked out of her. They know very basic nutrition and water could refuel her life. However, they are watched by police and forbidden to give her even a drop of water as her lips dry and crack and she looks to her mother; a loving mother who provided her with nourishment from the time of conception.

After witnessing Terri's tragic situation with my own eyes and ears over these last two years, I have come away knowing America will never be the same for me. As we rallied on the streets for Terri in order to gain attention to her story, telling of the judicial tyranny here in Florida, we have been called names by people who have not a clue what is happening to Terri, let alone how her death will someday soon effect this nation. Sadly, many will never question the truth about what really happened to Terri Schiavo until they someday find themselves in her situation. When she dies it will not be a matter of "if" this will happen to many others, it will be a matter of "when" it will happen.

For any government official to not become involved in this judicial corruption and homicide, but instead choose to hide behind the notion they cannot become involved because of this being a family dispute, only shows the ignorance behind the leaders in our country. Terri's death is not about "conservatives" "radicals" "religious zealots" "Democrats" "Republican's" "family disputes" or gains for political advancements. It is about local, judicial corruption, a woman whose wishes were never in writing, and a man who has used his authority as her so-called spouse (despite his engagement to another woman) to see her dead! He has used the legal system and its corruption to his criminal advantage. When will people awaken to the real issues at hand here?

Our Governor now says he cannot go beyond the scope of his power. But, he always had the power to act, under Florida's laws. Is this a message to us all that one corrupt judge and one estranged spouse who potentially placed Terri in this situation, controls our Government?

In addition, we must remember that from the time of our conception we have needed a source of nutrition in order to survive. When we allow judges to intentionally remove our
basic nutritional elements from healthy human beings so to terminate life, we soon will face our own extinction.

For many years, I had wondered to myself, how did they get away with marching all those innocent people into the gas chambers; why did no one stand up and try to stop them?

I now have a clearer understanding how it was accomplished!

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Signs Economic Commentary

Donald Hunt
March 28, 2005

The dollar gained even more strength against the euro last week, closing at .7716 euros compared to last week’s .7510, a gain of 2.74%.  Or, looking at it the other way around, the euro closed at 1.2960 dollars compared to last week’s 1.3314.  Gold closed at $425.00 dollars an ounce, down sharply (3.46%) from last week’s $439.70.  The price of gold rose in euros closing at 327.93 euros an ounce compared to 330.25 last week.  Oil closed at $54.84 a barrel down 3.43% from last week’s close of 56.72 dollars a barrel. Oil in euros, however, was 42.31 down 0.69% from last week’s 42.60 euros a barrel. Comparing gold to oil, an ounce of gold on Friday would buy 7.75 barrels of oil, unchanged from last week. The Dow closed at 10,442.87 down 1.65% from last week’s close of 10,615.34.  The NASDAQ closed at 1991.06 down 0.94% from last week’s 2009.79. 

Most analysts see the dollar’s recent strength against other currencies coming about as a result of present and future interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve Board. U.S. stocks didn’t do so well, for the same reasons.

In case we are tempted in the United States to get a little optimistic based on short term rises of the currency, a look at the big picture is in order.  This article by Phil Toler on Axis of Logic about the Neocon project is worth quoting at length because all the technical economic analysis means little for the United States when thinking of our economic future compared to the consequences of the Neocon project:

The Neocon Job May Backfire ... Big Time Redux

By Phil Toler
Mar 14, 2005, 21:39  

At the end of January 2004, my commentary entitled The Neocon Job May Backfire...Big Time was posted at While that site ceased to be updated shortly thereafter, it is still online and interested parties can read the full text of my piece. Briefly, it pointed out that US president George Bush had to bow to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani because of the fact that his people could not only make the occupation forces’ lives far more dangerous, they could also block the only real exit from Iraq into Kuwait. Therefore, it was clear the Neocons would have to agree to elections, whose outcome any schoolchild, possibly even Bush, could predict. But they figured that if they could rig two consecutive elections here at home, why not one in a country being occupied by US military forces? It appears they did fudge the numbers for the al-Sistani slate from close to 60% to below the point where there would have been a sufficient majority to instate a republic based on Islamic law. And so the Kurds were bolstered to the point that the train wreck would at least be slowed, for face-saving purposes if nothing else.

As with most ideologically-driven enterprises, not only have the wheels come completely off, but the dominos are assuredly now falling in quite the opposite direction as intended. The only reason the Neocons thought so little of the Shia is because they had been dominated for 1200 years by a Sunni minority. But they should have looked around the neighborhood a bit to see where this concept of ‘spreading Democracy’ (a backup rationale, though it was) would inevitably lead.

With Iran as a firm anchor, a now-aroused Shia majority in Lebanon and nothing but Shia majorities in between, it is patently clear the American adventures in the oil patch have backfired colossally. The Zionist dream to subjugate the entire area is now in tatters because everyone outside the US and Israel can easily see that the bluff has been called, and nothing short of all-out nuclear warfare, which, given the lad with his finger on the big trigger cannot be ruled out, will stand in the way of the completion of the Neocons’ greatest nightmare: an awakened Shia giant amidst the surrounding US-supported dictatorships that will lead, sooner or later, to collapse from within each client state.

Let us count the reasons for this prediction:

The US has been shown to be a paper tiger militarily by a few thousand ‘dead-enders’ in the Sunni triangle. Sure, the US military can level cities and massacre tens of thousands of non-combatants, but they have failed miserably to combat the element of the resistance that keeps it growing and becoming ever more successful. The Neocons have blundered into a trap from which there is no viable exit without a massive dinner of crow, a taste for which this crew has shown little appetite. The countdown has begun to the day a legitimate Iraqi government, dominated by the Shias, will politely ask the Americans to leave and take their bases with them. Once again, the spectre of a Sunni/Shia alliance with regard to the resistance would be too compelling to ignore. Thus, the Iranians know that there will be no general invasion of their homeland as long as their man in Iraq has the bulk of the US military locked down and using their long-time Sunni foes as the enforcers. The irony resonates on so many levels that I suspect historians of the future will have a difficult time suppressing a laugh or two as they contemplate the official beginning of the end of the American Empire.

The US is broke, and using the sentiment of the population as a gauge, it has only Israel to count on. This is a little like Dad counting on his kids when he goes broke betting it all at the track. The number of actors who are able to begin the US-dollar panic are hard to fully account for when one considers that Warren Buffet has made close to two billion in profits betting against the viability of US currency.

With great regret, of course.

With an eroding industrial base, lagging agricultural output, and an insatiable consumer beast, the country is completely at the mercy of foreigners to sustain the illusion of a wealthy and economically healthy US. They will do this only as long as it takes to reduce their exposure to a vanishing dollar, which most central banks are quietly doing as I write. The Chinese are not-so-quietly turning their massive stockpile of US-dollar-based assets into commodities, such as Canadian mining and energy firms. It will be only be too clear when the time comes for foreigners to pull the plug on the credit-addicted US government and their equally leveraged citizenry, when the prop of having its currency as the world reserve standard collapses under the pressure of free-market traders, who know a thing or two about supply and demand. Many European houses no longer deal in US dollars at any exchange rate whatsoever!  

As the dollar sinks, the price of oil will begin to affect ever-greater swaths of the US economy, and its legion of energy-hungry SUV owners. While oil company shills are shrilly promoting the ‘Peak Oil’ hoax to explain the crushing rise in energy costs, the reality is that the only thing that has peaked is cheap oil, and recovery costs are irrelevant to this equation. The simple fact is that the US and Britain have been using bribes and gun barrels to subsidize the cost of oil. When the Shia revolution set in motion by the Neocons spreads throughout the Middle East, tinhorn dictators from Kuwait to Qatar will escape to the West with whatever they can steal. At that point, oil will be priced to the advantage of the seller, as opposed to the buyer and oil-rich countries will impose their own version of an oil-depletion allowance. At that point, the American public will either go gently into that fascist good night, or stage a little rebellion of their own. For this question, I demure from a prediction.

The alliance of Europe, Russia, China, India, Brazil and Venezuela that has become a new reality, gives the lie to the myth of the US role as sole superpower. It is a fool who thinks the US can forcibly dictate to the combined economic and military power of that global anti-US bloc. The sad fact is that it really didn’t have to [come to] this, but Neocon arrogance once again undercut the old reliable divide-and-conquer strategy the US has counted on to keep these kinds of alliances from congealing. Now that Pandora’s Box is open, I suspect the US will be subject to some rather harsh repayment for its past behaviour. No doubt the Neocons will blame it all on Bill Clinton, who is, of course, a Neocon himself.

The United States, therefore, is a failure internationally.  It is also turning into a “failed state” domestically as well.  The Signs on Friday had a piece detailing the deterioration of the US infrastructure.  The Black Commentator published an article showing how the Republican domestic political initiatives are characteristic of failed states:

The U.S. Is Becoming a “Failed State”

“Privatization of social security is a road to government abdication, the cause of failed statehood.” – Henry C.K. Liu, “The Business of Private Security,” AsiaTimes.    

…Social Security – a public prize too fabulously rich to destroy, outright – is to be milked dry by Wall Street under one or another of the privatizing proposals floating around Republican and Democratic Leadership Council circles. “All these proposals have one thing in common,” writes Henry C.K. Liu, Asia Times contributor and chairman of the New York-based Liu Investment Group, in his series, “World Order, Failed States and Terrorism.” “They all try to change Social Security into social risk. The only party to benefit will be the financial-services industry that provides the investment advice and trades.”  

Once entrenched in the system, it will be near-impossible to disentangle corporations from Social Security without trillions of dollars in indemnification by the federal treasury against corporate “losses.” This is part of what “social risk” – as opposed to private, corporate risk – is all about, and how the public sphere is swallowed whole and irrevocably. Don’t write your congressperson, after-the-fact. She won’t be able to do a damn thing about it.  

No goods to deliver  

We are witnessing the domestic version of a phenomenon well known in the Third World: the deliberate creation of “failed states,” national governments that have been maneuvered or coerced into impotence by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, trade agreements with the United States – any combination of capital and military coercion. These states have become irrelevant to the needs of their own people and, therefore, in a very real sense, illegitimate. As Henry C.K. Liu explains, such states cannot deliver the goods:  

“Failed states provide only substandard political goods, if any at all. Weak failed states involuntarily forfeit, and strong failed states do so voluntarily, the responsibility for delivering political goods, and leave it to non-state actors, i.e. the private sector through the market mechanism. Privatization of the public sector is more than the outsourcing of state functions. It is the selling off of state prerogatives.”  

The Bush regime has summoned the failed state chicken home to roost, with a vengeance, as it attempts to strip away every social obligation of the state to the people. However, the legitimacy of American governments at all levels has long been eroding, as defined by their capacity to provide political goods to the citizenry. For decades, heavily Black cities have busily sold off their “prerogatives” – their assets, tax bases and sovereign powers – to corporations or regional authorities. (See the five-part  series, “A Plan for the Cities to Save Themselves,” beginning August 14, 2003.) Forty years after passage of the Voting Rights Act, the act of voting becomes ever more irrelevant to people’s everyday lives.  

Even the coercive organs of the state – prisons, policing, the military – pass rapidly into private hands, evidence of advanced state failure. And no one should doubt that the American Gulag, comprising one quarter of the world’s prison inmates, half of them Black, is prima facie proof of massive state failure – a government that delivers incarceration, rather than liberty, to a huge portion of its citizens.  

“Another political good,” writes Liu, “is the provision of universal health care and education, the maintenance of a vibrant economy of full employment at living wages that will allow workers to afford decent housing and secure retirement, and a clean environment, without which all rhetoric about liberty becomes irrelevant.” These are, in fact, fundamental attributes and aspirations of civilization as it has evolved in modern times.

Last week, in the context of social spending, we mentioned that corporations can be seen as psychopaths.  Here’s a chilling example of the possible consequences of corporate psychopathy from a German biotech company from the book, Food for Thought by John Robbins:

A few years ago, a German biotech company genetically modified a common soil bacterium, Klebsiella planticula, to enable it to break down vegetative waste and produce ethanol.

It seemed like a huge accomplishment -- ethanol could be used as a gasoline alternative and the rest of the biomass as compost for farming. Hopes were high and it was field-tested at Oregon State University.

But when the genetically modified bacterium was added to living soil, the seeds planted in the soil (to produce the vegetable matter to be broken down) sprouted but then died. The genetically modified Klebsiella was a feisty little guy, knocking out a fungus that plants need to extract nutrients from the soil. Without it, plants can't survive.

More frightening, the genetically modified bacteria persisted in the soil. Had it been released, it could have become virtually impossible to eradicate, says author John Robbins in his newest book The Food Revolution (Conari Press, $28.95).

"It could have ended all plant life on this continent," geneticist David Suzuki says in the book. "The implications of this case are nothing short of terrifying."

These are the kinds of things corporations mess with just to make a profit.  Here’s more from the same book:

Another problem is Monsanto's "terminator technology," in which seeds are rendered sterile after one planting. Currently 80 per cent of crops in developing countries use saved seeds, but with this new technology seeds must be purchased each year.

Robbins says another company has patented a genetic process that makes seed germination and growth dependent upon repeated doses of the company's own chemicals. Yet another patent turns off the genes plants depend on to fight viral and bacterial infection -- only the company's own chemicals will turn the genes back on.

Experiments in the biotech food industry have included inserting flounder genes into tomatoes, human genes into salmon, and rat and bacteria genes into broccoli. Labs around the world are researching splicing genes into fish from chickens, humans, cattle and rats.

When genes shuttle between a wide variety of species, they can take with them genetic parasites such as viruses, usually kept in check by species barriers, Robbins says. "It's deeply troubling."

The corporation as psychopath idea became widely discussed last year with the release of a documentary, The Corporation by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott, and Joel Bakan and a book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, by Joel Bakan (Free Press, 2004). The facts are hard to refute, even for pro-corporate outlets like The Economist :

The lunatic you work for

May 6th 2004
From The Economist print edition

If the corporation were a person, would that person be a psychopath?

TO THE anti-globalisers, the corporation is a devilish instrument of environmental destruction, class oppression and imperial conquest. But is it also pathologically insane? That is the provocative conclusion of an award-winning documentary film, called “The Corporation”, coming soon to a cinema near you. People on both sides of the globalisation debate should pay attention. Unlike much of the soggy thinking peddled by too many anti-globalisers, “The Corporation” is a surprisingly rational and coherent attack on capitalism's most important institution.

It begins with a potted history of the company's legal form in America, noting the key 19th-century legal innovation that led to treating companies as persons under law. By bestowing on them the rights and protections that people enjoy, this legal innovation gave the company the freedom to flourish. So if the corporation is a person, ask the film's three Canadian co-creators, Mark Achbar, Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott, what sort of person is it?  

The answer, elicited over two-and-a-half hours of interviews with left-wing intellectuals, right-wing captains of industry, economists, psychologists and philosophers, is that the corporation is a psychopath. Like all psychopaths, the firm is singularly self-interested: its purpose is to create wealth for its shareholders. And, like all psychopaths, the firm is irresponsible, because it puts others at risk to satisfy its profit-maximising goal, harming employees and customers, and damaging the environment. The corporation manipulates everything. It is grandiose, always insisting that it is the best, or number one. It has no empathy, refuses to accept responsibility for its actions and feels no remorse. It relates to others only superficially, via make-believe versions of itself manufactured by public-relations consultants and marketing men. In short, if the metaphor of the firm as person is a valid one, then the corporation is clinically insane.  

There is a tendency among anti-globalisers to demonise captains of industry. But according to “The Corporation”, the problem with companies does not lie with the people who run them. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, a former boss of Shell, comes across in the film as a sympathetic and human character. At one point, he and his wife greet protesters camped on the front lawn of their English cottage with offers of a cup of tea and apologies for the lack of soya milk for the vegans among them. The film gives Sam Gibara, boss of Goodyear, time to air his opinions, which are given a reasonably neutral edit. Ray Anderson, boss of Interface (which claims, with psychopathic grandiosity, to be the world's largest commercial carpetmaker) is given the hero treatment. Having experienced an “epiphany” about the destructive and unsustainable nature of modern capitalism, Mr. Anderson has donned the preacher's cloth to spread the religion of environmental sustainability among his peers.  

The main message of the film is that, through their psychopathic pursuit of profit, firms make good people do bad things. Lucy Hughes of Initiative Media, an advertising consultancy, is shown musing about the ethics of designing marketing strategies that exploit the tendency of children to nag parents to buy things, before comforting herself with the thought that she is merely performing her proper role in society. Mark Barry, a “competitive intelligence professional”, disguises himself as a headhunter to extract information for his corporate clients from rivals, while telling the camera that he would never behave so deceitfully in his private life. Human values and morality survive the onslaught of corporate pathology only via a carefully cultivated schizophrenia: the tobacco boss goes home, hugs his kids and feels a little less bad about spreading cancer. Company executives and foot soldiers alike will identify instantly with this analysis, because it is accurate.

One wonders whether human values and morality really do survive corporate rule. No doubt it is true that all corporate officers are not themselves psychopaths, but those who are may find their rise to the top easier. 

Here is where American Libertarianism runs aground.  Libertarians in the United States believe that corporations should also enjoy liberty and that the only threat to our liberties comes from the government.  On a day-to-day basis, our liberties are infringed upon much more by corporations than by government.  Furthermore, corporate governance is authoritarian, not democratic. And when you add to that the fact that, in true fascist fashion, corporations control the government, there is not much liberty left, no matter what the Constitution says.

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Little Reporting on Paranoia in High Places
By Norman Solomon
March 25, 2005

The standard American media lexicon has steered clear of a word that would be an apt description of the Bush world view. Paranoid.

Journalists often refer to the Bush administration's foreign policy as "unilateral" and "pre-emptive." Liberal pundits like to complain that a "go-it-alone" approach has isolated the United States from former allies. But the standard American media lexicon has steered clear of a word that would be an apt description of the Bush world view.


Early symptoms met with tremendous media applause in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Skepticism from reporters and dissent from pundits were sparse while President Bush quickly declared that governments were either on the side of the U.S.A. or "the terrorists." Since then, the paranoiac scope of the administration's articulated outlook has broadened while media acceptance has normalized it – to the point that a remarkable new document from the Pentagon is raising few media eyebrows.

Released on March 18 with a definitive title – "The National Defense Strategy of the United States of America" – the document spells out how the Bush administration sees the world. Consider this key statement: "Our strength as a nation state will continue to be challenged by those who employ a strategy of the weak using international fora, judicial processes, and terrorism."

A high-ranking Pentagon official, Douglas Feith, offered this explanation to reporters: "There are various actors around the world that are looking to either attack or constrain the United States, and they are going to find creative ways of doing that, that are not the obvious conventional military attacks." And he added: "We need to think broadly about diplomatic lines of attack, legal lines of attack, technological lines of attack, all kinds of asymmetric warfare that various actors can use to try to constrain, shape our behavior."

Translation: They're after us! And "they" are a varied assortment of individuals, groups and nations bent on harming us while impeding our efforts to do good and protect ourselves. (The Pentagon document says: "Our leading position in world affairs will continue to breed unease, a degree of resentment, and resistance.") Some want to murder thousands or millions of American civilians, others want the United States to respect human rights and abide by the Geneva Conventions, still others vote the wrong way at the United Nations.

It's all part of the same basic problem: Bad people are out to get us. Whether destroying the World Trade Center or filing suit at the International Criminal Court, evil ones and their abetters are engaged in sinister efforts. In the words of the Pentagon's new document, they all "employ a strategy of the weak" against us – the United States – the epitome of the strong.

You might think that such an assertion from the top of the U.S. government – appearing in a major statement of "defense strategy" – would cause a stir if not an uproar. But it has been a fleeting minor story, bypassed by almost every big media outlet after a March 18 dispatch from the Associated Press flagged it with this provocative lead: "America's strength is being challenged by a strategy of the weak, a Pentagon document says, listing diplomatic and legal challenges in international forums in the same sentence with terrorism."

One of the few major U.S. news outlets to report on the Pentagon's "strategy of the weak" declaration, the Los Angeles Times, merely mentioned it in passing near the end of a back-page article. In contrast, outside the corporate media, Inter Press Service did its usual excellent job of shedding light on the latest twist of Washington's foreign policy doctrines.

Overall, speaking for the U.S. government, the Bush administration has turned Uncle Sam into the world's pre-eminent paranoid, conflating nearly all who oppose him. Actually, make that Him.

Like many who have succumbed to paranoia, the current incarnation of Uncle Sam is apt to invoke God while swearing eternal vengeance against any and every devilish foe. The satanic ones are sneaky all right. They may cloak themselves in all manner of legalistic garb, prattling about human rights and producing other pretexts for trying to stop us because we're on the side of the angels. But they're after us – they hate us for our goodness and our purity, they cannot abide the light we bring unto the world. Verily, as the Lord was commenting just the other day, America's geopolitical agenda is the essence of virtue, and all who wish to impede it must face our wrath ...

Of course the United States continues to attract more "enemies," real and imagined. Paranoids, including ones with a lot of blood on their hands, often vehemently and righteously deny that they've earned any valid hostility. On the contrary, all they deserve is gratitude and loyalty.

It remains to be seen when – or whether – mainstream American journalists will rouse themselves and begin to openly assess the paranoid aspects of the Bush administration's foreign policy. If the new National Defense Strategy isn't a sufficient wake-up call, what's it going to take?

Norman Solomon's latest book, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, will be published in early summer. His columns and other writings can be found at:

Comment: America's enemies are going to find creative ways of attacking the US, eh? How about an "economic attack"??

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A patriot's questions
by Yomama, Unknown News
March 22, 2005

I am crazy in love with America, always have been.

Have you ever had your car break down way out on the lonely roads of West Texas? Some old cowboy in a pickup truck will stop and drag your broken down butt to town. He won't say much. He'll just do it. He won't take a penny of yours and he will hardly even accept your thanks.

Have you ever seen the sunset in Santa Fe in the Fall? The whole world turns purple; everything around you, the light, the air, everything. It only lasts about 15 minutes and it is f*cking magic.

I know for sure that the Buddha is alive and well and running a gas station in Kansas. Once I met an old lady named Morgan in Lincoln, Nebraska who was so enlightened she glowed. I am not kidding, she glowed. I've seen it again and again, those little old ladies who have so much of "the right stuff" that the world will tilt on it's axis when they are gone.

Now let's ask ourselves, please, are we the kind of people who want to kill people who have not done us any wrong? Do we really want to be the ones hooking up electrodes to people's private parts so we can get them to tell us where Saddam's second cousin is hiding out? Are we that kind of people?

There are some folks in Washington (who are rich as Midas and as cold as Scrooge) who are doing this. And they work for us. But this is OUR country, not theirs. We are the heart and soul of America, not them -- not the torturers.

We are an old man I saw in the grocery store yesterday. He was about 80, but he was still wearing the clothes of a working man. He was a little embarrassed at how slowly he moved. He knew that folks in line at that store are always impatient. He knows he is slow. He was a prudent sort of guy, he had on a belt AND suspenders. I gave him my best smile. That's all I had to give him, and even that might have been too much. He is not asking anybody for anything. He's a man. He has made his way all his life, he worked the mines, he raised his children, and he has seen his grandchildren grow up.

Isn't that who we are? We have to decide. Things have gotten so out of hand in Washington that the criminals of the bad old days are being appointed to important posts. Where are you, America? Aren't we better than this?

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Rachel Corrie - American Taxpayer-Funded Murder

UK Gaurdian with comments by SOTT

Two years ago this weekend, a young American woman was callously murdered by the driver of an Israeli Defence Forces bulldozer, paid for with US tax dollars.

Rachel Corrie was attempting to protect Palestinians whose homes were being demolished by the Israelis. She stood peacefully in front of the bulldozer wearing a bright orange jacket. There was no way that the driver did not see her.

Given that the driver formed part of an Israeli army operation, it is highly likely that he was given a direct order to run over Rachel.

The image of Rachel's crushed body is a haunting reminder of the reality of life in occupied Palestine and the brutal and inhuman treatment meted out by Ariel Sharon and George Bush to innocent Palestinian people on a daily basis. Of course, few Americans are aware of this reality, and even fewer are aware of the US government-sanctioned murder of Rachel Corrie.


Because, at the time, the American mainstream press failed to run the story. Check for yourself. Go to, type in her name, and run a news search. Find one mainstream US media outlet that has any information on the circumstances of her death.

Two years ago, the Guardian newspaper published emails from Rachel to her family in the US while she was in Palestine. They provide us with an inside, first-hand account of the reality on the ground in Israeli-occupied Palestine. Rachel Corrie paid with her life for her attempts to expose it.

Rachel's war

Tuesday March 18, 2003
The Guardian

February 7 2003

Hi friends and family, and others,

I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what's going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don't know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I'm not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me - Ali - or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me, "Kaif Sharon?" "Kaif Bush?" and they laugh when I say, "Bush Majnoon", "Sharon Majnoon" back in my limited arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.) Of course this isn't quite what I believe, and some of the adults who have the English correct me: "Bush mish Majnoon" ... Bush is a businessman. Today I tried to learn to say, "Bush is a tool", but I don't think it translated quite right. But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more aware of the workings of the global power structure than I was just a few years ago.

Nevertheless, no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can't imagine it unless you see it - and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact that I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells, and the fact, of course, that I have the option of leaving. Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown. I have a home. I am allowed to go see the ocean. When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting halfway between Mud Bay and downtown Olympia at a checkpoint with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I'm done.

As an afterthought to all this rambling, I am in Rafah: a city of about 140,000 people, approximately 60% of whom are refugees - many of whom are twice or three times refugees. Today, as I walked on top of the rubble where homes once stood, Egyptian soldiers called to me from the other side of the border, "Go! Go!" because a tank was coming. And then waving and "What's your name?". Something disturbing about this friendly curiosity. It reminded me of how much, to some degree, we are all kids curious about other kids. Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into the path of tanks. Palestinian kids shot from the tanks when they peak out from behind walls to see what's going on. International kids standing in front of tanks with banners. Israeli kids in the tanks anonymously - occasionally shouting and also occasionally waving - many forced to be here, many just agressive - shooting into the houses as we wander away.

I've been having trouble accessing news about the outside world here, but I hear an escalation of war on Iraq is inevitable. There is a great deal of concern here about the "reoccupation of Gaza". Gaza is reoccupied every day to various extents but I think the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets and remain here instead of entering some of the streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days to observe and shoot from the edges of the communities. If people aren't already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope you will start.

My love to everyone. My love to my mom. My love to smooch. My love to fg and barnhair and sesamees and Lincoln School. My love to Olympia.


February 27 2003

(To her mother)

Love you. Really miss you. I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside. Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again - a little bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here. Yesterday, I watched a father lead his two tiny children, holding his hands, out into the sight of tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought his house was going to be exploded. Jenny and I stayed in the house with several women and two small babies. It was our mistake in translation that caused him to think it was his house that was being exploded. In fact, the Israeli army was in the process of detonating an explosive in the ground nearby - one that appears to have been planted by Palestinian resistance.

This is in the area where Sunday about 150 men were rounded up and contained outside the settlement with gunfire over their heads and around them, while tanks and bulldozers destroyed 25 greenhouses - the livelihoods for 300 people. The explosive was right in front of the greenhouses - right in the point of entry for tanks that might come back again. I was terrified to think that this man felt it was less of a risk to walk out in view of the tanks with his kids than to stay in his house. I was really scared that they were all going to be shot and I tried to stand between them and the tank. This happens every day, but just this father walking out with his two little kids just looking very sad, just happened to get my attention more at this particular moment, probably because I felt it was our translation problems that made him leave.

I thought a lot about what you said on the phone about Palestinian violence not helping the situation. Sixty thousand workers from Rafah worked in Israel two years ago. Now only 600 can go to Israel for jobs. Of these 600, many have moved, because the three checkpoints between here and Ashkelon (the closest city in Israel) make what used to be a 40-minute drive, now a 12-hour or impassible journey. In addition, what Rafah identified in 1999 as sources of economic growth are all completely destroyed - the Gaza international airport (runways demolished, totally closed); the border for trade with Egypt (now with a giant Israeli sniper tower in the middle of the crossing); access to the ocean (completely cut off in the last two years by a checkpoint and the Gush Katif settlement). The count of homes destroyed in Rafah since the beginning of this intifada is up around 600, by and large people with no connection to the resistance but who happen to live along the border. I think it is maybe official now that Rafah is the poorest place in the world. There used to be a middle class here - recently. We also get reports that in the past, Gazan flower shipments to Europe were delayed for two weeks at the Erez crossing for security inspections. You can imagine the value of two-week-old cut flowers in the European market, so that market dried up. And then the bulldozers come and take out people's vegetable farms and gardens. What is left for people? Tell me if you can think of anything. I can't.

If any of us had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with children in a shrinking place where we knew, because of previous experience, that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at any moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had been cultivating for however long, and did this while some of us were beaten and held captive with 149 other people for several hours - do you think we might try to use somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained? I think about this especially when I see orchards and greenhouses and fruit trees destroyed - just years of care and cultivation. I think about you and how long it takes to make things grow and what a labour of love it is. I really think, in a similar situation, most people would defend themselves as best they could. I think Uncle Craig would. I think probably Grandma would. I think I would.

You asked me about non-violent resistance.

When that explosive detonated yesterday it broke all the windows in the family's house. I was in the process of being served tea and playing with the two small babies. I'm having a hard time right now. Just feel sick to my stomach a lot from being doted on all the time, very sweetly, by people who are facing doom. I know that from the United States, it all sounds like hyperbole. Honestly, a lot of the time the sheer kindness of the people here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the wilful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal to me. I really can't believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry about it.

It really hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be. I felt after talking to you that maybe you didn't completely believe me. I think it's actually good if you don't, because I do believe pretty much above all else in the importance of independent critical thinking. And I also realise that with you I'm much less careful than usual about trying to source every assertion that I make. A lot of the reason for that is I know that you actually do go and do your own research. But it makes me worry about the job I'm doing. All of the situation that I tried to enumerate above - and a lot of other things - constitutes a somewhat gradual - often hidden, but nevertheless massive - removal and destruction of the ability of a particular group of people to survive. This is what I am seeing here.

The assassinations, rocket attacks and shooting of children are atrocities - but in focusing on them I'm terrified of missing their context. The vast majority of people here - even if they had the economic means to escape, even if they actually wanted to give up resisting on their land and just leave (which appears to be maybe the less nefarious of Sharon's possible goals), can't leave. Because they can't even get into Israel to apply for visas, and because their destination countries won't let them in (both our country and Arab countries). So I think when all means of survival is cut off in a pen (Gaza) which people can't get out of, I think that qualifies as genocide. Even if they could get out, I think it would still qualify as genocide. Maybe you could look up the definition of genocide according to international law. I don't remember it right now. I'm going to get better at illustrating this, hopefully. I don't like to use those charged words. I think you know this about me. I really value words. I really try to illustrate and let people draw their own conclusions.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I'm witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I'm really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake and said: "This is the wide world and I'm coming to it." I did not mean that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide. More big explosions somewhere in the distance outside.

When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I've ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.

I love you and Dad. Sorry for the diatribe. OK, some strange men next to me just gave me some peas, so I need to eat and thank them.


February 28 2003

(To her mother)

Thanks, Mom, for your response to my email. It really helps me to get word from you, and from other people who care about me.

After I wrote to you I went incommunicado from the affinity group for about 10 hours which I spent with a family on the front line in Hi Salam - who fixed me dinner - and have cable TV. The two front rooms of their house are unusable because gunshots have been fired through the walls, so the whole family - three kids and two parents - sleep in the parent's bedroom. I sleep on the floor next to the youngest daughter, Iman, and we all shared blankets. I helped the son with his English homework a little, and we all watched Pet Cemetery, which is a horrifying movie. I think they all thought it was pretty funny how much trouble I had watching it. Friday is the holiday, and when I woke up they were watching Gummy Bears dubbed into Arabic. So I ate breakfast with them and sat there for a while and just enjoyed being in this big puddle of blankets with this family watching what for me seemed like Saturday morning cartoons. Then I walked some way to B'razil, which is where Nidal and Mansur and Grandmother and Rafat and all the rest of the big family that has really wholeheartedly adopted me live. (The other day, by the way, Grandmother gave me a pantomimed lecture in Arabic that involved a lot of blowing and pointing to her black shawl. I got Nidal to tell her that my mother would appreciate knowing that someone here was giving me a lecture about smoking turning my lungs black.) I met their sister-in-law, who is visiting from Nusserat camp, and played with her small baby.

Nidal's English gets better every day. He's the one who calls me, "My sister". He started teaching Grandmother how to say, "Hello. How are you?" In English. You can always hear the tanks and bulldozers passing by, but all of these people are genuinely cheerful with each other, and with me. When I am with Palestinian friends I tend to be somewhat less horrified than when I am trying to act in a role of human rights observer, documenter, or direct-action resister. They are a good example of how to be in it for the long haul. I know that the situation gets to them - and may ultimately get them - on all kinds of levels, but I am nevertheless amazed at their strength in being able to defend such a large degree of their humanity - laughter, generosity, family-time - against the incredible horror occurring in their lives and against the constant presence of death. I felt much better after this morning. I spent a lot of time writing about the disappointment of discovering, somewhat first-hand, the degree of evil of which we are still capable. I should at least mention that I am also discovering a degree of strength and of basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of circumstances - which I also haven't seen before. I think the word is dignity. I wish you could meet these people. Maybe, hopefully, someday you will.

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To Sit in the Dark
Gilad Atzmon
A talk at the SOAS Palestinian Society 23.4

I am sure that some of you are familiar with the old Jewish joke: What does it take for a Jewish mother to change a light bulb? Then impersonating an elder Jewish mother, applying a high pitch east European accent you spit it out: ”no vorries I vill sit in the dark”. As it seems, the Jewish mother embodies the essence of modern Jewish existence. To be a Jew is to sit in the dark, to be a Jew is to be a victim and to enjoy your symptoms. If we analyse this bizarre tendency in the light of Freud’s pleasure principle, we might mistakenly deduce that the Jewish mother find pleasure in inflicting pain on herself. Some may even diagnose the Jewish mother as a mythical masochistic figure. In fact, it is the other way around, The Jewish mother doesn’t enjoy her own suffering at all. The Joke is supposed to reveal a very different message. The Jewish mother, instead of improving her general state of being, rather than enjoying reading the ‘Jewish Chronicle’ in the light, she voluntarily offers to sit in the dark, she gains satisfaction initiating some remorse feeling amongst the Other, whoever the Other is. Usually it is her beloved kind (son) but it can as well be her partner, the neighbour, the social worker, the Swiss banker or even the United Nations. The Jewish mother vill sit in the dark as long as someone there is happy to feel guilty for her sitting in the dark.

To be a proper Jewish mother means to daily exploit the entire victim vocabulary. But it isn’t really the Jewish mother, as it seems, victim mentality is occupying the hard nucleus of modern Jewish identity. As we all know many of those who call themselves Jews are far from being religious. Some are even atheists. Many of our Jewish friends are far from being Zionist (at least that’s what they say), some are even anti Zionist, but then once a Jew drops his victim status he becomes an ordinary boring being. To be a Jew is to believe in the holocaust, to be a Jew is to believe in a historical narrative constructed around endless merciless sagas of persecution and harassment. To be a Jew is to believe that all that suffering is far from being over, in fact a new holocaust may be re-launched tomorrow morning, why tomorrow, today, this very minute. To be a Jew is set oneself in a state of self imposed paranoia. Thus, to be a Jew is to believe in ' us and them' rather than in just ‘being amongst others’. To be a Jew is to believe that anti Semitism is an irrational tendency intrinsically symptomatic to gentile existence. But who are the Gentiles? Ladies and gentleman, the Gentiles are the human family, thus I would deduce that to be a Jew is to believe that the human family behave irrationally at least when it comes to Jews.

But then, what is so appealing in being a ‘victim’, I assume that most people would be embarrassed when being blamed for victimising themselves or even suspected to be paranoid. Somehow, this wouldn’t happen with most Jews. A Jew would be offended when being suggested that he is victimising himself. Moreover, an accusation as such would be perceived by him as a clear anti Semitic assault not to say a form of a ‘holocaust denial’. When it comes to Jewish common self-perception, victim is not an act, it is rather a state of being. Within the contemporary Jewish word view, the Jews are the only real ultimate genuine sufferers. If this is not enough, the fact that they are ‘the true real and only genuine sufferers’ is now legally imposed. To suspect this very fact may result in a court case. For instance, in case you happen to be a new historian and you may doubt some facts to do with the latest Nazi Judeocide, you probably find yourself behind bars or just removed from your academic post.

When it comes to the unique case of the Jewish family, the Jewish mother strategies are found to be very effective. Sitting in the dark ‘pays off’. The Jewish mother maintains her absolute hegemony within the family cell. Consequently, the guilt ridden Jewish child (no doubt the real victim) will attend medical or law school just to keep his mother happy. He will bring home the highest possible marks just to ease her sitting in dark. By the time he finally realises that he himself had been the real victim, he his ready to join his father's business and in any case, he is too old to rebel. By now he himself becomes a victim and the rest of the world should feel guilty for him. But then, he is far from being happy, rather than being out there amongst others, he is now pushed back to the ghetto, tied for the rest of his life with a clannish knot. Funny enough, this is enough to make him a neurotic character as well an astonishingly good accountant or psycho-analyst.

Looking at the Jewish family cell we see a successful operating machine, the parents volunteer to take-on some insignificant suffering, in return the guilt ridden young generation bring home excellent academic results. But then, this very mechanism goes far beyond the Jewish family cell or even the segregated Jewish community. In fact, post WW2 Jewish western affairs are based on the very same philosophy. This may as well be the hidden layer behind the current misleading contemporary presentation of the complementary Judeo Christian bond: The Judeo subject insists to be the ultimate victim and the Christian world is enthusiastically endorsing the opportunity to celebrate guilt. As bizarre as it may sound, in 1948, while the Israelis ethnically cleansed the Palestinian population, the ‘guilty’ West was sitting and praising ‘Jewish heroism’. Very much the same happened following the miraculous Israeli victory in 1967. For many years, ‘guilt’ became the core of European parliamentary left blind support of Israel. As revolting as it may sound, the modern Jewish identity is copying the role of the Jewish elder mother and the European parliamentary left is taking the role of the Jewish guilt ridden toddler. Take a look at British contemporary politics: On the right end we find the Christian prime minister, Mr Tony Blair, the guilty Gentile, being the leader of once a socialist institute, he is now publicly supporting a bourgeoisie racist, nationalist, colonialist state, Michael Howard, on the very same end, being a secular Jew, wouldn’t bother to share with us some deep spiritual Jewish insights, instead, he is telling us about his Jewish grandmother, the Holocaust victim.

Today I am talking about Jewish Identity. In practice, I am talking about Jewish identification, I leave out Judaism, or any reference to Jewish cultural heritage. I don’t even talk about the Jewish people. Instead, I ask what does it mean to be a secular Jew. I try to find out what Jewish secular people identify with when they call themselves Jews. I would argue that as far as contemporary Jewish identity is concerned two major ideological schools are offering a clear answer. One is Zionism and the other is Jewish lefticsm.

Let’s start with the Zionist school.

Following the 19th century European national awakening some Jews decided that Jewishness is actually a manifestation of nationalistic aspiration. Although European nationalism was intrinsically associated the patriotic subject with the land he dwelled on, Jewish nationalism was based on a mere fantasy. It associated the Jew with the land he was supposed to dwell on. The early Zionists' popular slogan at the time was: ‘land with no people for people with no land’. While many historians justly ridicule the above statement proving beyond doubt that the land of Palestine was in fact overwhelmingly occupied with indigenous Palestinians, the main problem with slogan has to do with the fact that People with no land can never establish a genuine nationalistic movement. Zionism was and still is, as groundless as, let’s say, an Italian claim for ownership of the land of England just because England was once a part of the Roman empire. Jewish nationalism was always an ideologically baseless utopian belief. It is an invalid nationalistic movement simply because the Jews are not a nation. More over even in their alleged ‘home land’, they are just about to become a minority. And yet, Zionism was a sign of a change, the Jews decided willingly to change their doomed fate, to become ‘normal’ people, people who love their land, people who engage with nature and live in nature. The Zionist Jew desired to redeem himself from the state of victimhood. The Zionist Jew desired to take his own fate in his hands. This reformed perception held till 1967, until then the Zionist Jew regarded himself as a proud self sufficient colonialist. Till 1967 the Holocaust had merely an instrumental role, it was something to capitalise on rather than a major tragic event. If anything, for my parents' generation, the holocaust was something to be ashamed of. The image of ‘cattle led to the slaughter’ filled them and even my generation with contempt towards anything that smelled like Diaspora. Tom Segev was very articulate in conveying the story of Israelis' disdain towards the ‘Seventh Million’ (those who managed to survive the war). Needless to say that the current state of Israel clearly reveals how unsuccessful Zionism proved to be. The transformation of the Jewish people into a modern western civilised society failed completely. The Israelis are far from being attached to the land which they apparently shred with apartheid walls. Not only that Israelis didn’t manage to erect a civilised society, it is hard to think of any current modern state as morally corrupted and racially motivated as the Jewish state. And yet, Zionism was an attempt to transform the Jew into a dignified being, A strong, blond athletic productive subject rather than one who prefers voluntarily to sit in the dark.

The alternative Jewish ideological answer to Zionism is provided by the Jewish left thinkers. On the surface it sounds poetic and peaceful but in practice it is at least as devastating as Zionism. The left Jew would roll his eyes up and state with sheer defeat that “it was Hitler rather than Moses who made him into a Jew”. Basically, it is the Other, the Gentile, who makes the Jew into a Jew. As funny as it may sound, most of those righteous Jews would argue in the same breath that the Palestinians should enjoy the right of ‘self determination’. I do ask myself how is it that when it comes to themselves, those left Jews are far from being generous. Somehow, so it appears, the left Jew is reluctant to self determine himself. Apparently, for the left Jew, WW2 has never ended, day by day, they are all defeated by Hitler or more generally speaking by the Gentile world. But isn’t this an absurd proposition? In fact, there is no Gentile world. Gentile world is in itself a Jewish invention. Gentile people do not identify themselves as ‘non Jews’, there are far more interesting predicates to embrace. Hence, we can clearly see that Jewish lefticsm is in itself a form of ‘sitting in the dark’ it is an exercise in victim practice. In short, like the Jewish mother they are sitting in the dark (probably not too far from their mothers). They are self appointed victims. Thus, we must admit then that it is not Hitler who turned them into Jews. They are Jews because enthusiastically, they endorse the Jewish identity. They prefer to be victims. It is their own preference not to change the light bulb.

But then why is it necessary? Surely the Jewish leftist knows that these days he can express his calling without presenting any ethnic traces, we are supposed to live in a multi cultural society. Your voice is supposed to be heard regardless of your ethnic origin, your religious background, your sexual preferences or any other social grouping. I would argue that the voluntarily tendency to sit in the dark is the new Jewish religion. It is a sophisticated ideological mechanism that makes the Other, the Western Gentile, feel unwelcome or inferior in any political discourse to do with Palestine. In practice it locates the humanist Jews in the centre of Palestinian affairs. But then, in practice it serves Israel with an ideological and moral body armour. As soon as those humanist Jews become recognised as a genuine voice for Palestine we learn from them that one state solution is utterly impractical. Somehow, for them, the Jewish cause is slightly more important than the Palestinian one. In the end of the day the Jews really suffered.

The victim strategy is the latest and most sophisticated form of Jewish supremacist segregation. Not only that I surround myself with walls, I even make the other feel guilty for me building those walls around myself (by the way, I don’t know whether you are aware of the bizarre fact that within the Israeli discourse it is the Palestinians that are blamed for the Jews building the apartheid wall). You can take from the Jew his religion, you can take away the chicken soup you can even put ‘sea fruit’ on his plate but once you take away the victim tendency, the Jew isn’t a Jew anymore. Once you lift the colossal threat of Hitler then the Jew becomes an ordinary boring being. Let me tell you, this is not going to happen.

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Jihad, Hamas likely to join PLO 2005-03-28 18:39:02
GAZA, March 28 (Xinhuanet) -- The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Islamic Jihad (Holy War) may join the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, a senior Islamic Jihad leader said Monday.

Mohamed al Hindi told reporters the issue was discussed at a meeting held late Sunday between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and senior members of the two Islamic militant groups.

He said the meeting, which he termed as positive, would pave the way for merging Jihad and Hamas into the PLO executive committee.

"Another meeting is expected to be held within the coming two days, where PLO executive committee members are scheduled to attendin addition to representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad," said al Hindi.

The scheduled meeting would focus on "bases that the organization would be built on," the leader said, adding "all these bases are also based on what have been agreed upon in Cairo on March 17."

Various Palestinian groups agreed at the Cairo dialogue to continue with a period of calmness by the end of 2005, given Israel stops attacks.

Both Jihad and Hamas, sworn to the destruction of Israel, used to oppose the principle of joining the PLO, however, they modified their stances recently by opening merge talks with the mainstream PLO and agreeing to a temporary halt to violence.

Hamas also announced to take part in the parliamentary electionsslated for July 17. The group boycotted the first such elections in the Palestinian territories in 1996.

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Naomi Klein Reveals New Details About U.S. Military Shooting of Italian War Correspondent in Iraq
Friday, March 25th, 2005
AMY GOODMAN: We're joined in Washington, D.C. by journalist Naomi Klein, who has just met with Giuliana Sgrena in Rome. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Naomi.

NAOMI KLEIN: Thanks, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: : Can you talk about what she told you?

NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah. At first I want to say that I know Giuliana really would have liked to have been on the show herself to talk to your listeners and viewers, but one of the things that surprised me when I met with Giuliana is that she was quite a bit sicker than I think we have been led to believe. Her injuries were described as fairly minor; she was shot in the shoulder. But when I met with her, she was clearly very, very ill, and that's why she's not on the show this morning. She was fired on by a gun at the top of a tank, which means that the artillery was very, very large. It was a four-inch bullet that entered her body and broke apart. And it didn't just injure her shoulder, it punctured her lung. And her lung continues to fill with fluid, and there continues to be complications stemming from that fairly serious injury. So that was one of the details.

She told me a lot about the incident that I had not fully understood from the reports in the press. One of the most – and at first, the other thing I want to be really clear about is that Giuliana is not saying that she's certain in any way that the attack on the car was intentional. She is simply saying that she has many, many unanswered questions, and there are many parts of her direct experience that simply don't coincide with the official U.S. version of the story. One of the things that we keep hearing is that she was fired on on the road to the airport, which is a notoriously dangerous road. In fact, it's often described as the most dangerous road in the world. So this is treated as a fairly common and understandable incident that there would be a shooting like this on that road. And I was on that road myself, and it is a really treacherous place with explosions going off all the time and a lot of checkpoints.

What Giuliana told me that I had not realized before is that she wasn't on that road at all. She was on a completely different road that I actually didn't know existed. It's a secured road that you can only enter through the Green Zone and is reserved exclusively for ambassadors and top military officials. So, when Calipari, the Italian security intelligence officer, released her from captivity, they drove directly to the Green Zone, went through the elaborate checkpoint process which everyone must go through to enter the Green Zone, which involves checking in obviously with U.S. forces, and then they drove onto this secured road.

And the other thing that Giuliana told me that she's quite frustrated about is the description of the vehicle that fired on her as being part of a checkpoint. She says it wasn't a checkpoint at all. It was simply a tank that was parked on the side of the road that opened fire on them. There was no process of trying to stop the car, she said, or any signals. From her perspective, they were just -- it was just opening fire by a tank.

The other thing she told me that was surprising to me was that they were fired on from behind. Because I think part of what we're hearing is that the U.S. soldiers opened fire on their car, because they didn't know who they were, and they were afraid. It was self-defense, they were afraid. The fear, of course, is that their car might blow up or that they might come under attack themselves. And what Giuliana Sgrena really stressed with me was that she -- the bullet that injured her so badly and that killed Calipari, came from behind, entered the back seat of the car. And the only person who was not severely injured in the car was the driver, and she said that this is because the shots weren't coming from the front or even from the side. They were coming from behind, i.e. they were driving away. So, the idea that this was an act of self-defense, I think becomes much more questionable. And that detail may explain why there's some reticence to give up the vehicle for inspection. Because if indeed the majority of the gunfire is coming from behind, then clearly, they were firing from -- they were firing at a car that was driving away from them.

AMY GOODMAN: : Now, can you talk about when Nicola Calipari arrived in Baghdad? For people who have not been following this story so much, the U.S. version of events of them driving to the airport very fast on a road with many checkpoints as you pointed out, not the secured road, that the U.S. soldiers fired into the air, tried to stop the vehicle, that they just kept on coming, and so eventually, they shot at them. Can you talk about how the Italian military intelligence official first came to Iraq?

NAOMI KLEIN: My understanding is he came the day before, and that he had checked in. U.S. authorities were aware of his presence. There was some kind of a negotiation process, but these details actually haven't come to light. The details that led to the negotiation, if there was a ransom paid. We don't know those details yet.

What Giuliana knows is simply what happened from the moment of her release to this day, and her description is that she didn't see any of those signals, and she really wants people to know that she was not on a road with any checkpoints, and in fact, she told me many times that Iraqis are not in any way able to access this road. It's not the road that we hear described so many times as being a road with roadside bombs going off all the time, with checkpoints that you have to pass through. It's a completely separate road, actually a Saddam-era road, it would seem, that allowed his vehicles to pass directly from the airport to his palace. And now that is the U.S. military base at the airport directly to the U.S.-controlled Green Zone and the U.S. Embassy.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And Naomi, what did she tell you about Calipari? He was sitting in the car with her in the back, or what happened when the shooting began, and -- with him?

NAOMI KLEIN: Yes. I mean, she feels a tremendous amount of guilt, as you can imagine, and one of the reasons why she feels so much guilt is that Calipari chose to sit with her in the back seat. There were only three of them in the vehicle. So, he could have sat in the front seat with the driver. But because she was so afraid and she had just emerged from this horrifying ordeal of being in captivity for a month, he told Giuliana, let's sit together in the back seat, and I’ll tell you -- she said that he was telling her stories to try to reconnect her with her life, because she had been incredibly disoriented.

One of the things that she has told me was most disorienting about her month in captivity was just that she didn't know what -- the difference between day and night. She didn't have control over the light switches, and because of Baghdad’s constant blackouts, the lights would go on and off at all hours, and she couldn't control the switches. So she really didn't know where she was. She says she has kind of a black hole of that month.

She said one of the most terrifying things was that she would often hear U.S. helicopters over the house, and she was obviously very afraid that the house that she was in would come under fire, because obviously it was a resistance house. It was a resistance stronghold. So she had many reasons to fear. She was afraid of her captors. She was afraid of U.S. soldiers. And so, Calipari sat with her in the back seat, and he just told her stories about all of her friends, about her husband, about everyone who had been worried about her, about Italy, and that was the context in which he was killed. So it was his decision to sit with her in the back seat, and he was telling her these stories and reconnecting her with her past life, with her current life, when he died protecting her from a bullet. And she told me that that moment is really all she's able to remember vividly. That's the only moment that feels real to her is the moment of his death. In fact, her month in captivity, horrific as it was, she said feels like a far-away dream. All she can think about is the moment where he died really in her arms, protecting her.

JUAN GONZALEZ: What about the driver of the car? Did she tell you anything about what happened with him, or did she recall that part?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, what she told me, and this is once -- an incident that I know that has been reported on in the Italian press, but not so much in the American press, is that after the shooting, she was very injured. They took her out of the car and lay her down, I think -- I don't know if they had a stretcher, but they -- she was being tended to, her wounds were being tended to. And the driver who was another intelligence officer called Italy and was on the phone, I think, with Berlusconi, she said, and he said, our car has just been fired on by 300 to 400 bullets. And as he was saying this, the U.S. soldiers ordered him to hang up the phone. So, but I asked her whether she had connected with him since the incident, and she said that she had not, with the driver.

AMY GOODMAN: : We're talking to Naomi Klein, independent journalist, who just met with Giuliana Sgrena, saw her in her hospital room in Rome.

I'm looking at Jeremy Scahill's piece in the most recent Indypendent called “Checkpoint Killings Unchecked,” that says the Italian government, a close ally of the Bush administration is disputing what the U.S. says. According to Italy’s foreign minister, Calipari arrived in Baghdad that Friday after making contact with the kidnappers. Calipari and a fellow agent checked in with U.S. authorities at the airport as well as the forces patrolling the area. The agents had been given security badges by the U.S. to allow them to travel freely in the country after picking up Sgrena from the abandoned vehicle where her kidnappers left her. They drove slowly to the airport, keeping the car lights on to help identify themselves at U.S. checkpoints.

It says, news of Sgrena's release was already on the Reuters newswire and on Al-Jazeera. The mood in the car was one of celebration until the vehicle came under intense gunfire. So this is also not only what you and Giuliana Sgrena are saying, but quite something that one of Bush's closest allies to the top, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is now refuting his ally's claims and also demanding an investigation that the U.S. is stopping at this point.


NAOMI KLEIN: Well, Berlusconi is facing elections at the beginning of April, which is partially why he needs to be seen to be taking somewhat of a tough line with the U.S. He doesn't -- he is not facing presidential elections. That doesn't come for another -- I think until 2007, but there are regional elections, and this was a national, obviously, a national incident, and he needed to be seen to be standing up to the U.S. in some way. But he's really been going back and forth, and this is another thing that Giuliana Sgrena was very frustrated about, because as we know she is very, very opposed and continues to be strongly opposed to the ongoing occupation of Iraq, believes that Italian and all, indeed, all foreign troops should withdraw.

And in the – one thing that she told me that was very moving was, she believes that her release really came as a result of anti-war organizing in Italy across incredible coalitions, and she said that she feels like her life is a testament to what people can do when they get organized, and when they work together. And she is frustrated that that same pressure forced Berlusconi to announce that Italian troops would be withdrawn in September, and she really felt that the left opposition parties should have really maintained pressure on Berlusconi to insist on Italian troop withdrawal now. But in fact, Berlusconi has been allowed to backpedal on this claim, and now he is saying he didn't really say that; they will withdraw when Iraqi security forces are strong enough.

And of course, Iraqi security forces -- it's not a training problem, it's an occupation problem. The reason why Iraqi security forces are not strong enough is because they're being massacred, because they're seen as an extension of the occupation. They don't have independence. And the continued occupation is the greatest problem to Iraqi security independence. It is not helping.

AMY GOODMAN: : Naomi, we have to break. When we come back we will continue this discussion and also talk about Paul Wolfowitz to be President of the World Bank.


AMY GOODMAN: We continue with independent reporter, Naomi Klein. She just met with Giuliana Sgrena, who has just been released from a Rome hospital to her home though she is still very ill, dealing with having been shot on the way to the airport after her release by -- in Iraqi captivity.

Naomi Klein, the news that the checkpoint -- that the road that they -- that Calipari was killed on, that she was driving on, Sgrena, when she was being driven to the airport, had been set up for – that there had been a checkpoint set up for the trip of U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte to a dinner that night with General George Casey, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq to provide security. U.S. soldiers established mobile checkpoint, clusters of humvees armed with 50 caliber machine guns on top. It was one of the details that opened fire on the Italians' vehicle. Have you heard anything about this?

NAOMI KLEIN: Well, this would support what Giuliana told me, which is that the road she was on was not the public road that other journalists have traveled on, and that contractors and so on travel on, the very dangerous road. It was a secured road reserved for top Embassy officials, like obviously like Negroponte. But one thing that's very clear is that if she is on this road, and the way she explains it, she had to go through a U.S. checkpoint in order to get into the Green Zone. You can only access this road through the Green Zone. It's very, very difficult to get into the Green Zone. When I tried to get into the Green Zone, I had to go through six checkpoints -- six different passport checks. So, the idea that the American military didn't know that they were on the road, that they -- that didn't know about their presence is impossible, if she was, in fact, on a road that emerged out of the Green Zone. And I think that the idea that there was a mobile checkpoint set up for Negroponte obviously supports this claim very strongly.

What Giuliana was talking about was what she was -- the only thing she could figure out is that the people who they checked in with in the Green Zone, the U.S. soldiers they checked in with in the Green Zone in order to get in, didn't radio ahead to these mobile checkpoints and warn them that they were coming. And from her perspective, that could have either been a mistake, or it could have been some sort of act of vengeance and anger, you know, and we know that there's a lot of anger at the idea that Italians may be paying very large ransoms for the release of prisoners. She's not alleging some grand conspiracy. There could have just been a broken down communication. But the idea that they didn't know, I think, is impossible, if she was on this secured road, because it emerged out of the Green Zone and you cannot get into the grown zone without passing through a checkpoint.

JUAN GONZALEZ: But even if there was broken down communication, it would seem that the issue of even just firing on a car that is moving away from you and is posing no threat to you on this secured road certainly raises questions of at least extreme negligence on the part of the U.S. soldiers.

NAOMI KLEIN: I think so. And I think that the -- all of these details will obviously emerge from the investigation, and we'll be hearing it directly from Giuliana herself and presumably from the driver.

AMY GOODMAN: Did Giuliana talk about her time in captivity and who held her, Naomi Klein?

NAOMI KLEIN: Yes, she did. I mean, she talked about this incredible disorientation. I think -- I know that you have covered the case on your show, and you have really stressed the fact that Giuliana's experience is not at all unique from the perspective of Iraqis who are living in this sort of pincer of the fear of being caught in a bombing by the resistance or a fear of being shot by U.S. soldiers at a checkpoint, and this is an ongoing fear every time Iraqis leave their home, and we're only hearing about this because there was foreigner involved, because it was such a dramatic incident.

But I think the other part of the story is the implications for journalists and for independent journalists, because Giuliana Sgrena is really a hero, and she is an incredibly committed war correspondent who has put herself in situations of tremendous risk around the world. She has been to Iraq many, many times. And she went back to Iraq after Simona Pari and Simona Torretta had been kidnapped and released. She told me she has met with the Simonas in her hospital room, as well as several other people who had been kidnapped. She referred to it as the ex-kidnapped club. And she went knowing these risks, but one thing she told me that I think is an issue that you have discussed often on the show is the implications for all of this, for whether independent journalists can do their job in Iraq. And coming from someone who has been willing to take such tremendous risks, she said she just cannot figure out how it's possible at this point. This is because the people who held her made it very clear to her that they don't want independent journalists working in Iraq talking to Iraqis. And this was really one of the most disturbing details and, I think, a very telling detail. She told them that that made them just like Bush, because the Bush administration has also made it clear that they don't want independent witnesses talking to Iraqis, counting the bodies, highlighting the civilian toll of the war, but there are also clearly some elements of the resistance that feel the same way, and this makes it very, very difficult for independent journalists to do their work.

Comment: Several weeks after the attack and Bush's promises that he would get to the bottom of it, the car that Sgrena, Calipari and the driver were in has still not been handed over to the Italians. The evidence that Klein brings out in this interview puts to lie the US version of the events, as well as the reporting of the US media that continue to claim Sgrena was on the public road, not the private road with restricted access.

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Insurgent attacks
ABC News Online (Australia)
Monday, March 28, 2005. 7:21am (AEST)

In a separate CNN interview, George Casey, the commanding US general of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, told the news network that current insurgent assaults were running at between 50 and 60 attacks a day.

"They (insurgents) are able to maintain the level of violence between 50 and 60 attacks a day," General Casey said.

"The four provinces where the insurgency is still capable is out west, near Fallujah in Anbar province, in the Baghdad area and Saladdin, which is in the centre of the country, around Saddam's home town, and up north, in the Mosul area," he said.

General Casey said the insurgency had not been broken yet.

"What it means to me is that they're not nearly as strong or as capable as some people thought they were prior to the elections," he said.

"Since the elections, the Iraqi security forces have gotten more involved, and the Iraqi people have gotten more involved in giving us tips, telling us where insurgents are and where insurgent weapons storage sites and things like that are."

Asked for an update on the ongoing US manhunt for Iraq's most-wanted insurgent - the Al Qaeda linked Jordanian Abu Masab Al-Zarqawi - General Abizaid said Zarqawi's followers were certainly operating in western Iraq.

"I think you well understand that a big military organisation like the US military are pretty good at pressuring the (insurgent) networks, and that is what we're doing," he said.

"A single manhunt is a difficult thing. Over time, we keep finding out more and more about his organisation, we take more people out of it, and his time is running out."

Comment: Sixty attacks a day? Where are the news reports of 60 attacks a day in Iraq?

Two months after the general elections, there is still no Iraqi government because the US fixed the laws in such a way that it takes a 66% majority in the parliament to appoint a government. Elsewhere on the planet it only takes 50% plus one vote. Paul Bremer ensured chaos by forcing the Iraqis to be "more democratic" than anyone else, a form of continued control over the country by that great defender of rights and liberties, the United States.

And, of course, the discussion has to turn to that great Satanic figure, Abu Masab Al-Zarqawi. "His time is running out" we are assured by the commander of the occupation forces.

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Iraq's most-wanted terrorist 'surrounded'

28/03/2005 - 14:03:51

Iraqi security forces have surrounded Iraq’s most-wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the country’s interior minister said today.

Al-Zarqawi, the leader of the terror network al Qaida in Iraq, has eluded arrest while kidnapping and killing people in Iraq. Yesterday, militants posted a video on the internet showing the purported execution of a man identifying himself as Interior Ministry official Col. Ryadh Gatie Olyway.

“We have not arrested al Zarqawi,” Interior Minister Falah al-Nakib said during a news conference. “He is surrounded in a certain area, and we hope for the best. This operation is ongoing. We hope that the situation will be completely different in Iraq at the end of this year.”

Al-Nakib said al-Zarqawi was moving in "more than one area," but he refused to give details.

Comment: The excitement is almost too much to bear. Will he make a daring escape!? We can only sit and watch as the latest piece of American propaganda unfolds.

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Fundamentalist Group Claims Texas Explosion
By Anadolu News Agency
Published: Friday 25, 2005

An explosion at a British Petroleum (BP) petrochemical plant in the US state of Texas, killing 14 and injuring over 100, has been claimed by a fundamentalist group.

A manifesto broadcast on the Internet from the "Military Organization of the Middle East" stated that the recent attack was a new form of operation. The name of the organization was heard for the first time with another manifesto published on the Internet on Monday (March 21st), which claimed an attack with a bomb-loaded vehicle in the capital of Qatar, Doha, on March 19th.

Another manifesto published by the organization on the Internet on Tuesday (March 22) threatens the US, Great Britain and Italy with possible attacks against oil plants and military bases in the West and churches in the Middle East.

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New city police cars will have cameras
March 25, 2005

Six years ago, the Chicago Police Department installed cameras in 10 squad cars to restore public confidence after a pair of police shootings killed two unarmed civilians: Robert Russ and LaTanya Haggerty.

It was supposed to be the wave of the future for the entire police fleet. Instead, it turned out to be a 10-camera pilot program that went no further.

On Thursday, Fleet Management Commissioner Michael Picardi disclosed plans to install cameras on 125 new squad cars scheduled for delivery over the next two months: front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Impalas that will replace the old rear-wheel-drive Ford Crown Victorias.

"It makes it safer for the officer. Now, you're filming everything that's going on during a traffic stop, during an arrest," Picardi said.

Big Brother microphones tested

Picardi said he's even experimenting with a Big Brother bonus for unmarked police cars: a tiny microphone positioned near the windshield so powerful it can pick up conversations on the street.

"You could pull into a street corner and, if there's a drug deal going on a half-block away, you can hear what's going on. You could have all the windows shut and the air-conditioning on and you could hear everything going on outside the vehicle," Picardi said.

Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said he would be concerned if the police recorded those conversations without a warrant.

"It would raise serious questions under the Fourth Amendment and the Illinois eavesdropping law," Yohnka said.

Illinois State Police have 1,200 vehicles equipped with cameras.

"It's all pluses, no minuses," State Police spokesman Lincoln Hampton said. [...]

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Earthquake strikes off coast off Sumatra

Mon Mar 28, 2005

LONDON (Reuters) - An 8.2 magnitude earthquake struck in the sea off the coast of Sumatra at 4.09 p.m. British time, the U.S. Geological Survey has told Reuters.

A USGS spokeswoman said the quake struck 125 miles west northwest off Sibolga, Sumatra or 880 miles northwest of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, close to where a 9.0 December quake triggered a devastating Tsunami in Asia.

The USGS spokeswoman could not say if the quake on Monday would trigger a Tsunami.

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Storms Packing Hail, Rain Pound Southeast
March 28, 2005

ATLANTA - Storms packing large hail, lightning and drenching rain pounded the Southeast over the weekend, injuring motorists in Georgia and Mississippi and flooding rivers and streets across the region.

In northwest Atlanta, the grandchildren of one woman had to be rescued from her house because of Sunday's rising floodwaters. Firefighters used ladders to get the children out of the house.

Parts of central Georgia saw up to 8 inches of rain Sunday, forcing at least five rivers from their banks, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kent McMullen said. Near Newnan, the rain was blamed for a five-car pile up that shut down Interstate 85 in both directions Sunday. Three people were injured.

Trees fell and hail pelted parts of south-central Mississippi. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency officials said two people were injured and the hardest hit areas appeared to be Hinds and Yazoo counties.

A Yazoo County man was hospitalized in stable condition Saturday night after a tree and power lines fell on his car, agency spokeswoman Lea Stokes said. A woman in Yazoo County was treated at a hospital and released after "hail went through the windshield of her car."

A possible tornado Sunday afternoon damaged some trees and homes in a rural area near Montgomery, Ala., but no injuries were reported. Anita Patterson, the director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency, said damage was not extensive and roads were passable.

In southwest Georgia, residents of Dougherty County left Sunday church services to find the water had risen over the road. Dougherty County Public Works employee Booker Saylor said it's the worst flooding he's seen since the 1990s.

In Washington state, meanwhile, an early spring storm drenched both sides of the Cascades and brought snow to the mountains, turning Snoqualmie Pass into an icy mess where at least 30 accidents were reported, one of them fatal.

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Cassiopaean materials Copyright ©1994-2014 Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. All rights reserved. "Cassiopaea, Cassiopaean, Cassiopaeans," is a registered trademark of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.
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