Sunday, April 03, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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Givre

Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression: Originally Thirteen Techniques for Truth Suppression
by David Martin, author of America's Dreyfus Affair

Strong, credible allegations of high-level criminal activity can bring down a government. When the government lacks an effective, fact-based defense, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party.

1. Dummy up. If it's not reported, if it's not news, it didn't happen.

2. Wax indignant. This is also known as the "how dare you?" gambit.

3. Characterize the charges as "rumors" or, better yet, "wild rumors." If, in spite of the news blackout, the public is still able to learn about the suspicious facts, it can only be through "rumors." (If they tend to believe the "rumors" it must be because they are simply "paranoid" or "hysterical.")

4. Knock down straw men. Deal only with the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Even better, create your own straw men. Make up wild rumors and give them lead play when you appear to debunk all the charges, real and fanciful alike.

5. Call the skeptics names like "conspiracy theorist," "nut," "ranter," "kook," "crackpot," and of course, "rumor monger." Be sure, too, to use heavily loaded verbs and adjectives when characterizing their charges and defending the "more reasonable" government and its defenders. You must then carefully avoid fair and open debate with any of the people you have thus maligned. For insurance, set up your own "skeptics" to shoot down.

6. Impugn motives. Attempt to marginalize the critics by suggesting strongly that they are not really interested in the truth but are simply pursuing a partisan political agenda or are out to make money (compared to over-compensated adherents to the government line who, presumably, are not).

7. Invoke authority. Here the controlled press and the sham opposition can be very useful.

8. Dismiss the charges as "old news."

9. Come half-clean. This is also known as "confession and avoidance" or "taking the limited hangout route." This way, you create the impression of candor and honesty while you admit only to relatively harmless, less-than- criminal "mistakes." This stratagem often requires the embrace of a fall- back position quite different from the one originally taken. With effective damage control, the fall-back position need only be peddled by stooge skeptics to carefully limited markets.

10. Characterize the crimes as impossibly complex and the truth as ultimately unknowable.

11. Reason backward, using the deductive method with a vengeance. With thoroughly rigorous deduction, troublesome evidence is irrelevant. For example: We have a completely free press. If they know of evidence that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) had prior knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing they would have reported it. They haven't reported it, so there was no prior knowledge by the BATF. Another variation on this theme involves the likelihood of a conspiracy leaker and a press that would report the leak.

12. Require the skeptics to solve the crime completely. For example: If Vince Foster was murdered, who did it and why?

13. Change the subject. This technique includes creating and/or publicizing distractions.

14. Scantly report incriminating facts, and then make nothing of them. This is sometimes referred to as "bump and run" reporting.

15. Baldly and brazenly lie. A favorite way of doing this is to attribute the "facts" furnished the public to a plausible-sounding, but anonymous, source.

16. Expanding further on numbers 4 and 5, have your own stooges "expose" scandals and champion popular causes. Their job is to pre-empt real opponents and to play 99-yard football. A variation is to pay rich people for the job who will pretend to spend their own money.

17. Flood the Internet with agents. This is the answer to the question, "What could possibly motivate a person to spend hour upon hour on Internet news groups defending the government and/or the press and harassing genuine critics?" Don't the authorities have defenders enough in all the newspapers, magazines, radio, and television? One would think refusing to print critical letters and screening out serious callers or dumping them from radio talk shows would be control enough, but, obviously, it is not.

Comment: Boy, have we seen these tactics used against our work! The Pentagon Strike flash is a great example. The first question we get asked (by the sincere) or that gets thrown in our face (by the agents) is what then happened to Flight 77? What happened to everyone on it?

The point is, we may never know. We can make some hypotheses based on the data. But the important point raised in the flash and by 911 researchers is that the evidence is overwhelming that it was not an airplane that hit the Pentagon. And we see that there are numerous agents in the 911 movement who expose scandals like holographic inserts or who accept the official version that a Boeing hit the Pentagon, seeking to lead people astray.

Reasoning backwards is one of the strongest ones when it comes to 911. They begin by saying "It is impossible for an elected government in the US to attack it's own citizens" and therefore all the evidence is dismissed beforehand.

You can go through the list and see how each of these tactics is used, be it on 911 or hyperdimensional realities. The powers that be do not want this information to get out.

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America's religious right lashes out at judges over Schiavo
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
The Independent
02 April 2005

Terri Schiavo is dead but the political storm unleashed by her passing shows no sign of abating - with the polarising and embattled figure of Tom DeLay, one of the most powerful Republicans on Capitol Hill, squarely in its eye.

A day after Ms Schiavo died in a Florida hospice, the unseemly battle between her parents and her husband moved into a new phase, this time over her funeral arrangements.

Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, would like her to be buried in Florida.

But the last word - as it has throughout the angry dispute - almost certainly belongs to her husband, Michael Schiavo, who plans a cremation. The ashes will be buried at a secret site near Philadelphia, to avoid "a media spectacle," according to Michael's brother, Scott Schiavo.

In the meantime an autopsy was being carried out, which may resolve the extent of the brain damage of Ms Schiavo, diagnosed as being in a "persistent vegetative state" since she was stricken in 1990.

But whatever the forensic findings, the political shockwaves of the story will continue to reverberate, pitting conservative Republicans and social groups, desperate to save Ms Schiavo, against a judicial system that refused to intervene to keep her alive.

Comment: As we have previously remarked, nothing seems to stands in the way of Bush and the Neocons when they want something. They had no problem lying to the masses to invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq. They had no problem passing laws to drastically restrict civil liberties. They had no problem detaining without charge and torturing "suspects" in the war on terrorism. So, doesn't it seem that if they had wanted Schiavo to live, they could have made it happen?

For a conservative Christian right that regards what has happened as legalised murder, the culprits are America's unelected federal judges. As the movement's leaders point out, the federal judiciary was specifically invited to step in by emergency congressional legislation, signed by President George Bush. But they complain bitterly, it signally failed to do so. The judicial system is now "totally out of control," said James Dobson, the head of the Focus on the Family ministry and pressure group, and considered one of the most influential evangelical Christians in the country.

Comment: Perhaps we begin to see the real intention behind the Bush administration's move in the Schiavo case. Was the federal judiciary set up?

Even more remarkable however was the outburst of Mr DeLay, Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives and closely linked to the religious right, who led the campaign to have Congress interfere in an affair that most Americans, polls say, should be resolved by the judiciary.

The courts "had thumbed their nose at Congress and the President," the Texan said. More astounding still, he appeared to threaten vengeance against those who had defied his wishes. "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behaviour," he thundered, implying that impeachment of the errant judges was not out of the question.

His language horrified not only Democrats but also some Republicans, appalled by an attack on the independence of the judicial branch, enshrined in the US Constitution. Some observers think it may deepen Mr DeLay's considerable political difficulties on several fronts.

In his home state, prosecutors are investigating his involvement in a funding scandal. In Washington, where he has had several brushes with the house ethics committee, he is accused of taking free trips paid for by lobbyist cronies - some of these involved in a related scandal over Indian casino gambling.

Comment: Some observers think DeLay is in hot water politically; other observers suspect otherwise...

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US Scholars: "Voters' intent may not have been accurately recorded"
ElectionArchive.org
March 31st 2005

A recently released report by a dozen American academics, specialists in fields from mathematics to statistical science, has concluded that "the hypothesis that the voters' intent was not
accurately recorded or counted cannot be ruled out and needs further investigation."

The report, published by "USCountVotes" - a scientific research project whose mission is to objectively investigate the accuracy of elections in America - maintains that the probability that the discrepancy between the exit poll results and the popular vote in the november 2004 election was the result of pure chance is around 959,000 to 1.

The exit pollster of record for the 2004 election was the Edison/Mitofsky1 consortium. Their national poll results projected a Kerry victory by 3.0%, whereas the official count had Bush
winning by 2.5%.

Importance of Exit Polls Under such circumstances we must rely on indirect evidence - such as exit polls, or analysis of election result data - as a check of the overall integrity of the official election results. Without auditability or transparency in our election systems, the role of exit polls as a trigger for further scrutiny is of paramount importance.

Background

The 2004 exit polls were conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International (Edison/Mitofsky, or E/M) on contract with major national press and TV news services, operating collectively as the National Election Pool. Edison/Mitofsky conduct exit polls in every state plus a nationwide exit poll. Confidential exit poll data showing John Kerry ahead of George Bush in several key “battleground states” was disclosed to the general public on the afternoon of November 2.

Immediately following the election, the national exit polls showed that Kerry had won the popular vote by a margin of 3.0%. However, by the morning of November 3rd, the official vote counts showed Bush defeating Kerry by 2.5% in the popular vote. This discrepancy between exit polls and the official election results has triggered a controversy which has yet to be resolved.

Shortly after the exit poll disparity was noted, the Edison/Mitofsky group took the position that their own projections could not be taken as an indication of error in the official vote count. The theory they put forward to explain the disparity was that more of the Bush voters had declined to be interviewed for the exit polls, while more of the Kerry voters had completed the poll questionnaire.

Immediately after the election, those skeptical of Edison/Mitofsky's explanation tried to obtain the precinct-level unadjusted exit poll data to independently test Edison/Mitofsky's explanation, but the raw data has not, to this day, been released. In the absence of raw data, analyses were done using “screen captures” of data published to the Internet on election night. One such analysis of unadjusted exit poll data was done by Ron Baiman. Baiman found that statistically significant discrepancies of exit poll results from reported election outcomes were concentrated in five states, four of which were key battleground states.

Is this merely a coincidence? How much of a coincidence was it? [...]

Comment: Of course, if these academics want to keep their jobs, they must refrain from coming out and clearly stating the logical conclusion of their investigation, i.e., Bush stole the 2004 election.

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New Pope Unlikely to Be From United States
By RICHARD N. OSTLING, AP Religion Writer
April 3, 2005

When the cardinals enter their secretive conclave to pick the new pope, the 11 Americans voting will be the second-largest national group behind the Italians. But don't expect an American pope - Vatican experts are absolutely convinced it won't happen.

"The economic, political and military power of the United States leads to resentments, and that's part of the human dynamic," George Weigel, John Paul II's biographer, said before the pope's death.

An American would be "virtually impossible," he said.

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus of First Things magazine agreed. An American pontiff "would give not only the appearance but perhaps the substance of increasing what is perceived by many as the inordinate hegemony of American power."

The Rev. Thomas Reese of America magazine noted that in past centuries "the church always tried to keep (the papacy) out of the hands of the superpower" of the day, whether the Holy Roman Empire, Spain or France. The exception, the 14th century French popes who moved the Holy See to Avignon, proved disastrous.

There are other factors that make Americans unattractive papal candidates.

Popes need to be the masters of many languages but most Americans are fluent only in English, Reese said.

The country's clerical sex abuse scandal also hasn't helped America's reputation within the church and in Rome, and the U.S. church already had a reputation for being troublesome.

Observers also predict the American cardinals won't form any united bloc to work effectively for a particular policy, candidate or region such as neighboring Latin America.

The U.S. cardinals "are not as united as they were 10 or even five years ago," Neuhaus said, and lack the "common mind and approach that has characterized the American cardinals at some points in the past."

They range from staunch conservatives like Francis George of Chicago and James Stafford, head of a Vatican tribunal, to Los Angeles' Roger Mahony and Washington's Theodore McCarrick, regarded as rather more flexible and pragmatic. [...]

Neuhaus and Weigel, both traditionalists, said Vatican friends had commented that it was too bad George is American because he would make an attractive candidate otherwise. However, Weigel does think George, who is in line to become president of the U.S. bishops' conference in 2007, will have personal influence among fellow electors. [...]

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No Clear Front-Runner to Succeed Pope
By BRIAN MURPHY
The Associated Press
Saturday, April 2, 2005; 11:17 PM

VATICAN CITY - The intense guessing game over who will be the next pope has only one certainty: the cardinals must decide whether to follow John Paul II with another non-Italian or hand the papacy back to its traditional caretakers. [...]

There is no clear favorite when the 117 cardinals begin their secret conclave later this month. [...]

One only has to recall that after two days and eight rounds of voting 26 years ago, the name of Karol Wojtyla - never mentioned as a serious candidate - was announced to the crowd in St. Peter's Square. Many there were baffled.

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Jean-Marie Lustiger: Second Jewish Pope?
By UWE SIEMON-NETTO
UPI Religion Editor
April 01, 2005

France was stunned when Pope John Paul II named Jewish-born Jean-Marie Lustiger as archbishop of Paris. "You are the fruit of the Holy Father's prayer," the pontiff's secretary told him. Could it be that the cardinal-electors will now stun the world by choosing Lustiger as next pope, the first Jew to occupy St. Peter's See since Peter himself?

Lustiger, both whose parents died in Auschwitz, has always insisted that, though he had converted to Christianity at age 14, he was and remained a Jew: "I was born a Jew and so I am. For me, the vocation of Israel is to bring light to the goyim. That's my hope, and I believe Christianity is the means for achieving it."

There is a remarkable conversion dialectic in Lustiger's life. He had himself baptized because he was so impressed with the Catholic faith of his foster parents, who brought him up after his real parents had been deported from Paris in 1940. In return, Lustiger has made it his mission to convert -- or, rather, re-evangelize -- France and by extension Europe in an unorthodox way.

While a parish priest, Lustiger wrote a memorandum to archbishop of Paris, Cardinal François Marty. In it he proposed a revolutionary strategy for bringing Christianity back to France, once called the First Daughter of the Church. He insisted the church must abandon any pretense of power and convert culture instead.

As George Weigel, the pope's biographer, commented on this plan: "This meant taking the gospel straight to the molders and shapers of French high culture, the thoroughly secularized French intelligentsia. The hardest cases should be put first and France should be reconverted from the head down."

According to Weigel, Lustiger believes this memorandum must have found its way to the Vatican and contributed to his promotions to bishop of Orleans in 1979, archbishop of Paris in 1981 and cardinal in 1983.

If so, Lustiger's strategy is bearing fruit. No sooner did he ascend to the Paris See than he targeted intellectuals, preaching to them every Sunday evening at his cathedral, Notre Dame de Paris. This year -- more than two decades after he inaugurated this sermon series -- the influential Figaro newspaper ran an eight-part series about Christian intellectuals finally resurfacing in France after a very long internal exile: it simply wasn't considered chic to be a man or woman of faith.

In France, the rest of the country has always followed the intellectuals' path. It is now fashionable again, even for leftwing thinkers such as Regis Debré, Ché Guevara's companion, to speak of the need of religious instruction at school, though the government blocked the mention of God and Christianity in the draft of the new European constitution.

The French church, once an institution of immense power, has become a mission church, and her sisters in other part of the Continent are following her example. Indeed, that mission takes place chiefly in the once almost hopelessly secularized urban centers, where there are now first signs of a tender spiritual renewal.

That, too, was Lustiger's brainchild. Since Europe's conversion has top priority for the Catholic Church, the election of this formidable preacher and thinker is still a possibility, even though, at 77, he is no longer of an ideal age -- and though popular superstition holds the last pope will be of Jewish descent and call himself Peter II.

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Israel's Orthodox groups face challenge over Jewish identity
By Eric Silver in Jerusalem
The Independent
01 April 2005

Israel's Supreme Court has delivered a landmark ruling, reviving a controversy as old as the Jewish state and as divisive for Jews as the Reformation was for Christians.

By a majority of 7-4, the court ruled yesterday that gentiles who studied for conversion to Judaism in non-Orthodox Israeli training courses, completing the process abroad, had an automatic right to come back and obtain instant Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.

The verdict is being seen by many as a significant step towards recognising the right of Reform and Conservative rabbis to carry out non-Orthodox conversions in Israel itself. In effect, it redefines who is a Jew in Israeli civil law and threatens the iron control of the Orthodox establishment in Israel over Jewish marriage, divorce, conversion and burial.

Would-be converts based in Israel wishing to train for conversion in the liberal streams of the Jewish tradition are currently unable to complete the process in the country, as a result of pressure from the Orthodox Jewish establishment. As a result many go abroad to convert, but up until now have been denied the privileges accorded to Orthodox Jewish converts.

Ophir Pines-Paz, the Israeli Interior Minister, said that the ruling would be applied "in the clearest manner". It provided solutions, he added, for a great many people "who are living among us today and are forced to go through a very difficult, frustrating and exhausting procedure."

Orthodox leaders were furious at the court decision. The Sephardi Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Amar, said: "There aren't two movements or three movements in Judaism. There is only one Judaism. Whoever doesn't go through an Orthodox conversion is not a Jew."

His Ashkenazi opposite number, Yonah Metzger, warned that the ruling would "split the nation in two". The Law of Return, adopted in 1950 and still resented by Palestinians, asserts that "every Jew has the right to immigrate to the country". David Ben-Gurion, the founding father, explained: "It is not the state which grants the right to settle in the state to the Jew abroad. This right is ingrained in him insofar as he is a Jew."

The first breach in the Orthodox monopoly came in 1989, when the Supreme Court held that non-Orthodox proselytes converted in their own countries counted as Jews for immigration and citizenship purposes. The Reform and Conservative movements represent a majority of American Jews and a growing minority in Britain, though they remain marginal in Israel. They offer a less stringent entry ticket to Judaism. [...]

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Israel: A Jews-only state- Part II
aljazeera.com
4/2/2005 9:00:00 PM GMT

The Jews-only state in Palestine tries to purify its Jewish essence through the construction of Jews-only roads.

"Israel has established a 300-mile road network throughout the West Bank connecting the settlements. These are high-security roads-three football fields wide with their surrounding security perimeters - and they are accessible only to Israelis. They separate Palestinian population areas from each other and from their agricultural land; in fact, before the current warfare, they segmented the areas of semi-autonomous Palestinian control into 227 separate, non-contiguous patches of land." (Kathleen Christison 'Before There Was Terrorism')

The concept of Jews-only roads should not be entirely surprising since Jews have also created Jews-only settlements, villages, towns, and cities, "They (palestinians) are not permitted, by law, to move into Jewish cities or the Jewish neighborhoods of mixed cities. (Kathleen & Bill Christison '"Finally It Broke My Heart": Random Impressions from Palestine')

"small luxury Jewish communities known in Hebrew as 'mitzpim'. These mitzpim, which have extensive lands on which their inhabitants can build, are required by law to vet anyone who wishes to live inside them. Again by law, non-Jews are not entitled to apply to join these communities." (Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 'Apartheid targets Palestinian home-owners inside Israel' )

So, although Palestinian-Israelis are technically allowed to travel on these roads, in practice this is not possible because the roads link one Jews-only settlement/town/city to another.

There are also Jews-only cemeteries alongside the Jews-only roads running between Jews-only settlements/towns/cities, in the Jews-only state. Jews loathe the idea of being laid to rest in the company of non-Jews - as if even in death non-Jews might contaminate or poison their Jewish essence. As Israel shamir has pointed out, "Their separate burial is necessary to guarantee their bodily resurrection when the Messiah comes. A Jewish body defiled by gentile proximity won't be resurrected, according to the Jews. Even irreligious Jews follow this separation rule without giving it a second thought." If non-Jews are accidentally buried amongst Jews this puts all the Jews at resurrectional risk so they have to be dug up and transferred to a non-Jewish cemetery, "This squeamish attitude is particularly unpleasant: whenever the Jews discover that a person of doubtful Jewishness is buried among their lot they remove the body and dump it elsewhere. It happened to an Israeli citizen Teresa Angelowitz. She was buried in the Jewish cemetery; later on the religious authorities discovered that she was a wife of a Jew, but not a Jew. They exhumed her body at the dark of the night and re-buried on the dumping ground. It happened to many Russian soldiers who died defending the Jewish character of Israel and were refused the burial."

Many Jews in the Jews-only state were horrified by the tsunami which hit South-East Asia in December 2004. They were horrified by the idea that jewish victims might end up being buried with the tens of thousands of goy victims, "While the whole world had sent aid to the tsunami-hit South East Asia, Israel forwarded a team entrusted with a unique task. Not many Israeli tourists were swept away by the giant waves - official death toll stands at three, with some twenty missing; not many comparing with the hundred thousand Indonesians or even with three thousand Swedes. Still the Israeli teams were very active on the ground. The highly trained experts led by Rabbi Meshi Zahav did not go to save trapped survivors or alleviate suffering of millions; their job was to save dead Jews from fate worse than death - that is to be buried with the goyim in the same grave."

The Haaretz daily reported: "The Israeli rescue teams in Thailand split up Thursday: one team worked on identifying bodies in Krabi, while another worked on the same task in Phuket. The Israeli crews - from the police and Zaka (a non-profit group that specializes in identifying victims of disasters) - are trying to locate dead Israelis before they are buried". They pressed upon the Thai government to postpone the mass entombment, though it was necessary to prevent the spread of epidemics; and Bangkok gave in. Every dead Jewish body should be taken to Israel, or at least buried separately from impure non-Jews. Witty Gilad Atzmon remarked: "the 'altruistic' Jews are in a state of panic, as we all know, dead Jews are precious, they deserve a special burial. The fact that 5-10 Jews might be lost forever among some other 125.000 gentiles is pretty horrifying, I am sure you can see it."" (Israel Shamir 'Tsunami in Gaza' January 2nd 2005).

In the Jews-only state, with its jews-only cemeteries, jews-only land, and jews-only roads running between jews-only settlements/towns/cities, it is absolutely imperative that, in death, every part of a jew's body is buried in a jews-only cemetery, "A week after the Likud referendum, two terrible blows were delivered. An armored vehicle carrying a large quantity of explosives entered Gaza city in order to blow up buildings, and was hit by a roadside bomb planted by Palestinian fighters. It exploded, tearing the six soldiers to pieces. The day after, the very same thing happened on the "Philadelphi Axis": an armored personnel carrier full of explosives, which was sent there to blow up tunnels under the border, was hit by a Palestinian rocket and blew up with its five crew members. The power of each of the two explosions was such that body parts were scattered over hundreds of meters. The whole country saw on TV how Israeli soldiers crawled on all fours, filtering the sand with their bare hands in order to gather the body parts of their comrades. The media competed in the orchestration of a necrophile hysteria, with endless talk about "body parts" interlaced with scenes of funerals. (Uri Avnery 'Busharon: The Countdown' May 15th, 2004). There is no intention here of mocking Zionists' death rituals. All cultures have their own rituals concerning the burial of the dead and each must be given the same respect. However, the respect that I afforded this ritual unexpectedly blew up in my face a few months later when I read an article in which the commentator made an aside that Zionist state refuses to return what is left of the bodies of human bombers to their families. "When Michael Matza, the Inquirer's Jerusalem correspondent, wrote a story headlined 'Palestinians' Remains Fuel a Bitterness,' which detailed Israel's practice of not releasing the bodies of human bombers, it provoked a hue and cry from readers who felt the piece was too sympathetic to families of the bombers. It didn't matter that Matza had written numerous pieces sympathetic to Israeli victims of "suicide" attacks. He was denounced as anti-Semitic and labeled a "self-hating Jew," a favorite epithet for Jewish journalists." (Barbara Matusow 'Caught in the Crossfire' American Journalism Review June/July 2004 issue). The Zionists show their utter contempt for Palestinians by doing the exact opposite of what is demanded of them by their own death rituals. This is part of Zionists' cultural terrorism against the Palestinians.

There is a lot of 'Jews-only' racism in the Jews-only state. There are, of course, racists in every society and there are even some in Western governments, but these days if Western politicians were to make a racist statement in public they would immediately be attacked by their countries' Zionist lobby and, if they didn't resign, they would be sacked forthwith. Not so in the Jewish state. Jewish politicians can make openly racist statements without anyone bothering to condemn them. "An Israeli cabinet minister has called for the expulsion of some 1.3 million Palestinian citizens of Israel who constitute nearly one fifth of the state's population. Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman said during an interview with the Israeli army radio (Gali Tzahal) on Sunday that the 'Arabs of Israel' should be expelled in case a Palestinian state was established and Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip were dismantled. Lieberman, a former Moldovan immigrant, who arrived in Israel in 1978, suggested that the existence of a large non-Jewish minority in Israel threatened the "Jewish identity" and "ethnic purity" of Israel. But his explicitly racist remarks raised no ire in the Israeli political establishment. Israeli officials, from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon downward, refused to condemn the remarks, suggesting a sympathy with Lieberman's ideas.

Lieberman's racism has been well known for many years. A few years ago, he called for the bombing of the Aswan Dam in Egypt, the Presidential palace in Damascus and Iran's nuclear facilities. He also called for executing Arab Knesset members Tibi and Mohamed Baraka by a firing squad for supporting the Palestinians rights and calling for ending the Israeli occupation. In 2002, he urged the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to carry out "wholesale killings" of Palestinian civilians in order to force them to flee to Jordan and other neighbouring Arab countries." ('Israeli Minister Wants Total Palestinian-Arab 'Cleansing'')

"Recently, a law was passed in one of the Israeli Knesset's many committees saying that settlers who will be evacuated following a future retreat from the Gaza Strip will be given compensation. There was a minimal majority of one committee member for this law, which is an essential part of Prime Minister's Ariel Sharon's plan of "Gaza Disengagement", and in order for it to be passed the balance was tipped to the side of the government from outside the coalition by Member of Knesset Mohammad Barake. Barake, a MK from "Hadash" party (the former communist party) is, as his name might indicate, an Israeli Arab. Limor Livnat, the Israeli minister of education, who had also voted in favor of the law, was one of the most noticeable politicians in a group of right wing Knesset members and others who had each expressed outrage that an Arab (who had, like any other Member of the Knesset, been elected democratically) was the one to determine the future of Israel in such an important question. Because of Livnat's high position in the government, there was a mini uproar in the Israeli media about the fact that the minister of education, the person who is in charge of what children will be taught in schools, had said something so bluntly racist. In actuality, no one was surprised. No one has any illusions that Ariel Sharon and the rest of the ministers besides - maybe - politicians from the Labor Party, think any differently from Livnat, in spite of them remaining more or less silent about the subject. In any normal "western" democracy such a thing would have become an immediate scandal. I can only imagine that if Germany's education minister would say something even remotely close to Livnat's statement about a Jewish parliament member, the only question would be whether that minister would find him or herself out of a job more quickly than it would take the foreign minister of Israel to file an official protest." (Uri Yaakobi 'Limor Livnat and the Palestinian "problem"'

Perhaps there ought to be a Zionist lobby in the Zionist state to keep Zionist politicians on the straight and narrow.

The Jews-only policy does not, as yet, extend to stopping Jews from marrying non-Jews - it just makes it impossible for them to live together. "A new law passed by the Israeli parliament on 31 July 2003 bars family unification for Israelis who are married to Palestinians from the Occupied Territories. The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law explicitly discriminates against Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It also implicitly discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who constitute some 20% of the Israeli population, and against Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, for it is they who usually marry Palestinians from the Occupied Territories. As such, the law formally institutionalizes a form of racial discrimination based on ethnicity or nationality. The UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination has expressed concern about this new law and has called on Israel to revoke it and reconsider its policy with a view to facilitating family unification on a non-discriminatory basis. The UN Human Rights Committee has likewise called on Israel to revoke the law and to reconsider its policy with a view to facilitating family unification of all citizens and permanent residents. Not being able to obtain family unification for their Palestinian spouses leaves thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jerusalem residents with two options: having their spouse live with them illegally or moving to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where they would be living under Israeli military occupation, in a situation of conflict and facing daily incursions by the Israeli army, bombardments, house demolition, curfews and hundreds of checkpoints, which make it extremely difficult to move, work or carry out ordinary daily activities. In addition, it is illegal for Israelis and Jerusalemites to enter the Occupied Territories and those married to residents of the Occupied Territories may only do so in special circumstances and subject to permits and stringent restrictions."

In july 2004, the Jews-only state renewed the law to encourage Jews-only marriages, "Also Sunday, the Israeli Cabinet extended for six months a rule forbidding Palestinians who marry Israelis from living in Israel. Human rights groups have criticized the law. Arabs make up about 20 percent of the country's population, and many Israelis are concerned about their growing numbers." (Ibrahim Barzak 'Palestinian Authority Offices Burned Down' Guardian)

Jews-only prerogatives exist on the international level as much as they do on the domestic level. The main Jews-only international law is that the Jews-only state does not have to abide by United Nations' resolutions. There are varying estimates as to how many UN resolutions are being flouted by the Jews-only state. But worse than the refusal to live up to these resolutions is the refusal of the Western world to insist that the Jews-only state live up to its international obligations. Throughout the 1990s the American and British governments made incessant demands for Saddam Hussein to abide by UN resolutions but they never once demanded that the Zionist state in Palestine do the same thing.

Both governments also made incessant demands for Saddam Hussein to abolish his non-existent weapons of mass destruction but never demanded the Zionist state in Palestine gets rid of its very real weapons of mass destruction. Even worse than the Western world's obliviousness to the Zionist state's indifference to the UN resolutions is that the only countries which the Western world insists must abide by the UN resolutions are the enemies of the Jews-only state.

The people of the Jews-only book refuse to live by man made laws; they will abide only by laws handed down to them by their Jews-only god.

These are not the only Jews-only international laws, "On December 13, 2004 the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council approved the EU-Israel Action Plan as part of the EU's New Neighborhood Policy - one step below full membership in the EU.

According to the released EU-Israel Action Plan: "The EU and Israel are now closer together than ever before and, as near neighbours, will reinforce their political and economic interdependence. Enlargement offers the opportunity for the EU and Israel to develop an increasingly close relationship, going beyond co-operation, to involve a significant measure of economic integration and a deepening of political co-operation." Despite European declarative positions affirming Israel's obligations in international law, and dismissing Israel's rejection of them, and despite Israel's shocking human rights record, the EU-Israel Action Plan states that the "EU and Israel share the common values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law and basic freedoms." Worse, the EU-Israel Action Plan might even lead to Israel deciding on EU policies themselves. It stated "the possibility for Israel to participate progressively in key aspects of EU policies and programmes." It provides "an upgrade in the scope and intensity of political co-operation." Concrete steps include that the "EU will continue its efforts to ensure that the condemnation of anti-Semitism will become a part of international norms through, inter alia, appropriate UN resolutions." Considering Israel's policy to equate anti-Semitism with criticism of Israeli state practices vis-a-vis Palestinian civilians, this has meant that the EU will censure itself when it comes to address Israeli violations of human rights. The EU-Israel Action Plan formalised the facilitation of Israel's violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by shielding Israel from legal and political accountability, and by helping it escape the normal penalties or costs that would result ordinarily from the violations." (Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada, 'In bed with Israel: EU's close relationship with Israel supports abuse' )

There are also what might be called Jews-only fantasies. Perhaps the most well known is that prior to the second world war, when Jews were thinking about moving to Palestine, they were told nobody was living there, "Israel Zangwill's 1901 assertion that "Palestine is a country without a people; the Jews are a people without a country". It hopes to create a land entirely empty of gentiles, an Arabia deserta in which Jewish children can laugh and play throughout a wasteland called peace." (Michael Neumann 'What is Antisemitism?'

Other Jews-only fantasies are that when the Jews got to Palestine the Palestinians left of their own accord whilst making the threat that the Jews should be driven into the sea, "On 11 October 1961 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion declared in the Israeli Knesset: 'The Arabs' exit from Palestine...began immediately after the UN resolution, from the areas earmarked for the Jewish state. And we have explicit documents testifying that they left Palestine following instructions by the Arab leaders, with the Mufti at their head, under the assumption that the invasion of the Arab armies at the expiration of the Mandate will destroy the Jewish state and push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive'. The phrase "push all the Jews into the sea, dead or alive" has acquired a life of its own as it is invoked by Zionist supporters on a daily basis in order to justify the aggressive policies of Israel as well as its recalcitrance in continuing the occupation of the Palestinians of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. It is a highly emotive phrase invoking images of the Holocaust, though adapted to a Mediterranean setting. Mr Ben Gurion gives no attribution for this phrase, nor does he claim that it is a quote from an Arab source. It is expressed here as if it is his personal surmise as to the Arab army's intentions. The phrase has been variously attributed by Zionist supporters to Yasser Arafat, Gamel Abdul Nasser, or any other of Israel's enemies, but none whom I have challenged, including U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman, who made the claim in a letter to me, atributing the phrase to Nasser, have been able to provide any documentation of support for their claim. The speech by Mr. Ben Gurion appears to be the origin of the phrase. The phrase, thus, has a Jewish origin and not an Arab origin. Mr Ben Gurion is the originator of the phrase, in all likelihood. (As regards the idea of Arab leaders telling Palestinians to leave). Mr. Ben Gurion's first claim that the Arab exodus from Palestine was provoked by directives from the leaders of the surrounding Arab states has been shown by overwhelming historical research to be false." (William Martin 'Who is Pushing Whom into the Sea?'

It has to be wondered, how much further this trend will go in the future? In America, the zionists have created a political taboo against criticisms of the Zionist state.

"Although criticism of specific Israeli policies is permissible in the United States, it is more or less forbidden to express fundamental criticism of the Zionist state, of America's basic policy of support for Israel, or of the Jewish-Zionist grip on the U.S. media or America's political and academic life. (Remarkably, this is in contrast to the situation in Israel itself, where Jews and even Arab citizens of the Zionist state have much greater freedom than Americans publicly to criticize Zionism and Israeli policies.) Prominent persons who dare to violate this prohibition are immediately castigated as "anti-Semitic" (that is, anti-Jewish), and pay a heavy price in damage to their reputations or careers. Politicians who publicly speak out against America's support for Zionism risk almost certain political ruin. Among the political or governmental figures whose careers were destroyed because they violated the powerful taboo have been U.S. Senators William Fulbright, Adlai Stevenson III, and Charles Percy, Congressmen Paul McCloskey and Paul Findley, and Deputy Secretary of State George Ball." (Abdullah Mohamed Sindi 'How the Jewish-Zionist Grip on American Film and Television Promotes Bias Against Arabs and Muslims' Institute for Historical Review

However, this taboo is not enough for the Zionists.

They want to pass legislation which equates criticism of the Zionist state in Palestine with anti-semitism and outlaws anti-semitism - thereby making criticism of the Zionist state in palestine illegal. There is no other people around the world who insist that their government should be protected against all criticisms. What such Zionist legislation in America will do is to create the only state in the world which is beyond criticism even though it is the most racist society on Earth.

Comment: Part I of this article can be found here.

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U.S. says Israel must give up nukes
By Amir Oren

The State Department yesterday called on Israel to forswear nuclear weapons and accept international Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on all nuclear activities.

This is the second time in about two weeks that officials in the Bush administration are putting the nuclear weapons of Israel, India and Pakistan on a par.

The officials called on the three to act like Ukraine and South Africa, which in the last decade renounced their nuclear weapons.

The similar phrasing used by the officials refers to Israel's military nuclear capability, as distinct from "nuclear option," which is to be rolled back, although not necessarily in the "foreseeable future."

The rare use of these terms contradicts the custom of senior administration officials to avoid any possible confirming reference to Israeli nuclear weapons.

The officials, who hold middle-level and lower ranks, are Jackie Wolcott Sanders, ambassador, Conference on Disarmament and special representative of the president for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and Mark Fitzpatrick, acting deputy assistant secretary for nonproliferation. [...]

On March 7 President George Bush called for a strengthening of the NPT regime and thwarting the efforts of rogue states and terrorists to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Bush devoted his statement to enforcing NPT clauses on treaty regime members (like North Korea and Iran) and ignored non- member states (India, Pakistan, Israel and Cuba).

In the past six years, since the Wye conference in 1998, presidents Clinton and Bush repeatedly promised then prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak and also Ariel Sharon that Israel's strategic capability to protect itself will not be harmed. [...]

Sanders and Fitzpatrick refrained from calling on Israel, India and Pakistan explicitly to renounce their weapons. The expectation of these three states was phrased in terms of a vow - a verbal pledge to forswear, rather than real action. Nor was this demand accompanied by a time table, conditions and sanctions. [...]

In her statement yesterday Sanders said: "The Conference should also reinforce the goal of universal NPT adherence and reaffirm that India, Israel and Pakistan may join the NPT only as non-nuclear-weapon states. Just as South Africa and Ukraine did in the early 1990s, these states should forswear nuclear weapons and accept IAEA safeguards on all nuclear activities to join the treaty. At the same time, we recognize that progress toward universal adherence is not likely in the foreseeable future. The United States continues to support the goals of the Middle East resolution adopted at the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, including the achievement of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction."

According to the Israeli experts, the American administration does not want to expand nuclear proliferation to additional states in the region and agrees that in time it would be preferable to have the Middle East nuclear free, but disagrees with the immediate adoption of a policy which would prevent American forces like the Sixth Fleet ships and airplanes from carrying nuclear warheads in bombs and missiles as well. [...]

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Israeli rampage
Settler violence against Palestinians is burgeoning at an alarming rate, writes Khaled Amayreh from Ramallah
Al-Ahram Weekly

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is calling on the international community, including the "Quartet" (the US, EU, Russia and the UN), to pressure Israel to put an end to nearly daily pogrom-like attacks by messianic Israeli terrorists on defenseless Palestinian villagers throughout the West Bank.

Attacks have mushroomed recently as extremist Israeli settlers vow to commit acts of "unprecedented violence" to thwart Israel's planned "disengagement" from the Gaza Strip.

"We urge the international community to intervene immediately to stop this unprovoked and unjustified aggression against our civilians," said Ahmed Subh, deputy minister of information in the PA.

In an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, Subh accused the Israeli government and army of "turning a blind eye" to the "daily pogroms and acts of savagery" by "Israeli settler hoodlums" against unprotected Palestinian civilians, mainly in the Palestinian countryside.

"Does anybody in the world believe the mighty Israeli army can't rein in these criminals who terrorise and attack schoolchildren and old women? It is not a matter of inability. It is a matter of unwillingness, if not outright complicity. Inaction by the Israeli government in this respect implies acquiescence," Subh remarked.

Comment: Note that the Israelis have always used the excuse that Arafat wasn't controlling the Palestinian "terrorists" to put off any negotiations. Of course, the same standard will not apply to them. The major difference between the two cases is that the Israeli army is one of the best armed in the world and has the backing of the US whereas the Palestinian infrastructure was completely decimated by Israeli attacks. At the same time as the Israelis demanded Palestinian police arrest "terrorists", the Israelis were bombing the police stations that would have been used to hold them.

According to Palestinian sources and international peace activists monitoring settler violence, physical attacks and acts of vandalism against Palestinian villages have been occurring nearly on a daily basis in the past few weeks. On Friday, 25 March, for example, heavily armed Talmudic settlers from the Yitzhar settlement near Nablus attacked Palestinians in their homes in the nearby village of Asira Al-Qibliya. The hoodlums reportedly beat Palestinian villagers and vandalised their property.

"They wore black masks and they were screaming, I don't know what they were saying," said nine-year-old Samah Ahmed, who, along with her mother and three brothers, was nearly lynched inside her home by the attacking settlers.

Her mother Suha described the attackers as "the Nazis of our time".

"The kids and I were alone at home. The settlers first stoned the windows with big rocks, forcing us to move from one room to the other for protection from the incoming stones. Then the attackers tried to force open the door. This really terrorised us as never before. I was really afraid they would enter the house and kill my four children."

Suha said the settlers then left and returned to the settlement upon seeing other villagers coming to rescue the family.

Hours later, when Israeli army officers arrived at the scene to investigate the "riot", settlers erected roadblocks and chased the officers away, preventing them from entering the settlement. The army remarked in its report on the incident that the settlers who carried out the rampage against Asira Al-Qibliya were "drunk", implying they were not responsible for their actions.

Last week, as many as 30 settlers ganged up on three Palestinian labourers west of Ramallah, beating them with hoses and sharp objects. At least one worker sustained concussion from a sharp blow to the head.

Some of the most wanton attacks on Palestinians and their property have been taking place in the southern Hebron hills where bands of masked Israeli settlers have been terrorising Palestinian villagers in full view of Israeli army troops stationed in the area. On 21 March, settlers spread poisonous feed and pellets across a large swathe of grazing land east of Yatta, 10 kilometres southwest of Hebron.

"The pellets are small and turquoise blue, similar to rodent poison in the United States. They are spread under bushes and in the grass, pretty much anywhere the sheep graze," said Kim Lamberty, an American Christian peace activist who inspected the area.

The next day, several sheep died and many others were ill after grazing. Palestinians in the area have also found two dead gazelles.

When locals and international activists asked the Israeli army to investigate the poisoning and put an end to settler terror, the army said it would dispatch a "settler expert" to look into the complaint.

"This malicious act not only affects the economic livelihood of the area's farmers, it could have a grave impact on wildlife in the area. The local Palestinian people along with international activists are currently attempting to clean up the contaminated site," said Lamberty.

On 24 March, masked settlers attacked Palestinian shepherds and international peace activists, including two Americans -- an 18-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man. The two were injured as settlers tried to prevent them from filming the attack.

A spokesman for the Israeli army told the Weekly that responsibility for "keeping law and order" lied with the police, not the army. A high-ranking army officer admitted, however, that settlers were upping the ante in the West Bank. "The situation will only intensify. We see a trend of radicalisation in the actions of the extremists. Attacks against Palestinians have increased," he said.

Palestinian official Subh is worried the worst is yet to come. "We are afraid that the Israeli government's inaction towards the settlers might embolden them to commit real massacres against our people."

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FBI at crossroads in probe of pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC

Justice Department may soon decide who to lay charges against in alleged espionage affair.
By Tom Regan
csmonitor.com
March 31, 2005, updated 12:30 p.m.

The ongoing investigation into allegations that a Pentagon staffer named Larry Franklin passed on classified government documents to two members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobby group, continues but with several new twists.

Over the past weekend, several Israeli papers carried a report by JTA, the Jewish news service, that top officials of the lobby group had appeared in front of a grand jury in "late January or early February," and that the two staff members who had contact with Franklin ­ Steve Rosen, of AIPAC's research department, and Keith Weissman, AIPAC's deputy director of foreign policy issues ­ have been placed on paid leave.

The same report also said that Mr. Franklin had been "quietly" rehired at the Pentagon over the "FBI's objections." Franklin, however, was not given back his previous position in the Iran section, but instead placed in a "non- sensitive" area which the report didn't specify.

The FBI's investigations into Franklin's actions became public last August when CBS reported that a "suspected mole" at the Pentagon had passed along government documents to AIPAC staffers. The "suspected mole" was later revealed to be Mr. Franklin.

Time reported last December that government sources said the investigations into AIPAC had been ongoing for about two years, looking into allegations that AIPAC was "obtaining sensitive data and passing it along to the Israeli government."

United Press International reported on December 9 that the initial investigations began when the FBI discovered "new, 'massive' Israeli spying operations in the East Coast, including New York and New Jersey."

It was later reported in the Jerusalem Post that Franklin had agreed to help in an FBI sting. Ha'aretz reported that Franklin was told to tell the AIPAC staffers that "Iran was planning to attack Israelis operating in the Kurdish region in Iraq." The two men then "rushed to pass it on to Israeli diplomats, thereby falling into the FBI trap."

Franklin later stopped cooperating with the FBI, fired his public defender laywer and hired one of Washington's best known defense lawyers. The Washington Times reported that the FBI was "hopping mad" at this turn of even ts, and this was when the bureau decided to pursue a more agressive policy, including the subpeonas of top AIPAC officials.

Some media sources have said the entire Franklin affair illustrates some of the internal battles that have taken place over how the US should deal with Iraq. The document that Franklin is alleged to have given the two AIP AC staffers may have been a draft copy of a National Security Presidential Directive written by Pentagon neocons (who advocate a hard line towards Iran), which contained a proposal to destabilize Iran. The directive had a pparently been turned down by the White House. Ha'aretz reported last week that the case has reached a crossroads, where the investigators "must decide on the suspects in the case." Either Franklin would be charged with acting alone, or Franklin and the two AIPAC employees, Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman, would be charged, or "whether, on top of those three, the entire AIPAC organization has acted unlawfully."

Sources close to the investigation suggested recently that it would end in a plea bargain. Franklin would plead to a lesser crime of unauthorized transfer of information, Rosen and Weissman would be charged with receiving classified information unlawfully, and AIPAC would remain unstained. Franklin's lawyer, Plato Cacheris, yesterday denied the reports, stating: "We have not entered any plea of defense with the Justice Department."

AIPAC refused to say anything about the possibility of a plea bargain.

Ha'aretz also reports that the FBI's larger goal seems to be "an extensive examination of AIPAC itself." Since the investigation began seven months ago, AIPAC, one of the strongest lobbying groups in Washington, has been "struggling in two arenas": trying to resolve the allegations against its staff members, and more important, dealing with the "political change going on in Israel" in its relationship with the Palestinians.

'AIPAC is simply lagging behind developments,' said a congressional staffer close to the issue. According to the staffer, the fact that most of the AIPAC board is hawkish on the Israel-Palestinian conflict makes it difficult for the lobby to accommodate itself to Israel's new policies.

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The Big Hollywood Lie: Denying that Jews Control the Film Business
This essay is reprinted from the April 1, 1994, issue of New American View, a newsletter edited by Victor Marchetti. (It is no longer published.) Marchetti served for 14 years with the CIA, where he rose to be executive assistant to the deputy director. His book, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, co-authored with John Marks, was the first critical account of the agency written by an insider.

When country singer Dolly Parton told Vogue magazine a couple of months ago that her idea for a TV series about a country singer who becomes a gospel singer was turned down by Hollywood, she said that "everyone's afraid to touch anything that religious because most of the people out here are Jewish, and it's a frightening thing for them to promote Christianity." Truer words were never spoken.

But the ADL's chief troublemaker, Abe Foxman, immediately flew into one of his by-now tiresome furies and fired off a letter (which he made available to the news media, of course) to Dolly, scolding her for her innocent, honest comment. Foxman charged that Ms. Parton was invoking "the old antisemitic stereotype of Jewish control of Hollywood and hostility toward Christianity." He did not, however, directly contradict her or deny that Hollywood is controlled by his fellow Jews.

Being the nice person she is and knowing on which side her bread is buttered, Dolly dutifully and publicly apologized. She wrote to Foxman, "I regret that my words could have conjured up an impression of Jewish 'control' of Hollywood." Ever the arrogant, whining bully, Foxman accepted Ms. Parton's atonement, informing the media that is was a "refreshing capitulation." And the Hollywood lie lives on.

The Jewish denial that Hollywood is controlled by Jews is a great lie which can be attested to by anyone who has ever been associated with the film industry. Here is but one example.

In the late 1970s, New American View editor Victor Marchetti was working as a screenwriter on a spy movie. The producer, the director, Marchetti's agent and just about everyone else was Jewish. The proposed film was shopped around to several major studios. All the executives at all the studios with whom the project team met, with one exception -- Alan Ladd, Jr., then head of 20th Century Fox -- were Jewish.

At one meeting, at MCA-Universal (the studio which produced "Schindler's List"), the discussion was interrupted when a latecomer entered the studio head's office and took a seat next to Marchetti. He was a little, nondescript person who seemed out of place in the production meeting. The studio head halted the discussion and, turning to the little man, asked if he had any problems with the project after having read the treatment, an abbreviated script. The man, speaking with a foreign accent, said no, smiled at Marchetti, and departed.

"Who is he?" Marchetti asked the studio head.

The powerful Hollywood boss answered, "He's an Israeli. I just wanted to make sure there was nothing in this movie that he would not like." As the meeting continued, Marchetti began to count noses. Of the nine people in the office, Marchetti was the only non-Jew. It reminded him of many meetings he had attended in the publishing world in New York, where often he had been the only Gentile out of a dozen or more people discussing a book project.

Marchetti's Jewish agent leaned over and asked in a whisper, "What are you thinking about?"

"Everybody in the room is Jewish except me." "Forget about that," the agent said. "You just better hope that your Jews are smarter than the studio's. We're talking big bucks."

Since then, Marchetti has had several other involvements with the Hollywood movie crowd. It was always the same. The Jews were, and remain, in control of Tinsel Town. To say otherwise is to lie.

It is bad enough when a group representing less than three percent of the American population -- and many of whose members have a self-proclaimed first loyalty to a foreign nation -- should be in control of so many of America's cultural, financial and governmental institutions. But it is positively insulting for them to deny their influence and power -- particularly when they themselves are continually boasting in their own circles about their "overrepresentation" in these fields. And it is absolutely infuriating when this denial reaches the point that non-Jews are attacked by Jewish agitators and Zionist zealots for stating obvious facts and truth.

Most Americans have always been suspicious of too much power in too few hands. That's what the Constitution is all about. And that is why we have never trusted elitist groups which have tried to dictate to us. So, if we don't trust the old-line establishment, the old elite, why should we not be suspicious of the new elite -- the Jewish establishment -- and its excessive power in America.

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Police ID man who led chase

"I am not being treated right because I am Jewish"
By Con Garretson, IJ reporter

Authorities have determined that a New York man found with credit cards and identification in eight different names after a late February high-speed chase is the person he ultimately told police he was.

Israel Bleier has a valid U.S. passport, deputy district attorney Alan Charmatz told Marin Superior Court Judge Stephen Graham yesterday during an appearance in the defendant's criminal case on charges of evading arrest, receiving a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property and three counts of identify theft.

Bleier, 20, originally presented a French driver's license with his picture and the name of Samuel Fine when he was arrested Feb. 27. He allegedly sped away at upward of 110 mph after a sheriff's deputy attempted to pull over his rented Cadillac sedan that police said was traveling at about 90 mph on southbound Highway 101 in Novato at 3:30 a.m.

The car turned down a dead-end street after making an unsafe lane change to get off the highway at the South Novato Boulevard exit, according to a police affadavit.

Inside the car, police reported finding several fake driver's licenses, two cell phones and the complete credit history of someone whose credit card and license were in the car.

Bleier made several complaints to the court yesterday, including that jail officials are denying him religious accommodations. He also attempted during a closed court hearing to dismiss the deputy public defender who has represented him since a private attorney withdrew from the case without public explanation.

The defendant is scheduled to return to court next week, when he is expected to consider a plea deal that prevent identity theft charges from being filed in San Francisco and Sonoma counties, the attorneys in the case said.

"I am not being treated right because I am Jewish," Bleier told the judge.

Specifically, Bleier said jail officials took more than a month to accommodate religious dietary restrictions and continue to deny him use of a tefillin. The item, used in prayer, contains chapters of the Torah attached to the head and arm and uses a large leather strap, which Charmatz, outside of court, said could pose a security risk.

Graham told Bleier he should have raised his concerns to his attorney and told him how to pursue the permissions he seeks.

Uncertainty about the defendant's true identity and whether he may be a terrorist led prosecutors to seek an exceptional $500,000 bail and increased scrutiny on the source of funds that could be posted to secure his release from custody.

Prior to yesterday's proceeding, Graham had lowered the defendant's bail to $65,000; however Breier remains in custody at Marin County Jail.

Breier yesterday sought a further reduction in bail to the "right amount" of $10,000, which is the default sum on the county bail schedule for the crimes for which he is charged.

Graham rescinded the scrutiny restriction the source of bail but did not lower the figure.

The judge cited the defendant's lack of community ties, his alleged involvement in the high-speed pursuit and the undetermined nature of what could be extensive financial fraud in justifying his bail decision.

"This is not a standard, single credit card case," Graham said.

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Holocaust victim sues TriMet

A woman says an incident on a bus violated her rights and reawakened trauma she endured in a death camp
Saturday, April 02, 2005
HOLLY DANKS

An 81-year-old Holocaust survivor is suing TriMet and a former bus driver for more than $5 million, saying that when the driver yelled at her and pushed her off his bus it reawakened the memories of Auschwitz.

Rosa Wigmore, who survived the notorious Nazi concentration camp, wants $3.06 million from Timothy J. Shuey and $2.02 million from the transit agency. Shuey quit TriMet shortly after the June 27 incident.

The lawsuit says Shuey discriminated against Wigmore by referring to her in vulgar terms as an immigrant and telling her to "go home from where you came from" after she complained that he missed her stop.

He then grabbed Wigmore from behind and knocked her to the floor. When Shuey forced her out the bus' door, she fell to the sidewalk. [...]

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, alleges personal injury, a violation of civil rights and elder abuse.

"As a direct result of defendants' misconduct, Ms. Wigmore suffered and endured extreme physical and mental pain and suffering," including a heart attack, broken ribs and soft-tissue damage, the lawsuit alleges. [...]

Co-counsel on the lawsuit is Elden M. Rosenthal, a prominent Portland civil rights lawyer who 15 years ago won a $12.5 million lawsuit against a national white supremacist group in the killing of an Ethiopian college student. [...]

Wigmore, who is Jewish and came from Yugoslavia, carries a concentration camp tattoo on her arm. She immigrated to the United States after World War II and became a U.S. citizen in 1968.

Patricia Warford, a Newberg psychologist who specializes in trauma and stress, said Friday that Wigmore would have been at Auschwitz during a very impressionable time in her life, in her late teens or early 20s.

"Rough treatment, being pushed and grabbed, the humiliation piece of it were all part of Auschwitz," Warford said. "It certainly is possible to have a psychological response to a trigger event, such as being grabbed on a bus. Whether that happened is up to the jury or court to decide."

Police reports offer this account of the June 27 incident:

Wigmore boarded the eastbound No. 54/56 bus on Southwest Farmington Road near 99th Avenue and asked Shuey for directions. Unable to understand her accent, Shuey told her to sit down.

Wigmore, who has ridden the bus routes around her Beaverton home for years, left her seat on Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway near 77th Avenue in the Raleigh Hills area to tell Shuey he missed her stop. That's when Shuey began yelling and grabbed her.

According to the lawsuit, Shuey deprived Wigmore of her First Amendment right to speak without retaliation, her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure and her 14th Amendment right to be free from discrimination based on national origin.

TriMet is to blame, the suit says, for "failing to hire and screen applicants for the position of bus driver who are psychologically fit to deal with the public."

The transit agency also failed to train drivers to deal with passengers of diverse backgrounds, the suit alleges.

Fetsch said Shuey did not have a history of complaints involving anger. She said customer service, along with safe driving, are TriMet's top concerns.

At the time of the incident, Shuey told police that Wigmore wouldn't leave him alone and that he "lost it."

In November, Shuey pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor harassment, and a Washington County Circuit judge sentenced him to two years' probation and required him to attend anger-management classes.

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Europeans will need visas for travel to US
By Stephen Castle in Brussels
02 April 2005

Most Europeans, including almost all British citizens, will need a visa to visit America later this year after the US Congress said that there was little chance of postponing a deadline for the introduction of biometric passports.

The EU has asked for more time to meet new American standards under which travellers will be able to enter the US without visas only if they hold a passport with a digitalised photo stored on a chip.

But the chairman of the US Congressional committee on the judiciary, James Stensenbrenner, said that an extension beyond America's deadline of 25 October was "most unlikely".

While the US administration is sympathetic to the European argument, Congress has taken a tougher line. Its stance raises the prospect that the EU could retaliate and impose similar measures on Americans travelling to Europe.

The US says that, of the 25 EU nations, Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia and possibly Germany and Italy will start producing biometric passports before the deadline. But, even in those nations, people with old- style travel documents will need a visa to travel to the US.

Britain says it will start issuing the new passports in the final quarter of the year, which means virtually none will have been produced by the deadline.

The EU, which has already won one extension of the US deadline, wants a second delay until 28 August 2006, by which time governments have promised to produce passports with digitalised images. It will take a further two years for the EU nations to introduce a system which includes fingerprint data - although as yet this is not being demanded by the US.

Currently, most European citizens can enter the US under a visa waiver scheme if their passports are machine-readable.

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Drugs firms 'creating ills for every pill'

Expensive new medicines are oversold when cheaper therapies or prevention would work better, say MPs
Gaby Hinsliff, political editor
Sunday April 3, 2005
The Observer

The power of Britain's multi-billion-pound drugs industry has turned this country into an over-medicalised society that believes in a pill for every ill, a Commons inquiry will claim this week.

The report will say that the billions of pounds poured into researching and promoting new drugs have fuelled an over-emphasis on medicinal cures at the expense of cheaper and better therapies, or simple prevention.

The MPs heard evidence of 'disease-mongering' drugs firms effectively inventing diseases for which they could then sell treatments, with relatively normal behaviour - from mild depression to low female sex drive - re-labelled as conditions for which drugs were supposedly necessary.

Comment: Mild depression or low female sex drive seems to be a completely normal and natural response to our society. Who isn't depressed when they look at the state of the world and the lack of hope for changing anything. Who isn't depressed when they realise the dead-end jobs, relationships, and lives they are in. It isn't a pill that will help, it is only the realisation that the world is as it is for a reason, that there is nothing to do to change it, and that only by seeing it objectively that we will have the knowledge and understanding to make ourselves BE that which we would like the world to be.

You don't find that in a pill.

As for low female sex drive, look again at society. What is the role of woman? How are women treated, in society, by their mates, by their bosses, by their children, by their parents? If there is no complicity between a woman and her partner, if sex becomes the right of the man and the duty of the woman, then how can the sex drive be anything but low?

Society promotes sex as a distraction, uses it to sell products, and encourages us to lose ourselves in its pleasures, debasing it as a mere animal function or canonising it as the means of liberation. We carry within us the dream of a divine union with the Other and are instructed that this can be achieved through sex when in fact sex is the main trap tying us to this world, the desire for sensual pleasure as a respite from the horrors of the world. While the feeling that we can attain this union with the divine is true, our search to realise it through physical means sets up a tension wherein we will only be deceived and disappointed when seeking that unity on the purely physical level. It can never be permanent.

Lord Warner, the health minister responsible for medicines, admitted to the inquiry: 'I have some concerns that sometimes we do, as a society, wish to put labels on things which are just part and parcel of the human condition.'

The report from the Commons health select committee is also expected to criticise the secretive process of licensing medicines in Britain, following several safety scares in which so-called 'wonder drugs' have turned out to have serious side effects.

The common anti-depressant Seroxat was recently linked to an increased risk of suicide in teenagers, while the widely prescribed arthritis drug Vioxx was withdrawn last year over links to fatal heart attacks and strokes.

Labour's election manifesto is now expected to include a pledge to overhaul the drug licensing regime. Expert members of the government's medicines regulator will be banned from holding financial interests in drug firms to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The seven-month inquiry follows complaints from patients' groups and senior doctors that the interests of the industry are distorting health care priorities.

Prescriptions for Seroxat tripled after it was licensed for mild depression, while The Observer revealed earlier this year that it was being marketed to doctors as a treatment for ill-defined 'social anxiety disorders'.

Drug firms are banned from advertising directly to patients in Britain, or offering bribes to doctors to prescribe a certain brand. However campaigners say the industry has discovered ways of 'guerrilla' promotion, including generously funding medical charities - which, the inquiry heard, raises the risk of them becoming its 'unwitting foot soldiers'.

One mental health charity, Depression Alliance, receives almost 80 per cent of its funding from drugs companies, while Arthritis Care received money from Merck Sharp and Dohme, maker of Vioxx.

Paul Flynn, the Labour MP who has campaigned to expose the influence of the industry and gave evidence to the committee, said it deserved an 'absolute hammering' for its practices. 'The whole of society has been conditioned to believe that we are dependent on medicines. I have had arthritis all my life and I haven't taken anything for it - I believe in exercise, swimming and walking.'

The inquiry heard of drugs marketed to doctors in papers written for medical journals ostensibly by independent experts which are, in fact, ghostwritten by the firms, which pay academics to lend their names to the reports.

Dr Richard Horton, editor of leading journal, the Lancet, disclosed he had been effectively offered bribes to publish papers showing drugs in a favourable light. He said firms offered to buy 'hundreds of thousands of reprints' - which could be worth up to half a million pounds to his magazine - if their paper went in.

However, a spokesman for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry denied fuelling dependence on drugs: 'I don't think we have ever suggested that medicines are the only answer to health problems.

'It is always down to the doctor to determine whether there is a real medical condition. It is right we should be informing prescribers of what medicines can be relevant.'

When the solution becomes the problem

Reclassification of the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin as an over-the-counter medicine for preventing heart disease is a classic example of the pharmaceutical industry's worrying influence, experts warned yesterday.

The editor of The Drug and Therapeutic Bulletin , Dr Ike Iheanacho, said long-term trials had not been carried out to test the drug's efficacy or risks in those considered to be in moderate danger of having heart problems. As people could be sold Zocor Heart-Pro, the drug by its brand name, without detailed assessment of their health, there was also a danger that those at high risk of having heart attacks were getting inadequate treatment.

'The absence of any long-term efficacy trails for Zocor Heart-Pro in the target group means that people are, in effect, being used as guinea pigs,' Iheanacho said.

Another example is provided by the anti-depressant Seroxat. In November, The Observer revealed that Seroxat's manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was trying to market it as a cure for relatively mild forms of depression, despite the fact that the the drug has been linked to suicide. 'The thrust was to move sales beyond the $1 billion to the $2bn mark by pushing it to people who were not clinically depressed,' Professor David Healy told the select committee, while Richard Brook, chief executive of Mind, the mental health charity, told the MPs that the plan was 'all about developing new conditions for that drug'.

At the same time, other options are ignored. As The Observer pointed out last week, Britain's GPs have largely ignored the advice of the Chief Medical Office that many depressed patients should be prescribed exercise programmes rather than pills.

Comment: If you do research into the theories of medical education in countries where Western medicine is dominant, you find that there is a certain "philosophy", a certain "attitude" toward life that is very rigid and closed, and this "worldview" permeates the study of medicine.

Nevertheless, being aware of this foundational perspective can be very helpful when a person is faced with making choices about their healthcare that could impact their lives forever.

Medical schools and research are supported, in nearly all cases, by pharmaceutical companies. The textbooks are written by doctors who are paid - quite often - by pharmaceutical companies. The courses are taught to favor pharmaceutical companies. Surgery and drugs are promoted as the answers to all medical problems. If there is no surgery or no drug that can be prescribed, the person is generally written off as incurable. New therapies that do not involve surgery or drugs are not merely resisted, they are often refused funding for testing and validation. Why should a big corporation fund research into something that they cannot patent and sell?

The fact is: doctors are wrong more often than they are right. When emergency room doctors went on strike in Californian quite a number of years ago, the death rate DROPPED.

When you have awareness of all of this (and there's actually a lot more) and are reading the "opinions" of doctors, or are hearing a diagnosis from a doctor, it gives a completely different perspective on what they are saying.

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Bush: Hypocritical, Murderous Theocrat
By Frank Pitz
Online Journal Contributing Writer

March 26, 2005 - Could George W. Bush legitimately be called a murderer? Given the overwhelming numbers of deaths in Iraq from the illegal war, it does not take much from a legal standpoint - for me at least - to label George W Bush a murderer. Premeditation in the form of an illegal preemptive war allows me to accuse him of murder.

This dry drunk, psychologically unbalanced man, who - along with a host of other right-wing nuts - piously talked about "the sanctity of life" in reference to the Terri Schiavo debacle, has murdered more people than even the most heinous of serial killers - save his hero Hitler of course. This hypocritical cretin, this modern day Pontious Pilate, signed death warrants for 152 people as governor of Texas; including a few who may have been innocent, many developmentally disabled, and still more who were represented by "sleeping" counsel. In one particularly reprehensible incident Bush mocked a woman - Karla Faye Tucker - who sought clemency on the grounds of her born again Christianity. In an impassioned plea Ms. Tucker said, "Please don't kill me." In an interview - as a presidential candidate - Bush, for the benefit of interviewer Tucker Carlson, mocked the suffering of that woman: Bush whimpered, "his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'please don't kill me,'" all with a sneering grin on his face.

As governor in 1999 this evangelical, demented, frat boy signed into law in legislation which allows medical personnel to remove life support from those who have little chance of recovery, unless they have the means to pay. It is known as the "Texas Futile Care Law." Just this past week a baby was removed from such life support against his mother's wishes. Coincidentally, the infant was black. Of course I must mention that the compassionate Texas legislature and the health care industry inserted a codicil in the law which gives the family members of the patient 10 days in which to find another provider who will care for the victim. Of course not everyone has a million-dollar medical malpractice settlement - like Schiavo - to seek this remedy. And if these same sanctimonious politicians have their way there will be no more medical malpractice awards for such care.

The Institute of Medicine estimates that lack of health insurance "causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the United States." Since Bush expropriated the office of the president, some 5 million-plus have joined the ranks of the uninsured on his watch. According to my calculations that means that some 72,000 uninsured - and predominately disenfranchised - people have died needlessly. For this, George Bush should be tried for murder, along with his co-conspirators in Congress and the health care industry. In industry parlance it is called "cost benefit analysis," in ethical, moral, and legal discourse it is called murder.

The madman known as Bush also plans to significantly cut Medicaid in addition to State Children's Health Program (SCHIP). According to the Center for Policy and Economic Research 1.2 million children would not be able to access the system. That is 1.2 million kids, predominately poor, minority, and without access to a system that could prove to be life saving, but instead will prove life ending. Where are those political and evangelical scoundrels with their "sanctity of life" bullshit when it comes to these children who deserve to live?

The draconian Bush budget substantially cuts funding for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. This cut in a program that provides critical nutrition needs for infants borders on the criminal - but then again, that is exactly what occupies the White House, as well as the halls of Congress.

Currently some 600,000 babies born in the United States each year may be exposed to dangerous levels of mercury in the womb. Yet the Bush administration recently issued rules which would allow some plants to increase their mercury emissions. And here in my home state of Florida, 10 of the "dirty dozen" power plants would benefit from these new rules. Florida Power & Light one of the worst pollution offenders in the state will continue, unabayed, to poison our lakes and rivers.

The hypocrites in Washington - someone referred to them as "Culture Vultures" - will continue their inane posturing in defense of a woman who has been clinically dead for some 15 years. The ethically challenged Tom DeLay, whose prior career as an exterminator apparently qualifies him as medical ethicist stated, "Mrs. Schiavo's struggle to live, our fight to save her, and the American people's prayers will all continue."

Bush's posturing in all this is the most criminal, given his record in Texas. In addition, his cold-blooded murder of Muslim women and children in Iraq belie his Holy Roller admonitions about "the sanctity of life."

This criminal is proposing to discontinue the financing of the construction of new housing for the mentally ill and the physically handicapped. I suppose such cuts fall under the aegis of "Futile Care," in the Bush criminal lexicon.

George Bush is a criminal and should be treated and tried as such. This unconscionable man is responsible for worldwide anguish. This pretender, who sneers at and mocks the less fortunate, and his fellow conspirators should be tried for "crimes against humanity. The souls of those he has murdered cry out for justice.

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US relied on 'drunken liar' to justify war
Edward Helmore in New York
Sunday April 3, 2005
The Observer

'Crazy' Iraqi spy was full of misinformation, says report

An alcoholic cousin of an aide to Ahmed Chalabi has emerged as the key source in the US rationale for going to war in Iraq.

According to a US presidential commission looking into pre-war intelligence failures, the basis for pivotal intelligence on Iraq's alleged biological weapons programmes and fleet of mobile labs was a spy described as 'crazy' by his intelligence handlers and a 'congenital liar' by his friends.

The defector, given the code-name Curveball by the CIA, has emerged as the central figure in the corruption of US intelligence estimates on Iraq. Despite considerable doubts over Curveball's credibility, his claims were included in the administration's case for war without caveat.

According to the report, the failure of US spy agencies to scrutinise his claims are the 'primary reason' that they 'fundamentally misjudged the status of Iraq's [biological weapons] programs'. The catalogue of failures and the gullibility of US intelligence make for darkly comic reading, even by the standards of failure detailed in previous investigations. Of all the disproven pre-war weapons claims, from aluminium centrifuge tubes to yellow cake uranium from Niger, none points to greater levels of incompetence than those found within the misadventures of Curveball.

The Americans never had direct access to Curveball - he was controlled by the German intelligence services who passed his reports on to the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon's spy agency.

Between January 2000 and September 2001, Curveball offered 100 reports, among them the claims of mobile biological weapons labs that were central in the US evidence of an illicit weapons programme, but subsequently turned out to be trucks equipped with machinery to make helium for weather balloons.

The commission concluded that Curveball's information was worse than none at all. 'Worse than having no human sources,' it said, 'is being seduced by a human source who is telling lies.'

Although the defector has never been formally identified, it appears he was an Iraqi chemical engineer who defected after UN inspectors left the country in 1998.

In the aftermath of the US-led invasion, Iraqis whom Curveball claimed were co-workers in Saddam's alleged biological weapons programme did not know who he was. He claimed he'd witnessed a deadly biological weapons accident when he was not even in Iraq when it was meant to have happened. After September 2001, his claims were given greater credibility despite the fact that he was not in Iraq at the time he claimed to have taken part in illicit weapons work. His information was central to an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that concluded Iraq 'has' biological weapons, and was widely used by President Bush and Dick Cheney to make their case for war.

It now appears there were problems with Curveball from the start, but the intelligence community was willing to believe him 'because the tales he told were consistent with what they already believed.'

In May 2000 doubts about his credibility surfaced when he was examined for signs that he had been exposed to biological agents. While the results were inconclusive, a US official was surprised to find Curveball had a hangover and said he 'might be an alcoholic.' By early 2001, the Germans were having doubts of their own, telling the CIA their spy was 'out of control'.

But warnings were dismissed. Intelligence analysts who voiced concern were 'forced to leave' the unit mainly responsible for analysing his claims, the commission found. At every turn analysts were blocked by spy chiefs and their warning never passed on to policy-makers.

The commission's report is unlikely to renew confidence in America's intelligence network as it attempts to uncover evidence of WMDs in Iran and elsewhere. The report concludes that US intelligence agencies remain poorly coordinated, have resisted reform and produce 'irrelevant' work.

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Green light for Iraqi prison abuse came right from the top
Andrew Buncombe reports from Washington
The Independent
03 April 2005

Classified documents show the former US military chief in Iraq personally sanctioned measures banned by the Geneva Conventions.

America's leading civil liberties group has demanded an investigation into the former US military commander Iraq after a formerly classified memo revealed that he personally sanctioned a series of coercive interrogation techniques outlawed by the Geneva Conventions. The group claims that his directives were directly linked to the sort of abuses that took place at Abu Ghraib.

Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reveal that Lt General Ricardo Sanchez authorised techniques such as the use of dogs to intimidate prisoners, stress positions and disorientation. In the documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Gen Sanchez admits that some of the techniques would not be tolerated by other countries.

When he appeared last year before a Congressional committee, Gen Sanchez denied authorising such techniques. He has now been accused of perjury.

The ACLU says the documents reveal that the abuse of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere was the result of an organised and co-ordinated plan for dealing with prisoners captured during the so-called war on terror that originates at the highest levels of the chain of command. It says that far from being isolated incident, the shocking abuse at Abu Ghraib that was revealed last year was part of a pattern.

"We think that the techniques authorised by Gen Sanchez were certainly responsible for putting into play the sort of abuses that we saw at Abu Ghraib," Amirit Singh, an ACLU lawyer, told The Independent on Sunday. "And it does not just stop with Sanchez. It goes to [Defence Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld, who wrote memos authorising these sorts of techniques at Guantanamo Bay."

In the September 2003 memo, Gen Sanchez authorised the use of 29 techniques for interrogating prisoners being held by the US. These included stress positions, "yelling, loud music and light control" as well as the use of muzzled military dogs in order to "exploit Arab fear of dogs". Some of the most notorious photographs to emerge from the Abu Ghraib scandal showed hand-cuffed, naked Iraqi prisoners cowering from snarling dogs.

Six weeks after Gen Sanchez issued his memo, a subsequent directive banned the use of dogs and several of the other techniques following concerns raised by military lawyers. The ACLU says that at least 12 of the techniques listed in the memo went beyond the limits for interrogation listed in the US Army's field manual.

"Gen Sanchez authorised interrogation techniques that were in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and the army's own standards," said Ms Singh. "He and other high-ranking officials who bear responsibility for the widespread abuse of detainees must be held accountable." [...]

When he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee in May 2004, Gen Sanchez flatly refused approving such techniques in Iraq, and said that a news article reporting otherwise was false. "I never approved any of those measures to be used ... at any time in the last year," he said under oath. The ACLU accuses him of committing perjury and has asked the Attorney General to investigate. [...]

Gen Sanchez is currently commanding general of the US V Corps based in Germany. He has yet to comment on the release of the memo. A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment.

The Pentagon originally refused to release the memo on national security grounds, but passed it to the ACLU after the group challenged it in court. Mr Rumsfeld last week dismissed suggestions that it had been withheld to save the Pentagon's embarrassment.

But the ACLU said the reason for the delay in delivering the more than 1,200 pages of documents in which the memo was contained was "evident in the contents", which included reports of brutal beatings and sworn statements that soldiers were told to "beat the f*ck out of" prisoners.

Comment: The ACLU has sent a letter to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales accusing Sanchez of perjury and asking the country's "top lawyer" to investigate. This is the same man who advised Bush that 9/11 "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

Does the ACLU honestly believe that Gonzales will actually investigate Gen Sanchez or Donald Rumsfeld??

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Beating of Iraqi General Alleged in Army Hearing
The Washington Post
Sunday, April 3, 2005; Page A21

FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) -- Previously secret court testimony indicates that an Iraqi general imprisoned by U.S. forces was badly bruised and may have been severely beaten two days before he died of suffocation during interrogation.

References to the alleged beating appear in a transcript, released under court order, from a preliminary military hearing for three soldiers charged with murder and dereliction of duty in the death of Maj. Gen. Abed Mowhoush on Nov. 26, 2003. A fourth soldier faces the same charges but waived a hearing.

During the interrogation, Army prosecutors said, Mowhoush was put headfirst into a sleeping bag, wrapped with electrical cord and knocked down before the soldiers sat and stood on him. The cause of death was determined to be suffocation.

The defendants -- Chief Warrant Officers Lewis Welshofer and Jefferson Williams, Sgt. 1st Class William Sommer and Spec. Jerry Loper -- have all denied wrongdoing. They said commanders had sanctioned their actions.

According to the transcript, witnesses said others had also beaten Mowhoush days before the Army interrogation. Their names and the names of their agencies were blacked out.

Col. David A. Teeples, the men's commander, said during the closed hearing: "My thought was that the death of Mowhoush was brought about by . . . [blacked out] and then it was unfortunate and accidental, what had happened under an interrogation by our people."

According to the transcript, Army special investigator Curtis Ryan testified that he found extensive bruising when he examined Mowhoush shortly after he died. "So, at some point prior to the 26th, he had been beaten," Ryan said.

An autopsy revealed that Mowhoush had also suffered broken ribs, testimony showed.

The military closed the hearing to the public shortly after it began in December, but the Denver Post successfully sued to open it, and the proceeding was concluded this week in open court. The transcript was released Thursday and posted on the Internet.

Fort Carson's commander, Maj. Gen. Robert Mixon, will decide whether the soldiers are to be court-martialed, after he receives a recommendation from the investigating officer, Capt. Robert Ayers. No timetable was set.

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Fury at 'shoot for fun' memo

Outburst by US security firm in Iraq is attacked by human rights groups
Mark Townsend
The Observer
Sunday April 3, 2005

One of the biggest private security firms in Iraq has created outrage after a memo to staff claimed it is 'fun' to shoot people.

Emails seen by The Observer reveal that employees of Blackwater Security were recently sent a message stating that 'actually it is "fun" to shoot some people.'

Dated 7 March and bearing the name of Blackwater's president, Gary Jackson, the electronic newsletter adds that terrorists 'need to get creamed, and it's fun, meaning satisfying, to do the shooting of such folk.'

Human rights groups said yesterday that the comments raised fresh questions over the role of civilian contractors operating in Iraq and other world flashpoints.

'We are very concerned about the increased use of security companies, there needs to be more inspection and regulation of these companies,' said a spokesman for Amnesty International.

Blackwater has already been the subject of lobbying efforts to introduce tighter regulations on private military operations in Iraq.

It is one of the fastest growing private security firms in the world, and achieved global prominence last year when four of its men were ambushed by a crowd of Iraqis and their bodies mutilated and dragged around the Iraqi city of Falluja.

The controversial wording of the Blackwater bulletin appears to be an attempt to criticise the 'righteous outcry' that followed a recent statement from a senior US Marine general who, on returning home from Iraq, claimed it was 'fun to shoot some people'. While the views of Lieutenant-General James Mattis drew a frosty response from the Pentagon, others said his observations reflected the harsh realities of war. [...]

Among its various roles in post-war Iraq, Blackwater has guarded provincial outposts for the Iraqi coalition provisional authority and had the contract to keep former chief US envoy Paul Bremer alive.

The company has been praised for its role in the rescue of a wounded soldier in Najaf. Defence experts have described Blackwater as a major player in the field of private arms with an important role to play in aiding American security in the war on terror.

Other Blackwater emails seen by The Observer, from last year, indicate the large market for civilian contractors in war zones. 'We will probably require at least 3000-4000 professionals above and beyond what we have in the Blackwater employment and resource system,' states one. [...]

Comment: The harsh reality of war is that many of those fighting do believe that "it is fun to shoot some people". Another reality is that when many of the folks back home hear such stories, they are not the least bit disturbed. The facts staring us all in the face seem to indicate that a large portion of the population is brainwashed, and that there may very well be two different races of humans on planet Earth.

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At least 44 US soldiers, 12 detainees wounded in attack on Iraq prison
Yahoo News

BAGHDAD, April 3 (AFP) - At least 44 US soldiers and 12 prisoners were wounded in a 40-minute assault by dozens of fighters on the notorious US-run Abu Ghraib jail outside Baghdad, the US military said.

"What we had was a well coordinated attack of 40 to 60 insurgents on Forward Operating Base Abu Ghraib," said Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill, the spokesman for US detention operations in Iraq.

The fighting kicked off at 7:00 pm (1500 GMT) as the sun began to set when a car bomb exploded at the prison's southeast corner, followed by rocket-propelled grenades, small arms and mortar fire, Rudisill said.

"Some of the fire was from nearby buildings."

A second car bomb went off soon after somewhere on the prison's northern side, as the insurgents pressed their assault, he added.

US soldiers returned fire with automatic weapons and 50 millimetre calibre shells, while three Apache attack helicopters were deployed overhead but did not open fire, Rudisill said.

At least one insurgent was killed, he added. [...]

The attack may well have been an attempted jail break. It follows a 40-50 man rebel ambush on a US military convoy south of Baghdad on March 20. [...]

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Army admits blunder over raid on home of Basra MP
By Adrian Blomfield in Baghdad
(Filed: 31/03/2005)

The Army apologised yesterday for raiding the home of a prominent MP from Basra and arresting his family. Officers blamed an intelligence blunder.

But the apology has done little to quell the fury of southern Shia MPs, who warned that good relations between the British and Iraqi officials could suffer as a result of Monday night's botched raid.

Army officers did not explain how they mistook Mansour Abdulrazzaq Mansour, one of the British Army's closest allies in Iraq's second city, for an insurgent.

The MP, a member of the Shia coalition, said British tanks and helicopters surrounded his house before soldiers blew open the front door with explosives.

"They smashed the windows of the cars parked in the garage, smashed the computer to the ground and took $260,000 from the house," said Mr Mansour, who comes from one of southern Iraq's wealthiest families.

"The reason for the violation of my immunity has not been explained and my money has not been returned. I demand compensation." He said his children were also detained and had been left scarred by the experience.

"Basically we are very sorry," a spokesman said from the Army headquarters in Basra. "We made a mistake, we apologise for it and we will do our best to make sure something like this does not happen again." All 11 members of Mr Mansour's family had been released.

It is unclear whether the soldiers raided the wrong house or genuinely believed Mr Mansour, who is the leader of the Tamimi tribe, was connected to the insurgency.

The gaffe was compounded by the fact that the British military had provided a helicopter to fly Mr Mansour to Baghdad for the second meeting of the national assembly just hours before the raid.

Southern politicians were vitriolic in their condemnation of the raid. "Generally, the people of Basra like the British," said Muntasir al-Imara, an MP from Basra. "Unlike the Americans, they have morals and are kind to people so we feel comfortable with them. But this behaviour terrifies us.

"Unless they give us a proper explanation for behaving like criminals and offer adequate compensation, relations could become very bad."

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Iraqi lawmakers choose parliament speaker
www.chinaview.cn 2005-04-03 16:57:18
BAGHDAD, April 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Iraqi lawmakers elected Sunni Arab politician Hachim al-Hassani as speaker for the National Assembly (parliament) on Sunday, marking the first step toward forming a new government after months of deadlock.

With the absence of 43 members, including the outgoing Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, the newly elected lawmakers convened for the third time more than two months after the landmark elections.

At least one explosion was heard near the Green Zone, where the session was being held, but there was no immediately report where it took place and if there was any casualty.

Lawmakers voted in a secret ballot on the five candidates nominated by the parliament blocs and Hassani garnered 215 votes, which enabled him to get the post.

Hussein al-Shahristani, a Shiite nuclear scientist, got 157 votes and became the first deputy speaker and the second deputy was Tariq Tayfor, a Kurd who won 96 votes.

The expected result came after the winning Shiite list issued anultimatum for the Sunni lawmakers to accept Hassani, the incumbent industrial minister more favored by the Shiites.

Sunni politicians previously preferred to nominate Meshaan al-Jubouri to take the post, but had to have his name withdrawn as a compromise to the complain about his link to the toppled regime.

The parliament ended its second session last week but failed to agree on the three posts, and the prolonged horse-trading negotiation has provoked anger among Iraqis.

Iraqi voters who had braved suicide attacks on Jan. 30 to go to polling stations have been disappointed by the failure to form a transitional government.

Despite the appointment of the speakers, the parliament will still have to debate over the candidacy for the country's president and the cabinet.

Comment: There was a lot of hot air blown in the American media after the elections of how Bush had pulled it off, that the Iraqis had shown the doubters, blah blah blah. The message the Iraqis who voted were in fact sending was "Get out of our country. We're capable of leading ourselves." They thought elections would lead to the occupation force withdrawing from their country. That message wasn't reported in the mainstream press.

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Flashback: Iraq was invaded 'to protect Israel' - US official
Emad Mekay: Asian Times

WASHINGTON - Iraq under Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to the United States, but it did to Israel, which is one reason why Washington invaded the Arab country, according to a speech made by a member of a top-level White House intelligence group.

Inter Press Service uncovered the remarks by Philip Zelikow, who is now the executive director of the body set up to investigate the terrorist attacks on the US in September 2001 - the 9/11 commission - in which he suggests a prime motive for the invasion just over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch US ally in the Middle East.

Zelikow's casting of the attack on Iraq as one launched to protect Israel appears at odds with the public position of US President George W Bush and his administration, which has never overtly drawn the link between its war on the regime of Saddam and its concern for Israel's security.

The administration has instead insisted it launched the war to liberate the Iraqi people, destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to protect the United States.

Zelikow made his statements about "the unstated threat" during his tenure on a highly knowledgeable and well-connected body known as the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which reports directly to the president. He served on the board between 2001 and 2003.

"Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat is and actually has been since 1990 - it's the threat against Israel," Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on September 10, 2002, speaking on a panel of foreign policy experts assessing the impact of September 11 and the future of the war on al-Qaeda.

"And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don't care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell," said Zelikow.

The statements are the first to surface from a source closely linked to the Bush administration acknowledging that the war, which has so far cost the lives of nearly 600 US troops and thousands of Iraqis, was motivated by Washington's desire to defend the Jewish state.

The administration, which is surrounded by staunch pro-Israel, neo-conservative hawks, is currently fighting an extensive campaign to ward off accusations that it derailed the "war on terrorism" it launched after September 11 by taking a detour to Iraq, which appears to have posed no direct threat to the US.

Israel is Washington's biggest ally in the Middle East, receiving annual direct aid of US$3-4 billion.

Even though members of the 16-person PFIAB come from outside government, they enjoy the confidence of the president and have access to all information related to foreign intelligence that they need to play their vital advisory role. Known in intelligence circles as "Piffy-ab", the board is supposed to evaluate the nation's intelligence agencies and probe any mistakes they make. The unpaid appointees on the board require a security clearance known as "code word" that is higher than top secret.

The national security adviser to former president George H W Bush (1989-93) Brent Scowcroft, currently chairs the board in its work overseeing a number of intelligence bodies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the various military intelligence groups and the Pentagon's National Reconnaissance Office.

Neither Scowcroft nor Zelikow returned numerous phone calls and e-mail messages from IPS for this story.

Zelikow has long-established ties to the Bush administration. Before his appointment to PFIAB in October 2001, he was part of the current president's transition team in January 2001. In that capacity, Zelikow drafted a memo for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on reorganizing and restructuring the National Security Council (NSC) and prioritizing its work.

Richard A Clarke, who was counter-terrorism coordinator for Bush's predecessor president Bill Clinton (1993-2001) also worked for Bush senior, and has recently accused the current administration of not heeding his terrorism warnings. Clarke said that Zelikow was among those he briefed about the urgent threat from al-Qaeda in December 2000.

Rice herself had served in the NSC during the first Bush administration, and subsequently teamed up with Zelikow on a 1995 book about the unification of Germany.

Zelikow had ties with another senior Bush administration official - Robert Zoellick, the current trade representative. The two wrote three books together, including one in 1998 on the United States and the Muslim Middle East.

Aside from his position on the 9/11 commission, Zelikow is now also director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia. His close ties to the administration prompted accusations of a conflict of interest in 2002 from families of victims of the September attacks, who protested his appointment to the investigative body. [...]

Others say that the administration should be blamed for not making known to the public its true intentions and real motives for invading Iraq. "They the administration made a decision to invade Iraq, and then started to search for a policy to justify it. It was a decision in search of a policy and because of the odd way they went about it, people are trying to read something into it," said Nathan Brown, professor of political science at George Washington University and an expert on the Middle East.

But he downplayed the Israel link. "In terms of securing Israel, it doesn't make sense to me because the Israelis are probably more concerned about Iran than they were about Iraq in terms of the long-term strategic threat," he said.

Still, Brown says that Zelikow's words carried weight. "Certainly his position would allow him to speak with a little bit more expertise about the thinking of the Bush administration, but it doesn't strike me that he is any more authoritative than Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, or Rice or Secretary of State Colin Powell or anybody else. All of them were sort of fishing about for justification for a decision that has already been made," Brown said.

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Behind diplomacy, Iran sees a fight coming
04/02
The Christian Science Monitor

From Washington, the rhetoric calls for diplomatic solutions to the nuclear standoff with Iran. But Tehran also hears a growing drumbeat for war that echoes the build-up to US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

In preparation for any strike on its budding nuclear facilities, Iran is making clear that the price will be high - burnishing its military forces, boosting its missile program, and warning of a painful response against US and Israeli targets in the region.

"They see a fight coming, regardless of what they do, so they are getting ready for it," says a European diplomat in Tehran, referring to ideologues who think a US invasion is a "very real prospect." Even moderate conservatives fear the "Iraqization of the Iran dossier," says the diplomat. The result is that Iran is "constantly trying to project strength" and is developing a new doctrine of asymmetric warfare.

President Bush, who included Iran in his "axis of evil," has called speculation about a strike "ridiculous," but says all options are open. Earlier this month, the US added modest incentives of WTO membership and spare aircraft parts to bolster Britain, France, and Germany as they negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program. But the US last week refused to consider a security guarantee, as proposed by the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog agency.

Experts say Iran has many assets to draw upon in case of attack:

• Iran has been upgrading its Shahab-3 missile, which can reach Israel and US forces in the region. Iran's armed forces have conducted high-profile military exercises since last fall.

• Iran is reported to have set up sophisticated air defenses around its nuclear facilities. US officials in February said pilotless US drones had been sent from Iraq since last year to sample the air for traces of uranium enrichment. Iran has confirmed that it is excavating deep underground tunnels to protect some nuclear facilities.

• Ukraine's new pro-West lawmakers are investigating "smuggled" shipments of a dozen Soviet-era Kh-55 cruise missiles - designed to carry a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead 1,860 miles, virtually undetectable by radar - to Iran in 2001. A Russia-Iran satellite launch deal is to provide digital maps for more accurate targeting, according to Moscow analyst Pavel Felgenhauer.

• Western diplomats are raising concerns that Iran is "quietly building a stockpile" of sophisticated military equipment, such as 2,000 armor-piercing sniper rifles and night-vision goggles, acquired through legal purchases as well as under a UN anti-drug program, the Associated Press reported last Friday.

Beyond this, civilian hard-liners have been recruiting suicide bombers to kill US troops in Iraq, or Israelis. Though derided by some officials as not serious, by last June 15,000 had signed up, according to Knight-Ridder.

"It is code to America: 'If you hit us, we will play dirty, using Hizbullah and volunteers to hit the US across the region," says the European diplomat, echoing analysts who note that Iran can swiftly destabilize Iraq, activate militant cells, and close the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic. "There is an enormous danger of miscalculation."

That possibility, and the examples of US-engineered regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq, are causing Iran to hedge its bets.

"If I was a student of [Prussian military strategist Karl von] Clausewitz, I would do as the US does: I would talk incentives, and [at the same time] design a theater of war against the enemy," says Abbas Maleki, a former deputy foreign minister who heads the Institute for Caspian Studies in Tehran.

In response, says Mr. Maleki, Iranians are focusing on three possibilities: a surgical strike on nuclear facilities; a three-month rolling air attack; and a six-month "troops on the ground" option.

"Iran must be very, very cautious to avoid any attack," says Maleki, who maintains ties to Iran's leadership. "We have conventional weapons designed for neighboring threats like Saddam Hussein and the Taliban - not to fight a superpower. But we must defend ourselves."

Talking up that defense is almost daily news in Iran, where supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iranians are "accustomed to the harsh and threatening language of the enemy," and told Iranian nuclear officials last week to ignore US threats and continue their work. The Revolutionary Guards "must be ready all the time," he said, "to stand up to ... acts of bullying."

Analysts say any military action by the US could boost unpopular conservatives.

"Iranians are very patriotic, and though there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the regime, they oppose an attack," says Nasser Hadian-Jazy, a political scientist at Tehran University with close ties to the Khatami government. "It would be like Sept. 11 in the US, which brought the neocons into power. A US attack could bring our neocons into power."

Many experts agree that a military attack aimed at nuclear sites could propel Iran's leadership to kick out UN inspectors and withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

As a signatory of the NPT, Iran has been relatively cooperative so far. Despite numerous Iranian reporting violations, and delays visiting certain sites, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says its inspectors have found no evidence of a weapons program.

Adding to concern in the West, the Asian Wall Street Journal reported last week that US intelligence has received tens of thousands of pages of Farsi-language designs and test data, dated from 2001 to 2003, to modify the Shahab-3 missile to carry a "black box" that, the report says, US experts "believe is almost certainly a nuclear warhead."

Similar leaks about Iraq's alleged weapons activities prior to the invasion proved crucial to making the case for war, but were later disproved. The Journal reports that US officials first thought "the find might be disinformation, perhaps by Israel," but "are now persuaded ... the documents are real."

A complete 14-month reassessment of US intelligence on WMD threats ordered by the White House, and using pre-war errors about Iraq as a case study - is to be presented to President Bush Thursday. A lengthy classified section is reported to have found serious gaps in US knowledge of Iran's programs. [...]

Ironically, any strike could bury Iran's already weakened moderates. "This action will really work against democracy and reformers in Iran, and I believe the Americans know that," says Mostafa Tajzadeh, a former deputy interior minister and adviser to Khatami. "If we are pessimists, we would say they want hard-liners to [solidify] control."

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Venezuela rejects US charge concerning arms deal
www.chinaview.cn 2005-04-03 11:36:11

CARACAS, April 2 (Xinhuanet) -- Venezuela refuted on Saturday a recent US accusation of its arms deal, reiterating that the country's new purchase of arms and military equipment from abroad is a "legitimate, sovereign and uncontested act."

Venezuela will use the arms for a superior mission which is peace, Defense Minister Jorge Garcia said, rejecting once again US criticism that its purchase of weapons would imply an arms race in South America.

The minister emphasized Venezuela as a country that is renowned in the world for keeping strictly with the purpose of peace, "collaborating with its neighbors and with whoever needs help."

The official defined the country's military mission as safeguarding borders, patrolling and operations against smuggling,drug-trafficking and other forms of crime.

Last month, the Venezuelan government signed an agreement with the Russian state-run firm Rosoboronexport to buy 10 helicopters, as well as 100,000 AK-103 and AK-104 assault rifles.

Venezuela also signed a deal with Spain to buy transport planes, a sphalt-transport vessels and patrol boats. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a statement in defense of the deal after visitingSpanish Prime Minister Jose Rodriguez Zapatero signed the agreements on Wednesday.

He said the military equipment will help Venezuela strengthen its defense capacity and combat smuggling, drug-trafficking and international crimes.

US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Wednesday criticizedVenezuela's purchase of 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles from Russia,suggesting that Venezuela's possession of so many weapons would pose a threat to the hemisphere.

Tensions between Venezuela and the United States have been escalating amid exchanges of hostile rhetoric, in which Chavez accused Washington of planning to assassinate him.

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Deadly force in self-defense would be legal under bill
By Beth Kassab Tallahassee Bureau | Sentinel Staff Writer
April 1, 2005

TALLAHASSEE -- It's illegal to shoot someone just because they threaten you in a supermarket checkout line, at a football game or on the street.

But under a proposed law swiftly moving through the Florida Legislature, people who think their lives are in danger outside their home will be immune from prosecution if they fight back.

Critics say if the law becomes reality Florida could become reminiscent of the Wild West.

The law would allow people who feel they are under attack to "meet force with force" under immunity from prosecution or civil lawsuits. Under the provision you could punch someone who punches you or even kill someone you think is about to kill you.

The proposed law received approval from the House of Representatives on Thursday with opposition mostly from Democrats who feared it could make everyone in the state trigger-happy.

Rep. Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs, questioned whether the law would lead to death over even the most frivolous disagreements, such as trying to check out 15 items in a supermarket's 10-items-or-less lane.

If one person in line challenges another, and they get in a heated argument that escalates to threats, he asked, what could happen?

"Can I then pop a cap on him, proceed to check out with my 15 items and then ask for cleanup on aisle three?" Porth, a prosecutor, asked.

Rep. Dennis Baxley, who sponsored the bill, said the intention is not to increase violence, but to allow people to defend themselves without fear of being charged with a crime.

"If you have a reasonable fear of death or bodily harm then you have the right to protect yourself," said Baxley, R-Ocala. "I think many people delay because they're not really confident that they're not going to be in trouble." [...]

Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Wilton Manors, said the most dangerous aspect of the bill is that it takes self-defense outside people's homes and into the streets, meaning real criminals might escape jail time.

"We've gone beyond the home, we've gone beyond the occupied vehicle and we've taken it, as we heard today, to shopping markets, into stadiums, into bars," he said. "We've taken it everywhere. We've taken current law and extended it so far that criminals will not be prosecuted. Everyone of them is going to raise as a defense that, 'I was attacked first." [...]

Comment: We really have to wonder if this idiotic piece of legislation wasn't inspired by the recent flak that the Bush administration has been taking over its illegal pre-emptive attack on Iraq. Now that we all know there never were any WMDs in Iraq, and the blame has been conveniently shifted onto the intelligence community, perhaps Bush is attempting to complete the Whitewash by convincing Americans that it really is OK to preemptively attack another party, be that other party an individual or, say, a foreign country. Feeling a little irate today? Do you covet your neighbour's car/wife/garden gnome? Has he been "looking at you funny" recently? Well, under US law, you might be entitled to go over there and "pop a cap in his ass" and claim that he posed a clear and present threat to your livelihood/happiness. Ah yes, the joys of Democracy.

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Second earthquake recorded off Sumatra
New Delhi, Apr 1 (UNI)
Another earthquake of moderate intensity measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale was recorded off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra tonight.

The quake, which was epicentred at 0.5 degrees north latitude and 97.2 degrees east longitude, occured at 2255 hrs.

It follows another temblor, measuring 5.5, which occured earlier today.

The first earthquake, at 1607 hrs IST, was epicentred at 2.7 degree north latitude and 96.7 degree east longitude, an IMD release said.

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Third earthquake recorded off Sumatra
New Delhi, Apr 3(UNI)

Another earthquake of moderate intensity, measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale, was recorded off the western coast on North Sumatra this morning.

The quake, which was epicentered at 2.2 degrees north latitude and 97.6 degrees east longitude, occurred at 0841 hrs IST, an Indian Meteorological Department(IMD) release said.

It follows two temblors, measuring 5.2 and 5.7 on the Richter Scale, which occurred early this morning.

The first quake, occurred at 0348 hrs IST, was epicentred at 3.4 degrees north latitude and 92.6 degrees east longitude of the west coast of the Indonesian island, the release said.

The second quake occurred at 0629 hrs IST and was epicentred at 3.4 degrees north latitude and 92.6 degrees east longitude off the Indonesian island.

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Moderate Earthquake Injures 24 in Iran
AP
TEHRAN, Iran Apr 3, 2005 - A moderate earthquake shook southeastern Iran early Sunday, injuring at least 24 people, state-run television reported.

The broadcast said the 4.1 magnitude earthquake jolted Ravar, 560 miles southeast of the capital, Tehran, at about 3 a.m. local time. No heavy property damage was reported.

Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. More than 600 people were killed by a 6.4 magnitude quake that hit central Iran on Feb. 22.

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Moderate earthquake shakes Manila, no damage reported
Star-Sun
(1: 15 p.m.)

MANILA -- A moderate earthquake shook Manila and outlying regions on Sunday, but officials reported no injuries or damage.

The epicenter of the magnitude-5.3 earthquake, off Mindoro island south of the capital, was too deep to cause any damage, government seismologist Vilma Hernandez said.

It was triggered by movement of the Manila trench, located off the Philippines' western coast, she said.

Aside from Manila, the quake was also felt in Mindoro's resort town of Puerto Galera and nearby Cavite province and Tagaytay city, she said.

The Philippines is in the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.

A magnitude-7.7 earthquake in 1990 killed nearly 2,000 people on the island of Luzon.

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China's Giant Pandas Get Broadband
Reuters
Sun Apr 3, 2005 04:49 AM ET

BEIJING - Calling all tech-savvy pandas -- China's biggest nature reserve in the foggy mountains of southwest Sichuan province is now wired for broadband.

Some might argue that the Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve, China's largest, is now ready for the world's first panda internet cafe, but the great digital leap forward is aimed more at panda protection.

Researchers are able to process real-time data on the pandas, including photos and video signals, around the clock at any given corner of the nature reserve, or observe giant panda cubs on a daily basis without having to step out of their offices," Xinhua said. [...]

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Jesus doll ready for market

Press button, hear figure repeat Scripture
By Susan Abram
L.A. Daily News
March 31, 2005

A Jesus doll that quotes the Bible at the push of a button is the star of a Messengers of Faith collection set to be released in June by a Valencia-based company that hopes the secular market is ready for the toys.

Also part of the series are Barbie-size Moses, David and Virgin Mary dolls, being developed by the Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. in Valencia, which already markets a teddy bear that sings "Jesus Loves Me."

"It's been on my heart to do these for at least three or four years," said the company's founder and executive officer David Socha. "We are targeting the inspirational market, to do good things for children, something that adds to their quality of life and doesn't corrupt their minds. Our company has always created very conservative products."

The dolls' creators believe the market is ready for the toys, adding they will spark a forum for discussions in households about God and faith.

The 12-inch poseable figures, meant for children 4 to 10, also are collectors items and will sell for $24.99. Each doll is numbered. A child can push a button in the doll's back, and the doll will recite Scripture, Socha said.

Socha also said he expects some controversy, judging by the response the film "The Passion of the Christ" sparked before its release and the subsequent discussions about the power of the religious right. [...]

But some in the religious community said society may be ready for the dolls, adding that the toys will become great education tools. [...]

Socha acknowledged that the dolls would first be marketed toward the religious communities, both Christian and Judaic. Some dolls still to be produced include Esther, a ancient Hebrew queen, and Peter, Jesus' apostle. And he said they will not likely sell them at Toys 'R' Us.

"This is a chance for the Christian child to have a very high-quality toy," Socha said. "Our company has a strong reputation and I think people who know our company know that this is at the heart of who we are."

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