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'Bring me the head of Bin Laden'

The CIA sent a team to Afghanistan days after 9/11 with orders to kill Osama Bin Laden and bring back his head, a former agent has revealed.

Gary Schroen flew out soon after the attacks on New York and Washington, helping to set up the 2001 invasion, he told US National Public Radio.

He recalled his orders from the CIA's counter-terrorism chief.

"Capture Bin Laden, kill him and bring his head back in a box on dry ice," he quoted Cofer Black as saying.

As for other leaders of Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan, Mr Black reportedly said: "I want their heads up on pikes."

Contacted by the radio network, Mr Black would not confirm that these were his exact words but he did not dispute Mr Schroen's account.

The agent told NPR he had been stunned that, for the first time in 30 years of service, he had received orders to kill targets rather then capture them.

But he says he replied: "Sir, those are the clearest orders I have ever received.

"I can certainly make pikes out in the field but I don't know what I'll do about dry ice to bring the head back - but we'll manage something." [...]

He says he is surprised that the CIA has still not managed to track down Bin Laden after nearly four years.

Comment: The head of Osama on dry ice. Guess he got lucky and found a way out in spite of the ability of the US to track phones and to use satellites to identify his convoys. Sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie.

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Al-Qaeda's top man in Pakistan caught
Last Updated Wed, 04 May 2005 10:37:12 EDT
CBC News

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani security forces say they have arrested the senior al-Qaeda militant suspected of planning two assassination attempts against President Pervez Musharraf.

Abu Faraj Farj al-Libbi, a native of Libya, is said to be third in the al-Qaeda hierarchy and a close associate of leader Osama bin Laden.

He was thought to have taken over as the head of al-Qaeda operations in Pakistan more than two years ago.

The arrest pleased the United States government, which called it the most significant al-Qaeda capture in two years. [...]

Musharraf has blamed al-Libbi for organizing two attempts to kill him in December 2003.

Comment: Bush's reaction was reported to be "Oh, gosh, golly, shucks, this is, uh, wow, oh, freedom!, uh, USA! USA! USA!"

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Suicide attack kills at least 50 Iraqis
Last Updated Wed, 04 May 2005 10:02:23 EDT
CBC News

ARBIL, IRAQ - At least 50 people were killed Wednesday when an Iraqi suicide bomber wearing concealed explosives set them off outside a police recruitment centre, U.S. military officials said.

The attack in the Kurdish city of Arbil, about 350 kilometres north of Baghdad, was Iraq's deadliest since the end of February, when a car bomb killed 110 people at a medical centre in Hillah.

The television network Al-Arabiya reported that the latest attack killed 60 people and injured as many as 150 others.

Many of the victims were unemployed civilians applying for police jobs at the centre, which also houses the local office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

At least seven cars outside the building were destroyed by the force of the blast. Neighbouring buildings were also damaged.

The toll from insurgent violence in the past week, since Iraq's new cabinet was approved, has now risen to more than 200.

Some analysts say the absence of Sunni Muslims in the cabinet has enraged the insurgents.

Iraq's democratically elected government was sworn in on Tuesday, with seven key posts in the cabinet still empty as talks with Sunni Iraqis continue.

The oil and defence portfolios still have no ministers.

Comment: In spite of Bush's assurances that everything is going just great in Iraq, the facts on the ground have a way of being completely contradictory. Does Bush know how badly things are going, or are his handlers keeping him in ignorance so that he can pull off his press conferences with the necessary bravado to keep his faithful fast asleep?

Then again, if the real goal is to keep Iraq in chaos so that it eventually falls apart into three states, then turning the war against the occupation into a civil war is part of the agenda, an agenda set in Israel.

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The Israeli origins of Bush II's war
April 24, 2005
While the neoconservatives were the driving force behind the American invasion of Iraq and the consequent efforts to bring about regime change throughout the Middle East, the idea for such a war did not originate with American neocon thinkers but rather in Israel. An obvious linkage exists between the war position of the neocons and what has long been a strategy of the Israeli Right and, to a lesser extent, of the Israeli mainstream.

The idea of a Middle East war had been bandied about in Israel for many years as a means of enhancing Israeli security. War would serve two purposes. It would enhance Israel's external security by weakening and splintering Israel's neighbors. Moreover, such a war and the consequent weakening of Israel's external enemies could help resolve the internal Palestinian demographic problem, since the Palestinian resistance has derived material and moral support from Israel's neighboring states.

A brief look at the history of the Zionist movement and its goals will help to provide an understanding of this issue. The Zionist goal of creating an exclusive Jewish state in Palestine was complicated by the fundamental problem that the country was already settled with a mostly non-Jewish population. Despite public rhetoric to the contrary, the idea of expelling the indigenous Palestinian population (euphemistically referred to as a "transfer") was an integral part of the Zionist effort to found a Jewish national state in Palestine. [...]

With the Likud assumption of power [in 1977], the most far-reaching militant proposals entered mainstream Zionist thinking, involving militant destabilization of Israel's neighbors and Palestinian expulsion. An important article in that genre was Oded Yinon's "A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s," which appeared in the World Zionist Organization's periodical Kivunim (Directions) in February 1982. Yinon had been attached to the Foreign Ministry, and his article undoubtedly reflected high-level thinking in the Israeli military and intelligence establishment. According to Peleg, "The Yinon article was an authentic mirror of the thinking mode of the Israeli Right at the height of Begin's rule; it reflected a sense of unlimited and unrestrained power.... There can be no question that the hard-core Neo-Revisionist camp as a whole subscribed, at least until the Lebanese fiasco, to ideas similar to those of Yinon." [11]

Yinon called for Israel to bring about the dissolution of regional Arab states and their fragmentation into a mosaic of ethnic and sectarian groupings. He believed that this would not be a difficult undertaking because nearly all the Arab states were afflicted with internal ethnic and religious divisions. In essence, the end result would be a Middle East of powerless mini-states that could in no way confront Israeli power.

Lebanon, then facing divisive chaos, was Yinon's model for the entire Middle East. He wrote:

Lebanon's total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel's primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. [12]

Note that Yinon sought the dissolution of countries Egypt and Saudi Arabia that were allied to the United States.

Yinon looked upon Iraq as a major target for dissolution, and he believed that the ongoing Iran-Iraq war would promote its breakup:

Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul, and Shi'ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north. It is possible that the present Iranian-Iraqi confrontation will deepen this polarization. [13]

Yinon's 1982 prediction that war would bring about the religious/ethnic fragmentation of Iraq fits nicely with what actually occurred in the aftermath of the 2003 U.S. invasion. Certainly his forecast was far closer to being accurate than the neocons' rosy public prognostications, before the invasion, about the easy engineering of Iraqi democracy. But from the Likudnik perspective, the reality of a conquered Iraq was much to be preferred to the neocon pipe dream. It comes as no surprise, then, that Israel has developed close ties with the Kurdish separatists. [14]

The goal of Israeli hegemony was inextricably tied to the expulsion of the Palestinians. According to Yinon, the policy of Israel must be "to bring about the dissolution of Jordan; the termination of the problem of the [occupied] territories densely populated with Arabs west of the [River] Jordan; and emigration from the territories, and economic-demographic freeze in them." He added, "We have to be active in order to encourage this change speedily, in the nearest time."

Like many Israeli advocates of population transfer, Yinon believed that "Israel has made a strategic mistake in not taking measures [of mass expulsion] towards the Arab population in the new territories during and shortly after the [1967] war.... Such a line would have saved us the bitter and dangerous conflict ever since which we could have already then terminated by giving Jordan to the Palestinians." [15]

In a foreword to his English translation of Yinon's piece, Israel Shahak made an interesting comparison between the neoconservative position and actual Likudnik goals: "The strong connection with Neo-Conservative thought in the U.S.A. is very prominent, especially in the author's notes. But, while lip service is paid to the idea of the 'defense of the West' from Soviet power, the real aim of the author, and of the present Israeli establishment is clear: To make an Imperial Israel into a world power. In other words, the aim of Sharon is to deceive the Americans after he has deceived all the rest." [16]

The Yinon article embodied the thinking of Likud strategists of the early 1980s. As Noam Chomsky wrote in Fateful Triangle: "much of what Yinon discusses is quite close to mainstream thinking." Chomsky described the Israeli incursion into Lebanon in 1982 as representing an attempt to implement Yinon's geostrategy. "The 'new order' that Israel is attempting to impose in Lebanon is based on a conception not unlike what Yinon expresses, and there is every reason to suppose that similar ideas with regard to Syria may seem attractive to the political leadership." [17]

To bolster his thesis regarding Likudnik war strategy, Chomsky discussed an analytical article by Yoram Peri former advisor to Prime Minister Rabin and European representative of the Labor Party, and a specialist on civil-military relations in Israel that came out in the Labor party journal Davar in October 1982. [18] Peri described a "true revolution" in "military-diplomatic conception," which he dated to the coming to power of the Likudniks. (Chomsky saw the shift as being more gradual and "deeply rooted" in the Israeli elite.) Summarizing Peri, Chomsky wrote:

The earlier conception [during the reign of the leftwing Zionists] was based on the search for "coexistence" and maintenance of the status quo. Israel aimed at a peaceful settlement in which its position in the region would be recognized and its security achieved. The new conception is based on the goal of "hegemony," not "coexistence." No longer a status quo power, having achieved military dominance as the world's fourth most powerful military force, and no longer believing in even the possibility of peace or even its desirability except in terms of Israeli hegemony, Israel is now committed to "destabilization" of the region, including Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. In accordance with the new conception, Israel should now use its military dominance to expand its borders and "to create a new reality," a "new order," rather than seek recognition within the status quo. [19]

Destabilization of its surrounding enemies would seem to be a perfectly rational strategy for Israel. Certainly, all countries, if they had enemies, would prefer them to be weak rather than strong. As Chomsky pointed out:

It is only natural to expect that Israel will seek to destabilize the surrounding states, for essentially the reasons that lead South Africa on a similar course in its region. In fact, given continuing military tensions, that might be seen virtually as a security imperative. A plausible long-term goal might be what some have called an "Ottomanization" of the region, that is, a return to something like the system of the Ottoman empire, with a powerful center (Turkey then, Israel with U.S. backing now) and much of the region fragmented into ethnic-religious communities, preferably mutually hostile. [20]

Peri, however, thought that this destabilization policy would ultimately harm Israel because it would alienate the United States, upon which Israel's security ultimately depended. Chomsky summarized Peri's critical stance: "The reason is that the U.S. is basically a status quo power itself, opposed to destabilization of the sort to which Israel is increasingly committed. The new strategic conception is based on an illusion of power, and may lead to a willingness, already apparent in some of the rhetoric heard in Israel, to undertake military adventures even without U.S. support." [21]

Israel embarked on just such a unilateral adventure in its invasion of Lebanon in 1982. And the disastrous result demonstrated the grave limitations of a unilateral war-oriented strategy for Israel. [...]

Peri had argued that if Israel went off on its own in destabilizing the Middle East, the United States would abandon Israel, to Israel's detriment. What was needed for the destabilization plan to work was a transformation of American Middle East policy. If the United States adopted the same destabilization policy as Israel, then such a policy could succeed. U.S. influence among its allies and in the United Nations, where it held a veto, would be enough to shelter Israel from the animosity of world opinion, preventing it from ending up as a pariah state such as the white-ruled Republic of South Africa. Better yet, though perhaps unimagined in the 1980s, would be to induce the United States to act in Israel's place to destabilize the region.

Even if imagined, such a policy revolution was certainly impossible in that decade. However, through the long-term efforts of the American neoconservatives, the transformation actually occurred in the Bush II administration. The neocon advocacy of dramatically altering the Middle Eastern status quo stood in stark contrast to the traditional American position of maintaining stability in the area though it did, of course, mesh perfectly with Israel's long-established goal of destabilizing its enemies.

As neocon Kenneth Adelman would put it during George W. Bush's first term, "The starting point is that [neo] conservatives now are for radical change, and the progressives the establishment foreign-policy makers are for the status quo." Adelman emphasized that "conservatives believe that the status quo in the Middle East is pretty bad, and the old conservative belief that stability is good doesn't apply to the Middle East. The status quo in the Middle East has been breeding terrorists." [27]

But even many neocons did not directly move to the idea that the United States would actually be the military instigator of destabilization in the Middle East. After the Bush I administration failed to occupy Iraq and remove Saddam in the Gulf War of 1991, as the neoconservatives would have liked, [28] the neocons were thinking in terms of an Israeli military venture, but one enjoying extensive American moral and political support. A clear illustration of the neocon view on this subject and the intimate connection with Israeli security was a 1996 paper titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," published by an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. Included in the study group that produced it were men who would loom large in the Bush II administration's war policy in the Middle East Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser. Perle was listed as the head of the study group. [29]

The "realm" that the study group sought to secure was that of Israel. The purpose of the policy paper was to provide a political blueprint for the incoming Israeli Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu. The paper stated that Netanyahu should "make a clean break" with the Oslo peace process and reassert Israel's claim to the West Bank and Gaza. It presented a plan whereby Israel would "shape its strategic environment," beginning with the removal of Saddam and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad. By removing Saddam, the study held, Israel would be in a better strategic position to get at its more dangerous foes. In short, elimination of Saddam was a first step toward reconfiguring the entire Middle East for the benefit of Israel: "Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions." [30]

To prevent the debilitating American criticism of Israeli policy that took place during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the "Clean Break" report advised Netanyahu to present Israeli actions "in language familiar to the Americans by tapping into themes of American administrations during the cold war which apply well to Israel." For example, the report stated that "Mr. Netanyahu can highlight his desire to cooperate more closely with the United States on anti-missile defense in order to remove the threat of blackmail which even a weak and distant army can pose to either state. Not only would such cooperation on missile defense counter a tangible physical threat to Israel's survival, but it would broaden Israel's base of support among many in the United States Congress who may know little about Israel, but care very much about missile defense." [31]

Israel could also gain American support, the report maintained, by appealing to Western ideals. The Netanyahu government should "promote Western values and traditions. Such an approach ... will be well received in the United States." The appeal to American values loomed large in the report's reference to Lebanon: "An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon." In short, the report saw the use of moral values in largely utilitarian terms. References to moral values were for American consumption. This was a means to get American support for a policy to advance Israeli national interests. [32]

Intelligence writer James Bamford cut to the core of the Israeli manipulations:

To gain the support of the American government and public, a phony pretext would be used as the reason for the original invasion.

The recommendation of Feith, Perle, and Wurmser was for Israel to once again invade Lebanon with air strikes. But this time, to counter potentially hostile reactions from the American government and public, they suggested using a pretext. They would claim that the purpose of the invasion was to halt Syria's drug-money and counterfeiting infrastructure located there. They were subjects in which Israel had virtually no interest, but they were ones, they said, with which America can sympathize.

Another way to win American support for a pre-empted war against Syria, they suggested, was by drawing attention to its weapons of mass destruction program. This claim would be that Israel's war was really all about protecting Americans from drugs, counterfeit bills, and WMD nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. [33]

Still, in the "Clean Break," neocons were advising Israeli military action. It should be emphasized that the same people Feith, Wurmser, Perle who advised the Israeli government on issues of national security would also advise the George W. Bush administration to pursue virtually the same policy regarding the Middle East, but employing American armed forces. As political observer William James Martin would astutely comment about "Clean Break": "This document is remarkable for its very existence because it constitutes a policy manifesto for the Israeli government penned by members of the current U.S. government." [34] Martin went on to point out that the similarity between that document's recommendation for Israel and the neocon-inspired Bush administration policy, purportedly designed for the benefit of American interests, was even more remarkable:

It is amazing how much of this program, though written for the Israeli government of Netanyahu of 1996, has already been implemented, not by the government of Israel, but by the Bush administration. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the two-year-old house arrest of Arafat and the attempt to cultivate a new Palestinian leadership, the complete rejection by Sharon of the land for peace agreement on the Golan Heights, with little U.S. demurral, and the bombing inside of "Syria proper" with only the response from Bush, "Israel has a right to defend itself." [35]

The dramatic similarities between the "Clean Break" scenario and actual Bush II administration Middle East policy are evident not only in the results but also in the sequence of events. Notably, the "Clean Break" report held that removing Saddam was the key to weakening Israel's other enemies; and after removing Saddam in 2003 the United States would indeed quickly threaten Iran and Syria, and talk of restructuring the entire Middle East. [36] Evident, too, is a similarity between actual events and the Yinon proposal of 1982, which also saw regime change in Iraq as a fundamental move in destabilizing Israel's enemies.

To reiterate the central point of this essay: the vision of "regime change" in the Middle East through external, militant action originated in Israel, and its sole purpose was to advance the strategic interests of Israel. It had nothing to do with bringing "democracy" to Muslims. It had nothing to do with any terrorist threat to the United States. Those latter arguments accreted to the idea of regime change as the primary military actor changed from Israel to the United States. But the Israeli government would continue to be a fundamental supporter of the regional military action, even as the ostensible justifications for action changed. The Sharon government advocated the American attacks on Iraq and has preached the necessity of strikes on Iran.

It would appear that for Ariel Sharon during the Bush II administration, the strategic benefits that would accrue to Israel from such a militant restructuring of the Middle East were the same as those that Likudniks sought in the 1980s. But unlike Begin's failed incursion into Lebanon in 1982, the Bush II effort not only relied upon the much greater power of the United States but also was wrapped in a cover of "democracy" and American national interest, effectively masking the true objective of Israeli hegemony. That helps to explain the much greater success of this intervention, which has come at no cost to Israel.

Instead, it has come at a cost to the United States. The United States has tarnished its international reputation through its militarily aggressive actions in contravention of prevailing international norms. It has also had to pay significant costs in blood and money: rather, the American people have had to pay those costs. And the United States has made itself, and the American people, a major target of international terrorism. In short, the benefits derived by the United States from its Middle East military adventure are highly questionable; but that is easily understood if one recognizes that the policy the Bush II administration has pursued did not originate as one to benefit the interests of the United States but rather to benefit those of Israel, as those interests have been perceived by the Israeli Right.

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Rep. calls for deeper inquiry into secret Iraq attack plan

Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) is circulating a letter calling for a further inquiry into a secret U.S.-UK agreement to attack Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

In a statement, Conyers says he is disappointed the mainstream media has not touched the revelations.

"Unfortunately, the mainstream media in the United States was too busy with wall-to-wall coverage of a "runaway bride" to cover a bombshell report out of the British newspapers," Conyers writes. "The London Times reports that the British government and the United States government had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in 2002, before authorization was sought for such an attack in Congress, and had discussed creating pretextual justifications for doing so."

"The Times reports, based on a newly discovered document, that in 2002 British Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a meeting in which he expressed his support for "regime change" through the use of force in Iraq and was warned by the nation's top lawyer that such an action would be illegal," he adds. "Blair also discussed the need for America to "create" conditions to justify the war."

Conyers says he is seeking an inquiry.

"This should not be allowed to fall down the memory hole during wall-to-wall coverage of the Michael Jackson trial and a runaway bride," he remarks. "To prevent that from occuring, I am circulating the following letter among my House colleagues and asking them to sign on to it."

The letter follows.


May ___, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush President of the United States of America The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write because of troubling revelations in the Sunday London Times apparently confirming that the United States and Great Britain had secretly agreed to attack Iraq in the summer of 2002, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action. While various individuals have asserted this to be the case before, including Paul O'Neill, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Richard Clarke, a former National Security Council official, they have been previously dismissed by your Administration. However, when this story was divulged last weekend, Prime Minister Blair's representative claimed the document contained "nothing new." If the disclosure is accurate, it raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of your own Administration.

The Sunday Times obtained a leaked document with the minutes of a secret meeting from highly placed sources inside the British Government. Among other things, the document revealed:

* Prime Minister Tony Blair chaired a July 2002 meeting, at which he discussed military options, having already committed himself to supporting President Bush's plans for invading Iraq.

* British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw acknowledged that the case for war was "thin" as "Saddam was not threatening his neighbours and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran."

* A separate secret briefing for the meeting said that Britain and America had to "create" conditions to justify a war.

* A British official "reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

As a result of this recent disclosure, we would like to know the following:

1) Do you or anyone in your Administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?

2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain's commitment to invade prior to this time?

3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?

4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?

5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to "fix" the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

We have of course known for some time that subsequent to the invasion there have been a variety of varying reasons proffered to justify the invasion, particularly since the time it became evident that weapons of mass destruction would not be found. This leaked document - essentially acknowledged by the Blair government - is the first confirmation that the rationales were shifting well before the invasion as well.

Given the importance of this matter, we would ask that you respond to this inquiry as promptly as possible. Thank you.


Congressman John Conyers

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US commander: Military unable to win new wars 2005-05-04 13:53:32

BEIJING, May 4 --A leaked classified report shows the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told congress that the US military may not be able to win any new wars as quickly as planned.

A senior defence official says General Richard Myers, has warned that the US military is in a period of increased risk because conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are straining manpower and resources.

Myers delivered the report to Congress on Monday and predicts the risk will decrease in a year or two.

"The message that we are sending to Congress is that the United States military can fulfill its task under the National Security Strategy, National Defence Strategy, National Military Strategy and we will be successful and prevail in anything our nation asks us to do under those strategies - that is the bottom line."

Myers also says the US military has timelines in place for defeating its potential adversaries, given there are enough soldiers, tanks, aircraft and warships available to do the job.

He admits the timelines might have to be extended.

About 138-thousand American troops are in Iraq, according to US Central Command. Another 18-thousand are in Afghanistan.

Comment: They have "timelines in place for defeating its potential adversaries". Not bad. The one trouble is having enough soldiers.

Last month, the army didn't meet its goal of recruiting 6,800 new troops.

So what is the US military doing to ensure the cannon folder continues to ship to the front lines? Read on....

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How Far Will The Army Go?
Apr 28, 2005 9:59 pm US/Mountain

How far will U.S. Army recruiters go to bring young men and women into their ranks? An Arvada West High School senior recently decided to find out. The following is CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger's report..

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) -- Last month the U.S. Army failed to meet its goal of 6,800 new troops.

Aware of this trend, David McSwane, a local high school student, decided he wanted to find out to what extent some recruiters would go to sign up soldiers who were not up to grade.

McSwane, 17, is actually just the kind of teenager the military would like. He's a high school journalist and honor student at Arvada West High School. But McSwane decided he wanted to see "how far the Army would go during a war to get one more solider."

McSwane contacted his local army recruiting office in Golden with a scenario he created. He told a recruiter that he was a dropout and didn't have a high school diploma.

"No problem," the recruiter explained. He suggested that McSwane create a fake diploma from a non-existent school.

McSwane recorded the recruiter saying that on the phone.

"It can be like Faith Hill Baptist School or something -- whatever you choose," the recruiter said.

As instructed, McSwane went on the computer to a Web site and for $200 arranged to have a phony diploma created that certified him as a graduate of Faith Hill Baptist High School, the very name the recruiter suggested. It came complete with a fake grade transcript.

"What was your reaction to them encouraging you to get a phony diploma?" CBS4's Rick Sallinger asked.

"I was shocked," McSwane said. "I'm sitting there looking at a poster that says 'Integrity, Honor, Respect' and he is telling me to lie."

McSwane also pretended he had a drug problem when he spoke with the recruiter.

The Army does not accept enlistees with drug problems.

"I have a problem with drugs," McSwane said, referring to the conversation he had with the recruiter. "I can't kick the habit ... just marijuana."

"[The recruiter] said 'Not a problem,' just take this detox ... he said he would pay half of it ... told me where to go."

Drug testers CBS4 contacted insist it doesn't work, but the recruiter claimed in another recorded phone conversation that taking "detoxification capsules and liquid" would help McSwane pass the required test.

"The two times I had the guys use it, it has worked both times," the recruiter said in the recorded conversation. "We didn't have to worry about anything."

Then the original recruiter was transferred and another recruiter, Sgt. Tim Pickel, picked up the ball.

A friend of McSwane shot videotape as Pickel drove McSwane to a store where he purchased the so-called detox kit.

CBS4 then went to the Army recruiting office and confronted Sgt. Pickel. CBS4 played him a conversation McSwane had with Pickel on the phone. The transcript of that conversation follows:

Pickel: When you said about the one problem that you had, what does it consist of?
McSwane: "Marijuana."
Pickel: Oh, OK so nothing major?
McSwane: Yeah, he said he would take me down to get that stuff, I mean I have no idea what it is, so you would have to show me. Is that a problem?
Pickel: No, not at all.

Pickel quickly referred CBS4 to his superiors.

CBS4 then played the tapes and showed the video to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Brodeur, who heads army recruiting for the region.

"Let me sum up all of this with one word: unacceptable, completely unacceptable," Brodeur said.

Hearing recruiters talking about phony diplomas and ways to beat drug tests left Brodeur more than a little disturbed.

"Let me tell you something sir, I'm a soldier and have been a soldier for 20 years," Brodeur said. "This violates trust, it violates integrity, it violates honor and it violates duty."

The army says it is conducting a full investigation. Brodeur said there is no pressure or punishment for recruiters if quotas are not met. They are, however, rewarded when their goals are surpassed.

Comment: Fake diplomas, products to mask drugs for drug tests, plus personalised shopping advice to make certain the recruitee gets the right product. The black ops start even prior to enlistment.

If they'd had such service back when GW was in the National Guard, he might have been able to finish his duty rather than going AWOL.

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White House names Luti as special assistant to president 2005-05-04 10:46:53

WASHINGTON, May 3 (Xinhuanet) -- US national security adviser Stephen Hadley appointed William Luti on Tuesday as Special Assistant to the President and senior director for Defense Policy and Strategy, the White House said in a statement.

"Most recently, Dr. Luti served as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. Prior to joining the Defense Department, Dr. Luti served as a Special Advisor for National Security Affairs to Vice President Dick Cheney," the statement said.

Luti previously served for 26 years as a naval officer "in a wide variety of operational and policy positions including command of an aviation squadron, an amphibious assault ship and an amphibious ready group," the statement added.

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In the name of truth
By Meron Rapoport

"Among Arabs, you will not find the phenomenon so typical of Judeo-Christian culture: doubts, a sense of guilt, the self-tormenting approach, `Maybe we weren't entirely OK,' or `Maybe we need to act or react differently.' These phenomena are totally unknown in Arab-Islamic society, toward outsiders. They have no doubts about their positions or the justice of their side. They have no sense of guilt that they may have erred. They have neither twinges of conscience nor any regrets that they may have done wrong to anyone else ... The phenomenon of the murderers by suicide, sometimes called suicide bombers, is an absolute indication. There is no condemnation, no regret, no problem of conscience among Arabs and Muslims, anywhere, in any social stratum, of any social position." (Dr David Bukay, "The First Cultural Flaw in Thinking: The Arab Personality," from Bukay's book "Arab-Islamic Political Culture: A Key Source to Understanding Arab Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict." ACPRPublishers, 2003.)

Dr. David Bukay is a person of some standing at the University of Haifa. He teaches in the Department of Political Science in the Social Sciences Faculty and is considered close to the department head, Prof. Gabriel Ben Dor. My meeting with Bukay was held in Prof. Ben Dor's office; Ben Dor and Bukay share the same secretary.

According to the student evaluation sheets about him and according to conversations with students, Dr. Bukay is a popular lecturer. True, he often uses "sharp and harsh" language, as one of the letters of support for him note, but as many of his students point out, there is a good atmosphere in the classroom and his students view him as a knowledgeable teacher. The subject he teaches - Middle Eastern affairs - interest them. He has also written position papers on Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and Arab terrorism and publishes regularly in the right-wing journal Nativ.

He has also published a book about Arab political culture and is the editor of the English-language collection of essays "Muhammad's Monsters: A Comprehensive Guide to Radical Islam for Western Audiences" (Balfour Books, 2004). "The American publisher is a religious extremist and he came up with the title," Bukay explained to the university disciplinary board that dealt with the case.

Until last year there were no reports about untoward comments by Dr. Bukay in his classes, not even on the part of the many Arab students who attended them. It bears recalling that the University of Haifa has the highest percentage of Arab students in Israel, at least 20 percent. "I do not recall a semester when I did not have an Arab student," Bukay says, "and I heard only praise and admiration from them." Until, that is, the first semester of the present (2004-5) academic year - when the attorney general ordered an investigation against Bukay on suspicion of racist incitement.

There are two versions of what happened in the classroom, and they are mutually contradictory and divided along the lines of national origin: the version of two Arab students and, pitted against it, the opposite version propounded by the lecturer and the Jewish students. One of the two Arab students in question is a woman who prefers that her name not be used because she does not want to affect her future at the university, especially now that she has already testified before the university's disciplinary board and before the rector.

The female student relates that she began to feel uncomfortable from the very first classes. Bukay spoke about the Muslim's ties to Jerusalem and explained that Jerusalem is not even mentioned in the Koran. She was outraged. She was certain that Jerusalem was cited in the holy book of Islam. Bukay sent her to the Koran and told her, she says, you will look, you will not find it and I will shame you in class. She then heard him say that terrorism is a problem of the Arab and that the prophet Mohammed was the first terrorist.

At the end of the lesson, the student went to see Dr. As'ad Ghanem, the head of the Government and Political Theory unit of the Department of Political Science, and complained about Bukay's offensive remarks. Dr. Ghanem suggested that she write to the head of the department and to the rector. She did not do this. "I wanted to finish the course without any fuss," she told the disciplinary board.

Then Fadi Abu Yunes got into the act. While the female Arab student wishes to remain anonymous and in the shadows, Abu Yunes loves the spotlight. Indeed, he actively seeks it out. He is a political activist, a member of Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace, an Arab-Jewish party) and chairman of the National Union of Arab Students. Abu Yunes joined Bukay's course late, in the fourth class. "I didn't have money, so I registered late," he explains.

Bukay is convinced that Abu Yunes came to the course with the deliberate intention of interfering and of vilifying him. "He was sent and I know who sent him. He was a provocateur," Bukay asserts, without elaborating. Ohad Wohlbuter, a Jewish student who later wrote a letter of support for Bukay, says he is certain that the Arab student who was upset over the issue of whether Jerusalem is mentioned in the Koran invited Abu Yones to the course. She denies this. "I know Fadi, just as I know the other Arab students in the department," she says. "I did not tell him about what happened in class and he didn't even know that I had gone to Dr. Ghanem to complain." Abu Yunes also denies having known the female student earlier.

From the moment Abu Yunes crossed the threshold of Dr. Bukay's lecture hall, the atmosphere turned volatile. He started to ask questions and make comments, shouting out while Bukay was speaking, usually without asking permission. Yelena Margovsky, a atudent in the course, says that Abu Yunes interrupted Bukay incessantly.

"He was always coming and going, going and coming, bringing books that had nothing to do with the subject. I used to be a student at Tel Aviv University and I never saw anything like that," says Shlomo Zuckerman, who audited the course, told the disciplinary board. Yisrael Diamant, who also audited the course, told the board, "Fadi would get up and say to Bukay: I will ask what I want and you are obliged to answer me. I have rights and I am a citizen of this country like everyone else."

Abu Yunes does not deny this. He says only that there was a reason for all the outbursts. Not one reason, but many reasons. He relates that he quickly understood that Bukay was making untoward remarks and so be began to write then down and document them. In one case, Abu Yunes recalls, Bukay said, "Terrorists should be shot in the head in front of their families" as a deterrent and that "a whole house should be demolished with the occupants inside" in order to liquidate one wanted individual. In another instance, Abu Yunes testified, Bukay explained to the class that "Arabs are nothing but alcohol and sex" and cited as an example his "good friend from Yemen" whom he met in America.

A whole debate developed over the Nobel Prize, according to Abu Yunes. Bukay, the student says, stated that "the Arabs are stupid and have contributed nothing to humanity." Yelena Margovsky mentioned the achievements of the Arabs in the Middle Ages. To which Bukay retorted, "The Arabs only preserved Greek culture, they did not develop anything." As an example, he noted the fact that only seven Arabs have won a Nobel Prize ("one of them unjustly - Yasser Arafat"), whereas 170 Jews were Nobel laureates. "Is it genetic?" one student asked. "Apparently," Bukay replied, according to Abu Yunes.

Bukay categorically denies the exchange of comments over the genetic issue, branding it "a blood libel, fabricated things which have no foundation." Nearly all the students in the course, all of them Jewish, confirm Bukay's account. No such remarks were made, they insist, and Bukay did not say that "the Arabs are stupid." They confirm that Bukay cited the very small number of Arab Nobel laureates as proof of the Arabs' backwardness and that he said that the Arabs in the Middle Ages mainly preserved the achievements of the Greeks and the Romans and hardly developed anything of their own, apart from algebra.

"That reply was satisfactory to me," says Yelena Margovsky, the student who cited the Arabs' accomplishments in medieval times. She too did not hear Bukay call the Arabs "stupid." "There was no such thing," she maintains. However, the female Arab student confirms what Abu Yunes said and testified to that effect before the rector and the disciplinary board.

Even if Bukay did not make these explicit remarks, it is quite clear that his goal in the course was to persuade the students that the Arab society is weak, undemocratic, "anemic," in the term of Ohad Wohlbuter, a right-wing student ("natural Likud," as he puts it), who heads the supporters of Bukay in the course.

A corrupt and violent culture

"Both the Arabs, due to their tribal-clan structure, and the Islamic religion, which holds that Allah is the center of all and rejects human centrality, are characterized by the rejection of the opinion of people as individuals. Their views and concepts are not taken into account at all, only the opinion of the generality ... This leads to tribal-communal conceptual conformity and perpetuates the pointlessness of the scientific study of polls and surveys. Therefore, anthropologists state, when an Arab or a Muslim opens his remarks with the expression wallahi, he is apparently intending to lie." (Dr. David Bukay, "Surveys in Arab-Islamic culture," distributed in his University of Haifa course on "The inter-Arab system and the Palestine issue")

As part of his efforts to prove his argument, did Bukay cast aspersions of a racist character? It is difficult to know for certain, but it is clear that what he said was not easy for an Arab student to listen to. Margovsky, who wrote an ardent letter against Abu Yunes and his "blood libel," stated that she understood from Dr. Bukay that "the Arabs are incapable of self-judgment, because of their feeling of superiority."

The atmosphere was well summed up by Aiman Mansour, a student who is doing a Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Ben Dor and Dr. Bukay. "I have known Dr. David Bukay for nearly five years," Mansour wrote to Ben Dor after the affair exploded. "For me and for many others he is not only a supervisor or lecturer, but a person who devotes all his time to the students ... At the personal level, Dr. Bukay constitutes a dominant factor in shaping my personality. He is the only one who taught me that I must recognize the fact that my culture, the Arab culture, is corrupt, repressive, violent and anti-democratic."

"Now I understand where Bukay wants to take me as well - to get me to admit that my culture is corrupt - and why I was so opposed," Abu Yunes said after Mansour's letter reached him from the prosecution on the disciplinary board. Things then began to snowball in November, a month after the start of the first semester. In the wake of the female student, though without coordination between them, Abu Yunes went to Dr. Ghanem to complain about Bukay's remarks. The confrontations in class reached a peak in December. Abu Yunes shouted "racist" at Bukay several times. (According to one student, he also called him a "Nazi," though Abu Yunes denies this and Bukay himself did not hear it.) Bukay decided to expel Abu Yunes from the course. "The students said he was bothering them and that if I did not remove him they would summon security guards," Bukay relates. He also sent a letter of complaint to the dean of students, describing the shouts of "racist" which had been hurled at him and the repeated interruptions of the classes. "Furthermore," Bukay added in the letter, "he [Abu Yunes] stated more than once that I am actually an Arab, and twice said mockingly in class, `Bu-ka-i.' Commentary for those who do not understand the terminology: the Mizrahi Jews [those of Middle Eastern descent] are Arabs and should forge a coalition with the Arabs against the Ashkenazi Jews who are responsible for Zionism."

When the discussion of Bukay's complaint was delayed, the lecturer fired off another letter, this time to Ben Dor, the department head. "If you try to buy quiet," Bukay wrote, "I am informing you that tomorrow everyone will be under threat ... The alternatives are either appeasement and buying quiet (do you remember Munich?), or a struggle to uproot the phenomenon."

Abu Yunes, for his part, also sent a letter of complaint, to the rector, in which he specified everything he says he heard in the course. He sent a copy of the letter to Nana, an Israeli Internet portal. Nana published the letter under the headline, "Haifa U lecturer: Shoot the Arabs in the head." Abu Yunes had quoted Bukay as saying that "terrorists," not "Arabs," should be shot in the head, but the damage was already done. The publication of the text by Nana, and afterward by a local weekly, Kolbo, triggered a pitched battle.

Nearly all of Bukay's students signed a letter of support for him, which denied everything Abu Yunes said. Some of Bukay's former students also sent letters praising him. The deputy attorney general, Shain Nitzan, instructed the police to launch an investigation against Bukay on suspicion of incitement to racism, in the wake of the publication by Nana. The rector, Prof. Yossi Ben Artzi, conducted an investigation of his own and concluded that the remarks attributed to Bukay on the Internet and in the media "were not made in the way they were quoted and parts of sentences that were uttered in different contexts were yoked together by manipulation."

It should be noted that Ben Artzi questioned Abu Yunes only about the headline in Nana ("shoot the Arabs in the head") and not about the other comments attributed to Bukay. Ben Artzi stated that he would make it clear to Bukay that "it is important to moderate statements on sensitive topics and take into account that certain things are liable to be taken out of their context." However, he declined to tell Haaretz which things had been "taken out of context." The police have yet to open an investigation against Bukay, but the university's disciplinary board is still discussing Bukay's complaint against Abu Yunes.

Quarrelsome atmosphere

"The custom of hospitality, which is so famously an Arab social phenomenon, can be seen in the context of obtaining honor and externalizing it toward the environment; while the dancing around the guest derives more from fear that the latter might take up with the host's wife and daughters." (Dr. David Bukay, "The First Cultural Flaw in Thinking: The Arab Personality")

It was not easy to get an interview with Dr. Bukay. At first he railed against the media that had "shed his blood," generating threats against his life that led him to check under his car every morning for fear someone may have planted a bomb there. Then he provided a list of books on which, he said, he based his articles on "the Arab character." He then announced that he would agree to be interviewed only if I promised not to talk to Abu Yunes. "That would be like talking both with the terrorist and with his victim," he said, explaining the unusual request. "The imagined equality is unacceptable to me." Finally he agreed, after I undertook to read the books on his list.

I read them - not all of them, but I read. I especially read the book that Bukay marked as "highly recommended, all sections of the book." The work referred to is "The Temperament and Character of the Arabs," the only book by Sania Hamady, published in 1960 (in English, by Twayne Publishers). None of the experts on the Middle East whom I asked have ever heard of her, and almost the only mentions of her book (in Hebrew) on the Internet are on sites of the Israeli right. The Hamady book is peculiar, to put it mildly. Put less mildly, Hamady's book is chockful of prejudices, devoid of any proof and is on the brink of racism.

Bukay quotes selectively the literary sources cited by Hamady on the frequency of the lie in the Arab society, on the notion that the Arab society is a "society of shame" in contrast to the Christian "guilt society." (This contrast, according to Dr. Ron Kuzar, from the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Haifa, was popular among conservative circles after World War II, and today is common mainly in racist circles). It is also clear to Hamady why the Arabs have no sense of guilt. "The Muslims deny original sin in any form," writes the Lebanese-born Hamady, who is described in the book as "an adviser for social development in the Protestant Service Bureau."In short, the Muslims are simply not Christians.

The whole book is rife with bizarre statements without any scholarly or other foundation. The Arabs are "arrogant," she writes at one point. Arabs speak loudly, as is evident from the market. A quarrelsome atmosphere prevails in the Arab home. In the introduction to the book, in which Hamady states that she did not do any research but based herself exclusively on "literary sources," she herself warns that her generalizations about the Arabs should be taken with a grain of salt. The Arabs, she writes in the introduction, have a number of "universal" traits which are shared by the entire human race. In other words, surprising as it may be, we should remember that Arabs, too, are human beings.

Sania Hamady, the anthropologist you so admire, writes that Arabs are arrogant, talk loudly and that the atmosphere in the Arab home is rife with quarrels. Don't you think it is problematic to cite her as an authority?

Bukay: "Maybe what is problematic is your political correctness."

Do Arabs talk in a loud voice?

"I don't know. Were you in that society, that you can say whether it is true or not?"

I've been in Arab homes, and in some of them people spoke in a loud voice and in others they didn't. That's all.

"You are getting into questions of values now. She is a doctor of anthropology."

What academic validity does a statement like this have? What do you think about these statements?

"I think she is an anthropologist and I think she is a good anthropologist. I will explain why: because your approach is exactly the Western one of the politically correct, of the mirror image. Both are problematic concepts from my point of view. We look at our mirror image, we make value judgments according to our mirror image, and political correctness, with all respect, is simply killing us."

Reading this material, aren't you prompted to ask who the prattler is who wrote it?

"I think that until you examine the issue, you don't have any tools to work with."

Is it research to say that people talk in a loud voice?

"Then nothing is research. Sania Hamady's central message is that of a shame society, honor-shame-revenge, and that is the subject that [the late Prof. Yehoshafat] Harkabi worked on so much."

Let us move to things you have written and to which you referred a class with members of the defense establishment as students (the article on "The First Cultural Flaw in Thinking: The Arab Personality"). You write that no Arab has guilt feelings, that it is impossible to rely on surveys done by them because they live in a lying culture. Aren't those generalizations?

"Look at the context. Do you want me to make a statement and then say, no, in the Palestinian society it is different? What happens is that we take our mirror image, our values, and we, on that basis, judge the other society. But the other society differs from ours. It is not better and not worse, it is different."

But the negative implication is obvious: lying is not good.

"When an Arab opens his remarks with the expression wallahi, he is apparently - it is not a fixed thing - intending to lie. Let us take Bernard Lewis. Take Harkabi."

They say what when an Arab says `wallahi' he intends to lie?

"No, no. You have the right not to accept what I say, that is exactly science, that is one of the approaches in science. Sania Hamady, David Pryce-Jones and Raphael Patai - look in the index under `lie' - go to Bernard Lewis. Sania Hamady said so explicitly. Take two more things. One, go to the practice of Jews from the [Middle] Eastern communities. My parents came from Syria. Ask people from these communities how many times they say that when a person in that society says this [wallahi], he is lying. Moreover, go to the interrogators in the defense establishment and see how many times they say to the subject of the interrogation: `What are you saying, why are you saying these things?' The subject replies, `Wallahi, that is what I am saying.' Now the interrogator asks, `What is your name?' He replies, `My name is XYZ.' `Are you sure, Aqid?' - the interrogators repeat the word in Arabic - `Are you sure that is your name?' `Yes, that is my name,' he replies. `Then why didn't you say `wallahi' this time?' they ask.

"Obviously, this is a hard statement. But I say to you again, both in the practice of the Arab states and in the practice of the defense establishment, you will find it very often, that term, because in practice - apparently not always - the formulation is definitely correct."

The example you used is from an interrogation by the Shin Bet security service, which is not exactly a situation in which a person customarily tells the whole truth.

"What do you want, for me to apologize because when he [an Arab] is being questioned by the Shin Bet, he is in this or that situation?"

You did not write that people do not tell the truth in Shin Bet interrogations. You say Arabs or Muslims, in general.

"Anthropologists say so. Sania Hamady."

Elsewhere you write that an important phenomenon that typifies the Arab is a lack of basic trust, suspiciousness and hostility toward the other, even if he is a member of the same group. Isn't that a generalization?

"No, it is not a generalization. Ask any Arab, I and my brother against my cousins, I and my cousins against the neighbor, it is one of the characteristics."

An Arab has no doubts, he has no guilt feelings, he has not an iota of conscience, there is no condemnation, no contrition - nowhere, in no social class. Isn't that a generalization?

"Yes, a generalization, but it is a quotation from Yehoshafat Harkabi, from Raphael Patai. Both those researchers address this question of the problem of the culture. It is true that it could have been formulated in less general terms, but fundamentally there is nothing [in such statements] that does not represent reality."

There is no contrition in the Arab world.

"Not toward outsiders."

Researchers who read your articles said essentially that it is not academe.

"Could be, and then all the researchers who have written are not academe, either."

Don't you feel that it should be well-based?

"Everything is well-based. I am giving you researchers, you don't want to follow it up. There is no such situation that there is no argument in science. There is a different opinion which you can accept or not, object to it more or less, but that is exactly the essence of science."

In his book "The International Jew," Henry Ford, the automotive industrialist, wrote, "The Jew at trade is naturally quicker than most other men. It is said that there are other races, which are as nimble at a trade as is the Jew, but the Jew does not live much among them." Is that science, too?

"I don't know. I'm not an expert on that subject, so how would I know?

How do you relate to Ford's remark?

"It is totally irrelevant, it is not in my context, I don't know where it was said and when it was said."

The important issue

"Above all, the most important continuum for understanding the Arab personality is that between submission to and fawning over those with perceived power, at one end, and cruel, violent, anarchic, unrestrained wildness, at the other." (Dr. David Bukay, "The First Cultural Flaw in Thinking: The Arab Personality")

Something strange is happening at the University of Haifa. On the one hand, the Anti-Defamation League is "very disturbed" by Bukay's article because of its "destructive prejudices" (see box) and the attorney general has initiated an investigation against Bukay on suspicion of racist incitement. On the other hand, the university is conducting a disciplinary process against the student who accused Bukay of racism. However, in this process Bukay has gradually gone from accuser to accused.

The prosecutor Ayelet Tzur wanted to concentrate on just one issue - whether Abu Yunes interrupted Bukay's classes. It makes no difference whether Bukay made the remarks or not, she argued repeatedly in the hearings, nor is it important whether he wrote anything racist or not. According to the prosecutor, the question is "whether a student has the right to behave" as Abu Yunes behaved, even if the lecturer made racist remarks (as Abu Yunes maintains).

The defense counsel, attorney Yusef Jabarin, took exactly the opposite line. It's true, his client admitted, he called Bukay a "racist," but he did so because he thinks he is a racist.

Jabarin tried to prove this by drawing on the letter of the student who thanked Bukay for teaching him that his Arab culture is corrupt and with the help of the page Bukay distributed in class. "The level of generalization, the sweeping formulation and the harshness of what Dr. Bukay wrote leave no room for doubt that this is writing of a racist character," Jabarin said.

The University of Haifa apparently realized that things had gotten complicated. Senior officials say the university administration wrestled with the problem of whether to file a disciplinary suit against Abu Yunes (the university constitution leaves it up to the administration whether to accede to a lecturer's request to file suit against a student). However, the rector was under enormous pressure and the suit was filed. Oddly, the rector also issued a statement "exonerating" Bukay after the disciplinary process had already begun.

The university administration responded that "the rector was not involved in the submission of the complaint, which was of course submitted by Dr. Bukay himself. In this case the rector did not know about the existence of the complaint until it was reported to him by the prosecutor." Moreover, the university administration is not interested in the content of the articles written by Dr. Bukay in Nativ because "we do not check or approve articles by teachers at the university and the university is not responsible for that." The university administration was also asked about the material that Bukay distributed in class to the students - specifically, "When an Arab says wallahi he is intending to lie" - but opted to ignore the question in its response.

Last week, more than a month after the police investigation was announced, the university suddenly remembered the matter and asked attorney Jabarin to defer the continuation of the hearings until the police conclude their investigation, which could take months. Jabarin refused: Either cancel the suit or proceed with it until the conclusion, he wrote the prosecutor.

The university decided to go ahead with the hearings, but then a new snag arose. Two weeks ago on Wednesday, the day before the hearing, the prosecutor announced that Bukay had fallen ill and the whole matter would therefore be postponed until July, when one of the judges returns from his sabbatical.

On that same Wednesday I met with Bukay for two hours. The next day - the day of the scheduled hearing - I spoke with him by telephone. He neither looked nor sounded sick. Did someone here say wallahi?

Jews need to know

Ken Jacobson, associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League, was shocked after reading Dr. Bukay's article on the "Arab personality."

"Such generalizations are very disturbing," he said in a call from his office in New York. "Dr. Bukay's article falls into the trap of old and hurtful stereotypes, which express prejudices that are liable to be very destructive. Every generalization of this kind contains a grain of truth, otherwise it would not sound reasonable to listeners. It is clear that there are aspects like this in the Arab society, but it also has a thousand opposite aspects. Along with hostility one finds hospitality, and alongside an absence of contrition, one can find thousands who will ask for forgiveness. These are the worst stereotypes, from which it is difficult to move on. We, the Jews, should know better than anyone that we must not engage in utterances of this kind."

Jacobson explains that the ADL does not have written criteria enabling it to decide when a text is racist or contains generalizations. "But we have been in the business for so long that we know it when we see it."

Jacobson says that in the ADL's view it is wrong to hide behind academic freedom: "Naturally we respect academic freedom and understand that this is the only way academe can operate, but we believe that university presidents should condemn such things. It is not enough for a university president to say that his institution practices academic freedom. He must also say that such statements are obnoxious."

Comment: More evidence of the racism inherent in Judaism with its idea of a chosen land for a chosen people. We see the same dynamic in the United States with its Christian slant. Both peoples (and, please, we know that not all Jews and not all Americans believe this) claim special status which they use to justify their less than "Christian" treatment of their enemies. To be an enemy of Israel or the US is to be an enemy of God himself.

The University of Haifa was also recently in the news when the president encouraged one of its professors, Ilan Pappe, who supported the international boycott of Israeli universities to show his support by resigning. A political science professor at another Israeli university denounced the boycott as a "terrorist attack" against the Israeli university system. The word "terrorist" gets thrown around a lot in Israel, always directed at those it considers its enemies. Israel's terror against the Palestinians, however, passes unnoticed.

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Academics, left-wing activists hold protest in Ariel college
By Lilly Galili and Tamara Traubman, Haaretz Correspondents
Last update - 12:36 04/05/2005

A group of some 60 Tel-Aviv university academics and left-wing activists Wednesday morning held protest in front of the Judea and Samaria College of Ariel in the West Bank against a government decision to confer university status to the college.

The protestors spoke to students, who expressed their surprise with the demonstration saying they thought Ariel was seen in the Israeli consensus as being part of Israel in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians.

The Tel-Aviv University scholars spoke of the crisis which the country's academia was going through, and of the injustice in the decision to invest money in a new university while existing ones are facing grave financial difficulties and their budgets are being slashed down by the government.

The left-wing protestors, members of Courage to Refuse, who all refuse to serve in the Israel Defense Forces for ideological reasons, spoke of the difficulty in the creation of a university in Ariel on the political level, arguing that the West Bank town is situated on occupied land and surrounded by millions of Palestinians.

Among the protestors was also student union activist Daniel Safron-Hon who was among the leaders of the last student struggle against budget cuts.

On Monday the cabinet voted 13-7 to confer university status on Judea and Samaria College in Ariel, less than two weeks after a major British lecturers union sparked wide controversy by declaring a boycott against Bar-Ilan University for its links to the West Bank college.

The Council for Higher Education has also expressed its displeasure with the government's decision, defining it as "an unacceptable and flawed political intervention."

"The problem with the entire higher education system is that research universities are falling apart," Haifa University President Aharon Ben Ze'ev said. "There aren't enough funds nowadays, and with the founding of two new universities [in Ariel as well as in the Galilee], the blow could be fatal."

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Israeli minister warns of pullout delay
Wednesday 04 May 2005, 11:45 Makka Time, 8:45 GMT

Israel's foreign minister has said a pullout from the Gaza Strip will be delayed until 15 August and would take about six weeks, but a senior Israeli official said no final decision had been made.

Israeli leaders have been widely expected to agree to the delay from 20 July to avoid a Jewish mourning period, but no decision has been announced officially.

"We are very close to the implementation of the disengagement plan," Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said in Nouakchott while on a visit to Mauritania.

"The implementation will start 15 August. It was postponed by three weeks because of the Jewish holiday," he said on Tuesday.

But a senior Israeli official in Jerusalem said: "Israel has spoken about an inclination to do that, but a final decision has not been made yet."

Army officers have previously spoken of carrying out the evacuation from all the Gaza settlements and four of 120 in the West Bank over three to four weeks.

Comment: How serious are the Israelis about pulling out of Gaza. Here's the viewpoint of an Israeli:

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FLASHBACK! Signs of the Times, May 2, 2005

Behind the smoke screen of the Gaza pullout

Tanya Reinhart, The Electronic Intifada, 19 April 2005

Ariel Sharon travelled to the United States as a hero of peace, as if he had already evacuated Gaza and only the follow-up remained to be worked out. What has completely disappeared from the public agenda is what is happening, meanwhile, in the West Bank. The media continue to deluge us daily with disengagement storms, like the Nitzanim bubble. But for now the disengagement exists only on paper. On the ground, no settler has yet received compensation. Even those who agreed to accept compensation are now waiting, because if they have a chance to get Nitzanim settlement on Gaza's beach the pearl of Israeli real estate why hurry?

In the meantime, three and a half months before the projected date of evacuation, it is still not clear where the evacuees will be housed until the discussions regarding their final relocation destination are concluded. Contrary to the prevailing impression, no infrastructure has been set up even for their temporary dwellings.

On 8 April 2005, Ofer Petersburg reported in Yediot Ahronot that "The Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency, responsible for providing the 'caravillas' [the caravans that were supposed to host the evacuated settlers temporarily] has so far received no order from the government."

If Sharon intends to evacuate the Gaza settlements, he is doing so with outrageous inefficiency. He is far more efficient in the West Bank. There, plans are carried out precisely as scheduled. Right from the start, during the first agreements between Sharon and Netanyahu one year ago about the disengagement plan, it was agreed that the disengagement would not be put into effect before the separation fence was completed on the western side of the West Bank.[1]

Indeed, the construction of the wall is moving towards completion. In July, which is the announced date for the beginning of the Gaza evacuation, the wall surrounding East Jerusalem and cutting it off from the West Bank, will be in place. The Palestinians who live there will be able to leave only with permits. The centre of life in the West Bank will become an enclosed prison. As well, the northern wall, which has already imprisoned the residents of Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Mas'ha, and which has robbed them of their land, continues to advance southwards. Now the bulldozers are headed for the land of Bil'in and Safa, bordering the settlements of Modi'in Elit. The farmers who are losing their land are trying to stand their ground, together with Israeli opponents of the wall. But who will hear about their sufferings and their struggle amidst the tumult over the disengagement?

The disengagement plan was born in February 2004, at the height of a wave of international criticism over the wall and on the eve of the opening of deliberations at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. In the ruling that was handed down in July, the Court determined that the route of the wall was a blatant and serious violation of international law. Moreover, the court indicated that there was a danger of "a further change in the demographic composition as a result of the departure of the Palestinian population from certain areas" (at para 122). In other words, the court warned of a process of transfer.

According to United Nations data, 237,000 Palestinians will be trapped between the wall and the Green Line and 160,000 others will remain on the Palestinian side, cut off from their land. The route that was approved at the government's meeting in February 2005 reduces their number only slightly.[2]

What is to be expected for those people, for the farmers who lose their land, for the imprisoned who are cut off from their families and their livelihoods? In the ghost towns of Tulkarem and Qalqilya and the villages around Mas'ha, many have already left in order to seek subsistence on the edges of towns in the centre of the West Bank. How much longer will the others be able to hold on under conditions of despair and atrophy, inside villages which have become prisons?

"Transfer" is associated in the collective memory with trucks arriving at night to take Palestinians across the border, as occurred in some places in 1948. But behind the smoke screen of disengagement, a process of slow and hidden transfer is being carried out in the West Bank today. It is not easy to judge which method of "transferring" people from their land is more cruel. Nearly 400,000 people, about half the number of Palestinians who were forced to leave their land in 1948, are now candidates for "voluntary emigration" to refugee camps in the West Bank. And all this is currently being passed over in silence because maybe Sharon will disengage.

Prof. Tanya Reinhart is a lecturer in linguistics, media and cultural studies at the Tel Aviv University. She is the author of several books, including Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948, from which this article was excerpted from an updated chapter. This article first appered in Yediot Aharonot on 13 April 2005 and was translated from Hebrew by Mark Marshall.


1. For example, some reports from April last year:

  • "The prime minister took a commitment that the separation fence will be completed before evacuation starts... Security echelons estimate that the fence can be completed at the earliest towards the end of 2005. In other words: it is possible that Israel will not be able to complete the evacuation at the date that was promised to the US" (Yosi Yehushua, Yediot Aharonot, 19 April 2004).
  • "Netanyahu announced that he intends to support the disengagement after the three conditions he posed were met ...[including] completion of the fence before the evacuation" (Itamar Eichner and Nehama Duek, Yediot Aharonot, 19 April 2004).

    2. These figures are from the ICJ advisory opinion of July 9. Similar figures were provided in the Israeli media for example, Meron Rappaport, Yediot Aharonot, 23 May 2003; Akiva Eldar, Ha'aretz, 16 February 2004. The new line of the barrier as approved by the Israeli cabinet on 20 February 2005 reduces the size of Palestinian land to be annexed by the barrier by 2.5%, mainly in the Southern Hebron area, where work is only starting (so the barrier route can still change many times as the work progresses). There were smaller adjustments in other areas, dictated by decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court, which means that some of the encircled villages should get some of their land back. But this does not effect the total number of Palestinians encircled by the wall. In Khirbet Jbara in the Tulkarm Governorate, the cabinet approved moving a 6km section of the barrier closer to the Green Line. As a result, the Palestinian population in this area will no longer be located in a completely closed area, but rather on the West Bank side of the barrier. This will reduce the overall Palestinian population completely isolated from the West Bank by about 340 persons, according to UN OCHA report of March 2005 on the preliminary analysis of the effects of the new wall route approved in February 2005 (

  • Israeli soldier to do service for killing
    By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
    Wednesday 04 May 2005, 16:11 Makka Time, 13:11 GMT

    An Israeli military court has sentenced an Israeli soldier to four months of the military equivalent of unpaid community service for killing a three-year-old Palestinian child nearly two years ago.

    The incident took place on 25 July 2003, at an Israeli occupation army roadblock outside the northern West Bank town of Jenin.

    According to Israeli and Palestinian sources, a soldier manning a military vehicle opened fire on an approaching Palestinian car in which Mahmud Jaradat, 3, was riding with his mother, grandmother and the driver.

    Mahmud died instantly after he was hit by several bullets.

    According to the indictment sheet, a copy of which obtained, the soldier, who was not identified, was charged with secondary charges, including negligence, not paying sufficient attention to the behaviour of soldiers under his command and inappropriate use of arms.

    Mitigating factors

    The court reportedly cited several mitigating circumstances in the case, including "the war with the Palestinians", "Palestinian terror" and "psychological pressure on the soldiers".

    Two other soldiers stationed at the roadblock reportedly received a rebuke for "negligence and inappropriate behaviour".

    The soldier who killed Mahmud will carry out "service works" in military camps, such as cleaning, sanitary work and kitchen work.

    Israeli army spokesman Eitan Arusi said: "The IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) looks into every incident where innocent Palestinians are hurt by IDF troops."

    Comment: Sure they do. They use their creativity to come up with ever more outrageous justifications.


    The Palestinian Authority condemned the Israeli military court sentence as amounting to a "tacit licence to kill Palestinian children".

    "This sentence is a clear message to Israeli soldiers that they may murder Palestinian children and civilians with impunity," said Hana Isa, director-general of the Palestinian Ministry of Justice.

    He told that as many as a thousand Palestinian children have been killed or grievously injured by occupation soldiers since the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada, or uprising, in September 2000.

    "They (Israeli soldiers) knowingly and deliberately murder our children, and when there is an outcry over a specific crime, the soldiers involved are either rebuked or given a few weeks' suspended sentence for negligence or inappropriate use of firearms.

    Isa said the PA was documenting Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians.

    "When the time comes, we will present all these files and documents to an international tribunal. The blood of our kids will not go in vain."

    Killing of girl

    A few months ago, an Israeli military court exonerated an Israeli soldier, dubbed Captain R, who last year killed a 9-year-old Palestinian girl as she was on her way to school in the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

    After shooting the girl, the soldier returned to the child's body, shooting her 20 more times.

    The soldier was rebuked for "inappropriate use of army-issued weapons" and returned to his army unit.

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    FBI questions ex-Mossad official in AIPAC probe
    May. 2, 2005 21:54

    FBI agents questioned former Mossad senior official Uzi Arad, he said Monday, as part of the ongoing investigation into whether classified US material about Iran was improperly passed on to Israel.

    Arad said that during a recent trip to the US he was asked about his connections to Defense Department analyst Larry Franklin, who is suspected of passing information on Iran to AIPAC, the main pro-Israel lobbying organization in the United States.

    The FBI "wanted to clear up a number of questions. I was traveling through the US and I agreed to come and talk to them," Arad told Israel TV.

    Arad said the FBI questioned him because his name had come up three times in connection with Franklin, who works on issues involving Iran and the Middle East.

    Both Israel and AIPAC have denied any wrongdoing, and Franklin has not commented on the reports.

    Arad said he asked the FBI agents whether charges would be brought against Franklin and was told only that "he has legal troubles."

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    Revealed: Blair to upgrade Britain's nuclear weapons

    PM secretly signs up to new deterrent as UN tries to cut global threat
    By Colin Brown, Deputy Political Editor
    The Independent
    02 May 2005

    Tony Blair has secretly decided that Britain will build a new generation of nuclear deterrent to replace the ageing Trident submarine fleet at a cost of more than £10bn - a move certain to dismay thousands of Labour Party loyalists in the approach to polling day.

    The disclosure that the decision has already been taken will expose Mr Blair - who has struggled throughout the election campaign to fend off accusations that he lied over the Iraq war - to fresh allegations of deception. He said last week that the decision would be taken after 5 May.

    But The Independent has learnt that he has already decided to give the go ahead for a replacement for Trident to stop Britain surrendering its status as a nuclear power when the Trident fleet is decommissioned. The choice over the type of nuclear missile system that Britain will deploy is yet to be made. One Labour candidate described the new deterrent as "Blair's weapons of mass destruction".

    The revelation comes as the United Nations hosts a five-yearly review of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to which Britain is a signatory. The five nuclear powers in the treaty promise to work towards global nuclear disarmament. Mr Blair will therefore face accusations of hypocrisy, for pressing other states, such as Iran and North Korea, to renounce their suspect nuclear weapons programmes while planning a new British deterrent.

    The Independent can also reveal that Britain is involved in a plan to build a uranium enrichment facility in the New Mexico desert, with British Nuclear Fuels involved in a consortium to develop a $1.2bn (£630m) plant. The UN's nuclear watchdog wants a five-year moratorium on such facilities.

    Critics argue that the twin developments make it more difficult for Britain to take a principled stance against states accused of building nuclear weapons in breach of the treaty. Fuelling those concerns, the White House said yesterday that it believed North Korea had test-fired a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan.

    A senior defence source said: "The decision [to replace Trident] has been taken in principle very recently. US law does not allow the US to build bombs for us. We have to build our own."

    Although Trident is not due to be decommissioned until 2024, "there is a very long lead time," the source said. "That is why the decision in principle had to be taken now."

    Aldermaston, Britain's nuclear bomb-making facility, has been hiring physicists and mathematicians for the past year to retain the capability to build a new nuclear weapon when a new system is agreed. The source explained: "If you looked at the scientific press over the past year you would have seen an increase in advertisements for everything. It's mostly physicists and mathematicians, but it's a sign we are gearing up."

    A small group of ministers including Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence, is understood to be involved. Mr Hoon recently began studying papers on the options for a replacement.

    Defence experts said the replacement for Trident would still be based on submarines, which are less vulnerable to counter measures. New submarines could be built in British yards, saving thousands of jobs. Britain could buy the missiles "off the shelf" from the US. The front-runner is a new generation of cruise missiles, based on the RAF's air-launched weapon, Storm Shadow, with its range increased. [...]

    Clare Short, the former cabinet minister, said before the general election campaign began that she was "astonished" by the "quietness" of the party on the issue. "This will wake up the party," she said.

    "It's just a symbol saying that Britain is in the big league, but if you need nuclear weapons to be in the big league, it's no wonder India and others want them. But when is Britain ever going to use a nuclear weapon when the US isn't? I would favour Britain becoming a leader in getting the non-proliferation treaty updated and back on course rather than going along with American breaches of it." [...]

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    Afghan ammunition dump explodes, 28 dead
    Mon May 2, 9:24 AM ET

    KABUL - An ammunition dump in a northern Afghan village exploded on Monday flattening the neighborhood around it, killing 28 people and wounding 70, a government spokesman said.

    The dump, which contained mortar bombs, artillery rounds and other ordnance, belonged to a militia commander called Jalal Bajgaye.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal said Bajgaye was killed in the blast and there were fears that some people might still be trapped under the rubble.

    "The whole neighborhood around the ammunition dump has been destroyed," Mashal said, adding that children and women were among the casualties.

    The cause of the blast in Pajga village in Baghlan province, 120 km (80 miles) north of the capital, Kabul, was being investigated, he said.

    "Rescue workers are trying to find survivors feared to have been trapped under the ruins," Mashal said.

    Taliban insurgents, who confine most of their attacks to the south and east of the country, have not been known to operate in the area.

    Afghanistan is awash with weapons and old stocks of ammunition after decades of conflict.

    The government launched a drive to disarm militias and take away their heavy weapons and ammunition in 2003 but much ordnance remains uncollected.

    Bajgaye had been demobilized under the drive but had kept ammunition at his depot, Mashal said.

    There have been several blasts at arms depots in recent years but Monday's was the most deadly.

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    Yesterday and Today: Nazis and the Righteous Right
    by Donna Glee Williams

    History is tapping us on the shoulder and pointing. The sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz followed so closely by the popification of an ex-member of the Hitler Youth combine to force our attention back to the Nazi catastrophe. We study World War II and the Holocaust and ask ourselves “How could it happen? How could civilized people let it come to this? How could they consent to let their flag become the registered trademark for collective evil and let their country walk into history with the blood of millions on its conscience?” We shake our heads and turn away from the questions because our historical gaze is dazzled by the enormity of what happened in the 1940’s. “Never again!” we say with tears in our eyes.

    But if we truly want some calamity to happen Never Again, we won’t just study that calamity. We’ll study what went before. We’ll study its precursors. What allowed, invited, or caused it to happen? Who were catastrophe’s midwives? If we learn to recognize them, there is hope that we can turn them away when they again show up, smiley-faced, at our door. Before World War II and the Holocaust, there was Germany of the 1920’s and ‘30’s. That’s where we need to focus our cross-generational telescopes.

    If we take a look at pre-WWII Germany, we notice it has some things in common with the United States now. Start with the concept of exceptionality. Nazi ideology grew out of Germans’ belief that their country was uniquely privileged because it was uniquely valuable. This made them an exception to rules and norms. The average “Proud to Be an American” bumper-sticker-buyer believes the same thing. (I’m still waiting for some churchgoing patriot to notice that being born American is a gift of grace and to begin marketing “Humble to be an American” decals.) A belief in your country’s exceptionality takes you way out beyond the warm self-appreciation of patriotism; in naming your heritage “exceptional,” you cut your ties to the family of nations and set yourself above the rules. Our belief in our own exceptionality erodes the walls that hold back human greed, fear of otherness, and violence. Exceptionality makes the unthinkable possible, even reasonable.

    Before the Nazi rise to power, German society bloomed with cultural, artistic, and social openness, as did the United States in the last third of the twentieth century. The dominant culture enriched itself by cross-pollinating with other groups. Creativity, innovation, and freedom held sway in art, music, drama, and dance. In lifestyle choices, openness and experimentation were possible.

    A part of this bubbling cultural ferment was caused by physics. We think of physics as an esoteric branch of science that is of interest only to the The Few, The Proud, The Geeks whose quirky neuroanatomy makes them able to emote in equations. But where physics goes, culture follows. The big metaphors in all areas are based on the physics of our time. And both Nazi Germany and the American Whatever-the-Hell-You-Call-What-We-Are-Becoming were preceded by advances in physics that announced reality to be much different from what we’d always assumed it to be. In the early part of the twentieth century, Einstein’s and Heisenberg’s physics of relativity and uncertainty—largely centered in German universities—proclaimed that some of our most fundamental understandings about the universe were Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. As quantum mechanics and the new cosmology developed in the later part of the twentieth century—largely centered in U.S. universities—their outrageous paradoxical observations once again taught the lesson that common sense isn’t always right. Things aren’t always—or ever—the way they seem.

    In physics as in lifestyle and the arts, Germany and the United States both saw a great questioning of old values, limits, and presuppositions of all kinds—followed by an iron backswing of the pendulum rushing to shut down all the openness, answer all the questions, replace uncertainty with certainty, and relativism with absolutes. Does our anxiety in the face of uncertainty and relativity drive us to cook up fake certainties, like which language is better, who is going to Hell, who must live, and who should die? Did Germany, and will the United States, overcompensate for being uncertain like Napoleon did for being short?

    Another family resemblance between Germany of the ‘20’s and ‘30’s and the Righteous Right of today is the feeling that somebody done us wrong. For Germany, the sense of being aggrieved was related to the famously vindictive Treaty of Versailles that settled the overt hostilities of World War I but left Germans with smoldering bitterness against what they saw as injustice and injury. The core resentment that energizes the swing toward right-wing “Christian” totalitarianism is the confusing, painful panic at seeing The Way and The Truth become one of many ways and many truths. As one pulpiteer expressed it, “having our culture become a subculture” is felt as a wound, an assault. On September 11th, the cultural assault on our inner landscape then manifested as a physical attack on our outer landscape, echoing the unsolved burning of the Reichstag building in 1933. Then, as now, terrorism coupled with an effective propaganda machine helped those in power to bring the country together while separating it from its civil rights. Once we feel ourselves to be under attack, are there any limits to what we will permit in the name of “self-defense?”

    The backlash against openness and uncertainty, together with perceived national victimization, led Germany to begin to pick off voices of dissent in its own house. Some of these were political. Some were religious. German Christian churches were systematically nazified. The governing boards of seminaries were taken over seat by seat. Seminary faculties were pruned of opposition, guaranteeing that the pulpits of Germany would spout preaching that supported the Nazi agenda. The prophetic voice of the church was silenced. The systematic right-wing takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, board by board, professor by professor, pulpit by pulpit, is so eerily similar that it could be an echo of the same shout.

    And then there were the Jews. For historical reasons, the Nazi party had, ready to hand, a tiny subgroup of people that they could call “evil” and have that name stick. Once the “evil” was identified, people projected onto the Jews every disowned trait they hated in themselves. Enormous energy was mobilized to oppress, exile, and destroy the theoretically contagious corruption of Jewishness. The righteousness of the cause was “proved” by the visceral disgust the oppressors felt towards the oppressed. Hatred kept the dominant group bonded, energized, focused, and easy to manipulate. Today, similar rhetoric is mobilizing hatred for another tiny minority, homosexuals, who are similarly represented as undermining the entire fabric of American life and values. In the same way, appeals to disgust as a moral arbiter “prove” the validity of the argument. Incidents of violence against gays remind us of the spotty street violence against Jews that came before the systematic, state-sponsored violence of the Holocaust.

    They say that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat trite sayings. But when history lands a big one-two punch like “Happy Birthday, Auschwitz Survivors, Now Guess Who’s Pope?” the teacher gets our attention. And what we notice are a lot of parallels between the Nazi rise to power 80 years ago and the “Christian” right-wing rise to power today. Do we keep our wide-eyed mystification—“How could they have done those things?”—or do we do what Germans failed to do, what we revile them for not doing: Do we recognize the road we’re on, wrestle the steering wheel away from the mad bus-driver, and stop the bus before we get to the last stop, the town of Ultimate Consequences, Pop. 11 Million?

    Comment: For a look at the hypocrisy in the White House regarding homosexuality, preaching one thing to the born-again crowd while actively doing something completely different, have a look at George Bush's Gaygate.

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    Newspapers see one of worst declines, group says
    By The Associated Press
    May 2, 2005, 1:59 PM EDT

    NEW YORK -- Circulation fell 1.9 percent at major U.S. newspapers in the six-month period ending in March, an industry group reported Monday, marking one of the worst declines in recent years.

    Newspaper circulation has been on a general decline since 1984, and has suffered especially in the last several years as other forms of media compete for the attention of readers, including cable television and the Internet.

    The Newspaper Association of America, a Vienna, Va.-based industry group, reported that average daily paid circulation declined 1.9 percent in the most recent reporting period for the 814 newspapers reporting comparable data to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

    The Audit Bureau, a circulation reporting group based in Schaumburg, Ill., was due to release its figures of individual newspapers' results later Monday, but had not done so by the time the NAA provided its own analysis of the ABC data.

    In addition to competition from other media, several other factors have had a negative impact on newspaper circulation, including the federal do-not-call regulation. That rule, which fully went into effect early last year, has hurt the ability of newspapers to sign up readers through telemarketing. [...]

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    Burrito Leads To School Lockdown, Armed Officers On Roof Tops
    Associated Press
    12:33 pm EDT May 2, 2005

    CLOVIS, N.M. -- A 911 call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school.

    All over a giant burrito.

    Someone called authorities Thursday after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped up into Marshall Junior High School.

    The drama ended two hours later when the suspicious item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapenos. It was wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt.

    "I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," school Principal Diana Russell said.

    Russell said the mystery was solved after she brought everyone in the school together in the auditorium to explain what was going on. Afterward, eighth-grader Michael Morrissey approached her.

    "He said, 'I think I'm the person they saw,"' Russell said.

    The burrito was part of Morrissey's extra-credit assignment to create commercial advertising for a product. "We had to make up a product and it could have been anything. I made up a restaurant that specialized in oddly large burritos," Morrissey said.

    After students heard the description of what police were looking for, he and his friends began to make the connection. He then took the burrito to the office.

    "I have a new nickname now. It's Burrito Boy," Morrissey said.

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    Psychiatrist: Highway Shooter Heard Voices
    Associated Press
    Mon May 2, 4:24 PM ET

    COLUMBUS, Ohio - The man behind a string of Columbus-area highway shootings threw building materials off overpasses and fired at moving cars because he thought it would stop the humiliating voices in his head, a psychiatrist testified Monday.

    Dr. Mark Mills, a psychiatrist who specializes in legal aspects of mental illness, is the main witness for the insanity defense of Charles McCoy Jr., whose attorneys concede he was behind 12 shootings that terrorized the Columbus area for months in 2003 and 2004.

    "It is my belief that at the time of these incidents Mr. McCoy was insane," Mills said.

    The defense says McCoy did not know the acts were wrong because of untreated paranoid schizophrenia. He pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to aggravated murder and 23 other counts.

    Knowing right from wrong was "close to being the farthest thing from his mind," Mills said. McCoy's only goal was to stop the voices, which did diminish when he dropped a bag of concrete or fired shots, Mills said.

    McCoy, 29, told Mills that he was responsible for the 12 shootings he is charged in, as well as about 200 acts of vandalism involving shootings or dropping lumber and bags of concrete mix off of overpasses.

    But Mills said that because the disease has caused severe impairment to McCoy's memory and logic that he can't be sure whether McCoy is making up his recollections of those acts.

    McCoy could face the death penalty if convicted of the most serious charge of aggravated murder in the death of a 62-year-old woman who was the only person struck in the shootings.

    He would be sent to a mental hospital if jurors agree that paranoid schizophrenia kept him from knowing right from wrong.

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    'Smoking gun' on humans and global warming claimed

    NASA-led scientists say ocean data ties manmade emissions to warmer Earth
    April 28, 2005

    Using ocean data collected by diving floats, U.S. climate scientists released a study Thursday that they said provides the "smoking gun" that ties manmade greenhouse gas emissions to global warming.

    The researchers, some of them working for NASA and the Energy Department, went a step further, implicitly criticizing President Bush for not taking stronger action to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

    They said the findings confirm that computer models of climate change are on target and that global temperatures will rise 1 degree Fahrenheit this century, even if greenhouse gases are capped tomorrow.

    If emissions instead continue to grow, as expected, things could spin "out of our control," especially as ocean levels rise from melting Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the NASA-led scientists said. "The climate system could reach a point where large sea level change is practically impossible to avoid."

    The study, published Thursday in the journal Science, is the latest to report growing certainty about global warming projections.

    Floats and satellites used

    More than 1,800 technology-packed floats, deployed in oceans worldwide beginning in 2000, are regularly diving as much as a mile undersea to take temperature and other readings. Their precise measurements are supplemented by better satellite gauging of ocean levels, which rise both from meltwater and as the sea warms and expands.

    Researchers led by NASA's James Hansen used the improved data to calculate the oceans' heat content and the global "energy imbalance." They found that for every square meter of surface area, the planet is absorbing almost one watt more of the sun's energy than it is radiating back to space as heat - a historically large imbalance. Such absorbed energy will steadily warm the atmosphere. [...]

    'Can no longer be genuine doubt'

    Significantly, those emissions have increased at a rate consistent with the detected energy imbalance, the researchers said.

    "There can no longer be genuine doubt that humanmade gases are the dominant cause of observed warming," said Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "This energy imbalance is the 'smoking gun' that we have been looking for." [...]

    Comment: What this article fails to note is that scientists do not have a firm understanding of global warming and the effects it will have on the ecosystem. Our recently updated Climate and Earth Changes Supplement provides an ongoing summary of the upheaval the planet is currently experiencing. It seems that the situation is getting worse much more quickly than the "experts" would have us believe. Planetary changes aren't a century away; they are occurring right now.

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    Shiveluch volcano produces 4-kilometer-high plume of ash
    04.05.2005, 14.12

    PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, May 4 (Itar-Tass) - Shiveluch volcano on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula produced on Wednesday several plumes of ash, some reaching 4.5 kilometers above the sea level, Kamchatka seismology sources told Itar-Tass.

    Specialists have no data on seismic activity in the area of the volcano. The seismological station Baidarnaya, situated eight kilometers from the peak of Shiveluch, was destroyed by mud and volcanic rock debris rushing down its slopes on February 27-28, when the volcano became active. It is impossible to restore the station for the time being.

    Scientists say the activity of Shiveluch on Wednesday has posed no danger for the nearby settlements. Shiveluch is one of the most active volcanoes on Kamchatka. It is 3,283 meters high. The latest eruption among those that scientists classify as catastrophic was registered in 1964.

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    Strong earthquake rocks Aceh

    Wednesday, May 4, 2005 Updated at 8:38 AM EDT
    Associated Press

    Jakarta — A strong undersea earthquake rocked parts of Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged Aceh province Wednesday, prompting people to flee their homes, but there were no reports of any giant waves, the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

    The magnitude-5.6 quake occurred at 12:58 p.m. and was centred about 160 kilometres southwest of Meulaboh on the island of Sumatra, an agency official said.

    The quake occurred in the Indian Ocean about 34 kilometres below the Earth's surface, said Yusuf, an agency official who uses a single name.

    Witnesses said the quake jolted the provincial capital of Banda Aceh for about 30 seconds and residents briefly fled into the streets. Witnesses and Yusuf said there were no reports of damage or casualties and no signs the quake spawned a tsunami.

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    Twelve new moons for Saturn
    By Dr David Whitehouse
    Science Editor, BBC News website

    Astronomers have discovered 12 new moons orbiting Saturn, bringing its number of natural satellites to 46.

    The moons are small, irregular bodies - probably only about 3-7km in size - that are far from Saturn and take about two years to complete one orbit.

    All but one circles Saturn in the opposite direction to its larger moons - a characteristic of captured bodies.

    Jupiter is the planet with the most moons, 63 at the last count. Saturn now has 46. Uranus has 27 and Neptune 13.

    The latest ones were found last year using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii. Confirmation observations were made last month using the Gemini North telescope also situated in Hawaii.

    Planetary puzzles

    Dave Jewitt of the University of Hawaii, co-discoverer of the objects, told the BBC News website that they were found as part of a detailed survey of the outer planets in order to better understand their origin.

    The newly-found satellites were probably formed in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and scattered out of it by the tug of Jupiter's gravity.

    "The key question is how they became captured by Saturn. The current models devised to explain how such bodies are captured are unable to explain why they reach the orbits they do," said Dr Jewitt.

    "The new discoveries should improve our knowledge of satellite systems in general and should, eventually, lead to an understanding of how such small, irregular bodies are captured by the gravity of giant planets".

    "Having more satellites to study will give us more data to plug into our computer simulations that may tell us what happened", he added.

    Astronomers have found that all four giant planets - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune - possess about the same number of small irregular satellites irrespective of the mass of the planet, the orbit of the satellites, or if they were captured or formed in orbit. This observation remains unexplained.

    Comment: Gee, the current models don't work. How sad is that! We have a hypothesis for Dr Jewitt. Imagine that the sun has a dark twin with a 27 million year orbit. When it comes closest to our sun, it crashes through the Oort cloud like a bowling bowl skattering the pins in all directions. These pieces of rock then are sent careening out of the Oort cloud into the solar system. As they come through, some of them are picked up by the gravitational pull of the largest planets and brought into orbit as new satellites.

    They don't have to come from the asteroid band between Mars and Jupiter and so the current model doesn't need to explain how they manage to slip by Jupiter to get caught up by Saturn.

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    Napoleon's trousers tell secret of how he died

    GENEVA, May 3 (AFP) - Even the death of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Corsican who rose from obscurity to become emperor of France, has been the stuff of legend. But Swiss researchers are now debunking the story of the French icon's poisoning.

    At the end of his life Napoleon suffered from stomach cancer. Those who argue that he was poisoned say before his death he had an abnormal weight gain for someone with cancer.

    The Swiss study, however, compared nine paris of trousers worn by Napoleon both before and after his exile on the island of Saint Helena.

    They concluded that the emperor lost more than 11 kilos (24 pounds) during the last five months of his life.

    When Napoleon died on May 5, 1821, he weighed 75.7 kilos at a height of 1.67 meters (5 feet 5 inches).

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    Close encounters on rise as UFOs seize imagination of Chinese
    Tue May 3,10:08 AM ET

    BEIJING - Meng Zhaoguo, a rural worker from northeast China's Wuchang city, says he was 29 years old when he broke his marital vows for the first and only time -- with a female extraterrestrial of unusually robust build.

    "She was three meters (10 feet) tall and had six fingers, but otherwise she looked completely like a human," he says of his close encounter with an alien species. "I told my wife all about it afterwards. She wasn't too angry."

    While few Chinese claim to have managed to get quite as intimate with an extraterrestrial as Meng, a growing number of people in the world's most populous nation believe in unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.

    Officially registered UFO associations in China have about 50,000 members, but some estimate the actual number of Chinese interested in the subject is probably in the tens of millions.

    Sun Shili is one of the most serious enthusiasts, and he knows exactly where he will be the day the extraterrestrials finally make contact with mankind. The 67-year-old retired Beijing professor will be in the 21-member delegation picked by international UFO associations to represent Earth as the first negotiations get underway.

    Once a Spanish translator for Mao Zedong during high-level state visits, Sun says language will not be a problem. "We expect to communicate using telepathy," he says.

    In a country that has lost its spiritual bearings as Marxism has given way to materialism, the idea of strange worlds light years away offers a last great hope for many.

    Richard McNally, a Harvard psychologist, says he recognizes the pattern from research into Westerners who claim to have been abducted by aliens and who characterized the experience as "spiritually deepening."

    "Our abductees typically describe themselves as 'spiritual' individuals for whom organized religion provides scant spiritual nourishment, and the Chinese UFO spotters may very well be like our subjects," McNally says.

    As Sun, the Spanish translator, sits one sunny spring morning in the Chinese capital, he points at the streets outside and explains how many of the people walking by are probably extraterrestrials in human guise.

    They are here to help mankind move human civilization on little by little, he explains.

    "It's estimated that 80 percent of new inventions come to people in their dreams," says Sun. "Maybe this is is how the extraterrestrials pass on their knowledge to us."

    Extraterrestrials are moving mankind on the path towards perfection, but they can only do so in a very gradual fashion, Sun says.

    "They give us wisdom and skills that are just a little bit more advanced than what we have at any given moment," he says.

    "If they gave us their full range of knowledge all at once, we wouldn't be able to handle it."

    As in most other areas of human endeavor, China is also an emerging force to be reckoned with in UFO research.

    In September, the International Chinese UFO Association will hold an international meeting on UFO research in the northern port city of Dalian.

    "The fact that this meeting can be held shows that China is gradually becoming a great power in UFO research," says Zhang Jingping, a leading member of the association.

    A dedicated group of enthusiasts forming the core membership of the Beijing UFO Research Association are on constant alert, ready to move out and investigate observations of mysterious phenomena in the night sky.

    They take photos, record videos and interview witnesses, all in the interest of addressing the issue from a scientific point of view, according to Zhou Xiaoqiang, the chairman of the association.

    "The result is that 95 to 99 percent of the sightings can be explained naturally, like airplanes or satellites," he says. "But a tiny minority may be real UFOs, and we should take them seriously."

    Zhou, a 57-year-old executive at a transportation company, spends most of his waking hours studying UFOs, but he remembers a time when it was not allowed.

    After the Cultural Revolution broke out in 1966, his fresh university degree earned him a one-way ticket to the deep countryside, a victim of Mao's scheme to instil proletarian values in the intellectuals.

    The dreary life almost made him forget there might be something beyond the narrow confines of the rural community where he spent the next decade.

    But then when the Cultural Revolution finally ended, and China slowly emerged from decades of self-imposed isolation, Zhou remembers watching Steven Spielberg's film classic "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

    It was a revelation. It was not just a new world that opened up to him, but a whole new universe, where everything seemed possible -- even extraterrestrials.

    "Chinese people are interested in UFOs now because their lives have improved," says Zhou.

    "They no longer have to worry about getting enough to eat, but can start caring about issues like this."

    Huang Yanqiu, a 49-year-old farmer from Beigao village in north China's Hebei province, recalls his one and only encounter with extraterrestrials in 1977.

    He woke up in the middle of the night and found himself in front of two men who looked and spoke like ordinary humans.

    But they had special powers, taking him on a nightly flight on their backs to all corners of China, from Heilongjiang province in the north to Fujian province in the southeast. Eventually, they carried him to Tiananmen Square.

    For a young man who had never been more than a few kilometers (miles) away from home, but had a secret wish to see the world, it was the experience of a lifetime.

    "We couldn't go anywhere at the time. There were no cars, just bicycles," he says. "Maybe it was all just a dream."

    Comment: Don't worry about a thing - our Space Brothers will save us!

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