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Zombie or not Zombie, that is the question
Signs of the Times Editorial

In an essay entitled "Eyes wide shut?" published in the April 30, 2005 issue of The New Scientist, Patricia Churchland tackles the ever-thorny problem of consciousness. In brief, she argues that neuroscience will provide the key to understanding consciousness as it elaborates four conditions:

  1. We understand how macro events emerge from the properties and organisations of the micro events;
  2. novel phenomena can be predicted;
  3. the system can be manipulated;
  4. and it is clear at what level of brain organisation the phenomenon resides.

In the coded language of neuroscience, the term "macro events" refers to consciousness, which, according to Churchland and many, many others, "emerges" from the "properties and organisations of the micro events, that is, the workings of the brain". In other words, consciousness emerges from evolution when the appropriate level of complexity is reached in the nervous system. It is neither the cause, the foundation, nor the prime mover of that evolution.

Churchland admits that "science is moving forward on the problem, but has not yet nailed down the answers - and no one really knows what the answers will look like." She admits, as well, that "neuroscience is a very young science, still in search of its own exoskeleton - the fundamental principles that explain how nervous systems work. Although an enormous amount is known about the structure and function of individual neurons, how macro effects emerge from populations of neurons remains poorly understood."

Fine so far. She sets out her ideas and her belief that consciousness will ultimately be explained through work on neuroscience: "a theory of consciousness will co-evolve with an understanding of the fundamentals of brain function."

But as she admits, we aren't there yet, so she cannot know this to be the case. It is, one might suggest, an intuition.

The trouble is that Ms Churchland spends a large portion of her essay criticising intuition in the domain of consciousness research, as long as these intuitions do not agree with her own. One in particular receives a severe dose of ridicule:

Among these intuitions is the idea that there could be a zombie like me in all respects - all, save that it lacks qualia. A lack of qualia means it doesn't have the "experience" of redness when it sees a London bus, but like me would say: "Look! There is a red London bus." Incredibly (I'm not making this up) zombie-me would have exactly the same conversations about conscious experience that I do. For example, we both say: "When I dream, I am aware of actions, such as flying, but not aware of how bizarre those actions are." The difference is that zombie-me has neither experiences nor qualia to talk about.

Could there be such a zombie? "Perhaps not," says the purveyor of zombies. "It is a thought-experiment-zombie." Fine. But so what? "Well, the mere imagining of such a thing entails that consciousness cannot be a property of the brain..." Good grief. As a colleague once muttered in despair, this argument is not even wrong.

Dennett is right about most of the philosophically pampered intuitions, especially those bravely predicting that "science can never, ever explain consciousness". These intuitions and the arguments they spawn have been repeatedly exposed as confusions, fallacies, circularities, failures of imagination, arguments from ignorance and just plain bunk.

Ouch! Unfortunately, Ms Churchland's belief that the answers will come from neuroscience is as much an intuition as her zombie example. Moreover, there is an awful lot of evidence that supports the existence of such zombies. It has been gathered through observation, it is repeatable, and it allows one to make predictions. This evidence would also be dismissed without a thought by Ms Churchland because it is not "scientific" according to her unfortunately limited idea of what constitutes, or could constitute, science.

Could her limited view of science be related to the question of the existence of zombies?

First, let us do a thought experiment. Imagine a philosopher and neuroscientist who is herself a zombie. Her standards of what constitutes experience and an inner life would be limited to zombie experiences. When a non-zombie described his or her experiences to her, she would interpret them according to her own experiences. Those aspects that were foreign to her would either be reduced to fit her own experiences or would be rejected as impossible.

Isn't this what we see over and over again in the split between the materialists and the idealists in philosophy, in the split between science and mysticism, in the split between those who believe that there is nothing after death and those who have a deep conviction that there is? One would think that, if we really are all just 'one race', and after thousands of years of argument from both sides, the question would be resolved one way or another. Can we take the lack of resolution as evidence that the question goes to the heart of human experience?

Interestingly, many of those who would argue there is something more to consciousness than can be explained by neuroscience have the conviction that a scientific answer could be found if science was to open up its horizons, while those who hold the opposing view completely dismiss the need for science to incorporate lessons from other domains. This suggests to us that the experience or consciousness of the hard-science proponents is more restricted than that of those who are more open. The hard-science proponents' experience might be a subset of the experience of the others. This implies that while the "zombie" scientists could never understand the other group, the other group could understand the limits of the zombies.

The distinction between zombies and others is the distinction that we draw between 'organic portals' and 'potentially souled individuals'. What is missing from the scientific and philosophical debate in academia is the understanding that the difference in experience between the two types of people has to do with their ability to perceive what the esoteric Tradition calls the 'A' and 'B' influences, not their different experiences of the colour red. The zombies, or 'organic portals', are only equipped to perceive the 'A' influences. These are the trappings of the material world, the influences that are related to our basic desires for sex, food, and security. Grand and elaborate scientific and philosophical theories can be formulated based only upon those influences. These theories can be complex and accurately describe the world from the point of view of the 'A' influences, but they are missing a part of the world that the organic portal does not experience and therefore does not even recognise is missing. For them, these theories do take in all the available data because the rest of the data is not available to them because the data falls outside of their range of perceptions.

Unfortunately, as we have discussed elsewhere, the very capacities that form the basis for a belief in the afterlife or in the reality of there being "something more" to life can often be hindrances in getting ahead in our world. In this case, those who hold the reigns of power and decision-making, including within the sciences, would tend to be those of one persuasion, the 'zombie' or 'organic portal' persuasion. Their standards would be the standards of society, and therefore those who have a larger experience would be continually forced to reduce their knowledge to conform to the standards of those who set the rules, or who hand out the science grants.

And that is, in fact, what we see around us. Scientists who wish to investigate data that fall outside of the realm of experience of the zombie, or organic portal, are ridiculed, their grants are denied, and if they push hard enough, their careers can be ruined. The dominant scientific paradigm is as entrenched as the belief of Bush's supporters that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and that he was involved in 9/11.

Churchland ends her essay with the following:

But the unglamorous truth is that science will come to understand the components of consciousness in pretty much the same way it has come to understand the nature of life.

And that is precisely what worries us.

In the following round up of recent news with commentary, notice your reaction to the various stories and when you find yourself asking the question: "how can a section of humanity engage so apparently carelessly in such inhuman acts?", realise that this question goes to the very heart of the reality of human life on earth and leads us to perhaps the "secret of secrets" that has been the sole purview of certain secret societies and groups over the millennia.

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News Round Up
Signs of the Times Analysis

Painting a stark portrait of just where the Bush regime's priorities lie, three US government departments went out of their way to protect ducklings in Washington DC last week while, at about the same time, the offspring of Iraqi civilians were being peppered with bullets by the US military. As Cheney repeats the tried and tested mind-numbing mantra that al Qaeda is still 'very active', to wit:

"The enemy that appeared on 9/11 is wounded and off-balance, and on the run -- yet still very active, still seeking recruits, and still trying to find ways to hit us,"

(is anyone getting tired of this hubris yet?) Dick continues:

"despite efforts to improve security, "America is safer, but we are not yet safe,"

"safe" being the point in time when people like Dick and George have finished their little game of global domination and half the planet, and half its population, are destroyed,

Condi Rice has decided to quit trying to publically "terrorise" (i.e. to make into a terrorist) Venezuela President Hugo Chavez and take a leaf out of the CIA's book and go undercover:

Rice Ducks Venezuela Spat After Attacks Backfire

Sun May 1, 2005
By Saul Hudson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has discarded her failing tactic of confronting Venezuela publicly in favor of working behind the scenes in Latin America against a country she says threatens the region's stability.

And just in case you were wondering about the nature of the 'threat' that Chavez poses to 'the region' and, by implication, the USA, consider the following list of 'evil' policies currently being implemented by the Venezuelan government:

The Venezuelan government is creating three new ministries to address economic and social development needs, in an attempt to translate President Hugo Chávez's triumph in the Aug. 15 recall referendum and the current windfall oil profits into further advances and improvements for the poor.

Chávez announced the creation of ministries of housing and food, and of a third that he said "could be called the ministry of 'the people's power'," which will link the roughly 20 public agencies whose mission is to provide small loans and microcredits to individuals, companies and productive enterprises.

Chávez also called for "strict enforcement of the 'Land Law' against the latifundium" (Latifundismo is the term used to define the situation where a large percentage of land in a country is owned by a tiny percentage of the population. Ed)

The president also ordered the allotment of an additional 100 million dollars to 10 special plans -- known as ”missions” -- that provide food aid and have greatly expanded health and educational coverage for the poor.

Last year, the government's social programmes absorbed between 1.5 and 2.0 billion dollars, according to independent estimates (official figures have not been made available).

The ”missions” have benefited millions of people from the lowest socioeconomic strata in oil-rich Venezuela, where more than half of the population of 25 million lives below the poverty line.

Chávez said the social programmes ”must gradually become basic institutions of the new social state,” thus forming part of a broad new social safety net.

”With respect to fiscal questions, we will follow an expansionist policy in terms of public investment, which will bolster and attract private investment,” he added. ”We will not follow the prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund, which order tight fiscal policies and cuts in social programmes.”

Marino Alvarado, president of the local human rights group Provea, told IPS that ”the main task in Venezuela, for both the government and the opposition, is fighting poverty.”

Out of a total 12 million economically active people, 15.5 percent are unemployed, according to official figures, while one out of two work in the informal sector of the economy.

The question of food is one of the government's major concerns. Among its numerous social programmes, it has created a network of shops that sell food at subsidised prices in poor neighbourhoods, as well as a network of community soup kitchens.

In Venezuela, the cost of the basic food items needed by a family of five exceeds the minimum salary, which stands at 168 dollars a month, and 12 percent of people over the age of 15 suffer a nutritional deficit.

In his frequent public appearances, the leftist Chávez often expresses his frustration that Venezuela must import staple products that it could be producing, like corn, beans, chicken or sugar.

Nationally produced food only covers 60 percent of the population's minimum requirements of proteins and calories.

Land ownership is heavily concentrated in Venezuela, as in much of Latin America, in ”latifundia”, or great landed estates. According to the National Land Institute, which oversees the government's land reform and redistribution efforts, 60 percent of arable property belongs to just two percent of landowners.

Under Chávez's land law, punitive taxes are charged for estates over a certain size that have left land lying unproductive, after which the government can intervene and expropriate idle land.

In addition, the state is repossessing state land that was illegally occupied by large landholders, for redistribution to peasant farmers, mainly through the formation of cooperatives and collective farms, on the argument that this is the only way they can compete with large-scale agribusiness interests.

The distributed land remains in the hands of the state, which is to provide the new cooperatives with housing, health care, education and soft credits. By August 2003, 1,340,000 hectares had been handed over to just under 63,000 families.

The president recently stated that ”Wherever there are latifundia, wherever land has been left unused, the hand of the state should arrive, through the Ministry of Agriculture and the Land Institute.” He also plans to use the army to help carry out an inventory of unproductive rural property.

”We are not enemies of rural estates, we aren't going to burn them or invade land,” said the president, ”but we have a constitution and a land law that must be respected, and the land must be for those who work it, for planting rice, corn and onions. We cannot have empty, unoccupied land.”

When we understand the true nature of the American political and economic model that seeks to concentrate wealth into the hands of the few "elite", and the power-hungry and ruthless nature of American politicians, the reason that the Bush administration would label the Chavez government a "dangerous regime" becomes much clearer. We should remember that the Bush administration's underhanded policy towards Venezuela is by no means new. In attempting to undermine the democratically elected government of Chavez, Rice is simply following in the footsteps of her predecessors.

We have expounded at some length here on these pages about the numerous CIA covert operations that deposed Democratic South American governments over the last 50 years. One such infamous act of imperialistic intervention, however, stands out from the rest for the fact that it triggered no less than 40 years of civil war and genocide in Guatemala in 1954, when democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz was thrown out in a bloody coup financed by the leading American mega-corporation in the region, the United Fruit Company, in cahoots with the American government. The reasons given to "justify" this affront to democracy were very similar to those on which most of the present drive to oust Chavez sit upon: that Arbenz was a communist. In his stead a true mercenary was installed: Castillo Armas, whose name interestingly enough means "Castle Arms" in Spanish, as if the American imperialist camp were leaving their signature in plain view for all with eyes to see.

What followed were 4 decades of civil war, "death squads" wiping out
students labeled as leftists, murdering working class leaders, countless civilians and native Indians, and basically making sure that any attempt by socially conscious sectors or individuals to try
and redress long standing injustices of all kinds were stamped out
with ruthless and brutal glee.

Speaking of US financed death squads, news has just come in that two U.S. troops have been accused of arming Colombian death squads:

Colombian police arrested two U.S. soldiers for alleged involvement in a plot to traffic thousands of rounds of ammunition - possibly to outlawed right-wing paramilitary groups, authorities said today.

The two soldiers were detained during a raid Tuesday in a gated community in Carmen de Apicala, 80 kilometres southwest of the capital and near Colombia's sprawling Tolemaida airbase, where the detained soldiers worked and where many U.S. servicemen are stationed.

National police Chief Gen. Jorge Daniel Castro said officers stopped a suspicious man in the area, who offered a bribe to be allowed to go free. Under threat of arrest, the man led the officers to a nearby house where more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition for assault rifles, machine-guns and pistols were found, officials said.

Shortly afterward, the two U.S. army soldiers - apparently unaware of the police operation - tried to go to the house. Castro said three Colombians were also involved.

"In the course of the investigation, two Americans arrived, they did not give a satisfactory explanation and were put at the disposal of the Prosecutors' Office," Castro said.

A security guard at the Paradise complex said the two American soldiers were taken away by police and Colombian soldiers in a convoy of a half dozen vehicles.

In Washington, the State Department confirmed the arrest of two of its soldiers in Colombia.

"Two U.S. soldiers were detained by Colombian authorities on the afternoon of May 3," it said. "We are discussing the circumstances of their detention with Colombian authorities, but do not have any additional information to provide at this time."

It marks the latest U.S. embarrassment in this South American nation. On March 29, five U.S. soldiers were arrested after 15 kilograms of cocaine was found aboard a U.S. military plane that flew to El Paso, Texas, from the Apiay airbase east of Bogota.

In the ammunitions case, a police registry identified the U.S. servicemen only as Allam Tanquary and Jesus Hernandez. It was unclear whether Allam was a misspelling. U.S. authorities did not provide names.

The Colombian Attorney General's Office said the arrested American soldiers had been in contact with a former Colombian police sergeant, Will Gabriel Aguilar, who has been linked to paramilitary groups. Aguilar, another retired policeman and two other Colombians were also arrested, the police official said.

The cache was composed of more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition sent to Colombia by the United States under its Plan Colombia aid program, aimed at crushing a leftist insurgency and the drug trafficking that fuels it, officials said.

The U.S. Embassy declined to comment on any possible links to paramilitary groups, who are battling leftist rebels in Colombia. Washington has branded the paramilitary umbrella group, the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia, as a terrorist organization, along with the two rebel groups.

The Attorney General's Office has formally opened an investigation into arms trafficking against those arrested. However, Colombian Attorney General Luis Camilo Osorio said the two Americans will not face Colombian justice because they are protected under a 1974 treaty that gives U.S. servicemen working here diplomatic immunity status.

Jairo Clopatofsky, a member of the Colombian Senate's foreign relations committee, said the treaty is allowing U.S. soldiers to commit crimes here with impunity. He is leading a move to amend the pact.

"Colombia's hands are tied by this treaty, which prohibits us from bringing any of these U.S. military members to justice," he said.

The United States has provided more than $3 billion US in aid under Plan Colombia. Up to 800 U.S. troops are permitted simultaneously in Colombia, according to U.S. law, to train Colombian armed forces and provide logistical support. Up to 600 Americans are also permitted in the country as U.S. government contractors.

Note that the arms were part of the US government sponsored "Plan Columbia" aid program and were destined for a Columbian group that the US government had designated as a "terrorist" organisation. This is the way it works folks, it's really very simple, you just set up the threat and make that threat your reason for staying in power and accruing vast amounts of power and wealth to yourself. It is the same modus operandi that successive US governments have been using for years and is at the root of the CIA/Mossad inspired "al-Qaeda" myth.

So as Dick and Condi continue to 'up' the terrorism and rogue regime fear factor, the true false nature of the war on terror can be quite clearly seen in a report which states that, since 9/11, the good people at the Office of Homeland Security have been failing miserably in their "official" task to protect the US people from further terror attacks a la September 11th, which of course comes as no surprise given that there is no REAL terrorist threat to speak of. For those who want official confirmation of this fact, we need look no further than yesterday's report about a top secret memorandum from Head of British MI6 Richard Dearlove where he explicitly states that Bush was fixing intelligence facts around the already decided upon policy to invade Iraq. As Juan Cole states:

A top secret British memorandum dated 23 July 2002 was leaked in the run-up to yesterday's parliamentary elections in the UK (which Blair won, though his Labour Party was much weakened by public disgust with such shenanigans as the below). I mirror the memo below, from the Times Online site. It summarizes a report to Blair and others in the British government by Sir Brian Dearlove (This is the press release when he was appointed in 1999). The head of MI6, or the foreign intelligence service of the UK, is known as "C."

Here is the smoking gun:

"C [Dearlove] 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.

It is not surprising on the face of it that Bush had decided on the Iraq war by summer of 2002. It it is notable that Dearlove noticed a change in views on the subject from earlier visits. By summer of 2002, the Afghanistan war had wound down and al-Qaeda was on the run, so Bush no longer felt vulnerable and was ready to go forward with his long-cherished project of an Iraq War. What is notable is that all this was not what Bush was telling us.

Bush was lying to the American people at the time and saying that no final decision had been made on the war.

Godfrey Sperling of the Christian Science Monitor could write on August 27, 2002, "Indeed, Bush has said he welcomes a 'debate' on Iraq from those in Congress and from the public. But he has made it clear that he will make his decision based on what his intelligence people are telling him."

But Dearlove's report makes it clear that Bush had already decided absolutely on a war already the previous month, and that he had managed to give British intelligence the firm impression that he intended to shape the intelligence to support such a war. So poor Sperling was lied to twice. Any "debate" was meaningless if the president had already decided. And he wasn't waiting to make his decision in the light of the intelligence. He was going to tell the intelligence professionals to what conclusion they had to come. "But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Why would it even be necessary to turn the intelligence analysts into "weasels" who would have to tell Bush what he wanted to hear?

It was necessary because the "justification" of the "conjunction" of Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorism was virtually non-existent.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw admitted it at the meeting: "It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."

So the "justification" would have to be provided by "fixing" the intelligence around the policy. Bush was just going to make things up, since the realities did not actually justify his planned war! The British cabinet sat around and admitted to themselves that a) there was no justification for the war into which they were allowing themselves to be dragged and b) that the war would be gotten up through Goebbels-like techniques!

It is even worse. British Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith was at the meeting. He had to think up a justification for the war in international law. Britain is in Europe, and Europe takes international law seriously. You could have war crimes trials. (Remember that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet almost got tried in Spain for killing 5000 people in the 1970s).

Goldsmith was as nervous as a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs: "The Attorney-General said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might of course change."

The driness of the wit is unbearable. "The desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action"! Naked aggression is illegal, he could have said. Then he reviews the three possible grounds for a war. You could have a war if Iraq attacked you. Iraq had not attacked the US. Or you could have a war if it was a humanitarian intervention (e.g. under the genocide convention). But Saddam's major campaigns of death had been a decade before. Or you could get a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the war, in accordance with the UN charter. But Goldsmith makes it clear he thought you would need a new resolution, that the old ones wouldn't work for this purpose.

The Attorney General of the United Kingdom thought the reports Dearlove and Straw were bringing back from Washington reeked of an illegal war. People who plan out illegal wars are war criminals. He knew this. He was stuck, however. They were all stuck.

The man from Connecticut with the Crawford ranch had decided to cut down some trees. And they were all hostages in his guest house and he was going to put chain saws in their hands and make them help, whether they liked it or not. Goldsmith's hands trembled as he reached out for the chainsaw rig. He saw himself and the others sitting in the Hague, one day, facing the same judges that Milosevic harangued. Charged.

But it is a long way from Crawford to the Hague. The man from Connecticut with the cowboy boots and the fake twang would get away with it. They would all get away with it.

But people would know they had lied.

Despite this, today, Tony Blair has somehow been returned for another five years of government by deception. Logic, and the law of cause and effect, would dictate that someone must pay for the illegal warmongering of our leaders, sadly, it is rarely ever the case that those truly responsible are the ones to pay. The situation in Iraq continues to spiral downwards with the threat of civil war growing daily. As an example, the Kansas City Star reports that:

Earlier this week, Masar Sarhan, a popular student leader at Baghdad University, threw a party on campus to celebrate the Shiite Muslim leaders of Iraq's new government. Religious songs blared and students read poetry congratulating the Shiites for taking power.

Four hours later, three gunmen followed 24-year-old Sarhan and shot him to death blocks from his home in the capital.

The campus, already simmering with sectarian tension, exploded with violent demonstrations that continued on Wednesday. Enraged Shiite students stormed the cafeteria, overturning tables and breaking windows. They accused Sunni students and professors of supporting Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, which they blamed for Sarhan's death. Police fired shots in the air to stop the riots. The dean fled the campus and classes were canceled indefinitely.

Sarhan's devastated relatives adopted strict security measures during his traditional, three-day funeral at a Shiite mosque. On Wednesday, guards searched mourners as they entered and confiscated cell phones. Sarhan's father collapsed inside a hall filled with photos of other young Shiite men killed in recent months.

Sarhan was "a quiet, deeply religious man who was loved by everyone," said his uncle, Rasul al-Rubaiye. Sarhan was just about to ask a classmate to marry him. The slain man's relatives talked of finding the killers, whom they presume to be Sunni, plotting the sort of street justice Iraqi officials fear could spark a civil war.

Over a year ago, veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, a man who probably knows as much about the complex dynamics of the Middle East as any outsider, had this to say about the sudden outbreak of ethnic strife in occupied Iraq:

Odd, isn't it? There never has been a civil war in Iraq. I have never heard a single word of animosity between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq.

Al-Qa'ida has never uttered a threat against Shias - even though al-Qa'ida is a Sunni-only organisation. Yet for weeks, the American occupation authorities have been warning us about civil war, have even produced a letter said to have been written by an al-Qa'ida operative, advocating a Sunni-Shia conflict. Normally sane journalists have enthusiastically taken up this theme. Civil war.

I do worry about the Iraqi exile groups who think that their own actions might produce what the Americans want: a fear of civil war so intense that Iraqis will go along with any plan the United States produces for Mesopotamia.

I think of the French OAS in Algeria in 1962, setting off bombs among France's Muslim Algerian community. I recall the desperate efforts of the French authorities to set Algerian Muslim against Algerian Muslim which led to half a million dead souls.

And I'm afraid I also think of Ireland and the bombings in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974, which, as the years go by, appear to have an ever closer link, via Protestant "loyalist" paramilitaries, to elements of British military security.

But the bombs in Karbala and Baghdad were clearly co-ordinated. The same brain worked behind them. Was it a Sunni brain? When the occupation authorities' spokesman suggested yesterday that it was the work of al-Qa'ida, he must have known what he was saying: that al-Qa'ida is a Sunni movement, that the victims were Shias.

It's not that I believe al-Qa'ida incapable of such a bloodbath. But I ask myself why the Americans are rubbing this Sunni-Shia thing so hard. Let's turn the glass round the other way. If a violent Sunni movement wished to evict the Americans from Iraq - and there is indeed a resistance movement fighting very cruelly to do just that - why would it want to turn the Shia population of Iraq, 60 per cent of Iraqis, against them? The last thing such a resistance would want is to have the majority of Iraqis against it.

So what about al-Qa'ida? Repeatedly, the Americans have told us that the suicide bombers were "foreigners". And so they may be. But can we have some identities, nationalities? The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has talked of the hundreds of "foreign" fighters crossing Saudi Arabia's "porous" borders.

The US press have dutifully repeated this. The Iraqi police keep announcing that they have found the bombers' passports, so can we have the numbers?

We are entering a dark and sinister period of Iraqi history. But an occupation authority which should regard civil war as the last prospect it ever wants to contemplate, keeps shouting "civil war" in our ears and I worry about that. Especially when the bombs make it real.

The only thing missing from the above analysis is the knowledge that "al-Qaeda" is a creation of the CIA and the Israeli Mossad. The NeoCon authors of the Iraq war game plan and the Greater Israelites in the Likud party in Israel are clearly the ones that have most to gain from a divided and therefore impotent Iraq.

There is one positive sign however. The new Iraqi military appear to be progressing well, and are beginning to grasp the fundamentals of US peacekeeping tactics. A recent AFP report tells us:

Illustrating the uphill task in training new Iraqi security forces, U.S. officers said they had pulled another battalion of Iraqi commandos from the rebel bastion of Samarra 125 kilometers north of Baghdad last month after repeated incidents of misconduct. In a March incident that sealed the unit's fate, the commandos set a home near Samarra on fire after searching it and finding no incriminating evidence.

We doubt that two years ago many Iraqis (or many duped Westerners for that matter) would have counted civil war among the expected benefits of Bush's "Freedom and Democracy". But by now we should all be beginning to realise that bestowing freedom and Democracy on Iraq and its people was never the plan. The real plan was to engage in that age old and favorite sport of the elite: raping pillaging and plundering, or, as it is called in modern parlance, fraud:

Fraud allegations compound Iraq accounting investigation

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. civilian authorities in Iraq cannot properly account for nearly $100 million that was supposed to have been spent on reconstruction projects in south-central Iraq, government investigators said Wednesday.

There are indications of fraud in the use of the $96.6 million, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. A separate investigation of possible wrongdoing continues.

More than $7 million of the total is unaccounted for, the report said. An additional $89.4 million in payments do not have the required supporting documents.

The report accused civilian contract managers of "simply washing accounts" to try to make the books balance. Staffing shortages and the quick turnover of those responsible for the cash contributed to the problems, the report said.

Col. Thomas Stefanko, the official now in charge of the program, wrote the investigators that he agreed with their conclusions. Stefanko said his office had corrected or was in the process of fixing or investigating the problems identified in the report.

Paper trail

The money at issue is from proceeds from Iraqi oil sales and seizures from Saddam Hussein's regime. Distribution of the money was handled first by the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority from 2003 to June 28, 2004. After that, the money was overseen by the Joint Area Support Group-Central, which is managed from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Part of the problem was a last-minute push to spend millions on reconstruction projects before the interim Iraqi government took over, the report said. One agent got $6.75 million in cash a week before the handover with the expectation that the money would be spent before the Iraqis took power.

Controls over the cash were so lax that two of the agents hired to distribute the money were allowed to leave Iraq before they had accounted for all of it, the report said. Between them, those two had been given more than $1.4 million in cash that remains unaccounted for, the report said.

A different agent failed to provide proper documentation for more than $12.4 million in spending but had his accounts cleared by his supervisors, the report said. Yet another agent kept distributing money for three weeks after his authority was revoked, the report said. Told that $1,878,870 was missing from his account, the agent delivered exactly that amount to his supervisors three days later.

And while fat cat American politicians and corporate chiefs stow away hundreds of millions from the misappropriation of funds that were meant to rebuild a destroyed Iraq, the Iraqi people are finding it almost impossible to get any justice or compensation for their murdered family members:

U.S. seen as unaccountable in Iraqi civilian deaths

WASHINGTON, May 3 (Reuters) - Iraqi civilians who have suffered from U.S. military operations face steep obstacles in obtaining compensation for the deaths of their loved ones or material damage, human rights analysts say.

The case of Italian agent Nicola Calipari, gunned down at a U.S. checkpoint in Baghdad on March 4 as he was escorting an Italian hostage to freedom, shows how reluctant the United States is to admit culpability, even in high-profile cases.

The United States exonerated American forces in the incident, but Rome on Monday blamed nervous U.S. troops.

"There is no reason to think that when a nameless Iraqi without international connections is the victim, the U.S. military would take it even remotely seriously," said Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington think tank that opposes the U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

Statistics on civilian deaths in cross fire or at checkpoints in Iraq are scarce. Any released figures usually refer only to Baghdad and cover limited periods.

Marla Ruzicka, a humanitarian-aid worker, campaigned to persuade the U.S. military to keep and release civilian casualty figures and helped persuade Congress to authorize $20 million for families of Iraqi civilians killed by U.S. forces.

Ruzicka herself died on April 16 when her car was caught in an insurgent attack.

Just before her death, Ruzicka wrote in a report that she had received information from the U.S. military that 29 civilians were killed by small-arms fire in Baghdad alone during firefights between U.S. troops and insurgents between Feb. 28 and April 5.

The United States allows Iraqis to seek compensation for material damage, death or injury, but claims must be due to a "non-combat situation" and prove wrongful action or negligence.

An investigation by the Dayton Daily News in October analyzed 4,611 civil claims in Iraq against the U.S. military and found that three out of four were denied.

The average payment for a civilian death was $4,421. In some cases, Iraqis received $2,500 sympathy payments without going through the claims procedure.


The claims process is "Kafkaesque" in complexity and designed to frustrate most Iraqis, said a joint report in early 2004 by Occupation Watch and the Defense of Human Rights in Iraq, two groups monitoring U.S. military operations.

"The U.S. military's definition of a 'combat situation' is elastic and ephemeral, and because the rules of engagement are secret, it is difficult to understand what legal space exists for people to have their cases heard and receive compensation," the report said.

"Because of the way the compensation system is structured and managed, the American troops have adopted an atmosphere of impunity. Arrogant and violent behavior goes unpunished and continues," they said.

"When there are civilian casualties, the immediate commander interviews the soldiers on the ground and makes a decision on whether it should be referred on for further investigation. In very few cases does it move beyond this immediate inquiry," he said.

Sometimes, the U.S. military is forced to investigate, such as when journalists for international news organizations are killed. Even then, critics say the investigations have not been timely, serious or thorough.

In order to get an insight into the minds of not only those people who perpetrate such crimes against humanity but also those that support them, it is useful to look again at the case of the abovementioned humanitarian aid-worker Marla Ruzicka, who was killed a few weeks ago in a bombing in Iraq. As noted above, Ruzicka dedicated herself to helping Iraqi civilians obtain compensation for the injuries inflicted on them by trigger-happy US soldiers and, coincidentally, just before her death, was on the point of revealing that the US military does indeed keep statistics on Iraqi civilian casualties. In response to the news of Ruzicka's death, arch Neocon lover and editor of NeoCon propaganda publication par excellence, David Horowitz, commissioned his editorialist Debbie Schlussel to give us all an insight into the twisted and disturbing minds of Iraq war supporters.

" ... It's time to stop worshipping at the alter [sic] of this false heroine. There are plenty of young American men and women ... who've been brutalized or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But none of them got the ... coverage that Ruzicka got--unless they were anally raped or ... played pro football. That should tell you ... about the media's outlook ... : American soldiers fighting for freedom--bad; vociferous activist bimbette ... --very, very good. While it's a sad day when any American gets killed by Islamic terrorists, it's measurably less sad when that American aided and abetted them ... For Marla Ruzicka, some might call it, poetic justice."

Hopefully, readers now have a better idea of the nature of our 'adversary' and will take this as a warning that, with such people in charge of the daily workings of our planet, long before things gets better (if we can even hope for such), they are destined to get much, much worse.


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The Holocaust, Palestine and Israel: Revision, Denial and Myth

by Frank Scott

The murderous treatment of European Jews during the second world war has become almost legendary in its depiction as a unique and singularly important example of bigoted inhumanity, carried to barbarous extremes. No other experience from among the overwhelming number of historic cases of mass brutality has ever achieved such status in western consciousness, partly because most of the other slaughters were of third world, non - white people. But despite this specific outrage being portrayed as an unparalleled tragedy, injustice, bigotry and mass murder have been practiced and gone relatively unquestioned since its occurrence, contrary to the lessons supposedly learned from its example. Given this contradictory impact, It should be permissible to look, as clearly as evidence will allow, at exactly what took place, what its moral lesson could be, what its political use has been, and how it has helped perpetuate rather than end notions of racial superiority and division that have dogged the world for millennia.

The patriarchal belief systems on which Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all based depend on faith, far more than material evidence. What historic evidence exists is subject to human interpretation, and as an example of how varied that interpretation can be, we have these three religions. All are founded on the same original story, with similar scriptures, prophets, and the alleged word of god. Gods words apparently say different things to different people at different times. Religious history, in which faith and interpretation loom large, is really not that different from secular history.

The original story of the United States, for instance, was one of European discovery, heroic conquest, incredible development and national triumph. That was from the standpoint of the official historians, before the revisionists had their say. A more modern interpretation of that story includes the near physical and cultural genocide of the native populations of the continents which Europe discovered, even though people had been living on them for thousands of years. A newer view of American history also saw chattel slavery as something beyond an unfortunate economic arrangement which led to civil war and racial misunderstanding, and more as an experience of murderous human degradation carried to inhuman marketing extremes, with social repercussions still apparent and still not fully understood .

Historic views and re-views of the past are taken by those with possible preconceptions based on their education, training and belief systems; historians can find selective truth in the material evidence at hand, while creating immaterial evidence as well, often doing so unconsciously, without any balance, and even stressing extremes. In doing this they are not substantially different from religious believers who pick and choose from what material evidence exists, if any, to fit into the belief system . God and the accepted prophets are sited to back up whatever is seen as good, righteous and just, and a satan, with demonic assistants, is created to account for the evil, craven brutality that is the darker side of human development. Substitute us for god, and them for Satan, and we have much secular history.

The religious or scientific system produces its historians, who are responsible not only for interpreting the evidence according to the preconceived rules of faith and politics, but in many cases, for the creation of evidence to fit within the mental structure that thereby strengthens and reinforces the systems foundation.

This is not unique to one religious or national group, but is common to all which have an established story of origin, and a following interpretation of history to neatly fit into the original premise. Given the dualism of western religious science, logical materialists who claim physical objectivity as their basis supposedly have nothing in common with the magical imaterialism of religion. But despite age old battles between secularists and deists, neither side in this either-or conflict really knows any more than what is believed, accepted, and verified by the evidence that solidifies the foundation of its system of belief. Anyone who contradicts that evidence is either disregarded, or tossed out of the realm of accepted reality. In the most extreme cases, the contradictor is either imprisoned, or burned at the stake.

It is in the serious questioning of rigidly held belief systems that humanity - sometimes - advances beyond simple duality, arriving at a relatively reasoned interpretation based on objective study of material evidence, free of previously learned bias. In these cases, divine good and demonic evil are left to the immaterialist community, and the attempt is made to learn from previous experience and hope for a better future that does not repeat past mistakes. That hope is nonexistent when free thought and critical appraisal are denied. It is in particular danger today, more so than in the darkest ages of our past, when wanton slaughter may have been the order of the day, but the weapons to affect it were infinitely more primitive.

In the aftermath of the Nazi assault on European Judaism, we have seen a modern form of biblical interpretation evolve out of an historic event. This interpretation is based almost as much on faith as on verifiable fact. What should be at least fairly conclusive according to examined evidence has become a religious belief system in which no examination or question of evidence is allowed unless it strengthens the already existing and accepted story. The event is not only treated as unquestioned as the word of god, but if dared to be questioned at all, punishable as blasphemy. Such is the modern burden of what is called The Holocaust, having even its name reflect a biblical sounding event, like The Creation.

A terrible price was paid by the Jews of Europe in the experience of this awful episode of history, but a heavy price is still being paid, in some sense by the whole world, but mostly by Palestinians, who played no role in these atrocities, though they have paid dearly, and unconscionably, in their aftermath.

The affect of the holocaust on 21st century life continues to be as profound, and dangerous, as its impact on the previous century. What is euphemistically called The Middle East Problem was really created by the western holocaust, and dumped on the people of the Middle East. The solution to this problem involves the West confronting its own responsibility, and ending its punishment of the Arab world, especially the Palestinians, who have absorbed generations of abuse and had a horrific, biblical vengeance visited upon them for something they never did. Further, the accepted story of the event, seemingly free of any material forces or consequences save depravity and hatred of age old origin, invites a fatalism which accepts ancient beliefs in a natural evil at the core of humanity. Or at least, a majority of humanity, which seems historically predisposed to persecute and murder a specific minority.

There might be no better place to begin seeking a solution than at the very event that has served to help create the problem. But any attempt at reconsideration of this particular tragedy in a way that questions some of the accepted story is treated as sacrilegious, insane, unthinkable anti-Semitism, and in the most extreme cases, as a crime punishable by jail or deportation. This was the case with Ernest Zundel, one among many Holocaust Revisionists who dare to challenge religious and political orthodoxy by questioning our understanding of a human disaster which has helped perpetuate human disaster.

Zundel and other revisionists are called holocaust deniers by those who label them in discriminatory fashion in order to remove them from any serious consideration. The denigrating label makes it seem as though they deny that any Jews were murdered, or that Jews did not suffer terribly at the hands of Nazis and their supporters. Calling these people names in order to reduce them as beings is a bigotry no different, in essence, from using derogatory labels like nigger, spic, kike or redneck. The label's purpose is to belittle and deform, reducing people to caricatures and worse; beings outside the realm of acceptability and not worthy of consideration by normal people.

There may be unsavory and bigoted types among those who call themselves holocaust revisionists, but such people exist in business, government and religion; do we entirely dismiss those worlds because some of their practitioners may not meet our standards for acceptability? Some who claim to be revisionists simply change the pejorative Nazi to the perforative communist and charge the same wholesale slaughters and incredible death tolls, only with different victims and different murderers. Far more important are the revisionists unmotivated by anything more than a sense of human inquiry, who simply attempt to confront and question accepted history with as much or as little bias as the official historians.

Zundel should be free to present his viewpoint and entertain his beliefs, however unpopular they may be to those who often know nothing more than what they have been told. This biased telling of the story of individuals and events is a problem not only of the historic past, but what we experience in everyday life. We are fed tales which provoke bloody warfare and are devoutly believed and supported by some, and just as devoutly disbelieved and opposed by others. But neither school of thought is, as yet, proposing that all opposition to its belief system be completely silenced, totally disregarded or jailed. Some have indeed suffered such a fate, but they are still the exception and not the rule. Unfortunately, among holocaust revisionists, the rule is persecution; first, of the very idea, and next, of the person expressing the very idea.

Our political economy of religious science depends on the double standards of dualism, but the issue of free speech tends to be revered by people from all sides of the political and social spectrum. It would be better for us all if we were less selective about where, when, and on what subjects such freedom could be exercised.

Revisionists try to make the murderous history of the holocaust an aspect of reality, rather than a religious experience of unquestioned worship and sorrow. This is their sin, but it is not only they who suffer; all who profess a belief in freedom of expression, speech and thought pay a price. Yet, the attack on Zundels free speech was barely noticed by the general public. Even though it took place in Canada, it received no criticism from an American civli liberties community which would be totally aroused if such blatant suppression occurred in almost any other area of life, and in any country. But that is not the case in the area dubbed holocaust denial, where any outrage against free speech and free thought is not only allowed, but righteously supported and even vindictively applauded, wherever it occurs.

The double standard regarding this issue is among the most troubling of our social hypocrisies. One can easily imagine those depicted as demons, like Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic, being regarded as heroes, had they persecuted alleged holocaust deniers instead of operating against Israeli and American interests, for which they now face trial as war criminals.

Zundel may be the best known among many who are critical of the holocaust story, but who hardly deny that Jews were viciously persecuted and murdered by the Nazis. He has been dogged for years because of his expressed doubts regarding many aspects of the accepted history, and as a result suffered physical attacks, the firebombing of his home, and costly court cases finally leading to his imprisonment. Among his blasphemous thought crimes he dares to believe that all Germans were not uniquely evil, inhuman monsters, as they are depicted in much of the holocaust story. Germany has been the main financial backer of Israel, contributing billions of dollars in retribution payments, and has been most fierce in smothering free speech when it comes to this issue. But there are still many who believe that Germans should be judged as unparalleled among humans for their collective sin, and this has been internalized by its government. In keeping with its guilt driven policies, Germany locked Zundel in jail as soon as Canada expelled him for his crime. And what was this offense? Under cover of visa problems and alleged influence on potentially violent groups, Zundel was really guilty of daring to express doubt in the official story of the holocaust, that doubt usually being not only about the number of dead, but also concerning the plan and method of carrying out mass murder. His is only the most serious and recent attack on a revisionist. Many others have suffered loss of their jobs, physical attacks, and been imprisoned. In several nations, it is a punishable, criminal offense to dare question the holocaust in any ways that displease the keepers of its official history.

The horrendous treatment of European Jews, their forced exodus from national homelands to concentration and slave labor camps, and their further brutalization and murders, are believed part of a centrally planned process of annihilation. This historically unique crime was industrialized, with an around the clock production line of transport, gas chambers, crematoria and almost unimaginable cruelty. That is the brief outline generally accepted by most of the world, or at least the western world, which might as well be the whole world given the power balance. Of course, gas chambers were not alleged to be the only method employed for these mass murders, and the basic crimes were known of before that aspect of the story was established. But though official records and scholarship account for many deaths attributable to other causes and methods, the popular acceptance of the phrase six million died in the gas chambers is hardly ever discussed as being impossible. In fact, there is almost as much use of the dreadful sounding six million died in the ovens, with many believing that six million living human beings were actually thrown into mass fiery pits. The world was witness to the awful films of the liberated camps, the emaciated survivors, and the piles of skin and bone corpses. It is as if these sickening images were not enough, and even more ghastly ones have to be created in order to identify this as historys most terrible crime.

That such an incredible murderous deed, of such massive proportions, was concealed from the world until long after it took place is barely acknowledged as worthy of any question. Several histories of the war were written at its end which made no mention of this particular horrendous crime. Some survivors of the concentration camps wrote of their terrible experiences, with no mention of gas chambers. Are we to believe that all these writers, including Eisenhower and Churchill, were simply anti-Semites?

This awful scheme for exterminating an entire people was ordered by passionate zealots who were motivated by irrational hatred. Yet, conversely, it was organized by a core of dispassionate, bureaucratic clones, and then carried out by a stoic force of robotic killers. And this hideous production was performed while Germany suffered devastation in the war, with many of its people going hungry, its economy sorely lacking industrial supplies and its imminent defeat looming. Might there be legitimate cause for questioning at least some parts of the generally accepted story? Should critical reappraisal be completely forbidden, given that this insane act of collective murder was the major rationale for the displacement and destruction of another people, the Palestinians, far removed from any connection to Europe save for their domination by its colonial power?

And considering the depiction of Germans as a collection of homicidal monsters, couldn't one of these satanic sadists have considered a photograph of his, and their, horrendous work with gas chambers? Is there any wonder that the same bureaucratic number crunchers who tabulated every single person rounded up and sent to a camp, were unable to tabulate the actual murders? And since all gas chambers were allegedly destroyed by the Germans - who seemed anxious to get rid of all evidence of the crime, but were extremely careless about leaving alive participants in committing the crime - isn't it worthy of question that their existence is based on stories and confessions after the fact, with no one actually witnessing these mass murder machines in action?

It should not be a crime to wonder why not one actual photo of a gas chamber exists, that all were destroyed and only reproductions of them are offered as evidence. The only photos are of doors or passages leading to such chambers, and showers said to have served as gas chambers, but these all defy logic and only serve belief. Would we accept explanation for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki by being presented with photos of roads leading into town? Or the testimony of survivors and participants in the bombings, but with no other evidence except their testimony that the cities were devastated by such a weapon?

Given the overwhelming evidence that clearly verifies the persecution and murder of so many, why is it that this major part of the story is so reliant on after the fact memories or detective work? That several million people were killed this way and that not one photo exists is certainly worthy of questioning, given that so much else was recorded in photos and film. We have abundant pictorial evidence of the dreadful conditions of the camps, the horrible images that have been imprinted on us over the years. Yet, none of these showed a gas chamber, its ruins, or recorded comments about its existence. How can it be a sin and why should it be a crime to question this story? Is it odd that some might see the denial of that freedom as part of a political program to insure that Israel is above any criticism and kept a safe place for world Jewry, even though its reality has been quite the opposite? The historical record of an earlier episode of inhuman brutality in the United States offers an uncomfortable contrast.

During the wretched historical period of American lynching, more than two thousand blacks were dragged from their homes or prison cells and publicly hanged, often having their bodies literally torn apart after killing. These bestial events were sometimes viewed by hundreds of people in an often festive atmosphere of collective madness. Countless photographs exist of these bizarre, barbaric affairs, with families proudly posing, even smiling, in front of a brutalized black body hanging from a tree. There may be legend and myth surrounding much of this period, but there is undeniable evidence of the bloody deeds in these photos, some of which were made into postcards and mailed to friends and families, later becoming exhibits at museums and galleries.

Should this terrible episode of American history be offered as proof that we were the most beastly race on earth? Far worse than later Germans, who didn't gleefully photograph their atrocities and happily share those photos with friends? Why not try to learn more about this sordid past, rather than simply see the atrocities as acts of a deranged people, having no basis in material history save as a description of mass psychosis, based on age old biblical hatred of...Africans? After all, we have no historic verification for how many Africans were murdered during what was called, less biblically, the passages, when slaves were stuffed onto ships like animals, and beaten, starved and drowned while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, with death toll estimates ranging from a few to many millions. Has it been blasphemy to examine that history, as closely as evidence will allow, in order to arrive at something approximating what actually took place? Does any reexamination of this brutal period, including a revisionist pointing out that some slaves lived in more material security than some workers, indicate a form of slavery denial?

We certainly cannot change the fact of inhuman chattel slavery in our past, nor the tremendous impact it has had on our national development. But confronting our past might help us change the present. Nearly half the prison population of the USA is black, and ghettos and poverty wracked communities still number black residents in the hundreds of thousands. That should be reason enough to want to learn more about that past and how it affects our society today. Really confronting such questions and seeking answers based on social justice and humanitarian values could mean social revolution, but even if we don't go that far, knowing more can at least help us mythologize less.

We would not make the crimes committed by the Nazis any less horrid by removing myths, legends and emotional slander from the very real pain and suffering they caused. What of the many alleged tales of their ghastly practices, like making soap from the body fat of dead Jews, stuffing pillows with their hair or making lamp shades from their skin? Some of these are still repeated by those who simply accepted any tale of German degeneracy, no matter how mindless sounding or lacking any basis in fact. The generally accepted and horrendous enough toll of a million deaths at Auschwitz was once believed to be more than four million. These inflated death toll figures and tales of bizarre brutality are no longer tolerated by anyone with claims to serious scholarship, with agreement here between revisionists and the official historians of holocaust studies.

Survivors are no less cursed with memories of an awful reality when these kinds of exaggerations are faced as fabrications born of panic, gullibility, and retaliatory hatred. This at one time unquestioned parade of inhuman horrors became part of accepted history and helped lead to the birth of a new nation, Israel, established as a haven for the persecuted survivors of this bloodcurdling, genocidal campaign conducted by the Nazis.

Israel's existence since its origin in 1948 has remained critically unquestioned by the mainstream west and its officially sanctioned political opposition, mainly because of the horrors the world learned about the holocaust. And learned, and learned, and relearned. Hardly a day passes that some TV program, film, workshop, museum display, lecture or school curriculum is not dealing with what took place, in horrifying detail. People are gripped and shaken by the vicarious experience of this tragedy, recreated in veritable theme parks of misery and suffering. They are compelled to wonder how people could perform such contemptible violence, and how it could have happened without outside intervention. But these same people still support doctrines of racial supremacy and the mass murder of war ; they draw no connection to the lesson supposedly learned from the holocaust tragedy, since that lesson seems specific only to that single experience and its relation to the unquestioned need for Israel as a haven for Jews.

State organized violence, human persecution and bigotry continue, and civilized populations still tolerate racial and colonial policies that treat people and their homelands as worthless, unless owned, occupied or exploited by superior beings. These matters are relatively unquestioned by many who are moved to tears by the story of the holocaust, since that event is treated as an almost separate reality from human history, let alone the sub category of Jewish history, whose thousands of years seem reduced to about five during the war. And Israel is still perceived by many as a home for people rejected by the world, with no place else to go. This is a gross simplification, but so is the larger story. Israel did not just happen in 1948, though that might as well be the case given popular ignorance of its history.

In the late 19th century, when the European Zionist movement for a Jewish homeland was established, most Jews wanted no such home. They were content being citizens in the nations where they had become part of the fabric of life, having worked hard to overcome bigotry that saw them as other. Many of them took serious issue with Zionism, which existed long before most Nazis were born, let alone in power. This historic fact is not just overlooked, but is unknown to people who think of Zionism only in its modern socialistic form of the kibbutz, and see Israel as something that happened purely because of the Nazi assault on European Jews.

Among several proposed sites, Palestine was the biblical real estate most desired by many Zionists as a national homeland, since it was believed to be their source, even by allegedly secular Jews who claimed to be atheists. That contradiction still prevails; one can strongly assert no belief in god, while accepting a homeland for Jews in Israel, because that land was promised to them by...god. The holocaust helps make it possible to overlook this contradiction by siting the Jewish tragedy at the hands of the Nazis as verification for the need to create Israel. And even though most of the world's Jews are moved to at least psychologically support Israel's existence, they have never been there and have no plan to even visit, let alone become settlers.

The fact that as late as 1942, some Zionists and Nazis were discussing the island nation of Madagascar as a possible homeland for Jews - with as little concern for the native people there as in Palestine - is another little known aspect of the relationships between two groups proposing the same alienating idea, along decidedly different lines; that Jews did not belong with others and should be living in their own, separate country .

With no consideration for some of these matters, we inherit a history with little if any context, negating any awareness of events that lead to or connect from one to the other in any understandable, if occasionally mind boggling way. Things suddenly happen, with no explanation for events other than their being caused or provoked by saintly angels or demonic monsters. Are their material, worldly reasons for these events? Where do these situations and creatures come from? We are not to ask once the story, the gods and the demons have been established. That is, if we wish to remain helpless creatures shaped by history, rather than active beings who play a conscious role in its creation.

The revision of all history, literally to look at it again, is necessary if we wish to create a future without repeating past mistakes. The maligned school of holocaust revision could make a contribution towards understanding and peace, rather than represent a criminal assault against political religious belief, as it is portrayed. Taking a new look at any part of history, recent or past, may lead to greater awareness of material forces which are controllable by humans. This contradicts the fatalistic view of humanity as inherently beastly and in need of control by elites, which are usually working for god. This biblical notion at the core of many human acts of mass murder flies in the face of real human experience and calls for more, not less questioning of what we are told about anything.

Whether it is fed to us as legend, myth or alleged fact, nothing should be treated as unquestionable. Facts are too often based on as little proof as the legendary and mythological. For a recent, obvious example, we need look no further than weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Thousands of people are dead and a government was destroyed because of those alleged weapons, which do not, and did not, exist.

The suffering of the Jews in Europe during the second world war would not become less tragic under critical appraisal, though its political impact might change, and this is the major reason for its being kept an untouchable topic. In order to maintain Israels position as a special nation, the myth of the Jewish people as a forever endangered species is perpetuated. The holocaust is seen as the culmination of a long history of murderous persecution of Jews by the rest of the gentile world, with no allowance for anything but continued misery and eternal threat. This incredibly negative and narrow view estranges people from humanity, and in so doing helps create a warped history of isolation. A contradictory ideological need to be separate and different from them, while humanistically desiring similarity and equality with them, can only prolong the problem of what is called anti-semitism, despite that language confusion which so labels Europeans who are no more Semites than are people from Finland or Nigeria.

Given the verifiable history of Jewish persecution in the past, can that possibly justify the persecution of Palestinians in the present? Assuming that there was indeed a plot by European gentiles to murder all the Jews of the continent, why should people who have no real or fictional connection to such a sin be the ones to pay the awful price of its atonement? And even if it is necessary to insist that one inhuman episode was unique and different from others, that one suffering was more painful than another, how can any benefit be gained by causing still more suffering? No horror experienced in Europe should serve as rationale for punishment inflicted on people other than Europeans, if any at all are to still be paying for this experience of inhuman slaughter among, sadly, many such historic experiences. A more recent human disaster can offer several comparisons, even if only in the treatment of the story.

As an example of how closer examination of events which take on near legendary proportions can lead to better understanding, consider the disastrous day Americans remember as 911. It did not become less tragic when investigation revealed that the original estimated death toll of nearly 50,000 was actually just over 3,000. The bereaved were no less saddened, the nation no less shocked. Nor, unfortunately, were political forces swayed to change their policies based on this lowered figure. But history was served in moving the story from exaggeration, arrived at during chaotic moments when all matters were barely verifiable, to the actual human cost and impact of all those deaths. Lowering the death toll was not a form of 911 denial, and it did nothing to change the essence of the event.

Many still believe it was the worst thing to ever happen, if limiting the area of events to the USA. But far more people have been killed in bombings in other countries than died that day in America, and to acknowledge that fact - still generally unacknowledged - might help to better understand why this act of terrorism might have taken place, rather than viewing it as a gesture of sadistic madmen who didn't like our style of dress, our democracy, or our social behavior patterns. Were they simply anti-americans, for some ancient, irrational biblical reason? Or were there social and political as well as religious motivations for their murderous attack? Would it hurt us to move beyond simplistic, reductionist explanations in order to arrive at some understanding of material reality that might help our relations with the rest of the world?

The reexamination of 911 did not overlook the enormous cost in death benefits and the number of hustlers who rushed to claim money, posing as kin of those who allegedly perished. In this, it bore a relation to what some call the holocaust industry, referring to the money making aspects of that tragedy that entice scam artists as well as legitimate victims. Finding an actual, verifiable death toll saved money for insurers, but the material evidence was examined not only to save money, nor to hurt the memory of survivors, but to help see the disaster from a more reality based perspective. We are still learning about the poorly reported and even more poorly explained 911 events, and the wars and further terrors they have unleashed in Afghanistan and especially Iraq. Many still believe that Arabs had nothing to do with them, and that they were organized and executed by the U.S. government. Others claim it was the Israeli Mossad, and some believe it was the act of a vengeful god, punishing us for whatever sins these divinely oriented conspiracy freaks perceive. But none of these theories, though they may be argued, laughed at or ridiculed, are forbidden. Nor are those who entertain them threatened with jail. This is as it should be, but isn't, where the holocaust is concerned.

Israels seemingly spontaneous immaculate conception in 1948 is no more materially verifiable than the older religious legend, but is as devoutly believed by a community of the faith. The Palestinian people who lived in what later became Israel were conveniently removed from material or critical consideration. They were denied as a people and never considered as humans of any importance, so it was easy to buy them out, kick them out, or wipe them out if they resisted. Their painful history of injustice has outraged most of the world, as evidenced by countless votes in the United Nations which go against continued theft of Palestinian land and brutalization of the Palestinian people. But the nature of their suffering receives hardly a blink from the center of global power in the USA, where real Palestinian deniers are an infinitely greater problem than any alleged holocaust deniers.

The American government and major opinion shaping institutions have participated in the creation of Israel as a lily-white land of suffering inhabitants, first escaping the horror of the Nazis, and then preyed upon by the dreadful Arabs, portrayed as bloodthirsty demons anxious to push Israel into the sea, as one of the favored slogans has it. This colorful defiance of geography and politics may have actually been expressed as a desire by some witless opponent; more likely, it came from an Israeli and has become useful to repeat in provoking fear and anxiety among Jews all over the world, as the horrible holocaust story is rerun in their imaginations each time a threat to Jews is perceived or alleged. And these threats usually seem to happen in a social vacuum, occupied by an innocent people in a rarified world befitting a fairy tale as much as a physical reality.

The contradictory notion of Jews as a historically blessed, special, privileged sector of humanity, and at the same time as a historically scorned, hated and brutalized group as well, is reinforced by the conflicting histories of Israel, Palestine, the holocaust experience and the status of Judaism in the world today. To say that a people hated and persecuted by the gentile world - which means just about everyone else - for thousands of years, and then slaughtered in the worst pogrom of them all, could become powerful enough to hold sway over governments and public opinion is dismissed as just another form of anti-Semitism. The mere mention of Jewish power, exercised in obvious fashion and so acknowledged by many Jewish groups and publications, reduces not only Zionists but large segments of the gentile world, including its left wing, to screeching charges of anti-Semitism at those who defiantly refer to the power that dare not speak its name. But the U.S. government and media and their global subordinates do not hesitate to follow the story so outlined, perpetuating the myth that becomes reality when so many not only believe it, but act on that belief.

Jewish ethnic and cultural gifts to the arts and sciences have made incredible contributions toward making the human community whole. Biblical and ideological Judaism contradicts that wholeness by treating the rest of the world as other and insisting on its own uniqueness. Much of the world is drawn to the warm, humanistic culture, while it is repelled by the cold, alienating ideology. Just as mainstream science and much non-biblical religion reject difference and see humanity as one race with common origins, a biblical fundamentalist view holds to an ancient notion that divides us into a deity's less or more favored races. The political, economic and psychological burdens of maintaining such older belief systems are at the root of a global crisis. In an all too real sense, we continue struggles with believers in immaterial legend and fable, while reality demands that we wake up and face a material world threatened by our wasteful and destructive divisions. These ancient belief systems might be beneficial if their humanitarian messages of equality for all took precedence over their patriarchal teachings of the godly superiority of only some. We face failure as long as we continue to pay only halfhearted lip service to the wise words of their most loving prophets, while we pay wholehearted debt service to the false words of their most hateful profiteers.

Human suffering and brutality are a sad part of our history, but we needn't mythologize their experience or make them special; rather, we need to understand that they impede our development. We can learn from our most terrible mistakes, but not if we fetishize and treat them as unique, almost divorced from history rather than representing a terrible example of our worst behaviors, practiced in the selfish, short sighted ignorance that continues to rule our relations. Our bloody past and present make it clear that it is possible to slaughter hundreds, thousands, even millions of people, without an extermination plan or gas chambers.

History is full of wholesale massacres, of people being regarded as worse than insects or rodents, and barbarically murdered in horrendous acts of brutality. Some of these were perpetrated over many years, some over a few weeks, some a few days, and some, instantly. During the same war that killed so many European Jews, the cities of Dresden and Tokyo, among many others, were reduced to ashes in firestorms that killed tens of thousands of people in a matter of minutes. These poor souls were indeed, burned alive, and there was no need to deliver them to death camps or crematoria; the crematoria were delivered to them. Yet these and other brutal acts of mass murder were written off as excusable acts of war that killed the enemy, said enemy deserving such a fate for being part and parcel of the war. Had the outcome of that war been different, how many allied generals would have been tried for these mass murders, and been executed as war criminals?

Why does one horrible slaughter receive an unending stream of commemorations and reparations, while hundreds of others are barely a drip in the brain pan of humanity? Why does the holocaust loom so large, and yet serve as a rationale for the brutalization of a people who had absolutely nothing to do with Nazis or Europe? And who can certainly not be guilty of anti-Semitism, in as much as they are, unlike the ashkeNazi Jews of Europe, Semites themselves? Could a better understanding of what happened to the Jews of Europe, and of the underlying causes that brought about fascism, help the world to better understand itself?

It can't possibly hurt us to learn what was at the root of the Nazis blind hatred of communism, democracy and Judaism, and why they linked those hatreds, rather than continue accepting ridiculous notions that reduce world history to perverse psychosomatic disorders. What role did material events play in the creation of national socialism in Germany, and how widely was it supported by other nations? Contrary to simplistic belief, which has it that the world instantly opposed the demonic evil of the Nazis, many western powers were quite fond of the Nazis rabid anti-communism and their strengthening of German finance capital. It is possible to learn more about a terrible episode of history without denigrating those who suffered, but also by not making a totally different kind of human out of them, thereby perpetuating a dangerous myth of original difference when we most need to acknowledge that we are all members of the same human race.

Fear of present victimization because of past history, whether based on fact or fiction, is not healthy for any individual or group of human beings. Rising above our past mistakes, our legends and our superstitions in order to deal with real problems can contribute to growth in knowledge and assurance of a future possibility for all of humanity. That assurance is a necessity for the success of the human race, and not just one nation, sect, religion or clan.

Seeing the rest of humanity as historically bent on persecuting and eventually murdering all Jews is hardly the healthiest way to sustain religious, ethnic, national or personal survival. One has to major in the inhumanities to entertain such dreadful thoughts. When carried for generations, they cannot help but lead to more suspicion, misunderstanding and divisions which help create the inhuman mental and physical horror that was the reality of the Jews in Europe, and is the reality of the Palestinian people now. Bigotry and murder do not need commemorative death tolls or special killing machine techniques to make them worse or better; they need to stop.

The revisioning of the holocaust might help Israel, Palestine and Judaism itself by confronting contradictions based on ancient beliefs which have no place in the modern world, and which help create misunderstanding and murder the longer they are accepted. Controversies involving which war, which mass murder or which act of totalitarian brutality was worse than another can only make it seem that some were better than others. But it is all acts of brutality that must be seen as the problem, and not just one in isolation, if we are to arrive at a solution.

If we do not learn from history, it is said that we are condemned to repeat it, and that has been the case with the Jewish experience of one war, and the resultant Palestinian suffering that could lead to a greater war. Coming to grips with what was called the final solution could bring about confrontation with what could be humanity's final problem of racial and ethnic hatreds which are used to help perpetuate ideologies of domination. We need a peaceful final solution in confronting the greatest problem humanity has ever faced. Nuclear and biological weapons have replaced the more primitive bloody tools of the old political testaments and while we have seen what those weapons could do, we have not yet fully realized the lesson of their creation. They are products of age old biblical inhumanity, brought to modern technological perfection in exercising mass murder in post biblical fashion. We have to become a civilized people and learn to work together, before we revert to primitive savagery and literally blow ourselves apart.

The holocaust was representative of the darkest side of humanity, but unfortunately, it still covers many with its shadow. Bringing light to such darkness involves much more than rethinking one episode of history, but given its enormous impact on collective consciousness, this one issue could have an affect on many more. They may seem an unlikely source, but holocaust revisionists could help bring about an enlightenment that enables us to see through inherited doctrines of ignorance and bigotry, kept alive by political and biblical systems of superstition which contribute to furthering the danger to humanity.

Confronting the real tragedy of what was done in the past, and the role it has played in furthering human suffering and injustice in the present, will be necessary for us to end such suffering in the future. The hateful anti-Semitism that was at the core of Nazi treatment of Jews cannot be forgotten, but it shouldn't be remembered by developing a ridiculous philo-Semitism that places one event, nation or people above critical reproach. Like the Zionists and Nazis who agreed that Jews were different from everyone else, this is either/or dualism at its worst. Just as past bigotry and brutalizing of Jews has scarred humanity, so does present bigotry and brutalizing of Palestinians disfigure us all. And just as we demythologize the American story and create a more hopeful future by doing so, we need to demythologize the mass injustice in Europe, and the mass injustice it brought about in the Middle East. Two wrongs do not make a right, any more than two lies can make a truth. And while the truth may not set us absolutely free, it could certainly help us move closer to relative freedom.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Frank Scott. All rights reserved.

This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.

Comment: We do not know of any subject that is more off-bounds than that of the holocaust, unless it be the hyperdimensional nature of our reality and the question of 'organic portals'. Questioning the details of the holocaust is a crime in France; fortunately, discussing the physical reality of hyperdimensions and who or what might reside there, is not.

It is certainly curious that at the same time as the United States is waging its crusade against Islam in the name of freedom, the freedom to ask questions about what went on in Germany during the years of the Nazis is being curtailed. As Frank Scott points out in his essay, understanding the true character of the holocaust is important in understanding what really happened, not only for the interests of past history, but also for understanding current and future history. Fascism did not arise in a vacuum in Germany, as it is not taking power today in the United States in a vacuum. Certainly, there are differences in the two cases, but if we are to understand what is happening today, we must have an accurate picture of what happened seventy years ago.

If we are to understand what is occurring in the occupied territories of Palestine today, we must understand the events of Nazi Germany and the relations between European Zionists and the National Socialists of the time. It certainly looks to us that the Semitic Jews are being set up by some of the 'Ashkenazi Jews', and the corralling of Jews from around the world into Israel makes it even easier to eliminate millions more very quickly and easily. But looking at Zionist complicity with the Nazis would raise serious questions about their real intent. Looking at how the subject of the holocaust has been manipulated by Israel's leaders would denude it of the sacrificial, religious overtones that have become so tied to the fairy tale of Yahweh giving Israel to the Jews three thousand years ago. The religious question would not be a problem if it wasn't the basis for horrendous events in the real world: the slaughter of the Palestinians in the name of the arrogant and bloodthirsty Yahweh. When it begins to impinge in such a horrific way on the lives of non-believers, then it cannot be ignored or left to the private lives of the followers.

This holds true as well for fundamentalist Christianity in the United States. It is one thing when religious beliefs are personal; it is another when they become state policy and the justification for trampling over the rights and lives of others.

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U.S. Aide Arrested Amid Signs That Lobby Probe Widens
By Ori Nir
May 6, 2005

WASHINGTON — A recent FBI interrogation of an Israeli defense expert may indicate that the Justice Department's investigation into the contacts between America's pro-Israel lobby and a Pentagon analyst is broader in scope than previously believed.

The expert, Uzi Arad, head of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Israel's Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, said that two months ago FBI agents interviewed him about his contacts with the Pentagon Iran specialist, Larry Franklin. During the hour-long interview, he said, the FBI agents brought up the name of an American Jewish Committee official, Eran Lerman, who is a former senior official in Israeli military intelligence.

Franklin was arrested and charged Wednesday with "disclosing classified information related to potential attacks upon U.S. forces in Iraq to individuals not entitled to receive the information." The Justice Department did not name the individuals who allegedly received the classified information from Franklin, but media reports claim they are Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, two former officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who were recently dismissed by the pro-Israel lobbying organization.

Arad's comments, an unusual disclosure of a small wrinkle in the otherwise ultrasecretive FBI investigation, may suggest that the FBI is investigating more than the alleged unlawful contacts between Franklin and Aipac officials. Franklin is the first person to be indicted in the FBI investigation. Rosen and Weissman have not been charged.

Initially, press reports said that Rosen and Weissman's alleged transfer of secret information by Israeli diplomats was the focus of the investigation. The questioning of Arad may confirm speculation by some in the Jewish community that the investigation is related to a larger inquiry into Israeli or pro-Israeli attempts to influence America's security establishment and its policy in the Middle East.

Arad said the FBI agents asked him, among other things, why he had sent to Franklin, less than a year ago, a research paper by Lerman on ways to re-energize America's relationship with Israel. "They asked me who was Eran Lerman, although they clearly knew who he was," Arad told the Forward in a telephone interview.

Arad was a policy adviser to former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and once headed the research department of Israel's Mossad intelligence service.

Lerman joined the staff of the AJCommittee in 2001. Kenneth Bandler, a spokesman for the AJCommittee, said he had no comment on the FBI's questioning regarding Lerman.

Arad said that his strategic policy institute had commissioned Lerman to write the paper. He said that he did not remember sending the article to Franklin but that the FBI investigators showed him a letter that accompanied the article, carrying his signature. Arad said he explained to the investigators that this was a mechanized signature on an information package sent en masse to a mailing list of several hundred former participants in the Interdisciplinary Center's annual strategic-affairs conference, commonly known as the Herzliya Conference.

Franklin attended the December 2003 Herzliya Conference, though he did not deliver an address.

In his paper, Lerman wrote that the once-dynamic U.S.-Israel strategic relationship had fallen into a "maintenance mode" in recent years and ought to be re-energized for the benefit of both countries. At the December 2004 Herzliya Conference, Lerman delivered an address based on his research paper.

Arad said the FBI agents asked him about his conversations with Franklin at the conference and several months later at a meeting between the two in the Pentagon cafeteria. He also said that both conversations were brief and that he could hardly remember their content. The FBI interview was also brief, as well, he noted.

It was arranged in haste, as Arad was rushing to catch a plane from New York to Israel, and took place in a car while he on his way to the airport.

This week, Franklin handed himself in, and was scheduled to make an initial appearance at a Northern Virginia court by press time.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said that Franklin, 58, surrendered to authorities at the FBI's Washington Field Office following the filing of a criminal complaint Tuesday and the unsealing Wednesday of the indictment against him. The statement notes that the violation Franklin is charged with carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Recently Franklin was transferred from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he served as an Iran desk officer, to a less sensitive position in the Pentagon.

The criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleges that on June 26, 2003, Franklin had lunch at a restaurant in Arlington, Va., with two individuals, identified as "U.S. Person 1" and "U.S. Person 2."

At the lunch, according to the Justice Department, Franklin disclosed classified information that has been designated "Top Secret" and related to potential attacks upon American forces in Iraq. The government claims that neither of Franklin's lunch companions has the security clearance to receive the information.

Allegedly Franklin told the two individuals that the information was "highly classified" and asked them not to "use" it, according to the Justice Department statement.

This portion of the Justice Department statement implies that Franklin's lunch companions — alleged in press reports to have been Rosen and Weissman — knew that they were handling information from a highly sensitive document. According to press reports, the FBI is investigating claims that after the lunch the two former Aipac officials transferred the secret information to an Israeli diplomat in Washington.

The Justice Department statement says that a search of Franklin's Pentagon office in June 2004 found the June 2003 classified document containing the information that Franklin allegedly disclosed to the two individuals.

The criminal complaint against Franklin also alleges that on other occasions he disclosed, without authorization, classified American government information to a foreign official and to members of the news media. In addition, according to the Justice Department statement, about 83 separate classified American government documents were found during a search of Franklin's West Virginia home in June 2004, most of them classified as top secret or secret.

The dates of these documents spanned three decades.

The investigation into this matter is continuing, the Justice Department stated.

The charges against Franklin disclose several other new details:

• According to an FBI affidavit that accompanies the charges, Franklin admitted during an FBI interrogation in June 2004 that he provided the information contained in the secret document to the two individuals.

• The information that Franklin is charged with disclosing is related not to Iran — contrary to previous reports — but to "potential attacks upon U.S. forces in Iraq." The government's main concern, according to the FBI affidavit, is that such information could be used to harm the United States by "a country's discovery of our intelligence sources and methods."

• Contrary to previous media reports, charges against Franklin do not allege the transfer of a secret document. Instead it is charged that he "verbally disclosed" information that "was contained" in a top-secret document. The distinction is important, legal experts say, because verbally transferring such information is a less serious offense.

• The document in question, according to the affidavit, was marked "on the first and last pages with a caption in all capital letters," which identified it as "TOP SECRET with a denomination of its SCI [Sensitive Compartment Information] status" — the highest security classification.

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Corporation Government & Civil Society
Nancy Levant

How does one figure it out? There’s the United Nations, our government, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, and then there’s the environmentalists and their two-forked leadership – The Nature Conservancy and The Wildlands Project. It’s complicated, we’re busy, and it’s all a thorn in our sides. But understand we must because all the above are a highly organized and tightly knit entity. How does it all work? And where do average people fit into world governance? Let’s take another stab at the big picture, for it is an ugly picture if you are of a religious or patriotic bent.

Let’s begin with the “underling society,” also known as “civil society.” Civil society is what the ones at the top call us, and us includes all ordinary people - globally. There are too many of us, according to the United Nations and the world’s elite (Bilderbergs, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Affairs, global philanthropic organizations, environmentalists, and the world’s elite think tanks).

We are problematic because we want and need too many things, like land, water, money, jobs, etc.. We are also problematic because those in high places find the ordinary to simply be unfit. They don’t like our looks, our ways, our health, our living standards, our Gods, our colors, and they especially don’t like all our cultural modi operandi. We offend them and we are seen as inferior life forms. That is why their social systems are totally and completely closed and militarily guarded. They do not intermix with the common man, and the common man never sees them. The closest we ever get to them are via some, but not all, heads of state.

Elite groups and commissions and their banks, conglomerations, and philanthropic organizations control the world and its money. The United Nations is one of their pawns. I suggest to you that in the not too distant future, a highly respected someone will take the reigns of the United Nations. We’ll see if I’m right.

The elite, through their philanthropic foundations, bankroll the movers and shakers of the world. They fund their foot soldiers, so to speak, which carry out their corporate ambitions and missions. The business decision to create one governing body over the world’s people was made many decades ago. This is an amazing research project if one is so inclined, but for the sake of this article, the elite wanted to own the Earth in full - specifically all the Earth’s land and water.

In most of the world, private property is unheard of and unknown. In most countries, the government owns all land and water, and people are only granted permission to occupy land and to have access to water. When you read of the many, many genocide slaughters throughout history, and of displaced people having to walk into other countries searching for mercy, food, water, and health care, you can understand that the inability to own land and to have water rights is extremely dangerous. Why? Because governments change and are overthrown, and because people who are incapable of owning land are at the mercy of people in a social class that, historically, finds the underclass offensive. If in doubt, read any history book from any century and in any country, including our own. There is a terrible human compulsion to loathe and fear under-classes. Why? Because the love of money damages, corrupts, and pollutes the human mind.

Classism has always been the very root of all wars and all greed. Equally, revolutions have always been, throughout all written history, a result of classism and greed. Humans who come to see themselves as superior to other human beings have caused every single war and atrocity in human history – every, single time. And the current corporate-socialistic-capitalistic global governance momentum is just another formula for human catastrophe and carnage. It’s been proven over and over and over again that countries cannot operate with elite monarchs over an under-class. It does not work, and globalizing this effort is pathological madness, and it is absolutely based in greed and profits.

Sadly, the globalization plans of the elite are advertising their efforts as the democratizing of the world. That is a lie. What they are doing is implanting consensus-based local governance, which removes elected officials and replaces them with local leaders chosen by the elite and their corporations. And only those locals who comply with pre-planned consensus missions will earn livings, have food, have a place to live, and perhaps be allowed to live. History also very aptly demonstrates what happens to those who rebel against rules and norms of monarchies, oligarchies, dictatorships, king-ships, and the like.

The taking of private property is well underway in the United States, and all new housing, minus the mega-mansions, are ALL deed restricted. Equally, all watersheds are being taken and they will continue to be taken. Executive orders and hidden legislation have all but destroyed our voting powers. I strongly urge you to read the Executive Orders issued over the last 40 years. You will be dumb-founded and you will be terrified. I also challenge readers to research and study the history and historical funding of “eugenics.” It is something you need to know.

I fear government by elite society. History tells me that I must, and it also tells me that I need look no further than the contemporary Middle East to understand that people who own nothing are disposable for almost any reason. Civil society is under-valued and dispensable if not serving the profits and other desires of elite owners, who may be corporations, commissions, banks, or monarchs and dictators by any other name.

If we lose our American land and water rights to elites of any kind – be they government departments, commissions, organizations, stakeholders, councils, environmental non-profits, or to anyone, we are totally, 100% vulnerable to and reliant upon their decisions including, and not limited to, who lives and dies. Truth, and this truth lies within the pages of all documented human history.

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World needs to plan for next flu pandemic: report
Last Updated Thu, 05 May 2005 14:50:37 EDT
CBC News

BOSTON - Governments must speed up the approval of new flu vaccines and the resources to inject them or the next pandemic will kill hundreds of millions of people and bring the global economy to a halt, a leading expert on infectious diseases says.

The next global influenza pandemic is a when-not-if scenario, writes Dr. Michael Osterholm in this week's New England Journal of Medicine. Current limited stockpiles and the lead time needed to develop new vaccines means "we would be facing a 1918-like scenario," Osterholm writes.

The 1918 influenza outbreak killed up to 100 million people worldwide, when the world's population was a third of the size it is today.

Placing that pandemic in today's population could mean 1.7 million deaths in the United States and 180 million to 360 million deaths globally, continues Osterholm, who is the director for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Governments need national and international co-ordination to prepare vaccines and the means to administer them, he writes.

Vaccine research on all contagions remains basic at best, Osterholm writes. Government investment must increase, especially to develop a new process to test vaccines without using chicken eggs. That technique takes at least six months.

"We need a detailed operational blueprint of the best way to get through 12 to 24 months of a pandemic," writes Osterholm.

A leading contender for the next pandemic could be the H5N1 virus known as the Asian bird flu. Experts say it is on the verge of jumping to humans.

Comment: For more on the flu and the danger of an epidemic, see our flu supplement.

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Library use an open book as Pat Act renewals loom
By Thomas C Greene in Washington
Published Thursday 5th May 2005 09:16 GMT

Provisions in the so-called "Patriot" Act allowing federal agents to obtain library and bookshop records without a search warrant should be allowed to sunset at the end of this year as scheduled, American Library Association (ALA) President Carol Brey-Casiano said during a Washington press conference earlier this week.

It has always been possible to obtain search warrants for this type of information, so long as a judge can be persuaded that a crime has likely been committed or a conspiracy is likely to be in the works, she explained.

"The government does not need the additional powers allowed it under Section 215 of the Act," she said.

Section 215 granted federal LEAs authority to demand information without a judge's approval, and imposed a gag order prohibiting trustees of the data from informing the target of the search, or informing any other person not involved in satisfying the demand. Although most businesses are subject to it, the provision came to be known popularly as the 'library provision,' due in part to strenuous ALA objections to divulging the reading and research habits and potential thought crimes of library patrons.

The 'library provision' is among fifteen controversial items originally scheduled to sunset in January unless Congress approves their renewal, as it appears poised to do. The Bush Administration has been fanatical about renewing each of them, insisting that they have effectively prevented further terrorist atrocities, although no evidence has been produced to back up these claims.

Library confidentiality and the burden of convincing a judge to open records of patrons' reading and Web surfing habits constitute a terrible risk, the Administration believes. During hearings on Capitol Hill last week, US Attorney for the District of Columbia Kenneth Wainstein made certain to reveal that two 9/11 hijackers had used library computers to buy airline tickets via the internet.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (Republican, Wisconsin) pounced on the tidbit, claiming that Wainstein's "newly released information demonstrates the critical importance of Section help disrupt and prevent future terrorist attacks."

The National Review obediently accommodated the Chicken Little chorus by running an alarmist column entitled "On Borrowed Time," elaborating numerous connections between terrorism and library use, and predicting doom if federal LEAs are not permitted to "remain vigilant in the stacks." Other known terrorists had visited libraries too, readers of this FUD masterpiece will be shocked to learn.

Meanwhile, the ALA has met with US Attorney General and former White House torture apologist Alberto Gonzales in hopes of amending the provision so that at least library patrons can feel secure that their choice of reading materials and preferred Web sites won't become part of their secret, permanent records so easily.

Gonzales has said that he would consider an amendment allowing data trustees (e.g., librarians) served with subpoenas to contact a lawyer before fulfilling its demands. This would not give any rights to targets of the searches, or lift the gag order, however. And since it's more or less customary for agents to allow people served with subpoenas to contact a lawyer to advise them, Gonzales is offering something that's already pretty well established. But at least it would be a recognized privilege, not a courtesy subject to interpretation, which is an improvement over current practice, ALA Washington office Executive Director Emily Sheketof told The Register.

ALA's meeting with Gonzales was reportedly cordial and serious, and Sheketof says that he seemed both attentive and willing to make a good faith effort to address the ALA's concerns. However, being attentive can sometimes mean little more than devising a more targeted and legally-rationalized refusal to budge, and Sheketof did not express much optimism that Gonzales would yield on any of the basic provisions of Section 215.

Nevertheless, there is a small bright point on the horizon, in the form of the SAFE Act, a bill introduced by US Senators Larry Craig (Republican, Idaho) and Dick Durbin (Democrat, Illinois), which seeks to undo some of the more objectionable features of the "Patriot" Act.

The bill has good bipartisan support on the Hill and is enjoying a boost from lobbying by the ALA, ACLU, and numerous other outfits. So, while the "Patriot" Act looks set to have its permanent Gestapo provisions kept nearly intact, and its purportedly temporary ones renewed with only cosmetic modifications, there is always the possibility that the Safe Act could make it moot. Assuming, that is, that Congress can override the inevitable White House veto - hardly a bet that we would make. No wonder the Administration shows so little inclination to compromise on the "Patriot" Act in exchange for ditching the Safe Act.

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Journalists more ethical than you think: study
Last Updated Thu, 05 May 2005 15:50:23 EDT
CBC Arts

COLUMBIA, MO. - Though news scandals have the public questioning the media, a U.S. study says journalists are more ethical than most people would think.

Despite high profile fiascos involving everyone from New York Times reporters to CBS News producers to White House columnists, University of Missouri professor Lee Wilkins and her colleague Renita Coleman, professor at Louisiana State University, say that journalists are considerably more ethical than the average adult.

Wilkins and Coleman, both former journalists, spent two years interviewing 249 print and broadcast journalists across the U.S. and administering the Defining Issues Test, a widely accepted method of assessing a person's moral development created about 30 years ago by psychologist Lawrence Hohlberg and the University of Minnesota.

The test, which has been given to more than 30,000 people in numerous professions since the 1970s, describes six ethical dilemmas and asks participants what they would do. Also, participants had to answer questions about what motivated their decisions and rank the importance of each factor.

"We did not really think that journalists would come out as high as they did," Coleman told the Associated Press.

Journalists ranked fourth on the list, following the top-ranked seminarians or philosophers, medical students and practising physicians.

Professions on the list that journalists beat include nurses, orthopedic surgeons, members of the Navy and business professionals. Junior high school students and prison inmates scored the lowest.

The study, first published in the autumn 2004 issue of Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly, also says that:

* "There is more to being a journalist than learning to write in inverted pyramid and mastering nonlinear editing. Thinking like a journalist involves moral reflection, done at a level that in most instances equals or exceeds members of other learned professions."
* A person's level of education is a factor. "When analyzing the journalists' ranking against other professions... all the professionals who rank above journalists have more formal education than the bachelor's degree of most journalists."
* "When ethical problems are professionally focused, journalists perform even better. This suggests that giving journalists the opportunity to work through more ethical dilemmas, whether they are real... or hypothetical in seminars and workshops, bodes well for the profession."
* Journalists who had experience with investigative journalism scored significantly higher than those with a more general assignment. "This study [adds] empirical evidence to the qualitative work that suggests investigative reporting builds ethical muscles."

In the study, Wilkins and Coleman stress that the test measures what action the participants say they should take in an ethical situation rather than what they might actually do in the situation.

In January, the two researchers also published a book about their findings, entitled The Moral Media: How Journalists Reason About Ethics.

Despite the study, a Gallup poll of about 1,000 people conducted in the U.S. last November revealed that only 23 per cent of the public believes TV reporters have "high or very high" ethical standards. Newspaper reporters fared slightly worse, with 21 per cent of the public rating their ethical standards as "high or very high."

Comment: We commented yesterday on journalism and ethics. While individual journalists may rank very high on the ethics test, as this study suggests, it doesn't address the deeper issue of journalistic subservience to the government line. An individual may well be acting ethically according to the parametres of the study by promoting the invasion and occupation of Iraq if he believes that Saddam Hussein posed a real threat to the United States. The problem is that Hussein never posed such a threat.

Some journalists (and most politicians) believe that, in a time of war or great threat, it is correct to lie to the people. Being honest could tip off the enemy to tactics and strategy and result in loss of the battle or war. Therefore they put their ethical standards in the service of power. They believe they are acting ethically because of the higher good.

The shock of 9/11 appears to have so rattled US journalists that they unquestioningly accept whatever they get from Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or the other criminals in power and are incapable of seeing the facts. They hold a dear belief that people in positions of such responsibility could never do the nasty things attributed to them by "conspiracy theorists". This assumption then colours everything they think, do, and write.

The fundamental problem for the public is to recognise these limits and do the necessary research to come to one's own conclusions. For this, it is necessary to read sources from all points of view, to collect information from around the world, to think about the data and put it in a context of what one knows of human nature. Everyone lies to some degree. There are some people who are willing to do whatever it takes, including harming others, to get what they want. We see this all the time in the lives of those around us. People in government are no different, and one can speculate that this tendency would be exacerbated the closer one comes to power.

If these issues are not taken into account, then the question of ethics is only a diversion.

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Mystery of the missing salmon
Dramatic drop in annual run in Northwest
By K.C. Johnston
NBC News
Updated: 7:54 p.m. ET May 5, 2005

Springtime on the Columbia River usually means hordes of Chinook salmon swimming up the river, nourishing on their way centuries-old Indian traditions and a voracious commercial fishery.

This year, however, thousands of salmon seem to have gone missing — and no one knows why.

"We’ve got a big mystery on our hands, a run of salmon that seems to have disappeared," said Stuart Ellis, a harvest management biologist with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

Scientists had initially expected this year’s salmon run to number about 225,000 fish swimming past the Bonneville Dam where they’re counted. But, as of last Thursday, scientists had only counted about 26,000 since the beginning of the year.

A group of fish managers and tribal representatives met Monday to revise their estimate, knocking the number of fish they expect to pass from the original estimate of 225,000 to an unofficial guess of between 70,000 and 100,000.

Harsh consequences
For the first time the Indian tribes — who have for centuries relied on the salmon for their cultural and economic well-being — have been forced to get the fish used in their springtime ceremonies from other sources, some donated from sympathetic fishermen downstream and others from freezers storing last year’s catch.

Charles Hudson, the manager of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, said that the effects of the dearth of Chinook this year run deep, deeper than just having to rely on frozen fish for the annual ceremonies.

The tribes also depends on the fish for much of their daily food, and were initially given a seasonal allotment of 25,000 fish to feed about 20,000 people this year. So far, tribal fishermen have caught under 5,000 fish, according to the commission's statistics.

The tribes are also dependent on salmon for much of their economic sustenance, but it looks as though that will also be jeopardized this year.

"It looks very likely that there will be no — zero — commercial fishery this year," said Hudson.

Significant drop in tourism
On April 20, federal fish managers shut down the entire Columbia River above the Bonneville dam to all commercial and sport fishing.

This has resulted in commercial fisherman losing one quarter to one third of their profits for the entire year, according to Oliver Waldman, the executive director of Salmon for All, a fisherman’s advocacy organization.

"They’re broke," he said. The Chinook are their most important catch, the most valuable fish on the West Coast, netting the fishermen $5-6 per pound.

Now, however, "the fishery is sitting at the dock," Waldman said.

Bill Witt, who owns a fishing guide company that runs frequent trips on the Columbia, estimates that if the river is closed until June, his business will lose at least $25,000, about one-tenth of its income for the season.

Within four days of the fishery shutting down, Gimme-A-Go Fishing Adventures lost about $3,000, according to its owner, Jon Ball.

"I’ve been sitting at home. I had the last three days off," he said on Tuesday. He had to cancel all of the river tours he had booked for the weekend, as well as a television feature that was to be filmed from his boat.

Ball noted that it’s not only sportsmen like himself who depend on the sport fishing industry, but also the riverside towns who rely on tourists and fishermen to rent hotel rooms and visit stores and restaurants. Now none of those businesses are getting the expected seasonal rush.

"Everybody’s screwed," said Ball.

Unsolved mystery
So what happened to the fish?

Were they victimized by the wily sea lions that have discovered how to climb fish ladders at the Bonneville Dam, sitting there all day and devouring the unfortunate fish that try to swim past? Has there been some significant change in ocean conditions that have killed thousands of fish? Or is there some secret black market downriver that’s catching all the fish as they try to swim up the river?

Sea lions are easy targets of the public and the government fish managers, who have begun to blast fireworks on the Bonneville Dam fish ladders where many lions have taken up residence. But even the hundreds of sea lions that now live around the dam couldn’t eat nearly enough fish to account for the tiny run.

The fish market is also closely monitored by government regulatory agencies, so a massive black market is highly unlikely.

Scientists say they haven’t seen any evidence of a dramatic change in ocean conditions that could cause so many fish to die, but that could be a likely problem, according to Steve Williams, the assistant director of the fish program at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Such changes could include increased predation of the fish, or a change in water temperatures. Williams said scientists have not been able to pinpoint what changes have occurred that have hurt fish populations.

Williams noted that the annual springtime smelt fish run up the river was also nearly nonexistent this season. Smelt runs have not in years past been accurate predictors of salmon runs up the river, but both fish would be susceptible to altered ocean conditions, so the same problem could be to blame for reduced populations of both fish.

Most people involved have established their own theories. Ball, the fisherman, said he suspects the salmon have been tricked by lower water levels caused by last summer’s drought into delaying their run up the river. He said he also thinks the sea lions may have quite a bit to do with it.

Ellis and Williams both agree that none of these problems individually should take all the blame. If anything, the low numbers of salmon are the result of a number of factors influencing their ability to swim past the Bonneville Dam to their upstream spawning grounds.

Room for optimism
Williams said that despite the dismal numbers and initial panic, he and others are now looking at the salmon run with "slight optimism."

"Last week we were definitely in crisis mode," he said. But the increase in the number of fish making their way upstream is cause for optimism, he said, and he expects the run this year to at least hit the minimum expectation of 70,000 fish.

Williams also said that the commercial and sport fisheries might, if the count continues to trend upward, be opened again soon. He said fish managers are evaluating the necessity of the closure on a weekly basis, and could decide as soon as next week that salmon numbers are sufficient to warrant it reopening.

Even if the fishery were to reopen soon, however, it would be too late for many of those people dependent on the fish. Most of the Indian celebrations are done for the season, and most of the commercial fishermen have departed the salmon fishery, looking for greener pastures in other Pacific Northwest regions.

"They’re hoping, with a great, fervent hope, that the Alaska season will bring some revenues to them and their families," said Waldman, of Salmon for All. Even if the river were reopened to the fishermen next week, they’ve already departed north and couldn’t be repositioned for the Chinook catch.

Scientists are careful to note that the fish count continues through early June, but say that even if it turned out that the run was simply delayed this year, or even if daily counts jumped into the thousands, this year’s run still won’t come close to the numbers initially predicted.

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The beast of Lytham
Daily Mail 6th May 2005

Some say it looks like the Hound of the Baskervilles, others mention the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote.

But this, apparently, is the beast that has brought terror to an upmarket town and caused anxious residents to look over their shoulders at night.

Cynics claim it is the product of fertile imaginations - or one or two gin and tonics too many.

But more than 20 sightings have been reported in the last few weeks, leading to a local illustrator compiling an artist's impression.

Amateur photographers, meanwhile, have been descending on the area in the hope of getting a shot.

Roaming thick woodland

Dubbed The Beast of Green Drive, the mysterious creature has been spotted roaming in thick woodland at a beauty spot.

About as tall as a collie dog but with huge ears, a large mouth and a lolloping gait, the peculiar animal has caused a frenzy of chatter in the normally sedate Lytham St Anne's, Lancashire.

The creature, according to witnesses, is seen mainly in the largely wooded area of Green Drive, where there is plenty of brush and scrub to conceal a large animal.

Sandra Sturrock, who was walking her dog when she came faceto-face with the beast, said: "I caught sight of something large ahead of us. It was like a large collie, light in colour with large sticking-up ears.

"It was watching me and my dog. I stood completely still for several minutes trying to see it more closely. I called my dog and put him on the lead and slowly inched towards the animal to get a better look but it ran off. I then went to where it had been and my dog went mad, sniffing all round the area."

She added: "I have never seen anything like this before.

"I lived in Cheshire for ten years and frequently saw foxes and the odd deer.

"They usually disappear quite quickly and do not remain watching you.'

Huge ears and a large mouth

Willie Davidson, 59, a painter and decorator, said: "I was playing bowls near Green Drive when I heard a snarl behind me. It was like a monster out of Doctor Who and it needs tracking down."

Another woman, who did want to be named, said: 'I was walking along the drive when I saw it in the fields alongside.

"I have no idea what it was. I could tell it was the size of a labrador, but looked more like a hare. It can't have been either - it was surreal."

One theory is that it could be a muntjac deer, one of the last remaining from a herd brought to Lytham Hall by the local squire over a century ago.

Illustrator Sam Shearon came up with his drawing after speaking to several witnesses.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: 'We have checked local zoos and farms, but nothing seems to be missing. It is very bizarre.

"We have handed it over to the RSPCA to investigate."

Apparent sightings of animals not native to the UK have been on the increase in recent years.

Panthers are occasionally reported, with police marksmen called in last year after a farmer said he saw a large black cat on his land in Anglesey, North Wales.

At RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall, three members of staff spotted a large black cat - similar to a puma or panther - through their nightvision lenses.

Also in Cornwall, the infamous Beast of Bodmin is still believed to be roaming farmland killing sheep and lambs.

Experts at Chester Zoo were baffled after being shown the drawing of the The Beast of Green Drive.

A spokesman said last night: "It does not look like any mammal currently alive. It looks more like a mythical beast to us."

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