Friday May 13, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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The shadow people

This mad fetish for war is really a case of blaming others for our own guilt, of our own unprocessed fear of death being projected outward into the world
By John Kaminski

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
-But who is that on the other side of you?

- T.S. Eliot, "What the Thunder Said"

I resist the notion, now so popular among segments of our desperately flailing human intelligentsia, that beings from other worlds seeded our planet with life, or that these ETs abduct people for demonic Freudian experiments, or that mysterious dark forces, be they angels or aliens, control human destiny for their own petulant purposes.

It's all just too complicated, and it smacks of copping a plea, grasping for some lame excuse, or refusing to take responsibility for one's own actions. I mean, why ascribe evil to some esoteric mystical force when mindless savagery has always been a hallmark of typical human behavior? We need no additional motivation for depravity beyond the inner pit of our own personal darkness.

All these fantastic mythologies are clearly a case of trying to blame others for guilt that is our own.

Yet humanity continues to be imprisoned in the thrall of these supernatural shibboleths, whether the principal objects of our groveling fear reside in the cathedral or the cosmos.

The more conscious among us have always downgraded these sensationalized spirits - whether inspirational or injurious - into mere metaphors for life's natural processes.

But beyond trying to classify imaginary creations that are exclusively based on the unanswered questions about our own mortality looms an even more dangerous question: Why is it so popular to conclude that there appear to be two types of humans on this planet? I'm talking about the basic good and evil split: those who live by lies and relish war versus those who speak forthrightly and covet peace.

I was recently reminded of this dangerous classification trend during a small waterfall of hundred dollar bills that filled my mailbox with many unsigned letters (by readers who strive to keep me afloat for a few more months), by one reader who noted that my willingness to consider the possibility that there were people without souls, called by some "organic portals," was really no different from other discriminatory schemes concocted by the world's worst despots, whether it was - to cite two well known examples - the way Adolf Hitler regarded Jews or Ariel Sharon regards Arabs. (Two peas in a pod, you might say.)

Assigning fundamental differences to various perceived groups was really no different, he asserted. And no less toxic. After all, most of the world's wars have been waged on the claims of one group being somehow less human than another. And most of these slanderous campaigns have been staged as a cynical excuse to steal something valuable from the supposedly evil group. (As is so obvious today in what we call the Middle East.)

So I had to admit the validity of his point. It's simply damaging and potentially tragic to arbitrarily classify any group as somehow morally inferior or intrinisically more sinister than another, even though that's what every religion in the world does to every other group all the time.

But the big problem for me in accepting his routinely moral assertion was that decades of evidence - hey, just read the newspapers! - clearly shows that some hard-to-identify group was provoking all these conflicts throughout history for the express purpose of making large amounts of money from instigating wars.

When you really read the real history of the 20th century, you come to understand that one small group of very rich men has controlled both sides in all the major wars. And controls them still, always counting the cash, but never the bodies.

I don't know about you, but this is not the way my parents taught me to be. Hence, the temptation to contemplate theories that explain heartless avarice and mass murder without a second thought. I tell myself that this is something that I and my friends would not do. So, is there actually a different breed of cat, a darker pigmentation in some human hearts, that rules people differently from those I know and love? Are some people missing some essential biological ingredient of humanity?

The question is .... are there really shadow people? Judging by the behavior of American troops in Iraq, who murder innocent families as if they are only electronic silhouettes in some video game, or of Israeli soldiers, who make sport out of shooting Palestinian children for no reason other than their own Talmud-induced pathology of superiority, it appears that there really are.

I mean, what part of "Thou shalt not kill" - the central thesis of all religious thought - don't they understand? Everyone agrees there are no caveats to this. But in the space between agreement and practice lies the shadow. And tragedy. And very possibly the end of all life on this planet.

Let me take great care to define what I mean by shadow people.

I'm not talking about Art Bell's shadow people, which apparently are visual apparitions that appear when your eyes are focused in another direction, and are never there in the spot you thought you saw them when you actually fix your gaze on that spot. Nor am I talking about Carlos Castaneda's brujos, who apparently are people you talk to who later are proven not to really exist, which may actually have been a private joke about don Juan Matus himself.

I'm not talking about ghosts, spirits, time travelers, ectoplasmic wraiths, interdimensional beings, or people who reside in other physical realities like supposedly Nick Herbert.

I'm talking about people who say one thing and do another, people like George Bush and Dick Cheney (and Bill Clinton and Al Gore), people who mouth pleasant platitudes and then thoughtlessly commit atrocities, which they then spin as heroic deeds essential to your well-being (which presumably is why they always cost so much money).

Could it be true, as many people believe, that these belligerent cads were born without souls? Not likely, I suspect.

And I'm talking about Mr. Ordinary American, too, who, when you tell him that 9/11 was an inside job, his face goes slack and his mind goes blank. And when you present him with the mountains of evidence indicating the undeniability of your statement, he just quivers and turns away, muttering "our government would never do something like that" without daring to contemplate the reality that our leaders "do something like that" every day.

Yes, the fabled Mr. Ordinary American, who, when you tell him the 2004 election was fixed and that Kerry actually won it with a large margin of electoral votes except for the computer shenanigans that reversed the decision, accuses you being some kind of liberal delusionary, even when you explain you have utter contempt for both major candidates, and don't believe a thing either of them ever said.

Mr. Ordinary American, who can't hear a word when you say he threw away the lives of his own children on a war that was lie because he actually believed what he heard on television.

And beyond that, Mr. and Mrs. Ordinary Human Being, residing anywhere on the planet, who believe that some venerated superbeing, usually named God, controls their every movement, and that the God of their neighborhood is most definitely better than and superior to any other God that has ever been invented anywhere else.

What is wrong with all these people? And why are they in such a preponderant majority, so that the wars never cease, and lying for profit has always been the dominant way of life?

Well, I'm going to tell you now. I'm going to make it perfectly clear. I'm going to lay it all out in excruciating detail for you. And if you turn away and say, "That guy's wacked!", that means you're one of the shadow people, still controlled by a demon you dare not confront. But if you understand what I'm saying, well, that means there's still a faint ray of hope for this planet, dim though it may be.

We all carry with us the shadow of death. It is, as the natural scientists have said for a long time, what distinguishes humans from all of our fellow animal species. Foreknowledge of death. It rules every move we make.

To deny that we die, and invent some strategy that when our mortal bodies expire we either go to some cool place - to go bowling with the angels, just as an example - or get sucked into some ephemeral process that some people call the bardo (which is like some dark carnival funhouse where all these scary faces pop out at you, reminding you of every nasty thing you've done in your entire life) and therein choose the time and place (and parents) of your next incarnation - all these mental machinations are constructed to deny the obvious. That when our hearts stop and our brains cease all functions a few minutes later, that's the end of us as individuals. After that, we're mulch. Our contributions to the universe end there, and what we have done is all we will ever possess for all of eternity.

I know that this will come as a shock to many of you, and you will squirm and wriggle and deny with every fiber of your being that this is the case. Why? Simple. Our brains absolutely refuse to contemplate our own nonexistence. They fight with every fact at their disposal to create a scenario where this is not the case, because they are wired to survive, not to cease functioning. And yet they do.

Numerous philosophers have reflected that the human curse is having an infinite imagination trapped in a finite body. Based on the primary instinct to survive, the body's mind rejects the notion of a limited amount of life in time and finds a way to transcend it by any means possible. Logic, reality and reason become nonfactors and spirit is born. And the entire populace commits to the conspiracy, because it gives them the answer they sought. Spirit is born, and the soul is its offspring. And along with them form parasitic religions, which trade on and profit from the desire of people to avoid death by providing concocted formulas to do just that. None of these formulas actually work, but no one in the conspiracy will admit it, because that result is not desired. This is a clear case of reality is not desired. The illusion is more comfortable. Insecurity is eliminated by eternal life.

But because it is not real, the fear remains. The purpose of religion cannot be proven, it can only be believed. And since it is such an obvious lie, the honest mind eventually comes to know it is a lie, and begins to hate itself for lying, for being afraid of the ultimate truth, which is that we don't live forever, and have but a little time to make the most of what we have been given.

Given by whom? We can only guess. We call it God. But even the lamest cleric will admit we cannot know God in its entirety. God is only a word, after all. Some unfathomable process that we call God invented man, but man invented the word and concept of God in a feeble attempt to explain the unexplainable.

And what have we been given? Well, if you're lucky like me (and who knows why?), we have been given a slice of paradise, a sensual experience so astonishingly beautiful that we can make no other sense of it that to eventually believe that a seemingly omnipotent force has created the very conditions of heaven right on this little blue and green spheroid. That's why I always say, heaven is not something somewhere else to be sought, it is right here, and we're put here to make it what it is supposed to be - heaven!

But we - each of us - only get a little time to do it. And none of us every really succeeds, except in small ways, for the benefit of only a few people. But that in itself is exquisite proof that this really is heaven, if only we make it so.

For sure, thinking heaven is somewhere else and yearning for it is the surest way to make this place hell, which is exactly what we've done for the last 5,000 years, thanks in large part to believing that God is somewhere else and we want to go there rather than realizing God is right here, helping us all the time to make the Earth heaven. This has happened in large part BECAUSE religions have told us that heaven was somewhere else, instead of right here.

The only real fruits of religions can be seen flashing from the barrel of a gun, and heard in the moans of the innocent wailing for their unjustly murdered loved ones. This is what religions seek to accomplish, and they succeed, because people have decided not to understand what life is really about, or the true nature of the gift we have been given.

In being greedy and expecting to find a magic formula that will insulate us from the inevitability of death (can't you see it's the way the system works?), we trash the very things that give us life in the first place. And thanks to psychotic marching orders like the Book of Revelation, we are very likely to destroy the conditions that allow us this great gift of life simply because we refuse to accept the condition of our gift, that it does not last forever, that nothing lasts forever, not even our great and wild universe.

That's why I always say, without death, the possibility of goodness would not exist. When you have to sacrifice everything to achieve the right thing, that is love. If we lived forever, none of these things would matter, since we would have everything we wanted, and nothing would mean anything to us.

Therefore, believing that we have everything in the security of an eternal life is precisely what is causing us to trash our planet and murder innocent people with impunity, because the lies our minds know are lies but our mouths nevertheless say in order to vainly attempt to convince ourselves that we don't die are lashing out in unexpected ways.

We are blinded by this false light of our own creation, an inauthentic abomination that deep in our hearts and minds we know is a lie. Yet we are transfixed by this artificial light, because it keeps us from realizing our clock is ever ticking and our lease will be soon be up. (Any resemblance of this light to a TV screen is not purely coincidental.)

To really see, and to really know why we are here, we may not keep insisting that we will live forever by the power of magic incantations and formulas, but we must screw up our courage and wander into the darkness of our own shadows, and begin to understand how the seepage from this gigantic ontological lie is causing all this unnecessary death and destruction. We delude ourselves into thinking that killing enemies prolongs our own life, but that is only a fearful illusion.

Once upon a time I said, true warmth is found in the coldest dream. Now I would suggest that the brightest light is found confronting the deepest darkness.

It is not an exaggeration to say that everything depends on you understanding this. It will not take many more days of ignoring this problem for all of us to perish permanently in the abyss of our own self-deception, with no one left to say this was the epitaph of the shadow people, destroyed by their own fearful religions.

John Kaminski is a writer who lives near the eternal ocean in a fading paradise called Florida. His numerous Internet essays are for sale in anthologies at

Comment: Another thoughtful piece from John Kaminski. While there are many points with which we agree, our own experience has shown us that one must not throw out that ineffable something that becomes twisted and distorted when looked at through the lens of religion just because a corrupted mirror image of it has been used to justify war and the extermination of "non-believers". We agree completely with Kaminski's discussion of the use and consequences of religion in our world. We think, however, that there is a more sophisticated way of understanding the issues he is raising. He is getting rid of that element which makes the distinction between organic portals and others fundamental, understandable, and something more than the justification for criminal activity raised in the objection by one of his readers.

Kaminski, while accepting that there are two types of people in the world, is arguing that any and all belief in an afterlife or something greater than ourselves is a manipulation put in place by the "Shadow People" to keep us enslaved. He sums this up early in his piece when he writes:

All these fantastic mythologies are clearly a case of trying to blame others for guilt that is our own.

Rather than "guilt", we would use the word "responsibility", and while we put a higher probability on the existence of these other beings than Kaminski does, we are entirely in agreement with his analysis that many people use "fantastic mythologies" as a cop-out. "The Devil made me do it". "The Space Brothers will save us." "I killed for God."

Yet a belief in beings from other dimensions or even in some indescribable something that we unfortunately label God for lack of a better word or better understanding in no way lessens our responsibility for ourselves, our acts, and for our lives. Whether or not there is something greater than ourselves, this responsibility is our own, and we clearly live in a world where people do not accept that responsibility, sometimes because we fob it off on God and sometimes because we say there is no God. Both excuses work. In both cases, we justify the slaughter of others in the name of a higher good, be it religious or political or merely selfish.

The more conscious among us have always downgraded these sensationalized spirits - whether inspirational or injurious - into mere metaphors for life's natural processes.

Here we have more of a disagreement, especially with the use of the value judgment "the more conscious among us". Perhaps they are only "metaphors", but they may well not be. To ignore the potential of their reality, if they are in fact real, would be to fall into a dangerous trap. Perhaps Kaminski's problem is that he feels forced to choose only between the gods of organised religions, in whose names countless wars have been fought, and the anti-religion atheist stance which posits that there is nothing more than this life. Faced with choosing between such a limited pair of options, we can understand that Kaminski has opted for the atheist view. After all, no one ever fought a war over there being no god at all.

There is, however, a major assumption behind the belief that there is nothing more to life than physical reality: that mankind is the crown of creation.

When we look out onto the world, we see a vast array of life, from the smallest one-celled creatures up to Man. There it stops. Is it logical to assume that we are the top of the heap or is it simply a convenient belief because our telescopes have never revealed the existence of more highly evolved beings gazing back down upon us from the stars? [And here we exclude sightings of UFOs or the claims of remains from other civilisations on Mars for the case of this argument.] Many forms of life have only become known to us as our mechanical means of magnifying the very small have developed. It was the microscope that permitted us to see forms of life that we had never before imagined. Before that, we had no idea that one-celled creatures could exist.

Is it not reasonable to leave open the possibility that other forms of life might exist that are higher up on the evolutionary scale, or even the food chain, and that it is the means of perceiving them that are missing? Science would have us limit our tools for viewing such creatures to apparati with needles, gauges, read-outs, computer screens, and the like, tools that have been successful in identifying the extremely small.

But is that a reasonable limit to set?

In fact, many people claim they have seen other types of beings. There are stories that come down through history as myth and legend that describe interactions with them. Accounts from widely separated parts of the globe and widely removed periods of time have a remarkable similarity of detail and description of how these beings interact with humans. Often, as with Kaminski's argument, these accounts are dismissed. These encounters have been subsumed into different religions, and, having already dismissed these religions, the encounters are left by the wayside as well. They are reduced to the level of metaphor.

We think this is a mechanical reaction to the problem.

We think that a more productive approach does not throw out all the evidence but carefully and painstakingly sorts through the data, attempting to make sense of myth and legend by broadening the scope of science. Many physicists think that we must find a way to incorporate consciousness into the mathematical equations that describe both quantum and classical physics. The field has stagnated for many, many decades, and such a plan of research may be the way out. Of course, scientists who dismiss the idea of the ineffable out of hand, before the final Grand Unified Theory of physics is found, have already closed off what may well be the one fruitful path left open to us. Before we "know", they have already decided upon the limit of that which is, and is not, possible.

We think that John Kaminski makes the same mistake.

As our science progresses, perhaps we will discover that what we call "fantastic mythologies" is in fact a "natural process".

Discriminatory Schemes

Kaminski refers to a message he received from a reader who reduces the idea of the two types of humanity to the same argument used by the Nazis, or Sharon, or anyone who wishes to subjugate or eliminate an enemy. We see the pattern playing out in Iraq where many American troops consider the Iraqis or any Arab to be less than human. Kaminski's reader rejects the argument for 'organic portals' because it can be used as a way to draw differences than can justify repression.

Although Kaminski admits the validity of the argument, he goes on to say that the facts strongly suggest that there is indeed a group that is somehow different.

It is an argument that we have also heard against our analysis of the existence of 'organic portals'. At first glance, it may appear to have some foundation. However, when one looks at the details, we see that the theories and classifications that have in the past provided justification for the worst crimes against humanity are very different from the idea of 'organic portals'.

First, in our world, any theory that divides people into groups can be used by some sicko as a justification for oppression. That is the problem of life in a world where some people are driven by an overwhelming need to exert power over others. It doesn't matter what the specifics of difference may be; difference will always be used in a judgmental way to imply a relationship of superiority/inferiority. Differences exist. Should we, because of the danger that someone will use such divisionary tactics to oppress others, cease attempting to group similar things together? Comparing and contrasting are two powerful ways our reason works. To jettison them means we must rid ourselves of our capacity to reason.

But just as modern science and modern society often takes our reasoning abilities too far, that is, yanks them out of context and places them above our capacity to feel and intuit, our comparing and contrasting of individuals must remain in context.

What is that context?

Most schemes used to divide are based upon race, nationality, religion, colour, wealth, birth status, and so on. In other words, they are tied to elements that are part and parcel of the material world and its systems of power and control. In this way, leaders, and those above the leaders, can constantly set people against people in battles over those elements of life that are important in this world, those elements they need in order to maintain their control, their manipulations, their power.

The distinction that we raise between the 'organic portal' and the human has nothing to do with power in this world; it has to do with one's ability to perceive influences that come from that 'ineffable something'. Those who really see and understand the difference of which we speak, will have no interest in lording it over anyone in the here and now, while not acting upon the knowledge could have disastrous consequences for the evolution of their souls.

What is the nature of this action, this application of the knowledge? The finding of ways to conserve one's energy for doing the work necessary to growing the soul, to fusing the many 'Is' of the Personality into our one 'Real 'I'. We learn to stop 'dancing' with the 'organic portals' around us, to stop allowing them to set our agendas. In so doing, we become masters of ourselves, not of others.

Of course, this hypothesis can be used in deleterious ways, but this only shows that, those who do so, do not really understand of what we speak. Nor do they understand the far-reaching implications: that this world is as it is and cannot be changed because half of the people living here are incapable of the changes necessary to make it "heaven on earth". This is their world.

We get the impression that Kaminski has not really understood the implications of the existence of two types of humanity and has not followed through the argument to its logical consequences. The organic portal and the psychopath do what they do, not because they are "bad" but because that is who they are, the way a cat stalks a mouse because it is part of its "catness". These people could no more give up their need for ever greater power or material wealth and success than the cat could stop chasing after the mouse. It doesn't matter whether or not there is a hereafter or beings of a different consciousness than ours. You can factor out all the aspects Kaminski excludes in his argument, and the organic portal is still different, still has a different ontological reality than the person who, as Kaminski describes, would never commit mass murder or be driven by heartless avarice. It is not simply a different version of "cat", as Kaminski uses in his argument above; we are talking about a fundamental difference in nature or essence. Note that we said "difference", not "bad" or "lesser", just different.

Certainly, the question of death hangs heavily over us all. The idea of an afterlife where we are judged and condemned according to our sins is a very useful tool for managing society. It can drive people to sacrifice themselves and live in misery all of their lives for the hope of an eternal reward. It can also inspire people to be the best they can, to be giving, to care for others. Our work suggests an explanation for why some people go in one direction while others go in the opposite.

But again, we think that dismissing the possibility that life doesn't end at death because of the way this threat is held over us by the powers that control our world is too easy, too crude. It is a mechanical reaction, not a well-thought out and considered response. More than that, it may be the response that our controllers hope and plan for, counting on our mechanical nature to be reactive and not creative.

The Other Side

What if our idea is close to reality? What if there is some relationship between soul and genetics, between our genetic make-up and our ability to perceive what are called the 'B' influences? If so, then we must consider the possibility that those who do not have our interests, our real interests, at heart may also be aware of the importance of genetics and may well be doing research into understanding what those genes may be. They certainly have the money, the power, and the scientists to carry out such work. If they were ever to identify these genes, they could then produce weapons genetically targeted precisely at those individuals who had the potential for understanding the deepest truths about our world. In fact, you could almost bet that they would be doing such work.

The mechanical reaction to this knowledge would then drive us more deeply into the cords that bind us to a mechanical fate. We would remain a part of the machine rather than rising above it through the application of our creative potential. We would become its victims.

Our reading of this article suggests to us that John Kaminski has not yet come to grips with the true horror facing us. He still believes that there is some hope in this world, that this world can be changed, can be fixed. Perhaps he had a glimpse and has momentarily taken a step backwards. He would not be the first person to whom that has happened. It may even be worse. Having come to the threshold of understanding what may be the fundamental esoteric truth of our life here on this planet, Kaminski may be been bombarded with attention from the Masters he does not believe exist, or even from the "Shadow People" whose existence he does see. In the face of this ultimate horror, the mechanical force can set in and seek explanations that rid the knowledge of its core, turning it from its higher meaning to a strictly material meaning.

Without understanding the esoteric truth of the hypothesis of the organic portal, one will continue to fight the windmills and never come to see they are an illusion.

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Tense confrontation in Uzbek town
Friday, 13 May, 2005

Soldiers in Uzbekistan have surrounded a crowd of 2,000 protesters in eastern Andijan's main square, following an overnight jailbreak.

President Islam Karimov is flying to the city to handle the protest.

Earlier, shots were fired into the crowd. Nine people were killed and 34 injured, according to government officials. The scene is now calmer.

The protest's apparent trigger was the trial of 23 local businessmen on charges of Islamic extremism.

Protesters are calling for "justice" and "freedom".

The BBC's correspondent in Tashkent, Monica Whitlock, says the unrest feeds on long pent-up anger in Andijan regarding the treatment of prisoners, poverty, unemployment and other social problems.

Media clampdown stifles news

Overnight, a group of unidentified armed men broke open Andijan jail, freeing everyone inside - perhaps as many as 4,000 inmates, both political prisoners and ordinary criminals.

They poured out into the city, some of them carrying guns.

"The people have risen," AP news agency quoted Valijon Atakhonjonov, the brother of a defendant in the long-running trial.


Some protesters have occupied the mayor's office in Andijan, while the majority are in the main square.

Earlier, three snipers were reportedly pulled down from a roof by protesters.

An official in Uzbekistan's foreign ministry, who described the protesters as "armed criminals", said negotiations with them were under way.

All foreign news broadcasts, including those of the BBC, have been blocked.

In the capital Tashkent, 300 km away, a man was shot dead outside the Israeli embassy, upon suspicion he was a suicide bomber.

Our correspondent says the incident, while apparently unrelated to the protests, shows how tense the situation has become.

Barometer of feeling

Andijan is one of the main cities in the most politically sensitive part of this country, our correspondent says.

It is the barometer of feeling for a long, densely populated valley called Ferghana with a long tradition of independent thought, and the authoritarian government in Tashkent has always eyed the valley with suspicion, she says.

The government has locked up probably thousands of local young men, many of them prominent members of the community, accusing them of Islamic extremism.

Neighbouring Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have shut their borders with Uzbekistan. Protests in Kyrgyzstan in March resulted in the overthrow of its then President, Askar Akayev.

Comment: These protests were simply one more "velvet revolution" sponsored by US government agencies throughout the former Soviet Republics in an attempt to weaken Russian control in the region. Like on so many previous occasions, the MO for such operations is to generally install a government that is much more disposed to doing business with the US than the freshly ousted administration. "Doing business" with the US generally entails opening up the countries resources to the predations of large American multi-nationals and inviting the US military to establish permanent military bases. In the current world climate of Bush's ridiculously named "war on terror", which has become synonymous with a war on all Islamic countries, the risks involved for the former Soviet republics in signing over sovereignty to the US are much higher given that many, like Uzbekistan, have large Muslim populations.

As last night and today's outbreak of violence in Uzbekistan show, tin pot "Democratic" dictators that the US has placed in power across the region are only too willing to jump on Bush's "Islam = terrorism" bandwagon and use "anti-terror" measures to crack down on "Muslim terrorists" in order to quell civil opposition and consolidate the positions of power granted to them by their US masters.

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Flashback: U.S. Recruits a Rough Ally to Be a Jailer
May 1, 2005

Seven months before Sept. 11, 2001, the State Department issued a human rights report on Uzbekistan. It was a litany of horrors.

The police repeatedly tortured prisoners, State Department officials wrote, noting that the most common techniques were "beating, often with blunt weapons, and asphyxiation with a gas mask." Separately, international human rights groups had reported that torture in Uzbek jails included boiling of body parts, using electroshock on genitals and plucking off fingernails and toenails with pliers. Two prisoners were boiled to death, the groups reported. The February 2001 State Department report stated bluntly, "Uzbekistan is an authoritarian state with limited civil rights."

Immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, however, the Bush administration turned to Uzbekistan as a partner in fighting global terrorism. The nation, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia, granted the United States the use of a military base for fighting the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan. President Bush welcomed President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan to the White House, and the United States has given Uzbekistan more than $500 million for border control and other security measures.

Now there is growing evidence that the United States has sent terror suspects to Uzbekistan for detention and interrogation, even as Uzbekistan's treatment of its own prisoners continues to earn it admonishments from around the world, including from the State Department.

The so-called rendition program, under which the Central Intelligence Agency transfers terrorism suspects to foreign countries to be held and interrogated, has linked the United States to other countries with poor human rights records. But the turnabout in relations with Uzbekistan is particularly sharp. Before Sept. 11, 2001, there was little high-level contact between Washington and Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, beyond the United States' criticism.

Uzbekistan's role as a surrogate jailer for the United States was confirmed by a half-dozen current and former intelligence officials working in Europe, the Middle East and the United States. The C.I.A. declined to comment on the prisoner transfer program, but an intelligence official estimated that the number of terrorism suspects sent by the United States to Tashkent was in the dozens.

There is other evidence of the United States' reliance on Uzbekistan in the program. On Sept. 21, 2003, two American-registered airplanes - a Gulfstream jet and a Boeing 737 - landed at the international airport in Tashkent, according to flight logs obtained by The New York Times.

Although the precise purpose of those flights is not known, over a span of about three years, from late 2001 until early this year, the C.I.A. used those two planes to ferry terror suspects in American custody to countries around the world for questioning, according to interviews with former and current intelligence officials and flight logs showing the movements of the planes. On the day the planes landed in Tashkent, the Gulfstream had taken off from Baghdad, while the 737 had departed from the Czech Republic, the logs show.

The logs show at least seven flights were made to Uzbekistan by those planes from early 2002 to late 2003, but the records are incomplete.

Details of the C.I.A.'s prisoner transfer program have emerged in recent months from a handful of former detainees who have been released, primarily from prisons in Egypt and Afghanistan, and in some cases have alleged they were beaten and tortured while being held.

The program was created in the mid-1980's as a way for the C.I.A. to transfer crime suspects arrested abroad to their home countries. After Sept. 11, the C.I.A. used it to send prisoners suspected of being senior leaders of Al Qaeda to a half-dozen countries for detention. American intelligence officials estimate that the United States has transferred 100 to 150 suspects to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

Comment: If in February 2001 the U.S. State Department report stated that , "Uzbekistan is an authoritarian state with limited civil rights", then what does that make a country like America that not only provides such a country with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid, but actually USES the repressive regime to carry out the torture of American prisoners? A duplicitous and cynical promoter of authoritarian states with limited civil rights? You bet. America is, and has been for many years, the world's principal director of terrorism and state-sponsored brutality. The fact that, during this time, American governments have sought to portray the U.S. as the bastion of freedom and Democracy merely makes the crimes all the worse.

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Russia accuses US, British 'spies' of working in foreign NGOs
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow
Friday May 13, 2005
The Guardian

The Russian security service claimed yesterday to have discovered spies working for the British, US, Saudi and Kuwaiti governments who were operating under the cover of non-governmental organisations.

Nikolai Patrushev, the director of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB, told parliament that his agency had "prevented a series of espionage operations carried out through foreign non-governmental organisations".

Among those he named was the British medical charity Merlin, which denied the allegation last night.

The FSB comments, an unusually detailed reiteration of suspicions it has often voiced, came days after the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, hosted George Bush and other world leaders for the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow. The visit of Mr Bush, who described the Soviet occupation of Europe as one of the great wrongs of the 20th century, underlined growing mistrust of the west among Kremlin hardliners.

A year ago, Mr Putin attacked NGOs for pursuing "dubious group and commercial interests" and for taking foreign money.

Mr Patrushev did not specify how many spies were found or what they were accused of doing, except "pursuing the interests" of other states.

In a broad reference to the supporting role that Washington and EU member states played in three protest-led regime changes in the former Soviet Union during the past 19 months, Mr Patrushev added: "Our opponents are steadily and persistently trying to weaken Russian influence in the commonwealth of independent states and the international arena as a whole. The latest events in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan unambiguously confirm this."

He also accused an American NGO of organising a meeting in Slovakia last month at which further "velvet revolutions were discussed".

The US and EU have each condemned the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, the president of the former Soviet republic of Belarus, as the "last dictatorship in Europe". Mr Lukashenko retains a brittle alliance with Mr Putin, with both leaders facing calls for greater democracy.

The British charity Merlin "categorically denied" the spying allegation.

A spokeswoman said the group had been working in Russia in 1996 and never experienced visa problems. "All of Merlin's programmes have been approved by the relevant authorities." She said it was funded by the EU.

Mr Patrushev, a close ally of Mr Putin, also named as spies the US Peace Corps, thrown out of Russia amid spying allegations in 2002, the Saudi Red Crescent, and the Society for Social Reform, a Kuwait group.

According to Interfax, Mr Patrushev said most industrialised states did not want "a powerful economic competitor like Russia", adding that Russia had lost £2bn a year via "trade discrimination" with the US, EU and Canada.

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When NGOs Attack - Implications of the Coup in Georgia
December 6 / 7, 2003

Nongovernmental organizations--the notionally independent, reputedly humanitarian groups known as NGOs--are now being openly integrated into Washington's overall strategy for consolidating global supremacy.

Events surrounding last month's coup in post-Soviet Georgia, read in light of recent State Department documents, suggest that seemingly innocuous NGOs now play a central role in the policy of US-engineered "regime change" set forth in the notorious National Security Strategy of the United States.

The November 24 Wall Street Journal explicitly credited the toppling of Eduard Shevardnadze's regime to the operations of "a raft of non-governmental organizations . . . supported by American and other Western foundations." These NGOs, said the Journal, had "spawned a class of young, English-speaking intellectuals hungry for pro-Western reforms" who were instrumental laying the groundwork for a bloodless coup.

Astute commentators have correctly noted connections between these provocateur NGOs and mega-philanthropist George Soros, but the billionaire speculator did not act independently. Georgia's so-called "Velvet Revolution" appears to have been a textbook case of regime change by stealth, carefully planned and centrally coordinated by the US government.

Thanks to first-rate reporting by Mark McKinnon in the Toronto Globe & Mail and Mark Ames in the Moscow-based online journal The Exile <>, the Georgian coup can be understood as a virtual scene-for-scene rerun of the overthrow of Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic--right down to the role of US Ambassador, played in both cases by spooky career diplomat Richard Miles.

But while foreign-funded NGOs played a significant minor part in the Yugoslavian operation, in Georgia they were granted star billing. This bold, all but overt, deployment of NGOs in service of US imperialism represents a new wrinkle in regime change, reflecting adjusted post-9/11 priorities at State and in the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Illuminating background is available in a watershed USAID report, Foreign Aid in the National Interest: Promoting Freedom, Security and Opportunity, released in January 2003 but ignored by a press swept up in pre-invasion hysteria. In the report, USAID vows that development programs will no longer be directed primarily toward alleviating human misery, but will be committed to "encouraging democratic [i.e., US-friendly] reforms." This policy shift is explicitly linked to the National Security Strategy of the United States, the 2002 White House blueprint for a new, openly aggressive phase of US imperialism.

Henceforward, the report promises, only friendly regimes will be rewarded with development money, while hostile (or merely independent) states will be punished by NGO-driven "reform" programs that sound suspiciously like old-fashioned destabilization ops.

The document notes with approval the explosive growth of NGOs worldwide and points to the NGO network as an attractive conduit for the strategic distribution of dollars. Of course, not every NGO is controlled by the US foreign policy establishment, and many rank-and-file aid workers continue to perform thankless but essential relief work in countries decimated by capitalism and war. But there's no mistaking which way the wind is blowing in the development community: "NGOs used to work at arm's length from donor governments," the USAID report smugly observes, "but over time the relationship has become more intimate."

To be sure, the vast global network of privately-funded foundations and NGOs has done enormous damage in its own right over the past two decades. With or without direct US assistance, NGOs continue to prop up immiserating neoliberal reforms, abet the schemes of transnational finance and agribusiness, and thwart the struggles of Third World people to claim better lives as of right. (The broader case against NGOs has been exhaustively set forth by James Petras, among others, and is powerfully advanced in the current issue of Aspects of India's Economy.)

But USAID's new emphasis on "building strategic partnerships" with humanitarian groups promises far worse to come. In thinly coded language, Foreign Aid in the National Interest touts NGOs and other private donors for their ability to lay groundwork for coups d' état: "Assistance can be provided to reformers to help identify key winners and losers, develop coalition building and mobilization strategies, and design publicity campaigns. . . . Such assistance may represent an investment in the future, when a political shift gives reformers real power."

As summarized by Hoover Institute fellow Larry Diamond, a self-described "specialist on democratic development and regime change" who contributed to the report: "Where governments are truly rotten, the report suggests channeling assistance primarily through nongovernmental sources, working with other bilateral aid donors and multilateral aid agencies to . . . coordinat[e] pressure on bad, recalcitrant governments."

Shevardnadze, for many years a reliable US client, seems to have become truly rotten at around the time of his perceived tilt toward Russia, a development which potentially threatened US military access to the region and control of the $2.7 billion Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.

Per script, coordinated pressure began immediately. An interlocking network of development-oriented foundations, think tanks, and NGOs was mobilized to disseminate propaganda, recruit opposition leaders, and fund an ex nihilo "student resistance movement" modeled on Yugoslavia's CIA-connected Otpor. Meanwhile, NGOs like the Liberty Institute--a USAID subcontractor managed by Mikhail Saakashvili, the US-approved candidate for Georgian leadership--worked hand-in-glove with the US Embassy (and presumably the CIA) to destabilize civil society.

Even the coup's immediate pretext--allegations of electoral fraud -- conveniently emerged from an "election support" operation run by USAID in consort with a Soros-connected NGO, Open Society Georgia Foundation. TV-friendly street demos and orchestrated international outcry followed in due course. Shevardnadze accepted the inevitable and agreed to go quietly. Within two weeks, Donald Rumsfeld was in Tbilsi as guest of the coup leaders, discussing a timetable for Russian troop withdrawals.

In the near future, the smashing success of the Georgia operation may be expected to lead to similarly coordinated attempts on independent-minded governments worldwide--Cuba, now doing its best to cope with an invasion of foreign-sponsored "reform" organizations, is an especially likely candidate.

Meanwhile, as the US continues to assimilate worldwide humanitarian endeavors to its imperial ambitions, the heavy hitters of the NGO establishment are preening for another round of mediagenic self-celebration at the upcoming World Social Forum. Suggested new slogan: "Another Coup is Possible."

Comment: There is nothing wrong with empire building per se, the problem arises when you have a country like the US leading the imperial drive. Despite US claims that they are removing "rotten" regimes and spreading freedom, the result of US-sponsored "regime change" is generally the "propping up of immiserating neoliberal reforms, abetting the schemes of transnational finance and agribusiness, and thwarting the struggles of Third World people to claim better lives as of right", as the above report states. A cursory glance at the death and destruction that has been visited on the Iraqi people by the liberating force of American Democracy also makes this point clear.

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Wired Iraqi prisoner photo done in jest: lawyer
Thu May 12, 2005
By Debbie Stevenson
Just joking around
FORT HOOD, Texas (Reuters) - A U.S. Army reservist accused of attaching wires to a hooded Iraqi prisoner did so in a joke shared with the prisoner, her lawyer said at the start of a court-martial on Thursday.

Spc. Sabrina Harman, who pleaded innocent to charges of conspiracy, dereliction of duty and maltreatment of subordinates, also photographed abuses because she wanted to document what she felt was wrongful behavior, attorney Frank Spinner said.

"She was upset as early as 20 October, 2003, at some of the things she was seeing. She was offended by what she saw and she hoped at some point that she could prove it," Spinner told a military jury at the start of her trial.

The former pizza restaurant worker, who joined the Army reserves after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is linked to several of the most notorious Iraqi prisoner abuse photos.

She appears in a photo near naked Iraqi prisoners and is charged with photographing as they were forced to masturbate. She is also charged with placing wires on a detainee dubbed Gilligan and telling him he would be electrocuted if he stepped off a box in a picture seen worldwide.

"This was a joke. Gilligan understood it to be a joke. It was all part of their relationship," Spinner said. "It was a relationship beyond what the pictures showed."

Another Iraqi prisoner joined in on the "joke" with his US military friends by very convincingly "playing dead", which included beating himself with an iron bar and permanently stopping his heart and brain functions.

Later, military investigator Warren Worth said Harman testified in January 2004 that abuse ringleader Charles Graner told her military intelligence wanted Gilligan deprived of sleep for interrogation purposes.

Spinner also said other notorious pictures did not constitute abuse as the prisoners were hooded and thus did not know they were being photographed.

The prison abuse scandal has highlighted the U.S. treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Some criticize the focus on low-ranking soldiers rather than their superiors.

"Where are all the higher-ups who were supposed to be supporting us? Why aren't they in this courtroom?" Matthew Bolinger, England's supervisor, said last week at Fort Hood.

Comment: Where indeed are those "higher-ups"? By now we should all know that it has always been the nature of life here on the BBM (big blue marble) that the so-called "elite" somehow find themselves above the law. It is unsurpassingly strange to understand that so few people are willing to truly look at this status quo and question it. Why should anyone believe that there is some law of "nature" that dictates that there will always be "haves" and "have nots" when it is patently obvious that such a state of affairs is the result of human machinations rather than those of "nature" or "god". Then again, it is much easier to lay the blame for the unjust state of the world on some unaccountable force like god or nature rather than accept that it is our own intransigence and self-delusion in the face of the predations of a small group of megalomaniacs that allows such a dire state of affairs to persist.

It is all too easy to fool the masses, as the testimony of the abovementioned U.S. Army reservist shows. She claims that the prisoner pictures in the first photo above was in on the "joke", but how likely is it that, in a US military prison in Iraq, where the torture of prisoners was a daily occurrence, a US army reservist and an Iraqi prisoner, deemed a terrorist" by the Bush administration, would get together to act out a fake torture session as a "joke"?

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U.S. Assault Intensifies at Syria Border
Associated Press
May 13, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq - American fighter jets flattened a suspected insurgent safe house near the Syrian border, the U.S. military said Friday, and hundreds of U.S. troops conducted house-to-house searches in remote desert villages for followers of Iraq's most-wanted militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

American forces have met little resistance since the first two days of Operation Matador, which began Saturday, aimed at clearing a region believed to be a haven for foreign fighters slipping into Iraq from Syria, the military said. American intelligence indicates the insurgents are either in hiding or have fled, U.S. Capt. Jeffrey Pool said.

Villagers reached by telephone said gunmen still roamed some areas and they continued to be hit by U.S. shelling.

The U.S. offensive - one of the largest since militants were forced from Fallujah six months ago - came amid a surge of militant attacks that have killed more than 420 people in just over two weeks since Iraq's first democratically elected government was announced.

Snipers opened fire on the motorcade of Interior Ministry undersecretary Maj. Gen. Hikmat Moussa Hussein in western Baghdad on Friday, killing one of his guards and wounding three, police Maj. Moussa Abdul Karim said. Hussein escaped unharmed.

Elsewhere in western Baghdad, insurgents fired on Iraqi soldiers who were searching the area, prompting a 30-minute gunbattle, said police Maj. Abdul Karim. There was no immediate word on casualties.

North of the capital, a car bomb exploded as an Iraqi army patrol was moving through Baqouba, killing three people and wounding six, police Col. Mudhafar Mohammed said. The dead included two soldiers and a civilian, he said.

In Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, mortar rounds slammed into an Iraqi army checkpoint, killing three soldiers and wounding three others, police said.

Two more explosions rocked the capital Friday. A roadside bomb hit an American convoy on a highway to the airport, police said. No casualties were reported, but Associated Press Television News video showed a U.S. Humvee, its hood open, consumed by flames. The cause of the second blast was not immediately known.

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, indicated Thursday that the insurgency could last for many more years. [...]

Residents reached by telephone in Saadah and Karabilah said American forces were periodically shelling their villages Friday.

"The situation is very bad. ... Most of the people have fled to the desert," said Samran Mukhlef Abed, a tribal leader in Saadah. "The Americans are all around ... and medical services do not exist here. If someone is hurt, we have to take him to cities that are far way from here, and that is impossible with the situation."

The U.S. military denied residents' reports that some areas have been without electricity and running water since the offensive began late Saturday, but said regional hospital services were disrupted when a suicide car bomber attacked the hospital in Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, on Saturday. [...]

The U.S. military said it was receiving intelligence from residents who are fed up with the presence of foreign fighters. But residents voiced equal frustration with U.S. forces, who pounded the area with airstrikes, artillery barrages and gunfire.

"They destroyed our city, killed our children, destroyed our houses. We have nothing left," one man told APTN in Qaim. He did not give his name and hid his face with a scarf to address the camera. [...]

Comment: In other words, the tactics used by the US military to battle the "insurgents" simply created more "insurgents". As such, we have to agree with Gen. Myers' assessment that the battle could last for years as more and more Iraqis fight the occupation of their country.

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China says U.S. impeding N.Korea arms talks - NYT
Fri May 13, 2005

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A senior Chinese diplomat on Thursday accused the Bush administration of undermining efforts to revive negotiations with North Korea and said there was "no solid evidence" that Pyongyang was preparing to test a nuclear weapon, the New York Times reported.

The comments by Yang Xiyu, a senior Foreign Ministry official and China's top official on the North Korean nuclear problem, reflect growing frustration in Beijing with the Bush administration, the newspaper said in a report from Beijing.

Even as the White House presses China to find a solution to the nuclear issue, Chinese officials say, it has hurled insults at North Korea and given its leaders excuses to stay away from the bargaining table, according to the Times.

"It is true that we do not yet have tangible achievements" in ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Yang said in an interview with the newspaper. "But a basic reason for the unsuccessful effort lies in the lack of cooperation from the U.S. side."

Yang said that when President Bush called North Korea leader Kim Jong-il a "tyrant" last month, Bush "destroyed the atmosphere" for negotiations. [...]

Comment: Like its partner in International war crime, Israel, the US has based the success of it plans for global hegemony on the permanent existence of a threat to America, the American people or the American way of life depending on which day of the week you switch on CNN or Fox. As such, the Bush administration, again like the government of Israeli PM Sharon, must actively fight this phony war on both sides, setting up (or inventing) the threat that can then be used to justify further aggressive policies while at the same time quashing any efforts that any target country makes to remove itself from the "hit list".

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U.S. Army offers shorter enlistment to recruits
By Will DunhamThu
May 12, 5:07 PM ET

The U.S. Army will allow recruits to sign up for just 15 months of active-duty service, rather than the typical four-year enlistment, as it struggles to lure new soldiers amid the Iraq war, a general said on Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, U.S. Army Recruiting Command head, also said this was "the toughest recruiting climate ever faced by the all-volunteer Army," with the war causing concern among potential recruits and their families and the economy offering civilian job prospects.

America abolished the draft in 1973 during the tumult of the Vietnam War era and has since relied on a military made up exclusively of volunteers.

Rochelle said the Army this week expanded nationwide a pilot program in place since October 2003 in 10 cities offering recruits the option of a 15-month active-duty enlistment.

In a conference call with reporters, Rochelle expressed concern about a recent spike in recruiting improprieties. The Army said this week it will suspend recruiting on May 20 to counsel its 7,545 recruiters on ethics.

The Army is examining allegations recruiters offered to help people cheat on drug tests or get phony diplomas. In a recent incident in Texas, a recruiter threatened a 20-year-old man with arrest if he did not get to an interview at a recruiting station by a given time.

"Some of the incidents were flying just below my radar," said Rochelle, who acknowledged the stress experienced by recruiters who work nearly 80 hours per week to attract new soldiers.

Army Recruiting Command spokesman Douglas Smith said as of April 29, the Army had fielded 480 allegations of improper conduct by recruiters in fiscal 2005 beginning Oct. 1. So far, there have been 91 substantiated improprieties, with eight recruiters relieved and 98 recruiters admonished, Smith said. [...]

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33 Major U.S. Bases Would Close Under Plan
Associated Press
May 13, 2005

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon will propose shutting more than 150 military installations from Maine to Hawaii, including 33 major bases, The Associated Press learned Friday, triggering the first round of base closures in a decade and an intense struggle by communities to save their facilities.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld will also recommend a list of scores of other domestic bases from which thousands of troops would be withdrawn, or in some cases added from other installations in the United States or overseas. He has said the move would save $48.8 billion over 20 years while making the military more mobile and better suited for the global effort against terrorism.

Rumsfeld's plan calls for a massive shift of U.S. forces that would result in a net loss of 29,005 military and civilian jobs at domestic installations. Overall, he proposes pulling 218,570 military and civilian positions out of some U.S. bases while adding 189,565 positions to others, according to documents obtained by The AP.

The closures and downsizings would occur over six years starting in 2006.

"Our current arrangements, designed for the Cold War, must give way to the new demands of the war against extremism and other evolving 21st Century challenges," Rumsfeld said in a written statement.

Among the major closures were Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, which would lose more than 2,700 jobs, the Naval Station in Ingleside, Texas, costing more than 2,100 jobs, and Fort McPherson in Georgia, costing nearly 4,200 jobs.

Other major bases - including the Army's Fort Bliss in Texas, the Naval Shipyard in Norfolk, Va., and Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland - would see gains, as they absorb troops whose current home bases are slated for closure.

Before closures or downsizings can take effect, the Defense Department's proposal must be approved or changed by a federal base closing commission by Sept. 8, and then agreed to by Congress and President Bush, in a process that will run into the fall. [...]

Lawmakers say it is unwise to close bases while U.S. troops are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the Pentagon argues that the timing is perfect to enlist cost-cutting measures given pressures from the ballooning federal deficit and to reshuffle the stateside network of bases while it reshapes the entire military. [...]

Comment: While the Bush administration downplays the threat to the US economy posed by the massive federal deficit, the Pentagon uses that very threat to justify downsizing and re-organizing the military.

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Military, Law Enforcement Caught in FBI Drug Trafficking Sting Along Southwest Border

WASHINGTON (AP) - FBI agents posing as cocaine traffickers in Arizona caught 16 current and former U.S. soldiers and law enforcement personnel who took payoffs to help move the drugs through checkpoints, Justice Department officials said Thursday.

Those charged include a former Immigration and Naturalization Service inspector, a former Army sergeant, a former federal prison guard, current and former members of the Arizona Air National Guard and the state corrections department, and a Nogales, Ariz., police officer, officials said.

All 16 have agreed to plead guilty to being part of a bribery and extortion conspiracy, the result of the nearly 4 1/2-year FBI sting, acting assistant attorney general John C. Richter and FBI agent Jana D. Monroe said.

The FBI set up the phony trafficking organization in December 2001, then lured military and police personnel with money to help distribute the cocaine or allow it to pass through checkpoints they were guarding, officials said.

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Flashback: U.S. soldiers accused of selling ammunition to paramilitary groups in Colombia
By DAN MOLINSKI Associated Press Writer

(AP) - BOGOTA, Colombia-Two U.S. soldiers detained for allegedly attempting to sell ammunition to Colombian right-wing paramilitary groups have been quietly flown to the United States, where they were placed in custody, officials said Tuesday.

Warrant Officer Allan N. Tanquary and Sgt. Jesus Hernandez, who have diplomatic immunity status within Colombia, were flown to the United States on Friday and placed in custody of the U.S. Defense Department, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said after a reporter asked about the pair's whereabouts.

The case and other allegations of wrongdoing by U.S. troops in Colombia have sparked ire in the country which is battling a long-running insurgency fueled by drug trafficking.

"OUT OF CONTROL," the newsmagazine Semana said on its cover this week, referring to the American soldiers, who are supposed to be helping Colombia's effort.

U.S. Ambassador William Wood said Friday that he would allow local investigators to question Tanquary and Hernandez, but hours later they were flown out of the country, granted diplomatic immunity under a 1974 treaty. It was not immediately clear whether such questioning took place before they boarded the plane.

The pair were arrested May 3 at a luxury estate near a military base southwest of Bogota and accused of plotting to deliver 40,000 rounds of ammunition to a paramilitary group. The outlawed paramilitary factions have been waging a dirty war of assassinations and massacres against leftist rebels and their suspected collaborators.

Their departure for the United States came despite widespread calls from lawmakers and senior officials for them to face trial in Colombia. The case has embarrassed Washington, coming less than two months after five U.S. service members were detained for allegedly smuggling cocaine aboard a military aircraft to the United States.

The United States has denied secretly helping the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, which is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

Tanquary and Hernandez were among hundreds of U.S. servicemen and contractors stationed in Colombia as part of a multi-billion-dollar program funded by U.S. taxpayers.

Comment: While Bush tells blatant lies about Hugo Chavez government's purchase of arms, claiming that they will end up in the hands of Colombian "terrorists", his own military, obviously sanctioned by the US government itself, are doing exactly that!! Is this EVIL enough for you??! Of course, obvious questions that need to answered include:

Is it really feasible that large quantities of aid money to Colombia, money that was approved by Congress, could just go missing without the relevant government agency being aware of the fact?

How did the soldiers make contact with a Colombian group that the US government has had on its "terrorist list" for years without anyone in US intelligence or the US military knowing about it?

If the soldiers expected to make a lot of money off this deal, what were they going to do with the money? How would it be laundered and brought back to the U.S.?

Adam Isacson of the Center for International Policy points out that:

The city of Melgar in Tolima province, is the home of one of the biggest U.S. bases in the country. Despite this, the paramilitaries operate ruthlessly throughout the department of Tolima, having killed 170 people since December 2002.

Had the paramilitaries already bought bullets from U.S. soldiers in the past? How many of those 170 deaths does the U.S. share responsibility for? At what level of the paramilitary umbrella organization United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, which spreads terror throughout the country, were these deals being struck?

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Flashback: Colombia: a Proxy Country for US Intervention in Venezuela
by Sohan Sharma and Surinder Kuma 28 December 2004

In the past few years one coup d'Etat by the Venezuelan military, four general strikes to disrupt its economy and a Recall Referendum on August 15, 2004, which allows a President to be removed from office after mid-term, have failed. (See our analysis in a previous publication [1].) Now the imperialist forces are left with few avenues of toppling him. One of them is a military intervention, on some excuse (s) and through a shill or proxy country.

But what excuses and which country?

The two most likely ones are "war on terrorism (counterinsurgency) and war on drugs"; and the country likely to spearhead the military intervention is Colombia-a neighbor of Venezuela, struggling to defeat its own internal Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, and others) who control a considerable part of Colombia. (See below).

To date, Colombia has received the largest amount of US military aid in Latin America. The aid has grown ten-fold since 1995. Since 2003 there are 800 US military trainers and 600 civilian contractors in Colombia.

The US has provided $3 billion in military aid to Colombia in the past three years [2A]. An armada of 60 US made Huey II and Blackhawk attack helicopters are the main weapons bought for quick deployment of Colombian troops in FARC controlled southern Colombia to provide security for the planes doing aerial spraying of drug crops (coca plants) [3].

To protect the pipelines owned by the US-based Occidental Petroleum in Arauca department (province) on the land of the indigenous U'wa tribe, a $98 million aid was given in 2002 for the purchase of 12 surveillance and attack helicopters. Occidental has spent years lobbying for military assistance to Colombia [4]. In July 2002 another $35 million was allocated for operation in Peru and areas of Paraguay, Argentine and Brazil where drug smugglers presumably operate [5].

Colombia –the background

Colombia is a country of 44 million, where 56 percent of land is owned by 0.4% of the population and 23 percent of the population earn less than $ 1 a day [6]. Since its independence from Spain in 1823 till today it had a violent history. After its independence there were eight general civil wars, 14 local civil wars, countless small civil uprisings, two international wars with Ecuador, and three coups d'Etat. It took several years, starting in 1858, to create a constitution and from 1885 the country began to call itself Republic of Colombia. In the wake of this poor peasants and indigenous people rose in revolt.

A civil war, called "War of Thousand days" broke out in 1899-1902. Approximately 100,000 people were killed. From 1903 to 1920 a semi dictatorial regime was established by the oligarchs that pursed the policy of brutal repression of union movements and indigenous people [7]. From the late 1920s on, the country began to industrialize. Labor strikes led by the unions became common. To suppress them the army was often called upon. In 1928, the army fired on a peaceful demonstration of banana workers in Cienaga killing 1,000 workers.

In 1948 Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, a leftist populist Mayor of Bogotá was assassinated. Riots and rebellion went on for a decade-1948-1958- called "la violencia" period. Some 20,000 armed rebels, organized in rebel groups, operated in Colombia. One of the groups was to become The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 1964-the largest peasant/workers organization. [8]. Other guerilla groups called National Liberation Army (ELN) and M-19 (April 19 Movement) were formed in 1965 and 1970 respectively. In 2000-2001 these groups control and administer approximately 50 percent of Colombian national territory [9].

Enter the Multinational Corporations ( MNCs ) and the US Involvement

By 1970 a large number of MNCs –mostly from US- had billions invested in Colombia: The MNCs were: Petroleum and natural gas reserves-, ExxonMobil, Occidental, Cano-Limon and British Petroleum. Coal mines- Drummond Company, Birmingham Alabama;, Coca Cola, with 17 plants employing 10,000 workers. Banana exporting companies-Chiquita, Dole, and Del Monte. Dole bought 20% of Colombia's flower industry and is now the largest single exporter of fresh-cut Colombian flowers [10]

Throughout Colombia indigenous tribes, peasants, small cultivators and small miners stand in the way of oil drilling, pipeline laying through Indian tribal lands, agro-businesses, and large scale mining that causes dispossession of land and environmental damage. Revolutionary peasants and indigenous organizations developed armed resistance and disrupted the operations of MNCs. Between 1982 and 1999 there were more than 600 guerilla attacks on the pipelines-with a 1.6 billion barrels of oil spilled along the way; in 2001 the pipeline was bombed 170 times and was out of commission for 266 days cutting heavily into [Occidental] company's profits [11]. It became obvious that to safeguard MNCs investment and profits, US military protection and security was (is) required.

Paramilitary, revolutionary peasants and first excuse for intervention

A first step was taken in the early 1970s to subdue insurgency, which was to encourage the Colombian military, in conjunction with the big landlords and financed by drug cartels, to arm and train civilian to form paramilitary force [12] The mandate of the Paramilitary was to pacify-assassinate through its death squad-the revolutionary peasants and guerrillas in the countryside, and to do the same to the activists, labor leaders and organizers in the urban areas. These included hospital workers unions, electrical workers unions, teachers unions, journalists, priests, nuns, lawyers, women's right's groups, human right groups, indigenous community leaders, directors of agriculture cooperatives, journalists and other activists. Those journalists not in favor of military and paramilitary and large coca growers were also assassinated [14]

Second excuse for intervention-drugs.

During the post Vietnam years drug use (primarily recreational) began to increase in US, and so did the drug (cocaine) export from Colombia. Drug barons in conjunction with large landlords controlled the expanding cocaine production and trade reaping windfall profits US and Colombian media and diplomatic sources have steadfastly maintained that it is the revolutionary groups- FARC and EL N, and not the paramilitary, that finances its operations through drug (cocaine).

However, a report by "Klaus Nydholm, the representative in Colombia of the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) told reporters on May 8, 2001 that right wing paramilitary 'are indeed involved' in drug trafficking', even more than the guerrillas of the FARC, to such an extent that there are regions of the country in which it is hard to tell who are drug traffickers and who are paramilitary' Although the rebels 'finance their war with taxes on the drug trade, Nydholm said, 'we do not consider the FARC drug traffickers. We believe that it is still a matter of guerrilla organization with political objectives', and the ELN 'never has been very involved' in drug trafficking" [16].

Expansion of US military aid and bio-chemical warfare

Although the cover story for the expansion of US military aid to Colombia is that it is a part of a "war on drugs" in Latin America, yet its real purpose is well understood by the commanders of FARC and the Colombian military and paramilitary military forces. As one of the guerilla leaders stated, increased militarization of antinarcotics operation is a pretext for stepped up counterinsurgency action and extending the war against them by the U.S. [17]. And so did the paramilitary and military commanders who said "we do not differentiate between counter-insurgency and counter-narcotic operations-its the same thing. We do a raid on the drug-traffickers, and we know we're hitting the guerrillas" [18].

However, to perpetuate the charade that U.S. is not directly intervening in Colombia, rather private corporation and organizations are the primary participants, much of the military and biochemical operation is "contracted out" to private firms and private armies. Early in 2003 the U.S. State Department reported that there are 17 primary contracting companies working in Colombia, initially receiving $3.5 billion [20].

Biochemical warfare

Biological-chemical-bacteriological warfare against the peasants also started, full force, during 1998. DynCorp, a defense contractor and a Fortune 500 company, has a $ 600 million contract to carry out aerial spraying to eliminate coca crops which also contaminates maize, Yucca, and plantains-staple foods of the population; children and adults develop skin rashes. The herbicide that is sprayed, glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, is manufactured by Monsanto, a US company. It should be noted that the aerial spraying with Roundup, in the manner in which it is done in Colombia, is illegal in the US where Glysophate is considered to be category II, highly toxic. Other chemicals sprayed are registered as category I, extremely toxic [22]. Fumigation, along with machine gun shootings, and a heavy military and paramilitary presence, linked to a low-intensity warfare have taken the lives of more than 1,300 villagers in various municipalities in FARC contolled Putumayo department [23].

US and Colombia allege that revolutionary guerillas and drug traffickers from Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela work in tandem; they find shelter in the trackless 1.9 million square miles area of rain forests and rivers of Amazon. To crush them a new American financed, $1.4 billion system for radar and sensor was installed to monitor this area [24]. (See below).

Resistance by Colombian revolutionary forces, along with Venezuela's progressive populist policies is a major threat to imperialist and its allies in Latin America. A victory for or even a modus vivendi with the revolutionary forces in Colombia along with Venezuela's successful policies are likely to present an alternate socio-economic model spawned by the WB/IMF and MNCs. This momentum has to be defeated by military force, if necessary, and Chavez has to go [25].

Chavez has to go if Colombia is to be secured for MNCs

Coups and strikes failed to topple Chavez. With his victory at the Recall Referendum on August 15, 2004, he has emerged a bigger threat than before for imperialist and its subalterns in Latin America. Venezuela presents an example for other indebted and exploited countries of Latin America countries to take charge of their nations for its people. In the wake his Referendum victory, Chavez called on the country's private business operators to work with his government in moving the country away from capitalism. He stated "We have to eliminate large land holding in Venezuela. What we have done so far has been very, very superficial. Everybody expects Chavez to get tougher and deepen the revolution [26]. These are threatening words for those who follow the US, WB/IMF lead in establishing a capitalist, free enterprise, for profit economic order, and Colombia has affirmed to follow the WB/IMF policies [27].

Grounds for intervention.

Venezuela and Colombia share a common, semi porous, 1370 miles border where drug trafficking, kidnapping and smuggling are common. Since 2003 there have been several incursions by Colombian paramilitary forces into Venezuela's western provinces of Zulia and Tachira killing civilians and National Guard troops, both a s a provocation and a threat. In July 2003 Chavez ordered an additional 2,700 troops to reinforce security, in addition to the 20,000 already posted along the Colombian border [28].

In 2001 the US State Department put two Colombian revolutionary groups, FARC and ELN on "terrorist list", accusing them of drug trafficking-smuggling, disrupting country's democratic process and sabotaging country's economy. US also charged that Venezuela facilitates Middle Eastern terrorist to enter the US via Venezuelan territory [30]. In contrast, in 2004, US removed Colombian paramilitary force, which has one of the worst human right recorded, from the terror list, where it had been placed three years previously [31]. This gives the US military a clean chit to supply paramilitary with arms.

Grounds are also being laid on a political-ideological level. In 2004, in his annual Posture Statement , US Southern Commander General James Hill identified "radical populism" (Venezuela) and gangs (revolutionary guerillas) as major dangers facing the region. At the same time a new doctrine, called Effective Sovereignty", was developed by the Bush administration which contends that the US national security is threaded by Latin American governments failure to exercise control over the "ungoverned spaces", such as Amazon basin, which invites unlawful elements of societies. This doctrine permits US to intervene in other countries to protect and maintain its security. And permits a steady flow of weapons and military personnel for this region. [32]

In fact attempts to foment a revolt/coup started three months prior to Chavez's referendum victory in August 2004. In May 2004, about 120 members of Colombian paramilitary, wearing Venezuelan military uniform, landed clandestinely near Venezuelan capital to link up with other anti national groups and disgruntled unions within the country to foment revolt, sabotage and help remove Chavez. Most of them were apprehended by local police [33].

Because of these developments Venezuela reduced it military ties with Washington. To strengthen it security, in November 2004 it ordered 100,000 Russian semi-automatic rifles, anti-tank guns, 40 helicopters and 50 MiG-29MST warplanes as replacement for US made F-16 jets. Both Washington and Colombia viewed it with suspicion and alarm. Colombia accused Chavez as a military threat it poses to Colombia. It is the purchase of Mig-29 that is regarded as hostile act toward Colombia and Colombian officials declared that Chavez resembles a war leader who has put in military officers in government posts traditionally occupied by civilians. [34]

In November 2004 assassination of Venezuelan judicial prosecutor Danilo Anderson, who was prosecuting 2002 coup leaders, was assassinated. Other Venezuelan rightist fugitive in Florida and Colombia openly advocate on Florida-Colombia TV assassination of high officials, including Chavez. In June 2004 Miami TV Channel 41 hosted a fund raiser to overthrow Chavez. In October 2004, an asylum seeker-fugitive anti Chavez actor Urdaneta stated that efficient commandos be hired to assassinate Chavez.

Discredited former President Carlos Perez and other high ranking military fugitives in Colombia advocate assassination of high government officials, showing that subversion has made a qualitative leap to a generalized offensive indicating a well-financed and organized terrorist network based in Colombia and Florida which along with assassinations, also begin attacks against energy and transport infrastructure [35-Solo].

Other pressures to disrupt Venezuelan economy were also set in motion. Soon after Chavez's Referendum victory (August 16, 2004), on September 11, 2004 US decided to impose sanctions on Venezuela because of its alleged role in the international trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation-trafficking within the country and abroad to Spain and Guyana. Countries such as Sudan, Cuba and North Korea that oppose US policies are also accused of not combating trafficking and thus subject to sanction. The sanction that US may impose is blocking a loan request of $250 million by Venezuela to the Inter American Development Bank aimed at combating poverty [36].

However, thus far such methods and tactics have not deposed Chavez. Hence a military intervention is anticipated. Early in 2004 Colombia agreed to buy 46 tanks from Spain equipped with 120 mm (4.7 inch) guns and its accompanying shells, which according one security official "are clearly targeted against Chavez" particularly in the border area. The form the war is likely to take would be where Colombian military and paramilitary attack border communities which Venezuelan army would repel. This would then be presented as Venezuelan aggression against Colombia and the US would "help" Colombia repel aggression and take over the war [37]

At the same time due to Colombian internal conditions, protests and demonstrations have grown in intensity and density which have engaged much of the Colombian military and paramilitary forces, and hence they my find it difficult to mount an incursion, other than the border engagements by paramilitary forces [38]. In this context, the Colombian President Alvaro Uribe-the only South American leader to back Bush's invasion on Iraq-has invited Americans to invade Colombia [39], which should present several opportunities to intervene in Venezuela and the newly re-elected war president, as Bush calls himself, will certainly seize the first opportunity to do so.


1-Today Colombia spends $7.3 million a day on arms, ammunition, purchase of equipment, intelligence, maintenance e of troops, fuel, etc. The guerilla and the paramilitary spend around $2.6 million daily, and the US sends more than $1.6 million a day for military expenditure [2B-]

2 - Railways, roads, river navigation, ports, oil drilling, coal mining, gold mining, textile and other factories were established.

3- The paramilitary is armed and trained by the regular Colombian military. The US provides arms for both the military and the paramilitary. One of the major source of paramilitary financing is drug trafficking-cocaine-many of whom are directly involved in its manufacturing and trafficking [13]

4- Three out of five murders of labor activists in the world occur in Colombia, although Colombia has one of the lowest rates of unionization in Latin America-about 7% of the working population, a total of 900,000 members [15]

5- From 1998-1999 a stampede to supply armament and biochemical weapons to Colombia started. What started the stampede? In 1998 a peasant guerilla force wiped out an elite counter-guerilla unit of 228 troops. General Charles Wilhelm of US Southern command recommended military intervention. The State Department concurred, circulating a paper, stating that FARC and ELN could take over power in Colombian in five years, and the stampede started. [19].

6-Virginia-based DynCorp, with 17,500-plus employee, one of the Pentagon's largest contractors, has annual revenues of more than $ 1.3 billion. Its services are integrated into the Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communication Commission, Internal Revenue Services and Treasury Department. It recruits its pilots,, aerial spraying experts, and technical personnel in Latin America, mostly Colombia and Bolivia [21]

7-In March 20 Colombian paramilitary attacked and killed seven national Guard troops, ambushed army troops, looted and burned homes and killed civilians in the border areas. On March 31, 2003, Chavez ordered bombing of an area where Colombian paramilitary attacked. During August-September, 2004 more than 20 soldiers were killed and more than a dozen unidentified bodies were found. It is not yet confirmed who killed them [29]

Note: See link for references

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Gay Bashing Republican Mayor of Spokane Outed As Child Molestor
Seattle Weekly
by Knute Berger

Outed and accused of sexual abuse, the mayor of Spokane might have dodged one of his own barbaric bullets.

It's almost too good to be true: One of the most powerful, antigay Republican politicians in Washington turns out to be gay. The Spokesman-Review reports that Spokane Mayor Jim West spent time cruising the Internet for young men, apparently from City Hall.

He denies having told a City Council member that he masturbated during these online exchanges. "I didn't masturbate in my office," he insists with Clintonian specificity. He did, however, admit to masturbating with an 18-year-old date in a parking lot.

Further, the outed pol complains, "I am being destroyed because I am a gay man, which is fine. I've been in public life. I can accept that. Because I am a gay man, because of this double life, it has been hell."

So a new poster child for gay rights is born.

It is tempting to become distracted by the monumental hypocrisy of it all, coming from one of the state's chief gay persecutors. Jim West is a right-winger who has actually enjoyed legislative gay bashing. Not only that, in 1990 he tried to outlaw all sexual contact between teenagers, including oral sex and heavy petting. Maybe his legislative actions were a kind of cry for help written in lipstick on the mirror of law: "Stop me before I have sex with teens again!" We'll let his shrink sort that out.

But as King County Executive Ron Sims said of West, on Al Franken's national Air America radio broadcast from Town Hall on Monday, May 9: "Don't let him hide behind being gay."

The headline in the Seattle Post- Intelligencer last week screamed, "Gay Sex Scandal Rocks Spokane," but the "gayness" of the scandal was the least of it. The issue isn't whether West is bisexual or gay or confused, or whether he does it in the office, in the parking lot, or even with prospective interns. Nor is it about a politician succumbing to the twin aphrodisiacs of power and secrecy. Let's stay focused: There are alleged victims who say he's a serial pedophile.

While some of his supporters are no doubt horrified by West's wild gay ways, and while liberals relish the downfall of another self-loathing conservative queer, dwelling on his gayness is a distraction. His lies, explanations, and bad judgment offer us, at most, context for the truly serious charge that he molested kids in the 1970s and '80s while he was a Boy Scout leader and deputy sheriff-sometimes in his squad car. West denies the charges and is on leave to defend against them.

The headline "Boy Scout leader molests boys" is starting to read like a dog-bites-man pronouncement that surprises no one these days. But the alleged crimes here aren't about public outrage but about the real, sometimes lifelong damage done when adults sexually exploit kids. These crimes go way beyond the stupidity of using your government computer for sex chats or having a private life completely at odds with the public policies you propound. We're talking about rape by folks who are trusted to take care of the kids they're abusing.

And they say gay marriage will destroy our sacred institutions.

The Spokesman-Review should be commended for getting these allegations out in the open with two victims willing to go on the record. There was a time when such stories went unreported, or were actively suppressed. Longtime Seattleites will remember that rumors swirled for years around King County Superior Court Judge Gary Little, a charismatic and well-connected man who sexually abused teenage boys. Media investigations never quite seemed to get the goods on him, and his behavior was a kind of creepy open secret for years before he was finally nailed by reporter Duff Wilson, then at the P-I. On the eve of exposure in 1988, Little took his own life, but the question that lingered long after his death was: Why did it take so long to stop this guy?

The Spokesman-Review took its time: The stories about West capped a three-year probe. During that time, we all went to school on the massive Catholic Church abuse scandals, which have helped to educate the public on how widespread abuse is and how the patterns of abuse, cover-up, and denial work. The benefit of the doubt is now shifting from the powerful perpetrators to the victims and accusers. The West story might never have been reported had not so many victims in other cases stepped forward and found vindication, and had not the stigma of being a victim decreased a little.

West is having his day in the court of public opinion. Whether that leads to any other days in court is unknown. If so, it's lucky for him he hasn't always gotten his way. Back in 1990, when West was pushing the bill to ban teen sex, GOP right-wingers in Olympia were pushing a bill that would allow the state to castrate sex offenders. A proposal to make castration mandatory died in committee, but a second bill, co-sponsored by state Sen. Ellen Craswell, would have incentivized castration by offering offenders shorter sentences in exchange for their family jewels. The Senate passed the bill. West was one of those voting "yea."

So West should thank his lucky stars that wiser heads eventually prevailed and that the barbaric bill never became law.

Comment: One has to wonder about these "holier than thou", apparently honest and good living Christian Republicans like Bush and many members of the executive and both houses (Democrats too, since there is nothing to choose between the two parties anymore).

Think about it. If you were a relatively unknown career pedophile and were being groomed for political office, what would be the smartest way to avoid your true nature from ever coming to light? Washington political spinsters with no interpersonal skills and therefore too much time on their hands, like Karl Rove for example, have more than likely spent much time on this very question in the past.

The solution they came up with was something of a no-brainer: god, or rather, the subversion of god. All that is required to ensure a successful, high-profile political career is that the pederast be wrapped in a religious mantle, preferably Christianity of a bible thumping, "I talk to God", Evangelical sort. Let's face it, most people would still nominate their local priest or minister as the least likely person to commit a crime, recent revelations of clerical child abuse notwithstanding. (You gotta love some people's extreme inability to join the dots).

With this in mind, here's a theory: there is a better than average chance that any US politician who shows a clear preference for waging war for profit on the innocents of this world and who simultaneously speaks out against gay rights is very likely a raging homosexual himself with a penchant for abusing minors.

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John Bolton's Divorce – Group Sex Allegations
Scoop Independent News
Friday, 13 May 2005

Press Release: Larry Flynt

John R. Bolton Court Divorce Records Show His First
Wife Fled Home When He Was Traveling Abroad

From Larry Flynt

Publisher Larry Flynt's Questions Posed to State Department Regarding Corroborated Allegations that First Wife was Forced into Group Sex go Unanswered

May 11-LOS ANGELES - Court records concerning the divorce of John R. Bolton, the Bush administration's nominee to become the next ambassador to the United Nations, show his first wife fled the couple's marital home when he was traveling abroad in mid-August 1982. The records further show that she took most of the couple's furniture.

Corroborated allegations that Mr. Bolton's first wife, Christina Bolton, was forced to engage in group sex have not been refuted by the State Department despite inquires posed by Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt concerning the allegations. Mr. Flynt has obtained information from numerous sources that Mr. Bolton participated in paid visits to Plato's Retreat, the popular swingers club that operated in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

"The first Mrs. Bolton's conduct raises the presumption that she fled out of fear for her safety or, at a minimum, it demonstrates that Mr. Bolton's established inability to communicate or work respectfully with others extended to his intimate family relations," said Mr. Flynt. "The court records alone provide sufficient basis for further investigation of nominee Bolton by the Senate." (Click here for court records). Mr. Flynt continued, "The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations must be free of any potential source of disrepute or blackmail."

Mr. Flynt has contacted the State Department asking that they confirm or deny the allegations of Mr. Bolton's prior conduct concerning his wife and the alleged paid visits to Plato's Retreat. He has also called upon the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to conduct an inquiry into the very serious evidence concerning his first wife's fear of him.

Neither the State Department nor the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has yet responded to Mr. Flynt's inquiries.

The Hustler magazine publisher demanded an immediate response from Mr. Bolton. Mr. Flynt has personal knowledge about sources corroborating the allegations of nominee Bolton's misconduct, and he has called upon these persons to publicly come forward with their information.

"First wife Christina Bolton has understandably remained silent on what led her to flee her husband of 10 years and to take the family belonging with hers. A full inquiry would necessarily involve meetings with Mrs. Bolton to uncover the circumstances of her flight and the Committee should subpoena her in private session," Mr. Flynt said.

Mr. Flynt has no further comment at this time, except to ask that the press examine the attached court document pertaining to Mrs. Bolton flight from her home.

Mr. Flynt is awaiting further leads regarding Mr. Bolton's private behavior, at which point he will have more information to convey.

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Reid cites FBI file on judicial pick
By Charles Hurt
May 13, 2005

Minority Leader Harry Reid strayed from his prepared remarks on the Senate floor yesterday and promised to continue opposing one of President Bush's judicial nominees based on "a problem" he said is in the nominee's "confidential report from the FBI."

Those highly confidential reports are filed on all judicial nominees, and severe sanctions apply to anyone who discloses their contents. Less clear is whether a senator could face sanctions for characterizing the content of such files.

"Henry Saad would have been filibustered anyway," Mr. Reid said on the floor yesterday, about the Michigan Appeals Court judge who is nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

"All you need to do is have a member go upstairs and look at his confidential report from the FBI, and I think we would all agree that there is a problem there," Mr. Reid continued.

Republican staff members and supporters of Mr. Bush's nominees were outraged. [...]

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Alan Dershowitz's Amazing Wonderland
by Samer Elatrash
Left Hook

The great enemy of clear language," wrote George Orwell, "is insincerity." So it is natural that a man as dishonest as Alan Dershowitz should hate clarity and abhor consistency. Actually Dershowitz will never forgive you if you hold him to his word. I find that heartening; one might've feared that utter shamelessness precluded feelings of embarrassment, but there is hope.

Dershowitz has chutzpah. That's the title of one of his tedious books, and that's Norman Finkelstein's conclusion in his upcoming book Beyond Chutzpah, which demonstrates the banality of the mendacious intellectual using the example of Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel. After trying, and failing, to stop the publication of Finkelstein's book, Dershowitz composed a smear of Finkelstein that was posted on several websites.

In it he lists the "The Ten Biggest Lies Finkelstein Has Been Caught Telling." It's a puzzling read: Finkelstein had said the Dershowitz never cited a mainstream human rights organization in The Case For Israel to support his depiction of Israel's human rights records. "The truth", Dershowitz yells, is that "Dershowitz cites Amnesty on at least five occasions, B'Tselem on three occasions and numerous other human rights groups. Amnesty and B'Tselem even appear in the index."

Finkelstein was right. He said that Dershowitz adduced statistics from the IDF, and sources such as the New York Times and the Atlantic Monthly, to conclude that the Israeli army did not deliberately kill a single Palestinian civilian in the Battle of Jenin, and that a mere 18 per cent of Palestinian casualties were innocent. That's like citing the Sudanese government, and pro-Janjaweed publications, to prove that reports of a catastrophe in Darfur are exaggerated.

The Case for Israel's index includes one entry for Amnesty International, which leads to pages 190, 191 and 230. In page 190, Dershowitz quotes Amnesty in "The Accusers" section at the beginning of chapter 29. Amnesty accused the IDF and Palestinian militias of showing disregard for the lives of children. Dershowitz disputes Amnesty's charge against the IDF, but in the next page he approvingly quotes them condemning suicide bombings as "a crime against humanity." On page 230, he writes that Amnesty-"an otherwise wonderful organization, which I support"-"has contributed to the false comparisons between Israel and the outlaw nations that do not respect the rule of law."

In the preceding pages, Dershowitz denied that Israel tortured Palestinian prisoners; that the majority of Palestinians killed by the IDF were innocent civilians; that collective punishment and the razing of homes and groves was unjust; and that Israel's illegal colonies were a "barrier to peace"-all this by ignoring the carefully documented reports of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and B'Tselem, which are evidently "wonderful" only when they address Palestinian terrorism, or Cuban and North Korean and Syrian human rights abuses.

B'Tselem is cited twice in the index; leading to page 173 in the "Accusers" section of chapter 25, where he quotes their condemnation of Israel's policy of assassinations (they're wrong, says Dershowitz: assassinations are "perfectly proper") and to page 218, where he writes that B'Tselem's criticisms against Israel are "misused" by antisemites.

Those organizations' findings on Israeli war crimes against Palestinians, and the copious research by their fieldworkers, are not once cited in Case for Israel, simply because they contradict the Israeli government's propaganda i.e. the "The Reality" and "Proof" sections of The Case for Israel.

"Indeed", writes Dershowitz in his recent attack on Finkelstein. "Much of the book is a critique of the double standard employed by these very organizations with regard to Israel." What Dershowitz means by "double standards" isn't clear; those human rights groups are equally critical of Palestinian human rights abuses.

And why on earth would he wish to join an organization that practices a "double standard" against Israel"?

At a debate, Finkelstein said that Dershowitz disliked B'Tselem, and Dershowitz responded: "If I were an Israeli I'd belong to B'Tselem. So don't characterize my views, you don't know my views." A month after, he told me that he stood by that comment. But during a visit to Israel, he told Haaretz that B'Tselem was no good. And now he says that "much of his book is a critique" of the standards used by B'Tselem.

What exactly are his views? I shouldn't "characterize"; here is Dershowitz in his words:

"I'm a pro-Palestinian. The only difference between me and other pro-Palestinians is that they're anti-Israel…my goal is simply to bring more nuances into the debate…" Great. But then he says that he misses "the days when the Israeli-Arab conflict presented a clear cut conflict between good and evil." He warns against reductio ad Hitlerums, but responds to supporters of Jewish-Palestinian secular binationalism with this freak: "the last dictator who supported a one state solution was Hitler." He's against identifying Israel's policies with the Jewish people (as are we all truly, Mr. Dershowitz) but he believes: "it was right for the entire German people to suffer for what their elected leader had unleashed on the world … that is part of what it means to be a nation or a people." A majority of Palestinians support suicide bombings, Dershowitz writes, and "it is just (albeit imperfectly just) to hold the cause collectively accountable for the murderous acts perpetrated in its name…" but he charges the Presbyterian Church with "sinning" and "bigotry" for divesting from Israel in protest against Israeli war crimes, which have the support of a majority of Israeli Jews. He says that a mark of an anti-Jewish racist is the "singling out" of Israel for reproach, but he "singles out" the Palestinians, and he's not a bigot. Have you ever heard Dershowitz say that Israel bears at least part of the blame for the past five years of violence? Dershowitz says that the Palestinians "have suffered greatly, although mostly at the hands of their own destructive leadership and their exploitation by other Arab nations." It seems that just about every country, with the exception of Israel, in that region oppresses the Palestinians. Is Israel blameless, or is Dershowitz a stupid racist?

He says that he's "a human rights activist." He then turns and cheerily proposes that the Israeli army randomly select Palestinian villages for destruction, in retaliation for Palestinian suicide bombings. He says that the New York Times is an "objective newspaper", although it somehow hired a Middle East bureau chief who disseminated a "blood libel."

I confronted Dershowitz on that last comment about Chris Hedges. Hedges had recounted that he witnessed Israeli soldiers goading Palestinian children onto the street, where they would shoot them "for sport." In The Case for Israel, Dershowitz condemned Hedges' account as a "blood libel."

I asked Dershowitz whether he still respected B'Tselem, and he said yes. I then read him a passage from a B'Tselem report:

"A conscript soldier who gave testimony to B'Tselem told of a procedure in a particular area of the West Bank during which IDF jeeps were sent as a provocation to areas of friction with Palestinians in order to serve as bait for throwers of stones and petrol bombs. When the latter would approach, the soldiers, who had taken up position in advance at other points, would shoot at them. The stated goal of this procedure was to distance the demonstrations from other sites, but in fact, stated the soldier, "It became a kind of sport, to "knock down" as many "fire-bombers" as possible. It was an obsessive search. It's called ‘strive to make contact.' What bothers me is had the jeeps not have entered, there would have been no disturbances of the peace."

I said "are B'Tselem guilty of ‘blood libel', is that conscript spreading a ‘blood libel'?" Dershowitz responded: "No that is different, when you take it to the terrorists, to suicide bombers."

The conscript, I told Dershowitz, made no mention of suicide bombers. Dershowitz responded: "fire bombs are a lethal weapon!" Not one Israeli had died of a fire bombing since the start of the intifada, I countered. Dershowitz, that well trained man, barked: "three were killed today!"

He was referring to an 80 kilogram roadside bomb in Gaza that targeted an armored American convey, killing three. "That's a roadside bomb" - by then I felt a bit embarrassed for Dershowitz's plight - "that could level a house! That's not a fire bomb, a fire bomb is a Molotov cocktail."

"No", said the insouciant huckster, "a fire bomb is any projectile…" at which point the exasperated moderator interrupted.

Circumambulate Dershowitz's Wonderland, and you will arrive to Finkelstein's conclusion: Dershowitz is "constitutionally incapable of saying anything that is true. I think that if a true word actually came out of him, he would implode."

Actually that is almost true. In his memoirs, you will discover a nugget of truth spoken by Dershowitz the advocate for Israel:

"Almost all my clients have been guilty."

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Diverted Air France Flight Lands in Maine
Associated Press
May 13, 2005

BANGOR, Maine - An Air France jetliner en route from Paris to Boston was diverted to Maine on Thursday to check on a passenger whose name appeared on a no-fly list, officials said.

The flight continued to Boston less than two hours later without the passenger of interest and three of his family members, said Rebecca Hupp, director of the Bangor airport.

When the plane landed in Maine, federal officials escorted a man, a woman, a young child and a baby off. The four were detained by federal immigration officials, said Ann Davis, spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration in Boston.

The Airbus A-330, carrying 169 passengers, was diverted because the passenger had the same name as someone on the U.S. government's no-fly list, Davis said. Air France and
Federal Aviation Administration officials reported nothing else unusual about the flight.

Hupp said federal officials were evaluating whether the passenger was the person on no-fly list or whether it was a case of mistaken identity.

Sabiha Bishara said the family boarded the flight at the same time as she did in Egypt before they flew to Paris, and she spoke to them in Arabic.

"They were sitting next to me, they were very normal people, there was nothing fishy about them," said Bishara, who was headed to the Boston area to attend her son's college graduation. "When the customs agents boarded, the wife was very surprised."

U.S. law requires airlines to transmit to the Homeland Security Department the passenger lists for flights bound for the U.S. within 15 minutes of takeoff. Officials then check the names against terrorist watch lists.

Bangor International Airport has a well-earned reputation as a stopping off point for trans-Atlantic flights. It is the last major U.S. airport for jets headed across the Atlantic and the first for incoming flights.

Last September, a London-to-Washington flight carrying the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens was diverted to Bangor. Security officials later said a gap in the airline passenger-check system permitted Yusuf Islam - the name the singer took after converting to Islam - to board the flight to the United States despite being on a no-fly list for suspected ties to terrorists. Islam has strongly denied the claim.

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Iris Scanning To Begin At Orlando International Airport

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Florida's busiest airport will begin using high-tech iris-scanning technology to filter out possible terrorists and add an additional layer of security, according to Local 6 News.

Workers and other people at Orlando International Airport will have both irises scanned at special computers to determine their identity.

"This will be an additional layer of information that is enrolled, which will be biometric information," OIA director of security Brigitte Rivera Goersch said. "Employees irises will be enrolled for the additional layer of security."

The Airport Access Control Pilot Program or AACPP is a first of its kind, according to the report.

A person would be required to stand in front of a special mirror and have both eyes scanned.

"It has to verify both irises, not just one iris," Goersch. "Statistically it is very reliable. Iris scanners -- the technology of iris scanning -- is considered one of the most reliable biometric technologies."

"You know just like we did with the airplanes with the cockpit doors and air marshals and all of that kind of stuff," federal security director Art Meinke said. It is just another step to try to figure out what can we do better."

Local 6 News reported that the 90-day test could be expanded and eventually moved to airports throughout the nation.

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Bush Administration Knew Childhood Vaccines Cause Autism
by Evelyn J. Pringle
February 7, 2005

Vaccines are the only drugs that American children are mandated to receive. Although it may be true that state governments mandate vaccines, the decision to mandate a vaccine is based on the recommendations of Federal advisory committees. In the interest of public safety, Congress has a duty to ensure that advisory committee members involved in vaccine policy making are not improperly influenced by conflicts of interest.

In recent years, public trust in the Federal policymaking related to vaccines causing Autism has been broken by the practice of ignoring obvious conflicts of interest. At this point, immediate action by Congress is necessary to restore public confidence in the safety of childhood vaccinations.
Is There A Link Between Childhood Vaccines And Autism?

Is there a connection? I'll let readers judge for themselves.

Mercury is a toxic metal that can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions similar to traits defining or associated with autism.

Thimerosal is an organic mercury compound. It is metabolized to ethylmercury and thiosalicylate and has been used since the 1930s as a preservative in many vaccines and pharmaceutical products to prevent bacterial and fungal contamination.

On Feb 9, 2004, the National Autism Association issued a press release that reported on one of the larger studies under review based on the Center for Disease Control's own Vaccine Safety Datalink. The release reported that under independent investigation, CDC's data concludes children are 27-times more likely to develop autism after exposure to three thimerosal-containing vaccines (TCVs), than those who receive thimerosal-free versions.

Think about it, twenty-seven times more likely to develop autism. Then consider this, our government had this data for years, but deliberately kept it hidden. This conduct was not due to negligence or laziness, it was a deliberate cover-up. All those involved should be criminally charge, prosecuted and punished.

The children who were affected by this cover-up will require care and support for their entire life. These children's lives have been destroyed. The costs to their parents will reportedly exceed $2 million dollars per child. Justice will not be served until these mercury poisoned kids and their parents get everything necessary to make the most of their lives.

The criminals involved better get out there checkbooks, now!
What Did They Know & When Did They Know It?

Thimerosal is composed of nearly 50% mercury, which is a known to be especially harmful to fetuses, infants and children. It has been linked to a range of symptoms jointly known as Autism Spectrum Disorders. At one end of the spectrum is severe autism, in which children are socially withdrawn, do not speak and exhibit bizarre, repetitive, and sometimes aggressive behavior. At the other end, are Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Thimerosal was regularly added to childhood vaccines as a preservative, and became a major source of mercury in infants and toddlers. According to the American Academy of Pediatricians, within the first two years of life, fully vaccinated children received mercury levels that exceeded long-established safety limits by the FDA and other agencies.

However, the focus did not zero in on thimerosal until 1997, when Congress passed the FDA Modernization Act, which required the FDA to investigate all drugs that contained mercury to determine their adverse effects on humans.

Within one year, the FDA called for the removal of all over-the-counter products that contained thimerosal. However, the preservative was still included in more than 50 vaccines until the Public Health Service (which includes the FDA, CDC and NIH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement in July 1999 "urging" vaccine manufacturers to reduce or remove Thimerosal because of "theoretical potential for neurotoxicity."

So we know by the action taken by the FDA in 1999 that our government definitely knew about the dangers related to the preservative. But we also know this because the staff for Rep Dan Burton (R-Ill) obtained an incriminating FDA internal e-mail written on June 29, 1999, by former FDA scientist Peter Patriarca, which offered a "pros and cons" assessment of the Thimerosal statement about to be issued at that time, and listed the questions and issues that would be raised upon its release:

(1) FDA being "asleep at the switch" for decades, by allowing a potentially hazardous compound to remain in many childhood vaccines, and not forcing manufacturers to exclude it from new products. (2) Various advisory bodies aggressive recommendations for use. (3) The dose of ethyl mercury was not generated by "rocket science": conversion of the % of Thimerosal to actual ug [micrograms] of mercury involves 9th grade algebra. (4) What took the FDA so long to do the calculations? (5) Why didn't CDC and the advisory bodies do these calculations while rapidly expanding the childhood immunization schedule?

So the experts in the FDA and CDC definitely knew about the dangers. However, an article published on In These on Nov 11, 2003, raised an interesting question: "If the CDC and FDA seemed to acknowledge the risks of Thimerosal four years ago and the need to get mercury out of medical products, today the official stance is to circle the wagons against mounting public and scientific criticism about its handling of the Thimerosal issue."

I have the answer. The turn of events can easily be explained by the fact that there had been a changing of the guard under Bush since 1999. Keep in mind that the stakes were high for the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, a long time friend of the Bush gang, but also the company that invented Thimerosal.

And sure enough, evidence that Bush came through surfaced when the pharmaceutical industry was granted protection (albeit short-lived) from lawsuits from parents of children who developed autism after being vaccinated, by a provision sneakily tucked into the Homeland Security Act, at the very last minute, by Republicans who no doubt were acting under Bush's direction.

Well their little stunt didn't work because the provision was soon repealed. While the effort to repeal it was under way, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) told Wolf Blitzer on CNN, "What we have in the dead of night, a provision put in to help a pharmaceutical company or series of companies that help the parents and their rights for protecting their children right off at the knees."

During the original final debates on the Homeland Security Bill, Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) had argued forcefully for granting liability protection to makers of mercury based vaccine preservatives and said such measures were needed to boost an industry essential for public health. He is the only physician in the Senate and one of his party's leaders on medical issues, the Tennessean reported on Jan 11, 2003.

But critics of the provision didn't see it that way and accused "Republicans of tilting the legal system in favor of drug companies at the expense of autistic children," noted the Tennessean. "Hundreds of parents have alleged in lawsuits that the vaccine preservative thimerosal caused autism in their children. Eli Lilly & Co., the preservative's chief maker, and other defendants in the suits deny the charge," it said.

Frist's name came up more than others because he headed the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Republicans' political fund-raising arm. Critics were quick to note the large amount of money that Eli Lilly had donated to Republicans. In fact, the pharmaceutical and health products industry was the largest corporate contributor to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, while Frist headed it.

And not surprisingly, Eli Lilly was one of the most generous contributors in the 2002 elections, giving about $1.4 million to federal candidates and parties, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, and three-quarters went to Republicans.

Some critics of the amendment pointed out that some top officials at Eli Lilly had close ties to the White House. I'll let the readers be the judge of whether Bush may have had less than admirable motives to allow that provision to remain in the bill. Here's a sample of people connected to the administration who have been on the Eli Lilly payroll:

* Former President George Herbert Walker Bush (one-time member of board of directors)

* George W Bush's former director of Management and Budget, Mitch Daniels (a former vice president)

* George W Bush's Homeland Security Advisory Council member, Sidney Taurel (current CEO of Eli Lilly)

* The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (recipient of Eli Lilly funding)

Reported by Bruce E Levine, PhD, psychologist and author of Commonsense Rebellion: Taking Back Your Life (New York-London: Continuum, 2003).

The Amendment Is Repealed

At the time of debate on repealing the provision, on Jan 3, 2003, MSNBC reported, "many parents across the nation are still fuming over four small paragraphs at the end of 475 pages designed to protect America."

"What it did to the families is it took away their last option, literally or figuratively closed the door on their last access to the courts of justice," said Professor Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University School of Law.

According to MSNBC, outgoing House majority leader Rep Dick Armey (R-TX) was behind the amendment and argued that if drug companies weren't protected, they might refuse to make vaccines, a worry amid fears of bioterrorism.

To that argument I would say good! If the richest industry in the country refuses to invest a portion of its outrageous profits into finding vaccines the industry can guarantee are safe to administer to vulnerable children, then they shouldn't be in the vaccine business at all.

After listening to Dick Army, congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) was furious. Burton has a grandson who is autistic. "For anybody to say they're proud for putting that kind of an amendment in there is just beyond me," Burton said.

To begin with, when the provision was added to the bill, Burton said he was blindsided by Dick Armey's last-minute addition, according to MSNBC. "Now, he can take sole responsibility for it, that's his prerogative if he wants to, but that amendment is criminal in my opinion," says Burton.

In the end, Frist announced a proposal to repeal the amendment. Under the repealed provision, plaintiffs involved in thimerosal litigation were forced to seek compensation out of court through a special victims fund. Under the proposal Frist agreed to, the provision would be repealed and the legal cases could proceed without interruption, the Tennessean said.

Americans Must Demand Accountability

In May 2003 the AAP stated, "All routinely recommended infant vaccines currently sold in the U.S. are free of thimerosal as a preservative and have been for more than two years." Yet because the FDA maintained it did not have enough evidence to justify a recall of thimerosal vaccines distributed prior to the introduction of thimerosal-free versions and they were allowed to remain on the market until they became outdated. That means that poisonous vaccines were still administered until November 2002.

"Because the FDA chose not to recall thimerosal-containing vaccines in 1999," the April 2003, House Committee on Government Reform report concludes, "in addition to all of those already injured, 8,000 children a day continued to be placed at risk for overdose for at least an additional two years."

The public needs to rise up and demand accountability from the officials in charge of all regulatory agencies involved in concealing information that could have saved many families from the devastation caused by these ill-administered vaccines.

In order to enroll in public schools, children are forced to comply with mandatory vaccine programs, which we now know include vaccines that may not have undergone the scientific testing necessary to guarantee their safety, and have the potential to harm millions of children each year.

If families are expected to trust the Federal government's approval of vaccines, they have a right to demand that the vaccines administered are approved based on the best scientific advice possible, without the undue influence of money being handed to politicians, scientists, and the heads of the regulatory agencies by the pharmaceutical industry.

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Bed bugs threaten to put bite on U.S. hotel industry
By Paul Simao
Thu May 12,11:15 AM ET

ATLANTA - The quaint bedtime saying "sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite" has become a grim mission statement for even the finest hotels in the United States amid a resurgence of the tiny bloodsucking pests.

Rising complaints about these unwelcome guests that bite in the night are leading to red faces at reception desks and an increase in the number of help calls, according to pest control firms and entomologists.

Hotels battling infestations typically request discreet and immediate service, and for good reason. Even though they don't pose a health threat, bed bugs, which live off human blood, can take a nasty bite out of a hotel's reputation and business.

"If a facility is known to have bedbugs, it certainly is going to cut into their client base," said Frank Meek, technical director of Orkin Inc., a pest control firm that saw a 20 percent jump in bed bug-related calls in 2004.

Many came from the hospitality industry.

Concerns about the wingless insects are such that the Atlanta-based firm, a unit of Rollins Inc., will soon begin offering hotels and motels as well as private homes a preventive treatment that it says will ensure a bed bug-free environment for one year.

Besides embarrassing hotel managers and leaving guests itchy and squeamish, bed bugs can trigger lawsuits. A number of companies have been sued by guests who complained of being bitten by the insects.

Even upscale hotels are not immune to litigation, and bug specialists say the pests can thrive even in a spotlessly clean room. [...]

Entomologists are not sure what has caused the recent surge in bed bugs. Some believe it is linked to a reduction in the use of powerful pesticides that once kept the insects at bay.

Although common in many countries, bed bugs were all but eliminated in America in the late 1940s and 1950s when the insecticide DDT was used to rid infestations in hotels, houses and boarding rooms. [...]

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Mild quakes jolt W, SE Iran
Tehran, May 13, IRNA

Three separate mild earthquakes jolted Marivan and Zarand, the two Iranian cities in western and southeastern provinces of Kurdestan and Kerman, Thursday and Friday.

A tremor measuring 3.9 on Richter scale shook Marivan outskirts in Kurdestan Friday morning at 07:25 hours local time (0255 GMT), reported the provincial seismological center in Sanandaj.

The tremble caused no damage to properties, it added.

Marivan was also shaken last March by an earthquake with its epicenter in Iraq, the center said.

Outskirts of Zarand was also reported to have experienced two separate quakes Thursday, measuring 4.6 and 3.6 on Richter scale.

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Un tremblement de terre secoue le nord-ouest de la Suisse

ZÜRICH - Un tremblement de terre de magnitude 4,1 sur l'échelle de Richter a secoué le nord-ouest de la Suisse à 03h38. L'épicentre était situé près de Balstahl (SO). La secousse n'a pas présenté de danger pour les centrales nucléaires de Gösgen et Leibstadt.

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Small quake shakes eastern France
May 12, 2005

STRASBOURG - A moderate earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale shook eastern France early on Thursday, the Earth Sciences Observatory at Strasbourg announced.

The quake struck in the area of the eastern town of Mulhouse at 3:38 am, it said.

It put the epicentre of the quake at 47.29 degrees north latitude and 7.67 degrees east longitude.

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A weekend earthquake centered one mile north and northeast of Piedmont
By Lisa Coffey Mahoney
Posted on Fri, May. 13, 2005

A weekend earthquake centered one mile north and northeast of Piedmont on the Hayward Fault rattled nerves but didn't do any damage, according to city officials.

The 3.4 magnitude temblor struck at 3:35 a.m. on May 8, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The organization received 2,362 responses in 111 ZIP codes about the earthquake, and set the maximum intensity of the quake at IV--meaning there was light shaking and no damage.

"It's business as usual to have small earthquakes," said U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist Jim Lienkaemper, who has spent most of his recent career studying the Hayward Fault.

"Eventually there will be a big earthquake (on the northern segment of the Hayward Fault)," he said.

Lienkaemper said that a magnitude 3.9 earthquake that struck in roughly the same area in September 2003, actually had some effect on the fault creep that geologists measure.

Sunday's earthquake did not have such an effect, he said.

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