Tuesday May 17, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte

New Study Underscores Pro-Israel Bias in US Media
CNI Foudation
May 9, 2005

A new study of American television coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict released at a Capitol Hill public forum sponsored by the Council for the National Interest on Monday, May 9th, revealed a lopsided bias in favor of Israel.

The new study analyzed two years of coverage on ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news programs, as well as general coverage provided by the Associated Press. Using the figures of 28 Israeli children and 131 Palestinian children who died in the course of the first year of the intifada (September 2000-September 2001), Weir showed that the major American media over-reported Israeli deaths and substantially under-reported Palestinian deaths. ABC's World News Tonight, for example, reported the death of Israeli children 14 times more often than Palestinian children. In this way, the public, Ms. Weir said, was given the impression that many more Israeli children died during the first year of the Palestinian uprising than Palestinian, when the numbers showed that four and half times as many Palestinian children died of gunshot wounds or in the line of fire than Israeli children died in gunfights or suicide bombings.

Nor was the coverage atypical. Reviewing the figures for 2004, Weir found that 8 Israeli children and 179 Palestinian children died during that year. The media (ABC, NBC, CBS) reported 83% of Israeli children's deaths and 8% of Palestinian children's deaths. That is, an Israeli death was 9.9 times more likely to be reported than a Palestinian death.

The study is a follow-up to a similar report released two weeks ago on The New York Times, which found the Times reported Israeli deaths at rates up to seven to ten times greater than Palestinian fatalities.

These findings are actually exaggerated in the newspapers in smaller American cities and outside the major metropolitan areas that rely almost wholly on the newswire services, such as the Associated Press and the New York Times Newswire Service. The tendency in these papers is to reduce the copy from the major wire services to fit the space left over from advertising. Consequently the reports of Palestinian deaths, often at the end of news articles, are frequently cut.

Weir, who is executive director of If Americans Knew, said that these reports should serve as a wake-up call to the American public. “By looking at this coverage statistically, choosing clear, objective categories, we have found an extremely useful, non-subjective tool for measuring the accuracy of media coverage on this extremely important issue. Our findings are highly disturbing. Full and fair reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the ongoing peace process is absolutely necessary if the United States is to act as an honest broker."

She added, "Americans give $10 million a day to Israel, and we have a right to know what's happening in that part of the world. Democracy only works if people are informed and know how to act."

The studies are produced by If Americans Knew, a California nonprofit media watchdog organization. Its study of the Times has generated considerable controversy, with New York Times Public Editor Dan Okrent’s column in the paper on May 1 referring readers to the organization’s website, www.ifamericansknew.org, to look into the matter for themselves.

Ambassador Edward Peck, former chief of mission to Iraq, introduced Ms. Weir, the 11th in the series of public hearings on the Middle East sponsored by the Council for the National Interest in the last year.

Comment: The obvious question that needs to asked here is, how, and why, does such bias occur in the US mainstream press? Much has been made of the alleged "Jewish" control of much of the mainstream US press corporations, an allegation that is immediately labeled as "anti-Semitism" by US-based Israeli lobby groups and the Israeli government. Yet what other explanation can there be?

It is certainly ridiculous to suggest that such overwhelming bias against Palestinian and towards Israeli interests could be the result of the political persuasion of the editors in question, unless we are to assume that all US Newsroom editors openly support the brutal suppression of an innocent people. A much more likely and logical explanation is that most US media outlets are either controlled or owned by die-hard supporters of Israel, which then begs the question: How did such people come to dominate the US media?

Former CIA Director William Colby is alleged to have said: "The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media," which, if true (and we have no reason to doubt him) would suggest that the party ultimately responsible for the subversion of the US media is the US government, or some faction thereof.

It is no secret that many of the leading Washington Neocons, the architects of Bush's foreign and domestic policies, are either Jewish, or hold dual US Israeli citizenship. It is no secret either that the US government has for many years been strangely beholden to the state of Israel, donating somewhere in the region of $90 billion over the last 25 years. Of course, many short-sighted commentators will argue that the Israeli state was essentially established to act as America's bodyguard to protect "America's interests" in the oil rich Middle East and that it is therefore no surprise that there exists a "special relationship" between the two countries.

While we agree that Israel benefits from US patronage because of it's geographic postion, this does not explain the complete infiltration of the American media, film industry and many major US telecommunications corporations, not to mention the inner sanctum of the US Executive and Defense Department, by individuals that display a 100% pro-Israel bias.

Surely it should be patriotic Americans that dictate the nature of the US-Israeli "special relationship" and not Zionist Israelites as seems to be the case?

Perhaps in the final analysis, the conclusion must be that, at the very top of the global pyramidal power structure, there is only one master and only one agenda and ideals such as patriotism are seen for what they truly are: tools to manipulate and keep the masses divided and distracted from the fact that the real agenda of the controllers of this planet is to ensure that there is not, and never will be, any future for the human race in its current state of apathy and ignorance.

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Israel-First NeoCons = anti-American Turncoats
Sartre
May 16 2005

If you are mystified about the insane policies that drive our country to the brink of oblivion, you need not be confused any longer. The deranged fascists over on Free Republic have a new hero. Attorney Steven Zak and contributor to Frontpage has an essay - The Old Right/New Left/Neo-Nazi Alliance – published on Frontpagemag.com. Leave it to David Horowitz, that Trotskyite denier who wants you to believe he is an American conservative to feature the literalism of Zak. Impervious to those who might place Mr Zak with the ranks of shyster representation, this lawyer turned writer doesn’t lack any chutzpah. From his opening statement to his closing summary he is not shy about where he stands!

The question for the public, do you know what that stand really means for America?

According to Zak “extreme views” are quotes that oppose his vision for our country. He wants you to conclude that “hateful minds” are anyone who opposes the intervention in Iraq, the broader War on Terror, and the Jewish state of Israel. To support his probative analysis he lumps the like of Llewellyn H. (“Lew”) Rockwell Jr., Michael Moore, Pat Buchanan and David Duke together in a choir of detestable “fringe adherents”. He quotes this band of dissidents in their own words. For Zak, only prejudice exists if you dispute the allegiance that drives his politics. So naturally this group must be demonized as and for their “extremists’ “pacifist” anti-Americanism.”

Ah, the logic of NeoCons never fears the scrutiny of rational self-interest. By adding in more gadflies like Juan Cole, Kathleen and Bill Christison, Alexander Cockburn, Noam Chomsky, Bradley Smith and Craig Colbert, Zak covers all the diversity of the political spectrum. For this ‘so called” American Thinker, Zak gets to the core of his disgust. As he likes to say, in his own words, Zak identifies HIS fundamental axiom litmus test. This prosecutor see all these ‘Sam Hills’ as residing in hell because they share one central similarity. “Their point is that if Jews really are the enemies of the state, one cannot be charged with anti-Semitism merely for pointing that truth out. This convenient argument expunges the record of anti-Semitism these forces have so justly earned. After all, one can’t be accused of holding to a venomous worldview that doesn't exist. This frees them to pursue their toxic, anti-Jewish agendas.”

Such pristine rational only exists in the mind of an Israel-First ‘true believer’ . . .

Zionism is a political ideology based upon the suspension of reason and common sense, rooted upon a macabre death wish that worships the state of Israel. The political issue has no correlation with religious faith of Jews. Not all Jews are supporters of Zionism. True Torah – Jews Against Zionism rebuffs Zak and reveals the secret that NeoCons fear the most: “In order to maintain a Jewish majority in the state of "Israel", its leaders promote anti-Semitism throughout the world to "encourage" Jews to leave their homelands and seek "refuge".

Israel-First loyalists do not have to be Jewish. Christian-Zionists routinely forgo faithfulness to our country, when they place Israel above the interests of our own nation. The notion that Israel is a trusted ally is the most absurd illusion that exists in a demented political culture. This is the “Big Lie”, an invention of Zionist subversion, which is the cause of an insane American foreign policy. Israel-First zealots control every aspect of political power in the United States. An actual American holocaust that stares us directly in our faces stems from sick fraudulent propaganda and phony guilt deceit that only benefits Zionists and Israel.

Not all Israelis practice or believe in a heartfelt religious Judaism. Rabbi C. Soloveichik warns: (Zionists) want a state in order to make Jews into heretics. Secular atheists who claim to be Jews are the driving force behind Zionism. Henry Makow, PhD sums up the myth of false claims: “Jews imagine they are descendents of the Israelites, irrationally persecuted for the crucifixion, morally superior people and a beacon for humanity. In fact, I suspect they are dangerously out of touch with their own reality. Most are descendents of Khazars who assumed the difficult legacy of the ancient Israelites by converting to Judaism.”

The Zak's in this world and the sapheads who follow such a pied piper deny the grim realities of a crazed policy of fighting wars for Israel. They swallow his conclusion as fact, and in so doing become enablers of NeoCon betrayal. America First is the only standard that is worthy of a free people. Supporters and proponents of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) are the true anti-Americans. Where is the outrage from the Amen Corner over the AIPAC-Franklin spy scandal? Counselor Zak fails to mention the treason of fifth column spies. Justin Raimondo reports the correct fact: "So far, the commentariat and blogosphere (both left and right sides) have been curiously quiet about the news that Pentagon official Larry Franklin was arrested for improperly passing classified information to AIPAC." If Steven Zak was bound by the rules of evidence, he would be required to honor his oath and stipulate that opposition to the Zionist state of Israel is certainly NOT equivalent with anti-Semitism.

If Zak wants to condemn Ernst Zundel for being a defender of his race, where is the indignation for Israeli racism towards the Palestinians that are herded in walled ghettos? The hypocrisy of the NeoCons is only superceded by their arrogance. There is nothing American about licking the boots of a kosher quisling. It’s far overdue to take back this country as our own. A total break with a nuclear rogue state that call themselves Israel is the only policy that can restore the prospects of national security for our own people. Israel-First advocates forfeit their claim to be a fellow American. No longer can such turncoats be called dual-loyalists because they seek the destruction of all things American.

The hideous pretense used to foster and impose a Star of David flag over the stars and stripes is the central conflict that brought the war of terror to our shores. The federal government is embedded with NeoCon and NeoLib agents dedicated to a Zionist empire that dominates not only the Middle East but enforces its dictates upon the rest of the globe. Opposing such a political despotism is essentially the same struggle that ignited the American Revolution. Let no traitor claim that Israel must come before America. However, that is exactly the mantra of the sub-rosa infiltrators that pervert our true national interests.

The only Nazis in this country are socialists who want to eliminate individual independent sovereignty. Let those who share that viewpoint emigrate to the promised land. America needs to free herself from all foreign usurpers, no matter what country or what ethnic group that bears their mark. Armageddon is a battle that NeoCons are eager to wage. According to official policy, there is no limit of Americans that would be offered up as a sacrifice upon the altar of Baal. Yes, my fellow American you are at war. It is time to discover just who is the enemy.

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Flashback: Greatest Hoax Ever Perpetrated On The Jewish People: Zionism And Anti-Semitism
Jews Against Zionism
7-19-4

We implore and beseech our Jewish brethren to realize that the Zionists are not the saviors of the Jewish People and guarantors of their safety, but rather the instigators and original cause of Jewish suffering in the Holy Land and worldwide. The idea that Zionism and the State of "Israel is the protector of Jews is probably the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the Jewish People. Indeed, where else since 1945 have Jews been in such physical danger as in the Zionist state?!

[...] It has been the age-old intention of Zionism to intentionally stir up anti-Semitism anywhere possible, and even more commonly, to take advantage of any Jewish suffering anywhere in order to enhance its cause. Indeed, hatred of Jews and Jewish suffering is the oxygen of the Zionist movement, and from the very beginning has been to deliberately incite hatred of the Jew and then, in feigned horror, use it to justify the existence of the Zionist state this is, of course, Machiavellianism raised to the highest degree. Thus, the Zionists thrive on hatred and suffering of Jews, and seek to benefit thereby through keeping Jews in perpetual fear, causing them to ignore the true nature of Zionism, and instead to consider the Zionist state is their salvation.

[...] As far as Zionism is concerned, the founder of Zionism and apostate, Theodor Herzl, sought to intensify hatred of the Jew in order to enhance the cause of political Zionism. Here are some of his "pearls:

"It is essential that the sufferings of Jews. . . become worse. . . this will assist in realization of our plans. . . I have an excellent idea. . . I shall induce anti-semites to liquidate Jewish wealth. . . The anti-semites will assist us thereby in that they will strengthen the persecution and oppression of Jews. The anti-semites shall be our best friends." (From his Diary, Part I, pp. 16)

Additional words from the vivid imagination of this dreamer, from p. 68 of Part I of his Diary.

"So anti-Semitism, which is a deeply imbedded force in the subconscious mind of the masses, will not harm the Jews. I actually find it to be advantageous to building the Jewish character, education by the masses that will lead to assimilation. This education can only happen through suffering, and the Jews will adapt."

[...] There is a huge amount of literature describing how the Zionists made it very difficult to save Jews during and after World War II. As various individuals and organizations were trying to arrange departures of Jews to western countries, the Zionists worked overtime to prevent this from happening. They expressed the opinion that building up the Jewish population of Palestine was more important than enabling Jews to go to third countries, and they insisted to western powers that Jews should not be accepted anywhere other than Palestine. Indeed, Yitzchak Greenbaum, a famous Zionist, proclaimed that "one cow in Palestine was worth more than all the Jews in Poland. The infamous David Ben-Gurion said in 1938:

"If I knew it was possible to save all the children in Germany by taking them to England, and only half of the children by taking them to Eretz Israel, I would choose the second solution. For we must take into account not only the lives of these children but also the history of the people of Israel."

For more information about the brutal Zionist role during World War II, Click Here.

After the war, a Zionist 'religious' leader, Rabbi Klaussner, who was in charge of displaced persons presented a report before the Jewish American Conference on May 2nd, 1948 :

"I am convinced people must be forced to go to Palestine...For them, an American dollar appears as the highest of goals. By the word "force", I am suggesting a programme. It served for the evacuation of the Jews in Poland, and in the history of the 'Exodus'... To apply this programme we must, instead of providing 'displaced persons' with comfort, create the greatest possible discomfort for them...At a second stage, a procedure calling upon the Haganah to harass the Jews."

It is ironic that the Zionists proclaim their State as the safe haven for the Jewish People, when since World War II no place on earth has been as dangerous for Jews, both spiritually and physically, as the Zionist state.

The Zionists worked relentlessly to create fear among Jews in the Arab countries after the Zionist state was established. Their tactic work most successfully in Yemen, Morocco, Iraq, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia.

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A Reading Into AIPAC’s Legacy And Rhetoric
By Ali Al-Hail
Al-Jazeerah, May 17, 2005

The American Administration of the year 2000, witnessed perhaps, the largest number of ministers, whose membership at the Israeli Lobby (shortened to AIPAC) in the US, was so influential. There were 7 key high-ranking ministers, members in the AIPAC. Some of them administered the most significant posts. There were: Defense, External Finances and National Security whose post was managed by Sandy Burger. The latter was well known nationally, and beyond as the prime architect of American politics subservient to Israel.

The AIPAC, the coded acronym name for the Israeli Lobby in the US, according to Edward Said, is capable within hours of persuading the Congress to sign a letter to the President in favor of Israel.

There was (and still) according to Duke (2004) and Said (2000), no American political commentator, dares to hold a view against Israel. Edward Said goes further to say that, the “American Zionism” had reached a level of an ultimate “fantasia”. Through this “fantasia”, whatever is good to the “American Zionists” in their empires and rhetoric is quite often good for the US and “Israel”. Whoever threatens them, especially, if she he an Arab Muslim or an American Jew, critique of Zionism; would be exposed to a variety of punishments. These measures are perceived to be subjective, personal, racist and, ideological.

Edward Said (2000) unveiled that, the PLO’s attempts since the 80’s, to win the American presidents’ sympathy for their cause, failed drastically. Almost entirely, without a single exception, all American presidents in the past recent decades were “loyal Zionists”.

For more than two centuries, American presidents encouraged Jews to immigrate to Palestine (Now Israel) or to the West Bank (The land of Judea). For example, President John Adams (1797-1801), declared immediately, after he won the presidency that, Jews should return to Judea (the West Bank), to establish their independent state. He called on all Americans to support the Jews return. He described this “return” as holy and therefore, every American loyal to his country should work out to achieve this “return”.

Additionally, President Wilson who became the president of the US after the WWI, recruited a number of Jew assistants at the WH. They convinced President Wilson of taking decisions in favor of American Jews. In particular, they persuaded him to support the project of American Jews in founding the state of “Israel” abroad.

As for president Truman who, was elected after WWII, he was the first ever American president who publicly, implemented the idea of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine (Now Israel).

Everyday reality shows how the Bush and Blair’s administrations in particular, side completely by Israel. They never endorsed the Palestinians’ right to return to their homes, from which they were evicted by Israel in 1848. Moreover, they quite seldom condemned Israeli occupation forces’ harsh actions in the occupied lands. This is happening because of the AIPAC’s key influence upon both administrations.

AIPAC constitutes more than 500 Jewish organizations within the US. Most notably, The American Israeli Public Relation Committee that came into existence during 1951.

AIPAC and Mossad’s alleged coordinated role was more than obvious in 9/11 terror attacks. According to David Duke (2004),

“As to the Zionists being behind 911, I don't know if Zionist infiltrators were the ones behind the attack, an attack that only hurt the Muslim cause, but I do know that there is ample credible evidence that the Israeli Mossad had fully shadowed the hijackers and knew about the attack ahead of time --and purposefully let the attack go on”. He continues, “As to 911, although I do not write that Israel was assuredly behind the attack, my experience in studying the Mossad and Israel's massive infiltration of resistance organizations, I personally believe that high placed Israeli agents came up with the idea and directed the Al Qaeda elements toward this plan.

We know for a fact from U.S. Government papers, that Israeli Mossad agents were shadowing and wiretapping at least half of the hijackers for weeks before the attacks. They certainly knew of the attacks ahead of time, and why were they there, I think, they were actually shepparding the attacks, they desperately wanted the attacks to occur, and of course, when they occurred, Israel and Sharon reaped big benefits. In fact, it is arguable that the year before 911 was the worst year of Israel's public relations in its entire existence.” (Duke, 2004, Private).

Comment: "Zionists" have had well over 100 years to infiltrate US political, cultural and social life. What level of influence do we think they would wield by now? It should be noted that Zionists are not Jews but are rather using the Jewish people and their experiences over the years to further their own agenda. What is that agenda? All of the evidence, both from the evidence of current events and historical fact, suggests that their goal is to manufacture the right environment for the unleashing of a massive conflagration in the Middle East in which all Semitic peoples, both Jews and Arabs, will perish.

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Israelis arrested for plotting attack on Islam's third holiest shrine
16 May 2005 2338 hrs - AFP /ch

JERUSALEM : Nine Jewish extremists were arrested last month on suspicion of preparing a rocket attack against Islam's third holiest shrine.

The nine were arrested after an operation led by the Shin Beth internal security agency on suspicion they intended to buy one or more anti-tank missiles for the planned attack on Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Israeli security sources revealed Monday.

They also tried to acquire grenades for the attack, which they intended to launch from the terrace of a religious school close to the compound, the sources said.

Most of the group, including three members of one family from Jerusalem, were held for more than a fortnight but released without charge on April 22, one of the group's lawyers said.

One of the nine was a radical rabbi but he was only briefly detained, the sources said.

One of the nine suspects was arrested on suspicion of planning to buy a miniature remote-controlled plane, stuff it with explosives and bring it down over the compound, said police.

Israeli authorities have been increasingly nervous about the risks of an attack by Jewish extremists on the compound, which is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, in the run-up to this summer's pullout of settlers from the Gaza Strip.

The security services believe that extremists are hoping an attack on such a high-profile target will inevitably spark a Palestinian backlash and derail Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza pullout plan.

The compound shelters the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The site is also revered by Jews as it once housed the Jewish Temple which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

Yair Golan, the lawyer of one of the nine, said the group had been arrested a month ago but was released on April 22.

"There was not enough proof," the lawyer told AFP. "My client had no intention of breaking the law. It was all just talk which was initiated by one of the members of the group who is known as a fantasist."

Golan said that the nine had been given no access to lawyers during their first 15 days in custody but were later freed without charge.

"The only thing that they are forbidden from doing now is to approach the Temple Mount," he added.

The Shin Beth uncovered a plot in the early 1980s to detonate a huge explosion in the compound in a bid to derail a landmark peace agreement with Egypt.

A controversial visit to the site by Sharon on September 28, 2000, when he was Israeli opposition leader, is widely seen as triggering the second Palestinian uprising, or intifada.

Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qorei underlined last week the importance he attached to the security of the compound.

"It seems that the attempted aggression against Al-Aqsa is continuing and we warn against the danger of such measures whether they come from Israel or radicals within Israel," Qorei told reporters.

"This is something we cannot keep silent over and we warn the government of Israel and the whole world to do everything possible to control these radicals and end their threats."

An editorial published in Monday's Maariv newspaper, before the lifting of an official embargo, said that the security services would have their work cut out to protect the site.

"The ease (of a potential attack) is frightening, because in reality almost no effective way can be found to completely protect the Temple Mount," it said.

"True, the police can prevent extremist right-wingers from entering the Temple Mount compound itself, but it is almost impossible to prevent a situation where extreme right-wing activists stand on a high point overlooking the Temple Mount... and aim a rocket from there at the Dome of the Rock."

Comment: Notice how the nine militants, even while admitting how and when they were planning to attack the Mosque were held for over two weeks and then released without charge. Perhaps they were let go not due to a lack of evidence, but freed in order to be allowed to finish what they started?

Psychopaths the likes of Bush and Sharon, backed by their rabid fundamentalist followers, would love nothing better than to see a few "armed extremists" launch an attack against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Such an event would most certainly trigger a response from the Palestinian side, which would then necessitate an even greater response from Israel, and before you know it the fundies would have their war of Armageddon, and Sharon would have his excuse to finally eliminate the "Palestinian problem" once and for all.

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Anger as US backs brutal regime
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday May 15, 2005
The Observer

Human rights concerns as troops put down uprising in Uzbekistan

Heated criticism was growing last night over 'double standards' by Washington over human rights, democracy and 'freedom' as fresh evidence emerged of just how brutally Uzbekistan, a US ally in the 'war on terror', put down Friday's unrest in the east of the country.

Outrage among human rights groups followed claims by the White House on Friday that appeared designed to justify the violence of the regime of President Islam Karimov, claiming - as Karimov has - that 'terrorist groups' may have been involved in the uprising.

Critics said the US was prepared to support pro-democracy unrest in some states, but condemn it in others where such policies were inconvenient.

Witnesses and analysts familiar with the region said most protesters were complaining about government corruption and poverty, not espousing Islamic extremism.

The US comments were seized on by Karimov, who said yesterday that the protests were organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic group often accused by Tashkent of seditious extremism. Yet Washington, which has expressed concern over the group's often hardline message, has yet to designate it a terrorist group.

Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, tried to deflect accusations of the contradictory stance when he said it was clear the 'people of Uzbekistan want to see a more representative and democratic government. But that should come through peaceful means, not through violence.'

Washington has often been accused of being involved in a conspiracy of silence over Uzbekistan's human rights record since that country was declared an ally in the 'war on terror' in 2001.

Uzbekistan is believed to be one of the destination countries for the highly secretive 'renditions programme', whereby the CIA ships terrorist suspects to third-party countries where torture is used that cannot be employed in the US. Newspaper reports in America say dozens of suspects have been transferred to Uzbek jails.

The CIA has never officially commented on the programme. But flight logs obtained by the New York Times earlier this month show CIA-linked planes landing in Tashkent with the same serial numbers as jets used to transfer prisoners around the world. The logs show at least seven flights from 2002 to late 2003, originating from destinations in the Middle East and Europe.

Other countries used in the programme include Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Morocco. A handful of prisoners' accounts - including that of Canadian Maher Arar - that emerged after release show they were tortured and abused in custody.

Critics say the US double standards are evident on the State Department website, which accuses Uzbek police and security services of using 'torture as a routine investigation technique' while giving the same law enforcement services $79 million in aid in 2002. The department says officers who receive training are vetted to ensure they have not tortured anyone.

The aid paradox was highlighted by the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, who criticised coalition support for Uzbekistan when they were planning invading Iraq, using similar abuses as justification.

Murray said yesterday: 'The US will claim that they are teaching the Uzbeks less repressive interrogation techniques, but that is basically not true. They help fund the budget of the Uzbek security services and give tens of millions of dollars in military support. It is a sweetener in the agreement over which they get their air base.'

Murray said that during a series of suicide bombings in Tashkent in March 2004, before he was sacked as UK ambassador, he was shown transcripts of telephone intercepts in which known al-Qaeda representatives were asking each other 'what the hell was going on. But then Colin Powell came out and said that al-Qaeda were behind the blasts. I don't think the US even believe their own propaganda.'

The support continues, seen by many as a 'pay-off' for the Khanabad base. The US Embassy website says Uzbekistan got $10m for 'security and law enforcement support' in 2004.

Last year Human Rights Watch released a 319-page report detailing the use of torture by Uzbekistan's security services. It said the government was carrying out a campaign of torture and intimidation against Muslims that had seen 7,000 people imprisoned, and documented at least 10 deaths, including Muzafar Avozov, who was boiled to death in 2002.

'Torture is rampant,' the reported concluded. Human Rights Watch called for the US and its allies to condemn Uzbekistan's tactics.

Comment: It really is worth reading the above article again, it contains all of the core details that make up US foreign policy: Hypocrisy, torture, accusing others of sponsorship of terrorism while doing exactly that themselves, lying to the public about "al-Qaeda", support for brutal dictatorships.

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Uzbeks recoil from bloody confrontation that left 'many hundreds' dead
By Peter Boehm in Tashkent, Andrew Osborne in Moscow and Stephen Khan in London
15 May 2005

By a school, near a city square, lay bodies, piled up by the dozen. Next to a memorial to a poet, were yet more, swathed in spattered shrouds. The streets of Andizhan were stained with blood yesterday, and littered with spent bullet cartridges.

Yet amid fears of further violence, hundreds of protesters gathered again, placing six bodies on display from among the scores of people whom witnesses said were killed in fighting. Demonstrators, some in tears, condemned their government for firing on women and children.

This city, in eastern Uzbekistan, is recoiling from a horror that unfolded on Friday. The government, meanwhile, portrayed events as the putting down of an Islamic terrorist attack, and warned foreign reporters to leave. The rest of the country is trying to piece together whatever information it can get hold of.

Comment: It seems that, apart from the millions in military and financial aid, the Uzbek government has also been getting lessons in how to justify the abolition of civil and human rights on "Islamic terrorism" from the Bush administration. As noted in the previous article, most of those protesting last Friday in Andizhan were complaining about government corruption and poverty and were not espousing "Islamic terrorism."

Broadcasts by foreign TV news channels were cut off on Friday and Uzbekistan's tightly-controlled state TV channel was dominated yesterday by repeated airings of President Islam Karimov's news conference at which he gave his version of the violence.

His security forces were shot at in the late afternoon, he said, and therefore had to open fire. According to him, "armed criminals" attacked a police station and army barracks on Thursday night, grabbed assault rifles and went on to release "nearly all prisoners" from a high-security prison in town. Women, children and old men were used as human shields.

Local people do not dispute that there was a jailbreak. Up to 2,000 prisoners fled along with 23 men being held on charges, which they deny, of promoting Muslim extremism. And the accused have huge popular support among this section of the Uzbek population, which has in recent weeks risen in protest against the leadership.

But in Andizhan yesterday, it was being claimed that government forces targeted civilians and protesters who cheered freed inmates.

Lutfulo Shamsudinov, a human rights worker, said: "The security forces used heavy weapons and the fighting lasted for at least half an hour." Returning to the scene of the violence early yesterday, he saw many bodies, more than three-quarters of them women and children.

Soldiers loaded the bodies on to four lorries and a bus and took them away. Mr Shamsudinov estimates that they took 300 bodies. Other witnesses described hundreds of bodies being loaded on to trucks.

One told reporters, "Many, many dead bodies are stacked up by a school." An AP reporter saw 30 bodies: all had been shot.

Daniyar Akbarov, 24, who joined the protests yesterday after being freed from the prison during the earlier clashes, said he saw at least 300 people killed. The assault on the prison was launched to free 23 men alleged to be members of Akramia - a group named after its founder, Akram Yuldashev, an Islamic dissident sentenced in 1999 to 17 years in prison for allegedly urging the overthrow of Mr Karimov. The Akramis, though, are considered the backbone of Andizhan's small business community, providing employment to thousands in the impoverished Fergana Valley, where Islamist sentiment runs high.

Further down the valley, some people believed the government line that terrorists had seized Andizhan. Others, though, were more suspicious and feared that the trouble could spread.

"They are hiding the truth. We know that for sure," said Lyudmila, 42, a resident of Fergana city. "On Uzbek television, it's all songs and music."

But she said she had learnt from an Andizhan resident who was visiting Fergana that shops, markets and schools were closed there.

Kinatkhon Buriyeva, 54, said she saw something on state TV about trouble in Andizhan but added, "I didn't understand anything." She said that she heard from other people that some injured had been brought to the Fergana hospital.

"Even though they don't say anything, we hear things," she said.

A 20-year-old who gave his name only as Oibek, a resident of the town of Margilan, which was peaceful yesterday, said the people were being starved of information "because the government doesn't want it to spill over to other regions".

In tightly controlled Uzbekistan, many people resist telling journalists their full names, apparently fearing incurring displeasure from the Karimov's authoritarian government.

Barchinoi, 51, another Fergana resident who gave only her first name, asked: "Is war going to come here, too?"

Stability in the region is of particular interest to the US, which has an airbase in Uzbekistan and uses it to mount operations in Afghanistan. and the White House has urged restraint by both sides. President Bush has avoided criticising Mr Karimov

"The people of Uzbekistan want to see a more representative ... government. But that should come through peaceful means, not through violence," spokesman Scott McClellan said on Friday.

Just whose violence was deployed in such a brutal fashion, however, is a matter that may come to haunt the American administration.

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US adds voice of protest as unrest spreads in Uzbekistan
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow and Ewen MacAskill
Tuesday May 17, 2005
The Guardian

Unrest spread across eastern Uzbekistan yesterday and fears grew of mass arrests as troops surrounded a border village and the state sought to stamp its authority on a region in revolt.

The continuing tension came amid growing outrage from the international community at the alleged massacre of up to 500 civilians in the city of Andijan on Friday.

In a change of tone, the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, called for political reform. Speaking in Ireland as she flew home from Iraq, Ms Rice said: "We have been encouraging the Karimov government to make reforms, to make the system more open, to make it possible for people to have a political life."

Ms Rice said Uzbekistan, where the autocratic President Islam Karimov has ruled since Soviet times, had a political system that was "too closed".

The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, called for diplomats and journalists to be taken to Andijan today and said he remained "very concerned indeed about the accounts... of troops opening fire on civilians".

After talks with the Uzbekistan foreign minister yesterday, the British ambassador, David Moran, said Tashkent had agreed to EU diplomats visiting Andijan, possibly as early as today.

Comment: It would appear that many high-level politicians have absolutely no qualms about talking out of both sides of their mouths. It should be stated that the ONLY reason that Condi is criticising the Uzbek regime is because she is forced to do so in an attempt to prop up the crumbling facade of "freedom and Democracy" that the US government is struggling to maintain for itself. Listening to Condi's words, who would think that the US government has, for the past 10 years, been financing the oppressive regime of Uzbek leader Karmiov to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, in exchange for lucrative oil and gas contracts for the "friends of Dick Cheney", as the fat cats of the US corporate world have come to be known, and access for the US military to establish large military bases from which to bomb the life out of Afghan civilians.

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'They shot us like rabbits'
CHRIS STEPHEN
Scotsman

GRAPHIC eyewitness accounts of the massacre of civilians by troops in the Uzbek town of Andijan emerged yesterday from fleeing refugees.

With human rights organisations reporting a death toll of up to 500 in Friday’s massacre, survivors told of soldiers machine-gunning women, children and their own police comrades.

There were also reports of fighting erupting in a second town, Korasuv, on the Uzbek border with Kyrgyzstan.

The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, said the situation was "very serious" and criticised the Uzbek government.

Throughout the weekend desperate relatives have been criss-crossing Andijan, checking on hospitals and calling at police stations for news.

Thousands of Uzbeks fled across improvised bridges to safety in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, telling their stories to relief workers.

Andijan remained under curfew with blood and body parts still visible in the shattered main square.

Friday’s massacre began after the main square was occupied by thousands of opposition demonstrators. Many in the crowd had come along out of curiosity a day after armed rebels took control of the adjacent regional government building.

Without warning, groups of eight-wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APCs) rolled in.

Moving at high speed, one column raced into the square, and soldiers on board began shooting into the crowd.

"They shot at us like rabbits," a boy in his late teens said.

Panic broke out and the crowd scattered. The army units then advanced on a high school occupied by rebels.

Rebels forced captured policemen to leave the school and form a "human shield" in front of the soldiers, but the troops opened fire.

"About ten policemen were pushed ahead of the crowd as hostages," a 35-year-old businessman said.

"‘Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!’ they begged. But then the APC opened fire from about 150 metres away."

After the killing was over, the main square was littered with bodies and burning cars.

Some soldiers were also shot dead, apparently by rebels barricaded inside the government headquarters.

A human rights campaigner, Saidzhakhon Zaidabitdinov, and doctors have said up to 500 were killed.

One witness described watching soldiers shoot dead several wounded people who had been lying in the square overnight.

"Those wounded who tried to get away were finished with single shots from a Kalashnikov rifle," said the man. "Three or four soldiers were assigned to killing the wounded." [...]

Comment: Hopefully it is clear enough now. The present US government, and virtually all of its predecessors, were deliberate and active sponsors of brutal regimes around the world. Last Friday in Uzbekistan, the entire world was witness to the most recent atrocity that is a direct result of US foreign policy.

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Koran abuse report 'may be wrong'
BBC News

US magazine Newsweek says its report on the desecration of a Muslim holy book by US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay may have been mistaken.

The latest edition says its source is not sure where he saw the assertion that a Koran was flushed down a toilet in an attempt to pressurise detainees.

The original claims triggered outrage throughout the Muslim world.

Newsweek extended sympathy to victims of riots in Afghanistan, where at least 15 have died following the report.

Clerics there threatened holy war unless the US handed over the culprits.

More than 100 people have been injured in violent anti-US protests from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Indonesia and Gaza.

The US authorities had promised prompt action if the allegations proved to be true.

'Sympathies to victims'

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong," Newsweek's editor Mark Whitaker wrote in the magazine's latest issue, due to appear on news stands on Monday.

Mr Whitaker said Newsweek wanted to "extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the US soldiers caught in its midst".

In its new account, the magazine said that one of its reporters spoke to "his original source, the senior government official, who said that he clearly recalled reading investigative reports about mishandling the Koran, including a toilet incident".

"But the official, still speaking anonymously, could no longer be sure that these concerns had surfaced" in a forthcoming report by the US military, the magazine added.

Newsweek said that when it told Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita about what the source said, the spokesman became angry.

"People are dead because of what this son-of-a-bitch said. How could he be credible now?" Mr DiRita was quoted as saying.

Comment: As we noted a few days ago, we are extremely suspicious of this entire episode. Newsweek is one of the aforementioned media outlets that are controlled by Israeli interests. The event can only help further collective goal of Sharon and the Washington NeoCon's to demonise the world's Arab population as crazed fundamentalists and "terrorists". Muslim leaders themselves are skeptical, but for all the wrong reasons...

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Muslims skeptical over Newsweek back-track on Koran
Mon May 16, 2005
By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL (Reuters) - Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan were skeptical Monday about an apparent retraction by Newsweek magazine of a report that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran and said U.S. pressure was behind the climb-down.

The report in Newsweek's May 9 issue sparked protests across the Muslim world from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan, India, Indonesia and Gaza.

Newsweek said Sunday the report might not be true.

"We will not be deceived by this," Islamic cleric Mullah Sadullah Abu Aman told Reuters in the northern Afghan province of Badakhshan, referring to the magazine's retraction.

"This is a decision by America to save itself. It comes because of American pressure. Even an ordinary illiterate peasant understands this and won't accept it."

Aman was the leader of a group of clerics who Sunday vowed to call for a holy war against the United States in three days unless it handed over the military interrogators reported to have desecrated the Koran.

That call for a jihad, or holy war, still stood, he said.

Comment: What hope can there be for the world when Muslim leaders willingly take the bait to "declare a Jihad on America", which simply compounds US and Israeli propaganda protraying all Muslims as terrorists? The chief Sunni Muslim cleric in Lebanon said:

"the desecration of the holy Koran in the terrifying Guantanamo detention center that America created under the title of fighting terrorism against the Muslims who have been arbitrarily rounded up there, is one of the American methods of torture . . . This is not an isolated act carried out by an American soldier but is part of an American program...of contempt for Islam, to disfigure its image in the minds of American."

Exactly, so why help them in their task?!?

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White House bashes Newsweek report on Koran
Mon May 16, 2005

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday that a Newsweek report based on an anonymous source had damaged the U.S. image overseas by alleging that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay.

The May 9 report triggered several days of rioting in Afghanistan and other countries in which at least 16 people were killed.

Newsweek's editor, Mark Whitaker, apologized to the victims on Sunday and said the magazine inaccurately reported that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that personnel at the detention facility in Cuba had flushed the Muslim holy book down the toilet.

"It's puzzling that while Newsweek now acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refused to retract the story," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "I think there's a certain journalistic standard that should be met and in this instance it was not."

The report sparked violent protests across the Muslim world -- from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan, Indonesia and Gaza. In the past week the reported desecration was condemned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and by the Arab League.

McClellan complained that the story was "based on a single anonymous source who could not personally substantiate the allegation that was made."

"The report has had serious consequences," he said. "People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."

Newsweek said in its May 23 edition that the information had come from a "knowledgeable government source" who told Newsweek that a military report on abuse at Guantanamo Bay said interrogators flushed at least one copy of the Koran down a toilet in a bid to make detainees talk.

But the source later told the magazine he could not be certain he had seen an account of the Koran incident in the military report and that it might have been in other investigative documents or drafts, Newsweek said

Comment: Neither McClellan, nor any other member of the Bush administration need worry about the "image of the US being damaged overseas". The only image that the US maintains around the world is that of the "great satan", which is wholly appropriate. We understand, of course, that McClellan was simply trying to perpetuate the idea among the US population that America is seen as (and indeed is) anything other than a brutal and bloodthirsty dictatorship, and he may still find success in this task, but for how long...

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Stop the Crime of the Century
by David Michael Green
05/13/05 CommonDreams.org

In Iraq, there is a crime of breathtaking proportions taking place. Breathtaking, but not necessarily surprising. We know from the historical record that governments will lie and deceive, and we've rarely seen one as immoral and venal as the Bush administration. What has turned this crime into an astonishing demonstration of the depth of American democracy's decay is the complicity of the media establishment in hiding the original crime, and in thus doing so, ripping a gaping hole in the fabric of our political system.

Did you know that there now exists in the public domain a 'smoking gun' memo, which proves that everything the Bush administration said about the Iraq invasion was a lie? If you live in Britain you probably do, but if you live in the United States, chances are minuscule that you would be aware of this.

Think about that for a second. Apart from 9/11, has there been a more important story in the last decade than that the president lied to the American people about the reasons for invading Iraq, and then proceeded to plunge the country into an illegal war which has alienated the rest of the world, lit a fire under the war's victims and the Islamic world generally, turning them into enemy combatants, locked up virtually all American land forces in a war without end in sight, cost $300 billion and counting, taken over 1600 American lives on top of more than 15,000 gravely wounded, and killed perhaps 100,000 Iraqis?

Could there be a bigger story? "How Do Japanese Dump Trash?", perhaps, which ran on page one of today's (May 12) Times?

Of course not. But then how is it that this is not being reported in the American mainstream media? How is it that the two organs most responsible for coverage of political developments in this country - the New York Times and the Washington Post - have failed to splash this across their front pages in bold headlines, despite the fact that they clearly know of the story? How, especially, could these two papers sit on a story like this after both recently issued mea culpas for their respective failures to critically cover administration claims of bogus Iraqi threats during the period leading up to the war, thereby contributing to the war themselves?

From the Bush administration and the current generation of Republicans, I expect nothing but the most debased and vile politics. And, of course, ditto for Fox News and the rest of the overtly right-wing media. But I have been naive enough, until now, to believe that at least some of the American mainstream media has not climbed completely into bed with those destroyers of all that is decent about American democracy. Apparently I've been a fool.

Here is the story we are not being told.

Several days before their election last week (May 5), a patriot within the highest circle of British government leaked to the Times of London a memo, which proves the degree of deceit to which both the Americans and British publics have been subjected on the subject of the Iraq war. You were never supposed to see this document. It is headlined in bold with this warning: "This record is extremely sensitive. No further copies should be made. It should be shown only to those with a genuine need to know its contents."

The memo provides minutes from a meeting of Tony Blair's most exclusive war cabinet, held in July of 2002. In the meeting, two of Blair's top officials report on discussions they had just held in Washington with officials at the top levels of the Bush administration.

Before describing the contents of the memo, it is important to note that nobody in the British government has denied to even the slightest degree the authenticity of this document. A highly placed American source has verified, off the record, that it is completely accurate in its recounting of the events described. And Tony Blair's only comment has been that there is 'nothing new' contained in the memo. This could not be more false. The memo proves beyond doubt the following:

* The Bush administration had decided by July 2002, at the latest, to invade Iraq. The memo says that "Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action..." Later in the memo it notes that "It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action". This means the claims that the president did not have a war plan on his desk at that time are now proven lies. It means that the whole kabuki dance of going to Congress, going to the UN, sending over weapons inspectors, pulling them out before they could finish their work, requiring Iraq to report to the Security Council on its weapons of mass destruction, then immediately rejecting their report as incomplete and deceitful - all of this - was a completely counterfeit exercise conducted for public relations purposes only. It also means that when former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and former terrorism czar Richard Clarke reported that Bush had planned to attack Iraq from the beginning, they - rather than the administration which was personally savaging them as loonies - were telling the truth.

* The Bush and Blair administrations knew that the argument for war against Iraq was weak. As Foreign Secretary Jack Straw notes in the meeting, "But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran". This is proof that Iraq was never anything like the serious threat it was portrayed to be before the war, and that both administrations knew that it was no threat, but knowingly and completely oversold the necessity for the war with their massive phalanx of lies and distortions.

* Because the case was thin, the war would have to be "...justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD". This proves that former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz wasn't kidding when he let slip that the weapons of mass destruction argument was decided on by the administration for "bureaucratic reasons", meaning a rationale that all the leading actors within the administration could agree on as the most effective public relations device for marketing the war.

* Both the Bush and Blair administrations manipulated intelligence to get what they wanted in order to justify the war, and knew that they were doing precisely that. As the memo states, "...the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy". This is the most remarkable statement of all, as it makes clear that the decision to invade had nothing to do with facts or any sort of real threat. Rather, it was simply a preference of the Bush administration (and probably just a personal one for Bush), which then became its policy, for which they then twisted and fabricated information and disinformation in order to sell the war to a rightly skeptical public.

* The war was illegal. Kofi Annan and the international community clearly believed that the war was a violation of international law. But we now also know that the British Attorney-General, who has to rule on this point (the question of the legality of launching a war is far less significant, unfortunately, in the American political tradition), "said that the desire for regime change was not a legal base for military action. There were three possible legal bases: self-defense, humanitarian intervention, or UNSC authorization [which was never ultimately obtained from the Security Council]. The first and second could not be the base in this case. Relying on UNSCR 1205 of three years ago would be difficult. The situation might change of course." Yes, of course. Then, again, if it didn't, one could always just lie about it.

* Knowing that the war was neither legal nor morally justifiable, the American and British governments therefore sought to find a way to make the war politically acceptable by baiting Saddam. As the memo notes, "We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force". And, "The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors". And, "If the political context were right, people would support regime change".

* Well before the war was 'justified', even in the bogus sense of Washington's and London's inspections and UN resolutions game, it had already begun. The memo states that the "US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime".

* Finally, it is worth noting that, even putting legal and moral questions aside, the memo also substantiates the sheer strategic incompetence of the administration, a failure which has, of course, produced excessive loss of life. It states that "There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action".

Let's review the bidding here.

We now have definitive, verified and undenied evidence documenting a panoply of lies told to the American and world publics about the invasion of Iraq, a bloody war which was neither legally nor morally justified, despite overt attempts to make it so by those who wished to launch it.

On top of that crime, we can now also add that of America's fourth estate, which has completely abdicated its role and responsibility to present this crucial bombshell of information to the public.

It gets worse, however. Eighty-nine members of Congress have taken note of the items described above, as well as a separate secret briefing for Blair's meeting, in which it was agreed that "Britain and America had to 'create' conditions to justify a war", and have sent a letter to the president, demanding a response.

And, yet, still there is no coverage from our press. It appears that demanding that the government respect the will of the people is no longer enough in American democracy. We must now also carry the burden of demanding that the media do its job and cover developments which are unfavorable to the national kleptocracy of which these giant media corporations have become a part.

That noise you hear? It's the sound of America's Founders spinning in their graves. And well they should, for this scenario is precisely the massive concentration of power they most feared. All branches of the government are now in the hands of the same party (meaning, effectively, there virtually are no branches any longer).

The so-called opposition party facilitates Republican rule through the flattery of imitation, when it hasn't gone into hiding instead. The public is frightened and ill-informed. And now this. To this hall of shame list must be added a mainstream press which a week ago seemed only biased and intimidated, but now appears entirely complicit. We are now living precisely the nightmare of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and the rest. It must stop. We cannot have a prayer of an informed public curbing the worst excesses of American government if, in fact, that public is not informed. Sad as it is, if we ever hope to reclaim American democracy, it appears we must now fight for outrageous news to be aired, if we ever expect that news to outrage.

Notwithstanding our worst horrors and fears these last four years, American democracy is in deeper trouble than we knew. Now is the time for patriots to act.

We must begin by demanding coverage of this explosive evidence by the leading organs of American journalism. If the American people remain too jaded or frightened to demand the heads of those who deceived them so thoroughly, they're entitled to inherit the consequences of their own failures. However, they cannot make that choice until they know the facts.

Please therefore, for the sake of innocent Iraqis, for the sake of American soldiers, and for the sake of American democracy, do two things 'write now':

* First, send a message to the New York Times and the Washington Post, demanding that they cover this most significant of stories. Top brass at the New York Times can be emailed at the following addresses: Executive Editor Bill Keller at executive-editor@nytimes.com , and Managing Editor Jill Abramson at managing-editor@nytimes.com . For the Washington Post, try National Editor Michael Abramowitz at abramowitz@washpost.com , and Associate Editor Robert Kaiser at robertgkaiser@yahoo.com.

* Next, forward this article on to everybody you know, and ask them to write the Times and the Post as well, and then to forward this article in turn to everyone they know. With some luck, perhaps we can achieve a critical mass which can no longer be ignored by these papers, with the electronic media then to follow.

In any case, we are evidently going have to take this country back ourselves, without even the benefit of a competent media to report the news.

Fortunately, we possess the greatest weapon of all, the truth.

David Michael Green ( pscdmg@hofstra.edu ) is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York.

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Iraq is a bloody no man's land. America has failed to win the war. But has it lost it?
15 May 2005
Patrick Cockburn
UK Independent

"The battlefield is a great place for liars," Stonewall Jackson once said on viewing the aftermath of a battle in the American civil war.

The great general meant that the confusion of battle is such that anybody can claim anything during a war and hope to get away with it. But even by the standards of other conflicts, Iraq has been particularly fertile in lies. Going by the claims of President George Bush, the war should long be over since his infamous "Mission Accomplished" speech on 1 May 2003. In fact most of the 1,600 US dead and 12,000 wounded have become casualties in the following two years.

The ferocious resistance encountered last week by the 1,000-strong US marine task force trying to fight its way into villages around the towns of Qaim and Obeidi in western Iraq shows that the war is far from over. So far nine marines have been killed in the week-long campaign, while another US soldier was killed and four wounded in central Iraq on Friday. Meanwhile, a car bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in central Baghdad yesterday, killing at least five Iraqis and injuring 12.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, the leader of one of the Kurdish parties, confidently told a meeting in Brasilia last week that there is war in only three or four out of 18 Iraqi provinces. Back in Baghdad Mr Talabani, an experienced guerrilla leader, has deployed no fewer than 3,000 Kurdish soldiers or peshmerga around his residence in case of attack. One visitor was amused to hear the newly elected President interrupt his own relentlessly upbeat account of government achievements to snap orders to his aides on the correct positioning of troops and heavy weapons around his house.

There is no doubt that the US has failed to win the war. Much of Iraq is a bloody no man's land. The army has not been able to secure the short highway to the airport, though it is the most important road in the country, linking the US civil headquarters in the Green Zone with its military HQ at Camp Victory.

Ironically, the extent of US failure to control Iraq is masked by the fact that it is too dangerous for the foreign media to venture out of central Baghdad. Some have retreated to the supposed safety of the Green Zone. Mr Bush can claim that no news is good news, though in fact the precise opposite is true.

Embedded journalism fosters false optimism. It means reporters are only present where American troops are active, though US forces seldom venture into much of Iraq. Embedded correspondents bravely covered the storming of Fallujah by US marines last November and rightly portrayed it as a US military success. But the outside world remained largely unaware, because no reporters were present with US forces, that at the same moment an insurgent offensive had captured most of Mosul, a city five times larger than Fallujah.

Why has the vastly expensive and heavily equipped US army failed militarily in Iraq? After the crescendo of violence over the past month there should be no doubts that the US has not quashed the insurgents whom for two years American military spokesmen have portrayed as a hunted remnant of Saddam Hussein's regime assisted by foreign fighters.

The failure was in part political. Immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein polls showed that Iraqis were evenly divided on whether they had been liberated or occupied. Eighteen months later the great majority both of Sunni and Shia said they had been occupied, and they did not like it. Every time I visited a spot where an American soldier had been killed or a US vehicle destroyed there were crowds of young men and children screaming their delight. "I am a poor man but I am going home to cook a chicken to celebrate," said one man as he stood by the spot marked with the blood of an American soldier who had just been shot to death.

Many of the resistance groups are bigoted Sunni Arab fanatics who see Shia as well as US soldiers as infidels whom it is a religious duty to kill. Others are led by officers from Saddam's brutal security forces. But Washington never appreciated the fact that the US occupation was so unpopular that even the most unsavoury groups received popular support.

From the start, there was something dysfunctional about the American armed forces. They could not adapt themselves to Iraq. Their massive firepower meant they won any set-piece battle, but it also meant that they accidentally killed so many Iraqi civilians that they were the recruiting sergeants of the resistance. The army denied counting Iraqi civilian dead, which might be helpful in dealing with American public opinion. But Iraqis knew how many of their people were dying.

The US war machine was over-armed. I once saw a unit trying to restore order at a petrol station where there was a fist fight between Iraqi drivers over queue-jumping (given that people sometimes sleep two nights in their cars waiting to fill a tank, tempers were understandably frayed). In one corner was a massive howitzer, its barrel capable of hurling a shell 30km, which the soldiers had brought along for this minor policing exercise.

The US army was designed to fight a high-technology blitzkrieg, but not much else. It required large quantities of supplies and its supply lines were vulnerable to roadside bombs. Combat engineers, essentially sappers, lamented that they had received absolutely no training in doing this. Even conventional mine detectors did not work. Roadsides in Iraq are full of metal because Iraqi drivers normally dispose of soft drink cans out the window. Sappers were reduced to prodding the soil nervously with titanium rods like wizards' wands. Because of poor intelligence and excessive firepower, American operations all became exercises in collective punishment. At first the US did not realise that all Iraqi men have guns and they considered possession of a weapon a sign of hostile intention towards the occupation. They confiscated as suspicious large quantities of cash in farmers' houses, not realising that Iraqis often keep the family fortune at home in $100 bills ever since Saddam Hussein closed the banks before the Gulf war and, when they reopened, Iraqi dinar deposits were almost worthless.

The US army was also too thin on the ground. It has 145,000 men in Iraq, but reportedly only half of these are combat troops. During the heavily publicised assault on Fallujah the US forces drained the rest of Iraq of its soldiers. "We discovered the US troops had suddenly abandoned the main road between Kirkuk and Baghdad without telling anybody," said one indignant observer. "It promptly fell under the control of the insurgents."

The army acts as a sort of fire brigade, briefly effective in dousing the flames, but always moving on before they are fully extinguished. There are only about 6,000 US soldiers in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital and which has a population of three million. For the election on 30 January, US reserves arriving in Iraq were all sent to Mosul to raise the level to 15,000 to prevent any uprising in the city. They succeeded in doing so but were then promptly withdrawn.

The shortage of US forces has a political explanation. Before the war Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defence, and his neo-conservative allies derided generals who said an occupation force numbering hundreds of thousands would be necessary to hold Iraq. When they were proved wrong they dealt with failure by denying it had taken place.

There is a sense of bitterness among many US National Guardsmen that they have been shanghaied into fighting in a dangerous war. I was leaving the Green Zone one day when one came up to me and said he noticed that I had a limp and kindly offered to show me a quicker way to the main gate. As we walked along he politely asked the cause of my disability. I explained I had had polio many years ago. He sighed and said he too had had his share of bad luck. Since he looked hale and hearty this surprised me. "Yes," he said bitterly. "My bad luck was that I joined the Washington State National Guard which had not been called up since 1945. Two months later they sent me here where I stand good chance of being killed."

The solution for the White House has been to build up an Iraqi force to take the place of US soldiers. This has been the policy since the autumn of 2003 and it has repeatedly failed. In April 2004, during the first fight for Fallujah, the Iraqi army battalions either mutinied before going to the city or refused to fight against fellow Iraqis once there. In Mosul in November 2004 the 14,000 police force melted away during the insurgent offensive, abandoning 30 police stations and $40m in equipment. Now the US is trying again. By the end of next year an Iraqi army and police force totalling 300,000 should be trained and ready to fight. Already they are much more evident in the streets of Baghdad and other cities.

The problem is that the troops are often based on militias which have a sectarian or ethnic base. The best troops are Kurdish peshmerga. Shia units are often connected with the Badr Brigade which fought on the side of Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. When 14 Sunni farmers from the Dulaimi tribe were found executed in Baghdad a week ago the Interior Ministry had to deny what was widely believed, that they had been killed by a Shia police unit.

The greatest failure of the US in Iraq is not that mistakes were made but that its political system has proved incapable of redressing them. Neither Mr Rumsfeld nor his lieutenants have been sacked. Paul Wolfowitz, under-secretary of defence and architect of the war, has been promoted to the World Bank.

Almost exactly a century ago the Russian empire fought a war with Japan in the belief that a swift victory would strengthen the powers-that-be in St Petersburg. Instead the Tsar's armies met defeat. Russian generals, who said that their tactic of charging Japanese machine guns with sabre-wielding cavalry had failed only because their men had attacked with insufficient brio, held their jobs. In Iraq, American generals and their political masters of demonstrable incompetence are not fired. The US is turning out to be much less of a military and political superpower than the rest of the world had supposed.

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State Secret: Thousands Secretly Sterilized
ABC News
5/15/2005

N.C. Woman Among 65,000 Sterilized by Gov't, Often Without Their Knowledge, in Twentieth Century

WINDFALL, N.C., May 15, 2005 — Beneath the surface of this Southern town, with its lush evergreens and winding riverbanks, is a largely forgotten legacy of pain, secrecy, and human indignity.

"My heart still bleeds, and it will forever bleed, because of what had happened to me," local resident Elaine Riddick said.

Riddick was one of thousands of people secretly sterilized by the state between 1929 and 1974, a program designed to prevent so-called undesirables from reproducing.

From the early 1900s to the 1970s, some 65,000 men and women were sterilized in this country, many without their knowledge, as part of a government eugenics program to keep so-called undesirables from reproducing.

"The procedures that were done here were done to poor folks," said Steven Selden, a professor at the University of Maryland. "They were thought to be poor because they had bad genes or bad inheritance, if you will. And so they would be the focus of the sterilization."

Sterilized Without Her Knowledge

Riddick was raped and became pregnant at the age of 13. Social workers labeled her promiscuous and too feeble-minded to ever be a responsible parent. So, after giving birth in 1968, Riddick was sterilized without being told.

She learned the truth years later, when she married and tried to have more children.

"They took so much away from me," Riddick said. "They took away my spirit and my soul."

North Carolina sterilized close to 8,000 women in hospitals across the state.

Even though the practice ended more than 30 years ago, some say the time has come to make amends. North Carolina was one of the first states out of 33 that once practiced sterilization to offer an apology. State Rep. Larry Womble is crafting a bill to provide financial reparations.

Some wonder where the state will get the money. "They say, 'Well, we can't afford it,' " said Womble, a Democrat. "Well, we cannot not afford it."

Elaine Riddick went on to earn a college degree and raise the son she had at 14. He now is an engineering consultant.

"I thank you, God, for giving me my child," she said.

Comment: Who would have thought that in the "land of opportunity", right under the noses of the members of the greatest democracy on earth, the US government would have covertly carried out the sterilisation of tens of thousands of Americans without their consent.

It would seem that the term the "land of opportunity" in relation to the US has been misunderstood. The opportunities were only ever available to the ruling "elite" to consolidate their control and wealth at the expense of the population. It is interesting to note that the eugenics program carried out by the US government during the 1920s and 30's laid the ground work for the activities of Nazi doctors in Germany who paid homage to their American counterparts.

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Flashback: Hitler's debt to America
Friday February 6, 2004
The Guardian

The Nazis' extermination programme was carried out in the name of eugenics - but they were by no means the only advocates of racial purification. In this extract from his extraordinary new book, Edwin Black describes how Adolf Hitler's race hatred was underpinned by the work of American eugenicists

At 4am on November 12 1915, a woman named Anna Bollinger gave birth at the German-American Hospital in Chicago. The baby was somewhat deformed and suffered from extreme intestinal and rectal abnormalities, as well as other complications. The delivering physicians awakened Dr Harry Haiselden, the hospital's chief of staff. Haiselden came in at once. He consulted with colleagues. There was great disagreement over whether the child could be saved. But Haiselden decided the baby was too afflicted and fundamentally not worth saving. It would be killed. The method: denial of treatment.

Catherine Walsh, probably a friend of Bollinger's, heard the news and sped to the hospital to help. She found the baby, who had been named Allan, alone in a bare room. Walsh pleaded with Haiselden not to kill the baby by withholding treatment. "It was not a monster - that child," Walsh later told an inquest. "It was a beautiful baby. I saw no deformities." Walsh had patted the infant lightly. Allan's eyes were open, and he waved his tiny fists at her. Begging the doctor once more, Walsh tried an appeal to his humanity. "If the poor little darling has one chance in a thousand," she pleaded, "won't you operate to save it?"

Haiselden laughed at Walsh, retorting, "I'm afraid it might get well." He was a skilled and experienced surgeon, trained by the best doctors in Chicago. He was also an ardent eugenicist. Allan Bollinger duly died. An inquest was convened a few days later. Haiselden defiantly declared, "I should have been guilty of a graver crime if I had saved this child's life. My crime would have been keeping in existence one of nature's cruellest blunders." A juror shot back, "What do you mean by that?" Haiselden responded, "Exactly that. I do not think this child would have grown up to be a mental defective. I know it."

After tempestuous proceedings, the inquest ruled: "We believe that a prompt operation would have prolonged and perhaps saved the life of the child. We find no evidence from the physical defects that the child would have become mentally or morally defective." But they also decided that Haiselden was within his professional rights to decline treatment. No law compelled him to operate on the child. He was released unpunished, and efforts by the Illinois attorney general to indict him for murder were blocked by the local prosecutor. The doctor considered his legal vindication a powerful victory for eugenics. "Eugenics? Of course it's eugenics," he told one reporter.

Haiselden became an overnight celebrity, known for his many newspaper articles, his speaking tours and outrageous diatribes. In 1917, Hollywood came calling. The film was called The Black Stork. Written by Jack Lait, a reporter on the Chicago American, it was produced in Hollywood and given a massive national distribution and promotion campaign. Haiselden played himself in a fictionalised account of a eugenically mismatched couple whom he advises not to have children because they are likely to be defective. Eventually, the woman does give birth to a defective child, whom she then allows to die. The dead child levitates into the waiting arms of Jesus Christ. It was unbridled cinematic propaganda for the eugenics movement; the film played at movie theatres around the country for more than a decade.

National publicity advertised it as a "eugenic love story". One advertisement quoted Swiss eugenicist Auguste Forel's warning: "The law of heredity winds like a red thread through the family history of every criminal, of every epileptic, eccentric and insane person. Shall we sit still ... without applying the remedy?" In 1917, a display advertisement for The Black Stork read: "Kill Defectives, Save the Nation and See 'The Black Stork'." Various methods of eugenic euthanasia - including gassing the unwanted in lethal chambers - were a part of everyday American parlance and ethical debate some two decades before Nevada approved the first such chamber for criminal executions in 1921.

As America's eugenics movement gathered pace, it inspired a host of imitators. In France, Belgium, Sweden, England and elsewhere in Europe, cliques of eugenicists did their best to introduce eugenic principles into national life; they could always point to recent precedents established in the United States.

Germany was no exception. From the turn of the century, German eugenicists formed academic and personal relationships with the American eugenics establishment, in particular with Charles Davenport, the pioneering founder of the Eugenics Record Office on Long Island, New York, which was backed by the Harriman railway fortune. A number of other charitable American bodies generously funded German race biology with hundreds of thousands of dollars, even after the depression had taken hold.

Germany had certainly developed its own body of eugenic knowledge and library of publications. Yet German readers still closely followed American eugenic accomplishments as the model: biological courts, forced sterilisation, detention for the socially inadequate, debates on euthanasia. As America's elite were describing the socially worthless and the ancestrally unfit as "bacteria," "vermin," "mongrels" and "subhuman", a superior race of Nordics was increasingly seen as the answer to the globe's eugenic problems. US laws, eugenic investigations and ideology became blueprints for Germany's rising tide of race biologists and race-based hatemongers.

One such agitator was a disgruntled corporal in the German army. In 1924, he was serving time in prison for mob action. While there, he spent his time poring over eugenic textbooks, which extensively quoted Davenport, Popenoe and other American ethnological stalwarts. And he closely followed the writings of Leon Whitney, president of the American Eugenics Society, and Madison Grant, who extolled the Nordic race and bemoaned its "corruption" by Jews, Negroes, Slavs and others who did not possess blond hair and blue eyes. The young German corporal even wrote one of them fan mail.

In The Passing of the Great Race, Grant wrote: "Mistaken regard for what are believed to be divine laws and a sentimental belief in the sanctity of human life tend to prevent both the elimination of defective infants and the sterilisation of such adults as are themselves of no value to the community. The laws of nature require the obliteration of the unfit and human life is valuable only when it is of use to the community or race."

One day in the early 1930s, Whitney visited Grant to show off a letter he had just received from Germany, written by the corporal, now out of prison and rising in the German political scene. Grant could only smile. He pulled out his own letter. It was from the same German, thanking Grant for writing The Passing of the Great Race. The fan letter called Grant's book "his Bible". The man who sent those letters was Adolf Hitler.

Hitler displayed his knowledge of American eugenics in much of his writing and conversation. In Mein Kampf, for example, he declared: "The demand that defective people be prevented from propagating equally defective offspring is a demand of clearest reason and, if systematically executed, represents the most humane act of mankind. It will spare millions of unfortunates undeserved sufferings, and consequently will lead to a rising improvement of health as a whole."

Mein Kampf also displayed a familiarity with the recently passed US National Origins Act, which called for eugenic quotas. "There is today one state in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception [of immigration] are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but [the US], in which an effort is made to consult reason at least partially. By refusing immigrants on principle to elements in poor health, by simply excluding certain races from naturalisation, it professes in slow beginnings a view that is peculiar to the People's State."

Hitler proudly told his comrades how closely he followed American eugenic legislation. "Now that we know the laws of heredity," he told a fellow Nazi, "it is possible to a large extent to prevent unhealthy and severely handicapped beings from coming into the world. I have studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock."

Nor did Hitler fail to grasp the eugenic potential of gas and the lethal chamber, a topic that was already being discussed in German eugenic circles before Mein Kampf was published. Hitler, who had himself been hospitalised for battlefield gas injuries, wrote: "If at the beginning of the war and during the war 12,000 or 15,000 of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas, as happened to hundreds of thousands of our best German workers in the field, the sacrifices of millions at the front would not have been in vain. On the contrary: 12,000 scoundrels eliminated in time might have saved the lives of a million real Germans, valuable for the future."

On January 30 1933, Hitler seized power. During the 12-year Reich, he never varied from the eugenic doctrines of identification, segregation, sterilisation, euthanasia, eugenic courts and eventually mass termination in lethal chambers. During the Reich's first 10 years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler's plans as the logical fulfilment of their own decades of research and effort. Indeed, they were envious as Hitler rapidly began sterilising hundreds of thousands and systematically eliminating non-Aryans from German society. This included the Jews. Ten years after Virginia passed its 1924 sterilisation act, Joseph Dejarnette, superintendent of Virginia's Western State Hospital, complained in the Richmond Times-Dispatch: "The Germans are beating us at our own game."

Most of all, American raceologists were proud to have inspired the strictly eugenic state the Nazis were constructing. In those early years of the Third Reich, Hitler and his race hygienists carefully crafted eugenic legislation modelled on laws already introduced across America and upheld by the supreme court. Nazi doctors, and even Hitler himself, regularly communicated with American eugenicists from New York to California, ensuring that Germany would scrupulously follow the path blazed by the US. American eugenicists were eager to assist.

This was particularly true of California's eugenicists, who led the nation in sterilisation and provided the most scientific support for Hitler's regime. In 1934, as Germany's sterilisations were accelerating beyond 5,000 per month, the California eugenic leader and immigration activist CM Goethe was ebullient in congratulating ES Gosney of the San Diego-based Human Betterment Foundation for his impact on Hitler's work. Upon his return in 1934 from a eugenic fact-finding mission in Germany, Goethe wrote Gosney a letter of praise. The foundation was so proud of Goethe's letter that they reprinted it in their 1935 annual report.

"You will be interested to know," Goethe's letter proclaimed, "that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the intellectuals behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought, and particularly by the work of the Human Betterment Foundation.

"I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people."

Extracted from War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race, by Edwin Black. Edwin Black is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, IBM and the Holocaust.

Comment: Few people are aware of the extent to which Hitler was aided and abetted by US and European governments. Even fewer are aware of the fact that so called Zionists of that time used the US-inspired policies of the Nazi regime as leverage for the establishment and seeding of a Jewish state in the Middle East. Today we are witnessing the legacy of those manipulations.

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'Do not have children if they won't be healthy!'
By Tamara Traubmann

A shocking new study reveals how key figures in the pre-state Zionist establishment proposed castrating the mentally ill, sterilizing the poor and doing everything possible to ensure reproduction only among the `best of people.'

Castrating the mentally ill, encouraging reproduction among families "numbered among the intelligentsia" and limiting the size of "families of Eastern origin" and "preventing ... lives that are lacking in purpose" - these proposals are not from some program of the Third Reich but rather were brought up by key figures in the Zionist establishment of the Land of Israel during the period of the British Mandate. It turns out there was a great deal of enthusiasm here for the improvement of the hereditary characteristics of a particular race (eugenics). This support, which has been kept under wraps for many years, is revealed in a study that examines the ideological and intellectual roots at the basis of the establishment of the health system in Israel.

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A police state yet again: Anti-Iraq War demonstration in Malaysia crushed
Aliran Monthly
2005

As in most countries, it is the ruling Governments that succumb to pressure from the world’s political masters, Bush and Blair. Never the people. Mammoth demonstrations have been held everywhere ever since the US started riding the “global war on terror” and began to police and rule the world.

Everywhere the superpower goes, innocent people often end up being killed in huge numbers. The superpower plunders the resources of these nations and, with no remorse, unleashes carpet bombing to ensure near total destruction.

It is the people who stand up so valiantly, rejecting the terror and violence that the neo-colonialists dispense around the world to achieve global supremacy. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary people have regularly demonstrated against such brazen power in major cities around the world. In Malaysia, which is the present head of the Organisation of Islamic Conference and of the Non-Aligned Movement, the situation is no different.

This is a record of yet another occasion when the basic fundamentals of a democracy were trampled upon in Malaysia. How mistaken we are to assume that the freedom and rights guaranteed by the Constitution are respected in this country. What else can you expect in a land where the press has no freedom and where the Internal Security Act hangs like the Sword of Damocles over everybody’s head.

At the anti-war rally organised by the Coalition Against War-Malaysia, comprising non-Barisan political parties and independent NGOs, many were left wondering why the Barisan people were not there. After all, it was part of a global protest taking place in some 80 countries and coinciding with the second anniversary of the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq by the US and its allies.

It was a beautiful morning away from the roar of Formula One racing at far away Sepang, where most of the top guns, the rich and powerful must have been having a fun time.

At 10.15am, even though there were hardly any protestors around in the area in front of the US Embassy at Jalan Tun Razak, police were already there waiting. They swarmed the area right from the Jalan Langgak Golf junction right up to the Jalan Ampang intersection. The US Embassy was also heavily guarded.

From behind perimeter walls, bushes and parked vehicles, scores of plain-clothes police were already there recording and noting everything that moved. The US security blokes too, sporting dark glasses, were seen among the police, pointing everywhere and recording the fun as well.

Finally, the valiant anti-war demonstrators began walking in from all sides. The crowd began to swell. By 10.30 am around 1,000 protesters gathered, mingling through the crowd of police. Not wanting to be outnumbered, in a show of might probably, more police squads both in uniform and in plain-clothes, were brought in.

The demonstrators were following rules by standing on road-side pavements. They were simple people from all walks of life: elderly men and women, social leaders, activists, university students and children - they were all there. If there was any obstruction to traffic, it was caused by the police, who stood right in the middle of road or parked their vehicles there. The assembly was peaceful and non-provocative.

Children and elderly also tear-gassed

The anti-war chanting started at about 10.35 am. Unsuspecting passers-by would have thought it was some sort of carnival. It was enlivened with sketches, music and songs. Among the favourites bellowed out were ‘Out, out, Bush out’ and chants of ‘No war, no war’. The fun had only just begun when red buses and trucks belonging to the infamous Federal Reserve Unit rumbled in. Seeing them come must have energised the demonstrators and the chanting grew louder. The slogans were mainly anti-American policies, anti-Bush and anti-war.

Banners proclaimed, ‘Don’t kill innocent Iraqis’, ‘ No blood for Oil’, ‘Bush, get out of Iraq’, ‘Iraq, a capitalist war’, ‘US Mind your own business’, ‘Keluar dari Iraq, Hentikan perang Iraq’ (Get out of Iraq, stop the war in Iraq), ‘ Bush-Blair get out’, ‘Say no to imperialism’, and many more in several languages. Leaflets carrying messages for the occasion and statements in various languages by various organisations were also handed out.

There was a touch of comedy. A bearded Japanese took off his shirt to display ‘Love peace not war’ on his belly and ‘Say no to war’ on his back. An American wore a headband on which was written ‘War is evil’. An Arab in his traditional attire was holding a poster ‘Bush & Blair are liars’. An African practised his tribal dance to the amusement of those present. He bore on him a message ‘Bush get out of Iraq’. It turned out to be a multinational affair, after all.

At 11.00am, the water cannons were drawn towards the protesters. Within a minute, after a short warning, light-brownish water, believed to be chemically laced, was shot towards the crowd. No time was given for the aged and the children to find cover or to move out. Those in the traffic that had stopped to make way for the FRU assault watched with horror, clearly shocked and shaken by what they saw. The police were brutal. It was a shame.

The demonstrators were tear-gassed and shot with more jets of water. They were forced out by a huge contingent of marching FRU personnel, fully armed with automatic assault machine guns and shields. The crowd was pushed towards Lorong Kuda, which leads to the KLCC and the Tabung Haji Building.

The organisers were overheard complaining to the media that they had spoken to the police and an understanding had been reached that the protesters would not obstruct traffic, would be non-provocative and would peacefully disperse after reading a declaration at 11.30 sharp. Both parties even shook hands over the final reconfirmation of the negotiated agreement, just 15 minutes before the police assault.

PSM President Dr Nasir Hashim was so agitated, he complained to the media that “this is a police state. The police’s behaviour is similar to US behaviour in Iraq.” S. Arutchelvan from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) kept repeating, ‘The police had promised!’ No one seemed to understand why the police had not stuck to their word.

Word had it that the Cheras OCPD ACP Mohamed Noor just walked in and ordered the assault without conferring with the other officers there who were still holding their posts as part of the deal. It was very unprofessional of the police and smacked of arrogance. Very inhuman.

The police later gave their own press conference in front of the See Hoy Chan Building, which is beside the American Embassy. They were nit-picking that it was an illegal assembly. RTM TV the same night reported them as saying that the protestors became ‘kurang ajar’ (unruly). It was a blatant lie, which was nonetheless carried in the mainstream media.

Only after the King’s motorcade passed through the area at about 11.45am, 10 minutes after the assembly was crushed, did the FRU contingent and their assault vehicles finally leave the scene, not realising the many questions they left behind. On whose side is Badawi and his government? Are they not against the war, against aggression, against the killing of innocents? Or is the PM against peaceful demonstrations - a trait he inherited from Mahathir, perhaps?

Why did the government of the supposedly caring premier, Abdullah Badawi, stop the peaceful and unprovocative demonstration? What other assumption can we possibly draw other than that he dreaded displeasing the world’s boss, Bush? While Bush is busy maiming people from other countries, Abdullah never missed his chance to punish his own people. The message is clear and hard-hitting: Bush’s sphere of influence extends to Malaysia too. No public show of dissent or opposition will be tolerated.

What a sad story.

Comment: The answer to the questions posed in the last few paragraphs above is quite simple: A majority of states around the world have "sold their souls" to the late great American empire. We are living through a repeat of our own hidden history which, many thousands of years ago, saw another great and "evil" empire dominated the globe. The conlcusion then was the utter destruction of most of the world and its people. There is nothing to suggest that anything different awaits us this time around.

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US Senate points to Russian officials in Iraq scam
Mon May 16, 2005
By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein's government provided Kremlin officials with oil rights worth millions of dollars under the oil-for-food program in a quest to lift U.N. sanctions against Iraq, a U.S. Senate panel report concluded Monday.

The oil allocations were "compensation for support," former Vice President Taha Yasin Ramadan was quoted in the report issued by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

The report, based on interviews with Iraqi officials, including Tareq Aziz, the former deputy prime minister, follows a trail of money, leading to Alexander Voloshin, the former chief of staff to Russian President Vladimir Putin and former President Boris Yeltsin.

Another major beneficiary was ultranationalist legislator Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a regular visitor to Iraq.

There is no evidence Putin knew of the payments, Senate investors said.

Saddam's goal was the lifting of sanctions imposed after Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait in 1990. Under the oil-for-food program, which began in late 1996 and ended in 2003, Iraq was allowed to sell oil under supervision and buy goods to ease in the impact of the embargoes on ordinary Iraqis.

The Russian allocations had been disclosed in an October CIA report by Charles Duelfer, a former U.S. and U.N. weapons inspector. But the Senate report contains more documents and details.

It traces the transactions to the Russian Presidential Council that Voloshin headed via shell companies, particularly Haverhill Trading Ltd. in Cyprus, to Russian oil firms, such as Rosneft, and the Houston-based Bayoil Inc., whose executives were indicted by federal prosecutors last month.

But diplomats noted that Russia, then Iraq's closest ally on the U.N. Security Council, had major qualms about the sanctions since 1992, mainly because Iraq owed Moscow billions of dollars for past weaponry and other items.

Comment: First it was Kofi Annan and his son, then it was George Galloway and ex French Foreign Minister Charles Pasqua, now Russia politicians have been accused of profiting from Saddam's "illegal" oil by the US Sentate panel. Strangely enought however, the panel has also indicted the US government...

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US 'backed illegal Iraqi oil deals'
Julian Borger and Jamie Wilson in Washington
Tuesday May 17, 2005
The Guardian

Report claims blind eye was turned to sanctions busting by American firms

The United States administration turned a blind eye to extensive sanctions-busting in the prewar sale of Iraqi oil, according to a new Senate investigation.

A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but did nothing to stop them.

The scale of the shipments involved dwarfs those previously alleged by the Senate committee against UN staff and European politicians like the British MP, George Galloway, and the former French minister, Charles Pasqua.

In fact, the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil - more than the rest of the world put together.

"The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions," the report said. "On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales.

The report is likely to ease pressure from conservative Republicans on Kofi Annan to resign from his post as UN secretary general.

The new findings are also likely to be raised when Mr Galloway appears before the Senate subcommittee on investigations today.

The Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow arrived yesterday in Washington demanding an apology from the Senate for what he called the "schoolboy dossier" passed off as an investigation against him.

"It was full of holes, full of falsehoods and full of value judgments that are apparently only shared here in Washington," he said at Washington Dulles airport.

He told Reuters: "I have no expectation of justice ... I come not as the accused but as the accuser. I am [going] to show just how absurd this report is."

Mr Galloway has denied allegations that he profited from Iraqi oil sales and will come face to face with the committee in what promises to be one of the most highly charged pieces of political theatre seen in Washington for some time.

Yesterday's report makes two principal allegations against the Bush administration. Firstly, it found the US treasury failed to take action against a Texas oil company, Bayoil, which facilitated payment of "at least $37m in illegal surcharges to the Hussein regime".

The surcharges were a violation of the UN Oil For Food programme, by which Iraq was allowed to sell heavily discounted oil to raise money for food and humanitarian supplies. However, Saddam was allowed to choose which companies were given the highly lucrative oil contracts. Between September 2000 and September 2002 (when the practice was stopped) the regime demanded kickbacks of 10 to 30 US cents a barrel in return for oil allocations.

In its second main finding, the report said the US military and the state department gave a tacit green light for shipments of nearly 8m barrels of oil bought by Jordan, a vital American ally, entirely outside the UN-monitored Oil For Food system. Jordan was permitted to buy some oil directly under strict conditions but these purchases appeared to be under the counter.

The report details a series of efforts by UN monitors to obtain information about Bayoil's oil shipments in 2001 and 2002, and the lack of help provided by the US treasury.

After repeated requests over eight months from the UN and the US state department, the treasury's office of foreign as sets control wrote to Bayoil in May 2002, requesting a report on its transactions but did not "request specific information by UN or direct Bayoil to answer the UN's questions".

Bayoil's owner, David Chalmers, has been charged over the company's activities. His lawyer Catherine Recker told the Washington Post: "Bayoil and David Chalmers [said] they have done nothing illegal and will vigorously defend these reckless accusations."

The Jordanian oil purchases were shipped in the weeks before the war, out of the Iraqi port of Khor al-Amaya, which was operating without UN approval or surveillance.

Investigators found correspondence showing that Odin Marine Inc, the US company chartering the seven huge tankers which picked up the oil at Khor al-Amaya, repeatedly sought and received approval from US military and civilian officials that the ships would not be confiscated by US Navy vessels in the Maritime Interdiction Force (MIF) enforcing the embargo.

Odin was reassured by a state department official that the US "was aware of the shipments and has determined not to take action".

The company's vice president, David Young, told investigators that a US naval officer at MIF told him that he "had no objections" to the shipments. "He said that he was sorry he could not say anything more. I told him I completely understood and did not expect him to say anything more," Mr Young said.

An executive at Odin Maritime confirmed the senate account of the oil shipments as "correct" but declined to comment further.

It was not clear last night whether the Democratic report would be accepted by Republicans on the Senate investigations committee.

The Pentagon declined to comment. The US representative's office at the UN referred inquiries to the state department, which fail to return calls.

Comment: Given the fact that the charges against Saddam that lead to the sanctions which in turn lead to the covert oil deals, we have to wonder if these dirty deals were not the reason that the sanctions were imposed in the first place! We also note that the US was the main cheerleader for the sanctions to be imposed. Of course, as always, the people to suffer from the predations of the rich and influential were ordinary and innocent Iraqi people. We note also that the US has been exposed as the main player in these deals, purchasing more illegal oil than the rest of the world combined! Given that Annan, Galloway, Pasqua and the Russians all immediately denied any involvement and the US has yet to do so, it is certainly possible that the accusations by the US Senate panel are simply designed to try and share the blame when the US is more or less the sole culprit.

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Ex-minister of France blames U.S.

The Associated Press
TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2005

PARIS - Charles Pasqua, a former interior minister of France who has been accused by U.S. lawmakers of involvement in corruption in the oil-for-food program for Iraq, said Monday that he was caught in the cross-fire of what he called a U.S. campaign against France.

At his first press conference to deny claims that he received millions of barrels of oil from Saddam Hussein's regime, Pasqua said he had no link to a Swiss company that supposedly handled oil allocations on his behalf.

Pasqua described what he called "a general campaign under way in the United States against France" and said France's opposition to the Iraq war was viewed by the administration of President George W. Bush and "a section of American public opinion as a betrayal."

"I have the impression that I am being used, used in this campaign," the former interior minister said. "And I don't intend to sit idly by."

Last week, a U.S. Senate committee presented what it said was evidence that Pasqua and a British lawmaker, George Galloway, had received oil allocations from Saddam in return for backing his regime and its campaign against UN sanctions on Iraq. [...]

Galloway set off Monday for Washington to defend himself at a Senate hearing the next day.

"The truth is, I have never bought or sold a drop of oil from Iraq, or sold or bought a drop of oil from anybody," Galloway told the British Broadcasting Corp. before boarding a flight at London's Heathrow Airport. "If I had, I would be a very rich man and the person who made me rich would already be in the public domain."

Pasqua said he had asked the president of the French Senate, of which he is a member, for a parliamentary inquiry to investigate the allegations. He said he had not received a reply.

He again denied benefiting from Saddam's regime.

"I have never been to Iraq. I have never met Mr. Saddam Hussein. I never received anything from the Iraqis, in any domain," Pasqua said.

"If my name appears on documents as having benefited from allocations, it can only be the result of fraudulent behavior committed by certain people who used my name," he said.

Pasqua said he had not been invited to the U.S. Senate hearing on Saddam's use of oil allocations to reward supporters. But he said he was ready "when the time comes" to talk to the committee.

Pasqua said he suspected he was targeted because of his supposed links to President Jacques Chirac, who led European opposition to the Iraq war.

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Galloway hounded by AIPAC cell within U.S. Congress; Bolton tied to same cell
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

May 13, 2005—At a time when the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is being investigated for its role in an espionage case involving Larry Franklin, a Pentagon and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) official indicted for passing top secret classified information to two AIPAC officials and possibly the government of Israel, a senator who is bought and paid for by AIPAC—Republican Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota—has decided to change the subject and point to newly elected Respect Party Member of Parliament George Galloway as receiving oil funds from Saddam Hussein.

The charges against Galloway and other politicians around the world were originally based on documents secured from the rubble of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and proffered by the corrupt Ahmad Chalabi—the man who pressured the Bush administration to use discredited "intelligence" about Saddam's mobile chemical and biological weapons laboratories from an alcoholic, congenital liar and mentally unbalanced cousin of one of his associates, an individual code-named "Curveball."

Coleman, with pro-AIPAC Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman, is using the Senate Permanent Sub-committee on Investigations to rehash charges that foreign and even U.S. officials financially benefited from the United Nations' Oil for Food program. These charges, which later were proven false, first surfaced in the neoconservative controlled London-based Daily Telegraph, owned by the Hollinger Corporation, a company that had financial ties to arch-neoconservative Richard Perle. The charges by both the Daily Telegraph and now Coleman's committee are based on documents as bogus as the Niger yellowcake documents and those proffered by Curveball and Chalabi about Iraq's fantasized weapons of mass destruction. Galloway successfully sued the Telegraph for libel over its baseless Oil for Food allegations against him.

The only new information on which Coleman is basing his allegations are interviews conducted with Iraq's former vice president and deputy prime minister both of whom are in U.S. custody and awaiting war crimes trials led by Iraqi prosecutor Salam Chalabi, a nephew of Ahmad Chalabi and law partner of Marc Zell, the Washington, DC, law partner of Douglas Feith, the person for whom accused spy Larry Franklin worked at the Pentagon while spying for Israel. If ex-Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan and former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz are receiving even one-eight the harsh treatment meted out by U.S. troops and Israeli contractors to prisoners at the Abu Ghraib concentration camp, none of their so-called testimonies are worth the paper on which they are printed.

Coleman charges that Galloway received up to 20 million barrels of oil allocations between 2000 and 2003 from Saddam's government. Galloway rightly charges that Coleman and other committee members are "lickspittle Republicans" acting in the servitude of Bush and his cronies. In addition to the statements of the imprisoned Saddam Hussein officials, Coleman is also basing his new allegations based on documents retrieved from the Iraqi Oil Ministry from convicted embezzler, con man, and neocon puppet, Ahmad Chalabi.

What has Coleman's panties in a twist is the fact that in the recent British elections, Galloway, who was expelled from the Labor Party for his anti-Iraq war and anti-Bush politics, made easy work of his Labor Party opponent and Tony Blair sycophant, Oona King, an African-Jewish daughter of—ironically—an African-American draft evader from the Vietnam War. King was one of Tony Blair's most ardent supporters for his decision to join Bush in a genocidal war against Iraq. For that, she earned the support of the international neoconservative network of influence holders and peddlers that can, according to a senior Bush administration official, create their own reality because of their ownership of much of the international media. However, King also earned the enmity of her large Muslim constituency in East London's Bethnal Green and Bow district. They rejected King and threw their political weight behind Galloway.

There is little doubt that the neocons in the British Labor Party are working hand-in-glove with people like Coleman and his neocon friends and political supporters in AIPAC to punish Galloway and make it hard for him to use his reinstated House of Commons platform to launch expected fierce broadsides against Blair and other pro-Iraq War Laborites, most notably Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Defense Secretary John Reid, and former Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon. The neocons also want to deal a blow to the anti-war Respect Party, which gave Labor a run for its money in a number of other hotly contested constituencies in Britain.

Coleman, who also sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, used his Oil for Food charges against Galloway, former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, and an unnamed former French foreign minister to bolster the nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the UN. The Bolton affair has revealed even more proof that a shadow intelligence network has operated within the U.S. government.

Bolton had on his staff a "special adviser" named Matthew Freedman who pulled down a $110,000 per annum salary. Freedman is also a lobbyist who represents "private clients." He refused to tell the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who those clients were. However, it has been discovered that Freedman, a long time GOP operative like Bolton, is tied to the same oil industry network that once used Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as agents of influence.

While working for the GOP-connected public relations firm of Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly (BMS&K) and the PBN Company, Freedman counted Chevron, Bechtel, Shell, and the governments of Nigeria and Kazakhstan as clients. Freedman also represented Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and Philippine President Salvador Laurel. According to The Washington Times, Laurel sought the assistance of the George H. W. Bush administration to oust President Corazon Aquino in a military coup.

Other espionage charges have swirled around Bolton. The State Department's Bureau of Near East Affairs reported that Bolton met with Mossad officials in Israel without obtaining country clearance from the bureau. During a trip to the United States, former Mossad official Uzi Arad was questioned by FBI agents about his connections to Larry Franklin. FBI officials were also interested in an Israeli Embassy official named Naor Gilon, the chief of political affairs and widely believed a major Mossad asset at the Washington diplomatic post. The FBI possesses videotaped surveillance tape of Gilon having a luncheon meeting with two AIPAC officials and Franklin at a Washington hotel.

Bolton is also under suspicion for his ties to Taiwan. Before joining the Bush administration, Bolton was on the payroll of the government of Taiwan, advocating UN membership for the breakaway island nation. Like Bolton's secret trips to Israel, Britain, and other nations, Donald Keyser, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and a colleague of Bolton, made secret trips to Taiwan. He was arrested by the FBI in September 2004 after he was witnessed passing classified documents to Taiwanese agents in Washington.

There is ample evidence of a major foreign intelligence penetration of the United States State and Defense Departments, as well as U.S. intelligence agencies, involving Franklin, AIPAC officials, Mossad agents, and leading individuals in the neoconservative network operating from inside the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the U.S. Congress, and think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Heritage Foundation, and the Hudson Institute. Bolton is a central figure in this cabal.

The focus of the U.S. investigatory apparatus should not be on George Galloway and his newly-enfranchised East London supporters, but should be on the dark sinews that bind together anti-democratic intelligence functionaries in Washington, Jerusalem, and London. In addition, with his possible links to illegal espionage and influence peddling, in addition to other serious charges surrounding John Bolton, now is not the time for the U.S. Senate to be confirming a person who could be the most damaging U.S. government employee for national security since the Cold War days of John Walker, Ronald Pelton, and Jonathan Pollard.

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Air Force Chaplain Says She Was Removed for Being Critical
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: May 15, 2005

A chaplain at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs who has accused her superiors of using their positions to promote evangelical Christianity among the cadets says she was fired from an administrative job because of her outspokenness and was given orders to ship out to Japan.

An Air Force task force, meanwhile, has finished an investigation at the academy into charges by the chaplain and others that officers there were inappropriately proselytizing the cadets.

The academy chaplain, Capt. MeLinda Morton, said she had disagreed with her boss, the academy's chief chaplain, Col. Michael Whittington, after a critical report by a team from the Yale Divinity School was released to the news media in April. The report, dated July 2004 and which she helped write, found that some academy chaplains were insensitive to the religious diversity of the cadets.

Captain Morton said her boss asked her to denounce the report and defend the academy, but she told him she agreed with it. She said that about two weeks later, on May 4, she received an e-mail message from Colonel Whittington dismissing her from her position as his administrative assistant, or "executive officer." However, she remains a chaplain, retains her rank and earns the same salary.

"That is pretty plainly, in my mind, retribution," Captain Morton said. "That makes a big point on a staff. The point is, 'We don't regard Mel as trustworthy, and we humiliate her by firing her.' However, in the whole scope of things, that's pretty minor to what's going on in the academy."

She also said that in March she received orders to transfer to Okinawa, and from there could be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Captain Morton said she was surprised because in December she was told by Colonel Whittington that she would be staying at the academy through summer 2006 to see several projects through. At the time, Captain Morton was developing a sensitivity training program for the academy and was involved in pastoral care for cadets who were victims in a sexual abuse scandal that swept the academy in 2003.

An academy spokesman, Lt. Col. Laurent Fox, said in an interview that Captain Morton's dismissal as executive officer and her reassignment to Okinawa were entirely routine, and not retribution. [...]

Comment: That's one way to get rid of those pesky critics who complain of increasing Christian fundamentalist prosetylizing in the military. Just ship them off to far away places where they are more likely to be sent to the front lines and turned into cannon-fodder.

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Montreal holds chemical attack drill
Last Updated Sat, 14 May 2005 15:58:33 EDT
CBC News

MONTREAL - Emergency crews blocked off parts of downtown Montreal Saturday as they tested how long it would take them to respond to a chemical attack.

Pretend victims of the simulated attack trudged out of the Square Victoria metro onto city streets to await help from police, fire and ambulance workers.Those first on the scene arrived within seconds of getting called, and the "victims" were isolated within minutes.

The exercise was held to help emergency workers prepare for a real threat from a chemical or biological agent, such as anthrax.

The simulation was actually part of a larger exercise that has been in progress for weeks. Police recently carried out a mock raid of a clandestine chemical lab, part of another training exercise. [...]

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Cannes film festival, star wars raises questions of U.S. imperialism
by DAVID GERMAIN | Associated Press
May 15, 2005

CANNES, France (AP) - Without Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 9/11" at the Cannes Film Festival this time, it was left to George Lucas and "Star Wars" to pique European ire over the state of world relations and the United States' role in it.

Lucas' themes of democracy on the skids and a ruler preaching war to preserve the peace predate "Star Wars: Episode III _ Revenge of the Sith" by almost 30 years. Yet viewers Sunday _ and Lucas himself _ noted similarities between the final chapter of his sci-fi saga and our own troubled times.

Cannes audiences made blunt comparisons between "Revenge of the Sith" _ the story of Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side and the rise of an emperor through warmongering _ to President Bush's war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq.

Two lines from the movie especially resonated:

"This is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause," bemoans Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) as the galactic Senate cheers dictator-in-waiting Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) while he announces a crusade against the Jedi.

"If you're not with me, then you're my enemy," Hayden Christensen's Anakin _ soon to become villain Darth Vader _ tells former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). The line echoes Bush's international ultimatum after the Sept. 11 attacks, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

"When he says, 'If you're not with me, then you're my enemy," it's a flagrant reference to Bush," said 22-year-old Thomas Tiez, a French student who saw the film at Cannes. "That can't be a coincidence."

"That quote is almost a perfect citation of Bush," said Liam Engle, a 23-year-old French-American aspiring filmmaker. "Plus, you've got a politician trying to increase his power to wage a phony war."

Though the plot was written years ago, "The anti-Bush diatribe is clearly there," Engle said.

The film opens Wednesday in parts of Europe and Thursday in the United States and many other countries.

Lucas said he patterned his story after historical transformations from freedom to fascism, never figuring when he started his prequel trilogy in the late 1990s that current events might parallel his space fantasy.

"As you go through history, I didn't think it was going to get quite this close. So it's just one of those recurring things," Lucas said at a Cannes news conference. "I hope this doesn't come true in our country.

"Maybe the film will waken people to the situation," Lucas joked.
That comment echoes Moore's rhetoric at Cannes last year, when his anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" won the festival's top honor.

Unlike Moore, whose Cannes visit came off like an anybody-but-Bush campaign stop, Lucas never mentioned the president by name but was eager to speak his mind on U.S. policy in Iraq, careful again to note that he created the story long before the Bush-led occupation there.

"When I wrote it, Iraq didn't exist," Lucas said, laughing.
"We were just funding Saddam Hussein and giving him weapons of mass destruction. We didn't think of him as an enemy at that time. We were going after Iran and using him as our surrogate, just as we were doing in Vietnam. ... The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable."

The prequel trilogy is based on a back-story outline Lucas created in the mid-1970s for the original three "Star Wars" movies, so the themes percolated out of the Vietnam War and the Nixon-Watergate era, he said.

Lucas began researching how democracies can turn into dictatorships with full consent of the electorate.

In ancient Rome, "why did the senate after killing Caesar turn around and give the government to his nephew?" Lucas said. "Why did France after they got rid of the king and that whole system turn around and give it to Napoleon? It's the same thing with Germany and Hitler.

"You sort of see these recurring themes where a democracy turns itself into a dictatorship, and it always seems to happen kind of in the same way, with the same kinds of issues, and threats from the outside, needing more control. A democratic body, a senate, not being able to function properly because everybody's squabbling, there's corruption."

McDiarmid, who plays the emperor, said Lucas may have dreamed the story up decades ago, but it resonates clearly today with "people like my character preaching peace while practicing war."

"The first word you see on screen is `War!'" McDiarmid said, referring to the text prologue for "Revenge of the Sith." "And oddly enough and dispiritingly enough, that doesn't seem a remote word. Maybe it'll encourage people in small ways and maybe bigger ways to think a little more about what it might mean to be lured to the dark side without perhaps knowing it's happening to you."

Comment: Indeed, there appear to be many parallels between the storyline in the last installment of the Star Wars series and Amerika's gradual descent from a pseudo-democracy into a full-fledged militaristic empire. Sometimes it seems that themes in popular culture portend changes in present day society in ways that are just too similar to be mere coincidence.

Yet how many millions of people who are destined to see this very popular film will leave the theatre with a greater awareness of the dire situation that faces the very real world in which they live? How many will make the connection that George Bush and his handlers are every bit as much the conniving and evil emperor Palpatine bent on either enslaving or exterminating the population and lording dominion over all the world?

Machiavellian tactics such as manipulating politicians, double-handed backroom deals, and creating phony wars by pitting your enemies against each other is just another routine day in George Bush's White House. Yet while many will see and enjoy this movie as pure entertainment, most will miss the real significance of the message and how closely it mirrors our present global political situation.

Like Caesar's Rome, Napolean's France, or Germany's Hitler, Dubya will go down in history as as one of the worlds' most vile and insidious dictators. That is, if there is any history left to tell once he's done with it.

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Child trafficking fears raised in U.K.
May 16, 2005. 01:00 AM
ALAN COWELL
NEW YORK TIMES

300 boys of African descent missing
Ritual murder feared in child torso case

LONDON—Even by the standards of a river that has known more than its share of death in gruesome and macabre fashions, the discovery was startling.

In September 2001, in the River Thames near the soaring columns of Tower Bridge, the police discovered the torso — headless and limbless — of a black-skinned child they called, for want of any definitive identity, Adam. The suggestion from subsequent investigations was that he had died in some kind of ritualistic murder linked to West African witchcraft.

Now, more than three years later, the discovery has brought another chilling fact to light: in the three months before the body was found, 300 other black boys between 4 and 7 were missing or unaccounted for. The disclosure may have cast a rare spotlight into a secretive world of child trafficking that the authorities seem unable to control or prevent, according to experts on the issue.

"We were really looking at black children, black male children, aged between 4 and 7, and we found 300 of those that couldn't be accounted for," Detective Chief Inspector Will O'Reilly told British radio on Friday. "It was one of the lines of inquiry we had to follow up. In the main these were African children. I think there were one or two from the Caribbean. It is a large figure, far more than we anticipated when we started this line of inquiry," he said.

What happened to the boys remains a mystery. While the police said they had no evidence of murder, they also acknowledged that the absence of immigration records prevented the authorities from tracing the missing youngsters.

Even the fate of Adam, whose torso was found clad in a pair of orange shorts, has defied a full explanation. When the police found his body in 2001, it had been skillfully butchered and drained of blood. Forensic tests found a poisonous bean in his stomach and traces of crushed bone and clay pellets studded with fragments of gold and quartz in his lower intestine.

Other inquiries, led by O'Reilly, suggest the boy came originally from a rural area of southwestern Nigeria. Police investigating the killing also travelled to South Africa to try to establish whether his death might have been linked to killings associated with witchcraft. Even Nelson Mandela, South Africa's former president, became involved, issuing an appeal for an end to sacrificial killing.

In 2003, police questioned Joyce Osagiede, a Nigerian asylum-seeker, who told them her husband had murdered 11 children as part of a demonic cult.

O'Reilly said the police questioned people who were supposed to be taking care of the missing children and were often told that they had returned to Africa. "We asked through Interpol for police to make inquiries in the local countries to which they returned," he said. "In the majority of cases we got no reply on that." Only two of the missing children were traced, he said.

It is not unusual for African parents to send children to Britain and other places to be looked after by relatives and sent to school. But the people who look after them, called private carers, are not obliged to register with the British authorities.

Yinka Sunmonu, an author and journalist, said some of the children were badly exploited and abused. "They are being trafficked, they are being emotionally abused, there are incidences of domestic slavery," she told the BBC. "There is physical abuse, sexual abuse."

Felicity Collier, head of the British Association for Adopting and Fostering, said: "We know there are thousands of children who are missing. We know there are children being passed between adults. We would not accept this as a society if these were white children. We have to have a law in this country that says private foster carers have to register.''

In a court case in London this week, four adults from Angola face charges, including conspiracy to murder, accused of torturing an orphaned 10-year-old Angolan girl who arrived in Britain in 2002 with her aunt. Prosecutors said the adults accused the girl of witchcraft.

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$1 million bond set in child's strangulation
By Jeff Coen
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 16, 2005, 2:25 PM CDT

Bond was set at $1 million today for a Chicago woman charged with first-degree murder in the strangulation death of her 4-year-old son.

During a bond hearing in Cook County Criminal Court, prosecutors told Judge Mary Margaret Brosnahan that Nicole Harris, 23, strangled the boy Saturday afternoon because he would not stop crying.

The Cook County medical examiner's office initially declared the death of Jaqueir Dancy an accidental hanging, but police this morning reclassified the incident as a homicide and charged the youth's mother, authorities said.

Assistant State's Atty. Cathy Gregorovic said Harris had given a statement to investigators, saying she left the victim and his 5-year-old brother Saturday at her home, on the 2000 block of North LaPorte Avenue on the city's Northwest Side.

Harris told the boys not to go outside. When she came back 45 minutes later from a coin-operated laundry, Harris allegedly told investigators, she found Jaqueir outside.

She hit him with a belt, Gregorovic said. The boy would not stop crying, so to stop him, Harris allegedly admitted taking an elastic band used as a fastener from the top bunk of a bunk bet set and wrapping it around the child's neck.

The woman told investigators she strangled the child "until he stopped struggling - until blood was coming out of his mouth," Gregorovic said.

Harris then went back to the laundry, where she fell asleep, Gregorovic said. When she returned home, she was met by Jaqueir's father, who told her the boy was blue and unresponsive.

The parents told police they found Jaqueir on the floor next to a bunk bed shortly after 4:30 p.m. Saturday, police said. He was still alive when he was transported to Resurrection Medical Center but was pronounced dead shortly after 6 p.m. at the hospital, according to the medical examiner's office.

An autopsy Sunday returned a finding of accidental death, but police subsequently reclassified the case as a homicide. [...]

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Eleven killed, 15 injured when truck plows into bus in central Russia
Associated Press
May 14, 2005

MOSCOW (AP) - Eleven people were killed and 15 injured when a truck plowed into a passenger bus in the central Russian region of Oryol, the Emergency Situations Ministry said Saturday.

The crash occurred late Friday when the truck veered into oncoming traffic, Rossiya state television reported.

Oryol police spokeswoman said that the truck had been speeding, and Rossiya said investigators were trying to determine whether the driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel. Both vehicles' drivers were among those killed.

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Teen in chainsaw attack
16/05/2005 13:34 - (SA)

Orleans, France - A 15-year-old boy from the French city of Orleans has been placed in police custody on suspicion of attacking his brother with a chainsaw and leaving him for dead, legal sources said on Monday.

The teenager allegedly admitted to the crime, but did not explain his motive, sources close to the probe said. The suspect, described as a "student without problems", was due to appear in court on Tuesday.

His 18-year-old brother was found late on Saturday in a pool of his own blood - his face badly mutilated and one of his arms partially severed - in the middle of Orleans, south of Paris.

Emergency personnel were forced to operate at the scene in an ambulance before taking the victim, who lost an eye, to hospital. Doctors said his condition was worrying.

Quoting sources close to the investigation, local newspaper La Republique du Centre reported on Monday that the attack likely occurred in the garden of the family home, located in a upscale residential neighbourhood of Orleans.

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Increase in 'dead zones' starving the world's seas

By Andrew Buncombe and Geoffrey Lean15 May 2005

'Dead zones', where pollution has starved the sea of life-giving oxygen, are increasing at a devastating rate

It has arrived early; it's bigger than ever and it promises a summer of death and destruction. The annual "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico - starved of oxygen, and thus killing fish and underwater vegetation - has appeared earlier than usual this year.

This is just one sign of a rapidly growing crisis. The number of similar dead zones in the world's seas has doubled every decade since 1960, as a result of increasing pollution. The United Nations Environment Programme says that there are now 146 of them worldwide, mainly around the coasts of rich countries. Its executive director, Klaus Töpfer, calls their growth "a gigantic, global experiment ... triggering alarming, and sometimes irreversible, effects".

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone - which can cover more than 7,000 square miles - is mainly caused by fertilisers, flowing down rivers to the sea. Every year the Mississippi river - which drains 41 per cent of the United States - dumps 1.6 million tons of nitrogen in the gulf, three times as much as 40 years ago. Most comes from the highly productive corn belt, which helps to feed the world. The nutrients feed blooms of algae and phytoplankton. The algae drain oxygen from the water, as do the decomposing bodies of the plankton, when they fall to the seabed and die.

It hits a fishery that provides one-fifth of the country's entire harvest from the sea. As a result, catches of brown shrimp, the gulf's most important species, have dropped since 1990. The worst years match those with biggest dead zones, which appear to block juveniles from reaching their offshore spawning grounds. Last year, the dead zone was even blamed for a tripling in shark attacks on Texas bathers. Fish and swimming crabs flee the pollution for cleaner water, followed by the sharks.

Scientists recently found 19 locations with severely depleted oxygen in the gulf, where they expected to find none at this time of year. "It usually doesn't start until June," said Steven DiMarco, a researcher at Texas A&M University, one of several groups involved in the testing. "It was larger at that time than it was at any time in 2004. During January and February of this year, the flow of the Mississippi river was larger than at any time in 2004."

The stratification levels between the fresh river water and heavier salt water of the sea created the dead zone, which usually is at its most severe between 30 and 60 feet below the surface. The zone was first recorded in the early 1970s. It originally occurred every two to three years, but now returns each summer.

The world's biggest dead zone is in the Baltic, where sewage and nitrogen fallout from burning fossil fuels combine with fertilisers to over-enrich the sea. Fish farming can also exacerbate the problem.

Nearly a third of the world's dead zones are off the United States - including a notorious one in Chesapeake Bay - but they also cluster round the coasts of Europe and Japan, and have reached China, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. [...]

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NOAA ISSUES SPACE WEATHER WARNING
NOAA News
May 15, 2005
Image of the sun from the SOHO spacecraft of the intense solar activity taken May 15, 2005, at 7:50 a.m.
Forecasters at the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., observed a geomagnetic storm on Sunday, May 15, which they classified as an extreme event, measuring G-5—the highest level—on the NOAA Space Weather Scales.

"This event registered a 9 on the K-Index, which measures the maximum deviation of the Earth's magnetic field in a given three-hour period," said Gayle Nelson, lead operations specialist at NOAA Space Environment Center. "The scale ranges from 0 to 9, with 9 being the highest. This was a significant event."

Possible impacts from such a geomagnetic storm include widespread power system voltage control problems; some grid systems may experience complete collapse or blackouts. Transformers may experience damage. Spacecraft operations may experience extensive surface charging; problems with orientation; uplink/downlink and tracking satellites. Satellite navigation may be degraded for days, and low-frequency radio navigation can be out for hours. Reports received by the NOAA Space Environment Center indicate that such impacts have been observed in the United States.

NOAA forecasters said the probability of another major event of this type is unlikely, however, other minor level (G-1) geomagnetic storms are possible within the next 24 hours.

This event was forecast by NOAA as the result of a solar flare that occurred on Friday, May 13.

The NOAA Space Environment Center, one of the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction, is home to the nation's early warning system for solar activities that directly affect people and equipment on Earth and in space. The NOAA Space Environment Center’s 24/7 around-the-clock operations are critical in protecting space and ground-based assets. Through the SEC, NOAA and the U.S. Air Force jointly operate the space weather operations center that continuously monitors, analyzes and forecasts the environment between the sun and Earth. In addition to the data gathered from NOAA and NASA satellites, the center receives real-time solar and geophysical information from ground-based observatories around the world. NOAA space weather forecasters use the data to predict solar and geomagnetic activity and issue worldwide alerts of extreme events.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

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3.2 earthquake hits just south of Palm Springs
Monday, May 16, 2005

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A small earthquake shook southern Riverside County early today. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

According to a preliminary report from the US Geological Survey, the magnitude-3.2 quake hit at 6:30 am about 26 miles south-southwest of Palm Springs. It was seven miles south of the community of Anza near the Cahuilla Indian Reservation.

Five hours later, a magnitude-3.0 quake struck in Mexico, about 24 miles south-southeast of the border town of Calexico.

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Perth left reeling from thunderstorms' fury
17.05.05

PERTH - Severe winds and torrential rain have ripped through the southwest of Western Australia, blocking roads, damaging buildings, felling trees, bringing down power lines and closing schools.

Hundreds of State Emergency Service volunteers were called to incidents across Perth and further south.

The town of Bunbury, 180km south of Perth, appears to have been the worst affected by the line of severe thunderstorms yesterday.

Staff at the town's ABC radio station were lucky to escape with their lives after a 38m crane collapsed on their building.

Some schools in the town were forced to close, the roof of the town's cathedral was damaged and numerous businesses and homes also lost roofs.

At the ABC station, journalist Alisha O'Flaherty said she had stepped out of her office and was walking towards a printer as she prepared her 6.30am bulletin when the crane collapsed, crushing the newsroom.

"I heard a sound like a train coming towards me and basically this enormous crash behind me, and the whole office was destroyed," said Ms O'Flaherty.

"I was shocked for a second, and then we all gathered together and left the building because we didn't think it was stable."

Bicton, 15km south of Perth, was also battered, and the suburb's primary school was badly affected.

State Emergency Service spokeswoman Nita Gill said there had been calls to 500 incidents across the city, and 150 volunteers had been asked to help. [...]

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Yangtze River faces flood threat
www.chinaview.cn 2005-05-15 22:18:26

NANCHANG, May 15 (Xinhuanet) -- The Yangtze River areas will receive more rain this year than last year and will be under threat in the coming June-August flood season.

Cloudy and rainy weather has lingered at the middle and lower reaches of the river since the beginning of spring, and several hydrological stations have reported record high levels of water, said Cai Qihua, director of the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee.

He made the remarks at a meeting on flood control of the Yangtze River Sunday in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province.

The Yangtze River, historically rampant with flooding, was spared slightly last year. But typhoons, mud-rock flows and landslides still occurred in some flooded areas. [...]

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Vietnam Tanker Sinks, Spills Oil After Collision
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE - May 16, 2005

HANOI - A Vietnamese oil tanker sank after colliding with another vessel, spilling tonnes of diesel off the country's southern coast, state media reported on Friday.

The tanker, operated by state oil monopoly Petrovietnam, went down on Thursday near Dai Hung oilfield with a cargo of 100 tonnes of diesel oil after crashing into a Liberian-flagged oil tanker, the Nhan Dan newspaper reported.

An oil spill appeared near the crash site, around 135 nautical miles southeast of the southern oil hub Vung Tau City, which is 125 km (75 miles) northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, the report said.

All 16 crew of the Vietnamese ship were rescued. There was no damage to the Liberian vessel.

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Warming pushes fish north: U.K. research
Last Updated Mon, 16 May 2005 16:15:32 EDT
CBC News

ST. JOHN'S - Warming waters in the North Sea have pushed dozens of species of fish farther north, according to British researchers.

Reporting in the latest issue of the journal Science, the researchers found water temperatures in the North Sea climbed about one degree Celsuis during their investigation period, 1977 to 2001.

"We've seen that nearly two-thirds of the species have shifted their geographic centre in response to warming, and most of those shifts have been northward," says principal researcher Allison Perry, a doctoral student at the University of East Anglia.

In all, 36 species were considered, including cod and other commercially sought species, such as whiting.

The study pointed to a range of troubles, because while some species have moved significantly northwards, other species – including traditional food sources for other fish – have not.

"It's not so simple as just all of the fish moving together," Perry says.
"What we're seeing is a whole range of different responses ... so there are some fish that are shifting and among those some are shifting more quickly, and others are shifting more slowly, and there are some fish that don't seem to be responding at all."

The researchers attributed the rise in temperature to global warming. [...]

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Stuff of sci-fi nightmares? An army of robots that reproduce
Independent UK
12 May 2005

It has been the dream - and nightmare - of science fiction writers for decades. Now a team of engineers has conjured up a robot that can reproduce itself.

The robot can self-replicate in much the same way that some living organisms are able to reproduce by cloning themselves.

Although the machine in question serves no useful purpose other than to make copies of itself, scientists believe it has set a precedent for a future in which robots will proliferate on their own.

In the long term, the scientists envisage a day when armies of self-replicating robots will be able mend themselves when broken, expand their population, explore space and even establish self-sustaining colonies on other planets.

Hod Lipson, a mechanical engineer at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, who led the research team, is one of a number of robot specialists who believes that machines will one day design and build themselves as a form of "artificial life". [...]

"Although the machines we have created are still simple compared with biological systems, they demonstrate that mechanical self-reproduction is not unique to biology. This design concept could be useful for long-term, self-sustaining robotic systems in emerging areas such as space exploration and operation in hazardous environments, where conventional approaches to maintenance are impractical."

The researchers were able to demonstrate a robot made from four modules that could build a replica of itself in two and a half minutes by lifting and assembling the cubes from a "feeding point" on the ground.

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Egyptologists: It is Time to Prove Your Claims
Will Hart
Hidden Mysteries

Egyptologists are displaying irrational and unscientific fixations by stubbornly clinging to ideas that have already been discredited. Mr. Lerhner and Mr. Hawass use every public forum to repeat their unproven speculations about how the ancient (Egyptian) builders quarried, transported, lifted, dressed and precisely positioned blocks of stone weighing from 50 to 200 tons.

The problem is that they have not proven that the primitive tools and methods that they assert the builders used are equal to the task. In fact, several well-documented attempts over the past 30 years have actually failed to replicate what the builders achieved. In the 1970s a Japanese team funded by Nissan tried to build a one-third, scale model of the Great Pyramid using the methods Egyptologists claim the ancient engineers employed. They could not duplicate a single step of the process.

They gave up and called on modern technology. Even with the aid of trucks and helicopters they could not position the stones accurately and the finished pyramid turned out to be a haphazard mess. Then in the 1990s NOVA filmed another effort aimed at proving that Egyptologists were right. It was nowhere near as ambitious as the Japanese project. This time a team of experts tried set about the task of quarrying a 35-ton obelisk -- rather small by Egyptian standards -- using dolorite hammers, then transporting it on wooden skids and lifting it into place via a dirt ramp.

The NOVA team gave up rather quickly so slow was the quarrying process. They soon realized that the ancient method of transport was also hopeless and they called in a bulldozer to quarry the stone and a truck to carry it to the site. The first difficult steps having been performed with the aid of modern machinery they tried to lift the obelisk into place using their primitive scheme. That also failed.

Now consider that the blocks of granite forming the ceiling of the King's Chamber weigh 50-tons and they had to be lifted to that height and precisely manoeuvred into a difficult position. Furthermore, the largest obelisk in Egypt weighs ten times as much as the one the NOVA team struggled with unsuccessfully. We have to keep in mind that the only tools and sources of power that Egyptologists are willing to allow were primitive. They had no steel hammers or chisels, no pulleys and no horse drawn wheeled vehicles. The builders had to quarry the blocks with stone hammers and haul them using ropes, wooden sleds and manpower.

Many modern day engineers, physicists and other scientists have scratched their heads in wonder when they have come face-to-face with the problem. Some have been willing to publicly voice their doubts as to whether the ancients could have built the pyramid and raised the obelisks using primitive methods. Independent researchers have raised a number of serious questions and several have posed alternate theories.

The debate has raged on for decades without resolution. But there is a simple, definitive way to end the controversy once and for all. I propose that an independent panel of scientists and civil engineers devise a straightforward test to see if blocks of stone weighing 50 to 200 tons can be manipulated, moved and lifted into place using the primitive methods that Egyptologists claim the ancients employed. Using smaller stones proves nothing, you have to successfully manipulate the largest blocks not the smallest.

This challenge is proposed in the true spirit of scientific inquiry and public disclosure. There is no reason to accord a free lunch to any group of social scientists and no reason to accept unsubstantiated (historical) theories that are based on little more than idle speculation and wishful thinking. There is also no good reason to allow a protracted controversy to reign when the means of disposing of it are readily available.

Human history is a universal reality that belongs to all people and the pursuit of its underlying truth is more important than catering to the interests of any individual(s) or group(s)

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12-Year-Old Maryland Girl Has Not Aged In Years
05-13-05 16:03

(Editor's note: Original story is no longer available ... http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/health/4485525/detail.html)

BALTIMORE -- Imagine being frozen in time as a baby forever. It sounds impossible, but it describes Brooke Greenberg.

The Baltimore-area girl may look like a baby, but she's nearly a teenager. In most respects, Brooke looks and acts like your average 6-month-old baby -- she weighs 13 pounds and she is 27 inches long.

But Brooke is actually 12 years old, reported WBAL-TV in Baltimore.
Brooke doesn't age. Her syndrome remains undiagnosed and unnamed, and as far as doctors can tell, she is the only one in the world who has it.

Dr. Laurence Pakula has been Brooke's pediatrician since she was born.

"In height, weight, she's 6 to 12 months," Pakula said. "If you ask any physician who knows nothing about her, the response is that she is maybe a handicapped 2-year-old."

Her body may not be aging, but Brooke's health is deteriorating. She is fed through a tube, and she's had strokes, seizures, ulcers, severe respiratory problems and a tumor the size of a lemon.

The four times Brooke has come dangerously close to death, she bounced back and no one knows why.

Pakula points out that the girl has a strong sense of self and of sibling rivalry. Brooke has no language skills, but she does have enough motor skills to pull herself up in her crib or scoot across the kitchen floor.

Pakula said Brooke has thrived because of the support of her parents and three sisters.

"When one sees how much she has accomplished, it's a wonderful reminder that even for someone who's limited, it's a wonderful world out there," Pakula said.

As genetic research expands, scientists might be able to learn the secrets of this little girl. But until then, it is Brooke who is doing the teaching.

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