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Lightning Strike, June 24, 2005
Copyright 2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Two Former US Government Officials and an ex-MI5 agent say:

"The Official 9/11 Story Is False"


Given the wonderfully free nature of the US mainstream press, readers may have missed the fact that, over the past few weeks, no less than three government and intelligence agency officials from the US and Britain have openly called into question the US government's version of events on September 11th 2001.

The first authority figure to state the glaringly obvious was former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term, Morgan Reynolds. Reynolds stated that he believes that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7.

Reynolds, who also served as director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas and is now professor emeritus at Texas A&M University said:

"If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an 'inside job' and a government attack on America would be compelling." Reynolds commented from his Texas A&M office, "It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause of the collapse of the twin towers and building 7. If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis is not likely to be correct either. The government's collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms. Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings."

Next up to blow away the faltering smokescreen around 9/11 was former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, Paul Craig Roberts, who is listed by 'Who's Who in America' as one of the 1,000 most influential political thinkers in the world. While Roberts still holds on to his Republican/Conservative ideology, he has become severely disillusioned with the present gang of ultra-right NeoCons running the show in Washington, he states: "I just can't respect a party leadership who doesn't respect the truth."

According to Roberts, 9/11 is "only a part of a mysterious but deadly Neo-Con puzzle" and the NeoCons are "making such fatalistic mistakes and are about as insane as Hitler and the Nazi Party when they invaded Russia in the dead of the winter."

Although professing to know "a little about engineering" from his undergraduate days at Georgia Tech, Roberts deferred formulating any serious conclusions about the fall of the WTC, but expressed doubt as to the credibility of the entire official version based on past government lies uncovered at Waco, Ruby Ridge and the threat of WMD in Iraq.

Referring to Reynolds' comments on the WTC collapse, Roberts suggests that they reveal just how flimsy and unbelievable the government story comes across. He states:

"This is not some kind of conspiracy nut or kook talking. He is a man with extremely qualified credentials, whose opinions I respect," said Roberts referring to Reynolds’ comments.

The third and most recent authority to debunk the 9/11 official story fantasy was former MI5 agent David Shayler who spoke to Alex Jones of Prison Planet. Shayler hit the headlines in the UK a few years ago when he was sentenced to 6 months in prison for disclosing documents to the media obtained during his time as an MI5 officer.

Shayler had become disgusted by the duplicity and deceit that was rife within the British intelligence community and, after resigning, decided to go public with his claim that both MI6 and MI5 (UK equivalent to the CIA and the FBI) had been involved in a failed coup attempt whereby £100,000 ($180,000) was paid to known al-Qaeda operatives to kill Libyan leader Mummar Gadaffi in late 1995. One of the hit men, Anas al-Liby, who was known to the British government as an al-Qaeda "terrorist", was even given political asylum in Britain and lived in Manchester until May of 2000. Shayler claims that, at the time of the plot, MI6 knew the location of Bin Laden and had an excellent opportunity to arrest him but chose to allow him to remain at large.

During Shayler's trial, the judge required him to disclose in advance the questions he planned to ask prosecution witnesses in cross-examination. Shayler was also denied the right to question the credibility of the five prosecution witnesses, four of whom remained anonymous at the behest of the British Home Secretary and was prevented from calling two witnesses who overheard a conversation in which an MI6 agent confirmed British intelligence involvement in the coup attempt.

During the trial, Home Secretary David Blunkett and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw signed Public Interest Immunity certificates to protect national security.

These restrictions led to a row between the Attorney General and the so-called D-Notice Committee, which advises the press on national security issues.

The committee, officially known as the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, has objected to demands by the prosecution to apply the Official Secrets Act retrospectively to cover information already published or broadcast as a result of Shayler's disclosures. Members of the committee, who include senior national newspaper executives, are said to be horrified at the unprecedented attempt to censor the media during the trial.

Given the efforts made by the Blair government to gag Mr. Shayler and the fact that his claims have since been verified as true by French Intelligence, it would appear the Mr Shayler is not just a bitter ex-spook out to damage his former employer with spurious allegations. As mentioned, last week, Shayler spoke to Alex Jones about the 9/11 attacks, despite a gag imposed by the British government preventing him from speaking about his work as an MI5 agent. During the interview, Shayler made clear his conviction that 9/11 was an inside job meant to bring about a permanent state of emergency in America and pave the way for the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and ultimately Iran and Syria.

Shayler said that his suspicions were first aroused about 9/11 when the usual route of crime scene investigation was impeded when the debris was immediately seized and shipped off to China.

"It is in fact a criminal offence to interfere with a crime scene and yet in the case of 9/11 all the metal from the buildings is shipped out to China, there are no forensications done on that metal. Now that to me suggests they never wanted anybody to look at that metal because it was not going to provide the evidence they wanted to show people that it was Al-Qaeda."

Shayler then went on to dismiss the incompetence theory.

"The more I look at it, you realize that it’s not incompetence. There were FBI officers all over the country, Colleen Rowley is obviously the one who managed to get a congressional hearing, but there was plenty of evidence certainly."

"There are so many questions that need to be answered, protocols being overridden within national defense, people actively being stopped from carrying out investigations. This wasn’t an accident, they were aware there was intelligence indicating those kind of attacks, there were FBI intercepts saying it in the days before the attacks. When you look at it all, that is a big big intelligence picture and yet these people were crucially stopped from doing their jobs, stopped from trying to protect the American people."

Shayler elaborated by saying the evidence suggests the attack was originally meant to be much wider in scope and was an attempt at a violent coup intended to decapitate the entire government as a pretext for martial law.

"So you’re looking at a situation in which you almost have a coup de’tat because you’ve got to bear in mind that there were weapons discovered on planes that didn’t take off on 9/11. Now people have obviously postulated that they were going perhaps to attack the White House, Capitol Hill. That looks to me like an attempt to destroy American government and declare a state of emergency, in fact a coup de’tat, a violent coup de’tat."

"There are so very many questions about this and you realize again that none of the enquiries ever get to the bottom of any of these things, they don’t take all the evidence, they don’t often take any evidence under oath when they should be taking it under oath."

Shayler was forthright in his assertion that the attack was planned and executed within the jurisdiction of the military-industrial complex.

"They let it happen, they made it happen to create a trigger to be able to allow the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq and of course what they’re trying to do now is the same thing with the invasion of Iran and Syria."

Shayler ended by questioning the highly suspicious nature of the collapse of the twin towers and Building 7, the first buildings in history, all in the same day, to collapse from so-called fire damage alone.

"I’ve seen the results of terroristic explosions and so on and no terrorist explosion has ever brought down a building. When the IRA put something like a thousands tonnes of home-made explosives in front of the Baltic Exchange building in Bishopsgate and let off the bomb, all the glass came out, the building shook a bit but there was no question about the building falling down and it doesn’t obey the laws of physics for buildings to fall down in the way the World Trade Center came down. So you have the comparison of the two, Building 7 compared with the north and south towers coming down and those two things are exactly the same, they were demolished."

The former MI5 agent also mentioned the proclivity of Israeli intelligence to carry out 'False Flag' operations, stating that in the july 1994 bombing of the Israeli embassy in London, some within MI5 believed that the Israelis themselves bombed the embassy and that they then framed two Palestinians who remain in jail to this day.

"The same thing has happened with two Palestinians who were convicted of conspiracy to cause the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Britain in 1994 but MI5 didn’t disclose two documents which indicated their innocence. One document indicated another group had carried out the attack and the other document was the belief of an MI5 officer that the Israelis had actually bombed their own embassy and allowed a controlled explosion to try and get better security and these documents were never shown to the trial judge let alone the defense."

So there it is folks. No longer are allegations that the US government was complicit in the 9/11 attacks the domain of "fringe conspiracy kooks" alone but now also include internationally respected economists, former Bush administration officials and vindicated ex-British government intelligence agents.

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To hell with Judith Miller
Stan Goff

That’s what I said. And to hell with the press’s sanctimonious lamentations over First Amendment rights. If they were so committed to the press being some kind of democratic tripwire, they wouldn’t behave like such craven hucksters about virtually every real issue that comes along. In particular, they would be critical of themselves about the likes of propaganda hacks like Judith Miller.

Jose Padilla, Wen Ho Lee, and lengthening list of others have had their Constitutional rights trampled as public spectacles in which the press participates as eagerly as any lynching crowd on a picnic, but where was Judith Miller when all this was happening?

She was working for the White House as a disinformation specialist even as she worked for the mighty New York Times, helping the administration make its case for the war in Iraq. No single reporter was more solicitous in retransmitting the Rendon Group’s fabrication about mushroom clouds over New York and the Saddam-A-bomb.

It’s unlikely that more than a handful of reporters in the ntaion had as many chances as Miller to rub elbows with Dick Cheney’s favorite Iraqi advisor, Rendon Group vet, con man, and convicted embezzler, Ahmed Chalabi. Miller appeared at one point in Iraq to be actually working for Chalabi while working as an embedded reporter.

Little wonder, then, that Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Scooter Libby, is a prime target of the investigation into the administration’s vengeance outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, when her husband Joseph Wilson refused to doctor evidence for the Bush administration to develop the weird claim that Iraq was buying weaponizable uranium from Niger. Libby, or whomever (someone on the White House staff) “leaked” Plame’s identity as a U.S. intelligence operative abroad - which is a felony violation of federal law.

Me. I don’t sit around losing sleep at night about the disempowerments of the Cenral Intelligence Agency (they’ve done more to disempower themselves than any opponent could ever do). I admit I’m seriously into situational ethics here… the ethics being whether the protections that ostensibly exist for journalists and their sources being a means to protect the public FROM official power can be reasonably claimed when a reporter lets themselves be used BY official power to punish people like Wilson for having a shred of integrity. I’ve always thought the categorical imperative is a form of detached philospohical stupidity anyhow. This case seems to prove that.

It’s an obligation for political activists to know what the masses are watching on television, so every day I try to force myself to see a bit of CNN, a bit of MSNBC, a bit of local affiliate news. It’s about as joyful as having a sea urchin packed up your behind, but it still seems like an obligation. It seldom changes, this self-referential parade of air-brushed news-models regurgitating the manufactured cliche of the day, and slobbering over think-tank reptiles and retired generals who are themselves reduced to preaning cheap-jackery before narcotic America.

It’s only the shortest step between this and Judith Miller’s breathless ranting about Saddam’s bombs on the flagshit NYT. I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would give the NYT any more credence than the Debka-file. They get things right about equally as often.

When I see them give as much ink to Jose Padilla as they are to this vicious, self-serving hack, who willlingly let herself be used by the White House she now calims the First Amendment to protect, I’ll stand in front of the Supreme Court with a “Free the lying little shit” sign. But for now, she can rot for all the hell I care, and I’d be delighted to see “Scooter” Libby in the same cell block.

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They Celebrated 1,100 miles of Pipeline, while we mourned our Dead

By Vincent L Guarisco

"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable." U.S. Historian ~Howard Zinn, 1993

As the war in Afghanistan and Iraq rolls onward like a well-heeled Greek wheel, a little under-the-radar event went unnoticed by the disserving mainstream news media. Less than a week before Memorial Day, while we as a nation prepared for another mournful day of remembrance of those who died while serving bravely in the Armed Forces, another special celebration was in the works: On May 25th 2005, with hardly a smidgeon of news coverage, U.S. officials celebrated the completion of the first section of a 1,100-mile U.S.-backed pipeline bringing Caspian Sea oil to Western markets. British Petroleum (B.P.) Chief Executive John Brown, whose company leads the venture that built the pipeline, was in attendance and ecstatic with dollar signs dancing in his head (and in his bank account). It was after all, a "pipedream" come true after years of denial from a Clinton Administration who prevented American businessmen from doing business with terrorist regimes.

The $3.2 billion project is expected to deliver 1 million barrels of "Texas Tea" a day from the world's third-largest oil and gas reserves, through Georgia to the Mediterranean. That's a lot of oil even by "Texas" standards. And for those who stand to gain immensely -- undoubtedly, this venture is considered a pot of black gold at the end of a very bloody rainbow.

However, it's common knowledge that before you can enjoy a rainbow, you must first weather the storm, and no one can appreciate a depleted-uranium hailstorm more than the Afghan and Iraqi populations. I don't speak Afghan or Iraqi, but - I'm sure the horrified expression on the many faces of young and old alike served as a chilling interpretation, as coalition bombers delivered their "hard steel rain." I guess it's safe to say that "fear" is a universal language that anyone can understand, sort of like speaking in war tongues, if you catch my meaning.

I want you to think about this for a moment: while thousands of Americans made painful pilgrimages across this vast nation to honor our fallen and to pay their respects at cemeteries and churches on Memorial Day, U.S. officials joined BP officials and other oil tycoons in celebrating their pipeline. And they continue to celebrate it even today as our sons and daughters continue to perish on multiple battlefields. I guess British Petroleum, and the rest of the shrewd gang concluded that oil is much thicker and far more profitable than the spilled blood of American soldiers and innocent civilians. Indeed. They must.

And logic dictates in the wake of this madness that if you want something bad enough, anything can be made to happen or be "fixed" in order to achieve that means, including Pearl Harbor events, manipulation of national foreign policy, and wars being fought under the pretense of lies. Hummm, a haunting phrase comes to mind as they celebrated their pipeline, as they count their blood money and as they continue on with their grim war agenda -- "Mission Accomplished."

Americans are not stupid; they are beginning to understand that this bunch of greedy warmongers is the worst collection of cowards ever to land on the throne of power -- in this "freedom-loving" country anyway. It does not set well with the American people for a group to get away with murder just because they have the money and power to do so. And they despise those who are willing to sacrifice the lives of their fellow citizens as well as innocent women and children for no other reason than to extend that power.

Generation after generation has always seen the yellow stripe that runs down the backs of rich preppies who are shielded from the horrors of war by their rich and powerful parents. Even the village idiot in the White House can appreciate the fact of gentility. He fully understands that, when the rich start their wars, it's not the rich who get sent to fight them. Oh sure, a few of them go as they put together a political career, but we know who toes the frontline. Hey George, can you say champagne unit three times real fast and keep a straight face? I didn't think so.

So remember, next time you see the commander-in-thief propped up in front of his corporate media teleprompter, blathering on about spreading bunker-buster democracy -- and how we must not retreat from war -- remember, he held the coats as others fought in his absence during the Vietnam War. And currently, while his oil buddies high-five each other in celebration of their new oil pipeline, our sons and daughters will continue to pay for their greed with their lives. They will continue to die for the lies that were fixed to support their policy of greed, power and imperialism.

My motive in writing this essay is quite simple, I want you to get angry. I want you to get very angry and demand that this madness be stopped. History has proven time and time again that when the warmongers lose the mob (society), war comes to an abrupt end. Spread the word, peace is patriotic, bring the troops home now.

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Child Abuse
Chris Floyd – Moscow Times June 24, 2005

When the public liars sat down together – in Crawford, in the Pentagon, in the Oval Office, at 10 Downing Street – and very deliberately, very guilefully and very knowingly devised their act of mass murder in Iraq, it is unlikely they gave any thought to the most vulnerable targets of their war crime: the children. So in considering this aspect of the bloodbath, we should give the liars the benefit of the doubt. Let's not make them more monstrous than they are. Let's stick to the facts.

Let us say -- as the incontrovertible facts compel us to say -- that they were willing to kill tens of thousands of innocent people in an action they knew to be illegal, reckless, ill-planned and unsupported by evidence; that they knew their public statements about the plans for war were lies; that they started the war with a vicious bombing campaign months before obtaining even a fig leaf of approval from their respective legislatures, a clear and treasonous violation of their own national laws; that long before their blitzkrieg rolled across the border, they were already divvying up the loot of conquest: the oil rights, the "privatizations," the crony contracts.

In short, let us say that, yes, they are killers, liars, thieves and incompetent fools. But let's not imagine that as they settled their safe and cosseted backsides into the fine upholstery of their elegantly appointed war rooms, they gleefully regaled each other with visions of the exquisite tortures they would soon inflict upon the children of Iraq.

Let's not imagine George W. Bush nudging Tony Blair in the ribs as they masticated their pork together, saying, "Cholera, eh? Typhoid fever. Malnutrition! By God, we can grind these Iraqi children lower than the slum rats of Haiti!" Let's not picture Dick Cheney chiding Donald Rumsfeld over the steak tartare: "Damn it, Don, if there's a single pregnant Iraqi woman left without hepatitis before we're through, heads are going to roll! I want the wombs of those Arab cows swimming in lethal viruses. Lethal, do you hear me?"

Of course it wasn't like that. Such suppositions do these honored national leaders a grave injustice. No doubt their discourse was elevated, focused on lofty matters of state and strategy, on the practicalities of logistics and presentation. If anyone there spoke of the "human factor" -- the actual reality of bleeding flesh, of death, wounds, disease and rot -- it would only have been as part of the political calculations: What level of casualties would the American people accept, how do we keep the dead and maimed out of the public eye? It was all about numbers, processes, abstractions. Nothing to disturb the moral imagination, nothing to put them off the hearty meals and tasty snacks discreetly laid before them by the servants.

So when leading international agencies -- including the World Bank, now headed by one of the chief liars, Paul Wolfowitz -- find that Iraq's children are dwindling and dying twice as fast under the coalition's benevolent care than under the despotism of Saddam Hussein, we should not conclude that this was the liars' conscious intention. Yes, it's true that Iraq's child malnutrition rate is now worse than the broken nations of Uganda or Haiti, as the Japan Times reports. Yes, cholera and typhoid are cutting swaths through the population, with especial virulence in the "stable" areas of the Shiite south. Yes, epidemics of hepatitis are killing pregnant women. Yes, antibiotics are scarce, leaving children, the old and the weak to die of common infections -- that is, when they can get treated at all in a health system ravaged by the liars' war and its atrocious aftermath. (Such as the destruction of Fallujah, for example, when coalition forces deliberately destroyed the city's health clinics and imprisoned doctors to prevent news of civilian casualties from leaking to the press, as the Pentagon's own "information specialists" told The New York Times.)

And yes, it's true that Iraq -- once a modern and prosperous nation -- has suffered "one of the most dramatic declines in human welfare in recent history" during the occupation, as the UN says. But again, this was not part of the liars' deliberate design. The torment of children was outside the parameters of their "metrics of success." It was not a factor one way or the other.

In fact, let's go even further and declare forthrightly that if the liars could have established a client regime and a permanent military presence in Iraq without harming the hair of a single child, they would have done so. If they could have transferred more than $300 billion from the public treasury to the pockets of their family members and business partners without having to concoct a brutal and baseless war of aggression, they would have done so. If they could have legitimized their radical, rapacious domestic agenda without engineering the slaughter of innocent people in order to assume the politically expedient role of "wartime leaders," they would have done so.

But they couldn't. So like all murderers, they did whatever they had to do to get what they wanted, regardless of the consequences for others. Like all terrorists, they rationalized their atrocities with noble rhetoric, citing the unassailable righteousness of their cause as justification for the unspeakable evil they were unleashing. And like all abusers of innocent children, they covered up their baser motives with self-serving lies.


Unending Health Disaster for Iraqi Kids

Japan Times, June 18, 2005

Iraq Attacks Preceded Congressional OK

San Francisco Chronicle, June 19, 2005

Former Reagan Official: This is War Waged by Liars and Morons

CounterPunch, June 21, 2005

They Died So Republicans Could Take the Senate, June 20, 2005

House Agrees to Spend More for Iraq War

Reuters, June 21, 2005

Heat and Dust: Inside the Green Republic

Baghdad Burning, June 21, 2005

WMD Claims Were Totally Implausible, says Key UK Diplomat

The Guardian, June 20, 2005

Why the Memo Matters

TomDispatch, June 19, 2005

How Much Proof Needed Before the Truth Comes Out?

Online Journal, June 17, 2005

British Documents Show Determined U.S. March to War

Knight-Ridder, June 17, 2005

Down the Iraqi Rabbit Hole

TomDispatch, June 15, 2005

Bush Wanted to Invade Iraq if Elected in 2000, Says Family Biographer

Guerilla News, Oct. 27, 2004

British Military Chief Reveals New Legal Fears Over Iraq War

The Observer, May 1, 2005

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Zogby: Bush Job Approval Unchanged by War Speech, Number of Americans Favoring Impeachment Swells to 42%

President Bush’s televised address to the nation produced no noticeable bounce in his approval numbers, with his job approval rating slipping a point from a week ago, to 43%, in the latest Zogby International poll.

And, in a sign of continuing polarization, more than two-in-five voters (42%) say they would favor impeachment proceedings if it is found the President misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with Iraq.

Comment: Most polls are rigged. These figures are most likely an attempt at a "limited hangout" by the Bush administration's spin doctors. The actual percentage of the US population that thinks Bush is a complete idiot is probably far higher. We estimate that, at most, 20% of Americans support their President, the other 80% think he and his controllers should be kicked out on their collective rear.

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Sacrificing Our Kids for Their War
SOTT Commentary

Foreign wars need cannon fodder, the youth of a country to go out and give and take the bullets and bombs in the name of policy established by leaders who are safe at home. In the case of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, an illegal war carried out under false pretences against an "enemy" that was no threat to the invaders, the leaders, many of whom were of draftable age during the war in Vietnam, managed to avoid the military altogether or active service in that war. They are referred to as the Chickenhawks: people who talk a belligerent game but who are unwilling to put their own lives on the line for their beliefs. Let the sons and daughters of the less fortunate die and be maimed.

The current US Commander-in-Chief went AWOL from his cushy post as a pilot with the Texas National Guard when he avoided the medical exam that would have shown traces of his cocaine habit in his blood. Now he struts his stuff in custom-made military garb to quicken the drug-primed hearts of military studs like Jeff Gannon.

We are talking hypocrisy and corruption on a massive scale. It is so unbelievable for most people that when you bring it up, they look at you as if you were putting money on the Vikings winning the Superbowl.

But wars need soldiers to give their lives or their arms and legs, eyes or minds. With 140,000 troops in Iraq, thousands more in Afghanistan, and plans to overthrow Iran and Syria, army recruiters have quotas to fill. In spite of the filtered coverage of the occupation of Iraq shown to Americans, enlistment is down. For four months in a row, the quotas have not been met.

What's an empire to do?

The first is to elect war-mongerers who can set the right example:

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Chickenhawk Headquarters
The New Hampshire Gazette

Name: George W. Bush (R-TX)
Born: 1946
Employer: The U.S. Taxpayer
Conflict Avoided: Vietnam
Notes: You know when a guy walks away from a National Guard obligation during wartime and gets away with it, he must come from "a good family." Not that his daddy had anything to do with his getting a Guard slot in the first place - oh, no ...

Name: Richard "Dick" Cheney (R-WY)
Born: 1942
Employer: The U.S. Taxpayer
Conflict Avoided: Vietnam
Notes: Says he had "other priorities." You bet he had other priorities. Imagine how early in life you must begin scheming to get away with what this guy has. He was too busy thinking about Halliburton to go fight Charlie.

Name: I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby
Born: 1950±
Employer: The U.S. Taxpayer
Conflict Avoided: Vietnam
Notes: I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby is Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff. He’s had a string of no-doubt well-paying government jobs in State and Defense. He’s also practiced law. In fact, he was Marc Rich’s lawyer for years. Yes — the Marc Rich whose pardon from President Clinton was excoriated by so many high and mighty Republicans. Maybe if Scooter had been a better lawyer, his client wouldn’t have needed that pardon. Speaking of legal questions, “Scooter” is alleged by some to have traded energy stocks while helping his buddy Dick Cheney cook up a new energy policy in secret. He’s also suspected of having inserted the bogus “Niger yellowcake” reference into the President’s State of the Union address. As if all that weren’t enough, he’s also a top suspect in the outing of CIA operative Valeria Plame. Clearly “Scooter” is a ballsy kind of guy, so it’s a complete mystery to us why, when he graduated from Phillips Andover in 1968, he didn’t enlist in the Marines or go Airborne instead of going to Yale.

Name: Karl Rove
Born: 1950
Employer: Baal
Conflict Avoided: Vietnam
Notes: This little cherub was born on Christmas Day, 1950. Karl “Bush’s Brain” Rove ran George W.’s campaign, right down to the tiny detail of deciding Bush was going to run. The hardest part was convincing a horde of Republican skeptics that it could be done.

He is said to have said of his boss, he’s "the kind of candidate and officeholder political hacks like me wait a lifetime to be associated with."

Now Karl’s Senior White House advisor. If he really is “Bush’s Brain,” and if the fondest wishes of former US Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV come true, one fine day Karl will be “frogmarched out of the White House in mandcuffs.”

Will history record that event as “Bush’s Lobotomy?”

Name: Donald "The Don" Rumsfeld
Born: 1932
Employer: The U.S. Taxpayer
Conflict Avoided: Korea
Notes: When the shooting started in Korea Rummy here was either 18, or about to turn 18. Not to worry for him, though — he spent the war at Princeton, wearing a ROTC uniform. Once the war was over he flew jets for the Navy for a few years. Defenders of Rumsfeld will say he’s no chickenhawk — he served, and it’s not his fault the war ended before he got his commission. To which others answer, “plenty of farmers and mechanics and kids just out of high school served. Anyone as full of whatever that stuffing in him is, could have tried out for a battlefield commission.”

Name: Paul Wolfowitz
Born: 1943
Employer: The U.S. Taxpayer
Conflict Avoided: Vietnam
Notes: Deputy Secretary for Defense - yet another Bush administration man in the Pentagon who has no idea what it's like to wear a uniform. He got a BA at Cornell in 1965. Maybe if we'd had a guy as bright as he thinks he is in Vietnam, it would have turned out differently.

Comment: Here we have the roll of honour for today's American leaders, setting the example for American youth. They have no shame in sending others off to fight their battles, following the American Imperative: "Look Out for Number One!"

Here is an example of the depths to which they sink:

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Do It For Uncle Sam
Sophie McNeill

For the fourth month in a row, the army has fallen well short of its recruitment targets. The result is that they're turning to some pretty unconventional methods to persuade young Americans to do it for Uncle Sam.

REPORTER: Sophie McNeill

St Cloud is a small industrial town in the northern state of Minnesota. Saturday evening, and normally it's pretty dead but tonight the local army recruiters have hit town armed with the latest teenage fad.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: Seven seconds, five, four, three, two, one.

'America's Army', the official video game created, designed and marketed by the US Department of Defense. Tonight, these kids have become virtual soldiers in the US army. They're out on missions to defend freedom and take out whoever gets in their way.

And while some parents might worry about the impact of graphic virtual violence on such young minds, here, a government department actively encourages it. And with the video game ranking at number four in the US charts, it's become an army recruiter's new best friend.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: This is 'America's Army: Special Forces' game. This is one of the latest editions we came out with. Kids can get it by calling the recruiting station, coming into the recruiting station. We take this to colleges, to high schools, it's kind of just like a giveaway.

I'm the recruiter out at St Cloud state now.

Sergeant Scott Link has been in army recruiting for three years.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: You guys have played quite a bit? You realise we're staying with the neutral settings?

Each month Scott is expected to convince three young Americans to join the army.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: You guys form a team. You're here, right? You like pizza? Yeah. OK, there'll be pizza a little later.

And with the current recruiting shortage, Scott has to try harder than ever.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: Have you used it before? You'll be fine, you've just got to register over here.

What I want to do is just talk with them, find out what they need and I want to see if what they need is something that the army can give them. And that's what I do. Basically I'm like a counsellor to the kids, I want to counsel them and see if the army is what fits them.

REPORTER: Why are you here?

BOY: Um, I just came with my brother so I could have a good time playing the game with other people.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: They're all going to be possibly new soldiers for me down the road. If not, maybe friendships there when I'm out in the community they can say, "Hey, that's Sergeant Link, he was over at the gaming event, he's a pretty cool guy."

I even lost my star for a while. I got my star on there. I'll be on on Saturday night until 4:00, 5:00 in the morning. Just keep playing and playing like you said, it's different. The more people come on, different clans they jump in with, it just depends how the clan is how long you stay with that one. Get bored of a map, boom, you've got what, a dozen other maps to go to.

HEATHER: I'm staying in one corner.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: Staying in your corner you're not going to win.

13-year-old Heather and 14-year-old Amy are playing the urban assault map - an exercise in street warfare that has a disturbing resemblance to current US missions in Iraq. Armed with M16s and grenades, the girls have received instructions to conduct a house-by-house assault and capture the local insurgents.

REPORTER: Does a game like this maybe make you think about wanting to join the army?

HEATHER: A little bit but I'm kind of afraid to join the army.

REPORTER: What about you, Amy?

AMY: No.

REPORTER: No? Not at all?

AMY: Maybe a little bit but I'm kind of afraid of guns so I just - I don't think I could do that.

REPORTER: So it's just for fun?

AMY: Yeah.

But that's not what the Pentagon wants to hear. It takes this game very seriously.

The game was developed here in upstate New York at the prestigious West Point Military Academy. It cost over $25 million.

MAJOR CHRIS CHAMBERS: Well, this poster here commemorates the launch of the game in 2002.

Major Chris Chambers is the deputy director of the 'America's Army' project.

MAJOR CHRIS CHAMBERS: In terms of just raw budget figures, we're a very small percentage, less than 3% of the overall recruiting budget, and with 5 million registered users being added at 100,000 users per month, this is one of the most effective methods that the army has in reaching Americans of all ages.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: So what do you guys think about the realism in the game? It scares you? The cars are real, the bullets hitting off the buildings.

The army wanted to make this game as realistic as possible. The most talented web designers in America were hired to design the graphics and all the weapons in the game are identical copies of the real thing.

MAJOR CHRIS CHAMBERS: And that attention to detail is really important. Not only is it important for us, because that is what we bring to the industry is a new level of realism, but it's important to the players because they feel that this vicarious experience they're having with the army is closer and closer to reality.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: The bigger your target is, the easier it is to hit. You want to get down, coming in low. Coming down low. How much can people get me if I'm down low like this?

BOY: Not as much but then I aimed up and I shot him for like 10 seconds and then he aimed down at shot me.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: Then your aim bites.

BOY: Shoot him in the head.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: You got to go up if you want to hit.

BOY: I always aim for the head.

Scott is keen to make sure everyone's having a great time.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: They do have pizza over here now. So if you want to, eat up.

Apart from free games and giveaways, part of tonight's appeal was the lure of free pizza and soft drink - after all, these kids are under-age.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: So how's the pizza guys? Good? Have you guys played yet?

BOY: Yeah.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: How did you do?

BOY: We lost.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: You lost? Which team are you in? OK, so what was your strategy, why did you lose?

BOY: We don't have a strategy. We'd never played the game before.

And the army even has plans to use information gathered from the game to steer players to the appropriate career path.

MAJOR CHRIS CHAMBERS: We know it's technically possible to record a lot of game play information that a player has under their pseudonym or their character name, and that player data could be valuable to a recruiter at some point in terms of tailoring their choice in the army based on what they did voluntarily in the game.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: Right now, have you ever thought about joining the military?

AMY: No.


AMY: I don't think I could deal with that.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: Deal with what?

AMY: Like the stress and... I don't know I'm not good with guns.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: OK, you don't have to be good with guns. You think everybody that's in the military is good with guns? Yeah. No. We have over 200 jobs in the United States army for people to do. Firemen, policemen, paramedics, people to run stores, people to run gas stations, dentists, optometrists, everything you can think of - medically, truck drivers. Everything that you see out here we have.

AMY: But like wasn't like there like a truck driver in Iraq that got beheaded?

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: OK, I was a paramedic for 10 years in North Ambulance for this area. I was a paramedic for 10 years I saw probably I'd say 70 deaths, in that 10 years. That's not in the combat zone, that's here in the United States.

Now, you might not know this but there's about 117,000 people that die from car accidents, violence, drunk driving, accidents in the home, tons of different stuff, about 117,000 per year die in the United States.

Now, put that in perspective - in a combat zone in two years, yes, we have had deaths but nothing compared to how many people die per year here in the United States.

Congratulations. Hope you guys had fun. Enjoyed it, everybody? Yeah. Good time. Do it again?

REPORTER: Amy, are you actually considering the army as an option now after tonight?

AMY: Yes, I thought that was so interesting what he was talking about and his experiences and how many different stuff people could do in the army. I didn't know they could have their own radio stations or stuff like that. I just thought you'd like go over to like Iraq or some place and protect and shoot people. So it gave me like a wider perspective of stuff that they did.

REPORTER: So basically because of tonight you're considering perhaps joining the military?

AMY: Yeah, yeah. He said he had a card so I'm going to definitely pick one of those up.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: My business card is right up here. It's got my email, it's got my phone number, it's got my name.

MAJOR CHRIS CHAMBERS: The message to young people really is about this very strong team called the US army that performs missions with rules of engagement and within the laws of land warfare and that that's a very powerful team to be a part of and that's the strongest message we can send.

But obviously being a real-life member of this very powerful team is not all fun and games. With the US army suffering almost daily casualties in Iraq, it raises the question whether it's appropriate to suggest to young kids that a career in the army is as safe and as exciting as playing a video game.

BOY: I killed seven people, yeah. Yeah, did they have some issues with friendly fire, I think one of their guys might have killed their team. That was pretty awesome.

REPORTER: Major Chambers, do you think that the game could actually desensitise young men and women to the brutal realities of war and actually killing people?

MAJOR CHRIS CHAMBERS: Well, I think again we depict consequences for action and our role in this is to honestly depict those consequences and always keep in mind that we have 13-year-olds as well as, you know, 45-year-olds playing our game. So with that as a constraint, then we are as honest as we can about violence and death and the role that the US army plays and its constitutional role in terms of, you know, the violence and warfare.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: And, then, yeah, the magazines, they're just real simple. They're 30- or 20-round clips that we put in these things.

But Scott has to fill his monthly quota and he can't afford to let any of these nagging questions cloud the minds of his potential recruits. He has a job to do and, like all recruiters, you just never take no for an answer.

SERGEANT SCOTT LINK: But, hey, for all your friends that are like above 35 say "I'm too old to join", we've upped the aged to 39 now, OK. So we have something for all of you.

Copyright: Dateline - SBS - Australia

Comment: We get a rather strong feeling of nausea when we read this article and see how the kids are being manipulated by the recruiter: video games and pizza, "there's no life like it!" Wooed by visions of careers as firemen, police offers, paramedics, dentists or optometrists, they sign up only to find out that everyone else had the same sale's spiel and are competing for the choice spots, leaving most new recruits on the front lines.

With the economy tanking, however, the recruiters can sell the idea that the army is the way out of a dead-end life, and there's really nothing to worry about, you're in more danger driving on America's highways! But if we look at his statistics, we see that the old chestnut about lies, damned lies, and statistics still holds true. If we look at the figure of fatalities in the US cited by Sargeant Link, 117,000 out of 280 million is .048% of the population. From June 29, 2004 until July 1, 2005, there were 886 official US fatalities in Iraq. 886 out of 140,000 troops is .63%, so the probability of dying in Iraq if you are a US soldier is over ten times that of dying if you stay at home. If the figures given in another article on this page, that 9,000 soldiers have died in Iraq, then the figures are wildly different.

And the good Sargeant is not mentioning the number of troops who are permanently maimed, only to be forgotten by Bush's government after they are snuck back into the United States.

Then, of course, there is the problem of those God-fearing, Patriotic, pro-war Americans from well-to-do families who either don't join up because they expect the riff-raff to do the actual fighting, or who do join up but then use loop-holes to stay out of combat. New York Governor Pataki was and is a fervent supporter of Bush's war. The governor's son Teddy joined the marines while at Yale and was recently commissioned a second lieutenant.

The story picks up here:

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New York Press

"With supreme guts and righteousness, President Bush went into Iraq," Gov. Pataki told the Republican National Convention last August. The place erupted with applause. It was all very stirring.

Almost one year later, Pataki's son Teddy is, with supreme guts and righteousness, seeking a three-year law school deferment from the Marines, which last week commissioned the recent Yale grad as a second lieutenant.

The governor, who himself received a medical deferment during the Vietnam War because of poor eyesight, has said he hopes his son is granted the deferment. Of course he does. No doubt all the parents of New York's nearly 100 war dead also wish their children could have gotten deferments. But they couldn't. They got killed instead.

During the run-up to the invasion, Pataki was one of Bush's biggest war whores in the Northeast, taking his pro-war stump speech on the road to warn New Yorkers about the imminent threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Since the governor's support for the war has yet to waver, it is more than a little annoying to hear him publicly wishing for his son's deferral.

If the cause in Iraq is even half as important as the governor has led us to believe, then surely his son is more needed in Fallujah than in some Cambridge lecture hall. If, on the other hand, the governor no longer considers the war important enough to justify his son's immediate contribution, then he should speak up as loudly as he did in the winter of 2003. Which is it, George?

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Ship young Pataki straight to Iraq

Sheryl McCarthy
June 30, 2005

I'm sure Teddy Pataki is a nice young man. And the fact that he signed up for the Marine Corps' officers training program while he was still an undergraduate at Yale suggests a willingness to serve his country.

But I would be really mad if 22-year-old Pataki, whose father is Gov. George Pataki, got to skate through the next three years of the Iraq conflict in law school.

The governor, who proudly announced last week that his son has been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marines, also noted that Teddy Pataki hopes to defer his military service for three years until he finishes law school.

Coming only days after 20-year-old Marine Cpl. Ramona Valdez of the Bronx was killed by a suicide bomber in Fallujah, to suggest that Lt. Pataki be allowed to pass the next three years studying torts and contracts seemed positively obscene.

It was another example of how politicians wage war but expect other people's children to fight them.

And at a time when the Marines, like all the other military branches, are struggling to fill their recruitment quotas because of the war, the idea of a politician's son getting an educational deferment makes my blood boil.

It takes me back to the Vietnam War, when thousands of sons of privilege hung out in college, graduate school, the National Guard and the various military reserve units to avoid the carnage that was playing out in Vietnam.

At the Republican National Convention last year, Gov. Pataki praised President George W. Bush for having the courage to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. And just as Bush did in his speech Tuesday night, the governor strove mightily to link Hussein to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

But with the daily war toll mounting, why wouldn't his son want to put off serving for a while?

A Marine spokesman told me that what Pataki was talking about wasn't really a "deferment." The Marines need lawyers as well as regular soldiers, he said, and it allows some officers who are commissioned out of college to go on and complete their legal training. Sometimes, the Marines pay for professional school, and sometimes not, he said. If Pataki gets the deferment, the Marines will not be paying for his schooling, a spokeswoman for the governor said.

When I broached the possibility of a deferment to the office of Rep. Charles Rangel, one of his aides laughed out loud. Rangel has called for restoring the draft, because he believes that when a country decides to go to war, it should ask its citizens to share the sacrifice across the board.

So Teddy Pataki should get "no break" if he voluntarily signed up for the Marines, Rangel told me.

If he joined the Marines because he wanted a better way of life and wanted to go to law school, then his aspirations are no different from those of poorer kids in rural areas, Rangel said.

"They all want a better way of life, which is indicated by the fact that the only way they [the military] are able to recruit those who enlist is through money incentives and educational benefits."

Rangel said the public revelation of Teddy Pataki's request for a law school deferment must be "very embarrassing for him."

In his ringing "we must stay the course because things are getting better in Iraq" speech the other night, Bush made no enthusiastic appeal to young people to join the military, because to do so at this time, with the situation in Iraq as it is, would have been ridiculous. Instead, he assured those who might be considering a military career that there is "no higher calling."

But if that's the case, then newly minted young 2nd Lt. Teddy Pataki ought to be shipped straight to Iraq. Why wait? Give him the chance to serve his country the way Ramona Valdez did.

Comment: Pataki's plans may go south now that he is being outed by the press. Maybe they'll have to make a scapegoat out of him, although the arrogance of the pseudo-patriots in power is such that they might just as easily fling back in our faces.

Yesterday, we ran a piece on Young Republicans and the self-satisfied excuses they give for avoiding military service, because there is, after all, according to the Commander-in-Chief, "no higher calling", except that of self-preservation, a calling the Chickenhawks know quite well.

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Flashback! Yesterday...

Generation Chickenhawk

Max Blumenthal
The Nation

As I settled in my seat for an afternoon of speeches at the College Republican National Convention, I felt something crunch. It was an empty can of Busch Light, one of many strewn across the paisley-carpeted floor of the banquet hall in northern Virginia's Crystal City Gateway Marriott. All around me sat the Republican Party's future leaders: fresh-faced, nondescript white guys in blue suits, and slender blond girls in miniskirts and snug-fitting blazers, some with halter tops underneath.

[...] The high point of the day, however, belonged to the movement's favorite red-diaper baby, David Horowitz. Horowitz reminded his fawning audience that he could "be sitting at home in the coastal mountains of California, watching horses and rabbits run across my neighbor's yard." Instead he chose to appear for free before a bunch of College Republicans because, as he told them, "The future of the free peoples of the world depends on the Republican Party--and ultimately it depends on you."

In the past year, Horowitz has barnstormed universities across the country, organizing smear campaigns against leftist professors, advising conservative students on tactics to harass their perceived opponents and all the while raking in massive lecture fees. At the College Republicans' convention, Horowitz harped on his time-tested theme: "Universities are a base of the left. Universities are a base for terrorism." [...]

In interviews, more than a dozen conventiongoers explained why it is important that they stay on campus while other, less fortunate people their age wage a bloody war in Iraq. They strongly support the war, they told me, but they also want to enjoy college life and pursue interesting careers. Being a College Republican allows them to do both. It is warfare by other, much safer means. [...]

I chatted for a while with Collin Kelley, a senior at Washington State with a vague resemblance to the studly actor Orlando Bloom. Kelley told me he's "sick and tired of people saying our troops are dying in vain" and added, "This isn't an invasion of Iraq, it's a liberation--as David Horowitz said." When I asked him why he was staying on campus rather than fighting the good fight, he rubbed his shoulder and described a nagging football injury from high school. Plus, his parents didn't want him to go. "They're old hippies," Kelley said.

Munching on a chicken quesadilla at a table nearby was Edward Hauser, a senior at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas--a liberal school in a liberal town in the ultimate red state of Texas. "Austin is ninety square miles insulated from reality," Hauser said. When I broached the issue of Iraq, he replied, "I support our country. I support our troops." So why isn't he there?

"I know that I'm going to be better staying here and working to convince people why we're there [in Iraq]," Hauser explained, pausing in thought. "I'm a fighter, but with words."

At a table by the buffet was Justin Palmer, vice chairman of the Georgia Association of College Republicans, America's largest chapter of College Republicans. In 1984 the group gained prominence in conservative circles when its chairman, Ralph Reed, formed a political action committee credited with helping to re-elect Senator Jesse Helms. Palmer's future as a right-wing operative looked bright; he batted away my question about his decision to avoid fighting the war he supported with the closest thing I heard to a talking point all afternoon. "The country is like a body," Palmer explained, "and each part of the body has a different function. Certain people do certain things better than others." He said his "function" was planning a "Support Our Troops" day on campus this year in which students honored military recruiters from all four branches of the service.

Standing by Palmer's side and sipping a glass of rose wine, University of Georgia Republican member Kiera Ranke said she played her part as well. She and her sorority sisters sent care packages to troops in Iraq along with letters and pictures of themselves. "They wrote back and told us we boosted their morale," she said.

By the time I encountered Cory Bray, a towering senior from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, the beer was flowing freely. "The people opposed to the war aren't putting their asses on the line," Bray boomed from beside the bar. Then why isn't he putting his ass on the line? "I'm not putting my ass on the line because I had the opportunity to go to the number-one business school in the country," he declared, his voice rising in defensive anger, "and I wasn't going to pass that up."

And besides, being a College Republican is so much more fun than counterinsurgency warfare. Bray recounted the pride he and his buddies had felt walking through the center of campus last fall waving a giant American flag, wearing cowboy boots and hats with the letters B-U-S-H painted on their bare chests. "We're the big guys," he said. "We're the ones who stand up for what we believe in. The College Democrats just sit around talking about how much they hate Bush. We actually do shit."

When 25-year-old candidate Mike Davidson emerged in the center of the room, the party fell to a hush. [...]

His candidacy has been endorsed by Representative David Dreier and Ann Coulter, who hailed him as a pioneer of "the new McCarthyism." And with good reason. Last February, in a Horowitz-inspired redbaiting operation, College Republicans at Santa Rosa Junior College in Northern California posted fliers on the doors of ten professors' offices bearing a red star and a warning quoting a 1950s-era state education code forbidding "the advocacy and teaching of communism." One professor's crime was displaying a poster for the film Fahrenheit 9/11 in his office window. Soon after, a press release appeared on the California College Republicans' website identifying the stunt as "Operation Red Scare." [...]

Comment: This next generation of Republicans is following in the footsteps of the current leaders, all Chickenhawks. None of the big guns of the Republican Party fought in Vietnam, with the exception of John McCain. The others found deferment after deferment to keep themselves out of shooting range of the supposed enemies of freedom.

The self-centred arrogance of their responses to why they weren't willing to put their lives in line with their ideologies must be reassuring for Rove. The replacements are on track....

But what about those soldiers who do go and "fight for their country"? What happens when they return home?

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The war against veterans
The Toledo Blade
Article published Thursday, June 30, 2005

PRESIDENT Bush gives plenty of lip service to men and women in uniform. Now it’s time for the President to put his money where his mouth is and fully fund veterans’ benefits.

An official of the Department of Veterans Affairs admitted last week that it is short $1 billion for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, but giving short shrift to those who have served their country is nothing new for this administration.

For several years now, the Bush bean counters have been slashing funds for veterans’ medical care. Playing cheap with those who have put their lives on the line would be a concern any time. Coming as the shortfall does as soldiers return home daily from war in Afghanistan and Iraq with horrific injuries, it’s a scandal.

The outrage on Capitol Hill is bipartisan, even though Republicans have continually thwarted Democratic attempts to give the VA more money under the guise of budget restraint.

Sen. Larry Craig (R., Idaho), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, let it be known that he has reamed out Jim Nicholson, who heads the VA.

Sen. Patty Murray (D., Washington), a member of an appropriations subcommittee overseeing the VA, declared that the administration is unwilling “to make the sacrifices necessary to fulfill the promises we have made to our veterans.”

The result has been a longer wait for medical care and the closing of some VA clinics.

Veterans groups are understandably hot, with most of their ire directed at Republicans, who control Congress and have made a priority of cutting so-called “domestic spending” at the behest of Mr. Bush. One thrust of the Bush policies has been to direct benefits mostly toward those with certain medical problems that are directly attributable to military service.

Steve Robertson, legislative director of the American Legion, says the spending cuts “are inconsistent with a nation at war.” He’s especially critical of dividing veterans into “little groups, the ones that ‘deserve’ and the ones who ‘don’t deserve.’”

Such discriminatory policies clearly are out of line. The federal government cannot be all things to all of the American people, but the least it can do is to keep faith with those who kept faith with it by serving in the armed forces.

Comment: Another moment of nausea, but it comes with mixed feelings. US troops should not be in Iraq. They are an occupying force. They are killing innocents who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are the new Nazis. What would we have thought about Germans during the Second World War who were against the war but who argued that we needed to "support our troops"? Support them doing what? Invading and occupying other countries? How can that be justified?

So when we hear US politicians or pundits on the "left" talk about "supporting our troops", we know that they have not yet seen the true face of the American imperialist adventure. They have not yet understood that Iraq was more than a "mistake", an "error", it was a crime against humanity, and all and sundry who participate are guilty. It is the people of Iraq who need our support, not the occupiers.

Yes, those who fought and were wounded should be taken care of. They should not have to pay for the crimes of Bush, unless they, themselves, participated in war crimes in Iraq, in which case they will pay for their acts, not the president's.

If a soldier is in Iraq, the only honourable act is to desert, but how many troops will have the courage to do so? And how far is mainstream American morality from an understanding that it is morally, and legally, wrong to follow orders that are illegal under international law?

It is true that many Americans have not been educated to be critical thinkers capable of understanding how they are being manipulated. They feed on the junk food offered to them on Fox News and their egos bloat up are large as someone who eats a month's worth of Big Macs ("I'm an American!"), and they get as sluggish in their thinking. However, ultimately, they, too, are responsible for their acts, for their lives, no one else. As hard as that might be to accept, it is the stone-cold truth. Many will continue on as they are until they receive a shock so disturbing that they are forced to change their way of thinking. For others, no shock will be strong enough.

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Backing for Bush on Iraq is gone, local veterans say
Published June 29, 2005

HOLLYWOOD · The televisions at VFW Post 2500 in Hollywood were tuned to President Bush on Tuesday, but his words weren't getting rapt attention.

About 30 people were around the bar drinking, chatting, smoking as the president talked. "Does it have to be so loud?" asked Barbara Flint as she sat next to Jerry Giblock, a visiting Vietnam veteran.

"He's running scared," said Giblock, 63, a former Post 2500 member who lives in Anchorage, Ala. "His poll numbers are so low, he's got to say something, but the support is gone. It's gone. I don't think there's anybody in here who's behind him."

Tuesday was spaghetti dinner night at the hall on Dixie Highway, where $4 got you a nice plate with meatballs and garlic bread. Post commander Richard McDonald pointed to a sign hanging above the bar: "It's not the price you paid to join. It's the price you paid to be eligible."

These veterans have fought in foreign wars and struggled after them, which makes them more than eligible to comment on the ongoing war in Iraq.

The view inside the faded lounge wasn't optimistic.

From Charlie Nessl, 89, who fought in World War II at the battle of Midway: "I don't think we should be there."

From Bob Artman, 79, a World War II veteran: "I got a bad taste in my mouth. Every time I read about a guy getting killed, I tear up. I didn't feel this way at the beginning, but now I just don't see an end to it."

From Ted Anderson, 73, a Korean War veteran and former police chief in New Jersey: "We still have thousands of troops in the [demilitarized zone] in Korea 50 years after the fact. It's going to be the same thing 50 years from now in Iraq."

The last time I came around here, in May 2004, President Bush was about to give a speech about Iraq, and the veterans' feelings were mixed. Some thought the war justified. Others had nagging feelings of doubt.

But this time, as Bush once again spoke to the nation, there was nothing but skepticism about the war's necessity, and worry about a staying the course.

"When you got people who are willing to strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up, that's a hard war to win," said McDonald, 71, a Korean War vet who voted for the president last year. "I think Bush had the right idea, but now it's turned into a religious war for some people there. And that's the worst kind of war to be in.

"The thing is, Bush is committed, so he's got to stick to his guns. But at some point he's got to come up with a plan to get out of there because we're never going to be able to get rid of 100 percent of the terrorists. He's going to have to pull out, just like Vietnam."

Said Artman: "I'm a registered Democrat, but even people in his party are now questioning things. They don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. ... So many people in this country need things: People are starving, people need health care and medicine. But here we are taking care of people all over the world. How about starting at home?"

Howard Fay, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, ladled meatballs in the kitchen.

"I don't like this war at all," he said. "Saddam wasn't doing anything to us. The one we should have been going after with everything is Osama bin Laden."

Bush invoked bin Laden and Sept. 11 in his speech, stressing the non-Iraqi "terrorists" who have congregated in Iraq to make the country "a central front in the war on terror."

Said Anderson, who spent nine years in the Navy and Marines: "They just play up on the fear. It used to be the domino theory and stopping communism. There was a picture, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians are Coming. Now it's `The Terrorists are Coming, The Terrorists are Coming.' After 9-11, I think we overreacted a little bit. We're not using our heads."

These veterans know war is never simple or easy, and they say this president, who never saw combat, overlooked these things in his rush to invade Iraq and install democracy.

"I have no respect for this president," said Bud Lynch of Hallandale, a Korean War veteran. "He's just trying to finish Daddy's job. That's all this was about. There was no nuclear [expletive] or WMDs to begin with ... If it were my son who was being sent over there, I wouldn't let him go."

Said Nessl: "These people have no idea what war is like."

Said Anderson: "Korea turned out to be B.S., Vietnam was B.S., and Iraq is B.S. It's all political. All these people are dying in vain ... I was in for nine years, so don't go waving a flag in my face and say I'm not being patriotic."

Bush heard applause as he finished at Fort Bragg, but there wasn't a ripple at Post 2500.

"I go to a VA Hospital in Anchorage for my medicine and I'm seeing a lot of new people in there every time," said Giblock. "We have an Army base and an Air Force base nearby, and they're getting MedVac'ed back in [from Iraq] all the time.

"I'm seeing people in wheelchairs, people missing limbs, people with burns. That's the part they don't show on the news."

Comment: John Brown by Bob Dylan

Real Audio, WMP

John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore.
His mama sure was proud of him!
He stood straight and tall in his uniform and all.
His mama's face broke out all in a grin.

"Oh son, you look so fine, I'm glad you're a son of mine,
You make me proud to know you hold a gun.
Do what the captain says, lots of medals you will get,
And we'll put them on the wall when you come home."

As that old train pulled out, John's ma began to shout,
Tellin' ev'ryone in the neighborhood:
"That's my son that's about to go, he's a soldier now, you know."
She made well sure her neighbors understood.

She got a letter once in a while and her face broke into a smile
As she showed them to the people from next door.
And she bragged about her son with his uniform and gun,
And these things you called a good old-fashioned war.

Oh! Good old-fashioned war!

Then the letters ceased to come, for a long time they did not come.
They ceased to come for about ten months or more.
Then a letter finally came saying, "Go down and meet the train.
Your son's a-coming home from the war."

She smiled and went right down, she looked everywhere around
But she could not see her soldier son in sight.
But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last,
When she did she could hardly believe her eyes.

Oh his face was all shot up and his hand was all blown off
And he wore a metal brace around his waist.
He whispered kind of slow, in a voice she did not know,
While she couldn't even recognize his face!

Oh! Lord! Not even recognize his face.

"Oh tell me, my darling son, pray tell me what they done.
How is it you come to be this way?"
He tried his best to talk but his mouth could hardly move
And the mother had to turn her face away.

"Don't you remember, Ma, when I went off to war
You thought it was the best thing I could do?
I was on the battleground, you were home . . . acting proud.
You wasn't there standing in my shoes."

"Oh, and I thought when I was there, God, what am I doing here?
I'm a-tryin' to kill somebody or die tryin'.
But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close
And I saw that his face looked just like mine."

Oh! Lord! Just like mine!

"And I couldn't help but think, through the thunder rolling and stink,
That I was just a puppet in a play.
And through the roar and smoke, this string is finally broke,
And a cannon ball blew my eyes away."

As he turned away to walk, his Ma was still in shock
At seein' the metal brace that helped him stand.
But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
And he dropped his medals down into her hand.

Copyright © 1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

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The sobering of America

US foreign policy is getting better - and that's partly because Iraq has got worse

Timothy Garton Ash
Thursday June 30, 2005
The Guardian

To return to America after an absence of six months is to find a nation sobered by reality. The reality of debt and lost jobs. The reality of rising China. Above all, the reality of Iraq.

This new sobriety was exemplified by President Bush's speech at Fort Bragg on Tuesday night. Beforehand, as the camera panned across row upon row of soldiers in red berets, the television commentator warned us that the speech might last a long time, since it was likely to be interrupted by numerous rounds of heartfelt applause from this loyal military audience. In fact, the audience interrupted him with applause just once. Once! Lines that during last autumn's election rallies drummed up a certain storm ("We will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins") were now met with a deafening silence. Stolidly they sat, the serried soldiers, clean-shaven, square-jawed, looking slightly bored and, in at least one case that I spotted, rhythmically chewing gum.

Bush ploughed on with his sober, rather wooden speech, wearing that curious, rigid half-smile of his, with the mouth turning down rather than up at each end. A demi-rictus. The eerie silence made him look, at moments, like a stand-up comic whose jokes were falling flat; but of course this was no laughing matter. Afterwards, the same television commentators who had warned us to expect rounds of applause speculated, with an equally authoritative air, that the White House had suggested restraint to this audience, so it would not look as if the president was both requesting blanket coverage from the television networks and exploiting the nation's military for the purposes of a party-political rally. But then perhaps soldiers who actually risk their lives for Bush's policies in Iraq, and have lost comrades there, would not have been in a great mood to applaud anyway. Afterwards, as he mingled with the troops in the hall, their faces showed little more than mild curiosity at the prospect of meeting their commander-in-chief.

Bush's Fort Bragg speech once again presented Iraq as part of the global war on terror - the Gwot. He mentioned the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks five times; weapons of mass destruction not once. We have to defeat the terrorists abroad, he said, before they attack us at home. As freedom spreads in the Middle East, the terrorists will lose their support. Then he made this extraordinary statement: "To complete the mission, we will prevent al-Qaida and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban - a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends."

Consider. Three years ago, when the Bush administration started ramping up the case for invading Iraq, Afghanistan had recently been liberated from both the Taliban and the al-Qaida terrorists who had attacked the US. There was still a vast amount to be done to make Afghanistan a safe place. Iraq, meanwhile, was a hideous dictatorship under Saddam Hussein. But, as the United States' own September 11 commission subsequently concluded, Saddam's regime had no connection with the 9/11 attacks. Iraq was not then a recruiting sergeant or training ground for jihadist terrorists. Now it is. The US-led invasion, and Washington's grievous mishandling of the subsequent occupation, have made it so. General Wesley Clark puts it plainly: "We are creating enemies." And the president observes: our great achievement will be to prevent Iraq becoming another Taliban-style, al-Qaida-harbouring Afghanistan! This is like a man who shoots himself in the foot and then says: "We must prevent it turning gangrenous, then you'll understand why I was right to shoot myself in the foot."

In short, whether or not the invasion of Iraq was a crime, it's now clear that - at least in the form in which the invasion and occupation was executed by the Bush administration - it was a massive blunder. And the American people are beginning to see this. Before Bush spoke at Fort Bragg, 53% of those asked in a CNN/Gallup poll said it was a mistake to go into Iraq. Just 40% approved of how he has handled Iraq, down from 50% at the time of the presidential election last November. Contrary to what many Europeans believe, you can fool some of the Americans all of the time, and all of the Americans some of the time, but you can't fool most Americans most of the time - even with the help of Fox News. Reality gets through. Hence the new sobriety.

I don't want to overstate this. One is still gobsmacked by things American Republicans say. Take the glorification of the military, for example. In his speech, Bush insisted "there is no higher calling than service in our armed forces". What? No higher calling! How about being a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, an aid worker? Unimaginable that any European leader could say such a thing.

None the less, here are a few indicators of the new sobriety. First of all, neocons are no longer calling the shots. As a well-informed Washingtonian tells me, the nominations of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank and John Bolton to be ambassador to the UN actually show they have been kicked upstairs. There is little talk now of proud unilateralism and America winning the Gwot on its own. Everyone stresses the importance of allies. Bush quoted with approval Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, on our shared interest in a stable Iraq, and proudly averred that "Iraqi army and police are being trained by personnel from Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Romania, Australia and the United Kingdom".

The state department, under Condoleezza Rice, is setting out to repair old American alliances and to forge new ones. One of America's most dynamically developing alliances is with India, a country in which America is also much loved. If anyone in Foggy Bottom (the wonderfully named neighbourhood of the state department) feels a twinge of schadenfreude at the crisis of the EU, they are not showing it. They want a strong European partner too. On Iran, which even six months ago threatened to become a new Iraq crisis, the US is letting the so-called E3 - Britain, France and Germany - take the diplomatic lead. Even with the election of a hardline Iranian president, military options are not being seriously canvassed. And if the European diplomacy with Iran does not work, what is Washington's plan B? To take the issue to the United Nations! What a difference three years make.

Schröder is right, of course. It would be suicidally dumb for any European to think, in relation to Iraq, "the worse the better". Jihadists now cutting their teeth in Iraq will make no fine distinctions between Washington and London, Berlin or Madrid. Any reader tempted to luxuriate schadenfreudishly in the prospect of a Vietnam-style US evacuation from Baghdad may be woken from that reverie by the blast from a bomb, planted in Charing Cross tube station by an Iraq-hardened terrorist. But it is a fair and justified historical observation that American policy has got better - more sober, more realistic - at least partly because things in Iraq have gone so badly. This is the cunning of history.

Comment: Time will tell how mellowed the Bush regime has actually become. We have our doubts. Yes, plans for war on Iraq may go to the UN, if the US or Israel don't "fix" the war beforehand, but if Bush uses the Congessional recess to appoint Bolton to the UN, then we'll know that the war against internationalism has gone up another notch.

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Nearly 9,000 U.S. troops dead?
Baltimore Indymedia


Has the Bush administration drastically understated the U.S. military death count by redefining "death"? The following article suggests that it has, and it calls for a nationwide campaign to honor deceased service members by naming and counting them.

According to the article: "...DoD lists currently being very quietly circulated indicate almost 9,000 [U.S. military] dead"; this far exceeds the "official" death count of 1,831. How can this be? It's largely because "U.S. Military Personnel who died in German hospitals or en route to German hospitals have not previously been counted."

In other words, "death" has been redefined.


1. If you know (or know of) service members who've died in Bush([search])'s wars, look for their names on the full, alphabetized "official" Pentagon death list, at IF THEIR NAMES ARE NOT INCLUDED, PLEASE SEND A REPORT TO: tbrnews (at) You're also encouraged to notify your Congress members, your local newspaper, and other interested parties.

(Note that the alphabetized list is updated regularly at It currently includes deaths reported up through early June.)


3. Forward this web page to veterans' groups, other organizations, responsible journalists and respectable elected officials.

"The Bush Butcher’s Bill: Officially, 80 US Military Deaths in Iraq([search]) from 1 through 21 May, 2005 – Official Total of 1,831 US Dead to date (and rising)"

(Following text from )

U.S. Military Personnel who died in German hospitals or en route to German hospitals have not previously been counted. They total about 6,210 as of 1 January, 2005. The ongoing, underreporting of the dead in Iraq, is not accurate. The DoD is deliberately reducing the figures. A review of many foreign news sites show that actual deaths are far higher than the newly reduced ones. Iraqi civilian casualties are never reported but International Red Cross, Red Crescent and UN figures indicate that as of 1 January 2005, the numbers are just under 100,000.

by Brian Harring, Domestic Intelligence Reporter

Note: There is excellent reason to believe that the Department of Defense is deliberately not reporting a significant number of the dead in Iraq. We have received copies of manifests from the MATS that show far more bodies shipped into Dover AFP than are reported officially. The educated rumor is that the actual death toll is in excess of 7,000. Given the officially acknowledged number of over 15,000 seriously wounded, this elevated death toll is far more realistic than the current 1,400 now being officially published. When our research is complete, and watertight, we will publish the results along with the sources In addition to the evident falsification of the death rolls, at least 5,500 American military personnel have deserted, most in Ireland but more have escaped to Canada and other European countries, none of whom are inclined to cooperate with vengeful American authorities. (See TBR News of 18 February for full coverage on the mass desertions) This means that of the 158,000 U.S. military shipped to Iraq, 26,000 either deserted, were killed or seriously wounded. The DoD lists currently being very quietly circulated indicate almost 9,000 dead, over 16,000 seriously wounded* (See note below. This figure is now over 24,000 Ed) and a large number of suicides, forced hospitalization for ongoing drug usage and sales, murder of Iraqi civilians and fellow soldiers , rapes, courts martial and so on –

I have a copy of the official DoD casualty list. I am alphabetizing it with the reported date of death following. TBR will post this list in sections and when this is circulated widely by veteran groups and other concerned sites, if people who do not see their loved one’s names, are requested to inform their Congressman, their local paper, us and other concerned people as soon as possible.

The government gets away with these huge lies because they claim, falsely, that only soldiers actually killed on the ground in Iraq are reported. The dying and critically wounded are listed as en route to military hospitals outside of the country and not reported on the daily postings. Anyone who dies just as the transport takes off from the Baghdad airport is not listed and neither are those who die in the US military hospitals. Their families are certainly notified that their son, husband, brother or lover was dead and the bodies, or what is left of them (refrigeration is very bad in Iraq what with constant power outages) are shipped home, to Dover AFB. You ought to realize that President Bush personally ordered that no pictures be taken of the coffined and flag-draped dead under any circumstances. He claims that this is to comfort the bereaved relatives but is designed to keep the huge number of arriving bodies secret. Any civilian, or military personnel, taking pictures will be jailed at once and prosecuted.

...This listing program is finished so act accordingly. If there is an actual variance of, say, 10 names, that is acceptable. 50 would indicate sloppiness and anything over 100 a positive sign of lying. As of June 16, TBR has received 32 new, unlisted names

*The latest on the wounded: “Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, is a 150-bed hospital that's already seen over 24,000 wounded military patients from Iraq and Afghanistan since the commencement of hostilities “. Knight Ridder Newspapers June 6, 2005 (Note: The Pentagon refuses to publish accurate lists of any wounded. Ed)

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Iraq War Takes Toll on Army Marriages, Divorces Soar
Yahoo News

While U.S. casualties steadily mount in Iraq, another toll is rising rapidly on the home front: The Army's divorce rate has soared in the past three years, most notably for officers, as longer and more frequent war zone deployments place extra strain on couples.

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Time Magazine Breaks Ranks With The New York Times and Agrees to Turn Over Notes in CIA Agent Case
By Pat Milton Associated Press Writer
Published: Jul 1, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) - In one of the most serious legal clashes between the media and the government in three decades, Time magazine has complied with a court order to turn over the notes of a reporter threatened with jail for refusing to identify a source.

Time's decision broke ranks with The New York Times, which also has a reporter facing jail for refusing to cooperate with the investigation into the unmasking of a CIA operative.

In a statement, Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. said: "We are deeply disappointed by Time Inc.'s decision to deliver the subpoenaed records." He noted that one of its reporters served 40 days in jail in 1978 in a similar dispute.

"Our focus is now on our reporter, Judith Miller, and supporting her during this difficult time," Sulzberger said.

Time relented just days after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals from its White House correspondent Matt Cooper and the Times' Miller, who have been locked in an eight-month battle with the government to protect their sources.

The magazine said the high court's action will have "a chilling effect" on journalists' work but that Time had no choice but to comply.

"The same Constitution that protects the freedom of the press requires obedience to final decisions of the courts," Time said in a statement.

The case is among the most serious legal clashes between the media and the government since the Supreme Court in 1971 refused to stop the Times and The Washington Post from publishing a classified history of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers.

Representatives for Cooper and Miller said they believe that the turning over of the notes and other material would eliminate the need for either reporter to testify before a grand jury and remove any justification for jailing them.

A special counsel is investigating who in the Bush administration leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, a possible federal crime. U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan is threatening to jail Cooper and Miller for refusing to reveal their sources.

They are due back in Hogan's court next week for further arguments on whether they should be thrown in jail. The grand jury investigating the leak expires in October, and the journalists, if jailed, would be freed at that time.

Miller has not changed her position on refusing to disclose her sources, said her attorney, Robert Bennett. She was not available for comment, the newspaper said.

Cooper's attorney, Richard Sauber, did not immediately return a call for comment. Cooper, through a representative, declined to comment.

Outside court on Wednesday, Cooper said that he hoped the magazine would not turn over the documents requested by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago who has been heading the grand jury probe into who disclosed Plame's identity days after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly disparaged the president's case for invading Iraq.

Time is a defendant in the case along with the two reporters. The New York Times itself is not a defendant because it did not publish anything. Miller did some reporting but did not write a story, while Cooper wrote a story about Plame.

Plame's name was first published in a 2003 column by Robert Novak, who cited two unidentified senior Bush administration officials as his sources. Novak has refused to say whether he has testified or been subpoenaed.

Time Inc.'s editor in chief, Norman Pearlstine, said the company would turn over all records, notes and e-mail traffic over the company's system concerning the case.

"The court concluded that a citizen's duty to testify before a grand jury takes precedence over the First Amendment," Pearlstine said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I do not agree with that, but I have to follow the laws like every other citizen."

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have shield laws protecting reporters from having to identify their confidential sources. Legislation to establish such protection under federal law has been introduced in Congress.

"The Supreme Court has limited press freedom in ways that will have a chilling effect on our work and that may damage the free flow of information that is so necessary in a democratic society," Pearlstine said.

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Taser says it sues USA Today for libel
July 1, 2005

NEW YORK - Stun gun maker Taser International Inc. said on Friday it had filed a lawsuit against Gannett Co. Inc., accusing the USA Today parent of libeling its weapons.

The Scottsdale, Arizona-based company said the lawsuit, filed in an Arizona state court, targets a USA Today article on June 3 which it said misrepresented the electrical output of Taser weapons and compared them in photographs with electric chairs, lightning and electric train tracks.

A representative for Gannett, which is also the parent company of the Arizona Republic newspaper, was not immediately available for comment.

Taser accused Gannett of publishing a series of misleading articles about its products, which disable victims with a 50,000-volt shock.

"Over the course of this biased campaign, more than $1 billion dollars of shareholder value has been erased," Taser Chief Executive Rick Smith said in a statement.

Taser shares have lost 11.5 percent over the past month and 68 percent so far this year.

Comment: Given the rapidly growing use and abuse of Tasers among police and security personal (see Police Officers to Carry Tasers in Schools), isn't it a bit ridiculous to claim that "$1 billion of shareholder value has been erased"??

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Taser controversy refuses to die (Victims have no such problem)
By Matthew Davis
BBC News, Washington
Thursday, 30 June, 2005

With electronic stun guns now being used by a growing number of UK police forces, BBC News examines the controversy in North America, where a series of deaths have put Tasers under fresh scrutiny.

When Robert Bagnell died in Canada last June, his family were told he had suffered a probable cocaine overdose.

The truth emerged in fits and starts, however. They eventually learned that police had jolted him with 50,000 volts of electricity from a Taser gun.

Officers said they had to subdue Mr Bagnell to save him from a fire.

But a year on, questions over his death are still unanswered, while concerns over the safety of stun guns refuse to go away.

The "less-than-lethal" weapons have been involved in 74 deaths in the United States and Canada, according to Amnesty International

It also claims Tasers have been used gratuitously - against children or the elderly or on people posing no real threat.

In a sign of mounting concern over the effects of the weapons, Chicago police halted deployment of Tasers in February after a teenager suffered cardiac arrest and a man died after being stunned.

For Patti Gillman - Robert Bagnell's sister - too many mistakes are being made.

"It is far more than a coincidence that my brother was shot by a Taser, then died of a heart failure.

"We believe he was having a seizure at the time police stunned him. But he was unarmed, not posing a threat.

"The first response should have been medical attention, not assaulting him with a weapon."

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Flashback: How One Tasing Unfolded in Boynton Beach
Palm Beach Post
June 10, 2005

The Aug. 6, 2004 incident began as a normal traffic stop but took an ominous turn when the driver refused to get out of her SUV. It ended with a Boynton Beach Police officer hitting the 22-year-old woman twice with his Taser during her arrest. [...]

According to [Boynton Beach Police Department training officer Sgt. Sedrick] Aiken, McNevin correctly used the stun gun to subdue the driver instead of:

  • Using his baton
  • Physically forcing driver out of SUV
  • Using pepper spray
  • Getting in SUV to handcuff driver

Comment: Click here to watch the video. The woman in the SUV, Victoria Goodwin, does not get out of her vehicle when McNevin asks her to do so. She replies that she is talking to someone on her phone and telling them where she is. McNevin then threatens to taser Goodwin if she does not get out of the car. When she does not comply, she is hit the first time with the taser. At that point, she is pulled out of her vehicle and ends up laying on the ground. The officers then tell her to put her arms behind her back, or she'll be tased a second time. Goodwin, who is screaming and no doubt in a lot of pain, says she cannot move her arms behind her back. McNevin then gives her another shock from his taser. After the second shock, the officers move in and appear to cuff Goodwin.

So, what was Goodwin's crime? Her driver's license was suspended.

While Goodwin certainly shouldn't have been driving on a suspended license, and while she was definitely less than cooperative, was it really necessary to shock her with a taser - twice? The two officers were substantially larger than Goodwin, and could easily have removed her from her vehicle. Instead, they zap her with the taser. At that point, it would obviously have been quite easy for the officers to handcuff her. Instead, they shock her a second time, apparently for no good reason.

In the "good old days", when police officers didn't have tasers, how would they have handled the situation? Would they have smacked Goodwin with their batons, placed her on the ground, and then clobbered her again when she couldn't put her arms behind her back because she was in pain?

There seem to be two issues that such incidents raise. The first is what can only be called an increase in police brutality in the US. Of course, the police officers and the departments they work for always claim that they were acting within police guidelines, and that any harm caused to the civilian in question was necessary to "protect" the officers. We do not think it is a coincidence that post-9/11 America has seen a rise in harsh and even brutal police tactics as laws like the Patriot Acts were passed and the US decided to invade and occupy foreign countries, detain without charge even US citizens, and employ and support the torture of those prisoners.

The second issue is the taser. While tasers are supposed to be nonlethal, there seem to be a rash of taser-related deaths in recent times:

No Charges in Taser Gun Death

Last Modified: 4/29/2005 10:38:36 PM

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - A Gwinnett County grand jury had decided not to pursue charges in the Taser gun-related death of an inmate at the county jail.

Inmate Frederick Williams died last year after Gwinnett deputies used a Taser gun to subdue him.

Williams' widow, Yanga Williams, said he was in a rage when she called officers to her home last May. She says her husband's violent behavior was due to his failure to take medication for epilepsy. [...]

Dead after cop scuffle

April 24, 2005

Authorities and witnesses differ over officers' struggle with a man who died after being shot by stun gun

(Long Island, N.Y.) - A Ronkonkoma man died Friday night after a violent encounter with nine Suffolk police officers, during which he was shocked five times with a Taser gun, Suffolk police said.

Yesterday, as the Suffolk County medical examiner's office found evidence of cocaine and alcohol in John Cox's blood and began an examination to determine exactly how he died, police and witnesses on the outside offered differing accounts of what transpired inside the battered home on Taylor Avenue in Bellport. [...]

Man dies after Taser shot

By Sheila McLaughlin and Jane Prendergast
Saturday, May 14, 2005

UNION TWP. - A 31-year-old man died about an hour after an officer with Clermont County's Union Township Police shot him with a Taser gun Friday.

Authorities are awaiting autopsy results to determine how Vernon A. Young died.

While Young is the first person in Greater Cincinnati to die shortly after being shot with the 50,000-volt weapon, he is among a growing number of people nationally who have died after being shot with a Taser.

His death comes amid mounting concern about the safety of the weapon and increased calls for further study into the effects of the weapon. [...]

Report Cites 103 Taser-Related Deaths


There were 103 Taser stun gun-related deaths in the United States and Canada between June 2001 and March 2005, according to an Amnesty International report released Friday.

In the first three months of this year, there were 13 Taser-related deaths - compared with six during the same period last year, the report said. [...]

The mainstream media generally reports that taser deaths were the result of drug use by the victim. Isn't it convenient how when we hear that the victims were drug users, we'll just forget all about the fact that police officers didn't used to torture US citizens in public and in their own homes with what amounts to a glorified cattle prod?

We might also tend to believe that those who are tasered are deadbeats - the dregs of society. Nothing could be further from the truth. What about this woman who was eight months pregnant when she was zapped:

Pregnant Woman Tasered by Seattle Cops

May 10, 2005

Woman convicted of refusing to obey Seattle officers

She was rushing her son to school. She was eight months pregnant. And she was about to get a speeding ticket she didn't think she deserved.

So when a Seattle police officer presented the ticket to Malaika Brooks, she refused to sign it. In the ensuing confrontation, she suffered burns from a police Taser, an electric stun device that delivers 50,000 volts.

"Probably the worst thing that ever happened to me," Brooks said, in describing that morning during her criminal trial last week on charges of refusing to obey an officer and resisting arrest.

She was found guilty of the first charge because she never signed the ticket, but the Seattle Municipal Court jury could not decide whether she resisted arrest, the reason the Taser was applied.

To her attorneys and critics of police use of Tasers, Brooks' case is an example of police overreaction.

"It's pretty extraordinary that they should have used a Taser in this case," said Lisa Daugaard, a public defender familiar with the case. [...]

In a two-day trial that ended Friday, the officer involved, Officer Juan Ornelas, testified he clocked Brooks' Dodge Intrepid doing 32 mph in a 20-mph school zone.

He motioned her over and tried to write her a ticket, but she wouldn't sign it, even when he explained that signing it didn't mean she was admitting guilt. [...]

Officer Donald Jones joined Ornelas in trying to persuade Brooks to sign the ticket. They then called on their supervisor, Sgt. Steve Daman.

He authorized them to arrest her when she continued to refuse.

The officers testified they struggled to get Brooks out of her car but could not because she kept a grip on her steering wheel.

And that's when Jones brought out the Taser. [...]

Still, she said, she remains shocked that a simple traffic stop could result in her arrest.

"As police officers, they could have hurt me seriously. They could have hurt my unborn fetus," she said.

"All because of a traffic ticket. Is this what it's come down to?"

No drug use there, and she was zapped because she refused to sign a traffic ticket! And how about this 4-foot-8, 65 pound 13-year-old girl who was tasered by a 6-foot-2, 300 pound officer:

Taser trigger fingers

David Porter
Published May 21, 2005

My favorite quote this week comes from the Duval County Sheriff's Office in Jacksonville.

Allow me to set the scene:

Police get a call about a domestic disturbance between a 13-year-old girl and her mother. The mother told the two officers that she wanted medical treatment for her daughter, who had previously been hospitalized for emotional problems.

The handcuffed girl was put in a patrol car's back-seat prisoner cage. Apparently the girl squirmed until she got her handcuffed arms from her back to her front. Officers said she wouldn't comply with their orders. So an officer gave her two jolts with his Taser.

Important point: The girl is 4-foot-8 and weighs 65 pounds. The officer is 6-foot-2 and weighs 300 pounds.

The notable quote, reported this week in the Jacksonville newspaper, was uttered by a sergeant who arrived after the girl got zapped.

Upon seeing the girl, the sergeant turned to the officer with the Taser and said, "Please don't tell me this is the person you Tased."

The sergeant had good reason to be alarmed. A community uproar followed. Once again a Taser had been used unnecessarily.

What's remarkable, though, is that the officer's use of the Taser during the Feb. 7 incident did not violate Duval County Sheriff's Office guidelines. He was, however, suspended for three days for using bad judgment. [...]

And what about this 6-year-old boy who was shocked with 50,000 volts to prevent him from hurting himself:

Taser use on boy, 6, brings outcry

Fri, Nov. 12, 2004

Miami-Dade police shocked a 6-year-old boy with a 50,000-volt stun gun to keep him from hurting himself with a piece of glass he was waving around in a school office, officials confirmed Thursday.

Police say they followed their Taser guidelines, the child wasn't injured by the shock and he might have hurt himself seriously if they hadn't shocked him.

But the incident, which occurred Oct. 20 at Kelsey Pharr Elementary in Brownsville, has child advocates and experts shaking their heads in disbelief.

''It just sounds excessive to me to Taser gun a 6-year-old when everyone else around there were adults,'' said retired Broward County Juvenile Judge Frank Orlando, who runs a youth-law clinic at Nova Southeastern University. "They couldn't subdue a 6-year-old? Must have been a pretty big kid.''

Police Director Bobby Parker said his department is reviewing the incident, but he defended the officer's decision to use the stun gun. [...]

Finally, there is the case of this 75-year-old woman:

Police stun 75-year-old

By Matt Garfield
The Herald

The Rock Hill Police Department is investigating why an officer used an electric stun gun on a 75-year-old woman who refused to leave a nursing home where she had gone to visit an ailing friend.

The woman, Margaret Kimbrell, said she suffered bruises on her leg and face after she was knocked to the floor by the force of the weapon, called a Taser.

Police Chief John Gregory said Tuesday the department is reviewing whether Officer Hattie Macon's use of the Taser was appropriate -- a step that is taken in unusual or high-profile cases.

"On face value, it looks like it was," he said. "We have a person who was asked to leave, who refused and who attempted to assault the officer." [...]

According to the police report, Kimbrell was sitting in a chair in a waiting area when Macon, 35, ordered her to leave several times. Kimbrell refused, jerking her arms away when Macon tried to lead her toward the door.

Police say Kimbrell eventually got up but walked toward the cafeteria after spotting someone she knew. At that point, the officer blocked Kimbrell and told her she was under arrest. Kimbrell then swung her arm at the officer, according to the police report.

That's when Macon used the Taser and placed Kimbrell under arrest.

Kimbrell on Tuesday disagreed with that version of events.

She said she did not swing her arm or threaten Macon.

"As weak as I am, how could I do that?" said Kimbrell, who has arthritis and suffered six broken ribs in a recent fall in her back yard. "Maybe I was trespassing, but I didn't know it. I thought they would understand."

She said she got upset because no one would tell her where her friend was -- or even if he was alive.

"I thought he had died," she said. "I was trying to keep from crying." [...]

Kinda seems like the police are out of control, doesn't it? To make matters worse, even more officers are being armed with tasers - even officers in US schools:

Police officers to carry Tasers in schools

Jan. 7/05 (UPI)

Jacksonville, FL, -- Police patrolling Jacksonville, Fla., middle and high schools will be armed with Taser stun guns in addition to their regular guns, batons and pepper spray.

The Duval County Sheriff's resource officer will be authorized to shock anyone including students if they resist arrest or demonstrate a threat, the Jacksonville Times-Union reported.

"It's just another tool," said Rick Lewis, director of personnel and professional standards in the sheriff's department. [...]

It is blatantly obvious that a police officer in a school already armed with a gun, baton, and pepper spray doesn't really need a taser, especially given the widespread and clear abuse of the weapons that is occurring. Why not simply give officers better training to deal with the public?

While we often state that people in the US, especially, are being herded to a finer order of control in the so-called "war on terror", we never imagined that the herding and the resultant fear conditioning would be done with "human cattle prods"...

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Israeli army lifts closure on Gaza Strip settlements 2005-07-01 16:55:32

JERUSALEM, July 1 (Xinhuanet) -- The Israeli army lifted a closure on Gaza Strip settlements on Friday, a day after it declared the area a closed military zone.

The Ha'aretz daily quoted a military spokeswoman as saying that the closure has been lifted and Israelis are allowed free access tothe area, which was shut off Thursday following clashes with anti-pullout activists who barricaded themselves in an old hotel.

"The lifting of this order is possible following the completion of the mission of taking over and the evacuation of the hotel in Neve Dekalim, as well as the radical groups inside it," the army said in a statement.

The army said the decision to seal off the area and prevent non-Gaza Israeli residents from entering all 21 Gaza settlements on Thursday was intended to stop an additional influx of right-wing activists who have waged attacks against Palestinians and security forces in the area in the past few days.

Along with the lift of the ban, the army ordered a limit on the number of goods and belongings brought into the area to enable an extended stay by settlers.

Under the disengagement plan, Israel will evacuate all Gaza settlements and four in the West Bank in mid-August, the first Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories in almost four decades.

The plan has been strongly opposed by Israeli ultra-nationalists who consider it a betrayal of their biblical claim of the lands where the Palestinians seek statehood.

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Children Without a Country
Israel's Theocrats

June 30, 2005

Israel's government is taking gigantic steps towards instituting a theocratic rule of control.

In the June 29 issue of Ha'aretz, Relly Sa'ar reported that Ariel Sharon's government has decided to rule against providing citizenship to children who do not fall under the principle of the "Law of Return." In many of these cases, children of immigrants are not even allowed to live in Israel with their parents. Israel's decades old "Law of Return" allows Jewish born peoples, and anyone who has a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse, to become a citizen of the state of Israel.

In an effort to boost Israel's Jewish population, the government opened immigration lines with the former Soviet Union's Jewish community. However, over 60% of Jewish immigrants from the former USSR live in mixed marriages. As HaAretz notes, the non-Jewish partner in such marriages cannot bring his or her children to live with them in Israel if they do not come together - even if they do, the child cannot become an Israeli citizen. Such a child, like so many Palestinians living in Israel, has to live without any legal rights or status.

Writes Sa'ar: "Many of these children arrived in Israel with a tourist visa that has since expired, and are now here illegally. They are ineligible for adequate medical care or suitable education, and their future is essentially barred: They cannot join the army, attend university or find decent employment."

These actions are clearly more in line with a theocratic government than a democratic one, as Israel's discrimination policies are based on religious orientation.

Israel's new law also falls into the same old category as the one which prohibits entrance or citizenship to any Palestinian who marries an Israeli and wants to live in the country. Of course, the Israeli government claims this xenophobic decree was enacted in order to curb terrorist strikes. Sounds counterintuitive, as it's hard to imagine anything that would infuriate someone more than being forced to separate from his or her family.

Joshua Frank is the author of the brand new book, Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, which has just been published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at Joshua can be reached at

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Next: Spielberg's Biggest Gamble
The New York Times
July 1, 2005

LOS ANGELES - On Wednesday, Steven Spielberg's apocalyptic thriller "War of the Worlds" invaded movie theaters worldwide. But the director had already moved on. That night in Malta, Mr. Spielberg quietly began filming the most politically charged project he has yet attempted: the tale of a secret Mossad hit squad ordered to assassinate Palestinian terrorists after the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Mr. Spielberg has taken risks before: he said he feared being seen as trivializing the Holocaust when he directed "Schindler's List" in 1993, at a time when he was best known for blockbuster fantasies like "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark." And with "Saving Private Ryan," he gambled successfully on audiences' tolerance for prolonged and bloody combat scenes.

But with the as-yet-untitled Munich film, already scheduled for Oscar-season release by Universal Pictures on Dec. 23, Mr. Spielberg is tackling material delicate enough that he and his advisers are concerned about adverse effects on matters as weighty as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process if his project is mishandled - or misconstrued in the public mind.

Indeed, the movie's terrain is so packed with potential land mines that, associates say, Mr. Spielberg has sought counsel from advisers ranging from his own rabbi to the former American diplomat Dennis Ross, who in turn has alerted Israeli government officials to the film's thrust. Mr. Spielberg has also shown the script to Mr. Ross's old boss, former President Bill Clinton. Mr. Clinton's aides said Mr. Spielberg reached out to him first more than a year ago and again as recently as Tuesday. Mr. Spielberg is also being advised by Mike McCurry, Mr. Clinton's White House spokesman, and Allan Mayer, a Hollywood spokesman who specializes in crisis communications.

The film, which is being written by the playwright Tony Kushner - it is his first feature screenplay - begins with the killing of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich. But it focuses on the Israeli retaliation: the assassinations, ordered by Prime Minister Golda Meir, of Palestinians identified by Israeli intelligence as terrorists, including some who were not directly implicated in the Olympic massacre. By highlighting such a morally vexing and endlessly debated chapter in Israeli history - one that introduced the still-controversial Israeli tactic now known as targeted killings - Mr. Spielberg could jeopardize his tremendous stature among Jews both in the United States and in Israel.

He earned that prestige largely for his treatment of the Holocaust in "Schindler's List" and for his philanthropic efforts, through the Shoah Foundation, to preserve testimonies of survivors of the concentration camps. Until now, though, he has been relatively quiet on Middle East politics compared with more vocal American supporters of Israel.

Making matters more complicated, an important source for Mr. Spielberg's narrative is a 1984 book by George Jonas, "Vengeance," based largely on the account of a purported member of the Mossad's assassination team, whose veracity was later widely called into question.

Friends of Mr. Spielberg said he was keenly aware that admirers of his Holocaust work could misunderstand his new film and regard it as hurtful to Israel. And they noted that he had never before courted controversy so openly. "A lot of people around him never thought he'd make the movie," said one associate, who asked not to be identified, in keeping with Mr. Spielberg's preference for secrecy.

Typically, Mr. Spielberg keeps a tight lid on information about coming projects, and he has been especially careful to do so this time. He has revealed that the film will star Eric Bana as the lead Israeli assassin, along with Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler and Ciaran Hinds. The director released a short statement simultaneously this week to The New York Times, the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv and the Arab television network Al Arabiya, but he turned down requests for an interview and declined through a spokesman to answer written questions.

In the statement, Mr. Spielberg called the Munich attack - which was carried out by Black September, an arm of the P.L.O.'s Fatah organization - and the Israeli response "a defining moment in the modern history of the Middle East."

Mr. Spielberg's interest in the question of a civilized nation's proper response to terrorism deepened, aides said, after the 9/11 attacks, as Americans were grappling for the first time with similar issues - for instance, in each new lethal strike on a suspected terrorist leader by a C.I.A. Predator drone aircraft. In Mr. Kushner's script, people who have read it say, the Israeli assassins find themselves struggling to understand how their targets were chosen, whether they belonged on the hit list and, eventually, what, if anything, their killing would accomplish.

"What comes through here is the human dimension," said Mr. Ross, formerly the Middle East envoy for Mr. Clinton, who has advised the filmmakers on the screenplay and helped Mr. Spielberg reach out to officials in the region. "You're contending with an enormously difficult set of challenges when you have to respond to a horrific act of terror. Not to respond sends a signal that actions are rewarded and the perpetrators can get away with it. But you have to take into account that your response may not achieve what you wish to achieve, and that it may have consequences for people in the mission."

Mr. Spielberg's statement indicated that, despite the implications for other conflicts, his movie - to be shot in Malta, Budapest and New York - was aimed squarely at the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

"Viewing Israel's response to Munich through the eyes of the men who were sent to avenge that tragedy adds a human dimension to a horrific episode that we usually think about only in political or military terms," he said. "By experiencing how the implacable resolve of these men to succeed in their mission slowly gave way to troubling doubts about what they were doing, I think we can learn something important about the tragic standoff we find ourselves in today."

That Mr. Spielberg has a daunting task ahead - and the degree to which his film will be scrutinized, interpreted and debated - can be seen in the way a few prominent Israelis responded to the mere mention of doubts on the part of the assassins.

"I don't know how many of them actually had 'troubling doubts' about what they were doing," said Michael B. Oren, the historian and author of "Six Days of War." "It's become a stereotype, the guilt-ridden Mossad hit man. You never see guilt-ridden hit men in any other ethnicity. Somehow it's only the Jews. I don't see Dirty Harry feeling guilt-ridden. It's the flip side of the rationally motivated Palestinian terrorist: you can't have a Jew going to exact vengeance and not feel guilt-ridden about it, and you can't have a Palestinian who's operating out of pure evil - it's got to be the result of some trauma."

And Efraim Halevy, a veteran Mossad agent who headed the organization, Israel's intelligence agency, from 1998 to 2002, warned against reading too much into the misgivings of Israel's hit men.

"I know some of the people who were involved," he said. "Maybe people have doubts. If they have doubts, I think it's to their credit. It's not an easy thing to do. But it doesn't mean it's wrong. I'd be very happy to see the doubts on the other side, the fierce debates going on about whether they should or should not do it."

Yet Mr. Spielberg's advisers say he is studiously avoiding the most glaring potential trap: drawing a moral equivalency between the Palestinian attack and the Israeli retaliation.

While people who have read various versions of the script praised Mr. Kushner, the author of "Angels in America" and "Homebody/Kabul," for humanizing the film's hunted Palestinians and giving a fuller sense of their motivation, they said the terrorists would hold little claim to the audience's sympathies. One scene added by Mr. Kushner, who was commissioned last year to rework an earlier draft by the writer Eric Roth, places an Israeli assassin, posing as a terrorist sympathizer, at a safe house where he listens as Palestinians give voice to their anger but also to their hatred of Jews, two people connected with the film said.

Moreover, Mr. Spielberg is making sure to provide enough historical context to explain what impelled Israel to make killers of its sons, as Golda Meir was said to have lamented at the time. "It's easy to look back at historic events with the benefit of hindsight," he said in his statement. "What's not so easy is to try to see things as they must have looked to people at the time."

Mr. Spielberg's movie will not be the first dramatic telling of this story. In 1986, HBO adapted Mr. Jonas's book as a television movie, "Sword of Gideon," starring Steven Bauer as the lead assassin, "Avner," along with Rod Steiger and Colleen Dewhurst. Mr. Spielberg became interested more recently, after learning that Barry Mendel, the producer of "The Sixth Sense" and several Wes Anderson films, including last year's "Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou," had acquired the feature rights to the book for Universal several years ago.

Anticipating questions about the authenticity of the book's source, Mr. Spielberg has sought to distance the movie from "Vengeance," insisting in his statement that the film is based on multiple sources, "including the recollections of some who participated in the events themselves." But one of them, people involved in the film confirmed, is Juval Aviv, a New York-based security consultant identified years ago as Mr. Jonas's Avner character, whose claims to a career in the Mossad have been disputed by experts on Israeli intelligence. Mr. Aviv did not respond to phone and e-mail messages.

Mr. Spielberg originally announced that he would begin production last summer of the script by Mr. Roth, the writer of "Forrest Gump" and "The Insider," but hired Mr. Kushner to humanize what he felt was too procedural a thriller in Mr. Roth's telling, people familiar with both scripts said.

In Mr. Roth's script, for instance, the Munich killings dominated the first 15 minutes of the movie. Mr. Spielberg, the readers said, was still weighing how to depict the massacre without minimizing its power, but also without overpowering the audience.

Comment: The timing of this movie is particularly interesting considering the recent and incredibly rare slap on the wrist the US gave Israel regarding weapons deals with China. Nevertheless, it appears that Spielberg will portray the Palestinians as Jew-hating soulless terrorists, and the Mossad hitmen as souled, guilt-ridden human beings. It almost sounds as if the message to the American people will be that the Israelis and Americans are hermanos in a cruel world where one must unfortunately kill the "evil terrorists" to preserve one's way of life.

In a related article on the same topic, we also made the following comments:

Why limit it to the Munich killings? Why not do an all-inclusive expose on the history and tactics of the Mossad? It's not as if there isn't enough gripping material. Spielberg could include the Lavon affair where Mossad carried out bombings on American and British targets in Egypt and tried to blame it on Arabs. Then of course there is the bombing of the USS liberty by Israeli war planes (donated by the US) which was also designed to be pinned on Arabs. Without doubt the American movie-going public would be thrilled to know that the Mossad were central in the demonisation of Saddam in the eyes of the American public and the subsequent invasion of Iraq and murder of thousands of civilians in the first Gulf War.

By the way, Mossad was founded in 1951, not in the aftermath of the Munich Olympics.

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Israeli police eject radical Jews from Gaza bastion
By Dan Williams
Thu Jun 30, 5:39 PM ET

GUSH KATIF, Gaza Strip - Israeli police stormed a hotel in a Gaza settlement on Thursday and ejected 150 radical Jews who had hoped to form a bastion of resistance to Israel's planned withdrawal from the occupied territory.

Commandos scaled ladders to enter the barricaded seaside hotel after the army declared a closed military zone in Jewish settlements in Gaza to put an end to an influx of ultranationalists bent on scuttling the August withdrawal.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon vowed Israel would block far-right Jews from obstructing the pullout, denouncing them as "thugs who try to terrify Israeli society and tear it apart by violence against Jews and Arabs."

The heavily armed commandos broke down doors and gave chase through the Palm Beach Hotel compound to grab the religious squatters, some of whom were women clutching small children who had bound themselves to furniture.

They were carried or dragged kicking and screaming out of the white stucco complex and some were handcuffed in a lightning operation completed in 30 minutes and without casualties, security commanders said. There were four arrests.

"They have all been removed. There's no doubt they were preparing for siege here. We found boarded-up windows and supplies of tires and bottles filled with fuel," said General Dan Harel, the Israeli military commander in the Gaza region.

Nadia Matar, a far-right activist leader, shouted at police ousting her from the hotel: "Cossacks! Cossacks! Shame on the government for expelling Jews as if they were in Russia."

Harel said on Israel Radio that the raid was provoked by "hooligans and lawbreakers with no regard for human life."

Comment: Gee, where have we heard this before?

He said such radicals were responsible for the attempted "lynching" on Wednesday of a Palestinian youth who was seriously hurt by a stone hurled at close range during a clash sparked by Jewish youths' seizure of an outpost in the nearby Palestinian neighborhood of al-Mawasi.

Sharon told an audience of economists: "We will deal with these phenomena with a heavy hand since they threaten our very existence here as a Jewish and democratic country." [...]

Comment: There you have it: Israeli Jews who resists the plans of the Zionists are branded "terrorists".

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U.S. Won't Cede Control of Net Computers
By ANICK JESDANUN, AP Internet Writer Thu Jun 30

NEW YORK - The U.S. government will indefinitely retain oversight of the main computers that control traffic on the Internet, ignoring calls by some countries to turn the function over to an international body, a senior official said Thursday.

The announcement marked a departure from previously stated U.S. policy.

Michael D. Gallagher, assistant secretary for communications and information at the Commerce Department, shied away from terming the declaration a reversal, calling it instead "the foundation of U.S. policy going forward."

"The signals and words and intentions and policies need to be clear so all of us benefiting in the world from the Internet and in the U.S. economy can have confidence there will be continued stewardship," Gallagher said in an interview with The Associated Press.

He said the declaration, officially made in a four-paragraph statement posted online, was in response to growing security threats and increased reliance on the Internet globally for communications and commerce.

The computers in question serve as the Internet's master directories and tell Web browsers and e-mail programs how to direct traffic. Internet users around the world interact with them every day, likely without knowing it. Policy decisions could at a stroke make all Web sites ending in a specific suffix essentially unreachable.

Though the computers themselves — 13 in all, known as "root" servers — are in private hands, they contain government-approved lists of the 260 or so Internet suffixes, such as ".com."

In 1998, the Commerce Department selected a private organization with international board members, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to decide what goes on those lists. Commerce kept veto power, but indicated it would let go once
ICANN met a number of conditions.

Thursday's declaration means Commerce would keep that control, regardless of whether and when those conditions are met.

"It's completely an about-face if you consider the original commitment made when ICANN was created," said Milton Mueller, a Syracuse University professor who has written about policies surrounding the Internet's root servers. [...]

Comment: Hallelujah! Don't y'all feel so much happier now that the "stewardship" of the Internet will remain indefinitely in the hands of the wingnuts in the Bush government?

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Bush sets up domestic spy service
Thursday, 30 June, 2005

US President George W Bush has ordered the creation of a domestic intelligence service within the FBI, as part of a package of 70 new security measures.

The White House says it is enacting the measures to fight international terrorist groups and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

The authorities will also be given the power to seize the property of people deemed to be helping the spread of WMD. An independent commission recommended the measures earlier this year.

The new measures form part of Mr Bush's overhaul of US intelligence agencies, aimed at bolstering the fight against terrorism and weapons proliferation.

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AP: Lincoln Memorial Video May Be Revised
Associated Press
July 1, 2005

WASHINGTON - The National Park Service has been out buying video footage of conservative rallies as it struggles to respond to a new civil war over a historical film shown at the Lincoln Memorial.

Conservatives fired the first verbal "shots" in this conflict by complaining in 2003 that the video, produced in 1994 with the help of high school students from around the nation, implies that Abraham Lincoln supported abortion, homosexuality and liberal causes.

The marble memorial to Lincoln, the first Republican president, draws more than 4 million visitors a year. Many stop at a first-floor exhibit to see an eight-minute video that showcases Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, presidential visits and glimpses of dozens of protest marches at the memorial on the National Mall.

Park Service documents, released recently under the Freedom of Information Act to two liberal advocacy groups, show the agency moved quickly to assuage conservatives' ire.

The service bought footage of President Bush, pro-gun demonstrations and pro-Iraq war rallies and even considered cutting out a section showing former President Clinton, a Democrat.

Park Service officials said they wanted the video to be politically balanced but refused to provide a copy of the revision to The Associated Press, saying it was still being evaluated.

Students who worked on and collected money for the project were surprised by the effort to give their display a more conservative touch.

"The Lincoln Memorial is America's soapbox," said Ilene M. Morgan of Los Angeles, who as a Scottsdale, Ariz., high school student helped organize the project. "This was where people have stood to get America's attention. That's what we were trying to capture."

The service has spent about $20,000 revamping the video and buying footage - including some from The Associated Press - after conservative political groups organized a campaign of petitions and e-mails demanding changes.

"The video gave the impression that Lincoln would have supported abortion and homosexuality," said the Web site of Rev. Louis Sheldon's Traditional Values Coalition. It cited footage showing rallies at the memorial by abortion and gay rights supporters and war opponents but no similar footage from Christian and conservative interests.

"Absent from the video were any Promise Keepers marches or Marches for Jesus rallies at the capital. The video was totally skewed to present only a leftist viewpoint," the Web site said. Andrea Lafferty, executive director of Sheldon's group, said Thursday, "The department knows there's a problem and we don't know why they haven't dealt with it in a timely manner."

Sheldon's attack engendered some e-mails supporting the video from gay rights supporters and others.

Documents about the revision were released to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the People For the American Way Foundation. Major portions of the 1,500 pages, provided to AP by the groups, were blacked out on grounds they included pre-decision information that did not have to be disclosed.

"This is yet another example of the Bush administration's efforts to turn the federal government into a right-wing propaganda machine," PFAW president Ralph G. Neas said. "Now they're trying to rewrite history on the basis of ideology and abuse FOIA to conceal the evidence."

Park Service Deputy Director Don Murphy disagreed. The service has a "responsibility to present a balanced approach. We do not respond solely to any special interest group," he said.

On Feb. 3, 2003, the conservative Web site criticized the video, particularly a montage of marchers carrying signs that included, "The Lord is my Shepherd and Knows I am Gay," "Ratify the ERA" and "Keep Abortion Legal."

Sheldon said in a broadcast transcript that was distributed among Park Service executives: "If Bush is in office, let's have it our way. Let's make it fair now."

Within weeks of the first conservative complaints, the Park Service's Harpers Ferry, W.Va., design center was put to work on revisions.

In a Feb. 20, 2003, e-mail, Tim Radford, a Harpers Ferry Center employee, requested a search of video archives "for footage of conservative - 'right wing' demonstrations (several lines blacked out) Lincoln Memorial. please 'rush.'"

On March 5, 2003, Radford e-mailed his boss: "replacing clinton would require creating a totally new interpretive production. please remember many other presidents, republican and democrat, are shown."

In an Oct. 21, 2003, e-mail, Park Service production assistant Amber Perkins asked CNN for video of a recent ceremony at which a Bush administration political appointee helped unveil a marker at the spot where King gave his famous speech. She also requested "pro-gun rights/NRA events at the Lincoln memorial."

A Feb. 3, 2005, document says the revisions project bought video footage of Bush and his father walking down the Lincoln Memorial steps, protesters carrying signs opposing gun control, a rally supporting the war in Iraq, a vigil supporting the war in
Afghanistan and the Million Man March.

In a Dec. 10, 2004, memo, the Harpers Ferry Center said the revisions resulted from "concerns and complaints that the interpretive video in the memorial exhibit space focuses on protests from liberal or special interest groups from one point of view and excludes or minimizes other points of view of a more conservative perspective." Proposed solutions are blacked out.

Vikki Keys, superintendent of Mall parks and monuments, said the video work has been folded into a routine reassessment of the entire exhibit that could produce an entirely new theme.

She said people today appear more interested in Lincoln's life - "how he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps from backwoods frontiersman to president" - than in the memorial's role as a soapbox.

Jaime L. Marquez of Scottsdale, one of the original student organizers, said an exhibit on Lincoln's life would be different from what the students attempted to create a decade ago.

"I hope they don't completely redo it, because a lot of kids hold personal ownership of it. It demonstrates that even if you are a sixth-grader you can still make a difference," she said

Marquez, who described herself as a Republican, said, "We had support from liberals and conservatives in Congress and we had students who were both. It was not a political platform."

Gregg Behr, who as a student in Pittsburgh's suburbs helped design the exhibit, said the protests shown in the video "should move, provoke or charge us and outrage us. That isn't an endorsement of any view."

"I'm glad Reverend Sheldon is outraged," Behr said. "An exhibit so bland that it offends no one would dishonor all our fellow Americans and friends who came to that space for all sorts of different reasons."

Comment: Note Sheldon's comment that was distributed among Park Service executives: "If Bush is in office, let's have it our way. Let's make it fair now." In other words, the video will be remade into pro-conservative, pro-Bush propaganda. Why else would so much of the released information on the remaking of the video be censored?

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Minn. Government Shuts Down; 9,000 Jobless
Associated Press
July 1, 2005

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota's government shut down Friday for the first time in state history after lawmakers failed to pass a temporary spending plan and left 9,000 employees jobless and highway rest stops unattended for the July Fourth weekend.

The shutdown came at midnight after lawmakers failed late Thursday to pass a temporary spending plan to keep the government up and running. The Senate adjourned 20 minutes after Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he hoped the two sides could agree on a stopgap measure to keep the state's doors open for 10 more days.

"I'd like to say I'm sorry to the people of Minnesota," said Republican state Rep. Rod Hamilton of Mountain Lake. "This is disgusting."

Many states often miss their deadline for enacting new budgets. But Minnesota, unlike other states, has no law that automatically extends spending past the end of its fiscal year if a new budget is not approved.

Earlier Thursday, the Senate passed a temporary measure with no time limit, which the governor and Republican leaders in the House said they would not accept.

Most Republicans opposed the bill, saying it would create incentive to drag the budget debate deeper into the summer.

House Speaker Steve Sviggum, the Legislature's leading Republican, indicated he would not allow a House vote on the stopgap bill unless legislative leaders first reached a tentative deal on the full budget.

"The Senate wanted to shut down government from the beginning," Sviggum said.

The governor said Democrats wanted a government shutdown to embarrass him in the run-up to his 2006 re-election campaign.

"The Democrats turned and left tonight when Minnesota needed them most," Pawlenty said at a late-evening news conference.

Dean Johnson, leader of the Democratic majority in the Senate, said the sides had whittled the gap to less than $200 million in a two-year, $30 billion budget. But with the new fiscal year looming Friday, lawmakers remained deadlocked over issues including school funding and health care for the poor.

Eliot Seide, who heads the state's biggest employee union, lashed out at state leaders. He said it will be state workers - not lawmakers or the governor - who will have to pay the price for their failure to pass a budget.

"The services that they provide, the jobs that they do, the families that they care for ... , all in jeopardy because chicken was played in the Legislature by the governor of this state and the Legislature of this state," he said.

Minnesota had never before had to suspend services because of a budget dispute. The last state government shutdown was in Tennessee in 2002.

A judge earlier this month ordered Minnesota to protect essential services relating to health, safety and property - including state police patrols, nursing homes and food inspections.

Services that were closed included highway rest areas and the issuing of new driver's licenses. But the most significant pain would be felt by the roughly 9,000 employees who were locked out without some deal or stopgap spending plan.

Lawmakers hurried through a compromise bill to keep state parks from closing, eliminating the risk the parks would be unavailable during the Fourth of July weekend. The governor signed it and ordered park employees to report to work Friday.

Comment: 9,000 employees are jobless, but by golly the parks will be open for the 4th of July!!

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Senators want to nix 1898 telecom tax
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET
June 30, 2005, 8:23 AM PDT

The Spanish-American War may have ended over a century ago, but anyone in the U.S. with a telephone line is paying a 3 percent "luxury" tax created to fund the conflict in 1898.

That's a situation that a number of Republican senators would like to change. This week, they introduced a bill to repeal the Spanish-American War levy.

"Common sense dictates that repeal of the telephone excise tax is long overdue," said Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. "Communication is not a luxury. It has become part of the basic fabric of our social and economic life." Other sponsors of the Senate legislation include Republicans Mike Crapo of Idaho and Gordon Smith of Oregon. A related bill is pending in the House of Representatives.

The obscure telecommunications tax took center stage in January when a congressional committee suggested the tax could be extended to include "all data communications services" including broadband, dial-up, fiber, cable modems, cellular and DSL (digital subscriber line) links. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department have said they are considering whether the tax should apply to Internet phone calls.

Congress enacted the so-called "luxury" excise tax at 1 cent a phone call back in 1898, when only a few thousand phone lines existed in the country. It was repealed in 1902 but was reimposed at 1 cent a call in 1914 to pay for World War I and eventually became permanent at a rate of 3 percent in 1990.

A few years ago, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to repeal the excise tax, but the Senate never acted on the measure.

The bill introduced this week, called the Telephone Excise Tax Repeal Act, isn't the only proposal aimed at defanging the tax. Sen. George Allen, a Virginia Republican, has proposed the more modest approach of preventing the IRS from extending the tax to the Internet--but not eliminating it altogether.

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Flash floods block Paris-Brussels motorway
Thu Jun 30, 9:26 AM ET

BRUSSELS - Torrential rain left parts of the main Paris-Brussels motorway underwater overnight, triggering huge traffic jams with motorists stuck for up to nine hours.

Flash flooding caused by storms was at its worst on the E19 motorway near Mons in southern Belgium, where a 600-metre stretch of highway was left under up to 1 metre of water.

The traffic jams, some dozens of kilometers long, started in the evening Wednesday.

Some drivers suffered breakdowns due to the wait and heat, or simply abandoned their vehicles, the Belga news agency reported Thursday.

Emergency teams were dispatched to pump water from the roadway until the early hours of the morning, when traffic flow returned to normal, it added.

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94 die in torrential rains, flash floods in India's Gujarat state
July 1, 2005

AHMEDABAD, India - At least 94 people have died and some 200,000 have been evacuated due to heavy rains and flash floods in India's western coastal state of Gujarat, officials said amid warnings of worse to come.

"The flood situation is likely to worsen in Gujarat. We have to be prepared for the worst floods," Science Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters in New Delhi on Friday. "Only after July 4 or 5 will there be a substantial fall in rainfall."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, meanwhile, has offered "all help for flood relief," his office said, as Home Minister Shivraj Patil headed for Gujarat to assess the situation.

The floods in Gujarat, which began six days ago, have inundated scores of villages and water has overwhelmed residential suburbs of many towns, including worst-affected Vadodra, state government officials said.

Most of the 94 deaths occurred when people, both adults and children, were washed away by strong currents after dams overflowed, while others were crushed when buildings collapsed or were buried in mudslides, officials said.

They added that around 200,000 people in the affected areas of the state had been moved to higher ground by Friday.

Dozens of train services were delayed due to water-logged tracks while some had to be cancelled, marooning hundreds of passengers on railway platforms.

The rains have also disrupted flights and left vehicles stranded on water-logged highways, while all schools in the state were closed until Monday, education officials said.

Army and paramilitary personnel have been deployed to reach those trapped but bad weather prevented rescue helicopters from lifting those stranded in many places. [...]

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World's greatest mysteries still unsolved 2005-07-01 14:50:54

LOS ANGELES, June 30 (Xinhuanet)-- From the composition of the universe to the upper limit of world population, big puzzles are challenging world scientists' wisdom, said the journal Science on Thursday.

To celebrate its 125th anniversary, Science has taken stock of some of the most important, yet-unanswered scientific questions and delved into 25 of them for a closer look at just what we do and don't yet know about the universe.

Questions like these show how far science has come in explaining the natural world, and they also fuel the discoveries of the future, said the Science editors.

Ultimately they selected 125 questions for their list and focused on 25 that there was a chance of solving, or at least knowing how to approach solving, in next two decades or so. These 25 questions include:

-- What is the universe made of? In the last few decades, cosmologists have discovered that the ordinary matter that makes up stars and galaxies is less than 5 percent of everything there is. What is the nature of the "dark" matter that makes up the rest?

-- What is the biological basis of consciousness? In contrast to Rene Descartes' 17th-century declaration that the mind and body are entirely separate, a new view is that whatever happens in the mind arises from a process in the brain. But scientists are only just beginning to unravel those processes.

-- Why do humans have so few genes? To biologists' great surprise, once the human genome was sequenced in the late 1990s, it became clear that we only have about 25,000 genes, about the same numbers as the flowering plant Arabidopsis. The details of how those genes are regulated and expressed is a central question in biology.

-- How much can human life span be extended? Studies of long-lived mice, worms and yeast have convinced some scientists that human aging can be slowed, perhaps allowing many of us to live beyond 100, but others think our life spans are more fixed.

-- Will Malthus continue to be wrong? In 1798, Thomas Malthus argued that human population growth will inevitably be checked, for example by famine, war or disease. Two centuries later, the world's population has risen sixfold, without the large-scale collapses that Malthus had predicted. Can we continue to avoid catastrophe by shifting to more sustainable patterns of consumption and development?

Some of the questions were naturals, just really fascinating, others we chose based on how fundamental they are, and whether answering them would provide insights across several areas in science. Some were central to current social policy, for example relating to HIV or climate change, said the Science editors.

"Today, science's most profound questions address some of the largest phenomena in the cosmos and some of the smallest. We may never fully answer some of these questions, but we'll advance our knowledge and society in the process of trying," said Donald Kennedy, Science editor-in-chief.

"As Science celebrates its 125th birthday, we've recognized that an examination of science's outstanding mysteries also reflects its tremendous accomplishments," he noted in a statement.

Founded by inventor Thomas A. Edison, Science debuted on July 3,1880 with 12 pages of articles on the possibility of electric-powered railroads. Issues over the following decades included articles by Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble, Louis Leakey and other great scientists.

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