Wednesday, July 27, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
Signs Logo
Printer Friendly Version
Fixed link to latest Page


Together we can turn up the heat!
No More LIES!

Help Signs of the Times!

As many of you know, Signs of the Times is not supported by major funding like many other news sites, and is not affiliated with any government, political group, corporation, or news agency. SOTT is financed by any donations we receive as well as money out of our own pockets. The benefit of this setup is that we do not have any sponsors that might introduce unwanted bias into our work. The obvious and major drawback is that we do not have the funding to do all the things we would like to do for our readers.

Almost one year ago, SOTT created the Pentagon Strike presentation, which has now been viewed by well over 300,000,000 people worldwide, and is available in nine different languages. Recently, we wrote and produced the song You Lied, performed by Away With the Fairys. We also recorded our first ever podcast, beginning a project which we had been trying to get off the ground for over a year.

A SOTT editor poses next to his computer

To produce the Signs page, we work very long days (often upwards of 14-16 hours) without pay. We do it because we love it, and because our readers often write to tell us how they have benefited from our work. In order to continue expanding our work and deepen our analysis and understanding of our world, we need to enlarge our library. There are many books we would like to have that we cannot afford. With our increasing use of sound files and our future projects that include video, we have and will continue to incur higher bandwidth costs. As well, the Signs page and related projects are created on several computers which are each upwards of five years old. They are very slow, increasingly unreliable, and won't support regular podcasts and videos.

Unfortunately, we do not have the financial means to purchase the books we need, much less new equipment. Current donations only support our basic needs and living expenses.

In order to continue producing the Signs page, the podcast, Flash presentations, and expand our operations further, we need your support.

At the moment, we are preparing six Signs of the Times Commentary books. These books are collections of SOTT commentary grouped according to theme. They will be available for sale soon, and any proceeds will go towards helping to cover our increasing operating costs.

Our target, based on estimated costs for all the necessary materials, upgrades, and operating costs for the coming year is 28,000 euros.

-- Here's How You Can Help Signs of the Times --

Any donation you can make will help us to continue to produce and improve the Signs page.

If you donate 50 euros (approximately US$60; click here for current exchange rate), you will be a Bronze Supporter.

Bronze Supporters will receive a complementary copy of the 911 Conspiracy Signs Commentary book.

If you donate 100 euros, you will be a Silver Supporter.

Silver Supporters will receive a complementary copy of 911 Conspiracy, US Freedom, and The Media.

Donations of 175 euros will qualify you as a Gold Supporter.

Gold Supporters will receive the entire set of six commentary books: 911 Conspiracy, The Human Condition, The Media, Religion, US Freedom, and The Work.

Donations of 250 euros will qualify you as a Platinum Supporter.

Platinum Supporters will receive the entire set of six commentary books: 911 Conspiracy, The Human Condition, The Media, Religion, US Freedom, and The Work. In addition, they will receive one other book of their choice free from our bookstore.

We have more projects like our podcast in the works - but we need your help to make them a reality!

Donation in Euros  (No periods or commas.)

Thank you in advance from the editors and the rest of the team at Signs of the Times!

Wakey Wakey!

An important note to humanity:

Drop the remote for a minute and listen up. Over the past few years, we have gone to significant lenghts to highlight the fact that for most people on the planet, living what has come to be known as 'a normal life' will soon be untenable. Quite apart from the fact that, since Bush came to power, terror attacks, war, death and suffering, the passing of new draconian legislation and a general aura of fear have all descended like a black pall over most of the world, the past few years has been witness to a seriously sharp rise in the number of reported meteorite sightings and impacts.

What might be the cause of such a spike? Well, we could be forgiven for thinking that it is just that; an innocuous spike that will soon settle down. However, if we factor in historical, geological and paleontological evidence which suggests that our planet has in the past undergone regular cyclical catastrophes that have metoerite impacts (among other natural cataclysms) as their defining aspect, AND that we seem to be overdue for another one, the recent spate of space rocks visiting our planet's skies and surface paints a rather different picture.

It seems more than a concidence also that this rise in near earth comets, bollides and meteorites appears to be occuring in concert with a definite increase in the 'heat' in both political and climatological terms.

The conclusion we draw from this is that events on earth may well be mirrored in the cosmos/solar system, or, as it has been said, "Disasters involve cycles in the human experiential cycle [...] The human cycle mirrors cycle of catastrophe. Earth benefits in form of periodic cleansing. Time to start paying attention to the signs. They are escalating. They can even be 'felt' by you and others, if you pay attention." So if we do NOT want a major bombardment of heavenly bodies, we might all think about waking up to the truth of what is really happening on our planet and the deliberate machinations of the power elite who are aware of such events and are doing everything in their power to prevent you and I from figuring it out.

Meteor seen in Siskiyou skies Tuesday

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Siskiyou Daily

YREKA - At 2:20 Tuesday afternoon, callers began alerting Yreka police and the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department to a "fire ball" that had come from the sky and believed to have landed near the city's corporation yard.

A golfer at the Rogue Valley Country Club in Medford, Ore. was getting ready to make a shot off the second tee, when he reported seeing a flaming object with "blue and red flames coming off of it," fall from the sky. That observer thought that the object had fallen somewhere near Shady Cove, Ore.

Callers also contacted the National Weather Service offices in Medford and Roseburg, Ore. to report the sighting.

Fireball Streaks Across Oregon Skies Tuesday


PORTLAND -- According to the Cascade Meteorite Lab at Portland State University, a fireball streaked across the sky at 2:17 p.m.

The fireball was seen in Portland, Medford and most likely most places in between.

A fireball is a meteorite that has entered our atmosphere and is burning up. Most times it burns up totally before hitting the ground but once in a while we get a meteorite that lands on earth.

If you saw the fireball, the lab would like to hear from you. You can call them at (503) 287-6733.

Meteorite hits tractor

Wed, July 27, 2005
Edmonton, Canada

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. -- An unusual rock that fell out of the sky, through a shed and into a tractor earlier this month appears to be a meteorite, says a director with the Geological Survey of Canada. [...]

An afternoon picking strawberries took a bizarre twist for Adeline Kelly on July 17 when a chunk of rock plummeted from the sky, penetrating the tin roof of a shed and piercing the manifold of a tractor on her and her husband's Montney ranch, just north of Fort St. John. The stone bounced several times after landing. Adeline searched for the object and eventually found a small, rough-surfaced black and grey stone with specks of diamond-like material embedded in it. Part of the stone had shattered, but much of it was still intact.

Click here to comment on this article

Australia admits secret climate pact talks with US
Wednesday July 27, 5:03 PM

Australia and the United States have been secretly negotiating a new international pact on greenhouse gas emissions to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which they refused to sign, a minister said Wednesday.

The negotiations have also involved China, India and South Korea, according to a report in The Australian newspaper.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell said details of the deal and the countries involved would be announced soon.

Greenhouse gases trapping heat in the atmosphere are blamed for global warming, seen as one of the world's greatest environmental dangers, and the refusal by the United States and Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol was widely condemned.

"The countries that are involved in any future proposal will be announced when we announce the details of the proposal," Campbell told reporters, adding that this would be "in the very near future".

"Australia is, and I reassure the Australian people, working on something that is more effective post-Kyoto," Campbell said. [...]

One of the US arguments against the present Kyoto format is that it does not require big developing countries such as China and India to make targeted emissions cuts -- an absence that Bush says is unfair and illogical.

But developing countries say historical responsibility for global warming lies with nations that industrialised first, and primarily with the United States, which by itself accounts for a quarter of all global greenhouse-gas pollution.

The new alliance will bring together nations that account for more than 40 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, The Australian said. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Heat Wave Prompts Summer School 'Snow Day'
The Associated Press
Tuesday, July 26, 2005; 9:52 PM

PHILADELPHIA -- A blistering heat wave gave Philadelphia summer school students the equivalent of a snow day Tuesday as temperatures climbed into the upper 90s and so many homeowners cranked up their air conditioners that their power grid set a record.

As a large swath of the United States suffered through another miserably hot day, several western states and parts of the Midwest began to feel the relief of a cold front pushing out what had been days of triple-digit temperatures.

But for the East, the cooler temperatures weren't expect to arrive until Thursday.

That likely means another early dismissal Wednesday for Philadelphia students stuck in summer school classrooms, many without air conditioning, officials said.

The demand for cooling was evident at PJM Interconnection LLC, which coordinates the movement of electricity between 13 states ranging from Illinois to North Carolina. The power grid reported setting a record Tuesday with a peak load of 135,000 megawatts - enough to power 108 million homes under normal conditions.

"It was 120 (degrees) in the direct sunlight," said Walt Arrison, a surveyor at the construction site who kept a small key chain thermometer in his pocket.

Already the heat has been blamed for deaths across the country, including 28 in the Phoenix area alone, most of them homeless people.

At least four deaths have been blamed on the heat in Missouri, including a woman found Sunday in a home without air conditioning. Two young children left in hot cars died in Oklahoma. A 29-year-old hiker died Monday in Kentucky. And a 48-year-old woman was found dead Tuesday in her non-air-conditioned apartment in Cincinnati. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

Floods kill dozens in India as Bombay under water
Wednesday July 27, 1:24 PM

BOMBAY - Landslides and floods killed at least 30 people in India's western state of Maharashtra, leaving dozens more missing, and crippled normal life in the nation's financial hub, Bombay, a state official said on Wednesday.

Most fatalities in the industrial powerhouse state were in the coastal districts of Raigad and Ratnagiri, where several villages were cut off after heavy monsoon rains.

Maharashtra's relief secretary, Krishna Vatsa, said the government had called in the army, navy and air force to assist thousands of people who were stranded and to pull out possible survivors of landslides.

"We have not been able to reach some villages where more than several dozen people may be missing in landslides," Vatsa told Reuters, confirming at least 30 deaths in Raigad and Ratnagiri and adding that electricity, telephone links and transport connections had been cut off to those districts.

Press Trust of India reported 54 fatalities in Raigad district alone due to floods and landslides. In coastal Maharashtra, officials and media reported more than 1,700 people had been rescued since Tuesday.

Trading on Bombay's bond and currency markets was cancelled and Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deskmukh declared a state holiday saying conditions were very bad. The government asked people to stay at home as further heavy rains were forecast.

"The situation is so grave (that despite) these human efforts, we are not in a position to reach out to the people who are in the districts," Deskmukh told NDTV television.

Late on Tuesday, another official said that in the village of Juigao, about 150 km (95 miles) south of Bombay, 150 villagers were feared buried after a landslide.


In Bombay -- home to the Bollywood movie industry -- and its suburbs, thousands of office workers had to stay overnight in hotels, and schools were shut on Wednesday as rain continued overnight, flooding roads and stalling hundreds of cars. [...]

Click here to comment on this article

UFO sighting in Exeter - again
By Adam Dolge

EXETER - There was something odd in the sky last week, something that caused a Navy veteran with 10,000 hours of flight experience to have his own close encounter.

The former flight engineer, who wished to be identified only as "David," said of the experience, "this was like nothing I’ve ever seen before."

What the retired Navy chief petty officer said he saw last Wednesday could only be classified as a UFO, an unidentified flying object.

It was a bright and sunny afternoon, about 3:15 p.m., and David was outside preparing his lawnmower. He had filled the mower with gas, checked the oil, and took a sip from a glass of water he had poured. When he tilted his head back to get the final sip, through the bottom of the glass he saw a large cigar-shaped object hovering in the sky.

David said windows were equally spaced around the object, however he didn’t see anyone or anything inside. The size of the object was enormous. By comparison, he said, consider what an ultralight plane would look like next to a Boeing 747. He said it was about the size of two USS Nimitz aircraft carriers.

At first glance, through his empty glass of water he thought it could have been the Hood blimp. "But, the instant I put my glass down, I said, ‘that’s not a blimp.’"

The object moved from west to east, very slowly for something that size, he said. His initial instinct was that the object was moving at about 100 knots, but something that big shouldn’t be able to stay in the air if it’s going that slow, he said.

The object began changing colors from a bright silver to an orange-ish red. A strange cloud of red and orange flames began surrounding the object, and before he knew it the object stretched out like a rubber band. It grew to about twice its original size, and then it was gone.

The entire incident lasted about 10 minutes, he recalled Monday morning, but he is unaware of the specific time because, "it felt like time stopped."

He went into his house and first thought to call the police. He decided not to because he didn’t think they’d take him seriously. So he went on the Internet and searched for "report UFO," and found the Web site for the Seattle-based National UFO Reporting Center.

Peter Davenport, director of the UFO reporting center, said David’s report was astonishing because of his history with flight. "I have no question on his reliability."

He said he gets several accounts each year, but this one stood out. The report was well written and scientific, Davenport said.

"In my view, that’s one of the cardinal rules of an account," he said.

The center was founded in 1974 by UFO investigator Robert Gribble. The center’s Web site,, has a large list of UFO sightings. According to the site, the center’s primary function is to receive, record, and to the greatest degree possible, corroborate and document reports from individuals who have witnessed possible UFOs. David’s report, which will soon be on the Web site, will be among dozens of documented sightings to be formally reported to the center.

Not the first time

The Exeter area is no stranger to UFO sightings. In 1965, two Exeter police officers and hitchhiker Norman Muscarello, who was with them, gained national attention after seeing a UFO hovering over Route 101 in Kensington. The sighting was documented in a book called "The Incident at Exeter."

And then there was the incident involving Barney and Betty Hill, a husband and wife from Portsmouth who claimed to have been abducted by aliens. The couple was driving from a vacation in Canada in 1961 when they saw a UFO.

The object moved directly over their car, and before they knew it they grew drowsy. They later claimed to have been abducted by aliens and gave identical accounts while they were hypnotized.

But for this recent sighting, David said he believes that there is life beyond Earth. He said the galaxy is so enormous, it’s hard to believe humans are the only intelligent life.

"To the point of not being obnoxious, it’d be egocentric to think there is no other life out there."

Comment: For an in depth look at the strange phenomena, earthly and otherwise that we have been experiencing over the past few years, don't miss our Signs Supplements available on our site map.

Click here to comment on this article

In Case You Missed It

When it comes down to it, who are you going to believe; members of the British government who have recently been proven to be unashamed liars (Downing Street Memos), or the people who were actually on the London trains when the bombs exploded? Okay, now that we've got that straight, lets take a look at what eyewitnesses actually saw:

"The policeman said 'mind that hole, that's where the bomb was'. The metal was pushed upwards as if the bomb was underneath the train. They seem to think the bomb was left in a bag, but I don't remember anybody being where the bomb was, or any bag"

One witness said the floor of the train he was standing on was "blown out" and other witnesses spoke of a huge hole being torn out of the floor.

"The middle of the train was blown out and there were people on the track. ... the floor of the train he was on was blown out, it was just gone," he said."

So tell us, how does a bomb in a backpack, either on the floor of the train or on the back of a person, blow a hole in the floor of the train in such a way that the metal of the floor is blown upwards?

It doesn't.

The only conclusion is that the bomb was underneath the train, either attached to the underside or to the tracks. Conclusion? The British government is lying and knows full well that the bombs were not the result of suicide bombers, yet they choose to tell the public that this is the case.

Click here to comment on this article

New York apologises after Britons seized in security scare
Gary Younge in New York
Wednesday July 27, 2005
The Guardian

New York's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has apologised to a group of British tourists after armed police swarmed on to an open-top sightseeing bus, handcuffed them and forced them to kneel on Broadway.

The five Sikh tourists from Birmingham were ordered off the bus on Sunday with their hands bound behind their backs after a tour company employee called police to report that they seemed suspicious.

The police cordoned off the block for 90 minutes, ordered all 60 passengers off the bus, and searched their belongings and then their bodies. The five men were then identified by the employee and cuffed.

New York has been on heightened alert since the London bombings and police recently started checking bags in the subway.

Mr Bloomberg advised New Yorkers to use common sense when reporting anything suspect and to avoid profiling people.

"It turned out that these people did not present any threat whatsoever," he said.

"The police, who have to react in this day and age and take evidence at face value, had a show of force that probably doesn't make good reading in the paper.

"It's a shame, and I certainly apologise on behalf of the city of New York."

The tour bus company, Gray Line, stood by its supervisor. "We have trained our employees to report suspicious activity to the police," its spokesman, David Chien, said. "That is all we did."

After the terrorist attacks of September 11 more than 400 Sikhs were attacked across the country, claims Amardeep Singh, legal director of the Sikh coalition in New York.

He said reports "across the board" showed Sikhs were being confused with Arabs and other Muslims. [...]

Comment: Are you getting it now? Are you beginning to understand the reasons for this phony war on terror. There are no terrorists to speak of, save those in the employ of the American, British and Israeli governments.

Consider what ex-British Foreign Secretary Robin cook, writing in the Guardian this month, said about the london bombings and who the terrorists really are:

"Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west."

One need not be a incontrovertible cynic to suggest that this "database" is still maintained and that, like the war against the Russians in Afghanistan in the 80's, the current war on terror is yet another proxy war that is being directed and funded by the same Western intelligence agencies. We all must understand, fear is the name of the game that is currently being played out on the global stage. For government officials, inspiring a visceral mortal fear in the population is a vital tool when the goal is to railroad legislation through parliament and ensure that your criminal behaviour will not lead to a defeat at the polls as it rightly should.

It's time we all grew up and faced the facts instead of clinging desperately to childish notions that "they wouldn't do that". The simple fact is that they ARE "doing that" and have been for many years. They just didn't want anyone to know. Now, however, as they become more and more audacious in their crimes, there is an opportunity for us all to catch a glimpse of the man behind the curtain. Let's not waste it.

Click here to comment on this article

Flashback: This war on terrorism is bogus
Michael Meacher
Saturday September 6, 2003
The Guardian

The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination

Massive attention has now been given - and rightly so - to the reasons why Britain went to war against Iraq. But far too little attention has focused on why the US went to war, and that throws light on British motives too. The conventional explanation is that after the Twin Towers were hit, retaliation against al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan was a natural first step in launching a global war against terrorism. Then, because Saddam Hussein was alleged by the US and UK governments to retain weapons of mass destruction, the war could be extended to Iraq as well. However this theory does not fit all the facts. The truth may be a great deal murkier.

We now know that a blueprint for the creation of a global Pax Americana was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), Jeb Bush (George Bush's younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences, was written in September 2000 by the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says "while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document attributed to Wolfowitz and Libby which said the US must "discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role". It refers to key allies such as the UK as "the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership". It describes peacekeeping missions as "demanding American political leadership rather than that of the UN". It says "even should Saddam pass from the scene", US bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently... as "Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has". It spotlights China for "regime change", saying "it is time to increase the presence of American forces in SE Asia".

The document also calls for the creation of "US space forces" to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent "enemies" using the internet against the US. It also hints that the US may consider developing biological weapons "that can target specific genotypes [and] may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool".

Finally - written a year before 9/11 - it pinpoints North Korea, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes, and says their existence justifies the creation of a "worldwide command and control system". This is a blueprint for US world domination. But before it is dismissed as an agenda for rightwing fantasists, it is clear it provides a much better explanation of what actually happened before, during and after 9/11 than the global war on terrorism thesis. This can be seen in several ways.

First, it is clear the US authorities did little or nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11. It is known that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks. Two senior Mossad experts were sent to Washington in August 2001 to alert the CIA and FBI to a cell of 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation (Daily Telegraph, September 16 2001). The list they provided included the names of four of the 9/11 hijackers, none of whom was arrested.

It had been known as early as 1996 that there were plans to hit Washington targets with aeroplanes. Then in 1999 a US national intelligence council report noted that "al-Qaida suicide bombers could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House".

Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers obtained their visas in Saudi Arabia. Michael Springman, the former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah, has stated that since 1987 the CIA had been illicitly issuing visas to unqualified applicants from the Middle East and bringing them to the US for training in terrorism for the Afghan war in collaboration with Bin Laden (BBC, November 6 2001). It seems this operation continued after the Afghan war for other purposes. It is also reported that five of the hijackers received training at secure US military installations in the 1990s (Newsweek, September 15 2001).

Instructive leads prior to 9/11 were not followed up. French Moroccan flight student Zacarias Moussaoui (now thought to be the 20th hijacker) was arrested in August 2001 after an instructor reported he showed a suspicious interest in learning how to steer large airliners. When US agents learned from French intelligence he had radical Islamist ties, they sought a warrant to search his computer, which contained clues to the September 11 mission (Times, November 3 2001). But they were turned down by the FBI. One agent wrote, a month before 9/11, that Moussaoui might be planning to crash into the Twin Towers (Newsweek, May 20 2002).

All of this makes it all the more astonishing - on the war on terrorism perspective - that there was such slow reaction on September 11 itself. The first hijacking was suspected at not later than 8.20am, and the last hijacked aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania at 10.06am. Not a single fighter plane was scrambled to investigate from the US Andrews airforce base, just 10 miles from Washington DC, until after the third plane had hit the Pentagon at 9.38 am. Why not? There were standard FAA intercept procedures for hijacked aircraft before 9/11. Between September 2000 and June 2001 the US military launched fighter aircraft on 67 occasions to chase suspicious aircraft (AP, August 13 2002). It is a US legal requirement that once an aircraft has moved significantly off its flight plan, fighter planes are sent up to investigate.

Was this inaction simply the result of key people disregarding, or being ignorant of, the evidence? Or could US air security operations have been deliberately stood down on September 11? If so, why, and on whose authority? The former US federal crimes prosecutor, John Loftus, has said: "The information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defence of incompetence."

Nor is the US response after 9/11 any better. No serious attempt has ever been made to catch Bin Laden. In late September and early October 2001, leaders of Pakistan's two Islamist parties negotiated Bin Laden's extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for 9/11. However, a US official said, significantly, that "casting our objectives too narrowly" risked "a premature collapse of the international effort if by some lucky chance Mr Bin Laden was captured". The US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Myers, went so far as to say that "the goal has never been to get Bin Laden" (AP, April 5 2002). The whistleblowing FBI agent Robert Wright told ABC News (December 19 2002) that FBI headquarters wanted no arrests. And in November 2001 the US airforce complained it had had al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in its sights as many as 10 times over the previous six weeks, but had been unable to attack because they did not receive permission quickly enough (Time Magazine, May 13 2002). None of this assembled evidence, all of which comes from sources already in the public domain, is compatible with the idea of a real, determined war on terrorism.

The catalogue of evidence does, however, fall into place when set against the PNAC blueprint. From this it seems that the so-called "war on terrorism" is being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider US strategic geopolitical objectives. Indeed Tony Blair himself hinted at this when he said to the Commons liaison committee: "To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11" (Times, July 17 2002). Similarly Rumsfeld was so determined to obtain a rationale for an attack on Iraq that on 10 separate occasions he asked the CIA to find evidence linking Iraq to 9/11; the CIA repeatedly came back empty-handed (Time Magazine, May 13 2002).

In fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext to put the PNAC plan into action. The evidence again is quite clear that plans for military action against Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11. A report prepared for the US government from the Baker Institute of Public Policy stated in April 2001 that "the US remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma. Iraq remains a destabilising influence to... the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East". Submitted to Vice-President Cheney's energy task group, the report recommended that because this was an unacceptable risk to the US, "military intervention" was necessary (Sunday Herald, October 6 2002).

Similar evidence exists in regard to Afghanistan. The BBC reported (September 18 2001) that Niaz Niak, a former Pakistan foreign secretary, was told by senior American officials at a meeting in Berlin in mid-July 2001 that "military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October". Until July 2001 the US government saw the Taliban regime as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of hydrocarbon pipelines from the oil and gas fields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean. But, confronted with the Taliban's refusal to accept US conditions, the US representatives told them "either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs" (Inter Press Service, November 15 2001).

Given this background, it is not surprising that some have seen the US failure to avert the 9/11 attacks as creating an invaluable pretext for attacking Afghanistan in a war that had clearly already been well planned in advance. There is a possible precedent for this. The US national archives reveal that President Roosevelt used exactly this approach in relation to Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941. Some advance warning of the attacks was received, but the information never reached the US fleet. The ensuing national outrage persuaded a reluctant US public to join the second world war. Similarly the PNAC blueprint of September 2000 states that the process of transforming the US into "tomorrow's dominant force" is likely to be a long one in the absence of "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor". The 9/11 attacks allowed the US to press the "go" button for a strategy in accordance with the PNAC agenda which it would otherwise have been politically impossible to implement.

The overriding motivation for this political smokescreen is that the US and the UK are beginning to run out of secure hydrocarbon energy supplies. By 2010 the Muslim world will control as much as 60% of the world's oil production and, even more importantly, 95% of remaining global oil export capacity. As demand is increasing, so supply is decreasing, continually since the 1960s.

This is leading to increasing dependence on foreign oil supplies for both the US and the UK. The US, which in 1990 produced domestically 57% of its total energy demand, is predicted to produce only 39% of its needs by 2010. A DTI minister has admitted that the UK could be facing "severe" gas shortages by 2005. The UK government has confirmed that 70% of our electricity will come from gas by 2020, and 90% of that will be imported. In that context it should be noted that Iraq has 110 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in addition to its oil.

A report from the commission on America's national interests in July 2000 noted that the most promising new source of world supplies was the Caspian region, and this would relieve US dependence on Saudi Arabia. To diversify supply routes from the Caspian, one pipeline would run westward via Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Another would extend eastwards through Afghanistan and Pakistan and terminate near the Indian border. This would rescue Enron's beleaguered power plant at Dabhol on India's west coast, in which Enron had sunk $3bn investment and whose economic survival was dependent on access to cheap gas.

Nor has the UK been disinterested in this scramble for the remaining world supplies of hydrocarbons, and this may partly explain British participation in US military actions. Lord Browne, chief executive of BP, warned Washington not to carve up Iraq for its own oil companies in the aftermath of war (Guardian, October 30 2002). And when a British foreign minister met Gadaffi in his desert tent in August 2002, it was said that "the UK does not want to lose out to other European nations already jostling for advantage when it comes to potentially lucrative oil contracts" with Libya (BBC Online, August 10 2002).

The conclusion of all this analysis must surely be that the "global war on terrorism" has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda - the US goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project. Is collusion in this myth and junior participation in this project really a proper aspiration for British foreign policy? If there was ever need to justify a more objective British stance, driven by our own independent goals, this whole depressing saga surely provides all the evidence needed for a radical change of course.

· Michael Meacher MP was environment minister from May 1997 to June 2003

Click here to comment on this article

O'Reilly Names Terrorist Helpers (Traitors?)
News Hounds

Bill O'Reilly announced tonight that he will be exposing and naming all the people and organizations he considers to be helping the terrorists on his show each night. He then offered all the accused a chance to come on to defend themselves because he realizes that it's a serious charge. O'Reilly appeared to be sincere in his belief that he is entitled to make these accusations.

The first installment of BOR finger pointing included the ACLU for their belief that the Geneva Conventions should be respected. Also their concern about Abu Ghraib and request for the release of more incriminating pictures,makes them helpers of terrorism.

Then the first individual, Bob Herbert, recieved the O'Reilly branding. According to O'Reilly, Herbert's writing enables the terrorists but the real problem is his refusal to condemn the ACLU . O'Reilly gave Herbert a slight pass claiming that he is blinded by his hatred of President Bush.

That was not enough for Bill who brought on Stephen Hayes and Robert Pollack, Wall Street Journal, to point their fingers at people. Hayes chose Michael Moore, Al Jazeera, Cynthia McKinney, and Jim McDermott for his list of "terrorist helpers". Robert Pollack chose Dick Durbin, BBC,and the UN for his list. O'Reilly accepted these choices respectfully as if it was a perfectly sane thing to do.

News Hounds' Comment: Has Bill O'Reilly lost his mind completely? Will Fox News allow this to continue? First off, let's talk plainly. Bill O'Reilly is calling people traitors not "terrorist helpers" and he is doing this on national television. The audacity of this act is beyond belief. Bill O'Reilly actually believes that he is entitled to do this to other people.

I suppose he and Michelle Malkin will be discussing plans for internment camps for 'terrorist helpers" Your fate is in Bill O'Reilly's hands.

Comment: Now that the courts, with the help of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, have given Bush the dictatorial powers of life and death over US citizens, free from those pesky restrictions on civil liberties called Rule of Law, Due Process, and the US Constitution, the shrill voices of the Fascist Chorus are being raised. Dissent is treasonous. Questioning the president is treasonous. Today, they are "terrorist helpers", tomorrow they will be imprisoned as "enemy combatants" with no right to counsel, to being charged, to appearing in a public court to defend themselves. They will be locked away until Bush changes his mind (fat chance of that ever happening), or they die while incarcerated.

Look at what has happened already. Those charged with "terrorism" are not allowed to see the evidence against them. Such evidence is hidden away because, according to the same people who have lied all along the line to the American people, it would be a threat to national security to reveal it to the accused. After four years of continuous lies, why should we start to believe these warmongers now?

But, those of you who read this page regularly, know that it is much more serious than that. The Zionists in power in the US have faked the attacks of 9/11, killing 3000 people to justify their agenda of war, doing everything in their power to provoke the so-called "Clash of Civilisations" between the West and Islam. This war is the goal of the Zionists, be they Jewish or Christian. The false flag operations serve to paint the Muslims as violent and savage beasts, non-believers who must be extinguished before they overrun the West.

Who interests are served by such a lie?

The United States has the best equipped military the world has ever seen, at least in recorded history. They are prepared to respond to the next "terrorist" attack in the US with the use of nuclear arms. Neocon polemicists have been discussing the "Clash of Civilisations" for over a decade, preparing the minds of Americans for a supposedly "inevitable" conflict, inevitable because of the very nature of the Arab or the Muslim, not because of the nature of Zionism.

Israel is the lone nuclear power in the Middle East, ready to take the rest of the world with it should they be attacked. However, they portray themselves as the victims, as they kill yet another Palestinian child here or destroy another olive grove or home, or keep a Palestinian farmer from his land that happened to fall on the wrong side of the illegal apartheid wall.

The battle is raging "over there", but don't kid yourselves, the battle is also being fought "at home". Those in the US who are vocal opponents of the Bush Reich are being identified. The day will come when they will be rounded up. The battle is being waged in the UK where authorities have admitted that the shooting of innocent people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong skin colour or wearing the wrong clothes is a necessary part of "saving lives". Such slaughter of the innocents is being justified, and don't you dare start to question it now that an innocent Brazilian wearing a heavy coat has received eight shots in front of passengers in the Tube.

Click here to comment on this article

By William Fisher
Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Michelle Malkin, sometimes known as Bill O'Reilly in drag, opened one of her recent syndicated rants with this question:

"Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Civil-liberties activists, anti-war organizers, eco-militants and animal-rights operatives are in a fright over news that the nefarious FBI is watching them. Why on earth would the government be worried about harmless liberal grannies, innocent vegetarians, unassuming rainforest lovers and other 'peaceful groups' simply exercising their First Amendment rights?"

Ms. Malkin was referring to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, charging that the FBI had amassed hundreds of pages of secret files on that organization and similar groups.

Well, let me suggest that this cute-looking new darling of the salivating right is asking the wrong question. What she should want to know is why the FBI is snooping on the ACLU. After all, the rights the ACLU defends include those that allow Ms. Malkin to write exactly what she wants to write, no matter how misinformed.

Ms. Malkin is too young to remember, and obviously hasn't read much American history, but if she wants an answer to that question, there are lots of answers. Here are a few.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the FBI engaged in widespread spying on ordinary Americans. The targets back then were left-wing groups and individuals, civil rights and anti-Vietnam activists and, of course, President Nixon's "enemies list".

The leader of the pack was the FBI's powerful first director, J. Edgar Hoover. J. Edgar started his witch-hunting career in the 1920s under Attorney General Mitchell Palmer. Palmer's infamous 'Red Raids' were enabled by a national environment of fear and suspicion and led to the jailing or deportation of hundreds of communists, anarchists, Bolsheviks, and other dissidents, including Emma Goldman, the well-known Russian émigré poet.

The FBI under Hoover collected information on all America's leading politicians. Known as Hoover's "secret files", this incriminating material was used to make sure that the eight presidents under whom he served would be too frightened to sack him. The strategy worked and Hoover was still in office when he died in 1972.

Not even Martin Luther King, Jr. got a free pass. The FBI used wiretaps and a covert operation, personally directed by Hoover, to unearth derogatory information intended to destroy King as a national civil rights leader.

In between the Red Raids and Martin Luther King, there was the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War Two – an action for which the United States Government finally apologized, but which young Ms. Malkin thinks was just a dandy idea.

Even earlier in the life of our Republic, there were the Alien and Sedition Acts, passed in 1798 under the administration of President John Adams. They were sold as measures to protect the United States from "dangerous" aliens, but were actually used by the Federalists to stop the growth of the Democratic-Republican Party.

The four laws making up the Act authorized the president to imprison or deport any alien associated with any nation the United States was fighting in a "declared war, " and deport any alien considered dangerous, even in peacetime, extended the duration of residence required for aliens to become citizens, nearly tripling it from five years to 14, and made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against government or government officials.

These unambiguous violations of the First Amendment were vigorously opposed by such well-known lefties as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Ms. Malkin saves her fiercest invective for the "eco-radicals" who urge their followers to take "direct actions" against American military establishments, urban centers, corporations, government buildings, media outlets, and the financial centers of the country through "massive property destruction", "online sabotage", "physical occupation of buildings", and large-scale urban rioting.

Ms. Malkin conveniently ignores that fact that such eco-radicals have nothing whatever to do with the ACLU's lawsuit. She also ignores America's long history of civil disobedience – which started with the Revolutionary War that created the country, continued through the Civil Rights movement, and is still alive and well today.

No one wants to see mass destruction of anything by anyone, but Ms. Malkin would do well to acknowledge that it was acts of civil disobedience that gave her many of the rights she now enjoys.

Ms. Malkin concludes: "'Dissent is patriotic' is a bromide no responsible agent can swallow blindly. Tolerating the unfettered free speech of saboteurs has threatened enough lives already."

How about your free speech, Michelle?

I forget who said it, but it's a statement Ms. Malkin needs to think about: The greatest threat to democracy is the unbridled power of government.

Funny how often small-government states-rights conservatives like Michelle Malkin forget what it is they're supposed to stand for!

Click here to comment on this article

Shooting to kill saves tragedy will not change that
By Lord Stevens, former Commissioner of the Met

WHEN I was Commissioner of the Met it was my sad duty to end many, many years of police tradition and bring in what's been called a shoot-to-kill policy against suspected suicide bombers.

Of course, in reality it is a "shoot-to-kill-to-protect" policy, to save innocent lives. I introduced it after much soul-searching over a great deal of time.

Comment: All of his soul-searching doesn't justify the practise. Perhaps it just indicates that he has no soul.

Now the revelation that the man killed on Friday by an armed police officer was, in fact, innocent of any bombing intent may lead some to seriously question that policy.

But we are living in unique times of unique evil, at war with an enemy of unspeakable brutality, and I have no doubt that now, more than ever, the principle is right despite the chance, tragically, of error. And it would be a huge mistake for anyone to even consider rescinding it. To understand why, put yourself in the place of a police officer.


Previously, the standing instructions in firearms incidents was for officers to fire at the offender's body, usually two shots, to disable and overwhelm.

But I sent teams to Israel, and other countries hit by suicide bombers, where we learned a terrible truth.

Comment: Yes, where else but in Israel would police learn how to murder innocents in cold-blood along with the necessary justifications for explaining it away. The Israelis are masters of the trade. Think of all the children and teenagers on their way to school who have been blown away by the IDF. Such a great example for the UK police. In Palestine, these murders are justified because the youth had a rock in his or her hand, or came too close and were a threat. In the UK, it's wearing a heavy coat in summer.

There is only one sure way to stop a suicide bomber determined to fulfil his mission: Destroy his brain instantly, utterly.

Which means shooting him with devastating power in the head. Anywhere else and even though they might be dying, they may still be able to force their body to trigger the device.

My heart goes out to the officer who killed the man in Stockwell Tube station. I've never yet met a firearms officer who has killed in the line of duty who hasn't been traumatised and haunted by the experience. To get close enough to be certain of killing a fleeing man he believed might have been about to trigger a suicide bomb, that officer knowingly put himself in a position where he thought he could be blown to tiny pieces, almost vaporised.

How horrifying, how terrifying...and, yes, despite the way events unfolded, how brave.

Comment: Do you see what is happening here? The sympathy for the killer, not the dead man whose family will never be able to replace his presence, who are condemned to mourn for the rest of their lives the loss of a son.

Don't forget, either, that like every officer who fires a weapon in a firearms incident his actions will now be subject to a meticulous investigation.

Ultimately, I believe, officers like him will continue to do their job because there's no choice—the danger from real fanatics out there is too acute.

Let's look at the facts...

There are 8,000 active terrorists at large in the world—and they're just the ones we know about. And the vast majority of these people are driven by the most perverted, evil version of Muslim extremism.

Comment: Ah, yes. That evil threat that can arise at any time, anywhere in the world. Notice how easily the words "driven by the most perverted, evil version of Muslim extremism" flow from his pen. We accept it now without thinking. The circuit has been laid down in our brains since 9/11. "Muslim = terrorist". They are "evil". The Christians and the Jews are not. The crusade against Iraq and the Taliban were matters of defence. Nothing evil or perverted there. Nothing evil or perverted in justifying the war through lies. Nothing evil or perverted in justifying the whole crusade by faking 9/11 and blaming it on 19 "Arab hijackers" and a crazy man in a cave.

It's the kind of extremism that led four suicide bombers to blow themselves and over 50 innocent people to death in London on 7/7. The kind that led others to attempt—but fail—to murder and maim again last Thursday.

Comment: Yes, it is an extremism that led to this, but it is a Christian and Jewish extremism, a State-sponsored extremism. That this extremism calls forth a Muslim variant in reaction is to be expected. The monotheistic religions need each other, feed off of each other. But let's not kid ourselves about where the real power in the world lies. It isn't with the Muslim extremists.

And almost certainly the kind that has brought death and destruction to Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt this weekend. So what do we do about it?

One devastating fact we must address is there are EIGHT MILLION stolen or lost passports floating around the world, to be used and abused. So yet again the need for proper border controls becomes obvious.

Comment: When it comes to "lost" passports, it is once again the Israelis who are the specialists. They have used Canadian passports on a number of black ops. Israelis were recently convicted in New Zealand of stealing passports. It is state-sponsored terrorism that is the real threat.

Then there are ID cards. Over and again I heard terrorism and crime experts this week sing their praises. For instance, ID cards were a vital weapon used in Hong Kong to solve their massive illegal immigration and human trafficking problems.


Similarly, we should consider introducing at our borders the kind of photographic system used in Pakistan which automatically captured those airport arrival pictures and passports of the two 7/7 bombers that were revealed in the papers this week.

Yes these are expensive options. But in a dangerous world, safety doesn't come cheap.

Then there is security at home. I said after 7/7 that those bombers would be British-based and so, sadly, it turned out to be. I believe Thursday's second batch will be the same.

What these two incidents show is the need to further engage the British Muslim community in the war against al-Qaeda.

Communities defeat terrorism. And there's never been a more vital time to realise that.

Comment: Terrorism is a tactic. It is a tactic that is often used by states to smear their enemies. It is used to scare populations into accepting restrictions on their freedoms. It is one tool among many used to better "manage" society, to herd and manipulate, to bring everyone under ever finer means of control. Unfortunately, many people are susceptible to these tricks. No matter how many lies their leaders tell them, they continue to believe the next lie, they continue to believe that our leaders have our best interests at heart, that if they propose such draconian measures, it is because they have information that we do not have, they know things that we do not know. We are meant to trust them one more time, to take them at their word after they have shown over and again that their word means nothings.

THe manipulation and use of scare tactics to better "manage" the herd is shown in quite a blatant way by this next article on how the Bush Reich is adapting to the fall in support among Americans for the imperial, Zionist adventure in Iraq. They aren't changing that violence, they are simply dressing it in different terms, presenting a few new slogans to replace the outworn "global war on terrorism".

Click here to comment on this article

New name for 'war on terror'
By Matthew Davis
BBC News, Washington

The Bush administration is abandoning the phrase "war on terror" to better express the fight against al-Qaeda and other groups as an ideological struggle as much as a military mission.

While the slogan - first used by President George W Bush in the wake of the 9/11 attacks - may still be heard from time to time, the White House says it will increasingly be couched in other language.

In recent days, senior administration figures have been speaking publicly of "a global struggle against the enemies of freedom", and of the need to use all "tools of statecraft" to defeat them.

The shift in terms comes at a time when the US public is increasingly pessimistic about the war in Iraq - and sceptical about its links to the fight against terrorism.

One White House official told the BBC the move did not mark a change of approach, but was intended to give a broader perspective to the "evolving nature" of the struggle.

'Economic influence'

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke in the new language on Friday, praising a retiring Navy officer who had served as "our country wages the global struggle against the enemies of freedom, the enemies of civilization".

Comment: Ummm, "civilisation". What a loaded term. It relates back to Samuel Huntington's theses that there exists a "clash of civilisations" between the West and Islam. While the Zionist ideologues have been preparing the ground for many years, this shift in vocabulary marks a shift in the ideological propaganda war. As we look back, we can see that it may well have been the intention all along, the goal of phase one, the phase that opened on September 11, 2001. The London bombings of July 7 are the marker for phase two.

Many opponents of the Zionists are openly stating that the London bombings are linked to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Over 80% of Britons believe this to be the case. By shifting the terms of the propaganda war to "freedom" and "civilisation", the Bush Reich is telling us that we are all potential victims of "Islamic terror". It has nothing to do with US policy in the Middle East, but is related to a generalised fanaticism among Muslims who are against "freedom" and "civilisation". Israel is the outpost of "freedom" and "civilisation" in the Middle East. Israel has been attacked because of this, not because of its genocide against the Palestinians. The Muslims, the Arabs, are not reacting in a rational way to outside invaders raping, pillaging, killing, and stealing the land and the livelihood of people who have been there for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. They are doing this because they are savages; they are not "civilised".

But this shift also means that anyone in the West is a potential victim, any country, whether they are in Iraq or not, whether they support the Zionists or not, is a potential target. And when the intelligence agencies of the new Zionist axis set off a bomb in Paris or Berlin, we will be given the "proof" that the Muslims are completely crazy.

The next day, national security advisor Steven Hadley co-wrote a piece for the New York Times in which he set out the current thinking.

"Military action is only one piece of the war on terrorism," Mr Hadley wrote.

"At the same time, however, we must bring all of the tools of statecraft, economic influence and private enterprise to bear in this war.

"Freedom-loving people around the world must reach out through every means - communications, trade, education - to support the courageous Muslims who are speaking the truth about their proud religion and history, and seizing it back from those who would hijack it for evil ends."

The country's top military officer spoke in a similar vein on Monday.

General Richard Myers told a meeting at the National Press Club: "The long-term problem is as much diplomatic, as much economic, in fact more diplomatic, more economic, more political than it is military.

"And that's where the focus has to be in the future."

Comment: Yeah, sure. Now that the US is occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, let's do politics! Just don't ask us to remove our troops!

Tough talking

Earlier this month, former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook criticised the language employed by the US president, saying that instead of isolating terrorists, he had upset Muslims around the world.

Mr Cook - an opponent of the war in Iraq - told the BBC: "I think the problem with George Bush's approach is that he does keep talking about it as a war on terror as if there is a military solution and there isn't."

But while the president has continued to talk of "taking the fight to the enemy", his recent speeches have also emphasized freedom, democracy and the worldwide clash of ideas.

A White House official said: "We are constantly reviewing how we can best protect our citizens from terrorism and we need to adjust our approach to achieve this.

"The 'war' is more than a military response, it is a battle of ideas and a struggle against extremism, and all aspects of the US Government and its allies around the world need to be called upon in fighting it.

"In Afghanistan, the extremist Taleban regime no longer has a base of operations, a clearly identified location that requires a war - there is now a democratically-elected government there.

"It's a different situation again in London where you've got, say, a second generation British Muslim influenced by the preachings of a radical cleric."

Comment: Who are the real extremists? Who believes that Yahweh gave them the Holy Land three thousand years ago and base their violence upon that contract. Who believes that Jesus is coming back when the conditions are fulfilled and that they will be raptured out of here before the End Times come? Or who are willing to use these beliefs in other people to manipulate them for their own ends? Isn't that a form of extremism? The new State extremism that is officially sanctioned?

Slow evolution

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General James T Conway, a senior US military commander, told a Pentagon briefing there had been "philosophical discussions" with US allies over the use of the phrase.

"We've been told, actually, that "global war on terrorism" translates pretty well into the various languages," he added.

"So I think that continues to make it a part of the discussion."

A Pentagon spokesman said the title of a new manual for combatant commanders suggested a slow evolution in the recasting of the mission away from its military aspect.

The National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism, issued in March, directs commanders to focus on eight areas essential to terrorists.

These include areas like funding and ideological support, safe havens, communications and movement.

The phrase "war on terrorism" was first widely used by the Western press to refer to the efforts by Britain to end a spate of attacks in the British mandate of Palestine in the late 1940s.

Comment: Here is a very clever piece of propaganda, a brief throw away line tying the phrase "war on terrorism" with Palestine back in the 1940s. With no qualifiers, it leaves the reader with the impression that those savage Arabs have been at it for over fifty years. Of course, the problem is that the "terror" described by the Western press at that time was a Jewish terror, a Zionist terror, led by future leaders of the Zionist state of Israel against the British troops and the Palestinians. The "terrorists" became "statesmen" after the founding of Israel, and Zionist terror was carefully expunged from the public discourse. It became the right of Israel to defend itself, to ensure a permanent status of victim with the rights to do what it wanted, where it wanted, when it wanted.

Sounds a lot like the same ideology that is driving Bush and Co.

Later, it was frequently employed by US President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

But since the 9/11 attacks it has become a slogan for the protracted, US-led struggle to terrorists and the states that aid them, usually expressed as "the global war on terror".

Comment: The "global war on terror" is the slogan of the new fascists. As with any product, when the old ad campaign begins to fizzle, the marketers sit down and try to rebrand the product. We are being sold into slavery under the banner of the "war on terror", and now that more and more people are refusing to buy the product, we are being subjected to the newest PR campaign.

"It isn't about war. Really!!! It's political!!! We're going to talk and use 'tools of statecraft'!!"

The biggest 'tools of statecraft' are the leaders of the US, Britain, and Israel.

Click here to comment on this article

US military dogs bite Abu Ghraib detainees: witnesses 2005-07-27 12:56:15

WASHINGTON, July 26 (Xinhuanet) -- US military dog handlers in Iraq's Abdul Ghraib prison used dogs to terrify detainees, and at least two of them were bit by these dogs, witnesses said at a pretrial military hearing on Tuesday.

Witnesses testified at the Fort Meade military base hearing outside Washington that Sergeant Santos Cardona and Sergeant Michael Smith were involved in the incidents. They described events in which unmuzzled dogs were released by military dog handlers in a competition to frighten prisoners into urinating on themselves.

Private Ivan Frederick, convicted of abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib, testified by phone from a military prison about one incident in which Cardona's dog bit a naked inmate on the left and right thighs.

Private Sabrina Harman, who is serving a six-month sentence for her involvement in the Abu Ghraib scandal, testified that she also witnessed a dog attack on a detainee and said that one bite was so severe it required 12 stitches.

The pretrial military hearing will determine whether Cardona and Smith will be court-martialed. Both are charged with cruelty and maltreatment, aggravated assault, dereliction of duty, and making false statements. If convicted, Cardona could face up to 16 and a half years in jail, and Smith could face a sentence of up to 29 and a half years.

So far eight US Army reservists have been convicted for their roles in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.

Comment: "Geez, can't the prisoners understand that the dogs need their exercise, too? What are all those liberal wimps getting worked up about? They're only Arabs!"

Unfortunately, we each probably know someone who would have such a reaction to this news. Nothing we can say or do is going to change their ideas. In fact, they are entitled to their ideas, as we are entitled to ours. People can choose to remain subjective, to allow their emotions to colour their perceptions, to be brainwashed by the television and Fox News. Many people do. For many, they will continue to hold onto these ideas even as their homes comes crashing down around them, even as they lose their jobs and are thrown into the street, even as their neighbors are carried off to detention centres. After they lose everything else, the only thing they'll have left is their certainty that they were correct to follow Bush. All problems will be blamed on the liberals and the terrorist huggers who blame America first.

But there are others who are seeking for the answers. They react with horror at stories such as this because they are beginning to see the lies, or they are ashamed that their country is becoming the world's bully and its dark heart is appearing undisguised.

But what to do? Where is the real opposition in the United States? It certainly isn't the Democratic Party. It isn't the unions, organisations that have long since lost any of their militancy.

There is no organised opposition. The 9/11 Truth movement has factionalised into groups and people who hang on to one or another point as the conclusive bit of evidence, who characterise others as splitters, or who have abandoned 9/11 for other matters they have decided are more urgent, such a "Peak Oil". Not that there isn't some truth in these accusations at times. Obviously, the shadow government, the people responsible for 9/11, knew that there would be intrepid individuals searching for the real answers of that day's events, and so they sent in the hounds to lay down false trails and spawn spurious theories. Counter-Intelligence 101. Nothing to be surprised about there. So, between our own mechanical natures and need for ego gratification of wanting to be known as the person who found the conclusive piece of evidence and the work of the black ops, there is no strong, organised opposition.

That's what happened in Germany. Hitler kept making demands. The government in power didn't give in completely, but passed measures going in the direction that Hitler was demanding, then when he came to power, the people now in opposition crumbled. There was no organisation of the German people to oppose Hitler. There was a vacuum.

Although the situation is not exactly the same in the details, there are many similarities. The Reichstag fire and 9/11. The appeal to nationalism and patriotism. The accusations of treachery against those who opposed Hitler and the Nazis. The alliance between the fascists and the Zionists. Today, however, the mass media has much more power. The people were cowed and brainwashed long before Bush came to power. There has not yet been the need for the type of explicit arrests that marked Hitler's first weeks in power to sow terror and fear in the population. Most Americans go willingly to the slaughterhouse. They pay their own way. And many of those who have qualms don't see how bad the situation really is. They can't believe that "it could happen here".

It is happening in the United States; it is happening in the UK. They are the laboratories for testing how to control the people, how to bring them along one step at a time, willingly, to their own deaths or the death of the ideals they continue to believe they defend.

We think that now that the social experiment is proceeding so successfully in the Anglo-Saxon world, the temperature will be turned up in other Western countries.

Click here to comment on this article

French government to tighten anti-terrorist measures 2005-07-27 04:47:36

PARIS, July 26 (Xinhuanet) -- The French government decided Tuesday to soon tighten anti-terrorist measures in the wake of bombing attacks in London and Egypt, especially concerning video surveillance and phone data.

While high officials warned that France is not excluded from terrorist attacks, French President Jacques Chirac convoked Tuesday the Interior Security Council (ISC), grouping Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and his principal ministers.

The ISC decided to maintain the red level alert and deploy moreforces in public places and transport.

France raised its four-level security system (yellow, orange, red, scarlet) to "red" alert after July 7 London bombings that killed 56 people and injured 700 others, and border control has been reinforced since July 9.

Chirac's office said that the ISC also decided to reinforce the fight against terrorism, especially in the fields of check of risky individuals and networks and video surveillance as well as conservation of telephone data.

Chirac asked his ministers to implement the decisions as soon as possible.

The French government underlines the necessity to keep a close eye on the Islamic radicals in the territory and extradite those who call for violence. It also hopes that data relative to communication and email could be kept for years.

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy called Monday a meeting of anti-terrorist officials and public transport services, urging for biometric visas and identity cards with biometric data (two index fingerprint, digital photo and electronic signature).

Click here to comment on this article

Israeli rightists place death curse on Sharon 2005-07-27 17:20:47

JERUSALEM, July 27 (Xinhuanet) -- A group of extreme rightists said they had held a ceremony and placed a death curse on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

Twenty people reportedly took part in the ceremony on Tuesday when the participants believed that Sharon will die in the coming 30 days, or else all those who took part in the ceremony would die, said the report.

The curse first came to light in Israel when far-right rabbis pronounced it during the turbulent period that preceded the death of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated in a peace rally in 1995.

Tuesday's ceremony organizers included Rabbi Yosef Dayan, who was among the rabbis who had placed a death curse on Rabin.

After Rabin's assassination, Dayan was arrested for threatening to place a curse on Shimon Peres.

In addition to seeking the death of Sharon, the extremists also sought to profit from offering their video for sale to the media.

Starting Tuesday morning, the extremists attempted to sell the video to one of the country's main commercial media outlets, namely Channel 2 TV, Channel 10 TV, Yedioth Aharonot and Maariv, for 5,000US dollars. Channel 2 finally purchased the video.

Israeli left-wing Peace Now movement on Wednesday accused a Channel 2 television news magazine program of funding incitement for the video and called on the TV director general to prevent the broadcast of the video on Wednesday evening.

Comment: Given that the assassination of Rabin was most likely the work of people within Israeli intelligence, one should not treat such a curse lightly. Even if Sharon escapes death in the next thirty days, such a curse portrays him as a "reasonable man", as a "man of peace" in the words of his friend GW. As long as there are people who denounce Sharon, he can claim to be the great mediator. His own extremism is taken for the norm, as acceptable.

Click here to comment on this article

Sharon's son charged over fraud

Charges have been brought against the son of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over the funding of one of his father's election campaigns in 1999.

Accused of creating shell companies to conceal illegal donations, Omri Sharon has reportedly admitted overspending but questioned party funding limits.

The charges relate to Ariel Sharon's successful campaign to lead the Likud Party and to be its candidate for PM.

The authorities earlier decided not to indict the prime minister himself.

If found guilty, Omri Sharon faces up to five years in prison over charges of violating campaign finance laws, fraud, breach of trust and perjury.

Ariel Sharon had always denied knowledge of the financing of his campaign, saying it was run exclusively by his son.

Comment: Yeah, right. Can you spell "P-L-A-U-S-I-B-L-E D-E-N-I-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y"?

Waiving immunity

Now a member of parliament, Omri Sharon says he will waive his immunity from prosecution and stand trial, reports Haaretz newspaper.

On Monday, Israel's parliament, the Knesset, passed a law authorising the prosecution of its members (MKs) without having to request parliamentary immunity to be stripped.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz had been unable to push forward with the case because MKs were immune from prosecution, the AFP news agency reports.

In his first public response to the allegations against him, quoted in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, Omri Sharon admitted he had overspent in his father's primary campaign and was ready to receive his punishment.

However, he added, the limitations on campaign contributions and spending according to the Political Parties Law, which was passed in 1992, were unrealistic and impossible to honour, the paper says.

"Experts say reasonable spending to run a campaign like the 1999 primaries is 10 times higher than the sum fixed by the law," wrote Omri Sharon. "The law was therefore a decree the public could not fulfil."

He added that since the law was so unreasonable, he was certain it had never been enforced before.

"I am the first person to be put on trial for breaking this law," he said.

Comment: "It wasn't my fault! It's the law that's the problem!" At least the Sharon's are consistent. His father applies the same logic to international law.

Click here to comment on this article


A pro-Israel lobby and an F.B.I. sting
Posted 2005-06-27

Several years ago, I had dinner at Galileo, a Washington restaurant, with Steven Rosen, who was then the director of foreign-policy issues at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The group, which is better known by its acronym, AIPAC, lobbies for Israel's financial and physical security. Like many lobbyists, Rosen cultivated reporters, hoping to influence their writing while keeping his name out of print. He is a voluble man, and liked to demonstrate his erudition and dispense aphorisms. One that he often repeated could serve as the credo of K Street, the Rodeo Drive of Washington's influence industry: "A lobby is like a night flower: it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun."

Lobbyists tend to believe that legislators are susceptible to persuasion in ways that executive-branch bureaucrats are not, and before Rosen came to AIPAC, in 1982 (he had been at the rand Corporation, the defense-oriented think tank), the group focussed mainly on Congress. But Rosen arrived brandishing a new idea: that the organization could influence the outcome of policy disputes within the executive branch - in particular, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the National Security Council.

Rosen began to court officials. He traded in gossip and speculation, and his reports to AIPAC's leaders helped them track currents in Middle East policymaking before those currents coalesced into executive orders. Rosen also used his contacts to carry AIPAC's agenda to the White House. An early success came in 1983, when he helped lobby for a strategic cooperation agreement between Israel and the United States, which was signed over the objections of Caspar Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense, and which led to a new level of intelligence sharing and military sales.

AIPAC is a leviathan among lobbies, as influential in its sphere as the National Rifle Association and the American Association of Retired Persons are in theirs, although it is, by comparison, much smaller. (AIPAC has about a hundred thousand members, the N.R.A. more than four million.) President Bush, speaking at the annual AIPAC conference in May of 2004, said, "You've always understood and warned against the evil ambition of terrorism and their networks. In a dangerous new century, your work is more vital than ever." AIPAC is unique in the top tier of lobbies because its concerns are the economic health and security of a foreign nation, and because its members are drawn almost entirely from a single ethnic group.

AIPAC's professional staff - it employs about a hundred people at its headquarters, two blocks from the Capitol - analyzes congressional voting records and shares the results with its members, who can then contribute money to candidates directly or to a network of pro-Israel political-action committees. The Center for Responsive Politics, a public-policy group, estimates that between 1990 and 2004 these PACs gave candidates and parties more than twenty million dollars.

Robert H. Asher, a former AIPAC president, told me that the PACs are usually given euphemistic names. "I started a PAC called Citizens Concerned for the National Interest," he said. Asher, who is from Chicago, is a retired manufacturer of lamps and shades, and a member of the so-called Gang of Four - former presidents of AIPAC, who steered the group's policies for more than two decades. (The three others are Larry Weinberg, a California real-estate developer and a former owner of the Portland Trail Blazers; Edward Levy, a construction-materials executive from Detroit; and Mayer "Bubba" Mitchell, a retired builder based in Mobile, Alabama.)

AIPAC, Asher explained, is loyal to its friends and merciless to its enemies. In 1982, Asher led a campaign to defeat Paul Findley, a Republican congressman from Springfield, Illinois, who once referred to himself as "Yasir Arafat's best friend in Congress," and who later compared Arafat to Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

"There was a real desire to help Findley out of Congress," Asher said. He identified an obscure Democratic lawyer in Springfield, Richard Durbin, as someone who could defeat Findley. "We met at my apartment in Chicago, and I recruited him to run for Congress," he recalled. "I probed his views and I explained things that I had learned mostly from AIPAC. I wanted to make sure we were supporting someone who was not only against Paul Findley but also a friend of Israel."

Asher went on, "He beat Findley with a lot of help from Jews, in-state and out-of-state. Now, how did the Jewish money find him? I travelled around the country talking about how we had the opportunity to defeat someone unfriendly to Israel. And the gates opened." Durbin, who went on to win a Senate seat, is now the Democratic whip. He is a fierce critic of Bush's Iraq policy but, like AIPAC, generally supports the Administration's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Durbin says that he considers Asher to be his "most loyal friend in the Jewish community."

Mayer Mitchell led a similar campaign, three years ago, to defeat Earl Hilliard, an Alabama congressman who was a critic of Israel. Mitchell helped direct support to a young Harvard Law School graduate named Artur Davis, who challenged Hilliard in the Democratic primary, and he solicited donations from AIPAC supporters across America. Davis won the primary, and the seat. "I asked Bubba how he felt after Davis won," Asher said, "and he said, 'Just like you did when Durbin got elected.' " Mitchell declined to comment.

AIPAC's leaders can be immoderately frank about the group's influence. At dinner that night with Steven Rosen, I mentioned a controversy that had enveloped AIPAC in 1992. David Steiner, a New Jersey real-estate developer who was then serving as AIPAC's president, was caught on tape boasting that he had "cut a deal" with the Administration of George H. W. Bush to provide more aid to Israel. Steiner also said that he was "negotiating" with the incoming Clinton Administration over the appointment of a pro-Israel Secretary of State. "We have a dozen people in his" - Clinton's - "headquarters . . . and they are all going to get big jobs," Steiner said. Soon after the tape's existence was disclosed, Steiner resigned his post. I asked Rosen if AIPAC suffered a loss of influence after the Steiner affair. A half smile appeared on his face, and he pushed a napkin across the table. "You see this napkin?" he said. "In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin."

Rosen was influential from the start. He was originally recruited for the job by Larry Weinberg, one of the Gang of Four, and he helped choose the group's leaders, including the current executive director, Howard Kohr, a Republican who began his AIPAC career as Rosen's deputy. Rosen, who can be argumentative and impolitic, was never a candidate for the top post. "He's a bit of a kochleffl" - the Yiddish term for a pot-stirrer, or meddler - Martin Indyk, who also served as Rosen's deputy, and who went on to become President Clinton's Ambassador to Israel, says. Rosen has had an unusually eventful private life, marrying and divorcing six times (he is living again with his first wife), and he has a well-developed sense of paranoia. When we met, he would sometimes lower his voice, even when he was preparing to deliver an anodyne pronouncement. "Hostile ears are always listening," he was fond of saying.

Nevertheless, he is a keen analyst of Middle East politics, and a savvy bureaucratic infighter. His views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are not notably hawkish; he once called himself "too right for the left, and too left for the right." He is a hard-liner on only one subject - Iran - and this preoccupation helped shape AIPAC's position: that Iran poses a greater threat to Israel than any other nation. In this way, AIPAC is in agreement with a long line of Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who fears Iran's nuclear intentions more than he ever feared Saddam Hussein's. (AIPAC lobbied Congress in favor of the Iraq war, but Iraq has not been one of its chief concerns.) Rosen's main role at AIPAC, he once told me, was to collect evidence of "Iranian perfidy" and share it with the United States.

Unlike American neoconservatives, who have openly supported the Likud Party over the more liberal Labor Party, AIPAC does not generally take sides in Israeli politics. But on Iran AIPAC's views resemble those of the neoconservatives. In 1996, Rosen and other AIPAC staff members helped write, and engineer the passage of, the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, which imposed sanctions on foreign oil companies doing business with those two countries; AIPAC is determined, above all, to deny Iran the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons. Iran was a main focus of this year's AIPAC policy conference, which was held in May at the Washington Convention Center. Ariel Sharon and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among others, addressed five thousand AIPAC members. One hall of the convention center was taken up by a Disney-style walk-through display of an Iranian nuclear facility. It was kitsch, but not ineffective, and Rosen undoubtedly would have appreciated it. Rosen, however, was not there. He was fired earlier this year by Howard Kohr, nine months after he became implicated in an F.B.I. espionage investigation. Rosen's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, expects him to be indicted on charges of passing secret information about Iranian intelligence activities in Iraq to an official of the Israeli Embassy and to a Washington Post reporter. A junior colleague, Keith Weissman, who served as an Iran analyst for AIPAC until he, too, was fired, may face similar charges.

The person who, in essence, ended Rosen's career is a fifty-eight-year-old Pentagon analyst named Lawrence Anthony Franklin, who is even more preoccupied with Iran than Steven Rosen. Franklin, until recently the Pentagon's Iran desk officer, was indicted last month on espionage charges. The Justice Department has accused him of giving "national-defense information" to Rosen and Weissman, and classified information to an Israeli official. Franklin has pleaded not guilty; a tentative trial date is set for September. If convicted, he will face at least ten years in prison.

I first met Franklin in November of 2002. Paul Wolfowitz, then the Deputy Secretary of Defense, was receiving the Henry M. (Scoop) Jackson award from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a conservative-leaning group that tries to build close relations between the American and Israeli militaries. In the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Pentagon City, a shopping mall, were a number of American generals and the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Danny Ayalon.

Franklin, a trim man with blond hair and a military bearing, is a colonel in the Air Force Reserve who spent several years as an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has a doctorate in Asian studies and describes himself as a capable speaker of Farsi. In addition, he was a Catholic in a largely Jewish network of Pentagon Iran hawks.

Franklin was particularly close to the neoconservative Harold Rhode, an official in the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon's in-house think tank. Franklin was also close to Michael Ledeen, who, twenty years ago, played an important role in the Iran-Contra scandal by helping arrange meetings between the American government and the Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. Ledeen, now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is one of the most outspoken advocates in Washington of confrontation with the Tehran regime.

The conversation at the banquet, and just about everywhere else in official Washington at that time, centered on the coming war in Iraq. "We may well hope that with the demise of a truly evil and despotic regime in Iraq, we will see the liberation of one of the most talented peoples in the Arab world," Wolfowitz said in his speech. Franklin did not seem especially concerned with the topic at hand. As we stood outside the banquet hall, he said that Iran, not Iraq, would turn out to be the most difficult challenge in the war on terror.

Then, as now, the Administration was divided on the question of Iran. Many of the political appointees at the Defense Department hoped that America would support dissidents in an attempt to overthrow Iran's ruling clerics, while the State Department argued for containment. Even within the Defense Department, many officials believed that it would be imprudent to make regime change in Tehran a top priority. "There are neocons who thought Iran should come sooner and neocons who thought it should come later," Reuel Marc Gerecht, of the American Enterprise Institute, told me. As for Franklin, Gerecht, a former Iran specialist in the C.I.A.'s Directorate of Operations, said, "It's fair to say that Larry was impatient with Bush Administration policy on Iran." In the Pentagon's policy office, I learned later, it was sometimes said that Franklin inhabited a place called Planet Franklin. Gerecht referred to him as "sweet, bumbling Larry."

A year later, on a reporting assignment in Israel, I ran into Franklin at the Herzliya Conference, which is the Davos of the Israeli security establishment. He said that he was there on Defense Department business. We talked briefly about Iraq - it was eight months after the invasion - and, as we spoke, General Moshe Ya'alon, then the Israeli Army chief of staff, swept into the room surrounded by bodyguards and uniformed aides. "Wow," Franklin said.

We stepped outside, and he talked only about Iran's threat to America. "Our intelligence is blind," he said. "It's the most dangerous country in the world to the U.S., and we have nothing on the ground. We don't understand anything that goes on. I mean, the C.I.A. doesn't have anything. This goes way deeper than Tenet" - George Tenet, who was the director of central intelligence at the time. He continued, "Do you know how dangerous Iran is to our forces in the Gulf? We have great force-concentration issues now" - the presence of American troops in Iraq - "and the Iranians are very interested in making life difficult for American forces. They have the capability. You watch what they're doing in Iraq. Their infiltration is everywhere."

Franklin seemed more frustrated with American policy in Iran than he had the year before. "We don't understand that it's doable - regime change is doable," he said. "The people are so desperate to become free, and the mullahs are so unpopular. They're so pro-American, the people." Referring to the Bush Administration, he said, "That's what they don't understand," and he added, "And they also don't understand how anti-American the mullahs are." Franklin was convinced that the Iranians would commit acts of terrorism against Americans, on American soil. "These guys are a threat to us in Iraq and even at home," he said.

Franklin was not a high-ranking Pentagon official; he was five steps removed in the hierarchy from Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary for Policy. For two years, though, he had been trying to change American policy. His efforts took many forms, including calls to reporters, meetings with Rosen and Weissman and with the political counsellor at the Israeli Embassy, Naor Gilon. According to Tracy O'Grady-Walsh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, he was not acting on behalf of his superiors: "If Larry Franklin was formally or informally lobbying, he was doing it on his own."

Franklin also sought information from Iranian dissidents who might aid his cause. In December of 2001, he and Rhode met in Rome with Michael Ledeen and a group of Iranians, including Manucher Ghorbanifar. Ledeen, who helped arrange the meeting, told me that the dissidents gave Franklin and Rhode information about Iranian threats against American soldiers in Afghanistan. (Rhode did not return calls seeking comment.) Franklin was initially skeptical about the meeting, Ledeen said, but emerged believing that America could do business with these dissidents.

Franklin's meetings with Gilon and with the two AIPAC men make up the heart of the indictment against him. The indictment alleges that Rosen - "CC-1," or "Co-Conspirator 1" - called the Pentagon in early August of 2002, looking for the name of an Iran specialist. He made contact with Franklin a short time later, but, according to the indictment, they did not meet until February of 2003. In their meetings, according to several people with knowledge of the conversations, Franklin told the lobbyists that Secretary of State Colin Powell was resisting attempts by the Pentagon to formulate a tougher Iran policy. He apparently hoped to use AIPAC to lobby the Administration.

The Franklin indictment suggests that the F.B.I. had been watching Rosen as well; for instance, it alleges that, in February of 2003, Rosen, on his way to a meeting with Franklin, told someone on the phone that he "was excited to meet with a 'Pentagon guy' because this person was a 'real insider.' " Franklin, Rosen, and Weissman met openly four times in 2003. At one point, the indictment reads, somewhat mysteriously, "On or about March 10, 2003, Franklin, CC-1 and CC-2" - Rosen and Weissman - "met at Union Station early in the morning. In the course of the meeting, the three men moved from one restaurant to another restaurant and then finished the meeting in an empty restaurant."

On June 26, 2003, at a lunch at the Tivoli Restaurant, near the Pentagon, Franklin reportedly told Rosen and Weissman about a draft of a National Security Presidential Directive that outlined a series of tougher steps that the U.S. could take against the Iranian leadership. The draft was written by a young Pentagon aide named Michael Rubin (who is now affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute). Franklin did not hand over a copy of the draft, but he described its contents, and, according to the indictment, talked about the "state of internal United States government deliberations." The indictment also alleges that Franklin gave the two men "highly classified" information about potential attacks on American forces in Iraq.

In mid-August of 2002, according to the indictment, Franklin met with Gilon - identified simply as "FO," or "foreign official" - at a restaurant, and Gilon explained to Franklin that he was the "policy" person at the Embassy. The two met regularly, the indictment alleges, often at the Pentagon Officers' Athletic Club, to discuss "foreign policy issues," particularly regarding a "Middle Eastern country" - Iran, by all accounts - and "its nuclear program." The indictment suggests that Franklin was receiving information and policy advice from Gilon; after one meeting, Franklin drafted an "Action Memo" to his supervisors incorporating Gilon's suggestions. Gilon is an expert on weapons proliferation, according to Danny Ayalon, the Israeli Ambassador, and has briefed reporters about Israel's position on Iran. According to Lawrence Di Rita, a Pentagon spokesman, it is part of the "job description" of Defense Department desk officers to meet with their foreign counterparts. "Desk officers meet with foreign officials all the time, not with ministers, but interactions with people at their level," he said. The indictment contends, however, that on two occasions Franklin gave Gilon classified information. [...]

In June of 2004, F.B.I. agents searched Franklin's Pentagon office and his home in West Virginia, and allegedly found eighty-three classified documents. Some had to do with the Iran debate, but some pertained to Al Qaeda and Iraq. (A separate federal indictment, citing the documents, has been handed down in West Virginia.) According to a person with knowledge of Franklin's case, the agents told Franklin that Rosen and Weissman were working against America's interests. Franklin faced ruin - the documents found in his house could cost him his job, the agents said. Franklin, who did not have a lawyer, agreed to cooperate in the investigation of Rosen and Weissman, although apparently he was not given in return a specific promise of leniency. Soon, he was wired, and was asked to contact the two AIPAC employees. On July 21st, Franklin called Weissman and said that he had to speak to him immediately - that it was a matter of life and death. They arranged to meet outside the Nordstrom's department store at Pentagon City.

A month before that meeting, The New Yorker had published an article by Seymour Hersh about the activities of Israeli intelligence agents in northern Iraq. Franklin, who held a top-secret security clearance, allegedly told Weissman that he had new, classified information indicating that Iranian agents were planning to kidnap and kill the Israelis referred to by Hersh. American intelligence knew about the threat, Franklin said, but Israel might not. He also said that the Iranians had infiltrated southern Iraq, and were planning attacks on American soldiers. Rosen and Weissman, Franklin hoped, could insure that senior Administration officials received this news. It is unclear whether what Franklin relayed was true or whether it had been manufactured by the F.B.I. The Bureau has refused to comment on the case.

Weissman hurried back to AIPAC's headquarters and briefed Rosen and Howard Kohr, AIPAC's executive director. According to AIPAC sources, Rosen and Weissman asked Kohr to give the information to Elliott Abrams, the senior Middle East official on the National Security Council. Kohr didn't get in touch with Abrams, but Rosen and Weissman made two calls. They called Gilon and told him about the threat to Israeli agents in Iraq, and then they called Glenn Kessler, a diplomatic correspondent at the Washington Post, and told him about the threat to Americans.

A month later, on the morning of August 27, 2004, F.B.I. agents visited Rosen at his home, in Silver Spring, Maryland, seeking to question him. Rosen quickly called AIPAC's lawyers. That night, CBS News reported that an unnamed Israeli "mole" had been discovered in the Pentagon, and that the mole had been passing documents to two officials of AIPAC, who were passing the documents on to Israeli officials.

Within days, the names of Franklin, Rosen, and Weissman were made public. The F.B.I. informed Franklin that he was going to be charged with illegal possession of classified documents. Franklin was said by friends to be frightened, and surprised. He said that he could not afford to hire a lawyer. The F.B.I. arranged for a court-appointed attorney to represent him. The lawyer, a former federal prosecutor, advised him to plead guilty to espionage charges, and receive a prison sentence of six to eight years.

At about this time, Franklin received a call from Michael Ledeen, his ally in matters of Iran policy. "I called him and said, 'Larry, what's going on?' " Ledeen recalled. "He said, 'Don't worry. Sharansky' " - Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident - " 'survived years in the Gulag, and I'll survive prison, too.' I said, 'What are you talking about?' He told me what was going on. I asked him if he had a good lawyer." Ledeen called the criminal-defense attorney Plato Cacheris. "I knew him from when he served as Fawn's attorney," Ledeen said, referring to Fawn Hall, who was Colonel Oliver North's secretary at the time of the Iran-Contra affair. Cacheris has also represented Monica Lewinsky and the F.B.I. agent Robert Hanssen, who spied for Moscow. Cacheris offered to represent Franklin pro bono, and Franklin accepted the offer.

AIPAC launched a special appeal for donations - for the organization, not for Rosen and Weissman. "Your generosity at this time will help ensure that false allegations do not hamper our ability or yours to work for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and a safe and secure Israel," AIPAC's leaders wrote in the letter accompanying the appeal.

But in December four AIPAC officials, including Kohr, were subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia. In March, AIPAC's principal lawyer, Nathan Lewin, met with the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Paul McNulty, who agreed to let Lewin see some of the evidence of the Pentagon City sting. According to an AIPAC source, an eleven-second portion of the telephone conversation between Rosen, Weissman, and the Post's Glenn Kessler, which the F.B.I. had recorded, was played for Lewin. In that conversation, Rosen is alleged to have told Kessler about Iranian agents in southern Iraq - information that Weissman had received from Franklin. In the part of the conversation that Lewin heard, Rosen jokes about "not getting in trouble" over the information. He also notes, "At least we have no Official Secrets Act" - the British law that makes journalists liable to prosecution if they publish classified material.

Prosecutors argued to Lewin that this statement proved that Rosen and Weissman were aware that the information Franklin had given them was classified, and that Rosen must therefore have known that he was passing classified information to Gilon, a foreign official. Lewin, who declined to comment on the case, recommended that AIPAC fire Rosen and Weissman. He also told the board that McNulty had promised that AIPAC itself would not be a target of the espionage investigation. An AIPAC spokesman, Patrick Dorton, said of the firing, "Rosen and Weissman were dismissed because they engaged in conduct that was not part of their jobs, and because this conduct did not comport with the standards that AIPAC expects and requires of its employees."

When I asked Abbe Lowell, Rosen's lawyer, about the firings, he said, "Steve Rosen's dealings with Larry Franklin were akin to his dealings with executive-branch officials for more than two decades and were well known, encouraged, and appreciated by AIPAC."

Last month, I met with Lowell and Rosen in Lowell's office, which these days is a center of Washington scandal management. (He also represents the fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff.) Lowell had instructed Rosen not to discuss specifics of the case, but Rosen expressed disbelief that his career had been ended by an F.B.I. investigation. "I'm being looked at for things I've done for twenty-three years, which other foreign-policy groups, hundreds of foreign-policy groups, are doing," Rosen said, and went on, "Our job at AIPAC was to understand what the government is doing, in order to help form better policies, in the interests of the U.S. I've never done anything illegal or harmful to the U.S. I never even dreamed of doing anything harmful to the U.S." Later, he said, "We did not knowingly receive classified information from Larry Franklin." Lowell added, "When the facts are known, this will be a case not about Rosen and Weissman's actions but about the government's actions." Lowell said that he would not rehearse his arguments against any charges until there is an indictment.

Rosen said that he was particularly upset by the allegation that, because he had informed Gilon that Israeli lives might be in danger, he was a spy for Israel. "If I had been given information that British or Australian soldiers were going to be kidnapped or killed in Iraq, I think I would have done the same thing," he said. "I'd have tried to warn them by calling friends at those embassies." He wants to believe that he could return to AIPAC if he is exonerated, but this does not seem likely. AIPAC leaders are downplaying Rosen's importance to the organization. "AIPAC is focussed primarily on legislative lobbying," Dorton told me. Rosen's severance pay will end in September, although AIPAC, in accordance with its bylaws, will continue to pay legal fees for Rosen and Weissman.

Rosen's defenders are critical of AIPAC for its handling of the controversy. Martin Indyk, who is now the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, a think tank within the Brookings Institution, thinks that AIPAC made a tactical mistake by cutting off the two men. "It appears they've abandoned their own on the battlefield," he says. "Because they cut Steve off, they leave him no choice." Indyk wouldn't elaborate, but the implication was clear: Rosen and Weissman will defend themselves by arguing that they were working in concert with the highest officials of the organization, including Kohr.

Until there is an indictment, the government's full case against Rosen and Weissman cannot be known; no one in the Justice Department will comment. The laws concerning the dissemination of government secrets are sometimes ambiguous and often unenforced, and prosecutors in such cases face complex choices. According to Lee Strickland, a former chief privacy officer of the C.I.A., prosecutors pressing espionage charges against Rosen and Weissman would have to prove that the information the two men gave to Gilon not merely was classified but rose to the level of "national-defense information," meaning that it could cause dire harm to the United States. Yet a reporter who called the Embassy to discuss the same information in the course of preparing a story - thus violating the same statute - would almost certainly not be prosecuted. [...]

Strickland, who said that he had spent much of his career at the C.I.A. "shutting down" leaks, called the AIPAC affair "uncharted territory." It is uncommon, he said, for an espionage case to be built on the oral transmission of national-defense information. He also said, "Intent is always an element. If I were a defense attorney, I would argue that this was a form of entrapment. The F.B.I. agents deliberately set my client up, put him in a moral quandary." He added, however, that although a jury might recognize the quandary, the law does not. "Just because you have information that would help a foreign country doesn't make it your job to pass that information."

Even some of AIPAC's most vigorous critics do not see the Rosen affair as a traditional espionage case. James Bamford, who is the author of well-received books about the National Security Agency, and an often vocal critic of Israel and the pro-Israel lobby, sees the case as a cautionary tale about one lobbying group's disproportionate influence: "What Pollard did was espionage. This is a much different and more unique animal - this is the selling of ideology, trying to sell a viewpoint." He continued, "Larry Franklin is not going to knock on George Bush's door, but he can get AIPAC, which is a pressure group, and the Israeli government, which is an enormous pressure group, to try to get the American government to change its policy to a more aggressive policy." Bamford, who believes that Weissman and Rosen may indeed be guilty of soliciting information and passing it to a foreign government, sees the case as a kind of brushback pitch, a way of limiting AIPAC's long - and, in Bamford's view, dangerous - reach.

Other AIPAC critics see the lobby's behavior as business as usual in Washington. "The No. 1 game in Washington is making people talking to you feel like you're an insider, that you've got information no one else has," Sam Gejdenson, a former Democratic congressman from Connecticut, says. When Gejdenson opposed a proposal to increase Israel's foreign-aid allocation at the expense of more economically needy countries, AIPAC, he said, responded by "sitting on its hands" during his reelection campaigns, despite the fact that he is Jewish. "It's like any other lobbying group," he said. "Its job isn't to come up with the best ideas for mankind, or the U.S. It's narrowly focussed."

AIPAC officials insist that the case has not affected the organization's effectiveness. But its operations have certainly been hindered by the controversy of the past year, and the F.B.I. sting may force lobbyists of all sorts to be more careful about trying to penetrate the executive branch - and about leaking to reporters. And AIPAC now seems acutely sensitive to the appearance of dual loyalty. The theme of this year's AIPAC conference was "Israel, an American Value," and, for the first time, "Hatikvah," the Israeli national anthem, was not sung. The only anthem heard was "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Click here to comment on this article

Afghans hurl stones at U.S. troops, try to break down gate at base in Bagram
06:33 AM EDT Jul 27

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (CP) - Hundreds of protesters chanting "Die America!" and throwing stones tried to batter down a gate at the U.S. military's main Afghan base Tuesday, adding to anxieties in a country worried that fighting with insurgents could disrupt elections.

The rioting erupted just hours after an overnight battle in southern Afghanistan that a provincial governor said killed at least 50 suspected Taliban rebels and two Afghan soldiers.

More than 800 people have died in a surge of rebel attacks and government offensives since March, and U.S. and Afghan officials have warned that the violence is a threat to parliamentary elections scheduled for Sept. 18.

The latest clashes were reported as Canada began sending some 250 soldiers to another volatile region - Kandahar, where Taliban fighters are on the loose. More than 100 soldiers departed Tuesday from Edmonton. They'll join the Canadian military unit that will rebuild the shattered infrastructure in Kandahar.

Police in eastern Paktika province said a legislative candidate was killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb that blew up next to his vehicle as he drove his sick mother to the hospital. The woman was wounded.

The clash in Bagram was unusual. The area an hour's drive north of the capital has been largely peaceful since a U.S.-led military campaign toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001 for harbouring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida terrorist camps.

Rioting broke out in a crowd of more than 1,000 people who gathered to protest the detention of eight villagers at the base, where thousands of U.S. and other foreign soldiers live behind razor-wire fences and landmines left from Afghanistan's civil war.

Demonstrators hurled stones at a passing convoy of six U.S. military vehicles, smashing some windows. As soldiers inside the cars fired handguns in the air, the vehicles sped into the base and the protesters chased behind, trying to push down a metal gate guarded by Afghan troops.

Guards used sticks to drive back the mob as other troops fired into the air with assault rifles and shouted at the protesters to go home. Most of the protesters then dispersed.

It was not clear if there were any casualties, though an Associated Press reporter was hit and kicked by protesters who accused him of being a spy for the Americans and an AP photographer was punched by other demonstrators.

The eight detained men were "suspected of planning and conducting attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces" and had "materials used to make improvised explosive devices in their possession," the U.S. military said in a statement.

The demonstrators said they were angry that U.S. troops arrested the villagers late Monday without consulting local authorities.

"We have supported the Americans for years. We should be treated with dignity," said Shah Aghar, 35. "They are arresting our people without the permission of the government. They are breaking into our houses and offending the people. We are very angry." [...]

Comment: Once more we see the traces of Israeli training: ignore the customs of the Muslims, break into their houses, treat them like cattle, and haul them off to jail. No attempt to work though the local officials because that is a sign of weakness for the Americans. "No one tells US what to do!"

Click here to comment on this article

Blairs at odds over anti-terror measures
Matthew Tempest, political correspondent
Wednesday July 27, 2005

Cherie Booth, the prime minister's wife, last night warned Britain must not "cheapen" its reputation for civil liberties in response to the London bombings, while her husband called for tougher judicial attitudes.

In a speech in Malaysia, Ms Booth told an audience it would be "all too easy" to undermine Britain's "deeply held values" with an unduly hasty response to the attacks. The remarks could be interpreted as a shot across the government's bows as it drafts emergency anti-terrorism measures.

Earlier, the prime minister suggested to journalists there had been "too great a caution" from the judiciary in dealing with terror-related deportation cases.

His wife's intervention - in a tour of the far east which had already proved controversial - adds fuel to the debate over the extent to which the home secretary should be allowed to clamp down on potential terrorists.

Yesterday a meeting of the three main party leaders - Tony Blair, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy - appeared to reach a consensus on new measures to introduce new offences of committing acts preparatory to terrorism, and incitement to terrorism. The parties planned a further meeting for September, before the return of parliament in early October.

Last night in a speech to 1,000 lawyers, diplomats and civil servants in Malaysia, Ms Booth - who uses her maiden name when appearing in her professional capacity as a barrister - said: "It is all too easy for us to respond to such terror in a way which undermines commitment to our most deeply held values and convictions and which cheapens our right to call ourselves a civilised nation."

However, she prefaced her remarks by saying: "Nothing I say here could possibly be construed as making light of those horrible acts of violence" - the London bombings - "or of the responsibility imposed on the UK and other governments to keep the public safe, or of the difficult and dangerous task performed by the police and intelligence services."

Ms Booth said judges made rulings in a way that taught citizens and government about the "ethical responsibilities" of participating in a true democracy committed to "universal human rights standards".

She went on to praise the way the House of Lords blocked recent anti-terror legislation which could have seen foreign suspects detained without trial.

"What the case makes clear is that the government, even in times when there is a threat to national security, must act strictly in accordance with the law," she said.

In his monthly press conference yesterday, Mr Blair made it clear he sometimes felt frustrated by both the Lords and the judiciary in his attempts to pass and implement new legislation.

He said: "We have tried to get rid [of people who are inciting terrorism] and been blocked ... I think there has been too great a caution in saying 'Sorry, this is unacceptable'."

The Conservatives declined to comment today on Ms Booth's speech. The tour of Malaysia had already provoked unwelcome headlines when Ms Booth was invited to, but did not attend, the opening of a luxury shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Three years ago Ms Booth, a QC, was attacked for saying that as long as young Palestinians felt they had no hope "but to blow themselves up" no progress would be made against terrorism in the Middle East.

When asked about her latest comments, the prime minister's office this morning told the BBC they were "comfortable" with them.

Comment: Perhaps taking a tip from the Bushes, the Blairs are attempting to humanise Tony through his wife. Let her play the role of good cop, show how compassionate and concerned she is, and then the prols will say, "By gosh, if she's married to the PM, he can't be all that bad!"

Click here to comment on this article

Downloading 'myths' challenged

People who illegally share music files online are also big spenders on legal music downloads, research suggests.

Digital music research firm The Leading Question found that they spent four and a half times more on paid-for music downloads than average fans.

Rather than taking legal action against downloaders, the music industry needs to entice them to use legal alternatives, the report said.

According to the music industry, legal downloads have tripled during 2005.

In the first half of 2005, some 10 million songs have been legally downloaded.

Music 'myth'

More needs to be done to capitalise on the power of the peer-to-peer networks that many music downloaders still use, said the report's authors.

The study found that regular downloaders of unlicensed music spent an average of £5.52 a month on legal digital music.

This compares to just £1.27 spent by other music fans.

"The research clearly shows that music fans who break piracy laws are highly valuable customers," said Paul Brindley, director of The Leading Question.

"It also points out that they are eager to adopt legitimate music services in the future."

"There's a myth that all illegal downloaders are mercenaries hell-bent on breaking the law in pursuit of free music."

In reality hardcore fans "are extremely enthusiastic" about paid-for services, as long as they are suitably compelling, he said.

Carrot and stick

The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) welcomed the findings but added a note of caution.

"It's encouraging that many illegal file-sharers are starting to use legal services," said BPI spokesman Matt Philips.

"But our concern is that file-sharers' expenditure on music overall is down, a fact borne out by study after study.

"The consensus among independent research is that a third of illegal file-sharers may buy more music and around two thirds buy less.

"That two-thirds tends to include people who were the heaviest buyers which is why we need to continue our carrot and stick approach to the problem of illegal file-sharing," he said. [...]

Comment: If overall sales are down, perhaps it is because people have the chance to listen before purchasing and are therefore not buying trash they may have purchased before, or buying the one good song off of a disk that in earlier times they would have purchased in its entirety.

The war on the net must continue, and the facts be damned. If they are going to shut it down little by little, they need their excuses, and the whole issue of music pirating is one of the juiciest because it transforms almost everyone into criminals.

Click here to comment on this article

Plan for Dalai Lama lecture angers neuroscientists
David Adam, science correspondent
Wednesday July 27, 2005
The Guardian

The Dalai Lama is at the centre of an unholy row among scientists over his plans to deliver a lecture at a prominent neuroscience conference.

His talk stems from a growing interest in how Buddhist meditation may affect the brain, but researchers who dismiss such studies as little more than mumbo-jumbo say they will boycott the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in November if it goes ahead.

Jianguo Gu, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida who has helped to organise a petition against the Dalai Lama's lecture, said: "I don't think it's appropriate to have a prominent religious leader at a scientific event.

"The Dalai Lama basically says the body and mind can be separated and passed to other people. There are no scientific grounds for that. We'll be talking about cells and molecules and he's going to talk about something that isn't there."

Dr Gu and many of the scientists who initiated the protest are of Chinese origin, but say their concern are not related to politics. The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since he fled Chinese troops in Tibet in 1959.

"I'm not against Buddhism," said Dr Gu, who has cancelled his own presentation at the meeting. "People believe what they believe but I think it will just confuse things."

The Dalai Lama has long had an interest in science and once said that if he had not been a monk he would have been an engineer. Over the past decade he has encouraged western neuroscientists to study the effects of Buddhist meditation, originally through meetings at his home and more recently by attending conferences at major US universities.

Buddhist monks typically spend hours in meditation each day, a practice they say enhances their powers of concentration.

Trained meditators claim to be able to hold their attention on a single object for hours at a time without distraction, or to shift attention as many as 17 times in the time it takes to snap your fingers.

Both claims go against current scientific thinking, which says attention cannot be held as long or switched so quickly, and some neuroscientists have started investigating whether they have a biological basis. Some believe the monks' skills could be down to plasticity, the ability of even fully formed adult mammalian brains to change and adapt.

The research peaked in November last year when a team led by Richard Davidson, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, published research in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that suggested networks of brain cells were better coordinated in people who were trained in meditation.

The scientists included Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk at the Shechenm monastery in Nepal, who has a PhD in molecular biology from the Pasteur Institute in Paris. They said the brain differences they observed might explain the heightened awareness reported by meditating monks.

Mr Davidson helped to arrange the Dalai Lama's talk at the neuroscience conference, which is the first in a series billed as dialogues between neuroscience and society.

The protesters say the team's research is flawed because it compared monks in their 30s and 40s with much younger university students.

Their petition reads: "Inviting the Dalai Lama to lecture on neuroscience of meditation is of poor scientific taste because it will highlight a subject with hyperbolic claims, limited research and compromised scientific rigour."

It compares the lecture to inviting the Pope to talk about "the relationship between the fear of God and the amygdala [part of the brain]" and adds "it could be a slippery road if neuroscientists begin to blur the border between science and religious practices".

Carol Barnes, the president of the Society for Neuroscience, said: "The Dalai Lama has had a long interest in science and has maintained an ongoing dialogue with leading neuroscientists for more than 15 years, which is the reason he was invited to speak at the meeting. It has been agreed that the talk will not be about religion or politics.

"We understand that not every member will agree with every decision and we respect their right to disagree."

Comment: The materialist will fight any discussion of consciousness that goes beyond what we already know. Their minds are made up. We are just animals with more complex brains, and it is this complexity that gives us consciousness. The brain dies, so does consciousness. This is the organic portal's view of his consciousness, and it may be true for them. But to attribute this state of everyone is a mistake.

Click here to comment on this article

Readers who wish to know more about who we are and what we do may visit our portal site Quantum Future

Remember, we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part of the world!

We also need help to keep the Signs of the Times online.

Send your comments and article suggestions to us Email addess

Fair Use Policy

Contact Webmaster at
Cassiopaean materials Copyright ©1994-2014 Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. All rights reserved. "Cassiopaea, Cassiopaean, Cassiopaeans," is a registered trademark of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.
Letters addressed to Cassiopaea, Quantum Future School, Ark or Laura, become the property of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Republication and re-dissemination of our copyrighted material in any manner is expressly prohibited without prior written consent.