Tuesday, August 02, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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A Summer of Double Super Secrecy: Fingerprints of Power
By JACK Z. BRATICH
July 31, 2005

Earlier this month, the sixth season of CBS' Big Brother premiered with the subtitle "Summer of Secrets." The reality show, premised on the hypervisibility of a tightly controlled domestic space, must've realized that voyeuristic pleasure in total surveillance was no longer satisfying. Consequently, they distributed a variety of "zones of imperceptibility" into their game: hidden rooms, clandestine pacts, and covert operations/rules. Little did the producers of the show know just how prescient they were in capturing the zeitgeist of Summer 2005.

Take, for instance, the "Secret Group of Al-Qaeda in Europe" (the "organization" that originally claimed responsibility for the London bombings). The name speaks volumes. Why call it the "secret" group - is it opposed to the "public" group? If it were more in tune with the times, it whould be called the Super-Secret Group. The moniker sounds like an unintended effect of Western cultural imperialism; namely, too many comic book-inspired movies. What next, "The Fantastic 4 Allah"? It all sounds like a continuation of 2003's Legion of Doom-named Iraqi villains, "Chemical Ali" and "Dr. Germ". It makes one wonder if Stan Lee is now working for the Rendon Group!

Downing the Rabbit Hole

One of the biggest mysteries of the early summer was eventually lost amid the shuffle of other major stories. The Downing Street Memo (DSM) was remarkable not for its content but for the fact that so little attention was paid to it by mainstream media. Pundits spent more time dismissing the memo than following up on it. Christopher Hitchens, that neo-centrist perception manager, added to his portfolio on dissent-bashing with a piece on the DSM as "conspiracy theory."

It should come as no surprise that mainstream journalism didn't set the agenda with the DSM. Looking back on the past year of state/press relations, how could corporate journalism do anything but? Oh, Bush Administration, you want to consistently lie to us humble journalists in order to start a war? Well we just might have to write an indignant all-too-late op-ed piece and then come back for some more abuse! Tightly control press conferences with pre-selected questions? Well, we appreciate any access, so I guess that's the best we can get right now. Manipulate our reporters with anonymous leaks and dirty tricks? Ok, we forgive you, but you watch out next time, ya big lug! Plant a fake journalist among our ranks? Naughty, naughty, but thanks for giving us a diversionary homoerotic titillation!

How many more mea culpas can we tolerate from these lapdogs? When our own friends end up repeating self-destructive behaviors (going in and out of addictive drug-hazes, returning to a toxic and abusive partner) we will draw a line. Why do we allow these guests, who are supposed to be working in our name, to get away with more? We've been extremely patient during their bouts of recovery. It's about time we recognize the decades-long exodus of journalistic consumers not as "apathy" but as the self-affirming popular decision to stop sticking around a user. No need here for a collective intervention: professional journalism should be shown some tough love and the door.

Embedded journalism, from this bitter-medicine perspective, was corporate journalism's last gasp to purify itself. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but I'm just updating Jean Baudrillard's insights on Disney: embedded journalism exists to make us think that the rest of mainstream journalism is not embedded. So let's not look to these dependent dinosaurs for our hope or moral edification. We should begin with the assumption that all mainstream journalism is embedded journalism until it can prove otherwise. Without this symbolic dependency, we can begin candidly assessing journalism's relationship with secrecy.

The Plame Game

Calls for Karl Rove's firing for leaking Valerie Plame's name have been met with Republican Party line retorts that no "clear evidence" can be found. After much evasion and prevarication by press secretary Scott McLellan, Bush finally announced that the threshold of Rove tolerance would be juridical: Rove would have to have committed a crime in order to be axed. Drawing a distinction between legal and ethical standards seemed not to matter.

More than Rove's actual legal status, we can begin asking questions about the nature of evidence in the court of public opinion. What is the status of evidence in a context of epistemological uncertainty? What can count as proof, and what effects does proof have? The Downing Street Memo shows that proof is itself contestable - what is evidence of evidence?

Crime and evidence have taken on new cultural functions. The US is rife with anti-lawyer sentiments, from the rise in lawyer jokes to the smearing of John Edwards' vice-presidential campaign with charges that he was an "ambulance chaser." Interestingly, these sentiments are primarily targeted at criminal defense attorneys or civil prosecutors, while overzealous criminal prosecutors rarely get scapegoated. The notable recent exception here is Michael Jackson's legion of supporters, who themselves became the target of derision and insult.

More than humor, rightwing pundits now have taken on Defense Attorney status with the Bush administration in the court of public opinion. The party line on Rove was delivered with univocality, making the old Soviet Politburo seem like a teeming marketplace of ideas. As virtual defense lawyers, the rightwing apparatchiks may know their client's guilt, but will act as apologists at all costs. Any criticism of their client, then, must be founded on prosecutorial evidential standards.

At the same time, other much looser standards are applied to make the case against official Terror/War enemies. Much ink has been spilled on the flimsy, fixed, and fabricated evidence of the need to invade Iraq. Insinuations, when strongly worded, repeatedly uttered, and widely distributed stand in as evidence of a "vague connection" or "some kind of link". Take the scandalous story of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the newly elected Iranian president. Ahmadinejad was accused of being one of the hostage takers during the 1979 siege of the US embassy in Iran. Four days after his election, a handful of the former hostages (seemingly spontaneously, but actually with prompting from the oppositional "news" organization Iran Focus) reported that he looked exactly like one of their captors. Even while other former detainees and forensic experts denied the link, the power of suggestion was visually anchored through the side-by-side juxtaposition of two photos for over 24 hours. Ultimately disproven, the truth mattered little as the flood coverage secured an image-link. The effects are yet to be seen but we can speculate that defining Iran as a terrorist state in need of regime change just got easier.

An even looser evidential standard comes via the metaphorical use of the classic incontrovertible identifying trace of a criminal: the fingerprint.

Immediately after the 7/7 London bombing, we were told that terror experts were looking for a "signature" or fingerprints to identify the perpetrators. Perhaps on a post-binge high after watching a CSI marathon, these Global Security forensic artists came up with some doozies. The flimsiest of details became proof: the targeting of "transportation" was seen as an Al-Qaeda fingerprint. Never mind that Europe has known mass transit to be a target at least since the 1980 bombing of the Bologna railway station (purportedly by the Red Brigades, but subsequently shown to have murkier origins).

Simultaneous bombings? "Must be Al-Qaeda!" sayeth the security sleuths. It's such an ingenious method that not only could no one else have invented it, no one else could even mimic it! Instead of being glued to forensic drama television, these "trace" theorists would be wise to review virtually every action thriller film from the 1960s onwards, paying particular attention to the phrase "Let's synchronize our watches."

Perhaps the silliest, yet potentially sinister, bit of proof is occurring around the desperate search for Al-Qaeda links between 7/7 and the "failed copycat" bombings of 7/21. Plainclothes information officers came up with this Eureka: the suspects used the same brand of bookbag! Consumerist ideology now influences terrorism investigations, with their shared assumption that an individual's uniqueness is expressed through consumer purchases. Are you a budding bomber but tired of generic rucksacks that easily tear, exposing your telltale wires? Want to stand out in the "transit-terror" crowd (but blend in at the same time)? No fear, Land's End is here! And if you happen to own one of these for, say, school or travelling, never mind the "random" searches likely to come your way. Think of it as a value-added service (quasi-celebrity attention) associated with wearing the right label.

Public rhetorical tactics like these (loud insinuation, forensic metaphors, "expert" dependence) are effective because they are publicly irrefutable-they disguise themselves as evidence. What's worse, the fingerprint metaphor rarely transfers to domestic skullduggery. False stories, disinformation campaigns, and hoaxes are perpetrated in US media (e.g. the Dan Rather memo, Jeff Gannon plant, Iranian president/hostage taker link). Rarely will anyone in corporate journalism utter the word "fingerprints" regarding Rove or any other psy operative. When the praetorian media guard proclaim "there are no smoking guns here," they command top billing. Ultimately, it's not about producing more evidence, but being able to determine the situations in which particular standards of evidence can be applied.

Karl, Kevlar Konsultant

Perhaps the problem is with the overreliance on evidence itself. Facts on their own have no necessary effects on an audience. For instance, what does evidence do for a people lacking will and memory? The same facts, which in one context are testimony to wrongdoing, can become evidence of invincibility. Without the proper circumstances of popular will and/or organizational channels, power absorbs these attacks as confirmation of its own unassailability. Rove's mischief in the Plame Game, rather than being a telltale sign of perfidy, becomes proof of his ingenious craft of plausible deniability. Newsweek reporter Dana Milbank exclaimed on MSNBC that Rove was "too big to fail" (7/11). Other pundits noted that, good or bad, Rove was 'Bush's Brain', insinuating that it would be an impossible extrication. To counter this impossibility, may we kindly recommend Anthony Hopkins' surgical/culinary treat for Ray Liotta in the closing scenes of Hannibal.

The scandals that surrounded the Clinton White House (often coded through naturalizing terms like "cloud," "climate," or "fog") were in large part due to incessant media attention. Not only is this natural haze not enveloping the Bush White House, thanks to "liberal media" it has morphed into armor. If Ronald Reagan was the Teflon President, Rove is the Kevlar Konsultant. Actually, Kevlar doesn't quite capture the process. In a world of techno-organic fusion, we might better look to a sci-fi image: an armor that absorbs and reintegrates artillery directed at it, leaving a bio-synthetic "scar" that hardens the material.

Rove's fate is a watershed symptom, not the least for what it says about totalitarianism's immune system. If he stays on, his power grows stronger after a failed attack. Like the staged assassination attempts of ancient regimes, it will further numb popular will, at least when it comes to electoral politics. If Rove is fired, he would likely stick around, withdrawing even further into "double supersecret background" where he could secrete influence from the protective cover of shadows.

Reliance on evidence in the court of public opinion is important, but excessive faith in it may also limit our strategies. It narrows our understanding of the current era to events in the public sphere. Guy Debord, that premiere analyst of the spectacle and secrecy, recommended that people "make use of what is hidden" from them. If we don't expand our analysis to what might be called the "secret sphere," we will continue to grope in the dark while believing everything is illuminated.

Jack Z. Bratich is assistant professor at Rutgers University. He is currently writing a book on conspiracy panics, as well as doing research on public secrecy and popular occulture. His fingerprints are all over this essay. He can be reached at: jbratich@rci.rutgers.edu

Comment: Here we come to the crux of the matter: while no one wants to be accused of being a "conspiracy theorist", those in power possess and expand their power because of conspiracy - and therefore secrecy - itself. As Laura Knight-Jadczyk wrote in her article The Mossad Happy Dance:

On this website, we have published literally reams of material documenting our research into so-called "conspiracy" theories. The Wave and Adventures With Cassiopaea, while containing extracts of our scientific channeling experiment - superluminal communication - and discussions of some pretty far-out things, also contain extensive extracts of what could be called vertical and horizontal evidence of both hard facts and multiple witness testimony.

The bottom line of all this collecting of evidence - vertical and lateral - and assembling it together in one place, is that it's pretty clear that conspiracies rule our world.

In considering the subject of a "group" that is behind the machinations of history, we must consider the term "fifth column." "A clandestine subversive organization working within a given country to further an invading enemy's military and political aims" (American Heritage Dictionary, 1976).

Nearly all experts of "esoterica," after years and years of searching and studying, eventually come to the idea that there is some sort of major conspiracy that has been running the show on planet earth for a very long time. The problem is, there are any number of conclusions as to "who is on first" in this trans-millennial, multi-national, global ballgame. The thing that raises red flags, however, is that just about ANY of the many conclusions can be supported by REAMS of "evidence."

When I first began my own research in a serious and dedicated way, I was quite distressed by this factor. The only thing that I did different from most researchers was to take this confusion as a "given" fact that was INTENDED. In other words, I decided to also look at the things from a "meta-platform."

There were two things that had been burned into my mind very early on and I found both of them to be very useful when applied to the present problem. The first was the remark attributed to FDR: "Nothing in politics happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned." The other idea was a remark made to me by a friend who had been trained in Army Intelligence. He said that the first rule of Intelligence is to just observe what IS and understand that it is very likely the way it is for a reason; someone has engineered it. Once you have settled that firmly in your mind, you can then begin to form hypotheses about who might benefit the most from a given situation, and once such hypotheses are formed, you can then begin to test them. You may have to discard any number of ideas when you find the flaw, but unless you begin with this process, you will be duped over and over again.

In considering the problem before us, we can see that there are "tracks" throughout history of some pretty mysterious goings on that do, indeed, suggest a "conspiracy." If we take that as an observation of what IS, we immediately face the second big question: is it a conspiracy of "good guys" or "bad guys?" It is at this point that all the various conspiracy experts begin to diverge into their assorted rants about Zionists or Masons, Great White Brotherhoods, Benevolent aliens and all the many variations thereof.

But what if, instead of asking that question and beginning to argue, we just settle back and observe what is and try to find the answer based on observation?

Richard Dolan has written about "conspiracy" in the following way:

[Conspiracy Theory.] The very label serves as an automatic dismissal, as though no one ever acts in secret. Let us bring some perspective and common sense to this issue.

The United States comprises large organizations - corporations, bureaucracies, "interest groups," and the like - which are conspiratorial by nature. That is, they are hierarchical, their important decisions are made in secret by a few key decision-makers, and they are not above lying about their activities. Such is the nature of organizational behavior. "Conspiracy," in this key sense, is a way of life around the globe.

Within the world's military and intelligence apparatuses, this tendency is magnified to the greatest extreme. During the 1940s, [...] the military and its scientists developed the world's most awesome weapons in complete secrecy... [...]

Anyone who has lived in a repressive society knows that official manipulation of the truth occurs daily. But societies have their many and their few. In all times and all places, it is the few who rule, and the few who exert dominant influence over what we may call official culture. All elites take care to manipulate public information to maintain existing structures of power. It's an old game.

America is nominally a republic and free society, but in reality an empire and oligarchy, vaguely aware of its own oppression, within and without. I have used the term "national security state" to describe its structures of power. It is a convenient way to express the military and intelligence communities, as well as the worlds that feed upon them, such as defense contractors and other underground, nebulous entities. Its fundamental traits are secrecy, wealth, independence, power, and duplicity.

Nearly everything of significance undertaken by America's military and intelligence community in the past half-century has occured in secrecy. The undertaking to build an atomic weapon, better known as the Manhattan Project, remains the great model for all subsequent activities. For more than two years, not a single member of Congress even knew about it although its final cost exceeded two billion dollars.

Think about that. One of the greatest American "achievements" was kept secret for over two years despite the expenditure of more than two billion dollars on the project - and yet many people find it hard to believe that elements of the US government and intelligence organizations couldn't have had a hand in 9/11 because they wouldn't have been able to keep it a secret?! Keep in mind that the Manhattan Project occurred over 50 years ago, so "they" have had decades to perfect their secrecy techniques...

During and after the Second World War, other important projects, such as the development of biological weapons, the importation of Nazi scientists, terminal mind-control experiments, nationwide interception of mail and cable transmissions of an unwitting populace, infiltration of the media and universities, secret coups, secret wars, and assassinations all took place far removed not only from the American public, but from most members of Congress and a few presidents. Indeed, several of the most powerful intelligence agencies were themselves established in secrecy, unknown by the public or Congress for many years.

Since the 1940s, the US Defense and Intelligence establishment has had more money at its disposal than most nations. In addition to official dollars, much of the money is undocumented. From its beginning, the CIA was engaged in a variety of off-the-record "business" activities that generated large sums of cash. The connections of the CIA with global organized crime (and thus de facto with the international narcotics trade) has been well established and documented for many years. - Much of the original money to run the American intelligence community came from very wealthy and established American families, who have long maintained an interest in funding national security operations important to their interests.

In theory, civilian oversight exists over the US national security establishment. The president is the military commander-in-chief. Congress has official oversight over the CIA. The FBI must answer to the Justice Department. In practice, little of this applies. One reason has to do with secrecy. [...]

A chilling example of such independence occurred during the 1950s, when President Eisenhower effectively lost control of the US nuclear arsenal. The situation deteriorated so much that during his final two years in office, Eisenhower asked repeatedly for an audience with the head of Strategic Air Command to learn what America's nuclear retaliatory plan was. What he finally learned in 1960, his final year in office, horrified him: half of the Northern Hemisphere would be obliterated.

If a revered military hero such as Eisenhower could not control America's nuclear arsenal, nor get a straight answer from the Pentagon, how on earth could Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, or Nixon regarding comparable matters?

It seems that some US presidents had access to more secrets than others. While most US leaders seem to have been aware to varying degrees of the secret activities of various agencies, those agencies would certainly not give up all their secrets. To do so would be to relinquish their power, authority, and control. As such, it is highly likely that Bush is just another puppet. Nevertheless, we often point out Bush's lies since he is still responsible for his words and actions even if they are directed by someone else. The same applies to the people who believe Bush's lies and go along with the "war on terror".

Secrecy, wealth and independence add up to power. Through the years, the national security state has gained access to the world's most sophisticated technology, sealed off millions of acres of land from public access or scrutiny, acquired unlimited snooping ability within US borders and beyond, conducted overt or clandestine actions against other nations, and prosecuted wars without serious media scrutiny. Domestically, it maintains influence over elected officials and communities hoping for some of the billions of defense dollars. [including scientists, universities, etc.]

Deception is the key element of warfare, and when winning is all that matters, the conventional morality held by ordinary people becomes an impediment. When taken together, the examples of official duplicity form a nearly single totality. They include such choice morsels as the phony war crisis of 1948, the fabricated missile gap claimed by the air force during the 1950s, the carefully managed events leading to the Gulf of Tonkin resolution... [...]

The secrecy stems from a pervasive and fundamental element of life in our world, that those who are at the top of the heap will always take whatever steps are necessary to maintain the status quo.

[S]keptics often ask, "Do you really think the government could hide [anything] for so long?"

The question itself reflects ignorance of the reality that secrecy is a way of life in the National Security State. Actually though, the answer is yes, and no.

Yes, in that cover-ups are standard operating procedure, frequently unknown to the public for decades, becoming public knowledge by a mere roll of the dice. But also no, in that ... information has leaked out from the very beginning. It is impossible to shut the lid completely. The key lies in neutralizing and discrediting unwelcomed information, sometimes through official denial, other times through proxies in the media.

Indeed, information about the truth of 9/11 has also leaked out since the very beginning. It is this leaked information along with a whole lot of digging and careful analysis that has led to our work on this site. As for the neutralization of unwelcome information, we note the response to our Pentagon Strike flash was a series of articles in the likes of the Washington Post and Popular Science, coupled with a new direction in the "9/11 Truth Movement" that attempts to steer people away from the idea that the Pentagon strike is the "weak point" in the official version of events.

[E]vidence [of conspiracy] derived from a grass roots level is unlikely to survive its inevitable conflict with official culture. And acknowledgement about the reality of [conspiracies] will only occur when the official culture deems it worthwhile or necessary to make it. Don't hold your breath.

This is a widespread phenomenon affecting many people, generating high levels of interest, taking place in near-complete secrecy, for purposes unknown, by agencies unknown, with access to incredible resources and technology. A sobering thought and cause for reflection. [Richard Dolan, UFOs and The National Security State]

What does it mean that "evidence of conspiracy ... is unlikely to survive its inevitable conflict with official culture?"

We have documented on our Timeline pages facts, data, observations, testimony, all of which - taken together - provide the evidence that we do, indeed, live in a controlled and manipulated reality. This evidence is not hidden, as Dolan points out, but it is neutralized and discredited both through official denial AND through a long term Counter Intelligence Program - COINTELPRO. We have discussed this at some length here on the site, most particularly in the Adventures Series.

What does COINTELPRO accomplish? Well, quite simply, it is institutionalized DENIAL.

Denial is a complex "unconscious defence mechanism for coping with guilt, anxiety and other disturbing emotions aroused by reality." Denial can be both deliberate and intentional, as well as completely subconscious. An individual who is deliberately and intentionally denying something is acting from an individual level of lying, concealment and deception.

Denial that is subconscious is generally organized and "institutional." This implies propaganda, misinformation, whitewash, manipulation, spin, disinformation, etc.

Believing anything that comes down the pike is not the opposite of denial. "Acknowledgement" of the probability of a high level of Truth about a given matter is what should happen when people are actively aroused by certain information. This information can be 1) factual or forensic truth; that is to say, legal or scientific information which is factual, accurate and objective; it is obtained by impartial procedures; 2) personal and narrative truth including "witness testimonies."

I should add here that skepticism and solipsistic arguments - including epistemological relativism - about the existence of objective truth, are generally a social construction and might be considered in the terms of the hypnotized man who has been programmed to think that there "is no truth."

Denial occurs for a variety of reasons. There are truths that are "clearly known," but for many reasons - personal or political, justifiable or unjustifiable - are concealed, or it is agreed that they will not be acknowledged "out loud." There are "unpleasant truths" and there are truths that make us tired because if we acknowledge them - if we do more than give them a tacit nod - we may find it necessary to make changes in our lives.

All counter-claims about the denied reality are themselves only maneuvers in endless truth-games. And truth, as we know, is inseparable from power. Denial of truth is, effectively, giving away your power.

Now, think about the word "conspiracy" one more time and allow me to emphasize the key point: From a historical point of view, the ONLY reality is that of conspiracy. Secrecy, wealth and independence add up to power. ...Deception is the key element of warfare, (the tool of power elites), and when winning is all that matters, the conventional morality held by ordinary people becomes an impediment. Secrecy stems from a pervasive and fundamental element of life in our world, that those who are at the top of the heap will always take whatever steps are necessary to maintain the status quo.

It seems that the search for truth requires a reexamination of literally everything - ourselves, our world, and even the so-called "experts" on whom we rely for information on this or that topic. The easiest way to discredit someone in this reality is to declare that they are a conspiracy theorist. The truth seems to be that the entire reality in which find ourselves is, by its very nature, a conspiracy. Consider our governments, the so-called War on Terror, social and military structures, and so on - all these elements of our world involve some degree of hierarchy. But hierarchy implies control. Everyone has a boss; everyone has to answer to some other person or higher power.

Hierarchy implies control, and control implies secrecy. If everyone possessed all knowledge, it would be impossible for a government to lie to its citizens. Perhaps there would not even be a need for rulers. If we observe that conspiracy is defined as, "a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act", then it becomes apparent that hierarchy, control, and secrecy necessarily involve conspiracy. One might argue that a government needs to keep secrets from the people to keep those people safe from the "bad guys". While this may sound good, it doesn't make much sense.

We can observe that those groups that restrict the dispersal of knowledge to others must certainly have something to hide. It would be useless for the powers that be to expend copious amounts of energy to hide knowledge in general, as well as the reasons for their actions, unless the puppet masters themselves have a dark secret or two. Obviously, if the powers that run this world have something to hide, it is most likely not something that would make the average person too happy. It does not take a huge leap to suspect that our leaders are committing "unlawful acts" in our name. The suspicion is confirmed by the available facts regarding the actions of Bush, Blair, and their administrations.

And maintaining the "status quo" in science HAS to be one of the main objectives of the Power Elite since science is, quite literally, the source of their power in the modern day.

And how do they do that? By "official culture." And official culture, understood this way, from the perspective of elite groups wishing to maintain the status quo of their power, means only one thing: COINTELPRO.

The single biggest argument against historical conspiracy is the relatively short lifespan of human beings, combined with the observable psychological make-up of man. A corollary objection is the fact that, very often, the domino effect of events that "change history" are of such a nature that it would be impossible for ordinary human beings to engineer them. In other words, Time and Space are barriers to the idea of human beings being engaged in a global conspiracy.

Well, of course the diligent researcher has by now tried every other way to make the puzzle pieces fit ending in repeated failures to account for everything, including the numerous views that oppose and contradict one another. So, when we stop for a moment to think about this initial, observable fact of the barrier of Time and Space, we then think of an idea: what if the conspirators are NOT constrained by Time or Space? Our initial reaction to this thought is to dismiss it out of hand. But as we pursue our researches, as we come across repeated "anomalies" and "glitches" and "tracks" throughout space and time - what we call "history" - we begin to get the uneasy feeling that we ought to take another look at this idea.

[Ark's note: A.T. Fomenko, Russian mathematician, member of the Russian Academy of Science, author of a dozen of monographs on differential geometry, applied the methods of exact sciences to the available historical data to conlude: history has been falsified. Of course Fomenko's own proposed version of the "corrected history" needs further work and discussion with other independent researchers, but Fomenko's analysis of the "anomalies" and "glitches" constitutes a good and solid piece of work.]

As it happens, once the possibility of manipulation of space and time has been added to our hypothesis, things finally begin to "fall into place." Once we begin to look at history from this trans-millennial, trans-spatial perspective, the character of the "conspiracy" begins to emerge, and only the most gullible - or negative intentioned - individual could hold onto, or continue to promote, any idea that this conspiracy is benevolent. In fact, it becomes abundantly clear that many, if not most, religions and systems of philosophy, have been created and introduced by the conspirators in order to conceal the conspiracy itself. And when you are considering beings with mastery over space and time, thousands of years needed to develop any given aspect of the overall plan is negligible. And so, in consideration of such beings, we come again to the idea of hyperdimensional space. This seems to be one of the main objectives of COINTELPRO - to keep the lid on this one.

[Ark' note: In my own papers, and in the monograph written in collaboration with my French colleague, we were using the term "multidimensional universe" rather than "hyperdimensional reality. Of course the "existence" and even "reality" of other dimensions does not imply by itself that some hyperdimensional intelligence is operating. Such a hypothesis, however, should also be taken into account if there are no facts and data that would contradict it and much evidence that would tend to support it.]

Those of you who have read the Adventures Series and The Secret History of the World know how we have documented the evidence that all points to a concerted effort to distract attention away from the very idea of the reality of hyperdimensional space and its possible denizens by the creation of myths and disinformation - COINTELPRO. And here we do not mean the specific FBI program, but the concept of the program, and the likelihood that this has been the mode of controlling human beings for possibly millennia. In fact, I like to call it "Cosmic COINTELPRO" to suggest that it is almost a mechanical system that operates based on the psychological nature of human beings, most of whom LIKE to live in denial. After all, "if ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise." [...]

For more information, don't miss Laura's book The Secret History of the World - And How to Get Out Alive. Secret History delves into this very topic much more deeply and presents a huge amount of startling evidence to back it all up.

If you have any questions to ask Laura for our next podcast, please e-mail them to us.

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Pentagon to Increase Domestic Surveillance for Counterterrorism
By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos
FOX News
Monday, August 01, 2005

WASHINGTON - The Department of Defense has developed a new strategy in counterterrorism that would increase military activities on American soil, particularly in the area of intelligence gathering.

The move is sparking concern among civil liberties advocates and those who fear an encroaching military role in domestic law enforcement.

In an argument that eerily foreshadowed the July London terror attacks, the Pentagon in late June announced its "Strategy for Homeland Defense and Support," which would expand its reach domestically to prevent "enemy attacks aimed at Americans here at home."

The strategy, approved by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England on June 24, argues that the government needs a multi-layered, preventive approach to national defense in order to combat an unconventional enemy that will attack from anywhere, anytime and by any conceivable means.

"Transnational terrorist groups view the world as an integrated, global battlespace in which to exploit perceived U.S vulnerabilities, wherever they may be," reads the 40-page document that outlines the new plans.

"Terrorists seek to attack the United States and its centers of gravity at home and abroad and will use asymmetric means to achieve their ends, such as simultaneous mass casualty attacks," it said.

Critics say the fears raised by the Pentagon are being used as a justification for the military to conduct wider, more intrusive surveillance on American citizens.

"Do we want, as a free people, with the notion of privacy enshrined in the Constitution and based on the very clear limits and defined role of government, to be in a society where not just the police, but the military are on the street corners gathering intelligence on citizens, sharing that data, manipulating that data?" asked former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., a constitutional law expert and civil libertarian.

"This document provides a blueprint for doing just that."

Barr said the new strategy is a back-door means of following through with a 2002 plan to create a massive, centralized information database using public and private records of individuals, called "Total Information Awareness." Congress killed TIA in 2003 because of civil liberties and privacy concerns.

Critics say they believe much of TIA lives on in some form through smaller, undisclosed military contracts. This latest plan, they say, is one way of jump-starting TIA's initial goals.

"This is TIA back with a vengeance," said Barr. "What they have come up with here is a much vaguer and much broader concept that sounds more innocuous. [The Pentagon] is getting much smarter in how to sell these things."

The Defense Department report says its increased surveillance capabilities at home will adhere to constitutional and privacy protections, even though it emphasizes enhancing current "data mining" capabilities.

"Specifically, the department will… develop automated tools to improve data fusion, analysis, and management, to track systematically large amounts of data and to detect, fuse and analyze aberrant patterns of activity, consistent with U.S. privacy protections," the report reads.

It will also develop "a cadre of specialized terrorism intelligence analysts within the defense intelligence community and deploy a number of these analysts to interagency centers for homeland defense and counter-terrorism analysis and operations," states the report.

Some national security experts agree that emboldened surveillance on domestic soil is necessary in the global War on Terror, and that such intelligence could prevent the kind of attacks perpetuated by homegrown terrorists in England on July 7 and 21.

"The Defense Department has always done intelligence operations in the United States. They have the legal right to do that. There is nothing new here," James Carafano, a homeland security analyst with The Heritage Foundation, told FOXNews.com. "There are no new threats to privacy or constitutionality. I just think it's about doing [intelligence] more efficiently and effectively."

But John Pike, founder of GlobalSecurity.org , a clearinghouse of available intelligence and national security information, says it's not so clear how much data the Pentagon will be collecting on citizens and whether it will be retaining, sharing and building individual dossiers. So far, the lack of detail leaves as many question as answers, he said.

"The bad news is there is certainly the possibility of a return to the sort of domestic surveillance that we saw in the 1950s and 1960s," Pike said.

Pentagon officials declined to comment on the variety of data it would gather and share, or how long it would retain files on individuals under the new homeland defense plan.

The Washington Post reported recently that among the databases being built by the Pentagon is a military recruitment list of individual high school and college students culled from commercial data brokers and other sources. The military is planning to share the database with federal and state law enforcement agencies if necessary, the Post reports.

A Defense Department spokesman said the military's domestic role in homeland security will remain a supportive one, and the Pentagon will only provide resources when local, state and federal resources and capabilities "have been exceeded or do not exist."

"We have expanded activities in order to better execute support missions, but we are extremely sensitive to the historically restricted, limited role of the Defense Department," the spokesman told FOXNews.com in an e-mailed response to questions.

The Pentagon's new strategy appears to dovetail with a recent report by The New York Times, that said the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, which outlines the future vision of the military and is due to Congress in February, will reflect a new approach in which the Defense Department will prepare to fight in one war theater at a time while putting the bulk of its resources into homeland defense.

The strategy approved by military officials in June also increases joint training exercises with first responders and other agencies as well as the creation of National Guard-staffed teams in case of a catastrophic attack.

The president would have to authorize the actual use of troops on military soil in order to adhere to the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits military involvement in domestic law enforcement. Pentagon officials say the new strategy won't require that authorization.

But the strategy does includes more collaboration with law enforcement in "support" roles on all levels of counter-terrorism efforts as well as the monitoring of terrorist threats along the borders, in the air and on water.

"If they find information in the course of their business that might help other agencies, then they can share it. If other agencies in their own intelligence gathering find information that can help the Defense Department, they can share that," said Carafano. "I really don't see any legal or constitutional issues here."

Comment: The alleged threat of "homegrown terrorists" like in England, domestic surveillance by the military, the irrelevancy of the Posse Comitatus Act, the subjugation of traditional law enforcement officers into a supporting role, and the recent renewal of most of the Patriot Act for another ten years - you do the math.

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Calls to end US domination of the internet
31 July 2005
NewScientist.com

WHENEVER you surf the web, send emails or download music, an unseen force is at work in the background, making sure you connect to the sites, inboxes and databases you want. The name of this brooding presence? The US government.

Some 35 years after the US military invented the internet, the US Department of Commerce retains overall control of the master computers that direct traffic to and from every web and email address on the planet.

But a group convened by the UN last week to thrash out the future of the net is calling for an end to US domination of the net, proposing that instead a multinational forum of governments, companies and civilian organisations is created to run it.

The UN's Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) says US control hinders many developments that might improve it. These range from efforts to give the developing world more affordable net access to coming up with globally agreed and enforceable measures to boost net privacy and fight cybercrime.

US control also means that any changes to the way the net works, including the addition of new domain names such as .mobi for cellphone-accessed sites, have to be agreed by the US, whatever experts in the rest of the world think. The flipside is that the US could make changes without the agreement of the rest of the world.

In a report issued in Geneva in Switzerland on 14 July, the WGIG seeks to overcome US hegemony. "The internet should be run multilaterally, transparently and democratically. And it must involve all stakeholders," says Markus Kummer, a Swiss diplomat who is executive coordinator of the WGIG.[...]

Today the internet has 13 vast computers dotted around the world that translate text-based email and web addresses into numerical internet protocol (IP) node addresses that computers understand. In effect a massive look-up table, the 13 computers are collectively known as the Domain Name System (DNS). But the DNS master computer, called the master root server, is based in the US and is ultimately controlled by the Department of Commerce. Because the data it contains is propagated to all the other DNS servers around the world, access to the master root server file is a political hot potato.

Currently, only the US can make changes to that master file. And that has some WGIG members very worried indeed. "It's about who has ultimate authority," says Kummer. "In theory, the US could decide to delete a country from the master root server. Some people expect this to happen one day... [...]

The WGIG put forward a number of options for change, all of which include enhancing the roles of ICANN and the GAC or the formation of a new all-embracing internet policy body that would be in charge of ICANN instead of the US. The WGIG's proposals will now go to the vote at the International Telecommunication Union's World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia this November.

Whatever the WGIG decides, it will have a tough time changing the US government's opinion. Only last month, US assistant secretary of commerce Michael Gallagher reasserted America's claim to the heart of the net. "The US is committed to taking no action that would have the potential to adversely impact the effective and efficient operation of the DNS and will therefore maintain its historic role in authorising changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file."

Battle, it seems, is about to begin.

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US keeps Uighurs at Guantanamo after found innocent: rights group
AFP
Mon Aug 1, 6:21 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The US military has kept two ethnic Uighur Muslims from a troubled Chinese region at its Guantanamo 'war on terror' detention camp even though they have been found not to be "enemy combatants," a rights group said.

Lawyers for Abu Bakker Qassim and Adel Abdu al-Hakim went before a federal court in Washington on Monday to seek the release of the pair.

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a New York-based legal activist group, a Guantanamo review panel ruled in March that Qassim and Hakim should not be considered "enemy combatants" who would face military tribunals.

But the CCR said the men's lawyers were never told about the finding. "It was not until Friday, July 30, 2005 that the government disclosed that the men had been cleared on March 26 this year," said a statement by the group which has been working on the case of the Uighurs.

"Since (March 26) the government has failed to notify their attorneys, families or anyone else of the men's innocence, instead allowing them to remain in detention for an additional six months."

The Uighurs are among a dozen detainees who have been declared no longer to be enemy combatants but who continue to be held at Guantanamo while arrangements are being made for their release, a US defense official said.

"The United States has made it clear that it does not expel, return or extradite individuals to other countries where it believes that it is 'more likely than not' that they will be tortured or subject to persecution," said Lieutenant Commander Alvin Plexico, a Pentagon spokesman.

"This is US policy as well as US law," he said.

The United States faces a delicate problem over what to do with Uighurs held at Guantanamo in Cuba.

It has said it wants to resettle a handful of them in third countries, amid concern they will be persecuted if returned to China. China has called for them to be sent back.

The State Department said in October last year that some Uighur prisoners "have been determined not to pose a threat any longer to the United States or its allies" and that the Pentagon had approved their release.

China has recently renewed a campaign against Muslim separatists in Xinjiang autonomous region ahead of the 50th anniversary of its annexation.

Turkic-speaking Uighur separatists have been fighting to re-establish an independent state of East Turkestan in Xinjiang. They accuse the ruling Chinese of political, religious and cultural repression.

Comment: It is interesting how US leaders use the threat of political persecution as a reason to both prevent returning the prisoners to their own countries and to mask the fact that the prisoners were detained illegally by the US itself. As such, Pentagon spokesman Plexico's statements couldn't possibly be more hypocritical.

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Leaked emails claim Guantanamo trials rigged
By North America correspondent Leigh Sales

08/01/05 "ABC" -- -- Leaked emails from two former prosecutors claim the military commissions set up to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay are rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence against the accused.

Two emails, which have been obtained by the ABC, were sent to supervisors in the Office of Military Commissions in March of last year - three months before Australian detainee David Hicks was charged and five months before his trial began.

The first email is from prosecutor Major Robert Preston to his supervisor.

Maj Preston writes that the process is perpetrating a fraud on the American people, and that the cases being pursued are marginal.

"I consider the insistence on pressing ahead with cases that would be marginal even if properly prepared to be a severe threat to the reputation of the military justice system and even a fraud on the American people," Maj Preston wrote.

"Surely they don't expect that this fairly half-arsed effort is all that we have been able to put together after all this time."

Maj Preston says he cannot continue to work on a process he considers morally, ethically and professionally intolerable.

"I lie awake worrying about this every night," he wrote.

"I find it almost impossible to focus on my part of mission.

"After all, writing a motion saying that the process will be full and fair when you don't really believe it is kind of hard, particularly when you want to call yourself an officer and lawyer."

Maj Preston was transferred out of the Office of Military Commissions less than a month later.

Rigged?

The second email is written by another prosecutor, Captain John Carr, who also ended up leaving the department.

Capt Carr says the commissions appear to be rigged.

"When I volunteered to assist with this process and was assigned to this office, I expected there would at least be a minimal effort to establish a fair process and diligently prepare cases against significant accused," he wrote.

"Instead, I find a half-hearted and disorganised effort by a skeleton group of relatively inexperienced attorneys to prosecute fairly low-level accused in a process that appears to be rigged."

Capt Carr says that the prosecutors have been told by the chief prosecutor that the panel sitting in judgment on the cases would be handpicked to ensure convictions.

"You have repeatedly said to the office that the military panel will be handpicked and will not acquit these detainees and that we only needed to worry about building a record for the review panel," he said.

Significant find

David Hicks' defence lawyer, Major Michael Mori, says the documents are "highly significant".

"For the first time, we're seeing that concerns about the fairness of the military commissions extend to the heart of the process," Maj Mori said.

David Hicks's father, Terry, says the latest revelations confirm what he has suspected all along.

"These commissions weren't set up to release people," he said.

"These commissions were set up to make sure they were prosecuted and get the time that they give them, and the other thing we've said all along, that we believe that this system has been rigged as they call it."

But the Pentagon's Brigadier General Thomas Hemingway, who is a legal advisor to the military commissions, says an investigation has found the comments are based on miscommunication, misunderstanding and personality conflicts.

He says changes have been made in the prosecutors' office.

"I think what we did is work on some restructuring in the office, there was some changes in the way cases were processed, but we found no evidence of any criminal misconduct, we found no evidence of any ethical violations," he said. [...]

Comment: The same people who have absolved any high ranking military or administration official of wrong-doing in the Abu Ghraib torture cases shouldn't be depended upon to find fault in the American military's new form of "justice" for the people incarcerated at Gitmo.

The situation is no doubt much worse that we can imagine. Prisoners held by the US are sometimes handed over to third countries whose interrogation techniques are even further from the scrutiny of the public than the situation at Gitmo or other US prisons and detention camps. These prisoners are then subjected to torture by goons who have been trained by and who are working for, even if indirectly, the neocon clique, as witness by the following story....

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Suspect's tale of travel and torture

Alleged bomb plotter claims two and a half years of interrogation under US and UK supervision in 'ghost prisons' abroad

Stephen Grey and Ian Cobain
Tuesday August 2, 2005
The Guardian

A former London schoolboy accused of being a dedicated al-Qaida terrorist has given the first full account of the interrogation and alleged torture endured by so-called ghost detainees held at secret prisons around the world.

For two and a half years US authorities moved Benyam Mohammed around a series of prisons in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan, before he was sent to Guantánamo Bay in September last year.

Mohammed, 26, who grew up in Notting Hill in west London, is alleged to be a key figure in terrorist plots intended to cause far greater loss of life than the suicide bombers of 7/7. One allegation, which he denies, is of planning to detonate a "dirty bomb" in a US city; another is that he and an accomplice planned to collapse a number of apartment blocks by renting ground-floor flats to seal, fill with gas from cooking appliances, and blow up with timed detonators.

In an statement given to his newly appointed lawyer, Mohammed has given an account of how he was tortured for more than two years after being questioned by US and British officials who he believes were from the FBI and MI6. As well as being beaten and subjected to loud music for long periods, he claims his genitals were sliced with scalpels.

He alleges that in Morocco he was shown photos of people he knew from a west London mosque, and was asked about information he was told was supplied by MI5. One interrogator, he says, was a woman who said she was Canadian.

Drawing on his notes, Mohammed's lawyer has compiled a 28-page diary of his torture. This has been declassified by the Pentagon, and extracts are published in the Guardian today.

Recruits to some groups connected to al-Qaida are thought to be instructed to make allegations of torture after capture, and most of Mohammed's claims cannot be independently verified. But his description of a prison near Rabat closely resembles the Temara torture centre identified in a report by the US-based Human Rights Watch last October.

Furthermore, this newspaper has obtained flight records showing executive jets operated by the CIA flew in and out of Morocco on July 22 2002 and January 22 2004, the dates he says he was taken to and from the country.

If true, his account adds weight to concerns that the US authorities are torturing by proxy. It also highlights the dilemma of British authorities when they seek information from detainees overseas who they know, or suspect, are tortured.

The lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, says: "This is outsourcing of torture, plain and simple. America knows torture is wrong but gets others to do its unconscionable dirty work.

"It's clear from the evidence that UK officials knew about this rendition to Morocco before it happened. Our government's responsibility must be to actively prevent the torture of our residents."

Mohammed was born in Ethiopia and came to the UK aged 15 when his father sought asylum. After obtaining five GCSEs and an engineering diploma at the City of Westminster College in Paddington, he decided to stay in Britain when his father returned, and was given indefinite leave to remain. In his late teens he rediscovered Islam, prayed regularly at al-Manaar mosque in Notting Hill, and was a volunteer at its cultural centre. "He is remembered here as a very nice, quiet person, who never caused any trouble," says Abdulkarim Khalil, its director.

He enjoyed football, and was thought good enough for a semi-professional career. "He was a quiet kid, he seemed deep thinking, although that might have been because his language skills weren't great," says Tyrone Forbes, his trainer.

In June 2001 Mohammed left his bedsit off Golborne Road, Notting Hill, and travelled to Afghanistan, via Pakistan. He maintains he wanted to see whether it was "a good Islamic country or not". It appears likely that he spent time in a paramilitary training camp.

He returned to Pakistan sometime after 9/11, and remained at liberty until April 2002 - during which time, US authorities believe, he became involved in the dirty bomb and gas blast plots. His alleged accomplice, a Chicago-born convert to Islam, Jose Padilla, is detained in the US. Mohammed says interrogators repeatedly demanded he give evidence against him.

Mohammed was arrested in Karachi while trying to fly to Zurich - and thus entered a "ghost prison system" in which an unknown number of detainees are held at unregistered detention centres, and whose imprisonment is not admitted to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

His brother and sisters, who live in the US, say the FBI told them of his arrest in summer 2002, but they were unable to find out anything else until last February. In recent days the Bush administration is reported to have lobbied to block legislation, supported by some Republican senators, to prohibit the military engaging in "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment", and hiding prisoners from the Red Cross.

Mohammed alleges he was held at two prisons in Pakistan over three months, hung from leather straps, beaten, and threatened with a firearm by Pakistanis. In repeated questioning by men he believes were FBI agents, he was told he was to go to an Arab country because "the Pakistanis can't do exactly what we want them to".

The torture stopped after a visit by two bearded Britons; he believes they were MI6 officers. He says they told him he was to be tortured by Arabs. At one point, he says, they gave him a cup of tea and told him to take plenty of sugar because "where you're going you need a lot of sugar".

He says he was flown on what he believes was a US aircraft to Morocco, while shackled, blindfolded and wearing earphones. It was, he says, in a jail near Rabat that his real ordeal began. After a fortnight of questioning and intimidation, his captors tortured him with beatings and noise, on and off, for 18 months. He says his torturers used scalpels to make shallow, inch-long incisions on his chest and genitals.

Throughout, he was accused of being a senior al-Qaida terrorist and accomplice of Padilla. He denies these allegations, though he says that while tortured he would say whatever he thought his captors wanted. He signed a statement about the dirty bomb plot. At one point, he says, interrogators told him his GCSE grades, and asked about named staff at the housing association that owns his bedsit and about a man who taught him kickboxing in Notting Hill.

After 18 months, he says, he was flown to Afghanistan, escorted by masked US soldiers who were visibly shocked by his condition and took photos of his wounds.

During five months in a darkened cell in Kabul, he says he was kept chained, subjected to loud music, and questioned by Americans. Only after he was moved to Bagram air base was he shown to the Red Cross. Four months later he was flown to Guantánamo.

Mr Stafford Smith was first allowed to see him two months ago. He said there were marks of his injuries, and he is pressing the US to release the photos taken in Morocco and Afghanistan.

Asked about the allegations, the Foreign Office said the UK "unreservedly condemns the use of torture". After consulting with the Home Office, MI5, and MI6, a spokesman said: "The British government, including the security and intelligence services, never uses torture for any purpose. Nor would HMG instigate or condone the use of torture by third parties.

"Specific instructions are issued to all personnel of the UK security and intelligence services who are deployed to interview detainees, which include guidance on what to do if they considered that treatment in any way inappropriate."

The FBI, the US justice department, the Moroccan interior ministry and the Moroccan embassy in London did not return calls. The CIA declined to comment.

Comment: Can you believe the denials of the British and the Americans in spite of the mounting evidence from former "detainees"?

The following article has extracts from Benyam Mohammed's diaries.

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'One of them made cuts in my penis. I was in agony'
Tuesday August 2, 2005
The Guardian

Benyam Mohammed travelled from London to Afghanistan in July 2001, but after September 11 he fled to Pakistan. He was arrested at Karachi airport on April 10 2002, and describes being flown by a US government plane to a prison in Morocco. These are extracts from his diary.

They cut off my clothes with some kind of doctor's scalpel. I was naked. I tried to put on a brave face. But maybe I was going to be raped. Maybe they'd electrocute me. Maybe castrate me.

They took the scalpel to my right chest. It was only a small cut. Maybe an inch. At first I just screamed ... I was just shocked, I wasn't expecting ... Then they cut my left chest. This time I didn't want to scream because I knew it was coming.

One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. "I told you I was going to teach you who's the man," [one] eventually said.

They cut all over my private parts. One of them said it would be better just to cut it off, as I would only breed terrorists. I asked for a doctor.

Doctor No 1 carried a briefcase. "You're all right, aren't you? But I'm going to say a prayer for you." Doctor No 2 gave me an Alka-Seltzer for the pain. I told him about my penis. "I need to see it. How did this happen?" I told him. He looked like it was just another patient. "Put this cream on it two times a day. Morning and night." He gave me some kind of antibiotic.

I was in Morocco for 18 months. Once they began this, they would do it to me about once a month. One time I asked a guard: "What's the point of this? I've got nothing I can say to them. I've told them everything I possibly could."

"As far as I know, it's just to degrade you. So when you leave here, you'll have these scars and you'll never forget. So you'll always fear doing anything but what the US wants."

Later, when a US airplane picked me up the following January, a female MP took pictures. She was one of the few Americans who ever showed me any sympathy. When she saw the injuries I had she gasped. They treated me and took more photos when I was in Kabul. Someone told me this was "to show Washington it's healing".

But in Morocco, there were even worse things. Too horrible to remember, let alone talk about. About once a week or even once every two weeks I would be taken for interrogation, where they would tell me what to say. They said if you say this story as we read it, you will just go to court as a witness and all this torture will stop. I eventually repeated what was read out to me.

When I got to Morocco they said some big people in al-Qaida were talking about me. They talked about Jose Padilla and they said I was going to testify against him and big people. They named Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, Abu Zubaidah and Ibn Sheikh al-Libi [all senior al-Qaida leaders who are now in US custody]. It was hard to pin down the exact story because what they wanted changed from Morocco to when later I was in the Dark Prison [a detention centre in Kabul with windowless cells and American staff], to Bagram and again in Guantánamo Bay.

They told me that I must plead guilty. I'd have to say I was an al-Qaida operations man, an ideas man. I kept insisting that I had only been in Afghanistan a short while. "We don't care," was all they'd say.

I was also questioned about my links with Britain. The interrogator told me: "We have photos of people given to us by MI5. Do you know these?" I realised that the British were sending questions to the Moroccans. I was at first surprised that the Brits were siding with the Americans.

On August 6, I thought I was going to be transferred out of there [the prison]. They came in and cuffed my hands behind my back.

But then three men came in with black masks. It seemed to go on for hours. I was in so much pain I'd fall to my knees. They'd pull me back up and hit me again. They'd kick me in my thighs as I got up. I vomited within the first few punches. I really didn't speak at all though. I didn't have the energy or will to say anything. I just wanted for it to end. After that, there was to be no more first-class treatment. No bathroom. No food for a while.

During September-October 2002, I was taken in a car to another place. The room was bigger, it had its own toilet, and a window which was opaque.

They gave me a toothbrush and Colgate toothpaste. I was allowed to recover from the scalpel for about two weeks, and the guards said nothing about it.

Then they cuffed me and put earphones on my head. They played hip-hop and rock music, very loud. I remember they played Meat Loaf and Aerosmith over and over. A couple of days later they did the same thing. Same music.

For 18 months, there was not one night when I could sleep well. Sometimes I would go 48 hours without sleep. At night, they would bang the metal doors, bang the flap on the door, or just come right in.

They continued with two or three interrogations a month. They weren't really interrogations, more like training me what to say. The interrogator told me what was going on. "We're going to change your brain," he said.

I suffered the razor treatment about once a month for the remaining time I was in Morocco, even after I'd agreed to confess to whatever they wanted to hear. It became like a routine. They'd come in, tie me up, spend maybe an hour doing it. They never spoke to me. Then they'd tip some kind of liquid on me - the burning was like grasping a hot coal. The cutting, that was one kind of pain. The burning, that was another.

In all the 18 months I was there, I never went outside. I never saw the sun, not even once. I never saw any human being except the guards and my tormentors, unless you count the pictures they showed me.

Comment: Welcome to the true face of American freedom. Is it any wonder the American government is hated by more and more people around the world?

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'Eternal planes' to watch over us
By Jo Twist
BBC News science and technology reporter
Tuesday, 2 August, 2005, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK

Unmanned surveillance vehicles are increasingly omnipresent in a world which relies on knowing what people and places are doing.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) patrol innocuous-looking skies and silently report back streams of strategically-important data, video, and images from locations around the world.

They are the ultimate Earth watchers.

It is believed that up to 800 remotely piloted aircraft are in operation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But observing Earth from afar is not just about battlefields and spy missions, the type usually done by expensive and heavy craft like the US's Predator drone. UAVs are increasingly being recruited to carry out more humanitarian missions, from the stratosphere. [...]

"A UAV will be able to keep up over a particular part of the world for months at a time, whereas satellites have to continue travelling in orbit."

Precise, high quality images and data can be sent back in under 30 minutes to a mobile ground station which can then disseminate images online. [...]

Comment: Strangely enough, the article fails to mention that UAV's are not being used primarily to to watch over the environment, but rather to watch over all of us as a result of the war on terror. The author only mentions in passing that upwards of 800 UAV's are in operation over Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Iran Is Judged 10 Years From Nuclear Bomb

U.S. Intelligence Review Contrasts With Administration Statements
By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 2, 2005; A01

A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis.

The carefully hedged assessments, which represent consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, contrast with forceful public statements by the White House. Administration officials have asserted, but have not offered proof, that Tehran is moving determinedly toward a nuclear arsenal. The new estimate could provide more time for diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. President Bush has said that he wants the crisis resolved diplomatically but that "all options are on the table."

The new National Intelligence Estimate includes what the intelligence community views as credible indicators that Iran's military is conducting clandestine work. But the sources said there is no information linking those projects directly to a nuclear weapons program. What is clear is that Iran, mostly through its energy program, is acquiring and mastering technologies that could be diverted to bombmaking.

The estimate expresses uncertainty about whether Iran's ruling clerics have made a decision to build a nuclear arsenal, three U.S. sources said. Still, a senior intelligence official familiar with the findings said that "it is the judgment of the intelligence community that, left to its own devices, Iran is determined to build nuclear weapons."

At no time in the past three years has the White House attributed its assertions about Iran to U.S. intelligence, as it did about Iraq in the run-up to the March 2003 invasion. Instead, it has pointed to years of Iranian concealment and questioned why a country with as much oil as Iran would require a large-scale nuclear energy program.

The NIE addresses those assertions and offers alternative views supporting and challenging the assumptions they are based on. Those familiar with the new judgments, which have not been previously detailed, would discuss only limited elements of the estimate and only on the condition of anonymity, because the report is classified, as is some of the evidence on which it is based.

Top policymakers are scrutinizing the review, several administration officials said, as the White House formulates the next steps of an Iran policy long riven by infighting and competing strategies. For three years, the administration has tried, with limited success, to increase pressure on Iran by focusing attention on its nuclear program. Those efforts have been driven as much by international diplomacy as by the intelligence. [...]

Last month, U.S. officials shared some data on the missile program with U.N. nuclear inspectors, based on drawings obtained last November. The documents include design modifications for Iran's Shahab-3 missile to make the room required for a nuclear warhead, U.S. and foreign officials said.

"If someone has a good idea for a missile program, and he has really good connections, he'll get that program through," said Gordon Oehler, who ran the CIA's nonproliferation center and served as deputy director of the presidential commission on weapons of mass destruction. "But that doesn't mean there is a master plan for a nuclear weapon."

The commission found earlier this year that U.S. intelligence knows "disturbingly little" about Iran, and about North Korea. [...]

Assessed as plausible, but unverifiable, is Iran's public explanation that it built the program in secret, over 18 years, because it feared attack by the United States or Israel if the work was exposed.

In January, before the review, Vice President Cheney suggested Iranian nuclear advances were so pressing that Israel may be forced to attack facilities, as it had done 23 years earlier in Iraq.

In an April 2004 speech, John R. Bolton -- then the administration's point man on weapons of mass destruction and now Bush's temporarily appointed U.N. ambassador -- said: "If we permit Iran's deception to go on much longer, it will be too late. Iran will have nuclear weapons."

But the level of certainty, influenced by diplomacy and intelligence, appears to have shifted.

Asked in June, after the NIE was done, whether Iran had a nuclear effort underway, Bolton's successor, Robert G. Joseph, undersecretary of state for arms control, said: "I don't know quite how to answer that because we don't have perfect information or perfect understanding. But the Iranian record, plus what the Iranian leaders have said . . . lead us to conclude that we have to be highly skeptical."

Comment: The Bush administration, having failed miserably to find the nonexistent WMD's in Iraq, is now hoping that the world will simply take everything they claim as true without any "evidence" at all. Even though it doesn't seem to be working, the shift in the level of certainty about Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions is nevertheless somewhat disturbing. An "Iranian attack" on Israel would be all it would take to turn the tables again - and the Bush administration could say, "See? We were right."

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Egypt kills Sharm el-Sheikh bombing suspect
Last Updated Mon, 01 Aug 2005 13:41:22 EDT
CBC News

Egyptian police killed a suspect in the bombings of a Red Sea resort in a gunfight, the country's interior ministry said on Monday.

Mohamed Fulayfel was shot about 18 kilometres from the town of Suez, the statement said. It did not specify when.

At least 64 people died when three bombs exploded in Sharm el-Sheikh on July 23.

Police received a tip about Fulayfel's location. They were shot at as they approached, and fired back, according to Egyptian officials.

"The police forces immediately dealt with the source of fire and it became clear that Mohamed Ahmed Saleh Fulayfel had been killed. He was in the company of his wife, who was wounded and taken to hospital for treatment," the statement said.

His wife later died and the couple's four-year-old daughter was injured, a security source told the Reuters news service.

Fulayfel is also accused of a role in bombings at three resorts last year. He has been in hiding.

Fulayfel's brother Suleiman was killed in one of the October attacks after a timing device failed, police said.

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Bush bypasses Senate to install Bolton as UN envoy
Jamie Wilson in Washington
Tuesday August 2, 2005
The Guardian

President George Bush yesterday sidestepped the Senate and installed John Bolton as US ambassador to the UN, despite protests from Democrats that the controversial neo-conservative will undermine America's credibility.

Mr Bolton's appointment has been blocked for more than five months by Senate Democrats who have been demanding the Bush administration release classified information they claim would shed more light on Mr Bolton's past, including claims that he tried to manipulate US intelligence to support his hawkish views.

But flanked by Mr Bolton and the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, at a White House press conference yesterday, Mr Bush said the combative former undersecretary of state for arms control had his full confidence. "This post is too important to leave vacant any longer, especially during a war and a vital debate about UN reform. So today I've used my constitutional right to appoint John Bolton as America's ambassador to the United Nations," he said.

As a recess appointment - a loophole that allows the president to make appointments while Congress is not sitting - Mr Bolton will only be able to serve until January 2007, when a new Congress is sworn in.

Democrats immediately condemned the move. Senator Edward Kennedy said: "It's a devious manoeuvre that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate and only further darkens the cloud over Mr Bolton's credibility at the UN," he said.

The Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, said Mr Bolton was a "seriously flawed and weakened candidate". [...]

Mr Bolton, a 56-year-old lawyer, is an unapologetic advocate of assertive US global leadership and has insisted on holding Iran and North Korea to account for their nuclear activities, along with voicing an interest in seeing both governments removed. [...]

Since Mr Bolton's nomination, opponents have focused on some of his more controversial comments. "The secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference," he said in 1994, while in 2000 he said that the security council needed only one permanent member, the US, "because that's the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world".

Mr Bush's failure to win a clear endorsement from the Senate - despite a sustained campaign - has been cited as demonstrating the limits on the president's power, even after his recent election triumph.

The decision to bypass the Senate could also have an impact on the forthcoming confirmation hearings of supreme court judge nominee John Roberts, with Democratic Senators more determined than ever to take a hard line against the president's choice.

Comment: Bush's distaste for listening to the viewpoints of others is amply illustrated in this appointment, his 106th recess appointment:

The president has made 106 recess appointments, many of them judges. Bolton is the highest-level such appointment of Bush's administration and the first U.S. ambassador to the UN named by a recess appointment.

A loophole meant to be rarely used is now turning into his means of installing the foundation of his theocratic government without any of the surpervision judged necessary by the Founding Fathers of the United States.

If, as the above article states, the initial blocking of Bolton's nomination was evidence of the limits of the President's power, what are we to believe now that Bush has shown that, when it comes down to it, there are no such limits?Can we say, "dictatorship"?

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Israeli 'helped suicide bomber'
BBC

An Israeli Jew has been charged with helping a Palestinian suicide bomber enter Israel, where he blew himself up last month, killing five people.

Kfir Levy, 25, has been charged with manslaughter, along with two Israeli Arabs also suspected of helping the attacker to reach the city of Netanya.

Israel's security service says Mr Levy drove the bomber through a checkpoint. Mr Levy denies the charge.

It is the second time an Israeli Jew has been charged over such an attack.

Last year, an Israeli taxi driver was sentenced to six months' community service for driving a suicide bomber to Geha, near Tel Aviv, where he killed four people, in 2003.

'Unaware'

The Shin Bet security service says Mr Levy and Israeli Arab Sif Azam drove the bomber from the West Bank city of Tulkarm to the Israeli Arab town of Taibeh.

It said Mr Levy's vehicle was not subjected to security checks at an army roadblock because it had Israeli license plates.

A second Israeli Arab, Abed al-Rahman Abu-Moh, allegedly drove the bomber the rest of the way to Netanya.

All the suspects deny knowing the passenger planned to carry out an attack.

Investigators say Mr Levy and Mr Azam claimed the passenger, Ahmed Jawi, from Atil, told them that a briefcase he was carrying contained clothes and tools for committing burglaries.

Mr Levy's lawyer, David Zilberman, said his client was not aware of Jawi's plan.

"If he had known that he was carrying a suicide bomber in his vehicle, he would have done everything possible for him to be arrested," he told Israel radio.

Mr Levy and Mr Azam were reportedly paid 1,000 Israeli shekels ($220) for their efforts.

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France to consider smoking ban in public places
AFP

STRASBOURG, France, Aug 1 (AFP) - A proposition aimed at stamping out smoking in public places across France is being prepared for parliamentary debate in November, the MP behind the move, Yves Bur, told AFP Monday.

The measure, if adopted, would see France join Ireland, Italy, Norway and Malta in banning cigarettes nationwide in cafes, bars, restaurants and other places where people gather.

It would represent a veritable revolution in a country where an estimated one-third of the population still lights up despite successive price hikes that make cigarettes sold in France among the most expensive in Europe.

Smoking is already prohibited in most forms of public transport and in office spaces.

Up to now, though, those who need nicotine with their coffee or dessert have puffed on unperturbed, to the chagrin of non-smokers around them.

"The proposition is not yet formalised. We are in the stage of going over the idea with the main anti-smoking groups and in September I will start discussions with professional organisations," Bur said.

In October, he planned to meet Irish health authorities and business representatives to hear their experience and then, if all went to plan, the bill would be presented November 3, he said.

"The French are a lot more amenable to this sort of restriction than you might imagine," Bur said, though he admitted he was far from certain that his initiative would make it into law.

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China, Russia to launch 1st joint military exercises
www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-02 14:57:17

BEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- China and Russia will hold their first joint military exercises on Aug. 18-25, China's Ministry of Defense announced here Tuesday.

In a press release, the ministry said the exercises, dubbed "Peace Mission 2005", will be carried out in Vladivostok in far eastern region of Russia and East China's Shandong Peninsula and nearby offshore seawaters.

The exercises will involve nearly 10,000 troops from the armies, navies, air forces as well as airborne units, marine corps and logistic units of Chinese and Russian armed forces, said the press release.

Chinese and Russian defense ministries signed a memorandum on conducting joint military exercises in July 2004. The chiefs of the general staffs of Chinese and Russian armed forces will announce the commencement of the exercises in Vladivostok on Aug. 18.

China and Russia have invited the defense ministers from member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and representatives from SCO's observer countries to watch the joint exercises.

The holding of the maneuvers is in line with the guideline of the UN Charter, and complies with the widely recognized international laws and the respect of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, said the press release.

"The exercises neither aim at any third party nor concern with the interests of any third country," said the press release.

The ministry said that the mission of the drills mainly aim to deepen Sino-Russian mutual trust, promote mutual friendship and enhance the cooperation and coordination of the two armed forces in the areas of defense and security.

The joint exercises will also help strengthen the capability of the two armed forces in jointly striking international terrorism, extremism and separatism.

Through the exercises, the two armed forces can improve their coordinated capabilities to handle crises and meet new challenges and threats, said the press release.

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Canada gathers information from immigrants in cold war: study
www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-02 13:08:45

OTTAWA, Aug. 1 (Xinhuanet) - Canada's military grilled hundreds of immigrants and refugees who settled in the country at the height of the Cold War for valuable information, says a new study by a historian from the University of Toronto.

The Joint Intelligence Bureau, a section of the Defense Department which handled secret information on economic and military matters, set up an interrogation unit in 1953 to debrief newcomers from Hungary, Poland and other countries, the Canadian Press (CP) reported Monday, citing a report by history professor Wesley Wark.

From 1953 to 1963, a total of 2,000 immigrants, most of whom came from East European countries, provided intelligence under the program. It was the closest Canada came during the era to developing a covert intelligence-gathering organization based on the human sources, Wark writes.

The program was seen as a means of helping Canada earn its place with allies at the western intelligence table, the study quotes 83-year-old Reg Weeks, a retired veteran of Canadian military intelligence, as saying.

"In those days we were very highly dependent on the Americans and the Brits," Weeks said. [...]

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Forget French lessons - a new atlas offers insights into !Xoop
Krysia Diver in Stuttgart
Tuesday August 2, 2005
The Guardian

In Japan people think it rude to say "you" - but in India there are six different ways to address a person.

And if you need to find out which countries take tea, and which prefer a cup of cha, the world's first atlas about the composition of languages should be able to help.

In a world where globalisation leads to the death of one language every fortnight, it is hoped that the World Atlas of Language Structures will help to revive a wilting interest in linguistics.

German linguists have spent five years compiling the book, working with 40 language experts specialising in languages ranging from Chinese to those spoken by only 100 adults.

Roland Kriessling, a linguist specialising in African languages, said: "In Namibia, there are many languages which sound completely bizarre to the western ear.

"!Xoop, for example, has different clicking sounds, including the tut, the horse's hoof sound and the kiss. The phonetic complexity of !Xoop could put it into the Guinness Book of Records."

The atlas contains details of about 2,600 languages, where they prevail, and how they are used. And, with grammar still a hot linguistic topic, it includes a map of sentence structures around the world.

Readers can also discover which languages are rich in vocabulary, and which use restricted terminology. In some languages, for example, there is no distinction between the arm and the hand.

Michael Cysouw, one of the atlas's authors, told the Guardian: "If you ask the average man how many languages are in the world, he will probably say a couple of hundred. In fact there are 7,000."

Despite highlighting the range of languages spoken throughout the world, the atlas does not explain why language evolved in different ways.

"The atlas draws together information about languages, but its purpose is not to draw conclusions," Dr Cysouw said. "It invites people to investigate what lies behind the linguistics."

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High temperature hits eastern Europe
www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-02 09:38:54

BEIJING, Aug. 2 -- A rare spell of hot weather has hit Eastern Europe, leaving dozens of people dead.

According to local media in Bulgaria, Sunday's highest temperature in Plovdiv city in the south of the country reached 38 celsius, which is also the highest record in the city's 104-year history, while the highest temperature over the past three days in the southwestern city of Sandanski hit 39 degrees.

Five elderly people in Bulgaria have died of heart attacks brought on by the continuous hot wave.

The country's weather forecast department says the hot weather is likely to last the whole of August.

The fierce weather has also attacked other countries in the region, 19 elderly people have died due to the heat in Romania.

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Quake measuring 5.7 jolts Indonesia's Ambon
08.02.2005, 07:59 AM

JAKARTA (AFX) - An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale jolted the eastern Indonesian island of Ambon today, prompting panic but there were no reports of casualties or damage, an official said.

The undersea quake struck at 5:39 pm and was located 96 kilometres southeast of the city of Ambon in the Maluku province, an official with the meteorological agency in Jakarta told Agence France-Presse.

Its epicenter was located some 33 kilometers under the floor of the Banda Sea, sending tremors that were also felt on Seram island, the official said.

The Detikcom online news service reported that the earthquake caused panic in Ambon, with residents rushing out of buildings and causing traffic jams.

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They Sing the Comet Electric
By David McCandless
02:00 AM Aug. 02, 2005 PT

Dissident scientists advocating a controversial theory of the universe are having a field day in the wake of NASA's Deep Impact comet collision earlier this month.

Scientists promoting the Electric Universe model say their predictions for the comet mission appear to have been more accurate than NASA's.

The Electric Universe theorists, collected at Thunderbolts.info, believe that electricity, when factored properly into astrophysics, plays a greater role in the cosmos than the standard gravitational model, which says electrical forces are insignificant on a cosmic scale.

Proponents of the Electric Universe model say they can explain many of the bizarre phenomena and mysteries in cosmology, from a swath of anomalies seen in the solar system to unusual surface features on Mars and Jupiter's moon, Titan. The theory can also sweep away the need for theoretical "dark matter" and "dark energy."

Comets are a cornerstone of the model, visible proof of the legitimacy of the theory as they traverse eccentric orbits around the sun.

According to the model, comets are not inert balls of ice and rocky dust particles aggregated into a "dirty iceball" as standard comet theory holds. Instead, they are solid, asteroid-like rocks, containing little ice. Negatively charged with electricity, their motion through the positively charged solar wind triggers electrical discharges. These, not vaporized ice, produce the characteristic comet glow and tail.

Prior to the July 4 impact, the Electric Universe group published a detailed chain of events they expected to see when Deep Impact struck comet Tempel 1 with an 820-pound copper projectile.

The prediction said there would be two impact flashes: a small flash as the projectile penetrated the comet's electrified atmosphere, followed by a huge impact flash that would be "unexpectedly energetic."

And that's exactly what appeared to happen on July 4, in an impact that astonished NASA investigators.

"What you see is something really surprising," said mission co-investigator Peter Schultz. "First, there is a small flash, then there's a delay, then there's a big flash and the whole thing breaks loose."

The renegades at Thunderbolts made more predictions, including an expected massive surge in X-ray production, a lack of subsurface water and very high explosion temperatures. However, confirmation or debunking of their predictions awaits detailed data from NASA, which has yet to release the results.

The Thunderbolts ragtag team of rebels comprises writers, researchers, electrical engineers and comparative mythologists, led by Australian physicist Wallace Thornhill.

Meantime, on the Deep Impact website, NASA scientists theorize that the collision's intense flash was likely caused by tons of fine dust thrown up by the impact and lit by the sun.

And the double flashes, some have suggested, were caused by the projectile penetrating two surfaces on the comet: a soft outer layer and a harder deeper nucleus of rock and ice.

Indeed, NASA investigators have conceded that Comet Tempel 1 appears to be something of an anomaly that does not conform to the dirty iceball model. The theory now is that the nuclei of different comets may have different compositions, according to Donald Yeomans, a mission scientist on Deep Impact.

Whatever the outcome, the self-styled "alternate paradigm theorists" are energized by the evidence from Deep Impact, as well as the shifting theories and unexplained data from previous comet observations.

They point to photographs of comets by various probes that have revealed distinctly ice-free rock-like objects, and images of strange bright patches they say are proof of electrical discharges in action.

"Why are comet nuclei coal-black as if they have been burnt?" asked David Talbott, executive editor of Thunderbolts.info. "Why is there a superabundance of extremely fine dust?

"And if comet nuclei are merely melting in the sun's heat, why are they sharply cratered and rocky? They should be smooth like a melting scoop of ice cream."

The Electric Universe model is broadly dismissed as pseudoscience by scientists. Indeed, its Wikipedia entry was recently deleted after users successfully argued that it did not constitute a legitimate theory.

"It's complete cobblers," said Dr. David Hughes, comet expert and professor of astrophysics at Britain's University of Sheffield. "Absolute balderdash."

Crudely put, for astronomical material to be charged electrically, it must be in the form of hot ionized gas, otherwise known as plasma, Hughes said.

"The inside of a comet has a typical temperature of minus 100 Celsius," he said. "Electricity on the surface of a comet? Forget about it. It's not a contender."

Scientists from NASA's Deep Impact investigation team declined to comment on specific observations made by the Thunderbolts group.

Despite the skepticism, Electric Universe theorists are not deterred.

"All the things we see around comets fit the electrical model but don't make much sense in terms of icy snowballs sublimating into space," said Thunderbolts' Thornhill.

Answers to the surprises of Deep Impact and the credibility of the Electric Universe theory will have to wait until NASA releases X-ray readings, spectroscopic analysis and other detailed data during the $333 million mission. These are expected in a few months.

But answers are not guaranteed. So much dust was thrown up by the impact that cameras on board the probe were unable to take pictures of the crater -- a vital piece of evidence for settling the major unanswered question in comet theory: what a comet is actually made of.

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