Friday, August 05, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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The birth of 'mere terror'

Hiroshima wasn't uniquely wicked. It was part of a policy for the mass killing of civilians
Geoffrey Wheatcroft
The Guardian
Friday August 5, 2005

At the time, there was little immediate sense that something utterly extraordinary had happened, or that life had changed for ever. After August 6 1945, popular newspapers wrote half nervously and half exultantly about the coming of the "atomic age", but the most widespread reaction was mere thankfulness that the war was over.

It was argued then, and still sometimes is, that the bombing of Hiroshima 60 years ago tomorrow, and of Nagasaki three days later, was justified by the Japanese surrender, obviating the need for an invasion of Japan which would have meant huge casualties. That may not even be true, though the debate among military historians remains unresolved.

By the summer of 1945, Japan was already prostrate. Not only were Japanese armies being driven out of the Pacific islands and Burma, American bombers were wrecking the cities of Japan and, in one of the most successful campaigns of the whole war, submarines of the US navy had done to Japan what German U-boats had never managed to do to England, by completely destroying its shipping. Some American admirals believed then and ever after that surrender was a matter of time, and not much of it, and a strong suspicion persists of an ulterior motive by Washington, wanting to end the war with Japan quickly before Soviet Russia joined in.

In any case, that argument begs the profoundest questions of ends and means. In the shadow of the mushroom cloud, few people addressed them, or grasped the enormity of what had been done. Two who did were very remarkable men writing from entirely disparate perspectives: Dwight Macdonald, an American radical atheist, and Monsignor Ronald Knox, a conservative English Catholic.

Once an active Trotskyist, Macdonald was evolving from revolutionary socialism to pacifist anarchism, as reflected in Politics, the brilliant magazine he published from 1944 to 1949. His response to the news from Hiroshima was unequivocal. "This atrocious action places 'us', the defenders of civilisation, on a moral level with 'them', the beasts of Maidanek. And 'we', the American people, are just as much and as little responsible for this horror as 'they', the German people."

After the two cities were destroyed, Knox was about to propose a public declaration that the weapon would not be used again, when he heard the news of the Japanese surrender. Instead he sat down and wrote God and the Atom, an astonishing book, neglected at the time and since, but as important for sceptics as for Christians.

An outrage had been committed in human and divine terms, Knox thought. Hiroshima was an assault on faith, because the splitting of the atom itself meant "an indeterminate element in the heart of things"; on hope, because "the possibilities of evil are increased by an increase in the possibilities of destruction"; and on charity, because - this answers those who still defend the bombing of Hiroshima - "men fighting for a good cause have taken, at one particular moment of decision, the easier, not the nobler path".

That was finely put, by both writers, but there was more to it: should Hiroshima really be seen as uniquely wicked or cataclysmic? However horrific, it may be that it was not so very different in degree, or even in kind, from what had gone before.

In 1939 the British government had entered the war with high protestations of virtue. Neville Chamberlain told parliament: "Whatever be the lengths to which others may go, His Majesty's government will never resort to the deliberate attack on women and children, and on other civilians for the purposes of mere terrorism." By the end of the war, the British had resorted to enough "mere terrorism" to destroy most of the cities of Germany and many of their inhabitants, 100,000 of them children.

This grew out of the exigencies of war and was one of those changes that take place without anyone's really reflecting, or even noticing. And yet it was an immense development. If you had told any Englishman a hundred years ago - not only a pacifist but an army officer - that before the century was out warfare would largely consist of killing civilians, he would have thought you were insane.

But that was what happened. During the recent Kosovo "war", a French officer asked bitterly if this was to be the first war in history in which only civilians were killed, and yet we had long since begun to go down just that road. It is sobering to compare the 300,000 British uniformed servicemen who died in 1939-45 with the 600,000 German civilians killed.

Making war on civilians took a further turn in the Far East, and not only because of the Japanese army's own atrocities towards conquered peoples. Before August 1945, very many Japanese had already been killed by "conventional" bombing. On one night in Tokyo in March, American bombers killed 85,000 civilians - more than would die at Nagasaki - and at least 300,000 were incinerated in great fire raids over the following months.

And so it was that, as Evelyn Waugh put it when writing about Knox's book in 1948: "To the practical warrior the atom bomb presented no particular moral or spiritual problem. We were engaged in destroying the enemy, civilians and combatants alike. We always assumed that destruction was roughly proportionate to the labour and material expended. Whether it was more convenient to destroy a city with one bomb or a hundred thousand depended on the relative costs of production." Hiroshima was but one more step.

However noble Macdonald and Knox's may now seem, it is only fair to point out that one was a conscientious objector living in New York and the other a priest living in a country house in Shropshire.

Their consciences might not have been so acute if they had been in uniform, fighting or about to fight against Japan. To put it in personal family terms, apart from one uncle I never knew who had been killed in Bomber Command (and for all Macdonald's rhetorical flourish, I don't think that he, or even the crew of Enola Gay, were war criminals to be compared to death camp guards); two other uncles had recently been released from German prison camps; and my father, a Fleet Air Arm pilot, was training a new squadron destined for the Japanese war where he had already served. I have never asked any of them, but I imagine that their immediate reaction to the news that August was pure relief. I imagine mine would have been in their place.

Where Macdonald was surely right was to say that nuclear weapons - or what President Harry Truman called "the greatest achievement of organised science in history" - had rendered obsolete the very concept of material, scientific "progress". As the great and heroic Simone Weil had said before her death two years earlier, the evil in modern war was now the technical aspect itself rather than political factors. Everything that has happened since has only confirmed that truth.

Comment: These words quoted above stay with us:

"Men fighting for a good cause have taken, at one particular moment of decision, the easier, not the nobler path".

This phrase is as succinct definition of the trap of entropy as we have seen: taking the easier path. How often are we confronted in our own lives with choices where we do the same? Where we are too tired or fed up to do the nobler thing and so we settle for that which is easier.

Entropy carries us along the path of no resistance, the path where we do nothing, have not to make an effort to change direction. It is the default setting on all we say and do until we stop, reflect, and decide to go against the current. We see the effects of billions of people taking the easier path in the world around us, the mechanical path, the automatic response to situations in front of us. Ours is the world of the easier path, where we risk nothing, but where in the end there is nothing gained.

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Much ado about Gaza
Israel Shamir

An Englishman leaves without bidding farewell, a Jew says his farewells but does not leave, says a Jewish joke. This is the case with Israeli withdrawals from Bethlehem, Ramallah and now the grand slam, Gaza disengagement. A fortnight ago, Israeli army left Tul Karem amid fanfares. Newspapers described it a "trust-building measure" the Palestinians have to work hard to justify. A few days later, Israeli tanks rolled back into Tul Karem; they killed a few policemen in cold blood, carried away a wagonload of captives and were ready for the next well-publicised withdrawal. We went through this motion so many times, that one should be a great enthusiast to care about Gaza show provided by courtesy of Ariel Sharon.

Gaza disengagement is nothing. This is a non-event, though presented as a great news. This one is not the first, and surely not the last. In Palestinian history, Gaza withdrawals are a dime a dozen. I remember even Gaza withdrawal of 1956, but people with shorter memory probably remember the ballyhoo around Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 1993, in accordance with Oslo Accords. There were so many arguments, whether there should be 'Gaza first to go', or 'Gaza and Jericho first to go". After plenty of acrimony, the Palestinians "got" Gaza and Jericho. Eventually it turned out that Israel granted some prisoner autonomy to what became Gaza Concentration Camp and Jericho Open Prison, on a par with the five-star VIP prison of Ramallah.

Disengagement is sham, but the wall is real. The Israeli News agency announced that "The IDF is to build another security fence around the Gaza Strip. In the end, the system will comprise of three fences, state-of-the-art electronic and optical sensors as well as remote control machine guns. The system should be completed in less than a year for a total cost of $220 million", naturally, paid by the US taxpayer.

If for some reason, the prisoners will become restive, Israel has enough planes to bomb them into submission without moving a single soldier. The disengagement is good for Israel of Sharon, as it allows him to cut expenses, to cut down unpopular reserve duty and to make servicing of the Gaza Concentration Camp so much easier. This is no secret: Israeli officials expressed this view on numerous occasions.

Our friend Uri Avnery called upon the Palestinian resistance "not to play into the hands of Sharon" and refrain from all military activity until the withdrawal is completed. The sad reality is that the Palestinians have no options. If they keep quiet, they will be immured beyond the high walls of Gaza. If they misbehave, they will be bombed, strafed and immured beyond the high walls of Gaza. There is no carrot, just a stick.

Our friend Ilan Pappe warned us of a possibility of large-scale killings in Gaza Strip when the pull-out is completed. He called upon us 'to keep our eyes on Gaza'. But I doubt there will be something that dramatic. There are too many people in Gaza to kill them off; there is no place to expel them to, either. No reason to rush: the imprisoned population will be there for future punitive actions whenever they will be required.

The pull-out is just part of the game; it is always followed by a push-in, as in rape. Gaza will remain a jail, without even an air or sea link to freedom. But it is a mistake to concentrate on access only: for ordinary Gazans air link will not feed their families. Gaza can't stand on its own feet – no city, neither Tel Aviv nor London can. Gazans will have but a little chance to make living by working the fields that belonged to their families, for Israeli farmers prefer cheaper and undemanding Thais. Gaza will become the preferred place of exile of Palestinian activists from the West Bank and Jerusalem, a big jail, nay, a place of entombment.

Recently I went to the Biblical village of Bethany in vicinity of Jerusalem where the deep rock-cut tomb of Lazarus forever reminds of faith's ability to bring back to life even the stinking dead soul of man from under thick shell of stone and masonry. It is a powerful and relevant symbol for there are forces that bring spiritual death to souls, immuring them in pursuit of material goods and casting off sunlight of God. But the broad well-paved highway to Bethany was abruptly cut off by a huge monstrosity of a wall; 25 feet tall concrete slabs blocked the way and dimmed sunlight. A paint-sprayed sign read: Welcome to the Ghetto of Bethany.

Beyond the wall, blue-eyed and suntanned Palestinian children in their best Sunday clothes stared in disbelief on the Israeli workers' team that relentlessly erected the slabs entombing them in their village. They reminded me of a Gothic story[1] by Allan Edgar Poe, about a vindictive Spaniard who immured his chained live victim in a cellar of his castle after enticing him to come down and try his amontillado wine. He laid a brick upon a brick, poured mortar with gusto, vigorously walled up the entrance of the niche, while disbelief in the eyes of the victim was turning into horror of recognition. His lips wisped 'Amontillado!' as the last brick immured him for his slow and dreadful death in darkness of the cellar. Poe knew we fear entombment more than we fear death.

We can't stop Israel from entombing a million of Gazans. But we may and should stop Israel from earning feathers on his hat by this dastardly act. Thanks for nothing, General Sharon. You do the evil deed of Zimri, and demand the reward of righteous Phineas, as Bible-minded folk says. We should attend to people who let him sell redeployment as a great sacrifice - meople in the media. Instead of watching with shudder one million live human beings being immured, the vast world-wide Jewish media machine, from Sulzberger's New York Times to Rothschild's Liberacion, concentrates on "the settlers' plight". This is another sham. Last month, Israelis destroyed the village of Tana and expelled its population, practically unreported; but tears of each settler are avidly documented and served to the viewers all over world.

Nobody pushes these settlers away but their own government. They may stay as equals in Gaza. Probably they would be able even to keep much of their illegally obtained assets. The PNA may do well stating that publicly. The hullabaloo is done to enforce the idea that Jews may not live with goyim together. Alas, this idea is supported by Jewish pro-peace activists: Michael Warshawski stated that

"the priority of the anti-occupation forces should be to denounce and to fight against the settlement policy, … to impose on Israel an immediate and total freeze on settlements activities, including the wall and the bypass roads, and to establish, under the hospices of the UN, an International Settlements Freeze Watch, mandated to implement this freeze."

Warshawsky's call amounts to support of Sharon's concept of separation from the left. He is against the wall being built away from the Green Line; so the Gaza Wall should suit him perfectly. But it is too little, too late to ask for a freeze that never comes, for the walls being build along old armistice lines. 'Anti-occupation' became the shibboleth of Zionism-lite. There is just one possible solution: instead of removing settlers and building more walls, to integrate Gaza and the West Bank in Israel, warts and all.

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Global Holocaust-deniers bill passed in Knesset
By NINA GILBERT

Legislation that would make Holocaust-denial committed overseas an offense under Israeli legal jurisdiction was approved unanimously in first reading by the Knesset on Tuesday.

The passage of the measure would enable Israel to demand the extradition of Holocaust-deniers for prosecution.

The bill was drafted by MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) as a move against former Palestinian Authority prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) for his doctoral dissertation 20 years ago in which he estimated that the Nazis killed less than a million Jews.

It is likely to serve as a deterrence against Holocaust-deniers visiting Israel, although the possibility of countries consenting to extradition on the offense is unlikely.

The legislation expands the territorial jurisdiction of the Israeli law against Holocaust-denying outside of it borders.

Comment: Given Israel's repeated flouting of international law, we find it particularly repellent that they would seek to impose Knesset law on the rest of the world. Another manifestation of the "Chosen People" syndrome?

Unfortunately, other countries have preceded them in this. Any questioning of the official story on the Holocaust can mean prison in some countries - Germany, for example:

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Belgian Holocaust denier arrested in Amsterdam
www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-05 20:42:23

BRUSSELS, Aug. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- Belgian Holocaust denier Siegfried Verbeke has been arrested at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and might be extradited to Germany for trial, Belgian newspaper "De Standaard" reported on Friday.

A German judge issued an international arrest warrant against Verbeke at the end of last year because he cast doubt on the internet over whether the Nazis actually killed six million Jews in World War Two.

Germany asked Belgium to extradite Verbeke last year but a Belgian judge refused the request, the paper said.

Verbeke has already been convicted in Belgium of denying the Holocaust. The appeals court in Antwerp sentenced him in April this year to a maximum one-year jail term and a 2,500-euro fine for anti-racism laws.

The 63-year-old Verbeke has been the head of the Free Historical Research Center since 1983. The center has publishes books in which the Holocaust is denied or downplayed.

Verbeke has used the principle of freedom of speech to defend himself in the past and is a renowned figure across Europe. He had links with various ultra-right groups across the continent.

Comment: Long live the thought police. Supposedly, the West is at war with "terrorism" because the"terrorists" are jealous of our freedoms. What freedom is there when people are thrown into prison because of their ideas? Several questions are raised:

Why is the Holocaust the one question that is off limits? There are discussions over how many people died during the years of the Soviet Union. People are free to publish books about it, to question official statistics and propose alternate theories, at least in the West. When Solzenitzen wrote about the Soviet labour camps, he came to trouble within the Soviet Union. He was questioning the official figures and was hailed as a great freedom fighter in the West while vilified at home. But to raise the question of what happened in Nazi Germany is to risk imprisonment. Why are we taught to focus attention on the plight of one group during that war when it cost the lives of 65 million people from many nations and ethnic backgrounds? The war was a catastrophe for many peoples and nations, not only the Jews.

But there are other questions that we think are more important to understand, such as how the Zionists in Germany allied with the Nazis to encourage emigration to Palestine, or how the question of the Holocaust was used to manipulate public opinion into supporting the foundation of Israel, or how the Second World War is reduced to a strictly Jewish event

We note that any criticism of Israel and Israeli policies is denounced as anti-Semitism by supporters of that state. How has the Jewish lobby gained so much power that these questions are off-limits? That Israel can ignore the laws of the international community on the one hand and impose them on the other?

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Briton held over 452 fake passports
John Aglionby, south-east Asia correspondent
Thursday August 4, 2005
The Guardian

A Briton was arrested at Bangkok airport yesterday with 452 fake blank European passports in his luggage, as he prepared to board a plane to return to the UK.

Mahieddine Daikh, an Algerian who became a naturalised Briton two years ago, will probably escape punishment unless there is a formal complaint in the next few days from the government of one of the countries affected, Thai and British authorities told the Guardian yesterday.

Mr Daikh was caught at 1am while in transit from the southern Thai island of Koh Samui to Amsterdam, from where he was scheduled to fly to Glasgow.

Officials found about 200 forged passports from France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal in his hand luggage and 250 fakes from the same countries in his checked-in bags, according to an immigration chief, General Suwat Thamrongsisakul.

"There were 452 altogether," he said. "He told us he bought the passports from a Pakistani man for £3,000 in Koh Samui and that he would be paid £15,000 when he delivered them to his contact in London.

"Of course he can't remember the name of the Pakistani."

A British embassy official who examined the passports was very impressed with their quality, according to Gen Suwat.

"He had to look at them very carefully before being certain they were fake," he said. "'Excellent job' is what he told my officers."

Mr Daikh is currently being held in an immigration detention centre but he could be free by the weekend, because there appears to be no terrorism link to the case. [...]

Comment: Perhaps the authorities are looking in the wrong direction for the terrorists who use fake passports to gain access to a specific country and then carry out an attack... For example:

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Flashback: 'Mossad spies' jailed over New Zealand passport fraud
David Fickling in Sydney
Friday July 16, 2004
The Guardian

The prime minister of New Zealand angrily denounced Israel and imposed diplomatic sanctions on it after two suspected Mossad agents were jailed for six months for trying on false grounds to obtain a New Zealand passport.

The plot, which involved obtaining a passport in the name of a tetraplegic man who had not spoken in years, provoked a furious reaction yesterday.

"The breach of New Zealand laws and sovereignty by agents of the Israeli government has seriously strained our relationship with Israel," said the prime minister, Helen Clark.

"This type of behaviour is unacceptable internationally by any country. It is a sorry indictment of Israel that it has again taken such actions against a country with which it has friendly relations."

High-level visits between the two countries will be cancelled, visa restrictions imposed for Israeli officials, and an expected visit to New Zealand by Moshe Katsov, the Israeli president, later this year has been cancelled.

Ms Clark said Israel had ignored requests made three months ago for an explanation and an apology.

The action marks the most serious rupture in New Zealand's international relations since Wellington suspended diplomatic relations with France in 1985 after French agents bombed Greenpeace's anti-nuclear ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour.

The Mossad plot was uncovered in March when a passport officer noticed that a passport applicant was speaking with a Canadian or American accent.

The clue led to the uncovering of a complex conspiracy involving up to four Israeli agents, who had attempted to create a false identity for 36-year-old Zev Barkan, another suspected Israeli spy, using a fraudulent birth certificate, a fake voicemail message and letter box, and concocted medical symptoms.

Uriel Kelman, 30, and Eli Cara, 50, were each sentenced to six months in prison yesterday for their involvement in the plot. Both men had gone to elaborate steps to conceal their identities: Kelman appeared at the court wearing a balaclava and covered his face throughout the two-hour hearing, while Cara had changed his hair colour, complexion and build since his first court appearance in March.

Mr Barkan and a fourth man believed to have been connected to the plot are still on the run. Mr Barkan lived in a house just a few hundred metres from his target, a wheel-chair user who has not been named for legal reasons. Cara set up a false travel agency in Sydney to aid the deception. [...]

Comment: The fourth man, Mr Barkan - a one-time Israeli diplomat - has a history of not only passport theft, but murder...

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Flashback: Mossad agents Killing Oz Tourists to Steal their Identity to use in fake al-Qaeda Operations
by Bev Taylor
Monday July 19, 2004 at 02:19 PM

The Israeli Mossad agent Zev Barkan has been running Asian criminal gangs used to obtain Australian Identity documents and other passports stolen from Australians Killed in Asia, a New Zealand security official has said.

I was contacted by a New Zealand official, who has intelligence connections in Asia while I was shopping in Toul Tom Pong Market in Phnom Penh and provided documents to support this information on the condition that it remain anonymous and I not publish the documents considering the risk to officials if the source of this leak was identified, this New Zealand official said Barkan was connected to an Israeli terrorist cell operating out of Thailand.

"He goes to Laos, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand and is running gangs that he pays to kill tourists, and steal their Identity papers passports then cover it up, most just disappear or their deaths have been reported as accidents, drownings and such, they like to throw their victims off the side of tour boats" said a New Zealand security official

Barkan has been named by New Zealand authorities as the kingpin in a passport theft ring for which two Israelis with Australian links were jailed for six months last week in Auckland.

One of the jailed men, Eli Cara, 50, had his rented home in Turramurra raided by ASIO in March. A short time later, he was arrested in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Government has named Barkan, Cara and the other convicted man, Uriel Kelman, as Mossad agents.

Barkan fled New Zealand before police moved in. There are reports that Barkan, using a Stolen Canadian Identity documents, has now made a move to North Korea out of reach of authorities.

"Barkan is mostly interested in passports and identity documents, there have been a number of Australian killed for their passports."

Intelligence analysts in New Zealand believe Barkan, a former navy diver in the Israeli IOF (sic), was trying to secure clean passports for use in Israeli terrorist operations in the region.

Barkan had grown up in Washington as Zev Bruckenstein, where his father was director of religious studies at a synagogue.

A New Zealand security official says his services have uncovered an Israeli operation to create al-Qaeda cells in Thailand. The security official in Thailand said Israeli terrorist are posing as operatives of al-Qaeda.

Over the past nine months we have been investigating eight cases, 11 people informed us of this Israeli operation, asking Thai Landers to join al-Qaeda. One email had even been signed by the al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden. a New Zealand official said.

A New Zealand official said his services had traced back to Israel the phone calls and emails - purportedly from Germany and Lebanon and Pakistan.

We investigated the origin of those calls and found out they all came from Israel.

The people the Israelis tried to recruit were then given stolen Australian documents, and received money and weapons.

The money was provided by Israel directly to the recruits or was transferred from bank accounts in Jerusalem or Israel, said the New Zealand official.

Comment: Note that the above article comes from the Melbourne Indymedia site. It appears that it was excerpted, in part, from a report in the Sydney Morning Herald of July 19th 2004 entitled "Mossad agent linked to Asia scam".

The author of the Indymedia article above appears to have changed the words "sensitive Israeli undercover operation" in the SMH story to: "Israeli terrorist operations" in the above article. While this is likely to be a truer reflection of the nature of the operation given that the Mossad agent was involved in the murder of innocent tourists, we do not espouse such arbitrary changes to original texts without making the reader aware of it.

So - it appears that Israel's Mossad has been very, very busy creating fake terrorist groups to convince numerous nations to battle "Arab terrorists". For more information, the reader may wish to read Laura-Knight Jadczyk's article Mossad and Moving Companies: Masterminds of Global Terrorism?

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EU Should Cut Trade With Israel
JewsSanFrontieres

Letter to the UK Independent:

Sir: It is now more than a year since the advisory ruling of the International Court of Justice that the construction by Israel of the separation wall in the occupied West Bank is illegal in international law and should cease forthwith. It ruled that those portions of the wall built on Palestinian land should be torn down and reparations made by Israel to those whose lives had been harmed by it. It also stated that all States party to the Geneva Convention are under an obligation to ensure compliance by Israel. On 20 July 2004, the UN General Assembly in emergency session passed a resolution by 150 votes to six accepting the advisory ruling. Those voting for the resolution included the UK and other European states.

I note that Israel has ignored the ruling and the UN vote, continues to build the wall and expand its settlements in the West Bank, also declared illegal by the ICJ in the same ruling, and that no attempts appear to have been made by the UK or other European governments to ensure Israel's compliance. Israel enjoys substantial trading advantages with Europe under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, an essential condition of which is that Israel maintains "respect for human rights". This condition is clearly being violated, and I believe that Europe should now suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

DR MIKE BARNES,

WATFORD, HERTFORDSHIRE

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Israeli Police Brace for Possible Riots
Friday August 5, 2005
By KRISTEN STEVENS
Associated Press Writer

SHFARAM, Israel (AP) - Police braced for possible rioting Friday by Arabs incensed over the killings of four Israeli Arabs by a Jewish soldier opposed to Israel's impending pullout from Gaza.

The soldier, 19-year-old Eden Natan-Zada, boarded a bus in this Israeli Arab town Thursday and opened fire, killing the driver and three passengers and injuring 13. An enraged mob beat him to death after the shooting and prevented police from removing his body from the bus for hours.

Police commissioner Moshe Karadi said forces had been diverted recently to deal with this week's anti-pullout demonstration in Israel's south, leaving the north - where most of Israel's Arab population lives - short-handed.

He cautioned that the attack could trigger additional violence. In Jerusalem, ahead of Muslim Sabbath prayers on Friday, police raised their alert to the highest level and assigned SWAT teams and cavalry to the area, in anticipation of possible rioting in the Old City.

For months, Israeli security has been warning that as the mid-August pullout from Gaza and four small northern West Bank settlements nears, desperate extremists might try to sabotage it by attacking Arabs and diverting forces.

Natan-Zada's father said he deserted his army unit in protest after he was ordered to help prepare for the pullout and moved to Tapuah, an extremist West Bank settlement.

The funerals for the four dead - including two sisters in their 20s - are to be held later Friday.

Natan-Zada is also to be buried Friday in a civilian service, after the Ministry of Defense overturned the army's decision to accord him a military funeral without honors, the military said.

The Haaretz newspaper cited witnesses as saying Natan-Zada boarded the bus bound for Shfaram, a city of 35,000 Muslims, Christians and Druze, in the northern city of Haifa. He wore the skullcap, beard and sidelocks of an ultra-Orthodox Jew, and an orange ribbon symbolizing opposition to the withdrawal was attached to a pocket, the newspaper said.

When the bus entered a Shfaram neighborhood, Natan-Zada opened fire on the driver, killing him instantly, witnesses said.

The bus rolled on for 20 yards until it hit a parked car and ground to a halt, Haaretz said. Natan-Zada continued shooting inside the bus, which was carrying about 20 passengers. He emptied an entire magazine. When he tried loading a new magazine, one of the passengers jumped him.

Ahkim Janhwi told Israel Radio he wrestled the attacker to the ground and disarmed him - only to be attacked by a confused crowd who thought he was the gunman.

When the gunfire erupted "I immediately lay down between the seats,'' Janhwi said. "I thought about everybody who is important to me and who I'm important to, and I thought I was a goner. I closed my eyes and heard his footsteps getting closer to me.

"There was a woman sitting nearby who began screaming and begged him not to do anything to her, and at that moment I jumped on him and grabbed his gun,'' Janhwi said. "He shot about three bullets, and I pulled him back. We rolled back to the back of the bus and I held him down. Then I called on people through the window to help me.''

People who boarded the bus beat Natan-Zada to death, media reports said. Television stations reported Thursday he was attacked with iron bars and stones.

For hours, until the crowd was subdued, the gunman's body lay on the floor of the bus, his head covered with a black plastic bag. His shirtless upper torso was heavily bruised and bloodied.

The windows of the bus were shattered by bullets and by rocks the mob threw at the gunman. Blood stained-seats, and rocks covered the bus floor.

Burning candles marked the site of the attack on Friday morning.

Police were looking for the people who killed the soldier, Army Radio said.

Military chief Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz said he was "definitely worried that people on the fringes are going too far.'' [...]

Comment: Indeed, and guess who is bankrolling the entire operation that will likely lead to a serious escalation of violence in the Middle East? Who has protected and financed Israel throughout the years as it waged it brutal war against the Palestinian people? You guessed it...

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Flashback: Israel seeks $2.2 billion from US for Gaza pullout
By Dan Williams Mon Jul 11

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel will ask the United States for $2.2 billion, one of the largest aid requests by the Jewish state, to pay for its planned withdrawal from the occupied Gaza Strip, Israeli political sources said on Monday.

The special funding would be used to pay for the evacuation, slated to begin in mid-August, of all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four of 120 in the West Bank, and the relocation of the 9,000 settlers to underpopulated areas of Israel. [..

ISRAEL HIGH ON U.S. AID LIST

Commenting on the Israeli request for U.S. aid, a senior Israeli political source said it was "hardly surprising given the unprecedented scale of the Disengagement Plan."

Israel is among the largest recipients of U.S. aid, and the $2.2 billion would be in addition to annual aid of around $2.8 billion. Much of the annual funding comes in the form of grants that are spent on U.S. military exports. [...]

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U.S. to announce new charges in Pentagon probe
Thu Aug 4, 2005
By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors plan to announce additional charges on Thursday against a Defense Department analyst accused of illegally disclosing classified defense information, and to charge two former officials of a pro-Israel lobbying group, government sources said.

The additional charges involve Lawrence Franklin, a Pentagon analyst already accused of giving the information to two former employees of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the two sources said.

They said prosectors planned to announce charges against Steve Rosen, formerly AIPAC's policy director, and Keith Weissman, formerly its senior analyst.

In Alexandria, Virginia, where the case has been pending, U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty scheduled a news conference at 2 p.m./1800 GMT) for an announcement "related to a major national security prosecution."

Franklin, who worked on the Iran desk within the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the time the government says he disclosed the information, previously was charged with disclosing top-secret information about potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq to the two AIPAC employees.

He also has been charged with disclosing to a foreign diplomat classified information about a Middle Eastern country's activities in Iraq. Sources familiar with the investigation have said the diplomat was an Israeli.

Franklin previously has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Plato Cacheris, said he did not know for sure what prosecutors planned to announce, but added that they had long threatened to bring charges against the two former AIPAC employees.

AIPAC fired the two men in April. A spokesman for lawyer Abbe Lowell, who represents Rosen, declined to comment. Justice Department officials declined to comment on McNulty's announcement.

The Israeli diplomat in Washington who met several times with Franklin has been identified as Naor Gilon, head of the political department at Israel's Embassy in Washington and a specialist on proliferation issues.

Gilon returned to Israel a few days ago, according to an Israeli source. "He was scheduled to leave. It's been in the works for months as part of the normal diplomatic rotation," the source said.

U.S. investigators want to question Gilon and other Israeli diplomats about their contacts with Franklin.

Without going into specifics, the Israeli source said: "At the request of the U.S. government, we're cooperating in this investigation."

Comment: The upper echelons of the US government is so riddled with Israeli sympathisers that it is unlikely that real justice will ever be done in this, or the many other instances of Israeli spy operations in the US. In fact, if we are to get to the heart of the matter, we should start with the September 11th attacks.

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Pro-Israel lobbyists charged for spying
Friday 05 August 2005, 3:44 Makka Time, 0:44 GMT

Two former officials of the pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), have been charged with conspiring with a Pentagon analyst to obtain and disclose classified national defence information.

US prosecutors said the indictment charges Steven Rosen, 63, the former foreign policy director for Aipac, with conspiracy to communicate national defence information provided by analyst Lawrence Franklin.

Rosen was also accused of helping Franklin pass on written classified information. Aipac's former senior Middle East analyst, Keith Weissman, 53, also was charged with conspiracy to communicate national defence information, prosecutors said.

The defendants disclosed the classified information to several members of the media, a senior fellow at a Washington, DC, think-tank and at least three foreign government officials, according to the indictment.

Israeli officials identified

Although the indictment did not identify any of the recipients, sources said they included officials who worked at the Israeli embassy.

John Nissikas, attorney for one of the lobbyists, Keith Weissman
Franklin, 58, who worked on the Iran desk within the Office of the Secretary of Defence at the time the government says he disclosed the information, had already been charged with disclosing top-secret information about potential attacks on US forces in Iraq to the two Aipac employees.

He has also been charged with giving the information to an unidentified diplomat and to Rosen and Weissman, whom Aipac fired in April after having defended their conduct last year.

The indictment accuses Franklin of disclosing to a foreign diplomat classified information about a Middle Eastern country's activities in Iraq.

Passing on secrets

It said between August 2002 and June 2004, Franklin also gave the diplomat classified information relating to a weapons test conducted by a Middle Eastern country.

Sources familiar with the investigation have said the diplomat was an Israeli.

Franklin pleaded not guilty to the original charges.

Abbe Lowell, attorney for Rosen, said the charges were unjustified. "We expect that the trial will show that this prosecution represents a misguided attempt to criminalise the public's right to participate in the political process," he said.

Weissman's attorney, John Nissikas, said in a statement: "We are disappointed that the government has decided to pursue these charges, which Mr Weissman strongly denies."

Breaking the law

Aipac issued a statement on Thursday saying it could not "condone or tolerate the conduct of the two employees under any circumstances".

Franklin faces a maximum sentence of 45 years if convicted on all counts, while Rosen faces a maximum sentence of 20 years and Weissman faces 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.

"When it comes to classified information, there is a clear line in the law", US Attorney Paul McNulty said.

Comment: Boy, that defence by Rosen's attorney is priceless:

"We expect that the trial will show that this prosecution represents a misguided attempt to criminalise the public's right to participate in the political process."

That is up there with calling Judy Miller some sort of hero for not divulging who told her about Valerie Plame after she planted numerous false stories about Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Miller was a mouthpiece for the neocons, and, surprise, surprise, Aipac is too.

Even if there were no spying going on, he would have us believe that lobbyists are just "the public"! Plain folks like you and us!

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US challenged over 'secret jails'
Thursday, 4 August 2005

Two Yemeni men claim they were held in secret, underground US jails for more than 18 months without being charged, Amnesty International has said.

The human rights group has called on the US to reveal details of the alleged secret detention of suspects abroad.

Amnesty fears the case is part of a "much broader picture" in which the US holds prisoners at secret locations.

The US has not responded to the claims, but the head of the CIA recently said the agency does not use torture.

Porter Goss said in testimony to the US Senate torture was neither professional nor productive.

Beaten on feet

In the new report, Amnesty has urged the US to reveal where its alleged secret detention facilities are, stop using them and name the detainees held there.

The two Yemeni men, Muhammad Faraj Ahmed Bashmilah and Salah Nasser Salim Ali, were arrested separately but reported almost identical experiences to Amnesty.

Mr Muhammad says he was arrested in 2003 in Jordan, while Mr Salah says he was detained in Indonesia the same year and later flown to Jordan.

Both say they were tortured for four days by Jordanian intelligence services.

Alleged methods include being beaten on the feet while bound and suspended upside-down. One of the men claims he was threatened with sexual abuse and electric shocks.

Each says he was then flown to an unnamed underground jail, where he was held in solitary confinement for six to eight months with no access to lawyers.

Both claim they were interrogated every day by US guards about their activities in Indonesia and Afghanistan.

They say a period in a second underground prison followed, where loud Western music was piped into the cell 24 hours a day and questioning by US officials continued.

'Netherworld'

The men were transferred in May this year to Yemen, where they are still being held without charge.

Amnesty says the Yemeni authorities say they are only holding the men because the US has "made it a condition of their release from secret detention".

Amnesty's Sharon Critoph, who interviewed the men in Yemen, said: "To be 'disappeared' from the face of the earth without knowing why or for how long is a crime under international law and an experience no-one should have to go through.

"We fear that what we have heard from these two men is just one small part of the much broader picture of US secret detentions around the world."

Michael Ratner, of the US campaign group Center for Constitutional Rights, said the report was the first to touch on the "netherworld of secret detention facilities that the CIA is running".

Amnesty has previously reported on what it calls the long-term detention without trial or charge of prisoners in Yemen at the request of US authorities.

The US has also faced questions over its use of "rendition", a process by which terror suspects are sent for interrogation by security officials in other countries, some of which are accused of using torture.

Comment: But the US is the greatest Democracy on earth! It would NEVER condone the torture of innocent people! At least that is what we are being asked to believe, despite the mass of evidence to the contrary.

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PM reveals foreign extremist plan
Friday, 5 August 2005
Insane at the Helm
Tony Blair is outlining plans to extend powers to deport or exclude foreigners who encourage terrorism.

The UK can already exclude or deport those who pose a threat to security.

On Thursday al-Qaeda's number two threatened new attacks on London and blamed the prime minister for the 7 July bombings, which killed 56.

Ayman al-Zawahri also threatened the US were broadcast on an Arabic news channel. President George Bush said his policy remained the same.

'Indirect incitement'

Mr Blair's news conference on Friday will be his final media grilling before he departs for his summer holiday.

It will provide a chance for an update on the latest terror situation and other issues.

London has been nicknamed "Londonistan" - centre for militant Islam - by some critics who believe the UK has been too liberal towards radical clerics.

Mr Blair is expected to reveal the precise details of the planned new powers.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has already said he wants to extend his existing powers to cover those who "seek to provoke others to terrorist acts".

Mr Clarke said he wanted to be able to exclude an individual from the UK if their presence is deemed "not conducive to the public interest".

There would be consultation before the final list of "unacceptable behaviours" was decided upon, he said.

Anyone wanting to enter the UK would then be checked against this list - and if they are on it they may be refused permission to enter the country.

'Mood shift'

Mr Clarke also said he planned a new offence of "indirect incitement to terrorism" to add to the current offence of direct incitement.

Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian Blair argued it would have been better to bring in the new measures at an earlier date but said he was glad action was being taken now.

"One of the difficulties has been this idea about how can we deport people to places where they may suffer oppression," he told GMTV.

"Well, I think the public mood is shifting. I'm sorry, but this is England, Britain, and we don't want this fomenting of terrorism to go on." [...]

Comment: According to Police Chief Blair, the effect of the London bombings has been to make the British people immune to human rights abuses, specifically the deportation of potentially innocent people to countries where they will probably be tortured. In a broader sense, it signifies the inoculation of the British public to the continued crimes of their leaders. Mission accomplished?

On a separate point: we see here that Al-Zawahri has made it explicitly clear that the the London bombings were carried out in retaliation for the British participation in the aggressive war against the Iraqi people, yet Tony Blair has refuted this allegation, saying that the goal of the terrorists is terrorism for its own sake and the destruction of "freedom and civilisation". So who are we to believe? Is it possible that Blair does indeed know the real reasons for the London bombings and who the real perpetrators are?

If we are to believe Blair, where is the sense in the "terrorists" making a false claim about the reasons for their attacks? Can anyone imagine the IRA claiming that their 30 year war was for anything other than the withdrawal of British interference in Northern Ireland? Any organised military group that ever waged a campaign against the forces of a nation state have always had a goal that was understandable and potentially achievable, at least to a significant portion of the public. Yet we are now being asked to believe that the "Islamic terrorists" have no real identifiable or realistically achievable goal, other than to wipe out freedom and civilisation. Exactly who do they expect to support them in such a fantastical endeavor? What portion of humanity would espouse the eradication of basic freedom and civilisation that every human being benefits from?

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Point-by-point: The Prime Minister's anti-terror proposals
Independent Online Edition
8/5/2005

These are the proposed points of Government action listed by Prime Minister Tony Blair during today's news conference:

1. The Government is launching a consultation on new grounds for excluding and deporting people from the UK.

It is prepared to amend the Human Rights Act in respect of interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights if legal obstacles arise.

A list will be drawn up of extremist websites, bookshops and centres, involvement with which would prompt the Home Secretary to consider the deportation of any foreign national.

2. There will be new anti-terror legislation in the autumn, including an offence of condoning or glorifying terrorism which would apply anywhere, not just in the UK.

3. Anyone participating in terrorism or who has anything to do with it will automatically be refused asylum.

4. Existing powers to strip people of their British or dual nationality if they act against the interests of this country, could, after consultation, be extended to apply to naturalised citizens involved in extremism, as well as being made made simpler and more effective.

5. The Government will also consult on setting a maximum time limit for all future extradition cases involving terrorism.

6. Ministers will examine possible ways of extending the period of time terrorist suspects can be held before they are charged and are examining a new court procedure which would allow a pre-trial process.

7. For those who are British nationals and cannot be deported, the use of control orders will be extended with any breach resulting in imprisonment.

8. Court capacity will be expanded if necessary to deal with " this and other related issues". The Lord Chancellor will increase the number of special judges hearing such cases.

9. The radical Hizb ut Tahrir and Al Muhajiroun groups will be banned. The Government will also look at widening the grounds for banning groups, putting forward proposals in new legislation.

10. Ministers will "review the threshold" for people who become British citizens.

Current requirements to "swear allegiance" to the country, participate in a citizenship ceremony and have an adequate grasp of the language would be looked at "to see if this is adequate".

A commission would be set up with Muslim leaders to ensure there was " better integration" with parts of the community which were " presently inadequately integrated".

11. There will be consultation on a new power to order the closure of a place of worship used for "fomenting extremism".

Muslim leaders would be asked to help draw up a list of clerics, who were not British citizens, who were "not suitable to preach", to be excluded from the country.

12. Proposals to ensure the country's borders are to be brought forward with a series of countries specifically designated for biometric visas over the next year.

An international database is being drawn up by the Foreign Office and Home Office to exclude people "whose activities or views pose a threat to Britain's security". Any appeal will only be allowed to take place outside the country.

Mr Blair added that if legislation could be made ready in time and "the right consensus achieved" the Government was ready to recall Parliament in September "at least to begin the debate over the measures".

Comment: Read all of the above measures and realise that all of this is being implemented in the complete absence of ANY REAL terrorist threat. Which then begs the question: Why?

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All hail the 'excuse makers'!
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Xymphora

We are slowly seeing a return to sanity in the intellectual debate over terrorism and its causes. The London bomb attacks emphasized the huge disconnect between the views of the average person and the views of the Anglo-American-Zionist extremists, exemplified in the person of Tony Blair, whose denials of the obvious connections between terrorism and actions of the British state have made him appear to be insane. It is absolutely clear to the average person in Britain, and slowing becoming clear to the (much stupider) average person in the United States, that Anglo-American neocolonialism - including its manifestations in the attack and occupation of Iraq, manipulation of politics in Middle Eastern countries, and the support for the worst Zionist excesses in Israel - is the real cause of terrorism. As we have seen from people who have studied the issue, the final straw was the occupation of Iraq, where the violent occupation by those with a different religion created the necessary and sufficient conditions for suicide bombings (although he wasn't a suicide bomber, the suspect being held in Italy, Osman Hussain, expressly confirmed that the actions of the second set of bombers were motivated by anger over Iraq).

The fact that it is becoming 'common sense' to assume that terrorism has a cause in the actions of Western states and Israel is terrifying to the Zionists, who have worked for years constructing the myth that terrorism is connected with an evil inherent in, and unique to, Islam. The myth was primarily required to justify the Israeli state terrorism against the Palestinians. This state terrorism is intended to ethnically cleanse the Occupied Territories so the land can be stolen, and is justified by claiming that such state terrorism is 'self defense' against the irrational and unprovoked actions of the Palestinians, whose sole motivation for violence is to push Israel 'into the sea' due to motives buried deep in their evil religion. This lie has served the Zionists well for years, and could have worked for many more, but using its American treason agents to force the attack on Iraq, with its disastrous occupation, they have pushed too far, and inadvertently revealed the lie behind the whole Zionist myth of the reasons for terrorism.

While we can blame Israel for many evils, the single worst thing it has done is export its lies about the basis of terrorism to the rest of the world. These lies are directly behind the 'war on terror', and have caused, and will continue to cause, an enormous amount of suffering. For years, the Israelis managed their relationship with the United States by being the American bulwark against the evils of communism in the Middle East. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Israel moved immediately into positioning itself as the American bulwark against the evils of terrorism in the Middle East. With the events of September 11, it has spread the idea that 'we're all Israelis now', effectively sinking the rest of the world into the same lie. The most recent extension of the terrorist lie was revealed by Benjamin Netanyahu, as reported in the Sunday Herald:

"After the attacks on New York and Washington, the former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was asked what the terrorist strikes would mean for US-Israeli relations. He said: 'It's very good.' Then he corrected himself, adding: 'Well, it's not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy [for Israel from Americans].'"

The rest of the Western world is slowly coming to the realization that it is suffering the effects of terrorism so that Israel can continue to shelter under a lie concocted to allow it to steal land from the Palestinians.

Just to show what we're up against, here are some quotes from a column by Nick Cohen, arguing against the idea that terrorism has causes in the actions of the West (my emphasis in bold at the key propaganda points):

"In these bleak days, it's worth remembering what was said after September 2001. A backward glance shows that before the war against the Taliban and long before the war against Saddam Hussein, there were many who had determined that 'we had it coming'. They had to convince themselves that Islamism was a Western creation: a comprehensible reaction to the International Monetary Fund or hanging chads in Florida or whatever else was agitating them, rather than an autonomous psychopathic force with reasons of its own. In the years since, this manic masochism has spread like bindweed and strangled leftish and much conservative thought."

and:

"Whether you are brown or white, Muslim, Christian, Jew or atheist, it is uncomfortable to face the fact that there is a messianic cult of death which, like European fascism and communism before it, will send you to your grave whatever you do. But I'm afraid that's what the record shows."

and:

"The only plausible excuse for 11 September was that it was a protest against America's support for Israel. Unfortunately, Osama bin Laden's statements revealed that he was obsessed with the American troops defending Saudi Arabia from Saddam Hussein and had barely said a word about Palestine."

The stream of utter lies in these paragraphs reaches its peak in the words "barely said a word about Palestine", and thus inadvertently reveals what the Zionists are really afraid of. Bin laden is obsessed about the plight of the Palestinians. Here is a quote from the very beginning of his 'letter to America':

"As for the first question: Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple:

(1) Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.

a) You attacked us in Palestine:

(i) Palestine, which has sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years. The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation. The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And of course there is no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel. The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased. Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its price, and pay for it heavily."

To show how important it is, that is (1) a) (i) in his letter. You will see the obsession with Palestine in other speeches by bin Laden. Cohen's statement that bin Laden has "barely said a word about Palestine" is an outright lie, but a very revealing one. The logic behind the Zionist lie on terrorism is that terrorism is completely irrational, and there is nothing that can be done to appease bin Laden and his ilk. The fact that bin Laden consistently sets out a list of demands that could easily be met is something the Zionists don't want us to know.

The mania of the Zionist response to the dawning of the truth has now reached its inevitable conclusion in a column by the ridiculous Thomas Friedman, who advocates that the U. S. government set up an official list of people who have the audacity to maintain that terrorism might pose a rational question to the West which could be answered. He writes:

"We need to shine a spotlight on hate speech wherever it appears. The State Department produces an annual human rights report. Henceforth, it should also produce a quarterly War of Ideas Report, which would focus on those religious leaders and writers who are inciting violence against others."

and:

"We also need to spotlight the 'excuse makers,' the former State Department spokesman James Rubin said. After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed. When you live in an open society like London, where anyone with a grievance can publish an article, run for office or start a political movement, the notion that blowing up a busload of innocent civilians in response to Iraq is somehow 'understandable' is outrageous. 'It erases the distinction between legitimate dissent and terrorism,' Mr. Rubin said, 'and an open society needs to maintain a clear wall between them.'"

Actually, what is outrageous is that a censor like Friedman has such a prominent role in American public life. Friedman's not an idiot - well, actually he is, but that's another topic (for a hint, see this remarkable and very funny review of his latest book by Matt Taibi) - so he has to know that an official American government list of 'excuse makers' will probably lead to abuse, and is certainly a threat intended to stifle legitimate debate (is this what the New York Times now stands for?). The most bizarre thing is that the 'excuse makers' now probably, or will soon, constitute a majority of the American population! Friedman's column is proof that the panic amongst the Zionists has reached a point where they don't mind making fools of themselves. We 'excuse makers' have to take this as confirmation that the truth will (eventually) prevail.

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A View Of Iraq From A Soldier

Speech to the "Out of Iraq" Congressional Caucus on July 19, 2005
By John Bruhns
08/03/05

Click here to watch Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, read this letter into the congressional record

"ICH" -- -- I am a concerned veteran of the Iraq War. I am not an expert on the vast and wide range of issues throughout the political spectrum, but I can offer some first hand experience of the war in Iraq through the eyes of a soldier. My view of the situation in Iraq will differ from what the American People are being told by the Bush Administration. The purpose of this message is to voice my concern that we were misled into war and continue to be misled about the situation in Iraq every day. My opinions on this matter come from what I witnessed in Iraq personally.

George Bush and his political advisors have been successful in presenting a false image to the American people that Saddam Hussein was an "imminent" threat to the security of the United States. We were told that there was overwhelming evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed a massive WMD program, and some members of the Bush Administration even hinted that Saddam may have been involved in the 9/11 attacks.

We now know most of the information given to us by the current Administration concerning Iraq, if not all the information, was false. This was information given to the American people to justify a war. The information about weapons of mass destruction and a link to Osama Bin Laden scared the American people into supporting the war in Iraq. They presented an atmosphere of intimidation that suggested if we did not act immediately there was the possibility of another attack. Bush said himself that we do not want the proof or the smoking gun to come in the form of a "mushroom cloud." Donald Rumsfeld said, "We know where the weapons are."

After 9/11, comments like this proved to be a successful scare tactic to use on the American People to rally support for the invasion. Members of the Bush Administration created an image of "wine and roses" in terms of the aftermath of the war. Vice-President Dick Cheney said American troops would be greeted as "liberators." And there was a false perception created that we would go into Iraq and implement a democratic government and it would be over more sooner than later. The White House also expressed confidence that the alleged WMD program would be found once we invaded.

I participated in the invasion, stayed in Iraq for a year afterward, and what I witnessed was the total opposite of what President Bush and his Administration stated to the American People.

The invasion was very confusing, and so was the period of time I spent in Iraq afterward. At first it did seem as if some of the Iraqi people were happy to be rid of Saddam Hussein. But that was only for a short period of time. Shortly after Saddam's regime fell, the Shiite Muslims in Iraq conducted a pilgrimage to Karbala, a pilgrimage prohibited by Saddam while he was in power. As I witnessed the Shiite pilgrimage, which was a new freedom that we provided to them, they used the pilgrimage to protest our presence in their country. I watched as they beat themselves over the head with sticks until they bled, and screamed at us in anger to leave their country. Some even carried signs that stated, "No Saddam, No America." These were people that Saddam oppressed; they were his enemies. To me, it seemed they hated us more than him.

At that moment I knew it was going to be a very long deployment. I realized that I was not being greeted as a liberator. I became overwhelmed with fear because I felt I never would be viewed that way by the Iraqi people. As a soldier this concerned me. Because if they did not view me as a liberator, then what did they view me as? I felt that they viewed me as foreign occupier of their land. That led me to believe very early on that I was going to have a fight on my hands.

During my year in Iraq I had many altercations with the so-called "insurgency." I found the insurgency I saw to be quite different from the insurgency described to the American people by the Bush Administration, the media, and other supporters of the war. There is no doubt in my mind there are foreigners from other surrounding countries in Iraq. Anyone in the Middle East who hates America now has the opportunity to kill Americans because there are roughly 140,000 US troops in Iraq. But the bulk of the insurgency I faced was primarily the people of Iraq who were attacking us as a reaction to what they felt was an occupation of their country.

I was engaged actively in urban combat in the Abu Ghraib area west of Baghdad. Many of the people who were attacking me were the poor people of Iraq. They were definitely not members of Al Qaeda, left over Baath Party members, and they were not former members of Saddam's regime. They were just your average Iraqi civilian who wanted us out of their country.

On October 31st, 2003, the people of Abu Ghraib organized a large uprising against us. They launched a massive assault on our compound in the area. We were attacked with AK-47 machine guns, RPGs and mortars. Thousands of people took to the streets to attack us. As the riot unfolded before my eyes, I realized these were just the people who lived there. There were men, women, and children participating. Some of the Iraqi protesters were even carrying pictures of Saddam Hussein. My battalion fought back with everything we had and eventually shut down the uprising.

So while President Bush speaks of freedom and liberation of the Iraqi people, I find his statements are not credible after witnessing events such as these. During the violence that day I felt so much fear throughout my entire body. I remember going home that night and praying to God, thanking him that I was still alive. A few months earlier President Bush made the statement, "Bring it on" when referring to the attacks on Americans by the insurgency. To me, that felt like a personal invitation to the insurgents to attack me and my friends who desperately wanted to make it home alive.

I did my job well in Iraq. During the deployment, my superiors promoted me to the rank of sergeant. I was made a rifle team leader and was put in charge of other soldiers when we carried out missions.

My time as a Team Leader in Iraq was temporarily interrupted when I was sent to the "Green Zone" in Baghdad to train the Iraqi army. I was more than happy to do it because we were being told that in order for us to get out of Iraq completely the Iraqi military would have to be able to take over all security operations. The training of the Iraqi Army became a huge concern of mine. During the time I trained them, their basic training was only one week long. We showed them some basic drill and ceremony such as marching and saluting. When it came time for weapons training, we gave each Iraqi recruit an AK-47 and just let them shoot it. They did not even have to qualify by hitting a target. All they had to do was pull the trigger. I was instructed by my superiors to stand directly behind them with caution while they were shooting just in case they tried to turn the weapon on us so we could stop them.

Once they graduated from basic training, the Iraqi soldiers in a way became part of our battalion and we would take them on missions with us. But we never let them know where we were going, because we were afraid some of them might tip off the insurgency that we were coming and we would walk directly into an ambush. When they would get into formation prior to the missions we made them a part of, they would cover their faces so the people of their communities did not identify them as being affiliated with the American troops.

Not that long ago President Bush made a statement at Fort Bragg when he addressed the nation about the war in Iraq. He said we would "stand down" when the Iraqi military is ready to "stand up." My experience with the new Iraqi military tells me we won't be coming home for a long time if that's the case.

I left Iraq on February 27, 2004 and I acknowledge a lot may have changed since then, but I find it hard to believe the Iraqi people are any happier now than they were when was I was there. I remember the day I left there were hundreds of Iraqis in the streets outside the compound that I lived in. They watched as we moved out to the Baghdad Airport to finally go home. The Iraqis cheered, clapped, and shouted with joy as we were leaving. As a soldier, that hurt me inside because I thought I was supposed to be fighting for their freedom. I saw many people die for that cause, but that is not how the Iraqi people looked at it. They viewed me as a foreign occupier and many of the people of Iraq may have even preferred Saddam to the American soldiers. I feel this way because of the consistent attacks on me and my fellow soldiers by the Iraqi people, who felt they were fighting for their homeland. To us the mission turned into a quest for survival.

I wish I could provide an answer to this mess. I wish I knew of a realistic way to get our troops home. But we are very limited in our options in my opinion. If we pull out immediately, it's likely the Iraqi security forces will not be able to provide stability on their own. In that event, the new Iraqi government could possibly be overthrown. The other option would be to reduce our troop numbers and have a gradual pullout. That is very risky because it seems that even with the current number of troops the violence still continues. With a significant troop reduction, there is a strong possibility the violence and attacks on US and coalition forces could escalate and get even worse. In my opinion, that is more of a certainty.

And then there is the option that President Bush brings to the table which is to "Stay the Course." That means more years of bloodshed and a lot more lives to be lost. Also, it will aggravate the growing opposition to the US presence in Iraq throughout the region and that could very well recruit more extremists to join terror organizations that will infiltrate into Iraq and kill more US troops.

So it does not seem to me we have a realistic solution, and that frightens me. It has become very obvious that we have a serious dilemma that needs to be resolved as soon as possible to end the ongoing violence in Iraq. But how do we end it is the question?

We must always support the troops. If there were a situation in which the United States is attacked again by a legitimate enemy, they are the people who are going to risk their lives to protect us and our freedom. In my opinion, the best way to support them now is to bring them home with the honor and respect they deserve.

In closing, I ask that we never forget why this war started. The Bush Administration cried weapons of mass destruction and a link to Al Queda. We know that this is false and the Bush administration concedes it as well. As a soldier who fought in that war, I feel misled. I feel that I was sent off to fight for a cause that never existed. When I joined the military I did so to defend the United States of America, not to be sent off to a part of the world to fight people who never attacked me or my country. Many have died as a result of this. The people who started this war need to start being honest with the American people and take responsibility for their actions. More than anything, they need to stop saying everything is rosy and create a solution to this problem they created.

Thank you for hearing me out. God Bless our great nation, the United States of America.

John Bruhns

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Elusive sniper saps US morale in Baghdad

Commanders weigh their options as 'Juba' notches up more kills
Rory Carroll in Baghdad
The Guardian
Friday August 5, 2005

They have never seen Juba. They hear him, but by then it's too late: a shot rings out and another US soldier slumps dead or wounded.

There is never a follow-up shot, never a chance for US forces to identify the origin, to make the hunter the hunted. He fires once and vanishes.

Juba is the nickname given by American forces to an insurgent sniper operating in southern Baghdad. They do not know his appearance, nationality or real name, but they know and fear his skill.

"He's good," said Specialist Travis Burress, 22, a sniper with the 1-64 battalion based in Camp Rustamiyah. "Every time we dismount I'm sure everyone has got him in the back of their minds. He's a serious threat to us."

Gun attacks occasionally pepper the battalion's foot and mounted patrols, but the single crack of what is thought to be a Tobuk sniper rifle inspires particular dread.

Since February, the killing of at least two members of the battalion and the wounding of six more have been attributed to Juba. Some think it is also he that has picked off up to a dozen other soldiers.

In a war marked by sectarian bombings and civilian casualties, Juba is unusual in targeting only coalition troops, a difficult quarry protected by armoured vehicles, body armour and helmets.

He waits for soldiers to dismount, or stand up in a Humvee turret, and aims for gaps in their body armour, the lower spine, ribs or above the chest. He has killed from 200 metres away.

"It was the perfect shot," the battalion commander, Lt Col Kevin Farrell, said of one incident. "Blew out the spine."

"We have different techniques to try to lure him out, but he is very well trained and very patient. He doesn't fire a second shot."

Some in the battalion want marksmen to occupy rooftops overlooking supply routes, Juba's hunting ground, to try to put him in the cross-hairs.

"It would be a pretty shitty assignment because he's good," said Spc Burress. "I think it's a sniper's job to get a sniper, and it'd probably take all of us to get him."

American snipers operate in teams of at least two people, a shooter and a spotter, the latter requiring more experience since he must use complicated formulae to calculate factors such as wind strength and drag coefficients.

Some worry that Juba is on his way to becoming a resistance hero, acclaimed by those Iraqis who distinguish between "good" insurgents, who target only Americans, and "bad" insurgents who harm civilians.

The insurgent grapevine celebrates an incident last June when a four-strong marine scout sniper team was killed in Ramadi, all with shots to the head.

Unlike their opponents, US snipers in Baghdad seldom get to shoot. Typically they hide on rooftops and use thermal imaging and night vision equipment to monitor areas. If there is suspicious activity, they summon aircraft or ground patrols.

"We are professionals. There is a line between a maniac with a gun and a sniper," said Mike, 31, a corporal with a reconnaissance sniper platoon who did not want to his surname to be used. [...]

Comment: Somehow we doubt that the Iraqis whose lives have been turned upside down by US occupation forces would classify US snipers as "professionals".

In any case, this "insurgent sniper" reminded us of an article we ran just yesterday...

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Flashback:
New US black operations unit said to have arrived in Baghdad.
Uruknet.info

In a dispatch posted at 3:55 GMT Wednesday, Quds Press reported that it had learned from "exclusive sources" that a special American detachment had arrived in the country about a week ago with the task of carrying out "dirty operations" that could be blamed on the Iraqi Resistance in an effort to try to erode mass support for the independence movement.

The sources said that the American unit, dubbed "gnawing rats," was to carry out assassinations, sabotage of government installations and random bombings, all of which could be blamed on the Iraqi Resistance.

The sources said that the American black operations unit had been formed six months ago and underwent special training enabling the commandos to recognize the political, natural and social "geography" of Iraq. Among the soldiers in the unit are Arab-Americans who have received training in the Iraqi spoken dialect of Arabic.

The command of the unit is directly subordinated to the supreme US military command in the Pentagon rather than to the local US military occupation command in Baghdad, the sources told Quds Press. Its headquarters is said to be in one wing of the as-Sujud Presidential Palace in the occupied Iraqi capital.

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Back From Iraq, Colorado Soldier Kills Himself, Wife
TheDenverChannel.com
4:44 pm MDT August 4, 2005

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- A Colorado soldier who just returned from duty in Iraq fatally shot his wife and then himself, according to a Fort Carson spokesman.

Pfc. Stephen S. Sherwood, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, was with his wife at their home near Fort Collins when the shooting occurred Wednesday afternoon.

The Larimer County SWAT unit was called to the home at 335 Bradley Drive around 3:45 p.m. after a report of shots being fired.

The couple's 8-month-old child was in the care of a neighbor, who reported hearing the gunshots, said Eloise Campanella, a spokeswoman for the Larimer County sheriff.

Officers entered the home shortly before 9 p.m. and found the bodies of Stephen Sherwood, 36, and his wife, Sara, 30. Investigators do not have a motive for the shootings.

Sherwood was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery based out of Fort Carson, but had a home near Fort Collins.

Sherwood had returned from Iraq on July 25 after spending nearly a year there and was on leave at the time of the shootings, said Dee McNutt, an Army spokeswoman.

Sherwood enlisted in the Army in January 2004, according to McNutt.

The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which had previously been based in South Korea, lost 68 soldiers during its tour in Iraq.

He was at least the second Fort Carson-based soldier to commit suicide shortly after serving in Iraq.

Chief Warrant Officer William Howell, a Green Beret, shot himself to death in March 2004 in a confrontatioin with police outside his home in Monument, just north of Colorado Springs. He had returned from Iraq three weeks earlier.

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Over 8,000 US Dead in Iraq?
Dandelion Books – August 3, 2005

Actual death toll of US Military in Iraq is in excess of 8,000, "far more realistic than the government's current official number of 1,800-plus," according to 'Deep Throat' data researcher Brian Harring.

Dandelion Books has just signed a contract with TBR News www.tbrnews.org/ to publish Prelude to Disaster: The Harring Report – Complete Official DoD Iraq & Afghanistan US Military Casualty List, by TBR News (www.tbrnews.org/). It will be available in September at www.dandelionbooks.net/ , www.amazon.com/ and other participating websites.

According to Brian Harring, a computer data specialist who obtained this report for tbrnews.org, a popular Internet news website, of the 158,000 US Military shipped to Iraq, 34,000 have either deserted, were killed or seriously wounded. DoD lists currently being quietly circulated indicate almost 9,000 dead, over 23,000 seriously wounded and a large number of suicides, forced hospitalization for ongoing drug usage and sales, murder of Iraqi civilians and fellow soldiers, rapes and courts martial.

Prelude to Disaster also includes Russian daily military intelligence reports of the Iraqi War from March 17 – April 8, 2003. "These reports are certainly far more informative and accurate than the heavily edited and controlled material now appearing in the various branches of the American media," states TBR News. "We've also included Russian intelligence analysis of 'two enormous mistakes made by the U.S. command during the planning stages of this war that resulted in obvious strategic failure.'"

"President Bush personally ordered that no pictures be taken of the coffined and flag-draped dead under any circumstances," says Harring. "He claims this is to comfort the bereaved relatives, but is designed to keep the huge number of arriving bodies secret.

"Bush has never attended any kind of a memorial service for his dead soldiers," states Harring. "He never will because he is terrified some parent might curse him in front of the press, or, worse, attack him."

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Bush dismisses al-Qaeda warning
BBC

US President George W Bush has brushed aside demands from Osama Bin Laden's deputy that the US leave Iraq, saying the US would "complete the job" there.

Ayman al-Zawahri warned that there would be further violence unless the US and its allies withdrew from Iraq.

His comments were made in a videotape broadcast on the Arab satellite television network al-Jazeera.

Mr Bush dismissed Zawahri's ideology as "dark, dim and backwards" and said Iraqis wanted to live in freedom.

'Clash of ideologies'

"He's threatening. They have come up against a nation that will defend itself," he said.

"The Iraqis want to live in a free society. Zawahri doesn't want them to live in a free society. And that's the clash of ideologies: freedom versus tyranny," he added.

In the tape, Zawahri - dressed in a white tunic and black turban and posed next to a rifle - warned other nations to leave Muslim lands to avoid further violence.

He threatened an escalation in attacks, saying the losses in Afghanistan and Iraq were only those of "initial clashes".

"If you continue the same policy of aggression against Muslims, God willing, you will see the horror that will make you forget what you had seen in Vietnam," he said.

The al-Qaeda deputy also said that the foreign policy decisions of Prime Minister Tony Blair were directly responsible for the London attacks.

Excuse to attack

Mr Blair denies his policies provoked the 7 July bombs, which killed 56. His office has refused to comment on the latest al-Qaeda tape.

Mr Blair has said the Iraq war is merely an excuse for those who want to attack the UK.

In a scathing attack, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also criticised those who, he said, were clinging to a discredited theory which viewed the London attacks as retaliation for war in Iraq.

He labelled the theory "nonsense".

Mr Blair has acknowledged Iraq is being used to recruit terrorists, but insisted the roots of extremism were much deeper.

Zawahri last appeared in a video in June, saying Muslims should not rely on peaceful protests but should also use violence. He also appeared in a video in February.

The Egyptian-born Zawahri is thought to be Bin Laden's deputy and to have been hiding in the rugged border areas of either Pakistan or Afghanistan.

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European negotiators offer long term support for Iran's civil nuclear program
09:43 AM EDT Aug 05

LONDON (AP) - European negotiators have offered Iran long term support for its civilian nuclear program, including the possibility of acquiring nuclear fuel, in exchange for a binding commitment not to develop atomic weapons, according to proposals obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

Britain, France and Germany - which are spearheading diplomatic efforts on behalf of the European Union - also want Tehran to "make a legally binding commitment not to withdraw" from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, according to the proposals.

The UN nuclear agency confirmed Friday it will hold an emergency meeting on Iran next week - a session called by the European Union to explore ways to stop the Tehran regime from resuming uranium conversion.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors will convene at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, spokesman Peter Rickwood said. The board was expected to formally warn Iran not to take any action until it can monitor its nuclear activities and to review a package of EU incentives aimed at resolving the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.

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N. Korea has nuclear bomb components, but no weapons - source
July 28. INTERFAX-CHINA

Beijing - North Korea has no arsenal of nuclear weapons ready for use, a diplomatic source close to the six-nation talks on the Korean nuclear problem told Interfax on Thursday.

"Following the announcement that North Korea has become a nuclear power, Pyongyang made it clear to China that North Korea has developed a detonator for blowing up nuclear charges, which is the most sophisticated component of nuclear munitions," the source said.

"North Korea developed methods of making nuclear weapons back in the early 1960s, but it did not succeed in creating a detonator for a long time," the diplomat said.

"After work on this problem succeeded, North Korea announced that it became the fourth country possessing nuclear weapons, since methods for making all of its components were now available and the production of nuclear weapons ceased to be a problem," he said.

The source said that North Korea is still hoping for real results at the six-nation talks and is refraining from serious spending on the mass production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons.

"But if the U.S. and its allies delay providing real security guarantees to North Korea, or advance demands Pyongyang cannot accept, North Korea will have to step up the creation of a self-defense nuclear arsenal," the diplomat said.

Comment: In short? North Korea has no nuclear capability at this point in time, just like Iraq. So what was all the hooha over the past few years with regards to North Korea's nukes? More lies and manipulation of the American and world population by the greatest deceiver on earth - the US government.

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The U.S. government prepares the American public for its next invasion/intervention
leftI.blogspot
A "top US department official" claims

"Venezuela is destabilizing the border area with Colombia by supplying weapons to the country's main leftist insurgency, a top State Department official said Wednesday."

And what exactly is the evidence for this?

"In an interview with The Associated Press, Nicholas Burns, the State Department's third-ranking official, said the United States is disturbed by what he described as Venezuela's 'massive' arms imports."

The "massive" arms being imported by Venezuela amount to $120 million. The United States spends $120 million on warfare every two hours. Given the U.S. hostility towards Venezuela (including participation in coup attempts and other efforts towards "regime change"), and given the U.S. record of armed intervention around the world, any Venezuelan government which did not spend $120 million on self-defense would be completely irresponsible.

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An 800-pound Gorilla Goes to the U.N.

John Bolton's New Internationalism
By LILA RAJIVA
August 4 , 2005

Whether John Bolton did or did not 'swing' with various extramarital bodies at the DC club, Plato's Retreat, as porn publisher Larry Flynt claims, is largely irrelevant. As far as other foreign bodies go, however, screw everyone is pretty much Bolton's philosophy. So, despite what Joe Biden thinks, Bolton at the U.N. will be no bumbling bull in a china shop. His abrasive rhetoric is not in the slightest bit unintended. It reflects with complete accuracy his own undemocratic attitude and that of his bosses - kiss-up and kick-down, says Senator Voinovitch (R-Ohio), who compares the way Bolton tears into low-level employees and other little people to an 800-pound gorilla devouring bananas.

His appointment on August 2 to the post of U.N. ambassador thus drives a gruesomely large nail into the metal container in which for the past several years, the Bushies have been gleefully interring the U.N and every other international body around. Hands, feet, and mouth duct-taped, the U.N. will in due course join all the other legal non-persons created by Bush's contempt for the rule of law within the state and abroad. No wonder that the appointment itself flouted standard procedure and was hustled through while Congress was in recess, a first time for such an important appointment.

Despite what his supporters say, Bolton at the U.N. is also not doing Nixon in China. Nixon's gambit grew at least partly out of a long overdue recognition of the importance of more than a billion people to world affairs. With this appointment, however, Bush is signalling as clearly as possible the very low esteem in which he holds the U.N. as it exists. A list of Bolton's biggest backers reads like a blue-book of hard-core U.N. bashers: Wolfowitz, Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and of course Bush himself.

Some idea of what is in store for the U.N. can be gleaned from Bolton's jaw-breakingly titled opus on the subject, "The creation, fall, rise, and fall of the U.N," which lays out the tenets of "U.N. Reform," the mantra of Bolton-backers. (1) It's not a pretty picture:

Bolton's objective is a U.N. "responsive to the major contributors." Contributions would be entirely voluntary and would be withdrawn if the U.N. didn't do what the donors wanted. And what the major donors want, according to Bolton, is a mop-up operation trailing behind the juggernaut of empire not an "international quota system" engaged in "international social work." Bolton would block any moves to curtail the U.S. veto or expand Security Council membership. And there's more:

Quote: No troops from the five permanent members of the Security Council should be involved in peace-keeping.
Quote: Even in traditional peacekeeping operations, forces under U.N. command should operate under the control of the Security Council, not under that of the Secretary-General.
Quote: The U.N. should be used when and where we choose to use it to advance American national interests.
Quote: The U.N. is only a tool.

Right. First world nations buy control of U.N. policies and third world nations contribute warm bodies to the dirty leg-work of empire.

But that doesn't make Bolton an America Firster and nationalist hawk, as some claim. Instead, his confirmation actually marks another step in the poisonous mushrooming of a selective internationalism where duly constituted international bodies like the U.N. get shown the door while in the backroom foreign elites jostle for their appointed place in the pecking order of empire on the basis of their ability to contribute to the well-being of first-world elites, under a new international law of the jungle. Bolton's appointment is a pay-off for years of dedicated work in the service of that elite internationalism:

As Undersecretary for Arms Control and International security, he worked hard to create legally binding bilateral agreements with some 70 countries (comprising 40% of the world's population) that would prevent the surrender of American persons to the authority of the International Criminal Court. (2) Since U.S. military forces, civilian personnel, and private citizens are active in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions in almost 100 countries at any given time, Bolton claimed that the United States had to engage in a global campaign to protect U.S. nationals from the ICC's authority. He listed an assortment of protected persons that included the media, contractors working with the military, students in government-sponsored programs, and business men abroad.

Put this laundry-list next to the expansion of domestic and foreign surveillance promised us by Secretary Rumsfeld and something clicks. Recall that in 2002 the Pentagon's Defense Science Board (DSB) urged an increase in "human intelligence (HUMINT) forward/operational presence and... new clandestine technical capabilities." (3) Translated from Pentagon-speak, that reads - we need more spies in foreign countries equipped with secret spy technology." And from where would these new spies be drawn?

From a "robust, global cadre of retirees, reservists and others who are trained and qualified to serve on short notice, including expatriates." Selected from among this group, a master spy agency, the Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG), would launch secret operations aimed at instigating terrorism as a pretext for attacks by US forces.

Comment: Well, that's not so hard to believe, since they've already done it with 9/11...

And that's when Bolton's new internationalism would assert itself. Bilateral agreements would ensure that U.S. nationals abroad could get away with any provocation to a country's security or any violation of its law while simultaneously guaranteeing the same protection to foreign nationals here. And to underscore that it's not Joe Q. Public or Ahmad Q. Ali whom the agreements are principally intended to protect, keep in mind that Bolton was one of those who vehemently opposed the international indictment of former dictator Augusto Pinochet for atrocities during seventeen years of misrule in Chile in which thousands were kidnapped, tortured and killed by his CIA-enabled regime. Bolton's reasoning on this illustrates the new tolerant internationalist thinking - "Chilians made their choice, and have lived with it." He was really only echoing the fine global thinking of his predecessor at the U.N., John Negroponte, now intelligence chief, once Ambassador to the Honduras, who abetted and concealed C.I.A. complicity in the Honduran military's torture and murder of hundreds of their compatriots in the 1980s.

Of course, this solidarity with foreign elites is only non-interventionist when it's the rights of ordinary folks at stake. When elite interests are at risk, Bolton is all for intervention. In May 2002, without a shred of evidence as it turned out but in concert with the demands of Cuban elites in Miami, Bolton charged that Cuba possessed offensive biological warfare research capacity, had provided such technology to other rogue states, and was threatening to "bring the U.S. to its knees." However, the record showed that Bolton's spurious quotes were actually recycled inventions by right-wing Cuban exiles. (4) According to Congressman Henry Waxman, Bolton was also the main backer of the now-discredited claim that Iraq wanted to to get uranium from Niger to build nuclear weapons. The claim played a pivotal role in launching the war on Iraq and was promoted with equal fervor by the expatriate Iraqi banking felon, Ahmad Chalabi as well as the rightist government of Ariel Sharon in Israel. (5) Again, no lack of international solidarity here.

In another case demonstrating just how much international rapport he has, the non-profit National Policy Forum which he headed from 1995-96 channeled $800,000 in foreign money into the 1996 election cycle after having also used the same mechanisms to fund congressional races around the country in 1994, according to a congressional investigation into foreign money and influence in the 1996 presidential campaign. At his confirmation hearing Bolton also acknowledged that he had received $30,000 from the Taiwanese government for writing a series of papers.(6)

Bolton's views of international law or state sovereignty are thus not really pro-American or nationalist at all but pro-elite and fit well with his long-time membership in the conservative Federalist Society, nursery of a generation of pro-elite and pro-business lawyers in government, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, Intelligence Chief John Negroponte, Homeland Security Czar Michael Chertoff, Assistant Attorney General and torture memo scribe Viet Dinh, and Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Scalia as well as nominee, John Roberts. Founded by prominent Reagan administration conservatives in the 1980s and funded generously by pro-business foundations like Scaife and Koch, the Federalist Society has a far from secret agenda - to implement a 1979 proposal by scholar Michael Horowitz to roll back 50 years of work by the public-interest law movement to protect individuals. Whatever diversity of opinion may exist on some policies among some Federalists, there is little divergence on this central goal.(7)

So when Federalists support states rights or civil rights or even national sovereignty - as Bolton claims to in his incessant attacks on the U.N. - it's only because disempowering the federal government, or the U.N. in his case, is just as important to their goal as empowering business. To put it bluntly, Federalist society libertarianism is driven mostly by market-fundamentalism, not a concern for the rights of individuals or nations. Consider what happened in Michigan in 2000. When moderates were in a 4-3 majority on the State Supreme Court the previous year, individuals won 22 out of 45 cases they brought against business. But the next year when five of the seven justices as well as Governor Engler were Federalist members, the Michigan Court decided against the individuals in 19 out of 20 cases. (8)

Even the sacred Republican cow of state's rights gets slaughtered when elite interests are in question. Never forget that it was John Bolton who personally led the Bush-Cheney effort to block the Florida state recount long enough for the Supreme Court to intervene and who disrupted the Miami-Dade County vote with an unceremonious yell, "I'm here to stop the vote!" (9) Stopping the vote is precisely what Bolton is likely do in the U.N., using veto power, saber-rattling, and financial blackmail to subvert the will of the General Assembly and the rule of law in favor of international business elites.

When this gorilla arrives at the U.N., expect a lot of international banana eating.

Lila Rajiva is a free-lance journalist and an instructor at Duquesne University. She is the author of "The Language of Empire," Monthly Review Press, 2005 and is working on a second book on the American media. She can be reached at: rajiva@hotmail.com

(1) John Bolton, "The creation, fall, rise, and fall of the U.N," in "Delusions of Grandeur: The United Nations and Global Intervention," edited by Ted Galen Carpenter, "Why We Shouldn't Give the U.N. More Power," Cato, 1997.

(2) John Bolton, Speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington D.C., November 3, 2003.

(3) "Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism," Power Point Presentation, DSB,
August 16, 2002.

(4) "Fidel Castro, Bio-terrorism, and the Elusive Quote," Nelson Valdes, Counterpunch, May 28, 2002.

(5) "Bolton's Big Secret," Ari Berman, The Nation, March 21, 2005.

(6) "Bolton's Baggage," Tom Barry, International Relations Center, posted on Antiwar, March 15, 2005.

(7) "The Federalist Society: The Conservative Cabal That's Transforming American Law," Jerry Landes, The Washington Monthly, March, 2000.

(8) Ibid.

(9) "John Bolton vs. Democracy," John Nichols, The Nation, April 14, 2005.

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Strange fish parade seen in Englewood
08/05/05

ENGLEWOOD -- A bizarre freeway of fish swimming by the thousands along the shore of Englewood Beach Thursday morning left crowds of beach-goers agog and marine biologists bewildered.

"I've lived her for 10 years, and I've never seen anything like this. It's incredible," said Bob Ricci of Englewood.

Beach-goers reported that a wide variety of sea creatures came swimming south in a narrow band close to the beach at mid-morning.

Included in the swarm were clouds of shrimp, crab, grouper, snapper, red fish and flounder. They were joined by more usual species, including sea robins, needlefish and eels.

Ten-year Manasota Key resident Nick Neidlinger spotted the commotion from his condominium shortly before 9 a.m.

The fish were moving in a narrow band in about 18 inches of water, he said. They were headed south, and, so far as he could tell, the moving mass of sea life stretched a good mile long.

"We're talking thousands and thousands of them," Neidlinger said. "It was so thick we couldn't walk out."

Some fish washed ashore on the Gulf's small waves, he said. The stranded fish flipped and struggled until they flopped back into the water to rejoin the piscatorial parade south.

"There were blue crabs the size of a dinner plate," Neidlinger said. "You name the species of fish and they were there."

Neidlinger said more than 100 pelicans bombarded the fish, but he saw no sharks or other predators, nor did he detect any signs of red tide.

He said all the species "were swimming amongst each other. They weren't attacking each other."

Neidlinger added, "I have never seen anything like that in my life. This was not a fish kill."

Beach-goers were grabbing crabs and fish as they swam by, Thursday. One observer thought the fish might have been weakened by some sort of toxin -- perhaps red tide -- because they could be scooped up easily by people. The event lasted until late morning, although the parade had thinned out by 11 a.m.

A few scientists contacted Thursday were surprised to hear of the unusual fish behavior in Englewood that morning. It was not typical schooling, they said, because many varied species were involved.

Scientists -- usually by nature and always by training -- are reluctant to speculate about the causes of natural phenomena without the benefit of observation and concrete data. However, they did offer some broad possibilities for what they agreed was a highly unusual event, one they had never encountered before.

It might have been predator avoidance, said one, but that was unlikely since there were no signs of predators and the species were varied.

The Gulf waters have currents that might have swept many fish along in an unusual pattern, one speculated.

Or it could have been caused by red tide that could not be detected by beach-goers.

Dr. Richard Pierce, director of ectotoxicology at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, said he had discussed the occurrence with Dr. Cindy Heil, the director of biotoxin research at the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in St. Petersburg, after a reporter's phone call Thursday.

"We agree this could be that they were trying to get away from red tide, maybe offshore or in the deeper parts offshore," Pierce said.

He said red tide flows in higher or lower concentrations at various levels of the Gulf. It also follows currents, which move at varying levels and speeds.

"Sometimes, we have found it in higher concentration along the bottom. This could be what you're looking at," Pierce said.

Red tide has been lingering in the Gulf for the past couple of months, but it has been detected primarily in an area stretching from northern Sarasota County north to Hernando County.

It's possible, Pierce said, that a stealth red tide could be moving south, flowing with an offshore current along the bottom, "and they're moving ahead of it."

Key to that theory is that the fish reported Thursday included many bottom feeders. "Sea robins, flounder, grouper are indications that something is moving along the bottom," Pierce said.

"Unfortunately, this might be a phenomenon of red tide creeping in, but we'll have to wait until we get some samples," he said.

Mote recently installed two red tide detectors in Boca Grande, and Pierce said there was some indication Thursday that red tide might have been moving in that direction.

But, he added, it was all simply speculation until tests could be conducted.

"We just don't know what's happening," he said. "That's a lot of maybes and what-ifs. I know the state is working on that and some other reports, so maybe by next week we'll have some answers."

Comment: It is interesting to see "scientists" clamouring to come up with an explanation for something they simply do not understand. If they had spent more of their careers opening their minds to alternative theories rather than toeing the party (read government) line, they may fare better when confronted with the "scientifically" inexplicable.

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Bankruptcies hit another record
BBC

Irresponsible lending is partly to blame for the surge in bankruptcies
The number of individual insolvencies in England and Wales soared by an annual 36.8% in the second quarter, official figures show.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said total individual insolvencies reached 15,394, the highest level since records began.

Of these, 4,199 were Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), a near 70% leap on the same period in 2004.

And 11,915 were individual bankruptcies, up 27.5% on a year ago.

This is the sixth consecutive quarterly increase in insolvencies and takes personal bankruptcies to over 40,000 a year for the first time.

The number of people who have become bankrupt or entered into an IVA in England and Wales in the last 12 months was 54,227.

Meanwhile, company liquidations rose 12.5% on the previous quarter to 3,342, the DTI figures showed - a rise of 6% on the year.

Gloomy picture

Analysts said Thursday's rate cut may provide modest relief to debtors but warned it may lead them to borrow more.

"This is something the Bank of England will need to keep a close eye on," said Howard Archer at Global Insight.

If current trends continue, annual bankruptcy rates could double, other analysts have warned.

"These figures do not paint a pretty picture," said Steve Treharne, head of personal insolvency at KPMG.

"Consumer lenders and individuals need to take stock of this black cloud of debt and act now to do something about it."

A series of interest rate rises between November 2003 and August last year - which pushed the cost of borrowing up to 4.75% - meant many British borrowers became shackled with even heavier debt burdens.

This led to consumer debt levels breaking through the £1 trillion mark for the first time in 2004.

Fee trap

Experts have argued that recent changes to bankruptcy laws have made people more willing to choose bankruptcy as a way of sorting out their finances.

Since April 2004 bankrupts in England and Wales have been able to come out of bankruptcy faster than previously as a result of changes in the law.

The introduction of Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) has also eased the burden for some people. IVAs are an alternative to bankruptcy which allows debtors to come to an agreement with their creditors.

"Interestingly, people that are struggling to cope with debt are increasingly choosing the IVA process as an alternative to bankruptcy" said Pat Boyden, partner in Business Recovery Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"This shows that the stigma of bankruptcy is disappearing."

In the last year, 75% of all bankruptcies were people taking steps to have themselves declared bankrupt, the highest proportion ever seen.

And debtors are now able to file their bankruptcy petition online, making the process far simpler.

But despite this many people burdened by debt find they cannot afford the £500 fee required to go insolvent, the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) said.

"What we're seeing is a lot of people who can't afford to go bankrupt, but need to go bankrupt. They can't afford the fee," said CAB spokesman Dan Levene.

"This is a very worrying and quite quickly rising trend."

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China bans foreign investment in publishing, news organizations
www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-05 11:43:19

BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Foreign investors can build and operate cinemas and performing art agencies conditionally, but are banned to set up or run news organizations in China, according to a newly issued government document.

The document was jointly worked out by five ministries including the Ministry of Culture and State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, in a bid to safeguard the county's culture industry and ensure the industry's healthy development.

The document prohibits foreign investors from establishing or running news organizations, broadcasting stations, TV stations and film manufacturing companies, performing troupes, film imports, exports and distribution.

It forbids foreign investors from undertaking businesses such as book and magazine publishing, wholesale and imports. Foreign investors can not enter into the publication field in the name of book distribution, printing, advertising and culture facility reconstruction.

Meanwhile the government lowered the admission standards in certain areas. Foreigners can build Chinese-foreign cooperative enterprises and Chinese-foreign joint ventures of package materialprinting, book and magazine distribution and artwork sales.

But it stipulates that Chinese partner's investment ratio should not be lower than 51 percent in these joint ventures and inany of these companies, the Chinese side should take the leading role. Only by doing so can foreign partners build and run theaters, cinemas, brokerage companies and participate in transforming publishing companies into stockholding companies.

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Earthquake hits juncture of two SW China provinces
www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-05 00:17:00

BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- An earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale hit the juncture of Huize County of Yunnan Province and Huidong County of Sichuan Province in southwest China at 22:14 Beijing time Friday, according to China's State Seismological Bureau.

The epicenter was initially determined at 26.6 degrees north latitude and 103.1 degrees east longitude. There was no casualty report by press time.

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