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"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan


PODCAST August 27, 2005

Signs of the Times

The world as seen from around the kitchen table

Feelings of Doom (Part 1 of 2)

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In our latest podcast, (left to right) editors Henry See, Scott Ogrin, and Joe Quinn discuss the similarities between that fateful August of four years ago and this year.

The population of the United States is becoming ever more polarised with the recent revival of the anti-war movement inspired by Cindy Sheehan while the right-wing war nuts have started attacking protesters and screaming that they are "aiding and abetting" the enemy.

Bush's popularity is reaching new lows, much like four years ago. What new Significant Event will Karl Rove pull out of his bag of dirty, terrorist tricks to save the "Commander-in-Chief"?

Below are some of the articles cited so that you can read the material yourselves.

If you have any questions for the Signs Team or would like to suggest a topic for future PodCast discussion, you can write us at:

NEW! Signs Commentary Books are Now Available!

For the first time, the Signs Team's most popular and discerning essays have been compiled into book form and thematically organized.

These books contain hard hitting exposés into human nature, propaganda, psyop activities and insights into the world events that shape our future and our understanding of the world.

The six new books, available now at our bookstore, are entitled:

  • 911 Conspiracy
  • The Human Condition
  • The Media
  • Religion
  • The Work
  • U.S. Freedom

Read them today - before the book burning starts!

California couple harassed after Fox News links their home to Islamic radical
Last Updated Thu, 25 Aug 2005 21:06:37 EDT
CBC News

A couple is being protected by police after their home was wrongly identified on Fox News as belonging to an Islamic radical.

After the report aired on Aug.7, people have shouted profanities at Randy and Ronnell Vorick, taken photos of their house, and spray-painted "terrorist" (misspelling it "terrist") on their property.

"I'm scared to go to work and leave my kids home. I call them every 30 minutes to make sure they're OK," Randy Vorick said.

John Loftus, a former federal prosecutor who appears on the Fox News segment "Inside Scoop with John Loftus," gave out the Voricks' address during the broadcast.

He said, however, that the home belonged to Iyad Hilal, whose group, Loftus said, has ties to those responsible for the July 7 bombings in London.

But Hilal moved out of the house about three years ago.

Since the day after the broadcast, police have patrolled the Voricks' house, and have kept a squad car across the street. Police Capt. John Rees said the department is "giving special attention to the family to make sure they're safe."

The couple sought a public apology and correction.

"John Loftus has been reprimanded for his careless error, and we sincerely apologize to the family," said Fox spokeswoman Irena Brigante.

Loftus also apologized and told the Los Angeles Times last week that "mistakes happen. ... That was the best information we had at the time."

The FBI has launched an inquiry into the activities of Hilal, a grocery store owner who is allegedly the U.S. leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has been banned in parts of Europe and the Middle East.

Hilal, 56, is apparently not suspected of any terrorist acts, but FBI terrorism investigators want to know more about his and the group's activities.

Comment: This is the stuff of vigilantes, of taking the law into your own hands. Imagine broadcasting the address of someone, even if he was connected to a bombing. Isn't it the role of the police to handle such a case?

But the man identified on Fox "News" is not even suspected of any terrorist acts, and he no longer lives in the house.

Mr. Loftus, acting as one of far too many in-house vigilantes at Fox "News", moves from the usual ring-wing hate rhetoric to hate act when he gives out the address. To do such a thing is to incite his listeners to get involved, and, after years of calling liberals traitors who should be shot for supporting the "terrists", what kind of emotion do we expect to be produced when Loftus falsely declares a real, bone fide, "terrist" is living in California and broadcasts where to find him? A fear-primed public will terrorise the innocent victim. It's like clockwork.

And all it takes it one crazy to go further than spray-paint or insults and decide "to deal with them terrists" himself for an innocent man, woman, or child to die.

Sure, Loftus apologises.

"Mistakes happen. That was the best information we had at the time."

Sound familiar?

"There are WMD in Iraq. Saddam purchased uranium from Niger. Saddam was behind 9/11. The people living in that house over there are terrorists. Mistakes happen. Get over it."

But here, we know, or at least have an idea that it is very highly probable, that the London bombings were the work of British intelligence, MI5. We know that people of Middle East, Central Asian, and, in the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, Brazilian, descent are targeted as the patsies in order to stir up racial hatred, distrust, and fear. The propaganda whipped up by Fox "News" and its ilk since 9/11 is generating negative energy, and that energy will have to be manifested one way or another. It will express itself.

Stepping back and looking at how the scenario has developed, it even looks as if it was planned:

First, 9/11. Galvanise the population into hatred and anger towards Muslims, Arabs, and other from the Middle East and Asia.

Second, play on the great threat to the US from these forces. Make the population feel that they could be anywhere, even your neighbour.

Third, attack people who disagree by portraying them as the lackeys and patsies of the "terrorists". Portray them as do-gooders who don't understand the real world, who don't understand that the enemy will stop at nothing to conquer us, and that, therefore, we must respond in kind or be annihilated. Build up the rhetoric over a period of years, taking it up one notch at a time, until the link "dissenter=terrorist" is automatic.

Fourth, arrange an economic crisis in order to increase the pressure on the population. Arrange it so that people feel that their very way of life is under attack, not just in words, but by turning the screws ever tighter.

Fifth, at the same time, insist that everything is going well. In this way, individuals who are not making ends meet will internalise their problems and say "If the economy is doing so well, then I must be the problem."

Sixth, choose the moment for the fatal blow. Arrange it so that it can be blamed on the chosen target, in this case the Arabs (terrorism, oil), and allow the public to give vent to their anger, fear, and hatred to take out any internal opposition at home.

In another synchronous moment, we have just received the following from a member of the QFS. He points us to this recent statement from the people at, a group with web bots that patrol the net analysing data to get a sense for current tendencies and how they might develop. They write, in a piece on Cindy Sheehan:

What's so amazing to us - verging on mind boggling - is that while our technology doesn't get the precise presentation of the future, it does get the general outline close enough so that we know where to follow along and what to cover. Emotionally, we're not taken by surprise, either. We're pleased as hell that the next run should give us insight into the huge emotional tension starting to build now and which the time-piercing technology reports is scheduled for release around the first week of December.

This feeling of emotional tension is also what we are reading from our daily browsing of the Internet, though we have to resort to our own senses and aren't relying on web bots.

There is a feeling of "something's got to give".

And that ain't good.

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American Legion Declares War on Protestors -- Media Next?

By E&P Staff
Published: August 24, 2005 4:20 PM ET

NEW YORK The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group's national commander called for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war, even though they are protected by the Bill of Rights.

"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group's national convention in Honolulu.

The delegates voted to use whatever means necessary to "ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism."

In his speech, Cadmus declared: "It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction.”

He explained, "No one respects the right to protest more than one who has fought for it, but we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events guaranteed to be picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies." This might suggest to some, however, that American freedoms are worth dying for but not exercising.

Without mentioning any current protestor, such as Cindy Sheehan, by name, Cadmus recalled: "For many of us, the visions of Jane Fonda glibly spouting anti-American messages with the North Vietnamese and protestors denouncing our own forces four decades ago is forever etched in our memories. We must never let that happen again….

"We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would be clear to our fellow citizens. Public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm's way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies."

Resolution 3, which was passed unanimously by 4,000 delegates to the annual event, states: "The American Legion fully supports the president of the United States, the United States Congress and the men, women and leadership of our armed forces as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism and the troops who are engaged in protecting our values and way of life."

Cadmus advised: "Let's not repeat the mistakes of our past. I urge all Americans to rally around our armed forces and remember our fellow Americans who were viciously murdered on Sept. 11, 2001."

Comment: The only way to truly honour those sacrificed to a vengeful and arrogant false God, Yahweh, on 9/11 is to demand that the truth be brought to light. Only by standing up and demanding that the true criminals be brought to justice can the American people, as well as those of the rest of the world who are being dragged into Bush's phony "war on terror", unmask the crime of that day and honour the memory of those who died to justify the death of tens of thousands of others.

The truth is a reward in itself. There is no higher or nobler goal.

Unfortunately, in our world, the truth is not a priority. We start by lying to ourselves so often it becomes a habit, and then we continue the lying in our relationships with others. We do it to others; they do it to us. It is standard operating procedure for everyone. Our entire "civilisation" is built on lies. We can't even say that somewhere along the line we took a wrong turn, because that would imply that it might have be other than what it is. Our world is a reflection of our own inner state. It is a soulless world because we ourselves are soulless. It is a world of lies and sex and power because that is who we are, those are our fundamental values. The few who wish to be different are too few to change the forest, and they are often lost so deeply in the forest that they have no idea which direction to follow to get out.

So which way is the exit? Towards the truth, the truth of each of us an individuals and the truth of our society as a whole. We must know the truth about ourselves, about the people in our lives, the relationships we are in, our family. If we do not know ourselves, how can we be ourselves for our mates, our children, our friends. If we are playing roles, meeting expectations, reacting to the demands of others, rather than acting in our own real interests -- real in the sense of permanent and eternal and having to do with our souls -- can we be surprised that our relationships are full of suffering? And that the world will mirror that suffering?

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Bush Supporters, Anti-War Activists Clash
Associated Press
August 23, 2005

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Supporters of President Bush clashed with anti-war activists as they wound their way through California after rallying in the hometown of Cindy Sheehan, the mother who started a protest camp outside Bush's Texas ranch.

Conservative activists and military families embarked on the tour Monday, calling it "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" A verbal confrontation erupted when the caravan arrived in Sacramento and was met by anti-war protesters chanting for Bush to bring home the troops.

Sheehan supporter Dan Elliott, 71, confronted caravan members by waving a sign reading "Death is not support" and heckling one of the tour's organizers as she addressed the crowd.

"You are ruining the morale over there," responded Greg Parkinson, a Bush supporter.

Sheehan began her protest vigil Aug. 6 on the road leading to Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, an act that has encouraged anti-war activists to join her and prompted peace vigils nationwide. Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed last year in

The pro-Bush caravan planned rallies in several California cities before heading to Crawford, where Sheehan opponents have formed their own camp.

"It's time to lay down the anger. We need to continue to uphold those people over there, to uphold those men and women with their boots on the ground," said Deborah Johns of the Northern California Marine Moms, who helped organize the caravan and addressed supporters outside the Vacaville Reporter newspaper in Sheehan's hometown.

Some caravan members called the anti-war protesters communists and said they were "aiding and abetting the enemy." Those comments enraged Sheehan supporter Dee Ann Heath, who said she has two sons serving in Iraq and another preparing to leave.

"I don't support the war, but I support my sons," she said. "I simply want them to come home."

In Vacaville, Toni Colip, 50, said her son, David, went to high school with Casey Sheehan and is now in the Marines, although not in Iraq. She said her son opposes Sheehan's activities and has asked her to support his military service even if he is injured or killed.

"He said, 'Don't dishonor me, don't walk on my grave,'" Colip said.

Sheehan vowed to remain in Texas until Bush agreed to meet with her or until his monthlong vacation ended Sept. 3, but she flew to Los Angeles last week after her 74-year-old mother had a stroke. She is expected to return to Texas in a few days.

On Monday, Bush was in Salt Lake City, where he spoke to a national veterans group to rally support for the war. Bush has said he sympathizes with Sheehan, but a White House spokeswoman said he did not plan to change his schedule and meet with her.

Comment: Don't have anything intelligent or factual to use in a debate with your opponent? Why, just label them communists and traitors!

So, what does Ms. Sheehan think about all of this?

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Hypocrites and Liars
By Cindy Sheehan

"ICH" -- The media are wrong. The people who have come out to Camp Casey to help coordinate the press and events with me are not putting words in my mouth, they are taking words out of my mouth. I have been known for sometime as a person who speaks the truth and speaks it strongly. I have always called a liar a liar and a hypocrite a hypocrite. Now I am urged to use softer language to appeal to a wider audience. Why do my friends at Camp Casey think they are there? Why did such a big movement occur from such a small action on August 6, 2005?

I haven't had much time to analyze the Camp Casey phenomena. I just read that I gave 250 interviews in less than a week's time. I believe it. I would go to bed with a raw throat every night. I got pretty tired of answering some questions, like: "What do you want to say to the President?" and "Do you really think he will meet with you?" However, since my mom has been sick I have had a chance to step back and ponder the flood gates that I opened in Crawford, Tx.

I just read an article posted today on by artist Robert Shetterly who painted my portrait. The article reminded me of something I said at the Veteran's for Peace Convention the night before I set out to Bush's ranch in my probably futile quest for the truth. This is what I said:

I got an email the other day and it said, "Cindy if you didn't use so much profanity ... there's people on the fence that get offended. And you know what I said? "You know what? You know what, god damn it? How in the world is anybody still sitting on that fence?

If you fall on the side that is pro-George and pro-war, you get your ass over to Iraq, and take the place of somebody who wants to come home. And if you fall on the side that is against this war and against George Bush, stand up and speak out.

This is what the Camp Casey miracle is all about. American citizens who oppose the war but never had a conduit for their disgust and dismay are dropping everything and traveling to Crawford to stand in solidarity with us who have made a commitment to sit outside of George's ranch for the duration of the miserable Texan August. If they can't come to Texas, they are attending vigils, writing letters to their elected officials and to their local newspapers; they are setting up Camp Casey branches in their hometowns; they are sending flowers, cards, letters, gifts, and donations here to us at Camp Casey. We are so grateful for all of the support, but I think pro-peace Americans are grateful for something to do, finally.

One thing I haven't noticed or become aware of though is an increased number of pro-war, pro-Bush people on the other side of the fence enlisting to go and fight George Bush's war for imperialism and insatiable greed. The pro-peace side has gotten off their apathetic butts to be warriors for peace and justice. Where are the pro-war people? Everyday at Camp Casey we have a couple of anti-peace people on the other side of the road holding up signs that remind me that "Freedom isn't Free" but I don't see them putting their money where their mouths are. I don't think they are willing to pay even a small down payment for freedom by sacrificing their own blood or the flesh of their children. I still challenge them to go to Iraq and let another soldier come home. Perhaps a soldier that is on his/her third tour of duty, or one that has been stop-lossed after serving his/her country nobly and selflessly, only to be held hostage in Iraq by power mad hypocrites who have a long history of avoiding putting their own skin in the game.

Contrary to what the main stream media thinks, I did not just fall off a pumpkin truck in Crawford, Tx. on that scorchingly hot day two weeks ago. I have been writing, speaking, testifying in front of Congressional committees, lobbying Congress, and doing interviews for over a year now. I have been pretty well known in the progressive, peace community and I had many, many supporters before I even left California. The people who supported me did so because they know that I uncompromisingly tell the truth about this war. I have stood up and said: "My son died for NOTHING, and George Bush and his evil cabal and their reckless policies killed him. My son was sent to fight in a war that had no basis in reality and was killed for it." I have never said "pretty please" or "thank you." I have never said anything wishy-washy like he uses "Patriotic Rhetoric." I say my son died for LIES. George Bush LIED to us and he knew he was LYING. The Downing Street Memos dated 23 July, 2002 prove that he knew that Saddam didn't have WMD's or any ties to Al Qaeda. I believe that George lied and he knew he was lying. He didn't use patriotic rhetoric. He lied and made us afraid of ghosts that weren't there. Now he is using patriotic rhetoric to keep the US military presence in Iraq: Patriotic rhetoric that is based on greed and nothing else.

Now I am being vilified and dragged through the mud by the righties and so-called "fair and balanced" main stream media who are afraid of the truth and can't face someone who tells it by telling any truth of their own. Now they have to twist, distort, lie, and scrutinize anything I have ever said when they never scrutinize anything that George Bush said or is saying. Instead of asking George or Scotty McClellan if he will meet with me, why aren't they asking the questions they should have been asking all along: "Why are our young people fighting, dying, and killing in Iraq? What is this noble cause you are sending our young people to Iraq for? What do you hope to accomplish there? Why did you tell us there were WMD's and ties to Al Qaeda when you knew there weren't? Why did you lie to us? Why did you lie to the American people? Why did you lie to the world? Why are our nation's children still in harm's way and dying everyday when we all know you lied? Why do you continually say we have to "complete the mission" when you know damn well you have no idea what that mission is and you can change it at will like you change your cowboy shirts?"

Camp Casey has grown and prospered and survived all attacks and challenges because America is sick and tired of liars and hypocrites and we want the answers to the tough questions that I was the first to dare ask. THIS is George Bush's accountability moment and he is failing ... miserably. George Bush and his advisers seriously "misunderestimated" me when they thought they could intimidate me into leaving before I had the answers, or before the end of August. I can take anything they throw at me, or Camp Casey. If it shortens the war by a minute or saves one life, it is worth it. I think they seriously "misunderestimated" all mothers. I wonder if any of them had authentic mother-child relationships and if they are surprised that there are so many mothers in this country who are bear-like when it comes to wanting the truth and who want to make meaning of their child's needless and seemingly meaningless deaths?

The Camp Casey movement will not die until we have a genuine accounting of the truth and until our troops are brought home. Get used to it George, we are not going away.

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Televangelist Calls for Chavez' Death
Aug 22 11:06 PM US/Eastern

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson called on Monday for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him a "terrific danger" to the United States.

Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, said on "The 700 Club" it was the United States' duty to stop Chavez from making Venezuela a "launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

Chavez has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of President Bush, accusing the United States of conspiring to topple his government and possibly backing plots to assassinate him. U.S. officials have called the accusations ridiculous.

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

Electronic pages and a message to a Robertson spokeswoman were not immediately returned Monday evening.

Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier of oil to the United States. The CIA estimates that U.S. markets absorb almost 59 percent of Venezuela's total exports.

Venezuela's government has demanded in the past that the United States crack down on Cuban and Venezuelan "terrorists" in Florida who they say are conspiring against Chavez.

Robertson accused the United States of failing to act when Chavez was briefly overthrown in 2002.

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said.

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Comment: Is this the beginning of a new set of right-wing talking points? "Venezuela exports Muslim extremism" and "assassination is cheaper than war"?

We are so appalled at these comments, it hard to know where to start. Let's start with Venezuela is a "launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism." First, Venezuela is only "communist" in that broad, all-encompassing evil kind of way that Americans use the term "communist": you know, the government gives free health care to its poorest citizens; it is attempting to use the profits from its sale of oil to improve the lot of the majority of its people in spite of continuous campaigns by the rich with the backing and blessing of the US to slander and overthrow the democratically elected government of Hugo Chavez; it is attempting to curb the influence of and exploitation of the country by foreign corporations.

It is the second assertion that is so strange and bizarre, that really makes one wonder about the mental health of Robertson and his listeners. Not only is Venezuela a lanuching pad for communism, it is also a launching pad for "Muslim extremism"! Well, according to the CIA World Fact Book entry for Venezuela, the country is 96% Catholic, 2% Protestant, and 2% other. Unfortunately, the different religions that make up the "other" part are not listed, but one can safely assert that Muslims make up less than 2% of the population. We don't know if that is .0005% or 1% or 1.5%, but common sense tells us that Latin American in general is not a hotbed of Islamic extremism.

However, a Google search on "Latin America" and "Islam", and "Venezuela" and "Islam" brings up some interesting finds, interesting from the point of view of propaganda and manipulation. The first return is the following article from WorldNetDaily. Is it any coincidence that Pat Robertson also writes for this site? Are we surpised that today's headline at the site is:

WorldNetDaily Exclusive
Assassinate Chavez,
says Pat Robertson

'700 Club' host, ex-presidential candidate
calls Venezuelan leader imminent danger

But let's see how WorldNetDaily has been preparing the ground for Robertson's shocking revelation:

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Islam on march south of border
Mexico agrees to monitor foreign groups as Muslim recruitment rate skyrockets
Posted: June 7, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Joseph Farah
© 2005

WASHINGTON – Islam is on the move in Mexico and throughout Latin America, making dramatic gains in converting the native population, increasing immigration, establishing businesses and charities and attracting attention from U.S. government officials who have asked their neighbors to the south to keep an eye on foreign Muslim groups. [...]

Pentagon officials have confirmed human smuggling rings in Latin America are attempting to sneak al-Qaida operatives into the U.S.

In a Defense Department briefing in February 2004 about National Guardsman Ryan Anderson, suspected of trying to give al-Qaida information about U.S. capabilities and weaponry, reporters were also told to expect Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to provide details on two other subjects: Guantanamo Bay prisoners freed only to rejoin al-Qaida and Taliban cells in Afghanistan and al-Qaida's Latin America connection.

No further announcements were ever forthcoming from the Pentagon, prompting some sources to wonder whether the administration was conflicted over this news – given President Bush's political problems with his illegal immigration across a porous Mexican border.

Before the U.S.-led coalition attacked Iraq, the U.S. State Department offered congressional testimony that both al-Qaida and the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah were taking firm hold in "America's backyard." Mark F. Wong, the State Department's acting coordinator for counterterrorism, told the House International Relations Committee about the threat posed by both groups in Latin America.

Anti-terrorism experts say extremist cells tied to Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida network are operating in Argentina, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Uruguay. Although cooperation between al-Qaida and Hezbollah has been known for some time, the two groups have formed a much closer relationship since al-Qaida was evicted from its base in Afghanistan.

Both al-Qaida and Hezbollah were active in the common border area of Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, according to an earlier statement of Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in hearings before the Foreign Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, cited in a report from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. [...]

Tens of millions of Muslims, mostly of Arabic descent, live in Latin America.

The terrorists even get some official support in Latin America, according to sources. As WorldNetDaily reported, a Venezuelan military defector claims President Hugo Chavez developed ties to terrorist groups such as al-Qaida – even providing it with $1 million in cash after Sept. 11, 2001.

Air Force Maj. Juan Diaz Castillo, who was Chavez's pilot, told WorldNetDaily through an interpreter that "the American people should awaken and be aware of the enemy they have just three hours' flight from the United States."

Diaz said he was part of an operation in which Chavez gave $1 million to al-Qaida for relocation costs, shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

Comment: Notice that there is no mention of Venezuela as one of the countries in which the "terrorist organisations" are currently functioning. The only direct reference comes in the final paragraphs and is based upon revelations given to WorldNetDaily from a defector accusing Chavez of giving $1 million to al-Qaeda after September 11, 2001. Sounds like the stories we were fed from "one of Saddam's bodyguards" prior to the invasion of Iraq, stories that later turned out to be Mossad plants. How easy is it for such information to be made up in order to discredit an enemy?

In this case WorldNetDaily reminds us of the Weekly World News.

But let us return to Robertson's idea of assassination.

First, do not forget, Chavez won the election freely, and then, much to the consternation of the US, won the recall referendum held last year with 58% of the vote. As the CIA World Fact Book puts it:

elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 30 July 2000 (next to be held NA 2006)
election results: Hugo CHAVEZ Frias reelected president; percent of vote - 60%
note: a special presidential recall vote on 15 August 2004 resulted in a victory for CHAVEZ; percent of vote - 58% in favor of CHAVEZ fulfilling the remaining two years of his term, 42% in favor of terminating his presidency immediately

The next elections are in 2006, and Chavez has made no move to cancel them. The democratic process is still in force in the country. He's got more legitimacy than George W. Bush who has yet to win an election, and Venezuelan democracy appears healthier than its American counterpart.

So one might logically conclude from this that Robertson and many people in the US don't care at all about democracy. Not a shocking conclusion for readers of this page, we know, but it is a glaring example of the American need to go to extracurricular activities when the rules of the game go against their interests.

But the larger question is: How can there be any justification for assassination? Robertson gives the utilitarian, bottom line justification so familiar and cozy in this age of cost cutting, the rule of the dollar, and the worship of Mammon: it'll cost less than a war! Yes, friends, kill our enemies the efficient way! One bullet is all it takes.

Doesn't that ring a bell?

From official transcript of White House Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer, 01 October 2002

Q Ari, the CBO has new estimates that the war in Iraq would cost between $9 billion and $13 billion. Does the White House think that's too low?

Mr. Fleischer: Again, the President has not made any decisions about military action or what military option he might pursue. And so I think it's impossible to speculate. I can only say that the cost of a one-way ticket is substantially less than that. The cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi people take it on themselves, is substantially less than that. The cost of war is more than that. But there are many options that the President hopes the world and people of Iraq will exercise themselves of that gets rid of the threat. But it's impossible to say what the President options are militarily from a price tag, because he's made no decisions. [...]

Q You addressed David's question about one-way ticket. What about one-way bullet? Is the White House advocating assassination as a possible option for Saddam Hussein?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think that it's fair to say that the Iraqi regime is not satisfied with Saddam Hussein, that Saddam Hussein has created a great many enemies inside Iraq. And it is impossible to last forever as a brutal dictator who suppresses his own people, who tortures his own people, who deliberately brings women in public to be raped, so it can be witnessed by their families. He has not exactly created goodwill among the Iraqi people.

Q If I could follow on that, would the White House like to see Saddam Hussein dead?

MR. FLEISCHER: The policy is regime change. And that remains -- and that remains the American position. Clearly, in the event that there is any type of military operation, command and control would, of course, be issues that would come up.

Q Is the hope, though, that he ends up dead in all this?

MR. FLEISCHER: Regime change is the policy, in whatever form it takes.

Q I just want to re-ask again then, the question I've been asking for several weeks. Is the administration about to rescind the executive order prohibiting assassination of foreign leaders, and claim that he's an international terrorist, and in fact, put out a hit on him?

MR. FLEISCHER: No. The policy remains in place, per the law.

Q Why is there no consideration to rescinding that executive order?

MR. FLEISCHER: It's just -- because it's not come up as matter that I've heard discussed, Connie. And so I can't tell you why something doesn't get discussed.

Q Could you ask?

MR. FLEISCHER: I don't really think it's an issue. The policy remains regime change, as expressed by the Congress.[...]

Q Ari, could I just clarify the one bullet line -- is the White House from this podium advocating the assassination of Saddam Hussein by his own people, by his military?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, the question was about potential costs and different scenarios for costs. And I just cited the fact that Saddam Hussein has survived as a result of the repression and suppression of his own people, and that's a reality about what life is like inside Iraq.

Q But I'm not asking you a question about costs. I'm asking you if you intend to advocate from that podium that some Iraqis, person put a bullet in his head?

MR. FLEISCHER: Regime change is welcome in whatever form that it takes.

Q So the answer is, yes?

MR. FLEISCHER: Thank you.

Regime change is welcome in whatever form it takes.

END 1:07 P.M. EDT

So ends the official transcript of the press conference, on the rather bizarro repetition of the phrase "Regime change is welcome in whatever form it takes."

Onward Christian Soldiers!

Of course, before calling for one bullet politics, the groundwork must be laid, the population must be softened up and must accept that the intended target is a threat, is a monster, is so evil that only his death can "save us".

That is where the press comes in, the useful propaganda poodles of the political class spewing that day's "truth" in order to manipulate the public. Which leads us to....

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Pat Robertson apologizes for saying Venezuelan President should be assassinated
Last Updated Wed, 24 Aug 2005 17:54:16 EDT
CBC News

U.S. right-wing religious broadcaster Pat Robertson apologized Wednesday for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The apology -- from the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virgina Beach, Va, -- came only hours after Robertson denied saying Chavez should be killed.

Robertson's apology is on the Christian Broadcasting Network web site.

"Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."

Chavez, whose country is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of President Bush.

He accuses the United States of conspiring to topple his government and possibly backing plots to assassinate him. U.S. officials have called the accusations ridiculous.

On Monday's telecast of his show "The 700 Club," Robertson had said of Chavez: "... if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

On Wednesday, Robertson initially denied having called for Chavez to be killed and said The Associated Press had misinterpreted his remarks.

On Tuesday, the State Department called Robertson's remarks inappropriate.

Comment: Gee, that's some apology! Poor Pat was just frustrated that Chavez is telling one and all that the US wants to kill him! He couldn't contain himself!

We think the character of Mr Robertson's remarks is very well summed up by the title of the next article:

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Who Would Jesus Assassinate?
Hugo Chavez and the Men Who Claim to Speak for Jesus?

August 24, 2005

You know, when I was growing up as a Catholic, I was given many differing views of Jesus Christ. Virtually all of them were speculative, of course, and as I grew older, I became aware that most of them were based on the teacher's particular political and cultural persuasion. The Pallotinian nuns that taught me in the first and second grades were always telling us horror stories about the communists in the Soviet Union and China and had us pray for the souls of their children every morning. The Jesuits I knew in high school provided me and my fellow catechism students with a different view of Jesus. Indeed, for most of these men Jesus was a revolutionary. How much of his revolution was spiritual and how much was social depended on their level of social and political involvement. Being a very political person, I saw Jesus as a revolutionary communist with a small "c." Of course, there were a number of men with Roman collars at the time who were taking this perception and turning it into the basis for a social movement in many parts of the world, especially in Latin America. Many of them were Jesuits.

It is this tradition that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela recalls in his speeches and social programs. It is also this tradition, known today as liberation theology that the late pope John Paul II attacked within months of his appointment in 1978. John Paul II's opposition to this perception of Jesus and his works were also part of the reason for the demotion of the Jesuit order as the pope's protectors and the ascension of the right wing Catholic organization Opus Dei into that role. The new pope is even less sympathetic to this train of thought. The underlying reason for this vehement opposition to liberation theology among the Catholic hierarchy stems from its alliances with nonreligious leftists and its attacks on the Church's role as part of the oppressive structure in the world of the peasantry. Nowhere is this role greater than it is in Latin America.

Ever since Chavez began his popular upheaval in Venezuela he has been under attack by the Catholic hierarchy in that country. In fact, members of Opus Dei were involved in the failed coup of 2000 and have been instrumental in the CIA-funded opposition movement since the coup, just as they were intimately involved in the murderous CIA-sponsored coup in September 1973 in Chile. Last month, Bishop Baltazar Porras, president of the Venezuelan bishops' conference, said proponents of radical liberation theology are using it to weaken and divide the Church. "This is part of a plan to debilitate the Church," Porras told The Associated Press in an interview last week. He cited a recent forum in which the Church was accused of turning her back on the poor, where Chavez garners most of his political support. "This is a new program led by a group of theologians like the ones in the times of the Sandinista rule in Nicaragua with the same arguments," said Porras. "The argument is fundamentally anti-Catholic, anti-hierarchy." (Catholic World New, 8/15/2005) It is quite interesting to note Porras equating being anti-hierarchy with being anti-Catholic. I wonder how the Jesus who threw the moneychangers out of the temple and challenged the Scribes and the Pharisees would feel about that equation.

Now, in addition to having the Catholic hierarchy opposed to him, Mr. Chavez has incurred the wrath of some in the evangelical community. Given the generally political conservatism of much of this community, this is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is the vehemence of this wrath. Pat Robertson, former US presidential candidate and head of the multimillion-dollar Christian Broadcast Network, called for Chavez's assassination in a broadcast Monday night. Calling assassination " a whole lot cheaper than starting a war" Robertson went on to say that if Chavez were killed by US covert operatives he didn't "think any oil shipments will stop."

Of course, for those who keep their religion close to their heart or use it only when necessary to cynically convince the public of the rightness of their actions, the comments regarding oil must strike a chord. After all, that's the underlying reason for Washington's (and the old guard in Venezuela) opposition to Chavez in the first place. Not only does he using Venezuelan oil revenues to help the perennially poor in Venezuela, he is also selling it to Cuba at cut rates and making deals with China, much to the chagrin of Washington. Chavez and his supporters understand this. In addition, they also understand the Jesus who inspired Father Gutierrez and his liberation theology. That was the Jesus who said: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."

Unfortunately, if Mr. Robertson and many others in Washington, Caracas and the Vatican have their way, Hugo Chavez may get his chance to enter that kingdom well before they do. Although I still like to think that if there is a heaven, Mr. Robertson and his ilk will be denied admission.

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Chávez taunts US with oil offer

Venezuelan president hits back at assassination remarks with offer of cheap petroleum for poor Americans

Duncan Campbell
Thursday August 25, 2005
The Guardian

President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela hit back vigorously at calls by an ally of President George Bush for his assassination by offering cheap petrol to the poor of the US at a time of soaring fuel prices.

In a typically robust response to remarks by the US televangelist Pat Robertson, Mr Chávez compared his detractors to the "rather mad dogs with rabies" from Cervantes' Don Quixote, and unveiled his plans to use Venezuela's energy reserves as a political tool.

"We want to sell gasoline and heating fuel directly to poor communities in the United States," he said.

Mr Robertson's remarks have threatened to inflame tension between the US and one of its main oil suppliers.

Yesterday the religious broadcaster apologised for his remarks.

"Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologise for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the US is out to kill him," he said.

In a TV broadcast on Monday, he said: "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it."

Yesterday Mr Robertson initially said his comments had been misinterpreted, but went on to add that kidnapping Mr Chávez might be a better idea.

"I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things, including kidnapping."

The Bush administration tried to distance itself from Mr Robertson's views without upsetting the large Christian fundamentalist wing which the veteran evangelist represents.

A State Department spokesman said assassination was not part of government policy. "He's a private citizen," Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, said of Mr Robertson. "Private citizens say all kinds of things all the time."

But Mr Robertson's remarks are seen as an embarrassment at a time when the US is calling for a united front against terror.

Democrats have challenged the Bush administration to be more outspoken in its response to Mr Robertson's remarks on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Venezuela's ambassador to the US, Bernardo Alvarez, said: "Mr Robertson has been one of this president's staunchest allies. His statement demands the strongest condemnation by the White House."

The Venezuelan government is asking for assurances from the US government that Mr Chávez will be adequately protected when he visits New York for a special session of the UN next month.

Venezuela's vice-president, José Vicente Rangel, said the possibility of legal action against Mr Robertson for incitement to murder should also be considered.

Venezuela, the world's fifth largest crude exporter, supplies 1.3m barrels of oil a day to the US. It remains unclear how poor Americans might benefit from the cheap petrol offer, but Mr Chávez has set up arrangements with other countries for swapping services in exchange for oil. Cuban doctors are working in the poorer areas of Venezuela in exchange for cheap oil going to Cuba.

Jamaica yesterday became the first Caribbean country to reach an agreement with Venezuela for oil at below-market terms. The Petrocaribe initiative is a plan to offer oil at flexible rates to 13 Caribbean countries. Jamaica will pay $40 a barrel, against a market rate of more than $60.

Mr Chávez said oil importers such as the US could expect no respite from the oil market, predicting the price of a barrel would reach $100 by 2012.

Comment: Chavez has responded to threats on his life by turning the tables on the Bush gang, showing just what a crazy threat he is by offering cheap oil to poor Americans. How un-American of him! Cheap oil to poor Americans would turn them into welfare bums! Would gradually deprive them of the incentive to work and get ahead, making something of their lives! Plus, he is undercutting the capitalism by refusing to allow the invisible hand of the market to determine the just price of oil.

He's a scoundrel! He is working to subvert the "American Way of Life": from each according to their inability to pay, to each according to their wealth and connections.

Hugo Chavez is putting his country's money where his mouth is, unlike Bush who puts his country's money into the coffers of companies like Haliburton. Chavez is selling oil below the going market price (and if things continue, it will soon be even further below market prices) to Jamaica. Bush is killing Iraqis. By their fruits...

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Online Thesaurus Pulls Listing for 'Arab'
Associated Press Writer
Aug 22 6:45 PM US/Eastern

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - An online thesaurus struck a listing Monday for the word "Arab" after Arab-American groups complained the entry listed derogatory synonyms.

The entry, which appeared on, listed the word ["Arab"] as a noun meaning "beggar," and gave 16 pejorative synonyms including "homeless person" and "welfare bum."

The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee contacted the synonym book's online publisher Friday to complain about the entry; the American Arab Forum also criticized the listing on Monday.

"I looked it up and I couldn't believe what I was seeing," said Aref Assaf, president of the American Arab Forum, which is based in Paterson.

Several hours after Roget's Thesaurus was called by The Associated Press, all entries for "Arab" had been pulled from the site.

Barbara Ann Kipfer, editor of the third edition of Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, said the entry had likely been on the site for years, but never made it into printed versions of the thesaurus.

"We're simply going to take it out," she said on Monday. "The last thing you want with a thesaurus is to offend anyone."

Kipfer said an 18th-century term "street arab" had appeared in other thesauruses, referring to a homeless child who has been abandoned and roams through the streets.

The Internet publishing group that produces the Web site also said it was surprised to learn of the entry.

"We got together and tried to resolve it as soon as possible," said Jasper Chou, director for marketing for Lexico Group.

Assaf said he was satisfied that the listing had been removed.

"We look forward to working with them, should they need a proper definition of the word. The easier definition is 'anyone who is Arabic,' which would have been more than sufficient," he said.

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U.S. Says Terrorists May Pose As Vagrants
Associated Press
Mon Aug 22,10:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Asking for increased vigilance in the wake of the London bombings, the government is warning that terrorists may pose as vagrants to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations to plot future attacks.

"In light of the recent bombings in London, it is crucial that police, fire and emergency medical personnel take notice of their surroundings, and be aware of 'vagrants' who seem out of place or unfamiliar," said the message, distributed via e-mail to some federal employees in Washington by the U.S. Attorney's office.

It is based on a State Department report that was issued last week. The State Department had no immediate comment Monday.

The warning is similar to one issued by the FBI before July 4, 2004 that said terrorists may attempt surveillance disguised as homeless people, shoe shiners, street vendors or street sweepers.

The e-mail stresses that there is no threat of an attack and that it is intended to be "informative, not alarming."

Homeless people easily blend into urban landscapes, the message said.

"This is particularly true of our mass transit systems, where homeless people tend to loiter unnoticed," the e-mail said.

It referred to a recent incident in Somerville, Mass., in which a police officer became suspicious about someone dressed as a street person. The officer questioned the man, discovered he had a passport from a "country of interest" - typically a Middle Eastern or South Asian nation - and a checkbook with a questionable address, the e-mail said. The investigation is continuing, it said.

The incident happened in early July, Somerville city spokesman Mark Horan said, when the man walked back and forth in front of the
Social Security office in Somerville's Davis Square and kept looking in the windows.

"This was right after one of the London bombings," Horan said. "There was an even higher degree of sensitivity."

The man was evasive about what he was doing but wasn't arrested. Somerville police didn't investigate further but passed the information on to the FBI, Horan said. There haven't been any similar incidents in Somerville, he said.

FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz would not comment on whether an investigation is ongoing.

Three British citizens were indicted in the United States earlier this year on charges they conducted surveillance of the New York Stock Exchange and other East Coast financial institutions in 2000 and 2001.

Discovery of the alleged terrorist plan last year prompted the
Homeland Security Department to raise the terror alert for the targeted buildings, located in New York, Washington and Newark, N.J. Security in those cities also was tightened.

Homeland Security also raised the terror alert for mass transit following the July 7 bombings in London. The alert was lowered on Aug. 12.

Comment: What was it that Roget's thesaurus included as synonyms of the word "Arab"?

The entry, which appeared on, listed the word ["Arab"] as a noun meaning "beggar," and gave 16 pejorative synonyms including "homeless person" and "welfare bum."

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US wants to renegotiate draft UN reform agreement: report
Thu Aug 25, 3:09 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Only weeks from a summit on UN reforms, the United States has called for a drastic renegotiation of the draft agreement and wants to scrap many of its key provisions, The Washington Post said.

A total of 750 amendments contained in a confidential 36-page document obtained by the Post have been presented this week to selected envoys by the new US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, the newspaper said.

In them, the US government proposes to eliminate new pledges on foreign aid to poor nations, scrap provisions calling for action to halt climate change and urging greater progress by nuclear powers in dismantling their nuclear arms.

The US proposals also call for tougher action against terrorism, promoting human rights and democracy and halting the spread of the world's deadliest weapons, the daily said.

Jean Ping, the current president of the UN General Assembly, is trying to fine-tune a draft on the UN reform package in time for the summit, scheduled for September 14-16, ahead of the UN General Assembly session.

The US amendments call for striking any mention of the 2000 Millennium Development Goals, in which UN members set goals over the next 15 years to reduce poverty, preventable diseases and other scourges of the world's poor.

In their stead, the US wants to underscore the importance of the 2002 Monterrey (Mexico) Consensus, that focused on free-market reforms and required governments to improve accountability in exchange for aid and debt relief, the Post said.

The proposals also underscore US efforts to impose greater oversight of UN spending and to eliminate any reference to the International Criminal Court.

The US administration also opposes language that urges the five permanent members of the UN Security Council not to cast vetoes on resolutions to halt genocide, war crimes or ethnic cleansing, the daily added.

Comment: Well, it doesn't get much more blatant than that, does it?

The proposals, The Washington Post said, face strong resistance from poorer countries who want the UN to focus more on alleviating poverty and scale back US propensity to intervene in small countries that abuse human rights.

US and UN diplomats told the daily that Bolton has indicated in face-to-face meetings with foreign delegates that he is prepared to pursue other negotiating options if the current process proves cumbersome.

Bolton has suggested replacing the entire document with a brief statement, or splitting the document up by themes so nations could choose the ones to support, the diplomats said.

"We are looking at very, very difficult negotiations in the days ahead," Pakistan's UN ambassador Munir Akram was quoted as saying by the daily.

The United States has "strong positions, and many of us do have very strongly held positions. That's the nature of the game. My only regret is we didn't get into the negotiations early enough," added the ambassador.

Comment: In other words, John Bolton is doing exactly what we expected him to do: attempting to reform the UN into an extension of the Bush Reich. The war on terror, genocide, torture, and corporations would all benefit greatly from Bolton's proposals, while the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the average citizen, and the environment would suffer the most. International Criminal Court? Who needs it when we can just make Bush emperor?

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: unless people and nations around the world stand up against the lies of the current US administration and their lapdogs and start to ask the important questions, the future state of our entire world will make Nazi Germany seem like a day at the beach.

Americans have started to question Bush, but where is the support from those anti-Bush folks in other countries? Now is not the time to take a nap...

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