Thursday, September 15, 2005                                               The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity
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"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan

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Bush asks for potty break
U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)
[View original Reuters image here]


Reuters Photog Captures Bush at U.N. With 'Bathroom Break' Note
By E&P Staff
September 14, 2005 9:30 AM

NEW YORK In what seems destined to become one of the most joked about photos of the month, a well-known Reuters photographer on Wednesday captured President George W. Bush scribbling a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a session at the United Nations. On the note is a message revolving around the need to take a "bathroom break."

The photo, which appeared on Reuters' official photo site, was quickly published all over the Web, though dismissed by some as a likely photoshop special. Others suggested that surely someone must have hacked the Reuters site.
But a Reuters spokesman on Thursday told E&P the photo was legit.

"The photographer and editors on this story were looking for other angles in their coverage of this event, something that went beyond the stock pictures of talking heads that these kind of forums usually offer," explained Reuters' Stephen Naru. "This picture certainly does that."

The photo by Denver-based Rick Wilking, taken over a man's shoulder, shows an official -- identified in the caption as President Bush -- scribbling in pencil on a small white piece of paper that already contains the words: "I think I MAY NEED A BATHroom break?" It is unclear if Bush is in the process of responding to that message or wrote it himself.

The caption at the Reuters site reads:

"U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war."

The photo can be found here.

Wilking, a former Reuters staffer in Europe, took several other photos today at the U.N. posted at the Reuters site on Wednesday. He recently covered the hurricane disaster in the Gulf, and on Sept. 2 was profiled at E&P Online.

He told E&P's Jay DeFoore at that time that he decided to leave New Orleans only after his laptop and two cameras were stolen from his car parked near the convention center. But he vowed to return to cover the "human tragedy."

One online bio of Wilking describes him as a "presidential photographer" with 12 years experience shooting pictures in Washington or on various White House assignments. It says he started his career as a photojournalist for the Colorado Daily in 1974.

Comment: The following article suggests that the photographer who snapped the "Bathroom Break" photo recently returns from the horror of New Orleans, and that he was none too happy...

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Reuters Photojournalist Recounts Disaster in New Orleans
By Jay DeFoore
Editor & Publisher
September 02, 2005 4:15 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Reuters photojournalist Rick Wilking has covered nearly every major storm in the U.S. since the late '80s, but he's never seen anything quite as bad as Hurricane Katrina.

That's why Wilking, who left New Orleans Thursday after spending the last week documenting the storm and its aftermath, helped evacuate several people he had come to know during his stay.

Driving in a two-car caravan, Wilking and Getty Images photographer Mark Wilson helped evacuate five people in all, including their pets. The group included two elderly couples and the manager of a bar in the French Quarter which Wilking had used to transmit photos throughout the week. The bar, miraculously, maintained one of the few working phone lines in the city.

Wilking, a former Reuters staffer in Europe who became a freelancer after moving to Denver, said one of the men he evacuated was a war veteran with Parkinson's disease who "couldn't move unaided at all."

Speaking to E&P shortly after arriving at the Denver airport Friday afternoon, Wilking described New Orleans as one of the most horrific scenes he's witnessed in his two-decade career.

"Anybody and everybody who saw that you had a set of wheels asked you to give them a lift out of town," Wilking said. "Floods really limited your mobility. You're always watching your back and worried about losing your [equipment]. … [It's] the kind of stuff I've run into in Haiti, where there's civil unrest, but never while covering a storm."

At the convention center Thursday, a full milk bottle thrown from a crowd narrowly missed Wilking, who had been photographing dead bodies in the street at the time. Wilking said Eastern New Orleans was "a whole different world," where thousands of people were left at the mercy of painstakingly slow boat rescues. Wilking photographed hospital patients with catheters and IVs still attached roaming the streets in wheelchairs.

Half the people he met were embarrassed and didn't want their picture taken. The other half cried out for someone to tell the story of their plight.

Wilking said he decided to leave New Orleans only after his laptop and two cameras were stolen from his car that was parked near the convention center Thursday.
Gary Hershorn, Reuters' North American photo editor, had a different view: "It's time to get him out," Hershorn said Friday. "He's been there long enough. … I don't want to leave people there longer than a week. It's just too hard. People are working 24-hour days and not getting any sleep."

New York-based photojournalist Shannon Stapleton, who arrived in Baton Rouge on Friday, will take Wilking's spot in the rotation. Reuters also has photojournalist Jason Reed in New Orleans.

Wilking plans to return to the story once he recharges and replaces his stolen equipment. "This story ain't going away," Wilking said. "It was a storm story before, but now it's a human tragedy."

Jay DeFoore ( is E&P's Online Editor.

Comment: The next article makes some interesting points about Bush and the now famous image:

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Bush's UN-doing
Sep 15, 2005

Yesterday's images of Bush at the U.N. tell us a lot about what we already know.  But they also start to tell us about what we can expect.

We know Condi is the teacher and Bush is her pupil.

We also know Bush is monitored for every word that comes out of his mouth.

Here's where things might start to look different, though.

Before Katrina, the White House could count on two things. 
1.) Bush having rigid control over himself and his demeanor. 
2.) A press so intimidated, they wouldn't dare challenge (let alone, look through) Bush's mask.

With the damage that Bush has inflicted on himself, however, his veneer seems to be cracking along with his cockiness.  Although about 40% of the population seems to be permanently taken in by Dubya's practiced amiability, people who know better describe him as a man who is tempermental, stubborn, impatient and callous  -- at least, behind closed doors.  The problem (for Bush, I mean) is that the former cheerleader, reeling from the past two weeks, seems to be dropping his guard.

Previously visible only in snippets (usually clamped down by those all too familiar pursed lips), the hurricane battered Bush can now seem outwardly brooding; bored; withdrawn and distracted: and also sarcastic and snide.  (And, judging by the hostility coming out of his wife and mother, perhaps the whole family may be starting to show its true colors.)

In spite of this new vulnerability, however, the much larger dilemma for Bush is the potential loss of his free pass from the press.  For the moment, the media -- having been beaten into submission for years now -- seems determined not to look away.

Beyond that, you can also almost sense an instinct to punish Bush for the way he has manipulated and humiliated the press corp.  When a reader forwarded this last image to me earlier this afternoon, I took it as parody.  When I saw it again (this time, among the newswire images), I thought someone from the Daily Show must have hacked YahooNews.

Bush asking Condi for permission to relieve himself?  (That's what the caption said.)  Take it as stolen evidence that he really can't think for himself.

(And then, how many other world leaders would need two conditional declarations within the first four words about something so definitive, still need a question mark at the end of the sentence, and then have to ask again?)

Comment: Click here to read this article with all the images. One reader commented:

Mr. Bag makes the interesting point that first of all, most people know whether or not they need a bathroom break, but the President of the United States is triply unsure: "I *think* I *may* need a bathroom break*?*" It could be that instead of listening to what was going on, the president was contemplating the events that were to ensue (maybe his giving a speech or having to meet with other leaders) and thought (feared, probably) that he might not make it through the events without having to use the restroom. Whatever the deal, the construction of that needful sentence shows a man who is a far cry from the resolute, heroic, take-charge kind of leader the administration has been conning us about.

A commenter on another blog agrees with James's point about vengence. The commenter said that the photographer who took this shot had made some "powerful" images of Katrina's aftermath and that this may be the photographer's payback.

Another wrote:

This photographer certainly deserves a pay raise! Wow, what a powerful image. When I saw it for the first time last night, my first thought was "what does he really want to do in the bathroom?" Because if you really have to go, like an emergency situation -- and you're the leader of the free world -- shouldn't you be able to get up and go without asking permission? Or at least write a definitive, declarative statment like ... "get me the H out of here before I explode?" Also the Important Men of the World that I know would use a personal form of shorthand to communicate with their assistant. But given that Bush took the time to write out each word, you have to think that he really didn't need a "bathroom break." This image is worth well more than 1,000 words. It'll be fun to see your comments on this one, BAG.

There is also the rather curious use of uppercase letters, which spell out "I MAY NEED A BATH". A secret message, or a sign of Bush's mental instability? Who knows...

As to whether or not Bush wrote both parts of the message, note that the "th" in the word "think" is the same style as the "th" in the word "this" in the bottom part of the message which seems to read "Is this possible". Note also that when he writes "I" referring to himself, it is a capitalized, printed letter - yet when he writes "Is" at the beginning of the last phrase, it is an uppercase script "I".

In any case, the fact that Reuters has published and confirmed the authenticity of an image that will certainly embarrass Bush is a distinct change of pace in a mainstream media that has traditionally been a mouthpiece for the current administration and its leader.

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Delta, Northwest file for bankruptcy

Spike in jet fuel sparks filings, putting almost half of U.S. airline capacity in Chapter 11
By Chris Isidore
CNN/Money senior writer
September 14, 2005: 7:47 PM EDT

NEW YORK - The airline industry's five-year financial crisis came to a head Wednesday evening as Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines, two of the nation's largest carriers, both filed for bankruptcy.

Delta, the nation's No. 3 airline, filed first. (For more on Delta's filing, click here.)

Northwest, the No. 4 carrier, followed within minutes. (Full story.)

Both cited the recent spike in jet fuel costs, which have soared nearly 20 percent since June 1, as prime reasons for seeking protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy laws.

"This is a coincidence, but what a coincidence," said industry consultant Michael Boyd. "This is another 9/11. Most carriers adjusted to that, but now we have another 9/11 that's called fuel. And we have another half of a 9/11 called pensions."

"The problem is there is so much competition out there, that fares get driven into the cellar," he added. "All this does is get two carriers into position where they can better deal with it, but it's not going to solve the basic problem that the industry [pricing] is irrational."

The two carriers joined No. 2 United Airlines, which has been operating under bankruptcy protection since December 2002, and US Airways, which is in its second trip to bankruptcy court since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

With the twin filings Wednesday, nearly half of the domestic industry's capacity is now on carriers operating in Chapter 11, according to an estimate from Bear Stearns. In Chapter 11, a company is protected from creditors while it keeps operating and tries to cut costs and reorganize.

There have been only a few profitable quarters for a few of the major airlines since the beginning of 2001, when a downturn in business travel eight months ahead of the Sept. 11 attacks started the red ink flowing.

The Air Transport Association estimates that from 2001 though 2004, the industry posted net losses of $32.3 billion, even with the profits made at lower-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines and JetBlue.

Losses of another $9 billion to $10 billion are expected in 2005, and few analysts are projecting when there might be a return to profitability.

Both Delta and Northwest said they would keep flying, saying passengers should not be affected by the filings.

Delta, founded in 1928 in Monroe, Louisiana, (hence the airline's name), is now based in Atlanta and flies some 340,000 passengers on about 1,870 flights a day.

Northwest, which started flying mail in 1926 and passengers a year later, carries about 160,000 people on its 1,450 flights a day.

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What the latest airline bankruptcy threats mean for travelers
By Ed Perkins
Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Date Posted: 08/26/05

"I read a news brief in my local travel section that both Northwest and Delta are likely to file Chapter 11 soon," wrote a reader in mid-August. "How is this going to affect travelers? Should we avoid buying plane tickets from these carriers for travel later this year? Will ticket prices be likely to come down after they file Chapter 11? And, once they've filed, are we relatively 'safe' in buying their tickets, or will we have to buy tickets a second time on another carrier because they can't provide the service?"

That's typical of several e-mails I've received recently, so it's time for a refresher course in what does and doesn't happen in an airline bankruptcy.

An airline's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is essentially transparent to travelers. As far as the operation of the airline is concerned, almost nothing changes. People keep buying tickets, the airline flights operate as usual, and travelers would be hard-put to know that the bankruptcy ever happened.

Many travelers seem to think that bankruptcy is synonymous with failure; that a bankrupt company must necessarily liquidate its remaining assets and go out of existence. That's just not the case, at least with the type of bankruptcy known as Chapter 11. Struggling companies use Chapter 11 bankruptcy not to fail but to keep operating, while shedding some of their debts and other obligations. Among others, that means defaulting on pension obligations, as several airlines have already done. In sum, Chapter 11 bankruptcy can do great harm to employees, stockholders, and debtors, but it has almost no effect on customers. Tickets and frequent flyer miles are about as safe with Delta or Northwest as with any other big line.

The main reason for the current bankruptcy speculation is that the government rules on Chapter 11 bankruptcy change this October. Since the new rules are stricter than the current ones, struggling companies in many industries - not just airlines - are thinking about preemptive filings before the change goes into effect.

As this point, then, I would not hesitate to buy tickets on Delta. But, to answer another part of my reader's inquiry, I wouldn't expect a bankruptcy filing to result in lower fares. As I'm writing this column, the big airlines are having one of their frequent sales, and fares are low. In the longer term, however, fares have to go up, not down. Historically high oil prices are eating away at the bottom lines of all airlines, whether profitable or bankrupt. Despite periodic sales and promotions, overall fares will likely keep edging up during the next year or so.

As far as I know, the only U.S. airline facing the possibility of actual failure - shutting down and liquidating - is Independence Air. Several important industry mavens are suggesting that Independence might, in fact, have to quit in the next few months. I'm certainly not enough of a financial analyst to evaluate those conclusions, although I do believe that Independence's business model was unsound from the outset. Right now, I would hesitate to buy a ticket on Independence.

E-mail Ed Perkins at; or purchase a copy of his latest book, "Business Travel: When It's Your Money," the first step-by-step guide specifically written for small business and self-employed professional travelers.

Comment: The problem with the author's analysis of the current airline situation is that it ignores the bigger picture. Sure, most airlines will keep operating, but the fact remains that a major US industry was walloped by 9/11, the war on terror, and now the high price of oil - partially as a result of hurricane Katrina. As we often state, the current position of the US economy is rather fragile. While the airlines themselves will continue to operate, previous bankruptcies have led to the reduction or even elimination of huge pension funds, leaving former employees literally penniless. Since the personal and public debt are so high in the USA, two more bankrupt airlines are indeed a big deal. The majority of Americans don't have the funds to keep their gas tanks filled, and a gradual rise in airfares will soon make air travel less accessible, as well. Thus, if the masses wish to maintain their lifestyle, they will rack up even more debt, continuing the downward spiral. The government and military will also have to spend more money on fuel, and that money has to come from somewhere - in this case, taxes. As the Bush administration marches forward with tax cuts for the rich, the least financially able people in the US should have to foot an increasingly huge bill - but for the most part, the Bush government is playing the same debt game in an attempt to "create the reality" of an economically healthy United States. Unfortunately, we can see from historical data that reality always intrudes at some point on such illusions, and the house of cards comes crashing down.

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If your only source of the news was Fox, CNN, or the major networks, you'd think that the people who stayed in New Orleans - whether huddled up at the Superdome, the Convention Center, or in their homes - were so devoid of initiative that they simply sat on their bums waiting for the government to come in and save them: exactly the image of the poor that the media and the elite wish you to have. You know, the welfare bums who have chosen to be lazy and not get a job, preferring government handouts to the menial work for minimum wage that gives their life value and promotes self-esteem; the sort of people who will capitalise on a disaster by looting in order to get all those gadgets and goodies they aren't willing to earn themselves.

We have collected today some of the stories that have appeared that show a different view of the survivors, stories of people banding together and cooperating, sharing resources and skills, in order to make it through the aftermath of Katrina.

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Surviving in New Orleans
Peter Berkowitz

Peter Berkowitz is a staff attorney at a Massachusetts prison. He was traveling in New Orleans with his wife Bruni & son Ernesto when the hurricane hit. They were there because Ernesto was planning to start his freshman year at Loyola of New Orleans. What follows is his letter to his 80-something mother. It was forwarded to the PEACE-LIST at Syracuse University by Carole Resnick <> on Wednesday, September 14, 2005.


Dear Mom:

This is pretty much what happened to us as far as I can remember it. Some of it is probably off because we lost track of time and days and nights blended. I'm still feeling very angry and sad. Watching the news outrages me. I see "Dr. Phil" opining on why people didn't evacuate New Orleans. He says they didn't believe there would be a hurricane, or they didn't want to leave, etc. Well there was no way to leave. We had no way out. People with families and no resources had no way out. There were no buses coming for people, or shelters to take people to. Just announcements to leave. So naturally, the poorest, sickest, etc. were left behind. No one, as far as I could see, wanted to be there or elected to be there. No one really allowed them to get out!

Anyway, we began hearing hurricane news on the television. By Saturday, we were hearing insanely frightening news of a direct category 5 hurricane hit and projections of massive flooding and deaths of up to 30,000 people. Despite being through several hurricanes, this seemed worse than imaginable. We were pretty scared. Bruni and I had tickets out for Sunday, 828 at 2 pm so we weren't worried. I called all the airlines and finally got Ernesto a ticket to Chicago for 1 pm the next day.

Sunday morning we sent Ernesto back to school to get his things. I called to check on my reservation and was told the flight was cancelled. Bruni and I had no way out. Ernesto's flight was never cancelled, but there were no taxis, buses, etc., or any way to get to the airport.

So we bought some wine and canned goods and waited out the storm in the hotel. With all the dire predictions, it was pretty nerve-wracking to wait. I don't remember the storm too well. The winds picked up at night and really roared during the day Monday morning. The electricity went, but we had water. We watched the hurricane from our room and from the lobby of our hotel. The two restaurants attached to the hotel made coffee and sandwiches for the guests. The bar was opened. Everyone cooperated, so it was not nearly as bad as predicted. Being in the city, the hotel was pretty well protected by other buildings. It was not nearly as bad (or impressive) as the hurricanes we passed in Cupey.

So everything was fine and we were just waiting for the next day to see when the airport would open and when we could get out. It was quite a relief.

Tuesday morning at about 8 am, the hotel people knocked on our door to say we were evacuating the hotel immediately for their sister hotel the Saint Marie. The wanted to get all the guests together for protection from looters at nighttime, because the Saint Marie had a generator, and because it was 5 stories high, and there was lots of talk of floods of up to 20 feet. So we left for the Saint Marie, two blocks away. When we got there, we were herded into the ballroom and told to stay there. As I kept inquiring about our room, I was finally told there were no rooms, that we could stay in the ballroom if we wanted as the flood waters poured in, or we could go to the official evacuation center at the Convention Center. We were effectively kicked out of the hotel.

So we left with about 15 other guests and walked through the streets, about 10 blocks to the Convention Center. Water was clearly coming down the streets from the direction of Lake Ponchartrain, and the flood news was terrible. At the front door, the workers there told us to go around to the side. At the side, we were informed that the Convention Center was not an evacuation center, and that no one was permitted inside.

There was no one else there except for our group. Our concern at the moment was not to be caught up in the flood. Behind the Convention Center ran the "Riverwalk", a Mall and outside walkway along the Mississippi. Right on the side of the Convention Center was an escalator that ran up to a maybe 100 foot long covered walkway that led into the Mall. The walkway was about thirty feet high. We decided that it was the best place for now to ride out the flood.

So we all went up and put down our bags. Ernesto and I walked to the mall entrance, but the doors were locked. We thought maybe moving into the mall might be better and safer. At the very corner of the front windows to the entrance to the Mall, we found a window shattered on the bottom by the storm. I broke the rest of the window out so we could walk in. The Mall was full of shops and food and drink kiosks. We showed it to the other people with us. Since it was hot inside the Mall and the people were still afraid of getting in trouble for "trespassing", they elected to camp outside.

We decided to stay all together as a group. Since we had no food or water and no way to get any, we went into the Mall and began "looting", gathering food and water for our survival.

At this point, there was no communication with anyone. No one knew what was happening. There were no police. There was nothing other than news of terrible floods. Everyone was on their own.

So now, with some food and water, we sat down to wait. The entrance to the Riverwalk had part of the roof still intact, so we were able to wait in the shade.

Shortly after, we noticed a man with a rifle and duffel bag walk up to the door to the Mall. We see him try the door and find it locked. Then he simply smashed out the door with the butt of his rifle and walked in. We, of course, decided to not enter again until he left. Maybe half an hour later, he marched past us and was gone. His duffel seemed a bit fuller.

We went in again and explored more, located where the food was, found stores on a lower floor, etc. Some time passed, and then the person with the rifle returns again. This time we notice he is a cop, and he is with four other cops, and they all have arms and duffel bags. And their only purpose is to get whatever they can.

That really opened up the Mall for us. We gathered food, drinks, and explored the stores. Some other tourists appeared and joined us. We took chairs and tables out of the mall. The police had "opened up" Footlocker and other stores, so there were shoes and clothes available for the taking. I wandered through looking for bedding and ways to set up camp. I took the covers off of some kiosks to use as a bed. Bruni found some semi-cushioned furniture and we took cushions. One day we found pillows in a store.

Our group grew as new people came looking for ways to get out of the expected flooding. At some point, I started to walk back to our hotel to find out if we could stay there. On the way, I ran into an employee of the hotel and her family who had also been kicked out of the hotel. They came up and joined us as well.

The first night, there were about thirty of us up on the bridge. The next day, some others arrived. I think the second day, Wednesday, might be when the Convention Center opened, because one family decided to move down there. I think it was one of the families of the hotel employees. They had been enjoying the provisions of the Mall with us. Once they moved down to the Convention Center, word spread, and there was a steady stream of people coming up and sacking the Mall. People came out with everything, as did we. More stores were broken into, and people came out with bags and bags of goods. And it spread and spread. We went in systematically all day long taking out food and provisions.

During all of this, there were no police around. There were no authorities around. There was no food. There was no water. There was no information, other than the hysteria and rumors from the radio. No one knew how long we'd be there. No one knew when the floods would reach us. The news indicates that the airport is under ten feet of water, that the main shelter, the Superdome, has lost part of its roof and is flooding, that there is killing, and looting, and who knows what else. Everything is rumor. No one knows anything. If you see a cop, they are on their own. They are also homeless, and if they talk to you, it is to say you are on your own.

By Wednesday, the streets were filled with people who are at the Convention Center. There are thousands of people in the streets. No one has food or water. It is hot and miserable. It was maybe Wednesday or Thursday that some people on the street began yelling about dead bodies, and tossed a body wrapped in a sheet on the side of the Convention Center just below us. A little later a wheelchair with a dead woman appears there as well. Again, everything is rumor. People are saying that the dead woman in the wheelchair was bludgeoned to death in the Convention Center. At the same time, hordes of people are coming up the steps past us and into the Mall. They are breaking into all the stores, smashing cash registers, etc. There is desperation all around. And anger. And violence.

Our group is about 50. We are mostly tourists from the US, Australia, England etc. There are also several families from New Orleans who were flooded out who have joined us. Two of the people are nurses. The bathrooms in the mall have overflowed. There has been no water since Tuesday night. Food is rotting. Everything smells, as do we. But we are organized. We have set up buckets behind broken pieces of zinc roofing as bathrooms. We have sodas and water stacked up in our kitchen. While there is still ice in the Mall, we have some hams buried there. We have umbrellas and trash cans and trash bags ... even disposable gloves to help avoid disease. We also have dead bodies, dead rats, and shit and stink all around. And we have no idea how long we are here for.

Our group is mostly white and from Middle America. They decide that the blacks (the Convention Center is 99% black obviously) are planning to murder us to get attention and help). There is mass hysteria in the group, and racism is rampant. People don't know where to flee. Rumors are everywhere about murder, rape, etc. There are shots during the night Thursday or Friday. At 2 am, there is a huge explosion across the river, and a huge fire. Smoke pours in from fires in every direction.

There is some nasty racism in our group. One day, when the hysteria is greatest, a black man stands up and says, "Why do you think these people want to kill you? They are surviving just the same as you. Struggling just the same. Just as desperate as you. They don't care anything about you. They are concentrating on surviving, etc." That calmed people a bit and made them feel particularly foolish.

At the same time, more and more families from the Convention Center were moving up to the walkway with us. Our group grew to about 80. Each morning, people began to bag the garbage. Others swept the walkway. Some set out breakfast for everybody. Two women who were home care workers for the elderly emptied and cleaned the shit buckets. A group would go into the Mall and forage for provisions. Then we would sit all day and wait.

I think on Friday the helicopters began to arrive dropping water and MRE rations in the parking lot in front of us. It was the first and only food and water ever to arrive -- three days after the hurricane. And it was just tossed from the helicopter for people to run after and gather. The old and the sick had nothing. Again, no one knew what was happening. Fires were burning all around. Everyone was desperate and frightened. Everyone was just trying to survive. And everyone, other than us tourists, was there because they had been completely wiped out -- had lost their homes and every possession and had young kids and elderly parents to feed.

As the helicopters arrived, we also ran down and gathered what we could. We began to survive on the army rations. Ernesto and I became friendly with the man who had given the speech chastising our group. He invited me to go with him to the Convention Center and distribute whatever Army rations we could pick up from the next helicopter to the disabled there, since they had no way to get rations. We gathered about 30 meals off of the next drop.

The drops were scandalous -- throwing food and water out of a hovering helicopter -- people scrambling for food to survive. Reduced to animals foraging -- when the copters could have landed, imposed order with guards, and distributed food with some respect and humanity.

Anyway, we walked through the Convention Center distributing food. The Center takes up about eight city blocks. There must have been 25,000 people camped out there without provisions, without bathrooms, without water or electricity ... with no means of survival. Families with little kids. Old people. People in wheelchairs. There was no medicine. No nurses or doctors. There was filth and garbage everywhere. Some people asked for food, and we gave it. Others said they were fine and had eaten. Some pointed out others who needed food. Like our group, they were doing their best to survive, and sharing whatever they had. We kept walking. The crowds went on and on. People with nothing. Every one of them had lost everything. Abandoned. Not knowing how they would eat, how they would survive. It was the most disgraceful, sad, infuriating thing I had ever seen in my life. Poor people discarded like garbage because they were poor people.

Everybody was waiting for the promised buses to evacuate us. Every day there were rumors of buses. Every day we waited and watched. Nothing ever came. Every day there was more filth. More people fainting from dehydration. Children were getting sick. Disease was becoming a bigger worry.

Our community on the walkway was interesting. One day a reporter came by and asked me if we had a "mayor" ... we didn't. Everyone worked. Everyone joined in. Everyone did the job that made them most comfortable. And everything functioned. And as people joined us, they automatically joined in the work. There were differences, but everyone worked. When there was talk about leaving or looking for ways out, it was discussed collectively. There was always a sense of staying together and getting out as a group. There was also nastiness, and racism, and comments about "the people down there" in the Convention Center. We intervened with a lot with people in our group who were blaming all the "people down there" for the violence. We intervened when reporters started to come and were told that "the people down there" were looting and killing. We told them that they were doing just what we were doing -- doing what was necessary to survive in desperate circumstances.

I don't know what else to say. We were anxious all the time. The nights were the worst ... partly because nights are generally more frightening, but also because there were often shots or explosions. There was always a surprise, and it was always bad news. It seemed like it would never get better. We just waited and scavenged. We worried that things would get more violent as they got more desperate. We also made incredible friends and saw amazing acts of kindness.

One morning, we woke and packed at 3 am because of a rumor that the buses were coming early in the morning. We waited and hoped. No buses came. We cleaned up camp and sat down to wait again, hoping to get through another day without tragedy.

It was Friday or Saturday that we heard the news that Bush was coming to view the disaster. That was when I first thought we would be getting out. I knew that New Orleans was another stage, and that the president wasn't going to show up unless the troops were coming and the mess was going to be cleaned up. Here was a chance to improve his ratings. Here was a place where an appearance without an immediate success would be a political disaster. Here was another excellent political stage. And of course we looked down the next day at noon and there were the troops. And a perimeter was set up. And piles of water and food were set up in the parking area. And that was the beginning of the evacuation. By the next day, the buses arrived. I think we finally left at around 4 pm on Saturday.

Once the troops arrived, the general anxiety level went down. Now it was just a question of getting out. Fires were burning. When the wind shifted it was hard to breathe, but we knew if no other disaster hit, we would get out soon. As always, they told us the buses were coming. We didn't believe it for a minute. The National Guard told us we had to vacate the walkway and go down onto the street to await the buses. Of course we refused. We told them we had a community here that was self sufficient. There was no need for us to be on the street and in the sun for nothing. That here, we were supplying food, medical services, etc to ourselves and to anyone who had a need. By this time, we had about five or six elderly and incapacitated people in our group. They had been left behind by a hospital when they evacuated. They were with a nurse who had been abandoned with them. We pointed out that our sick could not go down. We had another nurse in our group who was very well-spoken, and helped convince the National Guard that we had to stay for reasons of the health of the children and the elderly. So we stuck together and stayed on the walkway. Nobody left until we finally saw the buses, and were assured that everyone would get out. And then we marched out together as a group, with much of the group still intact.

In convincing the National Guard to let us stay, one of the more hateful and delusional of our group argued to the Guard that we should be left on the walkway because of "racial tensions". This was the same woman who had been telling everyone who would listen that the blacks would slaughter us to gain media attention so they would be evacuated. Anyway, between all the arguments, we were allowed to stay. And it also resulted in one of the most shameful moments of our stay. When the meals were distributed in the parking lot, several distribution lines were formed. We were given a separate line. Our line was escorted to and from the food by Guardsmen. No one from our group was ever able to walk alone. As always, it is the racist hysterical argument that prevails. It was better not to get food then to pass through that disgrace.

We were amazed when we walked down to the corner where the bus was supposed to be that there was actually a bus. It took an hour to get out of the city. The driver did not know where we were going. As usual, we knew nothing. At some point, the cop leading the line of evacuating buses informed us that we were going to Fort Chafee, Arkansas. All we wanted was an airport, but there was no way off a moving bus. Later, we were told we were going to Fort Smith, Arkansas, even farther away. We demanded to be let off. The cop told us that we would stop to eat in Shreveport, Louisiana and we could get off there. Of course the bus didn't stop. It did stop just across the Texas border, where a group of people had voluntarily set up tables to distribute food and help to the refugees.

We grabbed our bags and decided to find a ride into Shreveport. There was no good reason for us to go to Fort Smith. Ernesto found a volunteer to take us to a motel by the airport. Our first priority was to bathe by this point. An airplane was next. Of course no motels were available. So we decided to spend the night at the airport. Another man offered to take us. As we were getting in his car, he also offered us a shower at his house. We took him up on it and headed off. We showered, chatted, etc. I made plane reservations for 7 am the next morning. They invited us to stay and sleep for the hour and a half that remained of the night. They gave us food and little presents, a tee-shirt from their local high school baseball team, etc. They were kind, concerned, and really wanted to help and do the right thing. As we talked it was also clear that they were religious conservatives, racist, homophobic, etc. East Texas ... kindness and hatefulness on the same plate.

Anyway, we're home. We're still angry and anxious. Writing all this makes me relive it. Reading it makes Bruni cry. What we saw was just too raw. Poor people abandoned because they were poor. Poor people treated as trash. Poor people being branded as looters and thieves for trying to survive. Our own country treating us just as we treat the Iraqis, Palestinians, and every other country that we exploit or invade. How can we ever deny class warfare?

The other thing that struck me were the contradictions in people ... how the kindest people in our group who gave aid and compassion individually to blacks and whites, rich and poor, also painted all those people at the Convention Center with the same brush -- animals, looters, ignorants.

And it is no wonder when all the papers write and all the news reports is looting and violence -- as if there was no need or reason to "loot". Sure, there were some violent people there. There are everywhere. But this handful gets turned into "those people", and everyone gets branded. So no compassion is needed for the poor. After all, "they brought it on themselves ... they wouldn't let the government help, even though the government tried so hard". And that becomes what this country believes. And then of course the government can "morally" do nothing for the poor -- which is what it intended in the first place.

That's all I have for now. After you read this, give me a call and we can talk.


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Time for a Truth & Justice Commission
Back Inside New Orleans
September 14, 2005

What actually happened in New Orleans these past two weeks? We need to sort through the rumors and distortions. Perhaps we need our version of South Africa's Truth And Reconciliation Commission. Some way to sort through the many narratives and find a truth, and to find justice.

I spent yesterday inside the city of New Orleans, speaking to a few of the last holdouts in the 9th ward/ bywater neighborhood. Their stories paint a very different picture from what we've heard in the media. Instead of stories of gangs of criminals and police and soldiers keeping order, there were stories of collective action, everyone looking out for each other, communal responses.

The first few nights there was a large, free community barbecue at a neighborhood bar called The Country Club. People brought food and cooked and cooked and drank and went swimming (yes, there's a pool in the bar).

Emily Harris and Richie Kay, from Desire Street, traveled out on their boat and brought supplies and gave rides. They have been doing this almost every day since the hurricane struck. They estimate that they have rescued at least a hundred people. Emily doesn't want to leave. She is a carpenter and builder, and says, "I want to stay and rebuild. I love New Orleans"

Emily describes a community working together in the first days after the hurricane. She also describes a scene of abandonment and disappointment. "A lot of people came to the high ground at St. Claude Avenue. They really thought someone would come and rescue them, and they waited all day for something - a boat, a helicopter, anything. There were helicopters in the sky, but none coming down"

So people started walking as a mass uptown to Canal Street. Along the way, youths would break into grocery stores, take the food and distribute it evenly among houses in the community.

"Then they reached Canal Street, and saw that there was still no one that wanted to rescue them. That's when people broke into the stores on Canal Street"

I asked Okra, in his house off of Piety Street, what the biggest problem has been. He said, "It's been the police - they've lost the last restraints on their behavior they had, and gotten a license to go wild. They can do anything they want. I saw one cop beat a guy so hard that he almost took his ear off. And this was someone just trying to walk home"

Walking through the streets, I witnessed hundreds of soldiers patrolling the streets. Everyone I spoke to said that soldiers were coming to their house at least once a day, trying to convince them to leave, bringing stories of disease and quarantine and violence. I didn't see or speak to any soldiers involved in any clean up or rebuilding.

There are surely reasons to leave - I would not be living in the city at this point. I'm too attached to electricity and phone lines. But I can attest that those holdouts I spoke to are doing fine. They have enough food and water and have been very careful to avoid exposing themselves to the many health risks in the city.

I saw more city busses rolling through poor areas of town than I ever saw pre-hurricane. Unfortunately, these buses were filled with patrols of soldiers. What if the massive effort placed into patrolling this city and chasing everyone out were placed into beginning the rebuilding process?

Some neighborhoods are underwater still, and the water has turned into a sticky sludge of sewage and death that turns the stomach and breaks my heart. However, some neighborhoods are barely damaged at all, and if a large-scale effort were put into bringing back electricity and clearing the streets of debris, people could begin to move back in now.

Certainly some people do not want to move back, but many of us do. We want to rebuild our city that we love. The People's Hurricane Fund - a grassroots, community based group made up of New Orleans community organizers and allies from around the US - has already made one of their first demands a "right of return for the displaced of New Orleans.

In the last week, I've traveled between Houston, Baton Rouge, Covington, Jackson and New Orleans and spoken to many of my former friends and neighbors. We feel shell shocked. It used to be we would see each other in a coffee shop or a bar or on the street and talk and find out what we're doing. Those of us who were working for social justice felt a community. We could share stories, combine efforts, and we never felt alone. Now we're alone and dispersed and we miss our homes and our communities and we still don't know where so many of our loved ones even are.

It may be months before we start to get a clear picture of what happened in New Orleans. As people are dispersed around the US reconstructing that story becomes even harder than reconstructing the city. Certain sites, like the Convention Center and Superdome, have become legendary, but despite the thousands of people who were there, it still is hard to find out exactly what did happen.

According to a report that's been circulated, Denise Young, one of those trapped in the convention center told family members, "yes, there were young men with guns there, but they organized the crowd. They went to Canal Street and looted,' and brought back food and water for the old people and the babies, because nobody had eaten in days. When the police rolled down windows and yelled out the buses are coming,' the young men with guns organized the crowd in order: old people in front, women and children next, men in the back,just so that when the buses came, there would be priorities of who got out first" But the buses never came. "Lots of people being dropped off, nobody being picked up. Cops passing by, speeding off. We thought we were being left to die"

Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky, paramedics from Service Employees International Union Local 790 reported on their experience downtown, after leaving a hotel they were staying at for a convention. "We walked to the police command center at Harrah's on Canal Street and were told ...that we were on our own, and no they did not have water to give us. We now numbered several hundred. We held a mass meeting to decide a course of action. We agreed to camp outside the police command post. We would be plainly visible to the media and would constitute a highly visible embarrassment to the City officials. The police told us that we could not stay. Regardless, we began to settle in and set up camp. In short order, the police commander came across the street to address our group. He told us he had a solution: we should walk to the Pontchartrain Expressway and cross the greater New Orleans Bridge where the police had buses lined up to take us out of the City...

"We organized ourselves and the 200 of us set off for the bridge with great excitement and hope. ...As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions...

"Our small group retreated back down Highway 90 to seek shelter from the rain under an overpass. We debated our options and in the end decided to build an encampment in the middle of the Ponchartrain Expressway on the center divide, between the O'Keefe and Tchoupitoulas exits. We reasoned we would be visible to everyone, we would have some security being on an elevated freeway and we could wait and watch for the arrival of the yet to be seen buses.

"All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleanians were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the City on foot. Meanwhile, the only two City shelters sank further into squalor and disrepair. The only way across the bridge was by vehicle. We saw workers stealing trucks, buses, moving vans, semi-trucks and any car that could be hot wired. All were packed with people trying to escape the misery New Orleans had become"

Media reports of armed gangs focused on black youth, but New Orleans community activist, Black Panther, and former Green Party candidate for City Council Malik Rahim reported from the West Bank of New Orleans, "There are gangs of white vigilantes near here riding around in pickup trucks, all of them armed" I also heard similar reports from two of my neighbors - a white gay couple - who i visited on Esplanade Avenue.

The reconstruction of New Orleans starts now. We need to reconstruct the truth, we need to reconstruct families, who are still separated, we need to reconstruct the lives and community of the people of New Orleans, and, finally, we need to reconstruct the city.

Since I moved to New Orleans, I've been inspired and educated by the grassroots community organizing that is an integral part of the life of the city. It is this community infrastructure that is needed to step forward and fight for restructuring with justice.

In 1970, when hundreds of New Orleans police came to kick the Black Panthers out of the Desire Housing Projects, the entire community stood between the police and the Panthers, and the police were forced to retreat.

The grassroots infrastructure of New Orleans is the infrastructure of secondlines and Black Mardi Gras: true community support. The Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs organize New Orleans' legendary secondline parades - roving street parties that happen almost every weekend. These societies were formed to provide insurance to the Black community because Black people could not buy insurance legally, and to this day the "social aid is as important as the pleasure.

The only way that New Orleans will be reconstructed as even a shadow of its former self is if the people of New Orleans have direct control over that reconstruction. But, our community dislocation is only increasing. Every day, we are spread out further. People leave Houston for Oregon and Chicago. We are losing contact with each other, losing our community that has nurtured us.

Already, the usual forces of corporate restructuring are lining up. Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root subsidiary has begun work on a $500 million US Navy contract for emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and marine facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Blackwell Security - the folks that brought you Abu Ghraib - are patrolling the streets of our city.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the rich white elite is already planning their vision of New Orleans' reconstruction, from the super-rich gated compounds of Audubon Place Uptown, where they have set up a heliport and brought in a heavily-armed Israeli security company. "The new city must be something very different, one of these city leaders was quoted as saying, "with better services and fewer poor people. Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way: demographically, geographically and politically"

While the world's attention is focused on New Orleans, in a time when its clear to most of the world that the federal government's greed and heartlessness has caused this tragedy, we have an opportunity to make a case for a people's restructuring, rather than a Halliburton restructuring.

The people of New Orleans have the will. Today, I met up with Andrea Garland, a community activist with Get Your Act On who is planning a bold direct action; she and several of her friends are moving back in to their homes. They have generators and supplies, and they invite anyone who is willing to fight for New Orleans to move back in with them. Malik Rahim, in New Orleans' West Bank, is refusing to leave and is inviting others to join him. Community organizer Shana Sassoon, exiled in Houston, is planning a community mapping project to map out where our diaspora is being sent, to aid in our coming back together. Abram Himmelstein and Rachel Breulin of The Neighborhood Story Project are beginning the long task of documenting oral histories of our exile.

Please join us in this fight. This is not just about New Orleans. This is about community and collaboration versus corporate profiteering. The struggle for New Orleans lives on.

Jordan Flaherty is a union organizer and an editor of Left Turn Magazine ( He is not planning on moving out of New Orleans. He can be reached at:

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Swimming to New Orleans -- One Man's Search for Friends and Family
Pacific News Service, First-person narrative, Nick Glassman, Sep 07, 2005

Editor's Note: A Bay Area man goes to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and finds a war zone of floating bodies, armed and angry survivors and threatening policemen.

I just returned this past weekend from my first trip to Louisiana since Katrina. It's beyond what you can imagine -- it's hell on Earth.

I flew into Baton Rouge, which sits about 80 miles northwest of New Orleans, and the city is destroyed, but not by the storm. There are hundreds of thousands of refugees from New Orleans in Baton Rouge. People are camping on the side of the roads, in their cars if they have them, and all over the LSU campus. The first thing you notice is how outraged everyone is.

The people of Baton Rouge don't want us here, and you can't blame them. There seems to be no plan for the New Orleaneans once they are dropped off in Baton Rouge, and locals are confused, horrified or worse. They know this is potentially a permanent situation, or at least the way it will be for the next several months. It's safe to say they're as scared as the homeless and exhausted refugees that litter their streets.

We rented four houses in Houma, La., which is about 50 miles south of Baton Rouge or about 30 miles west of New Orleans. We spent the weekend moving our family there, then our friends, and then people we met who had no other options. When I left, we had perhaps 40 people and another 20 on the way. It's an amazing thing to see -- your best friends, family and everyone in between huddled on floorboards, makeshift beds and sleeping bags. It's truly like a nuclear bomb hit our city, and we are doing everything we can just to keep everyone housed, fed and with clean water.

I decide to go into New Orleans as there are far too many people from our home unaccounted for. It's Saturday, September 3.

There is no way to get into the city. The roads that are open are being used to bring people out, and no traffic is headed in. I drive a rental car 30 miles on backroads that I guess won't be flooded. I make it about half way until can no longer get into the city by car. With a backpack loaded with as much water as I can carry, two packs of breakfast bars, three canisters of bug spray, and an extra pair of shoes, I start walking.

First, there's the climate. It's almost 90 degrees, and the humidity and the still water have made the swamp come alive with bugs. The mosquito swarms and other bugs make sound like a blizzard. I have to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants, and I'm drenched with sweat.

The first group of people I meet are very friendly. I trade my ipod for a kid's dirt bike so I can make better time, and they give me extra water. They try to warn me it isn't safe to head into the city. They warn me about what neighborhoods to avoid, and that above everything else, it was critical to stay away from the police. They'll force you to leave by putting you on a bus destined for who knows where, and if you resist, they'll arrest you. It's the first time I sense that the police and government are seen as enemies by Katrina survivors. At first, I simply consider that shortsighted, but over the next two days, I start to understand why they think that way.

I get to the outskirts of the city by about 2 p.m. -- an upscale neighborhood called Metaire, where most of the money of New Orleans lives. To get that far already involved about half a mile of swimming. Everything is destroyed. The area isn't just underwater, it's more that the swamps have risen over New Orleans. There are snakes and alligators everywhere, and the more you see, the more you realize the city isn't going to be livable for who knows how long.

Then there are the bodies. I first start seeing them as I cross from Metaire into what is called Midcity, the neighborhood you drive through to get to Jazz Fest and the fairgrounds. Until now, I've only seen a few dead bodies in my entire life. Some have been pushed against dry spots by, I presume, rescue workers. Others are just floating in the water. There are houses with red marks on them, meaning there's someone dead inside. The most horrifying part of all is what happens when a body is floating in the water for two or three days. It's barely recognizable as a person. When you see one, it's riddled with mosquitoes and who knows what else.

The city is not at all empty as the news says it is. I find hundreds if not thousands of people in all the different neighborhoods, and they have no intention of leaving. First and foremost, they have nowhere to go. Many people don't want to leave. They don't trust they'll ever be let back in, and they certainly aren't going to allow their homes to be pillaged by people crafty enough not to get kicked out. Finally, they just don't believe the argument that the city will be unsafe and infested with disease.

They're armed and angry. They have already survived five straight days of no food and no water, and they don't believe those who haven't gotten them food or water are going to find a place for them to live.

I grew up in the 9th Ward, one of the lowest income areas in the city and the site of the first levee break. To get to my childhood home, I would have to dive underwater just to get to the roof. I go to the second house we lived in. Its roof has been torn off and there's a body floating not 50 feet away from the front porch. I wish I can say my friends' houses fared better. Most were either completely submerged in 10 to 15 feet of water or just not standing anymore. I find three people I know, and they set off for Houma that afternoon.

People are furious. They feel they've been abandoned. You have to understand, there's no power anywhere. The rescue crews are going through New Orleans proper but not all the neighborhoods where people live. Most people don't even think there's a rescue effort underway at all. It becomes clear to me the one thing people need is communication; without it fear takes over. There's nothing more important to restoring order than giving the leaders an ability to get messages to everyone.

I know everyone has heard about people firing on helicopters. I'm certainly not saying it is right, but after being there, I understand. For five days, helicopters are flying overhead, but none of them are dropping water or food down for anyone. They fly by using load speakers saying that anyone found looting or stealing will be arrested, and those are the helicopters that are followed by gunshots, from what I see.

The only government group anyone has seen are the police with sawed-off shotguns threatening to arrest everyone who is walking around on the streets.

Everyone is fearful for his future, and fear leads people to do amazing, extraordinary things. It's a state of war. People don't even know who they're fighting, but they know they're at war. Twice, I bike away at full speed from people that come at me. Before I leave the city, my cash, backpack loaded with food and change of clothes and my camera are stolen. The final time, two people robbed me of my water. They didn't even ask for cash or my watch, just my water. It is desperation, and the last thing I could ever feel is anger.

I'll never forget this weekend. I'll probably spend years wishing I could. You just can't describe what it's like to see the hometown that you love, that's a part of everything you are, littered with floating dead bodies, and to see "your people" firing guns at strangers and hating everyone and everything. It's one of the worst things I've ever felt or seen. It's a war being fought against no one.

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9/11--Who Done It? - Part I --CM/P
by Mick Collins at 08:08PM (CEST) on September 14, 2005

911 Who Done It? will take some time--not much, but some. Like the Triangle Shirt Factory fire, you have to look beyond the immediate proprietors to the insurers: Larry Silverstien, Allainzz (and 9 others) Insurance Co, NY Port Authority. But today no one even half a tic more reflective than 'two-gun' Pat Robertson honestly considers the attacks of 911 on NYC and DC to be the work of artisanal Arab Terrorists: they talk about them the way they talk about the fairies at the bottoms of their gardens. Vis à vis the WTC, the world 'collapse' has seemingly been replaced with 'Demolition'; and that 16' entry hole and 100m tunnel through 6 steel reinforced concrete wall of the Pentagon has long since replaced the AA 77 Boeing with a bunker buster Boeing missile--except, strangely enough, by those who seem dependant for support on some sort of rich nationalist business types' or Israeli military intelligence stipends. Remember how Emperor's Clothes stopped its 911 investigation so quickly, it had to have its imperialist jock tweezed outta its sigmoid colon?--mc

But here are 29 questions to kick-off CM/P's 911 Who Done iIt? Series. Katryna Who Done It? will follow.

The World Trade Center Demolition and the So-Called War on Terrorism

Questions About the Events of September 11th

[As Gore Vidal has recently stated (The Enemy Within), "Apparently 'conspiracy stuff' is now shorthand for unspeakable truth."]

1 In view of the $30 billion given annually to the FBI, the CIA and other U.S. "intelligence" agencies, why were these agencies completely unaware (or so they say) of this conspiracy before they saw its results on CNN? And why has this (apparent) incompetence been rewarded with yet more billions?

2 The four AA and UA jets took off with an average occupancy rate of 27%. That four airliners from major airlines leaving from the East Coast around 9 a.m. on a weekday for the West Coast would all have such low occupancy rates is highly unlikely. Was the booking system tampered with in order to ensure such low occupancy rates (so that the passengers from all four planes could eventually be loaded onto UA Flight 93 for elimination)?

3 Why would hijackers intending to crash planes into the WTC hijack jets taking off from Boston rather than from someplace closer such as JFK Airport in New York?

4 Why would hijackers intending to crash a plane into the Pentagon hijack a jet from Dulles Airport near Washington DC (and thus close to the Pentagon) and allow it to fly for 40 minutes away from its target before turning around and flying another 40 minutes back to it (knowing that interception by military jets during this time would in normal circumstances have been very likely)?

5 AA Flight 77 (the jet which allegedly crashed into the Pentagon) was allegedly hijacked at about 9 a.m., at about the same time as the Twin Tower impacts, and its change of course back toward Washington, or its transponder having been turned off, would have been known to flight controllers, who were aware of the impacts; why, then, were U.S. Air Force jets not scrambled to intercept AA Flight 77 forty minutes before it (allegedly) hit the Pentagon, when there were U.S. Air Force jets at seven locations normally ready to take off at ten minutes' notice?

6 Why are the FAA, the FBI, the CIA and the NSA refusing to release any transcripts of communications from the four doomed Boeings on September 11th or any records at all relating to signals of any form transmitted by those jets?

7 Where are the black boxes (the flight data recorders and the cockpit voice recorders) from all four jets? These black boxes are designed to survive any crash. Have they been examined by experts from the National Transportation Safety Board, the agency which normally investigates airplane crashes? If not, why not?

8 In particular, what is on the FDR and the CVR from UA Flight 93, the jet which crashed in Pennsylvania? Why, exactly, did this jet crash? Was it shot down?

9 Were the conversations between the pilots of the other three hijacked planes and air traffic controllers recorded? If so, what did those pilots say? Were those recordings siezed by the FBI? Were (alleged) transcripts given by the FBI to the mainstream media? Were those transcripts fabricated to provide false evidence in support of the "Arab hijackers" story?

10 Does the Fireman's Video show that the plane which hit the North Tower did not have engines attached to the wings and thus was not a Boeing 767? Does it reveal that missiles were fired from this plane just before it hit?

11 Since no public TV cameras were trained on the North Tower at the time of impact, what was the source of the transmission of the North Tower impact which George W. Bush says he saw before he went into the classroom in Florida? Why did he do nothing (except continue listening to a little girl's story about a goat) for half an hour after he was informed that the second jet hit the South Tower (and that America was "under attack")? Did Bush have prior knowledge of the WTC attack?

12 Considering that all persons on board all four planes died, how did the FBI come up so quickly with a list of names of the alleged nineteen Arab hijackers — including aliases used by fourteen of them, in some cases seven aliases (see the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2001-09-27)? Why were there no Arab names on the passenger lists at all? Did the FBI prepare in advance a list of the names (and aliases) of the (alleged) "Arab hijackers" on those flights?

13 Why did the South Tower collapse first, 56 minutes after it was hit, rather than the North Tower (which was hit first and collapsed 1 hour and 44 minutes after being hit), even though the fire in the North Tower (the alleged cause of the collapse) was more intense?

14 If the outer perimeter walls of the Twin Towers were connected to the central cores only by lightweight trusses, how was wind load on the towers transmitted to the central core (as it must have been because the floors did not buckle in a strong wind)?

15 What exactly was the nature of the structural connections between the outer perimeter wall and the central core of the two towers? Is it not false that this consisted only of lightweight flimsy trusses? Is it not the case that the connection was actually made with 32,000 tons of steel beams?

16 Why are the architect's plans of the Twin Towers not publicly available?

17 Would jet fuel burning in an enclosed space (with little oxygen available for combustion) actually produce temperatures high enough (1538°C, i.e. 2800°F) to melt massive steel beams (and all the steel beams, since steel conducts heat efficiently) enclosed in concrete in just 56 minutes? If so, wouldn't the Twin Towers have buckled and bent, and toppled over onto the surrounding buildings in the Lower Manhattan financial district, rather than collapsing neatly upon themselves in the manner of a controlled demolition?

18 Were the Twin Towers re-engineered in the mid-1990s to make possible a collapse-on-demand if that were judged necessary? Was FEMA aware of this? Do blueprints of the Twin Towers in the possession of the past owners reveal any evidence of this?

19 Why were such huge quantities of ash and dust produced? How could fire convert concrete into dust? Has the ash been chemically analysed to determine what it really is and how it might have been produced?

20 Were any tests done on the debris for the presence of radioactivity?

21 Is it not the case that the Twin Towers collapsed, not because of airliner impacts and fires, but because they were expertly demolished (even though we do not yet know exactly how this was accomplished)?

22 Who stood to benefit from the complete destruction of the Twin Towers?

23 What was the actual size of the entrance hole made by the object which hit the Pentagon? Is it not the case that photographic evidence reveals that it was in fact at most just a few meters in diameter, much too small to have been made by a Boeing 757 jet, but just the right size for a missile?

24 Why were no aircraft fragments, identifiable as coming from a Boeing 757, recovered from the Pentagon crash site?

25 Why were no remains of the approximately sixty passengers and crew on the jet which allegedly hit the Pentagon returned to relatives for burial?

26 Why was the debris from the collapsed Twin Towers removed from the site with no forensic examination? Why was almost all of it sold to scrap merchants and shipped abroad where it would not be available for scientific examination?

27 In September 2001 the Securities and Exchange Commission initiated an inquiry to establish who benefited from the unusually high numbers of put options purchased prior to September 11 for shares in companies whose stock prices subsequently plummeted, on the supposition that whoever was behind the hijacking was also behind most of the purchases of these put options. Why has this inquiry stalled? Why have those who benefited from the purchases of these put options not been identified (or at least, not publicly)?

28 Is it not the case that this atrocity was planned and carried out by elements at high levels of command in the U.S. Air Force, the CIA, the Justice Department and FEMA (possibly with the involvement of well-placed civilians outside the government), acting under orders from, or with the approval of, high officials within the U.S. Administration, and that those same elements are now directing a propaganda campaign against the American people to justify a war of aggression in Asia and the Middle East aimed at controlling the oil and mineral wealth of those regions?

29 Why has the U.S. mainstream media ignored questions like these for over three years? Why are they complicit in the cover-up?

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John Chuckman
The American Muslim

America's fundamentalist carnival includes many fascinating acts. Pay your money, and you can watch preachers weeping and screaming, dismissing whole segments of humanity as evil, threatening murder, shaking down congregations for extra donations to named-after-themselves projects, or hitting people in the head to heal cancer. You will also see some monsters finally caught after years of molesting children or hear others advocating crimes against humanity such as using nuclear weapons.

Pat Robertson is one of the Christian Sideshow's longer-running acts, periodically adding some new nightmare to his grim repertoire. Oddly, Pat regards himself as a kind statesman-preacher, a latter-day boondocks version of Talleyrand, Talleyrand having started his remarkable and utterly unprincipled career as a Bishop. Pat regularly mixes the tax-free benefits of religion with the promotion of nasty politics. He has run for President, started quasi-religious organizations to promote his political ambitions, and freely offers his uninformed advice on national and world affairs.

Talleyrand had his various church properties and offices to support him in princely fashion while he worked at politics. Pat supports his public-minded work on resources gathered through one of America's greatest money-changer-in-the-temple careers. The fortune generated through decades of his appeals to unhappy, lonely people watching television gives him access to a genuine commercial empire, from so-called Christian broadcasting to oil refining.

A key difference between Talleyrand and Pat is that Talleyrand was frightfully clever and was a breathtaking success at politics. I put the difference, in part, down to style. Talleyrand in person might remind one of the late Archbishop Sheen, snapping and twirling his scarlet cape and watching his listeners with penetrating eyes - to all that would added something of Lord Byron's fascinating stench of corruption. Robertson has never quite escaped the Jesus-on-the-dashboard flavor of his early career. Pat is pure Super Duper Auto Parts, Aisle Six, smiling salesman for mud flaps and sequined sets of big dice, but with enough animal cunning to have risen to running every Aisle Six on the continent.

Pat recently announced on national television that America should murder the elected leader of another country, President Chavez of Venezuela. Previously Pat restricted himself to insulting the religion of a billion people, Islam, or insulting the victims of natural disasters in the United States. After a hurricane in which old men, women, and children died, Pat blamed the victims for their fate by claiming God was punishing America's immorality. His latest effort breaks new ground, being, by any meaningful definition, public advocacy of terror.

Why won't Pat Robertson be treated as a terrorist? Believe me, if you said what he said about any of America's current leaders, you would be arrested quickly under the Patriot Act and locked away. Why will Pat Robertson's broadcasting empire not be classified as an organization supporting terrorist activities? Perfectly legitimate organizations in other parts of the world have been declared outlaw in the United States for having less direct association with terrorist hate-speech. Several bloodthirsty-sounding Muslim clerics, completely unrepresentative of their faith, have been jailed recently for speech closely resembling Robertson's.

At the very least, Robertson should be charged under hate-speech laws. But such laws are weak in the United States, and many Americans fear the idea of hate-speech laws. So radio and television broadcasters continue spewing hate and dishonest claims in the exalted name of free speech.

We really do know why Pat Robertson won't be treated as a terrorist. It's for the same reason Bush's former Attorney General of the United States could tell a group of decent, honest, hard-working American Muslims that they should count themselves lucky they weren't being treated the way Japanese Americans were during World War II. It's for the same reason that Bush protects a mass murderer named Luis Posada Carriles from extradition and trial. It's for the same reason that American troops have made a horror of the lives of millions of innocent Iraqis. It's for the same reason a distraught mother who lost her son in Iraq is vilified by Right Wing savages. It's the same reason why the morally-contemptible Bush is President.

The reason is the worship of power and greed. While it's true that a great deal of America's history has to do with worshipping power and greed, never in my memory has it been so openly expressed, so contemptuously embraced as it is today. It is a sad to reflect in my twilight years that almost everything I was taught as a boy has proved to be wrong. I don't mean subjects like math or English. I mean values. Most of the evidence of my adult life tends to support the opposite of every moral lesson of my youth, certainly as they apply to the land of my birth, a place where power and greed now trump everything.

I was taught murder always is wrong. I was taught lying always is wrong. I was taught that lusting after money and power is wrong. I was taught that good men prevailed and evil men sooner or later paid for their acts. These lessons came from a ferociously-honest and brave mother who alone raised two boys on the South Side of Chicago. They came also from the church I attended. And they came from some wonderful books and stories I read.

The success of vicious Pat Robertson and his even more vicious President, George Bush, provide almost perfect allegories for the soul-dead thing America has become.

Religion, politics, journalism, and even academics serve the American worship of power and greed. I had a brief exchange recently with an exalted fellow from one of America's many well-financed propaganda mills tarted up to resemble research organizations. This exalted fellow had been on a national radio interview, interestingly enough on the same subject of Venezuela. Apart from inaccurate claims about a new broadcast network established in Venezuela while he made a case for American interference, when reminded that Mr. Chavez was democratically elected, he chimed in with, "So was Hitler!"

Hitler, despite huge expenditures and desperately hard campaigns, never received more than just over a third of votes. He was appointed Chancellor, after a long series of backroom manipulations, by the Republic's ancient and exhausted President von Hindenburg. Hitler's rise more closely resembles that of some of America's favorite shady men in Iraq and Pakistan than it does that of a man whose election was closely scrutinized and declared fair by international watchers.

I couldn't let such an inaccurate claim stand and looked up his outfit on the Internet. There, on a page resembling something from a university or research center, was a large quote from Rush Limbaugh about the tremendous job they were doing. What kind of a research institution quotes Rush Limbaugh? There were also, importantly, links for bequests and gifts. And there was an e-mail link to the man on the Venezuela case.

My particular exalted fellow answered at length, accepting the truth of my correction, but making a mighty effort to turn someone's getting one-third of the vote into a de facto election. There were paragraphs of labored reasoning larded with unnecessary facts, perhaps from a history text quickly consulted before replying. He missed the point entirely of respecting a genuinely democratic decision. Here is the kind of analysis being touted across America in an effort to influence the world. And these people do influence the world. The same people helped bring you the murderous disaster in Iraq.

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Behind America's façade
John Pilger
Monday 19th September 2005

The destruction caused by Katrina has enabled us to glimpse realities that are usually carefully hidden away. And what we discover is that New Orleans and Baghdad are not so far apart.

When I lived in the United States in the late 1960s, my home was often New Orleans, in a friend's rambling grey clapboard house that stood in a section of the city where civil rights campaigners had taken refuge from the violence of the Deep South. New Orleans was said to be cosmopolitan; it was also sinister and murderous. We were protected by the then district attorney, Jim Garrison, a liberal maverick whose investigations into the assassination of John Kennedy were to make powerful enemies behind "the Facade".

The Facade was how we described the dividing line between the America of real life - of a poverty so profound that slavery was still a presence and of a rapacious state power that waged war against its own citizens, just as it did against black and brown-skinned people in faraway countries - and the America that spawned the greed of corporatism and invented public relations as a means of social control ("The American Dream" and "The American Way of Life" began as advertising slogans).

The wilful neglect by the Bush regime before and after Hurricane Katrina offered a rare glimpse behind the Facade. The poor were no longer invisible. The bodies floating in contaminated water, the survivors threatened with police shotguns, the distinct obesity of American poverty - all of it mocked the forests of advertising billboards, relentless television commercials and news soundbites (average length 9.9 seconds) that glorify the "dream" of wealth and power. Reality, a word long expropriated and debased, found its true meaning, if briefly.

As if by accident, the US media, which are the legitimising arm of corporate public relations, reported the truth. For a few days, a select group of liberal newspaper readers were told that poverty had risen an amazing 17 per cent under George W Bush; that an African American child born within a mile of the White House had less chance of surviving its first year than a baby in urban India. That the United States now ranked 43rd in the world for infant mortality, 84th for measles immunisation and 89th for polio. That the world's largest public oil company, ExxonMobil, would make $30bn in profits this year, having received a huge slice of the $14.5bn in "tax breaks" that Bush's new energy bill guarantees his elite cronies.

In his two elections, Bush has received most of his "corporate contributions" - the euphemism for bribes totalling $61.5m - from oil and gas companies. The bloody conquest of Iraq, the world's second-biggest source of oil, will be their prize, their loot.

Iraq and New Orleans are not far apart. On 13 April 2003, Matt Frei, the BBC's Washington correspondent, reported the bloodbath of the US invasion with these words: "There's no doubt that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially now to the Middle East . . . is increasingly tied up with military power." Frei's apologies for the Bush regime from in front of the White House, and specifically for the architect of the slaughter in Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, were consistent with his reporting from New Orleans, which was vivid. On 5 September, he described battle-ready troops of the 82nd Airborne trudging through the streets of New Orleans as the "heroes of Tikrit". Most of the killing in Tikrit and elsewhere in Iraq has been done not by "insurgents" but by such "heroes" - a fact almost never allowed in the "coverage", whether it is on Fox or the BBC. Shaking his head in New Orleans, Frei wondered why Bush had done so little. Reality's intrusion was complete.

Before the moment passes, and Bush's atrocities and lies in Iraq are again allowed to proceed, it is worth connecting his disregard for the suffering in New Orleans with other truths behind the Facade. The unchanging nature of the 500-year western imperial crusade is exemplified in the unreported suffering of people all over the world, declared enemies in their own homes. The people of Tal Afar, a northern Iraqi town now in the news as "an insurgent stronghold" - that is, those who refused to be expelled from their homes - are being bombed and shelled and strafed, just as the people of Fallujah were, and the people of Najaf, and the people of Hongai, a "stronghold" in Vietnam, once the most bombed place on earth, and the people of Neak Loeung in Cambodia, one of countless towns flattened by B-52s. The list of such places consigned to notoriety, then oblivion, is seemingly endless. Why?

The answer largely is that so much of western scholarship has taken the humanity out of the study of nations, of people, congealing it with jargon and reducing it to an esotericism called "international relations", the grand chess game of western power which scores nations as useful or not, expendable or not. (Listen to Jack Straw talk about "failed nations": the pure invention of Anglo-American IR zealots.) It is this rampant orthodoxy that determines how power speaks and how its historians and reporters report. Such orthodoxy, says Richard Falk, professor of international relations at Princeton and a distinguished dissenter, "which is so widely accepted among political scientists as to be virtually unchallengeable in academic journals, regards law and morality as irrelevant to the identification of rational policy". Thus, western foreign policy is formulated "through a self-righteous, one-way, moral/legal screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence . . ." This is the filter through which most people get their serious news. It is the reason why the most obvious truths, such as the dominance of western state terrorism over the minuscule Qaeda variety, is never reported. It is the reason why America's destruction of 35 democracies in 30 countries (the historian William Blum's latest count) is unknown to the American public.

More urgently, it is the reason why the historic implications of George Bush's and Tony Blair's assaults on our most basic freedoms, such as habeas corpus, are rarely reported. On 9 September, an American federal appeals court handed down a judgment against Jose Padilla, an alleged witness to an alleged "plot", allowing the US military to hold him without charge indefinitely. Even though there is no case against him, the Supreme Court is unlikely to overturn this travesty, which means the end of the Bill of Rights and of the "very core of liberty . . . freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the executive", as an American jurist once famously wrote.

This was hardly news in Britain, just as Lord Hoffmann's remarks passed most of us by. A law lord, Hoffmann said that Blair's plans to gut our own basic rights were a greater threat than terrorism. Indefinite imprisonment for those innocent before the law and the intimidation of a minority community and of dissenters: these are the goals of Blair's "necessary measures", borrowed from Bush. Who challenges him? His Downing Street press conference is an august sheep pen, the baaing barely audible. In India the other day, reported the Guardian's political editor, "Mr Blair stood his ground when challenged over the Iraq war" - by Indian reporters, that is. The Guardian described neither these challenges nor Blair's replies.

Behind the Facade, the destruction of democracy has been a long-term project. The millions of poor, like most of the people of New Orleans, have no place in the US system, which is why they don't vote. The same is happening under Blair, who has achieved the lowest voter turnouts since the franchise. As with Bush, this is not Blair's concern, for his horizons stretch far. Selling weapons and privatisation deals to India one day, preparing the ground for attacking Iran the next. Under Blair, MI6 ran Operation Mass Appeal, a campaign to plant stories in the media about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Under Blair, young Pakistanis living in Britain were trained as jihadi fighters and recruited for the first of his wars - the dismemberment of Yugoslavia in 1999. According to the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, they joined this terrorist network "with the full knowledge and complicity of the British and American intelligence agencies".

In his classic work The Grand Chessboard, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies and actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, writes that, for America to dominate the world, it cannot sustain a genuine, popular democracy, because "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion . . . Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation." He describes how he secretly persuaded President Carter in 1976 to bankroll and arm the jihadis in Pakistan and Afghanistan as a means of ensuring US cold war dominance. When I asked him in Washington, two years ago, if he regretted that the consequences were al-Qaeda and the attacks of 11 September 2001, he became very angry and did not reply; and a crack in the Facade closed. It is time that those of us paid to keep the record straight tore it down completely.

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A Brief History of U.S. Interventions:
1945 to the Present
by William Blum
Z magazine , June 1999

The engine of American foreign policy has been fueled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, but rather by the necessity to serve other imperatives, which can be summarized as follows:

* making the world safe for American corporations;

* enhancing the financial statements of defense contractors at home who have contributed generously to members of congress;

* preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model;

* extending political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a "great power."

This in the name of fighting a supposed moral crusade against what cold warriors convinced themselves, and the American people, was the existence of an evil International Communist Conspiracy, which in fact never existed, evil or not.

The United States carried out extremely serious interventions into more than 70 nations in this period.

China, 1945-49:

Intervened in a civil war, taking the side of Chiang Kai-shek against the Communists, even though the latter had been a much closer ally of the United States in the world war. The U.S. used defeated Japanese soldiers to fight for its side. The Communists forced Chiang to flee to Taiwan in 1949.

Italy, 1947-48:

Using every trick in the book, the U.S. interfered in the elections to prevent the Communist Party from coming to power legally and fairly. This perversion of democracy was done in the name of "saving democracy" in Italy. The Communists lost. For the next few decades, the CIA, along with American corporations, continued to intervene in Italian elections, pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars and much psychological warfare to block the specter that was haunting Europe.

Greece, 1947-49:

Intervened in a civil war, taking the side of the neo-fascists against the Greek left which had fought the Nazis courageously. The neo-fascists won and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a new internal security agency, KYP. Before long, KYP was carrying out all the endearing practices of secret police everywhere, including systematic torture.

Philippines, 1945-53:

U.S. military fought against leftist forces (Huks) even while the Huks were still fighting against the Japanese invaders. After the war, the U. S. continued its fight against the Huks, defeating them, and then installing a series of puppets as president, culminating in the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

South Korea, 1945-53:

After World War II, the United States suppressed the popular progressive forces in favor of the conservatives who had collaborated with the Japanese. This led to a long era of corrupt, reactionary, and brutal governments.

Albania, 1949-53:

The U.S. and Britain tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the communist government and install a new one that would have been pro-Western and composed largely of monarchists and collaborators with Italian fascists and Nazis.

Germany, 1950s:

The CIA orchestrated a wide-ranging campaign of sabotage, terrorism, dirty tricks, and psychological warfare against East Germany. This was one of the factors which led to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961.

Iran, 1953:

Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown in a joint U.S./British operation. Mossadegh had been elected to his position by a large majority of parliament, but he had made the fateful mistake of spearheading the movement to nationalize a British-owned oil company, the sole oil company operating in Iran. The coup restored the Shah to absolute power and began a period of 25 years of repression and torture, with the oil industry being restored to foreign ownership, as follows: Britain and the U.S., each 40 percent, other nations 20 percent.

Guatemala, 1953-1990s:

A CIA-organized coup overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of death-squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling well over 100,000 victims -indisputably one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century. Arbenz had nationalized the U.S. firm, United Fruit Company, which had extremely close ties to the American power elite. As justification for the coup, Washington declared that Guatemala had been on the verge of a Soviet takeover, when in fact the Russians had so little interest in the country that it didn't even maintain diplomatic relations. The real problem in the eyes of Washington, in addition to United Fruit, was the danger of Guatemala's social democracy spreading to other countries in Latin America.

Middle East, 1956-58:

The Eisenhower Doctrine stated that the United States "is prepared to use armed forces to assist" any Middle East country "requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism." The English translation of this was that no one would be allowed to dominate, or have excessive influence over, the middle east and its oil fields except the United States, and that anyone who tried would be, by definition, "Communist." In keeping with this policy, the United States twice attempted to overthrow the Syrian government, staged several shows-of-force in the Mediterranean to intimidate movements opposed to U.S.-supported governments in Jordan and Lebanon, landed 14,000 troops in Lebanon, and conspired to overthrow or assassinate Nasser of Egypt and his troublesome middle-east nationalism.

Indonesia, 1957-58:

Sukarno, like Nasser, was the kind of Third World leader the United States could not abide. He took neutralism in the cold war seriously, making trips to the Soviet Union and China (though to the White House as well). He nationalized many private holdings of the Dutch, the former colonial power. He refused to crack down on the Indonesian Communist Party, which was walking the legal, peaceful road and making impressive gains electorally. Such policies could easily give other Third World leaders "wrong ideas." The CIA began throwing money into the elections, plotted Sukarno's assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phony sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to wage a full-scale war against the government. Sukarno survived it all.

British Guiana/Guyana, 1953-64:

For 11 years, two of the oldest democracies in the world, Great Britain and the United States, went to great lengths to prevent a democratically elected leader from occupying his office. Cheddi Jagan was another Third World leader who tried to remain neutral and independent. He was elected three times. Although a leftist-more so than Sukarno or Arbenz-his policies in office were not revolutionary. But he was still a marked man, for he represented Washington's greatest fear: building a society that might be a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model. Using a wide variety of tactics-from general strikes and disinformation to terrorism and British legalisms, the U. S. and Britain finally forced Jagan out in 1964. John F. Kennedy had given a direct order for his ouster, as, presumably, had Eisenhower.

One of the better-off countries in the region under Jagan, Guyana, by the 1980s, was one of the poorest. Its principal export became people.

Vietnam, 1950-73:

The slippery slope began with siding with ~ French, the former colonizers and collaborators with the Japanese, against Ho Chi Minh and his followers who had worked closely with the Allied war effort and admired all things American. Ho Chi Minh was, after all, some kind of Communist. He had written numerous letters to President Truman and the State Department asking for America's help in winning Vietnamese independence from the French and finding a peaceful solution for his country. All his entreaties were ignored. Ho Chi Minh modeled the new Vietnamese declaration of independence on the American, beginning it with "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with ..." But this would count for nothing in Washington. Ho Chi Minh was some kind of Communist.

Twenty-three years and more than a million dead, later, the United States withdrew its military forces from Vietnam. Most people say that the U.S. lost the war. But by destroying Vietnam to its core, and poisoning the earth and the gene pool for generations, Washington had achieved its main purpose: preventing what might have been the rise of a good development option for Asia. Ho Chi Minh was, after all, some kind of communist.

Cambodia, 1955-73:

Prince Sihanouk was yet another leader who did not fancy being an American client. After many years of hostility towards his regime, including assassination plots and the infamous Nixon/Kissinger secret "carpet bombings" of 1969-70, Washington finally overthrew Sihanouk in a coup in 1970. This was all that was needed to impel Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge forces to enter the fray. Five years later, they took power. But five years of American bombing had caused Cambodia's traditional economy to vanish. The old Cambodia had been destroyed forever.

Incredibly, the Khmer Rouge were to inflict even greater misery on this unhappy land. To add to the irony, the United States supported Pol Pot, militarily and diplomatically, after their subsequent defeat by the Vietnamese.

The Congo/Zaire, 1960-65:

In June 1960, Patrice Lumumba became the Congo's first prime minister after independence from Belgium. But Belgium retained its vast mineral wealth in Katanga province, prominent Eisenhower administration officials had financial ties to the same wealth, and Lumumba, at Independence Day ceremonies before a host of foreign dignitaries, called for the nation's economic as well as its political liberation, and recounted a list of injustices against the natives by the white owners of the country. The man was obviously a "Communist." The poor man was obviously doomed.

Eleven days later, Katanga province seceded, in September, Lumumba was dismissed by the president at the instigation of the United States, and in January 1961 he was assassinated at the express request of Dwight Eisenhower. There followed several years of civil conflict and chaos and the rise to power of Mobutu Sese Seko, a man not a stranger to the CIA. Mobutu went on to rule the country for more than 30 years, with a level of corruption and cruelty that shocked even his CIA handlers. The Zairian people lived in abject poverty despite the plentiful natural wealth, while Mobutu became a multibillionaire.

Brazil, 1961-64:

President Joao Goulart was guilty of the usual crimes: He took an independent stand in foreign policy, resuming relations with socialist countries and opposing sanctions against Cuba; his administration passed a law limiting the amount of profits multinationals could transmit outside the country; a subsidiary of ITT was nationalized; he promoted economic and social reforms. And Attorney-General Robert Kennedy was uneasy about Goulart allowing "communists" to hold positions in government agencies. Yet the man was no radical. He was a millionaire land-owner and a Catholic who wore a medal of the Virgin around his neck. That, however, was not enough to save him. In 1964, he was overthrown in a military coup which had deep, covert American involvement. The official Washington line was...yes, it's unfortunate that democracy has been overthrown in Brazil...but, still, the country has been saved from communism.

For the next 15 years, all the features of military dictatorship that Latin America has come to know were instituted: Congress was shut down, political opposition was reduced to virtual extinction, habeas corpus for "political crimes" was suspended, criticism of the president was forbidden by law, labor unions were taken over by government interveners, mounting protests were met by police and military firing into crowds, peasants' homes were burned down, priests were brutalized...disappearances, death squads, a remarkable degree and depravity of torture...the government had a name for its program: the "moral rehabilitation" of Brazil.

Washington was very pleased. Brazil broke relations with Cuba and became one of the United States' most reliable allies in Latin America.

Dominican Republic, 1963-66:

In February 1963, Juan Bosch took office as the first democratically elected president of the Dominican Republic since 1924. Here at last was John F. Kennedy's liberal anti-Communist, to counter the charge that the U.S. supported only military dictatorships. Bosch's government was to be the long sought " showcase of democracy " that would put the lie to Fidel Castro. He was given the grand treatment in Washington shortly before he took office.

Bosch was true to his beliefs. He called for land reform, low-rent housing, modest nationalization of business, and foreign investment provided it was not excessively exploitative of the country and other policies making up the program of any liberal Third World leader serious about social change. He was likewise serious about civil liberties: Communists, or those labeled as such, were not to be persecuted unless they actually violated the law.

A number of American officials and congresspeople expressed their discomfort with Bosch's plans, as well as his stance of independence from the United States. Land reform and nationalization are always touchy issues in Washington, the stuff that "creeping socialism" is made of. In several quarters of the U.S. press Bosch was red-baited.

In September, the military boots marched. Bosch was out. The United States, which could discourage a military coup in Latin America with a frown, did nothing.

Nineteen months later, a revolt broke out which promised to put the exiled Bosch back into power. The United States sent 23,000 troops to help crush it.

Cuba, 1959 to present:

Fidel Castro came to power at the beginning of 1959. A U.S. National Security Council meeting of March 10, 1959 included on its agenda the feasibility of bringing "another government to power in Cuba." There followed 40 years of terrorist attacks, bombings, full-scale military invasion, sanctions, embargoes, isolation, assassinations... Cuba had carried out The Unforgivable Revolution, a very serious threat of setting a "good example" in Latin America.

The saddest part of this is that the world will never know what kind of society Cuba could have produced if left alone, if not constantly under the gun and the threat of invasion, if allowed to relax its control at home. The idealism, the vision, the talent were all there. But we'll never know. And that of course was the idea.

Indonesia, 1965:

A complex series of events, involving a supposed coup attempt, a counter-coup, and perhaps a counter-counter-coup, with American fingerprints apparent at various points, resulted in the ouster from power of Sukarno and his replacement by a military coup led by General Suharto. The massacre that began immediately-of Communists, Communist sympathizers, suspected Communists, suspected Communist sympathizers, and none of the above-was called by the New York Times "one of the most savage mass slayings of modern political history." The estimates of the number killed in the course of a few years begin at half a million and go above a million.

It was later learned that the U.S. embassy had compiled lists of "Communist" operatives, from top echelons down to village cadres, as many as 5,000 names, and turned them over to the army, which then hunted those persons down and killed them. The Americans would then check off the names of those who had been killed or captured. "It really was a big help to the army. They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands," said one U.S. diplomat. "But that's not all bad. There's a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment. "

Chile, 1964-73:

Salvador Allende was the worst possible scenario for a Washington imperialist. He could imagine only one thing worse than a Marxist in power-an elected Marxist in power, who honored the constitution, and became increasingly popular. This shook the very foundation stones on which the anti-Communist tower was built: the doctrine, painstakingly cultivated for decades, that "communists" can take power only through force and deception, that they can retain that power only through terrorizing and brainwashing the population.

After sabotaging Allende's electoral endeavor in 1964, and failing to do so in 1970, despite their best efforts, the CIA and the rest of the American foreign policy machine left no stone unturned in their attempt to destabilize the Allende government over the next three years, paying particular attention to building up military hostility. Finally, in September 1973, the military overthrew the government, Allende dying in the process.

They closed the country to the outside world for a week, while the tanks rolled and the soldiers broke down doors; the stadiums rang with the sounds of execution and the bodies piled up along the streets and floated in the river; the torture centers opened for business; the subversive books were thrown into bonfires; soldiers slit the trouser legs of women, shouting that "In Chile women wear dresses!"; the poor returned to their natural state; and the men of the world in Washington and in the halls of international finance opened up their check- books. In the end, more than 3,000 had been executed, thousands more tortured or disappeared.

Greece, 1964-74:

The military coup took place in April 1967, just two days before the campaign for j national elections was to begin, elections which appeared certain to bring the veteran liberal leader George Papandreou back as prime minister. Papandreou had been elected in February 1964 with the only outright majority in the history of modern Greek elections. The successful machinations to unseat him had begun immediately, a joint effort of the Royal Court, the Greek military, and the American military and CIA stationed in Greece. The 1967 coup was followed immediately by the traditional martial law, censorship, arrests, beatings, torture, and killings, the victims totaling some 8,000 in the first month. This was accompanied by the equally traditional declaration that this was all being done to save the nation from a "Communist takeover." Corrupting and subversive influences in Greek life were to be removed. Among these were miniskirts, long hair, and foreign newspapers; church attendance for the young would be compulsory.

It was torture, however, which most indelibly marked the seven-year Greek nightmare. James Becket, an American attorney sent to Greece by Amnesty International, wrote in December 1969 that "a conservative estimate would place at not less than two thousand" the number of people tortured, usually in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States.

Becket reported the following: Hundreds of prisoners have listened to the little speech given by Inspector Basil Lambrou, who sits behind his desk which displays the red, white, and blue clasped-hand symbol of American aid. He tries to show the prisoner the absolute futility of resistance: "You make yourself ridiculous by thinking you can do anything. The world is divided in two. There are the communists on that side and on this side the free world. The Russians and the Americans, no one else. What are we? Americans. Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the U.S. You can't fight us, we are Americans."

George Papandreou was not any kind of radical. He was a liberal anti-Communist type. But his son Andreas, the heir-apparent, while only a little to the left of his father had not disguised his wish to take Greece out of the Cold War, and had questioned remaining in NATO, or at least as a satellite of the United States.

East Timor, 1975 to present:

In December 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor, which lies at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, and which had proclaimed its independence after Portugal had relinquished control of it. The invasion was launched the day after U. S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had left Indonesia after giving Suharto permission to use American arms, which, under U.S. Iaw, could not be used for aggression. Indonesia was Washington's most valuable tool in Southeast Asia.

Amnesty International estimated that by 1989, Indonesian troops, with the aim of forcibly annexing East Timor, had killed 200,000 people out of a population of between 600,000 and 700,000. The United States consistently supported Indonesia's claim to East Timor (unlike the UN and the EU), and downplayed the slaughter to a remarkable degree, at the same time supplying Indonesia with all the military hardware and training it needed to carry out the job.

Nicaragua, 1978-89:

When the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1978, it was clear to Washington that they might well be that long-dreaded beast-"another Cuba." Under President Carter, attempts to sabotage the revolution took diplomatic and economic forms. Under Reagan, violence was the method of choice. For eight terribly long years, the people of Nicaragua were under attack by Washington's proxy army, the Contras, formed from Somoza's vicious National Guard and other supporters of the dictator. It was all-out war, aiming to destroy the progressive social and economic programs of the government, burning down schools and medical clinics, raping, torturing, mining harbors, bombing and strafing. These were Ronald Reagan's "freedom fighters." There would be no revolution in Nicaragua.

Grenada, 1979-84:

What would drive the most powerful nation in the world to invade a country of 110,000? Maurice Bishop and his followers had taken power in a 1979 coup, and though their actual policies were not as revolutionary as Castro's, Washington was again driven by its fear of "another Cuba," particularly when public appearances by the Grenadian leaders in other countries of the region met with great enthusiasm.

U. S. destabilization tactics against the Bishop government began soon after the coup and continued until 1983, featuring numerous acts of disinformation and dirty tricks. The American invasion in October 1983 met minimal resistance, although the U.S. suffered 135 killed or wounded; there were also some 400 Grenadian casualties, and 84 Cubans, mainly construction workers.

At the end of 1984, a questionable election was held which was won by a man supported by the Reagan administration. One year later, the human rights organization, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, reported that Grenada's new U.S.-trained police force and counter-insurgency forces had acquired a reputation for brutality, arbitrary arrest, and abuse of authority, and were eroding civil rights.

In April 1989, the government issued a list of more than 80 books which were prohibited from being imported. Four months later, the prime minister suspended parliament to forestall a threatened no-confidence vote resulting from what his critics called "an increasingly authoritarian style."

Libya, 1981-89:

Libya refused to be a proper Middle East client state of Washington. Its leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, was uppity. He would have to be punished. U.S. planes shot down two Libyan planes in what Libya regarded as its air space. The U. S . also dropped bombs on the country, killing at least 40 people, including Qaddafi's daughter. There were other attempts to assassinate the man, operations to overthrow him, a major disinformation campaign, economic sanctions, and blaming Libya for being behind the Pan Am 103 bombing without any good evidence.

Panama, 1989:

Washington's bombers strike again. December 1989, a large tenement barrio in Panama City wiped out, 15,000 people left homeless. Counting several days of ground fighting against Panamanian forces, 500-something dead was the official body count, what the U.S. and the new U.S.-installed Panamanian government admitted to; other sources, with no less evidence, insisted that thousands had died; 3,000-something wounded. Twenty-three Americans dead, 324 wounded.

Question from reporter: "Was it really worth it to send people to their death for this? To get Noriega?"

George Bush: "Every human life is precious, and yet I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it."

Manuel Noriega had been an American ally and informant for years until he outlived his usefulness. But getting him was not the only motive for the attack. Bush wanted to send a clear message to the people of Nicaragua, who had an election scheduled in two months, that this might be their fate if they reelected the Sandinistas. Bush also wanted to flex some military muscle to illustrate to Congress the need for a large combat-ready force even after the very recent dissolution of the "Soviet threat." The official explanation for the American ouster was Noriega's drug trafficking, which Washington had known about for years and had not been at all bothered by.

Iraq, 1990s:

Relentless bombing for more than 40 days and nights, against one of the most advanced nations in the Middle East, devastating its ancient and modern capital city; 177 million pounds of bombs falling on the people of Iraq, the most concentrated aerial onslaught in the history of the world; depleted uranium weapons incinerating people, causing cancer; blasting chemical and biological weapon storage and oil facilities; poisoning the atmosphere to a degree perhaps never matched anywhere; burying soldiers alive, deliberately; the infrastructure destroyed, with a terrible effect on health; sanctions continued to this day multiplying the health problems; perhaps a million children dead by now from all of these things, even more adults.

Iraq was the strongest military power among the Arab states. This may have been their crime. Noam Chomsky has written: "It's been a leading, driving doctrine of U.S. foreign policy since the 1940s that the vast and unparalleled energy resources of the Gulf region will be effectively dominated by the United States and its clients, and, crucially, that no independent, indigenous force will be permitted to have a substantial influence on the administration of oil production and price. "

Afghanistan, 1979-92:

Everyone knows of the unbelievable repression of women in Afghanistan, carried out by Islamic fundamentalists, even before the Taliban. But how many people know that during the late 1970s and most of the 1980s, Afghanistan had a government committed to bringing the incredibly backward nation into the 20th century, including giving women equal rights? What happened, however, is that the United States poured billions of dollars into waging a terrible war against this government, simply because it was supported by the Soviet Union. Prior to this, CIA operations had knowingly increased the probability of a Soviet intervention, which is what occurred. In the end, the United States won, and the women, and the rest of Afghanistan, lost. More than a million dead, three million disabled, five million refugees, in total about half the population.

El Salvador, 1980-92:

El Salvador's dissidents tried to work within the system. But with U.S. support, the government made that impossible, using repeated electoral fraud and murdering hundreds of protesters and strikers. In 1980, the dissidents took to the gun, and civil war.

Officially, the U.S. military presence in El Salvador was limited to an advisory capacity. In actuality, military and CIA personnel played a more active role on a continuous basis. About 20 Americans were killed or wounded in helicopter and plane crashes while flying reconnaissance or other missions over combat areas, and considerable evidence surfaced of a U.S. role in the ground fighting as well. The war came to an official end in 1992; 75,000 civilian deaths and the U.S. Treasury depleted by six billion dollars. Meaningful social change has been largely thwarted. A handful of the wealthy still own the country, the poor remain as ever, and dissidents still have to fear right-wing death squads.

Haiti, 1987-94:

The U.S. supported the Duvalier family dictatorship for 30 years, then opposed the reformist priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Meanwhile, the CIA was working intimately with death squads, torturers, and drug traffickers. With this as background, the Clinton White House found itself in the awkward position of having to pretend-because of all their rhetoric about "democracy"-that they supported Aristide's return to power in Haiti after he had been ousted in a 1991 military coup. After delaying his return for more than two years, Washington finally had its military restore Aristide to office, but only after obliging the priest to guarantee that he would not help the poor at the expense of the rich, and that he would stick closely to free-market economics. This meant that Haiti would continue to be the assembly plant of the Western Hemisphere, with its workers receiving literally starvation wages.

Yugoslavia, 1999:

The United States is bombing the country back to a pre-industrial era. It would like the world to believe that its intervention is motivated only by "humanitarian" impulses. Perhaps the above history of U.S. interventions can help one decide how much weight to place on this claim.


William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. Portions of the book can be read at: com/bblum6/American holocaust.htm.

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Slow seismic slip begins in Pacific Northwest

Earthquake chance 30 times higher for brief period, but odds still remote
By Robert Roy Britt
Updated: 6:17 p.m. ET Sept. 14, 2005

An important seismic event imperceptible to humans has begun in the Pacific Northwest as predicted, according to the government agency Geological Survey of Canada.

The chance of a major earthquake is 30 times higher now for a roughly two-week period, but the odds are still remote, scientists say.

The event is called episodic tremor and slip (ETS). It involves a slow movement of the Juan de Fuca and North America tectonic plates along the Cascadia margin of southern British Columbia. Faults associated with the plates have been the sites of major earthquakes -- akin to the colossal tsumani-causing quake last December in Indonesia -- every 500 years or so, the geologic record shows. The last such temblor in the area struck on Jan. 26 in the year 1700.

The movement is slower than a traditional earthquake but more rapid than the normal creep associated with the fault. It runs in the reverse direction of the normal creep.

The movement was predicted. Scientists recently learned that these ETS events recur about every 14 months. It has been detected by Global Positioning System instruments.

The event does not mean an earthquake is imminent, but geologists are eager to study it and learn more and they say sooner or later an ETS event is likely to trigger a major quake.

"Compared to the steady year-round stress accumulation, this more rapid stress increase implies that a large subduction earthquake is more likely to happen during the time of an ETS event," the Canadian geologists write.

The slippage and associated minor tremors "are directly related to megathrust (Sumatra-like) earthquake potential," lead geologist John Cassidy and a colleague said in Tuesday's statement. "Neither the tremor nor the slip can be felt."

Odds go up

The slip began Sept. 3 on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State and has migrated north to the Vancouver Island area, Cassidy wrote. Victoria moved 0.12 inches (3 millimeters) to the West over the course of two days. The events are thought to last six to 15 days.

Cassidy's colleague, Stephane Mazzotti, has done some calculations on the odds of a large temblor.

"The probability of occurrence of a megathrust earthquake is about 30 times higher during this approximately two-week window, than during the rest of the 14.5 month cycle," Cassidy told LiveScience. "Having said that, 30 times a small number is still a small number."

Geologists simply don't know when one of these events will trigger a major quake, Cassidy said.

The immediate importance of the event is that it occurred as predicted and can now be used to improve understanding of the region's seismology.

"By better understanding these events, we will be able to better predict the effects (and perhaps timing) of future magnitude 9 earthquakes along the West Coast," Cassidy and his colleague write.

A separate study recently concluded that a major earthquake along the fault could be overdue, given clusters of the events seen in the geologic record. Because the fault is offshore, scientists say its rupture could create a devastating tsunami.

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Earthquake hits north-west Greece
15 September 2005 10:51

An earthquake measuring a moderate 4.4 points on the Richter scale shook the northwestern Greek city of Ioannina this morning.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the epicentre of the quake was 290km northwest of Athens.

There were no reports of material damage or injuries.

Six earthquakes ranging from 2.8 to five points on the Richter scale shook northern Greece and the western Ionian Sea on 13 September.

Greece is the most quake-prone country in Europe, accounting for half of the continent's seismic activity.

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A man is dead and a teen locked up after road rage incident
Associated Press Writer
September 13, 2005, 5:34 PM EDT

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. -- Enraged after being cut off by a teen driver, authorities say a man then followed the high school athlete home and tried to run the youth down with his car. Instead, the 53-year-old was punched into unconsciousness and died Tuesday.

The teen was jailed, charged with aggravated assault.

Jeffrey Zucker, a lawyer for the 17-year-old, said it was a case of self-defense.

The charges against the boy, whose name was not released because of his age, were filed before James D. Munter died late Tuesday morning. The charges could be upgraded, but Bill Shralow, a spokesman for the Camden County prosecutor's office, said that decision would not be made Tuesday.

The youth cut off Munter, of Lindenwold, on a road in Laurel Springs on Monday evening, authorities said.

Zucker said the teen was on his way home from football practice around 5:30 p.m. when he inadvertently cut off the other driver.

Authorities said Munter followed the teen three miles to the student's home in Lindenwold, screaming through his window all the way. The teen used a cell phone to call his father, who told him to drive home, officials said.

When the teen arrived home, Zucker said, he ran across the street to his home from his still-idling truck, but he was not fast enough. With the teen's father watching, Munter drove into the youth, authorities said.

The teen, who Zucker said is about 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, rolled off the hood of Munter's 1999 Mercury Sable, landed on his feet, walked to the driver's side of the car and punched Munter twice in the head.

Munter's son-in-law, Mark Serota, who described the man as "nice, fun-loving, goodhearted," said he lost consciousness instantly and never regained it.

Serota said police had asked the family not to talk about the details of the incident, including whether it seemed in character for Munter to follow or confront someone he considered to be a rude driver.

The teen was ordered to remain in the Camden County Youth Detention Center, at least until a hearing scheduled for Thursday.

Zucker said he hoped his client would be released to his parents then.

"It's a true tragedy because it certainly escalated into something that shouldn't have happened," Zucker said. "He was almost killed."

Zucker said three officials at the school where his client was a junior wrote letters supporting him, praising him as a good student and good citizen.

Gerri Carroll, the schools superintendent in Lindenwold, said extra help was available Tuesday for high school students who needed support after hearing about the incident.

The boy, she said, is an "excellent student, which is why this is very uncharacteristic."

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Foie gras ban gets vivid hearing
BY FRAN SPIELMAN, City Hall Reporter
Chicago Sun-Times
September 14, 2005

Veterinarians and animal rights activists on Tuesday described in graphic detail how geese and ducks suffer while being force-fed to create the liver delicacy known as foie gras.

"I'm sorry I had breakfast after listening to you," said Ald. Shirley Coleman (16th).

If there was any doubt about the torturous nature of the process used to create the pricey appetizer, veterinarian Dr. Holly Cheever cleared it up -- and then some.

Cheever is a wildlife rehabilitator who specializes in treating ducks, geese and other injured waterfowl. She described how a goose or duck is restrained three times a day while a steel feeding pipe is jammed down its esophagus. That's how the delicacy known as foie gras -- French for fatty liver -- is created.

Ducks 'die in massive pain'

"There is food spilling from the nostrils of these poor animals, who choke to death. As the [enlarged] liver fails, they develop a brain condition. You will see birds having seizures or in comas still being grabbed and force-fed. The liver is so expanded that, when the handlers put too much pressure on their abdomens, the livers may simply rupture and they die in massive pain and discomfort from internal hemorrhage," Cheever said.

"No other egg production, pork production, beef production, dairy production -- nowhere do we intentionally create a desperately ill animal, slaughter it just before it's gonna die because you've made it so ill, and then take this diseased organ, mix it up with herbs and spices and slap it on a cracker on New Year's Eve."

'An affront to our humanity'

The way ducks and geese are force-fed is "outside the bounds of acceptable conduct in a society that values compassion," said Gene Bauston, president of Farm Sanctuary, an organization he described as the nation's leading farm-animal protection organization.

"Their livers expand up to six to ten times their normal size. With a liver that big, the other organs are being pushed. Their legs are being pushed out, so it's hard to walk. It's even difficult to breathe because the liver is pushing up against their lung sacs," Bauston said.

"This is an indefensible practice. This is a product that is spread on crackers. It's a delicacy. It's an hors d'oeuvre. It is eaten by a very few people. A Zogby poll conducted in Illinois within the last couple of weeks found that 90 percent of Illinois citizens either never ate foie gras or never even heard of foie gras. It is a product that is not necessary, an affront to our humanity."

After hearing the compelling testimony, the Health Committee took no action on a proposal by Ald. Joe Moore (49th) to ban the sale of foie gras in Chicago restaurants.

Restaurants to get say

Health Committee Chairman Ed Smith (28th), who's keeping an open mind, said he wants to hold at least one more hearing to give restaurant owners who serve the controversial delicacy an opportunity to weigh in on the ban.

Famed Chicago chef Charlie Trotter has already stopped serving foie gras. According to Bauston, more than 100 other Illinois restaurants have signed similar pledges.

But Illinois Restaurant Association President Colleen McShane remains opposed to a ban, either at the state or city level.

"What about chicken. Is chicken next? Will they ban the sale of lamb and veal? If you start, where do you stop?" McShane said. "When you open this door, will it ever close?

"This has been around forever. Why is it all of the sudden an issue? The USDA controls how livestock, poultry and duck farms are run. If the USDA thought there was cruelty [they would step in]. The point is, this is not a local issue."

Comment: People are up in arms over the torture of ducks, but they either don't seem to believe or don't care that their federal government tortures or renders "enemy combatants"?!

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And Finally...

What Awaits Us?

What Awaits Us

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NEW! 9/11: The Ultimate Truth is Available for Pre-Order!

On the fourth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Laura Knight-Jadczyk announces the availability of her latest book:

In the years since the 9/11 attacks, dozens of books have sought to explore the truth behind the official version of events that day - yet to date, none of these publications has provided a satisfactory answer as to WHY the attacks occurred and who was ultimately responsible for carrying them out.

Taking a broad, millennia-long perspective, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's 9/11: The Ultimate Truth uncovers the true nature of the ruling elite on our planet and presents new and ground-breaking insights into just how the 9/11 attacks played out.

9/11: The Ultimate Truth makes a strong case for the idea that September 11, 2001 marked the moment when our planet entered the final phase of a diabolical plan that has been many, many years in the making. It is a plan developed and nurtured by successive generations of ruthless individuals who relentlessly exploit the negative aspects of basic human nature to entrap humanity as a whole in endless wars and suffering in order to keep us confused and distracted to the reality of the man behind the curtain.

Drawing on historical and genealogical sources, Knight-Jadczyk eloquently links the 9/11 event to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also cites the clear evidence that our planet undergoes periodic natural cataclysms, a cycle that has arguably brought humanity to the brink of destruction in the present day.

For its no nonsense style in cutting to the core of the issue and its sheer audacity in refusing to be swayed or distracted by the morass of disinformation that has been employed by the Powers that Be to cover their tracks, 9/11: The Ultimate Truth can rightly claim to be THE definitive book on 9/11 - and what that fateful day's true implications are for the future of mankind.

Published by Red Pill Press

Scheduled for release on October 1, 2005, readers can pre-order the book today at our bookstore.

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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!

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