Thursday, September 29, 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

P I C T U R E   O F  T H E  D A Y

Some of the people right wing commentators denouce as "hippies"
in front of the White House
September 24, 2005

© Alexander Davidis 2005

For more, see Alexander's other photos:
The Anti-War March in Washington D.C.

Blair apology to ejected heckler Security staff tackle hecklers

Tony Blair has apologised to an 82-year-old Labour activist thrown out of the party's annual conference by stewards for heckling Jack Straw.

Walter Wolfgang, of London, was ejected after shouting "nonsense" as the foreign secretary defended Iraq policy.

The prime minister told BBC Breakfast: "I am really sorry about it, it shouldn't have happened."

Labour says Mr Wolfgang can return for the conference's final day provided he does not make further disturbances.

Police stopped Mr Wolfgang under the Terrorism Act when he tried to re-enter on Wednesday, seizing his pass.

Mr Wolfgang, who escaped Nazi Germany in 1937, is a member of the Stop the War Coalition.

His heckle came as Mr Straw told delegates: "We are in Iraq for one reason only - to help the elected Iraqi government build a secure, democratic and stable nation."


Mr Wolfgang, a Labour member of 57 years' standing, afterwards told BBC Two's Daily Conference Live programme: "These two toughies came round and wanted to manhandle me out.

"I said: 'Do you want me to leave? I will leave, you don't need to manhandle me.' Physically, I am not too well, so I said I would follow them.

Erith and Thamesmead constituency party chairman Steve Forrest, who was sitting next to Mr Wolfgang, was also thrown out after complaining about the stewards' response.

Comment: Mr Wolfgang, an 82-year-old veteran anti-war campaigner and Jewish fugitive from Nazi Germany who lost family in the Holocaust, probably knows a thing or two about how freedom of speech is suppressed. He is clearly also able to recognise state propaganda when he sees it.

On Tuesday at the Labour party conference, he spoke up and rightly labeled as "nonsense" Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's blatant lie that British troops were only in Iraq to keep the peace, and was roughly ejected for his efforts.

This, then, is the true face of Blair's "New Labour", where any dissent is treated with zero tolerance. Most worrying of all however, is the fact that, after being kicked out, Mr. Wolfgang was prevented from re-entering the conference by Police under new British "anti-terror" laws, an act that seems to provide proof that "a terrorist" includes anyone that simply protests or speaks their mind in a peaceful manner, or better said, anyone who publicly exposes the lies of our leaders.

That's the real shock for all those with ears to hear.

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This is an act of censorship worthy of Joseph Goebbels
Simon Jenkins Friday September 23, 2005 The Guardian

The plan to draw up a list of historical events that people can be prosecuted for celebrating is a sign of a leader losing his grip

At last history hits pay dirt. For years it was pap for television. The nation's rulers needed scientists for guns, linguists for trade and economists for mistakes. History was for nuts and numismatists. Now up pops Charles Clarke jingling bags of gold. The home secretary has promised the prime minister that he will lock away for five years anyone who "glorifies, exalts or celebrates" a terrorist act committed in the past 20 years. He does not care if glorification was not meant. If someone, somewhere takes anything that I say or write as encouraging to terror, even if they do not act on it, I have committed a criminal act.

Nor is this all. Lest any crackpot thinks he can dance up and down any old high street praising Hitler, Mao or Uncle Joe as outside the 20-year limit, Clarke is preparing a list of earlier terrorist acts that also render their celebrants criminals. After "listed" historic buildings we have "listed" historic terrorisms. To the glorious chronicles of our island race, Clarke is to append an open-ended catalogue of listed events. They may include any acts of violence against people, property or, bizarrely, electronic systems anywhere in the world if intended to advance a political, religious or ideological cause or to influence a government.

I am told that this astonishing bill was cobbled together not by Clarke or the lord chancellor, Charles Falconer, who were both away at the time. The author was a No 10 wonk who was trying to think up "12 points" to put in Blair's holiday press conference pack on August 5. The wording recalls the remit of the old House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington. It is born of Joe McCarthy out of 1066 and All That, with a dash of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.

A sure sign of a leader losing his grip on reality is when he starts meddling with history. New Labour was born denying its past. As George Eliot said of women, happy is the one who has no history. Blair's party was not-Labour, not-Liberal, not-Tory, just "we". Hence the significance of Clarke's partial cut-off date in the mid-80s. That was the time when Blairism first oozed like ectoplasm from the guts of Orgreave and Wapping.

Terrorism as defined in law more or less covers the story of the human race. Half of Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples must qualify as a listed event. The Crown Prosecution Service must be staffed with experts in William the Conqueror, the Black Prince, the New Model Army, the Gordon rioters, the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Spin doctors must cut their teeth on Alexander the Great, Vlad the Impaler, Innocent III and the Counter-Reformation in Latin America. They must burn midnight oil over the Albigensian crusade. Blair will be heard screaming in his attic: "Beware the Da Vinci Code."

This is government by trivia and whim. Already we are told that Clarke's listed events will not include anything Irish. Why? King William's campaign is life and breath to loyalist militants, as is the 1916 Easter Rising to Blair's pet insurrectionists, the IRA. Why should these groups be excused the law? Soon anyone who visits terror on the British people will negotiate a "listed events exclusion clause" as part of their final settlement.

Even without the cliche that one man's listed event is another's act of heroism, this is a can of worms. Bomber Harris's flattening of German cities in the second world war was specifically described by Churchill as "simply for the sake of increasing terror". The bombing of Hiroshima was, to put it mildly, a politically motivated assault on people and property. Last month it was not glorified, but it was certainly celebrated.

Are Hiroshima or Dresden to be listed events? If not, how can the no less terrorist blitz be listed? Conrad was in this sense right: "The terrorist and the policeman both come from the same basket." I have no faith in Clarke's Stalinist historians. If Whitehall bureaucrats are so otherworldly as to find village ponds, conker trees and rare steaks awash in human hazard, there is no telling what they will find in the bloodstained pages of history. They need only to find a dodgy event and someone to praise it and they will pounce. The issue is not mens rea or intention to glorify. To convict, there need only be someone who confesses to being "encouraged" by the glorification. It is a stooge's charter.

This extension of censorship renders any apologist for any liberation struggle vulnerable to prosecution. I find it astounding that people such as Falconer, Clarke and the rest of the cabinet can sit round a cabinet table and pass a measure worthy of Joseph Goebbels.

Ministers may yet be hoist with their own petard. I might draw a moral distinction between Blair's crusade against certain Muslim states and, say, publicity for al-Qaida violence against me. I might feel that my war is in a good cause and theirs an evil one.

The courts are not free to make that distinction. Any act with terrorist connotations puts not just its perpetrator but any contributory publicity at risk. Operation Shock and Awe against Baghdad in March 2003, in which Britain participated, was intended to terrify the civilian population to the political end of toppling Saddam. The name boasted it.

Government lawyers may argue that states cannot be terrorists, yet those same lawyers apply the phrase "state terrorism" to others. Besides, the bill offers no defence of "good cause". The Crown Prosecution Service must surely apply the law impartially.

The government's defenders will argue of terror-bombing from the air that there are distinctions in targeting and collateral damage. But any self-respecting terrorist can find similar excuses for horror. At very least Downing Street is vulnerable to hypocrisy. Its crude attempt to stoke war fever in the winter of 2002/3 with briefings of "new smallpox/ricin/anthrax threat to London" was no less political. It was meant to frighten the public into supporting the rush to war. The effect was to disseminate the same fear as did the supposed terrorists. Bluntly, the government was doing the terrorists' job for them. I cannot see how this puts ministers above their own law.

Downing Street is not alone in playing this tune. This week Brussels joined in the New Orwellianism. In a document called Terrorist Recruitment: Addressing the Factors Contributing to Violent Radicalisation, the European Commission warns the media not to take a "reductionist and conspiratorial world view where inequity and oppression are dominant". It singles out journalism as offering a "specific risk" in the fight against terrorism - the risk of "oversimplification". Journalists should apparently watch themselves. The edict is the work of the commission's vice-president and ally of Silvio Berlusconi, Franco Frattini. Berlusconi is no friend of the press.

What is going on here? Blair, Clarke and Falconer are consorting with strange company. They should remember Montaigne's warning to history: "To make judgments about great and high things, a soul of the same stature is needed." Otherwise, said the great man, we drag history down to the level of our own vices. Just so.

Comment: We, on the other hand, do not find it "astounding" that members of the British or American cabinets can sit round a table and pass a measure worthy of Joseph Goebbels. The Signs of creeping fascism in the US and UK have been there for several years, yet, as it was in Nazi Germany, we hold out no hope that ordinary citizens will wake up before it is too late.

"The German citizens naively witnessed Hitler seize and maintain power. They were bystanders who listened to his promises for a prosperous society and national glory for Germany, but watched the Nazis practice terrorism and murder.

The German citizenry was viewed as an easy takeover target by the Nazis, whose master propagandist. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, said, "We come like wolves descending on a herd of sheep". Witnessing bystanders were not only German citizens who allowed Hitler to rise to power. They were political leaders around the world who watched Germany become a totalitarian state where the government permitted no opposition."

Sound familiar?

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Blair's insistence a challenge for psychologists
Catherine Bennett
Thursday September 29, 2005
The Guardian

The announcement that he had a strip of granite inside him (could it have anything to do with the heart murmur?) was unexpected; other than that, the most arresting, and perhaps most alarming, aspect of Tony Blair's Labour party conference speech on Tuesday was how preternaturally unchanged the great changemaker seems to have been by the events of the past few years - from the Iraq war and the suicide bombings of two months ago to the less dramatic, but not insignificant fact of his own party's greatly reduced majority in the last election.

To hear Blair in full, shameless flight is to listen a man whose self-esteem seems also to have survived, miraculously intact, his catastrophic adventure abroad and flagging record at home, for he told us that he is now even more convinced of his rightness - on everything - than he was before. "Every time I've ever introduced a reform in government, I wish in retrospect I had gone further." [...]

If he is correct, of course, Blair's findings present quite a challenge to the evolutionary psychologists who have told us how many aspects of human nature which originated in our evolutionary history have indeed fast-forwarded to the future: they are everywhere in evidence today. Has the human male's lust for power, for instance, and his reluctance to relinquish it once attained, changed much since our ancestors developed on the plains of Pleistocene Africa? Once you have seen that strip of granite strutting its stuff, you might think not.

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Tic-Tac tactics? It takes Allsorts
Simon Hoggart Thursday
September 29, 2005
The Guardian

The Labour conference was to hold its big debate on Iraq yesterday. So did they discuss it? Of course not! Instead, a furious woman from Unison stormed the podium. "I want to know why I have been stopped from bringing a bag of sweeties into the conference. It is bureaucracy gone mad!" she said.

The chairwoman said gravely that the matter would be referred to the Conference Arrangements Committee, where it will probably disappear like a dead rat in a Bastille oubliette.

They will spend hours on the issue and then come up with a confectionery composite which will be voted on - by 1.7m block votes to 638,000.

At the time we all looked rather puzzled, until the steward standing near my seat explained: "I'll tell you why they're banned, they could be used as missiles."

Missiles! What has Labour come to? The party of Hardie, Attlee and Bevan, afraid that its speakers might be cut down under a fusillade of Fox's Glacier mints and Fishermen's Friends!

As Hugh Gaitskell would have said: "I will fight, fight, and fight again to save the party that I love, no matter how many Liquorice Allsorts you throw at me!"

Later I learned that an old woman, a known and notorious leftie, had a bag of Mint Imperials confiscated, for fear that she might create mayhem by rolling them along the floor. (However I managed to smuggle in three of those individual Toblerone things - which, being triangular and sharp-edged, are lethal anti-personnel weapons.)

The issue may be tiny, but it is a reflection of the state of the Labour party now, combining bombast, vainglory and total paranoia.

Anyhow, Iraq. That's the big issue! But first, a debate on campaigning, and a speech from Dennis Skinner. If Tony Blair's speech on Tuesday was a reply to Gordon Brown, Mr Skinner's was a reply to Tony Blair.

Globalisation? You can keep it. Dennis harked back to the good old days, when he went on endless marches and the miners were always on strike. Glorious days, days of struggle, chaos and power cuts. "I was very happy, and still am, to participate in the class war. I say this to every young person in Britain: fight the class war, not the holy war!"

He got a standing ovation. All over the land young men and women will be seizing their Werther's Originals and marching to the barricades. What the new class war needs is tactics - and Tic-Tacs!

At last, the debate on Iraq. Except nobody mentioned it. Several people praised the magnificent work done by ministers to end world poverty and hunger. There was a video of grateful Ugandan children thanking the Labour government for the fact that they were happy and well-fed. But nothing at all about Iraq, until Barry Camfield of the T&G denounced the whole thing.

"You cannot force democracy on people by war, invasion and occupation!"

But even he was received with just muted applause. Clearly people agreed with him, but not quite enough to show it. Then we heard from Jack Straw, the foreign secretary. He did say a word or two about Iraq. Most of what he said was received by the merest polite applause, like drizzle on a tin roof.

"We are there for one reason only - to help the elected Iraqi government build a secure, democratic and stable nation!" At this point an elderly man in the gallery shouted: "That's a lie!"

Dissent, at a Labour conference! Not permitted. No way. Building democracy in Iraq is fine, but not at home. Where would it end? Two tough stewards grabbed this frail old gentleman. And rightly so - he might have been a suicide bomber, with a deadly belt containing a dozen sticks of Brighton rock

Comment: It would appear that paranoia among the ruling elite is directly proportional to the extent that their policies are based on lies. As Blair and Bush wade ever further into the nomansland of self-delusion and belief that they are "creating the reality", their paranoia that their dirty little secret will be exposed increases. Sadly for the rest of us, paranoia of this sort among the ruling classes invariably leads to ever harsher clampdowns on civil freedoms which, by definition, threaten the lie-based illusory bubble of our leaders.

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House arrest for terror suspects
By Joseph Kerr September 28, 2005

Powers pave way for secret new world. New laws raise fears of targeting, loss of rights.

Suspected terrorists as young as 16 will face house arrest for up to a year without being convicted of an offence under sweeping laws agreed to by all Australian governments.

Police will also be able to pre-emptively detain people for up to 14 days, without charge, if they suspect they are planning a terrorist offence.

State premiers and chief ministers met the Prime Minister yesterday and accepted the harsh new laws, which Queensland's Peter Beattie called draconian but necessary.

Suspects placed under house arrest would have no warning of the action until issued orders by federal police. The court orders would be issued in secret so any terrorist associates could not be tipped off about the investigation.

The premiers and chief ministers forced a sunset clause for the legislation on the Prime Minister, John Howard. This means the laws will last only 10 years unless extended by future parliaments. The premiers also won a five-year judicial review of the laws.

Meeting Mr Howard in Canberra yesterday, the political leaders were reassured by the judicial checks and balances, although they left lawyers aghast. AdvertisementAdvertisement

Mr Howard needed the states to agree because the Federal Government does not have the constitutional power on its own to bring in some of the changes.

At the heart of the legislative changes are the tough preventive detention rules and "control orders" - restrictions such as house arrest, electronic tagging and tracking, and bans on approaching certain areas or people.

A court will be able to issue a control order if it is satisfied "on the balance of probabilities" that it will substantially help in preventing a terrorist attack, or if the suspect has trained with a listed terrorist organisation. Suspects detained will be allowed to contact a lawyer. However, they will be allowed to tell only family members and their employer that they are safe but cannot be contacted. Preventive detention may also be imposed after a terrorist attack to preserve evidence.

Safeguards such as having a court approve the control orders and allowing suspects to challenge them will be built in.

Mr Howard said "these are unusual remedies for an unusual situation" to fight "this shadowy, elusive and lethal enemy".

"In other circumstances I would never have sought these new powers," he said. "But we live in very dangerous and different and threatening circumstances … I think all of these powers are needed."

Comment: Let's sit back for a moment and consider the true nature of the "threat" that necessitates this world wide clampdown on civil liberties.

Before 9/11, the extent of Islamic terror" was a handful of low-scale bombings, including the 1993 WTC bombing, the attack on the USS Cole and a couple of American embassies. These attacks were certainly limited in their scope and suggested that we were dealing with a small group of Islamic fundamentalists who felt particularly aggrieved at US interference in the Middle East and beyond, no big deal and certainly nothing to justify Western government's getting all "draconian" in terms of "Homeland Security".

Then came 9/11 - the 'proof' that these terrorists meant business. Or so we have been told. Yet even if we leave aside the many glaring aspects of the attacks that point to US and Israeli government involvement and accept the official line that "al-Qaeda" was responsible, does the death of 2,800 American citizens justify a never-ending war of conquest by the American military and the seemingly limitless government authority to impose severe restrictions on the basic freedoms of millions of ordinary citizens?

Since 9/11 there have been NO terror attacks on US soil ONE on British soil and NONE on Australian soil, yet this has not prevented the US British and Australian governments from tabling and passing a shocking number of repressive policies that, paradoxically, are slowing removing the civil liberties that American, British and Australian governments claim to be protecting by passing these very same laws!

In the final analysis, none of it makes any sense if we attempt to view it from the "official story" point of view. When we factor in the clear evidence that most terrorism is state-sanctioned, the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. If the idea that our wonderful leaders would kill their own citizens, i.e. you and me, in pursuit of a political goal is just too horrifying for you to consider, then simply take the events in Nazi Germany leading up to and during WWII as a yardstick: ordinary Germans of the day also found it too disturbing to believe that their leaders were lying to them about almost everything and chose to ignore the Signs and bought into the propaganda spewed by the state.

The result was one of the most horrifying episodes in world history and an example of what can happen when you mix charismatic psychopathic leaders with an apathetic population.

But that will never happen here, right?

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An example of how terrorism succeeds in America, and why it does
 by John Wheat Gibson

This summer 2005, an immigration judge in Dallas ordered the deportation of a young man who was eligible for legal resident status because his US citizen wife had filed a petition for him, which the government had approved.  They have five small children, all native-born Texans.  His father is a US citizen.  Ayman Ismail never had  been accused, much less convicted, of doing anything wrong.  He had lived in Texas for the past 16 years.

His legal status would have been a routine matter, except for one thing:  Ayman Ismail was Muslim and Arab, and a small gang of Jewish militants in the Dallas District of the Department of Homeland Security had made him a target of their crusade to rid the US of Muslims and Arabs.  After two years of hearings, all of which he appeared at faithfully, during a hearing in the immigration court on April 12, they assaulted and arrested Ayman, and threw him into a jail in Haskell, Texas, hundreds of miles from his home, his family, and his attorney.  Nothing had changed, except that the clique of Jewish militants realized there was no basis in the law for denying legal status to him.  They accused him of having raised funds for Hamas merely by virtue of his employment by the Holy Land Foundation, which ended in December 2001 when US Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Treasury Department shut down the Muslim charity.

To achieve by force what they never could have accomplished in the law, the Jewish militants put him in jail to break his spirit, so that he would despair of justice and agree to deportation.  After the July 30 deportation hearing, in which the immigration judge specifically found that not one shred of evidence contradicted Ayman’s insistence he never had any reason to think the HLF assisted Hamas (but ordered him deported anyway) Ayman decided not to appeal the order because he could not endure continued incarceration.

The Jewish extremists argued that the HLF was assisting Hamas by alleviating some of the misery of the victims of Israeli terrorism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  The reasoning of the Jewish militants went like this.  HLF relieves misery and starvation.  If Palestinians think that they do not have to stick around to relieve the misery and starvation of their parents and siblings, they will become suicide bombers and attack Israelis.  Since some suicide bombers are affiliated with Hamas, charity for the suffering people of the Occupied Palestinian Territories encourages suicide bombing, and therefore assists Hamas.

Since Ayman had worked at the HLF designing a web site and sending letters to donors reminding them to pay what they had pledged, he was supporting Hamas suicide bombers, and so was a terrorist.  The Jewish militants argued that the reason for suicide attacks against Israel had nothing to do with the cold blooded murder of hundreds of Palestinian children and thousands of adults by Israeli soldiers, nothing to do with the bulldozing of thousands of Palestinians’ homes with the furnishings, toys, and sometimes families still inside, nothing to do with the razing of thousands of acres of Palestinians’ farms and millions of fruit trees, nothing to do with the confiscation of Palestinians’ property to build racially segregated settlements and “bypass roads” for Jews only, nothing to do with dumping tons of toxic waste from Jewish colonies and factories on Palestinian towns; nothing to do with the Israelis’ reduction of Palestinian life to such unbearable pain without hope of improvement that the only reasonable alternative for a young Palestinian might appear to be a death that would take along some of the enemy.  No, the reason for Palestinian suicide attacks against Israel was the attackers’ expectation that some charity would feed their families.

Still, the cowardice of the immigration judge Anthony Rogers in condemning a man he knew to be innocent and deporting five United States citizens to Jordan is no more appalling than the obsequiousness of the coverage of the trial by CBS News.  One who relied on the CBS broadcast was not told that Ayman never was accused of any crime, or, for that matter, that the HLF to date has never been allowed to present evidence in its own defense in a court.  On the contrary, CBS turned its report over to a government agent who ranted in the manner of Julius Streicher about getting rid of terrorists.

CBS did not mention the five US citizen children.  Although a CBS reporter had attended Ayman’s immigration court hearing, the broadcast did not mention the finding by the immigration judge that no evidence contradicted Ayman’s protestations of innocence.  The immigration judge found that Ayman’s testimony was straightforward and truthful, and held explicitly that Ayman’s deportation would cause extreme hardship to his wife and children.  He found Ayman truthfully testified that while employed at the HLF he asked his employers about accusations in the Dallas Morning News that HLF was connected to Hamas, and that his employers consistently denied them.  He said that Ayman should have done more to find out whether there was any basis to the accusations.  He did not say what more Ayman should have done to investigate the truth of accusations that even the FBI did not believe—accusations that additional investigation would have confirmed to be false.

A viewer of the CBS broadcast, however, was not given such information.  Instead, the CBS report merely regurgitated government propaganda.  Josef Goebbels would have been envious.  CBS could have balanced its report with information about the trial and about Ayman’s history, but chose instead to make its broadcast an instrument of government terrorism—to convince its viewers that there are Muslim militants under their beds but the regime will protect them if only they will accept its racist assumptions and surrender their traditional liberty.

Most of all, the CBS report ignored the total absence of any evidence linking Ayman Ismail or the Holy Land Foundation to any illegal activity.  Instead, it relied on the buck naked lies of government public relations flacks, which easily could have been investigated.  Of course, such sycophancy is par for American journalism, which cannot be troubled to seek for the truth.  Terrorism does not work by damaging military targets.  It works by creating fear.  CBS thus conspired with the Jewish militants of the Department of Homeland Security in its terrorism against anybody in America who might pity the suffering of the Arab people in the Middle East.

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Israel Shamir: “Equal rights in Palestine/Israel is no utopia”
Sylvia Cattori

Writer and journalist Israel Shamir is one of the most committed Israeli personalities against the Jewish definition of the State of Israel and the system of apartheid it has created. His detractors present this former spokesperson of MAPAM (the Socialist Party of Israel) and former translator of president Herzog, as a “Self-hating Jew” whereas his supporters believe he is “one of the greatest Israeli intellectuals.” Israel Shamir answers Silvia Cattori’s questions about the defamation campaign against him and the ways of fighting racism in the state of Israel.

War slanders

Silvia Cattori: What do you have to say to those who accuse you of spreading the idea of a “plot in favour of the Jewish domination of the world”?

Israel Shamir: What to say is not important because people only listen to what they want to listen to! All my books prove there’s no “conspiracy” or “plot”, but politicians favouring Jews. On the other hand, certain interests are more powerful than many conspirators. The aristocracy makes no conspiracy, they’re happy with having common interests. Reality is the main interest of the group. There’s no “conspiracy”.

You are also being criticised for having granted interviews to magazines linked to the extreme right. What can you say about this? What do you think of the extreme right?

I speak to everybody, not only to my closest friends. And I do it because I want to influence people with different views and I want them to come closer to my viewpoints. I see no reasons to boycott a journal or a magazine. I wrote for Haaretz, an Israeli paper of large circulation, and I did it in “the proper way” even when this journal publishes articles written by Israeli extremist Nazis. In spite of the fact that the New York Times supports the war against Iraq, I would write for it. I believe there’s no reason to reject any media outlet.

When you write about the opposition between the left and the right as being obsolete, that it’s important to gather all available forces to fight against the common enemy (that is, the United States and Israel), don’t you fear that evil alliances may be formed?

I am not afraid of communicating: with the left or the right, because we have other things in common. The left/right opposition is useful for a one-dimension universe, but we live in a three-dimension world. Therefore, those elements that may be separated on a line might be pretty close in another dimension. The world is not one-dimensional. If you have studied geometry you can understand what I mean. When it’s about knowing who our friends or enemies are, we must go beyond the left/right issue. We must take into account the position with regard to the sky and the Earth or, in a more trivial level, with regard to the United States and Israel, globalization and our roots. A right-wing alterglobalist is much more closer to my heart than a sectarian and globalist Left-winger.

You have published articles in which you have analyzed the outcome of the 2002 presidential elections and the 2005 referendum in France as the result of the excesses of Zionism. This opinion is surprising for most French. What makes you believe that the situation in Palestine can influence elections in France?

Zionism is a problem that not only affects Palestine. This problem becomes evident in the submission to the United States, in the predominant influence of the pro-Zionist voices within the French media, for instance. The Euro-Palestinian list failed because it limited itself to the Palestinian problem. If this list had demanded the elimination of Zionism in France, which would have meant the rupture with NATO and the United States; if the representatives of this list had made a call to completely destroy the Zionist programme, they would have gotten a huge amount of votes.

Is it true, as your detractors say, that you question the existence of the Nazi extermination camps, the magnitude of the Jewish genocide?

I don’t know anything about this controversy on negationism. I don’t even understand why the French discuss so much about WWII when it ended a long time ago. But, since you asked the question, I’ll answer it. What I actually question is the discourse based on the holocaust, not the facts. Facts get a meaning as soon as they are included in a speech. The based-on-the-holocaust discourse is linked to the idea that a Jew’s life or death is more important than that of a goy. For me, the holocaust was not worse than other war crimes such as Hiroshima, Dresden or the besieged Leningrad. The holocaust was one of the horrible things that took place between 1939 and 1945. I reject any religious and historical meaning of the holocaust. For me, it’s an ideological construction that competes with some other equalitarian discourses about the war.

The paradox is that accusations are not only made by extreme rightwing Jewish institutions, but also by left wing militants.

It’s obvious that, as can be proved, our enemy infiltrates everywhere. Infiltration is a sort of a political game, it’s a classic tactic. Maoists infiltrated the structures of the social democracy and we know they succeeded. The “Jewish leadership” [extremist formation] has been so successful in infiltrating the Likud that Sharon has lost the support of the majority. With regard to the left, infiltration has been massive. But the same things happen with the right. Infiltration is as old as the world.

Then, the fact that Amnesty International remained silent from year 2000 up to 2004, when Israel launched unprecedented military operations against civilians means this organization was being influenced too?

Amnesty International is nothing but another ideological weapon in the hands of our enemies. If you take a look at the lists of political prisoners, you’ll find no prisoners in Israeli jails. On my web site you can find some interesting articles about this fact under the title “Down with Human Rights”. Amnesty International refused to recognize Vanunu as a political prisoner although he is a conscientious objector! They [Amnesty International] are so infiltrated that nothing could be done to save them. Francis Boyle, an exceptional man, a friend of Palestine, an international jurist, has written about this. He’s the one you should talk to about this problem with Amnesty International.

Putting an end to the apartheid in Israel/Palestine

Let’s talk about the resistance of the Palestinian people. Hamas is presented in the West as a terrorist movement whose project, as stated in its statutes, is to “kill all Jews”. What’s your opinion?

Hamas does not want to massacre “all Jews”. That’s a fabrication of the enemy! I have never read or met anybody who has written or even thought that way. However, we must be aware of the fact that words can, sometimes, go beyond people’s thoughts. Voltaire wrote that mankind wouldn’t be happy until the moment the last king was hung with the intestine of the last priest. So, is that a reason to be afraid of Voltaire and refuse to adopt him? To kill all priests is not better than killing all Jews! Voltaire didn’t want to kill everybody. Sometimes people exaggerate to call attention. You can’t believe all that’s said!

The idea of the boycott against Israel, especially in the academic field, was successful in Europe. Do you think the boycott – that was effective against the apartheid in South Africa – might also be effective against the apartheid that Israel imposes upon Arabs?

I do not say it does not. But it is also essential to boycott the people who support Israel in France as well. It is important to fight those people who influence politics and information, like Alain Finkielkraut, Roger Cukierman and Alexandre Adler. That is the top priority here, in France, since they enjoy a great support by Israel, influence on the opinion, and therefore, on the political choices of the [French] government. If you are not able to marginalize this kind of “messengers” who, in the media or within governments, have the means to ensure that all you do is useless, you will not be on the proper line. In the case of South Africa the boycott was effective because the South African regime did not have external support! The fight has to be waged within every country, not elsewhere. Alain Finkielkraut, Alexandre Adler, Bernard Kouchner, Bernard-Henri Lévy and company, are making France yield to the United States, so that it becomes a colonized country.

So, do you think that neither the solidarity movements nor negotiations will work out as long as the media-political world in the West remains under the influence of those who collaborate, in one way or another, with the Israeli occupants and its U.S. ally?

You should know that there is a real problem within the solidarity movements. There are people who control and stem the well-intentioned militants in order to lead them to false debates, thus weakening the movements that are fighting in Israel.

If I understood well, you are stating that Palestinians will continue sinking as long as those who defend their cause do not fight the pro-Israeli who work, in their respective countries and different levels, with the purpose of hindering any initiative that runs contrary to Israel’s interests?

It is useful for youngsters to go to Palestine because they would be able to see good and courageous people, to get familiar with an unknown reality and talk about it with no fear on their return. That could also help foreign youths to break taboos. But that is no a panacea. Actually, everyone has to fight there, where he or she lives. But obviously, we have to be aware of the interconnections among these issues as well.

Is it because of your job as a writer that you devote yourself to the resistance against the colonial war of your own country?

In the hands of a soldier, any weapon aims at the enemy, and I am a weapon. The sword does not care about the soldier; it is designed to provide the soldier’s arm with the greatest effectiveness in order to hit the enemy. Palestinians are very capable of planting olives. They do not need my assistance to do that. Of course, helping them would be very nice and very good for my soul (and also to give me some peace of mind), but they need much more than the weapon to fight. In their hands, I am that weapon!

Militants like Uri Avnery or Michel Warshawsky, for example, are not attacked as yourself by the people from your own side.

My enemies are not the “soft Zionists” or zionoides. But, for me, those people are a waste of time. They want to have a clear conscience by doing philanthropy. All I want is to win, to dismantle the apartheid, to have a state with equal opportunities in the Holy Land and to show the people a way that would enable them to move on to the right direction.

But, aren’t you saying the same things they say, with other words?

We have not decided the same thing. They criticize Israel’s policy, but justify the existence of the state of Israel just as it is built. They state that Jewish people from all over the world have the right to come to Israel, although at the same time they support agreements that, in fact, deny that right to the Palestinian refugees who were expelled from their land and want to go back to their land in Israel/Palestine. That is simple racial discrimination!

When you make a statement in favour of a state in which Israelis and Palestinians can live together while the side of the “moderates” backs the solution of “two peoples, two states”, is it not totally utopian?

In France, the Jewish had equal rights 200 years ago! At that time, that seemed totally utopian! To say that “defeating Israel is totally utopian” is racism!

What changes could be expected when it is known that most Israelis collaborate with the oppression policy of their government?

What matters is to see things clearly, to know what is needed, to maintain -as much as possible- good relations with the others, to remain –apart from the trends- united against the enemy. Only then, there will be a good chance to win. In England, until the 1920’s, the country was led by people trained in only one school: Eton. How many people could have gone to Eton? Not thousands. However, they were able to have full control of England.

During the annual dinner of the CCJO (Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations in France), its president criticized France’s foreign policy before eighteen ministers, without having any reaction by those officials. How do you explain so much submission?

This is my explanation: French elites, as all European elites, are convinced of the existence of a huge Jewish power. And it is this belief that has created such a power. It’s also obvious the best thing would be that someone –you or somebody else- could say to those who belong to the elite: “You know, Jews are not in power. It is not true that they rule the world”.

Are you optimist with regard to a possible peace in Palestine?

Regarding Palestine, I’m completely pessimist. But in the long term I’m optimist for I’m convinced Palestinians will succeed, although nothing good could be expected from the Abu Mazen regime: I believe all those little steps are meaningless.

What could be suggested to those who want to act in favour of the rights of the Palestinian people without wasting their time in vain actions?

In every country, wherever we might be, we have to succeed in displacing the representatives of our enemies. Whatever their position might be, we must prevent them from acting easily.

To be precise, who are these “representatives of our enemies”?

In Switzerland or in France, their representatives are those who support the manoeuvres of the United States and Israel. Sharon, obviously, helps gather people: to speak (bad) of Sharon is ok. But Shimon Peres is not better than Ariel Sharon. In your own countries, you have to support all those who fight honestly against compromises favouring the United States, Israel and neo-liberalism. Take action so that the United States finds itself as much isolated as possible. And, in my humble opinion, you should try to establish relations with the positive forces of the Middle East, and with Russia too. This country, that was the friend of all honest peoples, is nowadays at a difficult crossroads. Russia is very important. Ties must be established with Russia.

But, how to make ties with all these dispersed forces?

That’s why I’m here. We’re like butterflies, we go from one flower to another and we bring the glad tidings. The spirit is not dead. People are still alive! Wonderful weapons were made in Russia to overcome the enemy: some good books to be translated and spread. Not only our generation, but the generation before ours that was inspired by what happened in Russia. And yet, Russians can still be a driving force. We must help this driving force. Conscience and opinion forces need help. You never know. Maybe they can take us out of this situation and we can go on.

Interview made in July 2005 by Silvia Cattori for Voltaire Network. Inner titles were added by the editorial staff.

Comment: You an check out Israel Shamir's website, his Yahoo articles group, Shamir Readers, and his discussion group, Togethernet.

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by Yael Lotan

Note From Israel Shamir: Interesting and daring essay by an Israeli English-language writer Yael Lotan contradicts the well-meaning (but meaningless) mantra of 'Judaism is not Zionism'. Yael was the editor of Arts in the socialist zionist newspaper Al Hamishmar I had a pleasure to write for, years ago. She lived for a long time in Jamaica, and now lives in Tel Aviv.

Anyone who wishes to discuss the phenomenon of Zionism immediately runs into the problem of how to define it. Unlike the European colonization of the Americas, for example, or the British domination of Kenya or India, the Jewish settlement in Palestine has been given various and contradictory definitions. The two commonest, and conflicting, definitions are: 1. «Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people;» 2. «Zionism is one of the manifestations of European colonialism in the 20th century.» I shall return to these definitions, their sources and limitations.

I propose to show that Zionism is an essentially Jewish phenomenon, and cannot be separated from Judaism (in the religious-historical sense of the term), and therefore its resemblance to either national liberation or colonialist movements is morphological rather than taxonomic, and leaves various aspects of Zionism unexplained.

What is Judaism?

A prayer called Hamavdil (the Separator), said by observant Jews every Saturday evening as the Sabbath ends, praises God who «separates the sacred from the profane». Judaism is dominated by the idea of separation. What are the origins and rationale of this striking characteristic? - This question ought to be tackled with the tools of anthropology, psychology, history and sociology. There must be various reasons why Judaism has not been investigated with these tools, and why the few scholars who attempted to analyze the nature of Judaism tended to produce apologetics. One reason may be that some of the fathers of modern anthropology were themselves Jews (e.g., Franz Boas and Claude Levi-Strauss), and were unwilling or unable to tackle their ancestral culture with the same tools with which they tackled exotic ones. But then, neither did non-Jewish scholars apply to the religion which gave birth to Christianity the same analytical methods they applied unhesitatingly to alien cultures and religions. A rare and illuminating exception may be found in Mary Douglas' famous book Purity and Danger, in which she discusses the purity laws in the Book of Leviticus, placing them in a broad anthropological context.

But this is a rare study, and it deals only with the primeval phase of Judaism. It can no more cover the subject of latter-day Judaism than a discussion of the early days of the American republic can cover the subject of the US today. It is time that someone applied the usual anthropological methods to the Shulhan Arukh - the all-embracing rule-book for observant Jews - in comparison with other old cultures, from the Hindu Brahmins to Papuan tribes. But even without all these, it is possible to outline some of the main features of Judaism.

1. The Old Testament defines the Yahwist deity in terms of what he is not: Jehovah is not the god of other tribes; He does not share his dominion over his chosen tribe with any other deity; Being a deity of the upper air, the wind and the surface of the earth, he has no dealings with what lies under the earth, namely, the world of the dead and the chthonic powers - which accounts for such biblical assertions as «The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence,» and for the injunctions against the consumption of blood and necromancy; Jehovah requires from his followers to adopt signs to distinguish them from other people, e.g., circumcision, and the prohibition of work or lighting a fire one day a week. The Bible also lay down rules of separation between different kinds of field crops, a ban on yoking together an ass and an ox, on weaving fabrics with mixed animal and vegetable fibres, etc. In the course of time Judaism added more and more ritual separations, until it became totally dominated and obsessed by the business of keeping various categories of things apart - the pure and the impure, the sacred and the profane, kasher and taref (ritually clean and unclean meats), meat and dairy products, leavened and unleavened dough (during Passover), silk and cotton, men and women, adults and minors, and so on.

2. Judaism as we know it began to evolve in the time of the Second Temple, i.e., the fifth century BC. Thereafter, the principal separation, namely, between Jews and «Gentiles», became entrenched, as the religious leaders Ezra and Nehemiah forbade inter-marriage between Jews and other people. Even the Samaritans, who were their brothers from the northern kingdom of Samaria, were rejected. Jews who adopted some of the ways of the world around them were reviled and shunned by the traditionalists (known in the New Testament as Pharisees). A Jew who assimilated culturally and socially with the Greeks and later with the Romans was regarded as an enemy. The Hellenistic civilization of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, which was largely extinguished by Christendom until the Renaissance, was utterly rejected by the Jews who remained faithful to their tribal religion. Christianity, with its ambivalent attitude towards Judaism, which gradually turned into vicious enmity, made the separation that much easier.

(It is important to distinguish between earlier examples of Jewish hostility to strangers - e.g., the story of Moses' Ethiopian wife - which reflected ordinary xenophobia, and the later isolationism, which was anchored in religious law. The historical books of the Old Testament show that up until the time of the Second Temple there was constant inter-marriage between the Israelites and their neighbours.)

3. After the fall of Judea and the destruction of the Temple, in the year 70 AD, separateness became the hallmark of Judaism. Some other nations circumcized their sons, or worshipped a single god, sometimes even an unseen god (according to Tacitus, so did some Germanic tribes), or prohibited the eating of pigs, but these features did not lead to a spiritual or social alliance with the Jews. In later times Islam adopted the main tenets of Judaism, but was nevertheless rejected. The biblical verse «The people shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations» became the motto of the Jews. Judaism adopted the Roman principle of descent through the female, since mater semper certa est - the mother is always known - and with it the notion that Jews are not only set apart by their religion, but are actually made of a different, purer, substance, which must not be defiled by mixed marriage.

In a curious way, the religion and its rituals became almost secondary, because «A Jew, even if he transgresses, remains a Jew» - meaning, that even if he ate pork or lit a fire on the Sabbath, he was still a member of the chosen people, and could always return to the fold. On the other hand, a Gentile can be circumcized and observe all the numerous rules, yet he remains a goy, and every effort is made to discourage goyim from trying to convert to Judaism. Thus Judaism does not really claim to be a universal religion, like Christianity and Islam, otherwise it would have sought to convert everyone. This is the great paradox: that the universal deity the Jews believe in is not interested in the rest of the human race, and maintains a separate arrangement with a particular tribe.

4. The Hebrew word Yahadut, which denotes both Judaism and Jewry, demonstrates that there is no difference between the faith and the people. The familiar Jewish saying that «It is not Israel who kept the Sabbath, but the Sabbath that kept Israel», is perfectly true. The religion, with its endless prohibitions and rules of ritual purity, preserved the distinctive identity of its adherents. That was its function. At the same time, it held out an eschatological vision according to which at the End of Days the entire world will acknowledge the supremacy of Jehovah and recognize Jerusalem as his abode and the Jews as his priests - «a kingdom of priests and an holy nation.» It does not suggest that all men will become Jews! The separation is therefore a cosmic phenomenon, and will continue even in the afterworld. In this it differs from the Brahmin caste - which resembles Jewry in having strict laws of purity and separation - since in the Hindu religion the individual»s caste-identity applies only to a single incarnation, and does not have a cosmic status.

Modern Times and the Enlightenment

In the 19th century the impact of the Enlightenment began to undermine Jewish isolationism. In Europe, where the majority of Jews lived, religious observance was visibly weakening and assimilation was increasing. As the surrounding society grew more secular and open, abandoning the identification of individuals by their religion, more and more Jews came to feel uncomfortable in their isolation. But for the violent crises which rocked European societies during that period, it is possible that most Jews would have assimilated, leaving only a few small Orthodox communities to cling to their traditional way of life. But the upheavals in Europe in the late 19th century exposed all the ethnic and religious minorities to existential dangers, and Jews were traditional targets of popular discontent and frustration. At this time, antisemism, whose origins were religious and whose roots went back to the Crusades, took on a secularized and racist quality. It has been argued that Jewish separateness provoked antisemitism, or at least exacerbated it. Even if so, it may not matter any longer. What is certain, however, is that the violent outbreaks of European antisemitism stimulated the mass emigration of Jews to America and other distant lands.

At the start of the 20th century, when assimilation was spreading from Western Europe to the more tradition-bound Jewish communities in Central and even Eastern Europe, there were three options for the preservation of Jewish identity. The first was the time-honoured Orthodox way - namely, the strict observance of the ritual laws, which amounted to a physical barrier to assimilation, since you cannot assimilate among people with whom you cannot share a meal or a drink, or pass your leisure time, let alone marry them. The second option was to preserve Jewish identity by means of «cultural autonomy», as promoted by the Yiddishist movement known as the Bund - namely, by encouraging the distinctive Jewish culture in Yiddish language and literature, in music and various traditions. This popular movement could join the progressive current, support radical ideologies, and even adopt an anti-religious stance, for if there was a distinctive Jewish culture, it could help preserve their separate identity, even if the walls it built around them were not as impregnable as those of Orthodoxy. Finally, there was the territorial option - namely, Zionism.

Territorial Separation

What Zionism offered was a way of maintaining Jewish separateness in the most natural way: by a physical separation from the rest of mankind. In a Jewish State it would be possible to preserve the tribe without having constantly to resist assimilation. Moreover, it would be possible to achieve a «normalization» of the Jewish people - while living apart, it would be «a nation among nations», and like the others it would consist of different classes - workers and capitalists, religious and secular people - who would all be Jews. Furthermore, if masses of Jews gathered from all over the world to live in one place, their existence would be more secure than as minority communities in alien and sometimes hostile societies. But for this plan to succeed it had to be located in a place which would not only be empty of «Gentiles», but would also have specific Jewish associations - namely, the «Land of Israel» (the traditional Jewish name for Palestine). All attempts to create a territorial solution in another location - e.g., in the Argentine pampas, in Uganda or Birobidjan - were not Jewish solutions and remained ideologically and numerically insignificant.

During the first third of the century the Zionist option did not enjoy much success. The Orthodox option was still well entrenched, and progressive Jews were more attracted by the cultural, quasi-secular, option of the Bund. The rest were people who were not averse to assimilation, who regarded Judaism as a burden which any sensible person would prefer to drop. There is no doubt that but for the rise of Nazism and its consequences, Zionism would not have become in the latter half of the century the success story that it is.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the two definitions of Zionism quoted at the beginning of this article have been prevalent, not only in Israel but wherever the subject is raised. Secular Jews describe Zionism as one of the national liberation movements which arose around the turn of the century, and therefore define every Jewish community the world over as part of the Jewish People, or the Jewish Nation; we shall come back to the problems of this definition. Jews and non-Jews of Marxist background usually describe Zionism as a colonial manifestation, but this definition is not quite satisfactory either, as we shall see.

Zionism as a Movement of National Liberation   

Zionism, then, offered to solve the problem of Jewish separateness by territorial means. Unfortunately for it, it turned out that the autochthonous inhabitants of Palestine, which the Zionist leadership had described as a handful of Ishmaelite nomads who could be ignored or driven out, were in fact a nation. Ben Gurion recalled how, when he disembarked at the port of Jaffa in 1906, he looked around him and grew alarmed: «What are all these Arabs doing in my country?» - Did not Zionism promise to spare the Jews from having to build walls of separation?! This was the start of the Middle East conflict. And not only the conflict between Jews and Arabs. In the first decade of the century Zionist leaders bemoaned the fact that Jewish agriculturists in Palestine were employing «Ishmaelite men and women» in their orchards and homes. What was the point of immigrating to the Land of Israel, they said, if there too they had to mingle with goyim, and «Gentile» women worked in their kitchens and looked after their children? The solution proposed was to bring Jews from the Yemen - known from their communities in Jerusalem as deeply religious - and employ them instead of Arabs in the orchards and houses. This was in fact done in 1906 - the settlement called Sha'arayim was created near Rehovot, and populated with a Jewish community imported especially from Yemen. However, where the Ashkenazi families in Rehovot had received four acres each, the Yemenites received only one acre per family, thus ensuring that they would be unable to support their families by agriculture, and would have to go to work for their Ashkenazi neighbours.

But the definition of Jews as a nation is extraordinarily problematic. It's perfectly obvious that the only common denominator between European and Yemenite Jews, or between, say, a Jew from Cochin and a Jew from Romania, is religion. (It is true that after two or three generations of living together in Israel something resembling an Israeli nation has come into being, just as an American nation and an Australian nation emerged in their time. However, the periodic flooding of Israel with masses of new immigrants hinders the crystallization of an Israeli nation; but this lies outside the present discussion.) And indeed, in Israel, after a century of local history, religion remains the framework of society. Israel cannot cease to be a «Jewish State», or a «State of the Jews». An editorial in the secular Israeli daily Haaretz expressed it thus: «The State was established to provide a national home for the Jewish people, and so it remains on the threshold of the 21st century. The Jewish people is a unique ethnic-national entity, combining religion and nationality... The rules governing the political scene in Israel are derived from the axiom that this is a Jewish State... This position is anchored in Supreme Court rulings and in the laws concerning the Knesset, which determine that "a party may not compete in the general elections for the Knesset if its aims or its acts oppose, openly or implicitly, the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people» (12 February 1996). The formula «The Jewish people is a unique ethnic-national entity, combining religion and nationality,» rests on premises which cannot be rationally sustained. What kind of «ethnic entity» can contain both Russian and Iraqi Jews? Can the term «nationality» do so? - Clearly not. The one and only common denominator is the religion, and with it the tradition, or myth, of a shared origin thousands of years ago. Where religion fails, Zionism sustains the myth of ethnic continuity by various other means - archaeology, the swearing of soldiers in Massada or at the Wailing Wall, and so on.

Zionism as a European Colonial Movement

People with a Marxist background apply to Zionism the terms they regard as universal, i.e., those of materialism, economics and class. And indeed, Zionist history as a whole resembles that of European colonialism. The early Zionist leadership was predominantly bourgeois European, and had strong links with the bourgeois European governments of the time. Moreover, it enjoyed the crucial support of powerful capitalist elements, such as the Baron Rothschild and others. Looking at the history of Zionism, from the imperialist «Balfour Declaration» of 1917 to the present Western support for aggressive Israel, it is easy to draw parallels between it and, say, the French colonization of Algeria or Indochina. All the same, it is a different story. Between the 1920s and 1940s there was a popular Zionist slogan that often drew fire from the progressive wing: it was a call for «Hebrew Labour» - i.e., «Employ Jews, not Arabs!» But though it expressed indifference to the needs of the Arab labour force, it could not be defined as racism in the usual sense of the term, for we have seen that Yemenite Jewish labourers, who were not «European», and did not differ «racially» or culturally from their Moslem neighbours in Yemen, were actually imported to replace local Arab labourers. (The Jewish credentials of the Yemenite community were never in doubt. On the contrary - rabbis, cantors and radio announcers of Yemenite background were highly prized for their vast knowledge of Hebrew and its heritage.) But if not racism, what did the call for «Hebrew labour» signify? - Quite simply, the traditional Jewish separation from the goyim, an application of the same principles Jews have lived by throughout the world for centuries.

By contrast, the European colonists in the Americas, Africa and Asia were attracted by the availability of a cheap labour force. People migrated from Europe to various parts of the world in order to enrich themselves by exploiting the natural resources of those countries by means of the local labour force. The Zionist settlement in Palestine from the late 19th to the mid-20th century was a different enterprise. Before World War II, most of the Zionist settlers came to Palestine of their own will, not so much driven by circumstances as impelled by ideological fervour, often leaving behind them far better conditions than those they encountered in the «Promised Land». Those Jews who wished to better their condition materially emigrated to the Americas, to Australia and South Africa. As for the money that Jewish capitalists invested in the Zionist settlement - this was characteristic Jewish philanthropy (i.e., dedicated to Jewish causes), enlivened with sympathy for the new ideology. When these capitalists looked for profits, they invested in far more promising enterprises than the Jewish settlement in Palestine; (though they probably did hope that eventually there would be a self-supporting Jewish community in Palestine, that might in the fullness of time even become profitable.)

It is hardly surprising that the Zionist movement conducted itself in some ways like other European colonial movements, since the political thinking of its central leadership stemmed from the European worldview of its time. Even when these leaders proclaimed progressive views, they continued to identify with Western colonialism. (We must not forget that in those days even progressive people in the West believed in the superiority of European civilization.) Certainly, as far as the Zionists could see, colonialism was the only viable scenario, and all other strategies must have seemed totally unrealistic. Zionism rode on the skirts of European imperialism, and cooperated with it in order to win its support. When Britain was the dominant power in the Middle East, Zionism collaborated with it. Nowadays, when the dominant power is the United States, Israel serves American interests because they serve her own. Yet the aim of Zionism has been to serve not the interests of Britain or the United States, but the age-old Jewish goal of a separate existence.

Israeli Zionism

It is natural that the Zionist movement could contain various currents, because they all flowed to the same destination - namely, a Jewish state, in which separateness would be automatic. (Today even secular Zionists are capable of describing the process of Jewish assimilation and inter-marriage in the Western world as «a demographic Holocaust»!) Many people believe that in a few generations the only Jews in the world, other than a handful of ultra-Orthodox communities who maintain their identity in the old, well-tried way, will be the citizens of the Jewish State. The rest will assimilate and disappear among the «Gentiles». That is why Zionism remains the common programme of nearly all of the political parties in Israel, from Moledet on the extreme Right to Meretz on the Left. Its principal tenet is that there must be a separate Jewish political entity, and the only question left is by what means this may be achieved. Right-wingers believe that it is possible to suppress and perhaps expel the non-Jews living in Palestine, either gradually by driving them to emigrate, or by more violent means; at the very least they seek to confine the Palestinians to some scattered, closed, supervised reservations. At the other end of the scale, the most committed members of the peace camp voice a preference for a very small Israel, within the pre-1967 borders or even smaller, provided it is «all ours» - meaning, without any Arabs, or only a tiny minority as a testimony to Israeli democracy. In this they closely resemble the white Afrikaner movement in South Africa, which, since the fall of Apartheid, has been clamouring for a separate white state in Natal Province.

The realization that Zionism is a continuation of Judaism by other means helps to explain how it can resemble European colonialism and at the same time differ from it in important ways, and also resemble national liberation movements in some aspects and be quite unlike them in others. The Holocaust provided Jewish isolationism with a retroactive, if paranoid, vindication, and is therefore never absent from Zionist propaganda and apologetics. (I say «paranoid», because there is no reason to regard the Nazi extermination policy as an ongoing threat, any more than African-Americans are threatened with a return to slavery.)  And, as stated before, today there is little point in arguing whether or not Jewish separateness itself provoked antisemitism. Even if it did, then - as in cases of rape - the victim is not to be blamed.

Today it is difficult to digest the paradoxes of the Israeli situation unless one considers the aim of Zionism. It is difficult to understand why in South Africa the reverse process is taking place - from Apartheid to unification, despite all the problems and obstacles - whereas in Israel even the popular peace-camp slogan, «Two States for Two Nations», whose motives are ostensibly enlightened, strives towards the same goal as the Orthodoxy. There is, of course, a basic difference between the two main Zionist camps, but it may be illustrated by the following metaphor: the hawkish Right wants Israel to remain a thorn in the flesh of the Middle East, and prefers a state of hostility over a peaceable solution, whereas the dovish Left seeks to heal the inflamed wound and turn Israel into a kind of implant in the Middle East, something like a cardiac pacemaker or plastic hip-replacement - an essentially benign, non-infective foreign body.

There is no point in giving good and bad marks to history. The question is not whether the aim of separateness is good or bad, but what it signifies and where it must lead. Because the supra-national empires of Europe fell apart in the early years of this century, people often speak of our time as being the «era of the nation state»; but in reality we are living in an era of non-nation states. The dominant power in the world today, the United States of America, is not a nation state, nor is there such a state anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, from pole to pole. Similarly, Australia, Great Britain, India, China, Russia and Indonesia, are not nation states, and the same holds true for most of the African states. As time goes on, there are fewer and fewer countries whose inhabitants predominantly belong to a single ethnic-cultural group. The mass migrations of the past century have greatly eroded the national pattern, which was never as static as some people imagine.

In reality Zionism, though based on the concept of a «Jewish nation», gave birth to a state based on religion, while at the same time trying to maintain a modern, quasi-secular, quasi-democratic guise. Yet though there are today some vigorous theocracies and semi-theocracies - chiefly in the Moslem world - they do have ethnic-cultural foundations to sustain them, which cannot be said about Israel, as any visitor soon perceives. People who believe that it will be possible in future to maintain a «Jewish State» in Israel are deluding themselves. Not only the Palestinian Arabs, but all of human reality will prevent this dream from materializing. The question remains, how dearly will the inhabitants of this land still have to pay before a solution is found.

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Sharon reaffirms commitment to road map, dispelling rumours of secret agenda
07:22 AM EDT Sep 29

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Thursday reaffirmed his commitment to the U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan, saying he wanted to dispel speculation that Israel is putting together an alternative plan.

"There is only one plan, and that is the road map," Sharon told an economic conference. On Wednesday, two Sharon confidants raised the possibility that, in the event of diplomatic deadlock, Israel could unilaterally withdraw from parts of the West Bank - including Palestinian towns and villages - and annex the large Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank to Israel.

The road map calls for a negotiated peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. It also envisions a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, alongside Israel.

Sharon said that his office has been inundated with requests for clarification, including from foreign diplomats, after his aides floated the idea.

"Israeli will not consider any other plans," he said Thursday.

"We have one plan, the road map, which we agreed to. It is backed by the United States and I don't see any change in their position. This is the only plan that exists. We have invested a lot of thought in this. We don't have a better plan than this for Israel's future and I emphasize and repeat this because of the rumours on this subject."

Comment: Right on schedule, Sharon gives his reassuring disinformation. He has never been a man of peace, is not a man of peace, and will never be a man of peace.

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US troops upload photos of dead Iraqis for porn
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
Published: 29 September 2005
The US military said yesterday it was opening an investigation into reports that soldiers based in Iraq were posting gruesome photographs of dead Iraqis, including explicit shots of severed body parts and internal organs, on a Florida-based website in exchange for access to the site's pay-only archive of pornography.

The photographs have outraged Arab and Muslim advocacy groups in the US and prompted human rights organisations to question whether they are not also a violation of the Geneva Conventions. They also constitute another potential public relations disaster for the United States as it continues to state publicly that it has the best interests of ordinary Iraqis at heart.

Some of the graphic website images are accompanied by openly racist comments from the soldiers who posted them. "What every Iraqi should look like," is the commentary next to a picture of a corpse whose brains and entrails are spilling out. In another image, six men wearing US Marine uniforms are smiling for the camera as they point to a burned body at their feet. The caption: "Cooked Iraqi."

Elsewhere, site visitors are invited to guess which body part is being depicted. The website owner, Chris Wilson, has been quite open about what he is doing. He said his site, which normally features photographs of the wives and girlfriends of his customers in pornographic poses, has proved very popular with the military. About a year ago, in response to complaints that soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan were having trouble getting their credit cards processed and gaining access to the site, he agreed to offer free subscriptions in return for the graphic images. Those images, unlike the porn, are openly accessible to anyone.

Mr Wilson's site is registered in the Netherlands, putting it outside the purview of the US legal system. He has pointed out that he is not a member of the military and so is not subject to their rules.

Comment: "We are coming with a might force to liberate your people" - George Bush, March 2003.

At this point in time, it would not be unreasonable to suggest that, generally speaking, when any member of the Bush government makes a statement about anything, the truth is somewhere close to being the exact opposite.

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Bush forecasts increased violence in Iraq
Last Updated Wed, 28 Sep 2005 12:58:14 EDT
CBC News

On Wednesday U.S. President George Bush predicted increased violence in Iraq in the lead-up to a national referendum on Iraq's draft constitution.

He said U.S. and coalition troops are prepared for the escalation.

There is evidence of greater insurgency activity in Iraq already, with almost daily bombing attacks, most recently aimed at recruits seeking jobs in reconstituted Iraqi police and military forces. At least 15 people have been killed in the past two days.

"We can expect they'll do everything in their power to try to stop the march to freedom," Bush said.

Bush also asserted that progress is being made, citing the weekend killing of a key al-Qaeda leader, the increased number of Iraqi troops capable of guarding cities, and the closing off of a major route for terrorists entering Iraq from Syria.

Bush faces growing domestic criticism for the Iraqi war and the ongoing U.S. military activity there. At least 1,925 U.S. soldiers have been killed. A weekend anti-war demonstration in Washington drew an estimated 100,000 to the capital.

There currently are 147,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

Tensions in Iraq are sectarian and political. While the Shia Muslim majority supports the proposed new constitution, a disaffected Sunni minority opposes key provisions of the document. The Sunnis ruled Iraq during the regime of Saddam Hussein.

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Troops tortured detainees, Human Rights Watch alleges
USA Today
Posted 9/24/2005 8:24 AM

NEW YORK (AP) - Soldiers in the Army's elite 82nd Airborne Division vented their frustration by systematically torturing Iraqi detainees from 2003 into 2004, hitting them with baseball bats and dousing them with chemicals, a U.S. rights group alleges in a new report.

The Human Rights Watch report, issued Friday, was compiled from interviews with a captain and two sergeants who served in a battalion of the 82nd Airborne that was stationed at a military base called Mercury near Fallujah, the insurgent stronghold retaken by U.S. forces last year.

The soldiers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the abuse took place almost daily and often came under orders. Anything short of causing an inmate's death was allowed, they said.

The residents of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, nicknamed soldiers at the nearby base "the Murderous Maniacs," New York-based Human Rights Watch said. "The soldiers considered this name a badge of honor."

It said soldiers in the elite 82nd Airborne deprived detainees of sleep, food and water, subjected them to extreme heat and cold, stacked prisoners in human pyramids, kicked them in the face, and put chemicals on exposed skin and eyes.

Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. John Skinner criticized the report as a predictable effort to try to "advance an agenda through the use of distortions and errors in fact."

Skinner said the military has investigated all credible allegations of detainee abuse and "looked at all aspects of detention operations under a microscope."

The Army said Friday it had opened an investigation into one soldier's allegations that he witnessed and heard about widespread prisoner abuse, including torture and a beating with a baseball bat, while serving at a base in Iraq.

One of the sergeants allegedly told the group that military intelligence personnel, eager for information, often instructed soldiers to "smoke" detainees - called Persons Under Control or PUCs - during questioning, the report said. "Smoking" prisoners meant physically abusing them until they lost consciousness.

But the motive was not always to gain intelligence, one sergeant was quoted as saying.

"Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the PUC tent. In a way it was sport," he reportedly said.

"One day (another sergeant) shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guy's leg with a mini-Louisville Slugger, a metal bat."

The soldier said anything short of death was acceptable.

"As long as no PUCs came up dead, it happened," he said. "We kept it to broken arms and legs."

The timing of some of the alleged tortures coincided with the prisoner abuse by American forces at Abu Ghraib near Baghdad in fall of 2003.

"These soldiers' firsthand accounts provide further evidence contradicting claims that abuse of detainees by U.S. forces was isolated or spontaneous," the report said. "The accounts here suggest that the mistreatment of prisoners by the U.S. military is even more widespread than has been acknowledged to date, including among troops belonging to some of the best trained, most decorated, and highly respected units in the U.S. Army."

The soldiers quoted in the report expressed much confusion about what types of treatment were allowed under the Geneva Conventions, which bar mistreatment of prisoners of war or civilian detainees. They said senior officers provided little guidance.

The captain said his complaints were ignored for 17 months, and he was denied a pass to leave the 82nd Airborne's base in Fort Bragg after planning to meet with Senate staff members, it said.

Army officials said, however, they began their investigation into the matter as soon as it came to their attention. [...]

The New York Times reported Saturday that Capt. Ian Fishback of the 82nd Airborne had raised the complaints of abuse in letters to the staff of Sens. John Warner of Virginia and John McCain of Arizona, both senior Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Human Rights Watch harshly criticized the U.S. military in its report, saying it has launched investigations and prosecutions of lower-ranking personnel for detainee abuse. But in most cases, the military used closed administrative hearings where they handed down light administrative punishments such as pay reductions and reprimands, instead of criminal prosecutions before courts-martial.

"The military has made no effort to conduct a broader criminal investigation focusing on how military command might have been involved in reported abuse, and the administration continues to insist that reported abuse had nothing to do with the administration's decisions on the applicability of the Geneva Conventions or with any approved interrogation techniques," it said. [...]

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Navy Secretly Contracted Jets Used by CIA
Associated Press
September 24, 2005

A branch of the U.S. Navy secretly contracted a 33-plane fleet that included two Gulfstream jets reportedly used to fly terror suspects to countries known to practice torture, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

At least 10 U.S. aviation companies were issued classified contracts in 2001 and 2002 by the obscure Navy Engineering Logistics Office for the "occasional airlift of USN (Navy) cargo worldwide," according to Defense Department documents the AP obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Two of the companies - Richmor Aviation Inc. and Premier Executive Transport Services Inc. - chartered luxury Gulfstreams that flew terror suspects captured in Europe to Egypt, according to U.S. and European media reports. Once there, the men told family members, they were tortured. Authorities in Italy and Sweden have expressed outrage over flights they say were illegal and orchestrated by the U.S. government.

While the Gulfstreams came under scrutiny in 2001, what hasn't been disclosed is the Navy's role in contracting planes involved in operations the CIA terms "rendition" and what Italian prosecutors call kidnapping.

"A lot of us have been focusing on the role of the CIA but also suspecting that certain parts of the armed forces are involved," said Margaret Satterthwaite, a New York University School of Law researcher who has investigated renditions.

The Navy contracts involve more planes than previously reported - other news outlets totaled 26 planes; the AP identified 33 planes.

Italian judges have issued arrest warrants for 19 purported CIA operatives who allegedly snatched a Muslim cleric from Milan in 2003 and flew him to Cairo, according to FAA records cited by the Chicago Tribune, aboard Richmor's Gulfstream IV. The jet belongs to a part-owner of the Boston Red Sox, who told The Boston Globe that the team's logo was covered when the CIA leased the plane. Another case involves two men taken from Sweden to Egypt in 2001 aboard Premier's Gulfstream V.

Neither the CIA nor a Navy spokeswoman at the Pentagon would comment for this story. Officials at the Navy Engineering Logistics Office, or NELO, in Arlington, Va., didn't respond to messages requesting comment.

Joseph P. Duenas, counsel for the logistics office, declined to provide the contracts, saying they "involve national security information that is classified."

The secrecy surrounding the deals makes it unclear why NELO issued them, but one reason may be the office's anonymity - the agency is so buried within the Pentagon bureaucracy that some career Navy officials have never heard of it.

John Hutson, a retired rear admiral who was the Navy's Judge Advocate General from 1997 to 2000 and is critical of the Bush administration's detainee policies, said he was not familiar with NELO. Told of its activities, Hutson said NELO employees could be held liable if they knew the planes would be used for renditions. Human rights lawyers allege rendition flights violate criminal law.

The office has been around since the mid-1970s, according to a former employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because NELO's activities are secret. NELO operates under different names: it's also known as the Navy's Office of Special Projects and its San Diego location is called the Navy Regional Plant Equipment Office.

None of those names is listed in the U.S. Government Manual, the official compilation of federal departments, agencies and offices. A man who answered the phone at NELO's Arlington office refused to give his name or the agency's address, suggesting it may be classified.

In court documents filed in the case of a fired Office of Special Projects whistleblower, government attorneys described the agency's principal function as "the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence activities."

The AP learned of the airplane contracts through a Freedom of Information Act request that focused on a different subject - permits granted to all 10 aviation companies that let them land at any Navy base worldwide.

The permits list planes operated by the companies and a contract number issued by NELO. The numbers provide some details about the contracts, including when they were issued, but do not say when they expire. In the documents the AP reviewed, contracts were issued in 2001 and 2002 and were cited on landing permits issued in 2004. The NELO contract numbers also appear on permits issued in 2003 and 2004 that allowed seven of the companies to buy fuel at military bases worldwide.

The permits list 31 planes under NELO contract other than the two Gulfstreams. They include a small Cessna; three huge Lockheed Hercules cargo planes; a Gulfstream 1159a; a Lear Jet 35A; a DC-3; two Boeing 737s; and a 53-passenger DeHavilland DH-8 photographed by plane spotters in Afghanistan.

Ownership of the planes is shielded behind a maze of paperwork and elusive executives.

James J. Kershaw is listed as president of three of the companies, located in Massachusetts, Tennessee and North Carolina. Two other companies share the same vice president, Colleen Bornt. Extensive public record searches could not locate either of them.

Record searches also failed to turn up information on Leonard T. Bayard, whose firm bought Premier Executive Transport Services' Gulfstream. The address of Bayard's firm is the Portland, Ore., office of attorney Scott Caplan.

Asked if his client is a real person, Caplan replied: "No comment."

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Secret files on Dunblane massacre to be unveiled

AN ORDER banning the public from accessing documents from the inquiry into the Dunblane massacre is to be lifted, a move which may finally answer some of the questions that have remained over the tragedy.

Sixteen children and their teacher died when Thomas Hamilton walked into Dunblane Primary School and opened fire in March 1996.

Documents which were submitted to Lord Cullen's inquiry into the atrocity the same year were subsequently placed under a 100-year Closure Order.

In 2003, the Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd, QC, decided to review material placed under this order. Members of the public will be able to view a number of the files at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh from Monday.

But files containing details of the victims, including photographs, medical reports and post-mortem reports, will still be subject to the Closure Order.

Parents of some of the victims welcomed the move as "a good decision", saying it would lift "remaining veils of secrecy" and dispel a number of conspiracy theories raised after the incident.

Mr Boyd said: "It is clear that there remains considerable public interest in the evidence that was provided to Lord Cullen's inquiry and I am pleased to announce that we have now completed the review of the papers subject to the 100-year Closure Order."

Families affected by the tragedy have always been able to view the full documents, and will be unaffected by the move.

On 13 March, 1996, 43-year-old Thomas Hamilton marched into the school and opened fire on teacher Gwen Mayor and her class of five- and six-year-olds, before turning the gun on himself. Lord Cullen's inquiry led to sweeping changes to laws on gun ownership.

Charlie Clydesdale, the father of one of the victims, Victoria, said: "There've been lots of rumours, partly due to the fact that the public haven't had access to these documents, and it's time the last veils of secrecy were lifted."

He added: "I'd like to have been warned in advance about the Lord Advocate's announcement. It will be interesting to see what's in these papers, but I would be very surprised if we learned anything new."

Dr Mick North, a former Stirling University lecturer whose daughter Sophie was another of the children killed, wrote a book about the tragedy and claims to be the only parent to have examined the papers in detail, said it was "a good decision", but the release had taken him by surprise.

Critics of the Closure Order said its length - which compares, for example, with just 30 years for Cabinet papers - had "fuelled a rumour mill" and led to continual speculation that something was being hidden.

In 2003, a newspaper claimed a police report was among the documents suppressed because it revealed links between Hamilton and a number of prominent Scots. Sources suggested a former Cabinet minister gave Hamilton a reference.

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Flashback: Police, killer in child sex ring

June 6, 2005

EDINBURGH: Police were involved in a paedophile ring that covered up abuse allegations against the man responsible for the infamous Dunblane school massacre.

The astonishing claim was made by former paramedic Sandra Uttley, who is going to the European Court of Human Rights to demand a new inquiry into the tragedy.

Sixteen children and their teacher were shot dead by Thomas Hamilton in March 1996 after he burst into the school gym and fired as they began an exercise class. The attack prompted tighter UK gun control.

Ms Uttley alleges that Lord Cullen's inquiry into the massacre was fatally flawed because crucial evidence was withheld from it.

The 45-year-old, who dealt with the aftermath of the killings in her job as a paramedic, said: "There are glaring anomalies in the inquiry, inconsistencies in witness testimony, incorrect information given on oath and the absence of vital witnesses.

"It is also blatantly obvious that Central Scotland Police, who were chosen to investigate the background to the murders, should never have been involved in a so-called independent inquiry.

"They were implicated in the events under scrutiny and continually provided Hamilton with renewals of his gun licence despite long-term and repeated warnings that this should not happen.

"It was known that Hamilton had friends in the police force, including one highly placed officer.

"I believe that Hamilton was a major provider of pornographic photographs and videos to a ring of men prominent in Central Scotland, including police officers who protected him from numerous allegations of physical abuse at boys' camps and clubs he ran.

"They protected themselves after the massacre which conveniently ended in his suicide".

Last year Ms Uttley's former partner, Mick North, whose five-year-old daughter Sophie was killed, said he was "convinced" of a cover-up.

Detective Chief Superintendent John Ogg, who headed the Dunblane investigation, has said of criticism in the past: "I can reassure you that the investigation was absolutely thorough and we covered every angle".

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The Roman Catholic Church of Corruption
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer
September 27, 2005

Dante reserved the lowest circle of hell—the circle of treachery - for those who violated trust. He placed quite a few priests, church leaders, and popes there. They’ll be getting lots of company...

The larger than usual headline of the Philadelphia Inquirer lastThursday read, “An ‘Immoral’ Cover-up.” A grand jury indicted the Philadelphia archdiocese in a 418-page report detailing rampant pedophilia and sexual abuse as well as decades of well planned, sinister cover-up orchestrated by two Philadelphia cardinals, (the late) John Krol and (recently retired) Anthony Bevilacqua. Krol was and Bevilacqua is an outspoken critic of homosexuality and civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans.

Here are just a few of the documented examples of what predator priests did under the protection of Krol and Bevilacqua:

  • An 11-year-old girl was repeatedly raped by a priest who took her for an abortion when she became pregnant.
  • A fifth grader was molested by a priest inside a confessional.
  • A teenage girl was groped by a priest while she lay immobilized in traction in a hospital room.
  • A priest offered money to boys in exchange for sadomasochistic acts of bondage and wrote a letter asking a boy to make him his “slave.” The priest remains in ministry.
  • A sadistic priest enjoyed having children play the roles of Jesus and other biblical characters in parish Passion plays. He made them disrobe and whip each other until they had cuts, bruises and welts.
  • A priest falsely told a 12-year-old boy his mother knew of the assaults and consented to the rape of her son.

The grand jury found that many victims were abused for years and that many priests abused multiple victims, sometimes preying on members of the same family. Father Albert T. Kostelnick had 18 victims. Father James J. Brzyski, whose conduct the report described as a “criminal rampage,” abused 17 victims, many of them from a single parish. Father Nicholas V. Cudemo abused 16 victims and was allowed to stay in his pastoral role for decades after the first abuse report in 1966.

And how did the archdiocese respond to the grand jury’s painstakingly documented report? In a truly disgusting display of perverted self-interest and bunker mentality, they claimed to be victims. Even more disgusting is that no criminal charges can be filed against the priests or against “Prince of the Church” Bevilacqua, despite the evidence presented in the grand jury’s report:

After reviewing thousands of documents from Archdiocese files and hearing...from over a hundred witnesses, we, the Grand Jurors, were taken aback by the extent of sexual exploitation within the Philadelphia Archdiocese...
For any who might want to believe that the abuse problem in the Philadelphia area was limited in scope, this Report will disabuse them of that impression. The Jurors heard from some victims who were sexually abused once or twice, and from many more who were abused week after week for years...Indeed, the evidence arising from the Philadelphia Archdiocese reveals criminality against minors on a widespread scale—sparing no geographic sector, no income level, no ethnic group. We heard testimony about priests molesting and raping children in rectory bedrooms, in church sacristies, in parked cars, in swimming pools, at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, at the priests’ vacation houses in the Poconos and the Jersey shore, in the children’s schools and even in their own homes...
Cardinal Bevilacqua, Cardinal Krol and their top aides all abdicated their duty to protect children. They concealed priests’ sexual abuses instead of exposing them...
There is no doubt that the cardinals and their top aides knew that Philadelphia priests were abusing children. There is no doubt that these officials engaged in a continuous, concerted campaign of cover-up over the priests’ sexual offenses...
Sexually abusive priests were either left quietly in place or ‘recycled’ to unsuspecting new parishes—vastly expanding the number of children who were abused...
Documents clearly established that Cardinal Bevilacqua knew that the priests had admitted abusing minors. They also established that he alone was responsible for subsequently placing or leaving the priests in parishes where they would present a severe danger to children...
Cardinal Bevilacqua had a strict policy, according to his aides, that forbid informing parishioners...The Cardinal, in fact, encouraged that parishioners be misinformed...
Cardinal Bevilacqua was trained as an attorney...The Grand Jurors find that in his handling of priests’ sexual abuse, Cardinal Bevilacqua was motivated by an intent to keep the record clear of evidence that would implicate him or the Archdiocese. To this end, he continued many of the practices of his predecessor, Cardinal Krol, aimed at avoiding scandal, while also introducing policies that reflected a growing awareness that dioceses and bishops might be held legally responsible for their negligent and knowing actions that abetted known predators...
To protect themselves from negative publicity or expensive lawsuits—while keeping abusive priests active—the cardinals and their aides hid the priests’ crimes from parishioners, police and the general public.
Archdiocese officials at the highest levels received reports of abuse...They chose not to conduct any meaningful investigation...They left dangerous priests in place or transferred them to different parishes as a means of concealment...They never alerted parents of the dangers poses by these offenders...They intimidated and retaliated against victims and witnesses...They manipulated "treatment" efforts in order to create a false impression of action...They did many of these things in a conscious effort to simply to avoid civil liability.

Moreover, while treating abusers gently, with good wishes and promotions (Bevilacqua included one molester, the Rev. Albert Kostelnick [who had the greatest number of victims], at a 1997 luncheon honoring priests, and promoted him, even though the church had received a constant stream of abuse allegations against him, including an eyewitness account from a fellow priest) the grand jury found that the cardinal had lashed out at those within the diocese who tried to raise an alarm. After a seminarian came forward to report an abuser priest, “Cardinal Bevilacqua ordered an investigation—of the seminarian.” Bevilacqua refused to allow the seminarian to complete his studies and forced him to seek ordination outside the diocese.

And what did Bevilacqua have to say when he testified before the grand jury? As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “in his testimony before the Grand Jury, Cardinal Bevilacqua was still attempting to evade responsibility for placing known sexual offenders in parishes where they had easy access to hundreds of children . . . He often suggested he might not have known all the facts and that he delegated the handling of these matters to his Secretary of Clergy. He repeatedly claimed to have no memory of incidents and priests we will never forget.”

Despite overwhelming evidence against priests, cardinals and numerous members of the church hierarchy, the statute of limitations has run out. So the Catholic Church has once again gotten away with crimes against humanity while the depravity and cover-up continue at the highest level.

Pope Benedict XVI’s widely publicized—and strategically timed—plan to purge seminaries of gays is a transparent attempt to shift blame from the corrupt, immoral Church to “homosexuals.” The facts about pedophilia and homosexuality in no way support the pope’s initiative.

The clinical separation of homosexuality and child molesting was acknowledged by the appearance of the words “pedophilia” and “pedophile.” From the Oxford English Dictionary:

Pædophilia. An abnormal, esp. sexual, love of young children.
1906 H. ELLIS Stud. Psychol. Sex V. i. 11 Paidophilia or the love of children...may be included under this head [sc. abnormality]. 1926 Med. Jrnl. & Rec. CXXIV. 161/1 One must keep clearly in mind in dealing with pedophilia the distinction between that mediating homosexuality, and the much more pure perversion which is our subject...Hence pædophiliac, -philic adjs., pertaining to or characterized by pædophilia; also as n., a pædophilic person.
1927 Psychoanal. Review XIV. 191 It is only in rare cases that one encounters an individual who has pedophilic predilections and at the same time is suffering from venereal disease. Ibid., his attempt at psychological explanation falls back on ‘a morbid disposition only’ on the part of the pedophalic [sic] as the motivating factor.
1960 Spectator 8 July 69 The...survey . . . shows the paedophiliac to be a type altogether distinct from the adult-seeking homosexual...
1976 Publishers Weekly 26 Apr. 52/1 He contacted fellow pedophiliacs and through them was able to sample many kinds of young girls.

Kathryn Conroy is assistant dean of Columbia University’s School of Social Work. She recently pointed out in The New York Times, "What is forgotten in all of the hysteria about priest sexual abuse is that pedophilia is about a sexual attraction to children (most often, regardless of their sex) and about access." Dr. Conroy also made the most pertinent point in relation to the pope’s ruse:

Reliable studies show that pedophiles (those adults who sexually abuse children) are overwhelmingly heterosexual. In fact, homosexuals are statistically underrepresented as those who sexually abuse children...
Further, women have far lower rates of sexually abusing children than men do. So if the church were really serious about protecting children from sexual abuse by priests, gays would not be excluded from the priesthood and ordination would be extended to women.

Aside from ordering an “Apostolic Visitation,” the revered Pope John Paul II did virtually nothing about the church’s sex scandal or its predator priests. Given the nature of the Vatican and the plethora of mass-media reports, John Paul II had to know about the massive immoral cover-up carried out by his underlings. Joseph Ratzinger was an ideological clone of John Paul and one of the most politically conservative cardinals. His nickname was “God’s Rottweiler” and “the Enforcer.” He’s now Pope Benedict XVI. Like Cardinal Bevilacqua and his predecessor Cardinal Krol, Benedict XVI isn’t interested in protecting children from predator priests or acknowledging the corruption rampant in the church’s hierarchy. The Vatican is interested solely in protecting itself, its power, and its political campaign against gay and lesbian people

Comment: Arguments to the effect that the child abuse scandal in the Catholic (and other) churches is simply the work of a "few bad apples" is as irresponsible and uninformed as saying that the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal was carried out by a few marines. Clearly, in both cases the practice was sanctioned at the highest levels. Those who have risen to the highest positions of power on this planet are, by default it would seem, rotten to the core and unless something occurs to change the status quo on the 'big blue marble', no one can have much hope of any worthwhile future for mankind.

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Bush ally quits as Congress leader over finance indictment
September 29, 2005

WASHINGTON - Tom DeLay, a powerful political ally of President George W. Bush, stepped down as head of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives after being indicted on a campaign finance charge.

DeLay vowed he was only stepping aside temporarily, and said the case by a Texas prosecutor was part of a "partisan vendetta". But the indictment came as a political bombshell in Congress as the President George W. Bush struggles to push his legislative agenda.

A Texas grand jury charged DeLay and two political associates of converting 190,000 dollars in corporate money into individual campaign contributions to avoid campaign finance restrictions.

The Washington power broker could be jailed for between six months and two years and face a 10,000 dollar fine if found guilty. He had to step down as the majority leader under congressional rules.

"I have notified the speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my position," DeLay said in a statement. House Republicans named Roy Blunt of Missouri as the new leader. He will share the job with Congressman David Dreier of California.

Senior Republican colleagues rallied around DeLay.

"We stand firmly behind Tom DeLay and ask that he be afforded the same rights as every other American -- that is innocent until proven otherwise," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

The DeLay case has been investigated since an election in Texas in November 2002 by Ronnie Earle, district attorney for Travis County.

Without going into details on the case, Earle told a press conference in Texas, "Our job is to prosecute abuses of power. Our job is to bring those abuses to the attention of the public through juries."

DeLay, widely considered one of the most powerful political operators in Washington, has faced a series of ethics allegations.

The 58-year-old former pest exterminator, who comes from Sugarland, Texas, is known as "The Hammer" for his sometimes ruthless approach to politics.

He has masterminded Republican election victories as well as pushing through White House goals in Congress. DeLay was also instrumental in Republicans taking control of the Texas legislature from the Democrats.

DeLay seemed relaxed as he vigorously condemned the prosecutor at a press conference in the Capitol building.

"This morning in an act of blatant political partisanship, a rogue district attorney in Travis County, Texas, named Ronnie Earle, charged me with one count of criminal conspiracy, a reckless charge, wholly unsupported by the facts.

"This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history. It's a sham, and Mr Earle knows it."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan declined to comment on the charge, but praised DeLay as a loyal Republican.

"Congressman Delay is a good ally, a leader who we have worked closely with to get things done for the American people," said McClellan.

The Democratic leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, who has long pressed for an ethics investigation of DeLay, hailed the prosecutor's move.

"The criminal indictment of Majority Leader Tom Delay is the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people," she said in a statement.

Among the companies named in the indictment as having been contributors to DeLay in Texas were Bacardi USA, the drinks-maker, and former retail chain Sears Roebuck and Co.

The two co-conspirators were named as John Colyandro and Jim Ellis who have faced other charges from Earle.

Earlier this month prosecuted DeLay's defunct political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC), on two charges of illegally using corporate money to help state candidates.

Last year, three close associates of DeLay were indicted: TRMPAC director Colyandro, fundraiser Warren RoBold and Ellis, head of DeLay's leadership committee.

Last month, Jack Abramoff, a high-power lobbyist with close ties to DeLay was indicted by a grand jury on six charges stemming from an alleged fraudulent real estate deal.

He also is accused of arranging several golf trips paid for with tainted money for DeLay, including a controversial trip to Scotland.

The Republican party has faced mounting political sleaze charges in recent months.

Bill Frist, the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, acknowledged last week that he has been questioned by federal investigators over possible insider trading involving shares in a health fund started by his family.

Frist has also strongly denied any wrongdoing.

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The UK economy: Things can only get tougher
By Philip Thornton, Economics Correspondent
Published: 29 September 2005

Retail sales hit 22-year low. Growth at 12-year low. Inflation at nine-year high. Unemployment rising

Gordon Brown has suffered a body blow to his political reputation - just days after his confident speech to Labour conference - with the release of official figures showing the economy at its weakest level for 12 years.

Economic output showed an annual growth rate of 1.5 per cent during the summer, the lowest since the first quarter of 1993 when Britain, under John Major's Tory government, was emerging from recession. [...]

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Venezuela condemns US ruling against extradition of wanted exile 2005-09-29 11:07:06

CARACAS, Sept. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday condemned a US court ruling that the Cuban-born exile Luis Posada Carriles wanted in a 1976 airliner bombing might not be extradited to Caracas.

    Chavez said Posada is a terrorist, and the case could harm ties with the United States if the anti-Castro militant is not extradited to Venezuela.

    "Now the US government has taken a decision in favor of Posada ...that's what I call imperialistic cynicism," said Chavez.

    "The US troops are torturing people in Guantanamo Bay. they are killing, assassinating and bombing people," the Venezuelan president said.

    At a hearing in the US city of El Paso, Texas, on Monday, judge William Abbott postponed the handover of Posada, a Venezuelan citizen, to the South American country on the ground of the International Covenant for the Protection Against Torture.

    Posada, an alleged Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent, was arrested in May for illegally entering the United States. The 77-year-old exile escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985, while he awaited retrial of the bombing of a Cuban passenger plane, which killed all 73 people on board in 1976.

    Posada has denied he was the mastermind behind the 1976 bombing, and expressed his satisfaction over the US ruling on Tuesday, which he said could turn down the extradition request filed by Venezuela on June 15.

    The Venezuelan Embassy in Washington said the decision of judge Abbott showed the double standard of US President George W. Bush in the so-called war on terror.

    Caracas insisted that the United States be still bound by international law to deport Posada, the embassy said in statement.

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Algerian group calls France 'enemy number one'
PARIS, Sept 27 (AFP)

An Algerian Islamist organisation, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), has issued a call for action against France which it describes as "enemy number one", intelligence officials said Tuesday.

"The only way to teach France to behave is jihad and the Islamic martyr," the group's leader Abu Mossab Abdelwadoud, also own as Abdelmalek Dourkdal, was quoted as saying in an Internet message earlier this month.

"France is our enemy number one, the enemy of our religion, the enemy of our community," he was quoted as saying.

France was mentioned 15 times in the text, and the Algerian government was also targeted, the officials said.

Nine people detained in a series of raids west of Paris Monday are suspected members of the GSPC, officials have said. They were being questioned for a second day Tuesday at the headquarters of the DST domestic intelligence agency.

Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday that the risk of terrorist attack in France is "at a very high level... There are cells operating on our territory."

The GSPC was created from a split in the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the main force in Algeria's long insurgency which was also responsible for a series of bombings in France in 1995.

Comment: Sarkozy is a French neoconservative. He is the man responsible for bringing the issue of the veil back to the spotlight two years ago. And he wants to be France's next president, with the backing of the US and Israel.

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Fires Burn More Than 2,500 Acres in Calif.
Thursday September 29, 2005

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Wind-driven brush fires scorched nearly 2,500 acres north of Los Angeles on Wednesday, killing thousands of chickens at a farm while destroying at least one home and threatening others.

A mandatory evacuation was ordered in Box Canyon and a freeway was closed as the blaze hopscotched the roadway and burned at the west end of the San Fernando Valley.

Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Ron Haralson said more than 700 firefighters were on the scene. One firefighter was struck on the head by a 40-pound boulder and was taken to a hospital for treatment, Capt. Carlos Calvillo said.

The fire had burned over 1,200 acres and was 5 percent contained by evening, Haralson said.

A blaze in Riverside County spread over 1,300 acres between the cities of Redlands and Moreno Valley, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.

That fire destroyed three chicken coops at a ranch believed to have housed 70,000 to 90,000 chickens, said Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Cheri Patterson. Thousands of chickens died.

"It's a vast amount,'' Patterson said.

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Earthquake rocks Kuril Islands, Russia 2005-09-29

MOSCOW -- An earthquake measuring 6.5 points on the Richter scale struck the Kuril Islands in the Far East of Russia on Thursday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties and damage, the Interfax news agency said.

The earthquake occurred 175 km southeast of the town of Severo-Kurilsk on the Kuril Islands at around 1:17 p.m. Moscow time (0917GMT) on Thursday, Viktor Beltsov from the press service of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry was quoted as saying.

According to Beltsov, the earthquake wave in Severo-Kurilsk reached four points on the Richter scale. No casualties or damage have been reported yet.

Meanwhile, the Russian ministry predicted a major earthquake inthe Far Eastern peninsula of Kamchatka for the end of this year.

Comment: The Kamchatka peninsula just happens to be right across the Beiring Sea from the North America's Western Seaboard. If a "major earthquake" were to strike Kamchatka, it would also have considerable effects on the US Pacific NorthWest.

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Fears over climate as Arctic ice melts at record level
David Adam, environment correspondent Thursday September 29, 2005 The Guardian

Coverage is 20% below average for time of year · Destructive cycle could affect Earth's weather

Global warming in the Arctic could be soaring out of control, scientists warned yesterday as new figures revealed that melting of sea ice in the region has accelerated to record levels.

Experts at the US National Snow and Data Centre in Colorado fear the region is locked into a destructive cycle with warmer air melting more ice, which in turn warms the air further. Satellite pictures show that the extent of Arctic sea ice this month dipped some 20% below the long term average for September - melting an extra 500,000 square miles, or an area twice the size of Texas. If current trends continue, the summertime Arctic Ocean will be completely ice-free well before the end of this century.

Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the Colorado centre, said melting sea ice accelerates warming because dark-coloured water absorbs heat from the sun that was previously reflected back into space by white ice. "Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold. We could see changes in Arctic ice happening much sooner than we thought and that is important because without the ice cover over the Arctic Ocean we have to expect big changes in Earth's weather." [...]

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Mount St. Helens' dome still growing a year after its birth
By Sandi Doughton
Seattle Times staff reporter
Saturday, September 24, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

It's been a busy year for Mount St. Helens.

After snapping back to life with a series of earthquakes that started last September, the volcano has been a veritable lava assembly line, churning out a dump-truck load every second. The new dome inside the crater is growing up to 16 feet a day, shoving aside a 700-foot-thick glacier as if it were papier-mâché.

And there's no end in sight, say U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists.

"There's no reason to think it couldn't go on for another year, for decades," said volcanologist Dan Dzurisin.

Scientists have been busy, too.

Since the eruption began, monitoring St. Helens has been an all-consuming job for experts at the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Wash., said Cynthia Gardner, scientist in charge. Other projects have been shelved and $1 million devoted to the effort, not counting salaries.

That work is paying off with a richer picture of the region's most volatile volcano.

"It's been an exciting time, and we've learned a lot," Dzurisin said.

By analyzing the million small earthquakes that have rattled the volcano over the past year, scientists are beginning to construct a picture of the magma chamber 2.5 miles below the surface where the lava originates. Chemical analysis of the new dome suggests it takes about a week for molten rock to travel from the chamber to the surface.

For most of that trip, the rock remains fluid, Dzurisin said. About a half mile before emerging, it hardens up. As it thrusts out of the ground, the new rock forms whaleback ridges that climb, then crumble.

At its highest elevation, the top of the new dome stood 7,765 feet above sea level. It's lower now, but the volume has grown to 76 million cubic yards - 25 times the size of Safeco Field.

The magma itself is coming primarily from a pool that's been around since the volcano's spectacular eruption in 1980 and the series of smaller lava flows that followed, said geologist John Pallister. That's good news, he said, because it means the likelihood of another massive explosion is slight.

But a group of experts who examined the new lava rocks this summer found a bit of fresh magma mixed in, which may indicate the eruption is starting to tap into a deeper reservoir. If fresher, more explosive magma starts to move through the system, the chance of a big blow will increase, Pallister said.

The earthquake analysis also has yielded the first tangible evidence of a crack in the Earth's crust that extends for miles beneath the volcano. Scientists have long known it must be there - a weak spot in the crust that provides a pathway for molten rock, Dzurisin said.

"The volcano is there because magma has been rising through that zone of weakness for tens of thousands of years."

Scientists have been surprised at the eruption's persistence. Usually, such prolific lava outflows come in fits and starts. After the 1980 explosion left a hollowed crater, the volcano rebuilt a dome with multiple eruptions over the course of six years. In a single year, the current eruption has produced a dome nearly as big.

The current eruption came on with very little warning, which also was unexpected, Dzurisin said. The first earthquake swarm hit on Sept. 23, 2004. The first steam explosion was Oct. 1, and by Oct. 11 lava pushed through to the surface.

Could future, more destructive eruptions occur with even less notice?

"We're confident the volcano would give us some warning of a major change," Dzurisin said. "It could be as short as a day. It would more likely be a week or months."

On clear, fall days, St. Helens is likely to put on a nice show for visitors, with a steam plume rising high into the sky. From Johnston Ridge Observatory, about five miles north of the crater, the view is spectacular, Gardner said.

"Go to the volcano," she advised. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Sandi Doughton: 206-464-2491 or

Comment: A QFS member comments:

With the SOTT column about the hurricanes / earthquakes / volcanoes (Mt. Ranier), this caught my eye earlier. St. Helens dome is growing up to 16 inches a day. The article is light and non-threatening unless you read between the lines towards the end of the article...

Despite the clear evidence that the "experts" really don't fully understand what is occurring with the volcano, we are all encouraged to visit the area?? Brings the kids and the dog! We suspect that given all the other hurricane and seismic activity, such a visit may indeed become a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After all, it would be hard to visit again if one was at the wrong place during a sudden eruption...

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Flu Studies Give Chills to Health Experts

Vaccine found to fail most elderly - also, virus resisting drugs
By Rob Stein
The Washington Post
Thursday 22 September 2005

Washington - Vaccines are less effective at protecting the elderly from influenza than has been thought, and some of the drugs commonly used to treat the flu are losing their power at a surprisingly fast rate, according to two new studies.

The findings, published online by the Lancet medical journal, come as the world is bracing for a possible flu pandemic from a dangerous strain of virus spreading among birds in Asia.

In the first study, an international collaboration of scientists conducted a systematic review of all studies evaluating the effectiveness of flu vaccination for the elderly over the past 40 years. The analysis, the most comprehensive ever conducted, found that vaccination was only modestly effective, preventing about 30 to 42 percent of hospitalizations.

Those living in nursing homes fared somewhat better than those living on their own.

"The bottom line is the effectiveness is modest, at best," said Tom Jefferson, an epidemiologist in Rome who led the analysis for the Cochrane Collaboration, an independent international initiative to scientifically evaluate the efficacy of medical care. "It's very disappointing."

The findings are particularly disappointing because the elderly are among those at highest risk. About 36,000 Americans die each year from the flu, many of them elderly.

Vaccines may be less effective in the elderly because their immune systems are less able to mount a vigorous response, Jefferson and others said.

"People should ask whether it's worth investing these trillions of dollars and euros in these vaccines," Jefferson said.

Other experts said the findings underscored the need to develop more effective approaches, but they cautioned they should not discourage anyone from getting vaccinated.

"We still urge the elderly and other high-risk groups to be vaccinated," said Dick Thompson of the World Health Organization.

Even 30 percent effectiveness prevents a lot of suffering, said William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University.

"Vaccination is not perfect, but it still is enormously beneficial," he said.

In the second study, Rick Bright of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues analyzed 7,000 samples of flu virus collected around the world for genetic mutations that indicate the germs have developed resistance to a class of drugs known as adamantanes, which includes the widely used drugs amantadine and rimantadine.

The researchers found the rate of resistance increased from 0.4 percent of the samples in 1994 to 12.3 percent in 2004. In the United States, the rate jumped from 1.9 percent in 2004 to 14.5 percent in the first six months of 2005, the researchers found.

"We were alarmed to find such a dramatic increase in drug resistance in circulating human influenza viruses in recent years," Bright said.

Other researchers agreed, especially because this class of drugs is less expensive than newer flu drugs and can be used to both treat and prevent the disease.

"This level of resistance is quite alarming," said Robert Belshe of St. Louis University School of Medicine. "This is saying that these resistant viruses are spreading, and that's something we have to be concerned about."

Fortunately, flu viruses, including the bird flu circulating in Asia, remain vulnerable to two newer drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, which the federal government has been stockpiling.

The WHO's Thompson said the agency was monitoring the development of resistance.

"It's something we need to monitor to get a better grip on," Thompson said.

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Hundreds evacuated as wildfires sweep Southern California 2005-09-29 17:26:51

 LOS ANGELES, Sept. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Hundreds of residents were evacuated from their homes north of Los Angeles late Wednesday as brush fires driven by strong winds swept the hillsides in the Southern California county, officials said.

    About 700 firefighters stayed on the job throug h the night trying to control the blaze which began along the Ronald Reagan Freeway in Chatsworth, about 50 km northwest of Los Angeles, officials said.

    "It's still warm and the winds are still blowing and we still have fires," said Inspector Ron Haralson.

    The fire burned some 3,500 acres, and only about 5 percent of the fire was contained as of 10 p.m., according to the Los AngelesCounty Fire Department.

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Geologists Report Quake Cluster in Idaho

By ANNE WALLACE ALLEN, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
(09-28) 18:48 PDT Boise, Idaho (AP)

A cluster of earthquakes south of Cascade has been shaking items off shelves and jolting residents out of their sleep this week.

"The dog starts barking every single time," said Armen Mannschreck, a high school English teacher who lives near Clear Creek. A temblor Tuesday night — the strongest so far — sent a bowl crashing to the floor from a dresser in Mannschreck's house.

It also set the cabinet doors swinging at the home of Linda Jarvis, another Clear Creek resident who is regularly awakened by middle-of-the-night quakes these days. Jarvis said she's often felt tremors in the 19 years she's lived at her home — but only in the last week have they been strong enough to get her up in the night.

"The cat wakes up; my cabinet doors in the kitchen go open and closed and I have mortar coming out of the brick on my fireplace outside," Jarvis said.

Residents of the Clear Creek area, about 10 miles south and southeast of Cascade, have been calling seismologists to report feeling several earthquakes a day, said Idaho Geological Survey geologist Bill Phillips. IGS instruments have been recording from 50 to 100 earthquakes per day around Clear Creek in the last week.

Earthquake clusters — or swarms, as seismologists describe them — are common in Idaho. The last one was in Donnelly in 2001, said Jim Zollweg, a seismologist at Boise State University. There have been several other swarms in the last few decades.

The swarm in the Clear Creek area, which started around Sept. 22, is unusual in that residents are feeling the earthquakes, the largest of which, Tuesday night, had a magnitude of about 3.7. Usually an earthquake measuring 3.7 isn't felt and causes no damage at all — only at about 4.7 magnitude do people notice the shaking, or do earthquakes crack plaster or leave other signs, Zollweg said.

He thinks the Clear Creek temblors might be closer to the surface — only one to two miles underground, instead of the more common three to seven miles below. That would make them easier to feel, he said.

"The swarm is a little unusual, but we don't know that it's unusual enough for people to be worried," said Zollweg, who has been deflecting a lot of requests for predictions on how big, and how frequent, the earthquakes might get. He's willing to speculate that the swarm will go on for weeks or months — but he can't say how strong future earthquakes might be. There is a fault in the earth near the Clear Creek area, but it's not clear if the swarm at Clear Creek is related to that fault or to any other, he said.

"I'm kind of thinking there is some potential for a somewhat larger quake," Zollweg said. "What that means is really hard to say. I'm not comfortable thinking we've seen the biggest one yet, but if history is any guide, it's not going to get much bigger."

That's comforting news to Jarvis.

"It's unnerving, and it's scary while it's going on," she said. "But I don't worry about dying. I'm not ready to move."

Earthquakes, many detected only by instruments, are common in Idaho. The Idaho Geological Survey at the University of Idaho in Moscow said the state is ranked fifth in the nation on a scale of earthquake risk. The risk is greater only in California, Nevada, Utah and Alaska.

Idaho felt two large earthquakes in recent memory; both caused deaths and millions of dollars in damage. One was the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake in Montana, with a magnitude of 7.1; the other was the 1983 Borah Peak earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.

Sean Christian, an eighth grader at Cascade High School, was woken up by a temblor that shook his Clear Creek home Tuesday night.

"It was a big shaking and it almost knocked my dad's guns out of his gun cabinet," said Christian, who is 13. He said he used to be scared, but he's used to earthquakes now.

"I just go back to sleep," Christian said.

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Hundreds forced from homes as Stephenville, N.L. flooded
Last Updated Wed, 28 Sep 2005 12:52:47 EDT
CBC News

Hundreds of people remain out of their homes in the Stephenville, Newfoundland area. A state of emergency was declared Tuesday because of extensive flooding. Heavy rains caused two rivers to spill over their banks, forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes.

About 140-millimetres of rain had fallen by late Tuesday afternoon.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams toured the flooded area yesterday. He said Prime Minister Paul Martin has extended an offer of federal assistance to the province.

Officials began a door-to-door evacuation of low-lying areas at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday as the flooding began.

About 200 homes were flooded, some with water up to the windows, and several dozen vehicles were submerged.

The province and the Canadian Red Cross have set up a reception centre in the provincial armoury.

Although the three bridges in Stephenville are intact, the roadways leading to the bridges have washed away

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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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