Printer Friendly Version
Fixed link to latest Page


"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

"Evil men obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience must be taken very seriously, and we must stop them before their crimes multiply."

Ex-Marine publishes French book on US-Iraq war

PARIS, Oct 6 (AFP) - US military training has created troops so desensitised to violence that battleground brutality in Iraq is rampant -- and has helped fuel the bloody insurgency seen there today, according to a new book written by a former Marine and released Thursday in France.

Jimmy Massey, a former staff sergeant, told AFP that the daily attacks now doled out to US-led forces and Iraqi civilians are "because of the brutality that the Iraqi people saw at the start of the invasion."

In his book, 'Kill! Kill! Kill!', he says he and other Marines in his unit killed dozens of unarmed Iraqi civilians because of an exaggerated sense of threat, and that they often experienced sexual-type thrills doing so.

The book was being released first in France -- and in French -- because, he said, "I didn't find an American publisher."

The French journalist who helped him write the work, Natasha Saulnier, said she believed the US companies were reluctant to touch the book because its "controversial" nature threatened commercial interests and the US public's image of their fighting forces.

Massey, who left Iraq in May 2003 shortly after US president George W Bush declared "Mission Accomplished", wrote the book after being discharged from the Marines with a diagnosed case of post-trauma stress syndrome.

"It's been a healing experience," Massey said. "It's allowed me to close a lot of chapters and answer a lot of questions."

In the book, he claims he and a group of Marines were near Baghdad when a group of 10 Iraqi men started to protest near them, yelling out anti-US slogans. At the sound of a gunshot, he said he and his men fired on the group, killing most of them, only to find out later that none of them was armed.

He also recounts several episodes at checkpoints where civilian cars failed to stop and their unarmed occupants were shot to death.

At one point he says he told an officer that the US military campaign "resembles a genocide" and that "our only objective in Iraq is petrol and profits."

Massey, a chubby-cheeked man with short hair and glasses, said in the lobby bar of a Paris hotel that the casual violence exhibited by him and his men was the deliberate result of combat training approved by the very highest US authorities.

Later revelations of abuse by US soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere were symptomatic of the breadth of the problem, Massey said.

"Overall, we have to look at the (Bush) administration in terms of responsibility for the atrocities and the murder at the checkpoints," he said, questioning "the level of brutality instilled in the Marines."

The briefings they received, he said, made US troops view "everyone as a potential terrorist -- they put fear and panic into my Marines."

Although the target of criticism from serving members of the US military -- some of whom see the book as score-settling by a disgruntled Marine forced to leave the services -- Massey has received significant interest in his book in France.

His next few days, he said, are to be spent being interviewed by media outlets.

His publisher said that, while an English language version of the book was still pending, a Spanish edition would be coming out early next year.

Comment: Brutality, murder of innocent civilians, torture in the prisons, everyone is a potential terrorist. No wonder things are going so well for the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq.

And so what is the US president doing about it? Funny you should ask...

Click here to comment on this article

Bush will veto anti-torture law after Senate revolt
By Francis Harris in Washington (Filed: 07/10/2005)

The Bush administration pledged yesterday to veto legislation banning the torture of prisoners by US troops after an overwhelming and almost unprecedented revolt by loyalist congressmen.

The mutiny was the latest setback for an administration facing an increasingly independent and bloody-minded legislature. But it also marked a key moment in Congress's campaign to curtail the huge powers it has granted the White House since 2001 in its war against terrorism.

The late-night Senate vote saw the measure forbidding torture passed by 90 to nine, with most Republicans backing the measure. Most senators said the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and similar allegations at the Guantanamo Bay prison rendered the result a foregone conclusion.

The administration's extraordinary isolation was underlined when the Senate Republican majority leader, Bill Frist, supported the amendment.

The man behind the legislation, Republican Senator John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner in Vietnam, said the move was backed by American soldiers. His amendment would prohibit the "cruel, inhumane or degrading" treatment of prisoners in the custody of America's defence department.

The vote was one of the largest and best supported congressional revolts during President George W Bush's five years in office and shocked the White House.

"We have put out a Statement of Administration Policy saying that his advisers would recommend that he vetoes it if it contains such language," White House spokesman Scott McClellan warned yesterday.

The administration said Congress was attempting to tie its hands in the war against terrorism.

The veto would be Mr Bush's first use of his most extreme legislative option. But senators pointed out that a presidential veto can be overturned by a two-thirds majority in both houses.

For now the amendment's fate depends on negotiations between the Senate and the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, which is more loyal to the administration.

But senators said they were confident that most of the language would survive and that the issue could pose an extremely awkward dilemma for the president.

The amendment was attached to the $440 billion (£247 billion) defence spending bill and if Mr Bush vetoes the amendment, he would have to veto the entire bill.

That would leave America's armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan short of cash as early as the middle of next month.

Comment: A veto of this bill would be an admission that the torture of prisoners in US-controlled prisons around the world is Bush administration policy, a policy that is readily apparent in the facts, but that has been carefully hidden by the policy of plausible deniability. Because Bush's signature is not on any document clearly stating "use torture on terrorists", he is able to deny that it is his government's official policy. The torture and humiliation of prisoners in Iraq, publicised with the release of photos in April of 2004, has been blamed on the grunts on the spot, including soldiers such as Lynndie England, who it appears did not have the wherewith all to be able to make a critical assessment of the situation in Abu Ghraib. The psychopaths who sent them there and who gave the orders have been whitewashed.

We have seen only a carefully screened collection of photos from places like Abu Ghraib. There are more photos that are still being withheld from the public, not to mention the secret detention centres on places like Diego Garcia where enemies of the Bush Reich are taken and left to rot outside the eyes of any international organisation, such as the Red Cross. Americans are programmed to distrust international organisations, groups that would somehow impinge on the US's desire to do what it wants, where it wants, when it wants. It ignores the World Court and forces the new Iraqi government to consider US and British troops as immune from prosecution for the acts of terror they are carrying out in the name of freedom but that really done in the name of their own self-righteousness. They believe that no one can judge Americans except for God himself, for Americans are on a mission from God. They consider themselves the Chosen People of the covenant of the New Testament.

The report that Bush told Palestinians he talks to God has been circulating for a long time. We have reported it before on this page. A new BBS documentary has brought the topic of Bush's direct communications with God into the news. ANd faithful chief propagandist and spin doctor, presidential press secretary Scott McClellan, has denied that his boss receives his marching orders from the big man upstairs.

Click here to comment on this article

White House denies Bush God claims
James Sturcke
Friday October 7, 2005

A senior White House official has denied that the US president, George Bush, said God ordered him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

A spokesman for Mr Bush, Scott McClellan, said the claims, to be broadcast in a TV documentary later this month, were "absurd".

In the BBC film, a former Palestinian foreign minister, Nabil Shaath, says that Mr Bush told a Palestinian delegation in 2003 that God spoke to him and said: "George, go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan" and also "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq".

During a White House press briefing, Mr McClellan said: "No, that's absurd. He's never made such comments."

Mr McClellan admitted he was not at the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in June 2003 when Mr Bush supposedly revealed the extent of his religious fervour.

However, he said he had checked into the claims and "I stand by what I just said".

Asked if Mr Bush had ever mentioned that God had ordered him into Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr McClellan said: "No, and I've been in many meetings with him and never heard such a thing."

The claims are due to be broadcast in a three-part BBC documentary which analyses attempts to bring peace to the Middle East.

Mr Shaath, the Palestinian foreign minister in 2003, claims Mr Bush told him and other delegates that he was spoken to by God over his plans for war.

He told the film-makers: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did, and then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq... And I did.

"'And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East. And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

The Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who attended the June 2003 meeting as well, also appears on the documentary series to recount how Mr Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

Mr Bush, who became a born-again Christian at 40, is one of the most overtly religious leaders to occupy the White House, a fact that brings him much support in middle America.

"History is littered with examples of people doing the most bizarre and sometimes wicked things on this basis," said Andrew Blackstock, director of the British-based Christian Socialist Movement. "If Bush really wants to obey God during his time as president he should start with what is blindingly obvious from the Bible rather than perceived supernatural messages.

"That would lead him to the rather less glamorous business of prioritising the needs of the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalised in his own country and abroad.

"When we see more policies reflecting that, it might be easier to believe he has God on his side. And more likely that God might speak to him."

The TV series, which starts on Monday, charts recent attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from the former US president Bill Clinton's peace talks in 1999-2000, to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip this year. It seeks to uncover what happened behind closed doors by speaking to presidents and prime ministers, along with their generals and ministers, the BBC said.

Comment: Well, of course McClellan would have to deny it, wouldn't he? But his denial is pretty sleazy, even for Scott McClellan: "I never heard him say such a thing." Well, that wasn't the question, was it, Scott? McClellan wasn't at the meetings with the Palestinians.

Sure, he checked back on it. He did his work and verified it, that is, he checked with Karl, and Karl said to keep lying. But, then, when was the last time the White House told the truth about something?

Speaking of which...

Click here to comment on this article

10 terrorist plots detected: Bush
CBC News
Last Updated Thu, 06 Oct 2005 12:08:45 EDT

United States President George Bush says at least 10 serious al-Qaeda terrorist plans have been detected and disrupted by the U.S. and its allies since the devastating attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In a major speech on terrorism Thursday, Bush said three of the planned attacks were against the U.S.

"We've stopped at least five more al-Qaeda efforts to case targets in the U.S. or infiltrate operatives in our country."

Bush strongly defended the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. He said progress is being made in Iraq and that the U.S. will remain committed in the fight against terrorism.

Support for the continuing campaign in Iraq has dropped in the U.S., with recent polls showing as much as 60 per cent of the population now believing the war was a mistake.

The president also has faced intense recent criticism on domestic issues, especially for what many called inadequate preparation for and a slow response to the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.

Bush drew parallels between the war on terrorism and the earlier fight against communism.

"Evil men obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience must be taken very seriously, and we must stop them before their crimes multiply.

"Defeating a militant network is difficult because it thrives like a parasite on the suffering and frustration of others."

The Bush speech Thursday is against a backdrop of increased daily violence in Iraq, which threatens to disrupt the Oct.15 referendum on a proposed new constitution for the country.

Deep religious and political differences have set the majority Shia in Iraq, with support of the Kurdish minority, against the Sunni Arabs, the displaced ruling faction that supported former president Saddam Hussein.

Comment: Progress, eh? We wonder what scale the Bush Reich is using to measure this progress. Number of innocent Iraqis slaughtered? Number of successful American/British/Israeli false flag operations? Number of days Bush stays in office after 9/11 while continuing to lie through his teeth?

Click here to comment on this article

Mayor Bloomberg announces New York Subway possible target of terrorism
Last Updated Thu, 06 Oct 2005 18:32:24 EDT
CBC News

The New York City police department and the FBI said Thursday they have received information that the New York City transit system may be the target of terrorism in the coming days and they are on high alert.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the NYPD is taking the threat seriously but so far it is uncorroborated. Bloomberg and NY Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a news conference Thursday the threat is the most specific they have received to date.

A law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the threat is "specific to place, time and method" and involves a bombing.

Neither the Mayor, the Police Chief nor the FBI would provide any details on the nature of the threat.

Mayor Bloomberg asked New Yorkers to be vigilant and alert. He said "If they see something, they should say something". He also said people should live their lives and have faith in New York's finest. He said he himself would take the subway at the end of his day.

Kelly said there are more uniformed and undercover police officers on the transit system. More random searches are also being conducted.

Comment: The great thing about these terror scares is that there is no way to verify them. They can be announced when and as the politicians need them, much as we saw the Terror Alert warnings being used. Above we saw that Bush claims they have foiled ten al Qaeda plots since 9/11. Sure. Why not a dozen? Two dozen? Certainly a network with the resources of al Qaeda ought to be able to pull off more than ten bombings. Heck, that works out to just a couple a year since 9/11. With all of the sleeper cells they have in the US, you'd think they'd be more active than that!

But, hey, the guys in blue are doing their best to protect the citizens of the Big Apple...

Click here to comment on this article

Police flood New York subway system in response to terror threat
Tom Hays
06:10 AM EDT Oct 07

NEW YORK (AP) - A newly disclosed terror threat against the New York subway has raised the specter of an attack with explosives concealed in a baby stroller and prompted an underground show of force by the nation's largest police department.

Officials in New York revealed the threat Thursday, saying an FBI source warned that terrorists had plotted to bomb the subway in coming days. But Homeland Security officials in Washington downplayed the threat, saying it's of "doubtful credibility." Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it the most specific terrorist threat that New York officials had received to date, and promised to flood the subway system with uniformed and undercover officers.

"We have done and will continue to do everything we can to protect this city," Bloomberg said at a nationally televised news conference. "We will spare no resource, we will spare no expense."

Comment: Uh, so is it a real threat, as Bloomberg is stating, or is it of "doubtful credibility"? Those mixed messages are so disconcerting!

The New York Police Department boosted existing measures to search for bombs in commuters' bags, brief cases and luggage. The threat also involved the possibility that terrorists would pack a baby stroller with a bomb, a law enforcement official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

The official said the threat was "specific to place," and that the window for the attack was anywhere from Friday through at least the weekend.

In Washington, Homeland Security Department spokesman Russ Knocke said "the intelligence community has concluded this information to be of doubtful credibility. We shared this information early on with state and local authorities in New York." Knocke did not elaborate.

A counterterror official, who was briefed about the threat by Homeland Security authorities and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the intelligence did not reflect "on-the-ground, detailed, pre-surveillance" methods consistent with credible information. Rather, the official said, the intelligence was similar to "what can be found on the Internet and a map of New York City."

Some commuters took the threat in stride.

"I'll think about it, but I'm not scared, really," commuter Leila Fullerton said as she was about to board a subway for Brooklyn after work.

But she added that since the London train bombings in July, she has found herself scanning the car at times looking for suspicious characters.

"It's a terrible feeling going down there sometimes," she said, gesturing at the subway stairwell.

The law enforcement official in New York said that city officials had known about the threat at least since Monday, but held the information until two or three al-Qaida operatives were arrested in Iraq within the past 24 hours. Once the arrests were made, officials felt they could go public, the official said.

Authorities are concerned, the official said, that there might be al-Qaida operatives in New York City connected to the plot. They have no hard evidence of that, but are investigating.

The U.S. military spokesman's office in Baghdad had no information on the arrests. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said he had seen no indication of a U.S. military operation to round up al-Qaida operatives.

On Thursday, a television station said it held off on reporting about the subway threat for two days because officials in New York and Washington voiced concerns that public safety could be affected and ongoing operations jeopardized.

WNBC reporter Jonathan Dienst, who covers security and terrorism issues, said he started making calls about the threat on Tuesday. Local and federal officials then got in touch, expressing concern that airing the story would do damage.

The station decided to hold off, citing "the intensity of the level of the request," said Dan Forman, vice president of news.

An estimated 4.5 million passengers ride the New York subway on an average weekday. The system has more than 468 subway stations. In July, the city began random subway searches following the London train bombings.

Gov. George Pataki said Thursday the state would call up hundreds of National Guard troops and ask Connecticut and New Jersey to patrol commuter trains.

New York's security level remained at orange, the same level it has stayed at since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Bloomberg said there was no indication that the threat was linked to this month's Jewish holidays.

Comment: Once more, when the details are brought to light, we see that it is as flimsy as George's reasons for invading Iraq and killing the civil population. Al Qaeda is being blamed, and yet there is no hard evidence that they are involved. There is no evidence that any "al Qaeda operatives" were arrested in Iraq.

They are just blowing smoke...

Click here to comment on this article

UN nuclear agency and its chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, win Nobel Peace Prize
06:03 AM EDT Oct 07

OSLO, Norway (AP) - The International Atomic Energy Agency and its Egyptian chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, have won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

The prize, announced Friday, went to the two "for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way." In Vienna, where the agency is based, IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Flemming said: "I never thought we'd see this day. This is the proudest day for the IAEA. We are proud, astonished, elated."

ElBaradei, an Egyptian lawyer, has headed the UN nuclear agency as it grappled with the crises in Iraq and North Korea and now Iran.

Under ElBaradei, the International Atomic Energy Agency has risen in prominence from a nondescript bureaucracy monitoring nuclear sites worldwide to a pivotal institution at the vortex of efforts to disarm the two regimes.

The austere and methodical diplomat took a strident line as he guided the Vienna-based IAEA through the most serious troubles it faced since the end of the Cold War.

He accused North Korea, for example, of "nuclear brinkmanship" in December 2002 after it expelled two inspectors who were monitoring a mothballed nuclear complex.

Pyongyang said the plant needed to go back on line in light of an electricity shortage.

Comment: The Bush gang must be furious at this. They spent a year trying to get ElBaradei thrown out of his post. They were not successful. Once more, the world is sending Bush a message, but, of course, he is so blinded by his own arrogance that he'll not listen.

Click here to comment on this article

Pentagon: Bin Laden deputy complains about money, Iraq tactics

U.S. says it obtained intercepted letter

From Jamie McIntyre CNN
Friday, October 7, 2005;
Posted: 2:50 a.m. EDT (06:50 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An intercepted letter from Osama bin Laden's deputy to the al Qaeda leader in Iraq complains that the terrorist network is short of cash and faces defeat in Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesman says.

The United States obtained a recent letter that appears to be from Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's No. 2 figure, to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, outlining both the strategy and concerns of the terrorist network, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

In the letter, al-Zawahiri warns that some of the tactics currently employed by the insurgency, including the slaughtering of hostages and the suicide bombings of Muslim civilians, may risk alienating the "Muslim masses," Whitman said Thursday.

Comment: Yeah, it is the resistance that are killing the Muslim civilians! Right! The ones who are disguising themselves as British SAS disguised as Arabs. Pretty damn clever.

Reading from a summary of the letter, Whitman said al-Zawahiri concedes that al Qaeda has lost many key leaders, is resigned to defeat in Afghanistan, and that its lines of communication and funding sources have been seriously disrupted. Al-Zawahiri includes a plea for financial support, indicating he is strapped for money, Whitman said.

Comment: Is this convenient or what! Just as Bush tells us things are going so well in Iraq, we get this letter from al-Zawahiri moaning about al Qaeda's woes! See, the war on terror is working! Really!!!

He could not say when the letter was intercepted or when authorities believe it might have been written.

The lengthy communication was said to detail the strategy of Muslim extremists to push the United States out of Iraq and establish an Islamic state that could expand its form of governance to neighboring countries, Whitman said.

Senior U.S. officials told CNN that the 6,000-word letter is believed to have been written within days of the July 7 terror attacks in London. Only parts of the letter have been made public, the officials said.

The decision to confirm the existence of the letter came after an incomplete and partially inaccurate version was leaked to news organizations, the senior officials said.

Earlier Thursday, President Bush made similar points about the terror network in what aides billed as a "major speech" on the war on terrorism, which was launched after al Qaeda's September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

Comment: No! Really! What a coincidence!

Bush repeated his long-standing contention that Iraq had become the central front in that conflict, and said a U.S. withdrawal from that currently unpopular conflict would leave behind a country ruled by bin Laden and al-Zarqawi.

"We will not stand by as a new set of killers dedicated to the destruction of our own country seizes control of Iraq by violence," Bush said.

Comment: As opposed to the killers who are there now?

Click here to comment on this article

French-bashing alive and well in America


WASHINGTON, Oct 6 (AFP) - Two years after relations between the US and France soured over the Iraq war, French-bashing in America appears alive and well in light of a recent ad campaign by a fast-food chain linking France and cowardice.

The ad by the Subway chain touted a cordon bleu chicken sandwich with the words "France and chicken, somehow it just goes together". A photo of a chicken dressed like Napoleon accompanied the advertisement.

Subway ran the ads in about 10 US states for nearly a month and pulled them in September following an outcry by members of the French expatriate community and other customers offended by the racist undertone.

Mark Bridenbaker, a spokesman for Subway, which has outlets in France, defended the campaign telling AFP it was aimed at lauding French cuisine.

"The perfect match of French cuisine and the Subway chicken ... that was the intent of this advertising," he said. "But once we realized that people were taking offense, we removed everything from stores right away."

Others, however, say the ads are evidence French-bashing has become well-ingrained and perfectly acceptable among a segment of the American population.

They say that though diplomatic relations are on the mend following the spat over Iraq, and French fries, rather than 'freedom fries', are back on restaurant menus, anti-French sentiment still runs high in parts of the country.

"Saying that the French are dirty or cowards is a little bit like saying the sky is blue. Nobody is going to contest it," said Denis Chazelle, a long-time French resident of the Washington area who created a website in March to try and dispell misconceptions about his native country and who led the campaign against the Subway ads.

"I think (French-bashing) is worse now than it was two years ago because, although it's not as relentless as it was, it has become a lot more accepted and part of the landscape," he added.

Chazelle said had Subway run an ad campagin targetting Mexicans, Israelis or Italians, it would have faced a boycott and management heads would have rolled.

"But if it concerns the French, it's no big deal," he said. "People here can say they hate the French without blinking an eye or an afterthought."

Marc Saint-Aubin du Cormier, another French native who created a website to monitor anti-French sentiment in the United States and Canada, agrees.

"There is a kind of anti-French streak in the background of the culture of America," he told AFP.

He pointed to several recent examples including comments by a talk show host for the Fox news channel who derided French aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Another Fox commentator lamented a day before the July 7 terrorist attacks in London that the International Olympic Committee had "missed a golden opportunity" because, if France had been selected to host the 2012 Olympics, terrorists would "blow up Paris, and who cares?"

Chazelle and Cormier said one reason such comments largely go unnoticed is because the French expatriate community in the United States is fairly small and has no active lobby groups.

They said though they were heartened by the fact their action against the Subway ads paid off, although they believe they face an uphill battle in changing negative public opinion about France.

"I am not very optimistic," Chazelle said. "I think French-bashing is here to stay."

Comment: Calling the French chickens or cowards is to show a lack of knowledge of French history that is astonishing. But, then again, it's Americans we're talking about here, and their schools aren't known for teaching much about the history of the rest of the world. It isn't their fault if their leaders decided long ago to keep them ignorant of the others who share our planet.

As we have mentioned before, nearly every French village has a cenotaph inscribed with the names of the sons lost in the First and Second World Wars. These villages lost a generation of young men who died in the Great War of 1914. The French know something about the value of human life that is only something abstract for Americans, until they lose a son or daughter in places like Iraq. But the terrible fighting that took place on French soil twice in the last century left a lasting impression.

Click here to comment on this article

Syria provides humanitarian aid to displaced Iraqis 2005-10-07 09:43:32

DAMASCUS, Oct. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Syria offered a convoy of humanitarian aid to displaced Iraqis on Thursday, the fifth of itskind this year, the official SANA news agency reported.

The relief, comprised of 500 tents, would be provided to the displaced Ir aqi people and the victims of the military operations there, SANA said.

The Syrian Red Crescent, in cooperation with the Dutch Red Cross, transported the aid to the Iraqis in response to the request of the Iraqi Red Crescent, State Minister for the Syrian Red Crescent Organization Bashar Shaar was quoted as saying.

Click here to comment on this article

Rally in Warsaw demands Polish troops back from Iraq 2005-10-07 12:34:18

WARSAW, Oct.6 (Xinhuanet) -- Hundreds of demonstrators assembled Thursday in Warsaw streets, demanding that Polish troops withdraw from Iraq.

The event, occurred prior to the presidential election scheduled for Oct. 9, is seen as aiming to draw the candidates' attention to the issue and make them clarify their stand during the election campaigns.

The protestors first gathered in front of Warsaw's landmark building, the Palace of Culture, and then headed for the Presidential Palace, chanting slogans like "Stop the war in Iraq" and "No more blood for oil."

The organizers of the "Green 2004" demonstration said the rally would go on until the last Polish soldier is brought home.

Poland has been a strong supporter of the US in Iraq. It sent combat troops for the 2003 war and currently commands a 4,000-strong multinational contingent that includes 1,500 Polish troops.

Click here to comment on this article

Iran not to invite Solana to next round of Iran-EU nuclear talks 2005-10-07 02:50:38

TEHRAN, Oct. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran will not invite EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to the next round of nuclear talks with France, Britain and Germany, the o fficial IRNA news agency quoted an official close to Iranian negotiating team as saying on Thursday.

The official, who asked not to be named, said Iran is not satisfied with Solana's negative attitude toward Iran's nuclear program and opted for not inviting him to the next round of talks with the European trio.

Iran-EU standoff about nuclear program has led to a draft resolution adopted at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)Board of Governors in September.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that Iran's nuclear facilities were not up for negotiation and said Tehran will not talk with countries demanding they be dismantled.

"We do not reject negotiations, but we will not accept negotiations that are aimed at depriving Iran of its rights," Ahmadinejad told the state television in an interview.

Iran's top national security official and chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said on Thursday that "if the objective is to conduct negotiations aimed at making us forget our right to the nuclear fuel cycle, the Iranian people will not accept such a thing."

The European trio, backed by the United States, asked Iran to give up nuclear fuel cycle -- which can be diverted to military purposes.

Iran refused the demand, insisting that its nuclear fuel cycle be aimed at producing fuel for power plants in line with Safeguards Agreement of IAEA and it do not see economical to import fuel from other countries.

Iran has had nuclear talks over the past two years with Britain, France and Germany. The negotiations have been deadlocked and new date for such talks has not been set.

Click here to comment on this article

Seniors died of Legionnaires' disease: official

Last Updated Thu, 06 Oct 2005 17:23:25 EDT
CBC News

Legionnaires' disease has been identified as the likely cause of deadly outbreak at Toronto nursing home, health officials say.

Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's medical officer of health, said autopsies done on three of the 16 residents of the Seven Oaks Home for the Aged that have died since September 25th showed the presence of the bacteria that causes Legionnaires'.

Legionnaires' disease is a form of pneumonia. It got the name because the first known outbreak occurred in a hotel hosting a convention of the Pennsylvania Department of the American Legion. In that outbreak, approximately 221 people contracted this previously unknown type of bacterial pneumonia, and 34 people died. The source of the bacterium was found to be contaminated water used to cool the air in the hotel's air conditioning system.

Legionnaires' disease is most often contracted by inhaling mist from water sources such as whirlpool baths, showers, and cooling towers that are contaminated with Legionella bacteria. There is no evidence for person-to-person spread of the disease.

Although Legionnaires' disease has a mortality rate of 5 to 15 per cent, many people may be infected with the bacterium that causes the disease, yet not develop any symptoms. It is likely that many cases of Legionnaires' disease go undiagnosed.

Click here to comment on this article

Breaking America's grip on the net

After troubled negotiations in Geneva, the US may be forced to relinquish control of the internet to a coalition of governments

Kieren McCarthy
Thursday October 6, 2005
The Guardian

You would expect an announcement that would forever change the face of the internet to be a grand affair - a big stage, spotlights, media scrums and a charismatic frontman working the crowd.

But unless you knew where he was sitting, all you got was David Hendon's slightly apprehensive voice through a beige plastic earbox. The words were calm, measured and unexciting, but their implications will be felt for generations to come.

Hendon is the Department for Trade and Industry's director of business relations and was in Geneva representing the UK government and European Union at the third and final preparatory meeting for next month's World Summit on the Information Society. He had just announced a political coup over the running of the internet.

Old allies in world politics, representatives from the UK and US sat just feet away from each other, but all looked straight ahead as Hendon explained the EU had decided to end the US government's unilateral control of the internet and put in place a new body that would now run this revolutionary communications medium.

The issue of who should control the net had proved an extremely divisive issue, and for 11 days the world's governments traded blows. For the vast majority of people who use the internet, the only real concern is getting on it. But with the internet now essential to countries' basic infrastructure - Brazil relies on it for 90% of its tax collection - the question of who has control has become critical.

And the unwelcome answer for many is that it is the US government. In the early days, an enlightened Department of Commerce (DoC) pushed and funded expansion of the internet. And when it became global, it created a private company, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) to run it.

But the DoC retained overall control, and in June stated what many had always feared: that it would retain indefinite control of the internet's foundation - its "root servers", which act as the basic directory for the whole internet.

A number of countries represented in Geneva, including Brazil, China, Cuba, Iran and several African states, insisted the US give up control, but it refused. The meeting "was going nowhere", Hendon says, and so the EU took a bold step and proposed two stark changes: a new forum that would decide public policy, and a "cooperation model" comprising governments that would be in overall charge.

Much to the distress of the US, the idea proved popular. Its representative hit back, stating that it "can't in any way allow any changes" that went against the "historic role" of the US in controlling the top level of the internet.

But the refusal to budge only strengthened opposition, and now the world's governments are expected to agree a deal to award themselves ultimate control. It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the US government can do but acquiesce.

But will this move mean, as the US ambassador David Gross argued, that "even on technical details, the industry will have to follow government-set policies, UN-set policies"?

No, according to Nitin Desai, the UN's special adviser on internet governance. "There is clearly an acceptance here that governments are not concerned with the technical and operational management of the internet. Standards are set by the users."

Hendon is also adamant: "The really important point is that the EU doesn't want to see this change as bringing new government control over the internet. Governments will only be involved where they need to be and only on issues setting the top-level framework."

Human rights

But expert and author of Ruling the Root, Milton Mueller, is not so sure. An overseeing council "could interfere with standards. What would stop it saying 'when you're making this standard for data transfer you have to include some kind of surveillance for law enforcement'?"

Then there is human rights. China has attracted criticism for filtering content from the net within its borders. Tunisia - host of the World Summit - has also come under attack for silencing online voices. Mueller doesn't see a governmental overseeing council having any impact: "What human rights groups want is for someone to be able to bring some kind of enforceable claim to stop them violating people's rights. But how's that going to happen? I can't see that a council is going to be able to improve the human rights situation."

And what about business? Will a governmental body running the internet add unnecessary bureaucracy or will it bring clarity and a coherent system? Mueller is unsure: "The idea of the council is so vague. It's not clear to me that governments know what to do about anything at this stage apart from get in the way of things that other people do."

There are still dozens of unanswered questions but all the answers are pointing the same way: international governments deciding the internet's future. The internet will never be the same again.

Comment: We'll no doubt hear all sorts of spin put on this by people in the US who are convinced that only the US should be responsible for the internet. We'll hear about the dangers of foreign governments yada yada yada. But what of the dangers of the internet staying under the wing of the crazies in Washington?

Click here to comment on this article

Network feud leads to Net blackout
By John Borland
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: October 5, 2005, 5:00 PM PDT

Two major Internet backbone companies are feuding, potentially cutting off significant swaths of the Internet for some of each other's customers.

On Wednesday, network company Level 3 Communications cut off its direct "peering" connections to another big network company called Cogent Communications. That technical action means that some customers on each company's network now will find it impossible, or slower, to get to Web sites on the other company's network.

William Steele, a senior network engineer for Syncro Services, said his company noticed the problem Wednesday morning.

"There are some people I can't send an e-mail to," Steele said. "At home, I have Road Runner as an ISP, and wasn't even able to remotely connect in order to manage our servers."

"Peering" arrangements are maintained by network companies that agree to connect their networks directly together to exchange traffic more efficiently. When the companies are of roughly equal size, money rarely exchanges hands.

Level 3 contends that its arrangement with Cogent is no longer financially viable, since it is larger than the other company. It has asked Cogent to seek other arrangements, possibly including paying for the traffic exchange, a Level 3 representative said.

Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer contested that claim, saying that its network is at least as big as Level 3's, and that it makes no sense to pay for the connection. Cogent is offering any Level 3 user who can't get to Cogent sites free Internet service for a year, in an attempt to attract its rival's customers.

"Our goal is to have this problem go away, whether through Level 3 reconsidering or their customers coming to us," Schaeffer said.

The Level 3 representative said the company was unlikely to reconsider its position, however.

The problem is likely to affect only a small number of each company's customers. Many network company customers have several connections to the Internet and can use an alternate connection to reach a site that might otherwise be blocked.

A similar Net blackout happened in 2001, when Cable & Wireless and PSINet were embroiled in a billing dispute.

Comment: Ah, the freedom of the marketplace! Big business left to their own devices!

Click here to comment on this article

The Latest Twists in Global Neoliberalism

Is the Dollar Still Falling?

October 6, 2005

In his classic work, The General Theory, published in the depths of the 1930s Depression, John Maynard Keynes famously observed that "Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done."

Keynes's Depression-forged insights have been routinely reaffirmed over the subsequent 70 years of global capitalist history, not least during the current movements of decline, revival, and renewed drop in the value of the dollar in global currency markets. And as Keynes emphasized, the main issue here is not merely the behavior of financial markets, which never has been more rational or socially redeeming than Las Vegas or Monte Carlo (as was obvious during the Wall Street bubble years under Clinton). The real issue is rather how the behavior of financial markets define the limits of acceptable economic policies about things that matter well beyond the confines of the casino, like unemployment, the distribution of income, and the economic possibilities for our children.

In a piece last April in CounterPunch, I wrote that "Between January 2002 and December 2004, the dollar fell by 34 percent relative to the euro, and 22 percent relative to the Japanese yen. The prospect is for the dollar to keep declining at least through 2005." I was accurate then in describing what the prospect had been at that moment. But in fact, between April and August, events have rendered that prospect increasingly uncertain. Between May 1 and July 1 of this year, the dollar rose by 7.7 percent against the euro and by 6.3 percent against the yen. Then, between July 4 and August 15, the dollar fell back by 3.7 percent against the euro and 2.1 percent against the yen, before rising again to roughly their July levels by October 1.

One of the main points of my April piece was to explore the factors that would work against the continued dollar decline that proceeded through 2002 ­ 2004, and would, more generally, produce a more uncertain future path for the dollar than was being widely asserted at the time. The first and most straightforward factor that I had mentioned was that U.S. policymakers themselves would not passively allow a dollar collapse. I said then that the key policy tool for the U.S. to support the dollar against the darkening opinion of global currency speculators was to raise interest rates-i.e. sweetening the interest rate returns for global bond purchasers if they keep holding their wealth in U.S. dollar bonds. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has done just that in the ensuing months, having pushed up the Fed's main monetary policy rate (the federal funds rate) from 2.75 to 3.75 percent just since April, and with promises of more increases to come.

I also said that any movement among European policy makers away from the neoliberal policy agenda that has prevailed for roughly two decades would spook currency markets and push the euro down against the dollar. Neoliberalism in Europe, including low government deficits and high interest rates, have conspired to maintain unemployment in the range of 10 percent for a most of the past 20 years in most European countries.

European elites appear just as committed to neoliberalism today as they were in April. But the European people have made it clear that they've had enough. The most vehement expression of this sentiment came when voters in France and the Netherlands both decisively rejected the European Union constitution last May. Global currency speculators did not miss this unequivocal message from the European voters, even while European politicians expressed disgust over the people's irresponsibility. The EU's then President Jean-Claude Junker of Luxembourg declared that "This evening, Europe no longer inspires people to dream."

A third change in the global currency landscape since April was something I did not discuss in the earlier piece ­ the decision last July by the Chinese to allow their currency, the yuan, to adjust slightly upward relative to the dollar. The Bush administration had been lobbying heavily for the Chinese to make this move, given that a low-valued yuan helps the Chinese to keep pushing cheap imports onto the shelves of Wal-Marts and the rest of the U.S. market. This makes the U.S. trade deficit-our purchases of imports in excess of our sales of exports-grow correspondingly. The trade deficit, in turn, along with the federal government's $400 billion budget deficit, are the primary forces pushing the dollar onto its downward trajectory in the first place.

U.S. policymakers have long complained that the Chinese haven't truly embraced the rules of neoliberal global capitalism, giving themselves an unfair advantage by holding down the value of the yuan. This is entirely true. For decades now, the Chinese have been ignoring neoliberal precepts in this and many other ways, through which disdain they have produced something approximating to the fastest rate of sustained economic growth in world history. One would think that this new Chinese gesture­ and to date nobody,including probably the Chinese themselves, knows whether this move amounts to more than a token nod in behalf of U.S. sensibilities ­ will immediately work to nudge the dollar back onto the downward path that prevailed between 2002 and 2004, at least at first. This is because with the dollar now being less valuable relative to the yuan, it is correspondingly also less valuable for everyone else in the world that has been using dollars to purchase imports from China. However, if a more expensive yuan does contribute to a smaller U.S. trade deficit, the net result from the smaller trade deficit could be to push the dollar back up.

Still another possibility is that, with the dollar cheapened relative to the yuan, the Chinese may then decide to stop purchasing U.S. government bonds as heavily as they have done the past few years. The purpose of U.S. bond purchases by the Chinese (along with an even more voracious customer, the Japanese) was to prevent the dollar from falling too rapidly, which would thereby render Chinese products more expensive in the U.S. market. However if the Chinese did decide to cut back on their U.S. bond purchases, this would produce serious downward pressures on the dollar against the euro and other currencies, not simply against the yuan. Alan Greenspan would then likely push U.S. interest rates still higher in self-defense. The U.S., in short, may not find themselves entirely enamored with the exchange rate policy they wished for from China.

Such uncertainly is the very stuff on which the global currency casino thrives. Is the dollar going to keep rising, as it did between April and July, or return to its downward trajectory of the previous two years? The dice keep rolling. As Lord Keynes, again, famously remarked, "on such matters, we simply do not know."

Still, whether or not the dollar continues falling was not the main question I posed last April. My main concern was rather, would a dollar decline be good or bad news? Nothing has changed since April to undermine my basic point then, which is, there is no simple answer to that question, not least because the question inevitably itself pushes us well beyond the environs of the financial market casino. We can't consider whether a dollar decline is good or bad news without asking, "for whom?" Wall Street? U.S. manufacturers? U.S. workers? French, Dutch or Chinese capitalists or workers? How about South African workers? The answers don't break down easily along well-defined political lines.

Thus, under neoliberalism, U.S. workers have been badly hurt by the U.S. trade deficit and globalization more generally, since it increasingly places them in competition for jobs with workers elsewhere. U.S. workers therefore benefit from a weaker dollar, since a weak dollar makes it easier to sell U.S. products in foreign markets and harder for imports to compete with U.S.-based manufacturers. But U.S. workers would benefit far more from an anti-neoliberal commitment to full employment policies in the U.S., something akin to what the French and Dutch voters appeared to be effectively endorsing in May. A full employment program in the U.S., as well as France and the Netherlands, would also benefit workers in other countries as well, including those in poor countries. If governments in rich countries were committed to creating jobs for their residents, then differences over trade policies and exchange rates ­ the struggle to 'beggar-thy-neighbor,' to create more jobs at home by taking jobs away from neighboring countries­ would diminish to a second-order problem.

But as long as exchange rates and trade policy remain a first-order problem, the U.S. does face a serious and unavoidable trap, which is the legitimate source of the hand-wringing about the dollar's decline from 2002 to 2004. Even without the help of the Japanese and Chinese purchasing U.S. government bonds at their recent heavy rates, the U.S. can probably counteract the long-term downward pressure on the dollar generated by our persistent trade and budget deficits. But the Fed will have to keep raising U.S. interest rates to accomplish this. Persistently rising interest rates will then push the U.S. toward recession, especially given that the U.S. housing market bubble is founded on this now cracking foundation of low interest rates.

The threat of recession therefore hangs heavily over the remainder of the Bush -2/Greenspan era, with the fundamental problems extending well beyond simply the ups and downs of the dollar. But this should be no surprise, given that Bush/Greenspan, just as with Clinton/Greenspan, have never wavered in behalf of a fundamentally neoliberal agenda. The real issue is therefore the one that that French and Dutch voters pushed into the faces of Europe's elites last May: how long will neoliberalism continue to call the shots, defining the limits of acceptable economic policy?

The answer to that question, ultimately, is about politics and not economics. Neoliberalism will continue to make the material circumstances of life worse for the overwhelming majority of people throughout the world. But the Alan Greenspans of the world also know how to prevent full-blown economic meltdowns. Opponents of neoliberalism therefore can't simply wait for Greenspan and company (including his successor, to be named soon) to slip up and allow a calamity to happen. The historical transition away from 25 years of neoliberal ascendancy will only come when the "no" to neoliberalism votes, such as in France and the Netherlands, can be transformed into positive and successful programs and movements throughout the world.

Robert Pollin is professor of economic and founding co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachuesetts-Amherst. His groundbreaking book, Contours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity, has just be released in paperback by Verso with a new afterward. He can be reached at:

A recent interview with Pollin can be read at the PERI site.

Click here to comment on this article

Aleutian volcano begins to quake

TANAGA: Temblors are far too tiny to be felt on the surface.

Anchorage Daily News
Published: October 7, 2005
Last Modified: October 7, 2005 at 12:48 AM

A sleepy volcano in the western Aleutian Islands began stirring this month, trembling with tiny earthquakes six to 12 miles underground, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The swarm beneath 5,925-foot Tanaga marks the first sign of unrest since the observatory wired the rugged cone with its own network of sensors two years ago, said volcanologist Rick Wessels of the U.S. Geological Survey. The volcano was last known to erupt in 1914.

Like other Aleutian Arc volcanoes, Tanaga gapes beneath one of the world's busiest airline routes, with dozens of flights jetting between North America and Asia there every day. Volcanic ash blasted five to six miles into the sky can damage or shut down jet engines, so the observatory listens and watches for eruptions around the clock.

Most Aleutian volcanoes produce tiny quakes every day, but Tanaga had been remarkably quiet for reasons that remain unclear, Wessels said.

"It had one reasonably measurable event every month or so, and now it's gone to several per hour," he said.

Tanaga rises steeply on its own uninhabited island, 63 miles from the nearest community in Adak and more than 1,200 miles southwest of Anchorage. It's one of 28 volcanoes monitored by the observatory for seismic action, hot spots and smoky plumes -- including the 11,070-foot Mount Spurr that looms on the horizon 80 miles due west of Anchorage.

Spurr, which last dusted Anchorage with ash during its 1992 eruption, continued to gurgle with its own quake swarm this week and remained under a restless "yellow" alert.

"It had some nice little seismic events going on this morning, at least a half dozen measurable ones," Wessels said Thursday.

Meanwhile, Tanaga, far to the west, began rumbling late Oct. 1 and has since produced 15 to 68 tiny earthquakes every day. Centered about a mile and half northeast of the summit, the quakes ranged from magnitude .5 to 1.7, far too small to be felt on the surface.

This unrest doesn't necessarily mean Tanaga will erupt anytime soon, and the volcano's alert was not raised from the dormant "green" status, Wessels said.

"We put out a release so that everybody knows that this volcano is doing something neat and interesting," he said.

The last known eruption of Tanaga occurred in 1914, when lava was seen flowing down its steep slopes. Smoke was reported from the summit in 1829, 1791 and 1763-70. But the volcano is so little seen that no one really knows its habits.

The new quakes aren't the kind of tremors produced when molten rock begins oozing toward the surface, Wessels said. A more likely cause may be hot gas shattering rocks under immense pressure far underground.

They could also be regular old earthquakes, related to the Pacific tectonic plate moving along the Aleutian Arc.

"Sometimes these volcanoes have to adjust themselves to the stress," Wessels said.

Click here to comment on this article

At least 250 killed as storms lash Central America
13:54 Friday October 7th 2005

At least 250 people have died in flooding and mudslides sparked by storms throughout Central America this week.

The dead include at least 50 people who were killed when the side of a volcano collapsed and buried two villages in Guatemala.

At least 100 more people have died elsewhere in Guatemala, while El Salvador has reported 65 deaths, and 21 more have been killed in Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica.

The storms were exacerbated by Hurricane Stan, which made landfall in Mexico on Tuesday.

Click here to comment on this article

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 in October 2005, readers can pre-order the book today at our bookstore.

Click here to comment on this article



Readers who wish to know more about who we are and what we do may visit our portal site Quantum Future

Remember, we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part of the world!

We also need help to keep the Signs of the Times online.

Send your comments and article suggestions to us Email addess

Fair Use Policy

Contact Webmaster at
Cassiopaean materials Copyright ©1994-2014 Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. All rights reserved. "Cassiopaea, Cassiopaean, Cassiopaeans," is a registered trademark of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.
Letters addressed to Cassiopaea, Quantum Future School, Ark or Laura, become the property of Arkadiusz Jadczyk and Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Republication and re-dissemination of our copyrighted material in any manner is expressly prohibited without prior written consent.