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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

©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte


New Podcast! The Role of Education in the US Part 2

How To End The War
By Paul Craig Roberts

George W. Bush is a natural born liar. He lied us into a war, and now he is lying to keep us there. In his October 6 self-congratulatory speech at that neoconservative shrine, the National Endowment for Democracy, the President of the United States said: "Today there are more than 80 Iraqi army battalions fighting the insurgency alongside our forces."

Eighty Iraqi battalions makes it sound like the US is just lending Iraq a helping hand. I wonder what Congress and the US commanders in Iraq thought when they heard there were 80 Iraqi battalions that American troops are helping to fight insurgents? Just a few days prior to Bush's speech, Generals Casey and Abizaid told Congress that, as a matter of fact, there was only one Iraqi battalion able to undertake operations against insurgents.

I wonder, also, who noticed the great contradiction in Bush's speech. On the one hand, he claims steady progress toward freedom and democracy in Iraq. On the other hand, he seeks the American public's support for open-ended war.

In her Princeton speech, Condi Rice made it clear that Iraq is just the beginning: "We have set out to help the people of the Middle East transform their societies. Now is not the time to falter or fade."

On October 5 Vice President Cheney let us know how long this commitment was to last: "Like other great duties in history, it will require decades of patient effort."

Who's going to pay for these decades of war to which the Bush administration is committing Americans? Already the US is spending $7 billion a month on war in Iraq alone. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service says that if the Iraq war goes on another five years, it will cost at least $570 billion by 2010.

Bush's war has already doubled the price of gasoline and home heating.

Comment: Who, indeed, will pay for the war? The average American is running on empty financially, and the economy as a whole cannot withstand too many more significant shocks like high oil prices and the aftereffects of climatic disasters...

With US forces bogged down in Afghanistan (invaded October 7, 2001) and Iraq (invaded March 20, 2003), Bush is plotting regime change in Syria and conspiring to set up Iran for attack.

Is there a single person in the Office of Management and Budget, the US Treasury, the Congressional Budget Office, or the Federal Reserve who thinks the US, already drowning in red ink, has the resources to fight wars for decades?

And where will the troops come from? The US cannot replace the losses in Iraq. We know about the 2,000 American troops killed, but we do not hear about the large number of wounded. UPI correspondent Martin Sieff reported on October 7 that US wounded jumped from 16.3 per day at the end of September to 28.5 per day at the beginning of October. Multiply that daily rate by 30 days and you get 855 wounded per month. Approximately half of these are wounded too seriously to return to combat.

Has anyone in the administration pointed out to Bush, Cheney and Condi Rice what decades of casualties at these rates mean?

Insurgents are killing Iraqi security personnel who are collaborating with the US occupation at the rate of two or three hundred per month. The wounded numbers are much higher.

Last month suicide bombers killed 481 Iraqis and wounded 1,074.

Has anyone in the administration put these numbers in a decades long context?

Apparently not. Once these numbers are put on paper, not even Bush administration speech writers can continue to pen rhetorical justifications for war and more war.

The neoconservative Bush administration prides itself on not being "reality based." Facts get in the way of the administration's illusions and delusions. Bush's "80 Iraqi battalions" are like Hitler's secret weapons. They don't exist.

Iraqis cannot afford to collaborate with the hated Americans or with the puppet government that the US has put in place. Out of desperation, some do, but their heart is not in it. Few Iraqis are willing to die fighting for the United States.

When the 2nd Iraq Battalion graduated from US training camp on January 6, 2004, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and US commander in Iraq, Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, expressed "high expectations" that Iraqi troops, in the general's words, "would help us bring security and stability back to the country."

Three months later when the 2nd Battalion was brought up to support the US invasion of Fallujah, the battalion refused to fight and returned to its post. "We did not sign up to fight Iraqis," said the troops.

Readers write in frustration: "Tell us what we can do." On the surface it doesn't look like Bush can be stopped from trashing our country.

The congressional mid-term elections are a year away. Moreover, the Democrats have failed as an opposition party and are compromised by their support for the war. Bush has three more years in which to mire America in wider war. If Bush succeeds in starting wars throughout the Middle East, his successor will be stuck with them.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike have made it clear that they are going to ignore demonstrations and public opinion. The print and TV media have made it clear that there will be no reporting that will hold the Bush administration accountable for its deceit and delusion.

There still is a way to bring reality to the Bush administration. The public has the Internet. Is the antiwar movement well enough organized to collect via the Internet signatures on petitions for impeachment, perhaps one petition for each state? Millions of signatures would embarrass Bush before the world and embarrass our elected Representatives for their failure to act.

If no one in Congress acted on the petitions, all the rhetoric about war for democracy would fall flat. It would be obvious that there is no democracy in America.

If the cloak of democracy is stripped away, Bush's "wars for democracy" begin to look like the foreign adventures of a megalomaniac. Remove Bush's rhetorical cover, and tolerance at home and abroad for Bush's war would evaporate. If Bush persisted, he would become a pariah.

Americans may feel that they cannot undercut a president at war, in which case Americans will become an embattled people consumed by decades of conflict. Americans can boot out Bush or pay dearly in blood and money.

Dr. Roberts <> is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

Viggo Mortensen Interview: Impeach Bush
By Nina Siegal
The Progressive
November 2005 Issue

Sure, he's cute. Well, not cute. Strikingly, jaw-droppingly gorgeous. But the most intriguing thing about Viggo Mortensen, who played King Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and who recently won critical acclaim for his leading role in the latest David Cronenberg release, A History of Violence, is how much he loves to talk politics.

When I called him in July to interview him for The Progressive, he had returned from four months' shooting the forthcoming Spanish historical epic, Alatriste. He sounded exhausted, as though he could barely hold the phone, but when we started talking about the war in Iraq, the Bush Administration, and the role of actors and artists in mainstream political discourse, he didn't feel like sleeping. Eventually, I had to tell him I was tired.

Two days later, he called back. He wanted to clarify a few things he'd said and to answer more questions. And he tried me a few times after that. We spoke one final time in the wake of Katrina. I might have flattered myself to think one of the best-looking Hollywood leading men liked the sound of my voice. But that clearly wasn't the case, since he did most of the talking.

Born in Manhattan on October 20, 1958, to an American mother and a Danish father, Mortensen spent his childhood in Argentina, Venezuela, and Denmark. He went to school in Watertown, New York, just south of the Canadian border. He studied acting at the Warren Robertson Theatre Workshop in Manhattan in the 1980s and then moved to Los Angeles. There, he met Excene Cervenka, the lead singer of the punk band X, and became a familiar face in the Los Angeles punk scene. The couple had a son, Henry, together in 1988, and subsequently divorced.

Mortensen made his feature-film debut in 1985 as Alexander Godunov's Amish brother in Witness. After that, he had a run as a villain in a series of films, playing a paraplegic ex-con snitch in the 1993 film Carlito's Way with Al Pacino, and Lucifer in The Prophecy with Christopher Walken, two years later. In 1997, he played the tough-talking training instructor to Demi Moore's G.I. Jane, and the following year he appeared as Gwyneth Paltrow's home-wrecking paramour in A Perfect Murder.

In recent years, Mortensen has been cast as much more heroic figures, not only as King Aragorn but also as the lead human in Hidalgo, the horse story in which a down-on-his-luck postal carrier rides his mustang in a race across the Arabian Desert.

Most recently, he won acclaim for his portrayal of Tom Stall, an Indiana diner owner whose life is changed forever after he acts against two robbers in A History of Violence. The film, an adaptation of John Wagner and Vince Locke's graphic novel of the same name, was a critical hit at Cannes. He also plays the lead in Alatriste, portraying the seventeenth century soldier and missionary Captain Alatriste, based on the book of the same name by Arturo Perez Reverte. The film is due out in the spring.

Mortensen is a part-time musician, a published poet, and a photographer and painter who has had exhibitions at art galleries such as the Robert Mann Gallery, Track 16 Gallery, Fototeca de Cuba, and Museet for Fotokunst in Denmark. On top of all that, he founded the independent publishing house Perceval Press.

Even when he's not jet-lagged, he is soft spoken. He doesn't like to talk about his personal accomplishments. But get him going on politics and he's hard to stop. Below is a condensed account of our many phone conversations.

Question: Why did you decide to go down to Camp Casey and join Cindy Sheehan?

Viggo Mortensen: I went in the first week, when there were only a few people down there. She was being so maligned and dragged through the mud. I thought the best thing to do was just to go and listen to her and make up my own mind. If you're someone who is a public figure, if you make too much of it, the risk is that you can be seen as just trying to get attention for yourself. So I intentionally went down without saying I was coming. No one even saw me getting out of the car, and before anyone knew it I was just standing in front of her. I stayed very briefly, and she was nice enough to give me a little of her time.

Q: What did you talk about?

Mortensen: Well, first of all, I just said, respectfully, I'm sorry about your son, and I said thank you for some of the things you've said and for bringing attention to the issue, for keeping this topic alive. I left there really impressed with her, with her integrity and sincerity.

I also had a sense of just how threatening someone like this would be to people who are used to running the show, in terms of perception and media information - or disinformation. It's like she pulled an end around just by being herself, a relatively ordinary woman displaying extraordinary courage and being quite eloquent and brave, knowing she's being savaged and hearing it and standing up to it and having her say as an individual and as a woman. The fact that she was a woman - how could this little woman do that to us? - it just galled them. I thought, good for you.

Q: What was your reaction to Katrina?

Mortensen: Cindy Sheehan and how badly Katrina was bungled are two shots to the heart. I hope the beast does fall down soon. What's more shameful than the criminal negligence that made a bad situation much, much worse is the arrogant attitude after the fact. The outright lying - even though we've become accustomed to lying from this Administration - has broken new ground in the field of dishonesty. They're so clumsy in their attempts to come off well. And there is so little heart in what they say. Even the sound of their voices is so false.

Q: Are you anti-Bush, as the pundits say?

Mortensen: No, I'm not anti-Bush; I'm anti-Bush behavior. In other words, I'm against cheating, greed, cruelty, racism, imperialism, religious fundamentalism, treason, and the seemingly limitless capacity for hypocrisy shown by Bush and his Administration.

Q: What's wrong with pinning it all on Bush?

Mortensen: It's too easy, and it lets a lot of people off the hook. I think impeachment proceedings need to be started immediately but not just against him. God forbid we should have Dick Cheney as President. No. Those two need to go, and many of the others in the inner circle need to go.

Q: It seems much of the media has responded differently to Katrina than they did to earlier screw-ups by the Bush Administration. Why is that?

Mortensen: It's because it's here. You can see it. You can't hide that. So all of a sudden these mousy, timid, go-along reporters are finding some spine, and that's nice to see. I hope it lasts. I hope they don't recede into their self-congratulating, privileged little niches.

Q: Are you hopeful about political change?

Mortensen: I think most Americans will look back on this period since 1980 as a morally bleak, intellectually fraudulent period of history. There will be a certain amount of shame, a feeling we were part of something wrong. People standing outside of this country can see this because it's very obvious. It's like looking at a spoiled brat, a kid who's totally out of control, but because the parents are really rich and because they own the school, you have to put up with it. America is an empire in decay. But we don't have to lash out and do damage on the way down. We can reverse some of the damage we've done. It's possible.

Q: You have been criticized for wearing anti-war T-shirts while promoting your films, particularly The Lord of the Rings. Did you have a particular strategy?

Mortensen: I made use of an opportunity. The first time was in the fall of 2002, when I happened to be on The Charlie Rose Show. I went there wearing a shirt that I just scribbled with a pen, "No More Blood for Oil."

Q: But it was also connected to the politics of the movie.

Mortensen: Yes, I was getting tired of journalists presuming that "obviously" the Fellowship of the Ring is America or the West, surrounded by poor Oriental Islamic extremists. Tolkien presents a complex and detailed and interesting set of stories and ideas and archetypes. The Lord of the Rings was appreciated around the world because it speaks to a lot of universally understood truths and myths, not because it justified the right wing of the Republican Party or some kind of North American Protestant Christian fundamentalism.

Q: Following the Charlie Rose appearance, USA Today contributor Michael Medved took you to task for ruining a popular movie by politicizing it. "Political preachments, on or off camera, only interfere with the entertainment value of creative work by major Hollywood stars," he wrote, in a piece that got a lot of attention. What did you think?

Mortensen: It was a shoddy piece of journalism. I won't descend to his level to call him an idiot or anything like that, but it was obviously something he did to curry favor with his fan base or the people he would like to impress in religious political circles. He wanted to be able to say, "Look, I slapped that guy down." The only reason he took aim at me at all was because the movie I was in had done very well, so I was a visible person. The establishment media will often do that; they'll see someone who has visibility and they'll take them down. The risk is that the person might actually be listened to. It poses a threat. I'm glad I resisted the temptation to respond at the time. In the end, it didn't mean that much to me.

Q: Should the average citizen care what a celebrity thinks about politics?

Mortensen: I don't think special attention should be given to an actor or a singer or a baseball player or a soccer player more than anyone else, but they do have an opinion like anyone else. When people say that entertainers should "know your place," they might as well say the same thing about plumbers and teachers and cab drivers. We all should be able to express our views.

Q: Do you think actors are particularly stymied when they try to speak out?

Mortensen: It's almost a standard tactic, really, to try to minimize any effort that people in the entertainment business or in any public occupation make to express themselves. Look, there are people that grandstand and seem to be publicly politically engaged because they like the attention, more than because they're genuinely concerned about the world. But I don't think that's the majority. The majority of those who take the risk - and it is a risk because it's much safer to keep your mouth shut and keep making a living - have something to say. They speak up, or go on a march, or get involved in the political process because they do care and they are concerned. I consider myself very fortunate to have a platform. I don't take it lightly, and I don't abuse it. I don't speak up about something unless I feel strongly about it and until I've researched a subject extensively and have an informed decision about it. But I think if you don't say something it's lying by omission. I personally think it's immoral. Yeah, it might cost you a few fans, but you have to say something.

Comment: It is easy to sit back and hope that other people will save the day. None of us want to lose what we have worked so hard to build for ourselves. None of us want to end up the next US citizen enemy combatant in the war on terror sent off to a faraway land to be tortured into confessing our "crimes".

One of the major fears that people of conscience must conquer in speaking out is the idea that no one will stand up and support them. As this series of articles on today's page demonstrate, there may never be a better time to stand behind people like Cindy Sheehan. Better yet, don't stand behind anyone - become a new voice to add to the chorus. The alternative is far less appealing:

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me" -- Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

Q: What has it cost you?

Mortensen: I don't know. There might be people out there who wouldn't hire me because they thought I should keep my mouth shut, but I'm not aware of that. Even if I saw evidence of that, it wouldn't really concern me. Bertrand Russell said one of the first symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important. I take my work seriously, but it's not the only thing that exists in the world. [...]

Q: When you were asked to play Frank Hopkins, the pony express carrier in Hidalgo, I read that you were concerned about being cast as the American cowboy riding through the Arabian Desert. How did you deal with that?

Mortensen: Yes, at first I had concerns about how the movie would be made and also how the movie would be promoted. When we were about to start shooting, it was early 2002 and anyone could see that the Bush Administration was already gearing up its PR machine to sell the U.S. public on its war in Iraq. I was very anxious that I was going to be playing a role as a mythic American cowboy participating in a race in the Middle East. I met with the director and asked him, "What do you want to say? Is this just going to be some American that goes and kicks ass in some heedless way? Or, are you going to show Wounded Knee? Are you going to show, in some small way , that someone from the West and someone from the East with seemingly opposite points of view can come to understand each other?" He said that's what he was going to do, and he also said a lot of other things that made me feel the project was worthwhile. And, in the end, I feel it was. [...]

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Poll: Americans Want Bush Impeached
by David Swanson
Tue Oct 11, 2005 at 02:10:40 PM PDT

By a margin of 50% to 44%, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a new poll commissioned by, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, the highly-regarded non- partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,001 U.S. adults on October 6-9.

The poll found that 50% agreed with the statement:

"If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him."

44% disagreed, and 6% said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a /- 3.1% margin of error.

Among those who felt strongly either way, 39% strongly agreed, while 30% strongly disagreed.

"The results of this poll are truly astonishing," said co-founder Bob Fertik. "Bush's record-low approval ratings tell just half of the story, which is how much Americans oppose Bush's policies on Iraq and other issues. But this poll tells the other half of the story - that a solid plurality of Americans want Congress to consider removing Bush from the White House."

Impeachment Supported by Majorities of Many Groups

Responses varied by political party affiliation: 72% of Democrats favored impeachment, compared to 56% of Independents and 20% of Republicans.

Responses also varied by age and income. Solid majorities of those under age 55 (54%), as well as those with household incomes below $50,000 (57%), support impeachment.

Majorities favored impeachment in the Northeast (53%), West (51%), and even the South (50%).

Support for Impeachment Surged Since June

The Ipsos poll shows a dramatic transformation in support for Bush's impeachment since late June. (This is only the second poll that has asked Americans about their support for impeaching Bush in 2005, despite his record-low approval ratings.) The Zogby poll conducted June 27-29 of 905 likely voters found that 42% agreed and 50% disagreed with a statement virtually identical to the one used by Ipsos Public Affairs.

After the June poll, pollster John Zogby told the Washington Post that support for impeachment "was much higher than I expected." At the time, impeachment supporters trailed opponents by 8%. Now supporters outnumber opponents by 6%, a remarkable shift of 14%.

Support for Clinton Impeachment Was Much Lower

In August and September of 1998, 16 major polls asked about impeaching President Clinton. Only 36% supported hearings to consider impeachment, and only 26% supported actual impeachment and removal. Even so, the impeachment debate dominated the news for months, and the Republican Congress impeached Clinton despite overwhelming public opposition.

Impeachment Support is Closely Related to Belief that Bush Lied about Iraq

Both the Ipsos and Zogby polls asked about support for impeachment if Bush lied about the reasons for war, rather than asking simply about support for impeachment. Pollsters predict that asking simply about impeachment without any context would produce a large number of "I don't know" responses. However, this may understate the percentage of Americans who favor Bush's impeachment for other reasons, such as his slow response to Hurricane Katrina, his policy on torture, soaring gasoline prices, or other concerns.

Other polls show a majority of U.S. adults believe that Bush did in fact lie about the reasons for war. A June 23-26 ABC/Washington Post poll found 52% of Americans believe the Bush administration "deliberately misled the public before the war," and 57% say the Bush administration "intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons."

Support for the war has dropped significantly since June, which suggests that the percentage of Americans who believe Bush lied about the war has increased.

Passion for Impeachment is Major Unreported Story

The strong support for impeachment found in this poll is especially surprising because the views of impeachment supporters are entirely absent from the broadcast and print media, and can only be found on the Internet and in street protests, including the large anti-war rally in Washington on September 24.

The lack of coverage of impeachment support is due in part to the fact that not a single Democrat in Congress has called for impeachment, despite considerable grassroots activism by groups like

"We will, no doubt, see an increase in activism following this poll," said David Swanson, co-founder of "But will we see an increase in media coverage? The media are waiting for action in Congress. Apparently it's easier to find and interview one of the 535 members of Congress than it is to locate a representative of the half of the country that wants the President impeached if he lied about the war. The media already accepts that Bush did lie about the war. We know this because so many editors and pundits told us that the Downing Street Memo was 'old news.' What we need now is journalism befitting a democracy, journalism that goes out and asks people what they really think about their government, especially George Bush."

The passion of impeachment supporters is directly responsible for the new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet. After the Zogby poll in June, activists led by urged all of the major polling organizations to include an impeachment question in their upcoming polls. But none of the polling organizations were willing to do so for free, so on September 30, posted a request for donations to fund paid polls ( As of October 10, 330 individuals had contributed $8,919 in small donations averaging $27 each. has commissioned a second poll which is expected soon, and will continue to urge all polling organizations to include the impeachment question in their regular polls. If they do not, will continue to commission regular impeachment polls.

Comment: Think about that: the people demanding impeachment were directly responsible for the poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet. What if those involved had instead decided to simply keep quiet?

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Monday, October 10, 2005

If the polls are correct, George W. Bush is rapidly becoming one of the least supported presidents in history. According to an Associated Press/IPSOS poll taken last week, a grand total of 28 percent of America thinks the country is headed in the right direction, while 66 percent think it is not.

A .280 batting average might keep a good fielding shortstop in a major league lineup, it is hardly enough for a president to claim any sort of "mandate" regarding his policies or intentions, administration critics point out. If two-thirds of his constituents think Bush has lost his way, he's just fortunate that this is his last term.

The article quotes James Thurber, an American University political scientist, as noting that, "This is very serious for the president. If the base of his party has lost faith, that could spell trouble for his policy agenda and for the party generally."

The article also cites the president's job approval rating, now at the lowest level of his presidency (39 percent), and the lowest for any president in several decades.

Comment: Two thirds of Americans think the US is headed down the drain, and yet the Bush gang continues to press forward and spout the usual lies as if nothing is amiss. And yet, impeachment proceedings were brought against Clinton for lying about an affair with an intern... What's wrong with this picture?

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Kristol: "One or More Indictments in the Next Three Weeks"
Think Progress
October 10 2005

Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol on Fox News Sunday:

Criminal defense lawyers I've spoken to who are friendly to the administration are very worried that there will be one or more indictments in the next three weeks of senior administration officials, just looking at what Fitzgerald is doing and taking him at his word, you know, being a serious prosecutor here. And I think it's going to be bad for the Bush administration.

Someone like Bill Kristol doesn't get information like this by accident. It's being fed to him so, if there is an indictment, he can prepare the base. Towards the end of the segment, Kristol got started, saying, "I hate the criminalization of politics."

The best way to stop the criminalization of politics is to get the criminals out of politics.

Comment: The real question is: Will these alleged indictments be used to shield Bush from prosecution and criticism like in the past? How long will the American people allow their leaders to get away with that little game?

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Is the Bush presidency unraveling?
Posted on Tue, Oct. 11, 2005

Three recent front-page headlines on a single day testified to the unraveling of the Bush presidency.

The lead story in The Washington Post on Sept. 29 reported that "the Senate defied the White House yesterday and voted to set new limits on interrogating detainees in Iraq and elsewhere," with 46 Republicans joining the Democrats to pass restrictions on prisoner abuse so unacceptable to President Bush that he has threatened his first-ever veto.

A second story on the same page recounted that "the conservative uprising against President Bush escalated yesterday as Republican activists angry over his nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court confronted the president's envoys during a pair of tense closed-door meetings." Participants described it as the biggest split with the GOP base in his five years in office.

And elsewhere on the page was the news that the Central Intelligence Agency's director had rejected a recommendation from its inspector general that he convene a formal "accountability board" to judge the possible complicity of senior officials in the failures that preceded the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The action triggered a statement of concern from the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and criticism from families of 9/11 victims.

Low job-approval score

These developments came against a background of rising conservative criticism in Congress of runaway spending, of continuing investigations of the administration's faltering response to Hurricane Katrina and of criminal indictments and grand-jury probes that have forced out the chief White House procurement officer and the House Republican majority leader, and may implicate other top officials of both branches.

Coming at a time when Bush is recording his lowest-ever job-approval scores, this has led as sober an analyst as John Kenneth White of Catholic University to describe this as "a presidency on life support." Noting the precipitous decline in Bush's ratings from moderates and independents, White argues that continuing problems -- notably the war in Iraq, the high cost of gasoline and home heating fuels, an unending stream of deficits -- are likely to plague Bush for the near future. [...]

Similarly, among social conservatives, some are no longer satisfied with Bush's personal assurances that his tight-lipped Supreme Court choices will actually roll back the school prayer, affirmative action and abortion rulings now in effect, while others applaud Bush for taking what they regard as the course of prudent ambivalence. [...]

But Skowronek also noted that the unprecedented organizational strength and top-down control of the Republican Party forged in the Bush years served for a long time to keep these internal pressures from erupting.

Whether that discipline will continue to hold through Bush's lame-duck years is another -- and very different -- question. It must be keeping Karl Rove awake at night.

Comment: No doubt Rove is busier than a one-armed paper hanger preparing to sacrifice some administration officials to save his Fuehrer - and therefore himself. When the next batch of BS is released and Bush holds a press conference looking squeaky-clean, what will you do? As the next article shows, it's not like there isn't more than enough evidence of wrongdoing to prosecute the entire Bush administration several times over:

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Dust off the Nuremberg Files
By Anwaar Hussain

At Nuremberg, in early October 1945, the four prosecuting nations -- the United States, Great Britain, France and Russia -- issued an indictment against 24 men and six organizations of the Nazi Germany. Of that 24 only 21 eventually sat down in the trial. The individual defendants were charged not only with the systematic murder of millions of people, but also with planning and carrying out the war in Europe. Twelve Nazi officials were sentenced to be hanged, three sentenced to life in prison, four were given prison sentences of 10-20 years, and the rest were acquitted.

Presently, the ongoing American and British slaughter of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians constitutes a blatant war crime. Average legal skills should be able to prove that a similar case for the prosecution against the current coalition leaders can easily be constructed on comparable lines.

In September 2004, the incumbent UN Chief Kofi Annan made a very clear statement. Talking to BBC Annan said "the US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN charter." Being the UN Chief, and the custodian of International law, he should have known what he was talking about.

The consequent unlawful war of aggression, the killing of civilians and abuse of prisoners constitute war crimes as clearly as the UN Chief's statement.

Here are the Nuremberg Trial indictments.

The Nuremberg Trial Counts One & Two: Conspiracy to Wage Aggressive War and Waging Aggressive War. The "common plan or conspiracy" charge was designed to get around the problem of how to deal with crimes committed before the war. The defendants charged under Count One were accused of agreeing to commit crimes. Accusation for Count Two was defined in the indictment as "the planning, preparation, initiation, and waging of wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of international treaties, agreements, and assurances."

Abundant evidence is now available that shows that leaders and advisers of the Bush and Blair administrations engaged in "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression." Iraq posed no threat to either the United States or Britain. Its government had neither the means nor the intent of waging war against these countries; nor did it issue any threat to them. It possessed no WMDs.

The events now bear out that the US administration had plans ready well before the 9/11 crime to not only invade Iraq, but also target much if not all of the Middle East. Former CIA Director James Woolsey and presidential advisor David Gergen have confirmed that. The war of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," was planned well over a decade earlier. All alibis put forward by Bush administration for the Iraqi invasion, and the resultant near-genocid al massacre, have now been fully exposed as fraudulent motives.

In his book 'The Price of Loyalty', writer Ron Susskind disclosed that from the very beginning of the Bush administration, the President was scheming and contriving to launch a belligerent war against Iraq. Richard Clarke , Bush's counter-terrorism expert, in his book 'Against All Enemies' confirmed the Bush administration's fixation with attacking Iraq. He also noted down in his book, an insider's view on the illegal planning, preparation and initiation of the war through the deliberate manipulation of intelligence.

Bob Woodward, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Watergate reporter, clearly establishes that just five days after 9/11, the President was clandestinely scheming to go after Saddam Hussein and not bin Laden - the man purportedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. In particular, 72 days after 9/11, Bush ordered Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to draw up the secret war plans.

According to The Sunday Times, another fact recently come to light is that the Royal Air Force and the USAF doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs at Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war. The allies dropped twice as many bombs in the 2nd half of 2002 as they did during the whole of 2001. By end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.

These attacks were intensified from May 2002, six months before the November 8 2002 UN Resolution 1441 that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith argued gave the coalition the legal cover for war. These details follow the leak of minutes of a key meeting in July 2002 at which Blair and his war cabinet discussed how to make "regime change" in Iraq legal.

This new information and the Downing Street memo clearly show that the two leading coalition members, the US and Britain, were fully engaged in "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression" and "fixing" intelligence to suit these aims.

The Nuremberg Trial Counts Three and Four: War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. These Counts addressed the charges of atrocities committed against humanity in the death camps, concentration camps and killing rampages like the indiscriminate bombing of civilian population centers.

According to various sources, as a result of this genocidal war, over 24,000 Iraqi civilians have died directly and over 120,000 indirectly. The Afghanistan toll on civilians is cited anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000.

Substantial evidence is now available that the Bush administration leaders, and military personnel following orders of these leaders, have committed "violations of the laws or customs of war," including "murder . . . of civilian populations of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war . . . plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity." The perpetrators' unjustifiable entreaties of military inevitability, of course, cannot free them of their actual crimes.

If all other war crimes could be argued against by legal wizardry, there is one crime of the coalition forces that is enough to surely sentence them ten times over for crimes against humanity. The use of depleted uranium weapons by the US armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan is as horrific a crime against humanity as there ever could be. This one crime takes its ghastly toll not just on the existing humanity, but successive generations continue to suffer for eons to come. A look here (too graphic, be warned) would confirm that the hideous beginning has already been made.

According to recent studies, the rate of birth defects, after increasing ten-fold from 11 per 100,000 births in 1989 to 116 per 100,000 in 2001, is soaring further. There have been 650 cases of birth deformities in total since August 2003 reported in government hospitals in Iraq. That is a 20% increase from the previous regime.

Also, a dreadful increase was registered in the rate of cancer among children under the age of 15 in southern Iraq from 1976 to 1999. In the province of Basra, the occurrence of cancer of all types rose by 242 percent, while the rate of leukemia among children rose 100 percent. Children living in the area were falling ill with cancer at the rate of 10.1 per 100,000. In districts where the use of DU had been the most concentrated, the rate rose to 13.2 per 100,000. Appalling as these results were then, the last six years have witnessed a further rise in the number of children under 15 falling ill with cancer in Iraq. The rate has now reached 22.4 per 100,000, more than five times the 1990 rate of 3.98 per 100,000.

The medical crisis is being directly blamed on the widespread use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions by the US and British forces in southern Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, and the even greater use of DU during the 2003 invasion.

According to a August 2002 report by the UN sub commission, laws which are violated by the use of DU shells include: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Charter of the United Nations; the Genocide Convention; t he Convention Against Torture; the four Geneva Conventions of 1949; the Conventional Weapons Convention of 1980; and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, which expressly forbid employing 'poison or poisoned weapons' and 'arms, projectiles or materials calculated to cause unnecessary suffering'.

No legal genius, then, is required to indict George Bush, Tony Blair and a few other coalition leaders with violating:

* The United Nations Charter
* The 1945 Nuremberg Charter
* International humanitarian law
* The Geneva Conventions

The main indictments could be further buttressed by certain other charges.

There have been verifiable instances of offering inducements, coercing and threatening others, including the members of the United Nations Security Council, to support belligerent acts against Iraq. Moreover, there are speculations gaining momentum with each passing day that the incumbent US government itself was involved in the 9/11 crime. State leaders that conspire in the annihilation of their own citizens are the exact opposite of being instruments of rightful authority. They are, indeed, agents of unashamed criminality.

Recently, the Media Education Foundation has released a powerful documentary regarding the sinister agenda of the current ruling cabal of the United States of America. Called Hijacking Catastrophe, it is a forceful indictment and a straightforward comment on the criminal schema of the accused.

One problem remains though. And that is that it is always the vanquished that are supposed to have committed war crimes. The current accused are militarily so powerful that inflicting a military defeat on them by any power/combination of powers looks remote at the moment. Additionally, the 'war on terror' has been purposely made so elusive that the lines of legality are blurred enough to muddy the evidence of the crime.

The only possible line of action seems to be an immediate impeachment of these leaders by their nations as a first step, followed by a swift recourse to international law after these leaders have been disinvested of their powers.

Noam Chomsky once said, "If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American President would have been hanged." If that be the case then some now would be hung and then re-hung.

Dust off the Nuremberg files… I would say.

Anwaar Hussain - Email -

Copyrights : Anwaar Hussain . All rights reserved. You may republish under the following conditions: An active link to the original publication must be provided. You must not alter, edit or remove any text within the article, including this copyright notice.

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Bush pick revealed as fawner
Geoff Elliott,
Washington correspondent
October 13, 2005

PERSONAL notes released this week between George W. Bush and his choice for the US Supreme Court, Harriet Miers, have angered conservatives who accuse the President of cronyism.

The Texas state library has released more than 2000 documents detailing correspondence between Ms Miers and Mr Bush when he was governor of Texas.

The notes reveal the deep friendship between the two and praise verging on the fawning from Ms Miers, who has never been far from Mr Bush's side since becoming his personal lawyer in the mid-90s.

"You are the best governor ever - deserving great respect!", Ms Miers wrote to Mr Bush on his 51st birthday in 1997, in a tone typical of the notes she sent him.

Mr Bush replied, thanking her and saying: "Happy 52nd to you." He added: "I appreciate your friendship and candour - never hold back your sage advice."

In October 1997, Ms Miers sent Mr Bush a flowery greeting card and said she hoped his daughters Jenna and Barbara "recognise their parents are 'cool' - as do the rest of us".

In another letter, Ms Miers told of a girl who had been at a lunch the pair attended and said how thrilled the girl had been to get Mr Bush's autograph.

"I truly believe if the governor told her she should be an astronaut, she would do her best to become one," Ms Miers wrote. "I was struck by the tremendous impact you have on the children whose lives you touch."

At the lunch, Mr Bush introduced Ms Miers to the crowd with the description: "She looks so petite and, well, harmless. But put her on your case, and she becomes a pitbull in size 6 shoes."

Mr Bush announced Ms Miers last week as his pick for the US Supreme Court - a lifetime position on the nine-strong bench. The court is the final arbiter of the US constitution and plays a pivotal role in US culture, ruling on everything from abortion, affirmative action and religion in schools.

The letters and the deep bond between Ms Miers and the President are causing concern that Ms Miers's appointment to the Supreme Court undermines the separation of powers between the executive and judiciary. Ms Miers, who has never sat as a judge, is Mr Bush's own White House counsel.

To conservatives, her appointment is seen as a lost chance in a more than 20-year struggle to wrest back control of the Supreme Court, which the Right regards as too liberal. Conservatives wanted a high-profile conservative judge.

Pat Buchanan, a former Republican presidential candidate, said Ms Miers's qualifications for the position were "utterly non-existent". He said the President had implored conservatives to trust him and insisted Ms Miers was the right choice. "What we've heard here, is 'Trust, believe'," Mr Buchanan said. "Why should we take this risk?"

Ms Miers will hold a critical swing seat on the bench, replacing the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor who in effect held the balance of power on a court that is often split 5-4.

Mr Buchanan is urging the President to withdraw the nomination or for Ms Miers to withdraw herself.

Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, a conservative law group based in Florida, agrees.

"I am terribly disappointed," Mr Staver said. "Bush has turned his finest hour into a political debacle that threatens to split his conservative base. The reverberations from his decision to nominate Harriet Miers have political consequences, if not corrected, that will haunt the Republican Party for some time."

Mr Bush said yesterday he was sticking by his choice. "Harriet Miers is going to be confirmed, and people will get to see why I put her on the bench," he said in a television interview.

His wife, Laura Bush, risked further conservative ire by claiming sexism may have something to do with the criticism of the appointment.

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New York subway threat was a hoax: report 2005-10-12 16:23:32

BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- The alleged threat that led to heightened security on New York subways last week may have been a hoax, according to the Washington Post.

The newspaper, citing US intelligence and counterterrorism officials, said the event occured as an Iraqi informant attempted to get money in exchange for information and the informant has since disappeared in Iraq.

The US Defense Department has not been able to locate him, the report said.

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg described the informant's claims last week as the "most specific threat" ever received against the city's transit system, leading officials to issue a heightened terrorist alert and blanket the subways with police and National Guard troops.

US troops in Iraq captured three suspects south of Baghdad who the informant said were involved in the alleged plot.

But none of the suspects, including two who were given polygraph examinations, corroborated the informant's allegations or appeared to have any connection to a terrorist plot, according to intelligence officials.

The city lifted the alert Monday after the time period identified by the informant passed without incident.

Officials with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were highly skeptical of the threat from the beginning, though federal officials sought to play down any differences with New York authorities.

The informant, who approached U.S. authorities voluntarily in Baghdad in the past two weeks, detailed an alleged plot by about 20 international conspirators to attack the New York transit system over the weekend with bomb-laden suitcases, baby strollers and other items.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly told reporters that the source of the threat information is not in U.S. custody. A military officer following the case said that the Iraqi informant has broken off communications with American intelligence agents.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke, who called the threat "noncredible" last week, declined to elaborate yesterday.

Comment: A hoax? Really? Do you think? Is it possible?

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Earthquake fails to shake out details on hunt for bin Laden
Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Did Osama bin Laden's secret lair crumble in the earthquake that devastated northwestern Pakistan?

"There's a lot of people who know that that's an obvious question" was the most Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita would say yesterday about U.S. thinking on bin Laden's fate.

Bin Laden has avoided capture since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The United States is offering $25 million for information leading to his killing or capture.

He has been rumored to be taking cover anywhere from urban areas of Pakistan to remote cave structures winding along the Afghan-Pakistani border to villages in western Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.

Any of these possible hideouts could have been shaken by Saturday's 7.6-magnitude quake, forcing bin Laden to move.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at the RAND Corp. in Washington, noted that some also theorize that bin Landen may be hiding in the disputed region of Kashmir, controlled by the Pakistani military, which was devastated by the temblor.

The region is difficult to move in and out of, Hoffman said, and Islamic extremist groups friendly to bin Laden have camps and operations there. When asked if additional effort was going toward finding bin Laden, Di Rita said: "We're not trying any harder or less to find bin Laden than we've been doing since 9/11."

Di Rita said the U.S. military is flying reconnaissance missions to help pinpoint areas for emergency supply deliveries.

Comment: Uh, but Porter Goss said on Meet the Press in June that the CIA knew where he was. After all, they need an address to deliver his paycheque.

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Palestinians: Cause of Yasser Arafat's death remains a mystery
10:49 AM EDT Oct 12

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - The official investigation into the death of Yasser Arafat failed to determine what killed the longtime Palestinian leader, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said Wednesday.

Qureia said the special committee that led the investigation would publish the results later Wednesday, along with a report by the French doctors who treated Arafat.

"French and Palestinian doctors who treated the martyred brother found that medicine could not find the disease which infected Arafat, neither viruses, nor germs, nor AIDS, nor bacteria," Qureia said.

He said the file would remain open for further investigation.

Arafat died in a French hospital on Nov. 11, 2004, after a two-week illness. His wife, Suha, refused an autopsy.

Rumours have swirled that Arafat died of AIDS or was poisoned by Israel. Israel denies the allegation.

Arafat's medical records were leaked to reporters last month. An investigation of these records by independent doctors also turned up inconclusive.

The records showed that Arafat died of a massive stroke after suffering intestinal inflammation, jaundice and a blood condition.

But the records were inconclusive about the causes of the blood condition, known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC. The condition has numerous causes ranging from infections to colitis to liver disease.

Comment: The probability is very, very high that Arafat was poisoned by someone close to him who was in the pay of Israeli intelligence. The Israelis has been making threats against Arafat's life for years; however, they knew that an explicit attack on him, such as used to kill other Palestinian leaders, would result in an increased solidarity among Palestinians. So they did it surreptitiously, through poison.

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Telegraph 'irresponsible' over Galloway, court told
Julia Day
Wednesday October 12, 2005

The Daily Telegraph was today accused of rushing into irresponsible journalism, on the second day of its return libel battle with former Labour MP George Galloway in the appeal court.

The Telegraph is appealing against a high court ruling last December that awarded Mr Galloway £150,000 in damages after the newspaper accused him of being in Saddam Hussein's pay based on documents found by its reporter in Baghdad.

Lord Justice Chadwick said to the court: "Publication was rushed in order to provide opportunity to comment. This newspaper was so anxious to get its own views before the public as soon as possible it published more speedily than responsible journalism would allow."

James Price QC, for the newspaper, countered that it was responsible to publish the documents found in the Baghdad foreign ministry "more or less immediately that they were found."

He said that under European human rights legislation it was the newspaper's duty to put material of this kind before the public without delay, adding: "I wouldn't accept this newspaper was motivated by a desire to comment."

Furthermore, Mr Price argued there would have been nothing to gain on either side should publication have been delayed.

"There was nothing else that needed to be done because the documents speak for themselves. They are a spyhole into the inner workings of the Iraqi government and they speak for themselves," he said.

He argued that the Telegraph's comment was protected under the Reynolds test, so called after a case brought by the former Irish prime minister Albert Reynolds against the Sunday Times in 1999.

In that case, Lord Nicholls ruled that the media could publish information even if it turned out to be untrue and defamatory provided it was in the public interest and was the product of responsible journalism.

Mr Price said: "The flexibility is there in Reynolds to apply a balance between public interest on the one hand and responsible journalism on the other hand. There is ample flexibility in Reynolds to allow for a very liberal approach.

Mr Price told the appeal court judges that should they uphold Mr Justice Eady's December ruling in favour of Mr Galloway it would widen the gulf between English law based on the Reynolds test and Strasbourg law.

"I do accept that in the future the Reynolds rules are going to have to be applied much more liberally if English law is not to continue to run-up against Strasbourg," said Mr Price.

Furthermore, Mr Price told the court that if the appeal were denied this ruling would not stand up in the European court of human rights.

"It is my firm submission that if my lords uphold this judgment this will not withstand examination in Strasbourg because we have here a case of the highest importance," he said.

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Power Outage Hits Parts of Downtown L.A.
Associated Press
October 12, 2005

LOS ANGELES - A blackout hit downtown government buildings, Chinatown and adjacent areas Tuesday, but backup power kept key parts of City Hall and police headquarters running. It was the third significant electrical failure in the city since mid-September.

The blackout began about 9 a.m. and cut power to as many as 1,000 customers, affecting City Hall, the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration and police headquarters at Parker Center, said Gale Harris, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Water and Power, which provides electricity to 1.4 million customers.

The cause of the outage was under investigation, but officials ruled out terrorism or human error, said Carol Tucker, another DWP spokeswoman.

"Outages just happen periodically, but we do seem to be having an inordinate number," Tucker said. [...]

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France slams US proposal for farming subsidies

PARIS, Oct 11 (AFP) - French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy on Tuesday criticised a US plan to cut US and European agriculture subsidies, advanced in the latest round of world trade talks, as containing "unrealistic demands".

"These declarations by our US partners must not in any way be conditioned by unrealistic demands on others, especially on the very sensitive issue of access to the agriculture market," Douste-Blazy told journalists in Paris.

The 148 nations in the WTO are edging towards a December treaty-drafting meeting in Hong Kong with crucial issues still unresolved after four years of foundering talks.

Agricultural subsidies have long been the target of critics, who say they enable producers in rich countries to offload goods cheaply, meaning unfair competition for poor farmers.

The United States and the EU have been pushing each other for concessions on agricultural trade and have been under pressure from developing countries to do more to open their markets.

On Monday, US trade chief Rob Portman and his European Union counterpart Peter Mandelson released new plans to cut support for their farmers.

They billed their porposals as a means of breaking a deadlock in the WTO's Doha Round talks, amid gloom over efforts to draft a multilateral accord cutting subsidies, customs duties and other barriers to world trade.

But both Japan and France immediately slammed the US proposal.

The US delegation at World Trade Organization talks Monday in Zurich put forward a proposal for cuts in agricultural subsidies  that would slash 60 percent from the subsidies it pays its farmers -- but only if the European Union and Japan cut their own support by 83 percent.

Under the US plan, rich nations would end farm subsidies by 2023, after a phase-out starting in 2008.

"The United States has made announcements through the press yesterday (Monday) in the agriculture area. These announcements have to be accompanied by concrete reforms as the European Union has done," Douste-Blazy responded.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has put forward a rival proposal that would reduce the EU subsidy by 70 percent and reduce trade tariffs in the sector by up to 60 percent.

The variant proposed by Mandelson foresees a 70 percent reduction, plus a cut of up 60 percent in EU customs duties on farm goods, another bone of contention.

Douste-Blazy was also critical of European trade commissioner Mandelson, who he said should "abide" by a set of restrictions EU member states had placed on the European Commission before the latest talks.

France is especially interested in the developments at the negotiations because its farmers are among the leading beneficiaries of the European subsidies. It was instrumental in having the other EU countries impose limits on the European Commission in terms of how far it could negotiate on the subsidies.

Japan is also determined to protect its farmers from far-reaching liberalisation in the WTO talks.

Key developing nations in the World Trade Organisation said Tuesday they would unveil their own plan to jump-start talks.

The G20, which groups WTO heavyweights such as Brazil, China, India and South Africa, said Tuesday it was honing its counter-proposal for release in coming days.

"The numbers that the G20 will be putting on the table will imply real cuts" in payouts to farmers in rich countries, said Celso Amorim, Brazil's foreign minister.

The G20 ministers said the US and EU proposals were a good first step but the US plan has also come in for criticism for focusing on permitted, rather than real, spending.

If rich countries continue generous subsidies for their farmers then parallel moves to remove tariff and other trade barriers mean little because prices would still be artifically low, said Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath.

"Market access with artificial prices is not the level playing field which is the bedrock of the WTO," Nath said.

"The proposal of the US doesn't lead to real cuts. It's a postdated cheque that will reduce water, not real budgetary outlays," Nath said. In WTO-speak, "water" refers to flexibility in permitted spending.

But US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns rejected that argument.

"These are very real cuts, they have a real impact in dollars," he told reporters.

Portman added that the US plan could be negotiable.

"The United States is willing to look at any proposal, consider any alternatives. We are willing to be entirely open minded to get the Doha round moving," Portman.

A failure in the negotiations this week could jeopardise the WTO's crucial gathering in Hong Kong in just over 60 days' time, which is meant to approve the outlines of a multilateral accord cutting subsidies, customs duties and other barriers to world trade.

The 148 trading nations in the WTO are desperate to avoid a replay of their 2003 bust-up at a summit in Cancun, Mexico, which mired their talks for more than a year.

Comment: The question of agricultural subsidies is one that gives a glimpse into how the rhetoric of helping those people folks in the "developing" [sic] countries is used to attack the foundations of what remains of a somewhat humane way of life in the West. First, anyone who studies the structure of modern political and economic institutions should be able to see quick clearly that no Western government gives a damn about the "poor farmers" in the countries of the former colonial empires. If you can't see that, then you're really in trouble. So what should we make of the argument that subsidies to French, or other farmers, should be cut in order to allow produce from the colonies into the French or other markets?

First, who are the owners of the farms in these poor countries? They are usually Western companies who employ the local labour at rock-bottom rates.

Second, when Western money gets into a country, you quickly see the local economy reshaped from serving the interests of the local population, producing a variety of crops, to meeting the needs of the global market: that means cash crops and monoculture.

Third, subsidies in a country like France permit a traditional way of life in rural areas to continue: family farms and local markets are an important part of the French way of life. They are an integral part of the social fabric. In the US and the UK, they are by and large a thing of the past. Industrial farming has taken its place and the social linkages developed through family farms and local markets have been replaced by the holy of holies in the free market, a worker selling his labour to his boss, an economic slavery that is paraded as the "freedom of labour". Not, it is not the "freedom of the labourer".

Subsidies are one weapon that can stave off the growing globalisation of liberal economists, and that is why neoliberals are so fervent in their attacks on these subsidies. That they try to frame their argument with appeals to the injustices such subsidies perpetuate upon poor farmers is hypocritical when one looks at the history of the IMF and the World Bank, not to mention the actions of multinational corporations as they pillage these countries in the name of economic development.

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World Helpless Against Assaults of Nature
The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 11, 2005; 4:15 AM

WASHINGTON -- In a more hopeful time, buoyed by the promise of science, it was thought hurricanes could be tricked into dispersing, earthquakes could be disarmed by nuclear explosions and floodwaters held at bay by great mounds of dirt.

Such conceits are another victim of a year of destruction.

The planet's controlling forces romp over dreams like those. Usually the best that can be done is to see the danger coming long enough to run.

Rich and poor nations have taken the hit over a period so twisted in nature's assaults that one month, rich is helping poor and the next, poor is helping rich as best it can, and then the poor gets slammed once again.

The United States, giver of tsunami aid in December, accepted hurricane aid from some of those same countries in September. Now it is giving to South Asia a second time, in response to the weekend earthquakes. India is sending tents, food, blankets and medicine to its foe, Pakistan, geology briefly shoving aside geopolitics.

More than 176,000 people died in the earthquake and tsunami of December; an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 in the quake Saturday; perhaps 1,000 or more in Guatemalan landslides last week; more than 1,200 in Katrina. Asian beaches, mountainous Kashmir villages and American urban streets and casinos all were overwhelmed.

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

After World War II, nothing seemed too far-fetched for science, not once the atom was split and, again, not once men stepped on the moon.

In one of the most enduring efforts, still alive but hardly about to happen, man thought he could seed clouds, make it rain reliably and put a stop to devastating drought.

The effort continues, especially in China; there, rockets, anti-aircraft guns and aircraft regularly pelt the sky with chemicals. The results so far: China has lots of experience, but limited success, in making the rains come.

If humans are inexorably warming the globe, they've proved unable to fine- tune the megaforces to their benefit.

They can cause earthquakes, little ones, by injecting fluids into deep wells, filling huge reservoirs with water or setting off nuclear explosions, but they can't prevent any, says the U.S. Geological Survey. Any notion of "lubricating" tectonic plates to relieve destructive tension would only make things worse, if it made any difference.

Earthquakes can't be forecast, either. Danger zones and long-term probabilities can be surmised, but "there currently is no accepted method to accomplish the goal of predicting the time, place and magnitude of an impending quake," the survey says.

The idea of hauling icebergs to hurricane-prone waters to cool things off did not fly. Research continues on trying to fool hurricanes into thinking they're over land.

One trick being tested: coating the ocean with a thin, biodegradable, oily film to deny a hurricane the evaporation that feeds its fury, in essence mimicking conditions after landfall.

One of the responses to Hurricane Katrina was decidedly lower tech: Civil engineers proposed putting up old-fashioned air raid sirens so people would know to get away.

The belief persists that humans will someday be able to dial up a thunderstorm at will, tweak the jet stream to avoid floods and starve a tornado of its energy once it starts spinning.

Such faith is reflected in a decade-old report done for the U.S. Air Force, on the possibilities of modifying the weather for military advantage.

The study suggested extreme examples of made-to-order weather, such as steering severe storms to particular areas or achieving large-scale climate change, were beyond reach over the next 30 years. But kicking up fog, rain and clouds was considered doable in that time.

The Air Force said later it did not plan to meddle with Mother Nature. The study, subtitled "Owning the Weather in 2025," came to little.

A decade later, the weather still owns us.

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Strong earthquake jolts Indonesia's Aceh 2005-10-12 14:18:29

JAKARTA, Oct. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- A strong earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale rocked the Indonesia's province of Aceh Tuesday evening, causing panic but no casualties reported, the meteorology agency said Wednesday morning.

The quake struck at around 10:05 p.m. local time and was centered at 4.7 north latitude and 95.2 east longitude, about 33 kilometers below the sea floor and 90 kilometers southwest of Banda Aceh, the capital of the province, official of the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency named only Wijayanto told Xinhua.

He said that the quake caused no casualties or damage, but create panic among residents because of fear of possible tsunami.

An 8.7 on the Richer Scale earthquake hit the west coast of Aceh province on Sumatra island on December 26 last year and triggered tsunami that claimed over 220,000 lives in Aceh province.

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Three Alaska volcanoes showing signs of unrest
12 Oct 2005 04:24:54 GMT Source: Reuters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Anchorage residents could see a cloud of steam over the weekend from a volcano 75 miles (120 km) away -- one of three Alaska volcanoes showing signs of unrest. The three volcanoes, including two located on remote Aleutian islands distant from any population centers, are setting off frequent tremors and minor bursts of ash or steam, seismologists said on Tuesday.

Cleveland Volcano, 900 miles (1,500 km) southwest of Anchorage, had a small eruption on Friday, said the Alaska Volcano Observatory, which monitors Alaska's more than 40 active volcanoes. Its ash plume rose to a height of nearly 15,000 feet (4.6 km) above sea level, observatory scientists said. A cloud of steam from the 11,070-foot (3,400-metre) Mount Spurr was visible from Anchorage over the weekend.

Cleveland Volcano has had periodic but minor ash emissions and some debris flow caused by melted snow, said Dave Schneider, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist and acting scientist-in-charge at the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Ash emissions from Cleveland Volcano "are a lot easier to see now than they were in the summer because you have fresh snow," Schneider said. Cleveland Volcano, which comprises the western half of uninhabited Chuginadak Island, last erupted in 2001. The closest community, 45 miles (70 km) to the east, is Nikolski, an Aleut village of 36 people. The other volcano showing unrest is 5,925-foot (1,800-m) Tanaga Volcano. A series of eruptions in 1992 showered Anchorage and the surrounding region with ash, forcing a brief closure of Anchorage International Airport.

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

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