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

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©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte


Truth is the enemy
Common Sense
John Maxwell
Sunday, October 09, 2005

All Hell is breaking loose in the corridors of power.

The United States Senate, reflecting the views of most civilised people, voted a few days ago 90 to 9 to ban "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" of anyone in US government custody".

Even the Majority Leader in the Senate, Bill Frist, voted with the majority.

Earlier in the year he had succumbed to pressure from President Bush and the White House to stop the Senate passing such a measure. This time, he seems to have been overcome either by his finer feelings or by the poll figures.

Mr Bush, however, is unfazed. He has threatened to veto the Bill, a waste of time, because the 90 senators voting for it clearly have the votes to over- ride the veto.

So, Mr Bush has at last admitted what we all knew: the Lynndie England's and all the other poor soldiers who have been punished for torturing and mistreating their captives in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere were in fact following orders. Mr Bush has now admitted as much. Which is more than Mr Milosevich, former president of Yugoslavia/Serbia, has admitted in his trial at the Hague for war crimes.

You will remember that Mr Milosevich was kidnapped from Serbia for trial in the Hague on charges that troops under his authority committed war crimes. There is no allegation that Milosevich authorised anyone to commit the crimes for which he is being tried.

Mr Bush, on the other hand, is curiously cavalier about his own behaviour, asserting that his troops need to be able to torture and mistreat their captives in order to get information.

This attitude may yet put Mr Bush in some danger, as two recent European court judgments defy his administration's contentions about the legality of their actions in Iraq. In January, an Italian judge, Clementine Forieo ruled that five North Africans accused of terrorism could not be so described because they were in reality resistance fighters against an illegal occupation force.

That judgment is supported more recently, by the German Federal Administrative Court which ruled that the attack launched by the US and its allies against the nation of Iraq was a clear war of aggression that violated international law - as specified in Article 4, Paragraph 4 of the UN Charter .

Both judgments are further supported by the Scandinavian legislators who form the jury for the Nobel Peace Prize. They awarded the Prize this year to Mr Mohammed Al Baradei and the International Atomic Energy Authority which he heads.

Mr El Baradei, it may be remembered, was one of those who discredited the Anglo-American claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy uranium from Niger, one of the centrepieces of the case for war. The British PM, Mr Blair, had the grace to congratulate Mr El Baradei, but I suspect that Hell will freeze over before we get a similar concession from Mr Bush.

Life in Washington is becoming even more exciting, with many people speculating that the president's consigliere, Mr Rove, and the vice president's apparatchik-in-chief, Mr Libby, may be indicted quite soon for conspiring to leak the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA undercover agent who is the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Mr Wilson - in the New York Times two years ago, exploded Mr Bush's claims about Iraq and Niger uranium. Valerie Plame's cover was blown by some creeps at the White House, in an effort to discredit Mr Wilson.

It is clear that in Washington and in other places of interest to Washington, the truth is an extremely dangerous commodity.

The head of Reuters news agency has complained to Senator John Warner, head of the Armed Forces Committee about the killing, maiming and illegal imprisonment of journalists and media employees by US forces in Iraq.

The Reuters chief, Mr David Schlesinger, said US troops were out of control and their attacks on media people were inhibiting the accurate reporting of the war in the public interest. In a letter to Sen Warner, he said US forces were limiting the ability of independent journalists to operate.

Mr Schlesinger called on Warner to raise widespread media concerns about the conduct of US troops with Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who was due to testify to the committee.

Schlesinger referred to "a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by US forces in Iraq".

Schlesinger urged Warner to demand that Rumsfeld resolve these issues "in a way that best balances the legitimate security interests of the US forces in Iraq and the equally legitimate rights of journalists in conflict zones under international law".

At least 66 journalists and media workers, most of them Iraqis, have been killed in the Iraq conflict since March 2003 at least 13 of them by US troops . The most notorious case was the bombing of the Al Jazeera office in Baghdad in March 2003.

In a letter to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at the time, the Committee to Protect Journalists noted that, "the attack against Al-Jazeera is of particular concern since the station's offices were also hit in Kabul, Afghanistan, in November 2001". The Pentagon asserted, without providing additional detail, that the office was a "known Al-Qaeda facility" and that "the US military did not know the space was being used by Al-Jazeera", which was palpably untrue.

Then there was the shelling of the Hotel Palestine by an American tank. The shells were directed at the upper floors of the hotel, in response, the US Army said, to insurgents firing from the lobby on the ground floor of the hotel.

Now, journalists and other media people are being selected for arrest and detention by US troops, without any recourse to law.

According to Reuters: the US military has refused to conduct independent and transparent investigations into the deaths of the journalists, relying instead on inquiries by officers from the units responsible, who had exonerated their soldiers.

The US military has failed even to implement recommendations by its own inquiry into one of the deaths, that of award-winning Palestinian cameraman Mazen Dana who was shot dead while filming outside Abu Ghraib prison in August 2003.

Schlesinger said Reuters and other reputable international news organisations were concerned by the "sizeable and rapidly increasing number of journalists detained by US forces".

He said most of these detentions had been provoked by legitimate journalistic activity such as possessing photographs and video of insurgents, which US soldiers assumed showed sympathy with the insurgency.

In most cases the journalists were held for long periods at Abu Ghraib or Camp Bucca prisons before being released without charge.

It isn't only in Iraq that journalists are being targeted. In Spain a senior Al Jazeera journalists, Taysir Alluni, has been given a long jail term essentially for the crime of having interviewed Osama Bin Laden after the September 11 atrocities. There was, according to all the news reports I have read, no credible evidence against him, although he was accused of ferrying money to people on behalf of Al Qaeda.

The Arab Human Rights League believes that Alluni is a sacrifice to the American, British and Israeli interests attempting to justify their war against 'terror'. Alluni was first arrested in September 2003, but was was later released on bail on health grounds -he suffers from a weak heart and back problems - only to be arrested again and jailed in Madrid in November 2004.

He was released to house arrest in March, but taken back into custody on 16 September and is now to serve seven years in prison.

A few weeks ago, Robert Fisk, the distinguished Middle East correspondent of the (London) Independent was refused entry to the United States for a lecture tour, as was Ian McEuan 18 months earlier.

McEuan later received an apology from the US department of Homeland Security. As far as I know, neither Fisk, nor our own Wayne Brown has received any similar expression of regret for their treatment.

Since I was warned more than two years ago not to push my luck I was unable to attend my sister's funeral, for fear that mine might follow in the not too distant future. [...]

If coming events cast their shadows, what are we to make of an incident at the British Labour Party conference two weeks ago?

An 85-year-old man, Walter Wolfgang, who has lived in the UK since fleeing the wrath of Hitler nearly 70 years ago, dared to shout "Nonsense" during the speech of Home Secretary Jack Straw.

Not only was Wolfgang bundled out, roughly and unceremoniously, but another man who protested his brutal treatment was also frog-marched out of the conference.

The ensuing press uproar produced apologies from Prime Minister Blair and other notables. Wolfgang and his supporter were both allowed back into the conference on promises of good behaviour. But not before Wolfgang was arrested and charged under Britain's Anti-Terrorism act.

I promise you, I am not making this up. Heckling is terrorism.

Presumably Wolfgang fell under the section of the Act which sanctions the 'glorification' of terrorism.

I am being serious, because Mr Bush has joined Mr Blair in redefining their enemies, and it appears that anyone who dares make any protest will be classified as a member of the new international Islamo-fascist ideology as defined by Mr Bush.

And if you think that you can seek refuge in the law, think again. The woman who does Mr Bush's legal housekeeping, Mrs Harriet Miers, has been nominated by the president to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the US Supreme Court.

And, being from Texas, she may also be a good friend of Mr DeLay and those others who wish to redefine government until it becomes a dish rag for capitalists. Mrs Miers has never, ever, sat as a judge anywhere. Can you imagine a British or a Jamaican prime minister making a similar appointment?

Can you imagine the outrage?

Anyway, Caligula did make his horse a consul. So there is precedent. [...]

Dreadful things are happening but the body politic is silent. They must be, if the people who are supposed to inform them, the media, are too rich or bored, or just too cowardly to care

There have been editorials welcoming the Senate's proposed ban on torture, but where were these worthies when the torture was being discussed? Well, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter and the noted (liberal) legal authority, Alan Dershowitz, to name just two, were both publicly recommending the use of torture at the time.

And no one said a word.

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NBC's Fineman: White House in civil war over Karl Rove by John in DC
Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Get your popcorn:

HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's the point of the lance of this whole thing.

Right now, my sense, in reporting this, Chris, is that the Bush family, political family, is at war with itself inside the White House. My sense is, it's Andy Card, the chief of staff, and his people against Karl Rove, the brain.


FINEMAN: And that runs through a whole lot of things, whether it's Harriet Miers or Katrina. But it all starts with Iraq.

And some submerged, but now emerging divisions within the administration over why we went into that war, how we went into that war and what was done to sell it. There are people are out for Karl Rove inside that White House, which makes his situation even more perilous.

My understanding, from talking to somebody quite close to this investigation, is that they think there are going to be indictments and possibly Karl Rove could be among them, if not for the act of the leaking information about Valerie Plame, then perhaps for perjury, because he's now testified four times.

And there are conflicts between what Matt Cooper told the grand jury and what Rove evidently told the jury himself. And Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, is an absolute stickler for detail who has no political axe to grind here, other than keeping his own credibility. Having put Judy Miller in jail, having gone to the lengths he had, my understand is, he has got some people here, not only Rove, but perhaps Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff.

MATTHEWS: I also get the sense he reads the law book. He doesn't care about the politics.


FINEMAN: That's what I meant. That's what I meant. He doesn't care about the politics.


MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, you just raised a curtain-raiser for me. I didn't even know this.

You believe that the fight between those who may be headed toward indictment, the vice president's chief of staff, Karl Rove, there is a war between them and the people who are going to survive them, Andy Card, etcetera.


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Talking Points Memo
Josh Marshall
October 12, 2005

There are certainly a lot of hints, allegations and murmurs out there tonight, particularly on the bloggier part of the web, about what might be coming down the pike from Patrick Fitzgerald. My favorite is this snippet from Hardball -- caught and excerpted on John Aravosis' Americablog -- which has Howard Fineman describing an alleged pre-indictment (political) death struggle pitting Karl Rove against Andy Card.

Gotta love that. Whether it's true or not, who knows?

In any case, an article (sub.req.) in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal contains this pleasant sounding sentence: "Mr. Fitzgerald's pursuit now suggests he might be investigating not a narrow case on the leaking of the agent's name, but perhaps a broader conspiracy."

And then further down there's this: "Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group. Formed in August 2002, the group, which included Messrs. Rove and Libby, worked on setting strategy for selling the war in Iraq to the public in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion. The group likely would have played a significant role in responding to Mr. Wilson's claims."

First of all, it did play a big role. That's where the push back came from.

If this description is accurate, it must have many folks at the White House in cold sweats.

If Karl Rove goes down in this investigation it'll be a disaster for the president, both in terms of the damage occasioned by such a high-level White House indictment and, frankly, because he needs the guy like most of us need legs.

But this WHIG thing is a whole 'nother level of hurt.

This group was the organizational team, the core group behind all the shameless crap that went down in the lead up to the Iraq war -- the lies about the cooked up Niger story, everything. If Fitzgerald has lassoed this operation into a criminal conspiracy, the veil of protective secrecy in which the whole operation is still shrouded will be pulled back. Depositions and sworn statements in on-going investigations have a way of doing that. Ask Bill Clinton. Every key person in the White House will be touched by it. And all sorts of ugly tales could spill out.

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For President Under Duress, Body Language Speaks Volumes
By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, October 12, 2005; Page A07

It's only 6:17 a.m. Central time, and President Bush is already facing his second question of the day about Karl Rove's legal troubles.

"Does it worry you," NBC's Matt Lauer is asking him at a construction-site interview in Louisiana, that prosecutors "seem to have such an interest in Mr. Rove?"

Bush blinks twice. He touches his tongue to his lips. He blinks twice more. He starts to answer, but he stops himself.

"I'm not going to talk about the case," Bush finally says after a three-second pause that, in television time, feels like a commercial break.

Only the president's closest friends and family know (if anybody does) what he's really thinking these days, during Katrina woes, Iraq violence, conservative anger over Harriet Miers, and legal trouble for Bush's top political aide and two congressional GOP leaders. Bush has not been viewed up close; as he took his eighth post-Katrina trip to the Gulf Coast yesterday, the press corps has accompanied him only once, because the White House says logistics won't permit it. Even the interview on the "Today" show was labeled "closed press."

But this much could be seen watching the tape of NBC's broadcast during Bush's 14-minute pre-sunrise interview, in which he stood unprotected by the usual lectern. The president was a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts. Bush has always been an active man, but standing with Lauer and the serene, steady first lady, he had the body language of a man wishing urgently to be elsewhere.

The fidgeting clearly corresponded to the questioning. When Lauer asked if Bush, after a slow response to Katrina, was "trying to get a second chance to make a good first impression," Bush blinked 24 times in his answer. When asked why Gulf Coast residents would have to pay back funds but Iraqis would not, Bush blinked 23 times and hitched his trousers up by the belt.

When the questioning turned to Miers, Bush blinked 37 times in a single answer -- along with a lick of the lips, three weight shifts and some serious foot jiggling. Laura Bush, by contrast, delivered only three blinks and stood still through her entire answer about encouraging volunteerism. [...]

Certainly, Bush retained many of the gestures that work well for him: the purposeful but restrained hand gestures, the head-tilted smile of amusement and the easy laugh. But he seemed to lose control of the timing. He smiled after observing that Iraqis are "paying a serious price" because of terrorism.

As Lauer went through his introduction, the presidential eyes zoomed left, then right, then left and right again, then center, down and up at the interviewer. The presidential fidgeting spiked when Lauer mentioned the Democratic accusation that Bush was performing a "photo op." Bush pushed out his lower front lip, then licked the right corner of his mouth. Lauer's query about whether conservatives "are feeling let down by you" appeared to provoke furious jiggling of the right leg.

Bush joked about his state of mind when Lauer asked Laura Bush about the strain on her husband. "He can barely stand!" the president said, interrupting. "He's about to drop on the spot." But the first lady had a calming influence on the presidential wiggles. When Laura Bush spoke about her husband's "broad shoulders," the president put his arm around her -- and the swaying and shifting subsided.

The president, now on more comfortable terrain, delivered a brief homily about "the decency of others" and "how blessed we are to be an American." Through the entire passage, he blinked only 12 times.

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Republican Congressman Slams Bush On Militarized Police State Preparation

Ron Paul says indictment story is far more damaging than media is
portraying, avian flu martial law provisions aimed at gun confiscation
Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
October 12 2005

Congressman Ron Paul has accused the Bush administration of attempting to set in motion a militarized police state in America by enacting gun confiscation martial law provisions in the event of an avian flu pandemic. Paul also slammed as delusional and dangerous plans to invade Iran, Syria, North Korea and China.

Ron Paul represents the 14th Congressional district of Texas. He also serves on the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, and the International Relations committee.

Paul appeared on the Alex Jones show yesterday and raised some interesting points about the possibility of imminent indictments of top Bush administration figures.

"I think there's a lot more excitement coming and it's not going to be good for the Republicans," stated Paul.

"The things that I hear have to do with Karl Rove and Abramoff and that's much much worse than anybody would believe and it involves DeLay as well."

"And that type of an indictment will be much more serious than the indictment of shifting campaign funds around.....there's some political infighting which could make that really interesting."

On the subject of the police state, Paul stated,

"If we don't change our ways we will go the way of Rome and I see that as rather sad.....the worst things happen when you get the so-called Republican conservatives in charge from Nixon on down, big government flourishes under Republicans."

"It's really hard to believe it's happening right in front of us. Whether it's the torture or the process of denying habeas corpus to an American citizen."

"I think the arrogance of power that they have where they themselves are like the sense that they decide what is right. The Communist Party said that they decided what was right or wrong, it wasn't a higher source."

Paul responded to President Bush's announcement last week that he would order the use of military assets to police America in the event of an avian flu outbreak.

"To me it's so strange that the President can make these proposals and it's even plausible. When he talks about martial law dealing with some epidemic that might come later on and having forced quarantines, doing away with Posse Comitatus in order to deal with natural disasters, and hardly anybody says anything. People must be scared to death."

Paul, himself a medical doctor, agreed that the bird flu threat was empty fearmongering.

"I believe it is the President hyping this and Rumsfeld, but it has to be in combination with the people being fearful enough that they will accept the man on the white horse. My first reaction going from my political and medical background is that it's way overly hyped and to think that they have gone this far with it, without a single case in the whole country and they're willing to change the law and turn it into a military state? That is unbelievable! They're determined to have martial law."

Paul opined that the martial law provisions now being promoted by the Bush administration were a direct response to people's unwillingness to relinquish their firearms, as was seen in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

"I think they're concerned about the remnant, the remnant of those individuals who don't buy into stuff and think that they should take care of themselves on their own, that they should have their own guns and their own provisions and they don't want to depend on the government at all and I think that is a threat to those who want to hold power. They don't want any resistance to their authoritarian rule."

Paul opined that the government was on a delusional power trip that threatened the country.

"These guys are ready to start a war with Iran, Syria, North Korea or China. They can't possibly do that, it's so insane, we don't have the money, we don't have the troops, we probably don't even have the ammunition."

"But, if they are truly delusional they just might do something that's totally irrational."

Paul expressed his hope that finally some conservatives are waking up to the fact that the Bush administration is a trojan horse, especially after arch- liberal Harriet Miers was chosen by Bush to supposedly move the Supreme Court to the right, even though her record is atrocious and she has been involved in the past covering up for the Bush crime family's activities.

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Bush's Veil Over History
Published: October 10, 2005

Washington -- SECRECY has been perhaps the most consistent trait of the George W. Bush presidency. Whether it involves refusing to provide the names of oil executives who advised Vice President Dick Cheney on energy policy, prohibiting photographs of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, or forbidding the release of files pertaining to Chief Justice John Roberts's tenure in the Justice Department, President Bush seems determined to control what the public is permitted to know. And he has been spectacularly effective, making Richard Nixon look almost transparent.

But perhaps the most egregious example occurred on Nov. 1, 2001, when President Bush signed Executive Order 13233, under which a former president's private papers can be released only with the approval of both that former president (or his heirs) and the current one.

Before that executive order, the National Archives had controlled the release of documents under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, which stipulated that all papers, except those pertaining to national security, had to be made available 12 years after a president left office.

Now, however, Mr. Bush can prevent the public from knowing not only what he did in office, but what Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan did in the name of democracy. (Although Mr. Reagan's term ended more than 12 years before the executive order, the Bush administration had filed paperwork in early 2001 to stop the clock, and thus his papers fall under it.)

Bill Clinton publicly objected to the executive order, saying he wanted all his papers open. Yet the Bush administration has nonetheless denied access to documents surrounding the 177 pardons President Clinton granted in the last days of his presidency. Coming without explanation, this action raised questions and fueled conspiracy theories: Is there something to hide? Is there more to know about the controversial pardon of the fugitive financier Marc Rich? Is there a quid pro quo between Bill Clinton and the Bushes? Is the current president laying a secrecy precedent for pardons he intends to grant?

The administration's effort to grandfather the Reagan papers under the act also raised a red flag. President Bush's signature stopped the National Archives from a planned release of documents from the Reagan era, some of which might have shed light on the Iran-contra scandal and illuminated the role played by the vice president at the time, George H. W. Bush.

What can be done to bring this information to light? Because executive orders are not acts of Congress, they can be overturned by future commanders in chief. But this is a lot to ask of presidents given the free pass handed them by Mr. Bush. (And it could put a President Hillary Clinton in a bind when it came to her own husband's papers.)

Other efforts to rectify the situation are equally problematic. Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, has repeatedly introduced legislation to overturn Mr. Bush's executive order, but the chances of a Republican Congress defying a Republican president are slim.

There is also a lawsuit by the American Historical Association and other academic and archival groups before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. A successful verdict could force the National Archives to ignore the executive order and begin making public records from the Reagan and elder Bush administrations.

Unless one of these efforts succeeds, George W. Bush and his father can see to it that their administrations pass into history without examination. Their rationales for waging wars in the Middle East will go unchallenged. There will be no chance to weigh the arguments that led the administration to condone torture by our armed forces. The problems of federal agencies entrusted with public welfare during times of national disaster - 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina - will be unaddressed. Details on no-bid contracts awarded to politically connected corporations like Halliburton will escape scrutiny, as will the president's role in Environmental Protection Agency's policies on water and air polluters.

This is about much more than the desires of historians and biographers - the best interests of the nation are at stake. As the American Political Science Association, one plaintiff in the federal lawsuit, put it: "The only way we can improve the operation of government, enhance the accountability of decision-makers and ultimately help maintain public trust in government is for people to understand how it worked in the past."

Kitty Kelley is the author of "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty."

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Please Don't Support My Troop
By Michael Gaddy

My son returned from Iraq last weekend after a year's service. I confess to breathing much easier now that he is out of that quagmire.

I have a personal request for all of you George W. Bush supporters and Christian warhawks: please do not support my troop. I have visions and aspirations of having him around, seeing him settle down and start a family at some point, and being near as I grow older. Your support would mean that he would be sent back to this war started and continued on lies to become a target for those who would rather live their lives without the interference of a foreign, empire-seeking, new-world-order, invader.

Actually, my son completed his contractual obligation to the military several months ago, but thanks to your support, he has been stop-lossed and has no idea when he will be allowed to resign his commission.

Why would I not want your support for my troop, you ask? Considering your support of our criminal government has led to the death, destruction and misery of millions of people on this planet, that is basically a no-brainer.

Of course you supported the troops back in WWII and thought that was a good thing, but somewhere along the line your support of the State led to the leaving behind of over 20,000 of our soldiers, those liberated from German POW camps by the Russians, never to be heard from again. I'm sure those families appreciated your support.

Back in 1950, you supported my father as he left my mother and me to go to war in Korea. He never returned, giving his life somewhere in that foreign land. Because of the loss of my father, my mother put a vodka bottle to her head and pulled the trigger. Your wonderful support took both my parents. Thanks again!

Your continued support in Korea led to the abandonment of over 8,000 POW's and MIA's to the enemy. Do you wonder why many find your support lacking? Just ask the families of those who have been left behind by this government you support blindly.

Some of you supported us as we went to the jungles of Southeast Asia; some chose not to. The results were the same; with or without your support, our criminal government cares nothing for those in uniform! Those of you wh o supported us claimed that those who didn't were responsible for us losing the war. Horse Apples! We lost that war for the same reason we will lose the one in Iraq: wars started on lies to increase the bottom line of cam paign contributors are seldom won because the war must be extended for as long as possible to insure the corporatocracy gets a full return on its money. There is a black granite wall in DC so all of you warhawks can go th ere and read the names of the 58,000 charred souls you killed with your support. Just exactly where did that get us? Does Vietnam have a "democracy" today? Your continued support for a corrupt government led to over 2,00 0 military personnel being left behind in that war; with grieving families never knowing what happened to their loved ones.

Your support in Beirut cost the lives of hundreds of Marines and Soldiers as people who wanted us to hell out of their country destroyed our soldiers' poorly protected barracks. Please give me the upside to this loss. Is Lebanon better off today because those good soldiers gave their lives?

I can still see the faces of the young Army Rangers that were killed in the illegal invasion of Panama. With your support, they gave their lives to assist in serving a drug warrant on a foreign Head of State, one our gove rnment had supported for years. Is it not ironic that we later went to war with Iraq for doing to Kuwait the same thing you supported our soldiers doing to Panama?

Your wonderful support led to the unspeakable horrors inflicted on those soldiers who were in Somalia! You should be especially proud of that one. Those dead soldiers dragged through the streets would not have been there had it not been for your "support." If you have trouble remembering this, some time spent with the book Black Hawk Down should jog your memory.

Only in a true Orwellian society could citizens send off poorly trained and equipped soldiers, serving in a politically correct military, led by a civilian leadership that has spent the majority of their adult lives in a revolving door between the military industrial complex and government service, and call the damn thing, "supporting the troops."

Why do we call people who prefer to live their lives without having their land bombed, their women, children and old folks killed, their national infrastructure destroyed and foreign soldiers on their soil, terrorists? Have you ever wondered what word the American Indian had for the U.S. government back in the middle to late 19th Century? History tells us we referred to them as "savages" and "those Red Devils" because they fought and died for their land and their culture. What did our ancestors call the British who were doing to the colonists precisely what our government does to others today?

Time to come clean, America: you do not in any way support troops by sending them to die for Halliburton and Bechtel's bottom line. This is analogous to sending your teenager out in a car with no brakes and bald tires, accompanied by a child rapist high on crystal meth, and calling that "supporting" your children.

Rush Limbaugh was actually right for a change: there can be no support for the troops without supporting the war and the government that sent them there. Your misplaced support for the troops is actually support for a criminal enterprise in which the military serves as the enforcement arm of that enterprise. If you want to support the troops, do not allow the State to send them to their deaths for corporate profits in wars sired by lies!

Michael Gaddy, <> is an U.S. Army veteran of Vietnam, Grenada, and Beirut, lives in the Four Corners area of the American Southwest.

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Danish PM faces Iraq war lawsuit
By Julian Isherwood
BBC News, Copenhagen
Tuesday, 11 October 2005

Rasmussen has been accused of misleading the public over the war An unusual constitutional battle is about to get underway in Denmark.

After two years of preparation, a group of 24 citizens have brought a suit against the Danish prime minister over Denmark's role in the Iraq war.

The plaintiffs are seeking to challenge the legitimacy of Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's decision to go to war against Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Denmark was one of the original members of the US-led coalition which invaded Iraq in 2003.

False weapons claims

The group say it is vital that the Danish courts are given a chance to decide on the legitimacy or otherwise of the Danish government's decision.

They contend that the prime minister breached the constitution on two counts, taking the country to war without a United Nations Security Council resolution, and devolving sovereignty over Danish troops to a foreign power without the necessary constitutional authority.

Although Denmark's contingent is small, currently some 500 men, Mr Rasmussen has been the target of widespread criticism and claims of misleading the population on the issue of the Iraqi threat and claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Although the Danish parliament overwhelmingly supported the government motion to go to war in 2003, the suit claims that under the constitution, it had no right to do so.

Lengthy debate

It says that under the constitution, Denmark is only allowed to go to war if the country is directly threatened or if there is a UN mandate to commence hostilities and that Danish troops are placed under UN command.

According to the suit, none of these prerequisites were fulfilled.

As a case of constitutional principle, the suit is likely to take at least five years to go through the courts as both parties are likely to exhaust all appeals available with the case ending up in the high court.

Initially the first court of complaint will have to decide on whether the group of 24 is eligible to bring the case at all as an interested party.

That in itself is likely to take at least two years.

Comment: Isn't justice great?

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US wants to push ocean boundaries to limit terror threat
By Stefano Ambrogi
October 12, 2005

COPENHAGEN - The United States wants to search foreign ships far outside its territorial waters to stop a possible terrorist attack on the country coming from the sea, a U.S. coastguard leader said on Wednesday.

"If the threat is significant enough we will board that ship as far from our coast as we can," said Vice Admiral Harvey Johnson who is Pacific Area commander of the U.S. coastguard.

Johnson, who oversees key trade routes with Asia, told a maritime security conference in Copenhagen the policy of the United States was to "push back" its sea borders for searches as much as possible -- perhaps by as much as 2,000 nautical miles.

In August Washington said it planned to put sensors on oil rigs and weather buoys to spot security threats at sea and said it might use satellites to track suspect vessels.

Johnson said that, from an intelligence perspective, there was ample justification to worry about a terrorist threat.

"And I believe the maritime sphere will be the avenue for that threat," he said.

He said if the threat level from an incoming foreign-flagged ship was deemed to be low the United States might choose to board and search it closer to home, perhaps within its own territorial waters at 12 miles.

But he said he would like to be able to carry out forced searches much further from shore.

Governments require permission from the flag-state to board a ship in international waters, where it is seen as sovereign territory, or risk a diplomatic row.

Nations would have to agree a new legal framework to allow countries to inspect or board ships outside their own territorial waters.

"I don't intend any saber-rattling here. I'm talking from an operations perspective," he told Reuters.

"I'm not trying to bring any undue international pressure to get permission to board without flag-state approval. What I do want though is enough time to interdict the vessel," he said.

"Even if I did decide to board a vessel at sea, even as a three star admiral I couldn't make that decision, it goes back to Washington and it doesn't all happen in 15 seconds."

Johnson said the exact parameters would be worked out with partners at a global level and within the framework of international laws of the sea.

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Dying For the Emperor? No Way
by Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers

"US President Harry S. Truman, with consent of his top brass, ordered the atomic bombings of Japan in order to save one million US lives. The Japanese were fascists. They were religious fanatics who worshipped the emperor as their God and were prepared to fight to the death. This was evidenced by the Kamikaze pilots and vicious fighting in Saipan and Okinawa. The annual Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations are exercises in blame- shifting and obfuscation; the fact is that WW II in Asia and the Pacific was a war between aggressive Japan and everyone else, and in each case, Japan was the aggressor. Japan attacked the United States first." ~ An average US history professor

What a bunch of post-war revisionist nonsense. The above statement is pure US government propaganda. It contains almost as many outrageous lies as it does individual words. The only part of this statement that is absolutely true is, "US President Harry S. Truman ordered the atomic bombings." This drivel, in many forms, has been repeated again and again to US schoolchildren over these past 60 some years to the point that even some (supposedly educated) US scholars have begun to repeat the mantra. This lie has been so overblown that, recently, the absurd amount of "saved lives" has ballooned from "one million lives" to "two million lives" to even the point where President George W. Bush has stretched it to "millions of lives." At this rate, by the year 2025, the atomic bombings will have saved 20 million lives. America, this is a lie. It’s time you faced up to the truth about the war and the atomic bombings.

When in the history of mankind have people actually fought to their deaths for one man? I propose to you that this has never happened. It’s against human nature to do so. The only people who even made the outlandish claim that the emperor was a living God were a very few Japanese rightists – and Shinto priests (a very minor religion) – who merely used this idea as a means to forward their own imperialist agenda (as well as modern American apologists for the atomic bombings). The average Japanese never thought the emperor was anymore than a man – just like they do today. I would like to end this misconception of the Japanese people. All people – regardless of the political system they are living under – will, however, fight to the death if they believe that they are saving their homes and families. That’s natural human behavior.

Besides the obvious common sense of the preceding two paragraphs, I would like to put every piece of this fabrication to rest – From the idea that the Japanese were suicidal maniacs – To the excuse of dropping the atomic bomb to save one million American lives. Am I a scholar historian? No, I am not. But I do have some unbeatable advantages over just about every US historian who has ever written on the subject: I speak Japanese and I live with the Japanese. The other trump card I have is that there are still a very many everyday Japanese alive and well today, who clearly remember the war, with whom I have spoken.

This is the overall story of World War II from the Japanese point of view. Of course, this is an extremely long subject and it would take an entire series of books to cover it fully – and even with that the debate would continue and the A-bomb apologists will refuse to face facts – but for the sake of convenience for the reader, I will try to keep this as short and simple as possible.

[Continue with this informative article]

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FBI Claims 84 Videos Show NO Flight 77 Impact
By Jon Carlson

Photos taken after the Pentagon crash do not support the Government conspiracy theory that Flight 77, a Boeing 757 airliner, demolished a major portion of the masonry structure:

Seismic waveform data also brings into question what struck the Pentagon. Seismologists have detected other 9/11 aircraft even pinpointing exact crash times for the Boeing 737 airliners that crashed into the WTC Towers and the aircraft alleged to be Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. The seismologists observed: We analyzed seismic records from five stations in the northeastern United States, ranging from 63 to 350 km from the Pentagon. Despite detailed analysis of the data, we could not find a clear seismic signal. Even the closest station ( = 62.8 km) at Soldier's Delight, Baltimore County, Maryland (SDMD) did not record the impact. We concluded that the plane impact to the Pentagon generated relatively weak seismic signals. [...]

The RENSE article, The 911 Pentagon Engine Story, explained that the JT8D engine identified in the debris in front of the Pentagon wall could have been from early Boeing 737-100 and 737-200 airliners or an assortment of other aircraft. Since witnesses decribed the incoming Pentagon aircraft having two engines under the wings the number of possible aircraft comes down to a handful. National Geographic reported that the FBI confiscated a video tape from a Citgo gas station within a half hour of the crash. Without asking the questions how did the FBI know of the tape and how did they grab it so quickly, many people think the aircraft model could be identified from that video since the aircraft flew directly over the Citgo station.

The RENSE article, Missing Pentagon Unobstructed Citgo Videos, develops the Citgo station story with more outstanding photos.

Even though America's Coverup Agencies, the FBI and the Pentagon, have fought tooth and nail to prevent disclosure of what really happened at the Pentagon on 9/11 photos, witnesses have already filled in the blanks. Get up to speed by reading the RENSE article, Sneak Preview - 911 Pentagon Tapes. In that article American patriots are taking the DOJ and the FBI though the wringer in a Federal Court. A retired FBI agent told this writer that FBI lawyers are hacks. He claimed any good attorneys go to work for the other side! Bronco Bingham is the plaintiff in the main FOIA action to obtain the Pentagon videotapes. His crackerjack attorney, Scott Hodes, is running circles around the FBI lawyers. [...]

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ISRAELIS were 9-11 short sale stock buyers, betting on WTC terror strikes, story killed...
Portland IMC
11.Apr.2005 00:40

Between August 26 and September 11, 2001, a group of speculators, identified by the American Securities and Exchange Commission as Israeli citizens, sold "short" a list of 38 stocks that could reasonably be expected to fall in value as a result of the pending attacks. These speculators operated out of the Toronto, Canada and Frankfurt, Germany, stock exchanges and their profits were specifically stated to be "in the millions of dollars."

Short selling of stocks involves the opportunity to gain large profits by passing shares to a friendly third party, then buying them back when the price falls. Historically, if this precedes a traumatic event, it is an indication of foreknowledge. It is widely known that the CIA uses the Promis software to routinely monitor stock trades as a possible warning sign of a terrorist attack or suspicious economic behavior. A week after the Sept.11 attacks, the London Times reported that the CIA had asked regulators for the Financial Services Authority in London to investigate the suspicious sales of millions of shares of stock just prior to the terrorist acts. It was hoped the business paper trail might lead to the terrorists.

Investigators from numerous government agencies are part of a clandestine but official effort to resolve the market manipulations There has been a great deal of talk about insider trading of American stocks by certain Israeli groups both in Canada and Germany between August 26 and the Sept.11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Lynne Howard, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), stated that information about who made the trades was available immediately. "We would have been aware of any unusual activity right away. It would have been triggered by any unusual volume. There is an automated system called 'blue sheeting,' or the CBOE Market Surveillance System, that everyone in the business knows about. It provides information on the trades - the name and even the Social Security number on an account - and these surveillance systems are set up specifically to look into insider trading. The system would look at the volume, and then a real person would take over and review it, going back in time and looking at other unusual activity."

Howard continued, "The system is so smart that even if there is a news event that triggers a market event it can go back in time, and even the parameters can be changed depending on what is being looked at. It's a very cl ever system and it is instantaneous. Even with the system, though, we have very experienced and savvy staff in our market-regulations area who are always looking for things that might be unusual. They're trained to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Even if it's offshore, it might take a little longer, but all offshore accounts have to go through U.S. member firms - members of the CBOE - and it is easily and quickly identifiable who made the trades. The member firm who made the trades has to have identifiable information about the client under the 'Know Your Customer' regulations (and we share all information with the Securities and Exchange Commission.)"

Given all of this, at a minimum the CBOE and government regulators who are conducting the secret investigations have known for some time who made the options puts on a total of 38 stocks that might reasonably be anticipated to have a sharp drop in value because of an attack similar to the 9/11 episode. The silence from the investigating camps could mean several things: Either terrorists are responsible for the puts on the listed stocks or others besides terrorists had foreknowledge of the attack and used this knowledge to reap a nice financial harvest from the tragedy.

Adam Hamilton of Zeal LLC, a North Dakota-based private consulting company that publishes research on markets worldwide, stated that "I heard that $22 million in profits was made on these put options..."

Federal investigators are continuing to be so closed-mouthed about these stock trades, and it is clear that a much wider net has been cast, apparently looking for bigger international fish involved in dubious financial activity relating to the 9/11 attacks on the world stock markets. [...]

The Times said market regulators in Germany, Japan and the US all had received information concerning the short selling of insurance, airlines and arms companies stock, all of which fell sharply in the wake of the attacks .

City of London broker and analyst Richard Crossley noted that someone sold shares in unusually large quantities beginning three weeks before the assault on the WTC and Pentagon.

He said he took this as evidence that someone had insider foreknowledge of the attacks.

"What is more awful than he should aim a stiletto blow at the heart of Western financial markets?" he added. "But to profit from it? Words fail me."

The US Government also admitted it was investigating short selling, which evinced a compellingly strong foreknowledge of the coming Arab attack.

There was unusually heavy trading in airline and insurance stocks several days before Sept.11, which essentially bet on a drop in the worth of the stocks.

It was reported by the Interdisciplinary Center, a counter-terrorism think tank involving former Israeli intelligence officers, that insiders made nearly $16 million profit by short selling shares in American and United Airlines, the two airlines that suffered hijacking, and the investment firm of Morgan Stanley, which occupied 22 floors of the WTC.

Apparently none of the suspicious transactions could be traced to bin Laden because this news item quietly dropped from sight, leaving many people wondering if it tracked back to American firms or intelligence agencies.

Most of these transactions were handled primarily by Deutsche Bank- A.B.Brown, a firm which until 1998 was chaired by A. B."Buzzy" Krongard, who later became executive director of the CIA. [...]

Government investigators have maintained a diplomatic silence about a Department of Justice (DOJ) probe of possible profiteering by interested parties with advance knowledge of the attack.

On Sept. 6, 2001, the Thursday before the tragedy, 2,075 put options were made on United Airlines and on Sept. 10, the day before the attacks, 2,282 put options were recorded for American Airlines. Given the prices at the time, this could have yielded speculators between $2 million and $4 million in profit.

The matter still is under investigation and none of the government investigating bodies -including the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and DOJ -are speaking to reporters about insider trading. Even so, suspicion of insider trading to profit from the Sept. 11 attacks is not limited to U.S. regulators. Investigations were initiated in a number of places including Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Spain. As in the United States, all are treating these inquiries as if they were state secrets.

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Syrian general in UN inquiry found dead
By Geneviève Roberts
The Independent
13 October 2005 14:25

General Ghazi Kenaan, Syria's Interior Minister, "committed suicide", according to the official news agency in Damascus.

General Kenaan, 63, was one of several top officials caught up in a UN investigation into the murder of Lebanon's former prime minister, Rafik Hariri, on 14 February this year.

He was Syria's intelligence chief and top official for two decades in Lebanon, which was dominated by Syria until its military withdrawal earlier this year.

His death yesterday comes less than a fortnight before the final UN report into the murder, due to be issued by 25 October. General Kenaan's chief aide said that he had shot himself in his office in the interior ministry. "General Kenaan left his office to go home, then he came back after three quarters of an hour, took a gun from the drawer and fired a bullet into his mouth," General Walid Abaza said.

In Lebanon, Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said he had no details about the death. But a prominent Lebanese legislator and journalist, Gebran Tueni, cast doubt on the suicide report. "It is not known for sure if he committed suicide, or was made to commit suicide," Mr Tueni told Al-Arabiya television from Paris. "In Syria, there are some people who want to hide the facts, and don't want everything about the Syrian period in Lebanon to be known."

Hours before his death, General Kenaan contacted a morning broadcast of Voice of Lebanon radio station to give what he called his "last statement". He was broadcast saying: "We exerted joint efforts and spared no blood and this resulted in the liberation of Lebanon at a time that it was impossible to do so without Syria."

In the interview, General Kenaan denied a report that he had told the UN investigators about corrupt officials during Syria's control of its western neighbour.

Analysts say the Syrian government is quietly preparing for the UN report, expected to implicate Syria's intelligence regime in the bombing, by consolidating its power, readying a diplomatic counteroffensive, and taking steps to guard against any sanctions.

Damascus has denied any involvement in the Hariri bombing, but it immediately came under heavy international pressure to relinquish its political and military control on Lebanon.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told CNN that he was not aware of any evidence to suggest his country had a hand in the 14 February bombing that killed Hariri and 20 others in Beirut. "If indeed there is a Syrian national implicated in it, he would be considered a traitor and most severely punished," Mr Assad said.

But his government is reportedly planning a diplomatic offensive to discredit an incriminating report. Syria would appeal to China, India and Russia to help block a UN resolution and possible sanctions.

The interior minister in Syria controls the police. But before General Kenaan was promoted to minister in 2004, he was Syria's intelligence chief in Lebanon. Syrian intelligence named and fired Lebanese officials and controlled every aspect of political and military life.

Lebanese newspapers have reported General Kenaan was among seven senior Syrian officials questioned last month by the UN team investigating Hariri's murder. The other officials included Syria's last intelligence chief in Lebanon, Brigadier-General Rustum Ghazale and his two aides.

The investigators have named as suspects four Lebanese generals who are close to Syria, and Lebanon has arrested them. Syrians expressed their fears General Kenaan's suicide would provoke more international pressure over the country's role in Lebanon.

General Kenaan is survived by a wife, four sons and two daughters.

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Robert Fisk: The Ghazi Kenaan I knew was not the sort of man who would commit suicide
Robert Fisk
The Independent
13 October 2005

"Just think," Ghazi Kenaan said to me with a mirthless smile. "Terry Waite came here to rescue hostages, and got kidnapped himself!"

The smile broke. Brigadier-General Ghazi Kenaan, with his boxer's face and small, tight fists, really did think it funny back in 1987 that the Archbishop of Canterbury's envoy had been abducted as he tried to secure the release of Westerners held in Lebanon. Irony was what he dealt in. And brutality. In the basement of the Beau Rivage Hotel, which he made his headquarters as head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon, were cells and electric leads and other, more obviously brutal men.

He had power and he used it. When Hizbollah fighters attacked a company of Syrian troops in Beirut, he sent his men to storm one of their social halls and shot every one inside, including at least two Lebanese women. Their corpses were heaped on a Syrian army truck and driven slowly through the streets of the Beirut suburb of Basta for the population to see. You didn't mess with Ghazi Kenaan.

And he didn't seem to be the sort of man to commit suicide, which is what the Syrians claimed he had done yesterday. The Syrian news agency said Kenaan, now the Minister of Interior, killed himself in his Damascus office at 11am, hours after he had been questioned by a Beirut radio station about the 14 February murder of the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri.

Major-General Kenaan - as he now was - was questioned three weeks ago by the UN commission investigating the bombing of Hariri's motorcade. Four pro- Syrian Lebanese generals who worked closely with Kenaan during his rule in Lebanon have been arrested by UN investigators.

"I think this is the last statement I might give," he presciently told the Voice of Lebanon radio station three hours before his death. "My testimony [to the UN] ... was to shed light on an era during which we have served Lebanon ... I want to make clear that our relations with our brothers in Lebanon was based on love and mutual respect ... We have served Lebanon with honour and honesty."

The Lebanese may disagree. Before he left Beirut for Damascus, Kenaan was reported to have been involved in a vast housing corruption scandal - Syrian mukhabarat intelligence officers became rich in Lebanon - and initial reports, before he was appointed Interior Minister, suggested he was in disgrace. Certainly, there will be many Lebanese and Syrians waiting to discover if his successor as intelligence commander, General Rustum Ghazali, will also suddenly be found to have committed suicide. Ghazali was in charge of the Syrian intelligence apparatus when Hariri was killed.

So did Kenaan really kill himself, or did the Baath party's intelligence apparatus decide he was too dangerous to be left alive? The Kenaan I knew never appeared suicidal. When kidnappers ruled the streets of Beirut, hunting for the only westerners left in the city, Kenaan even offered to take me jogging with him - from the Beau Rivage Hotel to the Bain Militaire in west Beirut - so would-be abductors would see me with him and would not dare to harm the "friend" of so powerful a Syrian agent. Kenaan went jogging every morning in civil-war Beirut, on his own. Because he was too dangerous to cross.

I once asked him if he had direct contact with then President Hafez Assad. "Of course," he said. How? "On this telephone behind me." And how often, I asked, did he call President Assad. Kenaan smiled broadly. "It's a one-way phone system. He can call me; I can't call him!" So another era ends, but in the most sensational manner. That a man of such power should take his life shows either his sense of guilt over Hariri's death, or the Baath party's fear of the UN inquiry, due to report on 21 October. Detlev Mehlis, the German chief investigator, questioned Kenaan at a hotel inside the Syrian border and for three weeks there have been rumours that the Syrian Interior Minister would be fingered for the crime. So do we expect more arrests? Or more mysterious suicides in the Syrian halls of power?

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Syria warns 'gates of hell will open' if U.S. attacks
By Leila Hatoum
Daily Star staff
Wednesday, October 12, 2005

BEIRUT: In the latest official Syrian comment on the increasing pressure on Damascus, Premier Naji Otari said "all the gates of hell will open on the U.S. if it attempts to attack Syria." Otari was replying to a report this week in Newsweek magazine revealing that Washington had debated launching military strikes inside Syria against camps used by insurgents operating in Iraq.

Citing unnamed government sources, the magazine reported that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had managed to block the proposal during a meeting of senior U.S. officials on October 1.

Speaking to reporters in Shannon, Ireland, on a four-nation tour, Rice said: "I am not going to comment on internal deliberations in the administration."

Otari also accused Lebanese officials of being unable to make an independent decision, saying they were answerable to the French and U.S. ambassadors to Lebanon.

Addressing his Lebanese counterpart Fouad Siniora, the Syrian premier said: "Apparently Siniora forgot all of what we have discussed when he visited Damascus after his recent return from a visit to the U.S."

Siniora had held talks with several officials in Damascus to resolve a border dispute between the two countries in June.

Pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported yesterday Otari had refused to answer repeated phone calls from Siniora on Monday.

The paper quoted unidentified "informed Syrian sources in Damascus" as saying the Assad regime believes Siniora has reneged on promises he made to the Syrian president during a visit on July 31.

The regime is particularly outraged over Siniora's allegation in a recent interview with The Washington Post that all of Lebanon is convinced that Syria engineered the Hariri murder.

In other related media responses to the mounting pressure on Damascus, Syrian daily Tishrin said in an editorial yesterday that Washington is criticizing Syria to cover its own policy failures in the Middle East.

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State David Welch had warned the Assad regime Sunday that it was not heeding calls to change its behavior in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Welch has been touring the Middle East, meeting with leaders in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He is expected to hold talks with Lebanese officials today.

"Barely a day passes without such accusations as if Syria has become an excuse for the U.S. faults in the region," the editorial said. [...]

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Government publishes anti-terror bill
The Guardian
Wednesday October 12, 2005

Tony Blair today insisted the case for holding terrorism suspects without trial was "absolutely compelling" as the government published new legislation allowing detention for 90 days wihout charge.

The provision - first suggested by ministers after the July 7 London bombings - would extend the present limit of 14 days in police custody without charge for terror suspects by more than six times.

Mr Blair said his concern was "to protect people in this country and to make sure their safety and their civil liberty to life come first".

Recent reports suggested the government was split over the 90 day detention period, with Mr Blair in support but the home secretary, Charles Clarke, telling MPs he may be prepared to compromise over the timescale.

The anti-terror bill is intended to make it easier for plice to arrest and question suspects who may be planning an attack but do not have sufficient evidence against them to be charged.

The bill includes new offences of making preparations for a terrorist act, distributing terrorist publications and undertaking terrorist training, and also aims to tackle extremist preachers who glorify or encourage terrorism.

Speaking at prime minister's question time, the Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, said criminalising acts preparatory to terrorism meant extending the detention without charge period to 90 days was unnecessary.

"Why is it you remain so wedded to this proposal for 90 days?" he asked Mr Blair. "Surely it's wrong ... surely you are going to have to back down."

The 90-day detention period was included in the bill at the request of the police. David Davis, the shadow home secretary, today told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he had received "a briefing on the case from the police on this ... [but] I have to say it wasn't very persuasive".

The bill was unveiled today by the Home Office minister, Hazel Blears, and Mr Clarke.

Among its measures are plans to make it easier to deport people with dual British citizenship. Ms Blears said the plans were necessary because the present "bar on depriving citizenship is really quite high".

Mr Clarke also revealed that British diplomats around the world had started to draw up a list of foreign nationals to feature on a new banned list. [...]

Anthony McIntyre, a former IRA man, today told Guardian Unlimited the legislation was "counter-productive" and would alienate British Muslims. He said: "There used to be a saying [in Northern Ireland] that in English society it was, 'innocent until proved Irish', and I think something similar is about to happen to the Muslim community."

A multi-party coalition including Ken Livingstone, the Labour mayor of London, Liberal Democrats, Greens and representatives of the main Muslim organisations will this evening meet in Central Westminster Hall to protest against the bill.

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Trial forces Italy to relive shocking police brutality
By Peter Popham in Rome
The Independent
13 October 2005 14:20

Italy is about relive two of its most shocking episodes of alleged police brutality as the trial of officers accused of illegal behaviour over attacks on anti-globalisation protesters proceed in Genoa.

The attacks occurred as the G8 summit of July 2001 in the port city was winding down after days of peaceful mass demonstrations by 200,000 people from all over the world, and violently anarchic protests by a small group known as the Black Block.

Today the trial begins of 45 police, carabinieri, prison officers and medical staff allegedly involved in the attacks at a transit holding camp. They include some of the most senior officers in the camp, and in the city. The charges against them include abuse of authority and unlawful violence.

On Friday, the case against 28 officers involved in the Diaz school raid resumes after a six-month break. Those on trial include some of the most senior police officers in the land. They are charged with trespass, false arrest, inflicting or authorising grievous bodily harm, and with inventing the story intended to justify the raid.

Many of the victims of the attacks will be in court to confront the men who attacked them, including the British freelance journalist Mark Covell, who was the first and one of the most badly injured in the school.

This week Mr Covell, who was working for IndyMedia during the summit, said: "I was in a coma for four days after the raid; my head was split from the front to the back. I had eight broken ribs, shredded lungs, 10 broken teeth. The treatment has not finished yet. I need another operation on my spine and my left hand will have to be broken and re-set. Most of the Diaz victims are in a similar state."

Genoa was the first big international event hosted by Silvio Berlusconi's then new centre-right government and although all went smoothly for the world leaders closeted in the city centre behind high wire fences, outside it was mayhem.

It was on Saturday night, as the protesters were bedding down, planning to leave the next morning, that the police decided to seize the initiative. About 150 special police led by a crack "experimental" Flying Squad unit from Rome equipped with side-handled "tonfa" batons, smashed their way into the city school, which had been loaned to the Genoa Social Forum, organisers of the protests.

The police fanned out through the three floors, beating their victims until many were unconscious on a floor splattered with blood. Sixty-two of the 93 people in the school required medical treatment; 25 had to stay in hospital for further treatment, including three who were comatose.

All were arrested, whatever their condition, and many, including some who were badly injured, were taken to a temporary detention centre called Bolzaneto, six kilometres outside the city.

More beatings and humiliations followed. Female prisoners were made to spreadeagle themselves against walls for hours in the middle of the night while police threatened to rape them with their truncheons. They were forced to sing pro-Fascist songs.

Within a day or so the foreigners among them were taken to the Italian border and told they had to leave immediately - many without money, belongings, even passports.

Paul Ginsborg, a historian of contemporary Italy, said: "Really disgusting things happened in Bolzaneto, pure Fascist stuff. With the election of the centre-right government, and with the post-Fascist leader Gianfranco Fini as Deputy Prime Minister, certain elements thought they could get away with anything."

But the victory of the police was short-lived. All the charges against those arrested were dismissed for lack of evidence. Months later it emerged that the police's prize discovery at the school, two Molotov cocktails, had been confiscated that afternoon from an unrelated locality, and planted by officers.

The prosecutor of the case, Enrico Zucca, has overcome many obstacles to bring the case this far. But now Dr Zucca fears that both may fail to come to judgement thanks to a new law now passing through parliament.

Nicknamed the "Save-Previti" law, it is purpose-made, opposition MPs claim, to enable one of Mr Berlusconi's closest colleagues, Cesare Previti, to escape prison on a judge-bribing charge by cutting in half the statute of limitations as it applies to a whole raft of criminal offences.

If the bill becomes law, the two trials will wind slowly onwards, but will finally be killed off before anyone can be punished.

Richard Parry, the British lawyer for the four British victims of the Diaz raid, said said: "It will be a fundamental breach of their human rights if my clients can't get compensation. That would be wrong."

The protests and their aftermath

* MAY 2001: Silvio Berlusconi wins election

* 18 JULY 2001: Some 200,000 anti-globalisation protesters pour into Genoa for G8 Summit

* 20 JULY: Carlo Giuliani shot dead as he hurls fire extinguisher at police

* 21 JULY: Police raid Diaz school, many unarmed members of independent media attacked

* 22 JULY: Victims of raid sent to Bolzaneto camp and face more abuse and attacks. Charges against them later dropped

* May 2003: Genoa judge rules that none of the 93 arrested at Diaz was involved in violence

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Second tornado strikes Birmingham
Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK

Another tornado has struck Birmingham under a mile from the scene of this summer's disaster.

Emergency services were called to Passey Road in Moseley early on Wednesday evening.

One home was evacuated after its roof was ripped off and a nearby road was closed, although no one was injured.

Weather experts said almost an inch of rain fell within an hour in Edgbaston and caused traffic chaos for many rush hour motorists.

Meanwhile, Central Trains services between Lichfield Trent Valley and Redditch have been suspended until further notice due to flooding in the Longbridge area.

More heavy downpours are expected throughout the evening.

Resident Mohammed Saleem said he had not been in the house when the tornado struck.

"When I came back I saw it. There was debris everywhere. I was shocked it had happened again," he said.

His wife, four children and disabled mother have been forced to stay with his brother overnight.

"The upstairs of the house is gutted completely and water is coming in downstairs," he said.

Fire crews said they were unable to cover the house with tarpaulin as the structure had been taken away by the winds.

Neighbour Ritesh Bara witnessed the twister, he said: "I couldn't get a signal on my TV so I looked out the window and it was dark black.

"For a couple of seconds I couldn't hear anything from the pressure. I went outside and there was a thick, black smoke going around.

"The trees were bending in and birds were getting caught up in it too. It was terrifying."

A teacher at a nearby school said debris had been thrown through the air.

Maggie Hazel, from Springfield School, said several tiles were ripped from the roof.

'Tornado conditions'

She said: "One colleague saw it pass by, she saw something whirring and something fell and dropped by the window.

"We all felt the wind blow right through the building and wondered what was going on, then we heard a big bang.

"The worst damage was to a business across the road, something like a wooden pallet was picked up and hurled through the roof. It is still sticking out of it."

The weather conditions are similar to those of the afternoon 28 July when a tornado struck the Moseley and Kings Heath parts of the city.

Entire roofs were ripped off homes, trees were uprooted and cars overturned in the street as the wind whipped down the streets.

A Met Office spokesman said the second tornado was possible because of the heavy rain some areas of the city had experienced.

The Environment Agency has reported the River Rea, which runs through Northfield and Solihull is rising rapidly and is in danger of flooding.

Roads were closed in Sutton Coldfield and Harborne and flooding affected many more in Erdington, Stirchley, Small Heath and Edgbaston.

Comment: A reader writes:

The weather has been exceptional mild for this time of year, reaching 20C in the daytime  in mid October. We are experiencing a lot more moist air coming up from southern Europe now & when it meets the cold air over middle England the result is very dramatic.

I live in a small town called Stourport-on-Severn in the Midlands, in the UK. A few years ago we experienced a small tornado just 3 miles away in a village called Hartlebury, to my knowledge, this is the first time this has happen in this local area. The Birmingham tornados are only 15-20 miles up the road from us. So to have this happen 3 times in as many years, is a wake-up call, certainly to me anyway.

The world is changing, we can even see it on our own doorstep now, but sadly it may have to happen on every doorstep until everyone realises it. But of course by then it could be too late!

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Fresh aftershocks jolt Pakistan, trigger panic

Islamabad : Fresh aftershocks on Thursday jolted Pakistan, triggering panic among those who lived through the deadly weekend earthquake as troops and emergency workers struggled to deliver aid to the injured and homeless in the remote areas.

Pakistani seismic and weather experts recorded 67 fresh aftershocks in the last 24 hours till Thursday morning, including two with the magnitude of over 4 on the Richter scale.

The Pakistani capital and other parts of the country, including all those areas jolted by the Saturday eight earthquake, received an aftershock on Thursday morning at 9.06 am local time with the magnitude of 4.5 on the Richter scale. Earlier an aftershock at 1.23 am was 5.6 on Richter scale and its epicentre was 135 kilometres north of Islamabad.

Thousands of residents in the Pakistani capital rushed out of their houses several times on Thursday as aftershocks rocked the city, fearing a repeat of the weekend quake that left thousands dead. Hundreds of employees working in offices located in highrise buildings also came out on streets.

The 19-storey Margala Towers, an upmarket apartment block in Islamabad, had collapsed when the 7.6 magnitude quake hit Islamabad and other areas of Pakistan and PoK on Saturday.

So far, 43 people have been rescued and 93 bodies pulled out of the rubble of the apartment block by the local and international rescue teams. Rescue and relief work there is still going on.

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The Daily Dose: Doubting the doubters

Deepak Chopra and Michael Shermer agree that many skeptics want to rid the universe of the supernatural
By Matt Donnelly
October 12, 2005

Deepak Chopra is known for books and television programs in which he attempts to unite Eastern philosophy and Western science. Over the years he has also been the target of attacks from skeptics who view his work as so much New Age rubbish. Blogging at the Huffington Post, Chopra makes some observations about skeptics that are bound to ruffle a few feathers:

" my experience skeptics are overreachers. They equate doubt with logical thinking, so that to be unskeptical makes one irrational. The use of words like pseudoscience, magic, superstition, and ignorance bolsters their central claim that only fools and knaves occupy the low ground outside the skeptical tradition. But Keats, Beethoven, and Van Gogh all worked in irrational fields. And the line between religion and science, which skeptics defend like armed guards, isn't so definite as they suppose, given the religious bent of Kepler, Newton, Einstein, and other scientific minds great and small."

His argument is that skepticism has not contributed anything to modern science, although it was useful in carving out an epistemological space for it:

"At its most credible, (here I want to show doubt in the best light) skepticism is the handmaiden of science and the scientific method. In and of itself, skepticism has made no actual contribution to science, just as music reviews in the newspaper make no contribution to the art of composition and book reviewing falls far short of writing books. Because it rides on science's coattails, skepticism lays claim to defeating all manner of fallacies and ignorance when it has done no such thing. Skeptics have not contributed to theories of mathematics or logic in any substantial way, and the chief victory of skepticism (to discredit religious thinking as opposed to scientific thinking) is a battle long ago won."

In the end, though, Chopra isn't opposed to certain types of skepticism, such as skepticism about religious fundamentalism:

"But skeptics can't wait to fight the battle again, and people like me, who discuss spirituality and science in the same breath, are vehemently accused of the same ignorant tendencies as fundamentalists waiting for Jesus to return tomorrow. So why be skeptical at all? What science has defeated is the great tradition of idealism. This tradition has hundreds of branches, but let's accept the simple dictionary definition: idealism is "a theory that ultimate reality lies in a realm transcending phenomena." By nature most people are idealistic. They accept God and have a will to believe. They are open to experiences beyond their five senses, such as love and beauty. They assume that there is an ultimate Truth."

Michael Shermer responds to Chopra

Michael Shermer, himself a skeptic, responds to Chopra in a different blog entry at the Huffington Post. Although Shermer concedes that he has come across "a few grumpy old white guys complaining that the world was overrun with pseudoscience and superstitions," he goes on to say that skepticism does indeed have an important role to play in modern culture: "By weeding out bad ideas, negative skepticism enables the good to flourish."

Shermer suspects that Chopra's real purpose in writing was to carve out a continuing role for the supernatural:

"Deepak wants to bridge the schism between science and religion, which he says skeptics believe must be kept separate. We believe this because when scientists are doing science - collecting data, running experiments, testing hypotheses, building theories - we have nothing to say about religion, unless claims are made that scientific evidence supports some particular religious belief, such as that the Earth is only 6,000 years old or that intercessory prayer heals the sick. In that case, the ultimate result of applying the tools of science to religious claims can only be the disappearance or naturalization of the deity. Science deals with only natural causes. Any supernatural (or paranormal) causes, when examined closely, either disappear entirely or are incorporated into the natural sciences."

But while supernatural forms of religion must give way to a skepticism informed by science, Shermer argues that a science-based spirituality (what some like Washington University biologist Ursula Goodenough call "religious naturalism") is quite attractive, even for skeptics:

"I think what Deepak is after here, however, is something broader and deeper than religion, and that is spirituality, a theme that comes up often in his books and public appearances. This past summer I was invited to teach a seminar at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, the New Age Mecca on the Pacific coast. I called it "Science and Spirituality." As it turns out, Deepak also once taught a seminar there under the same title, so either my students (mostly scientists) and I all sat around staring at the walls with nothing to say, or there is more than one way to be spiritual in this world. In my seminar, I defined the spirit as the pattern of information of which we are made - our genes, proteins, memories, and personalities. In this sense, spirituality is the quest to know the place of our spirit within the deep time of evolution and the deep space of the cosmos. Although there are many paths to spirituality, I believe that science gives us the deepest possible sense of grandeur and wonder about our place in time and space."

We at have done our own reporting on religious naturalism. Earlier this year, we spoke with Tom Clark, director of the Somerville, Massachusetts-based Center for Naturalism. As we wrote, "Clark is fiercely committed to science (Daniel Dennett and Owen Flanagan sit on CFN's advisory board), yet he still finds time to meditate, stands in awe of nature, and defends the value of religion in society." In Clark's own words:

"Naturalism, being based in science, certainly doesn't preclude one from having religious feelings or impulses or experiences. Religious naturalism is alive and well. In fact, it's a growing movement these days. So I certainly count myself as a religious naturalist, among other things. I'm not religious in an observant sense, but, nevertheless, I have and seek out experiences that would be called religious in any liberal definition of the term, even though they don't involve any notion of divinity, apart from nature." [...]

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And Finally...

Oldest noodles unearthed in China
Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK

Neolithic NoodlesThe remains of the world's oldest noodles have been unearthed in China.

The 50cm-long, yellow strands were found in a pot that had probably been buried during a catastrophic flood.

Radiocarbon dating of the material taken from the Lajia archaeological site on the Yellow River indicates the food was about 4,000 years old.

Scientists tell the journal Nature that the noodles were made using grains from millet grass - unlike modern noodles, which are made with wheat flour.

The discovery goes a long way to settling the old argument over who first created the string-like food.

Professor Houyuan Lu said: "Prior to the discovery of noodles at Lajia, the earliest written record of noodles is traced to a book written during the East Han Dynasty sometime between AD 25 and 220, although it remained a subject of debate whether the Chinese, the Italians, or the Arabs invented it first.

"Our discovery indicates that noodles were first produced in China," the researcher from the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, explained to BBC News.

The professor's team tells Nature that the ancient settlement at Lajia was hit by a sudden catastrophe.

Among the remains are skeletons thrown into various abnormal postures, suggesting the inhabitants may have been trying to flee the disaster that was enveloping them.

"Based on the geological and archaeological evidence, there was a catastrophic earthquake and immediately following the quake, the site was subject to flooding by the river," explained co-author Professor Kam-biu Liu, from Louisiana State University, US.

"Lajia is a very interesting site; in a way, it is the Pompeii of China."

It was in amongst the human wreckage that scientists found an upturned earthenware bowl filled with brownish-yellow, fine clay.

When they lifted the inverted container, the noodles were found sitting proud on the cone of sediment left behind.

"It was this unique combination of factors that created a vacuum or empty space between the top of the sediment cone and the bottom of this bowl that allowed the noodles to be preserved," Professor Kam-biu Liu said.

The noodles resemble the La-Mian noodle, the team says; a traditional Chinese noodle that is made by repeatedly pulling and stretching the dough by hand.

To identify the plants from which the noodles were made, the team looked at the shape and patterning of starch grains and so-called seed-husk phytoliths in the bowl.

These were compared with modern crops. The analysis pointed to the use of foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum)

"Our data demonstrate that noodles were probably initially made from species of domesticated grasses native to China. This is in sharp contrast to modern Chinese noodles or Italian pasta which are mostly made of wheat today," Professor Houyuan Lu said.

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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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