Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!
December 15, 2003
Let the games begin.
You will remember the incident as the invasion and occupation of Iraq began last spring. Five American soldiers were captured by the Iraqis and shown on TV. Well, the outburst from Rumsfeld and Co! "How could they treat our soldiers to such a humiliation!" Claims of not honouring the Geneva Convention.
So what is it when the video of a medical exam is broadcast around the world? But, of course, this is Saddam Hussein! The very devil himself! And is he cooperating? Is he admitting to having had weapons of mass destruction? Of course not! He says the US invented them to invade and occupy his country!
He must be punished!
Today's Signs include: While America celebrates the capture of Saddam Hussein, Arabs express mixed emotions. Many Iraqis couldn't care less and just want their lives back after the US invasion and now the deteriorating occupation.
Rumsfeld claims Saddam will be treated according to the Geneva Convention. It is sadly ironic that ordinary Arabs who have done nothing wrong are being detained for simply being an Arab in the wrong place at the wrong time, while a dictator like Saddam receives preferential treatment. It is also sad that "preferential treatment" from the US these days means actually honoring International Law.
More Iraqi policemen are killed by a car bomb.
South Korea reports a case of a highly contagious avian flu, China breaks out its very own "terrorist group" list, while the Chinese people are brought to task for "individualism."
We're not the only ones... We look out at the world each day, horrified by the ruthless opportunism in our "leaders" and the events they provoke. We look out at the world each day and wonder, are we the only ones that see the long, black cloud coming down? And every once in a long while we come across a piece such as the following article, and we are even more horrified than before because someone else sees it, too. In this world, is there anything more horrifying than to think that, no, you are not crazy. You have all your wits about you. It is, indeed, the world that is completely insane.
Even though Bush II will lose the popular vote in the US presidential election of 2004, his electoral college victory seems assured. With Republican party governors firmly in charge of Florida, California, Texas and New York, and supported by a whopping Bush campaign war chest approaching $200 million, dubious electronic voting schemes courtesy of Diebold, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors (http://www.blackboxvoting.com), it seems certain that Bush will make it back to the Oval Office through the back door that is the Electoral College. And if not the Electoral College then by benefit of a rebel attack on US soil which kills thousands of Americans and leads to the suspension of the US Constitution. That according to General Tommy Franks, USA (Ret.), who opined in the magazine Cigar Aficionado that the US will have to shed its constitution in favor of a military style of government. Even the notorious aristocrat Alexander Hamilton would have been appalled at such a statement, as would Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. But these are mediocre times in history; particularly, and dangerously, in America where its people have eliminated those who might have continued to wage a struggle for an equitable form of government in the US, as well as engage the world through international treaty building.
Mediocre times produce the very worst that the world has to offer: Reagan, Bin Laden, Bush, Hussein, Sharon, and Blair. None but the feeble minded could draw inspiration from such a ghastly lineup of "leaders". This is the world as it has become absent the shortened lives of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X and Yitzhak Rabin, all of whom were murdered for their beliefs, or, rather, for the threat they posed to the established interests. Even Nikita Khrushchev was removed from power in the then USSR in 1964 for trying to push his country towards a more peaceful coexistence with the rest of the world.
[...] Shortly upon taking office in 2004, Bush's PCS will move rapidly on a number of fronts. Unbound by the constraints of campaigning, the real work of the Bush PCS will begin. First, the Bush PCS will continue to rupture federal and state programs that assist the middle and lower classes of America and their culture and environment. The US Supreme Court will eliminate a woman's right to choose. Constitutional amendments banning gay rights, women's rights and civil rights/affirmative action will be proposed by the Bush PCS and, in all likelihood, will succeed. An additional amendment to the constitution concerning military rule in case of an attack on US soil by any foreign individual or state will be added easing the way towards military rule in America.
While the nation debates these issues, Bush will quietly issue an edict supporting a return to the draft. The massive military campaign that is sure to follow will require millions of US military personnel that can only be had forcibly through conscription. As early as the Christian holiday of Christmas in December 2004, or more likely, the Christian Easter Holiday in April 2005 (celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ), the Bush PCS will attack. Syria will be attacked by American-British-Israeli coalition forces, primarily from its Western, Southern and Eastern flanks. There will be no prolonged bombing campaign in this operation. The air campaign will be concomitant with an amphibious assault on Syria's Western shores, accompanied by a land invasion from the Southern and Eastern flanks. The forces of the American led coalition will crush the dilapidated Syrian military within 10 business days. The Palestinians will likely be granted a piece of the former Syria and will be relocated there by the US and Israel.
Simultaneously with invasion of Syria, Iran will be subjected to an extraordinary air and cruise missile assault led by American forces. This operation will include additional military elements from the Turkish and Afghani military who will have been promised a piece of Iran once it is defeated. A withering air assault will come from the Northwest through Turkey, from the West from US controlled Iraq, from the East from the air bases in Afghanistan, and from carrier groups and cruise missile launching submarines, to include an Israeli submarine, in the Persian Gulf. Within 60 business days, Iran will be defeated by US-led forces. And should Iran successfully test a nuclear weapon prior to that time, the Bush PCS will accelerate its timetable for attack opting to use tactical nuclear weapons to take out Iranian nuclear weaponry.
Since the Bush PCS believes that North Korea cannot be allowed to exist, it will attack North Korea simultaneously with its invasion of Syria and Iran. China will have been dealt with during back channel negotiations. The price China will demand of not intervening against the US invasion (Chinese troop strength at 100 million) will be Taiwan. The Bush PCS will turn a blind eye to China's takeover of Taiwan, which had become a bad US hangover from the Cold War. The US will be glad to rid itself of support for Taiwan. Vladimir Putin may sign on to the US-led invasion and commit Russian troops which will incur from the Northeastern portion of North Korea's border. Participation with Bush in this effort would allow Russia basing rights on the Eastern shores of North Korea. The US and South Korean military will attempt to neutralize the North Korean military with low yield tactical nuclear weapons which will be used primarily along the heavily fortified Southern border. This conflict will see the massive deployment of ordnance with calmative agents meant to literally put to sleep the North Korean military. An electromagnetic pulse weapon or weapons will be used to knock out North Korea's command and control infrastructure. Ground operations will be simultaneous with air and sea assault but the conflict will rage on for 12 business quarters as weather and terrain complicate the US led attack.
Meanwhile in Colombia, US military forces will openly engage in combat against the FARC and indigenous peoples movements there. Over in Venezuela, the US will finally topple Hugo Chavez (if not prior to 2004). The aged leaders of Cuba and Libya will be no match for the Bush PCS, and they will likely be toppled in US led coups. In each of these cases, Bush PCS friendly dictators will be installed and US corporations will quickly move to capitalize each of those societies, just as they are doing in Iraq.
All of this, it seems, is a fait accompli.
And now, live from center ring, broadcast around the world through the US Bread and Circuses International Network, we give you, Saddam Hussein! Or maybe one of his doubles. Or maybe it is one of his son's...uh, no, we got them last summer. Great job, guys, by the way. Took the heat off of the skipper's aircraft carrier stunt....uh, oh yeah...
Send us $49.95 and you, too, can have the complete Saddam Hussein (or his double) Medical Exam Video! Not since the Roswell autopsy video has any medical footage stirred up this much excitement! It was broadcast around the world to fanatical journalists who hadn't made it to Wal-Mart for the DVD special. You'll see the Iraqi strong man, fresh from cowering in his little hole like George Bush on AWOL, open his mouth to give DNA samples. Don't let him bite you, Doctor. You wouldn't want rabies!
Order now, and you'll receive as a special bonus, the Odai and Qusai Hussein Autopsy Video. This is as graphic as it gets! But don't take our word for it, read what CBS News had to say:
"The extremely graphic video showed the two bodies in a tent being used as a mortuary at Baghdad International Airport. The men's faces, shown in earlier pictures to be severely bruised and wounded, had been reconstructed. Each body had been shot more than 20 times, the military said."
But for now, we have Saddam, or his double, and we have him live!
Monday 15 December 2003, 14:46 Makka Time, 11:46 GMT
Two car bombs have exploded outside police stations in Iraq, leaving at least nine people killed and shattering any hopes of an end to violence after Saddam Hussein's capture.
One car bomb ripped through the Zuhur police station at al-Husayniah village, 30 km north of Baghdad, killing eight policemen and injuring more than 20 others on Monday, reported our correspondent.
A second explosives-laden car, with the driver inside, exploded outside the Amiriyah criminal investigation department in Baghdad, shortly afterwards, killing at least one policemen and injuring more than twenty.
[...] Questions were raised whether the Iraqi resistance against occupation forces would continue after the former leader's capture.
US Senator Jay Rockefeller, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the circumstances of Saddam's arrest made it unlikely that he had been directing resistance attacks.
FLASHBACK: LaHood: Hussein's capture imminent
A member of The Pantagraph editorial board -- not really expecting an answer -- asked LaHood for more details, saying, "Do you know something we don't?"
"Yes I do," replied LaHood. [...]
Comment: This Publicity stunt has been in the planning stages for a while now. Perhaps they can put "Saddam" in a cage and take him on a tour through the towns of America and allow the good people to throw rotten fruit at him.
CAIRO (Reuters) - Arabs greeted the capture of Saddam Hussein with divided emotions Sunday, welcoming the arrest of a dictator yet tinged with regret that a symbol of Arab defiance against the United States was behind bars. [...]
"It is happy news but we wish it were the Iraqi people who had captured him, not U.S. troops, because this will give Bush a boost in the upcoming election," said Bahraini salesman Hussein Jafar as news of Saddam's capture swept through Arab capitals. [...]
"I only wish it was not the Americans who got him. I don't like Saddam but as an Arab I wouldn't like to see them (Americans) dragging him around Baghdad," said Syrian student Abdul-Nasser.
For others, the capture was disappointing news. Saddam may have been seen as a dictator who oppressed his people, but many also saw him as the only Arab leader who stood up to the United States, which they said rode roughshod through the region.
"Of course it's bad news. To us, Saddam was a symbol of defiance to the U.S. plans in the region. And we support any person who stands in the face of the American dominance," said Azzam Hneidi, an Islamist member of Jordan's parliament. [...]
IRVINE, AP National Writer
CHICAGO - First, Americans watched as his statue fell in Baghdad. On Sunday, many celebrated again as news that U.S. forces had captured Saddam Hussein spread across the country.
In Dearborn, Mich., a heavily Arab suburb of Detroit, people danced in the snowy streets, banging drums and waving Iraqi and American flags. Signs near Fort Hood, Texas, thanked the base's troops for making the capture. A cheer went up at the New York Jets-Pittsburgh Steelers football game after part of President Bush's announcement was broadcast over the stadium loudspeakers.
"Merry Christmas. This is a nice Christmas — we got him," said Naomi Jipping, a teacher in Columbus, Ohio, who digested the news over coffee at a 24-hour diner. "A lot of people aren't going to be in fear anymore."
Comment: Oh no? The infrastructure of Iraq is still in shambles. The US is bulldozing houses and farmland in a futile attempt to bully the guerillas. The effects of DU will linger in Iraq for years to come. Many Iraqis search in vain to find out where and why US forces are detaining their loved ones.
To be fair, perhaps Ms. Jipping meant that Americans aren't going to be in fear anymore. Most Americans seem to have bought the story fed to them by the Bush-controlled media about Saddam's WMD's and how he helped and funded terrorists. Now they can all sleep better knowing that he is in US custody... or so they think.
In homes and stores across the country, people gathered around televisions, shaking their heads and smiling as they watched footage of the scruffy, bearded man some thought would never be caught. [...]
The news was particularly sweet for Iraqi Americans.
"You know what they should do? Put a statue of Bush," said Habib Iradily, a 37-year-old truck driver from Detroit who fled Iraq to Saudi Arabia in 1991. [...]
Comment: We wholeheartedly agree. It would be most fitting to replace the statue of the old dictator with one of the new dictator.
MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Saddam Hussein will have protections accorded to prisoners of war as U.S. officials try to press him for information on the insurgency against coalition forces, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld says. [...]
Saddam was taken to an undisclosed location where, Rumsfeld said, "he would be accorded the privileges as though he were a prisoner of war — not that he necessarily is one."
If it is found that Saddam was involved in the attacks against coalition troops, he might be placed in a different category, Rumsfeld said, without elaboration.
"One need not worry that he'll be treated in a humane and professional way," governed by the Geneva Convention that spells out the treatment that prisoners must receive, the secretary said on CBS' "60 Minutes." [...]
Comment: And what of all the other "detainees" in the Guantanamo prison camp? Don't they all deserve to be treated in a humane and professional way? Don't they all deserve at least an accusation of their alleged crime and a subsequent fair trial?
Martin Bright, home affairs
Disturbing new details have emerged about the treatment of 14 foreign terrorist suspects held without trial in British high-security jails.
At least half of them are showing signs of serious mental illness. Their lawyers say they have been pushed 'beyond the limits of human endurance'. One detainee is a polio victim, another has lost two limbs and a third has attempted suicide.
The men and their families fear some may not survive their indefinite imprisonment at Belmarsh prison in south-east London, which has been described as 'Britain's Guantanamo Bay' or 'Camp Delta UK', and Woodhill prison near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
The Home Office has said that none will be granted bail unless they are terminally ill.
The men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been described as a serious threat to national security. But the Observer has discovered that two are seriously disabled and most have been on anti-depressant drugs for more than a year.
There are particular concerns about a North African in his thirties, who has suffered from polio since childhood. His mental health has deteriorated so much that he can no longer recognise or communicate with fellow inmates.
His condition worsened after he was confined to his cell by his illness. The prison authorities refused him a wheelchair, and inmates' offers to carry him to classes and prayers were rejected.
A second North African has no arms and has to be helped by fellow prisoners to carry out everyday tasks. A Palestinian detainee Abu Rideh was transferred to Broadmoor high security psychiatric hospital after trying to kill himself over a year ago and has been there ever since.
The men's morale was seriously hit by the failure of 10 appeals against the internments. The men's lawyers fear those who have kept their sanity have become exhausted by acting as full-time carers for the others.
The suspects are being held under emergency anti-terrorist legislation introduced two years ago this week. A Home Office spokesman said they had regular access to mental health services and any special needs of disabled prisoners was taken into account. Belmarsh also had a team of mental health specialists including three psychiatrists and three psychiatric nurses.
The highest-profile prisoner is Abu Qatada, a British-based Palestinian cleric whose demands for a holy war are alleged to have inspired al-Qaeda. Videos of his sermons were found in the flat of the leader of the 11 September attacks, Mohamed Atta.
The detainees have been charged with no crime; are unable to see the intelligence evidence against them; and are confined to their cells for up to 22 hours a day. The Government used emergency legislation against them because it had insufficient evidence to mount a prosecution.
Gareth Peirce of law firm Birnberg Peirce, which represents most of the men, said: 'They have now been pushed beyond the limits of human endurance. All these men are refugees and a number are torture victims. It is well-established that victims of torture should not be confined, because this can trigger former trauma.'
Peirce will raise her concerns tomorrow in a lecture for the human rights organisation Liberty at the London School of Economics to mark the second anniversary of the detainees' arrests.
Natalia Garcia, a solicitor with two internee clients in Woodhill prison, said: 'They have a feeling of total despair. One has told me that he feels he has been buried alive. It is as if the whole weight of the state is against you and there is nothing you can do.'
A report from Amnesty International last week condemned the emergency legislation saying it created a 'shadow criminal justice system' for foreign nationals which permitted indefinite detention using evidence from foreign intelligence services extracted under torture.
Matthias Kelly QC, chairman of the Bar Council said: 'I am completely opposed to the use of internment. If the Government has the evidence, why does it not have the confidence to put it up in court?'
Documents seen by The Observer reveal that several of the men are in prison because they were suspected of fundraising for the war against Russia in Chechnya. One man was arrested because he was thought to be 'working to procure items... for extremists fighting in Chechnya'. These included boots and sleeping bags.
The document shows that the Home Office believes the suspects, mostly Algerians, are members of extremist Islamic groups or associates of individuals connected with terrorism. Six Algerians are accused of membership of the GIA, the Armed Islamic Group, which have been blamed for for massacring of woman and children.
Others are believed to be members of a second Algerian extremist group, the GSPC, or Salafist Group for Call and Combat, the Tunisian Fighting Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Several detainees are said to have recruited for terrorist training camps in Afghanistan.
Alistair Lyon, Middle East Diplomatic Correspondent
LONDON (Reuters) - Saddam Hussein's capture means he could face a trial by a newly created Iraqi tribunal -- and a possible death penalty.
The idea of involving the United Nations and eschewing capital punishment, as advocated by human rights activists and others, has so far found little favor with the United States or Iraq's U.S.-backed Governing Council.
"We want Saddam to get what he deserves," Amar al-Hakim, a senior member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shi'ite party, said on Sunday. [...]
Such sentiments are widespread in Iraq, but rights groups say it is vital that any trial aims to achieve justice, not revenge. It must be seen to be independent, impartial and fair. [...]
December 15, 2003
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's government said Monday it was preparing a criminal complaint to present at any international court that may try former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein over the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. [...]
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Joy at the capture of Saddam Hussein gave way to resentment toward Washington Monday as Iraqis confronted afresh the bloodshed, shortages and soaring prices of life under U.S. occupation. [...]
Many were ecstatic to see Saddam captured and hoped he would answer for his deeds but said they would not rush to thank America -- in their eyes the source of their problems since a U.S.-led coalition toppled Saddam in April.
"I hope that we get the chance to try him our way, to let everyone who suffered make him taste what he had made us taste," said Ali Hussein, 29, a stationery shop owner who said he was still dizzy with joy.
"But whether he's in a hole or in jail, it does nothing for me today, it won't feed me or protect me or send my children to school," he said.
Even as news of Saddam's capture sank in, car bombs ripped through two police stations in the capital, the latest in a series of attacks U.S. forces blame on loyalists of Saddam and on foreign "terrorists" infiltrating Iraq. [...]
"It's great that he's caught, but it wasn't him who screwed up the petrol and the electricity and everything else so badly, so now a canister of gas that was 250 dinars costs 4,000, if you can get one," said Ghazi, a 52-year-old dentist, from his car as he queued with hundreds of other drivers waiting for petrol. [...]
"The Americans promised freedom and prosperity; what's this? Go up to their headquarters, at one of those checkpoints where they point their guns at you, and tell them that you hate them as much as Saddam, and see what they do to you," said Mohammad Saleh, 39, a building contractor.
"The only difference is that Saddam would kill you in private, where the Americans will kill you in public," he said. [...]
by Greg Palast Former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein was taken into custody today at approximately a.m. Washington time. Various television executives, White House spin doctors and propaganda experts at the Pentagon are at this time wrestling with the question of whether to claim PFC Jessica Lynch seized the ex-potentate or that Saddam surrendered after close hand-to-hand combat with current Iraqi strongman Paul Bremer III.
Ex-President Hussein himself told US military interrogators that he had surfaced after hearing of the appointment of his long-time associate James Baker III to settle Iraq's debts. "Hey, my homeboy Jim owes me big time," Mr. Hussein stated. He asserted that Baker and the prior Bush regime, "owe me my back pay. After all I did for these guys you'd think they'd have the decency to pay up." [...]
While having his hair styled by US military makeover artists, Saddam listed jobs completed at the request of his allies in the Carter, Reagan and Bush administrations for which he claims back wages:
1979: Seizes power with US
approval; moves allegiance from Soviets to USA in Cold War.
William Rivers Pitt
[...] It is no small irony that Hussein, the Butcher of Baghdad, the monster under your bed lo these last twelve years, was paid probably ten thousand times more during his time as an American employee than the soldiers who caught him on Saturday night. The boys in the Reagan White House were generous with your tax dollars, and Hussein was a recipient of their largesse for the better part of a decade. [...]
December 15, 2003
TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. soldiers Monday used batons to break up a demonstration in Tikrit to protest against the capture of Saddam Hussein near his hometown, witnesses said.
Chanting "We sacrifice our blood and souls for you Saddam," scores of people gathered outside Tikrit university to denounce Saturday's arrest of Saddam, who was born and captured near the town.
"God is Greatest, America is the enemy of all peoples," they shouted with their fists raised.
Shortly afterwards U.S. soldiers charged the protest, beating and arresting some protesters, the witnesses said.
There was no immediate comment from the U.S. military.
Comment: You can almost smell the freedom in the New Iraq...
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide bomber killed eight Iraqi policemen in an attack Monday on a station in the capital's northern outskirts, their commander said.
Lt. Col. Ali Amer said 10 officers were injured in the blast in the northern Husainiyah district. Earlier Monday, seven officers were wounded when another car bomb exploded in the western Ameriyah neighborhood. [...]
Monday 15 December 2003, 13:15 Makka Time, 10:15 GMT
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has refused to give any information to his captors.
"He has not been cooperative in terms of talking or anything like that," Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told CBS' "60 Minutes."
Although Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez, the top US military commander in Iraq, described Saddam as talkative and cooperative, other officials shied away from suggesting that he had provided any useful intelligence so far.
An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Saddam's demeanour as sullen, not overtly defiant, but sarcastic.
Time magazine reported earlier on Sunday that during his
first interrogation, Saddam denied his regime had any weapons of
However, Saddam asked to negotiate when US forces captured him, said Major Brian Reed, operations commander of the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.
"He said, 'I am Saddam Hussein, I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate'," said Reed on Monday.
"The reponse was 'President (George) Bush sends his regards'," Reed said, adding that a US soldier reported the conversation from Saturday night when Saddam was caught.
Rumsfeld stopped short of saying the ousted Iraqi leader, who has
been eluding US troops for almost nine months, would be granted
formal prisoner of war status.
said that the former president's "treatment will be governed by the
Geneva Conventions," adding that "he will be accorded the
privileges as if he were a prisoner of war."
whether he will be facing capital punishment is open to debate.
those suspected of war crimes cannot be subjected to torture or
Comment: So what exactly Rummy mean when he says Saddam is refusing to "cooperate"? That he continues to deny the existence of WMD? How inconvenient for the Bush clique. So, now they will try to make a deal. Tell us you had them or we'll kill you. Quite in keeping with the neighborhood thug.
U.S. officials said captured Saddam Hussein faces tough interrogations about ongoing attacks against occupation forces, and his regime's banned weapons programs. In the meantime, U.S. officials declined to specify Saddam's whereabouts, saying late Sunday only that he had been moved to a secure location. The Dubai-based Arab TV station Al-Arabiya said he was taken to Qatar, though that could not be confirmed.
Meanwhile, a U.S. intelligence official in Iraq said that Saddam "has not been very cooperative," with interrogators in initial questioning, Time Magazine reported on its website on Monday.
The official said that the former Iraqi president didn't answer any of the initial questions directly and was sometimes less than coherent.
The official said that when asked "How are you?", Saddam answered, "I am sad because my people are in bondage." He also refused a glass of water offered to him, saying, "If I drink water I will have to go to the bathroom and how can I use the bathroom when my people are in bondage."
Interrogators also asked Saddam whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. "No, of course not," Saddam answered, according to the official, "the U.S. dreamed them up itself to have a reason to go to war with us."
Capturing Saddam Hussein is one thing, convicting him in an impartial court is something else.
One Iraqi Governing Council member and judge, Dara Nur al-Din, has highlighted the impartiality problem already.
Having helped draft the statute creating the war crimes tribunal, Nur al-Din told journalists on Monday that people in Iraq need "to see the nature of crimes committed with Saddam at the helm".
Ahmad Chalabi, another member of the Governing Council, promised: "Saddam will stand a public trial so that the Iraqi people will know his crimes".
US President George Bush has also promised that "the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions" - though he did not say where the former president would be tried and by whom.
No judges or administrators have yet been appointed to the tribunal, and with no transitional government set to assume sovereignty until 1 July – questions of how justice is to be meted out are bound to be asked.
For instance, could the Iraqi tribunal have the power to impose death sentences? International human rights groups are concerned over early indications.
Amnesty International has told Aljazeera.net that as Iraq's former military commander in chief, Hussein is most certainly a prisoner of war and should be given prompt access to the international Red Cross.
"Like any other criminal suspect he is entitled to all relevant safeguards under international law, including the right not to be subjected to torture or ill-treatment", said Amnesty spokeswoman Nicole Shuairy.
"Of course he has the right to receive a fair trial, a defense lawyer and the minimum safeguards as any other prisoner," she added.
But to the applause of "impartial" western and Iraqi journalists, the former president was paraded in front of television screens around the world.
It was only last March that American officials expressed their anger over the parading of five American soldiers on Iraqi television.
Just after the end of the invasion, the International Red Cross said occupation forces should re-examine the way they handled PoWs.
Referring to Article 13 in the third convention, Florian Westphal, from the ICRC, said PoWs should at all times be humanely treated, protected particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against "insults and public curiosity".
Human rights' groups are wary that the Iraqi decree establishing the new tribunal is fundamentally flawed because it was proclaimed by an unelected body and without consultation with the Iraqi people or the international community.
Activists also say the decree does not ensure that guilt has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
"Another concern is the death penalty," Shuairy said. "He
should be punished for his crimes, but the death penalty is not
included. That goes without saying."
The London director of Human Rights Watch, Steve Crawshaw, told Aljazeera.net that any sense Saddam Hussein was being exposed to revenge justice would lessen the chance of stability in Iraq.
While he accepts The International Criminal Court (ICC) can only hear crimes committed since 1 July 2002, he believes it is a fundamental flaw that there is little provision to involve international judges.
"Part of the problem is the loathing that the US feels for international justice, as reflected by its desire to throttle the ICC at birth," Crawshaw said.
Eager not to upset Washington, the Iraqi Governing Council has set out plans for five Iraqi judges with no legal requirement for international legal observers on what will prove hugely complex cases, he added.
He too regrets the retention of the death penalty. "The example of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu - shot after a summary trial in 1989 - reminds us how things should not be done. That execution hindered long-term justice in Romania."
Louise Christian, solicitor for three British detainees in Guantanamo Bay, also believes the US continues to talk about international justice when it suits them.
"On their original arrest Guantanamo detainees too were humiliated and paraded on TV manacled, shackled and hooded," she said.
The Third Geneva Convention was signed by the United States, Iraq and more than 180 other governments.
It is designed to protect the lives, health and dignity of uniformed combatants; the civilians accompanying them, like war correspondents; and some guerrilla fighters.
It includes guarantees of things like food, clothing and shelter, and protections against torture, coercion and humiliation.
US position changing?
Officially, the US position as laid out in a State Department document in 1999 is that: "The goal of the United States is to see Saddam Hussein indicted by an international tribunal."
until recently, the type of trial envisaged remained vague.
Responsible for gathering evidence for a war crimes trial, he told journalists on Monday: "There is a growing consensus that the best solution would be for Saddam Hussein to be tried in Iraq under Iraqi law."
BAGHDAD - The Ace of Spades has been dealt the final ignominy: capture by the very Americans he so effectively taunted into two wars and a generation of sanctions.
The only question that matters now: Is the game over?
[...] Beware, most of all, the humiliation factor. For with the bedraggled pathos of Saddam's parade yesterday on television screens worldwide comes a palpable bitterness in the minds of many Iraqis already soured by the indignity of occupation.
As the sun fell on Tikrit last night, that bitterness fell on us without invitation. Crowds of men were magnetized to the sight of a Western reporter's open notebook, virulently serving up the rage — and astonishing denial — one would expect from Saddam's tribal heartland.
"Saddam is not alone. We have tens of Saddam Husseins. There will be 10 times more resistance," said Sadoun Said, 29.
"We cry bloody tears for his capture. But this is about oil, this is about Islam, this is about freeing Iraq from the occupiers."
Omar Kanim, 34, spat in disgust at the twin humiliations — that Saddam was captured by "strangers," and that Saddam was captured alive.
"He should have been martyred, not captured. It is a curse to our people that he was taken alive."
[...] A more reliable clue as to what might now unfold came in the guarded words of Maj.-Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, who acknowledged last night "some satisfaction" — but only just — in capturing the trump card in America's deck of most wanted Iraqi fugitives.
"I will tell you there's a lot of work left to do," Odierno said in a hastily arranged news conference attended by the Star at division headquarters in Tikrit.
Next to Odierno sat a green metal army trunk stuffed with $750,000 U.S. in $100 bills, the comparatively paltry sum pulled from the nearby hideout from which the Ace of Spades was drawn.
Conspicuous in their absence, no satellite phones or communications equipment of any kind. Odierno said the squalid nature of Saddam's last stand confirmed his long-held belief that the former Iraqi dictator played little more than a "symbolic role" in the resistance against Americans.
Other U.S. soldiers on the scene of the capture were outright bleak in their assessment.
"This is not over," Capt. Joe Munger told the Star last night at a military checkpoint some 200 metres from Saddam's bare-dirt bunker at Adwar, 15 kilometres south of Tikrit.
"We were warned (by U.S. intelligence sources) to expect a bloody Christmas for the Americans. We still expect attacks," said Munger, of the 4th Infantry Division's 1st combat brigade.
Another soldier outside Saddam's sparkling Tikrit palace was ambivalent when asked if this felt like an early Christmas present. "Not really, sir. It's all right. But I'd be happier with a new Ford F150 pickup."
Stock markets have risen around the world following the capture of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The news boosted the value of the dollar, and caused the price of bonds, oil and gold to fall.
Analysts said that the strength and duration of any rally will depend on whether Saddam Hussein's arrest leads to a more stable environment in Iraq.
Jennifer Hughes in London
The dollar made strong gains in Asian trade as investors bet the capture of Saddam Hussein would lower the geopolitical risk weighing on US assets. But the US currency had drifted lower by European trade as the economic fundamentals behind the dollar's slide came to the fore once more.
The euro dropped sharply in early Asian trade to $1.2134 from $1.226 late on Friday. But by midday in Europe, the single currency was at $1.2200.
Analysts said the market had taken the news of Mr Hussein'a capture in its stride, and had heeded the warnings by the US and the UK that this did not mean the end of oppositions to Allied occupation in Iraq.
[...] General Clark faces direct cross-examination by Mr. Milosevic, who conducts his own defense and usually demands as much time to question a witness as the prosecution. Frequently, he is given more time.
Among the 280 witnesses who have already testified at the trial, there have been many high-profile witnesses and many senior military officers from other nations. Only France is known to have insisted that its top military officers testify behind closed doors.
In court, Mr. Milosevic has often railed against NATO's bombing campaign and said NATO was the one that had committed war crimes. Of the 23,000 bombs and missiles used during the 78-day campaign, some struck the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, several bridges, a train full of civilian passengers and a television station.
How much finger-pointing Mr. Milosevic will be allowed with General Clark on the stand will depend on Richard May, the British judge who presides over the trial.
[...] Clark was among 68 leaders charged with war crimes by a group of international-law professionals from Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, and the American Association of Jurists. [...]
Amongst the charges filed were: "grave violations of international humanitarian law", including "wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering and serious injury to body and health, employment of poisonous weapons and other weapons to cause unnecessary suffering, wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, unlawful attacks on civilian objects, devastation not necessitated by military objectives, attacks on undefended buildings and dwellings, destruction and wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences."
At one point in the bombing campaign it was reported that "[Clark] would rise out of his seat and slap the table. 'I've got to get the maximum violence out of this campaign -- now!'" (Washington Post, 21 September 1999)[...]
Knife Found In School Backpack
LANCASTER, Pa. -- A 12-year-old boy is being evaluated after allegedly threatening to go on a killing spree at school Tuesday.
Pittsburgh police were alerted Monday night to a posting on the Web site www.horror.com .
The posting by Freddy Fan reads: "I really am. I'm going to kill my teacher tommorrow and a lot of other people in my school. I'll probably kill a lot of people."
The original posting had a number of responses to it. Freddy Fan responded to them, saying, "Guys I am not kidding around. I am serious. If they blame it on the horror movies I'll tell them that horror had nothing to do with this. I won't be in deep shit because I'll be killing everybody who stands in my way. If I get killed then I'll be happy with that. [...]
With new Israeli gun, revolution in urban warfare
is around the corner
A new weapons system was unveiled Monday in Israel which enables armed forces to fire guns around corners and looks set to revolutionize urban warfare around the world.
The patented "Corner Shot" provides unprecedented protection to the soldier by enabling the combatant to shoot down a street, through a window or a door frame with maximum accuracy while keeping out of the line of fire.
The system consists of a rod and a mobile end section which can be adjusted with any type of combat handgun and includes a camera allowing the soldier to scan the targeted area and aim while maintaining cover. [...]
Monday 15 December 2003, 13:03 Makka Time, 10:03 GMT
Israeli soldiers have shot and killed two unarmed Palestinians, and were searching for a third in southern Israel.
The army said a group of six Palestinians, in the early hours of Monday morning, approached a fence in the northern Gaza Strip that separates the occupied Palestinian area from Israel.
The army claimed that one of them was captured when four of the group apparently entered Israel. It was possible the group wanted to enter Israel to find work, the army said.
Police and soldiers, meanwhile, searched for the other three
Palestinians, setting up impromptu checkpoints and roadblocks
throughout southern Israel.
[...] Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers backed by tanks and bulldozers destroyed 18 homes and partially damaged another 13 during a pre-dawn invasion into southern Gaza's Khan Yunis refugee camp, said Palestinian witnesses.
Liran Ron-Forer is a war criminal. Don’t buy his book. Moreover, would someone in the District Attorney's office put him on trial?
That's the opening sentence in a recent article published on Israel's Yediot Aharonot website entitled "A Sadist's book", which discloses the story of a new book written by Ron-Forer,26 , who was an Israeli soldier positioned during his military service at a Gaza checkpoint. In his book, Ron-Forer describes, in chilling details, how he and his friends tortured Palestinians - with declared pleasure – in various ways.
Let's take a small glimpse into Ron-Forer's own words – "I ran toward them and punched the Arab right in the face, never before did I do such a thing, he collapsed on the road…I dragged him over behind the jeep, pushed him in…We sat in the back seat…Our Arab lay down there and just wept quietly to himself…and he bled and made a puddle of blood and saliva, which angered and disgusted me, so I grabbed him by the hair and twisted his head to the side. He cried out loud…He didn't stop crying and someone said his hands hurt from the handcuffs. One of the soldiers approached him and punched him in the stomach. The Arab suffered from pain and grunted, we all giggled, it was funny…I kicked him real hard in the bottom and he whirled inside, just as I planned. They shouted that I am crazy and laughed – and I felt great".
These actions and many more, which took place in the course of Ron-Forer and his friends' army service, can be read in his new documentary book. In honor of the book's publication, Ron-Forer received extensive coverage in two of Israel's leading newspapers. One of the journalists even wrote Ron-Forer is a "deep and opinionated young man". It appears, Ron-Forer is indeed "deep", especially when it comes to encounters with tied up bodies of Palestinians…
It should be added, however, that many publishers in Israel, including the well-known Steimatsky bookstore chain refused to publish his book because of its criticism of Israeli military conduct.
In short, Ron-Forer is a criminal of war. He is certainly not the only one in the Israeli army who behaves in such a manner, to say the least. In Yediot Aharonot's own words, it says "upon entering the [occupied] territories, our men go through a quick operation which removes their humanity, and after a short while, they turn into human animals which derive pleasure from abusing and humiliating".
The paper continues by saying that Ron-Forer is just an example, adding his book shows this kind of conduct constitutes an Israeli army norm throughout the roadblocks, as can be understood also by Ron-Forer's words, "The prestige of the matter is to be crazy...violent in an unusual way".
Besides the evident crimes Ron-Forer committed, it is quite important to stress the various responses the articles written about his book have received. In Israeli written and online papers, the readers' comments were not less atrocious. One response simply said Ron-Forer's actions were "justified", with another calling to check if he was not just making up those stories. Another reader said it was an excellent book, which made him laugh. There were also those that put the blame not on Ron-Forer as an individual, but, rather on the occupation, which has been ruining the Israeli soldiers. However, it is interesting to add that there were also those that strongly slammed Ron-Forer for his behavior, saying he should be thrown into jail along with his friends, with others saying they never caused any harm to Palestinians throughout their military service, and there were those that simply called him a human-beast.
In any case, what is quite clear is that this particular Israeli soldier is not just one rotten apple in a bunch. He definitely serves as a perfect symbol of the entire Israeli occupation of Palestine and of the Israeli soldiers' actions against the Palestinian people. Whether his book sells many copies or not is of no vital importance. What is significant is that the occupation of Palestinian lands and aggression against Palestinian civilians must come to an end, once and for all.
Last Updated Mon, 15 Dec 2003 6:52:27
GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP - Israel has charged Jamal Akkal with conspiracy to commit murder and illegal military training.
The 23-year-old Windsor, Ont. man appeared in a Gaza court Monday for a preliminary hearing.
Akkal, who was born in a Gaza refugee camp, received Canadian citizenship after moving to Canada in 1999. His family says he was in Gaza to find a bride when he was arrested in November.
US singer Lauryn
Hill blasts Catholic Church.
Hill, 28, launched her diatribe in front of an audience of 7 500 guests at a packed Paul VI hall, used by Pope John Paul II for indoor public audiences.
"I'm not here to celebrate, like you, the birth of Christ, but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death in this place," Hill said, reading from a prepared statement as she came on stage for her performance as part of a all-star gala concert.
"Holy God has witnessed the corruption of your leadership, of the exploitation and abuses which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy," she added, calling on the hierarchy to "repent".
At least two dead, 13 hurt in
military accident near Iranian nuclear
At least two civilians were killed and 13 injured by stray anti-aircraft shells during firing exercises near a controversial nuclear power plant being built at Bushehr, southern Iran, a local official said Monday. [...]
George Parker and Judy Dempsey in Brussels and Hugh Williamson in
Germany has issued dark hints that Spain and Poland will be punished financially for blocking a deal on a new European Union constitution at the divisive EU summit in Brussels at the weekend.
The early breakdown of the meeting on Saturday has thrown the future of the constitutional treaty into doubt, and threatened to open up new rifts in Europe.
Germany is now expected to exact revenge on Spain and Poland early in 2004, when member states start discussing the next EU budget round. Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, warned there were "certain parallels" between the treaty negotiations and the the seven-year EU budget period, which starts in 2007.
Germany, the biggest net contributor to the budget, says it wants to keep spending pegged to just 1 per cent of the EU's GDP, or roughly €100bn (£70bn, $117bn) a year. That is about €25bn a year less than many inside the European Commission argue is needed to sustain aid to the poorest EU regions, including southern Spain and all of Poland.
José María Aznar, the Spanish prime minister, and Leszek Miller, his Polish counterpart, refused to agree to a new EU voting system that would have sealed a deal on the new constitution in Brussels.
Although both leaders received domestic praise for defending the existing voting system - which gives Spain and Poland disproportionate power inside the EU - they know there could be a price to pay.
[...] French diplomats said Mr Chirac blamed Polish and Spanish intransigence - and Britain's determination to hold on to its national veto in key fields - as evidence of the need for a so-called avant-garde, or vanguard.
Some suspect Mr Chirac and Mr Schröder were happy for the summit to collapse early, specifically to make that point. "You would think it was a stitch-up by Chirac and Schröder to have the summit collapse," said one east European diplomat.
Andreas Hadjipapas in Nicosia, Kerin Hope in Athens and
alliance of pro-European Turkish Cypriot parties claimed on Sunday
night to have won the parliamentary election in North Cyprus, but
the latest count shows the result may end in dead-heat. The poll is
seen as an early referendum on the UN-sponsored plan to reunite the
island ahead of accession to the European Union.
Officials of the leftwing Republican Turkish Party said on Sunday the opposition would have a one-or two-seat majority in the 50-seat parliament, in which seats are allocated under a complex proportional system.
But preliminary results show the RTP and its alliance partner, the Social Democrat Movement for Peace and Democracy, have together captured 25 seats. The bloc which opposes the re-unification plan, led by ruling National Unity Party, appears to have won the other 25 seats.
Momentum for change has accelerated in north Cyprus, with more than three-quarters of the population of about 200,000 supporting a settlement that would allow both sides of the island to join the EU on May 1. But without a clear outcome to the election, the opposition's effort to adopt the UN plan may be frustrated.
www.chinaview.cn 2003-12-15 10:46:26
BEIJING, Dec. 15, (Xinhuanet) -- It is a familiar scene in many places in China, as elsewhere in the world, that a group of curious people gather around to watch whenever an accident or a fight takes place.
The spectators just gather as observers to enjoy the spectacle. But these on-lookers murmuring and even joking are often accused of selfishness and apathy. Recently, media around the country have carried many reports criticizing such spectators.
In May this year, a man with a mental disorder in Xiangtan, in Central China's Hunan Province, attempted to commit suicide and climbed to the top of a six-storey building. After the police and rescuers had managed to calm the man down, hundreds of viewers on the street below started to cry, "Jump, jump". The man finally jumped off the building after a three-hour stand-off with the police. Applause and cheers burst out from among the crowd.
Last month, China Central Television reported that last year in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a 15-year-old girl was forced by another three girls to take off all her clothes and stand naked in public as punishment for stepping on one of the girl's feet.
The three even compelled the naked girl to parade through the streets among whistles and screams from surrounding viewers, yet no one stepped forward to stop the cruel behaviour. Four young men under the age of 18 from among the on-lookers then grabbed the scared girl, led her away and raped her.
"I was frightened," the victim told CCTV. "Yet, I was not afraid of the villains insulting me. It was the complicated expression in the viewers' eyes that scared me. It was these people who made me helpless."
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan's military President Pervez Musharraf has had a narrow escape after a bomb tore up a section of road in the city of Rawalpindi moments after his convoy passed by.
"The president's motorcade passed a minute before the blast," military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said. "He is safe and sound."
"It is a terrorist act," Sultan said. "Whether it was an assassination attempt or not cannot be said until after the investigations." [...]
15, 1:51 AM ET
The groups are accused of trying to create an independent Islamic state called "East Turkistan" in northwest China's Xinjiang region, which is populated by the Turkish-speaking Uighur Muslims. [...]
Q. HANEY, AP
Late last winter, a committee of vaccine experts designing this season's flu shot considered their choices. They had two, and both seemed bad.
Should they stick with last year's formula, even though a new strain of the bug was ominously building strength? Or should they try to make a new vaccine and risk complications or delays that could result in a shortage or maybe even no vaccine at all?
In the end, the committee voted 17-1 to bring back last year's version, even though they feared they were telling millions of Americans to roll up their sleeves for shots that might not work very well. [...]
December 15, 2003
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea said Monday it had confirmed a case of a highly contagious type of bird flu, which can be deadly to humans, at a chicken farm near Seoul.
"We have confirmed highly contagious avian influenza, known as H5N1, in chickens," an Agriculture Ministry official told Reuters. [...]
In rare instances strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza can be lethal to humans, as well as devastating for poultry. The H5N1 strain killed six people in Hong Kong in 1997 and 1998. [...]
A stretch of the M42 which closed after a lorry overturned, spilling a hazardous chemical, has reopened. The accident took place on the southbound carriageway between junctions 6 and 5 near Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre and caused both carriageways to be shut. [...]
Ten West Midlands Fire Service firefighters who helped rescue the lorry driver from his cab were taken to hospital after feeling unwell but were later released. [...]
A 300-metre cordon was set up around the vehicle to protect people from the chemical which a fire service spokesman described as "highly toxic, narcotic and very flammable".
Inbound flights to Birmingham International Airport were diverted to Coventry for a time because of the crash.
Mon Dec 15,12:27 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp., the world's largest computer company, will move the work of as many of 4,730 U.S. software programers to India, China and elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. [...]
Officials who attended a world Internet and technology summit in Switzerland last week were unknowingly bugged, said researchers who attended the forum.
Badges assigned to attendees of the World Summit on the Information Society were affixed with radio-frequency identification chips (RFIDs), said Alberto Escudero-Pascual, Stephane Koch and George Danezis in a report issued after the conference ended Friday in Geneva. The badges were handed out to more than 50 prime ministers, presidents and other high-level officials from 174 countries, including the United States.
The trio's report said they were able to obtain the official badges with fraudulent identification only to be stunned when they found RFID chips — a contentious issue among privacy advocates in the United States and Europe — embedded in the tags.
Researchers questioned summit officials about the use of the chips and how long information would be stored but were not given answers. [...]
Meteorite fragments, metal from Antarctica may boost theory
British scientists have been given a £2.3 million grant to try and solve one of the biggest mysteries of the universe - why matter exists.
Researchers at the University of Sussex will use the cash to make some of most sensitive measurements ever undertaken of sub-atomic particles.
They hope within six years to have answers which might finally explain the creation of matter at the dawn of time.
Physicist Dr Philip Harris, leading the group, said: "Although there are a couple of other teams in the world working in this same area, we're managing to stay ahead of them.
"This is all very exciting for us. With this new development, we are on the verge of a major breakthrough in our understanding of the very origin of matter in the universe."
For years scientists have been vexed by the question of why there is more matter in the universe than anti-matter. Both were formed at the time of the Big Bang, about 13.7 billion years ago. For every particle formed, an anti-particle would also have been formed.
When matter and anti-matter meet they turn to energy in a blinding flash. At the start of the universe, equal numbers of both would have annihilated each other, leaving nothing but light.
But a tiny imbalance in the laws of nature allowed a little matter to be left over and become galaxies of stars.
The only way scientists can verify theories to explain this anomaly is to study sub-atomic particles.
It involves making incredibly sensitive measurements of a phenomenon called the electric dipole moment. This allows neutrons in the atom, particles with no electric charge, to behave a little like magnets with positive and negative poles.
The £2.3 million grant from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council will allow the scientists to develop a 300,000 volt measuring device that stores neutrons. The team is working with physicists at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Didcot, Oxfordshire, and the universities of Oxford and Kure in Japan.
Comment: Just exactly who shot this professional quality video?
FLASHBACK: 'I Better Call My Lawyer'
[...] At a photo op after a cabinet meeting, a reporter asked Bush if such punitive steps squared with international law. "International law?" Bush answered, with an edge of sarcasm. "I better call my lawyer. He didn't bring that up to me." [...]
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